Melty Lancer

June 14, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s finally here! OMG! The final stretch. The moment that I have been ‘fearing’ the most. Because it’s the final chapters of Gintama! Oh no! I have to face reality that all good things must come to an end. That time has come. At least for Gintama: Silver Soul Arc. It is going to be one hell of an epic finale with all the characters coming back for one last hurrah as they defend Earth and their beloved Edo from the hands of those who want to really destroy it.

The Defence Of Edo

Who watches the watchmen – The Liberation Army, a group of Amanto who are supposed to fight for Earth from Tendoshu’s destruction is now harassing Earthlings in the name of justice. They think they are entitled to everything because they’re helping them. Jerks.

Penny for your thoughts – If you have been laughing at Hasegawa for trying to collect every damn penny he could find, you won’t be laughing now that you see his vast collection of full jars and pots of those pennies. Because he is going to use them for a job request at Yorozuya. Well, if they ever come back.

Even God has abandoned Earth – Heck, there are more requests for Yorozuya to help save them. The last dependable people to rely on. Sorry, God. Nobody prays to you anymore.

Guess who’s back? – Just like heroes arriving in the nick of time for their grand entrance, our Yorozuya dudes have returned from space! Rejoice!

Kabukichou Khaos – All our weirdoes from this district join force to show the Liberation Army who’s boss. Those bullies don’t even stand a chance when it comes to the real deal.

It’s all about faeces value – Nobunobu decides to do some good and negotiate with the leader of the Liberation Army, Admiral Shijaku. The only reason why Nobunobu sounds threatening like as though he has a secret weapon ready to bomb the sh*t out of them is because he has a terrible stomach ache and is forced to hold in for this ‘important’ negotiation. Thanks to them on different pages, Shijaku agrees to cooperate with them and back down the aggression of his men on Earth. Such a stomach churning negotiations that I hope nobody craps in their pants. Oops, too late…

Naraku strikes back – Utsuro has also begun to move and begins his plan to die along with this planet. Hence his Naraku team has been dispatched to kill everybody. Oh, did I mention they cannot be killed and revive like zombies? How the heck are they going to die then?!

Infinity war – Prince Ensho, Shijaku’s other ally in the Liberation Army shows the shocking truth that Tendoshu are all dead. Or at least they are kept in some suspended animation. Ensho wants the war to continue because if it ends, where will all those who have lost everything vent their anger and frustration? Everything could have ended but there will be no end for them. Hence this endless war will allow them to remain on the battlefield.

All odds against you – How can you even fight Utsuro when you have to deal with his undead army as well as the Liberation Army? Yeah, plot device says too early for our heroes to win. Ensho is bombarding Edo and our Yorozuya are reduced to running away. Now they are cornered by heavy tank machinery, is this the end?

The police are back – Blame plot convenience again. But I guess we’re all so glad the Shinsengumi are back and packed with more power, political influence and weaponry to kickass!

Raw power – Behold Kondou’s true power and form! His birthday suit! Until he steps on his own dick. I don’t even… I guess some things never changed…

Rambo who? – Who the f*ck is this Rambo dude? New character? Nope. YAMAZAKI!!!!!!!!!! So badass that everybody looks up to him too????!!!! So this Rambo form is his true form and that scrawny Yamazaki was just his ‘heavy t-shirt’?

Gorilla who? – Apparently Kondou’s true form is a gorilla… WTF… Is this some kind of joke like that ‘heavy t-shirt’?!

World’s largest dick – That cannon Gengai made sure resembles a penis. Is this some dick joke? What dick move is he going to make?

Rise and fall of the machines – Apparently to power up this huge machine, the power of Tama and Kintoki are needed. So when all the electricity of Edo is zapped just for this one moment, then nothing happens? The real threat is not the cannon but the little nanomachines that Gengai has created. These will infiltrate into all other machines as viruses and cause them to fail. But at a great cost of sacrificing Tama and Kintoki? Now that the machines have done their part and becoming junk, it’s up to humanity now to save Earth.

Last bastion – More Amanto reinforcements as their numbers swell. They even have the reinforcements of the other great warrior tribes like the Yato, Dakini and Shinra. Kabukichou becomes the final strong fort for our heroes to hold out before their reinforcements arrive.

Stealth – With Sakamoto and Nobunobu thrown back into prison, their only hope is for Katsura and his Joi rebels to get them out via stealth. Too bad too much stealth has them being captured as zoo exhibits by Hata.

Size does matter – WTF?! Now we have a flashback of Hata’s Okoku clan?! At this point in the series?! Anyway, there was a dispute between who should be the next ruler and in this world, those with bigger dicks on their head are more favourable. Yes, those antennas on their forehead are like akin to penis. Hence there was a faction between Hata who has a bigger dick but talentless and Barkas who has a smaller dig but is talented. Eventually Barkas left the throne to Hata thinking a kind king like him would benefit the country at peaceful times.

The hidden dick – Guess what? Shijaku is Barkas! Yeah, his tiny dick made it possible to hide it, eh?

The dick king returns – Guess what again? The eldest prince with the biggest dragon sized dick thought to be dead, still lives! In Elizabeth?! And this dick talks?! Not sure about this flashback of Dragonia instead of dying in an accident, lost his memories, met Elizabeth’s tribe and somewhat fused with it. I guess Earth now at least has an ally to fight against the Liberation Army. Nothing is scarier than bringing dicks into the battlefield.

Ball breaker – If it’s bad enough Gintoki somehow losing his balls (literally!) in the midst of the battlefield, here comes Saigo crushing balls of Amano and Dakini! Sure kill!

To take down a raging bull – The Dakini tribe is sure tough. Especially their big boss who is tougher than an elephant and rhinoceros’ skin combined and more stubborn than a mule. And for him to finally be killed, it literally took the might and cooperation of literally everyone. From Yorozuya to Otae’s girls to Kyuubei’s family and even Tsukuyo’s geishas.

Will the real doctor please stand up – The Shinra tribe takes the women hostages as they want our heroes to hand over the doctor who created the cannon so they could stop it and make the machines work again. So will Gengai give himself in? Not if every Tom, Dick and Harry in town proclaim they are the doctor!

The boss returns – Jirocho and Pirako. The more the merrier, right?

Changing the tide – I suppose when you have a bunch of weirdoes being this stubborn not to give in and fight and fight and fight, now the Liberation Army is sent retreating with tails between their legs.

Flower power – Who’d knew that Hedoro was the strongest Dakini in his time but gave up the battlefield just to plant flowers? And now that you Amanto trampled on his flower, he won’t forgive you. Watch out! Because his punch really sends you flying!

In high spirits – Looks like the shikigami and demons are joining in too. Thankfully they’re on our heroes’ side, right? Right?! Well, let’s see who the fastest runners are.

Please don’t pluck the flower – Oops. Too late. Gintoki accidentally yanks Hedoro’s flower… Will humanity be able to stand the tsukkomi that his split personality has to give?

Peace and pandemonium – It’s great our Edo boys and girls are united and resting after a hard day’s fight to drive out the Liberation Army. But can Gedomaru stop feeding everyone those hideous looking Pandemonium bread?!

Missing old man – Gengai has been captured by the Amanto and they want him to turn off the nanomachines.

First contact – Soyo receives a transmission from Nobunobu. It’s been like ages since the war started.

Mix trail – Trying to find the trail that leads to where Gengai is kidnapped. Nope. Only sh*t and ass blood trail to leads that don’t matter.

Judgment Day On Earth

It can’t be stopped – It seems even though Gengai doesn’t know how to stop the nanomachines, Ensho already has another ace up his sleeve. He has started to warm up that Kagutsuchi cannon that will obliterate all on Earth within 6 hours. Yeah, blast it out of the sky. Or universe, rather. He is going to sacrifice his comrades on Earth just for this so the desperate Liberation Army has no choice but to continue their assault to take down the nanomachine virus or bring Edo down.

Star Wars – Hata and Hasegawa’s petty argument accidentally sparked a space laser battle from all sides! It has begun!

Late to the party – Looks like Takasugi is joining the fray. Better late than never. Because nobody gets to destroy Earth but him! Don’t worry about him on which side he is siding. He is everyone’s enemy!

Kiheitai origins – Not really told in full scope but at least it gives us an idea how the main guys of Takasugi’s group came to be and how they were ‘born’ to destroy the world and the universe. And the irony is that they’re looking like they’re trying to save it from destruction.

Word of the shogun – Nobunobu must have really done some deep thinking as he realizes the people who often come to the aid to save the country are those labelled as rebels or traitors. He gives his promise to never betray them ever again. He will fight alongside them as rebels.

Internal feud – After Kagura saves Gengai from the Yato, they deem her a traitor of their race. Good for her, Kamui and his Harusame Yato are on a side and hence a big brawl among the Yato to see which is the real Yato.

Sibling feud – I guess it was inevitable. Kamui and Kagura start fighting among each other and the poor Yato dude got caught in between. He must have balls of steel to be kicked around like that!

The big boss has finally arrived! – Utsuro has joined the fray! Now apocalypse can begin.

Power up – Looks like Utsuro conveniently makes Altana go berserk right now so that when it hits back at Kagutsuchi, the destruction will also affect other parts of the galaxy!

Making haste – Ensho orders all energy to be redirected to Kagutsuchi. In the process of killing their allies and enemies in parts of the ship, Kagutsuchi is now set to fire in 15 minutes.

Delaying for a miracle – Looks like the body count for our ‘heroes’ will be starting right now. Kihetai who are last to the party has lots of their men sacrificed. To buy time for Takasugi to cut through the main power source and stop Kagutsuchi, Henpeita crashes his ship while Bansai fights back with his last ounce of strength against the heavily guarded central command.

Running man – More Ensho flashback. He looked envious the women he loved married his brother. So when the brother went on a trip to sign a treaty, they were ambushed and Ensho let him die. After his death, Ensho took in his wife. However he is still running away from her all this time and only in a battle between life and death can he forget that.

The longest cut – Can you believe Takasugi’s sword could cut through the entire core of the cannon? It’s a long way down…

It takes life to protect a life – Mutsu and Elizabeth take lethal damage from Ensho as they protect Sakamoto and Katsura respectively.

Death battle – Well it looks like it is Enso versus Sakamoto-Katsura-Takasugi combo. Lots of blood spilled. Lots of damage taken. And these tough dudes can still get up and fight? Will the one with the stronger will win?

Unarmed – Looks like the fight is decided after Takasugi cuts off Enso’s arm (the other arm got blown off). So Takasugi can claims the spoils of the fight? Now you can die in peace.

Change of heart, change of fate – Just when Ensho decides to give up and surrender, a disgruntled henchman shoots him, not happy that if they stop fighting, what about all those who fought and died? What have they been fighting for?

The last shogun – Unfortunately some of the stray bullets also hit Nobunobu. Dying shogun has his last words for everybody. Stop the hatred, make peace, live on. The world can stand up and lead itself and doesn’t need a ruler anymore. Ah yes. Even if it is for a short while, it made him worthy of the shogun title. Goodbye Nobunobu :’(.

The Final Boss Battle

Calm before the storm – Thanks to the priestess sisters, they have been going around calming the Altana berserk. But with Sadaharu joining in and using up his life force for this…

Of the dead – Undead Naraku goons try to stop our heroes. Don’t worry, there is one guy left who is really late to join the fray: Umibouzu’s back! Is there any more left who wants to make their very late entrance?

Opening up old wounds – Do we have time for this? Umibouzu and Kamui continuing their family feud in this critical time? Kagura, you go tell ‘em!

Kryptonite – Apparently those are what those Altana crystals that Umibouzu collected all over the universe are. He experimented on researched on it to find a way to nullify Utsuro and Naraku’s immortality and made several weapons out of it. If that’s the case, they aren’t immortal in the first place, right?

Gotta save ‘em all – Shijaku orders Hata to destroy the mothership that they are all in since if it crashes into Earth, everything will be done for. Not if Hasegawa has something to say about it. He is going to save everybody. So as an immigration officer he is going to let everyone in?

Influence of an unemployed man – If Hata’s puny army barrier isn’t enough to stop the crashing mothership, don’t worry, they have reinforcements in the form of the Liberation Army. Grateful that they are even thinking about saving the lives of their enemies, now they are throwing their support behind them. All thanks to Hasegawa who answers to no authority and just do as he pleases without taking any responsibility. Too bad he has no power, money, influence or a job. That is why he is unemployed.

Doggone it! – Sadaharu risking his life just to calm the main Altana leyline down. He is defenceless, who is coming to his aid? Oh, you know. The usual suspects. He is after all Yorozuya’s pet dog.

Utsuro vs everybody – Why does this feel like Thanos versus everybody? How many are going to die just to take him down? So aside from cutting down the small fries in the Shinsengumi and Yato. The big guns like Umibouzu, Kamui, Kondou, Hijikata, Sougou are all having a hard time bringing down this monster.

It’s in your blood – Utsuro’s regeneration starts slowing down, enabling Shinpachi to deal the first lethal blow. His previous bout with Gintoki, the Yorozuya boss purposely threw Altana crystals into his eyes (hence into his bloodstream) after stabbing the Altana crystal sword into his eyes didn’t work.

Soul for the future – Think Sadaharu can’t last any longer? Not if everybody chips in to channel part of their soul as fuel.

Fear thy humans – Utsuro is looking pretty scared for an immortal. His beliefs of humans being cruel and cowardly foolish creatures crushed. Turning him into one big confused mess that they keep continue to fight against the hopelessness and weaknesses.

Power combo – Yeah, all our main characters had their fair share in beating the crap out of Utsuro.

Lonely death – So did Utsuro decide to finally just kill himself by jumping into the Altana and not take the foolish humans with him? So that’s it for him? Okay. He claims they have chosen endless wars and suffering but too bad he won’t be around to see it ;p.

Crash of the century – Kagutsuchi crashes onto Edo. Wow. Did the debris just miss everyone?

2 Years’ Time Skip

Rebuilding Edo – Time skip to 2 years later, Edo is slowly being rebuilt and the normalcy and familiarity of daily life with Amanto returning.

The new Gintoki – OMG! What’s this?! Shinpachi takes over Gintoki’s role and now kicks ass?! Oops. False alarm. He got his ass kicked instead.

Saving a dog – In the aftermath, Sadaharu turned into a really small pup that you would mistake as gachapon. Kagura leaves Earth to go planet hoping to return Sadaharu back to normal.

Madao rising – What’s this?! Hasegawa is now a famous flashy (but trashy) movie star and is considered a hero samurai?! Yeah, can’t wait till that fake samurai history movie is released…

It happened… – Think it is forever a running joke that Kondou will never marry Otae? Guess what?! They are! OMFG! Is this really happening?! Kondou now a stay-home dad after resigning from Shinsengumi and Otae is pregnant with his child?! F*cking fake news because this is what happened: He married a real gorilla as a political marriage. He is just staying with Otae to hone his homemaking skills and Otae’s tummy is just because she is getting fat.

The daughter you never knew you had – Gengai created a small child-like version of Tama, Tamako and contains part of Tama who is still in comatose state. She keeps following Shinpachi as though he is her father.

Illegal loli possession – Because of that, Shinpachi is charged for illegal possession of a loli?! WTF kind of law is that now???!!!

New police brutality – Haven’t you heard? Nobume is now the new general commissioner of the police in a bid to protect Soyo from the old bakufu foxes. Seems she is enjoying her power pretty well…

Donald Zuramp – All hail the new Prime Minister of Japan! Katsura!!! Yeah, this country is doomed!

Impeach!!! – More like assassins trying to get Katsura on the first day! Actually they were arranged by Matsudaira! Can’t have an ex-rebel leading the country, eh? Even though it was his fault to make a shady deal to turn Katsura into a PM, thinking he wouldn’t have lived this long.

Transporter – Now Shinpachi is caught in between. He is forced to deliver money from Matsudaira to buy arms from a black market dealer (Mutsu???!!!) for a hired assassin. Turns out the ultimate weapon is a loli Kagura. You mean Kanna is Kagura’s daughter???!!!!

Old friends, old rivals again? – Gintoki stumbles into Takasugi in his travel and after a short bout, he notices Takasugi’s wounds heal up instantly. Sure that’s not a ghost?

Never let a cancer cell escape because if you do… – As Gintoki is interrogated by Hijikata, the latter mentions that 2 years ago after the crash of Kagutsuchi, not only Takasugi was missing but the bodies of Tendoshu. You see, even if they are corpses, they still contain Utsuro’s blood. Uh oh. You know what this means? There are also rumours that Tendoshu is slowly reviving and are making small terrorist attacks to claim back Altana. Could it be that Takasugi has absorbed their blood too? But it is too early to tell his motives because he might have some unfinished business too.

Mobcop – If you’re wondering the sudden introduction of this Robocop spoof character trying to act like a main character, a character that nobody would care nor remember anyhow, behold the twist that this cyborg is actually Yamazaki!!!! Forgotten all about him, have you?!

Banana is my daddy – No joke. Kanna explains why she is Kagura’s legitimate daughter. She ate too much banana and puked out a child! Ah, at least no dirty thoughts were conceived. Were there?!

Just by a different name – Oh, the assassin Matsudaira hired is no other than… Sougou! Time to test the ultimate weapon or get revenge for an old grudge? So did the disbanded Shinsengumi now turned mafia?

They grow up so fast – In the heat of the battle, Kanna grows up to become… Kagura?! Or was it Kagura all along but just trolling us? She grows even faster when she uses up all her powers and now turns into grandma! And a sob story of how she travelled to different worlds to save Sadaharu but to no avail. Still a little small pup stuck in a marble.

Finding Sensei…

Everyone one chasing you – It seems Naraku is chasing after Gintoki because he is in possession of something very valuable. Even Takasugi wants it.

Piece of your heart – So that thing in Gintoki’s possession…. Utsuro’s heart. Or rather Shouyou’s.

The travels of Gintoki – When Utsuro told Gintoki during his final moments this won’t end and how they saved the world but not Shouyou, Gintoki knew Utsuro would one day revive due to the massive Altana he is made from. So he travelled to every leylines to check for any strange happenings. One whereby a priest thought it was some animal corpse but it quickly grew into a baby. Gintoki took the baby but hesitated to kill him. The baby then grew into a boy and followed him everywhere mindlessly without saying or expressing anything. In the boy’s final moments, he remembered he was Shouyou and before Naraku could take him, he gauged out his heart and entrusted it to Gintoki. The remnants of Naraku have been attempting to bring back Utsuro since.

Temporary immortality – When Takasugi went to destroy Tendoshu on board the mothership, he was killed off. He saw the Liberation Army salvaging the Tendoshu’s parts. In fear of the cycle repeating itself, Takasugi used his last ounce of energy to stab his school seniors’ ashes into his heart, enabling him temporary immortality. But now it seems that is breaking apart. For these past years, Takasugi has been trying to weed out those who have stolen the parts but it has spread far too wide.

Religion in war – In times of war, people cling on to religion as their last shred of hope. Hence Naraku has been slowly spreading the faith of immortality underneath this guise and awaiting for another comeback as they want Earth’s Altana all to themselves. They have kept Utsuro’s body and the crux that will revive him is his heart. Once that happens, who will be your true saviour?

Edo once more – Yeah, that’s where Shouyou’s body is and the next target of the terrorists.

Mobile Cathedral Kuyo – Apparently this is where this cult is located and where Shouyou is located. An invisible base that cannot be detected or seen by the naked eye hovering above Earth right now.

The mannequin challenge – We take a detour to see how Gintoki, Hijikata and Yamazaki had to act like mannequin to hide from Otae shopping. Expect some mannequin abuse and then dump away.

The pretender – In order to look for Takasugi, Gintoki masquerades at him only to be caught by Ayame who is looking for Gintoki because she still hasn’t given up on marrying him. He is forced to go along with her plan to ‘look for Gintoki’ and in his one chance to get away from her, he screws up and ends up doing the mannequin challenge again. Only this time he somehow put on Kyuubei’s pantsu as disguise. WTF…

MILF treatment – The ladies ‘torture’ ‘Takasugi’ by making old ladies pleasure him to tell the truth. Now he his soul has been cleansed! Except for boobs on his mind…

Home is where the heart is – With all the ladies earnestly hoping Gintoki could come home and that they could walk aside him once more, time for Gintoki to escape and rethink his plans.

Scam Trial…

Kangaroo court in session – And suddenly we have Gintoki as the judge residing to do a Gintama Ending Scam Court and explain how this sh*t started 3 years ago. With lots of troubles, unforeseen circumstances and ad hoc emergency measures, we are where we are right now. And there is no ending still in sight!

Guilty as charged – The biggest crook who is guiltiest of them all is no other than the creator and mangaka of this series! Guilty as charged, Gorilla sensei!

All charges dropped – After a longwinded letter that doesn’t prove anything (but a possible sequel. Maybe), Gintoki finds him not guilty!

Gintama Final: End Of Sky – This better not be another scam!!!!!!!!!!!

Battlefield Earth
And they did it again! If the anime seemed like it hasn’t ended yet (really, it has not at all), that’s because the manga that is supposed to end, hasn’t really ended yet! Good news?! Because somehow the creator screwed up (even writing a flimsy letter explaining to fans) and hence it isn’t ending any time soon. Hooray?! So I guess after all these years of expecting the series to finally end, they trolled us yet again with this. Yeah, we really had been had this time real good. Since I am a fan of the series, I can sigh a big relief as there is a possibility that the anime might continue to pick up where it left off. Hallelujah?! I’ve got a feeling that Gintama and Saiki Kusuo No Psi-nan had a hand in this conspiracy together…

This ‘final season’ in many ways was as good as the previous seasons and sometimes I felt it was like one of those cliché Dragonball episodes. You know, where the fight lasts for dozens of episodes! Hence with the final stretch having our beloved characters fighting to defend their beloved planet they are born in, basically this is what the entire Silver Soul arc is really about. Just one big long fight against the big bad boss who wants to destroy everything. Though, it felt a bit anti-climactic when Utsuro just ‘suddenly gave up’ because I was expecting some sort of final boss fight to last for a few more episodes. Yeah, probably we were getting tired of seeing our protagonists running around and beating up endless waves of baddies (doesn’t it feels like a video game?) and no ending in sight.

Hence I thought it was also a bit odd that with the ‘early’ death of Utsuro, we have a few more episodes dedicating to the time skip. Yeah, I thought it was going to be the longest tying up ever. Because you know, it’s Gintama. It has grown so big so it needs a lot of episodes to tie up and end everything. And then it turns out to be another new plot in the making. Another final battle and act on the cards. They do sure know how to troll us. Especially with that last episode. Boy, when we think the final episode wasn’t going to really cut it, suddenly it’s like they read our minds and put up that ‘explanation’. Oh yeah. Gintama. The masters of trolling. Gotta hand it to them. After all, some series can only end for real when it has final in its season. Like Fairy Tail Final Season, Nodame Cantibile: Finale, Shakugan No Shana Final, Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu: Finale, Inu Yasha: Kanketsu-hen (Final Arc), Saiki Kusuo No Psi-nan: Kanketsu-hen, Initial D Final Stage, Jungle Wa Itsumo Hare Nochi Guu Final, Hunter x Hunter: Greed Island Final, Sora No Otoshimono Final, Beatless Final Stage, technically Zero No Tsukaima F. Wow. So many finals. And now perhaps, Gintama Final: End Of Sky. Yeah…

It has been one long ride so probably what I want to say would make me sound like a broken tape recorder as my sentiments for this series has not changed. So I’ll be repeating myself if I am going to say those same sentiments again. Heh. Too lazy to type it out again. Go read my previous blogs. But I’m glad this formula never got tired for me. Like how in the midst of a very serious and intense battle, they can actually crack up a very silly joke no matter what. So many times. Therefore one minute your heart was being tugged by all the heartfelt words and quotes the characters said (makes you want to cry inside), the next minute they insert some ludicrous antic that is so out of place that you’ll be laughing your ass off. Only shows like Gintama can pull this sort of sh*t seamlessly.

Many of the characters do look like they have changed but that is mostly their outward appearance. Because from what I can see that many of them still remain the same like we have known them for a long time. For example, Shinpachi now has taken over Yorozuya but don’t expect him to be a more mature and responsible character. Sure, he is slightly better than his previous boss but Shinpachi will always be Shinpachi. Yes, without glasses, Shinpachi will not be defined! Haha! I didn’t think they were going to kill off a lot of characters during the final fight but I was expecting some heavy casualties. I guess they couldn’t because fans might be mad. Hey, don’t say that there aren’t any fans of Elizabeth!

Which brings me to my next point that with so many characters over the seasons, even with many of them just lacking appropriate screen time and just making their cameos (some I even forgot if they really existed in the first place!), it doesn’t really feel that they are lacking because over the seasons we have seen their characters and grown with them so I suppose the final season doesn’t feel like it has lost anything much on this department. It’s not like you need more character development and fleshing out in the final battle, right? But some that have a more prominent role include Hasegawa who didn’t end up being a Madao forever and did something useful (even though he is still a Madao) and Hata not being a useless prince for once (although he is still a useless prince). Is it just weird for me that Matako has transcended into some Takasugi fan boy because she looks like she is always worried for him 24/7. Even when the battle is over, she continued to look and chase after him.

The first opening theme, Katte Ni My Soul by Dish// definitely feels at home for the final epic stretch of the series. This rock piece sets the pace and mood for this final arc and can rival the Pray (the first opening theme in the first season of the Gintama series) in its own right. Not bad actually. The second opening theme, I Wanna Be by Spyair is also not bad but it is a slow rock. Like as though the pacing is now slowing down a bit. In comparison in this sense, I still prefer the first one. But my favourite one that I still prefer the most is the first ending theme, Hanaichi Monme by Burnout Syndromes. This rock piece has quite a catchy theme and that nostalgic feel. However at times, some parts of the song especially the chorus sometimes reminds me of Shawn Mullins’ Lullaby. Must be just mere coincidence. Unfortunately the ‘worst’ of the lot is the second ending theme’s Hikari Shoumeiron by Chico with Honeyworks. The opening of this rock-cum-hip hop piece sounds like some Chinese gay thingy. Seriously. Otherwise it just sounds more like generic rock.

Overall, it’s been one long ride and looks like the ride will be continuing. Even though I love Gintama and wished it would run forever, sometimes I think it is better to find some sort of closure since I don’t really want it to go on eternally like a certain pirate series. After all, I have made my peace and preparation that this series will find its ending and if I need the strength to do it again, I will. And then they troll us again of not really ending yet and the whole process repeats itself again. Don’t troll us too hard because we might get mad and tell you to commit a samurai seppuku! No trial or court could get you out of this one.

On a side note, what if End Of Sky is just a foreshadowing of how it is the end of the creator? You know, sora means sky and this series’ creator is Hideaki Sorachi. End of Sorachi! It’s like foreshadowing his own death sentence. Shikei!

Gintama: Porori-hen

March 23, 2018

OMG! OMFG!!! It’s like they could read my mind and heart! Gintama was certainly coming to its closing stages when they have really heavy story driven arcs in the recent previous seasons. Fans knew the time will come when the series will end. And what do you know? They surprise us again by giving us another season which is not related to this final story! Yes, people. Gintama: Porori-hen as the sixth season has gone back to its original roots of nonsensical slapstick comedy that we have all come to know and love. It is like before the big finale, before the sh*t gets real, let us watch and laugh one last time at their antics. Oh Gintama, you certainly know how to please our hearts. So we’re not crying with tears of joy. We’re going to laugh at all the silliness, stupidity and ridiculousness instead. And then we cry.

Episode 329
After a fake recap that rips off popular anime titles, we see Umibouzu worried about Kagura getting married to a jerk and then divorced and lead a tough shady life. Why is she fat, tanned and ugly?! Anyway, his fears come a step closer when he sees a boy giving her a letter and when she reads it out loud, he wants her to be his girlfriend. So what has a father got to do but go bug Gintoki for being a bad guardian or something. Even when Kagura tells them about her boyfriend and date tomorrow, it took them a while before reality hits them. Are they mad? Are they panicking? The best way is to ask her directly but the adults are just chicken sh*t to ask her and got distracted with their own nonsensical talk and fighting. So when Shinpachi finally asks and she honestly explains she isn’t sure what love is but is willing to try out because that boy put his heart into writing the letter, you bet the fathers aren’t going to allow this. Not that she cares what they say anyway. They allow her to go on her date but on a condition they meet her boyfriend first. So the adults get drunk and ironically Shinpachi the kid lectures them on what being a grownup is. Probably they take it too literally because they are now waiting with creepy smiles and in a huge body! Yeah, this is what they think growing up is. I guess they never thought it would apply to the brain or mentality. When Kagura is here, they think her boyfriend won’t come in is because he is having cold feet meeting them. Turns out he is a giant! A big baby!

Episode 330
Folks, meet Dai. Kagura explains the one who gave her the letter was Dai’s friend as he is shy and too big to write a letter. Oh, did she mention Dai is the prince of Planet Titan and was introduced by Soyo? Oh, look at all those Titan bodyguards… Dai does away with this formality crap and talks casually. In short, one can see his is a big jerk. It seems Dai plans to bring Kagura back to his planet and marry her. I guess that is shocking enough. So the fathers try to dissuade him by badmouthing how useless Kagura is as a wife? No wonder she is mad. So while the fathers keep punching each other (probably taking Shinpachi’s advice of being an adult literally), Dai and Kagura are long gone on their date. Kagura feels bored on the date and doesn’t think it will work out. Besides, she isn’t ready for this marriage thingy and is okay with long distance relationship. But Dai won’t accept this and puts her to sleep. Gintoki and Umibouzu confront Soyo. Why do they make her sound it is her fault? Anyway she reveals the Titans have this particular habit of taking brides from other planets. Once they do, to keep their DNA pure, they will destroy the entire planet of the brides. Technically, isn’t Kagura a Yato and not an Earthling? Dai initiates the wedding ceremony with his Titans wrecking the place. As the priest gives them the green light to kiss, Shinpachi kicks them and Dai accidentally kisses the priest! Shinpachi lectures him about the feeling of a daughter being taken away from her fathers. Dai won’t listen and sends his Titans to attack. But it is raining Titan blood? Turns out Gintoki and Umibouzu beating them to a pulp. You don’t know how scary fathers are. Eventually Dai gets beaten up but Kagura also beats them up for forgetting about her. In the aftermath, Dai sends a letter to Kagura. Looks like he has turned over a new leaf and is grateful about fathers. He will respect them and the family when he gets a girlfriend next time. But why does he sound scared about fathers too? The ultimate creepy twist is that Dai has found a new love: The priest! OH SH*T! Must be some twisted father joke…

Episode 331
Ikumatsu narrates that an old scruffy man always show up at her ramen store on New Year’s Eve, ordered a bowl and shared it with her and her husband before leaving. When her husband told her to keep up this tradition, that was when her husband soon passed away and that man never showed up anymore. She wonders what happened to him as she never got the chance to return his scarf. So Katsura and Gintoki are going to get to the bottom of this (is it because Katsura has hots for her?) as they assimilate as homeless people at the park? They are introduced to the Lawd who is no other than Hasegawa! He is speaking through a translator?! Is he that holy?! Actually the ‘translator’ is the Lawd. There is also a rival group of homeless people led by a ruffian who was done in by Katsura and Gintoki. Meanwhile Shinpachi and Kagura try to investigate more about the scarf as it has the crest of the famous Nishikiya on it. From what we hear it sounds very much like Ikumatsu is the heiress of Nishikiya whose father died 20 years ago. Ikumatsu admits to this but doesn’t remember how her father died since she was too young to remember. When the brand was booming, he started to flirt with employees and mom kicked him out. He is said to have died on the streets via illness. She could only remember her mom’s sad face. Well what do you know? That old scruffy man is supposed to be her dead father! The ruffian’s goal is to kill him. He forces Katsura and Gintoki to bring his head or else who knows what his men waiting outside Ikumatsu’s shop will do. This is his revenge on them. Lawd has a plan. Instead of looking for her father, they need to ensure Ikumatsu’s safety first and hence leads the morons out via sewer. Oh boy, Hasegawa is going to have his hands full saving them from stupid plunging jokes.

Episode 332
It is revealed that Ikumatsu’s dad saved a drowning boy on a bad weather. Though the kid was saved, he went missing. Many years later when he was found, he was seen with another woman. More accurately, he has amnesia and forgets everything by the next morning. The saved boy grew up to marry Ikumatsu as he kept searching for her dad until he found him at the park. He begged him to come eat ramen at their place to see his daughter even if he doesn’t remember. Strangely, he often wanders about on New Year’s Eve and into Ikumatsu’s store because of an old memory his family used to eat together. It turns out Lawd is Ikumatsu’s father. Gintoki fights the ruffian boss and his gang to let Katsura deliver Lawd to Ikumatsu. At the same time, Kagura and Shinpachi fight off the homeless hordes to let Ikumatsu do a ‘delivery’. Ikumatsu laments how she could forget about someone whom she loved so much. She accidentally falls into the river. Katsura is passing there as Lawd swiftly jumps in to save her. It seems Katsura only manages to pull Ikumatsu out. In the aftermath, Ikumatsu talks to Katsura and ponders if those last words she heard from her father were real. She is still grateful to him for if not for him, she could not have met her husband. She makes ramen for him to eat but he refuses because he is not related or part of her family. However he can still share her suffering as friends. The greatest news of all as her dad on a wheelchair is wheeled in by Gintoki. Ikumatsu immediately hugs him. We take a small detour as we see Hasegawa on the verge of jumping off the bridge. However he is told to appreciate life by an assassin who is about to snipe at someone! Suicidal man versus assassin. Who has more right on the views of life? Stay tuned…

Episode 333
Hasegawa suggests shooting him but Isshen won’t waste his bullets. However if he jumps from the other building, he can snipe at him and his target with one bullet. When Hasegawa treks up the other building, there is another assassin, Irron trying to snipe at Isshen! Hasegawa tells what is happening. Too bad Irron won’t kill him but only scumbags like Isshen. So Hasegawa has to go all the way back there to bait Isshen in hopes Irron will kill them with one shot. Back there again, Hasegawa is close to dead from all the running so Isshen is going to bring him to hospital! Life is more important than his job! What a nice guy! When Irron starts shooting and miss, Isshen tells him to go back there while he becomes the decoy. Hasegawa has to run back there again but Irron has injured himself. Then the baddies take him hostage and it turns out Irron is Isshen’s cross-dressed little sister. Hasegawa came here to die and became implicated in such complications. He has had it and takes Irron to jump down. Isshen then fires a shot that saves them from free fall. Looks like somebody will continue living today.

Matsudaira is conducting some lecture but Hijikata and Sasaki start arguing some crap that has them and their lazy partners do a case study via VR. It looks like somebody killed Momotaro and they must solve this whodunnit case. At first looks, it seems grandpa and granny might be suspects in killing him but further observation shows he has already been killed beforehand and stuffed inside the peach to frame them. Then they all go crazy with their theories as they suspect Momotaro’s comrades. With x-ray evidence showing he choked and he ate his animal comrades, Hijikata deduces after they slew the demon, they were drifting back and ran out of food. Momotaro gave his dango to his comrades but it soon ran out and they all died. Hence he ate them to survive. Finally when there is nothing left, he ate the dango bag and choked on it. A sad ending but the shocking revelation as Matsudaira says is that this isn’t Momotaro but the demon in disguise. After he ate the animals, he tried to make his way to eat more humans but died without achieving his goal. Cause of death? Brain tumour. WTF… Trolled…

Episode 334
As Tetsuko is looking through the swords, there is one without a scabbard. Gintoki nonchalantly throws it away in the incinerator. It comes alive and sticks inside his ass! Oh, it’s a talking sword. Kusanagi is from Planet Excalibur and came to Earth with his wife, Sayako the scabbard after smelling war. As time passed, he became blunt and tossed away. They only took Sayako who remained beautiful. He wants to be reunited with his wife so the gang conducts a free sword check. But why does Gintoki and Kusanagi sound like they are catcalling? Kusanagi starts resonating when his kind is near. It seems Kusanagi fears this dangerous guy, Senbei. But Senbei has to go since the cops after chasing him. Sougou couldn’t catch him so he arrests Gintoki for public indecency as replacement. Back at the HQ, Sougou rips Kusanagi out from his ass! Man, it looks like some sick bloody porn… Kusanagi realizes Sougou’s scabbard is Sayako. As he tries to talk to her, unfortunately she doesn’t remember him. She is very much in love with Sougou who saved her while being put on display in a shop in New York. They are leading a nice life now so she wants Kusanagi to stop bothering them. Kusanagi is so hurt that he sticks himself deeper into Gintoki’s ass! Since this won’t do, Gintoki challenges Sougou to a sword battle (buttle as they call it) over Sayako. But first they need to get the sword out from his ass. Looks like tying him to a tree and pulling it out via a truck isn’t going to work. With Kusanagi’s morale so low as he is obviously blunt, Tetsuko promises to beat him back into shape. Well… She broke him in half…

Episode 335
Kusanagi breaks again when reforged. At least his sarcasm is sharper… Tetsuko can tell it is because of his old wounds. Indeed. Sayako belonged to another sword initially. He was the cursed sword named Maganagi who consumed the life of all other swords and scabbards. Kusanagi couldn’t bear see his childhood friend become his latest victim and fought him and barely escaped with his life. Meanwhile Sougou is confronted by Senbei and as they are gearing up for a fight, another horrifying truth is revealed about Maganagi. Unlike Kusanagi who sticks in ass to be friendly with the wielder, Maganagi consumes the soul of the wielder. Hence Senbei isn’t actually himself but just a vessel for Maganagi. However Sougou easily defeats him! The day of the buttle is here. To Kusanagi’s fear, it seems Sougou is now the wielder of Maganagi. However it is Sougou who has tamed him! The real Senbei has been reduced to a vegetable state in hospital. He goes into trauma each time he thinks about being consumed. Hijikata realizes the horrifying implications of this if the greatest cursed sword falls into the hands of a super sadist. So the buttle begins with Gintoki and Sougou picking up coloured turds with the swords? And they’re throwing them at each other? After we’re done with all the poop jokes, the sword fight gets real.

Episode 336
At this point, Sougou has been consumed by Maganagi. The Shinsengumi try to arrest him but he is quick to slash their swords. They could have been goners had Gintoki didn’t distract him back to their fight. Gintoki is able to avoid all of his attacks because even though Maganagi took over Sougou’s body, his movements are now sluggish and easy to read. But shortly, Kusanagi goes flaccid. Ran out of juice? Maganagi is now quicker and sharper, doing some HP damage to Gintoki. This is when Sayako comes in between them. She doesn’t care about the swords but Sougou. Kusanagi thought she has really forgotten about them but Maganagi reveals the truth about her. She is Kusanagi’s daughter! WTF?! How can swords give birth?! It seems Sayako was pregnant with his child after he left and since it isn’t easy for a single swordless scabbard to protect a child, she housed many other swords even if it meant betraying her husband. By the time she was exhausted from it all, Maganagi freed her from it. By killing her. He is here to keep his promise to her so that all the family could reunite together in death. The shock kills Kusanagi as he disintegrates. As Maganagi tries to consume the scabbard, Sougou regains control of his body and doesn’t want the fight to end yet. Gintoki did the unthinkable as he becomes the scabbard to revive Kusanagi. Yup, he sticks the broken sword in his ass! Sougou won’t lose out and stabs Maganagi in his own heart. Both power up to astronomical proportions and explode upon clashing. In the end, Maganagi lost and disintegrates. Kusanagi is also on the verge of disintegrating but we get to hear his last rites of gratefulness. In the aftermath, Sougou and Sayako continue their normal life. Tetsuko and Yorozuya pick up all the disintegrated iron they could find. It took them a while but Sayako plans to forge the dullest sword out of it. Even so, Sougou hopes he could get it when it is ready as he is okay having a sword that doesn’t cut anything because the sword and the scabbard will never be apart again.

Episode 337
Otsu might still be a good singer but Gintoki argues that as a solo artist, her popularity would soon wane and she might be doing shady stuffs to keep relevant. Hence it is suggested she teams up as a unit. So they had to pick Kagura as her partner? Whatever. I’m sure we can see she has some talent aside from that nose picking thingy. Gintoki becomes the producer while Shinpachi becomes the manager (and everything else) in this duo unit called Hanakuso Diamond 48 (HDZ48). There is also some silly argument over the roles that they would be taking on that pretty much obsessed over some producer called Daisuke as well as the bands of B’z and Wands. Otae enters the scene to give her 2 cents worth of opinion about backup dancers and bands being the more dangerous enemies than fans. I guess it’s her cue to introduce herself and her all-girl band comprising of Kyuubei, Tsukuyo and Ayame as their backup band. They know nothing about music… With HDZ given the green light, it seems not all parties are happy. Like this intergalactic idol group as well as Otsu’s loyal fans who do not approve of her being in a unit. Looks like Shinpachi as their captain is going to be answerable to his hypocrisy. Gintoki arranges a sleazy handshake event that attracts perverts. But with Kagura’s strong grip that ‘destroys’ their perverted hands, Gintoki tries to cover up by selling stuffs and throw in idol service as extras but with unexpected consequences. Like a lap pillow, Kagura knee kicks them! Yeah, each cover up sounds more and more like some shady TV shopping channel. The disgruntled fans has have had enough when the intergalactic idol group drops in. Galaxy Kingdom Bitches 48 (GKB48)!!! I’m not kidding you.

Episode 338
GKB48 has private curtain rooms for their handshake. Makes you wonder what ambiguous stuffs they’re doing behind the privacy. Poor Otsu is so disheartened that all her loyal fans have deserted her, she runs away in tears. However GKB48 won’t let it end like that. As Otsu locks herself up at the agency, a new scandal surfaces. Superimposed pictures that make it look like Shinpachi and Gintoki are flirting with her. You know the journalists are going to be hard on their asses. GKB48 soon announces their debut on Earth. It will be on the same date of Otsu’s release. They are also planning to hold a concert for this debut and invite Otsu to battle with them. The winner gets to release their album while the loser quits forever. Otsu may not stand a chance but Yorozuya won’t go down without a fight since they are technically her last standing fans. GKB48 are insulted when Shinpachi and Gintoki dress up as new female members. Furthermore, Otsu didn’t show up. Her replacement? But HDZ48 has the backup band as support. The competition begins to see which side can get more handshakes from their fans. It seems the fans are all rushing towards GKB48’s gate while HDZ48 is a ghost town. HDZ48 plays dirty as the backup band girls start insulting those at the end of the queue. While this looks like they are only alienating fans, they quickly put up an apology act. The perfect tsundere act has some fans defecting to them. As Gintoki puts it, this isn’t a competition to see who the best idol is but the biggest slut alive! Hey, they started it so don’t regret. Gintoki then introduces their own private handshake room: Toilet stalls! Don’t understand his explanation but it sounds very shady and perverted that the backup band girls beat the hell out of him. At least more fans are coming their way, right?

Episode 339
It gets even worse when Otae and the girls are just arguing among themselves to be the centre. Don’t even talk about abusing the fans in the process. So are they serious or not? Not too surprising, the fans abandon them. With GKB48 taking an immense lead, Shinpachi dons his headgear as Otsu’s fan club captain. He is going to settle this once and for all. Yup, he is going into that private curtain. After all that big talk, he couldn’t even last a second inside! But did he? Actually he tore out an antenna that is supposedly mind controlling all their fans. Not only their fans revert back to normal, GKB48 revert to their ugly true form. With GKB48 disqualified for cheating and HDZ48 gaining fan support, GKB48 of course is going to get some payback. Kagura and the backing band keep them at bay with their immense strength and rotten music respectively and ultimately defeat them. And while they talk about dreams and ideals, Otsu who heard their sincere heart, makes a return to stage. Her fans are delighted as she starts singing for them. In the aftermath, Otsu shines as bright as before. HDZ48 got disbanded even before it lifted off. But I guess for all those who know, the legend of HDZ 48 lives in everyone’s heart.

Episode 340
A blatant promotion of their Gintama Rumble video game but also badmouthing and criticizing it in their usual fashion. So Yorozuya sneak into the game company with Tama to hack and change the game. First it spoofs the Tales series by giving some lame ass main protagonist who can only answer S or M. Then some outbreak disease that is so horrifying that it kills you in no time if you don’t do anything. Trying to scare us NEETs, huh? The zombie outbreak leads to a change in genre, a survival horror game Resident Evil style before a mission to save the princess that parodies Mario. Safe to say this game got cancelled.

Shinpachi broke his glasses so he sees a shady optician who gives him glasses that would make him see ‘clearer’. Turns out he could see ghosts latching onto people’s back! Cursed glasses! When he tries to return to the store for refund, it isn’t there anymore. Ghost store? He returns home only to find a terrifying deity-like ghost (Asuraman) haunting Gintoki. It turns out to be a vengeful spirit trying to kill him?! What about Kagura? She’s got an alcoholic Pikachu rip-off (Alchu)! Maybe that’s why she’s always in a bad mood when she wakes up. Then everyone attends a local race. Too bad Shinpachi could see dead warriors and fighters itching to kill each other…

Episode 341
These are the other ghastly things Shinpachi sees: Hasegawa is a ghost too?! Asuraman and Alchu sabotaging their own team because more spoils for the victors?! Other characters also have their ghosts haunting them like Otae has this super majestic monster Buddha, Kondou has his from his balls (?!), Katsura is a Toyota Corolla rip-off as well as Hijikata a Maserati rip-off?! Also, Hasegawa, Asuraman and Alchu combine to form one hideous (in a funny sense) sphinx beast or something. In the final game, it is kibasen mixed with a few other games to save time. It seems ghosts are also invited to participate! Naturally everyone targets Shinpachi’s team and as he resigns to his defeat, suddenly he sees a vision of that shady optician. Turns out he is his guardian spirit and just wanted him to see what their world is like. Giving him his original glasses, should he put them back on, he will never return to this world. And so Shinpachi takes it and uses the power of his glasses as his weapon and fails. His glasses break too. Time to get another one.

Do Not Slip Up Now!
Okay. I’m ready to do this now. I’m ready for it all to end. I’m ready for the final season. I’m ready for the final long arc as announced at the end. Unless they troll me hard again. But I could accept that. Anyway, back to this season. Well, I’m glad the same ol’ Gintama formula is still there. The funny exaggerated slapstick moments and the sudden ‘lessons in life’ that would instantly give you the feels are all too familiar and very much welcomed for veteran Gintama fans. It is a roller coaster ride from laughing and feeling touched. One minute you’re laughing out loud like a maniac, the next second you could be welling up some tears in your eyes. Oh, Gintama. That is why we love you throughout the years. It is that same love that we are going to see it end.

It is great for this ‘light-hearted’ season to feature some of the characters who didn’t appear in the couple of previous story arcs like the Shinsengumi. They were obviously and sorely missing from the previous Rakuyo Arc. This could have been well before that arc since Sasaki is ‘revived’. But you know, Gintama doesn’t really need to stick to all that who-lives-who-dies timeline just to make us some great entertainment. Also given more screen time this season are Hasegawa and Otsu who have been one of the few ‘favourite’ minor supporting characters throughout the long running series. Oddly for Katsura’s focused episode, I wonder what the heck happened to Elizabeth. That fake duck mascot character has always been by his side and they are like inseparable. So it is quite odd (at least for me) to see Katsura without his trusty sidekick for a long period of time especially a short mini arc even if it is just for 2 episodes. Of course Elizabeth is seen back in the final ghost haunting race for a short while and owning Katsura like he does sometimes.

I theorize why they called this season as Porori-hen (Slip Arc) is because they slip some random weird non-related arc into it. Okay, that is not what the slip for porori actually mean. At first you might think there would be some crazy-like fanservice because porori is often heard in anime when a female’s top gets loose. This is Gintama. We’re not expecting any bare breasted females for shock but there’s still that chance. But could it be there is a deeper meaning about this series slipping down? Maybe it doesn’t mean degrading in quality but while heading towards straight towards the final arc, a staff slipped on a banana and hence the production decided to take a detour, hence the slipping from its original path. I think.

This season’s opening theme, Blue Encount by VS feels reminiscent like their past songs like Pray, Donten by Does and Giniro No Sora. But if it sounds a bit more similar to DayxDay that’s because Blue Encount also sung this song. Then ending theme, Hankou Seimei by Ayumikurikamaki is quite a fun and lively rock piece. It has this cheeky and playful beat to it. The ending animation credits might troll us because we see many of the series’ characters in wedding outfits like as though somebody (or all of them) is going to get married. Turns out to be one elaborated birthday bash for Kagura. Do people use wedding theme for their birthdays? How else are they going to dress up so nicely then?

Overall, what needs to be said about Gintama has been said. What I wanted to say about Gintama has been said (unless I have forgotten). There is nothing else for me to comment on this season but just another reminder (might sound like a nag after a while) how great this series is. It’s so weird and random that it’s just funny and good. At this point, to a godly level. Unless you have no taste in comedy than that’s a different story. Now that the fun time is over, it’s time to get serious and look into the colour of Gintama’s soul. Unless somebody laced the entire pathway with bananas then more potential porori. Oh, we’ll get there. Just a bit later…

Gintama S5

August 26, 2017

OMG! More Gintama! I wasn’t so sure it would have another season the last time the previous season ended but I guess this is what clinging on to hope feels like no matter how miniscule it is. So yeah, I couldn’t be happier for another season of Gintama but this comes with some ‘trade off’. Unlike the nonsensical slapstick comedy Gintama that parodies everything I have known, it continues the big storyline that got things running from the previous season. Yup, it is going to be another grim season. In fact this entire season can be dubbed the Rakuyo Arc. More revelations, more surprises, more things coming to a closure and hopefully a tiny bit of crazy nonsense to remind us that Gintama will always be Gintama. Oh heck, they have always been like that since the start.

Episode 317
A flashback of Gintoki in a bout with Shouyou but as usual lost. He tells Gintoki to stop growing stronger by trying to imitate him. He wants him to grow stronger by wielding his own sword. The sword of a human. Currently Yorozuya is hiding under the refuge of Katsura and his Joi rebels. Nobume seeks them out for a request. However they are cut off when angry Matako views Nobume as a traitor for selling out the Mimawarigumi to join forces with Gintoki. Nobume explains Mimawarigumi was just a pawn being used. Now they are gone along with Sasaki. Henpeita confirms the rumours are true. Nobunobu and the elders betrayed Kiheitai and cut them out of Harusame. Kamui led his division to attack one of the syndicate’s bases but it was a trap. They barely escaped after realizing they hired someone with a familiar killing style. That person is no other than Umibouzu, the world’s strongest hunter and the father to Kamui and Kagura. When the Kiheitai was under attack, Bansai took it upon himself to let the others escape while he went to rescue Takasugi still in coma. They want to find his whereabouts. Nobume further explains about the Tendoshu. They are all beings born from Altana, a new energy resource Amanto discovered. In some worlds, they are referred to as ley lines. Thus the terminals you see built by Amanto around Japan are powered by it. Thanks to this energy, rapid development across the universe like interstellar travelling became easy.

This led to many parties trying to gain control over it and after many wars, a non-aggression pact is signed to render Altana reserves off limits and an agency is formed to monitor Altana gates or holes. The Altana Preservation Agency was later known as Tendoshu. Thus the group formed to monitor the holes became obsessed with it for their own use. That’s why they are interested in Earth which has a massive reserve of Altana. An unexplained effect influences the principles of life and on this planet it took the form of a man: Utsuro. It is the founder’s name passed down through generations of Tenshoin Naraku and each head is said to inherit that name. During the Tokugawa’s reign when Naraku served Tendoshu, the Utsuro then mysteriously went missing. It is believed he concealed his identity as Shouyou. His students later caused a failed rising in which he was executed. However when they burnt his body, he came back to life. Over its 500 year history, Naraku has had 13 heads. All of the same man. A man incapable of dying due to Altana. Nobody knows how long he has been living but he is now the most dangerous man in the universe. Meanwhile Utsuro is meeting with the elders. He eliminates all of them so that he could have full control of Harusame and of course to shut them up forever.

Episode 318
Gintoki and Katsura discuss about Shouyou. Gintoki believes Utsuro is not Shouyou because that is something else not even Shouyou could defeat. Shouyou is dead. Umibouzu meets with Utsuro. He makes it clear that his intention is to kill his own son. Get in the way and he will kill them all too. Oh, Oboro is still alive. Although he has died, he has been resurrected simply he has to immortal blood of Utsuro. However the numerous times of reviving has taken a toll on his body and he vows to continue using it till his body rots away. Shinpachi relays the bad news that Kagura has left Yorozuya. She joins Matako and Henpeita’s troops on a journey. So everyone also leaves a leave letter to leave Yorozuya with a promise to come back. Bansai wakes up in the company of Sakamoto and his Kaientai fleet. They are waiting for Katsura and his Joi rebels to join them for departure. But looks like they have another guests coming on board: The Yorozuya boys. Bansai is sceptical of the trio because he believed they cut ties with Takasugi a very long time ago. Their departure is hindered when Nobunobu and his fleet surround them. He is going to destroy the traitors however the Kaientai’s ship they were communicating was just a decoy. The real one rammed Nobunobu’s ship from the back. They jump in and easily take down Nobunobu’s men. Bansai is shocked in seeing how they could easily turn the tides in their favour so fast. With Nobunobu as their prisoner, the new shogun thinks he still has the upper hand because he reminds his men to die for him or kill themselves. This makes Bansai punch the hell out of him. He tells everyone to not give their lives to a leader. This country no longer has a deserving leader. Nobunobu is now alone at the summit as slowly everyone by his side leaves. Bansai agrees to take the gang to a secret hideout the Kiheitai converge in case of such emergencies. Kamui and his troops are taking refuge on a planet named Rakuyo. A planet ravaged by wars and the birthplace of Kamui and Kagura. Umibouzu is also here.

Episode 319
Nobunobu still acts tough till Sakamoto reminds him that he may no longer be of use to anybody. Because of his blunder due to his personal grudge, he has been too sullied to be used even by Tendoshu as a puppet. At this rate they’ll just get rid of him with the rest. Might as well join with them and fight through. Abuto warns his men not to fight Umibouzu because they can never defeat him. His side is keeping comatose Takasugi. Gintoki’s group have already arrived on Rakuyo. Each time Bansai points out their hideout, it explodes! Apparently Harusame is already here and they’re waiting to take them all out. The skirmish begins as the samurais run faster than bullets to take out the lowly Harusame soldiers. Watching them in action, Bansai now understands why Takasugi stayed alive all this time. Sakamoto suggests the group to split up because he realizes the enemy is trying to take them out one at a time. They might be outnumbered that way but it is better than being easy targets in a huge group that can be taken out at one go. 6 of the 12 Harusame divisions have been mobilized for this mission and half that number just to hunt for a single man. Among the leaders of the divisions, the most dangerous and strongest trio known as the Three Mad Stars are on this mission. Uranus Hankai who is the only division without any troops below him faces off with Sakamoto and his Kaientai. Pluto Bato who can read people’s mind with his third eye are up against Gintoki and Bansai’s side. Finally Katsura and his Joi rebels stumble into the syndicate’s strongest assassin, the monkey dude Neptune Shokaku.

Episode 320
It is an animal fight between Katsura and Shokaku, throwing all sorts of trickery and brute force at each other. Therefore it is no surprise we have flashbacks on Katsura on how he got the nickname of being a coward. It stems from his grandma telling him a general should be the most cowardly person in the battlefield. Because if he dies, who else is going to lead? With that philosophy is how Katsura fought all his battles. In the end, it is his hard head butting tactic (which is also his other nickname) that earns him victory. Shokaku’s army would have wanted to take out Katsura but monkey dude admits his defeat. Katsura presses for answers regarding Utsuro’s goal but nobody knows anything. All he knows is that they’re being toyed with till they break. Meanwhile Sakamoto and his Kaientai cause damage as diversion and run so as to take the battle away from the main field. However they are soon attacked by their own allies. Actually it is Hankai who has hacked the computer systems of his ships. He gives Sakamoto a choice to either gun them down or be gunned down by them. Either way he loses. Hankai not only hacks the computer but the minds of his crews. His real army are the millions of tiny nanomachines invading and taking control of one’s nervous control system. Sakamoto and Mutsu leave the steering of the main ship to the rest while they go handle their zombie crewmates.

Episode 321
Before Nobunobu is about to be zombie fodder, Sakamoto and Mutsu save him. They believe Hankai’s goal is to steal the ship’s greatest firewall and is at the control centre, thus the zombies to stall them. Nobunobu is left to ponder why they spared him as well as observe the fool or great man Sakamoto is as he doesn’t abandon his men nor kill them. When they finally arrive in the control centre, Mutsu saves Sakamoto from Hankai’s attack. Actually Hankai has possessed Nobunobu earlier on and used this trick to get to Sakamoto. Sakamoto does a shocking move by trying to destroy the firewall. He doesn’t mind going down with the ship because you aren’t qualified to do so, you don’t have the right to fly with it. It is also part of his ploy to force Hankai out of Nobunobu’s body. Nobunobu can’t believe he still isn’t abandoning him in such dire straits. Unfortunately Hankai can read Nobunobu’s mind and repels Sakamoto’s attack. This makes Nobunobu think he wasn’t empty when he was at the top, he was empty to begin with and that he could only define his existence by using others. He tries to fight Hankai’s mind control. Eventually Mutsu who was under Hankai’s possession fought it off to give Sakamoto enough time to shoot and destroy Hankai. Once that happens, everyone is free from their brainwash. Their other ally ships support them just enough time for them to fix what is necessary and keep them afloat. Gintoki clashes with Bato who claims he has been searching for him for the last 10 years. Did he get the wrong person? Because I certainly don’t remember Gintoki be this fat. And who the heck is Pakuyasa?!

Episode 322
Hankai thought he is playing dumb as his third eye sees everything. After all that refuting and Gintoki thinks back harder, yeah, maybe there is a fatty named Pakuyasa. Turns out he tried to be Gintoki’s disciple. He tried to prove himself doing errands but eventually wasn’t cut out for the sword and eventually went on doing shady things nobody cares about. Although Hankai could read every move Gintoki makes, eventually Gintoki too can read his every move and defeats him. Simply because he is empty. For the first time, Hankai could see things when his eyes are closed. Bansai is willing to sacrifice his life to let Shinpachi get away from Oboro and his Tendoshu. Guess who came back to save his ass? Takasugi! Whit this guy’s revival, you can see his Kiheitai motivated back up to kick some serious ass. Then Gintoki and Takasugi just wiped out the entire field of Tendoshu in their way so they could just beat the heck out of each other. It’s their way of greeting the other bastard. Some things don’t change. Katsura and Sakamoto join them and for the first time in ages, the quartet are fighting together again.

Episode 323
The quartet begin their full assault against the entire army of Tendoshu and Harusame. Nobody can beat these guys when they’re together, right? Apparently Sakamoto, Katsura and Takasugi decide that Gintoki should be the one to press ahead and save his new friends while they stay back to handle these pests. Meanwhile Umibouzu is about to face off with the big boss of Harusame. However that lion face is instantly cut in half by Kamui! What a way to make your debut and death scene. Kamui is like a raging beast as he goes all out to kill his father. Something about him wanting dad to acknowledge how strong he has become to kill him. Family issues. The super power fight is interrupted when Kagura stops Kamui. Unfortunately he cannot be stopped so he beats her up thinking he would awaken Umibouzu’s beast mode if he kills her. Fortunately for Kagura, she has changed. She has become much stronger as she fights back while telling off her brother he is the only one who has not changed all these years. That’s why the family left him behind. Umibouzu tries to stop his children from fighting but complicating matters is Utsuro who jumps in to kill Kamui. Umibouzu sacrifices an arm to push his children out of harm’s way.

Episode 324
As the epic battle between Umibouzu and Utsuro gets underway, we have Umibouzu narrate his flashback. More like him telling his story of his younger days when he was still taking care of Mutsu. The Yato originally came from a planet named Kouan. It was ravaged with war till it became inhabitable. The Yato survivors fled to other places and Kouan became infested with dangerous mutated monsters. It is believed Umibouzu tamed its monster. He disagreed. Something along the lines he lost a bet and had to go back home and hit on a woman. That is where he met the last remaining Yato survivor who has stayed on Kouan, Kouka. A dangerous but strong and beautiful woman. She is fighting the monsters and it is no surprise Umibouzu is also fighting his own ‘monster’. So amidst all that fighting, he tried to flirt with her. Ignored at first, they finally open up to each other. Umibouzu would often tell stories of his travels as she listened to him with that same boring expression. Umibouzu had to always leave for business and then return to her. Because he always felt lonely without her and she too expressed she would like to visit another planet, the time came when he finally took her away to live on another planet. Despite being the strongest in the universe, he is the weakest in the household! Nobody can stand the wrath of an angry housewife! But after giving birth to Kamui and Kagura, she started coughing blood. Death was creeping up. It was then he understood why she once said she couldn’t live elsewhere. This is why Kamui always blame him for killing their mother.

Episode 325
Kamui explains Kouka was ‘born’ on Kouan as a result of Altana. She would have lived forever had she not left the planet. That’s why he blames father for her death. When Kamui was young, Kouka was already sick and he often got bullied. However he had to often hold back as father didn’t allow him to use his Yato strength on those weaker than him. So he tried to learn getting strong the hard way like picking a fight with the Harusame that docked here. He was desperate to get mom back to the planet but she wouldn’t want to. She would rather die together here than living alone forever. However it fell on deaf ears. Kamui had decided to cast away the idea of being family even if it means keeping mom alive. Even if it means beating the crap out of dad. All came in a bad time when Umibouzu just found a rare Altana crystal (which is why he spends most of his time away) as cure. But the damage was done. Kamui chopped off an arm of his and Kouka died soon after. With no family and no one to protect, his only goal was to become stronger. Kamui defeats Kagura and hopes she would release him as he is seeing shades of mom in her. Umibouzu’s epic battle with Utsuro continues. The former claiming this high level battle, his own life is a hindrance. So he sacrifices himself to plant some Altana crystal into his heart, believing that it would work along the lines of pouring diesel into a petroleum car. It didn’t. Utsuro revives and finishes him off. But he has to leave as his Altana is getting low. Though he is sad Umibouzu can’t kill him, at least this is the closest he gets to experience death. Apparently Kamui is not happy father is down. He still wants a go at it but Gintoki now comes in between. Since Kamui is stubborn to be the strongest, Gintoki ‘defeats’ Umibouzu to take on his title to be the strongest. Then Gintoki beats up Kamui to show how weak he is. It is no wonder why he could never beat his old man.

Episode 236
Enter one of the bloodiest and hard hitting fights you’d ever see. Gintoki is trying to pummel into him about protecting those you love as well as emptiness (talking from experience). But that isn’t enough as now Kamui turns into a mindless violent beast. Now Abuto has to jump in and beat some sense back into this guy so the Kamui he knows would come back. So talking about moving forward and not stopping him then, eh? Well, if Abuto wasn’t enough, now comes Kagura and Shinpachi into the fray. So what they’re talking now? He doesn’t have to lose anything. Nobody will be taken away from him anymore. Nobody has to die. And when Kamui finally got a little bit of himself back, the siblings aim one final punch at each other. They couldn’t hit. After a thousand punches from everybody, all it takes was a sister’s tear to knock him out and cry himself to sleep like as though he is sleeping on his mother’s lap.

Episode 237
So everybody patches up and goes home. Kamui wants to be stronger but for a better cause. The end. Oh wait. Not just yet. Umibouzu might have lost both arms but he’s got a better replacement for them: Bazooka arms! What a super upgrade. But it’s time to go back in time a little. When Takasugi and his Kiheitai got separated from Katsura, they bumped into Oboro. They clash as we get to peek at Oboro’s past. He was the only survivor when his clan or monastery got massacred. In fact he could have also died had not Utsuro resurrected him with his plan. His intention was despite he cannot die, he wanted Oboro to live long and hate him forever. But Oboro decided to dedicate his life to him and serve him till his blood dries up. He wanted to learn assassin techniques but Utsuro declined. Instead, Utsuro wanted to be a student and learn alongside him. Oboro then made a deal with him he won’t learn assassin techniques so please establish a school and he will be his first student. Then one day Utsuro went missing and Oboro set out to find him. When he did so, it was a ploy for Utsuro to make Oboro leave Naraku for the outside. He wouldn’t do it himself so the only way was for Utsuro to defect himself. With Naraku hunting them down, Oboro decides to sacrifice himself to let him escape. He thought Utsuro thought he had died but of course Oboro is immortal as long as his blood flows through him. Oboro returned to Naraku to keep Utsuro out of it all as he turned into a cold hearted killer. One day Oboro saw Shouyou with his new students. Some sort of jealousy must have hit him. He was the one who captured Shouyou and made Gintoki execute him, believing he would come back. Before his execution, Shouyou thanked Oboro for he would never have become so had he not met him. He is proud of his first student. Takasugi defeats Oboro and the latter believes the blood has dried up and is time to go. This pain is nothing to Utsuro’s eternal suffering. But he will first tell him what Utsuro and Shouyou are.

Episode 328
Utsuro lived so long that he doesn’t even know his name. All he know was he was always abused and killed throughout time. But each time he resurrected and this only made the people fear more and show more animosity. So as time passes, Utsuro then started to return the favour by killing people. After all, he only learnt from humans how to kill, right? So when his killing spree seemed unstoppable, the only Utsuro to stop Utsuro was Shouyou. When the Tendoshu got hold of Utsuro, he made a deal that in exchange for his blood to gain immortality, he wants the power to destroy himself. But they feared him and did not give the power and authority, the key forever engraved on their palm that would allow him to control Altana on the planets. When a planet with Altana is destroyed, they think a traitor is among them. Till they realize it could be Utsuro’s plot to destroy the planet. But how could he get the key? Did he steal them? Their ‘dropped’ arms. He just picked them up. Apparently the Tendoshu may have received his immortal blood but their body isn’t immortal. It will fall apart but they cannot die. Thus it will always be there until it rots away. Since he has so many arms, I guess there are so many traitors among them and more planets exploding soon. So cutting a long story short, Utsuro’s goal is to wrest the control of Altana from Tendoshu and start a universal war that will end on Earth, the planet he was born and the Altana of which he cannot die as long as he consumes it. His suffering, their suffering will go on as long as Earth exists. It is a monster Earth itself has created. So while Shouyou failed to stop Utsuro, his death gave birth to his students in which his spirit lives on. Oboro laments he can’t fight for Utsuro, his teacher or himself. If he had a chance to do it again, he would have love to be in the same class with them. Oboro dies as Takasugi picks up his body to bury it in an appropriate place. Henpeita tells this same story to Gintoki, Katsura and Sakamoto. They believe they were the ones who created Utsuro. Maybe Shouyou created his school as hope to fight against this. He may have gave birth to his students and now their battles have given birth to other comrades. There is more hope now. Umibouzu and Kagura visit Kouka’s grave. Umibouzu wants Kagura to relay a message to Gintoki. Utsuro is not immortal. There is a way to kill him. But he needs to hang in there long enough till he finds out what it is. They realize Kamui has left a flower here too. Everyone returns to Earth where the final battle is about to begin.

Family Ties That Bind
Well… It sure is another splendid Gintama season. Despite the predominantly dark tone, it still shines through. But I’m sure I don’t have to worry if there would be any future sequels because I am very sure there will be. Having come this far and that the manga has reached its final arc, there would be no justice and closure for the anime if this series does not get another season. Besides, the Rakuyo Arc has been the longest arc in the manga and despite only a dozen episodes for the anime, this arc itself has become the longest arc for the anime. And ironically this is the shortest number of episodes for a season Gintama has. So we are just a step away from ending it all… Although Gintama still continues to ‘continue’ for now, they are just rerun of past episodes with new opening and ending themes. NOOOO!!!! GINTAMA ENDING FOR GOOD AFTER THAT???!!! I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!!! I HOPE THEY’RE JUST TROLLING ABOUT THIS LIKE HOW THEY TROLLED US IN THE PAST!!!

Anyway, this season seems to bear the same sentiments like the previous’ season’s Shogun Assassination Arc and Farewell Shinsengumi Arc. There are very heavy drama and emotional moments and thus it doesn’t feel like the usual nonsensical slapstick parody that all of us has been growing up with. Sure, there are very spontaneous and light hearted moments that will make us burst into laughter. But that is far and few in between. Like a short distraction to appease viewers so they won’t be in gloomsville for the entire time. But this time we are well prepared for it seeing we have those previous arcs as ‘preparation’ and learning that this Rakuyo Arc would be the centre stage of this season has made us know what to expect.

The plot gets a lot heavy on the family drama side of Kagura. Finding a closure of why Kamui has been such a train wreck when we first know him. Therefore sometimes I feel this Rakuyo Arc can be summed up as Kagura’s family arc as it was mainly about them. But even if that takes the main focus, you can’t discount about Utsuro and Oboro as well as the Tendoshu. It also gives more insights about what really happened and what they really wanted. It builds up to the final fight that our main characters will have to battle. Well, I can’t say I am too surprised of what Utsuro’s main goal is although I didn’t really guess it accurately. I’d figured out it would be something on that universal scale. I mean, it would be a big shocker if the real goal was just to find his lost pony, right? Holy crap! I don’t know if that would be the ultimate comedy or insult for this series.

