Mob Psycho 100 S2 OVA

November 8, 2019

For those who still can’t get over that the second season of the TV series has ended, don’t despair. There is always the OVA to cheer you up and producers to net some profit. Yup. A win-win situation. And that’s why we have Mob Psycho 100 S2 OVA. Yes, people. Finally we have a hotspring episode. But I hardly doubt it would be filled with sexy fanservice considering the protagonists of the series are males. And of course knowing the nature and genre of the series, what is it that is spooking the hotspring inn?

A healing trip that warms the heart…
Mob and Ritsu join Reigen and Serizawa for a trip to the Ibogami hotspring for a working holiday. It all started when the inn hostess came to Reigen for help. She claims her guests have been experiencing dreams of going into a parallel world. If nothing is done, her inn will be finished. At first Reigen wasn’t so sure of accepting but since she will pay for his travel, lodging and food, the question is now how many people he can take with him. During the train trip, after Mob and Ritsu head to the toilet, Reigen and Serizawa doze off and the train enters the Ibogami tunnel. When they awaken, they realize outside is a wasteland. Reigen soon realizes that wherever he goes, he always ends up back in the same coach. So this is the parallel world, huh? True enough, they are. Because they’ve been sleeping all the time so when they reach their destination, Mob had to use his powers to ‘carry’ them to the inn. They meet up with Teru who went to recon the place. After being welcomed by the hostess, they learn the legend of this place once had a portal to another world. Hence the god, Ibogami sealed it up and the people worshipped him until today. As the boys have fun soaking in the hotspring, the adults are still trapped. However Serizawa trying to be mindful and not offend Reigen who seems he is trying his best to find the source of this, manages to leave this parallel world and join the boys. Yeah, he manage to do this several times! Because of his awkward way of speaking not to offend, Reigen gets the wrong idea that he too is trying to investigate. It feels like days Reigen has been stuck here and when he tries to jump out of the train, he lands back inside the coach! No way out! Soon depression sinks in. Hunger sets in.

The next time Serizawa returns and after feeding him, only then Reigen realizes what is happening. Why the heck did he not take him along?! Reigen controls himself so as not to scold him. He is after all still a junior. After telling him to think for himself, he has Serizawa bring the rest here. So now Reigen admits he doesn’t know what the source and wants this parallel world destroyed. Of course everybody can tell that ominous mountain is the source and behind it is Ibogami but some sticky ghostly goo must be the one causing this phenomenon and weakening Ibogami’s protection. Nothing but a little power to destroy it. Finally Reigen wakes up. Dimple returns with an explanation of what really happened. Because the hostess had a slight flu, it somewhat weakened her protection power source that is situated inside her nose. As her ancestors worshipped Ibogami, the descendants develop psychic powers without even noticing it. With her flu cleaning up, looks like the parallel world is case is solved. Maybe until the next time she gets another flu. Everybody goes to sleep after a long day. But Reigen obviously can’t sleep… Yeah. As they leave the next day, Reigen gives his business card to the hostess. He also hands some to Mob since it contains Reigen’s new address. And of course, Serizawa has his own too. Don’t need to depend on those business etiquette notes anymore now. On the train trip back, Reigen dozes off and the train enters a tunnel…

Dream A Little Dream A Little Dream A Little Dream A Little Dream…
Ah well. Nothing really much, I guess. Enjoyable to say the least but at least the horror effects weren’t that scary to spook the hell out of me. Yeah, I might be having sleepless nights! Maybe I would be going into my own parallel world! Anyway, the focus of this OVA seems to be more on Reigen and Serizawa while Mob being side-lined to just a role as plot convenience. As usual, the suave talking conman shows us why he is so good being the great pretender and of course it has its drawbacks. Serizawa on the other hand who has turned over a new leaf is trying his best to make a good first impression and hence with his miscommunication, it results in something a lot worse for Reigen. He might have given Serizawa the greatest advice for his working life but he sure isn’t doing the same for himself. Is that double standards? Because Reigen still needs to admit that he needs help instead of waiting for things to turn grave. But that’s Reigen for you. Some things are hard to change. If there are more OVAs in the future, I would still love to watch them. Because the biggest mystery now that I want to know is, for that brief moment at the start of the OVA, why does a certain bald strongest hero appeared in Reigen’s contacts???!!! Can Saitama’s punches connect with ghosts?! Can Mob’s psychic powers do physical damage to monsters?! Damn, now I want to see a Mob Psycho 100 x One Punch Man crossover! That would be the ultimate parallel world dream!

Tate No Yuusha No Nariagari

October 20, 2019

Naturally when one is to select a weapon, many would have opted to go for offensive melee weapons like swords, spears, lances, axes or ranged weapons like guns or bow and arrows. Not many would have picked shield as their primary weapon and would have only viewed it as some defence mechanism. Hence shields are not given as much prominence and does not receive its fair share of reputation, the most being relegated to fancy designs for coat of arms. But now we have an anime series to tell that shields can be as badass like any other weapons too. Herald, Tate No Yuusha No Nariagari. You know what they say that a good offence is a good defence. And our shield hero is going to show you why you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of shields. Oh, is this another isekai genre too?!

Episode 1
Naofumi Iwatani is your typical otaku. He has enjoying this lifestyle but all that comes crashing when he reads a strange fantasy novel at the library. You know, world in danger. Four heroes each holding a different weapon (sword, spear, bow and shield) are summoned to help save the world. The moment he turns to this strangely blank page he is suddenly summoned to another world. There are 3 other guys who were also summoned, Ren Amaki (why do I have a feeling he is taken after Kirito?), Motoyasu Kitamura and Itsuki Kawasumi. The summoners beg them to save their world after using some ancient ritual. However the other guys want to talk business and rewards before accepting any mission. They are brought to King Aultcray Melromarc XXII who explains destruction is about to beset this world in Waves. They already experienced the first one and underestimated it. They survived but at a great cost of casualty and damages. Unfortunately the heroes don’t start out strong. They must train and power up their weapons before the next Wave hits. The heroes retire to their rooms. To their surprise, they learn each come from a different alternate version of Japan. Naofumi feels he got the raw end of the stick because shield heroes are regarded as losers. Can only defend and not attack? Next day, the king has gathered brave warriors to join the heroes. So the warriors are the ones who get to choose which hero to join? Too bad for Naofumi, none joins him! Why do all the hot babes join Motoyasu? Sure he is hot guy but he’s such a cocky jerk… Because Naofumi keeps complaining, Myne Suphia from Motoyasu’s side decides to join him. She shows him around and brings him to Elhart who is a blacksmith to buy some gear. Too bad for Naofumi, he cannot wield any other weapon besides his shield bummer. He practises but the most he could do is destroy those weak orange ball monsters. Naofumi works hard to kill and sell monsters, enough to buy him a decent armour.

One night Myne wants to drink and flirt with him but Naofumi decides to be a gentleman and turn her down. But when he wakes up the next morning, he realizes he has been robbed. Worse, the royal guards arrest him. Before the king, he realizes he has been set up as Myne accuses him of raping her. More salt to his wounds as his armour is now worn by Motoyasu whom he claims Myne gave it to him as present for rescuing her. With nobody believing in Naofumi, he screws everything and wants to return home. However it cannot be done until the Waves are over. So you’re all in for the ride. As he is one of the heroes, Naofumi cannot be executed but banished. With rumours of his crime spread, Naofumi leaves and has turned into a bitter and resentful man. At least he is no longer naïve and has wise up. Elhart almost believed the rumours but choose to show some sympathy and give him a meagre gear as parting gift. Naofumi channels his anger to kill those orange balls and sells them for money. Those who threaten to pull a fast one on him will get their just desserts. He tinkers with his shield’s branching abilities and also try his hand at making medicine. When ‘adventurers’ claim they want to join him but Naofumi sets harsh terms for them, turns out they are robbers but nothing could beat a man who has been bitten once. Even more bitter as Naofumi realizes he cannot farm his offensive ability as cannot attack. A slave dealer, Berocas sees potential in him and decides to show him some slaves. They cannot disobey their master and demi-humans are usually used due to discrimination. Hello there. What have we got here? A cute raccoon girl?

Episode 2
Raphtalia is the cheapest slave he can afford and he will use her to upgrade his shield. Berocas then conducts a ritual to make a mark on her that makes it hard for her to defy him. He goes back to Elhart to get her some gear and forces this scared and meek girl to kill. He tells her straight she will fight monsters for him and to recoup the cost of acquiring her. He did say he doesn’t see slaves as people but he still treats her decently to food and trains her. Raphtalia learns he is the shield hero and remembers her parents told her that the shield hero treated them good. She still reels from the nightmare when a monster killed her parents who bought time to save her. All Naofumi can do is hug and console her. These nightly screams are going to be routine? Better get used to it. One day during training, Naofumi is attacked by a vicious monster. He tells Raphtalia to kill it but she is scared of blood. More truths lectured into her about the Wave and the likes. If he dies, he cannot protect her. He needs someone to fight for her as he cannot attack. With that, Raphtalia makes her first bloody kill and vows to fight for him. In order to make fast money, they head to the mines to collect gems. Nobody goes there as monsters inhabit it after the first Wave. However a dog monster similar to the one who killed Raphtalia’s parents pop up. She is paralysed in fear. Naofumi tells her the truth her parents cannot come back but she can prevent other kids from sharing her same fate. If he dies, so will her. As she is still is still afraid, Naofumi changes his mind. He will buy time for her to run away. This has Raphtalia realizes it will be the same as then. She picks up her sword and stabs the monster to death. She hugs him and cries not to die or leave her alone. So that’s the deal between them. She attacks, he defends. Simple.

Episode 3
I don’t know how long it has been but Raphtalia has now matured into a hot raccoon babe! She even has guts to talk back to Naofumi especially when he doesn’t put his own health as priority. With the Wave drawing closer, oddly this must be some huge coincidence as all 4 heroes converge at the cathedral to see how much time left before the next Wave hits. This gathering only brings bitter memories for Naofumi. They’re all still cocky and Naofumi bites his tongue to stay quiet and tries to leave. Jerk ass Motoyasu trying to flirt with Raphtalia? Thankfully that raccoon girl stays loyal to Naofumi. Who feeds her, right? She is still grateful to him for giving her a second chance in life. The day of the Wave is here. Sky changes colour. Weird portals throwing down monsters. Naofumi tries to defend the abandoned Lute village. Not sure if he can do much by being the bait and lure all the zombie monsters to a burning tower and let it crash. His brave act has the villagers returning to help him but he doesn’t want them to waste their lives and die for nothing. It gets worse when the royal guards simply fire their artillery to take everything out in the village. Naofumi is not pleased they aren’t defending the people they are supposed to but that’s none of his business. He would have let them become monster feed but he can’t sink to their level and still defends them. While some cocky guards leave to assist other heroes, those who see Naofumi’s true character stay behind to help him defend the village. With all the monsters defeated, the sky reverts back to normal and the portals disappear. Woah. You mean it was that easy?! Maybe that was just the warm up. Next Wave should be harder… The villagers thank Naofumi from the bottom of their heart although he remains sceptical and brushes it off as nothing. At least he commends Raphtalia for doing a good job.

Episode 4
A lavish party is thrown. Naofumi attends only because of the reward. Otherwise he is like the wallflower. However Motoyasu still isn’t pleased. He challenges him to a duel thinking he is mistreating Raphtalia as a slave (despite slavery is legal here). Naofumi sees no reason to accept this until the king orders him to do so. Even if Raphtalia stands by Naofumi, they think she is brainwashed. Yeah, everyone continues to think badly of this shield hero. In this one on one duel, Naofumi relies on his tricks. Not to say they are underhanded but everyone else thinks otherwise. He supposedly had the upper hand until Myne interrupts and deals a serious blow, allowing Motoyasu to win. When Naofumi calls her out, no one in the crowd saw what happened. With everyone continuing to badmouth him, Naofumi realizes everything has been a setup since Myne is the king’s daughter. With Raphtalia freed from her curse, Naofumi thinks she has turned against him. He blames his shield and starts hating this world. So much hatred that he activated some curse series?! Raphtalia slaps Motoyasu for doing something she never asked. She explains how Naofumi took care of her and never abused her. Can Motoyasu do all that? Ren and Itsuki call out to Motoyasu that he actually lost that duel since they saw some wind magic interfering. Raphtalia goes talk to Naofumi. At this point, he is already at the peak of his depression and burning with hatred. Raphtalia reasons that his shield save others many times over and that she believes he did not rape. Even if the whole world is against him, she will always be by his side. After all, he gave her a purpose in life. That warm hug must have did the trick to make him open his eyes and ears to her again. Raphtalia evolves to an even hotter raccoon chick. I don’t see any difference but Motoyasu can’t recognize her? He sleeps on her lap till morning comes.

Episode 5
All the heroes are given their rewards. Naofumi gets his minimum but Aultcray deducts the expense for freeing Raphtalia so he gets nothing. However Itsuki and Ren vouch Naofumi should get something as he defended Lute and also fought an unfair duel. Naofumi takes his minimum and leaves. Raphtalia returns to Berocas so she can get the slave mark back on her chest. She regards this as a symbol of his faith in her. Berocas introduces Naofumi to some monster egg lottery. If you take care of the hatched monster, it can fetch a handsome price when it grows up. If you win the jackpot, you might get a dragon. Naofumi buys one. Thanks to his heroics, store owners give him freebies for saving their relatives at Lute. The egg hatches into a small bird known as filolial. Amazingly Filo grows up into some Chocobo spinoff in 2 days! Trouble comes when Myne declares Lute under Motoyasu’s domain as one of his rewards. They are going to impose some levy to help rebuild it. Of course the villagers oppose it and so does Naofumi. Myne would have resorted to blackmail had not messengers drop in with a message. Whatever it is, she challenges Naofumi to a race over Lute. Initially Naofumi refuses but the villagers vow to reward him. The winner gets Lute after a 3 lap race around the village. Naofumi teases Filo and gets kicked in the crotch! Ouch! During the course of the race, of course Myne has her subordinates use magic to cheat but whatever attempts they do, Naofumi manages to get back. In the end, Filo’s beak seals the win. Sore loser Myne calls Naofumi a cheat and all but with the messengers detecting magic properties that do not belong to Naofumi or Raphtalia, Myne and Motoyasu back off for now. Since Naofumi doesn’t want to take money, the villagers give him a carriage. Good timing since Filo evolves into a bigger bird! Naofumi is also give a traveller’s pass that exempts him from tolls and can traverse many other roads. They take a rest since Raphtalia has motion sickness. Next morning, who the heck is this naked loli sleeping next to Naofumi???!!!

Episode 6
So let me guess, this loli is Filo levelling up? Sounds pretty fishy but there’s an explanation about how filolial can disguise itself as human… Anyway, with Elhart convinced Naofumi is some lolicon, because Filo has this penchant to change between forms, she rips her clothes. Need to find clothes that don’t rip between transformations. Where is Bruce Banner when you need him? It is possible to make such magic clothes but special materials are required. So as they travel to the next village, it seems a peasant request an emergency delivery. Naofumi does so and realizes in addition to become merchants, providing transport can also fetch a handsome profit. He continues with this trade and one day as he transports a wealthy trader, bandits ambush. Of course Naofumi’s team easily defeats them. When they think of throwing lies of him if handed to authorities (because he is the shield hero), Naofumi decides to kill them. How does it feel to become filolial feed? Now they are begging for their lives? Okay. He spares them but in exchange loots them? Sorry, donate all their tributes! The grateful trader pays back by teaching him how to craft gems and also introduce some connections. Naofumi heard the exploits of other heroes. They are doing well on their own but he finds Itsuki’s story all over the place and less credible. Naofumi’s party enter some mine to get the special ingredient. They overcome aural illusions and fight off some badass monster (did Filo and Raphtalia did some Mortal Kombat X-ray move there?!) before getting the desired gem that is crucial in making Filo’s magic clothes. And when it’s done, damn she looks like an angel! So cute that Raphtalia is jealous Naofumi is staring a lot at her.

Episode 7
Arriving at a village ravaged by vines, as expected the desperate villagers plead for Naofumi to help them. Long story short, the village was facing famine when Motoyasu brought a sealed seed here. Without a doubt it solved their food problem for a while but the tree mutated and started growing vines and plant monsters that destroyed everything. Even some of the villagers are being infected by the parasitic plant. Since they will pay and perhaps some sort of score to settle with that spear jerk, Naofumi heals the infected and then goes off to destroy the core. Not sure what ability he has because it seems the vines have no effect on him as he could easily approach and poison it with his medicine. Because he learnt a new skill upgrade, he even did some genetic mutation to create a better plant that will only produce greater food yield. Wow. This guy is soaring to greater heights. After leaving the village, they stop by and rest at a hotspring area. This part feels like filler as Raphtalia feels insecure since Filo is clinging too much to Naofumi. Thoughts of trying to snag Naofumi for herself fail since Filo is always with him. That night, both have this same idea to get some rare egg. It started out as a race but they realize it is better to cooperate since a giant wild boar stands in their way. Unfortunately the rampaging boar destroys the egg. I guess the boar can even sense how mad these girls are. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned… Bringing back the dead meat boar to town, villagers want to pay them handsomely for it because it is used as offerings in their ritual. With the money, they buy an expensive metal crafting tool for Naofumi.

Episode 8
Entering a village where the people are dying of a disease, Naofumi treats their symptoms but didn’t cure them. As long as the root cause is around, the problem will go back to square one. It seems recently Ren slain a dragon on the mountain. This attracted visitors but they soon started dying because of the poison its rotting corpse emitted. Of course Naofumi will fix this for a fee. As they approach the dragon, it revives?! Zombie dragon?! Filo has a grudge against dragons and starts attacking it. Uhm, how do you kill a zombie anyway? Unfortunately, Filo gets eaten! Oh sh*t! Naofumi becomes so enraged that he unlocks his curse. Damn, he is so overpowered but evil! His trauma of betrayal fuelling that hatred. As he is about to dangerously go berserk, the voice of Raphtalia brings him to his senses. He realizes Raphtalia has been infected. He desperately tries to heal her but he needs that curse power to defeat the dragon. Don’t worry. Suddenly it dies. Filo bursts out from its stomach! She claims while eating through its stomach, she found a crystal that is supposedly its core. Yeah, she ate it too. Naofumi tries to use his reward money to get Raphtalia healed by the doctor doesn’t have enough materials nor power to stave off the curse. He lets him keep the money and perhaps the churches in bigger towns might help. Naofumi reflects on his actions. He realizes the difference between bravery and recklessness, caution and cowardice. As that cursed shield isn’t in his upgrade tree, had he continued to use it, he would have killed both of them. He realizes the need to protect them. The duo also share some of the blame for being reckless. Naofumi promises they’ll get stronger so he could protect those who believe in him. Raphtalia wants to him to accompany her tonight but he has Filo do it instead. Bummer.

Episode 9
Naofumi finds a girl frolicking with other filolial. She is Melty and because Filo can talk, they become friends! Wow. Naofumi now playing doctor? Because he is going to the capital tomorrow, Melty wants to hitch a ride. Isn’t it odd if she is part of the nobility, she got distracted playing with filolial and the guards left her behind???!!! Were they doing their job???!!! Along the way, one night they thought Filo ate her because her clothes are only left behind. Naofumi thinking of destroying evidence? Luckily, she was just sleeping in Filo’s feathers. So warm and fluffy… After Naofumi buys an expensive holy water from the church, a young soldier calls for him. Guts tell him to run but this has him bump into Motoyasu who immediately attacks him. What now? He claims he made a slave out of some blonde angelic loli and wants her freed! Damn, this guy a lolicon now?! Uh huh. His fetish is blonde angels. I don’t even… Motoyasu continues to attack, causing destruction around. The young soldier stops them because this is a public area but Myne uses her authority to turn this into an official duel. Only to be stopped by Melty! With all the guards bowing down, this girl must have some authority. You mean Melty is Myne’s younger sister???!!! Stop this or she’ll report to mom. Motoyasu tries to be nice to Filo but when he badmouths that fat chicken, I guess Filo has to show him again. Motoyasu realizes they’re both the same as Filo kicks him in the crotch again! No padded armour can save his crown jewels now… Later Melty explains to Naofumi that despite being the second daughter, she is the next in line to the throne since Myne has always been a problematic child. Before she could explain further, Naofumi will not listen anymore. He cannot trust her. Go away.

Episode 10
Melty is ushered away by her guards before she could tell the truth. Her mom the queen knew about the king’s mistreatment on Naofumi. She wanted to admonish him but from what I can see, she is on house arrest and sent Melty on her behalf. That young soldier brings back more of his friends. Inspired by him, they want to join Naofumi and fight alongside him when the next Wave hits. He wants them to bring 150 silver. That’s to build trust, right? With Raphtalia eligible for class upgrade, he tells her to pick a path instead of relying on him. Because once this mission is over, he will return to his world. This makes her worry. As they can only do upgrades near the hourglass, the nun charges a high price. When Naofumi is able to afford, they shift the goalpost that Aultcray has a decree to refuse any upgrades for the shield hero. Hence he goes to see Berocas for this service. He doesn’t offer such service but mentions a few nations that have that hourglass. Shieldfreeden or Siltvelt are most suitable as demi-humans there welcome humans but the journey is long and they won’t have time before the next Wave. Berocas suggests buying weapons for Filo. She gets talons and she tests it out on sewer monsters. Raphtalia talks to Naofumi about wanting to follow him back to his world once this is over. But is interrupted with Filo accuses her of trying to kiss him. End of conversation. Naofumi visits a dilapidated town in the north and the few people are starving. It seems it has gotten worse after Itsuki gathered revolution warriors to overthrow the despot king. Back in the capital, Naofumi sees Itsuki and Ren together. Both seem to think that somebody is impersonating them to get rewards because after they did the job, they couldn’t get it as the rewards is already paid. They accuse Naofumi as the impersonator but he tells them off their actions have caused the rescued towns to be worse off. Like that town Itsuki saved, the revolutionists increased their tax with the excuse to rebuild the country while that rotting dragon corpse Ren did, no reward was paid because the job was cancelled and he had to clean up the mess. If they don’t believe him, go see for themselves. Ren and Itsuki see no reason why Naofumi would lie. The young soldier and his friends have returned with the money. But Naofumi tells them to buy better gear with it so they can fight the next Wave. I guess they’re in.

Episode 11
With the next Wave here, Naofumi and his merry band defend the village from invaders. Who the heck is this granny giving kung fu kicks on the monsters?! She is one of those patients he saved so it makes me wonder if his drug is really that potent. Naofumi goes off to handle the big boss on this flying ghost ship. The other heroes are also there. However they are not cooperating and doing things their own way. Hence the deadlock in trying to spawn the Soul Eater since the enemies keep reviving. Eventually Naofumi spots an oddity in their shadows and strikes it to lure out the Soul Eater. With everyone pitching in to fight it, their attacks seemingly don’t have any effect. Hence Naofumi is going to unleash his cursed shield. He gets engulf in the flames of hatred and hears the voice of the zombie dragon vying for revenge. Naofumi turns into a wild beast to attack the Soul Eater. Filo also gets affected and follows suit. With the rest standing around and in shock at this transformation, Raphtalia chastises them for having so much power but yet they don’t use it to fight and help him. Though, she blames herself for being weak if not otherwise Naofumi won’t be in this situation. Luckily her voice still resonates within him as he returns to normal. Naofumi does an overkill on the Soul Eater with his Iron Maiden piercing ability. Just when the heroes thought everything is over, pops out another Soul Eater. However this one is easily destroyed by the heavenly zaps of Glass. This dark Japanese chick mocks the heroes as weaklings because they’re already having a hard time handling the small fries. She only calls Naofumi as the true hero and begins what is now the true battle of this Wave. So this is like the true hidden boss fight?

Episode 12
Nothing works up the other heroes more when Glass calls them Naofumi’s servants. No matter how much they power up, they couldn’t scratch her. Now it’s Naofumi’s turn to dance with her. He also throws everything he’s got and nothing affects her. So much so she teases him to use his trump card in which he unleashes his Iron Maiden. Still no effect! Is this dark babe on God mode?! Thankfully Naofumi lives up to his name as the shield hero and also withstands her attacks. Glass could have actually won had not she murmured something about the time limit. Yup, the Wave is ending soon. Hence Naofumi uses this last moment to escape. Glass uses her range attack but it is less effective. Time’s up. Glass returns and hopes he would be stronger next time. Otherwise he won’t survive. This signals the end of this round’s Wave. But soon, Naofumi against his will is brought to meet Aultcray who wants to know how he did it. But Naofumi plays hardball. You want to know? Bow and beg before me! This makes Aultcray mad as he threatens Naofumi who threatens back he can kill all of them right now. So leave him alone. If he dares threaten his party members, he will hunt them down and kill them all! After he leaves, Melty confronts her father and notes how things ended on a sour note. It seems he hints his grudge against the shield hero is because letting him and the demi-humans do as they please, he believes he will lose his family again. Myne as usual tries to be a b*tch and convince Melty to stand down. Melty replies back that this is none of her business. Myne trying hard not to let her angry b*tch face show… Naofumi thinks of visiting Shieldfreeden for his servants’ upgrade before the next Wave. So Elhart gives them a few weapons and accessories goodies for their journey. As they rest, Melty confronts them and hopes Naofumi can return to the capital to make amends with her father. Of course he rejects. Then the loli starts throwing a tantrum how stubborn the guys are. Does this run in the family? Like father like daughter? Naofumi suddenly has a bad feeling like as though all this was a setup. Then he spots a guard trying to stab Melty from the back. Luckily Naofumi is quick enough to shield her. Damn, is the guard that stupid to attack so obviously?

Episode 13
Other guards start attacking, claiming Naofumi has taken Melty hostage. But after a while, they retreat. Indeed, the footage that has been recorded and re-edited so as to make them look like bloodthirsty killers. No wonder the guards were acting so lame. This fake footage is then spread to other villages. Hence Naofumi’s party have to camp outside and cannot easily enter villages as they are also heavily guarded. Melty believes Myne is behind the attacks since her elimination would mean she would be the next in line to the throne. That’s why Naofumi suggests she come with them. If she goes back, she’ll get killed. Following him means the least he could do is protect her. Melty tells about her mom the queen and she has a higher authority since the country is matriarchal. They have to start running when guards are on their tail. This time the other heroes have also joined in. When cornered, Myne accuses Naofumi of brainwashing everybody, the reason why Melty and others so willingly follow him. He is ordered to hand over Melty but Naofumi hatches an escape plan. It falls apart but it gets more appalling as Myne tries to kill Melty giving an excuse she attacked first and if her brainwashing is this bad, she’ll have to die. Meanwhile Motoyasu is trying to rape Filo?! WTF?! Ren and Itsuki are in shock that Myne is trying to kill Melty but Myne was so engrossed in focusing on trying to kill Naofumi, she didn’t sense Raphtalia sneaking up and owning her. This allows Naofumi’s party to escape. Later they are approached by this ninja woman who is one of the espionage members called Shadow directly under the queen. She wants Naofumi to see the queen and he’ll get his answers. We slightly distracted with Melty throwing a tantrum at Naofumi until he calls her by her name. Weird. So weird that even Raphtalia feels weird out. Can we move on? Speaking of which, crazy Myne b*tch is now setting the forest on fire…

Episode 14
Has the word spread that Naofumi was the one who started the forest fire. We didn’t start the fire! They arrive in an area whom Melty knows the noble. Seyaette was a kind noble who treated his demi-humans well but he died in the first Wave and all those loyal to him were spread out across the kingdom. This place also brings back bad memories for Raphtalia as she was from this jurisdiction and after the first Wave, soldiers stormed the place and attacked them. Van Reichnott welcomes them and allows them to stay at his place. Though, Naofumi remains sceptical. Next day, they see Reichnott being taken away by guards. The lord of the neighbouring domain, Idol Rabier accused him of hiding them and marched his way in. As a maid hides them, Melty confronts Idol and claims Naofumi abandoned her here and escaped. She wants to return to the capital to talk to her father. After being taken away, Naofumi and co hatch a plan to go rescue her. That night when demi-humans are protesting outside Idol’s mansion, Naofumi uses this chance to sneak in. Meanwhile Idol is trying to force Melty to reveal where Naofumi is. Despite she maintains she doesn’t know, he then beats up Reichnott in hopes this will get psychological on her. When all fails, why the heck does he look like having that rape face and wanting to rape her?! Thankfully our shield hero crashes in to save the day. After Melty is secured, Raphtalia confronts him and even turns the table on him. With Idol begging for his life, Raphtalia is not amused because lots of demi-humans also begged for their lives like this. After all, she was part of the demi-humans whom he rounded up and sold as slaves.

Episode 15
Idol still begs for his life and Raphtalia ponders about killing him until Naofumi asks if doing so will have her closure. Has she not grown stronger only in terms of her sword? Raphtalia recollects herself and despite how much she hates him, will not kill him. Otherwise she is the same as him. Obviously being the typical baddie, he tries to kill her when she lets his guard down but she is fast to defend. Ah, the best way for scumbags to die is to trip and fall out the window. Good riddance. But Raphtalia still needs to confront her past. In the basement where the slaves were kept and tortured, she remembers being forcefully brought here with her other friend, Rafina. Together they suffered but kept each other alive until one day Raphtalia was sold to a slave merchant. Rescuing other demi-human slaves, Raphtalia recognizes another fellow friends, Keel. He doesn’t recognize her at first but after recounting a few incidents together, he remembers. But it is all tears for Raphtalia when she discovers Rafina is reduced to bones. She’s a corpse. Crying over her death, it’s that moment when Raphtalia begins to feel she is useless and weak. And it’s that moment where Naofumi reminds her how she was the one who gave him hope and trust. So in order to avoid others from going through the horrible things like them, they have to protect those who survived. And I guess this weird vision of Raphtalia and Rafina so they could find their closure and move on. When they resurface, it seems that fatty bastard is still alive. He has gone crazy and undone a seal that sealed a monster. So this T-rex is the monster? Fatty thinks he will be blessed by God if he destroys everything but looks like he’s got the devil’s curse. Because T-rex stomps on him. I’m pretty sure no one can survive that. Good riddance for real.

Episode 16
Chicken vs T-rex? The reason the monster is targeting Filo is because both have crystals inside that are resonating. Are they hinting something about T-rex are related to modern day chickens? Naofumi takes his team to lure the monster away from the city. They end up at a lake where they fight it but they’re not making any headway. Naofumi tries to use his cursed mode but a voice tells him not to rely on it. Then the place is surrounded by filolial and the one taking on the monster is the giant filolial queen. She makes it look so easy when she kills it! She transforms into her loli version since we all approve of this cute form that is better for conversations. Introducing herself as Fitoria, she takes them back to her base to talk. But first, Naofumi cooks for everyone. Can’t talk on an empty stomach. Yeah, he has to feed the entire filolial herd too! Damn, this looks like a KFC farm… Finally Naofumi and Fitoria can talk. She is against him relying on his cursed shield despite he views it as his only way to survive. It might give him power now but the consequences will be immense too. Fitoria came to Naofumi’s aid because she heard news of a potential filolial queen candidate. Fitoria might be powerful now but that won’t last forever. She is appalled that the heroes are bickering among each other and not fighting Waves in other countries. So you mean the heroes aren’t aware of this? She thinks the heroes should be talking their differences out as much as they don’t like it. Fitoria views her mission is to protect and save the world from Waves. Despite not liking humans and not caring for them, she is only doing so because the previous hero raised her. It is also the reason why Filo is growing differently from other filolial because of being raised by a hero. Because Naofumi is still stubborn not wanting to patch things up with other heroes, Fitoria has no choice but to kill them.

Episode 17
Fitoria takes Melty hostage in hopes Naofumi would change his mind to reconcile with other heroes. Nope. If she wants to kill him, feel free to do so but he won’t go down without a fight. Let’s see if he can do so when she locks his shield’s properties! Hence Fitoria challenges Filo to a fight. She will disregard all this if she defeats her. As expected, we see Filo getting owned left and right. Fitoria is so powerful that she can even take care of Naofumi trying to sneakily rescue Melty. She uses this to blame Filo as weak. Otherwise why resort to this? She continues to taunt her weak will to protect Naofumi. That’s the cue for Filo to turn stronger as she absorbs mana from the air until she breaks through Fitoria’s shield and just scratch her. Well, I guess she passed. So it is no surprise this was just a scheme to see if Filo is worthy to become her successor. And since she has proven that, here is a crown. And also being the next filolial queen means you grow an ahoge? Don’t mind that since she also gets a considerable stats increase. Fitoria also helps boost Naofumi’s shield attributes by unlocking more branches. Then they have a party to celebrate Filo becoming queen. So Naofumi has to cook more KFC? Damn did he get filolial raped? Later Fitoria talks to Naofumi seriously that she still would have killed him and the other heroes if they won’t continue to cooperate. Since they’re going to die at this rate, might as well kill them off and summon new heroes. She doesn’t know how many Waves will come but there will be a time when the world demands sacrifice from all life. The heroes then must choose what they fight for. Saving the world isn’t the same as saving its people. She casts a spell to help slow his shield’s corruption. You might have guessed Fitoria’s previous hero who raised her was also a shield hero and Naofumi is now sounding a lot like him. Sometimes a queen also needs a gentle pat on her head. Ren and Itsuki are in a cave supposedly housing the legendary weapons of the heroes. However it is empty and they realize too late it’s a trap. Boom!

Episode 18
Naofumi’s party nears the border. Fitoria previously sensed another hero nearby so Naofumi hopes he could talk to Ren or Itsuki to let them pass. Unfortunately it is Motoyasu. He looks mad, attacks Naofumi mercilessly and blames him for the killing Ren and Itsuki! Of course when Naofumi tries to explain, he won’t listen and even thinks his party members are still under his brainwashing. Myne forces both their sides to fight in an enclosed ring. No surprises that Naofumi’s side wins. Filo using all that she has learnt from Fitoria and Raphtalia doing some sneaky combo with Naofumi to get the better of them. Before Naofumi can further talk, Raphtalia senses something strange. All the soldiers that were surrounding them are now gone. Filo also senses something dangerous so she has Naofumi put up layers after layers of shield. And then some gigantic beam hits them. Everyone is okay. Just one big huge crater left behind except for the ground they stood. This kind of devastating power can only be from the pope, Bisca T. Balmus. He views them as sinners and will be purify them in God’s name. But he almost killed Myne who is of the royalty, right? He believes the script goes as they are killed by Naofumi’s side. And now they are just walking corpses. WTF?! Which sci-fi did he pluck that out from?! You know he is starting to be the bad guy when he claims the royalty is nothing but nuisance as the soldiers have already taken over the castle. They have already planned a system of government to take over the royalty. No one can rule the country but them! Is this all God’s will? He further explains the damage done by the heroes despite these weren’t intentional. They thought they were doing the world some good but they are just naïve. Balmus further hints he killed Ren and Itsuki for doing some unnecessary investigation. Oh Motoyasu, you sure look very shocked for a hero. Didn’t see this coming, eh? How could he after being blinded for so long? And now Balmus takes up his sword. Time to receive God’s punishment.

Episode 19
Naofumi manages to block the attack. And that was just a trial run? The sword then changes into a spear. Melty realizes this was a replica that was created and can transform into the 4 weapons. It was rumoured to be lost centuries ago but apparently the church created that lie. If it’s so powerful, why need to summon the heroes then? Because it really sucks up mana from believers. See that long line of believers stretching for miles? It’s draining and also takes time to gather. Motoyasu’s feeble attacks didn’t work but before Balmus could finish them off, Ren and Itsuki return to fight back. The duo were investigating this replica in secret but the church knew they were snooping around and sent them to a fake location to assassinate them. The assassination could have succeeded had Shadow not saved them and they barely escaped it from the skin of their teeth. Now that the church is the one to blame for taking their rewards, credit and framing of Naofumi, Naofumi sure isn’t looking impressed because he had that I-told-you-so look. The heroes want to unite to fight but Naofumi refuses to play along. He is confident his party can survive without their help like they’ve always been. Now the heroes start arguing and pointing fingers but ultimately it is Naofumi who has the last say as he reminds them of the mess they did and the cleaning he did after that. In short, they let their hero status get to their heads and didn’t spare a thought for anybody else, thinking their justice version is right. It won’t be surprising if the people got sick of heroes like them. So in his eyes, they are no different than the pope because they use and abuse people for their own gain. Worst of all, they tried to take things precious to him. Naofumi won’t forgive them but will only cooperate to take Balmus down and also to make good Fitoria’s promise. Are we ready to continue now? Because too much talking and infighting has Balmus licking his lips as he has gathered enough mana to summon the greatest magic power to finish them off.

Episode 20
Mirelia the queen dons her armour and decides to make her move. It’s about time. So decided to wait till the world is on the verge of destruction only to act, huh? Nothing our heroes do could put a scratch on Balmus. Balmus has his followers put in more mana because there is nothing greater than dying as a martyr. With the heroes at their wit’s end, Naofumi’s curse then unlocks. A voice telling him to unleash all his anger and in return he will be given the power to strike back. Naofumi tries to resist but ultimately with the spamming of all the humiliation and disrespect he has been through, he gives in. Only, now his party members manage to talk and calm his heart. Yeah, the journey we had together, blah, blah, blah. Thank you for taking care of me, yada, yada, yada. Because he keeps to himself and doesn’t open up, they have a hard time understanding him. This helps suppress Naofumi’s curse at the expense of them being blighted. With this, Naofumi is like a changed person. He apologizes to the other heroes and seeks their cooperation. Shocking but yeah, people can change. We see all of them pulling off their coordinated combos on Balmus. If you think that will be the end, too bad it isn’t. Because Balmus’ weapon is able to mimic their high level attacks and at this point he uses his high level power to cast a scary illusion on them all. A kaleidoscope of Balmus? That’s scary indeed! Is that all our heroes have to offer? Okay. Queenie, your cue to move in. She freezes Balmus to give the heroes the much needed chance to take this traitorous pope for good. As Naofumi chants his spell, shockingly it backfires as he starts bleeding all over. Balmus won’t have the last laugh because some monster pops up and devours him and breaks his prototype weapon. I guess that’s the end. Devil beats God. With Naofumi looking like he will bleed to death, Mirelia vows to save him. Yeah, couldn’t you have arrive a bit earlier?

Episode 21
With the best treatment from the royal clinic, it took a month for Naofumi to heal. Mirelia explains what has happened. She was on a journey to meet with other nations to discuss about each nation summoning a hero for the Wave. Unfortunately Aultcray went ahead to summon all of them and this angered the other nations. Mirelia has to do damage control, that’s why there was inaction from her for so long. For some reason, Aultcray hated the previous shield hero and the church knew about it and took advantage to manipulate him. In addition to reward him for his heroics, she will also help clear his name and thus tomorrow everyone will be gathered at the royal palace. That night, Naofumi dreams of Aultcray and Myne being executed via guillotine. He doesn’t care for those jerks who deserve what they got but something just doesn’t feel right. In the throne room, all the heroes are summoned before Mirelia. Aultcray and Myne are now criminals and therefore a public trial will be held. In order to make them tell the truth, a temporary slave mark is put on their chest. Not sure if Myne is stupid or just desperate because she continues to lie and deny even though the mark zaps her for lying. Even till the end Aultcray still hates Naofumi and believes he did the right thing trying to rid of him before he ruins the family. At the end of the trial, Mirelia sends them to death and will be executed now. The people are baying for their blood for deception as Naofumi’s weird dream comes true. Myne pleads for Motoyasu to save her but when he abandons her, now she turns to Naofumi. So Naofumi steps in. Killing them would be too easy. After mocking them for who they are, he hereby wants to change their name to Trash and Bitch/Slut and live with it for the rest of their lives. If they refuse, they can die now. And with their lives spared, the queen also abolished the church. Once this charade is over, Naofumi intends to head to Siltvelt instead of staying here. However he will still work with all the nations to fight the Wave. Naofumi’s party is given an honour guard as he leaves. Melty won’t be joining but she learns from mother that she had intended to take her own life to beg Naofumi to spare the executed had Naofumi didn’t stop the execution. Perhaps he saw through her and stopped it. One last big thank you from Melty to Naofumi for bringing her home and saving her family.

Episode 22
With the corrupted church gone, Naofumi is free to upgrade Raphtalia and Filo. However something is preventing them to choose their class. Talking to Mirelia about this, she thinks certain accessories may hinder the upgrade like in Filo’s case, it could be what Fitoria gave her. There is also a party held for the heroes. Actually this is for the heroes to sit down and discuss. Meanwhile Myne, oops I mean Bitch/Slut tries to poison the food but gets busted by Melty. She doesn’t give up, does she? Then a drunkard tries to piss off Raphtalia for her kind as well as badmouth the shield hero so it descends into a free for all. Mirelia tells the heroes of the activation of Cal Mira Archipelago. It only comes once a decade and on this island they can level up greatly before the next Wave. Hence this ‘conference’ is to exchange info. The heroes are reluctant to work together but after Mirelia points out that only Naofumi has a real chance of surviving the next Wave, they relent. Naofumi shockingly learns from them how they could easily power up and copy powerful weapons. Just touch and copy?! That easy? There are loads of other easy skills and this shocks Naofumi since he did it all the hard way. Well, at least you can say Naofumi levelled up because of his own hard effort. Eventually the heroes disagree on the important factor that makes a weapon great. Proficiency? Rarity? Refinement and stats? This farce has Naofumi abruptly leaving the room. Can’t deal with these idiots. Naofumi then tries out this new knowledge at Elhart’s store. Wow. It really works. Copy everything for free! Damn this guy is going out of business!!! I’m sure it’s reassuring he’ll pay him back one day. Before leaving for the archipelago, Raphtalia requests to stop by her village to pay her respects to her parents and fallen brethren. Of course, her insecurities of Naofumi leaving has her bringing up this loneliness issue. Naofumi assures he won’t leave. He can’t leave the world in the fate of those idiotic heroes. How reassuring. I’m sure Naofumi didn’t say to them that he won’t leave until they find their own happiness. Otherwise they won’t find other happiness other than being with him. As they leave on the ship, because it is crowded, they have to share rooms. Naofumi’s party ends up sharing a room with L’Arc Berg and Therese Alexanderite whom they’ve briefly met recently at Raphtalia’s village.

Episode 23
L’Arc doesn’t believe Naofumi is the shield hero because he believes that dude is a demon in human’s clothing. But looking at Naofumi, he isn’t that of a bad guy so he can’t be the shield demon, right? Don’t waste your energy refuting this guy… On the deck, Naofumi sees the other heroes… They’re all seasick?! At Cal Mira, the heroes start farming for XPs but since an island isn’t big enough for all of them to share and hunt, I guess Naofumi can’t be bothered to join in the argument and leaves for another island. Farming XPs must be so good that Naofumi decides to hunt more into the night and camp on the island. However L’Arc and Therese come looking for them and they were worried. Because the boatman didn’t see them return, they thought they were killed. Understanding Naofumi’s desire to level up, even so a good rest is needed. So they head back to the main island where they party with the other heroes. Next day, Naofumi agrees to join L’Arc to hunt together. Raphtalia has finished crafting some jewel item as per requested by Therese and she’s so happy with it. On this island, they start killing… Killer penguins! Therese uses her new jewel spell on Naofumi. It burns away the killer penguins but Naofumi is not even effected and he felt the burden of his curse even lifted from this spell. After defeating the penguin boss and splitting their shares, Naofumi thinks of asking them to join his group when this is over. As they take a break by the beach the next day, Filo discover an underwater ruins. Inside it is an hourglass. This means this place can be attacked by the Wave. Speaking of which, it is in the next 48 hours.

Episode 24
Naofumi returns to report to Mirelia and she wastes no time in gathering a huge army for this Wave. Uhm, wouldn’t the humans be at a disadvantage because you know, monster fish can sink the ships? Apparently there is only a huge swordfish shark monster that can do damage and the rest are, uhm, fish people? Yeah, one of them must be a lolicon and tries to kidnap Melty! She is however saved by L’Arc. Noticing how strong L’Arc is, Naofumi needs his help to defeat the big mother. After luring it out from the waters, L’Arc deals the finishing blow. The heroes are going to get the drop items but L’Arc attacks the other heroes whom he views as weak. His target is Naofumi. So what’s going on? It seems L’Arc and Therese are also heroes like them but of another world. Their world is also on the brink of destruction and that’s why they are fighting towards a goal. L’Arc and Naofumi begin their fight with each other but L’Arc has an ace up his sleeve because he has some attack that deals damage to Naofumi the higher his defence points are. Naofumi also has some tricks up his sleeves. Mind tricks and his team combo. With this fight taking too long (and didn’t you notice the Wave is still ongoing?), Glass then shows up. She is on L’Arc and Therese’s side. She notes Naofumi has gone stronger as he manages to deflect her powerful attack and deal a lot of damage to L’Arc without even resorting to that cursed shield. That’s why she is going to take him down with her own hands.

Episode 25
Noticing that Glass anxiety towards his Soul Eater shield, Naofumi decides to fight her alone while letting the rest of his party take on L’Arc and Therese. Naofumi learns that she is also a hero from her world. A fan hero. She claims she must kill Naofumi and destroy this world or risk hers destroyed. When Naofumi sees a short glimpse of her world fending off the Wave, this makes him question his own motives. Because Glass is fighting so hard to protect her own world, why is he fighting hard to protect a world that isn’t his? Does he care enough for this world to crush Glass’ hopes? In the dying minutes of the Wave, Glass powers up so Naofumi also uses his cursed shield. He views himself as an outsider but this world is all Raphtalia, Filo and Melty got so it is worth to protect. But before he can use his cursed shield, Mirelia has Lecia (from Itsuki’s party) to use her wind magic and splash rum all over? So apparently Glass is weak against this alcohol? Literally can’t hold her glass! Haha! Time is up so L’Arc admits their defeat and takes Glass to retreat. See you again next time. In the aftermath, it seems Lecia is trying to drown herself. She was kicked out by Itsuki’s party after being accused of breaking something she didn’t. Naofumi doesn’t think she is as useless as she claims to be because she helped him a lot during the Wave. Also, is she going to accept this accusation? He can help her grow stronger. So is this his way of letting her join his party? Returning to Melromarc, Mirelia still feels the need to reward Naofumi. Speaking of which… Naofumi soon takes Raphtalia back to her hometown. I guess she is the only one left in the dark because surprise! It’s being rebuilt. Under Mirelia’s orders, Naofumi shall become lord of this domain. Naofumi explains of making this place as his base and a symbol of resistance, recruit more people and build an army. However Raphtalia doesn’t want him to say anything more. She thinks he is doing all this because he is going to leave them. She doesn’t want to live in a world without him. Please don’t go. Please stay. Naofumi makes it clear that he once thought of going home. But thanks to meeting them, he wants to protect this world as a shield hero. Hence this will be their origin. Their starting point. Their home. He hopes she will keep fighting as his sword. Of course. Probably steamy kiss interrupted when they realize everyone is spying on them! Is this how their new story starts?

Do Not Fear But F.E.A.R.: Face Everything And Rise!

So uhm, Naofumi finally has a change of heart and decides to stay? I suppose it is more fun playing the shield hero than being some boring useless otaku back in his world. After all, in the most remote of chances if he ever returns, where would he put to use all the skills he has attained? What a waste. Might as well stay here and write a new story of his legendary heroic feats! All hail Naofumi the greatest shield hero ever! Yeah, at least this puts to rest Raphtalia’s insecurity of him leaving her forever. Happy ending for everybody. Hope he doesn’t bump into Myn- I mean Bitch/Slut. Uh huh. No more episodes for this series means no more having to put up with Bitch/Slut’s antics. It’s a trade-off we have to live with. So yeah, the ending is reasonable. A good happy ending that we probably need after a very rough and dark start for a main character, even if it’s a weak one. There are a few slow parts in the series and it somewhat got a bit draggy with Naofumi still being viewed as a baddie and the final arc of the season on Cal Mira felt a bit rushed but overall it has been a great story.

This series was in danger in falling into that much loathed isekai cliché and tropes when you have your main character being summoned from our world to another world. It was a good thing that they didn’t make Naofumi an overpowered character from the start and because they ostracized his character, this somewhat plays on our emotions that would eventually lead us to support him because he has been mistreated so badly by the people in power and betrayed by those whom he trusted. Therefore when Naofumi somewhat becomes powerful, it is only because through the sheer hard work and effort he put in to become where he is today.

To justify how skilful and powerful he has become today, that is why his character is made to become bitter and distrustful. Look at it this way, if he was still the nice and naïve guy even if the shield hero wasn’t prejudiced against, he wouldn’t have actually put in a lot of serious effort to level up. Only when a man has his back pushed to a corner, he will bite back and challenge his limits. That’s why Naofumi being a truly powerful shield hero is very much justified. And I think that is what makes this isekai series so different from the rest of those ubiquitous and similar titles in the genre. Even though Naofumi looks overpowered towards the end, I wouldn’t consider him as overpowered. Sure, his shield skill tree has so many branches and it looks like he has unlocked a lot of them but there are still certain fights that he struggles with especially during the Waves. So I figure with Glass being so much more powerful than him, it shows that there is still room for him to improve and to remind us that Naofumi isn’t overpowered as we would like to think he is.

Speaking about the Waves, there are still a lot of things about this phenomenon that I don’t really understand. Like as though it is some sort of excuse to setup the plot and the likes. Because if the Waves hit countries that have the hourglass, how many countries are there in this world? And can they actually summon more than just 4 heroes at the same time? Can they summon other classes too other than the usual four? How long has the Waves been going on because it’s not like it just happened two or three editions ago. Did it? And the recent Wave we saw happened over the seas. If the heroes didn’t come to fight it, I mean would it danger any country? Are they just going to kill the marine life if the heroes didn’t show up? Unless the monster fish and fish people start swimming to the nearest island. And how nice of the Waves to let people know the countdown of their next attack so they can prepare and take appropriate action. So everything feels like some sort of game.

With the recent hints of the guardians from the other world, I am theorizing that there is some overseer higher entity who is so bored with its existence that it is sending worlds to fight to the death in mortal combat called Waves. And the world who wins the Waves will eventually get spared. I guess you have more than one try because we see this fantasy world being attacked a few times and even though each time gets stronger, it isn’t over yet. Hence the world Glass and co are from as they mentioned it is on the brink of destruction, the more they fail, the more their world will be destroyed so it’s like they are running out of time to win this Wave and save their world. Yeah, maybe they need to win it once or 10 straight defeats would mean the end of them. Yeah, they could have just tweaked the storyline from Mortal Kombat anyway…

Also, it was never fully explained about the previous shield hero nor what happened to him. Maybe this is saved for later instalments or seasons but it just leaves a confusing taste in my mouth. Because I am ever so eager to know why in the world Aultcray, oops I mean Trash, hates the shield heron the first place? Was it something to do with the previous shield hero whom he blames for ruining his family? Which family? The royal one or before he got married into the royalty, assuming he has that because Melromarc is said to be matriarchal. Even during his trial, he never did fully expand on this grudge of his. But I guess they didn’t want us to sympathise with an old fart who has done our main character wrong. So they leave this part in the dark and let us speculate. After all, trying to take out his grudge on an innocent man who only holds the title he hated is still wrong.

I guess this series has some character development especially for Naofumi and his team but mostly on Naofumi. After all, there is the pitfall of making him a really overpowered character or a very weak ass character and both types do not sit well with viewers. There needs to be some sort of balance so that Naofumi is the kind of character we would support instead of loathed since he is the main character and star of this series. So like I’ve said, having him turned from a naïve otaku into one who has to suddenly grow up and face reality overnight, it might sound harsh but I guess most of us would love to see that kind of character because it gives room to grow and develop. After all, many main characters have some sort of tragic past or need to face some biggest trials in their life in order to get where they are. Eat or be eaten. It’s a dog eat dog world even in this new world. Thankfully even though Naofumi can be considered as aloof, he isn’t as bad as when he started. He could have turned into a villain during those dark days for all we know. We see him trusting his comrades a lot more and opening up when needed. But still he maintains his distance because it would be just a shocker if he suddenly ditches his badass attitude and becomes all nice and glossy. That would make him so wimpy and I think his badass is what attracts his harem. Is this really Naofumi then? But there is still a possibility that Naofumi might become a villain. The final episode scene with Berocas hinting Naofumi is his golden goose to bring him more patrons, I figure Naofumi might turn into a dictator and cause others to rise against him, hence those seeking slaves or selling them for revenge or profit, keeping Berocas’ livelihood pretty much going.

Then there is the case of his cursed shield that is still as mysterious as the Waves I just mentioned. All we know is that it is able to give Naofumi all the power he needs in exchange for his rage and anger, thus losing his mind and turning him into a mindless berserker. But alas, to show that he doesn’t need to be tempted to use this method, that is why the all-important bonds he made with his party members so as to tell us that he isn’t all that lost nor desperate. Like I said, he could have screwed everything and become a villain and destroyed everything but despite how bitter and resentful he has become, thankfully he still has not his humanity so I think that’s why he might not be the nicest or the most pleasant of sugar coated main characters but this also makes him likeable. So the cursed shield ability thingy feels for now it is just lying dormant, waiting for the moment they need to move the plot forward in the future.

Because of Naofumi’s attributes as the shield hero, hence the excuse and reason why he needs to form a party to let others do the offensive and attacking role. Why do they all have to be lolis? Some sort. Well, at least Raphtalia was a loli racoon at one point before they decide not to somewhat turn her mature so it won’t be so obvious the shield hero’s party is a loli party too. Of course Raphtalia has some moments focused on her too since it won’t be right for Naofumi to be hogging all the spotlight by himself. So yeah, Raphtalia coming from a long way as a demi-human, her suffering and fears. Naofumi giving her that second chance was all she needed to turn it around albeit she might take a little time. He could have picked another slave but it was her. Lucky racoon. Raphtalia becoming Naofumi’s sword makes her an indispensable asset to Naofumi. This also tries to set up some sort of romance but it’s just one-sided. Because you know, Naofumi the kind master who teaches her, protects her, how else to get closer and bring their current relationship to the next level but to become a couple? I don’t know when the Waves will end but Raphtalia’s current insecurity being left alone if Naofumi returns to his own world, you bet she is going to try to get closer and snag him to prevent that. And now she can do that without worrying him going home because he has already decided to stay.

Then there is Filo who naturally doesn’t have any back story since she was born while the series is running. That’s why the need for that meeting with the Fitoria so as Filo would have something going for her instead of just being a combat assistance and carriage puller. Now that she is the filolial queen successor, you better show some respect for this loli chicken. She and Raphtalia might be gunning for Naofumi’s love but I say their kind of love for their master are different as Filo feels more like the master-pet relationship. But still, love rivalries nonetheless. And of course so as not to make her as one of Naofumi’s loli party members, hence she is sometimes in her giant fowl form. Last but not least is Melty who feels like a fringe party of the group. Because she is great friends with Filo, it is somewhat an excuse that she considers herself to be part of Naofumi’s party. Although mostly the first part was to escort her back home. Melty completes the party as she has magic attacks albeit not very strong ones but it is better than nothing. With Lecia joining Naofumi’s party in the final episode, I guess I can’t completely say he only recruits lolis into his team. Maybe now he is into retard-cum-joker? Because that is the kind of feel Lecia gives off in the final couple of episodes. Is she supposed to be cute being like that? Kawaii!

The other heroes aren’t anything much. There isn’t much back story on them so as not to take away the focus on the shield hero. Therefore we don’t really put our support fully behind Ren, Itsuki or even Motoyasu for any kind of reason unless you are an obsessed fan of the weapon they are holding. Though their intentions are good, the mess they created that Naofumi had to fix only helps makes us feel the need to vouch for the shield hero. It’s not like they’re the bad guys but we prefer a lot characters who can keep their sh*t together as well as solving problems, right? I keep thinking if Ren was a rip-off from Kirito since they even employ the same seiyuu to be this sword hero. But he isn’t as friendly as you hope he would be like Kirito. Motoyasu is the obnoxious guy whom you would love to hate. Just because this guy thinks he is hot and popular, he thinks what he does is correct. Unfortunately to set him up as Naofumi’s initial main enemy and a character whom we wouldn’t like, I feel Motoyasu has more screen time than Ren and Itsuki. Ren and Itsuki are calmer and more rational unlike Motoyasu who jumps the gun without thinking since he was so bent that Naofumi is the bad guy and trying to add more hot chicks to his party by trying to steal raccoon girl and chicken loli. I guess other people’s girl are hotter than yours, huh? When the rivalry between Naofumi and Motoyasu is gone, Motoyasu is then relegated to the same unimportant focus like Ren and Itsuki.

But I think many would agree with me that the most spiteful character whom you would love to hate is Myne, oops I mean Bitch/Slut. I had my guts ringing like mad like Spider-sense when she first joined Naofumi’s side. There were tell-tale signs here and there that throws suspicions on her character. And true enough, the ultimate betrayal that has viewers alike loathing this b*tch. If that wasn’t enough, it felt like she was really trying to make herself as the number one most hated character in our personal top 10 list by trying to muscle her way around, pick a fight with Naofumi using dumb Motoyasu for her ends but usually end up paying the price for her backfired schemes. If she was really beheaded then, I think most of us wouldn’t have shed a tear and would have cheered instead. But of course to show that Naofumi is merciful (they gave an excuse that death is too easy a way out), that is why she continues to breathe. Too bad she doesn’t learn from her lessons and still tries to get back whenever she can. Like as though the pain from the slave mark gives her pleasure and is some sort of masochist. I mean, does she really think she can actually get away with it! Oh well, you at least have to praise her persistency.

Action wise, I think it is great although not as exhilarating as say, the recent third season of Shingeki No Kyojin. They have a variety of moves and combos in taking down the enemy but I guess it is better than using once and then never used at all. Yeah, I would have complained about that had they do it and now that they have a few varieties, I even complained that I can’t remember those moves or that they aren’t memorable to begin with. Naofumi’s shield skill tree has branched out so much that it feels like those we see him used in battle are just a fraction of it. I assume he has practised in using them all otherwise it feels like he is a pro when he could instantly bring out that specific shield properties. Filo who provides fighting support to Naofumi, it feels like this giant fowl can do almost everything. From flying to kung fu kicks and even recently, she can swim?! Man, she is like the all-purpose vehicle and weapon that everyone dreams of. Naofumi really won big time with that lottery, huh?

Art and animation are decent. Some drop in quality sometimes but nothing that would be of real concern. For a world that is facing gloom and doom, there are quite some livid colours especially the characters like the heroes who sometimes feel like colour coded heroes. Red = Motoyasu. Blue = Ren. Green = Itsuki. And uhm, darker green = Naofumi? Naofumi’s shield has a lot of weird designs seeing that he has levelled up and branched out his shield tremendously. Sometimes I feel it is like there was a design contest to see which of his shield’s design would make the cut. I mean, like how is that Iron Maiden even a type of shield???!!! On a trivial note, does Raphtalia’s design take after Horo from Spice And Wolf? Does this allow Naofumi to circumvent the rules and attack personally? This anime was done by Kinema Citrus who gave us Yuyushiki, Code: Breaker, Barakamon and Made In Abyss.

Voice acting, a few recognizable seiyuus lending their talents like Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Ren, Jun Fukuyama as L’Arc, Saori Hayami as Therese, Hiroki Yasumoto as Elhart and Kikuko Inoue as Mirelia. The other casts include Kaito Ishikawa as Naofumi (Genos in One Punch Man), Asami Seto as Raphtalia (Chihaya in Chihayafuru), Rina Hidaka as Filo (Last Order in To Aru Majutsu No Index), Maaya Uchida as Melty (Rikka in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai), Sarah Emi Bridcutt as Myne, uhm, I mean Bitch/Slut (Yuzuru in Date A Live), Makoto Takahashi as Motoyasu (Kouta in Majimoji Rurumo), Yoshitaka Yamaya as Itsuki (Sugino in Ansatsu Kyoushitsu), Megumi Han as Glass (Akko in Little Witch Academia), Natsuko Hara as Lecia (Mei in Jashin-chan Dropkick), Sakura Tange as Fitoria (titular character in Card Captor Sakura), Takayuki Sugo as Balmus (Wanyuudou in Jigoku Shoujo), Yutaka Nakano as Aultcray (Ishikawa in Ghost In The Shell) and Kenichi Ogata as Berocas (Genma in Ranma 1/2).

The rock paced first opening theme, Rise by Madkid fits the series like a glove and should have maintained as the only opener. Not to say that the second one, Faith by Madkid sounds bad but adding some hip hop elements to the rock music somehow just doesn’t appeal to me. Both the ending themes are slow rock ballads and sung by Chiai Fujikawa, Kimi No Namae and Atashi Ga Tonari Ni Iru Uchi Ni respectively. Personally I prefer the latter. I didn’t notice the BGMs but when I tried to sample some of its soundtrack, it has over 2.5 hours of music! Of course I couldn’t wait that long to hear them all but from the random samplings I heard, they’re rather okay with a wide variety of styles from the usual medieval style music and orchestra strings to hard rock punk metal ones and creepy eerie/dramatic Gregorian style chanting voices.

Overall, not a bad series and one of the better isekai genres out there despite its dark theme. It’s not that we hate characters who are overpowered and can do everything right from the start, it’s just that we need a reason to justify why we want to support that main character. It’s not like we are sadists wanting to see him struggle and improve through all the sufferings but we can see it brings out the best and worst in a character during those trying times. Naofumi does it not because he is the one who has to wield the shield bur rather he has to. So it doesn’t matter who you are, where you came from or what you have, it is how you make the best and adapt with what you’ve got and this series shows us how to tackle internet trolls without stooping down to their low level and engage them directly! Just ignore them and do your own stuff! Is that not how it seems?! Don’t let them dominate and step over you. Otherwise you would just F.E.A.R. Forget Everything And Run! Or F.E.A.R. F*ck Everything And Regret!

Canaan

September 29, 2019

I thought it was about time to complete my trilogy of girls with guns. After my stint with Noir and Madlax many years back, El Cazador De La Bruja was supposed to be next. For some unknown reason, I kept delaying wanting to watch that one. A signal that maybe I wasn’t so interested after all? And when I somewhat did, I thought it was strange. That Spanish sounding name definitely didn’t sound like the other two. They were just single named titles. WTF. And this somehow led me to Canaan. Not one of the original trilogy but still falling under the category of girls with guns. Sorry Mexico. Not going there this time. But Shanghai. Funny how some decisions make you go and end up where you are now?

Episode 1
While the streets of Shanghai is having its festivities, Canaan finished her sniping job. A monologue reminds Canaan despite being a victim of war, she mustn’t fight hate with hate. This will also not rid the world of hate. When she returns, Yuri Natsume who is her employer and informant tells of another job she has to do. A truck protecting an Unbloom was destroyed by Snake. Her job is to retrieve any survivors. If there are no survivors, it is likely the attacker are Unblooms themselves. Meanwhile, Minoru “Mino” Minorikawa is a journalist of a small magazine and is in Shanghai for an assignment. He hopes to make it big with a big scoop here. His assistant, Maria Oosawa seems to yearn to reunite with Canaan. Hence he goes off to get this old guy whom he thinks is some important figure in disguise. This leaves Maria by her own as she frolics in the festivities. There are a group of people wearing weird headgears. When it is removed, they go crazy and in a violent trance before dying. The people around think it is part of the festivities and don’t care. Maria has the misfortune to stumble into one of them as she realizes the mark on their bodies. She is about to be killed by masked guys but Canaan rescues her and takes her to safety in the back alley. No time for a reunion yet as Canaan ties her up with a wool yarn (a symbol of their friendship that she cannot break) and returns to her mission. Mino realizes his target was false alarm. Then he sees Canaan running around and real bullets flying about. With the people still frolicking, he realizes the people have closed their eyes not to accept this reality and think this is all part of the revelry. Canaan uses her super magic sight to sniff out the masked people and shoot them. Meanwhile, a truck with soldiers escorting a young girl, Alphard who is supposed to be the head of Snake is ambushed.

Episode 2
It’s Liang Qi and Cummings to the rescue! All American soldiers slaughtered and even Alphard takes out some of them before she escapes. Liang Qi informs that girl is back in Shanghai and can’t wait to kill her. However Alphard ignores her little sister and wants Cummings to hand over the report for some anti-terror summit in New York. There are things that must be done in order first. Mino goes through his film’s negatives and notices some of the weird marks on the corpses. Flashback shows his boss told him about the deadly Ua virus. Derived from the Swahili word that both means flower and death (hence the mark looks like a flower), its mortality rate is 100%. Maria was a victim of a virus attack in Shibuya a few years ago and only survived because her dad was a researcher and administered an anti-viral drug. Because of the shock, she has a little amnesia and doesn’t remember about the incident. Ironically, Maria came looking for a job in their company and Mino was tasked to look after her. At the restaurant, Mino wants to ask Maria more about Canaan. However they are ambushed. Isn’t that the old guy? He looks like a bloodthirsty mad killer now. Maria manages to hail a taxi driver (I nickname him Taximan for ease of reference) to escape. Taximan is equally crazy as he drives them to escape the trigger happy old guy’s hail of bullets. Maybe he needs some sort of thrill in addition to his mundane taxi life? So crazy that he drives his cab off an unfinished bridge! I don’t know how they survive and his cab still okay! Luckily Canaan is here. With the target now switch to her, the old man chases and fights her atop a bus. Smarter Canaan has him jump in the air so he gets electrocuted by the wires. One tangled fried old geezer coming up. Mino and Maria return to their hotel only to see it trashed with red paint. The only thing missing are their negatives. So spending the night outside isn’t fun. But are they seeing things because who this hot sexy cat girl babe???!!! Meow!!!

Episode 3
I don’t think Maria is going to believe Mino that following this cat girl, Hakko to her workplace where there are other cat women is going to lead him to the biggest scoop. Since Hakko can’t communicate well, Mino makes signs to interview her. Guess what? She shows her boobs! Best lost in translation ever? However Mino sees the mark but before he could ask further, the bartender, Santana kicks him out. He would have preferred him to touch her body but not her heart. Strange. So being a typical pervert is okay? Yeah, curiosity kills the cat. The duo stay in a different hotel but Canaan is able to find Maria thanks to her ‘different colour’. Mino wants to interview her but Canaan wants to hang out with Maria. With the girls having fun, Mino hangs out by himself. He sees Hakko again but this time in her normal clothes. Must be off duty. He tries to talk to her but since she doesn’t respond, he thinks she is a mute and shares his bread. Meanwhile Canaan and Maria are in some underground tram when suddenly it stops. Maria senses something amiss and rushes ahead. She should have known better than to leave Maria alone since the culprit is a young kid in the tram. Once Canaan realizes the trap is just a decoy, Maria has already been taken hostage. The kid believes Maria will come to her as he explains some complex synthesis of her senses blah, blah, blah, whatever. By the time Canaan arrives, a bomb is on Maria’s head and she can’t rip it off or else it will explode. The kid explains he is also from a village that was experimenting the Ua virus. And some gene mutation the virus did. Long story short, the kid accuses Canaan of killing his older brother. That old dude. The mutation caused him to be strong and agile but he aged fast. Canaan is able to sniff out the kid. Looks like his body can contort and hide in tightest of places. Yup, gene mutation thingy too. The effects caused his body to not grow. As time is running out, the kid swallows the diffuser. Flashback shows the kid is betting that Canaan will shoot him since he doesn’t intend to kill Maria. Maria can’t reveal that or he’ll kill her. To Maria’s shock, Canaan shoots the kid. Bomb still ticking. When the timer is over, the bomb is just some jack in the box. Canaan feels nothing but Maria is clearly shocked and shaken from what she has seen. Canaan notices she is beginning to show colours of rejection.

Episode 4
Maria is still depressed. She always thought Canaan was a normal girl. That moment wasn’t it. Canaan on the other hand wonders if she will lose it again. Flashback shows she was the only survivor in a decimated village. A soldier, Siam picked her up out of pity and trained her to be a mercenary. Canaan loves guns because they give off no colour. She hates blue as it is the colour of hatred and that’s why she is able to pinpoint her enemies. Remembering Siam’s words about not fighting hatred with hatred, Canaan knows it but she desperately doesn’t want to lose it again. It seems Siam was killed by Alphard and that was the first time Canaan lost something precious. Alphard attends a party of Daedala whom she is a majority stockholder of and the company will be hosting the upcoming anti-terrorist conference. She is sure turning heads with that stunning dress. Of course Canaan is also staking out at that party, waiting for her perfect chance. Mino gets more information about the mark. It is actually bulging veins that overlap each other. Maria is running around looking for Canaan. She needs to apologize to her. She realizes Canaan has always saved her from dangerous moments. It’s the reason why she is able to hold a camera. All because she met Canaan. She wanted to understand her but instead she blamed her and ran away from the guilt. She almost got into trouble with some backstreet ruffians but thankfully she got rescued by Yunyun. Not Canaan this time. Maria desperate to make a new friend that she wants to get to know her too? Alphard knows Canaan will ambush her in the toilet. She claims Canaan has fallen into the same place that she was. As they shortly fight, Alphard is clearly superior and can even restrain Canaan while keeping her dress clean! It must be hatred that has made Canaan sloppier. Alphard was once like that but escaped it. But Alphard won’t kill her yet since she still can have fun. Canaan is left to lick her wounds as she escapes, Alphard’s words still haunting her every move.

Episode 5
Maria is treated to Yunyun’s hospitality on her sampan. But Yunyun soon has to leave. It seems she is also an agent employed by Liang Qi. She has a special job for her. As the Japanese vice minister is visiting, her only job is to infect him with the Ua virus. Liang Qi will set up everything else. Yunyun is worried Canaan will pop up and kill her. In that case, just die. They have no other use for her. Not so funny now, huh? Yunyun goes to Santana’s bar to set up. She meets that Hakko. They know each other and Yunyun doesn’t want her to further get involved in what she’s doing. Just live the rest of your life happily. When the Japanese vice minister enters, Yunyun and Hakko serve them. Yunyun tries to spike his drink but this guy rather have the sexy Hakko serve him. After Mino tells Maria about the mark and the veins, thus they head down to Santana’s bar to get some answers. Yunyun runs out upon seeing them. At the back alley, she is shocked to see Canaan next to her. Fumbling to use her gun? Don’t worry. Canaan teaches you! With the guys insulting each other, Maria leaves only to see Canaan threatening Yunyun for info in which she doesn’t know. With Maria protecting Yunyun, Canaan sees the sadness in her eyes and leaves. She’s just a killer in her eyes now. Thank goodness Maria is here or she would have really killed Yunyun. Oh Yunyun. You’re such a lucky girl!

Yunyun then gets a call from Liang Qi who knows she has failed. She gives her a last chance to use Maria and die with Canaan. Hence this desperate joker uses Maria as a hostage to lure Canaan out. Yup, she’s strapped herself with dynamites! Going to blow themselves up together? Yeah, tumble into the river together. Yunyun tries to hold her down and drown together. When Canaan thinks of slicing her to break free, she remembers Maria’s sad face. Canaan drags them out to the side. It’s not that she doesn’t want to kill her, it’s just she doesn’t want to make Maria sad. When Mino returns to his room, Maria beats him up thinking he is trying to rape Yunyun?! Actually he spots a mark on her butt. She claims she is a Borner ever since that incident at that village disappeared. Her ‘special power’ is having 2 appendixes. It doesn’t have any kind of power. She knows nothing more about Snake and feels useless. Maria disagrees. Because she manages to help reconcile her friendship with Canaan, she is now their friend. Mino can help her financially to break free from Snake but in return she is to be their special correspondent since she blends well by having experience in multiple jobs. The Japanese vice minister is done in by Cummings while he is taking a massage service. Cummings wonders if Liang Qi intends to get Yunyun go. She is confident she will come back because she cannot live without the drugs. Otherwise she has chosen death.

Episode 6
Mino thinks his journalism effort has been recognized since he receives a reporter pass to the anti-terrorism press conference. But he’ll let Maria cover that as he goes to talk to Hakko for more details. As he questions her, the moment she speaks, his head starts to hurt. The conference begins and as Maria snaps pictures, Alphard approaches her. She is unsure if Maria is playing dumb not to recognize her. The US president is really making a weird speech about love and peace (this guys should be a comedian) and it is probably cue for Liang Qi to set off the bombs. The place is in panic but the bombs have cordoned off all exits. After Mino recovers, he barges back to Santana’s bar to question Hakko if that is her special power. But here is live on TV that the press conference is under attack. Time to call Taximan and make his way there. Maria is brought to the control centre where Alphard and Liang Qi are waiting. Liang Qi calls Canaan (it must be a long way running towards the convention centre via sewers) and tries to rile her by threatening Maria. Instead, it is Liang Qi who gets riled up as Canaan and Maria ignore her to reassure each other. Liang Qi is at boiling point and wants to kill Maria but is stopped when Alphard fires a warning shot. She warns her about letting her hatred get the better of her and those with such hatred should be disposed. What is it that Liang Qi wants? Love. Love of her nee-sama of course. Alphard tells Liang Qi to end her games and get to work. Then she tells Maria that her role is to live. In the underground shelter where all the politicians are taking shelter, the Japanese vice minister starts to feel sick. The Ua virus begins to take effect as he dies a bloody death.

Episode 7
OMFG! Canaan is so fast dodging the bullets that the soldiers shoot each other?! Liang Qi wants to go handle Canaan but with Alphard warning how mistakes will arise when one doesn’t listen, Liang Qi throws a childish tantrum and storms off. The White House staffs deliberate on how to save the situation. An option is to get the vaccine in which Kenji (Maria’s father) administers. Unfortunately the moment he leaves his building, his car explodes! So much for that. Time for Plan B. Alphard then speaks to the politicians holing up in the safe room. She informs that all of them are infected with the Ua virus and in no time will die. However America has decided to make sure they go out in style and they have ordered the stealth bombers to bomb the hell out of this place! When Maria doesn’t remember a thing, Alphard beats her up and tells a back story of a soldier who trained a couple of kids to become mercenaries. Both shared the same name. Alphard’s real name was Canaan but she tossed it away a long time ago. Alphard takes her men to leave once it’s time. Canaan then comes in to rescue Maria but is told of the situation. Yuri sees Santana since he has a secret room with hacking devices. Wow. Those still work? She contacts Canaan and tells her intentions to hack some American satellite. Kenji is seen dropping into the convention centre. Actual footage shows that explosion was fake and edited just to bamboozle USA into using this bombing order. With the stealth bombers already dropping a bomb, Canaan’s ability now goes digital? I don’t know what she sees but eventually she sees it. The bomb explodes. However everybody is still alive. Something about Canaan and Yuri managing to change the GPS coordinates of the bomb. Yeah, it didn’t hit the convention centre but I hope there were no people at the spot it exploded. The stealth bombers abort mission, the White House are left guilt-ridden and red faced due to their ‘incomplete mission’ and Yuri lecturing Santana about forgiveness will not be waiting for you at the end of running away. Canaan starts to feel weird. She now cannot see colours. At least the colours she has been accustomed to be seeing.

