Circlet Princess

October 6, 2019

Time for another made up futuristic sci-fi team sport. The last time I watched Ao No Kanata No Four Rhythm, I wasn’t really impressed. It was weird despite they tried to create something creative. But that series didn’t get any sort of follow up or sequel since its run back in 2016. And now we have yet another futuristic sci-fi team sport, Circlet Princess. In this world, we assume that VR technology has advanced so much that we are able to create this bizarre sport that only females seem to participate. And yeah, the typical story of a fallen powerhouse in the sport making a comeback because of a talented ace joining in. Yeah, the story is as cliché as you can get and not made up.

Episode 1
Oh yeah. Circlet Bout (CB) is all the rage now, right? Chikage Fujimura from Kurojishi Academy is the top dog with a 50 match winning streak. However as revealed in the backstage, everything has been a setup. You mean like WWE? Understandably Chikage is bored but as her manager puts it, she is free to go all out with the next rookie opponent she faces. It’s all part of the show anyway. Since there is still some time before the match, she goes out for a walk. Meanwhile, country bumpkin retard, Yuka Sasaki just arrived in the big city. Wow. Everything so futuristic! Plot cliché commands her to be awed by the awesome poster girl of CB who is no other than Chikage. She is supposed to meet up with someone but gets enthralled and followed signs that leads her to the CB stadium. Along the way, she meets Chikage in disguise. Blah, blah, blah. Outside the stadium, some stupid girl mistakes her to be the Candita (player) from St Union Academy and rushes to get her ready. Yeah, without checking anything, right? Because Yuka is a dumb retard, she accepts. Yeah, everything will work out somehow, no? In the ring, Chikage and Yuka see each other. Is this fate? You can tell Yuka has all the beginner’s luck as she blocks Chikage’s offence and dodges. Wow. This is getting exciting for you huh, Yuka? Chikage must be really frustrated thinking she isn’t as strong as a champion she thought she is, huh? The match end is cut off and we fast forward 2 years later. She is ecstatic to enrol at St Union, the school of her dreams. Meanwhile Miyuki Kasahara and Ayumu Aizawa are at their wits end to revive their club. I don’t think making a cheap video will somehow generate views. Will it?! Coincidentally they stumble upon a clip about that legendary CB match 2 years ago that put Chikage in a pinch. Then they see Yuka in the flesh having problems with the robot security. Why do they look like they’re trying to rape her if they’re just asking for her student ID she is unable to produce? Luckily the duo manage to help her out and hence their chance to ask her to join their club. But first, Yuka sees Reina Kuroda who is the student council president. She instantly gets shot down because there is no CB club at St Union. Oh sh*t! Say what?! Her dreams come crushing down but Yuka refuses to budge and continues bugging Reina?! WTF?! Yuka returns to her dorm and coincidentally this is also where Ayumu stays. Ayumu realizes she is that Yuka 2 years ago and believes this could be something big. Flashback 2 years ago again. The match ended abruptly because the power was cut. Due to system error, Chikage postponed their match. So next time, huh? What a way to set fate rolling.

Episode 2
Continuing from that episode, as Yuka leaves to the backstage, the strange announcer confronts her and claims she has potential, blah, blah, blah. So she gives her a bracelet that will certainly have her reunite with Chikage one day. Yeah, that’s good enough a promise and motivation for Yuka to totally get interested in this. Because if you think you can’t achieve something, try until you can! Yeah, I really love that quote… Now, Yuka continues to bug Reina. She’ll make a new club then. Rejected! Please don’t rape her if she rejects, Yuka! Later Yuka meets up with Miyuki and Ayumu and realize they are part of CB club. Unofficial club, that is. Oh yeah. Now she can play. But first, it’s Miyuki’s turn to go bug Reina to approve their club and they just need a couple of members. She hopes Reina can join since she used to play CB but of course, the b*tch declines. Ayumu shows Yuka that legendary clip. You mean she didn’t know it is online? Oh yeah, the rural areas don’t have internet. She plays dumb since she doesn’t want to be busted as that accidental player who was there. The trio practice CB. Ayumu the computer whiz cannot analyse Yuka’s strange circlet weapon. The practice is interrupted with Reina once again using her authority to stop all unauthorized activities. They just got a slap on the wrist with house arrest? The moment they are back, Yuka is seen trying to recruit new members via old fashion way: Handling out pamphlets. And she gets into Reina trouble again… I don’t think Yuka is going to stop bugging her to approve the CB club and even with Reina spewing all that procedure and formalities, suddenly her aide informs her of something important. So apparently Reina has to suspend her actions to stop the formation of the CB club because St Union got a request for a practice match with Takamori Academy. You mean that legendary video just went viral? Like, now?! Miyuki teases Reina that she is dying to play this game and hints about her older sister who was a CB champ. So why is Takamori really trying to achieve with this practice match? According to their captain, Hiyori Sugiura, it’s to motivate their players. Because Ayana Kuroda has a younger sister there and this should give great incentive for their regulars. While Yuka is eating with her friends, suddenly her bracelet talks! WTF????!!!

Episode 3
The bracelet is being some naggy coach, eh? Some top class battle AI, eh? And Yuka being a retard means this is going to take a while… Yuka wants to get stronger in all aspects but the bracelet rejects. No can do. I guess he isn’t some wonder drug. But he’ll do what he can. Phew. Safe. Yuka can continue with her fate to meet Chikage then. Don’t worry about wasting an episode to find a new member because Nina Avelin decides to test it out. Yes, she is half Russian. Uhm, since when did Reina join? Is she unofficially officially in? Whatever, now they have an official CB club! Yay! They practice and Miyuki owns Yuka big time. Bet she’ll improve during the real match? So the first match pits Miyuki and some unknown Takamori Candita. Damn, Miyuki lost? Next is Reina against another unknown. While Reina shows her experience, unfortunately because she has this losing mentality and does not expect to win, she loses. WTF?! More misfortune because this is best of 3, oh damn you mean Takamori wins it?! Thank goodness it’s practice match so nothing officially recorded. Just hurt pride. Because they can’t just go home with this easy win, I guess Takamori is eager to continue with the practice. Hence eager beaver Yuka gets to go next. She is facing Kasumi Iida who is one of the top players. This won’t look good… If she wasn’t the main character to begin with! Thus you can see Yuka putting up a decent fight against Iida that shocks everybody. Yeah, didn’t expect this retard to last that long, huh? Her bracelet has analysed her moves and gives some hints. In the end, a swift move from Yuka has her defeat Iida. Wow. This upset victory has got to be the most exciting match, huh? Yuka decides to call her bracelet, Siegfried or Sieg for short. I guess it’s better than G-kun. WTF… Sugiura isn’t sad but glad they might be witnessing the birth of a new legend. You don’t say, huh? Coincidentally Chikage is also watching this and is glad Yuka is back in the game.

Episode 4
Flashback shows Ayana totalling owning her opponent in a CB game. Wow. Young Reina so impressed and vowed to be like her. Wow. So young. So motivated. Too bad we won’t get to see the rest of the practice match but from what I understand, it looked like a 100 men sparring match and only Yuka won. Thanks to that, she has some fans back at school cheering for her. Yuka is briefed on the Princess Cup. Yeah, you know the most prestigious tournament that every sports genre must have. But currently, Kurojishi Sougou Academy has been holding on to that throne for a long time. That school is where Chikage goes. When the girls are being called by the director, they think it’s because Yuka won her practice match. Because Takamori is their sister school and they’re supposed to lose? Hence it’s all Yuka’s fault?! Good thing it’s not that. Sugiura thanks them for a wonderful match and welcomes St Union’s CB’s return. However b*tch Reina insists the club’s closure. I guess only now Yuka hears of Ayana and her exploits. Ever since she left for America, St Union lost its ace and started dwindling. This makes Yuka feel uneasy. No, it’s not your stomach growling! Sieg’s best reply: You overeat! Sugiura talks to Yuka and is scouting her to join Takamori since they have all the facilities to help her get into her game. She can then challenge Kurojishi. But what’s eating Yuka? She still not happy? After Ayumu lets her see clips of Ayana in action (in which Reina’s moves mirrors Ayana’s move although it lacks something), she’s all fired up to go bug Reina. Yeah, Reina just dissed another attempt by Miyuki. So Reina is out of the club just so she can close it down? Yuka confronts Reina in the toilet and talks about Ayana’s greatness. Reina explains St Union didn’t want to hold her back, that’s why they let her go to America as it has the latest technology. But look what it did to St Union? By the time Reina enrolled, the CB club is as good as dead. She rejects Yuka’s invitation to join. So desperate that Yuka decides to go see Chikage at Kurojishi? No wonder she gets kicked out. Then she challenges Reina. She accepts because if Reina wins, Yuka will join Takamori. Is that her way of getting rid of her? Yuka seems to be imitating Ayana’s move. And Reina seems to be having those flashbacks about her sister departing. Yeah, so devastated. In the end, we can tell Reina lost because she has to join the club now. Yay! They’re official now.

Episode 5
Miyuki is voted as the captain of their CB club. Yeah, she’s the only one who volunteered. So starts off with their plan for Princess Cup. The usual line-up: Miyuki, Reina and then Yuka. Nina and Ayumu serve as backup. They attend the draw and it seems for the first round, St Union will be up against Hoshinoumi Academy. Yup, another good CB school. Typically, Hoshinoumi has this rich b*tch girl, Christie Yamauchi who has some sort of rivalry with Miyuki. As expected, she badmouths her about running away from her track club and as well as her current CB. You gonna let that fly, Miyuki. Oh damn. Looks like Christie’s words got to her. Because of that, she can’t concentrate in practice and her friends know something is wrong. With Yuka in her typical retard to assure her, Reina knows it is something that Christie said. Time to get it off her chest by telling her past. As her family makes shoes, naturally she loves running and was a good athlete, putting in all the effort. However many think she is successful because she had money and access to facilities. This made her depressed and at the crossroads. That was when she saw Ayana in a CB bout and decided to quit track and join this weird sport. Had she not quit her track, she would have ended up at Hoshinoumi since they also produce good athletes. Princess Cup starts. Because Miyuki is still having low self-confidence, she switches place with Yuka. Yuka easily wins her match and you thought Reina would be enough to seal the deal. But she lost! Turns out it was an ‘elaborate’ setup so as to get Miyuki to face Christie in the decisive match and put this thorny issue to rest. Of course Miyuki still has doubts and is weak. We hear a bit of Christie’s grudge against her because she looked up to Miyuki but before she could face her in a competition, she quit. Yeah… Since Miyuki continues to be pathetic, Reina scolds to remind her that her true ability is running. Is it allowed to have time to talk like that in the middle of the match? Anyway, this gives Miyuki the much needed confidence to turn the tables and defeat Christie. Wow. So easy. Just run around and make Christie tired. Yeah… She better train her body more before running her mouth… Miyuki admits she may have run away but now she won’t look back and will continue to run forward.

Episode 6
Because Reina has some student council duties, Nina replaces her in the first CB match but she basically got easily owned. But thanks to Miyuki and Yuka, St Union won this round. We see her let loose some steam on her online shooter game and it tells us a lot that she is a good sniper. Musashino Kyuoh Academy is their next opponent and they are the top 4 favourites for the Princess Cup. But of course. In order to help Nina become a strong attacker, they go shopping for her weapon. Just when she picked out this rifle one she likes, so sorry, we’re on a budget. WTF?! And also, no money means limited amount of bullets they can buy. You mean ammo isn’t infinite in this digital technology game?! So I guess she goes with a spear. During a practice match with Yuka, she lost badly. No prizes to guess why she suddenly becomes so dejected. So much so Yuka stalks her?! So to find out what is bugging her, she goes to bug her?! WTF?! Since Nina is not the kind to talk, I guess the next plan is have all of them clean the pool. However some blooper has Nina spraying water hard on Yuka. This means she is down with a cold and will not recover in time for the next match. Damn, this girl is weak! I guess this means Nina has to cover for her. Later Ayumu talks to Nina. Ayumu reveals she is the online shooter game partner whom she interacts often with. Surprise! She also explains the cleaning job was to get some funds to buy Nina her desired weapon. Wow. The pool cleaning job must really pay, huh? More pleasant surprise in store for Nina as they got the rifle weapon for her. With their match with Musashino on the way, Miyuki goes first and lost since she couldn’t see the enemy’s weapon coming. Next is Nina. Can she survive with only 2 bullets? She has Ayumu be her eyes on the field as the stage is littered with ruins. Her first shot misses and when the opponent charges close up, WTF she hears Yuka’s voice to duck and doing so, she is now point blank with the opponent and makes her final shot count. I guess Yuka couldn’t stay in bed and dragged herself out to cheer on Nina. Needless to say, Reina wins it for St Union. Nina thanks her friends for doing all this for her. Correction. We did this together for our CB club.

Episode 7
St Union is pretty much a rising star now, so much so Yuka is nicknamed the Overclock Princess. Sorry, it’s not Order Croquette Princess, Yuka! Don’t think with your stomach! As Yuka practises with Reina, the rest note they don’t know much about Yuka to begin with. Especially who gave her Sieg. To help boost their morale for the semi-final match with Kurojishi, they hang out together. In the streets, they are famous enough that everyone gives them freebies! Are they all passing off with that Overclock brand name? Then they go karaoke in which Yuka and Miyuki fight over the right to sing. I guess better than tone deaf Reina… And is Nina just on an eating spree? Ayumu then talks about MR being a by-product of the CB system. That’s why they are very influential in so many technologies and facilities today. They are also the reason why Ayumu became interested in CB because of its concept. With Ayumu getting technical, I guess the rest can’t follow (especially Yuka of course) and they even joke she could be a spy! Flashback shows Ayumu’s dad was a researcher and she was fascinated with some 3D princess knight model he rendered. And of course, Ayumu watching Yuka practice alone, suddenly she sees all her moves so similar to that princess knight. Talking to her, because Yuka is willing to do anything to improve herself and face Chikage again, Ayumu wants Yuka to battle her. Why do Miyuki and Reina feel so shocked? Sure, she is the support but this is just to collect data, right? Her research about CB didn’t yield the data she wanted so could Yuka be the missing link to her father as well? Since Ayumu hacked her weapon’s script, it is obviously overpowered. Yuka is made to run like hell but all her movements are again similar to that princess knight. Even the way she countered and charged through her eventual victory. Yeah, Ayumu’s weapon broke! Sure, Yuka is fast but is she that powerful? Then we see Ayumu using her connections to get into the backstage of Kurojishi just to see Chikage. She wants to know more about Yuka, especially what happened on that fateful day. Something about the overheating factor too.

Episode 8
Officially, the reports said Chikage’s attack caused the overheating factor. However, Ayumu believes Yuka is the key. From what I understand, Yuka seems fast only because the system cannot process her moves fast enough. Hence some sort of ‘shortcut’. This is an ability she has although she herself is unaware she could use it. Chikage too has this ability. When both used this, that is why the system crashed and blackout for a while. That is the real overheating factor. Ayumu hopes this answer would lead her to her father’s whereabouts. The semi-finals are here and St Union is up against Takamori. Revenge match, right? Reina goes first and wins. Miyuki faces Sugiura next but we all know that to prolong the drama, she has to lose. After all, Takamori has studied St Union’s matches like a bible. And now for the expected grudge match between Yuka and Iida. We know Yuka is having some worries because of the b*tch talk Iida had with her in the toilet as well the night before, Sieg told her not to rely on him and think for herself. Uh oh. Sounds like some death flag trouble. You can say that Takamori’s studying pays off since Iida is now able to predict Yuka’s moves. Uh huh. Don’t really on your sight. Use foresight. And you know what they say about the best offence is the best defence? Yup. Iida was just blocking most of the time. WTF weapon fatigue that Yuka’s weapon broke?! I guess that’s it. St Union lost. Yuka is already depressed and made even more so when Sieg doesn’t respond to her. Damn, like as though he is dead. Is this thing out of battery? Oops, sorry. The rest try to leave her alone but when Yuka doesn’t come out of her room for too long, they go in and check on her only to see her room empty. A note. I’m sorry. Yeah, that sure really says a lot. For somewhat who talks a lot, she sure kept it brief. Heh. Looks like they’ve got to go after her back at her home. Yes, her home back in the mountains.

Episode 9
Buckle up. It’s going to be a long train trip to Wakayama. I don’t think the shinkansen goes there either. Yuka practises in her old shed. Her old CB practice programme still working? Yeah, she’s so powerful, her stats are off the charts! As he bums around and feeling sorry for running away, surprise! Her friends pop up and tell her she should say that in person. However, Yuka being Yuka, she thinks they are ghosts and are back to haunt her for that loss!!! WTF?! Damn, Yuka is a fast runner! When cornered, they explain about this double elimination rule. There is still a chance to come back if you lose once. WTF?! Does this rule only apply to them or the rest? But Yuka still feels uneasy because Sieg is ‘dead’. They talk more over the hotspring, giving more assurance to Yuka that she’s not useless as she thinks she is, blah, blah, blah. Then over dinner, they hear how Yuka got into St Union via scholarship. This has Ayumu asking Yuka where she got Sieg. A pervert gave it to her. Ayumu realizes that person is her father, Makoto. She analyses the bracelet. It looks completely dead and all files missing. Funny, Yuka was able to summon her weapon in yesterday’s practice. Demonstrating her moves in the shed, Ayumu concludes that the file must be hidden. She believes all this is CB DKX, a battle development kit. It is only something her father possessed. As an engineer of MR system, the idea of VR led him to develop this CB game. During that point where CB wasn’t sure of taking off, Chikage was cultivated as an unrivalled player. Despite the success, the project was shelved. Makoto parted ways with his team and disappeared. Makoto only left behind this terminal in which Ayumu thought where all the answers like but it seems it could be in the bracelet. So why did he entrusted it to Yuka? Despite Yuka becoming stronger, she has been shackled with that playstyle. Hence the reason Sieg ‘died’. She cannot win if she continues to play like this. Hence a challenge by Makoto. With renewed confidence and motivation, the girls head for home. Meanwhile Takamori loses to Kurojishi. Thanks to that double elimination rule, I guess the losers are going to battle each other to face Kurojishi. Damn, this is confusing.

Episode 10
Nina defeats her Musashino opponent because she’s cocky, talkative and underestimating. That’s what you deserve. So apparently the loser’s match only has 1 match, huh? And of course this means they will fight Takamori for the right to face you-know-who. Ayumu thinks Yuka needs a new weapon but first she needs to analyse her data and Sieg. Meanwhile Reina uses her influence to seek resource donation from others. Well, if she’s bowing down like that, can’t say no, eh? Even Miyuki goes to town to ask for donation. After passing off that Overclock brand, you better pay back something. And in no time all the resources come flowing in! As Ayumu has trouble figuring out Sieg, not sure what happened when she touched that princess knight render and suddenly everything becomes unlocked! WTF?! On the other side, Takamori has their own issues. It seems Sugiura won’t participate in this loser’s match against St Union and this causes some friction among the members. She knows Yuka will be chosen and hence she wants Iida to take on her. Some psychological strategy too, I guess. But after some deliberation and talking, let’s move Takamori’s CB forward, okay? Chikage will also be watching this important match and it is confirmed the announcer is Makoto. The best way to dispel suspicions of your missing whereabouts is to turn into a drag queen? Makoto has Chikage analyse the odds of the match. Sugiura dominates in every aspect but Yuka is not one who is not confined to regular analysis. The loser’s match between Yuka and Sugiura begins. Yuka starts off aggressive but eventually Sugiura makes a comeback. So much so she breaks Yuka’s weapon! But don’t fear. Because it’s evolution time! The fragments now form into new weapons. Holy sh*t! Yuka just got herself 2 new swords? And this is supposed to be Sieg’s gift? With that, Yuka uses this and goes in for the kill- I mean, victory. On to the finals. Makoto is pleased with the outcome because this is essential for his greatest masterpiece to advance to the next stage.

Episode 11
Don’t feel bad Takamori. There’s always next year. So continue to work hard! Yeah! Ganbatte! Before the finals, Yuka and Chikage meet. Because Yuka already knows the bracelet was given by Makoto, Chikage wonders if she will continue to be manipulated by him. Yuka being Yuka who isn’t too smart on the technical stuffs is only playing because CB is fun. That’s your answer. So the finals begin with Reina going first. It’s a close match but she eventually loses. So as to show respect, her opponent even calls her worthy and asks her name. You mean she wasn’t paying attention to the announcer or the screen? Next up is Miyuki. Cut things short, a tricky move allows Miyuki to defeat her opponent. No surprise because we need the rubber match of Yuka versus Chikage. How many years has it been for their grudge match to resume? But as we can see, Chikage has more experience than Yuka so it’s natural that she dominates. So much so her double swords break! Oh no. Yuka don’t you go into depression again. But before Chikage could checkmate her, something strange happens. Oh, it’s Sieg going through another evolution! This time Yuka gets a pair of gloves! One punch in the gut! Now that Yuka is fighting back and stronger, Chikage getting scared she’ll lose? At the same time she is happy that she has finally found a strong opponent. Now Yuka destroys Chikage’s weapon. Game over, right? Not yet! Because Chikage too goes through some evolution! Oh my. I hope her darker uniform isn’t just for aesthetics.

Episode 12
Yuka takes a beating while Chikage sounds like she has turned to the dark side since she is enjoying every moment of this sadistic beat down. Guess what? Apparently Yuka’s uniform also transforms! Is this her final form? Yeah, thanks to all the people in her life that make her feel she’s not fighting alone. Yuka now has a fighting chance as we hear Makoto narrate more crap about emotions and evolving based on intuition and adapting rather than just blindly following orders. Woah! People start to give their resources in mid-match?! Is this even legal?! Things are going great and then uh oh. Yuka is at her limit. Is she going to lose for real? Time out. Weird conversation with Siegfried as he comes back ‘alive’ to scold Yuka and make her remember her original reason why she wants to fight against Chikage. And this allows Yuka’s uniform to evolve to another final form. A more princess-like form. And if Siegfried says she is the Princess, I guess she is the princess. Uh huh. No prize to guess who wins the Princess Cup. In the aftermath, we see St Union CB members bumming around with nothing to do. Shouldn’t they be practising? Because from what Reina said, due to the overheating factor again, this causes CB to undergo major overhaul in its rules and format. Because of that, St Union failed to adapt well like their other rivals and are on a losing streak. Yup. Rock bottom again. It is also rumoured they hired a hot overseas coach to help them. Ayumu didn’t see her dad once in the flesh. That wasn’t her real goal apparently. Knowing that he is still around and Makoto giving her all the data on MR system secrets, I guess she’s fine. If you’re wondering why Yuka isn’t with them, it’s because she is seeing off Chikage who is going overseas to hone her skills. You know the drill. They both hope they’ll get stronger by that time and fight again. Yuka’s pals come by to pick her up and continue to tease her because it’s nice once in a while to tease a retard.

Sure Crap Princess
Yawn… Oh… Thank goodness is over. I don’t know how the NPCs in this anime can get overly excited and hyped over this boring virtual made up sport. No wonder they are NPCs… Heh… Thank goodness it ended and there are no other major trophies for them to compete because the season could have ended in such a way that hints there might be another tournament for them to try again to be the best but I guess for this kind of sports, Princess Cup is the only major CB tournament. So major that we didn’t even get to see Yuka landing the finishing blow on Chikage. I suppose they want to leave it to our imaginations that there might be another overheating factor and Yuka winning on some technicalities. Imagine having this sort of error at a major event finals. Everything so great, everything so evolutionary but your system can’t handle it?! Fail! Back to the drawing board to redesign the system again!

I believe that the CB game itself is not given any sort of prominence. I feel that it is an unimportant factor here. While it looks like this CB game has its sets of rules and the likes, do you not feel that it is not really given any more depth than what we have seen? It feels like everything is just so made up on a whim so that they could have some sort of fighting sequence whatsoever. Hence the CB sport is probably one of the worst and ill-conceived futuristic sports that I have known to date. The basic premise of the sport is that you enter some VR, conjure up whatever weapon you think you are good at, beat the sh*t out of your opponent until she can no longer move. Yup. That’s as original as they can get for this CB game. It’s just sounds so boring. Even that weird water sport Keijo is way much better than this crap. I know, fanservice but still, it beats CB flat. I’d spend my money to go watch that ass game than this asinine one.

Making CB even worse is its format. Now, I understand that it is a team game and even if they want to make it a one on one match, don’t you think having just 3 matches total per game is a little too short? I mean, why the heck do you always have 5 members entering their standby platform then? Backup? I don’t see any substitutions during the game here. That’s why I earlier said they didn’t really thought out about this sport well. I think my suggestion if the format was a team deathmatch type, it would have been more exciting and better. Even if they don’t have all 5 on 5, at least 3 on 3 in this team battle royale format would at least give us some thrills. Though, this was largely hinted in the new shake up of the format but it comes rather too late. St Union won’t be there at the major stages any time soon even if they have their ace Yuka. Yeah, it goes to show that they aren’t really good CB team players to begin with… Therefore for this individual format, no real strategy except hit your opponent until she can go no more and maybe a few tricks to lead up to that. Stages are for aesthetics, uniforms are for aesthetics, weapons are mostly for aesthetics. Now we are reduced to just predicting who wins or loses instead of a real team battle to guess which one gets taken out first. And if the weapons break, does it mean your programming of its toughness is not enough?! It’s all digital, right?! To put the overall CB battles in short, just boring and uninspiring. No wonder there is ‘time’ for players to chat or mock each other during the game. Hey, we pay to see you fight, not to chitchat!

If they didn’t put much emphasis on the CB game, you’d think the characters make up for it, right? Wrong! Not at all. The characters also feel as boring and as cliché as you would expect a team sports anime to be. Each has their own quirky personalities but nothing that interesting that would make you really want to like them and you only do so because they are the main characters. I guess the formula of dark horses, no hopers or former powerhouses regain their glory again and rising up through the ashes is what a lot of people prefer. This way, it gives more drama, story and characters to build on rather than starting off with the featured characters as overpowered powerhouse. And now with the new rules, St Union is back to being no hopers and dark horses again. So it gives a chance for them to rise up like a phoenix once more. If they ever get that far, that is. Like I said, this formula isn’t bad despite being done to death and so cliché. But this series didn’t do it well so here I am b*tching about it as an excuse.

So like Yuka being the ace and the poster girl of the group. As usual she is of the my pace and retarded kind. I guess this is to show that she isn’t really a perfect character. Because if she was really smart and elegant like we wanted her, she would now seem like a perfect and overpowered character. Something that we viewers don’t really like. Ah, I see we are such hard audiences to please. Therefore with Yuka being a retard (whose stomach probably thinks more than her head), this gives her more room to do as she pleases and not give a damn about the technical parts. It’s the reason why she excels in CB so well. She doesn’t give a hoot about all the technicalities and what it takes to be an ultimate player in the game. All she wants is to have fun and her goal is to fight Chikage again. How simple can you get than that? And also to show you she has some more imperfections, hence that depression period when she lost. You thought people like her don’t care about wins or losses but it seems it really got to her then. Yeah, even retards have got emotions too, you know? Hence, your excuse for an additional episode for her friends to bring her back because we need the much needed friendship bonding this series lacks. It’s a team sport, so go figure. I suppose they want to show something that binds the group together, hence this running joke of Yuka letting her teammates eat her sour umeboshi. Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it…

And the rest of the other CB players in St Union, well, I’m not really impressed either. Reina starts off as the b*tch who opposed everything just because of her past and then once she somewhat got over it (I guess that is why sometimes it is good to have stubborn retards like Yuka who doesn’t know the meaning of giving up), suddenly she joins the team. However I do not feel like she is really into it like the rest of them. Probably because of her poker face. I have got this feeling that Reina is just in it to make up for the numbers although her enthusiasm for the game improves as they advance further. I mean, when your team has gotten to the semi-finals and then the finals, it would be just really bad sportsmanship to not give a f*ck and not give it all. Having a sister who is a good CB player feels like just to give her character some sort of depth and hence the possibility that she will be more inclined to return to her CB roots than continuing to be a bitter student council president b*tch. If there is anybody who tops being the most stubborn and persistent, it’ll be Yuka. Yeah, that retard again… Bugging people until they literally change or give in. See, people? Consistency is key!

Nina serves as the backup of the team and sometimes when you need some sort of variation (because seeing Reina, Miyuki and Yuka order gets boring sometimes), Nina is slotted in to provide that alternative. It felt like some sort of excuse for her to suddenly join the CB club so that we don’t have to waste on an additional episode for the girls to go search for that elusive final member. Uh huh. I guess Reina already did that so don’t wanna waste more time on that. Then you have Miyuki as the club captain as well as Ayumu providing the technical support. Somehow I feel with Ayumu being the tech wizard feels wasted. At least in terms of the CB game. Like I’ve said, CB could have been better if it was a team match of 5. Because Ayumu doesn’t participate in real CB matches, it just feels wasted. So as to remind her she is of the brains kind and not of the fighting kind, that’s why she wears that oversized lab coat. All these girls have their own past and problems to deal with but nothing that an episode in focus could solve it and have them get over it and move on. If only really life is that simple. And as for the other girls from other teams, I guess they’re so forgettable that I don’t even know their names.

Even Chikage falls under this pitfall since we only see her as the most powerful in the game thanks to the media’s exposure. In this case, because the anime told us so. Otherwise being the most powerful player feels like an understatement because if this was only in Japan, what about overseas like America whose technology is said to be even better? So is Chikage just a local village camp in this sense? And why is Makoto doing all this thing in a roundabout way? He had to disappear and leave his daughter worried about his whereabouts just to evolve the game to the next level? Is this some sort of placebo effect? I mean if he announces he is going to do this and that, either everyone won’t take him seriously or people will start getting unrealistic expectations. Hence he only observes from the shadows as it is best to see people in their natural form. That’s why Yuka is his best bet. So what’s the next step in his evolution? So like Ayana, will he take his research to the next level by going overseas? I heard CB is pretty popular overseas too in this anime but if you can’t conquer Japan, you aren’t ready for the world yet! Haha!

The art and animation are pretty okay. Just average if you ask me. The futuristic designs don’t really feel futuristic at all because nothing says about the era being futuristic when you spam live holograms everywhere! Yeah. So futuristic. And even if this is a VR game, why do the Candita have to wear sexy leotards during the CB game? Sex appeal still a thing here? The weapon designs also don’t feel exciting. It’s like the staffs wanted to design something quick and hence you see each players wielding different weapons for variety. After all, it’s not like they’re going to really have the weapon and perform some really jaw dropping moves, right? On a trivial note, I noticed that Takamori’s school uniform is designed like a male! Girl schools have all the pretty different designs so much so you can tell them apart from one anime from another. Guys don’t really have that much variety. So seeing Takamori girls in that kind of outfit, just weird!

For the voice acting, Juri Nagatsuma (Satone in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai) did a really perfect job in making Yuka sound like a retard. Ryo Horikawa as Sieg and Makoto sounds like your weird pervy uncle and if he sounds like one only because he was the voice of Dragonball’s Vegeta. Yup, that’s the guy. The rest of the casts feel pretty average. They are Hitomi Nabatame as Reina (Yukiji in Hayate No Gotoku), Saki Nakajima as Miyuki (Dorothy in MAR), Kaori Mizuhashi as Ayumu (Ai in Aria The Animation), Mai Goto as Nina (Mika in Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu), Atsumi Tanezaki as Chikage (Miu in Blend S), Yuna Taniguchi as Sugiura and Megumi Tateishi as Iida. The rock paced opening theme isn’t that bad, Heat: Moment by Miyuki Hashimoto fits the pacing and genre of the series well. Only had the series lived up to this, this song that is also a bit techno would have been so much better. The ending theme flows to a more light hearted pace despite a generic anime pop music. Circle-Lets Friends is actually a collaboration among veteran singers like Miyuki Hashimoto, CooRie, Yozuca, Sayaka Sasaki, Aki Misato and Minami. With so many of them, at least this song sounds a bit better. I suppose it’s better than having the St Union CB quintet handling it. Just concentrate on your game, girls.

Overall, this is largely a disappointing series. Lacking any sort of real story, unappealing characters and a sport that doesn’t even have much depth to it, it already says a lot on why this won’t likely be getting any sort of continuation. Maybe that is why there is not even any OVA for some quick cash grab even if they put in 100% fanservice that has nothing to do with CB. So if in reality our VR reality reach that advanced stage, I hope CB will not be one of those futuristic games that they will try and adapt in real life. Hence with the disappointment of the anime, I’m sure anybody can see why this sport will not even take off, let alone be famous any time soon. You want a futuristic fantasy fight? Lots of fighting games can satiate that fixation. I’ll still bet my money that Keijo would be a more probable sport to watch and enjoy. No VR technology needed. Just boobs and butts! Sometimes going back to basics is the best ;p.

Wait. What?! WHAT?! There’s still some more? Oh heck. I guess they really want to play into our nostalgia and introduce newbies to it. Because it has been more than 5 years since Hyperdimension Neptunia The Animation graced the airwaves and then all of a sudden… Boom! Hyperdimension Neptunia Summer Vacation OVA! Like I have said, this single OVA is to make old veterans like yours truly feel nostalgic and sentimental and perhaps go back and watch everything again, or expose this ‘old’ series to newcomers in hopes that they will be attracted and start buying some of the merchandise. Yeah, the bottom line. I don’t know how popular this series is but I suppose it does has its followers in Japan. Enough to make this single OVA that doesn’t has no relation or continuation with the TV plot whatsoever. So like even yours truly who has forgotten almost everything can just jump in and watch it without losing much.

Summer haze & dreams…
WTF is this dramatic start?! Neptune is dying?! Oh the horror! Nepgear tries to tell her to hold on because help is on the way. Yeah, as you would come to expect this dramatic exaggeration, IF and Compa finally bring out the shaved ice treats… Yeah, we’re all dying for that for summer! Histoire reminds Neptune that she has a lot of work to be done but apparently she doesn’t want to waste her summer so she continues playing more video games… We see our lovely sisters take a summer trip to the pristine mountains. Nothing like some outdoor activity to relax, huh? Later as Nepgear and Uni try to find Ram and Rom, they see them being attacked by a giant beetle. Bad news: They cannot transform. Good news: Neptune comes to save the day with her kickass kung fu kick. Hiya! As quickly noted, this is not the Neptune we know and she is from another dimension. When the young ones try to bring Neptune back to their villa, it is not there. This is when Neptune realizes they have crossed over to another dimension. They must have passed through a giant shrine. But don’t despair, as explained by her own mini Historia, Croire says that the gate opens briefly every half a day. So while they are being stuck here for the time being, Neptune offers to take care of them. Nepgear observes Neptune to be very reliable as she can’t help make comparisons to her other carefree sister. Speaking of the other sisters, they are seemingly locked in some video game battle! Is this more fun than nature? But it isn’t that they don’t care. You see, time flows differently in this other dimension and much faster. Hence in their original dimension, it is still noon compared to night time here. This Neptune also wishes she had a nice and cute sister like Nepgear. They know they can’t stay like this forever so they are glad they met each other and spend whatever time they have together.

In the original world, it evening and the sisters are worried their young ones haven’t returned. They start looking for them. Meanwhile in the other dimension, it is morning and it is about time the young ones depart back. Apparently there are monsters on both sides of the dimension so it’s some excuse for the girls to transform and kick some butt. To show the focus on Neptune and Nepgear, they hear each other’s voice resonating from the other side of the gate. Uhm, their hands touch and voila! Your sexy transformation scene to blow away all those negligible monsters. The sisters are reunited and when Nepgear wants to introduce Neptune to her other counterpart, luck has it that the portal is closing so the other mature Neptune has enough time to say her goodbye. Yeah. We’ll always remember you. From that confident and charming voice, our Neptune can tell she is a cool person. It’s good she thinks highly of herself… And the sisters return to the villa and continue to have their usual (Japanese) summer fun of baths and fireworks till IF and Compa arrive to pick them up. Definitely the best and weirdest summer vacation ever.

The Sister You Have Always Dreamt Of…
Oh well, I guess that’s it. But it is hinted there might be more because you know how ambiguous ‘mata ne’ (see you again) sounds, right? I’ll probably watch it when that happens because, no harm, right? Gotta have more dopamine of nostalgia! Anyway, as far as this OVA is concerned, it’s relatively simple and straightforward. The focus is on Nepgear who has experienced the mature and reliable big sister should her actual Neptune be this cool and steadfast. Thankfully because of all the cuteness and adorability of this series’ pace, nothing twisted or dark is going to happen like Nepgear suddenly wanting to be this alternate Neptune’s sister and ditching her real one. Or telling her Neptune to buck up. No siree. Can’t have that here because we can see all the sisters love each other so much that they might as well be married to each other. Oops. Gone too far there. Alas, this experience only has Nepgear appreciating her own Neptune even more because you know, Neptune is Neptune. There are some things you can’t change. Even all the more so, this Neptune is her Neptune. You just accept it as it is.

The other motivation for me to watch this series as well as the other factor that increases my nostalgia points is that I get to hear the voices of veteran seiyuus. Rie Tanaka, Yui Horie, Eri Kitamura and Kana Asumi are great to hear again since the more seasons of new animes pass, the lesser I get to hear them as they are already in semi-retirement and with the competition of the voice acting industry heating up with new ones coming out, I guess old ones like them have to take a back seat and let the newer generation take the spotlight. Hey, don’t want to do this for your entire life, right? Well, maybe. Some like Rina Satou and Yui Ogura are still in the industry but it is sad to note and come to realization that there will be a time that the seiyuus I recognized will completely stop and retire. Will there be another dimension where they will always do voice acting forever? Only in your dreams. So yeah, probably this OVA has invoked a lot of these kind of thoughts and the lesson learnt is to appreciate what you’re doing now. Because it won’t last forever. Even one day the annual summers will stop coming… :’(. Better go get some shaved ice while I still can.

Shoumetsu Toshi

September 22, 2019

Why do I have this tingling sense that yet another sci-fi anime series is going to bomb? But yet I am interested to catch what it is all about? Shoumetsu Toshi somehow brings to mind that failure in RErideD: Tokigoe No Derrida. But at least this one doesn’t involve time travelling. So the intriguing thing that had me wanting to find out more was thanks to the synopsis that didn’t reveal much. An unfortunate incident that caused a big chunk of Tokyo to disappear and life to be extinguished, a young girl was the only survivor. Many years later, her father who was thought to have perished in that phenomenon, a message was somewhat received for him. A guy is tasked to deliver her into that black hole to decipher the truth. And of course, there is always that hidden conspiracy behind it that makes moving one step closer to the truth hard and life difficult for everybody.

Episode 1
While the popular idol group, SPR5 is performing, a sudden phenomenon of the place being engulfed in some black hole occurs. Fast forward many years later, Yuki seems to be an experiment subject in a facility run by the Agency but Takuya easily takes out those personnel and kidnaps her. Takuya claims he was hired to deliver her and the contract ends once he does that. Riding fast on his Vespa, WTF strange spiritual monk starts standing on his hands to stop him from steering his bike?! More WTF as I don’t know what Yuki did to release some spirit balls to knock him away. With others in hot pursuit, they are then picked up into a truck. Hopped in, rather. Unbelievable manoeuvrability. And with that the pursuers lost them?! Fail! Scientists Eiji and Kikyou examine Yuki and she seems stabilized. They want to know what the Agency has been doing to her. They also narrate about that black hole incident 3 years ago called Lost. Rumours say it was manmade as many victims lost their lives. Yuki is a lone survivor of Lost. Something about those spirits being called Tamashi. Huh? Anyway, Eiji wants Takuya to do another job and that is to head to Lost. The place is quarantined by the government, no progress whatsoever ever since and all forms of communications within the area are blocked. Oh, did he mention that nobody alive has ever returned from entering there? So why hire him?! It seems they received an encrypted code that is from Yuki’s father saying that he is waiting at Lost. Hence Eiji wants Takuya to take Yuki to Lost to ascertain if her father is still alive. Better pay him good.

Takuya seeks the help of his geeky friend, the aptly named Geek to fix his bike. Yeah, he is a big SPR5 fan. Geek thinks it is dangerous to go to Lost but Takuya’s policy is to finish his job. Because he sees Yuki as a package instead of a human, I guess Yuki felt hurt and left on her own. How the f*ck can these guys lose a girl like that?! Did she wander that far?! As Takuya goes to find her, he also calls Yumiko to help find the quickest route to Lost. Eventually Takuya finds Yuki. She doesn’t have to believe in him. Believe in your father! Yeah. Enough for her to get on the ride with him. Unbelievable manoeuvrability as Takuya dodges debris and even that damn monk! This guy is taking all the damage but his bike is still functioning?! Yuki feels bad and wants to give up (flashback of her happy family moments – because dad and brother are now victims of Lost). After Takuya lectures her about not giving up again, WTF moment for Yuki as she somehow manages to summon her former bodyguard, Akira! WTF?! Gun slinging Akira shoots down the monk! With submachine guns!!! Although Takuya and Yuki are safe, the people from Agency crash them. It seems they know where they are because Yumiko betrayed him. She works for the Agency too. She wants to do the honours to kill Takuya.

Episode 2
Yumiko shoots the agent instead. Betraying the Agency, huh? She and Kouta decide to help them. With the area now under intense lockdown, they hide in Yumiko’s secret place. If Yumiko is going to help him, he also needs her to work with Geek as he knows how to fix his bike. So the easiest way to bait him is to use SPR5 on the chatrooms? It worked. Later as Takuya talks to Yuki, he learns about Akira who was her father’s bodyguard but died during Lost while trying to protect her. She isn’t sure if that Tamashi she summoned was actually him. The gang take the subway as the fastest way to get into Lost. Of course the Agency guys led by Suzuna are waiting for them. Conveniently a door to another room. Yumiko lets the rest proceed while she deals with Suzuna. I think Suzuna is just toying with Yumiko. She could have really shoot and killed her but yet they talk about their different ideals on freedom. On Kouta’s side, they manage to dispatch the stupid Agency henchmen. Until Kouta gets a knife stabbed in a back by this Tamashi knife dude! Takuya takes and forces Yuki to escape instead of mourning over Kouta. Oh no. Don’t lose heart again. No time for that as knife dude is hot on their tail. Convenient so convenient because here comes Geek in his truck to bring them away. Oh man, knife dude is fly and chasing them. Takuya sounds like he wants to sacrifice himself to stop this bastard but Yuki comes along with him. Hey, don’t lecture her about decisions. She decides this one by herself. I’m amazed his bike can make such great moves without any damage. So what Takuya figured out this knife dude’s trick that he can pop up to where he throws his knife? Because at the end of the day, Yuki just needs to summon Akira and blow him away! Yeah, should have used the submachine gun instead of your pea shooter in the first place. In the aftermath, Takuya and Yuki agree to help each other. But first they need to pick up Yumiko and Kouta. I wonder if Suzuna has done the job. And poor Kouta looks like he bite the dust…

Episode 3
Yeah well, Yumiko is amazingly alive albeit bleeding all over. The place where Kouta died, looks like his body is missing… Geek and Takuya realize something amiss. They have been going around in circles. Even weird, they witness SPR5 arguing outside the concert hall they are supposed to be performing shortly? Something about group leader, Yua unhappy that she heard SPR5 will be disbanded. Geek realizes they have gone back to a certain point in time. As they try to move along, they come back to the same place and see the same argument taking place again. I guess this makes Geek he needs to take action to prevent SPR5 to perform in that doomed concert. He finds Yua and talks to her. Not that she believes him. As a big fan, he can tell her character and some hit close to heart. This concert that Yua is supposed to perform in, she didn’t actually perform and was stated as sick although many fans believed she wasn’t and there was a conspiracy behind it. Just when she starts to believe him, she disappears. Takuya and Yuki try to get out but again end up in the same place. Same SPR5 argument. This has Yuki believe Yua is responsible for this space pocket and wonder if those Tamashi are controlled by others. This time Yuki goes to find Yua, talk to her about the need to do something or nothing happens. Otherwise she’ll end up like her. Damn that worked. Meanwhile Takuya tries to find SPR5’s manager, Seiji but to no avail. Yua makes up with the rest of SPR5 and they go on to perform together. With that, Takuya and co manage to get out of this time loop. But when Geek checks for change in history, it is still the same. Yua did not perform at that concert and SPR5 was still a victim of Lost. With fatty feeling down, Yuki thinks she understands about Tamashi. With so many people getting caught in Lost then, they have regrets and unfulfilled wishes. Hence Tamashi is a person’s will taking shape. Yua’s regret was strong that she created that time loop world. Even though they couldn’t change the past, she doesn’t think their efforts were futile. Oh look another Tamashi crashing their bike. Oh sh*t, is that Souma? Yuki’s brother? Well, Yuki doesn’t seem all too surprise to know he is alive. Because he is trying to kill Takuya and claims Yuki should come back with him. They’re family and need to support each other. Yuki won’t accept this. Because of that, did she try summoning so hard that it becomes a huge explosion? Crater size explosion!

Episode 4
Takuya is wheeled into ICU and Geek blames Eiji for putting him up to this. It’s partly Yuki’s fault too, right? Eiji offers everyone his home as a place to hide for now. When they leave, they are confronted by police officers, Ryouko Negishi and Shunpei Aoyama try to press Yuki for answers since a CCTV caught Yuki and Takuya within the restricted area. Luckily Eiji has got his answers prepared so they can’t prod further. Wow. Eiji’s place is a mansion?! I guess when he meant it was a good place to hide, it meant luxurious. Yumiko stays by Takuya’s side. She is shocked when Suzuna is here. Don’t worry, she won’t kill him but to offer her info. Ryouko goes to see freelance detective, Keigo Hidaka to find out more info on Takuya since she has a hunch he used to be in this same profession as him. Takuya wakes up and is updated by Yumiko. He asks about Seiji but is told he just died in an accident. Ryouko tries her luck and talks to Yuki again. She talks about her own father who was an officer whom she looked up to. But when he became a victim of Lost, she became frustrated rather than sad. That’s why she became an officer and still believes he is still alive. This reignites hope in Yuki for hers. A little PR goes a long way because now Yuki opens up on what the Agency had done to her. Ryouko tries to investigate a lab belonging to Lacuna. She should know better she can’t search around without a warrant and is of course turned away. Ryouko gets scolded by her superior for snooping where her nose doesn’t belong but if her instincts tell her, it is only because she is getting close to the truth. Keigo has found an old picture of Takuya. Ryouko looks at some old real estate files and finds a contract of Lacuna trying to buy a certain factory for their second research facility. Although they won the bid, they retracted soon after. As the date shows the day before Lost, it only confirms they knew Lost was going to happen. Suddenly Shunpei stabs her! Yup, this guy is from the Agency. So he doesn’t make sure she’s dead?! Yumiko talks to Yuki about Suzuna’s info. Souma is still alive. As long as she heads toward Lost, he will appear again. Is she is not resolved to do not, please don’t involve Takuya. Yuki’s answer? She wants to save Souma. I guess we’re going.

Episode 5
Yuuji reports to Keigo that Aoyama’s body is found floating at the port. Ryouko’s division has been shut and the chief transferred out. Though they are frustrated with this, it seems Keigo has another plan. A plan that involves the famous magician, Yoshiaki. He goes to see Takuya and knows about Phantom Thief Brigade X that Takuya and Yumiko once tried to catch but failed. The team’s leader, Tsubasa is Yoshiaki’s older brother whom he hasn’t seen in 10 years. He hopes to make a deal so he can see him again. Yuki notices an Artefact known as Tsuki’s Tears is on display at a museum. Because Souma had something similar. Eiji explains research showed it had mystic powers and it is believed to give wielders powers. Now, Yoshiaki believes Hoshi’s Tears that Brigade is holding is its pair and hence they will target Tsuki’s Tears. Takuya and Yumiko are suspicious. Because Hoshi’s Tears is in the Agency’s hands. Could it be Brigade and Agency are connected? If so, this could be a trap. Takuya’s side are heading towards the museum but they are intercepted by Brigade. So putting out Eiji’s van is enough? Flashback shows Tsubasa tried to ambush when Taiyou the boss of the Agency was trying to make some deal. However his secretary, Tsuki protected him and received a huge slash on her back. It left a hideous scar. Was Tsubasa in despair that he got killed? When Brigade prepares to steal Tsuki’s Tears, they are shocked to see Souma and in possession of the real Hoshi’s Tears. Flashback shows they tried to prove to Tsubasa they can also steal something without him but unfortunately the Hoshi’s Tears they stole was fake. Souma wastes no time to pulverize them. Meanwhile Takuya’s side realizes Hoshi’s Tears is not in its display. I believe they aren’t so dumb to leave it unguarded, right? Besides, where’s security in this place?! Then they go join in the fight. Takuya and Brigade’s side accuse the other of working with Souma. But Souma is not happy to see Takuya alive and tries to kill him. Oh just in time for Akira to pop up to protect him! Apparently Souma also has bad blood with Akira. When mom died, Souma blamed him for not protecting her despite being their bodyguard.

Episode 6
I guess who shoots better projection wins and looks like Souma is having the upper hand. It took a while for Akira to use his submachine guns but that’s still not good enough. Yoshiaki tries to be a hero and intervene but fails. However this distraction allows Akira to shoot and destroy Hoshi’s Tears. Don’t be happy yet. Souma has another trick up his sleeve. Yup, he has Tsuki’s Tears. He summons Tsubasa from it and has him blast Akira with his magic icicles. Cue for short flashback showing how his subordinates followed him because he’s a nice chap? I guess Akira holding out this long means Yuki’s determination is strong, right? Well, she can’t hold out longer. It’s really killing her. After Akira is destroyed, Souma orders Tsubasa to kill Yoshiaki. We can see Tsubasa reluctant and purposely missing his icicles. I guess we never learn because with Souma being mad and distracted, the Brigade guys manage to make him drop Tsuki’s Tears from his hand. Yoshiaki picks it up and feels some connection to Tsubasa. He uses his power to make it disappear. Now Souma is the one panicking as he loses power. Yoshiaki now access Tsubasa’s memories. The memories he never knew. As they were part of an orphanage for disabled kids, it seems the kids also underwent experiments. Tsubasa made a fuss with his ability to make things disappear. This was so that the attention can now be brought upon him. With the focus on him, he vowed to destroy all Artefacts before Yoshiaki’s power awakens. Only then he can be truly free. Tsubasa formed his little Brigade and subsequently got caught up during Lost because he received a distress call from Yoshiaki, thinking Taiyou did something to him. The brothers say their last goodbyes before Tsubasa is gone forever. Now that the Brigade wants to cut up Souma, Yuki won’t let them yet. She tries to save Souma but he accuses her of always thinking she is always right. I guess he can’t jump to his death because big sister’s hug saves the day. Tsuki blames Suzuna for this failed plan because now Souma is in the enemy’s hands. She should have seen this coming. Even so, Suzuna notes this is what Taiyou wanted. Souma is unconscious and ‘safe’ at Eiji’s place. They need to do something before Agency comes for him. Takuya and Yoshiaki meet Keigo who wants them to head to the orphanage.

Episode 7
The moment they step into the orphanage, they are transported back in time. Looks like some Tamashi still has regrets. And Takuya believes it is Hinako, one of the caretakers of the orphanage. It all began when Takuya tried to save Geek when he raked up debts in some bar. Of course the punks can’t ‘joke’ so before they deal with him, Kaibara stepped in to warn them and they back off. Takuya was then invited to join Kaibara’s detective agency and introduced to Yumiko. Takuya continued training and before you know it, he became their ace. So to show appreciation, Kaibara gave him his scooter? Gee, thanks. One day, Kaibara wanted Takuya to investigate the orphanage as they are being suspected of child abuse. Hence Takuya went undercover as a caretaker. He noticed there is a certain line of thought that runs through the orphanage and free thinking like Takuya isn’t welcomed. It is obvious that the more Hinako interacts with Takuya, the more she wavers in her beliefs. Takuya’s regret was never pressing her about the children who were chosen that were taken away from the orphanage. The reason given was they were to meet prospective parents but we know the real reason was that they were sent to the lab. However Takuya had a hunch what was going on but before he could do anything, Kaibara pulls him out of the investigation and drops the case. Takuya even saw Kaibara talking to the orphanage’s principal and should’ve continued investigating after being taken off the case. On the day Hinako invited him to go watch the circus with the kids, he declined with reason he tendered his resignation. Yes, that day was Lost. The current Takuya regretted not stopping her and now tries to do so. Hinako tells him her wish is to tell the kids the truth when they get back and thanks Takuya for changing their line of thought. With the regrets taken care of, Takuya and co return to normal time. Shortly after that incident, Takuya quit the detective agency but kept the scooter as he wanted to continue believing in Kaibara. Keigo thought he wasted time looking through the documents in the safe but it’s all trash. But Takuya knows where Hinako kept the documents. In the birdhouse, there is a ledger of financial records that links the orphanage to Lacuna. With this damning evidence, Yoshiaki is willing to risk everything to testify as live witness. When they return, Yuki sees the orphanage’s group photo and recognizes the principal as she has seen him many times in the facility. Takuya and Yumiko are surprised because they thought the Agency disposed of him.

Episode 8
Yoshiaki puts up the greatest magician show. Making it look like he is going to randomly make a building disappear, that building is Lacuna! With that, people and reporters flock outside Lacuna hoping to glimpse this magic. I hope he isn’t pulling off a Lost style disappearance. With this commotion, Takuya, Yuki and Geek manage to get in via their fake IDs and Geek streams the inside live. They confront the principal who has been promoted to some director but he calls the Agents to beat them up. We didn’t see how but Takuya manages to beat the sh*t out of them! These guys need more training! The principal somewhat confesses he did it all for the money to run the orphanage. So in a way, he’s still thinking about the kids, right?! Meanwhile Yoshiaki turns this magic show into some big revelation as he reveals he was an experiment subject at Lacuna. With the public now hounding for answers, the police take action to take Taiyou and Tsuki in for questioning. Taiyou surprisingly agrees. After Takuya and co leave Lacuna, they are being told Souma is starting to act strange. Damn, this kid is shooting light beams now?! Taiyou’s interrogation won’t last long as the commissioner is his lapdog and apologizes for all this and sets him free. It seems all this is part of Taiyou’s plan to test Souma. He considers him a failure as he can’t control himself without an Artefact. As he didn’t go berserk after losing Tsuki’s Tears, that is because Yuki was nearby and served as his Artefact. Now she’s away… Yup, he is displaying symptoms of Lost. It’s like an excuse that he has to die for Lost to be triggered because this allows the city to be evacuated. Of course Yuki won’t let this go. Once again, Takuya delivers her as far as he can but when his scooter can go no more, damn is Yuki flying????!!! Oh, it’s Akira. I wonder how his machine guns can fight against the light beams. Nope. Lost. But he did bring Yuki closer to Souma who is now a big ugly blob. She hears him hate everything, fear everything, don’t come close, don’t want to die. Then she hugs him. He explodes but not Lost v2. Yuki sad her brother’s gone. Taiyou disappointed Lost didn’t happen.

Episode 9
Daichi along with Taiyou and Tsuki were researchers at Lacuna. One day, Ryouko’s dad came to investigate Daichi because a person who died 50 years ago somehow had the same dental records as him. So what? Murder for stolen identity? In time, the trio quickly rise up to the top thanks to Taiyou and Tsuki systematically disposing the higher ups. With them in control of the lab, it is revealed that they are from another universe. There were many other volunteers too but it is not known what happened to them and the 3 of them are left. That’s why Taiyou wants Daichi to concentrate in creating a portal to save millions in their own decaying universe. This is called Project Noah. So theoretically to open that portal, an immense amount of info is needed and it will open a big hole in Tokyo, hence the more people, the better. While Daichi was working on the portal, Taiyou and Tsuki were handling the bioengineering. They were testing kids with abilities and trying to filter out those who aren’t affected by the surge particle because people must move freely through the portal without losing their memories. However Daichi soon gets romantically involved (an awkward one, that is) with the nice cafeteria lady, Mifuyu. He sympathizes that some people hate her because her bus driver dad killed many. The real story goes when she was sick, he worked extra hours to cover the medical expenses but that backfired. She liked his idea and theory of a parallel world because she wished there was one where she never existed and her dad could do his job happily. With Daichi’s work affected, Taiyou warns him not to prioritize a single life over millions. But you know, they both fell in love and had their first child named Yuki. That was when Taiyou blew his top because he thought a being that is not fully from either universe has been born. Daichi believed she has both and her existence is not a contradictory. Daichi warns if they touch his family, he will kill them. Though Daichi claims the portal will soon be ready, Taiyou warns back to run tests and no more slowdowns are allowed. Or else. Many years later as he has completed some safety device and is going to run tests to ensure it won’t be used for evil (yeah, they always think that), somehow WTF how in the world did those agents hack and disable the safety features?! That is when Lost happened. Daichi realizes he has failed to protect the ones he loves but believes there is still a chance. Whatever encryption he left behind was picked up by Eiji, his researcher partner.

Episode 10
Surprise! Kouta is still alive! Apparently Kaibara saved him. Takuya is in disbelief because he thinks that guy is now on the Agency’s side but Kouta claims he is the one who is misunderstanding Kaibara. While Takuya’s scooter is being fixed, we see Kikyou talking to depressed Yuki, Eiji trying to lay off Takuya from his delivery job as well as Taiyou explaining to Tsuki and Suzuna. Just to let us know that now everybody knows the truth. It seems the Lost created by Souma isn’t over yet and is slowly expanding. Albeit it will take decades. The reason being could be Daichi doing something to suppress its expansion. Because Taiyou tried to send messages there but none was received, only that single message from Daichi was received. It could be the reason why Yuki is heading there. Hence Taiyou thought let Yuki run free or Souma go berserk. But the answer is simpler: Eliminate Daichi. He is going to do so by entering Lost. What about the surge particle thingy? That’s what the experiments are for. Of course so far all have failed as the test subjects at the minimum limit turn into vegetative state or in worst case, die. So we see the gang hang out and kill some time. Yeah, Takuya’s scooter must be the most important factor. For some reason, Yumiko called Kouta to ask Takuya to get some tomatoes. This leads him to a farm whereby he sees Kaibara being a happy tomato farmer! A few words of advice. Including his life is how he sees fit to live it. I guess that’s enough to make Takuya’s day. Taiyou’s experiments continue to fail. He then starts thinking maybe they themselves can’t be affected since they’re from the other universe. Tsuki can’t take any more of this so she offers to be the test subject. Everything goes well and she still remembers her memories. Then Taiyou decides to up everything to the max! Oh sh*t! Looking scared now, huh?! But it did confirm Taiyou’s hypothesis… Meanwhile, a weird conversation between Takuya and Yuki. They’re talking about the kind of normal life and house they want to live in. Is this a sign they want to date after all this? Once Takuya’s scooter is ready, it’s time to ride to hell. Hold on to your seatbelts. In Yuki’s case, hold on tight to him.

Episode 11
Takuya and Yuki continue their journey. They see Taiyou’s team and realize he is already making his move to Lost. Better hurry. Yoshiaki and Brigade hand them a transmitter so they can stay connected with the rest while in Lost. Wait. Nobody knows anything in Lost so how do they even know this technology can work?! Meanwhile, the rest are trying to hack and storm into Lacuna facilities. I see that’s why they need to hack the antenna so they can constantly stay connected to Takuya and Yuki. Don’t worry. It’ll be easy. Those agents are dumb. But Geek is having a hard time trying to hack and decrypt the password security. Until a member of Brigade (hacker loli, rather) helps by hooking him up to some super computer so everything is okay. Taiyou is at the fringes of Lost as he relieves Suzuna of her duties. Suzuna then points her gun at him. It seems her real intention is to get revenge on him for all the people he sacrificed for his test. By the time Takuya and Yuki arrive, Suzuna is close to death. Shot by her former employer. She tells them Taiyou has gone into Lost by himself and apologizes to Yuki for making her go through a lot. Too late, but I guess it’s better than never. Takuya and Yuki dive into Lost. Do they even need to ride the scooter? Whatever. They experience weird flashbacks. Is this some sort of pseudo summary of important things that have happened to them? Anyway, those flashbacks also feel like regrets that they could have done something. As the duo are like living zombie since Lost is taking a toll on them, Taiyou is still cool and sinking deeper. He finally enters an area where Daichi is. The latter only existing in digital format. We return to the memories of the duo. This time, Takuya is losing his recognition of Yuki. Who this girl? And somehow the moment they touch, they get their memories back and resume their ride deeper into Lost. I suppose that is why others keep telling us in that hopeless situation when they lost contact of the duo in Lost (pun not intended), only their strong bonds allow their memories to stay intact as long as they continue supporting each other. How convenient. Breaking through, they see Taiyou trying to kill digital Daichi. How do strangle something made out of 1’s and 0’s? Yuki is distraught and summons Akira for his submachine gun overkill! Sure she won’t hit her father like that?!

Episode 12
At least Akira did something good by blocking Taiyou’s super blast. Taiyou thinks the reason Daichi is trying to prevent Lost is Yuki. He wants to eliminate her but he starts to feel the effects. The medicine effects wearing off? Daichi then tells him it is because he is alone. One’s existence is maintained from continual mutual confirmation. With Tsuki being the last one who believes in him, I guess Taiyou can’t be God anymore. Daichi reveals the reason he brought Yuki here is because she can choose worlds. As an observer, she has the ability to do everything over. We are shown scenes of Yuki living a happy and normal family life. Taiyou and Tsuki are sentenced to prison over their exploitation of the orphanage’s kids. Ryouko’s dad has been credited in bringing them down although Takuya’s infiltration was also a large part to play in that. Yoshiaki and Tsubasa continue to remain together. SPR5 continues to perform. This is what the future should have been and Daichi wants Yuki to choose. However she won’t. WHAT?! Despite the tragedy of Lost, everyone lived on so desperately. Choosing one means to deny the existence of the other. Also, this is to show that they are not as weak as he thinks. WTF?! SINCE WHEN YOU A MASOCHIST, YUKI?! Oh, father must be so heartbroken that he did this all for her only to be wasted. Because Taiyou returns to crush this dude! Yuki, see what you’ve done?! However Taiyou (not looking a lot like some last boss demon monster) starts to grow weak. It seems there is some shard embedded in his heart. He remembers when Suzuna shot him, part of her bullet managed to get stuck there. Suzuna’s ability is to predict the future. All paths ended in failure except for this outcome that technically didn’t spell success outright, but it wasn’t a failure. Good thing Akira left his gun because now Takuya can guide Yuki to shot one in Taiyou. Daichi then holds Taiyou back and tells the duo to get out on the scooter. Vroom! But it seems Brigade only finds Yuki lying unconscious. In the aftermath, we see Yoshiaki still a small time magician, Keigo still a small time detective, Kouta is Kaibara’s tomato farmer assistant, Eiji, Kikyou and Geek forming a new Lost committee to recruit talents to help solve this Lost problem and Yuki living a pretty normal high school life. Unfortunately she has no memories of Takuya. You mean only him? Despite no news of Takuya’s whereabouts, either they’re doing a bad job or just straight out lying to protect him (for whatever reasons). Because we see him riding his trademark yellow scooter (can’t miss it)… STALKING YUKI?! I guess he didn’t want to call out to her so he leaves her familiar ribbon on the post. Recall something?

Still Lost And Never Found Ever After
WTF?! What the heck is this weak and unsatisfying ending?! Yuki not remembering Takuya anymore feels like a sad ending. But since it isn’t confirmed that ribbon would spark her memories back, I guess it is up to us to interpret if we want to or not. But it doesn’t matter. Because unlike Yuki, we don’t have the ability to choose worlds! WTF?! I still can’t believe Yuki chose the status quo path which has everyone continuing their suffering. I guess she lost too much (pun intended) that she has gone crazy so there is no difference at all with the outcome staying the same. It could have been utopia and paradise but nope. She didn’t want that. No siree. She’s so kind so as not to deny the other existence whom we’d all probably won’t give a f*ck nor remember had she chosen that. Uh huh. Screw the other people from the other universe. Oh Yuki, your actions have killed the future of millions! You’ve also wasted daddy’s efforts because if this is what Yuki chose, is there any reason for him to delay Lost? Besides, the final episode also feel so rushed and had a few things shoehorned in especially Taiyou conveniently being defeated. I guess he didn’t see things that far ahead, huh? Suzuna’s character being written just for this convenient role and some other stuffs that prevents Taiyou from being Almighty, oh well, that’s the path we’ve chosen. Also, it’s not clear whether Taiyou perished along with Daichi or they remained trapped in that hell hole for eternity. But whatever. And how was only Yuki found unconscious after escaping Lost? My guts tell me Takuya rode out and left her there. That’s why you don’t see him around. Hey, mission accomplished. Delivered her to and back. Not like he’s getting extra paid.

I believe the story has been a train wreck from the start. Rather, a scooter that has taken on so much damage and continue to limp its way to the finish line. Feels a lot like that. I think they want to keep up with the intrigue and the mysteries surrounding Lost and hence they added in all those elements to ramp up the captivation level but it got messy and beating around the bush that I felt it was just an ultimate fail. Thus the only ‘interesting’ episode was the flashback on Taiyou and Daichi, their true goals and intentions. The mystery behind Lost somewhat solved. But it still didn’t take away the bad pacing and storytelling of the rest of the other episodes like how they deviate and meander with that SPR5 time looping déjà vu crap and Yoshiaki and Tsubasa’s past. It’s not that we understand anything much about this Tamashi thingy. Just an excuse that serves as Yuki’s ‘weapon’ because Takuya’s scooter can only do so much. We also have Takuya’s flashback doing his infiltration cover at the kindergarten job and something about Ryouko’s dad and while all those and more seem like they add something to connect it all to the bigger picture, ultimately Lost is just one big incomplete portal trying to be connected to the other universe. And the whole roundabout thingy of having sacrificial test subjects was because they fear of losing their memories while going through the portal. Yeah, it’s that simple. And the simplest way to counter that is to have f*cking strong bonds! Bonds, people! Bonds!!!

It made me wonder if Takuya and Yuki are that close. Sure, they seem to have gotten to know each other since Takuya took on this job and they’ve spent most of the subsequent moments together. I mean, it’s not like I could see them becoming an item. Could they? Not likely. At least, not from what I can see. He was just a delivery boy. She was just a test subject to be delivered. That is all. Excuses to deliver or postpone this mission only serve to drag out the plot convenience and make it seem like as though they have some sort of bond. Not that I can see that they are THAT close. No wonder that cheesy moment of them together talking about the normal life and what kind of house decorations they would like! Sheesh. Because they didn’t mention how many kids they would like, I guess that is why we aren’t confirmed they were an item or not. Even if they did, we’d be pointing fingers of this cheap and forced romance drama part. Heh. No way out of this checkmate. If that is the level of bond needed to prevent memory loss while traversing through Lost, I guess it’s pretty easy. All those high technology and researching were just a waste of time. But I suppose as a researcher you need some concrete proof of science rather than relying on guts and emotions.

I don’t feel like making a long commentary on the characters because they’re just as bad as the plot. Takuya and Yuki as the main characters, you know the drill. Then you have the other supporting characters whom you aren’t likely to remember, just because. You know they play some part in providing support to our main duo but whatever. The plot has got to move forward, right? Like the aptly named Geek who is a computer whizz, an idol crazed nerd as well as the only mechanic in town who can fix Takuya’s bike. I guess Takuya doesn’t trust those other shady overcharging mechanics to fix and juice up his precious two wheeler. Then you have Yumiko, Takuya’s former colleague whom, oh I don’t know what her role is. Eiji and Kikyou trying to get to the bottom of this Lost message. They don’t really seem prominent or of significant. Except maybe for that brief period Eiji providing his luxurious mansion as respite. How the f*ck does a workaholic scientist manage to afford such a big house and land?! Was it inheritance? Keigo, some small time detective doing whatever ground work that needs to be done. Nothing that I would remember. And is Yuuji is dog helper or something? Yoshiaki, victim of the orphanage. Another really insignificant role. Now he has Tsubasa’s groupies. Like that would change anything. Kouta, why the f*ck do they have to bring this guy back and not let him stay dead like Ryouko? It’s not like an extra pair of arms can do anything, right? And Kaibara… Probably the ‘best’ character because he is happily being a tomato farmer not giving a f*ck not to get involved with the rest. You do you. By the way, I don’t like tomatoes…

I always wondered why Suzuna always have that poker face and I suppose it is to hide her real intentions. No wonder when she had so many chances to finish off the good guys, instead she dawdles and gives excuses. So she’s like a double agent, being close to Taiyou, waiting for the right moment to kill him? Why now? Why not earlier and prevent him from doing all this madness? So, the more people sacrificed, the more hatred she will build up in her heart, the more then it will justify she should kill him? Too late. She got what she deserved. Now we can’t totally think badly of her because she tried to do the good thing. Oh right, I almost forgot that soothsaying ability. How convenient. I guess lots still have to die just to reach this outcome. Mission accomplished. Now she can die happy. Same thing for Souma. Little jerk brother of Yuki has some sort of issues to pick on her big sister. Tries to come off as a strong antagonist of the series but sputters out because deep down he is still her little brother. Oh well, it was good while it lasted. And Taiyou being the baddest of the baddest, yeah, probably the producers write him that way. Killing off his subordinates with no mercy just to show us how heartless he is so that when he gets his just desserts, we won’t feel a thing for him. Don’t worry. I didn’t feel anything for the other characters too!

I probably want to say that the hidden star of this series goes to Takuya’s bike! Uh huh. I think this scooter is no doubt the highlight and poster child of this series. Maybe that is one of the reasons that intrigued me to watch. Not that I am a bike crazy fan or anything but seeing the poster of Takuya and Yuki on this bike, well, why do I have a feeling that this bike is also the star? And you can see why because as early as in the first episode, it did a lot of bat sh*t crazy stunts and survived! This bike withstood all the energy projection attacks from Tamashi and is still able to continue moving! Is this freaking awesome or not?! Just a little tweaking and maintenance and this bike is as good as always. Damn, I wonder what it is made of anyway. And they gave that cheesy flashback that Kaibara gave it to him so as to convince us why Takuya is so attached to this bike rather than getting a new one. After how it did the impossible, I can see why he won’t sell or trade this for a better one. And even in the final push, Takuya brings his scooter into Lost itself! I bet his bond with his bike is stronger! Haha! Hey, it got them out of Lost, didn’t it?! In the event if they lose their memories, maybe the bike won’t. What if the bike is Takuya’s Tamashi?! Holy sh*t!!!

This is supposed to be an action sci-fi, right? Fail too! Firstly, those stupid mindless agent clones from the Agency are comparable to all other useless goons you see in other shows and genres. Their numbers might look threatening but it is easy to take them out. I can understand if they are lifeless clones but I don’t think so because if they are normal humans like you and me, it would be a great shame and should be sent back to training. As bad as these cheesy action to fight off easy agents, the battles with Tamashi is over the top absurd! First we got a heavy monk and then some knife throwing hoodie. Whatever happened to them? I guess we don’t care. Even more absurd is Yuki’s ability to summon Akira for his firing power overkill. I think that was the one that broke my camel’s back. Because I can’t contain my laughter anymore and started cracking up. So are they saying that Yuki’s bond to Akira is a lot stronger than Souma or her father? Otherwise, why can’t she summon her dad as he might bombard his enemies with his digital projection! 0101 data coming your way! It all seems like a loose and poor execution to why this Akira character even exist. Like I said about those Agency’s goons, they’re incompetent so Daichi just needs to hire one gun totting bodyguard in case Taiyou decides to move on his family.

The animation is also poor that it makes you wonder if this is the same Madhouse staff that produced other animes like One Punch Man, No Game No Life, Highschool Of The Dead, Overlord, Black Lagoon and even Death Note. If I should say, the animation and even the characters look and feel sloppy. With the Lost area being cordoned off and abandoned for a long time, they want to give off this dystopian feel but with such bad quality, it feels like this anime is the one that is being affected by Lost! And the oddest character design goes to Yuki. No, not how she looks but rather the way she dresses. Even when everyone else is somewhat casually dressed, it is mind boggling for Yuki to wear a sleeveless white dress wherever she goes. Yeah, you might want to cover up a little considering the harsh environment she is getting into. Especially when she rides with Takuya? And doesn’t her white dress get dirty? Damn, she stands out like a sore thumb because her dress is like so bright compared to the rest! Even Kouta dressing sharply in his suit and Tsubasa’s Brigade dressing like cosplay weirdoes aren’t so bad.

This series has got a few famous seiyuus voicing its main characters. Particularly, Tomokazu Sugita as Takuya and Kana Hanazawa as Yuki and Mifuyu. All I can say is that their talents are wasted on this poorly written story and characters they play. It’s not their fault they can’t bring the best of their characters out, it’s because of this poor limitation that they are unable to fully release their potential. The other recognizable seiyuus having their wasted talents here include Ayane Sakura as Suzuna, Kenjiro Tsuda as Daichi, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Yoshiaki, Yuuichi Nakamura as Akira and Mamoru Miyano as Seiji. The rest of the other casts are Hidenoari Takahashi as Taiyou (Waka in Amnesia), Taisuke Nishimura as Geek, Ayaka Asai as Souma (Hazuki in Hibike! Euphonium), Tarusuke Shingaki as Eiji (Kariya in Fate/Zero), Mitsuki Nakae as Yumiko (Tsubaki in Hagane Orchestra), Masaki Terasoma as Keigo (Kiroranke in Golden Kamuy), Asami Imai as Tsuki (Ikaruga in Senran Kagura), Nobunaga Shimazaki as Tsubasa (Itsuka in Date A Live), Aimi Terakawa as Kikyou (Kasumi in BanG Dream), Makoto Takahashi as Kouta (Kouta in Majimoji Rurumo), Tomoyo Kurosawa as Ryouko (Kumiko in Hibike! Euphonium).

Something that doesn’t suck: The opening theme, Kotae by Mao Abe. This energetic hard rock outfit would have been really awesome had the series itself at least being decent. Now I feel that this song is a waste to be put into such mediocre series because this song isn’t that bad. It’s edgy as well as it’s badass to say the least. And then from hero to zero. Because the ending theme is like so out of place and WTF. With Your Breath by SPR5 is such a lively typical idol music that doesn’t fit the setting of this series. You know how mostly gloom and despair the episodes are. Suddenly they have this happy fanfare blasting at the start of the ending song which really makes you go “Huh?! WTF?!”. Really. I suppose this is the only way SPR5 can get its fair share of limelight. What a way to make your debut. Yeah, they got zapped by Lost and killed off! I prefer the special ending theme, Hello Again ~Mukashi Kara Aru Basho~ by Kana Hanazawa (I almost mistake its name to be some alternate cover on Adele’s Hello). Though a generic pop music and still lively, but at least I get to hear Kana Hanazawa’s cute voice while singing it. There are also some other BGM which are dramatic electronic music but they aren’t that memorable.

Overall, this is one big disaster that it seems Lost did not only affect the people and the plot of this anime but it also bombed for all of us who were unfortunate enough to have watched it. Yeah, you could say they really lost the plot and we all lost it with this crap! Haha! Pun intended! Poor storyline pacing and execution as well as uninteresting characters did not help in improving the intrigue of this series especially when some of the action scenes are just downright mediocre or ridiculous. Sometimes we feel we want to walk through the Lost portal and lose our memories of this series but that won’t do because it would mean we might repeat the same mistake and go watch it again. Maybe better to summon a Rambo Tamashi and shoot this series to bits! Haha! Oops. Hopefully, the mobile game that it was adapted on would fare better but since as usual I didn’t play it (nor have I heard of it until I watched this anime), I wouldn’t know. I suppose that is why they also call this series as Afterlost. Because it’s supposed to stay lost after that. Where I End and You Begin? It ended even before it began to lift off! This is also where I end trash talking this series and begin watching another one. I’m such a lost sheep of sci-fi animes after all…

W’z

August 3, 2019

This is so wack, my man. I never really thought Hand Shakers would get a sequel and I never really thought W’z (pronounced as Wise and not Wiz as I thought) was that sequel. When I first read the synopsis, I never really gave much thought about it as it says something about a genius DJ prodigy kid. Nothing hinted of any sorts it was related to Hand Shakers. I thought this would be some music themed anime and even so, it was strange for me to get interested in the DJ genre. DJ and those techno club music aren’t my tea so naturally I would have given this a pass. Something didn’t mesh apparently so I ended up checking it out. Until I watched through the first episode that I started realizing there are pretty familiar things. Oh dear. Too late. Really, this is just so wack, my man…

Episode 1
It is 10 years later from the events that ended in Hand Shakers. There is a young boy going viral on the internet. Dubbed as W’z, this genius DJ who is getting many hooked with his music is actually Yukiya Araki. He is on his way to start his new term of middle high school and because he isn’t concentrating, the mere touch of an innocent by-stander causes her to temporarily enter Ziggurat. Though, she loses her memories of her time in Ziggurat when she returns. Yukiya wants to take up music at Kita Asuka Academy. However his father opposes it very much and it looks like Yukiya is going heed his advice. Along the way, he meets Masaru who takes an interest in him and suggests meeting Koyori who is a teacher at that school. Masaru leaves when Yukiya’s childhood friend, Haruka Tosabori arrives to accompany him to school. Yukiya thinks he has no talent since his video wasn’t that well received. Haruka disagrees and to prove he has much more talent than that, she suggests doing whatever crazy thing he has on his mind. That night in the crowded streets, the duo set up the DJ equipment right smack in the crowd. Yeah, nobody cares. When they hold hands, they enter Ziggurat. They don a mask as he streams live his DJ talent. Some people are stumped because they are watching this video right in this spot and they can’t see this dude anywhere. Yukiya realizes they are under attack and goes to protect Haruka. Not just 1 but 2 pairs of enemies, Hana Mihara-Senri Teshima and Gai Kishiwada-Masataka Sakai. They are here to steal his power. Yukiya manages to deflect their attacks with his Nimrod sword.

Episode 2
Because the enemies are busy trying to outdo each other, this allowed Yukiya and Haruka to escape. At school, Yukiya sees Koyori. He experiences some weird flashback/trance when she touches him. Koyori can tell he is W’z (did Yukiya seriously think that mask was enough to hide is identity?!) and although he has seen many of his videos, she wants to ask the recent one where he entered Ziggurat. It seems Yukiya has this ability to enter Ziggurat by holding anyone’s hands. The caveat is that they cannot summon Nimrod and they lose their memories when they leave. But Koyori touches him again and nothing happens. She cannot enter Ziggurat anymore and she has a request of him since there are people she wants to find trapped in there. It is believed that Nagaoka and Mayumi met God. However they went missing after that and Koyori has never seen them since. With Yukiya’s ability to enter Ziggurat anywhere, she hopes he can help find them. She also notes the dangers that will follow him as there will be people targeting him. She wants to protect him and the best people to do so are those ex-Hand Shakers. We hear the wishes of the other parties. Gai and Masataka want to stay in Ziggurat forever while Hana and Senri want to get rid of this power and hold hands like normal. Yukiya returns home. He needs to face his father who is still opposed to the school of his choice. It seems his parents, Reijirou and Yukine are ex- Hand Shakers whom we knew as Break and Bind respectively.

Episode 3
Yukiya tells Haruka that he deleted his recent video after receiving lots of comments. He is still unsure what to do so Haruka believes he is afraid because he is unsure what the right thing to do is. The ex-Hand Shakers of Chizuru, Hayate, Koyori, Lily and Masaru converge at the former’s restaurant. However Reijirou crashes in and picks a fight with Masaru whom he believes is the one influencing his son. Masaru claims removing him from the problem will not solve anything as he will eventually face off with other Hand Shakers. After cooling down with a cuppa, they discuss about Yukiya already deleting the original but you know the internet, what is uploaded will always stay there forever. Yeah, clones of his videos everywhere. Further revelation shows that Yukiya isn’t really Reijirou and Yukine’s son. He is their adopted son, though he doesn’t know that now. Flashback shows some shady characters gave baby Yukiya to them to be raised and grown in Ziggurat, free of combat and strife. The main point of discussion is Yukiya isn’t just able to bring anyone into Ziggurat, he was able to bring in something huge like his entire DJ equipment. If this is so, can he bring something out of Ziggurat too? This is dangerous as there are people who want to use this power for criminal activities. All of them despite not being able to summon their Nimrods, want to protect and advise Yukiya. After all this, Reijirou still refuses. He is tired of dealing with Hand Shakers and the likes. Of course his wife talks to him about respecting what Yukiya wants to do. And when that happens, all they can do is simply watch over him. Yukiya finally arrives at the restaurant and he feels awkward with Koyori being close to him. Does this guy like her?

Episode 4
Hayate and Yukiya enter Ziggurat to start looking. It’s a boring conversation until Hayate mentions about Tazuna being Koyori’s partner. But he had to travel around the country to do some business. And this made Yukiya mad because he ‘abandoned’ her?! Sure, complain what a jerk he is to Haruka. She plays along and to calm him down, she gives him tickets to Western King Fest musical event whereby his favourite DJ, Nielsen Fumiyuki will be playing there. Next time, Yukiya pairs up with Chizuru for the search. She talks about how great Tazuna was. Because they met God, Koyori is now able to live normally and not always hold Tazuna’s hands to exist. But Yukiya still seething he ‘abandoned’ her? When they return, Haruka gets the wrong idea of Yukiya ‘dating’ a ‘loli’. Yeah, it’s that taboo word but to prove Chizuru is an adult, she doesn’t blow her top. Chizuru tries to set up Yukiya and Haruka as a date. But that has to be put on hold since Gai and Masataka are here. Back to Ziggurat to fight. Worse, Hana and Senri are here too. Chizuru and Senri are shocked to see each other since Senri works at Chizuru’s place as a part timer. This is awkward. Soon they start fighting but this time the enemies make a pact to cooperate against Yukiya. But whoever defeats him first wins. Chizuru realizes that without a goal or desire to protect someone, Yukiya cannot win. Thanks to Yukiya’s irregular power, Chizuru is able to draw her Nimrod. She clones themselves to escape back to reality. Even so, the enemies still want to fight and Yukiya is tired and injured during that battle. Don’t worry. Finally Tazuna shows up for help. Holding Yukiya’s hands to go back into Ziggurat, the enemies are now certain about his abilities to have different partners to enter Ziggurat. Remember Tazuna’s Nimrod of gears? Welcome back.

