Val x Love

February 16, 2020

Imagine the world is on the brink of destruction from demons. God somehow can’t save it. Instead, he sent his daughters down to do the job. However it is not their raw powers that will help save the world. Because they have to go an extra step of finding love. Yup. They said love brings out the power in the maidens as love is their source. What kind of love? Perhaps one of the most ugliest and scary looking kids in Japan to make love with them and prove that it is love that will save the day. I kid you not, this is actually the premise of Val x Love. It is one of those cheesiest and twisted of excuses to bring about your typical fanservice. Of all things… Of all things! Anybody could have thought up a better reason, excuse, plot, story, outline, whatever. But they come up with this. Are you serious?! Did anybody think that they seriously thought this could actually fly? Yeah, it did. Oh well. A fanservice harem, huh? I guess it’s better than overpowered isekai genre. Heh.

Episode 1
The guys are talking which girl will be the one who will win this year’s school beauty contest. Will it be the doll-like Natsuki? Or would it be the student council president, Itsuyo? Perhaps idol Mutsumi will take the crown. But when suddenly a ‘demon’ stands up, everyone cowers with fear! Actually, Takuma Akutsu just wants to go home but because of his big size and scary face, they think he is going to kill them! Yeah, some even jump out of the window! The scariest teacher is even afraid of him! Some think he is that serial killer because there have been incidents of the killer wearing a demon mask going around killing people. Takuma is actually a gentle giant. Just because of his frightful looks, others stay away from him. He too developed a phobia of humans and thinks the only thing he needs is his books. Yeah, he doesn’t need friends. He returns home only to see those aforementioned hot chicks changing. Some are pleased, some aren’t. It seems not only they are residing in his house but the rest of the other Saotome sisters including Futaba, Misa, Yakumo and Kukuri. He really wishes they would leave but can’t find a way to tell it to them nicely. Futaba thinks Takuma is interested in Natsuki and sets them up to study together. Cliché moment when his eraser dropped between her legs and he had to go pick it up! What does this pervy scene look like?! We all know he doesn’t have a dirty mind. His dream is to fulfil his late mom’s wish to study hard and become a respectful person. Futaba then sends them out to do errands. Suddenly a real demon pops up and starts attacking. Natsuki manages to put up a barrier but cannot hold much longer. Because of Takuma acting like a coward, she feels disappointed in him. Until he shields her from an attack. She realizes nothing has changed and hence this weird make out scene so she can power up and transform into her Valkyrie mode and defeat the demon. Yeah, some Norse legend about how the Valkyries are powerful the more love they have. That is their source of power. Why does this sound like a porn setting? The sisters are glad with this outcome as Futaba calls the eldest sister, Ichika to accept Takuma. However she still refuses to accept that weakling. Flashback sees Odin, the ruler of Asgard communicating with Takuma. Midgard will be engulfed in flames in a few days from demons and he wants Takuma to help. Don’t worry, he won’t go empty handed. He bestowed him his 9 beautiful daughters, the Valkyries so that he would grow and become stronger by falling in love with them. Love will save the world! Told you this sounds like a porn plot! I guess Thor is busy away at MCU saving the universe with Avengers from Thanos! HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!

Episode 2
Itsuyo is the top scorer across her grade for the exams. Mutsumi also does well but Natsuki not so. You think Takuma’s grade would be good too since he studies a lot. Wrong! He is dead last! Thanks to his phobia of people, he can’t concentrate on studying. Natsuki sounds mad at him not because she is so but rather she is frustrated he worked so hard and yet he still failed. Takuma is called to the AV room. Suddenly Itsuyo binds him with his chains. So she intends to power up now by dating him? Okay. Whatever. It seems Itsuyo doesn’t really care about Takuma. All she cares about is becoming the strongest Valkyrie and then earn Odin’s praise. Basically, father complex. However everything she tries failed because Takuma himself is nervous with this close proximity. Later a demon is spotted and realizing she is not strong enough to tackle it yet, Itsuyo wants Natsuki to fight it first to buy time for Itsuyo to power up and then join in to help. So this is all part of Natsuki’s sly plan to get even more intimate with Takuma. She thinks she can do better than Natsuki’s kiddie kiss on him. Oh yeah. Sexy time. Is this were they start f*cking? Unfortunately as we know, Takuma isn’t stimulated but he is getting so nervous that he is getting a headache! And of course after all that mature adult talk, Itsuyo baulks and slaps him! WTF. She feels she has not changed and is still a cry-baby as always. Takuma seeing the tears in her eyes remembers how mom used to pat him when he is sad. He does the same on Itsuyo. His giant hand felt like Odin’s warmth. I guess a kiss is enough for Itsuyo to turn into Valkyrie mode. Just in time because Natsuki almost got tentacle raped by the demon! With Itsuyo’s chains binding down the demon, Natsuki easily destroys it. In the aftermath, things return to normal. Natsuki notes something intimate must have happened between Takuma and Itsuyo and hopes he could keep this up and cure his phobia. Why doesn’t she look happy? One of the student council members, Tooru Inukai AKA Garm is actually a watchdog and he is not happy this is how the lover of Einheijer presents himself.

Episode 3
It’s Mutsumi’s turn to date Takuma. In order to level up, she has to successfully finish this date without anyone recognizing her as the famous idol. At the café, a classmate Yamada brags about being the tough guy and badmouths Takuma. Once he realizes Takuma is sitting behind him, that guy apologizes and jumps out the window! However everybody else thinks it was Takuma who threw him out. Although Takuma is used to this, Mutsumi feels bad for him and only by the fact that everyone is afraid of Takuma that is keeping their focus away from her. Their date continues and Garm is watching them. He intends to break their date up but has a better idea. Instead he unleashes a mini demon. It doesn’t have battle abilities but it blurts out that Mutsumi is here. This gossip lover demon has everyone in a frenzy to look for Mutsumi. Takuma takes Mutsumi’s hand and run. She loves this feeling despite the chaos? Trapped, the duo hide in a locker. Yeah. A very tight space. Oddly, Mutsumi is really having lewd thoughts and is hoping Takuma would get it on with her. Too bad. Your guess is as good as mine. This guy is so nervous that he is reciting his studies! Oh Mutsumi, you sound so disappointed. Mutsumi needs to kiss Takuma so that she could power up and use her wings to fly away. However their height difference means their lips can’t meet! So how? Unbutton his shirt and start kissing his chest?! You see, there’s this kiss chart whereby the further the body part a Valkyrie kiss, the longer it will take to activate her powers. I guess blowjobs are out of the question in such desperate times, huh? F*CK THIS LOGIC!!!!! And the mob is starting to notice something strange going on in the locker. Will they make it? Yes they do. Whoosh! Out they fly into the sky. Best part of this date is the view of the beautiful sunset. Takuma has fond memories watching this with mom. The date is successful and Mutsumi gains more experience points. It seems Ichika was there and partly help distract the mob to let the duo get away. Garm also realizes Mutsumi had a bodyguard and felt right not to head straight for her. Ullr warns him to quickly rid of the Valkyries but Garm tells him he needs to perfectly prepare them to be devoured. Speaking of which, the upcoming school cultural festival will be the ideal Valkyrie hunting ground.

Episode 4
All work and no play makes Takuma a dull boy. Hence the sisters try a change in pace by playing a game of tag. But with a twist. The person who is it must snatch panties! WTF?! And it’s everyone’s worst nightmare when Futaba becomes it. I suppose this is to let Takuma have some weird moments with some of the sisters like him petting Itsuyo’s head (because she ‘allows’ him). And then he gets blasted away by Misa so that she and Itsuyo could take on Futaba, this lands him in a very compromising position with Yakumo. Loli doesn’t appreciate his molest and tells him to go die! While Yakumo and Natsuki fend off Futaba, Takuma thinks of hiding in the storeroom but he hears the voice of Shino from inside as she tells him about some story of a coward. Eventually, it’s some lesson to tell him to fight and reach for his goal instead of running away. Game is over when it is revealed this whole tag is to give Takuma a study charm. Eh, I don’t think he feels refreshed after all this tension. I don’t even know panties got involved… With the festival around the corner, the girls want to take this chance to level up. They are concerned with Odin’s recent wrong oracles. Are there any suspicious people around lately? Not that they could think of. Natsuki looks forward to the festival but she is somewhat irked that Takuma doesn’t pay attention to her? Yeah, just staring at his books. Since their class is doing maid café, she gets the honour to dress up and test out the maid outfit. Not bad, I approve! So they have to test out whether it works too? Like Natsuki have to serve Akuma?! Yeah, lots of jealous guy. Demon guy so anxious. Maid cutie anxious. Inukai doesn’t even know WTF he is doing here. He must be cringing inside although on the outside he puts on a very nice face. As you can expect, Natsuki tries to serve him but with both being nervous, cue for this cliché ambiguous scene of cream dropping all over Natsuki’s face and she over him. Inukai then releases something that turns all the jealous guys into attacking demons. WTF Natsuki gets weak when one of them licks her feet?! And when she calls out Takuma’s name for help, instantly he becomes Superman and beats the crap out of all of them. Yeah, who needs Valkyries. No wonder Inukai is relishing their human form is so weak. On the way home, Natsuki once more chides Takuma for just studying. Until he notes she was cute in the maid outfit. That caught her off guard. Embarrassed Natsuki runs all the way home while poor Takuma is left to wonder if he said the wrong thing.

Episode 5
The cultural festival is here. Yakumo must be a sadist as she forces Takuma to lick her dripping wet hand. And then when he gets clumsy and spills all over her, she undresses and wants him to lick all the wet parts! Thankfully (or not) Natsuki is here to stop this unholy act. With the other sisters here, Futaba asks if Takuma would like to be Natsuki’s partner for the dance party. Because he fears others would hate him for it, he thinks she would be better off with someone else. Of course Natsuki takes that to heart and she’s not pleased. Hey, wasn’t it her fault being a tsundere and said she haven’t thought of dancing with him? Then Takuma joins Misa and Kukuri in the haunted house. Big strong guy scared of ghosts or people? Kukuri as a goddess scared of ghosts? Misa tries to talk to him about Natsuki. Apparently some jealous guy had his eel slipped and it entered Misa’s clothes. I don’t even know how it swims around like that. You want Takuma to take it out? Don’t be mad when he feels you up. Greatest molestation scene for now. Once he grabs the eel (too bad it wasn’t her pussy!), he rushes out and lets it go in the pond. He is then approached by Inukai who then slices a hole in his guts! Because it is cue for the demonic party to start. A huge demon pops up and some of the guests are being controlled by the demons. The Valkyrie sisters rush to contain the enemy but they are puzzled that Takuma is nowhere to be seen. Could it be he fell victim to the enemy? With more and more demons attacking, I guess we need the obligatory tentacle rape scene. Yup, those demon hands outraging the modesty of Itsuyo and Mutsumi. Best feast ever for now. Meanwhile Takuma is with Garm who is enjoying this entertainment. Takuma is weakened and being pessimistic, believes for the umpteenth time he can’t keep his promise. And of course a flashback of having an argument with Natsuki about his uselessness. Even if all that was true, he has come to her rescue many times. That is why she will keep continuing to believe in him because she believes inside his soul resides a sword that is greater than everyone else. I hope she didn’t mean his dick… Haha! Anyway, this gives Takuma the strength to stand back up but still Garm pounds him. Don’t interrupt his meal. Sorry, Futaba is here to interrupt. She found him thanks to Ichika tagging everyone at the festival. Boy, it sure took some time, huh? You know she’s serious and badass when she puts on her glasses. She doesn’t want his pantsu but his life. Wait. Garm wears pantsu?! Of course not, silly!

Episode 6
Futaba keeps Garm busy while she lets Takuma escape. However Garm’s fangs shred open his stomach till his body rips apart! Fortunately, his charm turned into some Misteltein tree and put him back together again. He fights his way through the demons (with some help from Ichika) to get to Natsuki. Girl slaps him for being so late. Then she hugs him and is relieved he is fine. He just went through sh*t, you think he is fine?! In order to power Natsuki up, they must enter this Val Love ritual in which they must ‘embrace without a stitch of clothing and kiss deeply for 5 minutes’. Gee, glad they specified this part. But they didn’t say anything about penetration… Yeah, somebody wrote this sick part so we can have our twisted fanservice. So the duo start off by wiping each other’s body. Yeah, it’s a slow start since they’re anxious. But better hurry, the sisters are going to get tentacle raped! Once they’re done, it is the deep kissing we’ve been waiting for. Okay… Natsuki seems to be feeling uneasy. So the kiss isn’t working? Then it’s like Takuma is so worried about being her lover that some magical book pops up, he starts making out with her that makes her all warm inside. Oh yeah! Too bad we cut to the chase because here comes powered up Natsuki to save the day. After the monster is destroyed, Garm escapes by the skin of his teeth. Garm is chastised by Ullr for his failure. He notes Takuma’s restorative ability and they need to do something about this or it will get really complicated. Mutsumi won the beauty pageant and is supposed to dance with Takuma. But some flashback thingy with Natsuki, I guess that guy wants to dance with her. Of course Natsuki is shocked, her thoughts are all over the place why he is doing this. He ‘rejected’ her, right? Maybe it is to dance one last time with her so he could be with Itsuyo and Mutsumi? How did this even come about? So as she tries to assert her own worth, Takuma clears the air and explains himself. So misunderstanding over? Then she kisses him. Tsundere says this is so that she can level up. I don’t see any demons around… The dance went smoothly. No jealous people looking so I guess it’s a good ending.

Episode 7
Kukuri created some doctor kit. I guess the Valkyries need to learn to take care of their bodies, huh? So this is part of Futaba’s request so they could play doctor? I don’t think it will- WTF Takuma agrees to play doctor?! Apparently he felt guilty for what happened to them during the festival. So is this how he really wants to make it up to them. Dr Takuma now in session. Futaba is up first. Too bad this turned out to be some boring history lesson so she leaves. Misa disagrees with this doctor game but as she leaves, Takuma accidentally pulls down her pants?! So this was assertive enough to get her play along? Yeah, not sure what lube he is rubbing on her. Itsuyo’s turn… Take a urine test… WTF… Mutsumi… Got a dental check-up. I wonder if she’s enjoying the deeper he goes… Natsuki… How is taking 3 sizes a check-up? Despite commenting on her cute undies, he still gets punched. Yakumo turns the tables on the poor doctor because she molests him just to check him up. Kukuri hears Takuma’s woes and adds something special to the suit that enhances the abilities. However it overheats. To avoid taking everyone down with him, Takuma jumps out and explodes by himself. Yeah, despite being bandaged all over, now the sisters play doctor with him by treating him with goodies. Not so bad after all… Itsuyo seeks Misa’s advice on how to date, thinking she is the master of romance. Of course Misa doesn’t know how that rumour got its way around. She remembers she was either pushed around by her older sisters or busy taking care of the younger ones. No time for love. But so as not to disappoint Itsuyo, I guess she agrees to show her how. Hopefully. With Itsuyo outside and taking notes feverishly, Misa and Takuma go do the laundry. Not sure how this would translate into some date but Takuma gets loads of panty shots and boob shots. He manages to point it out to her and despite acting cool, she is flustering inside. She is having too much on her mind and I don’t know how this happened but it’s supposed to be some fanservice cue so that she could end up entangled with Takuma naked. I don’t even… In the end, the chores are done and Misa feels a bit foolish dragging Takuma into this after hearing him thank her because before the sisters came, he had to do everything by himself in this huge house. And Itsuyo thinks it was such a brilliant date…

Episode 8
The sisters receive another oracle from Odin that a demon will attack. Futaba hopes Natsuki will practice transform but nothing happens when she kisses Takuma. You call that a kiss?! No wonder nothing is happening?! Not even a deep kiss! Just got some of your sisters jealous, that’s all. Oh, just in time for Kukuri to show off her invention that shows the sisters’ stats. You mean they didn’t have this before? Thanks to the recent festival incident, Natsuki’s AP is at zero. Right now the only ones who can properly transform are Mutsumi and Yakumo. Yup, date time to increase their stats. I don’t know how holding hand for an hour can achieve that but Yakumo isn’t pleased. Yes, she doesn’t see how father considers this loser to be the one to save the world! Takuma tries to be considerate seeing Natsuki told her that Yakumo is very sensitive of sound. Because of Takuma’s nervousness, this means his heartbeat is very noisy to her. Unfortunately the date fails when he got distracted. Loser. Next he has to date Mutsumi in some private photo shoot. In a skimpy swimsuit. Yakumo being the cheeky devil tries to spice things up by telling her to flaunt her boobs as well as giving a popsicle to lick!!! And then a demon attacks. Futaba and Ichika keep it busy, enough time for Yakumo and Mutsumi to barely make out with Takuma to transform. Apparently the plan is to keep running from the demon because for prolonged time, their AP will diminish and in the end they will disappear. Yeah, would have done this all the time had the demon’s AP not been so high and our sisters’ level so low! No wonder this is going to take a while. And then some arrow hits the demon. It explodes but also hits the sisters. All take considerable damage. And Yakumo is not pleased that Takuma’s heartbeat is too noisy for her to hear anything. Then Takuma seems to be standing in harm’s way. He remembers what Futaba said about his Einheijer reviving ability and hence the only one who can heal the sisters. And it’s like this gives him the power up to fight back. One punch into the demon! And finally successfully summoning the book to heal the sisters for them to finish off the demon. The one who shot the arrow was Ullr. He can’t take any drastic action to kill the sisters off because Ichika and Futaba could easily kill him then. Finding the revival of Einheijer to be troublesome, he thinks of summoning a certain person. In the aftermath, Yakumo tries to be nice and share her drink with Takuma. But since Natsuki got to him first, poor Takuma got is her usual insults. So mean :’(.