Hence it goes without saying that Kagura, Kamui and Umibouzu take the limelight while the other characters like Shouyou’s students take a little backseat despite being reunited for the first time in ages. At the way the plot is going, many missing characters were felt too like the Shinsengumi and all others back on Earth like Shinpachi’s sister, her gender confused friend and that old hag who runs a snack house beneath Yorozuya. Gintama that prides itself with many quirky and eccentric wacky characters, this arc in this sense has ‘limited’ itself with the absence of this characters. I know it is no fun and games here and that real sh*t is going to hit the fan but like I said, we have grown up watching these characters that it just feels a little empty without them. Besides, our beloved characters are now away from home fighting. It’s like playing an away game in your opponent’s home ground but your supporters have no money to come watch you play and nobody has money to sponsor them. But since the final round will be on home ground, I have a feeling that every character big and small will have a part in deciding fate and the future.

This season’s opening theme Kagerou by Real is another rock based that befits the overall theme of the series well. I know this series is as gloomy and melodrama but there are some brutal action parts with blood spilling and limbs being cut off so I suppose this kind of beat isn’t that bad. Though, I feel that tune feels kinda familiar. Can’t put my finger on it at this point. The ending theme is really in hard metal punk rock fashion, Silver by Rize. With the funky bass lines, the singer is screaming at times like as though it is the only way to sing this song. Oh wait. It is.

Overall, this season can only be appreciated by Gintama fans and those who have followed it from the start. New viewers might be confused what the hell is going on and might not appreciate the long heavy drama that permeates the entire arc. It is a season that is made for fans and stays true to it. At this point even though I have said that I would love Gintama to run forever, I guess when reality hits you, even immortals like Utsuro do not want to live forever. This is a sign to us viewers and fans to prepare for the inevitable. Because when that time eventually comes, we will be ready to see off this great series that has ran for over a decade with respect and leave with a smile. Gintama, you have always been part of our family and will forever will be. It is the only part that will never truly die. Like the eternal spirit of the samurai.

Starship Operators

August 18, 2017

When your nation surrenders to another larger kingdom without a fight but a small group of you do not want to accept that. You want to fight back and take back your independence. However you have no money for war. No war funds to buy weapons and supplies to fight back. So how do you find funding in such situation? You sell broadcasting rights to a broadcasting network for a reality TV! No kidding. This is the premise of Starship Operators. And this was way back in 2005. At that time I guess reality TV really means what it means. Because as far as this series is concerned, the real price to pay is that death is real. Yup. People are going to die in this war game that is seen across the galaxy as reality TV. A matter of life and death to a few, entertainment and showbiz to the rest.

Episode 1
Shinon Kouzuki is a space cadet on the Starfleet Amaterasu. She is part of the space combat cadets from Defence University on a training voyage to Planet Kibi. Suddenly they hear on the news that the kingdom of Henrietta has attacked Kibi. All the cadets are placed in one room as they try to discuss what is happening but information to them is pretty scarce. They believe Kibi’s government surrendered immediately and cadets who dream of enlisting will have to look for jobs elsewhere. But Cisca Kanzaki has an idea. They can steal this ship and fight against the kingdom. Shinon is against this but she is surprised when everyone else agrees to this. However they are short on supplies and ammo. As Henrietta is repealing all trade treaties with governments that have lost their armed forces, Amaterasu is considered up for sale. That means anybody with money can buy this ship. They assume Cisca will sponsor but unfortunately he didn’t bring that much cash. However he knows who to get for sponsor. There are some nations who are against Henrietta but will they risk it to form an alliance with them? Cisca is going to do negotiations with the Galaxy Network first. The deal is done and Amaterasu is now owned by the cadets. They even sell their broadcasting rights to Hollywood! Reality TV? Thus we have reporter Dita Mirkov on board broadcasting everything live on Amaterasu back to Galaxy Network.

On their first episode, they are already to engage the enemy. Cisca takes command when the enemy already starts firing from afar, outside Amaterasu’s firing range. Can’t blame the newbie for panicking so with suggestions from the crew, it is assumed the enemy is firing a rail gun. But Shinon disagrees since it is strange for the enemy to waste ammo firing at such a long range (its effectiveness will decrease the longer the distance). Intelligence officer, Yuuki Shimei adds that the enemy has no intention to evade attacks and plans to end the fight before they enter Amaterasu’s firing range. The enemy is discovered to be a gun battery attached to a factory and can replenish ammo by itself. Shinon realizes the reason why the enemy chose this as their battlefield is because up ahead are asteroids. She has a plan to take cover behind an asteroid shadow. They will use it as shield to get up close. Then they will move out of their safe zone to observe the enemy so they can formulate an attack plan. Although Amaterasu takes a direct hit, its heat resistance armour which is the selling point of this ship, regenerates. Amaterasu is able to get within firing range and destroy the gun battery. A successful mission but Galaxy Network’s producer, Peter Spikes isn’t quite impressed yet. Later Shinon talks to her best friend, Miyuri Akisato that the producers want and has made Cisca as captain, Takai Kiryuu and Shinto Mikami as commanders while all the operators will be girls. Also, former Prime Minister Mamiya who is also the uncle of Rio Mamiya will also be boarding Amaterasu. All Miyuri can say is to do their best in battle for this ship is the world’s biggest interplanetary observatory. It will be too much of a waste to let it get destroyed.

Episode 2
As soon as Mamiya gets on board, 2 ships from Henrietta appear. Since Amaterasu doesn’t have the resource to take on both ships, it is suggested that they run to the nearest neutral planet, Phoenicia. Their advantage is that they have no planet or citizens to defend. With Mamiya on board, they are like a government in exile. Dita continues to take footage of the crew during their break. Cisca and Rio talk about Sei Ogino being a workaholic and has negotiated well for Amaterasu. Because press conference requires fees and they have received many participation requests. Press conferences will also be their best bet to relay what is happening. Furthermore, Rio is the best debater in university. Although everyone thinks the duo are the ones who came up with this plan, it is actually the show producers. They wonder if Shinon also knows about this plan since she was mostly against it all but ironically didn’t disembark when she had the chance to. A ship from Henrietta, Trafalgar appears. Its commander hails them and lets them know his intention to engage them. The alert is sounded as all crew rush to their battle stations. I suppose fighting one on one is okay. As Trafalgar is accelerating, it is believed it has a short firing range. Yeah, but it has a very powerful plasma cannon.

When Trafalgar fires its plasma cannon, Amaterasu also fires theirs. However both beams negate each other. It is then they realize maybe this is what the plasma cannon is for and that Trafalgar intends to attack them via laser cannons. As they plan their next move, they get a call from Peter. He wonders why they are not doing anything after the first blast. He doesn’t care as long as they fire missiles or lasers or whatever. Just shoot back. Well, he is the sponsor. Got to go with it. Amaterasu employs 2 anti-laser weapons, Kasumi. As it takes time to set up, the enemy starts firing its laser cannons. Their radar did not pick up any flashes since it is shot at the speed of light. Although it scrapes Amaterasu, damage is minimal. Once they have finished preparing Revolver and getting into firing range, Amaterasu shoots but using auto-aim instead of manual adjustments that would have had higher percentage of hitting. Yuuki has analysed Trafalgar’s evasive manoeuvre programme and it is much simpler than thought to be. Trafalgar takes a direct hit and blows up. Amaterasu is forced to hear the eerie amplified sounds of the ship disintegrating in space. Amaterasu might have won this battle but soon Sei reports casualties. When Amaterasu got hit by the laser cannon, 3 of the maintenance crew outside were in its path. A space burial is held for the fallen. It is too late to realize this isn’t TV drama or training exercise. This is real reality TV.

Episode 3
Shinon falls depressed believing the deaths of those men are her fault. Arei Hisaka and Takai are doing maintenance of the panels outside Amaterasu. Arei’s adopted father was a commander on board a ship that was destroyed by Henrietta. Thus she is here to seek revenge. Takai has a different stance. He views all those who died as part of the war. If they start thinking who is killed or have killed, wars would never end. It’s not like he hates Henrietta but he does think they are wrong and is here to live up to his beliefs. An abnormal sun flare is detected. It will reach Amaterasu in about 8 minutes so all crew outside are to hurry back in. Takai takes this opportunity to hug Arei while he brings her to safety. Don’t want regrets? However he doesn’t bring her to the usual hangar but to some hatch. After he throws her in, he runs out of fuel and is left floating in space. Luckily Shinto in his mini ship picks him up shortly. Apparently this is a stunt for the ratings but Peter views it too nice to be aired. Cisca is facing some problems because some of the crew wants to call it quits. Then a civilian ship from Kibi hails them. Gendou Wakana who is the father of Sanri hopes his daughter would stop this and come home. Sanri explains the contract they have with Galaxy Network and the amount needed to be bought out. Father is willing to sell his company for it because what good would it do if Sanri is dead. Nothing else would bring her back. Plus, if Amaterasu surrenders now, all crew will be pardoned except the 5 whom Henrietta considers as leaders: Cisca, Rio, Takai, Shinto and Shinon. The communication is instantly cut off so as to make them think carefully what is needed to be done. When the 5 leaders converge, Shinon is convinced this is just a psychological attack Henrietta orchestrated. It is the perfect time to shake them since they have experienced casualties. Takai believes whoever wants to leave, let them leave because Amaterasu doesn’t need so many people to operate. In fact, Yuuki can actually operate the entire ship by himself.

Yuuki detects some malfunction somewhere in the ship. To avoid unrest from the crew, he sends Arei and Sanri to take a look. Arei talks to Sanri and knows she loves Takai. It is the reason she stayed on board. Sanri asks if Arei loves Takai too but it is more of because he saved her life during external maintenance. Arei suggests she confess to Takai. Although she might be afraid of the answer because she doesn’t know his feelings, it is only because he doesn’t know hers. Arei continues about her own experience. There was a man she loved but he has gone far away. She loved her adopted father not as a father but also as a man. Some of the crew are getting restless to leave as they don’t want to be dragged further into this. Sanri’s friends hope Takai could persuade Sanri to stay but he believes she has to make that decision for herself. Soon Sanri puts up a reply broadcast. The first thing she does is confess her love for Takai. To her this feeling is very important. Important enough to risk her life. That is why she is staying on Amaterasu and won’t forget the kindness and care her parents raised her. Father is devastated to hear this so the Henrietta guys putting him up to this break off whatever deals they had. Thanks to Sanri’s determination, the crew members now find new resolve to stay on. Can you say that love saved the day?

Episode 4
Admiral Dul Elroy receives word from Admiral Fares of Aboukir that he is going to make his move. As Henrietta’s greatest commander, he will end this charade and bring victory to the kingdom. Everyone is bugging Takai to respond to Sanri’s feelings. This guy promises to only do so if he lives through the war. Can’t think about love when he doesn’t know if he is going to die? Isn’t all the more reason to? Amaterasu picks up Aboukir’s presence. Fares wants the space pirates to surrender or die. Now, Aboukir is a stealth ship as Shinon lists down its accomplishments. Henrietta is so proud of its stealth ship that it even publicizes images of them. Shinon’s answer to take down a stealth ship is simple: Just find it. However with their detection systems down, all they need is to pool their efforts and find it first. Besides, they a person who is very keen on observation. So Miyuri who has a keen interest in observing the stars, takes on the job to find the stealth ship but it is hard to find it. Otherwise it wouldn’t be a stealth ship, right? I’ll leave the mumbo-jumbo out on why it’s hard to do so but they have around 5 to 10 days to find it if they are to be victorious. Shinon then suggests a very unusual method to find it via shock. Something about stealth capabilities that obstruct light from planets and other emissions thus there will be black stains appearing on the light curtain.

The operators begin their meticulous search area by area for Aboukir but it is still like a needle in a haystack. When Takai comes to check on them, Shinon gets another idea. She hopes he could do them a favour in firing all the missiles. This is not to fire at the enemy but the flashes of the explosion would provide shadows and thus make it easier to pinpoint. Cisca has his reservations if it fires too far behind or in front of Aboukir but with Miyuri’s keen eyes, she would be able to pick it up. And don’t worry about the costs of the torpedoes. Peter will deal with the budget. Just make it flashy. So once Yuuki has calculated the whereabouts of Aboukir, they fire their missiles before finishing it off. Elroy fears the worst when he knows the flashes of light and explosions do not originate from Amaterasu. With no communication coming from Aboukir, everyone is in shock that the stealth ship is defeated. Takai hopes Sanri can give more time to think about her confession. He wants to really think seriously about it. Okay. She’ll wait. Henrietta has released a statement confirming the destruction of Aboukir and the death of Fares and strongly condemns the pirate ship. Amaterasu is requested to leave Phoenicia in 24 hours so Cisca and Rio seek Mamiya’s advice on where to go next. He suggests a place where they are away from Henrietta’s surveillance. A red dwarf and planetary nation of Shuu who is fighting against the kingdom might be the nearest option.

Episode 5
Shuu agrees to welcome Amaterasu but there is a condition: Some of them need to attend a televised reception of their welcoming. Shinon doesn’t like this because they are treating them like celebrities. Aren’t they on some reality TV? Besides, does she not know of an advertisement blatantly using CGI of their faces? After all, this reality TV has the highest rating on Shuu so you can bet the public is really eager about. While the event is underway, Henrietta makes a sneaky move to declare war on Shuu and move in to attack. Takai as the acting captain knows this emergency move is to pin them down because they can’t run away and leave their captain who is still down on the planet. Plus, there are other crew members, Akiho Maya and Renna Satomi in town getting supplies. They notice one of the guards accompanying them acting suspicious. Like as though they know about the war declaration. This means there is a traitor in Shuu and a coup d’etat is going to occur. They have to get back to Amaterasu before that happens. Renna takes out the rogue guard and then explains to the other guards about the ongoing coup. She wants them to stay here as there is higher chance of fighting if they stay with them. They will find a way to return to Amaterasu on their own. To easily hide themselves, Renna suggests changing outfits. If Akiho thinks all this is happening like in a spy movie, be glad to know that Renna is trained as an actual spy! Dita gets a call from Peter that the people staging a protest against the war is actually staged. He wants her to cover this on their way back because it is ‘safer’ than covering a story in a war. Shinon also gets the idea to change clothes and hairstyle to make their escape to a suburban area. Meanwhile Renna and Akiho try to escape via spaceport and go a couple of guards to help them out.

Episode 6
Shinon’s group is taking a detour so that Dita can take footage for the war scenes. Mamiya talks to the president of Shuu and thinks he might sell them out to Henrietta so that he could avoid losing his president post. Whatever laws or illegality in the treaties, he wants him to make an alliance with them and declare war on the kingdom to save the civilians. Renna and Akiho are forced to fight some armed guards. Renna gets shot in the guts but needs to be strong enough to make it to space. Cisca and Rio talk about the possibility if Shuu hands them over to Henrietta, they might be executed. However Henrietta might want to proceed with caution because if they do so, Earth Federation will act and this will turn out badly for them. Rio starts crying on the thought she doesn’t mind dying for that because she will be politically undefeated. All Cisca can do is hug and kiss her. Is this a time to make out? Oh well. What else can they be doing? Shinon’s group are at the military base. This is where they are requesting Shinto to come pick them up despite the landing are is small and there are forces fighting nearby. So the plan is to cut off the main power and during the few minutes before the auxiliary power takes over, they will use this short moment to depart. Everything feels so convenient and perfect that it makes the military look so dumb and useless. Because they can actually snipe and destroy the power generator from outside, create a line of fire for Shinto to land, avoid enemy fire and blast off into space. Meanwhile Renna and Akiho manage to float back into Amaterasu. However Renna is wheeled into ICU. Attempts to revive her end in vain. She’s dead. Takai is mad that Peter wants to make a televised funeral of it. Sure, it’s taking advantage of her death but remember what you sign up for. Shinon hears about Renna’s death and once more the guilt starts flowing through. She quickly reads Renna’s last message sent to her admitting she is a spy from the intelligence department. She apologizes for keeping everyone in the dark and wanted to fight alongside everyone.

Episode 7
A televised funeral of Renna is held. Meanwhile the chairman of the supreme council of Henrietta has appointed Hans George Hermann as commander to destroy Amaterasu. Elroy and the other elite commanders discuss their strategy to take it down. Elroy warns the rest not to underestimate them because they already took out 3 of the kingdom’s top ships. Unfortunately for them, they find it hard to think a bunch of cadet brats are better than them. Elroy believes that minimum of 3 ships are needed to engage Amaterasu. He suggests using their elite ships while his own, Conquistador will engage one on one with Shenron (Shuu’s ship). While this strategy is ‘sure win’, the rest wonder if too many ships from the kingdom would have Amaterasu to bail out and run. In that case they will be seen as cowards over the TV network. A victory for Henrietta nevertheless. But Louis Belmont disagrees in letting those pirates go scot free. He believes they have to stick to the kingdom’s traditional tactic of one ship engaging directly and the other supporting from behind. Thus this strategy will be used to engage both Amaterasu and Shenron. Meanwhile Cisca is helping Shinon run a simulation of Henrietta’s ships against them. They always lose. But after Shinon tweaks a few parameters, she sees hope for victory. Shinon briefs the Shuu counterparts led by Captain Wong. She describes the enemy ships like Conquistador and Hammerhead are the heavy cruisers while Dragonfly and Hedgehog are the light ones only equipped with pulse lasers. They wonder how the smaller ones can win since they will be destroyed before entering effective firing range. Something about short warp, these ships can separate their bow and act as a separate attack system. Thus the best way to take it out swiftly is with their laser cannon. Shenron has better manoeuvrability although its lasers cannot pierce the thick armour. Hence it is best not to tackle Conquistador which has seen successive victories in its battles. Shinon shows the projected simulation. This is the only way to win. Okay. They’ll go with it. Everyone gets busy to make the necessary preparations.

Episode 8
The battle begins but Amaterasu realizes Shenron is accelerating ahead. At this rate they will engage Conquistador and Dragonfly before their scheduled time. Shinon realizes why they are doing this. If Shuu loses, they are forced to surrender to Henrietta. This means Amaterasu can no longer stay in Shuu. So Shenron is going to sacrifice themselves to let Amaterasu get away. Amaterasu tries to hail Shenron but they aren’t answering. Cisca orders the operation to go ahead. Hedgehog realizes too late of Amaterasu’s plasma cannons and faster acceleration. They have wasted time destroying its mines that were just distractions. As Amaterasu has zoomed pass them, even if they made a u-turn to chase Amaterasu, they still won’t be able to catch up. They are forced to abandon their mission and pray that Hammerhead can take on Amaterasu itself. Hammerhead engages Amaterasu who fires first. First a few shotgun particles followed by a heavy main cannon. Hammerhead gets hit although they fire back, Amaterasu’s damage is minimal thanks to their shield. Hammerhead is destroyed once they get hit by their main laser again. Hammerhead’s defeat is shocking so Elroy commands Dragonfly to change its course to engage Amaterasu as well as Hedgehog to continue pursuing it. Conquistador then finishes off Shenron. Yeah, they’re like just sitting there to get vaporized. In the aftermath of Shenron’s defeat, the president of Shuu surrenders to Henrietta. Cisca orders a retreat but Peter disallows them. They’re not going to run away and leave Shenron unavenged. Besides, the enemy ships are now flanking them so is there a way out of this? Shinon instantly heads down to Yuuki to seek an answer about doing a forced warp. She heard from Rio that it was his idea to buy Amaterasu and start a war against Henrietta, a battle they have no chance of winning. Yuuki believes there is a chance. As long Earth Federation would deploy its fleets but looks like there is no movement from them. They have no choice but to force warp. They might not know where they would end up so Yuuki will try to be as accurate as possible. Amaterasu successfully warps but also somewhat took the enemy’s mini assault module with it.

Episode 9
Elroy receives an urgent message from Isabel Fellini to return to the kingdom. Amaterasu appears safely and after a few calculations, they realize they are in a neutral area and will take this chance to resupply. Everybody is taking turns to be on shift as they notice Shinon seemingly down. Later she tries to go talk to Cisca in his room to discuss their next course of action but catches him making out with Rio! Oops! Peter calls Dita for updates. Despite the calm period now, he doesn’t want Amaterasu to lose as it will be bad for business as well as losing the only reporter willing to go to the frontlines for her story. He tells her that the supreme chairman of Henrietta has just passed away. They predict there will be more chaos. Isabel sees Hermann and Elroy. Hermann is not happy that she is now the acting chairman. She claims it is only right as she is handling the chairman’s national funeral. Later she talks to Elroy about teaming up to destroy Amaterasu. This is to regain public confidence and maintain the power balance with Earth Federation. As proof of her trust, she will reassign his old crews back to him. Shinon complains to Mamiya about their battles up till now were just to mobilize Earth Federation. Shouldn’t they tell the crew about this from the beginning? Mamiya explains she misunderstood. That is one of the possibilities. Also, this mission wasn’t a legitimate one to begin with nor was it ordered by anyone. After the resupply, he wants to go down to Earth to let the federation know what Amaterasu has been doing and perhaps find a way to live if they get them to recognize them as a government in exile. Shinon leaves dissatisfied with his answer. So who else can she confide with? Kouki Sakakibara, the chief engineer. You could guess he has a crush on Shinon. I mean, which guy would really let a girl lie on his back. Okay, any guy would for any cute girl. So after she feels better, I guess it made him feel better too. Because he confesses he likes her. It gets a bit awkward because they’re teasing us if they’re going to kiss or if Shinon is just going to pull back. They kissed anyway.

Episode 10
Mamiya arrives at Narita Spaceport. He is greeted by a fellow politician who tells him about the upcoming UN assembly. Depending on their decision, it might affect Amaterasu’s fate. Looks like everyone knows about Shinon and Kouki’s relationship. Some of the crew are invited to AGI Corp’s party (the conglomerate that built Amaterasu and intermediary for military hardware sales) while the rest remain behind to do maintenance. Hermann is not pleased that Isabel has now assumed command of military operations and that she has Conquistador out on a mission. He is also displeased she removed him as candidate to be the next supreme chairman. She then has him arrested to question for his recent battle failures. A small group of soldiers sneakily attack Amaterasu’s perimeter. This shocks the crew as they scramble for safety. Those at the party are stuck since there is a power outage but they get to see live footage from Dita’s reporting. Although some Amaterasu crew fight back in this gunfire skirmish, they cannot tell if the soldiers are from Henrietta. Even more puzzling if their goal is to seize Amaterasu, this scale is too small to achieve it. After a while, the soldiers retreat. Kouki thought he could chase them down. He fires when they don’t stop. They respond by shooting an RPG at him! He is blown to pieces and everyone saw it live! Oh dear. Shinon is going to be so sad. Later Dita calls Peter and knows he knew about this. He doesn’t give her a direct answer but also lectures her about taking sides. He then wants her to get off Amaterasu because the next time it will be destroyed as Henrietta has sent 5 ships for the job. She won’t get off and wonders if this is the kind of story he wants. It was its fate to begin with. There’s nothing they can do. Once the crew are back on Amaterasu, they are further shocked to hear AGI’s spokesperson forced to sever ties and supplies with them. Henrietta has issued a statement they will attack anybody associated or helping Amaterasu. So whatever contract they have is nullified. He wants them to get off the ship and that AGI can buy it back. However Rio notes that it is too late. They are at a point of no return. Shinon continues to cry alone.

Episode 11
Cisca makes an announcement to his crew. They will soon be leaving their docking and engage against Henrietta’s fleets. Their resupply is incomplete and any crew members who wish to get off Amaterasu now should take this chance. He will not hold or blame anybody if they choose this. The only one who took this opportunity is Sei. But she has a reason for doing this. Now she will try to be the middle man to negotiate between AGI and Amaterasu for supplies. Shinon puts away her blues to join the rest in hatching a strategy that revolves around centrifugal and gravitational force on Amaterasu. Not that I understand the mumbo-jumbo anyway. Peter gives his blessings to Dita to conduct the live broadcast the way she wants it. This means everyone including the enemy can see live what is happening inside the cockpit of Amaterasu. As the battle begins, Elroy orders Dragonfly and Hedgehog to flank and attack Amaterasu at full speed. It seems Amaterasu has chosen to target Hedgehog. However everyone is in for a shock when Amaterasu is actually targeting Dragonfly. The live broadcast is a trap and Dita is reporting opposite of their strategy. Too late for Dragonfly for evasive or counterattacking manoeuvres as they get zapped. Amaterasu then use those forces they discussed earlier to turn at unimaginable speed to target Dragonfly and also zap it to pieces. They are on a roll (literally) since the enemy is still in shock trying to recover from this false reporting trap. Amaterasu zaps a third and fourth Henrietta ship! Conquistador is all that’s left but is out of its firing range. However they still fire their plasma cannon in a big gamble. Luckily Elroy has foresight and already took evasive measures so their damage is minimal. Once it is over, Elroy commands his men to search and find Amaterasu as they have no more capacity to fight. Indeed. Amaterasu is bogged down with heavy damage from that tactic. All they have left is to fight with all they’ve got.

Episode 12
Amaterasu is like sitting ducks as most of their systems are down. Elroy commands to fire the laser cannon at Amaterasu despite they cannot accurately pinpoint their position and will not destroy them outright. He does not want to make them rest. Conquistador fires several shots that grazed Amaterasu. But each shot is getting more accurate. Shinon deduces Conquistador has not located them and thus the lesser armament attack to do so. Miyuri will try to pinpoint Conquistador’s position from their attacks as Shinon suggests getting up close to them at maximum battle speed and fire their Revolver. While the fighting rages on, Mamiya makes his speech at UN to condemn Henrietta’s violent actions. It is Isabel’s turn to speak. She shows images of Amaterasu’s trail of destruction and thus their actions to subdue their insurgent activities under Henrietta’s areas. When Amaterasu gets into firing range, it fires 3 Revolver shots. Either missed or did minimal damage. Now they are out of ammo. Elroy gets ready his main cannon to vaporize them for good when he receives a call from Isabel who just finished her speech. He updates her on the situation but she wants him to capture them instead and hand them over to Earth Federation. Elroy is shocked by this decision so she explains how little they would gain from destroying them as the public sympathy is with Amaterasu. It is better to stabilize the situation and plan to restructure the internal workings of the kingdom. Elroy is forced to comply when he detects 10 Earth Federation vessels on the way.

Cisca is screaming for options but none. All they face now is imminent death. He then receives contact from Elroy who gives them an hour to surrender otherwise they will be destroyed. Mamiya explains this farce especially his speech was just for show. Before the conference began, Earth Federation already sent its fleet to Henrietta. No doubt Earth Federation won’t do something bold as to attack independent nations under Henrietta. If Amaterasu was a domestic problem, they won’t get involved. But if it is a government in exile, they can strike a blow to it in the name of saving it. They’re just responding to Amaterasu’s request and the public will be sympathetic to it. Now the planets don’t see any difference being ruled by Henrietta or Earth Federation. Those who have sided with Henrietta will now likely find themselves overthrown. Cisca discusses with his crew and the only option is to surrender. However Takai is very much against it otherwise all they have done and those who have died for the cause will be for naught. As the bridge is very much divided, when Shinto notices how odd it is for Conquistador to ask them to surrender now, this prompts Shinon to realize that their original plan was to sink them and not give them any chance to speak. Otherwise they would have done so when they were flanked. Something must have changed the situation.

Episode 13
As everyone waits what Earth Federation will do, suddenly Conquistador picks up signals of being targeted by them. Before they could prepare themselves, the Earth Federation fleet fires all they’ve got at them. Galaxy Network is suddenly taken off the air. The station is stormed by armed men as they beat up Peter and take him hostage. Isabel is shocked to be arrested under orders of Hermann. She realizes he has sold Henrietta out to Earth Federation and warns him that he is only being used. He doesn’t care. After Isabel gets executed, the Earth Federation guys shoot Hermann! Conquistador is on the verge of destruction. Elroy contacts Amaterasu to tell what is happening. It seems they have been backstabbed. He regrets they could settle this under circumstances. A final salute before Conquistador is blown to smithereens. Shortly, Amaterasu is contacted by Earth Federation fleet’s captain, Joseph Truman who gives them an hour to surrender. Peter manages to break free from his capture and contact Dita that the station is being taken over by Earth Federation. And then when broadcast resumes, it is a totally fake broadcast saying how Conquistador defied orders to surrender and was promptly destroyed and thus they are going to attack Henrietta. What does this mean? Shinon deduces Earth Federation has been using Amaterasu as pretext to wage war against Henrietta and rule the galaxy. There is a possibility Amaterasu’s crew will be executed for knowing too much, hence the station takeover to not show their execution.

Shinon has a plan. She wants Dita to get hold of Peter first. They need to show a real live broadcast of Earth Federation using violence against them. They will put Amaterasu on autopilot towards the fleet before exploding at the right moment. Once Cisca authorizes the self-destruct sequence, everyone escapes via shuttle. However they notice Yuuki is not around. Cisca and Rio try to go convince him but he is stubborn to remain and operate some of Amaterasu’s systems that can’t be done automatically. He takes this as his responsibility for dragging everyone into this mess and claims he has higher authority then Cisca as he relieves everyone from their duties. Cisca and Rio has no choice but to leave him. Peter manages to slip back into the broadcast room and hack the broadcast to Dita who reports live the fleet attacking Amaterasu (Truman thinks Amaterasu is trying to defy and attack them) although they are not being provoked. This truth is soon broadcasted all over other networks across the galaxy as they witness Earth Federation’s aggression. With Peter’s job done, the armed men finally break down the door and shoot him. Well, at least he did something good for one last time. No wonder Dita was telling Shinon how she once dated him. Amaterasu’s self-destruct goes off and its shockwave destroys the ships. The surviving Amaterasu crew are sad over the development of events but they have some good news as Sei picks them up in AGI’s cargo ship. Shinon narrates war is over for now as she would like to believe peace was created by their hands. For now, Amaterasu’s battle is over.

Outlaw Star: The Reality Of Politics
Well, that was sure a bittersweet and sad ending if I should say. With the interestingly shocking twists and sudden turn of events, it might felt a bit rushed in that sense but I guess it is a fitting ending for everything that has been dragged out for too long. At least in the context of this anime and not the series itself. Imagine if it ended with the war continuing and that Amaterasu would soldier on to continue fighting, I think it would leave an even more unsatisfying and bad aftertaste in our mouth. Thus, the ending of Amaterasu meeting its fitting end of being destroyed in the battlefield is somewhat suitable for the battleship it was made for. But what about the crew? Well, they survived. That’s good enough considering the political storm they had to go through.

For me, the interesting parts are the battle sequences. Although this series doesn’t bombard us with many flashy laser lights or epic space battles, many of the so called battles are seen taking place in the bridge and command centre whereby the commanders of both sides give their orders on their next course of action. There are a few of those laser firing and spaceship views but they are much lesser compared to this battle of the brains at the bridge. Ironically there are a few terminologies albeit I feel that they aren’t that heavy, I didn’t really understand them completely but yet I find it interesting to watch. Like for example when the crew reports the damage status and their power capacity, I might not comprehend the entire thing but somehow I had the gist of what was going on. Strange, right?

Hence this proves that even without the flashy physical action, watching both sides giving commands from their seat is still as interesting. At least for this series. Perhaps it was my spell with a couple of military themed anime in the past like Senjou No Valkyria, Gate, Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou No Alderamin and even Heavy Object. It is always nice to see the underdog team defeat a bunch of powerful favourites, right? Yeah, they make it look so unrealistic that Amaterasu, a bunch of amateurs that are just about to join the enlisting but their dreams dashed because of circumstances, to be able to effectively destroy not one, not two, not three but a handful of Henrietta’s finest ships! Man, did they use some cheat code here or is God really siding with them? Or maybe those old captain guys in Henrietta were really underestimating those kids. Doesn’t make sense since they should have war experience and shouldn’t be holding back to even kids who are part of the rebellion. Oh right. I forgot I’m watching anime.

Thus in view of this action part, the little ‘disappointing’ part is that there aren’t enough deaths on Amaterasu! Holy sh*t! Am I a bloodthirsty sadist?! I can only blame myself for having created such a high expectation and assumption after reading the synopsis. When I read that death was going to be real, I was expecting like at least a death of a crew per episode when the sh*t really starts to hit the fan. Okay, some ‘minor’ characters died. Can’t really complain, can I? Happy now? But come to think of it, if Amaterasu really does take a lot of casualties, it would render the ship less efficient to operate because with lesser crew members, either they have to take in replacements and recruits (which in their position isn’t possible) or they have to overwork and do double, triple jobs. Not practical. Oh wait, Yuuki did say he could handle many parts of the ship on his own… And ironically Amaterasu’s final death count culminated in his ‘sacrifice’. So while Amaterasu’s deaths are minimal, nobody talks about Henrietta’s ships who were destroyed by them and all the crew members that died along with them. Yeah, nobody cares about the ‘bad guys’, right? So I thought the final episode they decided to make me ‘happy’ when they kill off a few characters from Henrietta. Yeah well, at least it saves me the trouble to think what will happen to them. One bad deed deserves another, they say. Karma is a b*tch too. They got what they deserved after all that political backstabbing.

If I personally look into the characters of the series, I think they are the weakest link. Although Amaterasu has a lot of crew members, the handful that at least have decent screen time do not feel that deep. You don’t feel connected to the cause they are fighting for on a personal level. For example, Arei’s reason to fight Henrietta was to avenge her father. Her back story sounds decent but there is all there is to it. This means the other main characters like Shinon, Cisca, Takai, Rio, Shinto and even Yuuki, their backgrounds are shrouded in mystery. Sure, Rio is the granddaughter of a politician. But that’s about it. Blame the short duration of the series that didn’t do justice to flesh out at least these characters. Therefore we can’t personally connect to them why they as a small little government in exile are fighting against a huge kingdom with experienced military equipment and personnel. We only vouch for them because they are fighting as a group. But on an individual level, we know nothing much about them. Well, even if we do, how does it really affect the course of the plot?

Shinon showcases herself as a genius tactician with her coming up most of the brilliant tactics that ensured Amaterasu’s victory. Sometimes too perfect and at first go that it doesn’t feel a bit realistic. I’m sure she is one of the top students of the military academy but without experience and she is making and calling all those superb deductions like as though she is reading from a script. Sometimes I feel that Cisca barely makes it as a captain. He doesn’t screw up or show any obvious weakness but with him giving out orders as the captain, it feels like as though he is a robot shelling them out since as I said most of the strategies are from Shinon. Hey, at least this isn’t anywhere that Irresponsible Captain Tylor anime. Yeah, I wanted to draw some similarities but I think the differences are too vast. Because Takai is in charge of the cannons, sometimes I feel he is trigger happy (which he is not) because the crew often seeks his ‘permission’ whenever they want to fire. Something bugs me about Yuuki. He is never seen leaving his station like as though he is hooked up to the terminals there. Sometimes I question if he even exists at all and could be just some artificial intelligence. Well, some crew members have entered his room and talked to him before but that made me think he was made of hologram… Why the heck am I so paranoid?

Therefore I thought having a bit of romance element inside here feels a bit cheesy and a distraction. We start it off with Sanri and Takai, thus some sort of cheap reason why she would want to continue to stay on. Well, might as well die for the one she loves, right? Then we have the secretive tryst between Cisca and Rio. All that pressure on the bridge maybe made them had a fling? Yeah, it was unexpected but I should have seen it coming since the duo spend quite a lot of time together not only on the bridge but when they go on the ground too. Finally there’s the short-lived Shinon and Kouki which is of course the most tragic. Their romance came so fast and it ended as fast as well. I know it is a good thing Shinon put that tragedy behind her but I can’t help feel that as it never happened. As though the plot was to pull some heart strings because you know, the lover of the main girl is dead. Oh, a timely reminder to increase the casualty count on Amaterasu. And what the heck was Dita’s revelation with Peter for? To show why such a strong and independent stuck by some crazy TV producer all these years? Yeah, love makes you do crazy things.

I didn’t expect to find Mamiko Noto here. It wasn’t the reason why I picked to watch this show but I guess I would still watch it even if I knew. Although helming a lesser role as Sanri, at least hearing her voice is better than not hearing her voice at all. Fan boy speaking… There are other recognizable seiyuus too like Ayako Kawasumi as Rio, Shizuka Itou as Shinon and Sayaka Ohara as Isabel. Because there are quite a number of casts, I later discovered that there are other seiyuus such as Satomi Arai, Daisuke Ono and Yu Kobayashi that I know but didn’t manage to catch them due to their very limited appearances.

The rest of the selected casts are Yukimasa Obi as Cisca (Zero Enna in Pilot Candidate), Masayuki Katou as Takai (Kiyomasa in Deadman Wonderland), Tomohiro Tsuboi as Shinto (Shinpachi Nagakura in Hakuouki series), Miyu Irino as Yuuki (Syaoran in Tsubasa Chronicle), Hiroshi Matsumoto as Elroy (Henry Marker in Karin), Hitomi Nabatame as Dita (Margery Daw in Shakugan No Shana), Akeno Watanabe as Arei (Rito in To Love-Ru), Masumi Asano as Miyuri (Risa in Hayate No Gotoku), Kaori Shimizu as Sei (Hazuki in Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu), Yuu Asakawa as Renna (Jura in Vandread), Atsuko Enomoto as Akiho (Misaki in Angelic Layer), Shinji Kawada as Kouki (Shino in Naruto) and Tomoyuki Shimura as Peter (Nakai in Bakuman).

Hearing the opening theme, Radiance brings back those nostalgic memories of my anime stint in the mid-2000s. Sung by Mami Kawada who was a member of the I’ve Sound group, the style of this music is very much similar to all the other animes that I have watched during that period such as Onegai Teacher, Onegai Twins, the first season of Hayate No Gotoku and the first season of Shakugan No Shana. The ending theme is Chi Ni Kaeru ~On The Earth~ by Kotoko who was also a member of I’ve Sound. But this slow ballad didn’t make me feel nostalgic despite having a hand in singing in those aforementioned animes.

Animated by the veteran anime studio of J.C. Staff, I guess the art and drawing are pretty decent for that time period. CGI is also used but that is mostly reserved for the ships. They try their best to have different designs but I thought that despite they look very different from each other, they still look bland and plain. Is it because that the ships or not colourful? I mean, they’re all white or grey. Boring, right? Oh well, why the heck would a military ship be painted so colourful as if they’re signalling to enemies, “Hey, look! I’m over here! So colourful right over here!”. Yeah… But the weirdest CGI used is for the automated walkways inside the ship’s corridors. I don’t know. It just feels odd seeing them. As though they don’t really fit in especially when those 2D humans are animated together in it. Feels like something might glitch soon…

Overall, if you are interested in military themed shows with some political manoeuvring, the draw of the series would be the tactics devised in the bridge rather than the reality TV plot and the characters. And definitely not the cheesy abysmal romance. I believe reality TV would be more controversial as it would be exciting if real death like this series is part of the script. You have been warned, right? Then we will see how many people would love to become famous quick as reality TV stars. Me? I wouldn’t even want to sign up for a reality TV that risks having death just so that some people can have their entertainment for the day and to others like power hungry politicians as a tool to further their ambitions. Not even a trillion dollars. Where are you going to enjoy all that money when you’re dead? Maybe a gold plated and diamond encrusted coffin buried inside a huge air-conditioned mansion on a huge picturesque landscape with maids tending to its upkeep perhaps? I can imagine the political uproar and politicking that comes after that.

Outlaw Star

March 12, 2017

What happens when you mix in Cowboy Bebop with Trigun? You get Outlaw Star! Heh. That was what I think after a few episodes into it. Yes, it’s that time for my retro anime pick and the thing that got me interested to watch this series was the synopsis which states about our main protagonists who are just run of the mill small entrepreneurs on a backwater planet. Then they get involved in something big in one of the jobs they take on. Before they know it, they have got lots of parties hot on their trail. From the authorities to pirates to aliens and even an assassin! And they don’t even fully understand what they did to land in such hot water in the first place. At times like these all you have to do is run and go with the flow, right? But to balance all that, it seems they have the most advanced ship ever known in the universe on their side. Yeah, this is going to look like a fun ride.

Episode 1
Hilda is being targeted by a Tao pirate organization, Kei Pirates. Luckily she manages to escape. Gene Starwind and Jim Hawking are at a bar when Rob Cain comes in looking for revenge against Gene for killing his brother. Gene shoots him but seeing Rob is a cyborg, Jim traces his weakness and allows Gene to take him down for good. The Kei Pirates have traced Hilda to land on this planet Sentinel and sends out henchmen to look for her. Next morning, Jim gets a call from Rachell Sweet who is requesting for special parts (they run a shop fixing everything from spaceships to relationships) and bodyguard services. Jim feels suspicious since she has already deposited money to buy very rare parts. Gene goes to meet Rachell to confirm if she is the real deal. She claims there is some farm machine in the middle of nowhere that she needs to fix. As they wait for Jim to pick them up, several Slenderman-like robots warn Gene to go away or die. Not one to like be threatened, he attacks and finishes them off. On their way, those Kei Pirates show up and they call out to Hilda. Rachell throws a smoke bomb and tells Gene to floor it. The guys want some answers so she reveals herself as Hilda. Those Kei Pirates are the enemies as they are after the same treasure. Some give chase but Gene is able to shoot back and kill them. At the farm, Hilda shoots Gene. She forces Jim to load a suitcase but Gene points his gun back at her. Why is he alive? So sorry for Jim’s PDA. Gene wants the suitcase to be opened but it is locked by a password. Against Hilda’s better advice they shouldn’t know what inside it, they insist and once it is open, they are shocked to see a woman sleeping inside.

Episode 2
Hilda tells them to fix her cybernetic arm if they want to hear more. This woman is Melfina. She isn’t sure why the Kei Pirates want her. Because Hilda has a bad relationship with them, she decided to swipe them for this treasure. Melfina isn’t the source of why they are targeting her. It’s because she killed one of their heads. The Kei Pirates have surrounded the place. Because Melfina has undergone automatic resuscitation, she cannot be disturbed. If Gene can hold out for a few minutes, Hilda can bring her drop ship and pick them up to her main ship, Horus waiting in orbit. Once Melfina is awakened, she starts crying, lamenting to be born! They manage to hold the pirates off and blast off. Since Gene has never gone into space before, he is scared but Melfina holds his hand. It seems Gene has been into space before. When he was young, he was riding his father’s ship but it was attacked. Father had no choice but to send Gene away in a pod before succumbing to fate. Gene is still reeling from this nightmare. They arrive in an Outlaw free town, Blue Heaven. Hilda meets up with some of her crew to repair Horus. Gene learns in this town you can’t use a gun and how the power factions of space is divided into Space Forces, pirates and Outlaws. While Jim takes Melfina to shop for proper clothes, Gene hears Hilda’s next job to retrieve a powerful grappler ship, thus she is looking for some manpower. A bunch of Outlaws want in on this but she knows they are not up to par. When they get violent, she swiftly deals with them. That night as they rent a room to sleep, those Outlaws come back for revenge. They anticipated this and fight back. The boss is using a mecha and Gene still can’t use his gun? Well, the mecha isn’t using a gun.

Episode 3
Gene uses his paint gun to blind his vision and Hilda easily takes him out. Interrogation reveals MacDougall paid them to capture or keep them here. Hilda and co make a move to leave Blue Heaven. Of course those Outlaws won’t let them go so easily as they chase and fight amidst the asteroids. However a mothership from Ctarl-Ctarl Empire is coming to dock and wants everyone to get out of the way believing they have the right of way. Hilda plays chicken and thus the ship’s officer, Aisha Clanclan is forced to dodge. They barely miss each other. After that, she has had it with everyone making a fool out of her and has her men fire at Hilda. All missed. Hilda escapes the asteroid field. Aisha wants to give chase but the crew has orders to dock their ship. Gene learns a bit about the Galactic Leylines, something the Kei Pirates are desperate to get their hands on because of some treasure as well as the MacDougall Brothers whose stance as Outlaws are pretty shady. They give their services to whoever pays the highest. Like a mercenary? When they arrive at the designated spot, Hilda is supposed to meet up with her allies but there are no response. They see remnants of their ship floating. The work of this stems from the Kei Pirates working with Ron MacDougall. They launch an attack. Gene is still having space sickness and giving excuse he can’t shoot straight. But Hilda lectures him about running away so he mans up and takes the guns. Don’t blame him if the controls are covered in puke. Although it looked like the Kei Pirates let them escape, actually they have tagged them so they can trace Horus wherever they go. Meanwhile Aisha’s superior heard about this humiliation. She is demoted and forced to stay on Blue Heaven to research more on Galactic Leylines. Her crew got off scot free and will continue to pursue Horus. This sucks… Horus arrives at a desert planet where the grappler ship is docked on an orbiting asteroid.

Episode 4
After Hilda starts up the ship, XGP 15A-II, its AI and navigator, Gilliam II introduces himself and registers the crew. He can do anything except piloting matters so Hilda assigns Melfina to navigational duties. Before she could give XGP a new name, the Kei Pirates are here. Hilda wants them to start XGP and get a move on while she holds them off back on Horus. Jim has to go check and fix the engines since this ship is like a newly wrapped present that is just opened. Some have boarded XGP so Gene has Gilliam to open the hatch to suck them out. Suddenly both parties are being attacked by the MacDougall Brothers. It is not like they are betraying the Kei Pirates. Their contract ended and they have a new contract to eliminate XGP. They don’t need that ship seeing they believe their own is the fastest. They fire all they’ve got so that their ships will be pulled in by the planet’s gravitational force and be destroyed. A typical trait of bad guys is never to confirm their job is really done before leaving. They assume it’s already over. Gene sees MacDougall’s ship and remembers it played a part in his dad’s death. Gene accelerates and breaks XGP through the asteroid. He is supposed to grab Horus but the Kei Pirates knock her out of the path and hook themselves to XGP to escape the pull. Gilliam advises Gene they cannot turn back to save Horus or decelerate or they’ll fall back into the gravitational pull. Hilda then abandons Horus and hooks on to the wire. Since the Kei Pirates’ ship is too heavy, the wire snaps. The pirates still won’t go down with a fight and try to conjure some harmful magic. Hilda won’t allow it and takes them out with her by blowing herself up. XGP has escaped the gravitational pull. Gene is saddened with the loss of Hilda. As first order as captain, he renames XGP to Outlaw Star.

Episode 5
Gene and co return to Blue Heaven. Hilda’s mechanic crew, Swanzo and Mikey are shocked to hear Hilda is dead. Gene wants their help to fix up Outlaw Star with accessories and register the ship. He doesn’t have any money to pay but will do so when he hits it big. Swanzo agrees to it since he owes Hilda. For the day, they hang out in town. That is when they stumble into Aisha who is looking for them. She bugs them about Hilda. At first shocked about her death, then she pesters them about Galactic Leylines thinking they should know as they work under Hilda. However they don’t know anything. Aisha thinks they are making a fool out of her and starts attacking them in her tantrum. They run for it but she is fast and furious. She is going to use her ultimate metamorphosis attack but unfortunately that won’t do since there is no moon now. Is there even a moon orbiting this area? So the chase continues… They lose her for a while and Gene notices Melfina a little depressed since she has no memories prior to Hilda rescuing her. Gene assures he will help find her identity and take responsibility over her in addition to Hilda’s goals. Aisha has found them and once more attacks. When Gene slices her body, nothing happens. Her skin is so tough that it makes her immortal. When she is about to power up, she goes flat. She ran out of energy because she is hungry. Ironically she joins them eating and my, she always eat in large portions. Once full, she gets her strength back and won’t thank them. Before she could attack, Jim passes a modified shell for Gene’s gun he just got. He shoots and stuns her. That should do the trick. He then leaves the restaurant’s tab on her. They return and see Outlaw Star complete. Their plan now is to head back to Sentinel to fit it with weapons. Jim fears the dreaded Fred Luo and true enough Gene is going to try his luck with him. Aisha is forced to wash the plates and vows revenge for embarrassing her pride. Or is it her ego?

Episode 6
This is first time Gene is landing a ship. Can he do it? Almost killed everybody. Now we know why Jim is so ‘afraid’ of Fred. He is gay for guys! Gene negotiates for weapons for Outlaw Star. It is going to cost him and once again Gene plays the IOU card. Business is business but since Fred loves Gene, he might consider. After they leave, Fred is being attacked by a beautiful swordswoman assassin, Suzuka. She is under contract to kill him. She gives him 5 minutes to live before she cuts him down. That is when Gene returns. Gene and Suzuka fight each other. However dealing with him too long means Suzuka has surpassed her time limit to take out Fred. See you again tomorrow. Fred is grateful for Gene saving him especially when nobody has ever survived Suzuka’s assassination. Hearing that the costs will be waived, Gene decides to add more weapons… Give an inch, want a mile. After Gene leaves, Suzuka attacks him. Before she kills Fred by next sunset, she has to eliminate him first. Gene runs away from her to a deserted place. As they fight and he tries to snatch away her wooden sword, he unrobes her too. She is ‘paralyzed’ and he makes a deal to stop targeting Fred if she wants these stuffs back. She won’t because of the contract but no matter how stubborn she is, Gene has the upper hand in negotiations. Because of her pride she is adhering to, Gene ‘shoots’ and ‘kills’ her. Now Suzuka the assassin is ‘dead’. If she still won’t give up and since Gene was the one who killed her pride, if she is going to kill Fred, she must kill him first. End of ‘negotiations’. Jim wonders if this is a good thing. Gene believes it is easier to protect himself than Fred. After Gene finalizes his deal with Fred, he is surprised to hear he owes Fred instead! This is what is due after subtracting the items he ordered from how much it would cost to hire Suzuka. Yeah, Fred just gave him 30% discount. And you thought he loved him always, eh? Business is still business… No money, no love.

Episode 7
It is narrated that the Kei Pirates are under the Chinese space pirate guild called 108 Stars. Under its many independent groups, the leader of the group that is after Gene is Hazanko and he is very influential in the guild. Gene and Jim try to figure out how to earn some money but there are no easy jobs with big money. Melfina would love to help so Gene has her cook eggs for them. As Melfina is an android, she can’t sleep. Gene’s curiosity to know how human she is has him trying to look up under her skirt. Jim beats him up. That kid looks up to Melfina more like a mom. While Gene is fixing Outlaw Star and attending to some admin issues, the pirates move in. Gene fights off with this Nosferatu dude who keeps asking where Hilda as well as his other comrades is. Like he will answer. Gene is somewhat defeated but Nosferatu escapes when the authorities are heard coming. He vows to get back XGP. At the same time, Melfina is being attacked by a giant dude from Kei Pirates. Luckily Suzuka was on her way visiting Gene’s place. She decides to help out to make Gene owe her and defeats him. When Jim returns, he is shocked to see Suzuka with Melfina. Despite Melfina vouching Suzuka saved her, Jim won’t tell where Gene is. Suzuka warns it is in their best interest to do so. Jim takes them to Outlaw Star. Because Suzuka is not a crew, she cannot enter. Jim is forced to register her as one. Inside, they see Gene working hard to fix the ship because with parties targeting them, his plan is to pack up their things and leave Sentinel as soon as possible. Suzuka mentions she doesn’t mind helping him out since the Kei Pirates are after him. However Gene collapses due to his injuries from the fight.

Episode 8
Gene is reeling from the poison needles. Nosferatu contacts them and will give the antidote in exchange for their ship. They cannot trust him so they cut him off. Melfina thinks she can help and takes Gene into her navigation chamber to heal. Nosferatu and his goons return to attack in their mecha. At the same time, Fred contacts them to warn that Kei Pirates are targeting them and will be arriving soon. Thing is, this part of space isn’t their area. That’s why they used Fred as intermediary and he can’t turn them down due to business. And because his love for Gene, he is warning them. Sorry? At this point, Gene has healed enough and returns to take control of Outlaw Star as he destroys the mecha goons. Suzuka finishes off Nosferatu who is attacking her in his cowardly ways. Gene orders to launch immediately despite not having clearance. Who gives a f*cks about authority since he is not coming back to this planet again, right? After launching into space, they are attacked by 3 Kei Pirates ships. Time to put those missiles, guns and sword to good use in this epic mini space dog fight. Outlaw Star is obviously faster and more versatile and wins the day. But mostly it is thanks to Gene’s skills too. Gene now sets the course to Heiphon, an area under the Ban Pirates in which Kei Pirates will not carelessly go. There, they can also find jobs that will help replenish and maintain Outlaw Star.

Episode 9
Jim talks to Gene about their chances of finding a big job at Heiphon. Even if Kei Pirates won’t be on their tail, they have never been on Heiphon before and have no connections. That means landing a big one won’t be easy and at this rate they won’t be able to honour their promises. Because Gene is taking this easy, Suzuka calls him immature and even Melfina voices out he is acting funny. Even when Jim warns him Suzuka might take his head and Gene brushes it off, confident she won’t do anything funny, this strains their relationship. Funnily, Gene tries to hang his underwear (he has lots of them!) on Gilliam’s operating wires. He can’t hang them in the cargo since Jim is hogging the place and doesn’t want it in his own quarters either because he doesn’t want to wake up with underwear in his face! For a change in pace, Gene suggests stopping by a station. First up is to fill up their stomachs. Do they have enough money? Next, Gene suggests taking down this legendary dude named Zomba as he has a bounty of 10 grand. When they enter a bar looking for him, everyone gets scared and runs away! They confront Zomba in his room but since he doesn’t want it dirty, they fight at an abandoned chapel. The fight easily ends with Gene destroying this android. Their reward is only 2 grand since this is an android and not the real one. They vow to get this man next but it seems Suzuka already beat them to it! Better luck next time. On the way back, Gene sees on the news the announcement of Heiphon Space Race that will be starting in 5 days. He spots MacDougall’s ship and is now motivated to get to Heiphon.

Episode 10
At Heiphon, Gene and Jim register for the race. All seems okay till they realize they have to pay upfront $150,000 as registration fee. Oh, they cannot peer into the data of other racers too. I guess Gene has no choice so he goes to Fred’s branch on Heiphon for sponsorship. Oh God. That guy is here too. Is this fate? He is willing to sponsor Gene but only if he finishes in the top 3 spots. Finish outside and his debts will increase. They are required to wear a weird outfit too. Will Melfina wear it too? Fred warns not to parade her around because she is mostly wanted by Kei Pirates. Gene and Jim attend the pre-party race in hopes of finding MacDougall. Gene sees a hot waitress and thinks of hitting on her. Wait a minute. Isn’t that Aisha. Oh no! She is hell bent on getting her revenge as she reveals how she got her via hitchhiking and took up many jobs as a waitress. Thankfully her boss stops her and threatens to cut her pay before she could do anything. Be a good girl. As the participants take their place at the starting line, one of them is from Ctarl-Ctarl and goes by the name of Nubata Kunono. Unknown to everyone it seems Aisha is on board it and participating in the race. When Gene thinks he sees MacDougall’s ship, to his disappointment El Dorado is piloted by Harry Williams. Who the f*ck is this guy? He tries to hail the ship but they ignore him. As the race begins, it seems the fastest route to the next checkpoint is in between 2 binary planets. Despite the warnings from Gilliam about getting caught in its gravitational pull, Gene is adamant to go through it. And now an intergalactic tidal wave is going to swallow them up along with the checkpoint.

Episode 11
There are no other escape routes so Gene accelerates through, trusting Outlaw Star is the fastest ship in the universe. They barely pass through the checkpoint before the wave engulfs it. At the pit stop, Gene confronts Harry and believes he is playing dumb not knowing anything. Gene gets rough with him but has to put off his threats since the race marshals are coming to see what is going on. It seems Harry might know a thing in relation to MacDougall. To the next checkpoint, they traverse through an asteroid field. Aisha plans to have a sneak attack on Outlaw Star but her crew tells her this ship is not equipped with any weapons. It is just a trading ship. Time for Plan B. Outlaw Star is going through the asteroid field when they receive an SOS from a crew from Nubata Kunono who has shipwrecked there. Although court marshals can come and pick it up, why is Gene so nice to come help? He knows what it feels like to drift lonely in space. He overcomes his phobia to pick up the stranded crew. Once inside, this crew is revealed to be Aisha! Gotcha this time! Aisha is bugging Gene about the Galactic Leylines. If he knows anything, he would be there by now. But Aisha can’t go back to Ctarl-Ctarl because they’ll treat a failure like her badly. So she’s going to stick around them and get something to prove her worth? This is going to be problematic… Suddenly Outlaw Star is being targeted by missiles courtesy of El Dorado. In order to escape it, the only choice is to go into some ether warp. During this moment, their systems are at risk of malfunctioning and Gilliam might not know where they’ll end up. Gene drastically cuts the engines. When he restarts again, they realize they are just slightly out of Heiphon’s orbit. Everything else is normal except for a few busted engines. Practically, they are fine. This gives Gene an idea. Because no ordinary ship can withstand an ether stream and since Outlaw Star is not an ordinary ship, they are going to ride the ether stream to make up for lost time. This reckless move works as they end up crossing the finish line in third place. However this race is also time based. Because the fourth placed team is began 2 minutes earlier, this relegates Outlaw Star to fourth. Even so, Outlaw Star is first place in the privateer category. With Jim and Aisha parading in Fred’s outfit, I suppose Fred can share half the sponsorship fee with them. But Gene is not pleased to hear that El Dorado dropped out from the race.

Episode 12
Harry left a message that he is tired of Gene’s luck and wants to settle this one on one and meet at a certain location. Aisha continues to tag along and claims Gene is responsible for all this. He asks about the Galactic Leylines and she mentions it is rumoured to contain lots of treasures enough to buy the entire Solar System! If MacDougall really knows something about this, Aisha is definitely coming along. When they leave, this creepy old professor, Gwen Kahn asks them a lot about Outlaw Star and is interested about it. But they aren’t staying to answer his questions. At the asteroid field, Outlaw Star begins mortal combat with El Dorado. The asteroids can be a curse and blessing since they can hide and block missiles but also run the risk of running into them if they are not quick to evade. But El Dorado is always cornering them so Aisha is b*tching about everything. Gene threatens to throw her out and this gives him an idea. He did throw her out but it is to locate El Dorado as he can manoeuvre easily. Then they engage in grappler arm combat but Outlaw Star is obviously superior. Gene then boards El Dorado and finds Harry who admits he is part of MacDougall Brothers. Gene spams lots of questions but Harry doesn’t know much except that XGP originally belonged to Kei Pirates. At the same time, Kei is trying to hack into Outlaw Star. He sees Melfina and has a devilish thought. Can you get raped in cyberspace because Melfina is like feeling so violated. Luckily Gene spots the hacking device and shoots it off. Harry is reduced to a coward as he escapes. Another El Dorado is detected and piloted by Ron. I guess this is the trick why El Dorado is always cornering them. Ron picks up Harry as they blast away. Outlaw Star is hindered by asteroid pieces and loses them. Harry reels his humiliating and painful defeat so Ron vows they’ll get their revenge and do much worse. Gene must be having second thoughts about picking up Aisha. But the thought of having her coming back to haunt and b*tch him harder, he’d rather not take that risk.

Episode 13
Our heroes aren’t getting any jobs since Gene is picky for a big one. They throw out Aisha when she even suggests a low paying pet searching job. So when Fred contacts them for a job (so they can pay off their debt) and it is a decent one about a business associate of his having his cargo gone missing after docking, Jim immediately takes up the offer and takes Melfina along to help. He goes to talk to the client and learns a rare insect and plant have gone missing. He didn’t go to the police because he didn’t apply for permits. You know all those red tapes, right? So this is technically smuggling. Meanwhile Gene doesn’t even want to solve some ice cream vendor’s rivalry and goes out on a date with the race receptionist, Claire instead. She wants to get ice cream even though the queue is long. Gene notices the guy from the next stall with nobody. Isn’t this the one who called him earlier? They taste the ice cream to be normal. Nothing special. But why are people queueing up still? Something looks suspicious about that cactus… Gene is getting good with Claire when he is interrupted by Jim’s call. He doesn’t understand something about Aisha being caught by a bug and a cactus is missing. But upon remembering seeing that cactus, the cactus lets out a high frequency wave. The bug breaks out from its cocoon and into the area with Aisha riding it. The high frequency causes Gene to lose his edge in sharp shooting. Jim doesn’t want to kill the back as it is worth 2,000 reward. But Aisha wants to kill it even if it only rewards her 700! Ego problem… Suddenly the cactus takes control of Jim. He claims he is an almighty supreme being bent on taking over the universe. He was making everyone buy ice cream to test his hypnotic skills. However his hypnotic skills aren’t working on Melfina. She slaps the cactus? Her hands okay? Well, she’s an android. When Jim is freed, Gene tells it to step and crush it! The supreme being is being stomped to death… In the aftermath, they just got the minimal reward. They learn the plant controlled the bug and made its escape. Gene curses that had this not get in his way, he could have scored. I don’t think he meant a big job. Suzuka returns and thinks she has the right job for them. Some place needs participants for Wild West quick draws. They kick her out and just settle for the smaller job of providing a tugboat.

Episode 14
Gene is not too happy with this tugboat job and just when Outlaw Star attaches itself to pull this advertising ship, it gets hacked by a virus and all systems immediately shutdown. They are contacted by someone known as Crackerjack who warns them the ad ship is filled with high explosives. Unless their demands are met in 5 hours, everything goes boom. A video showing the People’s Liberation Front (PLF) demanding for the viceroy of Heiphon to be removed and demand independence for Heiphon. But the viceroy refuses to negotiate with terrorists and is willing to sacrifice people! On the news, it is reported that Outlaw Star is the terrorist and Gene is holding the others hostage. The people on Heiphon panic as they think the ship is going to crash into Heiphon and mass evacuate. The viceroy thinks of blowing it up before crashing onto the planet but he can’t after learning there are radioactive materials. Jim might have purged the virus but all systems are still down and they can only use their grappler arms. Gene decides to try his luck in defusing the bomb. Can an amateur do it? You won’t know if you don’t try. But Crackerjack anticipates this and the bomb sets off. Luckily this is only a warning bomb and Outlaw Star only lost a grappler arm. Crackerjack contacts him and gives another warning but Gene is adamant he is going to diffuse his bomb. Gene knocks around to locate the bomb. There it is. But it has 2 wires. I suppose Gene is going to use his knowledge of movies to diffuse the fake wire, huh? Then he gets contacted from Aisha and Suzuka. They have been doing their own tracking. When they couldn’t find the registration of the ad ship, they threatened Fred for more information. PLF isn’t a terrorist organization and just robbers. It is then Gene realizes what is going on. It is exactly PLF’s plan to clear out Heiphon so they can rob jewels on it. Knowing how this guy thinks, he knows this bomb is also a fake and the real one is at the first fake because nobody would normally go back to check there. Suzuka and Aisha beat up Crackerjack’s goons before they could leave. And then Outlaw Star crashes into the station (bomb diffused a while ago) and Gene gets his payback by beating up the mastermind.

Episode 15
As narrated, Hazanko also controls directly a group of deadly assassins known as Anten Seven. He has ordered them to kill Gene. He might not be as powerful as them but he senses his chi will bring them down if not taken care of. Shimi is the first to go as he calls out Gene for a challenge at a certain place and to bring any weapons. Gene didn’t like him demanding things like that and wants to fight now. However Shimi is quicker to draw than him. Shimi will tell everything if he lives. Hey wait. Isn’t this a fight to a death? Because of that, Gene is drinking out his problems at a bar. He meets a man, Leilong who advises him about living based on his own personal duel battles. This frustrates Gene even more and when he returns home, Melfina tries to be nice to him but he snaps thinking she was programmed to do that. When she starts crying in confusion, he backs down but is still wondering the reason he is living for. So having nightmares he lost as a premonition? The next day he meets Shimi. The draw ends quickly with both going down but Gene wins. Though, he busts a rib. Shimi doesn’t want his corpse to be pathetic and blows himself up. Gene knows this is not the real Shimi. The real one is no other than Leilong. Shimi is his trading name and that fake Shimi was his pupil. Leilong attacks him and is faster and better in all ways. Gene is injured in the process and when he is down but before Leilong can kill him, Gene’s crew pop up and won’t easily let their captain die. Yeah, Gene’s life is owed to so many people. They take on Leilong but he easily takes them out except for Melfina since he has orders to leave her in one piece. However he easily takes out the rest. If Suzuka is defeated, man, we’re really done for. Leilong could have ended this now but feeling this is too boring, he gives Gene a chance for a one shot quick draw. You’d think in Gene’s injured state he wouldn’t be able to shoot straight. However Leilong lost! Seems his gun was a dud and he notes Gene’s luck. He warns them about the remaining Anten Seven before passing on. Hazanko is furious over Shimi’s lost and so the other Anten Seven (should be 6) are going to finish the job. After Gene and co bury Leilong, shortly Leilong burst out from his burial. Seems the bullet is also a dud. Leilong’s fake death means he is freed from his assassin shackles and becomes a wandering Outlaw.

Episode 16
It must be an insult for Aisha. The restaurant she works part time in, she has to serve Gene and co who ordered a sumptuous lobster meal because they’ll be meeting a client for a job and he is treating them to it. And no, Aisha cannot lay a single tooth on it. This old man, Jiji wants Gene to use his grappler ship to salvage some treasure dropped on a planet. Because he is unwilling to shed more details, Gene and Jim contemplate the risk. If the treasure is worth 5 million, well why not? It seems with that kind of value, there are many people trying to kill Jiji. So this bunch of ruffians want to shoot the hell out of him? They don’t know better not to mess with Gene. But Aisha is the one beating them to a pulp since they wasted the food. Oh, she destroyed the entire place too. No pay for her. Only debts. Outlaw Star heads into a water planet in Heiphon. They encounter a sea ‘demons’. Jiji explains he was here before 30 years ago when the treasure crashed here. Many sides tried to get it but the native sea monsters guarding the place destroyed anyone who invaded their territory. Soon everyone feared this place and abandoned trying to get the treasure. Of course Jiji never gave up and has sacrificed a lot for this day to come. He will continue his code as an Outlaw to hunt treasures and monsters. Jiji has them setup decoys for the monsters to buy them time to retrieve the treasure. 15 tons of Dragonite. That’s worth a lot. At least this is where Aisha gets useful using her immense strength to carry out crates of them. However the monsters return to attack. Everyone is back on board but the giant mother of all monsters is gripping Outlaw Star tightly. At this rate the ship will break. Jiji uses a mini submarine to settle once and for all this mother monster, the one he fought with 30 years ago. Gene is not too happy with his sacrifice but Jiji thanks them that he is able to accomplish his dream. All that is left to kill the monster. Once he enters the monster’s mouth, he blows himself up. Outlaw Star is safely back and undergoing repairs. Aisha can’t wait for her cut but Jim tells the bad news that this is low quality Dragonite and doesn’t cost much. After deducting all expenses, they are left with nothing. Sorry Aisha, back to washing dishes. And where’s Gene? Making a makeshift grave for Jiji. This guy has got all the time in the world.

Episode 17
There is an opening narration about the differences between humans and robots. Relatively easy. Also, cyborgs are easy since they are humans fitted with machine parts. But the controversy and grey area are bio-androids like Melfina. They are robots fitted with human parts and supposedly have no soul. While God created men, men are the ones who created bio-androids. Melfina is feeling down because she feels Gene might be forgetting his promise to find the reason why she was born. Gene gets a call from Ron (remember, they don’t know how he looks like yet) for a dangerous job. He wants to meet in person and arranges a place at a restaurant. Gene is suspicious this is a trap but can’t let this go since Ron says it involves Galactic Leylines. When Gene is there, Ron gets down to business and wants to buy Outlaw Star along with Melfina. They’re not for sale. When Ron says he knows about Melfina from his little brother, Gene instantly knows he is the older MacDougall brother. Ron says Outlaw Star and Melfina are needed to find the location of Galactic Leylines and that is why Kei Pirates are after them. However Hilda stole it from them. Ron was under contract by the pirates to locate Hilda but the Space Forces subsequently contracted them to destroy XGP because that ship was built by both pirates and Space Forces’ technology and the latter wants all records of dealing with pirates erased. That was before Ron realized the true potential of the ship. Gene also asks about him destroying a certain ship many years ago but he can’t remember. With all the talk done, time to overturn tables and fight. Gene can tell Ron is using superior technology and won’t last. Then it hit him that Ron is just stalling him because Outlaw Star and Melfina are targeted. He rushes back but Ron is confident he won’t make it in time. Meanwhile Melfina is surprised Henry visits her. Immediately she shuts him out. Using his cyborg arm, he breaks in. He gets mad when she rejects him. He tries to convince her they are the same as he too is born in a lab and has no parents. Well, Melfina can’t remember. He gets madder when she remains stubborn and tries to kidnap her. She runs and hides herself in the cockpit as Gilliam tries to shut Harry out. Harry then tries to hack into the system and Gilliam suggests Melfina help him. So it might look like another cyberspace rape but Melfina is able to shut him out and destroy his cyborg arm. Harry is forced to retreat. Gene and Jim return and they are glad Melfina is okay. They see a message from Gwen as he wonders they haven’t left for the Galactic Leylines despite having XGP. Could it be they don’t have enough info? He will help out to find more clues and will keep in touch with them. Melfina continues to be confuse about herself and Harry.