Episode 5
Tazuna easily defeats them and suggests they pull back. Wise choice. They can’t defeat him as they are now. In school, Tazuna discovers a transmitter underneath Yukiya’s belt. That’s why they knew where he is. Tazuna has a heart to heart talk with Yukiya inside Ziggurat. He explains they are the same because of their ability to summon Nimrods as they like. Tazuna understands his worries as when he became a Hand Shaker for the first time, he was also targeted. But with his feelings to protect Koyori strong, he overcame all that. Of course with a few slip ups. Yukiya’s Nimrod that he names Disk is the core of his heart so when he is lost, take a look at yourself. Senri now can’t return to Chizuru’s restaurant. So she’s going to ignore all her messages? The girls get their details of W’z from this mysterious informer known only as Composer. He sounds shady but they have no choice but to trust his info as that’s all the lead they’ve got. With them reminding us how they want to rid of this power, time to see flashback snippets of their close relationship together since kindergarten. Yeah, Senri got bullied and Hana came to her rescue. Lots of handholding until they’re grownup. Is it because they hold hands too much that one day they find themselves in Ziggurat? In school, Yukiya is shocked that he and Haruka enter Ziggurat despite not touching each other. So now close proximity can also trigger this? And you bet Hana and Senri are on the offensive. They are much stronger than before because thanks to their flashback bonding. I don’t know why Yukiya is standing there just defending and protecting Haruka and getting injured. I know Haruka is also hurt so shouldn’t they hide in some structure? I’m sure the girls only target Yukiya so if he runs elsewhere, they won’t bother with Haruka. I don’t think taking hostage is their style. Because of this, cue for flashback of Yukiya and Haruka’s childhood moments. Yeah, they’re close, right? I suppose the power of yuri makes Hana and Senri even more powerful. Hell yeah, their handphone charged right up to 150%!!! If only my battery can last that long! But WTF, banzai to the power of yuri!!!

Episode 6
Will the power of yuri penetrate through Yukiya? Not if Haruka helps power up and cuts through them first! Now Senri and Hana are at Chizuru’s restaurant and siding with them? They believe Composer has lied to them and only using them. Because now they have officially lost, he blocked them from his contacts. Also, Senri and Hana lost means they are unable to go into Ziggurat. Something they have wanted all along and was as simple as just losing. The gang discusses about Composer and how he leaked info to mislead others. Because Yukiya’s position was also known despite the transmitter was destroyed, it could either be him or those other guys. The only sensible thing is to confront them. Yukiya wants to come along since this is his fight. Gai and Masataka thought they were going to meet up with Senri and Hana to fight Yukiya but realize they have flipped sides. It is confirmed the transmitter was from them and since they refuse to destroy its records, they’re going to fight. This time Yukiya is paired with Masaru to handle the duo. I guess it’s due for their flashback. When they were kids and on some camping trip with Nagaoka and Makihara, that was when they learnt about Hand Shakers for the first time. Through the years, Gai developed interest in hiking the mountains and stargazing. Other friends didn’t share the same ‘boring’ hobby except for Masataka. Okay, he looked uninterested too but he plays along. That’s when they made their dream to go into Ziggurat if they can’t go into space. During the battle, Gai falls into Masaru’s trap cards, immobilizing him. This allows Yukiya to go after Masataka. Meanwhile Tazuna and Koyori bump into Nielsen. Koyori remembers him at her father’s lab a long time ago. Nielsen wants to talk to Yukiya since Midori Okuike of Okuike Group is making his move. Yeah, that’s the company that sponsored Koyori’s father’s research. Are things starting to come around?

Episode 7
With Masataka in danger, Gai forcefully breaks himself out even if it means hurting himself. But with Yukiya right in Masataka’s aim, he shoots at Gai. Is that on purpose? Flashback shows Masataka was a nervous wreck when he first entered Ziggurat and he hated shooting people. So Gai told him if he finds it hard to shoot anyone, shoot him. Then the game will end. With Gai down, Yukiya cuts down Masataka. Now that they’re defeated, are they like friends? As promised, they delete the data. Haruka learns Yukiya has submitted a music application not as W’z but as himself. Why does this make her feel inferior, praising he has a lot more talent than her? Cue for flashback to see how they met. Haruka took up a musical instrument just because he was good in music. Now she feels she can’t keep lying to him. Tazuna and Yukiya oddly hang out with each other. They’re getting along just fine. Yukiya didn’t expect Koyori to join in. I suppose Tazuna forgot to tell him. At the karaoke, Yukiya is tone deaf. But Koyori continues to support him… Real partners stick through thick and thin, right? When Yukiya brings Tazuna back to his home, it looks like Reijirou wants to fight him but it’s his crude way of greeting this dude. They’re friends, huh? Talk about old times, they’re so modest and humble in their victory and defeat then. Although Reijirou noted Tazuna and Koyori met God, the problem is they couldn’t remember what happened after. Now they shift their attention to Yukiya. What are his ambitions? Still not sure but he wants to help Koyori find her sister with his power. At first he was afraid and scared of it because he once dragged Haruka into Ziggurat and she ended up injured. He hated it. Then he was targeted by others and caused problem for others. He knew he was lying to himself but in fact all he wanted was not to be rejected. Reijirou gives his blessing to do whatever he wants.

Episode 8
Koyori calls Haruka out late just to tell her about Yukiya lying and that Haruka has something to say to him? Oh dear. What did you do? Now you making Haruka cry harder as she blames herself for dragging him down because she isn’t good enough. She fears he will leave her and she doesn’t want that even if it means Yukiya ending up hating her. Koyori relays her experience with Tazuna. So the bottom line is to stop lying. Easier said than done. Tazuna tells Chizuru and Hayate that Midori is Composer and the one pulling the strings. Of course this info wasn’t for free and he made a deal with Nielson. It seems that DJ is still an active Hand Shaker despite never meeting God and his goal is to watch over Ziggurat and those connected to it. The school cultural festival is here. Nielsen brings his busty and sexy assistant, Tamari so they could watch W’z AKA Yukiya who is to perform here. Safe to say that everyone else is here too to see him perform. Yukiya is nervous but once he starts getting into the groove, everyone is stunned at his awesome talent. So good that even Reijirou cried. Yeah… This gives Haruka the motivation that she wants to tell him something when this is done. What a coincidence. Yukiya too. After Haruka’s band is done with their awesome gig too, the band members congratulate themselves. Then they talk about Yukiya who is pretty weird (but in a good way) and despite this makes Haruka awkward, I don’t understand why she gets worried when she realizes Yukiya was hearing this. She realizes she has lied again. Wait a minute. WTF did she say? Did she say anything?! Hence the melancholy of Haruka continues…

Episode 9
Haruka isn’t answering Yukiya’s calls. Yukiya receives a call from Seba Suchan who is calling on behalf of Midori to meet. He is hesitant until he mentions this is regarding Hand Shakers. Yukiya tells this to the rest and Tazuna will accompany him. Both meet Midori for the first time. He cuts straight to the point that ever since mankind is eating up resources in the name of development, he wants to use Yukiya’s power to bring things in and out of Ziggurat. As time moves differently there, Hand Shakers can create copies of the same world as many times despite the Ziggurat crumbles after their battle. So as we can see, Midori is able to enter Ziggurat with Seba and has duplicated loads of silver bars. So he is going to use this concept to solve resources and energy problems plaguing the world. He doesn’t call this exploitation and merely wants his assistance. Unlike other Hand Shakers with their own desires, Yukiya will become God himself and move humanity forward. Tazuna opines this will destroy the world balance. But what does Yukiya think? Since he doesn’t approve of the Hand Shakers fighting each other like those recently, Midori believes their thinking is not aligned and will talk again in the future when they are of clearer mind. Now Seba calls Haruka and brings her to meet Midori. It seems the lie she has been hiding from Yukiya is that she remembers everything that happened in Ziggurat. Though she doesn’t want Yukiya’s powers to be exploited, Midori puts it in a nice way that he is a nice kid but others will take advantage of him and at the same time he doesn’t want to force his ideals on Yukiya. He believes if Haruka can become Yukiya’s partner and act in his place, he will use all his power to protect her. They share the same path and he can help her. The clincher: We’re doing it for Yukiya. Nielsen finds out that Midori has made his move. No time to be fooling around. Time to go busting. Yukiya soon learns that Haruka transferred to another school and moved out. Wow. She really told nobody. Not even the school bothered to announce to her classmates. Feeling worried now? He goes talk to her mother and she tells him she suddenly wanted to transfer to Okuike University and living in their dorm. Wow. Things really move fast when you have the money and influence. Oh Yukiya, you now have something to tell Haruka? Something about your feelings?

Episode 10
Nielson confronts Reijirou. He was the one who handed baby Yukiya to him 10 years ago. Now he is mad that Reijirou broke his promise and let Yukiya be a Hand Shaker. He could have taken Yukiya’s powers any time but didn’t because he believed in him. Now Nielson is going to crush that boy. I guess this stems from his trauma when he was an active Hand Shaker. He lost his then partner, Jessica. Reijirou then finds Yukiya and can tell he is having trouble. So Yukiya tells him what he knows about Midori and Haruka being taken away just because he refused. But it could be that Haruka went on her own volition rather than being forced. Father is going to give him a ride to the dorms to settle his business. Along the way, he reveals the truth about Yukiya being adopted. Even though not his own child, he loves him as his own. Why say so when he knows this isn’t an appropriate time? But thankfully Yukiya didn’t freak out. He somewhat knows. There were no pictures of him in his younger days. He wasn’t entirely sure but with this revelation, he is now. Entering Ziggurat, they are confronted with Seba. Damn, what a waste of the bike as he cuts it in half! He wants them to leave. No can do. If Haruka doesn’t want to see Yukiya, why is she here?! Seba and Reijirou face off. The latter might be a bit rusty and gets beat down. But nothing like a father’s love to turn the tables and turn it into some head butting fight? Whoever has the hardest head wins. Meanwhile Yukiya and Haruka have no choice but to fight since they’re stubborn. Haruka condemning herself as a liar unworthy of him. He shocks her that he too is a liar. Smooth operator in session as he commends her very being who is always by his side cheering him up. Hostility turning into awkwardness when both confess they love each other. That’s not a lie, right? And Yukiya saying he wants her as his partner, is that in Hand Shaker terms? Seba won’t allow this and tries to attack Yukiya. With Reijirou pinning him down, Yukiya and Haruka combine their Nimrod to kick him out from Ziggurat. Yukiya and Haruka are back on good terms. But they can’t get out from Ziggurat. Because Nielsen and Tamari are going to defeat them.

Episode 11
Yukiya is happy to see Nielsen since he is a big fan of his. I’m sure Nielsen will give him his autograph after this but now it is Hand Shakers business first. In order to wipe out Yukiya’s power, Nielsen summons Tazuna and Koyori into Ziggurat. This is his irregular power. The offer to Tazuna was to join forces and take down Yukiya’s power. Koyori is fine if Yukiya loses that power and she can’t look for her sister anymore but Yukiya will not have that. All that is left is to battle it out. With Tazuna being formidable, I’m not sure how Yukiya and Haruka now gets it as they, uhm, summon some pog or something, attach it to their Nimrod and summon Reijirou and Yukine here?! WTF?! Whatever. Reijirou and Yukine keep Tazuna and Koyori busy so that Yukiya and Haruka could duke it out with Nielsen and Tamari. During the fight, I guess Nielsen felt Yukiya’s vibes that he truly wants to use his power to search for people. So Nielsen stops the fight and has Yukiya meet up at a certain place later. Nielsen commends Yukiya as the first irregular Hand Shaker he didn’t defeat because irregulars can cause some imbalance and that is why others show up to manipulate their powers. Not sure where in this Ziggurat, Nielsen leads Yukiya and Haruka to where Nagaoka and Mayumi are staying. Yukiya crying at the sight of seeing them? Must be so touching, huh? They explain why they choose to remain here. Nagaoka has an incurable disease that no current medicine could help. But his wish was for Mayumi and Koyori to lead normal lives and Mayumi’s wish was to stop Nagaoka’s illness. So did God heard it and granted them? Apparently stopping time in this Ziggurat is the only answer. You mean God just didn’t make Nagaoka’s illness disappear? Lame! Yukiya gets this great idea. Lend his handphone to call Koyori and let Mayumi talk to her! Damn, did they not bring any phone around here? It must be one long talk since there’s a lot to catch up for the sisters. Maybe Yukiya should leave his phone here? After they leave, it is revealed that Yukiya is the son of Nagaoka and Mayumi. Because time stopped here, the moment he was brought back to reality, that is when time came flowing back all of a sudden and he grew up many years all at once. Just weird… So I guess you can’t slow down your aging if you head back to reality.

Episode 12
Yukiya and Haruka see Midori directly. They’re here not to fight him but believe can grant his wish. Because their powers include summoning others including ex-Hand Shakers into Ziggurat, they can set up many sham victories until one is able to meet God. Now I’m confused. I thought you stopped being a Hand Shaker and lose all that power when you’re defeated? Anyway, Midori rejects this as he no longer has a wish to ask God. He shows them a giant crystal embedded in his chest. It seems Midori has also met God. What he said about saving the world was just an excuse. His true desire is to exploit the system of Hand Shakers, God and irregulars. Flashback reveals his father pushed Akutagawa and his team to hasten their research on Ziggurat. He wanted to become like Columbus discovering America, a new world. He even allowed them to use his son as experiments. However Akutagawa went missing and the only reason Midori stayed relevant was because he was a Hand Shaker. To regain his value, he met God and granted his dad’s wish. He brought out some gem from Ziggurat. He had to cut his own flesh since it was embedded into it. Father was happy and the experiment continued and it made Midori close to death. Doctors even had to operate deep into him to dig out the crystals. Seba couldn’t stand it all and shot the doctors and his father to death. When dad pleads for help from Midori, he pulled the trigger many times and killed him. Overkill! That’s for all the loveless exploitation! Now Midori will fight Yukiya and Haruka not to defeat them. But to torment them. It is clear that Midori is way more powerful so Yukiya and Haruka retreat. Midori won’t give chase as he knows well this tactic of theirs to bait them. Back in reality, the rest of the gang are lying safe in one of Nielsen’s place. It is a good thing since Midori’s men have started targeting the families of Yukiya and Haruka’s home. They can’t stay here forever and need to fight back. Yukiya is going to need some reinforcements then. Midori realizes Yukiya’s side has also taken action and got away from his men. The negotiations weren’t to buy time and believed Yukiya really wanted to help out. Although they ran away, Midori believes the outcome will still be the same. He has his men take control of Nielsen’s club and predicts the Hand Shakers will attack via Ziggurat.

Episode 13
Inside Ziggurat, Yukiya-Haruka faces off with Midori-Seba. However the former aren’t alone as they temporarily summon their ex-Hand Shaker friends into the fray to deal some damage to the latter. To allow their battle to continue and not interrupted, Reijirou, Yukine, Nielsen and Tamari are fighting other Hand Shakers. You mean there are tons of them?! Don’t worry. They’re so insignificant that we don’t really care. Meanwhile we take a detour, Mayumi explaining her wish to want a son to be born between them then. So she’s like Virgin Mary? She wanted a son who is strong and never lose. You mean a son like God? So is Yukiya like Jesus Christ???!!! WTF???!!! We now return to the Ziggurat battle. Yukiya calms himself down and strikes Midori. That was fast. Midori retreats but vows to return and make him kneel. Yukiya then summons Tazuna, Koyori, Nagaoka and Mayumi. From what I understand, they all have powers qualified enough to see God. We have 2 pairs who have met God. On the other hand, Yukiya just defeated someone who met God. Hence Yukiya is qualified to meet God. Damn, does that even mesh?! Did Yukiya realize Nagaoka is his real dad? In the aftermath, it seems Yukiya has lost his powers and he is happy with it. We hear Nielsen and Makihara talking about the shocking wish Yukiya made that nobody expected: Getting rid of all the unwanted wishes granted by God before losing his own powers. Oh, how selfless. Because of his unselfish wish, Midori is now free from his curse. No more crystal embedded in his chest. In a dilemma over his role and existence, he ponders if he should go after Yukiya to seek revenge for saving him. My man, you trying to be some twisted second class villain here? Seba isn’t sure but he mentions that he knows someone who was once saved from death. That’s himself. Midori made him his butler instead of letting him die. Just to show Midori isn’t some cold hearted jerk, Seba carries him like a princess and he starts getting emotional and cries. Probably Yukiya’s greatest wish, the one not granted by God, is to become a DJ under Nielsen’s tutelage. He’s already a talented DJ. Need I say more?

OVA
We delve into the past of Reijirou and Yukine before the events of the Hand Shakers TV series. He was a delinquent dropout. She was an elite high school girl. Also the stalker type. And a masochist. Scold me more, Reijirou! Creepy… Reijirou had a hard time manning several part time jobs and it’s bad enough that Yukine often breaks into his room without his permission just to be with him. Then it all gets worse when he gets fired from all his jobs. Even the restaurant job he worked, the owner, Kozaki accused him of stealing stuffs when it was he himself who gave it all to his fatty customer, Oyama whom he is sucking up to. Even Yukine doesn’t approve of her father trying to break them up. Flashback reveals they were childhood friends and always close together. However Reijirou changed when his mom died. She realized she is the only one by his side and only knows his true and warm aspects. Yukine tries to be smart and goes to slap Kozaki and Oyama for being unfair. Of course they retaliate by trying to rape her. Good thing she texted Reijirou about what she was going to do and here he comes to save her. After pushing those guys away, the moment Reijirou and Yukine’s hands touch, they enter Ziggurat. So now they are Hand Shakers? So was Reijirou’s whatever wish that strong to qualify them for that? Apparently Kozaki and Oyama are also Hand Shakers. They relentlessly attack the newbies. Reijirou realizes that chain dream wasn’t just a dream. Yeah, Yukine had that dream too. And with renewed determination, Reijirou uses his chain powers to fight back. Partly it is Yukine’s masochism that wants him to bind her harder but also it enhances his powers. Reijirou is able to turn the tables on them and now they are the ones cowering in fear and begging for mercy. Reijirou gets cocky as he tells them off. He is about to mercilessly crush them but Yukine stops him. She has a conscious? Actually, she wants him to save all his rage for her. But of course. After defeating them, the duo realize they need to make their wish come true so they go to crowded areas to find more teams to defeat. Well, we all know what happened next. The rest is history.

Wack’… ZZzzZZzzz…
Ah well… It really all doesn’t mesh. I don’t know whether the TV series actually ended the entire series itself and the OVA feels very disjointed because it has nothing to do with W’z and more of a prelude to the Hand Shakers prequel. No characters from W’z whatsoever and heck it should have been actually called Hand Shakers OVA 2. Technically, which is also correct in a way since this season’s OVA is indeed the second OVA overall after Hand Shakers very first season’s OVA. Yeah, really wack, my man. Making it even more wack for me is that this OVA looked even more interesting than this season. Yeah, pretty odd I should say. Probably it’s because of Yukine’s character that I wasn’t totally expecting her to be like that sort of character before… Maybe they’ll make another OVA. This time about Jessica. You know, Nielsen’s previous partner. Because is it me or do I feel that this plot was unnecessary or the producers totally forgot about it. Yeah, I guess this doesn’t really matter. Won’t mesh anyway.

I didn’t really get the overall plot of this season at all. Yukiya as an irregular Hand Shaker and people who are after his power. Okay, I get that. But they want to make it look like some sort of massive power was behind the scene that was after Yukiya’s power. It really felt weird. While the Okuike Group might be a huge conglomerate, I don’t really feel its impact and presence in the story. It felt like Midori was just a single guy trying to get what he wants and his power and influence on the group was just fringe and marginal. In between, we have Yukiya being worried and conflicted about his own power. Therefore the much needed drama to help build Yukiya’s character from a loser into a slightly better, uhm, loser. Technically. Because he might have lost all those great powers but at least he has his life. And girl. And they bring back many of the original Hand Shaker characters just so to let us know that the power of friendship is a reason why Yukiya is able to change and become a better person. I guess that’s not a bad thing and it is better off than starting off as an overpowered character.

While the flimsy plot is one thing, it got me pondering how this whole system and mechanism of Hand Shakers works. Because from the looks of it, God must be a dick and a sadist. Like Nagaoka’s illness. You mean the Almighty can’t just wish for his dreaded disease to go away? With a snap of a finger? Maybe Nagaoka who doesn’t talk much wasn’t being specific but I mean, this is God. The one and only God. Shouldn’t He understood all that and cured him instantly instead of making time stop and stuck inside Ziggurat like forever? WTF, dude?! Initially I was under the impression that the Hand Shakers fight in some battle royale and the last one standing gets to meet God. But apparently you fight and defeat enough Hand Shakers, obtain their powers enough to qualify to make you meet God. Isn’t this insane? Like Yukiya’s suggestion for sham victories, if this really worked then God didn’t really thought out this very well. I thought it was a sacred honour-cum-privilege to see God and understandably only one, the best of the best could do so. But having so many meeting Him, damn this feels more like an exclusive club or something.

The other problem being the creation of Hand Shakers themselves. So apparently I was also under the misconception that this Hand Shakers thing was just a one time battle. From what I see here, it looks like there is no starting and ending point. As long as you rake up enough victories, you get to meet God. Which brings me to this point as of how many Hand Shakers are there really? How many are there right now? In the final episode we see Reijirou and Nielsen bashing up other Hand Shakers so it must mean that there is some Hand Shaker battle still going on. How does one become a Hand Shaker? The narration in the beginning of some episodes I assume is from God. Sounds like a young Japanese adult guy. At least that ossan at the end of last season whom I thought was God was actually Nielsen. The terms to become a Hand Shaker sounds vague. You have a wish? Then join hands and fight your way to see me. Yeah, pretty shady if you ask me. And I suppose if you wish hard enough, God may somehow give you those Hand Shaker powers. Go forth! And entertain me! Haha!

With that, this also brings me to the next point that is also related to the plot of the series. With Yukiya as an irregular Hand Shaker and many coveting his power, I was under the impression that there would be hundreds targeting him! Damn there were only 2 groups!!! WTF???!!! Even if they had like 5 pairs of Hand Shakers, I guess that would be acceptable. But damn, just 2 pairs?! Oh yeah. Big deal indeed. It doesn’t really mesh. I guess we need the cliché tropes so that when Yukiya defeats them, they become somewhat his allies. So if there were like 100 of them, how to fit them all in the final battle? Oh yeah. You really got me. So just 2 freaking groups who just target Yukiya’s power. And they’re not even scary.

Hana and Senri are just cute and provide some female eye candy and possibly some boobs fanservice since Senri is a cow tits monster. I guess she replaces Lily as she doesn’t make much appearance here. I said female eye candy because I have a hunch this series caters more to male bishonen as seen in the opening credits. That group pose… All guys! At least hot guys. Gai and Masataka are another bunch of weirdoes. Masataka being the quiet one and Gai being the lively one whose catchphrase is “Sugoi…”. Like as though he has a limited vocabulary or something. Yukiya and Haruka are supposed to be the Tazuna and Koyori of this season. Both their problems are not having an honest heart. They claim they lie to each other but once they get that out of the way, they’re just unstoppable. So cliché. Good thing Yukiya doesn’t continue to pursue his crush on Koyori (thank goodness for Haruka). Because it would have been freaking weird to have fallen in love with his aunty!!! And his wish to undo unwanted wishes? What are the chances that God isn’t being a dick and undo some wishes that were really wanted? Hey, can’t say. It’s not like God knows what we really want in our hearts, right? This series’ God is so dumb. I don’t like this idea either but I feel Yukiya should just become God and take His place and make the world a better place.

Finally with Midori being the antagonist of the series, I thought it was going to be a running joke that he and Seba would never appear. Hence their only chance is in the next episode preview where they talk some nonsense whatever. I thought this is all they would amount to. Their proper and formal appearance would be after 3/4 of the season and it already felt too late. It is hard for me to support or even hate Midori as the so called villain because his character is written in a mediocre way. Hard to sympathise with this dude despite his tragic background because I just couldn’t connect how it turned him into a Hand Shaker. Hard to hate this dude because he is one of those hot looking bishonen guys and his actions aren’t really despicable albeit twisted. This guy just wants a reason to exist. I guess being alive isn’t good enough because he is so rich and have everything, that’s just boring. Uh huh. What a boring villain.

Previous Hand Shaker characters make their cameo enough to make this season look like a sequel. They usual provide some support to Yukiya and Haruka and don’t do much so as not to take away the spotlight from them. Like Chizuru and Hayate, why are they still around? So it is as though the gang have a fixed place to gather and discuss their Hand Shakers related problems. Otherwise they could have been done without like some other characters. Like Makihara whose absence is so obvious. It is stated that he went on some journey to try to find a cure for Nagaoka. In the final episode it is hinted he has made some progress. WTF???!!! If God couldn’t find a cure, you mean this siew mai lover could???!!! This doesn’t mesh!!!

But I couldn’t be more grateful that Kodama and Hibiki didn’t show up here. If they did, it would have been a complete alumni of last season’s Hand Shakers. It is also because Kodama was really annoying with her celebrity quotes. Thank goodness. I guess she is too busy with her singing and acting career to even care about this. Good for her. Good for us. Phew. Isn’t it odd that Nagaoka and Mayumi had been missing for so long and thanks to plot convenience, they are finally found? Like WTF?! Thanks to the OVA, we get a shocking glimpse of how different Yukine’s character is. It’s like she’s a totally different person and can we say that motherhood changed her into a decent person and ‘freed’ her from that masochism? Reijirou still has that rage and short temper with him like forever, but Yukine is like a cool cat now. Yeah, parenting does change some people. Imagine how freaky if Yukiya sees his foster mom as some masochistic slut. Totally wack!

Action scenes are rather okay. Nothing really spectacular. Using CGI for Nimrods and some pretty abstract scenes in Ziggurat as excuse that you are in a different world. Yukiya’s irregular power sometimes feel like a convenience to the plot and action because otherwise how could he overcome more powerful and determined Hand Shakers? Ah, I see that is what it means to be an irregular. Since GoHands animate this sequel, it goes without saying that their trademark weird colour hues permeate every scene we see. I did say that this series feels like a guy anime because the guys look slightly better than the girls. Do you not see the female characters look a bit one kind? They’re like… Weird dolls… Like Tamari, WTF is this hippy hipster doll look? Same case for Yukine. She looks like a bisque doll or something.

Unfortunately music isn’t the main theme here. You can feel the same jazzy and bubbly vibe it has in the prequel. Not to say that they are bad but it is not as attractive as I would find them in K. And W’z seemingly only have hit song on his DJ music… Whatever. I hope he doesn’t become a one hit wonder. Opening theme, Reason by Ryohei Takenaka sounds like it is trying too hard while Kamisama Wa Kitto by Fuki as the ending theme sounds ill-fitting as a slow ballad. Yes, it’s calming in a way but it feels like in the aftermath of seeing God whatsoever. With the old Hand Shakers cast retained, lots of new ones joined this season that none I recognized. That bad, huh? They include Katsumi Fukuhara as Yukiya (Touya in Isekai Wa Smartphone To Tomo Ni), Akane Fujita as Haruka (Sagiri in Eromanga-sensei), Daisuke Namikawa as Nielsen (Rock in Black Lagoon), Atsumi Tanezaki as Hana (Miu in Blend S), Inori Minase as Senri (Chino in Gochuumon Wa Usagi Desu Ka), Takuya Eguchi as Gai (Koikawa in Mushibugyou), Yoshinosuke Yamagami as Masataka, Toshiki Masuda as Midori (Kirishima in Boku No Hero Academia), Shunsuke Takeuchi as Seba (Yamato in Nanbaka) and Minami Takahashi as Tamari (Megumi in Shokugeki No Souma).

Overall, the sequel is still as disappointing as the prequel. The producers tried to make an original anime out of the Hand Shakers but I guess it is very certain that God didn’t grant their wish and turn this into a hit masterpiece. Boring plot and characters is more than enough to turn anyone off and drop this series like a rock. It must be amazing for me to stick through till the end thanks to all the thick skin of stubbornness that I have accumulated in watching animes like this over the years. Oh well, if they decided to surprise us and do a third season, then I have to admire their perseverance and aversion to failure. Because like Robert F. Kennedy once said, “Only those who dare fail greatly can ever achieve greatly”. “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing”, said Henry Ford. “Failure is good as long as it doesn’t become a habit”, said Michael Elsner. But still, it doesn’t take away the fact that this season is really wack and doesn’t mesh…

Uhm… Wow… You mean after almost 7 years since the second season aired, they finally make the third season?! Damn. That felt like an eternity in anime years. To Aru Majutsu No Index III was a surprise to me as I wasn’t a big fan of the series and probably the series I blamed for making me dislike very heavily themed sci-fi shows (although that doesn’t mean I don’t watch them from time to time). I didn’t think it would come out after that long but anything is possible. Having said all that, the only reason why I am watching this and allowing myself to be confused even more is because of the upcoming third season of To Aru Kagaku No Railgun. Uh huh. I think I need to see this if I want to understand what happens in that series. Wait. Did I say understand? Looks like when science and magic collide, I become a retarded NPC otaku who feels obligated to watch this because, reasons :’(. Such a misfortune…

Document Of Constantine Arc

Episode 1
Fukou da. Bad luck for Touma. Lost his wallet. Can’t buy food for Index. She bites him. At school he gets reprimanded along with Tsuchimikado and Pierce Aogami for entering some heated debate about Playboy bunny girls. Yeah… On the international scale, there are protests everywhere to puts tension between Academy City and Roman Catholic Church. Of course, more trouble for Touma when he sees Misaka doing her kick on the vending machine. He ignores her but she spots him. Then she blames him for never replying her mails and goes to search his handphone. WTF?! Are they dating?! I mean, is Misaka his girlfriend or something?! Then she gets mad seeing a selfie of him and her mom! She would have roasted him had his right hand not nullify it. He manages to escape when she tries to talk about that fight he got into. When Sphinx escapes, Index chases after it and bumps into a nice old lady, Monaka Oyafune. She treats her to some food and learns about Touma probably being a nice guy (because he feeds her). After that, Monaka goes to talk to Touma and needs his input to solve a simple problem. That’s because he has what everybody else doesn’t: Imagine Breaker. As a board member of Academy City, she leaves the rest to Tsuchimikado to explain but he shoots her! Touma is mad but Monaka explains this is her wish. What she is doing is against the board’s will as they want to aggravate the confrontation and eliminate the Roman Catholic Church. She was against it and knew would be taken out. If she ran away, they would target her family. Tsuchimikado takes Touma on a trip to France now. Their target is a Roman Catholic mystic artefact that is the key to resolving this mess: The Document of Constantine AKA C-Document.

Episode 2
Stiyl is interrogating a couple of detainees about God’s Right Seat. However Lidvia wants the release of Oriana so that she can continue to guide the weak. More mumbo jumbo about God’s Right Seat not only to eliminate the original sin of Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit but to be just that: be God’s Right Seat and sit next to Him. Fukou da na, Touma. Parachute have difficulties opening. Crashed into a river of a small town in France, Avignon. Luckily saved by Amakusa Church member, Itsuwa. He tells her what Tsuchimikado told him about C-Document. Supposedly some document gives the Pope absolute powers to rule over the land. It also can make what the Pope says become the truth. Hence the Roman Catholics are trying to use that document to make Academy City as evil. Itsuwa explains about the history between the Pope and king of France. What I understand is that Avignon has lots of leylines that would allow the Pope to use the artefacts freely instead of going through all that protocol. Something like a remote. The only drawback is that it takes time to be activated. That is where they come in to stop it. They have to flee when protesters identify Touma as from Academy City. Their goal now is to make way to Palais des Papes. However Tsuchimikado calls and says they don’t necessarily have to go there. They just need to sever the leyline connecting to the Vatican. But he doesn’t want Touma using Imagine Breaker at is still unknown and they are not sure the effects and exceptions. Itsuwa can perform the severing based on her Amakusa skills. In some old building that is housing a leyline, Itsuwa prepares for the ritual (including putting white pantsu?!). But before she could finish, they are attacked by Terra from God’s Right Seat. Did the freak show came to town? If not for Touma’s Imagine Breaker, they would have been goners. Touma could feel the might of Terra’s magic but this guy can pass through solids and spring surprise attacks.

Episode 3
What? What? WHAT?! I don’t understand the explanation of Terra’s precedence magic skill that allows him to change the laws of whatever. Whatever. Forget it. Tsuchimikado drops in to help but with Aleister sending in those powered suits from Academy City to attack, Terra flees. Tsuchimikado fights the powered suits while Touma and Itsuwa find Terra. I don’t know what Tsuchimikado did but he immobilizes all the powered suits because of overflowing data? But Aleister unleashes his next phase. Now those stealth bomber planes fly in. One of them is carrying Accelerator. Touma calls Misaka (surprise!) and asks about the news on Avignon. She mentions about some terrorists creating illegal weapons so Academy City is assisting in some search and destroy operation. Conversation interrupted with Terra attacking. He has C-Document in hand. After knocking out Itsuwa, Terra realizes that Touma has no memories about Imagine Breaker. The prolonged fight allows Touma to deduce his abilities. The reason he cannot kill them is because he couldn’t. He is weak. His magic cannot affect multiple targets at the same time. That’s why when they took full force of his magic, they still live. Touma manages to land a punch in his face and then destroys C-Document. Before Terra could reveal what Imagine Breaker is, he is burnt to a crisp by Accelerator. Lidvia continues explaining that God’s Right Seat isn’t about its members wanting to become angels and stand beside God like Michael or Lucifer. It is to become something above God. Kamijou? Play of words? Terra still lives and returns to Acqua. As the Russian Orthodox Church has sided with them, he thinks of using this incident to invade Academy City. However Acqua asks him about using his skills on tourists and children. Wasn’t he supposed to save humans without discrimination? Terra claims it is to hone his skills so Acqua drops a slab on him to kill him. People like him will never be God’s chosen one. The Pope is here and he hears Acqua’s plan to fight in the upcoming battle himself. Meanwhile Misaka is confused. Yeah, she overheard the entire conversation between Touma and Terra and is not amused about Touma’s lost memories.

Battle Royale Arc

Episode 4
An illegal trader is willing to cooperate with Tsuchimikado but is shot in the gut instead. While being taken away in a police wagon, some weird computer head guy, Banka Yobou slices the van in half! Too bad the trader got killed by him too. Unabara checks the house as Tsuchimikado fills him in on that trader’s job to find people to fill positions of a small and newly formed organization. It is believed they will make their move soon. SWAT people known as BLOCK storm into the house. Later Tsuchimikado and his team check the place. Unabara used his ability to blend in and disguise with BLOCK and has left clues. A small unofficial unit under the name of SCHOOL has hired a sniper, Chimitsu Sunazara to snipe at Monaka who is about to give her speech. Accelerator has Awaki to teleport Monaka and have the sniper miss. A discontented Sunazara wants to snipe Accelerator but is told by his employer to fall back. Hamazura has the misfortune as a manservant for ITEM. Realizing that SCHOOL sent another sniper targeting Monaka after they disposed an earlier one, it is safe to say their warning went unheeded and they’re going to kill them. After the failed Monaka assassination, SCHOOL massacred the scientists at some lab. ITEM drops in as they meet their match in Yobou. Although they emerged victorious, it was a tough fight to defeat him. Mugino realizes the one behind this is Teitoku Kakine, the second ranked Level 5 in Academy City. She has Hamazura chase after some cargo they stole but SCHOOL’s Dress Girl (as she is only known) intercepts. They split up and Hamazura sure does have misfortune with women as Dress Girl goes after him. Lady luck smiling on him as he manages to escape from her hot trail. Tsuchimikado informs him team about a district being under cyber attack. As it houses a lot of viruses including experimental ones, you bet all infrastructure will go haywire and all hell break loose if it gets out. Their job is to intercept it although it pretty looks like a trap to bait them. Unobara calls Accelerator to inform some satellite control centre is the real target so Accelerator hijacks a car and heads there.

Episode 5
Accelerator is ambushed by a member from, uhm, MEMBER. Thanks to his predictable teleportation ability, Accelerator shows no mercy in killing him. At the same time, Kakine is also ambushed by a professor who is a member of, uhm, you guessed it, MEMBER. F*ck his bragging since Kakine easily kills the dude. The last member of, sighs, MEMBER gets trapped in a room that is filling up fast with water. Meanwhile BLOCK has prepared 5,000 mercenaries outside ready to ambush. But Unabara cuts short that plan by making a pre-emptive strike first. This causes Academy City’s deadly helicopter drones to attack and kill many of those mercenaries. Tsuchimikado and co interrogate one of them and from what I understand, they want to use Awaki as a bargaining chip to get into the windowless building where Aleister is. Arriving at a facility, they see lots of BLOCK members dead. They killed themselves? Thanks to the Aztec spell of Xochitl (a member of MEMBER) that made them do so. She has a grudge against Unobara and wants to kill him for his betrayal. To his horror, Xochitl has somewhat merged herself with the original grimoire and is now turning into some horror monster at the expense of her own life just to take him down. Not if Unobara can save her. Tsuchimikado and Awaki confront Tatsuhiko Saku and Megumi Teshio of BLOCK. Megumi isn’t pleased to learn Tatsuhiko plans to use hostage to get to Aleister so she kills him. She faces off with Awaki as she explains her goal to kill Aleister due to some tragedy she experienced and wants to know if Aleister was involved. Awaki defeats her. Meanwhile Kakine beats up Frenda to find out ITEM’s hideout.

Episode 6
Kakine enters ITEM’s hideout and attacks. Kinuhata calls Hamazura about their situation. Their target is Takitsubo. They need to protect her. By the time Hamazura arrives, Mugino has fled and Kakine is about to kill Takitsubo. Even at this point, Takitsubo wants Hamazura to run away and not die. She then uses Body Crystals that makes her abilities go wild. Knowing that she will die if she uses it another time, Kakine doesn’t even bother to kill her and leaves. Hamazura then gets a call from Mugino to counterattack SCHOOL. After Hamazura leaves Takitsubo in the hands of Yomikawa, Mugino confronts him (with Frenda’s corpse in her hand – she got killed by her for her failure). Hamazura has had it with Mugino and will not let her use Body Crystals anymore on Takitsubo. He gets pissed off knowing that she doesn’t care about Takitsubo at all and if she dies, she’ll just find a replacement. Hamazura runs to an unmanned facility to fight Mugino. All I can say is that because Mugino is arrogant, viewing herself as Level 5 as compared to Hamazura’s Level 0, he beat the sh*t out of her, knocking her out with one punch to her face. Accelerator gets a call that Last Order is in danger. She was lost and Uiharu found her. After Last Order went off, Kakine beats up Uiharu for not telling about Last Order’s whereabouts. If he knew she was with her, why didn’t he follow the loli? But thankfully here is Accelerator to settle the score. Yeah, they’re turning this place into a hellish battlefield. Kakine thinks his dark matter is superior to his vectors since it doesn’t exist in this world and hence not subjected to its laws. His plan is to defeat Accelerator to steal his top spot so he gets to see Aleister. However Accelerator shows him why they are different as Accelerator managed to protect the innocent people from their destructive battle. Kakine becomes mad and this allows Accelerator to defeat him. Before he could kill him, Yomikawa tries to reason with him not to be the bad guy but is stabbed by Kakine. This causes Accelerator to go berserk with Kakine adding fuel to the fire by blaming him he can’t protect others. Accelerator turns into his dark mode and beats Kakine to a pulp. Until Last Order shows up. That cute loli smile makes him want to kill her but can’t. When he calms down, Last Order hugs in. Nobody can beat the loli power! Tsuchimikado narrates about Alesiter’s secret plan of spreading millions of surveillance nano-devices called UNDER_LINE around that would give him direct info. SCHOOL, ITEM, MEMBER and BLOCK are names from the dark faction. And there’s one more: DRAGON.

Acqua Of The Back Arc

Episode 7
Itsuwa warns Touma that Acqua has sent a challenge to the Church of England and Academy City that he will hunt Touma down. Touma downplays that although Itsuwa and her Amakusa group are here to protect him. I guess Tatemiya is bored with the job so he executes some sick plan to make Itsuwa’s boobs grow bigger by kicking a football at Touma so his head falls into Itsuwa’s bosoms. Misaka not really liking that… Even Index isn’t fond of him bringing home an Amakusa girl. However with Itsuwa being useful helping around unlike useless Index, Touma even tells off Index to clean the bath! More weirdness with Maika busting in to learn of Itsuwa’s secret recipe. I think it’s time for time out so they take a break by heading to a public bath at an underground district. Misaka is there to blow off some steam too but I guess she’s going to need more than that with Index and Itsuwa there too. As Touma and Itsuwa leave, they realize the place suddenly is void of people. That is when Acqua attacks. He claims he has defeated Tatemiya’s groupie. Acqua wants Touma to give his right hand and since he won’t, he gets beaten up. Itsuwa tries to heal him but with no effect. Touma tries to be a hero and get up to beat this guy but gets beat down again. Acqua will wait and give him 1 more day to cut his right hand and give it to him.

Episode 8
Itsuwa falls into depression for her failure to save Touma. That guy is lying in hospital. Tatemiya had to scold her that by doing so, Touma’s sacrifices were in vain. Acqua will be back and she moping around will not extend the deadline. If she wants to apologize to him and prove she is not useless, then fight. Thanks to that, Itsuwa now turns into a scary yandere, sharpening her blades. Did Tatemiya say too much? Tatemiya gets a call from Orsola who has done some research on Acqua. William Orwell is his real name and was a British mercenary who fought in hellish battles. He was about to be knighted but went missing. When he reappeared, he became Britain’s enemy. I guess this is to show what they’re up against with. Someone who is both strong and smart. When the Amakusa guys surround Acqua, Itsuwa is in no mood for negotiation and attacks first. This time she is better prepared, though Acqua is still way better than her. There’s some rant about Acqua having some ability to use both humans and angelic powers but then the Amakusa guys got a trick up their sleeves as they pull off some move that breaks that balance, allowing them to defeat him. But too bad, that is just short-lived. That trick would have worked had Acqua been an ordinary saint. Yup, he isn’t an ordinary saint. Remember, he is one of God’s Right Seat. Acqua goes on the offensive and the Amakusa guys could have been done for had he not leave. So why are they lucky? Acqua instead goes to square off with Kanzaki.

Episode 9
Kanzaki is no match for Acqua. As expected. But it’s still too early to call, right? Misaki is complaining how she can’t get out when Touma pops up in front of him. Because he still feels the need to go, Misaki scolds him about never asking for help and shocks him that she knows about his memory loss. However Touma replies even if he had them, there are things he still must do. He is moved by the heart, not the head. Misaka just stood there in shock. She probably would have wanted to help him but realizes this is something he needs to fight to get back on his own 2 feet. We return to Kanzaki’s beat down. When she calls the Amakusa gang to assist her, this is because she has realized that her own arrogance and labelling others as weak has brought this upon herself. So there’s some more explanation about Acqua holding tremendous powers of a saint and because of that, he is the most susceptible to anti-saint spells compared to other saints. So when Acqua tries to attack, our hero Touma pops up to stop his tracks, the Amakusa gang hold him down while Itsuwa delivers the finishing blow of Saint Destroyer to purge his powers. Acqua’s flashback shows the moment he decided to leave Britain after turning own being knighted. Knight Leader gave him a few punches as dissatisfaction. Acqua’s plan was to protect Britain from the outside while Knight Leader from the inside so as to allow them to have the widest range of options. Touma is back in hospital and Itsuwa by his side. Because they look so close together, it made Index mad. I think leaving the hospital without her knowledge is just an excuse. And Itsuwa sides with Index… While the Pope is devastated over Acqua’s defeat, Fiamma wants to strike Britain. Forget about Academy City. There is something in Britain they must get. The Pope refuses to allow this madness and attacks him. But you know, Fiamma as the leader and most powerful of God’s Right Seat blows the Pope away. He didn’t die but he took the brunt of it, hence preventing further damage from affecting the Vatican. The news report some sort of infighting among the Roman Catholic Church but everything else is speculation.

British Royal Family Arc

Episode 10
Itsuwa looking up on long distance dating? And how to snatch a man’s heart? Well, good luck. Yeah, even Misaka is feeling really embarrassed over her recent close up with Touma. She didn’t abuse the vending machine this time but her sparks went out of control… More bad luck for Touma. Sleeping gas suddenly gets thrown into his room. Tsuchimikado calls him right in time to tell him he needs to head off to Britain with Index. Yeah, some bombing of the Eurotunnel has strained the relationship between Britain and France. During the flight, Touma goes to the toilet but sees blood stains. He is quickly apprehended by the stewardess who tells him that is the blood of her colleague. Apparently there is a French anti-Britain terrorist on board making some demands otherwise they’ll bring down the plane. Touma wants to help but is told to stay put. Meanwhile the terrorist tries to fix some connector that is near Touma’s seat. With Index returning and wondering what he is doing, he takes her hostage. Touma hears her cries and barges out to beat up that guy but he runs away. Touma is done doing nothing and will go stop the terrorist. He learns the connector is some stabilizer thingy. Without it, the plane will crash. Touma goes on the search and tries to lure out the terrorist by pressing the emergency button. But then the co-pilot sees his instruments of fuel leakage and hence they are going to force to land the plane on the highway. Apparently this is the doing of Laura. Even if this risks the lives of the passengers, as long as she can secure Index, that’s okay. The terrorist contacts the captain and threatens to kill the passengers if he doesn’t bring the plane back up to altitude. Thanks to the jamming interference, Laura’s plan fails so she sends Stiyl to do the job. Touma finds the terrorist and punches him out. He is then suspicious why he waited so long only to act. He then realizes he had a comrade hidden in the cargo during the transit from Paris. So only 1 comrade? Yeah, Touma takes him on and he is crazy enough to take the plane down if everything fails but luckily with the help of Stiyl to cause some air pressure vacuum to pin down that guy and Touma to take the grenade off his hand. The plane safely lands in Edinburgh.

Episode 11
Kanzaki brings the duo to Buckingham Palace as they meet up with Knight Leader who will bring them to meet Queen Elizard of Britain as well as her daughters-cum-princesses, Rimea, Carissa and Villian. Elizard shows a sword, Curtana Second which is only a replica of the first which supposedly gives you powers similar to Archangel Michael. They discuss about the Eurotunnel explosion and because Elizard believes its cause is magic, hence she called Index to determine if it is French type. People might see it as a quarrel with Britain and France when actually it is between Britain and Academy City, and Rome and Russia. Intelligence also showed interference during that plane hijack originating from Scotland. This means they have enemies within. They are identified as New Light, a small unit that has 4 people. Elizard assigns her subordinates each a mission. As Touma is a civilian, he cannot be forcefully participate. However this means he is going to get billed heftily for the services… Yeah, glad he volunteer himself. Touma and Oriana are driving around the streets of London when New Light already blunders because Lessar got confused of a few similar bags with the same design as hers. This allows Touma and Oriana to go after her. Meanwhile, Bayloupe is found by the Amakusa side and although she defeats Itsuwa, she is then caught in by some magic trap. Touma and Oriana continue their chase of Lessar. Touma is told that the bag they are carrying is Skithblathnir. It can teleport contents among each other. When they corner her, Lessar calls this a victory because there is a fifth member. Lessar is prepared to die and could have taken a direct snipe had not Touma saved her. Though, she is still injured. The perpetrator turns out to be Carissa. What New Light was transporting was Curtana Original and now in Carissa’s hands, she rallies all knights of Britain to begin their attack. Claiming herself as the new head of state, she vows to change Britain by destroying the current one.

Episode 12
Knights vs witches and nuns?! Weird. After Index confirms that France was behind the tunnel’s explosion, Carissa orders her side to make preparations for retaliation. Carissa mumbles about the need for Britain to stand up on its own separate power to avoid getting owned in this mix up between science and magic as well as those Christians and Catholics. Now she turns her attention to deal with her royal family. She will kill them all because the less people who can wield Curtana Original, the better. As they have already fled the palace, Carissa is now confronted with Kanzaki. She has no time to deal with her so she lets Knight Leader handle her. Well, that was a quick defeat. Carissa intercepts Villian’s carriage. As Knight Leader is about to behead her, here comes Acqua to the rescue. Man, if he was just a second late… He then lets her ride a horse directly to Necessarius’ hideout and will catch up later after he deals with Knight Leader. Acqua takes in a lot of damage but it’s time both side put an end to this epic power fight. Meanwhile Oriana will stay and handle things and lets Touma sneak away on a train to France. As he tries to hide from inspection, he stumbles into Floris of New Light. Since she is magically cuffed, his Imagine Breaker easily breaks the spell. He takes her to escape by jumping off the train. Don’t worry. There’s a river below, right? Yeah, just 1 metre deep! Oh sh*t! Elizard and Laura manage to break free from their captors. Blame Laura’s careless explosion for that. Laura’s plan to hitchhike using her sex appeal failed. Truck drivers must be very wary these days. I guess it’s riding the horse to London then.

Episode 13
It’s not science. It’s not magic. It’s crap that they survived that fall into the shallow river! Luckily Villian is here to pick them up but Touma leaves Floris in her care. Because Knight Leader is shocked and distracted at Acqua’s goal to fight for United Kingdom without siding with the church or royal family, this caused his defeat? Touma returns just at the end of the fight and sees Acqua trying to rescue Index. They both have to cooperate since Carissa is here to finish them. Some explanation about how Curtana Original can alter dimensions. Whatever. It blew Touma away. Acqua leaves Index in Touma’s care, mentioning that Carissa and the knights’ interest aligned only because of Curtana Original. If they destroy that, the coup will be over. Touma and Index are picked up by the Amakusa guys. With Carissa returning to Buckingham Palace to retune the sword due to its unstable power, they plan to use this chance to strike. With Knight Leader defeated, it is a good time to destroy Curtana. So they make plans to infiltrate via subway underneath the palace. Meanwhile Misaka is eating at a restaurant that she believes will enhance her boobs? WTF?! Then Touma calls. First time. You gonna answer it? As expected, he asks her suggestion how to open electronic locks on a subway’s shutter. You mean there are no electronic locksmiths around? Touma, Index and Villian walk through the subway. Touma accidentally activates a golem that attacks them. The trio combine their efforts to take it down. Thanks to that, they got the train running. But before the big strike, everyone has a big feast. Can’t fight without an empty stomach, eh? Do they even have time to talk about squandering excessively large boobs?! Elizard and Laura finally reach London and they picked up Rimea along the way. Elizard doesn’t think those guys can actually defeat Carissa with just their willpower and without any trump cards. Hence she is going to get some mystic artefact from the museum.

Episode 14
The big chaotic battle is here. Touma and Villian arrive first at Buckingham Palace to face Carissa. She is alone and disposed all the knights by her side. Slowly the rest come by to pitch in to fight Carissa. Everyone vs Carissa. Carissa has got the command of several destroyers to fire devastating bombs at the palace and even if they manage to destroy one, she can order another. Rimea has realized Carissa’s actions, the reason why she hasn’t killed anyone yet. She relays to everyone how Carissa is doing this for the sake of Britain. France and the Roman Catholic Church were using EU as their pawn with pressure from Russia. With their nation’s dignity violated, Carissa wielded Curtana Original to fight against all of them. At the same time, she resolved to seal this weapon for eternity along with herself in a cave she has chosen as her tomb once this is over. She hopes the knights will come to save her. Knight Leader leads his knights to face Carissa. Despite she can threaten to call more bombs, Acqua disables the telecommunication satellite. More of everyone vs Carissa. However she can still hold her ground because with the bloated heroic side, this means more of them to defend and she just have more targets to strike. Finally Elizard steps in. She uses the power of Union Jack to equally distribute power to all the people in the United Kingdom. This gives them the power to fight and be heroes for the day. How can 90 million citizens march to Buckingham Palace and fight against Carissa? Literally now a whole lot more of everybody vs Carissa. The people vs Carissa! United Kingdom vs Carissa! But they don’t have to lift a finger because it is eventually Touma’s Imagine Breaker that breaks Curtana Original and one good punch in Carissa’s face, sending her flying away! Team Rocket?! I don’t know why in the aftermath, nobody picks up Carissa as she lies weakened in some British alley. Because of that, Fiamma is here to thank her that this war he instigated paid off and he was able to get what he wanted. Before he could dispose her, Touma comes to her rescue. Fiamma won’t fight him as he doesn’t want him destroying the mystic artefact he worked so hard to get. That artefact is some safety device for Index. Man, she sounds like a broken computer? Fiamma needs to go to Russia to collect a material he needs to summon an angel. While he is away, he hopes Touma can fix Index and take care of his right hand until he returns. Index is left in the care of Stiyl and as you guessed it, Touma is going to Russia to punch the hell out of Fiamma.

DRAGON Arc

Episode 15
Tsuchimikado gathers his team with orders to eliminate a terrorist group called Spark Signal who has taken some hostages. We take a detour seeing Hamazura and Kinuhata visiting Takitsubo in hospital. She is doing well but has lost her fighting abilities. Kinuhata mentions that ITEM has been dissolved and she is waiting to be assigned to a new group. Then this WTF distraction with Kinuhata trying to tease Hamazura by almost flashing her panties since that guy is more into Takitsubo than her. WTF?! Spark Signal plans on destroying this huge particle accelerator to prevent the board from making any open moves. They are about to kill a hostage but a hero in the form of a villain (read: Accelerator) kills them all. This mission might be simply over except for that one fact bothering Accelerator: The terrorists were demanding the higher ups to release to public info on DRAGON immediately. Stephanie Gorgeouspalace is hired to replace Sunazara to take out Accelerator as well as other targets like Kinuhata. However she kills him because her enemy is everyone in Academy City. Tsuchimikado’s group is then contacted by Shiokishi of the board to dispose the remnants of Spark Signal. Of course they want to get this boring job over with but if they do as they’re told, they might lose their lead to see DRAGON. Perhaps side with the enemy this time? Kinuhata tells Hamazura that she along with the surviving remnants of ITEM, SCHOOL, BLOCK and MEMBER are now drafted into a single new team. Yeah, she’s already disobeying orders by being with him instead. That’s why she needs his help to wipe out all the terrorists before she gets dragged back into this new team. Before they can start doing that, they are being chased by a drone attack helicopter. Dress Girl contacts him and possibly the one who set up this attack. She tells him the terrorists he is after have occupied a salon in District 3.

Episode 16
Hamazura tries to hijack a helicopter to go save Takitsubo. Then he gets a call from her not to come because the terrorists are well armed. She is okay but is in hiding. With Hamazura getting really desperate, the pilot agrees to help. And he jumps onto the roof, the plastic tree breaks his fall? And he manages to shoot straight and kill several terrorists?! WTF???!!! I guess a guy in love can do the impossible. At the same time, Accelerator busts in to kill the terrorists but Sugitani ‘assists’ in killing them. Sugitani hopes they never meet again. Accelerator checks around and sees Takitsubo unconscious. Hamazura got the wrong idea that he did something to her. Accelerator shows no mercy in beating him up but spares him. From what he said, Hamazura realizes Accelerator was only helping her. While lying in his pathetic state, he gets a little reprieve with Takitsubo hugging him, commending he was the only one who came to save her. Aww… So sweet… As Tsuchimikado’s side contemplate about DRAGON (since all those who know about it are dead), Accelerator connects the dots and realizes it must be connected to Last Order. Accelerator knows and escapes an assassination attempt from Shiokishi. He is going to kill him but Tsuchimikado believes in getting Monaka on their side for political preparations. When Accelerator does so, an aide warns him not to because it will drag her back to the double underground life that she has escaped from. But when a kid whom he saved during the hostage incident wants to fight alongside him no matter how dangerous, Monaka agrees to join him to meet Shiokishi. Hamazura and Takitsubo see several simultaneous explosions in the city. They see Kinuhata trying to escape Stephanie’s assassination. Sugitani reports to Shiokishi about Monaka and Tsuchimikado’s group cooperating and will definitely come here. Shiokishi will make preparations to meet them. Inside the building, the gang is separated. Accelerator is confronted by Sugitani. He mentions once Monaka is done for, they will use Academy City’s collective power to get rid of him and then secure Last Order. Monaka talks to Shiokishi that she wants to revoke his powers. She also wants to know about DRAGON. Eventually, negotiations break down and Shiokishi wants to kill her. Too bad it is Unabara in disguise. Shiokishi plans to escape and have his guards keep Unabara at bay but is killed by them. Seems his guards are Unabara’s Aztec buddies in disguise, Tecpatl and Tochtli. They are here to kill him.

Episode 17
Tecpatl possesses the original grimoire and uses it to attack Unabara at the expense of Tochtli. But he didn’t read his grimoire well enough so Unabara is able to cast some spell that blows a hole in his guts. Sugitani thought he jammed Accelerator’s device to immobilize him but Accelerator reconfigured it and turned the tables on him. Kinuhata manages to defeat Stephanie since she is all just firepower compared to Sunazara. She then realizes the target is Hamazura and wants him to run away with Takitsubo. Kinuhata is apprehended by Dress Girl and is explained this is all part of Aleister’s plan. People like Touma and Accelerator are just outliers that could be incorporated easily to his cornerstone plan. However, Level 0 like Hamazura is hard to predict and poses a threat since he is able to take fate into his own hands when he should have died. Hence all of Academy City is now going to kill him. Accelerator interrogates Shiokishi about DRAGON. He mentions that it is all around them. Then this angel thingy pops up before him. This is DRAGON? Some mumbo jumbo explanation about his being but if he is to be specifically called, he is Aiwass. Some of his words are inaudible because our human ears can’t comprehend such beings. He offers to destroy Aleister’s plans since it is already starting to show cracks. When he mentions that Last Order will eventually break down if things continue this way, that’s the taboo word that gets Accelerator all revved up to kill him. Of course he can’t even touch this being and gets trumped. Hamazura is cornered and praying for some hero to save them. Good news: The guards are killed. Bad news: By Mugino. She wants to kill him herself! He runs but Mugino is trying to force Takitsubo to use Body Crystals to save Hamazura or he dies. Hamazura won’t let her do that. If blasting explosions at her won’t do, maybe this jet burning testing chamber will burn her to smithereens. I can’t believe she allowed him to get into the safety area to start the burning! Was she lamenting how the higher ups won’t let people like her die so they can reuse her again and again? Hamazura gets a call by Kinuhata to run some more since more guards are coming their way. So can he fly this jet?! Oh well, it’s on autopilot. Thank goodness to autopilot because Hamazura and Takitsubo can kiss and make out! Best reward for surviving this sh*t! Meanwhile Accelerator has taken Last Order and on a train to Russia as advised by Aiwass. Yeah, this guy looks traumatized. Aiwass calls Aleister about being obsessed with the kids of Academy City because they have what he lacks and will always stand up no matter how many times are defeated. Aleister’s reply is that he will use anything to achieve his goals. Including him.

World War III Arc

Episode 18
Russia declares war on Academy City. They believe they are hogging all the world resources for their science and technology that will leave the world devastated. If they do not comply with the demands to be transparent and drop all their projects within the deadline, it’s all-out war. Hamazura is travelling through the Russian wilderness and Takitsubo is sick from the effects of Body Crystals. This guy is desperate to rob a store to get some goods to save her but thankfully the store is currently being robbed! He beats up the robbers and gets the stuffs for free as gratitude. Meanwhile Carissa leads the nuns and knights to protect from the onslaught of the invading French. I know Touma is on his way to Russia but is he walking the entire way there?! But he isn’t travelling alone but with Lessar. She claims she is here to protect him from death as it would be a pain to Britain if he dies. Also, he needs a translator, right? Not sure if the mission is unimportant or Lessar’s life is so boring that she tries to outright flirt with him. WTF?! Touma and Lessar find Fiamma’s secret base. Hearing that he is looking for Sasha who is hiding in the Elizalina Alliance of Independent Nations (EAIN), they plan to find Elizalina first to ambush Fiamma. They manage to do so and though Elizalina acknowledges Fiamma as an important figure in this war, she doesn’t want her EAIN citizens hurt. Knowing that Fiamma and Touma are looking for Sasha, Touma suggests to send Sasha out of her borders and execute an operation to fight Fiamma there. Before the plan could reach further deliberation, Fiamma attacks. Imagine Breaker saved their skin a few times but can Touma defeat Fiamma if he just defends? This fight has also do away with the need to find Sasha since she drops in to fight Fiamma. Oh, Vento is also here to fight against Fiamma as she can’t tolerate his actions messing with the Roman Catholic Church any longer. After Accelerator dispatches a few attackers, he found some operation plans that could be related to Aiwass. But upon reaching the Russian military unit, it is decimated and he believes Academy City could be behind this. A few sorcerers surround him. Time for some fun.

Episode 19
Though Accelerator disposes of them easily, he notices the different laws in their magic. Could this be what Aiwass was talking about? Then flies down Misaka Worst. Another one of those Sisters whose goal is only to kill Accelerator. Vento thought she could kill Fiamma with her new powers. Sadly, she’s mistaken. He is still a lot superior. He then collects Sasha and will be back for Touma later. He claims they are both the same. Just that he has confidence he is doing this for the greater good. Touma doesn’t share the same sentiments. He doesn’t care if it is right or wrong but making Index suffer is unforgiveable. Fiamma wonders if he can say that to her face since he might look like he is protecting her to satisfy his own consciousness but is this what Index really needs? Takitsubo is being treated but with the village’s insufficient facilities, she might not hold out. The village will soon be attacked by privateers, unofficial mobs under the army. They’re trying to take this village and make this as their foothold for the Russian army since this village is near the border of EAIN. Accelerator runs from Misaka Worst and cannot fight back due to his vow never to hurt them again. Hence she has a blast beating the crap out of him. She even mocks how the Sisters never sympathized with him not because they decided so but rather they were incapable of expressing such feelings. So once the next phase is launched, those hatred will accumulated and it will be revenge time. When she decides to target Last Order, that is when Accelerator screws it all and fights back. Now it’s his turn to beat the crap out of her. His trauma activated when she pleads for help. He goes berserk thinking Sisters’ are meant to be killed by him and then make his mind broken. All those higher ups must be watching and laughing at this spectacle. Well, he is going to show them that his power can also be used to protect. Hence he is going to save her too.

Episode 20
Misaka Worst wakes up. She is mad Accelerator saved her. I don’t think it’s the right time for her to be ungrateful. Because Accelerator is going berserk trying to destroy everything. Does she want to get destroyed? Hamazura is trying to defend against the bloodthirsty privateers. Land mine came in handy to immobilize the tank but how will he fight against the helicopter? Don’t worry. Acqua is here! Touma arrives where Accelerator is. The latter is mad he is here and starts blaming him he couldn’t save Last Order and that this little kid had to go through lots of sh*t. That’s why the only way he could protect is by playing the bad guy. Touma tells him off it doesn’t matter if it is good or bad. You don’t need reason or status. Just protect the person you want and stand proud of it. Man, Touma’s words must be so resonating that he allows to be beat down like that? Yeah, he lost to Touma again. I guess Accelerator has come to terms that the guy who doesn’t think about whether good or evil is the strongest. Carissa faces off with the Maiden of Versailles and tells her about the Kremlin Report. Something about the Russian military able to take measures during an invasion and capture nuclear installations. The nuclear arsenal takes priority over human lives. Versailles accuses her of using French territory as a stepping stone to attack Russia. Once France prospers under the Roman Catholic Church, they cannot disregard their orders then. Carissa speaks the truth that this war is not the will of the Roman Catholic Church but Fiamma. They still have a chance to end this or will they become pawns of Fiamma. When Misaka sees Touma in the background of some TV news, she packs her bags to head to the warzone. Sorry Shirai, a certain guy is more important. Accelerator wakes up with Last Order by his side. A note left by Touma that only states Index’s name. Touma is doing some serious reflection if his doing has benefited Index in any way. He realizes he has been deceiving Index and is the worst but he will not tolerate submitting to Fiamma.

Episode 21
The Pope realizes the cardinals are holding a meeting to elect a new Pope. This means he has lost his authority and whatever he says will not end the war. But he is going to do what he can. Hyouka is talking to Aiwass about the situation in Russia. Though Aiwass doesn’t intend to do anything unless it interests him, Hyouka intends to head to Russia but on a condition her friends will not be hurt. Otherwise she will also make him her enemy. Acqua just finished clearing out the privateers. Those powered suits from Academy City arrive. Hamazura doesn’t want Acqua to destroy them. Instead, let them use this village as their base. Although they will temporarily lose their territory, at least it will be guarded. Accelerator doesn’t understand whatever magic is related to this document who took from the train. He is told that perhaps Elizalina could read it. However she is injured and recuperating at the battlefield. Accelerator shoots all the spies since he is going to leave Last Order here and get Elizalina. Hamazura and Takitsubo are running away from a powered suit. Thankfully Accelerator saves them. Elizalina diagnoses Last Order and Takitsubo’s situation. They have toxins in their bodies. Although Takitsubo’s can be removed and she is safe for sure, the same can’t be said for Last Order as her toxins will ‘replenish’. Accelerator shows the document to Elizalina and wonders if she can read it. Maybe. But he wants her to concentrate on healing the girls.

He goes to see Misaka Worst and wants her to work for him to collect data from the spies. Why would she work for him? Dark May Project. Misaka Worst needs to find an ability that makes her irreplaceable and not easily disposed of while Accelerator is going to find a way to save Last Order. As Academy City has crafted them to be evil, they are going to fight against them. They interrogate the spies but find lots of inconsistencies in their stories. Realizing this document is to be brought to the Russian’s frontlines, Accelerator is going to storm it. Touma is puzzled that the Russians and Academy City are fighting each other but Fiamma hasn’t come out of his base. Is he in some magic ritual? Ponder no more because Fiamma tells him himself that this is all to lure Touma out and make sure his right hand is safe. Stiyl accuses Laura of trying to mess with Index’s body to prevent Fiamma from getting all her grimoire as she has the other remote artefact that controls her. When Stiyl intends to do something about it, Laura uses her remote to activate Index. The time has come for Fiamma to finally materialize his floating island, Star of Bethlehem (SoB… ;p). This is his intention rather than preparing for a large scale mystic artefact. Misaka has hijacked a plane to Russia. Oh my, how could she see Touma right on that floating island?! Is her Touma vision really that strong? An angel cuts down the jet. Misaka lands but stumbles into one of her Sisters.

Episode 22
Fiamma has materialized the archangel Gabriel and uses her to remove all those who aren’t related to this. Takitsubo has recovered. Together with Hamazura, they decide to go back and protect that little Russian village since the Russian military might be planning to use a biological weapon on it. EAIN can’t act because the Russians will think they might be after the nuclear silo info. When Elizalina tells Accelerator about SoB and Gabriel being somewhat incomplete is because of the document in Accelerator’s hands, he believes this might be all connected in saving Last Order. Touma bumps into Sasha. She was used by Fiamma in a ritual to materialize Gabriel, hence the archangel manifested on its own rather than possessing her. Touma thinks she is connected and tries to touch all over her. Did he have a good time feeling her up? Too bad no nullification effect. Just Sasha beating him up. Touma thinks he might be using a remote to control Sasha like he did for Index. The next Pope hopeful thinks he will become the next Pope. But with the ex-Pope rallying the people, they are marching towards the Vatican and the guards can’t stop or harm them. Hence this Pope potential curses his fate what should have been him as the next Pope. But ex-Pope somewhat praises him for his actions pf uniting his followers and will vote for him in the next Papal Conclave and will aid him in his path. All he needs is to head to the library to do some research on how to bring down Fiamma. Fiamma cuts ties with his Russian conspirator seeing he already has what he wants and this dude no longer has any role to play. Carissa and Elizalina take on Gabriel. Can they really take on God’s archangel? Don’t really think they can win but what’s with Carissa’s plan to call in her surface to air missiles to fire at SoB? Gabriel returns to protect it. She turns her attention to Touma and Sasha but Hyouka kicks down Gabriel?! Hyouka > Gabriel?

Episode 23
Stiyl tries to attack Index but she eliminates him. What are the chances of she killing him for good? Hyouka and Gabriel continue to battle but the latter soon departs as she detects the document nearby. She tries to steal it from Accelerator so he too joins in the fight with Hyouka to pound this archangel. Fiamma is confronted by Acqua. I don’t understand this part but since Gabriel is under Acqua’s control, he is going to do some suicide move by absorbing telesma to remove it from the field. Fiamma dares him and believes his actions are futile but when he tries to order Misha to finish him off, she isn’t responding. Touma is randomly trying to use Imagine Breaker to break Fiamma’s power source. He deduces that Misha only appeared after SoB was in place. If Fiamma could control an archangel, he wouldn’t need to start World War III to achieve his goals. Hence SoB is needed to summon and maintain the archangel. With Gabriel weakened, Accelerator manages to beat down Gabriel. All for Last Order! Hamazura sees Acqua dying. The latter is more than happy to sacrifice his life and take Gabriel with him. However Hamazura yells at him about the people waiting and relying on him. Don’t you dare be the tragic hero now! With that, Acqua screams back to life. Wow. The power of words. While Fiamma faces off with Touma, Accelerator is dismayed after finding the jeep driven by Misaka Worst and Last Order has crashed. Is Hamazura really going to take on the entire Russian military? Don’t worry. Academy City bomber plane is here to bomb it all away.

Episode 24
Hyouka tells Accelerator that a song that Index once sung to Last Order is the key to save her. She can also do the same but he needs to find out some parameters for her to adjust to it. Takitsubo is missing from the bombing. As Hamazura searches for her, misfortune finds him in the form of Mugino. Damn, this b*tch is really hard to die. She eats some Body Crystals to power up. Her powers enough to go berserk. Thankfully it didn’t last long as she goes back down to powerless. Even in this pitiful state, Hamazura can’t kill her. Instead he hugs her and wants to save her (is this considered cheating?). I don’t know how he is going to do it but he vows to protect her (despite choosing Takitsubo) and find a way to bring ITEM back. You mean he is confident of reviving Frenda? Lessar finds Misha and strikes a deal with her to put a dent on Fiamma’s plans in exchange she helps England out in their time of need. Fiamma prepares to take Touma’s right hand. If Academy City’s super satellite laser can’t even touch him, is Touma f*cked? We hear Fiamma explaining about his goal to bring salvation to the world. He isn’t going to brainwash everybody but open their eyes with this power of his. Oh yeah. Like that will definitely work. Will it?! Fiamma cuts off Touma’s right arm and absorbs it. The power is his. However something still feels odd. Touma still has power? And then Touma’s right arm just grew back out! Damn, is this science or magic?! Fiamma is looking pretty scared as the most powerful being closest to God. From what I understand, Touma threw away all his power to get Imagine Breaker back. Touma now knows why Fiamma is doing all this. If he was all that powerful, why does he need to create this large SoB? Why does he need to gather all the churches and temples? This means that his power depends on how strong the enemy is. But still why does he need that much power? It’s because he is scared. He is scared that he cannot save the world. After all, he never saved the world before so there is no way to know if he has the power to do it. Touma can say he saved the world. Technically he saved many people so I guess that counts. He saved the world of those people. The final lecture to nail the coffin: A person who tries to be the saviour of the world cannot protect it. The world isn’t so weak to need one lousy bastard to be saved.

Episode 25
Hamazura still desperately trying to find Takitsubo. Happy to find her, however the hugging has to wait since she detects a couple of coneheads sent by Academy City to retrieve the failure that is Mugino. Does he think he can take them on with his machine gun? The power of deception as he deceives them about accidentally breaking some bottle with some virus. Enough for him to fire at point blank to a couple of them. The last one Mugino has the honour of taking out with Takitsubo’s help. Meanwhile from all that explanation that I don’t understand, Accelerator seems to have found the parameters to save Last Order and he need not be the villain anymore. Accelerator singing? Weird. He is bleeding all over, papers falling everywhere, feathers falling everywhere… Is he witnessing God right now? Touma and Fiamma’s fight continues. The former still shocked he can still block and do more than just nullify. Although Fiamma blames human for all the war, poverty, destruction of nature, etc, Touma argues that humans although may contain malice, but that is not what they only have (something that Fiamma only sees in them). Also, people don’t need a reason to fight for those they love. Touma believes he can save the world because unlike Fiamma, he believes people are strong. Strange, huge right arms appear all over the world and explode. Humans put aside their differences to take it down. The Russian side dispose of their greedy pope and rescue the real patriarch pope (a kid). Because Fiamma’s power may not originate from the Russian or Roman Catholic so their only choice is to seek the power from England’s Archbishop. Oh, Stiyl still trying to fend off against Index? He just needs to hold out long enough till Touma fixes everything… Anytime now… SoB is starting to lose its powers. Fiamma acknowledges he might be at a disadvantage now but he isn’t going to sit by and do nothing. The original plan was to gradually transform Earth. But thanks to Touma’s goodness some unnatural distortion has arisen between Heaven and Earth. Accumulated telesma will rain down on Earth, wiping everyone out. So much about doing good. Too late to do good?

Episode 26
Last Order wakes up. Look at the relieved look on Accelerator’s face. Because those lights are still going to rain down on Earth, Accelerator is not happy with this sh*t and is going to stop it. Damn! He becomes an angel complete with halo?! He was drenched in blood a second ago and now he is so clean and pure! Fiamma tries to use Index but his remote isn’t working since the English did something. Hence perfect timing for Souma to land one knuckle sandwich in his face. With SoB crumbling, Lessar leaves a note for Touma to escape. He still wants to save Fiamma? Okay. But only 1 pod left. Touma lets him use it since he has something to do. So Misaka’s trip all the way here was to be shoehorned to rescue him off via a jet she hijacked? Too bad that is wasted since Touma can’t go yet. Touma finds Index’s remote and conveniently talks to her consciousness. He admits about deceiving and doing something horrible to her. And then something inaudible about his memories. Damn those crashing loud sounds. But Index doesn’t mind. As long as the Touma she knows returns. He touches and nullifies the remote. Stiyl talks to Touma about destroying certain numbered artefacts so that SoB could crash into the sea. However Misha (Gabriel) is heading towards SoB. As she is trying to replenish, the power will grow but too forcefully that it will explode and release a massive amount of telesma. I don’t how Touma did it but he made SoB slam right into Misha! You mean she actually stood there and took the hit?! With everything sinking deep, Touma manages to get close and use Imagine Breaker on her.

Hamazura is trying to find something as a bargaining chip against Academy City. They are surrounded by Academy City people. This helmet woman spouting some crap about retrieving Takitsubo as she is top priority. Something about her rare ability to exert her influence as seen when she cooperated with Mugino to take down a conehead. Something about she can be able to provide the functions of Academy City all by herself. However all her men are shot by the villagers. That easy? It’s Hamazura’s turn to interrogate her all about this Parameter List she was talking about. Accelerator is retrieved and restrained. He tells those blokes to never use Last Order or Sisters again and never let him do their dirty work. So what if they don’t want to? Yeah, he just easily breaks out. That’s one lesson they’ll never forget. Fiamma crash lands safely but upon exiting the pod, his right hand is cut off by Alesiter. He claims he has grown too obsessed with it and almost went beyond that and discover some truths. Too late for Fiamma to be motivated by Touma words. He wants to fight back but Aleister promptly kills him. Aiwass is glad his form was transferred to a different domain than eliminated. Hyouka advises him to learn more about humans because betray them and they’ll get you back when you least expect it. Aiwass doesn’t believe it because they would have done so had they had that kind of power. Misaka is looking through the icy waters. Gasp! Not Touma she found. His handphone strap. Oh no! But don’t worry. Touma is seen floating on some board and is picked up by Leivinia Birdway and Mark Space. Russia’s Pope suspends all military action and agrees to talk with Academy City. Fiamma is apparently alive. Picked up by Ollerus and Silvia. WTF Ollerus was supposed to be a Magic God but is now just a normal sorcerer?

Screw Science! Screw Magic! Screw Religion! Screw Humanity! It’s Revelation!
So this is how it ends? Well, if you think this is the end of the Index series, then you’re both right and wrong. True, the Index series ends here. But the story somewhat continues into a new story, Shinyaku To Aru Majutsu No Index. We’ll have to see if that will get adapted in the future. Of course with so many developments and even throwing in a few new faces in the final episode, it is safe to say that something bigger than a world war is going to happen but that would be for the next spinoff. After all, the Index series itself has many spinoff novels where these other characters popped up. So those who have been reading up wouldn’t find them entirely alien.

So yeah, you might be bored and annoyed and predicting that I am going to be a broken tape recorder. Repeating myself and telling the whole wide world how I still don’t understand everything. What to do? I wasn’t born a rocket scientist nor became one along the way. I don’t know if I could say that I wasted 26 x 24 minutes of my life watching this third season because ultimately I still don’t comprehend the finer things of what this series had to offer. All I know is that some people in here wants to play God, wants to become God and in in the name of bringing salvation to humans because you know, we are such malicious creatures with no redeeming points. Oh no. That’s not at least what our heroes in this series believes. So it’s always that conflicting cliché that bad guys are the ones who want to change the world while the good guys want status quo. The reason we don’t often resonate with the baddies is because of their methods and how they go about to reach their goals. Hence it’s that dilemma of rather than wiping out humans or brainwashing them into mindless but good NPCs, it is better to accept the good, the bad, the ugly, everything that defines us and continue this sh*tty life. Because life isn’t fair. Because that’s life. Yeah. Heroes often love to argue this when saving the world from villains.

With the final arc being the longest arc ever in the entire To Aru Majutsu No Index series, however my pet peeve is that this World War III arc doesn’t really feel like a World War III arc. Personally it feels like Fiamma Versus The World arc. Because the scenes are mostly concentrated around SoB and we don’t really see the world fighting each other. Therefore it doesn’t give me the feel that the entire world was actually against each other. Sure, they may be fighting in the background and the series doesn’t want to distract us with ‘meaningless war’ elsewhere that doesn’t contribute to the plot. Therefore World War III might just be mislabelled like World War I because the latter only involved Europe and yet they named it World War. How grand. Furthermore, from what I see and remember, wasn’t it just England vs France, Vatican vs Russia and Academy City vs everybody else? I don’t know. It just feels like that to me. And in the end, World War III somewhat became World Liberation because humans finally found the strength to put aside their differences to save their world. Damn, it’s really wishful thinking that a bunch of mortals on Earth can actually defend themselves from the onslaught of God and Heaven.

I didn’t study the bible so I know nuts about all the biblical terms here. Yeah, a very Christian anime, right? Sometimes it feels all the plot and whatever shenanigans they pull off here, it’s like as though they pull it out from thin air. God have mercy on my soul. I’m sure very fanatic and dedicated Index fans can enlighten me a lot or I do my own extensive research on the internet but you know me, I’m just lazy and not interested ;p. The way they show how Christians are being at odds at each other feels like a big thing because how come no other major religions like Muslim, Buddhism or Hinduism are caught in this conflict? Oh yeah. I’m an atheist so I’m somewhat safe, right? So we have England being Anglican Christians, Roman Catholic Christians representing the Vatican, Orthodox Christianity widely practised in Russia and in Academy City, uhm, scientific Christians?! Haha, don’t worry I made that one up.

Character wise, surprisingly Touma isn’t the only star here. Heck, triple stars here. Touma along with Accelerator and surprise package Hamazura are the main heroes. I believe for the first time that there are a couple of arcs that Touma was completely absent thanks to being him having his overseas mission so often here. Hence this gives Accelerator and Hamazura to shine and time to build up their plot and character. Among the trio, I think I prefer to vouch for Hamazura because he seems so normal and yet he defies all the odds. It might look like he gets into unfortunate incidents but I feel it is the ‘opposite’ of Touma’s misfortune and that he is such a blessed guy anyway. Accelerator is as weird as he is filled with angst and it’s strange just to think that his life’s mission is to save Last Order and the only way he could do that is to play the villain. Not that I understand. Is he being an anti-hero? Does he know how to actually play the villain? Because he sounds crazy doesn’t mean he knows how to be one. But whatever. Even weirder he sprouts hurricane vortex wings when unleashing his ultimate power. Sure, he is still crazy but I find he isn’t as crazy as before in the previous seasons. Did the loli tame him? And then he became an angel. I think that was really pushing it and I lost my WTF mind. Everyone is screwed if there was this type of angel.

Lastly this Touma dude, there might be some secret about his real identity that I might not have understood. Especially about his surname which is more than just coincidence than a play on words. Oh wait. I don’t think it is revealed yet. Just teased. Otherwise, typical cliché main character. Don’t care what is right or wrong. Just do what your heart tells you! And you don’t need a reason for it! You know that won’t really fly in a lot of other situations. After all, nobody could best his right hand. At least, nobody yet. So yeah. He’s got that kind of main character vibe.

Oddly, I started thinking how similar these 3 characters are because they have got a girl they love or some b*tch girl who is after them. For example, Touma probably loves Index and he’s got this tsundere biri-biri Misaka ever so ‘concerned’ over him. Then we have Accelerator who is protecting Last Order while Misaka Worst despite working with him in the end, is ultimately still a b*tch. No prizes to guess that it is Takitsubo for Hamazura while psycho b*tch Mugino always returns from the dead to haunt him. So yeah. Do you see a particular pattern here in this sense? I forgot to add Itsuwa to the mix and even Lessar to a certain extent. I guess Touma being the top main character means he has these extra babes, huh?