Episode 9
I don’t even know how this is supposed to help Itsuyo level up. In a crowded train, Natsuki is supposed to grope her. She’s doing it real hard because she noticed how developed Itsuyo’s body is. It is supposed to end with Takuma ‘saving’ Itsuyo from the ‘groper’ at the next stop. He manages to somewhat do so but finds his hands groping hers. WTF… I guess that’s enough groping for Itsuyo for today. Ullr and Garm prepare for their princess to arrive but looks like she is already here. Skuld and her maid, Roskva give their initial commands to destroy the Valkyries and acquire Misteltein to save the world. As Takuma walks home with Natsuki, suddenly somebody attacks them. Natsuki protects him but feels she can die from it all if this persists. The attacker turns out to be Ichika who is just testing her. She praises Natsuki for holding out longer and improving. However she is not so kind to Takuma. She berates him for being a weakling. I mean, after all those dates with her adorable sisters and they are still this weak? So apparently as Futaba puts it, Ichika is to be Natsuki’s temporary role as the offensive as Natsuki is still weak. And so this level up task has them scrub each other’s back? Because Takuma cannot summon his book, Ichika is unimpressed of him. Because he isn’t playing the role of the lover, her sisters cannot become stronger. What he feels towards them isn’t love but obligation. To reduce the tension, Futaba sends Natsuki and Yakumo in. I think it’s only worsening things… So as Takuma scrubs Ichika’s back, we hear some narration that the strongest sisters who have mighty powers to fight on par with high level gods have abnormal conditions. Like Shino’s sensitive hearing, Ichika has sensitive skin. Yeah… She’s trying to hold it in… Then it’s her turn, using her body to scrub all over his. WTF this lewd scene… Hold in there, Ichika… If this is too painful to watch, then cheeky Yakumo has a great idea as she does yuri stuff with Natsuki just to tease her! Oh yeah. We prefer this one! In the end, Ichika powers up but due to her low AP, she can’t move after she is transformed. Still trying to talk big when her face is down on the floor, huh? Meanwhile Skuld has a plan to infiltrate the enemy’s base and kill Einheijer in a single blow.

Episode 10
Skuld and her team are on her way to kill Einheijer. They talk about the 3 pieces of Yggdrasil Ea that includes Misteltein, Blot and Mokkerkalfe that consist of very dense aether. Safe to say, it boosts all your abilities. The problem to them is that all the main gods have it and it would be suicide to even sneak in and steal them. However Odin put Misteltein in a human and this is within their reach. Why? Beats me. They are intercepted by Ichika thanks to Futaba’s foresight. Skuld sounds like she is a threat but before she can order Roskva and Garm to kill her, in a flash, Ichika owns them all! Make one move and she’ll kill her underlings. Ichika can also sense Ullr sneaking up on her but when she ambushes him, turns out to be just a normal human. This distraction allows Skuld to kiss Roskva as she transforms into her battle form and summon multiple demons. Thanks to Itsuyo backing up Ichika, they have a chance. However Skuld notices her subordinates have also taken a beating and retreats for now. So this is just a warning? Back home, Takuma’s help to level up Ichika succeeds but unfortunately she gains no AP. So breast fondling didn’t do the trick? Not even shopping? The sisters then discuss on the next action to be taken and they have to be fast since Skuld belongs to the Norn sisters, elite troops for the malevolent gods who stormed the Grasil Palace a couple of years ago. Then the meeting gets side-tracked. Not sure suddenly why Natsuki feels worried about the book Takuma just bought could be a porn magazine. So worried she drank Kukuri’s gadget liquid and becomes drunk. I don’t even… Because this is cue for Takuma to be tasked to put her to bed and hence a cue for Natsuki to start stripping herself so as to flirt her kiddie body with Takuma. And they try to make her sound so disappointed thinking he likes porn mags more than her real body. Yup. They’re also trying to force it with Natsuki trying to feel up to him. Stupid Takuma… Reciting to shoguns of the Tokugawa era… So when the drunk mode is off, Natsuki realizes it wasn’t a porn magazine he bought but a magazine on how to date? Yeah, I guess he is trying to understand his role as a lover better but unfortunately he asked the wrong thing (if she had a lover back in Asgard) and gets beaten up. She gets disappointed he isn’t that brave guy her saved her then because she really wanted to confess her feelings to him. She fears he might reject her if she does so now. Because he continues to be dense, poor Natsuki has to give him a beat down. With Skuld ready for the next attack, it is Futaba’s turn to take to the frontlines.

Episode 11
We see the sisters strategizing over how to defeat Skuld. I guess no use trying to think too hard because it’s time for some Takuma x Futaba fanservice scene. I guess it did power her up as we now move onto the scene whereby Skuld and Roskva have summoned demons to breakthrough Futaba’s great castle defence. Ichika and Takuma are scurrying on the ground trying to find that chance to attack as Ichika explains about Futaba’s abilities that in a way makes her the weakest to fight against enemies. I guess it is cue for Takuma to feel bad and call himself worthless only. Uh huh. The guilt of not being serious enough to help power up the sisters in the first place. You wanna b*tch about this now? Futaba provokes Skuld to attack. When she does, it is perfect timing for Ichika to separate Skuld and Roskva. Her aim is to attack Roskva and sever that power she is feeding Skuld. At this point, Takuma who has been feeling something wrong all the while, he realizes that a demon egg is missing. Yup, he counted them before and now he noticed it. He goes to save Ichika right before Roskva attacks her. Apparently the last demon egg was hatching inside her and the plan was to let Ichika attack and be devoured by the demon. Thanks, Takuma? Takuma is left to carry Ichika and run. Because she wants him to leave her here and return to the sisters, Takuma can’t do that. I figure it’s time for that cheesy make out scene in an attempt for desperate Takuma to power up Ichika. In this dire time, can anybody feel good?! Making out interrupted when Skuld and Roskva attack. No worries. Just run and then continue to make out in a safer place! I don’t even… Then a flashback when Odin asked Ichika if she has an ideal guy. Despite all her doubts and contradictions, she does have one. And that’s supposed to be the catalyst that activates her power? Yeah, love making successful. Not only Ichika has powered up to unbelievable levels, Takuma too has powered up as God! OMG! Does this uniform come with the package of becoming Einheijer?

Episode 12
With Ichika going on the offensive, I guess Natsuki has recovered well enough for this dramatic moment of flying towards Takuma, kissing in mid-air and voila! Transformed! Now we have 2 Valkyrie weapons on the battlefield. Skuld becomes agitate and tries to hasten the attack. The power up does break through the barrier and castle walls. Now that the fight is made public, a soul devouring demon tries to devour the public. Mind boggling Takuma manages to stop it just because of his stronger feelings to protect everyone with his soul? This effect also costs Skuld to lose formation with Roskva who is also weakening due to some illness. Ichika would have no mercy in killing her but with Takuma’s soul worn out as distraction, Skuld takes Roskva to escape. It seems this is just a decoy because Ullr and Garm have infiltrated the castle and stole Misteltein. Because Misa has been protecting the other sisters, Garm doesn’t want to leave empty handed and kills Misa. Sort of. Back home, weary Takuma is trying his best to heal Misa. However he cannot feel her soul. Speaking of which, it is floating in some limbo. Not sure how Takuma does it but he goes to rescue her! If only Takuma could continue to be such a manly man like this all this time… Misa returns to life, turning some of her sisters into big cry-babies. Shino for the first time introduces herself to Takuma. With the recent developments, looks like she will be vital as she is the strongest Valkyrie. I take it she has fully recovered? Back to normal life, finally Takuma has got top spot in his grade. It’s no surprise. Not only he burnt the midnight oil to study but he has hot babes living with him as distraction. Plus, he has to save the world! So do you not think he deserves being number one???!!! And for some strange reason, the timing of him declaring he loves the sisters could’ve been worse. Yup, he does it while they are changing clothes. WTF???!!! No wonder Natsuki gets mad. And of course we hear them think that they know he loves the sisters but eventually would choose only 1 as his lover. Ah, I hope this won’t be the start of the breaking up of the sisterly love all because of a love for a guy.

Fail x Laughable: The Fanservice Maidens
Uhm… That’s it? That is how it ends? So what’s the next plan for the Valkyries and Takuma to fight the malevolent gods? Heck, they didn’t even lay out any plans to take back Misteltein. I am going to assume this is the next plan so why is everyone still living with Takuma? Shouldn’t they go back to Asgard or whatever Skuld and co want to steal next? Oh right. There’s still Einheijer inside Takuma. Doesn’t seem to be all that important to Misteltein. Takuma finally declaring his general love for the sisters gives everyone an excuse to continue staying with him. Because Japan is way more fun that Asgard, right? You bet your money on it, it is. And the big guy who wins this lottery is Takuma. Top on his grades and gaining the hearts of the sisters. Sob, sob. I just love happy endings! ;p.

As you can already see for yourself, the plot itself is just laughable and absurd. It doesn’t really make sense if you think about it. No, seriously. Think really, really, really think hard about it. Odin sending his beautiful daughters to an ugly Japanese kid to prove that love will save the day?! Like, WTF???!!! No, seriously. I mean, really, like WHAT THE FFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUU???????!!!!!! Something feels so wrong. And like I’ve said somewhere in this blog of mine, he could have sent his son, Thor to just do the job but I guess he joined Avengers and saved the universe from a more dangerous threat in the name of Thanos. That is why Japan and the rest of the world still exist! Thor and the Avengers prevented Thanos’ snap!!! Takuma and the Valkyries are just side dishes, a smaller plot that the rest of the world and even a big part of Japan don’t really care about!

Hence everything tries to point towards the fanservice factor. The fanservice here also feels somewhat like they are shoehorned in. Veteran viewers like me just find it meh. Maybe amateur viewers who just started anime may find those hot babes stimulating. You’ve got the cheesiest and lamest of excuses for Takuma to make out with the Valkyries all in the name of levelling up their AP or whatever. Hence leading to these really weird fanservice scenes. Some of them steamy enough to look like porn scenes. If only somebody had a camera recording all this… Uh huh. It really makes Takuma look like engaging in some sort of amateur porn with the Valkyries. Wow. What a fall from grace. Odin’s daughter engaging in lewd stuffs…

I also find it very strange that in order for the Valkyries to actually level up, hence that is why they engaged in this pseudo sex act. I mean, holding hands for half an hour or taking private photo shoots for an hour? You mean it is that simple?! Like of all things, why these???!!! Yup, your lousy excuse to get steamy. Fanservice logic. I know there’s some explanation on why they have to do this and especially these sleazy-like acts but I wasn’t paying close attention. I was being appalled by all the fanservice. And also trying to enjoy it. Yeah, I’m just as guilty. Whatever. Still, it really doesn’t make sense to have these kinds of acts to level up the Valkyries. I mean, if you really, really, really, think hard about it. Yeah, who the f*ck decides on these pseudo sex acts anyway???!!! And if you fail them, no levelling up. Try again. Oh, an excuse to have more fanservice scenes next time if your Valkyries stay weak. I’m just waiting for the moment that they need to engage in real penetrative sex to power up. That would have been the ultimate power boost.

Thus the characters are in a sorry state and the only reason you care about them is to wonder how Takuma will sex them up. No, seriously. I believe Takuma’s case for being a gentle giant is a classic case of not judging a book by its cover. My guts tell me that he isn’t the best guy there is in Japan even considering his kindness and all. Therefore my conspiracy theory is that Odin got lazy in just picking the guy who will power up his daughters. I mean, he came all the way from the Norse side, all the way to Japan, hmmm, lemme see which guy to pick, eenie-meenie-miney-mo, aha! You ugly kid there. You are chosen to save the world and have the honour of f*cking my daughters while doing so! Haha! Yeah, that’s how I felt it all went. In addition, Takuma’s real character is a really meek wuss who is anxious around other humans. If Odin was in a hurry to save the world, could he at least have picked somebody not having this sort of anxiety? It inhibits the love making and in turn the levelling up of his daughters delayed. It’s a sorry excuse to have those embarrassing fanservice moments. Again and again. And that’s why the Valkyries remain so weak in even trying to defeat a single demon every time. And there are 9 of them! Oh Takuma, you better count your blessings because you are one hell of a lucky bastard to have 9 Norse women to be on standby as your lover! Uh huh. What a weird case of Beauties and the Beast, if I should say.

I suppose there is something amusing in watching Takuma being berated and a punching bag by the sisters. Is this some sort of running joke? Heck, even that stupid running joke of that Yamada guy who keeps jumping out of the nearest window whenever Takuma is around, was nowhere to be seen. I understand that Takuma has some sort of trauma and it is hard for him to just change. But from what I can see, it’s not like he is improving at all. He is still the same scared wimp, having low self-confidence in fear of things not turning out right. Only in such dire straits that he is able to do something. Dire straits AKA plot convenience. Only then he is able to draw out his Misteltein. This guy is one weird case of Dr Jekyll and Hyde.

The rest of the Valkyries fare no better and my guess is that there are 9 of them so that we can have a variety in fanservice. Can’t always be making out with Natsuki, right? Because of that, we don’t really care for them either. Sure, some of them got their back story to tell but I wasn’t really interested. My mind was already shut off. Just give me the fanservice. Heh. So anyway, the sisters do have their own personalities but it’s just the minimal. Like Ichika dotes on her sisters a lot that she feels like the tsundere of the bunch when she gets strict on Takuma. After all, somebody needs to get really harsh on him when many of the sisters are just too kind. Like Futaba who is playing the big sister or rather the mother of the group. And Misa, uhm, I think another sister role but she is more tomboy. Then there’s Itsuyo who has daddy complex and possibly the other tsundere. Mutsumi, I have this feeling she is a slut because from the way she feels the passion whenever doing stuffs with Takuma, it’s like she’s going into orgasm or something. She may be the horniest of all the Valkyries but her idol status prevents her from being a total slut. And my guts tell me Natsuki another tsundere is most likely the one who will end up with Takuma.

Not all the sisters Takuma makes out with. I guess MILF materials are okay in addition to those girls who are of his same age. But it’s a no-no for underage girls. Yup, being lolicons is against the law. This is why Takuma is never seen making out with Yakumo or Kukuri. Imagine this, Takuma making out with Yakumo or Kukuri. It would be super disturbing, I guarantee. Hence, they turn Kukuri into some sort of inventor genius because she creates a lot of stuffs for the sisters. Not to say her inventions are brilliant or anything. It’s just to give a reason why her character has to exist.

Now, my ‘favourite’ character among all the sisters is Yakumo. The way she despises Takuma somewhat also mirrors same kind of sentiments that I have for this series. Unlike Ichika who is just one big tsundere, there is a chance that Yakumo’s scorn for Takuma may be valid. She might not hate him 100% but just that she isn’t too enthusiastic about the circumstances that the sisters ended up in. Yeah, if I were her, I would feel the same way. We don’t know if she’s really a good poker face player but I believe that Yakumo is the one who is being the most realistic among the sisters. She knows this guy is useless and there is nothing she herself can do about it. What else? Just sigh and mock this wuss! Add to his trauma and anxiety! Oh yeah. In fact, Yakumo could have been the best character of the series had they not put those prettier and sexier triplets as the main girls. What a waste. Yakumo should have had more screen time to spout her cynical sarcasm.

If you have been counting, you realized that one of the sisters is ‘missing’. Well, not in that literal sense. I feel that Shino’s character is such a waste as she is stuck in the storeroom recuperating from whatever. Not that I care how she got injured in the first place. But to have her recover there and wearing some weird helmet that makes her look like some discount Goblin Slayer, it’s like why the heck do we need this character for? Sure, she did something to help Futaba during her fight against Skuld (albeit remotely from the storeroom) but at that point it was too late. Like does she even matter? Probably they don’t want to waste it because as you would have guessed, the sisters’ Japanese monikers are based on numbers and their seniority. They have their original Norse name but that would be too hard for many of us to pronounce or remember ;p. So when she finally shown herself in person, oh sister, you’re a little too late, don’t you think?

Skuld as the antagonist feels like a bratty kid trying to get what she wants. She too lacks a back story and it would have been a lot more interesting to know about her Norn sisters. It would have been better if this turned into some shonen style group fight. You know, Valkyries vs Norn sisters. Something like that. It would be interesting to see their side of the story too because Skuld isn’t as bad as the plot paints her to be. In her own way, she protects Roskva as much as her maid protects her. But for now, she looks like some rich imposing oujo-sama. Yeah, notice how she has Roskva that notes of what she says? Well, we better take note too that brats like her will never ever get her way. Especially if they are on the wrong side of the plot.

The action scenes are just mediocre. Because when you have a cheesy reason to have fanservice, what follows next is some cheesy battle to fight demons. That’s why they make out, right? Killing 2 birds with 1 stone. I suppose Takuma isn’t strong enough yet to power up all Valkyries to fight together. That is why only 1 of them can fight a demon at the same time. At the most, 2 of them. Anyway the fights aren’t memorable even though each of the Valkyries has their own special weapons and moves. Heck, they have trouble fighting off 1 demon already and they’ve been freaking lucky so far that the worst has not happened. So as not to let Natsuki hog all the action screen time, hence they rotate and some of the sisters have their share of the battle limelight. But Natsuki has been out of action for so long since the school festival and my guess is so as to give the other girls to shine. Not that it makes any difference whatsoever. Oi, Takuma! Are you sleeping on the job?! Even better, the Valkyries can form some barrier to limit the damage from the demons and let the fight take place within it. Hence not interrupting the ordinary lives of ordinary people who have no idea what the f*ck is going on. Oh yeah. So considerate. So convenient.

Art and animation feel pretty standard. Valkyrie girls looking a lot like cute Japanese anime girls even when they were young kids in Asgard. Takuma obviously being drawn to be ‘ugly and scary’ but he isn’t the worst looking kind of main character around. Worse, sometimes his chibi mode feels really weird. He is just some hollow outline with somewhat appalling looks on his face. Yeah, like as though this feels like his second form as he goes into this mode quite often. Among all the Valkyrie sisters, I feel Ichika looks the most cartoonish because of her big cartoonish eyes. Isn’t that why they ‘blacken out’ her eyes in the initial episodes when she was protecting her sisters from the shadows? The Valkyries’ uniform feels so military-like that I was wondering if this is Kantai Collection or the recent Azur Lane. And the demons they look pretty hideous, befitting their demonic nature but nothing that will give you sleepless nights and nightmares. This anime is produced by Hoods Entertainment who did weird fanservice shows like Nazo No Kanojo X, Seikon No Qwaser, Aki Sora, Hantsu x Trash and Manyuu Hikenchou. Okay, not entirely ecchi series as they also produced Drifters and 3D Kanojo Real Girl.

