BanG Dream S2

June 8, 2019

I didn’t really expect this series to get a sequel. So when BanG Dream S2 came out as a surprise, what else could even surprise me even more? The announcement of a third season at the same time! Woah. I guess we’re done with idols and now it is the era of girl bands taking over by storm. Just kidding. I made that up. In the last season, the closure of a popular live house didn’t signal the end of the series nor was it the end of the girl bands. Because it opened up a few opportunities for them to further live and pursue their dream. So yeah, I’m here to see how far they can go. And also how cute girls playing instruments can be on stage.

Episode 1
We are reminded that girl bands are the trend now. So overly popular. So that we don’t freak out at why every girl in town is part of a band. Yeah, it’s a new school term with Arisa being part of the student council body. Rinko Shirokane is the new student council president and unlike the previous one who was spunky, she’s a nervous wreck. Poppin’ Party members are all in the same class. Except Tae. Don’t worry. This won’t break up the band, right? After another practice until the wee morning and heading to the convenience store, Rokka Asahi pleads for their help to come perform at Galaxy tonight. Can’t pass up this chance, can they? Rokka is relieved since she needed to find bands to play for the reopening of this place. We see a few bands perform like Afterglow, Hello Happy World and Roselia perform, it is Poppin’ Party’s moment on stage. Once it’s over, Roselia’s Yukina makes an announcement. They will be self-sponsoring a live show of their own. I guess Poppin’ Party got pulled into the hype because they too announce they’ve got a show coming up. I hope they just didn’t devise this impromptu.

Episode 2
Yeah, Poppin’ Party is already making plans for their show. Such big dreams. Until Sayo points out the literally so many things to do and prepare. From ticket sales to rehearsals and checks. Can you rookies manage that? Then Yukina officially invites Poppin’ Party to perform with them and of course they accept. Wow. So exciting. It’s going to get busy. Even shy Rokka wants to come see. Poppin’ Party practice hard and come that day when they head to the backstage, they see Roselia members passed out! It looks like a murder scene. Apparently they got so busy in preparing for their own show that they burnt out. I guess this is what happens when you self-sponsor your own show and to keep cost, you do literally everything yourselves. Poppin’ Party would love to help but Yukina insists they can handle it fine (were they?). It’s their show. Poppin’ Party could learn a thing or two watching them making preparations. It’s time for the show as Poppin’ Party heads out as the appetizer before Roselia nailing it as the main dish. Although Poppin’ Party feel good despite admitting they are nowhere near Roselia’s level, they are confident to throw their own self-sponsored live show. Too bad Yukina had to rain on their parade. They are in fact nowhere near that at all. Yeah, why the shock look?

Episode 3
This brat, Chuchu is some genius producer? She confronts Yukina and wants her band to team up with her to produce the most awesome label. Rejected. Poppin’ Party are now having doubts to do their own show. Meanwhile Rokka wants to form her own band as she can play the guitar but looks like there are no openings. Yeah, looks like every other girl is already in a band. I don’t know if she is tailing-cum-stalking Kasumi for inspiration but gets caught. She brings her to a bathhouse where she works part time. Is this a free pass for Poppin’ Party to hang out so that she could come enjoy their shows? Rokka tells them her story. As a newly transferred student, she came here to see the last performance at Space. That’s how she knew about Poppin’ Party as she saw them perform. Rokka was in a band too in her old hometown but they broke up as the rest wanted to concentrate on their studies. She is confident she can find others to play with here. Seeing Poppin’ Party on stage gave her a lot of motivation to make her dreams come true again. Poppin’ Party then play a song for her. Cue for Rokka’s life story so far. We see her love bands so much and started out with cutting a cardboard shape of a guitar. Then she saved up to buy her own electric guitar. Man, she must have saved up loads of money or electric guitars in her village must be darn cheap. Short snippets of her time in her band till they break up and Rokka’s moments to come to Tokyo. Either the memories or Poppin’ Party’s song made Rokka cry a lot. She hopes to form a band and perform with them. With that, Poppin’ Party decides not to give up on their self-sponsored show. Meanwhile Chuchu is furious that Yukina still rejects her. It’s like she can’t take no for an answer. She even gives a song she wrote for them to try. Again rejected. Roselia will write their own songs to the way to the top. They don’t need a producer. Oh Chuchu, please don’t take it out on the trash if you’re frustrated. At least she cleans up. Still in disbelief, she’s starting to sound like a villain because if she can’t team up with them, she’s going to destroy them. Yeah, she really can’t take no for an answer.

Episode 4
Poppin’ Party is sure coming up with lots of (unrealistic) ideas for their live show. FLYING?! Lovely. But can it be really done? Hello Happy World’s front vocalist, Kokoro Tsurumaki wants to help seeing that Poppin’ Party isn’t smiling with this idea. Hence she rallies her other bandmates for a brainstorming session. Not sure if all those scribbles make sense. Maybe. If you’re as quirky as the rest of them. Like the dramatic queen (chuunibyou?) Kaoru Seta, the happy go lucky cheery Hagumi Kitazawa and positive thinking Kanon Matsubara. Maybe. Only the dog mascot, Michelle or real name Misaki Okusawa is the voice of rational that nobody listens. Poppin’ Party is invited to Kokoro’s luxurious liner. Damn it’s huge. You mean this entire liner just for this exclusive performance? Okay. It starts off with Kaoru ‘kidnapping’ Rimi. Then the rest are made to run and chase them all over the ship. Yeah… Is anybody tired yet? Nope. Show’s just getting started because now Kokoro and Michelle take off in a giant bear air balloon before jumping off! Wait, what?! I wonder if Poppin’ Party can see anything from down there. Anyway, Michelle notices Kokoro has no parachute! Michelle only has hers and despite being afraid of heights, she takes the dive. Well, parachute has no strings. OH SH*T!!! Kasumi, you call that flying?! They’re falling!!! Turns out Michelle’s suit has some Ironman technology so a voice activates and tells her to do some Konami cheat code activation for some special boosters! Now they’re flying! To top it off, more fireworks and a huge writing in the sky, “SMILE”. I’m more flabbergasted… As expected, Poppin’ Party is so amazed at this concert (was it?!) and is now motivated to do what they want. Sure. If they have the money. But I suppose this ‘concert’ was to motivate and bring their smile back because nothing can stop them once they have that smile. Unless, money. I mean, you really want to fly like that in your live show, right? To end it all, more ‘drama’ with Kaoru and Michelle ‘dying’. The latter finally having her nerves give way. Man, what a really out of this world episode.

Episode 5
Pastel Palettes is excited to be debuting at the biggest idol festival, World Idol Festival (WIF – I can see why didn’t call it World Idol Festival Event…). They are only worried not to make that same blunder the last time. Bassist Chisato Shirasagi has a busy schedule since she is also acting in some drama. She rarely practises along with her bandmates and that is partly she is also secretly practising by herself in her studio. Too bad Tae works there and she hopes she will keep this a secret. But I think everyone knows she is practising too hard because they can hear her bass lines getting duller. Uh huh. Her bass strings are wearing out. Wow. People noticing the bass part? Vocalist Aya Maruyama is already having some sort of self-confidence issues (also some strained relationship with Chisato due to a song that they are to sing as a duet). She sure doesn’t need any more issues with the internet all abuzz that this fake girl band is going to be at WIF. You see, the blunder they did was during a performance, they were caught lip synching. If not for Chisato bravely explaining the technical difficulties that made them unable to perform live, it could have ended much worse. Now they are ready and will be playing their instruments for real. With Chisato bribing Tae with expensive bread to keep her secret, keyboardist Eve Wakamiya spots this and thinks something is wrong. Telling to the rest, it gets awkward when Chisato pops in. One of those rare times she decides to practice together. They change to topic to start practising. However it didn’t go well as Aya blunders. Some tension here and there that made Chisato blow her top. Wow. Such drama. But you know, it won’t last long. The duo eventually made up and vow to get better. You can tell the drama is all over when Aya starts crying. Now the band is truly one again. At WIF, Pastel Palettes just got a small stage. Ah well, it’s a start.

Episode 6
The local market district is going to hold a local festival. Hence our girl bands are eager to participate. But the focus of this episode is Afterglow since they will be performing a live concert at that event followed by Poppin’ Party. During the festival, it starts to rain just as Afterglow is about to start jamming. Yeah, the rain sure knows how to put a damper on the show. Yeah, extra effort is needed to keep the rented equipment from getting wet. So while they way for the rain to stop, time for some flashback. It seems Afterglow members have been childhood friends ever since young. Mostly in the same class, grade after grade. Then that one time one of them got placed in a different class, Ran Mitake thought the only way for them to be together more often is to be in a band. So picking a name wasn’t easy. Yup, the trusty English dictionary for reference. After stumbling upon a few weird words, they like the sound of Afterglow. Coincidentally it’s evening when they pick this name and they can only practice after school. And that was how Afterglow came about. With the rain stop, it’s time for the performance to be back on schedule. Thank goodness the rain didn’t last forever or it would have been a no-show. Like as though fate is trying to make them live up to their name because it’s evening when they finally could start jamming. At the end of Poppin’ Party’s show, Kasumi announces their self-sponsored show at Galaxy. Rokka is shocked but it should surprise everyone else too since Poppin’ Party never told anyone. No flashy fireworks to end the festival but the first star in the sky sure made everyone’s day.

Episode 7
Sayo’s twin sister, Hina (who is the guitarist of Pastel Palettes) wants both their schools to jointly hold their school cultural festival together. And since Poppin’ Party is eager to play there too, looks like their schedules are getting busier. Rokka laments she still can’t find a band to play in but her day is light up when Poppin’ Party makes reservation to play at Galaxy. As if that wasn’t enough, yeah, Tae feels that she really needs to convey her music and practices aren’t cutting it. Hence she does solo live street performances. Because the other members of Pastel Palettes are busy with their own commitments, they can’t play at the festival. Hence Hina suggests Aya form their own temporary band for this. So they rope in Kanon and Tsugumi Hazawa (keyboardist of Afterglow). Completing this line-up is their own Roselia’s Lisa. Ran is not amused Hina dragged Tsugumi into this but Hina takes it the wrong way and thinks they want to help out. Yeah, they’ll have a special double festival band! Can’t they just say no? As Tae is playing one of her street solos, she is joined in by Rei Wakana. Rei is Tae’s childhood friend and they used to perform together at the park before she moved away. It was Tae’s first exposure playing music with another person. Rei recently moved back and is now a bassist in a band. Time to remember that promise of forming a band together. Oh right. Tae’s already in a band with her school friends. Rei still wants her to think about this and suggests listening to her music. Give it a try. You’ll not regret it. Meanwhile Chuchu is ecstatic at the blazing performance of drummer girl, Natsumi AKA Masking. She is confident that her all-star band will explode into the scene and knock Roselia off their high horses.

Episode 8
Tae drops the bomb to her Poppin’ Party girls: She wants to play in another band. With Rimi interpreting that as filling in as a support guitarist, everyone is relieved that she isn’t quitting the band. Is she? I mean, it’s not like Tae confirmed that either. So Tae goes to see Chuchu who of course tests her to see if she is worthy to be part of the band. Of course she is. How could she face Rei if she failed? Kasumi tries to imitate Tae’s way to write songs. Not working. But of course. So she goes to see the makeshift band for hints. Well, everyone has their weird habits in writing them. And so Kasumi tries lying flat on the chairs… Well, you won’t know if you don’t try. But I don’t think this will work either. Speaking of which, the makeshift band want to write a song for the festival but none of them are songwriters. So they just decide on the theme of the song. But of course. To cheer others up. What else? Meanwhile Rokka is still having a hard time trying to recruit band members. Lisa talks to her about Roselia’s dream of playing at Future World Fest. As you can tell, it’s the world’s biggest music festival. It started as Yukina’s dream (hence why Roselia was formed) but soon became their dream. On the other hand, Kasumi stumbles into Yukina and hopes she could play with them at the festival. She’ll think about it. Hey, at least it gives some possibilities. I’m guessing the reason why the festival is holding a rehearsal in the hall is so that we can see the makeshift band strutting their stuff. Now we go over to Tae’s side. After a brutal practice, Chuchu announces their band’s name to be Raise A Suilen (RAS). With Tae on guitar, Rei on bass, Masking on drums and Reo Kurachi AKA Pareo on keyboards, she is confident they’ll be the next big thing and her music will put an end to the girl band era (isn’t this technically a girl band too?). Hence more practising until their explosive first solo concert. Guess what? It’s on the day of the festival. Tae, you looking worried.

Episode 9
Tae tells her bandmates about the scheduling conflict. She still wants to do both, though. How? By cloning herself! Damn, Tae. You worse than Kasumi. But don’t worry. Poppin’ Party stays positive. They’ll try to reschedule or something. Meanwhile Chuchu invites Yukina to her band’s debut and brags about it. Too bad she can’t go. She has her festival. Well, back at you Chuchu. You think your concert is more important than the festival? We see the festival having really weird themes. Like a happy haunted café and Kaoru serving her guests that makes all her fans swoon like hell. And yeah, Rokka is jamming with the grandmas from the shopping district?! Grandmas truly rock and roll! With Tae being so busy with her practice with RAS, she can’t make it for her Poppin’ Party practice thereafter. Now on that crucial day, RAS performs a concert so stunning that the crowd just wants an encore. Yeah, I don’t know how many times they go back out and played but you know it is going to eat into Tae’s festival’s time. And when it is about Poppin’ Party’s turn, I guess RAS is over and Tae leaves immediately. Woah. Can she actually make it now?! I don’t see the idea of Kasumi rushing to go get her. Will it make them run faster? Maybe. Friends motivate each other, maybe… So to buy time for the final performance of the festival, poor Aya has to go up that and tell some weird story after her makeshift band is done performing. Luckily we have Rokka to start doing her solo power riffs and devilish jamming! OMFG! Is she human?! Why hasn’t any death black metal bands scouted her???!!! This inspires Roselia to take it from here. By the time Kasumi and Tae arrive… It’s over. The hall’s empty. Everyone’s gathered at the campfire for the closing. Oh Tae, crying now won’t do you any good. You made your choice. Yeah, tell it to her, Arisa! Uhm, I guess she’s not even in the mood either. Poppin’ Party’s party just got popped…

Episode 10
No time for Poppin’ Party to feel gloomy. Time to move on. Poppin’ Party accompanies Tae as she goes around apologizing to everyone. I think the looping apology between Tae and Rinko is going to take a while. Surprisingly Yukina isn’t harsh on them since she knows what happened. Just don’t let it happen again. Many are talking about Rokka’s insane skills and thinking of recruiting her but Rokka herself isn’t in the mood since she is worried about Poppin’ Party getting back on their feet. Tae then talks to Chuchu that she wants to quit RAS. She has no energy to play for both bands and thought she could grow and practice with them. But this pisses off Chuchu a lot. RAS is everything to her and she doesn’t need amateurs using it as a stepping stone. She is selfish if she thinks she can quit when things get rough. Tae tells Poppin’ Party about her decision to quit RAS. But with a condition to play her last gig at their next show. Poppin’ Party wants to come see of course. Masking talks to Rei about Tae. Before she moved, Tae played her a last song. The tears in her eyes made her know she would be back. But she can’t stop her now. Seeing her again is good enough. This ‘sad’ story is enough to make badass girl Masking cry?! Poppin’ Party design their uniform for their show. Because they all want to add something, it turns out… WTF is this hell hole?! Poppin’ Party attend RAS’ show. They are amazed with the crazy fans. After their performance, Tae makes the announcement that she is quitting. Some fans plead her to stay but I guess back to those wild screams when she fist bumps with Rei. Why is Poppin’ Party looking gloomy? They saw how amazing Tae was up there as though she was like a different person. Are they in shock? Then Chuchu confronts them. She wants them to hand over Tae to her.

Episode 11
Chuchu can’t stay since there is an after party. Next time. But that comes soon as Chuchu’s visits their secret studio (Arisa’s basement) to once again ask Tae to quit Poppin’ Party. But wasn’t she to quit RAS? Yes. As a support guitarist. She will now be reborn as the main guitarist! Does Tae get a say? Yes. That’s why she is here to talk to all of them. She tells them straight: They are holding her back. After she left, Poppin’ Party contemplates on Chuchu’s words. In many ways they are true. For Tae to be scouted means they acknowledge her talents. Their music sounds super awesome and to be playing for a band like that is a chance of a lifetime. To drag out the drama, they don’t want to pressure Tae to give an answer now. Meanwhile Rei confronts Chuchu. She didn’t know she was scouting Tae as the main guitarist. You mean Rei didn’t intent on Tae playing together permanently?! So we see the rest of the scenes of Poppin’ Party gloomy. Yeah. Thinking about the future direction of their band. Eventually Tae and Kasumi talk. Oh heck, nothing to blow the blues away by playing some guitar together. Flashbacks, snippets of their time together. Uh huh. Really moved Tae’s soul that she started writing some lyrics in the sand?! Do tears come with it? With that, Tae texts everyone as she has something to tell them. Oh no. Is she going to play an opening act just for her announcement?! Oh wait. This song reflects her feelings. So yeah. Once done, the rest have their tearful say on this but nothing really that conclusive to point out if Tae is staying or leaving. And then more tears. I think they cried so much under the name of friendship that they managed to write a new song. Wow…

Episode 12
All the bands have prepared their set list for Poppin’ Party’s self-sponsored show. Everyone is so neatly done except Poppin’ Party. Are those scribbles? All that is left is Roselia. Because Yukina didn’t reply, they thought it was a roundabout way of turning them down. Like Kasumi is going to give up so they go ask again. Surprisingly Yukina accepts. So they were so busy in preparing their show to perfection that they were practising and didn’t even have the decency to reply? So what if Poppin’ Party didn’t come and the show didn’t have arrangements for Roselia? Oh yeah, I think they can accommodate last minute surprises. Because, they’re Roselia. Kasumi gets this idea for Poppin’ Party to perform twice. She wants to debut their new song in their final appearance. As they leave, oh no, it’s Chuchu. However she is here to support them and root for their show to be a success. Because she knows Tae is going to be a blast. After all, she is the best guitarist for RAS. That is when Tae tells her. Thanks for the opportunities. However I am Poppin’ Party’s lead guitarist. Chuchu suddenly has a mood change. The kind that says get out of my sight NOW. Snippets of everybody making the final preparations for that day. Yeah, Tae making some final adjustments to their new song to make it perfect. Last minute inspiration, huh? All the bands are on site to prepare and thus the cue for us to have a sneak peek at Poppin’ Party’s new song, Returns. Brilliant, of course.

Episode 13
This final episode is like a big promo music video and blow away the fact that Tae was ever scouted in the first place. With all the girl bands streaming into the backstage, Poppin’ Party leaves a camera message for them to record as ‘guestbook’. Rei is outside Galaxy, still wondering if she should go in and hear. She is surprised to see Masking here. Get this. She lives just upstairs because her dad who looks like a fishmonger but runs a fruit stand is actually the owner of Galaxy! Damn! The show kicks off with Poppin’ Party being the first to perform. They shock everyone by playing Returns. Rokka didn’t see this coming. Hope she doesn’t blunder with this sudden change. If the crowd isn’t too stimulated with that slow ballad, time for Hello Happy World to rev things up with their sunshiny performance. Since they too sing a new song, this throws Rokka off too. Now we ramp up the cuteness with Pastel Palettes also doing a new number! You keeping up with this, Rokka? Next is Afterglow with its rock style. And you guessed it, new song! Oh Rokka, you should see the pattern here. No introductions needed for Roselia but they do a familiar number. No unnecessary shocks here for Rokka. Phew. Poppin’ Party comes out to close the performance. She thanks everyone for their first self-sponsored show and especially her band members for being in this band. Funny, why should they look surprise? Did they not expect this? Especially it’s from Kasumi. They hit it with the familiar Dreamers Go piece. Hey. Is that Chuchu dancing to their tune?! And that ends the splendid performance. Do we hear an encore? Yeah. Time for bonus stage with another song! After the show as everyone leaves, Chuchu confronts Poppin’ Party. She hates to admit it that she was moved by every second of their performance. So she admitting they better than her? Too bad being the sore loser she is, she ‘threatens’ she’ll make a bigger comeback that will leave them eating dust. GTFO! Your threats mean nothing!

Go Like A (BanG) Dream!
Oh well. Until the next season arrives, we’ll only know if Chuchu can walk the talk. But I’m glad it somewhat ended on that note because it is like cutting this brat off before she could do more harm. And it ends with our girls giving this confused look that screams, “Huh? WTF this loli?”. But anyway, I still don’t understand how Poppin’ Party managed to get the sufficient funds to sponsor their first self-sponsored show. Maybe they got a huge discount from Galaxy’s owner. Yeah, Japanese people are pretty generous if you know how to push the right buttons. I thought Yukina shot them down that they weren’t prepared. Unless it was just to scare them to see if they were really going to do it. With that kind of sparkling confidence, you think Poppin’ Party can’t do it? Yeah. They did it. Wow. Everything so perfect. Ganbare! Po-pi-pa, pi-po-pa, po-pi-pa-pa-pi-po-pa! Damn their huddle shout sounds like a tongue twister or scatting. Good for some verbal password. I think. Not.

This season feels like it can be separated into 2 parts. The first part seems to be introducing the other main girl bands. Their brand of music and style of entertainment. I think this is so that people like me who didn’t watch that chibi comedy, BanG Dream Garupa Pico (or those who didn’t play the Girls Band Party) will get to know and be familiar with them. It is not a very deep story about them or their band members but they are at least given an episode of prominence just to indicate that they are one of the few main players besides Poppin’ Party. The second part seems to be about Tae’s dilemma to join another band. Personally, with the first half already close to being boring in my books, they needed some sort of drama to ramp up the drama effect that Poppin’ Party might be breaking up or at least move on either by finding a replacement for Tae (Rokka comes to mind) or just carry on without her. But of course, we all know very well that a band’s bond is strong and there is no way that Poppin’ Party is going to break up, right? RIGHT?! After all, we already had Poppin’ Party origins story in the first season.

With so many characters, I couldn’t be bothered to feel if there is one that I really liked. All of them felt boring despite the myriads of personalities and quirky behaviours. You got the serious one, the dreamy one, the ditzy one, the reliable one, some even having this chuunibyou effect, yeah a whole bunch of them. Last season, my favourite character was Arisa because she was funny. This season she was really toned down and I thought that was really disappointing. Not to say that Arisa was totally revamped and changed her character, she still retains what Arisa being Arisa is but to a much lesser degree. Sometimes she still cracks sarcasm but it wasn’t on the same level that appealed to me like she did in the first season. Kasumi isn’t as annoying as she was in the first season but still annoying nevertheless. She is still going at her own pace with her happy go lucky demeanour. Saaya and Rimi feel insignificant that they don’t matter but because they are part of Poppin’ Party, they do. Remember, their origin story was already told in the first season so whatever issues they have then are already ‘solved’. That’s why Tae is now in the spotlight and they don’t have any problems that would have us focus on them. I wonder if Tae who isn’t in the same class with the rest for the new term served as a foretelling for this issue. You know, a band is supposedly strong when you do everything together. Everything!

Although the other girl bands were given their episode of prominence, they still feel pretty insignificant and I still can’t remember their names. Yes, they are around to help each other but when it comes down to really getting to know them, something that would make you want to care for them, I don’t see there is any reason for me to support them. After all, Poppin’ Party is the star of this series so perhaps they don’t want to take away that limelight from them. So generally the other band girls follow their own theme that makes them ‘unique’. Like Hello Happy World with their marching band outfits but their songs are so lively and exuberant, you wonder if they are high on drugs on each performance. Really. Roselia’s trademark is being dark and gothic, Pastel Palettes are like colourful sunshine magical girls the musical version and Afterglow feels like street musicians.

One very underrated character is Rokka. I was under the assumption that she would play a big part in this season but as far as I can see, she is just a minor character. Sometimes I think she is just a red herring considering she just became a worker at Galaxy and somewhat an ardent supporter of Poppin’ Party. Not sure if this is her running joke that she wants to form a band but couldn’t manage to do so and hence her awesome guitar skills lying dormant and going to waste every second a band doesn’t scout her for her talents. Like I said earlier, I thought she was going to be Tae’s replacement but I guess fans would prefer the original Poppin’ Party. Maybe in the next season Rokka would play a more significant role. For now, she is just doing fine with her part time job at Galaxy. Hang in there.

This season’s supposed ‘antagonist’, Chuchu. Probably a character everyone loves to hate because of her very obnoxious sounding manner. Yes, she sounds annoying and tries to sound big and important as she mixes English words in her sentences. Wow. So trendy. You understand? Capisce. Okay. Because she has big ambitions and wants to achieve them quickly, it makes her look very pushy and demanding. Maybe this is the part that all of us misunderstood about her. It is hard not to try and look at her this way since it only enhances her bratty behaviour. You know, a young girl who claims to be a genius producer and then being so in your face, are you going to take all that? She is also arrogant thinking her music is the best in the world. The problem with that thinking is that she doesn’t see the point of view from others. Yes, we understand you believe your works are the best. But not necessarily everyone out there agrees. That is why Yukina and Tae rejected her. That inability to accept that reality mostly had Chuchu fuming and frustrated. And add more English words to the mix. Why? What? How? Unbelievable! F*CK!!! ;p.

RAS might be making waves in this series’ setting and it makes me wonder if the main girl bands here are living in a world of their own. Unfair of me to say this since obviously the focus is on Poppin’ Party and the other bands. They have their own followers and fans but with RAS taking the girl band world by storm and revolutionizing the industry, I just wonder if these girl bands here will they continue to stay the same or change and adapt to the new music scene. Eventually it will be a tough call to make because it all boils down to remembering their original goal when the band was formed. Will they be able to still achieve that dream if they have changed? After all, if nobody listens to their music, being part of a band is somewhat redundant, right? Unless they enjoy playing together themselves but I think that defeats the purpose.

As I researched RAS (read: Lazy Google research), I found out they are a real band although they were created as backup bands as some of the seiyuus in some of the girl bands are unable to play their character’s instrument. So who is the guitarist of RAS if it is not Tae? It’s the one behind Rokka! I never really thought of it until now but perhaps next season they could scout her and make her part of their team. And then Chuchu can brag about this blessing of being rejected because now she’s got a real awesome guitarist. But still, genius producer or not, you’re still an annoying self-centred brat.

And the rest of RAS, I wonder if they are the best of the best as Chuchu claims to have scouted. If you asked me, they are a bunch of ragtags formed together only by chance. After all, if they were this good, how come they weren’t scouted before? I mean, it is the age of girl bands in this anime, right? How the f*ck did Chuchu scout them anyway? For them to accept Chuchu’s invitation, they must be making the biggest gamble in their life to entrust her. Furthermore, RAS is the only band who is not made up of high school girls. This gives the impression they have more practice and exposure. But as I have said, they are a bunch of talented ragtags. Rei has been bumming around here and there doing part time jobs, Masking is a delinquent (probably beating up others, made her good at drumming – just a theory!) and Pareo whose rainbow dye hairstyle makes her head look like some Neapolitan ice cream feels like a lapdog to Chuchu because she does everything to please her. Even if it means being the object to take out her frustrations because you don’t want to attract the authorities’ attention by vandalizing a safety cone, do you? Do you see how weird these band members are? On second thought, that weirdness makes them look interesting than the other girl bands…

Music is supposedly the star of this series but just like last season, they still don’t resonate with me. Not to say that I don’t like their brand of songs but they didn’t sound catchy enough to retain my attention. So we have Poppin’ Party’s brand of happy rock music in Kizuna Music (opening theme) as well as Jumpin (ending theme). But sometimes Poppin’ Party don’t hog this section because we need to show why Roselia is the best among the bands featured here. They do not stray from their dark gothic rock style as they sing Brave Jewel as the opener and Safe And Sound as the ending theme.

One of the very obvious difference when watching this season is the fact that the entire series is now CGI! Woah. Why?! Hence the character looks slightly different but still maintain their recognizable features. Unfortunately the CGI effects make the characters’ movement feel stiff and one kind. Not to say that it is bad, but it really feels weird seeing the characters that we were introduced in the first season as traditional 2D characters to suddenly now become 3D render models. But the CGI might be a little appeasing during performances because this generation has gotten used to performances like Hatsune Miku so it’s no big deal. The big change in visuals might be due to the fact that the anime studio was changed from Xebec and Issen to Sanzigen who did Black Rock Shooter, another music based series back in 2012. I hope they do better the next season.

Overall, I still find this season boring and unimpressive. Chuchu being an annoying pushy brat trying to steal scout Tae was supposed to be some big drama but eventually the band that plays together, sticks together continues to prove true. But I’ll stick around for the third to see if there would be any shocking twists and revelations that would make me change my mind or perhaps a final closure on the series. But I doubt the latter will happen any time so soon since there are quite a number of fans of this series who really like the show, its directions, its music, its growth of its characters, etc. Makes me feel like I’m the only odd one standing against it all… You all gonna hate me for not liking this bunch of cuties? Wait till you see my awesome power chords and riffing! I’ll show you! Oh sh*t, I still flub my lines of Jim Croce’s Time In A Bottle for the umpteenth time…

ClassicaLoid S2

June 23, 2018

If the first season of classical composers in their shenanigans and antics weren’t enough for you. Behold! ClassicaLoid S2 brings more of that to the table. It’s like a 2 hour symphony wasn’t long enough and there you go hear another symphony that is equally long. I guess some people love hearing dead composers’ music but you won’t see those here playing theirs for hours. The last season had that far-fetched twist using aliens. I wonder if they are going to surprise us with angels and demons now. Oh, guess not…

Episode 1
The usual damning antics of the Otowakan residents that once again pisses off Kanae. Time to put down her feet again. It is interrupted when a young boy named Wataru and his pet pygmy hippo, Dovo are at her doorstep. Wataru claims he is her little brother and there is a letter from her mom to ascertain he is. This is all too much for Kanae to digest so sad Wataru doesn’t want to bother her and return to the institution that he was just released from. Kanae can’t let him be so she takes Wataru in. Oh, he hands her his allowance he saved up as advanced rent payment. Woah! Stacks of money! Welcome my little brother! Kanae introduces him to the rest of the tenants as well as the rooms of Otowakan. I suppose as the landlady, she has to power to kick out Beethoven from his room to give it to Wataru. Oh, Dovo wants his own room too so she kicks out Mozart from his. Got a problem? Well, pay your rent first then talk. The duo now share a small room together and Kanae continues to treat Wataru well that is so obvious that it is irking the rest. And what’s this staring showdown between Dovo and Hasshie? Naturally Beethoven and Mozart continue to b*tch to Wataru about their unfair treatment so Wataru tells them off they only share names of famous composers but have not accomplished anything special in particular. Later as the rest go about their own thing, we see Wataru mocking them and causing a little mischief on them. Liszt is suspicious and knows Wataru is not all that he seems to be. Beethoven’s gyoza machine malfunctions from the mischief. He gets so mad that he unleashes his Musik. But Wataru isn’t surprised. In fact, he have seen this sort of thing before. Because Dovo can also do the same. With that, Dovo does his Musik and becomes a conductor of his hippo train and taking them all on a galaxy railways ride? So the soul of music was born in Africa? Returning to reality, Wataru further explains Dovo used to put up such performances for him. The rest are stumped because they thought only ClassicaLoids can do this. He questions them if they think they are the only ClassicaLoids around. Back in his room, it seems Wataru reveals a little more about himself. Dovo isn’t actually a hippo and Wataru’s real name is Richard Wagner. There is some revolution he is planning.

Episode 2
More b*tching from losers Beethoven and Mozart the continued super treatment of Wataru over them. Do they have to be reminded about their rental payments? Wataru continues to mock Beethoven as unworthy of that composer’s name, making that guy throwing a tantrum like a kid. Beethoven then wants a showdown over the room but Wataru disagrees. He will not end up in some kiddie contest. But when Beethoven calls him a botched gyoza, this seems to hit Wataru’s nerve. He hates being called that and accepts Beethoven’s challenge! With Kanae as the referee, I think I know the outcome. Because the ‘contest’ she has them go through looks like house chores. Like the first one is painting the walls. Whoever finishes first wins. Both sides have help. Wataru flatters his teammates to motivate them to work but Liszt is not amused. She is only playing along so she can expose his true colours. Wataru finishes first and wins. Beethoven is not satisfied and wants another round. This time they clean the pathway. For once, Beethoven uses his flame thrower for good. Use what?! Actually he modified it into a super jet spray and cleans the entire path in no time. It’s his win. For the final contest, they are to buy stuffs for dinner. Easy, right? Only, Beethoven has more items on his list! Unfair? He is an adult so it should be tougher for him. Before he could even begin, Wataru has already finished. Almost resigning to his fate, it seems the other ClassicaLoids have helped out so the odds are now even. It is a race back to Otowakan as they try to shove and outdo each other. In the final stretch, Beethoven pushes Wataru aside and although he might have won, Wataru’s eggs broke. He starts crying. But Beethoven can see through his act that he is crying crocodile tears for Kanae’s sympathy. This angers Beethoven as he unleashes his Musik. It was a piece that Wagner was impressed of. With all the shiny gold coins, Wataru is touched by this Musik. So much so he cries and runs away? At the park, Wataru understands his significance being born as a ClassicaLoid. He will surpass Beethoven in this new world as his revolution. He returns home and looks like the contest is a draw so it is status quo for everyone.

Episode 3
Mozart holds a single’s party. Those involved are Sousuke, Chopin, Dovo and Kanae’s friends, Eiko, Biiko, Shiko and… Uzuki. Man, I thought she was going to be Diiko but then it would have sounded so wrong. Mozart starts off playing the king’s game. Something feels wrong because Mozart ends up always as the king. When Uzuki is made to kiss Wataru whom she mistakes as that hippo, she tries to make it look like an accident and wiggle her way out but accidentally bumps into the real Wataru who is hiding underneath the blankets. Love at first sight for her? Mozart teases Wataru he wanted to attend this. Flashback shows Kanae’s friends minus Uzuki visiting their favourite Mozart. They are introduced to Wataru for the first time. Mozart teased him for not being good with girls since he is blushing and all. Sousuke suggested a single’s party and Mozart threw a challenge if he could manage to let Wataru get a girlfriend, he’ll get his room back. Of course Wataru didn’t want to attend. So why is he here? It’s his room. Uzuki discovers Mozart has been cheating during the king’s game and vows to bring order and reform this party as the new organizer. Her passionate speech of revolution awes Wataru. So being the fair organizer, Uzuki tries to be considerate to Wataru so he is not left out. Mozart feels his plans are in shambles so he goes to gather other ClassicaLoids to ‘revolt’. Yeah, I guess Liszt wants in on this game of love. So this party goes out of control with Tchaikovsky acting like an old drunk man, Sousuke trying to obviously hit on Bada (fail as usual), Beethoven trying to play his guitar over his supped up amplifier (fail as usual), Chopin ditching the party, Dovo and Hasshie enter a food tussle. Uzuki tries to protect Wataru from all the chaos. Kanae returns and hears the commotion. She takes Wataru away and forces the rest to clean up. With everyone deserting and leaving it to Mozart, he can’t let it end this way and unleashes his Musik to bring love to everyone. Wataru can’t leave Uzuki alone so he goes to tell her how impressed he was with her revolution. She gives him hope he too will get his own revolution when he is older. In the aftermath, Mozart teases Wataru for kissing Uzuki. He didn’t do it but it seems everyone else does.

Episode 4
Kanae’s friends love Dovo and take pictures of him. It seems there are rumours circulating if you do so, you will be blessed. Sousuke gets pretty jealous since the hippo is a hit but not as jealous as Chopin. Flashback reveals Dovo sometimes go into Chopin’s room to sleep. However Dovo noticed Chopin always hiding in his closet so he minded his business and left a note apologizing for the intrusion and that he only came here because it is quiet. It was then Chopin realized Dovo was always being noisily surrounded by the other pesky ClassicaLoids. He understands how it feels. With Sousuke uploading and spreading false rumours about Dovo’s good luck, soon more people throng Otowakan. Well, they bring lots of goodies and offerings too. I guess it is better than shooing them away and telling Dovo isn’t a real god. Chopin thinks of saving Dovo by trolling on the internet but it only serves to backfire. Each time Chopin tries to do something of that matter, it only serves to enhance Dovo’s reputation and craze. Yeah, it got to a point he gets interviewed on TV, doing recordings and a festival celebration in his name! Chopin goes as far on a pilgrimage to stop this madness but I guess his god isn’t that strong. We hear Dovo narrate that he has the rationality of a human being but stuck inside a hippo’s body. Therefore at times he cannot help find himself drawn to do hippo things. To calm himself over this, he meditates. Uhm, doesn’t he look like napping? Anyway before he knows it, he is already a god in the middle of this Dovo craze. Yeah, it’s basically like a cult worshipping him. Dovo notices Chopin staring at him. Suddenly Dovo has breathing difficulties. The rest think Dovo has gone wild and start whatever shenanigans. Chopin unleashes his Musik to save Dovo from falling off his seat and turns everyone into dogs for a taste of their own medicine on what it’s like not being able to convey what one wants to say. When Chopin talks to Dovo, the latter is grateful he is concerned about him. But then begins his hippo lecture on Chopin’s bad habits and how he should fix it. Not the kind of talk Chopin was expecting… Soon, the Dovo craze dies down like as though it never happened. Now Chopin has this animosity each time he sees Dovo.

Episode 5
Kanae tells Wagner a story of the legend of the local lake. Yeah, it makes him emotional to realize how lucky he has a sister. Time for some emotional feels. Sibling hug! Only to be ruined by annoying ClassicaLoid jerks. Kanae has had it and kicks them out. But since they are still fooling around, she threatens to leave. Yeah, they don’t even care! And now Sousuke is having this reggae craze. Ya man! Life is beautiful! Kanae has no time for this crap. Apparently this craze is hitting the world. A man known as The Great has been going around unleashing his reggae songs for world peace! All wars and conflicts end instantly! And now he is back in Japan as all citizens affected by his music is now happy and in peace. Ya man! Life is beautiful. Only ClassicaLoids are not affected. If your observation is great, you would know The Great turns out to be Schubert. He returns to Otowakan and too bad Beethoven almost doesn’t remember him. To understand why he was ‘missing’ for many episodes, he narrates after that hippo express, he got depressed and left Otowakan. But a giant kite suddenly swoosh him away all over the world before dropping him in Jamaica. There he found reggae and his calling. His story is taking too long so he is interrupted that they need to return Kanae and Sousuke back to normal. Wagner doesn’t want to as he has never seen his sister this happy. This prompts an argument between them so Schubert decides to unleash his Musik, reggae style. But Beethoven is not amused and unleashes his Musik and giant emperor penguin to fight him. Schubert’s Musik absorbs it and becomes larger. However he is reduced to tears when Wagner admonishes him about his music style and the lack of self-identity. Even more disheartening for him when Beethoven adds to all that. With that, Schubert returns to normal and the happy reggae effect wears off. The craze is over and everyone returns to normal. This means Kanae continue to be pissed with the ClassicaLoids as usual. But the best news is Schubert returning to his old classical identity and has vowed to stay by Beethoven’s side forever since he opened his eyes. Too bad he doesn’t need his help in making gyoza.

Episode 6
The ClassicaLoids decide to play an elaborate prank on Wataru. But a strange lady arrives at Otowakan and misses all the traps in good timing. The ClassicaLoids wonder if their traps didn’t work and test it out but got pranked themselves instead. When Kanae returns, she is surprised to see this lady, Himeka is her mom! She tries to seek answers about her sudden departure long ago and never called so Himeka explains the trip around the world to get some sort of ingredients. Oh, she’s got lots of presents for Kanae too. Forgiven? Not yet. Kanae tries to talk about Wataru, the brother she never knew she had but the topic was promptly evaded. Meanwhile Wataru assimilates as Boy Wonder wannabe and Dovo as a rhino. Flashback shows they lived a poor and abusive life as a bellboy in some hotel. When he saw Himeka staying, he quickly ran back to her. Himeka also tells this story to Kanae but is glad she isn’t lonely. On the contrary, she has had it with this freeloaders. Speaking of the debt, Himeka shows her entire suitcase of cash! No, they’re not illegal. When she is short of funds, she went gambling and betting. Wow. She must be one hell of a lucky woman! With this much money, she decides to treat them all for lunch! Hooray for mom! We return to Wataru and Dovo as they wreak havoc and storm into Arkhe to confront Bach. Wataru offers himself to be a producer and lets him hear his composition. I guess Bach didn’t like him and rejects. This makes Wataru throw a tantrum and believes Bach also considers him a botched. Wataru unleashes his Musik but soon tires out. Security is about to throw him out but Bach changes his mind. Meanwhile Himeka treats everyone to expensive Shanghai crabs! Then she has to ‘ruin’ it by asking Kanae which guy she likes. Nobody is impressed. Not even the guys. Back to more crabs, anyone? Himeka gets a call from some random stranger pleading for help so she deposits all her money into that given account. Oh no. Broke. How to pay the bill. Wash the dishes! Don’t break any or you’ll have to compensate. Too late. But how come Himeka and Liszt are exempted from the work? Bach appoints Wataru as the company’s new executive producer and is given his own luxury office suite. He returns to Otowakan and is delighted to see his mom. Family reunion is interrupted when Mozart plays a prank with Dovo’s fake rhino horn by using it as his penis cover.

Episode 7
Himeka is worried about her daughter if she’ll find a husband. So she teams up with Liszt to see which of the potential guys in Otowakan could be it. While Himeka sees them in a positive light, Liszt knows them better and makes her see their drawbacks. Then it turns to fixing their shortcomings but this ends up causing more trouble for them. Eventually they hear what the plan is about so a nicely timed Kanae returning home is confused when the guys apologize and reject her outright! It is also bad because it shows she got rejected by 5 guys in a row! I guess that says a lot about her popularity with guys. Back to the drawing board for our loving women. Liszt wonders they should start looking elsewhere but Himeka insists it has to be one from Otowakan since Kanae met them all here. So now they convince the guys whoever marries Kanae will become the master of this place. This means free rent or high speed internet or just simply having Musik implanted (that’s for you Sousuke). Now they’re all gunning for her! Using the funds she won from the bet, they quickly renovate the home into some shifting labyrinth, I bet we’ll never get that kind of construction service that completed everything in half a day! Kanae is confused by the layout but it is to see which guy she bumps into as they play out their cheesy proposal. I guess mostly are no good. At this point Kanae thinks her time to be a hit with guys is here. Might as well go all the way because she would prefer her own prince charming. Yeah, don’t want these bunch of losers. The guys aren’t giving up and it got so intense that all of them start unleashing their Musik. Even Liszt wants in on this game of love! But all comes crashing down when Kanae finds out their ulterior motive to marry. You better run! In the aftermath, Kanae wonders why mom wanted her to get married so fast. She believes the sooner she experiences happiness, the better. I guess she is saying from experience with Kyougo. Kanae assures her she will find her own soul mate when the time is right. So please stop using this search like as though it is a game.

Episode 8
Everyone has had it with Mozart. They are planning to stop him from lying and making empty promises. So they tell him if a ClassicaLoid lies, he will turn into a hippo! Look at Dovo! Not buying. That night, Beethoven promises he won’t grind his teeth while he sleeps but he did just that. Next morning, Mozart is shocked to find he has become a hippo! This is actually Dovo in disguise and everyone has a hand in it. Except Schubert. Nobody told him. No wonder his ‘acting’ is so convincing. This convinces Mozart to not lie anymore. And the only way is to turn his lies into truth! This means that a young girl, Mari Mihara whom he told and promised to marry earlier on, he introduces her to the rest of his gang. Not a joke. It seems she too likes him and wants to stay here. Himeka has even talked to her mom to give the approval for her stay! I don’t know how she managed to convince her mom to allow this seeing ironically Himeka is one who abandoned Kanae for many years. Mari tries to be helpful since she will be Mozart’s future wife. Does Kanae love the ring of being called a big sister? Meanwhile Schubert is sad he still cannot understand Beethoven and thinks of becoming a hippo like him. Mari then stumbles into the real Beethoven camping behind Otowakan. He gives her gyoza. Presenting this to Kanae, she lies that is a gyoza fairy! Mari’s mom comes by to take her back since they are moving tomorrow. This is when Schubert thinks this is a good time to lie and says this hippo is Mari! Not buying. Mari throws a tantrum that everyone is a liar. She relates her friends promised to keep in touch when she moved but they never did. Mozart believes his feelings then are still true. Unleashing his Musik, in the past Mozart too asked a girl to marry him. That girl was Marie Antoinette. Mozart and Mari have their own mock wedding. Even if it all feels strange, as long as Mari is happy, everything is okay. Mari returns home as they vow not to forget each other. Then the rest come clean about the lie… Meanwhile Schubert is awaiting the moment he will turn into a hippo. Then Beethoven waltzes right back in and teases him with fake hippo noises… The biggest fool ever…

Episode 9
It seems Beethoven is being hit by an inspiration of anything round. But shortly after that, everything that is round starts to go missing from Otowakan. After everyone accuses everyone, they realize the only culprit left to show himself is Chopin. True enough, they find his room with all the round stuffs. As they try to understand why he did so, Chopin grows more and more uneasy until he unleashes his Musik that rains on everyone inside the mansion. After being scolded to stop, it seems only Beethoven still has a rain cloud over him. Chopin will not answer when Beethoven demands and keeps on playing. And so Beethoven lives the rest of his days like this? But it is going to get worse because now he sees all round things as squares! It gets worse when now everything looks so blocky. Minecraft? Schubert tries to talk to Chopin but it seems this only agitates him as he unleashes an even bigger Musik. Oh great. More rain. Himeka then comes by to give them croissants. Surprisingly Beethoven can see its original shape. Then he realizes the croissant looks like a crescent. A moon. That’s it. The moon! Beethoven unleashes his Musik to overwrite Chopin. It is revealed that one of Chopin’s pieces resembles closely to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. Because of that, he is often accused of ripping off this piece (Chopin saw this rife on the internet). Schubert and Beethoven admonish him about being ashamed of that because great pieces sometimes sound alike. Don’t care what others say and the most important thing is how much the piece resonates in the heart of the listener. As long as you put your soul into it, their pieces will transcend space and time for eternity. Things return to normal but Schubert catches Chopin trolling everyone on the internet that he is better than Beethoven. Have some shame!

Episode 10
Aoi Risuto just opened a piano school. He is such a handsome guys that all girls would swoon at the sight of him. However Liszt is against of him doing this. As their name is almost similar, she believes it is misrepresenting her name. Either change your name or get out! And so a piano duel is set to see who the real Liszt is. Well, Liszt lost. What’s this? Being drunk at a roadside stall? She is found by Beethoven and brought home. Everyone is worried why she got so worked up. Flashbacks shows Liszt was a great pianist and everywhere he went, the ladies loved him. It made him cocky. Until he met Carolyne that he truly felt what love is. Unfortunately her father did not approve of it. It was then Liszt realized he had nothing capable of persuading anyone else. All he had was youth and beauty. So now Liszt is doing power training and has ordered a grand piano? Do you need such workout for the piano? Okay. She’s the expert. Her aim is to have a rematch with Risuto and at this time the entire town knows. It is thanks to Arkhe promoting this duel. Wataru is the mastermind as his goal is to humiliate Liszt. However Risuto is so popular with all the girls. How will Liszt get enough supporters? Sousuke and Chopin troll over the internet for the single lonely guys. Yup, they are on Liszt’s side. Come the day of the duel, Risuto goes first and plays Libestraume. Good and as perfect as the real deal. When it is Liszt turn, why is she dressed in her gym clothes? Oh my. She is buffed up! She explains how she drew inspiration from a violinist named Niccolo Paganini and hence the piece she will playing is La Campanella. It is so good that everyone starts crying! Even Risuto. But when the piece gets intense, she smashes and breaks the piano! Don’t worry. There’s a spare. But she breaks that too! No more spares left. With the audience still enthralled with Liszt, Risuto shows his ugly side that it is impossible as she didn’t finish her piece. Liszt then lectures him about earthly desires, she unleashes her Musik to box bells and wake up his heart? In the end, everyone is captivated with Liszt’s performance and Risuto loses all his hair?! Liszt now works at the piano school with Risuto as they also teach the many forms of love. Yup, money is love. This is a safe bet to repay her piano loan. Oh yeah, all you need is love, the most important thing of all.

Episode 11
Wataru has taken over Bach’s producer post for Claskey Klasky. But with the duo gaining popularity as comedians for old people in the rural areas and Mitsuru never answering his calls, this is not the revolution he is seeking for. He thinks he has found a way by dressing up as Bach and talking like him. Too bad they don’t understand and still don’t like him. Wataru changes their schedule to work in a salty ramen shop. They don’t want to do it at first but a pre-recorded clip of the real Bach made them do so. It seems the owner is quite condescending. With only a salty ramen on the menu, he has a strict specific way for his customers to eat his ramen! This is part of Wataru’s plan to make them be cocky and look down on customers so they could aim for the top again. Thinking this is part of the protocol, the duo also become condescending. But the next customers are those ClassicaLoids! Since they are picky, they get kicked out. A couple of festival committee members enter and since they are quite nice people, Claskey Klasky return to their kind ways. So Wataru cancels whatever festival they will have with them and will have them put up a new performance. Wataru unleashes a reborn Claskey Klasky. In military police outfit, they act condescending on stage and are now known as Salty Klasky. It looks like the crowd love it. But with the schedule getting stricter, the duo run away and take refuge at Otowakan. Too bad the place is in crisis because of inadequate gyoza pieces. This has the duo telling everyone off, surprising them. They then realize their bad behaviour and regret it. However everyone gives their gyoza share to them as they feel like eating salty ramen. They impress the owner by eating in the exact protocol order. No talking and giving exact change as well. With the owner talking about this perfect attitude and how everyone can get along and become one with the salty ramen, the duo now realize this is what they’re supposed to aim for. So in their next concert, after their typical idol one, they turn into the condescending Salty Klasky and tell the audience how to watch their performance. Everyone comes together as one, loving it all. Wataru believes he has surpassed Bach and usurps the show with his own appearance. Wataru’s achievement hits front page while Claskey Klasky is reduced to something minor. They run away again to Otowakan but are quickly found. Back to work…

Episode 12
Wataru is trying to have the executives abandon Bach and jump ship to his side. Bach just discovered Wagner and Dvorak as the hidden ClassicaLoids. He summons Mitsuru to explain why she never told him. She never considered them worthy for the Octovas. One being a hippo and the other having a fatal flaw that he cannot perform Musik. Flashback shows Wagner and Dvorak waking up shortly after other ClassicaLoids. They were put in a room and overheard Mitsuru talking about Wagner being botched. It became his taboo word. He wanted to see Kyougo but he had left. So the duo also left and travelled the world, vowing to teach those who called him botched a lesson. His resolve was strengthened during the incident where everybody turned into Bach. Bach summons Wataru and knows his identity. He has Dovo unleash his Musik but is quickly put down. Bach shows who is boss with his Musik. Wataru is so upset he cannot use Musik that well, his will suddenly activates his Musik. It is much more superior than Bach and he is sent packing. It seems Wataru stole Bach’s Musik and without one, he is forced to leave Arkhe. Tchaikovsky and Bada aren’t too pleased and they want to follow him but Bach tells them to stay put and keep a watch on that kid. But soon all Salty Klasky’s activities are put on hiatus and Mitsuru is ordered to become his manager. Tchaikovsky and Bada are salty that they have been used as a stepping stone for his revolution. Even more so when Wataru introduces a new super idol: Himself. He is known as World Amazing Galaxy Never Ending Revolution AKA Wagner. With Wagner hitting the waves, I guess the Otowakan people final take notice. Amidst the confusion seeing Wataru on stage, Claskey Klasky duo waltz into Otowakan, making the others think they have been fired by Bach. More shock when Wataru and Dovo show up in the flesh to reveal the truth. Is Himeka relieved that now it is confirmed the reason why she couldn’t remember giving birth to him? Yeah… It seems Wataru’s plan is to meet Kyougo whom he regards as his true father as well as bringing a revolution that Octavas failed to achieve. He thanks Kanae for the hospitality as he will now be staying at the office. Why is Beethoven so happy? He gets to have his room back.

Episode 13
This series is so random that even with this random year-end special makes no difference. Yeah, Kyougo even points this out. Anyway, this so called Musik contest festival also works as somewhat as a recap because each of the ClassicaLoids get up on stage to perform one of their Musik pieces. While most of the clips are of this season, a few are from the first. Starting off with the talentless Sousuke and his soul zapping death music, even Bach, Wagner and Dovo have their chance to strut their stuffs. In the end, nobody wins because Beethoven claims there is no winning or losing in music. No enemies or allies. Just enjoy yourself and sing along!

Episode 14
As Wagner becomes more arrogant to the point of snubbing Claskey Klasky, Dovo feels bad for them. Since he is unrepentant, Dovo leaves Arkhe and lives at Otowakan. While other ClassicaLoids feel for him (thanks to Pad-kun for translating hippo language) and welcome him, Claskey Klasky remain doubtful if he is a spy. Sousuke comes up with an idea since the duo are no longer idols, they are free to date. Yeah, he nominates himself to date Bada. But she agrees?! As revenge for her idol career cut short, she is going to live a normal life. And so happy Sousuke begins his date with Bada. However we tend to notice Bada is just angry, mad and unsatisfied at everything while Sousuke tries hard to please and not offend her. This is going to be tough. As Dovo feels sad for being treated as a hippo (not to say he is mistreated but being treated as a hippo than a human does have its significance), he decides to take on Pad-kun (who is feeling the blues too after Sousuke ditched him) to go on a soul searching trip. Meanwhile bad luck befalls on Beethoven and Schubert as the former is blown away by the kite and the latter drift away in the seas. Sousuke realizes it is hell when Tchaikovsky and Bada start arguing about the situation they’re in. Dovo thought he saw Kyougo and abandons Pad-kun in the train (left to the devices of naughty kids who play Space Invaders on him?!). Too bad it is the wrong person. Dovo yearns for home so he unleashes his Musik to collect the lost ClassicaLoids back to Otowakan. Dovo as the kind train conductor has stolen Bada’s heart. In the aftermath, Claskey Klasky decides to try again from scratch as an indie. Dovo is more appreciative of the hippo home Kanae made for him.

Episode 15
After seeing a sumo match of TV, Himeka gets this idea to hold their very own sumo tournament. Even with all the food prizes, the guys don’t want to join. Until Himeka says this to bring Wataru down a notch. With the guys getting into training, Kanae is tasked to bring Wataru. At least he still has the decency to come see his family but not too sure about wanting to participate in this sumo fest. The guys force him in and his nervousness is banished until their sumo opponents from the international stable come to see and mock them. It hits Wataru’s nerve when they judge his scrawny size as botched and easy victory. Taboo word. You bet he is going to join and take them down! The first order of the sumo is to eat like hell and they grow really fat. As they continue training, Chopin sprained his muscles so he quit and becomes the referee. As for Dovo, because you cannot touch the grounds of the sumo ring with anything except your feet, he is disqualified. Uhm, isn’t a hippo technically has all 4 feet? On the day of the tournament, the Otowakan side manage to reach the finals to face off with their international opponents. Dovo returns and shows his adamant side that he can do it. By becoming bipedal? Whatever. It works. He replaces Sousuke who lost to him. In the finals, Beethoven and Dovo win their matches while Mozart and Schubert loses. It boils down to Wataru. The final match is drawing out that they need to take a break. Wataru seems to make a breakthrough with his revolution throw but eventually he loses because his face falls to the ground first. While the loss is disappointing, Himeka is happy with the outcome. She noticed he is lonely since becoming an idol and thought if he was with everyone in Otowakan, he would be more lively and boisterous. It worked because they’re like bonded brothers now. Kanae realizes if Himeka sponsored the prizes, she should have just bought them all for her. Sorry, spent it all and now she’s out of money.

Episode 16
Beethoven and Sousuke are at the music hall. The former impressed with the orchestra playing his symphony that his aura causes an explosion?! Though the hall is destroyed, nobody died. But back at Otowakan, Beethoven is acting strange. He is imitating Mozart! He is also retarded like as though he is a baby. The rest don’t give much thought and believe he’ll be back to normal tomorrow. Unfortunately it has gotten worse. Schubert decides to raise him up properly but Mozart is trying to teach him bad things. Schubert realizes this is the closest he could get with his senpai and is in a dilemma if he would return back to normal. While Schubert demonstrates playing the melodian on the rooftop, Beethoven unleashes a beam of his Musik. He hints that he is calling for home in the sky. Schubert deduces from his gestures that by tomorrow’s sunset he will be picked up at the summit. When the rest hears about this, it brings back some memories of that alien encounter last season. Suddenly the police barge in as they believe the person behind the hall’s bombing is here. Thanks to Sousuke putting up a selfie. Mozart distracts the police with his Musik as Schubert gets Beethoven out of here and to the summit. Peddle power can only do so much and with the police cars chasing behind, Beethoven unleashes his Musik to turn the bicycle into a mecha. ET reference flying across the moon? At the summit, an alien spaceship appears. During last season’s alien invasion, one of them fell and got lost. Spotting Beethoven as someone familiar, it possessed him and hence the explosion. Now it is going home. The alien, that is. Schubert misinterprets this is Beethoven as an alien race coming to Earth to give his music and is now going home after believing the world has enough of music. Schubert wants to come along! Beethoven reverts to normal but still believes he is at the hall. Back to normal. Meanwhile Schubert is on the spaceship. Oh no. Experiment time? A few days later, he returns as a hi-tech robot. Despite his super technological displays, everyone believes he is still the old Schubert and might just be into aliens now.

Episode 17
Western spaghetti! Welcome to WesternLoid! Beethoven and Mozart just defeated Sousuke and hang him on a tree. Liszt arrives in town where Schubert awaits her. The lore goes down that Kanae as the owner of Otowakan recently has vacancies in her room after Wataru and Dovo left. Tchaikovsky and Bada wandered into town and she took them in. But Beethoven and Mozart are planning to usurp them and take their rooms. Hence the duo confront the ladies while Schubert is tasked to stave off Liszt but loses. It seems the showdown called ClassicaDON isn’t a gun fight. It is a quiz to guess correctly what piece they are playing. Nobody wants to fight with Bada since she only has 1 bullet (reference to her one hit wonder). Even if she tries to steal Tchaikovsky’s gun, she won’t be able to add to her list. And so heartbroken Bada has to sit out of this. Beethoven and Mozart argue among themselves to fight with Tchaikovsky so she dares them to team up against her. But she might regret it because between them they have 13 bullets compared to only 2 she has. Just in time for Liszt to show up to aid her with her 3 bullets. She is a sheriff who is after Beethoven and Mozart as wanted criminals. Liszt draws with the guys. Tchaikovsky intervenes and they thought they could confidently guess her songs. Although Beethoven gets it right, Mozart gets it wrong. It seems Bada secretly snuck into her fight and played her song. With Mozart’s loss, this only improves Beethoven’s plan as to kick all of them out since he plans to take over Otowakan by himself. However he is usurp by Chopin in a sneak attack. Chopin now will take over Otowakan for himself as he needs a place to be a free shut-in. He transforms Otowakan into a giant stagecoach and rides away. Liszt tries to catch up but with Dovo’s train help, Liszt is able to face off with him. Chopin is confident of the bullets she has left but he got it wrong. Even though she used that bullet against Schubert, she has a secret fourth one. With that, Otowakan is destroyed. Uhm, happy ending? Liszt rides into the sunset. Turns out it is one big fantasy of Liszt and her Musik after she watched a western movie.

Episode 18
Wataru arrives at Otowakan with all the ClassicaLoids welcoming him! Best of all, Kyougo hugging his best ClassicaLoid and son. Good news: This isn’t a dream. Bad news: This is a story he is writing! It sucks… So when he visits, nobody gives a sh*t as they’re all doing their own stuffs. Even Kanae says hi for a while before leaving to buy errands. Hence he goes back to order Mitsuru to do aggressive promotions. Yeah, Wagner’s name is on almost every brand. So will this give him the reverence and love he dreams? Nope. Nobody gives a sh*t. Again. So what’s the next aggressive plan? Have his agents to sneak in his product placements everywhere in Otowakan?! I don’t think that loud blasting of his sound is going to help. Yeah, I wonder how long he can write this happy story. Not satisfied, he calls Mitsuru in the middle of the night to organize a concert now! Kanae wants to go but the ClassicaLoids don’t give a f*ck. However all of them are soon kidnapped and forced to watch his concert. Kanae and Himeka get the best seats while the ClassicaLoids are in a cage. Sousuke remains at home since he was taking a dump while the abduction occurred. Wagner performs and wows the crowd. He hopes dad is watching. Too bad he is hitchhiking in some American desert. Wagner sings his new song and stuns the crowd but his family sense he is not the Wataru they know. It gets ridiculous with knights on Pegasus? Then all out of control when they turn into chibi versions with forks and sausages. It causes havoc attacking the crowd. The ClassicaLoids fight back unleashing their Musik to teach him a lesson. At the end of this chaos, the crowd is super thrilled with the great special effects. They are certainly entertained. The ClassicaLoids ended in a draw as Wagner won’t admit defeat. When Kanae wants him to cut it out, he is sad she has taken their side and casts away his family. Dad is the only one he needs. Back at Otowakan, Sousuke is mad for being left out, the ClassicaLoids are mad for that idiotic concern but Kanae is shocked when she gets a call from Himeka. She has left for a journey to find Kyougo.

Episode 19
Schubert and Mozart are stuck in an elevator playing shiritori. Flashback reveals Kanae wanted Mozart to buy some stuffs at the supermarket but he isn’t around. Schubert thinks he can handle it but she is unsure as he has a habit of vanishing once in a while. Schubert takes up the job but bumps into Mozart along the way. He too wants to tag along and during their struggle, his hair gets stuck and entangled with his shirt’s button. They try to go to stores to buy a scissors but all of them are sold out! Apparently Chopin bought them all to cut envelopes of stuffs he bought online. After so many detours, they head up the elevator to a hardware store. However the faulty elevator stopped working. Schubert tries to push buttons to get help and Mozart wants to try too. The struggle causes his hair to be ripped from his shirt but he spilled his orange juice on the buttons. Why is the juice like a glue? It’s still on the buttons… Schubert is left to reminiscent how much he hates Mozart, especially he has been accused of imitating his works. Once they manage to crawl out of the elevator, Mozart’s prank has them get locked inside a locker room. Yeah, this building is breaking down that nobody is bothered to fix anything. Schubert laments how close Mozart is to Beethoven as they call each other by their nicknames. Women start to come in so they hide inside the locker. Then they got busted. There is nowhere to go if they climb out of the ledges. Schubert plans to use his Musik to turn Mozart into a baby and use himself as soft landing. Trying to sacrifice himself? Mozart has a better idea. He will use his Musik to turn them into birds and fly away! The duo have fun flying in the sky until they reach the supermarket. Too bad it is all sold out. Schubert tries to explain himself to Kanae but Mozart makes it worse by ambiguously putting it in a way that makes Schubert looks like he was fooling around. ‘Mad’ Kanae will have Mozart do the errands next time. Just when Schubert thought Mozart was a pretty decent guy, it is back to square one hating him.

Episode 20
Even hippos can get depressed. Dovo wonders why he is the only one not human when he stumbles upon a bottle of pills in Kyougo’s room that could turn him back into one! Seriously? If he could only open the bottle… Cheeky Mozart thinks it is candy and snatches it away to share with the rest. Before you know it, it is all gone. The ClassicaLoids suddenly have a bad case of stomach before turning into… Chibi versions of themselves?! Why do they remind me of Smurfs… Yeah, the faded label on the bottle actually reads to turn back into small humans. Kanae and Sousuke see them in the streets and as they explain, they are pounced by girls who love their cuteness. A talent manager scouts them to become the town’s mascot. They won’t do it at first but quickly accept it when they know they are getting paid. Hence our ChibiLoids are now rising in popularity with so many merchandises under their name! Dovo is called by Wagner and treated nicely. He wants to know the cause of ChibiLoids’ popularity. He claims it is Dovo’s fault and he should take responsibility to turn them back. Dovo searches Kyougo’s room until he finds a bottle of pills that would turn one back into human. However the ChibiLoids think he wants to eat it himself and tricks him into doing so. At first nothing happens but later Dovo starts to transform… Everyone is shocked to find a weird looking old man around. Dovo is now in human form but a paper cut-out?! Nobody believes he is Dovo and despites his best attempt to imitate a hippo, it looks creepy and they kick him out. Even the people on the streets are mocking his strange appearance. He tries to look for Wagner but since he learns the ChibiLoids still remain, he has security throw him out. Thanks for nothing. The ChibiLoids are in an argument who should get the biggest cut of royalties when they suddenly turn back to normal. It must have worn off. They try to find the pills to turn back or kiss goodbye to their popularity. Kanae is the only one worried of Dovo and goes out to find him. But she sees policemen trying to arrest a strange old man. Dovo tries to plead to Kanae for help but she sees him as creepy and scary instead. Dovo is thrown into prison as he laments if he had turned into his train conductor form, they would have loved him. Next morning, the police station is abuzz. They wonder why a hippo is in a cell. Luckily Kanae is here to take him back. Dovo has never felt grateful being a hippo again. Back at Otowakan, they are going to be in shock as the ClassicaLoids are now paper cut-out versions! Since they bug Kanae and ignore Dovo, poor Dovo realizes being a hippo is still bad.

Episode 21
Kanae wonders why everyone in class is laughing at her. It seems there is a popular web manga going around about Otowakan! Everyone is depicted as stupid idiots and Kanae as the devil lady! Of course she is mad. Oh, she is turning into that character. Yeah, even the disclosure says all buildings and characters are real! She knows the one behind this is Chopin despite going under the penname FreFra since he is the hero of the manga. He is now being praised by the manga club members for their club’s revival. Until Kanae comes in… Sh*t is going to hit the fan. So the reason he did this was to take out his frustrations because everyone is always bothering him. He didn’t expect it to be a hit after uploading it. Chopin becomes a different character in front of his disciples. High and mighty, isn’t he? Yeah, now he has loads of fans. Just when he is getting used to all the fame at school, the other ClassicaLoids aren’t too pleased to see this… It gets worse when Chopin begs them to act in character as his disciples are coming over. They don’t really care despite him explaining about hope and all that crap. Till he agrees to do anything for them… The disciples arrive with Chopin as the respected hero and the rest playing their character. Better retrain the anger. I guess there is so much they can take so they stop with the farce and this turns Chopin into his cowardly self. The disciples are disappointed to realize the truth. Chopin knows he can’t end it like this so he tells them that despite everything is fake, the feelings they had were real. He adds his Musik effect to turn them into their ideal heroes. This revitalizes their hope and the manga club goes on to make their own hit manga. The ClassicaLoids are knocking on Chopin’s door and want him to make good on his promise. But he is not in. A letter left behind says not to look for him. Looks like he is travelling and making a new travel blog series.

Episode 22
Claskey Klasky sings in the streets. Only Sousuke and Dovo are watching. It’s like everyone else is deliberately ignoring them. Tempting to blame a certain kid, eh? Mitsuru is here to deliver a pendrive from Bach. It states his journey all over the world to find Kyougo but luck isn’t on his side. However he bumped into Himeka with the same goal and now they’re in Europe shopping? Keep trying. Also in this pendrive is a song he wrote for them. The ClassicaLoids find it the perfect weapon to fight Wagner although Beethoven remains sceptical he sent it to them instead of using it himself to fight Wagner directly. That is hen Claskey Klasky explains about Wagner’s ability to steal Musik. With this hype, only Kanae is worried because she really wants everyone to get along. Claskey Klasky sings again in the streets and with the other ClassicaLoids playing instruments, they start attracting the crowd. Wagner is on a nationwide tour and plans to go on a worldwide one once he is done. However his last nationwide tour did not have all his tickets sold out and when he learns Claskey Klasky is rising in popularity (despite having a sold out hall of only 350 people compared to his 50,000 stadium) and holding their concert on the same day as his, he plans on taking them on. Aggressive marketing can only get you so much and with still unsold seats, he is going to take drastic action. Claskey Klasky is now performing at the hall. So Wagner ditches his own concert to be at theirs? He then unleashes his Musik and the rest follow suit (while live streaming this to his own concert). But this is part of his ploy to steal their Musik. Having all their wands, he believes he is the best and only ClassicaLoid in the world. Cue evil boy laughter. Back at Otowakan, the ClassicaLoids aren’t upset since they were expecting this and was trying to test Wagner’s ability. They’re unfazed that they can’t do Musik anymore. Kanae is the only remaining worried. Her brother has all their powers and they aren’t even bothered. This is the perfect time to ask dad what to do.

Episode 23
Himeka and Bach are at a horse racing event. Oh, that’s Kyougo before them! He lost the bet. Time to get down to serious business. Sousuke seems to have serious issues that the ClassicaLoids have lost their Musik and are unperturbed. He thinks they are like him without Musik but they brush off even without Musik, they have actual musical talent! In your face! You’re still talentless after coming this far! Thus he thinks it is a good idea to defect to Wagner’s side. Wagner is about to leave for his international world tour but is still sad there is no word from dad. Kanae comes to see him and hopes he would come by the house once but he ignores her and reminds she is no longer his sister. Sad. Kyougo and Himeka try to infiltrate Arkhe as hippy musicians? Bach in a weird mascot outfit? Security stops them and with Mitsuru noticing their return, she unleashes her MitsuruLoids in Bach’s image that she secretly developed to stop security and let them through. Bach confronts Wagner and warns his current Musik will bring ruin to the world. Kiddo doesn’t believe him until Kyougo walks in. Tears of joy that he finally reunites with dad. Bach leaves them to settle this because he believes with Kyougo the father, only a father’s love can settle this! Wagner talks with his parents for all that has happened. Till he mentions he stole his Musik from everyone else, Kyougo tells him to stop that. Wagner is shocked to learn that Kyougo is the one who made him botched unable to wield Musik as he stopped it while he was in his capsule. Before Kyougo could explain further, Wagner becomes enraged. He fires his flurry of Musik at them. Bach comes back to stall the kid to allow the others to escape but can only do so much.

Kyougo calls Kanae and she is finally glad she gets to contact him. She tells him about everyone’s Musik being stolen but Kyougo says that is impossible. However, Wagner’s Musik attacks them and makes it impossible to explain further. Before line is cut off, he wants her to bring all the other ClassicaLoids here. Yeah, Arkhe looks like it transformed into some serious evil ominous tower. Sousuke is bragging to the receptionists about his ‘talent’ and gets caught up in it. Kanae begs to the ClassicaLoids to save her family. Except for Claskey Klasky who are going to save Bach, the rest aren’t interested and view this as Kanae’s family problems. But when she reminds them Wagner is like their little brother because they are all made by the same father, they love this idea of them being family and agree to go. Too bad without their Musik, they have to take a bus there. I wonder if the entire town is evacuated, why is there a dedicated bus driver to even bring them close enough to Arkhe? Sousuke just finally got out of this mess and thinks the rest are here to save him. Too bad they force him back in thinking he knows the way in. He thinks there are 3 paths to reach where Wagner is so they split up and take different routes. Sousuke must be the happiest since he pairs with Claskey Klasky. Schubert not so since he goes with Mozart and Dovo. The rest goes with Kanae. But it seems Kanae’s group is blocked by what is known as an emotional barrier. With Kanae being emotional she just wants her Wataru to return to those fun filled days, she transforms into her musketeer form and breaks through the barrier in style. Wagner is curled up trapped in his own Musik. I guess he is waiting for big sister to come save him.

Episode 24
Wagner unleashes his Musik. But it is filled with depression and this depression is trying to keep them away. Schubert’s group finds Kyougo and Himeka trapped in a cage. Mozart resonates with Wagner’s depressed Musik and is able to wield Musik himself. His power freezes everything and breaks the parents out from their cage. Dovo now pounces Kyougo of why he was turned into a hippo. The truth is, he is a hippo to begin with. He wanted another animal aside Hasshie and chose his other favourite animal. He never intended to turn him into a ClassicaLoid but apparently even letting him hear Dvorak’s music could turn a hippo into one. He promises to turn Dovo into human when they get back. Hippo so happy that he could now use his Musik. Schubert admits Mozart’s Musik is great and this too allows him to wield his Musik. Bach and Mitsuru are free thanks to Mozart’s Musik reaching far and wide. Bach transforms into… A giant golden Buddha???!!! Bach-dha?! Seeing Mitsuru having fun with him has Claskey Klasky jealous and enables them to use their Musik. Soon Chopin and Liszt too. Only Beethoven left. Any time now… Reaching the top, a huge door blocks their path. The ClassicaLoids combine their Musik to break through but soon more doors come shutting down. With them exhausting their power, it is time for Beethoven to shine. After ranting about destroying destiny, his Musik transforms him into… A giant genie punk?! WTF?! So strong he punches through the doors! His Musik also replenishes the other ClassicaLoids as they give their final push to let Kanae through the final door. However she is faced with her evil clone who claims this is what Wagner wants, his music to resound all over the world and forever be remembered. Kyougo explains even before he woke up, there were indications his Musik will go berserk. That’s why he stopped it and sealed it away. He didn’t care if he became a ClassicaLoid. He wanted him as a family member. Kanae defeats her clone and reaches into Wagner’s mind. He is still upset, claiming everything is a lie and no one is his family. Kanae slaps him to shut him up and then gives him a big sisterly hug. All that don’t matter. He is her little brother, that’s all. Yeah, enough for everything to return back to normal. Uh huh. Family love saved Wagner. However they are free falling so Wagner unleashes his Musik with beautiful Valkyrie angels to cushion their fall. Everyone happily heads back to Otowakan. Except for Sousuke. Conveniently forgotten as he slipped off earlier and is now left hanging on the building’s ledge.

Episode 25
Kyougo begins the process to turn Dovo back into human. But before that can happen, the rail company is looking for him. It looks like they want him as their train mascot as the kids love him. Thanks to that, Dovo abandons his desire to become human and is now the official train mascot making kids happy. With Bach back at Arkhe, Claskey Klasky is getting even more popular. While things return to normal at Otowakan, the only one who isn’t happy is Sousuke. He has been thinking he has gone nowhere. Partly, Pad-kun abandoned him to become Dovo’s translator. Yeah, that’s a better deal, right? It makes him think he has no talent at all! Finally he admits it! Yeah, we figured that out last season. Then he sees his old yearbook message that he will become great and is inspired. But before he could tell everyone, looks like Kyougo, Himeka and Wagner are leaving on a trip together. Don’t worry about the debt. Wagner’s idol stint earned enough to cover it all. He has had it being an idol and achieved the acknowledgement of the person he wants. Kanae is also shocked at their departure. She is invited to come along but she has responsibilities of protecting Otowakan. Himeka leaves the door open if she should ever join them and hopes she will venture into the world. After seeing them off, Sousuke begins his music training to his road of greatness. Uhm, why is he doing shady training that might lead to his arrest? Kanae is shocked to see Beethoven throwing away his favourite stuffs. That is because he is leaving for his own journey! Of course Schubert will follow him and then Mozart. What is happening?! Sousuke continues to dream big but struggle. Yeah, live concert on Mars? Not impossible since we have aliens here. Anyway during his training, he comes across Beethoven and Mozart who dispense their advice.

Kanae soon realizes Chopin gone when his room is cleared out. He resumes his blog traveller role. Liszt as the last one left talks to sad Kanae that everyone’s departure is because they are going to the next stage. Also, it could be everyone is leaving so as to help set Kanae free. Do what she wants without anyone pinning her down. Yeah, great timing for Liszt’s taxi to pick her up. By the time Sousuke returns to declare his big dreams, Kanae is preparing to leave. She is going to live with her other family members. She leaves him the spare keys. Yeah, last one left. Sitting around and thinking till it finally hits him this isn’t right. He doesn’t want this. So while screaming at the organ, it somehow unleashes his Musik! OMG! Finally for Sousuke?! But could it be Hasshie because that bird is in a conductor outfit… Anyway his Musik brings back Kanae and the ClassicaLoids back. The reason being he doesn’t want them to leave so fast and he likes it here with everyone being happy and having fun. Things doesn’t have to change! So prefer relaxing waters over next stage advancement? Seems like it. Then a call from Kyougo reminding Kanae he has accumulated debts due to overspending from the trip. Are they eating lavish food? But why put the debts in Otowakan’s name then? I guess this is an excuse so that Kanae could have a change of heart to continue staying here and have everyone work to the bone and pay their rent. Otowakan is open to more vacancies and new tenants!

RevoL LoveR: Family Is All You Need
It is with mixed feelings not to see all ClassicaLoids converge together again as one big happy family. With them leaving one by one, I was sure they were going to troll us like the first season whereby they all left but only to suddenly return. Yeah, they pulled that off somehow. But it doesn’t feel satisfying that they are shoehorned back together again. Just because Sousuke needed some screen time and they had to make him do this final reunion thing. Besides, why only the regular ClassicaLoids of Otowakan? I thought he was so much into Bada so at least bring her back too? But I guess having them all as a whole for a short period of time was better than never at all. Just like in life, there are a few stages and since they have achieved this, time to move on to the next. Yeah, I share Sousuke’s similar sentiments of idling in the comfort zone than venturing out to the risky and unknown for greener pastures! Status quo is best! Why fix it when it is not broken!

Just like last season, many of the episodes feel like standalone fillers. In between, they insert a bit of something of importance for the overall plot but with all the hilarious antics going on, you won’t feel annoyed or the impatient urge to pester future episodes to quickly bring about the so called important plots of the series. It will naturally come by when needed. Since it is not really that convoluted to begin with, when the plot slowly builds up as the season progresses, it is easy to pick up from there on after a few episodes of ‘break’ of watching the ClassicaLoids in their random mischiefs.

So it is quite nice to see some of the ClassicaLoids becoming the star of the few episodes they are the focus of. Though, they are still overall the same crazy ClassicaLoids we have known and love them like Mozart and his skirt chasing-cum-pranks and Chopin being the shut-in. But I notice that Beethoven this time around isn’t as annoying as last season with his gyoza and coffee craze since that was somewhat solved last season. I guess the plot needs to move along instead of harping on this running joke that would definitely be a very irritating one. Good riddance.

Therefore with only a couple of new ClassicaLoids introduced, I don’t know if I should be disappointed that a few whom I suggested at the end of my last blog didn’t appear except for Wagner. If they spam us with more classical composers and add to the burden of Kanae and her Otowakan, the quality of shenanigans would be reduced because too many composers spoil the composition (sorry for the bad pun). This means less screen time and they might need more episodes to showcase more personalized episodes for more ClassicaLoids. So too bad Brahms, Handel, Haydn, Debussy, Vivaldi and Mendelssohn, I guess you guys aren’t that famous to make the cut. Maybe next time, huh? So with only Wagner and Dovo as new ClassicaLoids, I guess they are sufficient for this season. Don’t be too greedy.

Wataru/Wager as the new character doesn’t feel like he is the main character nor he is one who became the main antagonist halfway through. In short (no pun intended), I believe Wagner has daddy issues. All he wants is for Kyougo to acknowledge him. That is basically his main goal. Being acknowledged is music to his ears. I suppose despite being a ClassicaLoid, like other ‘extraordinary’ kids who doesn’t have what other ordinary kids usually have, he is trying his best and do all it takes to gain acceptance. Poor kid got his dreams shattered as part of the series’ twist when Kyougo somewhat rejects all this so he had to become his own antagonist (is this what you call facing the music? Sorry, bad pun) and one who will overcome it with the help of his family. Because like the power of friendship, the power of family is what all ClassicaLoids need. Aww… So touching. After all, Wagner despite being a genius ClassicaLoid in his own right, is still a kid and the youngest among them.

Though I’m glad that the Claskey Klasky duo get more appearance in the latter half after they quit Arkhe and started living in Otowakan, Bach still feels missing for the most part like last season. I was hoping he would be part of Otowakan as a regular because it’s nice to see all ClassicaLoids becoming one big family but he remains the enigmatic and wandering type.

I’m glad that Schubert reverted to his original classical outfit early in the series because I really prefer him looking like this instead of him being a reggae dude. But he is still the comical punching bag of the group thanks to him always sucking up to his Beethoven senpai although I do notice that his running joke of going missing from time to time is much less this season. Though personally, I don’t really like Bach and Beethoven’s Super Saiyan ultimate Musik form. They look more like monsters than anything grand. But I guess having a monstrous strength means looking like one that matches it. It’s only their looks so why am I nit-picking this?

Sousuke remains one of the ‘worst’ characters this season thanks to his constant daydreaming or should I say dreaming big but hardly puts in any effort himself. This guy is an even bigger freeloader than the ClassicaLoids because at least the latters have great talent. Even naturally. So Sousuke is like the guy who is waiting for that big wave and opportunity to ride on to fame. Well, no harm in dreaming but he still continues to do that instead of waking up. No wonder he’ll get nowhere. Keep waiting then… Even Pad-kun left him in some ways. Somehow I feel that his final awakening of his Musik (even if that feels a lot like a fluke), is like out of pity. I mean, no matter how useless he is despite his big dreaming-cum-delusions, you have to admit and give him points for never giving up and staying positive even if they are baseless. So it’s like, okay kid, you’ve earned enough sympathy points to do your own Musik for a few seconds. Good luck trying to do it again.

Himeka is an interesting addition to the cast. She is quite happy-go-lucky and feels like she is born lacking any stress. She takes everything that comes her way, any good news or negative ones with a lot of positivism with her airhead personality. Her fickle lady luck seems to be a running joke because it is as though they’re also trying to tell us this saying easy come, easy go. Yeah, it feels like her sudden immense wealth and instant losses only happen to the convenience of the plot. Kyougo has more screen time this season despite being in person late in this season. But better still, he is here with his family and ClassicaLoids unlike last season he was always away, always only staying for a short while before disappearing, dropping hints only from a phone call. But it makes me wonder if he created ClassicaLoids just so he could have a big extended family (because f*cking Himeka 10 times to have 10 children just seems too cruel and improbable) instead of that scientific reason back in season one but shelved it due to being too much trouble. I wonder if there are any more hidden ClassicaLoids lying in their slumber in his lab…

For Kanae, it was an irony to see her sad about the ClassicaLoids leaving Otowakan. We clearly remember her as one who doesn’t hesitate to kick them out especially a couple of them who don’t pay the rent. And when everyone started leaving, she felt empty. It’s so lonely at Otowakan. Is this really home? So it goes to show that she too has totally come to terms and accept these freeloaders as they are. Otowakan is so much livelier with them around, annoying or not. ClassicaLoids will always be ClassicaLoids and Kanae will always be Kanae. Money > Freedom.

With Dovo now being the resident of Otowakan, it looks like this hippo now takes over Hasshie’s role as the series’ mascot. It feels like Hasshie is slowly getting forgotten as the series passes because why have a menacing looking shoebill when you can have a cute looking pygmy hippopotamus? I mean, doesn’t Dovo look cute wearing a t-shirt? Even though it is mind boggling for a hippo to wear one but not pants. As though this is one of the ways to make us subconsciously accept Dovo as one with his human counterparts. I wonder what happened to his human body seeing Dovo now wants to remain as a hippo. Ah well, any museum out there want to take Dvorak’s body as an exhibit? But something that Kyougo hinted about Hasshie’s secret that is left to our conclusion is that Hasshie could also possibly be a ClassicaLoid. I mean, we saw his conductor outfit in the final episode. It makes me wonder which composer he was taken after assuming he is really one. Yeah, Hasshie could be the biggest mystery of them all. He is the first, last and always at Otowakan like as though he is its guardian overlooking it all. Sounds ridiculous but it may be possible. After all, how much do we know about Hasshie?

Someone one said that classical music is the best and cheapest mind altering drug in the world. This is particularly true especially when the ClassicaLoids unleash their Musik. Because of their majestic fantasy-like effects, you could say they are like one big hallucination and even better than all the marijuana, ice, LSD and meth combined. It’s going to be the best acid trip in the world and it isn’t even illegal. Uh huh. How else can you go on an origin trip to Africa on a nice train or watching a march of penguins through except via Musik? It’s so much more magical than magic and yet mind blowingly mind blowing. But nevertheless, still entertaining to watch with some of them getting new power ups like Liszt’s boxing, Beethoven’s moon bunny and Schubert turning into a giant reggae yaman. But too bad Bada, still the eternal one hit wonder… Don’t hate… But all their Musik featured here have a real history behind them. They are briefly explained by Pad-kun but if you want to know more, doing your own research is better.

Another mind boggling issue I have with the ClassicaLoids is their origins. If Kyougo created them in his lab (simply playing classical music?), how do they then retain original memories of their actual lives? It’s like they underwent a long cryogenic slumber and then awakened in the modern era since they seem to recall their old memories like as though it was yesterday. I suppose Kyougo is such a genius professor that simpletons and dumbasses like myself won’t get it. Or just screw logic because it’s anime. Anything is possible. If a hippo can unleash Musik and the possibility of transferring minds to another body, what else is not possible for this mad scientist?

With the old casts retained this season, new ones joining to the list are Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Wagner, Junichi Suwabe as Dovo and Sayaka Ohara as Himeka. It was hard to identify Junichi Suwabe as Dovo as in his hippo form he was going like “Pugi, pugi!” all the time. I guess it must hard doing that kind of voice for a big majority of the series. Think it is an easy job? Like seiyuus who only do voices as an animal role the entire series, it is not entirely an easy feat. You could go crazy if you do that for the rest of the series. I wonder about Pikachu’s seiyuu’s sanity then… Only when Dovo is in his handsome train conductor form that he sounds familiar like the Junichi Suwabe that I always know.

It is very rare for anime series these days to have just a single opening or ending theme. That is why in a way it is ‘refreshing’ as well as surprising-but-not-so-surprising-still to see this season’s opening theme to remain the same as last season. I suppose nothing beats ClassicaLoid No Theme and it has become the general theme for the series. But of course, this means just like last season, every episode features a different song. Classical compositions being ‘ruined’ and mixed to death with lyrics and other instruments and effects that they basically ‘killed’ the song. Once more, I was in a dilemma to classify this as creative or lazy but similarly like last time, it is definitely a weird experience for me to listen even though I am not familiar with many of the classical pieces in the first place. But for this season if I had to point out one of those songs which attracted my attention, it was that Chopin one about dogs. This samba heavy tune has very cute lyrics relating to dogs and is by far the most memorable one for me.

Overall, this season is still very much enjoyable. It still feels very much at home like the first season with all the random and funny shenanigans but the only difference is throwing that out-of-this-world alien plot for a more closer-to-home family issues thingy. Hey, even genius composers have their own issues and tragedies. Isn’t that why they translate them into their greatest compositions and works? Music can only do so much to entertain, soothe and heal your soul. The rest is all the bonds and ties in between that really makes it count. I don’t think we appreciate enough how much that brings music to our ears.

I guess this is what procrastination does. But better late than never, right? And so finally I decided to keep my promise the last time and watch the next season of Pretty Rhythm, Pretty Rhythm Dear My Future. At this point it feels like ages and there is a risk that I have forgotten a lot about the first season. But thankfully new characters and somewhat new plots so I don’t have to remember that much, right? But still, it builds on the old one. Oh well, time to tuck in and watch 51 episodes of the second season and remind myself why I felt like a little girl while watching this series. Hey, sometimes you have got to get your inner feminism out once in a while. Okay, that wasn’t particularly a good reason.

MARs on top – Haven’t you heard? It has been 3 years and now the group has become the best Prism Stars in the world! This means Pretty Top is the best Prism Star producing school and Asechi is raking in all the cash. Too bad all the money in the world still cannot land her a man…

Mia Ageha – Perky and energetic girl who self-proclaims to beat Aira and become the number one Prism Queen. Very confronting if you ask me. The type that shoots first and do the thinking later. This means she doesn’t know anything despite sounding like she does so that we can have the cliché moment for the rest to explain to us viewers what they are. 100 points for her confidence in everything even if they all seem baseless and impossible.

Prizmmy – Uhm, are those budding idols wannabe in 3D are now reanimated into 2D for this season? Not sure if they are taken after their real life personality but I don’t think so. Anyway, along with Mia, the rest include Reina Miyama (always butting heads with Mia), Karin Shijimi (galactic happy girl of the group with 8 ‘clone’ younger brothers) and Ayami Ooruri (shy girl who loves taking notes).

Pretty Rhythm Studio – The real life segment of Prizmmy at the end of each episode. Hosted by the quirky McKensaku while being watched by young future budding future Prism Stars, Prism Friends, we see Prizmmy compete in various small time competitions which is of course a way to promote the series’ merchandises.

Pair Charms – Last season we had Pair Cheer Mascots for MARs. This season Prizmmy has Pair Charms. Supposedly cute little doggie (or was it squirrels) mascots that allow them to transform into accessories to help Prizmmy in their Prism Shows. Good think they don’t talk or they’ll be as annoying and making jokes like Pair Cheer Mascots. By the way, they still are around. So is Pengin sensei and Yamada desu.

Prism Ace – Jun in disguise like as though he is some discount version of Tuxedo Mask. Comes and goes as mysterious as the wind. Supposedly to give the girls some motivation and thoughts (he speaks in his usual riddle fashion anyway) and Mia is the only one not to realize he is really Jun underneath all that getup because she is so having a crush on this handsome masked dude.

Prism Act – Apparently doing Prism Jumps aren’t enough in today’s Prism Shows. Prism Act is some sort of revolutionary show. I don’t know. I don’t see the difference. Prism Stars continue to dance solo or in groups and do perfect Prism Jumps. Yeah, they make it look so easy now.

Don Bonby – The flashy and eccentric afro emcee for every Prism Show.

Dear Crown – A new fashion store opened next to Prism Stone store owned by Shou. Korean owner and designer, Yun-su. Nice and cool guy who respects and treats Aira well that you can smell some love rivalry coming up between Shou and Yun-su. Yeah, it makes Shou look like a jealous dick each time he gets confrontational but Yun-su is just cool! And we already have the first shots fired when Yun-su gives Aira a crown gift after her Prism Show on stage (why does he make it look like he is proposing to her on his knees?) and jealous Shou just rushed down to give his own gift. A showdown between 2 hot guys and a very jealous Mia despite not related to it all.

Twinkling Future Star – Mia’s first successful Prism Jump developed out of her jealousy to top Aira. Now she’ll rake in the cash for Asechi…

Fan Call – Apparently now fans can vote with their handphones for a certain Prism Star and rate on several aspects like dancing, singing and fashion. It is going to be tough for Prizmmy since they are relatively new and a nobody. For the sake of the plot, Prizmmy managed to get enough Fan Calls to make their Prism Show debut.