Episode 18
Gene is begging to Fred for more money?! Well, Fred can give it to him but with a condition he does a job for him. There is this fighting tournament he wants Gene to enter. But it is the women’s division. Reiko Andou has been the women’s champ for 4 consecutive years. He wants Gene to stop her from getting her fifth. Why? Reiko is destined to be Fred’s wife! It is his family tradition to marry the strongest woman. Fred made this silly bet to her 5 years ago to win it 5 times in a row thinking she cannot do it. And now the moment of reckoning is here. Naturally Gene sends Aisha to fight but it seems the organizers have banned the Ctarl-Ctarl race from entering since they went on a rampage and destroyed everything! Can Suzuka do it? Like hell she will. Everybody then has an idea. They turn Gene into a woman! Folks, meet Jenny. But it seems Aisha is also participating. How? She stole one of the fighter’s identity and snuck in! In the first round, Gene faces off with Reiko. He fools and flirts around to purposely make her mad. Unfortunately he lost. Don’t worry, Aisha is still in, right? She makes it to the final but shockingly Reiko lost in the semi-finals! Fred is so happy and Gene won’t get paid since he didn’t do anything. Karma hits Fred when Reiko hugs him (crushing his bones) promising she’ll do better next time. So keep waiting? Aisha’s final opponent is Iraga who is part of Anten Seven. Both are evenly match but Iraga seems to be distracted that Gene is here since she is under orders from Hazanko to kill him but defied them temporarily to enter this tournament. It is then revealed that Iraga is also a Ctarl-Ctarl. This makes everyone run for their lives. Aisha won’t lose out as they both transform into their beast form to fight. With Gene and co taking care of other pirates, the arena is then engulf in fire. Everyone escapes. Gene is worried about Aisha not making it out but it goes to show Ctarl-Ctarl are tough people. Aisha is out and defeated Iraga. Although this fiasco means Gene won’t get paid too, Fred calls him to offer a lifeline as he promised to pay if he took up the job. Gene and co now blast off for the Galactic Leylines.

Episode 19
After defeating a pirate ship, Outlaw Star is taken in by the Space Forces. More accurately, a private security force. While being frisked, Melfina notices something strange with the data of another pirate group that is also being frisked next to them. Gene and Jim are then interrogated by this lizard guy, Duuz and this hot babe, Valeria. They are suspicious of his Outlaw Star because it is a grappler ship and it serves more than just treasure hunting. Gene warns them the other suspicious pirate group because it is like as though they came here to attack. Prideful Duuz goes to interrogate them again. Valeria then tells the rest of Outlaw Star crew about a civilian ship, Midsummer Night’s Queen that will be docking here soon. It was attacked by pirates and only 10% of the passengers survived. This riles Gene up since it reminds him closely to his father’s death. After the ship docks, the survivors rush out in panic. The ship then starts attacking and the civilians are pirates in disguise as they attack the station by surprise. Furthermore, pirate reinforcements are seen coming. During the chaos, Gene and co flee back to their ship. They see Duuz trap and Gene frees him. Why? Because it is his pride. Back on Outlaw Star, Gene helps destroy Midsummer Night’s Queen and take on the other pirates. He is of course willing to help out this security force for a fee. After Valeria hands them the pirate’s data, Outlaw Star whips their ass. Of course to show that the security force are no sitting ducks, Duuz and Valeria show their military might and arsenal by blasting away the remaining pirate ships. In the aftermath, Valeria pays Gene his dues. Duuz decides to let Outlaw Star go because they are duly registered and it was the pirate’s data that scrambled their data and confusing it all that they were pirates. They let Gene continue to live out his treasure hunting dream but Duuz warns he will take him down hard if he ever catches him committing a crime.

Episode 20
After another hard fought victory over another pirate ship, Outlaw Star docks at another station for repairs. While Gene goes drinking (Melfina tasked to accompany him), Jim works hard on his computer. Taking a break, he goes out for fresh air and sees a girl, Hanmyo and her cats. In short: Love at first sight. He talks to her and she can tell he is trying to hit on her. They agree to meet up again later. Jim should know better than to ask Gene for advice on what to give a girl. Especially the morning after his hangover. Jim sees Hanmyo again and surprises her with lovely flowers. They agree to always meet at this time and point. Of course we see that Hanmyo is part of Anten Seven and her pet cats are her accomplices. Her job is to disable Outlaw Star and kill Gene. She is unaware that Jim is part of Outlaw Star. When Outlaw Star leaves the station, Hanmyo follows it and a dogfight begins. Jim and Hanmyo are unaware they are fighting each other. After another intense battle, Hanmyo and her cats ultimately lost. Outlaw Star took on some damage and has to return to the station for repairs. Jim couldn’t be happier. When he waits for Hanmyo, she never turned up. He feels heartbroken but all that is swept away with some brotherly talk from Gene. I guess there is no use trying to think too much over this short-lived romance so Jim and the rest prepare for their next journey to the Galactic Leylines.

Episode 21
Jim leads the gang to a planet called Dragon. Although it isn’t the Galactic Leylines, it is supposedly to have some ancient ruins that will give clues on it. Unknown to them, close on their tail is the MacDougall Brothers and they’re going to settle this once and for all. After landing on the uninhabitable rocky planet and traversing the rocky terrain, they find the ruins and inside is a dragon sphinx. Jim’s database cannot find anything useful from past expeditions. Melfina touches a wall and a dragon symbol glows before disappearing. Melfina cannot feel it again. She decides to be alone for a while and the rest chastise Gene for ignoring her and being colder to her more than usual. He also knows about the promise to find out her origins and isn’t making any progress. Ron told him she is part of a navigational system to the Galactic Leylines. He is sure she doesn’t want to hear that answer. Also, he is not sure if she will be the same if they get there or if it will have the answers for what she is looking for. As of now, they can’t go there. While Melfina is singing, I guess this catches Harry’s attention. He wants her to come with him and promises she will never be alone again. She rejects him again and thinks he is the lonely one. Before Harry can get more aggressive, here comes Gene to the rescue. Harry returns with his mecha and fight. At the same time Ron and his machines are fighting the rest. An earthquake suddenly occurs and everyone has to put off their fight. Gene and co retreat back to Outlaw Star. He gives Melfina a choice to not come with them if she doesn’t want to but she wants him to take her along. After Outlaw Star leaves, the entire ruins collapse. There goes all the historical proof and leads. Ron is shocked to find Harry among the rubbles. When Outlaw Star docks at the next station, they are shocked that Gwen is here. Did he plant some sort of tracking device? Yes. During XGP’s planning stages, he did plant one and is the only one who knows it. Gwen has found a person who knows the coordinates of the Galactic Leylines but he is currently in prison and no visitors are allowed. Gene doesn’t want to do that. But other people who know the coordinates are from Kei Pirates and Gwen doesn’t want to get involved with them. In that case, Gene will just barge into their territory and demand answers. Gwen will not allow him to do that and says a command line that shuts down Melfina. He is also the one who designed her system. Of course she will go back online once Gene gets the coordinates from that prisoner.

Episode 22
Gene becomes a prisoner on this prison planet. Due to its odd shape and high rotation, the gravitational pull is higher and has a powerful magnetic field. Oh, did I mention nobody has ever escaped from here before? There’s always a first time… Before Gene is incarcerated, Gwen gave him some very precious compass in which he wants back after everything is over. As expected, the robot wardens are bullies so when Gene tries to stop a fight, he is put into a correctional facility as punishment along with Saiyo Wong. This is the guy who knows about the Galactic Leylines but he isn’t saying anything since nobody gets out of here. But you know, Gene is going to do some prison break and offers Saiyo to come along. The warden shows everybody that somebody made an escape. Nobody is excited or panicking because how far could an escapee go on this barren planet? That dude’s dead. If he thinks he can scare Gene that nobody ever gets out of here alive because with the gravitational pull, everyone dies of heart failure before reaching their execution date, he’s wrong. Gene continues to hang out with Saiyo, much to his dismay. Even after giving him trouble, Gene continues to be persistent. Since Saiyo doesn’t want to die in this sh*t hole, he agrees to follow Gene’s fool proof escape plan. First they initiate a fight and wreck a few stuffs (and get back some items of theirs). The robots then arrest them and send them to the correctional facility. As they are taken by train, Saiyo uses some device to make the train go out of control. It cannot be stopped unless all power is shut down, something the warden is not willing to do. The train goes off track and into the desert. The robots are sent after them but they’re ‘too slow’. Inside the compass is a monopole. Because this planet has only one magnetic pole. A magnet becomes stuck in the ground while the other is in Gene’s belt. The opposing force has Gene pushed up into the air like as though he is flying. Time for Outlaw Star to pick them up. After Gwen activates Melfina back, Suzuka knocks him out since he is annoying in wanting to know the coordinates. Gene allows Saiyo to use Gwen’s ship to escape wherever he wants. Oh, take this nutcase too. In return, Saiyo gives Gene his locket that contains the coordinates to the Galactic Leylines.

Episode 23
In search of some wise men that can make some rare Caster shells, they are on this hotspring tourist planet. Uh huh. Fanservice time. Apparently everyone on this planet dresses up in their swimsuit. Ironically it is Jim being hit on by hot babes while Gene seriously hike up to the temple to find the wise man. Turns out this priest, Ark Manaf is persistent in wanting to sell him souvenirs. A short history about Caster shells being actually magic spells but it ran out of mana or something and thus it was stored in shells. There are 20 types but 3 of them are very rare. Only each of the 3 wise men can make it. The one Gene wants can only be made by Urt who lives on Mt Nyodai. But Ark warns Gene she has cordoned off her area and made it only for women. Looks like Ark isn’t pleased of being ignored. So if Gene wants his Caster shells at a bargain, he needs to go film some dirty pictures of her. Oh yeah… Unfortunately there are traps laced along the way and he has to ‘restart’ each time he falls into them. Why does he have to do all the work while his comrades just enjoy the hotspring? Hey, it’s his Caster shells so he has to work for it, right? At the top, there seems to be nothing but Gene hears women singing below. He sees busty babes working in an underground structure. I guess he got desperate in wanting to come in so he shoots the glass! WTF?! Avalanche! When he wakes up, he is in Urt’s custody. But seeing he is a man with red hair wielding a Caster gun, she has him follow him. So they’re playing ping pong? He wins and as agreed, she gives him a couple of rare shells. He also wants another match so if he wins he could take dirty pictures of her. No need for that. She’ll do it herself! Wait. What?! Oh yeah! So when Gene gives the perverted guys the dirty pictures, they keep their end of the bargain by giving him only a rare shell each. They warn about using it because it uses up its user’s life force when fired. Now they watch Urt’s sexy time. Oh yeah! Can’t wait! She is strip teasing them in the video. So much so they didn’t notice the countdown timer on the video. When it reaches zero, it explodes! I suppose it was worth watching… Gene and co now leave for the Galactic Leylines. I also want to note there is a stupid assassin (Vega? Mask and claw?) trying to secretly kill Gene all the while but bad luck always gets in the way and Gene was never in danger in the first place. Not that he even knows about it. And this assassin, Tobigera is supposed to be part of Anten Seven. What a joke.

Episode 24
Gwen is riding with the MacDougall Brothers. Of course he is on their side now since Gene dumped him. He has also made some nice cybernetic enhancements to Harry that could rival Melfina. They are following Outlaw Start towards the Galactic Leylines. Meanwhile Hazanko is close in succeeding in using some unholy method to get those coordinates. But he isn’t going to tell his higher ups because it is his evil plan to usurp them and become the supreme ruler of all. When Outlaw Star arrives, Hazanko doesn’t hesitate to order his pirates to attack them and retrieve XGP and Melfina. During the battle, the cruiser from Ctarl-Ctarl jumps in and tries to enter the Galactic Leylines (Aisha tipped them off and is proud of it). The reason Hazanko is allowing them to do so easily is because he knows if it was, they wouldn’t be going through so much trouble. Ctarl-Ctarl becomes guinea pig as they enter but shortly they come back out all crazy (Aisha must be so sad). During this chaos, Outlaw Star takes the opportunity to dash in. Then, MacDougall Brothers pop up and hail with Hazanko before dashing into the Galactic Leylines. The Kei Pirates also do the same after ‘drilling a hole’ into it. Gene and co start experiencing pain all over except for Melfina. She is able to stabilize their condition and guide Outlaw Star through the spiralling clouds when all other instruments don’t work. In the centre of the whirlpool, all 3 parties meet and start fighting each other before Outlaw Star escapes back into the spiral. They arrive at this huge cylindrical thingy (a bolster?) which is supposed to be the Galactic Leylines. They are pulled into it and once they reach an artificial structure, they traverse by foot. The other parties also reach and meet again. Before anything could start, a voice asks about Melfina’s return. She is then whisked away as the voice tells the rest to find their desires here.

Episode 25
Everyone is separated and told to follow a single path that will eventually merge. Suzuka faces off with Anten Seven’s Hitoriga. She has a score to settle with him and thus the reason why she tagged along with Gene. He killed her family. Furthermore, this guy is so in love with Suzuka that he makes his pretty face look like her. In the end, she kills him with a never seen before move that she created especially for him. Gene fights with Hamushi. He fires a Caster shell that shoots out a mini black hole. It swallows her whole and drains some of his life force. Aisha lets Jim run along while she takes on Jukai. I don’t know what happened but it looks like it is heading for Jukai’s win but Aisha’s effect was slow and killed him eventually and Aisha collapses from exhaustion. Harry reaches Melfina first. He confesses he loves her and all he needs is her by his side. Hazanko arrives next and an epic battle ensues but Harry is no match for him and got all his bones broken. Hazanko wants Melfina to remember because she is the key to open the Galactic Leylines. He admits it was his fault that they lost XGP and that’s why he dropped everything to come here. Melfina feels sad when he tells her she is just a puppet. A few chanting words, Melfina falls into a trance and opens the gate. When Gwen arrives, he sees Ron lamenting his brother’s death. He is mad and wants to kill Hazanko. Then here comes Gene. Ron doesn’t hesitate to fire but Gene fires a Caster shell that blows him off the platform. This drains his life force. In his unconscious state, he sees his younger days. He wakes up when Jim administers a cure. Gene wants Jim to return to find the rest and return Outlaw Star. He has 2 Caster shells left and if he runs out, Outlaw Star is his only hope. He knows their teamwork always have them come out tops in such pinch situations. Gene enters the gate but Gwen is waiting. He is stuck here because the door before them is locked from within. Then here comes Harry. He is already dead but his auxiliary system is barely keeping him alive. A convenient plot to make him use his cyber connections to open the door. He sees Melfina in cyberspace one more time and says his goodbye. He can’t even finish it with a kiss… He tells Gene to move forward and request Melfina sing that song to him.

Episode 26
Once Melfina is confirmed to be the true maiden, the Leyline is going to grant Hazanko his wish. Of course it is absolute power that will make everything bow before him. But not so fast because here comes Gene as he fires his Caster shell to absorb him. That easy?! But firing the shell takes a toll on his life force as he collapses. Gwen now arrives and is glad he doesn’t need to kill the rest to get his wish. But hold your horses too, Gwen. Gene wakes up and won’t let him do what he wants. Gwen tries to convince him they can get all that they desire here. Hazanko breaks free from the shell. He explains how Melfina was created and is a tool for this purpose. This confuses and scares Melfina as she thinks Gene also knew about this and brought her here. Of course he denies. Gene and Hazanko face off with the former firing his final Caster shell against the latter’s Tao magic. It causes some sort of reaction that kills them all? Meanwhile Jim and co are anxiously waiting for Gene but no word has been received since. Ron is back on his ship after Harry carried him back. Harry has copied part of his personality into it as backup. They decide to pull out from this fight. Gene is in an alternate dimension as he speaks to Melfina who is now connected directly to the Leyline. She explains Galactic Leylines is some sort of high-tech library of information and knowledge left behind by an extinct superior race. In human language, it is what you will call a machine God. In this dimension, everyone here is like dead but not quite. While their bodies are healing, Melfina claims she can grant Gene’s wish. As proof, Gwen who seeks knowledge and information has got his wish by becoming part of the data. So what is Gene’s wish? His only wish is for her to come back to them. What is her wish? To stay as she is and by Gene’s side. I guess this is settled. Even sealed with a kiss. Do cyberspace kiss count? Melfina senses Hazanko trying to leave after getting his power. They need to stop him before he gets out.

Hazanko returns to his ship, killing Tobigera who was staying watch on board. Their ship now turns into a giant monster. Gene and Melfina also return to Outlaw Star where the giant ship battle begins. Then it descends into a cyberspace hand to hand combat between Gene and Hazanko. Hazanko wants to absorb Gene and would have gotten his way had not Gene’s pals give him the strength to break out. Simply because he is not alone. The monster ship battle continues till the decisive blow is dealt on Hazanko. Everything explodes as Outlaw Star escapes in time. Melfina is greeted by her other half who is supposed to be the Leyline. She tells her the Galactic Leylines has moved to another location and they part ways. To repair Outlaw Star, for some reason Gene heads back to Sentinel. His past crimes haven’t been forgotten and he is thrown into the slammer. Jim comes to bail him and of course using Fred’s money. They’re lucky they got slapped with a fine considering the laws they broke back then. Fred doesn’t have to worry about Suzuka targeting his life since her employer cannot afford to pay her. Aisha will be making ends meet here as she waits for her empire to pick her home. Melfina pays her respect at the grave to everyone who has died for the Leyline. So Hilda not forgotten? Gene reminds her that she is who she is. Then they blast off to the next solar system. Outlaw Star breaks down halfway since they skimp on maintenance. Once repairs are done, Gene is shocked to see Suzuka and Aisha tagging along. Suzuka claims to see more interesting places with him while Aisha claims they owe her so basically Outlaw Star is hers. Whatever.

Space Jammin’
Well, I guess that is about wraps it up. Despite the slightly rushed ending and they did try to tie up things, but I thought it could have been a little better. After all, what is next on their adventure agenda, right? They have gone on a journey to obtain the most valuable ‘treasure’ ever only to toss all that away in the end because they’re trying to subtly tell us here that the company of your comrades throughout the journey is the better and if not the best treasure ever. So I’m not sure if going on another treasure hunt will beat the thrill or reap better rewards than the Galactic Leylines. Well, the universe is a huge place. You think it is the best of the best till something better than the best pops up in one corner of an unknown galaxy. Oh right. Gene and co have got to go find something that will make them big in no time considering all the IOUs they’ve racked up. No wonder the end narration about Outlaws will eventually carve their own nickname and since Gene has yet to get his, depending on his luck he’ll either be a great legendary hero or a scam/con artist who is always on the run. Better start finding jobs that pay a lot or else he might have to sell his body. No amount of times getting f*cked in the ass by Fred will ever do! Holy sh*t! How on earth did I think up something like that???!!!

It is fun to see such classic retro anime and personally it could be better than Cowboy Bebop because it has a story and plot unlike Cowboy Bebop which was just episodic, the reason why I complained it lacked being epic. Although I have to admit that at first it started out interesting because of the many parties chasing after Gene’s ass, somehow in the middle parts it started to get a little bit boring because some episodes feel a bit like filler although they are small plots that will be pieced together in the bigger picture. For example, the Heiphon race, the bounty hunting job, that cactus supreme being (WTF) and robbery heist felt like episodic fillers at a glance. With the end approaching soon and a mad dash for the Galactic Leylines beginning, that is where it becomes interesting again. Though I feel that there are many other potentials and developments like the other pirate groups (108 Stars comes to mind) that aren’t covered in this season and it sometimes feel the series left out a great chunk of other aspects that would have made this universe an even more interesting setting for Gene and his crew to seek adventure.

Gene is your typical main character hero. He isn’t perfect, has his own dark traumatic past that continues to haunt him in his dreams and a womanizer. He still is in the end, still groping the butt of that waitress at the bar he frequents back at Sentinel. His past though makes his character, it isn’t affecting him too much in later episodes. Like that phobia of going into space, Gene becomes a naturally after a few space trips. Jim as the mechanic and brains sees Melfina as a mother figure. A reason to ‘protect’ her from Gene’s flirting? But I don’t really feel the connection much between the trio in many of the episodes. Except when it came to the end where certain revelations needed to be told and importance needed to be re-evaluated, that’s why the sudden relationship between Gene and Melfina felt a little too rushed at the end. Sure, it’s like an excuse they’re going on an adventure here and there with Gene seemingly forgetting his original promise to Melfina and at times you see her putting up a sad face and thinking too much. But remember, always have faith in each other. Because apparently that is the key in defeating big bad guys too :-). In today’s world, I can’t help but think that Melfina who was in a dilemma if she was a tool or human is equivalent to today’s mentality of gender assuming. Just saying… But I can at least say she is more human than some of the despicable humans here.

I believe Aisha is like the joker and furry mascot of the team. Firstly, she has this ego problem and this makes her a very bad loser. That is why it is fun to see her getting mad and trying to get back at all those who crossed her just so that she can match her ego. Eventually hanging around too long in Outlaw Star makes her bond with everyone else even though she claims she is just riding them to get her goal. Suzuka sometimes feel like a freeloader. She is an independent and free will woman. Sometimes it is hard to feel that she is part of the team initially because when Gene and co do something, she will usually be away doing her own thing. She is like oil and water with Gene because sometimes she has sarcastic comments for him. But just like Aisha, staying too long on Outlaw Star has her bonded with the rest too although her assassin pride won’t make her say the obvious. Not sure if Fred will still pursue his gay love for Gene now that Suzuka won’t be killing him but he still has Reiko to shrug off.

At first, Ron looks like the badass big brother while Harry looks like an effeminate psychopath who is crazily madly in love with Melfina. But towards the end, it feels like their relevance are reversed because Ron was easily defeated (it goes to show that angst never get you anywhere) and Harry was ironically the one that gave Gene a new lifeline. It was mind boggling that they are kept alive at the end and backed out of it all like dogs running away with tails between their legs. It would have been better that they stay dead but for some reason, maybe the producers wanted to tell us that they are not that all bad and good looking guys like them still deserve to live at the end. Though, they just got up and leave and never heard of again is the reason why I thought it would have been better their characters were killed off. Gwen I feel is the most annoying because despite his eccentric behaviour, this mad professor has this annoying tendency to nod or say something in agreement in a very irritating way. Because he never gets mad, the most you’ll hear him is his surprise and this makes him sound a bit like an idiot. Well, if this is what mad scientists are portrayed then. Thank goodness they ‘kill him off’ by making him live as data forever. Yeah, knowledge is power.

The most disappointing characters ever to make their appearance in this series is the Anten Seven assassins. They are a bunch of jokers, I tell you. At first when they are introduced, I thought that have this very terrifying outlook the way they are ‘mysteriously’ narrated upon. I thought they will cause Gene and co a lot of trouble. However with their late introduction, it made me wonder if they have enough time to flesh them all out. If I had to pick which of the Anten Seven is the best of all, it would be Shimi/Leilong. This guy was actually the closest in coming to killing Gene. And he is the first assassin to make his move and the only one who survived. The rest that came after was a joke. WTF is that wrestling match with wolf girl Iraga and that dating scene with little girl Hanmyo (so as just to give Jim his own episode?). And if you think they went out without much of the fight, they are at least better than the rest of the remaining Anten Seven. Because surely they look like a bunch of Halloween horror rejects. Tobigera was already like a joker for that hotspring episode. Worse, he got killed without a fight! By his own master! The rest have their fights so f*cking short that it is as though they were there to make up the numbers and give us a run for our money for some individual fights. It was hardly worth it. They could have been nameless generic minions under Hazanko for all we care. Some assassins they are. No wonder Hazanko couldn’t win it in the end. If there was anything that is the most disappointing of this series, Anten Seven tops the list. Hazanko couldn’t be much more than your typical cliché baddie who wants everything for himself and ultimately gets what’s coming from the hero. I wonder how the Kei Pirates and 108 Stars will be since the most influential figure is gone. Oh who cares? Some new baddie will just replace him.

The fights and space battles are enough to satisfy your retro nostalgia. Because they come from the late 90’s era, many of us old nostalgia otakus watching this now would forgive them for being, well, so 90’s. Not counting the disappointing final fights with some of the remaining Anten Seven assassins, the other individual fights are flashy and fast paced in its own right. Even the space battles with Outlaw Star is good enough. Because also the fact that they are the heroes so no matter what kind of pinch they are in, they’ll always win in the end. After all, when you have the best ship in the universe and with grappler arms that stick out like a sore thumb, it is hard to lose at least for Gene’s calibre. You have to be pretty talented and useless not to win piloting Outlaw Star.

Art and drawing are also pretty decent as it is produced by a very veteran anime studio, Sunrise. They also did Cowboy Bebop by the way. They did lots of retro animes from the old days as well as new ones in recent years like Gintama, Code Geass, Inu Yasha, Mobile Suit Gundam, Mai-HiME, Escaflowne, Keroro Gunsou, City Hunter and Dirty Pair. It’s not a comprehensive list but trying to name all their works could take a few pages. Although the animation quality is pretty standard for its time, there are some scenes which I noticed that has a drop in quality. Especially some of the fight scenes or those that has fast paced action. Not sure if this is enhanced in the DVD version (too bad I saw the normal TV version of course) but it is a bit obvious this poor quality. Of course I let it slide simply because I tagged it as retro anime. All is (almost) forgiven, right?

Design of the characters aren’t too shabby but nothing that is too extravagant as well. It is a melting pot and mixture of everything western (Gene and Jim) to eastern, namely Japanese (Suzuka). One thing I noticed is that although we don’t see our characters go planet hopping and they are mostly on Sentinel and then on Heiphon later, how come those cities on these planets are so Chinese-like? No, not Japanese but Chinese. See all those sigh boards and some of the building structures. Yeah, it feels like I’m in Hong Kong or something! I am thinking maybe these planets are under Kei Pirates so they are Hazanko’s influence and hence the very Chinese or Tao influence. Oh, one last thing. Personally I didn’t like Gene’s new short haircut in the end. I know I’m so used to his long hair and understand anybody who is thrown into the slammer gets a free haircut service but this short haircut makes him look like his younger self. Only bigger size. Not really used to it.

The opening theme is the right tonic that sets the pace and mood for this anime. Through The Night by Masahiko Arimachi. This catchy rock piece makes you feel like want to do a little jammin’ from time to time. However the awesomeness of the opening is all ‘destroyed’ by the ending themes. Hearing Hiru No Tsuki by Arai Akino as the first opening theme feels creepy. It is supposed to be a slow song but it also has this sad feel that you know, after watching an awesome episode and then you hear this piece, it’s like just creepy. Making it even creepier are the surreal but creepy drawings of females in the ending credits animation. At least Melfina’s solo singing as a short insert song within the series without any musical instruments sound slightly better. The second ending theme, Tsuki No Ie also by Arai Akino doesn’t sound as creepy but still slightly creepy nevertheless. Especially that echo-y space-like background voice. At least to a slightly faster beat this slow pop song. But still, those surreal creepy images still apply… I hope these ladies aren’t some sort of incarnation of Gene or Jim’s mom! Yikes!

Although for old retro animes I wouldn’t be doing any seiyuu listing because since it is an old anime and there are many seiyuus that I won’t be recognizing. The only one I recognized here is Ayako Kawasumi as Melfina. But what makes it interesting is that I found out later that this is actually her debut series. As in, the first anime she helmed playing as a main character (the second overall as she had a cameo role in You Are Under Arrest earlier on as her debut). Wow. Thinking about it now, she has really come a long way although these days I get a feeling I am hearing lesser of her. Maybe it’s the wrong animes I picked to watch? So I’m now obliged to do a list of other seiyuus for the sake of this. Well, I’m going through it fast since many voiced lots of old series that I didn’t watch. They are Shigeru Shibuya as Gene, Rika Matsumoto as Jim (Futaba in You’re Under Arrest), Sayuri as Suzuka, Yuko Miyamura as Aisha (Alyssa in Mai-HiME, Asuka in Neon Genesis Evangelion), Takaya Hashi as Gilliam (Duke Inuarashi in One Piece), Kazuhiro Nakata as Ron, Tsutomu Kashiwakura as Harry, Seizo Katou as Hazanko, Takeshi Aono as Gwen (Gengai in Gintama), Toshihiko Seki as Fred (Iruka in Naruto) and Toshiko Fujita as Hilda (Big Mom in One Piece). Yeah, no offence but all very old but talented people here.

Overall, being a retro series already earned some points for old time otakus like me. Likeable main characters, nice space action and a decent and simple plot makes it a golden oldie. Thanks to the many disappointing animes that I have seen in recent years, the only reason why it enhances the reputation of old animes like this one. Well, at least it is good to know that this anime was popular enough to spawn its own spin-off series, Angel Links. Thus the reason why you see that lizard dude and spikey hair woman making their debut cameo here. If One Piece is the greatest treasure that all pirates can obtain, then Galactic Leylines is that space version of it. I guess it was an adventure worth taking on after all.

Gintama S4

March 4, 2017

More Gintama?! Oh yeah! Bring it on! What is there more to say? Let it get rolling, season 4! As usual, my blog will be just listing down some of the episodes I enjoyed and the important arcs.

Episode 266-267: What a way to start the season with Gintama holding a press conference to apologize about the misuse of funds. Not that we care! Anyway the story proper has everyone except Gintoki, Kagura and Shinpachi frozen in time. As expected, it was Gintoki’s fault in destroying some intergalactic clock and not giving a hoot about it since he was recovering from a hangover. So they try to leave it to Gengai to fix it and no matter how they adjust whatever variables, Gengai and/or Hasegawa gets killed! How the f*ck did this even end up in some Dragonball showdown?! Then they realize it is just out of batteries and go through a whole lot of crap just to get the batteries. Yeah, there seems to be some sort of conspiracy in preventing them in getting the batteries and making it more complicated. So complicated that we don’t know how the timeline changed to Otae marrying an anthromorphic sound effect guy. And when everything goes from bad to worse, even Gintoki and co are now frozen in time (because it is the wrong battery type), that guy just inserts the right batteries to reset everything. Like it all never happened. Hey, this is Gintama for you. What do you expect?

Episode 268: Yamazaki must be bored and sick of eating anpan while he stakes out Yorozuya. With Tama to the rescue (misinterpreting her words), he starts stalking her instead. Of course Sougou finds out about it and you know how he is going to screw everything up. So he sets up a marriage meeting between the Shinsengumi and Yorozuya. You know how both sides hate each other, right? So it is like they are sabotaging the entire event and it is just pitiful for Yamazaki trying to salvage everything but was for naught. A little chat with Tama in the end restores his confidence and normalcy till he had to vomit on her. Oops…

Episode 269: Gintoki and Tsukuyo are forced to teach Seita some history lessons. You know how boring it is, right? So the only way to make him interest is to add lots of exaggerated crap in it. Yeah, changing history? More like fantasy! Till Hinowa ends with an even absurd tale, which is a big warning for the adults to restart a proper history lesson for Seita. Shinpachi is holding some porn for his friend. Of all people, why did he get Gintoki’s advice to hide porn in his room from Otae? People, do not take their advices here. This is how NOT to hide porn. In the end, they find this naughty manga fits nicely with the other normal manga. Like hiding a leaf in the forest. They head out and realize they forgot to clean up the S&M equipment that was used during all the silly examples.

Episode 270: Ayame makes a secret chamber behind the mirror of Yorozuya’s toilet just to spy on Gintoki. But she gets more than she bargained for when she sees Shinpachi’s chest hair and Kagura’s cat tail. The last straw came when Gintoki reveals his baldness and uses the chest hair and cat tail as something naughty so Ayame breaks out and kicks his crotch before running away. They knew Ayame was behind it all along and just to teach her a lesson. But she soon comes back and this time without a mirror but imitating them like one. Yamazaki hears his colleagues badmouthing him despite getting special distinction from a mission. So he thought of applying for something cool like having a ninja licence along with Zenzou. So why does every training must have them abuse the old ninja lady? So by the time they take the last test that involves killing her, old ninja lady kills off her old ninja husband. The reward is a ninja licence or chikuwa. Yamazaki made the right choice for opting the latter.

Episode 271-272: Gintoki, Katsura and Sakamoto join a reunion for the Joi members. Other than Takasugi who didn’t even want to attend, they suddenly have vague memories that there must have been a 5th member supporting them from behind but cannot remember. So who the f*ck is this Tasuke Kurokono? They definitely cannot remember him but try as hard as they might to avoid any awkwardness when he arrives. But remembering the memories feels like a farce since we have them reminiscing about their high school basketball tournament and everything always leads back to that damn Pokari can drink. Or Yakulk? And what is this about Gintoki scamming every one of their money to buy Yakulk? Then the memories come back… They remember during a war when both sides have taken heavy casualties and are resting on their respective sides. Gintoki and Takasugi got into an argument about whores so it is suggested to calm their tension down by playing kick the can. Kurokono was counting in the temple when the enemies launch a surprise attack. But Gintoki and co anticipated this ambush and fought back, including blowing up the temple. So okay… They killed Kurokono?! So could this be his ghost has come back to organize this reunion and drag them to hell? Oh sh*t… Gintoki seems to be sweating in his pants (I don’t think singing Doraemon’s theme song would calm any nerves) and the other 2 were nonchalant about it that they got ‘abducted’ by the ‘ghost’. Turns out to be Henpeita Takechi and Matako Kijima of Kiheita setting up this to get rid of them as they believe they will become a hindrance in the future to Takasugi’s ambitions. So when they begin their final ghostly assault, Gintoki remembers what happened. While the troops were sleeping, Kurokono said his goodbye and left the force because he felt he couldn’t contribute any better. He hopes to be forgotten. But Gintoki told him it wouldn’t be a problem if just one guy remembered him and if they are in trouble, come back and help them again. Gintoki fights back and even Kurokono makes his mysterious appearance to put a stop to this farce. Next morning when Katsura and Sakamoto wake up not remembering anything last night, did Gintoki remember a thing? Nope. He forgot everything.

Episode 273: Hijikata is forced to hold onto a lost lottery ticket. Imagine his great dilemma when he discovers it as the winning ticket of 300 million! Even worse, Gintoki is the holder of this lost ticket! Tempting not to give it back, right? And so with money comes corruption because not only Hijikata sees evil Mohawk gang illusions trying to take money, they get involved with a real Mohawk gang robbing a bank! Attempts to break free only make it worse for them because they end up aiding in robbing more banks and dispatching police officers! In the end, they realize that their life is not worth being controlled by scraps of paper and tear the ticket up. But what about the real 300 million that was burnt during the final getaway? How are they going to repay that? Well, they’re going to buy more lottery tickets…

Episode 274: Yorozuya trying to advertise?! After all those parodies, ripping off and silly selfish desires, I guess they end up fighting and the best picture for it all is that big fight on a paper smeared by Sadaharu’s paw. After the aftermath in the Kabukichou Four Devas Arc, we see new ones taking over their respective group. But who is the one that rule them all? Not tranny Ago or gangster Katsuo or even Gintoki. But Otae! She holds a meeting to come up with a mascot to improve Kabukichou’s image. As usual, lots of silly rip offs and random weirdness. Since Katsuo was against it all and tells what he believes should represent the district better, he ends up paying the price and facing copyrights infringement over this newly created mascot. Turns Otae has been the bid devil behind his troubles.

Episode 283-284: Seeing how Tama’s confession is with men, Gintoki decides to take advantage of it and use her to scam for money. So it turns out to be his disgruntled employees taking out their anger on him. Then slowly it becomes a complicated murder plot when the shogun gets involved. I mean, with all the silly confessions, the shogun somehow is believed to be killed amidst the confusion and Gintoki becomes desperate to cover up this crime but it only gets from bad to worse. When the final person who comes in to confess is no other than the shogun himself, Gintoki breaks into his confession mode and repents his sins, vowing to turn over a new leaf. Amen! Then it turns out the shogun lost his memories and is now best friends and Joi member with Katsura. And Gintoki gets arrested. Katsura wants to teach the shogun about leadership while the Joi members can only look on in disbelief that their dumb leader still hasn’t figure out who this dude is. But the lessons end up being games and Katsura always loses. The game and his cool. In the end, everybody abandons Katsura to follow the shogun. Nobody cares about you anymore. So Katsura goes to rescue Gintoki alone but why is he whining about losing his leadership? Oddly, the shogun leads the Joi guys to raid his own castle?! Gintoki gets involved further in the sh*t as it becomes a stupid race between Katsura and the shogun to see who can kill the princess first! In the end, both sides actually realize their true identities a long time ago and were just testing out each other. There were numerous chances they could kill each other but where would the fun be as they want to know what the enemy commander is really like. But in the end, after all this leader crap, the true leader is Kagura because they all disturb her beautiful sleep with Soyo and they got owned.

Episode 285: Kondou got rejected by Otae to visit the festivals together so he is annoying couples there as a masked cockroach! Since Otae is there too and she doesn’t realize it is him under the mask, he tries to flirt with her. But Gintoki and co hatch up a scheme to rip him off his money like shooting gallery (shooting at somebody’s funeral?), katanuki (how can he carve out a realistic dragon from the candy?) and goldfish scooping (bungee jumping?! Tied to the neck?!). Eventually it was just an elaborate prank to teach him a lesson but they’ve all learnt a bigger one that the festival is much better when you have fun with everyone. As long that someone is paying. Yeah…

Episode 290-291: A back story of how Sakamoto and Mutsu came to be. Mutsu was the daughter of a pirate group that does human trafficking. And she works part time as captain?! Sakamoto was accidentally picked up as he tries to con his way to trade and buy this ship but was eventually thrown into prison (for vomiting on the commander’s face many times). Mutsu would soon learn a valuable lesson of Sakamoto as a trader always seems to make others happy with his trade. It makes his profits more meaningful. So when there is a mutiny from the commander after her father falls ill and he plans to take over and kill everyone, it’s time for Mutsu to rethink and make her move. The night before the rebellion, she sets Sakamoto and the slaves free. Then she gets captured and to walk to plank. Apparently Sakamoto and the slaves didn’t abandon her. They return to turn the tables on the commander and his team and took off into the skies as traders. Now, history seems to be repeating itself as the commander is back to get his revenge by kidnapping Sakamoto and Mutsu. But you know how funny sometimes some things never changed. Because history repeats itself again. The entire Kaientai fleet is made out of those slaves as they bust them out. Mutsu’s fighting style resembles a lot like a Yato and this means she is one powerful kickass mother f*cker. The day is saved. Back to trading again. It’s another usual day in business.

Episode 292: Fancy our Yorozuya characters in a new fashion? Well, with all the silly alterations and adjustments, they just don’t look like the characters we know anymore. And so it is decided the way they originally look is the best. But Shinpachi might want to look a little cool in his suits for a while. Also, Shinpachi finds a lost scroll believed to be left behind by his late dad supposedly to inherit some super finishing move. Despite its long ass name and weird instructions (is that a video game input?), not everybody else easily learns it but the kick in the nuts turn out to be all that hard work in practising the move is to collect cacao and macadamia to create the perfect delicious chocolate nut bait for your enemy.

Episode 293: Ape Boy, some sort of Robin Hood who steals from the corrupted and gives bananas to the poor. He mistakes Kondou’s stalking on Otae to be prodigal material and before you know it, Kondou is under his wing to succeed him whether he likes it or not! Each time they escape from Shinsengumi, Kondou’s accidentally tactics only serves to enhance his reputation as a successor. Poor Hijikata… Eventually Ape Boy’s age is catching up so it seems Kondou is forced to succeed his last wishes. He does some deed on his behalf at a shrine. Hijikata is also there and knows Kondou was the one sabotaging him. Well, let’s call it undercover job. To deceive your enemy, you have to deceive your friends… This shrine proves familiar for Kondou. There was once a troubled kid here and it wasn’t Ape Boy but Kondou. Ape Boy was his sensei. His kindness was his downfall as loan sharks took advantage of it by kidnapping the other orphans. Kondou went alone to get them back but the loan sharks retaliated by burning down the shrine. Kondou was sent away on grounds he brought trouble and that was the last time he saw his sensei. It is believed he became Ape Boy to protect him from turning into a thief and atone his sins. Ape Boy is captured by punks preying on the weak. Kondou singlehandedly beats the crap out of all of them. He makes his final tearful reunion with sensei.

Episode 294-295: Shinsengumi has got a new skilled swordsman? It’s Katsura in an afro?! However he is owned by the third squad captain, Shimaru Saito. So Katsura takes his complaints to Yorozuya. He joined Saito’s silent squad but he never talks. Never. The only words coming out of his mouth is “Zed” and when he is sleeping. Apparently before Katsura joined, he was the only member of the squad and it is believed he purged his entire squad member. Then they realize Katsura is in danger because Saito might now his identity and is waiting for a chance to kill him. Saito even comes to Yorozuya and the rest thinks he is looking for Katsura but just to take a dump? But he leaves with a letter addressing his problem of being unable to talk naturally to others. It makes him nervous that he wants to take a dump. I guess Gintoki has to play advisor since he got paid. He writes back a letter to smile. So creepy that Katsura gets scared of him! How about bringing along your partner for work and some conversation might string along? So Saito captured Elizabeth and is about to torture her?! Turns out he tamed her to be his pet. Now Elizabeth won’t look at Katsura! Poor guy. He is having lots of problems. So is friendship between Shinsengumi and Joi rebel impossible? But soon Katsura has become a famous in Shinsengumi and everybody spots an afro! It seems he has used Saito’s silence to his advantage by framing him in his bid to take him down. During his trial, Saito shockingly speaks! Actually it is Yorozuya speaking via communicator on his behalf. I mean, nobody heard his voice before, right? So in this silly trial to prove his innocence, silly rants and inconsistent talking, it all boils down to a sword fight between Katsura and Saito. More silly incomprehension that leads to napping? This is where Katsura fails since he took off his afro to sleep and the Shinsengumi is now hot on his ass. However during this commotion he has Elizabeth planted bombs everywhere. Not needing any meddling from Yorozuya anymore, Saito hunts down Katsura while the rest defuse the bombs. Their fight ends in a draw with Saito cutting his detonator and Katsura wounding his leg. But a big bomb is set to go off. All Saito needs to say is cut all alphabet wires except Z (as revealed by Katsura). But since he can’t speak and has accepted his silence, he thought his Shinsengumi guys would get the hint when he catches some Zs. Boom! Everyone is afro again.

Episode 296-297: I bet we have forgotten that Kagura as a Yato cannot be exposed to the sunlight, right? Thanks to the hot summer and with Gintoki and Shinpachi wrestling to get under her shade, she is inadvertently pushed out and… OMG… Something is wrong… Somebody call the ambulance! Kagura is hospitalized and her condition turns for the worse. Our Yorozuya boys feel guilty as not even the doctor can do anything about it. Human medical technology not good enough for Yato. Of course everything is just an act by Kagura for payback and do errands for her. However her plan starts to backfire when she plays her prank too far and now she has to act like she is in a coma! Worse, with more people gathering, they already start talking about her funeral! And before she knows it, she is already in a funeral! A state wide funeral! Then she realizes Sougou might have known she is alive because he purposely installed sunbathing device inside her coffin to roast her. Due to some drugs, she cannot move or speak for a few more hours. And so we see the wacky send off as everyone tries to pay their last respects while her coffin is on a conveyor belt to the crematorium! Are they really trying to kill her with their absolutely silly last rites?! When Kagura realizes she was wrong and taking advantage of everyone’s kindness (they shed real tears after all), that is when she ekes out an apology. Everyone heard it. Gintoki and Shinpachi try to hasten her death because they realize they can’t go back after ‘cheating’ everyone out of their funeral funds. But eventually the truth is revealed so everyone gives a ‘grand send-off’ to Yorozuya for their terminal disease. Still blaming each other till the end, eh? Well, you only live once. Or do they?

Genderbend Arc
Kyuubei as a man?! Apparently her dilemma to be a yuri or tomboy character has a suspicious fortune teller not only converting her into a man but the entire Kabukichou swapping their genders! Fancy seeing Gintoki as a cutie? Kagura as a manly Three Kingdoms general?! But Sadaharu completely turned into a fine white steed?! Not all are changed as Shinpachi only had his glasses turned feminine and Otae is pretty normal too. It is revealed the wanted intergalactic cult leader, Dekobokko is fed up with everyone being untrue to their gender so he swaps everyone to make them live a new life. So if they can exhibit being faithful to their genders, he will turn them back or else he will destroy the world. Even with Kabukichou being quarantined off and the cult watching their every move, our usual characters can still talk nonsense especially the case of taking a pee and Otae becoming a jealous monster since well, many of the guys in Shinsengumi have turned into hot gorgeous babes with big boobs!!! Except Hijikata who looks like a fat ugly woman… Apparently the Shinsengumi have been on Dekobokko’s tail ever since they’ve got word they are coming into contact with Earth but didn’t expect them to move this quick by settling into this town as their base. The real ‘God’ himself is up there in space in a satellite. The cult was trying to make a drug that manipulates hormone balance, making men more manly and women more feminine. But the drug had an opposite effect. It swapped their genders. Therefore it is not the work of God but a virus. Thankfully it doesn’t stay long in the air and is not contagious.

The plan now is to cover up all the surveillance cameras set up throughout town. But with their moronic egos and getting distracted by it, you think they can do the job? While they’re at it, Ayame and Tsukuyo singlehandedly destroy all the cameras and rounded up most of the cult members! Are you manly enough to do your job? It leads them to their sewer base. They round up all the cult members and even discuss about returning to their original genders. Because heck, the ladies (men now) were much more useful than those men (ladies now) all the way. But the archbishop has observed Kyuubei and believes she has been the chosen one and has upheld both male and female qualities. As promised, a beam is fired back on Earth, turning everyone back to their original genders. Unfortunately for our heroes who were underground, they were the only ones left unchanged. Life goes on like normal but a lot smoother for many of our characters like Kyuubei now stronger and attracting females’ attention, the Shinsengumi become some sort of police cabaret and Shinpachi trains in another dojo to become stronger. Life is indeed smooth sailing than before but Kyuubei can’t help feel some sort of gloominess. She realizes she is neither man nor woman but a coward. Luck would have all that changed since Yorozuya manages to get tickets to outer space as they have found the next planet the cult is targeting. They manage to change back to their original genders and kick their asses once again. Kyuubei acknowledges she isn’t a man or woman but just Kyuubei.

Reaper Arc
Gintoki heard there are serial murders of people’s neck being severed but enough flesh left behind to keep the head and body intact. He doesn’t believe it until he comes across a reaper trying to kill herself and she wants him to assist her! Lots of bloopers till it looked like he did it. Why did he have to bring her back to Yorozuya? However Asaemon Ikeda is not dead yet and laments she cannot even take her own life before leaving. Meanwhile Shinsengumi is investigating the murders and Hijikata has sought the assistance of Yaemon Ikeda, the royal swordskeeper. Apparently they have been the royalty’s executioners for generations who assisted people who are supposed to commit seppuku by cutting off their heads. It is an act of soul cleansing so it is believed that such cuts can only be performed by such skilled swordsmen. Currently Yaemon is the head after taking over their previous master. There is another one who has this skill but is on the run. The royal guards are looking for Asaemon in hiding but Gintoki finds her and brings her back to Yaemon. Gintoki is told why he took her back when such acts of treason would usually mean her head. They were both like siblings and rivals who raised the bar for each other. When it is discovered their late master was responsible for helping criminals escape, the entire Ikeda could have perished if the courts find out. Thus the siblings punished him in secrecy and Asaemon assisted in his suicide. It won’t be long before the courts find out and thus Asaemon wanted to take this secret to her grave. After all, she loved her master more than anybody else. But Gintoki knows something is amiss. In addition to this, they are also the ones who commit those murders. They were all escaped criminals set free by their previous master. So why is Yaemon telling Gintoki all this despite the risk of all this coming to light? Yaemon takes out the list of escaped criminals. Gintoki’s name is on that list. He must cooperate or become a victim too.

Officially it is announced that the serial killer is caught and executed. Hijikata and Sougou don’t buy this crap and board the ship supposedly carrying corpses of executed people. True enough, Asaemon is still alive as she talks to Gintoki about her master and the many things he taught her. She is confused by his deeds that needed to take his life. Gintoki knows by heart that he was a good man. Especially how humanely he was treated despite being a prisoner. Once Hijikata and Sougou find them, they tell the other part of the true story that all the murder victims were related to the rebels of the Joi war. They were all involved in the battle at Anekohara where they inflicted the greatest defeat to a great general, Narifuyu Hitotsubashi. He became a politician and spent years on the side-lines till he is enough to take over the cabinet. He ordered the purged of these people but a certain man couldn’t bear the sight of people being mercilessly slaughtered and set them free. Therefore Gintoki and Asaemon have been sold out by Yaemon to gain favour with Nobunobu Hitotsubashi who is rumoured to be the next shogun. While Gintoki and co fight off the guards, Asaemon is greatly confused what she has been protecting all the while. Leave it to Gintoki to clear her mind and conscious about it as she gets back into the groove to face off with Yaemon himself.

Gintoki gets shot but not a fatal one. It becomes a draw to see if Yaemon can cut Gintoki’s head first or Asaemon taking Yaemon’s head. Yaemon reveals the truth that her biological father wasn’t killed in the Joi war but by her master. He adopted her out of guilt. Gintoki remembers talking to young Asaemon when he was on death row. She was confused about his imprisonment and didn’t think he was a bad guy. She decided to grow up and become an executioner and take his head. So don’t die until then. Yaemon thought he cut both Gintoki and Yaemon’s neck. Actually Gintoki attacked from his blind spot by unsheathing Asaemon’s sword accidentally grazing his own neck. Gintoki was fast enough to break Yaemon’s sword. Yaemon realizes his dream and sword were long broken. He helps everyone escape as his final deed before he got beheaded by his partner, Hitotsubashi. And this guy too seems to be in an unofficial cohort with Takasugi. Sougou takes Gintoki, Shinpachi and Kagura to be executed. As Yaemon has gone missing, the link to the serial murders have disappeared and to cover their own asses to prevent Hitotsubashi from bringing down the hammer on them, the trio are being made a scapegoat. Gintoki gets mad when he learns Asaemon committed suicide to take responsibility for this entire uproar. Sougou reminds him that he already assisted in her suicide when they first met. To their surprise, Asaemon is going to be their executioner. She has discarded her past and took on the name of the next Yaemon. The Shinsengumi turn a blind eye over their execution. Any criminals seen with a sever around their neck, they’re going to just assume they are corpses. Asaemon cuts her mask and their cuffs. There are no more criminals here.

Ego Switch Arc
Shinpachi and Kagura are chasing Gintoki for their overdue pay. Hijikata is chasing Yamazaki for slacking. Gintoki and Hijikata got into each other’s way, started arguing and a truck hits then. Before they know it, they swap bodies! Since getting back isn’t easy, they are forced to live as each other’s life. After all, they can’t be safe either way. Those kids still kill Gintoki for their pay and Sougou loves to bazooka Hijikata. So imagine the culture shock when the swapped duo bring to their organizations. Gintoki does away with all the code crap and instils slacking for Shinsengumi while Hijikata instils punctuality and discipline for Yorozuya. In the end, Shinsengumi turns into some wild bandits and Yorozuya a justice squad! Messed up! The duo continue to fight till Kagura and Sougou fight and blew up each other. Bodies still not swapped, though. It is then Tama brings them to see Gengai who reveals that they were swapped thanks to the truck carrying an experimental swapping device that instead of swapping eggs and soy sauce over rice, swapped their souls. WTF?! Do you need such complicated device for egg on rice meal?

Of course trying to swap them back via machine swapped everything but their souls. Since they realize something is lacking that rendered the machine unable to work properly, they think back and remember half of Gintoki’s soul entered the ass of a dead cat during the swap! Now they have to find that cat who might be resurrected as a zombie all over town. So both meet the least person they want to meet. Katsura is now part of Yorozuya as wells as Hasegawa and Ayame! There is going to be a big brawl showdown between the free spirited Shinsengumi and disciplined Yorozuya. Sh*t is going to happen. They cooperate when they finally spot the cat. An amnesiac alien?! So this cat is taking after Gintoki’s negative habits? Nobody can touch this strong feline. Gintoki and Hijikata blame their own inaptness that got their team owned so they will go take the cat back on their own. They follow it back to Otae’s place. She is keeping it as her pet! Dozaemon?! There are lots of chivalry talk going on from how she found him and nurse him back to health. She won’t leave him till he gets his memories back and doesn’t mind the rumours about them. When he eats her food, he passes out and loses his memories! So was this how he got it in the first place? Hijikata is forced to talk to her since he is in Gintoki’s body and has got to act like him.

Otae can tell something is strange since both of them are trying to flirt with her with the tactic of making her break up with Dozaemon?! It gets complicated when Shinpachi and Kondou enter the fray. Shinpachi takes Otae and run while Kondou wheels Dozaemon away. It soon hit Gintoki and Hijikata that Shinpachi is Kondou and Kondou is Ayame! And get this. Shinpachi is glasses while Yamazaki is Hasegawa’s shades! So who is in Yamazaki’s body? Sadaharu? And that dog? Hasegawa! If that is not confusing enough. Sougou swapped with Katsura and Kagura swapped with Elizabeth. Yeah, this madness happened when Gengai rammed all of them with his truck earlier on. Dozaemon wakes up when he hears Otae’s scream (apparently Shinpachi (Kondou) is trying to rape her). So once everybody faces off, Otae tells everyone to stop bullying Dozaemon. The rest argue they need to return him to his proper place. Otae would have believed them at other times but tonight their weird acting just makes it suspicious. Especially this gay moment between Kondou (Ayame) and Hijikata (Gintoki). Hilarious! Dozaemon goes into overdrive to fight everyone to protect Otae. They can’t stand up to his brute. So here comes a giant poop! Yamazaki and Hasegawa combined? Eventually it ends with Gintoki’s half soul coming out from Dozaemon the way it came in. Yup, through the butthole. Man, there’s a lot of sh*t going around. And vomit too. In the aftermath, Gintoki and Hijikata return to normal. But everyone else is some sort of human poop! They hound their respective bosses for a way to return back to normal.

Shogun Assassination Arc
The shogun was nearly assassinated via poison in his tea had not Ayame acted in time. Later she talks to Zenzou about the political chaos ever since Sadasada was ousted. Everyone is trying to eye for the throne. Ayame and Zenzou were once in the Oniwaban that was dissolved under Sadasada but Matsudaira took them in. Matsudaira talks to Kondou and Hijikata about the need to escort the shogun out from Edo to Kyo secretly. Of course they are going to place doubles in the palace not to raise suspicions but how can you not have any when the doubles come in all shapes and sizes! Even Yorozuya dudes are doing a sick impression of it. Nobunobu is seen as the main antagonist trying to oust the shogun. He has Takasugi and Kamui on his side but was accidentally taken out by Kamui who mistook him for the shogun. Of course they are using him as a pawn for their own gains but with Nobunobu out for the time being, no one will suspect them as he will also be seen a victim of somebody who wants the shogun dead. Matsudaira’s fool proof plan not only has doubles in the palace but several diversions on air and ground as decoys while transporting the shogun. So our usual group has got the ground troop and the Shinsengumi duo don’t quite like it that Gintoki is acting as the fake shogun. But they better treat him nice despite his sh*tty attitude because the Oniwaban and samurai guards will not hesitate to take anyone out even if it’s a joke. The real shogun has the company of Zenzou. He reminds the shogun that the Oniwaban’s duty isn’t to protect the shogun but his duty, which is to protect the country and people at the cost of his life. Zenzou then decapitates him. He plans to bear the cross and become the nation’s traitor.

When Ayame’s group learns of the shogun’s demise and that there may be traitors among them, she and the rest quickly take out the supposed traitors since it’s easy to detect their killing intent. To her horror, the Iga ninjas in which the Oniwaban originates are siding with the enemy. With such a large force mobilized, she believes only one of the 3 head clans who rule over Iga can do so. Either Gaimon Fujibayashi, Rappa Momochi or Zenzou. Meanwhile with Soyo being targeted, thankfully there is Sougou to protect her. He then faces off in an epic battle with Kamui. It was a race between Kamui and Takasugi to see who can take the shogun’s head but the latter lost out. Although Takasugi’s plan is no to take the shogun’s head but the shogun’s limbs. Zenzou stops Sougou and Kamui’s fight by showing them he has the shogun’s head. They have no more reason to fight. Ayame and co are unfortunate enough to stumble into Fujibayashi and Momochi. They tell him the state of their Iga homeland. 6 months ago, strange men in umbrella attacked and threatened them to help assassinate the shogun and in turn they will be hired as the new Oniwaban for the reformed government. But once news of the shogun’s death reach them, Fujibayashi wants everyone here killed. However Momochi won’t mobilize her side citing she doesn’t take orders from traitor. Seems the real shogun is still alive and is right here disguised as an Iga ninja. He orders the rebels to be taken out.

Apparently after the poisoning attempt, the shogun was kidnapped and brought to Iga where he stayed safe. The shoguns everyone met so far were doubles. Fujibayashi still won’t admit his defeat. He tries to kill Momochi but this wheelchair lady is just a puppet. Her real body is the maid pushing the wheelchair. He gets taken out by a super bazooka. Back at Iga, Momochi further explains that Zenzou who was keeping tabs on the situation, knew the enemy has grown into a massive force that they won’t stop attacking as long as the shogun stayed as the shogun. The only way to prevent further warfare was to kill the shogun and merely return him to just being Shigeshige. So what Zenzou lopped off was the position and by taking him out of the political picture, he was trying to protect him as a man. To that end he decided to go down history as a traitor. But now it won’t end just here because Takasugi and the rest of Harusame (minus Kamui) are already here at Iga. Also with them is Zenzou who realizes Takasugi’s intention of killing the shogun is to become one himself. Takasugi has his men kill Zenzou but he sets off bombs planted on all their ships. Gintoki and co are tasked to keep the shogun safe while the Iga ninjas ward off the bloodthirsty Yato killers. Thanks to Sougou, Soyo and Maizou still live although Sougou is now in comatose. Maizou believes the decapitated shogun isn’t the real one because he checked the body and lacked the scar. He narrates Shigeshige’s young life already associated with the Iga and Oniwaban. It all started when he realized kids his age were laying their lives to protect him and even became his doubles. He wanted to save his double from some rebellion, he and the Oniwaban youngsters barged into the base to rescue. It ended with Shigeshige having a deep scar on his scar. If the incident of the shogun saved the double got out, his entire clan will be beheaded. So to cover up this incident, the double took his place a little longer on the throne while Shigeshige hid and took refuge at Iga where he learnt some ninja skills.

Zenzou takes a lot of beating but there is a limit to how much a man can take and stand his ground. Fear not. Ayame and his other Oniwaban ninjas are here to save his ass. No pun intended. Gintoki and co have a lot on their plate while defending and escaping with the shogun. Because the Yato lot are numerous and tough as hell. It’s amazing they’re still having the stamina after that pounding onslaught. With a little help from Momochi, they reach the secret exit to escape Iga. Likewise, Ayame is taking Zenzou to another exit but Takasugi stabs her and Kamui just arrived for the party in time. An epic showdown is on the cards because Gintoki and Kagura have a score to settle with their long time foes. So amidst the ground shattering punches and bloody sword clashes, we see flashbacks of their pasts. From family troubles to little lost weaklings trying to become stronger and finding a place to belong.

Well, at least it’s like another whole flashback arc by itself watching young Gintoki, Takasugi and Katsura under Shouyou’s guidance. As Takasugi slowly prefers to learn from Shouyou’s free-spirited samurai ways, his father learns of this and is not too thrilled. Word gets out that Shouyou might be a school gathering kids teaching seditious propaganda and being anti-bakufu. Despite all the threats, Shouyou treasured his students and kept them safe. Until that war which many of his students died. To Takasugi’s dismay, Shouyou was executed and decapitated by Gintoki in a bid for the remaining students to survive. This became Takasugi’s hatred for revenge. Although Gintoki last saw Shouyou’s smiling face and his thanks, Takasugi last saw Gintoki’s crying yet smiling face before his left eye was blinded by Oboro. That vision was burnt into his left eye. It would have been so much easier had it been the bakufu. But the sworn enemies are themselves. Even though they fought to save him, they were so weak to use him as a stepping stone to survive. Takasugi never understood why Gintoki never avenge Shouyou’s death and that he chose them instead over sensei. All Gintoki can say is that he knows Takasugi isn’t cutting himself but his alter ego. That’s why he sought a revenge that hurt himself far more than cutting himself. Gintoki is his alter ego and will stop him and stand up no matter how many times it takes. He knows what Shouyou holds dear and if he has to walk over his corpse, he will protect the soul of his student and fellow friend as his disciple. Just when you think Takasugi has come to terms and has some closure, he is stabbed by Oboro.

Apparently the Tendoshu has arrived in what it seems like a fell swoop to take out all their enemies once they wear each other out. As they point out, Shigeshige is no longer the shogun because he handed his resignation to Sadasada at the end of the Courtesan of a Nation arc. At that point because there was nobody suitable, it was put on hold. But now there is one: Nobunobu. He is now the shogun. This guy is bandaged up like a mummy and fuelled by rage and revenge. He wants everybody killed! But so as not to rush things yet, they want Shigeshige to be handed over first, which doesn’t make any difference or change the fact he would still be standing in Nobunobu’s way. However Shigeshige asserts that he is still the shogun and will not take orders for everyone. He will not run away and protect his country and those who gave their lives in protecting it. Shigeshige believes in his friends and that they are not easily broken. Here comes Matsudaira and the entire Shinsengumi backup. This means that sadist Sougou is back too. Takasugi revives to help Gintama wound Oboro. It’s payback because Takasugi blinded Oboro’s left eye. Kagura and Kamui put aside their differences for now to help Gintoki and Takasugi face off the rest of Tendoshu.

Oboro lets them go thinking they are struggling a futile struggle as students of Shouyou. Shigeshige hints he wants to abolish the position of the shogun and will be the last one if it is hindering the lives of this country. After 2 weeks, Takasugi is still in coma. Kiheitai have taken a bad beating and it will take them some time to recover. Harusame is now no longer pirates and targeted by Tendoshu but Kamui isn’t worrying since if he is going to be the best in the world, he needs to turn everyone against him and beat them up altogether. Nobunobu announces Shigeshige is dead and proclaims himself as the new shogun. Shigeshige has left for Kyo where the emperor resides so he’ll be safe. He plans to gather his allies and make a comeback but cannot take the rest of them since he doesn’t want them to be Tendoshu’s enemies. Although Soyo wrote a sunshiny letter that everything is okay and hope is still within reach, it seems there is an assassination attempt on Shigeshige as he got poisoned by a needle while meeting up with his old friends.

Farewell Shinsengumi Arc
The entire nation is in mourning over their assassinated shogun! Nobunobu ascends the throne and eliminates everyone who gets in his way. He doesn’t care if Matsudaira who is supposed to serve him shows him great disrespect because he doesn’t need him or Shinsengumi. He has Sasaki and Mimawarigumi behind him. He makes Matsudaira take responsibility for failure to protect the shogun and will be beheaded alongside Kondou. This means the Shinsengumi is disbanded. Everyone is scared and confused. Hijikata is transferred under the department of that hardboiled detective, Heiji Kozenigata. The rest of the Shinsengumi want to save Kondou because sooner or later they will be crushed. But Hijikata holds no authority over them and has them do what they want. Whatever they believe in, just do it. Believe in that and fight. They are still all Shinsengumi deep down inside.

Visiting the cabaret certainly won’t help drown your sorrows. It gets worse when Nobunobu and Mimawarigumi also pay a visit with the excuse of wanting to mix with commoners like Shigeshige. Things started getting heating up not when Nobunobu suggests Hijikata to execute his former boss and comrades but when he cuts down innocent cabaret girls thinking they were treating him as the same level as Shigeshige. He thinks he is superior to all that in this new age. So when Otae protests, she is also in risk of getting hurt. Hijikata wanted to punch him but Gintoki took it in the face. Save that punch for his dumb boss. Gintoki punches Nobunobu instead. Sasaki understands fools never change so instead of letting the new government’s reputation get worse, he arrests Gintoki so that a single fool can take the entire blame. But then Katsura throws his smoke bomb to let everyone else escape. In turn he gets thrown into prison and ironically with his eternal enemy Kondou in the next cell, he suggests forming an unusual alliance to protect this country. He gives him a pill that would put his body in temporary suspension (playing dead, that is) so that the guards will open their cell doors when they see ‘corpses’.

Hijikata is still torn on what to do. Still wallowing in depression he cannot protect anything. But when Kagura relays a message from Sougou, how that sadist is still following the Shinsengumi code and waiting for the vice captain to give orders, Hijikata makes his move back to Shinsengumi HQ. He finds everyone waiting in line awaiting his orders. They go meet up with the Joi rebels. They still hate each other but agree to work with each other in this last joint operation to save their bosses. When Katsura is about to throw the same pill to Matsudaira, he flops as it ricochets back into his own mouth! Now he is dead. Then the guards come by as Kondou and Matsudaira also play dead. But these guards enter the cell not to check on the corpses but to kill them! Luckily Kondou acts fast enough. Katsura pretended to only eat the pill and is able to fight back. They realize these aren’t ordinary prison guards. The mark on their arms indicate they are Naraku, the assassination syndicate under Tendoshu. They too have killed other prison guards. The trio take advantage of the situation by dressing up as prison guards and sound the alert that the prisoners have made a prison break. However Katsura knows this place well and even though it is easy to slip and escape their situation, they cannot go further beyond the gates because they are on the prison island, Kokujo.

But Katsura knows his allies will be coming to save them. That’s right. Shinsengumi and the Joi rebels are on their way here. Their plan is to infiltrate by disguising as prisoners but Naraku intercepts them and it becomes a bloody boat battle. They get the most unlikely of help from Yorozuya joining in the fray. Wow. It’s like they’ve powered up and become more badass. I didn’t know Shinpachi was this badass. Sasaki orders his Mimawarigumi to move and hunt down for escaped inmates. However Nobume feels there is more to this. She thinks he purposely let Nobunobu into public to show his tyrannical ways and plant Katsura in the same prison with Kondou. All to incite a rebellion and gain an excuse to purge them. On the contrary, if he wanted to do so, he could have just executed them. He claims he is cleaning up something far bigger in scale they happen to be part of. Mimawarigumi intercept the ships coming from the front but they are nothing but decoys. Because everyone is climbing the steep cliffs at the back. However the enemy already anticipated this and sends arrows raining down on them. If not for Elizabeth’s drilling up from behind, who knows what might have happened. But at the top, now they have to face off with stronger opponents. Gintoki will give his pay back to Oboro and Sougou deals with Nobume. Katsura now has an extra navel after being shot by Sasaki. He wants Kondou to leave him since his mission is to rescue him. But Kondou won’t leave him after realizing he thought at first it was okay to die to protect his friends. But now he wants them to return and see their comrades again.

Sasaki notes Kondou has never changed. Time for another flashback when the newly formed Roshigumi were taking in new recruits. It was a weird and shady organization recruiting Joi rebels, giving them the freedom to hold a sword and protect the land. In actual fact it is a perverted idea of eventually making Joi rebels and wipe each other out. Kondou and his other comrades joined it after they reached Edo. There is this punk kid, Mountain Zaki who keeps challenging and showing off his strength. He challenged Kondou but he will not fight him, believing the power is not needed to subdue a subordinate but to protect one. Then he realizes their swings can actually kill, he pissed in his pants and become a docile guy whom we all know as Yamazaki today. Under Kondou’s guidance, Roshigumi flourished. But top brass wanted to give them a ‘special’ escort mission of the shogun and his son. Assassins will attack and they will allow the assassination to succeed. Then they will take responsibility and disembowel themselves. In this chaotic era, Sasaki is also an expecting father. Even with Kondou’s answer that there is no one answer to be a samurai, Sasaki might not want to be a fine samurai or a fine father but a fine name for his child.

So while the Shinsengumi and Joi rebels now enter a chaotic battle with Mimawarigumi, a shocking truth is revealed about Sasaki. He met a few kids trained by Naraku to become cold hearted killers. One of them is Nobume. Sasaki was too late in saving his pregnant wife as she was killed by Nobume. But since he is her target and she didn’t kill him, Sasaki didn’t kill her. Nobume once met Shouyou and learnt everyone is born weak and have the freedom to change. They were all struggling and straying down the wrong path, the reason Nobume couldn’t kill her, though she believes she deserves to be killed by him. Sasaki might not hesitate to cut her down but what he wants to cut down is this era where the country commits acts of brutality. He wants her to swing her sword for his sake since he cannot protect anything. And when the time comes, use it to kill him. It is his vengeance. It is her duty. But despite Nobume taking everything from him, she still cannot bring herself to cut him down. All along Sasaki has been playing the villain as he is trying to end the samurai era along with himself by making everyone start a revolt. He is just a rebel like them. Each time Sasaki tries to start that burning rebellion, Naraku always tries to extinguish that spark. That is why Sasaki planned on using those flames on this island.

It’s getting messier because the entire Naraku fleet has dropped in to join the party. Mimawarigumi fleets are fighting off the Naraku counterparts. Kagura stops Sougou and Nobume’s fight. When Nobume gets stabbed, she gives the orders to her men to flee. Because the big bad boss of Tendoshu is here, Utsuro. He views Nobume betraying him twice because she failed to kill Sasaki. Nobume will not follow anyone’s orders except her own will. Utsuro is like the final big boss of video games everyone loves to hate because he is so overpowered that he is like having the cheat codes on for eternity. We see how he beats up the trio with ease and no matter how much they struggle, they cannot just get the better of him. Hijikata has also ordered his men to retreat because he realizes the longer this battle goes on, the harder it will be for them to get off the island. However Oboro and his men will not let one escape. He kills the small fries and wounds our main characters. Utsuro also joins in on this purge. Finally we get to see Gintoki fight on par with him. What is worse than unable to defeat him? When Gintoki cuts off his mask, he sees Shouyou! Or is this an imposter?! Best still, all wounds Utsuro sustained are healed! What did I tell you he is on cheat code mode!!! When a distraction occurs, everyone takes this chance to run. Gintoki wonders who the hell that imposter is. Nobume’s answer is baffling. He is both Shouyou and not at the same time. But she is certain Gintoki wasn’t the one who killed Shouyou.