For the voice acting, perhaps the ‘best’ one goes to Yuuya Hirose as Takuma (Yuuta in SSSS.Gridman) because he really makes his character sound like a retard and wuss. Like as though at any moment he could just die from asphyxiation. Seriously. The only recognizable seiyuu is Rina Hidaka as Mutsumi because this is what happen when Last Order is in her slutty version. Seriously. The rest of the other characters are Kaede Hondo as Natsuki (titular character in Tejina-senpai), Ai Kakuma as Itsuyo (Rossweisse in High School DxD), Yumi Hara as Futaba (Albedo in Overlord), Ayaka Shimizu as Misa (Masaki in Sasameki Koto), Yumi Uchiyama as Ichika (Momiji in Binbougami Ga), Maki Kawase as Yakumo (Junko in Zombie Land Saga), Kotori Koiwai as Kukuri (Renge in Non Non Biyori), Rikako Aida as Shino (Riko in Love Live! Sunshine), Atsumi Tanezaki as Skuld (Chise in Mahou Tsukai No Yome), Mao Ichimichi as Roskva (Bada in ClassicaLoid), Daisuke Hirakawa as Garm (Makoto in School Days) and Misato Fuken as Ullr (Yami in To Love-Ru).

The opening theme is For… by Rikako Aida. Nothing special. Generic anime pop. The ending theme is Up-date x Please. If you are wondering why there are version numbers of the song that makes it look like some programme software update, if you’re sharp enough you would realize that the numbers correspondence to the seniority of the sisters. So ver 1.7.8 is sung by the trio of Ichika, Natsuki and Yakumo, ver 2.6.9 by Futaba, Mutsumi and Kukuri, and ver 3.4.5 by Misa, Shino and Itsuyo. Other than that, the song sounds robotic. I don’t think it’s a bad piece, just that it sounds one kind.

Overall, this is a poor series and a sorry excuse to adapt one with the lamest plot in the name of fanservice. Hot chicks with no character at all, levelling up via making love with the most unwanted (forever alone kind of) bachelor in Japan… Your what-the-f*ck-is-wrong-with-this-sh*t senses will be ringing like mad. Oh well, at least this isn’t another isekai series. Reverse isekai maybe. Goddesses from Asgard coming to our world and saving it (barely). I guess no matter how bad this plot sounds, perhaps it is much better than Odin himself coming down to the world and saving it via making out with somebody! HOLY SH*T!!! Don’t want that gay sh*t plot anytime! The world’s destruction would be accelerated if we are to make out with an old Norse God. He’s no Zeus but still… And that is why it goes to show that sometimes love still isn’t the fool proof answer that can save the world. But porn maybe could. And have a higher chance!

Oh no. Not again. Here we go again. Not another isekai genre with overpowered characters. Heck, not just one or two or three characters but 7 of them! Yes. Count them. Seven high school kids! However, Choujin Koukousei-tachi Wa Isekai Demo Yoyuu De Ikinuku You Desu (AKA Choyoyu if that’s too freaking long for you to pronounce) can’t be considered a typical isekai just yet. Using that roll safe meme, why, you can’t be considered as overpowered characters in the isekai world when you are already freaking overpowered in your own world!!!!!!!!! So it’s not technically cheating, right?! Yes, people. And so these high school kids who somehow got teleported to this new other world, they’re going to save the oppressed people with their talents, fight the oppressors, bring down the oppressive and feudal regime, bring democracy and freedom!!! We’re going to change the world, people!!! Oh yeah. Typical isekai ingredient from then onward.

Episode 1
We are introduced to the world’s top prodigies despite only being in high school. Folks, meet Ringo Ohoshi (world’s top inventor), Aoi Ichijo (samurai), Keine Kanzaki (doctor), Masato Sanada (entrepreneur), Prince Akatsuki (magician), Shinobu Sarutobi (journalist – holy crap! You mean it’s not ninja?!) and Tsukasa Mikogami (politician – yikes! He just got re-elected for a second term as Japan’s Prime Minister?!). So where’s the top gamer?! Anyway, one day God decided to pull a prank on them because that’s what happen when you put all your eggs in 1 basket. Yup, a plane crash. Tsukasa wakes up and is being treated by this bust elf girl, Lyrule. He is glad that all 7 of them survived. I take it that the plane was on autopilot. I wonder if this is the village’s custom to feed a sick person via mouth AKA kiss? When horse girl, Winona enters, Tsukasa’s suspicions are confirmed. Yup, those animal parts are real. What’s this? They’re in Freyjagard and all of them are speaking the same language known as Altan? Requesting them to take him to the crash site, boy, the wreck is nasty and it’s a miracle that any of them survived. A month later, the magnificent 7 are recovering and blending well with the villagers of Elm. Only Akatsuki seems to have troubles accepting reality. Yeah, too many illusions he has dealt with in life… What better way to get on the good side of the villagers as Tsukasa introduces them to mayonnaise! Tasty! We learn that Byuma are those with animal traits and have strength. Those without are called Hyuma (human?) and some have magic properties and Hyuma are rare in this world. Winona talks about the legend of 7 warriors being summoned from another world to fight an evil dragon. Though, that is just merely a fairytale. Unfortunately, Elch, Winona’s son despises the guests as he considers them as useless mouths to feed. Hence Tsukasa discusses with his team the need to find more info about this world, find a way back to their own world and help rebuild this village’s finance. Soon, arrogant Imperial Knights come looking for trouble. Tsukasa tries diplomacy but I guess they only understand violence. Aoi and Shinobu easily defeat the lowly soldiers and Tsukasa himself overwhelms the captain. They are forced to flee and just to be safe so that they don’t rant on their lord, Akatsuki does some cheap magic trick to scare the sh*t out of them. That should keep them quiet.

Episode 2
Masato rejects the deal given by Jaccoi of Neutscheland Company. Jaccoi warns Elch if they do find another business partner in Dormundt, do tell because it is illegal to do business here without a permit. Elch is puzzled over Masato’s actions. Of course he is lectured about doing business 101 and Masato wants to take charge of this business trip and teach Neutscheland a lesson. Masato easily sets up their own company, Elm Trading Company (ETC). Thanks to Shinobu’s info, Masato went to see the mayor directly and some little blackmailing of his shady accounts got him this permit. With Masato giving more money lectures, this attracts a poor girl, Roo. She is desperate to learn in making money because she is tired living off others. Masato likes the greed in her eyes and accepts her. Masato then talks to a few villagers that ETC will set up shop in the central plaza and do consignment sales. In short, ETC will allow them to sell whatever goods through them with 10% of the cut as hosting fee. Masato explains it really nicely to those business illiterate folks and of course when compared to Neutscheland, ETC is giving them a better deal. You bet they want in on this and will tell their other friends. Thanks to this, ETC now has got abundance of stock without even spending money. Business lesson 101: The most important thing in business other than stock: Trust. In addition to having no risk and not spending a cent, ETC as a small company can expand as part of the rules is having a man manning the stalls. They make a killing on the first day that Roo must be in seventh heaven never having seen so many coins in her life! When Jaccoi learns of this, he brushes this off and believes they will go out of business soon. ETC’s top selling product: Mayonnaise! It’s a sell-out! This attracts the attention of Klaus, commander of a maritime merchant fleet, Sea Serpent. Jaccoi starts to worry when Sea Serpent has switched its trading partner to ETC. Too late thinking of going to war with ETC at the central plaza now. Masato has anticipated this move that they will come and buy up all the goods and sell them with profit. It wouldn’t be a bad move had they gone with it from day one. Because now ETC has the ‘blades’ that will kill off Neutscheland.

Episode 3
Jaccoi’s plan to buy up all products fail because he can’t get anything at all. The merchants who are now siding with ETC are those who were laid off by Jaccoi so that he could cut cost and monopolize some routes. Even if Neutscheland will sell them at a better price than ETC, the merchants will not accept because they’ve lost their trust. They think once this war is over, it’s back to the same old tactics again. With Jaccoi’s loss, Masato won’t completely crush him yet and wants to discuss their future economic plans. It seems there are more drawbacks than completely destroying Neutscheland because ETC might not be able to handle more merchants and he intends to throw some back to Neutscheland. When some guards try to take back Roo because she is supposed to be a slave and property, when Masato asks if she wants to be saved, she says yes but only after she breaks free and proclaims how she wants to be a merchant so she could buy back her parents. With that, Masato buys Roo a 100 times the market rate. Roo’s willpower is worth a thousand times more than the money they earned and this would be a splendid investment in the future. Shinobu reports to Tsukasa on Masato’s victory. She also reports what she has discovered such as the elements of this world. Communicating with them allows miracles to occur. Mages are rare in this world and those who can now reside in the territory of Marquis Findolf. Regarding about the legend, there was a faith called Seven Light Faith but they were routed by the empire centuries ago. Also, other religions were destroyed because the empire believes nobody should be above them. Even more troublesome for them is that if they want to leave this area, they need the permission of Findolf who himself is a real sh*tty person. Elm villagers who were out hunting are attacked by some monster. Nothing that Aoi could handle, right? See? Easily decapitated. But Mayor Ulga is fatally wounded and close to death! Nothing that Keine could handle, right? See? She easily fixes all ruptures, broken bones and sews him back to life! Good as new! Now comes the sh*t part. Guardian Knights under Findolf led by Inzaghi are here to burn them all. They view peasants touching gold coins as treason to the state! But don’t worry. How to get out of the burning house? Akatsuki’s magic! Voila! Although everyone is safe, Tsukasa realizes that Lyrule is missing. Yup, bad guys got her.

Episode 4
Sure, we want to rescue Lyrule but going in without a plan is suicidal. Even if they manage to rescue her, the empire will send a stronger force to crush all of them. Tsukasa guarantees he will do negotiation but since Winona is pleading for his help that they too want to help out, Tsukasa agrees they will lend their power if they are willing to take responsibility of the consequences. With that, Tsukasa hereby proclaims they will advance this world’s civilization by 500 years. They are going to destroy this old world and rebuild it with new economics, politics and values. Findolf looks like a typical perverted fat ass. You wonder why Lyrule is easily submitting to be his whore and that’s because Inzaghi made a deal with her that if she does so, he’ll never touch her village again. At the moment before he kisses her, some spark blows him away. Findolf is so enraged he is going to punish her. Thank goodness for auto virginity protection? Tsukasa and his team as well as Elm villagers raid Findolf’s domain after Ringo’s rail canon blows a hole in the wall. Don’t worry, they have very light and durable aluminium shields and swords to easily overwhelm the guards. Even their arrows are made of the same material and snipers can shoot from a great distance with great accuracy. And then the greatest show time with Akatsuki dropping coloured poisonous smoke bombs to send the remaining guards running. Shinobu has great knowledge of the secret passages as she leads Tsukasa in. But first they have to take care of Gale Stafford, the imperial mage officer. Of course his magic is so basic that even Shinobu defeats him easily. Tsukasa enters Findolf’s room to see Lyrule crucified. And then Findolf shoots him from his hiding! So now he wants to take out his perverted fancies on her? If you’re wondering why Tsukasa stepped right in like that to get shot, it’s because he is wearing a bullet proof vest. If only Findolf aimed at his head… Findolf being the coward he is, pleads for his life and is willing to give riches. Tsukasa doesn’t want all that. He talks about the new democratic nation that he will be creating for all. Justice for all! Equality for all! Findolf laughs at this idea as the emperor will not accept and would have them all killed. In that case, they will just kill the emperor first. Tsukasa fires right in Findolf’s forehead. Don’t worry. It’s just rubber bullet. As Tsukasa gets Lyrule, a strange voice possesses her. She claims the world is on the verge of being destroyed by some evil dragon and hopes the 7 summoned heroes will save it. Lyrule then reverts to herself and learns what has happened. She feels everyone has done something terrible but couldn’t be happier. Ultimate victory when Tsukasa emerges before his comrades with Lyrule secured.

Episode 5
Akatsuki puts up a magic show to charm the crowd and then gives them mayonnaise! Yeah, that will be the clincher to make them worship this new God! This is part of Tsukasa’s plan to use religion to unite everyone. They will be calling themselves Seven Light Faith and hopefully they may come into contact with the real deal. Walter Von Haizerad as the mayor of Dormundt knows he is numbered and tries to flee. Ah, but Tsukasa confronts him and wants him to continue serving as mayor and pledge his allegiance to Seven Light Faith. It’s better than running away and living in some unknown land in fear of repercussion. With the mayor doing that, the people rejoice. The guards of Dormundt also welcome this but it seems their captain, Zest Bernard calls it quits. It’s like Tsukasa knows what he’s thinking and goes to talk to him so as the request him to be the captain of the knights. Sorry no can do. He made up his mind to quit as there is something he needs to do. So has Tsukasa’s plan fail? He is no politician if he has no backup plan! Yup, this means going to talk to him again the next day. This time outlining the details. Bernard still sticks to his guns because of his daughter. His wife died of an epidemic so I guess he realized that with the Seven Light Faith ‘bringing trouble’, the empire will launch an attack. If this place becomes a battlefield, he won’t be able to live with his daughter anymore. Hence, there is no more reason to remain as a knight. Now it’s Tsukasa’s turn to put in some smooth operator convincing. We’re not after loyalty, just comrades who will fight alongside them. He can always put his daughter’s priority first and that is never something pathetic. And they need people like him to drive this revolution and change this world. It is their world after all. Their freedom! Oh yeah. You bet he is now in. But all is not going smoothly as Tsukasa expects some opposition especially the nobles who are losing grip on their power. He will keep a close eye on them. Shinobu uses her sexual appeal to get info from soldiers about Oslo El Gustave. A merciless perfectionist who kills all those who oppose the emperor. Yeah, nothing like doing more research by going to meet that guy. Speaking of which, Inzaghi pleads to Gustave for help to restore the lands from the rebels. However he got decapitated for shameless clinging to life despite being an Imperial Knight. Time for Gustave to go burn things down himself. Oh damn, he’s got fireball power???!!!

Episode 6
Tsukasa puts into action his reform plans. Haizerad wonders if he does get any rest because like the rumours say, the Seven Light Faith do not sleep. Tsukasa assures him he does rest but only after the work is done. Technically a politician’s job is never done so… Of course Tsukasa is making the nobles work hard so he has to play his part and can’t be taking rests, right? Ringo has finished creating the power plant and weapons factory. Tsukasa hopes her aerial defence will be ready because they need to be prepared from attacks from the sky. He heard some disturbing news from Shinobu regarding Heaven’s Flames that could obliterate an entire city. It was used in the last war by Gustave. Lyrule tries to help around but there is nothing Tsukasa has for her. This makes Lyrule wonders if he hates her because recently he has been distant too. Oh please, don’t cry… So what a desperate girl to do than to barge into his quarters to convince him that he is a special person. He tries to scare her off that he killed his own father. Flashback shows Tsukasa admired his father who was a politician. However he found out his wealth and power were made via corruption and deception. With the help of Masato and Shinobu, Tsukasa brought him down and he was sentenced to death. Naturally mom hated him for that but Tsukasa still cannot forgive his dad’s crimes. After Lyrule sheds some tears, she assures him she will never come to hate him. And like how politicians must bend their will to their people, he relents and gives in. So he starts off by sleeping on her lap. Hope no scandal… Oh dear, Ringo is watching and she looks pretty jealous! Roo is having a hard time with the multiplication table so Akatsuki, Keine and Aoi motivate her with stories of their own childhood, how they memorize and practised things and became good at what they are now. To further motivate her, why not visualize money? And with that, she can actually make multiplications faster than a calculator! Future merchant guaranteed… But Roo is soon depressed. Why? Now she has to do divisions. Money all going away… Sad Roo so sad…

Episode 7
Shinobu and Elch are being treated to great hospitality in this small village. After they retire to their room, Shinobu then drops he drunkard act and reveals her observations. She noticed the villagers are starving and have signs of malnutrition. Yet they didn’t touch the food they offered to them and pestered them to keep eating. Shinobu then leads Elch to the basement of the inn to reveal this village’s true nature. They kill and steal from travellers and sometimes even eat them! The villagers are rounded up for an inspection by Silver Knight, Jeanne Leblanc. Everyone puts up a nice smile and greeting. After everyone is dismissed, she spots a child having a small dirt on her clothes. Because this is a violation, she has her punished. Her mom begs for leniency but is only told to smile. Elch wants to rescue her but Shinobu reminds him the villagers tried to kill them. But of course they can’t wish death upon their enemies, right? So Shinobu pops up and offers a deal to Jeanne. Let the child go and she’ll surrender to them without resistance. Thinking she is from the Yamato Empire of the east, Jeanne agrees. Later that mom thanks Elch but he cannot forgive them for what they have done. The mother explains this was a small wheat growing village but ever since it became under Gustave’s domain, he enforced a beautification plan upon it and worse, the villagers do so out of their own pockets. Naturally they starve as they cannot get their hands dirty to farm so they had to eventually resort to this dark tactic. Jeanne is about to torture Shinobu but of course she slips out easily. However Jeanne thanks her for saving that little girl. She reveals she is from Azure Brigade and in service to Count Blumhardt and is worried for the future of Gustave’s region. Because it seems the Yamato Empire also views Gustave as their enemy. So the enemy’s enemy is my friend? She wants Shinobu to help he alleviate the suffering of the people. Gustave is amazed with this huge golden statue of the emperor and wants 4 more statues to be made. However his attendant advises the people will die as they will not have enough to eat. Gustave doesn’t care because it is their role to die for his majesty. But when he learns the uprising on Findolf has not been quelled simply because they are waiting for winter to be over, Gustave goes into rage! Hey, don’t taint the statue with your blood! Hence he takes his hot burning spear and throws it at Dormundt’s direction. Ringo’s radar detects it in time. However her anti-air missiles fail to stop it. Tsukasa has researched Heaven’s Flames and believes it to work like a bomb and wants her to change its trajectory. Well… the spear evaded that too! Brace for direct impact!