Korean invasion – Apparently there will be Korean transfer students coming to Pretty Top in an exchange programme. Oddly, they come in one by one instead of at one go. As if, to focus an extra episode on them. Yeah, I thought it would never end the way Asechi keeps introducing a new Korean student. Thankfully there are only 5 of them. They are Hye In (Mia’s best friend and practice maniac), Shi Yoon (usually spaces out and is it me or does her normal horizontally striped clothes motives make her look like a prisoner? But she has the prettiest smile when she is at her maddest!), Jae Eun (airhead girl who often ‘tastes’ the sun among other things? Like reptiles bathing in sun? WTF? *Gobble, gobble*), Chae Kyoung (celebrity girl from a rich family and Yun-su is her older brother) and So Min (strict perfectionist girl who hates wasting time but sometimes a big cry-baby). Why do they all speak so fluent Japanese? Their manager is Michelle who looks like Asechi’s clone…

Who’s the leader – Apparently Prizmmy as a new unit needs to pick a leader. Yeah, everyone ones to be the leader. As usual, they’ll do a Prism Show and the one with the most Fan Calls will be the leader. In the end, each girl top their respective sections in the Fan Calls so no clear winner. Though the rest decided on Mia since overall she had the most Fan Calls, she rejects that notion because of Aira’s ‘advice’ that being a leader doesn’t suit her. After all, it’s not like Prizmmy needs a leader as all of them are unique in their own ways. Until they realize Aira’s ‘advice’ was just her being indecisive so now everybody wants to be the leader again? Make up your minds!

Battle over Aira – The guys are at it again. During a press conference, Aira hinted she would like to try Yun-su’s clothes but Shou will not accept that and hence a competition. Too bad we see Shou stressed up and being a dick, refusing help from others while Yun-su is just scoring points with his cool zen whatever. This is a ploy to help Shou get back on his feet since he hasn’t been progressing lately. Ironically it took Mia to snap at him for him to open his eyes. He leaves it late for his inspiration to spark because at the last minute before Aira is forced to go with Yun-su’s design, here comes Shou with his. She picks his because over this logic Yun-su’s design makes her feel like a goddess which she isn’t. She wants an outfit so she could help make the audience feel happy and Shou’s design matches her current self. Expect more future showdowns.

Mad Mia quits – Gasp! For real?! Mia wants to quit Prizmmy and Pretty Top and blames Aira too?! Sneaky Asechi will not let her go and tarnish her company’s reputation. So she must do a Prism Show battle with Aira. If Mia wins, she gets to leave. Strange logic but it makes sense that if you are better than the best, you can go. During the Prism Show, Mia slips but manages to pick herself up and finish it. Too bad Aira wins by a mile. Fortunately Asechi gives Mia the chance to quit but now she won’t because after all that training and friendship thingy, she understands how much fun it is to work with everyone here. Then everyone realizes this argument started because Aira accidentally ate Mia’s melon bread. Good news, all that is in the past now. Bad news, Asechi just repeated that mistake. Is the option to quit still open?

Training camp – The first held for Prizmmy, MARs and the Korean quintet at a hotspring inn. This whole camp thingy serves to make the Koreans realize they aren’t as good as a unit despite individually they are better. Unlike Prizmmy who are opposites. They suck individually but come together as a group. Makes me think what did the Koreans do all the while since they arrived at Pretty Top? Uh huh. Just watching Prizmmy and MARs in Prism Shows only, eh? I don’t think this is how exchange programmes are supposed to work. Okay, they might have been training behind the scenes.

Stand Up Girls – No, not related to Wake Up Girls. Another contest that is not related to Prism Queen Cup. The winner receives some Symphonia Boots Stone. Guess what? Nobody has won them. And past winners only won the replica. Oh, did I mention that nobody knows who or why this Symphonia series was created? Just f*ck.

Back and forth – Prizmmy is selected to participate in Stand Up Girls. What I don’t understand is that Mia somehow didn’t like something among themselves, drags the rest back to Pretty Top just to see the Koreans practising hard, some self-realization criticising to realize whatever the heck it was and then go all the way back to the competition arena in time for their turn. WTF?!

Miraculous Idol Wake Up – Prizmmy’s first successful Prism Act together at Stand Up Girls that has them winning the competition and receiving the Prism Stone of the REAL Symphonia Boots! So unbelievably wow.

Inspiration hug – Yun-su is stuck on his design. So to get inspiration he hugs Aira in a crowded café just because she smells nice?! Thank goodness that sure did the trick. Thank goodness Shou isn’t around because my hunch says it could have gotten uglier…

Vivvy – A Pair Charm in the form of a black cat. Always butting heads with Pengin. So the quintet only get 1 stinking mascot for all to share? This one talks and she is going to be the Koreans’ mascot because…

Puretty – The group name the Korean girls will debut under. Pure + Pretty + Purity = Puretty? Is that pronounced Pure-tty or Pu-ree-tty? Guess what? In their first Prism Show to celebrate Prizmmy’s victory, they manage to perform their Prism Act at first go! All that practice behind the scenes must have paid off.

Love at first sight – By now we all should notice that Reina has a crush on Itsuki whom everybody seems to be unaware at this point he is Aira’s little brother.

Working love out – Apparently Itsuki finds Mia’s lost handphone and in turn leads him to practice Prism Jumps with them and even becomes a surprise guest in their Prism Show! And you thought he wanted to become a doctor but looks like he has got talent in this area. I see Reina is handling her prince charming very well despite this is the first time she has ever gotten this close to him for such a long period of time. Obvious fawning is so obvious that why isn’t anybody annoyed?

Side jobs – Apparently a few fillers to make our young idols gain some experience. Like doing a live broadcast in Mion’s magical girl show, working at a zoo for a day and at the same help revive its financial situation, and a performance at an island resort (to play up some So Min childhood trauma for being adrift at sea apparently).

Symphonia Series Festival – A mid-summer festival where top girl groups compete in various stages and the one accumulating the most number of fans will receive a rare stone of the Symphonia series.

Wacky races – The first stage of the Symphonia series has Prizmmy and Puretty battle it out in some giant mecha race battle that is also a weird obstacle course. Although both teams cross the finish line first and get the honours of both performing their Prism Show, the fans voted for Puretty because of their ‘amazing’ last spurt idol power during the race that made them caught up with Prizmmy. Crap.

Easter egg hunt – On a luxury liner, teams must find Prism Stones but only those who find special ones are allowed to perform Prism Shows in the end. You thinking what I’m thinking who gets to perform? Although Puretty aces by finding lots of Prism Stones, Prizmmy seems to fall into traps and that just makes them a hilarious watch and hence increasing their Fan Calls. In the end, both of them perform but Prizmmy wins this round. It turns out the perfume Shou made for Prizmmy enhanced their performance while Yun-su was preoccupied with Aira and didn’t make a proper outfit for Puretty. Oh my.

What’s eating Hye In? – Apparently, low self-confidence when she tries to compare herself to everyone. Of course, a little pep blunt talk from Mia and confidence booster from her teammates, this allows her to do a solo Prism Act that wows everyone. Yeah…

Symphonia Top of Wings – I’m sure you’ve already guessed who will win the Symphonia summer series. Yup. Prizmmy. So as not for Puretty to be left out, Hye In wins the MVP and gets the Symphonia Dress of Awakening! How many parts do they cut the entire legendary Symphonia outfit into?! Because now they are going to aim for the Symphonia Skirt. I wonder if there is a Symphonia Pantsu… Whoops!

Yong Hwa – One of the best Prism Stars and Yun-su’s childhood friend. Has this ability to see who loves who. Girls love him (save for our heroines) and because of him loving everybody, Prizmmy calls him Mr Trashy.

How do you mend a broken heart – Reina falls into depression after seeing Itsuki ‘date’ Aira. Even more so ‘confirming’ it from his own mouth but that’s what you get for being vague with your words. With Yong Hwa’s idea to shout out the name of the one you love, it enhances Prizmmy and more so Reina’s Prism Act. And of course, they learn Aira and Itsuki are siblings. Big relief. Fooled big time.

Yong Hwa x Itsuki – I don’t know how Yong Hwa sees some potential in Itsuki and wants him to become his Prism Star partner. Looks so gay… Because constant hugging harassment… Ugh, so gay… Well, if there is money to be made…

Silver screen debut? – Chae Kyoung’s mom was a famous actress but retired young. Now Chae Kyoung has been selected for her movie debut but she has fears of standing on stage. Wait a minute. Isn’t Prism Show not considered a stage? Anyway she is forced to choose between becoming an actress (hence fulfilling her mom’s wish) or become a Prism Star. No prizes for guessing which she chose because otherwise Puretty would have to be disbanded permanently. No hard feelings but Yamada became her silver screen replacement?! The director sure has bad taste…

Prism Quest – For some reason, Prizmmy and Puretty enter the Prism Stone Maker and end up in some RPG world. An excuse to give the Pair Charms for some lame screen time to save the girls from prison before using their Prism powers to defeat the evil king and earn the Symphonia Skirt. The real original one. Woah! You mean it was in there all along?! Who the f*ck put it in there?!

Grateful Symphonia – Kei returns just to warn Asechi about this. Apparently Grateful Symphonia is the greatest Prism Act that all Prism Stars aspire to achieve (gee, why doesn’t everyone know about this then?) but a world of Prism Act that nobody has seen (oh, I see… Then how would they know?) and must never step into (no wonder nobody’s been there).

Foreboding of a coming storm – Grateful Symphonia was also made by the greatest designer to ever live and promotes the shows from the shadows. Should we be shocked that it is Asechi’s father, Kintarou? So much so he rigged Prism Shows and crushed her rivals to let Asechi win during her heydays. Kei left him to protect her and now Asechi must stand up to him if she is to protect her girls and guide the Prism Show back to its proper path or risk contaminating it with greed.

Black & White – Kintarou made a pair of black and white Symphonia Dresses and he had a Korean actress, Myeong Ja (Yun-su’s mom) to represent them. However she wasn’t good enough and that’s when Kei entered the picture and wowed him. He came up with the idea of Prism Shows and casted both women in the dresses to make money. To a point he wanted Myeong Ja to quit as an actress and be a Prism Star. She didn’t want that and left. Kei was swayed by his sweet words and took up the role. Until Asechi was born his true nature began to unravel more. He wanted to turn her into a Prism Star at a tender young age when Kei was against it. Everything else is history and ever since he would do anything to make Grateful Symphonia a success, using many and discarding those who outlive their usefulness. But all ended in failure. It has grown to a point where he now hates Prism Shows. Oh, the irony.

Road To Symphonia – Oh great. What we just need. Another Symphonia series competition. This time groups of three would enter as a team and the prizes are Symphonia Hairband of Elegance and Symphonia Necklace of Resplendence.

Money talks – Asechi is torn to enter her Prism Stars as the competition would clash with Crystal High Heels Cup. Until she realizes there is money to win and more publicity. And hence she will be reshuffling Prizmmy and Puretty into new units while making it Prism Stone versus Dear Crown.

Shuffle – The new units are: Team A (Ayami, Reina and Jae Eun), Team B (Karin, Hye In and Shi Yoon) and Team C (Mia, So Min and Chae Kyoung). Also, Shou and Yun-su will be competing among themselves to design their outfits.

Can’t teach an old dog new tricks – Team A stumble into an old man trying to do a Prism Jump and failed. Because his wife in her younger days looks like Reina (and him looking like Itsuki), you bet Reina is going to help them. A love story that transcends barriers and social status, he hopes the girls can teach him how to do a Prism Act to commemorate their 50th wedding anniversary. Even better, they’ll do it for him. It is a new and excellent Prism Show, turning the old couple back to their younger heydays to perform their own Prism Act. Team A is now renamed as Sprouts.

Wedding bells – Haven’t you heard? Rhythm and Hibiki got married. That was 18 months ago! WTF?! Married in secret, I suppose. They plan to tell the world when Rhythm reaches 18 years old. Only her MARs pals know about this. And of course, Team B who accidentally eavesdropped.

Opposition – Asechi was initially opposed to the announcement since there is nothing in it for her (it’s all about the money for her) but with the blessing and support of MARs and Callings (as well as Rhythm’s parents hidden marriage thingy if you remember last season), what else is there to oppose? Also, Kanon has been in Rhythm and Hibiki’s way for so long that Team B tries to help Kanon get a boyfriend? Of all people, they choose Yong Hwa? Not matching of course. But Kanon has known this as Hibiki told her. She was just in denial and did her best to interrupt them but it looks like the day has come where she must face reality.

Angry mob – Apparently the crowd didn’t like it when Rhythm and Hibiki announce this. How do you calm such a mad crowd? Team B putting up their Prism Act of course! Oh yeah, all of them choose Yun-su’s design. I guess there is another angry jealous guy now. Now everybody accepts the marriage and Kanon calling Rhythm her sister. Happy ending indeed. Team B is now renamed as P&P (stemming from Prizmmy & Puretty).

Creative block – Team C can’t come up with lyrics to their song so they have the designers design them first and they’ll based their lyrics on it. The designers too are stuck so Shou watches Team C practice while Yun-su talks to Aira. And there is Aira’s flashback on how she is on the verge of quitting as a Prism Star after almost losing her touch to entertain audience. But with Shou on her side, she gets her touch back.

Love block – And now the biggest stumbling block goes to Aira and Shou’s romance because as pointed out by Rhythm, Shou will never tie the knot or go anywhere if he fears getting hurt. And it’s Aira’s fault never telling him her feelings? Man, love is so complicated.

Chopped liver – Looks like Team C is side-lined when Yun-su designs a costume for Aira instead and then confesses he loves her. Shou so mad. Oh my. The rivalry is going up a notch this time because both guys won’t let Aira go.

Love & Mix – Apparently the gay Prism Star team consisting of Yong Hwa and Itsuki. So Itsuki finally decided to become a Prism Star, huh?

The season of love is Halloween? – Love & Mix uses Halloween to debut and also puts forth the theme Trick or Love. Being dressed up helps to easy confess to the one you love? Well, if it was easy for Reina since dense Itsuki keeps trying to help her. Good luck trying to keep her cock-a-doodle-doo sanity intact. Eventually nobody confesses to anybody because the importance of the theme is about falling in love, not being in love. Huh? No wonder Mia going berserk to the other girls because she didn’t get to confess to Prism Ace-sama…

The Apprentice – Of all teams, Yumemi had to pick Team C to be her master. Initially they reject her but she sucks up to them real good so I guess they take her under her wing. Despite her dream to be the centre of attraction and a Prism Star, something feels odd about her dream. She sucks in all Prism Show areas. To cut things short, her dream is a different type of star: She wants to be an astronomer and discover a new star. With this, Mia announces her challenge to Aira to make their dreams come true.

Biggest upsetCosmos (Team C’s new name based on the initials of their name) has more Fan Calls to Aira and wins! Well, my theory is that Aira keeps singing the same song and dance but Cosmos as a new team has new song and dance moves so I’m sure this is why they captured the hearts of the audience. But don’t you think it will be weird if Yumemi names a new star after Cosmos? A Cosmos in the cosmos… Confusing…

Ninja warrior – Apparently Mia beat Aira was because she had more Fan Calls from non-permanent fans. Hence Asechi plans to train them even more by having them do warrior training? Sending the shuffle teams to different villages to perform Prism Acts.

Gates of hell – Bonby somewhat hypnotized Hye In to seek the Grateful Symphonia’s stage. So during P&P’s Prism Act, Hye In got mesmerized to go into some creepy door that definitely spells disaster. Thanks to the power of friendship (and wind), she returns to reality.

Love omelette – Sprouts not only help a closing down restaurant get back up but also help its chef and employee get back together. Best part, their Prism Act has them propose and marry each other! Man, all I gotta love are those free omelettes they served…

Dancing with the Prism Stars – Cosmos want to do a Prism Show at an elementary school where Mia’s homeroom teacher still teaches. Because dancing is incorporated into PE and she can’t dance, Cosmos take the liberty to teach her how to dance. Of course their methods fail. In the end, you can’t force a dance and all you need is just to remember flashbacks of never give up. Yup, for the teacher and students, you don’t need to be good at dancing. Just dance how you feel! Heh. It’s not like they’re going to become world class Prism Stars anyway.

Torn between 2 designers, feeling like a fool – It has gotten to a point where Aira just can’t concentrate and is clumsy in her practice. While Yun-su is honest, Shou remains as he is, giving lame excuses he is happy Aira wears his designs. We know that’s crap, right? More woes for already torn Aira when she is forced to choose one of their designs before the big competition.

Heartbreak goodbye – So Min always had a crush on Yun-su. Was she wise to know she cannot best Aira hence the need to tell her feelings and get over it? Only, she had to do it via Prism Act and let everybody know. But they don’t care. Similarly, none of all that flashy extravagant for Mia because Prism Ace just says goodbye in the most boring fashion. True heartbreak…

Losing its shine – MARs and Serenon are supposed to enter the Crystal High Heels Cup but Aira (brainwashed by Bonby as usual) declares during the press conference that MARs will be participating in Road To Symphonia. This makes Serenon also want to participate in that. Yeah, everyone else has also entered this Symphonia contest.

Dress to kill – So which dress did Aira pick? Apparently MARs shock everyone by wearing the latest Symphonia series’ dresses. So mysterious. So evil. Wah! It’s shooting evil red beams!

Butterfly effect – Butterflies in your eyes? Aira dares enter the butterfly door and opens a whole new world with lots of butterflies. Yeah, it was the best butterfly show ever.

Landslide victory – Needless to say, MARs wins Road To Symphonia with a huge margin of Fan Calls.

The end of days – If you think that was the happy ending, think again. Immediately Aira announces she will not participate in anymore future Prism tournaments. Bonby reveals his true identity: Kintarou! Why am I not surprised? Those who suspect are too late to do anything. With Aira no longer participating, this means there is no more need to have tournaments because there are no competitors who will be worth their calibre against them.

Welcome to the dark side – That’s not all. Aira along with Mion and Rhythm announce their resignation from Pretty Top to join Kintarou’s Symphonia Corporation. Wow. Signing air contracts in front of everybody? Yeah, Asechi loses her income (hope all that money she made is enough) and the guys loses Aira. That’s what happens when you wait too long. Aira ditches you dudes.

Sky High Symphonia – Another Symphonia selection organized by Kintarou. He is so kind to give Pretty Top a chance to get MARs back if they get more Fan Calls. Otherwise, Pretty Top teams will have to join Symphonia Corporation if they lose. A tempting challenge to take on but it is obviously a trap. So how? Serenon vows to rescue Aira claiming their eternal rivalry with MARs gives them the right.

Break down that door – Violence never gets you anywhere. If you compare Serenon’s Prism Act, it does look a bit violent. Kicking football hattrick and unicorn piercing… Yeah… That is why they couldn’t break down that door and save Aira trapped behind it. Aira even lectures them about it. Well, looks like Serenon are now Kintarou’s pawns.

Failed Mix – It is Love & Mix’s turn to save Aira but apparently not even brotherly or family love could make her change her mind. Damn. Now Love & Mix is under Symphonia Corporation? Hey, at least Itsuki and Aira are ‘together’ in the same bad company.

Mother knows best – Everyone except Prizmmy head to Korea to find out more from Myeong Ja about Kintarou. Apparently she has never hated that guy and Yun-su was under the wrong impression she did. Therefore the mysterious Symphonia Dresses he designed couldn’t be filled with anger and hate. She knows him well enough as a guy who lived by his dreams. Even when they broke up and she was heartbroken, she would have been consumed by hatred had she continued wallowing in sadness. Prove that she was still able to love, she met and married Yun-su and Chae Kyoung’s father.

Love will save the day – As a hint that the designs reflects the designer’s heart, Yun-su realizes his designs have been filled with hatred and anger to get back at Kintarou. Though this might reach Aira, this will not save her. You need the power of love! This is why you designers are in a slump. For the sake of the same girl, for once Yun-su and Shou cast aside their animosity and agree to work together to bring out the shine in Prizmmy and Puretty as well as save Aira.

Pretty Symphonia Remake – Yun-su and Shou combine all they’ve got to make their Symphonia Dresses for Prizmmy. Despite each of their dresses are based on their strong character traits, they look the same to me only differentiated by the colour code. Personally I think this is also one of the worst designs…

Reach for the stars – Prizmmy manages to pull off their Prism Act of Road To Symphonia. They manage to see Aira but she isn’t leaving as she is enthralled by its light that reaches the end of the universe. Yup, that’s where she wants to be. Not sure what scary vortex scared Prizmmy away and return to reality. The results are very close but MARs ultimately won (Kintarou isn’t happy because there is a rival Symphonia Dress to match his originals and MARs didn’t evolve to the next stage as he anticipated). Oh no. Prizmmy now under Symphonia Corporation? All up to you now, Puretty…

Earth-chan – Yun-su and Shou come put all their love, heart and soul ain giving Puretty a Pretty Remake. It’s got all the elements that makes up Mother Earth like the land, sea, star, sun and sky. Uhm, don’t they all look the same except for the different colour code?

Reach for the end of the universe – Puretty is able to reach Aira. But with them combining their spirit, love and friendship, they take Aira to the end of the universe. So amazing that it brings Aira back to her senses. I guess this means with their superior designs, it is Kintarou’s loss. And now everybody goes back to Pretty Top. Yeah, the loosest contract ever.

It’s all about the money – Kintarou being the sore loser, reveals how the Prism Shows were all about the money. He shows proof of all the buyouts that made Asechi a Prism Queen. WTF?! You think anybody cares?! Wait. Everybody now hates Prism Stars?! WTF?! Even if Kintarou revealed his nefarious plans to destroy Prism Shows because Grateful Symphonia is no longer possible?!

Karma is a b*tch – Right after that, Kintarou gets a heart attack but it’s like a slap on the wrist because he still survives. It’s like as though karma was telling him to shut up instead and not rush his evil plans.

Indefinite hiatus – With negative receptions rising for Prism Stars and anything related, Asechi has put all activities on hold in order to protect the girls.

Can it! – Prizmmy thought of doing a guerrilla Prism Show to win back the audiences’ heart but unfortunately they start throwing cans. Although Mia is injured, nothing hurts her more than not doing any Prism Acts.

Love Live, Muse – Prizmmy and Puretty combine and do their Prism Act after their heartfelt speech of their love for Prism Shows. Thankfully the people are gullible so they’re back to loving them and giving them all their Fan Calls. Yeah, that was easy.

Redemption – Asechi announces that her teams will participate in Grateful Symphonia to show the limitless potential of Prism Shows. To take responsibility for all that fiasco, she will resign after this. Hence she also announces the Symphonia Selection Final. Our Prism Stars will face off in an elimination match in which the winner will be appointed the centre. Despite looking like a team format, only one person from that match will advance to the final.

MARs vs Prizmmy – Aira pulls off that super amazing Aurora Rising to stun everyone. Until Mia’s dress transforms into the Symphonia Dress of Passion as she does the nebula exploding Prism Act of Passionate Symphonia. It goes without saying that Mia obtains the most Fan Calls.

Unmotivated – Apparently Hye In is worried as she is the only one whose Symphonia Dress did not evolve. Also, Serena and Kanon have lost their motivation since MARs lost. So they decide to support Kaname to become the centre.

Serenon vs Puretty – Nothing really new if you ask me for Serenon. But some drama kicked up before Puretty’s turn. Seeing how awesome Serenon was, Hye In wants to quit for good! Her pals decide to support her to become the centre so she changes her mind to perform. Well what do you know? During her Prism Act, her Symphonia Dress of Starry Sky kicks in as she does the glittering nebula Prism Act of Starry Sky Symphonia. It goes without saying that Hey In gets the most Fan Calls. Yeah, those wearing those legendary Symphonia Dress seem to be the winners…

Rivals or friends? – I know Mia and Hye In will face off with each other in the finals but must they choose between both? Can’t they just to the cliché and pick both? Because of that, both stay away from each other and their friends and do some reflection of their past with each other before getting over it and doing their best. Drama for nothing.

Mia vs Hey In – Their Prism Act is so awesome that it takes them back to their past as they dig up their time capsule meant for each other in real time and in front of everyone to see! I mean, really?! Such a great performance that the audiences are silent! They can’t decide who to pick as the winner! So leaving it up to God?

Not really related – Guess what? In another twist, it is revealed Jun and Asechi are not siblings! Kei narrates after Asechi left and she was heartbroken, she met baby Jun and her parents at the park. Subsequently they were killed in an accident and Kei felt the need to take care of Jun as the only survivor as some sort of assurance and proof she still loved her daughter. So Jun is like her substitute child?

Back to Buenos Aires – The stage for Grateful Symphonia because apparently that’s where the goddess of Prism Shows resides.

Goodbye seems to be the hardest word – When Michelle tells Puretty that they’ll be going back to Korea to make their debut after Grateful Symphonia, Mia doesn’t like this one bit. She becomes selfish and stubborn because she doesn’t want to part with Hye In. So what does she do? She runs away! Her logic is that everyone will be together if the show isn’t over. WTF?! Eventually she is found and brought out of her hiding after Hye In says some really touching words. It brought Mia to tears and shocks everyone because she apologizes. Never expected that from her, eh? So contagious that everyone too starts crying and hugging.

Awakening of Symphonia – It seems the road to the finals are divided into several stages. So it begins with Mia and Hye In as the main characters going through a journey as they meet other characters who show them the way. This is one big messed up fantasy if you ask me. Uh huh. The longest Prism Show ever. It also seems this entire show is displayed throughout the world. Just look up to the sky and watch the free show.

Live drama – Heck, we even take a detour to settle the love triangle between Aira, Shou and Yun-su. We see the guys in their princely outfit in a sword fight. It’s like they’re saying all the things they have wanted to say to each other all the time. Long story short, Shou wins because he is able to say all the right things. Even more so when Aira confesses she loves him and together they are able to love the world again. A big cheesy crap if you ask me but at least this puts to rest the love triangle. Phew. Now can we move on?

Emotional Mia – Not sure how Kintarou managed to interrupt and try to stop the duo. Mia’s Prizmmy friends rope in to help them push through but at their own expense. This turns Mia into an emotional wreck. No more selfish Mia? Friends over being number one? I guess we need some emotional drama to ramp it up as we approach the final.

Turn to the dark side of reality – Thanks to that, Mia is not interested to become the centre because she realizes becoming number one is not worth at the expense of her friends. Yeah, took you almost an entire year to figure that out, eh? Perhaps with this negative emotion, it allows Kintarou to disrupt and show them reality. Uhm, their despaired and fallen Prism Stars crucified on trees? Wow. This is getting dark for a show of this genre.

Rebuttal – Mia isn’t going to have all that negative sh*t from Kintarou so she tells him off about his boring life and tells everyone about the bright beautiful future they will have. Mia has forgone her selfish ways and throws Hye In into the door to become the centre.

Always lonely at the top – Hye In is in some weird abstract dimension. Even though this is supposed to signify she has become the centre, she feels lonely. She wouldn’t have gotten her if not for her friends.

The power is yours – With Mia’s selflessness, everyone is so touched by it that they start spamming her with Fan Calls to power her up. This even powers up the fallen Prism Stars as they send Mia to Hye In.

Double centre – With both of them wearing tiaras, I guess even the goddess can’t decide and made them both as centres.

Flower power – With their new powers, the Prism Stars turn the entire world into one big flower field. Oh, don’t forget the butterflies! I wonder if this is vandalism. Who cares? Everybody in the whole wide world is so filled with hope to even bother the desecration of national monuments now covered in flowers.

Repentance – So powerful that Kintarou who has been complaining about he doesn’t need a future or bragging about his creations suddenly comes to see the light. With that, he comes to his senses and since everyone isn’t a dick, they forgive him. Even bad guys can be reduced to tears.

Glimpse of the future – The power has us view the characters’ possible future. Let’s say they are all bright and happy. I want to note that Itsuki becomes a successful doctor and this means he didn’t continue being a gay pair to Yong Hwa. And with that, the longest Prism Show comes to an end. Phew. Good riddance.

Happily married ever after – Finally a wedding ceremony for Rhythm and Hibiki.

Marry me – Guess what? Jun proposes to Asechi! Now I see why…

Leaving – Wow. So many people leaving. Yun-su is leaving for Paris and Yong Hwa will follow him. So this this mean the end of their gay Love & Mix relationship? Well, Itsuki hints if he becomes a sports doctor, he can follow him around. Gay hug! Shou and Aira leave for New York. As promised, Asechi quits her post and doesn’t care about money anymore. She leaves Pretty Top in Mion’s care. Of course we have Puretty leaving back to Korea.

Last goodbye – Big goodbye means big tears and big hugs, right? You tend to believe it because Mia is crying. Heck, even Pengin and Vivvy reconcile.

A place we’ll always meet – No, it isn’t the internet that will connect Prizmmy and Puretty. As long as they do Prism Jumps and Prism Acts together, they’ll meet each other in that fantasy dimension!

Always be number one – I think that’s a wrap, folks.

Tales Of Symphonia
And so the world continues to revel and be happy with our Prism Stars performing at their best. Bravo. Now not only Japan but Korea too will have their very own Prism Stars. Yeah, it looks like the only places in the world producing Prism Stars. Not America. Not China. Not Europe. I believe that Prizmmy and Puretty are so good at their game that they should do Prism Shows in each other’s country. Why is it only in Japan that they could do Prism Shows? Isn’t it an international event that everybody just literally looked up to the stars when they watched the Grateful Symphonia? That way they could always visit each other and never felt that they have said goodbye to each other. Or better, shouldn’t they just all combine into 1 big group and give AKB48 a run for their money? Oh right. AKB48 can’t do Prism Jumps…

Fortunately or unfortunately, this season doesn’t actually make me feel like a little girl. Maybe I have been numbed throughout the years watching a number of controversial themed anime series so watching this doesn’t affect me. Furthermore, this season might have come out back in 2012, which isn’t a long time but in anime years, that feels like so if you’re watching at this point in time. So yeah, while this series is definitely aimed at teenage girls (just watch enough of the end segment Pretty Rhythm Studio and you’ll know what I mean), it isn’t just exclusive confined to that age group and demographic. I mean, if yours truly can even watch it, it has got to be one of the ‘safest’ animes to watch out there, right? Hey, don’t be surprised to know there are a lot of guys out there who like that rebooted version of My Little Pony.

As I have said this series is mainly aimed for teenage and young girls, looking at the overall storyline and plot at this age makes it feel cheesy and generic. After all, what else could you do when you have a bunch of Prism Stars jumping around on stage? It follows some sort of pattern that feels really similar to the first issue. Some issues here and there and there is nothing that could fix it by having a Prism Show at the end. And then for the climax, we have the generic one dimensional ‘bad guy’ trying to ruin it all but with the help of friendship and Prism power, a happy ending is much guaranteed. I wonder if these kind of stories would resonate with younger audiences these days.

I figure that the production of this season came during a time that the K-pop wave was enchanting the world with its sexy dance choreographs, artificial Korean beauty and manufactured K-pop music. That’s why we have quite a number of Korean characters in this series. Otherwise, why no other nationalities? So it turns out that Puretty in the anime also has a real life version. Yup, those are real Koreans because you can tell that their Japanese are not as fluent as their anime counterparts. But ganbatte. They’re definitely getting there.

It seems Pretty Top is the only company that produces the best Prism Stars out there. Because all the while, we see only their girls performing in competitions. Yes, there are other Prism Stars (and weirdly named too) but they are all quickly side-lined and you’ll never hear from them again. It’s like Pretty Top has a monopoly over the Prism Shows and they could just host and organize any performance they want because Asechi knows that her girls will win and definitely bring in the dough. So is nobody getting bored that Pretty Top’s girls are owning the scene? Why the heck would they? They are so enthralled with the same thing and having fun, so why bother with something new?

This brings me to talk about the Prism Shows and the likes. They are bloody repetitive. Uh huh. Just like in the first season. It is very so at the beginning since the songs are pretty limited. Hence in every episode that is guaranteed to have a Prism Show, we see the girls dancing to the same tune and even to the same dance moves. Sometimes they just change positions or outfits but overall they are the same. Heck, even the audiences who cheer and give their Fan Calls are recycled scenes! It makes me wonder if these people have no life and will only attend Prism Shows. As the series progresses and more songs are introduced (especially during the shuffled units), we get a little bit variety but overall, they’re still performing the same thing over and over again. Have a new song? Spam it to the max until we get a new one!

Also, the same Prism Shows, Prism Acts and Prism Jumps sometimes feel like one big drug fuelled fantasy. Uh huh. Because the appeal of all this in the end is for the girls doing something so out of this world. I mean, swimming with the dolphins? Riding on a lion? And flying through the universe?! Man, it is getting ridiculous by the moment. Exaggeration is an understatement. I still don’t see what’s so special about it even if all of this are just special effects. But since they’re magically showing it from their hearts, it must be real, right? So if you think last season’s Prism Jumps were pretty exaggerated, you’re in for more this season. Still, personally the Prism shows are like one big form of ecstasy hiding behind the name of entertainment. No wonder people aren’t getting bored. But will they eventually die of overdose? Heck no. I believe the audiences have this herd mentality. They are also unable to think for themselves. When Rhythm and Hibiki announced their engagement, they became mad. For no reason. And when Pretty Top’s units were being transferred to Symphonia Corporation, nobody bats an eyelid. Sure, they voted for the better Prism Show but do they not realize what they have done? And when everything is alright, they also share the laughter. Whatever.

Okay, I’m not going to delve too deep into the characters because as I can see, they’re made for this genre so there has to be that friendship kind of thingy. Mia being the loudest, always in her own pace, the troublemaker and the one who proclaims she will always be number eventually realizes that she is nothing without her friends. With Prizmmy and Puretty being the stars of this season, it feels like too many of them. Although each of them have a few dedicated episodes, it is nothing that deep. Because at the end of the day, their friendship and Prism Star status will always save the day.

I wonder what happened to Callings? I don’t remember them retiring from the scene but with Shou being the solo guy, it makes me wonder what happened to Hibiki and Wataru. While we know that Hibiki is married to Rhythm, what about Wataru? I thought he was into Mion? Yeah, I guess becoming her deputy at Pretty Top is the only thing we’ll remember him by. But even so, these 2 guys were sorely missing during the Grateful Symphonia arc. At least when Aira turned to the dark side, these 2 were nowhere to be seen. I mean, Hibiki’s wife just went over to the other side, does he not have anything to say or do? It’s like they’ve forgotten about them because even if they somehow appear more often, what role could they possibly helm? Because this season we want to have that cheesy love triangle distraction between Aira, Shou and Yun-su so better not let the other guys get in the way or it might look unfair and disadvantageous even though that sounds ridiculous.

I also noticed that Pengin, Yamada and Pair Cheer Mascots looked like they are going to appear decently enough but during the arc of Aira’s defection, they too are missing. So what happened to them too? I thought all of Pretty Top was going to rally and help her but Pengin being one of the most important top wigs (pun intended) of Pretty Top, shouldn’t he be there? Of course their characters are more for comic relief and during such ‘tense’ moments, their funny appearances might just ruined the mood and confuse people. I also feel the Pair Charms are just useless and are there for the cute and kawaii effect. They just help to transform Prizmmy into their outfits and that is about it. I still feel that it’s unfair for Puretty to get one but I guess having a talking one offsets the quantity. Besides, I feel Vivvy’s existence is for Pengin to have a comedic rival in which the bird will lose most of the time. Mammals > birds.

A few more characters to comment. I don’t even understand why they need to have that revelation that Jun is not Asechi’s real sister. Like, how does this even affect the entire story? I guess we need something shocking from this guy who continues to speak in dramatic enigmatic lines. Oh right. So that we could put an end to Asechi’s eternal curse of ever landing a man. I see what they did there. Damn plot convenience. Now that they are no longer siblings I guess they can legally f*ck each other. Oops, I mean date and marry each other. I can’t believe nobody could see Bonby’s real identity as Kintarou. I had a hunch when Kintarou’s name was first mentioned. When you see that fake afro emcee having that typical scheming face, you know something is wrong. But I keep wondering if in the early episodes, shady characters that closely resemble and sound like him are Bonby in disguise. After all, he supposedly set up things that led to Grateful Symphony. I believe Asechi was too blinded by money to even tell he was her father and Jun wasn’t even that smart to guess. I mean, nobody checked his fake resume and the likes? Kei and Myeong Ja also feel inadequate like as though they are there just to fill in and connect some of the plot. Otherwise you see them hang around and it is pretty odd especially for Kei, you hear her spouting some negative lines just to prop up some drama.

Kintarou is just a one dimensional villain who decides to take out his own issues because of his failed dream. In short, if he can’t have it, nobody will. That’s why you hear him spout all those crappy lines about having no future. Sure, you don’t want to have a future that’s fine by yourself. But must you impose it on others and ruin the fun? Unfortunately for him, he didn’t die a hero and lived long enough to become a villain ;p. Not sure about his sanity at the end because the last montage shows him living a simple farm life although he still retains bits of his madness. I keep wondering why Yong Hwa’s character is necessary and the only reason is to have some gay scenes with Itsuki because Callings are like no more and it is more of a jealous rivalry between Shou and Yun-su. Otherwise, Yong Hwa is pretty much a useless character and is to give a little Prism Show variety with Love & Mix. Come to think of it, that name even sounds so gay… And now that they’ve somewhat disbanded, will it be Yun-su x Yong Hwa! And in Paris, the city love!

I also need to mention a bit on the real Prizmmy. If last season they were training to become a proper idol unit, this season we mostly see them doing mini contests of their own in which they accumulate points throughout and the winner gets to record her own solo song. I’ll spoil it, it’s Karin. After all, I feel that among all her peers, she is the most natural and cheerful. So hats off to her. Is it me or is Mia the weakest? Like in, almost everything. Such a big contrast from the anime Mia. Of course she won some mini contests like the rest too. Other than having mini contests, we also see them visit places as well as hanging out with Puretty. They too sometimes report their activities back in Korea so it’s a little nice change in pace. Oh right, don’t forget the blatant advertising to sell their Pretty Rhythm merchandises and products. So check out their website, ne!

As in its previous seasons, part of charm are the songs. Some of the songs are quite nice too. Like Cheki Love by Puretty (also serving as the second ending theme). Even though this song is overflowing with girlishness and cuteness, I can’t find myself to dislike it. Heck, I am even addicted to singing its very cute lines! Simple and cute! Oh sh*t. Can’t get that song out of my head! Yeah, it really exudes all the typical elements for a K-pop. While Shuwa Shuwa Baby also by Puretty (fourth ending theme) also has the same sentiments, it is not as catchy as Cheki Love. But still, it is quite a nice and catchy piece in its own right.

The best one from Prizmmy is Dear My Future ~Mirai No Jibun E~ (first opening theme) which is aptly the theme of the series if you ask me. The rest from Prizmmy are rather okay. Like Brand New World (second opening) has a mix of hip hop and rap, the same with Body Rock (third ending) but has auto-tune as well as Panpina (fourth opening) but with special effects, My Transform (second ending) has an edgy techno pop beat. Life Is A Miracle ~Ikiterutte Subarashii~ (third opening) is the only one of the themes not sung by the real Prizmmy but the anime Prizmmy. Sounds generic idol pop if you ask me. Personally, the worst song is Thank You (also worst named) by P&P. I don’t know, each time I hear this, my hair stands on ends. Cheer! Yeah~ X2 by Cosmos doesn’t resonate with me as I have this feeling it is a song better sung on/by Love Live. Out of all the shuffled units, I suppose Mirage Jet by Sprouts sounds better because of its jazzy theme.

As you might have noticed, the anime version of Prizmmy is voiced by people. Professional seiyuus in fact. This is better because the real ones you can hear their voices aren’t really trained even during the Pretty Rhythm Studio segment you can hear the obvious difference. Sure, they are good at singing but when it comes to normal conversation you can tell they’re not trained for voice acting. Handling their Prizmmy counterparts are Rumi Okubo as Mia (Astolfo in Fate/Apocrypha), Natsumi Takamori as Reina (Mei in Another) and Minami Tsuda as Karin (Yui in YuruYuri). Shockingly I never realized that Ayane Sakura was behind Ayami. She sounds too shy for me to recognize. Or maybe I wasn’t really paying attention. Better start taking notes to note how she actually sounds in this shy mode. Memo, memo…

Even the Puretty side has professional seiyuus because otherwise you could hear their Korean accent in it. I wasn’t sharp enough so I didn’t realize the one who voiced Kaname, Serena and Kanon also voiced Hye In, Jae Eun and Chae Kyoung respectively. As for So Min, she is voiced by Marie Miyake (Ringo in Mawaru Penguindrum). Shi Yoon is voiced by an actual Japan born Korean, Kim Hyang Ri. If there was something familiar about the ridiculous screaming and liveliness in Bonby’s voice, it is because it is Shigeru Chiba and I still remember him voicing such characters like One Piece’s Buggy, Sasuke in Ranma 1/2 and Yotsuya of Maison Ikkoku. Yong Hwa is voiced by Minami Takayama (titular character in Detective Conan series) and Noriko Hidaka playing Myeong Ja (Kikyo in Inu Yasha).

Oh well, looks like this is it for me. My journey for the Pretty Rhythm series ends here. Phew? Big relief? Because this series is still going on strong in Japan with ongoing spin-offs even until this day. Are they going to have idols using instruments in the next season as seen in the preview? I won’t be there to find out. So forget about the third and fourth seasons (Pretty Rhythm Rainbow Live and Pretty Rhythm All Star Selection respectively), because there’s that PriPara spin-offs that are entirely a whole series of its own. This is like the idol version of Pretty Cure (another old series I once watched at the beginning but then stopped watching eventually). I bet it is going to be more of the same. Introduce a new budding character with great dreams. There are her new friends and other characters into the mix as well. Old returning characters make their cameo and they all can happily dance, sing and jump on stage to give us that ultimate entertainment. I guess I’ll just stick to ecchi high school romances. They’re a safer bet and my form of entertainment. Damn I have no future…

Love Live! Sunshine!! S2

April 21, 2018

Seeing that the ultimate goal of saving their school wasn’t accomplished yet, that is why we need to have another season of Love Live! Sunshine!! S2. Another reason for us to keep up with one of our favourite anime idol groups and for hardcore fans to get hyped and salivate over their favourite girls prancing and dancing on stage. Can Aqours do it this time? They better. Or else we would need to have another season…

Episode 1
It is the new school term and Chika is already running late. Meanwhile Mari addresses her fellow students that Aqours failed to make it to the nationals but thanks to everyone’s effort, they manage to keep the school open. However there is more good news as there is another Love Live competition announced. But their goal now is to find a way to increase the enrolment numbers of Uranohoshi before finding their own way to shine. As they go about their daily lives, Kanan notices Mari acting stranger than her usual strange. It is revealed that Mari’s father has decided to cancel the open house that is supposed to be the draw to attract more students to enrol at Uranohoshi. This means Uranohoshi will not be taking applicants for the next year. Mari tried persuading him but he will not budge. Guess what? Chika wants to go talk to him personally now?! He is in America… Naturally with nothing more they can do, they can only imagine in gloom doom fashion had they won Love Live then. So we see Chika doing her usual bumming-cum-pondering until she gets her baseless confidence back to create a miracle. Guess what? The other Aqours members too have the same idea. They’re not giving up yet. They’re going to shine together.

Episode 2
Mari once more tries to convince her father. Even though his stance remained unchanged, unless they can bring in 100 new students, he might budge. So far they only have 10. Well, doesn’t look far, right? Only 90 more to go… Discussing about the new Love Live preliminaries, a rule is that a new song must be sung. So they’re racking their brains to come up with 2 new songs. One for Love Live and the other for the open house. Instead of putting pressure on a single person to write the songs, it is suggested they split into groups. The second years will be writing one and the seniors and juniors will be writing the other. The latter group heads for Mari’s luxurious seaside mansion and end up having fun instead of doing any work. Too tempting… Dia puts her foot down and has the venue change to hers. No fun… We see that both the juniors and seniors have very different tastes in music. So much so Chika is called to intervene because they are at odds over the kind of song they want to write! Seeing that trust is important, it is suggested they do bonding stuffs. Again we see their different tastes. The seniors are more of the outdoor type while the juniors prefer indoor activities. I guess the only true way for all Japanese people of different walks of life to bond is the bath. It certainly feels good but they hardly make any progress. As they leave, it starts raining so they take nearby shelter in a temple. Cue for jump scares… No progress still but then the roof starts leaking as they place pots, plates and pans to catch the leak. This is when it hit them. The different drops come together as one big harmony. That’s the motivation they need to come together. Coincidence or not, both sides finish their song.

Episode 3
More trouble for Aqours. Mari gets a call that the open house will be delayed a week due to the rain as the storm wreak havoc damaging the roads. Chika, it is not okay because this clashes with your Love Live preliminaries! Although held at different times, they discuss the possible travel methods after finishing one. Helicopter? Mari doesn’t want to ask her father for help since they have to do this by themselves. Luxurious liner? Whoever has this kind of cruise ship? The bus is the only possible solution but with a condition: They must go first in the preliminaries as the next bus is in 3 hours. And so all of them have to decide who should take the draw for the preliminaries. Yoshiko wants to do it but others view she has more bad luck than any other. Eventually she ‘defeats’ Dia in a rock-scissors-paper game. Behold her amazing luck! Aqours will perform as number… 24! That’s right in the middle! Hence the girls are now divided to just perform in either one. Of course nobody wants that as they want both. Can a miracle happen? Apparently Chika hits upon a great idea. Tangerines? After Aqours perform in their stylish kimono clad outfit at the preliminaries, all of them start making a dash across the mountain! OMG! Are they going to run all the way?! Not exactly. It seems in the mountains, Chika’s classmate runs a tangerine farm. They can ride some rail machine that is used to pick tangerines. I don’t know if Aqours riding it feels like overcrowding. What the heck? A turtle is faster than this machine! Then Kanan breaks a handle. It now becomes a roller coaster ride. Then they make the rest of their way by foot and manage to awe everyone at the open house. Wow. They really have so much energy after all that running. They can even perform like normal with all the energetic moves and smile. Truly idols. Truly a miracle. Truly crap…?

Episode 4
Everyone except Chika is nervous about the preliminaries’ result. That’s because they did so wonderfully that there’s nothing to worry about. Good for her. And the results are in. They pass! But of course. But here comes the real problem now. They lack the funds that would take them all the way to Tokyo. Just a stinking 5 Yen left. Of course the best next course is to work part time (sorry, Mari is not lending her fortune) but Dia scoffs off that old fashion way and suggests a flea market. It seems she has an ulterior motive. Noticing everyone is closer to Kanan and Mari, Dia too is ‘jealous’ she wants to get closer to them. At the flea market, Chika gives in to cute puppy dog eyes of little girls to sell dirt cheap while Dia makes it a hard bargain and will not sell below the listed price. Yeah, they didn’t sell much anyway. With Chika noticing something is wrong with Dia, she talks to Kanan about it. So Kanan and Mari go bug what’s bugging her. Eventually she reveals it and they couldn’t stop laughing. So at this day job at the zoo, Dia tries to be nice to everyone but they think she is mad and is suspicious of her goody behaviour. Is this really Dia? To avoid more confusion, Kanan and Mari tell the rest the deal. Somehow kindergarten girls are being let loose running all over the place. The girls can’t control them. Some even weep. Even Ruby?! And then Dia takes control of the situation and in her nicest behaviour rounds up all the girls to behave. Wow. At the end of the day, Dia feels dejected she couldn’t achieve what she wanted to but Chika tells her how everyone loves Dia for being strict with them when they slack because it makes them secure. They hope she will always stay that way. Don’t come complaining when she starts scolding the next round…

Episode 5
Riko still has fears of dogs. Especially Chika’s pet, Shiitake. One day, after Yoshiko’s mom visits Yoshiko’s mom, she left her handphone behind. She wants Riko to go return it to her but along the way Riko stumbles into Yoshiko feeding a stray dog. Yoshiko has it chase Riko around! Riko knew this was coming but Yoshiko wants her to temporarily keep this dog as her place doesn’t allow apartments. It seems the other girls will have their reasons too. So her logic is to keep it safe in one’s place who has phobia of dogs? Riko is forced to accept seeing Yoshiko has the dog chase her again. It gets a little awkward for Riko trying to feed it in her room but gets used to it. Then when Yoshiko comes by to claim it, Riko now wants it to stay?! She won’t give it back?! They end up arguing about it including the different name they have given it. It is like fate intervenes because Riko’s mom shows a poster of a missing dog. The dog is rightfully returned and the duo are depressed ever since. Heck, they are in perfect sync depressed. Yoshiko doesn’t accept this outcome and comes up with a conspiracy theory that the owner is fake! She is going to get the dog back! Riko tags along as she feels responsible for it somehow. Outside the owner’s doorstep, the moment the owner pops up, they run and hide. You mean they are going to wait there as long as it takes until the dog appears? We hear Yoshiko and her views as a fallen angel, destiny and unseen power. She might act like chuunibyou but she is also pretty perceptive of reality. She knows all those aren’t real but also accepts them. When the dog finally appears, it looks like it doesn’t remember them as it goes back in the house. I guess that ended it. I guess that’s destiny for them. Riko looks like she has overcome her dog phobia and is able to touch Shiitake. Talk about unseen power and dreams that are more than just coincidences. I don’t know. At least she learnt something from Yoshiko.

Episode 6
Time is running out. They don’t have many applicants and only a month left till the deadline. With the looming preliminaries of Love Live, there are websites trying to predict who would make it. Yeah, Aqours name is surely there. This time the polls will decide who advance to the finals. While it may do away with the anxiety of waiting for results, however this means the number of supporters you have determine your fate. How many students are enrolled at Uranohoshi again? Huge disadvantage. Because of that, Mari and Dia are bugging Kanan to resort using their last chance which is some dance choreography she came up. Kanan still has her doubts since Mari injured herself the last time. She throws away her notebook into the see but Mari jumps in to save it. See her resolve? Because Chika also feels the need to shine more than other groups, Kanan’s choreography comes to mind. Another round of bugging. If they don’t use it now, when will they? Kanan is not amused but decides to put her trust in her. But if it ever becomes risky, she will stop her even if it means dropping out of Love Live. So we see Chika trying her best to practice those moves but comes up short. Of course the usual flashback and motivation why she pushed so hard like everyone else. Even her pals come to support her. Don’t cry now. Keep trying. Close, but still not close enough so Kanan had to give her a final warning if she cannot pull it off by next morning, she’ll forget about doing it. Yeah, she’s going to take the whole night then… With more support from her friends, they remind her the most important person she is doing this for. She named everyone except herself. Yup. That’s it. Because of Chika, they are where they are now. And what are the chances Chika could pull off that move? Because now we see them performing perfectly at the preliminaries.

Episode 7
The results are out. Only the top 3 make it to the finals. And who are they? Drum roll please… Let’s say Aqours not only made it but they won the most votes!!! Thank goodness this isn’t some trolling dream. It is no surprise their view count on the internet keeps rising. But the real test is here. Do they have enough enrolment? Nope. Deadline is looming. Mari calls papa and he only gives her a mere few hours of extension. That’s like 5am in the morning, right? But right after that, the enrolment slowly rises. And then stops. This is like heart attack for them. Chika is so desperate to force invite others and even do a concert now! At this dead of the night? All you can do is believe in yourself. Yeah, believe. I guess shouting to the computer screen won’t change things either. Or screaming to the rising sun. But can a miracle happen? Because 98 enrolments and a minute left to the deadline. Come on… Come on! Suddenly applications are closed. Damn it! So close! On a side note, I want to know who the f*ck enrols during the dead hours?! Unless they’re foreigners, why would any Japanese kid be looking at the site and enrolling at this point?! Unless they are having haunted dreams to enrol or else… Damn drama… Anyway, everyone is frustrated. Especially Chika. Oh, if hard work could only guarantee victory. In the wake of this ‘defeat’, an announcement is made that the school will be absorbed to Numazu. So while everyone is putting up a brave front and try to practice because they still got the finals to win, Chika had to ruin it for everyone and cry. Okay. Nobody is in the mood either. They need some time to think if they really want to participate in the finals for the seniors, it isn’t that important. Eventually everyone believes they still want to participate. Damn you Chika for ruining things again because she doesn’t care about Love Live or their own way to shine. Without the school, there is no way to shine. I guess she complained so loud that the entire school could hear and hence give their answer to support them. They want Aqours to win the finals and cement Uranohoshi’s name as part of Love Live’s history. That is one way to save it and live forever. Not bad idea, right? New motivation, new hype. Let’s get to it.

Episode 8
Aqours is invited to Hakodate in Hokkaido as a special guests to watch the region’s Love Live preliminaries. A few antics of staying warm from the cold and keeping their balance on the wet icy ground… Before the performance begins, they go visit Saint Snow at the backstage. They renew their rivalry with the sisters, Seira and Ria to meet at the finals. Funny, it felt like a jinx because Saint Snow didn’t make the cut! It seems they made a single mistake during their act. Tough luck. Understandably Saint Snow isn’t in any mood but it is affecting Aqours too? Especially Ruby? Yeah, they heard Saint Snow were fighting and made a mistake in their last tournament too. Is this the end of them? Aqours go sightseeing and then stumble into the shop where Saint Snow works and lives. Not sure why Ruby was snooping around but she caught Ria crying in her room. Oh no. Death threats if you tell it to others. Ria then announces Saint Snow is through. She is done with anything that is idol. Later Aqours ponder about Saint Snow’s fate but Ruby seems to be the hardest hit. Because you know, big sister thingy. She almost reveals about Ria’s crying and instead ran away crying herself. WTF. Dia talks to her and it seems Ruby is worried they won’t get to sing together anymore once Dia graduates. She doesn’t want to be alone. Dia tries to be realistic. The school is closing down anyway but don’t think too much about it because focusing on the finals is what is most important. Dia was very happy when Ruby told her she wanted to become a school idol as she thought and decided it on her own. Later Ruby personally goes talk to Ria. Sounds more like reinforcement of their love for their respective big sisters. Ria too is worried about showing to Seira she is independent but screwed it up and now it has become their last song. Ruby tells her not to make it so then as she takes her to sing under the beautiful lighted up Christmas tree.

Episode 9
Ruby wants to do a performance with Ria for Seira and Dia but she needs Hanamaru and Yoshiko’s help. The quartet try to brainstorm things but since more time is needed, they get ‘permission’ to stay back while the other Aqours members take their flight home. Kanan and Mari make Dia paranoid that those young ones are definitely hiding something from them. Like as they they’re going to split from Aqours and form a new unit. Herald Saint Aqours Snow! Oh my, Dia panicked and almost caused the air stewardess to think if it’s some terrorist attack or something. The trio are in Ria’s room. They notice a snowflake crystal on her shelf. Ria explains the story how it was the symbol that made them form Saint Snow. Once they are done writing their song and lyrics, not sure what audition they had to go through so they could approve their event. Nervous, but I’m sure all that love and tears are worth it. They even make their announcement via radio broadcast. Probably the slipping up is what made it memorable. Ria seems to be hiding from a couple of classmates whom she never had the courage to talk to. Apparently she thinks they are upset for losing out on Love Live preliminaries. Yeah, with those faces I can see why… But it turns out they aren’t and are supportive of her and Seira. Wow. Sudden strike of friendship. More tears flowing… Aqours are soon called back to Hakodate. Is this just an elaborate setup so the younger sisters could give their older sisters an invitation to their event? Of course big sisters won’t miss it for the world. Time for a sisterly hug. And more tears… Looks like Aqours have also prepared a surprise and hint their new outfits are prepared. So we get to see the collaborated performance of Aqours and Saint Snow. If it was a surprise, why are they so well coordinated? Okay, maybe they had some little time to practice. In the aftermath, Ria makes up with Seira. Ria won’t keep Saint Snow going and will start a new group and find a different snowflake (why does this sound so politically incorrect?). She’ll make a school idol group that everyone can love.

Episode 10
Flashback shows a young Mari, Kanan and Dia went up to some stargazing site to make a wish on the star. Too bad God wasn’t on their side as it is cloudy and it is starting to rain. Mari was on the verge of giving up till Kanan marked the star chart for reference so that they could have their wish to stay together always. It is New Year’s Day. Saint Snow is here to help Aqours in their training. I guess this is the only way they could keep their relevance. Mari gets a call to be the director at Numazu as it would help ease the transition process. She declines since she is going to an Italian university recommended by her dad. Hence the reminder, she has 3 months left with them. Oh why do you need to trigger those worries and sadness for Chika? A little soul searching as Chika has to come to terms with reality. Mari thought Kanan and Dia would be mad at her for not telling about her plans. They aren’t because they too have their own plans and didn’t tell anyone. Now they’re even. More childhood flashbacks of them being together. One that includes Mari threatening to disown her parents if she didn’t get to hang out with the duo. They must love their daughter so much. The star chart brings back memories. Yup, even it gets cloudy and rains. They start ‘blaming’ each other but eventually Mari blames God! He is trying to not make their wish come true?! If that’s the case, she will disown Him! WTF?! That night, the trio have an idea. They gather the rest of the Aqours. Mari in the driver’s seat? Don’t worry. She’s got a valid licence. Her driving’s fine. I hope. Where to in this night trip? To see the stars. I know this series has some exaggerations but this one is totally ridiculous because we see the van flying into the night sky into the stars!!! OMFG!!!! I figure they must be high on drugs to see this illusion. At the site, looks like it’s raining. Again. Their wish is to one day be together again. So they’re going to stay here till it clears up? Haha! Or else they’ll disown God! Haha! Hahaha!!! You think the sky is going to listen to you? Haha! Haha~… Oh my… God must now be an Aqours fan because he clears it up for them???!!! Freaking miracle???!!! Is God scared of being disowned by a few cute girls? Oh yeah. So scared that he showered a few shooting stars for them to make several wishes. Now wanna bet He is going to make them win Love Live?

Episode 11
Uranohoshi prepares for its closing festival. The highlights include Mari trying to cook some premium nabe and some of Aqours see a couple of strange walrus mascots running by. Tracking them down, they suddenly disappear! Oh my. Ghosts? Still want to continue investigating in this dark storeroom? Why don’t they turn on the lights? Anyway they see the bed sheet moving and the culprit revealed underneath it is Shiitake? When the walrus duo pop up for real, it scares the sh*t out of the dog as it now rampages throughout the school. Why must it break down the arch that took lots of time and effort to put up? Anyway, Dia gives them an earful despite Chika giving explanation that Mito was walking Shiitake but the leash got loose. It is discovered that Kanan and You are behind the mascots and they are supposed to put on some show for kids for the festival. However if You has been fixing the arch, who is the one behind this mascot? NOTHING! OMFG! Real ghost???!!! The festival proceeds well. Highlights include Dia putting up a Love Live quiz and Yoshiko and Hanamaru ‘forcing’ Chika to come take a fortune because no customers. The biggest surprise for everybody is a bunch of girls release an arch made completely out of balloons to thank everyone for everything. Then they release it all to the sky. What a waste. Wouldn’t this be air pollution? What will the next prefecture say when they see balloons flying over? Oh, who cares? This is their last festival and since everyone is happy, let’s turn a blind eye. The festival ends with the students having a bonfire dance. Then Mari makes her final statement as Uranohoshi’s director. Happiness. Thank you. Emotional apology. You know the drill. But with everyone chanting Aqours’ name, everyone turns into a giant choir team and sings together. Wow. Did they sing until the wood becomes charcoal?

Episode 12
I wonder why Chika still holds that previous results sheet that has Aqours in dead last place with zero voters? Anyway, Aqours are off to the shrine to pray for their victory. They are glad to see many of their friends too have written their wish for them to win. But why the sad face when they see that there are also many other fans vouching for other idol groups to win? It’s not like they’re the only group in town, right? But this must be the only shrine in town because the board is filled with only idol victory wishes. Saint Snow is also there to personally give their blessing. Seira asks Chika if she wants to win Love Live. I thought that was a silly question even if Chika asked her previously this same question. As they stay in their inn, they are obviously nervous and pressured to win Love Live to etch Uranohoshi’s name in history. You eases the tension by having a pillow fight! We see Chika going about asking some of Aqours about why they want to win. Again, I thought it’s a silly question but I guess we need to ramp up some emotions from the viewers as they give their personal honest answers. Mostly, it’s got to do with love and pride of being part of Aqours. Of course everybody wants to win! Which team ever goes to the finals and wants to lose?! Silly! So throw away that old results sheet and chart your own path. Anyway, the next day, the big finals is on the cards. One last hurrah from Aqours to hype things up that they have come this far and all that is left is victory. From zero to one, from one to the future. Go, Aqours! We see them in their heavenly performance on stage.

Episode 13
From the banner at the start… Aqours won Love Live! Hooray! End of story. Oh wait. There’s still more? Oh right. Proper closure needed. So we see the students ‘vandalizing’ Uranohoshi walls with paints of positive messages because apparently this is their last day so it gives them the right. Then a final assembly and Mari’s last speech to officially close the school. Then everyone goes around reminiscing their times. Tears flow. Last moments together. More tears. Finally the closing of the gate in which Aqours have the honours to do so for more tears effect. Oh Chika, why make promises that you can’t keep. Because why tell everyone not to cry when everybody is already so into that? In the aftermath, spring is around the corner. The most shocking revelation is Riko is no longer afraid of dogs and has adopted one! And Shiitake has pups now. Shiitake is female?! Chika bums around at the beach. So apparently she gets to keep the banner and puts it out on the beach as it is the best place for everyone to see? Why not on some tall building? Whatever. Then with some encouragement from her family it isn’t like her to give up, Chika throws a paper airplane in which at the gust of her yell, it really flies ridiculously far as Chika chases after it. Oh, like fate playing a prank because it leads her back to Uranohoshi. Hmm… The gate is open… Chika walks around and reminisces all the things she and her pals have done in that particular corner of the school. So nostalgic that damn she’s crying now. What did I tell you about not making such promises? At the hall, she is shocked to see all the students waiting for her and on stage, other Aqours members extending their hand for Chika to join them singing as a group. One more for the road? Man, did they really plan all this and waited for Chika to show up? And Chika not knowing a thing? Okay, I understand if it’s Chika. And they expected all this to turn out exactly as planned? Okay, not surprising if it is for Chika. Thanks for the performances. Bye.

From Sunshine To Shining Star
Oh well… You know it is not over yet because… There is a sequel! Technically, a movie. Apparently goodbye seems to be the hardest word. I mean, would this be the end of the Love Live franchise? Or will they come up with another school that needs to be saved so we can have another bunch of new girls who are ‘forced’ to form an idol group to save their school by winning Love Live? Yeah. This formula is getting old. Unless you are super hardcore fans of idol themed series and one who is so into the Love Live series, then I guess the producers have got you locked in there, milking and squeezing all the money and every penny (or yen in this case) out of you. But I suppose you people won’t mind because you love your idols more than money, right?

I figure only fans of the series and Aqours can only appreciate this sequel. Casual viewers like me would have found nothing exciting or new to the table. Though, it does have its funny moments. In the sense that it felt weird that it seemed funny. But other than that it is basically a bunch of girls becoming idols in hopes of winning and achieving their goal. But if you think the Love Live series is going to be ultimately the same, this Sunshine series is slightly different in the sense of the plot that Aqours were unable to save Uranohoshi. Unlike in the original Love Live series, Muse managed to save Otonokizaka by the end of the first season. If Aqours managed to do that even by the end of the second season, I guess it would not be any different and might as well go back and watch the original Love Live series.

Therefore it gives a much needed drama for this season for Aqours to be even more relevant and work harder to achieve that goal to save their school. Thus for this series, that is why we have Uranohoshi’s final closure as the main ‘story’ while the Love Live tournament feels relegated as secondary. It works to make the feels via separation than winning something. It hits you harder on the emotions there. Hey, this show is about Aqours, not Love Live. I really felt this scene of saving their school was ridiculous because of how unrealistically the numbers were trickling in as the deadline closes. As if it was to enhance the nail biting drama that they could do it, they could do it, and they could do it. At this point you would expect the final second saving grace moment. You know, when a hero diffuses a ticking time bomb, he usually does so with a second left on the clock. Yeah… Alas it was a heart attack and heartbreak for those really expecting for good news. They might have lost this battle but they have won others, right? So it’s not so bad after all. Hey, you can’t win everything and earn a flawless victory. Life is not that rosy despite looking at how easy and fun becoming a school idol is when it isn’t so straightforward. I know they put in a lot of effort in the background that is not shown but still, they make it look like so much fun. Maybe it is for them. After all, it’s not like they want to dominate and conquer the world, right? Or do they? The other ridiculous part was ‘flying to the moon’. I know, exaggeration but really, that was too much.

Fans would be familiar with the members in Aqours especially if you have a favourite girl. This season does focus on some of them but not all of them. I feel the second years like Chika and You are mainly on the side lines while the juniors and the seniors have more limelight and screen time. There is not much changes to the characters either since Yoshiko (or is it Yohane?) is still acting like a chuunibyou, Hanamaru speaking in her weird accent and Ruby still being the shy and most timid of them all. I guess the biggest ‘change’ is Riko overcoming her dog phobia. No more Shiitake chase running joke? Okay then. Good for her. I still maintain Chika as the most annoying of them all because of her tendency to drag others into her own pace. Despite all that sunshine and super optimism, it becomes annoying when you see her spout all those flowery hopes and dreams and making it look so good. Then she tries to act tough by keeping up her positivism and cheery side when we all know that deep down inside she’s breaking up. Shouldn’t she be true to her feelings like always? Whatever. In the end, Aqours is Aqours and they certainly have found their own shine after all the moments they have been through. Their breakup is understandable as they will be going separately to different places. But can they reunite in the later years? Maybe that is all a different story altogether and it won’t be the same as now when they’re still in high school.

As part of the surprise and twist, Saint Snow who is supposed to be Aqours biggest rival crashed out early. I guess this only gives an excuse to have more friendship drama because the sisterly duo definitely have more screen time and focus. Heck, even more excuse to show their sisterly love! I suppose that is the other theme of this series other than friendship. In a perfect world, big sisters love their little sisters and likewise little sisters love their big sisters. What a big happy world. Is it me or does this worlds have only females? Yeah, coincidently those with siblings only have sisters. Where are all the guys?! They become fat ugly useless otakus possibly showing up at concerts and performances when they have to support their favourite idol group. But then again, I have a feeling all the fans in the stands are females too. No wonder you don’t hear any creepy stalker stories from this series. Too traumatic for its sunshine theme.

Artwork and animation remain consistent as the first season, bright and colourful. Cute looking girls and the use of CGI when the girls are dancing on stage. Doesn’t look too bad but it would be if you think too much about it because CGI dances seem to make them look a bit robotic. Because the setting of this place is the seaside, there are some nice backgrounds to look at. As usual, an idol themed series is all about the songs but I didn’t find any that I really like, not even the various insert songs. Well, there’s one. The closest that came to attracting my attention was My Mai Tonight. A typical group idol opening theme, Mirai No Bokura Wa Shitteru Yo with all the cute stuffs that you would expect from Aqours. The same can be said for the ending theme, Yuuki Wa Doko Ni? Kimi No Mune Ni. Of course this has multiple versions. You have the individual solo or duo versions and the big group Aqours version.

During the same season, another idol series aired with its second season: Wake Up, Girls! I am not sure if they are supposed to be going head to head with each other and pitting fans of both sides against each other. But I don’t see anything of that sort serious rivalry since there is no reason to hate or sabotage other groups as long as you love your own. Right? Either way, both have their own styles and their own fans so no big deal or cutthroat competition to see who is better. On a side note, I am neither their fans but yet I still watched both series and all their previous seasons. Am I a closet idol fan?

Overall, like I have said, only fans of Aqours and the idol genre would definitely connect and grow with the characters over 2 seasons (4 if you include the original Love Live that has no real connection with this one). You learn, laugh and cry at all their endeavours and attempts as they inch towards their dream and shine and feel the heart-warming friendship that brought them this far. But like everything else, it must all come to an end so what better way to go out in a bang and do the things you love and want to do before you can never have that chance again. Thank you Aqours for leaving a lasting impression in our hearts (at least till this season ends). Oh wait, there’s that movie sequel so looks like they’re going to be sticking around for a while. From zero to one, from one to the future, and from the future to infinity and beyond! Aqours can really reach for the stars now.

Not too sure how I would have lost since I didn’t watch the few movies that released before the second season, Wake Up, Girls! Shin Shou. Heck, I didn’t even see that chibi zoo spin-off series thingy either. Hopefully not much since the title says it is a new chapter, right? Even so, I guess I wouldn’t care since I’m not really a fan of them. Whoops. So what am I doing here watching the sequel anyway? Oh, just sticking around to give them a chance and see if these idols can steal my heart. Just kidding. Didn’t even know the second season was coming out so I got surprised a bit and decided to take a look.

Episode 1
Ayumi Hayashi, Itsuka Atsugi and Otome Morishima uploaded a fan video of a WUG dance. As narrated, WUG won the Idol Festival in 2015 but I-1 snatched it back the following year. This year, with the bad economy looming, idols aren’t spared from the effects. In fact, I-1’s Sendai theatre will soon be closed down. However as Tange puts it, they can’t afford to worry about other idol groups as they are still literally unknowns in the idol industry. Therefore she wants them to go out to do promotion stuffs as their target is releasing an album in 6 months. A next big gig arrives. WUG will be performing on a national programme, Song Stage along with I-1. Before WUG’s turn is up, Airi realizes she forgot her scrunchy. She has to rush back to the dressing room to get it. This causes a bit of a hold up. This scrunchy was made by Yoshino as recycled item from their old idol outfits so it is like their group’s good luck charm. No major delays as WUG goes up on stage to perform. At the end of the programme, WUG apologizes to I-1 for the hold up (their appearance was after WUG). However Moka Suzuki (I-1’s new petite centre) didn’t find it amusing and scoffs off at them they’re not fit to be professionals. While Airi feels a bit down, it was a good thing she had it because without it, she believed she would have messed up. But since everything turned out alright, no need to be so depressed about it. Meanwhile a group of hardcore idol fans converge to discuss the horror of several bands disbanding. They know I-1’s popularity is declining and as fans of WUG, they still aren’t as successful. They vow to do everything they can to help WUG. Matsuda gets a rude awakening from Tange because she has decided to do a national tour and has already got them Sendai stadium.

Episode 2
In addition, Tange wants WUG to live together in a dorm. It saves time for them to be late so often. After all, many of them have already graduated from high school or living by themselves. Better group cohesion, I guess. After WUG move into their new dorm, they meet the nice landlady who hands them the keys to the place. She ‘warns’ them about a ‘freeloader’. Just a fat cat named Zunda. Careful not to get on its bad side. With Tange planning on more solo TV projects for WUG, she wants to promote Minami as a sea squirt lover. Say what? Why does that sound so hentai? Don’t worry. It’s not. Together with Kaya, they appear on a local food show along with other guests like that tweedle dee and tweedle dum pair. Although the girls might be cute but the fatty duo are far more interesting and entertaining to watch. When they are teased they will grow fat with all the food they’re eating, this enrages Kaya so she shows it to them by devouring all that is in front of her! She’ll show them an idol can lose weight as fast! It was impromptu and probably she regretted it but since everyone loved it, everything’s alright. When Ayumi talks to her friends about this show, it seems most of them aren’t that interested. Because the new craze now is V-dols. Virtual idols from an app. With Kaya and Minami taking on more food eating programmes, Kaya is starting to feel a little sick. I’m guessing she has put on weight because she doesn’t want to eat with her other members and she gets mad when Minami continues to snack like there’s no tomorrow. Yeah, this girl probably didn’t even put on a single gram after all that eating. Kaya tries hard to control herself (though, she often sneaks out late at night to eat) and not let others know but eventually they find out and to Minami’s relief, it wasn’t the fact Kaya hated her. So the girls convince her not to skip meals and eat properly since their regular dance practice can burn more calories. So Kaya screws it all and WUG as a whole starts enjoying their snacking. Meanwhile the producer is asking Hayasaka about his composition of I-1’s new song. Don’t feel like writing it.

Episode 3
Miyu and Nanami are assigned to appear on a talk show. They must be feeling weird and lost with the eccentric host ‘talking nonsense’ and is trying to get them to do the same. Though, their I-1 counterpart does it better and more natural. Meanwhile Yoshino heads for a photo shoot. The photographer isn’t too thrilled that she isn’t posing very idol-like (maybe it’s the weird way she smiled?) but the next idols really motivated him and Yoshino is like all forgotten. Airi is doing a local mini segment on TV and again the producers are telling her to be more idol-like. Miyu and Nanami’s appearance is aired on show. However their part is totally cut out like as though they were never there! WUG then discuss among themselves about this obstacle they’re facing since Tange isn’t very clear when she told them about the important working in solo. I bet she wanted them to figure it out themselves. Miyu has this idea to do her own web series once a week after watching Kaya. This is to help her so she can do better on the talk show again. We see other WUG improvising and doing their best like Minami now sings after she tastes her food and Yoshino being naturally clumsy for a swimsuit photo suit. It makes her more interesting and the picture livelier. Above all, she’s having fun. Airi is turning heads because she is wearing a shark headgear for her TV segment. All this makes them stand out a little. Tange wants Nanami to do a musical. She isn’t interested at first as she is done with this kind of thing. She wants to stick being an idol but since there is no law saying idols can be on musicals, I guess she has to. It’s not bad once she tries out the audition. The most shocking job comes to Mayu as she will be co-starring alongside Shiho.

Episode 4
As the drama shoot begins, the duo also answer questions from the press conference. Both maintain their professionalism on questions pertaining to their ex-centre roles in I-1 as well as their current onscreen roles that pretty much differs from their own personality. Mayu’s schedule is now packed as she puts in the effort. During a shoot, Mayu seems to have trouble in focusing her lines. So while they take a break, the drama’s writer comes to talk to them. Mayu gets some clarification on certain aspects of the script before the shoot resumes. Ayumi and co look through an audition for extras for the drama. They get hyped up to apply but first Ayumi needs to convince her mom. You know how kids will say anything (like doing everything) just for this once in a lifetime chance. But a ‘scandal’ breaks out. Moka sprained her ankle after falling through the stage during a performance. Hence Shiraki announces Shiho will be temporarily returning to I-1 to replace her. Hence the drama schedule will be heavily revised. Ayumi and co are on set being filmed as extras. They try hard to not be nervous although they are just background characters in the film. Ayumi got too nervous that she dropped her lip balm but Mayu coolly picks it up and returns it to her. Meanwhile Shiraki and the executives are in one of those high powered meetings. Things aren’t looking good especially sales of I-1 continue to fall (in addition to Moka’s fall – Sorry, bad pun). They will need to relook and overhaul everything. Ayumi is so motivated that she announces she wants to become an idol.

Episode 5
Moka’s feet has recovered so she is able to perform again but Shiho will still continue to perform with the main I-1 group. Ayumi and co are looking through the ads to see if there are any idol recruitment drives. None. When Shiraki walks in while the girls are practising, you know something big is going to happen. In a bid to take I-1 to a new direction, he announces a couple of girls from other units to be transferred to the main unit. Because that unit they are in will either be absorbed into others or shut down. Oh, they have to keep working because their new song is released next week. Don’t rest! Don’t complain! Don’t think! Man, this is starting to sound like a cult. When Shiho learns of this, she couldn’t focus on her acting and makes some obvious mistakes. But after talking with Mayu, she steps up her game and before you know it, it’s a wrap for this drama shoot. At the party, the producer answers Mayu’s question that she asked prior that he purposely casted Mayu and Shiho together to attract attention. But he also did so because he saw potential in them and they surprised him in many ways. Tange now wants WUG to hold a fan club meet. How? That’s for Matsuda to go figure out. Discussing with the girls, they come up with touring Sendai with the fans in a bus. It’s going to be like a school trip. Ayumi and co applied for this and now they are training hard in their walking. Looks like they’re catching their breath a lot more than they’re going to catch WUG. Haha… A couple of producers approach Green Leaves to request WUG to do a song which is going to be part of a full album of a V-dol that will be officially debuting as one of its agency’s entertainers. A Japanese major debut is planned as well. They also heard Hayasaka will be part of it. Speaking of him, he doesn’t seem interested in composing a new song for I-1 because he is occupied with a certain ‘girl’. Shiraki receives report of the sales of I-1’s new song. Didn’t hit the million mark again.

Episode 6
Due to a scheduling delay, Minami might not make it in time to join the rest on the bus tour. Something about a chef needing inspiration and hence a 2 hour meditation? Worst case scenario they might have to perform without her. So the first stop of the tour has the fans needing to find WUG dressed in their animal outfits and once they do, they get a stamp. After lunch, Minami still hasn’t arrived so they bring forward the dance lessons with fans first. With time running out, WUG then performs without Minami. Noticing Minami fans would be disappointed, Nanami has this idea of changing into her animal outfit during the performance. It works because you can’t see one’s face clearly in that gear and it’s not like the fans are very close to the stage. Too bad the secret is out when Nanami trips, revealing her face. She tries to recover, the fans find it funny and some may even convert to be a Nanami fan! Thankfully, Minami has just arrived. Thanks to the super express cab Tange had her ride in. The fare is going to be pretty expensive… Guess who is going to have to pay? WUG performs as a whole and to the delight of their fans, they announce their upcoming album on sale as well as a national tour. In the evening, Airi got separated and lost to her way to the bath. She stumbles into the staffs’ room and like any normal fan who discover their idols’ outfit… And then she hears someone coming… Mayu trips upon entering the room. But she never questions why the outfit was placed in such an odd fashion compared to the rest? Yeah, Airi is wearing-cum-hiding in it. Because Mayu spilled her tomato juice, it looked like she just murdered the animal. Just when Mayu realizes someone is inside, she thinks it is Yoshino and takes her to the bath to wash it off. She’s not even curious why this ‘Yoshino’ was doing here in the first place? With all the steam in the bath, Airi manages to slip out and sneak out. Only after that the real Yoshino pops up and Mayu asks her about it. Not that Yoshino knows what she is talking about anyway. Next day when the fans get their stamp from WUG, Mayu remembers Airi as an extra from the drama shoot. Airi is so touched that she declares aloud she wants to become an idol too. Best of luck. Being too happy-happy is detrimental to our health so now it’s time for something ‘depressing’. Shiraki has summoned his entire squad of idols and he will have them ‘reborn’. Is he going to turn them into mindless killing robots? Haha! Oh no…

Episode 7
A special edition that some call it episode 6.5 because this live action episode and features the casts doing behind the scenes stuffs such as interviews and playing some weird variety game. Not sure if this is lazy (because it’s like they can’t meet this week’s deadline or the overall story this season is too short) or creative (because nobody expected it, at least not me) but it breaks the usual pattern of 2D animation all the way as such specials are only reserved for BDs. Although I didn’t watch the entire episode and just snippets of it, overall it feels like a very big promotion for Ayumi and friends’ characters as they eat up a lot of the screen time… Hmm…

Episode 8
The bus tour is a success and preparations for WUG’s big concert is on schedule. However Matsuda points out a big problem: The seats are not filling up. Tange’s usual answer is to have him to fix it. It’s his job. Who picked the Sendai stadium in the first place? I-1 announces a Christmas performance at Tokyo Dome. We see Shiraki announcing to his ‘army’ about the forming a brand new selection unit in which will have its own centre. Moka is not happy as this means she will be replaced. Was it because of her injury? Partly. Shiraki claims that even though it isn’t her fault, a true centre must have luck. He also switches captaincy between the units. One of them is a shy girl so this makes her even more fearful. More bad news as Hayasaka tells Shiraki straight he isn’t writing I-1’s new song because he doesn’t feel like it. Ayumi and friends enter Green Leaves to request to become idols. However Tange shoos them away as they aren’t recruiting. Sad but Tange believes people who claim to be the biggest fans of something are just naïve. Good thing or not, they won’t give up. Matsuda has just received 4000 printed flyers of WUG’s concert. How to distribute them? Ayumi and co take the liberty to do so but it’s a cold world out there as nobody gives a sh*t about them. Tange is mad at Matsuda for allowing them to do so but he says they whisk the flyers away before he had a chance to do anything. Tange asks them to smile. Creepy… She tells them the importance of an idol’s smile during tough times. Since they cannot do it, they’re not cut out for it. Sorry. Sad ending again. Ayumi practises smiling until she gets her mom’s ‘approval’. This lifts her spirits as they continue distributing flyers. This time with more positive results. At the end of the day, their cheeks are sore with too much smiling? A little boy trips and is on the verge of crying. Ayumi tries to help him but trips. Everyone laughs at her since her face is messed up. Gee, everyone is such a sadist… Hearing positive comments from the boy’s mother, they get motivated to continue distributing with even bigger smiles. Then they go back to Tange and beg again. I guess with all that pestering, she has to give them an audition chance. After having them introduce themselves and show their dancing talent, Mayu’s comments on how she saw them work hard has Tange make them idol trainees. Is it alright to make middle school girls idols? Of course. When there is money to be made! And so WUG now have juniors training under them.

Episode 9
Tange has spent so much on this and it better work. Otherwise she’ll run away! Oh, Tange. You really make the ‘best’ jokes. Soon she hounds Matsuda to get working because they still need a song from Hayasaka. Sure, but what can you do if he isn’t picking up? And it’s Matsuda’s fault?! Meanwhile the juniors’ first task is to clean the office… It builds up stamina. Free labour put to good use. Or maybe she is just abusing her authority and understaffed. Mayu gets a call from I-1’s Megumi. She is crying about being made the new leader and the several changes in I-1 that is scaring the sh*t out of her. There are also rumours the Hakata theatre will also be closed. And when complained, they were told it isn’t their job to think on this. All Mayu can say is that Shiraki will not do something that doesn’t benefit I-1. WUG will be doing a short commercial for departmental store, Nyaon. This will help boost their image and sales for the concert. Miyu then overhears Tange and Matsuda talking about the stagnant ticket sales as well as their concert day clashing with I-1’s tour. Talking to the rest, Yoshino decides to ask them directly but gets scolded by Tange to continue practising if she has time thinking about this. Then Tange scolds Matsuda for making them worry. They should be thinking about performing at the concert and not worry about ticket sales. That’s their job! She’s got a point. WUG does their best to stay positive on the matter. A group of executives just finish watching a commercial about a virtual idol that will be released soon on all media platforms. They hope Hayasaka could write songs for them in the future. Although he agrees, he doesn’t look that all interested. Oh look, it is Matsuda calling and bugging again. I guess it is like saying perseverance pays off because soon out of the blue, Matsuda gets a mysterious email from Hayasaka. He has written a new song for WUG! Only 1 condition: They must write the lyrics. Hayasaka wakes up from some past nightmare about his band breaking up since he didn’t agree with the lyrics and quitted. WUG gets help from some veteran duo who also meet their juniors for the first time. Then a breaking article pops up. Hayasaka is spotted on a trip to America and he might be staying there to work.

Episode 10
WUG is trying to write the lyrics. Not as easy, huh? Not sure what Nanami’s current job is but she has to supervise lots of children. Lots of naughty children. Did she just give up? It hit a nerve when Minami thought it is great to work with children. Because a star of some former would be appearing next week as a guest in Nanami’s show, Minami would like to ask more about her. Nanami thinks she is bragging and this causes a rift between them. With all of them having different work, they have barely any time to practice together and set a date when they are all free to do so. Moka is not happy that Shiraki has dropped her from the new I-1 line-up. Crying won’t get you anywhere… You think Miyu is joking when she asks Tange to hire a housekeeper. It’s not that she’s lazy, most of the house chores are done by Airi who is the least busy. At this rate, she worries she might collapse. Okay. Cue for the trainees to step up and provide more free labour. Mayu notices Shiho depressed lately. She talks to her as she reveals Shiraki wants her to quit her unit, Next Storm. She feels sad about it because she worked so hard to get there. Ironically she now understands how Mayu felt when she quit I-1. Accompanying Shiho means Mayu is late for WUG’s group practice. As promise to Shiho, she can’t tell the reason. Mayu then misplaces her scrunchy at a busy time. The trainees notice this and offer to look for it. But a rift has formed between Yoshino and Mayu. The former accusing the latter of being more dedicated to I-1 than WUG (she continues to be late). She also notices she hasn’t been wearing her scrunchy lately. Luckily the trainees find it (damn Zunda keeping all those junks in his whatever nest). Mayu sheds some tears, Airi suggests writing a shared journal among them. Nanami and Minami are back on good terms and this gives Yoshino a good idea what WUG is about. Individually they are weak and lacking but when united, they become stronger by influencing each other.

Episode 11
The virtual idol named Vdol makes its debut in America. There will be a concert using the world’s first virtual concert system via app that is designed by an American company. Look at the white dude all smiles. And the Vdol’s song is written by none other than Hayasaka. WUG reads this on the news but they have other matters to deal with. Because Hayasaka rejects their lyrics and wants them to come up with something new. Time is short as they have less than a week before their album goes on sale and then kicking off their nationwide tour. Hayasaka and the Americans celebrate their 4th placing debut but why is Hayasaka not happy? He then gets a mysterious call from a strange anonymous person. More woes for WUG because the stage they are supposed to be appearing on is cancelled. Apparently Vdol’s sponsors are sponsoring that stage. Tange believes it will all work out. But does she have to abuse Matsuda? Yoshino then gets an idea they should hold a guerrilla concert at several places like parks and rooftops. Matsuda is against it since they are now somebody but Tange approves of it. The only condition is that they have to do it a limited budget. And guess who has to help them out? Matsuda at your service… In small groups, WUG holds their guerrilla concert much to the surprise and delight of fans. Nothing beats real idols, eh? WUG still has problems trying to come up with the lyrics. Then Miyu sees an ad of Namahagez’s concert nearby. She goes to say hi and they remember the good times they battled during the competition. They have not disbanded despite their agency has closed down. They are now freelancers and work part time to get funds to hold small concerts. Miyu gets this idea to help advertise their concerts. The idea of helping one another has WUG realize what they should write as their lyrics. They finally finish it and what is Hayasaka’s verdict? They pass. They can have the song. Hooray! Think it’s all smooth sailing from now? Think again. Because Vdol buys out the Sendai stadium and converts it into Vdol stadium that is scheduled for a performance on Christmas Eve. Uhm, that’s the day of WUG’s concert, right?

Episode 12
WUG kicks off their nationwide tour. Though, they are still left without a final venue. Shiho confronts Shiraki about the closure of her Hakata side. She is told she has a chance to become the centre again but she is somewhat unhappy. She agrees but hopes to go back to Hakata one last time. She meets her fellow members and tells them the bad news that they are breaking. They don’t want this but what other choice do they have? With no one refunding their tickets for Sendai, WUG is happy to note that their fans still believe in them and will work hard till they get the final venue. Mayu gets a call from Megumi. She tells of Shiho might quit I-1 to keep Next Storm together. Mayu wants to go talk to them and Yoshino agrees on a condition that she also comes. So the girls meet and they ask if this is what Shiho really wants. She should talk to him again if she is really prepared to quit. So Mayu goes to bug Tange to arrange a meeting and with WUG ‘pressuring’ her, she gives in and calls Shiraki. And so that guy could only spare 15 minutes of his time just to talk to Mayu alone. They have very differing views on what it means to be an idol. Shiraki insists I-1 doesn’t need friendship. Hard work and strong mentality are all it takes. If Shiho wants to leave, then leave. You can’t reach the top if you rely on others or swayed by your feelings. Shiraki ends the meeting but little do they know, a paparazzi has taken a photo of them. Soon it hits the magazines about this ‘scandalous’ meeting. Rumours fly that Mayu will quit WUG and return to I-1. Oh well, I’m sure true comrades and friends will believe in them. With Shiho released from her contract, she manages to save Next Storm as Shiraki’s ‘parting gift’ to her. Also, Moka becomes Shiho’s replacement as the candidate for the new centre. Not happy? A chance is still a chance. Shiho calls Hayasaka about her departure from I-1 and also to tell something is happening to WUG. Then Hayasaka calls Shiraki to come up with some ‘mischief’. WUG has some good news. They finally find a venue: The old Sendai airport. The huge land is barren and empty. Looks like more costs to erect a stage. So WUG helps out by picking up trash? This is going to take some time. WUG manages to successfully have many idols perform simultaneously on Christmas Eve. Then they bug and Tange so their apprentices can debut. At first she disagrees but after another round of ‘pressuring’, she gives in. That easy, huh? But the only condition is they will only be WUG’s opening act. Hence she has to bring out a song Twinkle wrote for them. WUG tries to come up with a name for the trainees’ new unit. Noticing how they’re always running around, it is decided to be Run Girls, Run (RGR). I guess it beats having just an alphabet and number.

Episode 13
Tonight is the night where many of the idols will perform simultaneously. A lot of people in Japan must really have no other plans but to attend concerts nationwide, eh? We see I-1 going about with their performance first. RGR is nervous before their debut so WUG helps calm them down by giving them scrunchy. Feeling part of the team now? Naturally they are still nervous and slip up on stage. In their bid to recover, they look so funny that the fans love them. Ah, you can’t go wrong as long as you’re cute girls, right? They manage to recover and do their number. And now it’s time for the main event with WUG performing a montage of their songs for the next 8 minutes of this episode. Then the other idols elsewhere like Next Storm and Namahagez get only a second of clip because we’re not going to show everyone, right? Hayasaka calls Shiraki and it seems he was the one who helped WUG find a concert venue. Even more surprising, it was Shiho who called him to help out with this. Hayasaka then asks him a question the difference between human and virtual idols. To him they are all the same. So I guess to prove what Hayasaka is going to say or why human idols have their own charm, something happens during the concert. WUG’s microphones suddenly get cut off while the Vdol just suddenly vanishes! Yeah, blame the cold snow for messing with the equipment. So the fans for the Vdol will have to wait while the technicians get it to fix back but for WUG, they continue performing and they improvise by getting closer to their fans and performing in their stand. Hayasaka thought letting the perfect idol debut with his songs would be the best way to maximise his music potential but learnt that was wrong. At the end of I-1’s concert, Moka is chosen as the next centre. Apparently she doesn’t look happy. A surprise guest appears on screen then. Rather, guests. Because all the other idol concerts pop up. This is also part of Hayasaka’s doing. Shiraki then answers back by making his announcement. There will be a new idol festival. In the aftermath, Hayasaka returns to Japan (because it’s more fun there). Shocking news as Moka steps down as I-1’s centre because the real battle for it will be postponed until the new idol festival. I-1 has also rescinded their seeding and will participate in the preliminaries alongside other idols. WUG is ecstatic of this news but leaves rookies RGR in a lurch because now they are rivals! No more nice girls?