Already worn out, injured and tired, more Naraku henchmen drop in to fight them. Thus more flashback from Sasaki giving Nobume her name that was supposed to be his daughter’s if she was alive. He also made her his vice captain. When everyone else arrives, they see Kondou killed. This didn’t drain their fighting spirit. They get even madder and fight harder. Of course Kondou is still alive and took Katsura’s pill to be in temporary suspended animation. He did so because Sasaki suggested it to make it look like he slew him. To Oboro’s dismay, Sasaki has also called for more Shinsengumi and Mimawarigumi reinforcements. Kondou and Hijikata cut down Oboro. It was never Sasaki’s intention to protect or save Kondou. Ever since back then he never wanted to lose out to him but never knew how. He had an idea despite it only lasted for a while. He couldn’t be happier to be the man who defeated Shinsengumi’s chief. Nobume won’t let Sasaki die. He reveals another twist. He knew she wasn’t the one who killed his wife and daughter. She protected them from other assassins. In spite knowing this, he still used her as part of his revenge. He doesn’t feel his life is worth saving. Nobume doesn’t care about all that. Couldn’t they just stay the same like always so she could just stay by his side? More flashback this time about Sasaki racking his brains to come up with a name for his unborn daughter. Despite his wife’s suggestions, he doesn’t find them all great. Even his room is filled with crumpled paper of unsuccessful suggestions. Is it that hard? Then it is like screw it all. He didn’t care what kind of name she had so long she lives strong. He decides on Nobume which means girl of faith. Sasaki saves Nobume one last time when all our heroes are evacuating into a ship. He pushes her in before falling to his death. Sasaki… NOOO!!!!

Everyone pays their final respects and salute to Sasaki. Nobume is glad Sasaki gave her a fine name. In the aftermath, when Nobunobu learns of this, he became furious crushed and disbanded all police force under Sasaki and decided to reform the system from the ground up. Those he dismissed join the underground faction led by Matsudaira as they plan to revolt and overthrow the bakufu. As Nobunobu is unpopular, even the sentiments on ground are slowly building up their distrust and the people growing in favour of a revolt. As suggested by Katsura, because Nobunobu won’t let the Shinsengumi who embarrassed him off the hook, he tells them to leave Edo. So we have one of the most awkward goodbyes. Like Kondou now spotting a hideous scar across his face stalking Otae but ironically didn’t get scolded or beaten up, Kagura and Sougou fighting and beating the hell out of each other, Gintoki and Hijikata trading and eating the other’s favourite food. It must suck… In the end, Kondou leads his Shinsengumi out of Edo, promising to return here and become true samurais.

Love Potion Arc (OVA)
A mysterious heart shaped pill named Aizen Kou is making its rounds in Yoshiwara. Rumours have it that smelling its incense would lead you to falling head over heels with the closest person you see. Too bad Tsukuyo inhaled it and has to control her lust over Gintoki (because he was taking a piss nearby). You know how hard it is trying to concoct a plan to snuff out the mastermind next to the person you’re in love, right? So when they finally round up all of it and going to dispose it, Tsukuyo’s mischievous love causes her to wreak havoc. Yeah, the entire bunch got accidentally burnt and all of Yoshiwara is turned into a den of sex maniacs!!! Oh… Shinpachi x Kagura romance?! Did we even expect this in Gintama?! Worse than that is Gintoki turning into a sleazy lady killer because young or old, beautiful or ugly, all women are his honeys! Even those porn stars you see on the internet are his! So we see him take down other guys to protect his honeys. A little ‘romance’ spat between Gintoki and Tsukuyo before the complication is up a notch because now we have Kyuubei and Otae in the fray despite giving lame excuses they are not. Before you know it, all males in Yoshiwara has got chastity belts attached to heavy round iron balls! And then everyone turns into a love slave for the mastermind, Hotaru who is one of the courtesans in Yoshiwara. Love her and she will love you for eternity!

So we’ve got chaos in our hands. Otae turning into an abusive stalker on Kondou, the gorilla suddenly having an affinity for butts and turning gay while Kyuubei obsessed with hunting down dicks. Gintoki and Tsukuyo might have returned to normal but not fully. From time to time there’ll be a few idiotic lover spats to make us laugh. Eventually we learn of Hotaru’s past that led her to this doing. There was this carpenter she used to accompany when he visited Yoshiwara. Despite drinking a lot, he never laid a finger on her. One day he decided to become a great carpenter and promises to come back for her. But after Yoshiwara was liberated, she caught him going out with the daughter of the head carpenter. Her heart broke into many pieces but until this day she still can’t forget about him. She tries to kill herself but Tsukuyo saves her and also dispenses some great love advice that even though flowers wilt, they will bloom again. It might seem the entire bunch of Aizen Kou is burnt down and another round of sex maniac chaos. But Hotaru these are actually the opposite, Aidan Kou and will make you hate the ones you love. So naturally, it neutralizes everyone back to normal. In the aftermath, it is believed Hotaru planned this all along including turning everyone back to normal before committing suicide. She wanted to end everything while still being loved. Or maybe she just wanted somebody to stop her. We take a short idiotic detour with Gintoki turning into a moral police officer who ends up running away together with Kondou. And they slept with each other?! WTF???!!! Hotaru’s punishment is to be exiled from Yoshiwara. She is told that the carpenter had a promising future to become a leader but turned down when his boss offered him to marry his daughter because of a promise to a courtesan. However he worked too hard and injured his body. He felt ashamed to come see her like this and is always just staring outside Yoshiwara’s gates. Hotaru comes to terms with what is happening. This time she won’t run away anymore.

Heavenly Soul
You know when I said that all good things will come to an end? I never have to worry about this because I knew Gintama will always come back again in the future and troll us. But now it seems that I have to keep my reality in check because it might end! Oh God, no! Gasp! Is it true that Gintama will finally come to end for real?! Because it seems the manga has already reached what is seemingly its final arc. Oh no. I thought the author might be trolling us as he has always been since this is Gintama but from what I read, this could be really it. Oh dear. The end of Gintama for real? This can’t be happening? But that is the manga version. What about the anime? Will they animate the final couple of arcs? That is still up in the air.

Back to this season, I am not saying that this season is the least exciting since I myself am pretty confused with my own feelings at this point after watching the last episode for this season. Because you see, for the longest time ever, this series has covered 2 of the most important arcs back to back. Although there are some spontaneous laughs in between, the general and overall mood of the arcs is quite a sombre and gloomy affair. Things get real. Things get serious. It wasn’t the usual Gintama format whereby after even like 5 or 6 episodes of a heavy arc, we’ll be back to the nonsensical and insane jokes to blow away to gloom. Therefore with 2 ‘depressing’ arcs back to back that lasts almost 2 cours and ending the fourth season, it is with mixed feelings that I felt with this series. Heck, they killed off 2 ‘important’ characters for both arcs, the shogun and Sasaki. It was really heavy, solemn and serious that it didn’t make me feel that usual Gintama goodness at the end of it all. Don’t get me wrong. This season and these arcs are still great but I can’t still shake that sad feeling at the end of it all. When you talk about Gintama, it’s all those nonsense and parodies. From this point on, remembering Gintama is like remembering this serious sh*t hitting the fan. Furthermore, it isn’t Yorozuya taking the spotlight in the final arc this season so it somewhat feels a bit side-lined, Gintoki and co.

So I suppose this might be the trend if they make the next season of Gintama. Because they have already made big revelations here and therefore it is only natural to join all the pieces of the puzzle together as well as tie everything up since there are quite a number of other mainstay characters who didn’t get to appear or play a part in these final 2 arcs. Erm, so is Hasegawa considered an important character? So it will be one big bang where all the characters ever in the series will finally reach some sort of conclusion. No more jokes, no more antics, no more fillers. Just plain seriousness from now on. Happy hours are over. Gintama time is over. It’s now Gintama time. Get it? Ah, sometimes I wish they keep continue showing mindless hilarious fillers.

If I want to point out the main characters, that would be repeating myself and I have to write a book that is as thick as my college thesis report. So to just sum everything up, everyone has changed but yet remained the same. They are friends and enemies at the same time. They might fight each other frequently but they also eat and drink together. They keep each other company and sharp because if one fails, you bet the other will be there to remind and bring back to their senses. That is always how it works here. And just when you thought the biggest antagonist would be the final boss, turns out there is another bigger badder antagonist. Yeah, and the ex-enemies now become friends to fight the stronger and ever powerful last boss. Looking at you, Gintoki and Takasugi.

So I believe Utsuro will be the final of the most final boss in the series. Nothing is particularly known about him except from this point he looks more badass and powerful that it would take all the characters to just bring him down using cheat codes. It even brings up the confusion of Gintoki and Shouyou but I’ll leave that for another time. Then there is Nobunobu whom I thought would be the main antagonist but for both arcs, he has been unceremoniously put out of the picture. Maybe his role is just to be some sort of shadow puppet? Maybe he’ll play a more serious antagonist role in the next arc.

With numerous opening and ending themes, they are all mostly rock based like Day x Day by Blue Encount (first opening theme), Pride Kakumei by Chico with Honeyworks (second opening theme), Saigo Made II by Aqua Timez (second ending theme), Beautiful Days by Okamoto’s (third opening theme), Glorious Days by Three Lights Down Kings (third ending theme), Know Know Know by Does (fourth opening theme), and Acchi Muite by Swimy (fourth ending theme). Destiny by Negoto is the first ending theme and feels a bit disco-like.

Overall, I did laugh hard enough this season like in the previous before the long final arc took most of it away albeit looking back now it is still one hell of a fun ride. It is still a good season and Gintama fans should continue watching this. Even those who aren’t into this series should stay and watch for the awesome (random) comedy, awesome fights and awesome story. Hey, Gintama is already awesome, right? I know it is bad to always cling onto something forever and there will be a time when something needs to bow out gracefully and not overstay its welcome. They have already become the silver, golden and platinum souls in our hearts. Gintama becoming unpopular? No way, man! Even a series that breaks the fourth wall regularly must come to terms with reality that it has to end someday. We have to get over ourselves and accept it. Oh well… I hope they’re just trolling us… GINTAMA WILL NEVER END, RIGHT???!!!

Space Patrol Luluco

November 12, 2016

For the umpteenth time, whenever a teenager yearns for a normal life no matter how rough and tough he or she has got it now, this seems to be jinxed a lot. Because you know, they usually become the hero and catalyst to save the world and the entire human race with their whatever hidden latent power. Or that destiny crap whatsoever. This is the case for our titular character in Space Patrol Luluco. Life is already hard enough for our middle school girl but at least she isn’t suffering. Her hopes for a normal life (despite living in a world where abnormal is the norm. Geddit?) takes a turn for the worse when she is drafted to become part of the Space Patrol and endure all the shenanigans as part of her mission. Did I mention that involves falling in love with her fellow colleague too? Oh yeah. Life is pretty normal in anime standards.

Episode 1
Luluco lives with her dad, Keiji who works at the Space Patrol. Their poor apartment life is because of mom’s messy divorce and she took all the furniture. Keiji accidentally bites a freezing pill. To Luluco’s horror, it is one of those things he confiscated from work. In her panic, she accidentally breaks him. Feeling the need to make him punch in at work, she brings him all the way to the Ogikubo branch and meets its chief, Over Justice! As Luluco tries to explain, Justice has the habit of arresting her first and then releasing once she makes her story clear. Luluco knows how much this place sucks but she is forced to work for this branch seeing Keiji cannot take anymore advance pay. There is some crime rampant in her middle school and Justice wants her to help out since adults cannot interfere. Luluco goes school like normal. During the exam, her alert rings and thus activating her patrol suit automatically. To her embarrassment, her classmates think she is some sort of exhibitionist, flaunting her curves. When the exam cheater is caught and is trying to make a run, Luluco transforms into a lame looking gun! Even more laughing from the rest! Totally embarrassing! But I think she’ll have the last laugh because the blast is so powerful that it made a hole in the wall. Okay, nobody’s laughing.

Episode 2
The cheater is willing to confess when a large meteorite crashes into class. The teacher forgot there is a new transfer student, Alpha Omega Nova. It seems he is also summoned by Justice to work at the Space Patrol. Since Luluco needs to bring the cheater him, he also has her guide her around town. He notes how this place is a melting pot of aliens and humans. Luluco doesn’t notice it since she lived here all her life. Though, it is mentioned that Japan sold off Ogikubo for a dirt cheap price because they were too broke. After that, aliens moved in and there was chaos at first. After meeting Justice, he tells Nova to interrogate the cheater. Nova transforms into his gun mode. At least his looks cool. The cheater reveals the school is being controlled by a terrifying alien called Save the World who is distributing quasi-legal Black Hole app to students. Justice orders the duo to eliminate this evil. So Nova blasts the cheater with his gun! Because he looks so cool doing it, is Luluco falling for him! Because she’s like falling through the universe! This causes her to transform into her gun mode and also blasts the cheater! Plus a hole in the wall. Man, how is the cheater still alive?

Episode 3
Nova suggests they split up looking for the culprit in her school. It’ll be much faster that way. When Luluco bumps into her friend, Midori, she thinks Luluco wants to buy a Black Hole app and is willing to sell her. Luluco is in a dilemma whether to get it or not but since Midori allows her to check it out, she somewhat agrees. It seems Midori is Save the World. Her members are worried since one of them has ratted on them and Space Patrol will raid them in no time. Midori remains confident that it won’t happen yet when suddenly Luluco and Nova bust in to arrest them. Surprised her friend is from Space Patrol? Nova wants to use gunfire to solve things but obviously Luluco disagrees as it might hit her friend. Midori uses the app to kidnap Nova since she is into handsome guys. After Luluco transforms into a gun and fires away all the lackeys, Midori uses Nova to fire back. Luluco is afraid she will hit Nova but he tells her not to worry. If she can’t resolve this without firing, then all she needs to do is fire! Although Luluco fires a shot, it ricochets till it his Midori. After Midori is arrested, Luluco apologizes for that dangerous move. He tells her shooting enemies with her gun is perfectly normal. She is still unsure what to do about her future so he says to remain as she is. You mean stay normal? No, stay wonderful. Midori is handed over to Justice and learning that how awesome it is to be part of Space Patrol, Midori also wants to join. At first Justice rejects her for being a criminal but when she threatens him, he agrees because nobody has ever volunteered before! Unprecedented justice? Looks like Luluco’s days will be getting far from normal.

Episode 4
Luluco hopes Nova will have eyes for her one day. She might be getting her wish soon as he starts getting poetic with her. And then the stupid alert had to sound. Seems a meteorite will crash into Ogikubo and to prevent that from happening, Space Patrol will be going up there and plant a bomb to explode it to pieces. The agents will be blasted there in 3 stages using their gun form. Midori thought she got the raw end of the deal when she becomes the base to launch the duo. Luluco thought she could be alone with Nova but he too uses his gun to propel her further. Now she has to do this mission alone! Her only solace is that she has to come back alive if she wants to see Nova again. After planting the bomb on the meteorite, she finds herself stuck. Justice says to use her gun form to blast her way back but Luluco feels embarrassed about it. That is when Nova interprets she doesn’t want to see him again. It’s not nice to lie. Luluco bites the bullet and blasts her way out before the meteorite blows up. She is breaking apart as she re-enters the atmosphere but is picked up by her mom! She was riding that meteorite and is not too happy she has joined Space Patrol.

Episode 5
They crash into Ogikubo’s Space Patrol base. Better than the meteorite crashing down, right? Luluco doesn’t understand why her mom, Space Pirate Lalaco Godspeed is doing this. Flashback mom and dad were always fighting till she left. Luluco was always caught in between. Lalaco is not impressed her daughter is trying to be normal. She reveals it was part of her plan to freeze Keiji or else her job would be tough. Justice for once stands up to fight back. His gun had no effect on Lalaco although Lalaco’s gun turned him into broken bones! Useless chief. Lalaco’s minions have got Keiji. Luluco pleads not to take Keiji away but when Lalaco is about to beat her up, Nova comes in between. It is not nice to hit a girl. Even by a girl? After Lalaco and crew return to their ship, they initiate the next phase of their plan. They lift the entire Ogikubo from the ground. Midori then spots an online auction of Ogikubo by Lalaco. I don’t know how many zeros are there… Justice is going to call HQ for backup but it seems they’re closed for today. They’re screwed.

Episode 6
As Luluco is holding Keiji’s brain, Justice gets an idea to microwave, defrost and electrocute it to start up. Don’t ask. It worked. Keiji leads them back to his apartment whereby there is a secret spaceship behind the closet! Didn’t even know about this, did you Luluco? They blast up to Lalaco’s ship while the adults banter something about their twisted version of justice. Keiji demands Lalaco return Ogikubo but do you think this bad woman will do what her ex-husband says? Somebody has hit the required bidding price so Lalaco is going to package Ogikubo and warp it away. Thankfully Midori still has those Black Hole apps as she uses them all to combine into one giant warp hand to grab Lalaco’s ship. Luluco attempts to persuade her mom to stop doing bad things but Lalaco reminds her if she sees someone else destroying something, she can’t rest easy till she destroys it with her own hands! The double warp causes some sort of space distortion as both ships are sent away to some unknown parts of the universe.

Episode 7
Team Luluco is now before a giant planet made out of yarn. According to the website, it consists of many Ogikubo and is the universe’s biggest tourism hub. Checking out the planet, Luluco finds some familiar local shops. Suddenly this Nova clone claims he has everyone tied to his red string of destiny. This of course intended to feed the space life fibres and provide them energy. While Luluco is in a dilemma which Nova she should fall in love, her alert sounds. This means Nova clone must be doing some kind of space fraud. However she cannot transform into her gun mode as the strings everywhere are entangling her. Nova clone is dumb enough to tell how to cut the strings loose. He forgot his end is also connected to the strings so Justice’s burning flames burn the strings and set everyone free. Our Space Patrol agents can now transform into their gun form to arrest him. However Nova clone would rather burn himself this way. And burn himself he did as the entire planet is now on fire! Everyone escapes as Nova mentions about their feelings creating this Ogikubo world so it is not the real Ogikubo. Perhaps that dude was just lonely after spending all that time in space by himself. Not that Luluco understands anyway.

Episode 8
Before another planet, Justice sends Nova and Luluco to go investigate. Luluco panics as she is now alone with him and doesn’t know what to talk. Fearing he might think she is as boring as sh*t, she strikes up weird conversations. No response. Sh*t! They hide when Nova spots a witch flying. This causes Luluco to worry the boy-starved witches might kidnap Nova. She wants them to go back but Nova hears something from the tower and wants to investigate. Luluco immediately transforms into her gun mode to investigate it herself. Then this witch, Sucy Manbavaran starts stuffing mushrooms in her hole! I wonder which hole… She thinks Luluco wants to steal the Sorcerer’s Stone which is giving off the same power as Ogikubo. When it is learnt that the mushrooms are poisonous and she has about 6 minutes to live and no magic can save her, Luluco resigns to her fate and wants to die a normal death. But then she realizes she has so much to do and can’t go out like that. She requests to kiss Nova. She is wondering if her first kiss is her last but Nova doesn’t care. So as the dying seconds count down, Luluco manages to get the most epic kiss from him. Bye Luluco. But she’s not dead? Sucy realizes the poison only takes effect in 60 years. Phew, right? She thinks she is now closer with Nova but sees him wipe his mouth. Heart break… And he doesn’t mind she has 60 years left…

Episode 9
Luluco is on some yellow planet seeking a shark detective’s advice not to find Ogikubo but relationship advice with Nova! But the agency is attacked by crocodile ruffians who accuse him for some loans or sleeping with other people’s women. They escape while the entire town turns into one big chaotic messy chase and fight! When sharky’s doll secretary is sliced up, he becomes the Hulk to smash everyone and everything to bits. That is when Luluco gets some advice from the doll about men being shy creatures. They treat you like crap but actually care about you. Before Luluco is owned, she is saved by Nova who believes she is precious to him. Love metre rising! Nova then explains they have discovered so many Ogikubo but those in space are fakes. After refining his online search, they find the real Ogikubo is gathered at the centre of the galaxy. This means it is no other than the Space Patrol HQ itself. They are welcomed by the commander who in turn promotes and rewards them with prizes and gifts. The best gift for Luluco is that she gets the real Ogikubo back. All nicely packed and wrapped up. What a happy ending.

Episode 10
While Luluco is feeling so happy, Nova suddenly steals back Ogikubo and her heart and hands it over to the commander. He is revealed to be a Blackholeian who has taken over the HQ. Blackholeians exist to shoplift anything with value but how does that make Ogikubo valuable? Once it has reached a certain technological level and cultural hotspot. But what about Luluco’s heart then, the so called Aflutter Jewel? It has no value at all. Especially if you’re talking about Luluco’s sh*tty first love is all the value it has. Blackholeians have been stealing valuable things for so long that they find those without value to be valuable. So the sh*ttiest thing in the universe with no value still holds some value? Confused? He continues explaining that Nova is a Nothingling, shallow beings hailing from a planet with nothing. Isn’t it no wonder their conversations felt so hollow? Heartbroken Luluco feels betrayed. She really loved him so much. Was it all a lie? Well, he never minded it anyway! In a twisted move, Blackholeian then smashes and destroys Aflutter Jewel. As the rest are thrown into prison, they try to revive Luluco but since she’s dead, might as well hold a funeral for her. Yeah, so sad for Luluco that she doesn’t even want to continue the next episode. RIP Luluco.

Episode 11
Sorry Luluco. You still have to continue this crap! As she wanders in hell and feeling regretful and hurtful over Nova’s betrayal, she meets a guy who looks like Justice but isn’t. He is someone who just knows Justice. Luluco talks about her betrayal so he gives her some hope that he was killed many times but cannot die. Because justice never dies! Even what is normal or not, you yourself dictate what it is. But Luluco is still worried on how to face Nova. When asked how she was lied to, Luluco realizes Nova never lied to her once. He was just being himself. She only assumed it all because she thought he was on the same side. Luluco is resolved to confess her feelings and ask him about his. Her feelings won’t go away just because they were stolen. After all that, she will arrest him. After all, he shoplifted her most prized possession. Sorry to break it to you mourners because Luluco is back with a bang. She bursts out from her funeral! Literally.

Episode 12
With the power of love, Luluco blasts away the underlings! She gets help from Lalaco too as she sarcastically quips she was here to attend her funeral. Luluco pleads to her for a favour. She doesn’t want Ogikubo, her dad or a normal life. She wants to confess to a boy. Seeing the determination in her eyes, Lalaco lends her ship to her. Keiji doesn’t approve but he has no say! Then the rest set off an explosive fight to let Luluco find her love. When Luluco finds Nova, she tells him he can steal her heart as many times he wants. However, take it without permission and that is a crime. So she arrests him by hugging him and confesses she loves him? Blackholeian laughs at this farce for he knows it won’t affect Nova. He has him steal her Aflutter Jewel and then break it. However Luluco is able to create a new one. Break again, create new one. Just how many can she make? She blasts Nova with her multiple Aflutter Jewels and has him remember all the feelings and times they went through. Nova starts to feel something as Luluco pleads for him to go back together. As Blackholeian attacks, Nova protects her with his body. He now understands feelings and just fell in love with Luluco. Blackholeian transforms into a hideous monster. Nova and Luluco hold hands tightly and believe they can go through this together. You’re under arrest for shoplifting! Although nervous, Luluco believes this makes her feel she can do anything.

Episode 13
Combining both their jewels to become a Lovey-dovey Diamond, the power of their requited love is going to beat the sh*t out of Blackholeian. Justice is love! However Blackholeian has foreseen this and previously installed some micro black hole in Nova’s head. It will consume him entirely. But all the power starts flowing into Luluco. I’m not sure about the explanation here but it seems Luluco has been the spark plug to power the universe. The chosen one who has the power to patrol across dimensions. The epic power battle begins with Luluco trying to bend the dimensions and lecture Blackholeian about his evil ways. His shoplifting makes him no worse than a middle schooler. Of course this upsets the bugger. Luluco is out of ammo when Nova suggests she uses him. You know what happens when black hole and black hole with each other. No, seriously I don’t. Luluco is sad that this means they can’t be together. This was all part of fate. If that is so, why are they fated to meet? So they can meet again. In another dimension. Luluco uses Nova as a bullet as the black holes engulf each other and return normalcy back to the universe. Luluco feels sad so reluctant Keiji gives her hope to chase him to the ends of the universe to arrest him. She has to introduce her boyfriend to her dad someday, right? In the aftermath, Justice is promoted to the HQ Commander with Midori taking over as Ogikubo branch chief. Keiji is now under Space Patrol’s piracy task force since Lalaco is still going strong with her piracy. I guess it’s a reason to chase her down. Finally, Luluco is a super dimensional special officer codenamed Miss Trigger. She’s got a cool gun-bike to go with too.

Justice Is Served!
I can contribute the short duration of each episode which is roughly about 7.5 minutes that makes this series highly enjoyable. And with its no punches pulled nonsense, it makes this quite a high octane comedy where it is concerned. I’m not sure if it would work had this been a full length anime series because at the end of it, I was wishing more from it but when I think about it, perhaps everything in this short condensed form is better. Everything moves along at its lightning pace so there is no time a-wasting. Everything that is needed much to be told is already told in this season. Though, I find it odd that they consider ‘a season’ after every 3 episodes. I know. It’s a big joke even when the final episode is actually a single final episode and single season by itself. Crazy, right? That actually sums up what this series is supposed to be. Heck, even dividing episodes into seasons feels like trolling since they are closely link to each other in a way that it shouldn’t be called another season. Season cliff-hanger?

As this series is produced by Trigger, you will notice that this series is one big parody of all the other series under their belt. So if you have seen some of their past works, I am sure that you can spot many trivia and cameos like Kill La Kill, Inferno Cop and Little Witch Academia among the episodes. There is even a line reference, a very famous ‘quote’ from Ninja Slayer The Animation. Yeeart! Since Trigger studio was founded by former employees of Gainax, there are also very few references to Gainax’s animes like Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann especially Justice’s pointy shades that resembles closely to Kamina’s. Thus these parodies are highly appreciable and the fun doubled for those who know these series. I guess they have an absurd reputation to keep up.

Despite the lack of character development, I’m sure we couldn’t care about that since we’re laughing so hard at all the nonsense. Thanks to that, we find almost everyone lovable. Like Luluco as your average tween experiencing her first love. That’s pretty normal, right? It’s just sad that her first love is also her first heart break but I feel that could be a blessing in disguise as it made her reflect on her actions and grew stronger to confront it all. And true to the age old adage, the power of love conquers it all. When Nova first appeared, he looked like that cool guy who doesn’t say much. But then you start figuring that something might be wrong with him because he has this habit of saying that he doesn’t mind. Everything. Of course when a girl in love like Luluco, naturally she’ll start misinterpreting what she wants to interpret and thus her heartbreak has only herself to blame. It’s just sad that Luluco couldn’t end up with Nova for a happy ending. However if it did, it would have been so normal and seeing this show is about everything abnormal, it works out. You don’t feel sad that Luluco and Nova are away because they imbued in our minds that they will meet someday. Someday.

For the rest of the supporting characters, I can’t say much because like Midori, I figure she is the dumb comic relief sometimes spewing one or two punch lines but that’s about it. Then there is the cool flaming Justice who is always spewing stuffs about justice and the likes. And then there is his silent secretary who doesn’t have a single dialogue in this series and sometimes you think she might be there just to add up for the numbers. But she is no pushover either as she can hold her own and does what is expected as a secretary would do. Keiji is the passionate loudmouth guy of the series but thankfully he spends a short time conscious otherwise our ears will be ringing with his constant barrage of high volume shouting. Finally, Lalaco. Ah, the pirate mom wannabe who wants to be anything but normal. She’s not as bad as you think she is. As mean as she might look, Luluco is still her daughter and if a mother doesn’t support her own child’s first love, I don’t know what is. With parents like these, do you think Luluco has a shot at being normal?

So it is really true that what constitutes being normal or not is basically down to your beliefs and stereotypes. What is normal? Only you can decide that for yourself as Luluco learns to be herself and even if it looks abnormal in the eyes of others, but who cares what others say as long as you feel pretty normal and comfortable about it. Remember, better to have people around you who would prefer you to be as you are instead of forcing you to fit into what is normal. Heck, none of these folks here are normal but seeing wacky they are, it’s pretty normal for them in that case.

Art and drawing are of course funny and cute. But I can’t help notice how the characters resemble those from Panty And Stocking With Garterbelt, another series under Gainax. At least the outline and overall design. Thus it has that overall cartoonish feel. Some of the backgrounds like the buildings and shops of Ogikubo feel like they are cut outs from real blocks. Being true to their style over substance flare, there are lots of special effects and special especially in the epic final episode fight for the heck of it. When I first look at the Aflutter Jewel, I thought it resembles a lot like the heart shaped jewels from Pretty Cure. Because this series wasn’t animated by Trigger or Gainax but Toei Animation. I know it could be just coincidence but it looks too close to call.

The only seiyuu I recognized was Nobuyuki Hiyama as Blackholeian. This guy seems to be the alumni of Trigger and Gainax animes as his voice is featured in many of their productions. From Gurren Lagann to Kill La Kill, it is like he is omnipresent in most of their animes. Of course he is also a veteran and has voiced many roles in other animes as well. Some of the other casts who also played in other Trigger animes are Mayumi Shintani as Midori (Jakuzure in Kill La Kill), Tetsu Inada as Justice (Gamagoori in Kill La Kill) and Mitsuo Iwata as Keiji (Fukuroda in Kill La Kill). The rest of the casts are Mao as Luluco (Renge in Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku No Zvezda), Junya Enoki as Nova (Shoutarou in Sakurako-san No Ashimoto Ni Wa Shitai Ga Umatteiru) and Youko Honna as Lalaco (Nagisa in Pretty Cure series).

The opening theme, Cry Max Doheijitsu by Fujirokku Kari is a crazy rock n roll song despite lasting only for 30 seconds. It gets you into the crazy pace of what to expect from this series. I don’t think the singer is even singing. He’s just talking fast. If you have heard that ending theme from Naruto, Hajimete Kimi To Shabetta, you will have an idea how this song will sound like. But the oddest song is the ending theme. Pipo Password by Teddyloid featuring Bonjour Suzuki feels like a creepy space song. How should I put it… Because it feels like the singer is whispering as she sings, thus the creepy cosmos-like feel of the song. It somewhat reminds me of the ending theme in Yuri Seijin Naoko-san…

Overall, this series feels like it has everything packed under one roof. It has action, explosions, it has adventure (in space), it has romance, it has drama and it has the funny stuffs to tickle your bone. It is so silly and ridiculous but at the same time so fun to watch. And it all blends it so seamlessly that it seems so perfect that you might not even notice. If I might say so, it could be one of those few series that mashes up a little of everything and turning out right. Thank goodness, right? For a short show filled with whirlwind space action adventure romantic comedy, it sure gives a great value and justice to many other animes out there with similar length. Oh wait. There aren’t that many of such same length. But I guarantee you will be blown away by the greatness of epic universal proportions of this little gem. Justice is indeed served.

Classroom Crisis

March 20, 2016

It is one of those shows where the synopsis doesn’t say much. A very general statement that could just mean anything, everything or nothing. But when you start watching it, it turns out differently. Of course that is mainly because you have formed your own perceptions and beliefs onto it. At least that was the case for me when I got to know Classroom Crisis and after I watched it. I knew it was going to be some sort of sci-fi as it states about human settlements throughout the solar system. This means colonies and duplicates of great cities like Tokyo (what else?) on planets such as Mars as seen in this series. The rest of the bland synopsis tells us what the main characters do. That’s it. I’m not sure if the charm is in the mystery of not telling us the rest and perhaps to pique our interest in watching the series. And then it turns out a little different than what you anticipated. It could be really great or just shockingly disappointing. But I’ll leave that at the end of the blog.

So judging by the anime title itself, I was thinking that the school is going to shut down due to the minimal number of enrolling students and thus they take it upon themselves to save the school. Oh wait. They did that already in Love Live. Futuristic version of it? Nope… Well then, hmmm… The main characters are a brother-sister pair whose relationship is also a teacher-student connection. So is there some sort of incest going around and when it is busted they go into damage control while trying to maintain status quo? Nope… How about a new transfer student that turns out to be some sort of crazy killer and picking off everybody in class one by one? That’s absolutely crazy! Definitely a big no on that. So if it isn’t all of the above, what else could it be? Hint: Business and politics… Oh…

Episode 1
There is a discussion among the big wigs of Kirishina Corporation about a demand of a hostage. There are threats to kill him if payment demands are not met. The CEO, Genzou Yanai is really tearing his hair out of this. However, the conglomerate which is run by the Kiryuu family, led by Kazuhisa the president and his brother, Yuuji the vice president, it seems they do not intend to give in to such demands despite the hostage is of an important person in their corporation. They want to label this as business related and not incident. So please keep your mouth shut on this. At the technological department, Kaito Sera is fixing a prototype craft. His outgoing chief Saigou Sasayama hopes he could be there to witness its official performance before his tenure ends. Kaito is also a teacher of the A-TEC (Advance Tech Development and Education) section. But looks like he isn’t so keen on teaching his students and wants to get back fixing his prototype. The class is abuzz of a new transfer student today but when he doesn’t show up, rumour has it that it has been delayed. In actual fact, he is actually in that hostage situation. As explained by Sasayama to Kaito, one of the mining asteroids owned by Kirishina. Coldwood experienced uprising by local workers not satisfied with the payment. The hostage got dragged into it. However Kirishina seems to be withholding payment despite Yanai wanting to just pay them off since that mine is slated to be closed and the banks have withdrawn their financial support. As the kidnappers have no bank accounts, the demand is to deliver by hand the cash. Failure to meet that deadline means the hostage will be killed. Kaito then starts to map out the fastest route and seems he knows he can make it there in time. The hostage tells the kidnappers their demands won’t be met. Not because of their faulty plan, but rather they chose the wrong hostage. He shows them his business card as he explains because of who he is, there are others who are going to snuff them out while taking him out too. He wants them to think of a plan that will benefit all parties and make a profit.

Kaito tells this to his students and he is confident he can reach there in his prototype, X-2. Of course the students protest since it is not tested and Kaito’s qualification as a pilot is questionable (he wants to play hero and ride that thing). Not to mention Mizuki is not only his student but his sister. Before Kaito can explain the rest of his plan, they realize their ace pilot, Iris Shirasaki has already taken off! Clearly lots of protocol violation here. They have no choice but to rush down to the control room and support her. Iris flies through a restricted zone which is asteroid belts. Each time a part of X-2 gets damaged, Yuna Nouen heart breaks. Oh, the cost… She is going to have a heart attack when Iris is forced to discharge a damaged booster. Cost rising, heartache rising. When Iris arrives before Coldwood, the landing system is down. No time for repairs? No problem. She’ll crash land that thing. It is amazing she is still in one piece but X-2 is wrecked beyond recognition. Oh, poor Yuna… When she heads in, she is surprised to see the hostage freed and alone. He too is surprised to see her. When he is safely returned, he chides Kaito for making the worst decision ever! He explains of the bloated costs in this rescue mission. Hundreds of millions! But that is just trivial. The X-2 they just wrecked? Billions! It’s a good thing they managed to salvage all the damaged parts, eh? When he shows his name card, he is Nagisa Kiryuu, the chief of the Advanced Technological Development department at Kirishina. This means the transfer student is their boss and his job is to downsize them. Cost cutting measure, eh?

Episode 2
A narration of Kirishina’s history in the aerospace industry for 70 years. It even goes as far back as how it all started. Founded by a couple of high school students after they exhibited their rocket at a local science fair, Takahisa Kiryuu and Renichirou Shinamiya. Nagisa’s introduction in A-TEC is most cold and business-like. He’ll be shutting down this department in a year. It’s been only a short while, so nice to meet you folks. Jerk. He also maintains his unfriendly disposition as he has read up the failure of this current A-TEC class. No worthwhile results and that scandal 2 day ago. Another narration of Kirishina’s A-TEC department that developed some SWNPR engine that led to the popular SWNPR Race. Call it the formula one of outer space. It goes without saying that Kirishina dominates the race with their advanced technology. Kaito is also highlighted under this review as he had been racing in junior grand prix and also developed his own engine that brought about major changes to the rules. Nagisa confronts Iris about her reckless piloting that was suicidal but she just ignores the jerk. Mizuki tries to be friendly with him but that guy is just being a plain jerk.

Nagisa then sees big brother Yuuji who feels the dismantling of A-TEC is a must to preserve their legacy. Nagisa suggests using that scandal and they’ll be gone in no time but Yuuji doesn’t want him to do that as the Coldwood incident cover-up will be for nothing. Yuuji gives him a time limit of 6 months to get the job done or else. Nagisa then hints of the many snags during his trip to Coldwood that led up to the hostage situation. He felt like there were higher hands playing into this. That irk on Yuuji’s face tells it all. Kaito and his students discover the big achievements Nagisa has made. He joined the company at 16 and has done lots of high end deals and elite meetings. A highly successful businessman groomed to be the future CEO of Kirishina! Just too awesome to ignore. The footage of A-TEC interviews continue as we hear the students’ varying goals of joining this class. Then there is the interview with Kaito himself. His speech is so awesome, filled with hope and motivation that Kaito himself is touched when he rewatches it! This gives him the motivation to march down to Nagisa’s office to tell him off that he won’t accept his way of things. Although Nagisa says his position here was decided by the company, feel free to do whatever underhanded tactics to drag him down if he feels like it. But Kaito is going to play fair and make the big guys at Kirishina see the usefulness of A-TEC. Nagisa dares him to convince the current management and hopefully he would succeed before he becomes CEO. This leaves Kaito in surprise since Nagisa has planned his future that far ahead.

Episode 3
Yuuji tells Nagisa that A-TEC’s budget has been cut by 70%. They will perish in no time. When Nagisa says he didn’t have to do this, Yuuji screams back all he needs to do is listen to his orders. He points out their problem is not the fact Nagisa had 100% successful business record but his refusal to obey him. After Kaito and his students continue to develop their engine, Kaito then marches into Nagisa’s office and throws all the cost proposals to seek additional funding. Nagisa throws it all back at him because it doesn’t tell him why they should invest in this or its impact on the company. As the students head to their lab, they are surprised to see this woman, Angelina packing their recycled and waste papers away nicely. She then chides them for leaving it in such a messy state that they risk leaking their secrets to rivals. Cost cutting is one thing but this is just too much. As she is from the accounting and budget division, she is sent by Nagisa to be their vice homeroom teacher and observe Kaito too. Later Kaito tries to convince Angelina to side and invest with them. But he is being told off about the way they are spending money that is just bleeding the company. At this rate they will not last 3 months. She advises him to stick to her budget plans. When he mentions being a teacher first, a researcher second, Angelina again chides him for being a tyrant boss instead because from the way she sees it, the students are overworked to the bone.

Next day, the students are shocked to see their lab turned into a manufacturing factory. All in just one day? It seems Kaito unknowingly agreed to her budget cut plan but he didn’t count taking away their workspace was part of it. Don’t worry. She has prepared an appropriate place for them. The abandoned memorial house of Kirishina is a good place for them. In fact, the small lab where the founders made their rocket is going to be their base. Behold! Technically the birthplace of A-TEC. The students protest at this place lacking infrastructure and proper equipment so Angelina tells them off about their lax attitude towards status quo. She mentions about the high cost in keeping their lab running. They won’t even get to cover and pay back all that working their entire lives. This at least is 1/20 of the cost. What about proper tools? Use your damn creativity! And that’s final. Later Kaito talks to retired Sasayama about the current problem. Even more heartbreaking was half of his students quit the team. He is at a lost that all that they have done is for nought. Sasayama tries to look positive at things. At least they have a chance to prove themselves albeit a tiny one. Angelina talks to Nagisa about him assigning her to A-TEC which means he is trying to preserve the class. Angelina’s other job is to spy on Yuuji. She has found out that A-TEC’s budget cut is not widely known. Only the very top management knows about this. This question is where all that money would go to. Angelina thought she could share a night of passion with him but he only agreed to let her stay to use his shower. That’s it. What a letdown. We see a big hideous scar over his back as he ponders who is going to survive this. Him or A-TEC.

Episode 4
What can a small group do without proper funding and equipment? Nothing. When a teacher begs Kaito to go to some political speech, this gives him an idea to take his issues through the union. So he goes see the union leader, Shigeru Yamamoto and he agrees to fight for his cause. So we see the union putting up some little protests and getting people to sign their petition to overthrow the management’s decision. Mizuki is even cheeky enough to try and get Nagisa to sign but he warns them the union is not as clean and selfless as they think. Kaito is even made to go out on stage to do a political speech as Yamamoto suggests expanding their fight to cover the entire nation and hit the corporation where it hurts most. Yuuji summons Nagisa and is furious about Kaito teaming up with Oozora Party. Though Nagisa doesn’t find it a big deal for A-TEC to join the union, Yuuji tells him to dismantle this partnership. He doesn’t care how. Just do it. This only serves as a hint to Nagisa that Yuuji might have something planned for the next general election or something else that is troubling him. He has Angelina do more digging. When Nagisa and the union agree to sit down and talk, before anything could began, Kaito is handed a letter. It states his promotion to assistant chief. The union workers are devastated and they leave. Because now Nagisa is an executive, it will make the union his enemy as they only fight for the labourer’s rights. Congratulations on his promotion. Now left with no help from both side.

At their wit’s end, Kaito gives the greatest motivational speech to his students that he wants to become a great teacher and boss for them and that is why he is never going to give up. He hopes they will keep supporting him. Surprisingly, the students who quit returned after hearing such heartfelt speech. 2 weeks later as Angelina goes to check on them, she is shocked to see the garage now filled with proper equipment for them to do their R&D on X-3. What is the meaning of this? How did they get the funds? All I understand is that since Kaito is now a high level management, he gets to make decisions without going through certain protocols that involve higher management for fund approval up to a certain amount. Even if that limit is not enough, he sent out 30 circulars to secure funds of 599,700,000 Yen! Angelina leaving without saying anything is a resounding victory for them. But she warns Kaito that whether she lets this slide or not, A-TEC is still doomed. Then they get into a petty argument and Angelina is most pissed when Kaito mentions her real name: Hanako Hattori. I guess they did a little snooping too. Kaito gets a slap in his face. Later, when Nagisa talks to Kaito about his funding method, I think he is putting in a long winded way that he approves of it.

Episode 5
Yuuji is not pleased that A-TEC has not been shut down and now they have resources to continue their work. But didn’t he say to sever their ties with Oozora Party? Yuuji quickly changes the subject and it seems Nagisa has got a deal done in just a week. A deal that would have at least taken a month. Impressive? A-TEC is on their way for their class trip at the beach. The partying and singing in the bus really must have got to Angelina’s nerves. I wonder how Nagisa can still work calmly in all that partying. Wondering if all his data is secured, Nagisa assures it is all saved in the company’s server but Sakugo Maioka easily hacks it. At the beach, Mizuki tries to persuade Nagisa to join them instead of working. Kaito misinterprets he is trying to hit on his sister. Angelina misinterprets the brat is trying to hit on him. Because Angelina is seemingly going to do something dangerous, Iris goes into defensive mode as both girls go into showdown. Mizuki tries to diffuse the tension. Angelina knows about Iris’ amnesia that she cannot remember her childhood, a secret only known to Kaito and Mizuki. During the tension, Angelina accidentally flings her sausage-on-a-stick. Can you believe it? The stick destroyed Nagisa’s laptop monitor! It is either Angelina’s super strength or they don’t make durable PCs like they do nowadays. Nagisa borrows her tablet to continue working. Even during meal time, Nagisa is seen working. Mizuki again tries to persuade him to join them. Because the guys are fooling around with their invention, they accidentally break the tablet. Meanwhile Angelina forces Kaito to accompany her and drink as they pour out their sorrows.

Nagisa wants the guys help to repair this tablet since they broke it. And as their boss, he orders them! However they tell him about the class caste so as a transfer student, he ranks lowest. They will fix the tablet but in exchange must do something for them. With no time left, he agrees. But when he realizes that they are going to peep on the girls in the hotspring, he just leaves. No time for their stupidity. It’s a good move. Because the girls predicted this and the boys step on a trap and turn them into fireworks. When Mizuki learns of Nagisa’s troubles, she mentions a Kirishina branch nearby but it is 2 hours drive. No time. Nagisa only has 1 hour. Iris then borrows a van and recklessly drifts and drives all the way there! Hang on! Every corner it feels like death is, well, around the corner. Eventually he arrives but the branch has no authority to log on to the main server. That is when Angelina calls and tells him to input the password that enables him to do so. Actually she threatened Sakugo to do some hacking… Job done. The ride back is slow and peaceful. Nagisa and Mizuki soak in separate hotsprings that night. She still tries to be friendly with him but he tells her outright he has no intention to befriend any of them. Despite this being his first class trip, it feels awful and he doesn’t want to do it again. When Iris enters the wrong bath section, Nagisa panics and brings down the barrier. It’s not his nice ass that Mizuki is shocked to see. It’s his back scar.

Episode 6
Nagisa rejects Kaito’s request for another funding. Asking at this rate will kill his department faster so he advises him about innovation being born when there is an obstacle to overcome. It’s not his words. That is what the founders said. People like him with no money, no time and no support should think outside the box and use their creativity to succeed. Not too sure if this is Kaito’s revenge because during a class test, Nagisa fails. He has to take a make-up test. I guess he never learnt all those technical stuffs in school. And now Kaito has the last laugh of telling him about innovation and outside the box thinking. In Mizuki’s bid to be friendlier with him, she stays after class with him to help tutor him. After a little small talk, he seems ready to reveal a bit of his family past. Similarly, Kaito who is out drinking with Sasayama to complain about the funding reject (he is also advised to think out of the box), is also being told the same. We learn that Nagisa is the son of Yasuhisa and his lover, Chisato. He was taken into the family at the age of 6. Yuuji rejected and hated everything about him and even resorted to abuse in those younger days. Even more shocking is that Nagisa’s mother was the only remaining blood relative of the Shinamiya clan. Having both blood means he is directly related to the founders. This is the reason why Yanai is trying to win over him so he could win over Kazuhisa and Yasuhisa who is the current CEO.

If it caused many complications, why take in Nagisa in the first place? It was stocks. At the time, Nagisa’s mom owned 30% of Kirishina’s stocks. This was the reason Yasuhisa approached her and the reason why he took Nagisa in after she died. All of Nagisa’s success, Yuuji took credit for it. As thanks for all that, he carved his gratitude on his back. Yup. That scar. I guess Nagisa has to stop now that Mizuki is crying. But she too stops and resumes the tutoring. When they leave very late, Iris has been waiting for Mizuki! Wait a minute. She’s been waiting this long? Maybe Mizuki told her she’d be back in a short while but don’t you think after never coming back, should she not have sensed something amiss and gone to look for her instead of sitting down there like an idiot? Seeing Mizuki’s red eyes, she is quick to blame Nagisa might have done something to her. To Nagisa’s shock, the A-TEC students are breaking the rules by working overtime. However they reword it as after school activity. Nagisa still chides them because it is still work related. Seriously, because of him rejecting their funding, they are currently trying to find ways to reduce their costs to save money for other things. Mizuki then has everyone help Nagisa study and everyone is glad to oblige. They’re not going to be as kind as Mizuki. Because of that all-nighter, Nagisa barely passes the make-up tests. Iris wakes up from a nightmare where her grandpa is dying in his pool of blood and telling her to protect Nagisa at all costs and not let him being taken away.

Episode 7
Surprise! A-TEC is actually doing their job on schedule and within the allotted budget! See? You can do it if you want to! But they still lack the 1.5 billion funds needed to buy the reactor. Ah shucks! The final piece to the puzzle. Don’t worry. Kaito will think of something. I hope. Currently, Angelina and Iris are away for a seminar. It was so boring for Angelina that she just slept through it. But the worst part is that they had quite the nice dinner and probably she was drinking too much that they missed the last flight back to Mars. And she has an important meeting tomorrow. Nagisa uses his authority to arrange a flight for them home. Also on this flight is Professor Jason Li. Imagine Angelina’s shock to hear this great system engineering professor tutored Kaito. After a while the flight takes off, Iris notices their path is not towards Mars. That is when those agents whip out their guns as they want Li to accompany them to Earth. Angelina uses her ninja skills to easily disable them. Even Iris had at least a moment by knocking one with a lamp shade. A-TEC is shock to hear the ship’s hijack but thankfully they are safe. The pilot is also in cohorts and has locked himself in the cockpit. When Nagisa calls Yuuji to inform what is happening and request authority to handle this, big brother doesn’t want him to do anything and to leave everything to him. And that he means is to wait and see since he doesn’t want anybody to discover whatever plans they had. Nagisa knows he can’t sit still and do nothing. Kaito’s answer is more straightforward. Just go rescue them like last time. Well, if they only had a ship.

The plan now is for them to get into the cockpit and take control so that they can send some guidance data back to A-TEC for them to help out. It gets better when Nagisa gives them his permission to do what it takes to rescue them. After relaying the plan to Angelina, she talks to Iris about Nagisa’s family who had another family who once protected them. They are called Shirasaki. She believes has something to do with him before she lost her memories as her family’s name was stitched on her clothes when they found her. After subduing the pilots and taking over the control, all that is left is to turn the ship around and let it fly back to Mars. Could have been a closed case if not for the pilot regaining consciousness and trying to shoot Iris. Angelina sees this coming and uses her arm to block the shot (it’s just a flesh wound). But this scene evokes horrific trauma for Iris as she passes out. The ship veers off course and is going to collide into a satellite. The only thing Angelina can do is to protect and cover Iris. A passing ship luckily pulls it away. Iris is grateful Angelina protected her. A-TEC’s ground control is glad that everybody turned out safe and even happier they get to talk to Li. However suspicions abound for Nagisa. Especially about that unidentified ship. It is definitely not Yuuji. Speaking of him, he is being told off by Kazuhisa for his bad decision to let Li die as he is an important man in Kirishina. He won’t reprimand him but just notes that he failed to reach an optimum conclusion. Kazuhisa than welcomes Li into his office.

Episode 8
As the bottom of the file and rank, Yuuji has to do the groundwork for the cultural festival. Meanwhile Yuuji sees a couple of politicians from the ruling party, Seimin. It seems the general election is near and the polls indicate Oozora is taking a very big lead. The politicians want Yuuji to cough up more money and assure crowds at their candidates’ venue. They lambast him the irony that Seimin has always worked closely with Kirishina and despite Oozora and the union are supposed to be under their control, they are taking the lead. Do something about this or he will not achieve his goal. Meanwhile Sadayuki Murakami from Oozora talks to Kaito about the possibility of having his speech before his cultural festival activity. Kaito is not so sure because he remembers the union and party bailed at him before. Murakami then switches mode to apologize and like the smooth operator he is, convinces Kaito that his true goal is to fight for the labourers’ rights. Safe to say, the simpleton is taken in by his speech and will support him. As A-TEC work on their rocket to be on a flight demo during the festival, Iris as the test pilot starts to experience her past trauma. Something about being alone in a capsule floating in space and it is about to hit an asteroid! Mizuki pulls her out and takes her temperature. A little high. Don’t worry. We have Kaito as the replacement test pilot. Looking a bit clumsy… Mizuki hopes Nagisa could make it to the after party. She will be eagerly waiting for him. Then Iris asks Nagisa if he knows anything about the Shirasaki family because when they first met, it was like he was very familiar with her. He says he was only surprised to see a female test pilot. He asks if she plans to be a pilot for the rest of her life. She doesn’t answer but I think it means a yes. He believes that is the best choice since revenge is only for fools.

Angelina returns with her findings on the channelling of A-TEC’s budget. Because someone noticed this new trend and reported it to the superior who is no other than Yuuji and that news doesn’t move anywhere, it is clear Yuuji is diverting large amounts of money. This money would have been a big boost for them. If they can find out, not only A-TEC’s budget will be saved but their survival as well. They both note that they have become sympathetic for A-TEC although Angelina points out Nagisa has changed after spending more time at A-TEC. He has become more likeable. The festival proceeds well. So does the rocket demonstration. Big success. Then it had to run out of fuel and crash land. I wonder how much this is going to cost with Kaito ejecting from his seat. Yuuji wants Nagisa to do something about Murakami and do it by any means like a scandal or election violation. Nagisa reminds him he is now part of this corporation and no longer his shadow lackey. If he gets caught in foul play, Yuuji will also fall. Yuuji then punches him and tells him off that if he gets caught, don’t you dare mention his name. All the doing was of his own and nothing related. This only serves to make Nagisa realize that Kazuhisa also has a hand in this. Now he can destroy both of them depending on his approach. Time to get planning. Mizuki waits for Nagisa at the allotted time but he doesn’t turn up.

Episode 9
Yuuji is furious that there have been no updates from Nagisa. Last minute he calls to confirm Murakami is history and that their candidate, Kenshou Furubayashi will win. For a clearer explanation, please watch the news now. It seems Furubayashi has quit from Seimin to join Oozora. Murakami is also panicking at the implication of this. He should be because with him in Oozora, the union will now support him. Out you go Murakami. Yuuji continues to scream his head off at Nagisa but he is just being cool. Hey, you told him to do whatever he wanted, right? And he did it all on his own accord. Plus, Furubayashi also made a pledge for a personal favour to Nagisa if he wins. He knows Yuuji was supposed to ensure Furubayashi’s win as Seimin assemblyman but couldn’t comply with Kazuhisa’s wishes. But it didn’t happen. With this, Yuuji is finished. Angelina reveals all that has happened to A-TEC. A week before the elections, Nagisa met up with Furubayashi. First he showed him the missing funds and Furubayashi thought he want his money back or drag him to court or something. Nagisa just wanted to be sure… Then he suggests him to switch party. This is a sure way for him to get elected. As personal reasons are not the cause of his struggling campaign, it is the party itself. Seimin is to blame and if he continues aligning himself with it, he will definitely lose. Furubayashi isn’t convinced with this verbal tactic so Nagisa brings in Yamamoto and Takehiko Sonozaki, the secretary general of Oozora. I believe they are old buddies. With that, Furubayashi made the switch. All this has been the backdoor planning between Nagisa and Yamamoto. With Nagisa siding with the union and promising them many favours after he takes over, Yamamoto indulged him in some insider information. A win-win situation.

The A-TEC students are just looking gloomy after hearing this story. Heck, I thought they turned into zombies! Kaito confronts Nagisa. But he is not going to censure and save him. This surprises Nagisa because he expected him to do that since this is where A-TEC’s budget has gone. But Kaito only says he is sad and disappointed. He thought it wasn’t the Nagisa he knew when he did this kind of thing. Because if he wanted to play the villain, he should do it with confidence. At least believe in his own philosophy instead of looking like he is about to cry (Kaito too is about to cry). If he can’t do that, it is like saying he doesn’t believe he can make himself happy. The election came and went. Furubayashi wins on a landslide while Murakami who became an independent failed to mount any comeback. Yuuji gets a call from Kazuhisa. He is apologizing to the max and blames it all on Nagisa. But big brother is cool. He is not blaming him for the defeat but he is going to make up for it. He is going to be transferred to some distribution department at some faraway outskirts. Don’t worry. He’ll still be the director. That is all. Yuuji still wants to blame Nagisa but Kazuhisa says he should have acknowledged his talent at a young age. Or was it his very talented pawn? Goodbye. Yuuji’s finished. Breaking furniture won’t do him any good. Now Nagisa sets his sights on Kazuhisa.

Episode 10
On the news, Oozora although won the election has no clear majority so it is trying to form a coalition with Southern Cross Party and form a ruling government. Nagisa has been promoted to director, taking over Yuuji’s place as he heads into his first board meeting that includes Kazuhisa. A-TEC is shocked by this sudden news since this means Nagisa is no longer their classmate (nobody to boss around?) but Kaito wants his students to continue working on their project. Nagisa talks to Yanai who is glad Yuuji is gotten rid of and this will give their faction the majority within the board of directors. Yanai believes Nagisa is not a Kiryuu despite his name and the true and last descendent of Shinamiya. He wants to put Kirishina back to its original path of making only rockets. Because the company has going into more trouble ever since they expanded into other areas. He is trying to play the hate card since they both hate Kazuhisa as well as Yasuhisa, they can form an ally to take them down. Nagisa then brings about A-TEC’s disbandment and convinces Yanai they can use this as their advantage at the next board meeting to bring Kazuhisa down. Angelina is wary of Yanai because his words seem hollow and his goal is to gain more power. Nagisa isn’t the one to say as he knows he too isn’t the hero of justice. As long as Kazuhisa is a common enemy, he is one to rely on. He has Angelina go around arranging a meeting with those who are not aligned with any higher ups as Nagisa will need to convince them for their cooperation to overthrow Nagisa. Mizuki and Iris take a break. They talk about things. Especially about Nagisa. It dawned to Iris as she asks Mizuki if she is in love with Nagisa. Stunned for a while, Mizuki then acknowledges she does. Then they go back to work. How un-dramatic… But it was hardly surprising too… The snippets show Nagisa and Kazuhisa trying to canvass allies and A-TEC finally finishes X-3.

In the next meeting, Nagisa quickly initiates an emergency vote on the resolution to dissolve A-TEC. Angelina gets a call from Yamamoto who tells her to watch the news as an unexpected development has come into play. The party leaders of Oozora and Seimin have just finished their press conference and came to a conclusion that they will form a coalition. This will give the ruling party to run as an unopposed government. The shocking developments mean that Furubayashi is no longer the trump card that Nagisa can use and that the union cannot protect Furubayashi. In a way, he will have to seek a greater power. Angelina fears Kazuhisa is behind all this. It gets bad to worse when Nagisa is the only person who votes against the dissolution of A-TEC. All his allies remain silent. Including Yanai. When A-TEC tests run its new prototype, everything is going fine till Iris starts to veer off course. Her trauma is reigniting as she screams of running into an asteroid field. Ground control checks there is nothing in visual and that all her checks and equipment are running fine. Iris then remembers fully the flashback when her grandpa died before her eyes. Then this shocking twist of development: Iris is Nagisa???!!!

Episode 11
The resolution is shot down and A-TEC will be disbanded as scheduled. Although Iris crash lands, she is recovering well in hospital. Although the ship is badly damaged. There’s no way they can fix this without incurring high costs, right? Li picks up Kaito and tells him he is a fellow employee at Kirishina now. He then brings him to a warehouse to show him the latest project he is working on and Kirishina’s newest product: Bipedal war robots?! As Nagisa sits defeated, Kazuhisa comes to talk to him. He praises Nagisa’s plan at throwing a curve ball at him and then explains his goal in all of this. Kazuhisa always needed the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Economy and Trade by his side, which were helmed by Hanamura and Furubayashi respectively. In his new venture, Nagisa must have realized that with the dwindling resources, there will be military clashes. Now that he has both ministries in his hands, all that is left is to manufacture the goods. Nagisa is shocked to see the war robots. Kirishina never made this before so how did he? It then dawned to him that Kazuhisa got Li on board this project (the hijack incident was because there were other parties after him for his expertise). This is the reason why A-TEC will be disbanded. Similarly, Li has gathered his engineers to work on this project but all that he is missing is a person specialized in making the power unit. That’s right. It’s you, Kaito. Kazuhisa says he now has 5 trump cards in his grasp to make this project a success: Hanamura, Furubayashi, Li, Kaito and Nagisa. He will appoint Nagisa as the executive for this project thanks to his countless business skills he acquired as experience.

Kazuhisa praises Nagisa for taking Yuuji down. Had he gone on to be his dog, Kazuhisa would have no use for him. This is prove he is worthy of this project. Kazuhisa also knows about his revenge plot for the Shinamiya and also Nagisa is just a stand in and fake. This means he has neither Kiryuu nor Kirishina blood running in his veins. With Iris remembering her entire past now, Kazuhisa explains about the Shirasaki clan who served under Shinamiya plotting to set Nagisa (who was Iris then) to flee to Earth. But Yasuhisa got wind of this plot and started pursuing them. They used a boy of the same age as decoy (this Nagisa as we know). However the real Nagisa never made it to Earth and it is assumed they died in an accident. Yasuhisa doesn’t care about this fake Nagisa’s lineage and took advantage of the situation. As long as the world sees him as the last remaining Shinamiya survivor, he took him in and stole everything that belonged to that family. Even though Nagisa knew all about it, he played his role well, just as Yasuhisa wanted, seeking revenge for Shinamiya. But Kazuhisa doesn’t care about all that and his past. What he cares about is his abilities he has now. Forget about revenge and work under him. They can strike it rich and at the same time please the shareholders and protect the employees, which is what their position is all about, right? Wow. Nagisa looks pretty convinced to join him. Especially when he has such big long term vision. Later when he learns Iris has had an accident, he rushes to the hospital but she is already discharged. She is now looking for him at his office but Angelina is only there. She asks Angelina why she works loyally under him. Is it because she has something to do with Shinamiya? She only cares about him and has nothing to do about that clan. Angelina believes Iris has remembered something important but unfortunately the first person she needs to tell first is Nagisa. I hope Angelina didn’t get the wrong idea it is about love or something.

When Nagisa heads to A-TEC, he sees Mizuki working alone. As usual, he screams his head off at all the violations and ignored warnings but Mizuki is just playing cool and smiling back. Then all the pent up frustrations has him break down as he starts feeling guilty for being responsible for A-TEC’s disbandment. All Mizuki can do is console him with a smile and says he tried his best. She realizes too late her dirty hands made his face dirty. The more she tries to clean it, the dirtier it gets. So much so he looks funny! And then… They started hugging! Oh, his shirt is dirty too. I guess it is heartbreak for Iris seeing this scene so she flees. Well, I don’t know if she could it if she ever saw them kissing! OMG! They’re doing a real kiss! Of course Kaito sees this and he isn’t too happy what this grumpy ex-boss is doing to his sister. Yeah, boss or not, he punches him (because Nagisa told him to too). The guys talk especially about Nagisa’s next move. Kazuhisa’s proposal seems tempting and right from a businessman’s perspective. But Kaito tells him despite so, they are forgetting another important factor: Customers. Kaito wants to put a smile on customers’ face so of course he will turn down Li’s invitation. Even if this means being fired from A-TEC and disappoint his students who admire him? Didn’t think that far, eh? Nagisa suggests teaming up to disrupt their plans. Nagisa works out a plan for A-TEC’s restructuring. But then he gets stabbed by an assailant in the streets. OMG! It’s Yuuji!

Episode 12
Nagisa is kidnapped and beaten up by Yuuji who of course is clearly out for revenge. He will make him suffer like hell before killing him. Angelina sees the footage of Nagisa’s kidnapping and reports to Kazuhisa. Of course he also knows about this and is trying his best to locate him. As he doesn’t want this to get public and that this is a Kiryuu family problem, he has his hands tied in utilizing the few people for the search. I guess this means you need to get the job done yourself. When Angelina tells this to A-TEC, they right away go into action to help retrace everything. Angelina is surprised she thought they would resent him but I guess nobody else is their better slave than him. Whoops. Although they manage to trace the whereabouts, when Angelina reaches there, they are already gone. Yuuji and his men used the tactic of switching many cars and locations so it will be hard to trace them. But Kaito tells them all to go back and rest because they have to finish their X-3. So is he abandoning to save Nagisa? Actually Nagisa left Kaito a draft of A-TEC’s restructuring. He has put a lot of effort into this. So even if he comes back alive but A-TEC is gone, it will kill his ambition. Therefore they are going to do what they know best and leave the fighting and combat to Angelina. Kaito assigns Yuna and Kaoruko Takanashi to assist Angelina who has also been given a contact card of Nagisa’s connections. Yuuji continues beating up Nagisa but all he can think of is A-TEC’s presentation and worried if they caught on the clues he left behind for them. This only fuels Yuuji’s anger. But since Nagisa wants so much to see how their presentation goes, Yuuji will delay his death till that day.

Angelina goes to see Ibra of a construction company. He and his men were those initial kidnappers of Nagisa on Coldwood. They are already on the move to trace Nagisa but cannot act too rash or the enemy will run away. A-TEC continues to fix X-3, Kaito manages to secure several big wigs for the presentation and Iris is still having that asteroid trauma while in her practice simulation. On the day of the presentation, Yuuji surprises Nagisa by loading him up in X-2. Looks like he got the money to salvage it and employ guys to do some adjustments. Nagisa will crash into Coldwood with this baby and with that vanish along with A-TEC that he loves so much too. That is, if it doesn’t explode on the way. But Nagisa apologizes to Yuuji for his trivial revenge that made him unhappy, only to provoke him and furiously turning Nagisa into a punching bag. After loading him in, the construction guys barge in to attack Yuuji and his men. Angelina would love to kill this bastard who is cowering in fear but she’ll leave the administration to deal with him. Sometimes you wonder if that is a good idea because as she tries to stop the launch, Yuuji shoots her from the back before being taken out shortly by Ibra. X-2 launches and the operation is a failure. When A-TEC learns of this, Kaito mentions the change in plans. The mission to rescue Nagisa and the presentation will run simultaneously.

Episode 13
Mizuki catches Iris red handed when she tries to sneak in to ride X-3 to save Nagisa. She knows something is wrong with her. She must have remembered something. Because previously she was never afraid and look at her, her hands are still trembling. I guess Iris still can’t say it so she starts crying. Meanwhile Kaito begins his presentation although the board members aren’t pleased that he is continuing it despite Nagisa’s emergency situation. Kaito argues that if they don’t do this now, it will be hard for all of them to gather like this again. So once he has done presenting all the juicy facts, Kazuhisa mentions it is all great only on theory and not practical. After all this is all still done by Kaito’s brain. When he mentions Kaito doesn’t have a demo test model today, the others believe that his students are not on par with him. On the contrary, Kaito shows them the X-3 model right now in action, on its way to Coldwood. Previously before Iris could tell the truth, the other A-TEC students interrupt them because there’s no time for the sappy drama and time to get things moving. That is when Mizuki told her she was here to convince Iris to fly X-3 and not stop her because there are no other pilots who can match her skills. But Mizuki will also be tagging along with her so that somebody can tend to Nagisa while she flies the craft. Kaito continues his presentation about X-3’s speed and time bettering X-2’s performance by half and at lesser cost. They even use the original cockpit model from the museum to fit on the engine. The guys don’t think this old wreck can withstand the power of the new engine so Kaito explains how his students did all the modifications to make it work. They are doing everything they can to save their friend and that is why Kaito wants to continue working with them.

X-3 catches up with X-2 and Iris has no room for mistakes. Oops. But she almost did one when she tries to latch both ships but failed. Time is running out and Iris must manoeuvre quickly. In the dying seconds, she manages to latch the ship and miss Coldwood by metres! Wow. What a heart pounding action drama! At least for those who are watching. As Mizuki checks the ship, Iris goes to check on Nagisa. She becomes frantic in seeing his injured state. But could she be gentler in untying him? Her tears wake him up and everyone is happy to hear Nagisa is safe. With everything in order, Kaito now asks the guys to reconsider disbanding A-TEC. They really find it irresistible. Low cost and high performance. However Kazuhisa points out their disbandment was made in the last meeting and cannot be overturned. But Kaito isn’t panicking. He never counted on him to save A-TEC. He gets a call from Yuna confirming several sponsors willing to invest billions! This presentation wasn’t only shown to them but live streamed to others. Kaito throws down all their resignation letters. They will just leave and start up another company. This was all Nagisa’s plan and his resignation letter is also there. Li is starting to worry because he only joined Kirishina because he promised Kaito would work with him. Kaito then lectures those money making guys about some things in life that money can’t buy: Ambition. They don’t want to make money making technologies but one that can make people smile. So instead of a prize in physics they rather get a prize in peace (because with his technology in use, there is no need for wars to hunt for scarce resources).

But Kazuhisa still has a trump card. Even if Kaito and A-TEC leave, X-3 belongs to them since they use Kirishina’s resources to build them. Well, Kaito didn’t think of that! Oh no! What now?! This is when Nagisa interjects. He agrees that the rights belong to Kirishina but mentions he made the wrong choice. What Kazuhisa wanted wasn’t the engine but Kaito who made it in 6 months with limited resources. Because if he wanted Kaito, he should have just taken A-TEC and the entire team itself from the start. Kazuhisa is offering 100 billion but Nagisa rejects him. Kazuhisa will make him regret this but Nagisa believes big brother will be the one regretting more. The presentation is over and now we are presented with Mizuki and Iris fighting over Nagisa?! WTF?! Kazuhisa gets a call from Yasuhisa but he won’t answer and feels it is not his time to step up yet. Iris and Mizuki plant to visit Nagisa at the hospital but looks like he fled and went out drinking with Kaito. So is Nagisa his brother in law now? Angelina comes in with good news that she has found and executive for their new company: Sasayama. Nagisa and the bunch of A-TEC guys attend the launching ceremony of their newly incorporated company: A-TEC Inc. With Nagisa as the head, his opening lines are “Let’s take over the world”. Hey wait. Do you mean the galaxy?