Episode 8
The spear hits the centre but the entire Dormundt didn’t explode. Just go up in flames first. And there’s a giant fiery spectre of Gustave cursing everybody. Thanks to the fast action of the people, the damage is limited for now. The fire stops spreading thanks to the wider streets but that won’t stop Gustave as he sends fire zombies to attack! Don’t get touched or you’ll be engulfed in flames! As everyone retreats, Lyrule mentions the only way to stop all the fire is to destroy its source, the spear. That is what is binding the fire spirits. Unfortunately she doesn’t know how she knows about this and the moment the fire started, all the details were ‘downloaded’ into her head. Tsukasa’s idea is to use a guided missile by Ringo’s AI mascot, Kumausa to destroy the spear. Aoi volunteers to guide it there. You’re wondering why she is running along with the missile instead of riding it. Ah, I see it is to brake and turn it whenever there is an obstacle. I’m still amazed that her bare feet isn’t f*cking destroyed by all the braking yet!!! When she gets to the centre, she has to deal with Gustave’s spirit. Hey, she can ride it and guide the missile as well?! When she locates the spear, all that is left is to let the missile lock onto it. When Gustave’s hands try to stop it but Aoi cuts them down with her wind slash. Wait a minute. Won’t air feed the fire?! Whatever. A direct hit and instantly all the fire is doused. The real Gustave is reeling from this painful defeat. Uh huh. His real hands are cut off! But he is so mad that he materializes a pair of fire arms???!!! Tsukasa thanks Lyrule for her help and even quells her worries that it was somehow her fault (because there were a few casualties). Hey, if this is the future and freedom you’re fighting for, it isn’t going to be 100% flawless victory, you know. Lyrule then reveals about that strange voice in her head that told her everything. Because of that, she wants to study magic to be useful in the future. Later, Shinobu calls Tsukasa and is ashamed of herself that she didn’t know Gustave would fire the spear so soon. But she assures him that he won’t be doing that again soon or firing multiple times because of the amount of time he needed to bind the fire spirits. Tsukasa also wants her to investigate more on Azure Brigade since they aren’t entirely certain if they are their allies. With Bernard’s modernized armed forces ready, Tsukasa is ready to strike back.

Episode 9
Gustave is so mad that he is ordering the soldiers who are supposed to march into Dormundt after winter, to march there right now or die! Hence Marquis Arclide and Marquis Buchwald are forced to take their soldiers and trek to the next checkpoint in this brutal blizzard. But before arriving, they are being sniped by Bernard’s team who have already taken over the checkpoint. Arclide immediately calls for a retreat. He also makes a false report that all his troops are dead to deceive the enemy so that when they are lured out into the open, they will encounter his heavy armoured cavalry. So if bullets can’t harm them, what can? Grenades! Yeah, everything just as planned by Tsukasa… Arclide has no choice but to really retreat this time. You think his own kingdom walls are safe? Then drones fly in to demand their unconditional surrender or else you don’t want to be like this tower taken out by their homing missile! Meanwhile Gustave gives a rousing speech to his troops to kill every traitor. That is when Jeanne tries to assassinate him but it failed. However Jeanne then calls her Azure Brigade to rise. You mean the entire Gustave’s army belongs to Azure Brigade? Jeanne and Shinobu fight Gustave. You can tell he is never going to surrender. A tough fight. Jeanne’s stab can’t kill him. Chandelier couldn’t kill him. Well, so as not to make our heroines dirty their hands, Gustave uses his own blood as bomb and self-destructs! Of course our heroines escape in time. In the aftermath, Shinobu reports to Tsukasa. It is unsure if Gustave is really dead because his body was never found… Arclide humbly joins Seven Light Faith. It’s the only way. They have superior technology and all the strategies he thought he had, Tsukasa read him like a book. Yeah. Like as though he is God! Our reward for watching all this: Seeing the girls getting a good massage in their birthday suit! I guess Ringo is the only flat one around so she doesn’t want to lose out and allows Shinobu to do some breast enhancing massage on her. Not sure if it works but it’s a win for all of us! Banzai oppai! Not even sure why Akatsuki is forced to join in. You’re supposed to rejoice and not complain! Are you gay?! Tsukasa and co meet to discuss the current situation. Lyrule is progressing well in learning magic and there is this trust issue with Azure Brigade. They might be on their side ever since but it is hard to tell. Even Tsukasa lays down the truth: It is impossible to get along with them.

Episode 10
Rommel Von Conrad, the leader of Azure Brigade may look like a nice guy but Tsukasa realized he has lied. The statue from Gustave that they need to rebuild the lands, when asked, Conrad says he didn’t know its location. Judging from all the tell-tale signs, the statue must already be in his control. This is bad as Gustave’s death is not confirm, he might come back for it. Also, publicizing Azure Brigade’s corruption may not do them any good as the public’s opinion is in favour of them. For now, they will work hard to earn the people’s trust and then expose them when the time is right. Let Azure Brigade line their pockets as much as they want. After all, money can be taken back easily unlike people’s hearts. Before they can move on to their next plan, Keine wants Tsukasa and Ringo to rest up because she can even tell if they continue to work like a horse, they will fall ill of a certain disease! If that’s what the doctor says… Ringo is flustering since Tsukasa asks her out. Like a date? Hence she seeks Aoi’s advice on how to get close to a man. The shocking thing is not how Aoi is very good in dealing with men and that she is also a good kisser, it’s how her method of dealing with them: Grab them by the balls!!!! OMFG!!!! GRAB THEM BY THE BALLS!!!!!!! Ringo seeks Keine’s advice next. What sounds like a slow romantic act, turns out to be some rape scene of taking off his clothes and then… Uhm… Uhm… Sex ed? You bet Ringo is confused. All that is left is Shinobu. Love is like hunting, eh? Okay. Sounds most plausible. Next day, Ringo’s date with Tsukasa begins. They dress up like lovely Byuma nobles and they’re turning quite the heads. She’s trying to apply what Shinobu advised. No such luck… And now we get a flashback of Ringo’s tragic genius life. She was born a prodigy and won many consecutive awards at a very young age. Unfortunately her mom got jealous till a point she left! Worse, she regretted giving birth to this ‘monster’! Poor girl. She started questioning her own existence and that is when she met Tsukasa who was also her same classmate. In short, he gave her a reason to exist and that her talents are not a waste. At the end of the day, it probably wasn’t the date Ringo had envisioned but at least it was good enough as she got to be with him. And then suddenly it gets serious because in Tsukasa’s bid to protect this town further, he needs something that only she can do. Back to work so fast?

Episode 11
Some Hyuma are being infected with a fatal disease. With Keine running out of antibiotics, some are pleading to Akatsuki to save them but can ‘God’ really save these people? Then herald a group of wicked men from the medical guild that serve under Gustave. Led by Count Serentius, he offers to relief their pain via opium. Of course this is banned under the Seven Light Faith. He dares them to resent that faith if they want this medicine. Akatsuki gets mad and tells them off that he will save these people. His angel Keine will do it. And yes, Keine has found a way. This coal? Those guys laugh and will let her do what she wants. If she fails, they must lift the opium ban. And so we see Keine with Lyrule making this super medicine. Sounds like making poison. Sulphuric acid, ammonia… Damn, they make this without wearing any mask or gloves? Oh well, she’s a super doctor. Eventually everyone is healed from this super medicine. You bet those guild guys aren’t happen and plot to do some threatening and poisoning. Don’t bother. Keine is here to give them a few lessons. After paralyzing them, when called a demon, she relishes in this nickname. Because she thought of killing God for making human so weak. Hence her plan is take down God and help create better bodies for human where everyone is free of flaws and deficiencies! Damn, she’s so scary that Serentius becomes so scared of her and now becomes a goody-goody wimp follower of her. Yes, ma’am. Anything you say! Meanwhile Conrad reports to General Neuro. Knowing that Azure Brigade has no capacity to fight Seven Light Faith and the reason they are just cooperating now, Neuro intends to crush those fakes by lending his forces. His adjutant, Tanganika is even more powerful than Gustave. Jeanne is surprised Raisenach isn’t with Conrad for the meeting. Change of plans. He tries to kill her! He also admits he killed Blumhardt. Jeanne is defeated and you know their weakness is never killing on the spot. Because those horny men want to rape her, this allows Shinobu to kill them all and Jeanne delivering the fatal blow to Raisenach. Shinobu then shows Jeanne a secret room underneath the castle. This is where the golden statue is located. Jeanne is enraged Conrad lied to her. She is sad that the ideals of Azure Brigade to fight for the people have changed. They have to hide since Conrad and Tanganika are coming in.

Episode 12
When Conrad says he broke down the statue, Tanganika is not pleased. Does this guy sound familiar? You bet. He is Gustave! Damn, I knew he wasn’t dead. He burns Conrad alive for this blasphemy. Now he is going to burn everything else. Shinobu and Jeanne better run. Gustave so mad that he burns everything in the castle, including his own men! I don’t know how long Gustave has been ranting about long live his emperor and burning everything but it was enough for Dormundt. To send a ballistic missile to blow up the entire place!!! WOAH!!! When Tsukasa talks about diplomacy and all, Ringo now understands why he worded things in such a way. So that he could take the blame for being useless that he could resort to such action. Ringo assures that he is always working hard for the sake of others. Next day, everyone gathers as Tsukasa announces that Azure Brigade has surrendered the lands Gustave ruled over to Seven Light Faith. Now that they have the northern states, Tsukasa wants the people to form a new nation: Elm Republic. Sorry to rain on your parade but Gustave is back! Not again! After evacuating the people, Gustave turns into a monster to kill them. Oh look. That giant gem in his heart. Gotta get rid of it. I guess only Aoi and Shinobu have the skills to tackle him but clearly not quite enough. With Aoi’s sword broken and stuck in the gem, Gustave now charges at Tsukasa who is taking pot shots at him. Finally his last bullet destroys the gem. Rampaging stops. Phew. Looking at Tsukasa, Gustave knows he is a leader and a fake. He mocks his ideals of equality and men like them cannot save the people. He will eventually come to realize that everything is to be ruled by the emperor chosen by the heavens. Gustave disintegrates. Good riddance. Later Tsukasa reflects on this. There is some truth in Gustave’s words. Tsukasa views himself as an imposter. Unlike his comrades who possessed true skills, Tsukasa as a politician only uses methods anyone else could use. Is he implying politicians are useless and only good for using others?! So true! He is worried because he is not a prodigy, how can he beat the emperor? But don’t fret over that. Because he has friends with him as they all celebrate to Ulga’s newly renovated house. With mayonnaise! Lots of them!

Isekai Cheat Geniuses
Oh shucks. Thank goodness it ended. It is just too bad that it got just slightly interesting when Gustave made his final words that were actually food for thought. But that’s about it. Unfortunately no really big foreshadowing of the next threat and from the looks of those oriental babes trio at the end, they look more sexy than threatening. Yeah sure, looks can be deceiving but whatever. They also kept this emperor a big mystery and we have not seen his face a single time (sorry, that statue wasn’t clear enough to make things out). You’d thought this guy who rules the land with his iron fist and his fearful reputation echoing throughout the land would at least let us have some visual on how he looks like but I guess if we have to settle all the generals first before coming to face the man who is chosen by the gods. There is an order to everything. Including democracy. Hence, no point for Tsukasa to be worried about this first. Better discuss the governing policies for Elm Republic first. We’ll cross the bridge when we get there. Meanwhile their original world must be crying where their geniuses have disappeared too… Uh huh. The economy has collapsed! Nations destroyed! People dying! Riots everywhere! Oh dear. How fragile our own world is. Seven Light Faith is going to have another tough time on their hands when they return to their original world. Yup. Round 2 to fix this wretched planet.

Sometimes I feel that this is like Danganronpa but with all the flawless cooperation and coordination they put together without all the killing among each other. Not the first feeling I had. Also had that same feeling when I saw the recent Nakanohito Genome [Jikkyouchuu]. We have a super duper politician, a super duper businessman, a super duper doctor, a super duper samurai, a super duper inventor, a super duper magician and a super duper journalist all together in one basket. I guess there isn’t any super duper gamer. Uh huh. It is one of those super professions not needed when you actually want to change the world. Sorry gamers. Your talents of being champions of Fortnite or Call of Duty are not appreciated in the new world order :’(.

And as you can see, the plot of the story is pretty much cliché and predictable. Powerful foreigners from another land (world in this case) breaking up the ironclad rule of the nobles and royals and giving the people the voice. And they are continuously being successful at it. Sure, they look like making it so easy and putting in effort that doesn’t seem to make them break into any sweat. For this kind of strategy to work so well, this world has to be primitive and backwater in almost every aspect. Primitive technology, primitive science, primitive thinking and ideals. Voila. Even if this world has magic, it is still quite primitive if you think about it. Because if technology can actually overcome your magic, you’re pretty much screwed in the end. So you’ve got the perfect setting for ‘more advanced culture and civilization’ to bring about tantalizing changes. And of course the common people would jump on board. Sounds like a fair deal to them. They’ve been oppressed for as long as their ancestors have existed so what have they got to lose by jumping on this bandwagon?

So now you see why our other worldly geniuses are so successful? If this world was some futuristic dystopia, they would be the ones having their backs against the ropes. No doubt that they will eventually rise with that kind of super talents but it’ll take a much longer time compared to this one. I might be wrong but I’ve got a hunch when our magnificent seven came to liberate the people of this world and have them believe in a new faith, doesn’t this feel familiar like when white men went to conquer and spread their gospel through other parts of the world? You know, that White Man’s Burden?

Sometimes you want to think that it is all nonsense and garbage that our heroes can pull off solutions and miracles so easily but then again, remember the primitive setting of it all. Also, it is a good thing and in a way mind boggling that the basic sciences in their original world as well as this world work the same. Phew. Thank goodness. Otherwise, how would they ever use their knowledge and create such simple solutions that we take for granted every day? This is why Tsukasa and co are able to build such huge modern complexes out of nothing. Thank Ringo for that too. Somewhat. Incredible yet incredulous if I should say. You have modern day amenities and facilities sticking out like a sore thumb in this primitive world and with all that in hand, it kinda makes them look invincible. Oh, so convenient about the legend talked about the Seven Light Faith coming down to save the people. Just wow. Everything works in favour of our geniuses. I mean, how can Tsukasa and co make mayonnaise in this world so easily? I am guessing they have those ingredients and raw materials here. But the people never actually figured this out? Seriously, no? Something wrong… Yeah, blame the oppression for impeding their creativity!

Personally if you ask me, the character development for our septet feels weak. I guess with limited number of episodes, there is a need to balance between the heroes as well as what they are going to achieve in this world. We have short and brief narrations of Tsukasa and Ringo’s past. It feels just like skimming through and it could have been elaborated further had this series had more episodes. And because of that, the rest of the other characters feel like they don’t really have a back story to their name. I’m sure we want to know how Masato became such a ruthless business. You want to know if he can top Bill Gates or Warren Buffet without a fight. Same thing I want to ask about Keine, is she the new Black Jack or something? What about Aoi and her exceptional swordsmanship? Was she born with this talent or did she hone it through years of training? (But because she is a genius, it shaves a lot of years and that helps). What is Akatsuki’s real name? Does he even have one? Is Shinobu’s intelligence gathering skill that good? Maybe she could read minds, you know. While all these characters do have their moment, it feels insufficient. Like when Masato had his turn early in the series, after his business venture was successful, that’s the end of his role. That is the most prominent part you’ll ever so of him ever. He may be running his business thingy in the background but as far as the progress of this series is concerned, he turned into a background supporting character after that.

Interestingly, Keine sounds like she has a hidden personality. Especially about her goal in wanting to make the perfect human and hence she wants to kill God. Not sure if she was just putting up a show and trolling us or if this is her dark nature that nobody else never knew. It is a shame because it sounded like it had a lot of potential since Keine is one of the very calm and cool characters of the group. Like as though still waters run deep.

It’s hard to believe that Tsukasa is being such a good politician. In today’s era, such good statesmen are equivalent to unicorns! They’re a myth and impossible to find! Haha! I really want to believe that Tsukasa is such a talented policymaker but my sceptical guts prevented my otherwise. Because if he was that good, why is Japan now still a mess? Sure, he won a second term as Japan’s (possibly the youngest) Prime Minister but nothing else is said about his achievements back in his home world. Maybe Tsukasa is not one to gloat. But still, sceptical guts remains… So in this world, it’s like he can test out his resolve and resolution before tackling on the harder issues back home. Yeah, it’s like this world is on easy mode and for practice.

But there is some truth that Tsukasa might not be as a great prodigy that we all think of him to be. After all, what is a politician’s role anyway? Tsukasa just has the charisma to rally people on and this could be debatable if you want to argue if this is a real skill or not. But as long as Tsukasa is doing a good job and stay clean, I guess nobody is going to complain. Yet. Just like the rest, Tsukasa has some sort of past that is clearly not explained and the one shown here is just merely the tip of the iceberg. Like as though Gustave saw through him that he is hiding more than meets the eyes. Something a typical politician always has.

Somehow Akatsuki feels like the weakest among the septet. Because among the septet whose skills and expertise are very relevant and useful, I suppose performing magic tricks and illusions might feel like just some sort of entertainment but I’m guessing that Ringo could have created video games and Disneyland amusement parks if she wanted too. Had she not being busy herself with whatever Tsukasa entrusted her. Hence Akatsuki now becomes the figurehead and poster boy for Seven Light Faith. So to speak. Thanks to Aoi and Keine always accompanying him as his angels, even into baths, now I am having doubts if Akatsuki is actually a boy. What if he is a girl and his shy-shy reaction when those bold busty babes dip in the same bath with him is because he is trying to hide his tiny boobs and vagina? Holy sh*t! I don’t think I want to know any further…

Even some of the denizens of this world feel like they’re somewhat forgotten. At least for now. Like Roo. She is now Masato’s disciple and steadily making progress as a trader. What happens to her after that? Like, why do we even need this character for? Is she a stepping stone to show us why Masato is such a good guy, a successful businessman despite also being a ruthless trader? I thought you can only be either one. Hey, maybe in this world you can be both! So what is Roo for again? Maybe we need a cute pet mascot to show us how to eat mayonnaise in a cute adorable way! Then there is something about Lyrule. Ever since after kidnapping incident, her role too has somewhat become insignificant. More accurately, taking a backseat for now. Because we are sure curious to know what that mysterious inner voice is. Something that we all believe that could link the heroes with this world. For now, let’s just keep that at the back of our minds.