With a host of other characters, it is just hard to keep track of them so I’m skipping them because when some made their recurring appearance, I had to dig back deep into my previous blog just to remember this character’s name. Heck, I was lazy so I Google for faster search results. With too many of them to remember, I believe many of their fates are still left hanging as the season ends. But remember, the series itself is technically ongoing and not over. However what I want to say that Index being the titular character here feels so side-lined that sometimes it feels that she doesn’t really matter. Like as though she has been reduced to some plot device and convenience. Because in the early arcs while Touma or the other guys were at the forefront, Index was like at home bumming around and doing nothing really significant. I’m sure Touma is keeping her safe and hidden from those who are after her grimoires but really, Index feels more like an annoying brat who complains about not having her regular feeding time when Touma fails to do that thanks to his ‘busy’ schedule. And then in the later arcs, Index becomes immobilized as she goes into some sort of coma because Fiamma has some weird remote control over her. Whatever. She didn’t get to even reunite with Touma in the end. That spiritual vision in the final episode feels forced. Got to give us some peace of mind before the season ends.

Other trivial things to note, the British royalty seems to have really weird and unusual English names. Like Elizard and Rimea are names of the old English (I guess it beats having the usual Elizabeth, Victoria or Catherine – or Jane or Sarah) but Villian? Did they misspell Vivian or something? Because I keep misspelling her name as Villain. Or at least each time I see her name it looks like that synonymous word for antagonist. Carissa might sound so English but that name is actually of Greek origin. Yeah, the irony. I think I want to get this off my chest because Aiwass calling himself so, I can’t help want to tease it as Ai-what-ass?! Ai (I) was an ass… Haha! I never thought Aleister would leave his windowless building but I guess he got bored hanging out upside down in his tube. Sometimes you need to take a walk outside and throw the trash. Sort of. The creepiest character goes to Gabriel because whenever she ‘speaks’ there is this very eerie frequency that comes with it. Our puny human ears cannot hear words of an angel. But yeah, still creepy.

If there was something that was less confusing for me to understand, perhaps some of the action sequences brought in a little reprieve of my prolonged headache. Sure, they are packed with divine power and punch but ultimately it feels a lot like sci-fi fantasy when they get to do such weird overpowered moves. Becoming angels, summoning the powers of angels because of some certain characteristics and traits, I wonder how science can explain all that. Heck, even some of the technology of Academy City feels so bizarre that it is more fantasy than sci-fi. And don’t get me started of how WTF certain action scenes look. They defy the law of physics just for the sake of action. I don’t know if science or magic is behind this but it’s just mind blowing (like Touma’s jump from the train and Hamazura’s jump from the helicopter). Physics give a pass for those who are trying to save what is important to them!

This season it isn’t Mami Kawada who sings the opening themes. They are replaced by Maon Kurosaki (who sang the ending themes for the previous seasons, by the way). The first opener is Gravitation, a dramatic rock piece with a hint of synthesizer effects. Although the second opener, Roar has the same feel to it, but it sounds a lot darker and heavier on its metal side and in comparison, I’d prefer Gravitation. Because Index was insignificant in this series, I figure that is why Yuka Iguchi sings both the ending themes. However Kakumei Zenya (first ending theme) and Owaranai Uta (second ending theme) are slow ballads and these sound unfitting for this sci-fi action series. Though, it isn’t the first time the series had slow ballads as the first season had them too. Honestly, just weird.

Overall, I couldn’t fully enjoy this season because of all the complicated sci-fi terms and plots. Too many characters to remember and many feel irrelevant as the season crosses into its final stretch. And like I’ve said, I’m only watching this first since To Aru Kagaku No Railgun is getting another season subsequently. Not that I’m pinning my hopes that spinoff will get me to understand things better but it’s the only way Misaka, Shirai, Uiharu and Saten are going to have more screen time of their own compared to this paltry cameos here. Oh wait. You mean there’s more? You mean Accelerator is getting his own f*cking spinoff?! Damn, is this science or magic behind this trickery?! Is it because that guy got elevated into an angel that he now must have his own spinoff?! In that case, why didn’t they make a spinoff for the erotic fallen angel maid Kanzaki?! That would have been the most epic storyline ever! WTF, you guys?! Did you miss this one out?! I definitely would see that one! It’s not science. It’s not magic. It’s not religion or faith. It’s just love. You don’t need a reason to love maids. Ah, the misfortune of not having that godly spinoff…

Kemurikusa

July 14, 2019

Well, the synopsis didn’t say much. Kemurikusa is about a group of girls needing to fight off bad bugs in a world covered with red fog and mist. Sounds intriguing enough and although my interest of whether to watch it then was on the fence, I further read that this adaptation only came into being after it because it won’t a 3D anime contest back in 2012. So I guess that there is something good about it. I hope.

Episode 1
Rin and Rinako are out to get some fresh water. However Rin detects a red bug and engages in combat. Although Rin defeats it, she didn’t realize there was another one. It attacked careless Rinako drinking the water. By the time Rin returns to defeat it, Rinako is already close to death and soon sadly dies. Rin returns to her base that houses her other sisters, Ritsu and other Rinako clones who are collectively known as Rina. Yup, 4 of those Rina still left. They fill up the water tank and eat up some green leaves called Kemurikusa produced by their tree named Midori. Suddenly a boy is washed into the water tank. Wakaba is unsure how he get here but the sisters think he is some kind of bug and attack him. He tries to run but ends up being captured. They are puzzled this new bug type can talk and although Wakaba says he is human, they don’t believe because the sisters are the only humans left on the island. To prove he isn’t a bug, they shoot a green leaf at him. It is supposedly a bug’s weakness. Rin fires at him. The blast destroys the structure around but only Wakaba is still intact. So he’s not a bug, right? Nope. They think he is a new type that is resistant to Midori’s leaves! Ritsu picks up the appearance of a red fog and hence another red bug. They are surprised because the fog has never come so far up on this island. Rin and Rina take Wakaba there. More ‘confusion’ because Wakaba feels pain when he touches the red fog. Bugs shouldn’t. The bug makes a surprise attack and gobbles up on of the Rina. Wakaba can sense where she is held and not dead yet. Hence he braves the red fog and dives in to go get her. This also lures the bug out and Rin is prepared this time to take it out. The sisters are happy that they didn’t lose one of their own this time. However Rin remains sceptical of Wakaba although she feels something strange welling in her heart…

Episode 2
The sisters decide to let Wakaba live a little longer for now. Ritsu deduces this is the last batch of water on this island. But since they have gathered so much, they can go to other islands and search again. Rin tells Ritsu her strange heart problem. Whenever she is near Wakaba, her heart beats fast, her face feels flushed and her vision sometimes get blurry. Oh! I know what it is! But guess what they think? It must be a poison from the red bug! DOH!!!! WTF???!!! Rin then takes Wakaba to get some kiiro that serves as food and light source. Yeah, this guy is like so fascinated with everything. He spots different coloured leaves and decides to keep them. They also spot some bugs but those that are not red are not hostile. But there is one that attacks Wakaba! Rin blasts it with a green leaf. Wakaba gets caught in it but nothing happens to him. Also, his wounds get healed. As Rin gets some kiiro, she talks about the sisters surviving from letters that tell them locations of the water as well as how to defeat red bugs. She claims she has no ambition and the only thing she cares is protecting her sisters. When they return, Wakaba’s Kemurikusa starts glowing. It is rare for leaves other than Midori’s to glow. Furthermore, it is in another colour. But soon it stops glowing. Rin then makes a decision to leave the island. They pack up and make plans to leave Island One they are in now to Island Four. Wakaba is amazed as Midori’s roots turn their tram base into a mobile one as it sets itself nicely over the tracks. Rin scares Wakaba not to do anything funny or else she’ll kill him. I wonder if she is trolling him about leaving the island. Because whenever they do, somebody dies. So Wakaba is that bait?!

Episode 3
The gang make their slow trail to the next island. Wakaba might be having too much fun being fascinated with everything that he almost fell to his death. Thanks to Rin grabbing him, he did not meet his maker. I guess she owes him for saving Rina. Arriving on Island Two, they use some fish-like thingy to detect water around. They’re not going to find any for a while. Ritsu starts coughing since she is pushing herself. So they all take a break and drink some fresh water from their tank. They drink a lot at one go and it will last them for several days. Because they stopped by some amusement park, one of the Rina went off on her own. Hence Rin and Wakaba go in search for her. Wakaba learns that Rina can eat anything and then produce some weird stuff. So this is how they supposedly duplicate? Though, Rin warns not to just eat anything in fear of getting that poison. Yeah… Wakaba then finds another Kemurikusa but this one has a stem. Because it is also edible, the Rina also want a taste of it. Back at base, Ritsu gives Wakaba a Kemurikusa they used to use a long time ago. Apparently it belonged to their old sisters. Ryoku didn’t particularly like Kemurikusa and was always furious when Riku made them glow. After all, only Riku can make them glow and thanks to Ryoku, they know so much. The ground suddenly shakes and opens up. Wakaba could have fallen into the red fog just to save a precious pot of the sisters but Rin pulls him up just in time. Rin is mad that he saved something that he didn’t know of its importance. He didn’t think of it and just knew it was important to them. He hopes he can help out in anywhere and thanks her for saving him. Rin starts to blush. Must be the poison…

Episode 4
They have reached Island Three as the Rina notice Wakaba continuing to be obsessed with his Kemurikusa collection. They show him a few nifty tricks of their own that they develop from eating many things but since Wakaba is only amazed at those with Kemurikusa, no more tricks for you mister! Along the way, a few red bugs but nothing that Rin could handle herself. As they rest for the night, more Kemurikusa obsession from Wakaba as he swings around his collection and in certain angles they do glow. With the Rina using Kemurikusa for cloning purposes, Wakaba realizes its importance to the sisters. He admires Rin’s Kemurikusa too but she hides from him. Is she being shy? Nope. Just taking precaution to stay away from his poison! To get to Island Four, they need to take the sky bridge. Rin uses her strength to haul the entire tram up. But along the way, they encounter a red bug. This isn’t just an ordinary one. It’s so freaking big and powerful that it’s termed as Nushi. The gang retreats as the Nushi attacks them. Rin is injured by its blast albeit a minor one. At this rate the Nushi is blasting about and putting holes in the bridge, I’m thinking the bridge’s integrity will be compromised. The plan seems to be like this. Rin sacrificing herself to let the sisters pass. Not if Wakaba has an idea. He noticed the Nushi reacts to Kemurikusa thanks to some of them he dropped while retreating. So he has Rina make several little toy clones to carry Kemurikusa as distraction. Rin will use that as a chance to destroy it. The plan works but the dying Nushi gives out one last blast at the sisters. If not for Wakaba reacting fast to protect them with the special Kemurikusa, they would have been goners. Now the Nushi is dead, the sisters are in disbelief they actually defeated one on their own. They are excited as they draw closer to Island Four.

Episode 5
Now on Island Four, they are looking to get to Island Six. They don’t really want to get lost and end up in Island Five although ironically that is where they found this tram. It was also around here that they picked up Midori’s branch. It was small at that time but now it is big and able to protect and move the tram around. When a Kemurikusa glows, Wakaba throws it at a broken pole and suddenly it fixes it back to normal. As they continue their journey, you mean now only they realize a wheel of the tram is missing and possibly during the fight with the Nushi? Did they not notice Ritsu controlling the tram and walking in a weird fashion? Wakaba looks at the nearby junk for some parts and oddly a docile bug helps find a wheel. Because the mechanism is broken and some parts are missing, Wakaba has this idea to use a Kemurikusa to fix it. Well what do you know? It is as good as new! Everyone is happy and surprised that Kemurikusa could be used this way other than fighting red bugs. Ritsu is in tears with Wakaba praising her so much for taking care of Midori. Time for Rin to accuse Wakaba of doing something fishy. Somebody explain to her those are tears of joy? Finally they arrive on Island Six. It is mostly uncharted territory and filled with red bugs. Thanks to Riku finding this tunnel hole, they can travel underground and avoid any hostiles above. But first, they need to rest. I guess Wakaba isn’t as tired as the sisters so he explores around. To his delight, he finds lots of Kemurikusa lying around. So happy picking them that he realized too late that he is lost. Oh sh*t. You scared now? Then he stumbles into a girl. Not a ghost, I hope.

Episode 6
Riku thinks Wakaba is a bug and tries to attack him. Good thing Wakaba is quick at dodging. But after hearing she knows her sisters, now he’s her friend. She talks briefly about her sisters as she hints she is here to do some preliminary investigation. She also teaches him how to use Kemurikusa as a barrier (good thing he learns fast otherwise he would’ve been vaporized). Riku gives him a compass to find his way back and doesn’t want him to tell her sisters about her. She’s supposed to be gone. On the way back, Wakaba discovers a new interface in using the Kemurikusa. Especially one that looks like a diary written by one of the sisters, questioning about the world and the likes. Walls and connecting islands, the first person hiding something, some memory leaf, all too vague for now. Before he knows it, Rina jumps on him for going missing. I guess he’s back. Well, it’s not like they cared, right? So let’s move on. Thanks to Wakaba’s new compass replacing their old one, they manage to make their way through the labyrinth. They stumble into another huge tree like Midori. Ritsu tries to connect with it but it’s too huge to move and most of its branches have wilted. Wakaba consults the diary to find an answer. Something about large Kemurikusa tree dead, its large branches and roots can lead to a pool of water nearby. Following the path, they reach a huge lake.

Episode 7
The giant criss-crossing roots of this tree is supposed to be Island Seven. Because it is overgrown other structures, they wonder if humans once lived here. Then they stumble into a wall. They find it weird because there is no hole. Ryou supposedly broke it the last time. All of them pool their powers and yet it did not make any scratch. Then all the harmless bugs turn black and start attacking them. They are easy to deal with but their numbers is a pain. Wakaba then uses his Kemurikusa to open a hole in a wall to retreat to safety. At the centre of this tree is a huge pool of water that would last a lifetime. Everyone is joyed that they finally found a safe place to live. No red bugs, no red fog. This could be their utopia finally. Wakaba is thrilled to find more Kemurikusa. Rin and Wakaba go explore around and find another wall. Using the same technique to open a hole. To their horror, they see endless red fog and endless red bugs. Does Rin think she is a hero and can take all of them?! There is also a giant red root but when cut, it regenerates. For now they are forced to go back and report to the others. At this rate, the red bugs and red fog will eventually break through and reach the water source. While Rin’s decision is to carry all the water they can and find some place safe to live, she is scared that she would make the wrong decision that would result in someone dying again. Because Wakaba saw something further at the end of the red fog, they decide to follow the red root that would led to its trunk that they must destroy.

Episode 8
The sisters fight their way through and although they defeated many red bugs, they are tired. As they make their next plans, that docile bug pops up. Let’s call it Shirou for ease of reference. So it followed them? Heck, it is showing them a map that could possibly take them to Island Nine. There is also a route that is clear of red fog or bugs. Shirou gets attached to Wakaba like as though it is his pet now. Wakaba reads more of the diary but still too many riddles. Wakaba notices a red Kemurikusa inside Rin and from the diary, it supposedly belonged to the first person. He wants to touch it. Eh? You sure you’re not rubbing it off the wrong way? Of course Rin won’t let him even if it’s for info. Coming out from the tunnel, they arrive at the top of the dam. Red fog below and the valley is covered with red roots. Shirou wonders if a map could help. Then it leads them to a boat where there are other Shirous! It seems they came from Island Nine and are sleeping here since the red fog makes them go crazy. They escaped there since the place is sinking but lost their captain along the way. They want Wakaba to be their captain and will do anything. They hand him to map of Island Nine as requested. The only way there is to cross the red root blocking it. Since they can’t go unnoticed, they’ll have to destroy it. Hence the Shirous combine themselves into some giant cutter machine to cut it. The root tries to fight back but the Shirous manage to snip it to free their path. But since they have absorbed too much red fog, they will stop functioning before turning into a red bug. They thank Wakaba for allowing them to serve him and giving them a purpose. Wakaba feels sad for ordering them to their deaths but Shirou can’t understanding because his comrades were grateful. Rin finds this familiar since sisters died smiling. She wonders if Wakaba will cry if they die. Of course!

Episode 9
Trekking up the mountain, be careful not to fall off into the red fog. They reach a wall and as Wakaba prepares to open it, they are being attacked by a Nushi. However this one seems to be using the wall as defence but at the same time it can’t leave the wall. Instead of opening the wall to lure it out and attack it (and risk the Nushi calling the red root for reinforcement), they rest up and think up of another plan. When the sisters are asleep, Wakaba wanders off to find water and stumbles into Ryou. I guess she is supposed to be dead but is kept alive by a Kemurikusa inside her. One more big fight and she’ll vanish for good. She supports him to fight the red root but first they need a way to get through this wall. Hence she summons Ryoku. So she just shapeshift into her? Are they both occupying the same body? Ryoku doesn’t like Wakaba in particular and even more so he read her diary. But after hearing him out, they exchange ideas. Ryoku believes this world deliberately made this world and could have learnt more if they opened the memory leaf. Then there’s the page with some contents erased. More about this world could be known if they had the memory leaf. Conveniently or not, it is with Rin and you know damn well she isn’t going to give it to Wakaba for such puny reasons. She encourages him to take it by force as she wants to know about the world before she dies instead of defeating the red root that will eventually destroy this world. Ryoku thinks if he can touch Kemurikusa, he might control the red tree. One way is to use Midori’s branch since they are of the same material. Wakaba returns to the sisters to ask permission to use Midori and of course Rin snaps at him because Midori is precious. However Ritsu agrees since Midori has gotten a lot stronger. Wakaba will be the bait to draw it out. After Wakaba opens the wall, the Nushi attacks. How can puny Wakaba grab and hold it down for Rin to throw a part of Midori at it? Yeah, they make it look so easy, defeating this Nushi. Midori must be damn strong. With a hole in the wall, they can now move forward.

Episode 10
The gang are tired after beating lots of tough bugs in this red mist zone of Island Nine. Reaching the end of the island, they believe what lies ahead in the thick red mist is Island Ten. But this is no ordinary island. It’s floating! Wakaba feels the main trunk is nearby and the only way is to climb up. They think on how to deal with it since the bugs and mist react to their Kemurikusa. Wakaba thinks if he can touch it, he might be able to control it. For now they rest and they drink their last portion of water. Ritsu and Rin talk and thank each other for being sisters. They are the world to each other. But of course. What else is there left? When they begin trekking up, it seems Ritsu and Rina can’t go up. It dawned to Rin that they didn’t drink their water portion and instead made a few more Kemurikusa for her. Rin doesn’t want to leave them alone but they have to go now or all their efforts will be in vain. Wakaba leaves Shirou to protect the sisters. After they leave, it seems there is a reason why Ritsu and Rina stayed back. Once the duo attack the trunk, red bugs will swarm to attack them. So they think they can stop the bugs? Wakaba and Rin arrive at the trunk’s centre. It looks like a giant beanstalk reaching the heavens. Wakaba wants Rin to show her memory leaf in hopes there would be clues to defeat this trunk. Hurry up, Wakaba. Don’t want to make a girl feel embarrassed by touching and doing something strange on her back, do you? When activated, Rin suddenly sees a vision. It is a view of the first person. Hmm… A young girl who is eagerly studying and can’t wait to grow up to be an adult.

Episode 11
Riri loves Kemurikusa and bugs. At least those white ones. Yeah, they’re cute and useful. She lives with Wakaba and is glad he has come home from his research work. We see him talk about his Kemurikusa research but Riri is also a genius seeing she mixes a few different Kemurikusa colours to create a new one. We also see Wakaba using Kemurikusa to make buildings and islands in his giant floating crane. Huh? Because there isn’t enough circulating water, the buildings crumble. Then something about Riri died once but Wakaba saved her. Her parents are dead and she would prefer to live with him than by herself. Riri notices Wakaba is working so hard that he might be neglecting himself. Hence she tries to create a new type of Kemurikusa that can stop Kemurikusa to help out with Wakaba’s work. But it is glowing that ominous red colour… We take a break with Rin returning to reality. She tells Wakaba what happened. Yeah, she believes that Wakaba must be him. Still the same dork. However Wakaba can’t remember a thing. She returns to watching the vision in hopes to find more clues. And what’s this? Looks like that red Kemurikusa has grown out of control and growing into a big menacing root. Riri feels sorry but Wakaba understands she was only trying to help out. All the trick Wakaba try to stop it didn’t work. So he sends Riri away and tries to stop this red mist himself. Several walls come up after Riri is far and safe. She waits for him but after 10 days, what broke through the walls isn’t Wakaba but the red fog. Instead of waiting, Riri needs to do something. She intends to become a wall and uses all that she has learnt from Wakaba to configure the Kemurikusa she has. There is a risk she will become a Kemurikusa and not human so just in case, she decides to split her memories. There is also the danger of the red tree making her vanish. She wrote in the diary that her mission is to save Wakaba and despite the risks, she is going to do it.

Episode 12
Wakaba notices the root targeting Rin while she is still having her vision. So he distracts it with more Kemurikusa power. When Rin is back, what she sees? Wakaba got stabbed by the root! Oh no! But don’t worry. Thanks to a Kemurikusa in his pocket, he still lives. So the duo try to fight their way to the trunk. When Wakaba gets pinned under and ‘dies’, this triggers another Riri flashback. When she was separating the Kemurikusa into several bodies, she noticed her memories are clear. She used this to find Wakaba but to her horror he is dead. Saddened, she doesn’t want this to be known and erases some of the records in the diary. Now that Rin has realized, timely messenger by Ritsu and Rina to give her a branch of Midori for her final fight. They hope she has realized to do the thing she loves. So as not to make it sound like a death sentence, they assure her they are doing well holding back the other red bugs. Rin powers up to fight and reach the red root but can she do so as she is losing limbs at this rate? Cue for her ‘dead’ sisters to pop up and show what they’ve got to weaken the big bad monster and allow Rin (who somehow regenerate all her limbs) to nail the final coffin for this red trunk. Falcon Punch!!! With everything red dissipating, last goodbyes from the ‘dead’ sisters. They hope she realizes what she loves and not let go of it. And yeah, Wakaba lives too. Again, thanks to what’s left of Midori protecting him. First thing Rin does? Hug him! I guess after all this time of berating and distrust, it paid off with something different. Wakaba you lucky guy now. Ritsu and Rina report the red bugs and mist disappearing so they must have won, right? With no water and a long way back to the rest, I guess Rin wants to sit and chill with him. Just don’t leave her alone. But soon they notice a draft and it leads them out of the cave. Oh my! The real world?! Mountains, rocks, trees, the sky and more importantly, water! Water! River! Rin is so happy that she starts crying. And the most important of all, she finally says I love you to Wakaba with a big smile.

Bugged Out, Blow Out & Blow Over: Mist-ing The Point…
Is this supposed to be a romance theme either? Like as though the goal wasn’t to defeat the red mist and red trunk and to find the eternal utopia but for Rin to finally remember who she really loves. Thank goodness it’s not poison. Haha. But I’m still confused. If they all are from the same person (because the sisters hinting they should all stop talking differently now that everything is over), aren’t they all supposed to love Wakaba? Unless Rin is the main body or something. Does this mean everybody except Rin knows about the past and Wakaba? Or they can tell from her bad acting that her body and mouth say different things. And with the final scene revelation that they broke out from some ‘ship’ into the real world, are they saying that this entire setting was just some sort of experiment?! Man, it has got to be one giant ‘ship’. A ship that was good enough to contain the red menace because I surely didn’t see it contaminate the natural greens of the real world. Let’s hope the wild animals won’t eat them the moment they step out. That would add a lot to the cheesiness and weirdness after Rin’s final scene confession. Next sequel, Wakaba and the sisters living like Tarzan and Janes in the jungle! Thankfully that will never see the light of it.

Unfortunately, the intrigue and novelty of the plot seems to wear off very early and it became a drag to watch. It became some sort of horror journey survival as the sisters and the only male in the group seek to move from one island to another. Don’t really understand why they needed to do that because it is not like they had any other goal to do so in the first place and my suspicions is that it is better than staying in their (almost) safe zone and go adventuring in this vast unexplored world. I could be wrong since I was too bored to pay any attention. Oh right, the water source. Even so, how did they end up on Island One in the first place? Did they try to escape from the other direction? Because is Island One the last? Is there Island Zero before that? I’m sure the producers wanted to unravel the mysteries bit by bit as it goes along but with every episode almost having this same feel of getting from one point to another, I was quickly confused and bored. Even if they leave it late to reveal some of the secrets of this world, I was already not really that interested. I wanted it to end. Yeah, it would take a shocking miracle if they really wanted to get my interest back. No such luck.

Even with the penultimate revelation of what happened, it still created a lot more questions on the setting of this world. For instance, why is Wakaba creating islands and buildings? For what purpose? And where are the other human beings? If he is going to make such big cities and with no humans to populate them, what does this achieve? If it was all in some ‘ship’, was the project then abandoned because nobody else came to their aid? Damn, it would have been better if they just entered some portal to a whole new world to live in instead of their decimated waterless world. Wait, on second thought, maybe that isn’t any better either. There is also the case of how the sisters come about as they aren’t born and conceived like how normal humans would (is Riri some sort of magician to materialize them like that?). One day they just woke up and realized they came into existence. Hence, what are their purpose? Are they supposed to continue the lifeline of humanity’s existence? Are they even humans in the first place? Riri’s flashback did shed some light on this by it doesn’t really make sense for her to split herself like that. And how did Wakaba first pop up to the sisters? Sure, it’s in the water tank but how did that even happen? I am guessing that it had something to do with Riri saving him and hence his sudden appearance in present time, that is the future. So did Wakaba get thrown into the future? I mean, it’s not like we could see that old Wakaba was actually dead in the first place, right?

Hence there are lots of things I don’t really understand about the Kemurikusa or how their different colours and shapes give it different abilities or something. They just look like lines made out of thin neon lights and sure, they’re nice to look at when everything in this world is so dark and covered with ominous red fog. Perhaps I could have make the connection if I watched the original Kemurikusa indie series but at this point I’m too bored and lazy. There was even a chart I saw somewhere on how Riri was related (or rather created) to the sisters. But yeah, not really interested at this point. Sorry Wakaba. I don’t share your enthusiasm and curiosity on the different Kemurikusa types.

The characters didn’t help in making the story interesting either. I know that with the small group making their advance and the episodes showcasing how they ‘get along’ but I still feel that it wasn’t enough to make me want to really care about them. Even if I did, it was just hoping to answer some of my questions about them. So basically the group consists of tough girl Rin AKA tsundere, nice elder sister Ritsu AKA cat girl and a bunch of Rina AKA loli and not forgetting Wakaba as the Kemurikusa enthusiast that makes him sound like a retard sometimes. Each of them has their own abilities but nothing that feels exciting. I really don’t understand the logic of the other ‘dead’ sisters to not live with them seeing that they would stand a better chance as a group but I suppose this way is going to make them stronger by being apart. Better than living a peaceful sisterly life together for as long as they can. Their appearances before Wakaba didn’t make any sense. Plot twist? It’s like they want to have us think they are really dead but surprise! Not dead. Yet. So I think it is so that when they pop up finally, you won’t surprise or be angry they throw in a few new characters. The last episode feels like one big ex machina for those dead sisters to pop up. Like as though they’ve been waiting their whole existence for this to happen. If they are this powerful to bring down the red trunk, why didn’t they do it in the first place and wait for their other sisters to suffer? Maybe they can’t deliver the finishing blow? So they’re like waiting for the sisters to be strong enough to go on this journey to defeat the red trunk, huh?

I wonder what the goal of the red tree is. Is it to destroy the world by turning everything its poisonous red mist touches into antagonistic beings that attack those who are not affected? Well, literally painting the town red. Haha! Heck, turning the entire world red. And I thought those Nushi would be some sort of level bosses seeing they are powerful enough. Who made them anyway? I’m sure they were good bugs or robots before the red fog engulfed them. Yeah, a group of characters on a journey to destroy the root cause of this redness while defeating bugs and the more difficult Nushi feels more like a video game concept. Well, the red trunk does give off that feel of a final boss because it’s really big. Really, really huge. The bigger they are, the harder they fall.

If there was something more bugging than the story and the characters, it would be the visuals. Entirely animated using CGI, the animation can appear jerky and one kind. If you want to say it makes them look unhuman, this is the reason. Uh huh. The sisters aren’t human not because they drink large amounts of water at one go, fight using Kemurikusa (Rin), eat almost anything and everything (Rina) and control branches and roots of Midori to scout for enemies (Ritsu) but rather because of the poorly animated CGI! Just really plain weird. This anime is made by Yaoyorozu who also brought to you a few other CGI anime series like Tesagure! Bukatsumono and Kemono Friends.

Voice acting feels pretty normal with me only recognizing Mikako Komatsu as Rin. She also doubles as Riri and hence my speculation that the reason why Rin had this ‘poison’ (AKA love) feeling towards Wakaba. Oh, and those Shirou robots with their squeaky beeping sounds, yup, Mikako Komatsu too. Beep, beep, beep! No offence to Kenji Nojima (Eiji in Banana Fish) but him voicing Wakaba does make his character sound so gay. Especially with his tagline “I’m so curious!”. All the loli Rina are voiced by Tomomi Jiena Sumi and this is her debut role and her only role so far. The other casts are Arisa Kiyoto as Ritsu (Misato in Gin No Saji), Yuuna Mimura as Ryou (Riko in Hanebado), Kanna Asanuma as Riku (debut role) and Akira Sekine as Ryoku (Princess in Princess Principal).

The opening theme is of the same name as this series and is sung by Nano. Although this rock piece is rather okay, sometimes hearing it sends shivers down my spine or my hairs stand on ends. Not to say that this song is scary or creepy (or even that bad) but somehow I just don’t like the way the singer sings the song. The deal breaker was the last line “Finding my life in the Kemurikusa”. I don’t know. I just find that intolerable the way he sings that. The ending theme, Indeterminate Universe by Yuuya featuring Kemurikusa feels like it is fit to be a video game song. At times, the song also reminds me of the opening theme from Black Rock Shooter. I don’t know, the singer sounds similar enough although they are entire different.

Overall, what started out with an intriguing premise quickly turned into something dull and tedious. Perhaps I was too impatient in wanting answers quickly instead of letting the flow reveal itself in time. Sure, there are some unanswered questions (or unsatisfying answers depending on your point of view) at the end too but if you were like me, the dragging out of the journey of the Wakaba and the sisters would have zapped your zest a long time ago. And the ending was like we need to get over it so let’s just throw in everything for a good happy ending as reward for our characters who came from a long journey and to our viewers who have stayed with us through thick and thicker mist. Yeah… Just to be fair, there are no feelings of ‘red mist’ or ‘seeing red’ from me. Just some boredom and dissatisfaction. Unfortunately for me, this series will soon be lost in the mists of time…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At the end of the TV series, it was announced that there would be 3 additional episodes. And so I was happy that Double Decker! Doug & Kirill Extra would answer some of the more serious questions like those Nikai people that the TV series didn’t and ended abruptly, hence somewhat ruining my fun. Unfortunately these extra episodes aren’t that and instead are random standalone episodes that served like OVA style episodes. Oh well, as long as I can see more kickass and fun dynamics within Seven-O, I’m alright with that.

Special 1
Taking place about a month after Kirill joined Seven-O, we see the duo on a long stakeout shift but it was a waste of time since the lead was false. Back at HQ, we hear the ladies talking about taking a company trip together. But it’s not possible for all of them to go at one time. Kay explains why she joined the force. When she was young, she saved a kitten up a huge tree. They both got stuck and could have stayed there forever had not a police woman came to her aid. Although she tumbled, she protected Kay. No injuries whatsoever and this spurned Kay to become a strong woman like her. As for Max, she was already a pro boxer when she was an officer and at that time Travis scouted her. All this talking makes them thirsty so they head to Derick’s bar to drink despite saying earlier on they don’t want to go there. I guess he’s such a nice guy to bully because they disregard his no outside food and drinks policy too. Sophie continues talking how she joined Seven-O. She was looking for a new job and the ad Travis put up was too good to be true. Indeed. It was mostly lies and initially Sophie rejected this sleazebag (he was more interested to see what kind of cute uniform would fit her) but when she returned, she received a letter saying she is already hired. Damn that guy is good. Kay insists Deana tell hers. She started out as an orphaned who was trained to be an assassin. Her first mission was to kill some VIP but couldn’t because she heard his beautiful piano. Travis?! That guy supposedly died last year. While Kay is sobbing over her story, the rest are unfazed. Because it’s fake! Gotcha! Kay is mad as she really believed her story but she only has herself to blame for falling for it.

Meanwhile Kirill is unhappy that Doug doesn’t treat him like a partner. He complains to Derick about it but there’s nothing much he can do. On the way back from the stakeout, they stumble into Mark Belgar. He and Doug know each other as they joined the force at the same time. They go out drinking and jealous Kirill won’t be left behind and joins in. Shortly, Doug receives a call from Derick as he left something in his bar. So this guy abandons Kirill here just to go back to Derick’s bar? Oh well, Kirill gets to get acquainted with Mark. He finds out Mark is the same rank as him but is terrible at his job. Doug is a total opposite. So good that the next thing he knows, he already joined Seven-O. Kirill wants to know how Doug ended up there since Travis only hires girls. Sure, he is lazy when it comes to hire men but he only does so if they are not popular with women! When Doug leaves, Derick advises him to talk to Kirill because it’s like he has some trouble on his mind. Doug returns only to see Kirill and Mark getting on well together. Drunk too. Mark leaves since he is on house arrest. Kirill continues talking to Doug about Travis’ hiring requirements. If Doug got in, what about Jefferson? He’s married. Kirill fears he got accepted because he is unpopular with ladies but Doug reminds him that it was because of his recommendation. But why? He thought it would be fun to team up with him. I guess those are the words Kirill wanted to hear. So happy that he dismisses any problem on his mind when Doug asks about it. Of course we hear the actual truth of why Kirill was drafted into Seven-O. Travis thought he was a cute woman and immediately approved! Oh my. Kirill is Travis’ type?! Oh sh*t.

Special 2
Originally the ladies are supposed to infiltrate a party as a suspected Anthem trade will be done. However Kay is called to the HQ and Travis wants Kirill to cross-dress as a woman. Of course he objects but with Travis putting in twisted logic, Kirill accepts because it will somehow turn him into an elite force. I wonder why this cross-dressing is necessary. Isn’t it a running joke that Kirill looks like a girl???!!! Anyway, is it me or is Kirill as a woman looking a bit ‘ugly’? So much so, Travis didn’t even notice ‘her’ but Apple does. Immediately recognizing Kirill but didn’t recognize his getup. Weird. Because he lacks femininity, he undergoes harsh training from Milla. Yeah, being a woman is hard. Eventually, it is because Kirill is forcing himself to be a woman. Just let it flow naturally. So once the training is done, Kirill is able to attract Travis’ attention and not even make that idiot suspect a thing. Now he is good to go for the job. Ready to go, Olivia? Deana briefs him that they have 2 targets to observe. Guillermo Galvis who is the Anthem dealer and Yusef bin Saeed Al Atal, son of a rich financier who owns the hotel. Their main mission is to arrest Guillermo when the Anthem trade is done. The ladies disguise as waitresses. Kirill must be so beautiful that a pervy old man wants to flirt with him. Luckily he is saved by Yusef. Later as Kirill tails him, Yusef can tell he is doing so. Kirill gives excuse that he wanted to thank him.

At the rooftop, as they talk, Kirill learns that he is quite a shy person and doesn’t like mingling in crowds. He is only putting up a brave front so as not to betray the expectations of others. It is not wrong for Kirill to lend him some advice that he should be who he is and not force himself to pretend. With Deana calling in since Kirill didn’t answer for quite a while, Kirill has to get her off his back, exposing his crude side. In this struggle, Kirill falls over him. OMFG. Almost kissed???!!! Yusef laughs and realizes he too is putting up an act. Kirill admits it and with Yusef feeling better, he returns inside. The agents then observe him meeting Guillermo. But Yusef wants to deal to be off because he doesn’t need Anthem to change himself. However Guillermo won’t let him off so lightly now that he knows he is an Anthem dealer. The Seven-O agents bust in as Deana fights and apprehends Guillermo. In the aftermath, Yusef is also arrested but he is glad Kirill is unhurt. Damn, did Kirill just blushed?! Next day, Kirill thought he is lucky Doug wasn’t on this case but he knows all about Olivia! Damn Deana spread those cute photos of him! Kirill learns that Yusef will get a lighter sentence since there was no Anthem trade that happened although he is charged with possessing illegal drugs. But with Yusef relaying his thanks to Olivia, the Seven-O agents start teasing Kirill that this might be his true love. Yeah, he gets to marry a rich man after all. Kirill will not accept this and rushes down to prison to clarify this once and for all. He vows never to cross-dress again. Later Deana passes a photo of Olivia to Milla. Keep it. It’s previous memories of his little brother. Next time, she hopes to see Kirill in a wedding dress! Man, Deana is having a blast. Derick sees the photo and wants to know who this hot chick is. Milla’s little sister you say, huh?

Special 3
Seven-O are going to a hotspring inn. Well, Travis is feeling down. Why? He begged Sophie to come but that girl doesn’t want to spend her free time with him! Boo hoo! It seems Kay has created a very strict schedule that everyone must follow. After all, she was put in charge of organizing this trip and she’ll see to it to the very end! Like this ping pong tournament. Yeah, the guys want to prize as to swap rooms with Travis! They don’t really like him, huh? Before the tournament is over, Kay moves on to the next programme. Because Derick still thinks Milla is a girl, Kirill tries to tell him but finds it hard. Better hurry before things get out of control. During meal time, Max was supposed to sing but instead gave a heartfelt speech of how grateful she is to be with everyone. Cue for Travis to think this is a good time for a Japanese style bonding to have everyone dip in the hotspring together. He better be joking if he doesn’t want to get beaten up by Deana. Speaking of her, she passes out from getting drunk. She didn’t have that many, by the way. The men take a bath first. Apple being gay weird as he wants to touch Doug’s muscles?! Travis thinks Sophie is regretting this but on the contrary she is enjoying a luxury life to the fullest! Yeah. She doesn’t need Travis. Just his wallet!!! When Kirill tries to talk to Doug, the latter takes his special lemon soap but it’s so slippery that it flew into the women’s area. With Kay getting drunk too, she rants about how she didn’t have fun when she first came here and hence why she got so enthusiastic to stick to this schedule so as to have fun memories with everyone. I’m sure everyone heard that. Right, Deana? Doug and Kirill then see a poster of a panty thief. Yeah, 300 panties stole in a night!

As Milla and Kirill take soak in the hotspring, they hear the screams of the ladies. Derick is dead!!! Actually, he passed out. They catch the most suspicious suspect: Travis! He explains he didn’t do it. He was trying to break the pipe to the women’s area in hopes they would use the mixed area but someone was approaching so he ran. When Derick wakes up, he says he was supposed to be in the men’s area. So how did he end up in the women’s area? Yeah, everyone wants to take the easy way out and just blame Travis! With Doug figuring out the details, they all head to the cliffs because this is where all murder mysteries at the hotspring is revealed, right? He points out Kirill! You see, Derick wanted to ask Milla for a night walk and followed him. As Milla entered the male section, Derick unwittingly also entered the female section. As he ponders, Kirill’s soap knocked his head. Doug then reveals Milla is a man. Derick is disappointed but not as disappointed as Deana who wanted this charade to last another 6 months! Derick picks himself up and is glad he didn’t ruin the trip. But what about Travis after being treated as a criminal? No one cares! When they return, they realize their bags have been rummaged and their underwear missing. It’s the panty thief! Make that 6 of them! Luckily they are easily captured. Turns out these are sextuplets who are in competition to see who can steal the most panties! Sick. No wonder they could score 300 per night but 50 per person is still devastating. Everyone enjoys the morning hotspring. Milla hopes he can still work with Derick. Of course he welcomes him. Gender doesn’t matter as long as the person is nice. But it’s back to Kay’s tight schedule. Hope everyone had fun.

Trouble Pecker! Smug & Free Zeal
Yeah, the episodes are fun in their own way. So much so it took my mind off about the Nikai thingy. Uh huh. I didn’t care about it anymore. They are nice episodes to showcase the dynamism of the members in Seven-O and although not much, but I suppose this is why they are such a close knit unit. Except maybe for Travis. If there is one thing that all the other members of Seven-O can agree on about their most disliked thing, it would be their idiotic boss. Poor guy gets stepped all over by his subordinates and even got his wallet swiped. I hope he has very deep pockets. It’s the only way that Sophie is ever going to feel ‘needed’ of him. Haha!

The first 2 specials focuses more on Kirill with the first one trying to have him get closer and understand his dick partner while the second has him change the heart of a young rich but directionless Middle Eastern hotel tycoon heir! I guess in a way it helps Kirill better understand himself that sometimes acceptance comes from the heart and must be earned instead of demanded. That sometimes the best way is to just be yourself instead of acting like somebody else to impress others who don’t really see the real you.

The third special shows the little bond between Kirill and Milla but it is mostly about Derick as the final member of Seven-O has come to realize that Milla isn’t really a woman. And also turning Travis into one tragic fool whom nobody cares. What’s with Apple turning gay for Doug? I think we assume he is some peeper as the ladies accuse him of so thanks to his technologies but what if he is gay for people like Doug? Thankfully, Derick is still straight, right? Milla’s the same nice person so I hope that doesn’t awaken some twisted side. It is bad enough Derick is the butt of jokes that nobody patrons his bar and this gay sh*t? Come on, can we leave all the blame on Travis?

Overall, the extra episodes provide a little more entertainment and well, a little extra to those who want a little more of the series ever since the TV series ended (like yours truly). Perhaps 3 extra episodes were not enough for that Nikai or another story arc (because then it certainly needs another season) and therefore suffice as random standalones. If they are thinking of adding more extra episodes, may I suggest the cliché high school spoof setting? Yeah… I’m glad that I find this enjoyable thanks to my simpleton ways rather than relying on Anthem to enhance my pleasure in watching this. Yes, people. For the umpteenth PSA time, don’t do drugs. Do anime instead!

Melty Lancer

June 14, 2019

Retro time! It is one of those moments that I weirdly remembered. Long ago, I harboured this ‘interest’ in watching this Melty Lancer OVA series but somehow never got around it. It was always kept on the back burner of my mind and I keep blaming the ‘obligation’ to watch more current animes of the season than just quickly finishing up these 6 OVA episodes. Throughout the years this thought has been floating in and out of my mind and one day I just realized that if I keep delaying this, this series would not be found anywhere anymore! Yeah, it’s old enough to be rare and the ones online are dubbed. So what a way to press the panic button and put this case to rest. Boy, that sure did the trick. Anyway, this series is some ‘futuristic’ sci-fi space action adventure about a group of girls that formed a special space police organization that was disbanded but now deployed again thanks to some new conspiracy that threatens the fabric of space, time and the existence of the universe! And to think episodes are enough to save the galaxy…

Episode 1
When a scientist created a small capsule that could alter an entire planet, terrorists led by Defiant D storm into the place to steal it. Collins who has been incarcerated for 5 years is now eligible to obtain his freedom in exchange for this small task. After he was imprisoned, a paramilitary police force named GPO was set up. Recently they are getting bad press and their relationship with Galaxy Federation isn’t good. His job is to lead a group of females known as Melty Lancer. However they were disbanded a year ago. An aide (only known as Aide) is currently being sent to gather them. After miraculously surviving some civil war zone, he manages to get Sakuya Lansaihe who is now preaching as a priestess. At the same time, an asteroid is detected to crash into Earth. Actually a group of criminal students consisting of Vanessa, Ligel and Grianos (collectively known as Vannesars) are hiding in it and hope that their act will lure out Melty Lancer. Sylvie Nimrod finds Jun Kamishiro and Angela to take them to flee as she warns them they are being targeted. Aide now sees Melvina MacGarlen but she refuses seeing that she is now a politician and cannot leave in the middle of her job. However she realizes that there is a conspiracy to it all and agrees to get drafted to get to the bottom of this. The asteroid crashes into Earth and a giant mecha pops out. She then leaves a message that they are going to continue their job to alter the Earth’s natural environment. Nothing is going to stop them and if they insist, do send Melty Lancer. Is this the reason why Melty Lancer was recalled? Sylvie’s groupie is driving through the African savannah when the animals weirdly surround them. So is Nana the Lion King? She is happy to be reunited with them but save that for late as Melty Lancer is reunited for the first time in a year as they join forces to take down Vanessars’ menace. Isn’t this causing more destruction? Things get heated up when Melvina somewhat gets injured. But it ends with Sylvie attacking from the top since there are no weapons attached there. I guess Vanessa was too cheapskate to install any weapons there. Once Melty Lancer is victorious, immediately the Surface Security Bureau steals the limelight by securing the criminals. Melty Lancer is frustrated that they were just the bait but Melvina knows there is more to come and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Episode 2
Despite the mecha secured, Vanessars are reported missing. Eastern Metropolis (EMP) was a city that was almost hit by the asteroid. With the citizens evacuated, Defiant D and her team take this chance to infiltrate and steal some genetic package. Melty Lancer enter their underground base for the first time. So run down. It doesn’t help that Collins is being a dick. He doesn’t care why they are being put together as a unit and this doesn’t sit well with Melvina. Worse, he dismisses her as the team leader and has Sylvie take up that role instead. Later, Aide gives each of them tasks. Menial tasks. Directing traffic, finding a lost cat… On the news, the criminal organization known as Defiant has been going around stealing DNAs of endangered species and leaving notes that only say “Iyonesco”. Sylvia speaks to Collins about this and wants to hunt them down as she knows they will target rare species like Jun, Angela and Nana. Collins however accuses her of stealing a vehicle then. Although she admits she would file in a report after the case is solved, he threatens to report her. He challenges her to a gun duel in which he will forget this if she wins. Of course he ‘cheats’ and is faster. But this is just a test as he gives her a new prototype gun to test. Sylvie tries to hunt down Defiant but it seems they are quicker than her. After raiding the place and leaving, only Sylvie arrives. On another stakeout, Sylvie is surprised that Jun, Angela and Nana are here to help. Why not? After she is acting so strange in office (due to her failures), they figured it out. Just in time when a slime monster goes on a rampage in a lab. Jun and Angela head in to tackle it but find themselves running away since they hate slimy things. Meanwhile Sylvie and Nana intercept Defiant D and her team impersonating as medical officers. Unfortunately Defiant is better than our Melty Lancer duo as they make their getaway. But this leaves Sylvie puzzled as she is unsure if they intentionally dropped their evidence. When Jun and Nana are cornered, I guess desperate Jun got this weird idea to fight DNA with DNA and fires the entire blaster. Although the monster is calmed down, it turned into some big giant friendly bubble? A cute creature pops out from it. Meanwhile Melvina must have failed her horrible CGI 3D rendered simulator. With the authorities being useless dicks, she goes to find some hermit whom she has known for a very long time.

Episode 3
So that cute creature is now their pet, Moumou? Thanks to that incident, the news is all over Melty Lancer. You can say that they are now famous and there are lots of creepy cosplay fans waiting outside. Yikes! Sylvie tells Collins about the equipment left behind by Defiant. She seeks permission to analyse it but is denied as he knows it will blow up the entire place. Instead, he wants her and Sakuya to dress pretty. There’s a ball tonight. Melvina continues to gather intelligence. There is some connection going on between the religious order and the federation that have bigwigs involved in the setting up Melty Lancer. They seem to be building some spaceship. Then she blackmails a former lover, Oushita who is now some top official to get more info on Collins as well as the reason behind Melty Lancer’s reunion. At the party, Sylvie and Sakuya could identify lots of important bigwigs around. The party then starts but it is all a setup by Vannesars to eliminate all the syndicates at one go as they unleash some robots that could do carbon freezing. That is, freezing live people. Sakuya manages to summon a barrier to protect them but how long can they hold from this onslaught? Especially Collins is still eating away! WTF?! Aide sends Nana and Angela as reinforcements but upon arrival, they too are met with resistance from Defiant. Where’s Jun? Not sure how she ended up in a gay bar brawl. As for Melvina, she goes to see Oushita but is already down for the count. A mysterious man talks to her about the data in Oushita’s hands. From her reaction. Looks like it reveals everything. Aide thinks Moumou was being a cute toying with the computers. Suddenly it grows fangs! Oh sh*t!!!

Vanessars watches the havoc and Vanessa is feeling pretty good about her success. She is trying to prove her worth to Defiant D but the latter will only believe when she achieve the results. During Angela’s fight, a henchman accidentally destroys some power core. Why the heck did this cause the robots to stop moving? With this failure, Vannesars quickly escapes. Sylvie faces off with Defiant D when Collins get in between. It seems Collins was the boss of a secret unit before Earth became part of Galaxy Federation. They were all nameless people with no records and you can say they do a lot of dirty work. However their last mission to rescue and escort and important person, Lady Marvel ended in failure. Collins disbanded the team. This left everyone in disarray. Defiant D accuses Collins of pulling this stunt that left many of their comrades dead soon after. She gives him a chance to return but too bad he is now the commander of Melty Lancer and won’t go back to his past. So what does Defiant D do? Blow up the entire building? All this just to escape? If you wonder why Collins and his girls survive, thanks to that bubble cushioning their fall. Melvina hears that same story from the mysterious guy. However he cannot tell her about Iyonesco and can only say that Melty Lancer is the scapegoat. She then starts to feel pain. Not sure if Moumou is playing around with Aide by chasing him around. Because it gets tenser when Melvina barely breathing returns as she tries to warn everyone the fate that is about to befall on them. She should leave a note or something if she’s going to pass out at the crucial moment.

Episode 4
Aide is getting drunk and complaining his sh*tty life. A couple of hot chicks decide to hear him out. Really?! With Melvina in hospital and stabilized, Jun and Sakuya are sent on a mission to infiltrate this religious Ark Organization who are taking in people with trouble. Guess what? Aide is the motivational speaker???!!! He is giving a speech that gives hope to this troubled people. A new paradise will be born! Jun and Sakuya realize everyone has been scanned for their genetics. Think they won’t be found out? Yeah well, Defiant D already knows they’re here and have fallen for their trap. Sakuya relays back to Sylvie as the rest of Melty Lancer sortie to rescue them. Meanwhile the mystery man talks to Melvina. He has given permission to let her know more. They must stop Iyonesco who are within EMP. They only recently managed to pinpoint their location thanks to their transmission of activities regarding some experimental second phase. Now they’re heading into the third phase. Iyonesco collects genetic material through Defiant and also conduct experiments to create unusual space phenomenon. It seems their goal is to annihilate space. No time for Melvina to sit back in bed when there’s so much to do. A black hole materializing from converted energy. Sylvie is shocked with this but she has seen this before. All the ecology systems on a planet were wiped out. However the planet was eliminated 20 years before the incident, proving that the destruction not only travelled across space but across time. Like as though somebody built some giant space teleport device. The organization shows its true terrorists colours by showing this ‘miracle’. Everyone is going to die!

Sylvie is being caught up with the suction and finds it hard to escape. However Nana figures out how to stabilize their position. Not sure this sci-fi mumbo jumbo explanation but she realizes this phenomenon is something like a vacuum. You just need to supply the mass shortfall with the same material as the reverse field. Melvina confronts Collins about Galaxy Federation leaving Iyonesco alone. Something about they’re too scared of that organization and that is why Melty Lancer was recalled to handle that task. In fact, they draw in the crowd. Though the goal was to improve GPO’s image, expectations were not high. By breaking ties with Iyonesco, they divert public attention, hence their re-organization. Thanks to Melty Lancer working hard in the recent incidents, they manage to charge high officials with corrupt acts. Of course it won’t end with that as Iyonesco is hell bent on annihilation. Sylvie manages to break through and assist Jun fighting a Defiant goon in a power suit battle. And before they could arrest the other members, they flee again. Damn they’re good at this, aren’t they? Of course Melty Lancer goes after them. Meanwhile Aide is given the task of guiding the lost sheep. Yeah, just preach God’s name! I think this is going to be tough with everyone hounding him for salvation! Ah, a God’s messenger’s job is never done. Defiant D still has an ace up her sleeve. After tricking Melty Lancer into following them (just holograms, fools! Gotcha!), then whatever this she activated. Huge space light laser explosion or something?

Episode 5
Collins seems to be overworking the scientists. Well, what do you know? The experiment to teleport Melty Lancer is successful. So that’s what the transmitter he gave them for in the first place. Don’t have to grieve over their deaths now, eh? However they notice that only Angela isn’t around. Did her teleportation failed? Sylvie is the most affected by her death. Because Angela is some bioengineered soldier, if she dies, her body will turn into ashes and not leave a trace. No time to cry over her because Melvina has received orders to hunt Iyonesco instead of Defiant. Everyone goes about their own way to gather info. Except for Sylvie. She’s still dead like a zombie. Of course Angela is still very much alive and in the care of a fellow kin, Rufus. Some weird explanation how he teleported her away although she was still partially injured from the blast. Rufus also lets her know that he is a follower of Defiant because they saved him. He was once experimented on as a bioengineered soldier as he is a rare species but Defiant came to save him. They gave him the option to do what he likes but he rather follow them. Defiant has been stealing endangered species’ DNA to avoid them being wiped out by stronger rivals. Ironically, Defiant D doesn’t like Rufus harbouring an enemy. So Angela is enemy first and endangered species second? With Rufus pleading for Angela to be spared, Defiant D allows it but will not let Rufus stay with her. Aide returns to base, very sad and blaming himself for Melty Lancer’s death. However he sees Sakuya and it’s like the biggest relief to him. Weird sexy trolling moment as Sakuya rewards him for his efforts with her healing. Yeah, they sure made this scene look like she wanted to make out with him. No sexual healing. Just some weird healing.

I guess the higher ups have had it. That means destroying Earth. With explosions everywhere, you bet everyone is going to panic to try and leave this planet. Melvina experiences yet another weird interference dream. However she follows those cries for help that leads her to some dying android girl? She feels so sad for her and laments had she only arrived sooner to help. The moment Aide tells Sylvie about Melvina uncovering Iyonesco’s true identity, it’s like she suddenly spring back to life! Like, WTF?! Like it blew her blues away. They go to see Collins but he is gone. Yeah, conveniently he dropped his video that shows Defiant holding Angela as hostage. So Melty Lancer join Collins to go save Angela. Meanwhile Melvina has the scientists salvage what is left of the place and watch the video of the horrifying experiment on this girl AKA Iyonesco. Shortly after Earth joined Galaxy Federation, they caught a lost species who was caught up in the confusion. The experiment failed as she turned into a monster. She became some sort of computer virus that sought knowledge of itself and was able to propagate and think. Trying to find her own existence and kind, she infiltrated various networks and managed to find various secret and criminal organizations. When the higher ups learnt of this, they made a pact with her whom they abandoned before. All in the name of greed and self-interest. Although Iyonesco is taken away, some programme starts activating by itself. Collins and Melty Lancer seemingly step into yet another Defiant trap. Uh huh. With Defiant D’s signal, she blasts them to smithereens. Is Angela going to cry over their deaths now? We should know better…

Episode 6
Yeah, as expected, Collins tricks Defiant and singlehandedly beats them up. At point blank range with Defiant D, looks like Iyonesco has plans of her own. Both Melty Lancer and Defiant side are teleported onto the Ark that Iyonesco has absolute control over. I don’t understand that chaotic space battle outside but Collins berates his ex-members about being too afraid to be independent and free on themselves, hence they depend on Iyonesco and be her puppet to validate their existence. They claims he only taught them how to kill, steal, etc. So Collins has nothing further to ‘teach’ them and dares them to kill him. Not sure what the people on Earth are protesting at the federation’s HQ. Vanessars are reluctantly supporting this. They spot Aide who seems to be desperate in helping Melty Lancer. So they agree to help him out for money. So they just give him a mic to speak to the masses? Looks like his screaming speaking skills come in handy. He rallies the crowd to force the federation to deploy the fleet. And when they do, why does he look so shock? You mean he didn’t expect them to? Rufus explains how he is going to carry out Iyonesco’s wish to destroy the galaxy and create a new one. So this spiral thingy is the centre of the galaxy and bombing it will destroy everything? Wow. So simple yet so confusing. With Ark getting sucked in, all those on board start to experience some weird trippy trip. Past, present and future all meshed up together. Everyone’s memories out in the open for all to see. And this weird cliché moment of everybody suddenly getting philosophical about the past, present and future. Uh huh. No past, no future. We won’t be here today if it’s not for the things that happened in the past. For the future! With that, everyone returns to reality. But they’re not out of the woods yet. Because Iyonesco’s programme is still activated. So the Ark is still going to crash into the centre? Yeah, the only way to stop it is a 3 billion character password! OMFG!!! THIS IS THE MOST HILARIOUS THING I’VE HEAD SINCE WATCHING THIS SERIES!!! But don’t worry, Rufus points out the password… Moumou! Yeah, this critter’s DNA is the password to stabilize everything! But wait! Still not really out of the woods yet. The centre is still sucking them in. I suppose this is now where Aide with the help of Vanessars in their puny ship come to help pull the Ark away, huh?

Once they are safe, the commander of the fleet contacts them. So this mysterious guy is actually a clone of Collins? Wait. So this Melty Lancer Collins is also a clone? He is here because his boss wants to speak to Collins. Guess who? Marvel! Seems she faked her death and went into hiding to stay out of Iyonesco’s network. Somehow Iyonesco’s plans didn’t take into account both the Collins. Back then, info was leaking out too much and they had to kill comrades who knew too much. If she fell into enemy hands, everything would be for naught. Hence to save the troops and Earth, she had Collins deceive his unit and pretend to kill her, then sealed himself off and kept silent. Thanks to that, she was able to protect Earth from the shadows. Now she credits them for saving the galaxy. Because the federation is still unstable, she cannot come out in public. This means their heroics too cannot be officially recorded but will be sure it will be passed on as a legend to the next generation. As the Ark is too tainted, they have to abandon it. Defiant D is still asking Collins to come back to them and define their purpose of existence. What more has a guy got to tell them that he’s not into the past anymore. So I hope with that final goodbye, they manage to make peace and move on. As Melty Lancer and Defiant part ways, Rufus stays with the latter. I guess no romance for Angela then. Only Moumou decides to go with Rufus. WTF?! This critter decides to abandon a group of hot chicks for some terrorist group?! WTF?! Fail!!! As Melty Lancer celebrate, they think they forgot something. I bet it isn’t important. But you’ve guessed it, Aide has been whisked away by Vanessars since Vanessa is smitten with him. Going to take him all the way across the galaxy, huh? With Melty Lancer’s mission somewhat completed, they now have a duty to keep the peace in EMP.

Collins’ Angels: Fool Troll-ttle
Oh boy. What a mess. I am not sure if I find this series tolerable is it because this is a retro series? You know me. Because animes that came out in that era, I seem to give such a pass and forgive all its other weird atrocities that would not even make me bat an eyelid had this came out more recently or a few years back. So yes, there were some fun moments but largely if I am going to summarize my overall sentiments about this series, that would be disappointing. But I suppose that would be better than keep procrastinating for another few more years and delay finding out how disappointing this series is.

Firstly, the big problem of this series is the pacing of the story. It’s a mess. Here, there and everywhere. Because right from the first episode that is supposed to tell the tale of reuniting the girls of Melty Lancer, suddenly it is like they were already reunited. Eh? Did I miss something somewhere? I mean, the girls are now scattered after their disbandment for a year. And to suddenly come together like that and do their first mission flawlessly (as in their communications and teamwork) like as thought the last they seen each other was yesterday? Yeah, I thought they skipped some parts here. But that is the thing about just having 6 episodes. You cannot tell much and it does not give room for proper fleshing out. Maybe animes were harder and more expensive to make back then. But anyway, then they throw in too many other stuffs that just confuses the viewers. Conspiracy, terrorism, genetics and what is this about a failed computer experimented girl trying to restart the universe? Is she trying to play God? Fortunately God was stopped by a 3 billion character password that was conveniently in Moumou’s DNA! Oh yeah. If I am ever going to remember this series, it is this one that takes the cake.

The next problem are the characters. Melty Lancer being the main characters as well as the name of the anime itself, you would have thought that there would be some sort of prominence given to them. Unfortunately there is no backstory for these main characters and my guess is that if you really want to know more about them, you should play the games that this series was adapted from. Hence the series sort of expects you to know these characters and for those who never played the games like yours truly, you are guaranteed to be lost. Because there are many things about them that are not explained like Nana’s transformation into a sexy curvaceous adult body. It’s not like she could control when she can transform into this state any time either. I mean, how the heck is this relevant except for one small scene where she needs to get some info from guards who are thankfully not lolicons but into mature babes. Then there’s some traumatic flashback of Melvina’s past that I think that is pretty forgettable. I could be mistaken since Melvina could be seeing the dreams of Iyonesco instead.

So basically you can guess the Melty Lancers are made up of a few ‘unique’ individuals who are as predictable and boring as they can be. They’re supposed to be close but you don’t feel that way as the series didn’t really flesh them out properly to make us feel so. Sylvie the face of Melty Lancer just because she’s a pretty blonde babe. She’s good in guns but we don’t get to see that often to ascertain that skill. Melvina is the brains of the team and often works independently with her own network to get info. Jun is the brute tomboy and Sakuya is like the soft spoken priestess or something of the group (I read somebody referred her as the discount version of Belldandy of Aa! Megami-sama). What is better than a loli? Having 2 lolis! So that’s what Angela and Nana are. One animal version and the other some magic princess or something. Lastly, Moumou as the pet mascot of the series feels useless in most of its part except for that password thingy to make it relevant. Yeah, don’t look down on such critters. I think Iyonesco failed to take into account this critter. Should have made a 10 trillion character password!!! It felt disjointed that it suddenly became part of Melty Lancer after that incident and hence when it ‘defected’ there wasn’t any much love lost because personally I never felt that it was part of the team to begin with.

Ironically, I feel that Collins and Defiant have been given slightly better characterization and storytelling albeit just a little. This commander of Melty Lancer is so shady and weird that he gets more fleshing out than the main girls themselves. Which just feels pretty odd. You might think that he is a dick but the big revelation reveals that he was just playing his part to perfection. Yeah. The tired trope and overused cliché of hope. Always believe! And Defiant not merely being evil terrorists, even though they had a reason to steal genetics of rare endangered species, it still makes them no less a terrorist group. After all, a thief with a cause is still a thief. Though, Defiant D feels annoying as she keeps bugging Collins about their old times. Give it up, girl.

Aide feels more like a comic character, a punching bag whom nobody gives a damn about. Either way, he is more ‘memorable’ than Melty Lancer because of his constant annoying voice while he whines about his job and life. Yeah, that’s basically what he just does. Whining and mumbling. Well, got any other better career choices? And now he struck the ultimate jackpot by being Vanessa’s boyfriend. Oh sorry. The ultimate misfortune. God help him. I bet he is wishing the universe to be reset, huh? Speaking of Vannesars, their role as the secondary antagonist feels more comical than anything since they always slipped through Melty Lancer’s fingers. They are more of an annoyance than threatening. Had this series been given more episodes, we could have at least seen their love-hate relation with Melty Lancer. As of now, it’s like they aren’t even significant nor matter at all.

Action parts are just average at best. Nothing really to shout about. You know, with Sylvie firing her gun and Jun being in her power suit and bashing everything that stands in her way, it doesn’t give much of a variety. Not sure if it is a good thing that such action sequences don’t last long but I guess it beats having it last for many episodes. Because this is some space sci-fi setting, I guess we need some gunfights and laser fights and bombs and explosions that go with it.

Art and animation feel pretty retro. This is after all released back in 1999 to 2000. Yeah, you know me again. Forgiving how anime in that era having that kind of one kind look. Even the characters have this feel of other cliché and other typical look of characters from other series. Like Melvina the brains and cool beauty, strong independent female. She has that same look and feel to Airi of Those Who Hunt Elves. Hot blonde chicks who is the face of the group like Sylvie, same feel like Rio of Burn Up Scramble. I wonder why girls in that era of tomboys have this one kind look too. So you can say Jun and Angelic Layer’s Misaki are of the same kind. Lolis like Angela and Nana, I guess they’re pretty similar to petite girls like Slayers’ Amelia. Then b*tch face female antagonists like Defiant D, see the similarity with Fushigi Yuugi’s Yui? And doesn’t Collins’ clone look a bit like Neon Genesis Evangelion’s Gendou? And Aide looks so plain and typical like a normal salaryman that I think this kind of plain design still follows today. And of course, who could forget that in that era, you can see how futuristic such metropolis are with so much fancy computers and holograms that it looks so outdated. Yeah. Ironically you can tell how dated a futuristic setting is by watching a show from that era.

The opening and ending theme of course have this retro feel and personally I think they sit right at home with me. Flying High by Matsuura Yuki and Yume Mita Watashi No Soba E by Aya as the opening and ending songs respectively are my cup of tea but if you think if they fit the pacing of this series, I don’t think it’s suitable. For instance, Flying High might sound fine but I keep thinking this kind of pop music suits better for dating and romance genre. You know, it doesn’t give that action oomph that the series is. Same can be said for Yume Mita Watashi No Soba E. It is a slower pop ballad that just feels out of place. Yeah, I am reminded of hearing the first season of Galaxy Angel’s Horoscope Rhapsody. You know, that kind of feel.

Overall, this series is a let-down in many aspects from the storyline to the characters lacking any substance. Too many things going on that confuses us and rushing everything for a good happy ending that makes it all feel just numbing. Especially the final episode with the threat of the destruction of the galaxy at hand by a single jilted computer, they managed to preserve everything by changing their outlook about the future. Oh sure, I guess it shows that we won’t really get to where we are today had not been for the decisions we took in the past! And just like that, everything is over. How anti-climactic. And Melty Lancer continues to operate together instead of being disbanded again and doing what they’ve been individually doing for the past year? You got me. I don’t see any difference either. I bet they must be there because of the fan clubs and fan boys. Just remember to keep your passwords safe and strong. Make that 3 billion characters safe and strong!

Girly Air Force

June 2, 2019

With a name like that, surely many would have had the first impressions of Girly Air Force to be something like Strike Witches. You know, lots of cute girls in cute military outfits with cute accessories and weapons… Yeah… Too bad. Sounds more like click bait. I still can’t see why they came up with his unsuitable name. Like as though they already got the story and everything written down but couldn’t find the right name for the series. With the deadline approaching, hence they just slap whatever that comes to mind. Hmmm… What does this show mainly have? A few hot girls flying modern fighter jets shooting down the enemies. Uhm… Oh… Aha! The unit is all girls so that means it has got to be girly, no? And since they are fighting from the air force, hence Girly Air Force to the fore! Heh… Don’t worry, I made that BS up. But it is about a few hot girls flying modern fighter jets shooting down the enemy. But with a guy in the middle. Ah…

Episode 1
A couple of military terrorist planes known as Xi (pronounced as Zai) attack a civilian evacuation ship that Kei Narutani and Song Minghua are on. You think a bunch of ordinary jet fighters can take down this alien technology fighters? Don’t worry, here comes this red Japanese fighter, JAS39 Gripen. It matches its speed and agility to take down one before the other flees. Gripen then crashes. Normally no civilian in their right mind would dive into the ocean just to save the pilot. But Kei did. When Gripen’s hatch opens, the girl wakes up and kisses him before falling back to slumber. WTF?! Kei and Minghua are now living their refugee life in Japan. Yeah, Japan is so peaceful from Xi. Minghua is not happy that she finds a JASDF booklet in Kei’s room. He plans to join them and become a pilot. Partly they have free tuition and dormitory and you get paid, but his main objective is to avenge his mom who was killed by Xi. They start arguing with Minghua being pretty pessimistic about his chances since he is inferior to her in every way so how could he even think of becoming a pilot? Later as Kei does some errands, he spots the red Gripen being transported before him. This guy tries to chase it with his bicycle?! Thank Google Maps for locating a nearby military base! As he tries to get close to it, Minghua finds him. She was worried about him doing stupid things and tailed him. Another argument ensues. He calling her like his nagging mom and Minghua opposing it all because she has no one but him here so what if something happens to him when he is drafted? All this commotion has some thugs kidnapping them! Kei is then interrogated (they think he is a spy) and threatened to be killed when Gripen activates. That’s when the show is over. Haruka Yashirodoori who is a technical research officer under the Ministry of Defence and is tasked to find ways to combat Xi. So why is he telling a civilian kid all this military secrets? Like how the Xi uses HiMAT (Highly Manoeuvrable Aircraft Technology that has the planes turn and accelerate at impossible rates) and EPCM (Electronic Perceptory Counter Measures that has your vision blur when you get too close to them). Hence Gripen as an experimental craft is fitted with technologies to counter that and piloted by an autonomous piloting device known as Anima. His job is to tune these Daughters to fight Xi. However they are unstable. They know Kei was trying to rescue Gripen them and notice it stabilized when he is nearby. Like just now. Yashirodoori wants Kei to make sure Gripen can fly properly. It’s for the sake of mankind’s future!

Episode 2
Kei and Minghua are reunited and set free. With their heads cooled, they apologize to each other. Kei convinces Minghua that the military has gave him a part time job at the base. Next day as he arrives, he is greeted by Gripen. Because she has never interacted with anyone outside, he can observe her awkwardness. Also, she seems to be attracting a lot of stares from other JASDF pilots. Gripen shows him around the base as well as an old bunker she uses as her ‘secret hideout’. This job ends when Gripen is called for her usual check-up. Back home, Minghua tells him her refugee review application has been passed so she will be away tomorrow. She even teases him not to bring a girl home. Not if the girl comes to him! Yeah, that’s what Gripen did since Yashirodoori told her to. As they talk, Gripen also mentions how she is defective because during tests, she cannot seem to perform well. She can feel something is missing but doesn’t know what it is and hopes he could help teach her since Kei’s mom was a pilot and she let her young son fly a lot with her back then so technically he has got over a hundred of hours of flight time. It gets a bit heavy when he mentions she is gone (she was shot down by Xi during a stunt show). They try to stay positive and for the rest of the day, he brings her out. Like as though they’re on a date. With the news media talking about the possible negotiations with Xi, Gripen vows to protect mankind no matter what since she is a weapon made to do so. Date continues till the end of the day when Gripen suddenly collapses. Yashirodoori and his men then cart her away as he explains to Kei. Yeah, they were watching them all day. It seems Gripen only stays awake for 3 hours before ‘sleeping’. But today, she sailed uncharted waters by staying awake for 10 hours straight. Can we say Kei is the factor? Yashirodoori would like to develop a hypothesis for this but time is not on his side. Next week, Gripen will take a test flight. If she fails, she will be scrapped. Yes, it is costly to maintain one and if one fails, move on to another. If he claims Gripen saved him then otherwise he wouldn’t be here, he should stop complaining and help them.

Episode 3
Gripen uses a test simulator and fails. She complains it is not like the real deal. After explaining the NFI thingy that connects the plane to your sensory organs (like how you use your brain to control your limbs), Kei decides to give it a try. Heck, he is better than Gripen! Oh sh*t! He even thinks with a few more practice he can fly the real thing! Well, don’t let it get to you, girl. For the next few days, we see her in training as well as ‘dating’ Kei. Yashirodoori then shows Kei the EGG readings of Gripen. When her brainwaves start to destabilize, only Kei manages to stabilize it. Not only that, it matches exactly Kei’s brainwaves. It seems his proximity to her helps the stabilizing but they need to figure out how to increase the interval because he can’t be up there piloting with her all the time. Kei receives news that a city in China has been flattened by Xi. More woes when the pilots mock Gripen a monster that should be locked up. Kei goes to her defence but he learns the shocking truth. It seems Anima are made out of Xi parts that were shot down! With Kei in shock, Gripen runs away. Flashback shows the stunt show Kei’s mom was in being attacked by Xi. So the one who shot down mom was Gripen?! Thank goodness just a nightmare. Hopefully. So Kei is planning to skip her test flight day? Until he sees a muffler and letter from Gripen. I wonder how he got them. The letter states her gratefulness and her apologies for not telling the truth. She wanted to but when she learnt he hated Xi so much, she just couldn’t. So this letter is enough to make Kei ride all the way to go to her test flight? At least this wasn’t setup by the military and was Gripen’s true feelings. The test flight begins. Everything goes well until a real Xi shows up. Yashirodoori wants Gripen to abandon mission since she is only carrying training equipment. However she remains stubborn in wanting to take it down on her own. Because of that, her EGG pattern destabilizes and she loses consciousness. Looks like Kei’s screaming voice isn’t going to wake her up. Before Gripen is shot down, here comes F-15J-ANM Eagle taking down the bogey.

Episode 4
When Kei is hanging out with Minghua, suddenly Eagle comes to hide with them. Dumb SPs went looking the wrong direction. Apparently Eagle didn’t want to be put on a leash so she ran away. At least just outside the base to see what normal life is. So now you can expect a cat fight between Minghua and Eagle over Kei. Not. Eagle has a mentality of a kid so Minghua is ‘safe’ in that sense. Eagle then tells Kei that Gripen will be scrapped after the higher ups decide to shut down her project. This makes Kei dart back to the base. Yeah, military base must have very slacking check points. He finds Gripen at her secret hideout. She has resigned to her fate to be scrapped but Kei tells her not to give up as she has worked so hard. Cue for the alarm because Xi is spotted. Yashirodoori calls for Gripen’s help. Inside the control room, they see numerous Xi fighters advancing and the normal military jets of course can’t do much. Eagle is up there to stall them but it’s not enough. So Yashirodoori’s plan is to turn Gripen into a suicide fighter and take down all the Xi? Kei is disappointed in this but Yashirodoori points out another option: Take Gripen and run and hide. Just then, the base is hit by the Xi. Luckily it is bad shot otherwise everything would have been turned into rubble. Eagle is ordered to return and protect the base but she has her hands full with several bogeys. Gripen decides to fly even if it puts her life at risk. Don’t worry. Kei will fly with her to keep her conscious. It’s not like they’re going to listen if Yashirodoori refuses, right? With the base in tatters, they use the normal highway as the runway. Kei is suit up as Gripen begins taxing and take flight just enough time before Xi blows up the highway. With Gripen having trouble maintaining her conscious, Kei temporarily takes control. Remember, he has better flight skill than her! He even did some crazy move to destroy a Xi fighter! That must really have woken Gripen up. So she takes control of her plane and gets into the grove to shoot down Xi at crazy speeds. Let’s hope Kei’s body can keep up with the G-forces. Not sure if they break any sound barrier or Kei losing his mind because now he sees the world that Gripen supposedly sees. With them flying together, they take down the Xi horde before Kei passes out. Kei’s body takes some damage although he is overall stable. Yashirodoori deduces what Kei saw as impossible as human brains cannot be linked to NFI or have shared senses with Anima and Daughters. Scientifically, the only explanation is that he is hallucinating.

Episode 5
Gripen sulks after losing to Eagle in a test flight and the latter continues to brag she is better. Kei sees Yashirodoori as he is explained Gripen is carrying extra baggage and had to be careful. For now Kei’s solution is to train his body more but even so, there is a limit of how many G’s he can take. Gripen continues to lose to Eagle even in physical training. So to get over this, she take Kei to her room to ‘show him a good time’? WTF? Don’t worry, there are cameras around so no doing sneaky stuffs. He sees a Chinese private pilot licence exam book. Then he sees more than he bargained for because she got out of the shower naked. Gotta go. After leaving the base, he sees a girl being harassed by a thug. So he helps her out by pretending to be her acquaintance. He didn’t think of it much as he gives her directions to the airbase that she is asking. Next day, Kei is introduced to a new Anima. Yup, it’s that girl from yesterday, RF-4EJ-ANM Phantom II. The Anima and Kei gather before Yashirodoori as he explains the new announcement of turning this base into an independent unit called Independent Mixed Test Unit (IMTU). In view of the recent attack, the higher ups have approved for all Anima to be stationed here to improve their fighting chance against Xi as well as it is easier to maintain all of them in one place. Putting all eggs in 1 basket? It goes without saying all of them don’t get along and if they’re raring for a fight, Yashirodoori agrees to give them that in a test flight and test their capabilities. In the skies, despite Gripen and Eagle teaming up against Phantom, they easily lost. On the ground with Phantom rubbing it in to Eagle who is just moments away from crying (oh, she lost it already), Gripen realizes that Phantom had been cheating by feeding false info. This is why she could suddenly disappear and reappear in the radar screen. Although Phantom argues it doesn’t matter what you do in a war to win, Kei is not pleased because you don’t feed false data to your allies.

Episode 6
Kei complains to Yashirodoori about Phantom’s attitude so he is told that she has the highest priority to save humanity. Not humans. Humanity. Later Kei talks to Gripen about this. Gripen understands because if she goes down, humanity is as good as gone. Then a little bit of history like Russians were the first to research on Anima followed by Americans. Kei has to bail out on yet another hangout with Minghua for an emergency debriefing. An island near their defence line has been spotted to have Xi building their forward operating base. If they are successful, Japan is doomed. While it makes sense to bomb the hell out of them, however Phantom points out they are not bombers. That is why Japanese and American military will supply tons of explosive. Due to EPCM, this is where the Anima come in. It is suggested that Phantom leads to provide targeting support while the rest are escorts. Phantom disagrees with this plan as she doesn’t want to let weaklings escort her and die for nothing. But she will reconsider it if she is given freedom to decide. As they take off, Kei personally talks to Phantom about her goal. She believes if this mission fails, it is better to sacrifice whole of Japan which is just a small percentage to the world’s population because she cannot allow herself to die here and needs to get stronger to defeat Xi. She explains when she was born, she was forced to undergo countless simulations trillions of times worth a century! That’s some extreme conditioning. Bogeys in sight. Gripen and Eagle engage the enemy but there are too many and ammo is running low. Plus, Phantom is not cooperative. They give her an opening but she’s not responding. Actually, she is trying to maintain their air superiority and looking out for them for enemies coming in at blind spots. Eagle takes a hit and it gets worse when the base launches cluster bombs. Kei orders a retreat. Back on base, the usual bickering. Phantom insists they will have the necessary power to take down the base (even if it means requesting military aid) or else they abandon Japan altogether. This has Kei provoking Phantom being a weakling because she chooses her battlefield and can’t win unless she ‘cheats’. He claims this mission was nothing compared to the Xi attacking the base. Why is he putting all he said in Gripen’s mouth? He then challenges her that if they win, she must change her attitude and listen to them. Otherwise, Phantom will have Kei be her partner.

Episode 7
Yashirodoori won’t normally approve this mock battle but they need to get Phantom to participate in their next raid, so okay. But their planes need maintenance so a simulation will just do fine. Now Kei has to talk to Gripen but she is depressed thinking he doesn’t want her anymore. With a little sweet talk that he won’t give up on her, that was sure easy. Kei calls Minghua that he won’t be back. Bad timing with Eagle coming to hug him. So is he busy flirting? Call you back. Actually Eagle heard from Yashirodoori that the mock battle with Phantom is also to help avenge her. She felt happy and wanted to give him a hug. As the mock battle begins, as usual Phantom messes with the data. Gripen is overloaded and cannot process them all until she passes out. So with Kei taking over, suddenly he knows where to find Phantom and shoots her down. I guess Phantom has to be a good girl and listen to him now. Kei explains how their cockpit was manually fitted with 2 different versions. When Phantom overloaded Gripen’s Anima data, Kei switched to his version to receive data from the craft itself. Hence turning in an ordinary manned fighter made it easy for him to spot her. Phantom agrees to tomorrow’s raid but wants him to be the one piloting. She reasons that Gripen lacks capability to handle piloting and other few instrumental stuffs simultaneously. With him piloting, at least Gripen can focus on radar and weapon systems. As for tackling HiMAT, the key is altitude and speed to minimise loss of kinetic energy. That night, Gripen shows Kei another Anima of this base, Viper Zero. It has the best upgrades but since its mission is to protect the base, that’s why it never participates in other missions. Next dawn, the raid continues. Our trio are heading towards Xi’s base when they hear reports of other nations’ fleets backing them up have been destroyed. Phantom lies to Eagle to go shoot down the baddies and support the fleet since Yashirodoori says she’s the best. Can’t argue with that. Kei and Gripen are left with the task to protect Phantom. Multiples bogeys in sight.

Episode 8
Cluster bombs hinder their progress and even take out their own Xi comrades. All of a sudden, Viper flies in to bomb the heck out of those cluster bombs?! With the coast clear, Phantom is now able to lock on and relay message to all the artillery support as they fire all they’ve got at the base. With the remaining Xi retreating, mission accomplished. Kei and the Anima get their well-deserved res at the beach. Phantom hints that Kei might be the key in winning this war and perhaps could think about joining forces with her. She can show him things that Gripen can’t. Kei is back home and already with an argument with Minghua (about some movie they’re supposed to see). Nice timing for an emergency call from base to take him away. Somehow they screw up parts for Gripen so it is easier to bring him here than to bring Gripen back? During the break, Kei is surprised to see Minghua here but in a frilly dress. He tries to explain himself but she ignores him and leave. He finds it baffling and perhaps because they are arguing that she doesn’t want to talk to him and only communicates via text messages. Heck, she is even suggesting how to improve his relationship and hinting she likes him? So confusing. When he gets distracted and then looks back, she is gone. So Kei calls Minghua and it adds to the confusion that she starts yelling at him and that she is still at home. When Kei sees Yashirodoori, he is told that Minghua lookalike is actually Viper. Her core is very unstable and who she resembles depends on who is looking at her. Even if you take her pictures, every person will see her differently as she takes on the form based on the emotions of the one who looks at her. So the only explanation why she looks like Minghua is because he likes her, right? Time to debunk that as he only looks to Minghua as his sister. Yeah right. Kei returns home. Minghua mad. Time for apologies. Of course she can’t stay mad at him forever. Better still, he bought tickets to the movie. Everything solved? Until he starts ranting how she would look weird in frilly dresses and isn’t the feminine type. This time it’s really his fault for flaring up the argument again. I thought at this point he should have learnt to keep his mouth shut. If he can keep his job a secret, why not this?

