Here is another short shoujo anime that I coincidentally stumbled upon. What is with me and such genres these days? Despite Kobayashi Ga Kawai Sugite Tsurai is only 2 OVAs long and worth 16 minutes each, it is bundled with the limited edition of the manga volume. Sounds like a marketing and promotion ploy to me. But I thought the storyline is fairly interesting although it might not be original. Twin brother and sister, Mitsuru and Megumu Kobayashi are attending separate single-sex high schools. One day, they decided to exchange places without knowing what fate had waiting for them. Cross-dressing, love triangles, romance and confusion. Ah, such familiar ingredients for the shoujo genre.

Megumu and Aoi Sanada are too close to each other. The former wants to be by his side and confesses she loves him. And then they kiss. Aoi pinches her cheeks and calls her a fool for getting hurt like that. Then the kissing continues… Change of scene. The school’s queen, Azusa Tokugawa is stuck in a hole! What the hell?! 2 hours ago, she saw Megumu and Shino together. She got jealous thinking they’re close enough to be in love with each other. As such, she starts digging a hole as a trap to make them fall in. However she dug too deep that she herself cannot get out! It starts raining and everyone has gone home. Will she be stuck here for the rest of the night? Thank her lucky stars somebody has passed by. Too bad it is Megumu. She forgot something and turned back. Seeing Azusa’s predicament, she jokes that she might have dug a hole as a trap. See Azusa’s mad face? Spot on. Megumu helps her out since it would be in bad taste if she leaves her down there. Azusa could feel her warmth and such strong arms she has despite putting on her tsundere attitude. As she struggles to climb out, they fall back into the hole. But Megumu’s wig fell off. OMG… Megumu is a boy???!!! Or is that her twin brother, Mitsuru?

Meanwhile the real Megumu is in Aoi’s house as she gets treated for her injury. She wonders if that kiss meant anything or was he just licking the blood of her lips. Aoi actually thinks Megumu is a guy and is pondering why the heck he kissed ‘him’. Don’t know. His body felt so natural and moved on its own. Each time he looks at Megumu, he can’t help fawn over ‘his’ cuteness. Does it mean he likes boys? His inner consciousness starts fighting among themselves over this argument. He is thinking too much that he breaks the cup’s handle. Seeing Megumu’s cute face again, he can’t resist it and hugs Megumu. He wants to stay this way a little longer in hopes he could understand how he feels. The longer they hug, the harder their heart beats that they can’t breathe. Finally they pull apart. Aoi comes clean. It is not like he is into guys but whenever he is around ‘him’, he gets emotional and his heart pounds faster. Megumu wanted to say something important too but she sneezes. What a way to ruin it. Megumu is forced to take a shower and she must do it fast and get back to looking like a guy. Otherwise her real identity will be revealed. As she ponders of Aoi’s words and how happy she heard him say that, Aoi comes in to give a towel. And she was just pondering what she will do if she is found out. Yup. Now is the chance. Because that shock look on Aoi’s face just indicates he realized Megumu is a girl. That same panicky expression with Azusa for Mitsuru.

A black cat, Shigezane is totally in love with Mego, Megumu’s affectionate name that he calls since she takes care of him. However she is in love with Aoi. Shigezane likes this guy once but now he is his rival. Today they are meeting up so the cat is going to put a stop to their plans! He bumps into Aoi’s head and the next thing we know, they swap bodies! Yeah. Perfect chance for Shigezane to go on a date with Megumu. Megumu is pretty excited to see Aoi and especially the different way he talks. Meow? But she finds it odd. Walking through small holes and on walls? Besides, Aoi who was never good with girls will get a seizure when touched and now he is alright. Meanwhile Aoi wakes up in a cat’s body and realizes something amiss. That bump must have caused them to switch bodies. Because Megumu is not at the meeting place, he fears the worst. Mind boggling fact: How the heck is Aoi wearing an eye-patch seeing his original body also wears one? Anyway Mitsuru is on his way to sneak into a supplementary class when he sees the cat. It’s hard for Aoi to communicate so he uses sign language. Oddly, Mitsuru could understand and although he brushes it off at first, he realizes this cat is Aoi. No, you’re not dreaming. Meanwhile Megumu and Shigezane are at the park. He lies on her lap and has her touch his face a lot. A lot. So much so she is bleeding a fountain of nose bleeds. Seriously. She’s loving it. He’s loving it. What a happy world. Shigezane gets poetic. He says he only once likes cats but after meeting her, he realized she is the only one and will never make her cry. That’s why right now he wants to make babies. SAY WHAT???!!! It took Megumu long enough to understand after all that echoing of ‘making babies…’.

Since Aoi has no idea where Megumu is, Mitsuru texts her. I don’t know how she can reply that she is in the park and ‘Aoi’ is forcing her to make babies with him in such a short time. Because this ‘Aoi’ is on top of her! Getting ready to… But in the nick of them, Aoi charges in and their heads bump into each other. Safe to say, they return to their original bodies. Aoi apologizes he wasn’t himself. Mitsuru realizes he is late for supplementary classes and rushes off with Shigezane. Megumu learns about the body swapping and believes him because of his funny act and besides, he would never lie to her. Of course she had to deny that they went that far in making babies. She thinks it would be nice if they could hold each other close like that again in the future. Megumu says she loves him and Aoi says the same reply. They start feeling embarrassed over what they said. In the aftermath, Aoi holds Shigezane and ‘speaks’ to it. When they swapped bodies, he could read what was on his mind. He knows he treasures her a lot. Aoi won’t give up Megumu to anyone. Shigezane admits his defeat and says Megumu is all his for now. Aoi talks like a cat and Megumu wonders if they switch bodies again. Just kidding. Phew. That scared her for a little while.

So Cute That It’s Funny?
It feels that the OVAs were like prologues and serve as an introductory to the manga series. The episodes are standalones and feel like fun side stories. Even if you do not read the manga, these episodes may give you a good idea on what the series is all about. So those who are interested by what they saw may just be interested in checking out the manga itself. Judging by the looks of it, it is hard to say whether it will get a proper TV anime adaptation in the future or just like many shows that follow this pattern, they just fade into obscurity (example: Suki Desu Suzuki-kun).

As far as this little series is concern, I guess it was rather okay in my books seeing the first episode deals with the cross-dressing ways, the building up of their romance and how they are eventually discovered. While the second focuses more on the relationship between Megumu and Aoi but the damn cat stole the spot. I know it feels really weird to have a cat falling in love with a human being but I guess this is being unique since how far can you stretch the plot and drama after so many shoujo series around? So having a cat and body swapping may seem odd for a shoujo genre but I think it gives a little refreshing pace in this genre.

Something strikes me when I learn that Daisuke Ono was the voice of Aoi and Ayumi Fujiwara voicing the twins. They voiced the leading characters in Kaze No Stigma. There was this thought of mine that they might burst into those characters since Aoi was almost (but not) similar to Kazama although Megumi wasn’t a bit tsundere like Ayano. The drawing and art are okay too, pretty much in line with the shoujo standards. Yeah. Cute. Their chibi form makes it look funny (in a good comical way), though.

Because this is such a short anime, the character development isn’t there although both OVAs concentrate heavy on Megumu and Aoi. Especially with Megumu who is so heavily in love with Aoi that it’s so… Annoying? But that is what makes her cute, no? My guess is that there should be more interesting characters and the plot when their cross-dressing secret is revealed to some. So if they adapt this into a TV series, I would love to take a look at it. A question to ponder: If you’re cross-dressing as an opposite gender but fall in love with a person who is totally opposite your real gender, would that make your relationship yaoi or yuri? Likewise, would it be yaoi or yuri it was the same gender? Argh! It’s so confusing…

Niji-iro Prism Girl

June 27, 2014

I thought this was one of those old animes or at least from the early 2000’s since the art style felt like it was somewhat from that era. However Niji-iro Prism Girl the anime was released just as recently back in August 2013 although it has only 4 episodes that run no more than 12 minutes each. By the way, the manga ran from 2010 and ended at the end of 2013 so the anime must be to coincide with the manga’s end. My motivation to watch this show? I don’t know. I thought it had been a long time since I watched a shoujo genre. Heck, I can’t recall when was the last shoujo genre anime I watched besides Full Moon Wo Sagashite which was a couple of years ago. If Full Moon Wo Sagashite was about a girl fulfilling her dreams to become a singer, then Niji-iro Prism Girl is about a girl trying her luck in the acting world. And she’ll meet all kinds of characters as she chases her dream. Okay, not really much to tell since there are only 4 episodes as said.

Episode 1
Nijika Koihinata despite only 12 years old, has the look of a mature teenager. While she hears the other girls squealing over Japan’s current hot idol, Touya Ichinose, Nijika notes a secret that nobody knows. Touya lives in her house! Because her dad who works in the entertainment industry is letting him stay over. What logic is this? Anyway contrary to the public’s view, Touya is a little nasty and loves teasing Nijika like how he does now by forcing her to eat green peppers she hates. On TV, there is an announcement of an audition to find the next Saori Fujimiya. Who is she? The late legendary actress who is Nijika’s mom. It was Nijika’s dream to become an actress like her but since she always failed, she hated show business and gave up on that dream. Guess what? For some reason, she showed up at the audition! Did she change her mind to follow her mom footsteps? Two things: 1) The audition is only opened to girls above 16 years and above so Nijika actually lied about her age! 2) Participants will be acting with Touya in a forbidden romance between a butler and his milady. Of course this doesn’t sit well with Nijika and even daddy and Touya are surprised she is here. At first she blunders due to her nervousness but Touya being the pro quickly has her back on her feet. She gets into her role and displays her milady traits by playing a violin. The crowd is enchanted. Just when Touya is going to kiss her and send the fan girls heart beating like hell, flustering Nijika pushes him away. Touya adlibs and continues his act and even though it may be part of the act, Nijika felt he was like mocking her. But that made her realized that she loves acting. A pillar prop is going to fall on her so Nijika uses her athletic moves to escape it. Since it’s not lady-like, it confuses the crowd so she adlibs with a convincing act followed by a convincing confession and a convincing jump into his arms. Nijika feels she had so much fun and it renewed her hopes to become an actress like her mom. In the end, Nijika wins the audition. However she has to cover her real age from now on. Thankfully her friends at school saw how cool she was at the audition and agree to keep her age a secret.

Episode 2
Touya accompanies Nijika to a commercial for a chocolate company. Along the way, she bumps into Ria, a famous child actress. Because her disguise came off, people start to recognize her especially one big fan of hers. To quell the situation, Nijika acts out as a delinquent detective, one of the famous dramas her mom acted in. She is drawing too much attention to herself so before the girls recognize Touya the hot guy, they quickly get into the building. Inside the stage, Touya briefs her about the protocol for this and that. After she changes, she is surprised to learn Ria is her co-star. Touya notes that Ria has been acting since 5 years old and won numerous awards. This might be Nijika’s big break if this is successful. Nijika introduces herself to Ria but the latter ignores her. Ria explains she was a big fan of that delinquent detective drama, the reason she got into acting. She won’t lose to her because if she messes up here, she won’t acknowledge Nijika as the next Saori. Ria even suggests to the director to adlib and not act to the script. Well, since it’s cutie Ria requesting for it, okie-dokie. At first Nijika doesn’t know what to say to adlib. She tries the friendship approach but is only scorned off. This pisses off Nijika and throws a little tantrum. But when she sees Ria smiling, she figures this might just be a test. Nijika makes a beautiful leap and make convincing adlib lines about Ria’s wonderful smile. Nijika is surprised that Ria accepts her and they both become friends and eat the chocolate. Their act was so good that the director decides to use this one shot as their commercial. Ria praises Nijika that when she provoked her into an argument, she turned it into an opportunity for friendship. That leap changed to mood for everything and it proves she has a real talent as an actress. Ria acknowledges her as her rival and looks forward to compete with her to be the next Saori next time. The commercial is released and everyone is in awe with the new actress starring alongside Ria. Although this means she isn’t famous enough, Nijika is resolved to work even harder.

Episode 3
Nijika is starring in an episode of a popular delinquent show starring Yuu Arisugawa. His dad is a famous actor and he has been acting since 3 years old. Guess what? Despite looking good, his attitude may just be a jerk like Touya since he is mocking Nijika right off the bat she is here because she is pretty. That just pisses her off. Nijika thought she did well in a scene but Yuu whispers she is just terrible. In a scene whereby Nijika’s character is supposed to break free and reveal her secret delinquent character, she is so convincing that Yuu is overwhelmed. Though, he still mocks her she is not worthy to lick his feet! What is his problem? Before the next scene, several staffs commend Yuu but he scoffs them off and doesn’t want them to compare him with his father. Nijika talks to him and she understands how he feels. Heck, she even advises him not to worry about how others see him. Yuu is blushing… The confession scene begins. Nijika is taken aback when he kisses her hair but bounces back with improvised lines to give the scene even more impact. When her character confesses, instead of him going away like in the script, he hugs her and confesses back! Is this all part of the script? It was convincing enough that when he just walked away coolly, Nijika felt he humiliated her with his acting. Suddenly Yuu takes Nijika and confesses that he likes her. Isn’t the scene over? Are we doing it again? No. It’s for real. He really likes her! She is shocked but since they’re still filming, they’ll finish their confession scene later. In the final goodbye scene, Nijika thinks back about her mom and her acting overwhelms Yuu. Later he admits defeat and tries to hint that he is really in love with her. I’m not sure if it’s her payback by playing dumb or she’s really that dense. Yuu mentions her great acting might get her to win the Diamond Prism Award one day. It is an award given to the outstanding and promising rookie actresses above 16 years old. Of course Saori never won it since she retired early right when she reached that age. And then call it coincidence because Touya comes running in to tell Nijika to good news that she has been nominated for the award!!!

Episode 4
Ria and Nijika are in a final showdown for the award. But this episode is a flashback of Nijika and when Saori was still alive. Due to some illness, her career was cut short and she was hospitalized. Little Nijika practised hard in hopes of becoming a great actress like mommy. However Nijika soon called her mom a liar because she failed to attend school acts or events due to the doctor forbidding her to leave the hospital. Nijika wanted so much for mommy to turn up but she never. She felt awful for telling off her mommy like that so daddy suggests to go apologize. She is also shown the anemone flower. This was the flower daddy gave mommy when he propose to her to signal true love. Saori keeps her promise to go picnic with Nijika as to make it up to her. She got special permission from the doctor although they know it is very risky. It could even shorten her lifespan. Even if daddy knows it, he wants the mother and child to spend precious moments together. Saori is trying hard to not worry Nijika as she hides the fact her body isn’t in good condition. Although the bento Saori made isn’t edible, Nijika is glad that mommy made them. Nijika searches for the anemone flower to give her as present. Saori acts out a scene picking up that flower. Her acting is so good that Nijika thought she saw a real flower. This motivates her further to become an actress and perform with her. When Nijika comically tumbles down a hill, they see a field of anemone flowers and Saori is surprised as it isn’t in season yet. Saori starts crying and tells her to keep believing. As long as she has a strong will, miracles can happen. Of course we know Saori can never keep her promise to act with Nijika. Unless she’s acting with her from Heaven. Back to reality, the winner of the award goes to… Drum rolls please… And the diamond tiara goes to… Next scene we see, Nijika clumsily goes off to a drama shoot while Touya continues reminding her about this and that. Sounds nagging, isn’t he? Of course he believes he will be better and surpass Saori. Oh, the diamond tiara sits nicely in her room.

It’s All Just An Act
Although it was fun watching this little short series, there are a handful of issues which I think will not make everything possible or that this show is just some sort of a fairytale for girls. First and foremost, Nijika won the award, right? Nothing wrong, right? Happy ending, no? Well, remember Nijika is only 12 years old and she won something that only 16 years old and above are qualified to, right? So what does this mean? Nijika technically isn’t qualified to win this! I know winning this shows how outstanding she is but that isn’t the point. Now, what happens if the public actually finds out about this? It is going to turn into a full blown scandal and I am pretty sure she will be forced to retire and be branded as a liar for the rest of her life. Therefore if she is going to continue her happy acting life, she has to hide her age till she dies. With ‘over inquisitive’ people these days and the wealth of information readily at your fingertips, nothing can escape the knowledge and eyes of the internet.

Also, Saori is a legendary actress, right? This means there will be lots of paparazzi and obsessed fans wanting to know her every move. Although Saori is no longer in this world, I am sure that they will know that she has a daughter, right? Come on, doesn’t everybody know the children of the famous Hollywood people? So what are the chances that people don’t actually know who Nijika is? Unless you tell me she is some illegitimate child which I think she isn’t. True, she might not be acting till recently but the fact that she is Saori’s daughter will already make her stand out. In view of this, how the heck people don’t know Touya living with Nijika is still another mind boggling puzzle. It’s not like they’re living in some secret mansion or hidden place, right? It feels like an ordinary town. Aren’t neighbours suspicious about a hot looking guy coming out from the same house with Nijika? Heck, he is so famous, he is probably recognizable a mile away. And don’t get me started the reason he is living with them. I know he is from Hokkaido but couldn’t he get his own place? Therefore in my conclusion, if you’re going to be a famous actor or actress, as long as you are in this anime, you can hit it big without the worry of your privacy being invaded because the people here just simply don’t care. The fan girls may just swoon over you but that’s just about it.

Aside that, the characters are rather okay. Nijika is your typical girl with a latent talent in acting. Duh. She inherited those acting from her mom’s genes, right? Besides, doesn’t she look very close to mom? Still can’t believe people don’t recognize her as so. Lively and cheerful girl, she learns fast and earns experience points in the acting world via job-on-the-spot. She didn’t go to any acting school, right? Her other rivals, Ria and Yuu are okay too but it makes me wonder if they are having some sort of child slavery because both of them are already in front of the camera at such a young toddler age when they should be learning to walk, read and write. Which means, now that they are in their teens, they are considered ‘old veterans’. Touya is still a jerk but I don’t see him as one as the episodes pass. It’s like his role has been reduced to just looking out for her.

Of course you can’t have a shoujo genre without the romance part. Honestly, 4 episodes aren’t enough to flesh out anything. Although it is confirmed Yuu has some feelings for Nijika, I’m putting my money on Touya-Nijika pairing. That guy may not show it but you know how things will turn up. Especially if a hot boy is living under the same roof with you. And then maybe we can have a love polygon between the characters. Nijika-Touya-Ria-Yuu and more! There is this funny looking pet that belongs to Nijika, Capybara. I don’t know what the heck this little Pokemon piece of sh*t is but most of the time you see it eating/munching an onigiri in its hand and hangs around bumming on her shoulder. Cue for something cute? When Nijika is busy, it hangs out more often on Touya’s shoulder.

One of the reasons why I thought this was a retro anime from the early 2000’s was the art and drawing style as said earlier on. Because anime series like Full Moon Wo Sagashite, Mirumo De Pon, Shugo Chara, Mermaid Melody and Daa! Daa! Daa! (UFO Baby) also have this similar style. You know the typical shoujo style trademarks. Cute girls with big bright sparkly bug/doe-like eyes that melt your heart when you stare into them. Eyes so big that you think that they might be related to the tarsier. Haha! Just kidding. But really, their eyes are big enough to occupy 3/4 of their face. And yeah, all the guys here are good looking too. Heck, even Nijika’s dad looks so young enough that I thought he was her big brother!!! Serious! The ending theme is Dream by 2&. Sounds like a typical girl rock music.