Money, Power & Politics: Business As Usual
Uhm… Well… Okay… I guess. The fight goes on. The business goes on. So what I expected to be some sort of sci-fi series turned out to be one that is filled with power politics in corporations and business making propositions. Although not entirely confusing and boring, surprisingly it was still interesting enough to keep my attention till the end of the series. Most probably it was because of me wondering who this Nagisa kid really is as well as Iris who is somewhat connected to him. Even so, Nagisa’s thinking and turning things around with his business-like mind is also another factor that retained my attention. Although I do not fully understand some of the political or big corporation manoeuvres, at least it was simple enough without going into the deep complicating details. All that politics throughout the series died down in the final episode as it quickly turns into a simultaneous rescue Nagisa and A-TEC plot. Can’t complain with that ‘happy ending’, right?

Another major surprise was so when I thought the series was going to be about A-TEC and their struggles, the surprising part is that it wasn’t entirely about them. Their striving and toiling were all just in the background as the big star of the series is Nagisa himself trying to take down his big brothers in the corporation. Come to think of it, it would be pretty boring to see a bunch of engineering outcasts of a doomed division trying to stay afloat. Now that they have freed themselves from Kirishina’s bounds, I am sure they can work together incredibly again and come up with something even better. Just hope Kaito doesn’t spend and waste money like water. Whether or not this move will be a good one in the long term is yet to be seen. But at least they are not under the shenanigans of Kirishina.

The big main character in focus is of course Nagisa. I think this is the only character development we would see flesh out properly and the most in this series. For a young corporate kid to be making big business decisions and his obnoxious attitude to match with it (playing the role of the villain, I suppose), you know there will be something more than meets the eye to this kid. So whatever the complicated relationship between the 2 founders that causes this complicated power struggle and faction fighting within the company, what would be of Nagisa if he successfully carries out his petty revenge? In the end, not getting a direct revenge was probably the best outcome for him. He can make Kazuhisa suffer more by pulling away from Kirishina and do things that rival the big company. When A-TEC starts rising and Kirishina starts crumbling, this would be the best revenge yet. Kaito remains a simple and true person to his passion. Without all the politics and greed in his brain, it is the reason why he flourishes in what he does. Just don’t let this guy be in charge of your finances. I think his is more of financial crisis than classroom crisis. Haha! So while he doesn’t do well in business, this is where Nagisa comes in. I think with the duo as a team, the new A-TEC will be a formidable force to reckon with. It’s the best answer they can come up of showing their disapproval of Kazuhisa’s ways.

Due to the nature of the plot and direction of this series, it is with mixed feelings about the students under A-TEC. Because seriously, they don’t even matter. If they were all nameless students, it wouldn’t really change a thing (heck, I don’t think I even remember their names). But they all are so as to give them a little more character :\. Each of them has their own personality and specialty but their very limited appearance does little justice for them. Like Sakugo who is a great hacker and gentle Kaoruko whose role in this anime seems to be gently reminding her fellow students to not use such ‘harsh’ words while they comment on criticise on their boss-cum-fellow-transfer-student. And I think there is one student whereby whose gender is a little ambiguous. The one wearing a lab coat. One normally would think he is a boy but there was this very subtle hint he may not be so because during the class trip, he somewhat refuses to go into the same bath at the same time with the other guys. But all this don’t really matter, right? We all know that they work great as a team and are tightly close to each other. Unfortunately we just don’t really see and feel it here.

This means Mizuki and Iris as the characters also feel a little under developed. Iris is like your typical amnesiac girl with a past and trauma waiting to explode on a crucial day and it happened. So when the big revelation is out and that Iris is the real Nagisa, somehow it just makes us go, “Okay… Uh huh… So what?”. Mizuki on the other hand is your typical best friend and friendly person. When she kept continuing to bug Nagisa, I just knew where this was going. At least in the department of feelings as where this is all concerned. Because for a guy who acts obnoxious and everything, he would have easily become everybody’s public enemy number one. And yet Mizuki continues to be perseverant in trying to talk nicely to him. It would be strange to think a normal girl would have this much patience. Then the inevitable happen and in a way felt weird for throwing in a little romance for side distraction because after all that business and political drama, the thought of Mizuki and Nagisa becoming an item felt just out of place. And now with Iris too heavily suspected to have feelings for him, will best friends turn to best rivals? From the look of it, yes. Oh wait. Do I need to bring in Angelina into the equation? Gosh. Polygon romance can get even more complicated than business proposals. But Angelina did hint that she doesn’t mind playing second fiddle. Or third. Or fourth. Sure about that? Well, there’s always Kaito whom she can drag out to drink out her sorrows. Is this some sort of minor running joke?

Not too sure if this is a running joke too because it seems like almost everybody knows about Angelina’s real name and prefer to call her by that, in which she would subsequently remind them not to do so. A warning very often ignored. She too felt under developed because we would like to know more about her and why she is so against that real name of hers (could it be something to do with her ninja lineage since her skills and name are a big hint) and her actual relationship with Nagisa. She was missing for the big part in the final episode but even if the hijack and penultimate episode is where she takes the centre stage, it just doesn’t feel enough.

Last but not least is Kazuhisa himself. He isn’t a bad person because if you think about a guy who sits in such high profile position, he has a different set of goals and ambitions to take care of. Although still smart and smooth, but I figure he was too calculated and obsessed in getting to put forth his plan in having key people in his war robots manufacturing that he failed to grasp the basic 101s of trying to get a person to your side not via arm twisting or mud throwing tactic but the simple method of talking true to a man’s heart. Get what I’m saying? Well, Nagisa explained it all for us already. Because he wanted Kaito so much and not A-TEC, he failed to see that A-TEC was the reason that kept Kaito around. So had he kept A-TEC instead of wanting to dismantle it, he could have had a better chance in retaining this guy. But I believe he is just like Nagisa. Despite he doesn’t have the necessary key people in his plan now (not too sure if Li is sticking around after that), he doesn’t look like he has panicked yet and I am very sure he has a plan B up his sleeve. Because if he doesn’t think it is time for the big daddy to show up yet, then it mustn’t be that all grave. And about Yuuji? That guy did a good job in being so hateful that we just hate him to the last bit of molecule he is. So what happens to him eventually, we couldn’t care less. His obsession of hating Nagisa is so great that he was blinded by the fact Nagisa had been using him all the while. I mean, did he not really think that by abusing him all this years, this kid will simply continue to comply 100% and not get his revenge? That’s why I say he is too fixated in hating his half brother.

Art and drawing are pretty okay and standard. Nothing that really catches your eye. Because the technological advances seen here are, well, let’s say they might be here in a few more years like that hologram-cum-projector handphone. Only maybe except space travel and colonization on other planets. Although the character designs are simple, somehow I get the feeling I have seen them from other animes. Like Nagisa whom I thought was Kyousuke from OreImo, only looking much meaner. And then there is Iris whom I thought was that Nagato from the Haruhi series. Mizuki on the other hand has a little resemblance to Ano Natsu De Matteru’s Mio. It was just the case of changing hairstyle? I’m sure I have seen the others somewhere before but I’m too lazy to start thinking ;p. Uhm… Hey… Doesn’t Sasayama look like a fat version of that Monopoly uncle? This anime is produced by a relatively new anime studio, Lay-duce whose only other works at the moment are Magi: Sinbad No Bouken and that what-the-hell-is-this-tanka-and-haiku-theme-anime, Go! Go! 575.

There are quite a number of veteran seiyuus lending their voice to this series. Most notably, Yu Kobayashi in the main role as Angelica. She is still active in the voice acting role but the recent animes that I have watched her in are just minor supporting roles like Tsuyuko in Koufuku Graffiti and Smith in Monster Musume No Iru Nichijou. Although Gintama is still currently ongoing, I believe her character Ayame only make cameos. Speaking of which, it’s nice to hear that crazy trademark voice again whenever she starts screaming her head off. Another notable voice acting is Hiroyuki Yoshino as Yuuji. He has this comical voice that makes him suitable for comical characters like Bossun in Sket Dance, Favaro in Shingeki No Bahamut: Genesis and Saruyama in To Love-Ru series. But here, he sounds quite scary as the antagonist Yuuji. There is so much spite in his voice that he is just convincing that it makes you really want to hate his character to the bone. Kudos.

There is Yui Horie and Kana Asumi doing Kaoruko and Yuna respectively but their character roles are so minimal although it’s a good thing that I can still recognize them :). The rest of the other casts include Showtaro Morikubo as Kaito (Shikamaru in Naruto), Yuuma Uchida as Nagisa (Claus in Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha ViVid), Ari Ozawa as Mizuki (Sakura in Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun), Sora Amamiya as Iris (Isla in Plastic Memories), Kazuhiko Inoue as Kazuhiko (Gildarts in Fairy Tail), Junpei Morita as Li (Doctor White in Black Jack 21), Motomu Kiyokawa as Yanai (Tippy in Gochuumon Wa Usagi Desu Ka) and Yusaku Yara as Yamamoto (Chin Chinchin in Toriko).

When I first heard the opening theme, Cobalt by TrySail, I thought I was hearing an AKB48-like music. From the beat and style of this song, I thought it was pretty similar. At least to the themes that I heard in the AKB0048 anime. Checking them out a little (read: lazy and fast browsing over the internet), TrySail is yet another one of those units formed by seiyuu rather than being ex-members of the world’s largest pop group. Oddly, not all of the trio in the unit had a voice acting role in this series (considering Denpa Kyoushi was their debut as a unit). Sora Amamiya had the biggest role and Shiina Natsukawa was one of the students in A-TEC. So what happened to Momo Asakura? The ending theme is Anemone by Claris. Sounds rather okay and like another one of their trademark style music.

Overall, not a bad anime but its misleading and synopsis may surprise some for the better or worse. I’m glad it was the former for me. Although this series won’t be as near as any masterpiece and perhaps overshadowed by other anime series that was running concurrently in the same season, it is still a pretty good show to remind us that big corporations aren’t as squeaky clean as they proclaim to be and have all that politics, power play and even prestigious family status or lineage if it has been run by the same family for generations. Amidst all that, it tells us that even a small unit with true passion can still overcome such a high wall and that nothing is impossible in the corporate world. But even so, you still need money for capital and other stuffs. Eventually money makes the world (the galaxy in this case) go round and round. If you think asking money from your company is easy, just remember how hard it was when you have no money and had to ask and convince your parents to give you money so that you can buy something you want? Yeah… It feels pretty much the same.

The norm of stories of this kind of underdog story is that we have a responsible leader or head leading a group of undisciplined misfits and ragtags, training them, instilling core values to work together, etc until they’re strong enough to beat the odds and stand above the rest. You have your moments of bonding and mutual respect that they crew finally warms up to the leader that he is like family and it would be unthinkable if they part. Rarely you have one of this formula where the chief is the irresponsible idiot and the crew the responsible ones (well, most of them anyway). So when you have an irresponsible person in charge taking the lead, can things work out for the better? Normally we would assume it would be for the worst. That is why it is with such intrigue to know if that is the case with The Irresponsible Captain Tylor. A slacker and carefree young dude enlisted as the captain of a warship and leading his crew into several important battles and moments and always emerges victorious. Wow. I didn’t know being irresponsible can be this good because when I was that during my younger days, I got an earful and lots of reprimanding. And that is even for the simplest of things. What’s more, this guy who is leading a military crew. Oh, the fate of the universe is in the hands of an irresponsible guy!

Episode 1
Justy Ueki Tylor sees an ad about recruiting members into United Planets Space Force (UPSF). He decides to get enrolled simply because he dreams of the luxurious life. Free food, free lodging and free uniforms! But the officer lectures him about sacrificing for his country so Tylor mentions about rising up through the ranks fast. How can he do that? He points to the officer who will make him a fleet commander and waxes lyrical if he does so he will be famous in future memoirs and the likes. Meanwhile the top military brass is discussing to strike the Raalgon Empire whose young empress, Azalyn Goza just succeeded the throne. However the general doesn’t agree since they are underestimating them and the plan would backfire. Meanwhile Azalyn’s chief advisor, Wang is coaxing her to enter the war to avenge their fallen emperor. Although reluctant, she is pressured to do so and gives the command to fight. Meanwhile Tylor barely passes the aptitude tests and his interface with the AI unit, he is flirting with it and not paying attention. So much so the AI unit (whom he took the liberty to call Betty) starts falling in love with him! Short circuit! It exploded the core! WTF?! Because Tylor doesn’t want to take responsibility, Betty views him as the enemy and more explosions occur. UPSF thinks an enemy spy has planted bombs to distract them as a Raalgon cruiser commanded by Captain Ru Baraba Dom approaches. With the impending war, Tylor is immediately drafted into the army. I mean, who needs to past all those tests when war is coming, right? And that officer hopes Tylor would remember him in his memoirs. He really believed it? And so Tylor’s easy life in the military begins…

Episode 2
Tylor is assigned to the pension department. He hears about a retired Admiral Robert J. Hanner who is now living under pension but his pension is rejected due to change in address. In fact, his living conditions are paltry considering he was a former decorated commander. He is being taken care of by his twin daughters, Emi and Yumi and Yuriko Star, a family friend. A couple of guys from the Universal Peace Revolutionary Front (UPRF) barge in to take everyone hostage. Their demands are to end all wars and disband UPSF. Lieutenant Makoto Yamamoto is called from his vacation to handle this hostage crisis. Tylor waltzes into the scene to hand the pension. Yamamoto thinks he must be a secret agent sent by Admiral Mifune. Yuriko works up the UPRF guys that they could be Raalgon agents and lowly ones so that she could buy time for the rest to escape. Then here comes Tylor to hand the pension. Seeing the pretty girls, he decides to stay and flirt. When UPRF makes another video deadline, Tylor does his usual idiocy. Yamamoto confirms from Mifune he didn’t send this idiot. Yuriko pulls off a sexy stunt to distract the terrorists and disarm them. But dumb Tylor gives it back to them! When the twins see how handsome one of the UPRF guys is, they start loving him and this causes the ugly one to be jealous. Tylor joins in teasing the ugliness in him. After much deliberation, Yamamoto decides to fire a missile to sacrifice a few lives to save humanity. Tylor talks about the beauty of the heart which touches the ugly one’s heart. So touched that he is going to blow up himself and everybody along with him! Yuriko is so mad at Tylor, blaming everything is his fault. To make amends, he allows her to hit him. She swings the briefcase but he ducks and it hits the ugly dude, causing him to drop his bomb outside the window. Poor Yamamoto got bombed! Ugly dude is so sad he can’t die and when Tylor tries to comfort him about women will someday love his ugliness, he jumps out of the window! And he lands on freshly bombed Yamamoto who is just in a daze what just happened. Tylor thinks the mission is over but Yuriko this time gives him a good punch!

Episode 3
Yamamoto is made the first officer of the destroyer class, Soyokaze. He is addressing his crew that includes Yuriko and the twins about the enemy within. You don’t say… Then here comes Tylor who says he has been reassigned here. Yamamoto thought he could boss him around till Tylor shows him a letter that thanks to the hostage crisis handling, he has been promoted to Lieutenant Commander and is now the captain of Soyokaze! Believe it! Tylor of course uses his new authority to set sail the ship. Even if his crew warns him of the serious breach in rules, he reminds them he is the captain and the highest authority around this ship. Yes sir, captain sir! Now he is literally sleeping on the job! Yamamoto is agonizing over an irresponsible man having higher authority over him. He receives a present from a crew and when he opens it, it explodes! He is cursing to have them court martial when Yuriko tells him not to lose it. She mentions her mission here to reform the crew of Soyokaze. Because Tylor saved the military some face, Mifune saw the need to promote him. But he realized his irresponsible attitude and thus assigned him to Soyokaze as the crew is made up of space outlaws. No captain has ever lasted for more than 3 days and this is part of Mifune’s plan to throw him out of the military. Despite Mifune’s objection, Yuriko wanted to be assigned here to reform Tylor and make Soyokaze’s crew into real soldiers. Yamamoto feels ashamed of himself and believes the enemy within is himself. Report comes in that a brawl is taking place at the hangar between the marine punks against greenhorn cocky young pilot, Kojiro Sakai and the mechanics. Yamamoto puts a stop to this while the twins wake up Tylor and bring him here. First thing he asks is who won the war! Yamamoto wants Tylor to say something and give his orders. Sure thing. Forget all the rules and do whatever you want. You heard that? Yes, sir, captain sir! The brawl continues. Yamamoto is holding in his seething anger. He believes the real enemy within is Tylor.

Episode 4
Yamamoto wants Tylor to rescind his order but the captain keeps denying him. Why? He enjoys using his position to give orders! The marines now resort to mutiny and are making their way to storm the bridge. Yamamoto wants to take hard disciplinary action but Yuriko thinks they should use diplomacy. Tylor likes her idea but she slaps him for trying to be funny. When the marines communicate, Yuriko tries her diplomacy talk. As opposed to strength as the marines need to win a war, Yuriko says it is love. They laugh it off and barge through the bridge to take everyone hostage. Suddenly the ship is about to warp to a random location. It cannot be cancelled. Yuriko is worried billions will die if they suddenly appear on a planet but Tylor remains positive. Maybe it will be a luxury planet? Well, what do you know? They warp in front of a Raalgon fleet. They’re in its firing path so what is the captain going to do? Yeah. He’s not sure either. The crew would rather die fighting so Yamamoto thought of motivating them with his fight to the death speech. Suddenly Tylor says they will surrender! It’s not fun dying so better to give up. Raalgon’s captain agrees and then boards Soyokaze. He couldn’t believe Tylor is the captain and even tries to be nice to him. The captain wants all of UPSF’s operation orders and even gives advice on the ingredients for victory: Love, strength and discipline. Tylor is pretty much impressed and has been praising him since. When the captain leaves, the rest are going to do a suicide move but they stop when they notice Tylor gives him his present. Could it be he purposely surrendered for this trick? When the captain returns to his ship and opens the present, the explosion causes it to crash into the mothership and send haywire commands to shoot each other! OMG! They took out each other while Soyokaze just flies away! The crew praises Tylor for his brains but to their shock he doesn’t even know it was a bomb and truly gave it away as goodwill! When Dom reports to Azalyn their fleet was destroyed by Soyokaze’s Tylor, she wants him to bring him to her as she wants to meet in person. As she asks the key to victory in war, he says luck. She wishes him luck then.

Episode 5
While Soyokaze is undergoing repairs, they will receive a new medical personnel. It’s no surprise that the guys are going wild over this beauty nurse, Harumi Nakagawa. She heads to Tylor’s room but she thought he was trying to ambush her in the dark. He was just waiting to pop a personal welcoming party. All the men, weak and tough alike start lining up to seek Harumi’s treatment. All the excuses they’re giving just to see her… Except for Kojiro. No, he’s not gay. He has fear of women. I’m sure Yamamoto would too but since everybody else is teasing him, his pride has him not give in to her. He reports to Tylor that he needs to do something about the men’s indiscipline but Tylor sees no problem about this. Harumi continues to examine the other men and find out more about Tylor but they call him an idiot. When she thinks somebody is tailing her, she hides in the bathroom. Turns out to be marines, Karl Bjorn Andressen and Mickey Cryburn. Dressed in tuxedos, these tough guys are here to give her bouquet of flowers? Harumi tries to contact her boss but realizes Tylor is in the bath. She cuts communications to take up his offer to join him. She tries to find out more about him when Yuriko knocks on the door to check. Harumi then runs out feigning she didn’t realize Tylor was there. That dense captain doesn’t seem to understand what’s happening and instead asks Yuriko to join him. That’s the last straw. She beats him up. Yamamoto has made up his mind and contacts Mifune to tell him Tylor’s victory over Raalgon was accidental. It is revealed that Harumi is working under Dom. Dom is puzzled that she is Raalgon’s best intelligence officer and she can’t figure out who Tylor is. She requests more time to study him.

Episode 6
After Yamamoto’s complaint, Tylor is summoned to the military HQ as Mifune hands him a medal of honour. Tylor doesn’t think too much of it but in actual fact the medal contains some sort of device that would attract Raalgon fleets. Once they are all gathered together, Mifune will activate some laser to wipe them all out. Killing 2 birds with a stone. Tylor is so bored that he wants to play cards. With Yuriko’s constant reprimanding, he gives up and he hopes some enemy will pop up to elevate the boredom. You don’t say… Because here comes a huge fleet of Raalgon destroyers led by Donan. Immediately he orders to fire on Soyokaze. It takes great damage and since Tylor is out, Yamamoto assumes command and is going to show how it is done. He orders to fire back but all weapons are destroyed! When it is time for the laser to activate, Donan detects some large enemy fleet and immediately has his fleet teleport away. They appear before Mifune’s fleet. Tylor has woke up and isn’t sure why the enemy suddenly disappeared. Then they warp to a beautiful area of the galaxy and he believes this is the reward that Mifune wanted to give them. While admiring the great view, Mifune and Donan’s side are heavily locked in battle. Mifune can’t lose this or else he’ll be the laughing stock of the galaxy. Donan then has his men target the laser. Although successfully destroying it, the explosion is so great that it threatens to engulf them all. Donan and his fleet retreats. Mifune is luckily to have drifted in Tylor’s path and gets picked up by Soyokaze. The crew is shocked to learn Tylor got a medal but as he is about to show them, it seems there is a hole in his pocket! Yeah, I guess that medal was dropped somewhere back on Mifune’s fleet. Mifune is so mad that he is going to kill himself! Stop him! The rest thought it was just over a single medal…

Episode 7
Yuriko is chiding the marines to clean up their area but of course they won’t listen. With Tylor contributing to the garbage mess, this isn’t personal anymore. She takes Tylor along hoping with his orders they will follow. But Andressen wants a challenge. If they win, things stay as it is. Otherwise they will follow her. She accepts even if the challenge is arm wrestling. Obviously Andressen is stronger and is fooling around although Yuriko isn’t giving up. Surprisingly Tylor supports Andressen. This throws everybody off and makes Yuriko mad that she got the strength to win the match! Now everybody start cleaning. This includes you, Tylor! Soyokaze is so sparkly clean that it is hardly the junk we use to know. Suddenly Raalgon fleets appear before them. Yamamoto wants to escape seeing Soyokaze cannot handle that many. However Tylor orders to stay their ground. He will not surrender. Tylor then orders to display fireworks before returning to the bridge dressed in his real military suit. OMG. He is acting so proper. What gives? Is he really Tylor? Then he contacts the Raalgon fleet who is helmed no other by Dom. He wants some time before they fight to the death so Dom agrees. Since they have time, Dom wants them to drink. Because the ship’s alcoholic doctor, Hidezaburo Kitaguchi cannot join them, he sulks and accidentally presses the siren button. The marines and pilots take it as a sign to begin their attack! Dom’s fleet is caught off guard and they suffer heavy damage. Soyokaze escapes and they dump all the garbage around Raalgon fleet for their getaway. Dom is pissed that he has been had but notes Tylor’s success was due to his ability to handle his men. Although Tylor is out cold, the crew wonder if this success method was for the best.

Episode 8
Dom tells Harumi to assassinate Tylor. This is a test to see whether he can defend himself. If he is easily killed, he is not worth investigating further. She goes searching for him and finds him discussing with the marines. Turns out they plan to hold a beauty contest. Harumi wants to join. Of course Yuriko protests as this would rack up the stress level (hers, I believe). Naturally Yamamoto also disagrees but when Tylor mentions of leaving him as acting commander, he agrees to it. The marines and mechanics start building the props and stage while Harumi is on standby for any injuries. As Tylor talks to her and at the end of the conversation, seems she has laid the perfect trap for the stage to collapse on him. Luckily Kojiro fires his staple gun to pin Tylor away. Harumi then takes him to her quarters with pretence to examine for any injuries. She’ll soon be frustrated she can’t kill him with injections or poison his coffee. This guy is just too damn lucky. Yamamoto might be happy with a big grin on his face playing captain. But what’s the use when he is the only one on the bridge? It’s like watching the house when everyone else is away at the beauty contest preparations. Later Harumi goes to Tylor’s quarters and tries to stab him. His place is full of junk that she mistakes the pile of garbage as his body instead. Desperate now, she tries to kill him outright but that guy is just too lucky! She breaks down in dramatic fashion. Frustrated alright. Surprisingly, Tylor knows she is a spy as she has always been the mysterious type. I thought he was going to get lucky with the guess but it seems it is true. After Harumi reveals the Raalgon spy she is, she tries to kill herself but Tylor stops her. He tries to convince her she can’t die while her job isn’t complete but if Raalgon finds out about her failure, it will be death. So he suggests that he has fallen for her and will keep her identity a secret. This will enable her to continue her observation while she feeds her people with lies. Well, that convinced her. And even Dom too because if she failed her assassination it means this Tylor guy is worthy to be observed and thus her mission will continue. Finally the beauty contest begins.

Episode 9
Harumi sends her periodic reports to Dom who in turn reports it to Azalyn. She is disappointed that there is still nothing much known about Tylor. Mifune seems to have gotten the unanimous decision of the board. So when Soyokaze receives word of a new order, they are devastated that they have been downgraded. Of course everyone believes Tylor is the source of this new order. Yamamoto wants to invoke some article that would revoke this new order. Although it has very strict conditions that go with it, everybody thought they would get through it except when they realize that only the highest officer onboard may send in that request. Guess who? They’re so doomed… And so when Yuriko and Harumi is on their way sending Tylor to the HQ, that irresponsible guy thinks there is still much time and wanders off by himself. Can you blame the waiting crew for not feeling so worried and anxious? Even resorting to superstitious stuffs like plucking leaves and tea stalks. Tylor bumps into Hanner who is now in a retirement home. He starts narrating his adventures. Man, that is going to take all day! So much so Yuriko can’t stand him anymore and slaps him! She lectures him about thinking how the crew is feeling and explains to Hanner about the situation they are in. He lets them go so Yuriko steps the pedal to the medal. As Soyokaze’s crew is deeply praying to all the religious faiths (I don’t believe they’re being this religious), Tylor comes back. They assume the order is rescinded since he looks so happy. Till he apologizes he couldn’t make the deadline. Oh sh*t… Despair! As Tylor talks to the twins about meeting Hanner, Yuriko just couldn’t understand why Tylor looks so happy about the demotion. Could he seriously have wanted it? Just don’t understand… And the only other happy person is Mifune who is glad no applications to rescind the order were received. Case closed.

Episode 10
Kojiro aces in his training as always. This has the twins want to become pilots more than ever. Of course Yamamoto and Yuriko won’t allow it since they scored very low on their aptitude test. So now that they take their plea to Tylor, as expected he allows them. Furthermore, Kojiro also supports them but with a condition. If they show any signs of trouble on their first flight, they will give up and never fly again. This of course is his plan to rid of them to bug him for wanting to become pilots. Not surprisingly, they screw up. Since they are Kojiro’s responsibility, he still needs to go save them. He relays the instructions that need to be done for them to avoid crashing into a nearby planet. Although successful, when they didn’t respond, he fears they might have accelerated too much and crashed into the asteroid field. Now he feels guilty that he put them up to this. Don’t deserve to be called an ace pilot, blah, blah, blah. He wasn’t concentrating and could have slammed into the asteroid had not the twins fire it out of his way. The wreckage he saw must be from another craft. He sees them skilfully manoeuvring their ship and he thinks their natural ability to fly must have awakened. Although he says they won’t fly again, it means he will become their personal flight trainer till they are good enough to be pilots. Because Tylor says he has a good eye in telling people’s talents, Yuriko wants to test him and asks hers. If he can pick out right, maybe he does deserve to be captain. This is Tylor’s response. She is not cut out to be a soldier and should marry him and bear his children! Slap! Hey, that was his honest answer, no? I guess she was a fool to have her hopes up.

Episode 11
Yuriko must be furious with everybody slacking their duties despite they have been demoted. Especially when communications officer, Kyunghwa Kim is all dolled up during duty. Yeah, Tylor gives the green light. Yuriko tries to set an example but I think the stress is going to ruin her skin. And when the twins said Tylor allowed them to wear casual clothes on duty, that’s the last straw for Yuriko. She confronts him about this order and as usual, he thought it would be good for everyone since they’re so bored. When Kim is in her casual clothes, Yuriko starts lecturing her about discipline and responding to emergencies in that outfit. Kim lectures her back about judging others by their appearance. Oh dear. Looks like there’s bad blood brewing between these ladies. Yamamoto should know better than try to quell 2 feuding women. Yeah, they never thought him in the military anyway! Yuriko and Kim’s feud is getting obvious. So much so the Marines are tapping it and enjoying to the last bit. When will the cat fight start? Luckily Kim discovers their shenanigans and puts a stop to it with a little court martial threat. Yuriko works herself to the bone and maintains she is fine with this kind of job. Then one night, Tylor snuck into one of the Marine’s room to play some virtual whack-a-mole. He didn’t even know he caused a fire and continued playing. Doesn’t it feel getting hot? So the ship is on alert but they can’t get into the room. Kim uses her hacking skills to enter and then has everyone use fire extinguishers to put the fire out. And Tylor didn’t even know what hit him. In the end, Yuriko and Kim reconcile over a drink. To a point that they sound like they are such good friends and that’s scary! And Tylor can’t even get in between them for once!

Episode 12
Cryburn is telling a past ghost story of Soyokaze to the crew. Especially about its previous captain who killed himself at 11.59.59pm when all his crew killed themselves out of boredom. Yuriko and Yamamoto are not amused he is spreading such rumours but it seems Tylor is also in, in this ghost scaring plan. When Yuriko is lecturing him about this, suddenly Soyokaze passes through some warp. The ship walls are now dilapidated and the time has stopped at 11.59.59pm. We learn something from Harumi as she observes the rest. She is an android and doesn’t understand this fear emotion the rest is going through. She also observes Yuriko is more strong willed than Tylor. A ghostly voice wants to know who the captain is so Tylor makes Yamamoto take responsibility. He always wanted to be the captain, right? With this, the ghost voice has Yamamoto enter through some warp. Yuriko wants the rest to go rescue him and abandoning a comrade is more shameful. So Tylor can sit here all alone if he wants. Not going to happen. Yamamoto sees the rest of the crew trying to kill themselves by opening the airlock. The ghost wants Yamamoto to feel his anguish and realizing he is not the real captain and his hatred for the real one, he hypnotizes Yamamoto to go kill him. Yuriko and co stumble upon the corpse of Soyokaze’s ex-captain. Harumi deduces he’s been dead for 10 years. Tylor is not happy Yuriko fainted before him! The ghost then possesses Yuriko and is going to make her kill herself to let Tylor fall into despair. Luckily Harumi’s anaesthetic prevented it. Can it work on a ghost? As they run, they bump into Yamamoto. Harumi slaps him into his senses. The ghost chases and corners them to the airlock. He possesses them and is forcing Tylor to open the hatch. Tylor and Yamamoto start arguing about responsibility and being the strongest. This causes the ghost to be so appalled at their pathetic behaviour that it’s not worth killing them! Soyokaze moves out of the zone and time resumes like normal again. Tylor picks up the ex-captain’s wooden pipe. They wonder if that ghostly encounter was hallucination. Shortly, Admiral Fuji contacts them for anything suspicious. Yuriko and Yamamoto don’t want Tylor to say about the hallucination as it will further demote them. But when Fuji sees the pipe, he fears that Tylor knows something about the ex-captain that connects him to Soyokaze. You see, Fuji betrayed the ex-captain for his own promotion. Though Tylor poorly tries to cover up, Fuji thinks he is trying to make some covert deal. He orders the crew to rendezvous with the UPSF main fleet now. The rest are unsure what happened but they believe the downgrade order has been rescinded. So happy that they waste a few rounds of ammunition, beams and missiles. On an unrelated note: Animation of this episode was horrendous!

Episode 13
Everyone celebrates Soyokaze’s promotion. Meanwhile Donan still lives and he is requesting Azalyn’s permission to settle the score with this enemy whom he doesn’t know his name before he becomes a bigger threat. Mifune is about to kill Fuji for rescinding the downgrade without his permission. Then the screen of Soyokaze’s flight path surfaces. Seems they will be heading towards the battlefield frontline where fighting is heavy. Mifune thinks this is Fuji’s trick to get them destroyed there. I guess Fuji will go with it. Some of Soyokaze’s crew are not happy when Tylor says he prefers being demoted. Some who support Tylor claim it was peaceful and not entirely boring. So when drunk Yamamoto tells Tylor about the crew are here to fight, Tylor throws him a series of what-ifs when the enemy is stronger, smarter and outnumbers them. Suddenly the red alert. They’re being attack by Donan’s single vessel. Soyokaze takes so much damage that they can’t fire back, can’t launch their fighters, can’t call for backup and the navigation system is broken. Tylor sees Yamamoto’s advice but is told to think about it himself! Then Tylor just orders to warp blindly. Donan anticipated this and follows them through and continues attacking. Tylor repeats the warp process and so does Donan. Then finally Soyokaze appears above a star and has run out of energy for another warp. This is when Donan summons all his other fleets to finish it off. After he commands all to fire, it seems the beams miss Soyokaze. The star’s gravity pulls the beams in and the high energy causes the sun to burst into a solar flare, engulfing all of Donan’s fleet! Dom who has been watching it all wants to aid Donan but the fatty still doesn’t want his help. All he wants to know if Soyokaze is destroyed. Dom has no choice but to lie to give Donan a piece of mind before he succumbs. Soyokaze still lives and Yamamoto knows it is purely Tylor’s luck instead of strategy. True enough, Tylor didn’t plan this and was just running away. Yamamoto hopes this would make Tylor learn the basics of strategy but Tylor remains indifferent. Because if it’s their time to lose, they’ll lose. This is proven despite the enemy was way better than them, they still lost. Instead Tylor tells Yamamoto that he should return to study the basics of strategy. The kind that all kindergarten kids know: Running away always wins! Fuji can’t believe Soyokaze survives again and Mifune is about to commit seppuku! Harumi is baffled Tylor didn’t want the enemy to die like that. It’s the same reason for why Harumi who is a Raalgon spy to still worry about him.

Episode 14
Azalyn believes with Donan’s death, the situation for Raalgon is now grave. She wants Tylor to be brought back alive. He sends his underling, Shia Has to do the job. The crew are repairing the very damaged Soyokaze. All thanks to a certain irresponsible captain. There is an order from Mifune for Tylor to collect another medal for another Raalgon victory and since Yuriko says they can’t move till repairs are finished, Tylor takes Harumi with him on the little ship, Galileo instead. I think most of the guys are jealous the captain took off with their beauty queen. Shia’s fleet is close to Soyokaze. The alert is sounded for all crew to return and cease radio transmission. They are like sitting ducks since they can’t fire any beams (still undergoing repairs) but luckily the gas clouds hide their location. Tylor realizes he and Harumi don’t have a nice dress for the medal ceremony and u-turn back to Soyokaze. As usual, Tylor hails noisily. After Yamamoto informs him about the situation, he tells him to run away. However Tylor orders the crew to shut off all electronics and run on silent mode. Although this means oxygen supply is cut, a big ship like Soyokaze can last for hours. But what about Galileo? Harumi is confused with Tylor’s kindness. This guy is willing to die so his crew could live? Had he run now, they would be spotted by Raalgon anyway. He believes everyone on Soyokaze is like his family and very important. Harumi is so impressed that she reveals herself as an android (that is why she is still holding up pretty well without air despite Tylor weakening greatly). However he still isn’t mad because to him Harumi is still Harumi, regardless she is a spy or android. So touched that she shed tears! She turns on the electronics and is going to call Raalgon for help and promises to protect him. But that won’t be necessary because Soyokaze has disobeyed captain’s order by turning back on their electronics too (they feel they can’t let him die just like that). Therefore Soyokaze pops up right in front of Raalgon’s ship and rams it till it is destroyed! Shortly, Galileo is retrieved. Tylor wakes up and is back to his idiotic self. The marines wonder if Tylor had done anything to Harumi but she tells them off he is a wonderful man and the fool they see him is not the real him. Shia then contacts Harumi to inform her next mission to capture Tylor. Harumi is worried if he would be executed but Shia tells her to do her job as android do not need emotions.

Episode 15
Tylor is shocked to hear from his crew that Harumi is transferring away. Of course a guy like him doesn’t know the rules. A nurse who has served at the frontlines for certain hours will be transferred to the rear and of course guaranteed promotion. Tylor looks for Harumi to confirm. After all, if she is a spy, how can she get more information if she is away, right? She assures she will always be by his side. She also vows to protect him if Raalgon ever captures him. A trap Harumi set prior causes 70% of the crew to fall sick. Tylor is still well because Harumi injected him with some antibodies under the guise of vitamin deficiency. Kitaguchi analyzes the virus and believes it is artificially created. Like as though a spy snuck onboard to intentionally release it here. When Harumi sees all the suffering patients, she feels scared and their pain. And she’s an android… Shia contacts Tylor. If he wants the vaccine then he must turn himself over to Raalgon. It goes without saying that he will take up her offer. Yamamoto and Yuriko despite their less than optimum condition, think they can steal the vaccine. But they are shocked to see Harumi handing over Tylor. They realize she is a Raalgon spy. However Shia can sense them and calls them out of their hiding. After Tylor confirms the vaccine, he is ready to give himself up with no qualms, shocking Shia. That is when Harumi takes Shia hostage. But Shia warns if she kills her, her men will destroy the vaccine. Harumi backs down. Shia wants to destroy this defective android but Tylor comes to her defence. He makes a plea bargain that since she doesn’t need her, why not give Harumi to Soyokaze? In exchange for that, Tylor wants Yamamoto to join him as Raalgon’s prisoner! Not so keen, eh? Shia agrees to give Harumi but since she isn’t interested in incompetent people, I guess Yamamoto is ‘lucky’ to stay. After Raalgon is gone, Harumi cries her heart out for Tylor. She realizes the human heart he has given her after spending time with him. Her confession is only drowned out by the ship’s engine. Tylor is brought to see Dom for the first time. Dom then congratulates Shia and wants to know her opinion of Tylor. She wouldn’t want him as her commander or subordinate. He might not be an ordinary man and looks like a fool but he is very dangerous and there is madness to his methods. Dom believes the UPSF higher ups also have the same thinking as her: Narrow minded.

Episode 16
Tylor is imprisoned on Raalgon’s flagship, Melva. Many can’t believe this kid is the one who destroyed Donan’s fleet. Dom warns not to be fooled by his appearance. Tylor sees a hole in his cell and escapes. This is of course set up by Dom so he can follow him. Azalyn sneaks out to have a midnight snack. Seeing there is only a chef around (Tylor), she tries to steal a bowl of snacks but slips up. Tylor then invites her to eat as she wants. Azalyn thinks he is new since he doesn’t recognize her and furthermore he wants her to show him around the ship. In a simulator room, Azalyn accidentally initiates projection of her homeland as she happily frolics around. Dom and his men are waiting ready to ambush. Azalyn then sees her former pet, Pecopeco and with Tylor’s help they try to catch it. You can be they had a lot of fun together. When Azalyn returns to her home, she sees her father before her. She becomes stunned as her father calls her to come over. The simulation is over and since Azalyn is spacing out, Tylor does funny faces to cheer him up. Dom enters the scene to return a pendant Azalyn has dropped. She surprises everyone by giving it to Tylor before taking her leave. Tylor is then thrown back to prison. When Wang presents Tylor before the empress and wants him executed to make an example of him, Azalyn is shocked to realize this chef she thought is actually Tylor. Feeling odd now? However she surprises everyone yet again when she declares she won’t kill him but make him her royal pet. He shall now be named Pacopaco. I guess this is better than being dead.

Episode 17
The Soyokaze crew is being quarantined despite being cleared of any virus. They realize they have been set up by UPSF to be locked up. Meanwhile Wang suggests to Azalyn to use all their force to attack UPSF using an old and famous general. However Tylor has his 2 cents worth of suggestions. He thinks the elderly should be treated kindly and furthermore he teases Wang he wants to be by Azalyn’s side to get special favours or manipulate her. Wang maintains his cool and denies all that. Meanwhile, the quarantined crew must be going crazy. Yamamoto blames himself for this shame and should have gone with Tylor. It is already bad enough some of the guys are fighting among themselves but it gets worse when Yamamoto is going to hang himself! Luckily the ladies are more level headed. Yuriko wants Harumi’s help to think of a way to get out. They pretend to kill each other or have a relapse for those dumb guards to open the door and quell the situation. Seriously, they think they can take on all of them? Musclemen and women armed with items to knock them out? As they sneak away, seems their hearts are in unison: They want to rescue Tylor. They make their way towards Soyokaze as more dumb guards fail to stop their advancement and even got tricked by their decoy. Moments before Soyokaze, they are surrounded. Cryburn accidentally shoots the pipes above. The cold dirty water makes them sneeze. But the dumb guards think the virus is relapsing so they become chicken and run away. WTF. With Soyokaze crew back onboard, Yamamoto for the first time gets to play captain for real. How does it feel, eh? Full speed ahead! But they better escape fast because orders to destroy Soyokaze have been given and tons of ships are hot on their tail.

Episode 18
Tylor must be having the good life as a pet. He eats until he is so full that his stomach hurts! Dom asks why Azalyn is so attached to Tylor. It is because with him, she feels secured. Soyokaze is in a pinch with UPSF hot on their trail. Oh, what will they do? Yamamoto looks so lost. When Yuriko hints what Tylor would have done if it was here, I guess Yamamoto took her words literally so he starts acting like Tylor and make rash decisions! This means escaping via asteroid belt (as long as you don’t hit one!) and then recklessly detecting and warping to the main Raalgon fleet to initiate their hasty rescue. Raalgon scrambles its forces but Soyokaze’s chaff confuses them. As the marines break in to rescue Tylor, Azalyn and Tylor are whisked away to a safe zone. Azalyn seeks an advice from Tylor. She has a friend who has fallen in love with a man at first sight (I think I know who she is referring to). However they cannot be together for various reasons. From age difference and different race, the big reason that hinders their love is because he is a dense guy! Tylor just proves it when he agrees! This causes Azalyn to be sad. Now she hates him! Wang has been planning Azalyn’s downfall with this attack. He already placed a bomb there and detonates it. I guess the bomb went off so slow that it gave out warning signs, enough time for Tylor to take Azalyn to safety. It blew up the entire ceiling. So the safe zone was just a level under where the marines and Dom’s guards were fighting?! Azalyn is devastated that Tylor protected her and is unconscious. Therefore she has decided she will go to the enemy to seek treatment for him. That is her order and no one shall stop them. As she also has something to say to Tylor, she promises to come back. Kitaguchi and Harumi do surgery on Tylor. Everyone is waiting anxiously. Even those Raalgon dudes are worried about their princess. Wow. These 2 people must be very important lives.

Episode 19
The surgery is over. Kitaguchi has found some sort of mind control implant in Tylor’s brain. Probably that is why Raalgon let him live instead of killing off the prisoner. Kitaguchi cautions that even if Tylor wakes up, his personality might be different. Because it is too risky for him to do brain surgery, there is a possibility he will never wake up. Yeah, so terrifying this outcome that Azalyn fainted! But Kitaguchi has some sort of brain synchronizer equipment. From what I understand, they need a person to dive in while synchronizing their brain waves to pull Tylor out. It is a very dangerous method and may result in death. Yuriko offers to do so seeing if they don’t make it, at least Yamato is still there to lead Soyokaze. The synchronizing begins and for some silly reason, Azalyn was quick enough to enter the pod and enter Tylor’s deepest conscious with Yuriko. Even mind boggling is how Kitaguchi can communicate with them inside via microphone and lead them to where the implant is when he can’t see a damn thing! The ladies touch nerve threads and see Tylor’s memories. Wow. So many different women in his life. Then weird face parts (eyes, ears, mouths, nose, etc) pop up and they talk about contradicting things but essentially are Tylor’s personalities as a whole. I think it got so confusing that when Azalyn screamed, they are transported into a deeper conscious. Azalyn is able to communicate with Tylor-like blobs and understand what they say. Yuriko couldn’t and Azalyn notes it is because she’s always mad at him! Azalyn’s brain waves synchronize with Tylor’s. She wants to stay in comatose mode with him. Yuriko then screams about the reason they’re doing this. The reason they save him. The reason why he is the only one worthy to be Soyokaze’s captain. I guess the impact was great enough that it blows the ladies out and back to consciousness. Not only that, the electronics short circuit and the implant disappears! Wow. I don’t understand it at all! However… Tylor is dead! OMG! Yuriko blames herself for not trying harder. But suddenly Tylor wakes up. Azalyn hugs him and she doesn’t care if she squeezes him to death. Tylor comments on Yuriko’s dry skin. It makes her want to slap him but eventually she can’t bring herself to. Just happy to have him back, eh?

Episode 20
Wang thought he is in total control but there are some who will only move under the empress’ orders. If Azalyn doesn’t get back soon, it is going to tear the empire apart. Meanwhile everyone on Soyokaze is having a big party for Tylor’s return. The marines give him their finest porn movie but warn him to handle it with care. He returns to his room to watch but Azalyn lies in wait to scare him. Suddenly the twins knock on his door and in his surprise accidentally presses the record button! Oh no! How to undo! Seems the twins are taking an awful long time to get what they want to say, Tylor is agonizing over the porn video instead of hearing about the twins who want to become his lover. They misinterpret he is not interested in them and leave in tears. Now it’s Kim’s turn. She gets straight in wanting to ask him out and build their future together. But since his mind is so preoccupied in trying to stop the recording, this makes Kim mad and she leaves in a huff, never ever to talk to him seriously again! And Tylor doesn’t even know what he said to her. Next is Harumi. She seems to be desperate in wanting to love him as a human! However Tylor says there is no time for this and she thinks it is because they’re at war. Actually, it’s the recorder… When Tylor grabs the remote, he sees Azalyn hiding (she must have got lots of hints on planning her confession based on these women). But Yuriko knocks on his door. Now it’s her turn? Actually she wants to discuss about Azalyn. Her earlier talk with Yamamoto, he believed in handing her over to UPSF, their forces will win and their name will etched in history. But Yuriko although felt that is technically the right thing as a soldier to do, she felt Azalyn was just a girl and it is wrong to use her as a tool of war. So what does Tylor think? He throws back the question. What will she do? She doesn’t know. He too! But whatever it is, he isn’t planning to hand Azalyn over. And no, he has no other plan. Tylor now smashes his VCR and it explodes! Azalyn thinks this is the right time to confess but Tylor is asleep. She lies closely next to him. Meanwhile the UPSF higher ups discuss about rendezvousing with Soyokaze as they have the trump card to defeat Raalgon. Whatever wrongdoings by Soyokaze have been forgiven and this doesn’t sit well with Mifune.

Episode 21
Some of the Raalgon guys who are disgusted with Wang’s ambition feel the only way left is to rescue Azalyn. They hope Dom can pull off the risky job. Yamamoto goes to wake up Azalyn but she is not in her room. Fearing the worst, the crew goes to Tylor’s room and to their shock sees them sleeping together! Tylor isn’t even fazed about it. Yuriko and Yamamoto reprimand him about this despite Tylor saying Azalyn was afraid of sleeping alone. Because of this, they want to hand Azalyn over. Azalyn heard this and believes they are trying to separate them. So she lies she cannot leave because… She is pregnant with Tylor’s child! Everyone is in super shock. Except for Tylor. He’s just cool about it. These things sometimes happen… Yeah… But can she get pregnant after a one night stand? For a human it’s not possible but she is Raalgon… Tylor is so carefree that he even has time to think up names for their child! Unlike Yamamoto who is such a worrywart thinking about the punishment UPSF will hand down if this gets discovered. Suddenly the ship is under attack. Actually the marines are fighting among themselves as they were betting if Tylor’s child is boy or girl! That is when Yuriko talks to Azalyn to be careful with the words she says because it will affect lots of people. However Azalyn thinks she is being blamed and scoffs her off. Real Raalgon fleets appear before them. Dom wants everyone to hold their fire and just wait and see. Soyokaze cannot fire back because that scuffle took out all the weapons and must be repaired. Yuriko furthers lecture Azalyn about being a role model as she commands lots of people behind her. Unless she understands what she says, she will send many people to the frontline and die a meaningless death. Azalyn isn’t amused with her lecture but she takes time to walk around Soyokaze and ordering those who want to fight to stop. Then she returns to the bridge to tell everyone that carrying Tylor’s child was just a joke. She decides to return to Raalgon as she has duties that she must carry out. Just like that? If she wants to go back, so be it, says Tylor. Azalyn has a little send off and she hopes the crew will take care of her pet. Dom is glad Azalyn has returned. Shia wants to initiate fire on Soyokaze but Dom stops her. Their mission is just to retrieve the empress. Wang is ‘happy’ to see Azalyn again. But that turn to horror when she tells him she is pregnant. Emergency meeting with the councils? Of course Dom and a few others know she is just joking.

Episode 22
Fuji is happy to see Tylor. Once he hands over Azalyn, UPSF can use her as their trump card and destroy Raalgon. So where is she? She has gone home. What? But why? Because she says so. Because of that, the council has decided Tylor to be strip of his rank and captaincy of Soyokaze. In addition to disrupting the plans of UPSF, he will be executed via firing squad at noon. All Tylor can say is how unfair it is. So when Fuji tells this to Soyokaze’s crew and rejoice that their dumb captain has been removed, nobody looks happy. Yamamoto might be for a while seeing he is now the captain. But then he realizes this is at Tylor’s expense. Meanwhile Wang tries to rally support for war against UPSF since Azalyn is back. However Dom and his small group are against this as they are still unsure of the enemy and themselves. This will only spill unnecessary blood. Wang scoffs off this small group and since the majority calls for UPSF’s blood, Azalyn is in a pinch. She later talks to Dom and wants him to do something before the war starts. It will be no turning back then. He tells her to say things from the heart and then let fate take its course. That cleared her mind very much. She summons Wang to recall their forces but he warns that somebody may be using this to exploit the confusion to usurp her throne. She thinks it is him but he denies and is only speaking hypothetically. He shows her videos of the force getting ready to fight and if she recalls them now, what will they think of her? Harumi has hacked and discovered Tylor’s position. But she isn’t the only one who is going to save him. Everyone is. Only Yamamoto stays back because he believes in the superiors’ orders. But eventually he too succumbs to his conscience and joins them. When Fuji and Mifune learn Soyokaze’s crew is coming, they want Tylor executed now. With a heavy heart, Azalyn orders her troops to go for an all out attack now. Right before Tylor is executed, the red alert sounds. Raalgon has gone on the offensive and UPSF’s defences are falling like flies. Fuji and Mifune blame each other to take responsibility. Tylor now speaks up. Just leave the entire force to his command and he’ll guarantee they won’t lose. What do you say? After much deliberation, they decide to put off the execution and give him a chance to clear his name. After all, he is the only who was captured by Raalgon and returned alive. The crew is happy Tylor is back but save your happiness for later because Raalgon is advancing real quick.

Episode 23
Fuji advertises Tylor as the one who will bring victory to UPSF. Fuji and Mifune will also be onboard Soyokaze for this battle. But instead of going for a strategic meeting, he goes around Soyokaze waving to all his crew. This earns the wrath of Fuji and Mifune but he doesn’t care because he is the one in control, right? When Azalyn learns Tylor is leading the UPSF side, she starts worrying. Wang believes he has the last laugh because if Raalgon wins, it will cement his place as a warlord but if they lose, Azalyn will take the blame. Dom suddenly laughs out loud. Later he wants Azalyn to give him command the Raalgon fleet. She fears he wants to kill Tylor and he admits he will need to if it is for the empress and Raalgon’s sake. Thus Azalyn makes Dom the leader for this battle, much to Wang’s dismay. Both sides enter the battlefield and it seems both have the same idea of giving orders just to advance instead of begin fire. The fleets are close enough that they’re starting to give out static electricity! Still won’t fire? Just advance! Playing chicken? Playing wait and see? The tension is getting to both sides. And WTF is this Lone Ranger BGM???!!! Tylor is looking so calm and smiling that I suppose the pressure got to Mifune. He wants to kill him but is restrained by Yamamoto who believes Tylor must not be disturbed. Then Dom also starts panicking. He cannot understand what Tylor is thinking. When both flagships pass by each other, Tylor then salutes to Dom. He also salutes back. Both sides safely pass each other without a shot being fired. The battle is over. Tylor then gets a personal message from Hanner who was watching. He praises both sides for emerging victorious. Dom is also praised by Azalyn that both sides achieved victory. She was glad to have chosen him. When Dom explains about his intention to kill Tylor, he added that he trusts Tylor and if he is that great man he thinks he is, then the war will end without a single bloodshed. And now he can sure be was right about it.

Episode 24
When Soyokaze returns to base, the crew sees the newly completed hi-tech ship, Aso. They wish they could be on that one so Tylor thinks of requesting for them. The Soyokaze crew members are rewarded for their heroic efforts and Fuji even giving Tylor command of Aso. There is a party tonight in honour of Tylor but he wants to go visit Hanner. Unfortunately they receive bad news that he recently passed away. Tylor’s sad. The twins are sadder. During the party while Fuji sings praises of Tylor, he seems to be in a lot of depression. Drinking the entire champagne bottle, eating food with his hands, wiping them on his clean shirt, climbing up a flag pole and dancing. And he still can give his crew members about being careful before life creeps up on you? News of Hanner’s death also reaches Raalgon. Azalyn wants to pay tribute so she sneaks away with Dom. A ceremony is held for people to pay their last respects to Hanner. Everyone turned up except Tylor. Even Azalyn and Dom are here courtesy of Harumi making arrangements for them. So when the gang believe Tylor won’t show his face, here this guy comes in humming some sad song with a freaking huge flower bouquet in hand. I wonder how he made his way here seeing the flower clearly obstructed every point of vision. After placing the flower, he shouts aloud a happy thank you. Nobody understood what Tylor was thinking but Dom can see the relief in his smile and it feels worrying. Later Tylor calls Yuriko to personally tell her something. I can guess what it is. And I believe it is not a confession because of the way Tylor casually walks away and leaving Yuriko freaking shocked. And no, I don’t think it is “I’m the father of your unborn child”! F*ck, no way!!!!!!!

Episode 25
Soyokaze’s crew takes a first look at Aso and they can’t wait to get on board. Except Yuriko who is spacing out for quite a while. She is then summoned by Fuji and Mifune. They noticed her exceptional skill in the intelligence and offer her a promoted position in the intelligence department. Mifune tries to persuade her that it is better than risking her life in the frontlines. While the Soyokaze crew party, Yuriko continues to ponder about her future. She calls Tylor and when she finally gets through, she meets up with him. She tells him about her dilemma of serving as deputy intelligence, she can’t serve onboard Aso. Perhaps she should just resign like him. Tylor replies she just answered her own question. Eventually Yuriko takes up the intelligence job. The alert sounds when an unidentified ship appears on radar. Yuriko deduces it is Azalyn’s mini ship leaving the area and so as not to blow this out of proportion, she remembers an abandoned satellite in the area. She calls Harumi about this and after making some arrangements, the base picks up the unidentified ship as the satellite and everyone backs down. Azalyn got away safely and sends a personal thanks message to Yuriko and her crew. This job has Yuriko remember those old feelings of what it is like in the military. She is surprised that her juniors are surprised of her politeness, something that is unheard of in the military. To her it is normal all because of Tylor. He never did things by the book and made the impossible into the simple just by doing what he felt it was right. This is when Yuriko has decided. I guess she is not going for this job after all. The Soyokaze guys can’t stand Tylor not being with them so they’re going to drag him out from his house. But when they get there, he is not in. His place is all neat and his uniform is still there. What is the meaning of this? Yuriko then reveals Tylor told her he is leaving the military. They want answers. That, you’ll have to ask him. How? Find him! Everything else will fall into place! Now you’re thinking like him, eh? It’s a big planet so it is going to take a while. Tylor, where are you?! Yuriko is before Soyokaze. She really wants to fly with him again and still can’t do anything by herself. She hears familiar footsteps approaching. She turns back and salutes Tylor.

Episode 26
The duo are on board Soyokaze for what probably would be its last time since it will be scrapped. Hey. I didn’t know there was such romance between Tylor and Yuriko? At least, the way she is lying on his chest as though she’s his mistress or something! Tylor doesn’t want to go back to the military and command Aso. Learning the rest are looking for him because they still haven’t found what they are looking for, he believes they shouldn’t waste their time on that. You have only one life. So make the best of it and do what you want. I suppose it’s time for goodbye so Yuriko gets up and back to where the rest of the crew are waiting and tell them what Tylor said to them. Of course they are confused and want to beat him to his senses and drag him back but Yuriko tells them that perhaps Tylor just wanted to be alone. Fuji and Mifune promote and make Yamamoto the captain of Aso. He has the liberty to choose his crew and can even pick his old Soyokaze mates with the exception of Yuriko. So Yamato recalls his former mates who are scattered across the land doing what they want to be reenlisted again. They gladly take up the offer. On the day of Aso’s launching ceremony (WTF?! Light Cavalry Overture BGM?!), Yamamoto is grinning like a big happy idiot. The biggest day of his life, right? When all systems are checked and ready to go, Yamamoto then passes to Tylor to give the next order! Tylor is back?! Suddenly Soyokaze wreaks havoc and pops up through the UPSF base, all shiny and clean! When Azalyn learns Tylor is back, she orders Dom to go get him because she wants to see him. Dom is not amused and delegates this job to Shia. Yuriko also quits her intelligence post for good and her colleague salutes her. Though, she’d rather give him a handshake. That guy envies if he could just meet that irresponsible captain once. Tylor, now sporting a cool pair of shades, gives the order to blast off and retrieve Yuriko while they party to their glass of champagne in the bridge.

Trust Me! Everything Will Work Out Just Fine…
They don’t make shows these days like they used to in the old days… Yes, people. It is I once again, singing heaps of praises for this retro series. Watching Tylor and his crew going from one misadventure to another or just watching their silly antics just brightens up my day. I don’t know. They make being irresponsible so fun and funny. It is just sad that it is clearly not acceptable in the real world. I guess that is why when this anime was adapted, it was such fun and hilarious all the way. It made me wished it had more episodes to go with.

To my glee as I found out, there were 10 OVA episodes after the TV series. At first I was interested in wanting to watch them since the TV series is quite enjoyable. However the reason why I didn’t get to watch of them is because of my enthusiasm in wanting to find out more about what the OVAs are about (I don’t know, shouldn’t it be somewhat the same?), it led me to find a couple of reviews on the internet, rating the OVAs as disappointment. Seeing that this is an old retro show, there aren’t as many reviews as you could find out there. Sure, the reviews did give some good points but the cons outweigh them so much so that I began to lose interest. It was a far cry compared to the TV series. Yeah, I’m taking their word for it. Better not be disappointed and let the OVA ruin my overall sentiments. Let the TV series crystallize as the best of it. Plus, I couldn’t really find any OVA episodes to stream over the internet. And even if there were, it is all dubbed. Yeah. That sealed it.

Some of the episodes feel like fillers and some of the stories feel silly or unexplained like that brain dive into Tylor’s mind to wake him up but left unexplained is how Tylor came back up alive like it was nothing or the time Tylor was acting so proper when he first communicated with Dom (I thought he was under some spell but it wasn’t the case). But if you’re trying to think too hard about the details, remember, this is an old show so such logic is forgivable. Really? Yeah. I mean, look at the kind of ‘futuristic technology’ they had in this anime. At the time of this anime’s airing (1993), do you not realize the ‘futuristic phones’ in the series? I guess iPhone is not heard off yet so you have land lines and wireless telephones as your ultimate communication then. Yeah, very advanced indeed…

I suppose all that melodrama about Tylor quitting the military for good was just his way of trolling and fooling around? Because it would suck big time for the Soyokaze crew not to be together at the end after being through thick and thin for every other episode. My theory of Tylor making a u-turn decision to come back is not because to warrant a happy ending for the series but rather the fact that he wouldn’t want to be the high commander of any other ship in UPSF other than Soyokaze. It makes sense, right? The ship that brought them lots of (mis)adventures and memories. Just because it is old, why the heck scrap it when all you need is a little maintenance and cleaning up to run like normal. Perhaps all that melodrama from Tylor was him being worried about Soyokaze the ship? Also, the other reason why Tylor doesn’t want Aso not because it is new or unfamiliar, it is because it is a ship under the military’s direct rule. Soyokaze is for outcasts and no hopers. In this sense, they won’t be expected to follow strict orders or live up to expectations, right? This is the reason why Soyokaze surpasses expectations. Because nobody expected to do it. The best part is, everybody is back because they wanted to on their own will.

To say Tylor is a great man might be inaccurate. But as far as this series is concerned, despite his slacking and irresponsible ways, he is the greatest of all. Do you not agree? My theory is that the only difference why such a slacker and lazy dude like him succeeds in everything whereas others who might have the same attitude will fail is probably because of luck. Yes, this man has an extreme amount of luck. If you think about it, for every irresponsible decision and act he made, surely it would have caused grave results for others. For him to come out tops and unscathed means he has a very good streak of luck, no? That is why he can continue with his seemingly irresponsible ways. Because as long this so called luck is on his side, he will never fail!

Of course being irresponsible might just be a term used from the point of view of others because if you are holding such an important position, there is some sort of expectations to live up to. But Tylor rips through all that strict military protocol and procedures. He does what he wants and feels like. Can this be called true freedom and being true to one’s heart? Can this be called thinking out of the box? Yeah, luck, right? Many decisions he made might seem selfish and going against what is supposed to be but hey, being a coward has them survive this long. Heck, sometimes he doesn’t even have a plan! So do you not think it is all because of his extreme good luck? But Tylor is not totally irresponsible as a few of his ideals are quite commendable. Especially about caring and looking out for his crew even if he doesn’t seem very much like it.

The only reason why Tylor is not as hated as much in the end as compared in the beginning (both the characters and us viewers would like to strangle this guy for being irresponsible, right?) is because he gets things done. He gets the results. Even if that is not his intention in the first place but fate has it that it turns out for the better. Now, imagine if he fails. Do you not think his crew and higher ups will not hate him? Therefore it is no surprise that in time to come, the crew of Soyokaze who initially do not think much of him eventually fall under his charm. He is after all their beloved captain. Everyone comes to respect and gets used to this captain and his irresponsible ways seem like the norm that they too start thinking like him! I see his luck too spreads. Can you imagine the entire military taking after this approach? I know. One Tylor is already bad enough. Everybody a Tylor? No way, man!

The rest of the unique crew members of Soyokaze are amusing enough although some don’t really catch your attention. Soyokaze is after all a ragtag group of people whom the higher ups want to get rid of, right? Yamamoto and Yuriko are by-the-book people and whose early roles in the series were to remind and rebuke Tylor of his irresponsibility. Especially Yamamoto whom I think he isn’t such a great guy as it was painted in the beginning. He is like a joker and being useless with worrying as his best asset. This guy thinks he can be a better captain but when the real situation calls for it, he just couldn’t do it. Tylor seemingly makes a better captain even if he doesn’t have a solid plan. I thought the final episode of Tylor and Yuriko’s seemingly romance was just to troll us. After all, Yuriko who has been spending almost every episode reprimanding and scolding Tylor even finally finds herself unable to be away from his crew. See what irresponsibility can do? Strict people by the book even lose out. Uh huh. Ironic to say, Tylor’s irresponsible ways teaches his crew real lessons that they won’t find in any military training or course.

I wished the other characters had more fleshing out but seeing this is an old anime, I’ll forgive this. Like Kojiro and his fear of women (which I don’t see him having a very extreme phobia of it all the while) but with the twins as his disciple (they seem to be taking a liking for him lately and follow him wherever he goes), he looks like he is handling it pretty well. The twins are just there to look cute and Harumi after being dumped as a Raalgon spy, is she relegated to being just a pretty face on Soyokaze? Not much about communications officer Kim or that handsome helmsman, Katori either (so his blonde hair is just a wig?). Then there is Kitaguchi who works his magic best when he is drunk and never seen without an alcohol in hand. Or the marines whose crude ways means they are quick to jump into any kind of fight even among themselves. I find it funny that the exo-skeleton suits the marines pilot. I don’t know, personally doesn’t it look a little cramp in there? And why does Cryburn have a different colour suit than the rest? And why pink???!!!

Can Fuji and Mifune be the ‘antagonist’ of the series? Because they always scheme to rid of Soyokaze but their plans always backfire thanks to Tylor’s irresponsibility and lady luck. While Fuji is more receptive of them (probably because of a haunted past that would connect him to the ship), Mifune seems like he needs to undergo anger management to keep his sanity. Maybe that is why he always carries a sword. To commit seppuku once he can’t take the pressure anymore? I think at the rate Tylor continues to piss him off, he is going to get a very high blood pressure. And he is already this old…

I guess the true villains would be the scheming people and higher ups in UPSF and Raalgon, the reason why the war is prolonged. Because Azalyn and Dom are all for peace but Wang wants to cement himself as a warlord in his empire. Young and naïve to the throne, Azalyn would certainly have fallen into Wang’s web had not Dom been her great advisor. Even more so, the turning point of spending time with Tylor. See, this guy is just so amazing that the princess of an empire falls for him. Now I wonder if there would be eternal peace if there is some sort of marriage between them. Not too sure if it would amount to a political marriage but assuming Tylor returns Azalyn’s feelings, there would be a big chance that peace would rein over the universe. No more fighting. No more UPSF, right? I suppose that is a big no for warmongers.

As the marines are comprised of ragtag tough looking members, I noticed that some of them are designed after several characters of popular culture. I am sure everybody noticed that there is a Jason from Friday The 13th here because of that very familiar hockey mask. Heck, this one even shares the same name and wields a chainsaw! So this is where he went once the franchise ended? Then there is one guy who looks like that Snake guy from Metal Gear Solid and another Snake looking character, the one that Kurt Russell starred as. I have a feeling Andressen is taken after Dolph Lundgren. As for the rest of the marines, they look like they came out from a Mad Max setting with all their punk-like looks.

One thing that continued to bug and then amused me for the entire series… I was wondering how familiar the word ‘kanchou’ was. No, it was not the fact that I watched lots of military or naval animes or the fact that I knew kanchou meant captain a long time ago. I started thinking why did this word irk and bother me so much. Like something behind this word meant something else. And then it hit me… Kanchou!!! I remember that Japanese prank whereby you put together your index fingers and jab into one’s butt!!! What is it called? You guessed it. Kanchou! OMG! Once I realized this fact, I cannot stop laughing each time the crew keeps calling Tylor his position! OMG! And they have a penchant to call him many times. Guaranteed in every episode you’ll hear Tylor’s crew calling him so. OMG! Every time this is said, my mind immediately starts imagining an alternative prank scene whereby a naughty kanchou was played out! KANCHOU!!!!! OMG! I still can’t stop laughing! KANCHOU!!!!!!!!!!!! Especially Yamamoto who has a penchant for being a serial kanchou caller-cum-screamer.

I like the opening theme of the series. It is quite a good and catchy rock n roll style track. Sung by Mari Sasaki, hearing Just Think of Tomorrow sometimes want to make me get up from my seat and do a little rock n roll dance. The one thing that I don’t like is the fact that to show the irresponsible theme of the series, the song ends by being cut abruptly as Tylor tells his crew to launch. Well, the good news is that the original full length version doesn’t end this way too. At least it just fades. Mari Sasaki also sings the ending theme, Downtown Dance. Not a bad piece either. Yet again, I feel that to show the irresponsible theme of the series, this slow rock is peppered with laughter from time to time while Tylor himself is nonchalantly swaying himself in daydreaming land while holding a glass of champagne in hand. Personally, I feel that it just spoils the song. Like as though somebody mixed the wrong tape of comedy applause in it. Again, I went to hear the original full length version. No such irresponsible laughter.

Overall, this is quite a fun and enjoyable retro anime. A success story despite following the tried and tested formula of rebellious crew to trusting comrades and love for their leader and overcoming all obstacles. If there is one thing I learnt, if there is ever for me to be drafted into the military for some reason or caught in some long haul transportation, I want Tylor or a guy who looks like him to be on board! Yes, people. After watching this series, I know I will feel pretty safe just to be around this dude. To end this blog, I thought I felt the need to make puns and jokes about responsibility (that overused superhero quote… You know what I mean…) and irresponsibility but I don’t want to be irresponsible and making insensitive comments that would make a mountain out of a molehill and have everyone in the world after my head. That kind of responsibility I don’t want to take… Better for somebody else take the responsibility and we just point fingers, eh? And no, not point fingers the way as in KANCHOU!!!

Houkago No Pleiades

October 16, 2015

They really did it. After debuting as an ONA a few years ago, Houkago No Pleiades has now received a proper adaptation as a TV series albeit it is only 1 cour. Just like the vast space that is expanding at a fast rate (theoretically, that is), the TV series has also expanded from just approximately 4 episodes of 6 minutes each into a dozen episodes that lasts your usual 24 minutes of screen time each. I might not remember much since the last time I watched the ONA but reading back from my blog, there are some familiar elements that they have taken and expended the storyline. And yeah, I’m thinking of a possible reason why it took them so long to give this series a proper anime adaptation is because it is time to promote the Subaru cars that this anime was intended to in the first place. Car sales haven’t been good, eh? Oh, don’t expect to see Subaru car models around. It will be sending wrong and bad messages if you see underage girls driving in Subaru models. Really.