Virtual Wake Up Call
It would sure be interesting to note about this next new idol festival since the Vdol would also be performing! Well, even if this may seem like one sided because machine is virtually perfect but it all boils down to the number of fans you have. In a way, you can be ordinary idols, famous well known idols, obscure idols, idols from another nation, idols from outer space or spiritual idols for all we care. As long as you can capture the heart of your fans, you’re a true top idol. Well, that’s the only thing interesting for me to watch and see if there should be another sequel. Otherwise, this sequel didn’t really offer much especially for casual viewers seeing the biggest struggle for WUG was trying to maintain their relevance and getting their final concert filled. Yeah, the lyrics writing thingy didn’t really seem that all bad. Personal and individual struggles are not on some epic scale that would shake up anything or cause any concern. Remember that ‘scandalous’ meeting between Mayu and Shiraki? Now that she has put up a great performance I guess all is forgotten and forgiven. If only the real world was this good…

I don’t see this season’s plot as exciting despite the virtual idol being the biggest threat to the dwindling idol industry. For a casual viewer like me, despite WUG being the main stars of the series, I just don’t feel that they are going anywhere. Sure, they are struggling to stay relevant in a time when everything is so online that even idols are now in digital form. They might have made a name for themselves but I am figuring they are not as big as say, AKB48. Because I get this feeling that they are just popular locally at Sendai instead of nationwide. Then there is the struggle to keep the group’s cohesiveness together. Although considered a small group by today’s standards, having 7 members in a group is still a feat to manage as each individual is unique. That problem is partly solved as they are living together in a shared dorm now. But other than that, with a few small arguments here and there that doesn’t matter, ultimately they reconcile in no time and there is no big internal strife that would put the group in danger or risk any of them quitting or falling out. Thank goodness. Thus, nothing pretty much exciting if you want to look in terms of the plot and character development because the past season (and perhaps the movies) have done all that. It’s just more WUG happiness to appease fans.

Aside WUG, it looks like I-1 is going through a major change and shift as well. We don’t see much of it because this isn’t their show so it is understandable. So the problem with super huge groups like I-1 as you can see is the cohesiveness of the overall team. Though not shown, I believe not every single member is close to every other single member. So many members like as though Shiraki who only remembers all the members via a given number (he doesn’t even address them by their name unless specifically forced to), is raising a mini army to take over Japan via singing and dancing through our hearts. This guy really makes his I-1 training camp look more like a boot camp. I suppose when you have so many members, you can’t have everyone voicing their opinions because that would split the group and hence who better to play the ‘dictator’ than the man himself. Sometimes Shiraki’s ways might be too harsh, cold and soulless but if you think deeper into it, there might be some truth in it especially about idols not needing friendship. It is still a cutthroat industry so this one is really 50/50 depending on your ethics and morality. So now I-1 is going through a rough patch and their past glories won’t save them unless they innovate. Good times don’t last forever. But so do bad times.

Which brings us to this new Vdol phenomenon which is sweeping the world at a feverish state. Like a new toilet, it is the talk of town. A different experience that excites everyone. But just like trends of anything and everything, eventually this too would become boring and either slow down or phase out. So our idol girls of the flesh and blood kind will really need to work harder and innovate if they wish to stay relevant in the industry. After all, there are pros and cons of both traditional idols and virtual idols. For the former, you can at least get a physical handshake at special events! You can’t touch your virtual idol’s hands, can you? Not even with the latest high-tech VR equipment. Yeah, those are just so artificial…

With Shiho now on her own and running her own freelance little unit, let’s hope that she would be much happier this way. Looks like history is repeating itself when Mayu first quit I-1 and formed WUG, eh? Will Next Storm cause another blistering storm or just fizzle out? I thought Moka would also quit I-1 in view of all this but I suppose she’s just stepping down as the centre. Sometimes I think it is like a slap in the face, she got what she coveted the most but since she didn’t get it the honourable way she wanted, she doesn’t want it. Uhm what? A win is still a win, it’s not like she cheated or anything. Did she? If not for Shiraki’s greater vision to make I-1 the centre of all idols, her actions could have been shot down and fired for all we know. So count your blessings that at least in this anime, idols get to compete with each other fair and square. And we fans still love you all! True fans or true suckers?

I believe this season tries to introduce a group of young WUG fans that turned into their apprentices. Unfortunately they don’t really make an impact. In the first half of this season, you see them bum around from time to time, admiring and dreaming the great idol life. And then once they join as trainees, they fall further into the side. Maybe that is why in order for them to have more screen time and for us to be more ‘acquainted’ with them, unlike last season whereby the next episode preview is done by WUG’s seiyuus, this time we have the seiyuus of the trio narrating and talking whatever. But I guess perseverance pays off because they finally have their own little unit now. Oh, I almost forget about Zunda. I am guessing this cat is supposed to be the series’ mascot but its appearance is so sparing, it can be done without anyway. I mean, it’s a cat and does what it wants. Screw your deadline, just feed me and give me a place to sleep. I show my face once in a while to remind who your lord is and for all you slaves to fawn over. Right. We need to ramp up more moe cuteness. Cute girls + cute fat cat = Epic cuteness!

Ironically, the more interesting characters are the adults. Like Tange who still is the very sly slave driver with connections. She gets lots of this crazy ideas on a whim for WUG to do like as though she came up with them during one of her drunken sessions. Really. Thank goodness it all pays off somewhat. She talks with stern confidence whether she agrees or not. That’s why she makes a good top level manager. She gets things done. Only problem is that she loves taking out and ‘abusing’ Matsuda and piling up all the work on him. But hey, he too somehow manages to get things done so I guess it isn’t that bad. Too bad Matsuda feels like a wuss pussy like last time for being pushed around a lot by Tange but I suppose somebody has to do the job and it isn’t the girls in the agency. Yeah, who is the only guy in the agency? Despite taking out on Matsuda, she gets easily pressured when WUG demands something. Of course it’s for the better of the group and plot convenience and Tange will be viewed as a b*tch if she doesn’t give in to their demands. After all, don’t want to be blamed if they failed, right? On a side note, there is a bunch of WUG fans who are always plotting their next support for WUG at a diner. They usually get too loud and causing a nuisance around them. Are there better places to meet up?

Last but not least, Hayasaka. This talented guy is still as eccentric and whimsical as ever. Because of his tremendous song writing talents, he gets to do what he wants because apparently nobody in this age writes song anymore except him. So they have to pander and beg him but it all depends on his mood. Feel like it, okay, write it. Don’t feel like it, delete everything, drop it, quit, whatever. Clips on his past insights should be interesting and perhaps would enlighten us on how he came to be this enigmatic and erratic character he is today. So he already had his hands in writing songs for his own group, a famous idol group, a lesser known and upcoming idol group and now the virtual idol. What is next? What is the perfection he seeks that will satisfy his heart and soul? Only Hayasaka will have the answer to that. And looks like he has to return to Japan to find it. Where else in the world has produced more interesting idols than Japan? Oh, right. There is South Korea but that’s on a totally different league.

Not too sure if this season was supposedly the battle of the idols because in that very same season we had the sequel to Love Live! Sunshine aired. So will it be WUG or Aqours? Because I am fan of neither groups and considering I have watched both series including its first season, I can’t tell if there is supposed to be any competition between them. Although in the similar idol industry, the settings are just too different if you want to make them go head to head with each other. It’s like they don’t need to compete with each other in the first place and are sufficiently standing on their own feet without the need of trying to outdo one another. After all, both idol groups have their set of dedicated fan base and unless you want to really delve into the dark and dirty idol world, let’s just assume that everybody is just happy with their own favourite idols without the need to resort to low level mudslinging and name calling.

The opening and ending themes feel like spiritual successors of last season. 7 Senses as the opener is your typical lively idol piece while Shizuku No Kanmuri as the ending theme again feels out of place because of its slow ballad style. Though it isn’t bad and not to say that idol groups don’t sing slow ballads, but I still can’t help feel that it just sounds weird as an ending song. There are a few insert songs too but since I’m still not into them, I guess they didn’t sound that attractive to me.

Overall, looks like idol fans and true blue WUG fans would only appreciate this sequel that would otherwise be just boring and average to other casual viewers. In an age where technology is so rampant and one by one jobs that were once manned by humans are slowly being computerised, nothing is left safe at the hands of so called modernisation and development. Hence the only interesting thought this season provided me is how even idols are in danger of being replaced digitally, which isn’t so far-fetched a reality. Let’s just hope in the event if real traditional idols really die out, they won’t resort to shady stuffs in a desperate bid to stay relevant like releasing sex tapes and making adult videos. You think porn is safe from automation? There are sex dolls now! What a time to wake up and be alive.

Senki Zesshou Symphogear AXZ

February 17, 2018

Wow. There’s still more? So much more because not only Senki Zesshou Symphogear AXZ is the series’ fourth season, they also announced the fifth season at the same time! What a way to really douse speculations if there would be more seasons. But I’ll cross the bridge once I get there. For now, this fourth season… Ah shucks. I can’t remember much of the storyline anymore. I was mainly confused in past editions so I now I’m going to be even more. I know I mustn’t give up like Hibiki. Maybe at the end of it all there will be hope for me to understand everything. Or not.

Episode 1
Hibiki still slacks in doing her homework. But is this considered saved by the bell because she is being whisked away for a mission? She heads over to a South American nation to join Tsubasa and Chris to take out a dictator’s military arsenal. No matter what you’re shooting at the girls, you’ll never best their singing and firepower. Not even this giant ship he is piloting in the sky. Nothing like a load of extreme firepower to take it down and not incur a single casualty! Although this mission is a success, another one awaits them. After noticing the UN quickly treating to wounded locals of a nearby village, they join up with Maria, Kirika and Shirabe to destroy the weapon’s factory of the dictator, Val Verde. Hibiki remembers being told about the Pavarian Illuminati. Apparently all the events that have happened since the first season, this group is the one who has been pulling the strings behind the shadows. From FIS to Frontier, they have a hand in all of them. Now they have at least some evidence to prove their existence and that is why they are in Latin America as signs of Alca-Noise have popped up. But this place doesn’t hold too many fond memories for Chris. It looks like her parents died here and Sonya prevented her from following suit. Time for more action with the Symphogear ladies engaging the military as well as the Alca-Noise they can produce. Of course things go berserk as the Alca-Noise also starts killing some of the soldiers. Hey, at least they aren’t discriminating. Hibiki befriends a local boy, Stefan who helps guide them around. He tells them the military has been forcing the locals to work in the factory. Eventually the factory is taken down and Val Verde and his top aides are about to flee. But 3 cuties from Pavarian Illuminati pop up and will put him to good use. I don’t know what happened to them but I believe they’re dead and their life force contributed to whatever Saint-Germain is planning. Along with Cagliostro and Prelati, they head to the basement to recover some doll. The guys from SONG are spying on them when the damn laptop of Sakuya Fujitaka had to beep (finished scanning some data? Could he have put it on silent mode?). Run! Saint-Germain decides to experiment and unleashes some giant dragon spirit, Yohualtepoztli. Lots of men died while trying to protect the data extracted. Before it is Fujitaka and Aoi Tomosato’s turn, here comes Maria’s team! Just in time.

Episode 2
It seems Yohualtepoztli can regenerate no matter how much damage it takes. Saint-Germain views this experiment as a success because it is a step closer to attaining divine power. With that, she stops this experiment and return to base. So they’re letting them go? Saint-Germain says their priority is to retrieve the doll, Tiki. Meanwhile Stefan leads Hibiki’s team to where his villagers are being held hostage by the factor’s director. As they fight the Alca-Noise, Stefan is in danger of being killed by one. But Chris had to do what she had to do. She shot off Stefan’s leg before the infection could spread. Because of that Sonya is blaming her? Hey, he still got his life. Naturally it strained their relationship and this isn’t the kind of reunion they were hoping for after all these years. Flashback 400 years ago when the Pavarian Illuminati was founded on alchemy by gathering pieces of technology left behind by Phine, this led them to clash with Phine herself who sought to monopolize such technology. Adam Weishaupt who was the founder wanted to attain divine power and give it form. But Tiki was lost and their plans put on hold and the organization banished into the shadows. Now that Phine is no more, their revival is imminent. All they have to do is bring back Tiki. Cagliostro and Prelati decide to take lure out the Symphogear girls by attacking the airport. Maria and co respond to the call to fight the duo, dispose of the Alca-Noise and give the airplane the necessary lift off. However they ran out of power and can no longer fight effectively. Think of summoning Yohualtepoztli to finish them? Think again because here comes Hibiki punching right through it! You defy logic by punching through everything! So much about that immortality thingy.

Episode 3
Saint-Germain pops up to bring her comrades away. Back at the base, Saint-Germain revives Tiki who is supposed to be an Autoscorer created to precisely record the movements of the planets on a star map. Tiki is such an energetic bubbly girl? She is more concerned about Adam who she cannot function without. Conveniently speaking, he comes a calling. Too bad business comes first. Saint-Germain wants to investigate how Hibiki tore through the mechanisms of Yohualtepoztli but Adam tells her all that is unimportant. Just destroy the Symphogear girls. Say no more because Cagliostro and Prelati have already launched a pre-emptive strike on Maria and Tsubasa’s plane. Not only they survive, the all-important data is intact too. Returning to SONG’s base, Genjurou explains more about Tiki. During the war, Germany wanted to seek an alternate energy for fossil fuel and Japan as their ally helped in the research and hence some of the Relics like Gungnir ended up in Japan. Everyone can tell Chris has been down ever since Stefan’s incident although she brushes it off. Before they could do anything to cheer her up, it’s those damn Alca-Noise again. Saint-Germain tests another prototype and sends the Symphogear girls to another alternate space. Are they fighting on some alien planet? Actually it is a subspace pocket of Alca-Noise and all their attacks have no effect. The girls have no choice but to up the ante by using Dainsleif but I figure at this point they are a pro at using it. More extreme action to see how they break through everything and return to normal space. Saint-Germain is satisfied of the data they got from this experiment despite the failure. However Tiki has other ideas. She thinks this is the best spot to pick a fight with God.

Episode 4
There is a flashback of Saint-Germain who was being treated as a child slave and led a tragic life. Genjurou explains to the Symphogear girls about this base, Matsushiro where the military HQ was relocated after WW2. It also houses the secret Kazanari Institute. Currently the data is being deciphered but it will take time. The girls wonder why trouble the locals for evacuating them for this mission as ordered by the top boss, Kamakura. Genjurou replies the harsh reality that their mission is to protect the country and not the people. Can there be a country without its people? Maria’s team go down on the ground to find others who have not evacuated. Yup, an old lady plucking tomatoes. Look who decided to show up? Cagliostro is disappointed to see Maria’s side but nevertheless unleashes her Alca-Noise to deal with them. Luckily Chris was nearby to handle her to allow them to escape with granny. When Hibiki and Tsubasa arrive, Cagliostro has orders to retreat. Granny gives Maria a tomato as reward. And something about people’s life and tomatoes’ are similar during hardship? The decryption isn’t going well so Genjurou gets a direct call from Kamakura about his recent failures as he allowed him to use the facilities to make UN be indebted to them. More Alca-Noise are detected. Hibiki’s team take them on with their Dainsleif. Looks like the Pavarian Illuminati trio decide to show up too. This time they have something similar to Dainsleif, Faust Robes. It repels and nullifies their Dainsleif. It’s overpowered too that our Symphogear girls are left defeated. Saint-Germain explains the creation of Faust Robes by uniting the philosopher’s stone with the human body for the ultimate alchemy. It’s all thanks to the data they got from Chateau de Tiffauges. Their goal is to free mankind from oppression. Before they could finish them, here comes Adam. He uses his alchemy to trigger nuclear fusion and turns his fireball into some destructive power worth 10 megatons! Better escape if you know what’s good for you. There’s a giant simmering crater in the aftermath. But the most eyebrow raising thing is that, does he have to do all that naked?!

Episode 5
Don’t worry, all our favourite characters are still alive. As they regroup, Genjurou admits it was their total lost. The base is destroyed as well as all its secret documents. They discuss the fearsome alchemy the enemy possesses that it was able to force out their Dainsleif. Kirika and Shirabe despite injured, continue to train but their injury gets the better of them. They believe doing so can increase their sync rates and they won’t need Linker anymore. Until Elfnein mentions she is close to decipher the last piece of the puzzle from Ver’s recipe. Long story short, she needs to find some part of the brain that is connected to the Symphogear to minimize the stress. There is this VR system Ver left behind. In short, Elfnein can use it to peek into one’s mind but the risk is high since both their minds can merge and can turn into vegetable state. With no time to lose, Maria offers to be the test subject. As the rest waits, they see on the news that Stefan is in Japan to receive to undergo surgery for a prosthetic leg so he could continue his dream to play football. Meanwhile Genjurou is being called by Kamakura for his failure. There is no use chewing him out. He has a job to do. Do it. Elfnein enters Maria’s mind and relives her life. Whatever pain Maria feels, Elfnein could also feel. Too bad most of the memories are painful ones during her time at the facility under Nastassja. Then we have this episode’s obligatory Alca-Noise action so we have Maria who is self-conscious fighting waves of it and emerges victorious. After all, she can dream all she wants in her mind, right? But then they enter the subconscious area and this is where things get unstable and putting their physical bodies in danger. But look who decides to pop up now? The Pavarian Illuminati trio once again unleash a Hydra-like Alca-Noise. While the other Symphogear girls head into action, look who pops up in Maria’s subconscious? Ver! Even dead bad guys like him continue to haunt her in her mind. Yeah, the nightmare is about to begin.

Episode 6
Don’t really get this part but from what I understand, this vision of Ver is trying to lead Maria to the part of her brain connected to Symphogear since he was very intimate with the research. Meanwhile the other Symphogear girls are fighting the Hydra. But when they cut its heads off, it revives and splits into independent creatures. It could be a ploy to split them up and fight them separately but they’ll take the challenge. Maria and Elfnein are in the subconscious part whereby Maria still reels from her fears and insecurities. Then they get absorbed as Maria discovers she is now back in time during her harsh training at the facility. Despite remembering Nastassja being harsh, she remembers closely that each time she did so, she would always have a sad look on her face. She always hid her pain when seeing them suffer. She remembers she also protected all the other children who have gone on to have a brighter future. Nastassja’s harshness was their strength. With that, Elfnein knows that brain part that connects to the Symphogear and wakes up. Time to get to work. The Symphogear girls are being tested on their endurance as the Hydra keeps replicating. To Hibiki’s fear, one of them is heading towards her school. She is about to hit the panic button when Kirika and Shirabe drop in to help take out the Alca-Noise. This time they show no strains on their body and is able to perform at tip top condition. And that Hydra heading towards the school? Easily taken out by Maria. So it seems the all important ingredient in the brain to connect to the Symphogear is… Love! You mean it was this simple and cliché?! With the Symphogear girls emerging victorious and cornering the Pavarian Illuminati trio, time to spit out their intentions. Despite claiming wanting to save mankind, they don’t intend to work together. Because they have the power of God to tear down the curse of Balal. This is sounding to get more ridiculous…

Episode 7
There’s a brief explanation of that but I’m totally lost. Basically, it justifies their reason to sacrifice others. But screw all that, it’s the fights we’re here to see. Kirika and Shirabe thought they could use Dainsleif but their power up is only short-lived. Cagliostro deflects Chris bullets and they almost hit Saint-Germain. Because of that she decides to call for a retreat. Adam isn’t so pleased the trio failed to take care of the Symphogear girls. But with Tiki drawing the horoscope clearer, it’s time to prepare the altar. The trio don’t like how cocky Adam is but Cagliostro and Prelati note their loyalty isn’t to him or the organization but to Saint-Germain. She was the one who gave them perfect bodies and goals when they were originally fakes. So as Saint-Germain prepare the altar, the duo will rid of the Symphogear girls. Elfnein works hard without any break that she might be breaking herself at this rate. It would be sad if she hasn’t found anything after putting in such effort and for plot convenience, here it is. She notices a waste of lump matter that was transmuted from Hibiki when she merged with Gungnir. Since it has the opposite effect of the philosopher’s stone, she proposes using this fool’s stone (that’s what they’re calling it) to be upgraded into the Symphogear. But since it is stored at the underwater Neptune Palace, good luck finding a needle in a haystack. During this time, Cagliostro and Prelati show up to destroy the Symphogear for good. Kirika, Shirabe and Chris are the only ones who can go into action since the rest are underwater looking for the fool’s stone. They can’t let the enemy know about this or they’ll try to stop them. So how can Kirika and Shirabe fight without their Dainsleif? Unison. All they have to do is work together and be in sync. And you see how it work wonders as they kick Prelati’s ass. Because of that, another retreat. Saint-Germain reports the altar is ready but it lacks enough life energy to power its central plinth. Adam suggests sacrificing one of the duo as their perfect body will provide all the life energy needed. Not so keen on sacrificing now, eh? Well, she’s got to choose. Her cause or her comrades.

Episode 8
For the sake of progression, the fool’s stone is found. Elfnein works hard to make a new Ignite module for them. Then Genjurou trains them and despite their firepower and numbers, they cannot beat him! And this is just warm up! WTF?! They should just send this guy to do their battles! Saint-Germain begins the ritual as Adam reminds her it is time to choose. With those pesky Symphogear girls still on the loose, Cagliostro offers to destroy them for good since Prelati is injured and out of action. Before Stefan and Sonya return to their country, they see Chris and Tsubasa. There is still some animosity between Chris and Sonya. As usual, Alca-Noise drop in to attack. Cagliostro is running wild with her powers. When other Symphogear girls arrive, Cagliostro sends Hibiki, Tsubasa, Kirika and Shirabe into separate subspace pocket. Chris and Maria are left to fight her. Chris discovers Stefan and Sonya still haven’t evacuate the building. Wheelchair got stuck. WTF?! Before Cagliostro could kill Chris, Stefan stands up and his football kick saves the day! WTF?! He can perfectly get up and walk so why was he even ‘stuck’?! Anyway Stefan argues how petty the ladies are still bitter about the past unlike him who is so the future. Yeah… It motivates Chris to fight back. This time they use the fool’s stone to negate Cagliostro’s attacks. Their unison and bond are also high enough that their combo forms a twin-seater jet to destroy Cagliostro once and for all! With Cagliostro now dead, Adam sarcastically points out to Saint-Germain this saves her the trouble of choosing. They will sacrifice Prelati who is not in tip top condition. You mad, girl? Oh right. Adam has no humanity, blah, blah, blah. We know. He knows. Big deal.

Episode 9
Tsubasa and Shirabe try out their unison but it’s not working well. It seems only Shirabe is the one who doesn’t register any sort of phonic gain increment with all the unison combo. Naturally, depression sets in. A message from Yatsuhiro comes in regarding the Divine Gate, a power that the Pavarian Illuminati is looking for. For a change of pace, Genjurou sends the Symphogear girls to a shrine to investigate. The priest shows a map that shows the markings of the 7 Hikawa shrines that is like a mirrored version of the Orion constellation. Traditionally known as the Drummer’s Gate to Heaven, it is a gate where gods were known to descend. And possibly what the Pavarian Illuminati is looking for. Since Shirabe is still ‘lost’, the priest talks to her about walls. Walls aren’t just for rejection. Meanwhile Tiki wants Adam to turn her into a real human girl after he gets the divine power so he can be his real wife. They are confronted by Prelati who wants to know his true goal. He reminds them that they should have known their lives are part of his plan for his divine power. However this is the first time Prelati hears this and attacks them. But she soon leaves to go warn Saint-Germain as it is Adam’s to sacrifice all of them all along. Adam won’t go after her and let the Symphogear girls do the job. Shirabe and Tsubasa with the highest mobility go into action first. Prelati desperately tries to shake them off and is not open to listening. Time to use that unison thing. Shirabe still not confident. And yeah, the theme is kindness so something about ii that allows them to power up and combine into some weird drag car? Anyway Prelati gets killed. Tiki calls Saint-Germain to taunt her that Prelati has become road kill and because of that, they cannot use her as a sacrifice. Adam orders her return before the Symphogear girls disrupts the ritual.

Episode 10
Genjurou and co discuss the use of the leylines for a greater ritual and thus started to evacuate the people. Although there are methods to counter it, Adam destroyed all that was stored in Kazanari Institute. That’s what happens when you keep all your eggs in 1 basket. Saint-Germain starts the ritual by sacrificing her life to open the Divine Gate via Earth’s leylines. But Genjurou’s side has done some preparations. The priests of the shrines simultaneously cut the seals to sever the power lines. This disrupts the ritual and cause Tiki to be lifeless. Cue for Saint-Germain to fight Hibiki and Kirika (the rest cannot go into action as their modules are being repaired by Elfnein). Not sure what combo the duo pull off but it doesn’t look like some weird vehicle. Saint-Germain is defeated but even if her will to overthrow oppression is great, she lacks energy. This is where Hibiki comes in and uses the power of persuasion for her to use it in a better way. Just when you thought Saint-Germain is going to cave in, here comes Adam to restart the ritual. Even better, he uses the leylines from the stars in the sky!!! After all, there is that Orion’s Belt in the constellations, right? Saint-Germain tries to ascertain if he is going to use this godly power to overthrow oppression. Nope. Yup, you’ve been duped. He uses Tiki to fire a super blast. Everything could have been vaporized had not Kirika use her swan song to protect it. Although she suppresses its recoil by overdosing on the Linker, it will still be harmful to her body. With Kirika out of action, looks like Saint-Germain is going to defeat the oppressor. Make that 2 of them because Hibiki joins forces with her.

Episode 11
Saint-Germain tells Hibiki to destroy Tiki as she is acting as a vessel and focal point for the power transfer and hence preventing the divine power’s manifestation. Adam gets in their way and as they both fight, Saint-Germain realizes something. Adam could have easily destroyed them with his nuclear power thingy but yet he didn’t. He is waiting for the power from the heavens so this is their chance to take him down. When he is slightly wounded, they are shocked to realize Adam is a puppet. That mere word makes Adam mad. In turn it makes Tiki mad as she transforms into some alien monster. This is supposedly the divine weapon? Too bad it regenerates whenever Saint-Germain damages it. Adam reveals he was created by them as the group’s representative. However he was even perfect as a prototype and tossed away. Because of that, Adam cannot accept the perfect losing to the imperfect. So to answer Saint-Germain’s question if he has humanity left in him, heck he isn’t human to begin with! Tiki unleashes a powerful blast. Though it missed the girls, it seems it hit some American military satellite. Shortly, Genjurou is contacted by Kamakura about this farce. This has already become an internationally known incident and outsiders will deploy their ‘peacekeeping forces’ under UN’s name to invade Japan. Kamakura feels he has to intervene in the battle eventually. An unknown source contacts Genjurou and reveals they have decrypted all of Val Verde documents. One of them included some spear believed to be the one that kill gods. However it doesn’t possess such attributes but contains the same powers as Gungnir. In short, Gungnir is the weapon that could destroy the divine power and it is cue for Hibiki get back up and finish the job. Saint-Germain connects the dots that Adam’s weapon was not intended to destroy the Symphogear but to destroy information that would thwart his plans. Tiki cannot regenerate after being punched by Hibiki. Before she destroys the monster completely, Adam has Tiki eject from it. Though still partially destroyed, he still needs something to harbour the divine power. A puppet. Yeah, his left arm that he just ripped out. Unfortunately all that power didn’t go to him but being absorbed into Hibiki who turns into an eerie cocoon.

Episode 12
It has been 48 hours since Hibiki is in that state. Adam will not give up on that power still so I guess he has gone back to the drawing board. Genjurou is in a pinch since the Americans via UN are threatening to engage armed intervention and Yatsuhiro is trying his best to delay it so his side must produce the results in a very limited time. Thanks to information from Saint-Germain, Elfnein has gotten lots of clues to create an Anti-Linker. Because Yohualtepoztli and the divine weapon need a vessel to manifest stably its immense power, this is also how the Symphogear works. They can assume that same power is engulfing Hibiki. Time is certainly running out as Kamakura has already mobilize the unlimited national defence to prevent this disaster. Of course you know, the girls protest this is called a disaster. This is their friend. Old impatient fart won’t stand for it. The army tanks fire but it only serves to break a giant angry monster out. Yeah, see how powerful her blasts are. The Symphogear girls go into action but their normal methods couldn’t stop her. Once the Anti-Linker pods hit the monster and the effects are taking place, this is where Miku comes in. She screams Hibiki’s name? Apparently using her voice as some electromagnetic signal to get through Hibiki inside. You know, how to voice of your friend tends to wake you up. At least for Hibiki. With that, she breaks out from the monster and into safe hands. Also, with this result, the UN agrees to step down. Happy ending, right? But no. The damn US president (I want to say he looks like Donald Trump but he doesn’t) while on his vacation doesn’t want to take any risk and initiates a missile targeted at Japan! F*ck you America! With the missile homing in, there is not enough time. Even if they manage to cut it, the shockwave will still contaminate the area. This is where Saint-Germain gets to play the tragic hero. She starts singing but is surprised when Cagliostro and Prelati sing by her side. Their ghost? Nope. The real deal. Apparently Cagliostro faked her death to hide from Adam and then saved Prelati before she died. They have been preparing a special transmutation since. Saint-Germain fires this bullet to contain its explosion but it is still not enough. So they use their lives to diffuse it once and for all. All over, right? Nope. Adam returns and he has absorbed all the divine power into his hand. Literally, the power is in his hand. He won’t let them interrupt again but love maniac Tiki grabs on to him. This is what happens if you don’t give your doll enough hugs. This allows Hibiki to smash the divine weapon.

Episode 13
Despite the victory, Hibiki is still sad she couldn’t save Saint-Germain. Save that for later. They’ve still got Adam to deal with. Some Alca-Noise to deal with so as not to ‘forget’ them. When Adam’s body cannot maintain his perfect form anymore, he reverts to his true monstrous form. The people who designed him must be messed up… Guess what? His true form is faster and more powerful! WTF?! So the price of perfection is less speed and power? That isn’t perfect! Eventually all the girls risk their lives by joining their powers to sing their swan song. Leave it to Elfnein and SONG to try and divert the strain to Dainsleif. More beating up until Hibiki’s gear gave out too soon. Luckily the other girls send some of their power before her doom. Hibiki evolves as she now can do all their special moves! Finally, she has the support of Saint-Germain and co as she transcends into a shiny gold armour to give Adam a heap of punches! So explosive that Adam explodes like a nuclear bomb?! More good news as the Pavarian Illuminati members worldwide are arrested. But with the organization gone, the remnants will be the hard ones to track. Yatsuhiro talks to Kamakura about the world condemning America for trying to use such measure. But Kamakura throws him a thought. They have seen a power that rivals God. What if Japan has that power. They wouldn’t need to worry about being attacked and invaded anymore. Tempting… On the lighter side, everyone celebrates Hibiki’s 17th birthday. Just in time. Man, it was one heck of a build up to her birthday. But I suppose the best birthday gift is their victory. As usual, Hibiki is still having worries over her fist-only solution. As usual, Miku is up to remind her no matter what, she will always hold her hand. There. Friendship level increased. Elfnein tells Genjurou her theory why Hibiki was able to serve as a vessel for the divine power. Hibiki was hit with Shenshou Jing and that purified her curse, hence cleansing of her sin. However Genjurou remembers there is another person who was hit by that: Miku.

Star Doors: The Illuminati Strikes Back! Even so, It’s All In The Punching
What else can I say about this season? Everything is left hanging because we already know from the start there will be another season. Things are not done yet. Things have to be done. Basically what I understand this season is that the big final boss of everything has finally shown up and with all the Illuminati conspiracy and memes going around, I suppose they’re going to make use of them here as the main antagonist. After all, Phine is already gone so who else left is there to pull the strings? Blame it all on the Illuminati! Illuminati confirmed! Who’d knew that this sci-fi action series would eventually tread down this path of using the Illuminati as their antagonist. Maybe we will get more of such memes in the future…

This season I am still lost with all the technical terms and jargons like Linkers because I think I could barely remember them. What the heck is that Balal curse again? Therefore when they start getting technical using such terminologies, my brain automatically gets shut off. Yeah. Uhm. Whatever they said. As for the recurring characters especially our Symphogear girls, there isn’t much drama to be played out on them since with have seen them being fleshed out in previous seasons especially last season about Hibiki and her dad. So this time round we have Chris and her connections with some South American acquaintance but that itself isn’t much. Then there is also Kirika and Shirabe and snippets of their past but that too isn’t enough. Tsubasa and Maria are like treading in the background like Hibiki. When Hibiki temporarily turned into a monster, I guess it feels like déjà vu because in the previous seasons I think I remember she too turned into some berserk monster form. Although Miku is sorely missing in action (because in a previous season she did turn into a fighting machine), looks like her eternal role is to always cheer Hibiki up whenever she feels down. Yeah, the cheapest tonic to cure her depression: Friendship! But in the final scenes it is hinted she is more than a bunch of smiles so by the next season she could play an even more significant role.

The new characters for this season are the antagonists. Adam feels like a two dimensional villain because as usual, a powerful head of an organization who wants to wield absolute power. And before you can claim that he is so cliché that he has no humanity in him because of how cruel he is, they think they can pull a quick one over us because of the revelation he isn’t human to begin with! Oh, the irony. A puppet trying to destroy humanity. Turns out he looks more like a demon than your typical puppet. Am I paranoid to think this is what would happen if AI gets more intelligent than mankind in the future? I fear so… The biggest irony that a puppet is the one thinking he has the right to decide on the fate of humanity when we humans don’t even give a sh*t about each other.

As for Saint-Germain, Cagliostro and Prelati, I already predicted that they would be misguided and then somewhat become allies with the Symphogear girls in the end although it is just for a short while. Though Saint-Germain will not consider them fighting alongside each other as an ally, but if you’re fighting the same enemy together, that is good enough for me to consider that temporary team up as allies. Too bad they didn’t live in the end and hence breaking the combo of when the next season comes by, the Symphogear girls would have a new face joining their ranks (maybe they could as ghosts). Because that is what Elfnein is literally. She is now like the mad scientist of the group, only with a lot of anxiety and guilt because of the need to make better Symphogear technology for the girls to fight better, blah, blah, blah. One of the biggest ironies is how Saint-Germain was so confident and did not bat an eyelid in taking lives of others for her misguided cause only to start sweating when Adam the jerk decided to use hers and her aides. It’s like saying she can do unto others but others cannot do unto her. Like having 2 different set of rules applied. In the end, I guess all that matters is that she is satisfied to finally put her life for good use. Hey, you can’t make great progress if you don’t put your own life on the line, can you?

I suppose if there is something that I need to ‘praise’ and something that I have ‘enjoyed’ this season is the ridiculous action. Yes, this season like the previous maintains its over the top exaggerated action. It has all the flashy and explosive effects that would make your jaw drop in disbelief. You could almost feel the power packed in all those explosions. Bang for your buck? It is nonsensical but it’s fun. I wouldn’t go as far as to put the action on the same level as Hollywood’s Mad Max: Fury Road. But I’ll say it is more along the lines of that kind of mindless action. After all, when you are fighting hordes of colourful and ‘cute’ Alca-Noise, you need to destroy them in bulk as it would definitely be inefficient to destroy them one by one. This season also introduces combo team ups from the Symphogear girls as they form some sort of weird getup to destroy the enemy. Nice gimmick. So I guess we can look forward to the other strange versions they will turn into via different combinations in the future.

But nothing beats Hibiki’s punching. It’s like saying there is nothing that cannot be defeated with a good punch. Her Gungnir is like the answer to almost everything. Ironically she wants to win battles without sacrifices but always ends up using her fists. I guess that shows her persuasion skills aren’t as good as her punches. Oh well. You know what they say about action speaks louder than words. Also, it would be just plain boring and unrealistic to see Hibiki just winning over the enemy with words. That’s not why we watch this series, right? And now that she has the ability to do special attacks of her comrades… How further more will she evolve? Sometimes it feels funny that the Pavarian Illuminati girls decide to go destroy the Symphogear girls, only to always get defeated, it feels like some sort of joke because it’s like rinse and repeat every time. They feel confident in taking them down and when they clash, they lose. Retreat. Rest for a while to get back that confidence. Have a go again. I suppose this is only how we’ll get our Symphogear action.

I also want to mention the character designs of the antagonists. When Adam first made his appearance, instantly I thought what the heck is Sinbad from Magi doing here?! Has that king of Sindria finally gone rogue?! Plus, with his white suit, at certain angles he reminds me of Michael Jackson! Aaow! Heehee! Smooth Criminal! Okay, his white suit doesn’t resemble like Michael Jackson’s iconic one in Smooth Criminal but I just can’t help remember that King of Pop when looking at him. His true form she got me thinking of what is deemed as perfect. At least in the visual and physical department. Because if Adam deems his own looks as perfect, is this what humans who created him model after? Then why the heck was his true form hideous? Don’t really get it. Then there is the battle suit of Prelati. She is the oddest of the lot as it makes her look like some mini monster. Worse, it could be one of those animal pyjamas that kids go to sleep with. Serious. Then there is those Alca-Noise do come in all colours, shapes and sizes. However I tend to notice a few that really looks ridiculous. I believe I saw a few as bananas… WTF?!

I don’t know if a few political punching bags were made because the first adventure of this series that has them head to South America, one of the dictators reminded me of Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro! Maybe it was just me but then again, many dictators are stereotyped as fat bad moustachioed guys. And then there is the one of the US president. Doesn’t look like Donald Trump as I have said earlier but why do I get this feeling that it is supposed to be referring to him? And why does the pre-emptive missile strike feels like the one about North Korea?! Hopefully it is just me and crazy reality. Then there is that instant back down of the UN once SONG managed to diffuse the situation. It’s a good thing they are trying to tell us negotiations are the way instead of WMDs as proof that humans can get along. But from this reality which I came from… It sounded like BS crap. Honestly.

New casts joining this series’ line-up are Miki Shinichiro as Adam (Urahara in Bleach), Minako Kotobuki as Saint-Germain (Asuka in Hibike! Euphonium), Rina Hidaka as Prelati (Last Order in To Aru Majutsu No Index), Hina Kino as Tiki (Sylvia in Masou Gakuen HxH), Natsumi Fujiwara as Sonya (Chihiro in Shonen Maid) and Asuna Tomari as Stefan. The surprising one is Shouta Aoi as Cagliostro. Very rare that a man voices a female’s role. He certainly has a very feminine voice that would fool many into thinking that he is a woman. After all, many of his anime roles are effeminate guys like Ai in Uta No Prince-sama series, Licht in Oushitsu Koushi Haine and Renren in Hatsukoi Monster. The only other female role he voiced is Michael in Shingeki No Bahamut: Genesis. Like in previous seasons, Nana Mizuki takes on the opener, Testament while Ayahi Takagaki does the ending theme, Futurism. The techno rock style of these music isn’t my cup of tea and so are the many songs they sing during battle.

Overall, I believe only true Symphogear fans would enjoy and appreciate what is going on up till this point. If not for the mindless power action, I would have been even bored to death with all the confusing terms and plot (although it is as simple as girls in revealing sci-fi suits fighting the baddies who want to destroy or rule the world). So I am deducing that the next season would be the big finale that would end the series because after working so hard to come this far, all the battles they have fought, the lives they have saved and the friendships created, it would be a major insult to suddenly have a new hidden antagonist popping up and who is the actual big bad boss behind everything so far. Please don’t turn it into such cliché because we really want to see off the girls gracefully in their most beautiful swan song when the time comes. A song that would become an evergreen classic.

BanG Dream

October 14, 2017

I see we still won’t get our third season of K-ON! And in the mean time waiting for the next season of Love Live! Sunshine, here, have BanG Dream as your snack. Heh. When I first heard that name, I thought it was going to be some sort of ecchi fanservice laden anime. Yeah, it sounds so lewd. So this isn’t about some horny guy whose life goal is to bang every woman in the world? No? Okay. I suppose it has been some time we have an anime revolving around an all-girl band so what better way than to put on a few fresh faces and a new anime about a group of girls to pursue their dreams of reaching for the stars. Well, that glitter in the music sense, that is.

Episode 1
Kasumi Toyama is so excited on her first day at high school that she has to ‘harass’ her sister, Asuka up. The eager beaver quickly makes friends with Saaya Yamabuki who is also in the same class. So enthusiastic that Kasumi rants about her dreams like hearing the beat of the stars during her introduction in class. Either you laugh or start thinking she must be one heck of a weirdo. She tries out several clubs and despite looking like she’s having fun trying them out, none seems to have that oomph. Is she so bored that she has to bug Saaya who helps out her family’s bakery? On her way back, she spots several illuminating star stickers on the walls and poles like as though it is guiding her to somewhere. It leads her to a storeroom and she is caught red handed by Arisa Ichigaya who thinks she is a thief. Because Kasumi is so persistent, Arisa allows her to touch the electric guitar casing. She likes it so much that now she wants to go see a live house. Arisa tells her to do it herself. Too bad Kasumi took the guitar along! So no choice, Arisa has to help her find a live house. Just why? They find one, Space and that’s not the end of the embarrassment. Kasumi states her intention to play the guitar but this isn’t a practice studio. Then they have to pay a ticket admission to enter. At this point Arisa must be damn annoyed and Kasumi continues with her sparkly enthusiasm. The all-girl band, Glitter Green makes their entrance and starts jamming, wowing Kasumi. Now, you want to know what bugs me throughout this episode? The way Kasumi is holding the electric guitar the entire time! Do you know how freaking heavy an electric guitar is???!!! And for her to carry it on her chest like as though she is carrying a book makes no freaking sense!!! Aren’t her arms sore?! Must be so amazed by everything that she can’t feel a thing in reality.

Episode 2
As expected, Kasumi now wants to start a band. The problem is, she is hanging out in Arisa’s home and eating breakfast with her grandma! WTF???!!! Is this worse than stalking?! Yes Kasumi, you don’t have to tell the whole world you’re starting a band. Then she meets Rimi Ushigome whose sister, Yuri plays the guitar in Glitter Green. Although Rimi plays the bass, she isn’t in any band right now. Oh you guess it. Please join my band! Arisa thinks she can annoy Kasumi as she puts up that electric guitar for auction. Can you pay 300,000 Yen for it? And with sad Kasumi continue to bug her, Arisa had to tell her off about her getting close to her so she could get the guitar for free. Because Kasumi continues to stalk her, Arisa gives in. Can’t blame her. She is at her place every single day. She just wants the guitar, right? Sighs. She lets her touch and see for a few seconds. When Arisa learns how she followed the stars here, she remembers planting them when she was younger. Isn’t that public property vandalism? Arisa once played the piano but quit. Wait for it… Please join my band! Didn’t you hear her she quit piano some time ago? When Kasumi takes the guitar case, the handle breaks! Dramatic drama as she becomes so apologetic for damaging it. Well, conveniently they are able to find a music repair shop to restore the guitar. Though, the case is a goner. And I still can’t believe Kasumi carries the heavy instrument all the back like that. Arisa is ‘kind’ enough to withdraw it from the auction and sell to her at 540 Yen (the withdrawal charge). What if still no money? She’ll sell it to someone else. Arisa’s grandma gives her granddaughter the keys to their home’s own jamming studio. Kasumi has her first feel playing a plugged in electric guitar. Amazing, no? And you could say Arisa could have been a tsundere all the while as she joins her band and to use this room on condition that they eat lunch together. No wonder she’s so permissive with Kasumi.

Episode 3
Rimi tells Kasumi the bad news: She can’t join her band! But stupid Kasumi keeps stalking her for a reason! Kasumi keeps optimistic by applying to play for the school’s cultural festival. We know Rimi is a shy girl so she can’t say what she wants easily. It gets scarier for her when western tourists ask her for directions in English. Kasumi thinks she can help out. Though she can speak in English, she’s ‘promoting’ herself as a guitarist! WTF?! Finally Rimi got the guts to tell why she can’t join her band. In short, stage fright. She goes blank when people look at her. The girls are supposed to go check out another concert at Space. You know how freaking eager Kasumi is when she picks up Arisa way too early just to be there and check things out. As the concert gets on the way, Rimi gets news from her sister that her band may not make it in time because of a storm. Space has strict rules of not making the audience wait so the other bands agree to help buy some time. But as time passes, Glitter Green never showed up. I guess that’s it. The gig is over. The audience must be confused since they never turn up. Kasumi won’t let it end this way so she goes out on stage and sings Twinkle Twinkle Little Star! OMG! If that’s not embarrassing enough, she drags Arisa out to play the castanets as accompaniment! Not enough? Sing again! OMFG! But guess what? I think everybody here is crazy because they think it is funny (sure is) and love it but a lot of people would start thinking how weird this is. So crazy that Rimi has found the guts to go onstage and do play her bass accompaniment of the song! At the end, Glitter Green is here. They’ll take it from here. But you know what? They play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star! OMFG!!!!! When will the madness end?! This time with full music accompaniment and they let the trio carry on playing. It’s hard to imagine that this is the song that propelled them for greater things. Now that Rimi has got a taste of this excitement, she really wants to join the band. Wow. This is really one mad episode.

Episode 4
Man. Kasumi is real proud of her pathetic amateur guitar skills. Let’s painfully watch her slowly play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star! At least she’s still got the enthusiasm. Heck, even fellow classmate who is also a guitarist, Tae Hanazono thinks she is weird. And since everybody starts calling her weird, you mean Kasumi just realized she is just weird?! Don’t you even cry about it! Tae is kind and patient enough to give Kasumi some guitar lessons. From tuning and even learning some chords. Oh God. More Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. I’m sure she is going to turn it into a masterpiece. Kasumi learns Tae once started out in piano but then she saw how cool her mom was jamming. Yeah, mom was a guitar instructor. More annoying crap from Kasumi as she tries to boast and show off her new chords to Asuka. Chord by chord! Guess what song? Twinkle Twinkle Little Star! Yeah, it only uses major chords so it’s easy for newbies. At this rate, Kasumi can now decently play her favourite song. But all the practice comes with a price. As Kasumi hangs out with Tae more often recently, she realizes too late about Arisa. It is no wonder Arisa locks her out of her house! She forgot their promise to eat lunch together and is always rushing off for guitar practice. Heck, what about their band practice that she never turned up? Too late to regret now, Kasumi. To show Arisa isn’t a baddie, she lets her back in but must pay her back generously. I also think she might want to show off her new electronic keyboard she bought. Cool, no? But it is back to her usual breakdown because now that Tae is eating with them, there are 2 Kasumis now???!!! I don’t even… Kasumi is all excited for cultural festival. She even has big dreams after that to go for some audition. However it is time to get realistic. Tae puts her foot down and shoots her down that is impossible.

Episode 5
Tae explains that only bands whom Space’s owner approves get to play on stage. Tae has dreamt on going on that stage but is nowhere close to that despite watching various bands played here. Kasumi promises she will practise till she gets better. How long is that going to take? She’d better. Because Tae wants to feel that kind of excitement again. It never hurts from trying so when Kasumi requests from Space’s owner to play at space, she kicks them out. Owner is not joking and is passionate about it. She was once a band member and went on tours. She created Space to destroy the scary and dangerous image of live houses. So only those who has the same passion for music as her she will allow them to go on stage. After watching another performance, Rimi tells Kasumi and Arisa she made a new song with Yuri together. They hear her humming of My Love Is A Chocolate Cornet. Corny? Kasumi hopes they can try it out. But she can’t read notes. Tabs? Even Rimi has to painfully teach her? Oh, time to seek Tae’s help. See how cool she plays? Maybe they should replace Kasumi with her. So we’d rather have an expert like Tae teach an absolute rookie like Kasumi in hopes she can get better fast before the play? Whatever. Once ready, the quartet hold a mini concert before Arisa’s grandma, Yuri, Saaya and Asuka. It sounds fine and okay. I know it feels unbelievable that Kasumi can be so perfect now. At the end of the performance, they feel excited playing together. So Tae is officially part of the band now? As long as she is happy.

Episode 6
A year ago, Saaya was a member of a band as a drummer. Kasumi has been made the organizing committee for the school’s cultural festival. Quite chirpy as always, isn’t she? First order is to make Saaya her assistant! Wait. I thought they should vote? Well, everyone agrees too so whatever. They want to do a café for the festival and since Rimi suggests a bread café like Saaya’s bakery, why not? Yeah, so easy to just go ask for free breads, right? Kasumi is going to get busier because she too wants her own mini band to play at the festival. She hears Tae play a draft song she just wrote this morning and wants to play that. Is it me or does that song sound so much like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star? Oh well, that’s their inspiration song, I guess. Kasumi and her friends converge at Saaya’s bakery to test the aprons they will be using. Saaya’s little bratty kid brother must be very shy with so many girls over since he can’t bully his little sister. Only Kasumi stays over to brainstorm for ideas. Arisa claims she isn’t an easy woman (whatever that means) while Rimi and Tae strangely go out for sukiyaki together (is there some sort of lesbianism brewing between them?). As usual, Kasumi puts up her sparkly optimism and Saaya just smiles. Next day as they put up posters, it seems Kasumi has decided that the band’s name is Poppin’ Party. Poopin’ Panty what? Just kidding. However she has also put Saaya’s name in the band. Did she say she wanted to join? Coincidentally, Saaya bumps into her old friend and ex-bandmate, Natsu. She sees Saaya’s name and is glad she is in a band. However Saaya’s fake smile is so obvious. It screams that she didn’t want to be in this sh*t. She denies so and says her friend wrote it by mistake.

Episode 7
Flashback shows Saaya and her ex-band were excited to play their first gig. However Saaya got a call from mom. Actually her little brother called and is frantic something happened to mom. The gig was cancelled as she rushed home. Although mom is okay, she still get panic attacks from that traumatic incident. I guess Kasumi realizes too late they don’t have a drummer. Time to go around looking for one. Apparently she tries Hinako Nijukki who is the drummer of Glitter Green. But she thinks there is someone better to fit them: Saaya. But talking to Natsu and other bandmates don’t seem to reveal clearly why Saaya stopped playing. Like in true Kasumi’s fashion, she goes to bug Saaya herself. She knows why she is here so they talk privately. But still, nope. Not going to play in your band. To cut short that burst of emotions from Saaya why she can’t play, she is worried mom might fall sick from overworking again. Kasumi even offers to help with her shop and school work but that’s not enough. Saaya blames herself that everyone prioritizes her first. Because of that, she believes she messed up everything and made everyone anxious. That won’t be fun, right? Don’t waste your efforts on her, says she. Saaya’s crying. Kasumi’s also crying too. Oh, now Kasumi is trying to impose on her not to decide for herself? Let’s decide together. WTF. This ‘quarrel’ is interrupted when Saaya’s little sister caught the crying bug thinking they’re fighting. Time to pretend to make up. So it’s over? Not yet. Since Saaya insists she won’t join, Kasumi says she’ll be waiting. Don’t hold your breath…

Episode 8
Arisa gets a rude awakening since Tae is kissing and hugging her! What kind of dream is she having? She is still probably in dream land or just rolling Arisa as she continues her unsolicited rape. Saaya has her own rude awakening. Mom is starting to have those again… Although mom is rushed to the hospital and her condition stable, Saaya is going to stay by her side and skip the cultural festival. This means Kasumi and the rest have to do their best and make it a success. We see them doing their shifts before going around and checking out other stuffs like the haunted house and Asuka’s maid café. Is Tae their unofficial photographer? Saaya receives 2 messages from Kasumi. The first one was a call to ask about her mom and others. But the rest tried to hijack her call so that’s where the second message came. It’s about leaving their newly written song in an envelope for her to read (if she wants to). The lyrics resonates with her because it made her cry. Cue for mom to tell Saaya to go and have fun. At first she is stubborn but there is only a limit to how long she can be persistent because the plot says she has to become a band member. And with that, off she goes, running her way to school while listening to the music. Want to bet she can memorize it all at one go? Poppin’ Party is next and they manage to play their Cornet song without a drummer. When Saaya reaches school, she bumps into Natsu. Before Saaya could apologize, Natsu says they had fun. It’s her turn now. Saaya makes her ‘grand entrance’, much to the delight of her bandmates. She tests the drum kit and shows off her awesome drumming that she hasn’t lost a single touch with. Then we hear their song, Star Beat. Kasumi introduces the band members at the end of it. While everyone is having fun, we end with a cliff-hanger as Space’s owner decides to close the live house down.

Episode 9
Saaya goes to check out drum sets. They seem pricey but hey, her parents can help pay the balance. So she settles for this electronic piece. So as they get eager to practice, Tae receives word that everyone in Space is out from a cold. What are the chances of that? Since Space can’t cancel the much anticipated Glitter Green and Roselia’s performance, thus they go volunteer to help especially Kasumi who is just bugging to help. Okay. Hey, you don’t get such free labour in the form of cute girls these days. Luckily owner is around to supervise or else the temptation to fool around is too great. Glitter Green arrives for rehearsal. Poppin’ Party wonders why their school’s student council president is here. The moment she takes off her glasses, they recognize her as Glitter Green’s keyboardist! OMG! Superman-Clark Kent effect here! Superman’s identity will definitely be safe in this anime! After that, Roselia makes their entrance for rehearsal. The event goes well. As they are cleaning up, Kasumi sees a band member of Roselia crying and everyone else trying to console her. Not sure if she screwed up or felt it wasn’t up to par but the owner hints it isn’t the end of the world. Poppin’ Party tries standing on stage for the experience. Soon, they get their own audition to see if they are fit to play there. Well, less than perfect. So when owner asks who thinks they did well, only Kasumi raises her hand with optimism. The rest just looked embarrassed. Anyway, owner can’t let them play here and they have to do better than that. Don’t worry. Kasumi will practice as long as it takes. You don’t say because Tae saw Space’s schedule and notices the latter half empty. Then she breaks the news to them that she is closing down Space.

Episode 10
Tae looks like she is going crazy and Kasumi is ‘missing’. But when Kasumi returns, she is as lively as ever as she has designed outfits for their outfit. Next time they go see owner for another chance at the audition, she tells them they’re not there yet. Natsu’s band, Chispa is here to audition. Cheese pack what? Despite being all over the place, owner asks if they think they made it. Natsu confidently answers they believe they did everything they could. Owner passes them. While Poppin’ Party is happy for them, it makes them think what they are lacking. Yuri says that there is no one correct music. The answer is different for everyone. So all of them especially Kasumi thinks really hard. Kasumi thinks she really got it so she goes bug owner that night just to tell her how much she loves Space and will definitely play here. Really? Owner shuts her up with this: She is the worst of the lot! Heck, even Arisa is giving her piece of mind if she is tired of it all. I mean, when does it end? After a flawless performance? After playing at Space? She is always looking like having fun but Arisa is thinking having fun isn’t what it’s all about. So is she hinting she isn’t having fun in Poppin’ Party? So everyone works hard by continuing to practise. Yeah, Kasumi goes the extra mile by practising so hard that a couple of picks broke! So the next time Poppin’ Party shows up for audition, owner lets them in. Everyone looks ready. But Kasumi looks she has doubts. At this time? And as they start off, suddenly Kasumi cannot sing! No, she hasn’t lost her voice since she can still talk. Somehow she just cannot sing.

Episode 11
Gloomy. Depressing. Hey, at least it’s quiet since she can only talk softly. Oh sh*t! She visits the doctor and nothing wrong was found. She is told to rest so I guess no band practice. Yeah, not even playing her guitar. Besides, they have one more chance for the audition. So no hurry. Wait. You better hurry before Space shuts down. Being a ‘mute’ has its perks. She doesn’t have to answer when the teacher calls her. Otherwise she is acting weird. Like walking home in the rain and kissing Asuka?! Yikes! Better get her voice back fast! As she talks to Yuri, if it is not nervousness causing this, it could be stress. Kasumi? Stressed?! What’s Asuka’s opinion about this? She thinks she might be in a slump. Next morning, Kasumi wakes up and realizes she has her voice back! Oh no. The craziness is back. Right away they head for practice. But wait… She still can’t sing! I guess practice is over. For added drama effect, Kasumi runs away to cry in the park. Her bandmates catch up. I guess Arisa has enough of it. She starts off harshly about this farce. Kasumi is the one who is least making any improvements so why is she suddenly so concerned now? After Kasumi reveals what owner said, Arisa continues her criticism. It sure is true since Kasumi drags everyone in without asking their opinions first. It caused everyone lots of trouble. Of course we now have to say good things she did like how she amazingly brought together a band and she did learn how to play the guitar quickly. Since she is still adamant she wants to play at Space with them, they all start taking turns to sing a line of a song. When it is Kasumi’s turn, she ekes out whatever she can. Sounding soft and out of breath. At least it’s an achievement considering her circumstances.

Episode 12
Kasumi gets this idea of designing their t-shirts for practice. But first they have to study for the tests. After that they continue practising. They have a sleepover at Tae’s place. So no pillow fight and turning in early? No wonder nobody can sleep (except for Tae) so they watch the sky anyway. Too cloudy anyway. So D-Day is here for Poppin’ Party. This is their last shot at the audition. And after a group rally, they start strutting their stuff. Kasumi can sing albeit I feel it is not 100% perfect. Once the song ends, Arisa starts crying! She realizes she made a few mistakes despite practising so hard. Infectious enough to affect Rimi as she cries about the same thing. Before more could be infected, owner asks that question but aimed at Kasumi. Her reply? We pulled through. After lecturing how people do music because they love it, she finds their performance satisfying and passes them. Okay. Time for a big group hug and let all those tears flow. Yeah, everybody watching outside can also cry too.

Episode 13
Kasumi is being her usual chirpy ‘harasser’. She even joins in with whatever yuri thing Tae is teasing Saaya with. As this would be Space’s last performance, we have Glitter Green, Chispa and Poppin’ Party gracing it. The place is packed with people even during the day rehearsal. Even Poppin’ Party’s families are here. So there’s lots of preparation and nervousness before the main event begins. Glitter Green goes first followed by Chispa. And so Poppin’ Party who is making their first live performance is ironically Space’s last performance. At first Kasumi introduces the band and how it all started. I guess they can be good stand-up comedians in a way since everyone is ‘criticizing’ how Kasumi dragged them all into forming this band although it was for the greater good. And with Kasumi giving that silly reaction, no wonder the crowd is laughing. And so here is their song: Dreaming Sunflower. Enjoy. Goodbye and thank you very much.

OVA
Time for some low quality fanservice. I guess it is boring to see girls studying. So what are they going to do for fun? Go to the beach! Oddly, the guitarists brought their guitars along. With all the excitement and hype, amidst the chaos Arisa somehow ended up getting dragged into Kasumi’s pace and holds her guitar while in the sea?! Be careful not to get it wet. And Tae just leaves her guitar unguarded on the beach before dipping in. Wow. So fun. So carefree. Eventually they find a kind beach house owner to help safe keep their belongings. Who would ever reject cute girls? Meanwhile the girls of Roselia are practising in a rented summer house nearby. Yukina Minato is having trouble writing the perfect song. So what Lisa Imai suggest? Go to the beach! So Poppin’ Party and Roselia bump into each other. Can we have fun together? Sayo Hikawa insists they are here on a training camp. Eventually everyone has to loosen up by playing beach volleyball. This is what is all about, right? Too bad the dramatic drama and screw ups overshadow the low quality fanservice. I’m not sure if it’s true but once Sayo changes her casual clothes into her swimsuit, her team plays better! Proof that beach volleyball is all about showing skin if you want to level up? Anyway, we don’t know who wins because nobody kept count (so as to avoid clash between Poppin’ Party and Roselia fans). Kasumi has this idea for them join forces and form a 10 woman band called Roselia Party. The beach house owner has Poppin’ Party do a sound check. They go on stage and strut their stuff. Because there are no drums, Saaya sings the vocals along with Kasumi. There is a recorded drum play but it’s so perfect that it makes me wonder do they really need a drummer. As expected, Poppin’ Party is so good that the audience loves them and this gives Roselia motivation to practice and Yukina has found the inspiration for her perfect song. You mean it wasn’t the beach volleyball that fired them up? Just kidding.

Crash! Boom! Bang! Keep Dreaming…
ZzzZZzzzZzzz… Oh… I see the season is over. Oh boy. I guess I’m not really cut out for this kind of shows anymore. So the only thing I was hoping that would salvage the entire season was why Space’s owner decided to close it down. She has been doing it for almost her entire life and I don’t see why she decides to shut it down now. It’s not like she hates music or got bored with it. Definitely not. Maybe her reasons are personal and if she doesn’t want to tell us, fine. Thus I can only speculate that Space’s closure is because she needed to push all those young girl bands to a better place. I mean, can’t be playing in this cramped space forever, can you? Because we see how ‘depressed’ Yuri was at first when the place was closing down. So with Space’s closure, hopefully all band hopefuls who dream of performing big or small would find a better space to play their music. If they love music, they can go anywhere. Also, Space’s closure is to push Poppin’ Party and make it look as though they have made it through the final hurdle in time. Mission accomplished in time! Hooray! Now they don’t look like losers. Other than that… Yawn… Even the beasts that were awakened to destroy humanity and the planet would immediately go back to its slumber. Oops… Am I too harsh?

Unfortunately I’m so bored that I couldn’t really feel connected and how deep the interaction and bonding of the Poppin’ Party members. In anime genres like this one, a small group of characters is supposed to drive the story and their character development but it is a sad thing that I don’t really feel that emotional feel it. Yeah, maybe I’m such a dead person… I know everything this season feels just like the beginning of everything, the discovery of stuffs and the motivation that is needed to pull through. I know that they are going to pull through somehow with all the drama and ‘obstacles’ in their way, I’m sure they will overcome it. From gathering the band members (it took more than half the season) to Kasumi losing her voice and finally passing the audition. All as expected. Yeah, I sound like an expert in watching this genre but I can assure you I’m not.

So I am going to blame primarily Kasumi for the ‘boring’ character development. Just like in K-ON! and both Love Live series, the leader must always be an airhead (such leaders are even expanded to other animes like One Piece). However as compared to the rest, Kasumi passes off as more annoying than anything. She really gets on your nerves. For one thing, she goes at her own pace and doesn’t listen to everyone and drags them all into her own pace whether they like it or not. She could be one of the world’s greatest stalkers thanks to her persistence. It might look like she is giving you a choice but you realize that there isn’t any options because the only way to stop her from bugging you is to conform to whatever she wants. And because she says and does everything with that sparkly silly smile in her face, it makes it all hard to turn her away. Case in point: Arisa. Poor girl. Thankfully everything turned out fine and thus Kasumi is a ‘heroine’. Had it turned out badly like for example if everything flopped real hard, no doubt she will bear the full brunt of the blame. Dream over. Break up. Depression. Lethargy. Regrets. Suicide. Woah! Too dark a theme for a series that is all sunshiny, cheerful and bright.

I know it is good to be optimistic and passionate but the way Kasumi is portrayed doing so feels a bit unrealistic. In the real world, she would have been shot down as being ‘meiwaku’ (annoying and troublesome) and ‘shitsukoi na’ (persistent). I want to punch her at times but seeing how cute she is, I realize it’s even wrong to punch anybody. If Kasumi wasn’t in this band thingy, she would be hell of a good saleswoman. To show that she is human, somebody grumpy had to point out her flaws and it really hit her. Imagine someone telling you off you’re the worst when you are still on your high horse. Not so fun anymore, eh? I guess once in a while you have to be brought down to earth. Another unrealistic thing about Kasumi is how fast she becomes a guitar master in a short space of time. Do you know how long it took me to get to that level?! Maybe Tae was a good instructor but the fact we see Kasumi making so little progress at first and then suddenly becoming a pro when it matters, it just makes it all feel unrealistic. Did she sell her soul to the devil or something?

If there had to be a favourite character of mine in this series, I would definitely go for Arisa. In short, she is a funny girl. Like in any other group, there needs to be one who retorts and this is exactly what Arisa’s role is for. Because the rest are like ‘zombies’ and pandering to Kasumi so we need Arisa as a voice of reasoning and objection sometimes. She is the other one besides Kasumi to have this lively personality. But unlike Kasumi whom I consider as annoying, at least Arisa is funny. One reason is that she is a tsundere and it clearly shows at times when she doesn’t really want to do it but does it eventually or tries to give excuse to justify it isn’t so but it is in reality. So Arisa, never change. Of course, to also at least to show she is also human, she also cries and makes mistakes especially in their final audition.

For the rest of the other band members, I feel that they are boring and don’t really stand out. Heck, I think they all feel the same. They all have their issues to deal with at first but once they overcome that, they start to feel the same. Like Rimi who was once a shy girl. Now no longer obviously shy, she’s such a good and happy girl. Tae is also an airhead and at her own pace like Kasumi but at least she is not as annoying. Being Kasumi’s guitar teacher at first, once Kasumi ‘graduates’, Tae is just a good and happy girl. Saaya as the last member to join thanks to her worrywart issues also becomes nothing but a good and happy girl once she has less anxiety. I don’t know when it happened but there seems to be some sort of close friendship struck between Rimi and Tae ever since the band is completed. Did I miss something there? Or maybe Tae is just a little yuri by nature…

As for the other supporting characters, I can’t say the same for them. I feel they hardly make an impact at all. Glitter Green has got their own track record so I don’t see the need for them to even intervene with Poppin’ Party. Though, Yuri sometimes gives advice. Owner might look like a grumpy old woman but I am sure she just wants the best from out of those bands who play at her Space. If they’re not going to take this seriously, they’re not going to take music seriously anyway and thus do not have the right to play. She has seen lots of bands come and go and hence perhaps why she isn’t amused by Kasumi’s overhyping reactions. She’s lived long enough to see it all. I thought there might be some sort of issue with Asuka since she has this gloomy and troubled looks at the start. As the series progresses, she shows less of it as she opens up to her sister. Maybe it is because of Kasumi as an annoying sister that she doesn’t like? If so, then aha! Told you Kasumi was damn annoying!

Art and drawing are okay. One reason why I kept thinking how this series reminds me of Love Live is because of how cute the girls are. Perhaps it was the factor that made me watch this series… Not only Poppin’ Party but those other band girls too have this very cute looks. They have this very cute idol looks but the only difference of them instead of prancing around on stage, they hold and play instruments. Thus if destiny did not make them pick up the guitar, keyboard or drums, they will don flashy idol outfits and start dancing on stage with cute (and sexy) choreography dance moves. I noticed that there is some CGI used in here albeit only limited to when the band plays on stage. However the CGI is not that bad and is almost fits seamlessly into the overall animation. You might not notice the difference but if you looks closely you can tell when the animation is a bit different than the usual.

Since this is a series on music, I can’t say that I really like them. I’m not saying that the songs suck but they don’t really resonate with me. There are a few decent ones but it didn’t make me go crazy over it. The opening theme, Tokimeki Experience somehow sounds so much like an idol song that could be sung by the idol group in Love Live. Just add some electric guitar to make it sound like they’re a rock band. Oh wait. They are. The same can be said for the ending theme, Kirakira Da Toka Yume Da Toka ~Sing Girls~. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star although is spammed in the first half, thankfully that is done away once they have their own music.

For the voice acting, I guess it feels okay. Having a good singing voice is necessary for this kind of series and Poppin’ Party does a decent job in that. At least better than mine. The main casts are Aimi Terasaka as Kasumi (Sherry in Plastic Memories), Ayasa Itou as Arisa (Alice in Milky Holmes series), Rimi Nishimoto as Rimi (debut role), Sae Ootsuka as Tae (debut role), Ayaka Ohashi as Saaya (Yayaka in Flip Flappers), Suzuko Mimori as Yuri (Sanae in Teekyuu), Yuka Ozaki as Asuka (Serval in Kemono Friends) and Mami Koyama as Space’s owner (Balalaika in Black Lagoon).

Overall, this isn’t a bad anime but it is just boring and sometimes unrealistic to me (even if it is just anime). I read there are many positive comments on this show but like music itself, everyone has different tastes and opinions about it. Annoying main character puts me off at the start but I still persevered like the band because I was hoping that things would change for the better. Okay, I’ll give them that since they’re making small steps at a time. At least this is realistic because you can’t have them suddenly playing at the Budoukan and selling record breaking sales all over the world. Well, no harm in dreaming about that. But still, you have to wake up and make it happen or it will still be a dream. Meanwhile I am dreaming how BanG Dream would be an awesome name for a porn title…

Fukumenkei Noise

October 7, 2017

What? So soon? In the previous season we had a rock band romance in the name of Fuuka. Once that ended, now we have another rock band romance, Fukumenkei Noise. But unlike the former, it isn’t about finding new love. It is more of finding that lost love. You know, young kids who are supposed to be playing with toys and dolls, these ones start liking each other. Puppy love, I guess. And then one of them had to suddenly move far away without a word of goodbye and their only hope ever to find each other again is through music. Imagine singing the same piece of song every day for the next 6 years just for this promise. Yeah, I think fate got fed up of hearing that atrocious singing and decided to just let them reunite. Oh, did I mention how things can tremendously change in 6 years?

Episode 1
It is the start of a new school term. Students gather in the hall for a performance from the light music club. When they start playing, Nino Arisugawa starts singing along. When the band’s guitarist, Kanade “Yuzu” Yuzuriha spots her, he stops everything and runs away. Just like that? Concert ruined. Nino starts chasing him down, glad that her voice reached him. She is glad to have finally found him because every day for the past 6 years she has been singing that same melody that he wrote before disappearing in hopes of reuniting again. And she sure is excited to see him once more that she starts singing and then cries. But the feeling isn’t mutual for him. He doesn’t want Alice (the nickname he calls her) to talk to him again as his bandmates pull him away to apologize to the crowd. They wonder if that was the song he wrote but he doesn’t want to have anything to do with it. The band has got bigger problems to deal with like the club being shut down and their upcoming concert. Funny how fate is because Yuzu and Nino end up in the same class sitting next to each other! She thought he is a year older. Maybe he got held back a year. Later she hears him playing the piano and sings along. However he doesn’t stop and continues playing. It’s like he is trying to finish the song he wrote 6 years ago. Due to this, the band’s lead vocalist, Miou Suguri gets jealous and went ‘missing’. The band’s leader and bassist, Yoshito “Haruyoshi” Haruno has no choice but to make Nino as the replacement. Momo Sasaki feels weird seeing Yuzu trying to complete his composition. Like as though he is taking lightly the light music club. Is that a pun? But Yuzu wants him to just come see their concert. Nino is able to memorize the lyrics after just hearing them once. Is it because it belongs to Yuzu? Currently the chorus club is on stage performing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. This startles Nino because she hates this song. Why do I have this feeling of blaming BanG Dream for this? Flashback reveals she was friends with Momo who was also her neighbour. One day he suddenly moved away without saying anything. She was so sad. Because of that, Nino starts singing like as though she is on drugs. The band tries hard to keep up with her. All the while she is singing, she kept thinking how her voice is forever Momo’s. Suddenly she stops singing. Did she forget the lyrics? She thought she heard Momo’s voice.

Episode 2
Nino used to spend a lot of time with Momo. They look like a happy couple. And they love singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star so much! Till the class bully tells he how annoying her voice is. Despite Momo standing up for her, she still feels bad about it. Till Momo had to tell her to use that song as a guide to find each other if ever a day comes when they part. That day came soon enough and soon she became devastated and stopped singing. The bully even teased how glad he is Momo moved away since he won’t hear her annoying voice anymore. Soon Nino had a nervous breakdown. Really, she goes crazy screaming Momo’s name like as though life has become unbearable, hard to breathe without him (thus wearing that face mask?). She wanted to scream it all out at the beach and accidentally runs over Yuzu’s composition. Shouldn’t he be writing on paper instead on sand? She starts singing it and finds it easier to breathe again. Yuzu is impressed by her voice and has found the voice he wants. He tells her he is writing a song and if she is interested, she can always come here every Wednesday to help. She takes up this offer believing singing will help her find Momo. Yuzu later explains he wrote this song himself to sing it but can’t. Because if he does, he will melt away? Is he trolling her?

One day, Nino’s mom gave to her a letter from Momo she had been holding. She must have wanted to save her the trauma. Because true enough another mental breakdown when she reads it. Momo wrote how they’ll never see each other again. As she cries her heart out, Yuzu had no choice but to hug her and sing. It calmed her down. She wanted to quit singing but he told her not to give up. If she feels like screaming, just sing his song. And if she ends up going far away, he’ll go find her. Nino is now subjected to taunting over her new ‘boyfriend’. But she shuts them up when she starts singing. They’re enthralled by her voice? A week later, Yuzu left his final score before ‘disappearing’. 6 years later of singing every day, Momo didn’t show up and she thinks she was just imagining things. She feels lost that her voice hasn’t reached him. Haruyoshi confronts Miou who wants out. She is done pretending to be Alice as the real one is here. He keeps telling her to give up on Yuzu and be his girlfriend instead. She laughs at this joke and now feels better. Was it supposed to be funny? Yuzu talks to depressed Nino who is on the verge of giving up. He says he will write more songs for her to sing so she can sing without worrying about anything. Despite telling her to be positive that she will eventually see Momo, in his heart he hopes that will never come true.

Episode 3
Momo tells his Tsukika Kuze he saw Nino but doesn’t plan to speak to her or see her (he is in some special class in another building, thus they can’t see each other anyway). The reason being if he does, he won’t be able to write music anymore. Miou tells her bandmates she is quitting as she blames Yuzu for writing less and less songs. But the moment he met Alice, he started writing perfectly again. If he thinks he wants her to keep this up while knowing she is not good enough, then sorry. In bad timing, Nino comes in. Miou tells her straight she sucks at singing. Nino bugs her for more details. Miou says she isn’t bad but isn’t good either. She is lacking. Nino wants to know what it is because she wants her voice to reach more than just Momo but the world. After Nino tells her story, Miou teaches her a little of the basics. Nino realizes she sucks in holding down a note. She becomes Miou’s disciple to learn more. At least she got her confidence back to a point she can call Yuzu’s name in some strange melodious voice. It’s pretty embarrassing to him, though. Back home, Nino sees a new song on TV. She is surprised to see the name of Momo Kiryuu as the composer. Kiryuu is Momo’s mom’s maiden name. She heads down to the recording company wanting to see him. Of course no receptionist is going to allow her in like that. Noticing a poster for a vocalist audition produced by him, she decides to enter to see him. Meanwhile Yuzu and his bandmates listen to what their producer, Michiru “Yana” Yanai has to say. He is impressed by Nino’s voice (ironically Miou recommended her) and wants her to be the lead vocalist. However Yuzu opposes and storms out. The rest are confused because they thought he put this band together for her in the first place. As Momo sends in her audition tape and prays to get in, Momo is overflowing writing songs.

Nino tells Yuzu about this Momo Kiryuu guy. She isn’t sure if he is the Momo she knows and has entered the audition to find out. Yuzu is heart-broken upon hearing she would sing Momo’s song if accepted. Then they overhear Haruyoshi talking to Ayumi “Kuro” Kurose (band’s drummer) Nino at fault for Yuzu losing his ability to sing. Had he not sing for her then, he might have recovered. Nino is in shock and overflowing with guilt. She hopes it is a lie but Yuzu demonstrates. As he tries to sing, not a single voice comes out. He didn’t want her to sing back then just to see that face. He wanted her to sing forever. All she could do is sing for him as Yuzu narrates he was hospitalized for a throat disease 6 years ago. He used to like singing and writing songs and knew he wouldn’t be able to sing after being hospitalized. So he often snuck out on Wednesdays to vent his frustrations by writing on the beach. Till he heard her sing. The day he went ‘missing’ was when he was to transfer to another hospital. He snuck out one last time to write it for her. He wants her to keep singing but it seems Nino won’t now. Despite the turn of events, Yuzu is glad one of his dreams came true after the truth came to light: She sang only for him. Meanwhile Momo is not pleased Tsukika passed Nino for the audition. Did she know it was her? She did but rather because of something else. Despite the bad quality of the recording, she had a voice that was far more memorable than anyone else. Was it because it suck? Just kidding.

Episode 4
A year ago when the current popular band, In No Hurry was formed, they are actually Yuzu and his bandmates dressed up. And Yuzu was cross-dressing as its lead vocalist, Alice! Miou was the one doing the real singing as Yuzu was lip synching. No wonder they wore all those face masks to cover up. Nino continues to be depressed that she isn’t singing. So much so it bothers Miou. She too has took the auditions since being Alice was never her goal from the start. She bugs Yuzu about Nino. It will be for nothing if the band breaks up now, the reason Miou left it to keep it afloat. Of course he won’t let it happen. He just finished writing his new song and lets Nino hear it. Instantly she starts singing to its tune. As she gets her confidence back, he asks if she is free on 29th May. At the same time Nino gets a call from the audition saying she has been picked for the final screen which falls on, wait for it, 29th May. When she asks if she could see Momo Kiryuu, she is being told the message left by him in his words, he will not be attending because “your singing voice isn’t good enough to be a guide”. She realizes this is the real Momo. Back to gloomy again. She doesn’t want to go to the audition anymore so Yuzu blows his chance of stealing her from Momo by giving her encouraging words like Momo will still listen if she goes. Still not confident and scared? Time for reverse psychology. He accuses her of being a coward when it comes to Momo. Don’t expect things to stay the same after 6 years. It opened her eyes but they still end up arguing. Nino realizes more about this change when she learns Momo’s house will now be turned into a parking lot. Man, it really took 6 years? Momo may have flipped what he said 6 years ago but that means he still remembers that promise. If her voice isn’t good enough as a guide now, it just has to become one good enough to do so and make him look her way. Yuzu lets everyone hear his new song. They’re blown away. They’re supposed to release it on 29th May. Nino heads to the place as Yuzu requested. She didn’t expect this to be a recording studio. At this point she starts noticing Yuzu’s songs have this familiar vibe to In No Hurry. Then she hears their trademark song from behind a room. Upon opening the door, she sees In No Hurry in the flesh playing before being shocked by Yuzu taking off his wig. He tells her to use In No Hurry as a platform to let her voice reach Momo who is already a pro. This band is the best place for her to be and wants her to become In No Hurry’s vocalist. She is going to perform as Alice and live with them on 29th May.

Episode 5
3 years ago, Tsukika found Momo singing in the streets. He needs money to clear his parents’ debts (the reason they moved away). Although he is tone deaf, he wrote good songs. She had him work for her music label company and wants him to write a song for an idol group, Baby by tomorrow. They already had 2 singles that bombed and if the next one fails, they will disband. As long as Momo can make money, he’ll write any song. Also he requests any press publicity. Tsukika could tell he was writing the songs for somebody but Momo is sure he won’t see her again. Nino seems to be atrocious during practice. Then they try out their costumes. With all the heavy padding and clothes, no wonder you can’t tell the original identity. Later Nino tells Miou about Momo, the guy she loves. Since Miou qualified for the final screening, perhaps she could check out if this Momo is real? Like stomach birthmark and butt burn? Seriously? Momo continues to write songs. Again Tsukika can tell he has written them all for Nino. He laments he was supposed to write only for her but used them all for work. He fears he can’t remember how to write songs for her anymore. It couldn’t be more insulting when mom calls asking for money. Not only ungrateful, she mocks him being tone deaf despite having such a talent. The last straw is when she mentions Nino’s name. He won’t have her say that name.

Apparently Nino also attends the audition since her performance would be later in the day. When it is her turn, she starts singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star! The judges are puzzled. She doesn’t see Momo among the judges and slips a little message into the song by changing a bit of the lyrics. But that is when Momo who was well disguised as one of the judges got mad. He stands up and walks away. Nino is shocked to finally see the real Momo. But can calling him gain his attention? He tells her he has failed. Her songs can’t make him money. This makes her mad as she rants about their old promises, blah, blah, blah. Not listening. When she goes off, Yuzu is here to pick her up and he instantly knows she has met Momo when she suddenly hugs him and cries her heart out. But the show must go on, sad or not as he takes her to the studio. Can she pull it off? Well, her bandmates can tell she is going berserk singing like that mad woman high on drugs again but the fans might thing it is all part of the gig. Yeah, they love it! Luckily the band manages to keep up with her. Momo is shocked to see this dark side of Nino on TV. What kind of monster is this? Yuzu narrates his regret stopping her from going berserk that day. He didn’t want to see her smile like that.

Episode 6
In No Hurry is now the talk of the town. Nino can’t remember what she sang on stage but with the recent sudden developments, she is overcome with emotions. She then gets a call from Tsukika to meet. It seems she wants to give him Momo’s guitar. He was so badly shaken that he accidentally dropped his mug and scarred it. So he doesn’t want it anymore? She assures her only Momo figured out her identity as Alice. Doesn’t that make Tsukika too? She wants her to accept it as proof that her voice moved him. Nino then goes to tell Yuzu all about it. She feels so happy about it. The next time she sees Momo, she wants to show him even more of how she feels. Yuzu might not like it but he offers to teach playing the guitar. What’s this about Momo not liking what Tsukika did? Better than throwing the guitar away, right? With Nino as an amateur, she is starting to get the attention of her classmates. Looking pretty there. She is no longer the weirdo with headphones and face mask, eh? Later Nino goes to thank Tsukika for it. She gives her business card in case she wants anything or if there is message she wants to tell Momo. After all, they live together. Momo can’t help feel this pain in her heart. I suppose Yuzu is her best confidante as she tells him about it. She wonders if a boy and girl can live together without being romantic. That is what you call friends, right? Yuzu then says he doesn’t see her as a friend. This shocks her because she thinks he sees her as something lower! He quickly covers up it means they are roommates.

Miou tells Yuzu that she has passed the final screening. He congratulates her and also tells her his band is getting busy with the release of an upcoming album. This doesn’t sit well with her. She wanted to be alone at the beach but look who came to bug her? So as Miou and Nino talk, Nino wonders if she has feelings for Yuzu. Miou is tired of everything that has happened. She throws away her earrings Yuzu gave as birthday present into the sea. Why, Nino actually went to look for them! Miou tries to stop her and tells her she is the weird one. Especially singing the same song for 6 years. Nino knows that. Despite all the mockery and disdain, she has gotten used to it. At times she thought how pointless it was and pondered quitting. But you can only quit after you’ve gone as far as you can. Nino manages to find an earring and hands it to Miou. Miou remembers she promised Yuzu she’ll treasure it when he gave it to her. When Nino says the need of going to hospital to check up her chest pains, Miou points out it is jealousy. The look on Nino’s face is priceless. First time being jealous. One day in class as Nino waits for her daily morning guitar lessons from Yuzu who is currently running late, she falls asleep since she has a bit of a cold. Momo is passing by and stops by to take a look at her sleeping face.

Episode 7
Yuzu is absent from class. Nino feels something is off as there is no news from him. So she goes everywhere in school looking for him! Everyone must be thinking who this crazy b*tch is. In fact Yuzu is at the beach furiously writing songs. Mom discovered he had been secretly writing songs and became mad. She tore up his scores and scolded him about his promise never to get involved in music again. It is getting late and he has nowhere to go. Luckily Momo is passing by and invites him to his place. He can tell Yuzu ran away from home so he explains about his family matters especially mom abnormally afraid of letting him get involved in music so much so she checks his handphone and computer. Thus school and outside is the only place he can do music. Momo shows him his music making equipment. Yuzu is impressed and learns he writes songs for a girl but recently someone took her away and it made him angry. You don’t know how everything is right under their noses… Momo demonstrates a song he just wrote today. First thing Yuzu says? Doesn’t sound like it could make money! He lets Yuzu play his guitar. Just as Momo answers Tsukika’s call, Yuzu checks his handphone to see many missed calls from Nino! It’s like she’s stalking him! He then leaves the place to go meet up with her. It’s not a funny matter that Nino was worried sick about him. She asked his bandmates but they brush her off as nothing serious. But it is traumatic for Nino because she thought he had disappeared again like 6 years ago. When she wants to look at his face close up, he covers her eyes. He doesn’t want her to look at him like that.

Next day, Haruyoshi relays a shocking news to his friends. It seems that Kiryuu guy has created a new band called Silent Black Kitty. They are definitely In No Hurry’s direct rival because their debut album comes out the same day as theirs and they play the same alternative rock music like them. Despite all members wearing masks, Nino can instantly tell the bassist is Momo himself. If the vocalist sounds familiar, it is because Miou admitted it is her. Yana then calls to confirm In No Hurry has been invited to play at a prestigious concert, Rock Horizon. However Silent Black Kitty will be there too. This means a direct face off. All Nino could think is that Momo will be there. Later Nino and Miou talk and the former hopes she would not fall for Momo. It makes her laugh like mad. Good to know she is human, right? Oh Nino, your punch line of being born a human since day one is pretty hilarious too. Nino thinks that Miou’s voice made Momo look his way. That’s why she is going to practice and get better to make him look her way. Yuzu finds Momo up alone on the school’s rooftop. In addition to thanking him for the other day, he wants dating advice? He just tells him to confess it all now instead of bottling up and then wait till it all explode and something weird happens. Yuzu continues to teach Nino and she admires and respect him for that. He wants the next practice to be on the rooftop because he has something important to tell her. She waits and practise. She realizes she has gotten better in playing the guitar. No mistakes were made. As she sings confidently, all comes to a crashing halt when she shockingly sees Momo across. He too staring at her in shock. And when Yuzu comes into the scene and realizes this guy is the Momo whom Nino has always been talking about, that shock on his face too. Everybody in shock. Wow. Their first meeting with such expression.

Episode 8
Nino tells Momo to stay put as she rushes over. He must be a real turtle because when he takes his first flight of steps down, Nino reached him. She is hounding him with questions so he tells her to shut up and never speak to him again. Now that Momo and Yuzu know each other a little better, I guess their friendship is done. Since then, Nino acts a little panicky and even stalks Momo outside his classroom? Tsukika notices Momo is in a slump. As warned, it’s because he already met Nino. She finds that strange because he wanted to write songs for her. Maybe he should just tell her his feelings. So the next time they accidentally bump into each other, he cancels that gag order and wants to talk. First he apologizes for his treatment during the audition and also for suddenly disappearing. Then he confesses 6 years ago he liked her. This is Nino’s chance to tell him everything but words cannot come out. So she sings Twinkle Twinkle Little Star! He also follows suit. Then she tells him she also liked him. It was her first lie to him. They walk back to the station holding hands. With Nino all cheery in school the next day, Yuzu seeks ‘refuge’ in the infirmary. Since Haruyoshi comes to bug him, he tells about his broken heart. He thought one day Nino would fall for him but apparently she still likes her old flame. Haruyoshi thinks he is quite the man for managing to put that into words. One day if he grows taller to be a man, maybe his love will be realized. Nah, just joking. Yuzu vows to be Nino’s friend even if he is broken hearted, he won’t run away. He will protect her smile. During the recording session, Nino starts off well singing. But then she starts thinking too much about Momo till she cannot take it anymore and drops everything and runs away. Yuzu catches her to find out what’s wrong. She feels stupid for thinking Momo would still like her after 6 years. She tolerated his ‘abuses’ thinking he felt the same that he was at the same pace as her. She lied to him that he used to like him when she still loves him even now. Yuzu tells her to sing but Nino continues to break down screaming and crying. Only way to stop this madness? Yuzu kisses her.

Episode 9
It only gets worse. Yuzu refutes that was a western greeting and it makes her cry. Kuro comes to see if everything is okay. Nino tells Yuzu not to talk to her for a while. Indeed it feels weird that the duo in the same space aren’t talking and ignoring each other. When she finally lifts that ban, she tells him she wants to quit In No Hurry. She never noticed about his feelings and only took advantage of it. Thus if she is going to keep hurting him, it is better she quits. Yuzu laughs and counters with a sarcastic tone that she thinks he likes her. He brings her to Shibuya to let her see their recently recorded music video being played in public. He tells her she will always keep singing no matter what because her voice captivates others. Her voice is what’s precious to them. That is why back then he was afraid she would ruin her voice by screaming and did what he had to. They are friends. Nino finally smiles. When Nino sees Momo talking with Tsukika, she really believes she is the person he likes now. Momo is surprised Yuzu calls him to meet. It is to return the CDs he lent. Momo can further deduce who is who in In No Hurry as well as the reason why this band was formed (like he just read from the script?). He thought Yuzu would never see him again for he was the one who stole Nino’s voice. That is the only light he has and made him trudge through life. Once he took care of everything and if she is still singing, he planned to find her and sing together again. Yuzu doesn’t accept this. He still believes Nino’s voice belongs to him. He’ll turn the tables and they’ll settle this at Rock Horizon.

The only thing Nino can do now is to sing-cum-scream-cum-shout her way while jamming her guitar. Haruyoshi is watching her performance and her ‘passion’ reminds him of that zeal when he first saw a live rock performance. He praises her singing although Nino thinks her voice wasn’t good enough. Since it is the first time she was thinking of others while singing, it is probably why her voice reached him. He thinks she can use the guitar as a weapon. She is motivated to use this to regain the person who dumped her. Haruyoshi realizes that Nino is the true founder of In No Hurry. When Yuzu’s mom cut him off from music, he could breathe again after he sang for him. It’s because she is there that In No Hurry was born. On this week’s singles chart, In No Hurry comes in second and taking first place is Baby. Nino is not worried. After all, they were going to wait until they release their first album to take first spot. Nino is happy and thankful everyone gave her a place to sing. For that she will sing for them, more than anyone, stronger than anyone.

Episode 10
During In No Hurry’s interview, Nino answered the question about her favourite food: Chicken and onion skewers. So funny that it became viral! As Nino’s profile current stands as the band’s vocalist, Haruyoshi suggests making her the vocalist and guitarist. Everyone agrees but when Yana hears her play, he stops her. There isn’t anything bad but it feels like it is missing something. This won’t be good enough for Rock Horizon. Thus Haruyoshi suggests a training camp. The next time Nino and Momo bump into each other, she learns he is applying to transfer to another school. But when he asks if she intends to keep singing in that crappy band, she chides him not to insult In No Hurry. It is a place where she belongs. Their songs let her breathe. He challenges her to quit the band if she loses at Rock Horizon but she won’t participate in that. Then struggle as much as she wants. Have your screwed up concert. While practice during the training goes fine, Nino is a funny girl talking in a stiff voice and what’s with the bunch of cucumbers? She even asks a funny question for Yuzu: Does he have someone he likes (in her quest to know her bandmates better). Oops. Not funny. He hints there is from a long time ago and when he kissed her it wasn’t his first. He asks about her obsession with Momo. Perhaps it was his voice calling her name. So when he disappeared, she felt like she lost a part of herself. Momo’s words continue to bug her till she realizes what he meant about being screwed up. He didn’t mean the band but her going berserk and screwing it up for everyone. So during practice, Yuzu can tell something is wrong with her and stops her. What’s with her trying to get better? She worries about going berserk and troubling everyone so she’s trying to get better. He dismisses that kind of boring performance and should attack more with her emotion. Sing in your own words. Don’t blame her for what is to happen then… Because she changes the entire lyrics singing about Momo the boring idiot! Feel better? Later Nino still feels down thinking about Momo. He doesn’t like her anymore but yet she allows his words to control her. She tries to hide her crying but Yuzu tells her to just cry. Singing her own words made her feel like truly singing. She wants Yuzu to let her try writing lyrics for his new song.