I don’t know if I want to watch this show if it is made into a full proper season anime. You never know. I might not be a fan of the shoujo genre but based on history, I usually end up watching some of them. Maybe if they can surprise me with the romance, love polygons and cat fights, just maybe I’ll watch it then. Uh huh. Isn’t that what makes drama romance genres exciting? That kind of love relationship and its complications. So love life in real life or in reel life, the world is one big stage and everybody is a full time actor or actress. I must be playing my part as a lonely single otaku very well. I wonder if I will ever have my shot at romance. If I could only get my ass off my seat and my eyes away from my computer, that is. Ah never mind. I’ll stick with 2D as usual and dream about it.

Sukitte Iinayo OVA

November 22, 2013

For those hoping to see any sort of love developments between Yamato and Mei in Sukitte Iinayo OVA, be very sorely disappointed. I’m not even sure why they made this OVA in the first place. Perhaps it is the trend these days to boost DVD sales or to bundle with another volume of the manga. I would have understood and accepted even if the OVA had nothing to do with the original storyline and maybe something nonsensical (don’t put too much hope on it either) but this one was just mind boggling. There is nothing much that happens in this OVA unless you want to count time wasting as one of its intention.

Nagi, Asami and Aiko are at Mei’s place to bake some cookies. Because it is going to take some time, Yamato is told to kill some time elsewhere. So happens he gets a mail from Kai to hang out at the playground they once frequented when they were kids. They think back about the old times and Kai had this thought always bugging him. Since he himself isn’t popular, he always can’t wait to leave school for this place. But he noticed that Yamato despite being popular, always come to this rundown playground too. Yamato himself doesn’t know why. Maybe he likes the place (obviously, duh). Yamato thinks he was like a chameleon. He was anxious he had no personality of his own outside of adjusting to others. So he started coming here to lie down and look at the sky. It made him feel relaxed. Kai says he once hated this town. Not anymore. Maybe it’s because having people around him somehow readjusted all that. Yamato remembers when Mei said she didn’t need any friends, he felt sad himself. It felt like Mei had some emptiness within him when that happened. Kai calls him a simple guy and is glad he told his feelings.

Later Kai meets Megumi waiting at the bus stop. He tries to strike up a conversation with her but she isn’t too enthusiastic about it. It’s like as though she can’t wait for her friend Momoko to turn up so that she could whisk her away from this annoying guy. They talk about Yamato and about the modelling job that she is having and I don’t know how they ended up having an argument with Kai leaving. So when Momoko finally arrives, Megumi heaves the biggest sigh ever and complains she had to put up with Kai and all. Momoko thinks she’s trying to put up a brave front to seem cooler and that they make a cute couple. Megumi regrets saying some harsh things to him so Momoko has an idea and gets pushy in convincing her to go apologize to him although Megumi gave several excuses why she can’t (like she doesn’t have his handphone number, etc). Kai is walking around and he wondered why he had to alight the bus when he saw Megumi waiting at the bus stop just to go talk to her. Regretting it? Now he probably has to walk all the way home.

Yamato has returned, just in time to taste Mei’s cookies. Looks very fragile. Very. Despite so, he gives the thumbs up. It goes to show never judge a book by its cover. Later Mei’s mom sends her daughter out with Yamato to do some errand. I guess this is necessary seeing that we just spend almost the entire OVA with Yamato and Mei apart so it’s fair they get some fair share of the screen time no matter how small it is. Yamato hugs Mei and tells her how lonely he felt without her. He is happy to have met her. What’s the occasion for saying this? Nothing, really. He just felt like he wanted to. Is there something he wants to tell her? Well, he told her all that he wanted. Yamato notices the beautiful sunset glow over the town. He thinks the scenery is beautiful because Mei is here. They continue to make their way holding each other’s hands.

Say I “Yawn” You…
Eh? What? It’s over? Really? Phew. What a relief. That last bit of romance didn’t do much justice to Yamato and Mei. But it’s better than never showing it either. Somehow it should have been more because we know how close they are and are hoping they would get even closer, not just a few minutes like that. We wanted something more intimate for God’s sake. Even if it won’t cross the explicit line, at least something to convince us and make it memorable in the long run that there is some improvement going on. I’m sure we are confident that their love will grow but seeing that this OVA is made, we expected to see something tangible too. And what do we have here? The first part some male buddy talk, the middle part it’s like Kai and Megumi trying to reconcile but didn’t go so smoothly and that last bit just to remind us what this show was really about. No progress, no development, no excitement whatsoever. I guess not every kind of love you encounter will be exciting. There are boring days and there will be mundane days where nothing much happens. Maybe sometimes love can’t be expressed in words or even in shows. This OVA wasn’t it.

Sukitte Iinayo

July 27, 2013

Have I seen this somewhere before? Let’s see. Unpopular girl and very popular boy fall in love and become a couple. Doesn’t this sound familiar? If you thought that this sounds very much like Kimi Ni Todoke, then you are right. On the surface. Sukitte Iinayo is another one of those shoujo genres in which the hot looking guy whom every other girl would dream and die for to be his girlfriend, takes an uncanny interest with a girl whom almost everybody shuns. I know. You’re going to tell me either opposite attracts or the power of love or something like that. I mean, it would be so boring to see two popular and pretty people become couples and fall in love, right? But out unpopular girl here doesn’t look like she came out from a popular Japanese horror movie. She looks like any normal girl. Due to her bad experience with friends, she vows never to have one as she believes they will only betray her. All that is about to change when this guy takes an interest in her. From there, we see their relationship changing and love blossoming as she gives life and love another chance.

Episode 1
Mei Tachibana never believed in having friends. Not after her traumatic experience how she was blamed for the class’ pet rabbit’s death during her elementary school days. She ignores all the b*tchy remarks by other girls that she is on a streak of being boyfriendless. At Tomei High, Yamato Kurosawa is probably the most popular guy around. Kenji Nakanishi is his close friend but is a pervert. Asami Oikawa, those humungous boobs define her. That’s what everybody does. Asami prefers to run into arms of Yamato instead of Nakanishi. She invites him to go on a karaoke outing. Yamato accidentally bumps into Mei but she gives him the cold shoulder and walks off. Later while the other girls are busy gathering around Yamato about a mixer, Nakanishi feels naughty and starts flipping short skirts. Little did he know, he flipped Mei’s. She gives him a roundhouse kick but kicked Yamato instead. He blocks it with his palm. She gives her piece of mind before leaving. Yamato despite shocked at first, bursts into laughter. After school, Mei discovers lots of pins in her shoes and an angry note wanting her to apologize to Yamato. Yamato apologizes for Nakanishi’s behaviour but she’s not interested. However admits he is interested in her. She doesn’t care. He wants to trade handphones. Numbers, that is. Think she would just give it to him like that? He gives her a piece of paper containing his and is expecting her to call. She passes him a band aid for his palm. After Mei finishes her part time job at the bakery, she goes home and starts pondering about Yamato’s gesture. She believes he will betray her. Next day in school, Yamato pesters Mei about last night. He was really waiting for her call. She shows him her handphone has only 2 numbers: Her home and bakery store. She reveals her distrust in others and how they would find a scapegoat and look things the other way for their convenience. Mei leaves the bakery late that night and she realizes somebody stalking her. She panics and runs into a convenience store to hide. She calls home but her widowed mom isn’t home. Which number is left? Reluctantly, she calls Yamato. And thankfully he picks up because it was just about his turn to sing in the karaoke. He rushes to her side and learns that stalker is still out there waiting! 35 minutes… The stalker is a regular customer of the bakery. Yamato buys an ice cream and leaves with her like as though they’re a couple. When the stalker confronts them and asks Mei who this guy is, Yamato confesses he loves her and kisses her! Enough for the stalker to lose interest and walk away. Mei just stood there stunned. Her first kiss…

Episode 2
Mei joins Yamato and his friends in the karaoke. She doesn’t want to sing and causes a scene. She leaves. Yamato goes after her. Mei remembers she was surprised he came to her rescue because she never expected him to come but he was happy to be of her assistance. Mei thinks it is okay to trust him a little and that kiss was just a reason to get her out of the sticky situation. In class, Asami quickly becomes Mei’s friend and gives her a matching furball handphone strap as token of friendship. In the toilet, Asami can tell that Yamato kissed Mei. She’s cute so it’s no wonder. What does that mean? Asami has kissed Yamato before too. A couple of bullies walk in and tease Asami of her huge melons. She just ignores them and leaves. Mei admires Asami that she could shrug something like that off. Of course she doesn’t particularly enjoy it. Guys used to tease her a lot about her boobs to a point she wanted to stop going to school. However Yamato told them off how disgusting they were staring at every girl’s breast despite there’s nothing wrong in liking big boobs. That’s her first meeting with Yamato. He always worries about others before himself. She likes him but they’re over. She asked for a kiss and he did it. Probably he was nervous. There’s also this rumour he kissed every girl in school except for one: Miki Arai, Yamato’s first love. Back home, Mei’s thought is heavily clouded with this Arai girl. Yamato calls to ask her to come with his friends to the karaoke. She asks about Arai and the rumour. They’re just that: Rumours. Since Arai is coming, Mei doesn’t want to go. At school, Mei looks a bit like a stalker, stealing glances whenever she can when she sees Arai. At the toilet, she hears the bullies badmouthing Asami and tells them off.

Yamato wants to know how Mei got that hideous bruise on her cheek and who did this to her but she says she fell down from the stairs. Asami accompanies Mei to the infirmary and so happens the bullies decide to play hooky here. They start badmouthing Asami about her boobs. Nakanishi happened to walk by jump to Asami’s defence. He goes on ranting about his love for big boobs and got stimulated. Unintentionally he hurt Asami’s feelings despite he didn’t actually mean what he said. Mei says that even though he thinks big boobs are great, it’s still his opinion. Doing whatever he wants will eventually end up hurting someone. Thinking he has a special place in Asami’s heart since he is more open about his feelings, she advises him to be honest with her. Nakanishi meets Asami and apologizes. He cares for her. He loves her. He loves everything about her and the things she does. It makes him happy for the rest of the day and wants to be the first person to see it than anyone else. With that, the duo become a couple. Yamato is at the karaoke with his friends. Arai heard that rumour of his and tries to convince him to give her one because it’s not fair everybody got one except her. Yamato takes a breather outside and what a pleasant surprise, Mei is there. Like a stalker. What’s with the getup? So she’s concern he would leave with Arai? I guess he’s more interested in her. Yamato didn’t like Mei talking about Arai the whole time and kisses her. This only upsets Mei. What reason does he have this time? Does he go around kissing everyone? A kiss can hurt a girl. A kiss without feeling doesn’t make anyone happy. Then here comes a barrage of kisses. This one is for greeting. This one is for a cute girl. This one is for wanting to go further with her. And lastly, this one is for the girl he has feelings for. He asks if she loves him and will give her a serious kiss if she doesn’t answer. Mei is confused. Her heart races each time she thinks of him. That means she loves him, right? Yamato gives her a serious kiss. Mmm… Tastes like chicken… Karaoke food…

Episode 3
Yamato wants to accompany Mei to go cut her hair. He calls it a date. She doesn’t. But why did she spend a long time to pick a dress to wear? Is she really going to a haircut? Even her mom thinks it’s a date and wishes her good luck. Along the way, Mei notices lots of girls fawning at Yamato’s handsomeness. Even some scouting agency approached him but he declined. Mei feels inferior and thinks it’s an embarrassment for him to hang around someone as cool as him. She doesn’t know him well enough so he holds her hand and suggests they start acting like a couple. Didn’t know how warm his hands are, eh? Yamato comes across his old friend, Masashi Tachikawa and Aiko Mutou. They are going bowling and Aiko seeing her ex-crush is with a plain girl, insists they come along. Think Mei is going to suck in bowling? She scores a strike on her first try! Apparently she tried it before when she was young. She’s a natural talent. Of course Aiko has been putting up a sulking mood ever since so on the pretence of buying drinks, she goes talk to Mei. Because Mei isn’t sure if she’s in love with Yamato, Aiko tells her off that so many girls are after him and yet she is so half hearted. She can’t even fathom why Yamato chose Mei over her when they had sex. She tells him to stay away from Yamato if she doesn’t love him. That statement dealt a heavy blow to Mei. Her next bowl ended in the gutter and she calls it quits. Aiko tries to stop Yamato from following her but I guess he’s with Mei today. Aiko continues to ponder what is so good about Mei because she would have done anything for the man she loves. Flashback reveals she bought lots of make-ups and accessories to beautify herself for her ex-boyfriend even if it ruined her skin. Till the first time she met Yamato and he pointed out she looked cute even without all those make-up. That was the first time anybody said that to her. When she found out her ex was cheating of her, she broke down and sought Yamato for comfort. She took advantage of his kindness and ended up having sex. She even went on a diet for Yamato’s sake and would do anything to be beautiful.

Yamato finds Mei sitting in the rain and knows Aiko has said something to her. He brings her to show her a wooden wall being patched up. He once punched and made a hole here. Back in those wild days, his school had lots of bullies and fights. Yamato blended into his surroundings so as not to be targeted. One day his best friend became a bully victim and soon everyone shunned him including Yamato. When nobody was around, Yamato finally talked to him but it was too late because he transferred the next day even though he was happy that he did. He felt stupid and got so upset he couldn’t do anything and punched that wall. He hated himself. Mei claims she wasn’t good enough for him but in actual fact, Yamato feels he is not good enough for her. Mei is the one to say because she talks about friendship above looks and should trust people more. Did she look in the mirror recently? Well, she claims Yamato made her that way and she wants to try trusting others. Yamato admits he fell in love with her kick. Seriously? What? Noting that this is terrible timing, he asks her permission to kiss. Okay. They walk back hand in hand. Too late for a haircut now. Yamato thinks long hair suits her. Mei realizes that when she’s with people, there are some things that aren’t the same when she was alone. Just like herself, Yamato too had his own scars. It’s time she stands up and faces them.

Episode 4
Yamato gives Mei a bracelet as symbol of their love. Mei’s popularity seems to have skyrocketed in school as rumours of her dating Yamato are going around. Yamato’s friend, Kakeru Hayakawa wants to treat them for lunch simply because he wants to see his girlfriend. Mei treasures her bracelet so much that when the teacher tried to confiscate it, she hit his head with the world map and run away! But she’s glad he didn’t take it. Yamato kisses her hand but it makes Mei feel bothersome to do such things easily. Yamato tells Mei about his friend who wants to meet her and thinks it’s nice if she has more friends. Hayakawa and Aiko chat. Aiko remembers when she was dumped by her ex, Yamato told her not to waste the effort she put in to attract him. If that’s the case, she wants him to sleep with her and since she insists on it as it will make her feel better, one thing led to another. Of course she didn’t intend to make it a one night stand. She tried to confess her feelings to him but this Mei problem cropped up. Yamato tells Hayakawa that Mei is only free on Saturdays. Hayakawa agrees to meet on that day as he deletes a date he got set on that day. Irresponsible jerk… So Hayakawa treats them to quite a meal. Mei wants to pay her share and Yamato wants to help chip in but Hayakawa insists guys should always be the ones who pay. Yamato explains Mei is nervous around new people but has gotten better in making friends. Hayakawa offers to exchange numbers and that he could have Mei make more friends via his connection of his. When Yamato leaves to answer a call, Hayakawa tries to flirt with her and suggests getting closer with him. Though he says he doesn’t intend to destroy her relationship, he thinks some guy friends for her will be good. That’s when Mei deletes his number from her handphone, pays her share of the food and leaves for home. She doesn’t need friends like him and feels disgusted being alone with him. Yamato returns and finds Mei gone. Attempts to call her turn futile. When he learns what Hayakawa said, he punches him. He won’t let his comment that Mei is just another girl slip. Mei is his! He tells him off she isn’t the kind of girl that would fall for a scumbag like him.

In school, Hayakawa talks to Aiko on what happened. He thinks the weird ones attract each other and that Yamato must have gotten weirder ever since meeting Mei. Aiko tells him off that he doesn’t understand. He gets upset everyone only cares about Yamato so Aiko says Yamato doesn’t make shallow friends like him. Hayakawa brings up the topic that Aiko was once fat and disgusting. She hurt herself just to lose weight and Yamato won’t even look at her hideous body. Mei overheard it all and reveals about Hayakawa’s bad eating habits. She adds he is much more pitiful than her. Hayakawa pushes her and leaves. Mei reveals she doesn’t like people badmouthing others. She understands the problem Aiko went through losing weight but she isn’t going to get friendly yet. It’s not like she knows exactly the pain she went through. Mei is thankful that Yamato gave her a chance. She feels human now rather than her lonely pitiful life before. Now that she has deeper feelings for him, she doesn’t want to lose those feelings to her. Aiko brushes this so called declaration of war because Yamato dumped her a long time ago and she is free to do whatever she wants. Later Mei talks to Yamato who regrets letting her meet Hayakawa. Mei asks if he really had sex with Aiko. He affirms it because he can’t leave her alone then. She would’ve gone crazy then. Also, he wants to be honest with Mei. He promises he won’t do it with anyone anymore. Except her. Nothing his bandaged hand, she kisses it to make it feel better. That’s because even though everyone has their own scars, his was the scar that protected her. This scar was for her. She won’t forget these emotions and will not be afraid to get hurt. They both huddle close to each other.

Episode 5
Mei sees an abandoned cat but she can’t take it home since she already has one, Marshmallow. Yamato is confident somebody will pick it up but Mei tells him not to take this lightly because it is life and death situation for the kitten. Seems Yamato adopts the cat and that night he is having trouble with it so he calls Mei for help in his panic. Mei was a big help and Yamato is very much relieved. Now that his family has accepted Kuro (the cat’s new name), Yamato is really going to take care of it and not giving it back to its original owner if he/she has a change of mind. He suggests Mei to come to his house with Marshmallow so that their cats can play house. Mei meet Yamato’s little sister, Nagi. But she doesn’t like Mei and doesn’t think she is worthy to be his girlfriend. Does she have brother complex? Inside his room, Yamato hugs Mei from behind and wants to stay like this for a while. He hopes she can address him by his first name but she can’t. Not just yet. That will do for now but one day he’d like to hear her say “I love you”. Nagi comes in and sees them. She misinterprets Mei is assaulting Yamato and freaks out! Yamato explains to her but she still isn’t convinced. She throws her stuffed bunny at him and locks herself in her room. Yamato apologizes for Nagi’s behaviour and mentions she used to be nicer. She started acting weird about half a year ago and even stopped inviting her friends. Flashback reveals Nagi happily used to have her friends over. She enjoyed their company. One day she can’t let them come over because relatives were visiting. Then she heard them say that if they can’t come over to eat free snacks and play all the games they want, there’s no use in becoming her friend anymore. She started making excuses to skip school and Yamato really wanted to help her out. He gave to her a stuffed bunny and told her she can talk to him if anything was bothering her. The bunny she named Yamato #2 became her best friend.

Mei notices the delicious cake Nagi made. Yamato explains this isn’t the only thing she is good at. In fact she is good in making lots of things. Just then Yamato gets an urgent call from Nakanishi to pick up something. Since he can’t say no, he promises to be back in a jiffy. Mei waits in his room, noticing Marshmallow and Kuro are in some standoff. Mei goes to give Yamato #2 back to Nagi. She praises her baking so Nagi lets her into her room and shows her all the stuffs animals she made. Mei is impressed but also gives her account of the first cookies she baked that turned into a ‘weapon’. Weapon? It broke her father’s teeth… Learning Yamato #2 is her best friend, Mei says that she too is trying to make more friends. She used to be alone and hated others. But after meeting Yamato, she realizes that the most important thing is not to reject people because one day you can share your troubles with them. Mei realizes she left the cats alone and rushes back. To her relief, they are sleeping comfortably by each other. Nagi gives her a stuffed bear. Mei is confident she can make friends again. When Yamato rushes back he sees not only the cats sleeping together but the girls snuggled closely to each other. Wow. What happened? Whatever it was, he has Mei to be thankful for.