Episode 1
From the sounds of it, Subaru loves watching the stars. On her way to the observatory, before her is a sick boy, Minato. They talk about things like how Subaru wants to see a meteor shower tonight and wants to invite him but feels awkward an embarrassed. Her wish to see the meteor shower is dashed when it is raining. She didn’t see a cute blob next to her so she steps on it, causing it to bounce and somehow ‘steal’ her compass. She follows it to a classroom and when she opens the door, she is surprised to see 4 girls in white magical outfit. One of them is her friend, Aoi. They are also surprised that Subaru can see them and despite they think Subaru is the chosen saviour, Aoi dismisses this because it is common knowledge that Subaru is a slow retard. But this blob which is their president and from the Pleiades star believes she is the one (you can’t hear a thing this blob mumbles and is translated by Nanako). He gives Nanako a drive shaft (a sophisticated broom stick that sounds like a motorcar) and before she knows it, she is already flying with it in the sky and transforming into her own magical girl outfit. A large star (sea urchin?) is falling from the sky. The girls claim this is fragments of the engine they need to collect. I don’t know what Subaru and Aoi are arguing about leaving each other behind by transferring to another school but they failed their mission and bounced right back into the classroom. Turns out the girls have never successfully captured an engine before so how can they explain perfectly to Subaru what they should do? But with Subaru believing that everybody can do it, I guess it’s time to try again. As explained, this is part of the president’s engine when he crashed land on Earth 7 years ago. They’re trying to gather them so he can go back to his planet. They are going to do some magic barrier to stop it. Everything is working fine till a dark star zooms pasts them, breaking their formation. Although Subaru manages to get the shrunken fragment, the dark star continues to target her until it directly collides into her. Turns out to be a guy who blames Subaru to be clumsy. Then he flies away to the dark side of the moon. But everyone is happy that Subaru has successfully captured their first fragment and believe she is their saviour. A big bonus for Subaru is that now she is able to see the meteor shower. Well, they’re floating above the clouds so why not?

Episode 2
Is it a coincidence that Subaru and Aoi seem to be heading to school and doing things at the same spot? Even their seat in class. Yup, nobody remembers if this spot belongs to Subaru or Aoi. Why so complicated? Itsuki just brings in an extra table. There, settled. Later President explains about something to do with the intertwining destinies from his accident 7 years ago that caused all 5 of them to gather at the same spot. All of them are in the same world. To cut that complicated story short, if they collect all the fragments, their threads of fate will return to normal. The girls teach Subaru how to use her drive shaft but demonstrating won’t be enough. Aoi becomes her guide but I think Subaru needs a break since she’s getting a little sick for flying too fast. She remembers she needs to return the observatory key and again she sees Minato there. He returns to her the broken telescope filter she forgot to take the last time but she gives it to him since it is of no use to her. They talk about people changing so Minato suggests they should become friends. Subaru returns to Aoi and wants to continue her flying lessons while reconciling their friendship. Hikaru, Itsuki and Nanako spot a variable star in the distance and think they are fine collecting it on their own. Till that dark guy intervenes and it causes the star to split into 2 although the centrifugal force is making them spin. Subaru and Aoi now enter the fray and from what their friends explain, they need stop them both at the exact same time. Time to put what you learn to use. Remembering an old childhood song, they start singing it and their perfect synchronization has them capture the stars. But now the stars are being drawn to each other. Using speed and altitude, they manage to stop them from colliding. Then the dark guy snatches Subaru’s portion and claims these fragments are his. I guess he is cocky to believe that he can outwit and take the rest from them any time. Yeah, that’s enough for today. He’ll be back next time. Subaru blames herself for being a retard but Aoi consoles her and promises to protect her next time. More good news because while the duo was training, Hikaru and the rest have applied for a permanent clubroom. Under the guise of a cosplay research club with President as their, erm, president, they’ve got a place to call home. Hey, if nobody can see President or the girls (when they are transformed), how did they nominate President as the president? How the heck did it get approved anyway? President spits out a jar so they can put all the fragments they collected in it.

Episode 3
The dark guy just beat the girls to collect a fragment all by himself. All thanks to Subaru being nervous. So I guess the girls are in no mood for celebration back at their clubroom. Then there is this lecture by President about possible potentials that I don’t think rocket scientists can understand. Just STFU. Even more gloom for Subaru when she sees her dad assembling parts of some machine together. Although he mentions the power they produce if properly assembled, Subaru can’t help cry after thinking it is still defective no matter how many parts you put together. As Subaru is in her cleaning duties, she stumbles into the observatory and talks with Minato again. Relating the problem she is facing, he tells her he is free to decide and hesitate. She might be afraid but is she sure she is the only one afraid? The girls detect another fragment over the ocean. They are perfect in obtaining it but the dark guy usurps them and steals their hard work. Hikaru fights back and this causes the fragment to go missing. To take out their frustrations, Hikaru suggests going swimming and invites him. You think he wants to join them? Well, it seems Nanako detects the fragment at the bottom of the ocean so put on your swimsuits and dive in. I wonder how they can breathe… They need to be calm and not startle while collecting it. To their surprise, the dark guy joins them! But it wasn’t him that startled the fragment. A passing eel tickles their feet. It then becomes a giant waterspout that reaches far above the stratosphere. Itsuki finds she cannot go higher than a certain altitude. Adios, dark guy is going ahead. With tips from Subaru, Itsuki uses the wind and transforms her drive shaft into some vacuum cleaner and links the others to tag along. It is a race to grab the fragment and with teamwork, the girls win. With the waterspout dissipating, the girls are now floating in space. I wonder how they can breathe… Dark guy isn’t giving up yet but I don’t know what Subaru is ranting about in this heartfelt speech of hers. She wants to be with her friends, blah, blah, blah. I guess she was nervous that she accidentally bumps her butt in his face! He has had it and lets them off for today. So the girls admire space as they float down. I don’t give a damn what the blob is trying to say. When Aoi notes they are like Cinderellas gathered by a glass slipper, the rest tease her for having a cute side. Well, they admit they aren’t any different from her and feel happy. Lastly, Subaru remembers her father comforting her about people aren’t like manufactured parts and don’t have to settle by taking only 1 shape.

Episode 4
The girls are amazed that Hikaru can precisely identify the piano notes just by hearing them. President then detects a fragment orbiting the moon so the girls undergo training to fly at higher mach and also some g-force training. Wow. Magical girls doing it like a piece of cake. It is decided to retrieve the fragment on Thursday but Subaru notes there is a concert by Hikaru’s accomplished parents she wants to attend. However Hikaru points out on that day there is no concert. Seems they have discovered some planet and want to use that day to send piano music towards it. If they only knew there was an alien already here… Subaru goes back to class but stumbles into the observatory. She finds it hard to explain things to him but he believes she has never lied to him. That is why when she says she is going to the moon, he believes her. So the girls make their flight there. Of course, the dark guy too. During the fight, their magic barrier dissipates and Hikaru finds herself in a dream. She knows she is in one because the moon is made of cheese! And there is Subaru too being a retard. Hikaru talks about her little problem that she is a nobody. When a certain song is heard emitting from Earth, Hikaru becomes scared and covers her ears. She is returned to reality and Subaru recognizes this song as the one composed by Hikaru’s parents. Could they know she is at the moon? Well, she did left a note she was going there. Hikaru further reveals that when she was young, one day she was sick and she heard the sound of the piano from her father’s room. The piano tone sounded like it was troubled over something. Hikaru was surprised she could see a note and added it, knowing it was the note daddy was searching for. But later she started feeling scared that the note would cause him trouble. She couldn’t bear to hear it and has never heard the full song. Her parents achieved their dreams on their own and she didn’t want to interfere. Subaru can tell her father is playing like this to let her hear it and knows she was interfering then. As they go trap the fragment, somehow dark guy is drawn-cum-forced into helping them. Once the fragment is captured, he is blown away. Like no more need for him, eh? Hikaru’s parents are happy the song reached their daughter and the moon. They believe she is there because she has never lied to them. The girls are surprised to realize they are back in the clubroom. They are shocked to see tears from Hikaru although she tries to change the subject. Tears of joy?

Episode 5
Aoi is furious. Thank to the blob fooling around in class, a minor accident led to Aoi being casted to play the prince role in a theatre festival. Of course without a doubt the princess will be played by Itsuki by a near unanimous vote. The play they will be putting up is The Lady In The Tower whereby a princess of a certain nation has the power to materialize whatever she says. It was good at first till she summoned a lion and was locked away in the tower. A long time passed and a prince journeyed to come make her wish come true but she is gone. He heard her last words that she wanted to disappear. Aoi gets motivated to design a beautiful gown for a princess as they start their work in making the dress. As Subaru returns the log book, again she wanders into the observatory and sees Minato before her. She wonders if this is a dream because he is always there. He notes that if he is a resident of her dream, all she needs to do is wake up. But where would he end up then? Later Subaru talks to Itsuki as the latter reveals she has no wish or dream because it would only cause trouble for someone else. Long ago when she was more of a tomboy than anything, she fell off a tree and her parents blamed her brother for not stopping her. She thought this scar on her forehead was a punishment and warning (a reason why she kept the bangs). President finds another fragment and this time whisks them away to Jupiter. I love it how the girls describe the space bodies like as though they’re some desserts. Chocolate chip cookies, lemon sherbet, milk tea… Mmm… Makes me hungry… The fragment is hard to spot since it is in the midst of Saturn’s rocky rings. But looks like the dark guy is here too because somehow they pulled him over when they went into overdrive. So another competition to get the fragment begins. Itsuki has an idea to search for the fragment faster. I don’t know. Putting holes in the rings? When it is spotted, Itsuki and the dark dude make a final dash and I suppose Itsuki has a longer reach than him. Yeah, he is calling it foul for her playing rough! Nobody said anything about the rules, did they? Back on Earth, our girls are next in their play. The shocking part isn’t the ending rewritten that the prince saved the princess but rather Itsuki who always wanted to play the prince part is now casted as one. Aoi plays the princess and she doesn’t look comfortable in this girly role. Making Itsuki happier when she spots her brother watching.

Episode 6
A band of light is visible in the sky. President explains that is actually his spaceship! They are running out of time and need as many engine fragments as possible. Then there is this mumbo-jumbo of his species trying to find a decent place to live but space was too far. Their technology allowed them to select their desired outcome and so they chose nothing (because by living means you have to make choices). Now they exist outside the laws of space as they are frozen in time on an endless journey. WTF?! Who writes this crap?! Anyway, the accident 7 years ago caused their ship to lose the ability to escape the laws of space and the ship is at risk of falling apart without the power source. The engine has split into 13 fragments. The tally right now is that they have 5 and the dark guy 3. Despite not having all the parts, President will do all he can to create the engine with the available fragments. It’ll be bad if the ship materializes. It can crash into the entire planet! When Subaru is left behind in the clubroom, she sees an earring belonging to Minato and a familiar fragment. Isn’t this the one that the dark guy has? She touches it and the trap activates. The entire school is now barricaded in a magic barrier. Seems he used his own fragment as bait. The other girls cannot enter and need Subaru to find a way to open from within. Dark guy is already inside searching for the fragments. But when Subaru bumps into him, she runs away as fast as her drive shaft could and ends up in the observatory. Because she is in panic, her scatterbrain words have Minato confused. He doesn’t understand about a thing about the fragments. When she shows his earring, he starts feeling pain. He points her the direction to get out and claims he will be fine. When dark guy comes into the observatory, he sees the earring but the moment he picks it up, it turns into poison gas. Subaru manages to open the observatory door and let her friends in. President wants the girls to keep him busy while he finishes the engine. However he has the entire school building floating in space. He shoots his magic to destroy it and wants the girls to hand over the fragment. They won’t but he easily takes them with his telekinesis power. President wants the girls to use their drive shafts as spark plugs to start the engine. However it is not powerful enough. Dark guy doesn’t care what happens to everything so long he has got the fragments. Subaru’s earnest feelings of whatsoever has the space light glow so bright that it blows him away and seal the ship. He is now in the observatory and being confronted by Minato who says he has to go now. President is happy that they got back their fragments including those that were in dark guy’s hands. But they have to continue finding the remaining fragments since this measure is only temporary. When Subaru returns to the observatory, it is dark and wilted. She takes the flower Minato left behind and hopes they’ll meet again.

Episode 7
Subaru is planting the flower and her friends wonder if she has joined the gardening club. But she looks so gloomy… Aoi goes to talk to her as Subaru explains about this Minato person she met but nothing more that she knows of. However this left Aoi upset because as her friend she never told her anything. Subaru stumbles upon Minato doing his gardening. Seems he is cold and indifferent to her. She tries to refresh his memories about the greenhouse-cum-observatory but he says the school has no such place. President detects another fragment but this one is acting like a comet and is going to crash into the sun. Well, you know what to do before it is too late. I wonder how roast octopus tastes like… And it seems that dark guy is also here to take the fragment. Predictable… As they being their operation, the friends can tell something has happened between Subaru and Aoi. Were they fighting? With a lot of flashbacks on their pasts, etc, it finally took the friends to scold them about hesitating after coming this far. Long story short with all that additional flashbacks, they patch up their relationship and finish the job. Yeah, they’re closer than ever like the fight never happened. I’ll always be with you, I want to protect you… That kind of stuff that friends say to each other. Later when Subaru and Aoi compare their necklace charm they gave each other, looks like the missing parts are also exactly the same. They realize they both received a treasure from a precious friend and were never left behind. Next time Subaru sees Minato, she sums up her courage to get his attention. He thinks she is mistaking him for somebody else but Subaru says even so, she learnt something from her friend. That Minato is still Minato. He is glad she has managed to find another way to open the door and Subaru welcomes him back.

Episode 8
With Subaru spending more time with Minato, the rest wonder if their club is going to be disbanded. Furthermore, aren’t they looking quite close to each other that it gives out that po-warm feeling? Is that a new word? President detects another fragment but it is at the edge of the Solar System. Somehow the previous methods in reaching there won’t work and they will need to send one person there via the power of their drive shafts at the speed of 0.25 light years (equivalent to 3 months). Who can skip school for that long? Apparently Nanako volunteers. Since she is going to be gone, President disguises as Nanako’s substitute but with a preset of phrases, can they fool everyone? Nanako believes they can! So our friends see off Nanako as she begins her 3 month journey. The friends borrow Hikaru’s parents’ telescope to see where Nanako is at now. Nanako has finally past the final planet in our solar system. I guess all that loneliness has her think back about her past. She is always alone and adults are liars. Apparently her mom left with her brother to travel around the world. They said they’ll be back for her but they never did. That is why she believes no matter who you love or how much, you’ll be alone again. Naturally? But she can’t help think about Subaru and co despite arguing that being alone suits her best. Suddenly there is an unknown planet before her. She never knew a planet existed this far. Has it been sitting alone without anyone noticing? Oh sh*t! Nanako discovered a planet! She names it Apate, after the goddess of fraud and despair. She tries to communicate to her friends and bets they would love to see this. Subaru and co receive Nanako’s message and instantly teleport to where she is! Everyone is happily reunited. Nanako remembers she found a glowing stone, cracked it open and a shapeless light communicating with her telepathically. It took the cute octopus form we see because Nanako imagined it to be so as it was the alien her brother drew. Nanako realizes despite being alone, memories with everyone will never disappear. Time to grab the fragment but that dark guy is here. How the heck does he do it every time?! The struggle to get the fragment somewhat has it activate the planet’s sea of hydrogen. All that mumbo-jumbo from president means that this planet will be reborn into a star. So our sun won’t be lonely anymore? After grabbing the fragment, everyone suddenly finds themselves in the clubroom and on the day Nanako left. Apparently one of the ways to come back is for someone to wish hard enough to return to this moment. It might be Nanako because today is her birthday. Wow. They reverse a 3 month timeline just like that? Now they’ve got to take the test again…

Episode 9
The school’s cultural festival is here and the girls realize they don’t even know what their club does aside serving as a disguise to collect fragments. That is when Subaru remembers she is from the astronomy club! As President is worried the dark guy might show up to steal the fragments again, Subaru suggests letting her keep in her planetarium club since not many people have access to the room and is always locked. When Subaru wants to be excused to go help do a planetarium for her astronomy club, it starts ringing alarm bells for the rest. Is she rendezvousing with a boy?! Just in time. There is a best couple contest too… Although Minato is not from the astronomy club, he is helping her out as repayment for her help in his gardening. Little does Subaru know, Nanako has been secretly taking photos of them as in item! Subaru and Minato test their planetarium. Why experience an artificial one when you can have the real one! Yeah, Minato takes her through an amazing space journey. No Subaru, you’re not dreaming. Minato explains that sci-fi crap because of that not existing in the laws of space, it makes them able to be here but at the same time not here. WTF?! Save the crap. Let’s just call it magic. Meanwhile the friends are outside the planetarium and their minds running while thinking of that do-not-disturb sign outside. They’re tempted to see but Itsuki won’t allow them to interfere. She turns hypocrite as she wants to know or else she cannot sleep tonight. But when they open the door, nobody is there. The space trip continues as Minato shows her a cluster of blue Pleiades stars and her name bears the same meaning. Then a journey to a lively centre of stars. Everything is so bright that space doesn’t look dark. This has Subaru ponder the limits of space. He mentions they can enjoy this now because they won’t remember it all when they get back. Subaru recognizes this feeling. When she was young and used to visit grandma at hospital, one day she got lost and stumbled into a room. This young boy (Minato) showed her visuals of space and even lets her experience the real deal. He says it’s magic. They had fun learning and discovering space together but shortly after that, the boy was gone. She never knew his name and only remembered it just now. Eh, wait. Minato is crying? Subaru wonders if they don’t go back, does this mean they can remember all this? OMG! Did they kiss?! When he reveals he was that boy, they’re already back in the room and Subaru doesn’t know why she is crying. After they leave, Minato returns to get the key. The fragments hidden in the clock resonates with his earring and float around. He now remembers. Looks like it is time to say goodbye to Subaru.

Episode 10
Minato proclaims he is cursed and that his memories can only exist within himself. Subaru suddenly transforms. She returns to the room and sees Minato turned into that dark guy (which is hardly surprising). From what he says, Subaru realizes he doesn’t recognize her. By the time the other girls come, he has stolen all the fragments and blasts up to space and uses it to attract the 12th piece. The girls give chase but find they ran out of ‘fuel’. It seems the fragments enhanced their power but now that it’s gone, they need to combine their drive shafts and only has room for one. Guess who is going? As Minato floats in space, he remembers his times in the hospital. One day some superhero boy jumped into his window. He is shocked Minato could see him. He explains he is collecting crystals since their engine is broken and leaking energy to repair it. As he wants to be named, Minato calls him Elnath, the second star of Taurus. He also gives Minato some fancy prince outfit. I suppose this is to have magic effects? Every night they go out hunting for those crystals as Elnath explains about possible potentials that their spaceship is hovering in between. He also akin humans to this. Especially infants when they have a lot of potentials before their host taking shape. Once they do so, those other lost potentials become this crystal and disappear, amounting to nothing. Shortly, Subaru came into his room. Now she is here pleading him to return to fragments but Minato sounds bitter about that alien boy who was just a coward and abandoned those once he knew had no choice left that would save them. If this world won’t accept him, then he’ll abandon it.

More flashbacks surrounding the time young Minato spent with Subaru. Minato had hope after meeting her. One night, Minato felt confident he could capture a fragment but his magic collapsed. Next thing he knows, he sees himself in ICU and on life support. He becomes sad that all that he experienced were just illusions. He becomes disillusioned of using the fragments to choose another potential from the past. Elnath warns him the engine is designed to move towards the future and if he denies his present self, his magic will become cursed. Minato turns Elnath into a rock when he tries to stop him. As hard as Minato tries to get the fragment, he loses his consciousness till he disappears. His other self in hospital fell asleep for who knows how long. While flowers bloom from the crystals, he knew the only thing that wasn’t an illusion when Subaru opened the door to the observatory. But if she doesn’t remember what happened and he continuing to curse himself, if he disappears, all this will just be an illusion. Therefore Minato is going to gather all the fragments to disappear from this world. Subaru doesn’t want him to do that and reverts to her normal form. Now you recognize her? After he pushes away, he gets stabbed by the fragment. He thinks she is also cursing herself like him because her wish might be to collect the fragments forever. Minato disappears and only the fragment remains. Subaru returns to her friends with all the fragments but she doesn’t look happy.

Episode 11
It seems Subaru has lost her magic and cannot see President. Her drive shaft is now a normal compass and more crap from President about lost potentials that will never return. But the girls cannot stay gloomy because the cultural festival is about to start. Everyone carry their duty well especially Subaru doing a great planetarium show. Father is so happy that he cried that he never realized she has changed this much. Oddly, this makes Subaru start crying. Did he say the wrong word? Why is ‘change’ such a taboo word? Subaru sees the unattended garden. Even Minato’s classmate doesn’t even remember Minato’s name anymore. Subaru is happy to find the flower and picks it up. President speaks to the other girls about the final fragment that is getting further and further away at the speed of light. They’re going to use some dark energy to leap and jump at the speed of light to catch it. Well, this method sounds more magical than sci-fi. The girls leap and leap and notice the lesser stars as they go further. President says they’re only getting farther from the fragment at this rate. They might not even obtain it. Then there is even this crap that if they don’t collect the final one, it means the laws of the universe forbade them. Currently it is operating slightly at their favour because of their earnest wish deep in their hearts. This is proven when their wishes, big or small have come true. This means if they cannot collect the last fragment, it means they didn’t wish for it. It means it was President’s mistake to turn them into magical girls. WTF???!!! Sounds more of fantasy than science. Of course the girls say that they really want to do this. That counts, right? Subaru is opening doors in hopes something familiar will pop out. Nothing. More flashbacks about her younger days with Minato. On one of their space journeys, she had a star decoration but felt sad she couldn’t hang it up. Where the heck can you hang it up?! In return, Minato gave her his tiny star fragment. The next door she opens, it is Minato in ICU. She is happy to see him holding on to her star decoration. That is when her star fragment lights up. She is whisked to where the real Minato is, in the deep depths of space. Hmm… Subaru and Minato swap outfit colours? He explains he didn’t avoid choosing but rather lost that ability to choose. He’ll gather all the fragments and disappear. In that case, she’ll open the door as many times as it takes. He flies off telling her to go where she wants to go. Her friends happened to warp by and are glad to reunite with her. President is amazed at this new magic Subaru has. Subaru has renewed confidence to go capture the last fragment.

Episode 12
In the final jump they make, they reach a strong gravitational lens and all that mumbo-jumbo President said can be easily summarise this phenomenon: It’s a black hole! The fragment is inside it and they feel it could be impossible to gather all the fragments in this universe. Don’t quit now that you’ve come this far. President gives each of them a couple of fragment pieces and they are going to use it to draw out the last one. Because President lacks the power like them, they need a final sixth member to pull this off. Immediately Subaru can only think of Minato. She sees him trying his luck inside the black hole and goes to catch him. Seems Minato doesn’t mind being swallowed and erased by the black hole if he fails. Although he betrayed her, Subaru doesn’t want to forget all the warmth she experienced with him. Because no matter how many universes she has been, there will always be one Minato to her. If he can’t make himself happy then she’ll do it. Hey wait a minute. Aren’t guys supposed to be the one to say this kind of lines? If that doesn’t convince him, this kiss will! OMG! THEY KISSED! Friends in shock! Why the heck is Itsuki covering Aoi’s eyes?! With Minato joining the girls, he turns to President and wonders when he turned into a blob. Apparently President was Elnath but you can’t blame him for not recognizing Minato because he has changed so much since. President’s giant spaceship appears. It is still broken and they’re going to use this chance to fix it. From what I gather, they’re going to fight fire with fire. Meaning, they’re going to use the engine fragments to draw out the last fragment by making another black hole. With all their might, they do the greatest pull ever in the universe. Literally. Now they find themselves in completely empty space. Did they fail? Actually they passed through the black hole and were able to barely get the final fragment that President used to fix his ship. Minato is confused that they possess the power to control probability but rejected the act of choice. President says it is only true in his universe. He points out their next destination, another universe. As long as there is hope they can continue their journey crossing whole universes. Minato realized he only cursed himself by looking at the past and got them involved. The girls realize Minato was trying to save those crystals, potential life that was never born into this world. President will continue this goal of his in the next universe. This is possible thanks to them going beyond the universe’s laws to gather the fragments. That itself is magic! I’m feeling the irony here. President likes to give them something as thanks.

After the ship blasts off, the gang sees multiple threads believed to be possibilities of their world. Of course no matter what kind of possible futures there are, it all boils down to a single source and that is where they are going. So they’re going back in time where Earth was just created? OMG! The first humans on the planet were them! The ‘gift’ granted by President is that they can start over at any point in time as they wish. All the friends make a wish they would like to have the good traits that they each have but importantly they were there because they helped each other a lot and they want to become themselves. So our girls say their goodbye in this final bag of drama and emotions till they are all finally separated. Minato is surprised that he is with Subaru. Remember about her promise that she will make him happy? Oh great. So he is stuck with her forever? Haha! They sit together watching the sunset till she falls asleep. Subaru wakes up back in her home and she remembers about the meteor shower tonight. As she heads off, she sees Aoi alighting from the bus. They talk and Aoi admits she decided to take an exam to enrol in this school because she liked the uniform but was too shy to say it. Subaru hands her a flyer for the meteor shower watching. As she distributes the flyer at school, a group of interested people that includes Hikaru, Itsuki and Nanako gather to seek more information. Minato is seen in his ICU although I’m not sure if he is sleeping or in comatose state. Subaru narrates about the stars in the sky, the long time they spent passing each other, repeating the lonely sadness and joy of meeting each other. Each time she looks up, it makes her think of the people she has still yet to meet somewhere and those who look up and think the same and the stars that watch over them all from up there.

Reach For The Stars
I may not remember much from my initial watching of the ONA series but when I look back at my blog for reference, my sentiments for most of what has been done in the TV series are mostly the same. For example, I still find the bright shining stars of space to be still awesome and magnificent. This I find is the biggest draw for me in the series. Though, I am not sure if they are real images or hand drawn. They’re fascinating nevertheless. Also, not forgetting the funny and amusing gibberish way that President talks (you might want to argue it is alien language that he is speaking, thus our ears cannot understand) and instantly being translated by Nanako. Therefore, the TV series I feel is somewhat a ‘proper’ expansion of the ONA version.

Of course there are some things which I found a bit silly and not enjoyable (from my own personal views, of course). Mainly it is the sci-fi gibberish when President/Nanako starts explaining to them. Maybe it is partly my fault in thinking that this is just going to be a simple magical girl plot and perhaps it is. But they put in sci-fi explanations that some even sounds like magic. Like as though they pluck it out from the air but put it in a way that it sounds convincing enough to sound like sci-fi. Each time President starts ranting about that, my mind just automatically turn off and I would just smile and be amused at the fast way he is yapping. Yeah, then I can say “You’re talking too fast, I don’t know what you’re saying!”. But it is also interesting to note that if feels like they are weaving together sci-fi and magic. But that is just about it. Because thinking about mixing both genres reminds me of that nightmarish To Aru Majutsu No Index. Uh huh. Science and magic clash… One big confusion!

Therefore it is both interesting and yet confusing to hear about the possible overlapping possibilities that affect everything that exists in the universe. So if you don’t want to be bound by the laws of space, just exist outside it! Simple, no? With Minato having this thinking of going back to the past and finding another possible future that suits him feels like in a video game where you go back to an earlier save point and redoing things differently again. So if he keeps doing this again and again, doesn’t this mean that he was never meant to have a possible future? Oh heck. Why so confusing? Just exist outside the laws of space and everything will be fine! I think.

The other silly thing which I find is whenever the girls manage to detect and find a fragment, the evil version of Minato will be there. All the time! Like as though he knew the girls would be after this piece and hence always pops up slightly later than them just to annoy them and then challenge to get the fragment. Sometimes it feels like as though he has a spy camera put in the clubroom and listening to the girls’ talk, which is why he somehow knows when and where to be there. Always. I mean, there are other fragments spread out throughout the Solar System and they have to bump into each other for that same targeted piece. Coincidence? Yeah, big coincidence alright. A big coincidence to have some magical girl action bits.

The other thing is President’s ability to warp the girls if he has discovered a fragment that is in outer space. I believe they want to put some variety in the way the girls travel to space to reach that fragment. It would be boring if they use the same method every time, right? Besides, I am sure they’re trying to hint about this idiom about the journey instead of the destination. You won’t get to see the magnificent space if you take the short cut of just warping there. Yeah, there is some sort of sci-fi explanation from President about the method to use to get there but you know, it sounds so confusing that I wasn’t listening anymore. I just know they’ll get there.

Then there is how President speaks via Nanako’s translation. I noticed their mouths move at the same time. Logically speaking, if you are going to translate or even exactly say the words that someone tells you through the phone or whatever receiver, there is going to be some sort of time lag. But in this case, it is almost instant like as though 2 mouths are speaking at the exact same time! This isn’t actually a big deal but I thought it makes this Pleiades translation thingy a bit unrealistic since it is being done exactly at the same time. Like as though Nanako’s words are to drown out the muffled chipmunk voice that President spews. Because if you wait for President to finish and then hear Nanako translate, it’s like wasting time, isn’t it? Cut the chatter and let’s go find the fragments! Heh. If only President’s sci-fi explanations weren’t that confusing. Maybe it sounds so because it has to be put in human tongue. Besides, I am not sure if Nanako herself is the one putting up a dramatic act or acting out as per President’s emotions because sometimes she does get dramatic during the speeches.

Despite the expansion of this anime, somehow I just feel the characters are not that very in-depth. Just scratching the surface. Sure, they have one episode to focus on a character and their past issue but that itself doesn’t amount to anything much. Because at the end of it all, the usual lesson of friendship and togetherness is the lesson of the day. Like Hikaru’s trauma when hearing a certain piece of her parents’ music, Nanako’s penchant to think that everybody will be eventually alone and thus an excuse to give herself to be isolated from the rest and Itsuki’s ‘I-have-no-dreams’ just because that way it will satisfy everyone by not bringing up trouble.

Aoi is like a bag of emotions but at least she is being true and honest to them. Somehow she always ends up as Minato’s saviour and perhaps it is the laws of the universe that dictates so. Yeah, I think this is an easier way of putting it. Whereas Minato isn’t exactly the antagonist of the series despite seemingly starting out as one and is just a confused boy who only wanted a place to belong. And he can always count on being by Subaru’s side as the place he will always belong to. Laws of the universe? Yeah, just put the blame and excuse on this. How convenient. And I suppose that is the exact same reason why in the final parting scene, President was able to speak with his own bloody mouth instead of using Nanako as a translator. Now we can’t always blame him for speaking gibberish, can we? And he was also able to switch between his blob form and Elnath boy form with ease. Or is this just in the eyes of the beholder, the girls seeing him as a blob and Minato sees him as a boy?

If this series is in collaboration with Subaru, where are the car models you ask? Well, they might not appear visually in the anime but at least they’re being heard. Noticed the drive shafts that the girls ride on? Don’t they sound like the engine of a car whenever they accelerate? Yup. As I found out, those are actual recordings from real Subaru vehicles. That is how a Subaru vehicle sounds like. Personally, I can’t tell the difference with other brands so it doesn’t really matter. Besides, doesn’t it sound odd to have magical brooms sounding like car engines? Yeah, you will be wondering where is would the carburettor, pistons, crankshaft or spark plugs located inside this thin stick. Unless they just have a chip inside to produce that kind of sound just for effects.

The art and drawing remains constant with the ONA. Nice cute looking magical girls in equally cute white magical outfits (but each with different hat types for differentiation?). Other than the majestic space, the other thing nice is the special magic effects you see when the girls release their magic. Not as spectacular as space but it provides eye candy with ooohhhs and aaaahhhhs. In addition to that, the mi-intermission provides cute water colour paintings of the characters in the series. There are a few scenes that utilize CG but this is minimal.

All the casts who lend their voice for the ONA are retained for the TV adaptation. They are Natsumi Takamori as Subaru (Misaki in Sakurasou No Pet Na Kanojo), Houko Kuwashima as Minato (Sango in Inu Yasha), Ayuru Oohashi as Aoi (Ayumu in Hoshizora E Kakaru Hashi), Saki Fujita doubling as Nanako and President (Ao in Yozakura Quartet series), Yui Makino as Hikaru (Sakura in Tsubasa Chronicle) and Kanako Tateno as Itsuki (Kiyomi in Iriya No Sora, UFO No Natsu). There are a couple of new casts of course and some of them are recognizable like Yui Horie as Elnath and Yuuki Kaji as Minori’s classmate. The opening theme is Stella-rium by Kano and the ending theme is Koko Kara, Kanata Kara by Fragment.

Overall, this isn’t a bad anime but there is nothing unique that will make it stand out maybe except for the starry stars of space. The laws of space in the works? Those who have watched the ONA previously should see this one to get a complete picture of the series. If you’re still interested in the series, that is. It is still nevertheless a simple magical girl tale of friendship and togetherness. Helping their alien friend out to return to his universe and in the mean time having loads of fun discovering the mysteries of space that scientists and astronomers have been working hard and being left stumped over the centuries. Yeah. Don’t play-play. These girls discovered a new planet and even travelled to the far edges of space! They make it sound so simple with magic. Don’t go blaming it on the laws of space again.

Space Dandy S2

May 23, 2015

I suppose the vast and infinite space is not enough to confine all the wacky and weird adventures into one season. That is why we have more of such adventures in the second season of Space Dandy S2. Our titular character who is an alien hunter is still on the job of registering rare aliens and getting his big reward payout but seems to be getting into lots of misadventures while at it. Is all that really worth the trouble considering his laidback and easygoing personality? You’d even wonder if he is serious in doing his job. It is hard to believe that he is believed by some parties to hold the key and fate of the entire universe. Well like they say. Some things are more than just meet the eye.

Episode 1
Yet another space alien registration by Dandy. Who is he going to fool this time by bringing a cow? Meow and QT fear Scarlet is going to get mad at them but surprisingly she talks it out with them that she has never seen a worse alien hunter like them. She advises them to take a good look at themselves and perhaps make a career change. The universe is big and the possibilities are endless. So as the trio discuss about this and maybe getting a little too carried away with their fantasies, Dandy spots a stray hair of his own and starts pulling it. How long will it last? Before they know it, they are tossed into some warp hole or something. Finding themselves in a desert world, before them is a heroic version of themselves. Yeah, this Dandy has got the babe. The heroic team attacks as our dumb ones take refuge. Then there is a stray hair on QT. What happens if you pull it? Another warp. This time in another universe where Dandy and co are space truckers. And then another stray hair but from a magazine. They never learn do they? There is this comic hero version of Dandy. So this process goes on and on and there’s this crap explanation about parallel universes or something. This means lots of Dandy versions from ninja Dandy to gay Dandy to female Dandy to Titan Dandy. You name it, you’ve got it. I don’t know how many strings they have pulled but Aloha Oe is now filled with all their different counterparts. It’s utter chaos. What do you do at times like these? Head to Boobies, of course! Even Honey is confused if all the Dandys are his brothers or relatives or something. But as the days continue, things starting to become inconsistent. For example, a job with 7 days off a week. Some theory says that because all the Dandys are in this world, the inconsistencies of the universe will grow unless the Dandys are returned to their original universe via that stray hair which is actually some cosmic string. Speaking of it, everything has a cosmic string. Of course nobody dares touch it for fear it would bring more disaster. However can they live with the crowdedness that is already this bad? Then there is this gloomy Dandy who just want to die, Meow who is some future killer robot ready to go explode and QT who is a nerd who thinks he is a robot. At this point all the Dandys decide to take a gamble on the cosmic string. Don’t want to live the rest of their days with this gloomy Dandy, don’t they? They burn the cosmic string and in the aftermath of a bright explosion, all the Dandys return to their original universe. The only Dandy left remaining in this universe we know is the gloomy one. The new Dandy for the rest of the season?

Episode 2
There is this puppet called Ukulele Man who wants to make others laugh but it’s not working. Time for drastic measures. Meanwhile Dandy and Meow are in an argument over some song. This has Meow note that Dandy would win a misunderstanding contest if there was one. Dandy announces the disbandment of their team and goes off alone. He receives a letter for him and jumps to a conclusion that some girl needs him at a party. What else is there to wait if he is needed? Elsewhere, Dr Gel laments his failure each time he encounters Dandy. It is suggested to go back in time via River of Time and change the course of history then. Dandy crash lands on some planet and meets some capybara alien who tells him about the River of Time in the upper atmosphere that flows from past to future, etc. Does he care about all that? All he wants to know is the direction to the party. Meanwhile Meow and QT have traced Dandy and also end up on that planet. The stumble upon Ukulele Man and after his performance, they are turned into stone. Dandy is at the mansion and meets Ukulele Man. He doesn’t care about his past of being born and dying alone because all he wants is the girl who needs him. He learns there is no such girl and Ukulele sent that letter as he wants his smile. He shows him his backyard containing lots of creatures turned to stone. He likes collecting smiles but none of them were quite right till he saw Dandy’s. He is perfect and once he has it, he will be able to make others smile. Dandy is devastated to see Meow and QT part of the collection. There is no way he could smile after seeing his friends like this. Ukulele Man tries to make him smile but luckily Dandy trips and breaks the spell. He takes his friends and run. He thinks throwing them back into the River of Time will turn them back to normal. As he rides the waves, Dr Gel is here to get him. However he is smashed by a ship emerging from the wave. He is brought back in time to his beloved mother. He goes to his mama but she slaps him thinking him for being a pervert. Ukulele Man hasn’t given up yet. He is going to look for Dandy’s past and get that smiling Dandy. The moment that Dandy is pulled out, the present one will disappear. He is on the verge of doing it when Dandy quickly runs up to him and gives a good kick that cracks his mask. Ukulele Man accepts his fate that smiles aren’t for him but Dandy comments he is putting on his best smile. After Ukulele Man burns up, all that is left is his ukulele.

Episode 3
Dandy and co are so hungry and scouring around for food. But what did Dandy buy with his money? A teleport device in a form of a flashlight. It’s no wonder Meow is just blowing his top. Accidentally flashing the light on his head, suddenly it disappears to a mysterious planet. Dandy sees a fish relaxing. The fish is shocked to see Dandy. He explains about this planet becoming a satellite after being pulled by gravity by a nearby planet. The planet starts moving but all Dandy cares about that this fish is a rare alien (at this point he got his entire body back). Care to come with him to the registration centre? Meanwhile QT and Meow have located Dandy’s head. It’s very far away. Meow accidentally uses the flashlight on the mirror and it teleports him to that weird planet. Inside the underground of that planet, the fish explains he came to this planet 10 years ago to investigate but his ride crashed and has been stuck ever since. Meow is too hungry to think… Fish looks good… But the fish promises to come with them to the register centre if they help him get back to his planet. Because he needs to warn them about some incoming sun that will burn it up. He has made some ship but it is too heavy to be brought to the surface. Easy. Just use the flashlight. But now the flashlight is out of batteries which are believed to be very rare. The fish says it is abundant on his home planet. As they ride the ship up to the planet, the fish reneges on his promise and hops off. Meow tries to catch and eat it but the fish slips back to his home planet. What to do now? Dandy is so carefree that he just sits around confident he’ll come back. The fish goes back to his people to warn them but it seems hundreds of years have passed and things have changed. They laugh at him and send him away. After Meow takes a bunch of batteries, it is starting to feel hot around here. The sun is coming! The fish is so angry that he wishes for everyone to be burnt. He himself doesn’t care to be scorched! Meow grabs him. But grilled fish already? Just in time. Dandy could have been scorched by the sun too if not for Dr Gel’s ship that provided a little shade. Of course his bad timing to capture Dandy means he gets burnt by the sun too. Enough time to for Dandy and Meow to use the flashlight to return to Aloha Oe. It is discovered this alien fish is indeed rare. But they can’t register it now seeing it has become grilled fish. Oh well, what else better to do than eat it, right? Mmm… Tasty! Best fish ever?

Episode 4
Thanks to some social media, Dandy decides to become a transfer student to some posh high school to get the babes. You know how this will go, right? Because the first girl he meets is some Plain Jane geek. Now what you’re looking for? As Dandy goes around flirting, he doesn’t realize the pecking order that this school is bound with. There is a caste system decided by your sense of rhythm and singing. Thus the queen bee, her jocks and groupies start singing about it. Oh God. They’re turning this into a musical. That is what the rest of this episode is going to be. They sing from the popular groups to those unpopular ones like geeks and otakus. Eventually Dandy is tossed away to the unpopular side. His school life going to end this way? Well, only a week more to graduation. So we see Dandy cheating on his test (swapping test sheets) and joining other curriculums. QT and Meow come to check on him as they disguise as janitors. They remind him to catch a rare alien in this school, the reason he transferred in. Did he forget? But more important for Dandy is the prom. He tries to ask girls to be his date but gets beaten up. That’s their rejection. Eventually he has to settle for Plain Jane. They go on some power training that makes you wonder if they’re entering some martial arts tournament or something. Prom night. Queen bee and her underlings sing about how mighty she is. Till Dandy and Plain Jane show up. They mock Plain Jane and make her feel embarrassed but Dandy tells everyone she has something they all don’t have. Her ass. What?! Musical time. Queen bee sings about herself. Dandy waxes lyrical about asses! Eventually the unpopular ones join in to sing about their nerdy side. Even QT and Meow join in. Soon it becomes a musical about all is all, everything is everything. Viva all! Everyone including the popular ones join in this one big musical finale. And so Dandy graduates. It has only been a week but it felt like 3 years. Yeah right. Plain Jane goes up to Dandy as she forgot to give him her graduation present. A kiss on the cheek! Oh Dandy! As they ponder which high school to transfer next, they think they have forgotten something important. They sure did. Plain Jane turns out to be that rare alien…

Episode 5
It’s fishing for the Aloha Oe trio. Meow suggests if they’re doing this, why not make some big bucks fishing the legendary Munagi fish. Seems it is wanted on the registration department’s list and they’ll pay big bucks for this. So let’s get moving! Since Aloha Oe is stuck in some space kelp, Dandy goes off first and lands on some muddy planet and befriends a little kid, Ersimme. But his grandpa, L’delise seems the unfriendly type. Dandy continues to fish with Ersimme but Munagi remains elusive. One day Dandy almost got sucked into a whirlpool but L’delise saves him. He warns Dandy to give up and go home because many fools in the past tried to catch Munagi but earned its wrath and died. Like hell Dandy will go home empty handed. As they continue fishing, some non-believers mock Dandy and mention the strange guy L’delise that everybody keeps away from. He is the only one who believes in that legend and it will never come because this planet has no moon (it is said Munagi will surface when there is a blue moon that appears once in only 3600 years). One stormy day, L’delise goes missing and Ersimme believes he went out to catch Munagi. When Dandy mentions the legend might just be bull, the look in Ersimme eyes says it all. He believes L’delise never told a lie and he believes in him. I guess they have to go save him. Suddenly a blue moon appears (actually it is a passing comet). Here comes Munagi! L’delise tries to reel it in but couldn’t. Dandy is holding on tightly so as not to let it escape. QT and Meow arrive in their swan boat to warn Dandy about the comet but were made to help pull. Soon, the rest of the villagers also help pull. Even the non-believers believe now. L’delise gives Dandy the honours to reel it and shoot the arrow but when he does, his leg gets caught up in the string. Munagi and the other similar fish ride the upstream back up into the comet. As narrated, they came from this planet and centuries ago and now have found their way back to their home. When the storm is gone, Ersimme is sad Dandy is dead. But don’t cry now, here he is safe and sound. I guess old man shows his relief by arguing with him. They get along so well? So on another fishing day for the Aloha Oe trio, yet another déjà vu when Meow suggests making some money fishing another legendary fish. Going for the catch? Well, they might just let a big one nearby get away…

Episode 6
After watching an intergalactic wrestling match, Honey is kidnapped by Dr Gel. He is going to extract bits of information she has on Dandy into a machine. Scarlet is talking to her colleague Pine-pine that she cannot find the right guy so the latter suggests to go to a space mixer. Dandy has been obsessively chasing a rare and impossible to find Cloudian alien so much so he is malnourished and talking crazy stuffs about love. Not that he isn’t crazy when normal either. QT suggests a free all-you-can-eat buffet on some planet. Why didn’t he say so? Pine-pine takes Scarlet to this buffet too and she is disappointed they are only here to eat. And she does just that to take out her frustrations. But since the buffet is only for females, how the heck did Dandy and Meow get through? I suppose the host is gay and understands their predicament even if it is a blatant lie. Scarlet leaves but is tipsy. A Cloudian named Gentle Nobra catches her and she is taken in by his good looks and gentlemanly ways. Dandy sees her being taken into Gentle’s cloud castle but since he is full, he feels like not doing anything. Not even going after the Cloudian. So they hang out at boobies and when QT explains Cloudians takes in depressed women and makes them feel better, Dandy jumps the gun that Scarlet will be dumped after a one night stand and is going to rescue her. So we’re back to the Cloudian hunt? Meanwhile Dr Gel’s machine explodes since it doesn’t have enough memory. Honey suggests super giga mega drive one as she reveals she is a half Cloudian.

Scarlet is suspicious of Gentle and wonders why he is doing this. Cloudian feels sad that his good intentions are always viewed as scorn. Scarlet apologizes for being rude as her job makes her overly suspicious of people. When the Aloha Oe gang arrives, they are treated with first class hospitality. Scarlet is surprised to see him here as Dandy vows to capture Gentle. He accepts this as a gentlemanly challenge when suddenly a distress video of Honey is received. She wants Dandy to save her. Gentle recognizes her and goes off to rescue with Dandy tagging along. Seems this is a trap that Honey came up with. Dr Gel praises her and introduces her to Perry but the admiral is not pleased. Because Cloudians have the ability to download data and is he going to let her leave after having all of Gogol Empire’s secrets? The only way is to kill her. Gentle’s cloud castle captures Dr Gel’s ship. Scarlet is frustrated and ends up drinking with Meow since she was left behind. And the guys were just fighting over her. Suddenly Honey knocks out Dr Gel with a wrestling move and teleports back down. Dr Gel’s army fire at the cloud castle to destroy it. Dandy saves Scarlet and she might have seen something manly in him. They crash land as Gentle and Honey meet for the first time. They are half siblings. Honey’s real name is Lady Nobra. Gentle says he has lost his cloud and only a small piece is left. When Dandy is going to capture and register him, Scarlet lets him know that a Cloudian without a cloud is like a normal alien. Worthless. Gentle vows to go on a journey and rebuild his cloud and show it to her. Honey offers a ride home. The Aloha Oe trio squeeze in and Scarlet beats them up for their inconsideration and selfishness.

Episode 7
Johnny is the high commander of the Jaicro Empire. Because he has to make a decision that decides the fate of the universe, he tells his subordinates to gather more solid evidence before he makes his decision. Despite all this, nobody knows the secret life of Johnny. He is a rockstar wannabe. So when he first met Dandy in the toilet (because he was humming), they started fighting but soon become brothers when they realize they had the same charm. Yup. Friendly as ever. Johnny suggests starting a band. Johnny will play the guitar while Dandy on vocals. And before you know it, QT on drums and Meow on bass. Can they even play? However Johnny and Dandy spend their time arguing about everything rather than practising. From the band’s name to trying to take the spotlight. Just everything. All talking about big dreams and nothing gets going. Till Honey suggests they should just call themselves Dropkix because they’ve been drop kicking each other all the time. They like it. But where will they get their first song for their first little gig? Leave it to Johnny to write the song. He is waiting… Waiting for it to come. A few misses till he finally hits a catchy piece. Their first little gig has less audience than their band members… Despite being their only song, they played it for 2 hours! No wonder the owner got mad. But their rebellious side means they fight back and this is what caught the eye of a big label recording company.

When they are to make their first big debut gig, it seems the attack on Gogol Empire is on that same day. This is the day they should attack but it seems Johnny is in a dilemma. Not because this war will cause massive casualties. Oh, how is he going to choose? War or gig? And so he chose… He apologizes to Dandy that he can’t make their debut. He reveals his real position and everything but Dandy punches him. All that doesn’t matter when he is on stage. He is scared and running away. Johnny doesn’t care and walks out. And Dandy doesn’t even know what a commander means. Some part time job in some company, huh? And so that big gig debut day is here. Dropkix is already running late on schedule because Dandy is waiting for Johnny to show up. The crowd is unhappy. Johnny is on his way to attack Gogol Empire. But then his heart… All that is left now is for his attack order but wait… Where is Johnny?! Dandy is going to imitate the guitar with his voice but the crowd just hates it. Suddenly Johnny comes crashing into the concert! Let’s get this gig going. The crowd goes wild as they play their only hit. Of course in the midst of the craziness, they catch fire and when it starts to rain, the equipment got electrocuted and Johnny’s ship goes boom. Yeah. One hell of a blast concert. This legendary debut concert became their last. They broke up after the gig. While Dandy is upset about the boxes of Dropkix t-shirts and should send some to Johnny but do they know where he lives? The most important part is that little do they know that they prevented a galactic war and secretly saved the universe. Oh yeah. Hard rock saved the space.

Episode 8
Dandy… Is dead?! Well, he seems to be lying in a casket and flowing through a river. He wakes up in a strange land with strange buildings and creatures. It’s no surprised he is spooked. He goes around on a weird scooter looking for somebody and meets this strange creature, Ferdinand. You looking for somebody? He is somebody. Oh well… Claiming he is hungry, Ferdinand brings him around. He observes his surroundings. A couple in fine dining talking about the significance of living when death only awaits and also if microorganisms and bacteria have no reason to live, what makes you think others have? Also, there is this weird choir singing about death too. The food tastes awful and it seems in this world, it is eat or be eaten. When helicopter-like creatures fly above, Ferdinand hides them. They are Nightporters and it will be a bother if they see him. Dandy falls asleep when he hears an angel play her guitar. When he wakes up, he is captured by Nightporters. They view him peculiar and will terminate him. Dandy is panicking as he realizes they have no reflection and are ghosts. Next thing we know, Ferdinand is accompanying him to his funeral. Eh? He has him think about it that he is dead. Dandy realizes he thought he was hungry but isn’t. He thought he was tired but not sleepy. Ferdinand explains people who aren’t used to being dead repeat actions of the living unconsciously. Some don’t realize it for hundreds of years.

There is this cube that serves as a recorder of one’s last memories before death. Seems Aloha Oe entered some dark nebula when they tried to head to a planet to capture some rare alien. Ferdinand adds that with everything dead, there is no need for sadness. But Dandy didn’t take that too well. This means there is no joy too. He doesn’t want that. He still wants food and boobs! He runs away and bumps into a girl in a cable car. He wants her to take him away from here. Up or down? Down might mean hell so up! At the top, she reveals she is the only living being here. She is not God but the planet itself. As she is curious of this planet, the reason Nightporters are scouting around. Long ago, the civilization here destroyed each other. Nothing is left. However this planet has some sort of magnetic pull of souls and dead souls gather here. She was all alone till he came. There is a way for him to go back and that is to use up all this planet’s energy. She does so as Dandy wonders why she is doing this. Because she loves him. Even at this point he can be cheesy. Yeah, he notes he is handsome and she too isn’t that bad. But all this doesn’t matter. Because where dead or alive, he will always be himself. Aloha Oe manages to pull out of the dark nebula safely. Dandy is seen sleeping so comfortably that the rest doesn’t want to wake him up. The final mind boggling scene sees Dandy returning to that world in a white suit and this makes the girl very happy.

Episode 9
Saturday Night Fever?! It all began when Aloha Oe heard they could enter some dancing contest that is held once several centuries to win big bucks as well as get a rare Dancingian alien while they’re at it. Two birds with a stone. However the planet is dead and deserted. At a records store, Dandy buys a record but the clerk warns him not to play it due to some effect. Then they head over to the tourist centre as the chief remembers the good ol’ days when the planet was teeming with life and the festival at its heydays. Most residents have relocated to another planet and none have seen a Dancingian in centuries. Only his mother who is in coma for the last 300 years is the last person believed to have seen one. Dandy is about to leave but the chief gets desperate and thinks the way he walks is a dancing move. He forced Dandy to participate and pretend to be a Dancingian. The prize money is fake just to lure in the people and it is a fixed game since each time a Dancingian always wins. So with great advertising, people start to take notice. However the number of participants are paltry… Meanwhile, the most related question ever asked in this season: Bea is depressed because they never know the reason they chase Dandy and always end up getting blown away. Dr Gel thinks he is stressed and needs a vacation. Suddenly they are hit and run by a UFO. Dr Gel is not going to let this off the hook. As the dancing starts, the UFO descends and it seems he might be the real Dancingian, Ton Jravolta! Groovy baby! Everybody starts dancing to his tune but jealous Dandy won’t be outplayed by him. He claims his dancing is outdated compared to his. So what is he going to dance? He forces QT and Meow to become a record player. Uhm… That song… The kind of song you hear when you seek an audience with a king… And what’s this ballad thingy Dandy is trying to dance? So as everybody starts dancing to this weird dance, little do they know the record is having a growth acceleration effect. Everything is growing old and withering fast. Including our dancers. Reversing the record means reversing the effect but don’t go too far till you become babies. The chief’s mom awakes from her coma and sees the true Dancingian. Not Dandy or Jravolta. The latter is just some dance crazy alien. The true Dancingian are actually plants of this planet ‘dancing’ in the grace of their light. So beautiful that Dr Gel and Bea don’t even need to take a vacation anymore. Has your soul been purified? Dandy and Jravolta won’t lose and start dancing. They release and exhibit some sort of power powerful enough to destroy the universe (yup, Dr Gel gets blown away again) and create a new one. So while hundreds of millions of years passed, our guys are in some whatever form still happily dancing.

Episode 10
Another rejected alien registration. However Scarlet has part time job for him. Pretend to be her boyfriend to stop her ex-boyfriend from following her. Don’t worry, he’ll be compensated. Dandy doesn’t want it but Meow and QT accept it on his behalf. I mean, they’re broke, right? And so here they are on this holiday planet. Scarlet has even drawn up a contract between them so no funny moves, mister. But why pick him? Does this mean she likes him? She clears the air even if they are the last humans in the universe, she will never fall in love with him. So one the first few days of their date, Dandy is being an idiot taking stuffs without permission from kids to use them and then trying to take rare aliens he discovered back to the registration centre. Scarlet is off duty and won’t let him do that. Even when Dandy is flirting with others, Scarlet gets mad. No, that chase scene certainly doesn’t look like a lover’s chase. On the third day as they watch the fireworks, part of the fireworks turn out to be from Scarlet’s ex-boyfriend, Dolph (you mean that Lungdren fellow?) in a huge mecha. The night ends without anything exciting for them. Scarlet retires in her home but her screams draw Dandy. There is a spider in her toilet. A nasty alien spider! Dandy starts shooting everything till her home is decimated. At least he got the spider. Scarlet starts laughing and then they suddenly click when they realize they love the same martial arts series by that Chuck guy (you mean that Norris fellow?).

For the next few days, they date like a real couple and it is smooth sailing. So when Dandy flirts with Honey, you can tell that she is mad although she doesn’t say it. One day, Dolph comes to pick Scarlet up. He punches Dandy in the face and believes she is doing this to make him jealous. He becomes crazy thinking they love each other so much. Dandy punches him back and takes Scarlet to run. He blames her for not being straight with Dolph and there is only one way to stop this. Dandy kisses her. Dolph goes crazy and starts shooting everything. Thankfully he got arrested and a restraining order to stay away from Scarlet. Dandy can’t believe she dated that kind of guy. She thinks she is just bad luck with guys and always falling for losers. In that case, this means she won’t fall for Dandy, right? She didn’t answer. They end the contract and part ways. See you at the registration centre next time. QT and Meow are so happy for being paid that they want to party. But Dandy and Scarlet are just feeling gloomy. There is one day left in their original schedule to meet at the bar. Looks like they won’t make it. Or will day? Scarlet is there drinking alone, writing Dandy’s name on the water vapour. Dandy on the other hand takes that Chuck movie and rushes all the way down. By the time he arrives, she is already gone but he carries on looking for her. It’s like the gears of fate doesn’t want them to meet because it’s like yet so near, yet so far kinda situation. They never got to see each other. So it’s the usual cold reception at the registration counter when Dandy yet again brings another rejected alien. But could there be love lingering in their hearts? Maybe.

Episode 11
Hmm… A break up scene between Dandy and Catherine? Meanwhile there is some strange 2D universe appearing and it is absorbing any 3D stuffs it touches into its universe. Among them are Dr Gel and his fleet. So when this 2D universe threat is known, Dandy isn’t happy because it brings back bad memories. And the past might have caught up with him because here is Catherine! She is some 4D block? Honey is interested in knowing their past love. It’s already history, right? Seems Catherine ran off with Paul. They have already broken up one he ascended the throne. Why? Because Paul is 2D. Apparently that difference in dimension was too much for their relationship. However now he is back trying to take her back and thus his universe appearing here. Honey seems to not want to give up on Paul because he is a prince, which worth more than any rare alien. Catherine wonders if Dandy has found out about the secret of warping. Because with Paul here, he must have figured out something. Dr Gel is inside the 2D world and thinks of destroying the warp drive. It may send them back or annihilate this universe. But as a scientist he can’t contain his happiness over this mystery and wants to test it out. Because Paul can roll up the universe, Dandy and co crack their heads on how to get in. Honey whom everyone has ignored thinking she’s an annoying b*tch suggests to just poke through. Now why didn’t they think of that?

With a gigantic scissors, Aloha Oe cuts through the core. They see Paul quivering in his throne. Honey is disappointed that Paul is just a rectangle. He is 2D. What do you expect? Dr Gel intercepts a message from Paul intended for Catherine. Seems he wants them to go back the way it was and doesn’t care about the throne. He was wrong about everything. Dr Gel doesn’t care about this melodrama and fires into the warp driver. However inside it is the power of 1D as it absorbs them and the universe. Self destruction? Catherine thought she heard Paul’s voice calling to her. Catherine tells Dandy how Paul sealed the 1D power inside the warp drive to power his 2D universe here. She notes Paul is alright although he is sealed inside the 1D universe. Dandy has figured out the secret of warping. It doesn’t exist. Let me see if I understand this. They say you are conscious of yourself in one universe and assume there is another you in another universe, you believe it is yourself when you are conscious there. Therefore you might have felt that you have warped to another universe when it is actually your conscious awakening somewhere else. Thus both are different as you can’t sense the switch in between. Therefore to Catherine who is 4D, she knows this Dandy is not the same Dandy she fell in love with. Though, in Dandy’s eyes she is the same Catherine she fell in love with. As for why Catherine went with Paul, it is because Dandy arrived at this secret all by himself but Paul couldn’t make it on his own. Lastly, Dr Gel is in more serious sh*t because 0D is going to absorb him!!!!!!!! Reduced into nothingness…

Episode 12
Dandy is in a trial for the murder of Guy Reginald?! It is believed that when Reginald’s wife, Rose came back home from work, she found her husband on the floor dead. A baseball mark was on his head as the baseball rolled over to Dandy’s feet. Wrong place, wrong time? Well, there’s a mask besides the baseball too. So both the defendant and prosecution present their cases and arguments, calling forth witnesses like Scarlet, Meow, QT and Rose to take the stand. Despite what they say seems to be ambiguous enough to point all the guilty evidence to Dandy, that guy has remained silent for the entire time. Because Reginald is a rare alien, could he have been desperate this time to land the reward? Further evidence shows the baseball bears the name of Hiroshi. Although he and his friend Jack were playing baseball, they have never seen Dandy before and came from a faraway planet. Where is the logic to steal a baseball from a faraway planet just to commit this murder? Examining the ball, there are no traces of Dandy’s DNA but some Pyonium particle in which Professor Duran explains it as some god particle that is able to bend space and time. New evidence shows Rose has a life insurance policy taken out on Reginald. The payout is more than the registration reward. She is recalled to the stand and further evidence shows that she has bought strange weapons from an online site. As she has worked at Boobies before, Honey is called to the stand to testify. Seems Rose and Dandy did make contact and it fuels speculation that they are in cohorts to kill Reginald. Rose causes an uproar and maintains she is innocent and didn’t kill her husband and her interaction with Dandy was purely as a customer. However prosecutors claim that since Dandy is an alien hunter, killing Reginald would mean negligence on the job and thus a lighter sentence. She is taken away.

But they are still puzzled about the baseball from faraway. Duran explains Pyonium could response to strong emotions and perhaps like intent to kill, causing it to travel through space. Thus the reason it is found on the baseball. It is time for closing statements and Dandy still remains silent. As the jury deliberate, they see Hiroshi’s social media account which has lots of murderous words and intent. The judge reads out the statement. He points out Hiroshi is the one with murderous intent. Jack cannot believe it but that is when Hiroshi snaps. When they were playing baseball, Hiroshi was filled with all that rage. He hit the baseball Jack threw at him with all that killing intent. The baseball disappeared before his face. Hiroshi than admits that Jack blocked him from his social media account. He is upset he was just pretending to be his friend. Boys fighting… Well, at least it doesn’t look like they’re trying to kill each other. The judge clears Rose’s name that she bought those weapons for her husband. Her husband is a famous masked wrestler but had lost his job and since had fallen on hard times, he thought of making a comeback by playing the villain. That’s where she bought those weapons as a birthday surprise to him. Because he was a famous wrestler, she was trying to protect his identity and not reveal it. Suddenly everyone receives news that Reginald has woke up. Seems he has some sleeping condition that has him sleep for long periods. Because he is a rare alien, they thought he was dead. And if you’re wondering why Dandy has been silent all this while, now he has broken it. His first sound… HE WAS ASLEEP THE ENTIRE TIME!!! WTFFFFFF???!!! Didn’t even know what is going on, eh? The court is adjourned although everyone is still puzzled why the ball appeared before Dandy. Suddenly Gogol Empire soldiers surround Dandy.

Episode 13
Dandy alone is taken to Gogol Empire’s base. Scarlet and Honey joint QT and Meow to go rescue Dandy. Finally Dr Gel can properly meet him face to face. It is revealed Dandy possesses Pyonium and is going to extract it from him. You think Dandy is playing dumb? I think he genuinely doesn’t know. Don’t care either. Duran is a scientist for Jaicro Empire as he reports to Johnny about Dandy being made up of Pyonium instead of DNA. At this rate, the universe will fall into Gogol Empire’s hands. Johnny orders for an all-out attack. Perry commends Dr Gel for retrieving Dandy. After extracting his Pyonium, they will use it to activate some super weapon. It is explained there are countless universes and its parallels. Nobody passes through them but only cosmic strings bind them together and pull them out into another. Pyonium controls those strings and if you can manipulate them, you become ruler of the universe. In other words, God. When Jaicro Empire launches a surprise attack on Gogol Empire’s base, suddenly a twist. Bea shoots Dr Gel! OMG! He is a spy from Jaicro Empire and will be taking Dandy as his. Before you can reel from this shocking revelation, here is another shock. Bea calls his comrades to say he has got Dandy. However he is sick of them and is defecting! Holy sh*t! All for himself! I guess the power is too tempting to be given away to your boss. Johnny faces off with Perry as we see the latter’s true form turns out to be an old guy in a suit! Another revelation?! But this part is mind boggling. Because Dr Gel grows into some giant and grasps Bea in his fist to crush him. Or did Bea shrink? I don’t know. The traitor died. Our Aloha Oe crew have the ride of their lives through the maze of the base before reaching Dandy and rescuing him.

In Dr Gel’s dying breathe, he tells Dandy to stop the weapon or else it will be the end of the universe. Dandy wants his ship but since it was destroyed during that ‘ride’, Dr Gel allows him to use his. This time Dandy will go alone. Because they have risked their lives to come rescue him, he can’t let them throw it away now. And so Dandy rides the Statue Of Liberty (the entire body instead of just the head) towards the weapon as it begins its destructive power. Dandy is weakening and burning up the closer he gets. But when he sees Scarlet’s panties from his monitor, he powers up (don’t even ask) and this is where you toss away your logic. Because now he ejects out and gets naked while accelerating at great speed towards the weapon before destroying it with his super punch. Everyone and everything gets blown away by the beautiful light. Dandy hears the voice of God (the narrator actually) talking to him. He is being told he might have forgotten about his other selves in other universes. But he is one who has the ability to conceivably be one and the same while simultaneously existing in all other parallel universes. So now what? Since the universe is collapsing, a new one will be born. He wants a successor and Dandy is worthy to become to next God. Oh wow. But Dandy realizes this means he won’t have a physical body and can’t go to Boobies anymore. He doesn’t want it and declines to be God! OMFG! Are you thinking straight?! Oh what the heck. So what will happen with a universe without a God? Everything explodes. Don’t ask. I also don’t know. And 14.8 billion years later, Dandy is riding Aloha Oe as usual through space.

To Go Where No Dandy Has Gone Before, Baby!
OMG! What in blazes?! Everything was a big revelation in the end?! I was hoping something like this but that was long ago back in the first season. So when all the random standalone episodes came in, I gave up of ever something of this epic happening in the end. Then bam! This. Mind blowing. So it seems like all those episodes weren’t just trolls. If you think about it, they are somewhat connected to it all although it can be very loosely and indirectly. Episode after episode as we have seen is made as though they look like fillers so it was really amazing that everything, the revelations and the truth all came out in one big blast in the final episode. A fitting final if I should say. But is that really the end since a big question mark hangs over whether it would be continued in the final scene. Who knows? Maybe God Dandy can tell us.

So now when you think about Dandy, everything starts to make sense. Because at first he might look like some easygoing guy who just wants to show off and have fun. Even if he seems serious in his job, he doesn’t actually look like it. If you noticed, Dandy is a guy seemingly capable of a lot of things (maybe except catching rare aliens). A lot may seem useless but hey, he can still do it, right? From being a surfer, a racer, to some dancer and heck, a high school student! How is this even possible? Even if he isn’t that good but heck, at least he could do it. With certain mind boggling episodes dropping hints like multiple Dandys and parallel dimensions, it just looks like they are random nonsensical episodes but beneath all that have something to do with Dandy itself. Wished you have paid more attention to Dandy instead of writing him off as some loser main character, eh? Therefore with this, it explains a great deal of why Dandy gets into a lot of adventures across the universe and why certain episodes start with a big reset like as though the consequences of the previous never had any effect to begin with.

Because of this, it is arguably that Dandy is ultimately the coolest character. Why? Simply because he rejects the offer to be God! You only have to be an idiot to do something like that but that is what makes you cool, right? Well, it proves that being God isn’t everything. Call Dandy an idiot but at least you have got to admire his simple ways even if might seem distasteful to some. Ah, the simple pleasures in life. If a guy can’t be happy hanging out at a diner flirting with sexy waitresses, I don’t know what happiness is then. But just a thought, if Dandy does become God, he can be anything he wants, right? This means he can still materialize himself like he is now and create Boobies or whatever things he wants and go patron it. Doh! Regretting it? So from someone whom we all never think highly to begin with and at most some sort of joker, it is considerably quite a feat for him to be elevated to this status. Whether or not you respect him after this, it is for sure we will see him in a different light now. Ironically as the most important person in the universe, he is also the most blur case and I am sure he isn’t playing dumb. That is Dandy for you.

Notwithstanding to the connection of the plot, with many of the episodes acting as standalones, there were a few that are really interesting like that episode they turned almost the entire episode into a high school music. It’s refreshing to see them dancing and singing their way through. Even starting the season off with multiple Dandys also feels unique. The strange planet of the dead is also intriguing and perhaps making you think about what is life and death. The courtroom drama is also not bad because it kept me on my feet trying to guess what is happening despite that Pyonium stuff boggling my mind even further only till what it really is, is revealed in the final episode. I suppose even if a big majority of the plot doesn’t go anywhere, the randomness of such episodes is enough to keep you amused. But sometimes you might be annoyed by how such episode ends. Because just like last season, they end abruptly or leave their fates hanging or with the kind of consequences that make you wonder how they are going to untie it in the next episode. And then your worries are unfounded because they do a complete reset like as though all those stuffs never happened. But as hinted at the end, multiple parallel worlds… Some things aren’t just for the human minds to understand.

But there are some episodes I thought just felt a little unsatisfying. For example the one that reveals Honey’s origins. Maybe it is just that, nothing much. I thought she would play some sort of important role towards the end of the series thanks to this revelation but I suppose Dandy is still the more important factor. Just a troll, huh? Also, there were a couple of episodes hinting about the romance between Dandy and Scarlet. They’re just teasing us and nothing more than that. I would love to see more of this and if it really goes somewhere because although I know Dandy is the kind that usually won’t end up with the girls, but at the end of it, perhaps someone like Scarlet or even Honey is worthy enough to be it. And imagine if Scarlet is dating God… Yeah, I can’t imagine that.

Thus the other supporting and side characters don’t seem to matter much this season. It is understandable that given the way the series is, you’ll see lots of characters appearing for a single episode and then that’s it. Because with so many living beings in the universe and not counting parallel worlds or other dimensions, you can’t really care for them all. But for QT and Meow, it feels like they have been pretty much sidelined for this season. Not to say that they don’t appear much, what I meant was the impact they made on this season. I just don’t feel it here. Maybe it is because they had their fair screen time in the last season so sidekicks are shoved aside to pave way for the bigger hero. I think. Even with Scarlet and Honey feel like they have more decent appearance in this season, overall it just fails to make a deeper impact. Not even Perry’s true identity or Johnny did any justice. Thanks to the finale, you start thinking this season is all nothing but Dandy. At least there is a closure to Dr Gel and Bea’s case because otherwise we would have forever seen them as running joke materials, antagonists who are only meant to be blown away by the sheer bad luck for chasing Dandy and never getting him.