Episode 11
In No Hurry’s album is now on sale. Yuzu tells his bandmates about Nino writing the lyrics. Of course he is QC because he knows and doesn’t want her to write about Momo. Nino realizes how tough and embarrassing it is trying to write lyrics. Momo has the bad luck to see his mom on the streets again. Same bad luck for Yuzu because mom has found out on his PC about the songs he has been writing. She believes he is still forcing that Alice girl to be part of it and wants him to set her free. She is adamant music kills people! But when Yuzu disagrees that music didn’t kill dad, she slaps him. That’s it. He runs away from home and stays at the studio. In No Hurry practises and when Nino starts singing the lyrics for the new song, Yuzu is shocked because the lyrics are totally about him. Yana approves of this. Later Yuzu asks why she wrote the song about him. She tried about others but realizes he is the closest to her and how similar their struggles are. She asks about his crush and he wants her to guess. No idea. At Rock Horizon, the Woodstock of the country, the stage is set for the ultimate battle of the bands. There are a few venues that could play a few bands simultaneously. Both sides of In No Hurry and Silent Black Kitty there are haters who are already posting hateful comments. At a crucial moment, Momo gets a threatening call from mom to move back with them or she’ll do something to Nino. He is forced to rush to Nino and hug her. Whispering into her ear, he doesn’t want it to be like 6 years ago. He says goodbye for real to her. Nino is close to breaking down. She wants to go to him to tell him about the lie and that she still loves him. At this crucial time when her band is up next? When her bandmates call to her, she remembers all that they have done for her. She decides to go on stage. Nino disregards the playlist and starts off with the new song. Yuzu feels conflicted since she is singing his song for Momo! She is going to sing not only to make Momo stay but make sure all the audiences can never leave! Flashback from Momo’s side shows how he really wanted to see Nino’s cute smile. So he came up with all the lame puns and I guess for a kid, it is funny. Because of that, Momo thinks he is a genius…

Episode 12
After the first song ends, Nino starts playing a familiar song. Yuzu can tell she is also going out of control and she’s dragging them in. The crowd now is totally ecstatic and new ones are driving into the small space to catch a glimpse of them. Yuzu then sees his mom in the sea of crowd. He becomes stunned that he drops his pick. Fortunately Nino is able to cover for his part! When Nino and Yuzu finally look at each other, he regains his composure and makes peace with his past. He knows music doesn’t kill people. Nino is going all out and screaming and singing. Yuzu feels like it is as though it is her last. He needs her voice to keep singing the song he writes. So he stops her distraction to take back control. He tells her to crush this as they sing their last song. In the aftermath, Nino is depressed and have not sung since. She laments her voice didn’t reach Momo. By that way, that guy has transferred out of school. She ponders of giving up on him as she hangs out at her usual spot on the beach. Yuzu talks to her. He says he will continue writing music. What will she do? So she runs to Tsukika’s office? It seems Momo is also gone from here. She sees a video of Silent Black Kitty in action at Rock Horizon. For one moment, Momo looked distracted. Tsukika tells her she was told he thought he heard Nino’s voice. Flashback after In No Hurry finished their last song, I’m not sure how Yuzu knew about Silent Black Kitty’s performance ended earlier than expected, so he tells her to go right now. Nino dashed off the stage while Yuzu can only blame his stupid self for allowing this. When she arrives at Momo’s camp, as told by Tsukika he is already gone. I don’t know where Nino is running to as she searches for him. She fears the repeat of the past. She runs out of steam and just sleeps on the grass? Apparently I don’t even know how Momo knew she was here and came back just to give her a kiss while she is a sleep? Yuzu saw that and chides him. Momo calls off the competition and tells him he is disappearing for real. Yuzu warns he will take Alice for real this time. The guys can only cry. Even more heartbreak for Yuzu when he hears Nino talking in her sleep she loves Momo. With renewed determination, Nino realizes she still can’t give up on Momo. She runs back to Yuzu to tell him she won’t run away anymore. Yuzu narrates they’re hiding their feelings. Their wish is only one. He hopes it will reach her.

The Voice
So basically they’re going to relive the next 6 years like that again? Or forever? Because if that is the case, it will be a never ending chase between Nino, Momo and Yuzu. Forever. Thank goodness this series ended! I don’t think I would have the stamina to keep up and follow whatever rock music they have to play, songs they have to write and voice they have sing in order just to reach the ones they love. Can this be said a tragic ending because nobody’s love got realized? Everything gets reset back to square one and the chase is still on? Heck, even that coyote caught that road runner once. And now they’re saying they’re going to keep continuing what they’re doing? No thanks. I’m outta here. If this unresolved ending was meant to stir some emotions because nobody ended up with anybody, well it didn’t work on me. I’m so glad the series had ended…

So basically we have an entire season of drama just because our main characters cannot be truly honest with their feelings upfront. Yuzu trying to be considerate to Nino so he basically hides it all. Momo trying to make money as an excuse to delay his reunion with Nino. And Nino is just too obsessed about Momo but he won’t give her a chance. And that single chance she had she blew it. Is it that hard? I guess so. I can’t say since I haven’t fall in love like that before :’(. So they’re all beating around the bush hoping that the other would realize something through music. I understand that perhaps music is their only way to communicate and convey their love but as you can see how this romance thingy dragged out and ended up so. Of course it’s for the TV plot and without it, everything would have been resolved in one episode. And you won’t have fated meetings and encounters that brought about stuffs that led to the characters to where they are.

For those who love characterization and development, I suppose this series is pretty decent albeit the main focus is on Nino, Yuzu and Momo. For Nino, sometimes she comes off as eccentric but at other times can sound and act like a retard and hence in a way makes her look annoying. With Momo constantly on her mind and singing the same song for the past 6 years, it really eats into her social skills. But in a way it makes her unique because what I like about her is her sometimes witty sarcastic deadpan humour. Because of her very honest upfront character (though the same can’t be said about her heart), the statements she says in that deadpan voice can sometimes be funny. Like how when she took over the role of Alice, she has to be padded extra in the chest area. Thus she quips how Yuzu had this sort of big breast fetish because you know, milk. Milk makes you grow taller. There are handful of such ‘quotes’ around worthy to be turned into memes. But I’m too lazy for that… I’m not sure if Nino is a genius because for her without a guitar background and then to learn and master it so quickly in time, doesn’t it feel unrealistic? I guess anything can happen when she goes berserk. Yeah, better than drugs. Please do stay away from that (because most rock stars do them).

Nino seems to have it ‘easy’ compared to Yuzu and Momo because these guys have their own family problems to deal with as an obstacle to their music. We have not seen the bigger picture so to label Yuzu’s mom as crazy might be premature. You can’t blame her for hating music because it is hinted Yuzu’s dad died in a way related to it and Yuzu almost met the same fate with his surgery 6 years ago. So Yuzu is a little hesitant in being honest upfront because of the rejection. It’s just amazing how he managed to fool everybody with his In No Hurry band for some time. Their music must be so captivating that no internet trolls bother to dox them. So awesome that nobody could tell the difference when Nino took over Miou as the band’s vocalist. Do they sound the same when singing? Sometimes I feel Yuzu is the most emotional insecure among the trio since he keeps his emotions, it feels like it will explode like a bomb later. Sometimes you can see his outburst especially when comments are made about his stature. Is this his running joke? So did his mom finally accept music? I think she was trying to find closure too. Otherwise, why would she attend Rock Horizon and then cry (assuming it was the good kind) when she hears her son awesomely jamming away.

Meanwhile I believe Momo is trying to be a good son and clear his parents’ debts so ironically he uses all the songs he ever wrote for Nino to make money but won’t let her come back into his life. Seeing how his parents are leeching off him, I can understand why he is trying to give her the cold shoulder and not get her involved in his personal life as much as possible. I figure to show that he has a funny side, the reason why his bad puns are his running joke. Nobody laughs at them except Nino. Or maybe it is the way Momo says it that she is laughing? I also don’t understand why Momo has to pander to his parents. I assume he is a filial son but the way he handles it from my point of view feels like he is holding it all back and this ticking time bomb might explode any time soon. Can he just disown them? I believe there are things that we do not know about so it’s not quite right to jump into conclusions to paint his parents as the bad guys although I am very sure they are.

Other supporting characters are just sufficient, doing their part to support the main characters and the direction of the plot. Like Haruyoshi and Kuro’s unwavering support for the band as well as Nino and Yuzu. Tsukika also supports and eases Momo’s life a little. It might look odd that Miou has gone over to a rival band but still maintains friendship with her old bandmates and especially Nino. I suppose that band and music thing are just business. Throw away that mask and they are just ordinary high school girl friends.

I want to talk about Saori Hayami playing as Nino. No, it is not about her being unsuitable in playing the character but rather how Nino sounds weird and sometimes annoying. Like I said, I’m not saying Saori Hayami was a bad choice being casted as Nino. I’ve heard her played countless of different roles in so many animes so there is that sense of familiarity and ‘trademark’ to her ‘unique’ voice. I know, I once called her a clone of Mamiko Noto but that’s not the point. Anyway, the thing I want to point out is when Nino sings. In short, horrible. Yes, Saori Hayami does not possess that kind of high pitch cutie voice that would make guys go squealing over how cute she sounds. As though it was on purpose she sings horribly and out or tune or screaming. Perhaps it is to showcase that kind of anxiety and insecurity in Nino’s character and it clearly shows. But the way she sounds singing those singings sounded bad enough that I myself who is so talentless in singing, think I can sing and sound better than her!

Just hear the way she sings those songs. It’s like they’re out of tune or don’t fit in quite nicely. And the characters say she is good? Is this how rock band music is supposed to sound? Surely Saori Hayami sounds better than this even if her voice is not meant to sing. True enough, when she sings In No Hurry’s newest song, she sounds so much better! This is what I believe is the greatest high point that she can reach with her voice. That sounds more like it. Finally, something pleasant to my ears. I don’t have to cringe each time I hear her sing. Thus it goes to show that all the previous singing it sounded like she was trying too hard to sound out of tune and horrible. Well, she certainly did and in a way showcases the flexibility of her voice. The anonymous voice? More like the annoying voice! Well, if you think it is easy sounding like that, it’s not. So hats off to Saori Hayami for doing a great job in voicing Nino in this state.

Daisuke Ono as Haruyoshi is playing one of those carefree character roles compared to others that require that serious tone in his voice like Satou of Working!!, Dezel in Tales Of Zestiria The X, Kurou in K and Kyouma in Dimension W. Same case for Jun Fukuyama as Kuro as he sounds as goofy as Ansatsu Kyoushitsu’s Koro and Sousei No Onmyouji’s Kinako. Inversely, Satomi Arai was in serious mode compared to her other comical voices like Otome in Shimoneta and Shirai in To Aru Kagaku No Railgun. The other casts are Daiki Yamashita as Yuzu (Midoriya in Boku No Hero Academia), Kouki Uchiyama as Momo (Raku in Nisekoi), Ayahi Takagaki as Miou (Chris in Senki Zesshou Symphogear series) and Daisuke Namikawa as Yana (Waver in Fate/Zero).

I’m still not a fan of such rock band music so hearing all of the featured music here doesn’t really appeal or resonate with me. All of the songs featured are of course from In No Hurry with Highschool as the opening theme and Allegro as the ending theme. Hearing them again, I guess Saori Hayami does sound better here than singing as an insert song inside the anime. Insert songs like Canary, Spiral and Noise all sound somewhat the same to me. And because of that, seeing them perform on stage singing or jamming their guitars or hitting the drums feel like as though they are in some sort of demonic trance or high on drugs. More so in the case for Nino when she goes berserk. Well, you can’t have them prancing around in cute seductive moves like those idols, can you? The only song that isn’t rock based is that kiddie nursery rhyme, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star! I still blame BanG Dream for this but at least they didn’t turn it into a rock rendition here.

There is something about the art style that catches my attention. Well, actually the character designs have eyes that are so big! Obviously bigger than your typical big eyes anime characters. Like as though they are meant for the shoujo market. Oh wait. The manga that this series was adapted from is indeed published in a shoujo manga magazine. Therefore the characters have this super weird-cum-cute looks without resorting to a typical chibi form. Just think of all those sparkly magical shows aimed for younger girls. Just without the magic here. Also, the characters seem to be a bit lanky, making shorty Yuzu only short by comparison to others. Other than that, the colouring and hues look bright and vivid. Animated by Brain Base who did Tonari No Kaibutsu-kun, Yahari Ore No Seishun Love Comedy Wa Machigatteiru, D-Frag!, Watashi Ga Motete Dosunda, Natsume Yuujinchou, Durarara and Kyoukai No Rinne among others.

Overall, if Fuuka is too cheesy for you, maybe this one will do. However some annoying moments especially in characters like Nino and the constant melodrama could only sit well with fans who are really into this sort of genre while putting off others. The love triangle not really solved in the end and it could mean prolonging the ‘suffering’ and drama. Plus, a casual music listener like me won’t be very impressed with the same ‘flat’ kind of music the band has been churning out and playing here. Like as though they are fit for people who are tone deaf. Thank goodness I didn’t lose my taste in music after hearing this. Heck, I even get tired of hearing the same song after a while (assuming I listen to it even once every day) even if that song is one of my favourites. I’m not saying I won’t be looking forward to any more future animes of this genre. I would still give it a chance but I hope that if they want to come up with another rock band romance story, take some time to write out proper stories and characters. I can wait. I’m in no hurry to watch it. Sorry, bad pun…

ClassicaLoid

August 27, 2017

Tired of animes trying to tell a story using popular characters in history? Reimagining and redesigning them to fit a new story narrative? Well, looks like here we go again. But this time it isn’t going to be popular individuals from Japanese history. I know, we’re sick of that Nobunaga reincarnations. Thank goodness none of that here. So somebody got this bright idea to use classical composers from the Baroque era instead. Yup. People, how would you like to see your favourite composers like Beethoven and Mozart being brought to life in modern era? ClassicaLoid has that answer. Sort of. Wouldn’t it be fun to see musicians of the olden days go about in today’s modern times? Well, if you know who they are. But these composers aren’t really just those boring western blokes from the past. You see, they have some sort of magical power when they use their music to make life more interesting. Or more chaotic is how I see it. So old western composers with magic and music? You’ve done it again anime.

Episode 1
Kanae Otowa has more than just freeloaders of musician wannabe Sousuke Kagura, the playful Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and gyoza maniac Ludwig Van Beethoven staying in her late grandma’s mansion, Otowakan. She has received a notice of eviction as the place will be torn down. Heck, Beethoven is so deep in trying to make the perfect gyoza, it goes awry as usual. More nostalgic memories of grandma flow through her mind so she has had enough of those idiots fooling around and kicks them out. There is this mechanical organ which grandma loved that used to play all kinds of music when the dial is turned. It has stopped working a long time ago. As grandma loved to hold a ball, she promised Kanae she would hold one for her when she grew up. Of course we know that wasn’t meant to be. Next morning, the teardown team is here. Looks like everybody got lazy and didn’t finish packing their stuffs. And Beethoven is still making his gyoza… Kanae suddenly has a change of mind. This place has so much memories. She tries to stop the demolition team as they hold her back. At the same time, the wrecking ball has started its run. Kanae’s tear and yet another failure from Beethoven somehow resonate together. Beethoven powers up and unleashes his Musik! He starts conducting music throughout the compound. His Pastorale symphony resonates throughout Otowakan as his magical notes start making everyone dance! People from the drawing come to live dancing like a ball. Kanae is happy to dance with grandma who viewed this as a happy place with lots of smiles. Then it gets weirder. The wrecking ball machine and organ transform into giant mechas and slug it out. It ends on a high note with the demolition team happy but confused so they leave. In the end, Kanae decides not to move out and continue staying. Too bad this means the guys too continue to freeload and she’s not happy about it.

Episode 2
Kanae’s friends visit Otowakan. But when she sees the freeloaders in their usual antics, time for an earful to remind them about the misconception of her living with other guys. However Mozart thinks Kanae’s blushing means she has fallen in love with him. He tries to play his charming card but gets ignored. Meanwhile Sousuke is trying to get inspiration from yesterday’s magical incident but nothing inspirational comes up yet. He thought of learning from Beethoven but that guy is still obsessed in making gyoza. What a waste. And still no good! This stresses out Kanae as the guys learn her birthday is tomorrow. Sousuke suggests organizing a party in pretence of trying to evoke Musik. So what do they do? Make more gyoza! Trying to recreate yesterday’s events, huh? This means Sousuke becomes the wrecking ball to be slammed into Otowakan! That didn’t work since Kanae is going to blow her top. For some reason, Sousuke then has Mozart undergo various training. To increase his charm? When everything fails, Mozart tells off Sousuke what is most important: Kanae’s birthday over Musik. So they burn the midnight oil for the preparations and come next day, the freeloaders as well as Kanae’s friends throw her a surprise party. Kanae is pretty happy till Mozart presents to her his birthday cake that resembles tits. Kanae is flat… She beats him up and that is when Mozart feels the inspiration and turns on his Musik. Everyone experiences a wonderful fantasy ride. It was the best birthday gift. Because Kanae’s friends are now Mozart’s fans, he had the cheek to say she might not have a chance with him anymore with him being so popular. Time to kick everyone out again?

Episode 3
Kanae is really up to here with the freeloaders. She really wants them to get out so she can rent the place and earn some income. You don’t say because here comes this beautiful chick, Franz Liszt (Liszt is a woman?!) looking for a place to stay. However there is a delivery for a room that Kanae thought is unoccupied. It is addressed to Frederic Chopin. It seems Chopin has been holing up inside this room. He is a hikikomori?! Thus Liszt wants Kanae’s help to draw him out. Worse, Beethoven thinks he is some gyoza fairy (because he has been feeding this guy his yucky food) and Mozart thinks he is some sound ghost (because of the bouncy noise made upstairs). Liszt’s mission isn’t only to bring Chopin back to the agency but Beethoven and Mozart as well who are missing ClassicaLoids. Strangely this entire incident is now moderated by Sousuke who has been regularly conversing with Chopin in an online forum. They manage to open the closet he is hiding in but his face is still covered with a box. Kanae is quick to want them to sign a tenancy agreement for already making a mess of this place. Chopin is about to do it thinking he can stay here forever. This is when he unleashes his Musik. During this towering fantasy, Liszt remembers the warmth and love as she too releases her Musik. Her symphony is making everybody fall in love with each other with huge doe-like eyes! Big group hug! We love you! When it ends, Chopin returns to his shy self and runs away. Kanae is surprised that Liszt has signed the agreement as she will be staying here. Kanae is moved to tears. See how money can move people? But Liszt wants to adopt a pet. A pet? Apparently Chopin has put himself up for adoption outside Otowakan as a pet. Looks like Kanae needs to adjust her rent.

Episode 4
Franz Schubert is lost. And I mean not just the place. Lost as in he views this era is weird. Seems he looks up to Beethoven and is looking for him. Because of that, he thinks a piece he wrote must have displeased the demon king. The people here are all under his underling or trapped under his control. Unknown to him, wherever he goes, he always leaves behind people crying like babies. Schubert seems to hate Mozart because his superiors blame him for copying his songs. There is a festival going on in the city and you bet Beethoven and co are going to attend it since it has a gyoza stamp collecting event. Mozart wants some reward while Beethoven of course seeks to find his secret taste. Schubert is also here. He eats without paying and is forced to pay back via labour. So when he uses music tempo to make gyoza, this attracts a long line. Naturally for Beethoven too. Too bad he got distracted thinking somewhere else had a legendary gyoza and left the line. So close yet so far… Schubert is shocked to see Mozart but that guy doesn’t recognize him. After Schubert is done, he continues his search. His weird observations and behaviour has the people calling the police so they’re on his tail too. At the crowded field of kites, again Schubert and Beethoven miss each other by a hair. Schubert stumbles into Sousuke. They become friends. Sousuke lets him hear his music and it sounds like total crap! So bad that he cried but Sousuke thinks it is damn good! Schubert tries to run when he bumps into Mozart again. But he chases this time. The commotion has the police catch them. Panic, Schubert thinks the demon lord has send his underlings to get him. Desperate, he calls out for Beethoven’s name. What do you know? There he is. But he is mad the last gyoza stall on his list has sold out. Seeing Beethoven makes him happy as he unleashes his Musik. Everybody starts acting like a baby. When finished, he wanted to head over to Beethoven but the kites’ strings entangle and keep him away. Although nobody has any recollection of what happened, soon on the news Africans are crying like babies and they don’t know why a Japanese kite crash landed there.

Episode 5
Beethoven fails in making his perfect gyoza again. This makes Kanae wonder why he still bothers with it. Sousuke thinks how Kanae’s dad is similar to him. But Kanae only remembers him holing up in his room and racking up debts for mom. Not very nice memories. Kanae soon gets a call from a guy who knows her father. He will send a guy named King to get it back. Kanae is already fretting over money problems and here Beethoven is presenting yet another gyoza creation. Much horrible this time. As he is vexing over it, Liszt notices the black filling in his gyoza. It shocks him to hear maybe those stuffs are to be black to begin with. King is outside Otowakan when he sees Sousuke and Mozart heading out (to buy black ingredients). He tails them has a mouse steal one of it. Mozart chases after it and is cornered by King. He captures Mozart to bring him back but the cat scares him off. Mozart takes his turn to torment him. All the black ingredients still do not come close to the perfect gyoza. So Kanae asks why he is so preoccupied with it. It seems her dad was the one who made it. It turned pain into pleasure. Shocking Chopin has made his own gyoza. This certainly tastes like it! Thanks internet! Though the black stuff is bean paste, however it still lacks something. Something spicy. Kanae remembers the snack she gave to Sousuke this morning and has him go look for it. When Mozart returns, King is also here. Kanae apologizes she has no money but he is here to get the ClassicaLoids. As they don’t want to come with him, King summons Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky for help. Wait. Tchaikovsky is a young girl?! Tchaikovsky uses her Musik to summon rat henchmen to assist King. Beethoven tastes Sousuke’s snack. He realizes this is the missing puzzle. So awed that he unleashes his Musik. Emperor penguins thumping the rat pack! Tchaikovsky realizes she has lost and notes she cannot underestimate their abilities. Beethoven has finally completed his perfect gyoza. It is his light during his darkness. Kanae’s dad was just happy to see his happy face. Kanae also remembered something like this. He made that gyoza to the other kids who thought it tasted funny. But he asked Kanae if she enjoyed it and she said yes. Kanae finds out that these freeloaders (except Sousuke) are ClassicaLoids. She hears her father’s voice, Kyougo from the recorder claiming he is the one who made them.

Episode 6
Kyougo explains he is being captured by an evil organization to make superhumans for world domination. Though he did create ClassicaLoids, they are not robots but human. He just put them together. Huh? ClassicaLoids have this Musik talent which is supposed to help clear his debts. So that’s why… Because of that, Beethoven thinks of turning the place into a gyoza specialty restaurant. Yeah, he is really going to remodel the place so Kanae blows her top and kicks everyone out. Next morning she really wants to tell them off for good but they are not around. Flashback reveals Kyougo talked to Beethoven and Mozart to head to his daughter’s place to be friends with her. Shortly after that, Kyougo disappeared. Meanwhile Kyougo’s assistant, Akira Mitsuru presents to the executives Johann Sebastian Bach in the flesh. Though they are not too thrilled at first, after listening to his brilliance, they acknowledge him. Kanae faces more problems because the demolition team is back to demolish the house (orders from Mitsuru). Kanae tries to resist but they barge in and start wrecking the place. Before they can use the wrecking ball, Beethoven heard Kanae’s scream. He unleashes his Musik. Déjà vu because organ mecha versus wrecking ball mecha again? At this point Schubert has somehow made his way back. He is happy to see Beethoven in his magic so he too releases his Musik. One by one the other ClassicaLoids also start playing their Musik. It’s one big messy fantasy. They realize they cannot control their own bodies anymore. That is when Bach plays his Musik to neutralize everything back to normal. The demolition crew runs away thinking this place is haunted. Kanae cries her heart out when she sees the ClassicaLoids return. Miss them? Although she allows them to stay but they have to follow her strict rules. Also this means Beethoven and Mozart need to cough up their due rental payments. Otherwise they’ll get no respect from her. They think it is some sort of special relationship and return to their typical behaviour. Looks like earning her respect is going to take a while.

Episode 7
Schubert will now live at Otowakan. Too bad he can’t pay the rent so he changes the subject to go find Beethoven. On the news, in the nearby mountains it is believed a UMA nicknamed Hamagon has been spotted. Sousuke believes this is Mozart and bugs Kanae to find him. She doesn’t care about this till she realizes if he gets captured, she will get all the unwanted attention and protest for being associated with this ‘creature’. So she bugs Beethoven to go find Mozart but he is deeply in focus and meditation in his room to even budge. When Mozart AKA Hamagon attacks Schubert to steal his snack and run rampage around town before disappearing back to the mountains, the people now develop a craze to hunt it down. But inside the mountain they are laced with traps. Kanae and Sousuke find Mozart and because he keeps screaming “Maman!”, Sousuke thinks he is calling for his mother and calls out the same in a retarded way. Mozart just tells them to get out. When a lightning strikes nearby, Mozart becomes concerned and runs back. A fawn he has been taking care of has died. Flashback reveals he was walking through the forest and saw the fawn next to its dead mother. Feeling sad, Mozart plays its substitute mom and Bambi got close to him. Now this sad scene also reminded Mozart of his own mother. So sad that he activates his Musik but his sad requiem has some death skeleton throwing blue flames from the sky! Sousuke gets burnt alive but it seems it doesn’t hurt. Although no pain, those who get hit are overcome with grief and regret. Before Mozart goes out of control, Beethoven punches him. Even though he is hit, why is he not affected? He has no regrets! In the aftermath, Bambi comes back alive. Perhaps it fainted due to the shock. Mozart thought he could have an emotional reunion but the fawn dissed him and left. Rebellious phase? Soon on the news, a new UMA has been spotted. Hamassie is spotted riding a dolphin. “Maman!”. Oh… Kanae pretends not to give a damn. She’ll need all the happiness she can get.

Episode 8
Liszt treats Kanae out to a girl’s day out. At this place, there is an idol group, Claskey Klasky performing. They are made up of Tchaikovsky and Tekla Badarzewska AKA Bada. It seems that Liszt planned their day out for the duo to join them after their concert. Sousuke as a fan of Claskey Klasky is also here but seeing the quartet together makes him go to spy on them by hiding in awkward places. Liszt can tell the girls aren’t having fun although they will not say it. So during the karaoke session (is it me or does Claskey Klasky sound off singing this Russian folk song?), that is when they sing out all their frustrations that they hate their job. Kanae could relate and also joins in. And soon all the girls start singing about the frustrations they face in life. They really let it all out. Then they are having a nice dinner till Tchaikovsky realizes he is being treated like a girl just because he looks like one instead of an old bearded man. They start arguing until a call from Bach rings in. Liszt tells Tchaikovsky to say her true feelings. Bach is still incomprehensible. But it made the duo cry and apologize. This makes Sousuke mad so he comes out of his hiding to give his piece of mind how his creepy behaviour is freaking them out. Have you seen Sousuke this mad? However he realizes too late this guy is Bach and instead of some lowly manager. Because he is a big fan of Bach. Oops. Lost for words now, is he? These feelings of honesty has Liszt totally loving it as she unleashes her Musik that has everyone continue to convey their true and deepest feelings. All they want to say, they say it loud and clear. It ends after Tchaikovsky confesses to Bach. To go out with her. A bit of regret of saying too much once it ends but Tchaikovsky and Bada are glad to have meet today, though they don’t know the next time if they will be friends or foes. Sousuke gets his much wanted handshake from Claskey Klasky. Liszt packs some food for the guys back home. She realizes a girl’s day out isn’t about whether you’re a boy or girl. You do and say whatever you want as long as you’re comfortable with it.

Episode 9
Beethoven has locked himself inside his room for 2 weeks. Schubert thought he could lure him out with gyoza but a guitar was thrown in his face. Seems he is trying to create the perfect guitar. After watching someone play guitar on TV, he just wants to do so. Because something inside him is stirring and he intends to find what that is. Heck, he doesn’t even know what gyoza is anymore! Sousuke is happy thinking he will finally get to learn his Musik and lends his guitar. Too bad Beethoven can’t even play it. Sousuke offers to teach but Beethoven still doesn’t find it right. Still, he continues to borrow Sousuke’s guitar. In his bid to find the perfect sound, he modifies the guitar into a flamethrower! Is it me or do I think Beethoven is a pyromaniac? Naturally it causes the circuits to trip. This reminds of his trauma of being in the darkness and not being able to hear anything. Before Beethoven can go crazier, Kanae stops him dead in his crazy antics as she puts a ban on playing instruments in Otowakan. Sousuke sees a guitar competition in which first prize is a high premium guitar. Beethoven is interested to enter. Unknown to them, it is organized by Bach’s company. Even remodifying Sousuke’s guitar, Beethoven still can’t find his pace. He finds it odd listening to street music. Despite not sounding great, he is somewhat attracted. During the competition, it is Beethoven’s turn. But immediately Bach cuts the power. Beethoven’s trauma comes back but he overcomes it and plays his Musik, turning everyone into Renaissance period clothing as he jams with his electric guitar! He wins in the end but decides to give the guitar away to the street musician for showing him the light. Well, Sousuke got back his overly weird guitar. The best advice from Beethoven to him: It isn’t instruments or technique that you need for music. It’s talent. At this time Schubert has returned from Cuba with the best wood for him to make his guitar. Sorry. Performance is over. So sad…

Episode 10
Chopin narrates the weird people in Otowakan. In short, he hates people. Even those trolls online. He stumbles upon a virtual simulator, Arkhedol to create his own companion avatar in which he names Jolly. Due to his shady activities with Jolly, Liszt thinks he is in a forbidden love with an evil spirit! As much as Chopin loves Jolly, he realizes this can’t go on because she only responds with the input he puts in. He uses his Musik and turns Jolly into a much beautiful ‘3D’ avatar with her own AI! Since she likes his music, she wants to help spread it. Because of that, Jolly fast becomes the new top idol, dethroning Claskey Klasky. Mitsuru gets an idea to research on this because if she can make a virtual ClassicaLoid, there is no reason to bring the rest back. Besides, she can surpass Kyougo then. Jolly then starts acting like a b*tch and diva when Chopin couldn’t write anymore songs. All he wants is to be with her but I guess that isn’t enough for a top idol. When the rest decides to barge in and exorcise the spirit, Jolly has left Chopin and they learn everything. Chopin isn’t willing to give up on her even if it means living with her in the virtual world forever. He uses his Musik but it seems he messed up and transported the rest instead. Also in this virtual world is Sousuke’s pad, Pad-kun in his handsome butler form. He brings Jolly here and Chopin pleads to start over. She claims she doesn’t belong to anyone and starts singing. This allows Mitsuru to seize her and absorb her data. Pad-kun says she is being infected with a virus and will die. But even if they remove it, she will lose her current personality. Chopin is in a dilemma on what to do as he doesn’t want to lose her. Jolly confesses all she wants is to make other people understand his music. At least she wants to end by his hands. Chopin makes his resolve and uses his Musik to purge the virus. Goodbye Jolly. Mitsuru reports to Bach about Jolly vanishing in the middle of the analysis. She wants to find more samples but Bach pulls the plug on this test. Evidently Chopin can’t give up on Jolly and creates a version 2 of her. She is more hideous and simpler… My 5 year old can draw better…

Episode 11
Kanae has to leave the house for a while to visit one of her sick uncles. So she wants the freeloaders to take care of the place and do chores while she is gone. Guess what? They’re trying to give excuses to weasel their way out of doing anything! Even when they don’t agree with the chore list, they seem to be stalling by using methods on who does what. From rock-scissors-paper to lottery to even dice throws, there is just somebody accusing somebody of cheating, eh? Eventually Kanae puts her foot down with a final list. It is actually revealed Kanae is going on a vacation with her friends. Since one of them are visiting her relatives, technically she isn’t lying, right? She is worried about leaving the house but seeing how Beethoven can’t even properly follow instructions to do laundry (Musik isn’t a solution), Chopin slowly inching to feed Hasshie their shoebill pet and Liszt walking around to find a suitable pose to be Otowakan’s symbol, yeah she’s going to be worried a lot. Schubert thought Mozart is fooling around will earn Kanae’s wrath. Too bad he finished faster and got praises. To add insult to injury, Kanae tells Schubert to learn from Mozart. Then when cleaning the roof, Mozart’s shenanigans has Schubert ruining Beethoven’s laundry work of art. Oops? Schubert is ‘dead’ when Beethoven wonders if he is trying to imitate Mozart. It gets worse when Mozart decides to paint the roof pink to hide the dirt. They have to clean it up before Kanae sees this. So they have Beethoven stall her right before she goes out shopping. Seeing his serious eyes, she thinks he is serious about confessing and rejects him! He plays along and everything could have been fine had she not seen the pink dripping paint. Beethoven fakes his vomit for being rejected. But when the rest soon falls off from the roof and feign their vomit, Kanae wants them to clean up when she gets back or else… Get to it! When she returns, the roof is clean. But inside is like a hell hole! Everyone fails in their cleaning! And so Kanae has decided! She brings everyone along to holiday with her friends. At least Otowakan is safe and she has her peace of mind.

Episode 12
Schubert is trying to get a job but the interviewer isn’t so convinced about his shady background. Meanwhile Sousuke brings Beethoven and Mozart for another audition by Arkhe Corp, the company who organized the previous competition. Because their talent caught the eyes of some bigshots, they are given another chance to see if they can make their debut. Tchaikovsky and Bada spot them and report to Mitsuru but it seems she invited them as part of Bach’s plan to bring all ClassicaLoids to a complete state. Meanwhile a strange man visits Otowakan. Kanae entertains him since he intended to see Kyougo but is of course not around. He talks about the real music he hopes to create one day, the passion and freedom music is supposed to be and other mumbo-jumbo that Kanae can’t seem to understand. Kanae is embarrassed by her tenant’s messy state and tries to clean up so he thinks perhaps this environment is comfortable for them. As he leaves, a helicopter picks him up and he thinks it must be an emergency. By now you should have guessed this guy is Bach. Beethoven isn’t enthusiastic in his guitar audition. When the judges call him an imitator and the policies needed to follow to succeed, he blows his top and is going to show them true music. He unleashes his Musik. Attack of the penguins! At the same time Mozart is taken in to be an idol since he is thinking of getting the girls. But he didn’t like the dance lessons and cannot swear. He wants to quit but the guys won’t let him. Not after they have paid for his lessons. This has Mozart remember his traumatic past about being in debt and forced to do his employer’s bidding. He can’t take it anymore and unleashes his Musik. Attack of the death skulls! Soon the entire studio is taken hostage. Sousuke can still find time to get Bada’s email? Bach drops in to quell the menace. When Beethoven and Mozart face off with him, Back shows his superiority. He rubbishes their passion and freedom as selfishness and irresponsibility. They are no different than animals. So awesome Back is that his Musik brings them to their knees. He believes they are not ready for the Eight Sounds he seeks to create. The duo are released and allowed to return home, though they will be sulking for quite a while over their defeat.

Episode 13
Schubert is happily taking a bath, relishing how down Mozart is after that Bach incident. So much so he hums his Musik and turns into a fish! While he is trying to make sense of what is going on and turn back, here comes Mozart. Mmm… Tasty… Luckily Schubert is swift enough to avoid becoming his next meal. Mozart seeks Kanae’s help to catch it and at first she didn’t believe it till Schubert somehow pops out from the washing machine. With Chopin, they Google on what kind of delicious dish they can cook with it. Schubert decides to run away. Luckily it was raining heavily last night so when he jumps out the window, there are puddles everywhere enough for him to get to the garden fountain. Now he has to avoid being picked by Hasshie. When Sousuke comes by, Schubert uses his intelligence by using broken sticks to spell, “I want freedom”. Sousuke understands and lets him free at the ocean. Nearby, Beethoven is fishing and is upset everybody else has a great haul. Maybe he needs to change his gyoza bait… But wait! Schubert takes the bait! I’m sure he is in a bliss to be captured by him. So happy that he unleashes his Musik. Now Beethoven is also a fish! So back in their garden fountain, this time Liszt finds them. Time to Google more tasty fish dish. Don’t they find strange that fish are popping up in Otowakan? Whatever. It seems Schubert has this mentality of being eaten but Beethoven will fight it. Using his Musik, they now operate a giant robot crab! Since the humans are only going to allow the fish to go into their stomach, an ‘epic’ battle ensues. Schubert is in so much awe of Beethoven’s coolness that he release s another Musik. Before you know it, everybody is turned into some kind of fish. Except for Sousuke. He’s a snail. Don’t ask. Only after a week they finally manage to revert back to normal. In the aftermath, Schubert happily takes his bath, relishing seeing Mozart down because his fish got away. He hums his Musik and then again…

Episode 14
There are stories circulating that Claskey Klasky is disbanding! It’ the end of the world for Sousuke! More shockingly, Tchaikovsky is personally at Otowakan to tell everybody that! Seems she is upset about their upcoming new single. Bach decided to cut out Tchaikovsky’s parts till she had none. When she learns Kanae met Bach and talked like normal, she starts abusing her! Kanae is now burdened with another freeloader. She thinks of getting Bach’s help since he left his name card. However Bada is the one who meets her and it seems she wants her to be Claskey Klasky’s replacement. When Kanae messages back to Sousuke about this, it seems everyone is supportive of her to become an idol! Tchaikovsky is too sick to even rebut. At first Kanae is hesitant but the thought of being rich has her agreeing. She might regret it since here comes those hellish lessons. There are clips of Kanae practising but her trying face is so hideous! The Otowakan freeloaders are coming up with more plans to make Kanae famous! Nobody cares about you anymore, Tchaikovsky. On the day of the concert, Kanae is still nervous. Bada advises her to pretend everyone is focusing on Bada. However the entire crowd is supporting Kanae! They are Kanae fans! Kanae feels scared and wants to return being a normal girl. Bada is shocked that they are different. She then decides to go solo and show the world what she’s got. Naturally everyone is disappointed that only Bada is up there. Tchaikovsky comes out of her hiding to tell Bada about their special music they make together. However Bada will not accept her back as she unleashes her Musik. Everyone starts to feel how awesome she is. Bada argues with her former partner about her abandoning Bach and his music. Just when you thought they are going to reconcile, Bada accuses her of using her cleansing foam. That’s it. Their partnership-cum-friendship is over. Bada’s Musik makes everyone worship her like the sun. Tchaikovsky is left to rue the sh*t she is in.

Episode 15
Because Sousuke promised his classmates he is going to perform at the school’s cultural festival, now he is begging for the ClassicaLoids to be in his band. Yeah, they ignore him while continue to play their board game. I guess it took him screaming all day till they got annoyed. They’re not interested until Mozart learns he could be popular… Oh no. The taboo word… And so here they are, causing their own ‘mayhem’ at school and Kanae must be busy to pick them out and lecture them to go home. But wait. The teachers somehow love their presence because it seems they are helping to improve the mood. What? And so that is how they stay. As they become popular, Sousuke announces them as his bandmates and with his classmates excited, he gets motivated to write his song. Well, that motivation sure didn’t last long… Soon, he has the ClassicaLoids listen to his song. IT SUCKS!!! ALMOST DESTROYED THE SCHOOL!!! Sousuke thinks it is damn good since they have no heart to tell him how bad he is. Till Mozart says it right in his face how bad it is. Like as though he is trying to copy off somebody. Sousuke is obviously devastated. Pity to see him like this. When his classmates are eager to see his pre-performance, the ClassicaLoids help cover him with their simple performance. This only makes them more popular as Sousuke becomes jealous. But after Pad-kun has a pep talk with him, he isn’t going to lose out yet. He fires them from his team as he is going to get all the chicks himself. So on the day of the festival, ragged Sousuke goes up onstage to tell of his breakup. Then he plays his song. Starts off decent at first. Till he starts singing. It’s about his useless and plain self. Yup. That killed it. Everybody starts ‘dying’!!! OMFG! Even the ClassicaLoids are affected thinking this is his Musik! Even Pad-kun is ‘dead’! Ultimately, Sousuke also ‘dies’! So bad that ambulances are called in to take in those badly affected! But the irony is that Sousuke is now popular with his classmates. Wait. They love his song? Don’t tell me they’re brainwashed. Oh, it’s a funny song. I see… Come on everybody. Let’s laugh our hearts out. See Sousuke, all you need to do is just do your best and the rest will follow. I think.

Episode 16
Kanae is putting her foot down. She wants Beethoven and Mozart to pay up their due rent. My, that’s lots of zeroes. How will they weasel their way out? While she is ranting about upgrading the bathroom with this merleopon statue, they ran away. But wait. They are actually serious in finding a job. Not to pay the rent. But to get a merleopon! Need to make lots of money with lots of zeroes in it. They try Arkhe first but they get insulted thinking they need to take lessons. Geniuses like them taking lessons? Then at a convenience store, they fool around, get scolded by a girl fiercer than Kanae before finally quitting because the pay isn’t daily and it’s not worth much. After various jobs, they nearly lost their objective why they need to work in the first place. Meanwhile Chopin is doing a walking trip and uploading it. He looks like a different person with his sunshiny personality. A bit of badmouthing Otowakan… Maybe recluses do need to come out for sunshine and fresh air once in a while. Schubert is experiencing withdrawal symptoms without his senpai around. Sousuke tells Kanae he met Beethoven and Mozart during one of their jobs. She didn’t realize they took her merleopon joke seriously. Liszt finds it amazing and will carve one herself! Actually it looks quite good. But she doesn’t like it and restarts again from scratch! Chopin’s wandering leads him to some tea plantation. He is shocked to meet Beethoven and Mozart working there. They’ve been there for so long that they almost forgot themselves! So much so they decide to stay here forever in this paradise. Otowakan is hell, right? So when Chopin returns and reports to Kanae, she doesn’t really care. It’s not like she is asking them to live here, right? What about Chopin? Is he going to pay the rent? Back to his normal self. Playing the dumb recluse again… Schubert rushes out to find his senpai. Does he know where to look first? Beethoven and Mozart hear the elders speak of this year’s poor harvest so they use their Musik for a miracle. But soon they are given their final pay and sent home since harvesting season is over. So back at Otowakan, they are their usual dumb selves again. The past they threw away? Nothing wrong to pick it back up, right? Liszt has finally finished her merleopon. Is there some sexual connotations to it since it is all in mosaic?! Yeah, it shoots water from the top… Is this a sexual subtext too when they want to move it to the toilet but Kanae says it is too big to fit???!!! Meanwhile Schubert is lost and crying for his senpai…

Episode 17
Sousuke heard Kanae is dying! Actually she is down with a flu. It is the ClassicaLoids who are ‘dying’ because nobody is around to do chores! To make her better, Sousuke and Mozart heard fried mikan has healthy properties so they pluck some from the backyard. Well, it tastes good! Did they just make Kanae a guinea pig to taste it first? But soon Beethoven and Schubert start falling ill. Chopin believes this is a curse from Hasshie because they ate his precious mikan that he was trying to grow. Well, can’t say he is talking crap that he communicated with a bird but their heads are slowly turning into mikan! Then Liszt also falls ill. This is starting to be a horror episode when their mikan head falls off and replaced by flower heads?! Zombie flower heads?! So the trio terrorize the rest and poor Sousuke became their ‘sacrifice’. Chopin is irked that Mozart is not interested in taking responsibility as he is mostly fooling around. When he does have an idea, Chopin becomes bait to lure them in so Mozart can blast them with a flamethrower! Does he really want to fry them?! Well, it exploded. Suddenly their zombie ways remind Mozart of a Turkish march. That is when he unleashes his Musik to that tune. Are they trying to dance something like Thriller too? But nothing is solved. Mozart just wanna have fun. Next morning, the trio return to normal. They have no recollection of what happened last night although they feel refreshed. It is revealed the fried mikan skin enabled some detoxification and metabolic change for ClassicaLoids. Mozart and Chopin didn’t get affected since the former ate it before being fried and the latter peeled away the skin. Kanae is well but her temperature might rise again when she sees the mess in the hall. If you think all is well, then think again. Everyone is shock to see Mozart’s head resembling a pineapple! Hasshie’s curse runs deep…

Episode 18
Mitsuru reports the near completion of Octovano for Bach’s Eight Sounds. She remembers she was hired by Arkhe because of her brains. Her first day on the job was weird as she saw Kyougo in some experiment. To boil the perfect ramen. However she is amazed and shocked by Kyougo’s theory that could turn the science world upside down. It was creating humans called ClassicaLoids for music. He didn’t bother to submit it because it’s too much trouble. Thus Mitsuru claims she will be the one who will bring Bach’s plans to fruition with her MitsuruLoid. Too bad her dumb agents brought back Sousuke because he sounded like a he was a music genius (yeah, he was talking he was like one). She isn’t happy with this ‘noise maker’ but still decides to test him out. She has him play his crap in which infuses some life to her MitsuruLoid which takes after Sousuke. She sends it back to Otowakan in which the dumb people can’t tell this is the fake Sousuke. They are surprised when he easily does what he is told. Bu when he screws up once, they scold him and that is when he goes berserk. He causes a rampage throughout town screaming to be praised. Meanwhile Kyougo suddenly pops back in the room Sousuke is waiting. He leaves with him but it seems Kyougo has returned to take something: His hidden money in his lab. Yeah, ran out of those cash for tonight’s dinner. When Mitsuru bumps into him, she is not happy this traitor who abandoned Bach returned. Flashback shows Bach was first awakened and his Musik controlled people. Kyougo asked if he would control him for his Eight Sounds and he will do anything to achieve it. However Bach wants Kyougo to help as a supporter, not a pawn. Kyougo needed some time to think but he used it to free Beethoven and Mozart and fled. Mitsuru receives word the MitsuruLoid is rampaging in town. Meanwhile Bach is out incognito (without his wig, that is) listening to different sounds and music. As he accidentally sat on wet paint, his clothes got shredded when he got up. So he ‘stole’ some monster mascot, got ‘harassed’ by kids and then Mozart (the zipper is stuck). So when MitsuruLoid is running rampage, Beethoven and Mozart unleash their Musik which is more composed and coordinated this time. When Bach finally breaks out, his Musik calms everything down. The real Sousuke pops up and those dumb ClassicaLoids can’t tell it’s the real him. Kanae is shocked Sousuke didn’t stop Kyougo when they parted ways. Mitsuru retrieves her MitsuruLoid to improve on it further.

Episode 19
Claskey Klasky back? They’re live on a TV interview. When a fan mail asks if they are really back together, Tchaikovsky snaps and rants he didn’t trust them in the first place. Then she goes on saying they’re still not on talking terms! That must’ve ended badly. Because of that, they are dropped off at Otowakan and naturally Bach tells them they’re fired! So sad Tchaikovsky is that her Musik has everyone gather in the hall. Then a large demon bird known as Rothbart (Hasshie?) claims if they become a couple, they will fall into a certain doom. Since Kanae’s friends really like Mozart, several coloured shoebills snag them away! So they must either stay here forever or fall prey to those talons. Tchaikovsky doesn’t know how to undo her Musik. Somehow Kanae tries to serve curry lunch in a cosplay outfit. This tempted the ClassicaLoid guys although they’re in for the curry. Liszt won’t lose out and when it seems she and Sousuke are hitting off, the shoebills of death came! Chopin thinks he can go get his stuffs. Tchaikovsky sends Bada to retrieve him. She finds herself in cliché high school romcom situations. She is resisting trying to fall for him. Suddenly Schubert as a delinquent comes into the picture. In a twist, the guys become gays and meet their doom! While Bada is relieved, Tchaikovsky doesn’t seemed pleased… Those who got picked are actually alive outside Otowakan. Pad-kun narrates about the tragic story of Swan Lake and since there is a happy ending version, they think the song isn’t about death but rebirth. Sousuke goes back in hopes to save Bada. At this point the Claskey Klasky duo are fighting and blaming each other. Any shoebills trying to get close get owned! Even Sousuke. But when he tells about this rebirth thingy, it makes Bada realize maybe Tchaikovsky just wanted to reboot Claskey Klasky. They reconcile and now as an unstoppable dynamic duo, beat up Rothbart and fly away in their swan boat. Don’t ask. Sorry Sousuke. You’re not meant to be with Bada. Kanae thought she is doomed but here is Beethoven to her rescue. They try to resist each other but realize too late Otowakan is back to normal and everyone is watching. Looks like Tchaikovsky has left and so the effect of her Musik too. The duo can’t be so embarrassed. In the aftermath, Claskey Klasky are back with a bang as they hold a concert. However Bada is being bossy over Tchaikovsky so she blows her top and calls it quits! In front of the stage! But nobody is shocked. They are laughing at the popular comedians!!! People, I think they’re fighting for real. And Bach is the one most in shock seeing he didn’t really expect this to turn out like this.

Episode 20
Everyone has had it with Mozart’s stupid pranks. Because Mozart is the only one enjoying it and laughing so hard that he farts! I suppose Schubert’s plan of putting him in a cage and get mauled by a real tiger won’t hold up. Can they afford that? Kanae bans Mozart from doing pranks forever and threatens no dinner if he ever does it again. At first he might look all zen restraining himself. But then he starts going crazy like as though he is experiencing withdrawal symptoms. A terrible dilemma to prank Schubert ends up with Mozart giving in to his devil side, pushing him into the bathtub. This is when Mozart sinks into depression. Everyone gets worried (no love lost for Schubert as the victim?). Mozart has gone out for so long that everyone is really getting worried especially Kanae who wonders if he will ever come back. I thought she wanted the ClassicaLoids out so bad? Oh well… But Schubert thinks he is resorting to some crime. So everyone tails him in hopes of finding out what he does and Schubert to catch him in the act. Everything seems normal until bad luck befalls on them. Did Mozart planned this ahead? Pad-kun explains about Mozart Panic. When Mozart withdraws from pranking, his aura is so great that it causes bad luck around him. So good luck trying to stay close to him. Eventually Kanae is the only one left following him. At the end of the day she confronts and talks to him. She wants to know what is wrong but he feels refreshed and goes off to see his 17 year old lover. Everyone is shocked but supports his notion. Turns out that lover of his is a famous piece he composed when he was 17 years old.

Episode 21
Schubert just realizes this: He doesn’t have his own room at Otowakan! Yeah, nobody realizes this too. Not even Kanae! Worse, they’re laughing about it! Because Schubert does most of the chores, he proposes room size based on contribution. Not so keen are they? (Apparently chores rank lower than rent payments and Musik). How about a Musik battle then? There is a storeroom they can clear up for an extra room. While the ClassicaLoids use their Musik to clean, no actual cleaning is done. So Schubert decides to show off but he couldn’t unleash his Musik. This makes the rest mock he can’t use it when he wants to. Sad Schubert leaves for a journey. To his dismay, the crowd doesn’t even know he is physically there! He thought Arkhe would accept him but apparently he is also invisible in their eyes. It might seem he is going to kill himself but a kite takes him away to some American slums. He accidentally bumps into a gangster and gets beaten up. Well, at least someone took notice of him. As he laments he will die without being noticed, Kyougo picks him up. Of course Schubert instantly asks him why he even created him if he is going to be ignored. Is he even unneeded by his created? Kyougo didn’t answer directly but says a man should do what he wants. Then Kyougo leaves him with the bill. Oh no. Pay up or those Yankee gangsters will beat your ass! But saved by the kite again. A freak storm hits Otowakan as everyone tries to repair the roof. Schubert returns and they quickly want him to help. However this only angers him as nobody cared he was gone in the first place. So mad that he unleashes his Musik. However! He is rapping! OMG! Schubert rapping like a badass!!! Parappa parody!!! He is rapping about his complaints on everyone. In the end, a clear blue sky. In the aftermath, the ClassicaLoids are forced to do more work since Schubert isn’t around. In fact, he is taking his freedom so seriously, he doesn’t want to be tied down, goes anywhere he wants and sleeps anywhere he wants. This means he doesn’t need a room. And Kanae just prepared one for him. Out with the attitude! They throw him out. Too late to say sorry and revert back to ol’ Schubert now.

Episode 22
Beethoven is imposing on us that coffee is the best drink! No doubts about that! So he has found the best process on how to make coffee and that the ideal beans to make them is 60. So he really counts his beans thoroughly. Till drunk Liszt interrupts him followed by busybody Mozart and Schubert (still a rapper?). Restarting the count. Even when he barricades away, the rest arguing about the ideal number has him lost count. So he locks himself up in his room to restart his count. Again. He becomes protective the moment he hears any suspicious sound. So when he gets his ideal count, he needs to make it past those idiots to the kitchen where he can blend his coffee. He finally does and enjoys his cuppa. Till Mozart points out he drops a bean. Then he goes ballistic! But isn’t it good coffee? Apparently no! He just doesn’t want to drink good coffee but coffee with 60 beans. Huh? So as he ponders about people easily giving in to compromise, he realizes that he needs an ideal location to drink. His search has him decide the best place is on a panda ride at a playground. Because he hogs it, the other kids start complaining. He won’t budge. Despite Kanae coming down to reprimand him, he still isn’t moving. The kids decide to play dodgeball over the ride. It seems all of Otowakan are against Beethoven. Including Schubert. Beethoven loses but he wants to play again. Always the same. He loses. He demands another match. It is obvious he is utterly defeated but still won’t give up. Even the kids give up and go home. Perseverance wins! So the next morning, he decides to unleash his Musik for yesterday’s fine victory. Opera version of Fur Elise? In the end, looks like he got hooked on dodgeball. Now he imposes on us it is the best game ever. He wants those kids to play him but they won’t. WTF?! He chases after them?! Has he gone nuts?! I hope this isn’t the effects of coffee.

Episode 23
The Octovas is complete and Bach wants all the ClassicaLoids gathered to power it up in 2 hours. Hence men in black try to capture them but they fail miserably because they unleashed their Musik. But Mitsuru assures not to worry. For she has the MitsuruLoids 2.0. ClassicaLoids are unpredictable unlike MitsuruLoids 2.0 who are obedient. From the data she has collected, their Musik is as good as the originals. Tchaikovsky and Bada are shocked to see their robo selves. Once again, they are fired. Where to go? Otowakan of course. They explain what happened and guess what the ClassicaLoids think? Since they are not needed, they can do whatever they want! The first phase of Octovas is initiated. Suddenly the world loses its sound! Nobody can talk! Not a single sound at all! Except for the ClassicaLoids. They can still talk like normal but it took them a while to think this is some irregularity. They think a world of silence is what Bach wants. But then phase two starts. Although sound returns, everyone who is weak of mind starts wearing Bach’s weak and speak like him! However this is not Bach had wanted. It seems Mitsuru took this initiative on her own. She doesn’t see the need of other ClassicaLoids and only views Bach’s music in creating Eight Sounds. This means 8 Bachs? Mitsuru fawns over the thought of turning Bach into a legendary god with her MitsuruLoids 2.0. Kyougo looks like he has some plan to stop it but is cut short when the electricity is cut off. Didn’t pay his bills, did he? Bach zombies invade Otowakan. You can use you Musik, beat them and slap them to their senses but as long as they are weak minded, they’ll still become Bach. They think the 7 ClassicaLoids here can defeat this horde. Till they realize they are missing one and can’t put their finger on who. Hey, isn’t that Schubert in the crowd? He has become a Bach!

Episode 24
Mad Beethoven punches Schubert to senses and tells him off to come to their side! Yes senpai. As everyone uses their Musik to fight off the hordes, Kanae gets a call from Kyougo. He tells her to go stop the amplifier on Arkhe’s facility atop a nearby mountain. She would love to give him her piece of mind but too bad his tablet’s battery ran out. She needs help so the ClassicaLoids all volunteer to go. They’re sick of grinding zombies. Who is going to guard Otowakan? Sousuke?! Since she only needs 2, they face off in rock-scissors-paper. Lucky Beethoven and Mozart get to go with Kanae. Mitsuru is about to become a Bach herself when she detects intruders. She orders her MitsuruLoids to intercept as she goes to fix the damaged Octovas. However Bach has freed himself and reprimands her. She doesn’t understand why he doesn’t see himself as the greatest composer. He tells her that music cannot be one colour. It is a mix with other sounds. That is why he waited for the other ClassicaLoids to wake up. Beethoven and Mozart face off with their clones. They can use Musik and match whatever they put up. But Beethoven defeats his clone by giving him drink coffee. It short-circuited. Mozart and his clone dance but it trips and breaks. The other clones pop out. The duo don’t feel like fighting it so they argue over rock-scissors-paper. They don’t have to do anything since Bach’s Musik took them out. They go to face off with Bach as he explains about the current state of music. It is disrespected and treated poorly. “Musicians” are created instead of music. Don’t they want to change the world? Bach’s goal is to create a world in which everything is rooted in music. Everyone speaks the universal language of music and can understand each other. Even aliens?! Beethoven and Mozart disagree. They tell him their experience of gyoza and flirting with girls. It made them forget about music. Kanae too has something to say. Her old records that grandma introduced to her bring back memories. It made her smile and remember her. As music doesn’t exist everywhere, it is special. Thus all kinds of music comes with special memories. That reminded Bach of something and causes him to waver and allowed Beethoven-Mozart penguin-dragon combo to defeat him. Music notes rain down from the sky and everyone is freed from the zombie control. And you thought everyone is joking about in this feel good ending when suddenly aliens hover across the sky! I kid you not! I guess Bach was serious when he said that.

Episode 25
The aliens are abducting people from all over the world! Looks like Kyougo is one of them. He contacts Kanae to tell that there is a huge microphone inside the ship. Could it be they want a karaoke? Bach’s suspicions were right. He felt someone somewhere in the universe was listening to his music and thought they would one day come to Earth to listen to it. Thus the Octovas as a device to communicate with aliens. Don’t worry. A few quick repairs and it is back up to normal. Now dropped in Kanae’s yard. Thus Bach wants the ClassicaLoids to play their music to them, the reason they are created. Tchaikovsky and Bada are upset they never told them this. Would they have believed him? They point out it is he who doesn’t trust others. Apparently the ClassicaLoids aren’t interested in saving the Earth. But Sousuke is! He purposely gets abducted thinking his song will save the world! OMG! World destruction in 3, 2, 1… The aliens hate it and kicks him out! Once Kanae gets assurance from Bach that humans and aliens can be friends via Octovas, she has the ClassicaLoids assemble to help save the world. They decide to do her request since she asked. Maybe that tear helped too. The ClassicaLoids begin their Musik and aliens all over the world rejoice. But then Octovas malfunctions from it all and the aliens are mad they want an encore. Better give it to them as they’re starting to shoot down buildings with their rainbow lasers!

Sousuke’s solution is simple. Just give it to them. Imagine these aliens as fans from a faraway country attending a concert. They came all the way to see them and can’t go home like that. Since it is his idea, Mozart transforms him into a cool ClassicaLoid outfit with Pad-kun as his cool music jet. What? Sousuke given a chance to save the world? He isn’t doing it alone, though. Beethoven transforms Kanae into Sousuke’s equal as she rides a badass Hasshie (amplifier bird?). After all, it is human’s job, not ClassicaLoids to deliver their music to them. Then they guide the duo straight up into the alien ship. Oddly, I don’t see them do anything because it’s like the ClassicaLoids are the ones doing their Musik over again while explaining about the love and friendship of humans. Anyway this satisfies the aliens. They want an autograph and Sousuke signs his big name there. After dropping them down, the aliens leave Earth, leaving behind golden droplets of happiness. A few weeks later, Kanae continues to take care of Otowakan. Kyougo still contacts her although he continues to travel freely around the world. He theorizes that the aliens knew about their music when they stumbled onto Voyager that was launched attached with humanity’s culture decades ago. Bach resumes his producing work while Claskey Klasky is back on stage with Mitsuru as their manager. The other ClassicaLoids left on a journey so Otowakan is a bit lonely now. Sousuke is trying his hands at street music but is too chicken for his first performance. He can perform confidently only at Otowakan. Then all the ClassicaLoids return from their journey with their messy souvenirs. Since they start to make a mess out of the place again, Kanae threatens to kick them all out. So you want company or not?

Classical Music Rock Save The Earth
So… Where are the rest of the classical composers? We only got 8 so far for this season? Where is Brahms? Where is Handel? Where is Haydn? Where is Debussy? Where is Vivaldi? Where is Mendelssohn? Where is Wagner? Wow… It sounds like I seem like a classical music enthusiast and expert. Just kidding. I’m not. I just happen to know their names but if you play to me one of their pieces I can’t even tell them apart or from who. But that is not the end of it all yet. Because there is going to be a second season! Hooray! Can I say that is music to my ears? Oh, Bach hasn’t got his wish this season? Don’t worry. *In Arnold’s voice*. “I’ll be Bach!”. Maybe those aliens dude who love our classical music so much would recommend and bring back more alien pals in the future. Who’d knew Earth was such a great intergalactic hit? Now you can’t laugh and look down on people who love classical music. Because it is a sign of peace and friendship! Aliens don’t come to our planet to hear pop culture songs! No Beyoncé. No Taylor Swift. No Katy Perry. No Kanye West. Not even The Beatles! They’re here for our Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Chopin and the likes! Viva classical music?!

One of the most things that made me feel conflicted is the portrayal of the ClassicaLoids themselves. Despite being told that they are not the real composers themselves and are just taken after them, I still can’t help feel ‘disappointed’ that such would be like ‘deceiving’ us. Because the ClassicaLoids themselves are a very interesting and quirky bunch and it is because of that I find the series quite fun and interesting to watch. It feels like they are just their famous counterparts in name but everything else differs. I thought their quirky behaviour is somewhat a homage to their real life in history so I did a bit of (lazy) search on Google but couldn’t find anything that tells me that Liszt is a cross-dresser or Chopin is a shut-in or Schubert a big fan boy of Beethoven. Of course I can definitely tell it is all BS that Beethoven is obsessed with gyoza. That should have given me an early hint. Heck, not to say I know well about them either. But a few like Bada being a one hit wonder is somewhat true despite being the joking point of her in the series. Still, to have them as weirdoes sometimes feel like they’re committing sacrilege to the real ones. But then again, this is anime where even Nobunaga has not been spared from sex change.

Therefore it was really weird to see the ClassicaLoids with their own unique behaviour. But like I have said, that is what makes them and the series fun. They have so much free time to do nothing and goof around. Even free loading at Kanae’s place like as though they own the mansion. But think about it. What should ClassicaLoids do anyway besides whatever fate Bach proclaims of them? Imagine if they are portrayed as those strict crazy old men in white wigs in this anime. That would be super boring, wouldn’t it? That wouldn’t be anime, wouldn’t it? Hence it is somewhat ‘okay’ to see Beethoven turned into a gyoza maniac (somewhat toned down after he discovered his ideal taste because it would’ve been annoying to hell if they continued to spam this running joke) and on occasion a pyromaniac, Mozart a carefree dude who loves to prank others and flirt with chicks, Liszt obsessed with love and Chopin turning into a typical otaku. While Schubert feels like a character created to be everyone’s punching bag (to be ignored, that is – even ‘lower’ than Chopin since this shut-in has his own sniggering sarcasm), it is refreshing to see him change his style to a free rapper. Again it is with mixed feelings to see Schubert turn into something different. I thought it was for a single episode but it seems it became permanent ever since he found his true calling. I still prefer the old Schubert looks when he looks more elegant.

If I had to pick a favourite ClassicaLoid, it would be Tchaikovsky. This petite blond girl is quite spunky and when she gets loud mouth and starts complaining, she is really funny. Yeah, if Tchaikovsky wasn’t a bald Russian dude in real life, she could have been my idol… Bada feels pretty ordinary and normal till you start teasing her about her one hit wonder… That somewhat becomes somewhat of her running joke. I mean, what else can you say about her besides Sousuke trying to hit on her but fails as bad as his music? Bach on the other hand at first looks intimidating and sometimes feels like a ‘retard’ because of his tendencies to only speak in one line musical terms in which could be anybody’s guess what the heck it means. Could this be what he meant that he want to speak in the universal language of music? Noble intentions but I think he got the wrong idea of what music should be. It’s like imposing his ideals upon everyone else.

In view of these characters, it is no doubt that a very big majority of the plot and stories these season feel like standalone fillers. It seems like they are doing silly random things that have no part whatsoever in the bigger plot of what the actual series is supposed to be about. At points they show you flashbacks to hint about them but they serve more as teasers and reminders only rather than something to drive the plot. And thanks to the quirky ClassicaLoids, I don’t mind watching them doing mindless and pointless stuffs because it feels so much fun. There is also the mystery of Kyougo but that is always quickly brushed aside to continue the random hilarity of the episode. So when sh*t gets real in the final few episodes of the season, I mean it really gets out of this world with Bach’s putting forth his plan (sometimes I thought Mitsuru’s plan feels like Resident Evil version Bach) and even culminating with aliens! Did you even see that coming?! So they trolled us with random episodes to let our guard down so that when it comes to the final battle we will not anticipate this plot twist. Clever or just weird? But it is thanks to this format that we get to love and learn more about the ClassicaLoids so it isn’t such a bad thing after all.

Speaking of the non-ClassicaLoid characters, the biggest mystery is Kyougo himself. At times we are made to think who this guy is and what this guy’s goal is. I know all scientists are crazy but this one feels more like laidback and carefree. Like as though he knows things will turn out alright somehow. Or maybe he just doesn’t know. Kanae doesn’t really stand out as much as the ClassicaLoids but even if she does it is because she isn’t one. It feels as though her character exists the ClassicaLoids need a place to stay and a place to call home after a day filled with randomness. I can sympathize with her being the landlord whom nobody (except for Liszt) wants to pay their rent but she can’t kick them out because she has grown attached to their antics. If she really wanted money, she would have seriously kicked them all out a long time ago. It’s the warmth and company that makes Otowakan lively again. But seriously, thanks to Liszt she can still breathe easy on some expenses. Yeah, money still important to a certain extent.

And Sousuke is supposedly the other joker (and gopher) of the series because of his big dream of becoming a musician himself but he seems to want to leech off the ClassicaLoids rather than putting in his own effort. But even when he does that, she how that turned out… He should have picked another career. I kept wondering if Hasshie is supposed to hold some secret since this shoebill is always standing and looking intimidating (a couple of curse and grudge episodes, for all we know Hasshie could be some sort of demon!) but I guess he is this series’ mascot. I guess better than having the standard cute cat, dog, rabbit or hamster. Or maybe not. Lastly, I feel that Mitsuru is just a big fan girl of Bach rather than wanting to usurp Kyougo. At least that is what she seems to have become. This kind of fandom of liking one person and others are trash is dangerous. For example, you’re a fan of Justin Bieber and everyone else is no good and nowhere near. Not even Michael Jackson or Tupac. See what I mean?

The drawing and art has everything bright and colourful. Again, some of the character designs of the ClassicaLoids made me feel mixed. While some like Beethoven and Schubert do resemble closely to their actual counterparts and thus very recognizable at first go, others like Mozart and those transgendered are looking very different. Because say for Mozart, they design him to be a guy wearing his casual pyjamas and cape with a big hat that looks like he came from the Mushroom Kingdom. Yeah, he really looks like an anime character. I mean, everyone looks like an anime character but like for Mozart’s case he doesn’t have a shred of hint to the original. And of course, Liszt, Tchaikovsky and Bada certainly do not look like their originals. Schubert has the most different transformation and redesign when he became a rapper boy. Personally I still prefer his original version. But then again I have to remember what I said about ClassicaLoids not being those originals and if we show them as boring old men, this series would lose its charm.

Another unique part of the animation is that some of the scenes used cell shading. Either you like it or loathe it. There are also some flashy effects especially when the ClassicaLoids unleash their Musik. It is fun to see they have a variety of them as they are somewhat metaphors of their pieces like Beethoven with his penguins and mechas, Mozart and his death skeletons, Liszt with her plants and cupid arrows, Chopin with his, erm, tall growing things and electronic devices, Schubert getting his new Parappa style in addition to his carps and Tchaikovsky with her rats and bird snatching love drama thingy. Whatever. Bada is so boring with her only sunshine worshipping Musik…

I really love Mamiko Noto playing as Liszt. She really kills it here as her character because she really sounds like having so much fun in her role. It really rekindles my love for her and made me forget that the recent shows I watched with her usually has her character being killed off or strange women to fit that husky and raspy trademark voice. Yeah, thanks to the power of love! I need more love for her! Ahem. Other recognizable seiyuus include Tomokazu Sugita as Beethoven, Yuuki Kaji as Mozart, Akira Ishida as Pad-kun and Mikako Komatsu as Kanae. The other casts are Nobunaga Shimazaki as Sousuke (Mugi in Kuzu No Honkai), Kousuke Toriumi as Chopin (Kiba in Naruto), Tomoaki Maeno as Schubert (Junichi in Amagami SS), Aya Endo as Tchaikovsky (Miyuki in Lucky Star), Mao as Bada (Kazumi in Gokukoku no Brynhildr) and Taiten Kusunoki as Bach (Rock Bison in Tiger & Bunny). Strangely, I cannot find who is behind Mitsuru’s voice. Thanks to my inept to read Japanese even at this point, I can’t look it up myself from the credits. Oddly nowhere over the internet has listed her character whatsoever.

Because classical music is the theme of the series, it is only right that such similar feel of the classical music be used. Such as the opening theme, ClassicaLoid No Theme which is entirely an instrumental piece. But it is mixed with modern style rock. I don’t think this is blasphemy or even if it is to purists, this series isn’t the first to do it as over my life I have heard countless renditions and versions of classical music. No one is going to sue over copyright, right? But what makes me feel weird are the ending songs or the Musik that the ClassicaLoids play. They take a famous piece of that composer and added in some Japanese lyrics. Yes, they’re singing a classical song! As I have said that there are so many reincarnations of classical pieces, this one really feels weird. Not really used to hearing classical songs with words even if I don’t hear them frequently. So for example hearing Mozart’s Turkish March with lyrics in it just doesn’t feel right with me. It feels like the song has been mashed and pounded to bits with this ‘rebirth’. This means there are different ending themes for every episode depending on what mashed up classical piece they played during the episode. Not sure if it is lazy or creative. But it’s definitely weird. Of course the weirdest of the lot is Sousuke’s song. Thankfully I didn’t die. Oh wait. I nearly laughed my ass to death! You want to kill a nation? Play this ‘hit’ song! Yeah, it really hits you…

Overall, this series isn’t meant to change one’s music taste or to have you appreciate classical music. If you do convert, then it’s a plus point. We should hear all sorts of music genres to broaden our music views anyway. Despite the standalone fillers and the lack of a plot and a big part of the season, each episode is funny and entertaining in its own right and it makes you fall in love with the bizarre characters. Just a warning that you might be get the wrong impression the real characters act like this and you may be disappointed if you find out they aren’t. So what is music? To each their own as long as you enjoy them. But I noticed that lately the music innovation has been stifling recently. Have we reached the pinnacle of music creativity? If those classical composers are alive today, they might turn in their grave if they see today’s state of music. They would be decomposing then. Haha! Just joking… Come to think of it, do you not realize that those times and now are the only times throughout mankind’s history where “#” is used ever so often? Mind blown!

Idol Jihen

July 14, 2017

OMG! How did Donald Trump win the recent American elections?! How can this happen?! The world is coming to an end!!! It is time to return to our safe space and propagate and assure ourselves that there is still hope. Because in a time of darkness, there will be a light that will rise and shine above it all to bring us hope. To fight the evil and corrupted politicians and greedy congressmen and power hungry assemblymen. That is why we have idols running as legislators! I’m not kidding. At least this is according to Idol Jihen. If AKB0048 is to sci-fi and Love Live is too irrelevant and only for high school, this series might be the timely appropriate. I guess people are just fed up of typical corrupted policymakers that they decide to give idols the chance to run for office. What do idols know about politics and governance? Who cares? As long as we get to enjoy their concerts. Hey. My drain is clogged since last week and it stinks. Somebody care to come clean it up? I can’t. I have to attend that idol’s concert…

Episode 1
A shady bribery is going on between these old guys… Then the politician chokes and dies on his snack. Now with the Niigata seat vacant, Sachie Kondou and her assistant Kamishiro are looking around for local girls to represent the Heroine Party. Then she sees Natsuki Hoshina revving up the farmers by singing in their paddy fields. Feeling she is the right candidate, she asks Natsuki to join the idol election audition at Tokyo. So the audition is to run up a hill so high that goes past the clouds? Isn’t that more of a mountain? And what is this about idols needing to reach the top? For real? Apparently only Natsuki passed as she is the only one who managed to complete the run. Kamishiro is sceptical if she is the right candidate because right now Japan has no president and they can do without jokers. Don’t worry. Everything will somehow work out… That’s what they all say. Natsuki being the rookie and noob, stutters in her speech and when confronted with rival Rougai Party who is more accustomed with their typical political speech, how does Natsuki overcome this? She blurts out for the men to make her a woman! Wait. What?! Can idols say that? Well, all those old men are definitely interested in her now… Then Shizuka Onimaru (a twice elected idol dietwoman) arrives as requested by Sachie to help out. She is supposed to sing a duet with Natsuki in a live concert. However Shizuka doesn’t believe Natsuki is up to her par yet and will train her. Despite Natsuki bloopers a lot and doesn’t give up, Shizuka decides she is not up to mark. She doesn’t have what it takes to be on stage with her. Natsuki feels down but nothing but a little farming to help bring her motivation back. Shizuka also remembers Sachie removing her from the team. Despite having exceptional talent, her aura hurts others. Natsuki only appears on stage. Some of the crowd is displeased since Natsuki is nervous and Shizuka isn’t around. Well, she’s at the backstage. If she is having whatever doubts, leave it to Sachie to change her mind on that. So the crowd returns once Shizuka appears. Before they could start singing, Rougai Party starts their deafening speech on their usual propaganda. Natsuki then starts singing to drown out the interference. Such beautiful flowery aura. Safe to say we know who the people will vote next. Yeah, even this Rougai Party candidate. Now that Natsuki is elected in, she is still nervous but will do her best. Despite Rougai Party still have the clear majority in the house, a few shady old politicians won’t let these idol dietwomen gain momentum.

Episode 2
The Heroine Party is at a local dumpsite that is legal by law. They see Chinatsu Ryuusekidou of Sunlight Party and a few other idol dietwoman trying to stop the dumping and save the environment. But the local politician tells them off this is his land is graciously offering for garbage to be dumped. Don’t tell me you want to be selfish and dump it in other districts, do you? No choice, they let them through. When Shizuka confronts Chinatsu, immediately the latter slaps her! Whatever history they had, Chinatsu still won’t forgive her. Later that night, Natsuki returns to the dumpsite to find Chinatsu trying to clean up. She learns Chinatsu was raised in this area and often played here a lot. Natsuki offers to help but Chinatsu will not accept any help especially from Heroine Party. When Natsuki tells Sachie about this, she believes Shizuka did something to prevent hurting others but because she never explained it well and left, the others viewed it as betrayal. Natsuki isn’t one to let this drag on so she again pleads to Chinatsu for help. Instantly shot down. With Shizuka and other idol dietwomen wanting to give this a chance, Chinatsu relents but with a condition: A bungee jump challenge at different heights! What is this about idols need to be brave and face the crowd? Anyway if Natsuki falters, Shizuka must apologize to Mizuki Fudou, the chairwoman of Sunlight Party. But it seems Natsuki has no qualms about jumping and does so without hesitation unlike Chinatsu who is barely hiding her fear. On the final and highest jump, Chinatsu faints! Natsuki is a little scared but manages to summon her courage since they will lose their chance to help the villagers. Then the bungee rope snaps… I know there is a river below but how can she survive at that height?! Anyway, while diving, Natsuki has an idea on what to do with the dump. The next day, lots of people have gathered and turning the dump into pieces of art! A free voucher for an idol handshake for every garbage you refurbish! The politician doesn’t like this and sends his boys to beat them up?! How could they? How do you stop rampaging mobsters? You hold an idol concert to turn them into fan boys! OMFG! And so the dumpsite is saved but Natsuki is sad that the newspaper only reported on Sunlight Party. No Heroine Party was mentioned. Welcome to politics. Meanwhile the Rougai Party guys heard one of their guys have resigned but aren’t going to press the panic button yet. Losing a member or two won’t hurt they party. Unless the masses demand change, their regime is safe…

Episode 3
Heroine Party is at Nekonoshima, an island filled with cats cohabitating with humans. They are here for a request to find missing cats and if you think that is tough, all the cats on the island are missing! The only cat on the island is Boss, the sacred leader of all. Oddly, the local assemblywoman hates cats but she looks like one. Also on this island to help out are the Starlight Party members, Sakurako Iizuka (chairwoman), Isuzu Narukami and Shirayuki Arai. They go around looking for clues. Starlight Party visit and pray at all the shrines (a million yen donation?) and find alphabets on stones. Heroine Party on the other hand are doing finding a needle in a haystack as well as asking residents. One of them relates one night he saw all the cats being lured to some ship by some smoke. Someone was feeding them. When he accidentally made a sound, the cat monster reared its ugly head. Doesn’t she look like the assemblywoman? Natsuki tries to tease boss with cattails until he can’t stand it anymore and starts chasing her. It leads them to a spot where they find the assemblywoman’s glasses with catnip smell. Definitely it’s her. With everyone taking a break at the udon store, the old lady tells them about the island’s legend. When cats disappear, 4 maidens shall come from beyond the sea and dance upon the stone stages of cats. Want to guess who are those maidens? And so our idol dietwomen each stand on those stones and start singing. Such beautiful beam of light that it turns the assemblywoman into a cat lover! Get this. A wave of cats is seen swimming from across the ocean back to the island! I thought cats hate water? Just in time for some grand cat festival too. People pour catnip everywhere on the street and let a huge tidal wave of cat rampage through. Yeah, who wouldn’t love the feeling of being drowned by cats.

Episode 4
A bratty politician tries to tick off the idol dietwomen about their fancy idol dress in the diet hall. But they got the last laugh when they say something on the lines to each his/her own. Because of that, he and his secretary try to concoct a plan to embarrass them especially with the upcoming swimsuit competition. Last year’s defending champion, the Bishoujo Party (wait, what?) gives their opening speech and Natsuki can’t help go with the flow and let out her own excitement. It may be embarrassing but at least she is bursting with honesty energy. Isn’t it no surprise all the spectators are men? As the water competitions kick off, it is obviously rigged and some of the girls suspect Rougai Party is behind this as many get eliminated too early and there is one whereby you get naughty octopi all over you if you fall into the water (sorry, no tentacle rape). So our evil politicians think they have got the last laugh but our dietwomen is the one having them because they turn around this mishap and turn those octopi into takoyaki! They’re selling well! Natsuki makes friends with the chairwoman of Bishoujo Party, Ume “Momo” Momoi. She loves the sea and her dream is to check out all the beaches in the world. The game continues as the girls are suspicious they need to put on certain swimsuits. Their worst fear comes true because in the next game where they have to take out their opponents via water gun, their swimsuits disintegrate when soaked. Before more wardrobe malfunction could happen, Momo leads the pack to stay calm and give the right timing for them to counterattack and win the game. If you think that wasn’t cheesy enough, in the last game where they must climb a tower to grab a microphone at the top to sing and win it, the scaffolding is obviously tampered as it starts collapsing. How can they survive that? Because Bishoujo Party starts singing and that is what keeps them afloat! WTF???!!! At the same time turning their evil counterparts into their biggest fans! In the end, Bishoujo Party wins the overall and they take a group photo together. Hey. Did the Rougai Party big boss just Liked their post?

Episode 5
Shizuka is on her day off as she meets her father. He tells her to stop this idol business and return to him. She is smart enough to know this won’t last forever. Of course she isn’t going to listen to him. Meanwhile Natsuki becomes a police chief for a day. Yeah, the chief inspector just became her biggest fan. So you think it is easy being a police chief? Apparently yeah. As long as you’re as cute as her. Then the biggest incident to happen: A hostage situation at a day care. It seems members of the Wakaba Party are taken hostage by… Children of the day care?! It is learnt that this day care will be closing down soon and the kids who have nowhere to go are against this. Yeah, drastic times call for drastic measures. Natsuki thinks she can talk to them but instead got captured. Way to go. But to her shock she learns the Wakaba Party members (are they lolis?!) are in cohorts with the kids. They heard their story that they have both parents who work. This is where they hangout until their parents get home so if this place goes, will they be considered homeless then? The local politician is here and he makes things worse by blaming the mothers of those kids. He believes a woman’s place is at home taking care of children. Easily triggered people shouldn’t be watching this episode. So how to solve this problem? When the day care is torn down, a business centre will be built. This means more income and revenue and thus mothers don’t have to work anymore and can better look after their children. Great plan. When this hostage drama gets dragged out, the politician decides to storm in. Seriously? They’re just kids. Anybody who take hostages are as good as terrorists! Well, I can see the equality there. Luckily Shizuka relays this to Natsuki so everyone starts preparing traps like Home Alone style. I mean, it makes the police force look so silly when they storm in only to slip on marbles, thrown used diapers, fall into pitfalls and blasted with pepper balloons. When the politician gets worked up over this farce, little does he know he stirred a mini beehive. He gets stung. Mothers of those kid quickly administer aid and help remove the beehive. Shortly Shizuka lectures him about those mothers being professionals in various areas and since they are invaluable to society, is it alright to keep them confined at home? You know everything is okay and over when the kids return to their moms, Wakaba Party starts singing and the politician turning over a new leaf apologizing to the mothers and tearing up the business centre proposal. Oh yeah, he quit his Rougai Party too. Starting to get worried you’re losing more men, eh?

Episode 6
Mika Kozuru of New Subculture Party loves astronomy but she is too shy to articulate her proposal to use the diet building’s observatory to launch bottle rockets and stimulate the people’s interest in space so this pesky old politician shoots it down with ease. Later Mika explains her scientific proposal perfectly to Heroine Party and hope they could team up for this event. However here comes that pesky old dude to warn them why the observatory is off limits because of hauntings and ghost sightings. He shouldn’t have said only God or a saint can help because here comes Ringo Yami from SOS Party as she is a self-proclaimed Ghostbuster. It’s time to bust some ghosts. Of course the old guy won’t let them have their way since if their proposal gets approved, budget allocations for them will be cut. So our Ghostbusters enter the observatory and what do you know? There’s a real ghost! Everybody is freaking out now and no exorcism method can work. What a time to regret your unfulfilled election promises? Oh great. Now the ghosts have multiplied! Meanwhile Mika who got lost from the group stumbles into 3 great statesmen. Want to bet they’re the real ghosts or rather the bronze statues come to life? They praise how the idol dietwomen are keeping Rougai Party at bay and advise her not to let them push her around. This helps Mika articulate her vision clearly. Team Ghostbusters realize they have been had after they destroy a hologram projector. They know that pesky old dude was behind this since he dropped his fan. Though he escapes, he bumps into Mika. This time she tells him she isn’t going to give up her proposal with full confidence. You can’t beat that smile. Speechless, eh? After hearing Natsuki say how the observatory lighted up like a planetarium after they stopped the projector, Mika makes a little revision in her proposal since she wants to appeal to a broader audience. Her stargazing event is approved and is popular among the people. Meanwhile Shizuka’s father still will not approve of her idol work. Nothing. Shizuka remains defiant.

Episode 7
The locals at Niigata are protesting the proposed site to build a stadium. Naturally Natsuki is going to help them. She learns the construction company behind this is Onimaru Construction. Sounds familiar? So being an idol dietwoman gives her the right to waltz in to see the president? Luckily he is passing by so he lets her in to see what she has to say. She hopes it would be re-evaluated but he instantly shoots her down that it is government sponsored and cannot be changed. Also, don’t take politics as fun and games! Kamishiro must be having a real headache to learn what Natsuki did but that didn’t stop her. After learning Shizuka is the president’s daughter, she bugs her to go talk to her father only to be shot down. Since Shizuka is not one to say, Sachie explains Shizuka as the only daughter and people had expectations she would follow her father’s footsteps. When she didn’t, everyone was surprised and naturally it caused tensions in their relationship. The president is seeing Rougai Party’s boss and assures what his daughter does has no bearing on what he does. Natsuki continues to bug Shizuka. Since she is stubborn, Natsuki notes she is so like her dad. This makes her snap back. She isn’t stubborn. She makes her own decisions! Can’t argue with that. As Natsuki can’t think of an idea, Sanpei a local boy from her hometown sends in drawings of kids about their feelings of the stadium. They decide to show this to the president but he apparently didn’t give a damn as usual. Not even one look. What a pity those drawings got wet in the rain… Are they going to give up? Instead, they are boosted when Shizuka joins in. They’re going to fight back via public forum and do a live concert. So they dance their way into the audiences’ hearts (because I believe everyone here is against the stadium). Shizuka’s dad did turn up as he observes the crowd. Though it seemed it has failed to convince him, their fan club petitions are starting to gain momentum. Then this shocking thing just came in over the news. The president decides to re-evaluate the project and scale it down to how the people would want and appreciate it! Yeah, their feelings finally reached him. So when Rougai Party boss confronts him about letting his emotions get the better of him, he is reminded his daughter’s actions has no bearing on what he does. All he wants is to make a stadium where people can gather and smile. Take that. Looks like somebody is going to move his hand to crush those idol dietwomen.

Episode 8
With the idols doing more concerts and their congress job better, those Rougai Party guys are starting to get worried with all the recent strings of resignation from their side. They are asking their boss who is also Japan’s Prime Minister Touichirou Sakuraba why he has not taken any action. Don’t worry. He already has. Because the bigger they are, the harder they fall. Natsuki and Shizuka are to be interviewed on TV. Shizuka cautions her to watch what she says because the media who is completely leaning on Rougai Party’s side can twist what she says. As the show starts, the host asks them about what they are doing this for. Natsuki being her honest self goes on happily talking about people’s smiles. Gotcha. The host then in turn plays clips of their past achievements but with a twist. The illegal dumpsite might have been solved but the garbage has to go somewhere and it’s nowhere but the streets. The cats on Nekonoshima have become pests ravaging crops while the day care still lacks funding and in danger of being closed. Natsuki cannot refute any of it. Even though Sachie knows this is heavily edited to one side and Rougai Party had pre-taped all this. Natsuki has no time being depressed because Sanpei calls to voice his concern that the stadium is now cancelled! Shizuka confronts her dad on it and it seems because the company changed the blueprints, the government decided to really re-evaluate this project. Of course he is not going out without a fight and warns Shizuka her value as a true dietwoman is now being tested. With idol dietwomen popularity plunging, a gossip magazine releases an article and photo of Shizuka having an affair with an older man. It is obviously her father but because they worded their statement as speculation, trying to report or fight it will prove nothing. Rougai Party is really coming for them. Natsuki is being lectured by Shizuka about her duty as elected representative since she somewhat fears going to diet building now. But Heroine Party isn’t just facing problems. Other idol dietwoman parties too. Chinatsu is mad the media is accusing Mizuki of plastic surgery. Sakurako is suspected of misusing government funds when it is her own money to buy clothes. Bishoujo Party is ridiculed that they are too dumb to read kanji. Wakaba Party still wets their bed? Who is telling New Subculture Party to go back to space? Who is telling SOS Party to return to the shadows? At times like these, they decide to band together to fight against Rougai Party. So they fight in a way they know best: Holding concerts to address the string of idol bashing. Before they can start, a helicopter lands in the middle of the stage. Who are these 4 beautiful babes? Hey. Aren’t they sent by Rougai Party? Are they like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?!

Episode 9
Saki Shiraga, Kazumi Mukai, Maybelle Takasaki and Megu Izumisawa are part of the legendary idol group, Cherry 7 who help Kagura Mikazuki the only female idol dietwoman in history and paved the way for idols to become part of the diet. When they decide to join them, they are attacked! WTF?! Holding a sword, machine gun and magic explosion wand?! Is Cherry 7 mercenaries now?! Apparently they are not here to support these idols and feel they have lost their way as idol dietwoman. Cherry 7 was hired by Rougai Party to test their worthiness. Surprisingly, Sakuraba comes on stage to show several accusations and scandals for each of the party. Then he belittles them how they are nowhere near Mikazuki and not only they do not solve problems as dietwomen but fail as idols too. He has come up with a proposal to ban idols to be dietwoman. The crowd is silent. Sakuraba takes this as their shocking approval. So before they can block that bill, they must defeat Cherry 7 first. Shizuka calls Mizuki and the other parties in hopes they could unite and band together. However Chinatsu tells her off she is the one to say as she was the least cooperative. Plus, all of them are busy trying to clear their scandals. With all the arguing, Mizuki steps in who tells them they will lose to Cherry 7 unless they give it their all. Chinatsu disagrees with this unity thingy. Because competition makes them push forward, she suggests holding a competition to see which of them is better to take on Cherry 7. Agreed. Mizuki will be the judge. Up till now you must have noticed Natsuki being depressed as hell. So leave it to Shizuka to give her speech about trust and believe and blow Natsuki out of the doldrums. There. Done. As they sing and dance, they realize there is this strange mix of strong power they produced together. Yup. Looks like they need to unite and form a cross-partisan unit against Cherry 7.

Episode 10
The cross-partisan unit is called Smile Kiss and they receive equal coverage with Cherry 7. However Natsuki is back to gloomsville as she continues to slack in her practice. Then with all the nonstop protest calls to their office, her motivation takes a dive. One day she just cannot dance anymore and her voice cannot sing. So Shizuka chides her and lets her go home. It gets even worse when she picks up a complaint call from a construction guy asking his money back for the failed stadium project. As she talks to Sachie about her problem, she is advised to go see those people. Thus Natsuki returns to Niigata and didn’t show up for practice so Shizuka has Chinatsu replace her part. This has Chinatsu commenting that is all Natsuki is worth to her. She abandoned her with ease just like she did with them. At Niigata, Natsuki apologizes to all the workers there. She reflects about being unable to help Shizuka and despite forming a duet with her, she was always trying her best to catch up to her. Sanpei then has her watch TV. The decisive concert is live right now. Natsuki is brought to tears seeing her teammates wearing the same ribbon colour as hers (original each of them had a unique colour assigned). As predicted, Cherry 7 is currently leading a big gap in the polls. Suspiciously when Natsuki starts cheering for her team, the lead starts to cut… In the end, the one who got the most votes is… Smile Kiss!!! They did it! Hooray! Not so fast. Because Sakuraba has immediately hold a press conference. Despite the idols’ amazing performance, don’t be fooled by this illusion. Their performance is just that. A fleeting pleasure of self-gratification. It doesn’t solve problems or enrich people’s lives. Then this is the damning statement that would make or break his bill: Those idol dietwomen were so caught up practising for their performance, they didn’t even do a single job as politicians for the past few week! Oh no…

Episode 11
The vote on the bill is out. And the result is… Rougai Party is celebrating and giving their victory speech. Thanks to that, our idol dietwomen are all doom and gloom especially with Shizuka blaming herself and taking responsibility for it all. Hey, for an idol this is literally the end of the world. Natsuki too is in gloomsville. She can’t even do farm work properly and cries even while eating. Yeah, food must taste this good. Because she continues to cry about not being able to make anyone smile, grandma had to tell her about the rising star story of Mikazuki. A dark age where she rose up and shone through the darkness. People soon started following her and the nation slowly came back out into the light. Asked why she became an idol dietwoman, simple, she wanted to make others smile. As advised, Natsuki goes around town to see what has changed. Remember that guy from the first episode who ran against Natsuki in the by-election? He is sweeping the streets in hopes of getting to know his people better! He has left Rougai Party and became an independent. He thanks Natsuki for changing him. This really makes her day as Natsuki runs all over the place (places of past episodes where there were ‘issues’) to find that all of those ex-Rougai Party people have changed for the better. Like that dumpster is now a museum with all recycled items. That cat island is now booming with cats and the day care gets to continue operating. All because of Natsuki. Oh my. Natsuki is so happy she is swirling around in a flower field?! Hope it doesn’t get to her head. Meanwhile it is about time Shizuka also has come to her senses. She realizes her selfishness when she left Sunlight Party and was only imposing her feelings upon others. It is not she has changed but rather been changed. Thanks to a certain twintail too. Of course the inevitable Natsuki and Shizuka making up again. This time Shizuka views her as her real partner. Their next move is to put up another concert albeit just the duo. But isn’t this against the act? I’m not sure about there are those who voted against it so they want to sing for them but hey, isn’t it still illegal? Are they breaking the law? Oh what the heck. Idols always have their way. So as they gear up for the concert, on that very day we already have a crisis. Not a single soul turned up! OMG! Is it because it is raining? Or is that just symbolic?