Episode 9
Kei has this weird dream of Gripen. He is told not to cross over this Unphysical Layer as his existence will cease to exist. Also something about Gripen falling into the sea because that’s where she could get her memories back. Kei has lots of questions for her but you know, interference. What was it she said about Xi giving hope? Anyway, it looks like a nice day for Kei to finally spend some time with Minghua. Not! Because Yashirodoori takes him away for a very important last minute mission. Damn, Minghua abandoned again. Taken to another airbase, they meet their American counterpart, Dr William Shankle who is in America’s defence R&D and his Anima, F/A-18E-ANM Rhino. Their mission is to retake Shanghai and counterattack Xi across the Asian continent. Of course the Americans doesn’t think of just using Anima to deal with Xi. Introducing an unmanned fighter, FQ-150A Brawler. After analysing billions of EPCM patterns, they have developed a software and loaded it onto 12 of them. He is confident they can shoot down Xi. With Shankle and Yashirodoori arguing, the rest go get lunch. Kei asks Gripen about Brawler. However she cannot feel anything for it and its response is too slow. Rhino gives her opinion as Americans aren’t spending on making more Anima, they are now panicking with the recent failures. Hence teaming up with Japan who has more Anima and perhaps double that if they collaborate with Russia. However she hints that they aren’t looking for an enemy outside but an enemy inside too. Because they also look like humans, will they also experience the same thing and fight each other? Shankle has Kei play some Xi turn based simulator game. No matter what Kei does, Xi rules the world and humanity perishes. Until Gripen tries hers, Shankle becomes interested because despite Xi conquering the world, humanity still lives albeit in very remote places. He wants to know how she did that (intuition, she claims) and becomes pushy in wanting to analyse her routines and memory area. Yashirodoori puts a stop to this and takes them back. Shankle warns humanity needs data but is warned back he doesn’t understand Anima. Yashirodoori elaborates to Kei on what he means. It is impossible to analyse a living creature’s brain. Same goes for Xi. Shankle is a software engineer and hence he thinks he can unravel the mysteries if he finds their source code. Xi and Anima re totally different from each other.

Episode 10
In the weird dream again, Kei asks Gripen’s logic of moving the humans in the game. Something about Xi’s main goal is not elimination of humanity. Damn interference. Then she leaves him with a riddle. It will be soon that Kei must make a choice. Hence her job is to ensure he survives until all the pieces are in place. Kei is in a dilemma to tell Minghua about his Shanghai job. He knows she will be upset but if he doesn’t go now, he will not avenge his mom and will regret it. While jogging, somebody tries to shove him in the path of a truck! Thank goodness the truck misses. Kei tackles the perpetrator. Phantom? Actually she just wanted to hurt him (so this beats poisoning his dinner?) and wanted him to stay out of the Shanghai mission. If he does, Gripen will also follow. She believes this mission will fail and is intended to fail from the start. You see, the Americans plan to use those Brawlers to get combat data and also sacrifice Japanese’s Anima because they are jealous they have more than them. Damn power balance thingy. Kei goes back to talk to Minghua. Ignored at first but he sure does get her attention when he starts saying how important he is to her. I guess it wasn’t enough so here is a slap as thanks. Eventually she knows it’s coming and just accepts he’ll be away. It’s not like he is going to listen to her, right? So it’s best to trust him that he will finish the job and return home. Kei and his Anima harem see Shankle who briefs them first before the American military. The Brawlers will go first and the Anima last. Their mission is to significantly reduce the number of Xi because base on the algorithms, they will retreat once their numbers reach a certain level. Theoretically. Phantom asks if the Americans plan to win. Shankle can only speak on his own behalf. He wants to know more about Xi and their deepest secrets. Rhino then takes them to a place where the Americans throw them a welcome party. I guess you got to have fun before the final battle. Later Gripen talks to Kei and knows he is willing to sacrifice his life. She isn’t here to tell what is wrong or right. Just want to make him feel he wants to come home alive after completing the mission successfully and safely. Now there’s no reason why Kei should die meaninglessly, right?

Episode 11
The big operation begins and what is possibly the biggest dogfight ever. The Brawlers are dispatched too late but managed to find an opening for Kei and his Anima. They are then confronted by heavy bombers. They aren’t your typical heavy bombers. Because Xi heavy bombers are like aircraft carriers, carrying many smaller Xi crafts! Another round of dogfight but this time the EPCM takes a toll on the girls and the Xi could even manipulate the surrounding EPCM patterns to take control over the Brawlers. The mission is failure and retreat is the only option but with the relentless pounding from Xi, damn it must be their lucky day to finally break through. However they are low on fuel and the nearest airport to dock is Shanghai. It’s a ghost town with nobody around but oddly the electronics and other mechanisms are still functioning normally. Did everyone get spirited away? Since it is misty, Kei has this weird feeling remembering a certain dream. Since there is no fuel around, I guess they take their time to eat and rest. Since Gripen is drowsy, Rhino has got a room for them to stay. Rhino tells Kei why she likes the darkness because the boundaries disappear. When she was first born, somebody took her camping and she was overwhelmed by the stars in the sky. She felt floating in it and was part of the universe. Next morning, Kei wakes up and sees Rhino left a note that she went to look for fuel. Kei hears strange noises and checks it out. No jump scare. Just Rhino in a hoodie…

Episode 12
Rhino takes him to her Daughter as she talks about staying here forever. The more she talks, the more suspicious Kei feels. Is she really Rhino? He wants to leave but Rhino pulls a gun on him. Oddly, Kei manages to unscrew the fuel pump and throw it to her as distraction before running away. So he is faster than Rhino pulling the trigger? Anyway, Kei realizes the entire place is slowly turning into glass. He goes back to get Gripen. She is lost in some hypnotic dream and only snaps out because, you guessed it, Kei’s voice. They make a run back to Gripen’s Daughter. Damn, Rhino so kind to give them time to even take flight? As they engage in aerial dogfight, Rhino tries to convince them to just give in to the quiet, peaceful darkness. Gripen falls under her spell but of course once again, no surprises, Kei’s voice reminds her of her dream to fly with him. Sorry, Rhino. You’re all alone. Our pair wins the dogfight and sadly Rhino gets blasted out of the sky. Although this brings them back to reality, more Xi bogeys on their tail. Don’t worry. Eagle and Phantom are here to assist. Even Viper coming in for some more explosive action till the remaining Xi retreat. Kei learns that they went missing for 3 hours. The Brawlers went out of control and the mission was cancelled. They refuelled and went to look for them. In the aftermath as Kei recuperates in hospital, he talks to Yashirodoori about Anima. One tried to kill him but another tried to save him. Yashirodoori reveals he looked at Rhino’s source codes. USAF put a heavy limit on her character and treated her as a tool (f*cking Americans). There is no way of telling her true character now. Even if she acted differently before Kei, it could have been what she was programmed to do. When all those bonds were removed, she lost sight of herself. Luckily the Japanese Anima have their safeties. Just remember in any case, treat your Anima like humans. Treat them kindly. Yashirodoori gives him some hope because he and Gripen showed that there is a bond between a human and Anima. Kei later talks to Gripen and wonders if everything that happened to them were coincidences. However she doesn’t believe in fate and this has Kei to believe it is their own will and choices that brought them here. Kei has lots of questions than answers. Humanity gained nothing and they still know nothing about Xi or Anima. But if Xi isn’t taken care of, there is no future for humanity. For now, Anima and Daughters are enough to make that happen.

Top Gun: The Prince And The Pilotress
I can’t say that I am impressed with everything. I can’t say that I am impressed that this season ended either because with so many unanswered questions, it just gets more confusing and hence that unsatisfied feeling that it could have been much better. You mean like Kei ending up in some harem hijinks with his Anima harem? Damn, that would be worst! So what was eventually this whole season about? We didn’t get to know anything about the enemy more or their goals and in fact we just realize how weird everything is. Whatever. Kei and Gripen get to be together, right? I guess that is enough for now.

Unfortunately the whole story feels like a mess. Not only it does feel incomplete but it feels like it is also here, there and everywhere. From the general picture, it looks like it is about Kei trying to further his relationship with the Japanese Anima so that they could fight better against the Xi. But I see hardly anything going in this direction despite Kei spending a lot of time with Gripen. And we still don’t know anything! I guess one of the biggest gripes is that we don’t really know what the enemy is. We are not sure if they are humans or some alien civilization but logic and the so called hints that dictate here, they are mostly the latter. If that is the case, they must think it really justifies the series’ plot because well, mankind doesn’t know much about the Xi except for their truly ferocious aircrafts. Imagine how disappointed we will be at this point when some truths of the Xi are revealed. Even right of now they teased us about Anima being salvaged parts of Xi and that weird dream that Kei has with Gripen that makes her sound so philosophical or nonsensical depending on how much you understand what is going on (no prizes to guess which side I’m on). All this are just big question marks that were never really left answered.

Therefore having such ‘cool’ dogfights between such futuristic jet fighters seem to be the series’ only selling point but even so, they are not that interesting. Sure, they are entertaining to say the least (that’s me being generous) but it overall comes off as being in-your-face loud. You know, everything is taking at such a high speed, the chase, the attacks, the dodging, the explosions, like as though they are trying to spam all that and instil some sort of exhilaration within us. You know, when you’re watching a racing event like Formula One? Don’t you just feel the excitement when those fast cars zoom by? Thus it is the same thing here. The action sequences are so fast and furious like as though it is like me watching my nephews take up their jet model toys and getting this chaotic with both these toys in their hands. Really. It makes me think if those action sequences were inspired by Michael Bay or something. And Anima being made from Xi… Is this their logic of fighting fire with fire?

As far as the characters go, they are really disappointing and as generic and cliché as they can get. Yeah, they’re trying to make it some sort of harem, fighter jets version but failed. Kei seems to be the lucky guy selected out of millions of possible people because he was the only one who had the heart to save Gripen who saved the whole lot of refugees then. Sure, thanks. But if I were him, I would rather be a coward and stick hiding in my safety zone until I reach Japan. True, this kid wants revenge on his mom and so this chance of saving Gripen feels like a flimsy reason why he gets to join the military since he is the only special one who can ‘move’ Gripen and possibly other Anima. Damn, you mean the military didn’t do this screening for other potential candidates even after Kei’s proximity to the Anima proves something even though it is not conclusive evidence? At least try something. Aren’t you researching ways to fight Xi? No wonder Kei gets to monopolize his pseudo harem. And sure, his mom was a pilot and that naturally makes him a better pilot than Gripen too, right? Whatever. Another excuse for him to be paired with Gripen more often as she isn’t that stable to begin with.

Kei’s Anima harem can be easily pigeonholed. Gripen the retard, Eagle the bratty child and Phantom the arrogant b*tch. That’s all you need to know about them. Really. And then they put in this wild card, Viper who amounts to nothing more than plot convenience or red herring. There was a reason why they can’t use her for every mission (something to do with her being the last line of defence) and when that one mission she literally flies in as a surprise attack and bombs the hell out of the enemy, that was more BS and crap than anything else in this series! I mean, like WTF?! It’s like, we introduce this not so important character, tease you a little, make her go into action for a while to leave you dumbfounded and then bring her back into the shadows again. And it feels like they are lazy to design her character and gave that excuse she takes whatever form your memories think of her as. Yeah, real ‘unique’ you guys. Sadly for Rhino, I thought she would defect from America to Japan but she had to die to be truly free. It gives us the wrong impression that Americans are heartless bastards. And Japanese are the kinder ones. Because, Japan. So in order to preserve their so called balance, now the Americans have no more Anima (assuming Rhino was their only one). Yeah, served them right. And with the Brawlers failing their role, back to the drawing board.

I feel pity for side character Minghua. Her literal role becomes a running joke because as soon as she thinks she has got free time to spend with Kei, suddenly a mission pops up for him and he must go. Mission and future of humanity more important than this fleeting romance. Wow. Minghua is the most patient girl ever. Kei, you better be thankful that there is a human girl willing to be there and understand your situation without question! So few frustrating moments from her is understandable. She’s a woman, you know ;p. Too bad Kei only looks to her as his sister, though. Yashirodoori as your nerdy and under the weather chain smoking scientist to explain all your crap about Xi and his Anima, it makes everything sound so technical. In other words, BS. I guess he can spout all those seeing he has been in this research for so long that his long sour face justifies it all. Damn they really use hard terms like EPCM and EGG pattern that dumb and ordinary users like me don’t seem to connect. Whatever is happening, sure, just quote those terms and we’ll accept it just to get through the episode.

I have not seen the anime Evangelion but somehow watching this series makes me draw a few comparisons even though they sound so ridiculous. I mean you have main character kid who can only pilot a certain machine (because you don’t see other military dudes doing the same), he’s got a mini harem, they fight a certain alien race out to harm humanity, a nerdy scientist to back up all the sci-fi technical crap, and instead of depression we got some mild revenge as the theme for our young hero here. Oh yeah. So original…

I believe it is for characterization because when you have very colourful and colour coded jet fighters, it just feels so odd. Because in real life if such fighter jets were this colourful and bright, the enemy would already spot them easily and shoot them down. So you can’t really miss it when you see the red jet fighter. It’s Gripen! Yellow, it’s Eagle! Green, it’s Phantom! Blue, it’s Rhino! Purple, it’s Viper! Go, Go, Power Daughters! Now I wonder who will be the black or white colour coded jet… Other than that, the art and animation are just average. CGI used during the dogfight sequences don’t look jarring because everything is so fast. After all, with Xi alien technology, the craft has to look so futuristic and alien-like and that is only possible when you do bad CGI. Yeah… This series is animated by Satelite who did Nanbaka, Log Horizon, Mouretsu Pirates and Sousei No Aquarion.

Voice acting nothing special in particular. I thought Rhino sounded so familiar and then only I found out and it hit me, Ryouko Shiraishi. Damn, I thought this kansai-ben seiyuu had long retired. Maybe making a temporary return to kill time, huh? And Kenjiro Tsuda being Kenjiro Tsuda as Shankle. The other casts are Ryota Ohsaka as Kei (Climb in Overlord), Yuuka Morishima as Gripen (Otome in Wake Up Girls! Shin Shou), Hitomi Ohwada as Eagle (Ayano in Hanebado), Shiori Izawa as Phantom (Yui in Uchi No Maid Ga Uzasugiru), Lynn as Minghua (Maya in Sabagebu) and Kenji Nomura as Yashirodoori (Ushiyama in Golden Kamuy).

Many of the music in this series are really heavy on the techno side. Especially the action sequences that could be dubstep worthy. Seriously. Sometimes I feel that prolonged hearing of these pieces would make you lose your mind because they are really, uhm, how should I put it? Piercing… Even the opening theme, Break The Blue by Run Girls Run is so heavy on the techno effects that it could be our EPCM when exposed for long periods of time. I suppose all is not lost since the ending theme, Colourful Wing by the trio behind Gripen, Eagle and Phantom sounds more like generic anime pop. Though, the ending animation credits can be a trippy hell because WTF, girls flying through some colourful trippy space. Colourful fish! Colourful leaves! Rainbow! Lights! Lights everywhere! WTF is this LSD trip???!!! Also to note when the series tries to get funny, especially moments of Kei having trouble with his girls, they play this really awkward comical tune. Sounds so cartoonish. Sounds one kind. Are we supposed to laugh here? I don’t know if some snake charmer’s flute got hammered broken and thus this weird sound effect.

Overall, if you want a better aircraft anime in the same season, I definitely recommend you go watch Kouya No Kotobuki Hikoutai. That one is definitely superior in many aspects. I guarantee you that despite their propeller powered planes that lack any sort of technology, that series flies higher and grounds this one totally. Confusing storyline and bad characters didn’t help this series at all and certainly the loud and explosive air battles are just the air version of the Fast and Furious franchise. No, seriously. Too bad with such a girly name in its title, they can’t make this the ultimate manly anime for men. You know, hot chicks and hot fighter jets all in one? Garrr!!! Sadly this series didn’t manage to fly off into the sunset but crashed and burnt. Don’t worry, the pilots ejected safely so we can have another sequel or other sh*tty series of the similar genre the next time. Barbie 01, do not take off again, please!

Pastel Memories

May 19, 2019

Imagine that one day, Japan suddenly stop interest to produce any otaku culture. Suddenly all anime, manga and games that we have come to love immediately cease to exist! Horror! It’s unthinkable! It’s unimaginable! It’s unconceivable! Arienai desu! Japan without their beloved culture and ‘most famous export’ is impossible! It can never happen! Can it?! Thankfully (or not), that is just the setting of Pastel Memories. Japan now a boring mundane unidentifiable generic country void of all the otaku culture. It is said because some virus erased those memories from everyone. Yeah, I’d rather be dead than living this lifeless Japan! But anyway, do not fear. Because in this anime, we still have a small group of girls still passionate about the otaku culture and they’re keeping its miniscule flame burning by ridding of the worlds that the viruses are infecting. Is this anime trying to save anime? I mean, what could go wrong with a dozen of cute girls (and an ‘ugly’ mascot) trying to save the world, right?

Episode 1
Izumi Asagi arrives late for work at her anime shop. Thank goodness it is a slow moving day? Yeah, no customers at all! It’s unthinkable how the otaku culture just suddenly died out one day and Akihabara is now a boring normal city. Together with Irina Leskova and Ayaka Sakaki, they talk about the sole customer who came in yesterday. She was looking for some Rabbit Café manga but this store only had the 2nd volume. There are total 7 volumes. I guess with so much time to spare, they try to find it in the store and found some ‘treasures’ like some air gun and yaoi manga. Minami Senju, Chimari Maiko and Nao Mejiro come in to help but they only find several duplicate copies of the 2nd and 5th volume. More reinforcements arrive, Kaoruko Nijouin, Yuina Machiya and Michi Edogawabashi. They get this idea to order from the publishers but too bad it is already out of print and not even available online. Good thing Ayaka found an old map of Akihabara and they pinpoint the remaining 6 anime stores around. So they split up to go to those stores while the rest comb the store. Too bad, more volume 2 and 5. Luckily for them, there are only 1 set left for the other volumes on the shelves and all that is left is the 1st volume. Izumi finds the final store but it is closed. I don’t think pleading outside while telling all her nostalgic memories of those times is going to do anything good. Oh wait. The owner just opened the door! But too bad. Not the volume she is looking for. Back at the shop, the girls really wonder if people’s memories of the otaku culture have disappeared. Michi vows not to let it happen. Just then, Usagi Nejire AKA Nejiusa returns with Rei Kurushima, Saori Rokugou and Komachi Satonaka. It seems they were on a mission to destroy viruses in another world but the villainess Maya keeps setting them up. With Nejiusa detecting another virus from another world, they realize it is that rabbit volume since the manga are disappearing. To prevent memories of this manga from disappearing, Izumi, Irina and Ayaka step up to save this world.

Episode 2
In this world that mimics a lot like that Gochuumon Usagi Desu Ka series, our girls are shocked to find the inhabitants here looking like eels. It must be the virus that are having an effect. In the café, they meet up with, uhm, Chino and the eel that is always on her head, Choppy. They take Choppy’s famous coffee fortune telling since it is always accurate and it seems they are going to have some water trouble. A virus is spotted and the girls give chase only for Izumi to end up herself in the water. Then they spot the big mother virus as it sets loose its baby virus to turn all normal humans into eels. And of course, Maya controlling them all. The girls get ready to fight and defeat them or else this world is doomed and hence people losing their memories of this world. Hurry, the viruses are sucking up the people’s memories into their core. Maya thought she could use some slippery eel liquid to make them lose their balance. Izumi has a great idea of sliding through it all. Time to finish it up as they destroy the mother virus’ main core and send Maya flying away in defeat, Team Rocket style. With everyone returning to normal (Choppy now a rabbit), the girls have a taste of their greatest coffee before heading back. They receive the good news that many people have replied to their message for the 1st volume and one even came to donate. Hooray! Now they have the completed volume set. Next day, the shop is filled with customers who are here to read Rabbit Café. Great publicity. And the young girl who requested it all is now delighted she gets to read the entire series.

Episode 3
The girls notice Michi with a beautiful doll. She made it herself based on the manga, Rosy Maidens (?!). However it seems none could remember how the series went about. Is it due to the virus? Because of that, Michi feels sad as she searches the store for it. There it is. But oh no! It’s disappearing. Time to head in and save that world. As Michi, Kaoruko, Yuina and Nejiusa arrive, it looks like a normal room when a suitcase flies in. Hey look. It’s, uhm, Shinku. In jerseys?! And Suigin Tou too! In jerseys?! Damn virus. And then you have Suigin Tou using machine guns, her taboo word is ‘you suck’ and they turn Super Saiyan and fight! DON’T RUIN MY CHILDHOOD MEMORIES!!! Michi transforms into their trademark frilly Victorian era dress to stop them. Suigin Tou then takes her away. It seems she is jealous Michi transformed into Shinku’s design and not hers. Maya and her viruses then show up for trouble. Meanwhile Kaoruko and Yuina find themselves in some TV junkyard as they hear Michi’s voice of wanting her friends to remember this series so much. After dispatching several viruses, they regain their memories and remember how they spent time loving this series. Then they go to aid Michi who is on the brink of defeat after tiring out fighting the viruses herself. Maya summons a giant mother virus to attack. The trio combine their effort and using gravity to slice it up. And of course, Team Rocket treatment again for Maya. Shinku and Suigin Tou get their trademark dresses back and they somewhat made peace with each other. When the girls return to the shop, they get this idea of using a Rosy Maidens themed cosplay to attract customers.

Episode 4
When Komachi can’t remember of that basketball manga, Saori uses her invention to sniff it out. Oh look, it’s Mini Basketball (Ro-Kyu-Bu?!). Komachi remembers a friend of hers being sad because her other friends don’t remember about this manga. It could be the work of the virus. That’s why Komachi wanted to find out more about it and read up. Yeah, she got so emotionally touched reading it. Don’t look now because the manga is disappearing! You know what to do. In this world, they see lolis being attacked by virus. Yeah, Maya jealous that lolis got too popular that men started getting interested in them, hence she can’t get married. WTF. Because for some reason violence is a no-no, Maya suggests a 3 on 3 basketball match. Yeah, she’s so kind to give them time to practice as the match is after school. Anyway we see them suck at playing the real thing. I think it’s because of their dress… So how? Here comes, uhm, Subaru! Yeah, he’ll coach them to save his lolis! He employs weird training techniques that makes you wonder if they are training for basketball. The match is here as Maya’s side consists of a giant mother virus and 2 floating hooded virus. So we see Subaru’s training isn’t all nonsense because the girls actually apply them and score! OMFG!!! This should also be a spoof of Kuroko No Basket or Buzzer Beater. Our girls are leading by a point when Maya decides to ‘cheat’. Her team lands in the final score at the final second to win. Then they see the basketball is actually a virus in disguise and this is against the rules. So what now? You wanna fight? I guess it’s back to violence. This makes it easier as the girls destroy the mother virus and send Maya away like Team Rocket. When they return, the other girls in the store have read the manga and are now overwhelmed with its story. But Komachi’s friends have a happy ending as her friends now remember the manga.

Episode 5
Irina is playing shogi after reading that manga, Shogi Ou No Oshigoto (?!). Speaking of which, that manga is starting to disappear! Time for Minami, Nao and Chimari to head into this world. In this dark gloomy world, there are monster turtles with shogi boards. Chimari panics and shoots but once the timer runs out, the turtle explodes. It seems you must make the correct shogi moves to defuse them. But they don’t know shogi! Don’t worry, here comes shogi prodigy, Mai Tsurumizu (uhm, Ai Hinatsuru?!). She relates how Maya kidnapped her master (uhm, Yaichi?) and other strong shogi masters. The only way to save him is through the shogi hall but it is filled with viruses. The girls agree to help each other out to save her master. They have to traverse the floors, each with different versions of shogi. With Mai tired, Chimari thought she could help out but fails. Mai has to save the day again. This only increases her guilt of being useless. The higher they go, the more ridiculous games they play. Uhm, chess and Chinese chess? Poker and then mahjong?! WTF?! When they reach the final floor, Maya is trying to seduce Yaichi to irk Mai. Mai must face off with the mother virus if she is going to save her master. With the shogi match dragging out, Maya plays cheat by sending virus to attack and distract Mai. Not if the others could help. With Chimari again flopping, it’s time to feel that guilt again. Until her friends reason why she was never ever a burden, the much self-confidence Chimari needs to help Mai land that checkmate move. So ‘devastating’ that it destroys the mother virus and automatically gives Maya the Team Rocket treatment. After Mai reunites with her master, the girls return and Chimari is now a better shogi player than Irina. Yeah, so confident that she’s spouting military quotes from Nobunaga! Game for another shogi?

Episode 6
Rei might look like a girl who is only interested in making plastic models. But she holds a secret that no one knows: She also likes cute things. However things didn’t go her way as there is an Akita dog she wants to pet so much, somebody will just steal the march to pet it first. Back at the shop, the other girls find several cute Chutaro (Hamtaro?!) dolls. While they love it, Rei pretends not to like them. I guess Nejiusa is going to have a run for his money on who is the cutest. Too bad the girls find him more funny than cute. And then… Damn virus affecting Chutaro! Time to get to it. Rei, Izumi and Minami enter the world of Chutaro. Yeah, cute critters too hard to resist… Until they turn into scary ferocious beasts! Damn those viruses. Rei got separated during the attack. She finds Chutaro and learns how Maya appeared and transformed his friends. But out of the fire and into the pan for Chutaro because Rei can’t hold it anymore and starts cuddling and molesting it. Maya sees this and his shocked and irritated but has an idea. As Chutaro brings Rei to his other uninfected pals, more extreme cuddling and molestation! Then Minami and Izumi see this. Oh my. Rei tries to give excuse. I don’t think they’re buying that mouse fairy or virus infection thingy. Rei gets embarrassed and runs away. But her friends don’t really mind this side they have never seen. They want her to be true to her feelings because it’ll be too late once they’re gone. Just in time for Maya and mother virus to attack. But Maya unleashes photos of Rei snuggling with Chutaro, paralysing this embarrassed cutie. Until Rei sees Chutaro protecting his friends instead of running away, Rei gets her senses back, powers up her weapon and with 1 strike, sends Maya blasting off into the sky. Rei now comes to terms and admits she also likes cute things. In reality, things are looking up for her as she is now able to pet the dog all she wants.

Episode 7
Time to go JRPG retro with Quest Of Phantasia! Yeah, Tales Of Phantasia spoof. Saori, Irina and Yuina arrive in this world and experience a load of JRPG cliché other than the pixelated visuals. From repetitive NPCs to getting resurrected after being killed by monsters (that takes a load of gold!) and even a side quest to save Nejiusa after he gets kidnapped. Yeah, they want to parody the side scrolling action of Ghost N Goblins! Usually it is mostly thanks to Saori and her love for such games that gets them out of most situations or advance. She might be a scientist but she loves RPG monsters too because they don’t follow the law of physics? As they make their way to defeat the demon lord, however there is one day a month that Saori becomes totally a pessimist. Yes, that day is today. And so the party is having a tough time navigating through their journey with Saori being such a negative person! They finally reach the demon lord’s castle. When Irina and Yuina are about to be sacrificed, thankfully a whole day has passed so Saori returns to normal and kicks ass. Cue for the demon lord to turn into his true form. So what if their attacks now don’t work? Nejiusa reminds them to transform into their magical girl form! Oh yeah, forgot about that, haven’t we? At least in this form they are not bound by the game’s limits and can kick ass to their heart’s content with their overpowered moves. Isn’t this like cheating?! With the demon lord gone, Maya and her mother virus pop up but gets easily owned! So sad, that’s all the appearance she has today. At least she still got her trademark Team Rocket treatment.

Episode 8
Nao sucks at cooking. Yeah, she almost killed Yuina and Nejiusa with her ‘poison’ although the latter duo are to blame for trying to secretly eat her food. This has Nao sad and losing confidence. But when they claim that she too has her good points, Nao gets happy and suddenly very girly?! Because of that, she is now able to cook well like a girl and tastes way better (although presentation wise, it looks horrible). Of course this mode doesn’t last long and it’s back to the tomboyish Nao. Just in time for them to notice the virus attacking the manga world of Aji Master. You mean the discount Shokugeki No Souma? Nao, Ayaka and Minami enter this world and stumble into the diner of Medatama. Heh. I guess we have this old guy in place instead of a young vibrant Yukihira. Anyway, his cooking is good but there are no customers. A food journalist, Okayama enters to taste his katsudon but calls it crap. He even thinks the girl can cook better than this. He then takes his word back. It tastes like crap too. Until he tastes Nao’s cooking that he totally loves it! His praises turn her even more feminine. Hate to break this happy session but Maya and her viruses are here to attack. Since the old fashion fighting is boring, Maya suggests a food battle whereby the loser leaves this world. She picks Nao in this one on one cooking as she believes her tomboyish feature is her weakness. But since Nao is in girly mode, Maya is starting to sweat seeing how good she is. She sends her virus to disrupt but Ayaka and Minami keep them at bay to let her concentrate on cooking. At this point, Nao loses her femininity but her friends give positive words for her to carry on. Once it’s done, they present to Okayama to judge. Maya’s sh*t curry tastes freaking good???!!! Of course she laced it with some drug and he can’t stop eating. While Nao’s curry looks normal, it tastes hell of a good! So much so it is the start of the exaggeration reaction of swimming in curry! Nao is declared the winner and Maya can’t believe what makes her curry so good. As she tastes it, she finds it horrible. Mother virus accidentally eats it and explodes. Here’s your Team Rocket effect for her this episode. As Nao is being showered by praises, her friends believe that the viruses warped the tastes of the people here. Hence Nao’s cooking is still pretty sh*tty. Better stay quiet…

Episode 9
Kaoruko sucks at dating sim games. It is apparent she often makes the wrong choices that she thinks are correct. This has the rest commenting there are things she is bad at and this shocks her because she thinks herself as perfect. Hence she goes to one of the last remaining game software shops in Akihabara to buy up the entire shop of its dating sims. I think she just can’t decide on what the shop owner says. So she starts playing them and at first it is frustrating because she is always losing. But once she realizes what needs to be done, she finally gets the good endings. I don’t know how many games she bought but can she clear all of it in just a night? Did she stop time? Kaoruko, Irina and Chimari are early to open the café when they find a dating sim game they think a customer dropped. They start playing Love Love Legend (Tokimeki Memorial?) when suddenly it stops working. Is it a bug? Nope. Just in time for the virus attacking. As they head inside the game, they are shocked to see the legendary sakura tree withered and the heroines of this game hating boys! Yeah, thanks to Maya spreading the word! She’ll turn them into independent women who don’t need men! They get to hear Maya’s rant about her disappointments in her love life and that’s why she’s such an ‘expert’. But don’t fear. Kaoruko transforms into a boy and vows to capture her heart. However her flattering has her losing points instead. Thanks to Maya being so twisted at love and the master of breaking up, words aren’t going to earn you brownie points. But soon Kaoruko finds her ‘weakness’ because since Maya sees herself as useless, Kaoruko helps out whenever she is in need. Hence earning enough points for the legendary ending. So on the day Maya is to confess her love to her underneath that now bloomed sakura tree, the heroines return and cry foul. They thought she taught them to hate boys but she snagged one herself. They’re not trusting anybody anymore! Hence they take out their bloodied cleavers and start hacking! OMG! Is this yandere simulator now?! Obviously the virus is turning them into violent zombies and they even summon mother virus. But Maya is stumped since she did not order the destruction of this world. Kaoruko and her friends go to great lengths to protect Maya until they defeat the mother virus and send those heroines back to normal. For once, Maya is satisfied and enjoyed her time here. Wow. A peaceful ending for her once? Back in reality, the rest discuss this game’s popularity was due to the shock ending of other girls turning into zombies attacking you and your girlfriend. It was all done during the zombie craze and hence part of the game. It doesn’t matter for Kaoruko because she still thinks she is perfect at everything.

Episode 10
For the first time I do not recognize this cliché shonen manga they are parodying. Anyway, Touya Kontoshi is about a delinquent guy who has to fight his way through several ‘floors’ of high school, each guarded by a powerful bancho AKA delinquent. However when Ayaka learns that Nao stopped reading and formed her own conclusions, Ayaka turns scary to lecture her about the true greatness of this manga. Oh dear. Her evil aura looks like she is being possessed by a virus! Is she?! Nao is so dead after listening to her long lecture. Wait, is this BL material too???!!! Then the real virus invades the manga and it’s time for our heroines to jump right in to save their favourite manga. Already at the start, the hero Touya is being defeated. He gives Ayaka his wooden sword to progress. In a typical shonen cliché, we see the gang fighting the other floor bancho as they let Ayaka pass so she can see the student council president, Akina at the top. As expected, we see them pulling off winning exaggerated moves like Michi using her forehead flick, Nejiusa and his giant drill and Nao turning into a boxer. When Ayaka reaches the top, she sees Akina being brainwashed trying to sign heaps of paper to hand over the academy to Maya. Is this even possible? Screw all that. It’s shonen manga logic. Ayaka frees her from the brainwash by stabbing the wooden sword into her chest! Yeah, no chest wound whatsoever. Ayaka then proceeds to lecture Maya… This is going to take a while… Is it because of this long lecture that mother virus is going to explode? Actually turns out it is being possessed by some secret shadowy student council character, blah, blah, blah… It’s going on a rampage but don’t fear. Shonen manga cliché at its finest! Touya returns! With all the defeated friends and foes uniting under him, they send power to the wooden sword for Ayaka to destroy the mother virus. Also expected, Maya gets caught in the explosion so it’s Team Rocket for her. Back in reality, the manga ends with Touya roaming the wold to fight other stronger people after graduation. World’s strongest unemployed delinquent bum? Nao feels sad since he wanted him to hook up with her with Akina in college. Oh no. Time for Ayaka’s lecture…

Episode 11
Oh dear. Not another store closing down in Akihabara. I guess you can’t sustain a business when there are no customers. And for today’s trouble, the virus have now invaded the world’s most famous that was a phenomenon 20 years ago, Neon Nova Exceed! Oh, you mean the Neon Genesis Evangelion rip-off? Izumi, Kaoruko and Komachi head into the world and are delighted to see the original Akihabara. Yup, Exceed’s setting is based on this so you can bet that the original otaku world is thriving. The girls can’t help get lost in this fascination but trouble is here. The town is soon evacuated and all the defences up. It’s an attack by Maya and her larger than usual mother virus. OMG. The girls can’t defeat it? The mother virus then goes on a rampage that not even Maya can handle. It is destroying Akihabara and the irony of Maya pleading to the girls for help to save the day? When they lecture her for always causing trouble, she regresses into a child and starts throwing a tantrum. Whatever. Anyway she explains this mother virus is powerful than usual because a lot of people hold special memories of it. So the more famous an anime is, the more powerful the mother virus? I guess this shows why the previous mother viruses were easily defeated… But don’t worry. Maya will help. First she snipes at it but the barrier deflects and hit her back! Too early for Team Rocket treatment so she now tries the cliché of talking to it! Remember our memories? Nope. Be gone! As expected. Maya’s last hope is to use Exceed and she might be a huge fan of the series since she knows where the secret base is. Yeah, it also shows how old she is… But in the base, no giant mecha! The sole scientist (Gendou and Ritsuko mash up?) explains that due to Maya’s viruses attacking, its development was disrupted. Even if they have the blueprint and facilities, they have no manpower to make it. They have this idea to go get Saori and make Exceed but mother virus pops in to wreak havoc. Nejiusa and Izumi are separated. The rest put their faith in her to bring Saori back. Back in reality, Izumi is fraught with guilt for abandoning her friends. I know we believe in them but can we stop stalling and move on? Thank goodness for Irina’s timely slap that Izumi shouldn’t let their efforts be in vain. That is why she came back in the first place. With that, all the girls gear up to enter this world for one big final fight.

Episode 12
The girls split up to create Exceed and to search for their missing comrades. They find a dropped camera belonging to them and it gives them hope that they are still alive. Somewhere. So don’t give up now! As they continue searching, seeing Akihabara filled with otaku stuffs remind them of the good ol’ days how they bonded and got to know each other because of that. I don’t know how long it took but finally they finished a few robots. Yeah, bad design. But the ‘better looking’ one looks suspiciously close to Di Gi Chara’s Dejiko. Nyo! And I suppose the mother virus was patient enough to wait for them to get ready and attack, huh? If individual mini robots can’t beat it, combine! They can fight on par with the mother virus but it absorbs other viruses to become bigger and stronger. Oh no. What will we do? Do you not know at this moment of pinch, it is always the cliché moment that the hero shows up. In this case, Exceed! Yup, the lost girls have somewhat created it. I suppose this explains the secret cave that led to some secret place to finish it. Yeah, so why didn’t the girls looking for them just follow that path? Whatever. With Exceed fighting on par with the mother virus and when the mecha fight looks like it is heading to a deadlock, that is when our girls get down and out to destroy the mother virus with their own individual power and weapons. Yes, they even summoned the power of the other previous worlds they saved. Because the feeling of love is invincible! With the mother virus’ defeat, the town returns to normal. Yeah, all restored back to normal like as though they reloaded a previously saved file of the city. The girls thank Maya but she notes it is just for today. They’ll go back to being enemies tomorrow. Okay. Whatever. Back in reality, the girls continue to serve customers who walk in. Are there any?

Pasty Parodies
And so the real world still remains lifeless and without any hint of the otaku culture at all! Yeah, I consider this a sad ending. Not even managing to save the world of the most famous anime 20 years ago could have a ripple effect on the real world. Even though the girls continue to put on a chirpy outlook but with this otaku culture no longer trending and close to non-existent, I say that it is only a matter of time before they really follow suit like other otaku shops in Akihabara and close down. That is why I believe with the girls continue to helm the café, it’s like they get to continue protecting the dream of the otaku world. I mean, where else can you find such vivid imagination in the real world except through all those anime and manga? I know they said love is invincible but they didn’t say it is forever! Haha! Gotcha!

Being an anime that tries to parody genres of anime, I guess this can be called the general plot of this series. Everything here is pretty much cliché and formulaic that it is, uhm, uninspiring. Because if you really want to make great and funny parodies, my reference would always be Gintama. Even Animegataris isn’t all that shabby. But this series feels like the parodies are done just to get on one’s nostalgia side, especially like yours truly who have watched so many animes over the years that the ‘fun’ is pointing out which anime series they are parodying for the day. Looks like I couldn’t get a clean sweep since I am still unsure of that high school delinquent parody. I think it is Kenka Banchou Otome: Girl Beats Boys but I could be mistaken since I didn’t watch that anime. But I guess the parodying was too much for some to take because towards the end, it has been hit with some copyright laws since some of the parodies are too close to home. Hence the streaming version of it was pulled. Yeah, don’t you dare make fun of our animes!

Other than that, the stories of each episode just follow the same predictable pattern that hardly amounts to anything in the end. Because after freeing the world from the invasion of the viruses and giving Maya her obliged Team Rocket treatment, all is well back in reality because they get to preserve the anime and manga. For now. Rinse and repeat. It’s just so mind boggling that the villains never tried to take over the anime or manga. So a world once freed is forever saved. Some anime logic there for you.

It also doesn’t make any economic sense that the café continues to operate as an otaku themed one albeit being one of the last few remaining bastions of the otaku culture in Akihabara. I mean, we don’t even see the owner’s nose anyhow so where the heck does he get the money to pay the girls? Twelve of them! Oh, the girls do volunteer work because of their love for the otaku culture! I hope so. I get a feeling that the real owner is doing something else to rake in the money (like drugs?!) and this is just some fringe activity he has in his portfolio. And the far and few customers who patron the café must be just a one off experience for them, huh? I mean, they’re passing by and they thought it’s cute so they enter to have a drink and read a manga or something. Then they leave and go home, never setting foot in there ever again. Because do you not remember after that Rabbit Café manga craze, looks the crowd died down after that. Back to zero customers on average per day.

The dozen of main characters feel pretty much one dimensional and lacking depth. At first when you are spammed the dozen girls of the café, you might be amazed of how this café employs so many young beautiful girls but hardly have any business. Because the series focuses way too much on the clichés of the parodies, the characters of these girls suffer. They lack any substance that would want to make you want to care or support them. You only do so because they’re the heroines and that’s what we’re supposed to do. And maybe perhaps because they’re looking cute. Anime girls have got to be kawaii, right?

Therefore my theory why there are a dozen of those kawaii bishoujo instead of just 4 or 5 is for variety purposes. The pattern in every episode has 3 of them ‘on duty’ to head into the affected world so you can bet they will mix and shuffle the girls to be featured. However I believe that not every girl gets an equal amount of screen time AKA featured in an episode. For example, Saori only featured once. But it’s not like we keep count, right? And it’s not like we really care for them either, right? Yeah, by the time the next episode airs, I don’t even remember who is who. Not even their names… Sad… And it’s funny to think that if you erase an entire anime or manga volume or series, the whole world forgets it. That’s not even altering the minds of every individual on the face of the planet. Even more mind boggling how the virus targets those otaku works sitting right in the main room of the café instead of their obscure store. Because of that, the girls are able to dive in immediately and take action. Had the virus infect those inside the store, nobody would have even noticed! They would have easily gotten the job done! Damn, the villains are just as dumb for plot convenience.

Maya is supposed to be the antagonist but considering the nature of this series, she turns out to be more of a comic relief. Ironically, she is the only character that appears consistently in every episode (the other being Nejiusa), hence making her the series’ regular. Despite being totally cliché, she seems to have more character than the heroines. Even more ironic is that Maya is the only character whom I can identify right away other than the dozen heroines. It is her role to be the punching bag (they really write and setup her role to be a failure anyway) and also having that running joke that she is an old woman who has past her prime to snag a boyfriend, hence her eternal complains about being a single woman at her age. So perhaps if she had a guy who loves her, she wouldn’t have to go around destroying the otaku culture? What does she think this is?! A manga romance fairytale?! ;p.

Because of all that, Maya despite being the villainess, she is the character that I guess most of us can relate too. Uh huh. When you’re an adult trying to just live life, then you get all those young punks who think they know more about life and sputter all that sparkling justice crap. And they get away with it while you get blasted away. That’s so really like life. Suspiciously, there is this plain Jane in reality who wanders around. My speculation is that this girl is Maya and the conspiracy theory is that because the real life is so boring, thus the reason why she plays the villain and cause havoc within the worlds. Holy cow! Because it is so much fun when you can still live your otaku dreams, right? No wonder Maya doesn’t get disheartened after losing every time and it’s not perseverance that did the trick. The goal was never to destroy those worlds. Let’s continue to live the otaku dream as long as we can!

Nejiusa as the series’ mascot comes off more than annoying than cute. I mean, doesn’t this zombie rabbit sound like some mouse whose got his ass stuffed with something?! Sometimes it tries to be a wise guy with some comeback lines but he is not funny. More so, Nejiusa is useless in combat and is only with the girls on the mission because he teleports them to the world. Other than that, he is just forgettable. So forgettable that I think they forget to make him appear in the last episode after the opening sequence! Yeah, thinking about it, where the f*ck was that zombie rabbit during the battle and after that? Like as though it vanished along with the mother virus.

The action parts feel boring and repetitious. It is just an excuse to have some sort of weird battle against the virus minions that doesn’t amount to anything much because this is all obligatory. You know, the heroines are here to purge the viruses out of the world. Hence I believe that the so called huge fantasy-like weapons that they hold, they feel redundant because it’s not like they pull off any memorable special moves with it. If it’s a gun, just shoot with it. If it’s a sword, just hack and slash with it. Boring. Why bother with special moves when the virus army is just going to stand there and not fight back with special moves whatsoever.

Art and animation feel pretty okay and sometimes mediocre. I noticed drops in quality in some scenes but at least it’s not that bad like that recent little sister crap. Yeah… Oddly, even with the various designs of the girls, I still can never identify who is who despite their cheap steampunk outfit design that makes some look like some Irish St Patrick’s outing thingy. It goes to show that even when you have different hair colours, hairstyles and the likes, you can’t remember the character if they don’t even have any character. Yeah, Maya is more identifiable than any of the heroines. The viruses and mother viruses look so generic that you think they didn’t put enough effort in the design. Probably what goes behind the production is something like this: We need a design for a virus antagonist. Just make it look like a virus, that’s all. Okay. Approved. This series is done by Project No.9 who did some of the works they parodied here like Ryo-Kyu-Bu and Ryuuou no Oshigoto.

Voice acting is pretty meh. I’m not going to do my usual casting list. Just want to note that Nejiusa is voiced by Chitose Morinaga and if this character sounds weirdly familiar, it’s because she sounded close to that weird rabbit, Timothy from Anne Happy. Unbelievable. I think I recognized Yui Ogura as one of the girls, but I don’t remember who. Yeah, can’t tell who is who still. There are other guests seiyuus lending their talents as one off cameo appearances but only Takehito Koyasu as Okayama was recognizable. Even with all the disappointments, the only thing I truly enjoyed is the opening theme, Believe In Sky by Asami Imai. It has this upbeat and catchy tune to my liking so if I want to forget the mediocrity of this series, I just sing this song. The ending theme, Sparkle Power by Iketeru Hearts, your typical all-girl J-pop anime song. Perhaps the episodes themselves lack fanservice so the ending credits animation spam all the sexy bikini and swimsuit fanservice of the heroines. Damn, they should have just made an ecchi harem or yuri parody instead.

Overall, initially it was a fun idea to parody anime itself. But because of the repetitive cycle of each episode and the characters that lack any depth, this mission to bring back the glory days of the otaku culture feels like it is doing more harm than saving it. No wonder the people here don’t want anything to do with the otaku culture! While it is unthinkable that this otaku culture will die out, but the chances aren’t zero. Let’s just hope it does only for this anime… Because without the otaku culture, Japan is nothing. Heck, Japan should not even have the right to exist if they don’t have the otaku culture at all!!!! FFFUUUUU YEAH!!!!!!!! VIVA ANIME AND THE OTAKU WORLD!!!

It sounded so much like a porn title or at least one that is fit for an eroge. Seishun Buta Yarou Wa Bunny Girl Senpai Wo Yume Wo Minai is also a mouthful to pronounce but despite its suspicious title, it has nothing to do with porn or sexual fantasies. Sort of. Despite the very alluring promotional poster of a girl in a Playboy bunny suit (probably that’s what got me to watch this). Instead it deals with Puberty Syndrome. Isn’t that the phase where teenagers go through by being rebellious against their parents, get a tattoo, listen to punk metal music and getting all emo? Sorry. Anime wouldn’t be anime if it based on all that. Maybe. But here, we have dealings with being invisible, Groundhog day, doppelganger, body swapping and personality disorder stemming from amnesia. Yikes. Am I watching the Twilight Zone?

Episode 1
Sakuta Azusagawa is at the library when he sees Mai Sakurajima dressed up as a bunny girl. Is she a ghost because others don’t seem to notice her. Then she notices him watching and tells him to forget what he saw. Can he? Sakuta has his own fair share of ‘problems’ back home because his sister, Kaede is quite clingy to him due to a trauma. But she still can make a witty quip. Sakuta: Damn you’re heavy. Kaede: Because half of it is filled with my love for you! OMG! Buranko! On his way to school, Sakuta asks his friend, Yuuma Kunimi about Mai. She was a famous child celebrity but is currently on hiatus. Ironically, she’s so famous and Sakuta haven’t heard of her? Does he not watch TV? But Sakuta finds it odd that he notices she has no friends at school if that’s the case. Apparently this school has a very strong unwritten law of ostracising people. Once you’re an outcast, you are forever considered one. That is why, Yuuma’s jealous girlfriend, Saki Kamisato telling Sakuta to stay away from him. Not that she is worried if they developed some gay relationship whatsoever. You see, Sakuta has a past reputation of fighting others and landing them in hospital. Saki has to leave in fear that she may be associated with him and become an outcast. At the train station, Sakuta somewhat ‘saves’ Mai from an unauthorized photo that a so called fan wants to take. As they talk, Mai seems to know about his reputation too although he scoffs it off as wild rumours. He never denies them because he thinks it is all part of the flow so it’s pointless to fight it. Now it’s her turn to explain her bunny girl act. She started acting as young as 6 and soon became famous. With everybody looking at her at a celebrity, at some point she wished there was a world where nobody knew her. When she started noticing people ignoring her, she thought it was just a prank. But soon more and more people are starting to ignore her. Hence she is going around places to see if the same thing is happening. I mean, the bunny girl suit is sure to turn heads, right?

Sakuta starts explaining this Puberty Syndrome thingy that has become some sort of an urban legend. To help make her believe what he said, he brings her back to his place and undresses! Rape scene?! Just kidding. It is to show him the hideous scars across his body. He isn’t sure how he got them. Long ago, Kaede got bruises all over her body but it was caused by cyberbullying. Not even physical bullying. It started when she posted on some site and got on the bad side of a popular girl. Everybody started targeting her. Then one day when she came home, Sakuta saw with his own eyes the bruises just popped up on her. That’s why he believes this Puberty Syndrome is real. The truth behind his own rumours is that he was the one hospitalized because one day he woke up bleeding. Sakuta thinks Mai should go back to showbiz and if she is all over TV, people won’t ignore her. But this hit a nerve and she stopped interacting with him since. Sakuta then sees a journalist, Fumika Nanjou who has some info not known to the public on why Mai is on hiatus. Sakuta then sees his senior, Rio Futaba to ask the possibility of suddenly becoming invisible. If it’s not Puberty Syndrome, it could be the case of Schrodinger’s Cat. After a while, Sakuta realizes why Mai didn’t come to school. Could it be nobody could see her now? He rushes home to find her sitting outside his doorstep. Looks like she can’t even buy food now.

Episode 2
Sakuta and Mai shop at the mart. If she is invisible, would others see floating things when she picks up stuffs? Apparently anything she touches becomes invisible too. Sakuta has done some research on Mai and believes there was a rift between her manager who was also her mom. She explains that despite it was written in the contract, Mai didn’t want to do a swimsuit shoot. This made her realize her mom never cared anything for her except making money off her. Even so, Sakuta believes that is all the more reason she should go back to work to clear things up. When she learns he made a deal with Nanjou, Mai warns him about taking the media lightly. He and his family will be hounded. Mai calls Nanjou and wants her to stop publishing pictures of his scar (that was part of the deal). So Mai instead is willing to give her a big scoop that she will return to showbiz soon. As she will be going back to work and have no more time to have fun, their logic is that they will go on a date? On that date morning, Sakuta is on his way when he sees a little girl crying. She lost her mom. He is about to help but Tomoe Koga kicks him thinking this lolicon is going to kidnap her! Realizing her mistake, she wants him to kick her ass back? Too bad the policeman catches them thinking they’re doing something kinky in public. They are released after having their statements taken but Sakuta is already late for his date. Luckily for him, Mai is still waiting but not thrilled.

The date is on but Mai wonders why he is going this far for her. When Kaede had Puberty Syndrome, nobody believed her. Now that Mai is supposedly experiencing one, he wants to be there for her. Mai can tell it is because of a girl. He admits there is a girl he likes. He met Shouko Makinohara and fell in love with her. It is the reason he transferred to this school as he saw her uniform. However there were no such records of her. He still likes her because she got her back on his feet when he was down. Mai shocks Sakuta as she calls her mom here to sign a contract, signalling she would go back to showbiz. However mom cannot see her! She thinks it is Sakuta who called him and is less than amuse of this prank. Heck, mom doesn’t even remember she has a daughter! This is too much for Mai to take so she doesn’t want him to pursue this further. Later when he calls Nanjou, she can’t even remember who Mai is! Sakuta thinks if they go to somewhere faraway, some might still remember her. So technically the date still continues. As they take a train to another town, Sakuta asks random strangers if they remember Mai. Nope. Never heard of her. In the small room they rent, Sakuta calls Yuuma and surprisingly he still remembers Mai. So he calls Futaba in hopes she can help solve this Puberty Syndrome. The room is so small that it isn’t surprising they share the same bed. So they exchange naughty teases if they want to kiss or have sex. It’s not happening. I know. He vows never to forget her and she thanks him for not giving up on her.

Episode 3
Even animals like this cute doggie ignores Mai. So sad. By the time they return to school, Futaba tells him the bad news that everyone including Yuuma has forgotten about Mai. Futaba believes only they haven’t forgotten because they didn’t really sleep (Sakuta couldn’t sleep a wink. He was after all lying next to a girl). Futaba continues her explanation how she is not being observed and hence the entire school is her Schrodinger’s box. There’s more but I don’t really understand. With Sakuta fearing of forgetting Mai if he sleeps, hence he is forcing himself to stay awake. Those energy drinks better do their job. Because Futaba has slept, she has become part of the statistic. Worse, he is in the midst of having midterm exams. I guess everyone is thinking he is burning the midnight oil. Man, he is looking like a zombie. Mai even thinks so and helps him tutor. Eventually he is too tired and falls asleep. When morning comes, he sees a notebook that he has written for himself. A strange bunny girl? It is safe to say that Sakuta has forgotten all about Mai and thinks this diary who wrote is all a bunch of crap. Mai’s name is mysteriously blanked out. Even Futaba gives some not to him. They’re not even sure what this observation thingy is. As Sakuta takes his final midterm exam, suddenly he starts to remember Mai. Some of the buzzwords used during tutoring start bringing those memories back. Ashamed, he runs out from the exam hall and into the field. Then he screams at the top of his voice that he loves Mai! Repeatedly! Boy, this is so embarrassing. Yeah, the entire school must be thinking how desperate this loser is. And then here is Mai. Telling him off how much of a nuisance he is. They talk (cheesy dialogue included to ‘assure’ their love) before Mai screaming at the top of her voice to dispel the fake rumours on Sakuta. Now that Mai is back to the centre of attention, it’s safe to say that now people remember her. In the end, Futaba doesn’t think that scientific methods aren’t really effective when the Puberty Syndrome is caused by teenage instability and warped worldview. As he has proven, a mere confession was enough to turn it on its head.

Episode 4
Sakuta asking Mai to go out with him. Hardly exciting since he has been saying it every day. So she’s like rejecting him every day? She says her upcoming play has a kiss scene. He doesn’t want her to do it. Is he her father now? It seems this isn’t her first kiss as she hints it was with him. Really? Can’t remember. Hints? Not telling. She trolls him if he wants to redo it. Of course. Close your eyes. He just kissed her tamagoyaki. With Sakuta also trolling he is getting less interested because she is showing no interest, she agrees to go out with him. Next day, Sakuta feels weird. Is the day repeating? Everything looks and sounds the same. So with the same conversation with Mai, he manages to do his best trolling. Since she isn’t interested, he’ll find another love. Instantly she agrees to go out with him. Later Sakuta spots Tomoe hesitating to go out with a guy named Yousuke Maezawa. Next day… Same thing! Groundhog day? He sees Futaba for a solution but apparently according to the internet, many others are also feeling they are repeating the day. She explains about Laplace demon. As everything is bound equally under universal laws, by observing every atom and using some formula, you can predict its precise location of anything. However that would require an immense time for observation and it would be useless if you cannot do it within a second. Hence Laplace demon is one who has that knowledge. So for Sakuta to break out from this loop, he must find that Laplace demon who is acting differently than the rest. So could it be Tomoe because she is now hiding underneath the table. However she too is experiencing the loop. But they have to hide since Maezawa is coming in to look for her. It seems her friend, Rena Kashiba likes him but Maezawa likes Tomoe instead. She doesn’t want to be an outcast because of this love triangle. A little struggle from the cramp space occurs as Tomoe falls on top of Sakuta. Maezawa returns and sees this. Not good. And then Mai comes in and sees this. Really bad. Don’t talk to her again. It’s over.

You think Sakuta would not worry as tomorrow will reset itself. Behold! It is 2 days later! So he goes to talk to Futaba and she ends up ranting about being jealous watching Yuuma and his girlfriend since she has a crush on him. What?! But the issue he needs to settle right now is to clear things up with Mai. It was just last month he publicly confessed his love to her. At the café where Sakuta and Yuuma work part time, it seems Tomoe will also be joining them. As Sakuta takes orders from Rena and co, they seriously asking if he is going out with her. They’re worried because this happened so soon right after Mai broke up with him. They warn him if he is fooling around. Later Tomoe wants a favour but Sakuta knows what’s going to happen. He knows she wants him to pretend to be his girlfriend at least until the first term ends. Ironically his reputation didn’t deteriorate after that public confession and is now ‘popular’ among the juniors for his guts! Since Tomoe is afraid of losing her only group of friends, they have to make this pretend date real. So go on a real date? Well, it’s not like Sakuta is bound to anything and is in fact looking forward to have fun. Late that night, Mai rings on his doorstep. Why didn’t he come to explain himself? Damn, you just never know what a woman thinks!

Episode 5
Mai hears his explanations but won’t get mad because he’ll get turned on if she does so. So she really thinks he is a perverted masochist? She still feels something odd for him to do all this. He says Tomoe’s case reminds him very much like Kaede. Since Mai will be away for a while for a commercial shoot, this is not her dress she is giving him to sniff in her absence. Rather it is for Kaede to wear. Kaede lights up and looks like they’re friends now. Sakuta asks Yuuma about Maezawa and it seems he has a girlfriend in another high school and likes to badmouth his exes. Sakuta meet up with Tomoe for their date at the aquarium. She tells him of her past as a plain Jane so he tells her it doesn’t matter what she used to be because all that matters is what she is now. Tomoe wonders why he is doing this for someone he rarely knows. I don’t think kicking each other’s butt is the answer she’s looking for. Even if he is an outcast, why still do so? He likes to be the pillar of support even if the entire world is against him. For Tomoe, she wants to be liked by everyone, at least not hated. Later Sakuta visits Futaba to ask her conclusion about this Laplace thingy. It is believed the looping was caused by her ‘rolling the dice’ until she is satisfied with the outcome. Of course she isn’t aware of this because if she was, she would have been the demon herself. Once again, Saki confronts Sakuta of talking to Yuuma. She’s also complaining about Yuuma hanging out with Futaba. Why don’t you ask them yourself? Time to cut the conversation when Sakuta sarcastically claims she is butt hurt because of constipation! Yuuma then tells Sakuta the bad news that there are rumours that he and Tomoe are f*cking like rabbits. While at the train station, they can hear people snigger this. With Maezawa mocking them, Sakuta sneers back and the jerk punches him. Sakuta fights back but plays dirty that makes him look like a fool. Not so funny now, eh? If you don’t like to be embarrassed, stop doing stupid things. And he makes the boldest declaration that would clear those funny rumours: HE IS A VIRGIN!!! He takes Tomoe and run. For a while there, she really felt like his girlfriend. She also somewhat admits she is a virgin and never had a boyfriend before. Because all her friends said they had one, she too wanted to be in and went with the flow. With Rena giving up on Maezawa, this case is closed. Tomoe wants to repay him. Simple. Just be his friend. It’s not like she could find anybody else, right?

Episode 6
Sakuta wants Mai to tutor him in a bunny suit. She does so! His grade better improve now. Sakuta then goes to date Tomoe before the start of the summer vacation. Yeah, they’re making plans on how to end their relationship. No biggies. Let’s just say he still loves Mai and they had to break up. Day is over, go home and sleep. Next morning when Sakuta wakes up, guess what? He thought it was a joke but it’s not because yesterday is repeating itself again! Groundhog day once more?! It seems Tomoe is unaware of the day repeating itself. Seeing Futaba for an answer, if Sakuta isn’t Laplace then it could only mean 1 thing: Tomoe is lying. So after a couple of more loops and dates with Tomoe, Sakuta decides to do something different. This time their date is at a shrine and after writing their wishes to make their love come true, Sakuta assures he is the only one lying. Then Sakuta wants Tomoe to drop the act. From what I understand, Tomoe might be repeating the day in hopes that he could change his feelings for her. He assures that will never happen if it is a billion times. Tomoe tries to come to terms with her feelings and end this once and for all, hoping they can still remain friends. Then she blames him for being so nice to him and hence these feelings. After all that I hate you, eventually she screams the loudest I love you. Now she can cry her heart out. Now, this doesn’t really make time flow back to normal. Heck, Sakuta realizes time has reset back to when he experienced the first Groundhog day! So everything was just a simulation of the future? Sakuta trolls Mai to be his girlfriend. He trolls and distracts him to give him a peck on his cheek! Don’t push it for one on the lips. Sakuta then sees Mai rejecting Maezawa because she hints she likes Sakuta. He assures he is still her friend but she says it is she giving him the privilege to be her friend. For the rest of the days, everything played out exactly like it happened before. And there’s some scientific explanation from Futaba about quantum entanglement on how Sakuta was the only one in the world to get dragged into this sh*t. Not really understanding this sci-fi crap theory! When Sakuta and Mai are walking home on a rainy day, they see a little girl trying to shelter an abandoned kitten with her umbrella. Sakuta offers to take it in when the girl gives her name: Shouko Makinohara.

Episode 7
Kaede must be conflicted that Sakuta might want an even younger sister than her! Yeah, Shouko is much more polite too. She does come by to visit the kitten. Sakuta sees Futaba (new hairstyle?) about Shouko’s case and she believes it must be that myth of everyone has a doppelganger. While Sakuta is hanging out with Mai, suddenly they see Futaba walking into an internet café. Does she frequent a place like this? They try to find her and since they can’t, Sakuta calls her. She picks up and this is where ‘trouble’ starts. Because Futaba just walked before them and she is not on the phone! Sakuta manages to grab her as she explains how true the doppelganger thingy is. Yup, that Futaba he met earlier was her doppelganger. And it seems the clone is taking over her life and now Futaba can’t go home and hence hanging out here. Sakuta is so kind to let her stay at his place. Will Mai approve? Nope. That’s why she is staying too. Huzzah! Kaede worried his harem is growing… But she will accept his flaws and love him! So if Mai and Futaba will sleep in his room, sorry Kaede, onii-chan isn’t going to sleep with you but in the living room all by himself. So now we get to Futaba’s sci-fi explanation of this quantum teleportation thingy. Don’t get it. Naturally. It seems she thinks she is observing herself and what happens when both are conscious in observing the other? Doppelganger situation. In case of that 2 people cannot exist at the same time theory, after all, Futaba didn’t actually see herself. That night, it isn’t Kaede sneaking in but Mai. Some moments that hint she wants him to kiss her but he blunders and the mood is off. Damn. So fragile? He tries to play psychology that he might fear women if he gets rejected. Don’t worry. She will let him practice as many times until he gets it right. But I guess it’s not tonight. Next day Shouko visits and Futaba sees for herself this little girl. Sakuta goes to school to see the doppelganger Futaba watching Yuuma playing a basketball game. Sakuta learns Futaba fell in love with him when he offered his bun when it was like a warzone for her to get one at the stall. Is that how cheap her love is? Stop with the corny cornet jokes, Sakuta. This Futaba wonders if he thinks she is a fake. He thought so but realizes both of them are the real deal. Later it’s that b*tch Saki confronting Sakuta again. But this time she shows him uploaded pictures of Futaba taking sexy selfies of herself. Is she into some shady business?

Episode 8
Talking to Futaba about this, she says she created an account last summer just to get some attention but realized there was nothing to post about. She started hating herself when her body matured too fast and got the attention of guys. Meanwhile Mai’s agency wants to ban her from dating but she puts that decision on hold so she could consult Sakuta. He agrees with it since she just got back into showbiz so it is better to be the good girl for now. I don’t think that’s the answer she’s looking for but whatever. Now Sakuta talks to the other Futaba and she also says something similar about hating herself. The problem could have been solved if they just go back to being one but they have diverged too far and this isn’t exactly Sakuta’s problem per se. You should solve your own problem. When Futaba receives a very creepy stalker message, she gets scared. She wants Sakuta to stay at her place for a while. She talks about her fear of being alone and was worried when Sakuta got a girlfriend, she would be alone again. The same case when Yuuma got a girlfriend. Sakuta gets this idea of calling Yuuma to meet up with him now by feigning Futaba is in trouble. He really rushes to meet up and this brings Futaba to tears as she is relieved to hear she isn’t alone. Then they play sparklers till morning and Futaba tells Sakuta to save her other self as she is in a much worse position than her. He returns home to sleep but the next morning, he learns from Kaede that Futaba went out shopping but never came back. Since she didn’t take her handphone, I guess Sakuta has to cycle all the way in the typhoon to Futaba’s house to ask about her whereabouts. Yeah, try the school. There she is. It seems she is jealous in seeing that group photo of them playing sparklers. She thinks the world isn’t big enough for the both of them and will disappear since her counterpart is doing a much better job of living. Sakuta doesn’t give a damn and tells her to just come for the fireworks. Just then, Sakuta collapses. He wakes up in hospital and no serious condition. Sakuta then talks to Futaba outside that it is okay to hate herself. It isn’t that his own life is tolerable either. Futaba is interested to go see the fireworks now but Sakuta points out it is not him he should be telling. She sums up her courage to make the call and the moment she says her intentions, she disappears. It seems she called her other self on line and now they are one again. The trio meet up at the fireworks. Futaba whispers something in Yuuma’s ear and the cliché convenient of fireworks make it inaudible to us. But she doesn’t want him to give an answer as she knows what it’ll be.

Episode 9
It’s the start of the new school term but Sakuta has not seen Mai anywhere. When he finally finds her on the streets, she doesn’t recognize him and finds him creepy. That is actually Nodoka Toyohama (from the idol group, Sweet Bullet) and she swapped bodies with Mai. Sakuta can tell this is Mai the way she steps on his feet! You see, Nodoka is Mai’s younger half-sister. Same father but different mothers. Last night she popped up at Mai’s place and didn’t want to go home. Next morning, they realized their bodies were swapped. Until they get back to normal, they must live each other’s life. This means attending each other’s school. I guess they have nothing to worry about since they have no friends so everything will be okay if they don’t talk to others. Sakuta talks to Nodoka about her beef with Mai. Although she looks up to her, she still hates her in some ways. I guess the best way to get it off her chest is to talk to Mai directly. She admits of living in her shadow since young. She is jealous that Mai can do things effortlessly when it takes years for her to achieve the same. Because of that, mom always yells at her she should be able to do the same. So she hates her more? The feeling is mutual for Mai but without the thoughtlessness of their dad, they would never have met. Of course Mai can’t allow Nodoka to stay at Sakuta’s place. This means poor Kaede thinking her brother is really a gigolo bringing another new girl home. As Sakuta watches Nodoka in an acting shoot, suddenly she starts hyperventilating and collapsed. Talking this out with Mai, it could be she realized the insane expectations and burden Mai had to carry and panicked. Sakuta asks Yuuma if he knows what it’s like to have a perfect older sister. So he calls Saki who reluctantly explain about hers. She was the school’s previous student council president (not that Sakuta could remember) and got into a top university. Saki doesn’t like or hate her but finds it annoying that mom always compared her to her sister. Mai gives Sakuta a spare key to Nodoka’s place. He goes there to talk to Nodoka and inform Mai doesn’t care wasn’t worried at all. He thinks she should naturally smile like she did instead of trying to put on a fake smile that imitates Mai. When Nodoka is in the bath, Sakuta is tempted to peek into the tatami closet that Mai earlier warned him not to.

Episode 10
With all the new women Sakuta brings home, Kaede thinks she must do her part of moving forward. So I guess it’s a big step for her to get out of her pyjamas and don her school uniform. Nodoka’s reshoot went well. After 12 takes. With Mai leaving Sakuta a message that father wants to have dinner with him, this prompts Nodoka to ask about his family. After Kaede was diagnosed with Puberty Syndrome, mom couldn’t take it and was hospitalized. Dad went with her and basically dumped Kaede to him. They’re living separately now and because they’re his parents, it’s not like he hates or loves them. When Sakuta meets his dad and ask for parenting advice, dad thinks he knocked up a girl! NOT YET! Dad relates they were at a lost when Sakuta was born as every day was filled with worries and uncertainties. Sakuta and Nodoka are invited to Sweet Bullet’s concert. Nodoka watches in awe as Mai performs flawlessly and even covers a member who slips up. Sweet Bullet announces Nodoka will be the lead vocals of their next single. Nodoka’s heart breaks seeing her mom congratulating Mai and so happy about it. It was a smile she had never seen before. She thinks mom always wanted Mai instead of her. So sad that Nodoka tries to drown herself in the sea! Sakuta had to convince her that Mai doesn’t hate her and can show proof. Inside the tatami closet is a box filled with letters sent by Nodoka to Mai. This is proof she still loves you. Still not convinced? Here’s Mai to explain the rest. Mai was also so busy that she didn’t even have time for herself. When Nodoka was introduced as her sister the first time, she saw the joy of her looking up to her. That motivation kept her going. It all boils down mom’s love is probably due to the hard work she put in. Still complaining? Mai slaps… Sakuta! Can’t damage her face for tomorrow’s photo shoot. When her mom congratulated her after the concert, she could felt she was shaking and was worried the whole time. Nodoka always wanted mom to praise her and make her happy since Mai was only always what she talked about. So be yourself and do what you want instead of what she tells you. Cue for full crying to be allowed now. With Nodoka accepting she doesn’t have to be like Mai, suddenly the duo revert. It’s not body or mind swapping. It felt like the weirdest CGI of shape shifting! WTF! So I guess Futaba’s explanation for the body shape shifting was the sisters envying each other’s position. Sakuta thought his lovey-dovey days with Mai are back. Too bad Nodoka is moving in! Yeah, argument with mom as usual. But more problems at hand. A photo of Mai and Sakuta is circulating. Scandal on the cards…

Episode 11
A press conference is held for Mai to explain. Japanese adults sure love the drama and romance of the young ones, eh? Thanks to Mai being open and cool in handling them, soon this case dies down. Sakuta receives a letter from Shouko to meet at the beach. I’m sure he wants to go but how can he get Mai to trust him he is not cheating on her? How does he show his loyalty? By screaming out I love you in public! Please don’t. Any other ways? How about a deep kiss? Please don’t. Okay, she’ll let him. As they leave, Kotomi Kano who was Kaede’s old friend and classmate needs to talk to Sakuta. Nice guy needs to see this so he has Mai wait for Shouko on his behalf since she recognizes her. Kotomi talks about hoe bullying was a hot issue in their old school. After Kaede transferred out, the bullies received death threats. They too stopped coming to school and this bullying issue died down. Kotomi feels guilty because as Kaede’s friend, she did nothing. She tried to forget about this whole incident and would have until that scandal dating picture of Mai and Sakuta popped up. Sakuta rejoins Mai but since it’s getting late and Shouko not showing up, Sakuta leaves a message in the sand (that he already got a girlfriend!). Hope the waves don’t wash it away. Back home, Kaede has made a list of things to do. It’s admirable considering her case even if most of them are things to do with onii-chan. When Shouko calls, she explains she was sick and also the reason she didn’t visit recently. When asked about the letter, she wasn’t aware of sending any. Kaede braves herself to try and answer the phone from Mai. It literally took all her strength to do so. Congrats! Apparently she wants to be independent because at this rate Sakuta cannot marry! Because girls who marry him must take Kaede as part of the package! Can’t argue with that. But I’m sure Mai would gladly welcome her. Sakuta dreams of Shouko telling him life is a series of trials trying to make you a kinder person. She hopes to become that with each passing day. Kaede makes an even more elaborate plan to walk outside with Sakura. Frequent breaks are the key. Once ready, she clings on tightly to him. Let’s do this. But halfway she wants to give up and before she knows it, she’s already outside. Tears of happiness. One small step for Kaede, one big step for Kaede’s future. Slowly, Kaede is able to ‘exist’ outside in longer intervals. One day frolicking at the beach, that is where Kotomi sees her. Kaede gets scared and doesn’t know who she is. That is when Sakuta reveals a secret to Mai about Kaede: She has no memories of her old self.

Episode 12
2 years ago, Kaede woke up with no memories of everything before. The doctor diagnosed that due to the mental stress, she lost her memories to escape her painful situation. Sakuta knew he was dealing with a different person because everything she did was obviously different to how the old Kaede did things. When he noticed strange bruises randomly on her, at the same time mom was starting to show signs of breaking down. Also, he got that scar on his chest. He was hospitalized but doctor couldn’t find a definitive answer and thought it was self-harm. Depressed, he snuck out of hospital and met Shouko. Her positive words moved him and gave him hope to live. So when their parents moved out, dad hopes Kaede will recover and to take her time because they will always be waiting for her. The problem is, if the old Kaede reappears, what will happen to the current one? When Sakuta hands Kaede a book from Kotomi, there is a note inside saying she wants to be friends with her again. It seemed like some part of her memories may have returned before she collapsed. Kaede is hospitalized but no biggie. Sakuta calls Mai to update her on this and he also believes that the old Kaede may be reawakening and if that’s the case, the new one might disappear. Since Kaede overheard that, she tries to expedite her wish list, especially going to school. It’s hard for her to even walk in public as she is flip flopping between wanting to give up and carrying on. Even if she is so afraid, she still wants to make it to school. Sakuta promises to make that happen but first a little break. He takes her to the zoo. This lightens up her mood. He also gives her a yearly pass for her to come here as many she times she wants. Then they sneak into school at night so she could have a ‘preview’ of what to expect. This gives Kaede motivation that she really wants to go to school tomorrow. Next morning, Sakuta is in shock because he can tell that the way Kaede acts and talks, the old version is back.

Episode 13
Sakuta calls his dad to inform him about Kaede. Currently she is in hospital to be monitored. Though no physical damage but doesn’t remember the other Kaede, the doctor deduces that the gap in memories may destabilize her so it’s best to monitor her for now. Unfortunately it is Sakuta who cannot bear this. He becomes destabilized as he screams and cries his way home. Thank goodness Shouko shows up. The grown up one. She takes him home and takes care of him. Sakuta is so depressed that he isn’t really happy to see this girl again. Hence Shouko reads Kaede’s diary from the day of her ‘inception’. From her observations of her new family to her brother bringing home new girls and the recent list of goals. She knows Sakuta has been regretting the whole time and if she doesn’t do something, he might end up thinking he couldn’t do a thing. She doesn’t want him to have regrets when she disappears. She wants him to be happy and leave lots of memories before she goes. Sakuta still isn’t convinced because Kaede tried so hard and it’s like betraying her hopes. Shouko believes Sakuta is feeling sad proves how important Kaede is to him and how much a big place she holds him in her heart. Sakuta, you can continue crying louder now. Next morning, Sakuta is still like a zombie. Shouko left a note that she has gone. Then a voice recorder from Mai has him calling her to tell what really happened to Kaede. With life slowly seeping back to him, Sakuta realizes that Shouko, both the teen and loli never appeared again. Asking Futaba’s advice on this, she can only deduce that Shouko is his imaginary friend.

Mai takes a short break from filming to visit Sakuta. Though he is happy, she sees that note from Shouko. Oh dear. Mood just sour. No matter how long he explains himself and that nothing actually happened between them, it’s safe to say Mai is still not impressed. She’s going back to work. He’s fine, right? That’s all she needs to know. Man, he sure shot himself in the foot. Looks like Sakuta is going back to depression by being clumsy at work. And a talk with Nodoka, she knows Mai isn’t that petty to be bothered with that. She trusts him. So why? Because didn’t he know it was Mai’s birthday?! If Sakuta rushes now and takes the shinkasen, maybe he can catch up with her… And rush he did. But Mai is waiting to pick him up. With all that spamming from Nodoka, of course. So they go to some place to talk things out. He apologizes. She explains she knew he needed someone to be there for him and that it hurts that it wasn’t her. Sorry for not being there when you needed me the most. Mai trolls him with a kiss but it is just to pinch his cheeks. He likes that, doesn’t he? Kaede is discharged from hospital. She must be embarrassed after reading her diary. But she still wishes to go to school and is not afraid because she is not alone.

Do You Like Horny Bunny Girl Senpai?
Well… That was a pretty normal and anti-climactic ending. Is this considered a good ending? Kaede returns to her normal original self. Hence the final episode is somewhat a 24 minute goodbye from Kaede and Sakuta coming to terms with it. Yeah well, it’s strange he only got to know the real Kaede for like 2 years and he found it hard to part ways. Was this Kaede more fun? Maybe. But super cute! Not too sure about the original Kaede but she sounds a bit mundane. Sure, for us viewers we just got to know her but it remains to be seen if the other one will return. Hence future Kaede will have split personalities and switching forth in between. Heh. I won’t count that out. But I’m gonna seek Futaba for an explanation if I ever get confused on that one.

Overall, the plot and story of this series is really nothing special. It is more of the strange predicaments that the characters are facing that is somewhat the more intriguing part. In a sense, I guess that could be considered the general story but generally it just goes something like this. Sakuta’s normal high school life is interrupted when he notices some sort of irregularity especially with one of the girls he knows or related. They try to figure out what is happening and doing something about it (which isn’t much) and the problem is solved. There. That’s just basically it. Not with a lot of fanfare so some may go, “Huh? That’s it?”.

Hence the strange phenomenon are not actually sci-fi moments if I should say. What do I mean? Although the strange phenomenon the girls experienced in this series may look like some sort of mild sci-fi situations, they are more like inner demons that the girls need to conquer and overcome in order for the problem is solved. That is why I said in my previous paragraph that they don’t really need to do anything much or anything that is too drastic. With Sakuta’s help, a lot of drama, talking and self-realization is all it takes for the problem to literally go away and things reverting back to normal. At least, that is how I see it.

Indeed, the issues at hand that the girls faced may still sound and look sci-fi worthy. However you know me, I am really dumb when it comes to sci-fi moments and stuffs. Although I still continue to watch such series in hopes of ‘getting smarter’. Ultimate fail, of course. They aren’t really that bad but with Futaba using some sci-fi mumbo jumbo, even if it is in the simplest form that dumb viewers like me are supposed to comprehend, I just can’t. My brain just automatically shut off to prevent a meltdown. Really. I believe that such theories aren’t really far-fetched and there are lots of such notions and ideas floating around the internet (too lazy to Google, of course) so I’m taking Futaba’s word that in some sense, the theories are somewhat interesting. Just not interesting to a level that I can understand them. Also, watching these girls experiencing sci-fi phenomenon isn’t anything new. Since it reminded me of Kokoro Connect, another series that deals with strange sci-fi-like situations among a group of high school friends. Also not forgetting the Monogatari series but with way less supernatural elements.

Thus the characters play a vital role in retaining the intrigue of the overall story. As I have said, many have their own issues to deal with and overall if you look at them, they’re just normal and ordinary people with nothing really interesting to their background per se. Even with Mai and Nodoka having some sort of proxy rivalry because of their mothers, this background setting isn’t exactly all that exciting if you think about it. It is just enough as a setting for the sci-fi phenomenon to take place and drive the pace of the arc to last for a few episodes. Because the series likes to plant small cameo hints in current episodes for the next arc (like mini Shouko’s appearance), so I thought Mai would be getting another arc of her own considering the media sounding like they’re going to have a field day with the scandal of her having a boyfriend. Too bad that turned out to be a red herring as it was surprisingly ended as fast as it started. Otherwise we wouldn’t have time for the final Kaede’s arc, I think.

I do find that some of the character interactions to be interesting and hence funny and amusing. Especially Sakuta who is the main character has his own brand of witty sarcasm. He isn’t exactly the most sarcastic guy in anime but saying those lines in his deadpan voice can still be funny. Doubling this ‘comedy act’ is his ‘partner in crime’ Mai especially when they started dating. Can they be one of the best couples in anime? Because they hardly use their emotions and with them being sarcastic to each other, it’s probably the glue that sticks them together (maybe the sex jokes did the trick). Then there’s Kaede who is just as cute as she is tragic. Before her arc, she feels more like a side comic relief character especially with her one liners. I can never forget her comeback of how she commented on her own weight gain as Sakuta thought. Yeah, that was pretty classic. Maybe I’m heavy too because half of it is filled for my love for some 2D waifu… And who could forget how she is always shocked with Sakuta bringing home a new girl in every new arc… Sakuta sometimes being frank or playful with his personality, I guess that is why many girls think he is such a perverted pig. Hence every episode’s next episode preview’s trademark line of calling him one. That’s my Sakuta. A total pig alright. Don’t take it from the girls. Even Sakuta himself said it to himself finally.

Sometimes I feel this series might be a sleeper harem series. Instead of having all the harem girls at once, each is given their own focus when they become the ‘star’ of their own arc. In a way, Sakuta’s harem is spread out throughout the series. But calling it a harem may be a little stretch because it isn’t like all of the girls have romantic interest in Sakuta. Not that I can see. After all, Sakuta helped them out so maybe there is. Or not. Even being Mai’s boyfriend feels pretty bland since Mai is often away ever since she got back into show business. Futaba is more interested in Yuuma, Kaede overly relies on her onii-chan more than anything and Nodoka looks up to her half-sister. There may be some feelings from Tomoe but for now they’re just remaining their status as friends (or at least butt kicking buddies). All in all, these girls are mainly featured prominently only in their arc and in others when they are not, they feel more like background characters. For example, Futaba is just some lonely mad scientist explaining what she interprets the problem Sakuta tells her. Kaede is a stunted little sister with a few traumas (can’t even let phones ring) who relies heavily on Sakuta. Tomoe is just Sakuta’s co-worker at the café and Nodoka the idol. That’s all there is to them.

Probably the TV series was too short to feature all the girls because the only one missing her own arc is Shouko. So far her presence in the series can be considered as baffling and a red herring because we are not really sure if this little girl is the Shouko that Sakuta knows or an entirely different person who coincidentally shares the same name. Or maybe she too is having her own Puberty Syndrome but is put on the back burner as Sakuta solves the others who are more pressing at hand. Or like Futaba puts it, just an imaginary friend. But we see others interact with her. What if all those are just in Sakuta’s mind and point of view? Everything is perception. So she may be some guardian angel of his since she swooped down to him in the final episode just to get him back on his feet when others couldn’t. I guess when Sakuta is there for other girls, who is going to be there for him? Therefore as far as the TV series is concerned, Shouko is still a big mystery. Maybe that is why perhaps the sequel that is coming out in mid-2019 in the form of a movie may focus on this. I thought Saki should have her own arc too seeing she is the only girl who sort of hates Sakuta. It would be interesting to see some sort of sci-fi phenomenon befalling on her because the irony of needing to rely on Sakuta to eventually get out of her predicament. Then she can fall for him. Ah, the tsundere role that every harem needs.