Episode 8
Mino has connections to Kenji as he asks about Ua virus. Kenji believes there can be no survivors because before any mutation can take place, you would already have been dead. But with Mino believing there are survivors lurking, could it be related to the disappeared village? It could be possible that Snake has a vaccine and taken in such people. Alphard calls the White House and even offers America to keep their power among the third world countries under the guise of protection but in exchange for some arms deals. As long as they need a conflict somewhere, feel free to call Snake. Alphard then orders Cummings to destroy the factory that Liang Qi left behind. Hakko is reeling from her past whereby she didn’t know her voice was destructive. She tried to calm a boy who lost his mother but little did she know the more she spoke, the more pain he felt until he exploded!!! Maria takes Canaan out. The latter feels weird and is not used to this normal sight as she cannot see colours. Nearby, there is a street concert put up by this idol, Nene. Taximan is a big fan of hers. Hakko is also there too. Unconsciously she starts singing along and this affects everyone. Luckily she realizes it and stops but ultimately feels sad. Mino now confronts Santana. He thinks he is forced to work under Snake in exchange for medicine. He wonders if he a member of Snake supervising Hakko. Because Hakko wants to go to the disappeared village, road trip! Mino and Santana make horrible road trip singers… We also hear Maria expressing to Canaan she always felt empty until she met her. Yeah, another big thanks to her somewhat. In turn, Canaan was worried when she couldn’t see colours but always knew Maria was a kind person even if she can’t see her colours. That night as they sleep, Hakko tries to strangle Canaan. Of course she fails and escapes. You mean nobody was awakened by this commotion? The guys do but that’s only after Canaan went after Hakko. Santana mentioning how Hakko has not forgiven him as he was the one who destroyed her village. Canaan doesn’t intend to kill Hakko but find out why she is hated. Of course she can’t speak but Canaan ultimately could read her lips. It seems a sad Hakko blames her that it’s her fault. The road trip continues and they see a manjuu seller out in this isolated place. Yunyun?!

Episode 9
Yunyun pretends not to know them but I guess she has no more strength to peddle. Hop on. We’re going to the same place, right? Cummings reports Liang Qi at the factory. He is shocked when Alphard orders him to kill her. Yunyun explains she is heading to that village because if she’s going to die, might as well where she came from. As for the medicine, you can’t get it from anywhere else since it is tailored specifically to that person’s symptoms. And then Maria starts punching Yunyun because she doesn’t want her to die? I think she will at this rate! Awkwardness interrupted when a strange masked guy starts firing his machine gun at them. Canaan has a hard time approaching since she lost her ability. Hakko then screams out not to kill him. After temporary dizziness in every one, the strange just explodes and dies! Some of them recognize him as one of the locals. Santana points out to him as an Unbloom. Arriving at the village, Santana tells Mino what really happened. Santana used to work with Langley from the CIA. Under the pretence of disinfecting the town of some virus, they were the ones who spread it. They also test out the vaccine’s effectiveness on them. The result was the entire town turned into a hellish monstrous nightmare. Santana discovered the truth later and quit. Subsequently he stumbled upon into Yuri and they both shared the same goal to blackmail the CIA into revealing the truth. He further explains about Borners (those affected and were given special bodies as side effect) Unblooms (those who couldn’t become Borners and Snake keeps them to find out why they failed). Crazy Liang Qi flies in trying to kill Canaan. However Alphard also flies in trying to kill Liang Qi. Cummings tries to shoot Alphard but his gun is fake. Alphard lets him say a last word before she kills him. She shoots him with a fake gun. Liang Qi retreats. Alphard then finds Canaan lying in the ruins. She thinks Canaan lost her ability since she didn’t see her coming. Alphard reminds her about that desert train mission in which Siam died. Canaan claimed her tattoo is prove she has family. Siam was her light. But now she has a new light. That’s why Alphard wants her to live. Canaan’s power might be coming back because she sees strange colours on Alphard. It is the same as Siam. When the rest gather, Santana is ready to shoot her but Alphard advises against it. She tells him her next plan is to destroy the factory so no more corrupted flowers will bloom again. She also leaves a message: Canaan’s real name is Despair.

Episode 10
Santana’s plan is to expose CIA’s cohorts with Snake. Then the government cannot continue to cover this up. This way there would be free flow of the medicine. The factory is disguised as an abandoned village. Inside, looks like somebody had thoughts of Resident Evil so several zombie Unblooms are released. Don’t worry. You won’t turn into one of them when they bite. But this scene activates Hakko’s trauma. She runs away into a room whereby a video of Liang Qi wants her to join her to kill Canaan. She reveals this factory was built so that a second Canaan is created. After all the sympathetic words, Hakko isn’t moved. Canaan may have started all this but it was Liang Qi who dragged everyone else into this mess. She will not join her. Further flashback reveals Santana pleaded to Alphard to take Hakko with him. She agreed as long as he forgets this place and play by their rules. Though, Liang Qi was against it since Hakko is a valuable Borner. Hakko enters Liang Qi’s room and starts ranting about her pitiful state. To her shock, it is actually captured Santana who is strapped onto the seat. Hakko is left in despair while Liang Qi (in another video) laughs her ass off. Santana doesn’t blame Hakko. Because he knows he isn’t going to make it, he wants Hakko to say she loves him in her voice. Uhm, you want to say that louder? I don’t think he heard you. She keeps repeating it until he dies! Liang Qi then activates the entire factory. Something about cancelling out normal noises. While this means everyone is resistant to Hakko’s voice, only Canaan will be affected as she processes her senses differently. Hence Canaan starts experiencing a massive headache since a despaired Hakko continues to be a broken recorder. Mino tries to approach her since Santana has him promised to wake her up from this dream if something happens to him. Luckily Hakko is a bad shot. He still took some bullets before managing to hug her. Meanwhile Maria and Yunyun stumble into an underground lair. To their shock, is that Canaan stuck in some ice? Yuri is also here and she sounds like she doesn’t want witnesses over this secret.

Episode 11
There won’t be dead girls for now since Alphard wants Maria and Yunyun to return to Canaan. Yuri thinks this is a big mistake but Alphard knows she only cares about the data. Alphard no longer has interests in this disgusting experiment and hands over the Borner data to her. After that she burns everything in this lair to the ground. Not sure how Mino survived all that but Canaan managed to drag him out. After all that he just got an arm injury? Reuniting with Maria and Yunyun, Canaan decides to go back in to rescue Hakko. She has to move fast as she sees American special forces moving in to raid the place. Liang Qi is on the verge of madness. Then Alphard pops up. She gives Cummings a chance to show his love. Cummings tries to convince Liang Qi to return but she beats the sh*t out of him. With that, Alphard tries to kill Liang Qi who is now a super masochist, enjoying every pain nee-sama brings to her. But when she wants to be killed by her, Alphard leaves it to Cummings. Then they see on the footage, Canaan slaughtering the special forces and this makes Liang Qi super mad again. So mad that she swallows some experimental drugs that of course drastically changes her body. She is now frail and old. Alphard reveals that she has known this letter that was written by Siam addressed to her is fake. She knew it was Liang Qi’s ploy to let her be captured by the Americans so that she can come rescue her. She knew the letter is false right away because Siam never addressed her as Alphard. It is then Liang Qi hears Alphard’s real name as Canaan. Now she has gone full blown crazy. Seeing her frail self in the mirror, she thinks she sees Canaan and wants her dead. She is so psychotic that she will do anything, including returning Cummings’ love, just for Canaan to be killed. So tearful Cummings shoots her. Finally this crazy drama is over. Alphard observes how love is such a troublesome thing. Canaan finds Hakko. She’s making out with Santana’s corpse? Long story short, Hakko can’t go with her and gives the medicine so she won’t return empty handed. Cue for the place to collapse so Canaan can get her ass out. Canaan returns to Maria. After she takes a photo of her, they just give each other a long hug.

Episode 12
Canaan is still reeling from despair. But with Maria around, she breathes a little better. Canaan, Maria and Yunyun take a train trip. When the train suddenly stops as the guards at the checkpoint do their inspection, this triggers Canaan’s trauma. She rushes to the front and sees Siam sitting there. Could be just her hallucination as she also sees other dead people whom she killed. They’re all blaming her. Siam tells her not to over rely on her senses. Because it warps her senses and makes her overthink. This also makes her lose her sense of truth. He wants her to see things as the way they are. Meanwhile Alphard approaches Maria and Yunyun. It seems she wants Maria to live up to her duty to awaken Canaan’s true power as she is still living in the stone age. Maria agrees to do that but in exchange wants to take a photo of her. She realizes she can’t walk alongside Canaan anymore. The moment she does that, Alphard shoots and wounds her. When Canaan realizes the light she needs to protect now, she rushes back. She only sees Alphard. She can see Maria’s blood trails as Alphard tells her she locked up the duo in the back of the train. Oh, there’s a bomb too. So if Canaan wants to save her, let’s keep their playtime to a minimum. Both start shooting each other in this narrow carriage. Both having different interpretations of Siam’s teachings. From what I understand, Alphard points out that Canaan was the one who killed Siam. Because had she not been there, Siam would not have been killed. Hence Alphard doesn’t intend to kill Canaan but rather shoot through the ghost of Siam. Yunyun tries to find a way to free themselves. However Maria knows she cannot make it and tells her to go it alone. Yunyun manages to climb out of the window and derail the last coach. Maria doing her monologue of Canaan as her light but because she is being loved and protected by her, this light also casted a shadow on her heart.

Episode 13
What’s this? Alphard is starting to feel scared of Canaan? Because her eyes are looking different now. She is now seeing the way things are. So scared that she can’t even shoot straight? Damn, role reversal and Canaan is the cool cat now. Alphard tries to escape but Canaan chases after her. She believes Maria is still alive. She might not be able to see her colour but she can sense her kindness. Indeed Maria is still alive because Yunyun changed her mind and ran all the way back to grab her out before the bomb explodes. Alphard laughs when Canaan claims Maria isn’t her light but her friend. Alphard then realizes Siam called her once by this name. It was before his death. He told her the meaning of that new name is solitude. She tries to kill herself by dropping off the train but Canaan grabs her hand. Canaan relating the day Siam died, she moved on and met new people. Hence Alphard can’t die because she is already dead? Huh? Wow. Canaan so philosophical now because she means her heart died the day Siam died. That’s why Canaan wants her to live and won’t let her die. Alphard is left to reminisce Liang Qi’s words about being stuck in the past. It was Alphard and not Canaan who is still trapped in the past. To free herself from this haunting, Alphard shoots off her own arm! Long way down the ravine… We see Maria together with Canaan despite just a dream. It’s like a goodbye because Canaan says they can’t be together anymore. Maria wakes up in hospital (sorry girl, not heaven) and Mino updates her Yunyun carried her most of the way back until he picked them up. He tried to contact Canaan but she ‘vanished’. Maria feels sad Canaan won’t let her stand by her side till the end. But Mino believes this is what Canaan had wanted. To protect her. Even if they are 2 different persons, Maria can still get closer to her via her heart. After all, it’s her kindness that bonds them together. Mino is thinking about a career change. He visits Santana’s bar one last time. Damn he is going to miss this place. And Hakko’s ass. Taximan picks them up to the airport as Maria praises how amazing Canaan is. We get it for the umpteenth time. It’s goodbye, right? Better have some closure than none. In the aftermath, we see Yunyun doing odd jobs, Cummings is now a monk (?!), Alphard hinted to be alive because there isn’t a one arm woman in Shanghai but her and Maria back in Japan organizes a photo exhibition of her exploits in Shanghai. Finally, Yuri still hires Canaan for certain jobs. This time her target is a certain one armed woman.

The Holy Land Of Deadly Virus, Raining Bullets & Past Ghost
This sure looks like a bittersweet ending. Our main female leads didn’t get to end up together. Not that I am expecting something yuri to turn out from that short reunion but I guess it is better this way that they lead their separate lives. As said, they are from both different worlds and from the looks of it, the entire time their reunion sometimes felt like they’re trying to get into each other’s way. You know, Maria just wanting to be Canaan’s equal and Canaan just wanting to protect her. So to say, had Maria not returned to Shanghai, all this trouble would not have surfaced? I don’t think Maria will be going back to Shanghai anytime soon. There’s no reason to. That’s what that final episode ‘goodbye’ was all about, right? Then there’s the curious case of Alphard. She got an arm blown off and miraculously survived that long ravine drop (thank goodness there’s a river below) and is her business with Canaan considered finished? I mean, I thought she wanted Canaan to display her true powers but looks like it wasn’t what she desired. Alphard’s a survivor so don’t write her off yet but how relevant is she after this? What will be of Snake? What about that terrorism business partnership with America? Nothing to do with Canaan so don’t really care at this point.

Despite being just a single cour series, I find it hard to understand the general story and what is going on in the overall picture. Maybe that’s why I didn’t understand? Too short? But if they somehow managed to drag it out to another cour, will there be a guarantee that I would understand better or just be even more confused? It might look like some terrorism via biological warfare on the surface. But eventually it is something much deeper than that especially the connection between the 3 main female leads of Canaan, Maria and Alphard. I think. So basically the story and plot itself is intriguing. However due to many parts that I couldn’t understand, it somewhat hinders me to enjoy this series as a whole. After all, this series was conceptualized by co-founders of Type-Moon for a visual novel game, 428: Shibuya Scramble. Since I didn’t play that game nor even heard of it until I was watching this anime and doing my lazy Google research, I’m not sure how much both series are related to each other. The Ua virus, Snake’s factory for manufacturing all this, I feel they are just touching the surface and didn’t go in too deeply to be fleshed out. It feels like as though you need some sort of background knowledge before watching this series. Because at the end of the day, I still don’t really get the difference between Borners and Unblooms. Are they the same but just different in desired outcome? And in the end, they don’t really matter because if Alphard has lost interest in them and could easily throw them all away, should we care too?

The action is the main draw of the series though I would pretty say it is just pretty much standard. But it is not swift gun totting all the way as they have to make room and weave some character development in it. Therefore the action scenes I feel are rather okay. Exhilarating for that short burst of adrenaline but compare it to animes like Shingeki No Kyojin, yeah it’s just average. Sorry. Looks like my standards have really gone up in this category. And perhaps I have come to expect something when I skim through the reviews about this anime being action filled. Good action, yeah, okay. Masterpiece top 10 action of all time? Nah, not really. But I have to admit that some action scenes are quite enjoyable to watch especially Canaan and Alphard trading lead with each other in fast paced mortal combat. What do you expect when you pit the best among each other?

Other than the action, the character development especially among the main trio is also important but like I’ve said, there are some aspects that I already do not understand and therefore couldn’t go forward when bits of their past and history are further revealed. So to condense it all to a point that I understand, both Canaans are trying to get over the ghost of their past and that link is Siam. Alphard being the calm and composed antagonist, Canaan is her obsession because of her need to prove her own hatred is the only way to conquer her past. It’s a reason why she pushes Canaan to her limits and do not kill her outright. Canaan on the other hand is also cool, composed and lacking any emotion. Except whenever Alphard is in the picture. Then she gets her emotions overwhelmed and Alphard usually owns her at the end of the day. So it’s like the battle of the one with the calmer head wins? It is evident like we see in the final episode where the tables were turned.

Maria might feel like the weaker link among the trio and making it hard for me to appreciate her character is how her back story was never really fleshed out. It was just merely pinpointed that she was a survivor of the Ua virus during a viral attack on Shibuya. Also her initial friendship on how she became friends with Canaan felt like it was merely skimmed through. The series does a decent job in portraying and developing the relationship between them but that is only what we see on screen and currently when they reunite once more in Shanghai. Maria and Canaan as 2 females giving each other the strength to live, it’s nothing really new or ground breaking in terms of storytelling and character development but as far as this series is concerned, better to see the colour of life than the colour of death!

On a side note, I wonder if Maria’s character was cheekily named so. I’m not sure if the creators were aware of this but Maria Oosawa definitely sounds too close to Maria Ozawa! You know… The famous porn star!!! I know the different kanji writing but still too close to call. Yeah, the first time I heard Maria’s name, I had to do a double take so as to confirm my ears weren’t playing any tricks on my simpleton pervy brain. Coincidentally this series was released back in 2009, the same period where the said porn star reached the pinnacle of her popularity! Is this why there is this running joke in the series that this photographer Maria is always teased for her small bust size? As opposed to the porn star who has somewhat a voluptuous figure? Strange… Too much to be called a coincidence but I’ll give the benefit of the doubt to the creators.

Yunyun I feel her character is primarily written as a comic relief. A joker of the series. Almost every move she makes. Almost every word she says. Almost every reaction she reacts. It’s like she is born to look and sound this funny no matter the situation. She would have been a natural clown had she not get involved in all this mess. Seriously. Heck, even her Borner ability is a joke. The thing about Yunyun being this joker character is both good and bad. During times of conflict and high tension, Yunyun’s presence can mostly take some of that pressure off thanks to her comical actions whether she intended to be funny or not. I mean, taking Maria hostage to lure Canaan out and then trying to blow herself up? And failed spectacularly? While making it all look like a joke? Only Yunyun can pull that off! While Yunyun is welcomed as this sort of comic relief, sometimes it really makes her out of place. In such serious and tense moments, and now here is one of Yunyun’s antics. It just feels so weird. It’s like, girl, WTF? I don’t think it’s the drugs she’s taking. So yeah, Yunyun, keep calm and carrying on being you. Sometimes too much Canaan-Maria melancholy colour drama can be bad for the soul. We need to see a different (comedy) colour, you know.

Then there is this Liang Qi character who is written as a psychotic b*tch. Her obsession is no other than her nee-sama Alphard and it would have been a lot better if we could see how she and Alphard first came to be instead of just skimming through a brief flashback. It makes it feel insignificant. Anyway, with Liang Qi being a crazy psycho b*tch, in some ways it draws out the drama because a Canaan-Alphard showdown would be too quick without this woman. Hence with Canaan still breathing, it gives Liang Qi all the more excuse to show her crazy b*tch side just to get on the good side of Alphard’s love. We know this one sided love will never be fulfilled but it never hurts to try, right? Yeah, love is weird. Oh well, till death do us part. Sorry, didn’t feel a single sympathy for Liang Qi’s last moments. Just, good riddance. The annoyance’s gone. Despite having to dedicate 1 whole episode just to kill her off. Also, this Cummings guy who is definitely a big masochist since he loves to get shot by Liang Qi’s airsoft bullets. Yeah, he orgasms each time he gets shot. Even his name feels so ambiguous… Caught between the absolute big boss and the crazy mistress he is in love with, this guy sure had it rough… And he probably likes it that way ;p. The biggest shocking change of becoming a monk. Because it’s like subtly hinting to us to throw away all our depraved porn and lead a clean life! Is this even possible?! Cummings showed us he could… This guy is so zen right now…

The other characters somehow don’t feel significant. Like Mino who is trying to make his big break but this case changed him in some ways that he didn’t care about it anymore. He is only here because otherwise why would there be a reason for Maria to return to Shanghai? Yuri being the sneaky operative, nothing much is known about her but CIA operatives are like that. She could be the real ‘snake’, a double agent since she has her own agenda. Santana and Hakko also feel unnecessary but to prop up some bits of drama and plot convenience. Since Hakko is the one who keeps blaming Canaan for whatever and Santana is trying to make amends and atone for his sins. I know he is smart enough not to put his hope this will absolve him of his sins, but maybe he just wanted someone to love. He got that in his death wish, right? Oh well, till death do us part.

This is one of the few animes in which the setting isn’t set in Japan but overseas. And no, I don’t mean fantasy settings either but settings of real world locations. Sure, that tragic experimental village might be fictional but other than that, China is real. Shanghai is real. What I want to point out is the use of foreign languages especially Chinese and English. Firstly, the Chinese spoken sound so odd. Is it their accent? Because I couldn’t properly catch them. Yeah, it’s like your Japanese trying to speak Engrish and now they try to speak Mandarin and it’s like fail too. For the English part, these are mostly when the American military give their commands. Sounds authentic enough so I’m not really complaining… In view of this, the oddest part is that if there are English dialogues in this series despite only in very limited scenes, remember the American president who is giving his speech? Damn guy speaking in flawless Japanese!!! I just find this odd, honestly. Even if he speaks in English about his crap speech about love and peace, it would still sound funny but at least not as bad. Imagine American soldiers giving standard orders in English for some realism but the most powerful man in the world speaking Japanese? Just feel weird… Even weirder the White House staffs deliberating in Japanese and Alphard calling the vice all speaking in Japanese… Should have went with Japanese all the way then…

The art and animation are pretty good. At least for an anime that is released back in 2009. Some scenes are gorgeous and some scenes are just grim just to highlight the plight of the Ua virus. This series is of course animated by P.A. Works and to me they’re known for drawing some of the prettiest and beautiful character designs. Unfortunately, not this one, though. Maybe no cute high school girls like I expect to see in Glasslip, True Tears, Hanasaku Iroha and Tari Tari. Hence the character designs feel a bit like Type-Moon characters (duh) such as the Fate series and Shingetsutan Tsukihime. Therefore sometimes when I look at Canaan, I could see shades of Arcueid in her. Yeah, Alphard so badass that I thought she was the reincarnation of Black Lagoon’s Levy.

Attracting my attention to watch this series is because of the star studded casts. Well, at least I recognize some of them like Miyuki Sawashiro as Canaan, Haruka Tomatsu as Yunyun, Hiroaki Hirata as Santana and Jouji Nakata as Taximan. And that was Rie Tanaka behind Liang Qi? Never would have guessed it. Of course it would be one my greatest delight to hear Mamiko Noto as Hakko. Her voice is still so amazing then and that’s why when her character speaks, it causes all our brain cells in our heads to fry! Haha! How fitting for the most beautiful voice in the world. Oh wait… What’s that… F*CKING HELL THEY KILLED OFF HER CHARACTER AGAIN!!!!!!!! OMFG!!!!! TRAUMA! TRAUMA!! YOU MEAN EVEN WAY BACK IN 2009 HER CHARACTERS ARE ALSO MET WITH THIS TREATMENT!!!!! WHY JAPAN, WHY????!!! WHY DO YOU OFTEN KILL OFF CHARACTERS WHO IS VOICED BY THE MOST BEAUTIFULLY VOICED SEIYUU OF ALL TIME????!!!!! NOOOOOOOOOO???!!!!!!

And the rest of the other casts include Yoshino Nanjou as Maria (Kokoro in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes), Maaya Sakamoto as Alphard (Ciel in Kuroshitsuji), Kenji Hamada as Mino (Jouji in Paradise Kiss), Junko Minagawa as Yuri (Ryouma in Prince Of Tennis), Akio Ohtsuka as Siam (titular character in Black Jack) and Toru Ohkawa as Cummings (Roy in Fullmetal Alchemist). If you are familiar with Faylan’s style of rock music, you can feel at home here with the rock paced opening theme of Mind As Judgment. From all that high octane rock music, suddenly the ending theme, My Heaven by Annabel drops down to be some soul-like lounge music. I’m not saying the song is bad but it feels out of place considering the action pace of the series. Maybe after all that action, some soul searching is needed with this song? That is what it feels like listening to this one. Just close your eyes, let the music envelope all around you! There are a few insert songs here all sung by Ayahi Takagi (voice of Nene). China Kibun De High Tension is your typical genki pop idol anime that gets your feet shuffling while Inochi Nan Da Yo is a pop ballad. Life too is a slow and calming ballad but this sounds like it could be a Christian song. Just saying… Also, some parts feel like it could fit for an epic Hollywood emotional dramatic scene.

Overall, even if Canaan isn’t the promised land for anime for me, it is enjoyable. If only I could understand the bigger plot, appreciate better the character development and not be too greedy wanting to see more action scenes like Canaan just raking up the body count of her enemies. If only I had the ability to see this anime as it is instead of relying on my past stereotypic biasness to label this series as just slightly above average, I could have seen the truth better as it is and appreciate this series a little bit more. But alas, I relied too much on that cliché judgment of mind and that clouded and impeded some of that enjoyment. And don’t fight hatred with hatred? Sure, fine. IF YOU STOP KILLING OFF MAMIKO NOTO CHARACTERS!!!!!!!!!!

One Punch Man S2

September 28, 2019

It’s finally here! 4 years later! That’s right. But better late than never because with all the hype and anticipation for One Punch Man S2, it better deliver. Yeah, a hero always makes his late entrance. So you never heard of this guy? You know. The superhero that ends everything with just a single punch, hence his eponymous hero name. Yeah, that would hardly be any fun. But fun enough to have garnered many followers to warrant another sequel. So how many more can he add to the body count list of defeating his enemies in a single punch? We’ll just have to see.

Episode 1
A villain thinks he can harass the women in public. However with the arrival of King, he grovels and begs for mercy. You see, the people is happy that he is one of the strongest S-class heroes and they’re so happy he is back! After doing his errands, some giant robot challenges him. But King tells him to wait as he needs to go to the toilet. Can’t fight at full strength if he is holding it in, right? But in the toilet, we see King’s true nature. He is actually a coward. Although he attracts bad luck, before he knows it, the enemy is down. He didn’t anything. Somebody else always did. Because he didn’t deny, one thing led to another and now he is in this sh*t. That’s why he wants to quit being a hero! The only way left is to run. What about the robot? Don’t worry. Genos is tackling it. King goes back to relax but WTF why is Saitama here?! He saw him bought some video games and is interested to play with him. He plays along until Saitama asks if he is so strong that he doesn’t want to fight anymore. Yeah, he saw him running away. Oh sh*t. How to answer? Then a monster crashes into his place. Time to prove it? King remembers how always gets dragged into such mess but somebody was always there to clean it up. Hence he always ends up running away. Was Saitama the saviour? Yup he was and still is. Saitama easily destroys the monster. King repents his action. Although Saitama doesn’t care and doesn’t want to lecture him, he wonders if he is going to continue lying to the public. Genos meanwhile barely defeats the robot threat and sends the parts to Kuseno in hopes he can do something to help his upgrade. But he is reminded to find clues about the cyborg that destroyed down his home and went on to destroy countless of towns and lives. Don’t worry. Genos will also get to that. That’s why he needs to undergo training from a master. Meanwhile Sitch, the minister of justice for Hero Association has gathered lots of ruffians at HQ. He plans to seek their help with heroes to fight against the foreboding omen. It is gaining ground as there are more disasters happening every day. As Sonic is among the group, he is disappointed that Saitama is not here and leaves. He is not going to play hero with them. Meanwhile Fubuki and her team also target Saitama and they’re going to move in now. What’s Saitama doing? Playing video games with King!

Episode 2
Sitch continues his briefing but among them is Garou who claims he supports monsters. He wants to know who the strongest is here and will kill them all. Some of the heroes attack him but they are easily killed. Then he goes off to kill all the other ruffians. He lets Sitch live since he has had enough warming up. He warns he will return stronger in 6 months so be prepared. Sonic is outside Saitama’s door. Genos confronts him and won’t let this pipsqueak do as he wishes. Hence an epic duel begins. Meanwhile Fubuki and her team ring Saitama’s door. They try to be intimidating and to cut all that threat short, she is offering her to join her faction. Of course he declines. When she orders her men to attack him, they are easily repelled. Fubuki gets serious to fight him but Saitama lectures her that she doesn’t know what it means to be a hero. She is not cut out to be one since she is more interested in factions and crushing newbies. That’s why she gather weak lackeys so that she feels stronger. The fight is interrupted with Genos-Sonic accidentally cutting in. Fubuki is shocked and confused to see Genos calling Saitama his master. This S-class cyborg calling this B-class hero his master? Genos continues his fight with Sonic but Saitama stops him since Genos is going to destroy the whole place just to take out Sonic and his speed. Hence Saitama shows him how it’s done. Sonic relishes this rematch and does his special ability of moving so fast that he cloned himself 10 times. But Saitama does his side step so fast and cloned himself 100 times!!! OMFG!!! Yeah, Sonic lost. Fubuki explains her situation. She remains as top of B-class because A-class has got lots of crazy heroes whom she can’t control. As we know Tatsumaki is her sister, she is always number one. Hence being number one of B-class is the only thing she can. She thinks manipulating factions isn’t wrong until King waltzes in. Friends with Saitama? WTF is this super strong group? She wants to join!!! Oh man, looks like she joined another faction. Meanwhile Sitch is disappointed that the committee is more interested in giving heroes their nicknames instead of addressing Garou’s threat. They think other S-class heroes can handle it when they are up to the task. Speaking of Garou, he is on a hero hunting spree.

Episode 3
Bang mercilessly beats up his best disciple, Charanko and exiles him from his dojo. Charanko talks to Genos about this and the latter deduces Garou might be behind this. You see, Garou was once Bang’s student and with that incident at Hero Association HQ, Bang is distancing himself from his students to avoid bystanders getting hurt if there’s an intense battle. On the way home, Charanko spots Garou trying to pick a fight with Licenseless Rider. But Tank Top Vegetarian who was recently defeated by Garou, brings back his brothers and S-class master, Tank Top Master to give his due punishment. At first it seems Tank Top Master owns Garou and could have defeated him had Licenseless Rider not stop him to spout crap that Garou is still human. Garou turns the tables and defeats them. He is going to kill the rest of them. Of course they all lose and when Charanko decides to enter the fray, no surprise upset either. Saitama visits Licenseless Rider and Tank Top Master recuperating in hospital to find out about this Garou dude. Despite being human, Garou seems to be a master in martial arts. All attacks were dodged, parried and blocked well. Even his strikes to the joints and vital points were brutal. It’s like he was able to read his moves. Unlike monsters who let lose all their strength in a rampage, Garou has special techniques to break people. Visiting Charanko, he gives Saitama a participation ticket for a martial arts tournament. Since he is injured, he can’t participate. Oh sh*t… 3 million yen prize money… Meanwhile Garou continues his hero hunting by facing off with Golden Ball and Spring Mustachio. Once he learns their moves, it is easy to bring them down. After all, he also knows all their trump cards since earlier on a kid lent him a guidebook on all the known heroes. Later Garou stumbles into Saitama. Thinking the latter is some low level hero trying to get some fame, Garou strikes first but Saitama is hard!!! I mean, real hard!!! Then Saitama just chops him down and Garou loses all strength and passes out!!! OMFG!!! Don’t get in my way of shopping! So why is Saitama buying a brown wig? So it’s not to permanently cover his head as Genos worries that the baldness may have got to him? Nah. It is to impersonate as Charanko at the tournament.

Episode 4
When Garou was young, he loved monsters but found it baffling the heroes always win despite the monsters also tried their best. In that case he will become the ultimate monster and won’t lose to anyone. Garou wakes up in the dumpster, not remembering what happened last night. With Garou targeting not only heroes but Hero Association as well, it is suggested that S-class heroes become their bodyguards. King was called but he is busy ‘fighting a boss’. Yeah. Playing video games. Hence Metal Bat now babysits an executive and his son. When an attack occurs, it isn’t Garou but some monsters. As Saitama waits for the tournament to story, some cocky guy who seems to know Charanko talks to him. He talks about last year’s event where somebody impersonated a participant and went on to win the tournament. That is why this year all disguises and aliases are banned. Otherwise you get sued and even banned permanently. Oh sh*t. The guy believes that impersonator was Garou. One day he got tired of training and decided to beat the crap out of everyone while Bang was away. Though he badmouths Charanko, Saitama calls him a coward since he quit his dojo but Charanko fought Garou one on one. After Metal Bat defeats the monsters, looks like bigger monsters (even monsters have seniors?) attack him. It might seem Metal Bat is having a hard time fighting them but after he pumps himself up, it becomes easy as pie. But it’s not over yet because giant grandpa monster is here! It seems the monsters are targeting the executive and it’s a good thing Metal Bat has been able to hold his ground. With the city under evacuation, Garou is glad to hear Metal Bat in the vicinity. Metal Bat is already busy trying to take down this behemoth and Garou is itching to have a fight with him? He’s serious. Here it comes! Don’t make Metal Bat mad. Because he’s going to bash your crazy head in!

Episode 5
Metal Knight comes to deal with the grandpa centipede monster as Garou fights Metal Bat. However the more damage Metal Bat takes, the stronger and faster he becomes. It somewhat ends only when Metal Bat’s little sister, Zenko intervenes. She forbids the men from doing more violence so I guess nobody can defy nor hurt a loli so that’s that. Some monsters are watching Garou in action. Phoenix Man approaches Garou and invites him to Monster Association. However he is not interested. Phoenix Man leaves for now but believes they will be seeing each other again as long as he is targeting heroes. Once they’ve got the executive’s son, the monsters retreat. However monsters in other cities are still running rampage and many A-class heroes have fallen by the wayside. Meanwhile the martial arts tournament is about to begin and we are introduced to lots of the weird participants. The highlighted ones include defending champion, Bakuzan and an unrivalled contender who has returned after many years of absence, Suiryu. Saitama faces off with the cocky Zakkos who thinks he is hell of a strong. Too bad just one slap is enough to put him down! Damn, is Saitama that strong? Rather, Zakkos is that weak! Yeah, you can hear the crowd in the background laughing like as though this is some sitcom!

Episode 6
Suiryu instantly takes out his opponent. Meanwhile monsters are popping up everywhere and a few are close to the martial arts tournament. Bakuzan doesn’t want the organizer to announce or it will cause panic. If any are close enough, he’ll take care of them. But it is of course Genos who goes to take care all of them before Saitama’s next match. But he is going to miss it since some of them are pretty tough. Because Saitama is now facing off with Bakuzan. The latter thinking he is some newbie with no ambition so he brags what he is going to do to him. Then in one punch Saitama sends him flying out of the ring! OMG! An upset! Genos has finally taken care of the last monster but something fast takes him out. Meanwhile Fubuki is fighting a monster babe who can turn others into her zombie slaves with her whip. She intends to use Fubuki to lure out Tatsumaki but don’t need that because here comes Tatsumaki to clean up Fubuki’s mess. Monster babe can tell she is dangerous and uses her zombies for her escape. She only succeeds since Fubuki doesn’t want Tatsumaki to hurt her zombie-turned subordinates. Suiryu’s next opponent is Snek. The latter contemplating how he has gone weaker and not being able to protect the people like before. He gets riled up hearing Suiryu’s reason for being strong just for the money and to have an easy life. He also believes in survival of the strongest. Because whether there are heroes or not, humans will still survive even if there are monsters or not. That’s how nature works. And in 1 kick, Snek is defeated. Meanwhile we see the king of Monster Association, Orochi. He is pleased with the reports of the rise of their Monster Association and sending panic waves to Hero Association.

Episode 7
While more monsters pop up, don’t fret because S-class heroes are fighting back. Those we see in action include Drive Knight, Child Emperor, Pig God, Flashy Flash (?!) and Tatsumaki. Atomic Samurai discusses with his other sword buddies on taking down Garou before Bang gets defeated. But one of them has betrayed the human race and ate monster cells to become one. He wants them to eat them too or die. Unfortunately for him, Atomic Samurai’s slash is so fast that he disintegrated before he could move. Back to the tournament. After a few boring rounds that end in a single hit, we are now here at the finals. Saitama versus Suiryu. Suiryu starts off with a feint but powerful kicks. This is just warm up, you know. Saitama isn’t fazed and he is more concerned in holding down his wig! Must not get busted. They come to an agreement that Suiryu will teach him martial arts in exchange to be entertained. So a few more powerful moves but it is clearly Suiryu is holding back. And Saitama still holding down his wig. Not until Suiryu starts badmouthing the Hero Association that it hits a nerve in Saitama. So when Suiryu does a surprise kick on Saitama and his wig fell off, Saitama doesn’t give a damn. So if Suiryu wants to have fun, shouldn’t he not get any stronger? Luckily Saitama holds back or else Suiryu would have died. But the force was enough to blow away his shirt! The officials have disqualified Saitama because he broke the rules and declare Suiryu the winner. But the crowd doesn’t want this exciting match to end. So does Suiryu. He gives it his all as he slams and punch all he’s got into Saitama. So after all that Saitama is still okay? But Saitama has learnt something about martial arts. It’s all about the flashy moves, right? And just with the swing of his hips, Suiryu is flung to the other end of the arena! OMFG!!! Cue for Saitama to escape since the officials are going to capture him. Suiryu is in shock that he lost for the first time. Not so fun now, eh?

Episode 8
Suiryu is being awarded and he doesn’t look too happy. Suddenly monsters storm into the arena. One of them being Goketsu. He was previously this tournament’s winner and was rumoured to have been killed by monsters. On the contrary, he was captured and given a chance to eat monsters cells. Now he is stronger than ever. He wants all of them to eat monster cells or die. Those who are weak or desire power eat them and quickly evolve into monsters. However they are easily taken down by Suiryu. Goketsu finds it a waste to kill him and gives him a chance to change his mind. It sure sounds tempting he can enjoy life and do as he wishes but Suiryu passes. He doesn’t want to end up looking ugly. Suiryu fights Goketsu but realizes he cannot even make a scratch on him. As he gets puzzled, he sees Bakuzan and asks for his help. Bakuzan then admits Suiryu is stronger than him but has now given up on being the strongest human after seeing the irony of him having a hard time fighting these monsters. Hence Bakuzan eats all the monster cells to transform himself. But his body can’t handle it and he collapses. To Suiryu’s surprise, Snek and Lightning Max return to help. They easily defeat the monster subordinates but Suiryu is shocked the duo is going to fight Goketsu. Suiryu uses this chance to run as the duo gets pummelled but Suiryu is also hammered by Bakuzan. Looks like his monster activation was delayed. Goketsu leaves and tells Bakuzan to come to their base. But first, Bakuzan torments Suiryu and enjoys every moment of it. On the verge of death, that is when Suiryu sees the importance of heroes. He realizes he needs them and desperately calls out for help. Bakuzan is going to stomp other unconscious participants but they are quickly whisked away by Saitama! IT’S ABOUT TIME YOU SHOWED UP!!!!!!!!!! He thanks Suiryu for holding out and he came after hearing his cries. IT’S ABOUT TIME WE HAVE SOME ONE PUNCH MAN ACTION!!!!!!!!!!!

Episode 9
Bakuzan mocks Saitama. He should’ve sensed something wrong when his punches and kicks have no effect. And then Saitama does his specialty. One punch and he is dead!!! Suiryu informs him what is going on outside as well as Monster Association and those monster cells. He is devastated that Saitama is going to face off Goketsu. He believes he is destined to save more people than die here. But surprise! A decapitated head of Goketsu!!! Suiryu is so impressed that now he has a new goal: He wants to be a hero. Oh Saitama, I know you’re being realistic but please don’t be a wet blanket. How does Suiryu becoming his disciple sound? No way! With the monsters suddenly disappearing, Saitama is left to think deep. He has been bored and this recent events and even joining the martial arts competition out of curiosity, nothing has changed. He talks to King about this empty feeling and how he can’t grow anymore to be strong. Hence he is so bored. For once, King says some mind blowing things. Saitama refuses to do things, take up challenges or stimulate himself but yet he complains. If he wants to see something new, he must open a new path himself because life is an endless journey. If he thinks becoming strong is the end goal, he is mistaken. The endgame of a hero isn’t that simple. Being courageous and taking action for the sake of others is what give heroes their meaning. In that sense, he is still not the ultimate hero. After hearing all that, Saitama is even more bored! Meanwhile, a shocking surprise as Garou barely escaped and is covered in bruises after picking a fight with S-class hero, Watchdog Man. He believes he still has a chance to grow stronger and will test that when he sees King. He is charging at full power when Saitama kicks him away, thinking he is one of those punks trying to earn a name for taking down a hero. Sonic is being confronted by comrades from his village, Tempest Wind and Hellfire Flame. It seems they have joined Monster Association and want him to do the same so they can take down Flashy Flash. Sonic refuses but they give him a monster cell in case he changes his mind. Sonic contemplates on turning into one because his goal is to defeat Saitama and his humanity side already died when he lost. Is he going to eat it? Based on Drive Knight’s info, Hero Associations discuss about Monster Association and their initial ploy is to play along before finding a way to destroy them. Then a message from Monster Association arrives. We see Sonic eating the monster cell. But not after he cooks it well because he is disgusted to eat it in its raw form. What does he feel? A super diarrhoea coming up!

Episode 10
Gyoro-Gyoro negotiates to the Hero Association that the monsters want to be left alone and promise will not rampage anymore. Hence the recent rampage was just to show them their power and hopes both humans and monsters can live in harmony. When one of the executive agrees and puts down his gun, he is shot and killed! So this is just a joke by Gyoro-Gyoro. The real deal is this. He wants Hero Association to gather all their heroes and come to their base to rescue the hostage. Once the message is done, the parasite monster is going to kill them all but S-class hero, Superalloy Blackluster easily squashes it. Gyoro-Gyoro addresses the monsters that this plan is to gather all the heroes and destroy them all once and for all. Once this happens, they can easily take out the rest of the humans. Some monsters aren’t impressed to pledge their allegiance to Orochi. Hence Orochi shows his fearsome tyranny by eating losers, monsters who lost their fight during the rampage. Noticing that Goketsu isn’t around, Gyoro-Gyoro checks about and sees his corpse. Uh oh. Things aren’t going too well. Genos has been given a new body by Kuseno and advised not to rush in. Monster Association makes an official war declaration on Hero Association. Child Emperor is mad that Metal Knight wants out of this operation. The latter thinks this plan will only bring forth more casualties. He has sent in the proposal once they find the Monster Association’s hideout, they should just nuke the damn place and forget about rescuing any hostage but since the executives are thinking about their funding, they rejected his proposal. Hence he doesn’t want anything to do with this mission. Garou takes a rest in that secret shack of that guidebook kid. But other A-class heroes led by Death Gatling have surrounded the place and want him to surrender. Of course Garou won’t do that so they start fighting. As Garou is weakened, he cannot effectively defeat them. Furthermore, the heroes are in sync working well to take this guy down. Eventually Garou gets hit by a couple of poison arrows and is losing strength. Last chance to surrender.

Episode 11
Death Gatling talks about the hierarchy among heroes and that S-class heroes are treated differently. Something that irks him and many other heroes because there are many other talented heroes ignored. Hence he gathered these other Hero Association heroes to make a name for themselves and prove they aren’t just second rate heroes. Garou thinks some would be disappointed in that kind of thinking. Amazingly despite his weakened state, Garou manages to fight back and take out all the heroes. He has learnt their pattern and timing. He even went as far as protecting the shack from Death Gatling’s all-out firing. Yeah, all the bullets had no effect on him. After Death Gatling’s defeat, the poor kid got so scared of Garou that he runs away. Before Garou could take a breather, Genos pops up. Apparently one of the heroes called for backup. With renewed and upgraded power, Genos goes head to head with Garou. Meanwhile Saitama loses his consecutive 81st video game match with King! Damn. Maybe he’ll take out some steam with those monsters rampaging near his place. King asks about Genos because he hasn’t been back and might be taken out by Monster Association. Nah. Saitama believes that guy will be okay. On second thought. Maybe he’ll go check on him. We continue the epic power fight between Genos and Garou. The latter trying to mimic Watchdog Man’s moves for a surprise attack but Genos is still better. Suddenly monsters pop up to tackle Genos. They are here with orders to assist Garou and to bring him to join Monster Association. Garou doesn’t appreciate the help, though. Of course Genos rebounds and kills all the monsters. Just before Genos can finish off Garou, here comes Bang. Time to put an end to this.

Episode 12
Time for master to give his disciple a beat down punishment. Garou tries to flee but Bomb (Bang’s older brother) stops him and joins in the beat down. So great the beat down that it looks like Garou’s life flashes before his eyes. The point in time whereby school kids were playing heroes and they made him the monster. Not that he has any problem with it nor the most popular kid in class, Tatsu playing the hero. It was rather he learnt of the injustice because all the kids ganged up, played unfairly to let Tatsu dominate over Garou that he had no chance to fight back. Even when he did, he was scolded by the teacher that he went berserk and owed everyone an apology. Garou was mad. Unforgiveable. Hence becoming this hero hunter was to make such people feel the blow of the weak. Garou revives and is about to get real when Phoenix Man snatches him away. He lets grandpa centipede handle those pesky heroes. Garou is frustrated and doesn’t acknowledge this because it is meaningless if he doesn’t do it himself. But Phoenix Man tells him he only has himself to blame for not being strong enough to finish this off. We see Bang and Bomb use their martial arts to break the centipede’s exoskeleton. However it moulted and revived. Genos decides to handle this and against the old dudes’ advice not to throw away his life, he does so anyway. Even with all the firepower and innovations he has, including burning the monster from inside out, the centipede is still breathing. At this point Genos is close to defeat. He has tried everything in his book and yet he cannot defeat this monster. He is starting to question his own worth. Bang and Bomb take other heroes for safety but when they realize they will bring the fight back to the city and there would be more casualties, Bang is going to sacrifice himself? Don’t worry, that won’t be. Because King makes a brave announcement to the monster that he has brought Blast (the S-class hero whom this monster has a grudge with). After throwing more insults, the centipede charges at King. Any time now… Saitama!!! This baldy pops up and destroys this monster for good in one punch!!! IT’S ABOUT TIME!!! Genos then asks his master what he is lacking. Uhm, maybe power? And Genos is now enlightened and realizes the path he should strive for! Time to go home.

Own Pace Man
WTF… With that cliff-hanger ending, a third season is very most likely although no news of it has been said. But I’m very sure of it. There’ll be a third season. Very sure… Because if it does not happen, it will surely leave a bad after taste in the mouth. There will be many disappointed fans and angry viewers alike who have come to expect so much and this is what we get? Oh come on. You can do better than that. Why didn’t they expand and make this into a double cour season in the first place? Not enough original and interesting material? Not enough budget? Not enough interest (NO WAY!!!)? Maybe there were reasons but I guess there are somethings behind the scenes that we will never know.

No doubt that this season is also great, I can’t help feel there are mixed feelings while watching this season. You see, there were times when I felt that the martial arts competition as well as introducing the antihero called Garou felt more like time wasting although I believe that it eventually helps in contributing to the bigger picture overall plot. Because of Saitama being away for the martial arts tournament, this contributes to Saitama making somewhat less screen time this season. Yes. This feels somewhat strange seeing he is supposed to be the star of this series. However when I think about it, Saitama being away at the tournament and oblivious to the Monster Association’s rampage, this gives other heroes of Hero Association more screen time to flex their muscles. Remember, Saitama can literally win a battle with just one punch! What was his name again? Therefore had Saitama not participate in the tournament and went on the fight the monsters, it would have been one rather monotonous (although not necessarily boring) affair. After all, so far nobody has ever lived long enough to take his second punch if Saitama is serious in throwing his first punch. So yeah. Saitama racking up the monster body count might be good for Saitama and all you Saitama fans and supporters. But this means other heroes would not get that much needed screen time and some of them might not be even introduced. Then yours truly will complain about this show should do away with all the other characters and just let Saitama and the few be the only heroes in this city.

Then there is the other interesting side plot of introducing another strong character, Garou. At first having this hero hunter felt like also filling in the time and void since showing Saitama participating in the tournament would be just absolutely boring as you know it won’t take up as much screen time. Garou proves to be formidable and what makes him more interesting is his support for monsters. This does not necessarily mean he wants to become a monster but merely he cheers on for them. Many of us never question why we support the heroes and always undermine the villains based on our simple thinking of because they’re the good guys or bad guys. This is natural for many of us so what happens when you have an irregular like Garou? Because of his different opinion, he is shunned and that is probably what drives him to become strong and prove others wrong and that monsters can also become heroes. Sure, many monsters live to destroy humans, etc but not all of them. We don’t really question why they attack those with valid reasons of attacking humanity and thus Garou is out there to prove that point. Maybe they just want to get along? Nah! Garou’s reverse support sometimes reflect reality. You know, when you’re a kid you support all those heroic heroes. But as you grow older into an adult, you realize and connect better with the villains. Yeah, monsters here could have earned the sympathy of some viewers had not they look so hideous. Had they look like those cool mutants in X-Men, well, maybe. Garou does have a valid point to prove. Just that he might be going about in the wrong way. So remember kids, remember who you bully back in elementary school. It’ll definitely come back to bite you if you’re not careful. Despite Garou making his name around as the hero hunter, I don’t think he’ll have the last laugh just yet.

As mentioned, thanks to the martial arts tournament as well as Garou the hero hunter, these help give other heroes some of the spotlight and introduce some that we have not previously heard of. While I have no complaints about the heroes, sometimes I feel that this is just one big convention of weird cosplayers. You know, heroes seem to have this unwritten code of wearing really odd clothes to supposedly match their ridiculous and odd powers. I guess there are so many heroes that sometimes it becomes a chore to really differentiate them. It’s like whatever ideas you got here, please throw them in and we’ll call that some A-class or B-class hero. Some even so lazily named like Megane because he wears glasses. Not that I can see how his power comes from there either. Then there is this typical cowboy westerner who shoots with his twin pistols. What’s he called? Gun Gun. Yeah… And there is this punk who has a Mohawk hairstyle so he is called, you’ve guessed it, Mohican. Damn. These heroes sometimes feel more like jokers and seeing them when they are first introduced it serves up to make you smile and laugh. If you want more laughs of the kind of lazily named heroes, you can look up the internet. Yeah, you’ll find plenty of such hilariously named known heroes for now…

But for all the other characters that have appeared in the first season, some are a hit and miss. Hits like Genos who seems to be trying to improve himself battle after battle so as Saitama’s disciple, he seems to be making quite a steady progress despite still having a lot more room for improvement. That is why the much needed final episode to have some Genos drama to doubt his own abilities. And just like that his insecurities are assured thanks to Saitama’s whimsical (and possibly honest) answer. Even Metal Bat is cool going so far as to have an episode named after him! Some misses like Tatsumaki just making that one short stinking cameo appearance and it feels like Fubuki has more screen time than her. Albeit that is just the start of the season and when the real sh*t starts to hit the fan, she’s like back into the shadows. Same for Sonic and from the looks of it, I think his revenge match against Saitama will yet be put on hold again. Though, I have a feeling that Sonic will eventually team up with Saitama and the heroes. I may be speculating wrongly but this baddie isn’t just a baddie and for him to still be alive and come this far, he’s got to have more than that. I know this series isn’t over by a long shot yet but it’s sad thinking that many of such beloved characters are somewhat ‘forgotten’ and ‘not heard of again’ by the end of this second season. Damn, I really starting to hate how this season’s cliff-hanger ended.

Talking about the star of this series, Saitama seems awfully side-lined this season. But remember what I said about him easily defeating his opponents. Having him do that for this entire second season may not be so fun. That’s why even the final episode we see some other action and drama from other characters before Saitama shows up his short cameo and ends everything. Are we supposed to be happy or disappointed with that? Because you know sh*t is going to happen if Saitama takes more than one punch to defeat his enemies, right?! Hence we see him being absolutely bored at the martial arts tournament as well as hanging out with King and playing video games with him. The irony is that he never wins against King and this might be a sign that says if Saitama doesn’t end his fight in one punch, could he have actually lost the battle if the fight requires the enemy to take many hits before keeling over? This is really food for thought. Even much more than the thought of why his gloves are still intact after his one punch specialty. Because if the monster wears the same material from his gloves, will they be safe from his punch?

Saitama being the strongest character (though not officially in this series’ setting) means that he is just bored with everything and there is nothing more that could challenge him. This explains why he sounds so monotonous and so mundane in everything he does. Like as though he doesn’t care. Actually he does. Somewhat. But he views it as troublesome rather than something excited to look forward to. We can see it from both sides of the coin. While he does look like he has reached the pinnacle of supposedly being strong, this might look like an insult to those who have been trying so hard but never reached a fraction of his strength. Essentially both are right and wrong. Nobody is perfect. Not even Saitama is because although he is definitely super strong, he isn’t quite happy. He has been questioning his life’s goal and purpose but thankfully he still has stuck to his heroic qualities. He might sound half-hearted in shelling out his motivation to many of those heroes he stumbled into and saved, but I’m sure he also means it. I mean, I’m sure he isn’t just saying it for fun that if you have time to be depressed, you should use that to move forward and improve. And because he is at the peak of being strong, he certainly can’t see what ordinary people see. So sometimes it is also good like for King to give a good pep talk to try and bring him down to perspective. So keep trying harder in those video games.

With Saitama having this line of thought, there is this scary thought that he might just screw being a hero and join the Monster Association or become a solo entity like Garou and just go around killing others for thrill. Because he is the main hero and character and what we have been invested seeing in him so far, it is not very likely he will turn into that but as the chances aren’t zero, there is still that dangerous small probability. I know I won’t like it to see Saitama turn out like that and I am very confident the producers won’t (lest they want to anger everyone with this sick twist) but still, sometimes you can’t help worry about this small minor unimportant stuffs.

Saitama may not have realized it but he does change a few people’s lives that he has touched. As we see from last season why Genos decided to follow him and become his pupil. This season we are introduced to Suiryu who is probably a frog in the well. He thinks nobody else is stronger than him until he actually meets one. And the irony was how he viewed heroes with disdain and doesn’t really care much about them until his own life was in peril. It goes to show that a man can change. It would be really even more awesome if Suiryu actually becomes Saitama’s follower and I am betting that he would. Otherwise it would be a waste to just introduce this character and then toss him away like he never existed. Then Saitama’s exclusive club of strong people will continue to grow…

Just like the heroes, the monsters are equally, uhm, is diverse the correct word? Sometimes I feel that designs of characters who are ‘ugly’ enough are to become monsters instead of heroes. And you’ve guessed it, some of them even weirdly and hilariously named. Like Black Sperm… Seriously?! And did Sesame Street’s Big Bird moonlight as Phoenix Man or his distant cousin or something? So last season we had an alien coming all across the universe just to fight the best. Now we have a local antagonist and with the introduction of Monster Association, we can see that things are really heating up and sh*t probably to hit the fan another time. Interestingly the monster cells seen that can turn humans into monsters should have been fleshed out better but I guess they might want to leave that for next season and I hope they do. Are there cells to turn monsters into humans? Well, I certainly don’t see humans making this technology. They might have created the most advanced and destructive weapons but I don’t see them doing so in this medical and biology thingy. Orochi being the ruthless king of the monsters, let’s hope he would give Saitama a much better run for his money than last season’s Boros so that we are all entertained.

This season’s action bits are still top-notched and it is the driving factor why this series continues to be popular. All the ridiculous and overpowered moves from the characters are still fun to watch no matter how freaking fast or absurdly strong they are. You can say the firepower packs a punch. You think that they are strong enough? Wait till another character shows up and shows us another stronger move! So earth shattering. If monsters don’t destroy the city, the impact of these monstrous heroes would do the job. These heroes sure put those in Dragonball to shame. It’s not merely just over 9000! It’s over 9 billion may not be even enough! And then of course, Saitama’s specialty of ending it all with just a single punch that makes him look like making no effort whatsoever (and making other heroes slog like hell with their skillsets and firepower), I don’t know if we are supposed to be glad-cum-entertained with everything ending so fast.

With last season’s seiyuus retained, new ones are added to the already bloated casts. Yeah, a lot more heroes here so I believe the list is twice as much. But I’m going to mention the notable and main ones. Heh. Not much. Those I recognized include Hiroki Yasumoto as King and Takehito Koyasu as Gyoro-Gyoro. The rest are Hikaru Midorikawa as Garou (Lancer in Fate/Zero), Masaya Matsukaze as Suiryu (Ren in Jigoku Shoujo), Atsushi Ono as Orochi (Giriko in Bleach) and Kenji Nomura as Goketsu (Ushiyama in Golden Kamuy). Maintaining the absolutely epic style of last season’s opener, JAM Project returns to sing again this season with an equally epic hard rock Seijaku No Apostle. Don’t you just feel the power welling up in you right now?! And that totally epic metal hard core scream at the end of the song! YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH!!! Also following last season’s trend, the ending theme is also a slow ballad, Chizu Ga Nakutemo Modoru Kara by Makoto Furukawa (voice of Saitama). Though, this song doesn’t feel as empty and hollow like last season’s. Damn, Saitama belting out this piece? If he wasn’t a hero, I bet he is a good crooner!

Overall, this season still rocks but because of the cliff-hanger and Saitama not in action in so many scenes, some felt like this season is a downer and did not live up to its amazing first season. Sometimes I too get caught in that thought and that it could have been much more epic even though there was an onslaught of heroes vs monsters action. That is the danger when you have built up so much hype and expectation that you become too big to fail. If Saitama knows all this and could break the fourth wall, he would have told us all off to stop b*tching our lazy asses because the producers and staffs worked really hard to bring you this epic entertainment! So at least be grateful you can watch this season in comfort without having to worry monsters suddenly come stomping in your neighbourhood and all animes on air have to be temporarily suspended until further notice! Yeah, that would suck a lot. Look at all the monsters that the anime industry has created. Now it is coming to bite them back with toxic fans and complacent viewers now complaining about how ‘inferior’ this season is. The only heroes that are going to save this series and the anime industry is to make better animes!

Sob! Sob! SOB!!! SOB!!! Boo hoo!!! I’m crying because I am both happy and sad. Happy that Tantei Opera Milky Holmes: Psycho No Aisatsu special has finally been subbed! At the same time I’m a very sad panda because this is going to be the last Milky Holmes episode ever!!! NOOOO!!!! Oh no! OH NO!!! Milky Holmes my dearest, we’ve been together hot and cold throughout the years. Together with your silly antics and dumb retard actions. I thought we’d always be together. Sob, sob. I thought we will always go on forever like how the way things are. Sob, sob. But now, looks like reality has smacked us in the face. It is time to graduate. Time to move on. Sob, sob, sob… And hence this final graduation episode that did a crossover with that Cardfight Vanguard anime, we’re going to see how well you have grown into great detectives. Sob, sob, sob… Oh, I just can’t take it anymore. I just can’t… *Continues to bawl like a baby*.

Down memory lane…
Oh my. Milky Holmes really doing an impressive run with their detective work and putting dumb useless G4 to shame? Uhm, that’s how it should be? Well, okay. Arsene hears Milky Holmes talks about wanting to graduate. Hence she is in a dilemma as she ponders if it is still too early for them but nevertheless, she will give them a final test to prove their worth. Thus Phantom Thief Empire steals a precious card from Aichi Sendo (that protagonist from Cardfight Vanguard). She has left a message for Milky Holmes and is waiting for them to show up but it is Feathers who pop up instead. I guess they need to get some fame too and asked Milky Holmes for permission. Go ahead, girls! And with that… Feathers get brutally owned by Arsene! Don’t waste my time! Poor Feathers return to report to Milky Holmes and with some memories thingy blabbing from Sherlock, I guess they’re taking up the case. So as part of the memory lane trip, they pass by several places they have been before in search of Arsene. Finally they stumble into Arsene and her men. Time for some epic fight. Remember how Twenty can shoot his nipples like projection? Somehow he lost a rock-paper-scissors fight to Cordelia. And why is Hercule holding Stone River’s sword? She acts like a girl being stalked so that’s enough to defeat him. Nero summons the cats to lick on Rat. I guess that works too. The real epic showdown between Arsene and Sherlock… Interrupted by some memories thingy. Suddenly Kokoro intercepts to handcuff Arsene. OMFG! Stupid Kokoro just usurp and took all the credit? I guess she and her G4 are being dumb obnoxious cocky lying b*tches that she agrees to just get arrested by them. Laugh while you can, Kokoro… Badmouth Milky Holmes all you want, Kokoro… Because Milky Holmes seems to be taking all this well and in good spirits. Ah well. Time to go home. Meanwhile G4’s HQ is being decimated as Arsene easily destroyed and broke her way out. Not laughing anymore now, eh? Kokoro is the most badly bruised but don’t worry, Irene still loves how cute you look.

Milky Holmes is summoned to the hall and looks like it is really graduation for them. Henriette rolls in their final task. Uhm, does this bomb disposal task look familiar? If they manage to stop the bomb in one minute, a surprise also awaits them. Spoilers: Past characters in the series are waiting behind the door to congratulate them. And so we see Milky Holmes being f*cking confident in doing this. So much so they start off by singing a song!!! 5 seconds left to go… They easily use their toys to disarm the bomb and take the envelope within. Oh my. They are truly competent! Inside the envelope contains their graduation certificates. But why is Milky Holmes looking sad and disappointed? Actually when they talked about graduation, they meant graduating from their attic dorm. Oh my. Henriette feels so embarrassed that she was the one that misinterpreted the situation. What now? She goes to tell all those past characters that the surprise party is cancelled. Go home. Get out. Scram! And they came so far for this… And so Henriette graduates them from the attic dorm. We see this is all a plan by Mori Arty to move them out. Not sure if she is going to stay here now but she is definitely keeping it clean. Milky Holmes each have their own rooms. Sleeping comfortably? Not quite. Because they all gather and sleep together like the crammed style they are so used to. Nothing like the old times. With Milky Holmes becoming competent detectives to chase after Arsene, uhm, maybe some things don’t change too since they are still clumsy…

Milky Holmes: Homey Homecoming
Oh really? That was it? Sure they aren’t going to pull off a fast one and prank us that there will be another special by the end of this year? You sure about that? Not trying to do Gintama style of trolling and keep long time fans like yours truly surprised and happy? No? I guess this is it then. Time to really, really, really face reality. So this final Milky Holmes special really does hit the feels as we see the typical clichés that really made the Milky Holmes franchise funny and cute as we know them. Of course there was one season where it was really serious and truly competent Milky Holmes (there was also that Alternative alternative) but as far as this final special is concerned, they balance it all out. What I mean is that Milky Holmes still maintain their retard ways but they are not as much as a retard before and they have shown to have control over their Toys now. I believe that Arsene too was feeling sad to see that Milky Holmes graduated. That is why when she head they aren’t really into graduating from school, you can feel that she heaved a sigh of relief and kicked out those past characters. Well, Milky Holmes will still be doing detective work after graduation but being in school, this means Arsene can continue to play as their mentor and guide them as Henriette. So yeah, maybe after being so long with them, I don’t think Arsene really wants to say goodbye so suddenly like that. Let’s keep the status quo for now, shall we?

This special might not be able to incorporate everything that would make us feel totally nostalgic about Milky Holmes because otherwise it would have been a recap episode. Hence it is nice to see some of the things making their short cameo like those characters and places. G4 is also much welcomed with their cameo especially dumb IQ boasting Kokoro who is still as obnoxious and bratty as ever. It is amazing G4 haven’t got fired yet. Nice for Feathers to also make their cameo but so as not to steal the limelight from their senpai, I guess it’s too bad they had to get some beat down. Mori Arty still mysterious in her agenda and all but she could be just a normal girl for all we know. Initially I thought Milky Holmes was going to have some card-like fighting theme like Yugioh, because you know, Cardfight Vanguard crossover. But this feels more like a side distraction and they could have taken other themes like Pokemon’s Pikachu getting kidnapped or some device from Digimon gets stolen whatsoever. So the only running joke to remind us about this crossover is the fact that Milky Holmes cannot remember Aichi’s name and spout it out totally as a different name altogether. Only Hercule remembers but nobody listens…

It is really sad and it really hits the feels in the heart when the ending theme, Soshite Gunjou Ni Toketaiku by Milky Holmes is such a sweet and lovely ballad. So sweet and lovely that it almost sounds like a song that is played at high school graduation ceremonies! Oh damn. Here I was holding back my tears and then they had to play this song? You really want me to bawl over mah dummies?! I mean, my detective angels?! Oh well. Sherlock, whatever crap you said about those memories thingy, I don’t really remember nor understand, but I think I kinda know what it means for a long running (technically) series to have its final send off episode. It is sad that it has ended but also remember, be happy for all the antics and fun that they have brought to us in almost 10 years span. And so the opera curtains finally draw to a close. Thank you, Milky Holmes. Thank you for everything. Eyes getting blurry, nose getting stuffy, voice getting croaky… I think I need another pack of tissues…

On a trivial note, I wonder why this special is named as Psycho No Aisatsu, literally meaning, a psychotic greeting. Hmm… Could it be a play on the word saikou (the greatest)? Either way, Milky Holmes has always greeted us in the most Milky Holmes of fashion and with this final, it is rather Psycho No Sayonara (a psychotic goodbye) AKA Saikou No Sayonara (the greatest goodbye). Once again, thank you Milky Holmes.

Mob Psycho 100 S2

June 22, 2019

I see that this got a second season first than the much anticipated One Punch Man. Don’t worry, that series got its sequel the next season after Mob Psycho 100 S2 premiered. So before we get to see the superhero who could end everything in a single punch, we need to see how the most powerful middle school esper continues to live his life normally. Also, there’s the threat of that super esper organization, Claw vying for world dominance. Can Mob live his normal school life and thwart their schemes? More importantly, can he finally confess to his one true love, Tsubomi?

Episode 1
Reigen and Mob see a farmer client who believes a spirit is haunting his crops. Because he cannot pay in terms of monetary since his son will be starting school, Reigen agrees to a cut from his crops. There is indeed a spirit stealing nutrients from the crops and because it sucks its life force, it can control the plants to its will. So when Mob gets ‘eaten’ by it, he thought of the same thing too and uses this tactic against the spirit. With the exorcism over, they are paid in some seeds and fertilizers. Reigen thought he could do a side business of selling tomatoes but with Mob accelerating its growth, it tastes like crap. That’s the end of that business. Meanwhile Mezato and a few members are trying to uncover the origins of their cult’s leader. She wants to promote Mob but needs to perk him up first. Hence she convinces him to run for student council president under the pretence that he can close the gap with Tsubomi. Even if he is just to give a speech, does Mob need to go through all the rigorous forest training? Too bad he froze during his turn. Said nothing. Even Kamuro who resigned as the president is trying to make a comeback with a cleaner image. Mob then receives a love letter from a girl named Emi. She claims she was impressed how he mustered his courage to go up there despite being uncomfortable and had fallen for him. Wow. Mob now has a girlfriend?! Of course he is still reluctant to tell her about his exorcism job in fear that she would find it creepy. When Emi shows him a novel she wrote, he thought it is good. However Emi has doubts of their relationship after a week. She thinks he is dating her out of pity because when she confessed he rejected her. She can tell he ran for president was because somebody told him to. She is as guilty of him. The reason she asked him out was because of a dare by her friends. But since Mob walked home with her, they never found out she was initially rejected. She leaves as Mob thinks back all the times they spent together. Then he sees Emi’s friends badmouthing this crappy novel she wrote. Then they rip it apart. Mob then starts picking up all the shredded pieces and this freaks the friends out. Because Mob has decided to be clear with his feelings and pick up things that are important. The friends leave as Emi joins Mob to pick up the pieces. Otherwise it will be littering. When the wind blows away their hard work, Mob uses his powers to gather and glue them back together. He reveals he is an esper and Emi thanks him. Little do they know, Tsubomi is watching and she is glad it turned out well.

Episode 2
Reigen thinks of increasing his business by going to a town that has been posting several urban legends. So he is setting up office in the middle of the streets? Of course the local exorcist, Banshomaru Shinra isn’t happy since this is his turf and this means business rivalry. But they have to put that aside when a woman seeks their help. At first she thought it was a stalker issue but as the days past, she gets this very eerie feeling. Could it be that the urban legends are causing the rise of such cases? With her plea to get rid of the urban legends, Reigen and Shinra split up to make their job easier. Shinra is on the case of a ghost in a red raincoat. Turns out to be some creepy flasher but the way Shinra asks about especially young girls, they think he is the culprit. Call the cops! Meanwhile Reigen and Mob confront the dog with a human face. Turns out that naught kids just drew on its face. Yeah, the old grandpa owner appreciates their help to wash his dog. Shinra chases the pervert in the woods. He falls to his trap of being tasered. While bragging of the invincibility in stalking others, it suddenly gets spooky around. A strange woman asks him if he is thirsty and before he knows it, he gets dragged down into the pond. Luckily Shinra still has enough strength to try and stop her but it is not enough. Only thanks to Dimple possessing him that he is able to move like the wind. Until Shinra’s body cannot hold out, Dimple calls for help. Thank goodness Reigen and Mob arrive in time to put down this Dragger. However she is not easily defeated. As she is created by fear and curiosity, her personality is technically designed by humans and hence cannot be exorcised. Also, powers used in fear only empower its source. Reigen calls for a retreat. But Mob attacks and surprisingly defeats her. It is because Mob is detached from urban legends and fads, he has no idea what makes such spirits scary. And just like that, the Dragger is put to rest. All that is left is the dashing granny urban legend. With the granny seen rushing towards them in a narrow tunnel, Mob thinks she is the most powerful since his power has no effect on her! They run but granny catches up and zooms past. Yeah, just some normal granny running. Mob is devastated he lost to a grandma because he runs every day and this only shows there were no improvements… Back at office, Reigen has completed his website. Looks crappy…

Episode 3
A client bugs Reigen for a curse. He was reluctant to give at first but fakes one just to get him off his tail. The client warns if it is fake, he will curse him. But this has Mob thinking even if it is a lie, does it mean he is going to live like that forever under this impression? Next they visit a woman who feels a ghost is stalking her. She sees a shadow from her window but the thing is there is no balcony outside. They check it out to see if there are any other tricks (like hanging ropes) but then the spirit pops up! Freak out time! However Mob can sense it comes from the neighbour next door and is using some out of body experience. They confront him and he throws a tantrum about his love for her. He is arrested and Mob is surprised the woman who was initially scared of the ghost suddenly changed her character once she discovered it was only human. A group of graduates seek their help as protection as they want to go to a haunted place to take pictures for memories. Fearing evil spirits, that’s why they seek Reigen’s help. Of course nothing much happens and when Reigen asks for payment, they scoff him off as a scam that he didn’t do anything and even abandon them there! Next day as Mob heads to school, a couple of bullies want to extort from him. Dimple possesses him to strip himself naked. He only stops because Mob tells him not too. Still, this jerk doesn’t learn his lesson and continues to extort. This time Ritsu uses his powers on him. If that is not enough, Musashi and his Body Building Club buddies surround this loser. Got a problem? Now the jerk runs away. They advise Mob to fight back when necessary.

Those graduates return. Yeah, there’s a ghost in the picture. Now they change their tune and want Reigen’s help to exorcise. Before Mob could begin, he hears the spirit’s voice. The father claims they are harmless and despite the family died in a tragic accident, they want to live like this peacefully until it is the right time to ascend. Mob is in a dilemma since the clients are pushy since they are being paid to exorcise. Mob really doesn’t want to destroy them. Dimple pokes fire by telling the ghost to kill the clients and hence they cannot exorcise them when they’re dead. But the father won’t. He begs not to make him do something horrific in front of his family. This only makes Mob feel more conflicted. If he protects the ghost family, this means the clients will get hurt instead. That is when Reigen realizes what is happening. To Mob, humans the spirits are part of his life and he is equally close to both of them. He throws salt at the pushy clients and tells them the exorcism is over. Back in office, Dimple notices a curse on Reigen’s back. Must be from that earlier guy. He lets Dimple eat it. Reigen contemplates on the different things Mob can see and he might see something more terrifying than ever. He understood that there are things different from the norm. As for Mob, he continues to think deep about the possibility he might use his powers for evil to eradicate humans than spirits.

Episode 4
Reigen and Mob are one of the many psychics gathered by a rich CEO for a job. Among the psychics are Shinra, Kirin Jodo the president of some spiritual union and the former Scar member who is trying to turn over a new leaf, Matsuo. Masashi Asagiri is willing to any amount to anyone who can save his daughter, Minori who is possessed by a spirit. Reigen beats everyone via rock-scissors-paper to go first. From the way he talks to her, it sounds like her dad abuses her. This has the other psychics think he is using this supernatural excuse to change their relationship. However Reigen points out Minori is possessed by a real nasty spirit. He can tell from her inconsistent words she used and despite being the first time they met, she knew he is a psychic despite not introducing himself. The gig is up as the glass breaks. Minori is indeed possessed. Dimple is scared and wants them to run while they can. He knows this isn’t just an ordinary evil spirit and in fact, Keiji Mogami. He was a super psychic but died 40 years ago. Dimple was almost exorcised by him. Despite being viewed as an entertainer by the public, he was actually an assassin. What broke him was the high medical cost and treatment needed for his ailing mother. When he was about to exorcise Dimple, he wanted to absorb him and become the most evil vengeful spirit and teach everyone a lesson. It was by a stroke of luck that Dimple escaped his wrath. Even Jodo got possessed as Mogami runs wild. Reigen’s knee kick may help for a while but soon Mogami is back up strangling him and Mob’s powers can’t do anything. Father hugs Minori and tells her to stop but is stabbed instead. Now the psychics panic. The door is locked. Mogami is going to kill them all. Shinra tries to fight but Mogami contorts Minori’s body in ways unimaginable to defeat him. Mob has an idea to force Mogami out using out of body experience. His body will be defenceless them so he hopes they can protect it. Once Mob’s spirit is out, Mogami tries to attack. Reigen gets owned but Dimple possesses Mob’s body to fight back. When the moment is right, Mob enters into Minori’s body. He comes face to face with Mogami. It might look like Mob easily defeating Mogami but it was just to test his abilities. Mogami easily pounds Mob and tells how human emotions determine spiritual powers. He believes those with negative emotions hold better chance to have more powerful spiritual power. Mogami then alters Mob’s memories. He is now a normal school kid who can’t use his powers. He wants to see how Mob goes about without them.

Episode 5
In this illusionary world, Mob is bullied to the core. Minori is the leader of the bully pack and Ritsu doesn’t even care about his own brother. Despite all the torment, Mob remains patient and never used his powers for his own good. This has Mogami expanding his own sad story that because his mother’s treatment wasn’t enough, he had to resort to assassination for money. Even so, mother died. In her evil spirit form, she blamed him that all this happened because of the actions he took. That is why he is going to use his powers for himself and punish those who bring misfortune to others. He wants Mob to do the same and avoid ending up like him. Meanwhile Dimple is shocked that Reigen puts his trust in Mob to do the job and won’t run away. This has Dimple decide to enter Minori and help Mob. The barrier by Mogami is too strong and he could only get in with the help of Matsuo. Just when Mob is on the verge of losing it and using his powers to retaliate, here comes Dimple to lecture him. The sinker is when he mentions Tsubomi will be sad to see him like this. With that, Mob’s memories return. Mogami is disappointed but Mob agrees in some way that the world is cruel. But he is blessed and that’s why he needs to be more thankful to everyone around him when he gets back. Because of them, he was able to change and get a little stronger. Talking is over and now it’s an epic spirit battle. Oh my. Mob’s emotions reaching 100%, he’s like going Super Saiyan!!! Mob looks like a different person altogether! Oh sh*t! The fight is just getting to freaky and abstract! Even though Mogami loses, this means all the evil spirits in his vessel are freed. They go on a rampage but Mob is determined to purify everyone and save Minori (since he heard her cries for help). In the end, Mob goes over 100% and his abstract form might give Goku a run for his money. WTF is this?! Mob then wakes up. Welcome back. Mogami tries to escape but is captured by Matsuo. Minori regains consciousness and is very apologetic to Mob. But Mob is fine. Because of this meeting, he gets to change others and she gets to change. In the aftermath, Minori is interested in Mob although her dad didn’t recall hiring any boy her age for the job. But he did try to find out more about him and stumbled on this cult’s lame website. Yeah, they’re still struggling with the donations…

Episode 6
Mob is hanging out nicely with his club members when Reigen calls for an urgent job. Fun ruined. Despite warning Reigen about making such calls on short notices, Reigen still needs him. Luckily his friends understand. After another successful exorcism, Mob reminds him that he too has a life. However Reigen this time went too far. He says his club activities doesn’t constitute as life and shouldn’t be easily taken advantage by others. He also adds that his friends are only in the way and don’t understand him, hence only mocking him as weak. Mob argues back what he said is wrong. Now he understands that not everything he said is true. Reigen has dug his own grave. With Mob getting used to his private life, Reigen is busier than ever. Luckily they’re all easy jobs and Reigen is confident that the lonely kid will come back to him. He even gets confident thinking he can make it without that kid since this business he solely built it up himself. But one day he is shocked to see him hang out with friends. Dimple says he is living life just fine without him. Reigen mocks Dimple that he will forever be Mob’s pet at this rate while he himself goes on to do something big. Suit yourself. Back home, Reigen has serious thoughts about this. He goes check his social media. Oh, a message. Happy birthday. No birthday wishes. Except from mom. Still nagging him to get married… And she sends him some job recruitment ad as present… Oh mom… Then he heads to a bar where all scam victims patron. Because of his random advice, they respect him. However his plan backfires since he realizes he really had no friends. He now truly sees this is going to a bad direction and needs to shape up. Hence he soon changes. He widens his job scope like picking up trash and giving free seminars. Then there is some online ghost player that no exorcist want to take up the job. Reigen burnt the midnight oil to level up and even make lots of in-game purchases to finally beat that ghost player! Because of that, his popularity skyrockets to a point he gets magazine interviews and now a live national TV interview. Of course this is set up by Jodo who seeks revenge after that humiliating defeat on Minori’s case. Yeah, Reigen knee kicked him in the gut when Mogami possessed him.