The antagonists are also one dimensional and predictable. After all, this is a feudal world with backwater thinking. Because a big majority of nobles and royals want to keep their stranglehold on power, that’s one some of them like Gustave are turned into manaics. Wanna bet he is still very much alive even after that disintegration? Maybe ghost mode… Due to the primitiveness of this world, understandably those in power do not understand how powerful the heroes are. Until they come face to face with their technology. What else is there to say? So far, Seven Light Faith has encountered not so powerful foes and even Gustave himself despite powerful, their technology thankfully still wins in the end. So imagine if they finally come face to face with the emperor. It could be a whole new different story. That’s why Seven Light Faith should not be carried away with the liberating victories they have so far. It’s like they’re also trolling us to get used to their victories and when they face off with the final boss, we’re going to be in for some real shocker.

Art and animation are pretty standard. There are some blood and gore in the few fighting scenes but nothing that will cause you to be traumatized for the rest of your life. Unless this is your very first time watching TV. This anime is done by Project No. 9 who did Ro-Kyu-Bu, Ryuuou No Oshigoto, Netoge No Yome Wa Onnanoko Ja Nai To Omotta and Saikin Imouto No Yousu Ga Chotto Okashinda. Maybe that’s why the character designs look a bit one kind and similar.

Voice acting, because I was just fresh from watching To Aru Kagaku No Accelerator, Rina Hidaka who was the voice of Last Order, lends her talent here as Ringo. That is when Ringo speaks, she reminds me of that character. Albeit minus all that spunky loli attitude in Last Order. But then again, since Rina Hidaka also voices Kumausa, yeah, this sounds pretty familiar to Last Order. I don’t know. Last Order reincarnated? The recognizable seiyuus include Jouji Nakata as Gustave, Mai Nakahara as Winona and Hiro Shimono as Elch. The other casts are Yuusuke Kobayashi as Tsukasa (Subaru in Re: Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu), Junji Majima as Masato (Kinji in Hidan No Aria), Hisako Kanemoto as Keine (titular character in Shinryaku! Ika Musume), Sayaka Kaneko as Aoi (Sora in High School Fleet), Natsumi Hioka as Shinobu (Tsukuyo in Busou Shoujo Machiavellism), Shizuka Ishigami as Akatsuki (Renge in Kyoukai No Rinne), Yuuki Kuwahara as Lyrule (Konoha in Gamers), Sayaka Senbongi as Jeanne (Shuna in Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken) and Chinami Hashimoto as Roo (Chiyo in Prison School).

One of the weirdest things to happen in this anime is the opening theme, Hajimete No Kakumei by Dialogue+. This song is such a lively fanfare that it doesn’t fit the theme of the series at all. This is a song that feels like when you’re doing a show opening or something. It doesn’t reflect the grim struggle, the setting and the pace of the series in any way. Sometimes I feel it’s like an insult. You know, our main septet are so powerful and godly. Hence this proclamation song that feels like they can just bulldoze over everything with ease. Yes, it is that bizarre. At least the ending theme, Dear My Distance by Akari Kitou sounds better suited even though it is just generic and not really attractive to me.

Overall, Choyoyu somehow sounds close to a Cantonese saying of fried squid which means ‘fired’. My final sentiments for this series. And once again we decided to show how capable and reliable we are by flexing our muscles and imposing that our idealistic ideals are always the best (even though in reality we rarely preach it – do what I say, not what I do, literally). There is this dilemma for this kind of genre to really go beyond the bias perception that it has already gotten and do better. We want to show that that we can really free the oppressed but at the same time, we make it look so easy and effortless. I think most of us will be sceptical no matter how pure the ideals of these characters are. Maybe this will work in a world where anime doesn’t exist. And to the rest of us, these geniuses are just arrogant and conceited. Oh yeah? I dare you to change my mind (meme)!

P/S: When everything fails, just… GRAB THEM BY THE BALLS!!!!!! Best advice ever!

Oh no. Here we go again. Yet another isekai genre anime. Arifureta Shokugyou De Sekai Saikyou is another one of those abundant isekai series that tries to distinguish itself from other similar series in the genre but comes out as mostly the same (or worse, depending on your mood of the day). Uh huh. Wanna bet that the main character who is pretty average and normal, becomes overpowered and easily overcomes his obstacles with his ‘intuition’ due to ‘circumstances’? Oh yeah. You bet they’re going to throw in some harem trope as well. Which girls do not want to be with such badass powerful hunk? Yeah. Oh, you bet I wanna throw myself into his arms and be protected by this reincarnated tough guy. KYAAA~ KAKOI SUGIRU!!! <3. Oh yeah. Bring on all your isekai clichés! I’m gonna take them all! HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!

Episode 1
Hajime Nagumo has it real bad. He has fallen real deep into the Great Orcus Labyrinth and barely alive. If you think seeing a killer rabbit is bad, wait till you see the killer bear eating the killer rabbit! Oh f*ck! It ate his arm too! Hajime runs as fast as he could and using his transmute ability to protect himself. Hiding inside some hole, it is the miracle of some holy crystal nearby that keeps him alive. Flashback shows his party were training hard to enter this labyrinth. Clips of Hajime getting bullied? Then when they first enter the labyrinth, somebody accidentally touched a trap crystal that transported them to a bridge on the 65th floor. A behemoth charges at them as they try to run for safety. Hajime tries to cover for Kaori Shirasaki and when everyone else has run to safety, the plan is the attack the behemoth to cover Hajime so he could run. However one of the blasts directly hit Hajime. The bridge collapses and he fell along with the behemoth. Hajime realizes he has been betrayed. Somebody in the party wanted him dead. Furthermore, previously Kaori warned him not to go as she had a premonition something bad would happen to him. Because he was adamant, Kaori vowed to protect him. But now Hajime is bitter that nobody is going to save him but since he isn’t going to die in this sh*thole, he just has to kill everything that gets in his way! Wow. Suddenly he turns from a wuss to badass? He uses his abilities and brains to trap monsters for food. However eating them, he starts to feel something inside him transforming. Sure it isn’t the case of food poisoning? Wow. Now he transforms into something more badass! He thinks it is because of this holy water that is keeping him alive. Not only that, his stats all jumped and now he has the ability to manipulate mana. So the more different monsters he eats, the more abilities he gains as well as his growth in stats. Heck, he even crafted a gun so this can turn into some shooting anime? Donner, that’s what he calls his gun? Then he goes to have his rematch with the killer bear and kills it and eats it. Tastes like crap but the victory tastes sweet! Since he can’t go up, he is going down. He is going to survive this and find his way home.

Episode 2
Eating the same monsters many times will not have any significant increase. So, variety is the spice of life? Back in Heiligh Kingdom, the king is informed of this tragedy but gives the gag order not to talk about this anymore. This puts Kaori in despair. Because she promised to protect him and when she was desperate to go save him after he fell, Meld Loggins had to knock her out. He can’t risk losing any more of them. Further flashback reveals Hajime, Kaori and their entire class were summoned to this kingdom as heroes. History has this world having 3 races: Humans, demons and beastmen. So now angels? Humans and demons were at war for a very long time but the demons controlled the beastmen to tip the favours in their scale. Humanity at the brink of destruction had to summon heroes from another world to save them. Kouki Amenogawa is probably a popular guy and probably loves playing the hero of justice. Can’t sit by and see a kingdom go into extinction, can he? So that’s why nobody listens to loli teacher, Aiko Hatayama when she tries to veto they can’t go on this dangerous adventure. Shizuku Yaegashi (Kaori’s best friend) trains as she too feel something is off. Noting Daisuke Hiyama is acting strange, this has her remember he was always picking fights with Hajime and Kaori always intervened. Is there some love triangle going on? Shizuku feels bad that Kaori is still reeling from the fact they couldn’t save Hajime. She continues to believe he is still alive. Hajime arrives at a place with a huge door. Must be something important, huh? But first he has to fight 2 giant guardians. After defeating them an unlocking the door, he hears a voice asking to be saved. Seeing a loli trapped in a cube prison, Hajime does what any sane person would do: Get the hell out of here! But the loli pleads she will do anything! Don’t be tempted! Get out! After all, he suspects she must be somebody dangerous to be sealed here. However she says the buzzword. Yup, she was betrayed and sealed here. As a powerful immortal vampire, one day she was told she was no longer needed and her uncle was to take over ruling. She was fine with that but they told her she was too dangerous and was thus sealed here since she couldn’t be killed. Hajime breaks her out from her prison. She wants him to name him since she doesn’t need her old name anymore. He calls her Yue. Because her hair and eyes glow like the moon. So it’s not Tsuki? Just saying. Suddenly something attacks and Hajime protects Yue from the incoming projectiles.

Episode 3
It’s going to take more than this giant scorpion’s stingers to kill him. He fights back but is not making any headway. This is when Yue sucks some of his blood as she lands some giant ball over the monster. But good for only 1 use. Although her next attack is weakened, with Hajime’s shooting skills, they kill the monster in no time. Hajime eats the monster as he explains why he didn’t abandon her and run. Yeah, it would be just bad for a guy to just free her and then abandon her. Remember, no betrayals. Yue explains the rumours that the labyrinths were built by Mavericks. They once tried to destroy the world but failed so they built labyrinths to escape and hence it is believed that Mavericks reside at the bottom of each labyrinth. With Hajime’s mana increased, he is now able to make a railgun rifle. Schlagen, he calls it, huh? Hajime also tells his betrayal story. Because of his powers as a synergist, his role isn’t suited for combat. Everyone said he was useless. They teamed up with the royal guards to clear the labyrinth and the rest is history as we know it. Though he doesn’t want revenge, he just hopes to get better and go home. Wow. Yue crying at his sob story? Okay. Even loli vampires have feelings. And since Yue also has no home to go to, he offers she could join him. Next scene, we see them being chased by… Dinosaurs with flower on their heads?! Actually, parasitic flowers. Killing them won’t be effective unless they take out the source. So when they final do, it seems this plant lady monster has gotten Yue under her command and forces her to attack Hajime. Somehow parasitic plants wither on Hajime since he ate too many monsters and has developed some immunity. Until Yue tells him to just shoot, he gets happy and blasts through and kills the monster. Now Yue is mad that he didn’t even hesitate to shoot?! Heh. He was reluctant at first because he knew she would be mad and he thought it was okay since she gave her ‘permission’. By the way, isn’t she a vampire and can’t die? Okay, still not good to shoot a loli. Hajime eats the monster but Yue now wants to feed on his blood. And she gets naked?! WTF is this reverse rape?! Trekking further downwards, they finally reach the 100th floor. You can sure tell something is important behind this huge ominous door.

Episode 4
They face off with a hydra. You can easily tell their coloured heads, each having their own roles and abilities. Like the white one heals, the yellow one defends, etc. Then there is the black one who hypnotizes Yue and plays her trauma of being abandoned by Hajime. Nobody does this to his loli so Hajime snaps her out. I think the deal breaker was the kiss on her lips. Because the second time it hypnotized her, all she needs to do is remember the kiss and she won’t be hypnotized! Damn, the kiss was so damn effective! Hajime can’t be hypnotized too because he is so hard bitten, he is afraid of nothing! Finally he is going to use Schlagen on the hydra and has Yue cover him. Though he manages to get a good shot, the final head fires at Yue. I understand why Hajime uses his body to protect Yue but… Isn’t Yue an immortal?! I guess nobody hurts his loli, huh? Hajime is fatally wounded. I’m guessing she is kissing him to transfer some healing potion is because she wants to kiss him. Could have just poured the bottle straight into his mouth… Then she wants to avenge him by using his Donner. Can she? Nope. Loli failed. Loli going to get owned again and that’s when Hajime wakes up to play the hero again. Yup. His loli must not be hurt. Can’t lose his beloved loli. With Hajime now having the ability to slow down time (or is he speeding up?), he makes his final move. He plants bombs all over the ceiling and in great timing shoots at them for it all to come crashing on the hydra. I guess the hydra has no more strength to get out from its crushed state. Hard fought victory. Well done. Meanwhile Aiko threatens a priest that she will stop using her farming ability if he continues to force students who don’t want to fight to continue fighting. He relents since he views her farming to be valuable. Finally. Somebody listens to her!

Episode 5
What’s this? Hajime and Yue naked in bed together?! Since Hajime is alive and kicking, I suppose he is alright but I doubt sex had any part in his healing. Yue reveals after defeating the hydra, the door before them opened and there is this beautiful underground garden. This could be the Maverick’s lair. She put him on the bed and let his holy water do the healing. Phew. Told you there was no sex involved. Exploring around, they enter a mansion in which the throne room sits a skeletal corpse. Hajime stands in the insignia to test if this is a teleport but he activates the corpse’s ghost! Actually, it is just a recording of Oscar Orcus. He is a Maverick who built this labyrinth. Meanwhile Meld and the rest head back down to face the behemoth once more. So monsters here respawn? Just like the bridge too? This time they are more coordinated, more powerful and more determined in taking down the behemoth. Orcus says that as a reward for passing his trials set in the labyrinth, he will give his power. Just don’t use it for evil, okay? Hajime then feels like some ancient magic spell being imprinted into his head. Also some memories about the truth about Mavericks. They’re not bad guys but liberators. I guess we’ll have to wait for later to hear this. So it seems Hajime has the new power to do some creation magic. Add energy to raw minerals and give them special qualities? Holy crap. That sounds like becoming God! After burying the corpse, Hajime realizes that there are lots of things he can learn here. Hence, delaying his journey back to the top. So with his new magic, he is able to create lots of new things. Like his new prosthetic arm. More cool weapons. More cool vehicles. Only imagination’s the limit. Forget that cheesy fanservice scene of Yue trying to do something to Hajime in the bath… So after 2 months of learning and getting what they can, it’s time for them to head back up. Their goal now is to find other labyrinths because each has their own ancient magic to learn. That way, he might be able to find a way to return home.

Episode 5.5
Eh? Recap episode?! Well, if you didn’t pay attention to what happened previously, Hajime nicely summarizes up some of the important events that has happened so far. Pay attention next time so we don’t have to waste a week of recap episode! Or maybe the production should just buck up… But at the end we get a new scene: Some stupid sexy bunny girl, Shea is waiting for someone to pop up. Better hurry because she almost got eaten by a dinosaur!

Episode 6
Just in time. A grand entrance for Hajime and Yue. With Shea so glad to see them, the duo pretend not to see and walk away. But Shea is begging for them to save her village and even tries to use her sex appeal. I guess she has never died before since she is confident her bustiness beats Yue’s flatness! You know Hajime is in a bad mood when he easily kills the dinosaur! Persistence is key so with all that bugging, Hajime is willing to hear her out. Although beastmen cannot use magic, she is the rare type who can. She has clairvoyance and some of her magic is that only used by monsters. As Because of that, she was kicked out of her tribe but a small group and her family followed her. However they are too weak to survive on their own. In her clairvoyance she saw them saving her family. Hajime is still not interested seeing he gets nothing out of it. Shea thinks she can be their guide to the Great Tree. Anyone who approaches it will lose their senses. Only natives can navigate through. Yue has some heart and has her tag along. Upon arrival, Hajime gets down to business by killing the monsters threatening the bunny people. Yeah, using Shea as bait. With the bunny people wanting to get stronger, Hajime trains them. Shea has her bouts with Yue but you know who always ends up tops. Hey, take it as a learning experience. At the end of the training, those bunny people are now bloodthirsty savages! OMFG! Where did those cute flower loving people go?! Arriving at the Great Tree, there is a monolith that bears the same design as Oscar’s. From what I understand from Yue’s deciphering, if they get 4 more symbols from other labyrinths, they get the power of generation. Wow. Time to go dungeon raiding. Yue wants to come along because she loves Hajime and also she technically beat Yue in a duel. She hopes that by working hard, she can change the future and not have any regrets. Her family will stay behind since Hajime might come back and he might need a guide then. Whatever the boss says.

Episode 7
Hajime and co find themselves at the labyrinth of Miledi Reisen. The deeper they go, there is this cheeky bratty voice trying to annoy them and play pranks and tricks on them. Usually, Shea bearing the brunt of most of it. It gets frustrating enough that the labyrinth leads them back to the first room! Finally they find the room where Miledi supposedly resides. So this giant knight is Miledi? Hajime is forced to answer her questions of his goal and intentions if she is to answer his. Too bad she didn’t keep her end of the bargain and won’t tell if she has the ancient magic she wants. Miledi looks down on them and I’m guessing that’s why she lost despite being so powerful. Nothing like a little teamwork to take down the giant. Shea getting the lion’s share of finishing her off. Before Miledi disappears, she sends a warning to Hajime since he is going to raid other labyrinths. They are the real bad guys so it is going to be tough all the way. Because one day he is going to be the God Killer. She believes his decision will make this world a better place and hopes he will live as freely as he chooses to. On the way out, they stumble into the real Miledi. Just a little pipsqueak, huh? Why does she remember me of Mario’s Shy Guy? Still as bratty, though. Nothing like a little beat down to show her place. It seems the only magic she has pertains to gravity in which Yue is most suitable. Not enough, Hajime tries to loot her but she flushes them out. Because Shea is not breathing, Hajime administers CPR. Yue jealous… Horny bunny’s feint to give Hajime a good French kiss! Then when they try to rent a room at an inn, Yue and Shea argue who should share a room. It ends with Shea declaring she wants to sleep with Hajime and let him take her virginity! I think the whole town heard that… Oh Shea, Hajime is going to f*ck you alright. Not of the sexual kind, that is.