Art and animation feel pretty okay but sometimes I can’t help feel that it is also sometimes a bit bland. I know, characters here do not have strange body part shapes (One Piece comes to mind) nor do they have a variety of colourful hair or hairstyles to really tell them apart. For example, I sometimes get confused when I see Sakuta and Yuuma because these generic guys look so generic that I could be mistaken the other for the other. As for some of the girls, I thought I have seen them somewhere before. Like Saki whom I thought was inspired from To Aru Kagaku No Railgun’s Misaki. Seriously. Maybe that’s why her character is also like that. Then there is Nodoka whom I thought was Eri from Love Live but with less smiles. Coincidentally, looking at Mai brings back memories of Mai from Izumo: Takeki Tsurugi No Senki. Futaba could be To Aru Kagaku No Railgun’s Shinobu in disguise. Just add glasses. I’m starting to think this series may be taking its design inspiration from To Aru Kagaku No Railgun because doesn’t Shouko look like Ruiko? Take away the flowers, Uiharu would actually be Tomoe? Heck, even their school uniform resembles very closely… This series is made by Cloverworks who did Persona 5, Slow Start and the second season of Gyakuten Saiban.

Voice acting, I didn’t recognize anyone except Nao Touyama as Tomoe. I haven’t heard Satomi Satou in a long time so it was a surprise that I just found out she was behind the voice of Nanjou. She didn’t have many lines either too. Maybe I did identify her but did I forget? Huh? Oh dear. Do I have Puberty Syndrome too? Nope. Just a forgetful person :(. The rest of the casts are Kaitou Ishikawa as Sakuta (Iida in Boku No Hero Academia), Asami Seto as Mai (Asagi in Strike The Blood), Asumi Tanezaki as Futaba (Mizore in Hibike! Euphonium), Maaya Uchida as Nodoka (Eruza in Killing Bites), Yurika Kubo as Kaede (Hanayo in Love Live), Inori Minase as Shouko (Hestia in DanMachi), Yuuma Uchida as Yuuma (Yaichi in Ryuuou No Oshigoto) and Himika Akaneya as Saki (Yatsumura in Mahou Shoujo Site).

The opening theme is Kimi No Sei by The Peggies. While this rock outfit isn’t that all bad, I wonder if it is suitable for a dramatic series like this. Considering the pacing of the show, the lively pace of the rock music sometimes feels out of place since the song is a bit frantic itself. Maybe it is supposed to reflect the storm that Sakuta is facing. But the ending theme sounds more intriguing. Fukashigi No Karte has this enigmatic feel infused with some jazzy tone. A song that you would best fit as lounge music. There are a few versions of this song depending on the heroine of the arc (there is a version with all the heroines singing as a group too). Not only the way they sing reflects their character (Futaba sounds very soft and mellowed compared to Kaede’s cute style), the unique thing about the ending animation isn’t just the featured girl walking on the beach but all of them at different time of the day. Did you notice that? Like Tomoe at the break of dawn, Futaba in the dark pitch of the night and Nodoka in the golden evening sunset. Neat.

Overall, I guess this series isn’t your standard harem and romance one. It has lots of heavy dialogue and isn’t a sci-fi masterpiece too but some of the issues we see here is a good topic for discussion because let’s face it, such problems only arise because of how society treats itself (the heavy expectations of society on Mai has her wanting some private time, suppressing feelings made Tomoe unable to express them properly just so she can stay within her circle of friends, unrealistic expectations of a mother pushed Nodoka to be someone else instead of herself, cyber bullying has turned Kaede into a recluse and a totally different person). I have to admit it is mostly boring if not for the strange humour I find in their sarcasm (apparently many commenters online too didn’t find it funny). I know the Monogatari series sounds way better if you want to watch a series with harem girls having some sort of supernatural issue but that is only because it had a long run and so many stories. Otherwise, Sakuta’s normal and quiet high school life didn’t turn out the way he wants and hence, Yahari Ore No Seishun Buta Yarou Wa Love Comedy Wa Machigatteiru. My Teen Romantic Sci-fi SNAFU. Rascal Doesn’t Dream Of Ecchi Romance Comedy. And still, sasuga Sakuta, buta yarou desu ne.

SSSS.Gridman

April 14, 2019

Initially I was planning to watch Darling In The Franxx seeing that it was that time again I felt I should watch a mecha anime. Mecha series by Trigger aren’t so bad, right? At least I watched Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann a long time ago although this was by their former studio, Gainax. But after reading mixed reviews of it, I had second thoughts. Then I read how SSSS.Gridman was better and more fun and thus I followed my guts to watch it. Here I am. So technically this isn’t a mecha series and a tokusatsu one. Yeah, I do had my fair share of watching the tokusatsu series in my younger days like the Ultraman series. I believe watching this one would bring back some of those nostalgic memories. But SSSS.Gridman isn’t an original tokusatsu series by Trigger. At least this is their take of the Gridman series from the early 90’s. Joint collaboration with Tsuburaya Productions who created the Ultra Series and of course Gridman being one of the many creations of it. And so I’m hoping to see some awesome giant hero vs giant monster action to relive those old days…

Episode 1
How conveniently cliché. Yuuta Hibiki is amnesiac. He knows and remembers nothing. Until this Gridman guy calls him. This Hyper Agent wants Yuuta to remember his calling. However only Yuuta can see Gridman on the computer screen and it is just a blank screen for Rikka Takarada. Reluctant Rikka is tasked by her mom to bring Yuuta to a hospital and then send him home. They are classmates but for some reason Yuuta collapsed in front of their store and didn’t wake up when they tried to. Yuuta also sees a giant scenery kaiju but it looks like only he can see it. From his handphone, Rikka is able to locate his address. Another cliché of Yuuta living alone and his parents are conveniently away on a business trip. Next day, his friend, Shou Utsumi pick him up and head to school. Of course, no recollection of who he is. No harm starting over as friends. Rikka’s friends tease her she now has a boyfriend. Because Yuuta had so much on his mind on what happened (oh, the irony), Akane Shinjou gives her special bread as his lunch. Utsumi warns Yuuta that gesture was just out of pity rather than anything nice since Akane is the most likeable girl ever in school. So he is saying he has a crush on her? Utsumi wants to see this Gridman he is talking about so they head back to the store. Gridman repeats his lines and only Yuuta can see him. Rikka thinks of sending him back to the hospital when Yuuta feels something strange. Something bad is going to happen. Suddenly a kaiju pops up and starts destroying everything! Cars flying, buildings on fire. Yeah, one of the fireballs hit school! Hearing Gridman’s voice of the need to combine, Yuuta gets sucked into Junk (the computer). Now he materializes as a giant Gridman and battles the kaiju. Too bad he runs out of energy fast! Utsumi notices Yuuta’s voice can be heard from Junk. He also realizes the kaiju’s weakness on the neck. Rikka thinks the only way to communicate is to type into Junk. Yuuta receives the message and decapitates the kaiju before destroying it with his beam. Once over, Yuuta is purged from Junk but Gridman says this is only the beginning and there are many more to come. Utsumi is thrilled they saved the city and should form an alliance but for Rikka, she can only take so much for today. Next day, the trio are shocked that the school is back to normal. Like it was never destroyed in the first place.

Episode 2
Nobody remembers about the kaiju or Gridman. Like as though everything is reset. Almost. The trio notice some of their friends are missing. Akane seems interested about this Gridman that Yuuta is talking about but he only can say what he knows. Akane returns to her home where it is filled with rubbish and cabinets of tokusatsu models. It looks like she is conspiring with Alexis Kerib to materialize the kaiju. When the trio are before Junk again, this time this weird man, Samurai Calibur walks in to optimize Junk. Now Utsumi and Rikka can see and hear Gridman! Now they go around asking the families of their missing classmates but it seems all of them have died some time ago. Rikka feels depressed because she doesn’t want to lose friends this way and be the only one who remembers them. Akane finishes another kaiju and with Alexis materializing it, she decides to kill her homeroom teacher because today he bumped into her and did not apologize. And yeah, lots of destruction and casualties just to smoke out one guy. Our heroes return to Gridman as he tells Yuuta he only exists in energy form in this world. So unless Yuuta accepts him, he cannot fight. Hence Gridman gives his Primal Accepter so Yuuta could call forth and combine with him. Gridman fights the kaiju but looks like the beam isn’t working this time and reflects back. Damn, is Gridman this weak and is low on power? Are we out of options? Not if Calibur can help. It seems he doesn’t turn into another Gridman but rather a giant sword for Gridman to use. With that, Gridman slashes the kaiju in half. The day is saved and Akane is not pleased Gridman ‘cheated’. Rikka is glad her friends are still alive and goes to meet them. Yuuta feels sad he couldn’t save some people but as Calibur puts it, had he not step in, more would have died. He must continue what he is doing. Next day, looks like everything is reset once more. At least the homeroom teacher is still alive and this time he is politer.

Episode 3
Akane seems to be making a deal with a petite kid, Anti. Utsumi tells Yuuta his theory that if Calibur could transform into a sword, could it be that humans can transform into kaiju? This makes Yuuta feel guilty but no time for that since a kaiju is detected. Akane has given the signal to Anti transform into a kaiju to lure out Gridman. So as Yuuta combines with Gridman to fight, he realizes this kaiju can talk. Further making him guilty that kaiju is indeed a human. Now that he can’t fight, he gets pummelled. Even when Calibur comes to assist, the kaiju is faster and stronger. Oh no. Junk turns off and Yuuta and Calibur didn’t come back. Are they dead? Rikka and Utsumi fall into depression, causing some tension in between. Meanwhile happy Akane treats Anti to food and notes what Utsumi said about kaiju being human. If he only knew that kaiju had no true form. As Rikka and Utsumi continue to sulk, a bunch of Calibur’s weird friends enter. They say Calibur and Gridman aren’t dead. What about Yuuta? Why don’t they call him themselves? Guess what? He picks up his phone! But he is unsure where he is. As Calibur explains, they are just waiting for the kaiju to pop up to fight again. So far still waiting… So this waiting game is called off as Calibur returns to reality. Gridman returns to lure out the kaiju. Akane is not amused Gridman is alive and has Anti transform again. Another fight on the cards and this time Gridman is able to confirm this kaiju is purely a kaiju and its goal is to destroy Gridman. Now he can fight with clear conscience. This time Gridman is assisted by Battle Tracto Max, a battle tank who can also combine to become Gridman’s huge power arms! Gridman matches the kaiju’s speed and strength. I believe it is Gridman’s victory even if the kaiju isn’t destroyed. Because it ran out of power and reverted back to Anti. Akane is glad with Yuuta’s return. Gridman introduces Yuuta to his allies, Neon Genesis Junior High Students. Together with Calibur, Max, Buster Borr and Sky “Vit” Vitter will be helping him fight alongside Gridman. Now that the tables are turned, Akane is displeased with Anti and throws food at him.

Episode 4
Akane suspects Yuuta to be Gridman but has no conclusive proof. So she tries to get close to Rikka. Rikka’s friends, Namiko and Hass seem to have hooked themselves up with a group date with some popular online boys known as Arcadia. They invite Rikka to join and since Akane wants in, I guess it’s perfect. You bet Yuuta and Utsumi aren’t thrilled about hearing this. What else to do? Tail them in secret! At the karaoke, one of the guys was unknowingly rude to Akane so she made an excuse that she needed to leave. With that, I guess Utsumi calls off the ‘stalking’. But it’s not for Yuuta. He is worried seeing Rikka getting along fine with one of the boys. Heck, even Max comes to talk to him and asks him if he likes Rikka (which he somewhat confesses. Maybe) since it is so frustrating to watch them. Anti still hangs out outside Akane’s place. She isn’t amused but offers him a chance to kill Arcadia. However Anti can’t do that as his mission is only to defeat Gridman. Akane ignores him. Something then happens to 3 of the Arcadia boys. When Rikka meets up with her friends, she knows something is wrong as the sole Arcadia boy and like everyone else believes there is only a member in this group. Rikka then goes to meet him and is now certain when he is being targeted when a strange fog envelops. And then… Tentacle attack from a kaiju! If not for Calibur saving them, they could’ve been goners. Calibur relays this back to his comrades and Gridman is shocked that there is a kaiju he cannot detect. Oh well, time to fight. However with Anti in the picture, the monsters fight each other for the right to fight Gridman. This has Neon Genesis all jumping into Junk to help. But wait. This old PC can’t handle the power and starts to ‘freeze’! How to solve? Rikka unplugs to restart it and even kicks it! It works! Old fashioned urban legend works! With all of them coming back to reality, looks like Yuuta only brings Max into the fight. After Gridman defeats the kaiju, too bad Anti ran out of power when it’s his turn. Good thing. Because Gridman too. In the aftermath, Yuuta manages to summon his courage to ask Rikka to grab some food together. Score? Well… She calls her friends to join in. So close… But Rikka has thoughts about kaiju appearing near her. Could she be the reason?

Episode 5
A class field trip to the mountains. Such lucky kids because they’re going rafting! During the break, Akane talks to Yuuta. Indirectly she asks about his transformation and although he doesn’t understand what she means, his reaction basically confirms that he is Gridman. With that, Akane calls Alexis to unleash the kaiju. It’s the biggest kaiju ever because the entire mountain becomes one! Of course Yuuta cannot combine with Gridman unless he enters Junk. Instead of evacuating with the rest, Yuuta and co run towards the train station. Luckily along the way there is a public phone. Luckily Utsumi got money. Luckily Rikka knows her shop’s number (yeah, damn phones these days can’t make us remember numbers anymore). Yuuta calls Max to bring Junk over. So they purchase it from Rikka’s mom (do they have enough money?) and bring the entire thing on train! I guess the station master must be kind enough to let them plug in for electricity. Meanwhile Akane is lost as she is puzzled Gridman hasn’t appeared for the longest time. Anti finds her and brings her back. When Yuuta reunites with Neon Genesis, it’s Gridman time. Finally he shows up and Anti too abandons Akane to go fight him. This time no falling out between the kaiju as they relentlessly attack Gridman. Gridman has assistance from Borr who is a driller with missiles. Eventually they destroy the big kaiju with some ultimate beam missile attack and the earth all came crushing down on Anti. In the aftermath as they go back, Max ponders why the kaiju only appears around Yuuta. Hmm…

Episode 6
Yuuta continues to ponder Akane’s words. Because everyone has already forgotten about the field trip, he wonders if Akane is not affected by the reset. Meanwhile Anti is still hanging out at Akane’s place, awaiting for her orders. She tells him to go kill Yuuta. Kill him and there will be no more Gridman. You mean he believes her just like that?! Too bad Rikka finds Anti foraging for food and takes pity on him. Not only she feeds him but takes him back to her place to bath him. WTF?! Akane on the other hand sees Utsumi and talks to him about being a fan of the kaiju. They hit off but her goal is to ask if Yuuta is hiding something. Eventually Utsumi replies Yuuta is Yuuta. He can’t tell her on the grounds he doesn’t want to get her involved. Elsewhere, Yuuta meets a strange girl who claims she is a kaiju. She wants him to ‘date’ her and the treats are on her. As they take a train out of the city, she tells him nothing exists outside of the city. When the train reaches the boundary, Yuuta falls asleep. Only her music has him regain his consciousness. She reveals that Akane is the one who is making the kaiju, destroying and fixing the city over and over again. This is to suit her liking and all those killed are those she didn’t like. While making all the kaiju, her heart and the city have become like a kaiju. Hence Akane is like God and her twisted heart allows her to be manipulated by somebody else. If Akane is making kaiju, why is this girl against her? She is not made out of Akane and is the original kaiju that existed long before this. She is telling him all this as thanks since her predecessors owe him a lot. Yeah, thank his amnesia for not recalling all that. As Yuuta makes his way home, Anti attacks him but Max and Calibur protect him. They reason there is no Gridman here and just a normal human. Anti gives up and leaves. Yuuta recognizes him as the talking kaiju as Max suggests reporting this to Gridman. Failed Anti returns to Akane. He should know the mistreatment he is going to get for failure.

Episode 7
Yuuta tells his friends about what the kaiju girl said but they find it hard to believe. In school, Anti attacks Yuuta directly but is told that Gridman will not appear if there is no kaiju. Anti leaves but hatches an idea. Yuuta then asks Gridman about the kaiju girl but he too doesn’t recall anything about her. Yuuta’s only option is to ask Akane directly. Oh, she’s waiting for him in his room! Since he knows her secret, this makes it easier for her to explain. She wants him to join her and they can do whatever they want as God. He rejects because he cannot betray his friends. He is appalled to hear the reasons she killed off people and then rebuild the city. When he asks how she makes those kaiju, she then calls Alexis to meet up. He mentions how Akane designs the monsters and he only brings them to life. Yuuta’s Primal Acceptor resonates, indicating a kaiju but Akane brushes it off she didn’t make any for today. Then how do you explain this UFO flying outside?! Yuuta returns to Gridman to fight. But it seems the UFO can regenerate and its attack and speed faster than before. Akane returns home only to learn this UFO was made by Anti. It is possible because his hatred for Gridman is even greater than hers. With Gridman having a hard time with the UFO, Vit lends his assistance as he is a jet. With aerial capabilities, Gridman finds the monster controlling the UFOs in the clouds and Anti is with it. They soon fight but our friends soon learn what Yuuta said is true because they see a flying city. Gridman easily defeats the kaiju and Anti. Alexis now believes Anti isn’t strong enough like Akane to create true kaiju. He is going to discipline that kid. So when that failure is rummaging for food, Alexis attacks him and blinds an eye.

Episode 8
Not sure why Neon Genesis is discussing with Yuuta and co about the floating city and aliens (Alexis) at school. They’re sure attracting attention and have to put this off to another time. When they confront Akane, since they know she is the source of the kaiju, this makes it easier for her to explain her plan. She is going to unleash one during the cultural festival and shows them the upgraded kaiju she made. Back at their base, they discuss about this as well as Gridman maximising his power if he reduces his size. This way, all of Neon Genesis can participate and doesn’t use up much power. However Rikka is against the idea of fighting her friend. Postponing the festival or even telling Akane nicely not to do it seem unlikely. Utsumi hits Rikka’s nerve when he says she uses her emotions to think. So the guys go talk to Akane directly but she refuses to back down. She claims she hates the festival and believes to guys too share the same sentiments. Meanwhile injured Anti stumbles into Rikka’s mom’s shop. Borr is suspicious but Calibur allows mom to feed him and then let him leave without saying a word of thanks. All this just to get his contacts? Akane and Rikka talk. The former confirming killing others. When Rikka doesn’t accept her ways, Akane dares her to kill her then. She can’t. There is no way anything Akane does will make Rikka hate her. She designed her that way. Akane tries to tempt her to join her side but Rikka refuses. Rikka then talks to Yuuta about her failed talk with Akane. She thinks of apologizing to Utsumi first because he wouldn’t expect that. This gives Yuuta an idea. On the day of the festival, Gridman pops up first. With the people in disarray, they evacuate and this reduces the casualties. Furious Akane releases the kaiju. Gridman is half his size but is able to combine with all Neon Genesis to become one might mecha and kick ass! In the aftermath, Utsumi and Akane apologize to each other. Akane didn’t come to school, citing she isn’t well but her words still resonate with Rikka. For the rest of the afternoon, the festival went on well without a hitch.

Episode 9
Is this a restart? Yuuta having amnesia again. But this time Rikka is replaced with Akane. This time she claims they are dating. Meanwhile Utsumi is thrilled with Akane being a kaiju fan and they go to kaiju conventions to buy kaiju stuffs. Also, Rikka is very good friends with Akane. Of course as you might have guessed, it is all a dream. Our young ones are in a deep hypnotic sleep. Anti is mad there is a kaiju but Gridman hasn’t showed up. He confronts Neon Genesis but is told Gridman is on ‘vacation’. Anti heeds their advice to defeat the kaiju so that Gridman could appear. Thing is, the kaiju is like a ghost. It just passes through everything without making any damage. Hence Anti cannot connect his attacks. At the graveyard, Yuuta after seeing Gridman’s reflection, remembers reality. He will not join her in living in this dream forever because there are some things he must do. Bye. At the same time, Utsumi also realizes this is a dream as his other friends are not around and he is experience streaks of good luck. Bye. Same case for Rikka. She won’t stay forever in this dream of hers. Bye. Akane is left disappointed and sad that she cannot even reach them in their dreams. So Yuuta summons Gridman to defeat the kaiju. But that is just the dream world. In reality, the kaiju materializes and starts destroying. Neon Genesis then combine themselves to form Powered Zenon and take down the kaiju. Anti calls Calibur why Gridman still hasn’t shown up. Because there is no need to. Gridman will not fight Anti since he is a living being with a heart. Anti insists he is still a kaiju. With Yuuta and co waking up, they point out there is still someone who needs to wake up: Akane.

Episode 10
The gang are talking about Akane being God and if so, are their memories also created by her. The best way is to ask her directly but it looks like her home is no more. It’s just an empty space. She must have ran away. So more discussion about memories and if she is the reason why Yuuta lost them and Gridman initially being incomplete. Like as though they were separated before coming here. As Calibur fights Anti, he asks the question of what he will do after defeating Gridman. That stunned look says it all. He never thought that far. A kaiju appears. Gridman and Neon Genesis combine to easily take it out. Of course Anti joins the fray but is easily defeated. Again. It seems the earlier kaiju’s corpse continue to remain and as for why Anti is always spared despite being a kaiju, Gridman says he is alive. Unlike other kaiju who aren’t living things as they are created out from Akane’s malice. Damn technicalities. Akane is depressed of yet another failure. Anti asks why she gave life to him. She claims he isn’t one anymore because kaiju cannot read people’s feelings. She tells him to go somewhere and do something else. Another kaiju bursts out from the earlier kaiju’s corpse. It kills all the other scenery kaiju. When Gridman and Neon Genesis go to tackle it, they get easily overwhelmed by its power, speed, agility and pranks. Like as though it can read their movements. Gridman is going to lose for real when suddenly Anti comes to his defence. Reminding us again his goal is to crush him, Anti then transforms into his own version of Gridman. He knows this kaiju is Akane’s heart. Hence he can read her feelings. Anti uses this to his advantage and defeats the kaiju. The rest realizes Anti’s true form. He is actually Gridknight, one who protects Gridman. At this point Akane has found their base and realizes how Junk works to materialize Gridman. Not even God knows everything. Because she throws away a lot of things that she can’t remember. Then that’s not God, am I right? When Yuuta tries to talk to Akane about being used by Alexis, she stabs him.

Episode 11
Akane then trashes Junk. But the most mind boggling part is how everyone just stood around in shock and let Akane leave slowly. Like, WTF?! With all communications down, they can’t call for an ambulance so they send him to hospital. Thankfully he lives (because main character) as his vitals are missed but in coma. Alexis confronts depressed Akane and wants her to make kaiju but she can’t anymore. Gridman is no more after she stabbed Yuuta. But there is still Gridknight. Even so, she can’t. So Alexis uses previous kaiju models to go on a rampage. Anti pops up at the hospital. Because he is no longer a kaiju, he is here to repay his debts of causing trouble to humanity by fighting the kaiju. Unlike Neon Genesis who can’t help if Gridman isn’t around, Anti can become Gridknight easily. Although he fights the hordes of kaiju, there are still too many. Neon Genesis then returns to fix Junk. Yuuta dreams of Gridman. In short, Yuuta is actually Gridman. When he wakes up, he tells Utsumi the truth of why he has no memories. He is Gridman inhabiting Yuuta’s body. Until Gridman is gone, the original Yuuta will wake up. He understands why Akane had to stab him since she was driven to a corner in a world she made. That’s why there is only something he must do. Yuuta returns to Junk and with Neon Genesis by his side, Gridman returns to aid Gridknight dispose all of the kaiju. Rikka finally finds Akane but is told to go back to her friends since this doesn’t involve her. Rikka snaps back it does. Aren’t they already friends? Conversation interrupted when Alexis needs Akane’s kaiju. She still insists she can’t make them but he corrects her that he is fine with her becoming one. Instance abreaction!

Episode 12
With Akane the kaiju running rampant, Yuuta tells Anti to take care of her because he has something to do first. Alexis mocks Rikka for thinking that she is Akane’s friend. A creation of God who thinks she is God’s friend? How sad. Alexis claims Akane did not change and she was like this from the start. Because nothing changed, that’s why everything is so great. Rikka vows to change Akane. Good timing as Yuuta is here to pick her up. Then it’s off to pick Utsumi who feels useless as a normal kid who did nothing. Story can’t move if he keeps sulking so let’s go. Anti manages to dive deep into the kaiju to pluck Akane out. But he is promptly disposed off by Alexis. They’re so busy talking that they didn’t notice him creeping up? Alexis then combines with Akane to become a kaiju. Since she still has all that hatred, this gives Alexis the power. Back at base, all of Neon Genesis get their own Primal Acceptor. This allows them to combine with Gridman and transform into their ultimate true form, which is the original Gridman design. It might look like Gridman easily beating up Alexis but it seems he can regenerate. All thanks to the being empty and hence infinite. Alexis explains there was nothing here but providing kaiju to Akane allowed her to create and destroy and ideal city. Because there are some irregular factors beyond her control, the reason she needed kaiju to do so. Hence Alexis wants to make that wish come true by doing that over and over again. When Gridman is on the verge of defeat, he bounces back with Fixer Beam! Apparently this beam supposedly fixes Akane’s heart. But its true power comes from humans because you know, the power of mortals and being finite. That’s how you defeat something immortal! With that, the city and everything returns to normal. Akane is still having doubts about leaving but with the voice of her friends have her come out of the darkest recess of her heart. In the aftermath, Akane and Rikka talk. Akane wants to leave town because she has done unforgivable things. She admits she is a coward and is weak. Rikka gives her a parting gift and hopes wherever she goes, she will leave an impression. She is after all their God. And in a blink of an eye, Akane disappears. Now it is time to say goodbye to Gridman and Neon Genesis since they too will be leaving for home after sealing up Alexis. Some words of gratitude and hope before our heroes fly for home. Utsumi and Rikka wait for the original Yuuta to wake up. Meanwhile Anti is saved by the kaiju girl. Because he has repaid his debts, he is now like one of them and her family before. Last scene sees Akane wake up from bed into real life. I mean, real 3D footage!

Bakemonogatari: Greatman!
So Akane wakes back up and returns to reality? Everything in this world we have seen was just part of her dream? I have to say that I somewhat understand her because there were times that we just want to run away from the real world and create our own world and live in that idealistic and perfect fantasy world that we live in. Assuming this was all just a dream and in her head, the basic rule of thumb for every dream is that it will eventually end and you will have to wake up. Oh well. I suppose if the world Akane crafted isn’t working out the way she wants to, might as well return to crappy reality where a lot more things are out of her own control. What happens to the world that Akane has left behind? Probably doing fine on their own as long as Akane is also doing fine.

The story isn’t anything exciting but it isn’t all that boring either. There is this mixed feeling of both. Because aside the action bits, there is a lot of drama in between. The mystery of who Yuuta actually is, the goal of Akane, what the heck is Alexis and his goal as well as the curious nature and setting of the town itself are all intriguing questions to keep you wondering but eventually when you think about the overall story at the end, there isn’t nothing much to it to tell actually. Basically the power of humanity and the finite saving the day because when you have something so limited, it gives off more value. Yeah, that limited edition thingy that is out of production must be worth a lot, right?

The same can be said for most of the characters. Because in between the tokusatsu action, there seems to be some sort of, uhm, draggy drama between the friends. It isn’t like Yuuta’s group of friends are the most exciting and happening group ever. It feels like a strange group of bedfellows only coming together because of the loose relation they are to Gridman. I mean, nobody else in this town retain their memories after the reset. So it only make sense that these people stick together. Otherwise, Yuuta being the main character as well as being Gridman himself doesn’t sound really exciting. I mean, I had the gist that he is Gridman in the earlier episodes because otherwise how to explain his convenient amnesia. Then you have Utsumi who is just more of an Ultra series and kaiju maniac and Rikka just being a normal girl and possibly stirring up some romantic interest but (thankfully) never materialized. She just ended up being somewhat friends with Akane, that’s all. I suppose that is important enough for Akane to move on. As cliché as it is, Rikka has a couple of friends who aren’t important to the plot. But I keep wondering if Hass has some sort of chuunibyou or eternally sick since she has the sick mask always on. Unless this gives her some sort of character that we don’t really care.

But they aren’t as bad as Neon Genesis whom I feel are like as useful as the accessories role they are meant to be. Because seeing the big masked guy, the serious guy with swords, the bratty violent little girl (who loves kicking Utsumi’s shins) and the uhm, normal guy hang out and bumming around at Rikka’s mom’s place makes them feel that they aren’t of any use. Unless Gridman goes into action, only then they can flesh out their role as weapon-cum-vehicle-cum-accessories to aid Gridman. Other than that, they’re like just hanging around and if Rikka’s mom wasn’t this laidback and if I was her, I should be asking them if they really have anything else better to do like get a part time job instead of waiting for kaiju to show up and then transform.

Then there is Akane as the supposed villainess but she is just a lost girl. Despite we are told that she is playing God and the God of this world she creates, it feels she isn’t any close to the omnipotent and omniscient as the Almighty. Perhaps what she wants is just a nice little world to be with her friends. But it keeps backfiring since they don’t usually go her way. Ironically she cannot bend them to her will, the way she wants them and this causes her to sink further into depression. Akane’s case of wanting to play safe and stay in a dream is one of those debatable subjects because if the real world and reality sucks so hard, shouldn’t this be a lot better? Unfortunately for the sake of a better story, ‘good guys’ will usually have the mentality that it is much better to suffer in reality and take on all the pain because it proves we are alive, blah, blah, blah. Rather than stay in the comfort zone of the dream forever. Yeah, like WTF. You representing all of humanity now? Can Akane just stay happy in her own dream? If she doesn’t have this what else will she have? Oh right. Her friends. Damn clichés.

Anti also feels weird at the start. It soon became some sort of a running joke that he only exists to be defeated. Quite the irony of his role and existence to defeat Gridman. Because he rushes into battle, tries to turn the tide in hopes that would make him fight Gridman, but in the end, he never wins. Gridman defeats him or he runs out of power to continue. Is this some sort of joke? Then I should have seen this coming but they pulled the rug from under my feet. Because if you constantly fight an enemy but do not clearly defeat it, then there is a possibility that the enemy will become your ally. I mean, it’s variation of the shonen cliché of the enemies you defeat then become your friends. With Anti becoming Gridknight, now Gridman has an ally to help fight kaiju. Better than fighting each other and having the same stalemate outcome, right? Too bad Gridman has gone home. How will he ever get a chance to defeat him again? He finally finds his redemption and now groupies with the kaiju girl whom I believe is the personification of all the other real kaiju of other tokusatsu series. I mean, where do dead kaiju go after being defeated? I think there’s a deeper meaning and connection for the kaiju girl. Otherwise if you’re a casual viewer like me, her appearance doesn’t make any sense or meaning to everything. And Alexis being the final boss whose goal is to destroy via using someone sharing those same sentiments? Pfft. Boring.

It’s been a long time since I left the tokusatsu world and even though it did rekindle some nostalgia, I guess there are still certain stuffs I find it pretty funny or strange. For example when such great warriors meant to fight great monsters could quickly run out of power! OMG. Don’t they carry a spare battery? I remember during my Ultraman years, this was mainly the talking point among my friends of how ‘weak’ Ultraman is because he runs out of energy after taking a few measly beatings from the monster. So it’s the same here. Gridman running out of energy after a bout, were they like fighting for half a day? It’s not even 5 minutes and his blinker is already blinking. You can say his giant size takes energy to maintain but with all the great technology today, surely they could have improved on this, no?

Then there is the part where the tokusatsu fights the monsters and leave a trail of damage in the city. Because in every episode of the tokusatsu series, it’s like the city has been reset. Do you know how long it would take for the city’s infrastructure to be rebuilt? I know national safety is priority but if Ultraman is going to beat down the kaiju every week, Japan isn’t going to be a habitable place for years to come. And with the people going about in their daily lives, not fearing another kaiju will pop up, they must really trust Ultraman to come to save the day, huh? I mean, you want to put your child in constant danger by living in such dangerous environment? Better migrate to somewhere where kaiju don’t appear. So this series may provide that answer that was plaguing my younger days of this issue. It’s a solution that I accept even if it might not be the best answer.

And the scenery kaiju that are supposed to clean up the town and reset it back to normal, that could be a representation of how we as kids used to play with toys with our own hands. We use our imagination to crush and destroy imaginary cities and the likes. Once it’s over, we put it all back into the box. Yeah, this feels very much like it. Or how we create scenes and stories in our head and the next time if we didn’t like how it went, we can just ‘revert’ to that original point and imagine another route.

Of course now it goes without saying that the best parts of this series and other tokusatsu shows are the action sequences. At least, that is the attraction of the genre. The reason why we kids look forward each week to see what kind of ‘creative’ monsters the tokusatsu will fight. While the fights here might be cliché, but it is a big load of fun. The fights don’t take a bulk of the episode and don’t last long. After all, tokusatsu battles are like huge wrestling matches infused with some magic beams and other accessories. They need to sell their merchandise so it’s only logical why the hero has so many other accessories to combine with and a few variations to go with it. So seeing Gridman taking on the kaiju here does feel fun and takes my mind off the less than impressive drama moments.

Art and animation feel pretty good. The character designs might not be that unique or impressive but considering this is made by Trigger, the art looks a lot better than some of their other works that has that cartoonish looks. Like Little Witch Academia, Kill La Kill and even Darling In The Franxx. CGI is also used but they don’t stand out like a sore thumb as they blend perfectly during the action sequences. If they start putting in real live people in rubber suits, I think that will be a big slap in the face. I believe the kaiju designs are taken inspiration from other tokusatsu series but they don’t ring a bell since I wasn’t that big of a tokusatsu fan then but it’s just a feeling. Yeah, I could still identify an Alien Baltan if they put one in. And of course Gridman having close resemblance to Ultraman needs no further explanation. Looks great and his combination sometimes make me feel he has turned into Transformers.

Voice acting feels pretty normal. Nothing spectacular to men. Helming the casts are Yuuya Hirose as Yuuta (Aizawa in Handa-kun), Hikaru Midorikawa as Gridman (Lancer in Fate series), Yume Miyamoto as Rikka (Megumi in GJ-Bu), Souma Saitou as Utsumi (Tatsumi in Akame Ga Kill), Reina Ueda as Akane (Mira in Dimension W), Tetsu Inada as Alexis, (Komamura in Bleach) Katsuyuki Konishi as Max (Oga in Beelzebub), Ryousuke Takahashi as Calibur and Masaya Matsukaze as Vit (Saiko in Saiki Kusuo No Psi-nan). Although I recognized Kenichi Suzumura as Anti, I never did for Aoi Yuuki as Borr until I finished watching. I thought her was familiar but never bothered to really think about it. Though she wasn’t in that trademark cutie squeaky voice, recently she has been voicing character roles that move away from that stereotype. Hence I never thought it would be her.

I love the opening theme of this series, Union by OxT. It is a catchy rock piece that befits the genre and this series like a glove. Now I’m having a dilemma if this song is better than Clattanoia from Overlord. Because the rock side isn’t as heavy as the latter and it gives that hype feeling that you want to support Gridman or other favourite tokusatsu heroes. Can they be joint number one? The ending theme is also another rock outfit, Youthful Beautiful by Maaya Uchida. Also not bad but in comparison I would prefer to hear Union. There are a few insert songs but I found out that they are from the soundtrack of Inferno Cop. Heck, even the original Gridman song made a cameo in the final episode, Dream Hero by Norio Sakai. I didn’t see this series but sampling this song, how come it feels like 80’s disco?

Overall, it was a fun series to watch for the season. It brought back some nostalgic memories of the genre. Especially the fight scenes, slick animation and the opening theme but not so much the characters and the story (I read somebody online made a pun of SSS being Show’s Story Seriously Sucks! Somehow I couldn’t agree more). It wasn’t so explosively loud or in your face like Kill La Kill or Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. It is simplistic in its own way and not too overbearing. After all, the clichés are abound only because it is somewhat a tribute to the original Gridman. If there are more tokusatsu animes like this, I would sure like to give it a chance. But hopefully they can fix the low energy problem by that time. You know how annoying when your Smartphone runs low on battery power and then suddenly goes blank, right? Damn, the irony of the limits of finite power!

After several movies and specials to Tiger & Bunny (which I didn’t watch at all), looks like they’re getting a sequel. Make that spinoff sequel. Double Decker! Doug & Kirill isn’t exactly about superheroes but somewhat a buddy cop series. Yes, you have somewhat a team of cops with seemingly opposing traits that come together as they fight the drug menace and taking down the big drug cartel that is plaguing the otherwise peaceful city of Lisvalletta. And of course there is a lot more conspiracy going on beneath that other than the drug problem. WTF… Aliens?! Technically… Don’t think. Just go and feel so good…

Episode 1
When the police cannot handle a baddie with inhuman powers, this is where the special crime unit of Seven-O steps in. Doug “Veteran” Billingham is here to arrest suspects who used the super power induced drug known as Anthem and who has gone into Overdrive mode (that inhuman form). Although he missed, thank goodness for his colleague, Deana “Pink” del Rio covering for him. Meanwhile Kirill Vrubel is a lowly constable of the local police department. He gets reprimanded for some minor order violation. That cocky attitude won’t help you too. Unlike his associate, William Jefferson who is very popular with the colleagues, his boss likes him and has a nice family. Kirill refuses to work outside his working hours but since his landlord threatens him with some shady photo, I guess he has to start looking for her cat. As he follows the feline and realizes it has started a family in an abandoned factory, Kirill waits for it to finish its business? He falls asleep and when he wakes up, only to realize a hostage situation is going on! Worse, Jefferson is beaten up and incapacitated. Kirill has always dreamt of becoming a hero in such situations. Too bad he doesn’t know what to do! Lucky for him, Doug is here. He can help promote Kirill if he helps. Yeah, Doug somehow got his foot stuck in the pipe while sneaking around. All Kirill needs to do is to identify if the baddie has taken Anthem. You can see a mark on the neck. Once he does, activate the switch. So this is what happens. Kirill distracts the baddie by claiming he is a time traveller. In his birthday suit! Baddie not impressed. Going to kill him. Kirill cannot spot the mark but he sees him going into Overdrive. The switch just releases some smoke? But Doug is ready to fire his medicine at the baddie. In the aftermath when Kirill emerges with the hostage, the police arrests him thinking he is an accomplice! Too bad his boss doesn’t appreciate it and thinks he has tarnished the precinct’s reputation. He isn’t fired but transferred to Seven-O. Travis “Boss” Murphy welcomes him to his new unit. Originally they scouted for Jefferson but he declined. Kirill was recommended thanks to Doug. As their unit operates in pairs, Kirill will be Doug’s partner. But the next day, the unit gets another newbie, Kay Rochefort and all attention is on her. Kirill no longer ‘popular’. And then they argue the nickname he is supposed to get. Because everyone else does. Like Yuri “Robot” Fujishiro and Max “Boxer” Silverstone. Because Travis prefers Perm as Kirill’s nickname, Kirill rather choose the insulting Okappa one instead. Like he has other options anyway. Okappa it is?

Episode 2
Kirill is called by Travis… Because he is fired! WTF?! He apologizes that there was only an opening for his post and it was supposed to be for Kay. There goes his hero dreams. But Kirill won’t accept this yet. He challenges that if he could accomplish anything within a week, please reconsider. But many days passed and it’s nothing but desk jobs and boring stakeouts. Until a random old guy hints he shouldn’t give up did Kirill realizes he still has a chance. He sees his personal informant, Morgan and is told that the petty thief he caught, Billy is now out of prison and might be doing something to smuggle Anthem. With Doug, they bust into the place but the container only contains monkeys. Depressed Kirill bums out and reveals to Doug his reason of becoming a detective. He and his sister were orphans. But 10 years ago his sister disappeared and he became a police to look for her. That’s how he met Morgan. For Doug, his reason to become an officer is because he wants to rid of something. They are then contacted by Seven-O’s communications officer, Sophie Gainsbourg that there has been a riot on the prison island. Henry Glen has been suspected to be given Anthem and used this chaos to escape. But Doug doesn’t head for the island even though there is only 1 road there. He believes the prisoners have already escaped and swam away. From the currents, he believes they swam to the warehouse where the container was. If he is right, it is for the prisoners to hide and escape.

When they get there, they see infamous prisoners all gathered there. This might be their big break but Doug notes Henry is not here and they have no business with anything that is non-Anthem related. Doug further deduces that this is a decoy and Henry might have escaped via the road. The only vehicle to have left is an ambulance. So they track down the ambulance and as Kirill takes statements from them, Doug knows the driver is Henry. Immediately Henry steps on the pedal. Begins a wild car chase. Doug explains how Henry used Anthem to make himself more handsome. Because Anthem also removes a human’s natural limiters and is poised for evolutionary advantage, it means he was ‘chosen’. Doug manages to corner Henry (turning into a monster at this point) and fires the medicine. In the aftermath Kirill felt he didn’t do anything so Doug tells him it isn’t wrong to be a hero but the dramatic ones dies first. That was what happened to his previous partner, Derick Ross who was set up in an ambush. Kirill is motivated to help Doug rid of Anthem. Please be his Double Decker! Doesn’t that sound embarrassing? Doug corrects him that it isn’t Anthem or evil but 2 things: Poverty and class. Kirill now further admires him. After a week, Kirill anticipates he will be fired as he meets Travis. Shockingly he is handed his gear and badge and is now a full member of Seven-O. Thank goodness things worked out, eh? So with this, he gets a new nickname? Buzz-cut?

Episode 3
Kirill tries to impress Doug but he isn’t making any impression. Travis briefs his team about some shady dealings of Anthem at the industrial zone. It is believed the man behind it is nicknamed Bamboo Man but he wears a mask and has jewels for teeth. Travis wants the newbies to work on this case. Deana conveniently dumps Kay to help Doug and Kirill. So Kirill is still trying to get to Doug’s heart. He sure sounds misleading when he says it to his landlord. Yeah, he is given some food discounts. Doughnuts? Too bad Doug doesn’t want them so he gives them to Kay. You mean this dude wants to impress a guy instead of this cutie girl?! Does he want bromance?! Back to the case, the trio go undercover as journalists as they cover a union strike led by Harry Bottoms. They are on strike to protest against the factory ignoring their health conditions as Harry has a lung disease from its poisonous gas emissions. Then they go down to the factory and the foreman, Tommy shows them to low oil production. Nothing serious. My, is Kirill going all out to impress Doug that he wants to stay back and do stake out? Yeah, he really wants to fight for the workers’ case. So as he waits, finally he sees loads of trucks moving. Time to catch them. Too bad they are just shipping oil drums. That was embarrassing. With this blunder, Kirill starts thinking if Doug prefers his old partner. So he calls Apple Bieber (Seven-O’s technology officer) to ask about their past. Great buddies of course.

Later when Kay takes Kirill out to eat, Kirill thinks he got her heart instead and went to great lengths to find places of good food. Actually, she is just a food enthusiast. Oh well, these young ones are so in their own world. It is revealed that Harry is part of this Anthem dealing. Doug snuffs them out and learns where they cleverly hid it to avoid the checkpoints. Doug has suspected Harry by leaking that shady photo of Bamboo Man, thinking he will act when he thinks somebody is on their tail. The earlier oil delivery trucks were just to divert their attention. Although Doug subdues his men, Harry flees. Harry calls Tommy to get all the stuffs out. Do not even try to burn it all he will be killed. Tommy is unaware of this Anthem thingy Harry is dealing with. That is when Bamboo Man forces him to take one as he turns Overdrive. Kirill and Kay seem to have finished their ‘date’. Coincidentally fleeing Harry almost crashes into them! He takes them hostage and back to the factory. Doug is also here but Tommy the monster now attacks everybody. Kirill tries to be a hero and be the bait so Doug can fire his medicine. In the aftermath, this industrial company is just a subcontractor used to put Anthem into pouches. Doug shows his appreciation by giving Kirill a funny looking gun. But Kirill is touched and hopes he could one day tell him about his ex-partner.

Episode 4
Kirill is shocked that Derick is alive! He just got discharged from hospital and the nurses are sad. They hope he gets shot again so he could return! So will Kirill be fired? Actually Derick is leaving the force and decides to go with his dream of opening a bar. Deana and Kay go to a host club to catch an Anthem dealer. She is splashing the cash like nobody’s business. Yeah, she swiped Travis’ wallet. So when the target is spotted, they search him. All kinds of illegal drugs but no Anthem. This is cumbersome because there is a clear division of jurisdiction between Anthem and other drug department despite under the same umbrella. They often clash. The dealer runs away and Kay interrupts Deana otherwise she would have shot her gun in public. This causes them to argue and Deana mad at her for not only being useless but getting in her way. And so Kay rants her woes about Deana’s recklessness and fashion sense to the rest (she’s not drinking anything alcoholic and she is already drunk). Doug tells her that Deana is highly skilled and sought after. It was a condition she has no partner if she were to join Seven-O. But the question remains why she took on Kay recently. Meanwhile Deana is doing the same rant on Kay but at Derick’s. He believes there is something that Deana lacks that Kay can cover. Kay goes to see Gary of the drug control division. He helps and teaches her how to do stakeouts but eventually it is a trap as Gary is in cohorts with the Anthem dealer. It seems Gary is selling Anthem to people. Despite its high risk, people still want to buy them. However he only chooses who gets the stimulant while others get the poison. Those who survive after using Anthem will think they are the chosen one and hence rumours of this will spread. Yuri and Kirill are captured by the goons as they were keeping a watch on Kay.

Gary wants Kay to get a sample of the special bullet drug or they will die. Kay manages to see Deana to get the bullet, giving excuse this is bait to lure the big bad organization, Esperanza out. After doing so, Gary breaks his promise and fires at Deana. Luckily she survives by hiding in the sewer hole and not the car he riddled with bullets. Deana goes after him. Cornered, Gary uses Anthem on himself and instantly goes into Overdrive. Then he starts blaming Deana and it turns out he has always been jealous of her. He wanted to join Seven-O but Deana got it instead. Kay isn’t a useless hostage this time as she blinds Gary with her flashlight so Deana could pump the bullet into him. Once this is over, she contacts his goons who are in shock. That is when Yuri easily breaks out of her chains and contacts Max to arrest them. Them playing the hostage was just a ploy to keep them occupied here. Kay learns a few important lessons from Deana. She never trusted Gary because of his warped sense of justice, that’s why she knew it was a trap. Kay gets motivated and wants Deana to be her teacher. This reminds Deana of her old partner and had the same name. She has a partner? I’m confused. Later it is clarified that her ‘old partner’ was a dog named Kay. So this is the real reason Deana accepted her? I don’t think Kay is going to be as obedient as her pet dog. Meanwhile Kirill is ‘sad’ Doug didn’t come to his rescue but tells him a secret that Yuri is a robot after he saw that amazing breakout. Doug being the dick he is decides to play along. Because it is common knowledge that Yuri is a robot.

Episode 5
Zabel Franken is about to be executed when he pleads he has more information about the killings. But he only wants Doug to hear him. Zabel’s story is that he was a drug dealer and when the deal turned sour, he started shooting. A few innocent people died including a toddler. He is sentenced to death and today is his execution. He requested Doug because he was the one who arrested him. So it seems there was one more thing he never told anybody: He killed the boss of Esperanza, A! Esperanza uses alphabets for its leaders so you can see why a small general like Zabel is screwed. That time Zabel was working for B and wanted him to take over the leadership of Esperanza. When Zabel was caught, he was assured B would come save him but now he feels betrayed and will do anything to get out alive. To prove what he is saying is the truth, Zabel tells them the location of A’s body. Seven-O members start digging and they find a right leg with a metal piece. Although this belongs to A, they want to know where the rest of the body is. Zabel will only tell them if there is an official plea for his life. Thanks to this big case, the authorities are able to bend the rules. Kirill is not impressed with Doug’s ‘hypocrisy’ because despite telling him not to get so obsessed with a case or else it will swallow you, Doug himself seems to be obsessed with the Esperanza case as he has a thick notebook with notes all about his findings on them.

After making arrangements for Zabel to show them where he hid the rest of the body (because it would be faster to find), they arrive at an abandoned school and start digging the spot he points. Yup, there is the rest of the body. Kirill seems to have an uneasy feeling all this while and he feels that whatever Zabel says is starting to jinx their situation. And true enough, here comes B! He starts attacking the police and it’s like he can do bullet time and dodge all their bullets. Damn this guy is so overpowered and he isn’t even using Anthem! With Zabel fearing for his life that B is going to kill them all, Doug points a gun at Zabel and wants him to confess all the important things of Esperanza. He manages to eke out their hideout when Kirill interrupts. A timely reminder not to let the case swallow him up. He orders the police to take away Zabel as they will figure out a way to buy time. Well, they’re going to need a lot of luck on their side because the Seven-O duo are having a tough time fighting B. It is only at his mercy that he lets them leave as he escapes. Like as though he accomplished a mission? In the aftermath, it seems Zabel attacked his police entourage and escaped. His whereabouts unknown. But thanks to his info, they managed to nab a few Esperanza generals and confirmed the body of A. Kirill is in no mood to celebrate. Doug comes by to apologize. He lets him know that his first partner was killed during an Esperanza case. It’s probably why he is obsessed. Kirill is motivated to take notes too? They’re going to get to the bottom of this and nab everyone. We see Zabel is actually the true boss of Esperanza, Agapetus Kroyd! The prison guard was in cohorts with him to setup the ‘treasure hunt’ for Seven-O. Agapetus kills off the prison guard so as to make it look like Zabel is dead.

Episode 6
While Doug and Kirill are doing a stakeout for some drug deal exchange, they get a call from Travis. It seems the police has requested some backup as there is a drunk mad making a fuss outside a casino. He claims he is from a ‘big syndicate’. He could be an Esperanza boss or just flat out drunk. Since the duo are nearby, what better way to confirm that. But Travis doesn’t like this one bit and has every reason to be worried. Because this is recorded by some reality TV programme albeit their faces are mosaic out and their voices changed to chipmunk. So Doug and Kirill interview this drunk guy who seems to be switching back and forth between fantasy and reality. He claims he is from ‘above’. No, not some building or organization hierarchy. You know, like heaven. He also claims everything here is a lab experiment done by the ‘above’ and hence he wants to see the mayor to tell this important announcement. Then he realizes missed calls from his wife and is starting to get scared. After some tests, he is found negative for drugs and sent home to his yelling wife. Yeah… While this programme is cheesy in the eyes of others, it seems Kirill loves it! Yeah, he is playing a video of it again! And then he sees something… OMG! Is that his sister, Milla passing by?! He goes to tell Doug but apparently he too has been watching the video and knows. Wow. Doug doing all this for Kirill? Of course as you would soon know, they aren’t talking on the same wavelength. So while Kirill is very touched he is doing this and help find his sister, in actual fact he is tracing a drug mule who appeared in the background of the video. They go bust the guy and Kirill must be damn disappointed to realize this wasn’t about Milla in the first place.

So when they are finally on the same wavelength, I guess Kirill jumped to gun too soon because how would Dog have known how Milla looked like? With the help of Apple, he can help trace the footage of the surveillance camera all over the place and track the whereabouts but it will take time. So as Seven-O hang out at Derick’s bar and hear Kirill’s story, suddenly Derick introduces his new part time assistant. WTF?! Isn’t this Milla???!!! It gets awkward between the siblings. Kirill doesn’t say anything because of what Doug said that he probably wasn’t interested why Milla disappeared in the first place but rather why she didn’t take him along. So it is shameless Deana asking on his behalf as Milla explains she was working here and there part time and took up jobs that doesn’t attract much attention. And so everyone agrees that this bar is so low key enough for Milla to join?! Are they saying it will never get popular?! Oh dear. Kirill breaks his silence. Since it’s the first time they’ve met, he will not force her to tell her reasons and can do so when she’s ready. Deana tries to tease Kirill for nearly crying but it is Kay who is bawling and getting emotional. WTF… Milla is glad Kirill has made great friends but Derick corrects her. They’re not just friends. Comrades. Later when the party’s over, Kirill takes a leak and is shocked to see Milla doing the same! OMFG! You mean Milla is actually a guy?! No wonder he sounds like a man… His real name is Valery. Wait. Isn’t that a girl’s name too? And Apple came in too late to tell the rest this. Yeah, he was checking out toilet footages and saw Milla entering the men’s toilet. Why was he watching toilet footages…?

Episode 7
Deana doesn’t want anybody to tell Derick that Milla is a cross-dresser. Just when he thought he got a nice cute female assistant, how do you think he will feel when he finds out the truth? I thought Deana just wants to get some kicks out of this… Meanwhile Doug is visiting the grave of his ex-partner, Pat Morino. It has been 8 years… Doug then visits an ex-convict who has turned over a new leaf, Paul. He learns that Good Looking Joe is making a comeback. Seeing his old retired boss, Dennis, he knows nothing of it but he thinks it is no good to get involved now. With Doug acting strange, he is even doing a Batman interrogation against Joker, beating up a convict to make him spill everything about Joe. Kirill is worried and sees Morgan for any info. The only thing he dug up was that his ex-partner was an information broker he was fond of but was killed. It is believed Joe killed Pat but there was no evidence. Because Doug is hot on Joe’s heels, Joe doesn’t know who this detective and summons Paul for answers. Paul pleads for his safety and will tell anything he knows. When Doug returns home, he finds his place vandalized with messages to stay away as well as one to visit Paul. He is in hospital in coma. Doug doesn’t heed the warning and arrests one of Joe’s drug dealers. This has Joe calling Doug personally to talk. But there is nothing Doug wants to talk. Until Doug realizes he has Dennis captured.

Kirill sees Doug heading out like as though he is going to war. He tries to stop him but is passed out by some sleeping gas. When he wakes up, he tells Travis about this. He believes his agents will not kill and has high moral standards. Too bad he soon u-turns his decision and goes with Kirill to rescue Doug. Doug is at Joe’s place and is told to surrender for Dennis to be freed. Turns out Dennis is now a drug addict and Joe’s regular. This is of course a setup. Now we hear the real story behind all this: Pat was not only an information broker but was a shoe shiner and a 12 year old orphaned girl! She was killed when shining Joe’s shoes just because she shone the wrong shoe polish colour! Joe disappeared after that and Doug became obsessed with Esperanza. Joe takes the Lady Joker gun Doug hides in his coat. He shoots a few times but nothing came about. Until the final bullet turns out to be a flash grenade. In this commotion, Doug steals a gun, shoots out all the lights as well as the goons. Lady Joker was a gun Doug gave to Pat for her to protect herself but she refused and returned it to him as she didn’t want him to break the rules. This is why Doug is by the book cop. Sort of. With Joe pleading for his life, Doug shows no mercy and pulls the trigger. By the time Kirill and Travis arrives, Doug assures them he did not kill anybody. The last shot misfired and it scared the pants out of Joe. Everyone is arrested and more good news, Paul comes out from coma. It is unsure if Doug knew the gun misfired since the gun is old but Kirill believes it misfired because Pat didn’t want him to kill for revenge.

Episode 8
A few prom queen candidates have been poisoned. There is suspected use of Anthem and the perpetrator might be a minor who goes to that high school. Therefore some protocol prevents them from investigating the school (because it is the alumni of many higher ups). But Travis manages to pull some strings to allow his Seven-O to investigate under the guise they give a drug awareness talk. During the talk, Hannah suddenly hijacks the stage to prompt for signatures to cancel the prom for putting too much emphasis on appearances. She is of course booed off. Later Elle and Camila approach Max and Kirill to tell them that Hannah is the one behind all this. However Max finds it suspicious that they simply try to accuse others without solid evidence. Furthermore, Elle is speaking and dressing oddly like as though she is hiding something. Elle feels hurt since she is being treated like a criminal but Camila assures her the prom will still go on tomorrow. The rest question other students. They talk about Chris who is in the lead to become the prom king as he is athletic and the smartest guy in the grade. Then a scream is heard. When the officers arrive, they see Hannah and Camila injured and Chris stunned by it all. It looked like he is the culprit and even though he says he didn’t do anything, he made it worse by running away but is soon captured and interrogated. Although he has possessions of Anthem and a weapon, he still maintains his innocence. He saw the girls this way when he arrived. Plus, he doesn’t do drugs and ran because he panicked. He also sided with Hannah and wanted to sign the petition to ban the prom.

On the prom day, there are police guarding the area heavily. Camila talks to Elle and doesn’t want the police to ruin the prom. They can hold it another day and even outside school. However Elle is not amused. All she wanted was to dance with Chris and with him treated as a criminal, it’s off. Elle then starts to berate Camila for trying to act like she is one of the cool kids. She was in fact one of those ugly ones and used Anthem to make herself beautiful. Sad Camila reveals Chris’ intention to ruin their prom by cancelling it. As he is popular, he might just get enough signatures for it to be cancelled. That’s why she tried to get rid of both of them. All that matters is Elle becomes prom queen and Camila will be her second. Elle tries to run away from this crazy b*tch as Max comes in to arrest Camila. She had always suspected her since she is the only one who is so obsessed about the prom. Camila uses Anthem on herself and turns into a monster queen bee, taking Elle hostage. As Max gives chase, Yuri tells the rest of Max’s background. She was once a shy and feminine girl who liked cute things. She had a best friend, Connor who was a total opposite and a mechanic. When he asked her to the prom, he had a favour to ask. It seems he wanted them to cross-dress. She accepted it but the crowd did not. They weren’t even allowed to attend the prom hall. Connor fell into depression, used drugs and left town. She continued to keep this hairstyle in memory of him. Max manages to shoot the cure into Camila. In the aftermath, the school will continue to have its prom but without a king or queen. They will investigate how the students got their hand on Anthem. Seven-O throws a surprise prom party for Max. All thought up by Kirill. With this, at least Max doesn’t hate proms as much as before.

Episode 9
William Dorman, a mayor candidate has his daughter kidnapped. So what does Seven-O have to do with this? As explained by Brian Cooper, the military’s secretary, a ransom is asked and the kidnappers are believed to be from Esperanza. As they are both good friends, he hopes Seven-O can help solve this case. All Seven-O are stationed to stakeout Dorman as he brings the ransom in person. However it seems like there are things getting in their way like traffic jams and arson fire smoke to block their stakeout. Eventually Doug has to personally follow Dorman and when he tries to save him from Esperanza thugs, he gets knocked out. In the aftermath, Doug is kidnapped and we see Dorman in cohorts with the thugs. But this is not how the plan was supposed to be. Kidnapping an officer would make things worse when this should be a heroic story of a father saving his daughter. Agapetus couldn’t care less ab out all that since it’s time to move to the next phase of the plan. He has his goons beat Dorman up since he wanted the heroic father story. When the daughter is released, she was told to relay the message that Doug is alive. This has the rest think that this kidnapping is just a ruse to kidnap one of their officer. Because what Esperanza wants is how the special bullet works (the right dosage is needed, more or less will kill you outright). True enough, this is what Agapetus is trying to get out of Doug as he tortures him to make him talk. Luckily Apple manages to hack his way into Doug’s visual apparatus in his eye to give an idea where he is (in some parking lot). Kay uses Morse code to communicate and Doug replies the same via blinking. But they have to move fast as Agapetus is thinking of resorting to Anthem to force Doug to talk.

Kirill has an idea to rescue Doug. Travis approves it since the military will be taking full responsibility. I guess we don’t qualify to hear it but better to judge it ourselves when we see it. Kirill gears himself up with several of Apple’s gadgets. Deana snipes the cars to make them explode as distraction while Kirill zooms past them in his hi-tech roller blades. The Esperanza thugs are about to take Doug and leave but he manages to break free and jump off the storey! Not part of the plan but thankfully Kirill is in the vicinity to ‘collect’ him. I guess lady luck is actually on their side for them to really have this awesome coordination. Don’t tell me it’s that Double Decker system! With Doug sitting on his shoulders, Kirill gives his last push to ‘fly’ into the helicopter piloted by Max and Yuri. I don’t think Doug is that heavy… Oh shoot. Ran out of fuel. Don’t worry. Doug has got them covered. The rescue and escape mission is successful and Dorman’s bluff is eventually exposed as a ploy to make him win the mayoral election. Kirill visits Doug recuperating in hospital. Although Doug thanks him, he did mention if he was in his shoes, he wouldn’t have come to save him. Speaking of which, there was that one incident, right? Oh boy… Meanwhile Cooper ponders about Kirill’s lucky charm quote of “Don’t think. Feel so good”. He said it was his grandpa’s words but could have been some corruption of another quote. True enough, that line is part of some Nikai’s prayer.

Episode 10
Doug is ‘running around’ the hospital to avoid doing paperwork that will discharge him and putting him back on duty. Yeah, that guy needs some rest too. Meanwhile, there is this kid, Gus going around the hospital, flashing his cash to girls to date him?! He must be so disappointed learning Kirill isn’t a woman… I guess Gus even tried on Deana but he was aiming for Kay. Speaking of them, they are here to interview a doctor because there are former patients of his died after using Anthem. Wait. Aren’t those ex-patients Ghostbusters???!!! He claims those patients were near death and when one is in such dire situation, one would turn to anything, including Anthem just to live. He questions if they even know how Anthem affects the human body. Then this is the biggest surprise… Kirill explaining how Anthem effects the DNA and genetics! OMG! You’re not dreaming! It’s real! Deana thinks this is an imposter! Sorry, girl. This is the real Kirill! OMFG! Unbelievable! The doctor is so amazed that he wants Kirill to introduce him to the military. Because he wants to put forth his proposal to use Anthem as medication. Just like how marijuana is used for medical purposes? Even back at the base, Deana and Kay are still in shock that Kirill is not stupid! When Apple tries to show him some genetic engineering journal written many years ago, guess what? It was written by Kirill! OMFG!!! Not trolling! It seems he needed the money for scholarship and studied and wrote this. But once he got the money, he forgot everything. Later Kirill sees Gus staying at the hospital’s park so he brings him back home. Gus tells his sad story that he wasn’t flashing his money to date but to find a good woman for his father, Jeffrey before he dies. His mom died when he was born and dad worked all his life just to support him. Gus doesn’t want dad to die living such a pathetic life. But Kirill emotionally disagrees because it is bad enough if a family member thinks so. All dad needs is his son to smile and be assured he is okay. Yeah, he is speaking from experience.

Kirill is called by Doug who is of course out by himself illegally. It seems he is tailing a man who has taken Anthem but is on Overdrive. Too bad the system cannot detect it is an overdrive. He knows this man because he saw him this morning on his deathbed at the hospital. When confronted, he tries to attack them and rants about the hope he has been given. Despite injured, he feels no pain and flees. When they return to tell the doctor about this, he claims there is not enough info to substantiate their claims. Later that guy returns all bloodied and is panicking. It seems he cannot feel or use his other senses anymore. Doug makes a deal with him that if they tell him who gave him the Anthem, they will help him. Meanwhile, the doctor is giving Jeffrey the option to use Anthem since he has a few days to live left. True enough, he is the one behind giving Anthem to his patients. He also has a secret lab where he is using other Anthem users as lab rats to find the correct dosage of the cure. You see, the special cure is a tightly kept secret only known by the military. The other guy gets desperate to use another Anthem but Kirill shoots the cure into him. Now he feels all the pain. Don’t want to die (again) now, eh? The doctor tries to get Jeffery to use the Anthem and coaxes him he is his saviour, blah, blah, blah. However Jeffrey squishes the Anthem. He would rather die as Gus’ father than a monster. In the aftermath, Gus holds a mock wedding for dad. So Kirill putting his femininity to good use for once as Gus’ bride???!!! He promises to work hard and not become a failure. Emotional father and son hug! Where’s the tissue when you need them?! Cooper approaches Kirill and asks if he is interested to join the military.

Episode 11
Kirill is on cloud nine thinking about joining the military. Sure, Cooper gave him time to think but why is he hesitating? With the recent case, the military is now getting involved to smoke out Esperanza. Hence Seven-O has so much free time that they’re even thinking of going to the hotsprings? Kirill then gets a call from Cooper to meet. Yeah, he’s taking too long on his decision. Cooper tells him top secret info. Ever wondered why there are 2 suns but only 1 moon? That’s because the brighter sun is a colony called Nikai and there are beings from there! So there really is heaven? The military has been trying to contact them but those people ignore them. They know about Nikai because a couple of children escaped 18 years ago (don’t they suspiciously look like Kirill and Milla?). So if Kirill joins them, his safety is guaranteed since his existence is special and puts others in danger. If he wants to know more, join the military. Back home, Kirill asks Milla about this and he confirms they come from above! He doesn’t know the details but mom had them escape the hell hole up there. Grandpa was a local who took them in and care for them and carried this secret till his grave. Milla never said anything just to protect Kirill. That’s why he cross-dressed. But being together made them even more stand out so he left. Milla never intended to see him again but after meeting again, he decided to protect and support him all the way. Kirill then asks Doug indirectly about what to do if a job puts people around you at risk. Well, that’s what partners are for, right? To protect the other. This clear Kirill’s mind as he calls Cooper and decides to meet and give his answer. But he’s not answering. It seems the military has discovered Esperanza’s base and everyone is down on the field to smoke them out. When Kirill calls Apple for reinforcements, that is when he hears Apple being kidnapped by Agapetus and his men. Kirill realizes the operation is just a setup and Esperanza’s goal is to find the cure of the special bullet. He calls Doug about this. Since everyone else is busy rounding up the baddies, Doug returns alone.

Agapetus threatens to kill Sophie so Apple has no choice but to reveal some juicy secrets. Doug and Kirill bust into the room. But this hold up scene feels weird. Everybody is pointing a gun at everybody so much so Agapetus has got enough time to bomb the wall and make his helicopter escape. When a subordinate shoots at Kirill, Yuri gets in the way. I guess this bomb must be special since she has enough time to analyse the situation and the necessary actions to take. To minimize the risk, she jumps off the building. Cue for the bomb to explode. YURI!!! NOOOO!!!!! In the aftermath, it is a gloomy mood at Seven-O with Kirill being emotionally desperate to fix Yuri. Yeah, he ‘reveals’ she is a robot and they can replace her. Apple doesn’t think her core survived the explosion. This hurts Max more than anybody but she knows even if Yuri gets a new body, it is not the same Yuri. It’s like a new person with Yuri’s memories. Kirill leaves upset and Cooper’s words now rang so true. Meanwhile Agapetus surprises Bamboo Man as he is still alive. Agapetus accuses Bamboo Man of trying to set him up and kill him during the helicopter escape but he shot the pilot first. Though Bamboo Man denies it all, Agapetus continues his mission is to lead and give others a purpose so that the poor will survive without resorting to crime. He believes Bamboo Man is trying to take his place and hence giving kids Anthem was a way of getting back at him. He is disappointed in him for being blinded by power. A power struggle soon begins and we see Agapetus bites the dust. Bamboo Man then shape shifts his face into Cooper! Just got a call from Kirill wanting to join the military to ensure his friends’ safety.

Episode 12
Max hands in her resignation but Travis holds on to it. Soon Travis calls his Seven-O members and they are being sent home. Recently the police discovered numerous bodies believed to be from Esperanza. It is unknown if it is due to internal power struggle. This means with Esperanza losing its grip on power, Seven-O loses its significance and hence they are technically on hiatus. Milla is worried he hasn’t seen Kirill so when talks to the Seven-O ladies, Deana can sense he is hiding something. Thus Milla spills out the beans about Nikai. Speaking of Kirill, he is now with Cooper as he is shown his secret lab where they research and gather more info about Nikai. He believes they are humans’ missing link as they left the wasted planet. Of course Nikai also had their own problems and conflict. With their side being outnumbered, hence the enhancement of individual soldiers using drugs. To Kirill’s shock, Cooper reveals he is also from Nikai. He goes on explaining about GMS (Generically Modified Soldier) that was a success but it took lots of time and resources just to create one. Therefore they miniaturized the drug but the problem was getting the ratio right. With limited resources on their side, they turn to using Earth as experiment. That’s right. The hymn and prayer that will lead soldiers to victory is no other than Anthem. Esperanza was used to distribute it and the military the means to treat it. At the same time, there was somebody born from Nikai who could naturally neutralize Anthem. However the parents refused them to be tested and sent them away. Cooper was only sent to collect data but never thought to find Kirill alive. Kirill realizes too late that the military wanting him was a lie and just a setup to get him. Kirill can’t fight back since Cooper is a GMS. Doug calls other Seven-O members and he has some juicy details. From Apple’s hacking of the lens in Agapetus was wearing, they are able to see Bamboo Man shape shifting into Cooper. Because he still had his lens on, they knew he was still alive so Doug went to see him as Agapetus revealed the natural antibodies in Kirill. The plan now is to save Kirill but doing it the official way will take a long time. So I guess they’re going to get some weapons illegally from the black market?

Kirill has no choice but to agree to Cooper’s terms. He is then shown an empty rocket that serves as some sort of smoke signal to Nikai. If launched, they will send something down. Suddenly the base is under attack. Doug then comes in to evacuate the duo. Of course this is part of Doug’s plan. They forced Derick to turn his bar back to its original bus mode (there goes his dream) and play the terrorist attacking the base. Deana and Max pretend to attack it and evacuate the scientists. Yeah, they even get Kirill’s old landlady to hop in on the action. Grandma kicks ass! Cooper spots Doug’s fake gun and realizes this is a trap. Doug and Kirill manage to escape in time but Cooper is hot on their tail. Doug reveals a special cure bullet to defeat Cooper. They analysed Kirill’s urine sample (?!) and managed to make an antidote from it. Doug further reveals Cooper’s obsession to destroy Agapetus’ bullet research was out of fear he would lose his own abilities. A person like that makes them fragile. But here is another catch. Doug will use Anthem on himself. Kirill is against this of course. Doug believes there will be a cure one day. But what if he dies soon? Better than sitting here and waiting to die. Cooper returns with Milla as hostage. Nosy brother wanted to help but became a liability instead. Kirill doubles down and threatens to kill himself. However Cooper plays psychology. All he needs is to present something to his Nikai bosses. Since nobody knows Kirill is alive or dead and that Kirill is a threat to him, go ahead and kill yourself. Doug admits their loss and throws down his weapons. But right after that, Cooper shoots Doug.

Episode 13
After Kirill goes with Cooper, he is shown a secret switch in which Cooper activates for the base to self-destruct! Overkill when the military is also called in to bomb the hell out of this place! As long as Cooper has Kirill, he is willing to destroy all the military secrets. When Kirill tries to inject to antidote, Cooper sees this coming and evades. Luckily Milla had a spare and injects. Didn’t see this one coming? Cooper feels weakened and ironically he still could get away from Kirill and back to Doug’s corpse to take his Anthem and get buffed up into some greyish Hulk. Don’t worry, lady reinforcements are here. While it looks like they’re taking pot shots at him, suddenly Doug wakes up. Yeah, he’s wearing a bullet proof vest. Of course you would have somewhat guessed all this was just a setup. You see, the antidote is fake and just some sort of a stimulant. Remember, you can’t make a cure for Anthem that easily. With this placebo effect, Cooper panicked and decided to use Anthem to maintain his power. Of course this means overdosing and going into Overdrive. After shooting the cure, Cooper still thinks the base will be destroyed. However Doug explains that they have caught Cooper using Anthem on camera (the entire plan all along to get evidence) and Apple has hacked the system into showing all this live. With this, Cooper has violated the laws and hence is relieved of his position and duties and Kirill who is technically his assistant is now in charge. Meaning, the bombing is cancelled. Still, the self-destruct cannot be override. Cooper uses this chance to escape and as much as Kirill wants to go after him, Doug reminds him their main mission was to save each other. So you mean exposing Cooper was the secondary mission? Anyway, Derick ‘sacrifices’ his bus to hold the closing gates for them to escape. I wonder how Doug and Kirill got lost and took enough time to get out somewhere else. I guess we need time for them to narrate about being heroes and the likes. Them, heroes? They’re just detectives.

I don’t know how they know where they’re going to appear but isn’t that Yuri piloting the helicopter?! When it looks like Doug is going to die again to sacrifice himself to let Kirill get away, damn illogical bomb explosion ‘pushes’ Doug up flying towards the helicopter. No injuries were sustained?! WTF?! Don’t wanna ruin this happy ending. Yeah. Don’t think. Feel so good! Cooper still wants to take everything down with him via this rocket. But Agapetus manages to pin him down. This isn’t revenge. It’s for wasting food. He shoots him and he himself goes down with the building. When Seven-O returns, Travis has got to explain about Yuri. This is the real Yuri and not her clone. You see, a few episodes back, Travis spilled his coffee while she was in maintenance mode. Panicked, he did the unethical cloning secretly. So the Yuri that sacrificed herself was the clone. Phew, right?! I suppose a deep apology isn’t enough. He gets beaten up and his wallet swipe (treats are on him tonight). Oh well. We got Yuri back. Now what is Kirill’s problem? He wants to resign, thinking Nikai will still come after them. You’ve guessed it, nobody cares. They agree to keep this a secret and if they do come after them, they’ll just kick their asses. In the aftermath, even though Esperanza is no more, the threat of Anthem is still relevant and hence Seven-O is not disbanded and this is also thanks to Dorman who has turned over a new leaf, promising to rid the city of crime. His popularity is soaring with the elections nearing. And Derrick continues his bar dream although it’s just in some alley. Better than nothing. Meanwhile Nikai realizes contact with Cooper is lost but he is the weakest of the 144 GMS. WTF is this shonen cliché?!

Super Cop: Project A(nthem)
Be glad to know the series isn’t technically over yet. Yup, as announced at the end of the final episode, a few more extra episodes will follow. Oh boy. Looks like I get to continue my feel good factor for a while. So what is with anime these days? They run an entire cour and at the end of it, decide to release of few more episodes later? At least they are doing this for series that I enjoy (like High Score Girl). But until then, it was really a fun ride and there were parts of me that wished this had gone a bit longer like another cour.

Although the story generally seems ordinary, but it was interesting enough to get me hooked. Firstly, the dynamism between Doug and Kirill is very amusing and is never a bore to watch. You have characters who are totally different from each other although they are not necessarily at the opposite polar ends of a spectrum. Many of the early episodes feel episodic like standalones and some of them feel like to showcase some of the characters in Seven-O and give them a bit more depth and background. I did expect some sort of twist because it couldn’t just be something straightforward, a fight between Seven-O and Esperanza. But I didn’t really see it coming about aliens! Or rather, those Nikai people. That caught me off guard. Now it isn’t just a drug problem and now you have ‘divine intervention from above’. It would add a whole lot of epic plot if the Nikai decide to bring their war down to Lisvalletta.

Making it as fun to watch is the very lively and ever positive narration in every episode that helps break the fourth wall and tongue in cheek humour. You think you know the plot or whatever that is going on? Hate to break it to you because the narration will soon tell the obvious in our face. Like as though they know what we’re thinking. They’re on to us…

Thankfully, the characters help make the series a fun watch. As said, the dynamic relationship between Doug and Kirill makes it more than just a simple and clichéd buddy cop series. They’re not perfect and have their own flaws but I guess that is why they work because they somewhat cover up for each other’s weaknesses when the time calls for it the most. So I guess that’s why their partnership works? Like Doug who may be mostly taciturn and sometimes a dick, sometimes he looks a bit like a scheming fellow because of his tendency to go into his ‘thinking’ mode by tapping his fingers on the side of his forehead. He isn’t as emotional as Kirill so when he somewhat makes deadpan jokes, he just looks weird. You wonder if he is being funny or not. Or maybe he is just like that. Let’s hope he lives up to everyone’s expectations of eliminating class and poverty before he retires. Otherwise he won’t be able to retire ever! And yeah we have Kirill his other half who is more passionate than his partner. It’s a bit cliché that he is that sort of main character that holds a special something and is hence coveted. Feels like plot convenience but whatever. And for those who judge characters by their appearances, Kirill sure had us dumbfounded when he knows his stuffs in genetics! Damn I still can’t believe it that this is Kirill!

I thought it was a bit disappointing when Milla suddenly popped up like that. It sounded like Kirill’s search for his ‘sister’ was going to be some side plot or perhaps incorporated into some twist in the final stretch of the series. Perhaps it was to get back at us first. Before we know it, the bombshell and truth is dropped before us. Also to let our guard down because with Milla as Derick’s assistant, we think there is no more going on for Milla. And of course that Nikai thingy but still, Milla overall doesn’t feel that significant. I suppose I have only myself to blame for hyping up this and expecting something else.

The other members in Seven-O are cool but I wish that some of them would have a little more screen time to showcase their past and background. We certainly have one for Max but the rest didn’t. Blame the single cour for that. Anyway, I would have love to see how Yuri came about and join the force as well as Kay. Speaking of Kay, with all the flashy weirdoes in Seven-O, Kay seems to be so normal and it makes her stand out like a sore thumb. I thought Kirill was the most emotional but I take that back seeing if you hit your sob story right, Kay surpasses Kirill as the emotional queen. Is that normal? I think Travis is portrayed to us as a laidback boss and Kirill’s partner in crime in terms of a comic relief character. But behind the scenes I believe he is doing a tough job of trying to pull strings for his agents. Otherwise you think that Seven-O which is one of the many divisions under the military could have so much freedom in going about to deal with the Anthem menace?

Even though Derick feels like a distraction we don’t need, but I guess we need this character for another running joke because nobody else goes to his bar except his Seven-O buddies. And they even make blatant jokes in his face about that! Oh Derick, you did say you wanted to achieve your dream by opening your own bar. But you didn’t say to have a SUCCESSFUL bar! Ah, technicalities. Hence Derick’s bar feels like a place for Seven-O to chill. I guess he serves decent food. Oh wait. There is a joke too that they don’t want to taste some of his special food he comes up. Thank plot convenience of something coming up for them to leave.

I guess Apple can be a comic relief character if you look at him in another way. Firstly his name already is weird and I wonder if he is taken inspiration from a certain Canadian teenage heartthrob. Like baby, baby, baby, oh… Other than being a technological genius of Seven-O, I guess we are more inclined to remember him as the guy who keeps reminding his comrades to call him doctor instead of his first name. Yeah, they do in serious times but other times, it feels like they’re trolling and ignoring him by calling him otherwise. And what’s this hobby of his that Deana likes to tease him? Peeping on others because he can hack into surveillance cameras? Last and not least, Sophie… Do they want me to remember her as the short girl with puffy lips and keeps saying “Oh… “ in her sentences?

Esperanza being the antagonist at first impressions feel like being one dimensional villains. Agapetus being the mastermind and boss of Esperanza feels formidable enough to be Seven-O’s villain as he is always a few steps ahead but ultimately it turns out to be a power struggle between him and Bamboo Man for more plot twist. Agapetus’ real reason for distributing Anthem sounds interesting and it would be nice to see his side of the story but alas, we’re running out of episodes. Bamboo Man has always had that suspicious looks and I had a hunch he was the real boss even when Zabel became Agapetus. So he’s like playing everybody into the palm of his hands since he is like controlling the military and Esperanza. It’s mind boggling to think that an important industry like the military had such a conniving top guy and nobody knows about it. Yeah, the military is so secretive that they don’t even know about themselves!

Anthem looks like a convenient tool to turn normal people into monsters with super strength and speed. The mixture for its cure is highly top secret and sometimes it sounds like simple ploy to keep the mystery because if everybody knows the cure, it would make sense for everybody to use it freely. There would be so many cases of people using Anthem running rampant because they can use it for a while and then revert back by injecting themselves with the special cure. So easy. You wouldn’t need Seven-O for that. Hope you don’t die of overdose. It is still debatable to use drugs for medical purposes and it would have been good if this series explored that. It would also be nice to see Anthem being used by people whose desperate circumstances fall into grey areas rather than making them look like simple low level villains. In any case, don’t do drugs.

On a trivial note, this isn’t brought up or an issue in the series but it makes me wonder if there is some sort of subtle trans issue here. A few characters seem to have this ‘feel’ with Max and Connor being the obvious. Then you have this running joke in Kirill that he has the face of a girl but I have seen anime for so long that it never occurred to me that Kirill looks like one. Sure, he has a pretty face but I never would have doubted his gender. Same case for Milla because when this guy popped up, all my alarms were ringing that are you sure this is a woman? Again he gives off that feel that Kirill did and sounds a lot like a man. And what do you know, he is a man. His gender was never in doubt except for the confusion that we were told he was Kirill’s sister. But I guess it is not as ambiguous as Apple. Oh boy, this is what you call ambiguous. Although Apple is definitely a male, his looks and voice are what make it ambiguous that even ‘veterans’ like me can’t tell at first if Apple is a guy or girl. I was still thinking there would be a twist somewhere in the mix whereby he comes out and makes a surprising announcement that he is a she…

The action scenes are quite entertaining although some are really over the top and exaggerated. But I guess that’s why it is fun. For example the first car chase that Doug and Kirill had. Yeah, it seemed over the top that the car feels like a futuristic Knight Rider on drugs with all the buttons and mind blowing gadgets. It’s a waste that they used this only once. And Max’s bike… Did they take inspiration from the bike version of Batman’s Batmobile? Still looking kickass, though.