Episode 7
There is a kid who is possessed by Kokkuri and it is Jodo’s job to exorcise it. However he wants Reigen to do it. Initially reluctant, upon hearing Jodo will then stick to the script, Reigen wants to do it. He thinks this is all part of an act and just needs to do some flashy moves. For 30 minutes, nothing happened. Time for Jodo to step in. He can’t exorcise because the kid is not possessed! The kid then reveals so. Now the focus is on Reigen. What was he doing? Was that a new dance? Jodo has all the perfect sarcasm each time Reigen tries to make an excuse. The final nail in the coffin: When Reigen says there was Beethoven’s ghost? Jodo: *Answering to the tone of Beethoven’s 5th symphony!*. Yeah, that really killed him. Reigen is now all over the news as a scam artist. When a friend brings this up to Mob, he believes this is all part of Reigen’s plan (getting the wrong idea of course). Reigen tries to fix his image but you know, the more you try to do so on the internet, the more you get burnt. Even his bar buddies all abandon him. When reporters are stalking outside his house, he runs. But he accepts when they suggest holding a press conference. But his mind went blank so screw it as Reigen returns to his normal self. The bottom line is, they can’t prove he has no spiritual powers and so are those so called ‘victims’. He won’t say he has them either because he knows the media will not accept unless it is no. Reigen continues to answer their questions until one brings up an essay he wrote back in school that he wanted to become somebody. His mind went blank. Flashbacks shows he quit his job and did this for fun. He was considering his next move until Mob came in to complain how to control his powers. Thinking it was a prank, Reigen listens and throws him some generic advice to be a good person. Mob is impressed, though. But when Reigen sees how he used his power to saved his spilled cup, this was when Reigen realizes he was something. He wanted to grab that something for himself too. But in the end, he realizes he didn’t change and tried to cage Mob in. He only kept using him. Reigen leaves the media stumped when he leaves a message for Mob that he has grown. Suddenly all the equipment start floating. Is this his power?! They are panicking but Reigen walks out. The conference is over. Hope you guys find your next big news. Reigen stumbles into Mob on his way back. Reigen prepares for the worst when Mob says he has always known his true identity. That is, a good person. Looks like they’re back on good terms again.

Episode 8
Mezato is glad the cult is gaining followers and popularity. All that is left is for Mob to show up as the leader. Hence she calls him to use his powers and win the annual marathon with style. Of course he won’t do that and will do it on his own. Mob gets even determined to a point it shocks Dimple because he realizes he needs to finish in the top 10 so he can confess to Tsubomi! Hence, Mob begins his training with all his pals supporting him. Even Reigen gives him time off and helps jog with him. Yeah, this guy lacks exercise too. Ritsu and Teru even fill in for Mob’s job. But Ritsu has to hide when he sees Tsubomi coming in as a client! Actually, her friend Miki needs some love advice. Reigen dispenses his love advice and eventually Tsubomi too asks some questions pertaining to love. Later Tsubomi tells Miki her questions were fake just to test if Reigen was the real deal. It doesn’t look like he is a bad guy. She notices Mob in one of Reigen’s wall photos. Marathon day is here and as it begins, the tussling has Mob falling and scrapping his knee. He is so determined that he gets up and continues running. Dimple suggests cheating and Reigen is also here to provide his support but with Mob being so focused, nothing will change his mind. Unfortunately he passes out and is taken into the infirmary. He might not have finished the race but he impressed a lot of people because he kept going. Back home, Ritsu thought Mob is at the door (you mean nobody waited to get him at school?) but to his horror it is Shou. When Mob gets back, he is shocked to see his house on fire. So shocked that he walks into the burning house and stays positive that his family is still alive. But when Dimple says there were signs of break in at the front door, Mob fears the family might have been kidnapped. But when he opens the next room, he sees a burning corpse… Oh no. Mob turning Super Saiyan in his rage!

Episode 9
Dimple reasons that the corpse is a dummy. But Mob will not rest until he finds the culprits. He uses his power to detect them and then beats the hell out of them for info. Before more of their buddies could come as reinforcements, Koyama and Sakurai takes Mob away to their hideout. It seems Reigen is the boss of the former members of Scar’s 7th division! So that esper thingy on TV made them think he is fit to be their leader against Claw? When Reigen tells that Mob’s family is safe, Mob only relaxes but falls asleep from exhaustion. Reigen’s office was also burnt down but luckily he was away. Also in this ragtag group are Mitsuura and those Awakening Lab kids. The whole gang is here with Teru who survived an attack from a Claw member, brings the arsonist in for interrogation. He reveals their boss plans for world domination and has gathered espers all over the world. Indeed, Touichirou Suzuki hijacks the world’s TV to make his announcement and Claw’s war declaration on the world. In order to achieve that goal, they will destroy Japan first. Well, gotta start small. This Suzuki turns out to be Shou’s dad and he has had it with this lameness. Ritsu is alive and well with him. Turns out Shou popped up to give hotspring tickets to Ritsu’s parents so you can bet they are safely enjoying themselves. Some of Claw’s foreigner members led by Joseph doesn’t think Claw’s plan to fight Japan’s numerous police will be good. Hence they try to bring down this organization by picking a fight with the division leaders. Joseph confronts Suzuki and thinks this will be the end. However he met his match as Suzuki isn’t flinching. The destruction of division leaders isn’t merely enough to take down Claw. As long as he has the strongest Ultimate 5 (Shimazaki, Hatori, Shibata, Minegishi and Serizawa), they are invincible. Joseph manages to escape by the skin of his teeth. Apparently Reigen’s party missed Suzuki’s broadcast because they were partying courtesy of Mitsuura’s food. Shimazaki kidnaps the Prime Minister as he has teleport abilities. However Teru tries to intercept but since he lacks knowledge of his abilities, he is defeated.

Episode 10
With Suzuki and Claw taking over a tower as their base, the lower members of Claw are enough to keep those police at bay. The surrounding area then becomes a battlefield. Some of Reigen’s side wants to strike first but Reigen disagrees as they are not superheroes and have to lie low until this blows over. But when Reigen receives a call from the insurance company that the fire will not be covered by esper attacks, he gets mad that he won’t get any compensation. Hence he changes his mind to go into battle! Meanwhile Ritsu and Shou’s side make their way towards the tower but they face Minegishi. Shou’s underlings fight him so the boys can go ahead but it didn’t take long for Minegishi to defeat them with his plant powers. Reigen splits his team to infiltrate into the tower. On Teru’s side, they face off with a few Claw members but Terada betrays as he claims he is working with the enemy to get info and will gladly tell them if they reinstate him back into the team. Sakurai’s side is infiltrating from the sewers but Shimazaki is waiting for them. Mitsuura warns Reigen that Claw members are here to get them so Reigen takes Mob to hide. Of course they are sniffed out but thanks to some curse spray he got from Sakurai, Reigen puts them to sleep. Now they have to deal with Shibata. The spray doesn’t work and he only becomes stronger and madder. Dimple possesses Mob to fight back but realizes he can’t win and runs. With Shibata hot on his heels, this dude is so strong that when he throws Mob, Dimple is pushed out of possession! Luckily the Body Building Club buddies catch Mob. When Shibata comes into the picture, Musashi tries to tell him off not to bully their club member but is smacked down. The other members try to fend Shibata off but gets owned. Shibata is about to stomp Mob but Musashi uses his body to protect him. Dimple then possesses Musashi to fight back. Because Musashi has been training his muscles every day, this is the reason why he beats Shibata whose muscles are developed only from spiritual power. Of course this damages some of Musashi’s muscles. When Shibata gets back up again, this time Mob wakes up and puts him down for good. Mob parts with those guys as Dimple fills him in on what has happened. Ritsu and Shou have reached the tower.

Episode 11
Teru’s side defeated the baddies. Terada claims he was just lying to get their guard down. Yeah… However on Sakurai’s side, they’re totally routed by Shimazaki. Now this guy goes to face Ritsu and Shou but Ritsu wants Shou to go ahead to put a stop to his dad. Reluctantly he does so and easily beats up Hatori along the way since he is physically the weakest. Mob tries to stop a few punks from looting and since they look down on him, time for Mob to lecture them about thinking they’re special. With Minegishi coming into the picture, time for an epic battle. With Matsuo helping out, one of the punks accidentally breaks a spirit bottle of his. It housed Mogami as he sucks the life force of all those around. Even Minegishi is scared and can’t control his plants. Mogami wants to kill all these bad people but Mob reasons with him that they can change. Though, he can’t guarantee if he can watch them all rehabilitate so Mogami makes a deal with him that he’ll let go of this in exchange if he becomes hard on others. Shou faces off with his dad but is no match for him. Like him who has been storing up power for 3 months, Suzuki has been doing it for 20 years. He explains his journey around the world was to see if it was worth dominating. And he concluded there are no other stronger espers than him. Ritsu isn’t alone facing Shimazaki. The other Scar members pitch in to help. Everyone against Shimazaki. Why does this feels like everybody against Thanos? Although Shimazaki owns everyone, Teru is able to figure out that he cannot be in top condition if he loses concentration. Because of that, Shimazaki tries to kill this in this overkill smackdown. Teru distracts him that he is just an ordinary human who can be defeated, allowing others to do relay combos on this guy. Too bad he finally got his focus back and returns to owning everyone. He awakens to the next power level but senses Mob coming. A more powerful esper. He relishes to fight him but gets punched by Reigen???!!! Oh, he can’t detect this guy! Knowing he doesn’t stand a chance against them, Shimazaki admits defeat. He isn’t interested in taking over the world and is doing it for fun. This doesn’t sit well with Mob because their actions have disrupted lives. Instantly Shimazaki felt scared and teleports away. All that is left is the last boss but Mob tells everyone he will go alone since they are injured. Even if they can fight, they’ll get in the way. That is Mob’s take on being harsh on everyone. Reigen has Dimple go with him. Mob now faces off with Serizawa.

Episode 12
Serizawa explains how Suzuki saved him from his shut-in life. He understood Serizawa was bullied and ostracised due to his tremendous power and wants him to join his side. Afraid to leave his room, he is given an umbrella that supposedly works as a substitute. Mob tries to take away his umbrella but like a child losing his blanket, he explodes in anxiety. This makes Mob realize that Serizawa has been given the impression he cannot live on his own. Mob understands his desire to want friends but at this rate he isn’t going to make any or integrate back into society. Also, Suzuki sees him as a tool and is only being used. Ironically, Mob is the one to say. Serizawa accidentally fires his most powerful shot but Mob absorbs it and feels its sadness. Then he returns it to Serizawa. He too could feel Mob’s sadness and now understands they’re the same. Shou definitely didn’t stand a chance against his dad. He mentions about the project to make artificial espers failed. All those under Claw can do so because Suzuki lend his powers to them. This means that since they are defeated, he can take them back. Mob arrives in time before Shou is dead meat. He knows what is going on thanks to Serizawa telling the truth. Actually Serizawa couldn’t stand watching Suzuki beating up Shou and that’s why he left to face Mob. Serizawa is grateful to Suzuki for changing his life but he realizes his happiness comes from hurting others and had he knew that, he wouldn’t have left his room in the first place. Suzuki can sense Mob’s powers. Viewing him as his potential enemy, he goes on the offensive. With Dimple getting owned, Reigen knows something is wrong and takes action. With Suzuki believing himself as the true and only power and that bonds are meaningless, Mob’s beliefs are contradictory to his. He believes everyone has their own shortcomings and that’s why bonds are important. Suzuki continues to beat down Mob. Cue for Reigen to pop up. He acts confident as usual. Even suggesting to join his side. Heck, he has a way to defeat Suzuki? Let’s hear it. Rather, Reigen tries to punch him with brute force but fails of course. Suzuki is going to kill him but is protected by Serizawa. Mob gets back up. He is done talking. Maybe guys like him only learn after getting hurt. Suzuki tries to destroy Reigen first and although Mob protects them, they are flung out. Thanks to Minegishi’s plants saving them. At this point, Suzuki realizes all his men have betrayed him and is now alone. Not that he is worried about it since he has always been like that from the start. Mob’s goal to float the tower is so that he can hit him with everything he’s got in this final boss fight.

Episode 13
The epic power boss fight begins! But when Mob sees Ritsu, he loses focus as he realizes he has let the power control him. With Suzuki pounding him and bragging he is a lucky man to have such powers, Mob notes he doesn’t lack luck but bonds since he is the only one in his world. Woah. Mob using all the buildings to crush Suzuki! But instead he powers up into a different being! Mob is beaten to a pulp but what sets Suzuki seething in anger is that Mob has given up?! Really?! He realizes he is not strong enough to change him. As Suzuki continues to take it all out on him, Mob then uses his powers to contort him unimaginable! What Mob meant is that he is fine with both of them losing. With Suzuki now a ball of energy waiting to explode, Mob tells the rest to escape. But he goes back so as to help contain the explosion. Wow. Mob even lecturing him that everyone is the protagonist of his/her own life and thus it is his own decision to come back to try and save him. Even though Mob doesn’t like him, leaving him to suffer alone isn’t what he want. I guess that’s the clincher. Flashback shows Suzuki being ruthless and his wife didn’t like it. He believed power is absolute and the only thing that would get him followers. Mob tries to absorb some of the explosion but it looks like the atomic bomb just went off. In the aftermath, Mob is plucked out from the rubble. He gets his much needed rest but since their home is gone, they head to school. Too bad the Body Building Club guys think they should all go on a training camp now! I guess that incident really hit them. Next morning, everyone is shocked to see a giant broccoli in place of where the explosion was. The Amazing Lab kids want to stop becoming espers as they don’t want to misuse their powers. Mitsuura accepts that but hopes they will drop in sometimes as friends. Other Claw and Scar members try to find their footing in society again. Surprisingly, Suzuki allows himself to be arrested by Joseph since he is an undercover agent. Suzuki laments he wanted Shou to meet mom again but rest assured, he has done so once in a while. Shou lets his dad know this isn’t over yet since she has yet to scold him for turning into this. Reigen gets a new office since the insurance finally pays out. Serizawa is trying to look for a job here. Reigen hires him but first a haircut. Man, he looks different but presentable! Since Mob is his senior, he has to show him the ropes. Getting nervous? Mob then remembers the giant broccoli is due to the seeds that was in his pocket.

Rage And Honour: It’s Over 9000!!!!!!!
Oh my. I thought the final episode turned into some sort of Dragonball crossover with its insane amount of power and fighting. Cool! The world could have ended that night but thanks to Mob, everyone gets to go on living their normal lives the next day, not knowing what really happened last night. Yeah, the city was so evacuated and I’m surprised there were no people taking videos or recording this even from afar. See all the clueless people the next day? Yeah, that huge power fight that took the final battle to another level of dimension, nobody else was witnessing it?! It is a good thing that Mob continues to be Mob in the end and didn’t have to turn to the dark side or sacrifice himself to save the world. Yeah, it looked like it could have turned that way as there were a few times that we see Mob on the verge of giving up and going to cross the dark side. But was he just trolling us or changed his manner of thinking? Either way, it’s good to have Mob back and with Claw disbanded, let’s hope he can get back to his real challenge in life as a normal middle school kid. That confession to Tsubomi is still on the waiting list…

It is without a doubt that this season rocks and perhaps even more thanks to the action packed second half and Mob changing into someone much better that surprises a lot because he feels a lot like a different person although maintaining as Mob. Get it? The first half of this season might be a bit slow and so I feared that the rest of the season might be this familiar pattern of Reigen dragging Mob around to do odd exorcism jobs (sometimes con jobs too). Thankfully the first half isn’t all that boring since it is surprisingly focused on Reigen. We know this guy has been using Mob for his con jobs but what surprises us the most that he actually cares about him! I mean, we know he does take care of Mob but that is only because he is using him and so as to continue his scams. That is what we all view and knew of Reigen. So when he showed some sort of empathy and compassion towards a very conflicted Mob, wow we only thought he was heartless. We started to see him in a different light. And then he goes back to being a dick again with those arrogant and careless quips that strained their relationship for a while. It was pretty much an eye opener and blessing for Reigen because now he really has to count his blessings. And while Reigen may overall still be Reigen, at least now that he acknowledges Mob’s importance and worth (not because for his own gains), we see Reigen in a slightly better light. But still, we need to keep our suspicions on him because at the end of every episode as he narrates the next episode preview, he will eventually be talking and promoting about this series on DVDs and BDs and the likes. That’s the best way to support this series!

Things really picked up the pace in the second half. This is where everything goes off at full speed. The sudden attack of Suzuki and his Claw organization really took everything by surprise with their quick offensive for world domination. Starting with Japan, of course. In this part, it is Mob’s growth that astounds us the most. He is no longer that meek and indecisive kid we once knew a while ago. It is as though he went on a long journey to search for himself and then come back a wise sage! Wow. Suddenly he can lecture us about loneliness, bonds and friendship. But he isn’t pulling it out of the air since he has put in a lot of effort and experienced a lot of harshness to get where he is right now. So with Mob awakened on all fronts, it is indeed shocking to see that he has grown and changed in that short amount of time. It is during such times of chaos that we see characters being built and thank goodness Mob has grown up fast in that situation. But still, why all that running and jogging didn’t make him the least bit physically stronger?!

Everything happened so fast in the second half with Suzuki suddenly coming into the picture as Claw’s big boss, it confused me a little at first. Because at the end of last season, I remember Shou was calling his dad about Scar’s failure and wanted him back in Japan as soon as possible. Damn I thought there was going to be this father and son combo to take over the world. But surprise! Shou is actually on the good side? Did something happen while we weren’t watching? Perhaps. Because since when was Shou and Ritsu such ‘good friends’? And then suddenly bringing back all the disbanded members of 7th division of Scar and to fight along the good side against Suzuki and Claw, that was unexpected too. At least I didn’t foresee that. Maybe one or two of them would return but all of them? Damn, was I paying attention?

With this season, there are many more characters introduced that I think the character pool has become bloated. Many feel insignificant but some of them do play their moments like he Body Building Club buddies to prove that their friendship with Mob isn’t all muscles. Some feel like red herring or didn’t really go anywhere like Kamuro’s comeback as student council president and Mezato’s goal to make Mob the cult leader (Mob would have really become God had his heroics being known). I thought Mob might be starting get a harem of his own since Emi and Minori I feel take genuine interest in Mob. But that would be unnecessary distraction from the final battle with Claw. And I wouldn’t want that either. That Joseph guy feels a bit redundant too. I thought I’ve seen the last of him after he fled his failed attack against Suzuki and his Ultimate 5. Because it’s like as though his role was there to arrest Suzuki, that’s it. Even some of the more supporting and main characters like Teru and Ritsu weren’t that prominent, like as though they don’t want to steal Mob’s limelight. Dimple feels more like an annoying sidekick (like that fairy that always accompanies Link) and it’s like we have forgotten his ulterior motive of why he is hanging out with Mob. Will he change now after being with him for a while and seeing Mob’s true powers?

Suzuki as the main antagonist, he might sound like a typical villain but because of Mob’s great profiling of him, he turns out to be someone who is just lost. Mob understands him the best because they are the same. When you are the most powerful being that is so different from everyone else, who would understand you? Is this the reason why we never really understand God?! But it goes to show that even Mob can turn this guy over a new leaf. It is safe to say that Mob doesn’t just talk the talk but walk the walk too. Who else better but to bring someone as lost as Suzuki to his senses as Mob has went through (somewhat) similar hardships. After all, Suzuki now gets a chance to make repentance. Something he can still do when he is alive and not dead. I guess he isn’t so powerful after all now that he is going to get an earful from his wife… ;p. On a trivial note, I have always thought that Suzuki would have been an evil version of Reigen had the latter had esper powers and misused them. Must be the way they dressed sharply that made me think they are similar.

Mob might not be perfect and still has his flaws. But it is a good thing that he continued to stay true to his beliefs. He might not have the best solutions for this wretched world, but he does what he can and to the best of his abilities. After all, Mob is Mob and the best he could do is to be himself. He isn’t any superhero (although technically he saved the world or rather Japan from Suzuki’s schemes) and definitely he is no God. It might sound naïve to wish that people will turn over a new leaf and learn from their mistake, but I guess that is better than many who misuse and abuse their power. Or in worse case, victims like Mogami becoming a vengeful spirit and continue the vicious cycle. Even if having esper powers give you the right to dominate others naturally and instinctively, does it give you the right to pass on misery to others? After all, Mob is such a good kid that he doesn’t harbour any ill intentions. Even when his master is being a scam artist dick, he still believes he is a good person! Even Hitler has his sympathizers, if you know what I mean… All in all, Mob’s self-realizing statements do make much sense. Mob isn’t a psycho, it’s the world!

It goes without saying that the power action bits here take the cake. With all the espers coming in for one big battle, we will soon forget that this series is about a clueless and meek middle school boy whose extraordinary esper powers is being used by his master for his own gains. The power battles are exaggerated but epic at the same time. If not for that ‘ugly’ drawing that makes it all look cartoonish but I guess this is the series’ trademark visuals. It’s not that bad actually. Of course this makes a lot of characters look weird. Like that moment exorcists from all walks of life were called to exorcist Minori. It’s like one freaking freaky cosplay convention and a macho guy wearing bra and panties showing up among the midst! Definitely a scam! So if you disregard the ‘crap’ art, the action sequences are quite enjoyable. It’s nice to see that moment of everybody taking down Shimazaki since it has that feel of Avengers and every other heroes in the MCU taking on Thanos. Was that fight inspired by this? Well, it was nicely done. With Mob know awakened to his even more powerful esper power, I just wonder why his hair didn’t grow any longer or turn glowing blonde like a Super Saiyan. Just saying… But in this mode, Mob looks more like Boku No Hero Academia’s Midoriya.

At points I was contemplating if this series was going to turn into a horror genre because of some of the scenes that almost spooked the living daylights out of me. Coupled in with that ‘crappy’ animation, yeah at points they look scary. For instance, the family of good ghosts that Mob was in a dilemma to exorcise. It may be nothing to others but for a horror averse guy like me, even those simple drawings were enough to give me the chills. But thanks to the ‘crappy’ drawing that makes it not looking so realistic and hence I didn’t suffer any nightmares subsequently. After all, when you are dealing with the supernatural theme, ghosts and spirits have got to be something to expect.

This season’s opening theme, 99.9 by Mob Choir featuring Sajou No Hana is as epic as it sounds. Because it sounds like one big cheer and support theme for Mob. Are you ready to get psyched up? Are you ready to dig your anger up? Are you ready for the hype train?! And while the opening animation credits is filled with lots of weirdness, I guess it doesn’t get weird enough to have Mob in Lego form. Sajou No Hana sings the main ending theme, Memosepia. A rather okay rock piece if you ask me. Special ending themes like Gray (1st and 7th episode), Mabuta No Ura (5th episode) and Ikiru Hitobito (final episode) feel more like slow rock.

Overall, this second season hits all the right notes. At least, most of them. It has got a good character development especially for Mob as well as heart pounding action sequences in the later half. It sure doesn’t look like it is going to have another season, the way things ‘ended’. But who knows? An even darker and more secretive organization could be lurking and Claw was just the front! Plot twist! Yeah, anything could happen in life. Ultimately it isn’t about who has the best esper powers but whether you have them or not, it is about human relationships and bonds. Humans being the more complex creatures compared to ghosts. Because the latter either wants to scare you or hurt you or kill you for vengeance. But the former tries to be friends with you first… Heh. Took and reedited that quote from a certain famous Australian Crocodile Hunter. May he rest in peace. As long as we are alive, we still have a chance to make amends. Something that no matter how much esper power you have could never teach you. Mob went through all of that to teach us that so we don’t have to. Thanks for reminding us what it is to be human beings.

Chrome Shelled Regios

February 2, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boku No Hero Academia S3

January 26, 2019

Oh yeah. More teenage superheroes. My Hero Academia has been garnering a lot of fans and rave reviews over the years so it is no surprising that Boku No Hero Academia S3 was inevitable. So inevitable that we already knew it at the end of the second season over a year ago. I hope this third season will pack more pows and punches and go to greater heights than ever before. Because at this point a handful of series reaching its third season start to decline… I hope I didn’t jinx it… But always believe and go beyond! Plus Ultra!

Episode 39
We see Shigaraki depressing over the recent incidents but he’ll make everyone realize how fragile their justice is. Also a brief reminder of Class 1A heroes and their Quirks. All of them. If you think Mineta and Kaminari are hardworking by booking the school’s pool, it is too peek at the girls swimming of course. They invite Midoriya but they didn’t expect him to call the rest of the other guys. So we see some flashbacks of Midoriya’s exploits last season. Yeah, such a great guy. Then the guys decide to hold a competition to see who can swim the furthest. Of course with Quirks allowed, some look like ‘cheating’. Eventually it boils down to the top dogs of the class, Midoriya, Bakugou and Todoroki. More flashbacks of Midoriya’s heroics and before we can get to the start, Aizawa cuts short the fun. Pool time’s over.

Episode 40
Even if it is the summer holidays, it is no rest for our heroes because they will have a training camp in the mountains. Helping to supervise them is the veteran hero team of Wild, Wild Pussycats. They consists of Mandalay, Pixie-Bob, Ragdoll and Tiger (uhm, cross-dresser?!). Training begins when they arrive because they must get through the forest fighting golems to get to their inn. Remember to get there in time or else you’ll miss lunch. Of course and exceptional display of their Quirks in action but they took too long and now it’s dinner time. At the inn, they are introduced to Mandalay’s cousin, Kouta. Seems he hates heroes. After dinner, they take a bath and Mineta as usual tries to satiate his perversion only to be stopped by Kouta. They slip as Midoriya catches Kouta. He learns why Kouta hates heroes. His parents were heroes but died in the line of duty protecting citizens from a villain. As a kid then, he couldn’t understand what it all meant. Despite society praising heroes, to Kouta he cannot understand them and finds them unpleasant. Next morning, Aizawa has Bakugou demonstrate his growth by throwing a ball. Compared to the last time, it seems he barely improved. Aizawa explains they have improved in the mental and technical levels but their Quirks themselves did not. Hence this is the real focus of this training camp.

Episode 41
We see our heroes doing rigorous training to control better their Quirks. Class 1B is also here to join in the training. Looks like they have to put in more effort. Now you know why Class 1A got so much attention in the previous seasons. Also because they are the main characters ;p. Midoriya tries to talk to Kouta who still hates heroes so he talks to him in third person about a friend he didn’t inherit any Quirks (that’s himself, right?). Kouta is still not impressed. Meanwhile a small group of villains led by Dabi has arrived. Their plan is to ambush the young heroes in training in a small group. So why need to wait all 10 of them to arrive? Shouldn’t the 7 of them be enough then? After dinner, our heroes play kimodameshi. Except those who failed, they continue to undergo training by Aizawa. Sorry folks, can’t go play. This means with the odd number for kimodameshi, Midoriya ends up by himself. As the game gets underway, suddenly something feels wrong as poisonous mist fills the area and the forest is on fire. Yup, the villains have begun their move. Why so shock to see baddies here? Sure, they were assured how secure this place is and how this training is conducted in secrecy. But after all that has happened in previous seasons, do they not take any precautions just in case?

Episode 42
When Aizawa receives a telepathy message from Mandalay about the attack, he rushes out only to be put out by Dabi. Mandalay has also relayed orders to students not to engage in fights and return to the centre but I guess some of them have to be stubborn and prove why they are future heroes. Like Midoriya of course. Because he only knows where Kouta is. Speaking of him, he is about to be assaulted by a villain named Muscular. Guess what? This is the dude who killed his parents! What coincidence. Thankfully Midoriya saves him before he becomes pummelled meat. Muscular is looking for Bakugou but since Midoriya is here, he is okay with that. Midoriya fights him but despite putting up all his strength, Muscular is still overwhelming power due to his Quirk of powering up his muscles. Even when giving his 100% punch, Muscular still survives. This only serves to make Muscular even more excited because now that play time is over, he wants to get serious. He doesn’t care about the League of Villains’ goal as long as he could fight and kill. Oh my. Midoriya has both arms broken from the use of his Quirk and is tired. Can he still stand up to this villain? Not when he reminds what it takes to be a hero. He’s not going to run away. However as he is weakened this time, it looks like he is done for. Until Kouta distracts him with his feeble water Quirk. Amazingly Midoriya gets back up and is much stronger now! Holy sh*t! His punch is now 1,000,000%! F*CKING POWER!!!! That definitely knocked him out. Kouta must be so confused and relieved that he never expected somebody like Midoriya to risk his life for him. Definitely his hero now.

Episode 43
When Dabi ambushed Aizawa, he was able to avoid and pin him down. However Dabi soon melts away. That was just a doppelganger created by Twice. When Aizawa makes his move, he stumbles into Midoriya and Kouta. Midoriya leaves Kouta with him and needs to relay a message to Mandalay so she can telepathically relay to all students. He cuts in on Mandalay and Tiger’s fight with Spinner and Magne and is able to let Mandalay relay the message of allowing all students to fight as well as the villains’ target is Bakugou. Speaking of him, he and Todoroki are fighting off the crazy Moonfish. Meanwhile Tetsutetsu and Kendou are trying to find the source of the mist. Mustard plays cheat as he uses a real gun but thanks to Tetsutetsu’s metal Quirk, it saves his life many times but is taking a toll on him. Mustard also badmouths how dumb UA students are and at the same time rant about his own jealousy of being denied. It finally took the combined might Kendou and Tetsutestu to break his gas mask and knock him out. Midoriya is trying to find Bakugou but is saved by Shouji. It isn’t because they are being attacked by a villain but rather Tokoyami’s dark shadow turning into an uncontrollable monster.

Episode 44
Midoriya’s plan is for Shouji to head where Bakugou and Todoroki are and then have them light up to defeat the dark shadow. However Bakugou doesn’t want to light up yet. He lets the dark shadow beat the sh*t out of Moonfish before doing so. Yeah, saved them the trouble. Bakugou isn’t pleased that he is to be escorted and protected. Meanwhile Ochako and Tsuyu have a hard time fending off slasher girl Toga. Crazy girl wants to be friends with them and somewhat knows about their desires. Especially Ochako who loves a certain boy and wants to be like him. In this distraction, Toga manages to steal Ochako’s blood before escaping as Midoriya’s group is in sight. But then they realize Bakugou and Tokoyami are missing. Yeah, let the person who you’re supposed to be protecting walk behind. Anyway, the duo has been ‘stolen’ by Mr Compress. He ‘compressed’ and hid them in his small marble. As they have got what they came for, he signals to the rest of the villains to pull out. Midoriya and co furiously chase after Mr Compress. On the other side, Yosetsu Awase and Yaoyorozu are desperately running away from this creepy Noumu. Damn it has all the horror tools embedded into its multiple arms! They could have died but Noumu suddenly stops and walks away. They think it is because the goal to kidnap Bakugou has been achieved. Yaoyorozu creates a tracker and sticks it on Noumu. As Mr Compress is getting further, Midoriya becomes angrier. He won’t give up and insists he is not in pain. He comes up with a plan for Ochako to turn them weightless and then Tsuyu will fling them closer. So they altogether crash at where the villains are supposed to meet up.

Episode 45
Vlad King refuses to let some of the students in the centre to go out to fight. They are soon attacked by Dabi who mocks that they cannot tackle a small group of villains. Aizawa returns to destroy this fake as he warns not to give in to the provocation as it is their goal. Still, Aizawa won’t let them fight as they are not sure if the villains are targeting other students. Midoriya and co fight to get back their friends. As Shouji grabbed the marbles, they run. Kurogiri then opens the warp to let the villains escape. Mission failed? Actually Mr Compress swapped the marbles so the one in Shouji’s hands are fake. Before the villains could retreat, Aoyama fires his laser as distraction. The marbles fall off but our heroes could only save Tokoyami. Bakugou still got kidnapped. In the aftermath, there are reports and news criticizing UA left and right. Although 3 villains were caught, Pixie-Bob had a serious head injury and Ragdoll went missing. Some of the students are still unconscious from the poison mist. Nezu and the UA teachers discuss their next possible step and perhaps a traitor in the mix. All Might gets a call from Tsukauchi that he might have determined the hideout of the villains after taking statements from Aizawa and Vlad, plus previous field work from his officers. This is a top secret rescue and clean up mission that will require the help of a lot of heroes. Midoriya finally wakes up in hospital. His classmates visit but the mood is sullen after what has happened. Kirishima makes a bold suggestion to go save their friend although this is vehemently opposed by Iida who believes this should be left to the pros. Kirishima and Todoroki came to visit the hospital yesterday and overheard All Might talking to hospitalized Yaoyorozu about how she placed a tracker on Noumu. He thinks of having her create another receiver. If they don’t move now, they’ll never become heroes.

Episode 46
The students reason they can’t let their emotions take over and do what they please or else they will be no better than the villains themselves. After they leave, Kirishima tells Midoriya they are still going ahead with their plan. Midoriya gets the doctor’s analysis that despite Recovery Girl using all her might to heal him, keep up with this again and he will find himself unable to use his arms any more. A little good news from all this depression is that Kouta wrote him a thank you letter. Meanwhile Tsukauchi has gathered a few top heroes for the covert mission. Midoriya joins Todoroki, Kirishima and Yaoyorozu but they are interrupted when Iida is against this. Before Midoriya could explain himself, Iida punches him. A very emotional plea from his side that he is worried for everyone. He worries Midoriya might become like his brother. By going ahead with this plan, do they not care about his feelings? They assure they are not going to fight head on but a covert operation to save Bakugou. Hence Iida wants to join them as excuse to supervise them. Tracking the tracker to Yokohama, Yaoyorozu suggests they disguise themselves as the villains know how they look like. I’m not sure if these clothes are convincing as they stand out even more. Then they see on TV a public apology by UA headed by Nezu and Aizawa. From the hostile crowd reception and bias media, they know UA is being vilified. Shigaraki and his villains are also watching this. They want Bakugou to join them as they explain they plan to make society think what is justice and heroes. Shigaraki as Bakugou released to treat him as their equals despite knowing he will attack them. And so Bakugou did just that. He rejects their offer to ‘harass people’ as he stays strong to his true inspiration who is no other than All Might. He always wins despite being in a pinch. He wants to win like him.

Episode 47
The press grilling continues as Bakugou thinks hard of a way to get out. Surprisingly Shigaraki remains calm and doesn’t want the rest to hurt this important piece. He seeks All For One to lend his powers. Midoriya’s side tries to peek into the building and they are shocked to see so many Noumus. Before Shigaraki could have his comrades put Bakugou to sleep, All Might crashes in while Kamui quickly restrains the villains. Shigaraki orders Kurogiri to warp the Noumus here but looks like he can’t. He cannot locate them. That’s because Mt Lady and Jeanist crashed into the building to apprehend all the Noumus and retrieve Ragdoll among them but she is still in a vegetable state. Shigaraki is not impressed All Might is here. Short flashback shows All For One saved Shigaraki when nobody else did. Shigaraki is so mad that suddenly warp portals open and all the Noumus start showing up. The heroes are in shock because Kurogiri is unconscious. In this havoc, Bakugou is kidnapped again. A couple of minutes ago when Jeanist’s side secured the building, All For One popped up and decimated the entire area in a flash! Midoriya’s side were still in hiding but now they are shaken and traumatized with the absolute destructive power they saw. So powerful that they saw a hallucination that they were killed!

Episode 48
All the villains are warped back to where All For One is and All Might’s side is left to deal with the rampaging Noumus. Jeanist and the rest still live thanks to his quick thinking of pulling them out from harm’s way. Too bad All For One knocks him out. Shouldn’t he kill him just in case? With his villains gathered, Midoriya is too scared to move and he is desperately trying to think of a way to save Bakugou and escape. Then here comes All Might blasting into the scene. All For One can stand up to his mega punches. He then opens a gate for his villains to escape while he stalls All Might. Of course Bakugou won’t go easily so he too puts up a fight with the villains. Midoriya then has thought of a way to rescue Bakugou without having them resort to fighting and they can get away clean. But it all depends on Bakugou. First, Midoriya and Iida will use their power and speed to blast through the wall using Kirishima’s hardness. With that opening, Todoroki will create a tall ice barrier that will take them high enough out of the enemies’ reach. Then Kirishima needs to give the signal to Bakugou to come with them. It has to be him and not the rest as he is the only one who has been building an equal friendship with him. The plan works out like a charm with Bakugou responding nicely to Kirishima’s call. The villains are surprised with this as they try to chase and get Bakugou back but here comes Gran Torino whipping them up with their speed. All For One is now held back by All Might to let them escape. All For One opens a warp to force his villains to escape, disheartening Shigaraki who doesn’t want to leave his master behind. Now that All Might can fight without reserve, All For One uses his warp to turn Gran Torino into his shield and make him bear the brunt of All Might’s punch. But All Might becomes so mad of his atrocities that he manages to land the biggest punch in his face. Too bad he is still okay. He mocks All Might for being so worked up and has seen this exactly before: From the previous One For All successor, Nana Shimura.

Episode 49
Flashback shows when All Might was an apprentice under Nana, he wanted to be the pillar of strength the people could rely on as the country’s crime rate isn’t decreasing. All Might and All For One continue their epic punching. Like the true baddie he is, he targets a trapped civilian so All Might is forced to protect her. This causes All Might to lose much of his power as he turns into his deflated form and shocks everyone who is watching. Even if All Might still stands strong to his principles, All For Might plays reverse psychology. He tells him that Shigaraki is Nana’s grandson. This weakens All Might mentally. The crowd who has been critical of villains are terrified to see All Might in this state. However they start cheering for him. He is still All Might. They want him to win! With all their voices reaching him, All Might gets renewed hope and power as both hero and villain power up their arm for one amazing epic punch of the century. When their fists clash, All Might’s arm is in danger of losing. I mean, he was taking on a monstrous arm embedded with lots of Quirks. But this is a trick as he used his right hand as bait so he could punch All For One with is left in the head (supposedly his weak spot). Here comes the biggie! United States of Smash!!!! WOAH!!!! Is this the most American of American punch?! With that, the final flame of One For All fizzles out inside him. The people cheer in relief over All Might’s victory. When All Might signals it is your turn next, the crowd cheers and thinks all the villains are going to get their asses whooped. However Midoriya interprets it differently and he can tell the message was aimed at him to carry on the torch for One For All. He can’t help cry.

Episode 50
Tsukauchi asks about All Might’s interactions with Nana’s family. Apparently after her husband died, she tried to protect her son in a foster care to keep him away from the hero world. She specifically told others not to contact him even if the worst happened to her. But now it has all backfired. Todoroki returns home to see his father training like mad. He is upset. Why shouldn’t he? Guess who is going to fill in the number 1 spot now? Midoriya meets All Might again but is punched as punishment for not listening. He tells him he has officially retired and cannot fight anymore. He is always disappointed when Midoriya fights, he ends up injured. Except for the last time. He felt really proud of him and wants to devote himself to properly raise him. UA has come up with a new dorm system for young heroes to live and bond together. All Might and Aizawa go around to seek the official permission of the parents at their homes. All give their blessings and it’s much easier than they thought. Except maybe some family members yelling at each other. That’s the real shocker. Like Bakugou’s mom who is so glad they have this system. But the only one who opposes this is Midoriya’s mom. Speaking honestly as his mom, she is very worried of her son getting injuries on his arm. It made her always thought he would be better off happier Quirkless and watching heroes do the saving. As UA cannot stop her son getting injured, all the more reason she cannot let him be in their care. Midoriya tries to give excuse it is all his own fault that he doesn’t listen but then she blames it on UA’s responsibility. If her son wants to be a hero there are many other hero courses other than UA. Midoriya returns to show her a thankful letter from Kouta. It was that proud moment he was a hero. He agrees he can go to any other school as long as he gets to be a hero. All Might is moved and as he prostrates himself, he feels the need to properly raise him as he believes he is the next symbol of peace. He will do so even if it costs him his life. What else can mom do at this point? It’s not like she hate UA and All Might is his reason for living. She just wants him to be happy so don’t give up your life. If he can promise that, she will leave him in his care. Midoriya better make sure he doesn’t worry his mom again. All For One is in a special prison for villains. He monologues and mocks All Might’s missed chance to leave or die. Because now All For One too has passed the torch to Shigaraki who will use all his hatred and regrets to move forward.

Episode 51
Our young heroes move into their dorms. But before that, Aizawa gives all of them a pep talk. To cut things short, thanks to All Might all retiring, he would have had everyone in this class except Bakugou, Jirou and Hagakure (both girls were out due to the poison gas) expelled. Those who didn’t went along with Midoriya were equally guilty for they did not even try to stop them and in a way betrayed UA’s trust. As the students get cosy with their dorms, the girls have this idea to see each other’s rooms. Room raiders? Some are embarrassed, some are just plain, some are quite creative. Except Bakugou and Tsuyu, everyone has seen each other’s room. I’m not sure if they have seen Mineta’s because nobody wants to go to this little pervert’s room. Everyone votes who has the best room and it seems the winner goes to Satou! It wasn’t his room actually. It is the great sweets he made. In fact, all the girls vote for him! Damn, the ugliest guy got the girls’ heart? After this fun, Tsuyu speaks to Midoriya and those who went to rescue Bakugou. She felt sad that despite warning them at the hospital, they still chose to do it. She thought of telling them now even if she can’t gather her thoughts properly. She wants everyone to have fun together again. I guess a few friendship tears are okay. They’re going to need it when they start getting back on track with their daily lives as heroes.

Episode 52
The next step for our young heroes is to take a provisional test for their hero licence. As the test is tough and the passing rate is only 50%, they need to develop their ultimate moves. With the help of Midnight, Ectoplasm and Cementoss, the young heroes train and try to develop at least one ultimate move. Midoriya is having trouble developing his because we all know how his arms will get destroyed each time he goes overboard with his Quirk. All Might stops by to check on them. He advises Midoriya he is still trying to imitate him. He knows his problem but can’t tell him outright otherwise he won’t learn anything. Thinking he needs a better design costume, he heads to the support department to get some advice with Iida and Ochako. Hi Hatsume, long time no see. Excavation Hero take in their requests for process but how come it feels like Hatsume wants to test out her failed prototypes on them? Midoriya starts to see the whole point and what All Might meant after witnessing Hatsume telling Iida to run with his hands in order for his legs to cool down. A few more days of training and we see what Midoriya has learnt. A slab threatens to fall on All Might but Midoriya kicks it away. In addition to his fists, he can use One For All for his legs too.

Episode 53
It is also thanks to Hatsume’s support braces on his arms and sole that enables Midoriya to fight more effectively. Time for the provisional hero licence test. Upon arrival, we get to see more weirdoes from other schools. Like Inasa Yoarashi from Shiketsu High School might look like a passionate guy who loves to do things passionately but he was once offered to attend UA via recommendation but for unknown reasons he turned it down. Then there is Ketsubutsu Academy in which You Shindou suspiciously looks similar to Midoriya. Only much taller, more talkative and sparkling. Then there is the hero, Ms Joke who makes enemies unable to stop laughing while she pummels them, it seems she is constantly bugging Aizawa to marry her. As all hero wannabes gather in the hall, they are being told about the effect of Stain had on the hero world and hence they realize the key factor is speed because for those who can’t keep up will find it tough. Hence this year’s test will only see the first 100 heroes passing. Gee, 1,540 wannabes taking the test. That is less than 1% passing rate! Drastic reduction from 50%! But don’t worry, at least that quota is enough to fit all of our UA heroes, right? So this is how the test will be. All participants will put 3 devices anywhere on their body as long as it’s an open spot. Opponents try to hit it with a ball. Successful hits cause it to light up. You’re out if you have all 3 devices lighted up. To pass, you need to defeat 2 participants. Also, they are given limited balls. As the test starts, Midoriya’s plan is to have everyone stick together and do teamwork. However Bakugou and Todoroki prefer to go solo. Midoriya’s worst fear comes true because all other schools are targeting them. Their Quirks are well known since the broadcast of the sports festival. But if you the others think they are easy meat, think again because it’s time to see the fruits of labour our UA heroes have been putting in.

Episode 54
We see some of the Shiketsu heroes strutting their stuff against their UA counterparts like Shikkui Makabe with his hardening, Itejiro Toteki with his boomerang and Tatami Nakagame with her telescopic. But it is Shindou’s ground vibration Quirk that causes the UA heroes to be separated. Meanwhile Inasa uses his whirlwind Quirk to suck up everyone’s balls (why does it sound so dirty?) and drop them like hail. Because of that he becomes the first to pass and also took out 120 participants! Midoriya gets careless as he gets 1 down by Camie Utsushimi from Shiketsu. She is able to somewhat ‘disappear’ if he looks away. Apparently this isn’t her Quirk and is thought at Shiketsu. Camie is very interested to get to know more about Midoriya. Other heroes turn up to try and steal the show. Midoriya dodges their attacks and sees Ochako signalling to help. However she loses his footing and Midoriya goes to catch her while dodging enemy attacks. So cool or what?! This scene that trolls us that Ochako is looking at Midoriya with loving eyes as she suddenly tries to put him out of the game but Midoriya is faster and slaps the ball out of her hand. This is Camie in disguise and her Quirk is to shape shift. Midoriya knew it was a trap all along because the real Ochako would have used her Quirk to float and not expose herself to danger without any plan. With the real Ochako and Sero coming in to help, Camie is forced to put this getting to know session on hold. Meanwhile Todoroki encounters a group of coloured ninjas from Seijin High School. Are they ninja versions of Power Rangers wannabes? Todoroki is having it tough to deal with them. There is only so much his own Quirk can do.

Episode 55
Even if those ninjas cooperate seamlessly, Todoroki adapts quickly and turns the tables on them. With that, he becomes the first from Class 1A to pass. Elsewhere, Yaoyorozu, Jirou, Tsuyu and Shouji enter a building. However they realize too late as this is a trap set by the highly intelligent Saiko Intelli of Seiai Academy to corner them. At first it seems like they know all about their Quirks as they set traps to seal off their Quirks one by one. Their plan is to finally make Yaoyorozu to use and exhaust her Quirk. Then they will all march in and take the win without any struggle. With the temperature dropping in the sealed room, naturally Yaoyorozu could have easily materialized some items to escape or fight back. But as she thinks further, all her answers lead to the same conclusion of their defeat. She finally hits a solution to materialize earphones for them all and use all that she’s got to create a large speaker. Jirou uses the sound wave to attack and pass out the Seiai opponents. When the coast is clear, it looks like easy victory for UA but Saiko takes Yaoyorozu hostage and even if her school can’t win, she’ll at least take her down. Too bad she didn’t see her other comrades busting in to save her. She never realized that they would abandon one of their own even in such dire situations. I guess this means the quartet wins, huh? Hooray! More UA students pass! Midoriya hatches a plan to use himself as bait so that Ochako and Sero can restrain and secure more enemies (this was his initial plan for UA to stay as a group and to secure a large number of opponents and use them as ‘target practice). Because in the dying minutes, people are getting desperate and will be restless. Meanwhile Kirishima and Kaminari somehow followed Bakugou. They encounter Seiji Shishikura from Shiketsu who could turn people into some mashed potato blob? Yeah, Kirishima turned into one.

Episode 56
Bakugou rushes to fight Shishikura but falls into his trap and turns into a meatball. Kaminari is all that is left but he realizes why Bakugou was trying to focus his attack in a smaller way instead of letting out a big blast and hurt everyone else. Kaminari does the same and injures Shishikura. This releases the rest from the meatball spell as they take him out. But there are other candidates too. What’s there to worry over these small fries? Easy meat. Similarly, Midoriya, Ochako and Sero’s tactic work as they too pass. With more candidates passing and those remaining getting desperate, Shindou’s side uses this chaotic chance to take out others in the vicinity. UA has 11 students passed and there are 10 slots left remaining. Uh oh. Can they make it? Iida finds Aoyama hiding and with other desperate candidates hot on their tail, Aoyama believes he is a liability and will only bring them down if Iida continues to protect him. Hence he uses his navel laser as distraction so that when others target him, Iida can quickly take them out to pass. Of course you know no UA students are going to leave their own behind. Aoyama may have attracted others, but he also have attracted the rest of his scattered UA pals who now converge and combine their Quirks to take down those minor characters and pass. Phew. And that makes 100 candidates. All of UA students pass this first round! As the successful candidates wait for their next test, Shiketsu’s Nagamasa Mora chastises Inasa and Camie for going ahead and fight solo instead of fighting as a team. Because of that, many of their comrades and especially their senior, Shishikura failed. For our successful 100 candidates, the next test is a rescue mission.

Episode 57
There are professional people to play the victims (not politically!) from Help Us Company AKA HUC! You mean there’s a real job in playing the victims (again, not politically!)? They are to rescue as many as they can and score points. Those who score higher than the threshold will pass. During the break, Mora confronts Bakugou and apologizes on behalf for Shishikura’s rudeness. He wishes to have a good relationship with UA. However the same cannot be said for Inasa as he hates them, especially Todoroki whose eyes are the same as Endeavour’s. Well, duh. He is his son. Oh, you mean not that kind of eyes meaning. As the rescue mission gets on the way, UA gets berated by the pros for ignoring this and that. Looks like they are the ones who will be giving our potential heroes the score. UA split up to smaller groups and use their Quirks to help remove and send the victims to safety. They also cooperate with other schools when the need rises. But Bakugou is as his usual. Still yelling at victims at least those who are not of serious injury. Want to minus his points? You better be prepared to face his wrath! However this rescue mission has another twist that none of the hopefuls saw coming. There is a villain attack happening simultaneously! Although it is part of the test and staged by pro hero, Gang Orca, the candidates must now juggle with both saving the victims and fighting the villains. Must they choose either one? The choice is obvious for true heroes.

Episode 58
WTF?! Why do they need to take a break and show a special episode?! Oh well… Midoriya, Bakugou, Ochako, Iida, Todoroki and Tsuyu are in a special class conducted by Aizawa. This is to see if they are able to assess the situation and deal with it. The scenario is that All Might is playing the villain and is holing up in a jewellery store and having 3 hostages (played by Cementoss, Midnight and Mic). At first our young ones decide to access the situation but impatient Bakugou barges in. Suddenly the villain is dead! From now on it becomes a detective game to decipher what happened. After questioning the hostages and confirming there are no other parties involved, it seems plausible that the culprit is among the hostages. However Midoriya puts on his thinking cap and deduces this theory. He believes Midnight knew the villain. Knowing he was on his way to rob the store, she called the police. Then she enters the shop and the villain confused with an acquaintance got a bit chaotic and also took her hostage. Because it’s strange that the store is in the process of being robbed and Midnight entered it. With the heroes on scene and to avoid their relationship being exposed, the villain killed himself. So for the sake of love, they tried to protect each other and it ended up with the villain taking his own life. Congratulations! This was exactly the scenario they thought up. However Aizawa fails them because they failed to capture the villain. He was only pretending to be dead and has now escaped during the deduction. So it wasn’t about love in the first place? Later All Might receives an email from Melissa Shield, the daughter of David Shield, All Might’s sidekick and scientist when he was in America. They are now living in I-Island. All Might prepares his trip there but he also wants to bring Midoriya along to hone his skills as his successor. So this is just an advertisement to go watch the movie if you want to find out more?! Oh well, I’m glad we’re back to the original schedule next week.

Episode 59
Shindou suggests everyone evacuate the victims while he staves off the villains. Too bad he got paralyzed by Orca’s supersonic wave. Todoroki and Inasa are here to stop the villains but they realize they still have bad blood with each other. It seems Inasa hates Endeavour (refused an autograph?) because of his cold angry eyes. He saw the same in Todoroki. Although not intentional, their Quirks get in each other’s way, making their situation even more pathetic like as though they are fighting with each other. When yet another wrong timing Quirk goes awry and almost hit Shindou, luckily Midoriya pulls him away. We see more in depth of Inasa’s hatred. He loves everything passionately especially when it comes to being a hero. But with that experience with Endeavour, he was the only exception. The only hero he hates. During the qualification exam at UA, he beat Todoroki by a whisker in a race. Although Inasa was pretty sporting, Todoroki then was still consumed with hatred for his father and never looked nor acknowledged Inasa. This infighting has Orca taking the chance to semi-paralyze them. Realizing their unsightly and selfish behaviour, the duo although could barely move, combine their Quirks to create a flaming wall to surround Orca. He gets weak when it gets dry. With the victims safely evacuated, soon other heroes drop in to fight the evil henchmen. After Todoroki and Inasa give out and Midoriya lands a surprise kick on Orca, the exam is declared over based on the fact that Bakugou’s side has extracted the final victims. The points are tallied. Guess who are going to pass…

Episode 60
Wow. So many passed! So we can expect our usual heroes to pass! That’s right! Except… Bakugou failed?! Todoroki and Inasa too?! Gosh. Top 2 UA students failed?! I guess Todoroki and Inasa apologize and realize their mistake and even though it’s too late, let this be a lesson for them. The students are handed a sheet that explains how their demerit point system works. Those who passed may only act as a hero on their own only in emergencies. But for those who failed, don’t despair as there will be a special 3 month long course for them to take and after passing this individual test, they will get their provisional licence. When Midoriya asks Mora about Camie because he is interested in some technique she mentioned about hiding one’s presence, it seems she has already gone home early. Too bad nobody knows that the Camie who took the test is actually Toga in disguise! Her Quirk allows her to shapeshift to the blood of those she steal and she has stolen Midoriya’s blood. All Might visits All For One to find out Shigaraki’s whereabouts. Even if he knows, do you think he will tell? All For One tries to deduce the situation outside after All Might has retired. He believes that now that Endeavour is the top hero, there are still those who do not trust him and causing some instability. Hence some other villain groups might take advantage of this instability to rise to the top. He expects some infighting just to rise to the top. All this because of All Might’s new weak form and his retirement. He will not be able to save people as his wish and can only look on in his powerlessness. All Might is not cowed. He will not be killed by Shigaraki and will not die. Is he being desperate here not to lose? Back at the dorm, Bakugou calls out Midoriya to talk. After all that talk that indicates he is still jealous of Bakugou for surpassing him, he explains his deduction that Midoriya received his Quirk from All Might. Both of them idolized All Might and aim to be like him but the irony is that Midoriya who did not have Quirk at all until All Might came to town, was acknowledged by him without Bakugou realizing it. Then he passed the provisional licence test but Bakugou did not. That’s why Bakugou wants to fight Midoriya again. Right here. Right now.

Episode 61
Bakugou thinks that if All Might chose Midoriya, does it mean that Bakugou’s way of admiring All Might was wrong? Because you know, they both admired him greatly. And so the power fight begins. We hear more of Bakugou’s ‘complaints’ about Midoriya being weak and suddenly he got strong. It seems he feels guilty for being weak and was the one who ended All Might’s career. Midoriya realizes he has been carrying a lot of burden all this time. This fight isn’t about winning or losing. It’s just to release some pent up frustration. Also, time to get serious and test out the limits of his new moves. Hey, if they’re going to fight, might as well go all the way. Bakugou’s complaints continues as he thinks Midoriya is getting arrogant, acting like as though he has surpassed him. Normally anybody this bullied would have stayed away but Midoriya saw all the good and amazing points in Bakugou, that’s why he always continued to follow him. In the end, it looks like Bakugou overpowers Midoriya. Cue for All Might to pop up and stop the fight because he too has heard everything. He tells Bakugou why he chose Midoriya. Then he was powerless but more heroic than anyone. Bakugou on the other hand already had powers. He wanted Midoriya to stand in the same ring and compete. All Might doesn’t want Bakugou to further blame himself since eventually this is the fate he had to walk. He believes both of them who admire and fear each other, they can work together and become greater heroes. Not the answer Bakugou wants to hear and after All Might reveals everything about One For All being passed down (so that he is now equal footing with Midoriya), he promises to keep it all a secret. Midoriya and Bakugou get into one of those rivalry arguments that they’ll surpass the other. Can they both be number 1? Oh, right. Reality says no. Returning to the dorm, Aizawa punishes them to house arrest for a few days. Looks like they’ll be missing the new term’s opening ceremony.

Episode 62
Jin Bubaigawara narrates with All Might’s retirement, Endeavour is now the top hero. However because of his rough attitude, many don’t like him. In the eyes of some, he looks like a normal person pretending to be a superhero. Jin sounds like he is having split personality and the only way to stop all that is to put on his mask. He is who we know as Twice. He has the ability to duplicate things and long ago he cloned a lot of himself to do chores. However they all ended up thinking they should be the boss and started fighting each other. In the end, all but one survived and he is unsure if he is the original self. The League of Villains have scattered throughout different areas to recruit and make their organization bigger. For Twice, he is looking for crazy people like him as he views superheroes only save good people. Maybe he has found one. This psycho pyro dude, Overhaul. Back at UA, Aizawa explains they will have hero work studies in this semester. So it’s like having hero activities outside school. But doesn’t that sound a lot like the internship they did? So do they call it by a different name since they have their provisional licence? Anyway, Ochako is distraught because this means all the hard work she put in during the UA sports festival was all for nought. I don’t understand Aizawa’s explanation how it’s not what she thinks it is because the festival wasn’t just the only way for agencies to recruit potential heroes. As Midoriya is under house arrest and his classmates cannot tell him, this only makes him frustrated and dying to know. But he’ll get to know about it and play some catch up once his house arrest is over in 3 days. Just in time because Class 1A is going to have more details of hero work studies by UA’s seniors and top students known as Big Three.

Episode 63
Funny how Big Three are supposed to be the top UA dogs and we’ve heard nothing about them until now. Tamaki Amajiki is too shy to face them while Nejire Hado is too talkative, asking questions before anybody can answer. And if you think they’re weird, wait till you see the top hero of them all, Mirio Togata. Passionate dude wants all of them to fight him now! I guess action speaks louder than words. As it begins, did Togata distract everyone by turning naked?! We see how he slips through things and even warps to punch all of them in the guts! No reaction time! As noted by Amajiki, what is truly fearsome is not his Quirk but how hard he worked on them. First wave over, now Togata goes in on the second wave. You can’t touch him but he can touch you. Midoriya might be able to predict where he pops out next but he still gets owned. So once that’s dusted, time for some explanations. Togata’s Quirk allows him to slip through anything. His ‘warp’ is because when he deactivates his Quirk, his mass and other mass don’t mix so it ‘rejects’ and ‘propels’ him out. The most mind blowing motivation about using his Quirk is that because everything slips through him, this means he cannot breathe and even light goes through him! Hence he experiences nothing! So he worked hard to improvise, predict and think faster than his opponents. He went from dead last to being the top student in UA. Hence the reason he wanted to fight them is because it is faster to tell them via experience. Therefore the work studies are different than the internship in a way that they are no more treated like guests but as pro heroes. Wow. This guy is so motivating and the closest to All Might, you think he has a chance to be his replacement? But as our UA students prepare their next step, the League of Villains are also making theirs. Twice brings Overhaul to meet Shigaraki who knows this is one crazy fish who has swam in.

Age Of Plus Ultra
OMG! OMFG!!! I knew it was going to happen! There is going to be a fourth season! Hooray! It goes to show that a superhero’s work is never done. And even though the journey is long we have all been walking through this together so you bet that I am going to be one of those many who will continue to follow through! At least for the animated version.

While this season itself is still interesting with the training camp arc as well as the provisional licence arc, the biggest impact that everyone would remember this season is the retirement of All Might. He is just a supporting character in this series but yet I can’t help feel surprised and sad that he won’t be making his usual superhero appearance. He will still be around but not as the buffed version we all prefer and love. I know that this series focuses on our up and coming young heroes and that one day All Might would have to retire anyway. So it is just sad to see him go out and retire this way. But it makes me wonder if this is the best way for him to go out. Him fighting against the biggest baddest supervillain mankind has ever known and defeating it in the eyes of the public was the only way he could ever cemented his legacy forever.

Even when this season ended, I still could not believe to bring myself that All Might will no longer be standing there as a main player on the mainstage. This just shows how much of an impact All Might has on the masses despite technically being a supporting character in this story. To rephrase a line in one of those Batman movies, for All Might’s case, he lived long to be a hero. Salutations to you, All Might! Rest well! They try to soften the blow with new character Togata who seems to be the most promising and next in line to replace All Might in terms of charisma and power. Unless there is some sort of dark sickening twist written for him awaiting his fate (horror if he ends up being the next bad guy!). So tell me again why we didn’t hear of this guy who is closest to being All Might before? Are we really setting up Midoriya to be the next All Might successor?

Midoriya and Bakugou continue to develop so finely this season as they navigate through their thorny and erratic, uhm, friendship? Can we call it that or has it upgraded into rivalry? It is great to see that Midoriya is using other methods for his Quirk to help lessen the burden of his One For All since if he is going to be a fine hero, he needs to take better care of himself instead of always being reckless and then needing have other heroes clean it up. Especially Recovery Girl who feels like it is not going to cut it next season if she continues to heal Midoriya’s grave injuries as it is going to sound more like plot convenience. But I guess with someone as young as him, the only way to learn from it is via being foolish. As long as he learns, he will continue to grow at his own pace.

Bakugou is still the same temperamental hot headed dude. Once more when he fought Midoriya again, I thought he was going to bring back those annoying jealousy memories I had of him back in the first season. Luckily we get to hear from his side and what makes him ticked off. At this point I am in a dilemma even if Bakugou changes his personality, will I like this kind and polite Bakugou? Being the furious and emo kid is how we all know him. Despite all that anger, we have to give him credit that he never waived nor turned to the dark side because his kind of character is stereotypically one who would have crossed over but thank heavens that did not happen. It would be unthinkable to see Midoriya-Bakugou relationship turn from friendship-cum-rivalry into good versus evil trope like Naruto-Sasuke. Yeah… So hats off to Bakugou for being able to keep his dream and vision alive even though he lost it in the anger department. After all, he needs to stay true to his explosive Quirk. Say, why does the kidnapping of Bakugou somehow remind me of the kidnapping of Eren from Shingeki No Kyojin?

One of the biggest dilemmas of having a series grown this big is the amount of characters. This season introduces a few more characters especially heroes from other schools and while they do seem interesting, overwhelming and having their own potential, I just have to remind myself to be patient because this is their debut so things are going to take time to properly flesh them out. That’s we are already confirmed to have another season, right? But the problem I keep worrying is that even so, many of the Class 1A members aren’t given so much of a prominence either. Sure, a few appearances in the spotlight here and there and don’t expect to get Midoriya and Bakugou level of focus. Like Iida who was thrust to the forefront last season now seems to be back to be the proper class rep. Todoroki feels like he has fallen from grace but this is just a temporary setback till he gets his foot back again. No matter how far he tries to get away from his father whom he hates very much, it becomes his greatest downfall. The fact is that he will always be tied and related to Endeavour so the best he could do is at least accept and move on.

Ochako is still having her heart fluttering thinking of Midoriya. So when are we going to have a superhero romance of Midoriya x Ochako? Superhero universes do it all the time! Remember Scott Summers AKA Cyclops married Jean Grey? Even Reed Richards AKA Mr Fantastic and Sue Storm AKA Invisible Woman. Luke Cage and Jessica Jones. Peter Parker AKA Spiderman and Mary Jane. Clark Kent AKA Superman and Lois Lane. Okay, maybe the last 2 married normal people but still, where’s the superhero romance? Sorry folks, not ruining a great series with cheesy teen romance. Better for us to keep daydreaming about it.

The League of Villains at least made a decent appearance this season unlike last season I was complaining how they didn’t have any impactful appearance after that USJ incident at the end of the first season. Even if their plans are somewhat thwarted again and they go into laying low mode, this serves to plant the seeds for their future where it is going to be an epic clash between superheroes and supervillains of the new generation. Nothing much about them is revealed for its current members for now because I believe if this series is going to be great, it needs to do justice to the antagonists too and give their side of their twisted story and see how they end up becoming villains instead of heroes. Was it because the system failed to save them? It would have been interesting because at that point when we are unable to sympathize which side to choose and support, that is what will make the series greater. Greying the lines between what makes a hero and a villain so.

One funny thing that I started wondering is that with the recent attacks targeted on UA students, the dorm system is in placed to help foster closer ties among them. But you see, the ironic part was that the USJ incident as well as the training camp, he villains easily targeted them because they are all in one place! Now that UA has put them and make them stay in one fixed location, isn’t that making it even more dangerous? That’s like putting all your eggs in one basket. Boy, there is going to be a lot of explanation, heads rolling and outrage from the media if the villains ever make an attempt to attack the dorms. I know the dorm is equipped with hi-tech security, closer to the teachers, blah, blah, blah. But there is still a possibility of that happening. They better be prepared and expect the unexpected. You know villains are going to strike when you least expected it. That’s how the USJ incident and training camp episode happened, right?

At this point, I am starting to feel that one of the biggest annoying things in this series is the constant pop up display of the characters’ Quirk on screen. Every time! Every episode! Yeah, yeah. We already know Midoriya’s Quirk is All For One. Those who still don’t know DO NOT deserve to continue watching this series. Hence in every damn episode if that familiar character pops up the first time, it’s that reminder again to us on screen that we should take note of his/her name as well as the Quirk. It might be welcoming for new characters but for older established characters, give it a rest, will you? I bet I can name all the Quirks of Class 1A with my eyes closed. No kidding. Maybe that’s how they make us remember because I sure still can’t remember the majority of the Quirks from Class 1B. Yeah, those heroes from the other class is way too side-lined. And hence the mid-intermission of displaying the characters’ biodata is also in a way getting old especially for established characters. I mean, we have quite a number of new characters introduced here and all they could mostly do is recycled the old ones? Are they saving the newer ones for next season?

The action scenes continue to play a big part in the series. What is a superhero series without all those action sequences, right? This season still packs all those power punches and they are still entertaining to watch. With our young heroes starting to develop their own powers based on their Quirks (some including some very quirky names), you won’t be bored seeing them pulling off the same moves. Though, they are still quite limited at this point. For the art and animation department, they still look good but I still maintain that with so many weird looking people, it feels like this Earth is more like an alien planet. Seriously, can people live with strange looking dick heads walking among them?! Just saying. Also, I want to point out if some of the character designs are ‘stolen’. Okay, maybe to put it in a better way, imitation is the highest form of sincerity. Because when I first looked at Twice, I was wondering what the f*ck is Deadpool doing here?! They think they can fool us by replacing his red spandex with black and cut down on his sarcasm. Remember that Muscular guy? I wonder if they were paying some sort of homage to Dolph Lungren… I also wonder if Mora was also inspired by that hairy monster, Cousin Itt from Addams Family. Yeah… What about Togata whom I feel is a buffed up version of Tintin. No, seriously. And if you run out of inspiration from the outside, just copy what you have! Like Shindou looks similarly close to Midoriya, right? Just taller. Heck, even I think Dabi looks like an evil version of Midoriya.

While this season’s first opening theme, Odd Future by Uverworld is still epic and befits the series like a glove, however the first ending theme has got to be the worst of all! Personally, Update by Miwa sounds so girly and gay that, I don’t know, my hair just stood on ends hearing this song. I was like going WTF continuously till the song ends. It just derails all the greatness of this series so whenever the episode ends, I would quickly skip this ending credits just to save myself from having delusions that this song is going to pull down the greatness of this series. Yeah… It makes me wonder if they couldn’t find an appropriate song in the last minute and decided to go with this. The second opening theme, Make My Story by Lenny Code Fiction is also cool but not as great as the first. And thankfully no more gay songs for the second ending theme with the slow rock of Long Hope Philia by Masaki Suda.

Overall, the third season is still as superb as the first and second and I enjoyed every moment of it even the slow ones and that blatant movie promotional stint. While things are looking up for the superhero genre for this series, I can’t help be sad that at this unfortunate coincidental time that one of the greatest legends of comics, Stan Lee has passed away. The retirement of All Might suddenly hit me of this. They may be gone but they have left a great legacy behind forever to be remembered as well as give hopes and dreams to a whole new generation that would continue to spur those hopes and dreams to greater heights. And for people like me, that would be like waiting for the fourth season to come out, no? Oh yeah. We’re so blessed and wonderful indeed to live in an age of Plus Ultra. Excelsior!

Persona 5 The Animation

January 13, 2019

From my last Persona blog (heck, it was the only one), I stated that Persona 5 was one of the good games (although not entirely perfect) to have graced 2018 (even though I didn’t play it and heard it mostly from all the hearsay over the internet) and hence why I started my Persona adventure with Persona 4 so that I can watch Persona 5 The Animation. Because I was never familiar with the Persona series, I thought the plot were related but it seems this series is just like the Final Fantasy series and each instalment are not really related in terms of story and characters although the basic setting is somewhat the same. So did I waste time watching Persona 4? Well, I did have some fun watching that prequel and I would at least have an idea of some of the workings of this universe while watching this one.

Episode 1
Ren Amamiya makes his steal as a Phantom Thief. However when he escapes, he gets ambushed by the authorities waiting. He is arrested, drugged and beaten up to spill the beans. Sae Niijima takes over the case and tries to help Ren. She tries to make him remember the events that transpired. The other world and the stolen hearts. Flashback shows when he arrived in town, he noticed a strange app in his phone. Yeah, some strange fire demon! Delete the app. Sorry, it’s still there. His destination is a café run by Soujirou Sakura who leads him to the attic storeroom where he will be staying. It seems Ren ran into trouble with authorities and now has a criminal record. The court transferred him here and his parents agreed (like as though they got rid of a nuisance). Sakura took him in partly because of money and warns the slightest trouble, he will kick him out. He will stay here for a year under probation. That night, he dreams of being in prison. Actually as explained by Igor, this is the Velvet Room and it reflects his heart. This doesn’t bode well for his future and only ruin awaits. Next day he is taken to Shujin Academy where he will begin his schooling. Is it me or does the principal look like Kingpin? On that day there was a subway incident and the first call card from a Phantom Thief. Everyone thought it was a prank but it wasn’t so. The target was the school’s alumnus who was an Olympic medallist and now the school’s gym teacher, Suguru Kamoshida. Ren remembers waiting with Ann Takamaki as she was picked up by Kamoshida. Soon after, he and Ryuuji Sakamoto head to school but they thought they took a wrong turn and entered a strange Palace. Strange knights knock them out and they are imprisoned. They are shocked to see Kamoshida as the king. He didn’t like how Ryuuji insulted him and orders his execution. Ren is so scared that he could only watch helplessly Kamoshida beating up Ryuuji. Before he is killed, Ren’s a voice asks if his actions then were a mistake. Since it wasn’t, Ren now has the resolve. The painful transformation into a Phantom Thief leads to the summoning of his Persona, Arsene.

Episode 2
The duo manage to escape and return to reality. With them being late for school, worse still, Kamoshida starts badmouthing them and there’s nothing they could do about it because it’s partly true. Nobody becomes Ren’s friend due to his reputation and looks like only Ryuuji is his ‘pal’ as they are birds of the same feather. Ren hears rumours to stay away from Ryuuji as he could bring trouble. There are also rumours that Kamoshida uses physical violence on his volleyball club members so Ryuuji wants to use something like that Palace experience to bust him. Well, Ren can bring him there again. That is what that app is for. To go to that alternate Metaverse. Inside the Palace, they see prisoners being tortured. They also free a talking cat, Morgana who tells them more about this place as well as the alter ego of their rebellious side called Persona. They come face to face with Kamoshida but as Morgana explains, this is not the real him but his Shadow, an embodiment of his true dark desires. Kamoshida reveals the truth about Ryuuji’s past. Once in a track club, he used violence against Kamoshida who was supervising the club then and as a result of his actions, dragged his friends into it and caused the disbandment of the track club. Ryuuji accuses him of using violence on them just because he didn’t like them. Ryuuji falls into despair and feels there is no way out of this. Until Ren tells him to stand up and fight did Ryuuji feel something rebellious inside him bursting out. Yup, he has his own Persona too, the pirate Captain Kidd. Even Morgana has his own Persona, Zorro. Together they defeat the guards but when a sexy version of Ann appears, Ren makes the call to retreat. Can’t defeat the king of his Palace in this state? Ryuuji hears out the truth of Ren’s probation. He tried to stop a rape scene and ultimately hurt the rapist who is a top cop. Ren was arrested on false charges as revenge and it didn’t help the victim stayed silent. Ryuuji is touched by his story and his righteousness. They become good friends.

Episode 3
Ren and Ryuuji try to talk about the guys about the abuse but they all brush it off and call it part of training. They think of talking to the girls then so they approach Ann and her friend, Shiho Suzui. However Ann refuses to allow them and doesn’t want her friend further involved. Later Ren overheard Ann on the phone with Kamoshida. It seems he is threatening to cut Shiho from the volleyball team if she doesn’t go out with her. Ann realizes Ren is eavesdropping and although doesn’t like it, pours out her troubles. From her story, it is definitely Kamoshida using Ann with the excuse to get Shiho a place in the team. Hence the rumours about them dating are somewhat true. Ren and Ryuuji are shocked that Morgana can enter this real world but in the form of a real cat. A talking cat! He tells them to use the Palace to ‘reform’ Kamoshida. However there is a risk and they might end up killing the real Kamoshida. The guys might not like that guy but they don’t want him dead either. They try to find another way when suddenly Shiho jumps off the school building! Well, she survived. Though in coma. At this point, Ryuuji confronts Yuuki Mishima of the volleyball club because he was the one who was seen with Shiho, asking her to see Kamoshida. They confront the jerk but they have no evidence of his abuse. Worse, Kamoshida will have them all expelled soon. This calls for desperate measures. Time to head into the Palace. Morgana explains how the Palace connects to one’s heart. So if they make it disappear, Kamoshida will become a good guy and even confess to his sins because he cannot bear the weight of the guilt. Good news, he won’t remember them doing this. Bad news, if they rid of the wrong emotions or everything in its entirety, he will die. However the Palace is on alert as the real Ann strayed into it and got captured. Shadow Kamoshida threatens to kill her as Ann falls into despair upon learning she will take the blame if Shiho dies. Time for Ren to work his magical words. Is she giving up? Do you not want him to pay for Shiho? And with that, Ann revives. A Persona of her own, Carmen. Whipping woman destroys the Shadows although Shadow Kamoshida escapes again. The quartet return to reality as they form a team to solve this case and exchange contacts.