Art and drawing are still okay although there are times where I feel that certain episodes have an obvious drop in quality. Like as though they hand it over to different producers to animate it and then it becomes obvious. However this might be to fit the visuals world of that world of that episode. For example like that fishing episode in which the art subsequently resembles more like traditional Japanese paper art. Some were cartoonish and some were filled with lush flora while some serve an interesting concept especially that episode on Dandy’s ‘death’. It is really different and unique to see such alien and fantasy world that is neither here nor there. Then of course there is that 2D retro pixel style art which brings back memories of my younger days playing such early space shooter video games.

With the same seiyuus of the main and supporting characters retained, considering the standalone-like episodes, this means a bunch of other seiyuus lending their voice for a particular character in a particular episode and then never to be heard of again. This also means those who played guest characters in the first season won’t be coming back in this one since their character never appeared again. For the more popular ones that I recognized, this season we have Hiroshi Kamiya as Johnny, Megumi Hayashibara as Pine-pine, Kazuya Nakai as Dolph, Miyuki Sawashiro as Catherine and Sayaka Ohara as Rose.

Looks like they used the same opening and ending theme for this season. However after halfway through, they use a new ending theme for an episode. With a little variety between then, some of them sound pretty cool. Like Kanchigai Lonely Night by Dropkix has a very catchy rock ‘n’ roll tune. Personally I feel this is the best of the lot. Then there is the groovy disco-like song named after this series’ name by Zen-La Rock featuring Yomeiri Land. If you feel like dancing a little to your retro Saturday Night Fever, this is it. There are a couple of instrumentals too like White House by Ogre You Asshole (WTF is this group name?!) and All The Thing’s I Am… Worried by Mito. The former isn’t some fanfare for an American President but instead sounds like a slow and alien-like Hawaiian string instrument while the latter feels like some eerie, dramatic and enigmatic piece that is suitable for space adventure games. Seaside Driving by Seiichi Nagai is also an instrumental piece and perhaps the better instrumental one since this is a casual and fun piece that makes you dream of wanting to be at the, well, seaside. Finally for the final episode, there is Space Fun Club by Zen-La Rock featuring Robochuu which sounds more like R&B with a little funky rap. Some of the insert songs are great too like that All Is All (Viva All) in the musical episode and the romantic jazzy I’m Losing You by BTB for Dandy and Scarlet’s dating episode.

Overall, two seasons of Dandy is sure one heck of a space adventure. It has almost everything. Sci-fi, space action, comedy, romance, drama and whatever genres you can think of, it is here. Yeah, when they put in the musical, everything else seems plausible. If you like space themed shows with weirdness and randomness and then a big mind blowing finale, this series is just for you. But remember to come back to Earth once you are done. Just like space itself, I suppose all of us has infinite possibilities. The biggest lesson of all is the age old saying of never judge a book by its cover. For all you know, the douchebag that annoys the hell out of you and a jerk that you hate so much might turn out to be God or the next one. So always be nice. Be dandy! Be groovy baby! See ‘ya in the next alternate dimension. If you remember, that is.

Space Dandy

November 30, 2014

Fancy travelling the vast universe and discovering different types of aliens? And while you are at it, why not make some money and register aliens that mankind that has never seen before? Not possible, you say? Then I guess we can all just be content in watching Space Dandy. In the distant future where man has been able to travel the galaxies, it also led to the discovery many aliens and thus mankind’s mission to ‘register’ them. Think of it as cataloguing and recording them. The rarer and uncommon the species, the bigger the payout. As such, our main protagonist is known as an alien hunter and goes around in search for rare aliens to sustain his dandy lifestyle. But with his easygoing personality, can he get the job done? It’s not as easy as you think it is, baby.

I don’t think I have heard of the word dandy for a long time or even used it for who knows how long. As there are many definitions that go with it, a person who is dandy is said to be placing importance and styles and fashionable appearance. Well, if you have a main character that is also named after this term and his pompadour hairstyle sticking out like a sore thumb, I guess it must be it. Doing my minimal research on Wikipedia, the last time dandyism was in fashion was during the 18th and 19th century in Europe, mainly England and France. Trying to apply this dandyism concept into some modern sci-fi adventure comedy? Well, let’s say the character goes strictly by the definition rather than that past culture. Sporting a jacket and casual t-shirt, pants and boots, he seems more like a modern fashion man, doesn’t he?

Episode 1
Dandy is ranting about a woman’s butt which is a better measurement for a fine woman rather than her boobs. I don’t think his fellow crewmate, QT some vacuum cleaner looking machine would understand. Dandy is an alien hunter and his job is to scour the galaxies to find rare or undiscovered alien species for registration. As part of this mission, he makes his usual visit to Boobies, an intergalactic restaurant with sexy babes as waitress. Camouflaging on the job, huh? Why does he look like he is flirting with the waitress Honey? Weird aliens abound. Sexy scanty babes abound. Because QT is an old model, he doesn’t have an updated database and have to resort to reading a book. They spot a Betelgeusian alien. It is a common species but something there is something different about him. There is some weird mark on his face. Could he be another different race? They go speak to him (who is in the midst of taking secret perverted shots of the waitresses). He flees so Dandy gives chase and brings havoc to those around them. Then he realizes the mark on his face is just a sticker that one gets when one orders some special drink. Dandy got one too. We take a slight detour about some narration, a battle between the forces of Gogol Empire and Jaicro Empire to conquer the universe. Dr Gel is a scientist of Gogol Empire and with his assistant, Bea, they are under orders from the ruler of Gogol Empire, Admiral Perry to hunt down Dandy. Because that guy seems to hold the key to Gogol Empire and perhaps the entire universe. That carefree guy holds the key? What are the chances? And speaking of which, they have just discovered his location. His Seventh Fleet has just arrived on scene. Dandy and QT discuss if they can trick the registration department to register this Betelgeusian whom they call Meow. He messes around with the warp instruments and their spaceship, Aloha Oe goes into warp drive. Dr Gel thinks they have been spotted and thus initiated their escape. The crew is in some space-time distortion. They grab hold of the comic string which warps them to some other part of the galaxy. Dr Gel is forced to admit defeat since he lost track of Dandy. Try again next week? Dandy and Meow go down to check out the planet below. All I know is, there are lots of ferocious aliens who want to eat them. They fight, they run and there is even some mecha who bursts out of the rocks to fight a gigantic alien. An alien is accidentally transported back to Aloha Oe. Dandy tells QT about some last move manoeuvre. A super powerful explosive switch that is enough to blow the entire planet to bits. WHAT?! Just great. Now everyone gets to die. BOOOM!!!

Episode 2
Ignoring what happened at the last episode, Dandy’s aliens are rejected at the registration department. Desperate, he tosses Meow in but the database has 58.6 billion registered Betelgeusian! I guess this means no reward money. Dandy is going to seek solace in some ramen of his but finds it missing. Worse, Meow the freeloader just ate it. Dandy is going to suck him out to space so Meow tells him about some legendary phantom ramen. Since he is not sure of the exact shop, looks like they’re hopping from one restaurant to another just to find its elusive taste. Eventually they run out of money. How are they going to pay for this? Dandy sees this pretty babe, Scarlet and tries to charm her into lending him some money. WTF. But the army of Dr Gel storms into the place. Scarlett kicks their butt and puts that idiot Dandy to shame. So the pattern gets like this. Each ramen place they visit, Dr Gel’s army would surround them and they would have to run for their lives. Rinse and repeat. How do they know of their position every time? Well, Meow posted a selfie of them eating at the place and uploaded it on a social website. No wonder. Dandy throws his handphone out into space. So when Dr Gel has his latest position, he realizes he has been bamboozled since he only sees the handphone floating in space. Then in some place, they finally discover that phantom ramen taste which has that other-dimensional flavour. It should be since they’re making it from another dimension! Dandy and Meow barge into the mysterious chute that sends them into another dimension. An old alien guy is serving ramen in his lone stall. Something about how the taste came about because it went through the wormhole but got stale. He barely remembers about his youth. He was some punk and accidentally killed his girlfriend. He wandered around till he ended up on Earth and some nice guy introduced him to ramen. He was touched by this flavour. To atone himself, he ran away to this dimension to sell ramen and cannot go back. The special taste is from his teardrops. Because the wormhole is closing, they have to finish up quickly. Dandy has with his but Meow hasn’t. Dandy offers the old guy to come back with them but he is staying. I don’t know why Meow can’t eat while he is running so much so he spills everything. They make it back in time. Dandy teases Meow he didn’t get to taste it but he accepts him as part of his crew.

Episode 3
Dandy might have passed this registration had he not blooper. Yeah, trying to put Meow in some suit and disguise to pass him off as a rare alien. Rejected! No reward money. This means no food, right? Don’t worry. QT has mail ordered some food from the other end of the universe. It has expired 10,000 light years ago! Care to eat it? Plus, it is a bargain. But 1 get 365 free! Wow! You won’t find such a good deal anywhere. Dandy has saved up his Boobies point card for some special service. However it expires in 2.5 hours. Just great. The nearest Boobies is so far away (almost three hours to get there, that is) so Dandy is desperate and activates the warp despite it being broken. It has them emerge and crash land in some alien world. Are there Boobies on this planet, is his first concern. They go check it out only to find a pretty babe, Mamitas being chased by scary ferocious aliens. Dandy tries to show off and become a hero but I guess fighting these guys head to head isn’t such a good idea. So run! The guys try to appeal to her as she tells her sob story of her ship broke down nearby. Dandy suggests she can come aboard theirs so perhaps they can scour her ship to for parts to replace theirs. Dr Gel and his fleet have surrounded the planet. But Bea points out the most dangerous man-eating alien on it. Dr Gel orders everyone to retreat and feels relieved he doesn’t want to be eaten alive. That alien is… Mamitas! Literally a man eater, no? Dandy sees those aliens hanging outside the ship and goes to fight them. However his ray gun ran out of batteries. Something feels odd about them so QT has him set the translator to hear what they are saying. They are actually trying to warn him of the Deathgerian alien who will eat them. When they get hungry, they will change into their other form. Speaking of which, it is that time. Bye. Mamitas approaches Meow and turns into a boobs monster! Too bad the dim-witted cat got eaten alive! Dandy and QT rush and escape in their mini ship, Little Aloha. Are they fine leaving their friend behind? Because Meow has the Boobies point card with him. Instantly Dandy turns back and is going to be a hero to save his fellow crew member. Little Aloha turns into Hawaii Yankee, some dandy mecha to fight off the Deathgerian. But the Deathgerian sucks and eats everything it could get its hands on. Including those bunch of expired food. Not even the stomach of a mighty alien could stand the staleness of food past its expiry date. They slam the rest of it into its throat for ultimate victory. Now that the Deathgerian has become palm size, they register it and it is approved. With the reward money, there is no need for the Boobies point card anymore. Heck, they can’t even remember the other thing they lost…

Episode 4
The gang has captured a Stiltonian alien but notices something different. It is much opposite of the species they know. Could it be a rare one? Time to send it in to the registry department. Little do they know that something sinister will happen after Meow gets bitten. He looks pale, slow and is groaning. Dandy thinks he is sick rather than suspecting anything. They send him to hospital and the doctor finds it fascinating since he is like dead and will be admitted for observation. Dandy wants to be hospitalized too only wants to flirt with the sexy nurses… That night, Meow bites the nurse. Perry has given mercenaries to Dr Gel to capture Dandy. Next day, when Dandy and QT visit the hospital, there is blood everywhere. Everything’s messed up. Everyone is so zombie… Still don’t suspect anything? The mercenaries barge in but are overwhelmed by the zombies. Even Dr Gel gets bitten as he thinks Dandy set this up. Finally it dawned to Dandy that everyone is a zombie so he uses QT as a shield! Robots don’t turn into zombies, right? Wrong! QT is now a zombie! He makes his escape to the rooftop and flees in the helicopter in the nick of time. However the pilot is a zombie too… We hear a narration of Dandy and co’s zombie life. They love eating raw meat and watching zombie movies. Slow. Despair. Groaning. Since they don’t know how to find a way to turn back, they ask somebody who has been one for some time: The Stiltonian. Life as a zombie isn’t that bad. He advices them to take yoghurt and ironically it enhances their life quality. However being a zombie has its downside. They are too slow to capture rare aliens so they are running low on cash. Dandy remembers he signed up for a life insurance policy and bugged the company till they approve he is dead. Yeah, how can you be dead yourself when you’re talking to them? With the money, they can go patron Boobies. Honey hasn’t seen them around for some time that she heard rumours that they were dead! You don’t say… Too slow to grab her ass… But thank goodness zombies are not discriminated in space. As for Dr Gel, because Perry couldn’t understand a singly zombie word and the money wasted on this operation, he blows the ship up! With the rise of zombies, it also emerges zombie hunters hired by insurance companies to take them out with a single shot to the head. Naturally Dandy is targeted but he is one lucky bastard since other aliens walk into the path or he slips. Eventually the zombie hunter turns into a zombie and infects the insurance company too. Peace for zombies reigns again and soon the entire universe is united into a single race of zombies. Zombies for equality! No more differences! Have you become one too?

Episode 5
Yet again ignoring the aftermath of last episode, this time Dandy is to apprehend a Gentooan alien. He is surprised to see a little girl but this little Gentooan, Adelie switches his body with her stuffed doll (this alien has this capability although only once every 1 day). However Dandy fights back. Soon he reverts back and he is going to register her and make some money. But where the heck is Aloha Oe? Towed away for parking violation. QT and Meow are stranded as they cannot pay the fine. The only way is to take some transport to the registry department, get the money and come back here. Adelie wants to cut a deal. If he brings him somewhere first, she’ll go quietly to the registration centre. Or else she’ll cry pervert. And so begins the duo’s road trip. Initially they hated each other but gradually got along. They even do road shows to earn some money. One night he heard her crying in her sleep calling for her mother. The place she has him bring is her grandpa. But a different person occupies it. She feels sad as she explains that Gentooans lived isolated for fear baddies would take advantage of their power. She only lived with her mother but she died. Her only other known relative is her grandpa. That night, Dandy is adamant to go to Boobies and leaves Adelie home alone. Actually he goes out to gather information on her grandpa’s whereabouts. Next day, he takes her to a train station and thinks of buying her a present. Adelie thinks this is goodbye and is tossing her away since she is a bother. She is upset that she uses her power on him. She goes off to cry alone but a couple of alien hunters whom she humiliated earlier on are going to kidnap her and get some payback. Dandy in the stuffed doll tries to chase after them. Adelie’s call for him made him push harder as he propels into the train to knock out one of them. However time is up and they switched back. The other alien hunter is going to get nasty but grandpa knocks him out. Later he explains to Adelie that Dandy found and contacted him to meet up. Dandy leaves them tangerines for their journey and says goodbye. What about the registration department? Isn’t he going to take her there for some reward money? Well, he’ll just have to find some other alien. She hopes she can come aboard Aloha Oe one day but he only admits busty adult babes. What if she is grows up? If she’s big boobs and curvy assed sexy. In that case, she’ll grow up fast.

Episode 6
While QT is cleaning Dandy’s room, he sees his surfboards so he starts ranting about his romance of who knows what. They arrive at their target planet, a planet strife in war for 10,000 years. Aloha Oe gets hit and crashes. As Dandy and Meow search for aliens separately, they get kidnapped. An alien strips Dandy to his underwear and finds him a comrade. Likewise, another alien trusts Meow because he is wearing a vest. Going back and forth between both sides, we learn that both sides hate each other just because one wears underwear and the other only dons a vest. This is the 10,000 years worth of war? Oh, they are the last ones remaining. Dandy and Meow want to register them but they won’t leave the planet fearing the other would take advantage. Heck, they even have a designated time to start their battle and accuse each other of bringing help. I understand they hate each other to the point of wanting kill the other but why does Dandy and Meow even need to fight each other?! And when time is up, they go home. WTF. They report to QT who suggests that they should do a peace treaty. And once the ship is fixed, they can bring them both in to register. Great idea. So at their respective aliens, they try to convince them to come to terms. Heck, they can’t even remember why the war started and they each have a secret bomb that will blow the planet apart. But the aliens like their idea and give it a shot. The peace treaty is signed but now the tough moment is to have them exchanged their prized possession. Reluctantly they take off their underwear or vest but eventually couldn’t put them on. Negotiations break down when they resume fighting. They start shooting each other. There goes the treaty. But why does Dandy and Meow have to fight too? Once the ammo runs out, they resort to throwing rocks. They got crushed by its weight. Before their last dying breath, they initiate the bomb. The planet is going to explode… Yeah… You guys can stop fighting now. Because QT is escaping himself. Going to leave those guys to their fate? I don’t know where they can run since the planet is crumbling. QT throws the surfboard down and Dandy rides it like the wave into space with Meow clinging on as they leave the collapsing planet.

Episode 7
Dandy is thrilled that all the babes at Boobies are happy he has returned. Actually they are in love with Prince, a genius racer. Jealous Dandy decides to race too and narrates his life as a racer. I thought he was a surfer? Before this no-holds-barred race starts, not only Prince mocks Dandy but his companions to who seem to be better looking counterparts of Dandy’s. Like this Mickey Mouse clone, Squeak and the high specs robot, Z. As the race is televised, Dr Gel sees it and is going to hunt him down. The race begins with favourites Prince in the early lead. Dandy ‘cheats’ by using blasts from others to propel him faster and further. As they go through checkpoints after checkpoints and battling other racers/obstacles along the way, Dandy manages to catch up and even gives Prince the middle finger, distracting him and getting him temporarily stuck in a trap. During the pit stop, Dandy is first but since Meow is a klutz, he is just slow in filling up. Putting everything inside as fuel? Squeak puts a bomb under Aloha Oe. Prince might have come in last but with his team’s efficiency, he comes from behind to leave first. Now Dandy is dead last. He accidentally sets off some explosion that sends him propelling further. Dr Gel has finally caught up and when he surpasses Dandy, he is so happy. What was his mission again? Then he crashes. Try again next time. Dandy and Prince are neck to neck to the finish line. So fast and furious that they cut a planet in half! Prince has never felt anything like this before… He thinks… He is in LOVE???!!! Squeak then presses the detonator. Combined with the weird fuel ingredients that Meow put in (siew mai?), whatever mumbo-jumbo ‘scientific’ explanation the narrator said, it caused some reaction that hurls Dandy faster than the speed of light. So fast that he arrived in the future. 5.67 billion years to be exact! He sees a Buddha version of himself. WTF?! Is this victory?!

Episode 8
Bea shows and demonstrates to Dr Gel some DJ mixer that doubles as some missile shooter. Dr Gel is worried because of the claims they will get and Perry will blow his top since he is such a cheapskate. Too late. He’s got the claims. Dandy is detected so Dr Gel makes this excuse to go warp. See ‘ya. Oh, did Perry fire them? On this junk planet, Dandy is looking for new aliens but stumbles upon a dog. He thought she is an alien in disguise but turns out to be a real dog. They become best friends. Taken in by those puppy dog eyes? Anyway Meow isn’t happy and is quite jealous. A new crew member? Better than that freeloader. They play a lot and the dog feels satisfied with their company and dies. Surprisingly the most emotional one is Meow because he too likes her and wanted to play with her too. Tsundere? Just then a couple of fleas hop from the dead dog onto Meow. Dandy creates a rocket to launch the dog’s body into space. Back on Aloha Oe, Meow is scratching like mad. But the fleas had to abandon Meow since he is too smelly. QT spots them and tries to get them. They escape and try to latch onto Dandy. One of them gets killed when Dandy combs his hair. The other brother possesses QT and goes on a rampage. They throw everything they’ve got till the flea drops out. Dandy then stomps on it. QT is too late to explain he can’t kill it. Because if the flea dies, this planet will fall apart because their suits were holding things together. But the planet falling apart can’t be that bad, right? Well, if you consider turning into a black hole and sucking every damn thing in as not a bad sign. So better warp the hell out of here! Dandy even had time to fantasize all the beautiful busty babes he met. In the warp, Aloha Oe passes by Dr Gel’s ship. And that poor baddie just got sucked into the black hole. He thinks Dandy set this up. Not even the DJ mixer could save him. Curses! Aloha Oe comes out somewhere safe. Dandy is appalled that Meow stinks like hell.

Episode 9
The gang arrive at a planet filled with plants. They believe there is a rare alien named Code D. QT initiates the upgraded transporter. However it causes them to land randomly. Dandy is being brought by plants to who knows what this strange place is. He meets some plant, Dr H who thought he was an unusual plant. Dr H also has a daughter called 033H. As explained, the plants evolved to a point it overruns the planet and there are several plant countries. Dandy hangs out and explores the place with 033H while Meow seems to be given the best treatment by some little plant blobs. Trying to fatten him up? So when Dandy decides to go get Code D who is located at the dangerous north, Dr H and 033H tag along. They get arrested by some plant friend of Dr H who governs this area for trying to do something this dangerous. Seems they were once in a group that researched Code D but when Dr H reported Code D is dangerous, he was taken off the group. However a friend of theirs helps them escape and they continue their journey. More strange places, more strange plants. Just totally weird. Like you’re high on drugs on something. Finally they reach the north and Dandy can only go it alone. He sees Code D is just some rock and after he hauls it out, the entire planet starts to devolve. As explained by Dr H, Code D was a meteorite that crashed here and they were unable to control it. Now they are going back to their original form. This is not the end but a new beginning. Dandy is back on his ship, I guess he is lamenting he can’t trade a rock for the reward. Yeah, he’s sick of plants.

Episode 10
Since Aloha Oe is having some problems, they land on the nearby planet to get it fix. This happens to be Meow’s home planet. Against his wishes, Dandy and QT go pay his family a visit. Seems like a pretty normal family but Meow feels like he doesn’t want to come back despite the nostalgic memories. They bum around all day and hang out at the bar where Meow’s school’s most popular girl, Katie is working as a hostess. The next scene seems to repeat itself and before we can cry that Haruhi rip-off, the narrator tells us that we are in a loop thanks to this planet’s strong magnetic field that twists space and time. So every day is the same day. By the 108th loop, our heroes could sense and tell what is happening next. They think they have super powers! He narrator had to tell them off and remind them it is a loop. So the trio are the only ones aware of the loop and at this rate, they’ll be stuck on this planet forever since Aloha Oe won’t get fixed. Dandy quickly tries to find a solution. They meet Meow’s junior high friends and borrow their super car that could ride into space. Unfortunately it exploded. And so the loop continues. They find out Meow’s dream was to be like his dad who is a metal worker. Meow even goes to help him out in his factory. Will it be okay to live like this forever? Better find a solution quick. His friends suggest looking up at Yahoo but it tells them to Google it! But really, just tear off a page in the calendar? Hmm… Seems pretty tough. Can’t even rip a page. Since there is some electromagnetic coming out of it, they think this is the cause of the loop. They do all sorts of ridiculous stuffs to break it but it’s tougher than diamond. I guess anybody would be discouraged by it. So when they’re drunk in the bar, Meow even think living this boring life isn’t so bad. He could marry Katie and have a family. That was a joke, right? But Katie says she is lesbian! Motivation to break the calendar? It’s still not coming off. Meow’s dad offer to help and using his metal equipment to drill it, it finally comes off! Hooray! The loop breaks and the gang is now about to leave but why is Meow feeling reluctant? Dad tells him to go with them and live the life he wants. And the ironic part is that now they’re back in space, they’re doing the same thing of procrastinating to find rare aliens and bumming around. They don’t need any time loop for this…

Episode 11
Scarlet who is working at the rare aliens registration counter wants Dandy to open this box that he claims contains a rare alien. He can’t. Because they’ll forget. Oh, really? So how come they remember that they forget? Once she opens the box, the alarm goes off for a short while before things return to normal. Everybody doesn’t seem to remember after that but inside that box is a book. Dr Gel is so engrossed in his science theory that he didn’t realize Perry called. Anyway he wants to attack the library planet of Lagado since they charged him for failing to return a book. So why not just returning it? It was stolen. But their surveillance captured the thieves (Dandy and co?) stealing that book which is entitled Secrets of the Cosmos for Dummies. Dandy goes through the book and finds a ticket voucher to Lagado. Thinking it is some free meal and stay, he decides to go there. They appear right in the middle of Gogol’s attempt to invade Lagado. Bea has taken control since Dr Gel is still engrossed. But Aloha Oe wipes out almost all their ships! When they land down on the planet, Dandy thinks he is being duped because the all-you-can-eat could be just data, something that QT enjoys. He is going to rip the book but the alien guards surround him. As explained and revealed, the book itself is the true and rare alien. The book is the ruler of this planet! Her wish is to travel the galaxies and learn, it stores away all information in its bodily form, which is the ticket. Her chance came when Perry stole her. Well, Dandy doesn’t remember doing everything because their memories are erased. Since her biggest disadvantage is unable to move, she controls the minds of others to move around or do things. She even has others think and solve problems for her because thinking herself would use up too much energy which she uses to sustain her life. Suddenly all Gogol ships are under attack. Dr Gel has finally solved the puzzle. Now we know why the truth of the universe is never known because it means death for those who understands! And now they are going to meet it! All the theories that Dr Gel wrote teleports into that book. She thanks Dandy for everything and as token of gratitude, she gives Dandy this box and warns not to open it too early. So it’s déjà vu again because Dandy is arguing with Scarlet about this box. Same thing happens. Only this time a video tape is inside. This loop continues to floppy discs, laser discs, CDs and drags the entire galaxy into some war. Of course, we don’t remember it, do we?

Episode 12
Dandy is appalled at the paltry reward over this alien so Scarlet tells them off about the fees to pay them for their reward. They should go get a real rare alien instead of bringing in trash like this. Say, a Chameleonian. This one is worth millions! Better get started, baby. However as warned, nobody knows its true form since it always shift shapes. So they go fishing for one and it seems QT got hooked (no pun intended) on this sport. QT becomes a fishing expert and even fishes up some rare black tsuchinoko while our guys think they’ve hit jackpot when they get a real chameleon. Of course it is just a real chameleon as Scarlet ticks them off again. That night, tsuchinoko evolves into something… Next day, the crew accuses each other for using their stuffs. Dandy deduces there is another person onboard and even takes a roll call. Heck, they didn’t even realize that suspicious old guy following and imitating them! Only when QT realizes his tsuchinoko is missing and they’re freaking dumbfounded to see that old guy. Now the chase begins. Dandy feels odd there are 2 Meows and captures the later one. Scarlet analyzes he is just a normal Betelgeusian. Back to the hunt on Aloha Oe, each time they got tricked because they didn’t realize the Chameleonian could change into their furniture. Don’t they realize they never had such furniture? Now there are 2 QTs. Catch them both! At the registration, the Chameleonian escapes and this has Scarlet ticking them off for yet another prank. But there is another Scarlet coming by. Could she be… They get rough with her. Turns out she is the real one and now they are banned from coming. Back on Aloha Oe, there are 2 Dandys! Which is which? How can you tell? The only way is to do a pop quiz. Seems both of them are getting correct answers. So it descends into an argument of who-are-you-I-am-you. In the process, the Chameleonian loses track of who he really is and the real Dandy couldn’t care less because no matter how many of himself there is, it’s no problem for him. Yeah, conclusion not reached. Dr Gel has developed some super weapon that will get Dandy once and for all. When both Dandys are out walking, Dr Gel used his machine to pick one of them. As you would have expected… There are 2 Dr Gels now! Who are you?! This causes Dr Gel to descend into a spiralling madness to question who he is. Dandy and co are at their usual at Boobies. The crew wonders if he is the fake one. And the narration leaves us in a teaser as it tells us that everyone including ourselves could be a Chameleonian.

Episode 13
Finally. An episode where QT is the star. Do robots fall in love? Well, this is what happened when QT meets this cute coffee maker, Maker. Can you say he got short circuited? So every day he makes a frequent visit and even sneaks her out one night to go see town (Maker can’t really move). I don’t know, is a coffee maker that heavy? QT seems struggling unless he isn’t fully charged. One day, QT finds Maker along with the cash register called, well uhm, Register, gone. As he found out, there are special police in this town and a law that states that machines that have been found to have emotions will be rendered useless and dumped into a huge floating island. While Aloha Oe is a mess without QT around, the vacuum cleaner sneaks on to the island in hopes of finding Maker. He finds Toaster who shows him some secret dance party that all the dumped appliances are doing. This isn’t any ordinary dance but a revolutionary dance. There is Register manning the DJ and making music like no other. QT is happy that Maker is here too. Toaster then makes his revolutionary speech. In short, they are going to show those life forms that they are not garbage. The age of appliance is here! Toaster along with Register merges into a giant robot that is going to terrorize the city and wipe out all living things. Maker starts crying and laments she couldn’t stop Register. She begs for somebody to stop him. QT feels heartbreak for the first time and realizes Maker is in love with Register. Nevertheless QT rushes to go stop the robot but is of course is no match. Then whatever secret weapon Dr Gel has been preparing-cum-trolling us as seen throughout this episode, suddenly starts malfunctioning dangerously (maybe he spilled his water) and its beam hits QT down on the planet. It turns QT giant size. Now we can have our giant mecha battle. Both robots smack, grapple and pummel each other till they’re a total wreck. Well at least they’re still alive. And so are the living beings. So QT is back on Aloha Oe all busted up, enjoying a cup of coffee. Well, he got short circuited.

To Infinity And Beyond, Baby!
I figure that with everything so random and without a proper storyline to follow, there are going to be lots more crazy adventures. This means more room to have ‘creative’ and no-brainer adventures for our Aloha Oe crew. That’s right. A sequel as mentioned in the final episode and by this time this blog is up, it’s already done and dusted. Needless to say, I’ll be catching the second season too and just for the time being I will be taking a little breather just to let things settle down before starting up again. Sometimes it is good to give things a rest instead of going on and on and on and on and on and on and on like certain 3 digit anime series that will probably never end. Uh huh. You’ll have a higher probability of finding an end to the universe than these series. Haha!

Many would think this series is some sort of successor for Cowboy Bebop even if that series was created by the same person, Shinichirou Watanabe. Just that this one is more of dandy compared to the bluesy Cowboy Bebop. Besides the space theme, another obvious point is how each episode stands alone by itself, just like the format of Cowboy Bebop. And I suppose this is what prevents it to be an epic anime too? However unlike my feelings for Cowboy Bebop in which the episodic feels of each episodes diminishes its epic-ness, I don’t feel the same for Space Dandy perhaps at the back of my mind I was thinking this was going to be some funny nonsensical series. Yup. I didn’t take many of the things seriously and stopped after realizing that what happened at the end of each episode doesn’t have some sort of consequences in the next. It’s like they hit the reset button and left it there as it is. It was displeasing at first but as I said, once I stopped caring and get into the flow of it, somehow everything just feels fine. Because deep down in my heart, lady luck would always be on Dandy’s side no matter the outcome. If not, que sera sera.

Thanks to the random and episodic nature of the series, character development is hard to see. I mean, everybody could guess by the end of the first episode that Dandy is going to be your annoying dandy hero, right? He loves to flirt especially making his frequent visits to Boobies and when it comes down to his job, he is a failure. Well, sometimes he doesn’t fail but generally speaking if you want to measure him for his success, there won’t be much of any records to speak by. However Dandy has shown a caring side of him like when he decided to forgo a reward just to let Adelie reunite with her grandpa. Touching. So all is not lost. There is some decent humanity in him. But don’t hope to much either ;p. Similar to him is Meow who sometimes feels like his partner in crime whenever he is not his sparring partner. He has got to be the best sidekick or crew member ever since all he mostly does is just bum around like a freeloader. Yeah. That’s why ‘best sidekick in the galaxy’. Lastly making up the trio is QT. Although he seems smarter, responsible (the only one who does a lot of things) and more rational than the living duo, sometimes he is a little goofy but that is because if you based it on robot logic. They can never understand humans or how living things act or think. The trio could be the new space age Three Stooges the way they go about with their antics.

Then there is this mysterious antagonist, Dr Gel. As far as this season is concerned, the reason for wanting to capture Dandy or how he plays a key role in whatever their plans are is not cleared. Maybe it is something I hope to see in the next season. Therefore, Dr Gel and Bea’s role in this season seems to be more comical than menacing. At first it starts out like they have this serious, grand and ‘never fail’ plan or weapon that will capture Dandy once and for all only to be comically beaten in the end. Because just like Wil E. Coyote, he ends up always on the losing side no matter what. The best part is Dandy does not even lift a finger to get Dr Gel into such screwed up predicament! Even better, Dandy does not even know who he is! It never really crossed his mind that somebody is out to get his ass. I don’t know if Dr Gel and Bea are the only ones assigned by Perry to catch Dandy. After so many failures and money spent for nothing (hey, Perry is a miser, isn’t he?), he should have cut costs or hire somebody who will get the job done. Or like they say, if you want something done, do it yourself. But then again, it defeats the purpose why you are the big bad boss in the first place. You get to order people around, though the results may leave you seething in anger…

I thought Scarlet was going to play some major role somewhere towards the end since her kung fu ass kicking babe in an early episode made it look like she is just more than a pretty face sitting behind the register counter inspecting all sorts of aliens brought in. And when she had a couple of cameos in the end, she turned into an annoyed register ticking off Dandy for his un-seriousness. Where’s the ass kicking babe I want to see? The other minor characters that don’t recur only appear for that single episode and although it doesn’t seem much, in a way it helps to further develop the Aloha Oe trio. Otherwise, we wouldn’t know that Dandy has a soft spot to help a lonely child reunite with her grandpa or Meow and his family back home or even QT falling in love and doing incomprehensible stuffs (from a robot’s point of view, that is) in the name of love.

Action wise, they are rather good and some of them are pretty outrageous but of course in the name of comedy. Even if they don’t make sense or set your hearts thumping and pumping with adrenaline, at least they are worth a good laugh. Because it’s just incredulous. That’s what being dandy is all about? And there are a few moments of fanservice especially with the girls at Boobies. Well, human girls at least. Alien Boobies girls don’t look very appetizing… However to Dandy as long as they got boobs and ass, they’ll do. Good thing he doesn’t discriminate but on the other hand it just shows his true colour as a womanizer. But anyway, that is what I thought Honey is all about. You got a sweet dumb blonde-like girl to smile and serve you while you smile and try to take quick glimpses at her cleavage or curvy ass. Mmm… You know why they keep coming back to Boobies now, don’t you?

The art and drawing is passable and decent. Sometimes with so many aliens around, I have this feeling that the producers were just trying to get creative in designing all sorts of weird aliens. Some really looking so odd that it boggles your mind. It’s like as though they have some competition who can design the aliens and those rejected ones are casted as background extras. It’s like anything goes. So if I submit my horrible drawing of some alien, chances are it can be featured here even if it is just a 5 seconds cameo. Really. With so many vast alien worlds, there are some that would look like our own and even share the same culture. While the quality is consistent, I thought that some of them aren’t. Like that plant planet episode, everything was so abstract and it feels like as though they didn’t put enough effort or had enough time to complete it and passed it off as it is. It was weird although at the same time refreshing because it is just different. But overall, the visuals are okay with lots of flashy stuffs during certain action scenes so it’s not that all bad. The mid-intermission is also interesting as in each episode there are different designs on the series’ title. One was even a spot the difference!

Junichi Suwabe is cool as the voice of Dandy. Just like how he voices many cool guys like Atobe in Prince Of Tennis, Ren in Uta No Prince-sama series and Archer in Fate/Stay Night. At first I thought Mika Kanai was the voice of QT because she sounded very similar to Galaxy Angel’s Normad. Just without the computerized sounding voice. To my error, it is Uki Satake instead. So far her only other roles are Mikia in Soredemo Sekai Wa Utsukushii and Kite in Hunter x Hunter (2011). Hiroyuki Yoshino as Meow sounds familiar since he is the voice of Bossun in Sket Dance but without all that screaming. Other main casts include Houko Kuwashima as Scarlet (Tomoyo in Clannad), Yurin as Honey (Nana in Bokura Ga Ita), Unshou Ishizuka as Dr Gel (Bunta in Initial D), Kousuke Hatakeya as Bea (Ginkaku in Uchouten Kazoku) and Banjou Ginga as Perry (Zaha Torte in Bakuretsu Hunters).

Due to the random adventures in every episode, there is a large casts for other small roles. Some cameo by other seiyuus I recognized include Kana Hanazawa (as Adelie), Ayana Taketatsu (Mamitas), Mamiko Noto (Z), Yuuki Kaji (Prince), Aya Hirano (Maker), Tomoko Kaneda (033H), Rikiya Koyama (one of those flea brothers) and Kappei Yamaguchi (one of those Lagado aliens books). The opening theme is Viva Namida by Yasuyuki Okamura. It tries to give that dandy feel with some psychedelic colours and that funky beat. Well, it’s not bad but won’t end up as one of my favourites. The ending theme is Welcome To The X Dimension by Etsuko Yakushimaru. Despite having this disco feel to it, it feels odd as the singer feels more like whispering than singing. Even weirder are the odd equations in some of the scenes. Later I found out they are references to some American physicist’s quantum physics theory of many worlds. Whatever. Not like I would understand it anyway.

Overall, this series is a pleasant watch if you can get by the little shameless fanservice (because it makes you think men are just thinking about boobs and sex, which is partly true), the nonsense, the randomness of each episode and the big reset factor at the start of each other, ignoring all that has happened before. Well, this is supposed to be something fun to watch instead of cracking your brains over some convoluted plot that will leave you more like a zombie in the end than anything. Strange things already happen among us humans, what more even stranger and weirder things occurring throughout the galaxy that don’t make sense. At least I know this one can make me laugh. I hope the next season will bring in bigger laughs and even more outrageous adventures. Then I can laugh all I want because in space, nobody can hear you laugh.

Lost Universe

August 16, 2014

Retro time. Need something funny. Maybe a bit of some sci-fi action too. Let’s see. Aha. Lost Universe. And so that is how I came to pick up this anime. What? Don’t believe me? I’m trying to be the best anime viewer in the universe. Apparently even though I have never watched the Slayers series or having any intention to watch that show, while watching this series something in me hinted that this is so Slayers-like. Subsequently I found out that indeed that Lost Universe had some connection with Slayers since they are written by the same author. As I said, I am not familiar with the Slayers universe so I can’t really compare nor will I spot if there are Slayers references throughout the series. Though, from what I read that certain characters in Slayers do have some sort of appearance in this world. For this anime concerned, our hero and his mini team work as Trouble Contractors. Call them the odd job workers of the future who take on anything from finding your lost cat and fighting off space pirates to earn a living. Of course, having that as the premise itself won’t be interesting to last 26 episodes so along the way, they discover some sort of super evil that is bent on spreading darkness throughout the universe and take it upon themselves to stop it. How is that for originality? No? Just watch it anyway.

Of course being such a retro anime, there is this thought of mine too that there is a chance I may find Megumi Hayashibara on board this anime. True enough, she voices one of the main characters! It got me thinking that she is truly the ‘queen of voice acting’ in the 90’s and early 2000’s because it seems that almost every major anime needs to have her in it. It is like they need to have her or else the anime won’t be good. Aside Slayers, there is Ranma 1/2 , Shaman King, Nuku Nuku, Detective Conan, Cowboy Bebop, Evangelion, Love Hina, Saber Marionette J, need I go on? And do you know she is also the voice of the titular character in Hello Kitty as well as Musashi in Pokemon? Musashi who? Well, the English version named her as Jessie, the other half of the dim-witted Team Rocket. Yeah. I don’t know how Lost Universe fared as compared to Slayers or any other animes that Megumi Hayashibara voiced but it is sure fun to hear her voice in such retro animes. You can’t ‘run away’ from her. Although you may have thoughts that having hearing her in almost every old anime would be boring that you would go, “Oh no. Not her again. Dang”, but since I don’t watch retro animes that often, you can say it’s just the right tonic for me. Oh yeah. Now I can add another anime with Megumi Hayashibara to my list. Lost Universe. Check!

Episode 1
In Dugole Castle, there is a secret illegal auction organized by the Dugole Connection crime syndicate run by Darles. Anything illegal and stolen is auctioned here. Millennium Feria Nocturne AKA Millie is a detective wannabe so she is recording the illegal activity secretly in hopes this will make her the universe’s greatest detective. Counting her chickens? Then dropping in to ruin her big moment is the idiotic duo of Kane Blueriver and Canal Volfied. Their petty argument attracted the attention of the guards so the girls pretend to be lost show girls. They could have gotten away if not for Kane who started picking a fight because the guards started mocking his beloved cape as lame. The fight their way through and escape via dump. More petty arguments between Kane and Millie especially how the former ruined her chance at stardom. Yeah. Blame everybody else. She is not thrilled that he somewhat knew her because he ‘stole’ her ID card she dropped. Their argument is put on hold when more guards come into the fray. Canal disappears when she goes out of range. Yup. She’s just a hologram. Then down the duo go when the dump empties. Millie continues to remind us why she wants to be the best detective in the universe. She hates being second. Oh? I thought there was a more complicated reason to that. And yeah, after blaming him, they part ways. Because she was so obsessed in thinking to become number one, she didn’t realize she got slapped unconscious by one of Darles’ men! WTF?! Kane uses Canal to hack into the system and sees Millie captured and being auctioned off. Millie is resigned to her fate and at least want to be sold off expensively. But she is started off with a paltry 10 credits! Insult!

Kane doesn’t care about her but since he’s found what he want, he returns to his ship and begins the operation. Part of it looks like turning this place upside down because a single battleship can cause so much damage. Or the baddies are just useless. After saving Millie, one of Darles’ men without permission uses his mecha to tear the place apart. He is bragging about the high tech equipment this and that, blah, blah, blah. All Kane did was just unleash his light saber and slice him in half! So much about big and strong, eh? Millie notes Kane is using a psi-blade, a sword of light powered by psychic energy but those only with strong spiritual energy can wield it. She is baffled this idiot can use it. Maybe he’s not an idiot after all. Soon the intergalactic police arrive and apprehend everyone. Kane leaves so the police wonder why Lieutenant Rail Claymore isn’t going after him. It’s because he is a Trouble Contractor and he will take on any job and is good at it. Millie wraps up her investigation and yes, she definitely wants to blame him this time. It is included in her report too. Because she’s sitting in prison! How did this even happen? Kane returns the stolen tea set heirloom to his contractor. Canal is relishing this part because this is where they get paid for their services. However Kane only takes a meagre 100 credits (I guess he wants to play the cool hero) and this upsets Canal. So she threatens to half his oxygen, meal, washing his cape and no using the bathroom!

Episode 2
The scientists revel in the completion of some phase drive that allows spaceships to jump at the speed of light without something. And then it goes berserk and out of control with the spaceship disappearing. As I expected. Canal buys some big weapon and makes a great bargain with her cutie act. Then she has Kane haul it back to their ship, Swordbreaker. Along the way, they see Millie getting fired as a cook. Bad day for her, huh? Then she continues to blame them. Oh God. She got fired from the detective agency after the police arrested her thinking she was part of Dugole Connection. There goes her dream. However her scolding has to be put on hold when there are more pressing matters to attend. Rail contacts Kane about one of the spaceships going out of control and lost in hyperspace. Kane initially doesn’t want to do it but since Rail threatens that Dugole Connection and that they are on collision course with Lilienthal (the lost spaceship), they have to get their ass moving and do it for free. Why not Rail and his police do it themselves? Something about busy with space pirates. Millie wanted to continue her scolding (goodness gracious, is there anything else she can do?) but she panics upon hearing Swordbreaker is going into overdrive or something. She is surprised that everything is stable and with Canal as the master computer, she calculates where Lilienthal will reappear. They almost collide into it and Canal sarcastically blames Millie that her weight may be the extra factor that threw them off. I’d like to see her complain about that.

So the plan is for Kane to enter Lilienthal and take out the main computer to stop its acceleration. They need to be careful because it’s filled some micro black hole energy and any shockwave can cause many nearby planets to be destroyed. Canal tries out her new weapon to make a hole in the airlock. Can you believe it, she missed! Millie is more precise and only needs one shot. Oh, the irony. As Kane makes his way inside with Canal providing directions, Lilienthal begins to accelerate and warp. Millie wants them to get out (complain, complain, complain…) or else everything blows up but Kane reminds her that they are Trouble Contractors. They do jobs that nobody else could. Kane uses his psi-blade to disable the main computer. Now it’s Canal’s turn to latch Swordbreaker onto Lilienthal and control its path. She missed colliding into a colony by a mere inch. Not over yet. There’s an asteroid before them. No problem. Canal shoots her leap railgun to make a big hole and they barely avoid collision. Must be a scary ride for Millie, huh? Now that Lilienthal is safely disengaged, they’ll leave it up to Rail to pick it up since they’re not getting paid to do extra anyway. But Millie wants to hear some explanation. Observing how Swordbreaker works and the way it can alter the path of a big ship, she deduces Swordbreaker is a Lost Ship, legendary spaceships said to be relics of a superior ancient civilization. Kane admits this is indeed a Lost Ship and hopes she will keep it a secret. They are about to send her home but Millie changes her mind and will stay here. They are after all responsible for the lost of her job. And now that she knows their secret, it’s safer that she hangs out with them. Here’s the start to the best partnership in the universe. Oh no…

Episode 3
Suddenly an internal explosion rocks Swordbreaker. Kane rushes to the scene and as reported by Canal, Millie is believed to be in the area. Upon arrival, he sees Millie fine and smiling. She was just cooking and proud of the meat pie she just made. So… Every time she cooks, the place goes boom? Yeah. I wonder. Canal is upset this ruined her kitchen and to piss her off even further, Kane is enjoying her pie! Millie’s reaction? This is a pretty damn good hologram programme because it has emotions! Soon, Rail boards the ship to request them of a job. For 5000 credits, they are to escort a witness to a trial before a deadline. Wow. That’s generous. Sign me up, says Millie. But Kane is cautious and knows the deadline is just a ploy to throw him off because such escort mission is only about half the prize. He wants to know the person on trial. Ripp Rogers of the Dragon Bombers organization. If this witness testifies, he won’t get out of prison and his men are of course will be trying to intercept this witness. Swordbreaker is known to be the fastest known ship. Kane doesn’t want to accept this dangerous job but Millie has already signed the contract! You bimbo! Kane argues Millie is not an official crew but it seems Canal already registered her to avoid problems with the customs. Looks like they have to fulfil their contract. And so it is Kane’s turn to lecture her about contract this, contract that. Of course Millie isn’t going to take all this lying down and is going to do the job and prove she is the universe’s best bounty hunter.

Millie picks up the little girl witness but Dragon Bombers men are hot on their trail. It’s mind boggling that all their shots missed and Millie can even shoot one while not looking back! WTF?! Then she even has the girl take the wheel as she stands up and fire! WTF?! Shouldn’t crouching do a better job?! Kane comes to help and slices the back half of the car to take out a big bunch of those stupid guys. And they’re not even tailgating. So this car is front wheel drive? WTF?! They end up at some plant so Kane’s plan is to distract those guys while Millie takes the girl to the court since it is her responsibility as she signed the contract. Because those baddies are dummies, Kane can best them with his psi-sword and steel bars around him despite the villains having unlimited ammo. WTF?! I guess Millie and the girl ran too slow so they got captured. They then bring them to Kane and are going to blow the brains of the girl in front of his eyes. However the girl suddenly unleashes space cockroaches and scares the daylights out of them. The girl turns into Canal! WTF?! Then the police surround the place and arrest those goons. As explained the witness was escorted by Rail and should be at the trial giving her statement now. After Millie signed the contract, the duo came out with this decoy plan with Canal masquerading as the witness to capture the baddies. It worked like a charm and they even get the reward. Millie is so pissed that everything (including the cheesy lines she said) were for nothing that she takes out her frustration via cooking! BOOM! And she’s going to eat her heart out! Oh Canal, you can’t kick her out because she’s your official crew member…

Episode 4
Millie shows off her several trophies from the numerous contests she won. Don’t even ask what kind of contests are those. The point is, she wants to participate in some contest called Miss Coconut Crab on planet Sanzania. Don’t ask. Here is Canal’s analysis: Thanks to a certain freeloader using up their resources, they are running low so it’s a big no. Eventually, Millie’s ‘best in the universe’ attitude wins over her and here she is on this resort planet trying out her swimsuit. She tries to help fix Kane’s psi-blade by putting in a lot of guts but couldn’t handle the recoil. Kane senses somebody targeting but brushes it off as his imagination. True enough, there is this sniper lady, Kali who backed off because she felt Kane sensed her. As the contest begins, Kane sees Rail there. The police are being called by the organizers to protect the place. But why is Rail happily filming away? Especially Millie. Yeah, you can say he is really watching on his job. A fireworks distraction attracts attention of everyone. Kane goes to put it out but he hears a rocket launcher heading away and slices it in half with his psi-blade! No sweat. Sniper girl notes he isn’t going to be an easy target. Millie wins the contest by collecting the most crabs (don’t ask) and qualifies for tomorrow’s finals. At the bar, she is having her fortune read when Kali sits by Kane (drowning his sorrows in liquor?). She offers to read his fortune but Millie grabs Kane to hit the next place.

Kane and Millie get into an argument who should sleep in this single room. Well, there won’t be a place to sleep since small assassination drones start to blow the place up. If not for Kane’s quick intuition, they could have been fried meat. They make a run since there are too many of them. Kane wants Millie to do a diversion and lead it to some building. Why must she do it? He uses the best line that will get moving: She is the best in the universe. Inside the building, Kane realizes the drones are not to kill him. Like as though it was to lure him into a trap. He realizes Kali is the culprit when she shows her face. There are lots of easier ways to kill him but she finds it a thrill that he possess a challenge. She’ll kill him with her electric whip. Kane is no match for her. Even with Millie trying to be a hero since she is so bloody convinced she is the best in the universe, Kali is still superior. I don’t know why Kali just put her aside and begin her whip spinning move to kill Kane. Shouldn’t she take her hostage or kill her? Kane gets the idea of using his psi-blade as propulsion. With the speed, Kali cannot react as he slashes and injures her. Her whip breaks and she escapes. She wants him to remember her name, the woman who will send him to hell next time. Thanks to this incident, the contest is cancelled so looks like Millie’s quest to add another trophy is put on hold. However there are a few more contests she would like to participate. Canal is not thrilled and the women end up arguing with Kane telling them to shut their pie hole. Meanwhile, Rail uploads the recorded video to an eager client. Is he moonlighting?

Episode 5
A carpenter blaming his tools. That is what is happening for Millie. She blames Canal’s kitchen not good enough for her cooking. Canal is interested in buying a new weapon and bugs Kane but he is busy sewing his cape. Then the kitchen explodes. Aha. It’s time for dinner. Kane seems to have accepted this but not Canal. The girls end up in some argument (as usual) over kitchen and weapons. Because the next job has them to be security guards on an arms factory while the system is being shut down for repairs. Millie doesn’t want to do it as she doesn’t see how it can make her the best thing in the universe. Kane has the final say because they’ll do it. On the factory planet, since the panel is not working, Kane kicks it to get the door open! Must have watched too many TV. They meet their hirers, an old couple and it seems they are hard on hearing. Or are they just pretending? Because it seems they can’t hear their discussion for compensation… Anyhow, they have to get the job done. Canal can’t follow the duo underground and gives an excuse it will be out of range. In actual fact, she wants to take some weapons… I guess this will do as compensation. And after she loads one, she is going back for another when a laser beams fires down and destroys their mini ship! Kane and Millie get trapped underground when the lights go out. Seems the security system has turned back on and Canal is trying to hack into in but still can’t access it.

Kane sees an old guy on the monitor. He is Glen and is the one responsible for setting up this trap. Kane thinks he is here to steal the arms while the system is down but in actual fact, Glen wants to see if Lost Ship will save him. Everything will go as planned. Kane and Millie fight their way through the security lasers. Kane is distraught his cape got torn. No time for sewing! When they eventually reunite with Canal, she vanishes back to Swordbreaker. Glen has begun the next phase of his plan. He traps Swordbreaker in a barrier and is going to drop the big satellite on where Swordbreaker is anchored. The satellite will also crush the planet below. Kane realizes that Glen is after Swordbreaker when he sees their mini ship destroyed. His next move sees him suiting up in a space suit and riding a missile back to Swordbreaker. Thanks to this planet’s low gravity, flying back up will be easy. Millie is worried if his body can take all the force. He assures her he is an immortal. He’s joking, right? So when Kane gets back to Swordbreaker, he and Canal begin their process of amplifying their psi-energy and fire at the satellite. Glen is dismayed that he didn’t foresee that pale blue light and his plan in ruins. When the duo go back down to pick up Millie, the old couple would like the pay them as much as they want. However they fear them and insist doing it for free and flee back to Swordbreaker. Really? They don’t want to get paid? Then the old couple realizes why… The satellite is gone! I guess with their poor financial status, they can never replace that in a million years.

Episode 6
Psycho shower reference? Anyway she didn’t get killed but is traumatized and the word “Bitch” written across her forehead. Victim number 8. So the teacher of the nursing school Stella contacts our Trouble Contractors to guard the students. Since there will be a graduation exam soon, she only wants females to do the job. I thought it was to keep lecherous men away (although Kane doesn’t look that kind) but it seems it’s for their own good and not to get distracted. Is she saying the trainee nurses are deprived of men? Canal accepts the job because it pays well. However suddenly she refuses to come. Due to some holographic error, she has become fat. And since they have received the advance and can’t turn the job down, I guess Kane will have to do it. Oh God. I knew they were going to make him dress as a woman and name him Francois but he looks so manly! Just putting a hair band and a skirt makes him a woman? Heck, he sounds like his usual manly voice!!! The nurses must be that dumb to be fooled… Anyway even among the nurses there are rivalry, especially between Julie and Rumy’s group as they’re both accusing each other for everything. When Millie’s nose itch and sneezes, all the nurses become alerted and think she has got some influenza. They compete with each other to do lots of analysis and experiments. Yeah, they look like crazy desperate sadistic nurses who really want to operate on somebody. Say your prayers, Millie. Kane sees a nurse trying to get rough with Rumy’s group so he goes teach that nurse a lesson. Late that night, he notices Julie studying hard but she is attacked by unknown assailants. Kane saves her and notes whoever the attackers were, they’ve gone too far. Throwing scalpel knives to kill? Both groups continue their animosity (I suppose they are the ones responsible for the attack on each other) and Stella is at her wits end to stop them. Heck, she can’t even intervene. Then she gets this idea. For the exam, she has hired an outsider to judge them: Francois!

Kane confronts Stella about dragging him into this. She explains that Julie and Rumy were once best friends, kind and good girls. Before she knows it, they turned out like this and it’s like they’ve both forgotten who they really were. After hearing such heart warming statement, I guess Kane is going to have to complete his job. The nurses will have to perform their nursing skills in real-life simulation. Both Julie and Rumy have set up traps and can’t wait to see the other’s face when the time comes. Kane observes the nurses performing their life saving skills on the dummies. They make lots of comical blunders… How the heck did Millie end up being one of the dummies? They also have to make haste because as more time passes, the air becomes thinner just like in reality. In the last room, Julie and Rumy want to let the others to do the honours. Yeah. They both somehow set their trap there. While arguing, the bomb traps explode causing the system to break down. To Kane’s dismay, there are injured nurses and those who aren’t are doing nothing because they have never done this on a real person before! Worse, Julie and Rumy are fighting each other! Kane had to tell them off the kind of nurses they have become and takes control. He uses his psi-blade and whatever resources to manually activate the sprinklers. The nurses apply what they learn and it seems they can do it if they put their mind to it. In the end, the nurses decide to stay back for another year and learn everything from scratch. They have also put aside their rivalry and work for the better. They aspire to be a brave ‘sister’ like Francois. But Kane has no time to correct his true identity because all the nurses now are in love with their onee-sama! Kane doesn’t like those loving nurses? I take it… Kane is gay…

Episode 7
Kane loses another chess match to Canal. What do you expect? She’s a computer, right? The gang take up a request from Mr Lassen to find his old friend, Bobby. This leads them to Planet Gambit. They split up to ask around. Seems the bar Kane went to ask people about Bobby, they just get scared and run away. Canal on the other hand impersonates as a beautiful woman or handsome man to get her information but eventually hacks a computer database for leads. Kane and Millie are being attacked by snipers and are completely surrounded. I don’t know how they turn the tables on them so when everyone is taken out, Kane interrogates one of them. They were being hired by some mysterious guy under Nightmare to take out those looking for Bobby. Before he can reveal more, he experiences some sort of seizure and dies. Kane very well knows this is Nightmare’s work because he sacrifices his own pawn for his own goal. When Canal finds Bobby, he is already dead but in his hand are a diary and a disk. Seems he has found something during his archaeologist stint but decided to abandon it for humanity’s sake. He has no regrets for what he did otherwise he would have helped those who wish to spread their nightmare across the galaxy. It made Canal remember about Alice. Canal is attacked by the snipers but she’s a hologram so she’s okay. Canal deduces those guys were digging for a Lost Ship and when Bobby found out about this secret, he ran away and they tried to kill him. Since they can’t kill her, they’re going to destroy the disk. Canal uses some microwave to zap them but due to some radioactive magnetic waves, she is on the verge of disappearing. She tries her best to protect the disk but is cornered. An antenna relay booster is dropped by Kane and this returns Canal’s power to normal and zaps the baddies back at full force. They want to interrogate this last guy left and Millie seems to have this trauma about Nightmare, a huge criminal organization that runs rampant throughout the galaxy and not even the Universal Guardians police can stop them. However the guy starts screaming in pain and seeking forgiveness as this failure wasn’t his fault. He becomes a vegetable spouting about spreading nightmare across the galaxy. The gang deliver the disk back to Lassen as Canal relays Bobby’s last words to him. The disk contains chess moves as Lassen plays with it. He uses the same moves that Canal used on Kane. He mentions Bobby learnt everything about chess from someone who loved reckless moves: Alice. It’s as though Bobby has come back and continues to live on.

Episode 8
Kane waits for Rail’s arrival on an airport on Planet Chicken Earth. Because parking in space is prohibited, this is the only way but parking is very expensive. They hear a loud crash through a glass window. Turns out to be Nina Mercury, Rail’s assistant. Was she excited or something? I guess so. Because this is her first mission ever. Their job is to escort Minister Blanco Magma back to his home country of Trevin. If you’re wondering why a low officer like Nina is on this important job, it’s because she is the only one in Universal Guardians who speak the Trevin language. Why doesn’t a super computer like Canal even have this language in her database? At first they thought this is going to be an easy job. Till they learn all the annoyance that come with it. Call it culture… Like how Swordbreaker must have horns due to Trevin’s culture not to ride anything without the sacred horns. Canal feels insulted and breaks down… So they have to take the normal airplane and go through security check. Kane has to take off his cape and all weapons are handed over to Nina for safekeeping. Nina is not good with machines so Canal starts having a bad feeling. Nina and Blanco fly first class unlike the Trouble Contractors as they’re on a budget… Discrimination! Millie also can’t eat chicken since it is the second most sacred thing on Trevin. Yeah. The plane feels like a chicken coop with all the chickens running around freely. Canal understands why Rail left them this job because Trevin is in tumultuous state. Tribal wars, anti-government movements, terrorists, VIP kidnaps, economic collapse… Big trouble indeed. Once the plane is in the sky, the Red Cock’s Comb faction forcefully takes everyone hostage. Chicken headgear? They want to make the comb the official sacred headgear instead of horns?! Oh yeah. This is what tribal conflict is all about.

Kane’s plan is to have Canal dress up in a chicken suit to head to the first class to get their weapon from Nina. I guess all those Red Cock’s Comb members are dumb. Just seeing one of them even in a full chicken suit, they think she’s one of them. Nina is tied up but she doesn’t want her precious handbag destroyed. She bought it with her first pay cheque. The key is in her cleavage so Canal had to get rough with her. Feels like ecstasy? Before Canal could go back, the lone hijacker in the first class feels suspicious of her. He wants her to do the Amore dance that all members are taught. She searches the database to pull off a close one. Once she returns, she throws the weapons back to Kane and Millie as they neutralize all the hijackers. They thought of impersonating in a chicken suit but the lone hijacker knows they are fakes. Why? Because cape is a sign of worshipping the devil! Damn culture… The pilot captain is also a member as they want Blanco to relay his message to claim the comb’s supremacy. He won’t do it. Nina needs to do something quick and crawls into the cockpit but gets roughed up. Accidentally she touches the control panel and it causes a short circuit. In this commotion, Nina bites off Blanco’s horns to throw it to the pilot while Millie bites Kane loose (was her bite this strong?) so he can take out the other hijacker. But what about the falling plane? Don’t worry. Let Nina touch it again and everything goes back to normal. See? Fixed. Although the plane lands safely, Blanco is furious because Nina bit off his sacred horn. This could become an international issue… Nina is so worried that she touches Canal. Fatal error! Error! Error! Error!

Episode 9
Kane has a beautiful dream of his grandma. And then he gets involved in a stupid race with Millie to use the toilet. Millie the cheater wins of course. Say, a big ship like this and it only has one stinking toilet? Well, Canal doesn’t need to use it and it was fine before Millie came aboard, right? They receive a signal that they are entering a restricted zone that contains a Lost Ship that has been missing for many years. Millie didn’t want to investigate it but after hearing that best-in-the-universe title, she’s all for it. They investigate the strange structure of the ship. Toilet in the ceiling? They extract the data and leave while Millie is so infatuated with best-in-the-universe this and that so much so she names a crystal she thought she discovered. Millie Stone? Canal brings back the crystal for analysis when suddenly it works up and disappears. As explained, her analysis concludes the crystal is some sort of ancient weapon that can rearrange space. In short, the rooms in Swordbreaker are being rearranged as they speak. Yup. It’s like a random room generator. So this booby trap weapon is must what have caused the weird layout in the ghost ship and the crew panicked and caused an accident. They are worried in trying to catch this crystal which is believed to be in some hyperspace cage. But Millie is more worried about the toilet… Because the humans have to hold it in. Must be feeling like an eternity, eh?

They’re playing shiritori to pass the time? But Canal seems to be unintentionally making them say synonyms of toilet… They really think of doing it right now but Canal warns she’ll self destruct! Don’t do it! Then the power goes out. This means Canal is no more to nag them and the duo rush off the find the toilet. But did Kane find it? Because it’s just the toilet door that leads to another room. Frustrating! Meanwhile Millie finds herself in a strange room with a large orb before entering a room she has never seen before. On the table there is a recorder. She plays it and the incomplete sentences don’t make sense to her. Lost Ship, 6 Demon Lords, fear, nightmare across the galaxy, Canal as their only hope and a boy named Kane. In the corner of the room are toys. She picks up the orgel before the crystal appears and absorbs her into hyperspace. Kane is tired but he could hear the orgel. He remembers about grandma asking him what he wants to be when he grows up. A space pirate. He wants to be strong and cool like her. Using his heart to find the location of the orgel, he unleashes a powerful blast from his psi-blade in that direction to strike the crystal. Millie is freed when the crystal is destroyed and the rooms return to normal with power back online. Millie asks Kane about the orgel and he puts on a sullen look when he learns she entered that room. But no time for that now because they start fighting to use the toilet.

Episode 10
On a colony ship aimlessly drifting in space, Kane watches a few young boys play basketball in the slums but are challenged by some teens over the usage of the court. The winner of tomorrow’s game gets right to use it. Kane is reminded by Millie that they’re on a job so he heads back to her and protects an old guy who was watching the ship’s neutron anti-matter from the Rando family punks who want to steal it and sell it for a high price in the black market. They chicken out when they see Kane’s psi-blade and plans to head for the main computer control room. However due to population spurt and over building, no one seems to remember where it is. The old man laments how he has seen this ship from its glory days to a pitiful state. Perhaps they should have given up and sell the anti-matter for everyone’s sake and the best course of action. Those teen basketballers continue to taunt the little ones. The kids hate to admit that those teens are good and don’t stand a chance in tomorrow’s game. When Kane throws a shot, the kids become impressed and beg him to be their coach. He agrees but in exchange they must give it their all. Kane is a decent coach and the kids figure he isn’t from this ship because he is different. They wonder if they’ll be able to leave this ship too because it has been drifting for 40 years in search of an inhabitable planet to settle down. You won’t know if you don’t try. Rando contacts his boss and he seems impatient but wants him to do what is needed. Next day, as the basketball match begins, the Rando family is going to make their move for the control room which so happens to be under the basketball court. Kane and Millie fight them and won’t let them interfere with the match. Rando’s boss also launches an attack on the colony ship but thanks to Canal and the superior Swordbreaker, they’re driven away. As Kane beats up every Rando guy there is, the kids win their basketball match by a mile. Hope those teens learn their lesson. This is what happens when you’re cocky. So it’s a win-win situation for our heroes. The colony ship then changes course and lands on an inhabitable planet. Everybody gets out of the ship, some amazed and some stunned. What will they do now? Are they cut out for this after 40 years? It took the kids to hint to them about never knowing if you don’t try. And Canal too wonders if they can settle down. Same answer from Kane… Oh yeah. Quote of the episode, “If you don’t shoot, you can’t score”.

Episode 11
Kane and Millie are relaxing down on a resort planet before their escort mission in 3 days. However Canal contacts them that there has been a change in assignment from their client, La Guld Company and that the mission will start tomorrow with reinforcements from Universal Guardians. This doesn’t sit well with Millie since she can’t do her fishing as planned. So I guess this means going out for a meal to compensate for it. At a bar, a group of guys seem interested in Millie and the boss, Jess goes up to her to ditch this effeminate guy with a cape. Seems he said the taboo word, Kane is going to fight with him. Millie expects the worst but their punch stops halfway. Turns out it was a greeting and they know each other as they work for the same client. They have too much drink and even bet on switching their escort jobs. So when it is time for departure the next day, Kane has a bad hangover and Millie has to drag him back to Swordbreaker. Don’t say she didn’t warn him. Jess contacts him and looks like he too has a hangover. All the new missile gifts that Canal got was from him so it means that Jess had contacted Canal prior to Kane’s meeting with him. Kane wants an explanation so she conveniently goes into system error mode. Since they have switched jobs and their escort distance is the same, Jess suggests a bet to see who can finish their mission first. Drinks will be on the loser. Rail then contacts Kane about a particular band of pirates usually targeting La Guld’s ships and to be careful. He has also sent some patrol ships for reinforcements.

Right after that, they receive signal of an unknown ship. They think it’s a space pirate since it is not responding to their hail or ID identification. Plus, this cargo looking ship looks fishy. True enough, the ship turns hostile and is preparing to fire at them. Kane and co go into action to do what is best to protect the ship and cripple it. Meanwhile, Jess’ fleet is under attack by some unknown enemy. All the patrol ships got wiped out. He makes an emergency call to Kane. He knows he is done for and laments he couldn’t have one last drink with him. Kane wants to turn around and rescue him but Canal calculates they won’t make it. All communications from Jess go blank soon after. Seems the unknown enemy that killed Jess was Glen. He was pretty sure Swordbreaker would have turned up but vows to get him next time. I guess you can say the job switch saved Kane. Later Kane meets the director for the Space Cargo Safety Division, Marigan Howell. He congratulates him on a fine job and hopes he could continue working with them. He views him better than the other useless Trouble Contractors. Suddenly a hot chick comes up to Marigan and slaps him! WTF?! Kane is probably drowning his sorrows at the bar when he sees that hot chick running into trouble with a group of punks. Since he is in a bad mood, he goes to beat the crap out of all of them. But the hot chick isn’t grateful. She doesn’t want help from a friend of murderers like La Guld.

Episode 12
Canal’s investigation reveals that woman is Merina Concense. An ordinary woman with no criminal record. Kane is still reeling from Jess’ death but he isn’t going to sit around and mope. He wants Canal to investigate further La Guld since it is suspicious that space pirates are only targeting the company. Kane finds Merina but she doesn’t say anything. So he has to gather information from others. Asort, Merina’s boyfriend was killed by space pirates 2 months ago while riding in a cargo ship by La Guld. Also, there are rumours that La Guld and the space pirates are in some sort of deal. When Canal comes back with shocking information, Kane rushes to go save Merina in hopes she hasn’t done anything stupid. Seems La Guld didn’t suffer any losses from the space pirate attack. In fact they are benefiting it from the insurance money paid out. As for the space pirates, they get the cargo so it’s a win-win situation for them. Merina has found out where the pirates are holing up and tries to take them on. Dumb move trying to be the hero. She got captured and even if she now knows the pirates’ boss, Alzas and Marigan are in cohorts, it won’t change a thing. They’re going to kill her when Kane arrives like a hero to save her. Alzas and some of his men flee. Kane won’t allow her to go after them and throw away what is important so she throws a tantrum what he is going to do. Seek revenge for her? Expose their wrongdoings? Kane has got support from Rail so the Universal Guardians’ patrol fleet are moving in. What is Merina going to do? Kane gives her a diskette containing all the illegal records from La Guld. What she does with it is up to her.