Episode 12
Apparently somebody hacked into their website to say the concert is cancelled. I think I know who… Even so, the duo will continue to perform because they are idols. Their song resonates throughout the city so much so curious people slowly start streaming in to hear them. Even the other idol dietwomen see this over the internet and make their way. However Sakuraba anticipated this and puts his next plan in motion. A gridlock in the city and shut down of all transports! Don’t worry. The idols get by with the help of ex-Rougai Party members as they make their way via other methods. By foot, sewer or parachute. The craziest one being Momo as she surfs her entire way there! I know the road is wet and slippery but this?! As the crowd builds up and wanting an encore, Natsuki and Shizuka team up with the other idol dietwomen to put on another sterling performance. Their ideology and party may be different but their feelings are the same. Even Cherry 7 is down here to support them. Sakuraba goes down to the field himself to take command. However the riot police will not listen to his order. It seems the police chief who has been promoted to the central office is the one taking charge. With ex-Rougai Party members reminding him about the infringement of free speech, Sakuraba sees the intense crowd that keeps flowing in and Smile Kiss continue to perform, he then gives out a maniacal laughter. He accepts the challenge of the idol dietwomen. In the aftermath, Sakuraba makes a press conference that he is dissolving the diet for a general election. We see a montage of everyone working hard in their campaign. It is no surprise that all the idol dietwomen get re-elected. Yeah, between a cute idol and an old bald dude. Who would you pick? Don’t tell me you’re going to pick based on character, ability, aptitude, etc! It seems Sakuraba is also re-elected. Although he is still against idols becoming dietwomen and will stick with his stance, he challenges them to follow their own convictions if they insist. They can’t let him win because that will mean the end of their dream.

Make Japan Great Again!
Are we done yet? Okay. The fun is over. Time to return to reality. Don’t be fooled by this anime to think that entering politics is damn easy. Yeah, they certainly do make it look like a whole lot of fun here. Because as you can see the idol dietwomen continue to keep their hair all proper and clean after everything. I don’t know if Rougai Party manages to still retain its stranglehold and majority but it might be so because if every single idol dietwomen were elected and assuming there were no new ones, this would mean status quo, right? Definitely need more idol dietwomen and such parties to enter the diet if we are to cleanse Japan of typical old corrupted politicians and make Japan great again!

It is already a no brainer that we have cute idols holding double jobs working as politicians. But it is even dumber to see how idols can actually instantly change bad politicians into good ones! OMFG! This is so unrealistic! You can evidently see how these idols here do it as some of the episodes feature the baddie politician of the week and our heroines get to save the day by ‘purifying’ them via concert, so to speak. Because if this formula truly works and if the idols were serious in trying to weed out corrupted governing practices, don’t you think they would have just hold a nationwide concert that is broadcasted live to all forms of media? Guaranteed to have the biggest, most stubborn and most vile politicians turn into your biggest fan! No doubt about it! So why bother doing small local concerts and change only 1 immoral politician at a time when you can do it all in one big go! So tell me, are these idols serious in changing Japan for the better or do they really know what it takes to run a country? But to show that Sakuraba isn’t as bad as he looks, he is seen attending a concert in the final moments and even tapping his feet to their beat. Oh ho. He may not look like it on the outside but is he converted on the inside? We’ll never know. He is after all the big final boss that our idol dietwomen needs to defeat.

I know some people aren’t really into idols but in this anime what I usually notice that many have this herd mentality. That bill to ban idol dietwomen kills it. Unless Sakuraba is an excellent eloquent smooth talker, the people here feel like they follow their feelings over what they heard. It is like they have no faith in the idols at all. One minute ago they were singing praises about them and the next minute they turn on them because of this WTF scandal that they don’t even care to dig deeper to understand why they didn’t do their governing job. It is scary in real life that idols are walking on thin ice to satisfy ‘hardcore fans’ who would without hesitation turncoat and desert their favourite idol once a scandal arises. But as far for the people in this anime is concerned, it is like they are hoping idols can magically solve their problems that could have taken a little longer to resolve. Oh right. Maybe that’s why they voted idols in. Something different than your conservative politicians. Or maybe the idols’ singing is the one brainwashing people to vote for them? Told you about this silly aspect. In that case do you not think an idol is very similar to a politician? Swaying people with sweet words on stage while looking good. It only takes a scandal to tarnish their name and bring them down. Oh, the similarities…

It is pretty much disappointing that with so many idols from different parties, it is sad that many of them don’t get decent screen time. The most is that they have an episode for them but that is if Natsuki and Shizuka get involved. Even more so, you don’t really get to understand what those parties are fighting for. Heck, what does Heroine Party stand for anyway? Making it worse, the 7 idol dietwoman parties seem to be a representation of some sort of stereotype like the Wakaba Party seem to have only little lolis (are they saying politics is child’s play?) and the Bishoujo Party have members that look more like tanned surfer girls than pretty kawaii ladies. Because I only see Ringo as the only member in SOS Party, I am starting to make generalizations of the party is some sort of gothic fashion party. I don’t know much about the legendary Cherry 7 but looking at them feels like as though their theme is armed and dangerous. It certainly looks so. Plus, with them draping in black, it looks as though they’ve returned from a funeral. Really.

Even the development and friendship drama between Natsuki and Shizuka fails. It just feels generic. Young inexperienced new girl comes into party to pair up with a veteran who defected from another party. They go around helping people to bring about smiles and they make it seem so easy and effortless as I wonder is it because of their idol status makes their job a lot easier an uncomplicated. Then we have a little bit of family drama and tension between Shizuka and her father only to be conveniently and predictably resolved. All because he attended a live concert of Shizuka? Sure, he claims he operates differently from his daughter. But think about this. Has he not heard her daughter sing from other formats even assuming if this is the first time he attends it live? So why now? Both father and daughter have been so stubborn to the point they could be strangers. Thus is it her music? Plot convenience? Reminder that idols’ songs are always the best? Well, can’t have Shizuka’s father as the baddie seeing the real antagonists have been set as Rougai Party. Then there’s the past between Shizuka and Sunlight Party which had potential but never explored further and thus it feels wasted and redundant to somewhat tie a loose connection between them. It wouldn’t make any difference had she not been linked to it in the first place.

And Natsuki is so inexperienced and at time useless that whenever things doesn’t go the right way, she starts going into depression and bums around doing nothing. WTF. I know she is in shock but clearly when she decided to run for candidacy, did she not know the risks? Maybe she doesn’t. Welcome to the world of politics where everything isn’t rosy and sunshine. Except maybe when you’re an idol whose singing can change everything including giving off those special flowery effects while you are at it. Despite being cheery and at her own pace in nature, ironically it takes her a while and even advice or guidance from others to reach out to her before she gets her gears going like normal again. Oh right. Nobody is perfect. But aren’t idols supposed to be perfect?

Art and drawing are pretty standard with your pretty idols looking more like bishoujos (except for the loli ones). Not too sure if the outfit they were is their uniform because if it is, it makes them look like cosplay. Because of the idols looking pretty and cute, corrupted politicians especially from Rougai Party have this typical trademark of what is stereotyped as bad guy looks. I see Mr Sakuraba, you have very thick gorilla eyebrows and deep voice that is only reserved for evil leaders… So cliché. Hence for those politicians who turned over a new leaf, they look pretty normal and decent after that. Is this some sort of discrimination? CGI is also used but very sparingly only when the idols start prancing on stage as a big group. However it is not that noticeable because such concerts itself do not last very long. The series is a joint production between MAPPA and Studio VOLN whose other collaboration is the alternate updated version of Ushio & Tora.

At the end of each episode, there is an end card illustrated by several people. Some illustrated twice for different episodes. Somehow they look all the same to me… What is worse than some end cards which serve as idol fanservice? That idol keeps reminding us that the DVDs are going to be out and be sure to buy them. Are they trying to condition and brainwash us to buy this disappointing show? I know I won’t be bought out. Even if you pay me to buy it I won’t. Wait. Did I just make a no brainer statement?

The voice acting just feels normal and decent and nothing to shout about. Mostly are relatively new seiyuus that I still can’t recognize or veteran ones but I still can’t recognize such as Sarara Yashima as Natsuki (Sayo in Bishoujo Yuugi Unit Crane Game Girls), Mai Fuchigami as Shizuka (Nagisa in Ansatsu Kyoushitsu), Reina Ueda as Sachie (Mira in Dimension W), Sarah Emi Bridcutt as Chinatsu (Chika in HaruChika), Lynn as Mizuki (titular character in Fuuka), Yuuki Fujiwara as Kamishiro (Liang in Nanbaka) and Kouji Ishii as Sakuraba (Garterbelt in Panty And Stocking With Garterbelt). Old veteran seiyuus I recognized helmed roles as the legendary Cherry 7 like Yukari Tamura as Saki and Kana Ueda as Maybelle. I’m going to skip the rest of the list because there are a whole lot of seiyuus lending their voices here and most of them only had a fraction of their dialogue or none at all. I mean, am I serious and hardworking enough to list down all the idols representing all 47 prefectures of Japan?! Are you crazy?! But what is interesting to note is that all of the seiyuus do actually represent and were born in the prefecture of the idol dietwoman that they play.

If you really like idol brand of music, this series has a few of them. I’m not into it so that is probably why I don’t really find the idol-like opening theme, Utae! Ai No Kouyaku by Smile Kiss to my liking. But the ending theme, Respect by the duet of Natsuki and Shizuka feels a bit weird. Pop idol music relying heavily on the synthesizers and effects plus a bit of Arabic feel. In almost every episode there would be an insert song featuring that idol dietwoman party in focus but none really to my liking.

We should have a reality TV show whereby politician wannabes have to go through tests and challenges viewed by millions on TV to see what it takes to become one. It would have been interesting to see how candidates get eliminated by a different voting procedure. I know Donald Trump becoming president doesn’t mean anybody else can become president especially those from the entertainment industry. Oh wait. There’s Ronald Reagan… Then there is Kanye West for 2020…And what’s this? Katy Perry also? The Rock too? Really, America? If it really turns out that celebrity singers are going to run for the Oval Office, then we can call this new reality TV show Ameican Idol. What do you mean that name is already taken?!

Overall, this is quite a disappointing series trying to cash in on the idol craze that is still riding high on its wave in Japan and some parts of the world. Because if you really want good idol material to watch on TV, Love Live and even AKB0048 do it better. So it only goes to show that idols are best and can be in the form of high school girls trying to stop their school from closing down or space revolutionaries fighting against the banning of music. Anything suits them as long as it is not politics. Now we know they don’t mix. Because it would be really bad and sad if idols were to use their star power to side a certain party for the elections like we have seen in the recent American elections. Thus there is a reason why specific jobs exists and even in the same category. Not everything is one glove fits all size and nobody can wear all hats. Some things don’t go together as we learn here, idols and politics. Truly this is not the case of grooming a horse to be a fine horse. It is rather a cat can never become a horse! If they are going to make another season, you bet I am going to cast my big “NO!” vote even if it is just a referendum. Come on, people. Let’s not support sh*tty animes again. No more disappointing animes. Say no to substandard animes. LET’S MAKE ANIME GREAT AGAIN!!!

P/S: A politician and an idol walk into a bar… They become scandal fodder for tomorrow’s tabloid headlines!

Fuuka

June 25, 2017

At first I was trying to figure out how Fuuka was related to a very old anime, Suzuka. It had been more than a decade ever since that latter series ended so how could they possibly continue it from there? Furthermore, wasn’t Suzuka about the track and athletic? It is a far and jarring difference with this one whose theme is music. Then I found out that this series is about the children of Suzuka. So it’s something like a sequel spinoff? I’m guessing the music theme is used as a different distraction otherwise why would we watch another romance drama about life in the fast lane when we could go back to the original series and rewatch it again.

Episode 1
Yuu Haruna is walking in the streets. The newly released hit single from Koyuki Hinashi playing on the screen got his attention. Because of that, Fuuka Akitsuki who is in a hurry collides into him. It’s a bad day for him because from his angle, he saw her panties. Worse, with his handphone in hand, it looked like he took a picture. Upset Fuuka snatches his handphone and throws it on the ground without even checking if he really took them! WTF?! Then she slaps him! WTF???!!! Is this a bad day or what? He notices she dropped a CD. More women woes for Yuu because his sisters are blaming him for being late and could be starving them to death! They also know what happened to him because apparently Yuu loves putting everything on Twitter and they love to follow him. He won’t hear the end of the teasing today. Yuu tells us he was living in the countryside with his younger sister, Chitose. His dad was posted overseas and mom followed him. Since Maya and Hibiki already are living in Tokyo, might as well be a good idea for the siblings to live together. Next day as Yuu finishes up his paperwork to transfer to his new school, he hangs around on the rooftop taking pictures of the scenery when he spots Fuuka. Oh no. The wind just blew up her skirt. She spots him. Oh sh*t. Thinking he took her pictures again, she wants to hand his handphone. He won’t and as they struggle, his handphone fell down. That’s the second handphone… He goes to look for it and surprisingly Fuuka also helps since she wants to make sure he didn’t take those photos. It would have been easier had she just call his number but the thing is she doesn’t have a handphone. Plus, she prefers to be hearing music instead to be on Twitter. Oh, she loves hearing CDs instead of downloading. This reminds Yuu to hand back her CD. Just like the overused cliché, Yuu ends up in the same class with Fuuka and they don’t like each other. For now.

Later, Yuu sees Kazuya Nachi trying to bring Fuuka somewhere against her will. He sums up his courage (although he still sounds pathetic) to tell him off. Nachi reveals he was just recruiting her for the track club since her father is a famous runner. However Fuuka doesn’t like running and will not join the club. Yuu runs away in embarrassment. Fuuka didn’t come to laugh at him but to return his handphone as repayment for returning his CD. When Yuu is contemplating of going to a love movie, Fuuka’s face brightens up. Koyuki is her favourite singer and her song is featured in the movie. He has 2 tickets, so… They wait to meet up and didn’t see each other because one is on Twitter and the other listening to music. So when they decide to look for the other, they actually miss each other! When Fuuka thinks she saw Yuu dashed by, she gets this idea to stand on higher ground and yell his name and her whereabouts! Embarrassed Yuu heard her while she thinks her voice was great. Queuing up at the movie, there are lots of couples so in order not to stand out, they awkwardly hold hands. At the end of the movie, Fuuka wants to give a matching handphone charm as part of the movie bonus. He should get the hint what this means. Especially when she tells him it was a fun date. Hint, hint. WTF.

Episode 2
Fuuka gets a call from her parents. Though they learn she rejected another invitation to join the track club (despite she is quite athletic herself), they are happy for her as long as she does what she wants to do. In school, Yuu sees Fuuka crying. He jumps to conclusion there must be some sort of love triangle with her and the class’ handsome guy, Makoto Mikasa since he is popular with other girls. Oddly, the trio are called by the teacher to clean the swimming pool since they don’t belong in any clubs. Yuu sees her getting along with Makoto fine. Then he asks her and she assures they are just friends. Because of this big ‘revelation’: Makoto is gay! What a waste of such handsome face! So why was Fuuka crying then? She was hearing a song of Koyuki and it had very powerful but sad lyrics. Apparently Yuu and Koyuki know each other and communicate regularly via Twitter. He tells how his friend cried hearing her song and this makes her happy. Yuu is surprised when Fuuka takes him out this weekend to Koyuki’s concert. She was supposed to go with her aunt but she cancelled. What to do with the extra ticket? Koyuki is motivated when she sees Yuu in the front row and starts singing. Fuuka enjoyed the concert a lot. She demonstrates her singing voice and Yuu finds it impressive. Later Yuu calls Koyuki how amazing her concert was. It brought her to tears. Fuuka brings Yuu to a shrine where her parents once made a wish. So she is here to have Yuu pray for her wish to come true and double that chance? Fuuka has finally decided what she wants to do. She wants to go into music. I suppose Yuu didn’t see this coming because Fuuka tells the teacher she decides to start a new light music club and they will be the band members. Who? Fuuka, Makoto and Yuu.

Episode 3
Fuuka thinks they need to save up money to buy instruments so their teacher, Tomomi suggests working part time at a beach house. Joining a band would be the least of Yuu’s worries. He is shy and doesn’t know how to play an instrument. So how can he be a waiter at Nobuaki Yahagi’s beach house? He messes up orders and his voice isn’t too loud and thus can’t be heard. He gets an earful from Yahagi during the break. This breaks his spirits and he thinks of quitting but with Fuuka giving words of encouragement, Yuu comes back kicking ass. Okay, maybe not so drastic change but at least he has confidence now and not screwing up. For the afternoon, they take time off at the beach. Yuu and Fuuka swim out to sea as he hears why she wanted to form a band. Well, it was Yuu who encouraged her but he thought she would have gone solo. When they realize they have swam too far out, Fuuka panics and her leg cramped up. Yuu dives to save her but passes out. I’m not sure who saved who because the next time Yuu wakes up, he is being kissed by Fuuka! CPR. She cries in his arms as she was so worried he would drown while saving her. Now Yuu becomes conscious of her each time she sees her lips. He can’t get that scene out of his mind. Making it worse is Fuuka who doesn’t seemed bothered at all. But later when they’re alone, she confides in him in hopes he won’t tell others about that ‘kiss’ because she too is embarrassed and is her first time. So Yuu is happy that he isn’t the only one? Later Yuu meets up with Koyuki at the pier since she is here for some shoot. They see each other for the first time in ages and thank the technology of handphone that kept them together. Oddly, they play sparklers in the heavy rain. But it is not as odd hearing Yuu telling Koyuki she has grown prettier. Do shy guys say honest things like that? It’s like fate wants to screw with them so the strong wind blows them close together. Koyuki right into his arms. Then Fuuka sees this scandalous scene. Oh…

Episode 4
Fuuka runs away. Yuu wanted to go after her but with Koyuki clinging on to him and those eyes that definitely signal to guys to never leave a girl alone. It is obvious that Fuuka and Yuu can’t see eye to eye. Yuu tries to explain that he is friends with Koyuki. To avoid strangers stalking her, that is why they communicate via alias in another Twitter account. He doesn’t think Fuuka knows much about Twitter since she doesn’t have a handphone but she feels insulted that he thinks of her as a stranger who would tell on them. Their fight just got worse. Apparently Nachi has nothing better to do and went all the way here with Tomomi and Hisashi to bug Fuuka to join the track club. WTF. She insists she won’t and wants to become an awesome old band like her favourite Hedgehogs. This makes Tomomi blush. And then the kids realize too late that Tomomi was part of Hedgehogs. She was the keyboardist, Hisashi the guitarist and Yahagi the drummer. Yeah, ironically they never even noticed despite being their greatest fans. Grown too old? Also revealed that the vocalist Tama went missing and Nico the bassist went in search for her, the reason why the band was in a hiatus for a long time. Nachi still won’t hear any of this and thus an ‘audition’ is held to see if she has talent. She needs to sing one of their songs as they play as backup. Yuu is given a crash course on how to play the bass. Before it begins, Makoto talks to Fuuka and Yuu and have them reconcile. Yeah, it’ll be awkward if this affects their performance. So when the gig gets going, Hedgehogs still got their groove and Fuuka’s amazing vocals blow everyone away. She’s like an angel?! In the end, she got their approval although Nachi won’t still accept her. Makoto notes that he was tapping along with the rhythm. He makes excuse his brother used to play the drums and was just going along with that. This makes Fuuka recruit Nachi as the drummer. She decides on Makoto to be the keyboardist, Yuu the bassist (did you realize he was just standing there all the time starring at Fuuka’s awesomeness?) while she herself will take on the guitar. The band is now complete. How did it turn out like that… It ends with a forced cliché because Yuu and Fuuka are sitting together. The mood is getting good when he accidentally slips and lands his hand on her boobs. Slap! When Yuu goes home, he is surprised to see Koyuki there.

Episode 5
Apparently they just discover Koyuki lives nearby. So they reminisce about the past and it dawned to Yuu that he was trying to hit on her! Koyuki feels glad this wasn’t a one-sided crush after all. So I guess Nachi has had it with the track club and decides to go with the band, huh? With 3 cute guys in the band, fujoshis all over can’t stop fantasizing about them. Especially Makoto ‘targeting’ Yuu. Hisashi is kind enough to teach them the basics, lend them some instruments till they are good enough to get their own and even rent out a studio for them to practice. Even personally teaching Yuu some bass basics. But it seems Hisashi has a little problem of his own. Looks like his younger sister, Sara Iwami is at it again. She is a good guitarist but lacks communication. Thus band members can’t stand her and quit. It’s already the third band this time. Fuuka instantly wants her to join. Yuu tries to object but trips on a cable and dives head first into her boobs! She uses the guitar to slap him! Respect the guitar! Sara agrees to join. Don’t tell me she resonated with Fuuka in beating up Yuu?! WTF. Apparently Sara is also from their school so it’s convenience to hang out together. For some reason, the rest decides to leave Yuu and Sara alone together. This causes some serious awkwardness as Yuu might be going paranoid trying to figure out what she is thinking. When he realizes that Sara is one of his ardent Twitter followers and vice versa, Sara suddenly becomes cheerful and talkative, fawning all over him! OMG! Change in character! Now she can’t stop talking! Is this scarier?! I guess it’s better for her to be nice to him than otherwise. Yuu practises hard and this shocks Chitose who never knew he would be in a band. What does he take her brother for? When the studio is fully rented, Nachi decides to bring the gang to his garage where his brother used to practice with his band. Yeah, he didn’t say a thing because he didn’t want them to think he was really into this band thingy. So they hit it off and they find they have improved a lot despite several mistakes. Everybody was cooler, they had fun and Fuuka is really looking forward to master a couple more songs so they can hold their first performance at the school’s cultural festival.

Episode 6
You can tell Koyuki’s mind is bothered when her seeing is obviously off key. It’s just hard to hear. Flashback reveals Koyuki and Yuu know each other since young and she loves hanging out with him more than going home. You’ll understand when you realize her parents are always fighting. What’s a kid got to do but cover her ears in bed every night. Then it gets worse one day. Her parents got a divorce. What stresses her out most was not her parents living apart but rather she will no longer be able to be with Yuu. So the last time she saw Yuu, she couldn’t stop crying and say a proper goodbye. She left town with her mom. So now she is ‘stalking’ outside Yuu’s house? He invites him in and she gives him a ticket to her next concert as an apology. She thought he hated her for it but it seems he too thought she hated him. Now she blows her top for making her stressed out? So who is hating who now? Anyway he tells her his band will be performing soon and hopes she can come to see. Then he did this mistake of waxing lyrical of how damn good Fuuka is. Not what another woman wants to hear, right? They renew their old promise to perform together on the same stage someday. The day gets worse for Koyuki as she leaves. A truck splashes puddle over her. But it is a blessing in disguise since Fuuka is nearby and takes her to clean up in a public bath house that she lives upstairs. Bath scene bonding with Fuuka proclaiming her as her number one fan. She is also looking for advice and inspiration to write original songs. This has Koyuki mentioning she writes her songs based on her feelings for a certain boy she likes in mind for a long time. A one-sided love. You know who you are. Fuuka isn’t sure about relationships and isn’t in one. She gives Koyuki her assurance that she will root for her love to be realized. Oh. I can see where this is going to end up. Later, somebody has snapped a picture of Koyuki and Yuu making a pinky promise. Yeah… Let’s put it online…

Episode 7
Yuu is rudely awakened next morning when his sisters show the scandal that is going about on Twitter. That picture has now over 100,000 retweets! Yuu is now ‘famous’ in class as everyone tries to ‘interrogate’ him about his relationship with Koyuki. Fuuka is starting to put the picture together of what Koyuki said. It’s obvious she is giving Yuu the cold shoulder. But it’s not the scandal that is making her mad. It’s because Yuu never told her! WTF?! Good thing she decides to put this behind since their band’s first performance is tomorrow. Koyuki is to do a live show. Everyone has this understanding not to bring up that topic. Too bad Koyuki isn’t going by that script and admits that boy in the picture is her childhood friend and dismisses they are dating or anything. Just when you thought everybody has accepted that and just about to get along with their lives, Koyuki then mentions he is the boy whom she has a one-sided crush on and the basis for all her songs. This obviously makes Yuu worried. Can he perform well tomorrow? His band mates give him some encouragement. I guess nobody cares if Nachi is made the band leader and the problem that comes with it, huh? Yuu gets his much needed support from his sisters who will come to support him even if everyone else is against him. Really? I hope they are. Because during the festival, rumours are abound that Koyuki will attend the concert. Guess what? She’s already here! Is her disguise that good that nobody recognized her? Koyuki is shocked that the hall is filled to the brim. Even more shocking are the nasty comments she hears from other boys who intend to target Yuu and teach him a lesson. Yeah, looks like they’re calling out to him now. A riot can break out any time… You sisters gonna take them all on? Think not. Too late for Koyuki to regret about her confession, eh? Oh, what can you do now? The band is at the backstage. Yuu isn’t getting cold feet. He apologizes for what has happened but is also thankful for what he has now. Cut the chatter and let’s shut those guys up with their performance.

Episode 8
When the band finally comes out, the insults start flowing. One even threw a bottle at Yuu, not only cutting his forehead but destroyed his bass! When Hibiki tries to stop them from further self-destruct, they target her because she is Yuu’s family. Despicable! Koyuki is forced to reveal herself in hopes of calming everyone down but the surround her like she is gold. Yeah, those pigs. The lights off and on again. After Yuu is patched up and given a replacement bass, they start singing. Instantly everyone is blown away by Fuuka’s voice. It’s like they’re in a trance. They realize how good all the band members too. After the song, Fuuka invites Koyuki up to stage to sing a ballad of Hedgehogs. Their unison further blows everyone away. At the end of it, Koyuki apologizes for the things she has said but to leave Yuu and his family alone as they have nothing to do with this. Everybody assures they will always support her. Wow. It’s like their devilish side just disappeared. WTF. In the aftermath as the band celebrate their great first performance, they realize they need to come up with the band’s name. They decide to name it after Fuuka. Fallen Moon. Fuuka didn’t like it because it sounds egoistical like as though she forced everyone to join this band. Didn’t she? Fallen Moon it is. Now they worry for Koyuki because after the concert, her manager quickly took her away. She is then advised not to pull off this stunt again and to not contact Yuu for a while so as not to put herself in danger. Therefore she doesn’t pick up when Yuu calls. It makes her miss calls list look like there’s a stalker. More bad news because slowly one by one her events are getting cancelled. During the rehearsal for the Christmas concert, they thought she had too much on her mind and can’t sing. But then, she really can’t sing! Her voice won’t come out! The doctor diagnosed stress and thus her manager doesn’t want her to push it. This means all her events are now cancelled. It comes to a shock when Yuu finds out on the news that Koyuki is on hiatus. He calls her and she picks up this time. She assures everything is fine. That’s all. Of course it’s not. He needs to go to her side now. But how is Yuu going to find her? I don’t know but he did! She tells him about her voice problem and then apologizes for liking him. What’s a guy got to do when a girl starts crying but to hug her. I hope nobody sees this and uploads this online. We’ve had enough sh*t for one episode.

Episode 9
Yuu almost got the shock of his life thinking he is going to get mugged. Turns out to be Koyuki behind a ski mask. Apparently they’re going out on a date?! Is this official? Is this approved? Anyway, Koyuki brings him to Kawagoe where she often has her shoots. The date isn’t anything that special. She has her apologies and thanks for all that has happened. That’s all. Her hope is that she could keep singing forever. Once done, Yuu had to rush back for band practice. They understand and forgive him because a date is more important, right? Let’s hope it won’t be frequent enough that it will cause the band to break up. Later they discuss their next course of action and Fuuka wants to write an original song herself. The rest are sceptical since she doesn’t play any instruments. I guess humming is a start. She actually manages to hum out one and the rest of course turn it into actual music. One night, Fuuka gets a call from Hisashi to meet a music producer, Akira Mogami. Based on the concert at the festival he saw, he wants Fuuka to go pro. Fuuka thought it is the band but no, he only wants her alone. I’m sure she isn’t swayed by him waxing lyrical her angelic voice. That is why she did not hesitate to decline because she wants to be with her band mates. She can call him anytime if she changes her mind but she is very certain that won’t happen. When she returns home, she sees Yuu with Koyuki outside his house. They look very close. This makes her heart feel pain and confused. And she doesn’t like it. So this is going to be the biggest drama of the series?

Episode 10
Fuuka returns to her band. Her face clearly tells something is wrong. Call it luck or not, since Yuu arrives, she is spared the explanation since it is time to rock. When Yuu tries to find out, she screams at him to leave her alone! Later back home he calls her again but nothing much was said. Subsequently Koyuki calls him so he takes the chance to ask how she writes lyrics (thinking this might be stressing out Fuuka). As Koyuki has written her songs based on the person she loves and Fuuka said she never loved anybody, she believes her advice wasn’t a good one. After lots of thinking, Fuuka realizes she is in love with Yuu. Yeah, we figured out that a long time ago. She finally finishes her lyrics and needless to say it is amazing. So we see them depart from their place to their next gig. Some get encouragement like Hisashi for Sara and Yuu’s sisters for him (albeit some teasing). Some are threatened like Makoto whose father warns him to drop his useless hobby or else he will be disowned. No f*cks were given because he decides music is the most important thing in his life. More important than his cute little sister. Hisashi is shocked when Yahagi brings Tama and Nico in. They’re back. After 6 years. And they have something important to announce. A typical cliché bad omen happens to Fuuka. She crosses the road, her strap breaks, realizing it is gone, she goes back to grab it, Japanese truck drivers are the worst because they don’t know how to slam the brakes and… SLAM! Luckily he missed. Phew. Fuuka is in one piece but the strap wasn’t so lucky. However this gives Fuuka renewed motivation as she meets up with the rest and start their performance. Everyone is there including the whole Hedgehogs band. Predictably they note their awesome performance. Fuuka finally sings her original songs and is it no surprise her lyrics sound like unrequited love? The gig was a success but at the backstage Fuuka decides to drop a shocking bombshell. She reveals she has been scouted. She is thinking of taking up that offer and going solo. Wait a minute. WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT???!!! WTF?????!!!!!! Sudden change in mind?! And she assured us she won’t leave her band. WTF?! Let me guess. Her love for Yuu has something to do with this decision, right? Ah well, who cares about The Fallen Moon now. Because look at this. Sara’s streak of not being able to stay in a band continues. Makoto has been disowned so where is he to go? Nachi is the maddest because he gave up his track dreams. Yuu… Nah, he’s got Koyuki to fall back on. So yeah. The Fallen Moon has fallen. Everyone’s screwed.

Episode 11
So all Yuu can say was if it is her decision, there’s nothing they can do about it. There. So everybody is gloomy trying to go on with their lives. Fallen Moon members minus Fuuka meet for one last time as Nachi suggests breaking up. He is the leader after all. Of course he explains he is going back to track as he was using music as some sort of escapism as he has always underachieved. I guess this band is done. Meanwhile Fuuka takes up Akira’s contract and he too can tell why the sudden change of heart. Then it’s bull’s eye because he suspects it has something to do with first love. That shut you up, Fuuka? All you can say is you made the right choice? Well I hope you did. We see the rest carrying on with their lives. Like Sara she has been put into another band and they really like her and want her to join. Nachi is training rigorously in his track. Makoto is packing up and deciding to go back to daddy’s side and give up his dream because daddy promised him a bright future. So yeah, I guess he has to be hypocritical to his sister about fighting dad for his dream. Now he’s just giving up. Yuu talks to Koyuki what happened. To her, she is fine with that (obviously). Reminding him about their promise, she doesn’t care what else happens as long as she can be with him. And suddenly she pushes him down onto his bed and unbuttons her shirt!!! WTF???!!! HOW DID THIS ESCALATE SO QUICKLY???!!! UNFORTUNATELY! He can’t! What?! Are you gay?! Koyuki is a smart girl. She understood. She knew about his feelings, Fuuka’s feelings. She just wished he’d be honest with himself. In tears, she says her goodbye. WTF???!!! HOW COULD YOU?! DAMN YOU, YUU!!! I get it. Koyuki is too good for the likes of you. F*ck Y(o)uu (pun intended)! Subsequently Yuu works hard to write his new song. So much so his sisters can’t even bother him. Though, they love the new determined look in his eyes. Then he goes around to ‘bug’ his other members to hear his music. And if they feel something, meet up at their usual restaurant at a certain time. He even tries to ring Fuuka’s home but she pretends she isn’t home. The guilt… So you think Yuu is going to be stood up by everyone? No way. That’s because everyone heard his new passionate song and turn up! Oh. So they decide to do another inconvenience by coming back to the band. Since Fuuka is the only one who didn’t show up, they decide to practice and prepare when she does. Yuu goes as far as to visit Fuuka’s parent’s home but mom answering the door says she would be back late when she is actually sitting depressed in her room. Is it me or does Suzuka look so freaking young like Fuuka’s sister?!

Episode 12
The Fallen Moon continues to practice without Fuuka. Sara mentions the owner of the place where they did their first live gig wants them to play again. Can they do it without Fuuka? Yuu promises to bring her back no matter what. Fuuka accidentally stumbles upon Koyuki. The girls talk with Koyuki telling her she broke up with Yuu. She also heard her song and finds the feelings in it resonating with her although Fuuka denies. Koyuki hopes she would just be honest with her feelings. Otherwise it would just put her in a spot. Oh, you don’t know… Yuu continues to visit Fuuka’s house every day but is told she isn’t around. Geez, if mom didn’t know what Fuuka wanted, she would have called the police for stalking. And then mom went ahead and watched the video of their first live gig. She talks to Fuuka and hopes she would smile like that again. So the band is waiting at the place, worried Fuuka may not actually turn up. Leave it to super Yuu to promise to bring her. But she’s not at home. So how to find her? Ah, that familiar wind that blew up her skirt gave him an idea. WTF?! She’s at the school rooftop and she is surprised to see him. He tells her to come back because the band can’t do without her. She can’t come back thinking everyone is mad at her. Yuu is finding it hard to say the right words so he screws all that and says, “I love you!”. A domino effect causing Fuuka to also screw all that and reply that she loves him too. No time to hug, run down to the place now! Just right before it starts, eh? Immediately Fuuka apologizes for her selfishness but you know how everybody is going to forgive her. So they rock the place with their 2 original songs. Yeah, even Hedgehogs gave their approval. The subsequent montage shows Yuu and Fuuka dating. Koyuki now doing some mascot gig. The Fallen Moon continues to practice together. Fuuka apologizes to Akira as he turns his offer down. But wait. He has good news. He has a proposal to have The Fallen Moon debut! Hedgehogs reunite and start playing again. Yuu makes a wish at the shrine to always be with Fuuka forever. At first she is embarrassed but her feelings are also the same.

What The Fuuka?!
Good riddance. Thank goodness it lasted for only a dozen episodes because the more the series progresses, the more WTF starts filling up my mind. I just couldn’t take it anymore. The characters and the story. The music is rather okay and although not my cup of tea but generally the characters and the plot are the ones that making me go WTF. As each passing episode, the more WTF I am starting to sigh. So good riddance. Thank goodness it is over.

There are quite a few moments in the series that makes you want to go “What the f*ck?!”. The first one as early as Fuuka quickly becoming friends with Yuu. This guy unfortunately started off as somebody who is definitely bad in her books. Wrong place, wrong time. We know that they will eventually make up but we didn’t think it was this fast! And this is already by the end of the first episode! It was bad enough Fuuka greatly assumed Yuu was a pervert taking upskirt pictures of her in public. How do you fix that all up? Return her CD, talk about the same music passion and go out for a movie together. Voila! Perversion totally forgotten! Oh yeah. They’re really rushing it here, aren’t they?

The next major WTF moment is when Fuuka forms her own band. I don’t know if in real life bands are formed this freaking fast because the most mind boggling one is when Nachi who has been constantly bugging Fuuka to join the track club suddenly finds himself as the one abandoning his dream to join Fuuka’s ‘unstable’ band. Doesn’t that scream WTF to you? If that wasn’t enough, how about Yuu who seems to be a prodigy and genius when it comes to handling the bass. This guy has no music experience before, let alone play a music instrument. The moment he picks it up and a few lessons from a few experts and now he is a talented bass player! Okay, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that he has some hidden talent that was just awakened. But seriously, this guy is now playing like a pro and can even subsequently write songs. Wow. They make it sound so easy.

Another WTF moment and personal gripe of mine is when Fallen Moon played their first gig during the school’s festival. What I never liked about this idol business is how some fans are just so obsessed with a particular idol that the poor idol has to be strictly fit into their angelic image. Or else they start becoming a mob and justify it using violence. It just made me mad seeing these so called hardcore fans of Koyuki trying to hurt Yuu just because he is someone close to Koyuki. But the WTF moment isn’t really this part. It is the part where Fuuka blows away everyone with her incredible voice. It just feels so unrealistic. Only in TV shows where you can blow away and change one’s mind for the better with your awesome voice. And you know what? These mobsters were Koyuki fans! Now after hearing Fuuka’s voice, they somewhat become rationale and calm the f*ck down. WTF is this. Not so 100% Koyuki fan now, are they? Don’t give me this crap that they want to give Fuuka a chance too because I can imagine if wind gets out this Yuu dude is in a love triangle between these 2 babes, all hell will break loose, I tell you! Oh, I can already imagine it…

The final and biggest WTF moment as well as the biggest slap in the face comes when Fuuka decides to go solo. How big a WTF and knee jerk reaction could this get? At first I predicted she would go solo. But the way she told Akira with that absolute smile and confidence she believed in her band and would never ever, and I mean really never ever leave them for anything, made me believe in her. She was truly genuine staying with her band at least for a while. And then comes this freaking shocker. She wants to go solo! WTFFFFFFFFF????????!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, I could hear those cliché (nuclear) bomb explosions going off in the background right now. You lied to us, Fuuka! You lied to your bandmates! All because of this little thing called love. So to cover up this WTF moment that some fans could see coming from miles away, they make Akira voice out this truth. It is so f*cking obvious. There is your cheesy romance drama factor.

Speaking of which, yeah the romance drama is pretty cheesy and predictable. It feels like to force some melodrama just for the sake of it. Because otherwise, what the heck are you watching this series for? I know I’ve seen quite a few of such scenes in anime where it is obvious the protagonists in such first time meeting will eventually fall in love amidst the WTF situations. The only thing ‘good’ coming out from all this romance is that in the end, our main guy has the balls to choose and end up with a girl instead of leaving it status quo and hence an unresolved harem. And yes, it didn’t really surprise me that this famous idol is childhood friends with Yuu and has a crush on him. It was so painfully obvious. And it had to drag on because the vocalist of a certain band wasn’t being honest with her feelings until it is too late and caused some problems.

Which leads me to another WTF moment albeit a bit lesser. Because when Fuuka (temporarily) left the band, it seems inevitable they would break up. We see how the lives of other bandmates ‘ruined’ just because of one vocalist leaving. I have already stated how Nachi went back to track, Sara joined another group and Makoto being the worst affected is now somewhat an embarrassment because he goes back to his safe space provided by daddy. Oh yeah. It’s like Fuuka who is the one running the show. Can’t find another replacement, you say? Sometimes I believe too that there is that only person that makes a band whole so I’ll give them that. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. That is how I feel when Yuu gathers the band back again to practice. This is the WTF moment I’m talking about because again they have to abandon what they are already starting into and going back into the band again! I can only imagine Makoto’s father being displeased again. What inconsistency. At first he was going against his wishes. Then he comes back. Now he breaks off again. Make up your mind! Same with Nachi who was already making some decent progress in his track club and Sara the same in her new band. Oh yeah. Why not leave all that just for some nostalgia. I mean, it’s not too late to turn back, right?

This might be a trivial WTF but Fuuka being able to perform Yuu’s song at first go even more so her first performance after she reunited with her band is really mind blowing. Sure she might have heard the song before but without practice how could she sound this perfect? Yeah, Fuuka’s a genius, right?

The characters feel weak and even more so when the melodrama focuses on the romance insecurities between Yuu, Fuuka and Koyuki. I mean, really? For Fuuka, the guy she first met whom she suspected of taking pictures of her pantsu, she now slowly falls in love with him? In today’s world, he’d be slapped with lawsuits and jail time. If the trio are already bad enough, the other bandmates fare much worse. Nachi is like the one who has the most angst because somebody needs to be. Sara is the quiet girl whom could have remained in the background for the rest of the series and we won’t even care. Makoto is wasted because of his good looks at least he could have send yaoi shiver down our spine. His past and family situation are put together so quickly like glue that you would think something just thought of it a few minutes before they produced the series and slapped it all together. And when a family that consists of a boy and many sisters, why must the sisters be the one teasing their brother about this and that? Is it so much fun? Maybe. Girl power. Yeah, am I seeing a pattern of such family households? Like that guy in Working!!, so to speak. Hedgehogs are primarily redundant. Even if they don’t reunite it doesn’t really matter. It is just to show how a bunch of kids sang a few songs and gave them the burning passion to come back. WTF.

There is a bit of fanservice in this anime. Most likely to hide the bad story and character development so as to distract pervy fan boys from shelling out total criticism. What do you expect when you start off in your first scene and pantsu showing one? A guy like Yuu have the rest of his siblings as sisters, why must one of them be the one who likes to walk naked around the house? And they really pushed it when Koyuki became desperate for Yuu’s attention when she starts stripping herself only to be rejected. I think we’re all shaking our head and our mouths agape as wide as the Milky Way.

Voice acting isn’t anything much to shout about. Me recognizing the obvious ones like Saori Hayami as Koyuki, Daisuke Ono as Yahagi and Mikako Komatsu as Sara. Oh wait. Is that Youko Hikasa as Tomomi? Lynn (Nozomi in Keijo) is pretty okay as the titular character Fuuka as she has a fitting voice that makes her suitable to sing rock band type of music. Though, I find when she sings, she sounds a bit like a different person. The rest of the other cast are Yuusuke Kobayashi as Yuu (Subaru in Re: Zero Kara Hajimaru Isekai Seikatsu), Souma Saitou as Makoto (Kain in Kyoukai No Rinne), Kazuyuki Okitsu as Nachi (Nagare in K), Daisuke Hirakawa as Hisashi (Makoto in School Days), Kaede Hondo as Chitose (Kazane in Keijo), Mikako Takahashi as Mayu (Ayumu in Hayate No Gotoku) and Saori Oonishi as Hibiki (Miyuki in Shomin Sample).

If you like such rock band music, you’ll find the opening theme, Climber’s High (which is also the series’ highlight song) by Manami Numakura as well as the ending theme, Watashi No Sekai by Megumi Nakajima to be to your liking. It didn’t really resonate with me so I’m not particularly crazy to go hear it again. I prefer very much the special ending song for episode 6 by Koyuki, Yukihanabi. It is a slow and lovely ballad featuring only Saori Hayami’s voice and piano for accompaniment. There are a few other insert songs too but not really to my liking since it is rock based. But if you are hoping that this series would have dozens of amazing rock soundtrack, don’t get your hopes high up. Because they keep featuring Climber’s High so the other songs aren’t quite prominent. Sure, there is the original soundtrack for the series out in stores containing over 30 tracks but most of them are just BGMs which again didn’t really resonate with me.

Art and animation style is pretty standard. Standard and conventional Japanese anime style character designs, bishoujo and bishonen look for our characters to perhaps distract you from the generic plot line and WTF moments. Hey, as long as you look good, it can’t be all that bad, right? Or would it? This sequel is animated by Diomedea who did Shiryaku! Ika Musume, Mayoiga, Akuma No Riddle, Handa-kun, Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu and Kuusen Madoushi Kouhosei No Kyokan compared to Studio Comet who did Suzuka in the last decade. The only thing that bugs me is Fuuka’s mom who still looks so f*cking young like as though she has not aged ever since he Suzuka anime ended. Really. Not even a hint that she has grown the slightest bit old. WTF. It’s like the time skip forgot to age her.

Overall, this series need not have associated itself with the original Suzuka series despite it has nothing to do with it except being the child of that series. Unfortunately it was adapted from the manga from the same author who created Suzuka so it isn’t a sh*tty original anime adaptation. Poor cheesy romance drama, weak characters as well as too many WTF moments (noticed how many WTFs I have been using in this blog and could have been more if I did not restrain myself) made this anime forgettable but at the same time remembered for all the wrong reasons. It also gives the wrong impression that for an enthusiast in music despite being a rookie, writing songs is easy (and a hit in this case) but it is falling in love which is hard and pain in the ass. Makes me want to run away from this insanity. Now I know why Tama and Nico went missing for a few years. They should have never returned…

Hibike! Euphonium S2

June 10, 2017

Okay. The much anticipated second season is here, Hibike! Euphonium S2. Because K-ON! still didn’t get a third season. Haha! But seriously. After all, it would be a waste not to since our girls have ended the first season by qualifying for the Nationals. Hence, more excuse for more Gayphonium drama and the likes. Just kidding. But really, seriously. My last blog I ‘complained’ that a single cour was too short to flesh out everything and now that I have gotten my wish, I better make better conclusive reviews about the overall series.

Episode 1
I didn’t know this show can also get an hour long first episode. We start off with our Kitauji band taking a group photo after their historic achievement to the next round as Kyoto’s representative. As part of their effort to polish up their skills, Taki has rented a nearby facility for a training camp. Team Monaka gives a morale booster with their congratulatory play. Why is Haruka crying? Tears of joy? Some Kumiko x Reina moments as they walk home but nothing lesbian of yet. Although Kumiko’s mom congratulates her, there is no word from Mamiko at all. Maybe she doesn’t care anymore. When Kumiko and Reina head to the clubroom to practice, oboist Mizore Yoroizuka is already there practising. So they go practice at the rooftop. Yuuko and Kaori pass by. This prompts Reina to remember Yuuko and Mizore are close and often talked a lot with each other. While Kumiko is cleaning her euph, Nozomi Kasaki asks if Asuka is around. However Natsuki warns her not to pull this stunt again or else she’ll get in trouble. Taki introduces a friend who will help him instruct them during the training camp, the flamboyant Masahiro Hashimoto. He is already starting off as a funny guy as he is teasing Taki as being popular with girls. Because Kumiko is thinking too much about Nozomi’s case, she couldn’t concentrate and Asuka bugs her to tell what’s on her mind. Luckily Natsuki is here and wants to talk with her. She brings Nozomi who expresses she wants to join the club again. There is a flashback of the Minami Middle School getting second place in the competition. I guess it was so devastating that everybody cried. Yeah, it’s no laughing matter. Mizore, Natsuki and Nozomi were from there. Asuka tells Nozomi to get Haruka’s approval. She is the club president. However Nozomi remains stubborn and wants her approval. Asuka gets serious to tell them and leave. It is getting a bit awkward so practice ends, Asuka tells the first years to leave while the others discuss about it. Of course they eavesdrop as they wonder why Asuka isn’t giving a clear answer as Nozomi isn’t trying to join in the competition. Then they hear Asuka’s honest opinion. She doesn’t agree with Nozomi rejoining. End of story.

Kumiko hear part of the rest of the story from Haruka. Remember that incident last year where many members quit? Most of them were from Minami. Kumiko and her pals discuss about this and how perhaps the scars are still there. Next day Kumiko and Reina go to practice again but Mizore is there first again. This time Yuuko is with her. Because Kumiko’s flustering is so obvious, Yuuko whispers to Mizore about the club drama: Nozomi is trying to rejoin the club. After practice, Kumiko finds Mizore being sick. It seems she is sick of hearing the sound of a flutist nearby. The one playing it is Nozomi. Kumiko and Reina dress up in their yukata for the Agata Festival. Kumiko is not pleased her mom tied it so tight because this means she cannot eat a lot! At the festival they bump into Shuuichi. Reina teases him to come along with them. He gets embarrassed and goes away. Reina notices Kumiko didn’t even react to this. Totally friend zone? They discuss about Nozomi rejoining and Reina believes Asuka is making the right choice because personally she too doesn’t want a member who quit to come back. Quitting is like running away. Say if she rejoins and trashes around, that would affect everyone preparing for the competition. Kumiko wonders if they win the Nationals, can they be special? They don’t do that, they can’t become special. Kumiko x Reina moments of holding hands while watching the fireworks.

Episode 2
First fanservice episode? Because it is the pool episode with our favourite girls in swimsuits! Somehow most of them have this idea to be there on the same day. Kumiko spots Nozomi and they talk about the recent events. Kumiko asks about the special approval needed from Asuka. When Nozomi and her friends argued with the third years and quit en masse, Asuka was trying to persuade her to stay. Now she regrets it and hopes to rejoin and do something that would help the band. Nozomi didn’t talk to Mizore about it. Considering she is the only oboist, it would be devastating to the band if she quits. As for her reasons for rejoining, she likes concert bands and wanted to practice hard to compete against the best bands. She tried to do something but was ignored so she gave up and quit. Now this year they are in the competition but Asuka told her she wouldn’t add anything even if she rejoined. With Nozomi tearing up, Kumiko feels bad and promises her she will ask Asuka. You shouldn’t make promises you can’t keep because now Kumiko is kicking herself how the heck she is going to do that. Before the training camp begins, Taki introduces the beautiful Satomi Niiyama to help instruct them. Instantly everybody is thinking if they’re dating. You can tell from Reina’s eyes that she’s dead. Earth to Reina… Kumiko hears Natsuki’s side of the story about her involvement in last year’s incident. She is trying to ease that guilt by helping Nozomi back in the club but as you can see it’s not working. Kumiko must be really having a lot to think from putting together the pieces of everybody’s opinions. Of course she has to go talk to Mizore herself. She says she hates competitions and wishes they don’t exist. So why is she still in the band? Flashback reveals a promise made by Nozomi to get first place when they’re in high school. Kumiko finally sums up her courage to talk to Asuka.

Episode 3
Sorry Asuka, Kumiko isn’t going to talk to you for relationship advice. But Kumiko makes an appointment to talk to her seriously after dinner. Not getting cold feet now, is she? During practice, Hashimoto points out at Mizore’s boring oboe play. It’s like she is a robot. Since she says she wants to play like the crescent moon, then she should aim to play like that. Huh? How does a crescent moon sound anyway? Kumiko is already thinking about the approaching talk time with Asuka and now she has to hear Reina thinking about asking Taki directly about his relationship with Niiyama. Okay, you go girl. So the talk time is here. Asuka warns her about changing her mind now because after she hears this, it will haunt her. Already one foot in the grave so might as well… The truth is, Mizore hates Nozomi and can’t stand see her face. She has some sort of trauma. Nozomi doesn’t know about this. Therefore Asuka can’t really tell Nozomi this in her face, right? As Mizore is the only oboist, if she quits, the competition will be the least of their worries. The question now is if Kumiko is going to tell all this to Nozomi. Can’t, right? It’s already haunting her, right? Asuka suggests to tell her she didn’t say anything and pretend not to hear any of this. During the fireworks, Hashimoto talks to Kumiko and can tell Reina has a crush on Taki. He discloses more than he should when he mentions Taki’s wife passed away 5 years ago. Oops. Now Kumiko is getting more curious. When his wife died, Taki became distant from music so when he joined Kitauji, he couldn’t be happier. Now Kumiko can’t tell Reina about Taki’s past. Man, she’s already accumulating secrets. Kumiko can’t sleep that night and sees Yuuko facing off with Kaori. When that ended, Yuuko knew she was spying all along and they talk. Yuuko too considered quitting during the incident but Kaori talked her out of it. Then they talk about the need for competitions and everything is judged and ranked on. Yuuko sometimes think it shouldn’t necessary because you are not judged based on putting in effort but as being inferior. She didn’t like how they played casually last year with many third years being lazy and the first years working hard and aiming high. Because if they’re going to play in the Nationals, shouldn’t they be playing their best? And if they’re playing, shouldn’t they be aiming for gold? Kumiko returns to bed realizing she has stayed up too long. But Reina is still awake and they talk about competitions, bad players being sour grapes and in the end the only thing to do is to get good till Reina falls asleep.

Episode 4
The order of the bands playing is released. Kitauji will be the 16th out of 23 bands. A big relief? But why are they afraid of this good school Myoujou Technical just before them? All they need to do is play like they always had, right? Niiyama talks to Mizore about her stiff playing style despite her incredible talent. Kumiko can’t concentrate as she still can’t bring herself to talk to Nozomi. Speaking of the devil, here she is. She will stop coming here until after the competition. But she would like to see Mizore first. It took a while before Kumiko realizes the apocalypse it would bring. She rushes to stop her but luckily Nozomi bumped into Haruka and she changed her mind. But the inevitable soon happened. Nozomi sees Mizore practising alone and goes to say hi. Instantly Mizore becomes sick and runs away! Yuuko is upset at all this. So she has Kumiko go find Mizore because knowing her, she will have problems meeting people she isn’t used to. Kumiko finds her cowering behind a desk and asks if she hates Nozomi. On the contrary, she views her as a special friend and is just afraid to meet her. Mizore was always alone and Nozomi somewhat became her first friend and joined the club together. She was happy. However she discovered she was only one of her many friends. So? Actually Nozomi quit the club without even her knowing! She didn’t even bother to tell her. Therefore she is still playing to oboe as it is the only thing connected to Nozomi. Time for Yuuko to take over. What is Yuuko to her then? Somebody who pitied her? Well, that’s an insult. After lecturing her about their recent win and such, Yuuko just wants her to smile. Now for Nozomi to take over. She explains why she never told her about quitting. She was working so hard that she couldn’t bring her grumpy self to quit together. It just doesn’t feel right. Nozomi wants to hear her beautiful oboe again as the duo reconcile. Now that the drama is over, Asuka reveals to Kumiko she wanted to keep this after the competition. She knows Mizore is fixated on Nozomi as she was afraid of being alone. Yuuko was just the insurance. Kumiko finds it hard to tell what is going on in Asuka’s mind but takes heart that Reina is still Reina. Because if she’s going to play, it’s definitely for herself.

Episode 5
Everyone is nervous since tomorrow is the big day. Taki can only do so much to calm their nerves because the rest is up to them. Making them even more nervous is Myoujou who is doing so much better. Reina decides to play for Kumiko. But she cheekily shoots back shouldn’t she be playing for Taki? She doesn’t it to turn into some stuffy overheated ballad. Then when it is Kitauji’s turn to hit the stage, we hear the full length of their piece (it lasted almost 7 minutes!). The results are announced and Kitauji is one of the few schools that won the gold. However there is a final hurdle to overcome because only 3 schools will represent the Kansai region in the Nationals. Osaka and Myoujou have already snagged 2 of the spots. Wow. Kitauji has never been so religious praying so hard. And then their name is mentioned. Now let all those tears of joy flow. Mizore answers Kumiko’s question that she now loves competition.

Episode 6
Cultural festival at Kitauji. Kumiko’s maid café isn’t attracting any customers. So what the hell is this weird pose? Thankfully Reina becomes their first customer. Later they go around together. Mizore’s class is also doing another maid café. There’s a café with cats. Toy cats. Asuka’s class is doing some weird fortune telling thingy. They see Taki being swarmed with girls. Hashimoto talks to Kumiko and knows she hasn’t tell Reina about Taki’s case. Kumiko enters the haunted house alone and who is there? Shuuichi. They aren’t thrilled to see each other till the lights go out. Kumiko can’t separate from him since she isn’t good with darkness. Till they get spooked the daylights out from Reina playing the ghost. Yeah, her class is doing a haunted house. So this gives Reina a chance to tease her though Kumiko says it is just coincidence they were there. But there seems to be trouble in Kumiko’s home. Mamiko returns and tells her parents she wants to quit college. She doesn’t want to go anymore. Of course Kumiko has something to say because it was big sister who told her not to waste time on club activities and to go study and now she herself is going to quit? None of your business, apparently. Mamiko then goes out shopping. In this storm? Kumiko also decides to go walking to take her mind off things. In this storm? She sees Taki at a florist. They talk over things and when she sees his ring on his finger, she panics. She wants to leave but the wind blows away her umbrella. Taki sends her home as he tells her he knows Hashimoto told her about his late wife. Because he apologized to him for letting it slip. He confirms the person in the photo is his wife. She and Hashimoto were students of Kitauji and also in this club. His father was the conductor. Although they made it to the Nationals, they never won gold. When she became sick, she wanted to become a teacher to lead her alma mater to gold. Kumiko understands that is all Taki can say to her because he doesn’t want to burden his students with his personal issues. Next day as Kumiko head to school with motivation to do better, she learns that the flowers Taki bought symbolizes remembrance.

Episode 7
Kumiko hears a commotion from the teacher’s room. It seems Asuka’s mom is arguing with Taki to accept her daughter’s resignation from the club because of the exams and all. However he will not entertain any of it unless Asuka wills it. Mom argues she raises her daughter all by herself and thus she gets to decide her future. Taki will not give in and instead tells her to support her own daughter. When mom tells Asuka to tell Taki she is quitting, Asuka won’t. Mom undergoes nervous breakdown and slaps her! She thinks she is trying to get back at her. But then she realizes her own fault and starts apologizing. Asuka takes her leave from today’s club’s activities. The news spread fast and this shakes up everyone in the club. Haruka heard that Asuka’s mom went directly to the vice principal to accept the resignation and talks to Asuka about it. She doesn’t want this to turn into a ruckus and wants the club to focus on their performance. After that, Asuka never showed up for practice. Obviously the band becomes obviously sloppy and Taki tells them when asked that nothing has happened. He tells them off if they intend to play like this whenever they hear such rumours. This is when Haruka gives her speech to the rest. It isn’t that Asuka is special and reliable. They make her seem so. She is like everyone else with weaknesses but just that she doesn’t show it. Yuuko scoffs her for talking like that because she already knows well that everyone is 100% with her. The band is to do an open performance to hone some experience. They are overwhelmed by the presence of other better teams. Then Asuka pops up and everyone is happy. They get their motivation back and Haruka especially hopes she can back her up as she has accepted Taki’s suggestion to play the solo of the baritone saxophone. Needless to say, they kick ass with Haruka being such a badass with her saxophone play.

Episode 8
Real drama begins at Kumiko’s home. Mamiko is adamant she wants to quit college although she has a year left till graduation. Of all times, why does she want to become a beautician? Mamiko blames her parents she was trying to put up with them but now she can’t take it with them. Father says she should have said so before getting herself into college had she felt so strongly about it. He admits they might have put pressure on her but it is she who decided. If she is still bent on quitting, she will leave this house and find her own way to fund her tuition herself. End of discussion. Kumiko couldn’t say anything. She felt odd when Mamiko said she didn’t want to give up the trombone in the first place. Asuka did turn up to practice but Kumiko still felt uneasy so she had to ask her if she was really quitting. She won’t tell and instead invites her to her house. But after that, Asuka never showed up. And the band continues to sound gloomy during practice. More drama because Kumiko catches a cold and is told to go home to rest before she spreads it. Along the way, she bumps into Aoi who is also getting by in her exams. They talk about Asuka and Aoi thinks she is acting so because she feels one has to be an idiot to have issues with people. Kumiko doesn’t believe that one bit. Aoi is relieved because this means Asuka is human too. As Kumiko sleeps in bed, she remembers when she first joined her first band. She wanted to play the trombone like Mamiko but the teacher seeing that there are too many kids taking up the instrument, suggested her the euph. When she wakes up, Reina is by her side. She’s visiting. She brought a euph CD for her to hear. Shortly, Mamiko barges in to shut it because she hates to hear it. That is when Kumiko blows her top telling her off it is too late to say she wants to continue now. Dad and mom are paying for her tuition so she can go to school so don’t just easily say she is putting up with it. Mamiko tells her to shut up as he doesn’t understand how she feels. Reina, how do you feel witnessing Kumiko’s family drama for the first time? Mamiko makes her way out and meets Shuuichi who is just coming in to visit. He invites her to come hear them play once because they were really good at the preliminaries that they could hardly believe it themselves. But he hopes she would come to hear Kumiko play because she once said she would become good like her. Mamiko returns to ask Kumiko for the CD of her performance. Next day, Kumiko is better and returns to practice. Taki makes an announcement that if Asuka doesn’t return by the end of the week, he will have Natsuki replace her for the Nationals.

Episode 9
Natsuki talks to Kumiko about replacing Asuka and she is quite worried about it. This makes Kumiko feel equally depressed. With Asuka still not turning up for practice, Natsuki talks to Kumiko again about their next ‘operation’ to bring Asuka back. She knows Kumiko will have a study session with Asuka next week. So bring this snack to appease her mom? If this really worked… But seriously if you think about it, why did Asuka ask Kumiko of all people? Reina and Kumiko hand back the room key to Taki and see him sleeping at his desk. Reina is happy and almost losing her balance just doing this bid. While Taki advises Kumiko to guide Natsuki, Reina notices a picture of Taki and his late wife. So the study session is here. It took a while before Asuka shows her a beginner euph book written by Masakazu Shindo. He was once her dad. Let the shock sink in. We know Kumiko has lots of questions begging to be answered so Asuka starts. Her parents divorced when she was young so she hardly remembers him. Also, mom wanted to keep her away from him at all costs. She thinks her mom’s crazy character was the reason he left her. You saw what happened at the teacher’s room, right? Asuka doesn’t hate her, though. Kumiko thinks she is lying but Asuka accepts her fate being born to her and that she solely raised her. She continues that out of the blue, she received a euph present from him and started getting interested in it. Mom didn’t like it but closed an eye until lately. There was a promise that she would quit the club if her grades slipped. Asuka shows her the Nationals’ website that has Shindo’s name as one of the judges. This was why mom wanted her to quit so badly. Everything that Asuka has said and acted was based on this hope that she wanted to go to the Nationals to let her father hear her sound. Kumiko blurts out she loves the way Asuka plays her euph and wants to listen to it forever. Asuka obliges her and plays her euph. Kumiko notices her smile was different than any smile she had seen her give before.

Episode 10
Kumiko can’t get Asuka’s euph play out of her mind. So her friends want to know if Asuka will come back or not. Kumiko isn’t really sure either… One morning Kumiko finds Mamiko trying to cook miso soup but burns the pot! The sisters talk. The view the other as having better privilege and treated better. Mamiko has decided to stop whining and pretending. All her regrets and failures, she’ll own it all up and live her own life. She has decided to quit college so she is going to move out and live by herself. She’ll be a little sad, though. A little. She heard Kumiko’s play and is impressed. She’ll come hear her play at the Nationals. On her way to school, Kumiko thinks back of all the great times with her sister till she couldn’t hold in her tears anymore. Then she overhears Kaori and Haruka pleading to Asuka again to come back. The latter still being stubborn since Taki has already chose Natsuki to replace her. But Kumiko can tell she is lying because she knows she wants to play so much at the Nationals. So when she goes to seriously talk to Asuka, and no it is not about her confessing her love, Asuka still says no. She thinks this is retribution since she didn’t want Nozomi back and thus she shouldn’t be treated any different. Kumiko is very certain that at least she herself wants Asuka to play at the Nationals. However Asuka fires back that Kumiko has always only been watching like in Nozomi’s case and did nothing. Afraid of hurting others and being hurt. So do you think anyone would tell somebody like that what they really think? Asuka feels it is best for her to fade away. After the Nationals, the seniors will just retire anyway. This is when Kumiko snaps back. In her outburst, she doesn’t care about all that. All she wants is to play with Asuka in the Nationals. To hear her euph. Kumiko might be a child but what makes Asuka an adult? She is just a high schooler like the rest. Everyone is waiting for her. Wow. Have you ever seen Kumiko with an unsightly sobbing face? Asuka is also brought to tears but she won’t let her see it. Because the teacher calls her, an excuse for Asuka to end the conversation. When the next band practice is about to start, many get a shocking surprise that Asuka has returned! Because she was placed in the top 30 of the nationwide mock exams, she used it as leverage against her mom to rejoin the band. Natsuki couldn’t be happier. Kumiko couldn’t be even happier. But Reina not looking happy seeing how close they are?

Episode 11
Kumiko must have realized Reina has been avoiding her. So Midori’s brilliant plan to have them walk home together flop greatly. Maybe next time. So the next time Kumiko meets up with Reina on a night date, she wonders about Reina being distant. She didn’t say or do anything. Yup, that is precisely why. After giving out a long scream, Reina asks why Kumiko didn’t tell her about Taki’s late wife. Despite knowing it is to prevent her from being hurt, she would still want her to tell her. Man, this is confusing. This made Reina realize how weak she is. That is why she wants to talk about this right now and then forget about it since the Nationals is so close. Flashback shows Reina’s friends never really understood her. So when she talked to Taki about this and he gave some advice, the rest is history. Also, they share the same passion in music so that greatly helps. Reina can’t concentrate in practice and it is obvious. So late one night when they go return the clubroom key, Reina asks Taki directly about his wife. He describes her as energetic, laughs a lot and loves to move about. As for why he became the band’s advisory teacher, he isn’t sure but if he moped around for too long, his father would continue to scold him. Reina can tell he loved his wife very much. He became an advisor for her sake and wants to win the gold for her sake. He married her after all. After that, Reina never brought this up again. It’s like she tossed away her weak self and is now a much stronger girl than before. On another day, Reina brings Kumiko to pay their respects at Taki’s late wife’s grave. Reina got the info from Niiyama. Reina says to the deceased beloved that she wants to win gold. She wants to grant Taki’s wish.

Episode 12
The night before the competition, Kumiko couldn’t sleep and likewise Shuuichi. They’re both worried but it is rather after the competition ends. Shuuichi then gives Kumiko her birthday present. He didn’t get a chance to give it to her earlier so the wrapping is very much warped. It’s a flower hairpin. He asks if she is worried about Mamiko because they were once close and she seems depressed ever since she left. Kumiko just thanks him. On the day of the competition, Aoi and Mamiko arrive to watch. Haruka and Asuka give their motivation speech before they hit the stage. Too bad we won’t get to hear it this time so we skip to Kitauji bumming around till the results come out. Before the results are announced, the conductors are individually given awards. Kitauji forgot about this and didn’t plan for it. Because other schools are cheering their conductors when their name is mentioned. So it is an awkward silence when Taki’s name is called. But Reina suddenly gets up and confesses she loves him! She feels embarrassed soon after but Kumiko assures her nobody views it as a confession as they give the thumbs up for her good cover. And now for the results… Kitauji wins… Bronze! No wonder it’s so hard for them to smile during the group photo. Later Taki comes to thank Reina for her support. This makes her really confess that she loves him, surprising many. But he replies this makes him glad to be a teacher. Rejected? Well, hold in there. Afterwards Taki speaks to Asuka and Kumiko. He bumped into Shindo earlier on and he had a message for the euph section. He is glad they kept it all this time and sounded beautiful. Asuka couldn’t be happier. Haruka makes her retirement speech for the seniors. But since she starts sobbing, Asuka had to finish it and hopes next year they can take the gold. Kumiko spots her sister passing by and immediately takes off to catch her. She confesses she loves the euph and concert bands because of her. She loves her big sister. The feeling is mutual too.

Episode 13
With the seniors retiring, Yuuko is nominated as the president while Natsuki becomes the vice president. Yuuko didn’t see this coming and is surprised by this. Still can’t get along? Not sure why Kumiko is worried thinking about Shuuichi would tell the whole world he gave her the hairpin. They are spotted by Asuka who starts teasing Kumiko and all. As Kumiko continue to practice, the others notice she is starting to sound more and more like Asuka. A graduation party is held for the seniors. They play their final piece (don’t really remember seeing some of those faces…) and of course the juniors also play their parting piece for them, which is that song they played during the preliminaries. An excuse to show last season clips. At the end of it, as expected Haruka cries. After the graduation ceremony, lots of goodbyes, lots of hugs, lots of tears. But Kumiko is desperately trying to find Asuka. When she does, she lets her know her true feelings. At first she hated her because she can never read what is on her mind. She wouldn’t show her true feelings and seemingly looked down on others. But now Kumiko feels lonely. She wants to hear her euph again. She wants to play like her. She loves her! I know I should be surprised but somehow I saw this coming a little while ago. Asuka gives Kumiko her manuscript as she doesn’t need it anymore. Kumiko refuses to say goodbye. Okay. Then don’t. See you then. Kumiko opens the manuscript to learn the name of the song that Asuka first played for her: Hibike! Euphonium.

Specials

More short hilarious goodness from the cast. I also dubbed this as the “What the heck is this…” specials because at the end of every special, somebody will always have to say that punch line… An indication of the weirdness level of the specials. What the heck…

Special 1
Natsuki trying to teach Riko how to kiss?! Of course Riko can’t do it and pushes her away. I thought it was an acting scene since Yuuko sounded like a director but actually this is for real. Those ‘experts’ thought they can lighten up the mood so Riko can prepare herself to kiss Gotou. Riko tries to use the opportunity of them not getting along to escape but she can’t slip away from their grasp. It seems they are only in perfect sync on the topic of making Riko kiss. They won’t let Riko go home as they start looking for Gotou. Then they see him trying to kiss a girl and punch him in the gut! Double punch combo! Actually he was only trying to take some dirt from her hair and that girl is his sister. Oops…

Special 2
Our main quartet are at the pool and in their swimsuits. It seems Midori can’t take her eyes off Reina’s boobs. Whatever excuses she makes it seems they always go back to being boobs related. Whether falsely blaming Kumiko as boob obsessed or the reason she wants to become friends with Reina is for her boobs, wow, you never hear this side of Midori before. So once they are done with the boobs talk and decide to go swimming, Asuka passes by. The perfect mother of all boobs! Midori instantly starts following her. In the end it has always got to be about boobs.

Special 3
MAID OUTFIT!!!!! Midori even loves them! However the outfit is too baggy for her although she remains positive that she will grow into a nice body like Reina. Kumiko isn’t so sure but Midori maintains her positivism. Can’t give up now, can you? Reina then comes in because she heard Kumiko was going to dress up as a maid, she had to come over. See! Even Reina loves maids! Midori begs Reina to wear it. With those puppy dog eyes, Reina relents. Yeah, her one and only wish in Midori’s life comes true. If you don’t use that wish now, when will you use it? She’s got a point? OMG! REINA IS SO STUNNING IN A MAID OUTFIT!!!!!! Ultimate compliments from Midori. About her boobs mostly. Midori then gives us permission to stare at her small boobs. Kumiko is lost for words…

Special 4
Natsuki and Yuuko are dressed in weird animal mascots during the cultural festival and are blaming each other for some dumb challenge against each other that started this crap. Looks like they’re trying to outdo and annoy the hell out of each other. The ultimate came when they take their fortune readings from Asuka to see who has the better fortune. I can see that this won’t end well… Because the duo continue to argue they will have the better fate and ignore Asuka, she got mad and gave them ‘divine punishment’. Hence that mascot suit and now doing sit-up challenges to see whose fault was it to begin with. I can see that this is going to be a lose-lose situation…

Special 5
Since permission is given to design their own costumes for the concert, Midori gets really passionate not to lose out. And so you see her come up with elaborated, exaggerated and just plain weird costumes just to stand out. Realizing that the costume would be better on a person who stands out, who else stands out more than them but Taki? So what is this Flying Taki thingy? Suddenly a great idea hits her. During concert day, she has Hazuki wear that tuba mascot suit. Hard to climb up the stairs. Tumbled down. Dead…

Special 6
Asuka, Kaori and Haruka are designing posters for the concert. Haruka shows hers but Asuka is not impressed and shoots it down, claiming it to be so plain. Haruka’s heart is so broken. It shatters even further when Asuka nit-picks about the details and her choices. It’s so demoralizing that Haruka wants to quit as president but Asuka isn’t moved. Kaori shows hers. Explosive? Asuka is as harsh but Kaori takes it lightly as a compliment, which isn’t. Time for Asuka to show if she can live up to expectations. Hmm… Looks decent. Authoritarian Asuka decides to go with hers. Haruka tries to protest how bland it is (trying to get back at her?) because it looks like the poster from last year. In fact it is! Asuka blames them for not drawing decent posters last year and the year before and hence the same poster that Asuka had drawn was always used. Is this why she is so mad? Then she just drops everything and lets them do whatever they want. So the final poster turns out to be a mix of Kaori and Haruka’s. Plainly explosive. Is this even a poster for a concert?

Special 7
During the training camp, Reina can’t sleep since she isn’t used to the pillow. So leave it to the rest to tell her ways on how to sleep. Hazuki just suddenly fall to sleep. Just like that. Midori tells her to count her favourite things. It looks more like her unfulfilled dreams with Taki. I don’t think she can sleep with all that excitement. Oh look, Midori is already fast asleep. Lastly, Kumiko remembers her grandma used to read her a picture storybook. So Reina narrates a twisted version of Momotarou (replace the folklore’s characters with them) but in the end it is Kumiko who fell asleep. Was it that boring? Must be the way she narrated… Let’s hope Reina can catch some sleep now.

The Sound Of Youth
Well… I wonder if calling this ending bittersweet would be appropriate. Sure, I did feel good at the end but it wasn’t that happy-happy feel good kind of feeling. Kitauji did their best, they didn’t win but won a respectable place, the seniors retire and the juniors now take over with some seats to fill in (read: recruitment). All in all, the second season does nicely to give the series a fitting ‘end’ but if I want to express my sentiments overall for this series, well uhm, just like last season, it isn’t that bad but I don’t find it superbly great either. Of course it is above average and mediocre and ironically despite the ‘hibike’ in its title, it didn’t really resonate inside my heart. Could it be that I am fresh from seeing too much crap animes? (Damn you butt spamming Keijo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Exclamation marks on purpose). Hey, at least it is satisfying.

So to talk about the character development, I wasn’t really hoping a much more detailed development for all the band members. Really. That would be freaking impossible if we are going to give each and every one of them their own issues and focused episode. Therefore in the end, I believe there are many band members whom I don’t even know or remember. So as far as this season is concerned, I suppose it is sufficient enough to bring out some drama with a new character like Mizore as well as recurring characters like Asuka. And yes, there is Kumiko’s big sister issue back home and the closure for the case of Taki’s mysterious wife. And somehow Kumiko is ‘involved’ in all of them.

Because of that, I feel that some of the main characters back in the first season didn’t really make an impact in the second season. Namely Hazuki and Midori. Heck, I just realized I didn’t even mention them in this blog of mine! Yeah, Midori was a little bit late. This shows how far and few their appearance, if not their relevance to this season. It is like they could have been done without and being relegated to those other unknown band members whom we will never care. Even Reina doesn’t seem to have much of an impact and thus lessening the Gayphonium expectations with Kumiko. More on this later. Even when she found out the truth about Taki’s wife, it just feels something more on the lines of ‘Oh, I see it’s like that. Okay. Time to get over it”. The end. That’s just it. I know it wouldn’t be right to see her forever mope about her one-sided love but that just brief resolve of this long standing issue of her unrequited love makes it less impactful and more of a side distraction.

Then there are other characters like Aoi who really didn’t come back and it’s like they had to show her a couple of times just to remind us she is still around although there is really no relevance and bearing whatsoever. Yeah, you may even forget who this Aoi girl is. The one who quitted the band last season to focus on her exams. Yeah. Like that mattered anymore. Then you got others like Haruka, Yuuko, Natsuki and Kaori who were supporting characters from last season to continue playing as such role this season. With the exception of Haruka, the rest had their drama last season so like Hazuki and Midori, they feel no longer ‘important’ this season as far as the plot is concerned. Oh, do you remember that Rikka school from last season in which Kumiko’s friend was part of? No? Don’t worry. Not important either. Despite some of these characters especially those in the band just making minor impacts, they might have contributed to everything in overall in small bits. As for those in focus, I think they did a reasonable job in fleshing out and resolving their case so it isn’t all that bad.

Now let’s move on to the all-important romance element. I had this faint hope that they would surprise us with Kumiko x Shuuichi but the few moments they had together were just trolling us. There is a reason why many nicknamed this series as Gayphonium because straight love isn’t exciting enough. Despite from last season we were given the impression that it could be Kumiko x Reina, however their time together feels lacking. Sure, there are some close moments together but it isn’t like they spam it to remind us that they are going to be the couple of the series. And when I started notice that there really isn’t much Kumiko x Reina and that they are starting to drift away, I started noticing halfway through the season that Kumiko is gliding more towards Asuka. It was getting a bit obvious with Kumiko starting to be more concerned with Asuka and the interaction between them or at least Kumiko’s reaction. So when the final episode confession came, I was both surprised and not because although I predicted this, I was also hoping it wasn’t true. Oh, I don’t know. Maybe I’m used to Kumiko x Reina?

So they trolled us with Kumiko x Reina and gave us the ultimate plot twist that Kumiko loves Asuka eventually? After all, like in my last blog I did say that Asuka is the best character in the series because of her energetic and playful behaviour. Is there is not a reason to like her? And just like the rest, she too has her own issues but chose to put on a cheery mask so as not to worry others. But I guess it didn’t fool Kumiko or either that too much teasing caused that girl to start ignoring Reina (who is more concerned with Taki anyway at this time) and start liking her. I mean, Kumiko and Asuka are in the same brass section as compared to Reina who is just like another world away. So this is your yuri romance of the season. Maybe this is where the true Gayphonium lies? Just kidding.

I also remember in my last blog I frequently compared this series with K-ON! Well, thank goodness I didn’t here or else I would be repeating myself. Especially the character designs. But K-ON! now feels like ages ago so at this point I can’t really remember most of the things. The art and animation also maintained their consistency so no complaints from me. Last season the mid-intermission showed members of each section. This season, they just show band members playing their instruments. Hardly anything exciting.

Last season’s True sang the lively opening theme. They also do the same this season as Soundscape has also the same exuberance and energy. It is the same case for the ending theme. Kitauji Quartet does Vivace this season but this time it feels less like a K-ON! rip-off. It is mainly like a jazzy Broadway piece and it isn’t too bad either.

Overall, this series isn’t really about concert band music but touches more about the youth aspects like friendship, struggle (respect to the band members for their pure commitment to come and practice all the time) and love as narrated from Kumiko’s point of view in an honest way that makes this reasonably enjoyable and different from other musically themed series. At this point in time. I am pretty sure that big concert bands aren’t going to be as popular as big pop idol groups (looking at you AKB48) but whether you are playing the lead role or a minor supporting role, being the centre or at the very edge, every role is important. The goal isn’t to win the gold or be the best but rather the effort put in the performance and the enjoyment it brings to others. Like as though the performance of a concert band mirroring life itself. Kitauji may not have won gold this season but this series certainly has won gold in the hearts of many viewers. Not fake gold, mind you. Well, I give them a silver at best :-).

After that cliff-hanger ending from last season, it feels like a blatant excuse to setup another season. And thus that is why we have a fourth season, Uta No Prince-sama Legend Star. Though, it took more than a year for this sequel to pop up on air. I suppose this is the most popular franchise of the hot guy idols genre so better way than to milk it even more and get girls squealing in delight with more hot guys on stage. Oh, who am I kidding? Me? I’m just here to find out the conclusion to their decisive battle although I have an idea who might be the winner who will take it all.

Episode 1
It has been a month since we left off from last season, the three-way fight for the SSS crown. Therefore a short flashback of the results that night. Due to Heavens’ surprise entry, they have been disqualified. Not sitting well with fans… The winner goes to… Quartet Night! But guess what? They decide to turn this opportunity down! WTF?! They feel all of them were equals and suggested another competition to finish this. Well I’ll be damned. It’s like Brexit and the US elections having another go. The next scenes are absolute nonsense as it supposed to introduce and showcase how important these guys are as they sing and try to steal Haruka’s heart in their extravagant and elaborated set pieces. From Heaven’s cosy limo before being hijacked by Quartet Night’s makeshift pub truck and then being whisked away by the royal ballroom of Starish’s aircraft. WTF???!!! Haruka beats The Bachelorette anytime! It is finally decided that another competition among the 3 boy bands will be held. But there’s one catch. Haruka will write a song for each of them! Holy crap! Not her again?! Can she play fair? Of course she can. Finally all the heartfelt thanks and gratitude from Starish to Haruka because without her they won’t be making it this far, blah, blah, blah.

Episode 2
Saotome and Raging announce a surprise duet project. A member of Starish and Heavens will be paired to sing together. Guess what again? Haruka will write the songs! OMFG! They’re really going to work her to the bone and milk her dry! Of course this has both sides wondering if they can even work with each other seeing the intense rivalry. Before Quartet Night is blown into oblivion, the reason why we need to have this episode mainly focused of them. Since it is Reiji’s idea for his comrades to live together, of course those grumpy and moody guys hate it. With Camus and Ranmaru constantly bickering and at each other’s throats for the silliest reasons, suddenly Reiji drops the bombshell. He can’t do it anymore. He quits! OMG. It’s real. Sh*t is hitting the fan. It is no joke when he never comes back and the rest starts thinking how important Reiji was as the glue that kept them together. Then after they get a lecture from Ryuuya how they won’t capture any hearts if they continue to be divided (because they should be putting all their efforts being in a group rather than an individual), this real shake up has them call a truce. They realize they aren’t bad singing together in a group. Miraculously all of them reunite again at the beach. They seek Reiji’s explanation and honestly he really thought he couldn’t continue anymore. He forced them to live together to bond and when it backfired, he panicked. With the group whole again, Reiji suggests going on a national tour. A blatant excuse for them to showcase their music.

Episode 3
The first duet project is on and it pits Tokiya with Eiji. Tokiya is blown away after hearing him sing. Like an angel! Aside that, Eiji is a pretty nice guy. He even invites Tokiya to come practice at Heavens’ studio. Taking up his offer, he sees the high concentration and power of Heavens practising. Due to his numerous visits, the media soon picks this up and writes rumours Tokiya might be leaving Starish for Heavens! Starish is of course worried although Tokiya rubbishes it. One day, Tokiya bumps into Raging who hints he wants to recruit Tokiya into the team because of his talents. Although he declines, Raging hints his doors will always be open. This leaves Tokiya thinking. As more rumours surfaced and Starish believing Tokiya will not simply transfer to another agency, Tokiya finally snaps at his comrades that he might really go over. Because he feels that the group is not advancing and if they remain stuck, the gap between the bands will only widen. If that happens, he plans to accept Raging’s invitation. So we have all the Starish members being gloomy thinking about this break up but eventually they can’t let this get to them and the need to improve. It’s their fault they drove Tokiya to this. On the other hand, Tokiya really doesn’t want to go over and did this as a wakeup call in hopes his comrades would change. So with everyone reconciling and accepting to push to greater heights, Tokiya realizes the importance of Starish to them. He wants to continue singing with them. Tokiya and Eiji and complete their duet together as we get to hear the sultry and sexy R&B beat of Mighty Aura.

Episode 4
Next up is Sho and Yamato. However Yamato despite talented isn’t interested in going through this. When Sho identifies him as Ryuuya’s little brother, Yamato punches him in the gut! So Sho talks to Ryuuya about this and it seems the only way to settle it is via this celebrity sports variety programme, Muscle Fight. When the brothers meet, Yamato is looking for to fight Ryuuya. However he says Sho will be replacing him and this doesn’t sit well with him. Asks why Yamato wanted to become an idol, he doesn’t have the slightest bit of that. He joined Heavens to beat Ryuuya. If Yamato beats Sho, he will get to fight Ryuuya but if he loses, he must do the duet with Sho. On Muscle Fight, we skip all the other events because it is down to a boxing final match between Sho and Yamato. At first Yamato is beating the shorty up. But Sho always stands back up no matter what. The power of being an idol? Since we can’t have just a bunch of guys throwing punches at each other, we have to make them sing while doing so! Yeah. I guess this is the song Haruka wrote for them. In the end, double knockout. At the end of the day, the duo somewhat make peace and despite Yamato’s haughty behaviour, he will still do the duet with Sho.

Episode 5
Haruka and Cecil go meet up with Shion to discuss about the song details. However this guy is in his own world, ignoring them and doing his own things. Cecil is a bit dense, that’s why he is able to keep up with the cheery positivism. Unfortunately Haruka can’t understand what they’re saying. With Shion keeping up this attitude, Cecil’s enthusiasm also wanes. It becomes damning when he sees Shion smiling in Heavens. So when Cecil talks to him, that is when Shion blows his top. He says something about his oath only to sing for Heavens otherwise his soul will be defiled. Chuunibyou case? He has now had it with this and was putting up with this thinking it would help Heavens. So he runs back and locks himself up in the closet? So when Heavens can’t even bring him out, they barge into Starish’s dorm to find out. Thankfully rational heads prevail instead of starting a brawl because they know this project is to help them polish up for SSS. If both sides cannot complete this project, they cannot participate in SSS. After Cecil tells what Shion said to him, they explain Shion was the last to join Heavens and fears losing the group more than anything else. Cecil seeks Camus advice on the matter. He interjects what if he joins Starish. This surprises Cecil a lot. The point in matter is that they are intruding into Shion’s space. Eiichi talks to Shion that they can allow him to stay true to his oath although it might hurt Heavens’ reputation. Of course that won’t do for Shion. Between a rock and a hard place now. Well, at least they succeed in bringing him out of the closet but he is now running away. Coincidentally Cecil happen to be nearby and chase after him. Once caught up, Cecil explains how he too was the last to join Starish and the group feared the additional member would diminish their brilliance (or was it the competition over Haruka?). He tells Shion to sing for Heavens and he will sing for Starish. Yes, they can sing together for different things. So Shion finally turns up and sings a duet with Cecil. Shion is amazed at the different experience outside Heavens. They make peace and accept each other and everybody is happy.

Episode 6
In addition to their duet, Ren and Van will be starring in a movie together (I have a feeling it parodies Phoenix Wright). Because Van is such an outgoing and playful guy, this makes Ren seriously worried. Even more so when he expresses in dating Haruka! Time to step in. But Van tells him back that he really likes her and is just saying his feelings unlike Ren who is untrue to himself. If you lie to yourself, your music is a lie too. Then it becomes a competition to see who can get the higher praise for the movie will get Haruka. Ren notices Van’s superb acting chops like as though he is a different person. In the final climatic courtroom drama scene, both sides are equally intense till Van starts adlibbing. Ren equally responses and both sides manage to keep up with each other. Why didn’t the director stop filming? He doesn’t want to lose the intensity of this scene. In the end, both acknowledge each other as equal. But Van sneakily confesses to Haruka and wants to date her, promising he can make her happy. What is Haruka’s reply? Music is all that she can think off now! You’re rejected. He accepts and encourages her to write a great song so he can greatly sing it. Ren was too late coming in the picture but don’t worry, Haruka rejected him, right? Van insists his confession is because he is serious about her. Ren’s silence on his feelings for her also means he is serious. Narrating how she helped him find his way back to music, that is why he puts her happiness before his. Right now he is watching over her as his way of showing his love. Van admits his loss this time but won’t give up. They are motivated to sing their duet, Lovely Eyes, a jazzy and playful Broadway-like piece.

Episode 7
Nagi is being a brat during a meeting with Natsuki. But he upgrades to a dick when he questions about his past of tossing away the violin to play the viola (because he wants to play them in their duet). This leaves Natsuki in some sort of trauma. Nagi accuses him of not wanting to play as the reason for acting like this. This stopped when Satsuki comes out to put his foot down. Later Haruka learns from Satsuki the reason of his existence is to protect Natsuki. Of course Haruka tells the rest but there is nothing they can do since Natsuki wants to go ahead with this project. Nagi adds fuel to fire after researching more about Natsuki. He brings a violin for Natsuki to play at their next meeting and when he questions about him crashing into Hayato’s concert and he couldn’t remember, this makes Nagi certain that he has a split personality. He wants to tell everyone but Satsuki comes out of his own. He has had it with this and storms home to pack his bags. He is going to quit this project and being an idol! Putting his glasses back on doesn’t even change him back! This is serious. But with the rest showing their support, Satsuki decides to give this another chance. After an interview that has Natsuki thanking those around him for his sweet smiles, he decides not to run away and face this. Thus he is going to play the violin. A night talking with Haruka, Satsuki reveals why Natsuki tried to toss away this painful past of his. His beloved violin instructor whom he trusted plagiarized a song he wrote. Satsuki was created to help protect him but now seeing Natsuki is eager to change and accept his painful past, there is no longer any reason to protect him. So both alter egos make peace with each other. With that, Satsuki is gone. So it is a surprise to others when Natsuki doesn’t change when he doesn’t don his glasses. The duet goes well but is it me or do I find Grown Empathy sounding a lot similar like Lovely Eyes? Just add violins…

Episode 8
Masato and Kira find they have so much in common. Even their families have dealings with each other for generations! You bet they’re going to get along very well till Masato gets a call (after 20 miscalls!) from home. His father has collapsed. Masato cuts short his practice and postpones the duet to return to his home. Although father is stabilized, Masato didn’t expect this turn of events as father wants him to be the heir and succeed him. Masato was supposed to be in music for only a year but father quietly allowed him to prolong it. As he explains about the important SSS coming up, father argues it is why all the more important he has to leave the group now before he becomes too important to part. WTF. Masato is forced to extend his stay for another 2 days because there is an annual dinner his family hosts and since father cannot attend, he will be his proxy. Masato realizes nothing has changed. With this, Starish and everyone else get worried but believes he will pull through. Kira talks to Ren about Masato. He realizes they are different because Masato lacks resolve. There are still doubts in him. Masato is shocked to see Ren and Kira at his home. He believes there is more to them attending as their father’s proxy. Masato explains he has talked to his father but he won’t budged. They think he is running away from making his own decisions and if they go back to Tokyo now, nothing will ever change. Masato thinks Kira’s father blessed him with freedom but on the contrary he took it with his own hands because his dad too opposed him entering the music industry. Not convinced? Hear this song then. During the dinner, Masato’s dad makes his surprise appearance. All just to announce his son will be taking over. Masato quickly pops up to denounce that. He claims music is now very important to him unlike the last time where it was his only escape from reality. He might risk making lots of people suffer but he is prepared to bear those sins. So literally f*ck everybody else just for my own selfishness? As proof of his resolve, Masato and Kira perform a piano duet of Lasting Oneness, a techno and Chinese blend. Is father moved? He warns him continuing his music path risks severing ties with the family. So be it. Then walk that path knowing he will never be part of the family again. Thank you. It seems father let him go because it was the first time he looked him in the eye and told him how he felt. He believes his songs will one day support millions around the world. So money it isn’t money?