Episode 4
Call cards are placed all over school indicating Kamoshida will confess to his crimes. Sorry, Ryuuji. Nobody is appreciative of your designs. Of course that gym bastard isn’t happy with this and suspects our heroes. But he believes this will not get far as they will be expelled. The quartet make some preparations before storming into the Palace. It seems they must steal the treasure which is the core to be successful. It has a time limit so they must be fast. Infiltrating the Palace, they need t a key to stop the traps. So happen this guard has this weird key (makes it stand out?). The guard turns into a fairy. It seems nice to them until she realizes she isn’t part of Kamoshida and drifted in the sea of human hearts. From now on, Pixie decides to live inside them. More accurately, Ren. In the throne room, it is not easy to steal the crown treasure as Shadow Kamoshida has got it heavily guarded. He transforms into his monster form to fight them. Ren got knocked out by an attack. This takes him to the Velvet Room where Igor agrees to help him. Yup, he is given a new Persona. With this, Ren fights back and Ryuuji knocks off the Shadow’s crown. Weakened and cornered, the Shadow begs for mercy. He gives excuse he was pressured to live up to expectations but Ann is not impressed. He gave in to his selfish desires and took everyone’s dreams away. She wants to kill him now but this will not prove his crimes. She wants him to admit and atone them. With that, the Shadow admits his loss and will do as she says. Time to get out before the Palace crumbles. Back in reality, Kamoshida shockingly admits all the wrongdoings. He wants to atone by killing himself but Ann tells him not to run. There were so many things Shiho pretended not to see before she jumped. All of them have to live with that regret. Kamoshida obediently agrees and will surrender himself to the police. The friends are delighted this worked well and the best news of all, Shiho has woke up.

Episode 5
Goro Akechi is a famous high school detective. Yeah, he’s handsome to boot too. I guess that’s why girls are approaching him and some asking about the Phantom Thieves case popping up in their school. Meanwhile our Phantom Thieves trio are splurging at the buffet. Kamoshida’s treasure turned into some gold medal that they sold for quite a sum. Even if it’s fake. But at the buffet, they stumble into impatient people and those who quickly blame them despite not in the wrong. This has them think the world is filled with such adults. You only realize that now? Hence they get excited to form a group to cleanse them like how they did for Kamoshida. Yup, they’re calling themselves The Phantoms and Ren is their leader. They even have cool nicknames like Joker (Ren), Skull (Ryuuji) and Panther (Ann). Mishima has somewhat created a website for Phantom Thieves called Phansite as apology for his actions. There are lots of people putting encouraging words as well as those putting in requests. So they try to take up a request like this stalker case. Morgana leads them into Mementos. Consider this alternate dimension a public version of a Palace. So it’s like a subway? And Morgana can turn into a bus? Did they take inspiration of this from Totoro? They find their way to the stalker, Natsuhiko Nakanohara who is upset he is only being persecuted while the other party gets away. But after a while, Nakanohara gives up. Just like that? His change of heart allows new passages to open up in Mementos. Morgana explains he has no memories of his origins. Trying to investigate this made him lost in Kamoshida’s Palace. He believes solving this mystery would return him to his original human form. The gang gets motivated as they lay down more ground rules for how they should operate. Ren helps out at Sakura’s café. Sae and Akechi come in as customers. Later the Phantom trio have a feeling of being tailed. Could it be Akechi? Morgana warns them to be careful as they are now leading double lives. When they smoke out the culprit… Who the f*ck is this gloomy dude?

Episode 6
Yuusuke Kitagawa has been taken in by Ann’s beauty ever since he laid his eyes on her. As the pupil of art maestro Ichiryusai Madarame, he wants her to be his model. Expecting something else? They are given free tickets to his art exhibit this weekend. Madarame sounds like a nice and mature guy. Yuusuke shows Ann around but there is one artwork he tries to steer her away and even though she praises how good it is, he doesn’t seem happy. Later on the Phansite, there is a rumour circulating about a certain artist plagiarizing his student’s works and taking full credit for it. Also, he abuses them physically. They pay a visit to his shack to confirm with Yuusuke about the rumours but he vehemently protests. Even Madarame is polite and humble answering this and allows them in. In Yuusuke’s room, he shows them Madarame’s maiden art of Sayuri (why do I feel is the Japanese version of Mona Lisa?) that swayed him to take up arts. Also, Yuusuke had no relatives and Madarame took him in as his own. You could see why he is indebted to him. Our gang is about to drop this case thinking the rumour is a dud but then the app resonates. Could there be another Palace at this place? Might as well check it out. It is a huge museum and as Phantom sneak in, they see several portraits. One of them being Nakanohara. Conveniently they hear the monologue of Shadow Madarame that he really steals his students’ works. Because they flee, he breaks them so as they won’t defy him. As for the only student left, he will work him until he dies. They again confront Yuusuke about this and Yuusuke once again doesn’t like them accusing his master. Though, he did admit his master is in a slump and offered his works to help him out. So that isn’t plagiarism? He kicks them out and doesn’t want to see them again. Back home, Ren gets a message from Mishima that Nakanohara wants to meet a Phantom to help solve this problem of changing someone’s heart. Incognito, Ren meets Nakanohara who reveals he was a student of Madarame. Not only he stole their works but takes full credit for it. There was another student too but he committed suicide. He doesn’t want this to happen to the last student remaining. He asked if it was painful to stay with Madarame and was told he wanted to leave if he could. So it’s no surprise Phantom is going to set things straight.

Episode 7
So did Yuusuke allow Ann back in just because she agreed to do the nude? While investigating, they find a strange door inside the museum that had to be unlocked in the real world (which is inside Madarame’s house). This might contain Madarame’s dark secrets. And hence Ann ‘agreed’ to do the nude. No wonder she is wearing so many layers of clothes. This is to buy time for Morgana to pick the lock. Seriously, a cat’s paw trying to pick a lock? No wonder it’s going to take time. So when he is done, Madarame just got back. Inside are all Madarame’s paintings and the most shocking ones are duplicates of Sayuri. Madarame claims he went into a slump after the original one got lost and started painting copies in hopes of regaining his former self. But then they uncover the real one. Yuusuke can tell it is so because he studied the art very well and this was the painting that inspired him to walk this path. Madarame threatens to call security. Good timing for them to fall into the Metaverse. Yuusuke is in shock and refuses to believe at first until Shadow Madarame pops up and rants like a true villain of his evildoings. Yup, he created false rumours of Sayuri being stolen so he could sell copies to the rich. It’s all about money. The kicker has got to be when Madarame reveals he took Yuusuke in not because of the goodness of his heart but to nurture his talents and milk him like a cash cow. Yuusuke is so disillusioned that with this realization he summons his own Persona, Goemon. After a short fight, Shadow Madarame escapes. The rest don’t want to give chase because even if they defeat this Shadow, it will not change a thing. That will only happen when they steal his treasure. Back in reality, Yuusuke talks to them of his dilemma. He is now kicked out of Madarame’s house and has nowhere to go. Although this looks like the case of biting the hand that feeds you, now that Yuusuke’s eyes are opened, he wants to pursue the truth and expose Madarame’s wrongdoings. So let’s welcome the newest member of Phantom.

Episode 8
Calling cards are left everywhere to announce their steal. As Phantom prepares to steal the treasure, Shadow Madarame has it heavily guarded. Everywhere except from the top! Yeah, just do a Mission Impossible and run! Too bad this treasure is fake as Shadow Madarame smoked them out. But he made the fatal mistake of showing them the real treasure. The original picture of Sayuri. It is slightly different as the woman is holding the baby. Shadow Madarame’s blabber mouth has him reveal Yuusuke’s mom was his student and she was the original painter of this picture. The baby here is of course Yuusuke. His mom had a frail body and had a seizure before Madarame. He thought of stealing her works and let her die. Yuusuke’s talent was a blessing and that’s when it dawned to him it is better to rob future brats of their works who don’t talk back. He transforms into a monster that shoots ink that weakens you upon contact. Solution? Splash it back at him! The weakened Shadow pleads for his life as usual but Yuusuke won’t kill him and tells him to end all this and use his own art for once. In reality, Madarame makes a tearful confession of his wrongdoings all on camera. The public is abuzz not because of this confession but rather Phantom has struck again. As Yuusuke can’t stay in Madarame’s place or the dorms (because lack creativity), he wants to stay with Ann! WTF?! Did he decide on that himself?! Morgana suggests living at Sakura’s place. That old dude easily agrees because another troublemaker doesn’t make any difference. The friends celebrate with their own mini party. Yuusuke wants to know about their past since they know about his. Ryuuji tells of his dream to join a track scholarship to ease his single mom (dad left the family went he was young). Then the incident of using violence over Kamoshida. Mom was called and all the teachers were against her. She sat there quietly and Ryuuji cannot forget that look on her face when she apologized. As for Ren, I guess it is too long a story so we won’t hear it now. Everyone agrees all of them had it rough and perhaps that’s why they came together. They make a vow to bring corrupt adults to justice and go as far as they can. Next day, Yuusuke decides to leave and stay at the dorms as he realized what he needs is more human interaction. He leaves the Sayuri painting at the café as thanks.

Episode 9
Although Phantom has been gaining more popularity, there are some still sceptical of their motives. Ryuuji finds a tantalizing maid service poster in his box and has Ren and Mishima join in on this ‘maid research’ (it is to let loose some steam since they need to study to avoid their grades dropping and hence people suspecting them of being Phantom). I WANT IN TOO!!!! Because Ryuuji’s next door neighbour at the dorm has moved out, it is the perfect place to call for maid service. So when they do so, Ryuuji and Mishima chicken out and leave Ren to face with the cute maid calling. But Ren recognizes that voice. Isn’t Becky his homeroom teacher, Sadayo Kawakami? While she is being a cute maid (F*CK!!! I WANT TO SWITCH WITH YOU, REN!!!!), Ren manages to keep his face hidden. I guess Ren didn’t want any service (WTF????!!!) so Becky is about to leave and frustrated Ryuuji (you tell him!) almost screamed and Becky thought she heard a recognizable voice. That is when she sees Ren’s face. She admits the truth and thinks he heard this from their other teacher, Chouno. Since this will be bad for both of them, she hopes this incident will be forgotten. Ren later tells Morgana of this and of course the cat is surprised his teacher is moonlighting. They wonder if Kawakami has a bad relationship with Chouno. Seeing which, Chouno is reprimanding Kawakami about not attending meetings. Ren goes to ‘help’ her under pretence he needs some questions answered. Chouno immediately believes Kawakami has been avoiding meetings to help her students. Because Ryuuji still has problems with his fellow track members who are trying to form a new track team, Ren calls for that maid service again. This time at his place but only after Sakura closes his café. He tells her about Ryuuji’s case of why he punched Kamoshida as his mother was insulted. Now Kawakami understands Ryuuji’s case better. She informs the new track team’s advisor is to be Yamauchi who was close to Kamoshida. Ren goes to spy on Yamauchi who seems to be doing some shady stuffs like leaking info on students that Kamoshida told him before. Because of that, the track students gang up on a supposed traitor but Ryuuji steps in to quell all that by showing his forgiving side. He has put that Kamoshida’s past behind him because the worst part is not having a place to belong to but to lie to yourself and be a crappy person. He must be so confident that he offers to be punched to make them feel better. Yeah, he didn’t expect them to take up the offer. Did he specify how many punches per person? No hard feelings but they’re even now. Later as Ren and Kawakami talk, she updates him that the new advisor will be a former track coach coming back after the track members told this to Chouno who used her influence to stop Yamauchi from becoming the new advisor.

Episode 10
The class is invited as guests to a TV station where they watch Akechi being interviewed. He talks about Phantom needing to be put on trial because they are taking the law into their own hands (even though exposing the villain is another matter). Had they believe in real justice, they should not be doing what they’re doing now. But the issue at hand is how they change people’s hearts. Was it forcefully? If they have that ability, there is a possibility they might use it to commit crimes. Of course our Phantom friends continue to believe in their own justice and will do things their way. Meanwhile, Makoto Niijima, the student council president has been tasked to find the identities of Phantom by the principal. She is disillusioned since she was never told why and not to further question. However she targets Ren and his groupie as they are gathering suspiciously. She confronts them after thinking they have some trouble and she could hear them out. Ann distrusts her because of Shiho’s case in which the council didn’t do anything. Likewise, Makoto throws it back to her as Shiho’s closest friend, she didn’t do anything either. Their views on justice clash. But after school, Makoto summons Ren. Ren has no choice but to bring her to meet the other Phantom members. It seems she has a recording that proves their identities as Phantom. But she will not report them and wants to make a deal. In exchange for deleting this, she wants them to show the justice they speak of. She wants them to change the heart of a local yakuza leader who scams and blackmails people. He also uses his men to force students hanging out in the alleys of Shibuya to be drug mules. Makoto and Ren test this out and the rumours are true. Because Makoto won’t give a name, the rest think of a way to get so. The internet and media won’t help. They remember the journalist, Ichiko Ooya who was trying to snoop around Madarame’s case. Ren goes to meet her and in exchange for a name, she wants to interview students who were abused under Kamoshida’s reign of terror. After suggesting Mishima, the name he is looking for is Junya Kaneshiro. Now they’ve got a name, they need to look for his Palace. It’s ‘easy’ to find because that guy considers the entire Shibuya as his source of income. Yup, the entire Shibuya is his warped Palace. Not to mention that high tower mansion right smack in the middle.

Episode 11
Akechi wants to talk to Makoto about the Phantom Thieves but she is reluctant. Flashback shows her father was an upright officer but was targeted and killed in the line of duty. Hence it is a lot of stress for her sister, Sae who is working as a prosecutor. Because Makoto asks if their father would have sided with the Phantom Thieves as they make the bad confess their crimes, Sae snaps at her about being useless. Makoto goes to bug Phantom to see if there are any updates. Since useless is her taboo word and they find her pushy, she tries to prove a point by taking a risky action by meeting Kaneshiro’s goons and forcing them to bring her to them. Funny, they never check if she is using her handphone to record their conversation? Makoto meets Kaneshiro but is quickly outwitted when he knows what she is doing. It gets worse when Phantom come by. As they are in a bar, Kaneshiro takes a snapshot of them and threatens to send it to their school. If they threaten him or report to the police, he will ruin them and their families. Plus, he gives 3 million yen to his girl as excuse to relieve his stress and wants them to pay up or else. He lets them go as Makoto tells about her desperate case and situation. She realizes and admits she is useless. Morgana has an idea as they have become Kaneshiro’s ‘customers’, it is easier to access his Palace. They bring Makoto in so I guess it saves a lot of time explaining since she is a smart girl. Shadow Kaneshiro offers them to use their bodies to pay off their debt. Because he runs his mouth of wanting to make Sae his personal slave and then abandon her when he is done, this irks Makoto so much that she summons her Persona. Uhm, Johanna is a bike so that makes Makoto a hot badass biker girl?! A few kickass moments before they have to escape because security is tightening and now that they know how to access here, they’ll come back to steal his treasure next time. Back in reality, Makoto finds the irony of joining Phantom when she was supposed to investigate about them in the first place. It might look awkward between the sisters now since they are on opposing sides but she is confident normal investigations won’t reach this Metaverse.

Episode 12
in between trying to find the location of the treasure, we see Ann sincerely apologizing to Makoto for blaming her during the Kamoshida incident and they both call it even and become friends. Girl power when they both kick ass that it makes the guys shiver. Also, with Makoto being a bit socially awkward, Ren helps her to blow off some steam via hanging out. So when they have finally found the treasure, it has not materialized yet and must put forth the calling card so as to materialize it because the perpetrator will sense some danger to it and hence protect it. Phantom confront Shadow Kaneshiro as he turns into uhm, rapper fly monster?! Here’s his iron piggy vault. Cybertron? Piggytron?! Phantom cooperate to take down the Shadow and as usual, he confesses about all he wanted was a place of belonging and hence money was the only thing he has. But to take advantage of others? Looks like the place he will belong is the prison. However Kaneshiro warns them of another person who can enter Metaverse and taking advantage of it by doing what he wants. A person wearing a black mask who is more powerful than all of them. Back in reality, Phantom thought they have 30 million yen as reward from the treasure. Turns out to be fake money. Soon Kaneshiro calls Makoto to erase the debt and picture before turning himself to the authorities. Makoto presents her findings to the principal in which he is unhappy she finds Phantom as just. She resigns from this job. Back home, Makoto learns Sae isn’t happy despite Kaneshiro being caught. Because he confessed, nobody could take credit for his downfall and there goes her chance for promotion. Makoto thinks she has changed.

Episode 13
Some politicians have been arrested but it isn’t the work of Phantom. It is thanks to Akechi. Akechi visits Sakura’s café and talks to Ren. Again their opinions of Phantom clash as Akechi is still suspicious of Phantom’s methods. Yuusuke is in a slump so he seeks Ren’s help to find inspiration. He wants Ren to be his bodyguard as he finds his inspiration in Mementos. When he submits his work for competition, however Akio Kawanabe the director of the Japanese Art Support Foundation calls it mediocre and empty. But later he apologizes for his comments because he was hoping to give him some sort of motivation. Knowing Yuusuke is in a slump due to financial restraints, he is willing to provide materials and even a studio for his creativity to run wild. However Yuusuke realizes the catch that his art sells because of his good looks and this is not what he wants. Yuusuke will not allow this to taint his pride and the deal ends here. Later Ren is confronted by Akechi who has been doing some investigations after Madarame’s case. It seems Kawanabe is a shady person himself as he was friends with Madarame. After having young budding artists into a shady contract, he extorts them to cover costs of exhibits, etc. It would be a shame if Yuusuke falls into this trap again. But how is this related to Phantom? Because with such crimes, Phantom will no doubt move. As a detective he wants to nab this first and requires Ren’s help since he has no solid evidence. Ren agrees to help. So Ren finds himself juggling between helping Yuusuke finds his inspiration and Akechi solving the case but often hits a dead end as Akechi cannot trace where the money went. When Yuusuke hears the other Phantom members about their opinions on art, Yuusuke has his eyes open further. He realizes he will now draw to give hope to others. Next time when Ren sees Kawanabe and asks about several companies (supposedly where the money went), Kawanabe isn’t sure what he is talking about. The culprit turns out to be his secretary as Akechi nabs him before he could destroy the documents. Yuusuke enters another competition and wins it. Even Kawanabe admits he deserves to win. His provocation was to encourage Yuusuke. Admitting he was friends with Madarame, but they both had a fall out. Kawanabe offers to give him financial support with no strings but Yuusuke declines citing he has friends who will guide him if he is lost.

Episode 14
Now that Sae has heard what Ren says, it has become personal and believes in Phantom’s form of justice. We see Phantom change the heart of an online stalker. Although this episode sees how Mishima got screwed after meeting Ichiko in her drunk state (Ren’s answer to his grumbles: Off the handphone! Best function ever) and Yuusuke realizing it is hard to cut off Madarame totally even though he is scum because he is still family (for he raised him), the big bulk goes to Makoto still trying to find her place and expand her horizon as she hangs out more with Ren. In some shady parts of town, she inadvertently becomes friends with a fellow schoolmate who is moonlighting in this part of town, Eiko Takao. Makoto knows very well she is being scammed by her host club boyfriend, Tsukasa. Very much evident when she starts asking to borrow money. Makoto is bent on opening her eyes because it somewhat relates to her father’s death. He was investigating a syndicate preying on young girls when the accident happened. Despite the ‘proof’ Tsukasa only sees Eiko as an ATM as he cannot remember her name, Eiko still refuses to believe. And then Makoto slaps her to tell her she knows the truth but refuses to accept it. She complains she has nobody else. Only Tsukasa looks at her. With complaints about a certain host club guy scamming girls flooding Phansite, time for Phantom to move in as we cut to the chase to see them defeat Shadow Tsukasa. Eiko now finds her place with her friendship with Makoto. Makoto thanks Ren for everything as now she has finally decided how to live her life. She will become a police and help the weak like her father. Although the irony is that she is a Phantom Thief now. So uhm, she is going to catch herself?

Episode 15
An international hacker group, Medjed claims that Phantom is evil and want to bring them to justice. However they offer them to join their side and if they reject, the hammer of justice will find them. Of course Phantom is suspicious and unsure to take this seriously. Further info on Medjed shows they aren’t as just as they claim since they hack corporate info and use them as blackmail. In class, a strange phenomenon occurs. Everybody’s handphone except Ren’s start ringing for a short while. Back home, Ren gets a message from the perpetrator of this prank, Alibaba. Alibaba knows everything there is about Phantom and has a job for them. There is a certain person whose heart needs to be changed and in exchange, will do something about Medjed. Ren shows this to the rest and of course they are shocked. It is possible that Alibaba hacked their accounts since their chats are mostly online. Makoto advises to do important chats face to face. When Ren returns, there is a letter addressed to him. It is supposedly a calling card from Alibaba. However Alibaba seems not to be aware of the procedures and the things they need to know in order to steal hearts. First they require the target’s name. After thinking for a while, Alibaba says the target is Futaba Sakura. Alibaba wants them to do it now and threatens to expose them to public otherwise. As more info like keywords and Palace are needed, Alibaba thinks they are dodging the issue. After thinking, Alibaba decides to call off the case and will not expose them. Don’t pursue this any further. This leaves Phantom confused and unsatisfied. They ponder if Futaba is somewhat related to Sakura.

When Ren returns, he hears Sae threatening Sakura about some custody revoking thingy if he refuses to divulge some information. Something about abuse and domestic court and everything is in his favour if he just cooperates. Ren tries to ask but he is no mood to tell. The rest of Phantom is further puzzled because they think Futaba might be Sakura’s child and she is the one abusing him? Otherwise why change her heart? After all, they can’t imagine Sakura being an abuser. Moody and rude maybe but not an abuser. That night, entire Shibuya area has a blackout. Next day, Medjed claims responsibility on this. They claim Phantom has failed to respond and give them a last chance. Otherwise they will attack Japan via this method. It is possible that everyone will blame Phantom for this but as Ren notes if they give in, their justice will fail. Thinking if they could contact Alibaba again, Makoto reads again the chat. Could it be that Alibaba is Futaba? Needing more information, they head to Sakura’s house (since the café is closed). Good thing it is raining because it’s an excuse to barge into the seemingly dark house for refuge. Then the lights go out and they hear a scream. Makoto is most afraid as she clings on to Ren. Cheesy jump scare moment as Makoto meets eye with the ‘scary thing’. Don’t worry. Just Futaba. But so scared that they both screamed. Hilarious?

Episode 16
Futaba runs back to her hiding and Sakura just came back. Sakura feels it is time to explain things. Futaba is the daughter of an acquaintance. Her mom, Wakaba raised her as a single parent but is always busy with work. One day she killed herself before Futaba’s eyes and Sakura ended up taking custody of her. It was hard at first but slowly she opened up. However a few months back, she started getting scared and locked herself in, claiming she heard voices of mom looking at her. Investigating further, it is confirmed Futaba is indeed Alibaba and does have her own Palace. They try to talk to her outside her room (although, more like online chatting) but she believes her room is her tomb that she will die in. This is the keyword that takes them to her Palace. A huge Egyptian pyramid. It seems Phantom are not in their usual uniform since Futaba does not see them as the enemy. Inside, they see Shadow Futaba as the pharaoh queen. They also hear voices blaming Futaba as her mom’s killer. Shadow Futaba believes her mom is here and will die here. After she disappears, Phantom transforms into their uniform, a sign indicating she has considered them the enemy. Because of Futaba’s unstable state of mind, she leads Phantom deeper into the tomb and they almost get killed by traps. They see movies leading up to Wakaba’s death. Futaba blamed herself for wanting attention as she always had to eat alone but brushed her off citing work. In the final room where her treasure lies, Shadow Futaba says they need the real Futaba’s permission for it to open. Shadow Futaba appears before the real Futaba, asking her if she intends to blame and shut herself forever. Is she going to avert her eyes to the truth forever? If so, she will kill Phantom in the real world. Ren and co try to get permission to enter her room. They enter but she remains in hiding in her closet. After convincing her to trust them, she jumps out in awkward fashion, pleading them to steal her heart.

Episode 17
Apparently Futaba got the wrong idea about stealing her heart this way. Back into the closet. They leave their calling card before returning to the Metaverse. After Futaba reads it, it is like the permission Phantom need to proceed beyond the locked room. They face off with a sphinx with Wakaba’s face. As pointed out, this isn’t a Shadow but just Futaba’s cognition. Futaba cannot stand hearing those accusing voices as she barges out of the room and stumbles into the Metaverse and hence her Palace. With the accusations continuing, basically her Shadow is lecturing her that she knows the truth all along but continued to be in denial. She blames herself for existing, hence taking Wakaba’s precious time away from her research that would eventually result in her death. All the accusations are just excuses to justify why mom died. Once she has gotten over it, time for Futaba to get her own Persona. Uhm, tentacle rape into a UFO?! She creates cool weapons for Phantom to use against the sphinx until they defeat it. After it is over, the real Wakaba appears. The kind mother she has always been. They reconcile and Futaba moves on. As for her treasure, it is empty and Morgana deduces Futaba herself is the treasure. Back in reality, Futaba is fine but fast asleep. No major injuries. Just tired. Hey, this is commendable for a shut-in who just expended considerably a lot of energy! Sakura is so grateful he gives the gang tickets to Skytree. Enjoy yourself because today is also apparently the day Medjed will hack Japan. Nothing happens… When Ren returns, he sees Sae leaving. Sakura lets him know she is here to find out about Wakaba’s research. With a click of a button, Futaba hacks Medjed’s website and it’s all over the news! So easy?! Futaba explains she is the original founder of Medjed. Because she used her anonymity, others started using that moniker for themselves. She didn’t stop them because it was growing to be bothersome and let them be. She tossed away that name and now goes by Alibaba. In short, Medjed is probably a loose organization filled with weaklings. On to something more serious, Futaba believes her mom wasn’t killed in an accident but murdered. She wants Ren help bring the perpetrator to justice.

Episode 18
Futaba is invited to join Phantom and she doesn’t hesitate to say yes. Because Futaba’s social skills are still awkward, the friends take turn to hang out with her. Enough for her to ‘graduate’ to hang out at the beach. I guess it’s time we need our beach episode. At the end of the day, Futaba opens up more on her mom. She was into cognitive pscience. In short, she was researching a theory relating to the Metaverse about the other cognitive world that affects one’s behaviour in reality. Thinking she was trapped in that labyrinth and there was nothing she could do about it, that’s why she sought Phantom to steal her heart. Wakaba didn’t throw herself onto an oncoming car but rather she collapsed. Futaba tried to research and hacked online to find more about mom’s work but none was found. Like as though she never existed. Hence her reason to join Phantom is to find her mom’s killer rather than changing hearts. The rest don’t mind since she is one good hacker. Perhaps Futaba still has a long way to go to be independent socially. She thought she could hang out by herself at the mall but started to panic and freeze. If not for Ren and Ryuuji passing by, she could have cried until kingdom come. With Futaba joining them in Metaverse, it seems Mementos is growing bigger the more people love them. Their reputation skyrocketed after the Medjed incident. Sakura opens up to Ren about his regret that Wakaba told him she felt that she was going to die. Had he taken her more seriously, it wouldn’t have happened. Hence taking in Futaba was his form of redemption. But it looks like Futaba is not the only one having current problems. Ann got setup by a fellow model and her role usurped by her while Morgana starts having anxiety about being a cat. A cat has worries?! I guess this proves Morgana could be very much a human before.

Episode 19
Futaba gives Makoto a special USB that can bypass all passwords to copy whatever computer she inserts in. Thus Makoto uses it to download Sae’s investigation data. Meanwhile our gang is on a school trip to Hawaii! Aloha! Nothing really much going on here except them having fun like they should. An incident of Ren saving Hifumi Togo, a pro shogi player from American guys who want to flirt with her. Also, Ann got shut out of her own room so she had to sleep in Ren and Ryuuji’s room that makes it all so awkward. Meanwhile the principal is panicking as whoever is sponsoring him decides to cut ties. It doesn’t help when the media is trying to hound the school about Phantom ever since Kamoshida’s case. When the gang returns from Hawaii, they hear the principal has been killed in a street accident. We have seen that he has been hypnotized to the state of a mental shutdown that it made it look like he committed suicide. Of course no students sympathized with the principal’s death since it is an open secret he tried to cover up Kamoshida’s case. However the odd thing is that everyone now thinks this is Phantom’s doing and they are resorting to killing. Futaba reveals some of her findings of Sae’s investigation. Kunikazu Okumura, the CEO of Okumura Foods seems to be benefiting the most from the recent cases of scandals and competitors resigning. There are rumours that those around him have mental shutdown. Morgana and Ryuuji want to quickly take this guy down but the rest don’t want to rush in and do more investigations first. This leads to the group being split and oddly Morgana and Ryuuji getting into a heated debate. Morgana will take on this job himself. Too bad he fails. I guess no cat is an island. Meanwhile Sae and Akechi are in desperate need to turn around their reputations as the people still side with Phantom than them.

Episode 20
Morgana has a new Phantom Thief partner? Thanks to Futaba’s hacking, she manages to easily find keywords to access Okumura’s Palace. They see robots being worked to the bone and if they fail, they are thrown away. Then here pops up Morgana and his partner, uhm, Beauty Thief? At first they thought she is the culprit as she wears a black mask but after lots of bloopers between the cat and her, it looks more like one big goofy uncoordinated act. They have to flee when security arrives. Ren and co quickly deduce that Haru is the one behind Beauty Thief and she is Okumura’s daughter. It seems everybody has a lot to say about her father and hence she entered his Palace to find out the real him. That is when she stumbled into Morgana and they become a pair. When they offer to help her, she rejects them because they couldn’t even do anything to help Morgana. When Haru returns, it seems her father just finished making some calls that would allow him to enter the political foray. He wants her to get more acquainted with Sugimoto, the son of a politician whom she will marry just to advance his political goal. Yup, that’s what father shamelessly said. Phantom meets Morgana in the Metaverse in hopes of mending their relationship. It looks like everything is heading for the better until Ryuuji overdone it by saying that taboo word of useless. Back to square one. Sugimoto comes to pick up Haru (father approved putting GPS on her!). He doesn’t like her hanging around this parts and needs to teach her a lesson to avoid a scandal. But wouldn’t this cause a scandal? Morgana tries to bite him but got kicked. Ouch. Morgana’s cries must be so loud that Ren and co could actually hear and rush to the spot! Not wanting further commotion, he lets her go but will report this to her father. Back at Ren’s place, they nurse Morgana but the cat still wants to go his own way after viewing himself as a burden. When Haru asks why he wants to become human, Morgana says it is his reason to stay. Not being part of Phantom means having no place to belong. He wants to stay here forever. I’m sure the friends don’t need any reason for him to stay. And with more cheesy friendship assurance, Phantom is back as a whole. Haru also takes this chance to be honest as she blurts out how she hates that Sugimoto creep. And everyone has a good laugh. But more woes for Haru as her father has been indicted and he unofficially puts her in Sugimoto’s care.

Episode 21
Haru tells her friends about the forced marriage. As to why her father became ruthless and cold hearted, the trigger is believed to go way back to when grandpa was still the company’s president. However he still run small cafes and prioritized the customers’ smile. Sometimes he even gave free food. Because of that, the shop closed down after losing revenue and he passed away shortly. Her dad started prioritizing profits after he took over. They venture into the Palace to see Shadow Okumura. Uhm, a space alien robot Dracula? He blatantly gives Shadow Sugimoto the permission to do whatever he wants to Haru so long he gets his foothold in politics. Shadow Sugimoto transforms into a robot to fight them. I suppose this part is necessary because Haru needs to awaken her Persona, Milady to kick ass. Returning to reality, the friends ask one last time if she really wants to go ahead with this because once her dad changes heart, there will be lawsuits and she will be branded as a criminal’s daughter. She doesn’t mind all that. When Okumura receives a calling card, he is not cowed and instead goes to the police. Phantom enters the Palace to steal his treasure. Shadow Okumura gives Haru one last chance to join him and of course she won’t, Phantom as usual combine their Persona powers to take him down. Shadow Okumura becomes very remorseful for his wrongdoings. However he isn’t the one behind the mental shutdowns and merely requested to eliminate competitions. Before they can grill him further, the Palace crumbles. But it is a guy in black mask that kills off Shadow Okumura. In the aftermath, Okumura becomes withdrawn and shuts himself in his room. The friends celebrate this success at the amusement park. Originally the company booked it for its employees but cancelled due to the scandal. Since no refund, might as well enjoy themselves. Yeah, the whole park to themselves. Conveniently it is time for Okumura’s live press conference. He confesses abusing his workers and everything. But before he gets to the important part, suddenly he bleeds black ink and collapses?! WTF?! Oh sh*t! Meanwhile Sae has become more engrossed and obsessed in nabbing Phantom and she thinks the recent incidents will be her ticket to glory.

Episode 22
Okumura is dead. Doom and gloom. Ren and co are feeling sad but it gets worse. Just when they ponder if they are responsible for Okumura’s death, people are now turning against Phantom and posting that they are criminals. People’s allegiance are so fragile thanks to the internet. Meanwhile Sae has been entrusted with the position to solve this Phantom Thieves case by her senior. It is a big job and she goes into overdrive mode to work hard (despite she is already overworked herself) as she views this as her big promotion chance. The police even starts interrogating students from Shujin and Futaba’s hacking shows that somebody used the Medjed’s name to hack into the Phansite to make it Okumura as the top target for them. Hence, the culprit had planned to blame them from the start. They literally danced into his palm for the last couple of months. For now they must lie low. Mishima is displeased with all this so he shows Ren a photo of an up and coming actor. He is cocky so he hopes Phantom could do something about this dude and restore their reputation. Ren is such a good listener that a chance meeting with Hifumi has them becoming shogi friends. She hears out what he wants to say. So as not to be all doom and gloom, Shiho even thanks Ren for all the encouragement he and Ann gave her. When Phansite makes a big announcement that anyone who attacks Phantom will be punished, it’s time for Phantom to head into Mementos to confront Mishima’s Shadow because Ren can tell it is Mishima’s cry for help. In short, he is jealous he too wanted to be noticed and be a hero. He wants them to change his heart but Ren tells him not to quit and face himself. Yeah, they just left like that. In reality, Mishima feels so much better. He doesn’t want to shut down Phansite as long as there are voices crying out for their help. On a bright note, he has also started writing a documentary on Phantom to record all their doings. He will always support them.

Episode 23
For the school’s cultural festival, it seems the students voted unanimously for Akechi to be their special guest. They’re tired of the constant police surveillance and interrogation and want this princely detective to help out. At first Makoto thought they should lie low and not attract any attention but then decide if they are going to need police intel, might as well try to talk to him via this panel. Recently Akechi who was suspicious of Phantom now seems to be supporting them as if gives his interviews on TV. A day before his supposed appearance, he visits the school grounds just to check out. This ‘funny’ scene where he ate a spicy takoyaki and he became so comical! WTF?! Abort mission. Time to go home. At the panel, the students quickly ask if Phantom was behind the murder of their principal. Quickly, Akechi dismissed that Phantom would murder and in fact he knows their identity. A well timed phone call has him take a break. But this is part of his plan to call Ren and co to discuss. He knows they are Phantom as he has photo evidence of them ‘disappearing’ into Metaverse. He knows they are not the kind to murder. Because recently he managed to enter Metaverse and stumbled into the man in a black mask who tried to kill him. Desperate to live, Akechi summoned his own Persona to escape. Because the police has decided Phantom is the culprit, Akechi would like to strike a deal to help them. In exchange he will turn a blind eye to all they have done. Otherwise he will hand in this proof to the police. Sae is now pressured to solve Phantom’s case and is only given a month. Because of that, it is announced there is a 30 million yen bounty on them. Phantom has no choice but to work with Akechi. He gets straight to the point that he wants to change Sae’s heart as he has discovered her Palace. At this rate she will fabricate evidence and pin the blame on an unrelated culprit. Changing her heart would also protect her because if the real culprit finds out she is the one investigating all this, they will target her life and she is perfect to place the blame on Phantom. Changing her heart will also restore Phantom’s reputation and a warning not to mess with them. With them backing off, it will only be a matter of time Akechi catches the culprit. This also means this would be Phantom’s last mission. They ask why Akechi is so hard up in pursuing this justice. He admits it is a petty grudge and contempt for a certain someone. It is a reason why he came to them for help.

Episode 24
Sae’s Palace is a courthouse and a casino? Because she thinks going to court is a must win. Unless you’re the house, you will often lose at the casino… Shadow Sae (is she auditioning to be part of KISS?) pops up before them and even tells them where the treasure is as she believes in a fair fight. But to get to the top of the building, they need to earn a member card. Their reconnaissance ends for today and we get to see Akechi kickass with his Persona, Robin Hood. But there is another problem brewing. Sakura found a calling card in Futaba’s room. Man, Futaba is running away and avoiding Sakura at all cost! Although Sakura acts normal, the rest feel to avoid treading on this topic if it is not brought up by him. But it gets worse as Futaba’s uncle walks in and is asking for money or he threatens to take Futaba back. He is confident the court will be on his side as blood related has higher priority than legal guardian. With Futaba in depression, she can’t perform as usual in Metaverse as Phantom keeps losing their bets in the casino! Sakura later talks to Ren about Futaba’s case. After her mom died, she was tossed around between the relatives for a place to stay. Her uncle was the last to receive her and treated her like dirt. Sakura couldn’t stand it and decided to pay him off to take guardianship over her. With this problem coming to light, Akechi personally wants to help Futaba because he too knows what it feels like from being tossed from home to home as he was from the orphanage.

The next time uncle comes to ask for money again, Sakura declines both options to pay him or give Futaba. Nice timing for Akechi to come back with his investigations showing he lost money due to bad investments. Stupid uncle tripped himself but blames Ren for pushing him and is going to sue them. Soon, his lawyers come knocking on their door. They look like they have the upper hand since Sakura wasn’t exactly a good guardian either. You know, that time Futaba was being a shut-in and he didn’t do anything about it. But luckily for them, Morgana tells Futaba that Sakura is in trouble. So she runs all the way down to the café to say how she has been happy living here since. Even Ren answers them that he too has been happy ever since living here. The lawyers are happy to hear that seeing they received unfounded nasty reports on him but seeing this for themselves, they believe he has not caused any trouble. Now that this case is solved, Sakura wants an explanation about the calling card. Futaba tries to explain without giving away too much. However Sakura hints he knew all about it. I mean, a shut-in suddenly wanting to go after meeting Ren? What about Yuusuke who came and left a painting? He knew something was up. But rest assured, he will keep this a secret as he owes it to them too for taking care of Futaba. And now that Futaba’s uncle has officially dropped his case to get Futaba or the money, Futaba is on a roll again. Phantom is now able to win their games and earn enough for a member’s card to challenge Sae.

Episode 25
However even getting the card and even upgrading it, they need coins to access the next floor. So, fight more monsters to earn coins? That’s like RPG grinding, right? Of course with risky games means higher rewards and Ren was able to pull off one big fight by himself and earn the necessary. However despite all the hard work and getting enough coins for the next floor, the coin requirements to the final floor is astronomically high. Their trial would never end (somewhat a reflection of Japan’s court cases that the accused is often 99.9% found guilty). But thankfully Akechi had foresight and initially had the original card and used it to make bets. With them winning so many trials, I guess they don’t have to slog and have just enough to finally reach the treasure room. All that is left is to place the calling card. Akechi suggests placing the calling card in the last minute because Sae is a realist and she would be on guard. Last minute infiltration will most likely to get her materialize her treasure. It is decided to place the calling card 2 days before the investigation. Makoto awkwardly hands the calling card to Sae, claiming it is from the mail. Sae is of course not pleased she is now branded a criminal by them. This only makes her go into overdrive mode to catch them first. Conflicted Makoto can’t help but cry but assures she will always be on her side. When Phantom finally face off with Shadow Sae, she complains about the injustice that befell her father that put a lot of pressure on her. That is why she is so certain justice will always win. Well, depending on how you define justice. Phantom attack together as Makoto tries to open her eyes and convince her to remember the reason why she went into public prosecution in the first place. Eventually they defeat her and her treasure is her father’s investigation diary. However it seems somebody tipped off Phantom and the enemies have surrounded the Palace. Ren decides to distract them while the rest escapes.

Episode 26
Riot police storm into the Metaverse to capture Ren. For the next few days, the news is abuzz about the captured leader of Phantom although Ren’s identity is still kept in wraps. As the rest of Phantom gather (naturally the sullen and gloom mood), Akechi has used his connections to determine where Ren is. He believes that somebody leaked info to the riot police about the Metaverse (how the f*ck do they even enter?! Do they have the app?!) and that the guy in the black mask could just be a pawn for the true mastermind behind it all. It seems Sae has also been taken off the case and now the police is fully handing it. Akechi’s plan is to sneak in and take Ren away. It’s the only option. As too many of them might make things harder. Now that Sae has finished her interrogation with Ren, she tells him she can get him a lighter sentence if he confirms the name of his accomplices (wasn’t she paying attention to his long flashback?!). Nothing but silence. Not even if there are any other partners he is working with or if Akechi had a hand in this. All he says is that this is for justice, sticking to the right path. Even if that means not ratting out his friends. Sae’s time is up and she knows from the direction of this case, she won’t get credit. Ren asks if she is giving up on justice. Then he tells her to show some person the Smartphone. This part is very unclear because Ren was collaborating with Morgana and Futaba on this particular plan that only Ren can pull off and it has to be precise. With Ren playing the pronoun game, Sae seems to realize what he is saying and cannot fathom his goal. Too bad I don’t! TELL ME! After Sae leaves, she bumps into Akechi and it is his turn to interrogate Ren. She shows him Ren’s Smartphone but keeps it as it is proof of the investigation. When the guard lets Akechi in, Akechi steal his gun and shoots him! Then Akechi shows his true colours. He shoots Ren in the head and makes it as though both killed each other and walks away.

Behind The Mask: The Art Of Stealing Hearts
What the f*ck?! WHAT THE FFFFFUUUUUUUU??????!!!!! This has got to be one of the worst endings ever in the history of anime?! It can’t end like that can it?! Is this what we get after sitting through one of the longest ever flashbacks of anime?! You thought Hinamatsuri or Tenjou Tenge was bad but this takes the cake. Of course I knew this couldn’t be the real deal because Akechi being the traitor wouldn’t just quite cut it. I mean it would have been the biggest shocking twist and fans would have poured scorn all over it. So of course to satiate my curiosity, I went to do a bit of research and true enough, there is more to meets the eye than this betrayal. So it is all linked to some up and coming rising politician. Yeah, Ren isn’t really dead. Just some illusion and whatever f*cking cognition Metaverse thingy. I suppose those who played the game will only understand and know about this as this would be the next target and arc in this series. But as far as the anime goes, it ends here and I would say it would be pretty much unfair to have that kind of ‘shocking’ ending and leaving viewers in a lurch. If this is some sort of way to get people to buy the game and find out, well, I just read the details over the internet so it didn’t work.

Well, the story if you look at it overall is pretty much the same and if I should say, somewhat bland. Just like its predecessors, a bunch of kids who believe they can rid the corrupted adult world with their concept of justice and do so by entering another world. This is a formula that stays largely the same in every arc even for this season alone. They just present it to us in a different way, using different characters (by putting them in the limelight) and using different settings. But at least this season is not as crappy as in Persona 4 because when they started bringing in that God thingy, yeah, that was the straw that really broke the camel’s back. Hence Persona 5 is somewhat tolerable because they didn’t bring in this God-like factor and everything that has been done was the direct effect and consequences of our Phantom kids themselves.

Of course when you continue to compare the setting with Persona 4, Persona 5 has a lot of things to deal with and hence you can’t really make up sh*t. I mean, not to say that this season is so much better but when you consider the previous season takes place in a very sleepy town compared to this season’s metropolis Tokyo, there are a lot of other factors to take into account to keep the realism. Because the backwater town of Inaba with hardly anything exciting going on in the townspeople’s lives, hence those kids in Persona 4 were able to run around as they pleased like as though they own the town. Sure, the ones in Persona 5 too feel like that but Tokyo is such a big city and really, who gives a f*ck?

This is perhaps the reason why nobody really gives a f*ck when Phantom departs from reality to enter Metaverse. I mean, do you not notice when they head into the Metaverse, it is often during daylight and in crowded public places? With so many people around, do nobody even notice this?! Sure, they want to give a different setting of the other world instead of being thrown into TV by midnight. Heh. Who watches TV these days? I guess everyone is so glued to their Smartphones that they don’t even see Phantom entering Metaverse. Not that Phantom wore any disguise when they head in. Just their usual plain clothes. I suppose when you have a big sprawling city, everybody is minding their business and don’t want to get involved even if they witness a simple crime. Not my business. Yeah, that’s the sad reality of today. No wonder the world is so corrupted.

And even though the internet was filled with fervour of supporting Phantom, this no-action by those very same people who instigate over the internet are the reason why Phantom is able to get the job done without anyone coming close to finding out who they are. It’s just so right under their noses. I wonder if time in Metaverse flows differently because if Phantom spend a lot of time there (assuming they do a lot of requests), won’t people in real life wonder where they have gone? Oh right. I forgot people don’t care especially Ren and Ryuuji are like outcasts so nobody is really going to bother.

Because of that kind of ending, unlike Persona 4, this season feels unfinished and have so many loose strings, you might even get lost of keeping track of them. Of course many of the questions would be answered if you play the game but let’s keep this focused on the anime side. Like the man in the black mask that is supposed to be the primary antagonist or another pawn, his identity is never really known. Heck, we don’t even know if Morgana was a human or Shadow or just some mutated cat. Ren’s so called rehabilitation in the Velvet Room is also left hanging. Did he manage to break out of the prison in his heart because of good behaviour or not? And since there is no extra episode like they did in Persona 4 , I guess as far as Persona 5 is concerned, anime viewers will definitely be left having a bad aftertaste in their mouth. Having no closure (at least in the season proper) is one of the worst things for a viewer to experience. (Edit: Actually they did release a special. I hope the Dark Sun special released recently would help clarify things).

Character wise, despite the entire casts are new, they feel like recycled and reshuffled from Persona 4. Ren = Yuu (main leading male character), Ryuuji = Ryousuke (the rascal), Ann = Yukiko (beautiful babe), Makoto = Chie (tomboyish), Futaba = Rise (the otaku, just switch from idol to hacker – but their Personas in the battlefield are similar: To obtain info), Akechi = Naoto (detective prince), Morgana = Kuma (animal mascot), Sakura and Sae = Doujima (I guess they needed to split the father figure as well as the overworked one hot on the heels of our heroes). I guess by elimination would Yuusuke be the alter ego for Kanji? Just swap out gay sexuality for abuse. Besides, aren’t many artists gay? Or at least they look so. So sorry, no Nanako loli this season but at least we got Makoto as imouto (barely).

But I believe this season the characters don’t feel as much annoying and retarded as its predecessor. For example, Ren who might still be as quiet and taciturn as Yuu, at least he does not feel like a retard like the latter. Although Ren does feel a bit gay because you know, he is soft spoken and with that kind of sissy bespectacled looks, it does give off that kind of impression. There is also less annoyance in Morgana compared to Kuma whom we all remembered as some weird bear whose other main role is to try to be a lady killer. Though, Morgana’s character suffers the most compared to the others because there is a lack of back story of who Morgana really is. Just a mind boggling question about Morgana: Is it some sort of trigger that once you enter Metaverse you will be able to hear this cat talk in reality?! Basically the characters in Phantom have their moment of spotlight but once their problem is resolved, it is unlikely they become in focus again. But a few distractions especially in the later arcs like that pertaining to Futaba’s family (her jerk uncle trying to take her away) try to give a bit more of the spotlight to them but then again, it feels nothing more like just distractions.

Futaba as a hacker feels more like a convenient plot device. Because since she is just so good in her hacking and could even fend off Medjed even though they’re just fake bully pussies (I wonder if this is a subtle reference to today’s Antifa…), I’m surprised that she didn’t even hack into the Pentagon yet just for fun. Even if the anime portrays Akechi as somewhat a traitor in the end, because after all, him being part of Phantom and as the latest member feels a bit shady. He is the only one who met the guy with the black mask and with him having connections in the police force, it makes him the likely to betray. But I just want to point out here that at least this detective is a better one compared to his predecessor. That’s you, Naoto. Maybe we don’t see him working on how he gets his clues but at least it is better than Naoto who was annoying when she was in a pinch after hitting a dead end. If only there were clues. or hints…

Some of the other supporting characters outside Phantom feel wasted. For example that Hifumi girl. I was wondering why they introduced her since she had no really specific role in the series. I am not sure if she has a greater role in the game but in this anime she really felt wasted and unnecessary. It’s like as though Ren needed some more female companions and I suppose she is the only one who gets to play shogi with him. I thought she would be a new Phantom recruit because it also felt quite formulaic that after every major arc that Phantom changed the heart of their target, the one they helped will usually join them. So I guess Hifumi didn’t have her own problems big enough for that to happen. Mishima also feels the same. Even though he is an ardent fan of Phantom and manages to help manage Phansite, he just feels more like a mini informant. I suppose Ren and co are too busy checking in detail the website so it must be a good thing they have somebody around to point out the important stuffs.

Also Becky feels really wasted. Just when I found a nice maid character to like, looks like she has no problems too that would warrant Phantom to help out. Becky, can you please leave your number so I can call you for a much needed maid service? And there was that nurse who sporadically checks on Ren’s health. Like what the heck is it for? And that Ichiko journalist? Can be done without. Even that good politician who gives speeches that nobody listens except for Ren? That fortune teller girl? Don’t try to put in so many stuffs that don’t matter! What happened to Sugimoto? Was that short fight of this sub-boss in Okumura’s Palace it? It’s strange how Okumura’s death, Haru doesn’t have to marry this jerk, which is good since she prefers hanging out with Phantom than be kept as his trophy wife or something. Many of these characters look like minor but important characters. They could be or they could be not (at least in the game) but sometimes I wonder if they are necessary since the anime was going to end like that.

Probably why this season doesn’t feel as annoying as the previous one is because it lacks annoying running jokes as well as the lack of any romance. Persona 5 have their own small brand of weird jokes but it is nothing you’ll laugh out loud. Just maybe a little chuckle. I’m sure those who have watched Person 4 would remember that strange Chinese food delivery girl, Aika. There was this running joke she could delivery her beef bowls to you anywhere at any time without fail. And there is a super large serving of her beef bowl which is supposedly endless because nobody has ever finished it. Persona 5 has cut out that sort of nonsensical distractions and it is no wonder why I partly feel that this season is somewhat gloomier even though there was no mysterious fog. And of course no Kuma as a joker comical character to fool around, hence making it absolutely 100% no chance of ruining the scene with his fail flirting. Also, no other annoying characters like that slut teacher and proud ugly fatso in Persona 4…

I suppose with the kids being too focused on trying to change the hearts of corrupted adults, that is why there is no romance factor here. Not sure if it is refreshing but thankfully the plot was still interesting enough for me to not even notice there was none of the romance factor until the season ended! I can’t really imagine if Persona 5 really put in some romance factor because the one in Persona 4 was cheesy. There were some episodes there that subtly hinted the girls trying to vie for Yuu’s attention! I guess we didn’t want to remember how bold Rise was with her love for Yuu. Or that side love story of Ebihara girl for her Ichijou basketball dude (that Eiko one felt more like a friendship side story for Makoto). The closest the romance that I ever notice is Makoto for Ren. You’ll notice that a few scenes has them hanging out together and the final arc since Makoto was really torn about saving Sae but I might just be over reading things.

This season’s Velvet Room feels a lot lacking. It shows Ren being a prisoner as opposed to Persona 4 whereby it is a first person view in some limo. This Velvet Room also feels very disjointed to the story and I can’t help see how it supposedly connects Ren. But I suppose it is an excuse they need for him to get his Persona and proof himself. Yeah, so why the others don’t go through this same thing? Why does Ren get ‘special treatment’? And just when you could actually see Ren is doing well in his new life, he is still a prisoner in the Velvet Room. Like nothing has changed. So was he putting a mask to hide is true feelings all the while?

The fight scenes might be one of the staple elements in the Persona games but it is not a strong one in the series. I believe it is not really the focus here in this season too. Although you can see some of the visual elements of the battles borrowed and following the game closely, the fight scenes are just enough for Phantom to show us that single fight move their Persona does. Not that I can see the difference anyway. Besides, just like last season, it is never explained why Ren gets to have multiple Personas. I am not sure if it is a good thing but this season didn’t even explain at all. All of a sudden Ren shows off a new Persona which he never uses again. I know last season never explained it too but at least there was this moment to tell us he would be getting a new Persona. This time around, it suddenly appears. Not that I can see how important it is because as long as Phantom defeats their Shadows, it is all that matters. It is also a good thing that they replace glasses with masks because at least each has different designs unlike Persona 4’s same ol’ glasses that just makes them look nerdy and weird. It’s a nice reverse setting of instead of putting on glasses to see through the fog, you rip off your mask to unleash your full potential that your mask is holding you back. Cool.

For the art and animation, everything looks much gorgeous and better compared to Persona 4. The characters and backgrounds do look a lot better and with higher quality and as said, they borrowed some of the visuals from the game. Even the Persona and Shadow designs are much better. Although they still look ridiculous at some point, at least it is not as comical. At least they look badass and play their part to kick ass even if it is for a short moment. Persona’s 4 school uniform might look weird with those stitch lines so I can breathe easy that this season’s school uniform doesn’t look that weird. Okay, I take that back a bit because the pants or skirts have this plaids pattern and sometimes I thought they resemble more like pyjamas than school longs. Seriously. But is it me or does their school look like a prison facility because of the mesh wirings over the windows! Yeah, the school looks boring and gloom enough to even give off that feel. Kawakami’s clothes as a teacher is just weird. In the sense that she dresses so casual that it seems to ring this feeling that she doesn’t want to be here doing this teaching job. Yeah, I suppose she looks much better in a maid outfit! Huzzah for that!

I’m also glad that this season that they decide to use a real cat instead of a weird looking bear whenever the animal mascot comes to reality. I suppose everyone in a big city will eventually get suspicious if for example Morgana in reality takes the form of a very strange but cute looking cat. Sure, it would garner some fans but we saw how annoying Kuma was even in his handsome human boy form (I can’t complain then when Morgana transforms into some monster bus). So it is a good thing that Morgana remains a cat but I just have to live with the fact that a real cat is talking to the kids. Others might think weirdly of them because from an outsider’s perspective, it’s like as though this group worships the cat and ‘talks’ to it although others can only hear it purr. Although the other character designs are good with lots of bishonen and bishoujo, I have this odd feeling when I looked at Futaba. She looks oddly familiar… Aha! She looks a bit like that Inkling girl from Splatoon!!!! OMG! I’m serious! No wonder she is the most popular waifu among fans of Persona. Or maybe she is just so socially awkward and shy that it makes her irresistibly kawaii. On a side note, Ren’s bruises during his interrogation makes it look like he has some sort of incurable skin disease. Yucks. Looks awful (effect wise, that is). Really.

Probably the higher quality in animation is due to the fact that it is done by CloverWorks, a relatively new studio. Although Slow Start is the only work I have previously seen done by them, it seems they are trying to animate other anime series that no one expects will be having a sequel. At least not at this point. Because they are also doing the final season for Fairy Tail (although joined with A-1 Pictures and Bridge) as well as the second season of Gyakuten Saiban and the upcoming Fate/Grand Order. Persona 4 was animated by AIC A.S.T.A. and perhaps most of us then expected Persona 5 to be animated. Just not by this company.

For the voice acting part, when I say it feels like Persona 4, what I meant is that there are lots of seiyuus that I recognized! Persona 4 too had many famous seiyuus but that was way back in 2011-2012. In the current year I would have thought that there would be new ones taking over but apparently they decided to use veterans to please me. I am so delighted that I could really identify a big majority of the main characters like Jun Fukuyama as Ren, Mamoru Miyano as Ryuuji, Nana Mizuki as Ann, Tomokazu Sugita as Yuusuke, Rina Satou as Makoto, Daisuke Sakaguchi as Mishima, Yuuko Kaida as Sae and Jouji Nakata as Sakura. It is only Haruka Tomatsu as Haru that I failed to recognize as I haven’t been hearing a lot of her recently. So forgive me? Not! The only seiyuu who returned to this series is Aoi Yuuki. In Persona 4 she was Aika (who was of an anime only character) but now she upgraded into a main character role as Futaba. Lastly, Ikue Ohtani as Morgana. Ah, yes. It is good to finally hear her voice other than a yellow electric mouse or a tanuki. Oops, I mean tonakai. Although I have heard her voice in a few other series, but I guess she is only as memorable as Pikachu or Chopper. Hopefully Morgana would be added to this list because you know, a cat. The only other main character I didn’t recognize is Souichiro Hoshi as Akechi (Kei in Onegai Teacher, Goku in Saiyuki series, Nagi in Tenjou Tenge).

However there is one character whose voice that I seem not to find fitting or at least to my liking. That is Igor who is voiced by Masane Tsukayama (Gol D Roger in One Piece). The Igor in Persona 4 sounded mischievous despite his voice sounding very gay. And that’s not a bad thing. However in Persona 5, he has this very low and evil voice and even if they want to make him sound like a creepy character, it doesn’t. Because he still looks like that same ‘comical’ Igor. You see, Isamu Tanonaka who was the original voice of Igor passed away even before Persona 4 was animated. Hence his lines are fixed and that is why we needed Margaret to ‘explain and elaborate on his behalf’. Maybe that is why this season Igor doesn’t need any beautiful assistant this time and has 2 cute loli prison guards (which I just found out are voiced by Aki Toyosaki!) to keep Ren in check. Still, I didn’t really find this new voice for Igor fitting. Hmm… Doesn’t Sae look a bit like Margaret? Perhaps that was why when I first saw her I was confused and thought she was her.

The rest of the other casts are Mai Fuchigami as Kawakami/Becky (Nagisa in Ansatsu Kyoushitsu), Akemi Satou as Shiho (Shiori in Kanon), Yumi Uchiyama as Ichiko (Momiji in Binbougami Ga), Yuji Mitsuya as Kamoshida (Tofu in Ranma 1/2), Yukitoshi Hori as Madarame (Robert in Blue Gender), Hirohiko Kakegawa as Okumura (Mihawk in One Piece), Takahiro Fujimoto as Kaneshiro (Martinez in Oretachi Ni Tsubasa Wa Nai), Minako Arakawa as Wakaba (Judia in Ragnarok The Animation) and Tomomi Isomura (Shouko in Baka To Test To Shoukanjuu).

This time, all the songs are sung by Lyn. However they have this same feel like those sung in Persona 4. Many of the songs have this jazzy feel and beat to it whether it is fast or slow. It feels energetic but not enough for all that jazzy energy to burst out. Like as though in a way it is subdued. Also, the songs are all in English since the lyrics are written by Benjamin Franklin. No! Not the founding father of America coming back to life to give you words to the songs!!! Ah, such coincidences. Anyway, I prefer the first opening theme, Break In To Break Out compared to the second one, Dark Sun. Both are good but the former sounds cooler and fits the pace of the series much better compared to the latter which I feel suits better for a spy themed series rather than a phantom thief one. As for the ending theme, I also much prefer the first one, Infinity as it is more fun and catchier with those funky bass lines (although the synthesizers make some parts of the song sound a bit sissy) compared to the second one, Autonomy which just sounds too casual and relaxing. Some of the insert songs like this one, Life Will Change sounds more like a song fitting for your morning aerobics exercise and Last Surprise which is just too jazzy. Rivers In The Desert also feel it better suits a spy series or if you planning to do some workout than Personas fighting Shadows. They still sound good in their own right but I’m wondering if it is fitting to be put in battle scenes.

Overall, still a much better than Persona 4 and of course that dumb The Golden that comes after that. Although I did enjoy this season a lot despite some of the bland and same ol’ stuffs as well as things that were not fully explained, there were many comments I read over the internet that don’t seem to like it. It’s like the internet is split in liking this adapted series. I guess they played the game and found it way superior to the anime. Well, too bad for them. I know, this season is not perfect and there are a few other anime during that season that I liked better (Golden Kamuy, Hinamatsuri, Boku No Hero Academia S3, Shokugeki No Souma: Totsuki Ressha-hen, Overlord III, Jashin-chan Dropkick, Asobi Asobase, Angolmois: Genkou Kassenki and yes, even Back Street Girls: Gokudolls). Nice music, nice visuals and favourite seiyuus lending their talents can only go so far when the plot and characters are just so much just as average.

Well, it goes to show that with the power of the internet, it isn’t very easy to change the heart and even opinions of the public. Everyone has a different version of justice. Doesn’t it make you feel like wanting to go post on Phansite and just request Phantom to change the hearts of weeabo whiners?! All masking anonymously behind their keyboards… Like as though this show is doing them a favour by not living up to their standards. Where is the justice, man?! Me, I’d be a lot happy to have some little Becky maid service… YOU CAN’T CHANGE MY HEART FOR MY LOVE OF JAPANESE ANIME MAIDS!!!

Fate/Extra Last Encore

September 22, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To Be Heroine

September 15, 2018

Geez, I didn’t expect To Be Hero to have another sequel. At least not after how sh*tty the ending was despite the overall series was hilarious and fun to watch. But more accurately, To Be Heroine is more of a sequel spinoff. Although it focuses on a new bunch of characters, the old characters from its previous season do make their cameo appearances. I guess when you have a cute female lead for this season, you can kiss goodbye to all the disgusting dad jokes and fart jokes for those who have seen the first season.

Episode 1
Man, I thought I was watching the wrong series as a good part of it is in Mandarin! Futaba Hanaya narrates how she often wanted to grow up fast and be an adult. But now in high school, she realizes that everything has only one choice and no freedom to choose as she thought. One wrong choice and you’ll regret it for the rest of your life. She ponders about the other choice of going to another world. And then poof! Here she is in another world! And apparently this world speaks Japanese too. She is confronted by this little baby in a golden underwear, Hikaru-kun that she is a hero. The best hero. How does he know? He flips up her skirt to see high quality pantsu! Baby or not, she beats him up. So young so pervy. He warns that he is being targeted by assassins. Oh, here comes one, Touichi Touin. Both get into childish arguments before Touichi summons his SpiCloth, Hanzou Hattori. Hikaru-kun tells Futaba to have confidence in herself and do the same. She remembers her friend, Hikaru Isago telling her about focusing her chakra if she ever goes to another world. She does so. Nothing happens. Remembering a more practical advice from another friend, Tooru Utsubari, she makes a run for it before Hanzou could cut her. Under the bridge, Hikaru-kun explains that she has that hero power. Just take off her clothes! Pervy baby! Hear him out. He claims in this world that every piece of clothing has a spirit (hence SpiCloth = Spirit Cloth). Thus the more clothes you have, the more weapons. Hence underwear is like their life. You lose it, you die. Seriously. That’s why he is wearing this 23 gold karat underwear. It’s his family treasure.

Futaba still refuses to believe when Touichi and Hanzou has discover them. Futaba acts so because of her fear of making a mistake if she chose. She leaves Hikaru-kun to die by Hanzou’s blade when a hot Chinese guy, Fubuki Saimon stops the blade. It seems he is Futaba’s SpiCloth and part of her boots (when she kicked Hikaru-kun away, a boots fell off). If this is true, she realizes she has been stepping on him all this time! Apparently Hanzou has this chivalry of not fighting someone without a weapon. Well, wasn’t he trying to kill an unarmed baby just now? Fubuki seeks a weapon from Futaba. So taking off her other boots gives him a sword. Now they fight in super fast and epic fashion. It destroys their surroundings but Hanzou sacrifices himself to protect Touichi. When a SpiCloth disappears, the clothing becomes torn. Touichi will not let his sacrifice go in vain and will also join him soon. He takes off his own underwear and uses it as a signal to contact HQ. When he disappears, Futaba starts to believe Hikaru-kun’s words. You really die without your underwear. Hikaru-kun is amazed she defeated Touichi of the Four Leaders in her first time as a hero. As Futaba is still unsure if she could protect this world, Hikaru-kun further explains how the baddies discovered the power of SpiCloth and used it to cover the sky with darkness. People lived in darkness for so long that they have forgotten what it’s like to wear clothes. Terrified with them for having SpiCloth, the people then fell under their control. As for why they are trying to kill Hikaru-kun, Chou Oji explains it is because he is the light. Yup, true to his name, he literally lights up. He is the only source of light that can shine on its own in this world. It seems the brightness and its duration have a direct correlation to the strength of the stimulation, hence he is their last hope to light up the world.

Episode 2
Futaba already has the other Four Leaders on her tail. After Touichi, Juuichi Saijou was next but his twin SpiCloth scarves turned into some hot BL gay make-out. Next is Bouichi Minamidori but his pants are so tight and he fainted before he could use his SpiCloth. Now they are being chased by Chuuichi Hokkaru and his bug giant SpiCloth slug. Chou Ouji explains that a way to tell humans and SpiCloth is to see if they wear underwear. Because SpiCloth are from clothes, they don’t wear underwear. Only humans do. That’s why Hikaru-kin was just checking her pantsu. Feels like a lame excuse… Now that Chuuichi’s slug evolves into a dragon, Futaba throws her jacket to summon her SpiCloth. A magical toy wand? Nothing happens. She uses her bag but another toy wand. Too bad Chuuichi, you won’t get to see her in a mini skirt transformation. Flashback shows young Futaba with Hikaru and Tooru wanted to get some toy late at night. When it’s closed? However the mean old man spotted them and doesn’t like it. The rest follow Hikaru’s cue to sing a happy birthday song. Uhm, their mini fireworks enough for the protest parade on the other side of town to see? Old man wasn’t impressed and tries to get them. They run but as Futaba is going to get caught, Hikaru saves her and is dragged into the store instead. This leaves Futaba very traumatic. As she cries, suddenly Hikaru comes out with the toy.

On their way home he explains that the old man gave it to him. Seeing them reminded him of his grandchild. He used to give him toys in exchange if he could sing for him. As he ages, his hearing worsened but if he kept singing, he felt he could hear. So he only sounds mean and loud because he couldn’t hear well. Hikaru and Tooru made a promise to protect each other but Futaba felt unsure as she was not as brave or cool as them. Now you might think Futaba’s wand powers up from this flashback (and also learning the babies’ name are the same as her friends’) and strikes away the dragon’s fireball. However it is Chou Ouji’s SpiCloth, his glasses becoming a strong barrier to protect them. Futaba remembers her friends presented her that toy wand she lost many years ago as her birthday. Futaba realizes the power of this SpiCloth and starts singing happy birthday. However she is a horrible singer! Hearing this is worse than death! Even Chuuichi would rather die than run away! Because of that, his dragon goes berserk (SpiCloth will turn crazy if their master die). The wand manages to power up but she accidentally hit Chou Ouji’s barrier and shatters it. Oops. What now? Hikaru-kun starts singing happy birthday and the rest join him. Now this sounds much better. They safely destroy the dragon. More flashback, after the trio return, the adults also return from their protest. It seems something happened to Hikaru’s parents and Futaba could only remember his tiny shaking back as the police informs him the dreaded news.

Episode 3
Hikaru-kun takes Futaba back to their secret base to meet another of their member. Who the f*ck is this tanned beardy baby, Min-chan?! Flashback shows Futaba was being gang bullied. Hikaru and Tooru showed up to save her but got beaten up. Min who happened to pass by was the real heroine as she beats them all up. That was the first time they met and they became friends since. Chou Ouji relays his plan to stop a factory emitting dangerous smoke so that Hikaru-kun can release his light and awaken the people. Min-chan shows off her twin SpiCloth, Oo and Paipai from her bra. Both argue that they are ‘bigger’ than the other until Fubuki shows up. Twins now root for handsome guy as their potential husband. Futaba has more flashbacks. She was worried about Hikaru since his parents went missing after the protest. When Hikaru’s pranks results in Tooru’s losing his diary, Futaba suggests doing a time capsule, putting things they like in it in this secret base and then opening it a few years later. Thus she is stumped this secret base is the same but it feels so different. To get ready for tomorrow’s infiltration, they want to see Futaba’s other SpiCloth abilities. Too bad she isn’t going to strip more than her jacket and stockings. This has Chou Ouji formulate a new plan that Futaba will take on the waves of enemies in front while the little ones sneak in from the back.

So as Futaba summons her electric beast SpiCloth to take on the hordes of darkness, more flashback. Her dad was mad at her low grades. Gee, is 94 low in Chinese standards? Hikaru was pranking around with her until the teacher, Ms Liu confiscates a book in his hand. It belongs to Futaba but she is under the wrong impression he was trying to introduce a lewd book to a girl. Liu calls Hikaru and his mom (now a nutcase – how was she even released from hospital. Oh by the way, his dad is confirmed dead) to talk. But Hikaru’s teacher, Kane stands up for him and argues with Liu about embarrassing her student this way. Not sure how Hikaru got back at Liu by swapping the pendrive during her special presentation with a footage of macho gay man slugging it out. Yeah… Hikaru called his friends to hang out. Min even brought her ‘boyfriend’, Moemoe (remember this dude?). As it is getting late, Tooru insists of wanting to go home but Hikaru insists he waits. When the argument gets heated, Min puts her foot down and tells them today is Futaba’s birthday. Tooru had forgotten. Hikaru bought a cake and wanted to wait till dark to light up the candles. Futaba has exhausted her electric beast but more evil waves. Don’t forget, she has Fubuki. But at the end he too fought till his limits. Meanwhile Hikaru-kun is hoping for Futaba to save them. Because Chou Ouji has betrayed them.

Episode 4
Futaba has a couple of SpiCloth from her stockings – a hard talking hitman named Battle AKA BL and some young police guy, 1857? She must have worn mismatched stockings for them to be this apart in personality. She summons them now to fight Chou Ouji but they cannot best his shadow monsters. Chou Ouji reveals that everyone in this world wants Hikaru-kun dead as they fear the light because you can see them naked once they’re lit up. Does she have the courage to remove all her clothes and face this world? Flashback shows Futaba tried to make Hikaru do some bucket list of hers. After constant bugging, he accepts but with a condition she grants him a wish. So as he ticks off the tasks, she learns he wants her to elope with him to escape this town. Of course she thinks he is joking and doesn’t believe him. Soon, her parents call her and lecture her about her failing grades. They blame her for fooling around with Hikaru too much. Similarly, Tooru is at the door to hand some document to her. Hikaru supposedly gave it to him to pass to her since he was in a hurry somewhere. Inside is a train ticket bearing her name. Her parents are furious about what they were planning. Futaba doesn’t heed them anymore and runs out trying to find Hikaru. Too bad the train has left. Futaba barely saves Hikaru-kun from the monsters. He could feel her warm heartbeat and once the shadows engulf them, Hikaru-kun’s heart starts to shine so bright. Man, he is like an angel floating in the sky and his light bursts to dispel all the darkness. It’s so bright now in this world!

Futaba wakes up back in her room. She calls her friends about Hikaru but they seriously have no idea what she is talking about. They don’t know anybody named Hikaru. Thinking they are pranking her, she calls Kane who also gave a similar answer. So desperate she must have called everyone on her list only to have the same answer. The definition of insanity is… But Futaba remembers the time capsule and runs down to the hideout. And there it is, Hikaru’s diary. Proof that he exists. She reads about him starting to write down things in a diary after Tooru and is slowly able to observe the world around him. Even if he is gone, this diary will tell everyone his feelings. Meanwhile Hikaru-kun sees his monk master in a bid to find Futaba, the girl he loves. The reluctant monk shows him a way but with a few conditions. This includes nobody must see him and he needs to find someone to stand in his place. A person who has experienced life and death who can only see him. Perfect timing because Hikaru-kun possesses Oyaji (Min’s dad) who is praying at the temple for his daughter (damn, this hapless guy freaked out thinking he prayed to the wrong god and got a baby!). Futaba sees Hikaru’s deranged mom and shows her his diary. She wants to know what happened to him. So is mom faking her mental instability because she ushers her in and will tell the truth.

Episode 4.5
Not your typical special episode because this is not a recap. Instead, a special behind-the-scenes production. We get a glimpse of the storyboards and visual keyframes of the animation as well as comparing the scenes in both Japanese and Chinese audio. We are also treated to lots of fan art illustrations on the series as well as from To Be Hero. They show as PV that was never shown in Japan. One whereby Futaba gets a love letter and the guy who eventually comes confessing his love to her is… Oyaji!!!! Plot twist? Too bad he got beaten up by Min. There is a live action dancer dancing to the ending theme song (its Chinese version) and both the Japanese and Chinese voice actors give their thoughts about the character they played. Finally, more fan art illustration indulgence to sign off before next week’s episode!

Episode 5
In this entirely flashback episode, we see Tenshin (Hikaru’s dad) is a mischievous guy (no wonder his son has similar traits). He sucked at every subject except chemistry. Back in college, Tenshin and Kokoro (Tooru’s dad) had a crush on Byakkyou (Hikaru’s mom) but in the end it was Tenshin who ended up marrying her. Kokoro married the daughter of the CEO of Keito Pharmaceuticals in an arranged marriage. In Keito, Tenshin created some medicine that allows you never to forget certain memories and Byakkyou tested it on Byakkyou and soon after married her. After Hikaru was born, that is when the troubles came. Tenshin saw irregularities in the ingredients of his medicine but the CEO approved Kokoro’s improved drug (based on Tenshin’s formula) and marketed in his new drink. Tenshin was against this because he didn’t want his medicine to be misused in such a way and there are side effects like getting addicted if drank too much of it. To fight against the corporation, Tenshin has the media take notice on Keito by dumping harmless white substances into the river that makes the company look like it is polluting. This leads to the locals being upset as they rise against the corporation. The CEO wanted to pay Tenshin off but he didn’t want his dirty money. But Tenshin is left shocked when the river is actually polluted. The protest turned violent and Tenshin was killed (cue that fireworks moment from Hikaru and co at that time). Byakkyou was hospitalized as Kokoro revealed his true colours. He was jealous of Tenshin being chosen by Byakkyou and got stuck in this loveless marriage. He wanted to get back at Tenshin by stealing from him. He was the one who changed the substance in the river to be polluted. Then he had his henchman kill the CEO and subsequently Tenshin during the protest’s commotion. Also, Kokoro created a new drug by modifying Tenshin’s formula that erases memories completely.