Episode 6
Nagi teaches Mei how to bake cookies. She won’t forgive her if she fails to impress Yamato. Even Mei’s mother can tell she is doing it for her boyfriend although Mei tries to cover it up. Megumi Kitawa, the famous model from Dessert Magazine makes a surprise debut at Tomei High. Can she waltz in just like that? Well, everybody is too stunned to say anything but stare at her. Isn’t that what models are for? To look at. Seems she will be transferring to this school. Nakanishi takes Yamato to have a look at her. Yeah, she’s like some big deal. But guess what? When Megumi and Yamato meet, seems they know each other. After school, Megumi waits for Yamato outside the gates. She is straight to tell him she fell in love with him at first sight and wants to be by his side. She doesn’t care if he has a girlfriend or not. Huh? She thinks they’ll be super hot. Well, this is what Yamato thinks. He too gets straight with her that he has no interest in shallow girls and leaves with Mei. Next day, Megumi profusely apologizes to Yamato for stepping over her line. Yamato also apologizes that he said too much. She wants to be his friend and he sees no harm in treating her like his other normal classmates. Yamato and Mei walk home and though Mei didn’t ask about his past with her, Yamato thinks she should be more sceptical. Of course by looking at Mei’s body reaction, we can tell that she’s not that happy to see Yamato and Megumi interact with each other. Mei bakes her cookies and the first thing she did was to strike it with her hammer! It crumbles! At least it proves it isn’t hard as rock. But what about the taste? Nothing?! Back to the drawing board. One day, Megumi tells Yamato that her agency is looking for a male model and since they are short of one, she hopes Yamato could help fill out temporarily. At first he wasn’t interested but after so much pleading, he can’t say no to a friend in need, can’t he? So just this once. Megumi invites his friends to come over and watch them. Well, we know Mei doesn’t really like it but can she say otherwise? On the day of the photo shoot, Megumi and Yamato dress up and had their makeup on. Mei, Nakanishi and Asami are amazed at how pretty Megumi is. Now here comes the true star Yamato! He’s so dazzling so do you need sunglasses? The shooting begins and the theme is for them to act like couples. The staffs are pretty excited they look good together and the shots are wonderful. They are just natural. Like as though a real couple. But Mei is feeling otherwise. Despite the happy atmosphere around him, she feels lonely, inferior, that Yamato is moving away from her as tears stat welling in her eyes.

Episode 7
Yamato is getting popular ever since he debuted as a model. But that’s going to be just one off, right? Apparently it doesn’t seem like it. Megumi begs to Yamato that her chief really liked him and wants him to consider continuing working for the agency and will be paid like other models. Though reluctant, he asks Mei’s opinion. Despite her encouraging words to give it a shot for the exposure, her tone of her voice doesn’t seem convincing. Before Yamato goes off with Megumi for work, he cheers Mei up that he will text her. Mei becomes anxious girl awaiting his text. Any call or mail that comes in, she jumps in hoping it is Yamato. And disappointed when it is not. Yamato had wanted to text her but Megumi kept distracting him. She even invited him home to her house for dinner. He agrees to come for dinner each time they finish work. Is it to keep her company since she says her mom works late and nobody is around? So when Mei gets Yamato’s first text of the day, she became so happy. This trend continues and Mei accepts it since it is part of his job. But slowly it is starting to get to her as Yamato and Megumi are suspiciously too close together. It’s like he isn’t defensive of her anymore. Then Mei heard rumours that Yamato is seen coming out from Megumi’s house. It causes her on the verge of tears. Asami knows something is wrong but Mei won’t say. Till Aiko tells her off Asami was just trying to help her and if she wanted to just cry it was nothing, she’d be better crying alone. Asami apologizes for being pushy because she too sensed that Mei had something wrong when Yamato first modelled with Megumi. She wants to return the favour and help her back. Mei relents and tells about the rumour. Asami gives her advice while Aiko speaks from her own experience. In short, it is ultimately Mei who has to take action because she is the one who is in love with Yamato. Mei realizes she really loves him and soon walks up to Yamato and kisses him! She didn’t say anything! Don’t need to state her reason? Did she catch this from him?

Episode 8
With tears in her eyes, even the densest guy should know something is wrong. So he walks home with her today and they stop by the park. Mei really wanted to know what is going on with Yamato at Megumi’s place but she couldn’t ask. Yamato says Megumi wanted him to continue modelling and since he looked good in it, he asks her opinion. I suppose it was her chance to tell him to stop. But she couldn’t. An ambiguous answer that it’s his choice. Yeah. Maybe he thought if he continues, he would get a surprise kiss from her like that. She asserts she is not that kind of person. Of course it’s not what he is expecting. Mei notices that Yamato for the first time lets go of her hand when he got up to leave. She sinks into further depression that it is so obvious. Asami gives Mei a limited edition key chain from Nyako Sama Land and says Yamato has one too (was given by Nakanishi). Just when Mei is settling down to believe in Yamato, then those rumours surface again. This time the magazine prints the interview with Megumi and she states that she is in love with a guy. The one who is modelling with her. Guess who? Back to depression zone. Asami wants to help but Aiko says Mei will come to them when she needs help. Otherwise, it’s better to leave her alone. Later Aiko talks to Yamato to show him Megumi’s interview. The rumours has spread in school and reached Mei. Though Yamato asserts they had nothing going on, Aiko tells him to put himself in Mei’s shoes. What if she goes to another guy’s house without telling him? How would he feel? Mei has been worried about him since he started modelling. She’s been keeping it to herself all this time. Yamato rushes off to clarify this to Mei in person. But she’s not picking up her phone so he goes to her home. However her mom says she has not returned from school yet. He calls Megumi that he can’t attend today’s photo shoot due to an emergency. Oh dear. See that unhappy face she puts on.

Seems Mei went to her bakery part time job instead. A young punk walks in. After making his selection and is about to pay at the counter, he catches sight of Mei’s key chain. Instantly he grabs her hand and squeals in delight the limited edition key chain she has. He goes on ranting on how he loves Nyako, blah, blah, blah. He hopes she could give it to him. However she can’t because it is important to her. He apologizes for his rudeness. As he leaves, he introduces himself as Kai Takemura and will be transferring to Tomei next week. Oh. Why do I have a feeling how this will turn out? When Mei leaves, she can’t help think about Yamato. She is so in love with him and breaks down she doesn’t know what to do. It gets worse when the bracelet breaks. Did she rub her tears away too hard? That’s when Yamato finds her. He sees her sad face. Her dead face. Instantly he hugs her and apologizes. Mei tells him she loves him and is always on her mind. He is the only thing she cares about. She blames herself for making her friends worry and becoming worse by the minute. He blames himself for making her feel this way. Then he tells her everything. From his pit stop at Megumi’s place and to how Aiko opened his eyes. He asserts there is nothing going on between them. He sees the broken bracelet and picks them up. Mei helps him as she realizes they are both amateurs in love when he hugs her in tears.

Episode 9
Yamato tells Megumi he is quitting this modelling job because he doesn’t want to make Mei feel isolated anymore. Megumi feels devastated but nothing can change his mind on his number one priority. Asami and Aiko can see Mei is feeling much better than before. When Asami turns down Megumi’s offer to follow her to the shoot today, Aiko can tell she is still baiting people and completely ignoring Mei. Mei realizes Megumi still has feelings for Yamato. Yamato goes to buy a gift while Mei goes to work at the bakery. Kai makes his visit again. Care to give that Nyako Sama Land key chain again? You better be kidding. He tells her about a rumour that if she writes a wish on a yellow ribbon and tie it to that key chain, if her lover has a matching one, their love will come true. From Mei’s reaction, he can tell she has a boyfriend. Even the bakery manager is surprised to hear this. Yamato picks Mei up after work. She notices his consideration when his shoulder gets wet while he holds the umbrella for her. She offers him to dry back at her place. After he gives her a gift, a matching set of rings, things could have gotten steamier if not for Mei’s mom returning home. So they both get to know each other and mommy is quite delighted. So happy that Mei met such wonderful person that she starts crying. No kidding. Asami and Aiko continue to tease Mei of this ‘engagement ring’ and feel happy for her. The only one not happy is of course Megumi. As Yamato and Mei talk, they are surprised when Kai walks up to them. It seems Kai and Yamato know each other. Upon seeing their Nyako Sama Land key chain, he realizes Mei’s girlfriend is Yamato. Later Yamato explains who Kai is. They were once in middle school together but transferred away. He can’t believe he has returned. Remember Yamato’s friend who got bullied real bad back then? Yup. That’s him. Kai visits Mei at the bakery once more. Noting that Yamato has told him about his bully case, he reveals his goal of returning: To get revenge on the bullies. He has toughen up and even held back a year at school. Mei feels revenge won’t settle anything. Relating herself as a bully victim, she recently made friends. Even if it takes a long time, she wants to make the bully see who she is. Kai is adamant he will change things his way. Kai nervously waits for the bully and manages to identify him. When he bumps into him, the bully seems panicky and rushes away. Kai is left in shock wondering if he had forgotten all about him. Was he an insignificant victim? Then he starts thinking about Mei’s words and it opened his eyes. When Kai bumps into Yamato along the way, despite knowing he is going out with Mei, Kai says he likes her. He can say that with a smile to his (ex) best friend? Well, Yamato pulled out a shocker face indeed.

Episode 10
Asami is surprised that Mei hasn’t told anybody that Yamato is her boyfriend. When Kai comes into the picture, Asami asks if he would tell the world if he has a girlfriend. He asks back a question that if she would rather go to Nyako Sama Land with friends or her lover. Kai sees Megumi receiving Nyako Sama Land gifts from her admirers. Apparently they know each other. Does he want those gifts? Well, Megumi is willing to give it to him but he won’t accept since they’re given by her fans. She iterates she doesn’t like that place although she lied in her interview she loved it. She then gives him tickets to Nyako Sama Land. She got it from her agency. She thought she’d be able to get close to Yamato if she gets close to him but she changes her mind and will do it on her own. Later Megumi tells Yamato she overheard Kai inviting Mei to Nyako Land Sama. Yamato thinks she has misheard but how come he looks worried? Megumi continues to get praised by her friends, fans and fellow models. Clearly we can see she’s putting up a façade to be happy. She remembers hurtful comments on how her friends said she had to stand at the back of the group in a photo shoot not because she is tall but rather she is the ugliest. When Mei walks back with Yamato, suddenly that guy seems angry. He asks if she has confessed or hang out with any other guys. And if she talks such things to anybody else other than him. Woah. What did she do? Mei is left bewildered. It’s like role reversal. When Mei sees her friends talking to Megumi, she decides not to join them despite they invited her. Plus, I think Megumi is giving her that “Get the f*ck off, b*tch” stare. She becomes disheartened to think that she is back to where she was. She feels lonely again and this time she is scared if everybody starts going away.

Kai passes by her and is shocked to see her crying. Initially she brushes it off as nothing but he isn’t going to let her go if she doesn’t speak up. She tells him about trying to distance herself from everyone so he advises her to take a step forward if she is determined not to lose somebody. Mei manages to speak to Yamato although he is reluctant to walk back with her, he eventually agrees. Another day, Kai walks together with Mei after her work. She thanks him for the advice as it gave her confidence. Kai hints there is a girl he likes. She changed him. Does the personality he described about her sound like Mei? Finally he lets her know that girl he likes is Mei. Yamato heard rumours in school about Kai giving Mei tickets to Nyako Sama Land. As Kai apologizes to Mei for doing that, Yamato confronts them and is upset that Mei is going to Nyako Sama Land with him. Kai explains Mei was feeling sad and wanted to cheer her up. How could Yamato not realize she is feeling sad? He thinks he has never changed at all. Though he is thankful for what he did but his hypocrisy drove him away. He was jealous of him. Like as though he fitted perfectly with the bullies and it pisses him off. Yamato wanted to punch him but Kai got a clean hit on his face instead. Kai says he is much stronger than before and although he is happy in a way Yamato didn’t change, he can now stand up to him. He understands what Mei went through and won’t expect him to know how it feels since he had never gone through any trouble. Yamato counters that if this is his goal to get better than him and getting close to Mei so that he could beat him, it is all the reason why he won’t hand Mei over to anybody. He might not know what Mei went through but he wants to show her the wonderful things she missed and share those experiences with her. Kai relents that if he loves her than he should just say so and not make her worry like that. He explains he likes Mei as a person and apologizes for punching him. If it had not been Yamato, he wouldn’t have returned. After Kai leaves, Yamato apologizes for making Mei feel lonely. She too does the same for hurting his feelings without realizing. Yamato invites her to go to Nyako Sama Land together as he pulls her hand to hug her. She can’t wait for that day.

Episode 11
Mei and Yamato are planning to spend a night at a hotel at Nyako Sama Land. Meanwhile Kai confronts Megumi and chides her for bullying Mei. She tells him off he is the one to say especially confessing to his friend’s girl. He would rather be honest than lie because if their friendship falls apart because of that, it wasn’t worth anything to begin with. He wonders if she really likes Yamato as she is doing things roundabout instead of straightforward. Maybe she doesn’t like him. Maybe she doesn’t like anyone. All she cares about is being popular. He doesn’t like people who use excuses to put others down and should put in this much effort into her job. Asami and Aiko are trying to decide what gift to give to Mei and Yamato for their trip. I guess Aiko was being practically. Just get them a condom! Megumi butts in to invite them to an after-fashion event party. Since Aiko turns her down, Asami follows. In Megumi’s mind, she’s narrating how she puts up a different mask all the time even if she doesn’t want to. Megumi is still persistent in asking them to come so Aiko tells her off they are not her pets. So when Megumi is in a karaoke party with some of her other friends, she spoils the mood when an uninvited girl turns up. Apparently one of the guys invited her. Everyone then leaves because she invited them and wanted to treat them. Yeah. They’re not even friends. While Megumi is in her backstage room, she reads spiteful comments from Dessert Magazine fans about her. She leaves without notice and goes to the convenience store to buy all the snacks. She wonders what it will take to be happy.

Megumi remembers a boy telling her how pretty she is even without makeup but she didn’t believe him. She thought it’s his ‘job’ to say how cute she is in this situation and bets he never thought so. So why is she working so hard to put on this act to make everyone happy and protect her image when everybody isn’t? Mei meets Yamato at the train station before they set off to Nyako Sama Land. Yamato seems to be enjoying the rides but Mei is terrified but holds it in. I wonder how many has she gone through. She wants to do things he enjoys with him. Halfway through, they come into Nagi. She is so happy to see Mei that she ditches her other older brother and tells him to go home! She’s got Mei and she’s happy with that. I’m sure she doesn’t want Yamato to hog Mei. Look who is talking? Mei is happy that someone looks forward to see her. The trio continue their outing. Megumi’s friend, Momoko Sasano is outside her home and tries to talk to her. But Megumi has shut herself in and tells her to go away. She’s in a mess. Yamato and Mei retire to their hotel room. Nagi is dead tired and a heavy sleeper so rest assured they can get a little naughty. To most they’ll go is hugging each other closely on the couch. I guess Mei was so tired that she knocked out soon after. Next morning she finds herself in bed and Yamato cheekily said he did something naughty to her. What was it? Hugging her tummy. Suddenly Yamato gets a call from the editorial department of Dessert Magazine. They can’t seem to contact Megumi who is missing.

Episode 12
After leaving Nagi in Mei’s care, Yamato rushes down to Megumi’s place. Not even he can change Megumi’s mind. Megumi lashes out that everyone wants to take advantage of her and not care about her. So stop acting like her friend if you’re going to betray her in the end. Doesn’t she sound like a certain person before? Yamato hints that certain person he knew was once like that and believes there are others who really want to help her. Nothing will change if she locks up herself. Finally Momoko’s words got through her. It doesn’t matter if nobody looks at her after putting so much effort, to her she is always the best and always looked up to her. Megumi remembers Momoko has always been by her side. She finally gets herself out and hugs her friend. All’s well, ends well. However it isn’t happy ending yet because Megumi becomes the target of indirect bullying. A price to pay for what she has done to others. Megumi makes up with Asami and apologizes for lying to her for her own benefit. Asami knew it all along and does not hate her because her invitations and all made her happy. Megumi promises to stop pretending to be someone else as she has learnt lying only hurts herself and others. She won’t try to make others happy and be herself. She cuts her hair to make a fresh start and stops reading comments on her fan’s website. She’ll ignore anyone who wants to stab her in the back and move forward. Mei and Yamato meet up with their friends early for the festival. Mei wonders if she should have worn her yukata but Yamato views her as cute enough as she is. Because Asami overate and has stomach discomfort, the friends disband and call it early for tonight. When Mei returns home, her mom is frantic because she had tried to contact her. Seems she has taken leave early so she can help Mei put on her yukata. But didn’t she come back from the festival? Then go again. I suppose putting on a yukata is tough because the fireworks are already starting. By the time the yukata is done, Mei texts Yamato to meet again and rushes to the festival grounds. Can she make it? Too bad everything is already over. But the good news is that Yamato is there waiting for her. Surprise to see her in that lovely yukata? I guess this was all worth it, eh? Better than the fireworks. They both hug and share a kiss.

Episode 13
Yamato is absent from school as he catches a cold. Mei starts feeling guilty that it is her fault for making him wait too long during the festival night. Nagi is giving Yamato lots of heavy stuffs to eat. It’s her way of letting him recover back his nutrition. Plus, after hogging Mei the other night, it’s now her turn to hog him. I guess she isn’t going to let go of big brother yet. Mei’s friends can see how gloomy she is and encourages her to go visit Yamato. Even her mom does the same. Nervous Mei texts to Yamato but Nagi confiscates his handphone and calls her. She tells Mei that Yamato doesn’t want to see her. Mei truly believes that and her guilt meter increases further thinking she is the cause of it. Whenever Yamato wanted to get closer to her, she shoved him away. Is it any wonder he is upset? Or so she thinks. She prepares to return home. Asami knows Mei has cold feet and calls her to check up on her. So when the friends learn what happen, each have their turn to say why she should go back and visit him. The stinging one is from Kai. Even though he doesn’t know what is going on, he tells her she should know well by now Yamato won’t really say that. Mei makes a u-turn. As Yamato laments what Nagi said to Mei, suddenly his handphone rings. He quickly snatches it from her hands but to his disappointment it is Hayakawa. He is calling him because he wants to tell Yamato something important. He is seriously in love and is done hopping from one girl to another. Wow. He really changed. And that girl he loves works at the bakery. Oh wait. Doesn’t Mei work at the bakery too? Yamato starts to panic that it makes this scene freaking hilarious! The suspense music only serves to enhance the funniness! Yamato is freaking out all the what ifs. Well, he even thought the girl Hayakawa liked is the bakery manager! Not possible, right? So it has to be Mei! He thinks she is done with him for being a pervert on several occasions. Calm down dude!