Episode 8
Ilwer Chang, the head of Fuhren Adventurer’s Guild would like Hajime to undertake a quest. Will Cudeta, the son of a count has gone missing after he and his group when to the northern regions for survey. He wants Hajime to rescue them. In exchange, he promises to get him out of any trouble with the guild. He also agrees to Hajime’s conditions of making them status plates and doing anything else they ask for. They arrive in a town that coincidentally Aiko and some of her students are here to help with the farming. In the restaurant, Aiko realizes this is Hajime because his girls keep calling his name. I guess a teacher knows best despite Hajime looking totally different. She confronts him but he tries to pretend she got the wrong person. Although he admits, he continues to ignore her. Aiko might be small but she is persistent as she keeps bugging him. Shea should shut her mouth and not saying ambiguous things like she is Hajime’s girl and he stole her first kiss. Ai wants to lecture him but Hajime continues to ignore. Sensei, your threats mean nothing! And then the knight accompanying Aiko lost his patience. He tries to tell off Hajime for being rude and then continues to badmouth Shea as a beastman. When he crosses the line, Hajime shoots and wounds his shoulder. Try again and die. He tells everyone he won’t tell anything that has happened or going to happen to him. Just stay out of his way. Later that night, Hajime visits Aiko’s room. He tells her the true history of this world. After the Age of Gods, the world was plagued by war. A group of people came with an intent to stop it and the people believed them as God. But God were just using them as pawns and everything was just a mere game. Hence a group of heroes called Liberators united to stop them. However they failed because the people tricked by God rebelled against them. They can’t fight back against the ones they sworn to protect. Now labelled as Mavericks, they were slowly taken out and the survivors scatter and hid in labyrinths. They prepared trials and those who overcome them will be granted their powers in hopes they will use it to defeat God. Though, Hajime doesn’t care about this world and just believes labyrinths are the key to send him home. He also reveals the truth that his ‘death’ wasn’t an accident but one of her students had intention to kill him. Next day as Hajime prepares to leave, Aiko wants to travel with him and hear more stories. Knowing how stubborn she is, he relents. But is his bike enough to take her and the students? Instantly he creates a Humvee!

Episode 9
Arriving at the site, they see huge footprints. Trekking further into the cave, they finally find Will cowering. He claims a black dragon wiped his team out. When Will feels bad he only survived, here comes that lecture from Hajime about being a wuss. The moment they leave the cave, the black dragon attacks them. Time for Hajime to strut his stuff. Because the black dragon keeps targeting Will, Hajime has to find a way to attract its attention. Just be more powerful! Eventually he manages to bring it down. And now here comes the mind blowing part. Because a dragon has scales on its body and is hard to penetrate, logically it is weak in places without scales. And that place? Hajime shoves a pole down the dragon’s ass!!! OMFG!!! SO BRUTAL!!! The dragon screams in pain in her silly voice! She pleads for mercy and will explain everything. Just take that thing out! Too bad Hajime wants her dead and keeps shoving it in!!! OMFG!!! SO BRUTAL!!!! She mentions that it was not her intention to attack Will. Some shady robe guy casted a spell on her and made her go violent. She will accept her punishment but only after he gives her a chance to repent her actions. Unfortunately Hajime doesn’t care and continues this painful ass penetrating act until Yue points out if he kills her, he will be breaking an important rule. He takes the pole out in time before her mana runs out as she reverts into her human form. Yeah, imagine that pole ripping apart her ass… Don’t want to see that kind of horror story. And was she orgasming while he took it out of her ass?! Introducing herself as Tio Klarus of the dragonborn clan, she further adds the shady robe guy’s intention is to unleash an army of monsters upon the town. Hajime’s drones picked up about 60,000 monsters on their way but no shady robe guy among the ranks. Will hopes Hajime can do something about it but Hajime won’t because the deal was only to bring Will back safely. Also, it would be better to go back and warn the town. Tio sounds like a pervert as she hints she wants to come along with them so Hajime drags and treats her roughly. This new sensation… She’s loving this new awakening?

Episode 10
When Aiko hopes Hajime could do something about the invading army, he points out the irony that she always places her students first but now she is asking him to risk his life. True, but she also doesn’t want to see innocent people in this world die. I guess he can’t disobey sensei’s words so I take that as a yes he is going to help. He makes preparations and turns the village into a fort. Some boring moments of certain people talking to him before the big fight. But ruined by Tio because she’s just being a masochist trying to rile him up so she can get a bigger orgasm from his harshness. As the enemy nears, Hajime gives a rousing speech that makes Aiko into a goddess. As long as she is on their side, victory will be theirs! And now we see Hajime and his harem easily take out the horde with magic or modern weapons. When they run out of ammo, it is up close for melee combat. I guess they’re so cool that some monsters even retreat. Heh. Number mean nothing. Heck, Hajime even confronts the shady robe guy and easily brings him down! His identity turns out to be Yukitoshi Shimizu, his (former) classmate and one of Aiko’s students. Aiko hears him out why he is doing this. Apparently he isn’t being acknowledged. So he went up north and stumbled into some demon clan. They acknowledged his power and made a contract with him to kill Aiko. Doing so, he will be recognized as a hero. Aiko tries to talk to him that what he is doing is wrong but also promises to protect him. But Shimizu didn’t have a change of heart. He takes Aiko hostage and wants Hajime to hand over all his weapons and secure a way out for him. Hajime won’t do it. I mean, taking Aiko back to the demons, they’ll still kill her, right? He even dares him to kill her. Suddenly, a sniper shoots Shimizu. Thanks to Shea, Aiko is spared although Shimizu’s poisonous needle got injected into her. The culprit escapes (not before Hajime fires a wounding shot). I just wonder why can’t Hajime pour his healing potion into Aiko’s mouth directly? Must he give it via his mouth? She is cured and wants him to help Shimizu too. After he tried to kill her? Hajime asks if Shimizu is his enemy. Fearing death, he pleads his fealty to him. Hajime shoots him dead! Aiko is in distraught but Hajime stands by his policy of not showing mercy on his enemies. As Hajime leaves, his comrades know that Hajime was just playing the villain. Shimizu would have died anyway and Hajime killing him is to ensure Aiko will not blame herself over her student’s death.

Episode 11
In this shady city, Hajime knows something is going on but will not get involve. Unless they want to make enemies out of him. Next day, he goes out on a date with Shea. In the aquarium, there is this human faced fish, Lehman who can talk. WTF, did the guys bond over Hajime’s tragic story?! Because they realize it is partly their fault that Lehman got caught after they were flushed out from Miledi’s labyrinth, they feel guilty and release it. Not sure how they did that but I’m sure nobody would stop badass Hajime from it. Lehman warns them that he saw a mermaid being kidnapped and being sold. After all, this city is the hideout for some organization in the slave trade. And then they stumble upon that said mermaid, Myu. Somehow she escaped. After cleaning her up, the plan is to leave her with the authorities so she can go back to her family. However, Myu doesn’t want that and wants to be with Hajime! Will his harem increase? Hajime isn’t fazed and leaves this screaming loli with the authorities. But shortly, the authorities got attacked. Not only Myu is kidnapped but a warning message to also bring along the bunny girl. That’s it. You’ve pissed off Hajime. Now all of you are going to die. So he starts busting every suspect to dig out whatever info they have that will lead to the big boss. The city is going to be destroyed at this rate… Just in time before the auction to save Myu. Yup, the jerk boss continues to abuse her so she could scream and entertain the people but Hajime shoots him dead! And then he lets Myu watch the fireworks as all of the baddies’ hideouts get decimated by Yue’s power. In the end, Myu wants to upgrade and call Hajime from onii-chan to papa since she doesn’t have a father. Yeah, she throws a tantrum that she wants him to be her papa! Now the rest of his girls want a baby…

Episode 12
Hajime and co return to the capital to hand a letter from Ilwer to Loa Bawawis. Just then, Kousuke Endo barges in, pleading for help or else all his friends will die. At first he is shocked that this is Hajime before him. He must be desperate enough to think that if Hajime somehow survived and become this badass, he must be one powerful tough mother. Yeah, please help. Endo narrates that Kouki led his team deep beneath Orcus. They were shocked to see monster blood everywhere. Is there another monster hunting monsters? Then showing up before them is a demon babe. She offers them to join their side like one of theirs did. Kouki declines and since demon babe views them as useless, she summons monsters to kill them. The monsters are tough so Shizuku suggests Endo using his stealth ability to sneak out to the surface and get help. When Suzu Taniguchi is fatally wounded, Kouki becomes mad. He wants to fight back but Shizuku slaps him to his senses. Retreat is the best answer. Endo returns to Meld who is protecting the teleport device to the surface. Meld has to fend off a monster so Endo can return safely. As Kouki and co make their retreat, some of them think to join forces with the demon side just to survive. The debate rages on until they see Meld get killed before their eyes. Enraged Kouki powers up and slices through everything. Could have killed the demon babe had not his consciousness made him realize he is going to be a killer. Shizuku takes over but she too gets wounded. So now Endo is pleading for Hajime to save their friends. But hold up. He doesn’t consider them friends. Oh brother… But you know… After all those flashbacks… So just when his old friends are seconds before being killed, Hajime drops in to the rescue. Missed me, guys?

Episode 13
Time for Hajime to show everybody how powerful he is and kick ass! Singlehandedly! No matter what tricks the demon babe throws, Hajime is superior! Of course, to show that he isn’t just a one man show, his harem also fight back monsters who threaten his former classmates. Everybody is in shock that Hajime is so different. Especially Hiyama whose guilty reaction hints us he might be the one who tried to kill Hajime. Because he was so sure that Hajime had died! Anyway, the demon babe tries to escape but Hajime won’t let her. Since she won’t talk, he deduces her goal. Believing the demons have achieved some ability to gain ancient powers if they clear the labyrinth, the reason she is down here exploring it. She warns him her lover will find and kill him. So be it. He’ll kill demon or gods who stand in his way. WTF Kouki tries to virtue signal and doesn’t want Hajime to kill her? Too bad, Hajime shoots her dead! Now we get to see Kaori so relieved he is still alive that she can’t stop crying. Amp up the drama by hugging him. I think Hajime’s harem might turn yandere for this. As Hajime leads them out, Kouki still tries to virtue signal. But Hajime doesn’t give a damn and even threatens to kill him if he gets in his way. You scared now? Better shut up if you know what’s good for you! Once reached the surface, Kaori has finally decided. She wants to come with him. Because she loves him! Unfortunately he rejects her because he is already in love with Yue. Even so, she still wants to come with him. Why do girls like her always get that confidence they can change men like him and see them their way? And so begins Yue-Kaori rivalry that they are going to show the other why their love is much greater for Hajime. Oh boy, Hajime’s toughest battle is still ahead… Next morning, Kaori says goodbye to her friends and leaves with Hajime. I guess Shizuku doesn’t want to come and intrude in this harem. Love > best friend? Hajime drives his Humvee and his girls are arguing over this sitting arrangement… This is not even the toughest battle yet.

Special 1
Hah! You thought this is going to be a hotspring fanservice episode, right? Not exactly! While Hajime’s harem is ready to get into the bath, they stumble upon Yue’s diary and read it. After all, they’re curious to know what that vampire loli thinks about them. They’re not pleased that the first big part of the entry only consists of Yue and Hajime. Well, she’s his first girl, right? So she’s like their senior. The first other girl in the entry is of course Shea. Yue didn’t mince her words to call her a pathetic useless rabbit and all. While they’re mostly mockery, there are a few lines that express her respect and admiration in some ways. Despite all that’s being said, in a way Yue still holds some value in her. Yeah, bunny girl so touched that she cried. Then the rest of the other girls are like just briefly skimmed true like Tio the pervert, Myu the child that probably prompted Yue to really want to have a baby with Hajime (yeah, 5 pages dedicated to wanting his baby!), and of course the recent addition and perhaps the biggest rivalry to Yue, Kaori. Basically, Yue views herself as a woman of high standards and unparalleled to the rest, blah, blah, blah. Indelicate act of reading one’s diary is put to a stop when they realize angry Yue is behind them. Feel the wrath of the punishing woman!

From Common Clichés To World’s Crappiest
Woah. OMG. How the f*ck can this series get another season?! You know, I thought bad isekai animes will never get a sequel. But maybe I’m wrong. Everybody else loved it or whoever sponsored this sh*t decided to throw in more money so that they can have the budget to make another season. Yeah, I read that this show was delayed up to a year before being released and it could have been even worse had they delayed it further. I just wonder if these people now how to cut their losses. Uh huh. We’ve invested so much in this and we just can’t give it up! No matter how bad it turned out!

I have this feeling that this series is trying to be dark and badass like Tate No Yuusha No Nariagari. You know, a seemingly okay and ordinary guy becoming bitter and distrustful because of the unfair persecution he faced. Then because he put in his own effort, hence his overpowered abilities are justified. Unfortunately here doesn’t feel the same. Just the fact that Hajime has been ‘abandoned’ and gone through sh*t, from what I see all the hardships he went through to become badass feels like a flimsy excuse to become an overpowered character. Remember, Hajime just suspected that somebody betrayed him. There was no outright proof. And even if that was true, it wasn’t like everybody betrayed him, right? Only one or maybe two. Then he decides to put a blanket assumption that all of them are bad. Yeah. Real badass there. Feels like some weird excuse sh*t to turn him into a badass character who seemingly doesn’t care. And as for how he powers up by miraculously defeating monsters and eating them, oh yeah, that feels like some weird excuse sh*t to power up his character the easy way. It wasn’t the kind of real hardship sh*t that the shield hero went through.

Therefore the story and plot for this season feel boring and out of place. It’s like they’re all over the place. Sure, Hajime having his goal to return to his world and in order to do that he must raid labyrinths and get ancient magic spells. That is generally what it looks like. But when you sit through and watch each of the episode, honestly they are somewhat boring and doesn’t really make you feel like you want to root for Hajime. Firstly, he is so powered up and you will know that he will somehow find a way to overcome it. Even if he is in a pinch, he will surely find a solution. After all, he is overpowered and it would be a slap in the face if he couldn’t. Why make him so overpowered in the first place if he couldn’t solve the problem?

This isekai world also has its own lore and legends and it was briefly skimmed through about the war between humans, demons and beastmen. Also some insights about the labyrinths and Mavericks but they are just the tip of the iceberg. Maybe that is why they need another season and I hope they can flesh this out better. Because this season sure doesn’t feel like our summoned heroes being summoned to fight against the demons at all. And the demon clan whom the humans are supposed to be fighting mainly against with, they didn’t even show up! Only mentioned during Shimizu’s time and then finally one of them popped up in the penultimate episode. And then she died. Good riddance. Oh well, I’m sure the demons will come looking for Hajime instead of him looking for them once he becomes powerful enough to be a threat to their goals.

So it’s like Hajime travelling from place to place to find labyrinths but he ends up accumulating a harem instead. Uh huh. This is what it typically feels like the plot for this season. Not just your average harem but a monster harem. I thought having a vampire loli was going to be his only companion. Why do I have a feeling Yue is a discount version of Monogatari Series’ Shinobu? I didn’t expect to have a dumb busty bunny girl to follow him. If double trouble wasn’t enough, they have to add this sick perverted nympho dragon lady to the mix. And even so I thought that was the end of it. F*ck! Now they added a loli mermaid to the pack and with her playing his daughter, Hajime wholesomely embraces his role as her father! Like, WTF?! Oh yeah. No matter how badass a guy is, to increase his badass status, he must have his own harem of hot chicks. Oh Hajime, you feeling so badass and proud now? Now, with Kaori joining the pack, she is the latest addition to his ever growing harem. She looks like she has the potential as she has jumped the queue of the pecking order to be a Yue’s rival. The only human among the monster girls. This is going to get messy. I don’t think loving Hajime for a long time would be a valid argument against Yue but we’ll see. Screw Myu being his daughter. Let’s have our own baby! Haha. Not sure if I want to see that cheesy cat fight moment.

Therefore there are a few cheesy fanservice moments in the series. I guess they want to make us giggle with all that sexual innuendoes but more than often it makes us roll our eyes. Like Shea being just a simpleton, hence the way she straightforwardly says certain stuffs to Hajime can be really ambiguous. Is that why she is blessed with big tits? Only when Tio joined the troupe, she becomes the masochistic nympho and Shea’s retard sexiness is nearly forgotten. And then some naked bathing moments in the earlier episodes with Hajime and Yue. Is this supposed to be their bonding moment? Oh well, if you’re the kind interested in flat washboards, be my guest…

The only time when the plot got interesting was when Hajime killed off Shimizu. Even if Hajime is just tough badass, I didn’t expect him to really kill especially one of his own kind. You know, goody-goody heroes can’t take lives. Says the unwritten law of the reel code. Oh right, Hajime isn’t your typical goody-goody hero to begin with (he did after all kill a human slave trader to rescue Myu). And seeing how much he has done to get this far, it shouldn’t be surprising that he would resort to this. Hence this is the only darkest moment of the series. Still, not enough to change my overall sentiments for this series. It still sucks.

The characters themselves aren’t inspiring nor are they intriguing. With Hajime being able to do almost everything, it is like as though he is just one step away from being God. And because he is not, I guess there is your flimsy excuse to show that he is still human. Still has a human heart. Had he not, he wouldn’t even give a damn and not do all those rescue missions. Maybe he is just acting tough upfront and deep down inside, he doesn’t really want what happened to him to happen to others. I hope. Perhaps Hajime is just not sure if he should help. The dilemma of whether he should go or not. That is why his harem played an important role to help him make the decision. They didn’t say outright that he should help but you can tell from the tone of their voice (“I will do whatever Hajime wants to do”), you can tell that is pretty much a plea that he should help.

Because now Hajime instead of looking like a genuine badass character, at this rate he just looks like some guy playing chuunibyou or something. Nobody says anything about this particular change in his character because his harem also twisted in the head and view this as pretty normal. Yeah, my conspiracy theory says that he is just putting up all this tough act because he really wants everybody to notice him. At least he got the attention of a few girls. Now that he is so badass, he has to keep up his charade and continue being a badass. Heck, it’s better than his original wuss personality. Now you know why girls like such bad boys, huh?