Byakkyou heard all this during her ‘coma’ and to protect Hikaru, she pretended to go insane. Many times Kokoro ransacked her home to find Tenshin’s formulas but failed. Kokoro also provided money to them over the years as support. One day a grown up Hikaru told mom he wanted to leave school because he feared people forgetting him and thus he had to change himself and the way he lives. Mom then revealed the truth and apologized for deceiving him for so long. Recently Hikaru found one of dad’s secret formulas that Kokoro would die to get his hands on. At this point, Kokoro is the CEO of Keito and the most powerful man around as he also controls to local triad, Hagyou Concern. On the day he is supposed to elope with Futaba, that is when Kokoro visited Byakkyou and knew she was faking her insanity all the time. He tells her he killed Hikaru. Because instead of running away, he went to see a reporter to try and give details. Too bad that reporter was already bribed by Kokoro. Hearing Kokoro trying to live out his father’s integrity and honesty pisses him off as he orders his henchman to strangle him. Byakkyou tries to continue pretending to be insane until Kokoro leaves. Even if he knows, he won’t kill her because it is more painful to live than die. Now, Futaba is sad hearing Hikaru is dead but Byakkyou wonders why she isn’t being affected by the drug as everyone in town drinks the juice. Sometime about her strange dream in a strange world with Hikaru-kun.

Episode 6
Oyaji (Hikaru-kun) is happy to see Min and harasses her! Of course Min beats this naked ugly piece of sh*t up. Min spots Futaba crying but before they could talk things out, Tooru is here and this sours the mood for Futaba to say anything. It’s not his fault but looking at him reminds her of a certain guy and she doesn’t want to see that person now. Futaba receives a love letter and outside school, that mad guy rushes towards her! Turns out to be Oyaji confessing his love to Futaba?! Another round of beating up by Min. Shortly, a few hooligans try to kidnap the girls. It’s just disgusting watching Oyaji stripping in his failed attempts to summon whatever powers and failed. In the end, it is Futaba’s dad who is a cop who shoos them away. He could have shot Oyaji thinking he is trying to rape his daughter or something! Worse, Oyaji says he wants to marry Futaba! Thank goodness he believes his daughter he isn’t the baddie. But Futaba’s dad confronts the real baddie who is no other than Kokoro. He warns him to stay away from his daughter and is not easily intimidated with his threats. But a cop can only do so much. Because later that night, Futaba’s mom gets a call saying her husband is arrested on corruption charges. Oh look, it’s right on the news now. Futaba skipped school for a week and every night she could hear her mom cry incessantly. She thought of telling the truth about Keito but remembers Byakkyou’s words that the public will not believe them as Kokoro is a very powerful man who gets what he wants.

Tooru ponders what he did wrong for Futaba to act like that towards him. Then he sees her being stalked by Oyaji. OMG. Oyaji has lost weight and is his handsome self?! Did exercise really did all that transformation alone? Anyway, Oyaji tries to hint that he is Hikaru-kun from the other world but it is clear that Futaba’s love is the one and only Hikaru. She regrets not telling him her feelings and wants to do so as well as for people to remember him. Oyaji is amazed with the hero inside her and promises to do all he can to support her. He claims she is not alone and conveniently pulls Min and Moemoe nearby to join in the cause. Futaba reveals the truth to them and they agree to help. But since they can’t come up with a plan, Tooru who has been eavesdropping all this time suggests getting more info. Looks like he is in. He wants a chance to redeem himself to Futaba. They head to Byakkyou’s place. She thinks they are crazy for wanting to stand up to Keito. You don’t try, you don’t know. A spy reports to Kokoro about the kids not giving up. He would have had them eliminated had he not heard Tooru is with them. He believes his son will make the right decision. The gang’s plan is to use Tenshin’s hidden formula to restore people’s memories and sneak into the factory and mix it into the drinks. Everyone except Tooru supports this idea. Tooru leaves home and is shocked when dad asks if his secret meeting with his friends to destroy him has finished. He gives him this house and puts his trust in him. Tooru tells them their next meeting place and hopes he could honestly talk to them as he believes his dad can turn over a new leaf. Kokoro would be happy to. That evil smirk…

Episode 7
Tooru told his friends that there is a factory underneath the school producing the drug. They head there to investigate and record this as evidence. However they realize that this is a setup as Kokoro’s men are here. Tooru is shocked that dad has betrayed him. Can’t blame him if he didn’t see this coming. He was really hoping for the best for his friends. Min fights off the goons as they all run to the rooftop. However she met her match with one boxer guy. OMG! He broke her arm!!! Kokoro and Tooru come in. Dad reminds his son not to be with those losers and gives him a chance to make the right decision again. Tooru summons his guts to go against his father. He will not become an evil man like him. This is when Futaba also stands up for him. They are scared but not of his threats. Futaba is scared of giving up, scared of being weak, scared of someone else protecting her again. Kokoro orders his men to erase their memories. As the subordinate tries to pour the juice down Futaba’s throat, Oyaji’s heart starts to glow. Then comes popping out is… Hikaru!!!! OMG!!! Since when is Hikaru so cool beating the sh*t out of that dude???!!!! If you’re wondering why he is standing there and not doing anything, that’s because he can’t see Hikaru! OMG! A ghost?! Only his friends can see him. The baddie pulls out his gun and shoots at Futaba but the bullet is sliced in half! Look who is here? Fubuki! Not only him but Hanzou as well as the other SpiCloth pop up to beat up those baddies’ ass! Hey wait a minute. This magical girl SpiCloth I have never seen her before. Kokoro gets his just desserts as all the SpiCloth unleash a flurry of devastating combo attacks on him! Even if those baddies take a beating, is it for real? I mean, you can’t come into physical contact with ghosts, right? Oh, f*ck it. As long as you’re bad, you can get beaten up.

Once the fight is over, Hikaru admits he is a ghost! Yup, his friends can’t touch him either. He has come back temporarily because God allowed him to say goodbye to his friends. So he has last words for all of them. Like for mom to get healthy and Tooru to protect everyone in his place. Last but not least is of course Futaba. She believes he is the one who wants to stay the most. That’s why he kept saving her from darkness. Flashback shows Futaba was crying over Hikaru’s death. Dad gave her some juice to ease her sadness. Probably it had magical properties and at the same time she wished to go to another world, that’s where she popped up in that dream world and met Hikaru-kun. She claims he is the hero who saved the world and the one who gave her courage to step forward. His warmth was always there. Finally she spews out the words of I love you. In this odd moment where they rush to kiss each other… OMG… Air kissing?! Looks weird trying to touch each other but can’t… Really weird… With that, Hikaru is gone. Futaba narrates the aftermath. It has been 3 years since that incident. The video evidence posted online was enough for the police to nab Kokoro and even shut down Hagyou Concern. Her father confessed the truth and is out on probation. Min and Moemoe went to the same school while Tooru went to study abroad. Futaba failed her university entrance exam and goes to a local college. However it seems she is going to publish a book of her own about her experiences. After she leaves the temple, she trips down the stairs but a guy that curiously looks like Hikaru catches her.

To Be Friends, To Be Remembered
It feels like a bittersweet ending and also a dilemma for me. It would have totally been a slap in the face had Hikaru really came back alive because of the power of magic (and God’s will) but considering that ghosts do exist in this world, that probability isn’t far off. So yeah, it’s sad that Futaba didn’t get to be with her love but at least she managed to convey her feelings, became stronger and moved forward. But to have her bump into a stranger that looks like Hikaru in the end? Uhm… Up to your discretion on how you want to go about it.

It feels like this season has 2 parts. The first part in the dream world where we try to figure out what the heck is going on. Then halfway point, once we get the gist of what it is, the story then moves back to the real world and that’s where most of the comedy and nonsense are swapped out for some heavy friendship drama thingy. Not that it is a bad thing but looking back from where it started and where it ended, it felt like it has gone on a totally different journey. For example, like as though the clothes power up battle thingy was just a one-off thing instead of something permanent of the series. I guess that ended the hopes of us seeing Futaba in her undies, huh? Yeah, I thought this series was crazy enough to pull off that kind of fanservice since it already has semi-naked babies running around. Damn, they really baited me into thinking that. Or maybe I’m just a pervert. Haha!

But it feels like it makes no sense having this dream world because if this was where Hikaru-kun hang out after he died, why go to all that trouble of lighting up the world and such? And what is this other world supposed to be anyway? It all seems more like a convenient dream anyway for Futaba and then a convenient plot for Hikaru-kun to somehow come to the real world. So if you think back after everything has settled, what really was the importance of that dream world anyway? You don’t hear anymore of it once it got lighted up. I guess all the babies there are doing fine and dandy. Just remember to wear your clothes.

The drama gets heavy after Futaba remembers her forgotten friend. Then it starts to become a coming of age story as well as some sort of romance drama genre as she tries to get her feelings true to the one she loves. And of course with her friends taking down the big bad boss of a big bad corporation. Yeah, huzzah for the power of love and friendship. Cliché and nothing original but at least it was interesting to watch. In fact, during the dream world, flashbacks were heavily infused so it feels like as though we have never left the real world at all. Hence Futaba being in this dream world is just one short moment while the narrative lets us know the bits and pieces that will be put together in the end.

Though it is mind boggling to think how Kokoro has manufactured a drink that everyone drinks except himself. Okay, so maybe he doesn’t drink it himself as he knows better. But still, the thought of making a drug that specifically erases a certain person from everyone’s mind? Man, you have to be that God level to do such a thing. And why in a form of a drink? I suppose you kill 2 birds with a stone because you also get to sell it to them and make money. Thanks for your money. And your memories of a certain kid. Also mind boggling is to think how easily they could manufacture the medicine based on Hikaru’s dad’s notes. If it takes a genius to come up with such great formula, don’t you think it is odd for normal people especially kids to figure it out or even produce it? Oh heck, just f*ck it. We all need to stay true to this series’ title to save the day. What was it again?

Many of the jokes still feel funny especially Hikaru and Oyaji who make up the bulk of it. Some jokes are silly enough but still funny especially when you have Hikaru who is that kind of person who is the sporting kind. In life we always have that one kid in class who is like that, right? As for Oyaji who is mainly being possessed by Hikaru-kun, they didn’t have to resort to crude dad jokes and fart jokes but rather the misconception of an old man trying to hit on a young cute lady. Double that with Min always beating up her father whenever she thinks he is getting horny. As you know, Min already has a rocky relationship with her dad last season. Things got better in the end but now with him chasing after young girls? We hear of child abuse often but not parent abuse.

The main characters are relatable and those you can throw you support behind. It sounds cliché that it teaches you never to give up but if you were in Futaba’s shoes, you’d be confused at first and afraid of taking the first step into the unknown. And it is also a cliché that as long as you do the right thing, even young kids can take down big organizations of big bad adults. Yeah… I want to believe that. Had these events never happened, most probably Futaba would have stayed the same and nothing changed. I’m glad Tooru has a conscience and did not turn out like a splitting mirror image of his father. It would have been no different. Was it because unlike the rift between Tenshin and Kokoro was due to the subtle love triangle between Byakkyou in which the latter ultimately loses out, I didn’t see any similar romance brewing between their children. Hikaru and Futaba are shown closer because the former always teases her. Tooru is mostly seen brooding in the background, unsure if he too harbour secret feelings for her. Perhaps Tooru’s worries are about living up to his father’s expectations, his side of the story we didn’t see.

One of the biggest disappointments pertaining to the characters is the SpiCloth characters. While their existence and appearance sound intriguing, ever since the dream world is freed, they have been side-lined until the final episode that somehow throws aside all the logic how they materialized. I didn’t see anybody taking off any clothes. Probably they existed in Hikaru’s world so when he came down for one last time, all those SpiCloth too. It feels like Futaba entering the dream world for the first was just for this SpiCloth gimmick. Besides, it was also disappointing that the remaining Four Leaders, Juuichi and Bouichi didn’t get their due screen time. Like as though they were just trolling us. Were they trying to surprise us and not follow the pattern of Futaba and Hikaru-kun going around to defeat them? Oh right. Plot twist in Chou Ouji betraying them that somewhat reflected what happened in reality. Maybe I’m to blame myself for expecting to see more SpiCloth characters and they didn’t get any development at all. Some I believe just a few seconds of cameo. They’re just clothes only, right? After all, thinking about it, taking and throwing off your clothes to materialize them to fight is the same as Pokemon trainers doing the same to their Pokemon in battles. On a trivial note, I thought the idea of SpiCloth was taken inspiration from the concept from Kill La Kill (clothes transforming into awesome fighting equipment or battle gear). Only, less superior… Yes, really. Uhm, maybe no overly slutty sexy looking transformed main characters, that’s why.

Noticing the odd number of episodes this series has, I later found out that the original Chinese production has inconsistent running times per episode. Some episodes run as long as 30 minutes while run only half that time. As this series originally streamed on the Chinese website, there was no time restriction but in order to fit into the Japanese airwaves, certain scenes had to be added or cut out to put in that standard 24 minutes running time. Hence some episodes in the Japanese version were actually a combination of 2 episodes of the original Chinese one. Anyhow, I feel they did a good job in the editing because at least I didn’t feel any parts that were disjointed and the flow of the story was smooth.

Well, the art and animation feels… Crappy. I know, just like in To Be Hero, the art style is similar. Because To Be Hero was more like a slapstick comedy, so the horrendous art was somewhat forgivable. I am not saying that this series art really sucks but I thought with all the drama and the pacing of this show, it feels kinda low quality. Sure, they might want to retain this series’ trademark ‘crappy’ art style but being this low quality sometimes have me think that they didn’t put enough effort. Of course you don’t want to stray too much and change the art style until it is totally unrecognizable. Not when you’re going to have the fat ugly Oyaji, right? But I must say that the action parts feel exhilarating because of all the exaggerated special effects so it is not all that bad. It’s fun to see them trade blows and swords especially the final battle with the big bad boss having an insane amount of tag team combo. I was like, “Damn! This old dude still survived this?”. Fun, actually.

To be fair, this is a Chinese production (Haoliners Animation League) so it is reasonable that some dialogues are in Mandarin. I thought it was unique when they had the real world speaking in Mandarin while the other dream world in Japanese. But once the dream world is over, the Mandarin becomes far more blatant. Not that I have anything against the language but somehow it feels like I have been trolled and baited to watch a Mandarin cartoon than Japanese anime! Heck, there was one episode where its entirety is in Mandarin! Hence if you think about it, the Japanese voice acting is far and few in between. After all, the first season was totally in Japanese so I didn’t really expect this to be predominantly Mandarin. Also as I have discovered lately that this series was only given the Japanese ‘dub’ in those scenes when shown over the Japanese airwaves. In its original Chinese format, those Japanese lines are spoken in Mandarin. So I guess I shouldn’t be complaining since there is a bit of the ‘mandatory’ Japanese to make it somewhat anime.

Curiously, Moa Tsukino who was the voice of Min in To Be Hero is now the voice of Futaba in this sequel. I want to say parallel world thingy but since Min exists here too, I guess I can’t. Hence in this season, it is Junko Minagawa (Ryouma in Prince Of Tennis) who voices Min or rather Min-chan. It feels a bit wasted that Rie Kugimiya as Juuichi and Sho Hayami as BL only make very short cameos and then are mostly forgotten. For the rest of the other Japanese casts, they are Motoko Kumai as Hikaru-chan (Ginta in MAR), Omi Minami as Chou Ouji (Hyatt in Excel Saga), Nozomu Sasaki as Fubuki (Mello in Death Note), Seira Ryuu as Touichi (Minato in Idol Memories) and Toshihiko Seki as Hanzou (Mousse in Ranma 1/2).

The Chinese casts are Mie Mie as Futaba, Ding Dang as Hikaru, Liu Mingyue as Tooru and Shan Xin as Min. The opening theme, Ray by Passcode is a hard rock but I wonder if it fits the drama theme of this series. At first it does especially for the initial episodes but with the change in pace subsequently, I’m not too sure. I prefer the ending theme, Koibana Renbu by Re-connect as it is quite a catchy piece. Even if it isn’t that techno dance and it sounds more dramatic, it still is nice to hear and dance to it. Even the ending credits animation show the characters doing their Dance Dance Revolution moves like naturals, racking up the combos and points. Neat. Yeah, those killer dance moves are going to give you a real good work out if you’re going to score perfect.

Overall, not a bad sequel and still enjoyable in its own right. It is worthy as a sequel spinoff but could have worked equally as well had they used new characters instead of those from the first season. But more fun with familiar faces of Oyaji and Min around. The story may have deviated from what I expected but the pacing and direction of the story about saving a forgotten friendship and love made it a compelling watch. It all goes to show that you don’t need superhero powers to save the day (or in this case, an ugly dad). It is the important things in your heart that matters that allows you to reach out to greater heights. Be it alien invasion or greedy corrupted corporations, no one will be able to stand in the way of the power of friendship and love!

On a trivial note, come to think of it, clothes and superheroes don’t really go well with each other so it is good that this trope isn’t used often for this season. Classic case of Superman wearing his underwear outside! And I if imagine if Oyaji manages to do the same of turning his clothes into sexy fighters. Would he be making out with them if they turn out to be super hot babes? Making love to your own clothes… Isn’t that the same as otaku losers making out to their dakimakura with a large print of their favourite waifu? Is this considered wardrobe malfunction? After watching this, now I know why guys jerk off into their socks…

Dies Irae (cont.)

August 25, 2018

It’s finally here. The final 6 episodes of Dies Irae that was unable to be aired normally on TV is now broadcasted as ONA simultaneously. Now you’ll get your closure about evil Nazis wanting to change the world or something. I already didn’t understand a lot back then but I’m hoping that I would somehow although the chances are very remote.

Episode 12
We hear Mercurius and Heydrich talk about the process of becoming God or close to being one. It is revealed that this world or existence has been repeating itself billions of times hence the déjà vu they have always felt. In order to rid that, they must remove the current God from its throne. That was how the previous God was replaced too. Gee, God’s position is like dispose and snatch? Hence Mercurius wants Heydrich to reach the highest Emanation level to do so. Trifas talks to Ren about Riza who once tried to ‘farm’ children to bring humanity to the next level but failed as their bodies couldn’t handle the power. Technically she killed them. She became crazy to bring them back to life, hence Isaak is the result of Riza’s child and Rea’s grandpa. Riza offered her own son as sacrifice to safe those children and the only part of Isaak that merged with Heydrich was his soul. As the Berlin swastika wasn’t enough, a second Isaak sacrifice is needed, hence the process must be repeated again. As the only way to seal Heydrich is to kill Rea, Ren knows what he must do and Trifas’ answer is the same as his. Ren asks about choosing between saving Rea and his wish so Trifas explains the critical parts of this Golden Alchemy ritual. Other parts can be destroyed. Rea doesn’t have to die and his wish can come true because the miracle is incomplete. He doesn’t think Heydrich will give his people a world they really want. In their haste and greed, they signed a contract with the devil. For the Golden Alchemy to succeed, 5 parts are necessary. Rea being the core and the second is Heydrich’s relics. As both are essential, the other parts are deemed destroyable but they are the leaders of the Longinus Dreizehn Orden. Simply defeating 1 of them is tough.

The duo meet up with Leonhart and Shirou (truly reborn from Rusalka’s tummy if you remember that ‘horror’ move). Leonhart’s Berserker monster attacks Trifas. Because the priest doesn’t sustain any damage, it is getting pretty annoying so he needs Ren’s help to stop it. But since Ren is in shock, Leonhart calls out to it and it responds and stops. Because it is her brother. Trifas knows it will be hard to officially ask Ren to cooperate but this doesn’t change their task. They’ll defeat the leaders and save Rea. Mercurius narrates he created this universe based on his laws. It has repeated billions of times and he sounds tired of it. He wants someone to take over his place. The only joy he had for this unending recurrence is meeting and falling in love with Marie. He hopes for her to make the world of the goddess flow outward before he commits suicide. Marie cries as he leaves. But there is Ren she can confide with. She finds it hard to believe to repeat the same life over and over again so Ren tells her his secrets. Something about his past life in the Nazi he can’t remember clearly and also witnessing first hand of somebody getting killed. He can’t tell the truth to Kasumi or she’ll be hurt but at the same time he feels like a coward. Thus he is happy Marie is not normal. Huh? He thanks her that he is able to understand how he could atone his sins and the answer is her. It’s not for the dead to come back alive or repeating things forever. There is a way that’s only possible because of her and he was born to save and protect it.

Episode 13
Rea wakes up and finds Eleonore beside her. She confirms Riza is Rea’s grandma and killed her out of friendship. Huh? If Rea wants to do something for Riza, do her job. She won’t get in her way. Flashback shows Trifas and his church orphans. Then Heydrich and his leaders pop up to accuse him for trying to be a fugitive during the wartime. He is forced to pick 10 children to be killed or all will die. Trifas reluctantly does so but the oddest part is how he picks them slowly one by one and as they get shot, the rest didn’t scream or run. Just waiting their turn to be shot, huh? But didn’t it look like all the kids died? Anyway it left him in despair and after that Heydrich tells him to return as his services are needed. Now, Leonhart questions Trifas why her brother Kai was mad at him. Trifas says he wanted him dead. It is only right as a warrior since he killed him as he and Beatrice rebelled against Heydrich. Perhaps he hates him for turning Leonhart into another warrior. Trifas knows all about hate as he transforms into his super armour form. His wish is to become strong and save others forever and at the same time offer himself eternal atonement. Things he love will never be destroyed again. Leonhart attacks him but nothing happens. Trifas adds about not allowing Emanation of Valhalla and will only take the gold that revives the dead. With Rea here, that is when Trifas tries to target her womb so that when her connection to Isaak is destroyed, the swastika will chose the next body in line for its womb. Luckily the attack is foiled by Eleonore. Now that he has revealed his true colours, he will die. Goetz fights him with his incessant punches. Though Trifas might seem he is not taking on any damages by just blocking, the cracks are slow but surely.

Eleonore explains to Rea so as to explain to us what the f*ck is going on. It is part of Trifas’ plan to seal Heydrich while attaining the resurrection of the dead by using one of the incomplete twins (Kasumi) from the Johann’s bloodline so it will cause the swastika to be confused and an error in the Golden Alchemy. As Trifas longed to be strong, he viewed Heydrich as the strongest and became him. Thus the body he is using now belongs to Heydrich. Normally that’s where the resistance to damage comes from. But with Goetz’s constant shattering, it will soon break and with it, the armies of Valhalla will swarm out into this world. That is where Rea’s job begins. Leonhart asks about the revival of the dead Heydrich offers and is shocked to hear monsters like them are to be reborn and fight for eternity. In short, a paradise of eternal wars. She is sad that nothing has changed and this isn’t the battle she is fighting for. Her Berserker brother attacks Eleonore but is burnt to a crisp. Angered, Leonhart attacks her but all efforts are in vain. Impressed, Eleonore gives her some sword and will let her live so that she could be the last to be offered to the swastika. Trifas thought his plan to buy time for Ren to arrive is successful but Goetz claims he is wrong. Firstly, Ren will not come as he is now being under attacked by Wolfgang. Trifas gets really mad when Goetz mocks him about being good at only killing children. He powers up but Goetz finishes him off. With that, Trifas now becomes the Grail who lives forever inside Heydrich as his golden fortress descends on the world.

Episode 14
Trifas confessing his finally love for Rea before getting devoured? Rea worried about him for once? Too late for anything as Heydrich is now closer to being God. With his other leaders returning to base, all the souls on Earth are being devoured too. Leonhart wakes up in the classroom with Ren and Shirou. Apparently they are the only survivors left. Leonhart is pessimistic about the outcome and her best solution is for them to commit suicide. Ren disagrees but lets her do what she wants to do. For some odd reason, we need to have some weird drama between them so that we could see Leonhart getting emotional and then they talk about their so called happy future together as friends, happily bickering like always. WTF?! With Leonhart hugging Ren, this sets up more WTF moments because Shirou and Marie now accuses him of adultery and cheating. WTF?! Do we have time for this?! Cue to blame Ren for everything. Whatever. Then they all laugh it off, everything is forgiven and have lunch before going off for the final battle. Last supper? Man, do we really have time for this? Meanwhile Heydrich asks his generals about their meaning of victory. Rea then asks him if he is Isaak’s father and the reason why Riza was afraid. Heydrich denies he is and doesn’t care who that person is. Rea continues that she pities him because he is so strong, loves everything and interested in no one, that kind of person will not achieve victory. He admits he and Mercurius are boring people. Rea says her victory is to see her friends again. Even if it sounds dumb, it is important to her. Heydrich and his men begin their final fight with Ren’s side. At the same time, Rea is going through some weird dimensions to find Isaak. So this giant ugly skeletal monster is him? Back to the fight, oh sh*t! Ren and Shirou got owned! This is when Leonhart steps up to Heydrich and introduces her for the first time. But she quickly dismisses her loyalty to him and blames him for the deaths of her family. If not for him, they would have led and died ordinary lives. She was blind in following her cause to bring them back and wants to atone it by slaying him. Heydrich offers his salvation but Ren sees this as an insult because in exchange for giving her soul to him, she will forever be his slave in hell. I guess that’s the motivation he needs to get back up on his feet and resume his fight. Mercurius begins to crack and notes the Emanation has begun.

Episode 15
Leonhart is killed off, hence opening the final swastika. Ren feels sad when he senses Rea being absorbed by Isaak. Heydrich says she’ll never come back. Ren’s crying. It means it must be true? But I guess he isn’t going to give up yet so he powers up (by thinking about his friends) and fights back. Too bad being faster isn’t going to even scratch Heydrich. Because Ren is not up to full power yet, Heydrich has Goetz deal with him and will reward him in the aftermath. Meanwhile Leonhart still lives as she faces off with Eleonore. She survived because before she was shattered when the swastika was about to open, she made a contract with a new relic. This sword that Eleonore gave her. Eleonore reveals she made her grandpa join their ranks and that’s why her family was able to attain the seat of honour and was passed down so as to bind them to this round table. Leonhart’s goal is to fight her and to do that, she must be an immortal. She doesn’t care if she becomes a zombie or loses body parts. She views she has no right to be in Ren’s groupie and in exchange, she’ll bring Eleonore to hell with her. With Kai and Beatrice’s ghost talking with Leonhart, they claims Eleonore has been blinded by her love for Heydrich, the reason she was driven to madness. Though, Eleonore isn’t admitting this.

Meanwhile Shirou is having a tough time fighting Wolfgang. He replies that his wish is for nobody to touch him and hence all his attacks are dodged. He further explains about his past that although he was born male, mom didn’t like it and cut his dick off! This is so that they could put food on the table by whoring themselves. However the more successful he was, the angrier mom became and she abused him. So now he is confused about his gender, eh? This spurs him to power up and beat the crap out of Shirou as he further ‘analyses’ he is neither man nor woman. He keeps killing others and has no ability to bear children. Hence he is an immortal creature! Some logic. In the heat of it all, Shirou manages to steal his guns and causes him to freak out because now he has to ‘touch’ him to beat him. Shirou then summons Eri (was she a ghost or inside him all along?) and his logic is that since they are both man and woman, they’ll beat him! Whatever. Did mad Wolfgang make a sexual subtext about killing them all and stuffing it in his hole?! Shirou and Eri hang onto their lives as Wolfgang zooms his bike around. Meanwhile Ren continues to evade Goetz’s pounding. It seems in their past life, they were comrades. They were revived in Heydrich’s castle, something Goetz didn’t wish for. Hence his wish is to take back the death that was once stolen from him. He wonders what Ren wished for in this life. Ren remembers bits of it and because of this shock, Goetz punches through him. So is Ren dying? Not if Marie ex machina is here to save him by embracing everything!

Episode 16
I guess Rea isn’t technically dead yet. She pities Isaak for being trapped alone. He calls out to father (Heydrich) and hopes he needs him. We focus on Leonhart’s battle with Eleonore. Not sure what they’re talking about hygiene. I thought war has always been one big dirty thing. One is drunk on tragedy and the other drunk on war. Eventually Leonhart withstands all the attack to stab her sword into her face. You mad now, Eleonore? Doesn’t mean you have to overkill Leonhart with a giant tank! But Leonhart summons the power of Kai and Beatrice for her final strength because of the logic she doesn’t want her ‘friends’ to suffer the same fate as she did. So the sword pierces through Eleonore this time. She admits her defeat but believes Heydrich will not lose before decapitating herself. With Leonhart victorious, she gets to die and join her family in heaven? Maybe it’s all just an illusion. Meanwhile did time somehow stop for Shirou? Because he uses this chance to shoot through Wolfgang, exploding his bike. Now Wolfgang is going through a crazy phase, playing out all by himself his own family scene, fearing his mom, wanting his love to be acknowledged, will be the good ‘daughter’ she expects to, etc. So when he is finally over that sh*t, he charges over to Ren and Eri and they were just like waiting for him to do that and shoot him. Souls bursts out. The end of him. Cue for Ren and Eri for one last moment together before they kick the bucket too. Finally the overpowered fight between Ren and Goetz. Flashback shows dead Nazis appeared in Valhalla and were forced to fight to the death with each other and the winner will be granted anything by Mercurius. Goetz and Ren were left and the former won. However Mercurius viewed him had not killed enough and steals a foetus in his body?! WTF?! Is that supposed to represent his soul? He must fight and win the next battle, then he will be allowed to die. Ren has the power because of Marie and his dead friends supporting him. Because he is so confident he will defeat Heydrich, Goetz ultimately wants to believe him. Yeah, you better believe it! Oh sh*t! Ren punches off his head! So Goetz finally gets his death wish? And now for the final boss fight that we’ve all been waiting for. Ren vs Heydrich!

Episode 17
But first, Ren has to fight all the skeletal zombies before the ultimate power fight with Heydrich. Heydrich summons the abilities of his dead officers like Spinne and Rusalka while Ren has the abilities of his dead friends. At least that’s what it looks like. Because Ren is able to counter his attacks, Heydrich is amazed and thrilled at this unknown. Not a precedent. No déjà vu. Meanwhile Isaak is so sad that Heydrich doesn’t need him and shatters. The epic fight is now stopped by Mercurius. He points out their fighting has caused them to fight in this new place, the centre of the new world. Because Mercurius doesn’t want to be killed yet and witness the ending, he tells them he has already chosen a successor: Marie. Heydrich is satisfied Mercurius lived his end of his promise and will allow him to die the way he wants. Ren asks about Rea so Mercurius says she is still alive but floating between the boundaries. She will be alright if she doesn’t do anything. Ren goes off with his final battle with Heydrich and although Marie wants to go with him, he tells her to stay here. In this place, the quartet has reached Emanation level but only 1 is allowed to live. Ren cannot let Heydrich win to become God but at the same time views himself as unworthy for the role. Mercurius notes Heydrich’s wish for eternal war while Ren’s wish for time to stop forever is problematic, hence the reason why he chose her. Those are paradises for the dead. Marie is sad that he won’t allow things to remain as they are because if Marie chose that, Heydrich will kill her and erase everything.

We return to the epic fight only to see them stab each other. But Heydrich claims victory since he has better faith than Ren. But don’t you underestimate the power of friendship because that is what Ren pulls off to achieve the impossible. Also, Rea returns to help attribute to Heydrich’s defeat. She blames him for disregarding Isaak’s feelings. Had he responded to it, Rea would not have been able to take action. With that, all the souls are returned and Heydrich meets his defeat. At the same time, Marie dumps Mercurius for Ren. Adultery is wrong? Who cares? The main character won. Mercurius must be in shock that he laughs in madness before shattering away. Ren wanted to attribute his victory to the cliché power of friendship but the ghost of Heydrich tells him not to or their defeat will not be worth it. Yeah, somewhat I agree. Now it is an emotional reunion with Ren and Marie. Hug and kisses please. Is this their last time together as lovers before she becomes God? In the aftermath, we see a very old Kasumi on her deathbed at a hospital. Not sure if time has passed or Ren’s time stopped because he is the same. He visits her as she is still bothered he doesn’t tell her anything. She is now starting to believe in reincarnation and Ren believes it is real. Marie, a little girl now comes in and I guess this is the first time Ren and Marie see each other in this world so they’re so f*cking happy. Damn, don’t tell me lolicon… Oh, Marie is sitting on her throne as God very nicely.

Infinity War, Infinite Crisis
As usual… I didn’t understand a single damn thing! Even generally speaking if it is a fight to see whose world or wish comes true, I don’t understand any other points of it. So with Marie becoming the new God and taking over Mercurius’ throne, is it safe to say that the vicious cycle repeats itself? Because Mercurius did say about this God post that must be snatched in a violent way thingy. Everything looks fine for now. Until Marie starts to get bored with eternity and ends up being the next Mercurius. But for now, Marie is perhaps the safest bet to be God and also provide the plot twist shock factor so that it goes in line with the unknown and unpredictability element thingy. Too bad those supporting camp Ren or camp Heydrich. Guys who fight too much or do nothing don’t deserve to be the next God.

Because being God himself isn’t really all that mighty. I suppose Mercurius could have just gave away his God-like position to anybody but my guess is that he wants to be entertained after sitting on that godly throne for aeons and watching time repeat over billions of times that his butt must be so sore from sitting there. Maybe he couldn’t just give it away and hence this confusing and elaborated setup that spends 17 episodes for a series. Yeah, it makes you question is there a God over God for it all because right now I am thinking what if there are other Gods too in many other alternate parallel worlds. Oh sh*t. Don’t want to open a can of worms + Pandora’s box with that question.

As this series makes its way to the finish line, I really don’t understand the importance of some of the characters like Rea and Kasumi. It has come to my understanding that they only exist in the end as convenient plot devices. In Rea’s case, all the talk about Isaak and Johann crap thingy that I never understood, all it takes was just a neglected kid whom I believe I have never seen before to change the tide against Heydrich’s favour. And Rea’s short role was just to bring him there. Like WTF. Even without Rea, Isaak could have just haunt Heydrich in his ghost form and curse daddy for not looking at him. Kasumi who has been knocked out for entirely almost this season, suddenly wakes up and not knowing what is going on (she read my sentiments really well) and kept believing that crap of being together like always and will be waiting. The next thing you know, she became an old grandma! Not sure if this is what Marie makes of Kasumi in this new world. Not sure if Kasumi actually really waited for Ren. Either way, her role seems redundant. Just to remind us that she wasn’t killed off and is still around. And with that hint of reincarnation thingy, yeah it might get messier because there’s a chance she might become Ren’s child or something. Heck, this show is so confusing that my mind is starting to think up such unknown crazy possibilities.

Then there is Kai and Beatrice whom I thought in the end were just characters so as to give Leonhart a reason why she is fighting and to continue fighting after learning this is not what she signed up for. Ren’s past with Goetz also sounds interesting but I wonder if what happened during the war and before all this God-like crappy thingy happened, would it be a lot more interesting if they dedicated another season to show us really what happened. Maybe I would understand better. Maybe I would be even more confused. The sickest story of them all belongs to Wolfgang so I can really sympathize why he sounds so mad and crazy. Imagine if you whore yourself for your entire life, mommy took away your manhood and still got jealous of you, man, that’s got to be really twisted. Even more so, this was the guy who ‘birth’ out of Rusalka’s tummy in that cheap horror jump scare last time.

Even if I didn’t understand what was going on, at least I can take a sigh of relief and enjoy the so called exaggerated and overpowered action. Nothing like all those flashy special effects to cover up whatever is lacking and call it action. So yeah, the power fights do feel like they pack a punch like as though they are on par with anime series like Bleach and Dragonball Z but only because I am too dumb to understand the real story so I am more impressed with all that power punches, magical shots and whatever superhuman moves the characters pull off. This world is going to be destroyed anyway, so why not go all out and just wreck the damn place like as though there is no tomorrow. Everybody is dead too, no? Hence this final stretch feels like one big battle royale with the ’good guys’ versus ‘the final bosses’.

The same opening and ending themes are used and I still love the epic Opera by Phero Men. Kassai! Kassai! But unlike the TV series in which a blank screen was shown instead of some ‘stylish’ works of art animation, this time we at least have a one. Even if they are just still pictures but it isn’t all that bad and it is better than nothing. I guess now I can’t say that they were being lazy. Perhaps they had enough time after the TV series ended to produce something visually decent at the end. Also to note, the crazy background music permeating throughout the entire series also sounds as epic. With the crazy and frenzy electric guitars and organs mixed with choir voices, it really feels suitable for such frantic pieces to be played. Like as though the band was high on drugs when they played the music. But it was really fitting the overpowered and messy scenes. However I can’t help feel that those background music pieces feel like corrupted and tainted versions of classical music and being given the hard rock treatment.

On a trivial note, I thought this series was going to be a bit extra long in its duration per episode. Because it is like running almost 28 minutes per episode instead of the usual 23 minutes. Hence I thought there would be extra 5 minutes per episode to spam more action or more confusing conversations. Surprisingly it is not the case. The actual run time of this season is the same (including the opening and ending themes) and the final 5 minutes of each episode is dedicated to listing down all the names, nicknames and monikers (I believe it is to be so) for all the people who have supported in the production of this series! Man, that is a hell lot of names! I don’t know what kind of support they give as it is never stated but the more the credits roll, the more names (and hence the smaller font) appears. Maybe some names are those who bought the DVDs to support the making of this ONA? Well, some names are just numbers, some alphanumeric, some like abbreviations, there are plenty of it so much so you would think that they might have just made up a few or pull it out from the air. Because, who else is going to stay and watch this segment, right? Unless you are one of the contributors who really want to go search for your name to pop up somewhere (good luck in that sea of names) or you just really want to hear that really crazy awesome rock music.

Overall, this is still one heck of a confusing series. It is more than an alternative setting of Nazis wanting to change the world to get their wish fulfilled. Even if the story is complicated, the action scenes do help alleviate some of that ‘pain in your brain’ trying to think so much. But even so, those fight scenes aren’t so epic. Just satisfyingly average. Thankfully I can put this series to rest and behind me. Now I can be satisfied that I’ve been through one of the most incomprehensible series in my life. It has been truly Dies Irae, the day of wrath for me. I don’t want to be God. I just want to be a normal otaku.

Mahou Shoujo Site

August 12, 2018

What’s this?! Another dark battle royale magical girl series? So, Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica + Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku + a little punch of Jigoku Shoujo = Mahou Shoujo Site! Fukou da ne… Well, if the plot of magical girls fighting each other doesn’t sound too original, please bear in mind that this series was written during the height of the popularity of Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica. I guess now it has only been given its anime treatment. Better late than never? Bored of all the sparkling goodness and clichés in typical magical girl series? I guess we can’t get enough of magical girls killing each other. Hontou ni fukou da ne…

Episode 1
Aya Asagiri tries to kill herself at the railroad crossing. She couldn’t. Every day she thinks of dying. But I don’t think everyone else cares either. At school, she is bullied by a group of girls led by Sarina Shizukume. Heck, even the teacher and other classmates don’t care and turn a blind eye. Toilet break isn’t exactly fun for Asagiri too. Yup, more torture. Her only reprieve is a stray kitten by the bridge. Heck, kitty gets better treatment from Asagiri. Wanna bet the bullies find out about this? It is no different back home. The focus is on her brother, Kaname. Her parents praise him for his grades and intellect. But behind his gentle demeanour, Kaname abuses Asagiri! He ties her up and punches her guts! This is to let off steam for living up to their parents’ expectations. He blames her for that and at least be useful as a stress reliever. That night, a strange Magical Girl Site pops up. It offers magic to her but she shuts it down seeing how creepy everything is. Next morning on her way to school, more misery is added when she sees a certain kitten killed at the tracks. Asagiri is surprised to see a weird gun in her locker. Then more abuse by Shizukume and her groupies. Yeah, they’re so bored of it that Erika Kajima calls her senpai, Shouta Arai to rape her. Asagiri runs away but is caught. Moments before being raped, Erika reveals she killed the kitten. This makes Asagiri mad as she whips out the gun and fires. They disappear. But later it is discovered their bodies have been found near the tracks. Asagiri is fearful that she might have killed them and will be arrested. She tries to find the site again but error 404. With Asagiri ignoring Kaname, looks like his stress is pent up and can’t concentrate on his studies?! Shizukume confronts Asagiri and demands what she did. Asagiri maintains her innocence but she doesn’t believe it. She is going to scar her face when suddenly time stops. Fellow classmate, Tsuyuno Yatsumura comes to her rescue. She claims she is a magical girl and so is Asagiri after receiving a ‘magical stick’. Yatsumura positions Shizukume to slice her own neck. She will tell Asagiri all about Magical Girl Site as she needs her.

Episode 2
Yatsumura further explains her magical stick stops time and Asagiri is able to move because she added her name to a list of exceptions. Asagiri’s power is instant teleportation and she witnessed that ‘murder’ thingy. Yatsumura believes it is their destiny as magical girls to weed out bad people so she shouldn’t feel bad about it. Of course Yatsumura didn’t make Shizukume kill herself but enough to put her in critical condition. Back at her room, Yatsumura explains more about the mysteries. The site owner is unknown but it seems if you accept the magical stick, you are bound to the site rules. Also a note of caution not to use the power so much because it drains your life. There’s an indicator on the arm. Once it runs out, you die. Yatsumura is also here to warn her that there are other magical girls out there. She once worked with a fellow magical girl, Rina Shioi who would gather information on other magical girls. Suddenly someone is killing magical girls and taking their magical stick. They started investigating her and dub her Magical Hunter. Suddenly Shioi disappeared. Her body was never found but before she disappeared, she sent her a picture of what Hunter looked like. Creepy mad as hell. Yatsumura hopes they can cooperate and catch Hunter. As proof, she will protect her tonight. This means no S&M torture from Kaname. Safe. One day after school, Asagiri is stopped by a busty girl. Before she knows it, she is trapped in a magical barrier. Too late for Yatsumura to activate her time stopping magic. This girl is of course Hunter but she looks different. She used another magical stick to alter her appearance. Hunter wants to kill her and all Asagiri could think of not using her stick to get back at her is because she doesn’t want to kill her? With assurance from Yatsumura she won’t, Asagiri fires. It is believed wherever the victim is teleported is based on Asagiri’s will. They catch Hunter and interrogate her. Yatsumura knows she is Shioi as she is reacted to the Hunter moniker when nobody else uses it. Shioi reveals she went around killing others to get her stick as well. The more the better to survive when Tempest arrives. Before she faked her disappearance, she met the site’s admin. She was told the arrival of Tempest on a certain date would bring an end to this world and create a new one. Before she could reveal the important juicy parts, she starts coughing blood. Is this the doing of some magical girl too?

Episode 3
Keisuke Naoto is an obsessed fan of Nijimi Anazawa who is part of a famous idol doggy group. Shioi is in comatose state and the doctor is unsure if she will wake up. Yatsumura believes using too many powers at once caused her to fall into this state. This has them think about why they were chose to be magical girls and Asagiri to ask about Yatsumura’s past. She won’t say but snippets show she found her parents dead. Asagiri has this idea that one of the magical stick may be able to fix Shioi’s condition. As they go through the list. They see a familiar face. Isn’t that Nijimi? Asagiri has this idea to attend her handshake event. When it is their turn, Yatsumura will stop time and then Asagiri will teleport them to a different area. Not sure why they even need to meet her. Couldn’t they just freeze time and teleport? Nijimi is very excited to see other magical girls. After explaining their purpose, before they could ask her magical stick’s ability, she is whisked away by her managers to be brought back to her fans. She gives them an appointed time and place to meet. In her apartment, they see her zombie fans as slaves. She reveals her power to mind control others. Her magical stick? Magical pantsu???!!! Yatsumura knows her power is dangerous and useful, hence the need to get her on their side. When asks if she knows other magical girls, Nijimi becomes upset. Mikado was a magical and best friend until she got killed by Shioi. That’s why if she sees that b*tch, she’ll kill her!!! Scary. Nijimi also reveals she hides the indicators with concealers and she bleeds ‘somewhere else’. The duo leave but not after Nijimi uses her power to exchange contacts. Shizukume is vengeful to make Asagiri pay. Conveniently she is a few doors away from Shioi’s room and she sees Asagiri coming out from there. Possible heard a few important lines in their conversation for future plot purposes. She enters the room and is shocked to see the site admin who is sad that Shioi is disqualified. Aha. A replacement… Kaname must have had it for straight nights without abusing his sister. So he secretly checks her computer and finds frequent visits to the Magical Girl Site. Still error 404, though.

Episode 4
Nana, the site admin invites Shizukume to become a magical girl for revenge. She reveals it was the duo who caused the death of her friend as well as the hideous scar on her neck. She wants Shizukume to succeed Shioi as Hunter and collect magical sticks. She gives her a yoyo as her magical stick. With that, Shizukume can access the site and see the countdown to Tempest. Oh, her yoyo slices things like hot knife through butter. Asagiri reveals her bullied past to Yatsumura. As a transfer student, she is often weak and shy. Shizukume did help her out in several moments but Asagiri continued to remain so. Hence the whole bullying started just because she didn’t say a simple thank you? Sick. Yatsumura tells her to stop blaming herself and be strong. She is not as weak or worthless as she thinks. When Yatsumura returns home, she coughs blood and collapses. Meanwhile Kaname’s grades are slipping to a point dad becomes mad and beats him up! In the streets while other girls swoon over him, in his mind they are nothing but scums. At the convenience store, he buys a drink but Naoto the cashier suddenly goes into shock. News of Nijimi’s sudden retirement. This makes Kaname mad as this is the epitome of the worst kind of scum, validating their lives through others. Asagiri feels good today. The bullying stopped ever since she came into her life. Jumping the gun too fast. Because Shizukume is back! Oh no. Yatsumura is absent and what’s this? Nijimi is a new transfer student in her class?! Oh sh*t. She’s waving at Asagiri. Later as they talk, Nijimi says she retired from showbiz to concentrate on finding Mikado’s killer. That is more important than disappointing her fans. Yup, she still wants to kill her badly. Oh sh*t. Shizukume conveniently eavesdrops this and later confronts Nijimi to mock about her revenge plan. Then she shows a picture of Shioi. You looking for this girl? Asagiri visits Yatsumura’s place. No answer. Door unlock. She is shocked to see Yatsumura collapsed. She is still conscious and attributes this to overusing her power. She forbids her from calling the ambulance in fear of anybody finding out this strange guy chained in her room. He is the reason she became a magical girl. Flashback shows this guy snuck into her home and killed her family but left her alive so he would return to see a prettier grown up Yatsumura. She has been living in fear of him since and one day she discovered the Magical Girl Site and obtained the power. Revenge was all she had to live for.

Episode 5
Asagiri cries for her and promises she won’t be alone. Heart breaking moment with Shizukume coming in to mock them. She also tells them about letting Nijimi know about Shioi. Shizukume begins to cut them up but luckily they’re not stupid to stay where they are. Too bad Yatsumura’s killer got split in half. There goes her revenge. Yatsumura still has a trump card. Nijimi calls Shizukume to complain she can’t kill Shioi because there is a magical barrier protecting her. Yatsumura used several magical sticks to activate multiple powers at once. But this causes to Yatsumura to pass out from exhaustion. Shizukume tries to kill Asagiri but it looks like she wrecked the entire room instead. Asagiri takes over using the magical stick to erect a protection barrier. With her bent on protecting Yatsumura as her only friend, Shizukume calls her a hypocrite for killing Erika and Shouta. This time Asagiri won’t be cowed by her words. She blames Shizukume for all the bullying and never knew the hell she has been through. The feeling of wanting to die every day but couldn’t because was too scared. The place starts crumbling and before the ceiling could crush Shizukume, Asagiri fires her gun to teleport her back to school. Shizukume may be conflicted about her enemy saving her but she still won’t back down because of this and has something important to do to survive Tempest. Casualties are high as rescue teams work all night to pull out survivors. They are shocked to see a barrier protecting Asagiri and Yatsumura. Not sure how they got them out of it as they are wheeled into ICU. Asagiri’s parents are there. They are assured she is in stable condition but looks like Yatsumura is going into cardiac arrest. Nijimi is left frustrated why she couldn’t kill Shioi. If Shizukume kept her word but as though somebody else knows about her wanting to kill her and is trying to protect her. Then she connects the dots. It’s those ‘friends’. Anger level just went up another notch. Kaname is ‘worried’ about Asagiri. I mean, if she dies who else is going to be his punching bag, right? Nijimi is at the door and wonders if Asagiri is in. Damn those killer eyes… Meanwhile eye-patch girl walks into Shioi’s room and prepares to kill her.

Episode 6
Naoto follows Nijimi to Asagiri’s place and is devastated to see her coming into contact with Kaname. But what’s this? Nijimi suddenly falling in love with him?! Is this real or deception? Although on the outside we see them nice and good to each other, deep down in their heart they show us their true colour. Well, both have a bone to pick with Asagiri. Kaname decides to use her in his plan because with this ‘blessing’, he now has a reason to see Nijimi again. Kosame Amagai slits her own wrist and lets Shioi drink her blood. Shioi instantly wakes up. Being a bit pushy for answers, Kosame starts cowering in fear but after taking her medications, she calms down. Kosame reveals she is also a magical girl and her power is healing to those who drink her blood. Since she loves to inflict self-harm, cutting herself is no problem. Yatsumura and Asagiri wake up fine. Friendship time is interrupted when Shioi shows herself and introduces Kosame. Thanks to emo girl, this is the reason why their injuries are totally healed. Kosame continues explaining the juicy stuffs. There are many other Magical Girl Sites each with its own admin. But every site leads to the same revelation of Tempest. She further shows them more info on it. Tempest indeed is going to destroy the world. However there is a way one can survive. Offer the negative energy of humans to the King. They can be collected and stored via magical sticks and during the day of Tempest when one offers it, the one with the most negative energy will survive. But this means magical girls being given their own stick will start killing each other to fill up the meter. Also, if they used the magical stick too much, they’ll die. This means, the sites never intended for them to live. Kosame needs their help to join them. Their plan is to catch a site admin and make them spill more about Tempest. But first, Asagiri and Yatsumura need to find their magical sticks lost in the rubble. Since Shioi blames them for losing all her hard work, she lets them search for themselves. I think it’s going to take a while. We take a break with Yatsumura thanking Asagiri for defending her. Now her reason to live isn’t for revenge anymore. Asagiri surprises her parents by returning home and also plead for Yatsumura to stay with them for the time being since she lost her home. Kaname is suspicious about the ‘magic’ of them being healed and does his own research on the sites. Nana and the other site admins convene and are not amused nosy girls are poking too deep into the site’s secrets. What’s the solution? Kill them off! Damn, lots of dead magical girls…

Episode 7
Kosame reminds them that despite she is able to heal their wounds, it doesn’t mean their life is prolonged. They will still die during their teens from the use of magical sticks. We see Asagiri and Yatsumura sleeping together and talking about the future they want but sorry, not hot lesbian sex. We are introduced to some of Kosame’s magical girl groupies. The yakuza, the rich girl and the bully victim because he is a cross-dresser. Nijimi confronts Asagiri and Yatsumura. But first they tell her the truth and circumstances. She agrees to help find the site admin only if they let her kill Shioi with her own hands. To make matters worse, Shioi becomes a transfer student in their class. Instantly Nijimi is going to jump and kill her but luckily Yatsumura holds her down and has Asagiri take off her magical pantsu! The guys must be revelling in joy in this confusion. Yatsumura takes the magical pantsu and hides it. After they get yelled by the teacher, they converge at the park to meet Kosame’s groupies. They introduce themselves as well as their magical sticks’ ability: Sayuki Ringa (katana hardens anything she wants to cut), Mikari Izumigamine (broomstick allows her to fly fast and far), Asahi Takiguchi (necklace boosts physical abilities like speed) and Kiyoharu Suirenji (ring enables telepathy). Not surprising, some have bad blood with each other. They discuss the strategy to kidnap a site admin. Shizukume meets up with Nana who wants the magical sticks she gathered. But she won’t give them back and will use them to kill those girls. Nana fires a warning shot not to stick her nose where it doesn’t belong or she’ll die too. Asagiri is so kind to bring Shioi to stay with her. I guess Yatsumura won’t have any lesbian monopoly on her tonight. Definitely for Kaname too. During the bath, Asagiri gets a call from Kosame. Sounds like bad news so much so Asagiri starts crying. She has a favour to ask of her.

Episode 8
Naoto blames Kaname for stealing his Nijimi and vows to kill him. But what’s this? Our magical girls get to enjoy time at the beach? Does this series badly wants fanservice? I guess with the end of the world coming and the final battle with Tempest looming, why not enjoy ourselves first, right? So we see the girls having fun, more of Asagiri and Yatsumura thanking each other and this outing was planned by Asagiri because that call from Kosame told her that Yatsumura has not much longer to live after using too much of her magical stick. Later they realize somebody has broken into their locker and only stole Nijimi’s magical stick. Kiyoharu reads everyone’s minds but finds none of them as the culprit. But we’ll soon know as Naoto confronts Kaname and is going to kill him. Flashback shows Kaname using his suave skills to persuade Nijimi to disclose some magical girl stuffs. Kaname orders him on his knees and without skipping a beat, Naoto grovels before him. Wait a minute. If he has no vagina, where does he bleed from?! Does his balls bleed/! Kaname revels in his power as he shows off wearing Nijimi’s pantsu just to piss him off. My, what big dick he has! Plus, no bleeding? Kaname then orders him to walk into the ocean and stab himself in the heart. What do you know? Asagiri is watching this and very terrified. As she returns with her friends, she sees Kaname staring at her. On no. That sick look and smile… On the way home, Asagiri is terrified if her friends find out because they will kill him. After all he has done to you and you still care about that bastard? Wow. Such a nice girl. She is in a dilemma on what to do buy Kiyoharu has read her mind and knows what is going on and would like to resolve this as peacefully as possible. Detective Kiichirou Misumi and his police pick up Naoto’s body. As they investigate, he finds everything about his suicide off. He then sees a picture of Nijimi written all over with death threats addressing to Kaname. Nijimi is glad to meet Kaname but there is something he needs to tell her as he whispers into her ear…

Episode 9
Sayuki takes some of the girls to stay at her place. It’s her yakuza mansion. Definitely safe with all those thugs around… Meanwhile Kaname is at Nijimi’s place and the latter is fawning all over him until he uses the magical stick against her. She is begging for her life but Kaname views her as useless. As he orders her to hang herself, Asahi under Kiyoharu’s mind control barges in and beats him up. But with Nijimi still obedient to him, he turns the tables on her and tells her to kill Kiyoharu. Mikari rushes to Sayuki’s place to tell the bad news. Kosame cuts herself to heal Kiyoharu but there’s not enough blood. She would love to cut herself but Asagiri takes responsibility for this and uses her blood to save Kiyoharu. She reveals the truth about what she saw. But they’re not out of the woods yet as Kaname strolls in. Hello ladies. All of them are under his command as he takes it all out on his sister. Sick guy licks his sister’s hand with the cutter to heal himself. As he orders Nijimi to collect the magical sticks, Kiyoharu manages to telepathically talk to Nijimi and snap her out of Kaname’s control. She tells her to pretend and find a way to catch him off-guard. However realizing she has been duped by him, she cannot contain her again and charges at him only to be slashed. When you die, you always reflect on your life. In the case of Nijimi, she loves performing in front of others because she loves to see everyone happy. Reality hits hard when her debt ridden dad kills himself and the debt collector threatens the family. Hence Nijimi turned to the Magical Girl Site in hopes of reversing this disaster. Looks like she won’t get her chance. In her final attempt, she breaks a bottle and stabs into Kaname’s throat. Panicky Kaname tries to get the cutter but some invisible figure prevents him. Then the place is shrouded with smokescreen. When Asagiri wakes up, she sees all the other girls around Nijimi. She’s dead. Healing won’t work anymore.

Episode 10
Nijimi is such a big shot that a public memorial service is held for her. Misumi is talking to asking Asagiri’s parents who are worried about Kaname’s disappearance. Meanwhile Asagiri is as usual wallowing in depression and regret. Only thoughts of Nijimi until she realizes she needs to become stronger. About time. As she tries to find her lost magical stick and vows to protect everyone with her life, Shizukume confronts her. During Nijimi’s funeral, Asagiri surprises everyone by turning up. Later she turns her gun towards them and fire. Shortly, the building they are in collapses. It seems Nana is in cohorts with Misumi to kill them. He is the guy who stopped Kaname as he was tasked to retrieve his magical stick. He assures her Kaname is dead but it looks like he is kept alive, tied up somewhere. Now his job is to retrieve those dead magical girls’ stick. Luckily they are still alive as Asagiri teleported them somewhere. She tells them the site administrators are trying to kill them and knows about it because of Shizukume. The rest are shocked to see Shizukume joining their side. However Asagiri wants them to hand over their magical sticks. She wants them to drop out of this fight and return to their normal lives. It is her fault this mess started and she will atone it herself. But even if they give their magical sticks, that doesn’t delete the fact that they are still magical girls and will still be targeted. When Asagiri sounds too desperately desperate, Yatsumura slaps her and has her remember her initial promise about not doing this alone. With a little pep talk that they all share the burden and the pain, Shizukume gives them back their missing magical sticks. As for why she is siding with them. At first she was engaged by Nana to kill them all had they survived the explosion. Those site administrators don’t see them as people and discard them when they are useless. She is done being their pawn. They gear up to prepare taking down the Magical Girl Site.

Episode 11
The girls lay in wait to ambush a site administrator. They have the details because Yuka Sumikura who runs a blog site, uploaded details of how she is going to get a magical stick (too bad she’ll be waiting forever). But soon as her post gets uploaded, it is deleted. Possibly what she written down is true. At the school building, they wait until Ni shows up in which Shioi pounds her with her hammer. Uhm, she only lost a leg? Shioi rants how based on all the data they’ve collected, they could tell site admins have certain protocols to follow and areas assigned. That’s how they lay this bait. Yeah, it won’t do you any good spilling out those details as Ni attacks. To show how powerful she is, she kills a dumb guard passing by. Instead of being afraid and calling for backup, he called out to the monster and paid with his life. Ni turns her attention to Asagiri but she teleports her to the rooftop where Shizukume is waiting as she cuts her to pieces before Shioi finishes her off. This decoy is part of their plan. They are shocked when the corpse turns into a human one. Could it be that site admins are humans? I don’t know, but doesn’t the corpse look a little like a robot? Meanwhile, the other magical girls are being hindered by another side admin, Hachi. She is able to clone herself and keep them at bay. How long can Sayuki keep fending off her sword attacks? Back to the rest, they are confronted by Nana who claims she has been watching them. She made Ni a decoy to lure them out. Now she is going to kill them. At first Yatsumura seems dumb enough to let her destroy her magical stick. But when the timing is right, she initiates a barrier to protect her friends while attempting to cut her with Shizukume’s yoyo. Uhm, in exchange for taking in all those shots, she only cut off an arm? Yeah. Failed. Hence cue for Yatsumura’s last words. Thank you this, thank you that. She knows she hasn’t got long to live either. Goodbye. Dead. Cue for Asagiri to go berserk and scream over the death of her best friend. In another plot twist, in the base of the site administrators, Ichi welcomes the latest member to their circle: Yatsumura!

Episode 12
Nana tells Yatsumura about all the misfortune and hate building up in this world. Because of that, Yatsumura’s accumulated negative energy is deemed sufficient to be fed to the King who will then release Tempest onto the world. The King is the world’s most unfortunate girl and the plan is to wipe Earth of malice by evolving humans into something malice-free. Those who cannot adapt will die. Asagiri teleports her other friends away. She intends to be with Yatsumura but suddenly she comes back alive! Nana explains she is now an administrator but since she is not full-fledged, she needs more negative energy to become one. And that person to feed her that is Asagiri! So it becomes a strange hide and seek game. You think friendship talk is going to save the day? Can Yatsumura even hear her? Oh well, cliché time. Asagiri then shoots her own heart while Yatsumura strangles her. Did she go back in time to a young Yatsumura? Not sure, there’s the magical girl mark on her wrist. With assurance to always be with her, it dispels whatever fear she has as Yatsumura regains her consciousness. She is sad to see Asagiri’s lifeless body before her. But then, plot twist! She still lives as they both shoot at Nana. Nana claims unfairness as they used their magical sticks to free other magical girls. She asks if they are unfortunate souls. They reply they became magical girls out of misfortune but their misfortune is for nobody to decide. Therefore they are not unfortunate. Yatsumura resumes time and lets Nana get hit by a train? That killed her? Fatality! In the aftermath, more good news because Sayuki-Mikari combo somehow manage to cut down Hachi while Shizukume lives thanks to Kosame and Shioi donating blood to her. Meanwhile the administrators are talking about this mess but Ichi says they can be replaced. Meanwhile in Misumi’s lair, there are lots of magical sticks hanging up his wall. But here is the worst part. At least for Kaname. Because his butt is going to get raped by him!!! OMFG!!!!!!!!! And meanwhile too, Asagiri and Yatsumura live a happy lesbian life? Not if Ichi narrates how he hopes misfortune will befall on them because they have taken on the malice inside people’s hearts, boasting the misfortunes of the past have given rise to happiness in the present. This is an unforgivable sin as it dents the King’s plan.

Warning: Visiting This Site May Harm Your Life
Oh, you poor unfortunate soul. Fukou da ne, fukou da ne… I am not sure if this is the end at all. Asagiri and Yatsumura successfully killing the site admin who has been a thorn on their side doesn’t mean Tempest will go away. Sure, it looked like a bright sunny day after their victory with the other magical girls coming out alive and a bit scathed, that’s all. They sound like everything is over. But this only delays slightly the coming of Tempest so by a long shot, everything is far from over. Hence with this ‘happy ending’ this season has closed, it just doesn’t feel right. To a point that I think the main goal was just to defeat Nana and our main duo can happily frolic with each other. Wow. So fortunate finally, you girls. Oh right. Who are we to determine the misfortune of others, eh?

Although it started out pretty slowly and interesting, I can’t help feel that halfway through it was like dragging things out. Perhaps I was having the mentality of magical girls killing each other and when I wasn’t seeing at least a magical girl dying per episode, that was probably what got my goat. Yeah, I’m such a sadist… Can’t be help. I expected to see more than just spilled blood in this kind of series! Sure, there are dead magical girls in almost every episode. But those are just minor characters with no name whom we will never care. Those kind of magical girls are the ones racking up the body count. Then trying to find more allies to fight against the inevitable Tempest, hence the detour of trying to capture or even kill a site administrator feels lacklustre. It feels more dragged out than something that would maintain and pique your interest. I wonder if this series would have done better had an extra cour being given. Because a dozen episodes feels too short considering the pacing and direction of this series.

Even the big antagonist’s plot of trying to bring a disaster to the world in hopes of saving humanity by destroying a big chunk of it doesn’t sound original. Hmm… Where have I heard this kind of plot before? Oh, right. From Code Geass to even Sousei No Onmyouji. Heck, even Thanos from the Marvel universe has this same intention. Higher powers claim they have the moral right to obliterate weaklings and create a world without all the negative emotions for the ultimate world. A world lacking that negative emotion. It should be perfect but our heroes and heroines place more important on status quo than anything. That’s why the world continues to suck and soak up all the hatred.

The series also tries to deal with some dark themes. A lot of them. From incessant bullying to even to domestic abuse and even depression (woah, that man rape at the end wasn’t entirely expected), however they aren’t addressed in a serious manner. Did the magical power of the magical girls somehow interfered and made it less relevant? Because you see, even as Asagiri became some sort of a punching bag for Shizukume’s groupies to bully, this is supposed to score some sympathy points but the way she takes every beating like as though she extends her life force from every hit makes it feel unrealistic. If that wasn’t enough, we have her older brother who often lets off steam with his nightly visits. Yeah, he is just short of raping his sister. Maybe in time he would. Hence with Asagiri being casted as powerless (before she was a magical girl), it makes it look like one S&M fest with her bullies enjoying tormenting her while Asagiri ‘enjoying’ every moment of blows she has taken in. And the bullying stops because she became a magical girl. Felt more like plot convenience to me.

The characters are boring and uninspiring. You don’t feel like you want to root for them and only had to because they’re the good characters and out of sympathy. Like I have said with Asagiri as a veteran bully victim, she doesn’t feel like the main character and only felt so because more screen time is given to her. She has hardly changed and is mostly the same guilt ridden girl from the start. Only this time she has Yatsumura to care about. Therefore her noble attitude trying to protect and save her because the power of friendship reeks cringe. Maybe it is natural for Asagiri since Yatsumura is the first person who ever treated her closely to a human being. So it’s understandable Asagiri puts her on a pedestal and trying to show her worth as a friend instead of being some useless victim.

Copying Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica’s fashion, the biggest twist is revealed to be the site administrators were once humans. That’s like how the witches in that anime were once magical girls, no? I have always kept it in the back of my mind that Yatsumura might not be the good person that she seems to be before Asagiri. Because I was thinking that at one point she might betray her. All this playing friendship and being nice with her is just part of her bigger plan. After all, all magical girls have their own goals so it is not surprising Yatsumura has hers. Now, my theory is that the criminal that Yatsumura has been slowly torturing as revenge is dead, even though it is not Asagiri’s fault but she had an indirect hand in ending that reason to live. Words are easy and would you believe if a human could get over a long outstanding grudge just after a mere realization of friendship? Especially in this dark series? I’m not putting my faith in it yet. So even if Yatsumura is true blue in her friendship towards Asagiri, perhaps the ultimate betrayal to Asagiri will come in the form of her being the next site administrator. Well, she did became temporarily one but that BS friendship crap ruined it all. Instead, Asagiri did apologize and say something about ‘betraying’ her but I didn’t get it. So is it true that they have no malice in their hearts now? Damn, I didn’t think it was this easy.

The problem with the other magical girls is that they don’t feel too relevant. The new ones they teamed up with halfway through still feel like a ragtag bunch only put together because of a common cause. They do play minor roles like Kiyoharu’s telepathy thingy but any more than that, it usually boils down to Asagiri and Yatsumura. The rest I can’t even remember their names properly. Like that one who runs fast, the one who rides the broomstick and the emo girl who is tempting who cut herself. Seeing that they don’t have any backgrounds or given such prominence as Asagiri or Yatsumura, I was thinking they could be sacrificial goats. However, even if the plot did not turn into a big battle royale and became a big cooperating team to take down the menace, well, it certainly didn’t go the way I expected as seen in Avengers: Infinity War. Oh heck, why not just kill off everybody and be done with it.

You thought Shizukume would be a thorn in the main group’s side. Unfortunately she decides to put aside their differences and join them against the site administrators. I don’t know about you, it feels disappointing. I thought it would add another layer of hostility for the group seeing they have another threat to deal with. Even if she wasn’t around to join in the final battle, it didn’t matter. Perhaps to show some solidarity among the magical girls to fight for the greater good? Thank goodness it tuned out alright, didn’t it?

Kaname is more interesting than these girls because of his sick and twisted mind. This guy is a narcissist who thinks he is better than everyone. There is a saying that goes if meeting one or two people, they might be an asshole. But if everyone you meet is an asshole, you are probably the asshole. Could not be so true in Kaname’s case. But he isn’t different than everyone and is as low as a scum like those he thinks they are. Otherwise, why would he need to abuse his sister just to keep his sanity and grades? This already shows he has a flaw and ever since Asagiri turned into a magical girl, the stress keeps building up that it finally explodes. This guy could be a serial killer had he not have school obligations. Kaname is such an interesting guy that the next episode preview is about him talking in his thoughts. It usually starts out very nice and polite until the punchline in the end that reveals his darker side. But too bad he became Misumi’s sex toy so not sure what will turn out of him. Just desserts? Yeah, this was what you have been doing to Asagiri all the time. Just short of penetrating her but now you got a hot guy sticking it deep into your ass. Yeah, his hole so big, bigger than the plot hole of this series! HAHAHA!!! I don’t even know why Misumi’s character exists except for this final disturbing part that doesn’t bring us anywhere. Maybe it is to subtly tell us now Asagiri can sleep soundly now that her brother is tormenting?

One of the biggest mind boggling issues comes in the part where Kaname was trying to kill the magical girls or at least get revenge on them. At least his sister. You remember the part where he had them all under his control. And he is just a command away from silencing them. Even if Nijimi had stuck a broken bottle in his throat, a little more struggle is more than enough to finish them off. But no. Instead, Nana sent that detective to stop him. Then she wanted them dead and thought of killing them herself. So instead of letting this mad brother do the job for her, she let them lived and then wanted them dead soon after? Does this make sense? Are there rules she has to follow through? Heck, she even failed to kill all of them. Yeah, I suppose it is to provide some tension, drama and drag out the plot.

I have a feeling they want to keep some sort of mystery about the site administrators, hence we don’t know nothing about them aside that they wear weird creepy masks and are named after numbers. Also, they might be human. Yatsumura being incepted doesn’t mean all of them could be considered as once humans. Even if the site administrators are scary and powerful, it isn’t like they are so powerful or omniscient like God. Because if they were, our main magical girls wouldn’t have given them such a hard time. Like when they baited and lured out Ni who suspected nothing. I don’t believe she was playing along. And Nana who should have killed them off during Nijimi’s funeral, does she not know that they are not dead? Always check the bodies… Even some of them do not get along among themselves and just like the ragtag bunch of magical girls, they’re just there for a common goal and share the same common powers.

The fight scenes as well as the magical sticks feel pretty meh. It’s a good thing that they are not confined to its user and anybody can own and use them. Otherwise it will be a pain and boring to see the same girls using the same magic sticks, something that most of them often do. So once in a while, we see them use a different stick other than theirs but fights don’t often last that long. Maybe except that Shizukume vs Asagiri-Yatsumura at the apartment one. But I’ll give points for the pantsu being a magical stick item. Never really saw that coming. The other mind boggling thing is that when Kaname was wearing them, he did not bleed like other magical girls. Is it because he is not a magical girl? But it doesn’t make sense because you can use the item because you’re a magical girl and not an ordinary person. Otherwise, I’m sure the girls aren’t dumb enough to be bound by the rules of being a magical girl and can still use them while remaining ordinary. Also be warned that there are lots of blood spilling in this anime. But I am assuming those who are watching this have no aversion to blood and want to see more.

I have mixed feelings for the art and animation. The characters have this cute or strange feel to them. Like Asagiri who looks like plain Jane but with those bags under her eyes, it looks like she does not have enough sleep. Maybe. Being kept awake by Kaname’s abuse certainly has a toll on her health. Oddly, Asagiri somewhat reminds me of Alice from Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku. Others like Yatsumura and Nijimi look a bit cartoonish so it is a bit contrasting to the dark theme of the series. It is the site administrators that look scary and could easily give one nightmares. Thankfully I didn’t get any. Their monochrome appearance and the lack of animation enhance the surreal look like as though are paper cut-outs inserted into the animation. This is Production doA’s first anime series (the other being the Gochuumon Wa Usagi Desu Ka Dear My Sister movie) so cut them some slack?

Voice acting also doesn’t feel anything special. Yuko Oono as Asagiri (Shiori in Toji No Miko) certainly makes her character feel she is at her limits. Nobuhiko Okamoto feels at home playing the psychotic Kaname since this feels like his other similar characters, namely Accelerator in To Aru Majutsu Index. Aoi Yuuki also has a role here as Hachi but it was tough to spot her not in the voice I could identify with. Other casts are Himika Akaneya as Yatsumura (Tamarai in ReLIFE), Haruka Yamazaki as Shizukume (Ruka in Hayate No Gotoku), Aina Suzuki as Shioi (Mari in Love Live! Sunshine), Yuu Serizawa as Nijimi (Yumemi in Kakegurui), Ryusei Nakao as Nana (Mayuri in Bleach), Yumi Hara as Kosame (Albedo in Overlord), Eriko Matsui as Kiyoharu (Isuzu in Log Horizon), Mao Ichimichi as Sayuki (titular character in Space Patrol Luluco), Kaede Hondo as Mikari (Koyume in Comic Girls), Lynn as Asahi (Maya in Sabagebu) and Tatsuhisa Suzuki as Misumi (Eishirou in Sora No Otoshimono). And last but not least… Mamiko Noto as the King!!!!!! OMFG!!! Only one short line in the end!!! Maybe this show is really taking after Jigoku Shoujo in some ways. Imagine if the King turns out to be Enma Ai… Oh boy, scary or insulting?

I have this feeling that the opening theme, Changing Point by iRis wants to sound as epic as Connect, which is the opening theme for Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica. Heck, the name sounds familiar to Claris who sang that song. Note that Himika Akaneya and Yuu Serizawa are part of this 6 member idol group. Well, it certainly tries to copy and have that feel as Connect but doesn’t live up to the hype. Or at least my standards. In other words, didn’t find it attractive enough to like it. The ending theme, Zenzen Tomodachi by Haruka Yamazaki isn’t anything special either. Maybe that is why they try to distract you with that live animation of a pair of girls (Asagiri and Yatsumura, I suppose) doing this weird dance on the rooftop. Open classroom? Are they doing some sort of demonic summon ritual or are they being possessed? But that weirdness cannot beat the animation of sperms flying in the air!!! WTF??????!!!!!!!! SPERMS!!!!! YOU SAW THAT RIGHT!!!!! What does a male reproductive cell has got to do in this predominantly female series???!!! I guess normal people don’t know how ovaries look like. But then again, why sperm? Why Japan? Why?!

Overall, I wanted to like this series not because I want to see dead magical girls who end up killing each other. Okay, maybe part of me wants that. Uninteresting characters, draggy plot that didn’t go anywhere far and unexciting twist ended up being its greatest demise. However with the thought that it is trying to compare itself to Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica and it came out 6 years later partly diminishes its potential to be greater. Heck, I still prefer Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku by a mile. Let’s hope in the future they can come up with better magical girl stories otherwise magical girls would only be reduced to nostalgia and taken over by nonsensical ones involving guys (looking at you, Mahou Shoujo Ore and the Binan series). When that really happens, it would be most unfortunate. Yup, we definitely decide our own misfortunes and misery. Fukou da ne, fukou da ne…

Hinamatsuri

August 5, 2018

Sorry folks. Hinamatsuri isn’t going to be an anime about the special day that Japanese girls celebrate. It is not going to talk about its origins and why it has become one of the important celebration in Japan. Yeah, that would be so boring that I wouldn’t’ even want to watch it. Heh. Instead, it is about… Hmm… Let me see… What we have here in the synopsis… Strange object, blah, blah, blah, member of yakuza, blah, blah, blah, strange girl inside strange object blah, blah, blah, strange powers she has, blah, blah, blah, they stay together and must use her power wisely or risk destruction all around. Oh. I see. Not really getting it either.