Mei is outside Yamato’s home and is still contemplating whether to push the button. She hides behind the pillar and sees a boy with flowers in his hand. Seems he is here to see Nagi and worried about her for skipping class. Just like Mei, he too is nervous and wonders if Nagi would consider him a bother. Mei tells him only he knows Nagi’s feelings. He gets the confidence to ring the bell and Nagi happily greets him. In that instance, Yamato takes this chance to sneak out to go see Mei. And they missed each other! She was hiding behind the pillar and he just rushed straight without looking anywhere else! So close… At the bakery, he is relieved to see Hayakawa with his girlfriend who works at the bakery and Mei’s colleague. I saw this coming. The bakery manager is fascinated to see Yamato since she recognizes him from the magazine. She wants to give him freebies and is told to wait. Then Kai comes into the picture and will help cover for him. Yamato is surprised he knows what is happening and thinks he is stalking Mei! Haha, very funny. The cold must be getting to his head. He heard everything from Asami lah. After Mei witnesses the beauty of love between Nagi and that kid, she calls Yamato. Unfortunately, his handphone ran out of batteries. Oh God. So precise timing. This causes Mei to think he really hates her. Feeling down, she goes away and happens to wander into town, the place where Yamato first met her on their first outing. And finally! The duo meet! They both emotionally hug each other and apologize. We see snippets of everyone’s successful love life and it ends with Yamato and Mei kissing at the bridge.

A Reason To Live, A Reason To Love
Seems like there is a happy ending for everyone in this show. Almost everybody we see ended up being a couple except for Kai and Megumi. Maybe these two should pair up too, eh? They even throw in a surprise for Nagi’s case too. I know. I won’t like it if it suddenly ends hanging or the couple splitting up. So the safest route is a happy ending despite being boring and plain. Overall I guess everything is pretty fine for a shoujo genre. The powerful and universal theme of love conquers it all. As seen how it changes everyone involved for the better. Mei who started out as anti-social quickly changes into someone who seeks the warmth and company of others especially in Yamato. Although she is still nervous about making new friends and new people, at least it is better off than before. She doesn’t seem to have much trauma about her past anymore. Just that she fears of slipping back into it. Otherwise, I could say that Mei is on the right track of fitting back into society. Although there will be lots of room for improvements. We can attribute Yamato in helping Mei come out of her shell but that is only half of the credit. The other credit goes to herself. For had she not summon her own courage and will to do it, she wouldn’t have experienced such new things as she did right now.

Yamato is an amazing guy. Despite his popularity, he doesn’t seem to drown in it and maintains a cool head. Falling for Mei not only changed her but it changed him as well. Even so, he wasn’t that all perfect. When Mei started to improve and open up, Yamato started getting a little insecure when Kai turned up in their lives. He too has his own scar of the past. He too makes mistakes. But he learns from them and grows stronger. You can say that Yamato and Mei perfectly fit each other and with each other’s support, they’ll grow stronger and love each other more and more as the days pass. Sometimes I find the pair of Yamato and Mei a little funny. Maybe it is because they are amateurs in love so it is amusing to see them interact. Especially Mei who is still shy and blushes whenever cool Yamato tries to get closer to her. But that’s good experience, right? And then the last episode shows us that Yamato too can be a joker when he somewhat goes crazy thinking that Mei doesn’t like him anymore. Real funny pair. But being amateurs in love there’s no need for them to rush into love. Take their time, one step at a time. That way, they’ll enjoy every bit of their romance.

I just thought that the flow of the story towards the end, especially the appearance of Kai and Megumi felt like little side distractions. Their arrival puts Mei and Yamato’s relationship to the test but somehow I just don’t feel the pressure and tension on it. Maybe for a while but after that it was like nothing. Kai’s confession to Mei was just admiring her as a person and nothing more. No love triangle ever formed in the first place. Problem solved. Yamato and Mei’s relationship back on track. Megumi has been using indirect tactics to break up Yamato and Mei so it doesn’t feel like she is obviously directly involved in plotting their breakup although she is the responsible one behind it. She realizes her wiles aren’t going to make her happy. She punishes herself. Friend comes to talk her out of it. She opens her eyes. Decides to live her own way. Indirect love triangle ends. Problem solved. Yamato and Mei’s relationship back on track. Asami and Aiko seem to be getting along with their respective boyfriends as well so nothing alarming happening from their side. In short, the side characters seem not to have a major impact on Yamato and Mei. Once their issue is over, they become friends and hang out. Besides, you can pretty much guess the typical shoujo pattern and outcome. Girl or boy enters into the main protagonists’ lives. Tries to win over his/her affections. They fail. The end. Seems stereotypical, eh?

Everyone has their own tragic past and problems of their own. I suppose this series is trying to highlight the fact that bullying still exists even as young as kids. That’s why when you get traumatized, discriminated or ostracized at such an early age, you tend to grow up with some sort of disturbing mentality. Good case as seen was in Mei. However even if everyone had their own issues, it felt like they were somewhat easily solved. Though I have said Mei doesn’t seem to be that traumatic of her past, it is yet to be certain whether she has overcome it totally. Besides, how can a guy she just met at school and interact a little more than others suddenly change her mentality about not wanting friends in her life? Yeah. Thank the power of love. Asami also had her own issues being teased by bullies but after Nakanishi steps up for her and everything, you won’t really hear her experiencing such problems again. It was like she wasn’t really that bothered with the teasing. Or maybe it’s a good thing she shouldn’t be at all and let the past get to her head. Aiko too did what it takes to get the guy she loves to love her back. After she realized Yamato won’t love her back the same way he does for Mei, it’s time to move on. After years of trying to make Yamato hers and she easily gives up after Mei’s arrival? Well, she already knows it is futile, right? There is also the issue of trying to impress others. In the case of Megumi, she had been lying to herself and acting what others would love to see in search for ultimate happiness. Did that work? She realized too late and somewhat exploded into meltdown mode. She suffered this long and it took a few minutes of her friends’ words to convince her to change? Too easy, don’t you think? Well, Megumi is a smart girl and she knows sulking won’t do anything but give her enemies more salvos to put her down. Why bother to listen to her haters in the first place?

Kai was bullied so bad that he had to transfer out and Yamato felt guilty he couldn’t do anything about it. Then Kai came back after so long just to get one stinking revenge on this big bully. In the end, the bully doesn’t even recognize him or at least acknowledge him. Heck, you don’t even see that bully anymore after that. Like he never mattered at all. Well, he never really did anyway. Whatever happened along the way to that bully to make him change doesn’t really matter but at least we know he wasn’t that big bully he was before. At least this shows he has a conscious. Back to Kai, when they bully ignored him, so where has all that preparations ended up as? Can he so easily forget the grudge by just remembering what Mei’s words? Too easy, no? Despite Kai playing it cool, the revenge has been building up inside his heart so when he’s got that chance, it doesn’t seem realistic that he would throw it away just like that. But it proves that Kai is a good guy and deep down, he perhaps doesn’t wish for revenge and just some sort of trial to overcome himself. Even Nagi had her own problems regarding friends and ended up not going to school. She relied so much on Yamato that if this was a love comedy, you can picture how extreme her brother complex will turn out. Even at the end despite accepting Mei, she still wants a piece of her onii-chan. So does that tell us she still has brother complex? You thought you had seen the last of Hayakawa and then suddenly that guy pops up in the final episode just to tell us he has changed over a new leaf. Wow. Truly the power of love working its magic. A guy who had been flirting around his entire life suddenly finds the true love of his life. So you see, whether it is bully victim or trying to put up a facade for others, it can lead to lots of problems. But do not fear because love will save the day. At least for this anime. Say, what happened to Arai? You know, Yamato’s supposed first love? I don’t remember seeing them break up. Wasn’t she trying so hard to get him to kiss her? After that karaoke outing, she’s never heard of again. Like she really does not matter anymore, huh? I thought girls like her wouldn’t give up so easily especially when you’ve got the most popular and good looking guy as your boyfriend. Boyfriend? Well, maybe those were just rumours. First love doesn’t necessarily translate into being lovers.

Just like in any other shoujo genres (or most of them), the drawing and art of the characters make them look really gorgeous. Beautiful people. Heck, almost everyone including the extra minor characters can be good enough to be models. However I just thought that the round doe-like eyes of some of the girls are slightly a little bigger. I know animes’ trademark have their characters with wide sparkling eyes but this one I feel is slightly larger than the average. Just short of that sparkling effect. This show isn’t for kiddies so you won’t see the chibi and cute drawing, thus the art of the characters are a little more realistic. I won’t say it really bothers me but it so happens that this is what I felt when I first glimpsed at the art and drawing. Zexcs is the studio production behind this anime and they also made several animes with good looking people in it such as Fortune Arterial, Da Capo, Chrome Shelled Regios, Legend Of The Legendary Heroes, Sister Princess Repure and Umi Monogatari.

Ai Kayano as Mei seems perfectly casted for her character. There is this shakiness in her voice which indicates to us that she is still vulnerable despite slowly getting her confidence back in society. Her soft spoken nature sounds a bit like her role as Kikaijima in Medaka Box and Inori in Guilty Crown. When she flusters or panics, she sounded like Mayaka from Hyouka. Other casts include Takahiro Sakurai as Yamato (Suzaku in Code Geass), Minako Kotobuki as Megumi (Tsumugi in K-ON!), Risa Taneda as Asami (Kaoru in OreShura), Yumi Uchiyama as Aiko (Momiji in Binbougami Ga), Tomoaki Maeno as Kai (Fujimoto in Kobato), Nobunaga Shimazaki as Nakanishi (Taichi in Tari Tari) and Mariya Ise as Nagi (Levy in Fairy Tail). For a shoujo genre filled with drama, I noticed that there are a lot more other casts playing various minor roles or extra background characters throughout the series. Normally people won’t really notice if you used the same seiyuus for such multiple roles and though some of them do that, the rest I saw were just one off unimportant characters that probably had no significant impact on the show or the kind that are memorable. I mean, would you believe me that there are around 40 seiyuus just for this part?

At first I thought Mei’s seiyuu was the one who is singing the opening theme song, Friendship ~for Sukitte Iinayo. You know that soft spoken voice just like the protagonist. It turns out to be Ritsuko Okazaki instead. That was the same voice who sang the opening for the anime series Fruits Basket. Now I remember. Then by accident I stumbled upon something on her. Ritsuko Okazaki had already passed on a long time ago back in 2004! That’s almost a decade ago! How did they record this song then? As I found out, Friendship was one of the songs released under the anime Love Hina original soundtrack. Why do I suddenly feel so sad? Sure, the slow and calming ballad and her sweet voice may bring tears to anyone’s eyes upon hearing this piece but just knowing that the singer is no longer around perhaps enhanced that sadness effect despite I won’t consider the lyrics to be that sad. Similarly I thought the ending theme, Slow Dance was sung by Yamato’s seiyuu. Once again I am proven wrong as this pop rock outfit is sung by Suneohair. Their trademark drowsy voice somewhat reminds me of their ending theme they sung in Honey And Clover.

On a trivial note, the next episode preview isn’t exactly a next episode preview. Well, you can see a big red ‘X’ crossing out those words on the top. It feels like Mei’s personal space to rant about her feelings, worries and the issues she is facing currently. I guess it is that age where teenagers go through such teen troubling moments. This segment also serves as Marshmallow’s come back lines on Mei. Sometimes it sounds protective over Mei (not wanting to hand her over to Yamato), sometimes it sounds selfish (it wants its food! Now!) and sometimes it is just bumming around, lying here and there, walking across with nothing much ado. I suppose Mei can’t really hear the thoughts of her cat so you can consider Marshmallow’s wishes ignored. Mei and Marshmallow’s movements in this segment feels like computer generated so it is a little odd to see the way they move. A little stiff and unrealistic. Who cares about that as long as their feelings are real.

Watching this had me thinking if I would find someone like that who could change me from an otaku into a more responsible person. I’m still waiting… If only I had the guts to get out of my room and start living the real life. Looks like that isn’t going to happen any time soon. It would take a miracle for me to do that. Still prefer 2D girls over 3D ones. Haha! In the event if I do ever get my first girlfriend, I would definitely want to bring her to a candy store or chocolate station during one of the dates. Because if I am going to get my very first kiss, it will taste as sweet as honey or with that chocolaty flavour. Because I don’t want it to taste like chicken…

Suki Desu Suzuki-kun

February 22, 2013

You know the key ingredients of a shoujo manga. Romance. Love triangles or in this case love quadruple. In Suki Desu Suzuki-kun, it is one of those love stories between 4 classmates of a junior high school, Hikaru Suzuki, Shinobu Suzuki, Chihiro Itou, and Sayaka Hoshino. If you notice a couple of characters having the surname Suzuki, they are not related in blood whatsoever and their character and physiques differ very much. One is a midget and the other a wealthy kid. You get the idea. Watch their love development and the pangs of love in the 2 episode OVAs are based on the manga of the same name. Not very much, huh?

Episode 1
Hikaru & Chihiro’s Opening Scene
As Hikaru walks along, he sees Chihiro being hit on by several guys. They’re so annoying that she even wonders if she should just kick them in the crotch. Hikaru butts in to warn the guys that this girl eats a lot and likes to fight but Chihiro protests and they start arguing. The bullies didn’t like being ignored especially from midget Hikaru and are going to beat him up. Hikaru gives them the slip with his cool basketball dodging manoeuvres and dunks on their head. Chihiro narrates that she was the one who taught him those moves when Hikaru starts acting cocky.

Shinobu’s Opening Scene
Hikaru’s buddies greet him and they’re lucky they’re in the same class with cutie Chihiro. Suddenly a limo pulls out and out comes the filthy rich kid Shinobu whose parents somewhat are also bosses of this town. Lots of girls are clamouring over him and he’s got the arrogant and horrible attitude to match it. Hikaru is upset that there is somebody who shares the same surname with him and yet things are pretty much different between them.

Sayaka’s Opening Scene
Sayaka is a shy and timid girl with low self confidence. She accidentally bumps into Shinobu and his girls. The cocky bastard tells her to watch where she is going and this causes Sayaka to feel even humiliated. Hikaru then smacks Shinobu’s head with his slipper! He wants him to apologize to her as he has witnessed everything. Both guys trade insults with Hikaru calling Shinobu a daddy’s boy (because he threatens to tell papa) and Shinobu calling Hikaru a grandma’s boy (because late granny told him to always treat girls right). They start fighting and not even the teacher can stop them. It took Chihiro to smack them into order and make them apologize on their knees. Shinobu doesn’t take this embarrassment well. As Chihiro helps Sayaka up, Hikaru notices the books Sayaka is reading and realizes she is from the drama club. He recognizes one of the dramas but Sayaka snatches it and runs away in embarrassment.

Chihiro’s Emotional Scene
Because Hikaru and Chihiro are running late, Hikaru gives Chihiro a piggy back ride and makes a dash. It made Chihiro remember how things were reversed back then, she used to take care of him like a little brother. She enjoys the moment riding on his back.

Hikaru’s Emotional Scene
Sayaka laments she ran off just like that without thanking them and starts beating herself up that she’s such a slow person. She remembers a heroine in the drama she read who clearly conveyed her feelings and hoped to be like her. Hikaru comes to the rooftop to relax when he spots Sayaka reciting love lines from the drama. She is such a natural that she’s sparkling! Such beauty! Of course she gets embarrassed when she realizes he is watching. However he is impressed with her instead because she turned into a new person while acting out. He lifted her too high in the air that the wind blew up her skirt! Mmm… Nice pink ribbon pantsu… Oops. Chihiro is looking for Hikaru when she spots him and Sayaka very friendly on the rooftop. Shock? Shinobu is still upset that he was hit when he chances upon Chihiro. Her side expression made his heart skipped. Ah, here’s another crush in the making. Chihiro narrates and thus beings 2 small crushes. It is the beginning of a fated love of several years between Hikaru and Sayaka who eventually captivated the entire country.

Episode 2
Hikaru wakes up from a sexy dream of Sayaka. Was he glad or disappointed it turned out that way? He meets up with Sayaka before departing for the class trip and because he is somewhat ignoring her (due to that dream), she thinks he hates her and became distant ever since their first kiss. Maybe it’s because of the drool? Think not. Sayaka explains to Chihiro at a souvenir shop that sells souvenirs on shinsengumi items. Thanks to her recent drama on shinsengumi, Sayaka has taken an interest in one of the characters, the swordsman Souji Okita. She spots a group of guys trying to shoplift but Chihiro was quick to warn them to put it back or else she’ll report it to the police. The shoplifters then leave without causing a scene. Hikaru was worried Chihiro acted rashly and should have called him at times like this. However she brushes him off that she is a better fighter than him. Later as Sayaka sits alone, she reflects how Hikaru and Chihiro interact well together. Maybe he does hate her. To get her mind of it, she starts getting into the role of Souji Okita. Hikaru sees her serious expression and steely gaze. Like falling in love once more, eh? When he realizes she noticed him, he became a bit clumsy and knocked over a statue. Sayaka wanted to touch his head to see if he is injured but he avoids her. This causes Sayaka to think he really hates her so much that he doesn’t want her to touch him. She runs away in tears. Sayaka seeks solace in Chihiro as the latter explains it is Hikaru being a moron, trying to make it hard for others to understand him. But Sayaka still envies her because she has a more trusting relationship with him than she does. That’s because they’re not in love, right? Or so Chihiro laments. Sayaka notices the bruise on Chihiro’s wrist caused by that incident with the shoplifter and bandages it. Chihiro gets a call from Hikaru looking for Sayaka. She passes the line to Sayaka so they can speak and clear things up. However Hikaru hears the girls’ scream before being cut off. Shinobu sees Hikaru’s stiff face and gets one himself after learning Hikaru lost contact with Chihiro. Have a bad feeling about this.

The shoplifters have kidnapped the girls and plan to humiliate them by taking photos of them in the nude as blackmail. Chihiro wants them to leave Sayaka alone and will do her share of the ‘punishment’. Sayaka become so afraid of what is about to happen to Chihiro that she picks up a wooden stick and turns into that Souji Okita character. Wow. She’s really good. Like as though she isn’t acting. But the real person himself! The bullies thought she’s just playing around but the swing of the stick proves she is no pushover. Chihiro notes how cool she is and realizes the reason why Hikaru fell in love with her. Chihiro joins her as they are surrounded by the bullies. Sayaka notes how they should adapt to the situation and not stick to just one technique. Meaning? Chihiro lifts up her skirt to reveal her polka dots pantsu to distract the guys before smacking them with the stick! Hey, it works. She notices Sayaka’s movements are more refined and gorgeous. Since she’s a beauty too, it’s like she’s a beautiful Bakumatsu swordsman standing before her. In the end, the bullies get beaten up by the girls. How shameful. Sayaka trembles in fear upon realizing how scared she was now that everything has calmed down. Well, better than being scared and paralyzed during the important fight. The girls praise each other but I think they were doing it for too long for the bullies to call reinforcements. So they can’t beat a pair of girls and they stoop this low and dirty for revenge. But this time the girls don’t have to lift a finger because here comes the calvary! ‘Monsters’ in the name of Hikaru and Shinobu! See how pissed they are! It’s time to show them how cool they are. Shinobu is mad because they got to see Chihiro’s panties before he does! Hikaru realizes he likes Shinobu but won’t give her to him because she’s like his sister. They start arguing among each other, ignoring the bullies. Even so, they’re in sync while beating them up while arguing! Just like two sides of a coin, eh? One of the bullies tries to take the girls as hostage and get rough with them. Shinobu and Hikaru block his strike with their body. Gosh. They’re bleeding. They decide to put aside their difference in this temporary truce and beat up this trash. See, when they cooperate, they’re invincible. They’re looking cool even spouting cool lines (“I’ll sacrifice my body several times for the woman I love”) and perhaps score some points in the books of the ladies until they suddenly drop unconscious. Too cool, eh? If their head bleeding is not enough, now they have nose bleeding to deal with since they now get a very close glimpse of the girls in their bras.