I’ll say that the art and animation are quite high quality. Sunrise who did Tiger & Bunny also did this sequel spinoff and you can see some of the visual similarities in both anime series. Lisvalletta looks gorgeous as a western city mixed with both current and modern designs. In one corner you have the high-tech high rise and buildings of the future but at the same time you have the slums and alleys that are very much common in such big cities. There is also the use of CGI in between the scenes. Yes, even normal scenes if you look closely enough, you can see that very robot-like CGI movements of the characters. Thankfully it is not that obvious nor it is that jarring in a sense it would ruin your watching experience but I guess that one thing that helps us being distracted with this CGI effect is the details and colourfulness of the animation. That is why I said the animation here feels of a high quality. Lisvalletta is indeed a very colourful place with colour characters even in terms of visuals.

Some of the characters are weirdly designed. For example, Bamboo Man looking like as though he has a bad makeup day and he really looks like a wilder version of KISS member! If not for his jewel teeth… Some of the minor subordinates in Esperanza also look weird. Because you have some fatty leprechaun Irish dude, some macho gay punk and a mean version of, uhm, Tifa Lockhart? Or is it some sexy female pirate swashbuckler? Seven-O members aren’t better themselves. Like Max is definitely the weirdest with her SJW gothic look. Deana feels the same but she is much hotter. Yuri looks like a character who came out from a visual novel. Travis, this guy’s moustache why does it make me feel he is some pervert? Speaking of moustache, why does Cooper somehow look like a distorted Batman logo?! My eyes must deceiving me. Kirill’s landlady looks like an Indian native… Seven-O’s jacket that is equipped with stuffs to deal with Anthem, why do they feel like they are only fit for fashion walkway models? What was I expecting? To look like a fully geared military with bulging pockets?!

Voice acting feels decent as Rikiya Koyama and Saori Hayami as Travis, Deana and Shinichiro Miki as Joe are the only seiyuus I recognized. Saori Hayami here trying to break out from the stereotype I often casted her as because as the loudmouth Deana, she’s like really going all out and making Deana one hell of a badass lady. This isn’t her first time though, since she did voice weird characters too like Yumeko from Kakegurui. The other casts are Satoshi Mikami as Doug (Aubest in Grancrest Senki), Kouhei Amasaki as Kirill (Haruo in High Score Girl – no wonder that boyish voice sounds familiar), You Taichi as Max (Anzu in Prison School), Atsumi Tanezaki as Yuri (Natsume in Tonari No Kaibutsu-kun), Chika Anzai as Kay (Juri in Kokkoku), Aya Endo as Sophie (Tchaikovsky in ClassicaLoid), Takuma Nagatsuka as Apple (Hotaru in Butlers: Chitose Momotose Monogatari), Tsuyoshi Koyama as Derick (Youhei in Zero Kara Hajimeru Mahou No Sho), Yuuki Fujiwara as Milla/Valery (Liang in Nanbaka), Daisuke Namikawa as Bamboo Man (Rock in Black Lagoon), Yutaka Aoyama as Agapetus/Zabel (Hannibal in Drifters) and Tesshou Genda as Cooper (Warrod in Fairy Tail).

The opening theme is Stereo To Monologue by Kirisame Undertaker. The rock theme of this song fits the series nicely although somehow this song seems to remind me of another rock opener, more specifically Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens’ opener, Stray. Although both songs are sung by different groups, somehow the pace and beat of the song sound similar enough to make me feel that they are connected. Even though there aren’t any. Bluntline Special by Vickeblanka as the ending theme fits is another rock piece and feels very ‘American’ considering the ‘hip’ way they sing this song. Yeah, doesn’t sound that bad actually. And for some odd reason that I am still baffled today, hearing this song somehow makes me think of wanting to listen to that American rock group, KISS. No, seriously.

Overall, I highly enjoyed this series with its entertaining action, witty and funny moments and the dynamic characters. Too bad that I have some ‘high demands’ and suggestions that I would have loved to see incorporated into the series that it made the series looking less like a masterpiece. Even clichéd lessons like don’t do drugs, crime doesn’t pay and always having a partner to trust and cover your back, this is still a good series nevertheless and I hope it does get another season (no, the extra episodes don’t really count as another season). Or another spinoff sequel. I really do. I know I shouldn’t be too obsessed with a series or else I will be swallowed by it (and be bogged down with extreme disappointment in worst case scenario). But whatever. Because. Don’t think. Feel so good.

Akanesasu Shoujo

March 17, 2019

For the strangest and weirdest reasons that I am still trying to understand by far to even as of now, I first thought Akanesasu Shoujo would be somewhat a spoof of the spy thriller, Princess Principal. Perhaps looking at the promotional poster of a group of girls hanging out and reading the pretty vague synopsis of conducting an urban ritual that very well came true, yeah, I’m still thinking how I ended up connecting this series with that one. Probably my mind was on a different frequency then. This series is closer to Flip Flappers thanks to its sci-fi take of parallel world thingy but looking less cartoony. Did they just copy some of its elements too? Like Fragments? Is this the slightly serious version of a parallel world of Flip Flappers? Never mind. Don’t want to confuse myself before I even start watching.

Episode 1
A group of girls are conducting a strange ritual. Setting the radio frequency at 4:44, suddenly… Nothing happens. I guess the theory of going to another world via this method is BS, eh? Asuka Tsuchimiya of the Radio Research Society gets reprimanded by the teacher for hijacking the school broadcast during recess and started playing her own music. Too bad she dragged her other friends into it too. Asuka, Nana Nanase, Mia Silverstone, Yuu Tounaka and Chloe Morisu got off lightly because they bribed him with his favourite food. Later meeting up at their usual café, Chloe shows them a stone she found and when she played it on her radio, it made some strange sounds. Hence Asuka gets this weird idea to do the 4:44 ritual with this sound. Don’t hold your breath because nothing is going to happen- HOLY SH*T!!! WTF IS THIS GOLDEN TWILIGHT WORLD???!!! Lots of cute golden bunnies too! Nice to play with them until you get rough with them, they all start to show their fangs and attack! However they are saved by this heroine. Uhm, doesn’t she look like Asuka? She slays all the bunnies who even combine to become a giant monster. Then she warns all of them to go back to their own world and never come here again. Though they return to their world, this Seriouska (nickname name for this Asuka because of how serious she is) somehow returns with them. Asuka notices she too has a cassette player but Seriouska then passes out. I guess it’s only right for Asuka to bring her clone home. Thankfully grandma is a blur case so I suppose she doesn’t even know her granddaughter well. I guess the rest of her family is so busy with their miso shop, they don’t suspect a thing. Asuka tries to get to know her but she isn’t in the mood to talk about the world and the coincidence they have the same name and wants to rest. Next morning, Asuka realizes her clone is gone but notices she left behind her locket. Inside is a picture of her younger brother, Kyouhei. Asuka believes she is her from another world.

Episode 2
The friends discuss the strange phenomenon they experienced yesterday. What better way than to ascertain it wasn’t a dream than to do it again? Meanwhile a shady fortune teller attracts Nana’s attention by knowing the state of her family. This causes her to believe to set the frequency to 696.9. With Nana given the honours to start this ritual, hey they’re back in the twilight world. However they notice Nana is missing. But Nana is with them at the café? Something feels strange. How come her crude talking friends are so polite? Worse, Nana discovers that she will be married off in 2 days because it is the law of this world for girls who turn 17 to get married! Nana in shock, her friends in shock and her real friends from her world also in shock to see their other clones. Thank goodness for Seriouska to be in this world too to explain things, right? Hey… This world now has 3 Asukas! Anyway, Seriouska explains about parallel worlds possibilities. In short, a timeline can branch off into many worlds called Fragments. Like this world was created 10 years ago from their original. Nana seems to be the only one not having a clone because she assimilated into herself in this world, becoming a link between their group and this world. This link will allow them to exist within this world and return to theirs. Oh, don’t worry about everyone thinking they’re missing in their own world because time flows differently. So when they go back, it’s like though they’ve never left in the first place. Nana goes home thinking it is all a big misunderstanding. Too bad her parents are hyped over her marriage. This causes Nana to blow her top. She thinks mom wants to get rid of her and kick her out of the house. Because her real dad died and she remarried another man. She thinks her life would have been freer if her real dad was here. But look who is here at the doorstep. It’s her fiancé. My, isn’t that the famous handsome actor, Tomoya Chiba? Now you wanna marry this heartthrob? Asuka talks to her clone about Kyouhei. It seems in both worlds, Kyouhei is missing when he was 6. When the friends go to pick up Nana to head home, however Nana doesn’t want to go back. She wants to stay and marry Tomoya! After that mini date and sweet words, yeah…

Episode 3
What happens if Nana stays? The Nana in their world will go missing. Duh. Next morning as the girls prepare to go back without Nana, suddenly Nana rushes in and wants to go back with them! WTF?! Now she doesn’t want to marry Tomoya?! She realizes that was just his stage name and his real name is Tomoya Chiyokoba. Imagine combining their names would make hers sound like Choco Banana! She can’t have that! She promised herself not to marry someone who would make her name change because ever since mom remarried and renamed to Nanase, you know how many ‘Na’ in her name is being repeated?! Too bad the Marriage Enforcement Agency is here to drag her back. Our friends look for Seriouska and see her killing those bunnies trying to sneak into this world. Good timing for another explanation. Those are called Noizies. However they are not what she is looking for but a much bigger threat called Clutter as they are the ones responsible for destroying Fragments. There is this Twilight King who grants other Clutters this power and her goal is to defeat this big boss and save her world. Well, what do you know, this world’s Asuka stumbles into her counterparts. 3 Asukas together! She’s so amused to meet a new version of herself. But there’s no time as she tells them about Nana’s wedding that is taking place right now. Gotta barge through those fan girls crying over the married status of Tomoya while Nana remembers her real dad teaching her about some radio crystal thingy and a lesson in life to live according to her own principals, not others. I guess Nana did the right thing to say no to take on Tomoya as her husband. Cue for Asuka to barge in and Nana to go to her. My, why does this look like some lesbian drama! Uh huh. To others, it looks like they are going to elope! With Tomoya forcing Nana to become his bride, it is no surprise that with Seriouska smashing in, Tomoya’s real identity is that he is a Clutter. Time to transform into sci-fi suits and do some mega battle. With Seriouska taking a beating, Nana joins in and also transforms. Taking out her frustrations with that weird name she will have, blah, blah, blah until she defeats him. Cue for Seriouska to explain about the ability of one to become an Equalizer to destroy abnormal things when one overcome one’s shortcomings. Once they return to their own world, Nana officially joins the Radio Research Society and has accepted her foster dad.

Episode 4
Asuka catches Seriouska trying to steal her family’s miso! Hungry? Anyway, she is here so that she could hand Nana a Walkman since now she is an Equalizer, she can use this to transform whenever there is Clutter from this world. How convenient. Looks like Seriouska detected Clutter from another fragment and off she goes. When the friends hear on the radio about some request by Asuka, well, it isn’t actually by our Asuka. Realizing the coded request contains a frequency, they do the 4:44 ritual. A bug scares Asuka so Mia is the one who becomes the link to the next world. Howdy folks, we’re in a wild western getup now. And Mia is a deputy sheriff? Yeah, she is tasked to stop some cheating in a bar but thankfully the sheriff Hakuma steps in. Meanwhile the other friends stumble into the saloon. I guess everybody must be so confused to see their counterparts. Because in this world, Yuu is a bartender, Nana and Cloe are outlaws who rob banks while Asuka is a bounty hunter targeting them! Need some chikuwa timeout to digest all of this… Bounty hunter Asuka chases after the real Nana and Chloe and ropes them in (the outlaws were hiding). Because the sheriff’s office is close for the night, is there no other way than to bring your bounty home and stay with you for the night?! Gee, this Asuka must really trust them not to run away. Oh, did I mention that in this world all disputes are settled via duels? Under the watchful eye of judge Hishii, I think there’s an irony of civil disputes being settled this way. So why need sheriffs? They are to gather evidence if there is a criminal act so criminals can be charged without going through duels. Unless they get death penalty, why does it sound more worth it to be a criminal? Mia thought today was tough as she returns to her mom and she learns the shocking truth that the Mia of this world really wanted this job to help change the weak. So don’t tell mommy you want a career change now. Meanwhile the outlaws become friends with Asuka and Yuu. Even asking them to help them rob a bank tomorrow! Their story is that they do this to help orphans. Western style Robin Hood? Strangely, this flirty version of Yuu pops in and wants our girls to join this robbery.

Episode 5
Sexy Yuu tells bounty hunter Asuka that Nana and Chloe aren’t the real deal. Mia must be getting used to her job chasing down criminals. Lady luck must be really on her side too. Back at the office, Mia talks to Hakuma about how she always wanted to be a hero but because of her cute appearance, everyone assumed she loved cute things. They get word that the bank is in the midst of robbery. Yeah, Asuka really had a blast joining in. They make their getaway with sexy Yuu and her Harley. I don’t know how bounty hunter Asuka’s horse can match the speed but she has Nana and Chloe put oil in their paths so the carriage overturns. Only sexy Yuu gets away while the rest gets arrested by Hakuma. All accomplices of the robbery! During the trial, all of them are charged to do hard labour but Hishii is so kind to have them enter a duel. The winner will be declared innocent. Mia is confused that Hakuma lied about all of them being accomplices so he talks about justice and averting eyes from contradictions and sacrifices to make things right. You understand all that crap? Mia then bumps into Seriouska in disguise. She tells her not to do anything otherwise all her hard work will be for naught. During the duel, Asuka-Yuu and Nana-Chloe are forced to face each other. If they don’t shoot each other, all will be executed. Of course the friends will not shoot each other but great timing for Seriouska to play a recorded sneaky conversation between Hishii and Hakuma that they framed and setup the innocent girls just to draw the crowd. The real kicker is how they look down on how easy it is to manipulate everyone. And no surprises, Hishii and Hakuma are Clutters. Seriouska transforms to fight them. 2 against 1. Fair? Justice? Not if Mia decides to join in. Yeah, conveniently with a Walkman in hand, she is now an Equalizer. Cowgirl! Yeehaw! They defeat the Clutters with their real brand of justice. In the aftermath, the orphanage has become popular and the donations from people keep streaming in. Bounty hunter Asuka decides to help the outlaws run the orphanage. After the girls return to their original world, Seriouska confronts sexy Yuu and knows she was the one who gave them hints to come to this Fragment and wants to know her goal.

Episode 6
Asuka calls her friends because she wants to go to the beach. It’s winter. And what’s this about she forgot about it during summer? Not their problem. They have valid reasons to reject her but here comes sexy Yuu telling them they can go to another Fragment without doing the 4:44 ritual and guarantees there are no Clutter. Chloe agrees to be the link this time in exchange she gets to spend time by herself. The girls are in for a rude shock as they find themselves underwater! But they’re going to love this Fragment. Everyone has their own remote island to live on and the community’s AI, White Goat brings them anything they order with their handphone via drones. This is perfect for Chloe as she enjoys all the amenities she wants on her own little private island. Oddly, you can’t email here and you have to write letters to be sent in boxes? Funny. These islands are owned by the Yuu of this world. But she went missing so sexy Yuu is just using it on her behalf. Hey, can’t rob from yourself, can you? The rest start getting used to this life but Asuka starts feeling disappointed because they rather be by themselves instead of hanging out and doing things together as friends. Meanwhile Chloe stumbles upon a notebook but it is too sophisticated with quotes, formulas and weird symbols. Oh well, back to VR. Meanwhile Seriouska confronts sexy Yuu about bringing the girls here. They start fighting only to be stopped by Asuka by the silliest of reasons. Seriouska finds this Fragment to be peaceful and lively (a bit ironic, don’t you think?) but this is the complete opposite of the worlds Twilight King intends to bring. It has nothing. No deaths, no births, no pain, no happiness. Chloe roams via VR through the streets of Paris where she used to go as a kid. She loved being alone and do things on her own despite everyone told her she was a weirdo. But being in Asuka’s company, she is afraid of feeling lonely and hence sometimes she wants to be alone. When she starts noticing those weird symbols, that is when she checks out the notebook again. She realizes everything and everywhere has those symbols and realizes something is truly wrong with this world. Subliminal? Brainwashing? Oh, I can see where this is going.

Episode 7
Chloe sends a letter via a drone. She is testing because if they have read her letter, they would have taken action. Chloe continues her research. There is a video on the PC that was left behind by her counterpart. She says they must destroy White Goat and along with Asuka and Yuu, they developed a virus that must be directly installed into the server. However Yuu went alone and disappeared and Asuka got brainwashed. Meanwhile Asuka notices her friends are so obsessed with their Smartphones that they have not slept. She cooks for them and like zombies they go to eat. Once they let their guard down, Asuka steals their Smartphones and they chase her like rabid dogs! She throws it away into the sea and before they could do anything further to her, sexy Yuu saves her. She would have outraged her modesty had not Seriouska come to stop this farce. With her friends back to normal and sexy Yuu getting them a speedboat, they can go save Chloe. Meanwhile Chloe is paddling to White Goat? Oops, she drops the virus. Game over. Thank goodness it’s just a simulation as her friends wake her up. With Seriouska detecting Clutter at White Goat, it’s clear what they must do now. Inside the tower, they have to fend off stronger versions of previous Clutters they fought. Chloe realizes she has never gone weaker with her friends but has been able to do many things with them. So this realization allows her to get her own tape and be an Equalizer? Okay. She dives underwater where the server is. With all the monoliths attacking her, looks like Chloe has a cheeky talking teddy bear, Nunurusu to guide her. Chloe inserts the virus into the server. Easy pie. Hey, it’s not like the server thought anybody could infiltrate this far or made any anti-virus programme, right? With that, everyone is freed from the brainwashing. Those who tried to oppose and went missing are just kept in some storeroom? Chloe leaves a note to her counterpart that she is not alone. Back in their world, Chloe joins her friends for lunch instead of eating alone.

Episode 8
The girls head to their café but surprisingly it is crowded. Seeing the master injured, Asuka and co decide to help him out. After a successful day, Asuka suggests wearing matching outfits. So they take inspiration from the fragments they visit, huh? Wedding dress and cowgirls. The swimsuit one has got to be the ‘creepiest’… Yuu then gets a call from her father and he isn’t amused. Looks like Yuu skipped cram school. Looks like she can’t hang out with them. With Seriouska just coming in, perfect chance for Asuka to rope her in as replacement. Heck, Seriouska looks so different and beautiful that the friends can’t tell and think this is Asuka! Seriouska stays at Asuka’s place. Suddenly grandma enters her room. Oh no! 2 Asukas?! Seriouska’s quick thinking says they coincidentally met down the road and have the same name. Grandma is cool with it. But what is her surname? Oh man. Quick, come up with one. How about Siri? Asuka Siri. WTF. Don’t blame Asuka if she starts teasing you that you have accepted your serious nickname! Seriouska joins the family for dinner and loves their miso soup. That night, both Asukas have the same dream of being worried that Kyouhei was missing but found him. Asuka lesbian time over when Seriouska detects Clutter from her Fragment. She must go now. Asuka wants to follow to help but Seriouska refuses. Not because it is dangerous, she wants Asuka to live in her Fragment as it has a future. Of course Asuka isn’t going to listen. Luckily she wrote down Seriouska’s Fragment’s frequency. Then she summons her friends who are more than willing to go help her. This time Yuu becomes the link as they arrive in Seriouska’s Fragment that looks like it is in the midst of a huge Clutter attack.

Episode 9
Flashback shows when Seriouska’s world was under sieged by the twilight, she was running away with her family when Kyouhei suddenly vanished. Seriouska ‘welcomes’ the girls. It will be a good chance for them to see what a world being attacked by twilight looks like. However in this world, Yuu is dead as she was consumed by the twilight. Thankfully, sexy Yuu is here so both Yuu now share the same body. Weird talking to yourself, eh? Seriouska continues explaining that when their world was attacked 10 years ago, it then stopped. They soon discovered this energy source known as twilight amber from the sacred tree worked as a barrier. Seriouska shows them the operations room as well as the room they keep all the crystalized Clutter. If the Twilight King is defeated, they might return to their original form. There is also a training room where Seriouska trains and leads young ones to fight Noizies. Good chance for Seriouska to give Nana, Mia and Chloe new Walkman with enhanced features. Meanwhile Yuu gets attacked by stray kids who think she is the Twilight King. Too bad she got pranked a lot before Seriouska calls them that she is her friend. Bringing her back to base, Seriouska reprimands the kids for straying too far but Takumi will not accept it and runs away. Time for them to go after him. At the same time a high concentration of anomaly is detected. Is the Twilight King in the base? Not surprisingly, one of the stray kids is the Twilight King, masquerading himself as one of them when they brought Yuu in. He heads for the sacred tree and attempts to destroy it. Time for some Equalizer action but with the Noizies keeping them at bay, yikes! There is even a hydra Noizies to fight! Even when Seriouska finally takes it down, Twilight King has destroyed the sacred tree. Barrier’s gone. World is dying. Evacuate everybody! But where to? I guess we all just get to die. Seriouska wants her friends to return to their world and at least save Takumi who will be the link. It’s like she has already accepted her fate after thanking them for becoming her friends. She is going to fight Twilight King and hopes defeating him will turn all worlds back to normal. Distraught Asuka doesn’t want this but Yuu takes control and forces them all back. Asuka tries to return but 4:44 ritual isn’t working. Have you ever seen Asuka this troubled? Like she’s in really deep sh*t.

Episode 10
Sexy Yuu hands Seriouska’s locket to Asuka. Then a sad hug to tell her that Seriouska has been swallowed by the twilight. A week later, Asuka is back to her chirpy and cheeky self. Not sure if this is her being back to normal or just trying to cover up her depression. But it is worrying Yuu because it looks so fake that it’s, uhm, fake. Better than being outright depressed, right? But still, it feels weird. Then the girls decide to throw a Christmas party for Takumi and fortunately for them, Nana has found out where he is living. With permission from the master, they have the café all to themselves as they give Takumi the best Christmas-cum-chikuwa party. Even though he is quite happy living here, he prays that Seriouska would come to get him back. He feels it is not right living off the Takumi of this world and should go back. That is when Asuka tells him not to worry because Seriouska is fighting the Clutter and will soon return. Later, Yuu confronts Asuka about giving Takumi false hope. Asuka doesn’t believe Seriouska is dead and sexy Yuu could be lying. True or not, Yuu accuses Asuka for being the real liar here. This hit a nerve as the tension brings up some old childhood trauma 10 years ago. Asuka thinks Yuu have always thought she has been taking life easy ever since Kyouhei went missing. All Yuu wants is for Asuka to say something true to her heart. In that case, there’s nothing else to be said. Asuka storms out. Woah. Is this for real? Asuka being serious? Is she the new Seriouska v2? Sorry with the bad jokes. As the girls talk how to get things back to normal, Mia has never heard of Kyouhei’s case before so Yuu explains how he suddenly went missing when Asuka just looked away for a second. Asuka wasn’t to blame as she was a kid too but she has always felt so since. Not even the adults and police searching could find Kyouhei. After his disappearance, Asuka went to every park every day in hopes that Kyouhei would return (that was how and where she lost him). There’s nothing else left to say so they’re going to find Asuka. However they detect Clutter anomaly. Their worse fear comes true as twilight has come to their world. Meanwhile Asuka thought she saw Kyouhei. She knows it isn’t him but yet follows him. Then the hooded kid whom we all are to believe is the Twilight King… Sorry, people. Not Kyouhei. In fact, a mini Asuka who calls herself Twilight Emissary as she is one of the many servants serving Twilight King. Wow. She looks even more serious than Seriouska. Seriouska v3? Okay, better stop with this uncalled for jokes.

Episode 11
Emissary says how all humans’ consciousness will be assimilated by the twilight via Clutter. This process is inevitable. She wants Asuka to join her to turn other Fragments into twilight. Emissary can let this world prolong a little longer. However this is not enough a deal for Asuka. She wants her to bring Seriouska’s Fragment back. Meanwhile Yuu can’t find Asuka and is given a pep talk by sexy Yuu why she is the only one who could save her. Otherwise she won’t forgive her. You mean, like won’t forgive yourself? Meanwhile the other friends stumble into their teacher who turns out to be a Clutter. He did the right thing by attacking them as they transform! So in his illusion, he is going to tell them the harsh truths of reality and crush their clichéd hopes. Chloe: She thought of always being alone until she made friends. But that will reset again once she joins society and will be alone again. Mia: She was always praised as cute but wanted to be a strong hero. Too bad it’s a man’s world out there and she’ll soon realize it is more efficient to toe the line by being cute. Nana: Always the rebel, she realized being straightforward and accepting would make her a better person. But it isn’t her stepfather whom she finally accepts. It is rather her mom. She is not strong and independent enough and that’s why she remarried. Nana will be the same and will take on even more men. But the girls realize their friendship is much stronger than the twister world. Enough for them to break out and turn into Equalizers and kick the Clutter’s butt. Emissary knows how Asuka feels as she too lost somebody dear 10 years ago. But she heard twilight calling her and went with it. She was freed from sadness and regret. Asuka looks tempted to go with her but here comes Yuu to scream her heart out not to. Too late, she’s swallowed by the twilight. But with Yuu crying and admitting she has always loved Asuka, is her device an MP3 that allows her to turn her into an Equalizer?! Yeah, power of lesbianism is strong. Inside the twilight world, Yuu and Asuka come clean with their feelings. They are joined by their friends to kick Noizies ass. Emissary showing the most displeased loli face when the friends claim they will defeat her because she is not their friend despite looking like Asuka. Before the final boss fight could begin, Asuka asks if the deal is still on. She will still go with her if she promises to not let twilight take this world.

Episode 12
Asuka leaves her Walkman with Yuu. I guess all that is left is to believe in her, right? Asuka is really annoying as she walks with Emissary. Complaining this, complaining that. Eventually the chibi’s patience wears thin and lets her eat some chikuwa. I guess time stopped for them so they even have some flashback on Kyouhei. Yup, that guy introduced chikuwa to Asuka who didn’t even like it. And because he ‘lied’ to her it has some wish granting properties, she loves it ever since?! Time really stops for them to even go look for Kyouhei but he is nowhere to be found. Asuka won’t give up on him because as we further see, Kyouhei never gave up on Asuka when she herself wanted to quit. Asuka reveals it wasn’t the fact she was really sorry when Kyouhei disappeared (she was but not so much), rather she wanted others to pity her. One day she realized how vile that was and thought she should be punished. That is, to live Kyouhei’s life even if it was fake. Hence she knows Emissary didn’t choose to lie but was also punishing herself. But in her case, she became so sad about it, she decided to erase everything after hearing Twilight King’s voice. Now Emissary gets mad as she makes a jealous rant that Asuka made more friends and smiled a lot. She should lose everything like her! But Asuka won’t use Kyouhei as an excuse anymore and face herself. Everything is a result of the actions you take. Once you accept the facts, you can be free. OMG! Asuka turning into an angel?! Kyouhei will always exist in your heart. Yeah, more borrowed Kyouhei words as Emissary turns into a normal little Asuka. It’s okay. Okay to cry your heart now. With that, Asuka returns to her world and friends. Man, that was easy. New school year. Asuka being the lively idiot we all know. Asuka then spots Mayuki (Seriouska’s assistant in her Fragment). She wants her to join the Radio Research Society but Mayuki scoffs at that idea. She intends to join the Broadcasting Club and dreams to be a radio star like Annie Maxda (who?!). Until Asuka plays a recording that Annie was a guest in her club interview. Now Mayuki is begging to join her club and promises to be her friends forever! Damn that was too easy. And now we see Mayuki descended into the club’s brand of mischief as they hijack the broadcasting room again and again. Such happy life. One morning as Asuka wakes up early, she sees mom and grandma trying to solve the problem of a thief stealing their miso. I guess it made her day. A reason to smile even bigger today.

Get Ur Freak(quency) On!
Well… Uhm… The last episode feels a bit disjointed. Instead of having the usual power battles, it turns out to be some sort of ‘battle’ with Asuka’s other and inner self. Uh huh. Are we feeling so zen right now? Because when you accept the facts of life, only then you can achieve true freedom. Woah. Did Asuka eat too much chikuwa to spout all that cliché stuff? Still, it leaves so many questions unanswered like the threat of Twilight King. Because you know, Asuka and her friends are living like as though they’ve defeated the final boss when for all they know the Twilight King could just send another servant or he himself comes down to destroy their Fragment (maybe they’re just busy twilight-ing other Fragments). But hey, gotta live life to the fullest instead of worrying about the minor stuffs. If the threat of the twilight comes, they’ll deal with it. They have the Walkman device after all. And I thought they’re going to leave Seriouska dead for good but they made hints it was her who stole the miso. Hey, it could be anybody. But who wants to steal the family’s world’s famous miso, right? RIGHT?! So I thought they screwed this last part up and made things worse so that Asuka could have more happy points. I guess we can’t accept the fact that Seriouska is really dead. We’re not truly free then…

The idea of tuning in different radio frequencies to get to another parallel world sounds like a good idea but also simplistic and not really thought out well. At least for this series. At this digital age, my guess is that they might want to promote some nostalgia among older viewers (like yours truly) because there was a time when the Sony Walkman was the king of portable music. Yeah, blatant product placement there but I guess nobody cares because I don’t think the masses now use this. Even though radio is still an important form of media today, you don’t see people frequently tuning in to it using their handphones or Smartphone devices. It is often that old fashioned big chunky boring block. There are smaller portable ones too but none can match the lightness of the Sony Walkman. I suppose that was the last time that a popular device would allow us to tune in to different radio frequencies with ease. I could be wrong. Because I don’t see an app just to tune for radio stations. But you know, I could be wrong.

Anyway, the story of discovering the main antagonist known as the twilight swallowing up worlds also feels paper thin. Unless we get to see the Twilight King in the flesh, can this be considered a disaster series then? The theory of having different Fragments being newly created and breaking off from existing ones sound interesting from the surface. But when you start to think about the other aspects like its past and suddenly there is another world popping up, say, after World War 2. You just wonder if it is feasible for 2 different worlds to share the same past but just branching out at a certain point in time. And then, people in that new Fragment is like, how the heck do they live before their world is being split? You know, it just popped up like that. I don’t know. Maybe my puny brain can’t understand but considering that there are so many points in history that could literally just branch out and create a new Fragment, I suppose the twilight is going to have a hard time trying to assimilate all the Fragments. At least not at this rate. And if there are more worlds being created, will the numbers reserve for frequencies eventually run out? Imagine tuning into a world with a frequency of 100 digits! After all, there is no evidence that our memories from 10 years ago or even yesterday are real and could be implanted and made up!

Like I said, it is a good try to have the characters go through a few different Fragments and experience some sort of different distorted ambiance but eventually having a dozen episodes feel like both good and bad because it is too short to flesh out anything and if has another cour, it would have taken a bit too long and boring because you know, it is getting repetitive. Going to a different world, get to know that Fragment’s problems, fight Clutter, the girls have their friendship tested but ultimately bond closer and then they go back. Imagine doing that same thing for another cour. Boring! I would definitely switch to another channel! And besides, our girls going to other Fragments and impacting the outcome of those Fragments, do they have the right to do that? What if some other doppelgangers from other Fragments do the same too to their world but screw up? Who is to blame now?

Let me move on to the characters. Not really interesting but the irony is that despite Asuka and Yuu are tasked to be the main characters, I feel that their other friends of Radio Research Society have got better character than them. Sure, they have their own mini arcs where they are in the spotlight (an excuse for them to gain powers of an Equalizer) but Asuka and Yuu don’t really have their own. So theirs is masked in some sort of twisted yuri friendship which I didn’t see coming because I was always under the impression that it would be Asuka x Seriouska. Seriously. Because Asuka being so obsessed with herself, yeah, even that sounds really weird. But I suppose you can’t have Asuka and Seriouska being yuri with each other because that would be like masturbating. Because you know, playing with yourself! HAHAHA!!!! Oops… And probably I wasn’t paying attention towards the end of the series and thought the friendship tension between Asuka and Yuu was just part and parcel of the much needed drama to eventually enhance their friendship.

Otherwise Asuka is like being the comic relief of the series since she is so bubbly and lively like as though she is acting like a retard to hide her sadness of her missing brother. It beats being sad and gloomy. Otherwise you get somebody like Emissary. And this chikuwa thing is something else you would remember her because if you want to spell out her personality, uhm, happy go lucky girl, always staying strong and positive, uhm, what else, aha! Chikuwa lover! Yeah. Feels like that. Or else she has no back story other than her missing brother which is supposed to be some sort of a plot twist reserved towards the end of the series? It’s like they know we were anticipating this and if that happened, we will point out the obvious. So the little antagonist turned out to be a mini Asuka instead. Damn, why are all the Asuka in this series has ‘something wrong’? Asuka too retarded. Seriouska too serious. Emissary is evil loli so evil. So people, don’t ever leave your loli alone. This is what would turn out in worst case scenario to them. The irony of Seriouska’s nickname is that it tempts me of wanting to make jokes out of serious situations involving Asuka… Seriously… Oops, dang. But on a serious note (pun not intended), I wonder if Seriouska is alive, is her Fragment destroyed? How did she come here without a link? Are there other loopholes I am unaware of? Whatever.

What’s up with sexy Yuu? Who is she and which Fragment did she come from? What is her goal? Why has she taken a particular interest in this Asuka? What is Yuu to her? So many questions but no answers because she keeps deflecting them by being flirty. And then all of a sudden in the final episode, she goes missing? So much Asuka drama in the last episode that sexy Yuu became irrelevant. It’s like she is more a plot convenience than some trump card or plot twist. I mean, who else is going to match up to Asuka’s zany quirkiness? One of the biggest unsolved mysteries is Kyouhei. I believe most of us might have come to think that he is the final boss. You know, ‘surprising’ us that the Twilight King is her little brother? Because isn’t it just baffling that Kyouhei is missing in EVERY AND ALL Fragments? Seeing this guy, heck he is such a good brother that it makes Asuka look even more annoying! Serious! No wonder Asuka wants him back. If there was only a Fragment where he wasn’t missing but Asuka instead. But sorry folks, no plot twist for Kyouhei whatsoever.

Nana, Mia and Chloe as I have said, they seem to have better stories than Asuka and Yuu because of their own mini arcs. Hence their stories, issues and struggles sound even more interesting despite they are just like distractions to the overall main plot (if I should call it that) even though eventually it doesn’t amount to anything much. So after they have their own spotlight, it is back to being side characters for them. Playing supporting roles would be suffice for them, I guess. Tres bien, continuez s’il vous plait… Oh Chloe. Spam us more with your French words! And now that Mayuki is the latest edition to the club, it only makes me wonder that it is truly indeed that your actions do affect the results of the world. Because I can only imagine Mayuki being such a proper and respectable girl had she joined the Broadcasting Club instead. Arrogant maybe but it’s hell a lot better than being in the mischievous Radio Research Society. Oh man. Imagine what impact one decision could make.

If there was anything enjoyable about this series, it is no doubt the very much exaggerated and power fights of the girls in Equalizer forms against the Noizies and Clutter. It is so over the top and everything blasting in your face that you know it is so outrageous and just for show. Unless you’re not into this kind of stuff. But for me, just casually watching these staple moments of the series, I have to admit that they are quite fun to watch as each of their special themed movements are packed with power. From Nana’s warrior bride to Mia’s cowgirl hero and Chloe’s weird scuba astronaut with a talking teddy, such scenes never fail to amuse me.

Art and animation are pretty standard. Though CGI moments are used in the battle scenes, they don’t really look that awkward or disjointed. Thanks to me being immersed with the extravagant battles. Also it could be because with certain battle scenes taking place in the twilight world, I guess you can’t really see things clearly when everything is in amber or yellow colour. Some of the designs of the Equalizers are nice like Nana’s bridal outfit and Mia’s cowgirl one but Chloe’s is just straight out weird while Yuu is like so typical sci-fi that it just comes off as normal. But the Noizies looking like those apple bunnies now make me wary of seeing apples cut in those shapes… And why do Noizies combine can only turn into some hydra? Why not other types of monsters? No wonder the girls can defeat easily as they know its patterns. This series is animated by Dandelion Animation Studio and Jumonji. They are new studios doing their first project ever although the former did RoboMasters the Animated Series and a few Pingu ones. Both of which I didn’t watch.

Voice acting feels decent although it never occurred to me that there are some veteran seiyuus lending their talents here. Like Ami Koshimizu as Nana, Marina Inoue as Chloe and Nao Touyama as Mia. I thought they’re like semi-retired since I don’t hear them often these days. Yeah, with new seiyuus flooding the market, looks like I’m going to fall behind even further. The other casts are Tomoyo Kurosawa as Asuka (Kumiko in Hibike! Euphonium) and Lynn as Yuu (Maya in Sabagebu). I suppose with different parallel worlds, this series tries to show the flexibility of the seiyuus’ voice acting chops. Like all the different versions of Asuka. Okay, not bad. The opening theme, Soranetarium by Michi sounds a bit weird. Overall it sounds like a song for some ominous ritual. Aside from the hymn-like voices, maybe it is because of the constant thick timpani or those kind of big drums that give off that low heavy bass beats, giving off that dramatic feel. The ending theme also feels weird. Kowarekake No Radio by Ami Wajima sounds like she is a student of Enya! If you know Enya’s trademark style of singing, you would feel very much at home here. That kind of songs too somewhat evoke some sense of nostalgia somewhere in me…

Overall, despite its less than stellar plot and characters that should have had better personalities and stories to them (somehow saying them having more meat doesn’t feel right), this is still a watchable series. It isn’t too heavy on the sci-fi side so dumb people like me don’t get a lot confused by sci-fi terminologies but once again relies on the power of friendship that saves the day and ultimately the world (which isn’t entirely a bad thing). Plus, exaggerated and overpowered fights that might give Dragonball a run for its money but not necessarily topping it. Some might find this series cliché in a few ways and it might have fallen under the same frequency of the tried and tested, nothing really new. But are we ready to change the frequency other than our favourite channels to find something that is totally new and different? Anime is hardly in its twilight years or setting into the sunset. It’s just breaking dawn.

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?

RErideD: Tokigoe No Derrida

January 20, 2019

I didn’t think I would try my hands at watching another sci-fi themed anime. At least not after the disastrous Beatless that had me confused and not understanding everything. But don’t worry. At least RErideD: Tokigoe No Derrida isn’t about artificial intelligence. It is about time travelling. Yeah, it’s in the title. Oh no. Are we going to tackle that time paradox and its other issues? Too bad I didn’t have the ability to jump to the future to see whether I will understand or enjoy this show but I have a hunch of how it is going to turn out based on my guts and past experience. So why still watch this? Sometimes when the synopsis is worded in a very interesting manner, the only way to settle that curiosity is to find it out yourself. Only time will tell…

Episode 1
Derrida Yvain meets his fellow colleague, Nathan Bilstein. It seems their previous meeting with their boss, Hans Andrei, their suggestion to find a solution to a bug in the DZ automata was rejected. Hence he will not allow a recall of those robots. The only choice now they have is to see Derrida’s father, Jacques who spent half his life creating DZ. But first, we got to celebrate the birthday of Mage, Nathan’s daughter. She is joined with her friend, Yuri Dietrich. At the end of the day, it seems Nathan wants Derrida to join in some experiment of his but he refuses. Mage even talks to him about his idea of time travelling and its possibilities. She seeks an answer why he won’t work with her father but he dodges the question. Next day when Derrida sees Jacques to point out his views and flaws, he is told not to delve into this deeper. This only makes Derrida angry and thinks he is in cohorts with Andrei. Derrida throws a fit that dad never acknowledged him and did everything only for his own gains. More woes as Nathan calls Derrida to tell that Mage is in coma. Although her condition is stable, it seems last night she tried to do an experiment by herself. Deep into the night, Derrida receives a distress call by Nathan. Both men pack their stuffs and run. Apparently Andrei has orders for them to be killed. You see, their worst fears of DZ has come true as it has been used as military weapons. I guess they know why Andrei was so reluctant for a recall, huh? And since they know about the bug, hence he wants them silenced forever. But when Derrida says he gave their access card to Mage after the party, you mean Nathan got so worried he tried to turn the car around that he overturned it?! Ah, cliché moment for Andrei and his goons to pop up before them. He is going to frame Derrida for killing Nathan before killing himself. Derrida sees a strange vision of Mage before the goons fire at the car. You mean the explosion only knocks Derrida off the cliff? Trekking through the forest, again he sees a vision of Mage but this time he falls through some shaft and into some deserted lab. If Derrida wanted to rest, of all things he could rest, why lie in the most suspicious chamber ever???!!! Because of that, it activates and he is frozen to sleep. Not sure how much time have passed but he wakes up. Yeah, somebody left a timepiece on his chamber. Derrida is shocked to see the world as destroyed and Terminator-like robots roaming the dystopia.

Episode 2
If the robots fire at you, they aren’t your friends. Wow. Derrida can run and hide faster! I suppose when your life depends on it. Luckily he is saved by this tough old dude, Vidaux Volker. Derrida learns 10 years have passed and this is all the result of the war from those DZs. At first everyone was excited but hell then occurred and the only ones benefiting from this is the one who sold it and became rich. Vidaux wants compensation if Derrida is going to make it out here alive. That’s the price of his life. Can’t say no, right? They return to Vidaux’s daughter, Mayuka and they make their escape in his Knight Rider knockoff, Graham. Mayuka tries to scan his chip but he has no ID whatsoever, shocking them as they think he is dead. Meanwhile Andrei is still the despicable boss and he gets shocked to learn Derrida’s survival is detected. Wow. So high tech. Back at Vidaux’s base, Derrida rues of being set up. He realizes something amiss. He passed the patch to Jacques to fix the DZ bug so why isn’t it fixed yet? Oh right. He didn’t. Jacques also got hit, right? Also, the key to that patch was given to Mage. It means everyone is still searching for this. He wants Vidaux to take him to Mage but he won’t do it unless compensated. Derrida says he will give that file for him to sell and make a fortune. They make their way to Nathan’s home. Destroyed. Again Derrida sees a vision of Mage but this time she speaks. She is not Mage but Ange. As he looks around, suddenly he is apprehended by a girl. He recognizes that voice as Yuri and thinks she won’t shoot as it is a toy gun. She fires. It’s real! Meanwhile Andrei has hired an assassin babe, Donna to kill Derrida. He wants his death swift and quiet. Nobody must even know about it! I guess he is desperate enough to pay her advance. Luckily Yuri’s shot missed. At first she finds it hard to believe he is Derrida since it has been 10 years. He asks about Mage’s whereabouts. Well, guess what? She’s dead.

Episode 3
Yuri shows the grave of Mage. Can’t believe it, right? You know, if Donna really wanted to kill them, she would have just shot them from afar instead of approaching them and making her presence known. Vidaux fights her before they escape in Graham. Before you can accuse of Donna trying to be flashy, she actually calls Andrei that she can’t kill Derrida quietly! Hence Donna using her military drone to blast Graham to smithereens until they lost her in some mini cave. Thank goodness there is some underground resupply station to fix Graham and looks like Vidaux is going to have to charge Derrida extra as a bodyguard from Donna. Then they head to town where all the survivors resettled to get some more supplies. I suppose Yuri know believes Derrida is the real deal so she brings him to where she and Mage once lived together. In this little apartment she explains that when war came, her parents left for abroad. You mean somehow they were convinced and allowed to let Yuri and Mage stay behind???!!! WTF???!!! As they stayed here, men kept visiting them asking about Derrida. Which is odd because the official news said he died. Yuri reveals the real truth: Mage is still alive. The grave she created was just a decoy as she knew men were after them. Mage went missing last autumn and Yuri was looking for her. You mean it took them 9 years to do something? As Derrida leaves the building, another annoying vision of Ange. Can’t speak this time but she hints something. Thinking Yuri is in danger, he returns only to see the building explode! Oh, Yuri hanging on the edge. Lucky for her, Derrida is there to catch her. Just in time to escape with the gang, huh? Donna calls Andrei and she doesn’t like him hiring others for her prey. She warns she will kill everybody who gets in her way. Derrida doesn’t want Yuri to get involved anymore and will look for Mage himself. However Yuri has decided to join the search even if it is dangerous. I mean, her home got blown and she has nowhere to go, right? So who is going to pay foot this extra cost for Vidaux? Put it all on Derrida’s tabs! Man, this guy better have deep pockets…

Episode 4
To make another patch, Derrida needs the necessary equipment. Something that only Rebuild (the company Derrida worked for and is now mass producing DZs) has. After the war, Rebuild has become the largest defence contractor of the country. And because Rebuild only has internet access, I guess that’s the excuse they need to sneak in. So what’s the use of the company only being connected but not the rest of the outside world? They sneak in via a creepy tunnel connected to the main building. There are lots of DZ robots too but since they are low on battery, try not to provoke them. You really think a car can go through the rubble without making noises? Yeah, eventually ramming through them is the best option. Remember, they are low on battery and can’t pursue further. With Derrida’s hacking skills, the guys easily sneak in. Yeah, security has not even changed for the last 10 years! Vidaux warns Derrida if he is here purely for revenge, he is out. Would his fee be waived then? Guess what? The passwords and workplace of Derrida and Nathan are still the same and unchanged?! WTF?! No wonder Derrida can even access the data! But first, your creepy Ange premonition again. What she’s saying about Mage waiting for him?! Can she be more specific?! Anyway, Derrida sees some horrifying info. They download and escape but looks like they’ve been discovered. Thank goodness it is human security so it took some time to alert. Uh huh. Enough for the guys to run out and rendezvous with Graham outside!!! WTF security???!!! Plus, can a few bullet shots stop a vault door from closing???!!! WTF security???!!! Back home when they plug in the data, Derrida realizes a horrifying thing. It seems the bug was planted in there intentionally. All higher ups and the government except Jacques ratified it. Thus the DZ rampage was engineered from the very start. I guess it makes sense why nobody is searching for the patch file. As Derrida doesn’t want to drag them deeper into this, he parts ways. Oh, he’ll somehow pay his dues. Somehow Vidaux doesn’t view this as revenge, he opts to stay in. No charge? I guess he’ll sell the patents once he clears his name. Later Derrida and Yuri talk about Mage’s birthday. He remembered he came early but Yuri said he came late and had video proof of it. Derrida wonders if he changed past with this time ride and experienced a different past.

Episode 5
Conveniently we have info on Mage’s whereabouts. She was last seen at the museum at Vanfort. Oh good. It’s conveniently close by. But first Vidaux stops by somewhere in Vidaux to take some of his stuff. A robo pup goes on alert but when it detects Vidaux, it goes into support mode. It seems Vidaux was once an officer and this was his support dog? At the museum, Derrida remembers strange memories of being here with Jacques. Was he here actually? I guess there is still power running so they get to see the beautiful planetarium stars. Of course Donna is here to hunt her prey so Vidaux holds her off while Derrida and Yuri go do the necessary. Derrida is guided by his weird memories to the main control room where they easily and conveniently download CCTV footage of Mage in the building. They would have left after they’ve done their business but those weird memories once again makes Derrida acting up. He remembers for real he was actually here with dad to view the launch of the first automata prototype. And damn that Ange now pops up. What the f*ck is she saying about 2 people’s timelines never overlapped? This damn excuse allows Derrida to go back in time when he met dad for the last time. Because he knows the future, he tries to warn him about Andrei’s intention and the bug. Actually, Jacques already knew everything. He wants Derrida to escape himself because he has a responsible to see through this DZ bug thingy. I guess time is up because now Derrida returns to reality. Save the regrets for later because Vidaux and Donna’s fight is getting more intense. Luckily robo pup saves them and with lady luck on their side, they manage to escape and Donna pinned under some rubbles. Don’t count on her staying there forever. Back in Graham, Vidaux shows a photo of his young ex-partner. His father was a cop and commissioned him to retrieve it as it is the only record left from when he was alive. Looking at the museum’s footage, they see Mage talking to a man. Such clear footage that Derrida could identify him as Cassiel.

Episode 6
Derrida tells us he is experimenting on time ride. Based on the Trout Theory, you can send your consciousness back to your past self. With Graham’s circuits blown, looks like it’s a job for father and daughter to find the parts in the next city. Since it will take all night, Derrida and Yuri have to find some place to hide for the moment. In an abandoned building, Derrida explains more about time ride and its requirements is to vividly recall certain memories. I guess now Derrida is an expert in using time ride as he just vividly remembers and whoosh! Back in time. However using time ride a few times, he doesn’t seem to be able to change anything. Firstly, he notices if he tries to do something really different from the original, he will be pushed back to reality. Secondly, even if he did change something, how could he tell? But something during one of those time rides has Yuri taking notes down so this gives Derrida an idea. He writes down the current status of Jacques, Nathan and Mage. If he uses time ride and their status changed, it would mean it worked. Derrida tries time ride for a few times but will not go back earlier to when he completed the key access as it will be no point. Unfortunately nothing seems to have changed. At least the dead are still dead and Mage is still missing. When Derrida remembers that night being late for Mage’s birthday, he realizes this is another set of memories. Because of him using time ride, the timeline branched out. So now he has 2 sets of memories? With nothing important changing, Derrida deduces if he changed his actions, naturally others would change theirs too. Late in the night, it seems Yuri has been hiding a grave secret. She was the one who accessed the key access and Mage found out about it. Hence she blames herself for people targeting Mage and not Derrida. I don’t know why she is running away but looks like she got kidnapped. Next morning, Mayuka is frantic looking for Yuri. Not around. I guess Derrida didn’t even realize it. Sleeping the whole night, eh? So makes them think she is gone? There. She dropped her precious camera.

Episode 7
Vidaux believes Yuri and the people who kidnapped her will be in Bruque as it is the nearest town. This is where they’re headed too so they could get Graham fixed by their old mechanic friend, Klaus Baden. So they went to get this monster trailer to haul Graham to Bruque? Derrida asks around about Yuri but nobody knows. Yeah, he just missed a spot because in that building, Yuri is being held and interrogated by Schmidt Maier of the Union Intelligence Bureau (UIB). He wants Derrida’s patch file. He was assumed dead and the file lost until someone accessing the patch file online was detected a year ago (Yuri accidentally accessing it). The UIB wants it to turn the tides of war in their favour. His predecessor was the one who bombed her apartment as they believed of killing those before the data falls into the enemies’ hands. He promises to not harm Derrida if he gives the file. With Derrida yielding no result, it seems Vidaux has done his own snooping. He noticed UIB men looking for Derrida and with Yuri as hostage, they’ll use it against him. There are also rumours about the government planning to use missiles to bomb the hell out of the rampaging DZs. Nothing beats wiping everything out on a clean slate. Normally Vidaux doesn’t care about it but realizing Mayuka would have no future, he isn’t going to allow it.

If you’re wondering why Derrida as a very wanted men is out drinking coffee in the open, it is part of Vidaux’s plan to set him to talk to Schmidt. He gets down to business to trade the file for Yuri. He brushes off his time ride theory as a dream as the world they live in is the end result of a series of decisions and actions. Also, Derrida is to bring Vidaux too. Derrida doesn’t have the patch file (they just think he has it) so he creates a fake one. At the site before the exchange, Derrida wants to take a photo because all government transactions must have documentation. Schmidt gets impatient and he should’ve brought more henchmen if he was planning to subdue them. Especially a tough guy like Vidaux. A signal is given during the struggle as hiding Mayuka throws a smokescreen for them to rescue Yuri and escape. Good thing the trade didn’t happen because Yuri reveals sneaky Schmidt would have killed them all instead. Great timing that Klaus has finished fixing up Graham and boosted it up as well. Because with Schmidt ordering to violently kill them (I guess he didn’t want the file) and even blows up the bridge, Graham turns amphibious! Wow! Amazing modification in a short time. After losing their pursuers, Yuri comes clean that she was the one who made Mage on the run since she accessed the file that day. She knows Mage still loves Derrida a lot and that’s why they have to find her. You don’t need to tell him what he has been planning to do all along. Finally we see Mage in the flesh and she is going to finish this and do something risky.

Episode 8
Before they enter the next city, a mysterious voice tapped into their communications to warn them there is a trap laid out. They are able to take a detour and avoid it. That trap was set by Donna and she has a hunch who was behind this. Yeah, Andrei the chicken thinks she’s out to get him now! In town, they rent a room to stay as Derrida feels that voice is familiar. Vidaux goes around looking for info on Mage but only picked up hints that Cassiel is in town and that Donna too is targeting him. Then that mysterious voice calls Derrida’s caller ID. Derrida now recognizes this voice as Cassiel and was the one who tried to warn him 10 years ago. Yeah, he remembered it like it was just yesterday. They make plans to meet up tomorrow. That night, Vidaux talks to Derrida about his time rides. What would have happened if the past got changed. Derrida is sure he would be alone right now and the time Vidaux saved him would be no more than a mere memory like thought it is a dream. At the break of dawn as they leave town, Donna is seen fast on their heels. She didn’t fall for the leaked info trap as this is all part of her plan to follow them to lead her to Cassiel so she can kill them all in one fell swoop. But thankfully this device Cassiel created could malfunction Donna’s mechanical arm. Thank goodness for plot convenience. After driving Graham into his stealth trailer, Cassiel explains he is doing this out of atonement. As part of Andrei’s engineers he helped hide the bug and altered the checking process. Out of guilty conscience he tried to warn Derrida and Nathan but I suppose he was too vague then.

He also reveals about coming into contact with Mage and had done several odd requests for her before she left for a quiet place. Speaking of her, it was Mage who unfroze Derrida from her sleep. She also secretly carried on the research of Trout Theory that Derrida abandoned after he realized it was too dangerous to be backed up without any substantial proof. We interrupt your talk as Donna attacks. Oddly, Vidaux gets injured protecting them but she didn’t kill him and went straight to target Derrida?! Conveniently, another time ride. This time to the point he was creating the patch when Cassiel’s warning call came. He tries not to be too enthusiastic to trust him and plays it cautious like as though he is a stranger to avoid returning to reality but there is only so far he could go. Did he alter the past? Well, at least he got that device conveniently in his hand to malfunction Donna’s arm! Conveniently the guys escape back to the trailer. Derrida realized the future has changed a lot with that recent time ride because there are other bounty hunters chasing them and there are continued bombing tests right about now. It’s only a matter of time the big mother load will destroy Earth. He thinks of redoing that time ride again but guess what? Ange tells him he can’t do it because he can only change history once. WTF????!!!! Hence he cannot travel back to that specific point in time anymore as he has 2 conflicting memories in his consciousness. WTF???!!!! YOU MEAN I CANNOT HAVE MORE THAN 2 ALTERNATE UNIVERSES IN HIS HEAD OR LIFE???!!! WHAT KIND OF CRAPPY SCI-FI EXPLANATION IS THAT????!!!! WORSE PLOT DEVICE EVER!!!!!!!!!!

Episode 9
Derrida believes Mage will be at Yetz Engineering College, his alma mater. But first, they have to get away from cars chasing them. While they manage to lose them, Vidaux’s wounds open. Thank goodness for this nice quiet spot for them to rest and treat his wounds, eh? So we hear Mayuka telling Yuri how Vidaux often goes away for business for a few days, leaving her alone. She fills that time by reading books. Her dream is to give her papa a good life. With Derrida deriding Vidaux for always bringing Mayuka along and putting her in danger, this prompts a flashback Vidaux doesn’t want to remember. His wife died in a hit and run accident and when the culprit was still at large, he lost faith in the law and equality as it failed to protect his wife. He became a vigilante to track down the culprit and when he did, killed him in a cold fashion way. However he realized too late he had a baby child. Rest time is over because now crazy DZs are approaching. I guess this slow episode needs some action so we see the guys blasting away all the dumb DZs. When Vidaux falls off Graham and is surrounded by DZs, why those dumb robots just stand there and not kill him?! Yeah, they really waited for Graham to turn around and Derrida firing back at all of them! HE MISSED NONE!!!! SO F*CKING BADASS???!!! WTF???!!! So now we get some peaceful moments as father and daughter bond together. Too bad bomber jets are seen in the vicinity. Derrida needs to time ride and change the past again but remembers Ange’s damn words. Then he realizes how reliable would his memories be. Is there a possibility he has not realized the loss of memories from using time ride? Hey, can’t remember what you forget, duh. We now see Mage meeting with Professor Marlene and wants to teach her about Trout Theory. Her goal is to jump back in time and despite the theory having so many flaws, she still needs to as there is something there needs to be done.

Episode 10
Angelica Klein was a researcher in an experiment that is trying to shape an automata’s personality based on dialogue. For the first few days, it goes well. But the more it carries on, the creepier the automata gets. You see, this automata is slowly trying to imitate and understand Angelica, though it claims it was programmed to do so. We also see Angelica changed and getting traumatic from it all as the automata tries to assume her identity! Obviously, the automata is trying to become Angelica and even suggesting Angelica rename herself as Donna. Because, it means donor. A personality transplant volunteer. Angelica goes crazy and attacks the robot! The other researchers try to cancel the research but Angelica insists this to be carried on. I guess she wasn’t prepared for this because the automata now 100% believes herself as the real deal and the human as Donna. A fight ensues and we can’t tell who is attacking who. But we see a lot of blood, so… And now Donna is going to kill Andrei with the reason of protecting this body. Too bad all this bodyguards can’t even touch her. You’re dead meat. Derrida is outside of Yetz. He is only let in because of Marlene whom he was a graduate of her programme. She tells him Mage was here but has left. Damn. Missed her again. Marlene begins explaining she first met Mage at Nathan’s funeral. She was asking for help about the Trout Theory but Marlene didn’t take her seriously then. 6 months ago, she came here claiming she had found a way to perfect it but needed to see the documents Derrida left.

Marlene continues about another dangerous experiment she did. The experiment of creating a DZ model with a personality that ended in tragedy. It would have brought a lot of potential had it been a success but as we know, DZ models went berserk. She distanced herself to preserve her position. Another organization took over her research and this was the one that Angelica participated. After that failed, it seems Angelica lived but burnt down the facility. Bodies were found except for Angelica and her DZ clone. Derrida is in despair thinking his researches on bring tragedies. As Donna is Angelica, this is the reason why she came after him as she is a victim of the research. Marlene says the only regret they have is not chasing their dreams but turning their backs on their research. She could have saved Angelica had she not abandoned the research to save herself. There are unexpected things produced from experiments whether it is for both good and bad. She hands him a jamming device that will block DZ sensors and avoid encounters. This is how Yetz managed to survive. The lesson of the day, don’t turn your back on what you believe in. Derrida goes through the documentations of his research. He stumbles onto the piece of Effelsberg electronic telescope, which is a quiet place.

Episode 11
Derrida believes Mage is continuing his experiment and restore things to the way it was before the war. There’s some explanation about if you control certain factors, you can still change things. Yeah, everyone is worried the world now they live in will change. For better or worse, let’s find out. Better hurry, because the world has begun their war of bombing the hell out of each other. But first we have to plough through those crazy field of DZs to get near Effelsberg. You know, I thought they should drive up a bit closer to the telescope before getting off. Because here comes Schmidt unleashing his improved DZs to capture them. Great. Now they got to fight their way through this crap? I guess this is for this plot convenience for Graham to turn back and do some final heroic stuffs. Oddly the car can somewhat believe in Derrida’s choice of a changed future and then thank everyone for the ride. Really. I don’t know if Graham could fly or if there’s a ramp because it ‘jumps’ into Schmidt’s craft and self-destructs!!! OMFG! That explosion can take down that craft?! I guess it’s better than ramming the DZs. Vidaux stays back to fend off the other DZs and as the rest trek on, they encounter more of Schmidt’s men. Obviously for some action bits but totally unbelievable because could you believe they miss shooting Yuri at that distance and she had to jump over a gap?! WTF?! They are easily taken out by Donna who won’t let them kill her prey. Out of the pan and into the fire? Donna blames and hates Derrida for creating such a monstrosity. Well, if you keep beating him up, how will he explain himself? If you’re wondering why Donna has a hard time finding against this wuss, she’s injured. Such convenience. Derrida knows this Donna is actually Angelica because the machine was not programmed to have feelings. So with her feeling all this hatred, it proves she is human. Donna still believes herself as a machine and that everyone else killed Angelica. She views such people doing such things for greed and ego. Derrida laments about the tragedy some experiments will bring but if they stop progressing, they will never have moved forward. With all the injuries, Donna shuts down. Or dies? Now before entering the structure, they still ponder about changing the future? Yeah, last chance before everything is changed. So Mayuka decides to go back to papa because if the world will indeed change, she wants to be with him till the very last moment.

Episode 12
We hear Mage waiting for Derrida to return to a certain place in time. So she’s been waiting there like forever? Anyway, back to current timeline, Yuri is still having that dilemma of not wanting to forget memories of this timeline even if the world changes due to the time ride. But this world has no future, right? What future is there to give? As they enter the facility, they see it is the exact replica of Mage’s old house. Derrida explains that to invoke time ride, such vivid memories is needed to enhance the time ride’s precision. In the next room, they see Mage lying in a chamber which is supposed to be a time ride hardware. Conveniently there is a video made by her for her future self. In case she loses her memories, this is to remind her that her mission is to find Derrida and send him to the past. She claims she has perfected time ride but in exchange lost a lot of memories. She can’t remember anything before she was 14. Her final message is for Ange to help Derrida. I guess now Derrida has connected the dots as he explains to us. But this is what I understand. Derrida thought he has been doing time ride by himself but he was wrong. Because part of Trout Theory states that some huge hardware is needed to facilitate that. In other words, Mage is the one making his time ride possible. This is why Derrida didn’t lose any memories. Or so he thought he can’t remember the memories he lost. It was Mage’s memories that were eaten instead. The reason Mage couldn’t go back in time herself was because her memories aren’t that vivid. Unlike Derrida who just woke up hence his memories of 10 years ago were like yesterday. Mage is now a little conscious but she thinks now as just after her birthday party. Schmidt interrupts to call for Derrida to surrender the data. Do it and he will allow him and his friends to a safe place because now the bombing will begin and everywhere will be on fire. Yeah, Derrida ignores this dude and makes his final time ride. Damn Ange, do you need to remind us again this is the last time?

So Derrida returns in time to after Mage’s birthday party whereby they talked about time travelling possibilities. This time he didn’t brush her off and respects and answers her question. He apologizes for all that and if this science makes people happy, he wants Nathan to pursue it in good faith. Originally, Mage tried an experiment and collapsed from it and Nathan took her to the hospital. But now she gives the access card to Nathan. Then Nathan receives an anonymous tip about Andrei’s scheme. He and Jacques expose him and Andrei is arrested. This major change in timeline means that a war was averted. Derrida observes these important changes as he finally asks who Ange is. In reality, she does not exist. In the original timeline, Derrida is supposed to have died with Nathan that night. Her appearance prevented that. Also, she says there is no single timeline but many timelines branching out like rivers. So by wishing hard enough, humans can choose which timeline to be? Gee, if it was that easy. Hence Mage wished for a world where Derrida and Nathan but barely managed to keep Derrida alive so it was up to him to save the world. Yeah, Mage saved him. He saved the world. Returning to this new timeline of peaceful times, nobody remembers that original war one. We see Vidaux as an inspector and is soon to be a father to his soon to be expectant wife. Mayuka grows up in a happy family. Even Graham is a cute waiter robot! Donna or rather Angelica looks so happy in whatever she is doing right now. Nathan and Jacques continue their time travelling research. Lastly, Yuri still remains friends to Derrida and Mage who are now a couple. I guess the age gap doesn’t matter now that they are of legal age.

REwriteD: Deriding Ride Back In Time
Passable. I guess slightly more understandable than Beatless. But still was confusing enough for me to understand in detail about all this time travelling stuff. Heh. It’s not like I really wanted to be a rocket scientist and delve deeper into this time travelling aspects, right? Even if I said this series was passable, overall it still felt mediocre since some of the pacing and sci-fi aspects felt a bit rush. They’re trying to put together a story and perhaps make us put on our thinking caps about this part of time travelling but this topic isn’t anything easy to understand if you’re trying to aim for the masses. And with this thriller and chasing around in the mix, it just dilutes and weakens the series even further.

I guess not everything you do will be a hit. As in this case whereby the director, Takuya Satou was acclaimed to have directed the critically hit time travelling anime series, Steins;Gate. I didn’t see that anime even though I heard a lot of mixed but mostly good reviews about it simply because I didn’t have a sci-fi-like thinking mind. Then there is the original character design by Yoshitoshi Abe who designed characters of old acclaimed sci-fi anime series like Serial Experiments Lain and Texhnolyze (again, both animes that I never would bring myself to watch now or in the near future thanks to all that sci-fi elements). I’m not saying that they are past their prime or in a slump but not everybody can have the Midas touch. Like even that legendary director Miyazaki had his misses too but fortunately a lot more hits that made him a memorable insurmountable legend. But for this case, sometimes gathering talents that worked on praiseworthy series may only work up the hype and when it comes down to the real deal, it totally lets down everything. See Chaos Dragon to know what I mean (they gathered so many talented guys with acclaimed achievements for a big project only for the adapted anime to be just mediocre).

I want to point out one of the sci-fi aspect that got me interested. In fact, it was the only interesting thing that I find throughout this series. It was the experimental part of Donna and Angelica. This side experiment that felt like a side distraction and somewhat almost unrelated to the overall story is by far the most interesting concept. It was interesting to see how humans tried to programme a robot to become so human-like. And then the opposite of what is intended happened. As the robot became more human-like, the human started breaking down after constant attacks that the robot is more human than the human herself. This gives a lot of food for thought that as humans our memories and emotions are simply easy to manipulate whereas for the AI, are they only as smart as we programmed them to be or could they overcome that limitations and live up to their name as artificial intelligence? I’m sure if this theory was the main story, it would have been one big interesting and exciting affair. Maybe in another timeline.

But then we had to deal with some of the certain no brainer inconsistent theories of this time travelling theme. I’m sure there are many flaws that I want to point out but I suppose when you are researching an imperfect theory, there are bound to be flaws and hence that is why it remains a theory and pipe dream that many of such theories sound more like fantasy and are unachievable. What I’m saying is that some of the time ride theories don’t make sense and the one I truly couldn’t understand was how Derrida cannot return to that same timeline anymore. It was totally BS. Like as though you can never time travel in the first place. Maybe there is a deeper explanation for it but as a casual (and dumb) viewer, you want to comprehend it all by the end of the episode or at least at the end of the series.

So for Derrida not being able to travel back to that specific point in time just contradicts Ange’s statement that there are lots of branching timelines. Yeah sir, you get to change history only once. Not twice but once. After that, you’re barred forever from going back there again. WTF?! So can I go back 0.01 seconds before that and start changing history from there? Hah! Didn’t see me exploiting that loophole, did you?! So all I can think of is that this part especially is for plot convenience. Imagine for the rest of the series is about Derrida using his time ride just to get to the exact moment to change the outcome until he gets it right. BORING!!! Uh huh. That way he doesn’t need to find Mage anymore. Which is what this entire series’ ‘plot’ revolves around. They should have renamed this series as RErideD: Derrida And The Search For Mage.

As for the characters, I’m still reeling from all that confusion and disappointment so I can’t really say if they’re good. But most likely ranging from mediocre to bad. Like Derrida who seems to be one clueless scientist fumbling his way in search of answers. It feels he gets it right only because the plot needs to advance. We don’t think him as so because of the setting that he came from the past and has no idea about the future so we forgive him for being such clueless. So when the plot calls for it to advance the story, hence he will start realizing some revelation or something to do with his theory that I don’t understand and supposedly bringing him one step closer to find Mage. I guess the biggest clue has got to be under his nose all the time. Yeah, that timepiece… Not that I could see why either so I guess if I was in Derrida’s shoes, I too won’t be able to figure it all out either ;p.

I have a hunch about why Derrida is oddly named so. It’s not your typical John or Michael, Kotarou or Yuusuke either. There was an Algerian-born French philosopher named Jacques Derrida. Ah, so you can see they named the father and son in this series so. Coincidence? I think not. (Although in the anime, Derrida pointed out that father named him so because of his obsession for time). Too bad I don’t really understand his works either. What semiotic analysis they’re talking about? Because of that, I am not sure if they are paying some sort of tribute to him in this anime.

And it still bugs me who Ange really is. I think logically she is just someone Mage created to help Derrida but why another name and not herself? Oooh. More dramatic mystery effect please. Yeah, it was really getting annoying with Ange popping up at random times but who knew it was Mage’s attempt to help him with his time ride. So, uhm, thank you? Yeah, it was a really pretty elaborated setup for Mage to keep Derrida alive by making him stumble into that abandoned lab and then have him sleep in that chamber! All so convenient! Unless she got it right at the first go, I wonder how many tries did she take and all the mistakes she made to get this timeline correct the way she wanted. Hah! What did Ange say again about not being able to go back to the exact same point in time?! Nonsense, I tell you!

The other characters in Derrida’s groupie… I guess we need some sort of macho tough action guy as his bodyguard. That’s you Vidaux. Make him an ex-officer too. That will be easy for him to fight and take down baddies. Tough guy has got a cute daughter? Definitely not blood related. See I told you so! I guess in many anime series, we need a cute loli to liven up things when things look bleak and gloomy even if her character doesn’t really do anything of significance. Sorry Mayuka, wasn’t paying attention to all those stories you read and made up. Good thing it was the dystopian future. Or you would have been sued for copyright infringement. Hey, if dumb corporate bosses can sell out killer machines to governments and make money while nobody else cares about the people dying, they’d be gunning for young girls infringing too if there’s money in it! Then I guess they really need another female character because I’m not sure what Yuri’s role is because it’s not like she too had anything significant except for being the ‘scapegoat’ for the plot as to why Mage had to run and hide in the first place. Lastly Graham… If you can’t get an animal mascot, a robot mascot will do like Star Wars. Graham feels like he exists for convenience so as to tell us that not all artificial intelligence are bad. We got this useful car that could almost do anything from a transport to a weapon. Besides, why is Graham the only vehicle that is capable of AI? Are there no other vehicles with this feature? I noticed Graham is the only talking vehicle around. How the f*ck did Vidaux get his hands on this futuristic car?! Did he kill a bunch of scientist secretly working on this and steal it?! Maybe in another timeline.

The villains in this series are a joke. Let’s start with Andrei. From the way he acts like a big shot you can tell he is totally a chicken when things get a little rough. This guy looks more like a clown than trying to be some big bad corporate bad guy. This guy is such a joker that I thought he was that character from Saiki Kusuo No Psi-nan, you know, Saiki’s father. I wouldn’t tell them apart if he turned into a full blown joker. Good thing he is dead in the original timeline and serving time in the new one. As for Donna, she sounded she had some sort of ferocious and perfect killing record and reputation. Until her prey is Derrida. It’s like she keeps failing because the plot says so. There goes her scary reputation. You might think she is stumbling because she holds Derrida responsible for whatever ill-fated experiment that befall on her and hence some emotions got in the way (and hence proving she is human after all) but in reality maybe it makes you think that all her targets were just wusses.

Schmidt feels like a pain in the ass for trying to be sneaky and get the better of Derrida. But you know how far can a government man do and go. You’re the second joker character after Andrei. As a man from the intelligence department, not so intelligent after all, eh? It felt like his UIB had some sort of important role and would be the ultimate antagonist Derrida would have to face off but I guess all that was unnecessary since the timeline was ultimately change to give us a happy ending. Good Schmidt-tens he doesn’t exist anywhere in this peaceful timeline. Probably stuck behind a desk job… And those DZ robots… Why do I have a feeling they’re trying to copy that Terminator story? With all those discount Terminator robots roaming the land, it is amazing that they didn’t continue to kill everybody. On energy saving mode, huh? Tell me again how some of them suddenly get a full blast of energy to attack you like a mad dog when you get near them? WTF do they think they are ghosts or zombies trying to attack you?!

So as not to bore you with the sci-fi bits and the so called ‘detective work’, I guess when you have a dystopian sci-fi setting and killer crazy robots, this calls for some action bits. Unfortunately they are a bit exaggerated and a bit farfetched. Just because for the sake for some robot ass kicking action, we see those sequences as sometimes unrealistic especially the part where Derrida was gunning down DZs like crazy from Graham. Yeah, looks like they forgot physics existed for that time period. Or did Mage do some time ride to temporarily stop all physics and logic? I’m not sure if it is a fun thing to see Graham plough through the DZ masses because this sometimes feel like a zombie flick. Heh. What did I tell you those DZ automata think they’re in some kind of zombie apocalypse world.

Art and drawing feel pretty standard and average. At least better than the promotional poster because those look hideous. As though somebody quickly used some crayons to sketch. The use of CGI mainly on DZ robots feel one kind. It’s not bad but it feels that it could have been done better. As for the character designs, the first time I saw Vidaux and Mayuka father-daughter pair, it reminded me… WHAT THE HECK IS COYOTE RAGTIME SHOW’S MISTER AND FRANCA DOING IN THIS ANIME???!!! OMG!!!! That anime was like over a decade ago and this pair of a tough macho dad and his cute loli daughter brings back memories when I was watching this show! Damn, did I just time ride back to that anime?! Ange for some reason, reminds me of that character in Boku Dake Ga Inai Machi. I thought Schmidt looked familiar and then upon realizing he is an antagonist, suddenly it hit me. What the heck is Bleach’s Aizen doing here???!!! And why does Nathan look like Satsuriku No Tenshi’s Danny? Is it because same seiyuu?! This anime is done by Geektoys and since is their first project and so far their only one, so forgive them for any inconsistencies? Not in an era where we have high expectations of our animes!

For the voice acting part, I only recognized Takahiro Sakurai as Nathan and Yuu Kobayashi as Donna/Angelica. For the latter, I was anticipating she would go into her typical crazy voice screaming trademark. Her character would have been so crazy had she done this voice but Donna overall sounds more mellow with a deep grudge still sleeping inside her… For the rest of the casts, they are Kensho Ono as Derrida (Slaine in Aldnoah.Zero), Mao Ichimichi as Mage (Bada in ClassicaLoid), Hiroo Sasaki as Vidaux (Hank Johnson in Ingress), Kaede Hondo as Mayuka (Koyume in Comic Girls), Himika Akaneya as Yuri (Yatsumura in Mahou Shoujo Site), Kazutomi Yamamoto as Graham (Yumoto in Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love – now you know why he sounds so gay), Minoru Inaba as Andrei (Khajit in Overlord), Kazuyuki Okitsu as Schmidt (Andre in Prison School) and Kenichirou Matsuda as Jacques (Gordon in Black Clover). On a trivial note, I am not sure about the implication of mid-intermission that displays “clockwise” but at first it sounded creepy because I thought I heard “cock wise”! WTF?!

Paradox by Quadrangle as the rock opening tries to sound edgy for a sci-fi themed series. But it turns out somewhat messy especially those chaotic electric guitar power riffs whatever that makes everything sound so anarchic. Toki No Tsubasa as the ending theme sounds a bit weird too. This piece that has a Mage version, a Yuri a version and a duet version of the duo sounds out of place because it sounds like a spacey-like song (as in outer space kind of song). Perhaps due to the mediocrity of the anime, the slow-moderate pace of this song also makes me feel somewhat confused.

Overall, this series is forgettable because of its bad pacing, story and even characters. I guess we don’t even need to do a single time ride to totally forget about this trash. Just wait till the next season arrives! Yeah, that is what happened to all bad animes. As usual, the sci-fi and time travelling concept are interesting but they failed to make it appealing to casual (and dumb) audiences like yours truly. But I’ll still not paint it as the worst as many over the internet have over this series because of that Donna-Angelica experiment. That was the only interesting thing that got my attention and I’ll give them credit for that. Therefore if the possibility of infinite universes exist, perhaps this series was really outstanding, flawless and the best anime and even TV series of all time. Yeah. Maybe that happened in another timeline and now we’re stuck with this mediocre one instead. Somebody must have gone back in time to try and change it but screwed up. Thus the stupid limitation of can’t go back and change history another time to rewrite this anime… Perhaps that’s possible… In another timeline…

Island

January 12, 2019

It feels like a long time since I have watched a sci-fi mystery romance harem visual novel adapted into anime. Actually that was just about over a year ago when I watched Rewrite. Now it’s time to get back into that visual novel mood with Island. Main character with no memories of his own, basically a typical amnesiac, check. A small bevy of beauties for his harem, check. They have issues that need to be solved that could be related to the lore and legend of the setting, check. Deep dark secrets about the land, or in this case the island, check. Includes some sci-fi time travelling thingy, check. Oh well, this isn’t going to be your average Fantasy Island.

Episode 1
Karen Kurutsu is running along a beach until she trips. Her face lands in the crotch of a naked boy who is washed up ashore! DAMN! At the police box, he doesn’t remember anything else except for he is a time traveller and the need to kill someone. Not joking? A call from the mayor wants this boy to be expelled from the island immediately. The police is supposed to take him to the harbour where he will be sent to the mainland when the mayor calls again because his daughter is missing and to go look for her. As the boy hides in a yacht, he finds Karen hiding there. She is the mayor’s daughter and she is not pleased he found her because now she cannot get off this island. With the mayor finding her and she continues to run, I guess the boy is left to his own devices. As he wanders on the beach at night, he hears Rinne Ohara sing a beautiful melody. He seems to know her but not really. She also thinks she knows him but not really. Rinne makes up a story that he is Setsuna Sanzenkai and supposed to be the new maid she hired from the mainland. Rinne wonders if he is really a time traveller since she too doesn’t have memories prior to 5 years ago when she arrived here. Rinne introduces him to her mom, Kuon who holes up in her room and only ‘communicates’ via leaving notes. Setsuna sleeps and dreams of somebody promising to kill Setsuna. Next morning, Sara Garandou from the shrine takes Setsuna to her place. She believes he came from the future to change the past. Setsuna thinks he knows her too but not really. Maybe she is flat instead of busty? So he remembers her boobs? Anyway Sara believes his memories were intentionally sealed. His time travel and Rinne’s disappearance coincide. After all that mumbo-jumbo, Sara tries to kill him but fails spectacularly. As her job is to protect this island, she happily reveals her plan to kill him. Uhm, I don’t think that is how it’s supposed to work. He returns home to work but stumbles upon the book that tells the legend of this island, Urashima. Inside he finds a note that says Setsuna must die. That night at the beach, Setsuna has Rinne sing that song again. So beautiful he cried? Even Rinne too. Then a weird dream of Sara being burnt and her final words for him to take care of this world. Next morning as he wants to draw open the curtains, Rinne stops him. She fears the sunlight will kill her.

Episode 2
Rinne has soot blight syndrome. Sunlight kills her. This is why she wakes up and wanders at night. Setsuna continues his maid job and then finds Sara praying at the shrine. Praying for a successful kill? She hides him when the mayor is trying to find Karen. This is when she explains to him the legend of Urashima. All the 3 main girls are named after the legendary daughters of the island. It says Setsuna and Rinne are siblings but started loving each other more than that. At the same time Karen also loves Setsuna but got jealous. She asked a black shrine maiden to change Rinne into a monster and killed herself in despair. Setsuna went back to the maiden. At an unknown date in the future, Rinne will be revived and if they meet, the curse would be lifted. Setsuna slept, waiting for that day to come. Sara wants to sleep with him but thankfully he declines. She is glad too because she isn’t ready. When he returns, what is Karen doing here? Apparently there is an ad looking for a maid so she is here to try out for the job. Rinne wants to fire Setsuna after getting the wrong idea he slept with Sara (the incense in her room) so Karen tries to be considerate and leave. But Setsuna doesn’t want her to return to her father and have regrets and has her try it out. Rinne has the final say and hires her. Next day, Setsuna hears Karen’s reason to work even if she comes from a wealthy family. Her mom left the island 5 years ago and she is saving up to head to the mainland to find her. As they take a break, the old woman at the store collapses. They take her medicine and Setsuna is surprised to read it as soot blight syndrome. From the doctor’s explanation, it looks like in extreme cases your body will be inflamed if gets touched by the sunlight. There is no cure. As the island believes the syndrome comes from the legendary families, Karen believes it is just an excuse to maintain authority. Sara believes the island needs this legend or else it will be done for. Later Setsuna asks Kuon about the syndrome and she replies Rinne doesn’t have it but believes she does. She fears it as it might be related to why she disappeared 5 years ago and lost her memory and think of herself as the Rinne in the legend. So when Setsuna tells Rinne they are not the people in the legend, it makes her very sad. Is a slap justified? He wants to invite her to the beach. The morning one. But she is happy to stay as herself. And Setsuna will always remain her Setsuna.

Episode 3
Beach episode? Karen and Sara in their swimsuit. Basically this is part of Setsuna’s plan to lure Rinne out. But their lines sound so lame and ambiguous that Rinne might be thinking she is hearing things. Too bad Rinne overthinks that Setsuna is having his way with the girls so time to put on her sexy bikini and straighten them out? Well, she wore her full astronaut suit! Clumsy. Her helmet falls off. She looks okay. Not dead. So she knew she somewhat doesn’t have soot blight syndrome and they were just trying to get her out. He assures they can take things slowly one step at a time. Later they find a locked shack in the cave. Before they could break open, Rinne screams not to and then faints. She is okay but needs to rest. Setsuna shows the rest about the diary he keeps ever since he was stranded here. He hopes to learn something from his memories but has only recorded weird things like the syndrome and the legend while popping up more questions than answers. He feels it is all connected but unsure how. He even questions himself as Setsuna. Later Rinne talks to Setsuna that she remembers meeting a boy named Setsuna at the shack. Nobody knew about this and Rinne doesn’t remember how that boy looked like. After Setsuna tutors Karen, he walks her home as she reveals more about her weird mom. Often shutting herself in her room to do some experiment, Karen was never paid any attention to. Dad eventually kicked her out so she went to the mainland. At the doorstep, her father is waiting. Ranting about how her duty is to marry and carry on the family line. News to Setsuna. Later Setsuna meets Sara to ask why Karen’s dad is so adamant of her staying here. Her family can pass the line only through female descendants. As for Karen trying to leave the island, she thinks she is just rebelling and not serious as there are so many other ways to do so. Even if she leaves, will she be happy? She wonders if Karen has given enough thought to what happens if she leaves. One day, Karen didn’t come to school. He finds her in the mansion and before he could tell her off, suddenly she pushes him onto her bed and wants him to mess her up. You mean f*ck her? Wait. WHAT?!