Episode 1
A girl is kicking a group of Chinese gang’s ass in her bid to save Hina. Flashback 3 years ago, yakuza dude, Yoshifumi Nitta one day has a strange capsule with a strange face drop in his apartment. He ignores it but it is still there the next day. Hina wants him to press the red button to free her. He does so. Naked girl. Clothes please. He won’t give it to her so she uses her powers to break some of his previous vase collection! Now Nitta becomes her caretaker and has to buy whatever she wants. Yeah, they’re all expensive stuffs and foods. And she won’t even tell about anything on herself. Uh huh. His vase collection is at ransom. Hina even has him enrolled at a local school just because she saw it on the news and wanted so. Of course Hina passes off as a weirdo as she even sleeps throughout the entire class. Because Hina must use her power from time to time, not doing so means going berserk. Yeah, there goes his entire vase collection. Nitta has an idea where she can use it at full potential. His boss wants him to find the cheapest company to clear a land for some property development. Nitta has Hina uproot trees and turn them into timber. So easy! He praises her awesome powers but Hina knows that look of adults taking kids with powers as advantage. Nitta then gets a call from his chief. Their boss got shot by a rival gang and he is forced to do the revenge job. Outside their base, Nitta is contemplating his future when Hina asks if he is going to order her to kill them. He scolds her for thinking so as this is not her problem. She smiles and says she will do it. She reveals the world she came from, her reason for existence is to carry out orders. She likes being with him and is nothing like the adults she knew. Hina uses her power to throw everyone and everything out of the building and even capturing the boss! Now Nitta is famous and everyone in his gang looks up to him for pulling off the impossible. Nitta rewards Hina with a huge bowl of her favourite fish roe. They say curiosity kills the cat because Nitta got curious in touching a small red ball and now he is stuck in the capsule! So that’s how she got here. Hina won’t let him out as he struggles. Until he promises to make her breakfast she does so. I think he already did his business there so it’s going to stink…

Episode 2
Another capsule drops in. This time Anzu is looking for Hina. Not sure if the biker gang is dumb enough not to suspect something strange when a naked loli is in front of them and challenge her. They got their ass handed to them. Sabu tells Nitta about the wipe out of a biker gang. He thinks it is Hina’s doing but it couldn’t be as he was with her last night. Worst fear comes true when he sees Anzu in the biker gang’s outfit. She could have caused a ruckus as she did not pay for her food. He pays for her and then tails her. Other biker gang members try to get even with her but get beaten up. She asks if they know Hina. This definitely confirms it for Nitta not to get involved with her. Now that Anzu has resorted to shoplifting for food, Nitta believes he might have saved the country when Hina dropped into his place. You can’t imagine how she’ll rummage for food everywhere causing a nationwide panic! Eventually he needs to settle this so he brings Hina to see her. Now Anzu doesn’t need to go find her. Anzu reveals she has orders from her boss to kill her, that’s why she is here. Hina isn’t interested so constant bribing of fish roe is needed to make her play along. Nitta sets the rules to play some power rock-scissors-paper game. Anzu wins a few times but is unable to use her power to make Hina turn the other way. Maybe except the funny face from the force of withstanding her power. When Hina wins, she does so to Anzu with ease! Anzu knows she is no match and rips her hair to show it as proof to her boss she killed her. But Hina would want her to stay before she leaves. So they have fun together and Nitta is used to taking care of kids. When Anzu leaves, she realizes her red ball cannot work (I guess it isn’t waterproof after being mixed up in the washing machine). She is stuck here and homeless again.

Because the cabaret girls think Nitta has become a loving father and spent more time with his ‘daughter’, Nitta blames Hina for this and is going to do things his way. He only leaves her with canned fish while he parties every night with girls. Hina tries to follow but he manages to lose her. Her classmate, Hitomi Mishima might regret what her problem is because now she is forced to follow her tail him. They enter the bar Nitta frequents but since Utako is not in, Hina leaves Hitomi alone. A drunk guy thinks she is a new girl and teaches her how to mix cocktail. Hina spots Utako outside. She tells her the problem so Utako says to tell Nitta or else he won’t understand. When Nitta enters the bar, Hitomi looks like an expert cocktail maker! Now Hina enters. She tells him that she also wants to go to cabaret clubs! With everyone drunk, they make their way there and even order a champagne tower. Hina uses her power since Nitta covers it up as illusion. Party on, people! What the f*ck is Hitomi still doing here? Next morning, Nitta has a hangover. Hina has so much fun she wants to go again. But after seeing the bill, looks like they have to live frugal for a while.

Episode 3
Anzu continues stealing and this time the shopping district led by Utako are chasing her down. If not for this homeless guy, Yassan helping her, who knows what they would have done to her. Utako is bitter for losing her but her pride will not allow to call the cops. Back at the hobo base, Yassan hears about Anzu’s plight. He teaches her how to make money like looking for tin cans and recycling them. Not much, she says? Yeah, money is hard to make. That’s why those guys were chasing you down. She is advised to buy some liquor for the other hobo guys since they need to stick together and they will teach her a lot more. But some like Shige don’t really accept a young girl joining their ranks. Anzu feels left out despite all that and when she voices out, she is made known the liquor she bought is more expensive and Yassan must have covered the rest. Following Yassan’s advice to sing for them, she sings the only song she knows: Wolf eating deer, munching-munching song? WTF. But everybody is crying!!! Yeah, Anzu reminds them of their grandchild. With that, she is now part of the gang. One day, Nitta spots Anzu looking for cans. Obviously she lies about liking this lifestyle. He gives her some cash. 40 grand. Oh sh*t! That’s thousands times much more than she makes! However she rejects him thinking he is insulting her. But after remembering others talking about tanking prices of cans, she goes back and apologizes. Money please? Nitta gives it to her as it was meant so. But shortly after, Utako and the shop owners confront her. They take the money and it covers their costs. They even give Anzu a small change! Anzu laments this to the hobo men but they are fine with it. Now she has a clean and fresh hobo life.

Hitomi is a studious student by day and a bartender by night. It all happened when Utako had her wear the bartender outfit and finds her cute. She will pay her handsomely for it. When Hitomi rejected, she threatened to upload of her in this outfit online. Yeah, her cocktail making skills are surpassing Utako. One night, she is shocked to see her homeroom teacher, Matsutani entering with the already drunk vice principal. It doesn’t help when Utako and the other guys are interested to see what happens next. She makes a different face but obviously Matsutani knows it is her. Even more so when the rest give hints she is Hitomi. But the reason he doesn’t bust her cover and plays along is that the vice principal is vouching to make him the head teacher but if he discovers he has a student in a shady job, that gets thrown out the window. He tests her shaking and stirring skills in which Hitomi proves she is an absolute master. Impressive. With that, her secret bank account is quickly filling up. Because Hina is being petty like Nitta has a meatball more than her, Nitta wonders if she should be homeless and swap place with Anzu. Thoughts of them in swapped places really freaked her out. Hina tries to be more considerate now and even tries to clean the place while he is away. Of course, lots of clumsiness causing her to make a mess of everything. There goes a vase… And just when Nitta thinks he should reward her once in a while, wait till he gets back and sees the chaos…

Episode 4
Nitta is mad alright. Not even apologies would do. That’s right. He has had it with her and disowns her. Get out. Now that she is homeless, she spends all whatever money she has on food. Homeless and penniless. Anzu spots her and is kind enough to take her back to her place to let her sort out things. Too bad Hina is just bad. You can tell she is going to be a freeloader… Hitomi comes by the apartment to give some notes and Nitta lies saying that she is away with his family. Which is weird because it’s not even the holidays. Utako is giving free soup to the homeless and is shocked to see Anzu and Hina coming to get some. When she tells Nitta about this, he comes clean about disowning her. Apparently everyone dislikes this idea and kicks him out of the bar! Don’t come back until he makes up with her! I guess Hina’s freeloading has reached its limit. Anzu kicks her out! Oh my. A homeless being homeless. The irony. Heck, when Anzu spots Nitta, she now understands how much crap he put up with her! So how does Hina live now? Apparently she saw a band doing street performance and the people donated whatever they want. So when Nitta heard from Sabu about Hina’s whereabouts, what did he see? The street band singing and Hina doing special effects! Oh man, he is flying!!! The crowd loves it! Too bad the police have to break them up since they have no permit for this. Though they make a killing from this and dream big, Hina isn’t happy. She drops the bomb that she wants to leave the band. While they are in shock, they have to accept and wish her all the best. Hina is seen sitting outside Nitta’s apartment. That guy still acts tough. She apologizes and bought a cheap looking vase as replacement. Oh well. Can’t stay mad forever. Get in. Finally a happy Hina face. Hitomi is doing well as a bartender but it seems her lie of sleeping over with friends is wearing thin as her bartending days are extending over the weekend. One day she sees Anzu picking cans and pitying her plight, she makes friends with her and tells her where she can get more. She introduces him to a colleague who after a little blackmail, gives his permission for her to take his loads of empty cans. Happy Anzu can’t thank her enough and invites Hitomi to her place. Her hobo place. Imagine to Hitomi’s shock seeing her homeless state. Wow. Anzu so happy she made a friend, eh? Hitomi is forced to hang out with her and even play tag! Yeah, she is so tired from work that she just sleeps standing! OMFG!

Episode 5
Anzu tries to teach cat’s cradle to Hina but she’s only interested in video games. Curses! That’s what you get when you have no money. So in order to get more money, she drags Hina along to find old used TVs to sell to this guy named Yoshida. Miraculously Anzu found tons of CRT TVs and treats them like treasure. Unfortunately they don’t worth much as Yoshida meant he wanted LCD types. The duo continue to search but end up with nothing. Anzu even calls Hitomi for help. Hitomi seeing how pitiful Anzu is has an idea. She remembers mom just bought a new TV and decides to use the old one as bait as she sets it up in the alley. Unfortunately the police catches her in the act and thinks she is dumping bulk waste. I wonder how she’ll get out of this sticky situation. Meanwhile Hina bugs Nitta for money to buy a new TV. She then takes a cab to bring it all the way to Yoshida who could tell this is a new TV. Since Hina has no money for the cab, Yoshida uses the new TV to offset the cab fare. Now Hitomi arrives with hers. Yoshida can also tell it is quite new. He just wished these kids would just send them to the recycling centre straight. When Hina gets home, Nitta is shocked and dumbfounded she sold the new TV and covered the taxi fare with it. WTF just happened?!

Kengo and Takashi see Hitomi enter the bar followed by Matsutani. They fear they have an illicit relationship. So they engage Sayo Aizawa to help out as she drags Hina into this ‘investigating task force’. Sayo tests Hitomi and it is obvious her body reaction tells us she is trying to hide a lie. Sayo finds this cute and teases her with a few lies just to make her panic. When Kengo and Takashi think Matsutani calling Hitomi to the teacher’s room to start something illicit, they bust in only to mess up the printouts. They are punished to help her out. They ask her about it and obviously that panic reaction. Because her vague words make it sound even more ambiguous, the guys are adamant to bring down the lolicon teacher. Now our little detectives wait outside the bar. After Hitomi enters, Nitta follows. They fear if she might be prostituting herself. To settle this once and for all, they barge into the bar. Now see Hitomi’s incredulous shock face! Priceless! She tries to play dumb that she is a different person but after Sayo’s smooth talking, Hitomi accidentally reveals herself. As punishment, she is made to confess out loud repeatedly she is a middle schooler bartender. So WTF. By this time Matsutani arrives. He sees the scene and thinks everyone mistook her for their classmate. The kids obviously know he is lying and the biggest idiot around. And Hina who has been dragged all along doesn’t even know what’s going on and everyone ignoring her…

Episode 6
Nitta’s mom calls. And Hina picks it up. Boy, he has some explaining to do. And so Nitta brings Hina to meet his family. Hina, meet mom and sister, Mika. Since Hina is just being awful in reiterating the rehearsed lines she is supposed to say (she sounds like a broken tape recorder, which makes it so much suspicious), Nitta uses his smooth operator talk to cover it all up. Something about Hina’s mom was killed and dad avenged her and was sentenced to prison. As his best friend, Nitta took her in. Wow. Such a great sob story that mom and Mika are crying! With Hina almost giving it away at times, Nitta’s smooth talk manages to get by. This guy should be given an Oscar. However he almost lets it slip when he mentions that one time he kicked her out of the house. Because it seems to imply that Hina is his daughter. So I guess it all comes down to this. Nitta admits she is his daughter and doesn’t know it until recently. They believe him because of his serious eyes. Yeah, so Oscar worthy serious eyes. They accept her and as part of the weird family ritual, they have to pray and say some words to Nitta’s late father. Yeah, it’s all too weird. Are they a bunch of psychos? For once when Hina is asked to say something, she says she has nothing to say! She’s learning to keep her mouth shut for unwanted trouble.

Anzu learns from Yassan that the homeless guys will be evicted. He has talked to Utako and arranged for somebody to take her in. However Anzu will not let this slip so she suggests joining the group protesting the removal of the homeless people. But the guys disagree because this will get them caught. Anzu suggests living somewhere else together but they give excuses there are no other places big enough for them and some even blowing their top they are barely taking care of themselves. It might sound harsh but the reality is that they want a better future for Anzu. Heartbroken, Anzu packs he bags and leaves with Utako. She is brought to stay in the care of the Hayashi family who runs a Chinese diner. They treat her good but naturally all this is still too shocking for Anzu. It really breaks your heart to hear her worried for the rest and feels she doesn’t deserve all this goodness alone! Even next morning when she comes down and offers her help, it is because she has learnt to work her keep. Wow. I’m respecting her even more! She starts talking how she learnt many things from the rest so her foster parents tell her that she will not be alone. There will be new people who will teach her stuffs and those who taught her will now have memories of the time spent with her. Anzu is so relieved that they will not be alone that she starts crying. So infectious that her foster parents too can’t hold it in. Me too… Sob, sob! Anzu, you’re such a great girl!

Episode 7
Anzu learns the tropes of her job. Nitta is her first customer and since he orders a decent dish, she thinks he has lots of money! Is that an insult? The sight of seeing lots of money at the register is sure tempting. Thankfully she is a good girl and didn’t succumb to the dark side. Her foster parents really feel for her when she washes chopsticks to be reused again when they just throw it away and she has gotten used in taking cold showers! At least Anzu gets to sleep easy in her own room now. Hina gets scolded by the teacher (again) for sleeping in class. Yeah, she’s really had it up till here. Oh, Hina failed every damn test???!!! Even Nitta tells her off to make school interesting since it was her idea to attend one in the first place. So when she learns that being a student council president is like becoming a boss, she wants to run for it! Matsutani is taking candidates for the student council and only Hina puts up her hand! Why isn’t anybody else interested???!!! Even Nitta thinks he is dreaming that she is running for that important post. Well, you’re not. So when he talks to his boss about it, he wants Nitta to take this matter seriously. Heck, he calls the company lawyer to draft the speech she is supposed to make! So here is how it goes. Sounds really fine and dandy like with all the proposals and promises. Like as though it is for a political election but on a school level. Too bad Hina literally reads everything. Everything! This includes lines where she is supposed to do a certain action but she reads them aloud and this confuses the crowd. In the end, she becomes the secretary since it is the school’s rule that first years cannot helm that job. Is she disappointed? Because of that, Hina has never appeared once to any student council meeting. Somehow Hitomi becomes her substitute and because she wants to end quickly and go to her bartending job, the student council thinks she is super efficient and wants her to replace Hina!

Nitta wants to date Utako but she isn’t budging. Oddly, Hina is willing to listen to him! No, you’re not dreaming. As Hina talks about this to Hitomi, the latter stepped on a landmine when she accidentally says she’ll have a new mom if they hit it off. Because to Hitomi, she thinks Hina’s mom is dead. But with Hina wanting so much for a mom, Hitomi has no choice but to root for her. Hitomi’s communication didn’t get through her since Hina asks straight to Utako to date Nitta. This only worsens her view on him. Hitomi does some control damage so Utako relents. Nitta returns and wonder why Hina is doing research on moms. Because Utako is going to be her mom. Plot twist! Nitta feels grateful for once. He has always thought kids are a nuisance but maybe they are hidden weapons. In his joy, he swings her around but she bangs her feet on the wall. Ouch. So bad that she has to be hospitalized in a cast! It’s time for his date and he feels guilty not wanting to leave her. But with Hina insists she wants a mom, Nitta will take her hopes and promises to be back with one. Nitta dates Utako but at the end of the day she rejects him. Poor guy. Because he has been talking about Hina always, she realizes they are so close that it would be hard to get in between them. Hence she told him she couldn’t date divorced single dads. Hina’s face lights up when she thinks Nitta has returned with a new mom. But it all goes down the drain after we see ‘mom’ as a fake hand puppet courtesy of Nitta’s falsetto. Such disappointment…

Episode 8
Kei Ikaruga arrives in town. When she eats at Anzu’s place, Anzu is shocked to recognize the chief security of her organization. What is she doing here?! Believing she is here to kill her, she is willing to accept death! However Kei says because Anzu never came home, she is listed as killed in action. Kei is here to observe Hina and deem if she is worthy to be brought home. Kei is actually very afraid of Hina! Something hints that he powers went out of control and destroyed a city. Yeah, Kei treasures her life! However Anzu tell her not to abandon her duty. Looking at the very simple list of behavioural observations she needs to make, Kei is shocked by the moment as she observes how civilized Hina is! She is following the rules of society! Like as though she is a different person! Learning about this Nitta guy who took her in, Kei has this misconception that he is God or something. With Hina passing the observation test, Kei notes an addendum at the end that says Hina is to be brought home as this means her psychological condition has improved. Mami Shinjou spots Hina using her powers and thinks she has made a discovery. Then she overthinks when she read a magazine about shady organizations who deals with such. As Mami is ‘untrained’, her attempts to observe Hina’s secret backfires and only embarrasses herself. So she confronts Hina straight. It might sound like Hina wants to kill her after her power is discovered by Mami pleads like hell for her life. Before you know it, they’re like best friends! As she wants to be like her, Mami trains before her. But we all can see that Hina is not amused and lends her powers for Mami to lift the rock so that she could go home early. I suppose Mami couldn’t see the connection of being unable to do telekinesis without Hina around.

Hina tells Mami the powers are meant to be kept a secret and not used freely. However this only makes Mami even more eager to brag about it. So in class she calls everyone’s attention as she is going to blow away their minds. Can she lift the eraser with her telekinesis powers? Nope. Nope. Nope. Nothing happens. Only making embarrassing sounds. Because of that, Mami never came to school for 2 days. Hiding in embarrassment, huh? Kei confronts Hina and though she might sound tough, when Hina just opens her mouth (didn’t say anything threatening), she cowers in fear! She tells her that they will return in 3 days. Back home, Hina finds it hard to tell Nitta and hence her very strange act. Floating around in circles? Nitta is worried and even takes her for some tests. The doctor clears her. She is perfectly fine. Does she need a vacation? Don’t think so. So is that strange act of hers some sort of evolving? When she finally tells him about leaving, shockingly Nitta isn’t surprised and just tells her to follow him. They head out for her last meal as he allows her to order her favourite fish roe. Then he drops her off at the supposed spot. He tells her she has always been giving him problems but the time she was here, he had fun. Hina is able to go off without a smile. Wow. So much for that. No goodbye fanfare even. When she meets Kei, she realizes that she needs that red ball to return home. Too bad she lost it after Nitta’s bad experience with it. Now that she cannot go home, Hina runs back to Nitta’s place. She is happy to think she can now stay with him. The moment she opens the door, she sees Nitta celebrating alone that his future is now free of Hina! Oh sh*t! Not cool… Wow, he really is waiting for this day, huh?

Episode 9
As Hina lost her red ball, Kei thinks of requesting for Mao to deliver another. However she arrives in an uninhabited island and both the red balls got washed away into the sea! So she has been alone on the island for 10 days and I know she uses her power to survive but how the f*ck can she still keep her skin so silky smooth?! Plus, she has been totally naked for 10 days?! I know there isn’t anybody around but shouldn’t she cover up as protection against the elements?! I suppose this rips off Cast Away because feeling so lonely, Mao turns coconuts into Hina and Anzu. Yeah, they’re having a fun island survival life ‘together’. Only then Mao decides to cover up? This island survival life goes on for what it looks like months until Mao realizes she cannot take it anymore and snaps! She throws away the coconuts and builds the most useless craft (if you ask me, this will get her nowhere and she would be better off flying) and leaves the island. It is hinted she is lost in South China Sea and headed for Thailand. Nitta and Sabu pick up Naito who is just released from prison. Be extra nice to this violent dude. It all stemmed from their boss falling into coma (because Hina made some body odour comment) before he could name an heir. His chief believes he is next in line and hopes Nitta would support him. Nitta promises to get others in the organization to support him and one of them being Naito. However Naito now wants him to support him to be the next head. However Nitta has his honour as he grovels himself to seek his support for the chief. Naito admires his courage and agrees.

When the boss is out of coma, Hina is unsure what successor means as the boss tries to explain it simply. Because of that, she suggests Nitta as the next head and the boss agrees! Sabu texts everyone about this shocking development when Nitta tells the boss not to make decisions because Hina told him. He rescinds that order. Sabu panics and fears being blamed for this premature news so he makes an excuse to cover his own ass. The next thing Nitta knows, he is cemented inside a barrel! Damn they’re going to make him sleep with the fish! He explains the truth but they don’t believe him and think he has betrayed their trust. But when the boss arrives and explains the truth, they feel guilty about jumping the gun. Sabu? This guy is good at vomiting… In this awkward moment, they try to appease Nitta and make him the next lieutenant. Yeah, everybody is singing about it but Nitta just wants to get out of this cement graveyard! As Nitta is promoted, Hina talks to Hitomi about this and she suggests holding a promotion party. Unsure what to do, she goes around asking for suggestions. Still unsure, she’ll do them all! But with a limited budget, she spent it all on flowers. I guess the rest on the list like cake and favourite food she has to improvise. Yeah, she thinks that will cut it… Of course Nitta knows she will surprise him so when he returns and pretends to play along, he is shocked when he first enters the room. IS HINA HOLDING A FUNERAL FOR NITTA???!!! OMG!!! And what the f*ck is this lame Hina popping slowly out of the ‘coffin’ as surprise???!!! Whatever. Happy promotion. At least Nitta is happy that it is the thought that counts.

Episode 10
Hitomi returns home only to be caught by her mom (she’s so small I thought she was her sister!) about sneaking out late at night! As she gets lectured, Hitomi tells the truth about her bartender job but of course mom doesn’t believe it (she thinks she is whoring herself since she showed money in her bank account as proof). As she pours her woes out to Utako, the latter suggests she leaves home! Wait. What?! Because she’ll never make great revenue without Hitomi! With Nitta’s help, Utako manages to secure a fully furnished apartment for her albeit still a bit pricey. Utako strong arms her way to make Hitomi sign the contract. Now that she is living alone, a bar client suggests she help out with his job. Window washing. Because she is quite hard working, she racks up a reputation as other bar clients also beg for her to help. And so begins Hitomi’s odd jobs. She even dozes off in school like Hina. Heck, she even gets an office job but the usual office b*tches badmouth and mistreat her. Still, Hitomi works hard and even surprises them with some kindness. It is sad to see that her schedule is so packed that she returns home and collapses. By the time she wakes up, it’s already her next shift. Things start to get worse when Utako suggests a housewarming party and all the bar clients agree as to show their appreciation. Hitomi wants her normal girl life back and thinks of calling mom to the party to mess everything up. Mom is of course shocked to see all the corporate guys at the party. But when they show their card (from very well reputable companies) and praise Hitomi’s diligence, mom hopes they will all take care of her daughter, shocking Hitomi. Asked why mom didn’t reject them, mom reasons she has a reason for doing all this and building rapport with these executives isn’t easy. Everybody drinks a toast to her as Hitomi ponders what she was trying to accomplish in the end. Poor girl can’t catch a break…

Anzu’s foster parents give her 5,000 Yen as allowance. Yeah, that’s big money for her! She thought of surprising Hitomi with it but of course she had to pretend to be shocked at that amount. You wouldn’t want to know how much Hitomi makes… As Anzu wants to buy a present to show thanks to her parents, Hitomi takes her around but nothing really suitable for Anzu to spend her money. Then she spots this shoulder massager she wants to get since they always complained about their shoulders. But it is quite pricey. Here comes Sabu to suggest how to make quick money: Horse racing! I’m sure Hitomi wanted to warn Anzu about the dangers of gambling but she’s too shocked and having stomach cramps thinking about it. Yeah, Anzu will do it! She bets on the worst favoured horse since if it wins, she’ll earn tons. By the stroke of luck, the top favoured horse had an accident, allowing the worst favoured horse to win! OMG! Anzu wins big! But now she gets greedy thinking she could win more… However she kept losing and this is the last race and she is close to broke. She regrets learning her lesson too late and thinks of causing an accident with her power so her horse could win. But she couldn’t bear retiring the horse forever and loses. No use crying and regretting now. Not even Sabu can help you. But thanks to Hitomi reminding her the importance of a present is to show appreciation for the person, Anzu gives her parents free shoulder massage coupons. It’s the best present ever, needless to say.

Episode 11
Daisuke Seta is a journalist and is tasked to film a documentary on the tough life of a yakuza. Since Nitta has this ‘legendary’ reputation, he seeks his permission to be filmed. At first Nitta declines but after hearing his super legendary status, he agrees. But as Seta follows him around, Nitta just feels like a normal nice guy. So he interviews his mom and sister who laugh it off about Nitta’s badass status. Even members of his yakuza gang didn’t yield any juicy stuffs. Seta has Nitta stage a brutal tough act on Sabu just for the cameras. But after that, it is back to normalcy. So much so Seta is begging him to do something ‘evil’. He even offers himself to be assaulted! Desperate, Seta even starts faking things that it is so obvious his crew pointed it out but Seta says he has a family to feed. On the day the documentary is aired, with the blurred out faces and distorted voices, I thought it would be easy for Seta to just do fake voice overs and plant in fake actors. Although all are the real deal, the fakery all stems from the dialogues and scenes mixed up and put out of context from the narration. For example when Nitta tries to say something unkind, it is not for the situation that you are seeing now but for something else in other circumstances. Seta makes it sound like as though his crew were blackmailed and extorted to pay his drinks in the end. When the documentary ends, Hina has this smirk on her face asking, who the hell was that! But that’s not the end of it. Since Nitta ‘badmouthed’ his bosses, they aren’t going to let him get away with it. Of course Nitta didn’t do it and runs away. But here is another twist. They (including Hina) were perhaps being told by Seta to say those lines! Everyone was in cohorts against Nitta!

As Hina is away on a school skiing trip, Anzu comes to stay with Nitta as he foster parents are away on a trip. She didn’t want to come in between them. Such a nice girl. Nitta thought he can’t catch a break now that he has to babysit her. However he soon finds that she is very helpful and kind that he need not worry. Man, he is asking if he could pay to swap girls! With Anzu continuing to be cheerful and helpful, Nitta finally breaks down. Jealous those couple got a good girl, he reasons there is no such thing as a good child. It must be the environment that changed Anzu since at the start she was no different than Hina. He is going to spoil her and return her to her old ways. As Nitta takes her to the aquarium, she continues to be the respectful and good kid. Each time he tries to push her away, he finds himself drawn to her kindness. He finally gives in and has lots of fun with her. Oh my. Anzu the angel is here to take him away from Hina hell! At the end of the stay, Anzu leaves. This is when Nitta realizes he forgot his mission. Now he must face the reality of Hina coming home! As he waits the dreaded moment, he gets a call from Matsutani who is finding it hard to explain what happened to Hina. In short, she has gone missing in the mountains. Man, Nitta is like so cool about it! Can he celebrate Hina’s absence for real this time?!

Episode 12
It seems Hina is lost in the snowy mountains with Hitomi, Kengo and Takashi. All because Kengo thought it was a good idea to take a shortcut. Hina is made known the danger if they are not rescued: There is no food! Hitomi must be a realist as she adds if nobody saves them, they’ll die! Hina then tells them her secret that she has special powers but they think she is starting to get delusional. And when she demonstrates via floating, they think they have become delusional! However Hina soon collapses due to exhaustion. No food. Damn. They lost their ticket to get out. Hence the next day, the trio plot something. They have Hina close her eyes and imagine what they say. Yeah, they are ‘opening a sushi shop’ for her. Then they give her eat fish roe made out of snow. Tastes like snow… I think the rest try to make many and even eating some (brain freeze!) just to prove it is the real thing? Eventually a helicopter rescue arrives and see them but the rescuers are confused to see a huge fish roe made of snow. Hina is in hospital and Nitta is next to her. Glad she’s safe. Life goes on pretty well for them and the rest of the characters.

For those who have forgotten the opening scene of this series, we go forward 3 years to see Mao being the star attraction of some superhuman kung fu guild in China. Atsushi, the lead singer of the street band is here and sees Mao’s performance and is thrilled she is the one. As he tries to approach her, he is taken away. We see Mao’s flashback of arriving on the main continent of Asia but lost her way and never got to Japan. She is found by this guild who views her power as too valuable and will keep her at all cost. Atsushi later talks to Mao about his band trying to create a new genre, Rockusion (rock + magic) and saw Mao online doing magic stuffs. He thought of coming here to learn from her. Mao is suspicious of this weirdo. This coming from a girl who talks to Hina and Anzu wooden dolls… But Mao is interested when Atsushi mentions Hina’s name. When guild members try to take her back, she runs. Then that awesome kung fu action scene in which she takes down all those guys as she tries not to be too flashy to reveal her true powers. Then here comes the master. He acknowledges she has made their guild famous across the land. If she wants to leave, she must pass this test: To defeat a (lame) robot. Despite its menacing display of powers, Mao easily destroys it! You in shock? Thus, master allows Mao to leave for Japan and spread their guild’s name. Atsushi is hopeful Rockusion is going to be a reality while Mao can finally tell Kei she lost her balls. Wait. What she said?!

Mondaijitachi Wa Isekai Kara Kuru Sou Desu Yo
Holy sh*t! It is as though this entire series is one big flashback! It was quite fun and interesting in a way that you have forgotten that first opening scene at the beginning. And now it ends and connects with this final scene in the last episode, like as though it has set up in a way for a sequel! I know it is too soon to say if whether a sequel is in the works but I’m speculating that none is confirmed yet because Mao lost her balls?! I think there’s some sort of connection there… Or not.

Although I enjoyed this series, one of the biggest dilemmas that I found asking myself is if this series could have been better had it follow some sort of plot. Would it be greater had there been a storyline to follow instead of being random standalone skits. For now, it seems to work pretty well with the latter format but then it got me asking what was the whole purpose of those randomness then again? This isn’t the kind of series that is based off some yonkoma comic or those cute girls doing cute things genre that doesn’t need to have a strong plot at all. I can only imagine for better or worse had there been a real storyline to follow but if this current format works, why fix it when it is not broken?

Having said that, this brings me to another dilemma about the characters. Some of the main characters get some decent screen time and despite some of the random events that feel like non-related to other parts of the episode, there are character development for them. But that is only for the main characters. Those side characters don’t get much attention and they have like one or two episode putting them in the limelight before being chucked away into the unnecessary side character corner. For example, Mao. I think it is safe to say that nobody would remember who this chick is unless they purposely gone back to watch the first episode after her proper appearance. Until the final episode, you would wonder why the heck do they need to introduce a new character after more than halfway of the series. Because this island survival girl seems redundant to everything and the only thing I can think up off is they needed some variety because showing the same main characters doing other random stuffs might get boring after a while. So it’s like a distraction anyway. But it’s my fault to begin with to think that Mao would be a main character like Hina and Anzu as I assumed she is from the same timeline with them and hence, should be given some sort of same treatment. Even though she gets her just appearance in the final episode, her pat feels too disjointed to be connected to the main story. The other is Mami. Normal girl wants to have powers so bad that she embarrassingly failed in an epic way and was never seen again. Not at least in the main spotlight. So what was that all about? Except to give us some random laughs. And that nice hobo Yassan and his band of merry hobo, what happened to them after they got evicted? They’re still around during the final montage but it’s like as though they don’t matter anymore after Anzu has found a new family and better life. I guess that’s the best they could wish for her.

On to the main characters. I believe many of you would agree with me that Anzu is a much better character than Hina. They might have started off on the same footing as lovable idiots but slowly you can see there is a much better change for Anzu. Sorry Nitta. Don’t blame the upbringing and the surroundings as excuses why both girls become so different from each other. Because this only shows that you lack that oomph to turn Hina into a really good girl and instead she stayed the same hellish nightmare when you first encountered her. Because of that, I love and prefer to see Anzu’s stories as they are heart-warming and charming to say the least. This girl at least learnt something from her trial and tribulations. Every time I see Anzu, I feel like I want to support her compared to Hina. I hate to break it to you that I’d rather put my money and investment in Anzu than even considering Hina for a second.

Hina on the other hand has turned from a lovable idiot to an annoying one. Maybe her character is written that way. But that doesn’t mean I would readily accept her. She’s like Mob from Mob Psycho 100 but from another world and a lot more annoying. Hina might be all powerful with her powers but in exchange for that, she is a lazy and selfish character. Because she lacks emotions, the reason why her obnoxious personality doesn’t seem so obvious. This also makes her look like a slow retard and in some ways increasing my infuriating impatience on her. I don’t think I can be as patient as Nitta. Maybe it’s because she doesn’t live with me so I don’t get to understand the finer and good quality points of her. Hina does try to change in the end and although she does, it is nothing compared to Anzu who is already miles ahead in terms of racking up character brownie points.

The other is Hitomi. I somewhat view her as the most pitiful character of the series. She is the perfect example of what will happen if one cannot say no. I suppose it is Japanese etiquette and politeness that one cannot refuse after one is begging and bowing so much. I mean, it isn’t like she is being offered an offer that she can’t refuse. Just saying. In her case, it looked like a blessing in disguise for Hitomi because she wears so many different hats and has been building rapport with very important VIPs. But is that what she really wants in her life? At least this point in life when she is still in school? So in order not to offend everyone, she agrees to work almost everywhere without complaining at the expense of her own happiness. Thank goodness she has youth by her side or else she wouldn’t be able to hold out long enough. Heck, I don’t think a day has not enough hours for her! Well Hitomi, if this is what you intend to do, to keep living a lie so that everyone else can be satisfied, it’s your call. It’s your life. But still much better than Hina nevertheless. Heh.

Talking about Nitta, this guy seems so out of place being a yakuza as he is a nice and decent guy. Might not be the best guy in the world but still respectable in his own right. We might not see it but his yakuza group looks quite docile instead of badass. They might be doing killings and heinous acts behind the cameras but we’ll never know. As this is a comedy series, we see them being portrayed as comical characters like Sabu who is just practically useless, a typical useless henchman. So for Nitta to be working for the yakuza, I’m thinking this is the only way he could make fast money without having to slog for years in a dead end office job. Otherwise, how the hell could he afford all those vases and even replace them after Hina destroys them? Don’t give me that time reversing crap. Even though Nitta has a special place in his heart for Hina, I don’t think he would overly love her like his own. There are a couple of occasions we see that he is okay for Hina not to be around. This already shows that he could have been keeping pent up his feelings for freedom. Hina is the jailor and holds the key to his freedom? The irony he couldn’t score with Utako (who is busy turning Hitomi into a bartender slave to make money on her behalf) and already has a young rebellious ‘daughter’ to deal with. Can life get any worse? Yeah, life isn’t fair. Him being part of the yakuza should know that.

I am not sure but am also curious to know about Hina and the other characters who come from the other world. What is life in that part of the world? Even if they are technologically advanced, the characters that seemingly got sent back are seemingly dimwits or incompetent at first. It could be mostly the latter because otherwise why would they send Hina back to this time and era if they could have found a solution to contain her power?

Art and animation feel decent. I’m not sure how to put it but the character designs have this one kind look. Because of that, I sometimes confused Hitomi with Mami because they look similarly close to each other. I think it is also some of the female characters’ cheeks. They looks a bit roundish… Maybe I need to get my eyes checked. Animated by Feel who did Yahari Ore No Seishun Love Comedy Wa Machigatteiru, Locodol, Papa No Iukoto Wo Kikinasai, Tsuki Ga Kirei, Outbreak Company and KissxSis.

On a trivial note, I think one of the trademarks of this series is when a so called punch line is done or when some sort of unbelievable thing happens, the characters would be in incredulous mode. Their mouths agape while their tongue not entirely sticking out but rather sticking up in the middle of the mouth. Like as though it looked like some worm… Yeah… It’s funny and hilarious but with every character in such situation doing this, I believe this is this series’ uniqueness.

Voice acting sounds okay with Takako Tanaka making her main character role debut as Hina. Her voice suits her character well and if she voices more characters in the future like this, I think I’ll start to stereotype her for being casted for such roles. The other casts are Yoshiki Nakajima as Nitta (Masakage Yamagata in Sengoku Night Blood), Rie Murakawa as Anzu (Hotaru in Non Non Biyori), Kaede Hondo as Hitomi (Minoa in Animegataris), Youko Hikasa as Utako (Mio in K-ON!), Mikako Komatsu as Sayo (Kanae in ClassicaLoid), Yumi Uchiyama as Kei (Ruri in Nisekoi), Eri Suzuki as Mami (Milinda in Heavy Object), Ari Ozawa as Mao (Kirin in Gakusen Toshi Asterisk),Kenji Nojima as Matsutani (Yuuto in High School DxD), Tetsu Inada as Naito (Shakespeare in Fate/Apocrypha), Kengo Kawanishi as Sabu (Rei in 3-gatsu No Lion) and Shinapachi Tsuji as Yassan (Makarov in Fairy Tail).

The opening theme is Distance by Rie Murakawa. Anime rock pop. Nothing special to my liking. Maybe that is because the ending theme, Sake To Ikura To 893 To Musumi by Yoshiki Nakajima nailed it. This slow rock is quite enjoyable to hear and it gives that impression it is the kind of song you sing when you achieve victory! Proof of that is we see the final montage in the ending credits animation with everyone celebrating to a toast at the bar! Let the good times roll! A special ending for episode 6 is more meaningful since it is on Anzu. Shashinchou by Yoko Ishida is a slow ballad that would pull some heartstrings and hit the feels. The final episode has 2 ending themes. Yes, two. The first one being in the middle of the episode, the slow ballad of Taisetsu Na Hito and the one at the end is the upbeat pop fanfare of Hajimete No Kimochi. Both are sung by Ari Ozawa.

Overall, this is a funny and entertaining series. There are characters you will love, there are characters that you will hate. You will learn a thing or two about what it means about family as well as the comical side of the irony of life. Imagine a yakuza dad raising a daughter who is not of his own in any way. You might laugh here but there could be even stranger tales in real life that mirrors and mimics this to perfection… Sometimes in life it is not what you have that matters but how you make do with what you have that counts. Of course there are some things that life is much better without. Looking at you, Hina. Seriously, still no love lost for that girl. And perhaps in this context of this anime, Hinamatsuri is when we celebrate a day without Hina! Okay, okay. A day to celebrate Hina’s return. Oh yeah. What would life be without Hina keeping us in check of reality.

Persona 4 The Animation

July 29, 2018

I heard that Persona 5 as the video game was one of the very few excellent games to have come out in recent times. If you’ve been following the video game industry even casually, you would know the state of the industry with all the anti-consumerism tactics and sh*tty and unsatisfying games that hit the market. Not to say that I have played any of the Persona games ever in my life, but with so many rave reviews even from the western side, I thought of giving this series a chance. Yes, Persona 5 even got adapted into an anime subsequently but I’m starting off with Persona 4 The Animation first. Persona 3 was adapted into an anime series as well but I’m too busy watching other animes to go back that far. Heh. After all, all the Persona sequels are not related to each other so I wouldn’t lose much. Oh right. I might be just plain lazy…

Episode 1
Yuu Narukami arrives in the sleepy backwater town of Inaba and is picked up by his mom’s brother, Ryoutarou Doujima and his daughter, Nanako. Back home while unpacking, he hears a strange voice in his head. Why do these kind of voices make you feel pain? At school, Chie Satonaka and Yukiko Amagi quickly become his friends. It seems everyone has to be careful because a woman’s body was found skewered on a TV antenna. Doujima a police detective is investigating this case. Next day, not sure how Yousuke Hanamura crashed into a garbage bin but with Yuu pulling him out, he wants to thank him with a treat. Chie wants in on this. They talk about the rumours of Midnight Channel in which if you watch alone the TV at midnight on a rainy day, your true love will pop up on the screen. That night Yuu tries out of curiosity and is almost sucked in! But could it be just a dream? He tells this to his friends but they find it hard to believe. Especially his TV was too small to fit him. Chie suggests getting a bigger TV and since Yousuke’s dad is the manager of an appliance store, well you can see where this is going. There, the news coverage is played over the recent murder. The witness who found the body was their classmate, Saki Konishi. It’s a reason why she was absent today in class after all the attention was on her. When Yuu touches the TV screen, his hand seems to go through. With Yousuke panicking, the trio get absorbed. They find themselves in a strange misty land. They start running from whatever they think is chasing them until they bump into this strange bear (balloon?) creature, Kuma. He tells to escape because the Shadows are here. He passes them a pair of glasses and runs away. Yeah, those Shadows are here. Yuu could see them when he puts the glasses on. When they are cornered by those perverted licking Shadows, it’s like Yuu knows what to do when the strange voice speaks to him. Yeah, he knows the magic word of Persona that summons his fighting avatar and kicks ass! Man, it’s like he knows how to work this thing all along. Feeling good about your new power?

Episode 2
Kuma accuses them for barging here and riling up Shadows. He throws them back into the TV and they return to reality. Yuu notices a poster similar as the one in the room of the other world. Misuzu Hiiragi is the wife of the man who had an affair with Mayumi Yamano, the murdered woman. Could she be connected to the murder? Next day, a creepy guy, Mitsuo Kubo bugs Yukiko to go out with him. She rejects him and he gets mad and runs away? An emergency meeting is held. The principal announces Konishi is dead. Yousuke is in shock because he has a crush on her. He tells his friends about the Midnight Channel. He was curious and tried it. He saw Konishi’s face. He thinks the one you see there will die. The only way is to go back into the TV to find out more. Yuu agrees to go with him. As they enter, Kuma is not pleased they have returned. He accuses them for throwing people here. He can tell when they do so because this place is foggy. When it is not, the real world is foggy and that is when the murders happen. Yousuke didn’t like his accusations and unzips him! Empty?! Putting this egg bear back together again, he agrees to believe them but hopes they could help him solve the culprit who throws people here. As they move along, they hear voices of people badmouthing Konishi as well as some family argument. But the one that cuts the sharpest is Konishi herself revealing she never liked annoying Yousuke and was only good to him as he is the son of a manager. Yousuke denies all this and this materializes a clone who is actually a Shadow. He reveals or the hurtful and embarrassing truths about Yousuke in which he denies. The more Yousuke denies all that, the Shadow becomes real and takes its own Persona form. Yuu summons his Persona to fight but Yousuke is still traumatized by all the hurtful truths. And then Yuu punches him! Because all that matters is he loves Konishi. That was enough to wake his eyes up. As Yousuke starts accepting himself, the Shadow ‘dies’. Now it becomes his Persona. The guys return to the real world and Yousuke wants to work with Yuu to solve these murders.

Episode 3
Chie is worried as she cannot contact Yukiko. Worse, she thinks she saw her in Midnight Channel. Thankfully she gets a call from her. She was busy attending to a surge in non-reservations staying at her family’s inn. To make sure if it was here, they watch the Midnight Channel again. This time a clear view of Yukiko in a princess outfit ‘announcing’ how she wants to snag a hot guy and a harem of them before running into a castle. Next day, for some dumb reason, Yousuke brings a couple of toy samurai swords to show it off to Yuu. Naturally they get arrested by the police station but get bailed out by Doujima. They learn Yukiko is now suddenly missing. A police detective, Tooru Adachi mentions they have been contacted by the family to look for her. He carelessly says about rumours that Yamano who was staying there got involved with the manager who is Yukiko’s dad. She might be laying low for some reason. Chie almost blows her top had not the guys calm her down and leave. The best way to solve it is to head back into the TV. Chie so eager to protect her friend rushes in as she leaves the guys to fight the Shadows. Inside a room, Chie hears Yukiko’s voice. She hates her name and existence until Chie came along and brought meaning to her life. In short, Yukiko views herself as useless while Chie as superior. Chie is surprised to see a clone of herself. The Shadow claims Chie enjoys being superior over Yukiko since she envies Yukiko’s beauty. As expected, Chie denies all that and this gives the Shadow its Persona form. Chie is paralyzed from the denials and the guys have a hard time fighting the multiple Shadows. Until Yousuke snaps her out by saying their friendship was real. Yeah, that was it. Although the Shadow becomes weaker, it is still a tough nut to crack. Because Yuu is the main character and so called chosen one, he gets a sign to summon another Persona. A chibi Jack-O-Lantern? It burns through the Shadow. Chie accepts this inferior part as herself and now gets her own Persona.

Episode 4
The friends are rushing to find Yukiko. They find her. Not. That’s her Shadow. The real one is of course being trapped in a cage as we see her mundane life of being busy helping her family inn or being saved by Chie. When the friends arrive, the Shadow relishes her princes to come save her. Time for Yuu to activate a new Persona so a cue for the Shadow to attack Chie. As expected, the more the Shadow rants about the truths, the more Yukiko denies and this materializes the Shadow into some monster bird. This is by far the creepiest Persona ever. It gets stronger as it claims Chie isn’t the prince she is looking for who will whisk her away from it all. Time for this episode’s Yuu’s words of realization: Chie may not be her prince but she did come to rescue her. Yeah, the Shadow just got madder. With Yukiko still rejecting herself, Chie has something to say. She admits she always envied her as she has everything she wanted. Good grades, good looks and guys hitting on her. That’s when she felt good when Yukiko depended on her. Yukiko continues to lament she is not strong as she thinks she is. Unlike her pet bird who escaped on its own when she forgot to lock its cage, Yukiko doesn’t know how to escape. Chie acknowledges they aren’t what they think to other is. She too has her own horrible side. All she wants is for them to be friends. And with the cliché power of friendship, the Shadow starts weakening. Yukiko breaks out of her own cage as the guys finish off the weakened Shadow. Both girls come to terms with each other as Yukiko admits she created this princess persona as a form of escapism. With her accepting her flaws, she gets her own Persona. I think this is by far one of the better looking ones.

Episode 5
Chie has Yuu help out her friend in the basketball club, Kou Ichijou. It seems they are short on members. Yeah, that guy is so obliging. Worse, everyone else in the team isn’t interested in basketball especially the manager, Ai Ebihara. So obliging Yuu is that he ditches school with Ebihara to go shopping with her! Okay, so he thought she was going to get stuffs for the basketball team, but still. He learns she likes Ichijou and is forced to find out his type of girl. He obliges. Guess what? Ichijou likes Chie! Ebihara heard that and is so depressed that she wants to kill herself! After Yuu stops her, he learns about her bullied past and hence the reason she did what it takes to become popular. Ebihara wants him to take responsibility and date her. Yeah, he obliges even though he doesn’t want to. Is no a hard word in his vocabulary? Heck, they even ditch school to go date! More like queen control. You know something is wrong when Yuu hangs up on her! But he has to be that good guy so he shortly calls her back to apologize. WTF. When Chie thinks he is being mistreated, Yousuke misinterprets she likes him and tries to set them up. So she pops up at the basketball club and receives those piercing stares from Ebihara. In the locker room, Yuu hears from Ichijou he might quit after the next game since he parents don’t approve of being in the club. So if he wins, he will confess to Chie! Oh dear. As the match gets underway, Ebihara and Chie start arguing and get into a slapping fest! OMG! Why isn’t anybody noticing this b*tch slap and focusing on the one-sided match? Until Yuu spots this and tells them to stop since this is Ichijou’s last match. Too bad their team lost. In the aftermath as they eat, Yuu apologizes for not living up to his expectations. But Ichijou is okay since he changed his mind. He loves this game and will not quit. So until he wins, he will confess to Chie. Looks like I can see a losing streak… With Chie opting out since she isn’t compatible with a certain person, Ebihara has turned over a new leaf and tries to be a better manager. She thanks Yuu for it and gives him those photo prints whereby she tried to kiss him. Ugh. You can keep that.

Episode 6
Kanji Tatsumi is rumoured to beat up a motorbike gang and became their leader. Such badass guy holds a cute bunny strap?! So weird… Doujima calls Yuu that he will be working late on the case and cover for his colleagues so he won’t be home. This means Yuu has to take care of Nanako. Don’t worry, she gets to hang out with Yuu’s friends. She shows her mature side when the friends learns her mom died in an accident. She doesn’t mind it all since she has dad and ‘big brother’ and that she is having fun now. Later the friends converge to talk about the murders. Yousuke deduces the targets have something in connection with Yamano. They agree to keep watch on Midnight Channel as they believe it is a warning for their next target. Not sure about who got the balls to interview Kanji because the camera crew got attacked. Yeah, he appeared on the news. And what are the chances he appears on Midnight Channel too? The friends know his family runs a textile shop and as they head there, they see Naoto Shirogane just leaving. Kanji isn’t back yet and Yuu notices a familiar scarf. They remember it from Yamano’s room in the other world. Kanji’s mom tells them Yamano specially ordered it. When they leave, they see Kanji speaking to Naoto. Kanji misinterprets Naoto is being gay for him!!! He spots the quartet spying on them and getting the wrong impression so they flee. It is suggested they keep watch on him and his shop. Yuu and Yukiko keep watch over his shop while Yousuke and Chie spy on Kanji and Naoto. Because they are bickering, Kanji spots them. Time to run. It becomes one farcical chase and even more nonsensical when some beef bowls Chie ordered from Aika Nakamura, she really come delivering them on her scooter! Scooter can match their running?! Even got time to pay and get change?! Oh, screw this. They manage to lose Kanji and Chie gets to enjoy her meals. Just leave the bowls… Where to leave them? If you think that was bad enough, wait till Yuu sees this shocker on Midnight Channel. Kanji acting as some macho gay guy!!! WTF???!!!

Episode 7
Doing more investigation, Kanji’s mom says her son recently beat up bikers because they were too noisy around the area. Outside, a boy is looking for Kanji. Apparently he lost a bunny strap his friend gave him. Kanji promised to make him one. Yes, he made this almost perfect duplicate with his own hands! He is here to thank Kanji but too bad he isn’t around. Talking to Naoto, he says he was just asking Kanji about his recent activities. Because he point out bluntly he is acting weird, this makes Kanji acting even weirder. Naoto feels as though he is trying to hide a complex. Letting Kuma smell the bunny strap, it leads them to a gay bath… Oh sh*t… The guys have a bad idea about this. Yup, Shadow Kanji is being so gay that they summon their Personas! Better get this sh*t over quick before they lose their minds. Meanwhile Kanji is faced with his Shadow. The latter as usual spouting the truths about him disliking girls and likes boys instead. All of course he denies. Yuu and co are hesitating to open the door to this but I guess the inevitable has to happen. They’re here to save Kanji, right? Their worst nightmare with the gay Shadow being even gayer. When Kanji denies it, as expected the Shadow turns into its gay Persona. Oh God. More Shadow gay macho men! Is this going to be something like Chou Aniki?! Those gay guys are masochists too so whatever pain the girls deal them, they love it! More serious gay sh*t when the macho men loves swiping the guys’ butt and they piss off the girls by showing no interest in them. It’s already so hot in this sauna and it’s getting hotter with their blood boiling. Also, time for Yuu to do his usual because now he gets to combine his cards to create a special Persona. Also, he tells Kanji he likes his bunny strap because it is cute. It makes Kanji happy as he beats and defeats his own Shadow! Kanji accepts the fact he fears being rejected and trying to be a coward making everyone hate him. He then gets his own Persona that looks manly instead of gay. Phew. Kanji now joins Yuu’s groupie as he wants to find out who pushed him into the TV.

Episode 8
The school goes on a camping field trip. Yousuke almost died thanks to the curry Chie and Yukiko made. Apparently they went to buy everything spicy and other stuffs they think should be in curry. Like coffee. No wonder. As Yuu brings Yousuke to get some medicine, Naoki Konishi who is in charge of the supplies is not happy to see them. Right off the bat he tells them he hates them. They return to the rest and looks like they called Aika for delivery help. Lunch is saved. They talk to Kanji about Naoki. He knows him as they are childhood friends but doesn’t know more about him since they are in separate classes. He does admit after his sister’s death, he seems to be acting different. So what better way as Kanji brings Naoki himself to them and ask directly. With Yuu being too straight, Naoki is glad of this change in pace as he explains how everyone is trying to be overtly nice to them but keep their distance. He feels better after letting this out and apologizes for hating them for not even knowing them. The friends now discuss the patter of the murders and it seems those who appear on TV being interviewed are the likely targets. At night as they sleep in the tent, the guys are worried with Kanji sleeping with them! Didn’t they accept him? Yes. But not at night. Together! To prove he is a manly man, he decides to barge into the girls’ area. Yeah, they’re encouraging him. Meanwhile Chie and Yukiko can’t sleep because their fat classmate, Hanako Ootani is snoring like hell. So when Kanji crashes into them, they run to Yuu and Yousuke’s tent. The teacher is passing by so they have to hide under the covers. Close proximity. Then they put a barrier in between when they sleep. As though it wasn’t cram enough already. Yeah, they can’t sleep either. But is this better than being gay? As for Kanji, he is a dead guy as Ootani crushes him and uses him as a bolster. Next day, Yousuke forces the girls to wear swimsuits from his shop as penalty for the curry incident. Yuu’s comments blushes them before making them outrage (because their body still has the potential to mature further) as they kick the guys into the river. Kanji nose bleeding not because of the sexy babes… Then they notice upstream the teacher who drank too much last night is vomiting… Oh sh*t! On the way back, Ootani confronts Kanji. Is she going to confess? Unfortunately she turns him down as he is not her type. WTF???!!!

Episode 9
Rise Kujikawa is a famous idol. Then she suddenly quits! Shockwaves! So she goes back to her hometown Inaba because her grandma runs a tofu shop there. I know she shouldn’t overdress to make herself more suspicious but she’s like walking everywhere without any disguise so naturally everyone knows her. Then of course she feels somebody is stalking her and she quickly runs. Turns out to be Yuu returning her dropped handphone. I guess he didn’t want to attract attention by screaming out to her. Yuu and co talk about Rise who might also be a murder target as she fits some criteria. They feel keeping a watch on her would also help debunk theories that the murderer is targeting only those related to Yamano. That night, Rise appears on the Midnight Channel. The friends are split if it is her. The difference? Boobs. The guys go to talk to Rise at her tofu shop just to warn her she might be stalked. But she’s not alerted or anything because she is used to this kind of stuff. Later Doujima comes by to warn her of the same thing but she already knows thanks to those guys. This only has Doujima suspicious about high school kids coming to warn her before he does. So the friends now watch her and think this otaku nerd watching her in a suspicious way is the killer. They chase after him and tackle him down before the inspector arrests him. Case solved? Yeah, something doesn’t feel right. Is the murderer this nerdy and wimpy? Meanwhile Rise was left in Yuu’s care. Conveniently a thrown away magazine with her as the gravure idol in it. They rip off pages and make origami. Yeah, Yuu does it better. She tells him that idol version is not her and no one looks at the real her. That night, Rise still pops up on Midnight Channel. Back to the drawing board. They think it is a form of warning from the killer or his mind of the person he wants to attack next. Rise will be transferring to the local school and is here to do the paperwork. With reporters outside, thanks to Yuu, he shows her another escape route. Naturally her tofu shop is also swamped with reporters. Then they meet her manager, Inoue. He cannot accept she quit although she is adamant she won’t go back to being an idol. When he says the movie she was supposed to star in now goes to Kanami Mashita, Rise gives that worried look. He is now her new manager. Rise is being a dick when Yuu tries to ask nicely if she is lying to herself but is blamed for being like everyone else and that he doesn’t know her. Well, that idol you was fake, right?

Episode 10
Rise is on the Midnight Channel again. This time she is teasing us she’ll strip and bare it all! Next day our friends head into the TV only to find Kuma depressed because they haven’t been visiting him often enough. Must be beary lonely… Anyway, helping them to find Rise’s scent leads to a strip club. Oh sh*t. Shadow Rise continues to tease everyone with her strip show. First she starts off with pole dancing. Since nobody is getting a boner, the Shadow introduces the real Rise as her special guest. Others summon their Persona to fight but are kept at bay by other Shadows. Rise rejects herself and makes her Shadow upset as she claims if none of them is the real her, which one is then? Finally when Rise fully rejects it all, her Shadow becomes a Persona. It can scan the weaknesses of other Personas and give their just desserts. While our heroes are getting owned, Kuma suddenly turns Super Saiyan?! He is worried if they die, he’ll be alone again. So he charges straight into it and explodes? Don’t worry. Kuma lives. But he is now like a limp balloon? I guess everyone is praising about his bravery as Rise comes to accept that there is no real her. All of her other personalities makes her, her. Yup, she got herself her own Persona. Just when you think it’s over, Kuma’s evil creepy Shadow rises and threatens to destroy everything. Heck, it does so anyway as it questions what the truth is. Kuma is sucked into it as Rise uses her Persona to track Kuma. Inside, Kuma rebuts his Shadow about being lonely and finding his true self. When Yuu destroys the core, Kuma returns. Kuma laments he doesn’t know who he is and hopes to find an answer. The friends assure he is not alone and will help him find the answer. Oh, Kuma gets his own Persona too. Yuu sends Rise home as she agrees to join them to find the culprit. She is glad she has made this place her home as she hugs his arm. I think I know her motivation to stay…

Episode 11
Kinshirou Morooka is found dead. He is Yuu and co’s teacher. The friends are now demoralized since he didn’t appear on Midnight Channel. They get a shock to see Kuma in their world. Apparently there’s an exit and never thought of going through until now. So nobody else is freaked out with this mascot? Okay, cute enough not to be suspicious. Asking him about Morooka’s death, Kuma has never noticed him being thrown in. This has them wondering if the killer got impatient because they have been thwarting murders from the TV and he decided to do it on the real world. More shock when Kuma takes off his head and there is a cute boy inside! It seems he grew a body so he could score with Chie and Yukiko. WTF. I guess for convenience of the plot he can now wander around in this world without suspicions. As Nanako shops and is about to take a food, Kubo cuts in front of her and takes it while calling her rude. Something untoward would have happened had not Yuu stepped in to send that guy running away. The friends stumble into Naoto again as he explains he is a detective being hired by the police to help solve this case. He asks Yuu about Morooka not appearing on Midnight Channel but he too isn’t sure. Morooka’s replacement is Noriko Kashiwagi. She looks more like a slut and porn star… Damn this class is always screwed. From an idiotic moron teacher to a sexy slutty one. Kubo once again tries to get Yukiko to come with her but with her other friends, Kubo is chased off. To vent his frustration, he posts on the internet that he is the killer but nobody takes him seriously. This makes him even more pissed and determined to prove it all. The friends feel sad for Morooka dying like that despite never liking him. Then here comes Naoto to tell them the culprit is identified. Yeah, he doesn’t know who it is except he is a high school student (I won’t be surprised who). Too bad it is game over for Naoto since the police has terminated his services. The friends now wonder if their gathering will end too since there is no more they could do. Not if Yuu would have it otherwise. No harm checking out Midnight Channel again. What do you know? Kubo pops up and taunts everyone to catch him if they can.

Episode 12
It’s time to go hunting. Since his castle is like a video game, they have to clear the level to get to him. When they do, they see Kubo trying to deny all that his Shadow has done. Suddenly change in scene. The case is over and the friends are now shopping for ingredients for their own aftermath party. Though the friends assure they will still meet up like this, as the days and weeks pass, slowly they drift away with their own stuffs like Yukiko busier than ever helping her family inn and Rise suddenly closing down her tofu store and moving away without telling anyone. Yuu all this while could feel something is off. One night the Midnight Channel just didn’t appear but what appeared is a creepy baby (cousin to the one in Half Life?) claiming he is empty. Scared Yuu tries to summon his Persona but nothing happens. Before he gets killed by the baby, he hears Yousuke’s voice calling him and is pulled out of this illusion. Yup, we’re still fighting the boss baby. It’s like Yuu’s revenge as he summons all his Personas to showcase and defeat it. Hey, since when did Yuu obtained a whole load of new Personas? With them being victorious, Kubo returns to his normal state. They ask him if he did the murders and he admits them all. Once he did that, his Shadow vanishes. He is arrested and the case is closed. It is said he did the murders for attention. Yuu worries the friends will disband seeing there is no more incentive for them to gather. On the contrary, they still want to gather like this. I mean, they’re friends, right? With that, they have their aftermath party celebration via omelette rice cooking competition. All the girls suck to say the least. Not sure if Nanako has a zombie taste bud since all of theirs taste nice. Of course the best and the winner of it all is Yuu.

Episode 13
Nanako sees a lost fox in the rain and leaves her umbrella (and apron) with it. She then notices that Yuu has been coming home late and tired. I’m sure she doesn’t want to bug him and hence the excuse for her to follow her favourite anime detective, Loveline to go snoop about. She should know better than to follow Kuma’s nose because all he smells is great food! Next day, she bumps into Yuu’s groupies and they too are worried about him since he has recently not hang out with them. They look for him all around town but nothing. But they stumble upon weird Kuma who talks and acts funny before bolting. The next time Nanako spots Yuu, it is with a woman! So young already starting to get depressed? She tells the guys and the next time they go spy on him, he is indeed with a woman but a different one! And she has a child! Now the girls find out and they’re bent to get to the bottom of this. What woman they see him this time? A really old granny! Things are getting weirder. But it gets more depressing for Nanako since she has a chance to ask him but just couldn’t. If not for that accidental bumping with Naoto who advises her that detectives don’t give up, she wouldn’t have gotten her detective spirit back. So during the festival as Nanako looks for Yuu, she helps many others along the way. When she finally finds him, great timing for the great fireworks display. Though not explained, I’m sure Yuu was helping others. Nanako understands this and believes Yuu has been putting smiles on everyone’s face.

Episode 14
This episode explains what Yuu has been doing all along. After learning Nanako lost her umbrella, he decides to buy one but realizes he has no money. What to do? Part time job. Which job? Strangely, the fox hands him a wish plaque as well as the notice board seeking help for a private tutor. The troubled kid, Shu doesn’t like school as he is a bully victim. This leads to Yuu also landing a day care job after a friend learnt he is tutoring. A fight broke out between rich boy and poor boy regarding a broken toy. When Yuu tries to break them up, looks like he broke the toy further. He takes responsibility to pay for it. Yeah, it’s going to cost him… On another day when all the kids start fighting, he pacifies them by dressing up as Kuma. Yeah, it was hell. Even more so bumping into his friends. At the shrine, he hears an old lady falling down after being victim to a snatch thief. He sends her to hospital and her injuries aren’t serious but the cute nurse tries to hit on him. Too bad his job is more important. Next day when he is about to visit granny, the nurse on her off day flirts with him and brings him to a bar where she rants about her troubles as a nurse and is contemplating quitting. Yuu resumes his visit but is now met with poor boy’s mom. She too tells him her woes that this is not her real son but from her husband’s previous marriage so it’s awkward for her trying to be his mom.

Now that Yuu is ready for the visit, granny is discharged. She tells him about wanting to leave this town as it has too much memories of her late husband. She throws away the comb from her late husband. Yuu sees it stuck to a giant fish. Hence he orders a fishing gear from the TV shopping channel and fishes all night! Yeah, he might have cleaned up the entire river pulling out junk. Eventually he needed his Persona to take the comb. At the festival, he sees granny and returns the comb to her. He noticed she became sadder after throwing it away. He then sees Shu stealing the fireworks because his friends continue to taunt him so he wanted to ruin their fun. He gives him a board game that he could play with a friend instead and will go return the fireworks and apologize with him. Poor boy and rich boy get into a fight. Rich boy’s mom mocks poor boy’s mom for being a poor parent. Poor boy tries to beat her up but backfires. His mom protects him as she starts bleeding. Yuu calls the nurse on how to apply first aid. The night is saved with Yuu returning the fireworks in time. All that he has helped thank him as well as helping them realize what is most important. Yuu finally joins his friends at the festival but Kuma steals the show by dating all the girls. In the aftermath, Yuu has enough money to buy the toy. But what about the umbrella? The fox shows a hidden stash of money underneath the shrine’s donation box. Enough to buy Nanako’s umbrella. The fox then gives the umbrella to Nanako and even puts back her original strap on it. What a wonderful day indeed.

Episode 15
Naoto will be a transfer student at their school and will be staying here due to family issues. The school soon goes on a field trip to an artificial island but it isn’t anything like the school trip they imagine. Long boring lectures and tours of the facilities and then their lodging is what seems to be an ex-love hotel. Yikes! The girls are okay playing around with the rotating waterbed but the guys… Can’t shrug off that gay prejudice of Kanji, eh? Next day, do we need some Yuu-Chie time after he witnesses her saving a weak kid from being beaten up by ruffians? Rise brings them to a bar where they see Naoto drinking alone. They serve alcohol to minors? And let high school kids enter? Oh well, it gets ridiculous because some of them really get drunk like Kuma, Rise and Yukiko. Yuu is like having the best talent to be a host club guy. Too cool! So drunk that they play the king’s game that includes an awkward moment of Chie having to sit on Yuu’s lap before the other girls tussle over Yuu. So weird… Then they want Naoto to reveal his embarrassing past and in exchange he wants them to tell theirs. So he is just the fifth generation of family detectives who help the police. Sorry if you’re expecting more. He asks them about their involvement in the TV murders but he isn’t going to believe them about being thrown into the TV and fighting Personas. Can’t blame the alcohol because he confirms this place hasn’t been selling them for a year after some drunk incident. So WTF did some of them get drunk with then?! Next day, some of them have a hangover as they eat ramen before their trip back. Because Kuma ate too much and being a dick, they threaten to leave him behind. Yeah, he can’t cover his ticket back…

Episode 16
Naoto appears on TV to discuss about the recent murder cases in Inaba as he feels something is off. The friends also feel something off because he isn’t the kind of person who would attract attention even if it’s for a case. Naoto explains to them his theory of what he finds off. With a long period between the second and third murders and with some of the friends being kidnap victims but somehow managed to survive, he initially believed one of them was the culprit. But Morooka’s death broke the killer’s pattern as he wasn’t kidnapped nor has he been on TV. He is the only one whom the police identified how he died (Yamato and Konishi’s cause of death is still unknown). Like as though the police wanted to quickly close the case. Naoto noticed the interesting thing they said about going into the TV to rescue kidnapped people. Midnight Channel is back with Naoto appearing on it. He claims of doing experimenting on himself and walking a new path in life. With Naoto now missing, the friends discuss reopening the case. They believe Naoto made himself as a bait to be kidnapped. They also wonder if Kubo took the fall for the real killer. They split up to go find more clues about Naoto but nothing conclusive. Yukiko notices the townspeople acting strangely. They’re like happy and talking about others but also afraid of something. Inside the TV, they manage to sniff out Naoto’s whereabouts. A secret lab? Oddly, they see Naoto interrogating his Shadow and make it cry! Of course the tables are turned when the Shadow pinpoints about truth and delusions. Something about still being treated like a child when his detective abilities are not needed. Then the biggest revelation of them all: Despite his masculine name, Naoto is actually a girl!!!! Naoto is taunted that he can never become an ideal man when he is never one to begin with. With this rejection, the Shadow takes its own Persona form. But don’t get zapped. Because you’ll turn into an old hagged person!!! Old man Yousuke…

Episode 17
Yuu fights the Shadow until he too is turned into an old man. The Shadow now wants to operate on Naoto as it rants about Naoto’s ineptness to make friends since young. Time for plot convenience as Kuma knows a way to reverse the aging. Some Persona power of his to revitalize the youth back. The counterattack is successful and with the Shadow defeated, Naoto comes to terms with herself. It isn’t that she wants to become an adult or a male. She wants to become the best detective. With her own Persona, welcome to the gang. Naoto remains the same male dressing despite everyone else knowing her true gender and some mocking her but she ignores them. With Naoto’s kidnapping, it proves the real culprit is still out there. Naoto could faintly remember his kidnapping. Someone grabbed him by the back and covered her mouth. She was thrown in a sack and carried. Though not a word was spoken, she could tell the culprit is male and is working alone with no accomplices. There was also a short time between she was kidnapped and thrown into the TV. As for Kubo, he killed Morooka out of jealousy and perhaps trying to be a copycat killer for attention. But the question remains how he knew about the TV world. If Kubo knew about it, why didn’t he kill Morooka the same way like the rest? He might not know how the real killer operates and nobody in their right mind would view that world as suitable for murders. Kubo’s act verifies that the position of corpses are just what happens when someone is killed over there. More clues could have been revealed if Naoto had the courage to ask Kubo himself but couldn’t because she was scared. Wait. This activates some crush in Kanji? Oh wait. He has been showing such signs ever since they met. Naoto has everyone undergo a medical check-up to see if going to the other world has some sort of effects. Everyone is clean. Except for Kuma. X-ray shows he is empty! So how the heck does he stand upright without bones? Don’t tell me it is air because he doesn’t move like a balloon. We take a short distraction with the possible revelation of the girls’ 3 sizes but are left to our imagination when it is hinted Naoto’s measurement isn’t what is stated on paper and in reality. Also, Kanji admiring and singing praises about Naoto feels weird. This prompts him to be himself and help others understand him better. Naoto receives a love letter in his locker from a girl. But since it isn’t related to the case, she isn’t interested in reading it.

Episode 18
There is a hit and run in town. Though it is of course but won’t cause any waves, such cases are close to home for Doujima since his wife, Chisato was killed in a similar fashion a year ago. When Yuu tries to get some bandages, he finds a hidden photo containing Chisato. As Nanako explains, after her death, dad hid away all her photos and never talked to her about it (Nanako is unaware of how Chisato died). Doujima is so focused on this case that he is willing to return to work while Nanako is in the midst of having stomach cramps! Don’t worry it’s not lethal but still… She wonders at this rate if he could attend her PTA. Yuu goes to talk to Doujima about it and learns why he didn’t tell his daughter. Chisato was on her way to pick up Nanako when the accident occurred. By the time he found out, Nanako has been waiting at preschool all by herself. You mean the staffs just left a single kid there? As there was no cold witness on a cold day, Doujima was worried as a detective, he had no clue till this day on catching the culprit. More ‘woke’ questions from Nanako as she asks Yuu what happens when you die. You go to heaven. I bet that’s where mom is. She also wonders if her dad is the real one as he treats criminals more important than her. Man, she’s got a point. One night as Doujima comes home tired, when asked about the PTA, as usual he can’t make it. This is the final straw. Nanako starts crying about him caring about criminals more than her. A little arguing ensued. Then she overheard her mom died in a hit and run. It hits Doujima when Nanako says he isn’t a real father. This is mind boggling because she runs away and 2 adults lost her?! How far can that kid run???!!! I MEAN SERIOUSLY!!! They think she wants to go to heaven but thankfully find her at the riverbed, the place where the family used to pick flowers. Doujima wants Yuu to talk to her as he is more family to her than him. But he asks if he is going to run away again. Doujima mans up and talks to her. Get ready the tissues for an emotional father and daughter reconciliation. In the aftermath, Doujima spends more time with her, even turning this random day today to be their family day. Uh huh. The day they become a real family. And he is also available to attend her PTA. Wow. Conveniently happy ending is so conveniently happy.

Episode 19
School cultural festival. Yousuke suggested their class to do a group dating café as a joke and everyone except Chie seems to accept it! If that is not bad enough, Yousuke without permission enters the name of his female friends in a pageant contest. With Yuu’s 30 minute explanation on pageants, I guess the girls can’t back out now. As revenge, Chie enters the guys’ names in a cross-dressing contest. This is sure going to be fun. During the preparation, Yuu befriends a struggling trombone player, Ayane Matsunaga. She is having troubles trying to get her act together since her club will be playing during the festival and she is supposed to replace the role of an injured senpai. Yuu and co try out the group dating café. It’s so weird when they all know each other. It gets weirder when Yousuke asks their ideal type only for himself to almost start falling for Yuu!!! WTF?! They’re not even drinking alcohol! Time for more trombone drama with Matsunaga continue to screw up in practice. Luckily her senpai returns and with everyone’s approval, she gives her role to him. Yuu can tell she isn’t happy with this so what else this nice guy has got to do but listen to her love for music. He takes her around the festival until Ebihara hijacks him so she could do some love life fortune telling? The event we’ve been waiting for! Okay, not. Time for our guys to step up for their cross-dressing. Kanji is the worst Marilyn Monroe ever, Yousuke a creepy high school girl, Yuu a delinquent girl (somehow the girls love his badass-ness) and Kuma as Alice In Wonderland. It’s no surprise Kuma wins it and since he’ll be the judge of the beauty pageant, he announces it will be a swimsuit contest. Oh yeah! See the girls in their swimsuits! Now this is what we’re waiting for. However the hall isn’t filled with people since Kanami is in town doing a shoot so many ditch this to watch that. Yeah, only losers see this pageant, right? Ironically we won’t get to see Naoto in her swimsuit because she is so shy (but enough to give Kanji nose bleeds) and she won!!! WTF?! Power of imagination? While Rise accepts her loss and even says whatever Kanami does isn’t her business, she can’t help feel disappointed. Yuu as usual tells her it is natural for her to be upset. Being Rise is part of who she is. This gives her motivation to return to showbiz next spring. She invites him to be her manager but he declines.

Episode 20
Yukiko invites Nanako to stay at her inn seeing Doujima had to be away. The rest misinterpret this and invite themselves along. The guys notice something strange in their room but couldn’t put their finger on it. When they decide to hit the baths, they are shocked the girls are in there. I wonder if there are endless supplies of wooden buckets for them to throw at them. Why the hell does Yuu think standing their ground is such a good idea?! Retreat! Eventually Yukiko realizes it was her fault since she mixed up the bath times and it is supposed to be the men’s turn. So the guys later try again at another section and end up in the wrong one again. Did they not read the sign this time? Yukiko is faced with a bunch of reporters who are trying to coax her into doing a special programme of her cursed inn. When she refuses, they badmouth the inn and this causes her to snap and tell them off. They threaten to air this but had to back off when she threatens back about complaining to their sponsors. Since the girls still haven’t got over the guys trying to peek at them, they continue to label them as perverts. Even Nanako is starting to think Yuu and Kuma are one. Back in their room, they realize this was the room that Yamano stayed. Now they can’t sleep. With everything not going their way, I guess Yousuke gets this last ditch attempt to sneak into the girls’ room. They get excited when they first go through their stuffs before lying next to them. Then something feels odd. The girls sleeping there are actually fatty classmate and slutty teacher!!! OMFG!!! In fact they are so deprived of men that they want them to stay!!! Monsters unleashed! It didn’t take long this time for Yuu to issue the retreat order. Phew, that was close. Their chastity still intact. Thank goodness. Later Yuu talks to Yukiko that she is going to take an exam to obtain a licence to run this place. The irony was how she wanted to leave this place. After the battle with her Shadow, she felt she wanted to protect it even more. Flashback a few days ago, Yuu received a letter ordering him not to save anyone anymore.