While we see Hajime taking his adventures to various places, the other classmates who were whisked away to this world felt like they were being ignored. They lack a lot of back story or whatever that is necessary to make us care for them. It is like as though they are extra unimportant characters to begin with. I guess that is why there is another season and hopefully they will be given more fleshing out especially some of the main ones like Kaori, Shizuku and Kouki. But as far as this season is concerned, they do not even matter and the final arc having Hajime somewhat reuniting with them feels like a reminder that, uhm, we came from the same world and that we are still friends? Okay. Not. Kouki trying to be a jerk with his virtue signalling (that kind of goody-goody heroes don’t exist anymore!) and Shizuku forgoing any potential yuri with her best friend. Whatever. Seeing how powerful and awesome Hajime is, don’t you think at least the rest of the classmates should want to follow him too? I mean, to get back to their own world? Gee, not sure why they decide to stay back. I’m sure trying to be considerate and not ruin Hajime’s harem isn’t even on the plate. Aiko could have been an amusing teacher because of her small stature and her stubborn persistence to look after her student can be annoying as well. It’s a good thing they didn’t turn her being ignored into some sort of a running joke. That would be disrespectful to a teacher, wouldn’t it?

The action scenes are mediocre at best and it’s like just the reason needed to show off and showcase Hajime’s overpowered abilities. Sure, it isn’t that he could come up with a weapon that is instant kill, he just needs to figure out the right strategy and all first. Of course putting up some drama in between. To also show Hajime is not alone, that is why his harem are made to become his assistants. Yue’s lightning spells, Tio’s dragon abilities and Shea swinging her giant hammer around feel like these girls need to do some exercise themselves and lessen the monotony of Hajime doing everything himself. Hey, it’s a harem teamwork. Wohoo! Go, team Hajime!

The art and animation are also pretty mediocre. The worst of the lot being the CGI animations of the monsters. Those are horrendous! Maybe monsters are supposed to look ugly but I didn’t know they were looking this bad. Like that hydra and that chimera monster that demon babe summoned. Because many scenes are located in the labyrinth, they are pretty dark and sometimes I would be straining my eyes to see things. So if this is their idea of hiding the bad CGI effects, too bad I spotted them. Still horrendous. The human characters, I thought they have this one kind look on them like the female characters they have this one kind cute looks on their face. And Hajime in his badass looks, I thought he was taken after Dr Black Jack or something. I wonder if Yue is taken after Monogatari Series’ Shinobu. Because you know, blonde loli vampire. Just more subdued. This anime is jointly animated by Asread (Mirai Nikki, Minami-ke, Shuffle) and White Fox (Re: Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu, Steins;Gate, Akame Ga Kill, Goblin Slayer). Yeah, these studios could have done a lot better with this one and leaves much to be desired.

Voice acting, I guess Youko Hikasa takes the cake as Tio especially when she goes into that nympho mode. Imagine if Seitokai Yakuindomo’s Shino been sexually charged up to a dragonborn level… Then there is Yui Ogura who is eternally specialized as loli characters and is no different this time as Myu and also Tetsuya Kakihara as Kouki although he is no Fairy Tail’s Natsu here. The other casts are Toshinari Fukamachi as Hajime (Clause in Hataage! Kemono Michi), Yuuki Kuwahara as Yue (Tooru in Kobayashi-san Chi No Maid Dragon), Minami Takahashi as Shea (Megumi in Shokugeki No Souma), Ai Kakuma as Aiko (Itsuyo in Val x Love), Saori Oonishi as Kaori (Aiz in DanMachi) and Yumiri Hanamori as Shizuku (Seth in Radiant). The opening theme is Flare by Void_Chords featuring LIO while the ending theme is Hajime No Uta by Dracovirgo. Nothing really special.

Overall, this is another one of those ubiquitous isekai genres with an overpowered main character that is just boring and bad. However, because it is announced that there is going to be a second season, hopefully in this sequel they can better flesh out the stories and the characters since there were basically none right here. So you can say it’s unfair to say it is bad because such developments haven’t been shown yet. But you know what they say about first impressions… Yup, even if there is a remote chance the next season would be better, this doesn’t hide the fact this first one was just terrible. I mean, there are lots of supposedly funny moments but they turn out cheesy if you think about it. Like Shea being written as a dumbass character with tits and who could forget about that part when Hajime stuffed a pole into Tio’s dragon ass!!!!! Yeah, it was funny at first but looking back at it now, it was just embarrassing. It’s the same thinking I had about snuffing out the life of this series but that’s the problem when you decide to give things a second chance. It could come back and bite you in the ass. That’s when you turn from the world’s biggest badass to a common wimp.

Finally. After being trolled by that side story that wasn’t actually the second season, the real season 2 is now here. Heh. Four years later. Thank fully, this is Dungeon Ni Deai Wo Motomeru No Wa Machigatteiru Darou Ka S2 for real. Yes. Not some side story of the perspective from another character. Thank goodness. Now we can move on and get the story going. So will Bell be able to pick up more chicks in the dungeon? Isn’t that what the title is all about? No? Okay. Whatever.

Episode 0
Don’t worry if you have entirely forgotten what this series is about. This special recap episode has Bell and Hestia narrating all you need to know, the important points and happenings of the first season with recycled scenes to go with that. Yeah. Sorry guys, still don’t remember. And I’m too lazy to go rewatch the series again or even read my blog.

Episode 1
We see Bell’s party finishing up yet another successful dungeon raid. But as they celebrate at the bar, some guys from Apollo Familia start mocking Bell. Normally Bell would ignore them. Until they badmouth Hestia. That’s it. Fist fight! Who wants a piece of me?! Bell and Welf are doing fine until Hyakinthos joins in and beats the crap out of them! He would’ve gone further had not Bete tell them to scram as they’re making his drink taste bad. So as Hestia treats Bell, she didn’t like how he got into trouble but appreciates how he stood up for her. Soon Daphne and Cassandra from Apollo Familia hand him a letter. It is from Apollo and he is inviting people to his party. So we see all the characters dress up fancily for this ball. Freya makes her entrance and Hestia tries to cover Bell’s eyes. With Hestia b*tching about every guy falling for Freya if they gaze into her eyes, Freya backs down. Maybe next time. But then there’s this childish rivalry going on between Hestia and Loki. Because Bell and Aiz are too shy with each other, Hermes intervenes. He trolls Bell by asking Aiz to dance with him. Then he backs out and lets Bell dance in his place. Just follow how the others are doing and you won’t go wrong. They sure make a cute couple dancing together. If only stupid Hestia and Loki can stop bickering and b*tching about this ‘betrayal’! Nice time comes to an end with Apollo making his announcement. He then confronts Hestia about her Familia causing some scene and wants compensation. You know he is a douche when he sets up his own men as witness and fake injuries. Knowing Hestia refuses to admit to this ‘guilt’, he hereby challenges her to a War Game whereby if Apollo wins, he gets Bell.

Episode 2
Realizing this is Apollo’s target all along, Hestia sees no reason to participate in this and leaves. Of course Apollo won’t let this be so next morning, he has his Familia attack Bell and Hestia’s place. Once Apollo sets his eyes on you, he won’t give up and will chase you till the ends of the earth to get you. And so the entire Orario is now a giant ‘playground’ for Apollo Familia to hunt Hestia Familia until Bell joins them or dies. Bell fights again with Hyakinthos and the latter complains how much he envies Bell and as much as he dislikes this, he will obey Apollo’s wishes to join his Familiar. But an ally sniper helps keep Hyakinthos at bay so Bell and Hestia could run and head towards the guild. Speaking of which, the guild can’t do anything because the only penalty is a hefty fine and Apollo Familia is willing to pay any high price. Bell’s allies like Takemikazuchi help fight other ruffians. Welf and Lily also help stave off the enemies but Lili is shocked to see her former captain of Souma Familia, Zanis Lustra. Shockingly, she abandons supporting Welf and claims she has to return to Souma Familia. Hiding, Hestia tells Bell their options: They fight a losing battle or they leave Oratoria and hope Apollo will give up on them. Of course she will follow him wherever he goes and this is supposed to be a cue for her to signal him to confess he loves her. Unfortunately he goes as far as to say he respects her. Disappointing? Yeah, enemies found them and she isn’t impressed of the interruption of this most crucial moment. Hence she now has Bell head to Apollo’s base. She agrees to his challenge in a War Game. Later, Welf reports about Lily’s case. Bell wants to go rescue her but Hestia reminds him of the important thing he must do now. So Bell heads over to Loki’s place to seek Aiz’s help to train him to become stronger.

Episode 3
Lily begs to Souma to allow her to leave. However Zanis threatens her about the price to pay in which she definitely can’t afford. Lily is imprisoned as Zanis reveals his true nature in getting her back. He wants her rare transformation ability to net him a handsome profit. In exchange for this, he will leave Hestia Familia alone. Hestia is relaying her plans to rescue Lily to Welf and other allies of Takemikazuchi Familia. Do they have time for this when War Game is so close? Because Bell recognizes the importance of allies, he recognizes their strength and knows how weak when one is alone. Even if War Game forbids help from outside other Familia, this is an important supporting factor for Bell. Hestia then attends a meeting among the gods with Apollo to decide the rules. Based on the lottery, the War Game will be siege. A bad outcome for Hestia since that game needs numbers. Apollo gives her the honour of attacking since one can’t simply defend with a single person. Apollo strikes down Hermes’ suggestion for outside help since this looks unfair. Until Freya mentions about Apollo being scared of helpers. With the other gods agreeing, Apollo agrees to only a helper but must be outside Orario. Zanis sees Lily because it’s business time. However their base is being attacked by Hestia and her allies. Zanis and his men go deal with them. The jailor frees Lily as he hates arrogant Zanis. Lily sees Hestia fighting and can’t understand why she is doing this. Do you think Bell will abandon her? Because now Bell needs her. So Lily goes to beg to Souma to stop the fighting. However he views her words as empty and lest she can say the same thing after drinking his divine wine, he’ll listen. She does so and goes into seventh heaven. Until Bell’s face pops up. She fights against the temptation to repeat her pleas. With that, Souma orders his Familia to stop fighting. This shocks Zanis because Souma never did anything. Anything. So now he wants to kill Lily? Not if Welf could help knock him out. Lily has one more request of Souma. That is, to leave his Familia and join Hestia. But it’s not only Lily who will be doing that. Welf and Mikoto plead to their respective gods to leave their current Familia and join Hestia. Hermes seems to be trying to convince Ryuu as that helper. Meanwhile Bell continues to be owned by Aiz and Tiona. Getting any stronger?

Episode 4
Bell returns in time to get the War Game started with his ‘extended’ Familia. Cassandra warns Daphne about her weird premonition she dreamt of Hestia Familia won but is dismissed because nobody thinks the odds are stacked against them. The War Games begin with Ryuu attacking the castle walls with her magic swords. Hyakinthos orders half his men to go out and take her out. Even if her magic swords get destroyed, her hand to hand combat is still superior. Mikoto gets into via the wall crack to hold off other men. But this is where the tables turn. It seems one of Apollo’s men turn traitor to open the main gate to let Bell and Welf in. This is actually Lily in disguise and the real person was kidnapped the day before and Lily managed to slip in the last minute before the War Game started as the Trojan horse. Welf keeps Daphne busy so Bell could go face Hyakinthos directly. Nothing like a little firebolt to shock everybody and make your grand entrance, huh? Daphne and Lily try to aid and save their respective leaders. Until Bell takes a near fatal blow from Hyakinthos’ homing blast. Because he still survives, Hyakinthos gets mad and is going to kill him. But this is all just a ploy as Bell is utilizing what Aiz told him about people getting predictable when they let their guard down. Bell is able to predict his moves, dodges and then slugs him one in the face to knock him out! OMG! One punch man?! With that, Hestia Familia wins! An upset! I bet all those who betted on Apollo Familia lost big. Hestia having the last laugh now executes her demands: All his property confiscated, his Familia disbanded and Apollo himself is eternally banned from Orario. This means Hestia Familia now use Apollo’s mansion as their base. Hestia draws their Familia’s emblem. Hmm… They say it is a mix of flame and a bell but I just see some lousy doodle… Or ink blot…

Episode 5
Lily says her final goodbye to Souma. Hestia Familia celebrates back at their newly and extensively renovated mansion to congratulate Bell in reaching level 3. Oh, everyone agrees he should also be their leader. Toast to a new Hestia Familia! Thanks to their victory in the War Game, their reputation has soared. This means lots of people want to join Hestia Familia! Lots of them! All mostly come from outside Orario. Everyone is sure agreeing to the hype Hestia is saying. And Lily making a list of people who can’t join. Hmm… Sexy pretty women… Loli characters that overlap hers… Suddenly Mikoto finds a strange letter. What’s this? Hestia Familia with 200 million valis debt?! And suddenly there were none. Not so hyped to join Hestia Familia now, eh? This letter has the signature of Hestia and Hephaistos. Remember that special knife she gave him? Yup. That’s how much it costs! Bell is so shocked at the price of the knife he has been using to slash, that he faints!!! Apparently Hestia forgot all about it but I guess sorry is a little too late. They have no money left from Apollo’s estate as it is mostly used for the renovation. More dungeon raiding to pay it off? Hestia doesn’t want to drag her family into this and will pay off the debts herself. Can she? 200 million sounds quite a lot… Once Bell wakes up, nothing like a talk in a warm nice bath with Welf to set things straight. Basically, lots of thanking and gratitude towards Hestia. Eavesdropping goddess so touched she wants to climb over to him right now?! And with that, Hestia vows to pay it off no matter how long it takes but hopes her family can help her out. While they are celebrating, Chigusa comes to see Mikoto. From the looks of it, bad news?

Episode 6
Mikoto sneaks out of the mansion. Bell, Welf and Lily tail her. They see her meet up with Chigusa as they enter the red light district?! I wonder if Bell is going to be traumatized with all the sexy women gunning for this cute innocent boy. Don’t worry. Lily the ‘protector’ will keep them at bay. When Mikoto is eventually busted, she reveals that she is here to look for a friend. Rumours has it that she who is born of a noble is working here and they want to see if this is true. Speaking of Bell, they realize he is no longer around. Swept away by the bevy of beauties, huh? He stumbles into Hermes who gives him some aphrodisiac to keep this a secret. Then he stumbles into Aisha Belka and her Amazon women who think they’ve scored big with this boy. He’s that War Game winner, right? They take him back to their home in which Bell realizes they are from Ishtar Familia. Before they could get their way with him, Ishtar Familia’s commander, Phryne Jamil wants to steal him. You mean this big ugly toad thinks she is helluva beautiful and that men can’t satisfy her?! I can see why so many men were ruined… To settle this, the Amazon chicks play a game of tag. Whoever gets Bell first, keeps him! Man, Bell must excel in running away. His chastity depends on it! Yeah, the word has now spread throughout the entire Ishtar Familia. He ends up in the quarters of a fox girl, Haruhime Sanjono. I guess both are newbies. So much so she passes out just by seeing his collarbone? She’s got a lot to learn as a prostitute… Later she learns the mix up and apologizes. They talk about themselves especially Haruhime who angered her father and was kicked out of her family and sold here as a slave. They both click well as they love reading adventure stories. It’s time for Bell to go so she leads him out through a safe passage. She laments her fate to be stuck here and no men will save her. Oh yeah. You know Bell’s next course of action… Meanwhile Hermes sees Ishtar to exchange some shady stuff. No men could resist her charms so after great sex, he spills all the beans. Including Bell. Hence she is now interested to steal him if he is the key to that woman’s weakness.

Episode 7
Boy, Hestia is not happy Bell went to the red light distract. That aphrodisiac isn’t making anything better. But she believes him he didn’t do anything weird. However she still doesn’t like the fact he went there and sends her Familia to clean the neighbourhood. Later Mikoto learns from Bell that he actually met Haruhime who is that noble she is looking for. But Lily warns them they can’t go save another person. Not just after their War Game. It is not right to put their own Familia in danger. Later Bell talks to Eina. She too freaks out learning where he went. He is here to learn about the Ishtar Familia. However it has records of its strong members and none about Haruhime. Eina then warns him that many years ago, many Familia accused Ishtar Familia of under reporting their actual strength. The Guild launch an investigation but found nothing. After that, Ishtar went after those who accused her and their Familia ended up destroyed. Furthermore, the Guild had to pay a fine as Ishtar claimed they exposed lots of her private detail. Mikoto tries to talk to Haruhime but the latter claims she doesn’t know her. She talks to Bell about this and cue for her childhood days with her. As a noble, she was always locked up in her home so Mikoto and co used to sneak her outside. After they left for Orario, they heard rumours she was tricked and sold off as a slave. As she is suffering now, that’s why she wants to save her. You bet Bell shares the same sentiments too. Coincidentally Hermes is here and they talk about this. Although they can’t risk a war between Familia, Haruhime being a prostitute makes things easier because she can be bought. As she is a non-combatant, she won’t be expensive. Hermes wants to know more details so he could speak to Ishtar about this. But the moment he learns Haruhime is a renard, he lets them in on a secret. That night he was delivering a Killing Stone to Ishtar. Speaking of her, Ishtar plans to kidnap Bell and turn him her slave so as to see Freya’s reaction. After the Killing Stone ritual, they will start a war with Freya. Right now they must kidnap Bell but not attract the public’s attention nor must Freya Familia find out about this. So as Bell and co fight monsters to earn money, Ishtar Familia use this dungeon raiding as a guise to kidnap Bell. Aisha attacks Bell the moment they come into contact.