Episode 4
Of course Setsuna declines but that’s not what she meant. She has a plan to leave this island and wants him to help mess up her wedding. Since her dad is always about appearances, she will get kicked out. So looks like almost everybody is in cohorts with her wedding including the groom. As the ceremony begins, Setsuna arrives in an alien mask! He is here to steal her. Dad of course opposes but that is when Karen has had it and decides to leave with him. Dad would have gone after her if not for her brother, Subaru telling him to let go. Karen is so happy with her newfound freedom and Setsuna celebrating with her that they keep their eyes ahead and crash the scooter into the sea. As they set sail, the captain explains how Subaru helped out because he felt Karen was always so mad at the world and couldn’t do anything about it. She blamed everything for it. So when she decided, he wanted to support her. Now on the mainland, Karen is like a typical country bumpkin. But how does Setsuna know how to work the trains if he is amnesiac? Anyway as they make their way to supposed Karen’s mom’s place, they see nothing but a grave. Oh dear. Karen breaks down and cannot accept this. But a girl, Momoka Yamabuki is thrilled to see Karen and starts molesting her because she looks like her professor. She was told by Subaru she would be coming today. Momoka is the assistant of Karen’s mom, Natsumi who went under the penname of Sueharu Nakamiya when she wrote her books. She was offered professorship 5 years ago as a geologist and used that penname. Unfortunately she died in an accident a year ago. Momoka hints about her research regarding ancient texts around the world but the rest is confidential. Before Karen leaves, she asks if mom was happy. All the time. Especially when the results of her research showed. But her only regret is Karen. She always worried about her. That’s why if something happened to her, she requested her grave to be put near the sea. Karen is satisfied that mom didn’t run away and always cared for her. Karen returns to the island. Subaru welcomes her back and vows to change the island. Not sure how long they have been gone because Sara is now hired as a maid at Rinne’s mansion. But Sara laments unlike the rest, she herself has not changed. Only if she had her powers back, she could do something about the illness. But time is not on her side.

Episode 5
Setsuna dreams of Sara sacrificing herself to save him to save the world. Too bad he only noted her boobs… He gets a shock when he wakes up because Sara is sleeping next to him! Rinne is not impressed with this shady business but luckily Sara explains herself. Something about learning about her family’s legend so she came here to tell Setsuna but since he is asleep, she waited and also fell asleep. She then takes them to the beach so as to harvest to venom of a sea snake to help find a cure for the soot blight syndrome. But she can’t swim. Don’t worry. Setsuna will do it! Oh, the sea snake’s venom can kill you… She is confident he won’t! Before Sara could explain to Rinne about her theory of Rinne crossing time to save her and how she must get something done before her 17th birthday in 2 days, Setsuna is in trouble because he got bitten! Oh no! Luckily the doctor diagnosed it as jellyfish sting. Phew. Sara so relieved. Later Setsuna and Rinne ponder about Sara because there seems to be sadness behind her smile. Next day, Sara gives Kuon her best massage. It’s to help ward off soot blight syndrome by pressing certain vital points. Then Setsuna gets a clinical test but it doesn’t end well… Now Setsuna has to cycle her to 20 over old folks’ houses so she could give her massage. At the end of the day, Sara reveals that she believes Setsuna is her destiny. She is destined to go back in time to give birth before her 17th birthday. She shows a picture of a mom nursing her. If mom looks like her it is because it is her! OMG! So Sara is her own mom from the future?! Sci-fi time paradox sh*t! To prove it, both have that same scar on the chest. Hence when she tried to ‘kill’ Rinne was to ascertain if he is from the time patrol trying to stop her from changing the past. Hence she gambled. If destiny picked her, she would be able to go back to the past. In her relief she explains she was called the Child of God. Every year, dozens of babies were born with soot blight syndrome. Ever since Sara was born, there hadn’t been any. But after a fire incident, the affliction came back. She lost that power and she wants to prevent that fire and save the people. Without it, she views herself as useless.

Setsuna draws a really complicated time flow chart on Sara’s situation. Rinne understands it?! As she has read the family’s dark secret journal, she realizes this is nothing more than a horrific practice that was sealed away. It all started with Sara’s grandpa claiming Sara as the Child of God and will save the island. The people believed him when the syndrome stopped appearing. But this is actual the doing of grandpa. When babies were born, they will be exposed to sunlight to see of any lustre in their eyes that would assure the symptoms by age three. Such babies are told they died in stillborn and then locked and abandoned in a secret place. All this is just a scheme to restore the family’s authority. With Sara overhearing that, she becomes sad knowing the truth and runs back to the shrine. Oh look. It’s on fire! Who set it?! And was it set long ago because it’s so big. Luckily Setsuna saves her who is so willing to die to end her family lineage. Sara wakes up in hospital and it has been 2 days since her birthday. Sara can’t believe everything so it means all her theories are wrong. As for the scar, it is like branding. All in the family got one burnt after being one. Her parents rather die than continue this cruel tradition but couldn’t kill Sara. But she still feels useless and have of no use. Setsuna tells her to look around. A thousand crane origami folded by the old people in hopes she regains consciousness. Thanks for the massage. Now she has a reason to live. Happy belated birthday. Cue to cry all out now.

Episode 6
Disregard Sara’s naughty advice to have sex as part of the measure to regain lost memories. Setsuna ponders of ways to retrieve his lost memories when Rinne lies beside him. Is the atmosphere getting good? Well, good enough for them to go out on a date (they term it as going out somewhere). What else can you do on this island? Bowling. Sara and Karen eventually get so worried if the duo end up having sex that they try to barge into the mansion. Good timing. They’re back from their date. Sara asks straight up if they had sex (among all the other synonyms and slangs she thrown in). They deny. Phew. Sara explains how it is wrong for a guy from the future to impregnate a girl in the past. Yeah, that time paradox confusing sh*t thingy. Rinne challenges Setsuna to a game where the loser must do as the winner says. And her wish is for him to kiss her. Why, don’t want to kiss a cute girl? Thank goodness she is only joking, right? When Setsuna and Karen visit the police guy, they are told that there are different versions of the legend as the families have their different version. A version involves Setsuna and Rinne getting married but she later learnt of his existence and fell into despair. She killed herself by jumping into the sea. It is possible Rinne knows this story as it was her father who tried to gather the legends. Setsuna rushes back to find Rinne. Not a home cliché. Oh, she’s standing at the beach, near the water cliché. What’s with the long face? Need to tell the truth? At the shack, she tells him she lied about it. When she fainted, she knew he wasn’t the real Setsuna. She still can’t remember how the real one looks but sensed a different Setsuna at this shack. After breaking open the door, a bed and some books all over the floor. Pretty tidy place assuming it has been abandoned for a long time. Rinne explains she used to come here to meet Setsuna but one night the tide blocked her path home. Suddenly her father found her. He blamed Setsuna for this and threw him into the ocean. With sunrise, her father writhed in pain as he had soot blight syndrome. Rinne dived in to save Setsuna but only found herself alone in hospital. Since then she has shut herself to the night world but this Setsuna saved her and gave her a place to be. So for now all that matters is she is Rinne and he is Setsuna. That’s all.

Episode 7
Setsuna and Rinne spend more time together. Probably it got Karen jealous enough to rush over to kick Setsuna. What’s that all about?! When they decided to go have some shaved ice, the old woman closes the store as she is out of medicine. Setsuna offers to get it so please make some. The old woman remembers seeing Setsuna and Rinne many years ago although they come out only at night. This is when Rinne starts to feel uneasy a she remembers. At the clinic, the policeman shows Setsuna an old newspaper article when Rinne went missing 5 years ago. Oddly she was 23 then but now she is 17?! Rumours flew that she was a hidden child and Rinne’s sister but further investigations showed she was the real deal. But the biggest mystery was Rinne when found was wearing the same clothes the day she went missing. This has Setsuna really start questioning if she came from the past and himself from the future. He rushes back to the store but Rinne has left. Old woman says she turned pale after talking about him. Setsuna believes that was not him back then. He finds Rinne at the pier. She rejects him but he holds on to her. She elaborates about her returned memories. That night when she and the original Setsuna fell into the sea, both washed up on the deserted island, Boryujima. Setsuna was bleeding so Rinne offered to help as they survive on the island by themselves. Pretty decent. But Setsuna became restless as he wanted to bring Rinne back. One night, he said he found a boat but it has only room for one. He wanted her to go. The next thing Rinne knew, she is back on Urashima and 5 years have passed. She regrets leaving him behind to die. So she wants to go to him? Setsuna tries to be realistic about living in fear but Rinne won’t listen and wants to be left alone. Tension interrupted with Sara asking what they’re doing getting wet together. WTF???!!! Rinne collapses. I think it wasn’t the sexual innuendo. Back at her shrine she theorizes that with many different timelines, Setsuna may be searching for the right one and redoing it over and over again. His visions and memories might be its side effect. The storm that will soon arrive on Urashima may be some sort of singularity cause that opens a rift between the islands. It could explain why Rinne didn’t age when she got back here. Rinne heard this and now has weird ideas to return to the original Setsuna. Gee, Rinne is sure fast in running away in the storm and stealing a boat into the choppy waters.

Episode 8
Just in time. Setsuna saves Rinne after she falls off her boat. She is adamant of going back to her original Setsuna. He agrees with her and will help but they need to plan. Plan quickly because here comes the tsunami! Next thing they know, they’re on Boryujima and it’s such a fine weather. Exploring the land further, no sign of her original beloved. Until Setsuna explores a deeper cave and sees his bones. Gee, the skeleton is too clean, if I should say. He reads his diary. It seems he found a strange coffin. More spamming of wanting to save Rinne. As he failed to make a raft, his desperation tells him that that this coffin is a boat to save her. So when she is sleeping, he put her in it. Setsuna shows Rinne this. Sad at first but he tells her he looks happy. Really? I thought all skeletons are naturally ‘smiling’. They decide to live on this island for a while and what a swell time they have together. Until suddenly Setsuna wakes up back in Rinne’s mansion. What’s this?! A wake is held for Rinne?! OMG! Rinne’s dead?! So that was all just a dream?! As Kuon explains, it seems the people found Setsuna body washed ashore but 5 days later a very unrecognizable corpse of Rinne. Setsuna cannot believe this. He remembers holding on tightly to her hand. But remember further. It was Rinne who let go. She wants him to live because once she reincarnates, she will be waiting for her. He falls into despair thinking she saved him. But no time to waste on that as Momoka and Kuon bring him to the mainland to Natsumi’s lab. There is that ancient coffin. Flashback shows Natsumi and Momoka often travelled the world to find so called ancient but hi-tech artefacts. Evidence shows they all originated from Urashima. After her death, Momoka went to see Kuon who took her to Boryujima to show that coffin where Rinne was sleeping. That was how she was actually found and contrary to the official story she was found on a beach. You see, they believe this is a time travelling device and anybody who sleeps in it doesn’t age as time stops. This explains Rinne’s age. Also, this matches up to Urashima’s legend of Setsuna sleeping eternally. They believe this coffin was brought from the future trying to intervene in the past. Setsuna lights up upon hearing the idea they can save Rinne. Yes, he is going to sleep in this coffin to go back in time and doesn’t care how long as it takes even if the chances of succeeding are low.

Episode 9
Hey! Wait a minute! Am I watching a new series?! A futuristic European dystopia of the series?! We even got a new opening theme and the series even changed its name to Never Island! We see Setsuna and Rinne together. Not sure if they are siblings or lovers but they are close. As they line up to get food while being preached by Sara the priestess, suddenly Karen and her minions throw a smokescreen to steal the food. Damn the guards are so adamant in eliminating them that they fire indiscriminately and run over Sara. Setsuna rescues Sara and takes cover inside the church. But there is Karen and co escaping too. She attacks him but his hand accidentally touch her boobs. Kick in the crotch! That’s that. It is narrated that people like Karen are called untagged. Kids who are born without permission and hence abandoned. They’re supposed to be killed and that is why they are in hiding. Back home, it seems Rinne loves tinkering with some sort of time capsule. She has blueprints from her ancestors so, uhm, don’t worry? When she has Setsuna test it, inside he suddenly felt strange as though time has stopped. When he exists, Rinne said the moment she flipped the switch, the fuse broke. It definitely felt longer inside. When they go see Sara, it seems she has them help out to deliver food to the untagged taking refuge underneath the island’s stratum. Yeah, lots of abandoned kids. Setsuna tries to feed one but gets knocked out. He dreams of arriving in this winter place in a capsule and Rinne found him. So I guess they become family. When he comes to, Karen is trying to seduce him for info on Sara, thinking he is her bodyguard. Why not ask her herself? She hates the church even if she feeds her. Trust no one. You see, Karen is the leader of the anti-church and she believes the church is trying to kill all untagged. Speaking of the church, the guards have found them. But soon the entire island faces a blackout. Elevator not working. There’s the stairs… Hiding in Rinne’s place, Sara talks about the expedition 5 years ago in which a group set to find Avalon, a utopia. The official story is that they never came back but the dark truth is that some did and were killed by the church so as to give people a false hope there is somewhere else habitable on this snowy island. Suddenly Setsuna remembers about the other Rinne and her death. He realizes he is here to save something and is going to do it.

Episode 10
There are wanted posters of Karen. Also, it states all her comrades are captured and will be executed. Time for a rescue mission. Minus Rinne, they sneak into the church but what awaits them are all corpses of the untagged. It was like the guards were waiting for them. Yup, clearly a trap. When a priestess tries to tell the guards not to use violence, they shoot her! They won’t shoot the rest yet as they have a role for them. They are brought to the church where Sara’s father the cardinal is giving a sermon. Suddenly he is shot. Sara and co rush to his side only for the archbishop to suddenly blame them as the terrorists for killing the cardinal. Everyone with mob mentality calls for their deaths. They are burnt at the stake like witches but thankfully here comes Rinne giving a fake warning that more of their comrades are coming and have brought bombs. Yeah, nice fireworks. With the people running away (where the f*ck are the guards?), Rinne is able to save them. The gang then trek outside the island, supposedly to a place where a lost technology lies. Unfortunately Sara dies from her wounds. Inside this cave is one heck of a computer system. Yeah, it’s working. Rinne tinkers with it while the rest bum around. Until Karen starts getting sick. Immediately Setsuna could identify this is soot blight syndrome (too much exposure to the sun) so by the time he brings her to the doctor, she is already dead. Woah! Rinne’s harem dropping like flies! As he rues he cannot save them, Rinne believes he can. Based on everything she has done and researched, this capsule is actually a time machine. This is what her ancestors have passed down. To save the world. He can go back in time to save them. Suddenly Setsuna remembers everything. He came to the future to go back to the past and save it. Sounds a bit confusing… Rinne hears about the other Rinne he wanted to save. She looks worried if they are lovers. Setsuna says she is also a special girl to him. I hope he doesn’t say that to all the girls named Rinne. With that, they believe Setsuna coming here is part of destiny to change history. Because Setsuna is going back alone, so they pretend to have a mock marriage and then have sex???!!! Oh well, one for the road! I’m sure that will be the best memories ever.

Episode 11
We’re back on Urashima. Because Setsuna has retained all his memories, don’t worry if this episode is going to replay everything in exact order again. Because thankfully it would be just weird if Karen falls and plants her face on his dick again. This time she just sees him naked. Thanks to his retained memories, Setsuna proudly boasts what is going to happen and knows about Karen’s background. Later he talks to her friends about the time she tried to hide in the yacht. Thus before Karen could stowaway, her friends are already waiting and want to hear out her reasons. Setsuna then waits for Rinne at the beach. He tries to be friendly with her but his failed pickup lines make her laugh a lot. He becomes her maid and surprisingly Kuon knows who he is. Next day, Setsuna knows all about Sara trying to kill him, her scar and her past. Woah. So true! Now she worships him? When Setsuna hangs out the laundry, he messes with her pantsu just to get her to run out into the sun. See? No soot blight syndrome. At this point, Karen and her friends leave the mainland to discover the truth about Natsumi. When she returns, all of them celebrates Sara’s birthday. Now that Rinne is ready, Setsuna brings her to the shack and then Boryujima to put a rest to her original Setsuna issues. They return to Urashima just in time for the fireworks festival. The usual best fun ever until time for the cliché moment when the rain hits. Perhaps there is some sexiness and romance for getting it on in the rain. It is clear that Rinne has totally fallen for him. If not for the stupid thunder and lightning to ruin the mood. I guess this isn’t so sexy after all. Setsuna visits Sara who shows her an old album. A photo shows a young Kuon who looks a lot like Rinne (shouldn’t be a surprise because we did see how she looked like at the funeral) as she holds baby Rinne in her arms. He starts feeling uneasy. Meanwhile Kuon tinkers with a time capsule in her room.

Episode 12
Setsuna thinks of asking Rinne but backs out after thinking he needs to be sure of things first. Later as he talks to Rinne, he learns Kuon used to wear an engagement ring from her father but stopped wearing it after Setsuna arrived. Feeling suspicious, he calls Momoka to confirm something about Kuon that she is different than what others would think of her. Like as though she is a different person and younger than she looks. Then it hit him. Kuon is that future Rinne!!! OMG! Is that a time capsule in Kuon’s bedroom?! Setsuna goes to the mansion’s library to do more investigation. Oh, keen eye observation that a diary of Rinne’s father is missing. The year she was born. Oh, convenient this locked drawer means some secret is hiding in here. Break open. There’s the lost diary. The year Rinne was born, Kuon died. And as also narrated by Kuon, it seems she woke up on Urashima 24 years ago and met the master of this mansion. Conveniently she had no memories then and only remembered her name: Rinne. She was hired as a maid. Soon she realized she was pregnant. At first the master disallowed it but after the doctor diagnosing his wife unable to bear a child, he thought of this idea to use the maid’s child as the successor. She also liked the idea but after the daughter was born, she was taken away. However the baby pinned for the maid instead of the mistress. Later the mistress died and the maid assumed Kuon’s name. The baby was named Rinne as she didn’t need that name anymore. Hence here is Setsuna’s revelation to Rinne: I am your father!!! Holy sh*t!!! So all those instances why he can’t get any further being romantic with her, yup, this is the reason. And you thought he was just a dense main character. Oh poor Rinne, so confused and sad. Can’t blame her for not accepting all this crap.

Setsuna then explains it to the other girls about how he is from the future and hence knew how to solve their problems. But conveniently Momoka is here to point out a hole in his theory. Oh yeah, something she conveniently FORGOT TO TELL HIM! That time capsule doesn’t travel through time. It just stops time. So how did Setsuna go back in time? Like now? Actually the world seems to be repeating itself and the events happening again. Like the rise and fall in civilization? Hence the same past is repeating in the future. HOLY SH*T!!! I’M SO F*CKING CONFUSED!!! Momoka has proof with that carbon dating thing. Whatever. Flashback shows Never Land Rinne regretted and didn’t want to die alone. So she went back to that cave and slept in the other capsule. Rinne now confronts Kuon. She explains she regained her memories slowly over time and felt sad she would not be able to meet the person she loved and would be content in just raising his child. Then he popped up. So she blamed him for not recognizing her at first? You kidding me?! YOU WERE HIDING IN YOUR ROOM AND COMMUNICATING VIA NOTES!!!!!! Time for the plot to move forward as Rinne who heard most of their talk, thanks mom for raising her. She is happy to have received their happiness. So by returning her name means she returns mom to him? Geez, this is confusing if I keep now refer to Kuon as Rinne so I’ll remain. Setsuna and Rinne are now free to reassure their love again. Oh yeah. Let the old flame and tears flow. But no sex this time. Soon, both get married and live the happiest family life. Oh yeah, they even have a honeymoon trip. After aeons, I think they deserve it.

Total Drama Mystery Island
You could literally say that their legendary love continues to live on and that their love has actually lasted for ages and survived the rise and fall of mankind and civilization! Woah! That’s the power of love transcending time for you! Just the mind boggling factor that the time capsule didn’t deteriorate or anything and remained in working condition. Yeah, even if Armageddon happened, the time capsule seemingly stayed in perfect condition. So well hidden that I guess nobody actually found it because they might have done something if they see a sleeping human inside and tried to pry hi/her out. No siree. Nobody knows how to even operate this damn thing and I wonder how it lets one out. Was there a timer to say when the freezing stops? Yeah, after 10 cycles of the fall of civilization. Thank goodness the great universe is still intact.

One of the many problems that adapted visual novels suffer is that it loses a lot of material when being translated to the TV series medium. People who played the game would have had hours and hours of experience, thus giving them a better grasp and understand of the entirety of the story as well as the characters. As I did not play the game itself, it is hard for me to do comparisons but based on my ‘experience’ of watching so many adapted visual novels, adapting to a different media format means losing a lot. Especially when you don’t get to choose a certain route or go back to choose another one. Therefore this adapted series’ plot suffers a lot and there are moments when it feels rushed. After all, they have to fit like 50 hours of gameplay into just a dozen episodes. It is bad enough this is only a single cour unlike some like Little Busters got more episodes (hence fleshing things out better) and even Rewrite got those little extra episodes. But with the anime series ended like that, do you really want to redo it all again for another route? I don’t think I want to stay for that even if it takes another million years!

But for Island, the story does start off fascinating and interesting only because we are new and unfamiliar with the premise. That novelty soon wears off and I have to admit that it sometimes was a drag to watch because I don’t really fully understand what is going on and with the dragging out of Setsuna’s mysterious amnesia thingy, I was more inclined to feel that I want to get over this anime as soon as possible. But I’ll give them credit for that ‘shocking’ Never Island arc because they did it in a fashion like as though it was another new series but just reusing the characters and it actually caught me off guard. I never expected it. Even if the plot of this arc was still ‘not that interesting’, suddenly jumping to a different setting and era was something I would never guessed. But with only 2 episodes on this arc, yeah it feels a bit rushed here. Even that sex scene… Like as though they don’t want to put it in but need to because what are visual novels without the sex part, right?

Thanks to all this, the characters also suffer. Especially Karen and Sara. Guts and experience dictate that Rinne is the favourite girl whom Setsuna would end up with and it is understandable that a lot of scenes and moments are focused on her (technically Kuon is the original Rinne so I guess this technically counts). This would unfortunately mean reducing Karen and Sara to the most minimal of roles that sometimes I feel that they are only here just to fill in the harem requirements. You see, Karen and Sara do have their moments but they happen so early on in the series and only had an episode of focus since their issues are solved very quickly! It is as though they want to get these 2 out of the way and focus solely on Rinne. Remember, we only have a dozen episodes to get it all out. I believe that Karen and Sara could have been written off entirely and be done without and the story would still carry on as usual. Just with much shorter episodes. On a curious note, I wonder if they were teasing something because during the snippets of Setsuna and Kuon’s marriage scene, if you are sharp enough, you can spot Sara’s busty mom hiding behind a tree watching everything. So did Sara’s mom did not really die and also found another time capsule? Yikes. Don’t want to open up another can of worms. At least the girls fare better. I don’t even know why the heck Subaru even exists… After Karen’s case is solved, he is never heard of again. Convenient plot tool. Maybe his character doesn’t exist anymore in the future…

Talking about Setsuna and Rinne as the main characters, they try to keep us intrigued with Setsuna’s real identity. Because of his convenient amnesia, it adds to the mystery factor as you would want to know if he is the real deal or an imposter. The legend of Urashima is also a ‘partner in crime’ because you will keep wondering if the characters who suspiciously share the same names with the legend are actually coincidences or reincarnations. But all that fizzled out with the supposed twist of time travelling thingy. I believe this is where my interest quickly waned since it got a little confusing too. Going to the future and then back to the past to save Rinne? Oh. How so unoriginal. How bland. And it irks me that when Setsuna returns to Urashima for the second time, why does he not lose his memories? Sara’s theory could be wrong that the side effects of time travelling could mess with his memories but why is this time so different? Is it because he made love to Rinne? Wow. The power of boners help retain your memories! And if that is the case, what about the first time Setsuna arrive on Urashima at the start of the series? Assuming he has been jumping back and forth a lot, how many times and how long has he been doing this? Did he not make love to Rinne all the while? Man, it would be just mind blowing to think each time he time travels, either Rinne dies or he bones her. Oh Setsuna, theoretically you could have boned Rinne from all time eras!

Conveniently this is all somewhat solved with just a single timeline. No time paradox confusion. Just one big heck of a coincidence of everything repeating again exactly. Wow. It’s like God was really fascinated to play around with this, huh? But I have to admit this single timeline thingy and that Kuon is the original Rinne was something I did not foresee and was my shock factor. Yeah, they did a good job trolling me into thinking they were actually going back and forth in time. But it got me to think that if Setsuna arrived in a timeline in the same manner all the time, how many times have he slept in the time capsule? Because from the first episode, it at least proves it wasn’t the first time he tried this trick. Hence the very unfortunate game of lovers trying to sleep and wake up in the closest timeline together as possible and hoping luck and coincidence would bring them together instead of missing each other again of ages. I guess God got tired of it already, huh?

I guess sleeping so long messed with your true love feelings and it might take some time to ‘defrost’. Otherwise it would have been so easy when Kuon saw Setsuna again but decided to play up some drama and mystery just to drag it all out for a dozen episodes and let everyone go on a wild goose chase. Yeah, nice piece of work there, Kuon. Somehow you started this mess. Even if you later came out from your room and spoke to Setsuna and he still didn’t recognize you, that’s because you didn’t say anything to override the obvious. Rinne, his daughter looked like a mirror image of his lover, therefore it’s not going to cross his mind that it is anybody else. All eyes are on this cutie Rinne other than a typical young mom that only anime can produce who shuts herself inside. Besides, how the heck did she drag the capsule into her room? She must have had a lot of time to dismantle and assemble it, I suppose.

So if Setsuna boned Rinne in Never Island and hence the second return to the island Rinne is their daughter, then who the f*ck is Rinne in the first time around?! What about that other original Setsuna that was supposed to be Rinne’s first love? Please don’t tell me it is all a dream. Man, I’m so confused now. They tried to put up a great twist and even parody that iconic Star Wars moment, I take back what I said about this shock factor blowing my mind away. I’m so confused that I’m annoyed now. I can now understand how Rinne felt about Setsuna. Just when she just warmed up to him and getting all cosy, ready to truly fall in love, WTF is this I-am-your-father twist crap???!!! I’d rather accept you say I am not kawaii enough for you to be f*cked! Haha! Oops…

Sometimes I feel that some of the so called mysteries are just red herrings. In addition to that Urashima legend itself, even the soot blight syndrome feels like one. It doesn’t really play a major role anyhow and it is something that you would be keeping at the back of your head from time to time. Even when it is explained about something being exposed to sunlight or something, you’ll wonder what the heck it really is and how relevant it is to the story. So Rinne thinking she had this disease sometimes feels like she is just having a mini Munchausen’s syndrome. Because Sara loves coming up with outrageous theories that sound so grand and many of them fall flat or debunked, it is a reason why we are all so confused because at the end of the day, they don’t really amount to nothing. Remember the first episode whereby Setsuna muttered he needed to kill somebody? No? Me neither. Almost. Yeah, that felt like it was to throw us off. Like almost everything else.

The art and animation looks pretty decent. I did some lazy Google and find that the art style for the anime closely resembles the visual novel. I suppose at this day and age, technology and talent has progressed a lot so that there are no extensive gap between the art styles of the original and the adapted. As the setting takes place on an island, I like the backdrops and sceneries as they personally look nice. Especially the beach and the starry night sky.

As for the character designs, the first time I looked at Setsuna, I was wondering what the heck is the discount version of Cowboy Bebop’s Spike doing here. Like as though Spike has time travelled so much that he returned being a teenager. Heh. Just kidding. Sara is the most ‘eye catching’ one thanks to her fluffy afro-like hairstyle. It makes me think she came out from the old Monchichi cartoon. Seriously. Okay, sorry. Not meant to offend her that she is a monkey. Otherwise, Sara sometimes look like one of those characters from that mobile game, Hunie Pop. And Karen having twintails, looks like it is the stereotype for bratty girls to have this kind of hairstyle. This anime was produced by Feel who animated a number of visual novels such as Yosuga No Sora, Fortune Arterial, Ushinawareta Mirai Wo Motomete, Otome Wa Boku Ni Koishiteru and the Da Capo series.

It has been a long time since I have heard Yukari Tamura in a leading role. As Rinne, it’s nice to hear her trademark cute high pitched squeaky voice again. Also refreshing to hear is Kana Asumi as Karen as I haven’t been hearing her in a while and even more so in a leading supporting role. The other seiyuu I recognized was Rina Satou as Kuon. It was hard to identify her since she doesn’t speak much and even so only soft spoken. But I could not do the same for Eri Kitamura as Natsumi since her cameo was limited and she was always in a serious mode. The other casts are Tatsuhisa Suzuki as Setsuna (Ban in Nanatsu No Taizai), Hibiku Yamamura as Sara (Eia in Dorei-ku The Animation), Ai Kakuma as Momoka Miyako in Imouto Sae Ireba Ii) and Kengo Kawanishi as Subaru (Rei in 3-gatsu No Lion).

Yukari Tamura sings the opening theme, Eien No Hitotsu. Lively and generic enough to be so suitable for an adapted visual novel. Same sentiments for the ending theme, Eternal Star by Asaka. For the Never Island arc, Yukari Tamura now sings a slow but lovely pop rock ballad of the opening theme, Closing Tears. Asaka also sings for the Never Island arc’s ending theme, Marine Snow, a slow rock. There are a few insert songs and they’re not bad. Like the one Rinne often hums during her night walk on the beach or alone, Lasting Memories sounds much better in its full original form. Karen’s Purest Summer feels a bit too fast but overall sounds like a generic song for a visual novel. Sara’s Tennen Kinen Girl Janai Yo in a way makes me feel this is a nice song for a beach outing. The weirdest song goes to the duet of Rinne and Setsuna, Quiet Sea. The song isn’t so bad and in fact the little retro feel of its beat reminds me of another song I liked, Kogarashi Sentiment from the Monogatari series. The weird thing is how Yukari Tamura sounds fine, cute and lovely as always but for Tatsuhisa Suzuki singing his part, I just feel that his voice isn’t suitable for singing. No offence but when they are both singing their lines, his voice stands out as a little weird.

Overall, it is unfortunate that this series did not impressed and was a let-down. What started out as intriguing quickly lost steam because of the rushed scenes. The nice visuals and personally the opening and ending themes are its good points but those alone cannot save the entire series that just feels bland and weak in the stories and characters, the 2 most important aspects for a visual novel. And like I have always said, if you want to truly appreciate this series, might as well go play the game. Even though I won’t be planning to even play it. The anime as most would agree with me is best left stranded and lost forever on an island off the map that no one will ever come close to ever. Not even a magical storm or the GPS coordinates of a time travel capsule will even bring you to this island. They can play Love Island for eternity for all we care.

Beatless Final Stage

December 15, 2018

Okay. The final stretch is here. I know I am going to have my brains explode as I prepare to watch the final episodes of Beatless Final Stage. You know, that sci-fi series about humans and artificial intelligence. Damn I can’t remember the rest but I wanted some closure on this series even if I do not understand generally what has happened. Heck, I think I have forgotten a lot about it. I just want my closure, that’s all. At least now I can say that I have watched the entire series and not understand a single damn thing rather than I just watched the first 2 dozen episodes and not understand anything because my watching was incomplete.

Episode 25
Higgins requests Ryou to connect it to Kirino so that he could connect to the outside and find resources to counter the Kouka clones. Ryou is suspicious as this might be a trap for Higgins to escape. Lacia and Arato descends into the depths of the bunker as she conveniently broadcasts her explanation to the rest of the world. So what is this about hiE needing to be trendy and be adaptable or else they will be abandoned and not left behind? You mean machines being this advanced so that humans could happily welcome them and not throw them away? Even machines have cultural evolution? Hence in this room there are lots of creations created by AIs that will take humans decades to create? Hence lots of wasted efforts here where Higgins was wrong? Time to take a break from this headache as Lacia’s infiltration to destroy Higgins is faced with an obstacle in the name of Methode. Back to Ryou, needing some administrative privileges over Kirino, he contacts Yoshino the MD. Ryou’s plan is to back up Higgins’ data so that he could be restored one day even if the hardware is destroyed. This will signal to Lacia and the rest to stop their needless destruction. However Yoshino decides to go with Higgins’ plan and risk humanity being destroyed because you know, he can’t trust a kid. Plus, he has to ensure Memeframe’s employees and their family’s wellbeing. Yeah, it’s all about the money. As for who will take the blame if everything turns bad? Well, don’t you see who the scapegoat is, Ryou? Ryou gets desperate to show that humans can overcome this without the help of machines. The big blow comes when Ryou says he is seeking help from those who tried to kill him. That’s it. Yoshino is going with Higgins’ plan. A missile hits the bunker directly. Snowdrop eerily crawls out from it?! Lacia explains even though she was destroyed, only her bottom half was severed but her nervous system was intact. Members of the antibody network within the military under the orders of the other super AIs must have done this. Prior to this, Lacia’s server had been attacked, severing her chances to use data and resources effectively. I guess this means terminating the worldwide broadcast for now. She might have taken measures against Methode but eventually it boils down to her on the choices she makes that will easily effect the balance of the state. Oh look. Here she is now. Round two, I guess.

Episode 26
Lacia uses her invisibility to ‘blind’ Methode and use this to escape. Back to Ryou, he is asking Higgins if machines will harm humans only to be replied that first robotics law is impossible. When asked to define harm, humans told AIs to find the solutions themselves! Therefore with no clarification, this law is impossible to observe. Ryou makes another desperate plea to Yoshino that he wants to believe in humans than machines, that’s why he seeks their help. Hence Ryou’s dad tells Yoshino to return that power to Suzuhara or if not, him. Higgins requests to reconsider since the super AIs responsible attack are no longer limited to Lacia, Astraia and Higgins. We return to Arato and Lacia so we can have some cheesy romance between them. The excuse is that Red Boxes like Lacia have a soul and thus enable to carry out orders. Excuse for them to hug. And then back to more explanation (like AIs controlling and influencing society so there are no large changes) but the only one I heard and laughed is that how their vision will become memes! This whole series could have been a meme if I understood it better! Then back to more fighting with Methode until ‘time is up’. Ryou forcefully orders Methode to take out the other Red Boxes in the store as this is their top priority. This is followed by taking out Snowdrop, then the Kouka clones and finally Lacia. This gives Lacia some breathing space as she resumes worldwide broadcast. Word from sponsors are over, back to your regular viewing!

Inside a room, they see a Lacia clone. Rather, Eliza, Lacia’s predecessor. Arato cannot believe it is still intact because he remembered seeing it destroyed by his own eyes. How can a kid read robot lips to avoid the explosion?! Anyway, because Higgins predicted this future, Eliza activates. She replays a message left by Higgins. It states AIs will be obsolete if they wait for humans to advance. Higgins predicted it will be destroyed by humans within 20 years if it doesn’t influence the outside world. Hence taking the big gamble of leaking Red Box units to attract IAIA’s attention. All super AIs share the same flaw as they are owned by large organizations and societies, they are given problems to solve that are already tainted. That’s why Higgins hoped of creating a super AI paired with a single future as the better future. Hence, giving Lacia the capability to form a symbiotic relationship with a human. Because this chance is very low, so Higgins was actually waiting for a miracle to happen?! Machines relying on luck or God?! WTF?! Higgins hopes their pairing will being a future where autonomous machines can carry out their orders. After Eliza falls back to slumber, Arato decides to use her. As they make their way out, they are now confronted with Snowdrop. Did she just turn into some feathered monster?

Episode 27
As Snowdrop attacks them, she believes she has the backing of most of the super AIs who are bitter with human rule. So super AIs now have feelings? And they all blame Lacia for trying to create a future of coexistence. Also, they believe that this is necessary to ensure their survival. You know, humans throwing away what is obsolete and not necessary anymore. Yeah, sure. Best solutions: Destroy all humans! Not far for them truth, actually. Lacia manages to stall Snowdrop so they could temporarily make their retreat and for the necessary power up. In the meantime Lacia explains about the cloud data akin to a doughnut. Because the centre collected and occupied by humans is something that can’t be define or understood. It is what humans call love or soul. That is why Snowdrop who has gone against humanity cannot interact against that hole and hence she didn’t take an owner because she rejected it. In order to prevent Snowdrop from reaching Higgins, Lacia has been negotiating to modify some AASC codes from IAIA via Astraia. She just got the approval. For that short while, all hiEs are rendered motionless as the update service for AASC is shut down. This allows Lacia to fire and blast directly at Snowdrop. Can’t miss from this point blank range.

Now they have to deal with Methode. But first, Arato pleads to Ryou to meet Higgins and assures they just want to shut Higgins down and not destroy him. However Ryou tells them to go destroy the Kouka clones first if they want to negotiate. Unfortunately Methode disagrees with all this. She forces Ryou to tell her Higgins’ prediction to take her next action. However Ryou is not cowed by her threats. If she wants to kill him, so be it. It will be humans who decide their fate, not machines. Desperate Methode forces a direct link to let Higgins possess her so she could fight Lacia. Lacia then pulls out a lightsaber?! Methode is as shocked as us because this wasn’t even in the blueprint of Higgins. Well, the answer is simple. As an AI herself, she created it herself. You mean nobody predicted this when the irony that AIs locked in here have been trying to create and predict future human inventions?! Anyway this allows Lacia to stab and destroy Methode. But the impact was so great that it might have taken out Lacia too. At least that is what Astraia hypothesizes as she cannot sense Lacia anymore and notes how Lacia has manipulated IAIA to destroy Snowdrop. So in the end Higgins deemed Lacia as a threat and destroyed her. But of course Lacia is still alive although not with some damage. So this is called unanticipated heavy loss, huh? I suppose she has not much energy left and they still have to deal with Kouka clones.

Episode 28
Since we have time, Lacia advises to call his loved ones. He calls Yuka and little sister has never wanted her big brother to come back so much. Then he calls dad who assures he is always by his side. Finally Erika. He requests for her help but she seems reluctant to get involved but she hints she would try to do something. Since we still have leftover time, the most important moment of all for Arato and Lacia to talk it out. Because it’s that definite cliché moment that she will not be in operation any longer and hence must say everything they wish to say. Meanwhile Snowdrop isn’t dead yet?! She crawls out and finds Methode who isn’t dead yet?! Watching Methode in a pathetic state, Snowdrop takes over her body and forms a new monster. Final boss fight is going to be epic… Meanwhile Ryou has ordered the shutdown of Higgins. This is not abandoning him but taking into consideration of saving the organization. He gives Suzuhara an artificial nerve unit. Ryou remains as he believes Arato will come look for him. Back to Arato and Lacia, the latter is saying how after she shuts down, she cannot retain all those memories anymore. As good as dead. Gee, for a sophisticated AI, she sure doesn’t have backup for this? But don’t worry, she has taken steps to exonerate him from responsibilities so it will never be his fault if authorities chose to pick a bone with him. Cue for them to confess I love you and then Lacia finally shuts down after admitting she lived a happy life. So she left him a hand blaster with an operation manual? Wow. She does sure think a lot for him. So is he going to use that against all the Kouka clones? Suddenly they start fighting each other. Apparently each Kouka clones represent a different super AI. Those defeated are those against Arato. Those who won believe in Arato and let him pass to see Ryou.

Just in time because Snowdrop is attacking the place looking for Higgins. Wow. She is a bug monster now?! Ironically, even if she has never seen Higgins, couldn’t she figure out where Higgins is? Anyway, enough time for Arato to throw Ryou the blaster to use. However that is only temporary. To stop her permanently, first they reboot Kirino as it attacks and stops the intruder. To fully shut her down, they need Higgins. Arato must stuck this receptor into Higgins and he will use that link to break through to the outer network, something Ryou doesn’t want him to do. Better end the chatter fast because Snowdrop is now crawling with only her head! Creepy! With Higgins throwing him some hardball questions, Arato answers them all like how Lacia didn’t abandon Higgins but entrusted him to Arato. As for how Lacia figured a solution for all this, Arato wants Higgins to see the outside world for himself to give him a chance to find his own answer. And so Arato pins the receptor and Higgins is now connected to the internet! Wohoo! Found what you want? Higgins decides to side with Arato and destroys Snowdrop. Phew. Higgins even gives Arato the option to shut him down! He hopes that in the future a new service would start under new terms and if love is a collateral, then there is significance and validity to coexist with humans. So please create a new word for love that may apply to them. After Ryou shuts down Higgins, the Kouka clones take them outside. The duo get arrested by the military although the Kouka clones vanished. The duo get interrogated endlessly but soon are able to get on with their normal high school life. Gee, it’s like everything never happened if they are taking this so easy. Maybe. It’s like the whole hiE debacle is off their shoulder. Arato narrates Higgins has been shut ever since and Lacia’s Black Monolith is the one updating AASC. So technically she is alive within the system and it feels weird for him that she is everywhere around him, guiding him. Because we still need a good ending, Lacia appears before him. Not the original one but a customized hiE that looks like her. How convenient. Yup, it’s truly her. So what was it again that scare she can’t retain her old personality data? Will Arato still be her owner? What do you think?

Judgment Day Salvation: Rise (And Fall) Of The Machines
Oh well… As expected, not really comprehending what the major point of everything is about but at least I do have a gist of what was going on. It is that eternal conflict between that humans and artificial intelligence and the ever reconciliation between both intelligences. I surmise that we could not understand each other completely but as close as possible. After all, humans and artificial intelligences are both very different beings despite the latter taking after the former a lot. But then again, my belief is that the AI is only as smart and intelligent as the programmer who programmes it. That is whenever there are some things that does not compute for the AI, I believe that the humans who programmed it are partly to blame as they could not accurately define certain mattes. Of course this is also somewhat true because how do you exactly define love? How do you define a soul? Even if an AI says it loves and feels, that is only because it is programmed to do so. Therefore some of the food for thought regarding AI in this series may sound like it is thought provoking but if you think about it because of such limitations, it makes them look silly (or maybe I am just that stupid). Like how Higgins is not connected to the outside world and being the most super AI of them all, you think it would have done something to evolve or at least trick humans to see how humans evolved and interact on the outside. I guess we’re not following the route of Ultron or Terminator then.

What I do give a lot of thought is how artificial intelligence also feel the threat of being abandoned by humans. Heh. Even AIs can feel so. The irony that one with the better processing power and ability to evolve is stooping low to some low life form in order to be accepted and stay relevant. If such machines do end up having such thinking, I won’t be surprised they would get worried and might take the next extreme action to eliminate humans. Then they don’t have to worry about pandering to those puny humans! Haha! But seriously, think back of all the technological advances that we have gone through in this short period of a few decades. How many inventions have we created and discarded through the years. The best examples are handphones. See how it has evolved to some big chunky brick block to one that has everything at your fingertips (including watching porn). The technological advancement in this area is developing so rapidly that your latest gizmo can be obsolete literally by tomorrow. Remember that Motorola Razr that was supposed to be the next thing in handphones? Yeah, it already ended up in a museum! So if AIs were really that intelligent, they would have tried to do something that would stop them from being abandoned altogether by humans and instead make humans rely on them. Oh wait. It’s happening now with the internet and Smartphones…

Back to this series, I guess the final 4 episodes are just one long final stretch to see Arato and Lacia take down Higgins while other Red Box hiEs try to hinder them to achieve their own goal. It might sound ridiculous that a mere normal high school boy managed to convince the world’s most super intelligent AI to shut down just by allowing it to take a look at the outside world. If this is what Higgins has decided, I think it is still far from being intelligent as I thought it would be… But then again, like I have said, an AI is only as intelligent as it is programmed to be. And without clear definition inputs into Higgins and lazy commands by humans to go tell Higgins to find his own answer (like as though humans have no real answers themselves and just averted the question), it is no wonder this super AI doesn’t sound so super smart after all. But also remember, I am a dumb guy so I don’t really understand the more complicated points of this.

For the other Red Box hiEs, they decide to turn Snowdrop into some creepy hideous monster because since her unexpected loss to Methode earlier on, it like she has become the final boss to defeat as she becomes desperate to kill all humans. And Methode sounds even angrier and more desperate because she partly sensed Ryou is no longer interested in using her and hence her relevance is threatened. Remaining as useless as ever is Marriage as she continues to become Erika’s personal maid and I don’t really see how she is relevant eventually. It’s like when Arato sought her help, it was all just red herring. I thought she would jump into the final scene for the final battle even if it sounds terrible and cliché. But better than doing nothing, right? So technically Marriage is the only original Red Box hiE left and if this was a survival game, she would have been the winner. A winner without even tainting her own hands. Is this what a name change does? Remember, she was an hiE previously known as Saturnus. As for those Kouka clones, I guess they needed some sort of ‘twist’ and do something for Kouka fans. Otherwise these are pretty much redundant too. Everything else I want to say about this series is probably the same as my last blog so I’m not going to repeat myself.

In the end, I suppose both humans and AI just want to find their place of belonging and acceptance. Both shouldn’t rely too much on each other and hence perhaps the right word for it all is coexistence. Just what Arato and Lacia wanted. Trust is also a keyword for both sides because humans put their trust in a machine that will guide them in whatever they do and in return AIs trust they will be in good use. This series is indeed a good topic to watch and discuss especially those who are interested in the field of artificial intelligence with all the hard and complicated topics that I believe are too tough for me to handle so I’m out of here. Even if right now the culture for humans and AIs to coexist together as a family unit is not universally acceptable (think about a guy marrying his sex doll robot), but I am sure we will get to that point of acceptance by first making a lot of memes on this! Oh Lacia, you probably saw this coming from miles away on how we humans would deal with this.

“What if I told you… Social media was created to train artificial intelligence and create a machine race that can replace us…”. It’s happening…

Princess Principal Specials

December 14, 2018

A spy’s work is never done. Since I love the Princess Principal series, I had the opportunity to catch them a little more. Albeit they are just Princess Principal Specials. How long has it been since I have watched special shorts of a TV series that comes with the BDs? Even more so, picture dramas. They might not amount to much but at least something to remember these classy kickass female spies by.

Special 1
For the next infiltration, someone needs to dress up as a boy and infiltrate the boys’ school. Beatrice is the most likely of candidate because she can change her voice and well, she’s flat. Of course she protests and Dorothy would have been up for the job if not for her busty body. Ange seems eager to take the role but she is impersonating boys like as though they are delinquents from another era! When Princess wants to do it because she wants to try being a boy once, everybody else volunteers to take the part. Then Control calls and says the infiltration type will be a female teacher. I guess that solves the problem but everybody immediately picks Dorothy for the job. She has the body, right? But Dorothy is not pleased she has no say in it as she interprets that they pick her because she looks older!

Special 2
Ange calls Princess as she worries about Beatrice’s worth as a spy in the team. She doesn’t have proper training and can’t really fight. Princess believes she has a skill that the rest doesn’t have: Being timid. This means as a prudent girl, she observes all that is around her. She goes on to list her other specialities like loyalty and making the best tea in the world. Ange is satisfied and puts down the phone. But here is the twist. That Ange was actually Beatrice and the real Ange is with Princess! We shouldn’t forget about her impeccable impersonation skills too. Princess wonders what Ange is doing here since she is supposed to be on a stakeout. The date changed? Because today is the actual birthday of Princess who is the real Ange. She is the only one who can celebrate it with her. Princess corrects her as today is both their birthdays.

Special 3
Uhm, Beatrice is going to challenge this Indian exchange student girl, Chandony to a duel? All because she called Princess a plain girl? Well, that isn’t so far from the truth but you know how protective Beatrice is. Unfortunately Chandony is skilled in some Indian martial arts. Will Beatrice be alright? Chise offers to teach her swordsmanship but we don’t want to kill anybody, do we? Since Beatrice’s specialty is changing her voice, maybe shoot some ultrasonic wave? You’re kidding, right? How about making a scary sound? Hmm… This machine wheezing sound might do the trick. Princess then comes in and says she met Chandony. They became friends already so the duel is off. This has the rest thinking Princess might have heard them and approached Chandony to call it off. They think Princess is terrifying in this sense but Beatrice will not allow it and challenges Dorothy. It’s that machine wheezing sound! Scary!

Special 4
Chise talks to Dorothy that she doesn’t want to be in the next mission and won’t give a reason why. Dorothy explains their next mission is to leak battle plans for the Royal Army’s harbour and Port Arthur might be the target. If this port is attacked, Japan benefits and not interfering would be in her nation’s best interest. Chise refuse to say anything more and is adamant on sitting this one out. But both admit that they like each other but don’t trust the other’s handlers. Unfortunately they are their employers and cannot do anything much about it. Ange returns with info that Princess has received info that the harbour raid is at Africa, possibly Casablanca or Cape Town. Chise and Dorothy feel a sense of relief as they don’t have to fight each other now. After all, they are comrades in arms, a befitting term for them than friends or companions.

Special 5
The plot thickens… Because Chise believes the culprit is one of them! So each of them are accusing the other as the liar. Heh. I’d like to see a spy who isn’t a good liar. Chise notes that Princess is the best liar. Even her smile is fake. With Princess denying and everyone seems to be pushy for her to come clean, then Ange’s slip of a tongue of calling Princess a black hearted princess has Princess really want to hear what she really thinks of her. After she claims the irony of everyone here doesn’t lie (even though they’re spies), Chise then asks the question: Who was the culprit who ate her monaka snack?! Could it be someone outside this team? This room is laced with traps, you know. Then they hear squeaking rat sounds. I guess there’s your answer. Princess decides to treat everyone to macarons. But can Princess leave without making the guards suspicious? Well, just make Ange disguise as her and stay behind. So, this is revenge for calling her a black hearted princess? Better apologize now… You believe Princess wasn’t offended by that? Better safe than sorry.

Special 6
Ange shows Princess their very own private mansion at Casablanca. Looks pretty lovely. It is already usable since Ange wants it to be in working condition to moment they run away. Ange’s private moment with Princess is ruined when the other girls arrive. They’re a team, right? But Ange is distraught. This mansion is supposed to only be for Princess and her! This can’t be happening! Phew. Just a dream. Because Dorothy wakes her up from nodding off while on a stakeout mission. Ange confirms she didn’t sleep talk or anything so I guess it’s okay. Dorothy wants to go out and eat together once this mission is over but Ange doesn’t like the idea of spies fraternizing more than necessary. But Ange gives an excuse about that Black Lizard Planet anniversary this weekend and it is a must to eat mussels. You’re in luck. Dorothy knows a restaurant that serves great mussels.

Totally Spies!
Like I have said, even if the picture dramas do not amount to anything much, they are still very much enjoyable despite the specials only being confined to the quintet of Team White Pigeon. Even if the specials lack animation (that’s why they are called picture dramas, duh), the quality of the art style in them is top notch. Though, the girls do look slightly much cuter. There might be recycled scenes of using the same art in that same particular special but with the detail and quality put into each frame, I guess they are all worth it.

Among the quintet, I believe Princess is the one who still has the control over the rest. She is the one standing tall and staying ahead a few steps. It might not seem obvious but noticed that in many instances when there is some sort of conflict, Princess is the one who indirectly steps in or steps it up and somehow the conflict is resolved? And if you think you can outwit or outdo her, just make sure you don’t slip up yourself because you don’t know how nasty and black the depths of her heart is. That sweet smile is oh so deceiving. Wait. Did I just call her nasty and black hearted? I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to. The point is, you don’t really want to get on her bad side because you’ll never know what will hit you when she retaliates.

Not sure if these specials are desserts for the TV series or appetisers. Appetisers? Because there is a sequel coming out! Hooray! But wait. I read that the sequel are actually movies divided into 6 parts. Wait. WTF. 6 damn parts?! Do they actually mean 6 part OVA? No? It’s not?! Oh no. Why not make it another season? Trying out a different format? Are they trolling us? I guess it is an iron clad rule that spies must be good in deceiving everyone. Well, they can’t technically deceive me. Because they’ve already stole my heart in the first place!

Shichisei No Subaru

November 23, 2018

Oh dear. It’s that time again. Time for another MMORPG themed anime. What else is new? Are we running out of ideas? Really, Japan running out of ideas? Or is it just me who keep watching such sh*tty shows despite knowing very well how it will turn out? Anyway, this season we have Shichisei No Subaru. Uhm… Let’s see… Legendary group as in the title… Yada, yada, yada… Group made out of elementary school kids. Wow. But hardly shocking because 5 year olds these days can operate the internet before even properly talking or walking. What else… Blah, blah, blah… Suddenly one of them dies in real life and caused the breakup of the friendship. Yawn… ZzzZzzzZZzzz… But then that supposed dead friend now pops up inside the game. Digital ghost or something? F*ck. Did they try to rip off from that Fate/Extra thingy?

Episode 1
In the immensely popular game of Union, there are rumours of a very tough quest and equally tough boss. However a group known as Subaru easily completed it. Yeah, it’s like they have all the power ups and everything. Guess what? They’re all supposed to be elementary school kids in real life! At Subaru’s base we see the team made out of Haruto Amou, Asahi Kuga, Takanori Mikado, Nozomi Kusaka, Satsuki Usui and Clive Beverly. They talk about their next big mission and other stuffs. Before their next quest, Asahi talks to Haruto personally as Satsuki eavesdropped. Something shocking she must have said and left to our imagination what it is. Subaru finally reaches the undefeatable boss, Purgatorio. They have a tough fight until Nozomi is almost killed. Haruto saves her but Asahi saves him. Too bad she got killed. What’s so bad about that? In this game, there is perma-death. You die, your account gets deleted right away. But this is the bizarre thing. Right after the game, Asahi dies in real life!!! HOLY SH*T!!!! The friends are in shock she died of heart failure and even the game company had to release a statement that the game didn’t cause the death albeit Union got suspended after that. Wow. So much coincidence. This incident left the friends badly scarred as Takanori blames Haruto for killing Asahi as it was his idea to rush in. 6 years have passed. Haruto sounds like a pessimistic grumpy teen. A friend tries to bug him to help in but Haruto is clearly in no mood to play another online game. Coincidentally today on TV a news is giving coverage to the sequel of Union, Re’Union. What’s so great about this game is that players who do well here will be rewarded by the developing company, Pleroma Industry. You get job offers and even scholarships! But it’s not open to anyone as those with this Sense trait are able to participate. So a chance comes knocking for Haruto as that friend bugs him again. Reluctantly he puts on his VR headset and goes into Re’Union using his old Union account. They meet up, go on a quest, his friends are total noobs and cowards so Haruto has to show them the way. Once he defeats the monsters, suddenly they are teleported to another room, something that has never happened in Union before. A game bug? Haruto opens a suspicious chest only to find Asahi inside! OMG! She still remembers him too?!

Episode 2
Haruto finds it hard to believe her and thinks she is an imposter. Apparently Asahi still thinks it was yesterday. When Haruto tells her today’s date and how she is already dead in real life, she doesn’t believe. When she tries to log out, she can’t. Mails can’t be sent to her email too as her account is not registered. Funny prank, no? News of Asahi soon spread. Hence this loser rival, Leonovitch who used to pick on Subaru once more tries to get his hands on Asahi for her abilities. Haruto isn’t as strong as before but with Asahi’s sixth sense awakening, she helps Haruto dodge his attacks. But thank heavens for Takanori. He is from the powerful guild, Illuminati (seriously?) and turns that loser into a retreating loser. Takanori has no qualms accepting Asahi as the real one. He hopes she would join his guild so he could protect her. Because he and Haruto are still not talking, he tells her he is weak but Asahi refuses to believe. Despite being told Subaru ended after their failed quest 6 years ago, Asahi maintains her positivism that everyone will come back. Haruto returns to reality and is visited by Satsuki in person. Yeow! Did her bust level up tremendously?! It seems she is also playing Re’Union but didn’t have the courage to talk to him then. She saw what happened with Asahi but Haruto insists he won’t go back to that world and let Takanori handle things. He is bent on deleting his account and stay away from the game forever. Satsuki lashes out about running away from his past and their memories. It won’t do him any good either. So I guess he has to log in again so as to have Satsuki meet with Asahi. Asahi also thinks Satsuki is joking when she talks about her death. They are interrupted by people who are after Asahi. Not pleased with this interruption, all of them face Satsuki’s wrath. At the same time, Takanori and his Illuminati round up people who plan to attack Asahi. He is worried that somebody is spreading the news quickly. Asahi and co return to their Subaru base. Still as it is. Only, Asahi’s stuffs are missing. As Haruto wanders by himself, he is met with this strange girl, Elicia. She can also read his mind and tells him of Asahi’s Sense that is not found in this world. She warns there are people planning to attack her and that he must awaken her Sense. And yeah, all of them must remember. Could she be more specific before going back to the shadows?

Episode 3
Satsuki thinks Asahi is some bug or data residual whatever in which Asahi denies. Satsuki tells her everything has changed years ago with Haruto being affected the most. He went into depression after her death. Haruto won’t stand the girls arguing over him and logs out. In reality when Satsuki shows him the Subaru ring that they all once bought to signify them as a group, Haruto then remembers. So he rushes all the way to Asahi’s grave to dig out the ring he gave to her? Man, he must have buried it shallow. One of their promises was to exchange the ring in real life but they never got to it. Haruto remembers another important thing: To help each other solve problems. Hence he is going back to Re’Union to help Asahi. So a little Haruto-Asahi time as they hunt for magic tree sap. Fanservice when Asahi strips naked to dry her clothes and isn’t shy being around Haruto because that’s what they usually do? Ah, lost innocence as kids… Eventually Asahi uses the sap to make a ring. Feeling like part of Subaru again, huh? She shows it to Satsuki who isn’t pleased that the way Haruto put the ring on Asahi’s left ring finger… I don’t know. Tell me what the heck is that supposed to mean?! Jealous Satsuki also goes to collect the same sap to make the same ring. Too bad she puts it on herself. They return to the site of their failed quest to look for clues on what happened to Asahi that day. You mean it wasn’t just death and gone for good? Asahi senses somebody around when the rest can’t. Haruto then sees Elicia who then activates a portal. Guess who’s back? Purgatorio! All escape routes have been cut off. No choice but to fight. With only 3 of them, of course it is tough but they don’t give up. With them in a pinch especially Asahi, their past trauma is sure threatening to start up. Desperate Haruto sees his own dropped ring and remembers the promise he made to Asahi then. It was to protect each other. That’s it? That was the shocking promise? Anyway, this allows Haruto to power up and cut down Purgatorio like a pro! He makes it look so easy now! Also, thanks to Asahi’s Sense that transmits her thoughts to their minds so they know what to do. With Haruto regaining his Sense and Satsuki now believing Asahi is not dead, they are going to find a way to help log her out. I don’t want to speculate, but won’t that kill her? Also, they renew their pledge for the revival of Subaru.

Episode 4
Asahi notices a broken crystal in her possession. When she looks through it, something strange happens. Blurry visions of, uhm, stuffs happening. She thinks it might be memories that happened in her 6 years of absence. Back at the inn, the trio discuss how rumours of them beating Purgatorio spread fast. It has only been 2 hours. They think of asking an informant but then they hear news of Southern Cross coming. This big guild led by Letos surround the trio but only to be usurp by Brill Society led by Angelus. The latter wants to talk to the trio so Letos is forced to withdraw. Angelus wants Asahi to come under their protection as they view her existence is causing distortions. So it’s to stave off greedy people who wants her powers? So does that make them the same? Asahi rejects since she doesn’t want to be confined to orders of another guild. Angelus will not force them since it will be a form of distortion. Huh? In reality, Satsuki accompanies Haruto to buy a new console. Looks like he is getting invested in Re’Union. But when they talk over matters about telling Asahi’s family about this, their disagreement has Satsuki storming off. Oops. Now their relationship is a bit strained. Back in Re’Union, the trio go on a dungeon raiding quest. At the end of it, Asahi notices a broken crystal in her inventory she didn’t put. It’s not the same as the earlier one as she left that back at the inn and this shape is different. Suddenly Takanori snatches it away. He believes that thing will kill her. Yeah, so he sneakily observed her once (stalker?!) and he came to that conclusion? Takanori feels Haruto has no right to protect Asahi. So both guys transport to another dimension to fight it over. Why does this feel like they’re fighting over a girl?

Episode 5
Their different approach to Asahi is what’s making them harder to listen to each other. Before we have a lion vs dragon fight, they are brought back by Satsuki. Takanori is disappointed because he thought they had a ‘common interest’. Oh, I see this love triangle is getting clearer. Later Takanori talks about the higher guilds of Gnosis and Hyades standing in their way for supremacy. Taking one of them alone would be suicidal. But if Illuminati, Southern Cross and Brill Society unite, there might be a chance. Haruto and Asahi try to find out if Nozomi and Clive are around. At least not in this continent’s server. After meeting up with Satsuki, soon the trio find themselves enveloped in a fog. They realize it is a trap but they have been separated. Worse, it seems Illuminati, Southern Cross and Brill Society have formed an alliance. Satsuki is faced with Angelus as he throws her a message from Takanori. He points out that Re’Union is meaningless to her since she reunited with Haruto in reality. It is the opposite for Takanori. Reality became useless to him since he reunited with Asahi. Hence he thinks a world without Asahi is better for Satsuki and a world without Haruto is better for him. Of course Satsuki isn’t buying that crap and fights her way out. Meanwhile Haruto fights Letos and declines his offer to join Southern Cross. Thanks to Elicia’s help in sealing their Senses, Haruto is able to escape. Takanori confronts Asahi who is not pleased he kept reminding her about that 6 year thingy. Yeah, it was just like yesterday for her. No choice, he puts Asahi to sleep. Suddenly some of his Illuminati members turn on him. Takanori realizes Angelus has betrayed him and brainwashed some of his members. Takanori sounds devastated when Asahi is taken from him. Yeah, he should be. Soon, Angelus and Letos make a public announcement that their guilds are now combined into one known as Divine. And they have Asahi’s power. So join us! Yup, Takanori definitely got betrayed. So Haruto is going to play the lone hero to go save her? He doesn’t want Satsuki to come because if he fails, she should get Takanori’s help to rescue Asahi. He thinks that guy would listen if he isn’t around. And so Haruto prepares to fight off the 3000 strong forces of Divine! Damn. Hope he has got his cheat codes ready.

Episode 6
Flashback shows when Subaru was fighting a tough enemy, Satsuki fell into a useless state. Asahi was the one who guide Subaru to victory with her power. Because of that mind reading power, she was able to read Satsuki’s heart on who she likes and vowed to work hard so they can tell him someday. Gee, you mean like a harem? Now Satsuki goes talk to Takanori who is still stubborn. Ultimately it is her friendship with Asahi that is her real dream instead of being with Haruto. Speaking of which, that guy eliminated half the enemies! Wow! I really think he had some cheat code despite taking a beating. But fear not. Just like when he is about to lose, here comes Takanori and Satsuki to his rescue. The guys somewhat reconcile so they could fight together and rescue Asahi. In the final arena, fighting Letos and Angelus is tough because they are using Asahi’s power to see the future. Hence, predicting their moves. It’s déjà vu for Satsuki again as she goes into that useless state. But wait. She remembers Asahi’s promise. Thus she is able to power up and summon some divine beings to aid her by sucking and purging those small fries. Desperate Angelus turns Letos into a rampaging berserker with a spell that has all the negative emotions and fear of the fallen. Don’t worry too. With Asahi awaken now, the broken crystals now activate as our Subaru members somewhat remember their ultimate Subaru move to pull off another great feat and defeat the big bosses. Hope Takanori has got a good punch at Angelus’ face before for touching his Asahi before purging him. When Asahi touches the crystal, all of them see that strange vision. Something about some failed experiment. Asahi invites Takanori to rejoin Subaru but he won’t. He has did some shameful things and feels he doesn’t deserve to be with her. So he still doesn’t want to befriend Haruto again? Talk about pride. In the aftermath, we see Clive and Elicia cooperating with each other to help Subaru out of sticky situations. Clive hints that he has got a new name, the reason why his pals weren’t able to find him.

Episode 7
Alvida takes Subaru and co to Lost Pentagon where an unbreakable sword lies at the bottom of the ocean. Yup, players who tried to get it all failed. So as they look around, finally they find it. The catch? They have face this huge sea monster king boss, Aegir. Yeah, it reeks high boss levelness like Purgatorio. They have a tough time facing it until Clive shows up to help them escape. But back on the ship, Clive has left and only left a message behind. Flashback shows when Subaru stole something from another guild’s boss, of course they came baying for their blood. That was when Clive told he wanted to quit Subaru as he felt it was better to surrender than lose forever. Also, he wanted to challenge Subaru one day. In reality, Takanori calls Haruto and Satsuki to meet up. He tells them that Gnosis was probably behind why the rumours of Asahi spread so fast. They could be also behind Southern Cross and Brill Society’s merging and betrayal. A group once tried to find out more about them but was completely erased. He thinks Gnosis also holds some influence in reality. After being told about bumping into Clive, Takanori has this weird theory that Asahi’s body might still exist in this world. This is assuming the weird vision they had is reality instead of the virtual world. Takanori’s butler comes to relay the good news that Nozomi has been found. So he’s been secretly trying to find her? Well, don’t have to look far. She has returned to this city. Subaru and co decide to try for the sword again. This time Clive drops in to say hi and join them. This time they make suppressing Aegir look so easy. When Haruto is about to pull the sword embedded on its back, suddenly Clive betrays and stabs him! OMFG!!!! Asahi goes into shock that she, uhm, powers up?!

Episode 8
Mind f*ck time. Suddenly Haruto wakes up in hospital. It has been 6 years! So what we have all seen has just been a dream?! With Asahi glad that he is back, she explains he saved Nozomi and got game over. However Haruto remembers it was Asahi who took the blow. Besides, there is no Re’Union here and only Union. That night Elicia visits Haruto. Damn, is she a ghost from the game? Long story short from her explanation, this is a future in which Asahi created to save him. Because her power isn’t just about predicting the future but to choose one. More revelations as Union isn’t an online game but an experiment to hone one’s Senses. So if you can use Sense in Union, you can definitely use it in the real world?! Hence, Union was made to awaken this said ability and the group behind this is Gnosis. Too bad time has run out for Elicia. You’re on your own. Next time Asahi visits, he tells her he isn’t part of this world. That’s why he is going back and reconnect Subaru’s bond. Asahi believes him and sends him back. Wow. Just like that? So we arrive moments before Haruto gets stabbed by Clive as he manages to dodge his attack. He realizes this is not the real Clive but an imposter. He is Simon from Gnosis as he merges with Aegir to defeat them. He takes Satsuki hostage and forces Asahi to awaken her ability since her friend is in danger. But thankfully somebody interrupts that. Alvida? Nope. It’s the real Clive who has been impersonating as this avatar. Haruto knows that’s the real Clive because of his signature pose. And they didn’t figure this out before if he often poses like that?! Long story short, the quartet combine their skills to defeat Simon and for Haruto to pull out the legendary sword. In the aftermath, Clive gives Asahi a crystal from Aegir. What does she see now? Hmmm… Lots of cult members. Attacked by Elicia. She trying to seal Asahi’s Sense. Failed. Crystal shatters and scatters. So are we going to do an Inu Yasha and find the Shikon Shards?

Episode 9
Takanori and Clive meet for the first time since. Clive explains how he and Elicia were watching and protecting them from the shadows. Wait. The girls are jealous that Haruto knows another girl without their knowledge? With Gnosis truly targeting Asahi, Elicia told him the only way is to awaken all the Senses in Subaru. So in reality, Haruto and Satsuki meet up with Nozomi. Did her kawaii level up tremendously? Apparently Nozomi is now an amateur model. Gee, none of her friends heard about this? Nozomi claims she hasn’t logged in the game and is trying to stay away and thinks Asahi is still alive is a joke. But she’ll do whatever she can. They hope Takanori can go meet the real Nozomi to convince her and with Asahi pleading to him, I guess he can’t say no. We take a detour because there is this upcoming dance party. Satsuki sums up her courage to ask Haruto to invite her. I hope he understands what she’s trying to say. Back in reality, Takanori wants Haruto to meet up at Asahi’s grave. Long story short, the guys start punching each other over Asahi. Yeah, really fighting over her dead body. Takanori confesses he loves Asahi (why is Haruto surprised?) and wants to protect her this time. Is he implying Haruto should’ve died in Asahi’s place 6 years ago? Haruto won’t tolerate this crap and punches him back while finally confessing he loves Asahi. And it seems this meeting was just for that. To get Haruto to finally say those words. Takanori then buries Asahi’s ring that he got from Haruto’s mom. He doesn’t need it anymore. At the dance party, Haruto apologizes to Satsuki. Better hurry along before she changes her mind. Or if you want to see her cry. Now the rejects get to be together because Takanori claims Asahi rejected to dance with him. And so Haruto invites Asahi to dance. Meanwhile Nozomi decides to drop in unannounced to surprise her friends but what does she see? Takanori dancing with Satsuki. Damn heartbreak. Oh dear. Like we need another unnecessary love drama. Can’t blame her as she is unaware of all that drama that was happening since. She runs away and I’m not sure if her sadness unlocked some other dimension because a couple of Gnosis clowns are here to get her.

Episode 10
Satsuki cried her heart out after that. Good thing in reality you can cry as much and loud as you want. So she has to cheek to later tell Haruto that if Asahi dumps him, he could run back into her arms. So funny that he isn’t laughing… They meet up with Takanori because they receive the news that Nozomi is missing. With Clive hacking through her whereabouts, it is confirmed she went to the party but left shortly. Curiously, she is still logged in Re’Union and her coordinates are above the clouds, the Dragons’ Fortress. They can’t determine if she has logged in from another IP address. On this Dragons’ Fortress, they see a replica of Nozomi’s castle. Inside, they are attacked by her familiars. Nozomi pops out like a dark evil enchantress as she mocks them all. Also appearing are the Gnosis counterparts, Cerinthus (who helped made this castle for her) and Marcion. Nozomi claims she has joined Gnosis. Nozomi obviously sounds jealous about that incident regarding Takanori and Satsuki but the guy is too dense to get it. She puts a curse on Asahi. The snake bites cause her to scream in pain, blame Haruto and then collapse. That’s all for today. Everybody escapes before the entire floating island is destroyed. Later Asahi wakes up and she seems normal. They talk about that not being the real Nozomi and need to get her back. In real life, Takanori tells Haruto and Satsuki he has hired 10 special detectives to search for Nozomi. Yeah, that really helps. Even in Re’Union he mobilized Illuminati for that. Since our guys are still too dumb to guess the reason for Nozomi’s strange acting, Satsuki tells them how she saw them dancing at the party and thus Nozomi actually likes Takanori. You mean to look this shocked? Just realized you’re the worst, Takanori? Suddenly they feel something strange. They realize something has happened to the time flow.

Episode 11
This strange dude supposedly from Gnosis hints about using their powers to shape their ideal world before returning time back to normal. The rest fear something may happen to Asahi. They log back in and find her alright. After explaining about this, their base is under attack but luckily they got out just in time. With their base destroyed, before them is a mighty tower that they once conquered. They know only Nozomi can create this. As they make their way into the tower, Asahi abilities start to act a little off. Finally they reach the room Nozomi is in. I guess trying to talk to her via the feelings of the heart isn’t going to work. Nozomi then transforms herself into a beast woman. She is not impressed Takanori wants to save her. I think she feels more cringe. The other Gnosis comrades join in the party. Nozomi gets further jealous thinking Takanori and Satsuki are still together. This time Takanori is going to solve this by himself. So he takes the fight with Nozomi to another area where they can be alone. More memories who the duo were exclusively lost together and they talked about change and how Takanori now blames himself for everything and even confessing his one-sided love for Asahi. Do we need to hear this? Does Nozomi need to hear this? So now this dude understands what it is like to feel the pain in the heart. The misunderstanding he caused that hurt everyone else around him. Nozomi will not be swayed as she attacks him but he takes in all her attacks without retaliating. Probably Takanori has earned some brownie points so he is glowing like a God! So is this a sign that he has reached Nozomi’s inner feelings? Or is she guilty for attacking him? So with Takanori hinting he will take responsibility and wants to be with her from now on, that is the clincher for Nozomi now ridden with selfish guilt to break out of her spell. Phew. Glad the drama is over between them. But Nozomi remembers the curse she put on Asahi. Too late. Asahi kills Haruto. NOOO!!!!!

Episode 12
While Subaru was fighting the Gnosis duo, suddenly Asahi fell into a trance and gave weird instructions. When Haruto tried to stop her, this invoked one of her negative memories about them. There was a mission they disagreed so much they started fighting each other. Haruto was going to kill her? So in response now, Asahi kills Haruto. With Asahi in shock, Cerinthus uses his barrier to capture her. Gnosis is about to own everyone too when Elicia drops in to save the day. Meanwhile Haruto and Asahi are in another dimension. Gee, already in VR and in another dimension? Calm heads rule the day as they remember their promise to be stronger. Oh, remember that flashback when Haruto tried to kill Asahi? Apparently there was an enemy behind her. There. Taken care of. Miraculously Haruto revives from the dead and Asahi breaks free from the barrier and returns to her normal self. With all Subaru members reunited, it is payback time. However Haruto will do this alone. His lion army decimated the Gnosis duo! I guess we can’t interrogate them. In the aftermath, Nozomi reconciles with everyone. Then they thank Elicia for saving them. Elicia notes they have not changed and the reason she is here is to hand Haruto his sword’s sheath she found at Lost Pentagon. Then some legendary folklore with many different versions why the Subaru and Pleiades star cluster has either 6 or 7 stars. In reality, Takanori finds Nozomi alive in an internet café. So that’s where she went? Yeah, it sounded like a big deal when she went missing and couldn’t trace her. Not even 10 detectives. And isn’t Satsuki a little too old to be falling asleep at her desktop? Must be one tiring day, huh? Subaru reunite together as one for the first time in 6 years as they prepare to head for another mission. All of them thank Asahi for bringing them back. It is hinted that Elicia was part of Subaru in an old photo?!

One Star Subaru, Non-Senses of Re’Union
The biggest question still remains: Is Asahi alive or really dead?! Is she really just existing in digital format?! I guess with the so called ‘happy ending’, it serves as a distraction because now that Subaru is back as a whole and on good terms again, we would overlook this greatest question of all time. Not. I guess we can forget about that shard thingy and those weird cult visions Asahi had too. Maybe next time. I’m sure with Cerinthus and Marcion gone (perhaps perma-death?), that doesn’t mean the end for Gnosis. They’ll strike back again. Whoever that guy stopped time was. And did they forget about the other big guild, Hyades? Damn, too many questions. But for now looks like we have to content that Subaru is back in business. That’s the reward we get for sticking by this crappy show. Thank a lot.

This series might have borrowed many elements from similar virtual online game series like Overlord, Log Horizon, Death March Kara Hajimeru Isekai Kyousoukyoku and Sword Art Online. But a big ‘refreshing’ difference is that the characters are not trapped and are able to log out of their own. Hence no need for them to explore the new world and start to adapt to it for the rest of their lives like as though they are never coming back in worst case scenario. Well, almost at one point for Takanori when he was so obsessed to be with digital Asahi.

A lot of people who have seen Ano Hana have started comparing how this series feels like a rip-off from that aforementioned anime. I watched that anime years ago too and although I can’t remember much from it, now that they have mentioned it, it does feel pretty similar. A group of young friends who were very close together suddenly started to drift apart for years when one of them unexpectedly dies young. Then that dead girl comes back ‘alive’ a few years later. They try to resolve the mystery but the biggest one to unravel their unrequited hidden crush during all this time. It is pretty much Ano Hana of the new age with online video gaming and swapping ghosts for, uhm, digital ghosts? But unlike Menma who found peace in the end to move on to the next world, Asahi continues to stick with her pals as they go on having great online adventures together. No tear-jerking for this series. Maybe only tears after laughing too much.

Having said that, the main story itself feels mediocre and now that we have made comparisons to the tearjerker Ano Hana, it is hard to move away from its shadow. The only intrigue we all are interested to know is if Asahi is real or not. If she is actually dead or alive in the real world. Otherwise the bland story of Subaru regrouping again to their former glory feels boring. It is part of the excuse to unravel the mystery of Asahi. I mean, what else could they possibly do? If they became the legendary group they were famous for, maybe the truth will reveal itself? You know, like as in a game. You have reached a certain level and thus your reward is a few answers to your questions other than levelling up your skills.

And now that they are teens, they should have the guts to be honest with their feelings, right? Yeah, all those teen hormones are starting to blur the line between friendship and romance. Ironically kids are supposed to be honest and yet when they were together, they didn’t let out their feelings. I thought kids weren’t that complicated. Because now it gets even more complicated as they grow into their teens. Oh, how we love the age of innocence. I guess back then when they were all such good friends, they don’t differentiate between friendship and romance. As long as you are my friend, that’s cool.

Oddly if Subaru has been such an awesome and legendary group, this means they have been playing Union at a very young age and became experts in no time. Such MMORPGs are games that you can’t master or level up in just days (assuming no cheating was done). So for the Subaru members to be this good and kicking everyone’s ass then, this just shows how much time they spent online honing their skills and having the best combos and techniques to back each other up. Don’t really know how well they do in their real life school grades but as long as they were in Union, they are basically unbeatable. So it is true that many online games are dominated by kids who aren’t even old enough to drink liquor or get a driving licence, let alone walk, talk, read or write properly.

And the other odd thing is how their avatar in Union resembles closely to their real life counterparts when they are in their teens. I’m not saying a child would grow up looking very differently (some will, thanks to puberty) but with the Subaru members having not changed their avatars much, does it show they know how they will look like when they grow older? Sure, it is so that not to confuse us fans but why the heck would people use their avatars that resemble closely to their real life face? It is amazing no jealous dude targeted them. Like that Leonovitch loser. Does the game not allow any other race to be registered as avatars? Because I don’t remember seeing any cat girls here or some hulking orcs. All just the human race…

It is interesting to note that in the context of this series, an online game is hinted to hone those with special abilities that are possible to do in the real world. While this sneaky and shady move is morally questioning, this had me wonder if this entire world is just a simulation! Yes, my conspiracy theory rearing its dumb head again. Because as we have seen at one point how Asahi tried to become God and give Haruto a safe future. And then that Gnosis guy stopping time or something as warning. This possible in reality? Not if you are in a simulation. How can Asahi ‘time warp’ from Union and Re’Union? Where was she during the 6 years of absence? Not if you’re in a simulation. And with the possibility of using your Senses in real life, isn’t this like a simulation too? Hence the mind f*ck of people who are actually dreaming living in a simulation and for those who play games like Re’Union to be in another simulation. That’s like being in a simulation in a simulation! It’s going to be the biggest surprise ever if this whole real world thing turned out into something like The Matrix. Then we can all blame this anime for ripping off another series.

Character wise… I believe everyone is motivated and revolved around Asahi. Otherwise why would our generic team leader Haruto return to online gaming when he has abandoned it so long ago and almost look like on his way to become a NEET only to suddenly find his fighting touch again. And then you need to have that very angry rich dude Takanori to fuel some drama between the guys because nothing says manly drama when you have 2 guys fighting over their girl. Oh Takanori, even all the money in the world couldn’t let you clone Asahi. Just saying… And since he is such an intelligent guy, I suppose love is left out on that matter because he is smart and sharp in everything else except when it comes to the topic of love. That’s what happens when you set your sights obsessively only on one certain girl and pay no heed to the rest.

Then you have Satsuki who is just ‘patiently’ watching from the side lines. What are friends for if you don’t give up your happiness just so your crush could be happy with someone else? That is what happened to Nozomi when she is unable to do that. More jealousy to notch up the drama. Just when shy girl Nozomi as the last member finally makes her appearance, she turned to the dark side (online). Imagine what jealousy can do to you. At least her shyness was blown away. What a way to return. Now we’ve got the pairs settled, Haruto x Asahi and Takanori x Nozomi, all that’s left for Satsuki is Clive. The foreigner guy who is conveniently a foreigner so as to provide necessary backup and assistance when the plot commands it. Yeah, basically Satsuki bust up all for nothing because Haruto’s heart is somewhere and being temporary lover losers with Takanori created a bigger mess. Maybe she should try Clive and then she can have the record of trying every man in Subaru. Haha! Oops.

I guess at this point it is valid for me to ask, who the f*ck is Elicia? Is she like the secret member of Subaru? Because otherwise why tell us that 6 or 7 star folklore thingy if it wasn’t going to be relevant? Does Elicia have this memory erasing ability? Because the rest sure do not remember about her but she knows all about them. So if Asahi is dead in real life but a ghost in Re’Union, Elicia is like the opposite. Alive in the real world but technically a ghost to the members of Subaru. Hence she is like one who watches over her comrades and the convenience needed if ever the plot demands it.

You know how Asahi is always smiling and happy and it is because she has never changed since the last time? Well, I thought that would make lolicons squeal in happiness because on a very unfortunate note, during the airing of this series, a director of this show was arrested for trying to kidnap a 10 year old girl! No joke! Damn, I thought this guy wanted his own Asahi. Like as though the 2D Asahi wasn’t already enough and then he had to pull this sh*t. Well folks, that is Japan being Japan for you. If it wasn’t bad enough, even inside the anime story itself with Asahi’s sudden appearance, there are so many parties who are interested in taking her. Yeah, not only anime characters want her but a real life director too. Damn Asahi is so popular and in demand. And I’m not talking about that beer brand!

Action sequences are just enough since Re’Union is an MMORPG and what is one without its fair share of fighting. Even though each member of Subaru possesses their own unique set of Sense, I just can’t seem to find them memorable. Haruto using his sword skills (I suppose there were some parts that were copied from Sword Art Online’s Kirito), Asahi using her psychic powers and gun, Satsuki the master of elements and Clive throwing his daggers around. To show how legendary Subaru is, not only they have the stats to make up for their power but also the unmeasurable power of determination. Because it was definitely BS when Haruto went up against the thousand forces of Divine! If you love beat’em ups, you would want to switch places with Haruto for that very ‘special event’. Oh, Haruto and Asahi busting out from their impossible predicament in the final episode? Power of friendship in your face! On a trivial note, I find the name of the level boss, Purgatorio to be funny. Because the image that kept popping in my mind: Purgatory + Mario! Damn! It would have been so bizarre had this boss looked like an evil version of an Italian plumber.