Episode 21
Naoto tried tracing the letter but its source cannot be determined. Seeing that it was sent directly to his mailbox, it could be the perpetrator is closer to them. That night, Midnight Channel pops up but it is unclear who the person is. Next night, Yuu receives another letter. This time it warns him if he doesn’t stop, someone close will be killed. Doujima sees this and wants an explanation. Wow. Even if he is family, Doujima won’t break protocol and interrogates him at the police station. Yuu tells the truth about Personas and Shadows but obviously Doujima thinks he is lying. So Yuu is going to stay in the lockup tonight?! Nanako calls Yousuke about Yuu receiving a weird letter before dad took him to the police station. Oddly, there is a TV in the lockup because it is Nanako’s face who pops up!!! As deduced by Naoto, Nanako may not be seen on TV but heard. A politician who often appeared in the news and visited Nanako’s school used to quote her anonymously. She is on his way to check if Nanako is still in. By the time the guys come to get Yuu, they tell him Nanako is missing. Doujima rushes to go find her. I don’t know how weakling Adachi could lock up all the other guys in the same room. The girls want to bust them out but I guess it makes more sense to explain what’s going on than resort to violence. When Naoto checked the place, there was no break in. Hence the culprit is someone she knew and Nanako opened the door herself. Also, the culprit must be carrying a huge TV in his car. But who would carry something big without others noticing it? Yuu realizes it is a delivery truck. Coincidentally in this small town, the local delivery company only has the same deliveryman every time. It seems that guy matches the police profile too. Taro Namatame was a city council secretary before becoming a deliveryman. The guy who also had an affair with Yamano. With the puzzle of the pieces together, Adachi lets them out. He then calls Doujima about it. Super coincidence the delivery truck was just passing by. Police chase! Delivery guy is so panicky that he swerves his truck to force him off the road. By the time the friends come, Doujima is lying bleeding on the ground. The culprit is gone. There is indeed a TV in the back of the truck. Yuu becomes desperate to save Nanako. He is calmed down that if they fail, who else is there to save her. Naoto discovers a notebook left behind. It contains the names of all the victims (except Morooka). It also states he discovered the existence of a new world and must save people. Yuu is determined to save Nanako after seeing the letter she dropped that congratulates him on his test. Even more determination when Doujima leaves it to him to save her.

Episode 22
What is this heavenly garden space? Namatame takes Nanako and run. How far can he run? I can’t believe he runs faster than the group of young people. Anyway, they still got time to talk. Namatame claims they are the killers and he is the one saving them. Cue maniacal laughter so an immense amount of Shadows could absorb into him and transform into a terrifying Persona. Yuu rushes in to save Nanako but gets mind controlled. Namatame uses his Personas to keep the rest at bay. I guess Nanako’s voice gives them the much needed distraction for the rest to pound Namatame. The power of lolicon is strong with Yuu rescuing Nanako from Namatame’s clutches. At this point, the other friends are mind controlled. Not too sure about this spirit of Doujima giving extra power to Yuu to power up and summon a golden dragon? Is this Dragonball reference? With everyone free again, they take down Namatame for good. However Nanako is unconscious and is wheeled into ICU. Everyone is anxious and starts blaming themselves if they hadn’t listened to Namatame’s rant and instead went straight rescuing her, this wouldn’t happen. Yeah, in TV world, everyone always talks first action later. So I don’t blame you guys for that… But it’s the power of believing in her because many days later, Nanako is recovering and police interrogation has Namatame admit to the kidnappings and killings. He regretted to all he did and was just scared. Adachi lets in a little secret from their investigation that it seems Namatame was also trying to make advances on Konishi. The fog is thicker than usual in their world. The people are concerned and some have gone a bit crazy thinking it contains some sort of virus. When the friends put on their glasses, they see a clear view. Could it be the fog is leaking from the TV world? Kuma is sad that since the case is over, there is no more reason for him to stay. Of course they welcome him to stay anytime and this makes him happy. Hey, I thought they’re supposed to help find his origins too? As the friends discuss the Christmas present they should pick for Nanako and the party for her release, Yuu gets a distressing call. Nanako’s condition has suddenly turned for the worse. Yuu is allowed to be by her side as he tries to desperately assure they’ll always be together. But Nanako’s heart stop beating… Nanako!! NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!

Episode 23
Let the tears flow… :’(. Doujima heads to Namatame’s room and is going to kill him! I guess screw being a detective once your only reason to live is gone. The friends hear something going on in his room and enter. Hey, what happened to the police guys stationed outside? They think he is trying to escape. All get mad at him when Midnight Channel pops up. A Shadow version of Namatame taunts them that the law cannot touch him. He dares them to kill him because alive or dead makes no difference to him. Naoto gets this idea to throw him into the TV. Yuu picks cowering Namatame up and is prepared to do so. The girls are against this but the guys want him to continue. In the end, Yuu couldn’t do it because it would make them no different than him. They must calm down and rationally think about this. So far, they have not heard from Namatame’s point of view. They discuss about Namatame’s motive to kill Yamano but couldn’t deduce anything motive since he was separated from his wife then who also knew about Yamano. It’s getting late so Yuu calls it a day. He then breaks down in a way we never seen him before. Only Yousuke’s around to lend a shoulder to cry on. Next day, the friends continue their investigation despite realizing Kuma has not been with them ever since. They wonder if he ‘saves’ people by killing them but if so, doesn’t that make the rest after Konishi failures? Yuu notices something strange about the warning letters. Like as though they were written by different people. They go talk to Namatame and he is willing to tell them the truth since the police refused to believe him. After his scandal was exposed, he returned to his parents’ house to hide. He saw Midnight Channel in which Yamano was seen in danger. After she was killed, he thought Midnight Channel was an SOS from her. When Konishi popped up, he recognized her as the daughter of the liquor store. He tried to warn her but she refused to listen because obviously any normal girl would think he is some sort of crazy dude. After she died, Namatame got this idea of throwing victims to the other world and then take them back out once things blow over and went around his rescue mission as a deliveryman. As the rest continued to live, he thought his mission was a success. He realized too late that one from inside could get out on their own. Kuma realizes he doesn’t belong anywhere and vanishes. Then a miracle happens. NANAKO LIVES!!!! Plot convenience???!!! Who cares?! She’s alive so the rest can breathe easy and have motivation to solve this case. As Naoto thinks the culprit is one who has connections to Yamano and Konishi as well as in a position to observe their investigating actions periodically, Yuu thinks he knows that person who fits all that criteria. I think so too…

Episode 24
Kuma now remembers. He is a Shadow from this world who took on a form of its own and made himself forget he was a Shadow. He is back to being happy after learning Nanako survived. Do we have time for Yousuke telling Yuu how much he envied him? So the make them equal, he wants to be punched? Wow. Yuu did just that! But does it change anything? Heck, he even says equality for them is when they both punch each other! Do we have time for fist fighting?! Must be their weird way of reconciling. When the friends and Doujima head to the hospital, they hear from Adachi that Namatame has been relocated. They start asking him several questions about his meetings with Yamano and Konishi and the warning letters. He plays dumb but when they accuse him of being the culprit. Because when Naoto read the notebook, Adachi felt relieved. At this point the police had no idea there were other attempted murders related to the case. Adachi brushes it all off and runs away. Where could he have disappeared in this room? See that TV? Ah… Inside the TV world, they cannot find Adachi but Kuma. He tells the truth about himself but you think they care? They welcome him back and this motivates Kuma to help find Adachi. They find him or at least his Shadow. He claims this world will soon seep into reality and humans will turn into Shadows. Adachi shows us what happened. When he confronted Yamano, he knew she lied about the affair with Namatame. After all, Adachi liked her. When she resisted, he threw her into the TV. He then talked to Konishi and tried to blackmail her about her meeting with Namatame. She resisted and got thrown in too. After Konishi’s body was found, Namatame called the police. Of all the people who picked up, it was Adachi. So he called his story a bluff and told him to save them himself. He did all this because it was interesting. So when Kubo wanted to take the blame, Adachi feared the game would be over. He threw Kubo inside the TV so the game would continue. Adachi and his Shadow clones fight the friends just to see whose world will come out triumphant.

Episode 25
Adachi claims the world is such a boring place. That’s why everyone is going to turn into Shadows and live like a zombie. Isn’t that even more boring? He talks about people fearing reality that is why they yearn for all the fakeness. He claims the friends are the same like criminals. They seek some thrill to their boring lives and hence playing this detective game. Even if Adachi is caught, so what of it? Everyone will still think Namatame as the killer. Of course the friends deny all that bullsh*t and call him a kid throwing tantrum. So cliché that bad guys lose their cool and hence their dominance. Plot convenience for them to fall and good guys to win. They beat the crap out of him. Adachi knows this is the end and tries to kill himself but the Shadows possess him. The big boss of all Shadows, Ame No Sagiri is a giant eyeball and the master of the fog. He claims all this doing is because this is what humans desire. More talk on how humans turn a blind eye to reality and rather live on in darkness and false imagery. Everything was his doing and went according to plan. Except for the parts they beat up their own Shadows and turn them into their own Personas to fight. That’s why he wanted to test them and see if it is worthy to put his trust into it. Everyone fights in vain as Yuu gets absorbed. But thankfully with all the bonds with his friends, this allows their Persona to evolve and become better looking versions to help pull Yuu out. Then he gets the honours to summon all his cards into some demon Persona and dismantle the eyeball! Now that he has seen their proven potential, he backs down. But warns if mankind so desires again, he will return any time. The real Adachi prepares for the worst to be killed by the kids but of course they tell him to be punished by the laws of their world. That’s how it works. In the aftermath, the friends see off Yuu at the train station. So he is leaving? As though he came for a case and left when everything is over. Nanako so sad that she confesses she wants to marry him when she grows up?! Okay. But no shady stuffs while she is under-aged.

Episode 26 (Special)
This adapts the true ending from the game. The friends are preparing a farewell party for Yuu. Oddly, the day restarts again and this time Yuu reads a letter for him. It is from Adachi serving his time in prison as he mentions about someone giving them strange powers to enter Midnight Channel. Yeah, why write such a vague letter with no answers? I suppose this is to prompt our friends to do their own investigation. The day restarts again as this time as he remembers when he first came to Inaba, he had a strange dream. He remembers stopping by the gas station and the gas attendant talked to him. He makes his way there and it is revealed the attendant is the one who gave them this power. All by just shaking hands. He transforms into his true form, Izanami and reveals he created the Midnight Channel although he has only been observing after that. It seems Midnight Channel shows what you want to see and the hidden side that everyone wants to show others. Hence a ‘window’ to peek and cater to both. Because like what that eyeball said, humans only want to see what they want to see. This is what the fog represents. With Yuu refusing to believe it all, Izanami shows him the truth. He is fighting a monster Persona in which all his friends have become victims of Shadows. This is the truth. Because Yuu cannot handle this, he chose to live in his own version of the fog and happiness. Hence Yuu succumbs to this and continues to relive that Groundhog Day over and over again. He looks ‘happy’. Until Margaret snaps him out of it and is disappointed in him. Not sure what is happening because it’s like she is sending Personas to attack him but with Yuu hearing the voices of all those who support him, he gets back all their Personas. Then he sees his own Shadow who admits his fear of being alone. That’s why he doesn’t care if it is all an illusion as long as they’re with him. After accepting his Shadow, he returns to fight Izanami. This time nothing could stop Yuu. He is no longer alone and will show mankind’s true potential. With his evolved Persona, he defeats Izanami and dispels all the fog. The TV world returns to its original beautiful state. The friends are alive and happy to be reunited with him. Now that Yuu is free to see the world, hence he leaves Inaba on a journey. His friends bid him farewell and promise to wait for him, believing in the bonds of their friendship.

The Golden Animation

Apparently there is an alternative version of this series that came out 2 years after the original aired.

Episode 1
This first episode plays out in the exact same fashion as the first original one. From Yuu’s arrival to Inaba to the school he enrols, to watching Midnight Channel, entering it, meeting Kuma and summoning his Persona for the first time to kick Shadow ass. Only difference is the appearance of a new character, Marie from time to time. In the epilogue, we see Margaret officially introducing a bashful Marie to us and Yuu is tasked to show her around Inaba. He just got here too so is it like the blind leading the blind? Anyway, Marie is a bit distrusting since she has no memories of her previous life whatsoever (why does this sound so familiar). Since she likes the wide space of Inaba, she puts herself in Yuu’s care.

Episode 2
Yuu introduces Marie to his friends and goes along with the premise that she is his old friend from his old school. A month down the road, Yuu has gotten his bike licence. Doujima gives him his old scooter. Yuu receives a call from Chie to accompany the girls shopping next Wednesday. Unfortunately Yousuke shortly calls him after that to fix next Wednesday to ride their bikes to go pick up girls. Since he isn’t given any space to reply, looks like he is double booked. But he has the perfect plan. As Yousuke’s plan starts first, he will go with him. He is supposed to meet up the girls in the next hour and will give a few minutes provision to go to them. And then he will return to Nanako and have dinner with her. Yeah, a perfect plan that will offend nobody. It starts out fine at first but the guys fail at picking up any girls. Just when it’s time for Yuu to leave, Kanji won’t lose out and it becomes an hour-long battle to see who can hit on the most girls. Yousuke is in a pinch but he decides to use that hour-long battle to go to the girls instead. When he arrives, he sees Chie and Ebihara fighting over the last skirt left. They enter an hour-long fashion competition and make Yuu the judge. Oh boy. So Yuu has to run in between both places, trying to hit on girls while judging their fashion sense (he is calling all of them as draws!). In the aftermath, he is dead tired and knows he is running late for Nanako’s dinner when she calls to tell him that dad is going to return for dinner too. In the end, Chie and Ebihara’s fashion contest is resolved by Marie who coordinates suitable clothes for them. Now they’re best of friends. Yousuke wins the pickup contest with a single number. However that number belongs to Ootani! Did he slip up somewhere?! The moment she sits on his bike, it breaks apart!!! And she got the cheek to tell him to up his game if he wants to date her. Double loss? By the time Yuu returns home, he is close to dead and has missed her dinner.

Episode 3
Beach episode. Our friends (minus Naoto) head to the beach during the summer vacation. Looks like everyone has got bike licence now. Time for our girls to parade their cute swimsuits. Until Kanji had to ruin our eyes with his Speedo. ARGH! MY EYES!!! Perverted Kuma tries to make nip slips but end up doing one on Kanji!!! Damn this guy is now indecently exposed!!! Are you trying to rape my eyes???!!!! When the girls are coming back, they have to quickly use seaweeds to hide his modesty. It only serves to enhance his perverted image. During the break, everyone tries to ask Marie lots of questions to get to know her but this upsets her. She runs away but Yuu talks to her about things and before your know it, they reconcile. Marie talks to Margaret about being aware of one’s true self. Because of that, she uses a video camera to record the friends’ answer regarding about their true selves as well as other stuffs. Each giving their own version of what it is that also serves as some sort of motivation to Marie. After watching the fireworks, they play their own sparklers. Yousuke is now talking about their next winter vacation plans and everyone is surprised but happy that Marie seems enthusiastic to join them next time.

Episode 4
Marie discloses to the friends that she is an amnesiac character. Of course they are eager to help her uncover her memories since the cops aren’t interested in such trivial cases. The only clue she has is a weird comb. They see Daidara the craftsman’s thoughts. He can’t pinpoint its era and feels it is out of this world. It is then Marie starts feeling pain in her head and collapses. She wakes up only to hear the friends talking to a granny about a comb not a suitable gift as it contains the words death and suffering. Next day, Marie seems okay enough to go shopping in her friends. However she got distracted by a comb stall and before she knows it, she is lost. She panics, worried to be alone. The friends start looking for her and Yuu eventually finds her at the reception. Immediately she takes his hand and walk away. She tells him she was scared because the person was asking about her real name and other stuffs. All of which she knows nothing of. She is afraid because she can’t remember anything. When Kuma is seemingly working to fix a quiz show stage, Yuu gets this idea. When he goes to talk to Marie, it seems she has almost given up on finding her identity and doesn’t care. So he ushers her down to the stage where Kuma as the quiz show host and the rest are participants. At first Kuma asks weird questions that Marie doesn’t know. But soon she is able to answer familiar ones. In the end, Marie wins the quiz and she realizes these are what memories are supposed to be. She is happy with the new ones she made and does not bother too much with the unknown.

Episode 5
Yousuke might be in trouble. He might be transferring school! It all began when Kanami was supposed to be a temporary local police chief at Inaba but it got cancelled. His dad was already planning sales and promotion from his store and with this cancellation means the end of them. He hopes Rise could be Kanami’s replacement. At first she didn’t want to buy after hearing this, I guess she relents. But with a condition that all of them join them on stage as her backup band. Hence our friends pick up and practice music instruments. They are all amateurs except for Marie who seems to be natural with the electric guitar. With Naoto deciphering how to read musical scores, everyone is motivated to play on. WTF?! Can you read scores that easy?! Marie is so obsessed in making memories that she won’t stop practising, causing her fingers to be sore. After some pro advice from Rise to take care of herself and be on tiptop condition, the practice continues until they really nail it. On the day of the concert, Rise is late to show up. Yuu gets a call from her that somebody has posted fake news she is making a comeback and holding a hand shaking event, hence a large fans gathering outside her house. Chie has an idea so she runs down there and points out to this fake Rise to give those dumb fans a wild goose chase. With Rise still not turning up, the rest hit the stage with Marie taking on vocals duty. The bewildered crowd soon accepts her and before you know it, Rise joins them on stage. In the aftermath, the friends celebrate a successful concert as well as the good sales the store made. The fake Rise turned out to be Ichijou in drag. I guess he isn’t the only one who is happy. Marie realizes she was so absorbed into this that she didn’t realize she was making memories. Eventually all this will become memories. Later when she watches Nanako leave, she starts to feel pain.

Episode 6
Why do they even need to give Adachi his own episode which is just a poor flashback one? We see Adachi arriving at Inaba as a new police officer stationed here. He has got this look on his face that screams I-wish-I-wasn’t-here. Late on his first day, Doujima lectures him about principles in which he doesn’t even give a damn. You know, the usual Adachi shrug. He follows Doujima to solve local cases and it is clear his heart isn’t in it. Heck, during the briefing, he mispronounces names so much that the team had to correct him all the time! Then one night he discovered Midnight Channel and it sparked some devilish thoughts. We briefly see scenes of him confronting Yamano and throwing her into the TV, subsequently doing the same to Konishi when she rejected his advances. Fast forward to present day, we see Marie chasing after Adachi (the source of the pain, she thinks) but loses him. When Yuu asks why, she isn’t sure and warns him to stay away from him. Then this weird scenes of a grandma treating Adachi like her substitute son as he coincidentally shares the same first name and almost looks like him. Good things come to an end when some other hot guy takes over the role. It wasn’t that Adachi was happy when she treated him, but it sure looks like he isn’t either now that this bugging old woman is out of his life. Because of that, Yuu accompanies him because he wants to help those in need! He even makes him lunch! At this point I think Yuu is the creepier one. One night, he tells and asks Adachi about Marie’s warning so Adachi talks about betrayal and stuffs. Hence it is better not to get involved or do anything from the start since it might later turn out worse. So when the kidnapping of Nanako happened, we hear Adachi’s monologue that he blames Yuu for it for trying to play detective. Did he make a pun on his name? As in, I told Yuu… Yeah, that’s the title for this episode too.

Episode 7
We’re still continuing this? Heck, even the episode title is warning and insulting us, “It’s cliché, so what?”. Taking place during the events of Nanako in coma, Yuu has got a hunch that Adachi is the culprit. So he goes to see him in the other world where Adachi tells him off that he was the one who believed in whatever version of Adachi he saw and now he gets disappointed when he isn’t so. After half a season gone, finally we get to see some Persona fight. As they clash, we have a glimpse of Adachi’s lifestyle. Not to say he was a loser but he doesn’t achieve much and is always on the side-lines. Underachiever. Since Yuu has a glimpse of this too, I think he is overwhelmed by it all so when Adachi fires a warning shot telling him to go home to his friends, he did just that. Too easy. Then he talks to Marie as she tells him about how searching for her memories became creating new ones. More about bonds and trusts but hey, they warned us about being cliché. She gives him her comb to keep because whether searching or creating memories, it is definitely going to be with him. With renewed confidence, Yuu and his friends return to fight Adachi. More about bonds and believe. Yeah, what did they tell us about being cliché? So Personas fighting turn into fist fighting. Yuu turns Adachi into a punching bag. Man, his cheeks are so bruised! Adachi even feels lame that it ended this way since they have the same power but why did he lost? Bonds. Ah… Cliché… Before they can go home, the giant eyeball hijacks him but it doesn’t take long before he defeats him. Meanwhile Marie is being told that the fog is her place. Looks like she remembers now and she fears she cannot stay with her friends anymore. So much about making new memories. She disappears along with the comb.

Episode 8
Yuu tells separately each of the girls (including Naoto, minus Marie) to keep their schedule open on Christmas Eve. This makes them nervous as they start thinking if he wants to confess. Naoto overthinks that Yuu wants to kill them?! Even more so when she sees Yukiko with a knife (present for Yuu), Rise wanting to blow him away (cooking, that is) and Chie ‘killing’ Kanji (she is watching a crappy kung fu movie with a character that sounds like him). Of course the plan is for the guys to cook on Christmas Eve and not let the girls turn this into a poison night. On that day, it seems the other guys have their own commitments and are unable to help Yuu. Kuma is kind enough to send some help. Each of the girls arrive at different times but instead of finding out Yuu’s feelings, he sends them to do errands. The help Kuma sent is Ebihara. A moth freaks out Chie as she accidentally throws tomato at her. A fight breaks out and with all the clumsiness, tomato spills everywhere. Oh, I can see where this is going. Finally Naoto arrives in a protective headgear. Sure she didn’t forget to wear the thickest armour? She misinterprets this ‘bloody’ scene as the girls being ‘killed’ and only made worse when Yuu returns with a knife in hand. Time to freak out. The murder scene might turn into a zombie scene with the girls waking up. The event is postponed next day. At least they get to celebrate with Nanako. But our disgruntled girls secretly take it out on Yuu for all that misunderstanding. The friends enjoy New Year’s Day and playing in the snow. Too bad Yuu got sick a few days later. I know the friends are kind enough to accompany him when he is sick, but it feels like a weird ritual that all of them are sitting around him. I mean, give this dude some space! Then he dreams of Marie. He doesn’t remember him but she does about him. Sadly, she promises she won’t forget about him and disappears. He wakes up in cold sweat and tears.

Episode 9
As Yuu will be moving away in the spring, the friends go on a skiing trip to make their final memories. In the hotspring, they remember the times spent together but it feels like there is something missing. Then while going through the photos of all their outings together, they find it weird that there is a gap in the middle of the group photo. They start to get scared it is a ghost photo of something. Remember that video that Marie took that interviewed all of them? Yeah, they’re watching it too and it brings back memories. But… Who is recording this video! Freak out time. Cue for blackout to stir up some screams. When the lights come back on, they see Kuma trying to eat all their snacks. The girls think this is his prank and beat him up. But Yuu believes there is someone else besides them that they have forgotten. Instead of being gloomy and racking their brains, they return to the snow for more skiing. Yuu spaces out and crashes. He is lost and the snowstorm makes it misty like the other world. Then he sees a familiar figure and goes after her. He starts to remember memories of Marie (though it is just her silhouette). Then her comb is somehow in his hands and he remembers her. Good thing there is a cabin nearby. Good thing all his worried friends manage to find this cabin and are relieved he is alive. Comb is still in his hand. Yeah, they remember who Marie is. Oh, conveniently it’s Midnight Channel time. Why the hell is there a TV in this remote cabin???!!!

Episode 10
Yuu hears Margaret’s voice that leads him into the TV. I wonder how he can fit in if the TV is quite small. Margaret tells him about bonds and truth. Not that I want to understand anyway. Yeah, I’m averting my eyes at this point. As his friends have arrived in this world but separated, Yuu uses Margaret’s power to help reunite. Along the way, the friends notice this strange surreal place. They are like places they have been with Marie. As Margaret continues to lead Yuu, she tells him about this Hollow Forest ahead. Marie has sealed herself and will forever cut herself from the rest. This is proof she has remembered all her lost memories. Because this forest isn’t completed yet, this is a reason why the friends are still able to connect with her. But once it is done, nobody gets out. Forever. This means if Marie seals herself for good, they will all forget her for good. The friends stumble into Marie (is she a clergy?). As usual they tell her to come back or tell them whatever problems because they’d be willing to listen to but she remains stubborn. She reveals her reveal name as Kusumi No Okami and is the same as that eyeball creature. In short, she is a spy sent by the gods to check on the humans. That is why she is in human form to blend in. Yuu reminds her about that comb promise she made. It descends into a childish baka argument before she has had it. She believes she is doing this for their good and out of her own consideration. I guess it’s not appreciated. She summons a few Shadows so that we can see some Persona fights. After the tough battle, they still insist to bring her back. Marie is even more annoyed. I think even more so when they spew that because-we-are-friends crap. Her denial is so strong that her Shadow engulfs her. Oh well, time for another round for their Personas to bust her out. But what’s this?! Everybody gets owned?! That’s unexpected. So much about the power of friendship. For now.

Episode 11
Marie further reveals about the fog. It is the gods’ goal to control it. Ever wonder why it never go further than Inaba and fog the entire world? That’s because Marie’s body absorbs them. Each time she dies so, it starts killing her and she feels like going insane. Hence her ‘consideration’ of saving the world and dying all alone in this Hollow Forest. BS. Even Yuu knows it. He wants Marie to say what she really wants. And after all that bugging (but of course) she finally says she doesn’t want to die and for them to help here. There. There’s your cue and permission to go save her. The power of friendship revives the other friends as they evolve their Personas again to kick ass. Yuu being the hero of course jumps into her Shadow, cuts down whatever stands in his way to rescue Marie. Gee, Marie looks so happy to be rescued by him. As though she is expecting and wanting it so badly. Now that she is saved, the epic hug could last longer had not Rise b*tch about it and this cliché of the place collapsing. As they all run out, they start laughing over Marie’s usual complaints. Yeah girl, you so funny when you tsundere. Just in time when they get out, the TV breaks. Phew. I guess nobody is going back there ever again. Marie lets Yuu know about the voice she heard in her head. She doesn’t know who but finds it familiar like the same voice she heard after they defeated the eyeball monster. She brushes it off and thinks it might be her own voice. They play snowball fight with everyone timing up against Yousuke. Great team effort. Some naughty fanservice potential when the guys try to peep at the girls in the outdoor hotspring. The fence comes down and both sides see each other naked. No prizes to guess what happens. But does Marie have lightning powers as she zaps them?! I didn’t know she had that. Nanako gives Yuu a ghostly chocolate for Valentine’s Day. Yeah, the girls thought her how to make it… Run, Yuu! But seeing how innocent she is, he feels bad if he doesn’t. The clincher is when she thanks him and says how much she loves him. Yeah, don’t worry. He eats everything! It’s a miracle he survived. Then he goes to see Marie who has her own Valentine chocolate for him. The box is pulsating… Is it something living?! Oh boy. What you gonna do? Because she is so cute and shy trying to give it to him, leave it to Yuu to finish it all. I’m starting to believe Yuu might be a demon (not god) since he survived that too. When Yuu hopes she won’t go away again, she tells him the irony of him going away in spring. She hopes to stay here forever.

Episode 12
As everyone prepares to celebrate Yuu’s farewell, Marie realizes she is turning translucent! Kuma has this idea of everyone writing down their wish and put it in a time capsule. When the loudest thunder strikes, Marie again becomes translucent and is now possessed by Izanami who claims Marie is part of her. She tries to strangle herself to kill Marie but since there is resistance, Izanami decides to test their faith. So Yuu is summoning his Persona for one last Shadow fight. Yuu cannot believe the truth about Marie and Izanami originally as one being. Yuu is in a dilemma to save his friends caught in her Shadow grip. With Izanami spouting more crap about averting eyes to the truth, she tells him the only way for him to live the way of life he wants with Marie is to shield his eyes from the truth and live a lie. It sounds tempting but before Yuu could give in to that, Marie tells him not to fall here. She tells him only the truth can defeat Izanami but he is not willing to do that because Marie will disappear. She assures him she will not. She will become one. A God. So that is not good enough for Yuu because she won’t be with her friends? Oh, don’t worry. She’ll always be around watching them. You know how God is always omnipresent, right? With this resolve, Yuu won’t hesitate anymore. The duo walk towards Izanami and their light barrier dispels any Shadows that try to attack them. Marie realizes she wasn’t disappearing but was merging with Izanami. Marie’s wish to protect wishes and Izanami’s wish to grant them made them separated due to their conflict. Yuu’s wish is for everyone’s heart to light up so as to lift the fog covering their hearts. Marie and Izanami become one. Marie vanishes with her last smile to him. The day soon comes for Yuu to leave. But a few months later, he returns. Apparently Doujima was so busy that he forgot to pick him up. Yeah, go hang out with his friends. Too bad their ploy to surprise him failed since he noticed the commotion on how to do so (note, Doujima was also in on this surprise). Looks like all of them have a little change. Like Naoto looking a bit more feminine. But the biggest change is Kanji. He looks like a nerd! Almost unrecognizable! Everyone celebrates his return at home as they show him another surprise. On TV, Marie is now a weather girl. In precise timing, she takes this chance to confess her love for Yuu! She must be damn confident he is watching this right now. Kuma wants to open their time capsule but Yousuke disagrees. A struggle has the lid open. Everyone officially welcomes Yuu back. Yuu’s wish reads he wants to stay with everyone forever. Hardly surprising.

Persona: Through The Looking Glasses
I keep wondering why Yuu had to leave Inaba in the first place only for him to come back a few months later. Heck, it’s not even a year and his return is greeted like as though he has been away for years. Yeah, the town must be so boring besides him, huh? So did he go to other towns and liberate them from their local fog and gods? Or this could just be the so called happy ending because Yuu gets his wish and everybody gets to be together again in the end. Happily ever after. Yeah, they ‘killed off’ Marie but somehow turn her into a weather girl. I am thinking people’s memories must be manipulated along the way for them not to question her origins. She just popped up like that. Now she’s telling us the weather. It’s always sunny here. And in our hearts! Just kidding.

Personally, the story seems pretty ordinary and nothing special. A group of kids in a small town playing detectives because the local authorities couldn’t be bothered in solving the mystery. I guess even when you have a workaholic like Doujima but the rest of the department are so useless, things can never get done. So having teens go into another world to summon an alter ego of theirs sounds like some sort of action battle fantasy. An excuse to put up some fights for entertainment value. But more on that later.

The original Persona spends its first half gathering the usual suspects for Yuu’s groupie. It always follows the same predictable pattern because who else in this world doesn’t have problems? If we could only face our problems and accept them so easy like them, the world would have been such a better place. Unfortunately in reality there is no such conveniences. Escaping to a fantasy world through a TV is only possible in our heads. So once all that is done, the second half tries to focus on catching the real culprit with a few fillers in between. Even halfway through the series, I could guess who the real culprit was. I’m not kidding. Because having a kid doing all those murders doesn’t seem to add up and you can sense something amiss when Kubo has been acting so strangely that even kids can tell he is a bad actor. But not our high school heroes here. Not until the plot tells them something is wrong that they start thinking the real culprit is someone else.

So when they pop up Namatame as the supposed culprit, I was pretty sceptical because if you do a murder mystery genre, it would be very unfair to the audience to suddenly introduce a character we never knew of as the killer. Yeah, so Namatame might look crazy but him being the perpetrator? Who the f*ck is he, I asked. Even pinpointing lesser casts who are close to non-existent like Kanami (who again?) or perhaps bringing back to dead like Konishi for super shocker effect would be so unfair. And true enough when Namatame wasn’t the real culprit, the true culprit, the final boss came to light. And he it came to no surprise to me. In fact I was going, “I told you!” repeatedly in my head. Mind you, I didn’t read any spoilers. The fact that Adachi has always been acting strange in the sense that he is carefree and slacking on his job, plus given the fact that he is one of those few characters who appear decently enough, makes him the biggest indicator to be the perpetrator. The cliché of the culprit is always the one right under our noses. I know Aika could be it but for this series, how can you make a cute takeout delivery girl the baddie! That’s too cruel! Yeah… So wow to myself. I could go solve murder mysteries now. Move over, Naoto. I’m the new detective prince in town!

But the oddest and weirdest plot of the story has to be the gods watching over the humans. Yeah, the world is such a huge and big place and they choose this sleepy small town as their main observation for humans?! Earth may be a small tiny place to the gods but then again, why not pick at least like Tokyo? So by summing up the general behaviour of mankind based on the actions of a few in this small town, it really makes you think if the gods were just trying to find the lamest excuse to destroy Earth. And of course based on the script, we must have a good ending and hence the incredulous logic that a group of high school teens using the power of friendship and trust, to even make the gods change their minds and let mankind live longer! Damn! These kids should just be gods.

If the original Persona’s story was just okay to me, Golden was even worse. Yeah, I don’t even know why they needed to make this alternate setting so that we could have just a new character and a bunch of fillers in that season. Yup, even though half of Golden’s episodes feel like fillers, they are ‘essential’ to the plot because it is a reason to make Marie feel conflicted about the memories she made with her friends. Even if that is the ‘plot’ for Golden, it still feels pretty weak. No wonder I read many Persona fans didn’t like this Golden spinoff alternative in the first place. It was crappy and only serves to increase the power of friendship BS. Besides, with half the number of episodes than the original Persona, with all those fillers you don’t even get to see any decent Persona fights until the final few episodes. Not even cutie pie Marie could save this disastrous sequel. Heck, she didn’t even want to save herself until her friends ‘forced’ her to.

There are quite a few no brainers or questions to ponder in the plot but by the end of it, I couldn’t remember them. Blame the fog? Me being lazy? Okay, here’s one. About Midnight Channel. It is said to appear at the stroke of midnight. Sure, it never fails to pop up on a rainy day. But what if I adjust the clock forward or backwards? Can I still watch Midnight Channel? And I’m not sure if it is a joke because Yuu has multiple times said he could record it. We never see proof because he could have just showed the police but then again, the kids want to solve them themselves, right? Then there’s the time Yuu and Doujima lost Nanako because she ran away from them after hearing the truth about mom. How far can a little girl run and 2 adults loose her who was within their sight a second ago? Oh right. Who could forget the super unbelievable miracle of Nanako coming back to life. Nanako is God!!! Then there’s that ‘drunken’ bar episode and everything else in Golden relating to Marie… Oh boy, better leave it as it is.

The characters are a mixed baggage. Each of them has their own personalities and traits. They’re both likeable and annoying at the same time. Like Yuu as the main character, he has this dense aura around him. He is also blunt and honest to your face. He is no saint either. Because when the guys get naughty like wanting to go peek at girls, Yuu doesn’t hesitate to actually join in! As Yuu isn’t a talkative character, sometimes the way he speaks makes me feel that it is as though he is some sort of retard. Even Kuma sounds better than him. Really. Go listen to Yuu’s way of talking. I bet this is why it matches his blunt personality so well. So in the initial episodes when Yuu was giving his soon-to-be-friends his honest advice, that is like supposed to be the lesson of the story or episode, I guess. Yuu could be a good counsellor or something since his words always gets through. If it doesn’t, he’ll make sure until it does!

As for the other characters in Yuu’s groupie, we can sum it up for them like this: Yousuke the best friend and joker of the group; Chie the tomboy; Yukiko the cool beauty with a laughing fit thanks to her bad sense of understanding jokes; Rise the washed up idol that nobody cares anymore; Kanji the manly gay boi; Naoto the cross-dressing failed detective wannabe; Kuma the cute animal mascot that could also double as another comic relief character. And Marie, I guess they needed some eye candy and cliché amnesiac character. I want to note something on Naoto as a detective. She basically fails in her job. At times she might sound she has a clue but that’s mostly stating the obvious or something so general that it doesn’t go anywhere. She is practically the most useless character in terms of relevance to the role among the groupie and perhaps only exists to serve as Kanji’s boner material and to prove he isn’t 100% gay. Yeah…

Too bad for anyone hoping to see some romance or love triangle but I had a feeling it would happen. No it didn’t. If it did, perhaps it would have diminished further the quality of this series. There are a few moments of Yuu having a short moment with one of the girls during those fillers but nothing really conclusive. Save for Rise who is the boldest in declaring her love for Yuu. If she was still an active idol, I bet Yuu would have received lots of death threats. Perfect for more Midnight Channel cases. But that’s another story. Now with tsundere Marie in the picture, the competition might just get heated up. Oops, ran out of episodes. Maybe next season with more fillers would do. If there are any. Now that Marie has confessed on TV and the whole town know, Rise better step up her game if she wants her senpai so badly. Oddly, all the girls are bad cooks and this has become a running joke of the series because they really make killer dishes. Not sure they really know their cooking sucks but I think they do because I am suspecting that they get their kicks by tormenting the guys with their food. Kashiwagi and Ootani might be a great complicated factor if they got added into this love mix equation. Slutty teacher wants to f*ck to prove she’s still available while fatty girl thinks she is so damn high standard that guys don’t deserve her unless you’re qualified. Yeah, those 2 are like the minor running gag and a big danger red alert signal to our guys.

Then there is the super innocent and cute Nanako for those who are lolicons. I want to believe that Nanako is a strong girl for her young age because she seems to be taking everything in stride. From her mother’s death to whatever problems her onii-chan is facing. Not sure if she is a kid and is not aware. But I remember the part the girls were having a cooking contest and she was tasting them. Didn’t feel anything. Is she a mini god or something? Heck, she did come back from the dead once. In many cases I believe Nanako is the central pillar to everyone because see how worked up Yuu became when she got kidnapped? His friends treat her like their little precious and even workaholic daddy changed his ways to spend more time with his home alone daughter. Yeah, screw work. Not that the cases can be solved anyway. Lastly about Aika, I thought she would play a prominent role and be part of Yuu’s group but I found out that she is an anime-only character. So I guess the running joke about her is how she can deliver her takeouts anywhere without fail and some mega beef bowl that is so endless that nobody has ever seen the bottom of the bowl.

I also want to mention about the Velvet Room that is often served as the starting and opening scene in many of the Persona episodes. We see that long nosy guy, Igor and his beautiful assistant, Margaret (literally beauty and the beast) talking to us. Actually it is the first person view of Yuu. Not sure what crap they are talking about bonds and trusts created on our journey because I certainly do not really get it. Maybe Persona fans can understand but a casual viewer like me, I’m so lost. Sometimes Velvet Room will be empty and you know some serious sh*t has gone down. Then for the first half of Golden, we get to hear Marie’s narration of the poem she likes only for her to snatch it back in embarrassment and reprimand us for reading it without her knowledge. I guess this part is only necessary so we can fawn over how cute Kana Hanazawa sounds being a tsundere. Kawaii!

On a trivial note, I wonder if there was a spelling error because in the original Persona, the next episode preview is termed as “Next Scent”. Wait. What? You mean, next scene. Maybe they’re trying to hint this about Kuma’s sniffing abilities. Not that I can see how useful it is either. Sure, Kuma’s sniffing might lead our friends to where they needs to go (because the plot says so) but I find it weird that this is so. A play on words? At least the next episode for Golden is termed as “Next Memories”. Also, not sure about that ability link for Yuu as the original Persona’s mid-intermission. Every episode we see Yuu’s ability of either courage, knowledge, diligence, expression and understanding go up by one level until everything is maxed out. Not that I can see how he increased those stats in the anime but even at the end whenever he is at maximum level, he still feels the same. Uh huh. Even before that he could pull out so many Personas so I’m not sure if this radar chart is accurately accurate. But hey, he is the main character so he has to be.

Originally the Persona game is an RPG-like game mixed with simulation but they also spawned a couple of fighting games. What I want to say is that when the friends summon their Personas to fight, the fight scenes are not that entertaining. Just a few oddly designed oversized characters slashing and slicing their way through various plainly designed Shadows. Short enough for it to be over and get on with. But the oddest part is how Yuu has managed to gather so many of his Personas (based off from the tarot cards) without even us knowing. I guess those scenes from Velvet Room must be it. Because it is like when conveniently needed, Yuu will power up and use that new Persona. Too bad they are used mostly once or twice and then never used again. It is annoying because it makes him look so powerful with so many weapons at his disposal and yet he uses them for a short while. Yeah, we can’t even remember many of them.

On to the art and drawing, I find them mostly satisfactory but the one thing that kept bugging me in the original series is the tone and colouring of the characters’ face. What do I mean? When I first watched this series, I find it really obvious and odd that there is some sort of weird shade on their face. Imagine this. Like as though the characters went to the beach to tan but only covered their eyes. Yup, it looks like they had tan marks over their face except for their eye regions. Are they some sort of reversed raccoons? If this is the series’ art trademark, it certainly feels weird. However come the Golden, the good news is that this is done away with and although the art and drawing are much brighter compared to the original (because it is mostly foggy and dark), the quality takes a dip. Like as though the characters are now looking slightly simpler and Kuma who is already looking comical in his bear suit, looks even more comical with the simpler drawing. No wonder this season feels crappy.

As for the designs of the Personas, I have to mention that they are the weirdest looking ‘monsters’ ever. They could even be creepy in my books. Maybe except for Yuu’s main Persona because he is main character so his Persona has got to be designed like main character-ish too. It’s like the group sat down and tried to brainstorm for some designs. They want them to look badass and mighty but with time running out, they just go with whatever they had. So watching the bunch of Personas even in action sometimes made me think that this is what happens if this was a darker version of Pokemon if they evolved even further. To be fair, their evolved version designs look much better although it is a shame that they are not often used. I suppose it is fair in the sense that your first being won’t be that good looking but when you try harder and level up, your stats in terms of abilities and aesthetics would also look better.

As for the human characters, no qualms about their bishoujo and bishonen design. But I’m just wondering why Chie and Yukiko are allowed to wear a different set of clothes as their school uniform because nobody seems to be complaining. Sure, it’s to make them stand out but really, the school authorities don’t seem to care? Okay, upon closer look they might be wearing a different coloured sweater over it but all the time? Also, I find their school uniform design a bit funny because it has this lines all over that makes it look like it is not completely sewn or the sewing wasn’t done properly and hence you see all those ‘stitch lines’.

On a trivial note, having them wearing glasses so they can see better in the fog and as a device to summon their Persona, I thought it makes them look a bit like nerds… I think the idea of having glasses is symbolic for one to have a clear view if everything looks blurry but I have perfect vision and putting glasses on only makes me dizzy! Also, if everything else fails, maybe they’ll just look smarter in glasses…

There are many recognizable seiyuus lending their talents here. Probably since this is an ‘old’ anime where most of my favourite recognizable ones are still around as compared to recently where they are slowly retiring one by one. Yeah, feeling old and having nostalgia. Anyway, the recognizable ones include Yui Horie as Chie, Ami Koshimizu as Amagi, Showtaro Morikubo as Yousuke, Rie Kugimiya as Rise, Romi Paku as Naoto, Kana Hanazawa as Marie, Sayaka Ohara as Margaret, Tomokazu Seki as Kanji, Aoi Yuuki as Aika, Yuko Kaida as Yamano and Tsubasa Yonaga as Naoki. I also recognized Kappei Yamaguchi as Kuma but I want to note that throughout the series as that beary character, he sounds so gay ~kuma! Maybe that is how the character sounds but I can’t help feel with that kind of fun voice, it makes Kuma so gay even though he is a (almost) lady killer. Perhaps Ichijou is a minor character, I didn’t recognize Daisuke Ono behind it.

Other casts include Daisuke Namikawa as Yuu (Rock in Black Lagoon), Akemi Kanda as Nanako (Asuna in Negima series), Unshou Ishizuka as Doujima (Bunta in Initial D), Mitsuaki Madono as Adachi (Kon in Bleach), Kouji Haramaki as Namatame, Kanae Itou as Ebihara (Sanae in Shinryaku! Ika Musume), Hina Nakase as Konishi (Ran in Tayutama), Hitomi Nabatame as Kashiwagi (Rokumon in Kyoukai No Rinne), Tsuyoshi Takahashi as Kubo, Ryou Agawa as Ootani and Osamu Ryuutani as Morooka. A special mention for Isamu Tanonaka as Igor. I read all his lines are taken from previous recordings because he passed away a year before the original Persona went on air and hence he is credited as special performance in the credits. Rest in peace.

Many of the songs in the series are sung by Shihoko Hirata (unless stated). Honestly, the hip hop and funky beat songs seem to fit the series’ themes better. Like Pursuing My True Self (special opening for first episode), Sky’s The Limit (first opening), Beauty Of Destiny by Shihoko Hirata featuring Lotus Juice (first ending), Next Chance To Move On (Golden’s opening), Shadow World (Golden’s special first episode opening) and Never More (final episode 25 ending) but this one sounds more like slow hip hop. They are mainly sung in English. Therefore I somehow feel rock pieces don’t feel right. Maybe in battle scenes but for opening and ending themes, not so much. Like Key Plus Words (third opening), Dazzling Smile (Golden’s ending), True Story by Rie Kugimiya (special opening for episode 9). The special ending theme for that Loveline episode, Koi Suru Meitantei is as cute as you would expect Yui Horie to be.

But slow pieces like The Way Of Memories -Kizuna No Chikara- (second ending) isn’t too bad. True Feelings is a slow piece that is okay as special ending theme. However when they play this in a couple of important battle scenes, it sounds so out of place. I think they want to prop up the feels but I still feel weird hearing this slow song played during heated battles. Believe it or not, Subete No Tamashii No Uta by Shoji Meguro is an instrumental piece. No, it is more like an opera piece with the soprano belting out quite a nice one.

Overall, the series is just average. Just slightly above average since I’m feeling generous. Kids going around solving murder mysteries and fight mysterious beings with their strange alter egos is definitely not the best ingredients for an anime out there. Maybe it works in the game but when you adapt it to anime, it loses its shine. This is why video games and TV or movies cannot and do not mix or go well with each other. The anime has its own funny moments for laughs but otherwise the blatant power of friendship saves the day, saves the people, saves the world feels kinda ridiculous. But it doesn’t stop me from wanting to go watch Persona 5. I’ll still go watch that and expecting more or less the same thing. This series might try to teach us about accepting who we are and not give a damn about what naysayers say about you. So with that said, can I accept this series as just average then? Everybody wants to live a lie that suits their preferences, right? Yeah, what the fog ~kuma?!

Fate/Apocrypha

May 6, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dies Irae

May 4, 2018

Imagine an alternate reality where the Nazis got superhuman powers and tried to destroy the entire world. At least that was what I summarized from the synopsis of Dies Irae. I thought it would be a lot fun to see that happen seeing that in this age and era where politically correct is what everyone is striving to be. At least in the west. Not that this series aims to set everything right in the first place.

Episode 0
Karl Ernst Krafft AKA Mercurius is being held captive by Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich, director of the main security office over suspicion of treason as he predicted the assassination of the Fuhrer. However Heydrich will ‘save’ his life in exchange to use his clairvoyance to further his propaganda. On Christmas Eve in 1939, Heydrich attends a party in which many high ranking officials praise him for his efforts of turning the Reich’s tides to their favour. As he leaves, he is met by 3 women known as the Three Valkyries, Eleonore Von Wittenburg, Beatrice Waltrud Von Kircheisen and Riza Brenner. They want to join his cause. Heydrich allows them to do what they like but warns them they are responsible for their own safety. At the same time, there is some priest giving some cursed item to a sexy prostitute (I think) while talking about the heresy of clairvoyance. There is also a chaotic fight going on between a mad guy and an equally mad woman. They are destroying everything around them and killing those getting in their way. The Valkyries have a tough time trying to stop the madness. Heydrich talks to Mercurius about not having any particular ambition and just completes the duty he is given. It is the only meaning of his life. Mercurius believes he is directing his efforts the wrong way and trying to spend his life trying to avoid using his full power that would have destroyed the world in an instant. He has done what he could but the war continues to expand. Thus he closed his heart as if to feel nothing. Mercurius remembers meeting him like this and discuss about this many times before. He knows Heydrich loves the world but love and destruction doesn’t necessarily contradict one another. For the sake of love, he will destroy. Heydrich ponders about his boring life that no matter what he does, he doesn’t feel any sense of accomplishment. He shoves the Valkyries aside and easily subdues the mad people. Some sort of emotion stirs in his heart and Heydrich decides to go along with Mercurius’ words. Wow. Suddenly he turns into some super badass villain and with his motley crew of superhuman weirdoes, they literally paint the battlefield with blood. And WTF is this shiny pointy golden flying cathedral as his base?! It enters some portal, supposedly a place Mercurius has prepared for him to unleash his full power and obtain complete victory and create a new world.

Episode 1
Ren Fujii fights his eternal friend-cum-rival, Shirou Yusa. The latter always claims he is his opposite and hence loves doing things the opposite of him. After Ren is discharged from the hospital, his mad ‘girlfriend’, Kasumi Ayase calls him out in the middle of public in which he tries to ignore. Anyway he can’t and somehow it is his fault so he has to accompany her to some blade exhibition. Oddly Ren has a fear of blades so I wonder if Kasumi is trying to get even with him. Ren thought he saw a ghost! It leads him to a guillotine and a ghost girl pops up to hug him!!! It is no surprise he passed out. Not sure how he is brought back to his room but Kasumi feels sorry for all that. Apparently their rooms are connected because there is a big hole in the wall and Kasumi loves using it instead of the door. The next connecting room is Shirou. Ren is sure he has quit school and left but Kasumi is confident he will come back. Ren dreams a weird guillotine nightmare because ghost girl is singing about blood to quench the guillotine’s thirst! Freaky as hell as Ren becomes King Louis XVI being executed in public like the French revolution! Oh, next morning there are news reports that a decapitated head of a man was found nearby. At school, Ren hangs out with senior, Rea Himuro. She tries to console him about Shirou’s departure and wonders if he would like to talk with Sister Riza (sister with big boobs?! I didn’t know there was some sort of hentai here). She was the one who found the decapitated body. With ‘wife’ Kasumi calling for Ren, Rea goes into naughty mode making it sound they were making out. Because of that, Ren can’t return to class and spends the rest of the day on the rooftop?! WTF?! He overslept and it is night time?! You mean nobody came looking for him?! He prepares to go home but sees Kasumi practising at the dojo. So she waited for him instead of going to find him?! Oh yeah. She really believed in him. On the way back, they see Rea giving directions to a strange woman. We now shift to father Valeria Trifa meeting up with Rusalka Maria Schwagerin and Wilhelm “Kaziklu Bey” Ehrenburg. They talk about almost everyone has already arrived at Shambhala. He blesses them to destroy everyone and everything. Killing in the name of God and He allows it? Is it too late to convert now?

Episode 2
Ever since, Ren has been dreaming of those murders and it always ends up with someone being beheaded by the guillotine. While walking back with Kasumi, they see Trifa being slapped by a woman for harassment. Not sure how he was asking for directions to the church, though. Our kind duo help guide the way as they learn he is connected to Theresia (Rea’s real name) as her guardian. He is like her father figure as he ‘praises’ all the fatherly things he has done to her as a child. I don’t think it constitutes to child abuse or molestation but how creepy he says all of it that Rea too doesn’t really like him. Riza tells Ren some details about Rea like her birthday is on Christmas. He tries to be mindful and get her a present as Rea trolls everyone by proposing to Ren! As they leave, Trifa asks about Ren’s parents. They died since he was young (flashbacks of him hinting he murdered them?) and Kasumi’s family took him in but her dad too died. Trifa adds if he would like to see the dead so Ren brushes that off as crazy talk. Trifa then asks the opinion of Kei “Leonhart August” Sakurai about that but she doesn’t care. Ren has another of those nightmares. But this time it feels real. Because he is the one who killed her?! Bey and Rusalka pop up before him and beat the crap out of him while accusing him of doing the killing because Mercurius told him to. Ren denies and continues to be beaten up. Before they kill him, Ren hears Mercurius’ words to show him the way and suddenly Ren powers up with speed? Ren fights back but gets owned each time by Bey. Before Bey could kill him, Leonhart stops him to remind this was supposed to be a test. He will be of no use if he is dead. Well, that’s precisely what this test is for because if he is dead he wouldn’t be of use anyway. Bey agrees but now turns to fight Leonhart because he didn’t like she touched him. Oh boy. Rusalka ends it for Ren and puts him to sleep. He wakes up on the park bench and you can’t blame him if all that sh*t was just a dream. Maybe. He goes to school next day and he thinks it is going to be another usual boring day, how wrong he would be. Because Leonhart and Rusalka are new transfer students in his class. Yoroshiku ne.

Episode 3
Ren wants to know their plan. Rusalka hints there is something they want and they are going to make it come true in this town. If Ren thinks he can threaten her, think again because he can’t go up against her whatever creepy powers. Ren watches Kasumi in kendo practice. Something feels wrong. Because suddenly her thrust is so strong that she decimated the practice doll and visible scars that she could split the dojo in half! Kasumi doesn’t remember what was going on. So they hang out as part of their way to ‘preserve’ their normal life. She gives him a cross and reminds she would like to help him out in any way she can. Trifa and Leonhart watch a guillotine that is accumulating souls to open the swastika. Ren dreams of that ghost girl, Marie again who refers to him as Cagliostro. He wakes up in the park. The bridge is burning and Kasumi is missing. How did he get past the police lines to look for her? Lax security… He is afraid to call her so Leonhart mocks him about it because he already knows the answer and explains about Mercurius controlling the army of a certain nation behind the scenes and changing them into inhuman things. He tells her to shut up but she continues and hints that Kasumi is the serial killer and he knew it all along, that’s why he unconsciously chased after her. She hopes he will gain his power soon or their game cannot start as they have come to war. Ren stumbles upon a pool of blood. Dead people. Bloodied Kasumi. There’s your answer. He blames himself and won’t let anyone else blame her. This is all just a bad dream. Too bad she attacks him. She starts breaking down about not being able to do anything despite constant reminders she wanted to help him. So is this her own fault? When she started thinking what to do, then this murder thingy happened. Ren fights back as his injuries healed. Her attacks are less effective as he tells her it’s because he doesn’t want her to do this anymore. So listen to his words and not hers. She has always helped him and without her, he would have gone crazy a long time ago. The guillotine activates and opens one of the seven swastikas. Rot Spinne reports to Trifa about his investigation that Johann is still alive and here.

Episode 4
As part of the plan to make the enemy stronger so it will be worth defeating, Leonhart is tasked to teach Ren the basics and turn him stronger. Starting off with a little bit of history. They are known as the Longinus Dreizehn Orden black round table and there are 13 of them, soldiers and criminals who gained power with Mercurius’ help during World War II. Some of its members are gone and replaced but some are still unfilled. Each of them has their dreams to fulfil in this fight and as Mercurius proclaimed, he will prepare the stage and opponent to fight and defeat for that. Ren is that opponent. The power bestowed by Mercurius is also a curse. They need to eat souls in order to make them stronger. This is why Ren couldn’t beat Bey who killed so many. Now that Ren is just like them, he has a weapon that turns souls into power called relic. But his power is low and unstable. He needs to take it to the next level called formation where his relic has a physical form. He must achieve this form to at least stand a fighting chance. Since Ren has been avoiding Kasumi and to avoid that nagging ‘wife’ whenever she finds him, he cooks up this excuse that he and Leonhart are dating! That’s a fake sigh of relief you got there, Kasumi. Later that night, Ren bumps into Riza and Rea looking for Trifa. Ren thought he saw Trifa and follows him. However he got spooked seeing his own shadow in some monster form but thinks it is his imagination. He gets a call from Kasumi pleading for help. She is kidnapped by Spinne. Angry Ren rushes down to kill him but gets trapped in his web relic. He claims if Leonhart gives lectures, he gives the practical and beats him up. But Spinne says he isn’t here to make enemies with him and wants to be his ally. Only, if he is good enough. To make him show his true worth, he cuts up Kasumi before his eyes! Obviously a fake but Ren is so mad that he lets the web cut through his limbs to break free! But don’t worry, his limbs regenerates and into blades. Mad Ren is going to cut him up and Spinne is now scared sh*t. He pleads for Trifa to help but he remains silent. Spinne attempts to use his ‘insurance’ by killing the real Kasumi but Trifa intercepts and lets Ren kill him. Ren returns to his place only to see Kasumi turning it upside down. Well, she was panicky trying to look for her missing handphone. Ren just hugs her and is happy she is still alive. Don’t know what’s going on but just go with the flow.

Episode 5
During the French Revolution, a peasant volunteered to behead some noble via guillotine. At the same time, his wife gave birth to a daughter, Marguerite Breuil AKA Marie. But she grew up to be a strange one as she is always singing about blood and guillotine. This has her ostracized. But anybody who touches her has their heads blown off! Eventually she was beheaded and that was when Mercurius fell in love with her and vowed to create a goddess in this world. Ren might see Marie’s past life but it is no dream when he wakes up next to a naked Marie! Oh boy, is the guillotine a better option than being grilled by the ‘angry’ wife? Thankfully Kasumi decides to believe in him. So to help find out who she is, they spend the day having fun together? At the end of the day, Eri Honjou interrupts their outing to bring Ren and Marie to see Shirou. He is making some disco his base. As he has been watching Ren for some time, he wants to play a part in the mess he is currently in. Although he too was involved with this after he fled from hospital and is willing to exchange some information on Longinus Dreizehn Orden. Ren refuses. He will not allow Shirou to get involved. Something about suicide? Shirou thinks he is saying so because he has a different trump card. Eri threatens to shoot Ren but he destroys it with his wind blades. Ren adds that he is only here to thank him for taking care of Kasumi. That’s why he can’t let him die. Later Marie asks Ren more about Shirou. Ren wanted to be like him but couldn’t and ended up hating himself. Maybe he just wants to destroy himself like that. Eventually he believes he wants them to be in a relationship where they would proudly be as themselves. Leonhart is to bring Ren to Trifa but Bey attacks him. Ren defends himself better this time. The fight is interrupted with Shirou joining in.

Episode 6
Shirou narrates something about déjà vu. That’s why he does crazy things and if he can do that, he doesn’t care if he dies. So far he isn’t able to die. He thinks he is God’s toy. Ren disapproves of Shirou getting involved. Like he gives a damn. Bey decides to fight Shirou while Leonhart takes Ren away. We now see the epic power fight between Bey and Shirou (is Bey’s power some sort of sea urchin spikes?). It ends with some well-timed liquid nitrogen truck exploding over Bey. But don’t worry. He still lives. Meanwhile Ren won’t go quietly with Leonhart and fights her. Not sure whose giant face he saw because he really got spooked by it. It makes him desperate. When Trifa appears before him, he is shocked to learn his identity. He asks if Ren loves Rea and is willing to kill her. Ren still doesn’t understand what is going on (so do I) but he will beat the crap out of him. So funny that Trifa starts crying blood over how Ren will defeat them in the name of love? This makes Heydrich appear before him for the first time. Marie feels terrified so Ren feels the need to defeat this evil monster and transforms into some dark bladed monster? A giant hand smashes him. It belongs to what is believed to be Heydrich’s soul, a giant golden skeleton. Even though its power is devastating, this is only part of it. Just his shadow. Who how far the destruction he will do if he gets even more serious. Ren fights off the undead Nazi army to reach Heydrich. Unfortunately he is unable to kill him. Because Heydrich notes he lacks the love for war. Unlike him who loves everything equally including his love for destruction. Until he finds something he has not destroyed and the day he overcomes this déjà vu, he will wait for Dies Irae. Ren returns to his human form as Marie is separated from him. While free falling, Heydrich pierces Marie in the heart.

Episode 7
Marie realizes she is dancing with Heydrich. Asking her opinion of him, she thinks he is frightening person to have killed all around him. He finds it odd she has feelings since she has no heart. He lets her taste a little pain and will teach her how to love and conquer all. She still feels his world is wrong so he claims they will not receive heaven together and declares war. Meanwhile flashback shows Ren was created in a test tube supposedly a bastard child of Mercurius. He always knew he would never lead a normal life. Looks like that time has come. Finding himself locked underneath the church’s dungeon, Rea comes to free him. She too talks about not living a normal life. Don’t understand why she is so sad about. She asks him if he would make love to her otherwise kill her. Huh? Trifa then leads Ren to see Heydrich. He assures him that Rea knows nothing about this and now Rea hates the priest. Inside the round table room, Ren meets Heydrich for the first time. Heydrich’s goal is to just talk to him. Don’t really understand about this conversation. Something about always testing the unknown, making a pact with Mercurius and how he was being born in the wrong world and hence restraining himself is not really him so he should go forth and destroy. Thus he wants satisfaction. But 2 things are required specifically. A situation that needs him to use his full power and that which ensues is unknown to him. He will destroy everything and end his déjà vu. He once sacrificed Berlin but that wasn’t enough so he moved to another dimension. It seems this place is called Shambhala and both of them created this eastern paradise. There are 8 leylines in which 8 battles must be fought and sacrifice many souls. The result is a city sized relic that a golden alchemical circle will grant his wish. 2 have already opened and 6 remain. This is where Ren comes in. He must conquer the battles here to allow Heydrich to manifest or else risk meaningless deaths. Ren wants Marie back and vows to show him the unknown that will be his end. Heydrich returns Marie and will await the day he will defeat him. Marie is back with Ren. Her stab wounds are gone but she is embarrassed Ren is starring at her so closely? After all that they’ve been through?

Episode 8
Kasumi decides to skip school and look for Ren. Too bad she got tasered by Eri. She leaves a note for Ren to call him. It’s good to hear Kasumi is fine as she is arguing with Shirou but that delinquent plays it cool and doesn’t give a damn. Ren and Eri discuss the possible places of the remaining swastikas. Ren guessed the hospital, church and school. The remaining half Eri tells him are at the tower, amusement park and civic hall. All these places except the church are where large numbers of people gather. There will be no shortage of sacrifices. As Ren cannot protect all these places simultaneously, he plans to head to the school first as this is the most important place to him. At school, Ren realizes that the important ones like Rea, Leonhart and Rusalka aren’t around. Every other student is hypnotized to attend. So what will they do now? Marie has Ren lie on her lap and tell her about his friends. Yeah, I’m sure those were fun days. Meanwhile at a disco, I guess the stripper was too hot that everybody starts exploding and bleed from every hole in their body. Yikes. The worst kind of nose bleed? Turns out to be Rusalka in disguise. Shirou and Eri enter to fight her. They mock and make her mad and even though they are one step away from being killed, they aren’t scared. Rusalka finishes them off. Meanwhile Bey knows Trifa has been tailing him. He wants to know what he and Spinne was plotting because it seems as though Trifa killed Spinne to shut him up. He explains they were looking into the Sonnenkind bloodline. Isaak once activated the Berlin swastika and was absorbed by Heydrich to become to core of Valhalla. His mother was Riza and had a twin brother, Johann. It is believed Johann is dead but it seemed Riza lied about his death to prevent him from being a sacrifice. In other words, there is another Sonnenkind bloodline. Guess where? I don’t know. Tell me. But Bey seems to know and understand the whole thing now.

Episode 9
This weird horror nightmare from Riza. Can’t make out what it is. All the children die with blood bleeding out from every hole in their body. Her baby son crawled out of her womb as he gradually transforms into an adult?! WTF?! Creepy!!! Then there is this weird flashback supposedly Ren’s past life I think. He made his dad angry because instead of continuing the family tradition of being a guillotine executioner, he went on to become a soldier since it is both the same in terms of killing people. Now we have Marie talking to Ren about how she has changed ever since Heydrich stabbed her. Something about how she understands about feelings and wants to be part of Ren’s groupie. Huh? Ren prepares to face off with Riza. They give each other a chance to back down. None taken. Riza then sends Leonhart to stall Ren while she opens the swastika. Inside, Riza is confronted with Trifa. She tells him her dilemma that she doesn’t want to kill but is forced to. At least she doesn’t want to end up like him. She is shocked when he knows she let one of her sons escaped. He is curious to know how she ended up choosing which. Was it because one resembled father so much and the reason she continued trying to abandon Rea? Trifa likes Rea but is uncertain of her origins. As Johann’s bloodline exists in Shambhala, if he offers it up, he can prove his love for Rea is his own. Only putting an end to that bloodline would ascertain he is not driven by such things. Riza is willing to let him live at the expense of Rea’s death. Riza prepares to fight him. While Ren and Leonhart slug it out, Bey has already opened another swastika. Leonhart is pleased that a few more and her wish of bringing back the dead will come true. It might seem insane but it was a deal too good to be passed up. Ren calls it crap because if the dead are important to her, then no amount of sacrifice would be enough. This deal only lowers the value of the things she loves. Leonhart becomes mad and like any cornered mad people, they always exclaim the you-don’t-know-me excuse. Eleonore claims Leonhart has lost and disposes of her. She praises Ren’s fine speech and dares him to challenge her.

Episode 10
Leonhart narrates her great grandfather was invited to Germany to forge swords. He also forged fake ones as protection. But a fake became more than a fake, possessed and killed him. It became a curse for the family’s bloodline as it will suck the soul out but still let the corpse move. When that is no longer capable, it will move on to the next family member. Leonhart was in line for that but her brother Kai and his girlfriend, Beatrice vowed not to let that happen. Leonhart was naïve at that time and believed but they perished. She wants to see them again no matter how much she will sacrifice. Trifa wants to put their fight on hold as Eleonore will kill them if she senses them. He hopes Riza will protect Johann’s grandchild but she refuses. She is disappointed in him. She liked him better when he was weak and pathetic but he was human. She lets her familiar guard him while she makes her way out. Eleonore tests Ren as she shoots fire from the ground. Unfortunately Ren is knocked out but can weak Marie protect him now? Riza doesn’t want Eleonore to go through with this as she is already an immortal after having her wish granted. Hence all the human souls here are hers. Eleonore notes that is true but Heydrich wants her to open the next swastika. Eleonore commands Leonhart to watch over Riza and if Riza wants the swastika badly, they can kill each other. Marie talks about how she wants to stay with Ren and co. However she gets beaten up as a test of resolve. Yup, this is pain alright. She now know how much Ren has been enduring. The beating lasts long enough until Ren wakes up and is mad for the abuse of his girl. As they fight, Eleonore is charging up and when she does, Riza pulls off some move to let Ren save Kasumi. Disappointed Eleonore burns the entire area as Ren becomes The Flash (even to a point of stopping time?) and runs as fast as he could to save themselves. Eleonore is told to stop by Goetz Von Berlichingen as she has completed her mission. He tells her Heydrich has plans to open the next swastika. Ren is safe from the inferno as Trifa meets up with him. He never liked Eleonore and Goetz who are close to Heydrich. They are his mortal enemies. He proposes forming an alliance and get revenge on Riza who is dead.

Episode 11
We see Kasumi’s dad adopting Ren and his wife agreed thinking she needed a brother. Well, they didn’t get along. Shirou is forced to listen to Mercurius’ crap because as long as he still feels déjà vu, he will not allow him to die. Shirou’s ‘story’ begins when Ren started living with Kasumi. Kasumi’s dad is some mad scientist who conducted experiments on Ren. One night, Shirou snuck in and killed him. That was the start of his déjà vu. He wasn’t supposed to be a central character in this story but is now one. If Heydrich is the love of everything, then Shirou is the self-destruction of all. Hence this is why he is not allowed to die until he shows him the unknown conclusion. Rusalka mocks Rea that she will soon die. Because it seems for every swastika that opened, Rea’s stomach aches like as though she is going to give birth. Rusalka gets mad and beats her up when Rea is confident she won’t die. And then here comes Bey to fight Rusalka as he wants revenge for killing his prey AKA Shirou. He doesn’t believe she killed him because if he couldn’t kill him, how could she? Therefore he is inside her! In this sick twisted scene, Rusalka’s stomach suddenly feels pain as Shirou bursts out Alien style! OMFG!!! HORROR!!! Shirou has stolen Rusalka’s moves and uses it to fight Bey. Another freaky horror move by Bey as he summons Helga, his sister AND mother to help fight Shirou! WTF is going on???!!! Meanwhile Rusalka is damn afraid of dying. But look who is here? Wolfgang Schreiber. She pleads him to save her and plays the love card. So how does he return her love? He kills her! Because his logic is that he will avenge her death! He then interrupts Bey and Shirou’s fight and kills Bey! Rusalka is half dead so he continues beating her up and gives Shirou a head start to run. Because once she is dead, he will hunt him down and kill him. Sick

Dead Irate: Nazis Gone Wild
I am guessing because the series isn’t technically finished as the remaining 6 episodes will be aired via ONA online instead of the usual TV broadcast, hence even if I call this series confusing and bad isn’t going to be as reasonable of calling a series that has actually finished its run as confusing and bad. Because it isn’t finished so your opinions and conclusions aren’t solidly valid as of this point. Because it is not really finished. Yeah well… But still, it still doesn’t take away the fact for the last dozen of episodes, this series is still confusing and bad in conclusion. Are they trying to experiment with this déjà vu thingy? It will not end (so soon) until you overcome your déjà vu by continuing to watch this a few months later? Oh f*ck it. I don’t even know what I’m saying.

Hence we are left with this very confusing and unsatisfying ‘ending’ for the TV series. Yeah, watching a few episodes in I knew this show was going to be weird but they really pulled one over me with the ‘final’ episode by making it sick and twisted. Character bursting out of one’s stomach as well as a family member popping out of your back to help fight is all just screaming creepy weird horror. And they had the nerve to introduce a new character in this ‘final’ TV episode who beats his woman in the name of love that would have the political correctness of the western world scream misogynistic patriarchy Nazi scum. Doesn’t it make you frustrated in wanting to know more and what happens next or just chuck this series aside? If this is their tactic to sustain interest in the series in some way or another, well it isn’t working for me.

I have admitted many times in the past that I am not the brightest nor the sharpest tool in the shed. Therefore I surmise that it takes a genius or at least an intellect to actual understand and hence enjoy what is going on. I didn’t at almost every level. All I understand is that some Nazis want to achieve some sort of ultimate victory with all the right conditions and in order to do that, they have this wuss Japanese high school kid be that obstacle and the opening of swastikas all over the place. They try to whip him up into the formidable opponent to be defeated. Say what? Hmm… Kinda reminds me of that Milky Holmes series whereby the main heroines are so clumsy and bungling that their arch enemies go out all of their way to try and bring them back to that level of worthiness again. But even that they failed. However Milky Holmes was more of a comedy and it was hilarious. This series on the other hand is dark and serious. There is more than meets the eye than what I just mentioned and with other plots and mini plots inside, it sure makes one hell of a confusing series. And making wishes come true… Is that Fate style kind of Holy Grail plot they borrowed from?

Somehow I feel deceived when I go back to read the synopsis that made me feel interested to watch this series. It mentioned about a group of Nazi officers doing some slaughtering ritual that would bring back some order that would lead to the end of the world. The results of this group was never known. Well, they must have failed, right? Seeing the world is still around. Then the synopsis added about Ren and his odd relationship with Shirou. What is it they said about weird dreams, killing each other and Ren’s desperation to have a normal life but the caution from Shirou about everyone in this city is losing their minds? Even if I didn’t fully understand all that, the enigmatic narration was enough to pique my interest. Unfortunately it didn’t translate well for me in the anime. So I guess I already lost my mind when I lost the plot of this series, huh?

Confusing and disappointing me even further are the characters. Ren as the protagonist is weak and worse, not really likeable. Heck, he wasn’t even in the ‘final’ episode of the TV series and reduced to a mere flashback while Shirou makes his comeback. It feels like he is trying to avert his eyes and force his normal life but you know, as the main character he can’t do that. It is because of that label I believe he is still alive and ‘relevant’ in the series. He can’t really die because of the Nazis needing him to be stronger. Whatever. It gets weirder when he befriends Marie because in a short time it is like they become friends and if she isn’t a tool for fighting, she serves as a possible love triangle with Kasumi and Rea or whoever else. Not that this love comedy would ever happen but it’s a possibility. On second thought, it might just make everything more confusing and worse.

Personally I thought the closest character that came to be likeable and the ‘best’ of this series is Shirou. He is cool and badass, going at his own pace rather than sticking to the norm. However with the lack of screen time and being usurped by Ren just because he is the main character, I guess he falls short of becoming that cool character. Not that the ‘final’ TV episode did it any justice but I suppose it is a slight change of pace not needing to see Ren’s pathetic face. It is also hard to understand Heydrich and Mercurius. The former looking worthy of being the big boss but it makes you wonder going through all this trouble was worth it. It should be. Having things too easily achieved isn’t what he wants so I suppose all this confusion and drama that I couldn’t get. I am also unsure what Mercurius wants seeing he has some of connection or love with Marie and he feels like the puppeteer pulling the strings in the background.

There are a few other characters especially from the order but unfortunately they lack any proper development. We get pieces and hints from a few of them but nothing much. With the plot and story in a mess, I can hardly understand what the hell it is going on with them. Each have their own goals and agendas but a dozen episodes aren’t enough to cover even the basics. Heck, I can’t even see how they are connected to the main plot at all. Some are even as useless and irrelevant at least for this season. The biggest offender is Rea. She looks like she might be a big connection and link to something big but she falls flat as the series goes by and you might remember her as just some flirty emotionless chick giving Kasumi a run for her money over Ren’s attention. Is it me or do I feel that Kasumi’s role (other than being Ren’s nagging ‘wife’) is to become the damsel in distress so that Ren can evolve to his next level of Super Saiyan-ness? Whatever. And another annoying thing are the nicknames. It seems almost every character especially the Nazis have several nicknames to go by. I’m confused whenever they call somebody by that. Yeah, screw all that. Whatever. Thank goodness a few of them died in the end. Unless they get revived again then it’s a different story and everything is back to being screwed up.

The action parts are just average at best. We see Nazis having superhuman powers and some even summoning huge gigantic skeletons from another dimension. Well, it looks cool at first but sometimes it gets a little bit exaggerated because they all look so overpowered. And this is just the low level officers. Imagine if Heydrich and his top ranking officers go into action like as seen with Eleonore, it would be just overkill. Especially when they can summon giant undead creatures at their bidding. I wonder if there would be any fun in seeing that. Well, at least they don’t portray Nazis as stupid and dispensable weaklings like in many other shows. It gets irritating to see Ren getting owned but eventually he gets back up because he can’t give up. Because Marie is inside him. Whatever.

One of the other irritating things for me in this series are the real German words used. It is also funny for me because for example when some of the Nazi characters are introduced, I was wondering why the hell their first names are so long. Then I soon realized that isn’t their first name but their officer title! OMG! So freaking long?! What the f*ck is an Obersturmfuhrer or a Sturmscharfuhrer?! I don’t know how many times I have typed that wrongly and had to relook and relook again to spell that right. Oh damn it, I should have copied and paste. Yeah, I think I even had a hard time trying to pronounce that. I know German has very long words, that’s why it’s a nightmare for them to play Scrabble. Heh. And there was one scene where the ritual was spoken in German. Damn translation didn’t translate that to English but rather display the entire speech in German. Oh well. I guess I won’t even understand if it was translated into English. I did try translate that few lines taken from Goethe’s Faust literature in the opening credits but not that I understand it in the context of this anime either.

Art and animation also feels mediocre. There might be some freaky and creepy designs like all those skeletons and skulls in the shadows of the Nazis that is supposed to be some way to tell this is what they are made up. After all, many of them are already at a very old age. During battle scenes especially when they use their super power, they use some weird toning or whatever that odd contrast style is. Because I sometimes feel that it is to cover up to poor animation quality. There are also lots of blood and gore but I guess with me being so confused, I didn’t feel scared or spooked at all. There is also CGI animation but that feel mediocre too. Especially that ‘extravagant’ floating golden castle of Heydrich. It’s not creepy with all the skulls and spikes. Just feels like overload of goldenness.