Episode 8
Although Mikoto assists Bell, Aisha and her Amazon reinforcements are too strong for them to handle. Though captured, unfortunately Phyrne steals Bell for herself. This has Aisha and the rest initiate a huge search. You bet Bell is going to be traumatized if Phyrne starts eating him. Is it no wonder why he doesn’t have a boner? Let’s say Phryne will come back with something stronger than Viagra. Luckily Haruhime knows of this place and frees him. Bell is so happy that he can’t stop hugging her. Can we save this later before the fat toad comes back? As she leads him out, Bell tells of his Familia’s intention to buy her. But she doesn’t look relieved as she has already made her peace with what’s going to happen. Uhm, you want to walk faster too? Because Phyrne could catch up any time. Hestia and Takemikazuchi are brainstorming why their Familia were ambushed. Until Hestia mentions something about Bell telling her about Killing Stone, Takemikazuchi fears the worst. So this ritual is supposed to seal the soul of a renard? Even with a small fragment of the stone, it gives you the power known as youjutsu. Once the ritual is done, the stone is smashed into pieces. Yup, an irreversible ritual. Coincidentally, after Haruhime freed Mikoto, the latter snuck around and found a library containing contents of what the Killing Stone ritual is. The moment Bell and Haruhime emerge out on the streets, Mikoto angrily confronts Haruhime for she intends to be a sacrifice. Aisha then snatches Haruhime. She reveals Ishtar’s Familia to start a war with Freya Familia. Bell should have noticed their skirmish in the dungeon was because of the power of youjutsu. They have no qualms sacrificing Haruhime as her death was long ago decided. When Bell reprimands their actions, Aisha must have had time to tell some flashback story of herself. Eventually, it is how Ishtar Familia works and she cannot disobey her goddess. Then she throws back a question to Bell. Why does he not move to save Haruhime? Is he worried about dragging his Familiar into a war? She is disappointed he isn’t the man she envisioned him to be. In that case she cannot let him have Haruhime. With other Amazon reinforcements here, Mikoto is forced to take a stunned and depressed Bell by his hand and run. Is he really living up to Aisha’s criticism?

Episode 9
Oh Bell, you’re going to be depressed and think long and hard about this? Guess not. Because he decides to go save Haruhime even if it means making Ishtar Familia enemies. The plan isn’t just to save Haruhime because if that fails, they need a way to destroy the Killing Stone ritual. Bell makes his offensive attack. Damn, his firebolt so powerful the Amazons can’t do anything. Then he has to face off with the ugly toad and Aisha but Ishtar wants them to leave this boy to him and to prepare the ritual. Ishtar reveals her plans to take down Freya Familia. So it’s all about jealousy because the men consider Freya more beautiful than her? She is going to f*ck Bell and shut him up but apparently this guy can resist her charms. Looking at his stats, he has some spell that crystalizes emotions. This means he is immune to divine charms. While Ishtar is left in shock and possibly insulted, Bell got away. You’d think that Haruhime as an important factor for the ritual, she should have more than 2 guards guarding her. ONLY 2 FREAKING GUARDS. No wonder Mikoto easily dispatches them so we can have some argument why Haruhime doesn’t want to be saved. She thinks she doesn’t have the right to be saved with this tainted body. Even if there are those who are okay, she is not. Not when she knows it puts Bell well in danger. Then reinforcements come and Mikoto gets ‘defeated’. But she comes back in time just after they set everything up for the ritual. However she becomes a punching bag to Samira. Just before defeat, she plays dirty. It looks like she is clinging herself onto Samira and chanting a self-destruct spell. This panics her as she tries to get her off. Don’t worry, nobody died in this light purification magic. Just that Mikoto bows out and it’s cue for Bell to take over. Fast enough, he destroys the sword that would supposedly kill and seal Haruhime.

Episode 10
Ishtar is shocked that her domain is in flames. Well, Freya Familia is attacking. At the same time, Hestia and Takemikazuchi Familiar head in to rescue their comrades. Despite the ritual over, Haruhime still thinks she is not worthy of Bell because of her status as prostitute. That kind of status only taints the hero. But you know, Bell doesn’t care about that. He doesn’t want her to think she is worthless. He hasn’t heard her truth yet. Mad Phryne wants Haruhime to boost her up so she could crush Bell. However she boosts Bell instead. Haruhime pleads for Bell to save her as she is tired of selling her body and doesn’t want to hurt others anymore. He is able to fight on par with the mad toad. I think too much jumping has the ground collapsing? Don’t worry, only Phryne fell through. Of course she survives but stumbles into Ottarl. She tries to attack him but he easily twists her hand. She tries to weasel her way out and offer her body. But she did the unthinkable by comparing herself to Freya. Ottarl becomes mad and smashes her!!! One flat dead toad coming up. Bell is now left to face Aisha. Does she want to see how much he has grown as a man? Eventually after all that hard hitting moves, Bell emerges victorious. Got to be his trademark firebolt to finish her. Ishtar tries to escape but here comes Freya. She’s here to talk. More accurately, say goodbye. Ishtar is cornered and frustrated that Freya’s beauty stands far above her despite being the same. Same? Freya thinks the difference is elegance. Ishtar’s jealousy is at her peak so Freya slaps her off the ledge. Can goddess die from that fall? Well apparently now she becomes a beam of light. As explained, this means she is summoned back to heaven and can never return to this lower world again. Gee, I wonder who wrote such rules. Haruhime is glad now she is free. More happy news when their Familia comes to pick them up. It seems everything is part of Hermes’ plan although he didn’t think it would go out of control like this. He believes in creating Bell as the last hero. Something that Zeus failed to achieve that Orario will accomplish.

Episode 11
Ares, the god and ruler of the Kingdom of Rakia is trying to attack Orario. However his soldiers are only ordinary men so they naturally lose to the monstrous might of the Orario adventurers. Aisha sees off Haruhime since she is now under Hestia Familia. Aisha and some of her other Amazon girls are going to Rakia seeing that there is war going on, some men might be in need of their service. Bell talks to Hermes who tells him about the Three Great Quests that the world wants to see from Orario. That old ancient tale involved the great Familia defeating ancient monsters. Behemoth and Leviathan were defeated by Zeus and Hera Familia but were wiped out. The final monster is the Black Dragon. Since this ‘story’ has yet to be completed, every adventurer in Orario has a right to be that hero. Things must be easy with Haruhime as the maid. Hestia gets the wrong idea that Bell is flirting with Haruhime, gets jealous and imposes a no contact rule. This causes Lily to argue with her. I guess the same rules don’t apply to a goddess, huh? So Hestia asks if some goddess declares her love for him, will he accept? He right away rejects because there is no way that would happen as they both come from different worlds. Obviously, Hestia becomes mad at baka Bell and runs away. Yeah, everybody agrees it is Bell’s fault this time. Time to go look for her. Meanwhile Ares tells his aide, Marius that he plans to kidnap a god from Orario to turn things around! Yes, this guy doesn’t think… Bell meets Miach and Hephaistos and tells of his problem. They admit that gods sometimes do fall in love with humans and sometimes in different forms too. The idea is to respect a god’s love. You can accept or reject it but do not fear it. Hestia is sulking and somehow ends up doing some potato delivery errand? As she heads outside Orario’s walls, Ares who just arrived, spots her and promptly kidnaps her! Bell sees a commotion and good thing Aiz is nearby. She fills him in about Hestia being kidnapped. The problem is the enemy split into many groups and they can’t tell which is carrying the real Hestia. Don’t worry, Hermes will have Asfi guide them. Bell follows Aiz until they catch up with Ares. That guy really thinks he can fight Aiz. His sword broke! Hestia manages to free herself but slips off the ravine. Bell dives down to save her. Aiz too. Is this what you call leap of faith? Yeah well, rapid rapids below.

Episode 12
Don’t worry. When you see Hestia waking up in bed, everybody’s safe and sound. Yeah, thank goodness for the small village nearby. I bet Hestia wants to stay this way a little longer because you know, Bell by her side… Since the village is preparing for the festival, Bell helps out too. There are Black Dragon scales everywhere that the villagers worship as an altar as it keeps monsters away from attacking. This prompts Bell to remember about the Three Great Quests as the villagers feel the irony that if the Black Dragon is defeated, their village will no longer be safe. When Bell returns, Karm the village elder talks to him. Showing him an emblem, he was once in a Familia and was in love with a goddess. She reciprocate his love but he failed to protect her. By saving him from monsters, she was killed and returned to heaven. Karm miraculously survived and has thoughts on following her but realized he must not waste the life she has given him. So his advice to him is to take care of his goddess. That night, the festival gets underway. Hestia even learning some legend of the dance to become lovers. Yeah Bell, wouldn’t you like to ask your goddess’ hand for the dance? And he did because he remembers what Hestia said about a goddess loving him and also Karm’s words. Festival somewhat ruined because Karm is dying. Hestia goes talk to him as he mentions about the goddess he loved, Brigid. Hestia knows her as they used to play a lot in heaven. Dying man fears both to see and not to see her and because he still has regrets, Hestia acts and plays as Brigid to make his passing easier. Later Bell talks to Hestia if Karm would ever see Brigid. Hard to say. She thinks Bell still believes humans and gods shouldn’t be together. He worries that humans will die before them. Like when his grandpa died, he cried so hard and it didn’t change anything. So he fears that same thing again. Hestia assures she will always be by his side no matter what. Even when Bell is gone, reincarnated or aeons has passed between them or even Bell is no longer Bell, she will still come to find him. Enough assurance for you, Bell? Damn, he’s already bawling like a baby. Next day after praying at Karm’s grave, the trio make their way back to Orario.

Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Prostitutes In A Red Light District?
Well people, looks like we don’t have to wait for another 4 years to get another season. Because there is a third season coming by mid of 2020. Good news, right? Yeah, this means there will be no time wasting in between the waiting years for another trolling side story. Phew. Glad we could just jump straight to a real sequel. Notwithstanding that final scene in the final episode whereby a new character was being ‘born’ in the dungeon (hence the catalyst for the next season), why does it feel like this final episode is just one big roundabout way to ascertain for sure about Bell and Hestia’s relationship? For the longest time their relationship has been in status quo. Bell just wanting to be with his goddess and Hestia trying to get naughty with him. With this mini experience, I’m sure they’ll take their relationship a little more seriously. I doubt it would be to a whole new level but better than the status quo than before. So love your goddess, eh? Ah well, can’t say the same for Aiz and Loki. See that girl avoid her goddess like the plague? Better quit Loki Familia and join Hestia Familia!

This season’s stories are rather okay. Sometimes I feel it isn’t living up to its name in the title anymore. Besides, I feel that there is practically no dungeon raiding this season. Sure, they venture into the dungeons for some adventure but it is hardly the setting of the story for this season. It’s like as though the dungeon has been side-lined and taken a back seat while the stories for this season unfolds in Orario. Oh well, the dungeon was the setting of the final arc of the first season so I guess this season they want to take the story to another direction and instead of fighting monsters in the dungeon, they are fighting for the freedom of others in Orario! Goodbye dungeon raiding, hello Familia wars…

Basically the second season can be divided into 2 main arcs with the first one fighting against Apollo Familia with the plot to establish Hestia Familia for real and the second storyline fighting against Ishtar Familia with the plot to add another member to Hestia Familia. While looking at it generally looks interesting but somehow I feel that it isn’t anything special. Sure, it is to develop and establish a family bond among the Hestia Familia and to see how strong Bell has grown. Like the War Games with Apollo Familia, I don’t know, it felt just easy for Hestia Familia to win. I know, they’re the heroes and main characters of this series. But with all the odds stacked against them, they actually did the impossible which is 0.001%, Hey, the chances aren’t zero. Also, Apollo Familia underestimated them and that contributed to their downfall. And only with such great obstacles that Hestia Familia is finally a whole seeing that it forced members from other Familia to seek permission to leave and join another Familia. Also, it gives Hestia Familia a (huge) place they can call home instead of that rundown ‘love shack’. Yeah… Then for saving prostitute Haruhime, it doesn’t feel so much about the Killing Stone ritual but more of Bell and Haruhime contemplating and coming to terms with what they want and must do. Because if Ishtar had been planning to defeat Freya for a long time, you don’t think she’d allow this little slip up and mistake to make her plans come undone so easily just like that, huh?

Bell and Hestia are the 2 main characters so we get to see more of them. Though, Haruhime seems to take more of the spotlight than Hestia in her arc. So we get it. Family ties are important. The bonds and everything. Hestia Familia might be the smallest Familia ever in all of Orario but at least they are close to each other, which could be impossible for a big Familia with so many members. Yup, the perks of being closely knitted when your family is small. This means many of the other characters fall by the wayside. Like Welf, Syr, Ryuu, Eina and even Aiz herself. With Bell being so busy trying to save Haruhime, it looks like they’re trying to set up some romance between them and erase the initial romance of Bell x Aiz. Still remember that elegant dance they had together in the first episode at Apollo’s party? Yeah, I almost forgot about it… Last episode almost hinted they might have another go had not that goddess thingy hogged it all and made Aiz just some lady in waiting literally. So Aiz, still thinking of not leaving Loki Familia for Hestia Familia? I bet Bell would be the happiest guy in the entire universe and heaven. Not so for Hestia, though… Lily had a fair screen time just so as to justify why she can leave her Familia officially. But after that, she’s more like blending in the background with the rest.

What are the odds that Bell becomes the centre of attention of 2 different gods? Both equally vain themselves. First we got Apollo who wants cute Bell for all himself because apparently his old toys aren’t giving him the same excitement anymore. And then we got sexy Ishtar who wants to get back at Freya just for being more beautiful than her and what a plan she has by, wait for it, involving Bell. Oh Bell, you’re such a lucky guy who wants to be loved by so many gods. Albeit for differing reasons. They only lose because they look down and underestimate our heroes. Yeah, even gods can falter. I see they have to involve Freya too because she feels like the final antagonist with an ulterior motive. I could be wrong but she always gives off that feel to me. The series hasn’t reached its climax or anything yet so no need for Freya to show us more than she needs to and keep us in the dark of her true motives. Hermes might look like he is playing some dumb cowboy but he could be the one pulling all the strings behind everybody’s back. So he is another one to look out for although for now he looks like is on Bell’s side.

One of the strangest lore that I am still confused just thinking about it is how gods and deities are banished from coming down to the lower world. Gods are eternal so that means if they are forever banished, you really mean that until the end of time they cannot return? So I guess Apollo must find his new entertainment in other kingdoms while Ishtar I don’t even know getting killed means you aren’t qualified to play with the mortals anymore. So theoretically if you kill a god or goddess, you can banish them forever? Don’t they get a second chance? I don’t know, maybe another reincarnation in a thousand years? Can’t current gods and goddesses just go back and forth from heaven and Earth as they like? Maybe I’m missing something here and I’m too lazy to research more about this since I’m not really that big of a fan of this series. Uh huh. Eventually my fault that I don’t get it. So for now, Orario is safe from Apollo being a dick to steal mortals he loves as well as the heavenly seduction of Ishtar. Oh man, is Orario going to be a clean and morally upright town now that Ishtar’s district no longer exists? Not even the gods here are absolute when they come down to the world of mortals.

With Hestia mentioning that mortals who die and their souls go to heaven, they become purified into some sort of clean slate of sheet (wiping out all memories and emotions in your previous life), the way she briefly explains it sounds like reincarnation is part of the setting of this world. Hence it got me thinking of this conspiracy theory that perhaps Bell is a soul whom Hestia knew for a very long time ago. Somebody that she was very much in love with. That is why she is flirty and trying to get so close to him because she found that person whom she has always been in love before. That is why when Hestia told Bell that she will always be with him no matter how old he grows or what state his soul is, this only makes me curious that this conspiracy theory might be very well true. Did you not notice Hestia saying all that in a very calm and confident manner? Because she already knew about Bell, who he was and all… And though Bell claimed he is being grateful to her and hence him sticking around her, something in his old latent soul attracts him to stick with her, making my conspiracy theory even more ‘credible’. Oh dear. I don’t know if this would be the ultimate twist of the story! I don’t even know if I should feel happy or worried if this ever turns out so! OMG… I just created an unnecessary spoiler and anxiety!!! Time to distract my mind and talk about fanservice…

Fanservice. I wonder with the red light district arc, did they ramp up the fanservice? Even with lots of sexy half-naked Amazon women running around, I just didn’t feel turned on. Yeah, the real killer is that fat ugly toad! Hope I never have to see this rapist in the next season ever again! And Hestia’s boobs are well, still there. Don’t worry, they aren’t going anywhere. Still jiggling them from time to time… Is it me or does Bell seemed like he was in danger of getting pseudo raped on many occasions? Yeah, with all that has happened, it is amazing that this guy still manages to stay a virgin and his chastity safe in the end. If you’re not into the fanservice, maybe the action scenes would entertain you. They look better and choreographed better this time.

With old seiyuus retained for this sequel, the new ones added to this season include Haruka Chigusa as Haruhime (Sylvia in Gakusen Toshi Asterisk), Akeno Watanabe as Aisha (Rito in To Love-Ru), Takako Honda as Ishtar (Hone Onna in Jigoku Shoujo), Kimiko Saitou as Phyrne (Chieko in Kuragehime), Ryota Ohsaka as Apollo (Vali in High School DxD), Kenn as Hyakinthos (Jinbei in Mushibugyou) and Chikahiro Kobayashi as Ares (Sugimoto in Golden Kamuy). Just like last season, Yuka Iguchi sings the opening theme, Hello To Dream. Since she wasn’t in her trademark cutie voice, I didn’t realize it was her singing this generic anime pop. The ending theme, Sayakana Shukusai by Sora Tob Sakana might sound a bit out of place. With its jazzy fanfare and jazzy bass pickings, it feels a lot like Broadway music and the carnival-like atmosphere of the song sounds contradictory to the tone of the series. Ah well, got to show how much fun Hestia Familia is having. A Familia that is happy together, sticks together. Obviously.

Overall, not really better than the first season and picky people might start to wonder if it derailed from its name. Uh huh. No more picking up girls in the dungeon and in place of dungeon raiding adventures, we have Familia starting wars with Hestia Familia just for the silliest of reasons. I don’t think jiggling more of Hestia’s boobs would save the season either since come to think of it, she is starting to feel a lot annoying and bratty with her whims and fancies. And oh, Bell x Aiz romance didn’t really go anywhere so it’s a bummer. Maybe now I understand that is why the third season will be coming in soon just a year later after the second season went on air. Because of this disappointment as well as Aiz’s side story a couple of years back, they might want to flush away all the frustrated feelings of fans who felt ‘cheated’ that the sequel didn’t live up to their expectations. Maybe the answer was already obvious in the title. It’s definitely wrong to pick up girls in a dungeon after all. Tinder, anyone?

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.