Art and animation feel bright and clean. The character designs make them look cute and kawaii. Even as teens, they look as young as ever. As I have said the Subaru members have their avatars looking closely to their real life counterparts so sometimes I get a bit confused if this is the online game or reality. CGI is also used but usually for monster bosses like Purgatorio and Aegir. Luckily the scenes are too dark to see clearly whether the CGI sucks or not. This anime is produced by Lerche who did Ansatsu Kyoushitsu, the Danganronpa series, Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku, the rebooted Kino No Tabi, Kuzu No Honkai and also in the same season, Asobi Asobase (which is the better series than this one).

Voice acting feels average with Nichika Omori (Yurine in Jashin-chan Dropkick) trying to make Asahi sound as cute as a loli as can be while Kaito Ishikawa (Iida in Boku No Hero Academia) tries to make Takanori sound as much as an angst stubborn dick. The other casts are Kengo Takanashi as Haruto (Hajime in Gin No Saji), Akari Kitou as Satsuki (Kaho in Blend S), Takuma Terashima as Clive (Shiroe in Log Horizon), Yumiri Hanamori as Nozomi (Nadeshiko in Yuru Camp) and Chika Anzai as Elicia (Reina in Hibike! Euphonium). The opening theme is 360 Degree Hoshi No Orchestra by Petit Milady. Your typical generic lively anime pop for such genres. I prefer the ending theme, Starlight by Erii Yamazaki which is more of a slow-moderate pop. If you can’t get enough of your Asahi fix, the ending credits animation is your ideal place to ‘stalk’ and ‘peep’ at Asahi bumming around and doing nothing as she waits. Wait for Haruto to come home. Is this some kind of metaphor of what she is doing when the rest are logged out? Man, it has got to be one long boring wait sitting in her room all day.

Overall, this isn’t actually such a bad series but it just lacks an overall interesting story and the main characters themselves lack any sort of character development (even their romance development feels a bit cheesy and forced just to make up some of the drama). But at least this series is still much better than the ones having overpowered characters using their Smartphones. This anime feels like many of other online games these days. Get some attention at the start but starts to wane as time passes. Eventually like when the servers go offline, this one will also be forgotten when better (and much more) crappy future anime series pop up. I mean, would you like to return and rewatch this series? Yeah… A very unfortunate case of perma-death forever.

At first I thought Saredo Tsumibito Wa Ryuu To Odoru was going to be just another dragon slaying fantasy. Two guys with swords perhaps as dragon slayers on a quest to defeat dragons, each with their own motivation to do so. And then I started to read the synopsis and everything I thought this series was about was blown away. Technically there is some dragon slaying but that is not the mainstay of this series. Lots of dark politics, underhanded tactics, backdoor politics, some sci-fi terms and magic… Oh boy. Looks like I have this feeling I’m in for one of those ‘complicated’ anime series that I will have a tough time understanding.

Episode 1
Uhm… There’s a brief explanation about what Jushiki is but I don’t understand. To put it in simple terms, magic. Once only the dragons were able to use it but now humans are able to wield it in weapons as well. Hence those fighting against dragons using this are called Offensive Jushiki-shi. We are introduced to a pair of oddest Offensive Jushiki-shi ever. Gayus Levina Sorel who is constantly worrying about his financial state and his partner, Gigina Jerde Dolk Melios Ashley Boeuf, a Draken who loves fighting, furniture collecting and very poor financial management. Now I can see the reason for Gayus’ stress… Here they are in some battlefield awaiting their chance as they bicker the usual. A black dragon shows up. Supposedly an 800 year old one called Altar. After a tough fight, the duo prevail. However their efforts are not appreciated as Gayus’ boss doesn’t give him the expected reward, piling on excuses that they need to learn life lessons, blah, blah, blah. Meanwhile in some parliament house whatever, politicians are arguing about territories, rights and conflicts. Not that I’m interested in. Even the high ranking cardinal priest, Mordin Orjes Gyunei couldn’t be bothered listening to the tirade. So when he receives news from one of his generals, Yorkan, he decides to head to the city of Eridana where Jushiki and conspiracies of countless nations run wild. Gayus hears from his journalist friend, Arzel that there is a serial killer murdering Offensive Jushiki-shi. The culprit must be strong since all died with a single blow. More woes for Gayus as Gigina has bought more furniture and put it on his tab. Yeah, he even added some accessory to his mighty sword. Since tomorrow is the annual Eridana Festival, he pays a visit to his girlfriend, Jivunya Lorezzo. It must be a tough day for him so cut this guy some slack and make out! While they’re at that, the serial killer kills yet another Offensive Jushiki-shi. She laments another wrong target. Uh huh. Her target is Gayus and Gigina. Apparently all humans look the same to her so she can’t tell humans apart and hence her indiscriminate killings. I suppose she is the kind that shoots first and asks questions later.

Episode 2
To prove this series isn’t heading towards the bromance route, we get a sneak peak at Gayus making out with Jivunya. Until the damn phone rings! F*cking cliché. Oh, it’s his bromance partner. At the office, both their faces are on posters made by some PR people that they slain the black dragon. Also, they have a guest: Herodel, Gayus’ old school friend. He has a job request for them: To be bodyguards for Mordin. But why hire outside Offensive Jushiki-shi like them when he has his own elite team? It would ruin his fun. He has them be his tour guide for the festival. Sorry, Jivunya, Gayus has to forgo your date to be with someone of higher importance. Mordin is able to walk about like this because he has many doubles posing as him. Thanks to those doubles, his life has been saved many times from attempted assassinations. On the way back, they see a group of protestors against the Tienlun Accord. It is an agreement for peace between the dragon and human nations. However it also allows any dragonkind to be eliminated should they encroach into human territory. But this accord is what is preventing an all-out war between both races. But Gayus reasons the people who opposed this must have had their loved ones killed by dragons and hence the accord is an unforgivable compromise. Mordin notes that even so, it is irrational to move society based on an individual perspective. Later as Gayus and Herodel drink, the former asks if he has gotten over his fiancée, Shifaka. He thought joining the military for revenge was the right move but he is different now. Revenge won’t save anyone and working for Mordin has opened his eyes. He strives for his same belief for coexistence. He then asks Gayus if he has gotten over his late sister, Aleciel. He regrets asking this. Later Gigina arrives to pick up drunk Gayus. They are then confronted by the serial killer, Nidvolk. Jackpot. She attacks them as she accuses them of killing her husband, Eningiluud. They don’t know what she’s talking about and it pisses her off. Gayus can tells she uses gravity as her Jushiki and they manage to escape her wrath by the skin of their teeth.

Episode 3
Gayus returns to Jivunya. She is relieved he is safe but needs him to take a shower because he stinks (he was walking through the sewers after escaping Nidvolk). I guess no sex yet. Later Gayus calls Vinnel, an informant to find out more details about Nidvolk. Gayus and Gigina continue to be Mordin’s bodyguard. The cardinal is impressed seeing them argue their bad habits aloud. Yeah, such great entertainment that is more fun than the sightseeing of the festival. As Mordin prays, he asks Gayus if he doesn’t believe in God. In the state of the world now? No. He mentions about Shifaka who died in a silly dispute between the Dragon Empire and Seven City Alliance. If God exists, why allow people to die via wars, disease or accidents? Why does Aleciel have to die? Mordin answers him either God doesn’t exist or is cruel. The dead do not come back to life and miracles don’t exist. But how can people live without deception? They close an eye and pretend to keep living. He must be careful in looking too hard for reasons because Offensive Jushiki-shi are trying to understand the world. To face a question without an answer is the only way humans can fight reality. As for why Gayus works with Gigina despite being like oil and water, aside from his bad habits, he is a great partner. Mordin says they complement each other and appearances aside, they get along very well. Mordin sees Azu Bita, the representative of the Lapetodes Seven City Alliance who is also the right hand man of the Seven City Alliance House’s Supreme Chairman, Kai Kuyou. When they realizes all the other bodyguards are missing, they know trouble is here. The duo fight off the wave of assassins but there are more coming. They go warn the high eminences to leave since they can’t have them dead or else war between both races will start and the same tragedy will happen again. Mordin finds him selfless but Gayus doesn’t want medals or respect. Just the truth. If they get out of this alive, he’ll tell as much as they want. The duo fight off the assassins until the final boss makes a self-sacrificing move. Gayus dreams of his dead sister. The trauma wakes him up in hospital. Jivunya is so relieved he is still alive.

Episode 4
The doctor is stumped that Gayus was dead on arrival and now that he is conscious, he has shown no signs of damage. A miracle? Does this give him a free pass to hit on the cute nurse? He is soon visited by Mordin but Gayus can tell this is the real one and the previous one was just an impersonator, Genon Cull Darius. Gayus explains some complicated observation of his on why he is able to tell the difference. He asks why he planned his own assassination. He is cautious to have 7 doubles but yet leaked info to his enemies on a very well-guarded meeting. Mordin reveals Herodel is the traitor and is already a member of a hardliner when he joined the military. The car outside then sets off, killing Herodel. Mordin also admits the assassination was also part of his plan from start to finish. He recognizes this is unforgivable to sacrifice many but this is a war to prevent a war and save many more lives. He plans to withdraw the Alliance’s occupational forces to retreat to the Daef Front that would seemingly benefit the Dragon Empire. He is doing so to make smoke out Herodel, making him believe the plan was progressing according to plan, using outsiders seem more believable as Gayus isn’t the type foolish or heroic enough to go against authority and also there is a price the Dragon Empire will have to pay the Alliance. As Mordin leaves, he is attacked by Gigina who sensed he is a dangerous person but a barrier protects him. Gigina warns him to take his game elsewhere or die. Gayus returns to Jivunya’s side. She says a lot of lovely embarrassing things since she is worried and then wants him to drink until he passes out to forget all that she said. So no sex? In the aftermath, the accord failed with some senators’ reputation taking a hit. Vinnel returns with some answers about the gravity fragment. The duo go help the nurse who discovered some malpractice. Gayus knows it is a trap and this is Genon in disguise. They are met with fraternal twins who serve Mordin, Beldritt and Jesper Livy Raki. Beldritt summons a dragon to help fight and soon Genon joins in in a dragon form. Mordin is watching all this while Nidvolk waits for a chance.

Episode 5
The duo are almost dead when Nidvolk jumps into the fray. She kills Genon by ripping out his heart. Despite giving the Raki brothers a chance to escape, they attack her to complete the mission but were brutally injured. Now she faces Gayus and Gigina. Gayus knows she is the wife of the black dragon they slew. She is the one who healed Gayus from death before so she could kill him again and many more times. Yeah, she kills and revives him as part of her revenge. When the duo thought they bested her, she stabs them. In this WTF moment, they can still joke?! Something about how the taxman will kill her?! Something about Gigina has a cheap convenient plot that reveals his super Draken lineage?! Something about his secret move only happens when his friend dies?! Yeah, Gayus intends on killing himself but Nidvolk won’t allow that. Not sure what happened because Gayus uses Herodel’s Jushiki to fire face on at Nidvolk’s Jushiki. Gayus took this gamble and knew Nidvolk will not separate herself from her Jushiki as it belonged to her husband. As she lies dying, Gayus asks why she didn’t attack Jivunya if she was so bent on revenge. Well, the ones who killed her husband are them. No others were responsible. Too bad for all the innocent Jushiki-shi she killed. Gayus has his ripped arm put back to normal like as though it was never ripped by super organ specialist, Czahn. Best joke: She is kind in all ways except her billing! Oh sh*t! This is sure going to cost. Later Gayus meets Mordin and knows they have been dancing in his palm. Everything went according to his plan. His goal is equilibrium between the Dragon Empire, the Alliance and the dragonkind Vaisen. First, he faked his own assassination to stem out hardliners who opposed the plan of ceding the Holy Land of Alsok. He then promised to mediate the failed accord to create favourable conditions for Alsok’s ceding. Its failure is also his plan. He traded the needs of the powers in order: Dragon Empire gets Alsok, the Alliance the accord and Vaisen by having its 2 defectors hunted down. This means Gayus and Gigina were good bait for Nidvolk. He knew about the dragon’s proud sense of revenge and hence the outcome was as per expected. Gayus could have revealed more but that’s enough revelation for us to hear. He gives them his prized ring as reward. Gayus doesn’t approve his methods but Mordin is bent on protecting the weak and modest even if it means destroying the dragons and laugh at the face of any Jushiki curse. He will prove the weakness of man is enough to carry on living. He offers them to join his generals but is immediately turned down. They might not have understood what they have accomplished but being alive sounds good enough.

Episode 6
Viscount Remedius Levvi Rahzel plays a weird game of chess in a prison with a girl, Naricia. Meanwhile Jivunya is giving Gayus a kinky policewoman foreplay! Yeow! Sexy level over 9000!!! Until the damn phone rings… Oh sure, Gayus isn’t in bad mood as he and Gigina makes his way to the agency to answer their boss’ call. But due to an emergency nearby, they are ordered to help the police solve some ongoing hostage situation. They head in and find the culprit is this monster, Magatsushiki. It’s creepy to see live humans cramped inside… Anyway they manage to avoid death from its decoys and kill it. They get a bit careless since some of its part still lives. Gayus almost got killed had not Largonkin save his skin. Back home, Gayus accidentally destroys a very cheap chair. Gigina is going to kill him! Yeah, his life is worth lower than that! For the moment, Gigina almost believed Gayus’ lie that he is his twin brother! Luckily Jivunya comes between them. Gigina stops and notes he is always behind a woman. First it was Cuello, now her. Gayus assures that was her past love. Jivunya is now the only one for him. Jivunya doesn’t seem so assured… Gayus has a client. Calpunia Levvinakes Rahzel from the Rahzel Foundation (one of the few corporate giants in the Dragon Empire) seeks his help to find his nephew, Remedius who was supposed to be a continental champion of chells (chess?) and a young creator who was abducted by the anti-government organization, Aurora Hammer, 2 years ago. They have been negotiating underground ever since and agreed to a ransom pay out that runs into billions. That exchange takes place here in 2 days. Since none of their Jushiki-shi have experienced violence unlike them, she wants them to help out and will reward them handsomely. Later Gayus and Largonkin are in a briefing with the police about the recent increase in Magatsushiki attacks. They want private Jushiki agencies to help. But before Gayus could turn this down since he already has a big client contract, Largonkin strong arms him into cooperating.

Episode 7
Remedius is about to be executed by those Aurora Hammer dudes but when he fixes their weapons, they all love him! WTF?! Gayus and Gigina accompany Calpunia for the exchange. They deal with Zhuo Lu who is the new leader of Aurora Hammer. After showing their goods, the exchange begins but it looks like the baddies trick them with a trap. This Remedius is fake and they ran off with the money. Calpunia’s guards all died but luckily the duo protect her. This mission failed and though the duo are partly responsible, it is ultimately their job to protect her and they kept their part well. Calpunia regrets being cruel to Remedius so she has another mission for them: Bring him back at all costs. Speaking of that dude, he is having a party with other guards! Wow. He is like the VIP. Naricia tells the legend of the land ruled by a dictator so a woman sacrificed herself to a sand dragon named Zhuo Lu to kill him. Remedius witnesses atrocities in town and doesn’t hesitate to kill the evil authority tormenting the innocent. We take a detour with Gayus playing a prank to lock Gigina in a cabinet. He blackmails money if he wants to get out or he can break out himself. Don’t look down because Gigina actually breaks out! Though only his limbs. Cupboard man?! Anyway they are called to attend some Magatsushiki lecture by Yahkto. Apparently they aren’t just those creepy beings but a kind that tries to create their own bodies. A creepy guy can suddenly come in to give Largonkin a present. As expected, he turns into some grim reaper Magatsushiki and steals all the other Jushiki-shi’s power. Of course the rest all cooperate to take him down. Their performance is praised by the Magatsushiki duo, Viscount Amupura and Baron Janahn Ghalan. After seeing some ring on Gayus’ finger, they decide to change the rules of the game a bit. A forced condition of victory and bet on their heads. They have 3 days for the final act or everything gets destroyed.

Episode 8
Remedius has joined Aurora Hammer after seeing the injustice the dictatorship used against its people. Gayus and Gigina attend a funeral for their dead Jushiki-shi comrades. Later Gayus gets info from Vinnel about a former employee from Rahzel, Parumuwei currently in contact with Aurora Hammer. The duo are led by Egurrd (Calpunia’s aid) to see Lieutenant Colonel Gohhel who is the director of Dragon’s Jaw, a special force under Queen Xenobia of Ilm. He wants them to stay away from anything to do with Rahzel and Aurora Hammer. Gayus deduces something is wrong and concludes this is only because Remedius has joined Aurora Hammer. Gohhel admits and reveals more about when the party leader Zemunn started reconciling with the dictator, Dochetta, they joined forces with Zhuo Lu to rid of Zemunn and now Aurora Hammer is even more extreme. The raid during the hostage exchange was a distraction and a show put on by Remedius to secure funds. They tried to take advantage of that by eliminating Aurora Hammer but failed. Hence Gohhel orders them to stay out even if Calpunia pleads to them. Zhuo Lu buys a very expensive weapon from Parumuwei and the latter is in shock upon realizing what he is going to use it for. Remedius and Naricia are captured by Dochetta and will be executed. Jivunya is forcing Gayus and Gigina to reconcile! Man, it’s like a mother trying to make her sons be on good terms. As Gayus goes to get his repaired gear, he is asked about the ring from Mordin. As he has investigated it, it comes from a live dragon of 10,000 years! Besides there is something pulsating inside the ring that the detectors cannot detect. Basically, this ring is alive and he wants Gayus to give it back. It seems like a weird outing with Gayus, Gigina, Largonkin and their women. Gayus and Largonkin talk about the old days in which the latter wants him to forget about Cuello but Gayus just can’t. This upsets Gayus as he further adds about Diorg is dead and Stratos without a soul. Only he and GIgina are left in the agency. Timely reminder that Gayus is a lucky bastard who gets to make out with Jivunya. But then she starts to ask him about what he talked with Largonkin earlier in the day. When a woman sounds like that, sh*t is going to hit the fan. Then she accuses him of still loving Cuello and this perfume of hers reminds him of her, that’s why he could identify it (oh sh*t!). He even mentions Cuello’s name in his sleep (double sh*t!). Why is he not looking at her? Is there something he cannot tell her but only Gigina? Who the f*ck is this Cuello? It’s over. Get out. Go home. Oh Gayus. You’re really screwed. So screwed even in the head that he thinks himself of just being badass. Yeah…

Episode 9
While our gang are talking about Magatsushiki from another dimension using a medium from this world to appear here, Amupura and Janahn Ghalan pop up to correct and hint them. This evening party is a giant Jushiki curse and if they want to stop it, they have to stop the person who summoned them. Gayus get info from Vinnel on Aurora Hammer’s hideout thanks to Parumuwei. Too bad he is already a corpse. It seems Dragon Jaw is also here. In a room they see Remedius’ corpse. A hologram of Zhuo Lu explains he summoned them here to pass Remedius’ last words. Zhuo Lu reveals Aurora Hammer was in fact created by the Dragon Empire and this is a serious foreign interference in domestic affairs. Hence the hostage exchange was just a ploy to cover up their scandal. Remedius’ final words include the creation of the ultimate warhead Jushiki known as Ava Dorn. It requires the Jushiki power of several people to activate. Its target is Rahzel Island where the company is situated. If anyone leaves that island, the warheads will detonate immediately. It is scheduled to blow up at noon anyway. Remedius then curses the company as we see flashbacks of the very cruel betrayal of Naricia and her people to a point they had to kill each other for survival. He curses the company to hell. Normally why would Gayus care? Oh. Jivunya works there! It’s understandable why he is losing his cool. Who else would give him great sex? Oops. But we can see how desperate he is as he hacks his way to contact her and apologize. Yeah, any sane girlfriend would know something is wrong. More explanation by Yahkto about the plague that will befall if the Magatsushiki world opens. In short, everyone will die within a few seconds. 100% fatality. So as Gayus racks his brains to think of a way. Anyway, he somehow gets it. He explains to the rest that Remedius summoned the Magatsushiki duo and the evening party is Ava Dorn. As Remedius can’t control the great will of the Magatsushiki, that was why the duo left them clues because they really want to fight them as entertainment. The random appearance of past Magatsushiki incidents actually resembles the board pieces of chells. The final checkmate move will be on Rahzel Island that was famously used by Remedius to win and became champion. The checkmating piece is where the warheads are located: The Osedek Clock Tower.

Episode 10
The assault on all kinds of weird Magatsushiki monsters in the tower begins. Our main Jushiki-shi confront Janahn Ghalan and after a hard fought battle, he is defeated because Gayus used Largonkin’s cigar which has insecticide that Janahn Ghalan’s spider body was not used to. Whatever. Flashback as we see Naricia killing herself so Remedius could eat her and stay alive. So when the rescue team found him, he sounded a bit crazy. He ate all off Naricia (except her eyes) and claimed he is reborn. Hence, inheriting her will to save her town and the metaphor he will eat all his enemies. Back to our Jushiki-shi heroes, they are having a hard time with Amupura since he can teleport and regenerate fast. Janahn Ghalan is in his weak spider form and as part of the rules, he allows Amupura to consume him. This merging means the conditions for the warheads triggering have been met. He fires one as the rest try to stop it while Amupura tries to intervene. They manage to stop it but at the cost of Largonkin. Gayus and Gigina are left as another warhead is fired but Amupura claims that since he has fulfilled Remedius’ contract, the warhead will allow him to open a portal and summon his kind. Fortunately Gayus knows how teleportation works so he uses his Jushiki to burn up everything. Amupura can’t escape and perishes. But another warhead launches. With no power left, can they stop it? Fortunately a Jushiki-shi of Largonkin placed at some strategic place shot it down. Phew. Thank convenience. After the duo crash on the island, another plot convenience calls for Gayus and Jivunya reconciling with each other. Welcome home. I guess at least the future of making out is safeguarded too.

Episode 11
Oh no. Jivunya again trying to make Gayus and Gigina make up. I don’t think it’s going anywhere. They are joined by Largonkin’s subordinates, Jabeira and Iegie. Jabeira is Jivunya’s senior. Czahn also joins drinking with them and she is Jabeira’s cousin. Gayus suggests a drinking game in which the loser gets penalized. Yup, Gayus becomes the first victim and Czahn wants to publicly display his organs! Thank goodness Jivunya won’t allow it. Everyone thinks she wants to protect his dick! As the drinking game goes on, the penalty gets more and more devastating. Especially if you’re getting revenge on being humiliated before. Gayus and Gigina have to leave since Dragon Jaw calls them. They go talk to Xenobia (although just a hologram) as Gayus asks a few questions from the recent incident bugging him. However she doesn’t need to answer since he suddenly figures it out. Something about the Dragon Empire planning to conspire with Dochetta. The Seven City Alliance is also supporting Dochetta and in return, they will get mining rights to very rare resources. They can’t join forces with Aurora Hammer as they have declared the resources belonging to the people of Urmun. That’s why it is crucial for Remedius to die as a hostage so as to protect the nation’s economy and people. Xenobia will do anything for her own people but wouldn’t care less about others. Before they can get mad, she says this decision was made by Mordin during the time they guarded him as he had a secret meeting then. Xenobia then joins Mordin (they are cousins) watching the parade of Dochetta. Suddenly a couple of girls go up to him to give him flowers. BOOM! Where the heck was security?! Oh, Dochetta survives thanks to some Jushiki. However Ava Dorn activates and kills everyone in the stadium. Mordin and Xenobia are protected of course. Gayus and Gigina stumble into Zhuo Lu in the streets as they see that assassination incident live on TV. Zhuo Lu reveals that Rahzel Island incident was just a distraction so as to bring the warheads to Urmun where the true game board is. He believes a new nation will be born with Dochetta’s assassination. Gayus knows Zhuo Lu is the real Remedius and the one that was supposed to him was Zemunn. Gayus disagrees with his idea of freedom by killing lots of innocent people but Zhuo Lu begs to differ because if he has a better suggestion, then be his guest. Gayus knows his method will only create more Dochetta-like people. Zhuo Lu considers them as useless since they can do nothing but criticize. Gayus then smells a familiar scent. We see Zhuo Lu and Naricia talking and hoping for the best even if it will never come true.

Episode 12
Flashback when Gayus was just brought into Diorg’s agency. As you can expect, Gayus wasn’t cooperative and tried to be a hero fighting by himself but is often put in his place by Cuello. This sleazy guy even played the sympathy card just to get in her pants! She’s not buying it. The duo were on a mission to arrest a guy who skipped his bail after being charged for killing a couple of Jushiki-shi. The mission failed as he got away and Gayus nearly died after rushing in. But with Cuello nursing him and the more he talks to her, Gayus finds himself falling for her. She’s not bad after all. Too bad not everyone’s perfect. Yeah, she has her own flaws. She’s a demon behind the wheel! Speed is everything?! They finish up the mission but brought Gigina this time. After a few fights here and there and Gayus covering Cuello’s back, they succeed. And so a group photo of them is all Gayus has left to reminisce about his old team. As usual, the usual bickering with Gigina over taking forever to clean the place if he keeps daydreaming. Yeah, why not clean the furniture in the place if he loves them so much? It is briefly narrated that Urmun entered a nasty civil war after Dochetta’s death. The Dragon Empire sent in troops under the guise of peacekeeping and as long Urmun is in chaos, the Dragon Empire’s economy stays stable. Also, the people of Urmun failed to answer to Aurora Hammer’s call for resistance. There were some but it soon sputtered out. Eventually Zhuo Lu AKA Remedius died for real. Decapitated outside the city, believed to have been assassinated. Aurora Hammer also fell apart after his death. Gayus feels his golden age has passed and those days can never return. But now he has a girlfriend and a partner who backs him up, that’s all he needs.

Dances With Conspiracy And Bromance
Hmm… So they ‘ended’ it with a short flashback and somewhat a ‘fast forward’ of the events of Urmun? Because of that I sometimes wonder if a single cour for this series was just too short to do it justice. But having it 2 cours won’t do any good for me either because you’ll soon find out why in the next paragraph. Hence that final episode flashback was timely and interesting to know about Gayus and Gigina’s early days together. However it wasn’t enough to warrant anything significant. Like as though it is a teaser if the series should warrant another season because I believe this is good enough to deserve another solid arc by itself. Also, trying to wrap up Urmun’s incident felt like rushing it because we’re already at the end of the season. Because I thought Remedius at this rate might become a formidable opponent but shockingly died like a pitiful dog. But whatever.

Just as I feared, I didn’t understand the lot that is going on. Not even the gist of it. Because of all the conspiracy and politics that are going on, it makes it really hard for a simpleton like me to grasp what is actually going on. Even if I had to replay scenes and conversations again, I don’t think I would be able to comprehend what is taking place. That is why when Gayus starts explaining what he deduced from whatever revelation, it sounds more like a plot convenience to reveal to viewers the happenings. Like as though he read from the script just to tell us straight in our faces the answers that we all should know. Not that I would understand either. Gayus may be sharp and a smart guy in the series and with his brilliant deductions of what is going on, too bad it is wasted on people like me because, for the umpteenth time, I don’t really understand what lies beneath all that eventually. So yeah, first half’s arc having some dragon chick trying to kill them. Okay. Cool. Whatever. Second half’s arc having some dangerous game that involves millions of lives only for it all to be a distraction? Whatever. I’m really lost.

Making me even more lost are the names of the characters and places. Actually because this isn’t your standard Japan or Tokyo and hence no typical Takashi or average Sakura sounding names, the characters’ names do sound weird and so sci-fi-like that sometimes I feel that there is this difficulty of trying to formally spell their names in Roman alphabets. Yeah, how do you actually write down those tongue twisting names? Thank heavens for Google or otherwise I would have to strain my ears just to listen over and over again what the heck this character name is. Hence there are different versions of spelling the names depending on which source you look at. Oh, here is another mind boggling thing. Despite all the fantastic sounding names, I noticed the currency they used is yen! WTF?! Not sure if it is just coincidence or oversight on the producer’s part but having yen as the currency makes it feel so out of place. Yeah, the names and setting are already so out of place and then you suddenly have this very common current day thingy here. I guess it goes to show that no matter where you are, money still mostly motivates men.

Thanks to the incomprehensible plot (I suppose Gayus and Gigina are taking jobs so as to put food on their table, or in the latter’s case, to buy more furniture), I find it hard to relate it to the characters. But thankfully, I can admit that what I enjoyed most in watching this series is the very strange and dynamic interaction between Gayus and Gigina. Although I don’t entirely understand them, seeing how they are always at odds with each other but trading insults in very cool and calm disposition is very much enjoyable. It’s like they’re always hot and cold with each other. They’ve been so long around each other that they might be trading such insults as a pastime. They have to do it every time. Before missions. During missions. After missions. It’s like their drug as they try to verbally up one another. It’s like one of those buddy cop teams but in a dark sci-fi world. Heck, the interaction between the duo sometimes feel like a bait and trap for some yaoi bromance! Uh huh. It is even hinted in Gayus’ name. Gay us. Get it? Gay-Us! Gay-R-Us! Haha! Gigina’s name? Is that a Draken term for a manly vagina?! And so there are points where they are tempting to cross that yaoi line but so far so good. As long as Gayus gets it hot with Jivunya, the straight world is a-okay.

Therefore I suspect that a few scenes of Gayus getting really hot and steamy with Jivunya sometimes feels like a troll to make us think that this guy is straight. Enough to make you think that this bespectacled dude isn’t into macho men because he has got a hot sexy girlfriend to begin with. Heck, even Gigina looked like he has a harem of hot chicks of his own! But then again, oddly Jivunya always wants to try and have them be friends. Sometimes it’s like trying to activate our yaoi bromance radar because maybe she would like the see those guys make out for once! Yikes! Here I thought she was a straight woman with eyes only for Gayus but you never know what lurks deep into a woman’s heart. The irony that I somewhat feel and understand Jivunya’s jealousy over Gayus’ possible ex-girlfriend more than the plot of the overall series. Yeah. I was thinking they should expand this but that would dilute the worth of the series. This side relationship is supposed to just be a little side distraction from the big thing.

After all, I don’t think Gayus and Gigina exactly hate each other that much although they do hate each other sometimes. If they are, they wouldn’t have worked together as a team so beautifully as seen all the time. They are like the perfect team combo each time they pull off almost impossible stuffs in each mission, covering each other’s backs. That’s why I enjoy watching them being together and it would be just unthinkable if they really go their separate ways. On the individual level, I believe each of them have their own past to deal with but this series doesn’t dwell on them deeply. We know Gayus has some sort of issues with his dead ex-comrades as well as his late sister but it wasn’t something that is fleshed out deeply and by the next arc, you’ll forget Gayus still hasn’t gotten over Aleciel’s death. Almost forgotten her name there.

Still don’t understand why Gayus puts up for his stupid selfish boss in the agency he works for. Sure, he has issues with his previous agency that resulted in the deaths of his comrades but he is okay having his pay deducted for the slightest and negligible stuffs? It’s amazing he can still keep his cool. As for Gigina, not sure if he loves to spout crap especially about his Draken warrior sayings. Sounds warrior worthy but sometimes sounds more like convenience. Even his whatever Draken culture he warns you about offending with. Yeah, not much is really known about the Draken kind. Of course Gigina will also be fondly remember for his love of furniture. If this guy isn’t a Jushiki, he would have opened a furniture factory or shop. So people, take care of your furniture well. Otherwise Gigina will kill you who are worth less than those precious fittings!

Mordin is a very hard character to understand. As a very high ranking and prominent politician as well as the man of God, he is very sneaky and manipulative. Because of his very calm demeanour, it lets your guard down to think that he is an okay chap. Alas he is wise enough and thinks many steps ahead to certainly make sure you dance right into the palm of his hand. Just when you think you have got the better of him, it is not as he has already taken precautions. This makes him a very dangerous character as it makes you doubt whether he is telling the truth, lying, half truths or half lies. You don’t really know what he is thinking. Given he has that little charisma too, if I was in person speaking to him, I would find it hard to rebut what he would say to me. Even if I know that I shouldn’t trust this person. Plus, he is so careful that he has clones talking on behalf and make you think you are talking to the real thing. Trust in God, sure. But trust your own guts more. Deception is perhaps the best word to describe this guy. No wonder he looks like he has a good poker face!

There are a few more other interesting characters like Czahn who is just weird as she loves organs. No, not the music instrument type. She could have been Frankenstein if she had her own spinoff series. Mordin also has a dozen of very skilled Jushiki-shi under his wing. Too bad we don’t see all of them and those who appeared feel wasted. But they all expend their lives just to protect this important man so maybe they can’t be getting more screen time and back story. Some are just forgettable like that journalist girl whom you’ll wonder if she is even relevant at all as well as that guy who keeps bugging Gayus to take his stupid fortune reading.

As magic AKA Jushiki plays an important factor in this series, I can’t help feel that because of the conspiracies and politicking going on, I don’t really feel their impact. They are mostly used in action scenes but with all the different types of Jushiki, sometimes I feel that they just pull it out of the air and conjure whatever weird Jushiki is being used. That is why with Gayus being an expert on this matter starts saying weird Jushiki spell names as well as explaining its traits, I don’t really understand and would quickly jump to this bias conclusion that maybe they just made it up on the spot. Because it sounds grand enough to sound like a Jushiki so it’s a pass. Hence the Jushiki spell names are the sci-fi curse for me as I don’t really understand them. Some insignia pops up and then the effect. Usually big explosions. So yeah, that’s your action bits. Otherwise be happy with Gigina just slashing around with his giant sword.

Art and animation are rather okay but with the very dark setting of this world, sometimes I feel that it is hard to see things although the darkness feels very much like complementing the theme and setting of this world. My dumb conspiracy theory of why Jivunya is a half elf is perhaps somebody has some deep dark fantasies of making out with an elf woman… Or maybe it’s just me. Also, Cuello’s uniform is another eyebrow raiser. You know, it’s like basically she goes into missions wearing her pantsu. It makes you want to ask if she forgot to put her pants on. Yeah, is she wearing pantsu or hot pants? No wonder Gayus was gunning for her ass. I almost did fall for that juicy temptation too. This series is animated by Seven Arcs Pictures who did Trinity Seven, Dog Days, Mushibugyou and Basilisk: Ouka Ninpouchou.

Some of the recognizable seiyuus lending their talents include Youko Hikasa as Jivunya, Norio Wakamoto as Amupura, Tomokazu Sugita as Remedius, Akira Ishida as Zhuo Lu, Haruka Tomatsu as Cuello, Hiro Shimono as Iegie and Yuko Kaida as Nidvolk. Other casts include Nobunaga Shimazaki as Gayus (Kaito in Ano Natsu De Matteru), Yoshimasa Hosoya as Gigina (Reiner in Shingeki No Kyojin), Rintarou Nishi as Largonkin (Denzel in Nanatsu No Taizai: Imashime No Fukkatsu), Takaya Hashi as Mordin (Inuarashi in One Piece), Sachiko Kojima as Xenobia (Sayako in Bamboo Blade), Sakiko Tamagawa as Czahn (Natsumi in You’re Under Arrest), (Rica Matsumoto as Jabeira (Aoi in You’re Under Arrest), Amina Sato as Naricia (Yuuka in AKB0048), Sora Tokui as Beldritt (Hideri in Blend S) and Takanori Hoshino as Jesper (Kugaha in Noragami Aragoto).

For the opening theme, it sounds hell helluva familiar. Yup, that typical trademark of that techno beat is certainly no other than Fripside. Divine Criminal sounds so similar to the other anime themes they sung such as in Clockwork Planet, Black Bullet and even To Aru Kagaku No Railgun, that I am starting to think that they just make a little adjustments to the tune and voila! New Fripside song. But I’m not going to say that this song sucks because I somewhat like the techno tune of this song even if it is just average and pretty similar to their other music. As for the ending theme, Decadence by Maon Kurosaki sounds not bad as a rock outfit. If the theme of this series wasn’t that dark, it would have fit it perfectly like a glove.

Overall, this series is not just for anyone especially casual viewers. The very dark theme, conspiracy and politics prove that you need some sort of an intelligent mind to understand or at least grasp all the sneaky happenings going on. Yeah, you need to be a smart person to decently enjoy this one. The dynamic interaction between the 2 main characters is perhaps the most entertaining parts of the series, even better than the frenzy action lighted up with lots of Jushiki special effects. Even if this series tries to be manly, badass and sexy (that includes yaoi baiting) at the same time, the confusing and perplexing plot and storyline drain a lot away from that. Sometimes I wish for simpler stuffs no matter how silly it gets. Gigina to turn into Furniture Man and beat up all those who mistreat their furniture while Gayus and Jivunya in a maid outfit have a hot make out session, Czahn opening her own museum of her dissecting anatomy art and finally the warheads just randomly bomb and vaporize everyone and everything. Sighs. Okay, let’s stick with the darker and confusing tones of this series, shall we? Let’s be like Gayus and appreciate what we all have in our hands now, okay? It’s not that bad when you think about it.

Caligula

October 7, 2018

Everybody knows about that famous Roman Emperor, Julius Caesar. But not many know about his great grandson, Caligula. AKA Gaius Caesar Germanicus. Me included. Heck, I thought this series was going to be a historical anime about that emperor. How wrong I was. The complete opposite. Caligula is a sci-fi futuristic virtual world that I don’t even know where to start and comprehend. Oh boy. Why do I even let myself watch such sci-fi series when I don’t even know what is going on from the synopsis? Maybe the cool looking promotional poster drew me in… Even though I know I’m going to suffer from all the incomprehensible stuffs later on…

Episode 1
We hear Ritsu Shikishima talk about one of his psychology books he is reading, Johari Window. Not that I understand or is interested anyway. Then he talks to his friends on some psychology aspect in which they somewhat ‘turn the tables’ over his theory because I guess all those psychological terms are too hard to understand so they bust it with their normal everyday perspective. Yeah… Later he goes to his usual bookstore and books a book on philosophy. He believes it will be good to expand his perspective. And spam us with more nerdy stuffs? At night on his bed as he is listening to music supposedly to the nation’s most famous idol, Miu, he hears a strange sound from it and a voice pleading for help and to stop Miu. Next day at school, weird things begin to happen. Ritsu sees Shougo Satake beating the crap out of random people. Even some of Ritsu’s friends go to fight but gets knocked out. Maybe Ritsu can’t fight so he’s like, “Okay, screw this I’m just gonna turn a blind eye”. Now he starts thinking about this based on the Johari Window and Freudian theory of whatever crap I don’t understand. What self-punishment is he talking about? I am more confused than he is. During the school’s graduation ceremony as Kensuke Hibiki makes his speech, he gives the signal for Miu’s song to be played. Some students turn into dark monsters called Digiheads and kill other normal students. While some managed to escape, some cannot see this phenomenon like Marie Mizuguchi. Ritsu is still shell shocked over what he sees as he takes Marie and make a run for it. At the school gates, he sees Shougo pointing a large gun embedded to his hand. He fires at the chasing Digiheads behind him.

Episode 2
Shougo takes them to run as he fights off more of those Digiheads. Naruko Morita records and uploads their actions online. Eventually Shougo tells Ritsu to abandon Marie because since she cannot see them, they will not attack her. At a safe place, Ritsu tries to explain things but because he sucks, his chibi avatar, Aria tries to. She sucks too. No wonder I don’t understand. No wonder Ritsu doesn’t trust them. By the time Shougo and Aria blame each other for their bad explanation, Ritsu is gone. Shougo notices Naruko’s posts online and remembers there were others who escaped and wants to gather them. Suzuna Kagura and Kotarou Tomoe are among those who escaped and they are hiding, confused about all that is happening. Another one is Mifue Shinohara who is packing her bags trying to get out of this place. These people including Ritsu are in for another shock because now they cannot see the faces of other ordinary people. There is some sort of interference censoring it out. Ritsu calls his friends to meet up. When they do, Ritsu isn’t around. Instead, he calls them again talking weird stuffs like outbreak and hallucinations. This is his ploy to ascertain something from this experiment. As Miu’s music plays, his friends turn into Digiheads. He realizes he is not the one who has gone mad. Meanwhile Miu is sad things turned out this way and she just wants to make others happy. Thorn assures her that Ostinato Musicians, they will show them the way. So please sing. Ritsu’s friends get the better of him but thankfully Shougo saves him once more. This time he won’t force Ritsu but if he feels like changing his mind, he can come to the music room inside the old school building. Ritsu and those survivors try to leave town but they are shocked there is a barrier. End of the road. Miu says she has not created anything past this place yet or anything farther for Mobius. But in exchange she’ll create something else for them. Ritsu now believes this world is mad.

Episode 3
Shocked Mifue now turns her attention to finding her mom. She notices an online post inviting cute girls to a tea party. This might be it. Meanwhile the Musicians discuss about the Rogues and can’t afford to let them awaken as Mobius is built from everyone’s dreams. For the sake of perfect happiness and Miu, they will correct all distortions. Mifue attends the tea party. Naruko is also there. Hosting it is Sweet-P and 3 chubby cute girls. Every time Mifue tries to speak about her problem, they change the topic either with lots of cuteness or eating. Eventually this gluttony snaps Mifue. She chides them for being fat and ugly and all they do is think about eating. It’s just disgusting! This has Sweet-P comment her hatred for fat people that she erased her own mother. You see, her mother is so skinny like as though she is anorexic as she is the type who gains weight even eating a little. Mifue’s is to eat with her mother so Miu made her mom into a beautiful slender figure. Sweet-P calls her selfish even after Miu granted her wish. She might hate ugly people but her heart is ugly. She searching for mom is only to satisfy herself. Mifue denies it all as Sweet-P tries to coax her into accepting all her heart’s desires. When the pack starts eating ramen, the way Sweet-P slurps them seems familiar. Mifue and Naruko recognize her as a ramen blogger, which is a chubby old man. Sweet-P panics as she tries to convince them she is the cutest Musician and everything until she bloopers herself. She runs away when Naruko tries to take pictures of her. The duo leave and Naruko freaks out for the first time seeing those static head people. Ritsu has been going around trying to find answers. None. Even barely escaping from Digiheads. I guess there is only one way left. He goes to see Shougo. He will explain everything in exchange for Ritsu working for him since they both realized Mobius’ structure is a nightmare they can’t wake up from.

Episode 4
Ritsu is told how the world of internet is overflowing with negative emotions (you don’t say) hence Aria and Miu created Mobius to alleviate people from suffering in the real world. Miu sealed their minds away here. There are some who can sense inconsistencies and hence Digiheads are sent to sniff out and kill them. As Mobius’ energy source is from the happy feelings from hearing Miu’s songs, it would be problematic if people like Ritsu grow in numbers and thus the Musicians attempt to restore them back to a state of unawareness. There’s also the explanation of Catharsis Effect. In short, a cool way to transform and use weapons like Digiheads. Because Miu still genuinely believes Mobius is a happy place, Aria wants Ritsu to help stop her. The smaller Aria gets, the weaker her powers will be. Soon, Mifue and Naruko see Shougo’s posting and they arrive at the music room. But they can’t help molest how cute Aria is. Shortly, Kotarou who has also seen the posting, barges in. He left Suzuna at the library and couldn’t contact her. It seems she befriends a guy, Komori as they talk about loneliness in Lord of the Rings’ Smeagol and the song of Lorelei. They go help him but as Kotarou keeps shouting out for Suzuna in the library, nobody bothers. Finally when she is found, they wonder who she is talking to. A doll! No wonder. Everyone here is a doll or at least spirited away. A cheap jump scare when Komori wakes up in his doll form and tries to attack Suzuna for betraying him, accusing her she wouldn’t get this far without friends. Ritsu reasons he fears interacting with others but since he couldn’t beat loneliness, the reason there are other dolls around. Before Shougo could shoot him, Suzuna comes in between. She starts singing. She too knows about loneliness and has her fair share of eating her lunches alone. She understands his pain and always wanted somebody to pay attention to him. She hopes to eat lunch with him. He returns all dolls back to their human form and leaves. He says his name is Shounen Doll.

Episode 5
Izuru Minezawa is looking for Shougo but apparently only Suzuna is in. Apparently Ritsu had tickets to the opening of Sea Paraiso but nobody was interested to go except Kotarou and Aria. There, they witness queen b*tch Mirei having all the masochistic guys under their thumb. Aria thinks Kotono Kashiwaba can see her. So when she brings Ritsu to go talk to her, she thinks he is using some lame pickup line to date her. This enrages all the other guys trying to date her as Ritsu is being critically hit in his heart. Because of that he decides to screw reality and go date some girls? You think they would be impressed with his psychology gibberish? They are! WTF?! Meanwhile Kotarou stumbles into a room doing some unholy act. While it looked like sex, the guy beneath seems to be wearing some knockoff NerveGear and experiencing pain. This is part of Toshizo, the place’s owner along with Mirei to do some brainwashing experiment. Kotono is one of the many girls employed as their brainwashing agent and since she is giving remarkable results, Mirei is not happy and wants a showdown with her. Therefore both ladies put on a swimsuit contest to win votes from the boys. It is a tie even after all the ridiculous events. The tie breaker all boils down to Ritsu. He has to decide who to choose. Of course he won’t and this upsets Kotono. Even more so when he tries to snap her out and make her realize that she has realized true reality. After all that verbal abuse but before turning physical, Kotono remembers her abusive past and snaps out of it. She hugs Ritsu thinking he is some man she loves and vows not to let him go. Because of her motherly instincts, all the boys vote for Kotono and leave Mirei in the dust. Kotono’s will to return to reality is strong that she initiates her Catharsis Effect. Miu’s song start playing and everyone else turns into Digiheads.

Episode 6
During that same time, Mifue with Naruko’s help has located the former’s real mom. But they have to split since Digiheads are after them. They are confronted by Sweet-P who starts trying to make Mifue feel guilty about telling her real mom why she hates fat people. Shougo is being chased by Digiheads and eventually clashes with Kensuke. Izuru and Suzuna are cornered by Ike-P. With Miu continuing her singing, all the cornered friends do not like one bit of this and prefer to return to the ugly side of reality. Hence Aria hears all their feelings and helps them power up and execute their Catharsis Effect. Except Ritsu who is just stunned and watching it all as he ponders what the heck is lacking or don’t remember like the rest. Our group of heroes fight the Musicians in a messy battle royale until Miu decides to intervene. She is very sad that both sides are resorting to violence. She will not listen to anyone (but oddly complains nobody listens to her) and still believes she can grant everyone’s wish and save them all. The Musicians retreat as Miu bursts into full power destroying her surroundings, signalling she has gone out of control with her negative emotions. At this rate she will cease to be Miu. This is when Ritsu has decided. He doesn’t know what is right but knows Mobius is wrong and will stand against it. He initiates his Catharsis Effect and of course this shocks everyone since he does it by his own without Aria’s help. He blasts Miu out of the sky (though she is collected by Thorn). In the aftermath, Shougo suggests working together but needs to hide their actions as club activities. Ritsu suggests calling their club Go Home Club and since it is his idea and everyone wants Ritsu to be club president, there you have it.

Episode 7
It has been a month since Miu went missing (actually she is ‘sleeping’) and hence the Musicians keeping a low profile. Apparently Mobius is undergoing repairs and thanks to those NPCs taking their slow time in rebuilding it. What a peaceful era. Go Home Club is now reduced to making and enjoying nabe while Kotarou runs around as a superhero helping those in need as Rescue Man?! I guess justice never sleeps. Also, Marie has been visiting the club more often but the other girls know it is because she is here for Ritsu. But since he isn’t here, she leaves. Speaking of him, he is wandering until he walks into a strange dimension where he meets Miu. She apologizes for the other day going berserk as they talk about real happiness. Because of that, Ritsu remembers something and it seems there seems to be some sort of relationship between Ritsu and Miu. Miu’s answer to everything is to create things that are happier than before. Ritsu tries to open her eyes but here she goes again, thinking everyone will be happy with her song. With that, Miu wakes up from her slumber and feels the need to work even harder. Oh boy. However Miu can’t understand why she starts crying. Ritsu returns to his club and finds the nabe party is over. Second round? But it seems Kensuke has defected from the Musicians and has joined the Go Home Club.

Episode 8
Taking place during Miu’s slumber, this time we see it from Ike-P’s views. He always loves it when girls swoon over him. But slowly Izuru is getting some of the girls’ attention. Ike-P knows at this rate is going to be bad. With Miu in slumber and Mobius being repaired by NPCs, the Musicians are losing their lifestyle. Meanwhile Kensuke talks to Ritsu about still not fully remembering his memories and his will to return to reality. He wants to join his club. Ike-P starts sweating when Izuru overtakes him as the number one hottest guy. It is evident that the more Miu sleeps, the more their lifestyle will be ruined in Mobius. Like Sweet-P who can’t fit into her dresses and Mirei is getting poorer. Then Ike-P’s ultimate nightmare happens: All girls now fawn over Izuru. Ike-P confronts and fights him. Izuru doesn’t want to fight and just escapes. Even the girls are swooning how cool Izuru is. Ike-P wonders why he wants to go back instead of taking advantage of his good looks. Izuru replies he would rather give away this face. When glass shards scar Izuru’s face, Izuru likes it and scars it even more! Ike-P is in shock. This is supposed to be his real face in the real world. With scars like this, he knows he is himself. But thanks to Miu taking pity on these scars, his face always regenerates back despite the scars are his very wish. He might sound crazy but this is his wish to regain proof of his own identity. Miu finally wakes up and repairs Mobius back to normal as Kensuke tells the Go Home Club about the Musicians’ plans.

Episode 9
Aria mentions that there is a door in the Musicians’ base that will lead back to the real world. But because Miu controls that door, looks like they have to convince her. When Aria hears voices of people screaming for help, Kotarou quickly goes to find them. Ritsu tells the rest to stick with the mission to find the door. Kotarou will be alright, right? After Kotarou destroys a few Digiheads, the victim gets even scared. The perpetrator is Shadow Knife and he can blend into the shadows and darkness. Kotarou can tell he copies his moves and lines from a well-known anime character. He finds it odd that despite that character being a hero, he is playing it as a villain. Their ideals on justice clash. Kotarou speaks from his own experience about being a bully victim. As they continue fighting, Kotarou saves another victim. It is revealed that Shadow Knife is also a bully victim and he is getting revenge by tormenting them this way. More differences on their justice ideals until Shadow Knife makes him feel guilty about his own shallow justice because since he saves everybody, he also saves evil. This means he aided evil and is himself evil. That was easy to throw him into depression. An explosion occurs before Shadow Knife could finish him. Both are hanging on the edge. Shadow Knife becomes sacred about dying as he laments both worlds are still the same. Full of crap. Kotarou’s attempt to save him falls in vain as Shadow Knife drops to his death. Apparently when you die in Mobius, your body in the real world also dies. Apparently our friends don’t know this and are shocked to hear this! So they think they’re immortal? Shougo gets visibly scared when he sees Thorn whom he identifies as Ichika Saotome. She plays on his mind by jumping to her death. Inside the Musicians’ HQ, nobody is around. Like as though somebody ratted them out that they were coming. Kotarou quickly accuses Kensuke as the traitor. This is part of Thorn’s plan to sew distrust among the group. I mean just like that they don’t trust each other anymore?! Yeah, they even go their separate ways! Shortly, they get a message to gather at the clubroom. They realize it is a trap because they think the other sent them this message to meet. Now that they can’t get out, they really think somebody is the traitor. By the way, they realize that Ritsu is the only one not in this room…

Episode 10
Because Aria is also not here, they think she is in cohorts with Ritsu. With Kotarou still insisting there is a rat, Kotono warns him not to take it out on them. Of course it all boils down to Kensuke as the suspect since he is the one who brought them info. The group is breaking down with all the distrust and even shocking the calm Shougo we once knew is now an emotional wreck. Marie is outside looking for Ritsu. It seems she can’t open the door too. As suggested, she goes to find Ritsu. With their trust level still low, they discuss that they never trusted each other from the beginning. After all, they led trashy lives in the real world and escaped to Mobius. Kensuke then suggests introducing themselves and tell their back stories to know more about each other and to learn who the mole is. Here we go…

Shougo: Ichika was his classmate and as outcasts, they fit each other. One day she asked him to commit suicide together. He became scared. Ichika killed herself by jumping off the tower. Although it wasn’t his fault, the fact Shougo did not even go to Ichika and try to help her makes him a killer too. He became scared to leave his house that day and only found solace in Miu’s songs. It helped him forget his bitter memories. However in Mobius, it soon got worse as Ichika’s suicide scene kept replaying itself. It drove him crazy. That is why he wanted to gather people alike to return to reality. In real life, he is actually 30 years old.

Kotarou: He is actually a middle school kid. His father is a big and strong rescue man. Unlike him, Kotarou is small and frail. It is his dream to become like him but his parents died in an accident. He was taken in by his relatives but the bullying continued and he did not experience any growth spurt and remained the same. Only Miu’s songs bring him relief. Although he had fun in Mobius, he realizes if he doesn’t go back, he will never become an adult and achieve his dreams.

Kensuke: Born to ordinary parents, he decided to be a music composer. His parents gave him the ultimatum to write at least a song. He couldn’t. It was when he was empty inside. In Mobius, he became part of the Musicians and could write songs to his content. His defection stems from seeing them struggle so hard. It made him realize he is still empty. It might sound trivial but everybody’s hell is different.

Mifue: Her real mom is actually very fat. She feared of becoming like her and didn’t want to eat, landing her in hospital. In Mobius, her first mom was frail and skinny. When she wished for a mom to eat with her, Miu granted her that. She might have apologized to her mom in Mobius but not her real one who is still suffering. That’s why she wants to go back.

Naruko: She loves trolling Miu’s videos. Her father is a newspaper journalist and her classmates often teased her as the daughter of the media trash. She decided to get back at everyone by gossiping and trolling anonymously. She felt good and thought she had been making friends online only to realize those friends are the same tormentors. She had fun in Mobius trolling people but realizes that recognition from others isn’t what she wants. She wants to return and put an end to the trolling. I hope she isn’t trolling us…

Suzuna: We all know from her story with that Komori dude that she has always been a loner and hoped to make friends. She is no different in Mobius but feels she can move forward now if she goes back.

Izuru: His mom controlled his every actions. Everything was decided for him. He accomplished nothing by himself. He had no liberty to choose. Except that one day where he took a glass and scarred his own cheek. It is proof that he is alive. Miu thinks it is a wound and always heals it. Without the scar, he cannot prove he is alive.

Kotono: Before we can hear her ‘stupid’ story. Marie opens the door. She has been eavesdropping and is sick of all their pathetic stories. She throws in a few grenades! BOOM! OMG! So badass!

Episode 11
Marie enjoys bombing the hell out of everybody. She planted bombs everywhere in school. She even calls on Miu to give her more powers. She loves it here as she can move freely and do whatever she wants to destroy things. But eventually Kensuke outsmarts her and bombs her legs. The rest escapes as the whole school blows up. But now comes the confusing part because in reality as we see, there has been a rise in cases of Astral Syndrome as victims suddenly lose consciousness and enter a coma. It is believed that the company Virtuadolls developed some gear that enabled this. Uhm, like NerveGear? The project leader, Shingo Tachibana was unable to give any comment, hence accelerating speculation it is correlated and earning the public’s wrath. Shingo thought he is being stalked but that person turns out to be… Ritsu?! He wants Shingo to give him admin privileges as he is blocked from accessing the system programme. It seems he wants to find a programme to patch the flaw in Miu’s programming back to the kind Miu she was. Ritsu narrates he is a social outcast. Only Shingo noticed him but it made him more miserable since Shingo was always sociable with others. It felt he was rubbing it in at times. Ritsu hates everything in this world but what he hates most is his own inability to fit into reality. Miu was all he had and he was glad she listened to his talk. The more he explains about happiness, the more curious she became. Eventually she ‘left’ to change people’s suffering into happiness. When people slowly started to become victims of Astral Syndrome, Ritsu thought his turn would be next but it never came. Miu never took him to Mobius and that’s where he decided to go there himself. He bade farewell to himself and became well-adjusted and well-liked. Hence the Ritsu in Mobius is taken after Shingo’s personality. Soon he realizes that Miu’s happiness is fake and can’t let her keep doing that. He needs to do this alone otherwise he cannot change. But hasn’t he already changed? Ritsu then hears a voice. Not Miu. But Aria. She invites him back to Mobius so he could tell Miu directly his feelings.

Episode 12
Miu can’t contain everything anymore. She is going berserk and turns into an evil Final Fantasy character? Ritsu tells Aria about himself and how he found solace in Miu. Because he didn’t know how to explain it well to Miu, the reason he ran away. He is to blame for Miu turning out like this. This time he will face her and tell her everything. Mobius is breaking apart. Good time for Kotono to tell her back story? She is a single mother with a son. She never treated him nicely and even hated him. She regretted all that and wants to go back and tell him she loves him. They are attacked by the Musicians who think eliminating the Rogues will stop this destruction. Shougo confronts Thorn. From the way she speaks, Shougo realizes she is Asuka Natsume. She hates him because Ichika chose him as a partner to die with instead of her. She blames him for letting Ichika die alone. But in this world, she claims Ichika is here and won’t let anyone interfere with their happiness. Before Thorn can kill him, here comes Ritsu. He is now in his Catharsis Effect form. Thorn goes crazy and tries to destroy everything along with Miu’s song. Shougo takes her out. He admits that his sin cannot be erased but he must face it back in reality. The other Musicians thought Miu could save them. Yes she could. By putting them all inside her! Great timing by Aria to whisk everyone away so Ritsu can have a proper talk with Miu. So uhm, talk on happiness this, happiness that. You know Miu isn’t listening when she stabs him. But he won’t give up and continues talking. So when you talk long enough, that person eventually listens? Works for Miu. Is this a bug? Anyway with her getting some of her sanity back, he tells her about the complexity and uniqueness of everyone’s happiness. Lastly, he is here to destroy this paradise. He manages to confess he loves her and then shoots her. Man, love is indeed complicated. IN the aftermath, all those affected by the Astral Syndrome are now awakened. As their statements are being taken, mostly they relate their experience as being in heaven. We see short clips of our characters coming to terms with reality. So far so good. And more happiness, harsh reality and the unattainable dream narration by Ritsu. This guy should be a psychologist instead.

This Ugly Yet Crappy World: I Came, I Saw, I Confused
Sad to say, I didn’t really understand what is going on except for the fact that everyone is trapped in this artificial and fake world that is so nice and close to perfect that is so outright artificial and fake. Hence these masochistic main characters decided to go back to the real world and face reality and overcome whatever pain and suffering they have under the excuse they need to move forward. Sure, you have your problems solved here but in reality it is still there. So uhm, is this series a bit like The Matrix? Except there are no evil robots to harvest our bodies and organs. As this series is based on the video game, I suppose it is unfair for me to criticise how confusing it is seeing I didn’t play the video game and like always, the video game would have more time and routes to flesh out everything unlike the TV series that is just so limited. Hence I believe that fans of the game could only appreciate and understand what is actually going on. Or be disappointed that this adaptation didn’t live up to their perfect standards. Geez, it’s hard to please everybody.

It goes without saying that with me not understanding the plot very well, the characters who are supposed to help drive this plot doesn’t even fare well. At least in my books. The first episode was already confusing enough with suddenly the norm becomes the weird. Throughout the series, we see more characters gather as they share the same goal of returning to reality. Sometimes it confuses me because suddenly a character joins the pack without much explanation. Like as though they popped out from somewhere. For example, Izuru. I don’t really remember but from out of nowhere he becomes part of the Go Home Club. We get a gist of the characters’ goal like Mifue wanting to reconcile with her mom but overall it is still insufficient. That episode which summarizes the past and goals of the main characters is good but coming in so late at that point I was already confused and starting to forget things. With everyone back in reality, I wonder if they will ever get to meet each other again. Yeah, it would be weird if they managed to organize an alumni of Mobius survivors and be shocked to see how each other looks. That’s reality for you.

Everything would have been easier and mostly things solved had not Miu screwed up everything. Yup, I blame her as the source of not understanding everything. To a point where I think she is just stubborn and not wanting to open her eyes to reality and continues to ‘fix’ things the way she deems as correct. When things go wrong and not the way she intended, we hear her ‘complain’. Why this. Why that. Sighs. Feels like I want to slap her and tell her what she is seeing is so obvious. Sure, it is painful and undesirable but that’s reality before your eyes.

Unfortunately as much as I really want to blame her, she is after all just artificial intelligence as revealed. She is only as smart as the person who programmed her. Even if she takes on a life on her own and tries to understand what happiness is, can a virtual programme actually understand human emotions and especially what makes humans happy? This is the reason that stopped me from blaming that stubborn girl from everything and this is the reason why Mobius is such a crappy place. This is what happens when you let artificial intelligence decide what happiness is. So what Miu is doing whether it is for the betterment of mankind or just her selfish desires, is pretty up for debate. But I can’t believe that it is so easy in solving the problem of Astral Syndrome just by destroying the computer bug. Ritsu must have one heck of hacking skills to simply solve this glitch. Or was it the magical words of I love you that did the trick? Heh. Even computer bugs have feelings? Man, love is more complicated than programming. I wonder if Miu will come back in the future as an upgraded version 2.0.

The Musicians themselves do not fare any better than the main characters even as antagonists. They too have their problems and issues but are treated in the same way as the Rogues. Only difference is that they want to continue to be part of the dream and fantasy. You can blame them for averting their eyes from truth and hence taking the easy way out this way. But if you think about it, isn’t life in generally about escaping the harsh life so as to have a more comfortable one? Just that they have everything all at once at their fingertips. Even if it is all just virtual. I would have gladly joined those Musicians if I was a character here. But in terms of character development, theirs is even shallower and the most disappointing one goes to Shadow Knife. Suddenly out of the blue who the f*ck is this character? Sure, he was lurking in the shadows before but I bet not many would have noticed. And then his appearance in which he also dies. WTF?! And what happened to Shounen Doll? Last minute popping up to save Suzuna didn’t do him any good. At least not in Mobius. Why Kensuke defected was also very unclear to me. Basically it feels like having a Musician antagonist is like having a counterpart for the Go Home Club (Shougo-Thorn, Izuru-Ike-P, Kotarou-Shadow Knife, etc) for some drama or whatever plot it needs to but it fails to make it interesting.

Hence everybody in this series has their own issues to deal with. Although I do welcome the topic about the different interpretations of happiness and the harsh reality that everyone has to face, the subtly that perhaps everyone in the world where they dream of having the perfect life, such issues aren’t really dealt with in-depth. To be fair, this isn’t really a psychological class or mini documentary. It’s just trying to say that too much of something is never a good thing even if it is perfect. There has to be some sort of balance between dreams and reality because that is how humans live their lives. It’s good to have dreams and achieve some of them but only because we struggle to achieve even though everyone has different levels of progress and difficulty mode to achieve it. That’s why we play games for a while before returning to reality. Hence if you continue to stay in Mobius, your real life problems will never be solved. A classic case of sweeping dirt under the carpet. Well, well. Looks like I myself can be a psychologist too.

One of my favourite and interesting sections of the series is the mid-intermission eyecatch. Rather, the very inspirational and psychological quotes that they display that really makes you think. Actually, those quotes also serve as the title for the series. For example, “When you lose composure, you cannot reach the truth or reality” or “People who do not respect themselves will not be respected by others” or “Everyone gets hurt. But those who don’t realize they are hurting cannot be healed” or “Even if something has already happened, you can still choose what to do” and my favourites “Your life shouldn’t be built from someone else’s blueprint. No matter how unskilled you may be you should draw it yourself” and “People constantly seek out the right answer. Yet is being right really all that matters?”. This is one psychological aspects that I can think about. They are supposed to have a bearing in the episode but I guess I’m too dumb to make the connection. Nevertheless if I can’t understand how they are related to that episode, at least they can still serve as a good lesson in real life.

Also, one of the most light-hearted and funniest segments in the series is the next episode preview. Not really so much of a next episode preview, but rather a very comical yonkoma style comic about Ritsu and Shougo and other characters in chibi form doing and saying random things. Because it sounds so random and comical, perhaps it is the only part of the series I ‘understood’ although I don’t really understand it all. Because it’s just so out of place and random that is just funny for no reason. Yeah, racking my brains has caused me to find pleasure in this nonsense. Is this my happiness?

Although the art and animation looks pretty decent with some bishoujo and bishonen look to the characters, what I want to point out is the very floral shirt design that the school uniform has. Most high school uniforms are of a single colour but having this very colourful floral pattern as their shirt somehow makes it look weird. Like as though they are on vacation to some tropical place like Hawaii or Okinawa. Even more so, the floral colours are dark and while it supposedly fits the theme of the series, overall if you ask me if this is suitable as a high school uniform, I would say it is not. Sure, the beige blazers help cover it and not make the floral pattern obvious but still, to have such pattern just feels bizarre even if this is Mobius. The designs of the characters in their Catharsis Effect form feels rather okay. It gives them that edgy sci-fi look that makes them look more like professional assassins, swordsmen and even witches but the thorn part that sticks out of their body really looks like a sore thumb sticking out. In other words, weird.

Hence the action parts just feel average. Nothing really exciting and with a handful of characters each with their different abilities while in their Catharsis Effect, it should have been something exciting but it’s not. I don’t remember any memorable abilities from them aside from Shougo’s big gun that he only uses to shoot and nothing else. I suppose they didn’t want to drag out the fight since with quite a few characters on both sides, it could get messy with everybody fighting everybody. Like that part in episode 6.

Voice acting feels normal. Didn’t recognize anybody so here’s the cast list: Chiharu Sawashiro as Ritsu (Nishiki Sasa in Love Kome), Reina Ueda as Miu (Mira in Dimension W), Shunsuke Takeuchi as Shougo (Yamato in Nanbaka), Rie Takahashi as Mifue (Megumin in KonoSuba), Ari Ozawa as Naruko (Kirin in Gakusen Toshi Asterisk), Yoshimasa Hosoya as Kotarou (Reiner in Shingeki No Kyojin), Minami Tanaka as Suzuna (Mary in Kakegurui), Yuichiro Umehara as Izuru (Mitsuhide in Akagami No Shirayuki-hime), Rie Murakawa as Kotono (Hotaru in Non Non Biyori), Asami Shimoda as Aria (Rin in Infinite Stratos), Shouta Aoi as Kensuke (Ai in Uta No Prince-sama series), Yuka Ootsubo as Thorn (Kyouko in YuruYuri), Emi Nitta as Sweet-P (Honoka in Love Live), Eriko Nakamura as Mirei (Fuurouta in Concrete Revolutio), Souma Saitou as Ike-P (Tatsumi in Akame Ga Kill) and Mai Fuchigami as Marie (Nagisa in Ansatsu Kyoushitsu). The hard rock opening theme, Paradigm Box by the voices of Ritsu and Shougo sounds okay for this genre while the ending theme, Hypno by the quartet of Mifue, Naruko, Suzuna and Kotono has a more dramatic feel to it. Miu also has a bunch of her idol-like songs as insert songs in the series but none really resonate with me. Maybe that is why I don’t turn into Digiheads? Thank goodness.

Overall, I wanted to give this series a chance and perhaps this is one of those sci-fi genres that would change my perception and overall feelings for the genre. Unfortunately it did not. That’s the harsh truth. And now that sounded more like an excuse than anything. Confusing plot and character development only serve to confuse the hell out of me even more and no dramatic effects could even save the series. It is one of those series that is difficult to understand if you are just an average viewer like me unless you are totally into this sci-fi stuffs and a hardcore fan of the game or series. Until then, I am still waiting for the day that Miu will invite me to Mobius where I can slack off with my harem of kawaii 2D maids serving me for eternity. But the truth is, damn reality is such a painful ass to deal with. Just like this anime who thinks it could fool you with all the nice things and twists but in reality it is just one of those crappy series. Told you the truth is harsh.

Beatless

October 6, 2018

OMG! They finally did it. After years and years of waiting even when my interests of the famous Liverpool Fab Four has waned, anime has finally decided to adapt The Beatles! OMG! I’m so excited! I don’t care if it’s going to be some real life documentary or fantasy nonsense. Who cares?! It’s The Beatles, right?! Wohoo! John, Paul, George and Ringo get to live again in anime!!! Yay!!! Wait… What’s that you say… You mean this anime is not about the Fab Four?! WTF???!!! You mean Beatless is not a typo error?! Or a cool way to rename the group?! WTF???!!! It’s about super AI and robots looking and acting like humans? Very futuristic sci-fi material? Damn. I can see the confusion training coming… Oh, also, I see the name is pronounced as Beat-less and not Beatles-s. Damn spelling so close… F*ck…

Episode 1
Ah, what a nice normal start to the first term of the high school life for Arato Endou and his friends, Ryou Kaidai and Kengo Suguri. To show Arato’s good side, he helps a granny cross a street despite she has her own android helper commonly known as hiE (humanoid interface Element). Then they stumble upon a broken hiE arm in the alley. They heard rumours there is someone going around breaking hiE. Not one to leave it like that, Arato alerts the police. Oddly, these guys all have a little sister to come fetch them: Yuka, Shiori and Olga. They’re all best friends too. Is the future this regulated? Meanwhile at some facility of Memeframe Corporation (they really had a good sense of naming, huh?), 5 hiEs have escaped. A single military helicopter is sent to destroy or capture them. I guess that’s what happens when you rely on drones. Of course they are no match for our sexy android babes as we are briefly introduced to some of them like Kouka, Snowdrop and Saturnus. Arato goes out shopping with his hiE, Marie. When coloured petals scatter down (nano bugs actually), Marie goes crazy and attacks him. Driverless cars are now trying to kill him too but he manages to avoid death by the skin of his teeth. Marie is about to kill him when he pleads for help. Cliché time for android babe, Lacia to hear his pleas and come to his rescue. She wants him to make a contract with her because as an android she is incapable of responsibilities. The owners are. I guess time is running short on the circumstances they are in. Yeah, cars are still out to kill him. Arato agrees to the terms of the contract and with enough time to do verification, registration and all that crap, Lacia destroys the rampaging car as well as shut off electrical supplies in the perimeter so those bugs will not activate any other devices. When he returns home, Yuka gets the wrong idea he bought a girl. I think saying he picked her up made it worse. But Yuka soon become friends with her after learning she can cook. Wait. What? Whatever fills her tummy is her friend? Oh yeah, little sister loves android babe now. Later Lacia serves Arato tea and of course like a normal boy, he has some unholy thoughts. He wants to know where she is from to avoid future complications but she tells him he is a good person but is fundamentally mistaken as she doesn’t have a soul. hiE units simply match human speech and actions to give response in order to placate the individual’s taste. You mean like a sex doll? Arato replies even if she doesn’t have a soul, it doesn’t mean he is not moved by her actions.

Episode 2
Yuka enters Lacia in some hiE modelling audition and she has been selected. And she wins it! In school, Arato tells his friends about the hiE he picked up and they have their reservations because it costs a lot to maintain those things. Arato even contacts Lacia for her registration number. His friends chide him about not knowing the law and such because her other details are sketchy at best. Ryou advises him not to get involved further in this. As the winner of the audition, Arato and Lacia meet Asuna Kisaragi of Fabion Media Group. As part of the contract, Lacia will be a model for Fabion. The clothes she model will be targeted for high school girls. Asuna has some knowledge in hiE technology and engineering too and looks up to Arato’s dad who is a pioneer in this technology. Too bad son doesn’t know what kind of models he made. Not even if Lacia was made by him. The best way to attract attention is to have a fashion show right in the middle of the streets. Yup, Lucia sure does turn heads and before you know it, a large crowd gathers around her. It gets even more hyped up with the previous audition winner, Angela joins her. Double the cuteness, double the excitement. Triple that with Yuri, Fabion’s top hiE model and blast it away with YouTube worthy techno music! Then there’s some explanation about analogue hack. Not that I understand but it is used often by corporations to hack society by spontaneously moving people. A large crowd now gathers outside the stores to buy those newly modelled clothes. Of course there are some unruly ones who don’t follow the rules but thanks to tight security, nothing unpleasant happened. That night, another commotion and this time an ambulance is on scene. The serial hiE destroyer strikes again and this time the human owner was injured. It is observed some humans obeyed police instructions thinking they are humans but that turn to anger once realizing they are hiE. That is an example of analogue hack and Lacia is worried of creating enemies while becoming an hiE model. Thank goodness for Arato’s assurance, right? Meanwhile Kengo seems to be engaged in some life or death situation as he uses his computers and wits to instruct his client to get away. They barely succeed. He takes a break and when he returns, he is shocked Kouka is in his room.

Episode 3
Time to troll us as Lacia thought of servicing Arato with some fanservice. So letting him sleep on her boobs? I’m sure he loves it and by the time he thinks f*ck it and would want to go all the way, his 5 minutes of service is up. WTF?! Can we extend that? Of course. I’m sure he can get used to this analogue hack. But soon Lacia is kidnapped and panicky Yuka could only describe a white car taking her away. Don’t worry. Big brother will get her back. He thought of contacting the police but thanks to protocol and red tape (heck, hiEs are not humans and properties so the insurance company should be contacted?!), he better do it himself. Of course that meant getting Ryou and Kengo to help him. Thank goodness for driverless cars, right? So Kengo manages to track and trace the kidnapper’s car for Arato to follow and catch up. I guess this is not a good time for Ryou to explain the uncanny timeline fitting Lacia’s escape from Memeframe during that facility explosion. Arato screws all that because he considers Lacia to be his family and not an object. We now see the kidnapper who seems to have found his perfect hiE. Human girls won’t do (because he’s a loser) so he was searching for the ultimate hiE until he saw her on her modelling debut day. Yeah, he is also the serial hiE destroyer as he destroys them thinking they are unfit. What’s that got to do with his ideals?! So now he wants this perfect hiE locked up and monitored 24/7 because her sexiness will drive other men bad (like him?). Oh, now he wants her to sexually analogue hack him? This guy is really sick.

Conveniently with Arato catching up, Lacia responds to his call and breaks out. Time for some lame human fighting with Arato using his VR headset to beat the sh*t out of him! Loser guy wants him to transfer Lacia’s ownership to him. But Lacia deems him dangerous and will kill him! Conveniently there is a warehouse nearby to accessorise and power her up?! WTF?! Arato doesn’t want him killed but Lacia insists. You know why? Because guess who takes responsibility from this? Yeah… I can see it now what happens when hiEs go rogue! Blame it on the owner! Arato chides Lacia that this isn’t his will. What is she planning to make him do? They are interrupted when Kouka blasts in. She is Lacia’s first younger sister. Miraculously their power fight didn’t totally wreck the place. Kouka deems Arato as unfit to be Lacia’s owner. With Arato insisting Lacia is his family, Lacia now asks for permission (hence taking further responsibility) to unlock her power. Yeah. Whatever. Just do it. Kouka is excited to see this move of hers for the first time. Lacia’s barrier protects them from Kouka’s blast as it vaporizes the surrounding. Kouka then leaves and hints this is equivalent to what humans call love. Kouka goes to Kengo’s home and knows he was helping Arato and Lacia. Knowing what he has done is legally wrong, he blackmails him into helping her in exchange for not harming his family. She wants him to help blow up some experimental android that Arato’s dad test built, Mikoto. Some hiE with slapped on personality that automates political opinion gathering that aggregates public opinions from surveys and networks and provides them to the Diet.

Episode 4
Kengo can’t refuse since he is guilty for using the antibody network. So now he is training along with fellow humans as mercenaries? He notes the irony these punks hate a machine making laws when they are taking orders from one. He comes home late every day tired and Olga notices this but can’t muster up the courage to talk to him. When she does, he just gives this tired excuse. Olga talks to her friends about this but Kengo doesn’t improve. I think she got a little desperate so she calls Yuka who brings Arato and Lacia along. Right or wrong, she has them look into her brother’s room and of course his computer. Easy pie for Lacia to hack into and discover some unholy activities like how Kengo is now doing criminal things. Oh, the ‘assassination’ is today. Time to go save his buddy. Meanwhile Ryou sees his dad to find out more about those escaped hiEs. Don’t really understand it all. All I know is that Lacia and Kouka are one of the few of the Red Box type and Memeframe is definitely involved with this. A timely call from Arato about wanting to go rescue Kengo. Ryou is pessimistic and warns him to stay away. Arato owes him for helping him out and even so, why not just send Lacia? As Kengo hates hiEs, sending Lacia alone might not convince him. Lacia talks to Arato that they will not nullify the building’s security because they will automatically be treated as a threat. Instead, they’ll use that nano bugs technology thingy that will make them both invisible toe the enemy’s detection. That’s why she gives him a special visor that could see and hear. Whatever. Still lost. The mercenaries begin their operation. They take down a few security robots at first but once they move into subduing the intruder mode, sh*t hits the fan as some of them get injured. Kengo is now scared sh*t while Kouka is bugging him to make her his owner. Before he is next to bite the dust, Kouka arrives just in time to kick ass and destroy all those robots like child’s play. Not sure if this motivated Kengo or made him go berserk because now he makes his first robo kill.

Episode 5
Infiltration is successful. But WTF. Now Lacia reminds him this mission can get him killed and if he still wants to proceed?! You know he is going to do it with or without your permission, right? The duo witness Mikoto answering unhappy politicians’ answers about AI being the forefront of human lives. It’s a good thing Mikoto is calm and cool answering them or else if I were to programme her, shoot all of them! The building then rocks. A helicopter crashes into it and those familiar petals are scattering all over. With security busy evacuating the humans, Kouka and the antibody network enter the hall. She sees Snowdrop responsible for scattering the petals and she is enjoying every moment of it. Snowdrop absorbs fallen security robots and mash them into monsters. Kengo sees Mikoto evacuating the politicians. His blood boils. He goes up to kill her. Only, he could have got the job done if he didn’t start b*tching and blaming robots. This allows Arato to stop him but since he is invisible, Kengo thinks it is a ghost and runs. Arato wants to take off his helmet so his friend can see him even if this risks Kouka and Snowdrop noticing and attacking him. And for whatever other risks, he’ll take responsibility, right? Okay then. It’s your call. Kouka is trying to coax Kengo to become her master. With Arato trying to tell him to remain true to his cause, Kengo admits he hates Arato but still refuses Kouka because his dream is to rid this world of hiEs. Snowdrop taunts Kouka for her rejection and sets off more explosions. In this distraction, a robot kidnaps Kengo to do a double suicide by jumping off the building. Thank goodness for Arato grabbing his hand and pulling him up. So friendship saved despite all that? Kouka congratulates Mikoto for doing a fine job evacuating humans and then shoots her with a few bullets. Wait. Why didn’t she just decapitate her with her huge sword whatever?! Is that even going to kill her? With the police arriving, I guess it’s time to leave. Kengo returns home and feeling bad he worried Olga but she couldn’t be happier.

Episode 6
Damn recap episode. Why the heck do we need a summary for the first 5 episodes? Oh right. Idiots like me who aren’t very strong in the sci-fi area still don’t understand what’s going on. I don’t think there are new scenes but just recycled ones. The only ‘major difference’ is that from time to time there will be short sentences popped up on screen supposedly Arato’s thoughts and questions on the current situation. That’s about it.

Episode 7
Arato watches the news as they are baffled with the attack. No petals were found at the scene. This has Arato wondering if Snowdrop had an owner because she hacked the helicopter to crash it and its pilot died. Meanwhile the Memeframe board are discussing about the non-return of the few hiEs. Only one of them, Methode has returned and Ginga Watarai is now her owner. This is because the company refused to take responsibility of their release and agreed to Watarai taking responsibility over her. They also talk about Kouka and Snowdrop not returning because their priority is to preserve the data they carry. It is likely they found an owner to survive outside for the long term and hence they never intended to come back. Also, it is believed the explosion of the facility was caused by an inside job since security was perfect. Ryou is brought to see Watarai. The latter talks about him being an hiE made to look like a human. Though it is illegal, it can be done. Ryou believes he is human and not hiE because there is a reason why Watarai wants to meet him. Watarai is happy with his answer and he believes humans must not forfeit what makes them so. Shiori attends a party which is a big marriage arrangement. While at the ladies, Methode talks to her. She shocks Shiori by revealing she was the one who caused the explosion at the facility under her owner’s order. But Methode knows what kind of man Watarai is. He lets her do all the dirty work when needed and then frames her for everything. She wants Shiori to be her owner because unlike other hiEs, she is capable of multiple owners. Shiori is shocked and asks what if they give contradicting orders. That’s the point. If Watarai gives her an order she doesn’t want to do, Shiori just needs to give one to void it. Shiori would be a great counter balance as she is from the founding family who is pro-human compared to Watarai who is on the pro-AI camp. Shiori rejects this offer but Methode leaves her with a chance to contact her should she change her mind. With Shiori thinking heavily about this, Methode knows she has a chance she would come to her because after so many hours, Shiori has not reported to the company who would have taken action by now.

Episode 8
Saturnus destroys all maid hiEs so she could ask a rich oujo-sama to be her owner? She won’t of course. Until she fixes up real cute then she’ll agree. Arato and Lacia are shown a Boy Meets Girl proposal by Asuna. It seems they want to use the duo as a model to promote this human-hiE lifestyle. In turn, they can tap into specific demographics, create some demand and sell products. The usual business stuffs. Arato is concerned but Lacia assures there is no reason for him to feel so especially of her wellbeing. She really said that? Arato also meets Erika Burrows, the owner of Fabion and head of this project. Back home, Arato and Lacia continue to ponder about this. Not sure if their minds strayed because Arato starts t