Love To The Rescue?
How can a couple of episodes do justice to this? As I read, many fans that have read the manga and watched this were disappointed over this pathetic OVA that simply wasn’t much ado about anything. How would you like it if you were introduced to the characters falling in love with each other in the first episode and then fast forward a little bit in the next episode (aren’t we disappointed that we couldn’t see Hikaru and Sayaka’s first kiss?) and then it suddenly ends. Aren’t you just mad and frustrated? Despite being released in 2010, so far there is no word that there will be any more episodes whatsoever. It would have been great if this was made into a TV series instead of a couple of episodes that were simply based off from a few chapters in the manga (the first episode was of course the first few chapters while the second episode was the 15th and 16th chapters – besides, the animated scenes are taken directly from the pages of the manga). I mean, despite the storyline may be cliché and quite some predictable elements, it still provides a good watch if you like shoujo and romance stuffs.

As seen from the OVAs, there is the love and one-sided crushes between the characters, some comedic bits, a little action and well yeah, a little fanservice. So what’s not to not like?  Even the art and drawing of the characters borders between good looking at cute. There are times the characters are in their chibi mode in certain scenes, otherwise they are those typical gorgeous sparkling wide eyed characters that make shoujo genres oh so cute and pretty. Therefore, I thought that the OVA served as somewhat a promotional material to introduce the series and perhaps get those who are not familiar with the manga title to take a look at it. Besides, as I have found out, the manga recently concluded in September 2012. And no, I didn’t read the manga. But I did read briefly the synopsis of the second half that focuses on these characters when they’re in high school. They supposedly have broken off all relationships but reunited in high school and find it tough to go back to way things were since everything has changed. Another set of challenges to overcome, no?

So bottom line of this story, just like in another other love genres, love may be a wonderful thing but most of the time it doesn’t quite work out the way we want. You love somebody but that somebody has his/her heart on somebody else. Somebody else likes you but you don’t really have feelings for him/her. You want to confess but can’t help feel the fear of being rejected because your world will suddenly come crashing down to a rude halt. Somebody else confesses first and your world suddenly comes crashing down too. Sometimes when you’re honest with your feelings, it doesn’t pay you back. You know, this kind of things. Hah. I’m talking like I’m a love expert despite not having falling in love or having a girlfriend of my own. Maybe it’s thanks to all the shoujo genres that I’ve been watching and learning from. Certainly not!

Nagareboshi Lens

September 28, 2012

Looks like this is another one of those single OVA about high school love and romance. I thought Nagareboshi Lens was a cross between Kimi No Todoke and Hiyokoi seeing the girl falls in love with the most popular guy in school and they end up going out together. Well, if you like your anime genre to be shoujo romance, I suppose there are plenty of such series and mangas out thereto satiate your need. Me? Since this is only a single episode, I’m just finding out how different it is from the other similar genres that I’ve watched.

When Love Comes Crashing In…
Yukko can’t stay and help Risa Hanakago with her homework today since she has to meet with her boyfriend from a different school, Haru. Risa notes as long as Yukko is happy, she’s fine. She too wants to fall in love with her. She might get that wish sooner than she thinks because a football crashes through the window! It’s amazing she didn’t get a bit scratch from those little sharp broken pieces. The culprit, Touga Yuugure comes by and apologizes. Their eyes met and safe to say, Risa has fallen for him. Touga may be the most popular guy in school that many girls dream to have. However as Risa states, they’re already dating. By the second week, she gets to learn more about him. His siblings, his ear pierce, his birthday, his blood type, zodiac, etc. But the most surprising (and pleasant) thing she learnt is that she is his first girlfriend. Serious? Does he look like he’s lying? Risa flusters and thinks they need to exchange items. They give each other’s pen. Risa is motivated to study harder using it and will enjoy studying a lot more.

Soon their relationship becomes known and Risa feels guilty in a sense that some girls are sad that Touga isn’t available anymore. Because of her, they’re devastated. Their dreams crushed. The teacher wants Tomocchin to grab the CD player for his English lesson. Since it’s in Class 2. Knowing Touga is in this class, she gets permission to get Risa to tag along. Once they enter, everyone recognize Touga’s girlfriend. But that dude is sleeping in class! Risa sees the pen she gave him in use. By the time he wakes up, she already made her way out. “Bye-bye”. Hey, better than nothing, right? Tomocchin mentions that Touga is an okay guy and though he is popular, not every girl in school likes him. Up till now he hasn’t manage to find a girlfriend. Maybe he was just waiting to meet her? Though Tomocchin got the player, she didn’t take the CD. Perhaps it’s a scheme to let her be with Touga alone? Yeah, that’s why he came looking for them. They exchange phone numbers and write them on each other’s hand. No paper, no problem. Risa narrates she going out with Touga may have hurt some girls’ feelings but it can’t be helped. Sometimes you have to be selfish. Risa is about to prepare herself for PE class. She allows him to tie her hair. Once she is done, he immediately hugs her! Followed by a pat on the head. Is this his way of apologizing for not being able to go home with her today for he has supplementary classes?

Back home, Risa can’t help get Touga out of her mind. She is afraid he doesn’t feel the same. She gets a call from him. He wants to meet at school to return her English textbook when his handphone battery dies. Risa peddles along and chances upon Touga’s friend, Yuudai. Seems he is out with his own friends too. Seeing Risa for the first time, Yuudai’s friends note how cute she is and try to make a move on her. Yuudai tries to tell them to stop but they’re not listening. They suggest she break up with Touga but before she could answer, somebody covers her mouth from behind. It’s Touga! He looks pretty mad. That piercing stare… They know not to mess with him. Touga wants to see Yuudai tomorrow morning at the market. He knows what he’ll be getting. Touga bring Risa away and thankfully no incident happened. At the bridge, Touga returns her textbook. She gets emotional because she can’t help feel being hopelessly in love with him. He tells her it’s fine to let it all out and will accept everything about her since he too can’t get enough of her. They share a kiss under the starry sky narrating that the world sparkles and the stars tremble in their eyes whether it is morning or night or even in their dreams.

Sparkling Love
So well… Nothing pretty much happens. Girl meets boy. Girl falls in love with boy. Girl goes out with boy and they continue to preserve their love like see in fairytales. I’m sure if they want to expand this into a TV series, there’ll be enough material for it. But will that be any different or stand out from the rest of such similar romance genres? You’ll probably guess the trials and tribulations they’ll face in maintaining this relationship. From love triangles to the things they do and the essential lover’s quarrel, it’s pretty much an overused recipe for this genre. So much so to me this show doesn’t really stand out. I was close to a big yawn till Yuudai’s friends showed up to mess around with her. I thought it got a little interesting with trouble showing up (certainly love isn’t a plain and smooth sailing bed of roses) but since the OVA is running out of time (it’s only 18 minutes long by the way), I guess they don’t want to get into trouble with that guy. Who knows what he’ll do especially if you mess around with his girlfriend. Loved by the girls, respected by the guys.

The art and drawing are pretty typical to a shoujo genre with pretty people and characters with big sparkly round eyes. Speaking of sparkles, this show is filled with them. It makes everything feels so, erm, sparkly? From the time Risa and Touga first met to the time she got his pen, writing his phone number on her hand and that final kissing scene. Man, it really gives a whole new meaning to sparks flying out. I guess when you’re in love, everything just sparkle and shine like the brightest star in the sky. It’s like magic. Kana Hanazawa was recognizable as Risa and she put up her usual cute and lovely voice display that makes Risa, well, cute and lovely. A bit like Mato of Black Rock Shooter and Susukihotaru of Otome Youkai Zakuro. I think. Shintaro Asanuma as Touga sounds pretty generic as the popular guy in school in love with an ordinary girl. His previous voice roles include Takatoshi of Seitokai Yakuindomo and Kazuma in Hoshizora E Kakaru Hashi. The ending theme, Hitokuchime No Koi by Infinity featuring Mayumi Norinaga, I thought it sounded like a cross between Fairy Tail’s ending song Glitter (Starving Trancer Remix) (which is also sung by them) and Ano Natsu De Matteru’s ending piece, Vidro Moyou.

Well, I just ran out of what to say and probably what I wanted to say I have already said it or felt it was said too often and decided to omit it and not put it down in this blog. I mean, what else can I comment about this OVA? Just one episode, the characters are typically like that and the plot that doesn’t really go anywhere. Maybe I’m just too captivated by the sparkling stars to just say anything. Maybe I won’t see them now in real life but perhaps when I fall in love. When will that happen? Since no football, cricket ball, tennis ball, baseball or even the lacrosse ball crashing through my window, I guess it’s not happening, huh? On second thought, I wouldn’t want any ball to come breaking my window because I don’t want to clean up after.

Full Moon Wo Sagashite

July 15, 2012

What would you do if you were told you have only 12 months more to live? Would you go crazy and become paranoid? Would you go out and live your life to the fullest? Or would you like me (if it ever happens, touch wood) go get a second opinion? For Mitsuki Kouyama of Full Moon Wo Sagashite, she would have chosen the second option. I mean, if your days are already numbered, might as well do all the things you love so that you can depart from this world without regrets, right?

If you are into shoujo type of animes, than this should suit you just fine because it has got drama, it has got some romance, it has got some song and music. Probably most of the ingredients that many teenage girls would find this show ‘watchable’. Okay, perhaps maybe back in the year 2002 (when this series started airing). Nowadays girls won’t even watch this kind of series anymore. So what about me? Am I considered a teenage girl since I’m watching this? Well, from the comments I have read randomly over the internet, those who are fans of this show definitely have lots of good things to say. They were touched and moved by the story, characters, bla, bla, bla. To ascertain that, that’s why I decided to give this series a shot. You were expecting some other reason? Then why not this: It’s an old retro anime that I haven’t seen so I was curious. No, I didn’t judge the cover by the book. (So okay, maybe Mitsuki’s twirling corkscrew twintails caught my attention).

So the story is something like this. Orphaned 12 year old Mitsuki Kouyama loves to sing. However she has something that every singer would dread and prevent them from doing what they love. She has throat cancer. Surgery would have done the trick but she is most afraid of losing her voice (I guess medical technology wasn’t so advanced then). Plus, doctors can’t really force their patients to undergo the knife if they don’t really want to. So without Mitsuki’s own permission, there is nothing more they can do except give lip service to persuade her. One day, a pair of shinigamis, Takuto and Meroko pay her a visit and somehow they told her she has got only a year to live. Gee, why the warning I wonder? And isn’t it odd that a middle school girl could see them when no other people could? I guess you have to believe they are telling the truth firstly, you can see them, right? That is definitely a tell tale sign. So what is Mitsuki to do than to sneak out of her house to a music audition in the city to achieve her dream before she kicks the bucket. Takuto upon seeing Mitsuki’s determination and love for music agrees to let her take the audition. However she is underage so Takuto gives her swallow a drop of his blood so that he can transform into a gorgeous 16 year old blonde to sing. In exchange, when her time is up, she will have to go quietly with them. Hey, can you really cut a deal with a shinigami? Another odd thing is, when she is in this mode, her throat cancer is gone! Man, she should stay in this form but will everybody else believe her? Is this the life she wants?

Now this is another mind blowing thing. Once it is transformed Mitsuki’s turn to audition in front of the panel of judges, they are so astounded and taken in by her ‘beautiful’ voice that they immediately pick her, cancel the audition (so sorry for all those girls who had auditioned before her. Especially those who were after her number) and make her sign a full contract with the music record. Wow! What a way to reach instant stardom. Talk about rising to the top so fast. This is way better than going on American Idol. To conceal her identity, she goes under the name of Full Moon (that is what her name Mitsuki also means) and as a rising pop star, I’m sure lots of fans are eager to know her background and all. But the way I see it, Full Moon rarely divulges in her personal life and there is no case of anybody trying to get to know more about her. I guess it’s the era before Facebook and Twitter so people aren’t really obsessed and respect her privacy. If only this happens in real life. Mitsuki also has to keep this a secret from lots of people. Imagine what would be the world’s reaction, especially her strict grandma and friends if they ever find out she’s actually a pop star. So the trio rely on each other to avoid this and help Mitsuki achieve her dream before her time is up. Isn’t this odd too? A pair of shinigamis whose job is to take away people’s life, taking care of a 12 year old girl for a full year? It makes you go WTF?! And since this is quite a long series (52 episodes running for a full year), my memories are somewhat fuzzy. As usual I ‘depend’ on Wikipedia to refresh them. Like I can remember them either. Maybe I’ve got some tumour that induces my memory loss. Touch wood!

Some of the main characters and points in the series:
Mitsuki Kouyama – Despite having throat cancer, a weak body and a cough that makes everyone worry if she’s going to collapse or not, Mitsuki chooses to remain positive, cheerful and helpful girl. A big motivation for her to become a pop idol is because of the nice boy she loves, Eichi Sakurai (at first I thought I heard Ecchi…). Coming from the same orphanage, she never got the chance to tell her feelings because he left for America to be an astronomer. They made a promise that the next time they meet, they will have already fulfilled their dreams. So by becoming Full Moon, she hopes that her music will reach and find him and thus to reply his feelings that she loves him.

Takuto and Meroko – The pair of shinigamis taking on a self duty to protect and help Mitsuki. While Takuto is the moody one, Meroko is the cheerful one. As the series progresses, it is obvious Takuto develops feelings for Mitsuki though he keeps denying it (I consider him tsundere) while Meroko totally has a one-sided crush on Takuto and would go all the way out (most of the times) to make Takuto look at her. But obviously that never works out. Seeing they are invisible to the eyes of others in their shinigami form, they take a form of a cat and rabbit plushie (Takuto and Meroko respectively) so that they are visible. Just hope other people don’t catch them moving or talking. Since Takuto can only transform Mitsuki to Full Moon, he usually accompanies Mitsuki to auditions and work while sulking Meroko has the ‘honour’ in staying at home disguised as Mitsuki so this will not raise any suspicions that her granddaughter is out doing something ‘dangerous’. Meroko has this shinigami handbook in which if a word appears backwards, it will indicate that item/thing/somebody will shorten Mitsuki’s lifespan and her death brought forward. Wah. So to say she doesn’t necessarily have exactly a year to live, right? And how ironic it is when the pair goes to great lengths to save Mitsuki’s life by trying to avoid her from meeting that fate. Doesn’t it go against their job’s description?

Fuzuki Kouyama – Mitsuki’s strict grandmother who hates music. You can’t blame her once you understand how she lost her daughter Hazuki who eloped with a musician and they both died in an accident. Because Mitsuki is the only relative she has left, she takes her in but doesn’t allow her to stay in the main house (she lives in an annexed part of the big compound). I guess that is pretty convenient too seeing she might go crazy if she sees and hears Mitsuki talking to herself when she is conversing with Takuto and Meroko, right? Fuzuki has a full time housemaid, Yoneya Tanaka who can be silly at most times but she deeply cares for her master and her granddaughter.

Keiichi Wakaouji – Mitsuki’s doctor and the Kouyama’s family doctor. How often can you have a nice and handsome doctor by your side? Could have been the most eligible bachelor of the year.

Masami Oshige – Full Moon’s manager and always tries her best to do what is best for Full Moon.

Madoka Wakamatsu – Every idol surely must have her own rival, right? Well in Full Moon’s case, it is the b*tchy Madoka whom everyone loves to hate. She holds a bitter grudge for Full Moon because she was somewhat ousted in the audition that Full Moon made her debut. She thinks if her number was earlier, she could’ve been chosen instead (I doubt it). Therefore, Madoka goes to great lengths to sabotage Full Moon’s concert and do what it takes to give her trouble all while being sneaky underneath a goody-two-shoes facade. I guess causing this kind of trouble and spreading bad rumours of Full Moon is what she does best in and constantly.

Myself – The title of the debut single from Full Moon. Initially the record producer, Takasu wanted her to sing a pre-written song but she felt it wasn’t suitable and took up his challenge to write her own sing (something which he isn’t confident seeing she is a novice).

Who says being an idol is ever easy? – There are a few challenges that Full Moon/Mitsuki will encounter. One, trying to act like a 16 year old can be tough for Mitsuki and is taking a toll. Due to the age difference, she feels depressed but gets her confidence back after meeting 3 girls at a hill supposed to have this rumour that if you have turned 16 years old on this hill, you will find a boyfriend. Well, would Full Moon count? Then we have a little girl named Nanami abducting Takuto away. She refused to hand him back to Mitsuki seeing she is lonely and her parents are always busy at work. But things do work out in the end as she reconciles with her parents (supermarket live drama?) and becomes Full Moon’s number 1 fan. Mitsuki gets disheartened when Myself becomes a smash hit, none of the girls in her class were really talking about it. Worse, they were saying bad things about the single. So Meroko jumps the gun and tries to advertise the single with near disastrous results. But the good thing is Mitsuki is able to make a few friends of her own. Of course it is found out that the badmouthing was referring to the fact they couldn’t buy the CD anywhere. Then Mitsuki wants Wakaouji to hear the song seeing he hasn’t heard it himself. He refused partly because it brought back bad memories when he was a musician. It has something to do with Mitsuki’s late parents too. But Mitsuki is happy when she gets to know he has a copy of her CD. Full Moon also learns some of the rules in show business when she debuts on TV with enka singer Fuyuko Komaki. A misunderstanding occurred so this causes Komaki not to like Full Moon very much though Full Moon works hard to earn back her trust. No idol is ever safe from the hands of the paparazzi. In Full Moon’s case, she almost got her identity revealed with the pesky Saegusa. All his subjects that are caught in a scandal will have their future destroyed and thus forced into an early retirement. When Full Moon was caught having dinner with Wakaouji (even if it is nothing serious I assure you but people can really make a mountain out of a molehill), it could almost spell the end of Full Moon. But with Takuto coming to her protection, Saegusa got spooked by the ‘ghost’ he sees, quits his job and leaves town. So he finally learnt his lesson to respect the privacy of others, eh? Full Moon holds a mini concert at a pre-school, but a little boy Taiki (looking very much like Eichi) keeps sabotaging the concert like stealing her costume and wrecking the stage props. He did this because the girl he likes will leave after Full Moon’s concert. Seeing their similar circumstances, Full Moon manages to advice them even though they are apart, they can still be together if they don’t forget each other. Also, Full Moon gets a temporary manager when Oshige is out sick. Rookie Koutarou Akiba doesn’t seem cut out for the job and makes many mistakes. Though it is sad he has to leave in the end, but he continues working at a shop promoting Full Moon’s goods. Full Moon is at risk of having her kiss stolen by a playboy who befriends her. Till Takuto saves the day and that jerk’s girlfriend comes into the picture. Why didn’t she dump him already? Mitsuki’s friend, Kumi is asking for her advice on love on the boy she has a crush on, Machida. However the guy misinterpreted and thinks it is Mitsuki who likes him. Though Kumi is heartbroken, Mitsuki manages to clear up the misunderstanding and bring a happy ending for Kumi and Machida. There is also this high school festival in which Full Moon becomes the prize. The winning guy gets to kiss her! Takuto enters the fray (taking a human form) and amazingly wins it despite his cheating competitor. Meroko on the other hand entered some beauty contest and also won (it bugs me how can outsiders like them win) to attract Takuto’s attention. But all she was Takuto winning and almost kissing Full Moon and broke them up before their lips are sealed.

Who says being a shinigami is easy too? – Well, an old guy collapses in front of the house and good ol’ Tanaka takes him in. As gratitude, he gives her some stone. Not just an ordinary stone. The kind that repels the shinigamis out of the house. They can’t get in the barrier and they are rushing for time seeing Full Moon has a job to do.  They try to contact Mitsuki who is inside the house and still wondering where her shinigamis are. Eventually when they do, they manage to break the spell (pushing the stone into water to dispel its effect) and even made it in time for the job. Phew.