Episode 9
Eiichi is delighted that he is paired up with Otoya and is one friendly guy. Wow. This guy is so different from the snobbish dude we know. When Eiichi returns to Heavens, he notes the group moving forward well. However Raging disagrees with all that. The reason for this duet project is to show Heavens they are better than Starish. Their goal is not improving but to become the best. That is the meaning of their existence! Haruka has written a song that it motivates Otoya to write the lyrics. He pours his heart and time into it. However Eiichi is not pleased because such awesome song requires some soul shaking lyrics instead of just scratching the surface. He thinks he should look into his soul and be true to himself to be able to sing it. Of course the stress gets to Otoya. He isn’t smiling like he should and if he is, it looks fake. Starish can tell he is acting strange so Reiji advises them to talk to him. However they can’t because Eiichi has whisked him away to a training camp. Any contacts become futile. He isn’t picking up. Haruka finishes her masterpiece and sends it to Eiichi who believes Otoya might be able to do it after hearing this. However this isn’t the case. He still can’t come up with anything despite being true to himself. Maybe he needs to look deeper. Oh, the power outage is great so they can look at the darkness of his heart. At this point, I’m starting to think Eiichi is getting very creepy… Indeed. He has researched all about Otoya! He knows he is starved for love. He shows him a sunflower painting. And then burns it! Otoya has lost his parents and everything. Not wanting to lose anymore, that’s why he put on a fake smiling mask. Otoya sees how Starish becomes disappointed in him and leaves. Even Haruka. And after all that caressing from Eiichi, it’s time to open up to his true self. Wow. Creepy indeed. So gay… And so Next Door is a dark rock piece that is a personification of the dark and tragic past of Otoya. Just creepily insane.

Episode 10
Otoya calls Tokiya. He can’t smile. He can’t be part of Starish. Bye. Tokiya is super confused and tells this to the rest. Even more baffling is that Haruka has just received mail from Otoya and Eiichi’s duet recording. They hear it and are shocked to listen to the dark lyrics. Is this Otoya? Tokiya calls Eiichi to find out what happened. Eiichi tells the truth that he wanted to bring out his the darkness of soul for the ultimate music. He claims they do not know the true Otoya, a sunflower field of despair. Tokiya leaves Eiichi to his crazy delusions. So when Raging is pleased this rumour is going about in the industry, he praises his son for doing a good job. Eiichi is shocked to hear this and he really didn’t intend it to go this way. Now that Otoya is missing, Tokiya does some research on his past and tells what he has found. He never knew his father and couldn’t remember his mom. His aunt took him in but she died of an illness (she promised to bring him to the sunflower field when she got better). This made Otoya blame himself and by the time he entered the orphanage, he realized he can’t smile. They deduce by being with them, he will also start to lose them. Tokiya feels the need to find him before tomorrow’s broadcast. He isn’t prioritizing work but rather Otoya’s safety. If this gets out, he will be hurt even more. First, Starish sends out a message by singing a song with hope under the guise of Saotome’s debut anniversary. Guess who is it targeted to? Guess will it have an effect on Otoya? Sure it did. He wants to see them but he still can’t smile and must resolve this himself first. At the withered sunflower field, he remembers his aunt’s hopeful words to shine. Otoya comes to terms to do his best and make everyone smile. But he isn’t alone. Because Starish is here.

Episode 11
Some apology here and there. They give Otoya some hope about their bonds while revealing they talked to the orphanage director to get directions to this place. With Otoya’s genuine smile back, he adds that there is no such thing as eternity. He doesn’t know what the future holds or if Starish will sing forever. The important point is that what they do is limited and they have to cherish every moment of it. With that, their high level of motivation has them run and sing their way back home. Even rejuvenating the sunflower field! WTF?! With Starish back as a whole, Raging is not pleased as Starish’s reputation has increased. He is disappointed Eiichi didn’t fully crush Otoya. Eiichi says he only wanted to make the ultimate music. Raging blows his top that they are just his tools. Heavens disagrees. They want to compete fairly with Starish and Quartet Night. Raging is the only loser. Eiichi knows his history when he retired early thinking his single became the top seller. But he lost because Saotome beat him subsequently. Therefore Heavens is his tool for his ultimate revenge. Raging will not allow it and begins his underhanded scheme. Starish is shocked when they head for their individual duet projects, their Heavens counterpart has seemingly cancelled the appointment. Soon rumours are swirling that Heavens have dropped out from the industry. Of course as our protagonists discuss, they know Raging is behind it. As Heavens has defied him, he is going to make things go his way even if it means smearing the name of his own agency. This means Heavens might not make perform at the decisive concert. Heavens is reeling in despair over their fate back at their estate. They cannot do anything. Then surprise! Here comes Starish to give them a little pep talk about giving up. Don’t. Because they hand them Haruka’s song for them. Be there or be square. Heavens takes a look at Haruka’s work and finds it super good. Goooooooood!!! They can’t let it go to waste and want to sing it badly.

Episode 12
The decisive concert is here. As Quartet Night and Starish are being introduced on stage, suddenly it is announced that Heavens has dropped out and won’t be participating. Man, you can hear the uproar of Heavens’ fans. They won’t accept this! Everyone is in shock except for Raging. All as planned. Quartet Night then has something to say. They believe this is not the decisive concert they have been waiting for otherwise the re-election would have been a waste. They will wait for them no matter how long it takes. Starish also give their opinion and believe they will come back because their love for music is true and won’t give up. And what do you know? Here they are! Heavens has answered your prayers and returned! Raging is upset with this turn of events. He thinks Saotome has put them up to this although that eccentric guy says he didn’t do anything. But there is nothing they can do now once the concert begins. Just shut up, sit back and watch their performance. Quartet Night goes first as they belt out God’s Star. After their amazing performance, they thank Haruka backstage. She also meets Heavens who also thank her for her song. They are going to give their best performance yet and if they win, Eiichi wants her to become Heavens’ composer. They go out on stage to perform the energetic Immortal Inferno. Finally it is Starish’s turn to hit the stage. They’re so excited to deliver their feelings to everyone.

Episode 13
Raging is true to his name. He is mad. But that is because he realized when did his love for music die and started becoming interested in numbers. Leave it up to Saotome to show his usual trademark exaggerative effects to tell him about how love never dies! His love for music might be lost but it isn’t dead! Love is forever! Ironic because a couple of episodes ago, Starish didn’t believe in eternity. So before Starish take centre stage, their usual thanks to Haruka and this time each of them give her their personal hug! Then out onto the stage where they sing their self-titled song, We Are Starish. Damn, if those girls just stopped screaming, I could decently hear their song. You can guess their performance is so dazzling that it wins praises not only from the crowd and judges but their fellow competitors as well. What’s this? Raging is crying?! So beautiful?! This is the power of love?! He isn’t staying for the results because he needs to concoct a plan with Heavens to defeat Saotome and overcome his sales record. And finally a decision is made. The winner who will sing at the opening of SSS goes to… STARISH!!! With the ‘losers’ taking this loss gracefully and vowing to aim higher, more congratulations to Starish and since they still want to sing, all of them starts singing the ending theme. Wow. Enemies now singing like best friends together. In the aftermath, Starish meets Haruka and they have this idea to do a great concert involving Starish, Heavens and Quartet Night. Sounds wonderful till you realize who the heck is going to write the songs… I don’t know. That last scene the way they showed it at that angle I imagined Haruka wanted to scream and run away… Just kidding of course.

Let The Music Heal Your Soul & Past
Well, everything was as I expected. Starish winning this decider. Actually I was also predicting the other outcome whereby nobody could really decide which of the trio wins since everybody is so damn good and thus all of them would be singing at SSS opening! Yeah, screw your limited opening screen time because these hot guys are much more important and popular than your whatever SSS event. Look at how all the girls are going crazy over them! And poor Haruka has to again write the songs… Poor Haruka… More about her later on. And damn if the 3 groups should merge into one big group, a few more members and maybe they can give AKB48 a run for their money. Maybe they should just do that because it would be a shame to leave such handsome men behind. So therefore this season doesn’t really come with any big surprises that would shake everything up. Despite some ‘shocking’ revelation of a certain character’s background, it is overall still pretty much the same thing all over again. As if this is just an extended season 3.

I should have expected that with this kind of genre, the story and plot of each episode more or less plays out a similar formula. You get an episode focused on a particular character and because there are too many guys this time and it won’t be enough and impossible to give each one of them their own single episode, that is why they pair up Starish and Heavens. It ‘hurries’ the pace of the season and at the same time doesn’t bore you to death because if they really did focus on the individual, I mean how much can they really tell about them individually? Sure, they can do for a handful but if they want to cover all of them, there will be some that would be incomplete or just feel forced.

This season it feels like it didn’t do much to develop the characters much. At least most of them. Because if you have been following this series from the first season, you would already have known Starish well enough. It is like there isn’t anything more left to tell about them. Except for Otoya. But more about him later. So I thought with Heavens in the fray, they might have some sort of background stories to tell. Uhm… Not really either. With the exception of Shion being a chuunibyou, the rest didn’t really have much to tell. Even Shion’s case itself isn’t much but at least with his chuunibyou personality, he stands out a bit more than the rest of Heavens. Even the original trio of Heavens, Eiichi, Nagi and Kira don’t even have any back telling to tell. Instead, their episode in focus actually focuses more on their Starish counterparts instead. So if you are a Heavens’ supporter or fan and want to know more about them this season, you would be disappointed.

Back to Starish, Tokiya, Sho, Cecil and Ren’s episodes feel like nothing. Fillers and standalone that don’t really do much. It’s a reason why I really started to feel even more boring. My sentiments of last season were already bored and this kind of similar styled episodes made it even worse. Then they start to shake things up with the remaining Starish because Natsuki, Masato and especially Otoya feel like they have actually unfinished business. It looks a bit interesting but not enough to overcome that overall boredom of mine when they break the mould with Natsuki reconciling with his alter ego and Masato taking over his destiny to not follow his father’s footsteps and pursue his own dreams with his own hands.

But such personally and family matters pale in comparison if you look at Otoya’s case. That is why they took 3 freaking episodes for Otoya! Wow. Has any Starish member get so much attention and focus in a single season? You could say he has to most tragic past which is kept secret from us in previous seasons till it exploded right in his face. I know this isn’t the darkest of all traumas but considering this bright and lively musical genre, this has got to be the bleakest of the lot. And yes, it is always the power of friendship and music that brings back our lost souls back to the path of the right. They make those who oppose you vehemently at the start to eventually give in and somewhat support you in the end if you show enough determination and willpower. Ah, if the answer was only this easy in real life…

Enough about those handsome hunks because now it is time to mention about Haruka. Poor girl. I feel she is milked and worked to death in writing songs for all of them. Just like my sentiments on her in my previous blog, I feel that there are no other capable songwriters other than her because otherwise why only engage her in writing the best songs for important concerts for the most popular boy bands. Poor Haruka, poor her… I know she enjoys it but if this was reality, this is really slave driving. However this season I feel her presence are particularly less. She doesn’t really play some sort of active role and is more in the background. It is like she doesn’t want to get in the way of the bromance between the guys. At least she has better presence than other supporting characters like Tomo, Ringo and Ryuuya. They only make their appearance and comments just to remind us that they are around. Saotome who was very flamboyant in previous seasons also feels missing here. Yeah, that last episode thingy was just a reminder he still has that ‘flair’.

Raging is painted as the antagonist here but even his revenge story doesn’t feel dark enough. Remember, this isn’t the kind of anime genre you think it is. In a way, it feels pathetic that he is forming a new group of youngsters to defeat Saotome. Even in the case he defeats Saotome, so what about it? It isn’t like he can rewrite history again because history will always point out that Saotome has beaten Raging in sales records. It is his own fault for prematurely retiring. So what if he gets bragging rights? That won’t change anything either. He will always be remembered as a grumpy old man and sore loser oji-san anyway. So he just needs to get over himself. It is a good thing he did in a way although he is still out for revenge. Just trying to go at it from a different (better) way.

I am so indifferent about the music they sing now. Sure, there are some good pieces like the jazzy ones but I can’t seriously remember them by the time I ended watching the fourth season. Eventually I have this mentality that all of them are generally the same boy band-like material. The more members you have in it, the more you need each member to take turns singing a line before everyone sings together as a group. It’s like that, right? Anyway, this season’s opener is Tempest by Mamoru Miyano. Is he trying to sound very sultry or something? The ending theme is of course by Starish, Maji Love Legend Star (at this point we should have guessed that the ending themes of every season is part of the title of the series). Nothing really special. Sounds okay enough but I will state it here again and again that the first season’s ending theme, Maji Love 1000% is still by far the best song from the series.

Overall, this isn’t really an exciting season and I can feel the waning of my enthusiasm as the series is milked even drier. Sometimes I also feel that because of that, they decide to make up for the lack of quality with quantity because if you can’t get quality story, character development or even music, spam us with more hot guys for eye candy instead! Yeah, that is how I feel what this season actually is. Unless you are big hardcore fans of one or all of the big groups here, there is nothing other casual anime viewers would particularly like about this season. So I heard they announced this franchise another new anime project. Wow. That is really milking it dry but with a different look in hopes that they can deceive us, huh? Don’t tell me the trio are going to combine into one big group. I hope it goes well because it takes so long to build up their legendary status and just a while to turn destroy all that. A kind of legend that nobody wants to live with forever in history. Might as well stop and crystalize that legend while you’re at the top and ahead, don’t you think?

Show By Rock S2

March 25, 2017

I didn’t expect this series to actually have another season. I would have been in a lot more shock had not that short special a season before this premiered on the air. Uh huh. You could say it cushioned the ‘shock’. So when Show By Rock S2 came out, I wasn’t like going crazy of not anticipating it and then start to search in a frenzy all over Google if I was dreaming or there had been a mistake. Well, with or without that short preview season, I would still watch this because of my dumb policy to watch sequels if a series is not very bad in the first place. After all, we’ve seen these rocking band of furries save the music world with music. What else can they come up with? An intergalactic alien trying to destroy music and rule the cosmos? Oh wait…

Episode 1
A space villainess and her huge space army fire a hug plasma energy into Planet Sound and destroying Midi City in the process. The Ninjinriot heroes feel the only way to stop her is to go back in time. In present day, Maple tells Plasmagica (minus Cyan because she has gone home) about the upcoming commemorative concert. If you’re wondering why Criticrista is hanging out with them, it’s because Maple has taken the band under BRR’s wings. Yes, Rosia is still an annoying b*tch our Plasmagica girls hate. The guys of Shingan Crimsonz beat up Maple after they think he forgot all about them. He remembers there is a concert for them this weekend by BRR. Shingan Crimsonz does the opening gig before Plasmagica takes their turn. But before they could start, the entire area is being hijacked! Who are these mean chicks?! Oh wait. Isn’t that sperm blob on her shoulder… Dagger!!! What did I tell you last time if they don’t properly take care of him? Now he is back thanks to these girls reviving him (Rosia is going to have some serious trauma). To celebrate his return, he will take the Melodisian Stone from those who did this to him. Luckily he is interrupted when our future heroes arrive in time. Not wanting to waste time fighting, the baddies flee. Ninjinroit introduces themselves. They are Arashi, Rin and Oboro. From the future, they are here to stop the schemes of Planet Victorian’s leader, Queen of Darkness whom they suspect is that mean chicks’ vocalist. In the future, Midi City is destroyed as part of her plans to annihilate music by turning all Melodisian Stones dark and use that energy to take over Sound Galaxy. They will continue their investigations to expose the Queen of Darkness’ identity and hope these bands can help them fight against her and Dagger. Meanwhile Cyan has her own problems. She has not written a song for the school festival. Yeah, writing a new song is tough. As he gazes upon the stars and sing, not sure if her singing was so good (it wasn’t) that it attracted a comet as it smashes into her! Good thing she is alive but she freaks out seeing a giant robot in her room. Then she gets absorbed into it. Does this seem familiar? Yeah, we all know where she’ll be going.

Episode 2
The robot crashes into BRR’s building. Everyone is so glad Cyan is back. Miss you. Cyan has heard the gist of what is going on from the robot, Kamui who is also part of Ninjinriot. Kamui wants to take his leave but Maple wants him to bear the repair cost. Sorry, gotta go. While Plasmagica is back as a whole and planning on their next step, Moa suddenly gets an urgent call to come home. She has failed to submit her periodical reports and is summoned back. Oh no! Chuchu suggests everyone comes along, much to Moa’s delight. I guess this means Maple and Angelica are coming too. Moa explains her planet experienced economic boom but never thought about their energy source until it is running low. That is why they have sent investigators all over the galaxy to find energy. The gang meet Moa’s parents, the king and queen. So Moa is a royalty princess?! Never knew, eh? Oh, while mom is a hot mama, dad looks like an egg. What a weird combo… Like as though he is Maple’s long lost relative… Anyway they are thrown a nice banquet complete with delicious food (don’t judge the looks) and ‘unique’ traditional music (it sucks). Next day, Moa is summoned by the committee to explain herself. They are planning to strip her rank for not fulfilling her duties so she argues that this band thingy can solve their energy woes. This means Plasmagica is putting up a concert to demonstrate. At first nothing happens but a gentle reminder from Cyan that they need to enjoy themselves, it doesn’t take too long before energy comes bursting and lighting up everything. With that, Moa’s work is recognized and now allowed to continue her stay at Midi City. The king hopes they can broadcast some of the music to them. He heard they are building a music theme park, Puru Land and if so, they would like to help fund the construction costs in return. Angelica right away makes contact with the person in charge. Done deal. An emotional goodbye for Moa when she parts with her parents. But on the journey back, some bug monster mom gave her as present escaped its cage. Oh no. Looks like it wants egg for its next meal…

Episode 3
Sweet Sweets Girls Fes is a candy-cum-music festival for all girl bands to sell sweets and perform. If Plasmagica is in, I guess this mean Criticrista is going to be there too. The annoyance is still strong… Later Rosia talks to Cyan privately and thanks her for saving her. Since she is still prideful, she vows to be stronger next time to save her. Chuchu rallies her band mates to make sweets. Unfortunately none of them have baking experience so it is up to her to teach the basics. After bloopers and failures, they finally get it right. At the festival, Chuchu is overwhelmed with all the amazing sweets that the stalls are selling. However she starts to worry that everybody’s sweets are superior to theirs. Her worst fears come true when all the stalls have their sweets sold out. Even Marimari and Tsugihagi who aren’t part of a band and are just here to have fun, the free sweets they make for refreshments suddenly get mobbed by the crowd. Next thing you know, it’s all gone and they earn loads of cash! Chuchu goes into panic mode as she desperately tries to advertise her sweets. No takers. Cyan notices this and lets Chuchu take a bite to calm her down. You know what they say that desserts is the stressed spelled backwards. In no time, other people start to patron their stall and eventually their sweets are sold out too. Meanwhile, Shingan Crimsonz who thought they have been side-lined for too long is happy to get a gig. They didn’t realize they are to play villains at a children’s live sentai show. Sure, they’re mad but with Rom’s passionate persuasion, they get fired up to do their job. Oh no. Now they are rampaging the stage and scaring the children… Meanwhile a group of rich guys especially Orion are watching Shingan Crimsonz. They wonder why Orion is so infatuated with these poor guys with no money. Because it will be interesting to see what will happen when they get a taste of money. Oh yeah. Time to hatch their devilish plan…

Episode 4
Darudayu meets Grateful King relaxing on a sunny beach. She believes that according to a legend, peace will always be broken by someone who wants to ruin it. Therefore she is here to tell him TAM will be on a journey to find the legendary Melodisian Almaz, a high purity Melodisian Stone. Since they’ll be away, she wants him to take care of Midi City. He can’t say no despite already retired… There’s another event for all girl bands: The Sparkling Midicians Long Beach Water Sports Meet Full of Girls. What a long name to hide a swimsuit fanservice event… As the events is team based, the girls of the bands are randomly divided into teams. Retoree is not pleased she ended up in the same team as Rosia. The feeling is mutual, b*tch. Gracing the event is Trichronika broadcasting their performance in the middle of their Rainbow Galaxy Tour. As the games get on the way, Retoree feels she still isn’t good with crowds so she sits herself out in the storeroom. Rosia comes in looking for something and of course they get locked in. What to do but to sit around awkwardly till help arrives. If it ever arrives because nobody knows where they are. Inevitably they had to bring up the topic of Cyan. Rosia assures she isn’t interested in Cyan and will not steal her away as she is only interested in her talent. She is the only person she doesn’t want to lose to and whether she wins or lose, it helps her make her own music the best it can. When their band mates realize they are missing, they go in search of them before finding them trying to work together to get out. In the kibasen event, the duo work together perfectly to win the game and overall. Even enemies can be best friends. Like in shonen series, right? Meanwhile a group of Myumon students are trying hard to catch up on their tardiness to meet up with Ogasawara for a karaoke session?

Episode 5
Those rich guys are actually from a new band under the record label company, Judas. They are Arcareafact (comprising of Orion, Titan, Argon and Selen) and have usurped Trichronika for the top spot. So rich they are that they drop money on the streets and parachute down just to taunt Shingan Crimsonz in their face. Naturally, Maple relays the news there is going to be a battle of the bands between Shingan Crimsonz and Arcareafact. Meanwhile Dagger wants Ailane (alleged Queen of Darkness) to continue to dye all Melodisian Stones with darkness with the music of Bud Virgin Logic (BVL). His true resurrection will occur when Puru Land finishes and he will have his revenge on Plasmagica. Ailane’s subordinates, Peipain and Hundreko wonder if they can trust Dagger. Ailane doesn’t care about hope and dreams. She’ll send everyone to hell! At the battle of the bands, Shingan Crimsonz sings first followed by Arcareafact who in their usual fashion drop free money to the audiences! In the end they won by a huge margin! Crow and the rest are bitter in this defeat and believe they have bribed their way to victory. However Rom punches him and says a loss is a loss even it is dishonest. The only way is to start from scratch and perform in a way to reverse it. The Arcareafact guys are basking in their rich victory party. However Titan isn’t in the mood and leaves. He makes his way to a secret underground sewer to spend time with his little brothers, Balt and Nickel. It seems their family was rich too but their father’s business failed and everything was taken away. Plasmagica did some research and found Arcareafact had cheated. They want to relay this news but see Shingan Crimsonz eating their heart out and putting all that behind them. I guess there is no need to tell. Dagger then makes a personal broadcast to BRR and declare his war against Plasmagica.

Episode 6
Dagger will have Plasmagica in a battle of the bands against BVL. Rosia recognizes Ailane as she is the new transfer student in her school. She tries to peek into her clubroom but is caught red handed. Rosia tries to act tough but Ailane tells her it is her best interest not to say anything. Cyan is supposed to come up with a new song but she is in a slump and overslept. Meanwhile Yaiba calls Aion and Crow to meet. He shows them an old photo of a band named Amatelast. They don’t recognize this frontman but after taking a closer look, he is definitely Shuuzou. Guess who is the drummer? Rom. They realize the duo have been in the same band as everything about them fall into place. Then they hear their music. Nothing much. Just generic rock music. They want to go confront Rom to ask for more but turn into chickens after he lets out his usual loud voice, scolding them for being late for practice. Kai and Riku show Shuuzou the article of Arcareafact’s huge victory over Shingan Crimsonz. What bothers them are the rumours they used money to cheat. Shuuzou tells them not to believe gossip papers because for those who love music, money can never corrupt their heart. Can it? Cyan is still in a slump. Worse, her band mates come in to give her motivation as they are worried for her and she lies to them that she is okay. In the end, all that pressure and guilt builds up. What does she do? She runs away! But she isn’t directionless. She goes to see Grateful King.

Episode 7
Cyan hopes he could help her write a song. He can’t do that as writing songs are purely done by oneself. However he can help push her in that direction with some special training. Starting off with massaging his shoulders. Sure this is not a scam? Yeah, put some rhythm into that wrist. Rom is not pleased the guys are slacking in practice. So how? Time for a special training tramp! Unfortunately they got lost in the forest and stumble upon some lame guards trying to guard an entrance to some place. But Shingan Crimsonz are lamer since they got thrown away by the mountain guardian. They are saved by that old egg man and they spend their hardcore time together. The guys then work up the courage to give Rom the photo and the CD. Time to spill the beans. It was the last music he made with Amatelast. Back then, they weren’t afraid of anything and thought they could make it to the top. However as time passes, the band’s goal changed. Eventually they broke up and they went different ways. The guys pay back and alleviate Rom’s regrets by writing a new song. Meanwhile those guardians thought Shingan Crimsonz had come back but it is TAM. They won’t let them path but TAM shows their worth with some flashback of their journey? So touching that they just decide to let them in. WTF. Cyan’s training continues. She has to carry all the heavy luggage, clean the pool and carve 4 blocks of ice to fit into the fridge before the sun melts it. Why not just let the sun melt a little then? Not thinking. When Cyan thinks she can finally play an instrument, Grateful King wants her to play all the instruments simultaneously. She can’t so he tells her to stop complaining or else she can’t find the god of music. As she thinks, she sees visions of her band mates. Then it hit her. The god of music was always by her side. With tears, she calls Retoree to apologize for running away and comes clean about her slump. However they are all here. Didn’t she realize she was lugging their luggage? As true friends, they knew she would go find Grateful King whenever she is in trouble.

Episode 8
With Shingan Crimsonz back in the groove, Maple will organize another battle of the bands. Naturally Orion doesn’t see the point of this and wants to reject but their manager wants them to accept it so that they can crush their enemies so much till they will never challenge them again. It looks like the manager is brainwashing them or something. Titan just dropped in and feels like the guys are hiding something but they too Titan has been hiding something as he is always late and never gave reasons. With the revenge battle on, Retoree and Cyan take precaution knowing that some sort of cheating might happen again. Rosia’s band mates talk to Chuchu and Moa as they feel Rosia is acting suspiciously and not telling them things. Another one keeping secrets? So they invite Rosia out, some nostalgic flashback of how close they are and voila! Now Rosia is on talking terms. Wow. So easy. The revenge battle is here. As usual Arcareafact put up their snobbish confidence like as though the match is already decided beforehand. That’s when BRR shows them proof of how they cheated previously. A security guard was an eyewitness in seeing them bribe everyone in the concert. They also hacked the main server to manipulate votes. This doesn’t sit well with Titan as he genuinely doesn’t know about this. Orion continues to badmouth his rivals about being poor. Rom is about to punch him but Shuuzou stops him. He is protecting Arcareafact because they are his juniors. However Rom shouldn’t be fighting with his fists but music. Shuuzou also tells off Arcareafact that they can’t buy everything with money. He knows they’ll find out what’s important after this battle. Arcareafact goes first. Seeing how talented they are, they don’t understand why they had resorted to cheating. Shingan Crimsonz then sings their new song. The end results show Shingan Crimsonz won. But Arcareafact doesn’t feel bitter like as though their Melodisian Stones were purified. Orion apologizes to Titan for cheating and sullying his song writing. Titan also reveals his family tragedy. When they return to celebrate, it seems their manager has taken everything belonging to them and cleaned out their bank accounts and ran away. Good thing they’re not so materialistic anymore but what now? Titan’s little brothers suggest coming to their place. Can it fit?

Episode 9
Rosia reveals that she peeked at Ailane playing the piano in the clubroom, she was reeking with dark aura. Plus, she had this extreme hate for music which gave birth to that darkness. She wants Plasmagica to pull out of this battle but you know, trust in us, believe in us, that kind of crap that will make everything alright. Dagger and Ailane are discussing their revenge plans. Peipain and Hundreko talk that something is wrong with Ailane. They have always been with her and she never hated music. It’s like their words don’t reach her anymore. On the day of the concert, Criticrista find Peipain and Hundreko in a dilemma to do Ailane’s plans. Rosia gives her piece of mind as she doesn’t want Midi City destroyed. But the duo cannot disobey her. They feel she has been acting strange since associating with Dagger. Then here comes Ailane herself. Rosia asks her hate for music but Ailane doesn’t intend to tell her. Not like it matters. When her underlings speak up that this is wrong, she tells them to shut it and fulfil her desires tonight. If they really want to stop her, do it with their so called wholesome music. BVL goes first and their dark rock seems to revive Dagger. What a lame alien form? But suddenly he reverts back to his little blob form. While Plasmagica is performing, Ailane chastises her subordinates for not playing the music of darkness. They reply how much she has changed and hate music she once loved. So you see, the power of emotions and friendship could overcome and change Ailane back. They should have the balls guts to do this from the start if it was this easy… Before the winner could be announced, an angry Dagger absorbs those useless BVL and sucks Plasmagica into another but familiar dimension. Doesn’t this world look familiar? Déjà vu time. Yeah, Dagger is a roaring lion monster this time.

Episode 10
Arcareafact’s manager shows up in time. However she changes into her true form: The Queen of Darkness otherwise also known as Victorious! She easily defeats Dagger and returns him to his weakened state. So much about the déjà vu fight. She declares war on everyone and the day the music die will be the day Puru Land holds its opening concert. Till then, have fun. I guess we all have a common enemy now. Because the good guys are pitying the baddies. Cyan asks if Ailane is okay. Maple asks if Dagger is okay. He suggests calling a truce and Dagger reluctantly agrees but asserts he has no intention of becoming his friend. Shingan Crimsonz wonder why Aion is in shock. Because apparently he realizes Ailane is in BVR. So? Ailane is his sister. Oh… So where does Aion go to when he is depressed? Ailane knows he’ll hang out at the tallest building. She blames him that because he loves music so much, he pushed it all onto her. She has had it with him and runs away. Time for the guys to have a guy talk and the girls to have a girl talk. Ailane reveals they come from a wealthy noble family. Aion was supposed to succeed his father and naturally had to learn and do lots of things. With high expectations and hopes, pressure got to him and his only solace was music. Father did not like that and wanted to take that away too. Aion remained stubborn and was then kicked out of the house. Ailane asked if music was more important than family. He could only apologize and this made her mad. With Aion gone, naturally Ailane became the next successor and was put through the same torture. And yes, she too cracked under pressure and turned to the dark side. But she realized too late she was only being used by Dagger. Overall, she didn’t hate music. The guys are much shorter. They eat and tell Aion to go tell his true feelings to his sister. Simple. Before Ailane and her subordinates leave for home, they reconcile and Ailane in a long time declares she loves him. In a sisterly way, that is. Meanwhile TAM has found Melodisian Almaz. Maple relays the good news that Plasmagica, Shingan Crimsonz and Criticrista will all perform at Puru Land’s opening. But guess who is back to also help them? Grateful King!

Episode 11
But look who is also back? Trichronika! This is part of Grateful King’s plan so that they can all write a song to fight as one against Victorious. But first, a flashback from the villainess side to understand her background. On the Planet Ordinis where gifted children are given special education from young and those not special enough are left behind, a young Victorious and her friend Astreal are taking a positive note to pass tomorrow’s exam. Climbing an endless thorny vine? They’re singing and climbing their way to the top while encouraging each other. Till Victorious slips and pleads for help. Astreal ignores her and continues climbing. The shock of the betrayal has Victorious falling to the bottom. Her Melodisian Stone got corrupted and gave her power. Inches before Astreal reaches the top, Victorious flies up before her and scorns her for her betrayal. This causes fearful Astreal to fall back down. Oh, so close yet so far. This makes Victorious realize the true potential of the power of darkness. But it was still not enough for her to stand at the very top and needed more energy. That is why she targeted Sound Planet whose energy is harvested from music. She decided to toy around and become Arcareafact’s manager to take advantage of everything. Cyan with the help of everyone finally writes a song. On the day Puru Land opens, Moa’s mom and dad give their opening speech before Grateful King starts the first performance. But before that can even begin, Victorious has begun her schemes by trapping the audience in her thorny vines. She even traps our band heroes in another dimension because without their instruments, they cannot fight her. All is not lost because Maple summons his mecha that was created in secret with Moa’s dad.

Episode 12
Maple frees our heroes back to their normal dimension. Just when Maple is going to attack, the machine breaks apart. Too heavy. We saw this coming, right? Because he isn’t the one who will defeat the big bad boss. Before it is Victorious’ turn, TAM returns with Darudayu throwing Melodisian Almaz and having everyone play to power the stone up. This also helps power Maple’s mecha as he rides the stone to crash into Victorious! Apparently that crash has made her feel some sort of wonderful feeling. Flashback after Arcareafact lost to Shingan Crimsonz, she went on to target Plasmagica but is baffled their music could connect hearts of BVL. This is when she remembers she used to sing a lot with Astreal. Funny “Justice is power” song… This makes her realized she was so concerned about getting stronger, she locked those feelings and love for music in the depths of her heart. Obviously. She wants to sing again. While the girls are happy Victorious doesn’t hate music and that she has repented, they mourn the death of Maple. Thankfully comic relief characters can’t die. He just returns as an over-burnt egg. Yeah, everybody is now mocking him and Maple is snapping at everyone’s ungratefulness and didn’t get a hero’s welcome. See! We all love that comic relief character, right?! The concert restarts again as everyone plays their gig. Those Myumon students finally arrive and Ogasawara is shocked to see the return of Dagger. He is in his true form but his head is still a blob. Funny… At the end of the concert with Ninjinriot appearing (where the f*ck were you guys?!), it is time for Cyan to say goodbye and return. Some tears flow, some thank you, some goodbyes. Cyan returns and looks like she has finally found her groove in writing her song for her school’s festival.

Hard Rock Save The Space
Well, I almost saw it all coming. At least the general pattern of the story. Group of good guys band together to unfairly outnumber and gang up against the villainess who didn’t have time to flex her muscles or strut her stuffs. Thanks to the power of friendship and music, even the baddies will become soft and return to the light side. Cyan returns home. The end. So I’m not sure if this sequel is any better or not because I’m still not really impressed. I mean, it’s not really bad but I wasn’t really all that excited when I watched this second season. It only feels like it is made for those who love furries playing rock music. Lots of different furries, that is.

Character development doesn’t feel that all great this season too. With so many characters now into the mix, it is so hard to give those lesser band mates any screen time for instance like those from Criticrista. Nobody except Rosia stands out and even so, Rosia is just reduced to some annoying side character. Even the new characters feel like they were just shoehorned into the show for the plot despite looking as though they have some potential in them. It also feels like as though they serve to troll viewers to make us think that they might be the main antagonist but as soon as Victorious pops up in her true form, they die down and go back into the shadows. Sure, we see them in the final episode credits montage with BVL still doing their personal gig and Arcareafact enjoying living the dirty underground poor sewer life (because it hell beats all those shiny rich things, right?), but then it doesn’t really matter at this point. They don’t even join our last season’s bands in fighting Victorious. It just feels redundant.

Worst of the new characters are Ninjinriot. These people appear for just the first episode (and the most the beginning of the second episode) and then disappear for the rest of the episodes! It makes you wonder where the f*ck did those guys go and what were they doing when evil was lurking in Midi City and our heroes and heroines are the one who are doing the real work. It’s like tossing to them their responsibility, no? You just say a few words and tell what is happening or what will happen and then to be never heard off again. And then they appear in the final episode just to thank them for doing everything (yeah, they just help destroy the baddie and save the future which is supposed to be your job I believe) and are there just to take Cyan back. Some futuristic heroes they are. I want to argue that they should have just gone back further in time to prevent Victorious from turning to the dark side but then again, I’m thinking they don’t want to dirty their hands and let somebody do the dirty work. After all, the present isn’t their, uhm, future? Pretty forgettable, if I should say.

As for our recurring main and supporting characters, Trichronika and TAM are side-lined for most of the season by going on a tour and journey respectively only to show up in the final moments so that we don’t forget that they too are the heroes and deserve to be part of the winning team. That’s the thing when you have too many freaking characters. Even our main characters from Plasmagica also don’t feel like they have the spotlight well enough. Sure, Moa has her own episode, Chuchu making sweets and Retoree seemingly has one so she could reconcile with Rosia, because most of the stuffs like Chuchu being used by Dagger out of her own jealousy are mostly covered in the first season. Heck, even Dagger coming back felt like a troll because he didn’t really do anything. He would have had he not been usurped by the dark queen. And with him back in business with Ogasawara, not sure if he will be continuing his shady ways and ambitions (seeing those Myumon students are perhaps under his agency now – I don’t even know what this distraction is for this season). I think he is the only evil looking one still at the end. At least Victorious has gone back to being looking more like a great diva. Perhaps it’s because Victorious was never evil to begin with unlike Dagger (assuming) and that’s why she turned back. Maybe the bands should sing another song to cure Dagger and make him look all cutie and nice.

So this season seems to pay more attention to Shingan Crimsonz instead because they’ve got a new rival in the name of Arcareafact (now ex-rival) to deal with as well as the ‘shocking’ revelation of Ailane being Aion’s sister. You see, these newbies from BVL and Arcareafact looked like they have potential with their seemingly interesting back stories to tell but then when Victorious decides to play her card, all that is tossed aside. Well, at least Maple didn’t become a running joke this time because it is only shown once, Angelica beating the S&M crap out of him when he stepped out of line. Remember that? And so what they discovered Rom’s past with Shuuzou? A sign for them to band together stronger as brothers? I thought they’ve always been this idiotically close to begin with. There are many other smaller bands that debuted last season making their cameos here but I suppose they don’t even matter because I still don’t even remember their names. Oh yeah, lastly what can I say about Cyan as the main heroine? My thoughts is that if Midi City has a big crisis, just call her. Forcefully bring her to this world if you have to. Because there is nothing more that saves the universe than Cyan and her song writing. Yeah. Hard rock (and a certain other hard mineral rock too) save the space.

With all of last season’s seiyuus retained, a few new ones join the cast. Most notably Miyuki Sawashiro as Victorious. She sounds like she is devilishly having fun with her antagonistic character. Personally, I still feel Sayaka Ohara still takes the cake as the best voice for badass villainess but Miyuki Sawashiro deserves a pat on the back here for truly making her character’s voice shine. The other new casts include Ruriko Noguchi as Ailane, Aimi Tanaka as Peipain (titular character in Himouto! Umaru-chan), Ibuki Kido as Hundreko (Claire in Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance),Yuusuke Kobayashi as Titan (Subaru in Re: Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu), Taku Yashiro as Orion (Hayato in Mayoiga), Chiharu Sawashiro as Argon (Natsuki Ise in All Out), Eishin Fudemura as Selen (debut) and Mai Goto as Astreal (Mika in Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu).

Just like last season, Plasmagica dominates the opening and ending themes with their trademark rock music. Heart Wo Rock is a little catchy thought I find it weird that the girls (especially the guitarists) doing strange dances to the beat of the tune. For example, shaking their right hand and that very strange marching. I suppose you won’t be bothered by too much of it when you’re quite into the pace of the music. The main ending theme is My Song Is You while the special ending song for the final episode sung by Cyan is Close To You. The animation uses the same CG design as in the first season so I thought they were reusing the same recycled stuffs. Maybe for the animation but not for the song. There are also a few insert songs but those rock genre they didn’t really appeal to my taste. Except for that one whereby Shingan Crimsonz were introducing themselves and at the same time describing or somewhat paying tribute to the food they’re eating. That was hilarious.

Overall, this season feels like a waste of potential with some boring and predictable storylines, it would only appeal to hardcore fans of the series. Just because of a few cool looking male furries and lots of cute female furries doesn’t mean that all the music they sing are music to my ears. Maybe this fad has ended and it is time to bury the series instead of milking it dry with another season. I don’t know. Personally I think it should be that way to ‘end’ it here seeing this season had a ‘decent’ ending that ties up lots of strings and holes. Even in show business, you need to know how to quit to stay ahead.

Love Live! Sunshine!!

March 10, 2017

Eh? Do we need another Love Live series? I thought it was all over. Apparently this isn’t exactly a continuation or a reboot. More like a spinoff. Yes, another new group in focus. At first I thought Love Live! Sunshine!! would be about the younger sisters of the original Muse forming their own group and living up to their predecessor’s legacy. This is not the case. A bunch of new faces and a new school in a different prefecture means everything would be new although we all know the concept and setting would follow a familiar pattern. The forming of a new school idol unit, their trials and tribulations as they try to achieve the ultimate Holy Grail of the idol industry. What else can you expect from this genre? Oh, right. No space ass kicking idols to save the universe here for sure.

Episode 1
Chika Takami is a second year at Uranohoshi Girls’ High School. Along with her friend, You Watanabe they are trying to recruit members for their idol club. No takers. Oddly, Chika has never been interested in clubs and stuffs before but she’s getting into it thinking that school idols are all the rage now. They continue giving out fillers and stumble upon several ‘potentials’. Hanamaru Kunikida and Ruby Kurosawa seem suspicious first. Then there is Yoshiko Tsushima dropping down from a tree and acting all chuunibyou. Ruby seems to know her but Yoshiko seems to be pretending that she doesn’t. And the trio start chasing each other, forgetting all about the idol club. Chika is picked up by the student council president, Dia Kurosawa. She is chastising her for not even applying to create the club. Yup, the club officially doesn’t exist. Besides, there is a minimum of 5 members needed to form a club and Chika is the only one on it. To pour more salt on injury, Dia is adamant she will not have any idol clubs in her school! You thinks Dia is from a traditional fishing family so anything that seems silly will not get her approval. While Chika is trying to figure out ways to get new members, she sees a girl at the pier and thinks she is trying to commit suicide. She tries to stop Riko Sakurauchi from diving in but they both fall into the sea. Later as revealed, she was only diving. The reason being, she is trying to compose a song for a piano and needs to hear the sound of the sea to get inspiration. Despite she is from Tokyo, she doesn’t know what a school idol is. Too dedicated to piano to know anything else. Chika explains about them but doesn’t consider herself as part of them and just your average Jane. Then when she saw Muse performing, she became inspired. That dazzling brightness became her dream. Riko feels Chika’s words cheered her up. As they officially introduce themselves, Riko says she is from Otonokizaka Academy, the school were Muse is from. Chika gets more motivation when You decides to join her club. However Chika and Dia are still head butting each other. Dia tries to discourage them about an original song they need to write for entering Love Live. Because this school has no one gifted in music let alone someone who can compose a song. Then it is like a miracle dropping before Chika because Riko becomes a new transfer student in her class. The first thing she asks is to join her as a school idol. Sorry, she can’t. Dream dashed so quickly…

Episode 2
Chika continuously bugs Riko to join because she is the only one who can write songs. Still no. You on the other hand has designed some drafts for costumes. I think she needs to come up with something cuter than military and police outfits. Again when Chika bugs Dia and tries to give inspiration about Muse, the president snaps for her mispronouncing their name! She then quizzes Chika about Muse’s trivia but she doesn’t know a thing. Well, Dia seems to know awfully a lot. Is she a Muse fan? Unknown to Dia, her trivia interrogation was accidentally broadcasted throughout the entire school. Later Chika tries to lure Ruby with candy. They talk about Dia who is Ruby’s elder sister who is quite against any school idols so they aren’t confident if Chika’s club will get the green light at all. Also Yoshiko has been absent since the first day of school. Chika then sees Riko by the shore again. Still trying to find inspiration for her composition but no luck. Although Chika gives her motivation, Riko still declines thinking this is part of her ruse to get her to join her idol club. Chika accepts her rejection for now. Then she goes diving with her just to try out. As you know, miracles happen when this kind of scene pops up so Riko is able to hear what she wants for her composition. Although Riko agrees to write songs for them, this doesn’t mean she has joined their club. But to start writing one, she needs lyrics. What are lyrics? You mean Chika doesn’t even know what lyrics are? Chika invites Riko to her home-cum-inn to help think up of lyrics. Meet the weird sisters, Shima and Mito and their pet dog that Riko seems to fear? Brainstorming on what to write, since Chika loves school idols, she can write tons of lines on that. Back home, Riko tries to compose her song on her piano but it seems she has some trauma. Eventually when she gets going, Chika is impressed with her composition. Guess what? They live next to each other! Didn’t Riko realize this when she comes home? Anyway Riko still has some fears so Chika allays them by reaching out. I guess it means everything is okay when their hands touch.

Episode 3
The trio are practising their dance moves. Still need more practising. They are interrupted when a helicopter flies low. Riding it is Mari Ohara and Uranohoshi’s new chairwoman aside from being a third year student too. Well, her family is a major patron of the school. Dia is not happy because she vanished a few years ago without saying anything and now she is suddenly back. Mari gives hope to Chika’s idol group. If they can fill in the gym for their first performance, she’ll approve the club and get school funding. Otherwise, they’ll just have to disband. However when they calculate, the entire school isn’t enough to fill the hall. This means they have to get audiences from outside. So Chika begs to Mito for her company of 200 employees to come but looks like it didn’t fly. They go to town to distribute flyers. While You is a natural, Chika sounds threatening. Is that a way to ask people to come to your concert? Shy Riko? What good is talking to a poster will do? Ruby and Hanamaru are there too. But they ask a more pressing issue: What is their group name? And so our trio have to think about a group name quick. Let’s say each come up with their own lame names. They can write all over the beach the potential ones but eventually they stumble upon Aqours. Feels good. Something related to water. Okay, so Aqours it will be. They don’t even know who wrote this. After that it is more flyer distribution. On the night of their performance, the trio are nervous. When the curtains rise, well, only a handful of them. You can count them all who attended. They carry on their performance but halfway the electricity is cut off due to the bad storm. They try to carry on without the music but it is so heart-breaking that Chika is close to tears. And then suddenly here comes Mito bringing her entire colleagues! Wow. Suddenly the hall is filled. Traffic jam all over the place? Well what do you know? Mito scolds Chika for putting the wrong date on the flyer. More miracles because Dia turns on the generators for backup power. The trio continue their performance to a standing ovation. Oh wait. Everybody is standing in the first place. At the end, Dia confronts them that their success is only due to past efforts of other school idols and the kindness of these people. Chika agrees but had they not done anything, nothing would have happened.

Episode 4
Mari gives the green light for the idol club to be approved. This means they have their own clubroom. Uhm, very messy. Clean up time. However they’re still short of members. Ruby reports to Hanamaru that the idol club is approved and is very happy about it. This has Ruby remember she used to act out performances of Muse with Dia. They love idols so much but one day after Dia entered high school, she started hating them and doesn’t want anything to do with it. So if big sister doesn’t like it, Ruby is not allowed to like them too. WTF?! Mari sees her friend, Kanan Matsuura and wants her to join the idol club once she returns to school. It is the reason she came back. However Kanan is not pleased. Hanamaru suggests to Ruby they try out the idol club. Of course Chika is happy but she must remember that if they don’t like it, they won’t join. They hope they can keep this a secret from Dia too. The first order is to train. But there is no decent place for them so it is suggested the rooftop. Like how Muse did it. For stamina training, they run up the mountain. Hanamaru lacks stamina and although considerate Ruby wants to wait for her, she tells her to forge ahead and not be someone she doesn’t want. Otherwise she’ll suffer. After Ruby goes ahead, it seems this is part of Hanamaru’s plan as she is scheduled to meet Dia nearby. She tells her to listen to Ruby. That’s it? Oh, here Ruby and co comes. Dia wants an explanation so Ruby explains the truth. Ruby officially joins Aqours. But what about Hanamaru? She thinks her role is over and returns to the library where she belongs. She loves books. Of course Ruby can’t have her ending like that so she is going to force her to join. Forgive me, I reworded it harshly. Ruby has been observing Hanamaru too and knows she was pushing herself for her sake. She noticed she was happy while practising too and that she loves them as much as her. Let’s be idols together. Hanamaru doesn’t think she doesn’t have what it takes to be an idol. But Chika tells her it is not the question of can or cannot. It is whether you want or not. And so there were five. When they key in their group name to check out rankings on Love Live, they rank 4999. Not bad, right?

Episode 5
Yoshiko believes she is a fallen angel and even records a video of herself doing all those chuunibyou stuffs. But it’s like her other rational personality told her to stop it since she’ll be a high school girl and it will be embarrassing. Unfortunately bad habits are hard to die out so when she first introduced herself in class the first day like that, it’s the reason she never showed up anymore. Aqours move up in their ranking by a few hundred ranks. Not bad. Hanamaru has never seen a computer before since her family runs an old temple. You bet she is a noob when it comes to all technologies. So when she accidentally shuts down the computer… Hope they saved their work. Hanamaru spots Yoshiko spying on them and calls them out. She is afraid her classmates think she is weird but after being assured they won’t remember a thing, she is confident to start anew. Yoshiko portrays herself as the graceful cool beauty. She becomes popular as her classmates would love to know her better. That’s when it goes downhill because Yoshiko starts doing her chuunibyou when they wanted her to do her fortune telling. Oops… She feels disgraced but Chika finds it cute. Thinking this is what they need to improve their rankings further, she asks her to join their school idol club. Everyone tries out the gothic outfit at Chika’s place. But her dog keeps harassing Riko so she literally jumps back home!!! She can become a long jumper if this falls through. A video of a cheesy fallen angel of them is filmed. Embarrassing, right? But it increased their rank just below the thousand mark!!! OMG! Amazing???!!! However when Dia sees this, she blows her top at this utmost embarrassment. She warns them the popularity is only temporary because right now they have dropped back down to behind 1500 as other groups also do their best to stand out. Yoshiko thinks it is the end of her fallen angel days and can live a normal high school life. After she leaves the group, the rest discuss why she was so obsessed being a fallen angel. She was just normal like them and never stood out. Then they realize they want her and chase her all across town just to ask her to join Aqours. She can continue being a fallen angel. It is who she is. It is what she loves. They accept her for all the nonsense. Chika realizes being a school idol isn’t about what people thought or how to get popular. It is doing what you love most that makes you shine the most. And with that, Yoshiko’s in.

Episode 6
Dia learns from Mari that Uranohoshi will close down and merge with Numazu. Of course Mari is trying to delay that from happening, thus her return as chairwoman. But if next year’s enrolment numbers go down, the inevitable will happen. An excuse to use idols to revive the school? Well, Dia is not going to fall for this. So Aqours also learn about this but Chika is ecstatic because they are going to follow the same route as Muse and Otonokizaka. Does she really think this path will also lead Aqours to glory? Well, no harm dreaming. Thus she comes up with an idea of doing a PV. Unfortunately they are all over the place and have no idea on what to report on what is good in their town. Mari also tells Kanan about Uranohoshi’s fate. She can keep it alive but needs her help to come back to school. Kanan is not amused she ‘broke’ into her house just to tell this but Mari reminds her she is her stalker. When Aqours show their PV, if Mari thinks it is trash, I guess it says everything. They might have put in a lot of effort but the result is still crap doesn’t make it any better. Later Chika sees Dia performing alone in the hall. She is amazed at her skills and wants her to join Aqours to help keep it open. But Dia refuses and will fight this her own way. Mari is here to harass remind her about nothing will change if she keeps running away. Dia responds she never ran away. Not now. Not then. When the school is doing community service picking up litter on the each, Chika gets an idea for their PV. They do a music video and mix it in with this communal work.

Episode 7
Aqours now ranks 99th! Not bad! The top 100 qualify for Love Live. Phew, right? Then they get mail for them to attend the Tokyo School Idol World Committee. They’re going to Tokyo! Ruby seeks ‘permission’ from Dia but is told she has already decided on what to do so what others say don’t matter. Then Dia confronts Mari about the idols going to Tokyo. Mari tells her Dia could have stopped them if she wanted although Dia is more concerned if they should fail. If the worse may come to worst, then there’s no avoiding it. So here Aqours is at Tokyo. A bunch of country bumpkin at awe with the tall buildings, the city life, getting lost, getting lost in shopping, etc. Then they run up the legendary stairs that Muse used to run up. Legendary like Rocky Steps? At the shrine on top, they hear the beautiful voice of 2 girls singing. The duo know all about Aqours and seen their videos. They know why they are here and are looking forward to it. From the way they sound, they’re like their rivals, right? And why do they have to look ‘evil’? To show Aqours what kind of bar is raised, one of them does an acrobatic somersault! Later Chika wants to visit Otonokizaka but Riko seems against it. Riko explains she doesn’t hate her ex-school. It’s just that each time she thinks of it, it’s like there are expectations to be met and all she did there was practice and in the end she failed. Chika on the other hand wonders what it’s like to have expectations. When people came to see them off, she felt happy and scared. It’s like she had to meet their expectations and cannot fail. Aqours are at the Dome where they will perform and the audience will vote to rank them. It seems Aqours will be one of teams to start first. Second, in fact. At the backstage, Ruby is still nervous and Yoshiko is still spouting her chuunibyou crap. Then they encounter those girls at the shrine again. You didn’t think they were idol rivals? They are Saint Snow.

Episode 8
Saint Snow goes first and we see their outstanding dance to the rock and hip hop mix. After that it’s Aqours. Well, we didn’t get to see their performance (to say that this isn’t their best?) but we see the girls a bit down and Chika forcing herself to stay cheerful and positive. When they are handed the results, they look for their name of course. Saint Snow ranks 9th. Hmm… Aqours not on the first page. Maybe the second page… Aha! Number 30th. Not bad, right? Well, there are only 30 teams participant. Damn. So how many people voted for them? Zero!!! OMFG! Ironically Saint Snow praises them for their performance. And then a reality check. Because they warn to give up trying to become like Muse. Love Live is not some game. You can’t brush that off easily when they say that with tears in their eyes. On the way home, Chika continues to remain positive and thinks they have done their best. Back home, their fans greet them. But when Dia comes to get them, Ruby lets loose her tears. Time for a little advice. Dia sees nothing wrong in their performance and they have certainly done their best. However there are 7,236 teams participating in this year’s Love Live. More than 10 times last year. The level of competition has risen sharply. Dia also reveals why her side cannot sing. Back then, she and Kanan pestered Mari into joining their idol unit in hopes of saving the school from consolidation. Mari was against it but eventually gave in. But after witnessing how awesome other groups are, it was their turn on stage and they froze. They cannot sing a note. That’s why Dia was against them forming an idol group fearing this might happen. And it did. Mari once more tries to convince Kanan but she continues to give the cold shoulder. Mari now breaks down in tears, wishing to take back those days of them together. Crocodile or not, Kanan is not moved. That night, Chika has a lot to think. Especially when You asked if they should disband. Next morning, Riko is shocked thinking Chika tried to drown herself! She was just thinking with the help of the sound of the sea. She has decided to continue being a school idol. Then she breaks down thinking how frustrating everything was despite trying so hard. Riko hugs her and is glad she is now honest with her feelings. Chika didn’t want to cry so as not to affect their morale. Riko assures they didn’t become school idols for her sake. They did it for themselves. Aqours renew their motivation and set their sights to improve.

Episode 9
Mari turned down studying abroad so she could continue being a school idol. However Kanan for the umpteenth time told her she is quitting. Even Dia agreed with her. Majority won. Aqours try to find out more about their seniors since they heard rumours from Dia that Kanan couldn’t sing that led to this mess. So in order to know more about what Dia said, everyone targets Ruby! The pressure! Too bad she didn’t hear much. They decide to tail Kanan. Hope they saved up their stamina because that girl can run without breaks! Then at the shrine, they see Mari stalking her again to come back and stop running away. Kanan is still stubborn and this time she gets serious. She doesn’t want to see her face again. Next day, Kanan surprises the school when she returns. Mari continues her harassment by giving her the idol uniform. She throws it away. If that is not enough, the drama grows with Mari clinging onto her like a leech. She’s never letting go! Dia can’t do anything as everybody is watching. Ironically it is Chika who tells them to stop this crap and come to the room to explain everything. Wow. Chika is so commanding! Even so, Kanan’s lips are sealed. She remains stubborn saying she couldn’t sing. That’s it. After she leaves, the rest are even more curious to know more. Now they turn to Dia. Get her! The big revelation as she reveals it wasn’t Kanan couldn’t sing. She chose not to sing. On that day, Mari injured herself. Despite Mari insists she could continue, could you imagine had they go on? It would have ended with something worse than an injury. Mari is not pleased her feelings were never sought. She turned down offers from other schools and had even everything all setup for their next idol stint. Dia adds that Kanan was always looking out and worried for her. She was worried they would rob her future and chance to achieve her full potential. Time for Mari to find that girl and slap her. Some past flashbacks as kids how they met and become friends. So time for them to settle it once and for all. Mari starts off that she too was thinking about her. Then the inevitable slap to release her frustrations. Because it was her own fault too for not being honest then, she allows Kanan to slap her. But Kanan signals a hug. Something they did as friends. Time to let out a big emotional hug. And now it is official. The trio join and complete Aqours. At the end of the practice, Kanan reveals their group was also named Aqours. Coincidence? Guess who gave this idea to the juniors? That writing on the beach. Dia has taken them for a ride too. You cheeky devil…

Episode 10
Summer vacation is here but Dia becomes the self-appointed manager to come up with training schedules for Aqours. She’s really into this. But with the neighbourhood association tasking them to work at the seaside café, there is no time for training. It is suggested that they work all day, using morning and evenings for training. Who says being an idol is easy? Chika suggests staying at her place and treat this like a training camp since they will save time on travelling. So after a little fun in the sea, it’s time to work on the seaside café. Dia again appoints herself as the manager as she delegates jobs to make their café more popular than their neighbour’s (which is raking in lots of customers). I guess they were decent but not popular enough to sell out their food and thus they have to finish them for dinner. Yeah, they have Mari’s expensive high quality seafood mix or Yoshiko’s whatever black balls… Tears of the fallen? Yeah, you’ll cry after eating that because it is spicy! The real drama begins when Chika overheard Riko’s family talking about Riko’s upcoming piano competition invitation. They are unsure because Riko has not replied. Chika discovers that the competition is on the same day as Love Live preliminaries. When Chika talks to her, Riko has already set her mind on Love Live. School idols have become a big part of her life now and is more important to her. Why do I have a feeling Chika is going to have the same déjà vu dilemma like Mari did? More Aqours training, working and improvising their cooking. Dia wants to give a history lesson on A-Rise but with Mito giving that stare, Chika quickly calls it a night because she doesn’t want the unthinkable to happen. This is what she actually said, “If we don’t cut the noise right now, the god of this inn is gonna pull my soul right out of my butt!”. Oh sh*t! Back to Chika-Riko drama. Chika has Riko play a piano piece of her least likable song. Chika likes that song. Read: She wants Riko to take part in the piano competition. It’s not like she is asking her to quite Aqours. She thought it would be great if she could go back and play piano again. Remember, playing the piano was important to her. Go on, Chika and the rest aren’t going anywhere. They’ll be waiting for her right here. The green light for permission to pursue her dream and an emotional hug. See? You can have best of both worlds.

Episode 11
Everyone sees off Riko at the train station. After that it is back to more idol training. They are impressed with Saint Snow doing well in their preliminaries but they have to worry about their own. So for idol training they have to clean the pool? I guess it builds up stamina and patience. When it’s time to practice, they realize they can’t start because Riko is missing for the opening gig. Suggesting someone takes her place, somehow everybody is looking at You. Unfortunately You continues to make mistakes all the time. This has You worrying. A much needed call from Riko to Chika as she passes on to everyone to speak to her. When it is You’s turn, her handphone battery is going to go kaput. Why does this always happen? With You obviously looking down, Mari talks to her and after a few cheeky face pinches, she advises her to just say her feelings and thoughts and not make the same mistake like she did. You had a chance to talk to Chika but didn’t have the guts. At home she is thinking of the various scenarios she can tell Chika but they are all dramatically lame. Then the much needed call from Riko to assure her that Chika is really happy to be with her and do her best for her sake. Scenes like these always make the character want to tear up, right? Get ready for more as You is already at tipping point when here comes Chika requesting to practice again with her. This time she thinks You should be dancing in her own way. You breaking down in 3, 2, 1… Let it flow, those tears. Then there is a narration why Chika wanted to become a school idol and nothing else. She didn’t want to shine all by herself and wants others to shine with her so as to spread the light that bring everyone listening to their music together. That way, everything will shine even brighter. Technically speaking. So we get to see Aqours performing as well as Riko in her piano recital at the same time. You can tell they pull off an amazing feat with the crowd applauding. Hey. Is Aqours doing the sign of Black Power? Fist in the air?!

Episode 12
Are you ready to find out if Aqours will advance to the next round? Let’s see… Who the f*ck is Izu Express?! Then they realize the list is by entry number. Oh look, Aqours is on the list! Hooray! They pass! Yes, oh my god indeed, Mari. Even better news is that their PV online is getting more views. But here is the thing that will bring them back to earth: Applicants for Uranohoshi this year is still zero! Oh God. It’s that dreaded number. So with lots of soul searching and thinking, Chika suggests they go back to Tokyo again to see what Muse has that they don’t. Back at the shrine top again, guess who is there again? Saint Snow. They talk and learn Saint Snow is following the footsteps of A-Rise. History repeating itself in a way? I guess Chika asked a stupid question so they have to tell her what else everybody enters Love Live for? To win, of course silly! Aqours then visit Otonokizaka and be awed by its magnificence. When a student of Otonokizaka (Hanayo?) learns they are trying to learn more about Muse, she tells them there is nothing left about them here. They didn’t want to leave anything behind and don’t need those things because their hearts will always be connected. Aqours pay their respect to the school. When they return, Chika has realized why Muse are so amazing. She believes Aqours shouldn’t be like them or chase after them. The amazing about Muse was how they went with nothing and make everyone’s dreams come true. Aqours should be doing things they want their own way. You suggests a hand signal for their group. It looks like an ‘L’ but from another point of view, I thought they look like a gun… Aqours jump with joy with that hand signal and their moto is from zero to one.

Episode 13
We see Aqours training in the summer as well as some of their usual antics. Oh, the number for their school’s open house is still zero. A few of their friends have noticed them practising hard so they talk about their love for their school. At first they thought that there was nothing they can do but after seeing Aqours trying their best, they too want to help out in any way they can. This has Chika thinking that despite hearing everybody saying they love this school and town, why does the number still stand at zero? No, it’s not that everyone is lying. It’s just that the message isn’t getting across. She believes Love Live is not an afterthought. Chika’s mom even returns to lend her support. Oh God. She is a typical anime mom because she looks smaller and younger than Chika! Enough to be her little sister! Aqours is motivated when the entire school wants in to help them out. Wait a minute. Do they not seriously think they can all just go up and perform on stage?! Riko had to break it to them about the rules that only registered members can go up there. Yeah, imagine if they bring the entire country… So we see Aqours having their backstage motivation before heading out to the stage for their regional competition. They start off differently because they are narrating their school’s dire straits and the formation of Aqours. Basically a dramatic summary of what has happened so far. Audiences must be confused if they are watching a play or a concert. Yeah, it lasted over 5 minutes before they get to the real singing and dancing.

Living On Love And Sunshine
Well folks, it looks like if there is a need for it, there is a chance that another sequel for Aqours would be possible. After all, they are going to become better than Muse, right? So what better way to follow in their footsteps and have another, if not more sequels. Because Aqours need to advance and win for our sakes, right? But that is for another time. As far as this spin-off sequel is concerned, personally I am not an idol fan so overall it looks and sounds the same to me. Just repackaging it in a slightly different way and mostly visually. Because it feels like an excuse to distract us that Aqours wants to follow in Muse’s footsteps and thus hiding the fact that we are watching the same plot and journey again but with a different name. Uh huh. Notice how their idol unit is set up just to save the school? How about recruiting members for the group? What about failing and falling back up? A rival to rival them and most important of all, doing their best to win the coveted Love Live title. So similar, right? Might as well rewatch the first 2 seasons of Love Live then.

As I would have guessed and told them from the start when Chika really wanted to become and follow in the footsteps of Muse, Aqours shouldn’t be striving to become like the best school idol group in history ever (for now) because Muse and Aqours are both very different to the core although on the surface they might look the same. Even if this entire storyline feels like going through déjà vu but in a different visual presentation, they are still very much different. Muse is Muse. Aqours is Aqours. They can use Muse as motivation but all Aqours needs to do is to become the best in their own way and pace. Because in that way if they ever become popular, people won’t compare them and say that they are only so because of Muse. That is like they’ve been riding Muse’s wave and will forever be in their shadows.

Well, I certainly have this weird feeling of seeing it all before but yet this season feels different. I mean, if it was completely the same, might as well take out my DVDs of the previous 2 seasons of Love Live and start rewatching them. You can tell the familiar pattern of how the girls are trying to form a new idol group and being the underdog themselves, it isn’t a bed of roses as they will face some sort of obstacle in their bid to win the coveted title. Which of course they’re still a long way to go the way this season plays everything out. Even the ‘completion’ of all the members joining and making Aqours as a whole feels like history repeating itself like Muse since Aqours got all its 9 members after 3/4 of the series. It is around that time that Muse too got completed like that albeit slightly earlier. So do you not think that Aqours is just Muse reborn in a different town?

Making this rebirth of Muse seeing more obvious are the characters themselves. Not only the fact that they have the same number of members, but somehow you could just feel that they are mostly the same characters. Just that they swap hairstyle, hair colour and personalities. And voila! You get a new set of characters for a new group. For example in the looks department, do you not think that Kanan looks suspiciously close to Nozomi? Just take away the boobs. Heh… Then there is the blonde halfie who wields a powerful position in school. Mari is half Italian and the chairwoman while Eri is half Russian and is the student council president. Then there is the joker type who was Niko and her Niko-niko smile, now we have Yoshiko and her fallen angel and chuunibyou crap. Shy girls are still around. If Muse had Hanayo, Aqours has Ruby. Next one is somewhat a bit different but I can think it is to fill in the ‘less feminine’ personality since Rin is a tomboy and they replaced that with Hanamaru the country bumpkin. In terms of roles, it is obvious that Chika is this season’s Honoka as the group’s leader and Riko is the Maki for Aqours since she is the one who only writes songs and plays the piano. Not forgetting the group’s outfit designer are Kotori and You. So do you see how they just swapped everything around and make it sound as though everything is fresh and new?

In view of this, there is not much for me to comment on the girls of Aqours since like I have said, they feel familiar but yet different. But if I want to point out my ‘favourite’ one, it would be Yoshiko because she is a funny girl. Yes, she has a screw loose in her head but she’s funny shamelessly doing her chuunibyou in the middle of public. That’s Yoshiko being Yoshiko (or is it Yohane?). Just like my ‘favourite’ one for Muse was Niko. Because she’s funny. What? You don’t think liking a person because she is funny is not a valid reason? But it seems ever since Aqours became a whole, Yoshiko as the funniest character seems to be taken over by Dia. Uh huh. I believe she is the one that had undergone the most ‘drastic’ change in character among the Aqours members. At first she was very prideful to the point that you’ll be convinced she is just a strict b*tch. But after the issue with her friends are resolved, her funny side shows up and it’s like she can usurp Yoshiko as the comic relief character. Seriously. Then there is Mari too who acts like some sort of stalker to Kanan before and after. Do best friends stalk each other like that? I’m not sure if this is a running joke because Riko is shown to be afraid of Chika’s dog. This phobia seems to be more comical than the phobia of some of Muse’s members. Because Eri was afraid of the dark and Umi was afraid of public performances. So each time she is at her house, it’s like there is this ‘showdown’ between them if it is going to happen or not. When it does, all hell breaks loose as Riko will be running for her life from this canine demon.

Saint Snow is looking to be the destined rival for Aqours although their appearance is just very minimal. It is easy to fall for the trap of trying to compare Saint Snow to their A-Rise counterpart but I believe that on the outside their roles may look like they are similar, we do not have enough information to conclude much about them. Yet. Unless you’re an ardent fan and know everything there is to know about this series. I’m not. Sorry. Is it me or do idol units need to have so many members or just minimal? I thought there would be more members in Saint Snow but it seems there are only 2 of them. Heck, even A-Rise had 3. Yeah, I know. It’s not about the numbers but the quality of their performance. Well, this dismisses my hope to see any one on one showdowns between the rival groups. What the heck am I hoping for?!

Seeing that this is an idol theme series, music plays an important ingredient. Unfortunately I’m not really into this genre so I’m just watching for the sake of ‘nostalgia’ since I have watched the previous Love Live seasons. There are lots of insert songs but none of them really makes my heart jump like the one Muse did, Start:Dash! In fact, that is the only song that I like a lot in the entire Love Live series. Nothing after that comes close to this. So the ending theme, Yume Kataru Yori Yume Utaou sounds decent and lively. It is perhaps the better song for this season if I am forced to pick which is the best song I like. Of course this song has many versions as they are sung by the different mini units of Aqours in addition to the one that is sung as an entire group. The opening theme is Aozora Jumping Heart. Typical idol song but not anything to my liking.

The casts behind Aqours are also a relatively bunch of new seiyuus making their debut or only have minor cameo appearances as background characters in other animes. So we have Anju Inami as Chika, Shuka Saitou as You, Rikako Aida as Riko, Aika Kobayashi as Yoshiko, Kanako Takatsuki as Hanamaru, Ai Furihata as Ruby, Arisa Komiya as Dia and Nanaka Suwa as Kanan. Only Aina Suzuki as Mari has ‘more’ roles than the rest like Shiori in Joukamachi No Dandelion, Kondo in Sansha Sanyou and Tokiko in Bishoujo Yuugi Unit Crane Girls. It is rare to here Kana Asumi these days so it was quite surprising to hear her here as Shima. Kanae Itou also plays a part here as Mito but I didn’t recognize her. Apparently I found out much later that Nana Mizuki and Rie Kugimiya also made their cameos as Riko’s mom and Chika’s mom respectively. Their dialogues are so minimal that I didn’t really get to hear them properly at all. Or maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention…

The art and drawing remain bright and colourful, consistent with the previous seasons of Love Live. After all, they were produced by the veteran studio, Sunrise. So don’t expect to see any big changes in the artwork department because you’ll still have your happy-happy idol girls smiling all the way. Also, they use CGI when the girls are dancing on stage. Although not perfect and you can easily tell this is more 3D animation instead of 2D, at least the difference is not so obvious that it makes watching them perform unbearable. Yeah, at least not robotic. After all, you have to put in some effort if you want people to believe in and be attracted by idols in the thing they do best. You don’t want to fail in this all important visual area, right?

Overall, if you are still into the idol genre, this one should appeal to you. Even more so if you are a fan of the original Love Live and you’re still not over their ‘breaking up’ or ‘end’ and need something new to revitalize your love for the group and brand. Okay, I made that up but if you really enjoying cute and kawaii girls jumping up and down with perfect choreography and synchronicity donning cute and kawaii idol outfits, this series is just like any other idol genre you would expect. Well, I’m not really sure if all-girl group idols are on the decline because recently I noticed there are more reverse harem music genre series coming out recently. From B-Project to Tsukiuta to Magic-Kyun! Renaissance to Dream Festival and don’t forget the Uta No Prince-sama that already has 4 seasons. I don’t want to start a gender idol war or which side does it better but as long as their music can captivate the heart, I’m all for it. Let’s hope Aqours will make their dreams come true before the popularity of idols dies out. You know how fast the rise and fall of idols, right? Out you go if you can’t keep up with the pace. At this rate there will be as much idols there is in Japan as there are stars in the sky. I know there’s a pun somewhere I can make and connect with this… And the chances aren’t zero…

Show By Rock!! Short!!

October 21, 2016

The only reason I can think of that Show By Rock!! Short!! is shown as a TV short of 3 minutes per episode instead of being released as extra DVD specials is because of the second season that is to premier the following season. And thus what a way to refresh our memories of our cute band of furries in short and cute episodes that probably has nothing to do with any storyline in the series. You know, you do lots of heavy advertising with outrageous gimmicks and publicity before the main event, right?

Episode 1
Egg head Tokiko Shirosugawa (Maple in drag?) is interviewing Plasmagica. The quartet introduce themselves as well as their instruments. Tokiko then has everyone stand up and show us their butt. Actually just to show us their different cute animal tails. Cute, right?

Episode 2
Shingan Crimsonz is resting after a bath. When Crow realizes there is a ping pong table, the rest get revved up and highly motivated for a challenge. Playing doubles, Crow is left to fend for himself since Aion isn’t interested. Crow thinks he is going to lose at this rate but Rom’s manly advice gives him hope again. The intense game with ridiculous smash moves continues. I don’t know how it becomes a football parody as Rom and Yaiba combine their moves for the greatest smash. The ping pong table broke but the ball bounced back to their side. Karma?

Episode 3
Criticrista is Tokiko’s host this time. Rosia’s extreme moe cute act is making Tokiko cringe like hell. After a short introduction of each one of them, Tokiko has them demonstrate their other special non-musical talent. Like Tsukino having pitch perfect and Jacklyn an athlete. You might have guessed Rosia as she tries her extreme moe cutesy act again. The cringe is strong. But for you guys who love such girls, KAWAIIIIIIII!!!!!!! Lastly, Holmy is supposed to demonstrate her ‘hellish’ training but since they ran out of time, Rosia even ends the show on Tokiko’s behalf. The cringe is still strong…

Episode 4
A period drama now. Aa is training fine and her swordsmanship exceptionally. But her egg master tells her soul has no fun. She wanders around town to look for an answer and stumbles upon Un who is playing her shamisen. Aa gets embarrassed and leaves. She trains harder that night. Next day, she sees an egg ruffian harassing Un. Aa challenges him but the egg dude cowers and runs away. To show her gratitude, Un wants Aa to follow her.

Episode 5
Who will be appearing on Tokiko’s show this time? Trichronika! These guys are so cool that they might even steal Tokiko’s heart! Oh wait. Shuuzou’s charm might just be doing that. While Tokiko recovers from their awesomeness, they cut to commercial. Once she regains her composure, she has Trichronika reveal their plan. They are touring the galaxy with their concert. Although they will be away from Midi City, Shuuzou assures all their concerts will be broadcasted live. Shuuzou’s charm continues making the killing as he also ends the show. Kyuun~!

Episode 6
The period drama continues with Un letting Aa try playing the shamisen. Aa becomes interested and finds it fun so Un will gladly teach her in return that Aa teaches her courage. The ruffian returns bringing his buddies to exact revenge. A small cat daruma doll rolls by requesting for water. After Un gives it, it bloats up into a huge doll, crushing the baddies. The grateful duo want to know her name. Darudayu. And that was how Tsurezurenaru Ayatsuri Mugenan (TAM) was formed. Really?

Episode 7
Shingan Crimsonz is the next guest. They make their entrance via some singing. They get a little restless with Tokiko using the wrong choice of words to describe them. But irking Rom even more was how Trichronika’s ad was played during it all! So we see the guys having problems introducing themselves. Rom has to restrain his violent side while putting up a nice front, Aion is nervous as hell, Yaiba is taking too long and when Crow is too wild and loud, Rom blows his top and beats the hell out of him. I guess it is true that’s why they are the rowdy boys of BRR.

Episode 8
Criticrista is roped in to do a commercial for Spa Resort Midicians. We see them in a storyboard meeting and Rosia suggesting her direct cutesy act to appeal to the masses. Then there is the costume fitting moment whereby Jackyln’s idea of putting flowers around made them look cuter. On the day of the filming, Tsukino knocks herself out with all the ice creams, cakes and desserts (I WANT TO EAT THEM TOO!!!). Finally we get a peek at them being filmed as well as the final ad released.

Episode 9
Trichronika is at the backstage practising their dance moves before they head out to the stage for their performance, which is to teach everyone how to dance the basic box step. Everybody is so sparkly. Everybody is so cheery. Everybody is so happy. Wowee! I guess to girly for Rom to even stand watching as he furiously switches off the TV.

Episode 10
Tokiko is now introducing TAM. Because Darudayu is in her cat daruma, Tokiko is trying hard to hide her laughter. Even after the short commercial break featuring TAM promoting some health food, she still can’t stop sniggering. Her laughing sounds like a pig. That is when Darudayu reveals her true body and in such magnificence has Tokiko bow down before the goddess! Once she returns back to her doll, Tokiko doesn’t remember why she was bowing down in the first place. Too awesome to retain your memories?

Episode 11
Criticrista is being given a special lesson on coyness. Because Rosia is such an expert on this topic, she gets up and demonstrates with full confidence her specialty. She is so good that not only she takes over the teacher and teaches more about it to her band mates, the teacher is also learning a lot from her!

Episode 12
A high school setting. Rom is the new transfer student and is called out by Crow for a fight. They are about to get going when here comes the seemingly powerful Shuuzou. Immediately Rom is interested in fighting him thinking he would become the best if he defeats him. What about Crow? Easily defeated with a knockout punch. Rom and Shuuzou prepare to showdown but it is abruptly cut. To be continued? You got to be kidding me. Thankfully Plasmagica quickly corrects this and to look forward to their next season. So sorry, this fight isn’t continuing.

Pre-show Promotion
You don’t expect much from such shorts, right? After all, it is just serving as appetizers before the main course. You’ll laugh at the silly antics with the familiar characters. You’ll have fun with them for a short while. But nothing really more than that. Therefore fans of the series or at least viewers who have watched the first season would know how to appreciate the shorts better compared to some newbie who just jumped in although each short is independent of each other.

The only weird thing I find about the shorts is that Plasmagica who is supposed the main star of the series do not appear except in the first and last episodes! It is quite the irony, right? Unless this is some hint that they won’t be the main group in the next season or if the shorts are to give the other bands more screen time since Plasmagica will be hogging the second season. So it feels a bit odd that the main group is almost missing from the entire season. It’s like that Suicide Squad movie but the fan favourite character, Joker gets only minimal screen time. Well, assuming he was supposed to be the star of the show but you get the point. So I suppose Plasmagica is then relegated to doing the ending theme, Do Re Mi Fa Party, a super cute and lively rock piece that you would expect them to play.

Overall, this short is just as its name suggests. Also, a promotion to get you all hyped up before the next season starts simply because lesser shows like these need a little introduction instead of jumping out with a full second season that would make viewers jump up and say, “WTF. I didn’t know this anime is back”. That kind of reaction. At least for me. Even though music was saved in the previous season from an unscrupulous megalomaniac, music business is still like show business. The show must still go on for better or worse.

Hey, wait a minute. I knew Hibike! Euphonium was going to get a sequel but I didn’t expect they came out with it so soon. Or is it… So okay, it isn’t anything about that series but are they trying to make another ‘competitor’ for a high school symphony theme? However that is just what we assume when we read the setting of Haruchika ~Haruta To Chika Wa Seishun Suru~. Once you start watching this series, you will find how strikingly different it is. This show isn’t even a musical setting. Yes, it does involve a group of students of a high school band but that is where the similarity ends. This is more like a detective show. Say what? So put away your musical scores and instruments and instead put on your thinking caps because it is time to solve baffling mysteries of the high school from a bunch of kids who have too much time playing detective instead of practising their music. Hmm… Maybe they have got not enough members to play a proper symphony. Or they might be just too damn good either that they have time to poke their noses in other people’s businesses. What’s music got to do with it? They should have joined a detective club instead…

Episode 1
It is Chika Homura’s first day at Shimizu Minami High School and she wants to get a new start when the volleyball team bugs her to join them! She was once on a team but doing menial chores. It was tiring and she didn’t want to waste her youth like that. She thought of joining the wind instrument club to obtain a cuter persona and even had grandma bought her a flute. She meets the club’s teacher, Shinjirou Kusakabe and is surprised that her childhood friend, Haruta Kamijou is also part of this club. Apparently Chika was a big bully towards Haruta but she would have him not remember all that. The club currently only consists of 5 members. The others being Keisuke Katagiri the president and twins Kae and Sae Asahina. Thank God I’m not seeing double. But there is already an incident in the music room. Music notes written on the blackboard with red paint. There is also an ambiguous note left for Kusakabe. With the kind of white flowers next to it, they think it is a dying or revenge message. Since Chika is so blur on everything (like yours truly), Haruta explains that the music notes could be some sort of music cryptogram. Like that Art of the Fugue in which Bach hid his name inside the musical score. As they can’t figure it out, it is back to practising more music. You know Chika sucks at playing the flute when they comment she should be practising alone first. Chika doesn’t mind since she would get some private lessons from Kusakabe. I see…

Back to the music case, Haruta continues to decipher if this is some sort of substitution cipher code but it wasn’t. Time is up so they have to clean up the board. Chika decides to take a picture of this and send it to her mom. That is when Haruta notices something. He realizes everything and has solved it. It uses a simple code that combines notes and numbers to identify a letter based on a keyboard. The message is a personal love message to Kusakabe from a graduated student pouring her feelings into this message that she was unable to tell him so. Kusakabe had already deduced it a long time but as for who that student is, I guess it is best we respect that privacy. Chika never thought unrequited love could be so painful. Haruta thought he could figure something out on Kusakabe’s secret. He was a successful conductor who went overseas but when he returned to Japan, he gave that all up. He only came to this school last year to become a music teacher. Chika thought she could be early to the music room for once but Haruta is already there. Haruta believes Chika likes Kusakabe and the only reason why she joined this club. And then this disturbing thing we all find out because Haruta also hints he is in love with Kusakabe! OMFG!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Unbelievable! This is the weirdest love triangle ever!!!!!!!!!!

Episode 2
The wind instrument club is handing out flyers to get new recruits. When Chika is pushy towards Miyoko Narushima, the latter is not amused and slaps her hand. Haruta knows Narushima is an accomplished oboist and wants her in the club (in their bid to have more members and compete in the Nationals at Fumon Hall). But something went wrong and she stopped. As they try to hear her out, they become her gophers to do errands. However she is still not opening up. Talking to her friend, Mayu Nishikawa, they find out the reason Narushima quit playing the oboe: The day she was at the Nationals last year, it was the same day her little brother Satoshi died. He was hospitalized for a long time and when his condition took a turn for the worse, Narushima may have felt guilty she wasn’t there in his time of need. They pay a visit to her house and she is not really keen on welcoming them. Inside her room is a cabinet filled with puzzles that her brother loved. Haruta wonders if she had solved them all. He doesn’t think so. Not in her current state because she is carrying a burden that can never be lightened and she is doing it alone. They can help her overcome it but she kicks them out. Before that, she gives them a Rubik’s Cube. This is one which she could never solve. Because all its blocks are white! She gives them a time limit to solve it but of course she is sure they can never solve it.

The days pass and go and they seem nowhere near in solving this mystery. On the penultimate day, Kusakabe hints something and soon Haruta knows what it is. This puzzle is not punishment and was made out of love. They call Narushima to solve it with them. She narrates how Satoshi loved puzzles and she used to spend time solving them with him until she joined a band. She believes this unsolvable puzzle is his punishment for her for abandoning him. Haruta explains that this scrambled message no matter how they unscramble will always return back to square one. He never told her a solution because he wanted her to step forward from this scrambled state. With the girls holding Narushima down, Haruta then starts painting different colours over the cube to make it look like a real Rubik’s Cube. This cube is a message left by Satoshi for her to keep moving forward and to paint her own pure white world in her own colours. Shortly when the paint dries, a layer starts to peel off. A hidden message is revealed after they unscramble it. Satoshi congratulates her for solving it. Narushima becomes emotional. Soon she picks up her oboe and as promised, joins the club, much to Chika’s delight.

Episode 3
Chika is probably sucking at her flute again and thinks another personal lesson by Kusakabe would suffice. But Haruta sees through her plan and suggests calling a specialist flute instructor to start from scratch! Boo hoo! Later Chika spots Haruta and Narushima helping the drama club since the club’s president, Shunya Nagoe is Haruta’s classmate. Also on this club is someone Narushima knows, Maren Sei. He is Chinese-American and wants to leave the drama club. She is baffled why she ended up in this club since he was a good saxophonist. Narushima is really concerned that something went wrong since his dream was to become a famous saxophonist like his father. Nagoe thinks she must like him. She didn’t deny… They agree to find a way to help him and have all parties happy. Haruta shows Chika an album Maren’s musician family have produced. If they don’t look alike it is because Maren is adopted. Maren looks through his suitcase supposedly left behind by his real parents. Something about a little brother and being abandoned. When Haruta has finished writing his story for Nagoe, the latter rips it apart! This has them start insulting the other’s club and thus it is decided an acting battle on stage to see whose club is better. Haruta will have Chika and Narushima on his side while Nagoya will have his star actress, Yaeko Fujima AKA Maya and Maren as well as handicap. The competition will be an unscripted play called Exit Game. Basically in the situational act they will have to try to convince a member of the other them to leave the stage (Narushima and Maren in particular) and the opposing team trying to prevent it.

The act starts out with the 6 of them as counterfeiters hiding in a base until the time limit of the statute limitations expire. So we’ve got pretty weird improvisations from both sides in trying to make or keep the other side from getting off. Like Haruta bringing in a little doggy and Nagoe accusing one of them to be an undercover cop. Then there is the time difference on their watches but Haruta mentions both times are correct. Because one time is Japan’s and the other is Suzhou, China. As the statute expiration doesn’t apply outside Japan, they’ll be stuck forever this way. But one of them is unrelated and can go free. Because of the earlier situational drama, the dog turns out to be a guy in disguise and this makes Maren the unrelated party. He can go home to his family. Maren disagrees his family is not in Suzhou. Flashback remembers he one day got a letter from his real little brother. Everything he was trying not to think about became reality. Haruta and Nagoe further reveal the combination code on his suitcase has a double meaning when said in Chinese. It is a message left by his real parents that he was not unwanted and that they always loved him. There is nothing wrong having 2 families and 2 homes. This entire drama and game was just a big elaborated setup to tell Maren this. Once again Chika got taken for a ride. Maren accepts this and leaves the stage. The wind instrument club won. End revelations reveal about China’s one child policy and despite Maren was their first born, he had a leg disability. Thus he was given up for adoption in hopes the new family would find a cure for his leg.

Episode 4
Maren joins the wind instrument club and now it has more members too. But they’re playing on the rooftop since the choir club is using the music room. A person pops up that makes Haruta shiver. Who is she? Minami is his sister. This architect is furious how disgraceful her brother is. Apparently he has been evicted from his apartment as it is being demolished and now he lives next to the school’s chicken shed. The chickens are his pets?! No wonder Chika is blowing her top too. Minami wants to take him to scout for apartments to rent and when Kusakabe offers to let him stay with him, you can hear Chika screaming at the top of her voice. No way is that going to happen! Chika agrees to help Minami find a room for Haruta and drags Narushima to help her. They learn a reason why Minami is scary: Her driving! Thank goodness they make it out in one piece. They go through a list of apartments for rent and find one which is quite suitable but the realtor mentions it has a problem: It is haunted. Narushima getting the goosebumps… Yeah, it makes Minami’s driving seem so harmless now, eh? They check out the place and meet the owner of this building, Amano. Apparently his uncle was the original owner but the nephew now inherits it after he died and put his name on his will that was written on the blueprint. But Amano says he intends to sell the place because of the inheritance tax and the only way he could pay it is by selling the building. Of course it is tough when it is rumoured to be haunted. Amano further explains his uncle loves to play pranks and it irks everybody because his pranks were really elaborate. Amano used to laugh with him with all the pranks but as he grew older, the responsibilities of society got to him. Burdened with debt of failed ventures, Amano eventually lashed out at his uncle when he played a prank on him. Their relationship was strained then. He thinks it is punishment for him to inherit this building since his uncle had a son and daughter. Other than this building, Amano also inherited a giant key to a sixth room. There are only 5 rooms in this apartment.

After they leave, Minami explains about vernacular modernism. In architecture, it means designs on house based on traditional beliefs. Therefore the haunted rumour which is believed to be the ghostly sound of a monk’s staff could be just vernacular modernism because what makes you think it is such a sound in the first place other than you beliefs. Haruta didn’t find any luck renting a house and he thought he could stay at Kusakabe’s. Fortunately or not, Maren called and offers a place to stay and even join his family for Christmas dinner. It is then Haruta hit an inspiration as he researches on the year 1982. Then he calls everyone from his club to witness this architectural miracle. He has Minami find a small slot hole and drop a coin inside it. Sounds familiar? Then they go look around for a keyhole. Yeah, there is one that fits this big key. As Amano turns it, a secret compartment opens and 500 Yen coins come flooding out!!! Haruta explains the will is a treasure map and this entire building is a huge piggy bank. The sixth room is a gap between the walls where the coins are. This is what made that ghostly sound. 1982 is the year these coins were introduced. With this much money, Amano can pay off the tax. So why did his uncle do it this way? Probably to surprise him. Later Haruta’s friends help him move his stuff into this apartment.

Episode 5
Akari Gotou sneaks into Shimizu to find Haruta. Seems Haruta has got a reputation for being a detective famed for solving mysteries. There is a mystery she needs him to solve regarding Elephant’s Breath. It is supposedly to be a colour but there are no samples of it. After displaying her exceptional trombone skills, Gotou starts explaining. Apparently her grandpa who was thought to be dead is now found alive albeit dying of a disease in a hospital. In the past, grandpa and grandma were to get married but he wanted to go to America to study arts. He saved up and went there in 1966 and despite the promise to come back, he never did. At that time she was already pregnant with his child. Visiting him in his hospital room, there are lots of paintings. From the way he acts with Gotou, Haruta can tell he has amnesia especially no memory of his time in America. Standing out from these paintings are 3 identical paintings of an elephant sleeping in a jungle. The only difference is the sky colour: Yellow, orange and black. Grandpa claimed to have seen Elephant’s Breath but each time Gotou interrogates about it, he dodges her question and turns into a senile old man. Gotou considers him a selfish fraud and wants to get that old guy to apologize to grandma for all the suffering. She thinks he is taking advantage of grandma’s kindness. On the topic of Elephant’s Breath, the famed novelist, Rudyard Kipling popped up. There is a story about an elephant escaped human captivity and had a chain around its leg. Other herds refused to accept him. One day he met a lost baby elephant and took him in like his own child. Many years when the baby grows up, he asks about the chain in which he replied it represents his sorrow, a curse he is burdened with. The baby then broke it to free him. When they show the paintings to Kusakabe, he immediately tells them to stop investigating this. Of course they can’t, right?

I’m sure visiting the elephant at the zoo won’t reveal the colour of the Elephant’s Breath, right? The answer isn’t going to be so obvious. When Maren notes that during that period when America was facing riots from the African Americans, Japanese students were also caught in it and perhaps grandpa was seeking a safe place to sleep and since Lincoln Park is free, he might have done so and thus the paintings. Then it hit Haruta. When they go question grandpa again, the same answer and act. Gotou gets emotional now so Haruta tells grandpa to stop his acting. He knows he hasn’t been having peaceful sleeps for a long time. He has post traumatic stress disorder and being tormented by nightmares and flashbacks for 40 years. Grandpa did get caught up in the riots, lost his money and when he tried to get back on his feet again, he got swept up in another one. Grandpa reveals Elephant’s Breath isn’t a colour but the breath of a sleeping elephant. Because a peaceful resting place isn’t something you find yourself but something that’s offered to you. Gotou reconciles with him. Much later, Haruta apologizes to Kusakabe for carrying on. Kusakabe can see he has realized what has happened because Haruta too is bearing the burden of depression. Explain? As elephants in zoo sleep inside shelters, for grandpa to get this close to paint one means the elephant is in the real jungle. That jungle is a safe place in a hell zone on Earth. Grandpa was sent to fight in the Vietnam War. It seemed Japanese students were conscripted to fight. One might be familiar with the defoliants America used in the war. Agent Blue, Agent Orange and Agent White. Despite the name, their solutions were actually yellow, orange and black respectively. Depending on when they are sprayed, that was how the morning sky would have looked. Now that Gotou has heard the entire truth, rather than worry if he is the only survivor or killed many, Chika tells her she still has a job to destroy the elephant’s cursed chain by playing her trombone.