Surprisingly one of the more enjoyable aspects of the series is the opening and ending themes. While not necessarily my top favourite but they sound interesting enough. Like the opening theme, Kadenz by Yui Sakakibara (voice of Marie) is a hard rock outfit but I get this feeling that the tune they based it on some classical piece although I may be wrong. But the ending theme is even more amusing, Opera by Phero Men. Even with that name of the group, I can’t help get this vision out of my head that a group of macho gay men are singing this piece. That group is after all made up of Junichi Suwabe and Kousuke Toriumi (voices of Heydrich and Mercurius respectively). But the piece has this manly feel in it most probably because of the heavy and deep drum beats like as though the big taiko drums are the main driving force of this song. I thought they were saying “Wasshoi! Wasshoi!” but it is “Kassai! Kassai!” (Applause, cheer) instead. All hail the Fuhrer! Yeah, this song is not bad actually.

Let me also add that the ending credits animation of this series has got to be one of the laziest ever. What do I mean? There are no animations whatsoever for this series! This means all you see are the credits as they scroll up the black blank screen. Wow. Just like in the movies, eh? On one hand it is good because it is refreshing as every other anime has an ending animation for you to watch. Hence you won’t be distracted as you ‘enjoy’ the song. It is bad because it gives an impression that the production team has no money or they couldn’t come up with one in time and hence saving money, time and energy when anime opening and ending animations are considered works of art to many. Not that I really mind but having just a blank black screen as an anime credits animation just feels odd. Maybe it is the cure after seeing all the crazy bizarre things in that episode so a blank screen is just the right tonic to balance out all that.

Overall, the messy and disastrous plot takes out the enjoyment of the series. I also read that they tried to cram many contents from the light novel that this series is based on into a dozen episodes so I guess that is where the injustice comes from. Incoherent, disjointed and confusing plotlines worsened things and even spelling more doom are the uninteresting and lacklustre characters. Who ever knew that destroying the world could be so hard and complicated? Like as though the disastrous outing of this series came first before the disaster to befall on mankind. To complete the insult, the remaining episodes are to be broadcasted many months later. Yeah, like 6 months later! Are they trying to make us think that we will forget it all in that time and renew our interests to find out the true ending? Maybe. Given our short attention span thanks to the fast internet these days. I guess we don’t need Heydrich and his Longinus Dreizehn Orden to set up elaborate setups and destroy mankind as we are already on that path at this rate. I’m sure many of us did Nazi (not see) that coming.

Kekkai Sensen & Beyond

April 14, 2018

After that final episode fiasco from the first season, I thought I have seen the last of this series. Never to be shown again. However the sequel, Kekkai Sensen & Beyond came out without much fanfare and without much controversial either. It is like as though almost everyone had forgotten and/or forgiven about the huge delay of that aforementioned first season’s last episode whereby the staffs purposely delayed it not because it was lasting longer than the usual running time but hoping everyone lost interest in it and too busy watching other animes to give a sh*t! Oh yeah. You remember that? No? Oh well. Then let’s start watching the second season with lots of strange creatures and happenings in this weird melting pot known as Hellsalem’s Lot (formerly known as New York).

Episode 1
Leonardo and a few unfortunate citizens are free falling from the sky and have this strange glass containing a strange parasite in it stuck on their head. Luckily he is saved by Zapp. Those who are not so fortunate, when the glass breaks, the parasite grows into a giant carnivorous monster and eats them! You can bet this is all part of Femt’s perverted plan. Leonardo’s glass is on the verge of breaking and they are surrounded by the monsters. Cue for Libra members to jump in and show off their awesome devastating powers. Phew. That is sure taken care of. Back home, Leonardo gets ready to play his new video game he has waited so long for. But he is interrupted by Zapp who is being chased by gangsters as he throws him a suitcase. He did the mistake of opening it. Isn’t that the head of the American president, Franz Ackerman?! He is here for a ceremony tonight but it looks like he lost his head. No pun intended. His body, though, still at the hotel as Klaus and Steven believe this is the work of Headless Duke Durer. He decapitates and steals heads, putting them up on his illegal website so you can converse with them 24/7. Leonardo listens to Franz to escape leave his place. True enough, agents surround the room and explodes it! It proves there are enemies within the ranks trying to kill him. But there goes Leonardo’s video game… Leonardo is tasked to deliver Franz to his colleagues and the government will reimburse all that he has lost. Time to get back his new video game. So we see him run from all sorts of weird gangsters since Durer is posting a high reward for Franz. Not sure if Leonardo is one lucky bastard since he manages to escape by the skin of his teeth every time but at the cost of his Libra comrades being ‘sacrificed’. When Leonardo is close to his destination, Hummer and Deldro accidentally hit him (to protect from enemy fire) as he flies and lands back right where he started! Leonardo is disheartened and wants to give up so Franz tells him to only whine after he becomes a loser. So keep running. He borrows his pizza boss’ scooter and uses his eyes to storm his way through. By the time he enters the room, it looks like everyone is being held hostage by Durer. The culprit-cum-traitor is Franz’s secretary. Durer changes his mind and will have everyone’s heads. That is when Klaus and Steven stop playing the hostage and instantly kill him. He didn’t even see it coming. Franz is able to give his speech as Leonardo wonders if he’ll get compensated for it all. Only his handphone…

Episode 2
Looks like Zapp is dying as he is being ferried in a helicopter. A strange hospital pops up and they drop him and Leonardo there. Klaus and Steven arrive and they remember this hospital from the Great Collapse. Back then when it happened as all landmarks are constantly changing places, the duo found a baby and brought it to this hospital. They meet a good doctor and his assistant, Luciana Estevez. At the same time, a Blood Breed is walking his dog and looking to feed it. The duo fight him but the dog has already run inside the hospital. Klaus wants to save the people in the hospital but Steven warns the moment they separate, they will lose. Klaus promises to hold it out here for 100 seconds for Steven to save the people. But as he runs back, a building almost drops on him. Thanks to the Casters working their magic, he could have been flattened. The fight ends and vampire dude leaves. Now, inside the hospital is still as busy as ever. Klaus finds it strange that Luciana is now in the form of a little girl. In fact, there are many clones of her attending to the wounded. She relates what happened that day. After the dog unleashed some spores and almost killed everyone, Luciana is visited by the hospital director, Magra de Grana. She wanted him to grant the power to divide herself to perform simultaneous high speed treatments. It might have been over for her but not for those other people on that day. She has been keeping them on a life support as they are trapped in a cocoon state. The spores have been extracting their life energy. Now that the nutrients would no longer be transferred, the reason this hospital resurfaced as she is sure that bastard will return. And here comes that evolved dog. Cocky, isn’t he? Too bad cocky Zapp gets wounded even further by him. Luciana transforms into her adult form to slice him up. At the same time, the vampire guy returns to get his dog. He and Klaus resume their fight. Klaus looks like he is losing blood just from defending from his attacks. But Klaus gets the last laugh as Leonardo’s eyes are able to let him know his true name. The long outstanding battle ends. Oh, a very bitter Zapp is bandaged from head to toe like a mummy.

Episode 3
Leonardo gets robbed and beaten up in an alley. He thought Chain passing by would save him but she just continues her way. Meanwhile Steven is hosting a party tonight and Zapp is as usual sleeping with one of his many ladies. One of them barges in, upset that her cat is missing so she explodes the boobs of her rival who belittled her and puts the same magical time bomb on Zapp’s dick! Find her cat or else!!! Leonardo goes to buy a weapon and picks an electric baton. He tries to get back at the guy at the bar but gets owned again. Sad. This guy then notices sexy Chain sitting next to him and starts to flirt with her. But then she challenges him to a drinking game in which if he wins, he can do anything he wants with her. You bet he isn’t going to let this chance slip. But that will be his doom because everybody else starts betting and expecting Chain’s victory. As Steven’s guests start streaming in, he lets his servant, Veded go home early. Halfway through the party, all of the guests turn against him and order him to come with them. Resist and he will die. Steven plays it cool and doesn’t care. Before they know it, all of them froze. Earlier on, Steven purposely tripped himself so that he would bleed and uses his blood to embed inside their blood stream. Steven then summons his own personal dark army to take them away. Back to the drinking game, the guy has it coming. With so many glasses of whatever this atomic drink is, he finally collapses. And Chain looks so perfectly fine. He realizes too late Chain has stolen his wallet as well as his lackey’s. And since they can’t pay and resorting to violence would only wound them further, looks like they have to pay with their bodies. Looks like they are now walking heads in a jar. They got almost eaten by a cat but are taken in by Veded’s kids. Leonardo has got his wallet back but stumbles into desperate Zapp. Time is running out… You don’t know how scared a guy is when he knows his dick is going to explode… So Leonardo is riding his bike as fast as he could back to that lady as he thinks the only way is to apologize and remove the spell.

Episode 4
Chain is part of a team of invisible werewolves on a mission to kill some general in his villa. However despite them firing close to about 100 shots, they all missed!!! They get an earful from their deputy chief but pay no heed since they prefer to engage in espionage stuffs rather than assassinations. After they leave, a junior colleague asks Chain about the need to get a token that one has a strong attachment to. Chain warns misusing it could be fatal and then returns to her messy unkempt apartment. The general and his men get a mysterious call explaining how those werewolves could avoid all the high-tech security to get close to him. She hints they can be killed like a normal human being and don’t even need a silver bullet if they return to their true forms. The werewolf girls are called for a mission to infiltrate a facility that has a missile in pre-launched sequence. Although it is 99% trap, they cannot not afford to not do anything. Although the girls failed to prevent it from being launched, they move to Plan B as they erase their existence to almost zero to pass through solids to reach the centre room to stop the missile. Klaus and Steven barge in to see the deputy chief about this suspicious woman they spotted a week ago, Velved Rheinkeimer. She was once a werewolf comrade but was injured and is no longer capable of battle. It is believed she just made a contract with Zeodra, the king of hypersensitivity. She uses her new powers to restrain her infiltrating ex-comrades wherever they are since their existence isn’t completely zero. All that is left is to draw in Chain. However Chain is not cowed and in fact leads her into chasing her down. Velved gets frustrated as she advances to higher and higher levels in a bid to hunt Chain down. As she cannot find Chain, could it be that she has erased her existence to completely zero? There is a risk that she will never come back. I think Velved overused her power so much so it backfires and killed herself. Chain’s comrades are able to stop the missile as it falls into the sea. In the aftermath, Steven is made to visit Chain’s room. Upon seeing her messy place, Chain gets mad and slaps him. Apparently this is supposed to be the token that brings her back? So a messy room that she has to clean is the reason she has to come back?

Episode 5
Because Gilbert got into some injury and continues to work as normal (I wonder how all his bones are holding up), the head maid of the estate, Catherine Bates decides to send another butler to assist him, Phillip Lenore. He might be a bit loud but he is honest and can do anything just as good as Gilbert. He even saves Leonardo from a pickpocket but don’t worry, Leonardo has expected this sort of thing and doesn’t put all his eggs (money, that is) in one basket. Phillip isn’t happy when Gilbert doesn’t allow him to help access Libra’s database as it would put him in serious danger. So while he is out depressed and drinking, it is a trap set by that pickpocket to get him. He plans to scan his brain for details to kill all those related to him. But when he realizes he is part of Libra, he gets an idea to make some money. Gilbert soon notices Phillip’s brain got extracted. So he makes him sit at the database as the pickpocket and his goons watch through Phillip’s eyes all the data. They are going to sell this for cash. Gilbert has Leonardo use his eyes to track down those jerks. So hop into his Batmobile and let’s go for a ride. He contacts the kidnappers and gives them a chance to surrender. But they laugh at him so I guess it is no more mercy. We see Gilbert kicking ass as he rides his vehicle and tears through the place (and goons) apart. The big boss escapes with Phillip’s brain. A mad wild chase before the big boss thinks he has won by cutting Gilbert’s head in half. Too bad Gilbert can regenerate and then blasts him to smithereens. Brain retrieved. Mission completed. In the aftermath, Gilbert explains despite having regenerative abilities, this is only enough to keep him alive. So his body is still pretty much mangled but we don’t have to see all the hideous damage thanks to his bandages. Now we know why, right? Phillip is ashamed he has much to learn but Gilbert cheers him up he is suitable for this city and suggests he could officially join Libra.

Episode 6
Zapp uses Leonardo as a weapon against some monsters. Definitely knocked out. Because of that he dreams of that nightmarish eye stealing incident of Michella once more. He wakes up in hospital under Luciana’s care. He asks if there are any medical technologies to cure his eyes. There are many different methods of restoring sight via magic but has seen none of his case. Magra then points out for his case a mere medical surgery will not cure it but a unilateral breach of contract with a divine being. This almost makes Leonardo lose hope. But for now back at office, he gets bullied by Zapp. Steven is close to finish some tough computing that would expose the perpetrators when an old villain escapes his detention. Everyone goes to easily take him down. Only their secretary, Anila remains to finish the computing but when she thought she heard someone inside the office, turns out to be giant bugs on the ceiling. Scary! When the rest try to return to office, it seems the doors are not leading them there. They are now just random places. Anila cannot be contacted and Klaus calls locksmith Yurian (Ghostbusters?) to check what is wrong. It seems their office has been lockdown. Its defence has been activated so nobody can get it. Yeah, the place is swarming with those bugs. Klaus then receives a call from this bug master who will use their place until he evolves into God. Steven will not allow K.K. to blast it because it will undo all his hard computing work. At the same time, not sure what this earth shaking monster thingy is trying to crush the city that is not visible to the normal eye. Klaus then has Leonardo use his eyes as they climb up their office. The bug master thought there is something amiss when K.K. starts taking pot shots at the building only to realize this is just a diversion for Klaus. Bug master summons his bugs to rid of them but the moment they touch the defensive barrier, everything short circuits. This allows Yurian to do all the hacking he needs to diffuse the lock and Klaus to destroy the bug master. With the lockdown over, Steven in time finishes his computing and by the skin of his teeth manage to trace the culprits right before they unleash whatever earth shaking disaster they were counting down for. It has been a tiring day for him. As Libra’s office is being renovated, looks like Leonardo and Zapp’s favourite diner will for now be patron by Klaus and Steven. Fancy seeing your bosses’ faces too soon? Leonardo decides not to lose hope for Michella.

Episode 7
Leonardo has finally made enough money to host a special party for Zed. Zed hears the rest talk how his equipment at Libra are very costly so he tries to go look for a part time job. No luck. Either they don’t want him or he doesn’t find the place suitable. What has a fish guy got to do than to do some drinking and reminisce about his master talking to him about his loneliness. Meanwhile, Mira Gordon who is some expert negotiator in wars and making decisions on the fly, this busy woman only has music has her refuge. She passes by Zed and mistakes his air gills equipment to be some sophisticated headphone she has always wanted. As she has a meeting with the queen scheduled, she has her men take it from him by force if he doesn’t voluntarily give it up. And so the former was used. Zed of course is left for dead in the streets. Leonardo can’t seem to contact Zed when he sees him lying on the streets. Luckily Zed is taken back to his tank and lives. Since ordering his air gills will take a long time and this means cancelling the party or Zed not making it (he has to be stuck in his tank), Leonardo vows to get it back. Well, if the other Libra members weren’t busy answering to some lunatic necromancer trying to take over the world. So Leonardo has only Chain and Zapp for assistance. He manages to trace where his air gills are taken. They need a plan considering the huge war mongering corporation they are dealing with but Zapp just heads there straight in to ask. After all, you don’t change your angriness based on who you get pissed off with, right? The best thing he has said so far this season. While Zed handles the guards, Chain uses her invisibility to take back the air gills. Mira thinks she can take her out but is given a stern reminder why she shouldn’t f*ck with them. As they head home, a mecha almost takes them out but Zed suffocates the pilot with some water bubble. How can Zed be fine outside without his air gills? Using some trick he learnt from his master, he surrounded his head with a water bubble. There’s a reason why he doesn’t do this. Everyone is laughing their ass off at this ‘space alien’. All is well and the party proceeds smoothly.

Episode 8
Leonardo and his scrawny friend, Riel get mugged again. Shortly after all that is over, some metal ball drops down from the sky, hitting Leonardo on the back of his head. It’s talking too. Taking a closer look, it is actually a flea named Li Gado. Oh, he is a hyper doctor. Fighting pathogens with his super weapons. He further explains he is currently fighting against some bacterial terrorist. No, not some germ warfare. Some bug named Gemnemo who is a micro terrorist. Speaking of which, this bug talks to depressed Riel and can give him the strength so he can view for himself from the side of the oppressor. Too bad his metal ball is supposed to be his greatest weapon and since it is in pieces, looks like Li Gado has to rely on Leonardo’s eyes. Riel has the misfortune to stumble into Zapp at the diner. The latter wants him to pay on his behalf. Riel doesn’t want to and accidentally shoves him, making him fly far! Yeah, he needs to be hospitalized. Fortunate or not, Riel then gets mugged by those same blokes. But this time he turns into Hulk and smashes them. When the police tries to intervene, he fights back. Leonardo takes Li Gado to Steven as he explains some biological stuff about some spontaneous evolution that enlarges muscles and even the skeleton. Well, they get a call from Klaus who is accompanying Hummer and Deldro at the art museum with the warden. Some large organism is taking out the riot police. It doesn’t take too long for Li Gado to figure things out. However when Hummer and Deldro try to fight it, they are being overpowered and thrown back. From the explanation, it seems those hyper accelerated tissues will always heal itself endlessly when torn or broken. So going head on via brute strength with him is a bad idea because all that strength you throw at him will be turned back to you twice as hard. And now Riel has evolved into a giant monster.

Episode 9
With the place in chaos, but soon everyone starts cheering and watching this as though this is some live wrestling match. Indeed. Because the largest individual in town, Gigagigafutmassif (giga-what?!) is going to take him on. Until Riel grows bigger this Giga guy chickens out! What a disappointment! The real Riel is trapped within himself as Gemnemo commends this is way better than expected. However Riel doesn’t want this. He cannot see or hear anybody at this height. He wants to be turned back but Gemnemo will not see his experiment go to waste. Riel remembers his arm broke just by catching a baseball that almost hit Sonic! It was Leonardo who stood up for him to those blokes who laughed at his weak stature. He head butted him and they ran! Riel feels guilty for abandoning Leonardo then and pleads for his friend to save him. Libra goes into action trying to take the giant down. Gemnemo wants him to stomp them but he won’t since Riel sees them as those who won’t back down despite his giant size. Gemnemo has had it and will directly take control of his nervous system to control his body himself. Meanwhile Gilbert flies Leonardo up close to Riel so that Sonic can enter his system. Leonardo then uses his eyes to guide Sonic to where Gemnemo is. He has to do it fast because prolonged use of his eyes will result in overheating. It’s like frying his eyes and brains. Eventually Sonic manages to find and destroy Gemnemo. Sonic escapes in time but Riel trips and falls into the abyss as he reverts back to his normal size. Life returns to normal in the aftermath. Zapp has a field day running his mouth against a very regretful and embarrassed Chain who was not part of the action as she was out drinking with her werewolf girls and got too drunk to answer the call. Until Leonardo points out that Zapp too wasn’t part of the action and that Chain’s inaction couldn’t have inconvenienced him in any way. Prepare for Chain’s counterattack. Sent back to the hospital again. Leonardo ponders if Riel is still alive. If so, he is worried if he is lonely. Suddenly he steps on him! He is ant size?! Leonardo would have Li Gado operate him back to his normal size but Riel likes the view here. Okay. As long as he is happy. Then a bird plucks him away…

Episode 10
Steven’s team is trapped by the terrorist and there is no way out! They relay to K.K. for help! She’s not responding! Where is she?! At her son Kane’s school for parent’s day! Previously went Steven enlisted her as part of the team, she pleaded she had to attend her son’s parent’s day. Steven allows her but not after he made her feel guilty how there would be some casualties, blah, blah, blah. So when K.K. tried to talk to Kane about it, he throws a tantrum that she would be lying as usual. Oh, mommy so hurt. Luckily daddy managed to calm him down and give encouragement to both his wife and son. K.K. finally responds with her great sniping skills. So did she ditch her son’s school? Actually, she has bought several high-tech remote weapons that allows her to see and control them from her sunglass. The team is sure in a pinch since she has to multiple times come to their aid. There was even one time she had to go to the toilet for weapons that require more operation. Almost having Kane thinking she had to ditch today for her job. Well, almost. K.K. then sees Kane being friendly with his classmate, Caroline. Naturally her mom’s instincts make her go excited about her little boy growing up so fast. Then another stupid reinforcement request. Don’t let it get to you… When she fires a missile, it didn’t explode upon impact. Instead, a robot Blood Breed has stopped it dead in its tracks with his hand. Steven is forced to engage it and pulls out all the tricks he knows just to fight on par. K.K. has to personally see to this and hugs her son before leaving. Of course Kane is not happy as it has come down to this like always. K.K. then confronts Caroline’s father who is a Blood Breed remote controlling that robot. She is suspicious of his intentions although he is just like any other parent. The tension breaks when Caroline comes by to eat lunch with him. At that moment of distraction, this allows Steven to destroy the robot once and for all. Otherwise it could have been the end of him. Caroline’s dad admits he lost completely this time. In the aftermath, Kane tells mom Caroline didn’t even stay for the farewell gathering. She could only hug him. It seems Caroline will be transferring school because daddy has a change in his job. He tells her one day when she is older and independent, she can go see Kane again but until then, he will keep her safe. But thank goodness for technology because Kane and Caroline keep in touch via social media!

Episode 11
Leonardo still keeps in contact with William. He is told to contact Michella once in a while. The moment he decides to do so, Michella drops the biggest bomb: She is getting married! SAY WHAT???!!! She also surprises him that she is coming to see him so he could meet her fiancé and arranges the time and place. Leonardo talks to Klaus and Steven about this and they agree to provide some security from the shadows since there would be no telling what would happen to his eyes if anything happens to her. I guess the entire Libra had nothing to do as we see the whole gang peeping from a distance. Leonardo hugs Michella the moment she enters. He is then introduced to Toby McLachlan. Looks like a decent and nice guy. However it seems only Leonardo can see that Toby is being possessed by another being. As he excuses himself, that being, Dr Gamimozu confronts him. He knows he has the Eyes of God and assures he did nothing to Michella. Yet. His job is to observe the Prostheses of God scattered around the world. He reveals Riga El Menhunt, an ophthalmological engineer implanted those eyes in him. These eyes are somewhat recorders all events from the holder’s eyes as it records mankind’s history. Leonardo is not happy Michella is dragged into this so Gamimozu demonstrates how he could easily kill everyone here even if it is just an illusion. All eyes in this area are under his command. When Zapp talks to Leonardo, he unintentionally reveals he is from Libra. Gamimozu is interested to follow him around to see why he is in such organization. Leonardo gets back to Michella. But a call from Klaus that a Blood Breed is going berserk and rampaging has him leaving her but promising to come back in a while. So as Libra tries to fight and stall this regenerating Blood Breed, it seems Leonardo is hesitant in using his eyes. He finally gives in and uses it to reveal to Klaus the real name. After the Blood Breed is sealed, Gamimozu is impressed and now understands of his worth in Libra. He now wants to possess Leonardo.

Episode 12
Gamimozu follows melancholic Leonardo as he walks around town. He seems to know he will get a call from Klaus since he left the scene without saying anything to them. He then convinces him to throw away his handphone into the abyss. Sonic swiftly zooms by to give Leonardo a soft slap on his face. Leonardo notices Gamimozu didn’t see that and does a little test and is now convinced that his eyes is not all-seeing and powerful as it seems. Leonardo then walks into a dark alley to get mugged. He uses his eyes to confuse their vision before making a run and letting a car hit them. Gamimozu almost lost his whereabouts during that commotion but is reunited with him. Klaus has realized something is wrong with Leonardo and summons all Libra members. It seems he has left a secret code at the very bottom of the last text that he is in trouble. Leonardo returns to Michella’s room and is shocked to see the place as their usual nostalgic lake scenery. He gets mad and attempts to physically attack Gamimozu. This allows him to deduce that Gamimozu’s actions are all concealed via visual manipulation and to prevent anyone from catching him, he must be very light. When Gamimozu realizes Libra backup is on the way, he tries to do a quick surgery on Leonardo to take his eyes. Leonardo fights back and overuses his eyes. At this time Michella wakes up. Gamimozu takes her hostage and warns him to let him operate or she dies. Before he gives up, Michella tackles Gamimozu. Leonardo move in to attack and tries to break his eye. Mad as hell, Gamimozu is through playing nice guy and will kill him to take his eyes. Leonardo defends like hell as he tolerates all his stabbings. In great timing, Klaus bursts in to destroy Gamimozu one and for all. A big explosion for bigger satisfaction. In the aftermath, Leonardo is hospitalized. Klaus visits him and has heard from Michella who has left for home with Toby. He praises him for his brave act and strength that makes him no coward. Life returns to normal. Leonardo is shocked that William is working at the diner because he got mugged. But as usual, Hellsalem’s Lot is now swarmed with giant carnivorous monsters, apparently upgraded versions sent by Femt. Oh well. This is just like any other day for Hellsalem’s Lot.

Stranger Things & Beyond
Despite Leonardo being physically the weakest among the capable Libra members, I guess the last couple of episodes were meant to show us he isn’t a wuss as much as Zapp loves to mock and tease him. It was really odd but at the same time inspiring to see Leonardo drawing out strength after strength to protect what he loves most. You could feel the ‘pain’ as he tolerates each of the stabs but that may be just me getting too engrossed in the final episode seeing Leonardo fighting mostly by himself. But still, it might feel that he ‘cheated’ seeing that somebody has to eventually finish off the baddie in good timing but for his standards, he has done well as much as he could. At least overall, no final episode drama and fiasco like the first season. So technically this season fares a bit better?

This season feels more like fillers and standalone episodes instead of a continuous story. Not to say the first season was continuous and had a few filler-like episodes too. Hell, I think it was more or less the same except with that White and Black drama in the background that became the first season’s final arc story. This kind of filler-like episodes feel like a double edged sword here. Because in the first season we had to establish to plot and characters and all so there was some sort of story that viewers could follow (almost). But in this season, it has become a series of more random misadventures that don’t really do much if you are hoping for great overall plot and further character development. However I do not find these silly misadventures boring and in its own way, they are still quite fun to watch. But like I said about series like this once having a continuous story is now a filler-like series, it takes away the epic feeling that this series should have been. See Cowboy Bebop if you want to know what I mean.

However with the lack of a proper story that is worthy of a dozen episodes isn’t all that very bad. Firstly, as viewers who have watched the first season before, they are should be by now know what kind of characters the main ones are. At least generally. Therefore they don’t need to go further into some deep background storytelling to tell us more. While many of the episodes do give each of the Libra members its focus and the share of the spotlight, it is nothing that deep. It just provides some insights on them, that is all. With the establishment that fans and veteran viewers know how these characters are, therefore it is safe for this sequel to be able to do standalone fillers. Secondly, this allows newcomers who have never seen the first season to jump in and enjoy without understanding the deeper aspects. Though, they will be confused as they will not understand how Hellsalem’s Lot came about. Besides, it has only been 2 years apart between the seasons so can a lot of newbies miss that much?

Well, there is nothing much to say about the characters because like I have said before, veteran viewers would already know what they are. Not to say that the first season had very great character development, this season we just get a little more insights about them like Chain being part of some werewolf group and can almost erase her own existence which is her ultimate trump card and skill set, K.K. is a doting mother who loves her kids more than anything in the world but is tied down to her job. And there are those that never change like Zapp. Yeah, this guy is a big idiot. I still maintain my viewpoint that he would have looked more respectable if he kept his mouth shut. Instead, he continues to be the series’ main comic relief and it is like a running joke that in some episodes he gets beaten to a pulp and being sent to hospital. And he can’t even die from all that. Yeah, I feel I should insert this lame joke of how he can’t die no matter how much you kill him. But for the rest like Klaus and Zed, they don’t really make much of an impact this time. This means all the other minor side characters that only appear for that episode, I guess we won’t even care much about them. You will mostly forget about them once the episode is over.

At least in this season, Michella makes a pretty decent appearance in the flesh instead of just in flashbacks. Even if her appearances were just short but it is better than nothing. At least it puts to rest my conspiracy theory that I was building along that she could be dead and Leonardo who couldn’t accept her death was just deluding himself to keep himself going. Holy sh*t! Sorely missing from this series is the main antagonist Femt. After that very brief cameo in the first episode, he has gone ‘missing’ since. Except for the final episode where he makes his cameo just to remind us that he is still around and not dead yet. If last season felt disappointing about him (and Aligura, if you still remember who she is) you would be even more for this season. This guy gets his kicks from creating chaos but seeing that every day is just as chaotic as another, I don’t think he even needs to intervene to bring disorder to this hell hole. Maybe that is why this series feels so filler-like. So if you were looking for a mainstay antagonist for this season, you’d be better wishing for another season. Gamimozu was just something to showcase and bridge Leonardo’s relationship closer to Michella. It may not be physically but the bonds they have since young.

Another reason of this season feeling so filler-like is because we know anything more about the Blood Breeds. There were a few but still lacking hints about them. This season it is even more so despite a few cameo skirmishes with them. They are still formidable as well as scary. They are like Gods, invincible and all powerful until you manage to recite their real name. It would have been very much interesting if this second season would follow a story that discovers more about the secrets about the Blood Breeds. But then again, would the series be the same if it follows a dark and gruesome route? I mean, the series itself is already dark in its own but comical and fun way so if it gets this serious (I’m assuming cases pertaining to those vampire breeds will not be funny), will the series lose its charm?

The action still kills it here with all the over exaggerating effects as well as all the exaggerated flashy moves and the names they give to it. I guess when you live in a city mixed with monsters, aliens and other supernatural beings, it is only right to have such ridiculous amount of power and moves that are equally and aptly named in ridiculousness. So yeah, the fight scenes might be short but they still pack a punch and power that keep you entertain for the moment. And I still can’t fathom how the place gets fixed each time a huge destruction takes place. And everyone still goes about normally in their life like as though they don’t give a f*ck if they die the next second they step out on the road. Oh well, even if you hole up in some corner of the darkest place, there will still be chaos brought to you courtesy of its crazy denizens. You are never safe anywhere in Hellsalem’s Lot. Be prepared to fight or be killed. Expect the unexpected. Considering all that, Leonardo must be one hell of a lucky boy to have survived this far seeing he still has no decent martial art skills at this point. Good thing he made the correct and great friends, huh?

Art and animation still feel the same, as good as the previous season. It still feels like the streets of New York (although haven’t been there myself) but at the same time feeling weird to see strange looking aliens walking among normal humans. Is there a subtle hint about ‘aliens’ (read: illegal immigrants) in New York considering the very politically correct era we live in now? Like my sentiments from last time, the designs of some of the aliens feel like rejects or they were just using as many ideas they could get on the alien designs and put them all in here. Why didn’t they contact me if they want some ideas on alien designs? I bet I can draw much worse!

With the old casts maintained, due to the nature of this series of having new minor side characters almost in every episode, there are some recognizable ones like Yukari Tamura as Mira, Takehito Koyasu as Li Gado and Daisuke Ono as Phillip (oh, a butler role…). Some of the other notable ones from the long list of casts are Maaya Sakamoto as Luciana (Ciel in Kuroshitsuji), Kenji Nojima as Riel (Taihei in Himouto! Umaru-chan), Yuriko Fuchizaki as Veded (Ibuki in Maison Ikkoku), Yuko Sanpei as Kane (Seita in Gintama), Yasuyuki Kase as Gemnemo (Kankurou in Naruto), Junji Majima as Yurian (Ryuuji in Toradora), Kenyuu Horiuchi as Franz (titular character in Guin Saga) and Toshihiko Seki as Gamimozu (Senketsu in Kill La Kill).

Remember the first season’s catchy and jazzy ending theme? We have something of that sort this season too. Unison Square Garden who sang Sugar Song To Bitter Step now sings the opening theme, Fake Town Baby. Although this one resembles more of a fast paced rock piece and isn’t as jazzy as the aforementioned one, it is still great in its own right. But if you really want something to dance to, the ending theme, Step Up Love by Daoko x Yasuyuki Okamura feels right at home. But no strange dance here from the casts in this disco and funky piece. Though, we have a few crazy short animations in weird hues like as though the characters are high on drugs and having fun. This season seems to have a quite a number of insert songs and many of them have this blues, sultry, jazzy American feel and blend to it that really makes Hellsalem’s Lot at times feels like a ghetto New York City.

Overall, this season is a hit and miss. You may love it or hate it. Depending on how bar you set your expectations of this show. If you are not looking for deep character development or a very compelling storyline, the action bits as well as its bizarre setting and its own brand of bizarre humour are enough to satisfy and entertain you. To borrow and edit from the last time what Femt said, all of us are in need of some nonsense. Looks like the nonsense has extended its run a little longer. Or maybe everything is just nonsense. It is how we choose which ones are less nonsensical to others to a lesser degree.

Boku No Hero Academia S2

February 2, 2018

After that pretty meh American-like superhero series, The Reflection, I guess it is time to go back and let the Japanese show us how it is done, their brand and take on superheroes. Heh. And with that, Boku No Hero Academia S2 is here for all those who have been waiting and it even gets better this season because this season is double cour! Twice the length of the first season! Wohoo! I guess more interesting (AKA weird) characters and heroes are going to pop up but seeing how the main characters are just students of a superhero school, I’m not expecting them to take on the world yet. But still, even though it is all just training and practice and the likes, anything superheroes do will still be super and of epic proportions.

OVA 1
Taking place right after the USJ incident, Aizawa and Thirteen are recovering well and are back to teaching Class 1A in no time. So we see them doing a mock rescue simulation with some pretending to be victims and the rest trying to use normal means without their Quirks to rescue them. The next simulation is to locate victims in a devastated city. Basically, one big hide and seek game. As Todoroki ponders about his own past and forced succession by his father, he is attacked by a villain. This bull mask villain then disrupts the rest of the simulation as the other students are shocked to see Todoroki, the strongest in their class defeated. He closes off all the exits to take on them. Bakugou as usual, hot and fiery tries to take him down on his own. However it is Midoriya’s plan that has everyone combine and use their Quirks that help pin the villain down. Before they could do some serious damage, the villain unmasks himself to be All Might! I guess sorry can’t cut it right now. Todoroki was also in on this since All Might asked his help. Flashback shows All Might suggested it to Aizawa. The latter was against it as it might traumatize them but All Might believed it would help strengthen them after the USJ attack. They must learn to have the determination to overcome anything.

Episode 14
All Might writes to his mentor about the aftermath of the USJ incident. Although many small fries of the League of Villains were arrested, the ring leader was never caught. He also writes about the potential he sees in Midoriya to succeed him. Class 1A is shocked that Aizawa shows up in class when he is supposed to be recuperating. He is here to announce an important upcoming event: The UA sports festival. There has been a debate whether to cancel it in light of the recent villain attack but it is decided to continue to show that a little shake up like that won’t deter their spirits. This event is also one of the most important in Japan since hero agencies will also be here to scout potential sidekicks and recruits. The students get motivated to do their best. Ochako reveals her intentions to become a hero is for money since her family is broke. Midoriya has lunch with All Might as he is being told that the recent fight with Noumu has now limited his power to only 50 minutes. Although Midoriya still can’t regulate his power, he noticed that when he used it against a villain then, it had no backlash. It was the first time he tried to use his power on a person. Since All Might doesn’t have enough time and those with evil intent are starting to realize it, he needs Midoriya to succeed him. The time has come for him to show the world that at UA sports festival. He wants him to tell the world that he is the next All Might, the fledgling symbol of peace.

Episode 15
The festival is briefly explained. Hero classes are not the only classes in UA. It also has support, business and general studies. The event brings all such classes together to compete. There will be preliminary stages before the finals. Because Class 1A became ‘famous’ during the USJ incident, many from other classes are here to check them out. Especially this villainous-looking Hitoshi Shinsou from the general studies here to make his war declaration on them. We see montages of them training and before you know it, the festival is here. Before it begins, Todoroki comes up to Midoriya and declares war on him since he is suspicious that All Might has set his eyes on him. Midoriya might feel Todoroki is way better than him, but he isn’t going to give up without a fight. All the students head into the arena. The festival is to be hosted by R-rated hero, Midnight. Bakugou as the representative for the first years, goes up to make his speech. He pledges… He’ll be number one! We expect him to piss off everyone from the start. Midoriya feels something odd about his speech because it’s like he is driving himself to a corner. The first game is an obstacle course. As long as they stay within the course, anything goes. As the race flags off, the students make a mad dash to the narrowing hallways. Todoroki gets ahead of the pack by freezing everyone. But his trick doesn’t work on a few with Quirks. Like Bakugou who is just mad in hunting him down. Their first obstacle are robots used during the entrance exam. It’s child’s play for Todoroki as he freezes them all and times them properly to fall and block off the path for the chasing pack.

Episode 16
We see some of the students using their Quirks to get pass the robots. But Midoriya uses his brains and luck instead. Using a broken metal piece of the robot, he manages to slam those aiming for him in the right moment. The next obstacle has them crossing chasms. This stage is where the support class shines because they are able to showcase their inventions. Like Mei Hatsume and her overkill gadgets that get her easily across. The final obstacle is landmines. Though they are easily marked to be identified, they won’t kill but the blast is enough to send you flying out. At this point, Bakugou catches up with Todoroki and they’re fighting each other. Bakugou is mad that he declared war to the wrong person. Midoriya is at the back of the pack. He uses his brains again. He gathers a few mines and then slams on them to propel him high into the air riding on his metal piece to the front. Then he uses Todoroki and Bakugou as springboard and a final blast to push him to first place. He makes a final dash back to the arena where he wins first place! Todoroki and Bakugou arrive second and third shortly. The top 42 advance to the next round with Aoyama propping up the final spot. If you are wondering why cowardly Mineta is placed so high (18th) and Yaoyorozu so low (17th) it is because that midget stuck on to her back and ride her all the way! Yeah, he killed 2 birds with a stone as he probably admired her ass all the way. The next game is kibasen. So as to be fair, the points of each participant is based on their standings from the obstacle race. 42nd is worth 5 points, 41st is 10 points, 40th is 15 points and so on. So what is the top guy worth? 10 million points! Wow. Everybody is now staring and targeting Midoriya. Literally everyone is eyeing on him now.

Episode 17
Midnight explains the rules. With a team consisting of 4, the team’s points are totalled up in the headband to be worn by the rider. As long as the rider doesn’t fall off and touch the ground, even if you have your headband stolen, you are still in the game. But those who deliberately try to make other teams fall will be immediately disqualified. The students are strategizing who is to be in their team. Midoriya knows points are not important but needs the right people. Of course no one wants to be in his team and lots of people seem to be wanting to join Bakugou’s team (lucky ones who got in are Kirishima, Mina Ashido and Hanta Sero). On a side note, Mineta is in despair as no chicks want to join his team. Surprisingly Ochako agrees. Better to team up with people you know, right? Why do I have a feeling it is more than that? Midoriya’s next plan is to have Iida but he refuses him. He has been losing to him ever since the entrance exam. If he intends to be great, he must stop following him. Iida joins Todoroki’s team that consists of Yaoyorozu and Denki Kaminari. Hatsume surprisingly wants to be in Midoriya’s team because as all eyes are on him, this will make her equipment well known. The last person he needs on his team… Fumikage Tokoyami. The plan is for Midoriya to keep running until the time runs out. As expected, all teams target him. However thanks to Hatsume’s equipment that allows the team to fly, plus Ochako’s making everything lighter and Tokoyami’s dark shadow twin to dispel attacks from all sides, it is the perfect defence and getaway. With half the time gone, the rankings are up to see the standings. Everyone is shocked that half of the teams have got their headbands stolen by team Neito Monoma, launching his team to second place. Including Bakugou’s team. This slick dude explains the reason why hero Class 1B has many of its students end up in the middle or the back of the pack, enough to make it to the next round as compared to Class 1A. From the back, they are able to observe their Quirks. Because he mocks Bakugou for being an ‘annual villain victim’, as expected he is enraged and changes his plan to take him down before he gets Midoriya. Midoriya continues to run away but this has to come to a stop. Because now team Todoroki is targeting him.

Episode 18
Todoroki uses his ice to block off other teams and to limit Midoriya from running all around. With both of them duking out, the other teams have no choice but to steal from each other. As Bakugou tries to attack Monoma, he is shocked to see he possesses the same explosive Quirk. Then he realizes that is not the case. Monoma’s Quirk is to copy other Quirks whom he touches for only 5 minutes. Bakugou is so mad he won’t be defeated by this that his explosiveness breaks through Monoma team’s barrier to snatch back a couple of headbands. Iida uses his secret move in which he accelerates faster than the eye can see for Todoroki to snatch Midoriya’s headband. This is his trump card he never told anybody but using this move means he will be immobile for a while. With time running out, Midoriya makes his last ditch attempt to steal back his headband. He plans to use his Quirk on Todoroki. The move is successful. No damage done to his hand and it leaves Todoroki in shock. However Midoriya got the wrong headband. By the time they’re going in for another charge, time is up. The top 4 teams move on to the next round. Todoroki’s team is in first place. Bakugou comes in second. Shinsou’s team is a surprise third. Guess who makes the final cut? Thanks to Tokoyami’s dark shadow stealing a headband from Todoroki in the final seconds, Midoriya’s team takes fourth place! As the festival takes an hour break, Todoroki pulls Midoriya over to talk. All Might meets up with Endeavour, Todoroki’s father who is only second in the hero rankings to All Might and not impressed with his son’s performance.

Episode 19
Endeavour brushes off All Might and it is still obvious he still resents the latter after all these years just by being number one. Midoriya fears his secret with All Might may be exposed when Todoroki explains he could feel the same aura from All Might from him. But Todoroki thinks he is All Might’s secret love child! Before this can become a joke, Todoroki continues and reveals his father as Endeavour who has always been stuck with the number 2 label. So if Midoriya has something to do with the number 1 hero, all the more reason to beat him. Because Endeavour couldn’t beat All Might, he shifted to his next plan. Force marrying into someone with a Quirk to produce a powerful offspring with an equally powerful Quirk. Endeavour is trying to fulfil his own desire by raising him to be a hero to surpass All Might. Todoroki won’t be his tool. He always remembers mother crying. She told him his left side is ugly. While pouring boiling water on it. That’s why Todoroki picked a fight with Midoriya to show him what he can do and without using that Quirk of his. Midoriya might be overwhelmed hearing this. But he has a responsibility to the people who have supported him and hence he challenges back Todoroki he will not lose. While the draw for the octo-finals is going to start, surprisingly fellow 1A classmate, Mashirao Ojiro wants to withdraw! He was on Shinsou’s team. Everyone is shocked but there is something about pride he can’t say (hinting it has something to do with Shinsou’s Quirk). Similarly, a guy on Shinsou’s team from 1B also wants to withdraw. Midnight likes their passion and allows. With 2 spaces left, the duo to replace them are Ibara Shiozaki and Tetsutetsu Tetsutetsu (both are from the team who has been fighting hard to defend their third place in the kibasen before being snatched away last minute by Shinsou’s team). The draw is done. The first match pits Midoriya against Shinsou. When Shinsou wishes him for a good match, Ojiro quickly shuts him up and doesn’t want Midoriya to answer him. There are recreational games for those who didn’t make the cut before the octo-finals. But now the real match is here. The rules are simple. You win by immobilizing or pushing your opponent out of the ring or make him/her quit. Otherwise anything goes. Of course, no moves that could kill. As both Midoriya and Shinsou take the stage, Shinsou starts badmouthing Ojiro as a coward. This makes Midoriya mad. Suddenly his body freezes.

Episode 20
Aizawa takes a look at Shinsou’s stats and notes how the entrance exam was unfair. Because it was a display of physical Quirk, Shinsou’s Quirk never stood a chance and that’s why he didn’t end up in the hero course. But he knew that if he had done well in the games, they would review him and transfer him to a hero course. So as you might have guessed, Shinsou’s Quirk is brainwashing. He tells Midoriya to turn around and leave the arena in which he obediently does. Midoriya remembers Ojiro telling him about this. As long as you answer him, you will fall under his Quirk. Ojiro had no recollection under his spell but during the kibasen when his shoulder was accidentally bumped, he regained control of himself. Some kind of shock is needed to regain control but not sure how much of it. When Midoriya is close to the edge, he sees visions of a few people. It causes him to use his Quirk that in turn damages his fingers, breaking him out of Shinsou’s spell. Shinsou is shocked with this as he tries to make Midoriya answer his hard hitting questions. Midoriya shuts up and tries to push him off the edge. Shinsou fights back but Midoriya eventually does a judo throw. Midoriya wins and advances. Flashback shows Shinsou’s classmates were really admiring his cool Quirk and gave him ideas on how to use it. Despite how tempting it was to turn to the villain side, he never strayed from his dream to become a hero. Midoriya understands his frustration of unable to become a hero before he got All Might’s Quirk. Shinsou is surprised when his classmates praised him for a good fight against the guy who was first in the obstacle courses. There are also a few heroes interested in his Quirk to fight against villains. It was enough motivation for Shinsou not to give up entirely. As Midoriya gets treated, he asks All Might about the vision. One of them looked like him so he figures if that vision is all those who inherited this Quirk. Maybe. But All Might believes it wasn’t that that broke him out of the brainwashing but his strong emotions. The next match is Todoroki against Sero. We all know how this will end, right? Before Todoroki takes the stage, he isn’t pleased to see father who tells him to give up his rebellious side and use his power. Todoroki won’t and will win using only mom’s powers. Todoroki freezes half the stadium to immobilize Sero! Talk about overkill!

Episode 21
Here are the rest of the matches’ highlights…

* Shiozaki vs Kaminari: Lightning boy got no chance against this God praying vine girl, easily absorbing his shocks and trapping him in her vines. All over in a second…

* Iida vs Hatsume: Iida agrees to use Hatsume’s devices for a fair fight. However she is just using him to advertise her products! After 10 minutes of being fooled around, Hatsume voluntarily steps out of the ring. Her work is done… Iida, you’ve been literally taken for a ride.

* Aoyama vs Mina: Looks like laser belly boy can’t fire too long as he gets a stomach ache. Mina turns the tables by sliding around, dirtying his belt, cuts loose his pants and an uppercut to finish it all. How embarrassing…

* Tokoyami vs Yaoyorozu: Dark shadow has no lag time compared to Yaoyorozu who needs to recollect her thoughts to materialize things. He keeps hitting her hard and when he stops so and she has a chance to fight back, she realizes she is already out of the ring. Oh… So sad for her… So pitiful… No chance to do anything…

* Kirishima vs Tetsutetsu: What happens when you have overlapping characters with the same hardening abilities clash? Oh boy, this is going to take a while… Hard punches that go nowhere… When they finally knock each other out, it is a draw and will be decided with an arm wrestling match later. So while we wait…

* Ochako vs Bakugou: Why does this feel like the most disturbing matchup ever? Oh, we’re out of time for this episode…

Episode 22
Ideally, as long Ochako can touch Bakugou, she can levitate him and have a chance at winning. So when the match starts, she charges straight at him. Of course he blows up everything to keep her from coming close. With his sharp reaction times, it will be hard to even distract him. Ochako gets blasted but never gives up. The crowd is starting to feel painful to watch. Some even boo Bakugou for bullying a girl and should end the match if he is a pro. Aizawa shuts them up because Bakugou is acknowledging Ochako as a serious opponent. After more blasting, Ochako puts her true plan into motion. All the ground debris that Bakugou had blown up, she touched them and are floating in the air. She drops them all on him like a meteor shower and hopes this would give the necessary distraction for her to touch him. However Bakugou unleashes his strongest blast to blast everything away. No chance left. Bakugou is about to get serious attacking Ochako but she collapses from exhaustion. Bakugou wins. Midoriya goes to the waiting room to wait for his next match but is surprised to see Ochako fine and chirpy. Meanwhile the arm wrestling match between Kirishima and Tetsutetsu gets underway. Kirishima wins when Tetsutetsu’s arm cracks from metal fatigue. Remember kids, eat more iron. After Midoriya leaves, Ochako gets a call from father who praises her for her efforts. You know the usual stuff that will eventually… Please don’t cry… PLEASE DON’T CRY… Too late… Midoriya stumbles into Endeavour. The latter sense his Quirk is similar to All Might. He tells Midoriya about his son’s duty to surpass All Might and this match will be a very instructive test bed. Midoriya replies he isn’t All Might and at the same time, Todoroki isn’t Endeavour.

Episode 23
The most anticipated match is here. Midoriya vs Todoroki. Todoroki starts off as expected using his ice powers but Midoriya powerfully deflects them all with his finger. Each time injuring them. So if he is going to do this all the time, at this rate he’ll run out of fingers… When he is used them all up, Todoroki tries to go in for the kill but Midoriya used his injured finger to continue deflecting. It’s looking even worse than before. Midoriya is visibly mad. He lectures Todoroki about Quirks being physical abilities. This means it has its limits. He notices Todoroki trembling from the over usage of ice powers. It could have been easily solved using his flame side. However he remains stubborn and wants to be number one with half his strength? He hasn’t even put a scratch on him! Technically, he is right. Surprisingly Midoriya is the one who is able to punch Todoroki despite the punches are weak. Seeing Midoriya going so far and pushing his limits despite his injury makes Todoroki remember his abusive childhood with his father who has always been trying to make him stronger to beat All Might. His only solace was his kind mom but one day he heard her breaking down that she couldn’t raise a monster who is looking more and more like his father every day. When mom tried to hurt him, Endeavour put her in a hospital. Todoroki blamed his father ever since and made that vow not to use his power. With Midoriya reminding him that the power he has is his, Todoroki remembers mom telling him it is okay for him to be a hero. It is when he starts using his flame side. Everyone is shocked to see this. Not Endeavour. He is happy his son has finally acknowledged himself. For those who analysed deeper, they believe Midoriya has done a great service by saving Todoroki. Both sides power up for one final ultimate decisive blow. Do you think Midoriya can withstand the power of fire and ice? Had not the judge intervene with some ground block in between, the explosion might have been even severe. In the end, Midoriya is out of bounds and unconscious. Todoroki wins.

Episode 24
Endeavour is happy his son has gotten over his childish tantrum. After he graduates he wants him to work under him. However Todoroki says he hasn’t forgotten anything. It was just at that moment he forgot about him. Midoriya’s bones in his arm are all shattered. Even if Recovery Girl heals him, it won’t be the same. So we have Midoriya apologizing for not living up to expectations and All Might advised not to praise his act because it was reckless and foolish. Despite all that he has done, it has the essence of what a hero is supposed to be. Midoriya’s arm might have this crooked look and scars but it should serve as a reminder not to be reckless again. Recovery Girl warns she will not heal him again. So find a way to use that Quirk without being destructive. All Might reveals a shocking truth to him that he was once Quirkless. Back then, having a Quirk wasn’t as common as today. His master believed in him and left All For One with him. Back to the match, Iida quickly pushes Shiozaki out and likewise, Tokoyami also pushes Mina out with ease. Iida tries to call his brother but he is out busy trying to hunt down Hero Killer Stain. Bakugou looks to be on the defence even though he bombs Kirishima. But after Kirishima is at his limits because he has to strain his body to harden it, Bakugou shows no mercy and bombs him till he knocks out. The first semi-final match has Todoroki against Iida. Iida uses his super speed to avoid his ice, even giving him a deep kick that is sure to knock anyone out. Iida tries to quickly toss him out of the wrong but he realizes too late that Todoroki has frozen his engines. With his entire body immobilized in ice, Todoroki advances to the finals. At the same time, Ingenium has been done in to a bloody pulp by Stain who claims all the heroes are sh*t and the only one qualified to kill him is All Might. Bakugou bombs the hell out of Tokoyami and knows his shadow’s weakness. As long as there is bright light, his shadow is rendered ineffective. Tokoyami gives up. It is going to be the most explosive and fiery final. Iida gets a call from his mom as she updates him on his Ingenium’s situation. As Stain vows to reveal the hypocrisy of society to the heroes, Kurogiri appears before him and wants to talk.

Episode 25
Even before the match in the waiting room, Bakugou is already blowing his top at Todoroki who is ever more confused if he should use his fire power. Bakugou tells him off he doesn’t care about his problems. He wants him to go all out with his power and that will make his defeat worthwhile. The final starts and Todoroki unleashes his huge ice power. Bakugou and his explosions and anger just blast it all away. As Todoroki is not using his flames, this only incurs Bakugou’s wrath. He doesn’t want to win this way and if he doesn’t have any intention to win, don’t stand before him. When Midoriya screams out to support Todoroki, he gets a little motivated. However when Bakugou releases his fury of blasts, Todoroki withdraws his flames. Todoroki is unconscious out of bounds. Bakugou is super mad now for this easy win. Midnight had to knock Bakugou out before he gets violent. So yeah, Bakugou wins the overall. During the awards ceremony, Bakugou is restrained like a mad dog! Tokoyami and Iida share third place but the latter had to leave to attend family matters. All Might hands the medals to the podium winners, gives them advice and a big hero hug. Bakugou still b*tching about why he won’t accept this win. Just shut up and take the medal! Iida reaches the hospital and is shocked to see his brother barely alive and in ICU. Sadness overwhelms him to see the person he admires to be in such a state. Likewise, Todoroki also visits the hospital to see his mom for the first time. At first his presence would put pressure on her. But after his fight with Midoriya, he realizes that in order to move forward and become a hero, he has to see and talk to her. Even if she doesn’t want to be rescued, he will do it.

Episode 26
On the train, it seems Midoriya is famous because everyone recognizes him. Today’s class will be for our young heroes to choose a hero name. Aizawa also informs with this they will go pick and do their internship in hero agencies who are interested in them. Todoroki and Bakugou lead with the offers with thousands of agencies wanting them. The rest are just so far away… However none for Midoriya. Midnight will help out since she is a pro in hero names. So we have some like as though they’re trying to be funny like Aoyama’s I Cannot Stop Twinkling (is this a sentence?) and Mina’s Alien Queen (you mean as in that Hollywood sci-fi horror movie?), some are creatively puns like Tsuyu’s Froppy and Ochako’s Uravity, some are just huh like Mineta’s Grape Juice and some just describing their ability straight. I mean, Invisible Girl? Todoroki is a surprise because he goes with his first name, Shouto. Iida remembers his brother telling him he cannot feel his legs anymore and this is the end of Ingenium. He wants him to take over his place. However Iida follows Todoroki’s route and goes with his first name. Midoriya also goes with something similar. His previous nicknames all had All Might in them (just at Junior, Super, Captain, etc). This time he picks his nickname, Deku. Bakugou needs to cool down and think of names that doesn’t sound scary. King Explosion Murder? Lord Explosion Murder? Later All Might talks to Midoriya to tell him a hero agency has submitted late an offer to Midoriya. He is Gran Torino and All Might’s mentor. He must be a fearsome guy since All Might is shaking while talking! Aizawa notices Iida’s pick of hero agency. It is in Hosu City, the place where Ingenium was taken down. No prizes to guess his motives here. Midoriya learnt what happened to Ingenium later over the news. He never said anything to Iida because he never talked about it. Before each leaves for their internship, Midoriya talks to Iida and says if he needs help, let him know. Of course Iida puts on that assuring smile but away from those eyes, he has this vengeance look on his face. Midoriya arrives at Gran Torino’s place and gets the shock of his life when the old guy pranks him with his own death.

Episode 27
Gran Torino might look like a senile old man with dementia but he is still powerful. He tests Midoriya’s strength as he bounces about the place with his jet propulsion. Of course Midoriya loses and couldn’t see it coming. He has watched Midoriya fight and tells him his admiration for All Might is a liability and shackle. He needs to get stronger fast but time and enemies won’t wait. So how? Think about it yourself. Maybe he doesn’t know the answer either? We see the other heroes in their internship. Bakugou meets one of the top 5 popular heroes, Best Jeanist. He is not amused jeans face doesn’t like him despite his agency requested for him. Best Jeanist points out his fatal flaw in his personality. There is a thin line between a hero and villain. They are just opposite sides of the same coin. He is going to teach Bakugou on how to control his emotions and enforcing his morals. Stain is taken to see Shigaraki who wants him to join his ranks. When Stain learns his plan to kill All Might and all those he don’t like such as Midoriya, Stain becomes disappointed of his childish tantrums and is going to kill him. Midoriya tries testing out his Quirk in the alley at night. Let’s say he has a long way to go. It is no surprise he looks all beat up next morning. Midoriya understands why All Might is afraid of Gran Torino is because he is always getting beaten up as his training. However Midoriya is unaware of All Might’s late predecessor who was Gran Torino’s best friend and how he came to look after All Might. Midoriya hits an inspiration when he microwaves the taiyaki. He now understands how his Quirk works. Because he thinks of using them when the time calls for it, it will take time to warm up and power on. So why not switch it on from the start and let it flow through his body? He starts getting the feel of it but isn’t sure if he can move his body at this state. Care to test it out?

Episode 28
Gran Torino gives him 3 minutes to touch him. Midoriya gets creative in ways to stop his jet springing. Although he fails, he has improved a lot. Tsukauchi talks to All Might about his investigation on Noumu. The original body belongs to a thug with a criminal record. After doing some DNA tests, they found 4 different people’s DNA intermingled inside. His body has been modified to hold multiple Quirks. Given that only a Quirk is possible for a body, it is very likely there is someone with a Quirk that can give others Quirks. All Might believes that man is starting to move again. Stain almost kills Shigaraki and Kurogiri. However he is shocked when Shigaraki is able to rot his blade. Stain was just testing him and although their goals are opposites, currently they have the same goal. However Shigaraki doesn’t want this crazy guy in his party. But Kurogiri believes Stain will be a good asset. Gran Torino takes Midoriya to Shibuya. That is where their next training will be. What better way for some real experience in fighting different real villains under real circumstances. Midoriya knows he will pass Hosu and hopes to contact Iida then. Iida is being advised by his mentor not to use his Quirk for selfish reasons since it is against the rules. He knows Iida joined the agency to search for Stain. Speaking of which, Stain is back in Hosu. In his bid to reform this city, more victims are required. The concept of hero is no disillusioned. They do not really help and are only in for the money. They only act like heroes. Until the world realizes this, he will continue to appear. Shigaraki still can’t accept his way of doing things so he unleashes several Noumus to wreak havoc. Gran Torino and Midoriya are riding the train when they see fire in Hosu. A Noumu beats up a hero and crashes into the train. Gran Torino immediately fights this one. Iida doesn’t think this flashy chaos is Stain’s style. He must be ‘delighted’ to come into Stain as he stops him from killing another hero in the alley. As Stain warns him to go away, Iida is mad he is not even his target. He then lets him know the name of the hero who is going to defeat him. Iida takes on Ingenium’s name.

Episode 29
Noumus are indiscriminately attacking people. Gran Torino can handle one well. He gets backup from Endeavour. Midoriya is trying to head to the centre of the commotion. He hears a hero looking for Iida since he isn’t around. Realizing that Iida isn’t the kind to disobey in such a situation, it means he must have found the Hero Killer. Mad Iida continues to praise how great his brother was but Stain lectures him about using his own power for revenge. That is furthest away from being a hero. He should die. In good timing, Midoriya arrives and punches him away. Iida is shocked he is here to save him and warns Stain’s Quirk to make one’s body paralyze after being cut. Midoriya knows he isn’t up to handle Stain himself and sends an SOS message. Iida doesn’t want him to get involved and run away. But if he does that, what good is a hero? He fights Stain but also gets cut. Now he is unable to move. Stain likes Midoriya because of his thinking and will let him leave. Before he could kill Iida, here comes Todoroki to save the day. He got his SOS. Midoriya is one who doesn’t signal for help without reason. It must mean he is in real trouble. Todoroki has no qualms switching between his ice and fire powers to fight Stain. Todoroki gets cut but Midoriya is able to move and prevent the unfortunate. He deduces a few possibilities about Stain’s Quirk why some are able to move. It seems he can paralyze your body by licking your blood and how long you stay paralyzed depends on your blood type. Stain confirms O type is the shortest in which Midoriya is one. Midoriya and Todoroki team up to fight Stain while they wait for the pros to come. Todoroki knows the pain and narrow vision Iida has because he too was in his shoes. When he visited his mother and told her everything, she cried and smiled as she knew he would be able to move forward without anything holding him back. Todoroki joined his father’s agency so that he could see and experience first-hand why he was number 2. It was just simple as that although he still won’t forgive him for what he did. With Stain getting more aggressive and Iida still bugging for them not to get involve, Todoroki tells him off to look properly at what he wants to be.

Episode 30
Iida reflects on his immaturity and his past admiration for his brother. He gets up and uses his acceleration to save Todoroki before he gets sliced. They continue to attack him but Stain is still dangerously strong and fast as ever. Iida’s exhaust has overheated as he seeks Todoroki’s ice power to cool it down to the right temperature. At the same time, Midoriya is able to move and powers up to charge at Stain. They manage to thump Stain at the same time and Todoroki finishing him off. He is finally knocked out. What a fight. Meanwhile Endeavour easily defeats the other Noumus despite each having multiple Quirks. All he needs to do is just adjust. Prior to it all, when he first arrived here, he wanted to show his son what it’s like to be a hero but Todoroki got that message from Midoriya and ran off on his own. Endeavour has the other heroes to head to where his son is. They are shocked to see the kids tying up Stain and defeated him. Iida makes his tearful apology to them. Suddenly a stray and injured Noumu kidnaps Midoriya. Its blood somewhat dripped on Stain. He licks it and becomes enraged as he kills it. This is all for the sake of his just society. Shigaraki is mad that his Noumus are dead and Midoriya of all people has turned up here. Endeavour pops up and sees Stain. He is ready to fight but Stain gets up. His infuriating madness sends a deadly shiver down everyone’s spine. He dares to take on all the fakes on his own and proclaims only All Might the true hero can kill him. But all that madness dies down when he passes out. While standing up. Phew. It has been one hell of a night.

Episode 31
The trio are in hospital recuperating. They are visited by the dog faced police chief, Kenji Tsuragamae. He tells them Stain has got lots of broken bones and burns and receiving treatment under close monitoring. He talks about rules in the superhero profession and hence their supervisors will be punished. Todoroki is not amused. Had they not act, there would have been casualties. Is he saying rules are more important? Tsuragamae continues that this is the official police opinion. However if this gets out, they will be praised by the public. Luckily there are few witnesses. This means they can go scot free and their violations will end here. Nobody knows. Which is better? However their supervisors will still be punished. The media is filled with reports on Stain. Shigaraki is not happy. Because it’s like the Noumus are just side stories. Iida has finished his examination. There is long term damage to his left arm. It could be healed with a transplant but after reflecting the truth Stain said, he would like to keep his arm the way it is till he matures as a hero. Midoriya understands and he hopes they could grow strong together. All Might gets a call from Gran Torino complaining about Midoriya. Because of that he has got a pay cut and teaching licence revoked. However he is here to talk about Stain. With the hype coverage on Stain and relating him to the League of Villains, it might encourage other villains in the shadow to follow in his footsteps. He believes the man who killed All Might’s master and the one who made a hole in All Might’s stomach might have foreseen this and must be planning to move again. With Midoriya admiring him so much, it’s time to tell the truth. Meanwhile some shady black market dealer is ruing business is down since crime is down after Stain has been arrested. However his buddy knows of a good way to make money. Showing an internet video of Stain’s idea of how he wants to kill current fake heroes and instil the old real ideal of a hero (which he was rejected and mocked in the past), this video has been taken down and re-uploaded many times. This means his way of life is infectious. Many have not noticed yet but those evil scattered throughout the world in darkness are now making their way to the League of Villains.

Episode 32
The official story released by the police is that Endeavour saved the day by defeating Stain. Midoriya, Iida and Todoroki are not mentioned by name but it is noted the interns got their injuries via accident during their internship. Although we get a glimpse of the others doing their internship (Bakugou still needs to work on his crudeness as he is still making the kids cry!), the main focus is on Tsuyu. Her internship is with the coast guard hero, Selkie the seal and Sirius is in charge over her. Tsuyu feels disappointed when she is ordered to stay and watch while the rest answer a request from the coast guards to apprehend stowaways. Selkie and his men inspect the suspected ship but get trapped. Sirius whose Quirk is sensitive hearing could tell this ship was just a decoy as Selkie orders her to stop the main ship. It is up to Sirius and Tsuyu but Sirius gets taken as a hostage by the squid villain. Tsuyu is in a dilemma whether to lie there were no stowaways as the baddie wants her to or else Sirius is dead meat. She realizes what it takes to be a hero and instead reveals their current location. Squiddy goes ballistic and tries to kill Tsuyu. Luckily her agility as a frog saves her but she can only dodge his tentacles for so long. Before she gets done in, here comes Selkie to beat the crap out of him and save the day. The stowaways are arrested and they put a stop to their plan to distribute some illegal drug. Tsuyu is very happy when Selkie calls her an excellent hero even though she doesn’t have a hero licence yet.

Episode 33
The internship is over. Midoriya leaves but not getting a goodbye lecture from Gran Torino. He asks despite being All Might’s master, why isn’t he a famous hero? He never wanted to become one. He just got his licence so he could use his Quirk freely. Back at UA, our young heroes are given another basic training, a rescue race this time. In this industrialized labyrinth, the first to reach All Might wins. Midoriya surprises everyone using a hopping move he copied from Bakugou (that guy is getting mad again) but ultimately he slips because of unequal footing while landing. After class, he goes to see All Might as requested. First he assures the One For All Quirk cannot be simply transferred unless the bearer wishes it so Stain licking his DNA can’t steal his Quirk (remember All Might gave Midoriya his Quirk via eating his hair strand). Now for its history. It was derived from a certain Quirk in the past. A Quirk that could steal other Quirks and make them the holder. So there was this one guy in the past who stole Quirks and used it to commit evil acts to spread his influence and get others to follow him. However not everyone could accept the Quirk he gave them. Some became vegetables. Something like Noumu. Others had some sort of mix or change in the Quirk. That guy too had a Quirkless younger brother who has a sense of justice and didn’t like what his older brother is committing. So he was forced to submission to have a Quirk. A Quirk to pass on Quirks. That is the irony of One For All as its justice came from evil. So why an old story? That guy probably had an immortal Quirk. The defeated younger brother decided to entrust his Quirk to future generations in hopes that he would be defeated one day. All Might thought he defeated him but is still found alive and is now the mastermind behind the League of Villains. Therefore One For All is the power inherited to defeat All For One. Midoriya is willing to do what it takes but All Might feels something is wrong but can’t bring himself to tell him. Because when that time comes, he might not be by his side anymore. The League of Villains’ big bad boss didn’t think Stain could get caught but is more than happy others will look up to him and go on a rampage or join the League of Villains as an outlet to release their urges. Currently he is in a race to fix up his body and believes Shigaraki has what it takes to become the League of Villains’ leader and the next him.

Episode 34
The final exams are coming up. There will be written and practical. Mina and Kaminari prop up the bottom of the class based on their midterm rankings. Surprisingly, Mineta is has high as 9th place! First is of course Yaoyorozu followed by Iida, Bakugou, Midoriya and Todoroki. With some of them wanting to be coached by Yaoyorozu, she gets motivated to help them as she starts deciding in setting up her ‘party’. Monoma tries to intimidate Class 1A that they invite trouble but is taken out by fellow classmate, Itsuka Kendou. As apology she tells them information she got from her seniors that the practical will be fighting against robots. Bakugou seems to be getting worse because he is angrier especially at Midoriya and wants to settle everything at the finals. Back to those days? Everyone who goes to study at Yaoyorozu’s place is shocked to find her living in a big mansion. Too great a hospitality… The written exam is over and now it’s time for the practical. However everyone is shocked to learn it will be them against the teachers. As a pair, they will try to take out the teacher by putting on handcuffs or escape from the arena. For handicap, the teachers are worn bracelets to restrain their power. Midoriya and Bakugou are paired up to fight All Might. Aizawa purposely set this pairing because of their bad relationship. A few days ago, the teachers discussed about Stain and the League of Villains. Baddies might be invigorated by it and hence robots will not be the best practice anymore. Hence this students vs teacher suggestion. The first match pits Kirishima and Satou against Cementoss. However all the brute might they use eventually tires them out as Cementoss is able to eternally flow his cement. They lost and this sends shockwaves to the rest. Midoriya realizes this exam’s key is to see how well the students deal with their weakness. Next is Tsuyu and Tokoyami against Ectoplasm.

Episode 35
Their best chance is to escape but Ectoplasm can create clones of himself. Tokoyami and Tsuyu use their Quirks to complement each other. But as they near the exit, the real Ectoplasm stands between them. He now forms a giant clone that has captured them. While Tokoyami’s dark shadow keeps Ectoplasm busy, Tsuyu hatches a last ditch ‘disgusting’ plan. She pulled out the handcuffs she has been keeping in her stomach and passes it to the dark shadow without being seen. So during the clash, Ectoplasm gets cuffed. They passed. Iida and Ojiro is having a tough time against Power Loader who is digging holes everywhere. Iida improvises to let Ojiro escape and they too pass this test. Next up is Todoroki and Yaoyorozu against Aizawa. Yaoyorozu continues to have low self-confidence. She follows his plan to escape as he stays back to hold down Aizawa. Since Aizawa can nullify Quirks, Todoroki is easily defeated. She becomes indecisive to whether save him or escape. And she already turned back to go save him. Still undecided, Todoroki tells her to think of a plan because this is what she is supposed to be good at. She gets her confidence and comes up with one. First they run away enough from his vision to get back their Quirk. Todoroki then forms a large ice wall to put up a barrier between them. When it’s time to move, they cloak themselves. Aizawa thought they could hide from his nullifying but when he attacks, it is just a decoy. She then catapults ropes that looks like Aizawa’s but they are actually some sort of alloy that when burnt, returns to its original shape and this restrains him. They put the handcuffs on and pass the test. Ochako and Aoyama are having it real hard with Thirteen sucking everything. Aoyama is sure a joker joking at such moments. Ochako tries to think what Midoriya would do in this situation. It prompts Aoyama to ask if she likes him.

Episode 36
The shock has Ochako losing her grip and being sucked towards Thirteen. Now, he can’t get too violent with her so he stops his suction. With Ochako in ‘rage’ over Aoyama’s words, she turns into some ‘monster’ and quickly cuffs him. At least it worked. Next is Mina and Kaminari against Nezu who is also UA’s principal. They have a hard time running from his destruction since his Quirk allows him to calculate the aftereffects easily. In the end, the got cornered until time ran out. Next is Jirou and Kouji Kouda against Mic. Mic’s voice is deafening. Jirou has an idea using ants but Kouda is afraid of bugs. Noticing Jirou’s ears are bleeding, Kouda mans up to face his fears. Soon bugs start crawling from out of the ground over Mic. He passes out and this gives them an easy path to escape. Next is Mezou Shouji and Toru Hagakure against Snipe (Overwatch’s McCree?). This one is easy seeing Hagakure is an invisible girl so she easily cuffs him while Shouji distracts him. Oh, she can accuse him of molesting her too. Mineta is running away! But he is mad? Actually Sero saved him from Midnight’s Quirk that makes one sleep when smelling her fragrance. So Mineta is jealous that because of that, Sero gets to touch her boobs and sleep on her lap. Mineta is reconsidering why he became a hero. It was to be popular with chicks. Well, looks like he is so far away. But being at UA he learnt that heroes here aren’t cool because they are heroes, they are heroes because they’re cool. Midnight is coming after him as making her wait is unleashing her sadistic side. But this is all part of his big plan to trap and her make her stuck with his Quirk at the opposite end of the arena. This allows him to carry Sero out to the exit with no hindrance. Job well done. His only ‘complaint’ is that he need not have to work this hard had he not been saved.

Episode 37
As usual, Midoriya tries to talk to Bakugou for a plan but he is yelled at and told to shut up. Nothing works. Argue too much and here comes All Might with his full power. He doesn’t pull his punches and shows no mercy in pummelling the boys. While Midoriya thinks of running away, Bakugou has only defeating All Might on his mind. They only get in each other’s way. All Might tries to advise him on his anger as well as his envy on Midoriya’s sudden improvement. But when Bakugou tells him off he would rather lose than seek help from that pipsqueak, Midoriya surprisingly punches Bakugou and then takes him to run. In the alley, Midoriya admonishes him for giving up because he was never like that. That is why he admired him. So try using him at least once before giving up. Well, looks like Bakugou has got a plan. A pincher attack that has them blast All Might in between (Midoriya borrowing one of his explosive gauntlets) and then make a mad dash to the exit. But he recovers in no time and soon another round of beat down. This time All Might destroys Bakugou’s gauntlets to prevent anything similar from happening. Bakugou refuses to give up as she continues to fight All Might head on as he throws Midoriya towards the exit. All Might tries to thwart this but each time Bakugou distracts him. Without his gauntlets, each explosive blow is putting a strain on his limbs. In the end when Bakugou is knocked out cold, Midoriya turns back to give All Might a good punch and then retrieve Bakugou and head for the exit. They finally do so and pass. And perhaps All Might is already at his limit. Recovery Girl is having a hard time healing them. Barely. All Might notes their tremendous growth and room for more improvement. Meanwhile a bunch of new weirdoes inspired by Shigaraki’s attack has come to apply to join the League of Villains.

Episode 38
Shigaraki doesn’t want these freaks to join but Giran the broker hopes to accept them because he gets a cut for introducing people to join. So meet Hibiko Toga and Dabi. Since they are so hyped on Stain, Shigaraki blows his top and tries to attack them. They too attack back but thanks to Kurogiri’s warp, they miss each other. He advises Shigaraki to accept them since he will need to use all the help he can get. Back at UA, those who failed the practical exam fear they cannot join the summer camp. Then Aizawa relays the good news that everyone is in. Of course a failure is a failure and those who failed will have a different work lined up for them. Most of them decide to go shopping together tomorrow to get the necessary stuffs. At the mall, they all go their own way and agree to meet back later. Ochako is now very conscious around Midoriya and runs away. I guess being heroes from UA is famous because they are quite recognizable. In fact, one of them approaches Midoriya and knows him too well. Why, it’s Shigaraki! So this is his crazy face without those hands. He warns Midoriya not to do anything silly as he is here to just talk. If other heroes come to his aid, he can take down 20 or 30 people before being taken down. Shigaraki talks he is jealous that all his work has been upstaged by Stain. I mean, they’re the same so why is Stain more popular? Midoriya says he could understand Stain. Although defeated, at least he had his conviction right till the very end unlike Shigaraki who just gave up and went home during the USJ attack. This makes Shigaraki very relieved. Because now he believes the root of the cause is All Might. He is going to use Stain’s ideals as a stepping stone and doesn’t have to do what is different.

At this point, Ochako returns to apologize but sees Shigaraki. He ends the conversation and leaves. Midoriya wants to know about All For One’s goal but he doesn’t know or care. Shigaraki warns him to be careful because the next time they meet, he might kill him. Shigaraki is happy of his new conviction to kill All Might because without him, it will show how fragile the justice in this world is. After Ochako reports, the mall is evacuated and locked down. But Shigaraki was nowhere to