The b*tch is back – Madoka is the source of that paparazzi incident and hell she is still going to give a hard time to Full Moon. This time both ladies are locked in a competition to see who will get the lead role in a shampoo commercial. Because Meroko’s handbook reveals the word ‘audition’, she tries to delay Mitsuki from reaching the audition (I felt it could’ve been avoided if she just said something about this). In the end, Mitsuki lost out to Madoka when she arrived late. Though Meroko is able to prevent Mitsuki from a certain premature death, she still feels guilty for trying to stop her. But she is back to normal once Takuto says a few things enough to cheer her up. Madoka also spreads nasty gossip about Full Moon, prompting the site to cancel the stage for her first live solo last minute. So as not to disappoint fans and cancelling the concert altogether, they manage to secure the pier and hold the concert under the starry night sky.

It’s out – It’s amazing the first time round how Mitsuki, Takuto and Meroko could fool Oshige and Wakaouji that Mitsuki and Full Moon are different persons by switching back and forth. But this time round, she comes clean with them. I guess the transformation scene nails it. Being the good people they are, they won’t go round spreading the news of Full Moon’s true identity. So I guess it is easier with a few more people knowing about her secret. Mitsuki doesn’t need to be in a hurry to hide and change.

Wakaouji x Oshige? – Oshige moves closer to Mitsuki’s home so she can easily get in touch with her whenever a job arises (though grandma is still unaware of everything). Tanaka gets jealous thinking Oshige is Wakaouji’s girlfriend (even though they admit they are not) and challenges her to housewife duties competition (see, what did I tell you about having a good looking doctor? Even ordinary housemaids like her ends up liking him). Though Tanaka scores in all of them, leaving Oshige in her dust trail, Tanaka gives up because she saw how good they boot look when they are together.

Eternal Snow – This is the second song that Mitsuki wants to sing. It is also the song her father, Aoi written when he was under the popular band Route L. Guess what? Madoka also wants to debut with this song and has Takasu as her producer. Because of this, every other producer doesn’t dare go against him. Mitsuki is left to beg Wakaouji to become Full Moon’s producer seeing he was part of the 3-man band Route L. Eventually he agrees and becomes her producer with a set of conditions. I guess this means he will become a part time doctor, eh? Takasu knows Madoka is putting up an angelic facade and has a grudge against Full Moon. However he doesn’t care for all that and wants her to believe him. However Madoka couldn’t resist in ruining Full Moon’s image and is back to her sabotaging self and spreads rumours of Full Moon and Wakaouji seeing each other. But it backfires as Takasu walks out on Madoka seeing she doesn’t trust her and wants her to remember the reason why she is singing (feel bad to say “You deserve it!” when Madoka is crying like that). With Full Moon going full steam to release her second single, she along with the shinigamis rummage through the family’s store to find the reason behind Eternal Snow (it was Aoi’s love for Hazuki). Mitsuki gets a new goal to make everyone who listens to her song to feel warm inside.

Lost and found – With Madoka now a fallen idol, there are people who are talking bad behind her back and she herself has a change of manager. Her turning point is when she meets Mitsuki (not knowing she is Full Moon). She learns more about Madoka. A reason why she hated Full Moon because she doesn’t believe the path of an idol is a bed of roses. Madoka went through the harsh and bitter realities of life being an idol so that’s why when Full Moon shot to stardom, she thought she must have some connections and pulled strings. Nice Mitsuki even gives Madoka renewed hope to continue singing because she wants to hear her voice. It’s not about being rivals or who is better. So, Mitsuki is now Madoka’s number 1 fan? At least that’s what Madoka thinks. Oh, Madoka did manage to release her version of Eternal Snow but that is much later and around Christmas.

Izumi and Jonathan – A new pair of shinigamis entering the fray. Izumi is a cold-hearted person attempts to steal back Meroko (his previous partner) from Takuto. So another one-sided crush, eh? As for Jonathan, I thought he was looking like a ghost coming out from that cartoon show, Casper. All I can see him is a comic relief, annoyingly fooling around though subservient to Izumi. In fear that Mitsuki can see shinigamis, Takuto and Meroko along with Mitsuki go to great lengths to make it as though she can’t see Izumi. But Izumi has his suspicions and they are in a pinch since Full Moon is putting up another concert for her fans. Though in a cleverly disguised and smooth transitional switch just before the concert starts, Izumi isn’t a dumb shinigami and just pretended to play along with their silly game. Izumi is also bad enough to fake an email from Eichi, getting Mitsuki’s hopes up. It doesn’t help when Takuto also lies and sends a fake one so as not to hurt her feelings. Eventually he apologizes but Mitsuki isn’t going to let that little distraction bother her.

Dicing with death – Mitsuki’s throat seems to be getting worse and concerned Fuzuki wants her to go for a surgery. I don’t remember how but they didn’t go through with it and Mitsuki’s tumour stabilizes for now. Mitsuki also meets a lonely old man who lives by himself, Sanada. She makes frequent visits to learn that because he was too focused on work, he neglected his wife and child and only realized the importance of life when they died. Sanada is biding his time and can also see shinigamis. His time will be up soon but hopes to see his wife’s roses bloom before he goes. Izumi is the shinigami responsible for taking his life and shows Mitsuki the harsh reality of what is to be done upon her when her time comes. Izumi takes Sanada’s soul but he dies with a gentle smile after he gets to see the flowers bloom in the final seconds.

America here we come – Full Moon entered some music festival and won. That means a trip to the USA. They are further motivated when Mitsuki’s previous orphanage teacher, Kasumi seems to have some information on Eichi’s whereabouts. However, they forgot about grandma. She can’t just let her daughter go overseas just like that, right? But do not fear. Wakaouji explains to her a new medical treatment only available in the US that will help in Mitsuki’s tumour. Fuzuki is not convinced and doesn’t allow her to go. Eventually Mitsuki, just like her mom, departs to America with or without her approval. Of course this is traumatic for a grandma like her who has lost her daughter to something like this and now her granddaughter is in danger of repeating history. So we learn why Fuzuki hates music so much. In fact, she was once a music student. She fell in love with a boy but he was so focused on his music and pressured by the concours, he eventually chose music over love. That’s why Fuzuki views music as nothing but bringing misery and this is compounded when Hazuki died. Landing in America, the gang stayed at Kazumi’s place (along with her American husband who conveniently speaks fluent Japanese) before making the long trip to the place supposedly where Eichi is staying. Along the way, they stop by the canyon and Mitsuki got her precious pendant from Eichi stolen by a conman who pretended to take a photo of her. So precious that she would rather stay back and search for it rather than miss the last ride back up the canyon. Of course Takuto stays with her as well as the gutsy park ranger that came down looking for them. Luckily for Mitsuki, she manages to get it back because the dumb conman is still hanging around (amazingly he and his cronies had a camp right down the canyon. WTF?!). Mitsuki thought Takuto dived down the ravine just to get her pendant. Apparently she forgot he could fly as a shinigami. So when they start arguing about worrying each other, Takuto blurts out she likes her. However Mitsuki isn’t fazed because she took it the other way. We all love each other because we are friends, right? Is that a good thing or not?

The truth hurts – As the gang approach Eichi’s home, Meroko notices Eichi’s name spelt backwards in her handbook. Oh no. Takuto scouts ahead and manages to find the home Eichi lives in. What he makes is a shocking discovery: EICHI IS DEAD!!! They try to prevent Mitsuki from coming to the house and making excuses for her to go back but I guess they aren’t that persuasive. I mean, she is this close to seeing him and now you’re giving him reasons not to see him? Something smells fishy. And when she learns of what happened to her source of motivation… It was just heartbreaking. It’s like she has lost all hope to live. But what bugs me is that Eichi has been already dead for 2 years!!!  The way his adopted parents acted was like his death was just a couple of days ago! I know when someone you love dies, it seems just like yesterday and forever for the pain to go away. Their son and his wife who adopted Eichi then also perished in the accident. Another thing which bugged me is Kazumi’s information. It’s been 2 years Eichi died right? So the people around the area should have told her something about it or wouldn’t know who this kid is. So again, how reliable was Kazumi’s information? Another heartbreaking scene was how Mitsuki ran through the snow and found Eichi’s grave. She lies there hoping to go away with him…

Living zombie – When Mitsuki returns to Japan, she is so bloody depressed that she is as good as dead. Fuzuki is appalled at what happened (I guess she thought the treatment didn’t work out), scolds Wakaouji for letting this happen and severs him as his family doctor. Because of that, Mitsuki becomes a ‘good girl’ and will listen to whatever grandma says. Too good to be true? But Mitsuki is obliging everything grandma says so much so she is starting to worry and creeping her out. Where has the rebellious Mitsuki go? Seeing Mitsuki has lost her motivation to do her best, she wants to give up singing and thus rumours are spreading that Full Moon is retiring. Not that her fans like it. Not that Madoka would like it. Now she wants to beat her rival on a fair footing, eh? Not that Takuto would like it because this was part of their deal, right? But he can’t transform Mitsuki into Full Moon anymore. Why? If Mitsuki doesn’t want to, then all the magic in the world he has can’t even make her. You can bring a horse to the water, but you can’t make it drink. Not that Meroko would like it because she is so desperate, she goes to seek Izumi’s help. It only gives him more reason to come up with a nasty scheme.

When death comes knocking on your door again – With Mitsuki’s tumour getting worse, Fuzuki desperately goes from one hospital to another to find a cure. But it all comes back to Wakaouji because he is an expertise in the field. One night, Izumi entices Mitsuki to come with him so that she could be with her parents and Eichi. Well, he is going to make her jump from the building! Izumi didn’t expect an obstacle: Fuzuki. She came looking for Mitsuki and tries to stop her from jumping. Though Mitsuki manages to come down, Fuzuki slips off… Just when she opened her eyes, she is going to witness her grandma’s death. Thankfully, Takuto saves falling grandma (she is now unconscious so no worries of her getting freaked out that she is ‘flying’). Takuto and Meroko didn’t like Izumi’s dirty trick to take Mitsuki’s soul. But really, if he is not him, can Takuto do the job when the time comes?

Ghost of the past – Throughout the series, Takuto has been warned not to remember his memories when he was living as a human. If he ever did, he will turn into a ghost and forever wander in limbo. That seems to be happening now because after all that short flashbacks that causes him headaches, he finally realizes who he is. He is Takuto Kira and is one of the members of Route L. He died in a bike accident when he realized he had throat cancer. He doesn’t want Mitsuki to have that regret so unconsciously that’s why he wanted to help her achieve her dream. Takuto lectures Mitsuki the importance of living so Mitsuki u-turns her decision of not wanting to sing anymore because Eichi would have wanted her to continue with her dream even after his death. But Takuto is at the risk of turning into a ghost. So how to stop that? Mitsuki’s singing of course! So not only her songs are a hit, they can help stop a shinigami from turning into a ghost too! Haha! But this doesn’t mean Takuto is free from the curse yet. With his weakened powers, Takuto is unable to keep Mitsuki transformed as Full Moon for a long duration. This is bad seeing she has a comeback concert. Plus, Takuto reveals his true identity to Wakaouji. Of course he is shocked. But didn’t he see a connection in their names and the several other hints? Maybe it’s because he truly believes Takuto had died (thus the reason Route L suddenly disbanded and faded into obscurity). But he certainly didn’t see him coming back as a shinigami, didn’t he? In Izumi’s attempt to convince Meroko one more time to be his, Meroko is more mature now and only advises Izumi’s misfortune that he doesn’t know what love is.

To save a shinigami – While Takuto is resting (but in pain), Meroko tries to find any cure to stop him from becoming a ghost but to no avail. Mitsuki wants to save Takuto so badly this time (after all, he saved her on a few occasions), she went to Izumi for help. I know he’s a bad guy but what else can she do? Izumi knows a way to prevent that and wants Mitsuki’s soul in exchange, something she is willing to give and even seal the deal with a kiss. However Izumi was just testing her and did not go through with it. Eventually he too indirectly helps out by informing them about a mystic flower that makes one forget about everything when one kisses it. It can be found back in their spirit world and in a cave in which the door only opens as the flower blooms during a certain time. Oh, that’s tonight. How convenient. However Takuto would not only lose his human memories, but his shinigami’s as well. This means he will forget all about Mitsuki and Meroko and all the things they did. Meroko risks being punished by heading in to get that flower despite all the traps and setbacks. So now the big question. Let him retain his memories and risk him turning into a wandering ghost or make him forget but let him stay a shinigami. Of course Takuto would rather risk turning into a ghost than lose his precious memories he had up till now. So how? So how?! I’m sure this wasn’t intentional to catch Takuto off guard. You see, Mitsuki confesses that she likes Takuto. And I mean not just as friends. Then she kisses him and with a petal of that flower inside the glass of water, Takuto drinks it.

Swan Song – Mitsuki graduates from high school but it’s going to be hectic because Full Moon will be holding a concert to commemorate her first year as a successful singer. On the day of her concert, it is also the day she will die as a full year would have completed its cycle. So everyone from Mitsuki’s friends and even Fuzuki attend the concert with much anticipation. Madoka kicks off the concert but when it is almost Full Moon’s turn, the flower is taking its effect so Takuto is having a hard time keeping Mitsuki transformed. Meroko cuts her hair and turns it into a ring to give it to Takuto. The ring contains her powers so even if he forgets he will still be able to keep Mitsuki transformed till the end of the concert. The plan works but Takuto has totally forgotten everything. Much to Meroko’s heartbreak, he doesn’t even know why he is here. Then of course Takuto risks becoming a ghost once more because of his recurring memories. But this time he is going to be the one to take Mitsuki’s life. Meroko somewhat sacrifices herself to absorb Takuto (that’s how it seems to me) so that Full Moon can continue and finish her concert. So if Takuto is gone, how is she going to keep her Full Moon appearance? Thank Izumi for that. Well, at least he just put up a hologram image of Full Moon and I guess everyone is thrilled with the superb effects of Full Moon’s change in clothes. At the end of the concert, Full Moon makes a stunning announcement that she will go on a temporary leave. Not that her fans are happy about. I mean, she’s been pulling this sort of stunt going missing a few times before so to hear it from her mouth this time must be true. But don’t worry, she promises she’ll be back. If we only have fans so understanding like them because they promise to support her. That’s call keeping the faith. Mitsuki is rushed to the hospital and in Wakaouji’s hands for her operation. The operation is a success but Mitsuki wakes up in the hospital bed crying because Takuto and Meroko are gone forever.

Aftermath – Takuto is in some sort of limbo world when he meets a goddess. He doesn’t remember anything but feels that he needs to protect somebody though he can’t remember who. As punishment for dabbling with the flower, the goddess will punish them and that Mitsuki will die. You cannot change fate. Suddenly it’s like Takuto remember as he pleads to screw with that destiny thingy and is going to protect her. Meroko would also gladly give up her life to save Takuto. Seeing their strong determination, the goddess allows fate to be changed and lets Mitsuki live. Woah! All you need to show is your steely will and you can change fate! But the goddess banishes Meroko as a shinigami forever. That is, Meroko has been promoted to an angel! Her kindness has proved to the goddess she is exceptional. Yeah, I thought it would be ironic if she continued to take souls with that kind of personality. As for Takuto, because he wasn’t really a full shinigami, he is given a second shot in life but will face the same trials he did as he was alive. Mitsuki cannot see shinigamis anymore and though she didn’t lose her voice, it will take some time before she’ll get it back to how she originally sounded. It’s like she is having a hard time struggling to string a simple sentence. You know that sound when you temporarily lose your voice, right? Then Mitsuki spots Meroko in a tiny bunny form. She leads Mitsuki to Takuto who is some wondering musician. Mitsuki called out to him so loud that her voice returned to normal! Takuto sees her and did he remember her? With Meroko saying goodbye, Mitsuki is happy that she is reunited with him.

Almost Total Eclipse Of The Heart…
Is this how it ends? I just can’t help ponder what will happen afterwards. So Mitsuki reuniting with Takuto, how will that change the course of her future? I’m not sure if Takuto does remember her but his final headache seems to hint that he might. If so, will they continue being the pair that makes Full Moon the successful idol that everyone loves? Then won’t it be like continuing to ‘deceive’ others? I thought she was going to confess her real identity at her final concert but no… It was just “I’m taking a short break”. Heck, I even thought she would say something about retiring. After all if Takuto isn’t around, who else could transform her? Izumi isn’t going to be her future partner in crime, you know. Maybe like Mitsuki said that Full Moon has grown bigger to be just herself. So she can’t simply kill off this character just because she knows she is going to die. And look what we have in the end? A big change in destiny. That’s why I am in a dilemma should she reveal her true self. Grandma would die of shock, her friends would never believe that the famous idol is their friend right under the nose and the paparazzi will target her as their source for scandal material. You know, using magic and lying about her age. That kind of stuff.

Apparently the ending of the anime is so because as I have found out there are quite a number of differences between the anime and manga. The anime ended while the manga was still ongoing and thus the disparity. For instance in the manga, Mitsuki’s frequent transformation has caused her tumour to ‘disappear’ and literally cured. This is what I initially thought of how her illness can be cured, did not I? Putting aside Takuto’s failing powers, he could just leave her in Full Moon state before the clock strikes midnight to save her. Easy. Or a cheekier way is just adjust the clock faster. Haha! Also in the manga but was lacking in the anime is the past of Meroko of how she came to become a shinigami (which is not even touched at all in the anime) and her relationship with Izumi. Jonathan has been reduced to a minor comic relief side character but the manga portrays him to have a darker and more prominent role pertaining to the taking of Mitsuki’s life. Takuto didn’t really die in the manga but was lying in coma unlike in the anime. He also became a couple with Mitsuki in the end while Meroko and Izumi become a couple once more. The anime part which briefly explains how Meroko and Izumi were once partners as shinigamis left me baffled. We know Izumi is trying to court Meroko back to his side using his devilish methods. Then there is a flashback that tells us Meroko was once in loved with Izumi and confessed to him. However he rejected her because he didn’t believe in such feelings. Then it took some time after Meroko gets paired up with Takuto and to the point of her falling for him that Izumi tried to win her heart back. So this part I don’t get it nor could I connect the dots. Why would Izumi want Meroko back when he didn’t even love her in the first place? Well, perhaps you don’t realize the importance of something till you lose it.

Takuto is such as a moody guy that to a point that I would consider him a tsundere. You can tell by the way he interacts with Mitsuki and Meroko. Okay, guys do act that like to show he is tough and manly. You don’t expect to be a sensitive guy asking how you are feeling, right? Can you imagine a Takuto like that? I guess that’s why Meroko likes him. Yeah, he’s hard to get. What’s the point of getting something that is easily obtained? Of course hidden beneath that grumpy and grouchy behaviour is someone who cares greatly. So great that even the goddess is willing to bend fate. Hey, it’s interesting if you change destiny with your own hands, right? As many of the characters undergo some change, for instance Meroko isn’t just blindly after Takuto’s love. She learns the kind of love that if you love someone so much, that you are willing to let him go and do things that do not benefit yourself for the sake of the other person.It’s a good thing that she finally got promoted to an angel. But this leads me to question how she became a shinigami in the first place. I guess as Izumi put it, it is as punishment for those who didn’t take their lives seriously, had lots of regrets when they were living and the irony is that they have to go on taking souls of others as their job for eternity. So the only way out is to put your own life on the line? I didn’t know being a shinigami was this complicated.