Episode 6
Aside Chika trying to recruit more boys into the club and convincing Haruta to date a girl other than her (?!), she shows him a picture that there is a shadow of somebody sneaking into their clubroom. Each time Chika thought she was earlier, somebody was there earlier. Coincidentally they never meet. A spring mirage? When some wind instrument club members scattered all over the school start playing an ensemble, Chika notices one unfamiliar sound coming from the classroom. Could this girl be the mysterious person? Realizing the club had a broken clarinet they go to check it only to find it missing. Taken for repairs? Apparently everybody else except Chika knows who that girl is: Naoko Serizawa. She is pretty famous. Her grandpa is a Diet member, her father owns a construction company and she is on her way of becoming a pro musician. However she hates concert bands. The talk about Serizawa taking makeup exams recently when she used to be tops. From her sudden fall in grades, her troubles following up on conversations, avoiding classmates and counselling sessions with Kusakabe, Chika is still bent on going to talk to her (despite being warned many times about their difference in level which might leave Chika more than getting burnt). Oh, here she is. Instantly Chika hugs her and tells her to join the club! Serizawa knows all about the club and especially Chika. Because her car almost rammed into her outside the school gates one day but thankfully they missed. Chika easily forgot about the situation because the butler gave her a bun as compensation. Anyway Serizawa declines to join. That is when Haruta tells everyone to be careful where they step. He believes she might have dropped something and snuck in at several times to look for it. She took and repaired the clarinet as thanks in case they ever find it. It is one of those rare times Chika realizes what is going on. She knows Serizawa’s issue after connecting all her recent problems: She lost her hearing.

Chika chases her down to talk to her. Serizawa reveals she is deaf in her right ear (from a volleyball accident) and lost her hearing aid in the clubroom. Thus it is hard for her to pick up conversations unless it is a quiet place. Chika’s ingenuity has her create paper cups so they can communicate easier. Back at the clubroom, Haruta hopes Serizawa would forgive them. Although her hearing aid is found, somebody stepped on it. Crushed. Yeah, Serizawa fainted! In the infirmary, Chika creates multiple paper cups for everyone. Serizawa reveals she picked up the clarinet just to get out of her broken home. Any instrument would do in fact. She also knows the club’s aim to play at Fumon but she breaks the bad news to them they can’t because they lack the minimum 30 members. Of course they can play symphonies for smaller bands might do the trick and Kusakabe has the ability to do that. Even so, they’ll be at a disadvantage compared to those with maximum 55 members. She wants them to go for category B instead and use this as experience. She questions Kusakabe’s decision of quitting conducting but yet still teaches music. Because music is all that he knows. Same for Serizawa. It is the path she has chosen and she believes the same for this club. That is why she apologizes she cannot join them yet. Haruta asks about losing her hearing aid in the music room. She was checking out the drums and timpani to see if they are working since her childhood friend used to play them and wanted to use it as motivation for him to go back to school. So when Chika came in, she panicked and bolted out. After Serizawa leaves, Chika is still gleaming because there is still hope to recruit Serizawa in the future.

Episode 7
A girl tunes into a midnight radio to seek advice because she wants to die. But those old farts start talking about drinking sake and getting drunk. With the new term and Gotou joining the club, they watch a real band rehearse and were blown away by their gap difference. This motivates them to practice more but Kusakabe puts the brakes on it because he warns them if they don’t do well in their tests, he will have to cut their practice times. I guess this means Chika has to work hard, eh? She starts out great but soon loses motivation… She tunes into the radio to help study better. She enjoys this life advice programme until she realizes one of the callers is Haruta and is indirectly saying something about Chika! It is no wonder she kicks him the next day! He too listens to that radio. He explains the radio programme is a mystery since nobody knows where it is broadcasted from and has been on the air for around 2 years. With 7 elderly people giving life advices, it feels like this radio is coming from a hidden village straight out of a Japanese folklore. Chika saw a girl, Misato Asou running away from the student council president and refuses to get involved. But soon the student council president tells the club about their slashed budget (because their club achieved nothing). If they agree to help catch Asou who is from the geology club, he can help negotiate to increase their budget which is allocated to the geology club but they refused to accept it. And yes, everybody wants Chika to be their representative and she too drags Haruta into this.

As explained, Asou is the president of the geology club that currently has 8 members. They mine precious stones in Japan. Although precious stones are not common, they can still be found but this means trespassing private property. Because they sell their stones to a local university, that is where they get their funding via reward. They won’t accept the school’s funds because they hate school. Many of the club members are truants who won’t go to school except for the club. Asou managed to get them to join by barging into their homes. All but one, Hiyama, agreed to join her club. This year they found and even more valuable precious stone believed to be a blue topaz. But a strange message from Asou said she has found it but pretended she didn’t. So as the club members find Asou, Chika and Haruta enter the geology club but Asou already ran. They notice she too listened to the same radio programme. Haruta has done more research prior to it. That Hiyama guy is Kaiyuu Hiyama, a host of the radio programme. Haruta believes Asou’s message is she might have discovered the hidden village. Her pursue of the topaz must have led her to that place, an unregistered retirement home. Asou turns herself in when Kusakabe gets involved. Haruta guesses that as she tried to protect a colony of her own at school, there was also a boy the same age trying to protect his own colony. Asou brings them to see Kaiyuu at his home. He admits to running the radio and the old sages are old people living who have a fall out with their families or nobody to talk to. They just let them stay in their annex nearby. They started a radio show as Kaiyuu’s dad helped someone in the past ran a radio service. Asou returns the topaz to Kaiyuu as apology for trespassing (that is how she found out about their identity) and thanks for the sages’ advice for a silly girl who decided not to take her life thanks to their stupid advice and lost the will to die. When they tune in to the next programme, the old sages want Kaiyuu to return to schooling. They remember he played the drums and timpani. Sound familiar? Serizawa’s friend? Chika gets a bounty message from Asou that if they take him in, their club will get all their budget. See how money motivates to nab him?

Episode 8
I think I’m seeing a pattern… Kaiyuu now joins the wind instrument club. Chika is surprised when Serizawa would gladly give her personal flute lessons all day. The catch? She needs her help in stopping her aunt Kyouko who is coming to this school to be interviewed by a shady guy named First Love Sommelier. And Chika has to drag Haruta into this… Serizawa explains her aunt lives in Australia and will come to live with her in Japan after she graduates. Kyouko visited her a month ago and hired a local detective to trace her first love. Although she knew where he lived, his current whereabouts are unknown. The detective agency then sent her a provocative postcard questioning if her first love was real. They suggested Sommelier who researches about first love. This research lab is also a club at Shimizu run by Tooru Asagiri. Another weirdo? You bet. Serizawa is not too happy Kyouko is going to get her first love appraised by Asagiri. She disagrees with Asagiri’s theory about first love and memories, the reason why when people confront their first love many years later, they are shocked by the gap between reality and their memories. This club researches that by removing false and exaggerated elements from the memories by trying to reproduce exactly the circumstances of that time. In short, using fragrance to evoke those memories. Kyouko then explains her story. Her first love had something to do with onigiri. She was 19 years old and was lost in the forest and stumbled upon the Forest Brotherhood. Animal people? Please not she is talking in metaphor. She met and befriended this bear guy, Venganto and they make and deliver onigiri for the other Forest Brotherhood as well as the birds. One day Kyouko tried to taste an onigiri but Venganto became mad and attacked her. She was exiled from the group and they were never heard of since. Asagiri has completed an exact duplicate of the onigiri. Kyouko tastes it. Although she finds it different, she thanks Asagiri and rushes out. This makes Haruta wonder if this appraisal had another objective besides recalling her memories since it is confirmed the onigiri is perfectly accurate.

Late that night, Chika is surprised that Serizawa wants to crash at her place. She has forced Haruta and Asagiri to come along too. They will be heading to Hanamaki early in the morning because that is where Kyouko told her she will be going. So is that where Venganto is? The kids arrive at Hanamaki first and wait for Kyouko. She arrives and is surprised to see them here. Serizawa pleads to Kyouko to go back as nothing good will come in seeing Venganto. From the way Kyouko talks, Haruta could guess that Venganto is no longer in this world. As they drive to his grave, Kyouko explains that Venganto and the rest of the Forest Brotherhood all died of the same illness. At first she was looking to find her first love’s whereabouts and when she learnt he died, she got greedy and dug deeper only to find out things she shouldn’t know. Kyouko became scared when she realized the odds of succumbing to the same illness and that is when she got a postcard from Asagiri for this idea. Had the onigiri had the same taste, it would mean the Forest Brotherhood would be eating them and their cause of death buried in darkness. Thus the onigiri Venganto served her and the birds were normal while he served poisoned ones to his brethren. Hence on that day Venganto was trying to stop Kyouko from eating a poisoned onigiri and protected her by throwing her out, without telling her anything. As for why Venganto killed his comrades remains a mystery but it could have something to do with vengeance, the meaning of his nickname. And there might be some guilt he couldn’t live with that he had to kill himself too. Kyouko asks Asagiri for her first love appraisal. It was the real deal. Kyouko apologizes to her niece for worrying her. She was afraid of dying because she wanted to live with her. Serizawa gives her a hug.

Episode 9
Kusakabe collapses as he coaches the wind instrument club! OMG! Though it is not life threatening and just from overwork, you bet our students (especially Haruta) are calling for heads to roll when they find out he is also overseeing Fujigasaki Academy’s concert band. Iwasaki and Matsuda apologise but they claim their usual teacher, Sakai is suspended. When Kusakabe heard about this, he offered to fill in. Apparently Sakai is a righteous man so there must be something wrong if his suspension is still not lifted and even more perplexing is that he refuses to say anything. Haruta, Chika and Kaiyuu visit Fujigasaki and the room he used to teach. They claim Sakai’s behaviour before his suspension was weird because he changed the students’ sitting 3 times. They also meet the student teacher, Yuka Oogawara. Fujigasaki is her alma mater and Sakai was her homeroom teacher. Back then, she was a delinquent and didn’t exactly graduate from Fujigasaki. She broke some school rules and dropped out instead of getting an expulsion on her records. Sakai was the only one who stood by her side but at that time she found his zeal annoying. She said horrible things and stormed out and hasn’t talked ever since. They move on discussing the seat arrangements. Nobody knew why except the class rep and she too didn’t tell anyone why. The noticed the class rep being moved about throughout the arrangement and the final one like as though she is being protected by other girls from a stalker? Matsuda remembers Sakai had her lend him her handphone as he only uses the viewfinder looking around the class. No photos were taken. It is deduced there was a peeping tom. The culprit was nicknamed Asmodeus.

That student since last year has been uploading images of school girls online. Although the faces cannot be seen, you can identify the girl by her uniform. Class rep was first to noticed and more pictures were uploaded when summer came. Kaiyuu gets more information that the camera used was infrared. It has 2 specialties compared to an ordinary camera. It can take pictures in the dark or see through light clothing. Seeing how thin the summer uniform is, could it be pictures of what is underneath is being taken? Thus the seating changes could be Sakai’s challenge to Asmodeus and class rep was the decoy. Normally everything would have ended if the culprit is identified and reported. But the baffling thing is that Sakai covered up for Asmodeus and he is still suspended. It is believed Asmodeus is female. They go talk to the class rep who mentions she wanted Sakai to get an apology and a promise from Asmodeus never to do this again but Sakai refused her and never told her why. That is when she reported to the principal and he voluntarily took his suspension. Asmodeus is hinted as the girl who recently didn’t come to school and this might be Sakai’s way of making her reflect and repent her actions. The gang return to discuss what is it so risqué that Sakai would go so far to protect. Then it hit Haruta. Oogawara has always been wearing a suit even though it is summer. She does take it off when it gets hot like when the air-cond was broken last week. Then she too realized. Apparently Oogawara had a yakuza tattoo on her back and Asmodeus used this as her trump card. All Sakai wanted was to protect her and give her a chance as she is his former student and only regret. Oogawara now knows what to do in not let Sakai keep protecting her anymore. She is going to give her final lesson to those 2 students. Subsequently Sakai’s suspension is lifted, Oogawara thanks and apologizes to him. He promises to keep a student teacher spot open for her.

Episode 10
Chika saved a boy falling from his apartment so she is a little injured. What scares her the most is that she won’t be able to play in the district qualifiers today. But after Serizawa takes a look and treats her minor injuries, it is nothing to worry about. Kusakabe has something to do will be running late. Luckily Shimizu’s turn will be in the afternoon near the end. They are here early because many of them are making their debut and it is good for them to have some exposure. Sakai offers them to use their practice room since Fujigasaki will be performing early. Because Haruta is not around, Chika goes to look for him and bumps into a freelance journalist, Takuya Watanabe. Despite Watanabe is confident Shimizu will easily progress to the next round, ironically Chika is not confident of their own chances. Watanabe’s true goal is to interview Kusakabe because as one of the most talented conductors, he suddenly quit his job and vanished. If he could directly talk to him, he wouldn’t have the need to go through his students. Chika doesn’t like the way he disrespects Kusakabe but before Watanabe can stop her, Haruta trips him. It seems he has found a lost giant Tibetan mastiff dog. A man pops up to claim he is the rightful owner. And so does a little girl. Watanabe is amused in seeing a modern day Solomon judgment and will watch how this unfolds. As part of the bet, if they manage to identify the correct owner, he will write a story about the dog.

Unfortunately Haruta too wants to claim this dog! He claims he is living alone and wants it as companion. So unless they can show proof it belongs to them, he won’t have it over. While the man seems to have convincing proof and alibi, the girl is feeble and shy. She doesn’t know a lot of things. They check the dog’s collar to find a lock and a name on its collar: Pie Simata. The man shows proof his friend’s name as Shimata as the previous owner but the girl also mentions Shimata is her mom’s maiden name. Unfortunately she doesn’t know mom’s telephone number. The man shows further proof that he unlocks the lock with the password. But Haruta easily does too because everyone knows the value of the pi is 3.14. Haruta is suspicious of the man because Haruta had found it for quite a while so this might give enough time for the man to create proofs. He warns him what he is doing is amount to a crime. But the man also knows Haruta and Chika are in some regional qualifiers. Why did he not hand the dog over to the police or animal control? He can report them to their school and organisers too. Just when time is up because practice session is about to start, here comes Kusakabe telling them not to give up. He talks to the girl who reveals her parents are divorced and since dad got custody of her, she gave her the dog. It is also revealed mom named it from a character from Lewis Carroll’s back. It sounded hard to pronounce for her. Jabberwock. Haruta then connects the dots. He borrows Chika’s mirror and Pie Simata reflects to be Atami2 314. It could be a dog licence ID number. Looking it up at the register might reveal the address of her mom. So the dog is actually a direction left behind by her mom. The girl gets custody of the dog and the man is nowhere to be seen. Watanabe is impressed and decides to leave them off the hook today. He also gives the girl contact information of the animal control. The rest talk about the cruel effects of parents breaking up but Serizawa is here to pick them back to the hall for practice.

Episode 11
Under Kusakabe’s guidance, Shimizu’s wind instrument club progresses to the next stage. Serizawa and Katagiri argue about tuning an out of tune piano with Kusakabe’s help when this lady, Makoto Yamanobe challenges Serizawa to a bet. Serizawa starts playing the piano without using the out of tune keys. Makoto then takes out her melodian and beautifully plays a piece. Noticing her unusual melodian, she introduces this custom made clavietta from Italy. Kusakabe has business with Makoto but he cannot talk in front of his students. Haruta is jealous that the duo are close together and wants to expose this vixen since Makoto’s late grandpa was Kusakabe’s teacher. So with Chika and Serizawa they go to eavesdrop what they are to talk about. Seems her father dabbled in real estate and lost money. He is trying to auction off grandpa’s imperial Bosendorfer piano for millions but there is a problem: Its key is missing and without it, the piano will lose its value. Grandpa left in his will that the key was with her. Of course she has no idea and all she got was the clavietta. Makoto has disassembled the clavietta many times but never found any key. She is still very bitter of all the things she had to do after grandpa’s death like kowtowing to others on his behalf many times. But the worst of the lot was Kusakabe’s sudden disappearance from the symphony.

Later Makoto catches the trio eavesdropping. She explains about the custom made clavietta so she could adapt her sweaty fingers to play the piano. However it seems that Makoto never went pro despite all the chances. She questions Serizawa’s reasons to go pro and knows about her hearing problem. She believes Serizawa wanted to go pro because she might want to reach a place where she can focus on music alone, her own musical Eden. Next day, Makoto disassembles her clavietta again to show the kids. They examine the ivory keyboard but she claims it is made of some other material that makes maintenance hard work. She adds this clavietta was grandpa’s sympathy for her. She once lashed out at him for only allowing Kusakabe to touch Bosendorfer and in exchange he swapped the clavietta’s original keyboard with an ivory replica. Because Kusakabe has grown kinder these days, she believes whatever words left by grandpa on the clavietta, she won’t read it. Then it hit Haruta. Makoto cannot see very well. He has noticed her name card had a cut corner so she knows which the front side is. Also, she couldn’t recognize them when they were caught eavesdropping. Makoto explains her disease that weakened her eyesight. Gradually she couldn’t read and even music notes anymore. That is why she sympathizes with Serizawa. Haruta knows where grandpa’s last words are for her. If she notices a bumpy side of the clavietta, it is actually Braille. She reads it as it says… “I lost the key”. She laughs out loud and realizes grandpa is so himself till the end. In the aftermath, the lock on Bosendorfer was dismantled and its keys were all taken out and replaced with ceramic. The ivory keys were put on her clavietta.

Episode 12
When Haruta sees Kusakabe just finished talking with the guys from the Hamamatsu Symphony, he pretends to talk to them to get more details but they cannot say anything until it is official. From their reaction, Haruta can tell Kusakabe is being scouted to join their symphony. If that happens, this means he might ‘abandon’ them and not be able to perform with them at Fumon. Chika wants Serizawa’s honest opinion about the band. This is her brutally honest reply. If you ever wonder why a band that is so bad that makes everyone listen uncomfortable, proceeds this far in the qualifiers, it is because of how awesome it is to Kusakabe bringing them together as well as some of the very good ones like Haruta, Maren, Narushima and Kaiyuu. When Kusakabe is about to begin his usual practice, his baton breaks. This startles Chika as she thinks this is a bad omen. But what startles everyone is how Chika reacts to it because normally she wouldn’t give a damn. Haruta advises Chika to play it cool or else everyone will find out. The class then chips in to buy a new baton for Kusakabe. Can you imagine Haruta and Chika arguing which baton to buy and if that is not bad enough, who should be the one to give it! When they spot Kusakabe, the duo tail him and believe he is on his way to Hamamatsu. Haruta plans to tell Kusakabe not to go despite that offer is a good one. He also wants to tell him his feelings because if not, he will have regrets if he leaves. When Kusakabe leaves on a stop before reaching Hamamatsu, Haruta starts connecting the dots on why he was late on that qualifier day and the day he abruptly disappear from his symphony.

They tail him to a graveyard and Chika’s clumsiness gave them away. As Chika explains their thoughts, Haruta notices the date on the gravestone is similar to those incidents. Could it be somebody’s death anniversary? He then tells Kusakabe to accept the offer since he told his students they have their own lives to fulfil. It should be the same for him. Just when you think Chika is going to dramatically confess her feelings, it is actually a confession that they don’t have enough money to get home! Oh Chika! Later Haruta tells Chika why he didn’t stop Kusakabe. Although there is no way they could tell what happened, Kusakabe is at the crossroads right now of whether to move forward or not. This qualifier might be the last time he performs with them. And here we are folks, Shimizu’s band performing with Kusakabe and we get to hear for the first time the entire symphony. In the end, they end up getting bronze. Oh shucks. Indeed it is the last time they’ll perform together. Everyone is so sad and depressing, blaming their own shortcomings. But leave it to Chika to cheer them up that it is not bad since they have come this far. More motivation with encouraging words from Kusakabe. After all that is said and done, Chika goes off alone to cry. At least she has Haruta to cry with her. But all that is blown away with a good news. If you’re wondering why Serizawa wants to come home with them, it is her way of saying she is joining the band. Finally. Katagiri announces the retirement of the seniors and will appoint a new president to spearhead the club. Everyone thinks Chika would be the next president and so Chika jumps the gun, excited to give her speech. Then Katagiri announces Maren as the next president. How embarrassing…

Nothing Says Springtime Like High School Detective Work
Basically in a nutshell this is the sum of my feelings watching this series. I expected it to be like Hibike! Euphonium but instead I got Hyouka material instead! Music and mystery solving. What an odd combination. Yeah, it never goes hand in hand here anyway. I assume that this is the series’ ‘cliff-hanger’ at the end because we still don’t know if Kusakabe is going to stay or move forward. We know it just wouldn’t be the same anymore since if we ever get another season, there’ll be new faces, old ones ‘retire’ and a whole new brand of dynamism that could be for better or worse. Who knows? That is a mystery we will leave for another time. As far as this season is concerned, if you want a refreshing break from the ubiquitous and typical setting of high school themes like super power action, slapstick comedy, harem comedy, fanservice comedy and/or pure drama romance (believe me, the romance here is just a paltry distraction. A little more on this later), maybe a little detective mystery might give the grey matter a little variety.

Shows like this once more give me mixed feelings on whether to classify either good or bad. In my case it is always somewhat in between because of a few factors. For instance, let us look at some of the mysteries and detective work. Now, each of the mysteries (if you could call them that) are interesting in their own right and the pacing was reasonably well enough that got me interested in listening and paying attention to every word they say as they work towards a way to figure out the mystery. Unfortunately for a person like me who is not well read, it takes out the enjoyment in figuring out some of the terms that cropped up. No doubt that they do explain what that term is but unless you are well read and well knowledgeable like Haruta and Kusakabe, most of us would be like Chika, lost and feeling what-the-heck-say-that-again-please. Therefore if you intend to fully enjoy this series without feeling stupid, you need to have a certain amount of knowledge and this isn’t just restricted to the music world. As seen, it covers a wide range of topics.

Since this series is mostly drama and that there will be a lot of talking and yes, I mean lots of them because many of what is said in speeches would be the clues that Haruta will eventually piece together and figure the whole thing out. So like I said, if you are like me who isn’t well read or knowledgeable, I find myself straining my ears and giving my utmost attention just to listen and make sense of what they are talking. I was trying to understand and perhaps piece together the puzzle. Unfortunately that never happened. Haruta always figures it out for me. I’m not saying my level of understanding is bad but it had me concentrating so much and yet I didn’t understand or get close to a solution (heck, I never came up with any solution), it just feels a bit frustrating. Even more so that many of the answers to the mysteries are just, well, simple. Not that all complicated. In a way, it sometimes feel a bit disappointing that after all that build-up and clues to the mystery, the answer behind it all turns out to be just average. Sorry, no solutions to mysteries that would unlock the secrets to the universe.

And very sorry too, if you are expecting some sort of musical setting or at least learn something or two about the music be it the instruments or musical history, you would certainly be mostly disappointed. At least Hibike! Euphonium and K-ON! had something to do with music. This one here feels like just a diversion. It does have a few musical points too (as part and in relation to the mystery) but not that in a way that one would think, “Hey! That is a great musical tip!”. I mean, it could have been any other club. It could have been a sports club solving mysteries, it could have been an art club solving mysteries, it could have been a science club solving mysteries using the power of science, it could have been a maths club using the calculations of numbers and mathematical science to solve and debunk any sort of problems. But I had a feeling they chose a music club because I am assuming nobody would see this coming. Nobody expects music lovers to be great detectives, right? Sure, there. There is your surprise factor.

Thus it just feels that the setting of having the wind instrument club trying to head for the Nationals feels more like a distraction and a side story to the mystery main dish. Because every episode feels episodic. Like a standalone. While it is great that in each episode there is a new mystery to be solved and breathes new interest for each episode, it lacks the continuity that might have made it even more epic. What I mean is that I was hoping that all or most of the mysteries would actually be connected and be part of a bigger puzzle. You know, maybe like Sakurako-san No Ashimoto Ni Wa Shitai Ga Umatteiru (ugh… This anime…). But then again, maybe that sort of big picture mystery won’t suit the setting of this series anyway. So who cares if Chika plays the flute or Haruta plays the horn because f*ck, you can’t even remember or care what the other members play. And even if you do remember who plays what, I’m sure we wouldn’t care how good they are because we know everyone else is good except for Chika who should be better off being in the volleyball club in the first place ;p.

Therefore when you have a show shown in that way, the characters suffer from potential development. It is expected that Haruta and Chika will hog the limelight because, heck, they got their names engraved on the series. But as for the rest of the other characters especially the other members in the wind instrument club, they feel forgettable. It is like they do not matter at all. Like Katagiri or even the twins. Aside from making up the numbers for a symphony, I don’t see how they contribute to the proper flow of the series. And I find it quite funny that after every mystery is solved, a new member joins the club. At least in the initial episodes. Like as though the reward for solving the mystery is for the central character involved in that series to join the club once their case is over. Come to think of it, so does this mean that solving the mysteries is actually part of a bigger conspiracy to recruit members into the band? And I am pretty sure that there are more members joining the club from time to time because I noticed there are extra minor background characters who don’t even matter, never had any dialogue. That’s what you get when you have a big band although Shimizu’s isn’t exactly a fully symphony either. No screen time privilege for those who are unimportant. Yeah, reminds me of Hibike! Euphonium in a way.

So aside from the side characters like Serizawa, Narushima and Maren who all have their own set of problems but quickly solved and relegated to become assistant detectives in certain episodes, the main characters in focus are Haruta, Chika and sometimes Kusakabe. Even so, their characters are not deeply fleshed out and you’ll be more focused on the mystery at hand while each passing episode throws you a little bit and pieces of information about their past but not enough to form anything conclusive. Especially Kusakabe who is the series’ biggest mystery because we are reminded of how he suddenly gave up his prestigious job to do something mediocre like teaching (at least from his profession’s point of view) and that biggest mystery still bugs us right till the very end even though we are certain as ‘exposed’ in the end that somebody important to him passed away on that day. A person so important that could make a man with a secured future and one of the most coveted job in the world to just walk out. We’ll never know exactly the reason why and Kusakabe isn’t the kind who just talks freely. Sometimes it gets on your nerves that you want to know more but there is all there is to it. So wait for next season to find out more? If they had one.

It is not the first time that a young boy is being gay and secretly loves his teacher and I am sure you’ll find such relationship setting more common in yaoi genres but as for this one, it might be the first. It was shocking at first and even if there were gay relationships, usually they are of the same age. Because if the older one targets the younger one, won’t that be like paedophile and a shotacon? So with Haruta having more than just admire feelings for Kusakabe, I can only imagine the worst if his dreams actually come true. Making the love triangle even odder is Chika having some hots for that teacher too. This minor love triangle feels silly and a little distraction but if that feels like the most character development you’ll get out of them. Even so, that isn’t much. So hopes of seeing Haruta x Chika since that is what this show is called and they even have their names in the title shortened to HaruChika? I mean, sometimes doesn’t it feel that Chika is like a tsundere? Being cold and rude to Haruta at times? I guess her dream and road to become more feminine is still a long way off. Or did she forget about that already?

Haruta is your typical brains of the team and Chika like the total opposite being the ‘dumb’ one just for comical effects. Like I’ve said, Haruta is so well read and knowledgeable, he is like the modern Sherlock Holmes as he could guess the answer after thinking for a while and putting all the puzzle pieces quickly. Like as though he is reading from a script. On the other hand, you have Chika with a bubbly personality acting like a joker like mispronouncing certain terminologies because of her lack of knowledge in whatever that mystery is associated with. But it is hard to hate her because of her enthusiasm and drive, it makes her even more likeable and funny. Really. Sometimes she gets lucky but at most times she is just being Chika. Never change, Chika.

While the art and drawing feels fine and sometimes looking quite good and sharp (nice scenic sceneries and especially cute looking girls, am I to complain?), I noticed that the eye colours of the characters attract my attention. All characters have this effect although it is more prominent in some like Chika. Let me see if I can describe it well. In Chika’s case, it feels like there are dual colour shades for her iris and pupil. It feels like her eyes are like, uhm, gemstones? There is this mysterious attraction each time I stare into her eyes. Like seeing the universe?! Seeing this series is done by P.A. Works, it is no surprise that they have animated lots of beautiful looking series like Angel Beats, Hanasaku Iroha, Charlotte, Shirobako, Glasslip, Another and True Tears. So perhaps sometimes if you find their character designs and artwork to be familiar to these series, this is one reason.

The list of seiyuus is a long one. It is expected since you have different characters for every episode for each mystery. But for the main characters, I only recognized Chiaki Omigawa as the twins. I thought she voiced both the twins but it seems she only voiced Kae. It seems Sae is voiced by a newbie, Emi Miyajima (Mayumi in Haifuri). And I thought they sound the same or is it because I didn’t care as I assumed it was the same person. The rest of the casts from the wind instrument club are Souma Saitou as Haruta (Aoto in Divine Gate), Sarah Emi Bridcutt as Chika (Yuki in Shinmai Maou No Testament), Natsuki Hanae as Kusakabe (Kousei in Shigatsu Wa Kimi No Uso), Asami Seto as Serizawa (Chihaya in Chihayafuru), Haruka Chisuga as Narushima (Kuroda in Shoujo-tachi Wa Kouya Wo Mezasu), Nobunaga Shimazaki as Maren (Shido in Date A Live), Nobuhiko Okamoto as Kaiyuu (Karma in Ansatsu Kyoushitsu), Yuki Yamada as Gotou (Shiena in Akuma No Riddle) and Seiichirou Yamashita as Katagiri (Takahiro in Walkure Romanze). Guest voices include Hitomi Nabatame as Minami, Junichi Suwabe as Watanabe, Misato Fukuen as Yaeko, Ayahi Takagaki as Makoto and Rina Satou as Chika’s mother.

The opening theme is Niji Wo Ametara by Fhana. It is quite a lively and energetic piece befitting the series quite well. If you are very well familiar with Fhana’s brand of liveliness in their anime songs such as the openers of Comet Lucifer, Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2wei Herz, Bokura Wa Minna Kawaisou and the ending theme in Sora No Method, then you’ll feel right at home hearing this piece. But personally, I feel this one is the best of all the anime songs Fhana sings since I could feel some sort of energetic motivation while hearing the song. The ending theme on the other hand, Kuusou Triangle by Choucho isn’t that bad either but after hearing the great opening, seems to fall a bit short. Don’t worry, it still sounds fine.

Overall, not a bad series but it needs a lot of thinking and patience. Some say it isn’t a great detective mystery material but hey, they are just high school kids and for their level they showed great potential. Hmm… Maybe this is a reason they put a high school setting so that you won’t expect and compare it on par with Sherlock Holmes? Heck, better than being Milky Holmes, right? Haha! Those are in a different league of their own. Even with P.A. Works now developing a reputation for producing visually breathtaking and beautiful anime series but falling short in terms of its story and character development, many remain sceptical and add this series to its ever increasing list. In short, still not its best work since, uhm, Angel Beats? I suppose. Is it so hard to write a good anime these days? Not even Haruta can solve this mystery.

You mean there is more?! I wouldn’t have guessed that there would be a third season but it wouldn’t be called Maji Love 3000% this time. Yeah, that would be over doing it. Instead, we have Uta No Prince-sama Maji Love Revolutions. Yes. The revolution. I guess things will go stale, get stagnant and be the same if you rely on the same ol’ formula. That is why you need revolution to spice things up and bring you to new heights. But for an anime series like this, I am already expecting more or less the same thing even though there were only 2 seasons before this.

Episode 1
Haruka is walking back to Saotome Academy in the middle of the night. A cue for each of the Starish members to get a little romantic with her and refresh our memories of how hot these guys are. Really. Like Otoya’s hug, Natsuki’s princess carry, Cecil kissing her hand, Ren closing up on her face, a waist hug from Sho (part of his acting stint), accidentally touching hands with Masato (to pick up his dropped piano scores) and a shoulder hug from Tokiya. Oh, how romantic… If that wasn’t enough, Haruka too has some sort of encounter with Quartet Night. From Camus riding his white steed into the forest (no sunset, though), some chat with Ai, Ranmaru’s patting of her head (just to pick up a sakura petal) and encouraging words from Reiji. Not forgetting the only other female in this series, Tomo gives Haruka a big girly hug as well as a souvenir as she has returned from Hokkaido after a shoot. If you can get through 2/3 of this episode which is just that, now here comes the supposedly plot of the series. Oh, not forgetting to introduce the teachers as well. The eccentric principal Saotome with his fancy exaggerated grand entrance, the transvestite Ringo and the macho Ryuuya. Saotome announces the international sports festival called Super Star Sports AKA SSS. This year’s host is Japan and they will grace it with an opening ceremony of performance. Quartet Night has been chosen to do that and Saotome wants Haruka to write a song for them. Everybody is darn excited about this, including our Starish guys. Till Cecil brings up this idea: He would like to sing at the next SSS. It makes the rest think. When will it be their turn since SSS is hosted by different nations? It could be an awful long time before it returns to Japan… So everybody runs down to Saotome’s office to bug him about wanting to sing at SSS. Sorry boys. If that is their wish, no can do. Do they understand what it means to enter SSS? REVOLUTION!!! What? I don’t understand!

Episode 2
Well, it seems Saotome has come up with a plan for Starish to revolutionise. He calls it cross-unit groups. So who will be their cross-unit groups? Oops, he hasn’t worked out the details yet. Check back later. Starish and Quartet Night fly off to some beach town for some promotional shoot. Of course our Starish will be paired with a Quartet Night member. Like Otoya and Tokiya with Reiji entertaining kindergarten kids. Reiji is so hot and cool that even young girls start falling for him! Then we have Ren and Masato walking around town with Ranmaru. That’s it?! What the heck is this for? When a street band is playing, Ranmaru joins in and attracts the crowd (and ladies!). If you think that is WTF, wait till you see Camus and Cecil booking an entire restaurant for themselves just to eat cakes for the filming. Of course some customers aren’t pleased with that but thankfully those ladies got charmed by Camus’ apology. So everything is okay? And I really lost it when Sho and Natsuki with Ai trying to find some haunted spot. WTF… Sho is a big scaredy cat… Despite these events give Starish a huge morale boost to impress Saotome, Quartet Night had to play their arrogant villain role to quit dreaming. They are not on par at their level. You want to bet they’ll not give up? Finally Saotome has got their cross-unit groups figured out. He pairs Otoya with Natsuki, Ren and Sho with Cecil, last but not least Tokiya and Masato.

Episode 3
First up on the focus is Otoya and Natsuki. They have received a direct offer from a legendary Broadway director, Gen Isurugi to play in his upcoming rock musical. Of course, Haruka will have to compose the main song. So the plot of the play has 2 princes of opposing personalities have to stop an impending war with their power of music and love. But after the first rehearsal, they got a ‘warning’ from Isurugi to do better next time. Depressed mode… Talking out with the rest to find out their problems, it is mainly because Natsuki and Otoya had to play characters that are opposites of their own natural character. I suppose the best way to learn one is to imitate another? That is what Otoya tries to do while he copies every of Tokiya’s moves. Every. Move. Like the Tokiya we know, he tells him copying won’t do and whatever that solution is, it is Otoya’s job to find it out himself! We’re not going to have the same for Natsuki because Sho is showing macho films of Ryuuya. But he acted out as the wrong prince. At the end of the next rehearsal, another personal note from Isurugi: Don’t overact. Just act naturally like yourself. Eh? What? Another downer… The duo work hard and their confidence boosted by who else but no other than Haruka who has written a song for them based on their ‘colour’ that will draw out their strengths. Therefore, the play is perfect that the duo have become such fabulous princes. Thanks to Haruka’s music too.

Episode 4
Because Haruka writes the song for the film, she gets to watch Ai, Sho and Natsuki act in it. Despite Ai being flawless, he doesn’t understand about emotions at all. Baffling isn’t it? Haruka sees Ai practising in the rain. And then he collapses! He is burning up. After putting him to bed, they see lights flickering in his eyes. That is when Ai reveals he is a robot! OMG! WTF?! We had some magic touch with Cecil and now they’re adding sci-fi?! He is made by Saotome who paid a lot to get his ideal idol created. But there is a bigger problem whether you want to believe Ai is really a robot. And that is the rain is draining his power and at this rate he will not make it. He can switch to low power mode but that would make him start overheating. Oh, the irony. Such sophisticated AI (I have a feeling why he is named so…) with lots of RAM to memorize and learn emotions in which he can’t understand but yet gets power down when exposed to rain. What kind of freaking logic is this?! Anyway, Ai manages to continue putting his best performance but once the director yells cut, he shows signs of wavering. I’m not sure how effective is when Haruka and the duo want to fan him dry. It will take ages! Then there is a talk between Ai and Haruka about emotions in which he thinks he must have made the right decisions since those ‘emotions’ resulted in the right reactions. But he did say the more he learns about it, the more accustomed he becomes to them. Isn’t that like a human being? There is a scene in which Ai dramatically collapses. The director thinks this improvised scene was damn good! But his friends no better. Ai promises this will not happen again but they are really, really, really worried it might be a lot worse next time. And the magical part of their concern somehow has Ai understand what it means. It makes him want to act some more. So here is Ai doing his solo singing for us as he wraps up the last scene of the movie. He finally collapses on Haruka’s lap but there is a big smile on his sleeping face.

Episode 5
Ren, Sho and Cecil will have to do a TV commercial for a Smartphone company. Of course with Haruka writing its theme song, the guys must also help choose its concept. Heck, I thought the phone company was being lazy and just throw all the work to them. So it starts out high with enthusiasm all of them discussing what the phone is supposed to be. Ren vouches for passion (Latin style?), Sho for strength (superhero style?) and Cecil for elegance (Arabian prince style?). But cracks begin to surface when they think their concept is better than the other and cannot compromise. Oh dear. The biggest bust up ever in the series? You can’t blame them for feeling the pressure for doing better after the smashing success of Otoya and Natsuki’s musical. They get a little advice from their friends and they start again their talks. Unfortunately it ended the same way. They’re not giving in. Dead end. When Saotome learns Haruka hasn’t composed a song yet because the trio are still in disagreement, he wonders if they should cancel the project. It wouldn’t be nice to the client if they cancel it last minute, right? And so Haruka is given until tomorrow to come up with a song or else he is calling the project off. So she gets to be put on the heaviest pressure? She goes to talk to the guys individually. They feel bad for worrying her. She doesn’t mind. They vow to work together. Yeah, basically the same thing 3 times over but in a different way. Haruka thinks deep about their connection now and then a spark of inspiration. She texts the guys the song she wrote. They love it. Now we get to see the final product of the Smartphone commercial that has them singing and incorporating all their ideas. Somehow I feel for a Smartphone commercial, the song is just too flashy like it was tailor made for a boy band. And besides, is this song supposed to promote the Smartphone but why do I see prominence given to our hot studs? Now you know why pretty models are always there in promoting gadgets, eh?

Episode 6
The world’s tallest tower is opening soon and you bet it is going to be Shining Tower! Since Camus is to perform on its opening, Haruka as usual must write a song. But that guy as usual is being the cold jerk and tells her only to come to him once she has written one. Cecil can even vouch how cold this bastard is as he lives with him. Despite all the odd requests, he does everything perfectly but yet never does anything earnest. After watching Camus in a programme that has all the fan girls screaming, Haruka requests to watch him work so she can write a song. His first order? Become his ‘slave’! And so Haruka is subject to odd labour especially making his perfect tea. Cecil is not amused and is going to give his piece of mind but when Haruka says it is okay, then everything is okay. Besides, if she accepts it, there is nothing everyone else can do. Haruka continues to be his assistant till she manages to write a song that will bring out the sincerity in him. But he shoots her down just after looking at her score! WTF?! Shell shocked! He also ends her assistance. This is the last straw for Cecil because it is as though he is making fun of Haruka’s music. But Haruka the good girl as always, blames herself instead. While everything seems to go smoothly, suddenly Camus ushers her to Shining Tower! Everything happens so fast that Haruka is probably in shock over the developments. And this guy starts singing Haruka’s song in such a sincere way that he brings everybody to their knees! OMG! I’m not kidding!!! Food for thought: I wonder how Camus knows how to do everything perfectly because if he has rehearsed a single time, I’m sure Haruka would have known since she was always with him. I know he is a genius and can understand things with just a look but you should look at all the choreography, stunts, special effects and exaggeration! Can a mere rehearsal make it so freaking perfect?! Like as though he did everything. So what gives for this? Answering Haruka’s questioning about how he sings in a sincere way, he is always perfect in every way without the need of going that far. But being sincere sometimes isn’t so bad.

Episode 7
Everyone is shocked when they hear Haruka explaining Ranmaru telling her to write an idol song for him instead of rock. He was a bassist in his rock band before they disbanded and he joined this agency. Then Haruka overheard Ranmaru turning down his ex-bandmate for a reunion. The story goes that the outdoor stage is going to be torn down in favour of the SSS stadium so the band wanted to reunite for one last time to play there. He turned him down because he is busy with another job. Haruka asks if he really had to give up his love to be an idol. Well, he can’t handle 2 jobs at a time. Ranmaru is seen training hard. Though it is commendable and professional, the rest feel like he is trying to forget his rock roots. I suppose he trained too hard that he got some ‘trauma’ thinking about his band. Haruka tries to wake him up but he got startled and accidentally grabs her hand. As she keeps bugging if he is fine not turning up for that concert just as a spectator, he tells her he can’t forgive himself. His friend wanted him to play together one last time so bad but he turned him down. He really wanted to go. But with all the work in Quartet Night, he can’t. He never understood things when his band broke up. After joining this agency and meeting everyone, now he understands what is important. He now has a place and won’t make that mistake. He will be an idol and forget his rock and past. Before Quartet Night’s photo shoot, Haruka has written a song for him that is both idol and rock. It is what makes him today. As the photo shoot consists of the members holding their instruments, the moment Ranmaru picks up the bass, he could feel the excitement. After it ends, he grabs Haruka’s hand as they rush to the final concert. Changed his mind, eh? And did he smile? Too bad everybody is already packing up. No matter. Ranmaru gets on stage and starts singing. So awesome that it draws everybody back! OMFG! It’s like they reversed time and the full crowd goes wild over his singing! At least he looks happier.

Episode 8
Otoya and Natsuki won an award for their musical. Ren, Sho and Cecil also won an award for the best advertisement. Now it is down to Masato and Tokiya. They will be performing at Neo Dream Music Festival. In short, the biggest and most famous shows around. The freedom to come up with what they want makes it harder for them so the guys decide to write the lyrics first. They are so perfect in sync that nothing could go wrong, right? Right?! Then this deadlock happened… Reading each other’s lyrics, hmm… Sounds cheesy… Back to the drawing board. Trying to change their thinking styles and even meditating under the waterfall didn’t do much. This deadlock has everyone soon worrying about them and it puts more pressure because as long as they haven’t got the lyrics out, Haruka can’t compose her music. Of course all they can do is to believe in them. Like always. Haruka then motivates them by telling how everyone has been supporting them in the background like cooking for them, etc. A song pops up in Haruka’s head when she looks at them. Then the words just came out naturally from their mouth. Soon they get it going with their lyrics. So during the start of the festival, needless to say that they blew everybody away with their talent. A fist bump for such awesome display from the duo. And Saotome is screaming “Revolution!” with delight.

Episode 9
Otoya and Tokiya help Reiji in a magic show variety. Otoya fails but because it was funny, the audience still had a good time. Haruka is tasked to write a solo song for Reiji but she would like to know him better first before she starts penning. So he takes her on a detour and summarizes his life as a performer during various stints since a young age before becoming part of Quartet Night. Of course they also talk about Starish who is growing and singing song that makes everyone smile. Reiji would also like to sing a song that puts a smile on everyone. Meanwhile Otoya practises his magic before the Starish guys. Still fail… Reiji leaves for a job overseas. He expected his fellow Quartet Night would be sad but you know those stuck up guys, right? No feelings at all… And when he is gone, they realize how quiet everything is. But I don’t think they will go as far as missing him. As Otoya and Tokiya helm the magic show, Reiji ‘usurps’ the show with his live broadcast. He could have stolen the show had he not stopped. At the end of the day, Otoya, Tokiya and Haruka are surprised to see Reiji back. His job went well and that live broadcast was just a pre-recording. So to say he predicted their moves?! Is he a psychic?! He steals the show from the guys again by ‘stealing’ Haruka so that he could let her hear the lyrics of the song. At the end of it, he says he didn’t expect her to find the real him. What does he mean? He confesses he loves her! OMG! After 3 seasons, this is the first guy who has the balls to confess to Haruka! But then he brushes it off as a joke and all is well again. Bummer. I guess that is why Quartet Night doesn’t take him seriously.

Episode 10
With Haruka needing to compose a song for SSS, she is whisked away for a special camp with Quartet Night. You should have seen this coming… As the opening concert will be a big thing, Quartet Night for the first time tries to work together with Haruka with suggestions. Normally they do not interfere with the songwriter and just sing the submitted songs. It goes without saying that with their varied personalities, they have different ideas. It is a surprise that they have worked with each other for so long. With no headway, they take a break with lunch. Can’t think without an empty stomach? That night as Haruka starts composing, she is met and chats personally with all the members of Quartet Night. As expected. Then when she plays her song on the piano, you can bet Quartet Night is going to say how awesome it is and how it fits who they are. Then we hear a demo of them singing to Haruka’s song. It is done. As SSS draws near, the people are being interviewed about it and many feel it is a shame that both Quartet Night and Starish cannot perform there as only a group per agency rule.

Episode 11
With Starish gaining more popularity, the baffling question still remains why won’t Saotome let them perform at SSS. You can tell some serious sh*t is going on when even Reiji himself is not being jovial. Why so serious, Quartet Night? They have returned from the trip but Haruka chose to stay back. They give Starish the CD of their SSS song they co-wrote with Haruka and warn if they don’t buck, they’ll take Haruka away from them. As expected, you can see Starish being blown away after hearing the song. They’re starting to worry now. But they put that behind first and attend an interview which covers their experience during their cross-unit stint. In the end, they always had Haruka to thank for (cue for flashback of personal moments with her in previous seasons). It makes them want to see her. They thought of going to where she is but look, she is just on her way back. Why so surprised to see them, Haruka? Why the heck do you need to say “Welcome back” 7 times? So happy that she is back that they start singing for her. They want to write a song for SSS with her. You don’t say because she already did! Isn’t that why she stayed back? Oh, you don’t have to say her name 7 times either. And you don’t have to praise her 7 times too! Amazed by her work as always, Starish gets straight to work. It is a sign that they work so hard that they just sleep where they stood or sat. So when Ringo comes to wake them up the next morning, everyone agrees to just let Haruka sleep. She’s the one who worked the hardest, right? When Haruka and Starish present their song to Saotome, he looks like he is so undecided that he is shooting beams out from his eyes!!! OMFG!!! Then he kills the mood by saying their revolution isn’t complete yet. That’s like saying no, right?

Episode 12
As expected, Starish explains how hard they have tried so they need to know why. Even Haruka pleads to Saotome but despite all that, he feels something is missing. Quartet Night enters. They have considered Starish good enough to enter and that it would be meaningless to perform without them. So they are giving the green light? Suddenly Saotome becomes ecstatic. Is this the true revolution he is waiting for? There is his passionate explanation about new replacing the old and not only changing themselves but others but I wasn’t listening. Because I was more amused seeing all those explosions, burning flames and light beams from all that!!!!!!! Saotome adds that Starish had already garnered fan mails (the number is still rising as they speak), petition from the web and social media. The only thing left was Quartet Night to stand up to complete the revolution. And with that, Starish is in. Later as Starish tries to thank Quartet Night, the latter of course want them not to get the wrong idea. They’re doing this for themselves. Despite saying there is no point performing without them, it is only so that they can prove why they are much better. It looks like they might be putting up a tough act because at the backstage, they realize how awesome the song Haruka wrote for them. They continue to practice hard. Apparently that wasn’t enough so they call Haruka to rearrange the score again. Not to say that the original one was bad, after hearing Starish’s song, their feelings have changed. They have tried changing the lyrics and dance but nothing that really stands out so they thought they would start with rearranging the song. So as Haruka works with Quartet Night, Starish also work hard in their practice till the day of the opening act of SSS is here. Is it me or do I notice the queue and the crowd consist of mainly women? Quartet Night is chosen to perform first. I can only hear the screaming of the girls’ voice as it drowns out the announcer’s voice when he is introducing them. I know, passionate crowd, right? I wouldn’t even be able to hear their song if they didn’t cut out all that screaming shortly after their performance begins.

Episode 13
Girls screaming. Girls swooning. Girls fainting. So awesome that everybody is blown away! OMG! Cool special effects?! Needless to say, they’re awesome. So this is not revolution but evolution?! Now it is Starish’s turn. Of course the inevitable backstage face off with Quartet Night. We’ve done our best. We’ve levelled up. We’ll go higher. Starish pays a little respect to Haruka about her words that their music will change the world, before they go on stage. And yeah, double high 5 with her. Each. Same thing. Girls screaming so noisy I can’t hear their introductions and initial parts of the song. But if you’re wondering why you aren’t surprised with their hit it is because we have glimpsed it as the ending song of the series. As expected, Starish blows away everybody. Even Quartet Night is surprised at their level and acknowledges them as equals. Before things could end, suddenly somebody returns to steal the limelight! OMG! Look who is back?! It’s Heavens!!! And they’ve brought back more members! 7 of them?! They sing their way into everybody’s hearts! Everything is so exaggerative! How the f*ck did they manage to get that heavenly arc prop on stage?! So awesome that they’re shooting beams at everybody! Shooting blue flames at everybody! Some even blown away by the ‘bomb’!!! OMFG!!! When they end, everybody is so stunned that the silence is deafening! Yeah, I think some judges ‘died’!!! OMFG! Then it is time to introduce themselves. Besides Eiichi, Kira and Nagi from the original line-up, we have newbies Eiji Otori (Light/Kira from Death Note?), Van Kiryuin (Aizen from Bleach?), Yamato Hyuga (Tamaki from Ouran High School Host Club?) and Shion Amakusa (Maximilian from Senjou No Valkyria?). They claim the world will be ruled by them. But of course. The crowd is split. Some are chanting Heavens. Some are chanting Quartet Night. Some are chanting Starish. Oh God. Hell on Earth will soon begin. Could this be part of a bigger conspiracy plan by Saotome and Raging?

Same Ol’ Revolution?
Guess what? With that kind of cliff-hanger ending and those 3 inevitable words… Apparently there is going to be a fourth season!!! Obviously. OMG! Does this mean I am obliged to watch it?! Well, if not for nostalgia… And if not because it isn’t complete yet and so I must finish it! Also because now that I know that reverse harem anime especially of the music trope isn’t my cup of tea (that is, this genre is not trending now for me), I am staying away from such genres. Because I haven’t watched animes that are suspiciously similar to this. Say, High School Star Musical AKA Starmyu. Yes, another group of hot guys singing. Or even Shonen Hollywood -Holly Stage For 49-. Or even Bakumatsu Rock. I wanted to say that these animes are not as popular as Uta No Prince-sama series and most probably they are but since Shonen Hollywood already had a sequel and Starmyu is going to get one, the force of singing handsome guys is still going strong.

But as far as this season is concerned, the entire third season seems to be close to a bore. Not that I am saying it is bad but there was nothing much to call it any different. That is why the only most exciting part where I sit up and actually take notice is Heavens’ surprising entry at the end. And here I thought even if they did pop up, perhaps it was to congratulate our eventual winners but who am I kidding, right? If you know these guys from last season, they are as arrogant as f*ck. And nothing has changed since except their arrogance level just gone up. For a group that has been missing for the entire season, only to pop up at the end and throw the spanner into the works is just amazing and yet shocking. Out of nowhere to come steal the limelight. Great job guys? Almost pull the rug from under everyone’s feet. So just when I thought the third season will come to a boring predictable end, here they shock us with this cliff-hanger. It is indeed a twist and perhaps the only revolution-cum-evolution that I can attribute to this season.

They call the change in Starish a revolution but personally I don’t see any difference. Maybe because I have always had this in the back of my head that since they are the main characters and that everything no matter how dire the straits (really?) will turn out alright for them. They will always be tops. Fans will always love them. Girls will always scream out their names. They can never get enough of them. Always. That is why when Saotome was screaming revolution and all that crap, I didn’t notice anything so different seeing they won the Utapuri Award last season and that already made them the most awesome of all awesomeness, right? Of course when you take into account their rising popularity on the internet, the people down in the streets and even their closest rivals, maybe this was the revolution that Saotome had intended all along. It is only the final episode that was the most amusing and had me laughing because of the exaggerated effects! Yeah, that one was a real killer. Yeah, those beams can kill! Just like cooking shows have their exaggerated reaction effects, I think this one takes the cake for this genre. Truly epic revolution-cum-evolution then.

The flow of the story remains the same as in previous seasons. Haruka as the only main recurring character in the series because all of the guys need her to conduct their business. And I don’t mean it in an ambiguous way. Please, this is a very pure romance show aimed for pure girls. And because whatever personal issues Starish had in the previous 2 seasons, Quartet Night takes up the other half of the focus. It isn’t all that bad but it does mean the roster is getting bigger and we can’t afford to spend a single episode for a single character. At least for Starish. So while each Quartet Night member will get their own personal time with Haruka, they ‘speed up’ the Starish members by putting 2 or 3 of them in focus for a single episode. Because like I have said, there is nothing more to tell about them so they put random filler-like events, a reason why they need to be with Haruka for that particular episode.

So with Quartet Night having more focus this season, we get to know more about them but nothing that really is revolutionary because from last season despite their cameos, we already know what kind of characters they would be. They hardly change albeit a bit because of, wait for it, Haruka. Yes, this girl is an angel. A miracle. A goddess. Not only is she the academy’s slave to write songs, but she manages to churn out hit after hit! I thought songwriters have their up and down days but this girl somehow can write good hits after another. And you know why I said that she is a slave is because Saotome is like a slave driver, entrusting her to write songs for very important and crucial events. Sure, there are problems but it is so minor that you don’t really see the big pressure on her. Do you not believe me when I say that I have not seen Haruka actually go under pressure? This girl is good. And where the heck are the other songwriters in the academy? Is Haruka so good that she can only be relied on to write good songs? Apparently. Saotome is one lucky bastard to have a girl like her. A golden goose. Speaking of Saotome himself, he is still quirky and all those flashy moves define his eccentricity. Still amusing to watch but it gets tiresome and it makes you wonder if he does all that just to get your attention. After all, nobody pays close attention to a boring strict old guy giving lectures, right? Other recurring characters like Tomo, Ringo and Ryuuya are around just because of the need to. Otherwise they don’t even contribute anything much to this season. I guess this means Natsuki’s dark alter ego, Satsuki didn’t make a single cameo. Yeah, was there a need?

On to Quartet Night themselves, I believe I have also said that nothing much is expected to change of them because they continue to remain the same obnoxious, stuck up, arrogant hotties that we would ever know in this idol world. It is like they’re putting up fake smiles before the camera and fans but behind the backstage, they are like conceited idols who think everyone else should bow at their perfect feet. At least for Camus, Ranmaru and to a certain extent Ai. Reiji could have been one too but I figure somebody needs to be the joker and clown of the group or else it would make the entire group look more spiteful. The only ‘shocking’ thing that I never expected was Ai to be a robot. This explains a lot but I guess when a series is based on a game of the same name, something like this should be expected for an element of surprise. Thus I was hoping to learn that perhaps Reiji was an alien who crashed on Earth, Camus the prince of an alternate world fleeing a war and Ranmaru a fallen angel!!!! OMFG!!! Thank goodness that never happened, right? I thought they forgot all about Heavens. Although I did have a hunch that they will make a cameo return somewhere in the middle (though I didn’t expect it to be at the final scene of the final episode).

The one thing that I had predicted but never came true is the fact that Starish and Quartet Night combine into one big group to perform at SSS. I mean, that is how you are going to satisfy all the fan girls and comply with the rules, right? Then we can name their newly combined group as… Starry Night!!! Oh yes! Think 11 hot men in a group is not big enough? Yeah, think South Korea’s Super Junior… I even had another idea that this group will ultimately combine with Heavens to make it even bigger!!!!! I had a hunch Heavens will make a comeback somehow but what caught me off guard is that I didn’t realize they will come back with more members! If they do combine, what better way to make your group even better by absorbing former rivals. But looks like nobody is combining to make into one super group like AKB48 and instead it has become a 3 corner fight to determine who will become the ultimate idol. And this time I can see how bloody it is going to be considering that the fans themselves have quickly divided into supporting their respective camps. Why can’t they just love them all?

To show important Quartet Night is this season, they sang the first opening theme for the first episode, The Dice Are Cast. You can also sample the awesomeness of their magic in the ending theme for episode 12 during the SSS opening act, Evolution Eve. Of course seeing this is Starish’s series, they cannot be left out entirely as the group sings the main ending theme, Maji Love Revolutions. And in all previous seasons, the main opening theme is also sung by Mamoru Miyano entitled Shine. There are also a bunch of insert songs from the cross-unit groups and solos but none of them and not even this season’s opening and ending themes could match the catchiness and greatness of the trademark song of this series that started it all, Maji Love 1000%. Yes, this is still by far the best song ever from all that I have heard. That is why whenever Haruka is said to have written better and much superior songs than before, I could only note the irony that is so because these latest songs don’t move me as much as Maji Love 1000% did.

Overall, unless you are a hardcore fan of the series and love the reverse harem trope, this season is yet another one of those fixes for you to swoon over your handsome guy. Otherwise, seeing handsome hunks battling out via singing feels a bit odd because you know, where is the machoism? You’re in the wrong anime then. Since the ending caught me off guard, I must mentally prepare myself not to fall into the same trap when the next season comes. This means I am making wild predictions as far as now to where our idols will go so as not to go into that ‘shock’. Therefore I am predicting there isn’t going to be just 3 idol groups but there will be a fourth one entering the fray too! Then a fifth! A sixth! A seventh! An eight! Oh yeah, the boy idol industry is going to be crowded with so many handsome boys jostling for screen time and fans’ attention. Then more rivals in the form of… Girl groups! Battle of the sexes! And at the end, they’ll all just join up into one big group, bigger than your choir and orchestra band combined and sing a song that unites the world. Sniff, sniff. Oh, I love the drama of it all. Hey, something feels wrong. Why do every guy here looks f*cking hot and handsome?! I guess there are some things that don’t need to undergo revolution and evolution anymore.

And so it is here. The third season of girls in high tech combat gear, singing their songs while in the midst of kicking ass cute and colourful but dangerous creatures that would turn you into carbon at the mere touch. Yes, people. Senki Zesshou Symphogear GX finally made the airwaves after 2 years since the second season ended. Oh God. That feels like an awful long time. And you know what this means for me. Forgetting a big chunk of what happened in the predecessors. Well, at least the fine details but overall I’m still okay. So what is new in this season? Well, if you consider a new enemy but with the same ol’ goal of destruction and the same ol’ singing technology to defeat them. Yeah, let the music save the world again.

Episode 1
Remember the pod that Nastassja ride up to space to sacrifice herself to save the world in last season? Well, due to orders from UN, they are to retrieve whatever technological remains and her corpse. The shuttle that retrieved it is experiencing malfunctions and is free falling from the atmosphere. It is projected to crash through the Mount Everest area. That is where our Symphogear ladies come in. In this exhilarating high speed action to stop the speeding shuttle, they had to cut a mountain in half! OMG! It is no longer one of the tallest mountains in the world! WTF?! And though it rips through a town, major damage is prevented when they successfully put a stop dead in its tracks. Phew. Thank goodness. As narrated, Genjurou and his team now head a paranormal disaster relief force called SONG under the UN. Hibiki and her friends continue their daily school lives. Kirika and Shirabe are also joining them as they are on probation. Everyone converges to watch Tsubasa and Maria’s concert live in London. Maria isn’t as free as you think she is. Thanks to her part in last season’s crime, she is also under some probation and forced to be a heroic idol putting on charitable concerts for a righteous cause so some parties could save face. After the concert, a series of deadly attacks occur. Genjurou quickly sorties the Symphogear girls. Maria is ambushed by Phara Suyuf who is an Autoscorer. Tsubasa comes to her aid. Hibiki is tasked to save the trapped people in the building that is caught on fire. After that, she is confronted with this witch loli, Carol Malus Dienheim. At first she thought she was a lost child but she then displays her alchemy powers and claims it will shatter the world and slaughter miracles. And there’s this tragic flashback about Carol’s dad being burnt at the stake under suspicions for practising witchcraft. His last words were for her to live on and experience more of the world. I hope she didn’t take dad’s words the wrong way.

Episode 2
Hibiki refuses to change because she believes her Symphogear is to help others and not fight. This only makes Carol mad. Chris faces off with another Autoscorer, Leiur Darahim. After Chris almost gets dropped by several yachts, Elfnein approaches her. She has been looking for the Symphogear girls to help her in her quest to protect the girl from Carol’s alchemy. Meanwhile Garie Tuman might look like a cute goth loli walking around. But be careful. She is sucking the life force out of others! Kirika and Shirabe who were told to hold the fort and not come into battle because they do not have suitable Gears and Linkers to fight, can’t just stand by and watch their friends fight alone. Hibiki continues to provoke Carol by not engaging in battle. She wants to know why Carol wants to fight. There’s something unclear about her being spied on an invasion of privacy but ultimately she says it is a task left behind by her father. Yeah, I think she really did get the wrong idea. Since Garie has collected enough memories, time to withdraw. Hibiki collapses shortly. Tsubasa and Maria escape but no matter where they go, Phara is always ahead. She can summon Noise to fight them. To everyone’s shock, upon contact, Tsubasa’ Gear starts to disintegrate. Similarly, the same thing is happening to Chris.

Episode 3
As Elfnein explains, those were Alca-Noise created to dissect the world. Kirika and Shirabe transform to retrieve Chris and Elfnein. Carol orders the other Autoscorers in the battlefield to withdraw so our heroines can thank their lucky stars they are safe for now. Maria is about to be taken into custody by the agents. She contacts Genjurou and wants to formally transfer to SONG. Although she doesn’t have her own Gear, she cannot remain a false idol in this crisis. Tsubasa also retires from her music business temporary to return to SONG. There is some explanation about their Relics but all I understand it cannot be fixed. With Ryouko gone, nobody knows how to fix them. The only Gear left is Hibiki’s. Kirika and Shirabe’s are not official as it put a lot o f strain on their bodies without a proper Linker and sync rates. Garie kisses Micha Jawkan to transfer all the collected memories into her and activates her to life. Carol believes Micha is their strongest fighter. Elfnein explains what she knows. Under Carol’s orders, she constructed some giant apparatus. One day she discovered it was supposed to destroy the world and fled to try and end her plan. Alca-Noise is originally based on a recipe for creating Noise and it can destroy anything including Symphogear. Thus, Carol’s next step is to construct a giant apparatus designed to turn that power on the world. Unfortunately, Elfnein was created as her homunculus and only ‘installed’ the necessary power and knowledge for the construction. She doesn’t have the specifics but she does know Chateau de Tiffauges is close to completion. That is why she has brought this Relic, Dwerg Dain that is capable of thwarting Alca-Noise and Carol’s alchemy power. Later Maria and Hibiki got into an argument. Maria views her as arrogant despite having the power to call forth Symphogear and yet she won’t use it. Garie appears before Hibiki and her friends. She is going to force her to fight by summoning Noise. But the most shocking thing is when Hibiki cannot sing! Gungnir won’t respond to her and this means she cannot transform. Yeah, even the enemy is freaking shocked-cum-disappointed with this development.

Episode 4
Garie is going to target Hibiki’s friends but one of them mentions not to drag them into this and that they aren’t her friends. It’s just a ploy so when Garie lets them go, they make a run for it. Garie sets her Noise upon them. Before Hibiki can be toasted, here comes Maria flying into the scene (thanks to Ogawa’s awesome driving). She grabs Hibiki’s Gear and transforms to fight and defeat all the Noise. When she is about to face Garie, she is at her limit and reverts back to normal. Garie is so disappointed that she just retreats. Although Marie is bleeding from overstraining, Hibiki snatches back her Gear and screams it isn’t supposed to be used that way. This is her Gungnir and she is the one who is supposed to use it. Wow. Did she wake up on the wrong side of the bed? Well, maybe. She can’t sleep that night since she is in a dilemma about her songs her people so Miku has to assure her that her songs don’t. Her friends even think if Hibiki remembers the reason why she couldn’t sing, maybe she’ll sing again. Maria, Kirika and Shirabe visit Nastassja’s grave and they want to be stronger. Elfnein tells Genjurou and the girls about her Project Ignite. Theoretically putting some alchemy into their Gear to have a fighting chance. The greater the risk, the greater the reward. Alca-Noise is detected. Micha leads the Noise chasing after Hibiki and Miku. When Miku is cornered at an abandoned building, she makes a last plea to Hibiki how her songs saved people and that she loves them. Miku is about to die and this causes Hibiki to become desperate. She starts singing and this allows her to transform. She realizes she was trying to run away from her responsibility. Now she will not. After saving Miku, she kicks some Noise ass and even gives Micha a run for her money. Just when Hibiki strikes the most devastating blow, Micha turns out to be a water illusion. The real Micha fires a powerful shot that blasts Hibiki into the sky and shatters her Gear. Hibiki dead?!

Episode 5
Hibiki is wheeled into ICU. The rest hope and believe this won’t kill her because we always know she’ll bounce back, right? Right?! Well, it’s been a week and Hibiki is still under coma. Time to panic? Thanks to Genjurou’s brother who is also Tsubasa’s father, Yatsuhiro manages to pull some strings as a high government official to get external power sources to maintain their operation as currently there is a concurrent worldwide energy maintenance. Elfnein is making significant progress with her Project Ignite. She dreams of Carol’s memories of her times with her father. His last dying words is the reason Elfnein will protect the world from Carol as she wants to find out what the answer was. With Alca-Noise detected destroying energy generators worldwide, Kirika and Shirabe sneak into some medical room to get prototype Linkers so they can fight them. These prototypes left behind by Kanade help reduce the recoil of their Gear and go easy on their body. As a team, their attacks are more devastating and effective. Despite the good news that Hibiki is now awake (after another round of her own tragic family past) and grateful to Miku for all that she has done, Micha enters the fray and gives them a run for their money. Kirika becomes her first victim when her Gear is destroyed. With their power drastically reduced, Micha summons Alca-Noise to toy with Shirabe till she is cornered and once her Gear is destroyed too, all that is left for her is to succumb to fate while Kirika is reduced to screaming for anybody to help. You don’t say because here comes Tsubasa and Chris with their brand new Gear. Looks like Elfnein finished in time. Another reason to thank your lucky stars.

Episode 6
Thanks to Project Ignite, not only the damaged Gears are repaired, it also boosts its output power. They are able to fight on par with Micha till Carol enters the fray. She tells Micha to retreat because the plan’s progression is utmost important and she will take care of this. Carol summons her harp weapon that summons some Relic and transforms her into an adult version to fight. She is very powerful thanks to the memories she absorbed as fuel and since she has been living for a long time, yes, she is that freaking powerful. Tsubasa and Chris are down so they initiate an Ignite module, Dainsleif. It stabs their hearts. The pain is very immense and they are in risk of going berserks like how Hibiki did last season. But that is the essential of this module. To bring out that berserk power but the risk is suicidal if they cannot handle it. They are forced to face their past nightmares and regrets. Although they pull each other out from the abyss, the synchronization failed. Carol then unleashes Alca-Noise to destroy the city if they can’t get back up and fight. Now Hibiki enters the fray. Elfnein has given back her repaired Gungnir and she is all set to go. Once again, the trio activates Dainsleif. The reward for surpassing that painful madness? A cooler and darker outfit! To prove how powerful they are, Carol unleashes 3,000 Alca-Noise so that they could just wipe them out with their freaking awesome firepower. Then Carol also tries to show off her awesome power and kills some of her Alca-Noise in the way. The combined effort of the trio finally bring down Carol. Hibiki asks her reason to destroy the world. Can’t remember. So long ago that now it has become her reason to fight. Carol won’t leave Hibiki in peace and reminds her that her song cannot save anyone before burning herself. Hibiki may be left traumatized but she stays strong and prove her wrong.

Episode 7
Elfnein gives Maria and co their upgraded Gear. I suppose the girls are supposed to train but when the beach is so tempting, they can’t help have fun. And call it part of their training. That’s why I can’t blame Elfnein for asking Hibiki to properly train because despite their new Gear has extra protective layers, it is still dangerous. Then Garie pops up to attack. What better way to train via the real deal. Garie throws Alca-Noise to separate the rest so she could target Maria. She thought wrong if she doesn’t have her Gear. Maria uses it to transform and fight back. She thought of using Dainsleif to finish the fight but she failed to overcome her darkness and now becomes a wild beast. Garie defeats her and feels so disappointed that she just retreats. While everyone else discusses the Autoscorers retreating instead of finishing them off each time and the mystery they can still move about with Carol’s orders, Maria is alone thinking about her weak self. Elfnein tries to encourage her when Garie returns for another rematch. Although still weak, Maria remembers what she thought to Elfnein. Despite Elfnein had no fighting abilities, she still acted bravely in the face of danger. True strength is being yourself. Activating Dainsleif this time, Maria overcomes her weakness and powers up into a cool suit to beat up Garie and finishing her off for good. During this fight, Phara has snuck into the base and stole some chip. The girls continue playing their sparklers. Hibiki is made to go buy snacks. Miku accompanies her. But at the convenience store, they are shocked to see Hibiki’s dad. Her first reaction? Run away!

Episode 8
When Hibiki calms down, she meets her father. Looks like he wants to start all over again after realizing that she has been in the media as a hero saving the world. However she still blames him for leaving the family when they needed him most and leaves. This guy couldn’t get more despicable than he is. He asks Hibiki to pay his bill! Phara returns with the stolen data of some Photosphere. It contains data of the world’s ley lines that Nastassja used to focus Phonic gain for Frontier. Hibiki is still angry as she joins Shirabe and Kirika to fight Alca-Noise. She takes out her frustrations by doing a lot of damage but when she realizes that she might also be responsible for the family’s breakup, Micha owns her. The others come to her rescue and could have lost had not Micha had orders to retreat. The girls are thankfully alright but Kirika and Shirabe are fighting that they think the other is being a burden. Hibiki apologizes for letting them get involved in her personal matter. Oh, now Miku feels responsible too. So it’s everybody’s fault and yet nobody’s? Genjurou discovers a plot by the Autoscorers to map their power routes. After the destruction of power supplies, they have been sending additional energy to government facilities as compensation. Micha returns to fight Kirika and Shirabe. Again they think they’re getting in each other’s way. But then they realize all that thought was because they care about each other. Other people got mad at them because they care about them. Yeah. Okay. Whatever. This gives them the motivation to use Dainsleif as they power up and combine their powers to destroy Micha. Later the duo are reprimanded by Genjurou and Chris for being too reckless. Surprisingly they feel remorseful so they let them off the hook. Carol has revived back in the base. After learning Garie and Micha has died glorious deaths, it is time to hasten Apocalypse and slaughter every last miracle.

Episode 9
Genjurou has deduced there might be 2 spots the enemy might attack. Neptune’s Palace, the secret of the most secret of all bases hidden underwater that houses all dangerous and unknown and unanalyzed materials. As keystones of shrines around the country are being destroyed to disrupt the ley lines, the other location is no other than Tsubasa’s childhood home. I guess it’s like going home to see papa, eh? Tsubasa and Maria are tasked for this one. Let’s say Tsubasa and Yatsuhiro’s relationship aren’t the warmest. Don’t expect to see any father-daughter hugs and kisses. More of the kind that says, “You’re still able? Do your job then”. Even Maria got upset on Tsubasa’s behalf on this. Phara then attacks. Although Tsubasa fights her, her sword breaks because Phara’s ability is that no sword can destroy her. Once she destroys the keystone, she retreats. Genjurou saw this coming that the enemy is also attacking Neptune’s Palace simultaneously. He sends Chris, Kirika and Shirabe to face off with Leiur and Carol. Elfnein believes Carol is after Yantra Sarvasva which has awesome controlling mechanism and properties. It is essential in her world destruction plan. Once Tsubasa has recovered, Yatsuhiro shows them lots of research works some German company who created their Symphogear suit, analysis of the Alca-Noise and alchemy. Whatever. Sounds too technical. Since Tsubasa is fine, he wants her to take it elsewhere to analyse further. Time for Maria to get upset again…

Tsubasa brings Maria to her old room. It’s a big mess! And it was from 10 years ago! Hey… Not dusty? Tsubasa explains her thorny relationship with her dad. It all began when grandpa couldn’t decide an heir to the family. Neither Yatsuhiro nor Genjurou were chosen and instead he chose Tsubasa right after she was born. She didn’t understand but later found out she wasn’t her father’s daughter. To keep the family’s blood pure, grandpa forced her mom to bear his child. That’s Tsubasa. So grandpa is her real dad?! Tsubasa kept fighting in hopes Yatsuhiro would accept her. But if this is all she has to show, it must be disappointing. Phara returns to attack Tsubasa particularly. Again, she loses. Tsubasa feels useless till Yatsuhiro surprisingly tells her to sing and not be afraid to hold her dreams. Since Tsubasa hasn’t guessed it yet, Maria tells her Yatsuhiro hasn’t abandoned her. That speckles room? He cleaned it for the last 10 years! He held on his memories for her by holding on to her room! He also distanced her from the family so she could achieve her dream. Complicated … Tsubasa revives and uses Dainsleif to power up and sing again. But can she defeat Phara with a sword? That is not a sword. Those are her wings which carry her dreams! Oh gosh! She just defeated Phara’s concept just like that? And with that too, she cuts Phara in half. Carol has got her hands on Yantra Sarvasva. Chris and co attack relentlessly. When a missile is going to hit Carol, guess who stopped it with only a bare hand? IT’S DR VER!!! OMG! THIS BASTARD IS STILL ALIVE??????!!!!!!! If you’re wondering where Hibiki is, she is resting. Could have been nothing if not her father kept calling her! Look at the miscalls in her log!!! OMG! Stalker material! She shuts off her phone. Ah, true peace…

Episode 10
Kirika and Shirabe stop Chris from going all out because they fear killing Ver would mean no more Linkers as he is the only one who knows how to make them. But still, she doesn’t care and had to be stopped for her recklessness. This allowed the villains to get away. This has Chris very mad as she views she doesn’t need her juniors help and can solve this herself. Elfnein wonders why Carol is still moving forward with her plan since Yantra Sarvasva has been destroyed. She remembers confronting Carol about destroying the world which isn’t part of the deal. So she thinks. She told her that father wouldn’t want the end of the world but Carol snapped back at the clone for calling herself his daughter. Ver tells us why he is still alive. Because his left hand is now Nephilim, he is treated as an object after being recovered and imprisoned at Neptune’s Palace. As Genjurou leads Chris and co to catch up on the villains, it dawned to him it is like they know the area well. Like as though somebody hacked HQ. Could it be there is a mole among them? Turns out to be Elfnein! OMG! However Elfnein is unsure herself. Carol’s projection reveals because she is a clone, she can hack her senses so unwittingly Elfnein has been projecting information back to her. The reason the Autoscorers continue to attack the Symphogear ladies is because their cursed melody is essential to the destruction of the world. Yes, Ignite module has been part of their plan. Whenever they use it, the Autoscorers will record them and send it to Carol. Therefore they don’t need the Gear users in the end. Although Phara is disabled, she had enough time to explain all that to Maria and Tsubasa before self destructing. Elfnein feels so guilty, she wants to be killed off. But kind Genjurou reminds her about her mission to thwart Carol’s plan. Leiur fights Chris and co so Carol and Ver could escape. When Kirika and Shirabe got knocked out, this leaves Chris an emotional wreck. She is afraid of being alone again in this cruel world, blah, blah, blah. But the juniors manage to tell her about relying on her and learning new things. This gives Chris the motivation to use Dainsleif and blow the crap out of Leiur. Thanks to Kirika and Shirabe’s cooperation, they manage to seal off the section instead of being blown up together. But now the place is crumbling so they rush and return to the main ship. As they race to surface, a giant humanoid monster is chasing them. Once on the surface, the monster chops the ship in half!

Episode 11
Chris destroys the monster. That was easy. Though, Elfnein was slightly injured. Meanwhile Hibiki sums up her courage to meet daddy again. He wants their family to get back again but he is afraid of seeing mom?! WTF?! Has he got no balls?! And Hibiki was ready to give him a second chance… The sky cracks. Here comes Chateau activated by Ver. You know, Hibiki’s dad is a real dick. He is recording this Armageddon tool and thinking how much he can sell on social media! If the world is still around… Because Ver considers Carol’s goal of destroying the world pathetic, he will take over her reigns as hero. Before he can start his hero ranting crap, Carol stabs him. You tell it to him, sister. Side characters can never be heroes! Carol goes down to Hibiki to bring her more despair. Although her dad might did a surprise move by pushing his daughter to safety, that’s all to it. He now runs away like a coward as Carol targets him. How shameful. Not even Hibiki has words to answer that. But wait. Daddy isn’t just running around for fun. He is using this as diversion so Hibiki could escape. The line that seals it when he says if he wants the family to work, she has to be part of it. This makes Hibiki that his words were always what kept her going when it was tough. He has always been looking out for her. Wow. All the faith restored in just a split second. Hibiki revives and transforms to fight Carol. Carol will kill her father then but thankfully Hibiki’s pals have arrived to help. After daddy is ushered to safety (he is brought back on Genjurou’s ship where he continues to watch his daughter because like he literally said, he won’t take his eyes off her), Carol transforms into her adult version and starts her destructive damage. She can continue singing her swan song without straining her body. Chateau resonates like a tuning fork, amplifying her song and causing one hell of a big energy blast! While Hibiki’s team fights the powerful Carol, Maria’s team heads up to Chateau to try and stop it. But looks like they’ve got lots of Alca-Noise to deal with. To their surprise, they see Nastassja before them. What the heck is this series bringing back dead people?

Episode 12
Nastassja tells Maria her hands are tainted and cannot be saved. Doing so means only finding salvation for herself. Kirika and Shirabe don’t want her to be duped by this fake and take her and run. Carol explains about some history between songs and alchemy. So songs destroy the world? I don’t get it. Maria’s team stumble upon Ver. I knew he wasn’t dead. He has lost a lot of blood and can’t control Chateau. So he is going to work with them to destroy Chateau. Yes, this means taking all of them onboard as well. When Nastassja confronts Maria again, Maria denies her and she turns into Fine, a dark culmination of Maria’s mistakes. Elfnein contacts Ver to give him the blueprint of the Photosphere. You know characters are going to sacrifice themselves when they start saying goodbye. That’s what Maria’s team say to Hibiki’s team. Before you know it, Chateau explodes. Carol is left in despair that her world destruction plan is in tatters. Elfnein tries to convince Carol that this is not what father wants. Carol still believes in her revenge to overcome her grief. After all, he left them questions without answers. Elfnein further explains about alchemy. Its goal of understanding and harmony. Therefore father’s solution is forgiveness even if the world rejected him. This is what he wanted to tell them. You think Carol would learn her lesson. But no. She is going to use all her power to destroy the present even if it means risking all her memories. Hibiki and co have no choice but to use Ignite to fight her. Even unlocking their safety they still cannot do much damage as they get blown away. Carol’s Phonic gain alone has 7 billion swan songs!!! And then… They hear Maria and co singing! I knew it was too good to kill them off. Apparently Ver saved them so they could tell his tale of how great a hero is for saving the world. Sure, she’ll tell the world about him being the worst hero. There you go… Bye Ver. The Symphogear girls start singing and there’s lot of power blasting whatever. Seems they are using Carol’s Phonic gain against her. With Elfnein giving her final miracle, it has the Symphogear girls in new sparkling bright outfits! Hey wait. I thought I’ve seen these outfits before at the end of last season?

Episode 13
More numbers. More power. Even armed with a miracle. You think that’s enough to beat Carol? Carol tells her dad’s story whereby he created medicine for a plagued village. But they show their thanks by burning him because he isn’t a guy who is supposed to bring miracles. That’s why every miracle is a curse to her and she’ll destroy every last one of them. She sends out more Alca-Noise or the Symphogear girls to fight but that is just for their warm up and distraction so that Carol has more time to power up and summon a mecha dragon. Zoids? More power lights exchanged by both sides. Carol starts to falter when memories of her dad resurface. Thinking it is trying to stop her, she’ll even burn them to burn everything. The Symphogear girls focus all their power to Hibiki so she could save Carol. Even when Carol is defeated, she remains adamant her songs cannot save anybody. She refuses to be saved. Hibiki desperately reaches out her hand. Carol sees Elfnein reaching out to her but it turned into her dad. I guess his words were enough to save her (in reality, it is Hibiki taking her hand). But the dragon exploded and everything within the 12km radius is decimated! Wasteland from Fallout 4? In the aftermath, miraculously no civilians died (at least it was not stated). Our Symphogear girls are alive but Carol is nowhere to be found. They casually chat with Elfnein like as though they are best friends in the world. But after everyone leaves, Hibiki cries alone in the toilet and Miku provides a shoulder to cry on. That night, Carol visits Elfnein. She doesn’t remember who she is. Wait. She can’t recall her name but she could find this room? Despite losing her memories, all Carol could see was Elfnein’s face so she thought she might get answers if she sees her. Elfnein talks about their dad but it seems Elfnein’s body cannot last any much longer. She thought she would gladly die for the world but now she feels she wants to live. We get our yuri moment when they kiss. It’s such a heart stopping move that Elfnein’s heart literally stops. The other girls rush in. Elfnein is gone. Carol is standing there. But wait. It’s not Carol. It’s Elfnein in Carol’s body! So happy they can’t resist a group hug. So… Carol + Elfnein = Ca-nein-> Canine? Just kidding… End scenes show Hibiki getting along well with her dad. Chris exerting her senior muscles while supervising Kirika and Shirabe over summer homework. Maria and Tsubasa fly to England together. Elfnein is now working at SONG. Finally, Hibiki’s dad sums up his courage to make up with mom. Since both adults are hesitating, Hibiki takes the initiative to join their hands. She’s never letting go. I mean, not in the literal sense.

Symphogear GX Zesshoushinai

Just like last season, these are short skits lasting around 8 minutes each that you get when you buy the DVDs. If you can’t get enough of the girls, the fun continues in bite size and in chibi form.

OVA 1
Taking place mostly after the Frontier incident, Hibiki complains about studying for the test but then she realizes this is something normal and thus is happy to conclude she has returned to her everyday life. Genjurou receives report about the sunken pieces of Frontier. While majority of its parts are useless or destroyed, they find a torn letter with some sort of mysterious poem on it. They have formed a special team to decipher it. Maria, Kirika and Shirabe are in prison. Shirabe seems to be greatly anticipating when the clock strikes 12. Because this is when the food is served. And boy, do prison food tastes good? Must be the kind of prison they’re in. Heck, they’ve been treated to very good meals that Maria can’t help curse her luck during their time at FIS because they only had meals they could only dream of. Therefore she is in a dilemma to continue being stubborn so they can be locked in prison and get served good food. Hibiki, Miku and Chris watch Tsubasa perform on TV as well as her blunders on variety show. When Hibiki and co visit Maria and co, Tsubasa notes how they have become well rounded in terms of thinking. But they misinterpret it as becoming fat due to the inactivity of lying around in prison! Tsubasa’s graduation day looms and she will fly off to London after that to fulfil her dream of singing on stage there. Tsubasa teases being worried for Chris because she will tend to hide her tears. Chris embarrassingly protests that and counters back that Tsubasa is the one who will cry at the graduation ceremony. Tsubasa in turn refutes that because a sword doesn’t cry. Then at the ceremony she couldn’t stop crying. Chris can’t make fun of her after hearing her tears were because she can’t stand the thought of being separated from everyone. This too infects Chris as she starts crying. But save the crying for later because they get a message about a space shuttle re-entry having difficulties. Time to go on a mission one last time together.

OVA 2
After Maria graduates and leaves to become a UN agent, she seeks a favour from Chris to look after Kirika and Shirabe because she figured she is the best person to guide them around and to make them feel at home. Chris is not amused that she has got such a reputation and when she finds out Hibiki was responsible in giving Maria that impression, she punches her! Call it memory rage! Chris tries to dictate how Hibiki and Miku should address her but since it got so confusing and nobody is listening, she just lets them call her however they please. Chris and co take Kirika and Shirabe to tour the school. However they already know the layout of the school so well when they learnt it during the infiltration that they feel bad of spoiling it. Just go with the flow. As they explain the several facilities, the duo cannot help think this is some sort of elaborated Symphogear training ground. You think too much… Tsubasa has arrived in England and awaiting her new challenge. Then Ogawa hands her a list of variety shows she will participate in. Not the kind of challenge she is looking for? Maria reads her contract as an undercover singer and feels like a hero. She feels proud but when the thought of Tsubasa crosses her mind, she feels she can’t compare to her. Tsubasa and Maria call each other. Each feeling awkward in their conversation. Tsubasa tells her about receiving so many variety jobs that she has trouble deciding which ones to reject. Eventually they decide to work with each other and sing on stage together. They heave a sigh of relief to have a friend saviour. Chris is cleaning her place and complaining while she is at it because her friends will be coming over. But she seems happy with the thought of having them over.

OVA 3
Finally an episode for Carol and her Autoscorers. Taking place before the start of this season, Carol is not pleased that despite using her own thought patterns to create her Autoscorers’ AI, she feels ashamed to see them pose like that. Garie reasons how people want to see cool final bosses-like pose but it just pisses Carol off to think just that. Yuri moment! Garie kisses Phara and Leiur to bring them alive. Carol watches this and is embarrassed and reminds to mind where they do it. But Garie argues they are based off her AI so she herself might actually like public display of affection. Carol’s plan begins by setting loose Elfnein. But she is so busy doing last minute checks that Carol just tells her off to just escape, damn it! And since she is being such a klutz even in escaping, Carol orders Leiur to chase her out in pretence of attacking her but without giving away their intentions. Leiur feels clashed because Elfnein looks like Carol and her conscience might stop her from doing so. Since when did Carol program conscience into her? Phara and Leiur discuss about random and fair use of rock-scissors-paper and lottery ladder. This is just to show off their statistic knowledge. The Autoscorers comment on Micha’s weird pose. Micha thinks it is cool despite not knowing its meaning so the rest think it could only mean Carol came up with it. Garie is not too happy Micha continues to bug her. This time her ribbon came undone and because of those monstrous hands, she can’t tie them back. Ironic for an ultimate Autoscorer she can’t do the simplest things. But I suppose Garie had a change of heart when Micha claims she’ll be pretty much useless without her around and fixes her ribbon so she can stop saying ‘stupid’ things.

OVA 4
Maria and Tsubasa are on a plane back to Japan. Maria thinks the rest will start teasing her when she returns and fears facing them. But luckily she manages to give off that asserting feel thanks to the in-flight food. Miku and Hibiki are cooking and eating beef stroganoff. I think Hibiki’s cooking is horrible but she is forcing herself to eat it so as to remember the taste and not make the same mistake in the future. During the time when Maria chides Hibiki for running away from using Gungnir, the reason Hibiki can’t look her in the eye is because her face is covered in blood! Chris imagines using Hibiki’s Gungnir but couldn’t stand the fact it is yellow. However she sniggers like a maniac dreaming about using Kirika and Shirabe’s Gears. Tsubasa too seems to be ‘depressed’ because she also knows what Chris is thinking and had those same thoughts as well. A time when Hibiki, Tsubasa and Chris unleash Dainsleif to fight against Carol, the process was so painful to watch that Kirika and Shirabe wonder if the trio have become the sheath instead of unsheathing the weapon. Kirika didn’t realize she was thinking aloud and embarrassed everybody when she thought of how much she loves Shirabe. The girls are in special training so Miku starts snapping photos of Hibiki like a mad paparazzi. For documentation purposes? You mean for her own collection, that is. Kirika and Shirabe and treading slowly and carefully in the water. They wonder how Ogawa does it by running on the water while carrying them. Simple. That f*cking guy is Jesus Christ! Just kidding!

Elegy Of Alchemy, Requiem Of Delirium
So let me guess. If they ever going to make another season, we now have Elfnein as part of the team? Yeah, the team is expanding and getting bigger and bigger the more seasons it gets. And I suppose if that happens, they’ll resurrect her Autoscorers and reform them into good guys too? Yeah well, we’ll leave that for another time. As far as this season goes, I guess it would be what Symphogear fans would expect. The songs, the action, the girls in tight fitting combat gear. Despite the ending is a happy one without much of a cliff-hanger (I believe it is time for our heroines to have a relaxing time that they deserved and earned from all the suffering they’ve been through this season even if it is just shown for 5 seconds at the end), there is of course still that little threat seeing Genjurou and Yatsuhiro were discussing about the emerging threat from Europe considering the great ol’ America has fallen.

I suppose they try to shake things up a little by introducing enemies that somewhat do not use the Symphogear technology but ancient alchemy. Because something feels a bit wrong when you see the enemies always getting the better of the girls but yet they do not finish them off but come back to fight them another day. I suppose it is to show that they are not perfect and instead of always expecting the Symphogear girls to come out tops each time, they finally meet their match in a stronger enemy. Sometimes it feels like a big training stint to power up the girls because what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Heck, I thought they might pull off this shocking revelation that Carol and the Autoscorers are actually the good guys on their side, just playing the villains so that our Symphogear girls, the last saviours of mankind could power up greatly and defeat and even bigger villain. Too bad it wasn’t as complicated as that.

I’m sure they are trying to add some drama effect this season too. Because last season we had Miku almost turning into a baddie and for this season, we had Hibiki’s father returning to ruin her life again. At first looks he passes off as no more than a parasitic selfish jerk whom viewers would instantly love to hate. Heh. At least Ver was a bad guy but what is worse than that is a father who dared to come back into her daughter’s life without any sort of repentance. But since we cannot have jerks like him in this show especially if he is to live and be reunited with Hibiki in the end, suddenly he redeems himself by having a change in character. And before you know it, he is the best dad in the world at least from Hibiki’s renewed point of view. Yeah, with all those cool fatherly lines at the end, it is hard to cast him as a douchebag anymore from the way he shows his remorse and worries while watching over Hibiki’s final fight. To sum it up, he isn’t the perfect or the best father role model ever but he is still Hibiki’s dad no matter what. Aww… Time for a big warm hug?

Then there is Tsubasa’s case too about her estranged father and such but that felt a little rushed seeing her case wasn’t as bad as Hibiki. I’m sure they would have done something for Chris too if her parents weren’t dead. Either ways, our girls reconciling with their father seems to be the turning point and motivation that encourages them to fight better. So I’m guessing this season’s theme is all about the father, eh? Yeah well, Genjurou as the father figure didn’t do pretty much just like last season except commanding in his ship and watching over the girls. But still, a father figure nevertheless. Maybe a mother figure for Maria, Kirika and Shirabe. And when we have Hibiki’s family back on track again, they decide to add the theme of family in addition to all that. Fathers, friends, family… F*cking fabulous!