Mitsuki has always been the cheerful and optimistic girl but of course you hit turbulence on and off and Eichi’s death was a real blow to her overall morale. For a young girl to have touch and change the lives of lots of other people, it is quite an incredible feat. She has never lost sight of her goal and dream (except for that tiny black chapter when she found out about Eichi’s death) and kept doing her best despite knowing her D-Day is inching closer. That’s why whether she’s a little girl or an idol, everyone simply loves her. You would never have thought Fuzuki would change or even accept music and never in her wildest dream would she want to hear Mitsuki’s song. Of course the near death of Mitsuki opened her eyes. If she was going to keep Mitsuki safe by restricting a lot of things on her, then she would be just doing the opposite and more harm. Wakaouji who became a doctor just to get away from the trauma during his time at Route L (because medicine and music don’t share any similarities, right?) even returned to music that he vowed never to venture back into. So have you heard of a successful musician and a throat doctor in the same sentence before? Even Madoka is not spared from the change. Though she remains Full Moon’s rival in the end, she isn’t a b*tch as we once knew she was. Once she clears her mind and sets her goal on the purpose she sings instead of sabotaging Full Moon’s efforts, she is quite the okay girl after learning the meaning of humility. Even if it is not directly, Izumi also changed slightly albeit he still maintains that cold personality. If not, why would he bother helping Mitsuki in the end? He might be a shinigami that takes lives but that doesn’t mean he is a bad person.

I had this feeling and guessed Eichi’s fate was going to be somewhat like how it turned out. Life is after all not a bed of roses so my guts told me it’s not going to be a happy reunion. True enough, he was actually dead a long time. I just can’t get it off my mind that nobody got the right information about Eichi’s death till the very last moment. It’s like misinformation. I guess this solves why there is no news of Eichi after he left for America. Dead people don’t write letters, call or send emails. Though Eichi is a very prominent and important person in Mitsuki’s life, to us viewers he is just a side motivation for why Mitsuki continues to love what she is doing. Eichi may have a great impact on Mitsuki’s life but certainly flashbacks of him and his nice and kind advices only serve as connecting the dots to where Mitsuki gets her encouragement from. It’s great that a single guy can make her go this far. So do you think that most of us have something sort of like this that makes us push further? So Eichi is a dead person throughout the series and is only ‘alive’ during flashbacks. And in the heart of Mitsuki as always of course. It was really heartbreaking to see her reaction when she finds out about Eichi’s demise, it’s like she just had a total eclipse of her heart.

Over the course of the series, there are many things that bugged me but I probably had forgotten most of them. Heck, I didn’t even touch the Flower of Forgetfulness. One of those questions that I never forgot is the irony of shinigamis who are supposed to take lives instead help keep a life who will eventually be taken. Isn’t that the same as casting the wrong job for the wrong person? And for the pair to be sticking around Mitsuki for an entire year without the shinigami department not knowing anything, it’s like the higher ups are sleeping on the job, eh? Or are they just watching to determine if they have something or what it takes to change fate. And being shinigamis, hasn’t Takuto and Meroko been doing their job of taking other souls too? Mitsuki can’t be the only soul that departs from this world for the entire year, right? Doesn’t their boss realize the lack of souls coming in from their part? Then about Meroko’s handbook. So if something dangerous pops up and shortens Mitsuki’s lifespan, than that one year to live thingy isn’t true, right? What was it again you can’t go against fate? I guess that’s why with a handful of such dangers averted, maybe it is no big deal changing the big one at the end. Seeing that Mitsuki can only see Takuto and Meroko in their shinigami form, don’t other people find it weird that she is talking to herself? Like an imaginary friend? So there are certain scenes whereby it is clear there are some interactions between Mitsuki and the shinigami duo right in the crowd. Don’t people find it odd? Oh, blame it on the great effects that the movie is filming nearby. What movie?! And yeah, what about Takuto and Meroko in plushie form? It’s not that they sit still and in fact move about for most of the part in this form. So is everybody that blind not to see moving stuffed dolls?

The singer Myco is the voice behind Mitsuki and Full Moon. At first I find it odd for someone with a little hoarser voice to play Mitsuki. That’s only because of my stereotype view that little girls like her are usually high pitch squeaky voice. But I reminded myself that Mitsuki had some sort of a tumour in her throat that’s why she isn’t sounding as a cute anime girl. But about her singing voice, I am not criticizing that it sounds horrible (no, it is not) but it’s not really that beautiful in the sense that it would make judges cancel other audition candidates and instantly win fans after her first hit. Forgive me but I am not the one to say too. I just find it strange that a girl with a growth in her throat is able to make the most beautiful voice after some transformation. As all of the songs sung by Full Moon are written by Myco and her band Changin’ My Life, each time her new hit single is out, the series keep playing it to death. It felt like she has no other songs at that moment and thus it is being overplayed whether it is serving as an insert piece or radio background music. Especially her first single Myself and then Eternal Snow. Aren’t we bored of hearing the same things over and over again? Guess not. The song is not that bad actually but hearing too much times can be quite annoying. Maybe because of this, Full Moon’s slow ballad adaptation of Eternal Snow is the best version and it beats Route L’s original which is a rock outfit and Madoka’s faster pace style. I guess Changin’ My Life is just a band famous for this series’ songs because this is where their hit songs come from. Oddly, after the series ended, the band broke up and Myco went on to do solo. It’s like as though they were formed just for this anime. Since Changin’ My Life’s songs are featured as ending themes of this series, besides Myself (2nd ending) and Eternal Snow (3rd ending), they also have New Future (1st ending) and Love Chronicle (4th ending). A couple of their songs that are featured less prominently and probably just one-off are Focus and Smile (which was played during Full Moon’s final concert). The all-girl rock group, The Scanty does the opening themes. The first one being I Love You and the second one, Rock’n Roll Princess. The group also made a cameo appearance during the music festival competition.

At first I thought a female voicing Izumi’s voice sounded rather odd. I was expecting a guy but Megumi Ogata (Shinji of Evangelion) did the role instead. Of course I got used to it. Madoka is voiced by Kana (real name Emi Oota) and this is her only role in voicing an anime character. I’m not sure if she is part of some band or what. Many of the other casts aren’t that prominent and do not have a long list of voicing roles to their resume. They include Yasuo Saitou as Takuto (Ryousuke Sakakura in Zettai Shonen), Chieko Honda as Meroko (Igarashi in Koko Wa Greenwood), Ryohei Kimura as Eichi (Hinata in Angel Beats), Teruaki Ogawa as Wakaouji (the titular character in Jotaro Zaizen), Tomomi Seo as Oshige (Tsubaki in Saint October), Norihisa Mori as Jonathan (Ichikawa in Hen Zemi), Mayumi Akado as Tanaka (Yakko in Akazukin Chacha) and veteran Kazuko Sugiyama as Fuzuki (Ten in Urusai Yatsura).

Whether you believe in fate based on the stars or destiny by your own hands, the important thing is to live your life to the fullest despite knowing the date of your expiration. I know I like to sing too but the kind of voice I have just puts me off. Probably why I never entered any Idol auditions. Would you rather hear songs from Full moon or sounds of a fool moan? If I really know my time is up, probably I would want to watch all the animes I can before I kick the bucket. Then maybe by showing lots of otaku determination and perseverance, I may just convince the grim reaper to extend my life to watch more animes. I’d be over the moon. Won’t that be asking for the moon? Ironically, maybe it’s watching too much animes that is the cause of shortening my lifespan. Now that’s what you call mooning my life away.

Kimi Ni Todoke 2nd Season

February 11, 2012

I never expected Kimi Ni Todoke to have a second season. At least not within a year since the first season ended. But it’s a good thing it came out because the second season should finally end it all with the main protagonists officially going out with each other, right? It has to. Or else it wouldn’t live up to fans and viewers expectations.

The second season continues right off where the first season ended. So if you really want to jump into the sequel, it is best that you go watch the first season to understand better how things ended up this way. A brief summary of what this series is about. It’s about how opposite attracts. Okay, not exactly. On one hand, we have the popular, friendly and good looking Shouta Kazehaya. It’s not surprise he clicks pretty well with his classmates and is the object of desire of just about any girls. On the other hand, we have Sawako “Sadako” Kuronuma whose looks may make look like she just came out from The Ring movies. So Sawako may be shy and honest but her modesty in correcting people’s misconceptions makes it hard for her to make friends or even approach them. But Sawako’s life isn’t a big horror or tragic movie because with a few friends who stood by her side thick and thin, she’ll be able to get by from all other b*tches and love rivals.

For this particular season, the drama is heavily focused on Kazehaya and Sawako. As we all know, these two are attracted to each other but don’t have the guts to confess those 3 magic words. Each thinks it’s a one-sided love after all. Sigh. Sometimes it got a little annoying and irritating but I guess it’s better for it all to build up rather than to have everything so rushed. So here once more, it’s those yet so close, yet so far moments. Before I thought I could pass it off as another nothing-much-happens (at least for the big majority of the episodes), I happen to find out a new character. Oooh. This might prove something interesting to the relationship of Kazehaya and Sawako. Either it will throw a spanner into the works or propel them further. Or both.

Episode 0
This is actually a recap episode from Kurumi’s point of view. I guess this is her only chance this season for her to take the spotlight before she is reduced to an irrelevant extra for the rest of the series. Boo hoo! No more Kurumi! No more pretty face for this series?! Uhm, what am I thinking? So this episode has snippets and flashbacks of how cunning Kurumi used other girls to secure Kazehaya for herself, to the day she met Sawako, the rivalry and attempts to break them up and of course her scheme exposed and lost. Not before she confessed her true feelings to Kazehaya though she was rejected. Ah, do you remember all that? But as Valentine’s Day looms, Kurumi ponders if she should get Kazehaya Valentine chocolates. Anyhow, it will be the first and last time for her. A little tad sad, don’t you think?

Episode 1
The seating arrangements have changed but don’t worry. Sawako no longer needs to be under the protection of Kazehaya, Ryuu, Ayane and Chizu any longer. Albeit she is still that same girl we know back in the first season. She is able to make new friends though she feels she is no longer that close to Kazehaya. Seating wise, that is. Duh. Sawako also makes Valentine chocolates for her classmates and especially Kazehaya. She even panics upon finding out she put too many nuts in his chocolate. Discrimination? Though she is able to give everybody theirs (even that loudmouth Pin got some), she is unable to give hers to Kazehaya, the person that matters the most. Her mind is bogged throughout the day while Kazehaya eagerly waits to get his. Something must be wrong because everybody got one except him. Sometimes procrastination isn’t good but I guess for Sawako’s case, she’s just summoning up her courage and when she finally decides to give her chocolates to Kazehaya, she sees him with Kurumi. Oh dear. She gives Kazehaya her chocolates. The first and the last. Sawako gets disheartened. Kurumi knows Sawako is spying and confronts her. She assures her it is only obligatory chocolates and makes it clear that Kazehaya rejected her a long time ago. Kurumi proceeds to tease Sawako a little, wondering if she’s hoping for a miracle and have never thought of dating Kazehaya. Of those chocolates are obligatory, she is sure Kazehaya will accept them since they are the only kind of chocolates he’ll accept. Whatever choice she makes, she hopes Sawako won’t regret her decision. With that, Sawako didn’t have the courage to give her chocolates (she thinks her chocolates are too serious to be considered as love chocolates?) and puts it back in her bag and leaves. Kento Miura (I thought Tamaki from Ouran High School Host Club was making his cameo) passes by Sawako and takes an interest in her.

Episode 2
The gang are now second year students. Good thing that a big majority of them are in the same class. Even Tomo and Ekko are with them this year. Could it be Pin had a hand in this? Sawako has deep thoughts on Kurumi’s words and wonders if she’s being greedy of Kazehaya. Flamboyant Kento is a new addition to the class and he doesn’t hesitate to be very friendly with her. His no-reservation style shocks everybody (especially Kazehaya) and to cap it, he sits next to Sawako. While Kento volunteers to be the class rep (it makes him stands out more), Sawako is being made the environmental officer due to her exceptional skills in gardening. After Ayane confronts Pin and confirms that he was the one responsible in keeping the class together (I guess he isn’t all that bad), Ayane finds Kazehaya waiting in class. Seems he is waiting for Sawako to finish her gardening. Ayane offers to help him out with his love affairs but he prefers not to have any third parties meddling. Sawako goes back to class and finds Kazehaya waiting. The atmosphere gets a little awkward. Though they manage to strike up a conversation, that itself feels awkward because it’s like as though they’re strangers. Hesitating, can’t say, blush-blush. Kazehaya leaves upon noticing Sawako finds it hard to answer his question of whether he is being arrogant since he considered her as her closest friend. Kento spots them and finds them an interesting odd pair.

Episode 3
Maybe Sawako thinks too much. Yeah, she’s thinking what Kazehaya meant by that. Just be yourself, girl. Seeing how ‘gloomy’ Sawako is, Kento trains Sawako to be more cheerful! With hilarious results! Scarier? Kazehaya starts to feel jealous upon seeing the duo interacting well with each other. He confides in Ryuu about his dilemma but I’m sure that baseball guy doesn’t have a clue to what he’s talking about. Even if he did, it’s not like had a solution anyway. Sawako continues to take smiling lessons from Kento. She still has a long way to go. Oh, she starts calling him ‘Master’! Later Ayane confronts Kento and warns him not to stick his nose where it doesn’t belong but he assures her he is a nice guy and have no ulterior motives. In class when Kento learns Sawako’s notes helped everyone with their midterms last year, he announces that Sawako will have a study session after school. Did she say that? Or was it Kento putting words in her mouth. But the turnout is big! Thanks to Kazehaya spreading the word. Not wanting to lose out, eh? Sawako coaches the class and even class idiots like Chizu and Joe could understand! Amazing! Everyone praises her but what shocks them most is that they saw her beautiful smile for the first time. Eh? I thought she put on this kind of smile before? After class, Kazehaya and Sawako have another of those moments. She thanks him and he praises her for being a good teacher. Oh, and not to let those words he said the other day get to her. Kazehaya leaves but Kento is waiting for him.

Episode 4
Well, Sawako continues to ponder what Kazehaya meant by that. Sighs. Sure, forget about the words he said that day but I’m sure he doesn’t mean to go think about that forgetting part too. Meanwhile Kento advises Kazehaya not to get too close to Sawako or giving her too much attention or else he’ll end up making her an outcast like before. The more you dote on her, the more jealous others will be. Kazehaya isn’t happy he is butting in their private affairs but Kento is worried that Kazehaya may be giving Sawako false hope. Kento also asks if he likes anyone and though Kazehaya replies that he does, he offers his help to make them go on a date. No thanks. Kazehaya meets Chizu on his way back and asks her if he and Sawako are different. Chizu thought he doesn’t realize he is in love with Sawako and takes his question the wrong way and responds that he doesn’t understand Sawako. Next morning in school, there is an obvious distance between Kazehaya and Sawako. Ayane and Chizu go talk to her and learn about the things they talked and that she didn’t give him her Valentine chocolates. Sawako is afraid that by doing so Kazehaya may hate her. Ayane advises her that she needs to step up herself or else this excruciating situation will go on forever. Later Ayane sees Kazehaya and kicks him! She warns him never to avoid Sawako every again or quit making her assume that he is doing so. Then as Ayane and Chizu talk, Chizu thinks of spreading the news that Kazehaya and Sawako like each other but Ayane says that guy isn’t the kind who would be happy if others butt into his business. They can’t tell Sawako to just go out and date him because Ayane doesn’t want her to date him when she still feels inferior and wants her to build up her confidence first. Even so, Sawako isn’t going to believe it if they tell her straight in the face that Kazehaya likes her. Then Chizu remembers the blunder she said to Kazehaya yesterday. She can’t mention it to Ayane or else her head will roll. Sawako returns to class as everyone continues to praise her for her wonderful supplementary class and medicinal herb she planted.

Episode 5
With the midterms over and everyone passed, it’s time for the school cultural festival. They come up with a great idea to have Sadako’s Black Magic Cafe. They can use the ‘herbs’ she grows and also provide fortune telling services. This has got to be a blast. We take a detour as Ayane helps Chizu apply some make for Tohru and Haruka’s wedding, in which Ryuu also attends. After that, Chizu confronts Ryuu and wants him to do a favour. To help talk to Kazehaya so that it will fix her blunder the other day. He refuses. But he will talk to him his way. Not because of her, but because he’s also concerned about him as a friend. At school, Ryuu shoots it straight to Kazehaya if he’s coming clean with Sawako. Kazehaya is confused over how to treat her and up till recently, it was easy being himself. Pin joins them and he too knows about this case. He teases Kazehaya that his ‘wife’ is cheating on him. He denies so Pin thinks he got rejected. But realizing he hasn’t told her his feelings yet, Pin gives his advice to go all out and confess. He thinks he’s the man. Sometimes I think he’s annoying. Kento visits Sawako tending to her plants. He tells her she isn’t a loner anymore and thus doesn’t need Kazehaya as she is able to stand on her 2 feet. This only serves to make Sawako think too much. Sawako stands up for Kazehaya, reiterating his good traits and how they’re able to talk freely without a wall between them. She feels she has changed and is at fault for the misunderstanding. Kento misinterprets this and tells Sawako she should learn to be independent and enjoy life. He ultimately says that Kazehaya likes someone and she should start life anew and fall in love with somebody else. But at that point, Sawako’s mind has gone numb from the shock, unable to hear further Kento’s words. Tears start flowing down her cheeks. Kento apologizes and tries to cheer her up but she can’t stop crying. He then suggests if he could be her boyfriend. Gasp! Oh look. Kazehaya is here too. Double gasp!

Episode 6
Kazehaya’s immediate reaction is to grab Kento and grill him why he made her cry. Sawako instead apologizes that it’s not his fault and Kento was just praising him for being nice and fair to everyone. Several guys happen to pass by and joke if this is a love triangle and that if Kazehaya likes Sawako. Kazehaya admits he does. But the guys find it hard to believe and seeing that Sawako is still crying, they try to cheer her up that what he probably meant that he likes her as a friend. Though Kazehaya walks away, Sawako follows him and tries to clear the air. She acknowledges that she also likes him but Kazehaya feels they don’t mean the same thing and walks away. Sawako is left in tears and oddly both of them are missing from the subsequent class. Rumours spread that Kazehaya likes Sawako so Ayane and Chizu confront Kento again that he may be sticking his nose around again. As they go look for them, Kurumi confronts Kento and wants to know what kind of fight Kazehaya and Sawako had. Pin spots Sawako crying at a corner and nearly got a heart attack upon seeing her dark eye bags! She’s like a tragic ghost! He finds out from her that she got rejected but before he can play counsellor, Ayane and Chizu shoo him away. Sawako explains she has been making Kazehaya treating her extra nice compared to everyone else. Chizu makes her think that if they’re being nice to her by being her friends. Of course not. But it’s that very reason why Kazehaya is acting this way. She tells her to stop being so dense and not to feel inferior to everyone. Wow. Even Chizu can’t stop being teary eyed. Ayane takes over and says that there is no difference between them and that they all love her. Later Ayane talks to Chizu (who is feeling sorry for saying those ‘cruel’ things to her). She feels Chizu said what is exactly needed to Sawako since things have gone wrong because she failed to grasp that one important truth. Anyhow, she is confident Sawako will do something about it herself.