I can’t say much about the villainesses for this season because Carol’s excuse to destroy the world just because they burnt her fire doesn’t seem like a good justification for Armageddon. Of course, from Carol’s point of view, her father is the world and everything and natural if your dad is killed by dickheads, you’d definitely want to watch the world burn too. And her Autoscorers I thought they were just fancy posing mannequins in fancy dresses that would make them look like models for a photo shoot. They lack any deep personality except maybe for Micha who is probable to most psycho of the lot. But that itself pales in comparison to the madness of Ver.

I had this thought that the series was going to bring back dead characters because when they did it for Carol (seriously, how can the big little boss die so early and before her Autoscorers did), I didn’t expect they would bring Ver and Nastassja back although the latter is just some sort of clone. Hey, Hibiki nearly died and she came back. I know, she’s the heroine. Heck, I thought at this rate they might even bring back Ryouko (at least yet another Fine’s reincarnation) and even Kanade and Serena! Thank God they didn’t. But I find it pretty annoying that characters who are supposed to be dead should stay dead no matter how popular or favourite that character is in my books. Because doing so just makes it feel cheap. That kind of twist and revelation doesn’t work these days in today’s stories. So I guess they had the ‘decency’ to kill off Ver (again) and even if Carol’s gone, at least she lives on in Elfnein. Like I said earlier, if they really tried bringing back dead characters, maybe next season we would have Autoscorers joining their ranks.

In every episode there is guaranteed to be some sort of action from the Symphogear girls. I can’t recall how exaggerated the actions were in the previous seasons but with the third season, they get more power ups and the more powerful they get, the more colourful their songs and beams are. As seen in the big final epic battle. Yeah, sometimes I think it is one heck of a big magic light show and the only difference is that you can’t stay too close and be in awe of those magnificent lights because they will kill you. Otherwise, the unique display of each of the Symphogear girls’ skill sets are still an amusing watch as each comes in their own typesetting font style and move names. With the threat of Carol and Autoscorers, Noise (or Alca-Noise as they are now termed this season) seems to be a very distant threat now. It is like they have become enemies our girls to warm up and the obligatory little minions they must fight before battling the stage boss.

Many of the casts from the previous seasons are retained. New ones joining the line up are Inori Minase as Carol (Nagisa in Jitsu Wa Watashi Wa), Misaki Kuno as Elfnein (Hawk in Nanatsu No Taizai), Shizuka Ishigami as Leiur (Stella in Rakudai Kishi No Cavalry), Masumi Tazawa as Phara (Saionji in Yamada-kun And The Seven Witches), Shiori Izawa as Micha (Tanpopo in Witch Craft Works), Michiyo Murase as Garie (Slywia in Schwarzesmarken), Kazuhiro Yamaji as Yatsuhiro (Senor Pink in One Piece) and Toshihiko Seki as Hibiki’s dad (Senketsu in Kill La Kill).

Just like in previous seasons, the ever great Nana Mizuki as usual sings the opening theme. Exterminate doesn’t sound that all different from its predecessors. Displaying her powerful vocals as well as the fast paced techno rock music that permeates throughout the entire series. The main ending theme, Rebirth-day by Ayahi Takagaki also follows this same pattern. But breaking that pattern is Bayonet Charge, a duet by both of them. This special ending theme is more of hard rock. Then there is Glorious Break by Nana Mizuki which is more dramatic sounding with all the choir voices and orchestra music in the background. Like in previous seasons too, the insert songs of the girls singing are aplenty. I believe there is as much if not more insert songs than last season although from what I can see from the list is that most of them are remix variations from the main ones. Well, not that I noticed which ones stand out since I can’t be focusing my senses to both that battle and the songs. And since I can’t really hear what they are singing, I guess I’ll be concentrating on the power fights instead.

Overall, if you are a fan of the series or a big fan of any one or more of the famous seiyuus-cum-singers, then you’ll probably enjoy and feel nostalgic for the sequel that mostly many might have forgotten over the years. It would just be another ordinary show of girls in tight sci-fi outfits fighting villains via singing for casual viewers who has at least watched the previous 2 seasons. Newcomers jumping in might be confused with what they’re seeing without all that back story. This series is still worth a shot if it gets another season. But of course it cannot go on forever and like everything else, has to come to an end one day. Even the once popular American Idol is now over, right? So when it does happen for this series, let us hope they will bow out with grace with their swan song.

Tari Tari Special

March 18, 2016

Wait. What? There was a special episode of Tari Tari released? And that was way back in December 2014?! What? When? How? Where? Why? I know. It came of a surprised to me recently when I saw this title while randomly browsing the internet. I thought my memory was bad (it is) so I was wondering if this must be an OVA of the series that I have watched (there was no OVA for it whatsoever). Then I double checked and discovered that this special is supposedly a new animation to be bundled with the BD box set. Ah… Well, if you are a fan of the series, you might as well want to grab this. Me? I can’t even remember what happened…

Being Cloudy, Shining, Singing Again Someday
It seems to be taking place after the events of the TV series considering everything feels like in the midst of winding up. Christmas is coming and Konatsu is definitely bullshitting about the origins of Christmas in feudal Japan. We know the fat guy in the red suit and white beard is the same too but it has been accepted worldwide ;p. So our Choir Club quintet are cleaning up their clubroom for one last time since nobody is going to be here next year. Next door, they hear the wind instrument club giving its seniors a retirement ceremony. Taichi wonders if they should hold their own retirement ceremony and Konatsu might sound like she is a wet blanket as she is against it. She even tells him to go and sing karaoke by himself if he wants it so badly. Her reason is that one can never quit music. It is all around them. You sing when you want to. Therefore it is meaningless to have such a retirement ceremony. Meanwhile Sawa is having an argument with her dad. I believe she wants to move out and live on her own. Dad is of course against it. He wants her to graduate from high school first and think about it but her mind has been made up. Eventually he puts his foot down that he won’t let her do part time work. Because he is her father. That’s final. But mom says that is his way of saying she can go. Wait. What? I don’t understand. Complicated family matters… Sawa then texts Wakana to have some tea since they aren’t having any retirement ceremony. Later in town, Konatsu must be embarrassed seeing Wien dressed as Santa as he sings in public with Taichi as his backup. Well, she did say to sing when he feels like it, right?

Tarinai? Mou Juubun Da…
Translation: Not enough? Enough already… So erm… Wait. What? I don’t really understand what this epilogue is supposed to mean since there is literally nothing important that goes on here. The fact that this special is only 11 minutes but only 7 minutes of it is actual running time and the rest at the end is just the ending theme in which it showcases snippets of scenes from the TV series. Hmmm… Come to think of it, I believe I did read this is what this special is about too. To showcase a new recorded song for the series. Well, I could say that the full length of Itsumademo Kagayaki Wo is quite a lovely piece especially the harmonization of their voices in this slow and lovely ballad. This song is the saving grace of this little special that would otherwise leave a dull impression on the series’ end. Okay, so I can’t remember much to remember what kind of impression I had on the TV series. Except for that really funny bad English line, “I don’t money”!!! Oh yeah. I really remembered that one.

Hibike! Euphonium

December 13, 2015

Tired of cute high school girl rock bands? Okay. How about a brass band now? Brass band?! An anime about a high school brass band? Yes people, it did happen and I suppose Hibike! Euphonium is the only anime focusing about a brass band out there. Sure, it might not be as glamorous as those rock band counterparts since you have so many people in it and everyone is carrying such heavy instruments that could serve as a murder weapon and you need lots of lung capacity and discipline to play them effectively and in a group. So what is so appealing about this anime then? Well, from the same creators who brought you that cutely moe K-ON!, now comes this series about a group of cutely moe high school students of a brass band. Yes people. Just like why Tamako Market was the reason K-ON! never got a third season, Hibike! Euphonium is also that exact same reason for this year why K-ON! won’t be getting another due season. Haha! So shall we play on?

Episode 1
During the concert band preliminaries, the middle school that Kumiko Oumae attends gets a dud gold. Although she is more than happy it is still a gold but her friend, Reina Kousaka is not. She is totally upset! Today it is Kumiko’s high school debut at Kitauji and the brass band is trying to welcome-cum-recruit the newbies but they sound so horrible… In class, she quickly makes friends with Hazuki Katou and Midori “Sapphire” Kawashima, both of whom had experiences in playing brass instruments before. So they go check out the brass band club and you can tell that Asuka Tanaka, the vice president is desperate to get new members. I hope she doesn’t scare them off. Luckily there is kind ol’ Haruka Ogasawara, the club president who doesn’t want her to be pushy to the new ones. As they watch the band practice, Reina comes in and signals her intention to join. Kumiko is surprised to see her and is loss for words. On the way home, childhood friend Shuuichi Tsukamoto talks to Kumiko about the brass band club she is joining. Although she said she wanted to join it but decided not to eventually. Really? Kumiko has a lot weighing on her mind. To join or not to join. Plus, her less than pleasant experience during that last preliminary competition isn’t exactly something you would want as memories either. Next day in class, she is surprised that Hazuki has bought a mouthpiece despite not choosing an instrument yet. Midori is amazed as she used to play the contrabass before and wants her to teach her. Kumiko remembers her sister, Mamiko thought her how to blow with the mouthpiece. Hazuki and Midori invite Kumiko to go join the brass band and she agrees.

Episode 2
The biggest challenge for Kumiko now is to go talk to Reina. It all looks fine and dandy in her mind. But in reality? A bundle of nerves. Lame. I don’t know if Reina is ignoring her or not. The friends head to the brass band clubroom. Kumiko once played the euph and doesn’t want her friends to reveal this because it makes her easier to change instruments. She wants to play the trombone. All the section heads introduce themselves and the instruments they play. Asuka is from the bass section and she is pretty passionate in ranting her part. Yeah, how pages is she going to go on?! Nobody cares. Next! Midori seems interested to join the bass section. As everybody else look around to find an instrument they want to play, Asuka keeps bugging Kumiko and Hazuki to join her! WTF?! Asuka’s guts tell her Kumiko can play the euph so she tries to hide that she has never touched it before. Asuka’s brainwashing on Hazuki now condemns her to be under her wing. Kumiko needs to get away before she gets dragged in but Shuuichi and Aoi Saitou accidentally reveal about Kumiko’s euph experience. Oops. Too late. You’re stuck now. Noboru Taki is the brass band’s advisor. First he wants to establish the club’s goal. Does the Nationals sound okay? The students aren’t sure. So he decides to take a vote. Hands up for those who want to aim for the Nationals. Wow. A bunch of them. Looks like a clear winner. And now who doesn’t want to go to the Nationals? Only Aoi raises her hand. And so it is decided that they will work towards the Nationals. On the way home, Kumiko seems to be suffering from the ‘guilt’ that she took neither stand. Aoi talks to her about this dilemma of hers. She leaves Kumiko with an advice that 3 years will pass by very fast in a flash so be careful. At that time, Kumiko doesn’t understand what that meant. Next day, Kumiko tries again to talk to Reina. This time she is able to strike up a decent conversation. Although it was just a short one, at least it made her feel relieved.

Episode 3
The newbies are doing circular breathing practice. We are told how the different sections practice in different rooms to avoid disturbing each other. Asuka has her newbies select their equipment. Midori takes a liking for the contrabass the moment she looks at it and calls it… George! Midori takes the tuba and Kumiko, well, hello again euph. As they tune their instruments, flashback shows Taki leaving the band to practice however they want and if they are ready to play as an ensemble the simplest piece for beginners, Marines’ Hymn, then call him. Besides, the upcoming SunFes (Sunrise Festival) will be the first concert they’ll be playing at. As the bass section practises, Kumiko notices fellow Natsuki Nakagawa not interested and just lazing around. Asuka is confident she’ll play when the time comes. This has Midori wondering why there aren’t many second year students around so Takuya Gotou tells her first years need not concern themselves with this. When Kumiko is instructed to go call the horn section to play together, she sees all of them fooling around and not practising a bit. As SunFes is inching closer, Haruka is pressured to make it happen as she goes to call Taki to hear the ensemble. Let’s say they obviously suck. He reminds Haruka that he told her to only call him when they’re good enough to play and defines what an ensemble is. Because Shuuichi claims they have been practising hard (at least for his trombone section), Taki decides to test his section by playing to the metronome’s pace. Not good. This is the same for the other parts.

Some want him to point out where they are wrong. He reminds them that they have decided to aim for the Nationals and should be at least playing the minimum standards. Right now they are unbearable and not even deserving for instructions. But what about SunFes then? They are in no position to think about that right now. If they cannot get to that minimum standard, they shouldn’t even think about participating. The students are left bitter and ashamed. Haruka is at a loss on what to do so Asuka suggests gathering opinions from each section and let the section leaders talk it over. After school, Shuuichi talks to Kumiko and friends what he found out about the second years. Seems there were some sort of disagreement and this led to more than half of them to quit. Some of those left behind (like Natsuki) laze around. Therefore at this rate there is no way a school like theirs could make it to the Nationals. Kumiko thought everything would be fine when tomorrow comes but her expectations were betrayed when Haruka announces that any practice is cancelled until the section leaders’ meeting is over as some feel opposed to Taki’s policies and protested in practising until something is done. Kumiko and friends are in a dilemma on what to do since they are dragged into this mess. Do they have to work hard and get angry with the people who don’t care? They hear Reina playing a lovely rendition of From The New World over the hill. After that, she gives out a great yell of frustration.

Episode 4
The section leaders start their meeting and are in a dilemma to continue protesting or start practising. It is decided they will practice till next week and if Taki says they aren’t going to SunFes, they’ll make their complaint. But Taki soon walks in and wants everyone to put on their gym clothes and run a lap around the field. Then he has each section do some sort of breathing exercise or practice playing a line many times. Kumiko and Hazuki could hear mixed comments from the band. Some are commenting on his unusual tactics and even one was crying while Taki was evaluating her performance (despite he was saying it all politely). After school, Shuuichi talks to Kumiko about Reina. Because she speaks her mind clearly when Taki asked her a question so the seniors are having an eye on her. He wonders if Taki is heavy handed since he is making them practice the same lines over and over again. Reina overheard this and tells him not to speak ill of Taki as he is a great teacher. Next day, when Reina calls Kumiko to talk, the latter panics and thinks she is going to kill her! Actually she wants to apologize for saying too much yesterday. Kumiko needs to say something or she’ll regret it like always. She sums up her courage to also apologize and praise her trumpet playing the other evening. Although Kumiko felt she might have crept Reina out, she did feel a little good inside. Kumiko is motivated that she asks Natsuki to come join practice. Everyone endeavours in their practice and despite it all started as dissatisfaction towards Taki’s methods, it became a unifying energy force for the band. A week later, the ensemble gathers to play Marine’s Hymn. Sounds much better now. Although there is a lot of nitpicking he could do, Taki passes them and they will play at SunFes. He hands them the programme. It is a gruelling one and they’re going to use all the remaining time to practice. He believes they can show everyone that they are different this year. Seeing his unwavering smile, everyone begins to believe he is serious about this.

Episode 5
Thanks to all that rigorous breathing exercise, Hazuki’s lung capacity is amazing when measured during the physical check-up. Kumiko has something else bothering her. Her chest growth is still nil! She thought Hazuki is pretty much the same but all that confidence shatters after she sees Asuka’s. After trying out their uniform, they practice marching. It’s hot and sweaty. Get use to it. With extra practice and effort put in, they make steady progress. On the way home, Kumiko bumps into Reina. She tries to start a normal conversation but the first thing Reina asks her is her opinion of Taki. Sure, Kumiko tells her opinions. Opinions from others. Kumiko fears she might have screwed up but Reina gives off a dazzling yet mysterious smile. On the day of SunFes, the band members get their instruments ready and prepare to depart. They notice heavyweight favourites from other schools like Rakushu and Rikka. Worst possible schedule for Kitauji as they are sandwiched between Rikka and Rakushu. Kumiko then spots her old band mate, Azusa Sasaki from Rikka. Azusa is surprised Kumiko enrolled at Kitauji. But Kumiko is surprised to hear that Reina turned down Rikka’s invitation to go to Kitauji. Azusa suggests to go meet their other friends but Kumiko will not accompany her. She tells her the reason she enrolled at Kitauji. She thought of starting a new by going to a high school where she didn’t know too many people. I suppose she has a place and friends to call her own now. Good. Because she’s not regretting it. As the festival begins, everyone is amazed and anticipating Rikka’s unique choreography. It is demoralizing Kitauji. But with Taki giving his motivation before their turn, they’re going out there to do what they have been practising so hard. So when they march through the crowd, the spectators are amazed to see this new awesome talent. Never heard of this school? Well, look it up! Never knew there were other schools this good, huh?

Episode 6
After SunFes, it is time for the summer competition. They’ve been handed schedules for the competition preparations and practice. Kitauji’s tracks record never has them traverse past the prefectural preliminaries and the highest they’ve ever got was bronze. When Taki suggests holding an audition to select which members take part in the competition (maximum of 55 members is the limit), this doesn’t sit well with the seniors but as he puts it, if the juniors are better than you, what else is there to say? The contrabass section takes a look at their musical score for the audition and it out. Since Hazuki is still having trouble playing her tuba properly, she thought she broke it when a part came off! It’s time for her to learn some maintenance work on how to dismantle and assemble tuba parts. As she wants to practice more, Hazuki gets permission to use a soft cover so she can take it home to practice. Hazuki and co try asking the senior contrabass members for motivation to play their section. Riko Nagase doesn’t have anything good to say (bass section always get blamed?) while Gotou has some cool lines but I don’t really understand it all. Finally with Asuka, she gives Hazuki something simple to play but she finds it too easy! Asuka then tricks Kumiko into wearing some tuba mascot (marshmallow character?) and pretend to be Hazuki’s tuba that has magically come alive to motivate her. Yeah well… Midori is the one who took the bait and Hazuki could easily identify Kumiko behind that suit. Embarrassing… Then Gotou gives the most meaningful motivation ever. Playing tuba alone feels boring. It is only when it is played with other instruments that it feels like music. Like harmony. They realize Hazuki has never played in a real ensemble before. At SunFes she was reduced to cheerleading as heavy instruments were sat out. Even in most practices, she sat out as she is junior to give way to seniors. Kumiko and Midori then invite Hazuki to play a simple song with them and it sounded like real music. Hazuki brings her tuba home but I guess it is too big for a girl like her to carry bag. She almost falls down when Shuuichi catches her. That look in her eyes… Is some sort of romance blooming?

Episode 7
Another day, another usual practice. When Kumiko is cleaning up, she hears Haruka talking how Aoi is planning to quit the band. So when Aoi’s performance takes an obvious dip, Taki questions her about her goal. This is when Aoi announces she wants to quit the band because at this rate with practice getting longer and longer, she will be unable to concentrate on her entrance exam and get into her first choice college. Aoi takes her leave. Kumiko and Haruka run after her in hopes of convincing her to change her mind. Nope. This is starting to have a domino effect as Haruka starts feeling she is worthless as the club president. Somehow this also drags Kumiko into it (and all she did was trying to name her nice points). Asuka takes control of the situation to bring that emotionally unstable girl back. So now Haruka is trying to blame Asuka for not taking up this post and because of that she has to shoulder it? Then why didn’t she reject it in the first place? Kumiko’s performance is also affected that Taki starts to notice… At least she isn’t quitting. Natsuki tells Kumiko and friends a little about their grade’s feud. Her grade wanted to practice seriously but was seriously ignored. They pleaded but they acted never to notice them till they leave. Shuuichi talks to Kumiko about the possibility of Haruka quitting and being replaced by Asuka. Kumiko doesn’t believe it will happen. Personally, Shuuichi doesn’t like Asuka because she is too perfect and doesn’t know how much of an act she is putting up. Then there is also about Aoi which might have been indirectly affected by last year’s friction as she was stuck in between. After Haruka takes a day off from practice, she is back refreshed and her mind is now focused in doing her best for the competition. And so life and practice go on without Aoi. But there might be another ‘issue’ looming. Hazuki asks Kumiko if she is dating Shuuichi!

Episode 8
Kumiko confirms she isn’t going out with Shuuichi. So why ask? Midori becomes aggressively pushy because she knows Hazuki likes Shuuichi. You know about the upcoming Agata Festival, right? If you didn’t know Riko and Gotou are dating because they’re doing it secretly. Asuka? Her euph is her only love! After school, Shuuichi talks to Kumiko if she would like to go with him to the festival. It leaves her in shock. Then she starts connecting the dots together. Hazuki asking Shuuichi. Shuuichi asking Kumiko. Oh dear. Looks like a love triangle is forming. She tries to avoid contact at all cost but evidently that guy wants an answer if she’s going with him or not. Better think fast. Then she grabs a random passing girl. Too bad Shuuichi. She’s going with her. Reina? Gasp! Then Hazuki wants a word with Shuuichi. On the day of the festival, Hazuki meets up with Midori first. She has a little cute sister, Kohaku who looks so much like her that I thought it was a mini version of Midori! Finally Hazuki meets up with Shuuichi. Without hesitation, she confesses she loves him. That shocking reaction… He didn’t expect it, didn’t he? But his answer? Sorry. Hazuki seems to be taking it in good strides. With this over, she will support Shuuichi to get together with Kumiko. Nothing between them says he? It’s so obvious that it’s written on his face… Meanwhile we have almost some sort of yuri time with Reina and Kumiko, both brought their instruments and hike up a hill! Reina admits she has always wanted to hang out with her. She’s hinting some form of twisted love for her… Reina explains how she didn’t want to be part of the group who thinks they are all the same. It is that kind of perfection she wants to avoid. That is why she plays the trumpet because she believes she can be truly special. That dumbfounded surprised look on Kumiko’s face just makes Reina laugh. They start playing a piece at the hilltop. When Hazuki reunites with Midori, she lets go all her tears. Aww… Poor girl. Time for a girl hug.

Episode 9
Everyone is focused on their practice. But Midori is getting sloppy and it is making Asuka mad! Talking with Kumiko, she believes something must have happened. Hazuki explains that Midori must have felt responsible for her failed confession. But Asuka doesn’t care about this and has no time to put up with kids who can’t practice. She goes to practice alone. Hazuki goes to have a talk with Midori (chopping her head multiple times?) and they put this issue behind them. Then Hazuki talks to Kumiko and believes she likes Shuuichi and will help her out. Of course Kumiko vehemently protests about this but this only makes Hazuki believe that she doesn’t know her own feelings. Then that guy had to come into the scene… As expected, this means lots of stuffs are occupying her head. As she practises alone, she heard Natsuki’s play and thought it was quite good. Then it hit her that everyone wants to play and be in the competition and at the same time, the fear of competing with her seniors. Then this funny scene whereby Kumiko and Reina pressing each other’s cheeks as a sign that they’ll not give up. Huh? The auditions are here and some are very nervous. Like Hazuki. Kumiko notices some audition is only very short like Asuka but some are drawn out long like Natsuki. When it is her turn, the short ‘interview’ before she plays has Kumiko wondering if she has raised the bar for herself. There are some parts Taki asks her to play but Kumiko felt scared because she didn’t practice enough those parts. Soon the audition results are announced. Going by sections, those who didn’t get their name called out are dropped. Instant tears of despair. For the euph section, only Asuka and Kumiko pass. Natsuki didn’t. While Midori makes it (is it because she is the only one with contrabass?) but Hazuki failed. Reina of course is chosen but even more special is that she gets the trumpet solo part.

Episode 10
Kumiko remembers during her middle school years, because she got accepted into the band, it made a senior jealous and got chewed out. She expected the same with Natsuki when she calls to talk. What a big relief that Natsuki isn’t bothered about it. She explains her drawn out audition was because Taki made her play parts she didn’t practice. Natsuki congratulates Kumiko and she won her place because she is capable. Meanwhile Yuuko Yoshikawa is talking to Kaori Nakaseko. Although both trumpet players passed the audition, Yuuko is not happy that Reina got the solo part. Kaori is fine with it but Yuuko isn’t. It sounds like Yuuko has a big problem if Kaori doesn’t get her dream come true since this is her last year. As Taki has the band members lay out used blankets on the ground (to absorb the sound as they need to practice playing their volume since the hall will be bigger than the classroom and the sound will spread), Yuuko boldly confronts Taki that he played favourites during the audition. Because he knew who Reina is before. Taki admits he knew Reina beforehand but denies every playing favourites. Reina interjects not to insult Taki and also boldly declares she got the part because she is better than Kaori! If she wants to complain, do it after surpassing her. Reina storms off with Kumiko following her shortly. But Kumiko starts laughing after seeing how Reina starts shouting out in frustrating about that complaining b*tch. Later Reina reveals her dad was a professional trumpeter while Taki a professional conductor. That is how they met and became best friends. He is the reason why Reina enrolled in this school. Yes, Reina loves Taki but the love is one-sided and he doesn’t know about it.

Soon rumours spread that the audition was a setup to have Reina play the solo part. The suspicion gets worse when Taki remains silent on the issue. Then at one time we thought we never seen Taki’s angry side before. Because the students put away the blankets when they’re not practising since it is hot and he yells back that he never told them to do so! So the different sections are playing separately again. At this rate they can’t play as an ensemble. Kumiko might have drawn the short end of the stick since her friends pick her out to go talk to Asuka to convince everyone as they feel she is closer to the vice president. Kumiko still sees Kaori practising her solo parts. Then she asks Asuka if Reina or Kaori is better. Personally, she doesn’t care. Kumiko doesn’t know if she’s lying or not because she can never guess what’s on her mind with that thick face. Haruka needs to get her band together so before practice starts, she talks about the rumours about Taki that are going around and at this rate they can’t concentrate. They’re not going to win the competition this way. If anyone has any problems, raise your hand now and she’ll tell Taki. Yuuko and the rest of the dissatisfied ones do so. That is when Taki comes in. He announces about the hall they’ve rented to practice in. He will be having second auditions there if anyone is interested. They will play before the entire band and they will decide themselves by vote of majority. So is anybody interested? Kaori becomes the first to raise her hand. She wants a retake for the solo part. This means Reina will also have to retake it since she is the current and only soloist.

Episode 11
Yuuko is admiring Kaori’s practice. Admiring enough to be considered creepy. Even creepier is how Yuuko dragged Kumiko to get her opinion when they eavesdrop on Reina’s play. We know Kumiko is a staunch Reina supporter, right? That sums up Kaori’s prospects. Kaori is letting Asuka hear her play but the latter is being cool giving middle ground comments. The better one will play. It is not her who will decide to play the solo parts. Even if Kaori tries a little psychology to ask for her personal opinion, with Asuka this cool, Kaori retracts her word. Better not to know. I guess Yuuko is desperate. She confronts Reina to tell her to let Kaori play. She doesn’t mind to become the villain that forced Reina out. She even goes into some history how Kaori was the best trumpeter but was left out due to seniority. But what does this all have to do with Reina? She still has a couple of more years but it is Kaori’s last year. So what? Reina is not bowing to pressure. If Kaori wants to play, all she has to do is to do better than her. Simple as that. So before the second audition in the hall, Haruka talks to Kaori about why she is obsessed with Asuka. Something about she could see through her and knows what she is thinking. She thought of wanting to surprise her. Now it’s Kumiko’s turn to talk to Reina. Reina asks if she would be mad if she lost. Of course she would. Reina is special. And Kumiko is passionate about that. She would even go so far to be a villain for her. Maybe. Heh. Then the most yuri thing ever happening so far. Reina touches her cheek and their faces so close that it just messes with your mind that they might even do it. Heck, they even say this is some sort of love confession. Because Reina is confident Kumiko will never abandon her. Because if she does, she’ll kill her. She’ll do it. Kumiko gives her permission. WTF. Is this some sort of yandere joke?! And now the rematch begins. Kaori goes first. Everybody closes their eyes to listen better. Only Yuuko is praying harder. Now it’s Reina’s turn. Some are shocked enough to open their eyes and watch in amazement. This sums it up, huh? Time to vote. Those who approve of Kaori please applause. Yuuko the first one to give a standing ovation. Those who approve of Reina please applause. Kumiko the first one to give a standing ovation. Because Kaori had slightly more claps, Taki asks Kaori if she would like to be the soloist. She won’t because she feels Reina should play that part. Wow. Yuuko breaking down like it’s the end of the world. Yeah, she’s really that sad. No joke. It’s just WTF and heartbreaking at the same time. So it’s final. Taki says Reina will be the one playing the solo.

Episode 12
Everyone is practising hard. Kumiko has a part which is tough for her so she practises alone and so hard that she didn’t even realize her nose is bleeding! Remember, in this hot summer please stay hydrated. She continues to improve herself and one night she passes by Aoi returning from cram school. She asks has she ever regretted quitting the band. Not once. Getting university will always take priority over the band. Even if there were no such problems, she’d quit anyway since she didn’t have a reason to continue. As the practice continues, Taki continues to point out parts that need to improve. Kumiko still has problem with hers so he asks if she can get better before the competition. Of course she will. Kumiko practises alone again but this time Reina joins her. Oh, don’t forget to drink water. Later Reina and Kaori apologize to each other for being obnoxious during the audition. And then it got to Kumiko when Taki points out a mistake made by Asuka. This makes her feel frustrated and upset that she wants to improve. It’s really getting to her. Well, I wonder if she really feels better having a shouting contest with Shuuichi (who is also feeling the stressed of trying to improve his weak parts) across the road that they’ll become better. That is when Kumiko realizes how Reina felt back then. She finally understood why she was so upset. Spacing out back home, Mamiko reminds her to start studying instead of devoting time to her club activities. But Kumiko says back that despite she quit the band, she didn’t even get into the university she wanted. Mamiko argues what’s the point of continuing in a band if she isn’t going to music school. There is. She likes the euph. Got a problem with that? That night, Kumiko returns to school to retrieve something she has forgotten. Taki is there working late. She talks to him about his father who was also a famous conductor. Although Taki initially didn’t want to take the same job like his father eventually it became his job because he chose it. It was something he enjoys doing. This gives Kumiko a lot of motivation. So she calls Reina to meet now just to brag she had a talk with Taki and her love for euph? I don’t blame Reina if she is feeling shocked. Because Kumiko gets distracted in buying a euph gachapon and gets the one she wants on her first go.

Episode 13
The big day is here. Check your instruments. Move them. Some words from Taki. Members who didn’t make the cut made lucky charms for the competition going comrades. At the big hall, Rikka’s Azusa is there too but only manages to exchange a short hi from a distance with Kumiko. Instrument tuning. Taki in a tuxedo. Last final words of motivation from him. Tiny bit of Kumiko-Shuuichi banter. Time to go on stage. Asuka feels sad that they had so much fun and now it’s all going to end. Kitauji starts playing their pieces. Kumiko narrates about the start whereby everyone said they wanted to go to the Nationals at the start was just talk because nobody really thought they would make it. Although it has been her dream to go there, she never really put hopes in it for fear of embarrassing herself. Now she knows wishes don’t come true unless you wish them out loud. Here comes Reina’s wonderful trumpet solo before their turn comes to a magnificent end. Now the most anxious part of it all. Waiting for the results. So nervous they could die. Will they make it? Never prayed to God so hard before. Then the unbelievable happen. Kitauji won gold!!!! Not fake gold but a real gold!!!! Believe it! This means they advance to the next round! REJOICE!!! I guess it is one of those times where it is okay for everyone to get emotional and cry together. Yeah. Reina x Kumiko hug.

Special 1
Kumiko tells Midori and Hazuki how she cleans her instrument. In addition to polishing the outside, the inside must also be well cleaned. How do you clean it? Soak it in the tub with hot water. This has Hazuki start thinking Kumiko and the rest of the gang bath with their instrument. Then Kumiko and Midori argue about using ketchup and soy sauce respectively to clean it cleaner. But Hazuki can only imagine the bathtub filled with either ketchup or soy sauce. So confused Hazuki asks Reina for her preference. She prefers salt. Salt? She’s referring to eggs, right…? What?

Special 2
Hazuki is tired of her nickname and wants a new one. She takes the liberty to give some of the band members nicknames based on their names. Midori thinks her original nickname is cute so Hazuki wonders if she should call her Sapphire. Midori it is! Now Asuka is going to help come up with a new nickname. Either it doesn’t make sense or is too long that it sounds like an insult. Hazuki threatens never to call her by her old nickname again and if anyone does, she will not speak to them. But Asuka cleverly weaves it inside Hazuki’s favourite topics. Like a charm.

Special 3
Shuuichi narrates that it isn’t a bed of roses for the guys despite the brass band club is dominated by females. You think you’re getting a harem? Think again. Like when you say something boring, the girls would chide you off. At times when they invite you out, they just ignore you while they do and talk their girly stuffs. Of course, there are times when the guys shine and that is when they are made to lift the heavy instruments. Sometimes I wonder if these guys would turn gay because when another guy joins, they’re so happy. Despite from different sections, they band together like bros. And the main reason why they continue being in the band is because they love it. Yup. I think they are really gays…

Special 4
Midori rants about her love for the tuba mascot that she has everything from accessories to items in his design. Except for the toy capsule that always seems to elude her… As for why she loves it so much, here is a little back story. When she and Kohaku were hanging out in the park, Midori went to get some juice and when she returned, Kohaku went missing. She started panicking but that soon turned into relief when the tuba mascot brought her back safe and sound. This is when she started liking the mascot. Even now Kohaku has become quite the fan. Even Kumiko notes the reason the friends are together is because of this mascot. It is no doubt that this tuba guy is king!

Special 5
Kumiko narrates some of the little problems facing the club at times. Like when your sheet stand just sometimes gets loose and drops. Or when you scribbled too many notes on your score that you just can’t read it right. What about interrupting and stopping the entire band just because you came in late. Then there is this finger synching tactic whereby one would help cover for you by just pretending to move their fingers. Of course it doesn’t work when Taki calls out a section to play that part alone. Especially one at a time. And it looks like Kumiko always gets it, messing up time after time in front of everybody.

Special 6
The girls wonder about Taki’s private life because it is as mysterious as him. They discuss what his private life might be. Hazuki thinks he is part of some visual kei group called NIA (Japanese acronym of Demonic Bond of Handsome Men). Midori on the other hand thinks he is a sniper and carries a suitcase with a weapon inside. The trombone is a bazooka? Lastly, Kumiko heard he takes cooking class and makes strawberry shortcakes. The only way to ascertain this is to peep on sensei himself. So what do they find him doing in the teacher’s room? Checking music scores for the band. They realize he always puts the band’s interest first and this gives them the motivation to return to practice and win the competition.

Special 7
Kumiko is tired after blowing endlessly into her euph. Her lips are almost swollen. That is when Hazuki asks about the meaning of transposing instrument. Kumiko and Midori explain about different instruments categorized by their different pitch. In short, the instruments all have their unique keynotes.  Using the Do from Do-Re-Mi as example, this only further confuses Hazuki. I’m not sure if she gets all that in the end. When she later asks Reina about it, she plays her trumpet note. That is her Do. More confused than ever.

The Sound Of Music
Oh well. It’s that feeling again. It might not be anywhere near a masterpiece but it certainly didn’t suck either. Although overall I felt that it could have been better. Could have. One reason being that having just over a dozen episodes just feels too short to flesh everything out and thus the ‘injustice’ of the series felt like it is being rushed with a handful of small ‘issues’ (jealous junior got it going a second audition for the trumpet solo part) and ended in an incomplete way. I am guessing that just like K-ON! when it first started, it only had 1 cour to its name before being expanded to 2 cours in the next. They never knew cute high school girls in a rock band could be such a hit. Maybe it could be the same for this anime? Who knows? Maybe there would be something like this in the future since this anime is interesting in its own right and has lots of potential. But as far as I know, nothing of it yet.

Although this anime and K-ON! are very different series, it is very hard not to draw comparisons with both of them. There are both similarities and yet differences that make both series so different from each other. This is personally from my view why I think this series is not as great as K-ON! Before you start calling me somebody bias, please listen out. Obviously my greatest point in saying so is the character development. Now, I am not saying the character development of this one isn’t great but my point is that there are so many characters in a band (around 60 over I believe) and it is very hard and definitely impossible to give all those characters their due screen time. Heck, I am very sure that I do not even know a quarter of the members! Or their names! Hey… Do they even have names? Some I believe don’t even have a decent line or just having so short lines that they’re just forgettable. Whereas in K-ON!, the primary focus are just on the 5 girls. Okay, so Hibike! Euphonium also focuses on Kumiko and her friends but the big difference is, we see Kumiko and friends working hard with all that drama practising and trying to improve themselves to achieve their goal. Whereas in K-ON!, the girls did no practice and spend most of their time frolicking! See the difference? In the latter’s case, you get to see the girls interact with their silly antics and bonding moments that make them really close as friends and as a group.

But here, you don’t even feel that. You don’t see every band member interacting with each other as they are mostly separated by the sections for their individual practice. They only get together when it is time for the big ensemble. Even with Kumiko, Midori and Hazuki the focus is on, you just don’t feel the closeness between them since you know, Kumiko is narrating about her future, goals and whatever there is to add to the little drama. Heck, even worse, Reina isn’t really seen mixing much with Kumiko’s group as she is in her own. Not even after practice. For a person who is standing with Kumiko and the rest in the poster, it is just baffling that despite the limited screen time between Kumiko and Reina have when possible, it just doesn’t feel that they are close enough. Perhaps it is their strained relationship when they enter high school and they are in different class. Maybe it is because Kumiko is always flustering whenever Reina comes into the picture. Lost for words. But even so, considering and viewing all this, the main quartet in this series certainly doesn’t stand a chance in this character development against the K-ON! counterparts.

Thus it is also hard not to compare Hibike! Euphonium’s quartet to K-ON! Kumiko to Yui, Reina to Mio, Midori to Tsumugi and Hazuki to Ritsu. The closest these characters will get compared to are just their looks as their personality differs greatly. Like Kumiko despite having a habit to say out straight what is on her mind (aside all that thinking and narrative), is not an airhead like Yui and is more decent and subdued although mainly it is because of her passive personality. Reina and Mio are the beauties with flowing long black hair of their respective series but Reina is not the scaredy cat like Mio although both are calm and collected, Reina is more serious and stoic to the point you’d think her scary unsmiling face is a sign that warns others from a mile away to stay away and not make friends with her. Midori is big on her positivism despite her petite size and timid character. She worries about being called as Sapphire (that’s her real name by the way) unlike the sweet and gentle Tsumugi who brings in tea and snacks for her band mates. Finally there is Hazuki and Ritsu who are the mood makers of the group. While Ritsu is more prankish and immature, Hazuki is more perky and cheerful. Both girls in a way also play the supporting role for their group. Ritsu as a drummer while Hazuki despite not making the cut, continues to support her mates from the sidelines.

Even with the main characters feeling so-so, what does that say about the other characters? Well, like I have said, so many characters in a brass band and it is just not fair not to cover all of them but what can you do when you have limited screen time? And even those supporting members too don’t make much of an impact. Like Haruka who is only president in name has a little self confidence problem and Kaori the gentle one. If I had to pick the best character out of the pack, it would be Asuka. Besides her extremely energetic yet playful personality, sometimes you don’t know if she’s just putting on a mask or if that is who she really is. This makes her an interesting if not a fun and thus the coolest person ever. She has a way with words and if she wasn’t part of the band, I think she would make a good negotiator or motivation speaker. Another amusing person is Taki. Despite his very calm, polite and gentle demeanour, his words do pierce your heart at times. And saying it in a very gentle manner is what makes it scary. I know we won’t like teachers raising their voice scolding or correcting us but how he keeps his cool and never raises his voice (except that one time) makes it even scarier. Maybe that is why slowly the students turn their fear into respect subsequently. He earned it.

Some characters you wonder what their role is or what happened to them. Like for Aoi who left halfway and never turned back, it makes me wonder what her role in the anime was in the first place. For a little drama effect? What about Natsuki who was bumming around in the clubroom without doing any actual practice and just starring out the window and due to that last year in-house fighting trauma thingy and then slowly with Kumiko warming up to her, she opens up a little but it turns out to be too late. Remember Azusa? Kumiko’s old friend who is now in Rikka? So what about it? Just to piece together the tiny puzzle bit of why Reina went to Kitauji? Yuuko who has always been giving Reina that suspicious look all the while eventually blows up her jealousy for a little dramatic effect for the final arc.

Romance feels like hit and miss. K-ON! generally lacks the yuri relationship despite their close bonds. Heck, they lack any male characters for any sort of romance too. But even with the short scenes of Kumiko x Reina, it was enough to earn the notorious nickname of Gayphonium to others. That yuri relationship itself feels lacking and a big tease for anyone who wants to see more of it. That is as far as they go. At least on TV. I wonder if there would be extra scenes of the yuri-ness in the BDs. It makes me wonder if there is any yuri type relationship between Kaori-Yuuko, Haruka-Asuka and even Kaori-Asuka. Or just admirers? I don’t know about Natsuki and Yuuko too because despite the former did say something about her love for the latter, it is just in a teasing way. But what if that could be true? Truly Gayphonium if all were true… I am not sure if Reina is using Kumiko as her substitute lover since it is only a one-way love with her and Taki. Maybe she should wait after she graduates to go after him to avoid any scandal for now.

Initially with Shuuichi as a childhood friend to Kumiko, this sets up some tantalizing romance. Since if you notice, Shuuichi has this sort of habit of popping up before Kumiko and then talk to her about things. Sometimes it feels like he is the gossip king because he is mostly the one who updates Kumiko about the happenings of stuffs. If their short scenes together do not warrant or lead to any romance, I don’t know what will. Unfortunately as we have seen, it did not turn out Kumiko x Shuuichi because Gayphonium feels much stronger. In the end they continue to be childhood friends whom Kumiko continues to keep her distance whenever possible. A big speculation that Kumiko may have hidden feelings for him as indicated at the start. She wanted to change from euph to trombone. That is the instrument that Shuuichi is playing. Why trombone of all instruments? Yeah… They try to shake up with a little love triangle with Hazuki falling for this dude but was quickly shot down. And would you believe she quickly gives up and play the supporting role? Wouldn’t she want to try again if she really loves this guy? I suppose she doesn’t want to be annoying. See, what did I tell you about Hazuki being the supporter role? I guess the only true couple is Gotou and Riko. But who cares about them?

Therefore this show is quite clean of any fanservice (for your information, that physical examination scene didn’t quite cut it). Even in K-ON! there are a few fanservice scenes like the beach episode when the girls head to Tsumugi’s beach villa for a training camp. Heck, I believe there were a handful of Mio’s shima pantsu fanservice going around at that time… This is a very clean anime overall and the Reina x Kumiko yuri is the most ‘questionable’ you’ll get of it all. So clean that even the Reina-Taki scandal didn’t really amount to anything. You thought there might be more than meets the eye. But Taki is such a decent and nice guy, he doesn’t play favourites despite knowing who Reina is prior to everything but continues to make his just and fair decision. So is there nothing not to like about this guy? Yeah, boo hoo. No student-teacher scandal.

Another aspect that I find that this series is mainly about the big drama of the Kitauji brass band is the lack of any potential rivals. It is the same case for K-ON! too but nobody gave a hoot whether they achieved their goal to play at the Budokan. But here, our brass band members eventually became serious in making their dream to participate in the Nationals. There were Rakushu and Rikka but the most you’ll hear about them is just their name and a possible little glimpse of them at SunFes. That’s all. Because as I can see, this season sees how Kitauji deals with their ‘inner demons’ in trying to get it right and improve themselves. If they can’t overcome that small step, are they ready for bigger things? That is why they’ve got no time to worry about other favourite schools and thus the lack of rivals like in other series that push our protagonist team to greater heights. It feels clichéd and prematurely that the series ended with Kitauji winning their preliminaries but with this kind of Japan high school tournament format, how far can you go in variation especially for a brass band team. So it is with mixed feelings that I thought it would have been better for this series to expand another season but it would have been more or less the same thing. You know, more drama, play against other better schools, the dark horse wins and advances to the next round. And perhaps take part in a little local side festival for a side distraction. Yeah, I can see where this is going.

It needs no introduction that everybody knows that Kyoto Animation is behind this series and thus the biggest factor of why Hibike! Euphonium is so much compared to K-ON! Their other works like Tamako Market, Kyoukai No Kanata, Hyouka and Amagi Brilliant Park may all have the same trademark visuals (the characters looking pretty familiar to those shows) but for the first time we have a 2 under the music genre. So it goes without saying that the characters look pretty cute KyoAni style and thus the moe factor that is much prevalent. Like I’ve said in a few paragraphs prior how our main quartet looks so much like their K-ON! counterparts. It’s not just confined to them. Asuka have this uncanny resemblance to K-ON’s Sawako is it because they are glasses wearing characters? And what is this Yuuko looking a lot like Kyoukai No Kanata’s Ai? Even creepier, they share the same voice actress! Hmm… Could she even be Amagi Brilliant Park’s Latifa? If not for her braids, Aoi would have been Hyouka’s Chitanda. Shuuichi does remind me of Tamako Market’s Mochizou… And maybe a little for Haruka and the titular character in Tamako Market.

With all the characters looking cute and moe, sometimes the only way I could tell them apart is their hairstyle. No, it is not they have very outrageous hairstyles in the first place. Because with their faces looking very similar to each other, I get a feeling that the only other way to differentiate greatly without confusing one character with another is the hairstyle. Some definitely stand out like Kumiko and Midori’s perm. Even Taki’s perm is also his standout point and not his glasses. Really. Then there is Aoi’s twin braids, Hazuki’s tomboy cut, Haruka’s twintail to Natsuki’s pony tail. There are other characters with even more quirkier hairstyle but they are minor characters that you probably don’t even know exist in the band. Really. But for added bonus and to make sure they are not ‘left out’, the mid-intermission shows the members of each section. It feels like the clarinet is the ‘most crowded’ section with over 10 members and contrabass being the ‘loneliest’ because it’s just Midori :-/. Is it me or do I notice that the characters have some sort of coloured dot as their pupils? Look closely and you’ll see… Aside the characters, the background and sceneries are also quite gorgeously drawn. The lush greens, the flowing river and the hot summer ambience sometimes really make it feel like eye candy. The brass instruments are also animated quite well though I’m not sure if they are that detailed to every nook and inch of it.

Although I am not a fan of brass band music, but hearing them once in a while is fun. Not that I have become a brass band fanatic after watching this show. With the big focus of this series on the drama, you won’t really hear the entire brass band music. I mean, if you have wanted to, you would have brought the actual CD for proper listening. So sometimes it just feels ‘sad’ that I didn’t get to hear the entire song although the final episode did play a lengthy one even though you can tell that it is edited with some parts missing. I think. Think about it. If you were to hear the entire beautiful music, you would close your eyes and let your ears concentrate in listening. Then what would be of the visuals? And of course, they’d ‘interrupt’ the music with some sort of narration like in many music themed shows such as Shigatsu Wa Kimi No Uso and Nodame Cantabile.

Speaking of music, the opening theme, Dream Solister by True is a very lively and energetic piece, employing the use of brass instruments for that grand effect (duh!) that leaves you in the mood to watch this series. But what strikes me even more is the ending theme. Tutti by the main quartet girls is so very like K-ON!!!! The damning proof is the moment you look at how the ending credits animation is played out. You see the quartet so close to each other like never before (they even didn’t get this close in the episode proper) and the rock music reeks of K-ON! type music (only with fanfare added). Oh, and that red string of fate that ties to the fingers of our girls. All too familiar. So K-ON!… Is it no wonder why we cannot stop comparing this series to that?

Voice acting feels okay since this is mainly drama. Those I recognized are Saori Hayami as Haruka, Takahiro Sakurai as Taki, Kenjiro Tsuda as Gotou (though I couldn’t recall his name but rather the other anime roles) and barely Minori Chihara as Kaori. There is a couple of K-ON! alumnae here too. Youko Hikasa who was the voice of Mio is behind Aoi while Tsumugi’s Minako Kotobuki plays Asuka. Unfortunately I did not recognize them :,(. The rest of the casts are mainly newbies and they include Tomoyo Kurosu as Kumiko (Tina in Black Bullet), Chika Anzai as Reina (Chaika in Hitsugi No Chaika), Moe Toyota as Midori (Fumi in Jinsei), Ayaka Asai as Hazuki (Mio in Shinmai Maou No Testament), Haruki Ishiya as Shuuichi (Ayumu in Selector Spread Wixoss), Konomi Fujimura as Natsuki and Yuri Yamaoka as Yuuko (Ai in Kyoukai No Kanata).

It just goes to show that having a big group is a big responsibility and effort in managing all the parts to play it right. Teamwork is the big key here so no instrument is too small for any part. Each has their own part to play and that is what makes the music sound so good and great. I don’t think playing the percussion has got the easiest job. Even if you’re holding just a triangle. It’s all in the timing. Just a trivial note, despite having a conductor, I wonder if you can call this brass band an orchestra since the only thing it is void of are string instruments like violin, viola, cello or the harp. The contrabass is so far the only string instrument here. Well, maybe a fanfare orchestra…

Overall, this anime has some hits and misses but it is still worth a look even if you are not a fan of brass band music.  Or even a fan of music themed shows. But such themes are hardly about the music. It is always about the people and the emotions and the music that connect them all together. As seen here, the characters were not born with talents to play in a brass band. They’ve earned it. As in the same case with respect. Next time if you start thinking that being an ensemble in a band that has over 60 members makes you feel insignificant, just remember this. Your effort is just like a tiny drop in the vast ocean. But had that single drop be missing, the ocean would have been less because of it.

Show By Rock

December 5, 2015

If you like animes about rock music but find K-ON! too humanly moe for your liking or even ordinary high school girls in a rock band isn’t your cup of tea, and if you have a certain fetish for furries then perhaps Show By Rock could be the answer you are looking for. Yes, people. If you like animals anthropomorphized as humans or at least their animal ears and tail, then I am sure you would like this one. I think. How often do you see a cat girl jamming the guitars or bunny girl doing some power riffs or doggie girl plucking away the bass solo? I know rock genres like black metal rock, hard rock, acid rock, alternative rock, punk rock, progressive rock and all the other kinds of rock music genres you can think of, they usually dress in outrageous outfits and questionable garments and having moe furries might be a little contradicting. But who cares when you have furries rocking hard to bring you their brand of rock music. Oh, and in the mean time save the music world from an unscrupulous music lord who wants to horde all the music in the universe for himself. The greatest performance and show ever in rock music history?

Episode 1
Cyan Hijirikawa has always wanted to be part of a rock band but is too shy to introduce herself. Well, if she could stop fantasizing on how great her guitar playing skills and embarrass herself in public. Back home, she is still hesitating to hand in her application form. So she takes a break by playing her mobile game. She gets a high score and receives a Strawberry Heart item. Suddenly she is sucked into her handphone. Down in Midi City, she witnesses in awe the band, Trichronika putting up a mesmerizing performance in front of their screaming fans. Suddenly a monster appears so our male idols go into action to fight it. However to their surprise, they see Cyan in this dimension. Because Myumons with music skills should only be able to enter this space. The trio are no match for the monster as it corrupts their Melodisian Stone. Cyan needs to do something and that is when a heart shaped guitar, Strawberry Heart AKA Berry materializes and wants her to strum away. Her power chords free the trio, purify their Melodisian Stone and destroy the monster. Back down on the ground, Cyan is met with this funny egg dude. Maple Arisugawa is the president of Banded Rocking Records (BRR) and wants her to join his agency. The all-girl band under him is Plasmagica and consists of Chuchu (guitar/vocals), Retoree (bass) and Moa (drums). Sounds tempting to join but when you see Trichronika in their long luxurious limo with screaming fans chasing all the way compared to their small dilapidated van… Even BRR’s headquarters looks like a rundown building. Cyan also meets Maple’s secretary and band manager, Angelica who doesn’t hesitate to beat up the president whenever he gets goofy. And I think he kinda likes it seeing he sounds like an S&M maniac. Chuchu hopes Cyan can join the band as they are looking for another guitarist for a fuller sound. Those words that Cyan long to hear… So screw the mystery of everything or even the thought of going home because joining a band is her top priority right now! Meanwhile in some big music label company, Unicorn Virtual Music, Dagger Morse receives word of some failure but will give him one last chance. He then reminds a legendary guitarist, Grateful King of the songs that he must write as per contract or else there will be a big penalty to pay. Yeah, a typical goal of conquering music of the entire cosmos. Cyan is happy to play her first jam session but there is somebody else there.

Episode 2
Shingan Crimsonz is an all-male rock band and another band under BRR. Crow, Aion and Yaiba are always arguing with each other and always need to be put in place by Rom (he also the only one he does a full time job). Seeing Trichronika on a TV commercial, Crow suggests doing something more amazing than Shuuzou (leader of Trichronika) but Rom punches him and warns him never to say that name. Maple has a job for Shingan Crimsonz. The guys are excited till they find out it is to play an opening gig for Trichronika’s concert. Rom is not interested at all but with Angelica being scary, I guess he’ll take the job. BRR also houses a dorm that the girls can leave so Cyan doesn’t need to worry about lodging. In her room, Berry talks to her about Midi City where everything revolves around music. Myumons are musical beings like them who love music. Everyone has a Melodisian Stone inside their hearts that resonate with music. Play a good one and it becomes a crystal with high purity. A bad one will corrupt you and turn you like that monster. It seems Cyan is brought to this world to save it. Until she polishes up her skills and destroys those monsters, she cannot return home. Who the heck sign her up for this?! Cyan shares with Plasmagica the first song she wrote. They love it. On the day of Trichronika’s concert, Shingan Crimsonz is nervous! But no use panicking now. It’s their turn. As they go up on stage, the fans don’t pretty like them as they want Trichronika. But when they start rocking away, the fans switch ships! Talk about band loyalty… Needless to say, their performance was a big hit. Although they still can’t steal the main show from Trichronika.

Episode 3
Plasmagica is getting a job. Battle of the bands. Seems Maple got too emotional and entered a bet with Ogasawara, the agent for Unicorn. They will be facing off with Criticrista, an all-female rock group from a show business course. The battle of the bands format will have both bands sing out their best song and the audience (live and internet) will put in their votes. The winning band gets reward money and their Melodisian Stone evolve. Retoree is feeling a melancholy. There is not enough time for her. The reason she joined a band was to make friends. She remembers how Maple invited her to join his agency and despite she was happy to take up the offer, she still doesn’t know how to be friends. Also, Moa’s real goal in joining the band is to investigate this city. What about Chuchu? To be the best of the best of course. Cyan is writing her song and wants some advice from Berry but he remains silent. You grow best when you struggle yourself? During the rehearsal, Plasmagica is stunned by Criticrista’s performance. Demoralizing, eh? On the day of the battle, Retoree starts having cold feet. She becomes a pessimist that they can’t win over those girls. She fears if they lose tonight, their dream of playing at BooDooKan is as good as over. So she thinks it is better to avoid this humiliation and hurt and go home? Not so fast. Cyan wants to talk to her. After Criticrista finishes their gig, it is Plasmagica’s turn. The band is now confident after Cyan suggested improvisation for some parts of the arrangement. They start playing their best. After all the votes are counted, the winner goes to… Criticrista! Despite both band leaders being gracious and humble, but deep down in their hearts, they are just cursing the other. Cyan talks to Retoree about her introvert personality and should have said things sooner. But today she realized she can get through her friends through music instead of words. Meanwhile a group of Myumon students are discussing a cool new rock band that is currently making its grounds in Midi City with its fusion of traditional Japanese music. They are Tsurezurenaru Ayatsuri Mugenan (TAM).

Episode 4
Retoree sums up her courage to invite her pals to TAM’s concert. Of course they want to go especially Moa who is a big fan of the group. Meanwhile Ogasawara reports to his boss on Criticrista’s victory but he doesn’t care about them and is more interested in Cyan. He knows her guitar skills will take his company further but will let her swim around freely for now. Plasmagica are in awe at TAM’s concert. At the backstage, Aa and Un think the fans like them so Darudayu warns them they are wrong to think that since the audience just merely found their music brand curious. While Plasmagica are eating at a café, they are surprised TAM is sitting at the next table! When Retoree gets up and walks towards them, they fear she is going to declare rivalry. Turns out she declares herself as their biggest fan. Moa soon follows suit. Darudayu takes note of Cyan. Back at BRR, Chuchu suggests some originality and would like to start with their clothes. It all seems to not fit the theme and look more like cosplay. They ask the Shingan Crimsonz guys but they pretend they didn’t see or aren’t interested. Liars. When Chuchu asks Rom for advice he tells them off that they misunderstood everything. Clothes do not determine whether a band is good or bad. He snaps when they think of becoming popular because music isn’t about being famous. Woah! Cool it that brother. You broke the spoon! He goes to take some fresh air. Shuuzou happened to be there to thank him for making him shine during the concert. Short flashback reveals they once played together. Plasmagica discusses that they should write a new song and will come up with some ideas before the next practice. Later, Moa feels homesick and thinking about her mom. What a coincidence she just called to check on her. She hopes she will come home after her mission is done. But this leaves Moa in a dilemma. She wants to go home but don’t want to. Not after she has made great friends and great music to forget her loneliness.

Episode 5
A monster attacks TAM in the midst of their concert. Maple lets his band know about the Futures Indie Band concert that they will be playing next week. They just receive news about the monster at TAM’s concert. Although they saved the day Darudayu was slightly injured. This makes Chuchu remember Cyan was fighting one when they first met. Retoree shows Cyan her computer that contains all the information regarding bands, venues and music. Cyan is impressed and Retoree is happy to have made progress in their friendship. Dagger is not happy Ogasawara failed another mission at TAM’s concert and he is getting wearing of Grateful King’s stubbornness. Time to get serious. Berry is talking to Cyan about the important mission to fight monsters so she can return to her world quickly. Unknown to them, Chuchu is eavesdropping and is shocked to see a talking guitar. This has her unable to concentrate on the practice as her mind is too preoccupied to think who Cyan is. For the concert, Plasmagica is sharing a room with Corriente and Wendy of Shizuku Secret Mind who also work part time selling mineral water (they’re mermaids). They talk about rumours of bands disappearing and it has got to do with monsters attacking at concerts recently. As Shingan Crimsonz is up on stage, a news flash that another concert nearby is being attacked by a monster. Berry rushes Cyan to go fight it although Plasmagica’s turn is almost up. Chuchu confronts her and wants an explanation but they can’t waste time on that now. And so Cyan had to run all the way there? The concert is over. The attack is over. The band barely managed to escape. The monster is gone. Cyan gets worried that the monster may be heading towards Futures Indie Band concert and now she has to run all the way back. WTF?! But before her are her band mates. Care to explain now? She reveals she is from another world and is very sorry she hid this from them. Retoree is most affected because it means she will leave one day. Doggie girl runs away in tears. Cat girl standing there in tears. And Maple must be wondering what the heck is going on and is his band of the verge of breaking up?

Episode 6
Because Cyan is in too much shock to say anything, Berry will speak on her behalf, shocking everyone. He explains Cyan’s skills are what needed to destroy the monsters but it is not him but Dagger who brought Cyan to this world. And no, it is not to fight monsters but to make her join his band in his bid to gain ultimate control of music and make money. That is why he even went as far as to look for talents in other worlds and zeroed in on Cyan. The monsters are controlled by Dagger and are used to eliminate rivals. When Cyan was sucked into this world, Berry intercepted. Maple and Angelica knew all about it and never told the rest so as not to burden them. The guys want to go beat up Dagger but Berry tells them not to as violence would make them the same as Dagger who uses money as power. The only way is to beat him is with music. Maple suggests a training camp to strengthen their bonds. Of course this is all part of the training to get them ready for the legendary Grateful Rock Festival and they need to write new songs for it. While the guys head to the mountains (and ended getting lots of trouble), the girls are at the beach. However the tension with the band is still there especially between Cyan and Retoree. Cyan goes talk to her and her love for music and guitar but was too shy to join a band but Retoree just ignores her. Not till Cyan starts singing her new song, Chuchu and Retoree join in. It is then Retoree makes up with her. Yeah, music reaches your heart. But where is Moa? They find her at the cliff and think she is going to commit suicide! Moa also comes clean and reveals she is an alien who is here to investigate this world. But the rest are confused. They think it is her way to make up with Cyan. Besides, this alien gimmick might be good for the band. Don’t believe, eh? Moa then shows proof by using her antenna to summon her rocket! Now you believe? Everyone couldn’t care about whatever backgrounds they have because now they are band mates and will treasure the time they have together. The training camp for both sides goes well especially the guys who are pretty much fired up for the next challenge.

Episode 7
Marimari from Shinimonogurui seeks Plasmagica’s help. One of her members, Tsugihagi is missing. Apparently they heard how concerts at Youkai Street are great and decided to play there but monsters also start appearing. That is when Tsugihagi went missing. Marimari wants to apologize to Tsugihagi because he said something about wanting to improve his keyboard and should have listened to him. She wants their help to find her friend because she saw Cyan fought the monster before. Meanwhile Ogasawara reports to Dagger that he has successfully spread rumours of Youkai Street and bands have already start gathering there. He didn’t expect Cyan to turn up too. Shingan Crimsonz is at Youkai Street but they are being scared out of their daylights because they keep meeting monsters. Screaming like little girls? As Plasmagica make their way into Youkai Street, Berry senses a monster coming. Shingan Crimsonz is about to start their performance when they are sucked into another dimension to fight this huge speaker monster. They are no match for it at first but when Rom reminds them about the dream they are going to create, their passion starts burning, giving them the power to fight back and after pulling off teamwork combos, they successfully destroy it. Everybody loves this great show. Once they return to the real world, it seems the monster reverts back to Tsugihagi. Marimari is glad to be reunited with him. Tsugihagi doesn’t remember how he turned into a monster except being worried about something. The duo are reunited with their other band members which turned out to be those monsters who scared the sh*t out of Shingan Crimsonz. Unknown to everyone, the monster seed creeps into Aion. On the way back, Shingan Crimsonz didn’t realize they were fighting a real monster because they thought it was somebody trying to play a prank on them. This means they are great, huh? Don’t get too full of yourselves yet. But Berry is worried about band members turning into monsters and does having darkness in one’s heart turn you into one? Is there a link to it?

Episode 8
Maple has bad news for Plasmagica. There is a requirement that might prevent them from playing at the festival. Because they haven’t performed in a proper live concert before. Shingan Crimsonz was the opening gig at Trichronika and was counted but shouldn’t Plasmagica’s battle of the bands count too? So why suggest playing another battle of the bands with Criticrista again? Maple is afraid to call Ogasawara for the match so Angelica does it on his behalf. It will be next week. As Shingan Crimsonz being their practice, they notice Aion isn’t around and when he shows up late, Crow starts insulting him as usual but went too far saying that his songs he wrote were lame. The guys realize something is wrong when Aion starts acting strange and even more shocking, he quits the band! Once Plasmagica learns about this, Cyan worries that he might turn into a monster and it is better to go find him. Crow won’t forgive Aion for quitting the band and won’t go search with them. But where will they find him in this city? So happened Shuuzou spotted Aion on a building and informs Rom. Shuuzou’s band mates wonder about his past with Rom so he metaphorically mentions about the same yet different dream they once had that they couldn’t walk together and went their separate ways. Once the guys find Aion, Rom punches him to drag him back but it looks like there is no effect whatsoever. Till Crow comes by to tell him he is making his guitar sad. He apologizes for saying too much then and that he has not quit the band because nobody accepted his resignation. Because he will never allow a band member who writes soulful songs to just quit like that. Aion’s Melodisian Stone heals and in no time the band is a whole again. After Plasmagica receives the good news, a public announcement from Criticrista declaring their rivalry with Plasmagica for the battle of the bands rematch.

Episode 9
Grateful King talks to Dagger since he has writer’s block. Dagger mentions about his goal to gather all the best talents to stand atop of this world. It doesn’t matter what they think. They will come to him. Chuchu thinks performance is what they need to beat Criticrista. So she has her band members practice juggling their instruments and doing some acrobatic stuffs? That’s got to hurt. When Shingan Crimsonz sees this, Rom tells them off about doing something this superficial. Their job is to speak directly to the soul of the fans with their songs. That is all there is to it! Chuchu still thinks something is missing so Retoree shows a picture of their bond that they had during the training camp. On the day of the rematch, both groups pass each other in the hall. Chuchu thought of being polite to them but Rosia ignores her to greet Cyan (and then whisper how she’ll lose). So when Criticrista is putting up their cutie performance, Chuchu starts falling into depression about that incident. Something dark brewing in her heart… But she is snapped out when it is their turn. Plasmagica puts on a magnificent performance that Rosia starts shaking in fear! She knows Criticrista has lost! OMG! She’s getting too freaking emotional already! That’s what you get for counting your chickens. And Plasmagica is elated because they were having so much fun. Naturally when the results are out, Plasmagica wins! Ogasawara thinks a lost is nothing since they have already qualified for the festival but Rosia knows a loss will not do! That is when Dagger the man himself pops up. His dark aura… You can tell he is not happy. First he scares the sh*t out of Ogasawara over his failure and doesn’t want to see his face again! Better run for your life. Now what is he going to do to the girls? They know losing is not an option but that just happened. Oh sh*t! I hope no dark tentacle rape here. As if taking and corrupting their Melodisian Stone and calling them incompetent trash isn’t enough, I don’t know what horror stuff he unleashed onto them that had them screaming like it’s the end. And all they did was lose…

Episode 10
Chuchu is feeling down because the spotlight wasn’t on her despite Plasmagica won. If she had the guts to write using her friends as stepping stone to achieve her ambition in her diary, she must be getting desperate now. Berry gathers Plasmagica to tell them about Dagger who is probably going to use his monsters to attack popular bands as the festival. He is going to use the confusion by turning the audience’s Melodisian Stones dark. Although they can defeat the monsters, it still won’t solve the problem. The only way to defeat Dagger is via music. He reveals Dagger’s goal to gather top musicians for himself. His targets are Shuuzou, Darudayu and Cyan. Before Plasmagica could practice, Chuchu surprisingly tells her band mates that she wants a break for a change in pace. Actually she received a mail from Dagger who was watching her performance and wants to meet. She goes to Unicorn as he brainwashes her to work for him now. Chuchu remembers how she got into music. She saw Grateful King in concert and it inspired her to want to perform like that. Then, she thought it was better to perform as a band rather than solo because it seemed easier to get noticed. She was happy when Maple offered to be her agent. Despite the minor label, it was her first step to realize her ambition. And now nothing will stop her to reach that. Even if that means quitting Plasmagica. Dagger tells her to go betray her friends. Grateful King is shocked to see Chuchu and needs to do something but Dagger puts a stop to him. He knows Grateful King has been possessing Berry and helping the girls. He reminds Grateful King that he doesn’t care about him but only his songs. When Chuchu returns, she drops the bombshell that she is quitting the band and going solo for she has joined Unicorn. Plasmagica was just a stepping stone. Bye. I see now it’s her turn to quit. Berry tells the girls to stop her as she has been brainwashed by Dagger. They start playing their music till Chuchu joins in and is freed from the evil control. Berry explains Dagger was trying to use Chuchu to turn Cyan’s Melodisian Stone dark. Chuchu admits about her ambition to be noticed and all that she did was true and just for that. But the girls think positive because thanks to that, it also helped Plasmagica and they have gotten this far together. One last question: Will she quit the band? No way!

Episode 11
Maple tells his rock bands about Dagger planting monsters during the festival. Cyan is worried Berry hasn’t spoken to her ever since that incident. Chuchu blames herself but everyone says it’s not her fault. Dagger is ecstatic that Grateful King has written the best song ever. Grateful King is exhausted after using up a lot of his power to save Chuchu. He wants to be released as per contract but you know, Dagger is such a typical bad guy and not going to keep his word especially if that promise was just verbally made. Dagger is now going to make sure the best entertainment will begin. All our usual rock bands gather and meet at the festival. Trichronika opens the festival followed by Shingan Crimsonz. During TAM’s performance, this is when Dagger strikes. All the rock bands are transported to another dimension. A monster bug attacks them and weeds out all the unchosen ones. Dagger orders to capture his chosen ones but Darudayu gets into her giant cat daruma to fight the monster. She believes she can do this by herself and the duo should save their power for later. She is about to emerge victorious and land the final blow when Cyan senses something familiar coming from the monster. She realizes it is Rosia trapped and crying for help. Cyan manages to stop Darudayu in time before she kills her.

Episode 12
Dagger orders the monster to take Cyan. With Darudayu getting in the way, Shuuzou uses his power to free the rest as Plasmagica put on a performance to purify the monster back to Rosia. So now she’s getting all emotional about saying bad things about them, the reasons she turned into a monster. But Dagger is not about to be defeated. In his monster form, he captures everyone. Meanwhile Maple and Angelica sneak into Unicorn HQ and pass all the security traps to free Grateful King. Cyan agrees to do what Dagger says to avoid her friends getting hurt further. She is about to be swallowed by him when Grateful King intervenes. Dagger doesn’t need him anymore and continues to take Cyan. See, if you don’t get rid of him, Grateful King is going to interrupt you as many times as he is going to take. This time, Grateful King is sorry about dragging her into this mess and making her fight despite she doesn’t want to. Just when Cyan recognizes him as Berry, she is thrown back into her own world. Now how are the rest going to deal with this monster boss? Cyan feels she can’t go back yet and returns. Oh wow. She’s in her angel form! A cupid more precisely because she fires her arrow of love to purify the monster once and for all. Dagger reverts to his harmless form. Uhm… Doesn’t he look like a sperm? Time for reconciliation. Time for thanks. Time for goodbyes. Chuchu presents her members each a guitar pick as memento. How sweet. Time for emotional group hug. But it isn’t the end yet. The festival continues and Plasmagica steals the limelight on stage. The girls learn a valuable lesson that no matter how far apart they are, they will always friends. Yeah, we get it. You love everybody, right? Back in her original world, Cyan still has jitters to join the rock band. But seeing Chuchu’s pick gives her the courage to open the door and make clear her intention.

The Show Must Go On
Oh yeah! Music save the world and universe! Ahem… Overall, unless you are a fan of rock music and furries playing them, many would just pass it off as just being average. So it wasn’t all just a dream after all. Because Chuchu’s pick is proof that Cyan has been there, done that and become the legend that saved Midi City and the entire universe from a greater evil. Speaking of which, I think despite the happy ending, they leave a little room in case there needs to be a sequel. Don’t you see? Dagger still roams free! Sure, he might be useless and harmless in his sperm-like form but if he can still shout out profanities and the fact that he is not captured, this leaves room for him to return once he gets his power back. And will Cyan be back again when that happens? And how? But we’ll leave that for next time. For now, let’s just leave with the good feeling that Cyan is now able to join a real band back in her own world. Assuming they let her in of course. Say, doesn’t that band have a strange resemblance to the Plasmagica members? Truth is stranger than fiction.

I feel the plot although isn’t quite the original and generic (how often do you have a main character from another world being casted as the one with some sort of hidden latent power and becomes the chosen one in rescuing denizens of this world), it is not that bad and with the episodic feel of the episodes, sometimes I find myself hard to stay focus on the story and its progression. Because you know, it is mostly how Cyan bonds her friendship with her band mates. They have their little issues to deal with and goals to achieve but ultimately they grow closer in the name of friendship and music as they work their way up to become one of the greatest bands and realize their dream.

Therefore the characters don’t really feel fleshed out that much. To be fair, with only a dozen episodes and a handful bunch of characters, you’re not going to see a lot of character development. Of course Plasmagica is the star of this show so they get more focus than the rest. But even so, their past and struggles are only as much as shown here. Like Moa being an alien coming to observe this world. It’s like they’re trying to give her some sort of background so as not to make the drummer a total empty character but that is all about that to her. Chuchu wanting to stand atop the rest feels like to serve as a convenient flag to advance the plot when Dagger starts to make his move. I don’t see how a rock band is a place to make friends if this is what Retoree’s goal was all along. Then there is something going on between Rom and Shuuzou, something that led them to split ways but you won’t know more than what you see. Or maybe it is just as simple as that. It’s just a music show. Why complicate things? Well, I thought musicians themselves are pretty complicated…

So Cyan as the main character and big heroine of the series she’s got a lot on her plate. At least for a high school girl. She’s got to figure out how to make the band stick together since it is a dream come true and at the same time defeat monsters and save the world if she wants to return to hers. Such heavy responsibility for a girl whose only initial girl is to sum up her courage to join a rock band. Sure she got her wish but it looks like it came with saving the world mission too. Well, at least joining this rock band is different than a certain high school all-girl rock band who mainly wastes time drinking tea and eating snacks in their club room instead of doing any serious practising. I wonder how long has she been in Midi City. Because I could imagine all the classes she would have missed and her family lodging a missing daughter report.

Sometimes I feel the guys in BRR are like for comic relief. For example, look at Maple himself. If you have a band manager looking like an egg already, you can’t help want to crack Humpty Dumpty jokes. Then they shock us in one of the final scenes: Maple’s true form is a handsome elderly dude???!!! WTF???!!! OMG!!! At times he may turn into a joker and step out of line and thus perhaps Angelica’s role there to string him back in line. Maple’s secret masochist fetish may make me start thinking that eggs are all masochists because they can’t wait to be cracked open… Don’t you think so?

Shingan Crimsonz provide an alternative distraction if too much Plasmagica may make you puke. With Crow, Aion and Yaiba being jokers at times, Rom’s role feels like Angelica to Maple. To put them in line and remind them about why they make music. And when this guy speaks, you listen. And always they really get so touched by it like they’ve seen the light or something. Awesome, right? Like jokers, right? But in terms of personality, Shingan Crimsonz is more amusing than Plasmagica because when you have a guy who thinks he is god and only can talk with his hand over his mouth, a guy who keeps talking like a samurai, a guy who calls his fans as cattle, they’re far more interesting than a group consisting of shy girls, ambitious girl and alien girl. Don’t you agree with me?

Other characters outside BRR feel rather okay but as I’ve said, nothing much more about them. Shuuzou’s never ending limo feels like a running joke as well as those piggy girl fans who constantly scream and follow him wherever he goes. To have TAM get more screen time rather than on the stage, it is often shown Darudayu ‘lecturing’ to her band mates in their backstage room about their important goal of spreading their far east music style to Midi City. Dagger of course is stereotypically the big bad villain that we all love to hate. The additional reason why our good guys continue to play good music so that they can beat the crap out of his vile schemes. Via music of course.

As a music themed genre, rock music plays a big part and of course the main attraction of the show. However I am not really a big fan of rock music so what I say may not reflect truly on the rock music in this series. In short, I personally don’t find the rock music to be appealing. Like the opening theme, Seishun Wa Non-Stop by Plasmagica is supposed to be that lively rock piece that is supposed to get you into the pace of this anime. But to me it just sounds like a generic anime rock song. The ending theme, Have A Nice Music also by Plasmagica too tries to match this liveliness but again I don’t really find it to my taste. Not even the cute moe animation stuffs at both ends could sway my heart. Even the rock themed insert songs sung by Shingan Crimsonz, Trichronika, TAM and even Criticrista didn’t quite appeal to me. Maybe I am just not cut out for this kind of rock music. And if it was, it is going to take something really catchy and special. Unfortunately this series didn’t have that sort of magic for me.

But instead of spamming us with music concerts all the way, I guess that is why sometimes we have those monster battles as variety. Sure, it’s to develop the plot as a certain villain was just testing out. Even if it is just mediocre, but I suppose it is a way to showcase the power of their music in bringing down the monster. I think just like some rock bands, they have cool names for their instruments. Whether it is like Holy Arc or Red Tomahawk or Ryuken-den or Skull Jaguar, they really sound cool. Some of their instrument’s designs are also cool especially Yaiba’s bass guitar that also doubles as a samurai sword. I don’t know, I thought Chuchu’s guitar looked a bit like Batman’s logo. Well, almost.

Voice acting is rather okay but if you love rock music, you’re not going to pay much attention to the voice acting. Only Ayane Sakura as Moa (~pyuru) and Mamoru Miyano as Shuuzou are the ones I recognized. The rest of the other casts include Eri Inagawa as Cyan (Ai in Youkai Watch), Sumire Uesaka as Chuchu (Sanae in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai), Manami Numakura as Retoree (Riko in Love Lab), Hiroyuki Yoshino as Berry/Grateful King (Bossun in Sket Dance),Yoshimasa Hosoya as Rom (arata in Chihayafuru), Kishou Taniyama as Crow (Jean in Shingeki No Kyojin), Kouki Uchiyama as Aion (Raku in Nisekoi),Tetsuya Kakihara as Yaiba (Natsu in Fairytail), Megumi Han as Darudayu (titular character of Mushibugyou), Yuji Ueda as Maple (Keitaro in Love Hina), Risa Shimizu as Angelica (Amira in Shingeki No Bahamut: Genesis), Takaya Kuroda as Dagger (Renjou in Kurenai) and Rina Hidaka as Rosia (Ririchiyo in Inu x Boku SS).

If you are a purist fan of hand drawn 2D animation, then the downside of this series is that they employ 3D CG animation here. However this is only limited to when the characters perform on stage during concerts. It is a good try to use CG but this means there is a very big discrepancy with the 2D animation for the characters look very different as they are in their full animal form. Sometimes I can’t help think that the CG effects used are like claymation because of the visuals and everything. But if it was claymation in the first place, the animation would be jerky instead of this smooth. The monster’s design somehow feels bland. Sure, we don’t care about the monsters. As long as they have those speakers embedded in their body as an attack feature, I suppose they’re fine.

As for the 2D art and design, they’re rather okay and pleasing to the eye with lots of colourful stuffs especially the character clothes design (somehow I find Cyan’s gothic design to be my liking… Is it because it resembles closely to a maid?). And of course, those animal ears and tail you can identify what kind of animal they are having those. I thought Grateful King was the ‘laziest’ design (Dagger is second to this) because his form is like a shadow and you can only see his outline. Not even a decent face he’s got. I am guessing from that pompadour hairstyle and outfit, he is based on Elvis Presley? Even his name hints greatly of it. Yeah, rock on forever. Then we can hear conspiracy theories of how Elvis was spotted alive in Midi City…

This anime might be generic and doesn’t rock any boat but at least with its easy to follow and very simple plot of good triumphing over evil, this isn’t a bad series after all. Heck, with all the colourful and cute stuffs everywhere, this series might even be suitable for kids. And maybe they’ll find out if they really like this brand of rock music or not… Well, I know I won’t be caught dead in using my music to save the world or anything. But you’ll never know. Time to brush up my guitar skills and keep practising in case it ever happens. If not, maybe just to woo chicks. I hope… ;p.

Shigatsu Wa Kimi No Uso

November 15, 2015

Child prodigies in music can go a long way. I suppose that is why many mothers try to pound music into their child from a very tender young age so that they can become good musicians in the future. Call it some sort of investment but what happens when that ‘investment’ turns bad? So much for that promising future. So happen that our main character in Shigatsu Wa Kimi No Uso (Your Lie In April) was a piano prodigy till a tragic shocking event made him lose interest and turn a blind eye to the music world, preferring to live the mundane and boring life like any boring other human being. So how do you get an ex-musician back into his old passion again? Get another musician to ignite that passion again? I’m sure not any ordinary or genius musician would do. Somebody crazy and free spirited enough to make him jump back into the passion he once left behind.

Episode 1
Kousei Arima is transcribing music notes in the music room when suddenly a baseball crashes through the window hitting him right on the head! He is bleeding! Blame his childhood friend, Tsubaki Sawabe for that reckless move but she doesn’t sound so remorseful. Somebody has got to clean this up. Of course, they got lectured by the vice principal. For an hour. Walking back with their friend Ryouta Watari, they talk about his playboy character. Lots of girls seem to like him. Kousei doesn’t understand what they see in him but as for himself, he notes girls wouldn’t want to fall for a guy like him. Yeah well, this short flashback tells us he is some sort of piano prodigy. Already playing at some high level competition at such a young tender age but he cracked during it and that was the end of his piano days. Tsubaki talks to Kousei that there is a classmate of hers who likes Watari and wants to get to know him. She plans on introducing her to him but it will be awkward if there would be an odd number of people. So she wants him to come along too. Because she is also into classical music, she thought they have something in common. However Kousei says he has not played the piano for 2 years and the songs he is transcribing are just for his part time job (for karaoke outlets, etc). Tsubaki doesn’t care what reasons he gave because it feels like he is still desperately trying to cling onto it. She thinks he is way cooler when he played the piano.

More flashbacks. Kousei’s mom, Saki had a dream of turning her son into a world class pianist. As she ran a piano school, she trained him like the Spartan way to become one. It was hell as a kid. If he did the slightest mistake, he was beaten up. But as long as it makes her happy, he didn’t mind enduring the torture. Her dream was also to have him perform in some European competition. But 3 years ago just when he finally has his sights on that competition, mom died. So maybe that is why he is still clinging on to piano. Take away that and he has nothing. Kousei waits at the park they are supposed to meet. However he finds a pair of female shoes and spats pants on a tree! Did somebody get raped? Nearby the playground, there is this beautiful girl, Kaori Miyazono is helping a bunch of kids play the melodian. Soon they engage in a mini ensemble of their own and play a simple yet beautiful music. Kousei wanted to snap a picture of this when the wind blew. It blew up her skirt. Kaori saw this. Not good. She tries to beat up this pervert (with a recorder) and accuses him as a voyeur. Sorry to interrupt your beating but Tsubaki introduces Kaori to Watari. Although Kaori gets back to her polite mode, she warns Kousei not to even mention that embarrassing scene. I’m not sure if it’s an insult or not because Tsubaki wants Kousei to continue playing the supporting role and for now he will be known as just Friend A. Kaori is also a violinist and the reason she is here is because there is a music competition in the hall nearby that she is participating in. Oh, look at the time. Time to go. Kaori takes Kousei’s hand as they make a dash there.

Episode 2
The moment they step into the auditorium, those traumatic memories of Saki pops up. I guess it is that bad. But luckily he is still in control of himself. Also, many people here recognize Kousei although they’re just whispering about that prodigy kid who suddenly went out of the scene a couple of years ago. The competition begins (Watari fell asleep right away!) and after a few competitors, it is now Kaori’s turn (Watari instantly wakes up to cheer on her!). However the piece she plays shook everybody up. She improvises the piece on her own. While this is creative, this does not sit well with head judge who feels this is blasphemy and picking a fight with the composer. Of course even if this is much more interesting than the other by-the-book competitors as some of the judges see, this is still a competition. Which means if you don’t follow a set of rules, out you go. But Kousei can see how happy she was while she was playing. Like as though winning this competition is not what she is looking for. During the break, a couple of young girls hand a bouquet of flowers to her and proclaim they have become her fans. The names of those who passed the first preliminaries are announced. Kaori made it based on audience choice. While Kousei has a lot on his mind, Watari comes to talk to him and thinks he likes Kaori. Although he denies, Watari starts blabbing about the sparkles that you can see in one’s eyes when they are in love. That is why people irrationally fall in love. Still think it is impossible for you? Well, the girl will tell you whether it is impossible or not. Tsubaki than barges in to give Watari an earful because he made one of his girlfriends cried. Better make up quick. When Kousei goes home, he sees Kaori outside the gates waiting for Watari. He knows he won’t come as he has walked home with that girlfriend and lies he might still be in football practice. She thought of going to take a peek but he lies about the club being busy preparing for the summer tournament. It might disrupt them. In that case, Kaori appoints Kousei as his substitute.

Episode 3
As Kousei accompanies Kaori at a café, after hearing a couple of young girls playing the piano, Kaori forces Kousei to accompany them. His finger play is creative and attracted the attention of the entire café but suddenly he stops. The trauma. Sorry. He can’t go on. Later, Kaori reveals she actually knows who he is. She lists down some of his accolades and his precision playing. It is the reason why many take inspiration in music and look up to him. Every musician in this generation has heard of him. He reveals he cannot hear the piano sound. It was okay at first but as he progresses, he cannot hear them anymore. But Kaori has decided to appoint him as her accompanist for the next round. No buts. Because he is still reluctant, you can see Kaori chasing and harassing him on the way to school about this! So once Tsubaki learns about this, she becomes her accomplice in harassing Kousei to make him bend and accept Kaori’s request. Yup. She went so far as to copy manuscripts of the piece Kaori will be playing and stick it all over the music room, stuff it in his locker and even back in his room and outside her window (they’re neighbours too by the way)! Kousei is stubborn and won’t give in. Kaori wonders why Tsubaki is adamant to bring Kousei back to the piano life. It doesn’t matter to her if he plays piano or not. But if he wants to quit, he has to do it on his own terms. Ever since that day, he has been trapped with no place to go. She is sure something will change if he plays the piano again. On the day of the second preliminaries, Kousei is shocked to see Kaori looking for him at the rooftop instead of being at the auditorium. Well, she’s looking all over for him. She’s still a stubborn one too. After a good beating up, he continues to give excuses why he can’t play or live up to her expectations. But she chides him that he is just running away. Kousei remembers on that day when he couldn’t hear the sound of the piano anymore right in the middle of the competition. Everyone thought he cracked under pressure and his competitors were happy to have less one rival. Kaori says they might not be the best performance but as long as there is a chance, she will still play and there will be an audience. The people who have heard her will remember her. And then suddenly she bows her head and starts crying! Please support her! Ah, tears of a girl enough to make a guy change his mind and heart. Kousei now knows what Watari told him about the girl knowing about it. Tsubaki and Watari were also finding him. After beating him up, they rush all the way there. It’s already unthinkable that they’re skipping class, I don’t know whose bicycles they stole but hold on for the ride of their lives!

Episode 4
Kousei remembers Saki’s strict lessons to make him precisely remember the scores. He heard everybody badmouthing this ‘torture’ like as though he is a machine. He felts sad that nobody understood and that he was the only one on her side. At the backstage and before their turn, Kousei is running nervous because he is trying to get a feel of the notes but is not confident. So much so he is ignoring Kaori showing off her new dress. She head butts him and tells him to look at her. Now that he is calmed down, she believes he can do this. Their turn is called and Kousei views her as the freedom. But she corrects him: Music is freedom. Once they take stage, many are shocked to see Kousei as her accompanist. Everything starts well. Even Kaori is playing like the textbook. Till she starts going creative. Then when he starts seeing visions of Saki, that is when Kousei starts losing it. His sound is so obviously out of place that even the audience can pick it up. Kousei starts panicking he cannot hear the notes. Then he completely stops. Some believe this is a good move because he might destroy the violinist’s performance. Then she completely stops. What’s going on? She wants to take this from the top again (it is permissible as long as the performance is within the time limit). She starts off solo while Kousei just sits there. Then he thinks back and tells himself to focus. Even if he can’t hear the notes, he has seen the score everywhere for the entire week. Use his imagination. He starts playing again although their sound is still all over the place. He then remembers a gentler lesson from Saki of not pounding the piano with force but to touch it gently with a smile. Now that Kousei is getting his groove, the judges can tell that he is trying to outdo the violinist! It’s like they’re both ‘fighting’ to take the limelight! But still, this is what gets the audience entranced. Kousei is glad he Kaori moved him and can hear her sound. It ends with a bang and the crowd applause so loud that you think this is a rock concert! Those people who hated him now love him? Shortly, Kaori collapses.

Episode 5
Flashback shows Tsubaki and the kids used to jump off a bridge called Bridge of Bravery into the shallow stream below. She also used to shove Kousei off. At first, he was scared but after the first try, he wants more! Kaori is recuperating well in hospital. Well, it’s Tsubaki’s fault for barging in without knocking while she is changing so why do the guys have to get beaten up? The collapse is her first time and it is all thanks to the stress of trying to chase a certain guy to be her accompaniment. Yeah, it’s your fault. Despite so, Kaori never really scolded him although he expected it. Also, he hasn’t been playing the piano since because he thought it would be the only thing he is good at. Is that a bad thing? Besides, can he forget it? So we’ve got a long drama of Kousei thinking about Kaori on how she refused to give up and supported him. We take a short detour as we see Tsubaki meeting up with her baseball senior, Saitou who is now in his high school first year. Just like any other girls, she also liked this ex-captain with lots of cool qualities. But why does she need to compare him with Kousei? Anyway, it seems she didn’t expect this. A scene that looked like Saitou confessing to her. She looks confused after that and despite all that, she didn’t feel the shining spark she expected. Once Kaori is out from hospital, Kousei sees her doing well interacting with Watari. I guess this means he doesn’t need to interrupt? On the way back, he bumps into her on the bridge. She exaggerates disappointment he didn’t get her another get-well presents so he agrees to do whatever she wants. All part of her plan? She wants him to enter a piano competition. It is his turn. He is in a dilemma to do so because he abandoned music and doesn’t deserve to be a performer. Kaori feels many musicians are in the same boat. At first they don’t want to do it but will pick it back up and start playing. That is how you make the most beautiful lie. Since they’re just 14, they should do whatever they want. To prove it, she jumps off the bridge. Kousei gets inspired by her and also does the same. He realizes that there is no way he could forget it.

Episode 6
When Kousei was young, he scraped his knee. He was crying all the way while poor Tsubaki had to carry him back. But she was relieved it wasn’t his hands that were hurt or else Saki would have killed her!!! Kaori sees Kousei’s messy piano room and tries to clean it! Then she starts getting emotional and apologizing. When she opens the window for fresh air, neighbour Tsubaki is in full view of this and gets the wrong idea. Wow. She can throw a chair across? Thanks to that, she’s pretty fired up during her baseball practice. Kaori plays an out of tune recording of Kousei playing Chopin’s Etude. He can’t believe it is him. Since she has already registered him for the competition, no b*tching about it and get practising. But first he needs to do mental imaging because he will still have to play even if he can’t hear the notes. Kousei seems struggling and suffering trying to get it right practice after practice so Kaori goes to talk to him again and why the heck does she feel bad for it? Wasn’t she the one who put him up to this? Instead, he is grateful that he met her even though this challenge is hard, at least it is fulfilling. Kousei and Kaori go to support Tsubaki’s baseball team and of course this means Tsubaki can’t concentrate on her game because her mind is being preoccupied about Kousei. She’s worried that his eyes are turning to someone else and not her? I should have guessed it. Thanks to that, not only she hurt her ankle but the team lost the game. Now it is Kousei’s turn to carry her back. They talk about things. Kousei sounds more positive now as he is going to give his best while she watches him with a smile. He comments on her light weight and she is not happy???!!! I don’t understand???!!! But anyway that sounded like a signal for Tsubaki to cry her heart out on his back. Sad but relieved. She is glad to be by his side and hopes this moment will last forever. At least in your heart. Meanwhile a couple of contenders for the piano competition are ‘happy’ that Kousei is participating because now they can get revenge for some past humiliation.

Episode 7
Feels like a horror prologue… Because a black cat is talking to Kousei asking/telling him who he is and where he is going. Watari’s friends come to support him in his football game although too bad his team lost. Watari may put up a cool front but in the toilet he lets it all go. So I guess Kousei is the only one