Episode 7
Preparations for the festival is on the way. Ryuu meets Kazehaya about his confession but the latter thinks she wasn’t convinced and thus rejected. He felt hurt. Kurumi was eavesdropping so she later confronts Sawako. Sawako mentions she was rejected so Kurumi tells her that they’re not rivals. She tells her off for being a dunce, never put much effort in it and the kind of side that she’s been seeing in him all the while. Kurumi may have been rejected but at least she made her feelings clear to him. As the class works late for the festival (they’re behind schedule), Pin hauls up Kazehaya for that rejection he gave to Sawako. He gets confused when Kazehaya says that he was the one who got rejected. So Pin’s advice? Just forget about her. After all that crap he’s been spouting about not understanding Sawako, it all boils down to that he’s thinking about himself. So what difference does it make? Sawako joins the other girls in making costumes for the festival. She thanks Chizu for her advice while pondering upon Kurumi’s. Next day in school, Ayane and Chizu try to prevent Kento for making the situation even harder but he starts apologizing and blurts out that on second thought, Kazehaya likes her. Sawako denies it and so happen Kazehaya was there. Everyone else thought it was just a rumour since Kazehaya left with the guys without responding to Sawako. Ryuu passes her and points out that she tends to get her tongue tied. She realizes if this goes on, she may not even be able to talk to him. Ayane was going to punish Kento and sew his mouth shut for good but was interrupted by Kurumi. They’re blocking the vending machine. The girls wonder if Kurumi had a hand in what happened and she wasn’t afraid to admit that she was the one who made Sawako doubt herself to give chocolates to Kazehaya. Upon realizing that Kurumi likes Kazehaya, Kento suggests that if he goes out with Sawako, wouldn’t it solve her problem? But Kurumi slaps him! She doesn’t want to think she lost to that unworthy opponent ever. Ayane tells Kento off that his intentions may be good but his actions have hurt Sawako. So just be a good boy and stay out of this.

Episode 8
Pin approaches Sawako to get a report on their progress for the festival. He aims to be number one this year. He even tells her to forget about Kazehaya before this egomaniac returns to his ‘slaves’ to see how they’re doing! With the progress on the festival making headway, Kazehaya and Sawako can’t help ponder about the things that happened. Ryuu meets Chizu and gives her a bracelet as her birthday present. During the festival, Sawako’s fortune telling booth is a hit! There is a long queue of unhappy people waiting for her to cast black magic on others! Oh sh*t! But the best part is, when they come in gloomy, they leave purified! They don’t hold any grudges anymore! AMAZING!!! During her break, Kento visits her and got honest with her. He never pictured her and Kazehaya to be an item. Though she mentioned there was no wall between them, he feels the opposite is true. Only a wall exists between them. At this point, Sawako’s mind turned off so she didn’t hear his subsequent words that she’d be better off giving up on him, blend in with the class and go out with someone else like him (still not giving up, eh?). But he notes that the only person who can make her cry and sad is the only one who can make her happy and smile. Kento leaves and sees Kazehaya. He thinks Sawako may have the wrong idea but Kazehaya feels that he is right that they are opposites and that it was him who admires her. He beats himself up that he is not the amazing guy she thought he is and is just somebody jealous and short tempered. Besides, she always put in the effort and gives him too much credit. Then at the end of the day after lots of thinking, Sawako has finally made a resolve. She doesn’t care who Kazehaya likes and is going to tell him her feelings. She wants to see all his different kind of faces and wonders what face he’ll put up when she confesses to him. She has so much she wants to tell him and also wants to break down the wall between them. Arriving outside the classroom, she prepares to open the door to face Kazehaya.

Episode 9
Sawako is nervous so Kazehaya starts first by apologizing for making her cry and being inconsiderate of her feelings. Now it’s Sawako’s turn. Maybe she needs to beat around the bush a little longer to blurt out her feelings, eh? Let’s see, his smile, thank you, I’ve changed, thank you, I’m happy, thank you, for being nice, for smiling, for introducing many feelings. Man, it feels like she’s giving an Oscar speech. Finally the moment we have all been waiting for. From Sawako: “I love you!”. Make that many times like a broken tape recorder. For all the missed chances? Kazehaya pulls her in and hugs her. She got very embarrassed but was told not to hide her face. This pleasant moment could’ve last longer if Joe didn’t come in looking for Kazehaya! F*CK! While the gathers gather to continue finishing up the costumes for tomorrow’s costume parade, Pin barges in because he has a wonderful idea and favour for Sawako. Something tells me he has an ulterior motive. Did he bet on some sushi or something? Pin notices Sawako being embarrassed as she couldn’t possibly face Kazehaya tomorrow after what happened due to her secret desires. Pin tells her that everyone (including him) have hidden desires. Yeah, Pin thought he was so amazing giving that advice that he marches over to the boys’ place to deal with Kazehaya. Oh God. As usual he’s being noisy but you know Kazehaya doesn’t really welcome him. Kazehaya SMS to Sawako that he wants another chance to see and talk to her.

Episode 10
While the girls continue their work, Sawako is stirred from her thoughts of Kazehaya hugging her when the other girls make a fuss when they get to know that one of them likes another boy in class. Yeah, seek Sawako for more advice! The next day in school before the parade starts, Kazehaya sees Sawako. Joe could’ve interrupted again but this time their buddies are well prepared to drag him away. Kazehaya has something to say but Sawako wants to go first (before her courage runs out). She was happy when he visited the shrine with her but got scared of how happy she was and didn’t want him to hate her for it. She wants things to be different now and will try to change things with all that she has learnt so that she won’t let down others. As she leaves, Kazehaya shouts out that he loves her. Wow! Right through the crowd! Everyone must be shocked to hear it! But it didn’t bother them because what really matters are just the both of them. The parade starts with the floats and all walking throughout town before ending back at school in front of the judges. Now, Sawako is really dressed up like a creepy ghost character that she looks authentic! Scary! She is bloody convincing as she drags herself up to the judges’ table and handing them drinks (all part of Pin’s idea). Though impressive, the judges feel this is some sort of a bribe. During the closing ceremony, the winners of each category are read out and it seems Sawako’s class won first place in the refreshment booth category! Hooray! Everybody rejoices and gives their thanks to Sawako. However as the announcer continued, due to the bribe given, they received no points thus voiding their win. Pin is extremely shocked and couldn’t accept the results. I think the entire hall has to restrain this raging bull. There goes his hidden desires… His seafood paradise… During the bonfire dance, Kazehaya talks to Sawako again and assures their feelings are the same. She starts crying but this time they are tears of joy. Like a dream but it finally reached her. He wipes her tears as everyone watches in either satisfaction or unbelievable awe.

Episode 11
Sawako’s dad is sad upon thinking that one day her daughter will get married and leave the nest. It’s only a matter of time. As Kazehaya and Sawako make their way to their class’ after-festival party, they see some of their classmates reacting that confession scene! It’s no surprise that everyone hounds them for more information. Not only that, they pray for Sawako to let them achieve happiness with their significant ones. Her black magic that effective, huh? Kazehaya clears the air that it was him who fell for her. Later as they stroll on the beach, Kento talks to Kazehaya not to make Sawako cry anymore. Pin also want to play match-make so he has Kazehaya ask Sawako out on a date. Pin even did a voice over to make it as though Kazehaya asked for her hand in marriage! Whose fault it is if she really gets scared? Oh, she did. But Pin notes that the worst case scenario is that she may say yes. Haha. Must be some marriage joke. Sawako even called her dad to ask her about his thoughts on marriage. That day may be coming sooner than expected. So of course Kazehaya and Sawako meet to have a proper talk and she’s not that stupid not to know that it was Pin who did that voice over. Kazehaya asks her to go out with him. Sawako had this moment recorded in her diary as it constantly reminds her that it wasn’t a dream. It really happened. Next day in school, another long queue awaiting Sawako’s advice. Maybe it’s just coincidence that everyone who sought her advice got together. But Sawako thinks she’s swindling them! She should start charging and hourly rate. In class, Kazehaya is having it tough convincing the guys that he really liked Sawako on his own accord. Ayane wants him to make it clear what Sawako means to him. He bluntly says she is his girlfriend. Yes, everyone is streaming out to notify the good news. Kento is satisfied the way things turned out but notices Kurumi walking away. He thinks nobody would’ve thought a scenario whereby Kurumi would be the one heart-broken and Sawako the winner.

Episode 12
Kazehaya and Sawako are close to each other even doing class chores that it is annoying Pin! WTF?! I don’t know if this is his theory of Law of Equivalent Exchange because for an amount of good fortune to exist, there has to be the same amount of misfortune. He’s just jealous. But there are rumours that Kazehaya and Sawako’s relationship won’t last because he just wants a girlfriend. Sawako goes to find Kurumi because she realized till a while ago, everyone was able to dream and now with them an official couple, she’s like standing on their dreams. Well, there are a group of girls who aren’t too happy that Sawako got the guy. But Kurumi snickers at them. Kurumi in this last bit is dignified, noble and gracious in telling off those girls that they’re just sore losers and taking out their frustration by blaming and harassing Sawako. Still not happy, Sawako arrives on scene so the girls bug her that she may have blackmailed Kazehaya. Kurumi tells them to stop it because Kazehaya already have decided this himself. They threaten to reveal her rumour mongering to Kazehaya but she dares them. If that happens, Kazehaya will realize their hidden intentions because he once said he didn’t like people who rats on others just to get ahead. Plus, if they do something to Sawako, she is bloody sure Kazehaya will never ever forgive them. Sawako goes after Kurumi because she is her rival. What a way to put it and make those jealous b*tches reeling. They still think she’s arrogant but now it’s Ayane and Chizu’s turn to give them a pep talk. Would it be better if Kurumi ended up with Kazehaya? Or someone in their circle? They all like him and it didn’t cross their mind that he can only have 1 girlfriend? There is nothing wrong with unrequited love but nothing noble too. They are regretting because they didn’t act sooner. Before this, none of them had problems with Sawako. Just that all of them liked Kazehaya. Though it hurts, all they want for him is to be happy. It’s complicated. So no reason to go on acting tough and feel sad. The girls end up crying out their feelings. Took them long enough to realize, eh? Even if they’re mean b*tches on the outside, they’re still girls deep down inside. Meanwhile Pin feels like he is the one who masterminded everything and brought them together. He adds that the first one who confesses has the right to fight and become a girl’s true love. The rest do not count so Kazehaya has to fight his best if Sawako’s true love appears.

Sawako meets Kurumi at the rooftop to tell her she has confessed to Kazehaya. No, she isn’t here to brag, she felt Kurumi would’ve done the same thing if their positions were switched, though she denies she would. Kurumi says that she was able to tell Kazehaya her true feelings because of Sawako. Likewise, without Kurumi, Sawako wouldn’t have told him hers. Kurumi is glad that she is her rival. Later Kento talks to Kurumi and seems he has overheard their conversation. He wonders if he had a chance with Sawako. Kurumi refutes 100% because if Kazehaya was going to fall for her, he would’ve done so a long time ago. She notes Kazehaya will never like her now because she did something despicable. Ayane interjects that it would be impossible for her to be with him and she must be thinking she wished she was better off being a guy so that if he knew what she did, it’d be okay. But Kurumi is relieved that this saga can finally end now. Kento is glad that everything ended before he could start liking Sawako. As Ryuu and Chizu walk home, Ryuu throws her off her feet when he says he likes her. Wait a minute. Didn’t he say that last season? Yeah, Chizu knew about it, just that she didn’t expect him to say it. Kazehaya and Sawako go out with each other and finally Sawako manages to give him her Christmas gift (a knitted hat) and the Valentine chocolates. He instantly puts the hat on and starts eating the chocolates and finds it delicious. Hey wait! Shouldn’t it be expired?! Oh well, with the power of love inside it, it won’t expire so fast. I know it’s far-fetched but I would like to think of it that way. See, good things come to those who wait. In Kazehaya’s case, maybe he waited a little too long. But it’s worth it. Sawako mentions that she doesn’t know how to be a good girlfriend but Kazehaya says that being a girlfriend isn’t a job. Just be herself. He hugs her and thought it was only him who had feelings for her and not the other way round. Sawako notes she too had that same feeling.

Special 1: Mini Todoke Theatre: Cinderella Umederella
This is the first of two short specials that come with the DVD and with Kurumi as the heroine. But even if she’s just taking up these roles, is she really the nice, polite and noble heroine the fairytale portrays them? It’s like she’s bossing around dense Sawako in ‘villainous’ roles and trying to make the story go her way or the audience feel pity for her. Not working. Anyway in this Cinderella spoof, Kurumi is of course Cinderella. Or rather Umederella. Or Kurumirella as she wants it. Sawako as the wicked stepmother and Ayane and Chizu as the wicked stepsisters, Kurumi forces Sawako to touch her so that she could feign abuse and made to clean the house (is she regretting this?) while they go to the ball. Then Sawako’s back! Now she’s playing the role as Fairy Godmother. Because Kurumi wants to go to the ball, Sawako gives her a thumb size dress, a horse made out of brinjal and a little pumpkin carriage. Kurumi insists she uses her magic so she starts chanting Buddhist lines! Eventually Kurumi dons the pretty dress and the brinjal horse and pumpkin carriage grow to life size. Kurumi also steal the glass slippers Sawako is wearing. Rushing to the ball, Kurumi arrives and waits for Prince Kazehaya to turn up. However to her horror, it is King Pin! In her disbelief, she twists her ankle and falls unconscious. When she wakes up, Sawako is going to use a defibrillator on her!!! On her face!!! Luckily for her, the brinjal horse uses its body to protect her. The clock strikes midnight so it reverts back to its tiny size. What else to do? Eat it!

Special 2: Mini Todoke Theatre: Snow White Princess Ume
Yeah, Kurumi this time is the super cute Snow White princess (she’s even picky on her name too) while Sawako as the evil queen who bullies her. Kurumi dreams of a happy ending whereby she gets bullied by Sawako by eating a poisonous apple making her fall asleep, in which she’ll be awaken by Prince Kazehaya’s kiss. Inside the room, they ask the mirror on the wall, who is the cutest of them all. Though Kurumi’s mug came out, she still isn’t happy so she proceeds to ask who is the most beautiful of them all. Pin???!!! WTF?! Kurumi then rips a table as warning to the mirror to give her a serious answer if it doesn’t want to end up in half. So the coolest of them all? Kazehaya. The perfect woman to suit him? Sawako. Grr!!! Kurumi kicks the mirror away and forces Sawako to kick her out of the castle with guards hot on her heels. She ends up in a cottage in the middle of the forest. She falls asleep on the bed and when she wakes up, she finds herself tied up Gulliver’s Travel style! Say, all those little dwarves, don’t they look like those imaginary old men from Pin’s imagination? I don’t know how but Kurumi ends up taking care of them. Sawako knocks on the door so Kurumi wants her to quickly give her a poison apple to knock her out and get her kiss from the prince. Well, she doesn’t have an apple. But an apple pie. Its expiration date was yesterday. Since the prince is coming, Kurumi feigns unconsciousness. Then she finds herself tied up like Gulliver again. Worse still, it’s not the prince but Pin! Kurumi actually saw this coming so she got a trap prepared. Pressing a button, Pin is sent falling through the trapdoor. Now the real prince is coming. Kurumi wants Sawako to quickly make her faint. Ghost story? Medicinal plant? That apple pie again? After a dwarf whispers into her ear, Sawako quickly rushes out. Seems the house is going to be torn down. Here comes the wrecking ball! At least this way Kurumi can get knocked out now. Lying on the bed of flowers, Kazehaya goes up to her and their lips inching closer. Then poof! Damn it was all a dream. She’s in hospital with Sawako by her side. She cuts apples for him but Kurumi is cautious if they’re poisoned. Though Sawako assures her it isn’t, when Sawako eats them herself, she collapses! Kurumi’s worst nightmare comes true when Kazehaya opens the door. Argh!!!

Love Delivered…
So I guess that’s the end, eh? Just like how most viewers would have predicted and hoped it would be. Kazehaya and Sawako finally an official couple. Unless they make another season that sees them going through the obstacles of maintaining and keeping their relationship together, that will be another different manner. But for this sequel, I guess I was my usual self. I started out with high hopes anticipating something that will bring in the tension between Kazehaya and Sawako. Then that feeling waned and I thought it was going to end up like something draggy just like in the first season. The ‘barrier’ between them was annoying enough that it want to make you scream “Go ahead and confess already!”. The tension between them was like a time bomb waiting to explode. Then gradually towards the end, what do you know, they actually confessed to each other and all that nervousness that prevented them from doing so vanished. Maybe if you have been so nervous, it’ll hit a point where you’ll even get immune to it.

I have mixed feelings of Kento’s role in this season. Though he is the new character, I felt his presence wasn’t enough to have any impact. Don’t get me wrong here. What I meant was I thought he was going to provide some rivalry and jealousy between Kazehaya and Sawako. When he mentioned that he would offer to be Sawako’s girlfriend, I really thought he was serious. In the end, Kento is a nice and good guy that everything was over before he could really start to have feelings for Sawako. Thus it doesn’t get complicated from the beginning, middle and at the end. But the good thing about Kento’s appearance is that he gives our dense lovers the much needed push to take that step forward. Without him, Kazehaya and Sawako would have continued to be uncertain, doubtful, vague and directionless in their feelings for each other. In a way, Kento did play an indirect role in leading towards this development.

Because of the heavy focus on Kazehaya and Sawako, the other characters are given less prominence. Though most of them provide backup and support to the main duo’s main issue in the form of advice. Ryuu and Chizu’s relationship are just short flashes and it felt like so that viewers won’t forget that they actually like each other as shown in the previous season’s mini arc. Even if Kurumi really had given up on Kazehaya, somewhere in my heart I was hoping that she too didn’t really give up completely and was hoping that she would make a comeback of some sort. Didn’t happen. For a proud and cunning girl, she made a graceful exit by acknowledging and accepting (perhaps not totally) Sawako as a rival and friend. Okay, maybe not so much of a friend but without each other, they wouldn’t have found enough courage to do what they had to. So will Kurumi find herself a new love or stay single for the rest of her life? That will be another story. And I hope for all those girls who yearned for Kazehaya can put this one behind them too. No use crying over spilled milk. It’s time to move on. I’m sure they aren’t thinking of giving Kazehaya are harem, right? Pin is as annoying as he was. He thinks he is so great. But even so, there are times when his advice and words are sincere in helping his fellow students out. With Kazehaya hanging out with Sawako now, I hope Pin doesn’t resort to more ‘blackmail’ tactics of revealing his embarrassing past secrets to do chores for him.

Kazehaya and Sawako aren’t what many would perceive them as initially. He is popular and nice because everyone made him so. He is not perfect and also faces problems that any other guys would especially when it comes to the topic of love. She on the other hand may not be as dense and slow as she was in the first season and is able to make some progress in making some friends (I just wished she showed us more of her beautiful smile this season). Sawako still provides some of the comic relief when she starts believing her actions are the main fault that causes others to think or do so but just like in the last season, it got a little repetitive. After all, this is Sawako’s behaviour. You don’t expect her to change overnight into a totally different character, right? So the best is of course for them to be as they are and take things one step at a time. Yeah, easier said than done. Oh wait. They had this communication problem throughout this series. I hope they don’t misunderstand each other from now on. The opening theme is Sawakaze (a play on the main protagonists’ names) by Tomofumi Tanizawa. I felt it is somewhat similar to the first season’s opening theme. Yeah, the opening credits lasts for only a minute too. As for the ending theme, it’s no longer that drunken-sounding vocal. In fact, it is a nice and slow ballad by MAY’S. It is called Kimi Ni Todoke and not to be confused with the first season’s opening theme which also goes by the same name.

Well, what else can I say. Sometimes just being different from the rest doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll never have a same equal shot as everyone else. Sometimes it is the least expected that catches off everyone as a surprise and takes it all in the end. As this series proves, opposites do attract. But if Sawako wasn’t the ghost character look-a-like, would Kazehaya have fallen for her? If Kazehaya never extended his hand to help her out, would she have developed feelings for him? Though love is never anything easy or straightforward, but if handled with care, I’m sure it will be delivered.

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