The Universal Guardians hail the space pirates to give up. No response? Fire at will! Unfortunately the space pirates disappear from their radar and then exterminate every one of them out from radar range. Yup, Alzas and co have a Lost Ship, Death Cloud in their hands. Handy. When Swordbreaker enters the scene, Death Cloud vanishes before their beam can hit them. Kane guts tell him that this retreat was too easy and his guts were right as he commands Canal to dodge the incoming laser from afar. To Canal, Death Cloud is just an ordinary Lost Ship. Convinced they are the ones who killed Jess, they are going to ascertain its coordinates and jump there by letting it fire at them. The space pirates fall for their bait and hit their psi-barrier with their laser. Swordbreaker hyperjumps to Death Cloud’s location and activating their plasma blaster to the max, Kane fires and blows away Death Cloud for good. Jess’ death avenged. Kane receives message from Rail that Merina has handed him the diskette and with the evidence they have arrested Marigan. But right after that, a mobile exterminator Lost Ship, Nezard turns up to greet Canal. It’s a sign that Nightmare is moving and will meet again. Seriously, he just showed his face just for that? But it left Kane and Canal sweating in their pants. Meanwhile Glen reports to his boss, Alfred Stargazer about the destruction of Death Cloud as planned although it is unfortunate they couldn’t do the same to Swordbreaker. Stargazer feels the need to take out Kane and Swordbreaker who are always in his way to claim the universe.

Episode 13
Some hot villain (only known as Spreader of Darkness) just wakes up after 87,000 over hours in sleep! That’s what you call beauty sleep! Haha! He plans to pay a visit to that woman. Meanwhile Kane has obtained some Holy Drink of Heaven that made Millie cry because of the unbelievable price he whispered to her. It’s just some booze but don’t let those Arabs hear you or else they’ll blow off your head! Kane bought the drink because he is going to visit grandma on his home planet. They bump into an old man, Jill (a man with a woman’s name?) whom Millie recognizes as the legendary space pirate that gave the Universal Guardians the run around. Outside Kane’s home is the grave of Alicia, his grandmother. He’s going to drink with her now that he’s back. Millie felt so bad for not understanding him so she runs away before she can get emotional before him and talks to Jill instead. Kane also revisits his house and this brings back lots of childhood memories. Jill is now retired and works as a gravekeeper. He recounts his meeting with Alicia a long time ago. During his heydays as a space pirate, he was undefeatable. Nobody could stand up to him till Alicia came along. The psi-blade user put this legendary space pirate into his place. He didn’t kill her because he fell in love with her. But one day Alicia rushed off into some doomed battle and put Kane in his hands. That was the last he saw of her. Kane was mad because he failed to protect her. Just like Kane is now fighting a battle, there will come a time he cannot win. He hopes somebody like her will be there by his side when that time comes. That night when Jill’s life support system is about to go offline forever, he is visited by Canal (in her mature form). Seems she hasn’t told Kane about it yet. She hopes he will forgive her. Meanwhile Kane faces off with Darkness. The latter can tell he is Alicia’s descendent due to his psi-blade stance and smell of blood. Kane is mad with him and wants to kill him since he is Alicia’s murderer. However Darkness’ aura was too overwhelming that Kane starts weakening and can’t maintain his composure. Darkness isn’t here to kill him but pay his respects to Alicia. He hopes her soul will dwell in eternal death and despair. Back on Swordbreaker, Kane is one upset guy because he ‘lost’.

Episode 14
Kane is still reeling from his face-off with Darkness. At the bar, he meets his old partner, Atlas McMahon. They remember the good times they had together as he was once the best Trouble Contractor that every rookie looked up to. But an accident that left him a vicious scar on his arm forced him into retirement and he’s been drinking ever since. However he thinks now is the chance of starting over again because some abandoned plant 3 years ago is showing up. Kane teams up with him to complete this job. Their job is to retrieve the rare chemicals that the automated underwater plant collects from the acidic sea to resurface and launch it into space. Though, it has lost its ability to launch. They enter the tumultuous weather on the planet and had a hard time locating the plant’s location. But it’s no smooth ride inside the plant as the security system still works. They also have to finish their job fast as the plant will only be resurfacing for 40 minutes before going back into the sea. More woes because everything in the plant is old, explosions start happening and this cut off their only escape route. Atlas has an idea to do something and overflow the buoyancy tank and make the plant float. It’s a dangerous job that requires precise timing. Atlas reveals he chose this job to overcome his fear. To conquer it, he came back to the place where it all started. Although Kane does his part well, Atlas still has the jitters and his trauma comes back to haunt him. Kane gives him the much needed push so he regains the confidence to finish the job. Kane goes back to Swordbreaker and he has some explaining to do to the ladies. Millie is less forgiving but Canal knows he did a good job in overcoming his own fear.

Episode 15
Glen is being chided by the bigwigs of Gazer Konzern Corporation for failing to produce results after putting in so much money. Of course he is not going to take it sitting down and has a trump card that he has perfected over 3 years. At Gazer Konzern’s head office, the president, Kali gets a call from Glen. She knows he has been backed into a corner that’s why he’s asking for help. He shows her a matter transporter that can teleport to any coordinates using one’s will. He has stole data from the ToAru Company and perfected it. His favour is that he wants her to hack into the ToAru’s system to get a boot programme but since their main computer is isolated (not connected to internet), he cannot access it from his place. In exchange for this, Kali will get the best prey ever: Kane. Meanwhile in ToAru, Millie has infiltrated the company in pretence to install a new updated OS system. Yeah, the guys are so trusting to leave her to her own device. Seems that their aim is also the matter transporter. Canal hacks into the system to tamper with the data because there will be no point if the unrivalled psi-barrier can be penetrated. A short while into it, a blackout occurs. Canal detects an extraordinary hacker has hacked into the system. The jamming system causes interference. Kane and Millie are on the run because laser beams are firing at them. Thank goodness they all miss. From the tactics, they deduce this must be the work of Gazer Konzern who was planning a takeover on this company. Of course Gazer Konzern as the biggest corporation in the galaxy is just a mask for Nightmare so it won’t be any surprise if they are after the matter transporter.

Kane and Millie rush to the space port to get back on Swordbreaker but everywhere they go, bad guys are waiting to take them on. Safe to say, those goons aren’t even on par with them. They come face to face with Kali. Glen and his men get ready to make use of the matter transporter which uses a life source. Although Canal has set up a psi-barrier around Swordbreaker, the matter transporter exactly transport the missile within Swordbreaker and makes an internal explosion. Kali and Kane’s fight has to be abandoned because Kali realizes Glen has set her up as a bait when the place starts collapsing. I don’t know how but Canal manages to upload a virus of herself into Glen’s ship and wreck havoc by destroying lots of systems. Glen does a desperate move to teleport a missile but the missile exploded in his ship. Canal destroys all the small fries but Glen gets away. Kane and Millie get back on their ship as Canal assures them that she has tampered with the data so much that it will take years for ToAru to find the changes. Just years? Millie wants to know why Nightmare is after him so he says he inherited his battle from grandma. Meanwhile Kali confronts Glen about setting her up but he feigns ignorance. They are surprised to see Darkness awakened. He will have them work for him as he needs more power to spread darkness throughout the universe again.

Episode 16
Canal gets another bargain buying weapons. Yup. Kane acting as her mule again to bring it back to Swordbreaker. Can’t even afford a cart? You’ve got to save while you can so we can buy more weapons! Millie also wants Kane to buy her a huge cannon. He refuses. She sulks. He ignores. She decides to test the cannon after being assured it isn’t loaded. Too bad that dude forgot it was and it nearly destroyed the market. Millie gets scolded for acting like a kid so Kane tells her off if she really wants it, charge it to her own ship. What does this suppose to mean? It means he wants Millie to get out! Serious? Yes. Serious. Millie acts tough as she packs her stuffs and leaves. But we know she wants some sympathy from them. No tears from Kane although Canal is more sympathetic. When she returns home after a long time, she is shocked that her entire place is cleaned out. Empty. There’s a letter saying that all her stuffs are auctioned to pay for the rent she defaulted. And the balance to be paid into this bank account before this deadline. This sucks. She tries to call her friends for help but nobody answers or this line is not in service. All too familiar. She only has her recording with the ‘arguments’ with Kane and she keeps playing the one Kane tells her she is the best cook in the universe. Oh yeah. With nowhere else to go, she heads back to Swordbreaker. As Kane is servicing his ship, he thinks Canal came in and tells her he doesn’t feel wrong in his decision to unload Millie as he doesn’t want to get her involved in their upcoming battle. It’s heartbreaking for her so she goes back into the ship and waits till Kane pops up. Blaming him for turning her into a Trouble Contractor, now she has no home, this is the only place she can return to. Besides, she can fight too and can help him take down some Nightmare battleships. I guess they have to give in because they saw the cleaning tools Millie made for them. To welcome back, Kane has her make the best dinner in the universe. For once Canal isn’t complaining. He even buys her that cannon and as she happily tests it out, her trigger happy ways might get them into trouble because she just shot down a patrol ship! What now? Run! Meanwhile the top brass in Universal Guardians think there is a traitor among them leaking information to criminals. Investigation reveals the culprit to be… Rail!

Episode 17
A planet is being declared martial law and a city has its city evacuated by Universal Guardians as there is a suspected bomb. But it is just a cover up as a Lost Ship is discovered. Oddly, the Universal Guardians has called Gazer Konzern to head this expedition. Meanwhile Nina is being called by the higher ups of Universal Guardians and she cannot believe Rail is the mole. Kane has also caught wind of this Lost Ship and heads down to inspect. He confirms those Nightmare people excavating the site and is about to relay it to Canal but Kali attacks him. It’s like she’s been waiting for him. She doesn’t care about the Lost Ship and just wants to finish her prey. Soon, electricity at the site goes out. Rail notes leaking information has paid off as he makes his way into the Lost Ship. Nina is being given a mission to keep an eye on Rail since she is quite close to him. She is of course in a dilemma. When Rail is inside the main deck, the Lost Ship awakens and starts flying off. The excavation is abandoned and so is Kane and Kali’s fight. Kali still wants to hunt him down even if they’re dragged to hell because she wants to prove something to Darkness. Millie saves Kane and Darkness informs Kali to withdraw. They will settle their score another time. Once the duo return to Swordbreaker, Canal recognizes this Lost Ship as Ragudo Mezegis. She isn’t too thrilled to see him. Swordbreaker initiates the first attack but Ragudo had some sort of legendary barrier and had no scratch. It took all of Swordbreaker’s power to shield from his beam that even destroyed the asteroid nearby from the ricochet. Kane is surprised to see Rail onboard. Is he working for Nightmare? When the other small fries of Universal Guardians arrive, Rail is going to show he too can get serious. Swordbreaker puts up the most powerful barrier and within a second, all the small fries are vaporized. Swordbreaker is the only survivor of this massacre. Kane believes Rail is acting on his own considering Kali’s behaviour. What is he up to? Thanks to that, the inhabitants of Swordbreaker are now on Universal Guardian’s most wanted list. Meanwhile Nina is acting some solo play about believing in Rail. I don’t even know what to say about this.

Episode 18
Swordbreaker changes its ID to land at some port. Millie goes down shopping for ingredients and decides to use her secret account. She couldn’t understand why the machine rejects it till the alarm is sounded. Looks like Universal Guardians have frozen all their accounts and this gave them away. Millie runs away from the guards till she is cornered. In great timing, Kane saves her and brings her back to the ship. As Universal Guardians is on their tail, they can’t do anything to attack them back as they’re just doing their job and will just have to shake them off. Intelligent homing missiles are fired and Swordbreaker will have to outrun them before their hyper dimension jump is activated. Meanwhile Glen is upset he is not part of the assassination team to kill Kane. Then he realizes it could mean he is no longer of use and will be disposed. He tries to get away fast but before him is Kali and that Stargazer wants to see him. He is brought before Stargazer and Darkness. The former feels disappointed he failed to complete a simple mission and have no longer use for him. He lets Darkness to take care of the rest. Glen is running scared and he should be because now he is fused with some machines. Once Swordbreaker is in a safe distance, they hear another explosion. Don’t worry. It’s Millie in the kitchen. She has cooked Kane an extravagant meal. Tastes great too and he finishes plate and plate. This is part of Millie’s plan to cheer him up. But ice cream dessert is interrupted when Canal detects many Nightmare ships locked on them. There are no Lost Ships among them but strangely there are no strategic movements too. Kane isn’t taking any chances and fires all they’ve got to wipe out the fleet. Seems too easy that it’s fishy… Suddenly a heavy artillery Lost Ship, Gorun Nova appears before them. This is the ship that spreads darkness.

Episode 19
Kane begins his attack. Sounds like he is desperate. Yup. He is. He thinks Darkness is onboard. But every beam they fire has no effect on Gorun Nova. Whatever he does, the big mother Lost Ship is still there. Gorun Nova only needs one single big blast just to disable a lot of things on Swordbreaker and if they get hit the next time, they’re toast for good. Then the stress got to him. He got a heart attack. Okay, some sort of mental attack as Gorun Nova was just a decoy to exhaust him. In the deep dark recess of his mind, Kane becomes paranoid and fights some blob creature while his real self is just screaming like a maniac. Millie is left to pilot Swordbreaker’s defence while Canal tries to bring back Kane. Gorun Nova attacks, the situation becomes even dire, lots of things aren’t working, Millie panics and doesn’t know what to do, Kane is still screaming. This is a fine mess we’ve got into. Darkness appears before Kane and wants him to make a choice. Be baptized by the darkness by drinking from this chalice or die by his hands. Kane throws the cup away and gets ready to fight. He has decided. But can he really fight Darkness in such a weak state? He is no match of course and Canal who has dived into his mind, brings him away in the nick of time. Canal then relays to Millie to use the leap railgun to send Swordbreaker into hyperspace jump to escape. Although badly bruised, they arrived safely far away. Everyone is picking up the pieces. Swordbreaker is getting fixed. Kane tells Millie this is what a battle between Lost Ships is about. He stands no chance. But all Millie cares about is her cooking that he finds delicious. I guess no use moping on something gloomy so they replenish their food supply. While Millie is down shopping for ingredients, she suddenly sees Swordbreaker leaving before her eyes. I suppose this was Kane’s plan all along. For her own good?

Episode 20
Nightmare is rampaging throughout the universe. They even boldly cast away their Gazer Konzern image. If this is the quality of Universal Guardians or Universal Forces, they deserve to get owned. I think Kali even takes control of the Universal Guardians HQ. Millie has to sell her favourite gun to get some cash. She has a makeover to hide her fugitive status. I think this make her more suspicious. She sees a big traffic jam and pile up and turns out Nina is having a hard time controlling traffic. The girls talk things out about how their man ‘dumped’ them. Nina has been moved from department to department ever since Rail’s betrayal and hasn’t been doing well. Instead of complaining, they decide to do their own investigation. They find a ship to leave this planet and Millie has brought with her all the files pertaining to her investigation. It may be a crime, but at this time, who cares? Swordbreaker is still in the midst of self repair when Nightmare forces including Nezard appear. Stargazer is pleased with the chaos spreading throughout the galaxy as they will become Dark Star’s sustenance. In order to gain even greater power, they will devote all their energies in destroying Swordbreaker. Kane continues to fight recklessly. Till Canal had to really tell him the situation he is in so Kane is forced to retreat. But they are faced with Ragudo Mezegis and Rail is serious in attacking them. Ragudo Mezegis and Nezard make some encrypted communication with each other. Rail’s vision starts to blur at the crucial time so he is forced to retreat since with his current mental state, he cannot chase Swordbreaker. Kane also uses this time to escape although Swordbreaker has taken quite some damage. Stargazer talks to Darkness that Ragudo Mezegis has obtained quite a good sustenance in Rail. And Nezard is getting his from Glen.

Episode 21
While Swordbreaker is taking refuge on some icy planet, Kane wants to shut the main system and this means Canal will go offline. They can’t fight nor can they escape so it’s best to get some rest while auto repairs are being done. Meanwhile Millie and Nina land themselves on some space port. Millie is devastated all the documents she snuck out were just police salaries. Nina is worried about Rail but at a distance they see a fleet battle and Nightmare is overwhelming the pathetic Universal Forces. Kane packs his bags and leave Swordbreaker. He causes an avalanche to bury it under the snow and sets up false tracker and jamming devices all around. Maybe he’s just fooling himself. Nightmare drones drop in and Kane tries to get them as far away from Swordbreaker. Nezard has discovered Swordbreaker’s location and fires down. Due to interferences, Nezard cannot confirm if Swordbreaker has been hit but is sure it cannot survive. Yeah. Big mistake baddies always make. Kane’s leg is injured so he prepares his mini artillery and bombs to fight the drones. Darkness comes down to duel him and he likes the hatred and anger in him (it’s making his psi-blade power big as hell). He is worth fighting now. Swordbreaker’s repair has finished and it’s time for Canal to wake up. Seriously, she needs an alarm clock? Swordbreaker comes to pick Kane up and as they blast into space, they have a dogfight with Nezard. With Swordbreaker functioning at 100% and a psi-energy at full capacity (possibly powered by Kane’s hatred), Kane gets aggressive in making all those reckless moves. Nezard takes a direct hit and gets destroyed. Kane really wanted to finish Nezard off for good but is exhausted. Darkness now understands why Dark Star is interested in him. After witnessing this, it is only a matter of time he will give himself over to darkness just like him. Now that he has recognized that power, he will withdraw for now. Canal hopes Kane won’t repeat what Alice did. Millie and Nina have discovered Ragudo Mezegis and Rail’s coordinates. Even if that place is under martial law, they’re heading there to find Kane’s whereabouts and ultimately what he is up to.

Episode 22
Stargazer is surprised Nezard is defeated and must make haste to destroy Swordbreaker. Meanwhile Canal puts Kane to sleep. No, she did not kill him. Can’t have him running around and lose energy like that again, huh? Elsewhere, Rail seems to be having some sort of ‘confrontation’ with Ragudo Mezegis. He claims Lost Ships are troublemakers and his quest is supposed to destroy them. He thought some corrosive metal gas would do the trick but Ragudo Mezegis analyzes it quickly and uses a counter agent. There, back as new again. I don’t know what secret password Rail whispered but it actually paralyzes Ragudo Mezegis! WTF. Can that really happen? He escapes in a pod but not long before Ragudo Mezegis regains control of himself although his systems are still a little off. Rail has been floating in space for who knows how long and is close to being dead. Luckily Nina and Millie were passing and pick him up. Nina is so glad and would like to see his handsome face before he dies! Is that all he is worth? The ladies nurse him but he is like in some vegetative state, only talking about Lost Ships and Swordbreaker being destined to fight. No matter how much Millie questions, she’s not going to get an answer from him at this state. He continues spewing about darkness and light which is represented by Dark Star and Volfied respectively. They’re always locked in some eternal battle. Also about Dark Star’s goal of spreading nightmare throughout the universe. In exchange of giving those in contract temporary powers, in return fear and rage result. He adds about Lost Ships devouring human minds, bodies, lives and are like death gods. Becoming one with a Lost Ship means the death of the master. Canal remembers Alice’s final attempt to sacrifice herself to protect Kane. She was running away from Darkness and has taken all the blows she could. They then combine and become one and blow Darkness away. Canal had sad emotions programmed in her and she’s crying hologram tears? When Rail finally wakes up, he is going to finish his task. Devastated Nina shows Millie about the letter he left behind. But Millie knows which planet he is going from his speech. The twin stars of Tora Alpha and Beta. Meanwhile Kane has awakened and he is ready to get into the final battle. He is already at the Tora planets and the scanners reveal the processing plant of Gazer Konzern on it is actually Dark Star. Inside it is lots of unusual energy. Canal asks one more time to change his mind but it’s already too late for that. He knew about the memory bank and that Alicia took her enemy with her. He is bent on winning this despite it will cost him his life for this is the fate of those involved with Lost Ships. Ragudo Mezegis returns to Darkness.

Episode 23
Darkness gives Ragudo Mezegis to Kali. Swordbreaker hitches on an asteroid to get to Tora Beta. Meanwhile Nina and Millie steal a junk cruiser since security has been lax thanks to Nightmare as Universal Guardians focused all their attention on them. Millie might not be smart enough to get the ship going but as long as she has Nina touch the machine, it goes into operation. She’s so bad with them that she makes them work? Heck, they even shoot the gates open with their missile. They’re really getting good in stealing ships, aren’t they? Kali destroys a planet and transmits this footage all over the universe. Then she relays a message to a certain man she is chasing down. In short, if that man ignores this message, she’ll continue destroying planets. So what is Kane going to do? Because Ragudo Mezegis is away from Nightmare’s HQ, defence there is basically weakened. It could be their chance to destroy Nightmare although Kali will be going on a planet destroying spree. I guess being heroes, destroying the big boss can always wait. So they head to Kali’s position to face off with her. However she is hiding among the rubbles and out of Swordbreaker’s radar. Swordbreaker is being like a sitting duck and barely miss all her beams thanks to the gas clouds slightly throwing off Kali’s target co-ordinations. Then Swordbreaker puts up its strongest psi-barrier and takes a direct hit. Kali thinks she has won but to her surprise, Swordbreaker still lives and fires back to destroy her graviton cannon. Kali doesn’t think she can win but Ragudo Mezegis reminds her about his power that can turn the battle tide as long as she opens herself to his will. Because she wants to stay by Darkness’ side, she is willing to give Ragudo Mezegis her soul. That’s basically fusing with the Lost Ship, right? Since Kali is taking too long to make her move, Kane fears she might have done just that. An energy anomaly is detected inside Ragudo Mezegis.

Episode 24
Swordbreaker makes quick attacks but Ragudo Mezegis has a few tricks up their sleeve. Just when Swordbreaker cannot dodge a direct shot from them, they divert all their energy to the shield. But they are surprised when the beam bends and becomes a light whip to grapple and bind them. Meanwhile Millie and Nina are on their way. Nina must be scared to death of Millie’s horrendous piloting. Anything that doesn’t work, Millie just let Nina touch it and everything is authorized. Simple. When the psi-system is overload and won’t respond, Swordbreaker takes a direct hit and Kane is blown off his chair. He dreams of the first time he met Canal and became Swordbreaker’s master. Kane gets back up and continues to rage. His hatred makes him continue to attack Ragudo Mezegis. Darkness explains to Gorun Nova that Kane’s hatred that is flowing out of him is what is making him being able to fight on par with Ragudo Mezegis and overcome fear of death. Kane will soon understand that it exists in every human mind and once he accepts that, the real battle begins. Kane wants to initiate a self sacrificing move that Alice did. Canal is against it but Kane doesn’t listen. After this, he wants her to find a new master and go defeat Dark Star. Ironically, it is the machine that is getting emotional and desperate. Kane is cool while Canal is so traumatic. Millie and Nina just arrive. They get onboard Swordbreaker and desperately try to stop the countdown to the death move. Everything they do cannot work. They should go back to basics. Yeah. Let Nina touch it! System error! Countdown aborted! WTF?! Oh heck, nobody has to die. After some scolding and encouragement from Millie, Kane is calmer now as he exudes pure psi-energy. It fills Swordbreaker and this power destroys Ragudo Mezegis in a blink of an eye! Darkness is not worried because the more energy he has means the more easy it will turn negative. All the conditions have been met. The one with the key to it is someone of his bloodline. He wants that person to come back where she belongs: Millennium Feria. That’s Millie, right?

Episode 25
Rail hijacks a pod to head to the final showdown. Stargazer is preparing his army when suddenly Dark Star starts shape shifting into something else. Swordbreaker blast through several small fries without sweat. Nina wants to help but Canal prefers her not to do and touch anything! Oh, Canal becomes a cheerleader to give our heroes a morale booster. Is this necessary? Kane sees a vision of Darkness again. Once more he tries to persuade Kane to join his dark side. This time Kane has full control of himself and he won’t join him nor throw away his life. Because the best meal in the universe is waiting for him if he survives. Then he repels Darkness out of his mind and they make their way to Tora Beta. Stargazer finds out Darkness is the one responsible for making Gorun Nova one with Dark Star. However Darkness kills Stargazer as he is of no use. Old geezer tries to fight back but it’s useless. He thought Darkness was his clone but to his surprise he is actually the embodiment of Dark Star and used this body as a good vessel. Darkness then ‘melts’ Stargazer for good. All that is left now is for Kane to come and set Dark Star in motion. When Swordbreaker arrives, they are shocked to see Dark Star in its awakening form. Kane is going to go alone inside to disable the energy barrier or else they can’t even touch it. Kane faces off with Darkness and they have a light saber dual. Meanwhile Canal talks to Millie and the former knows she is related to Stargazer, though Millie asserts she never met or seen him. She doesn’t care about her past family. Wondering if Kane knows about this, they receive a message from Rail. He is a moment too late because he reasons Kane must not meet Darkness because Dark Star will be fully awakened with the clash of strong negative psi-energy. Canal believes is different now and understands. Once the time is right, Darkness summons Millie and teleports her into Dark Star. Swordbreaker takes direct hit from Dark Star.

Episode 26
Darkness throws Millie a gun. Against her will she fires at Kane each time he tries to get close to Darkness. He wants Kane to unleash his anger and hatred. Rail informs Canal that there is no such energy barrier device. The energy source is Dark Star itself. He knows all this since he was almost eaten alive by a Lost Ship. You somehow gain some sort of knowledge in exchange for your devoured soul. He wonders how Canal has been feeding off Kane and this has her slap him. She objects she is not like other Lost Ships and will prove it. Canal can’t wait for the barrier to be disabled so she makes some adjustments and forces her way in. After Rail tells her the secret chant words to paralyze the Lost Ship (the reason he came here), Canal ejects him and Nina. She does a kamikaze taking direct attacks from Gorun Nova before crashing into him. Her memories are being affected the more damage she takes. Gorun Nova thought he had won but he didn’t see this coming as Swordbreaker fires point blank. Gorun Nova is destroyed. A very badly damaged Swordbreaker trudges forward to find Kane. I’m not sure if Millie can’t take it anymore that she jumps off. Luckily Kane saves her. Kane seems like he is going to resume his fight with Darkness. Millie quickly gets up and holds him back. She pleads it wasn’t her fault to deceive him. She knows she can’t be trusted anymore but please don’t hate her. Kane believes her because her bullets missed his vital parts despite under Darkness’ control. It proves that she is indeed the best sharpshooter in the universe. He isn’t going to fight for revenge or hatred but to protect those he loves. Kane and Darkness enter the final showdown. Just in time for Rail and Nina to join in and watch. Their stances are the same since it was Alicia’s brother who taught her that move. In the final strike, Kane emerges victorious because he predicted Darkness’ move. Kane made this move by himself because if he had followed the textbook, he would have been dead instead. Darkness disperses into thin air. Dark Star tries to activate despite not fully awakened. Now Swordbreaker comes into the picture. Canal truly believes Kane is the true light for he has defeated Dark Star himself without her help. The duo then go off to finish Dark Star. Rail chants those lines to buy them some time and also for themselves to escape. I don’t know what Kane and Canal did but Dark Star is effectively destroyed. Who cares? 6 months later, Nightmare’s spread has stopped. Rail and Nina note that the search for Swordbreaker has been called off. They are missing. But Rail is confident Kane will be back because there are still 2 Lost Ships out there. As for Millie, she waits and leads a simple rural life on Kane’s home planet, waiting patiently and believing they will return. All that waiting paid off because Swordbreaker returns!

Trying Their Best In The Universe
Hmm… Because this is such a retro anime, I always tend to forgive whatever shortcomings the series have because I’m basing and comparing it to today’s standards. Therefore you can’t really complain and might even think good of it like as though it was ahead of its time. Since I am not a fan of the Slayers’ series, I am not sure if watching this one separately as a standalone would affect my comprehension and appreciation of the connected universe. But solely on this anime alone, I think everything was pretty okay. The first half of the story felt like little fillers because you see the gang taking on random jobs with little developments on the real storyline that can be seen more prominently in the second half. That is whereby Darkness has awakened and things get more serious with the introduction of other Lost Ships and Kane’s past. Though, I thought the ending felt a bit rushed. Darkness felt like an untouchable supreme villain. He is cool and calm and always a step ahead of Kane. But to have him lost in the final fight in just one strike, somehow that felt cheap. I know I shouldn’t be hoping for battles that lasts for episodes after episodes but just when I thought there was going to be a decent light saber showdown between the guys, here our Kane uses his original unconventional move (which I see nothing special in) to seal the victory. And then we have a slight cliff-hanger whereby Kane and Canal went missing for a while probably to tease us viewers whether our heroes are coming back to Millie who has been waiting for them. Ah well. Thanks for the ride.

It is amusing to see the interaction between the characters especially Kane, Millie and Canal. I suppose the first half establishes their relationship and you know how it will grow and bond when you stick with each other for so long. What else can I say about Kane? Your typical hero with his own brand of justice, a tragic past and responsibility to shoulder on a universal scale. So in the end, it is just a simple story of good triumphs over evil, no? Although he loves his cape a lot, in later episodes I don’t see him harping so much about it. Maybe it doesn’t get messed up as much. Not that we noticed anyway since perhaps it has become like part of his body. Millie is amusing herself too. Initially annoying because of her penchant to complain and her aim of becoming the best in something in the universe, the more she gets deeper with Kane’s past and mission, the more solemn she becomes. I don’t know if that is a good thing or not. Then revealing her as some sort of relative to Stargazer somewhat felt unnecessary. She could have been some runaway princess of some kingdom planet but it won’t change a thing. I don’t know what history she’s got with the old family since she said she haven’t meet them for so long so perhaps it isn’t as important. Probably that revelation is to give us some tension to see if Millie would go to the dark side and ultimately lead Kane there too. Or that she is some sort of spy planted and planned all along by Darkness. This kind of retro anime? With this kind of plot? What are the chances?

I am not sure if there are any romantic feelings harboured between them although it could be just me who is feeling something like that. But then again, it could be because they’ve been together long enough that they develop that sort of bond. Besides, so far I think Kane is the only one who appreciates her best cooking in the universe. Because if there were really feelings from her, then I can guess her final goal is to be the best wife in the universe! Haha!

Then there is Canal whom I feel is so much more human than a computer. She might be some super computer programme and her hologram is installed with the highest technology that allows her to feel and touch and others to do the same, but that is the reason why I think she feels more human than a machine. So much so I thought she would be better off being casted as the ship’s human assistant. So real Canal is (in terms of this anime, of course) that it never occurred to me she is machine except maybe she is about to go offline and you can start to see those interference lines. In terms of her character, I think she did play a good job in supporting Kane through thick and thin. After losing Alicia, she doesn’t want to lose anymore of those she holds dearest. See? What did I tell you she is so human-like? Another odd thing about her is her penchant to buy more weapons and missiles to load it onto Swordbreaker. I suppose as a battleship, your worth and pride is in the weapons you invested in, right?

Other characters feel okay too but I don’t see them having a great impact on the overall. Like Rail, some hot guy in the Universal Guardians who eventually betrays them just to destroy Lost Ships he detests? Then when he found one, it’s like he crossed over to the dark side for a while before realizing he can’t handle the pressure and that his life is more important and goes back to our heroes’ side. I don’t know how he got that paralyzing chanting spell because I am pretty sure the Lost Ship would not have something that reveals their weakness if those they suck the life force from are going to know everything. But then again, if they’re going to die and become one, does it really matter? So maybe, that is just Rail’s little part but honestly I think even if Canal doesn’t know this trick, I believe Kane can overcome the darkness himself. The antagonists of Nightmare are okay too but nothing that would make them sound like nefarious villains by today’s standard. They just want to spread darkness across the galaxy but you don’t see the intensity and how evil their ways. Partly Universal Guardians are such wimps too. Stargazer who thought he should be the big final boss got killed off by his clone, Glen outlived his usefulness and was killed off by putting him into Nezard, Kali who is somewhat obsessed with Darkness and hunting her prey eventually gets killed off in this method too and Darkness the coolest of them all as explained in my earlier paragraph.

I feel that Nina’s character is some sort of a comic relief and what her role is usually for I consider it to be a running gag of the series. When Rail was in Universal Guardians, she used to serve hot coffee or tea to him but each time she ends up spilling them all over his lap or clothes. After Rail’s betrayal, her bad relationship with machines becomes the running joke. All she needs is to give the slightest touch and the machine will either work or malfunction, a total complete opposite of what it is supposed to do. So people, if you need somebody to fix your TV or your home computer that is being stubborn and not working, you should just call Nina and she’ll just give the ‘Midas touch’ and get it working again. No need to spend hundreds on technicians. So you see, Nina? You still can get some sort of a job if you’re fired from Universal Guardians. And of course, the final episode shows her still hasn’t lost her touch in spilling tea all over Rail for nothing. Best spiller in the universe. The other running gag I feel is Millie blowing up the kitchen on Swordbreaker every time she cooks. It’s like each time she is making a bomb. I can’t remember if the explosion gets less frequent as she improves but Canal doesn’t seem to mind it anymore even if such explosions occur. Come to accept it as part and parcel of Millie?

Action wise, I don’t think it is fair to compare it by today’s standard but I have no choice since it is my only way to best describe it here. The action feels a little lame although not entirely. Partly because of the animation too. Sometimes when Kane fights with his light saber, the action can be a little lame but as I said, this is a retro anime so it is forgivable in that sense, no? Well, at least the space battles between ordinary battleships and Lost Ships seem to fare better although I won’t go so far to say it is awesome. Just okay at the most. Although the Lost Ships are CG rendered, it isn’t the coolest in terms of graphics since it’s you know, dated. On a little side note, the thing that turned me off was the jargon and terminology that Kane and Canal communicate to just activate barriers, fire beams, etc. It’s like they pulled out those words from thin air and made that up to make it sound really high tech. Maybe my sci-fi interest and knowledge are low but I thought by saying “Activate all shields” or “Load up those beams!” would just suffice. The comedy factor is also okay and is mainly between the interactions of the characters and their quirky traits as mentioned above. It’s funny that they are Trouble Contractors out to solve troubles but get into some sort of trouble themselves. Thank goodness things work out in the end.

The art and drawing style are of course retro style with the characters having that kind of look from animes of that era. Heck, you may say they look closely from Slayers too. Duh? The so called high technology stuffs seem dated from where I watched now but at that time it was really cool to see space ships and futuristic equipment. Especially the Lost Ships they give it some unique design of their own although other non-important ships like those from Universal Guardians feel uninspiring and sometimes just look weird. During battle and action sequences, the laser ‘light show’ and other beam effects seem cool. Only if you were watching during that era. Of course like I have said, it feels so dated but I am not complaining. But it sometimes feels funny too to see that certain futuristic items are now obsolete. Uh huh. Can you believe the mode of carrying or transferring data in a compact device around in this anime is a diskette? A DISKETTE!!! Not even a CD! That’s how retro this anime is. Yeah, 1998 feels so long ago. Also, you see all those funny charts, graphs and diagrams on the screen in the main bridge of Swordbreaker, I can’t help think somebody just designed them in a rush. Or just simply design. Who is going to decipher and understand all those, right? You’re not working on Swordbreaker either. So when Canal analyzes the energy of this and that, calculates the projection of some incoming this or that, it felt a little funny that those ‘diagrams’ really tell something.

As usual with Megumi Hayashibara on board, it would be such a waste not to take advantage of her singing abilities. Just like in some of the other animes she voiced, she does both the opening and ending themes and well, erm, it’s so like Megumi Hayashibara-like. It’s so like her style. Really. Brings back nostalgic memories of the kind of anime songs I used to hear when I was young while watching the anime she voiced in. Infinity as the opening outfit isn’t bad with blazing electric guitars and synthesizers and its similarity somewhat reminds me of that Slayers song she sung, Breeze and Don’t Be Discouraged or even Saber Marionette J’s Successful Mission. Extrication on the other hand is the ending theme and plays to a slower pace. This song isn’t bad too and has this funky and jazzy tune to it. Makes me want to sing along with sexy passion just like her Shaman King’s Omokage.

In the end, I believe that fans of the Slayers series would appreciate and understand this anime better than casual viewers. Ultimately, that is what almost everybody will tell you if you ask their opinion. Provided if they know about Slayers too. Yeah. Space version of Slayers. If you also love sci-fi and not into a very deep plot, then you should check out this series as well. For a casual viewer like me, to be fair and give this old anime its dues, I still find it fun and enjoyable in the overall, though. Even with a few drawbacks, I still think this is a pretty decent anime. It is not like I didn’t like this anime nor regretted watching it. Oh, I don’t know. I’m just trying my best to be the best otaku and anime viewer in the universe. Looks like I have got a million more light years to catch up.

Gintama (cont.)

June 21, 2014

I know it has been over for a long time and this blog is very late but what the heck! I was slowly enjoying every bit of the second season of Gintama. It’s one of the very few long running shows that I wouldn’t mind it would go on forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever… You get the idea. Heck, I think this is the only show that I would want to continue forever. Even though long running anime series that have ended such as Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn, I have a feeling that even if it starts up again, I will get bored of that too. Although Fairy Tail is still interesting, that similar feeling that it will no longer be exciting still worries me and hangs over my head. Need I even say about One Piece? That’s why with the return of Gintama, I was very much delighted. I get to laugh at all the nonsense (from mild to perverted, take your pick), watch all the action and cry at all the drama. This show has everything and a lot more that I could wish for. Now my only wish left is for it to run forever…

Time skip Arc
Well, 2 years have passed since the first season of Gintama ended. And what does Shinpachi find? Everybody has drastically changed and he is the only bugger who didn’t change. Even the unthinkable happened like Otae and Kondo got married. Some just leaves you WTF because Kyuubei and Katsura changed genders and are fighting to be the best transgendered around. Shinpachi is relieved that the only other person who hasn’t change is Hijikata. Just when they’re about to accept the changes, they realize some sort of pimple parasite has been affecting everyone. They go all out to rid of it and in the end, it is revealed that both of them too got parasites. The one who saved them, Gintoki is the only one who actually didn’t have a parasite.

Glasses Arc
Ayame’s glasses accidentally broke so Gintoki has to reluctantly buy her a new pair, much to his annoyance because that woman is acting like her perverted usual. In addition, the glasses are the wrong prescription but she treasures it because it’s a gift from him. This causes her to flop in her ninja missions and her superiors are sending in assassins to rid of her. She almost died and lying in coma. This has Gintoki, Shinpachi and Kagura along with Zenzou to protect her. But are the Yorozuya guys serious because they seem to be goofing off at critical moments. Don’t worry. Because the assassins themselves are pretty goofy. A guy whose ability is swapping pillows, an old guy who loves swapping tight t-shirts and a pair of twins specializing in some sort of snack. So when the real boss appears, cornering them with his assassins, Ayame revives and her new glasses turn her into some super powered super human glass mecha that kicks ass.

Kabukichou Four Devas Arc
A young girl, Pirako Chin is looking for the strongest man in Kabukichou. She thinks he is Gintoki and becomes his underling. Yeah. She is also here to turn this district into a garden of bright red flowers! Of course as revealed, she is the daughter of one of the 4 Devas of Kabukichou, Jirocho and wants to help him take over this town. At the same time, the 4 Devas are in a meeting and as suggested by Kada, call upon a truce and the first one to break it will face the wrath of the others. Otose is made a scapegoat that she has a bone to pick with Jirocho because they were once lovers. Otose’s late husband, Tatsugoro Terada was the police of this area and Jirocho the yakuza. Although both were enemies, they loved and protected this place. Their odd relationship made them also friends and fell in love with the same woman. Of course Tatsugoro won over Otose in the end and as Pirako theorizes the only reason Jirocho left his wife and daughter to come to this town is because he still cares for Otose. Otose is warned to leave this town. But while paying her respect at her husband’s grave, Gintoki sees her in her own pool of blood. He thinks Jirocho was the one responsible and becomes a demon to kill him. Because he made a one-sided promise to protect Otose after her husband’s demise. War is on the verge in this district since Otose is gone (at least lying in hospital). Saigo is forced to tear down Otose’s snack house since his young member is held hostage. But Yorozuya isn’t going to give up and did not leave town as warned. They stayed back to protect the snack bar. They received unlikely help from several other characters from the series. That MADAO guy, that fire fighter, that blacksmith, that hardboiled detective, that old guy who makes robots and even the host guys. Of course everything was a conspiracy by Kada to take over this town. Gintoki and Jirocho battle through Kada’s hordes of assassins to chase her away while the rest at Yorozuya team up with Saigo’s transvestites to deal with her army of assassins (Shinpachi, Kagura and Catherine rescued Saigo’s young lad thereafter). The final showdown between Gintoki and Jirocho ends up with the former in victory (of course). Kada thought she could launch a final attack to bring down everyone but was stopped by Pirako. There could have been a heart warming confession between Jirocho and Otose but since everybody was too busy trying to eavesdrop, it ruined everything. Jirocho gives up his title and everything and goes on a journey with Pirako as her father.

Jugemu arc
Kyuubei is tasked to train a monkey of the Shogun family. Because it doesn’t have a name yet, everyone chips in and it becomes ridiculously long. I salute to everyone who can say its name without screwing up! Yeah, it likes throwing poo too at Gintoki. Of course the monkey grows close to Kyuubei and when it is back in the Shogun’s nephew’s hands, it flees. Kyuubei’s members are forced to find the monkey or their reputation will suffer. The nephew then understood why it ran away and was jealous because he never had friends before and was happy to have this monkey as one. He gives Kyuubei to keep it and in return as favour, adds to its name. Like it needs another extra word to its already hard to pronounce and remember name.

Prison Arc
Gintoki gets framed and thrown into prison. The prison warden makes him the enemy while he somewhat strikes up an unlikely friendship with an old long time prisoner who is always writing to his son that he always looks forward to see. Then there’s this unlikely alliance with the local gang leader, Sachi too. Yeah. Gintoki becomes to new gang leader somehow. The warden wants to strike a deal with Gintoki. For his early release, he wants him to play the troublemaker role. Sure, he is going to do that but in his own way. When the prison is causing riot, Gintoki searches the warden’s office for proof. It is revealed the old man’s son died 10 years ago and the letters he wrote were never delivered. So who has been replying them all this while? The warden himself. He pretended to be the old man’s son to cover his death. So by causing havoc, this old guy’s clemency would be revoked and he can’t get out of prison to see his son. The warden gets beaten up by prisoners who have a grudge over his mistreatment but is rescued by Gintoki. Remember. If he makes trouble, he must set him free. When everything blows over, the warden quits his post and was ‘threatened’ by Gintoki to talk to the old man one last time. From the looks of it, the old guy seems to know it was him all along. Bad handwriting. And yeah. They’ll continue to write to each other.

Love Choris Arc
Shinpachi has been obsessed with his new simulation girlfriend lately. Momo. I guess this is what unpopular boys do when they can’t get a real girlfriend. Can’t distinguish between reality and fantasy. He isn’t the only one. Even Kondo has Sayaka for company. So it is up to Gintoki to bring Shinpachi back or else he would have to face Otae’s wrath. In order not to have any character overlap, Gintoki gets the ugly and horrible Pinko. Why did they even make such character that always has a censor streak over her eyes? And all those who chose this character are weird sickos! Like Tojo and Ayame… Then there is this world tournament to see whose Love Choris is the ultimate wife. Gintoki’s only chance to break Shinpachi’s habit is to enter. See all the world class otaku losers there…  Shinpachi advances to the final with Momo while Sougou’s masochistic ways makes him to finalist for Sayaka’s route. No guesses for Pinko’s one. Just when everyone is putting down Gintoki and Pinko (seriously, are you willing to make love with this ugly b*tch with a dead child behind her back?), suddenly Pinko transforms into a super sexy beautiful and tsundere character!!! Shinpachi isn’t going to lose to Gintoki (Sougou is out seeing he became the S&M victim). And after all that love and illusion lecture by Gintoki and show them the kind of adult love to those virgins, sure, everybody breaks free from this illusion. Because they had enough after Gintoki strips down naked right on stage during his demonstration. Seen enough, haven’t we?

Renho Arc
Elizabeth goes missing and a place card was left behind not to look for her. And as revealed, Elizabeth belonged to a race that lost their world and is seeking to make Earth as their replacement home. He infiltrated this planet by being Katsura’s pet. Yeah, heavily Star Wars and Gundam parody arc. Dark Vader as the big bad boss? And how can you tell from one Elizabeth from another? Oh, the funny hairstyles… Also returning after a long time and helping out our heroes to prevent Earth being taken over is Kaientai led by Sakamoto and his deputy, Mutsu. As Renho Federation closes in on their plan, they drop rain that turns everyone into faces of Elizabeth. Can’t speak… While Mutsu tries to stall with her negotiations, the rest infiltrate the base and get engaged in some weird stuff. They eat video game cartridges? And there is the real Elizabeth who has been promoted. Then there are lots of other stuffs in between which I don’t remember about Elizabeth not really betraying both her homes but to protect what she considers precious who are no other than her friends. Oh, did I mention Elizabeth here has way more spoken dialogue in all of her appearing episodes combined? Every other army in Renho Federation turn against Dark Vader whose actually form turns out to be the entire planet of Renho. We have Gintoki and the rest combining into some mecha too to fight the equally huge Death Star. In the end, our heroes win, the Renho cast away their silly white duck suits (and they all turn out to be middle aged old men in underwear) to live freely. In order to protect his Earth friends, Elizabeth erases their memories. Something tells us they can’t really forget when they see the last of Elizabeth’s face as she departs with her Renho Federation. And then the ultimate revelation… That Elizabeth was just a temporary one and the real one just returned from a long vacation. Everybody beats up Katsura for the trouble they have gone through. But they saved Earth, right? So much about Katsura being a hero for once without being idiotic…

Ski Vacation Arc
It’s that Shogun again. Yeah. This time the gang are forced to look after him when he is here for the ski trip. Once more, the Shogun gets abused like as though it’s his destiny like getting kicked multiple times by Otae or being used as a human snowboard (dicks make good snow brakes?) After all those bloopers, they get lost in the snowy mountains and the Shogun goes missing. They have to organize a search and rescue party. Otherwise heads will roll. I guess with no Shogun as the punching bag, Kondo takes his place. And he has to search for him in his underwear in this worsening blizzard. The rest need to take care of themselves first and find a place of refuge otherwise they can’t find the Shogun if they’re dead. So when they finally find a cabin to take refuge, the Shogun is there but the insults towards him didn’t stop. It ends with big disaster when they argue how to keep the Shogun warm with their body warmth and he is pummelled out into the snow again. And although everything returns back to normal, the Shogun loves the snow so much that he is back again with a new skiing style. Going airborne and naked like a human snowboard?

Scandal Arc
After a night of heavy drinking, Gintoki finds himself in a very difficult situation. Did he have an affair with Otose, Otae, Ayame, Kyuubei, Tsukuyo and even Hasegawa?! Deep sh*t. He can’t even remember but is forced to take responsibility. Zenzou is willing to help him out but there is so many a guy can take because Gintoki has to live with them without all of them noticing! And they’re all living in the same place next to each other! That’s going to be tough even for a harem series. I don’t know how he put up with his schedule but it’s torturous. A good lesson why people shouldn’t be six-timing. And then he has to go on a date with all of them somehow all at the same time. It’s like God is screwing with his life and enjoying it. Zenzou manages to help out using fake dolls and thankfully enough, the dumb girls took the bait. Gintoki is forced to take over control of the dolls when Zenzou goes to the toilet. All hell breaks loose and the ladies realize they’ve been duped. Gintoki is tied to a tree for days. It made him realized. He was so worried about his own ass that he never thought about them. All this started because of that one moment of irresponsibility. He’ll quit drinking. With that confession, it turns out to be the biggest prank ever just to make him promise that! His expression is priceless! Worth it? Definitely. Everyone cooperate and teach him a lesson after he went on a rampage in his drunken state. Even after this prank, Gintoki is in no mood to drink ever again. Till he finds out from Hasegawa that he really did him over. Suddenly he rushes to the next store to get the strongest liquor he can find! Oh sh*t! Even with Hasegawa drinking so much to forget and he can’t, it could mean…

Host Club Arc
Kyoshiro is going to quit his host club because of a mysterious lady, Yagami who supposedly brings death if she ever visits a host club the second time. Since she did declare she will be visiting Takamagahara again, his other host guys have quit in fear and so Yorozuya and the rest need to find a way to handle Yagami when she arrives. They try recruiting others for the host job like the Shinsengumi, Otae and even Hasegawa but more importantly can they even be a proper host? Things get out of hand when Tsukuyo and Saigo’s people cause things to go out of trouble, putting Kyoshiro out of commission. Gintoki has balls shrink and wants to flee this joint but Yagami has arrived. No way out. Yagami joins the rowdy group of girls who doesn’t hesitate to ‘bully’ her. I guess everybody is drunk. The host guys are having a hard time cleaning up this mess when everything leads to chaos. Yagami then leaves even without seeing Kyoshiro. She clears the misunderstanding about the rumours. Because she has no place to go and have no friends, she goes from bar to bar. By that time, the rumours of her spread. Till she met Kyoshiro and his smile was different. It was for everyone and not just for her. She came back to see that smile again. Yagami didn’t have to leave empty handed. In fact, she was welcomed back to Takamagahara by Kyoshiro for the third time. This time she’s got everyone as her drinking partner.

Thorny Arc
Mimawarigumi is an elite police force joined by those from the elite. Thus the useless failure and troublemaker son of the noble family, Tetsunosuke Sasaki is sent to join Shinsengumi under Hijikata’s wing. A big pain in the ass at first but after encountering Tetsunosuke’s older brother, Isaburou who is the commander of Mimawarigumi and self-proclaim big fan of the Shinsengumi, Hijikata’s view change. After all, Isaburou talks bad about Tetsunosuke like he is a stain that ruins the family’s name. It’s odd that without those shades, Tetsunosuke looks like a clean cut cherry boy. He takes it upon himself to learn from Hijikata and do whatever he wants. Hijikata also remembers his own bloody past. He had a brother named Tamegoro whom he admired. One day thugs set fire on the village and Tamegoro lost his eyes while protecting him. Hijikata turned into a rampaging demon and slaughtered everyone. From that day he was known as Thorny and had to leave and couldn’t be with his brother. Hijikata tasks Tetsunosuke to hand a letter to Tamegoro and he promises to deliver it. At the same time, Isaburou hired Gintoki to infiltrate some gang planning to do some large scale terrorist act. This same gang was the bunch Tetsunosuke used to hang out with and he gets kidnapped by them. This sets Shinsengumi and Mimawarigumi on collision course. The latter uses this excuse to wipe out Tetsunosuke seeing he has ties with the separatist and couldn’t care what happens to him or the terrorist while pinning the blame on Shinsengumi. This puts both sides against each other with Hijikata against Isaburou and Sougou fighting with Nobume, a deadpan female whose swords can cut through anything like hot knife through butter. It gets chaotic with Gintoki in the picture. Time to do things his way. Once Tetsunosuke is saved, the demons clash. The terrorists find it hard to escape as they are caught in between. Shinsengumi switches clothes with Mimawarigumi to cause confusion. Sougou-Nobume match ends with Nobume tricked into cutting all the pillars and the building crumbles. Shinsengumi makes a deal with Isaburou to call this a draw and avert the crisis. He has no choice. Tetsunosuke goes to complete his letter delivery mission at his grave only to see Tamegoro’s wife. Seems the brothers communicated via letters. Although Tamegoro is blind, he was always eager for his letters. That’s why she reads it for him. But they’re all blank… Probably all they want to know is if he is still alive. That’s all that matters. Actually, maybe it’s because Hijikata doesn’t know what to always write…

Other episodes:
Episode 204: Kagura has problems giving Gintoki and Shinpachi her Valentine’s Day chocolates and enlists Ayame, Otae and Tsukuyo to help out but they too are embarrassed to give their chocolates to Gintoki. I didn’t know this Yorozuya guy is this popular. And even though it seems that they won’t be able to hand it to them directly, eventually they leave it on their doorstep. Surprised to see 4 Valentine chocolates?

Episode 205: This is how Yamazaki ends up hating anpan for the rest of his life, which becomes a running joke for the rest of the series. He is supposed to do a stakeout on some Joi’s member who ran away with their money and is confident he will run into his sister. Every day, he eats the same anpan till he is sick of them. By the time he is hospitalized, it was just a trick to make him off guard. And when Yamazaki’s discharged, he gives them a taste of his anpan revenge. Also, Kondo seems to finally land a date with Otae! Is this true! However bad luck seems to be obstructing him but he won’t let it ruin his date. Finally a meteor is in danger of destroying Earth and he uses his batting skills to hit it away. The pint size meteor hits Otae’s face. Game over.

Episode 206: Catherine has a boyfriend? She is so in love that she turns into a beautiful woman! Who is this woman?! Because Otose seems like she doesn’t approve of it, Catherine elopes with him to start a new snack business as promised. However it was a ruse to dupe her of her money and she is left homeless and penniless. Till Otose comes to bring her back with her open arms and Gintoki goes to teach those swindlers a lesson that conning a woman of her money isn’t evil. He will show them what true evil means…

Episode 215: The only thing I remember about this episode is that Kada has gone senile, being imprisoned by the Harusame after her failed takeover of Kabukichou. There is also an unlikely alliance formed between Kamui and Takasugi.

Episode 216: Yorozuya puts up a ridiculous factory tour of the Patriot (whatever that is) for the kids. You think the kids really believe it? Especially with that tissue box being the main component of the Patriot (whatever the hell this thing is). Can’t blame the kids for giving Gintoki the biggest kick of frustrating when the factory tour turns into some sort of televised life drama. Wasted time but at least it was educational. Yeah. It was all crap!

Episode 217: Remember the Shogun? Yeah. It’s him again, Gintoki and Hasegawa being forced to by Matsudaira to take care of him at the pool without his identity being exposed. Expect all the constant abuses thrown at the Shogun as he tries to fit in. And his very elastic loincloth has the guys bowing down to him with respect…

Episode 218: Yorozuya fights over crab meat! Obviously it is Gintoki and Kagura who are trying all sorts of underhanded tactics to get a piece of the juicy crab legs, much to Shinpachi’s dismay. It becomes an all-out (exaggerated) war to get whatever crab meat left. In the end when everyone agrees to share the crab porridge, it tastes horrible so they get cheap crab flavoured snacks instead.

Episode 219: Kagura helps a guy who wants to be a human punching bag but you know with all those weirdoes around, you can’t help get disappointed. He won’t be getting his punch till finally he sounds like a pervert that will ‘help you forget the bad memories’. Enough to freak that guy out and land him a punch. There, he got it.

Episode 220: Hedoro’s family are visiting the public bath so Gintoki and the rest panic they have some sort of hidden agenda to take over Earth and go all out to give them a warm welcome. As the lie builds on and on, they find it hard to contain it and it involves beating them up, ripping their horns, smashing their heads, etc. And after all that good hospitality, they want to repay it by scrubbing their backs… You know how hard they scrub, right?

Episode 223: Katsura infiltrates Matsudaira’s family to find his weakness. However he ends up saving his daughter (whom Matsudaira is having strained relations with) when the building she is in is hijacked by terrorists. In the end, he somewhat patched up their relationship.

Episode 227: This was inevitable. Sket Dance crossover! They had to return the favour too. So we’ve got jokes about the cross-over seiyuus from both animes and since Gintoki and Bossun really want to be seen as the leader, they go all out forcing the rest in some scavenger hunt. Only the blockheads go all out against each other to grab some fruit that turns their crotch into hammer. Yeah. They got that eventually. Happy?

Episode 230: Kagura really wants a handphone so she could text to Gintoki and Shinpachi. Do they need this when they can just talk face to face? After everyone reluctantly gets a second hand handphone, Kagura spams everyone with text on just about anything. Annoying? Of course her handphone seems to belong to a killer and he wants it back as he has left some valuable information on it. Then the killer turns out to be a shy barber who had left messages he was never able to say for his late wife. It is until Kagura throws a ‘tantrum’ that it is them who aren’t able to say what they want (because she hasn’t received a singly reply from them) that they perhaps realize the importance of communication. Although they give the handphones back to the guy, they still keep the handphone straps and without saying, this makes Kagura happy.

Episode 231: An udon shop owner passes away and Yorozuya and the Shinsengumi attend his funeral. However only Gintoki and Hijikata could see his spirit! They’re trying to remain calm (but fail miserably) and try not to provoke his already restless soul (even failing more miserably). They have been reluctantly task to carry his coffin but it seems parts of him keep sticking out especially his dick. In the end, it was just the dead man’s pleasure to have a fun filled funeral before he passes on to the next world. These guys are always so fun, no? And as his last reward, he lets them have their favourite udon bowl. Savour every last taste of it.

Episode 243: A manga magazine is being put in charge of a difficult manga. All previous editors have gone crazy and being locked up. In order to be assigned to another manga, he needs to find a new artist but none of them inspired till he meets… Gintoki and Sachi! It becomes retorting hell for this editor due to their crazy manga drawing and story. Big shoulder pads? In the end he goes insane and gets locked up too. Anybody would if they had to put up with the duo’s nonsense.

Episode 248: Who wants to be a MADAO-naire?! A chance for penniless middle aged guys to get 10 million Yen! Hasegawa is about to get that chance. A big parody of Slumdog Millionaire, we see how past events of Hasegawa’s life lead him to answer every question correctly. The ironic part is how each correctly answered question, it digs up a traumatic past Hasegawa doesn’t want to remember! Yeah, he was a poor soul even back then getting bullied and mistreated by kids but a kind girl looks up to him because it reminded her of her debt ridden dad who ran away. She remained positive and cheerful while living with him in the streets till she contracted an illness. That’s when Hasegawa entered this game show to win and clear her debt. The organizers think he cheated and try to put in tough nonsensical questions even a newspaper article that came out today! But Hasegawa could answer them all simply because all the questions were related to him. Especially the final answer that asks about that girl’s name! Hasegawa used the lifeline to tell her to live happily. Just when he thought he had cleared her debt, he found out that was just the tip of the iceberg. Now he is told to hurriedly get the rest of it. This sucks… Why? Because he’s a MADAO!

Episode 251: New Year’s Day episode. Gintama bought a curse kotatsu because once you sink in, you can’t leave. And you’re going to feel very lazy about doing anything or moving about even if something you want is just inches out of your reach. It’s the universe underneath! Don’t ask! Just accept it! With everyone except Shinpachi balding and talking like old men, Shinpachi is reduced to retorting hell over their idle chatter as more and more character drop in to share the kotatsu. Finally when everybody wants to relax for good, they realize it is too crowded and not enough space. They start fighting with each other till the kotatsu is destroyed. Everyone returns to normal (complete with hair) and has no memories but Shinpachi has turned into a bald old man, too tired to just end it with a retort.

Episode 252: Even the final episode of the season is not spared. It turns out to be a random episode with the theme of apologizing to viewers and everyone to whom they have offended or made fun out during the entire run of the Gintama series. You’d feel there is no sincerity in it since every apology seems like adding more offense to everything. Gintama style. In the end, they have to admit that they can’t give up the dirty jokes. Because we love them too! Hell, yeah! Gintama forever!

Enchousen

The third season began 6 months after the second season ended. And it couldn’t be more welcoming for a person like me who still loves this show many years down the road. I’m sure they had their reasons in not making it continuous (like they ran out of materials from the manga) or they just like to play pranks and screw with us viewers like they always do. But this Enchousen season slightly differs. Although it only ran for 23 episodes, half of it are rerun episodes from the first season! I’m in a dilemma to whether to call it a bad move or not because although those rerun episodes are picked from one of the funniest standalone episodes and it was good to watch some of them again and remember those laughs (yeah, that Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung was one of the best ones), it wasted some time when they could have put in more materials or at least funny fillers. The only thing ‘added’ was the gorilla creator seen lazing around instead of completing his work and the announcement of the Gintama movie in 2013. Or some pain-in-the-ass teasers-cum-excuses why the second movie is being delayed to summer. Because to coincide with the end of the TV series. HOLY WHAT?! The TV series ends for good???!!! Otherwise, sometimes I feel these reruns are like fillers in between the arcs of this what I believe is the final season in the Gintama series! Gasp! NO! I want it to run forever like Naruto and let that ninja show be the one who ends! And so, just when Gintoki thought he had gone AWOL for 6 months and could return with some excuse that will have his comrades forgive him, an unexpected new hero that has taken over the show…

Kintama Arc
What’s this? A new cool blonde guy, Kintoki Sakata has taken over the show?! This is what you get for being absent for so long. To add salt to injury, everyone in town doesn’t remember Gintoki and this Kintoki guy is a true hero whom everybody loves. He’s got the looks. He’s got charisma. He’s even got the money! Oh sh*t! The perfect hero whom everybody admires indeed! Even the 60 volumes of DVDs, all replaced with Kintoki’s face! Including this season’s opening and ending themes! Did Gintoki ever exist? Was it all only his imagination? Does Gintoki have a place left? What is happening? It seems only Tama and Sadaharu aren’t affected by the hypnosis. Robots and animals not affected, I guess. As revealed, due to Gintoki’s irresponsible ways, Shinpachi and Kagura requested Gengai to create the ultimate robot that covers every flaw that Gintoki has. So now the trio will have to work to regain everyone’s memories but it will be tough because they keep screwing up and Kintoki is always on scene to fix it. It makes Gintoki look like the bad guy, huh? A pretend suicide by Ayame becomes the turning point. When Gintoki dived down to save her, he knew his fellow pals will come to save him. Their body reacted on their own. They can’t explain it but suddenly they felt they might have seen this guy somewhere before. Tama wanted to settle this herself but got busted by Kintoki. Kintoki then frames Gintoki that he was the one who hurt her friends and wants everyone’s help to track him down. This puts Gintoki’s pals in a bind. They feel something is not right but have no choice but to seek him out. Gintoki is forced to put up the biggest fight in his life as everyone in town is now against him. But when Gintoki saves them instead of fighting them, they become all the more confused. With the final showdown with Kintoki at hand, everyone surprises this blonde dude and goes against him. The bonds they had with this silver idiot go deeper than any memories, eh? Although Kintoki can still hypnotized lesser skilled people (read: unimportant extra background characters), he can’t mesmerize the likes of Ayame, Tsukuyo, Kyuubei, Katsura and even Hasegawa. Kintoki reveals his true objective wasn’t to spread his influence throughout the world but to end this anime! Gintoki doesn’t give a damn and beats him up and going to do hara-kiri with him. He is not afraid of the show losing a main character because every idiot in this show is the main character! Shinpachi, Kagura and Otae reconcile with him before Gintoki vanishes…

Mantama Side Arc
What do you get when you don’t have gold or silver anymore? You’ve got this ditzy girl called Mantama in a brand new story and anime of her own! Even her own opening theme! And so it goes that Mantama and Kintoki made some promise to meet each other in the future before the former’s demise. In a world where some strange tower that causes every man’s dick to fall off, Kintoki is the only guy left with the ‘sword’. Other guys become transvestites. He’s the object of every girl’s dream but he only cares for one person whom he made a promise before they were born. And then it’s like destiny. This Mantama-look-a-like becomes a transfer student. But a series of mishaps that involve abusing Kintoki’s ‘sword’ before Mantama truly reunites with Kintoki in class. Turns out it is everybody in Gintama in disguise! Is this their way of getting back at him? Gintoki doesn’t care what happens to him but Shinpachi and Kagura beg for him to be spared and will go around apologizing to everyone. Kintoki realized he was so busy trying to change others that he didn’t realize others were changing him. So is he going to be a follower of silver now? But whatever it is, it’s welcome back Gintoki!

Courtesan of a Nation Arc
Yoshiwara had a famous courtesan named Suzuran. But like everybody else who grows old and hagged. Well, you know what I mean. Just like many women and men who come here to make a dream that lasts for one night, Suzuran has been waiting for that one man to come fulfil that promise. For how many moons has she waited… Yorozuya with Tsukuyo go to find that irresponsible guy and he turns out to be the previous Shogun, Sadasada. How can you easily get into the Shogun’s palace? Easy. Kagura seems to be the best friend of the Shogun’s niece, Soyo. I guess girls will be girls. Not even her personal servant, Rotten Maizou could line her in. Isaburou and his Mimawarigumi are also hired to guard the palace since it is under martial law as lately somebody has been attacking important bakufu officials. Eventually when Tsukuyo gets the chance to ask Sadasada about his promise with Suzuran, turns out this evil bastard was just using her to kill off those against him during his rule. Isaburou gets in injured in the retaliation. Yorozuya, Tsukuyo and Nobume are thrown into prison with the Shinsengumi tasked to execute them by daylight for trying to kill the Shogun. Not until Soyo’s heart breaking story about a certain courtesan and Shogun retainer’s tragic love romance got their ass moving. Maizou and Suzuran fell in love with each other and they made a promise to meet each other. However Sadasada found out about this and ordered him to kill her the next time they meet. As an act of loyalty, Maizou got an arm cut off. Because of his position, Maizou couldn’t go meet Suzuran and had to live with the regret of breaking the promise because if he did, he must kill her. Everyone who heard the story prefers to become wanted criminals to attack and seize this country for the sake of an old woman.

Gintoki is faced with an old foe during the Joi war: Oboro, an assassin and leader of the Tensho and part of the Tendoshu organization. Gintoki could have died from his poison needles till Isaburou and his Mimawarigumi show up to assist. Even Kondo and Shinsengumi join in the fray. Not to mention the entire police force led by Matsudaira attacking against the palace! Wouldn’t this be amounting to treason? Well, the only guy who could summon the entire police force is him: The current Shogun: Shigeshige. He orders his palace guards to stand down and hopes to make it up to Maizou for all the years of his service. Sadasada is still confident he can get out of this scot free and not being judge. But he may need to wait longer till Gintoki finishes his rematch with Oboro. Spurned by the death of his beloved teacher, Shouyou Yoshida, Gintoki gets the much needed strength to defeat Oboro. Tendoshu arrives to pick up Sadasada to ‘judge’ him but Shigeshige resigns as Shogun to take responsibility and drag his uncle down to hell. Eventually his resignation has been rejected and his position reinstated although most likely he has just become an interim ruler since there is something brewing between the Hitotsubashi faction and Tendoshu. Also because, Sadasada who has been imprisoned is killed by Takasugi probably trying to avenge the death of his teacher too. Oboro lives and reports back to the Tendoshu council. He notes their true enemies are the students of Shouyou. Lastly, everyone sets up so that Maizou could go see Suzuran one last time and fulfil their promise before she breathes her last breath.

Beam Saber School Arc
Gintama must really love the Star Wars franchise. Yup. It’s going to pay ‘homage’ again to it in this arc. The ‘big brother’ of Shinpachi and Otae’s dojo who was supposedly dead in a blast when he decided to travel to outer space many years ago, suddenly returns. He is Hajime Obi or simply known as Obi One. Uh huh. You read that right. Coincidence that Hajime means first or one? Though, he is half cyborg and this machine part is keeping him alive. Also, he has become some super sword master throughout the galaxy with his beam saber technique of his. And so it’s nostalgia once more for the siblings because you know, he was a cool big bro and perhaps Otae’s first love. Did I hear that right? His return and vow to help rejuvenate the dojo with his beam saber technique of course sends jealousy bells ringing to Kondo and Kyuubei who view him as a threat to Otae. And now for the conspiracy part. You know those little green Jedi masters? Yeah, they’re the antagonist now. Clad in balaclava, it seems Hajime is a weapon they sent down to Earth because Earth banned some beam thingy that they produce. So now when the conditions are right, the cannon embedded inside Hajime will activate and thus a sign Earth has declared war on the galaxy. That’s when Gintoki comes into the picture to bring the real Hajime back and not this evil Kenofi (Kenobi?) persona or kill him off. As usual, it has got to be Shinpachi who has to overcome and deal with this to move forward. He finally deals the finishing blow and Hajime is proud Shinpachi has grown stronger. Before his demise, he fires the cannon back at those Yoda bastards, who also fire their beam to destroy him. In the end, they destroyed each other. Lots of drama, lots of tears but the important thing is to keep smiling. Even if you’re crying.

Episode 265: ALERT!!! FINAL EPISODE!!! They finally made Sadaharu the star of this last episode. Due to no jobs, this means no money and no food. Heck, they even had to share dog food! Because of that, Sadaharu leaves Yorozuya and despite his stomach growling, he meets an abandoned stray puppy. He takes it upon himself to take care of him as several characters in the show try to take him in but the dogs have to leave since Sadaharu knows he’ll be dead meat if he continues to stay under these sickos. Food is already a major problem and the puppy is sick. Sadaharu is forced to catch and steal fish from every source (no matter how ridiculous). But the puppy’s condition worsens and the hospital isn’t going to take in some stinky dog. He feels bad that Yorozuya is looking for him and Gintoki knows what’s going on. He is on a job from several neighbourhood women who wants him to catch the stray as they fear it may spread disease to other dogs (its owner who is a dog lover died). And leave it to Gintoki’s way to rescue the day and teach Sadaharu a valuable lesson the hardship of having someone in care. Also as a family, they share the good and painful times together. Everything ends well, they get treated in a vet and the puppy is adopted by the dead owner’s relative. And everybody shares the same dog food… Is that what being family is all about?

Platinum Soul
Good things must come to an end… I think I’ve said that before but I guess this time is for real. No word has been said about another season or continue this ridiculous and hilarious series because if you are a seasoned Gintama viewer and know all their ‘dirty tricks’ of trying to troll you, they’ll be back, right? Only this time, they aren’t! It’s really the last episode and the last season! Boo hoo! Why can’t this show go on forever unlike some blonde ninja or pirate with stretchy limbs? Or why can’t it take a hiatus like Fairy Tail and then come back again? Oh wait, it did that once. Why not do it again? I am sure that there are lots of other silly stand alone episodes and interesting arcs that are not animated. Stupid lazy gorilla. Get off your fat furry ass and do more stories. Hah. Blaming somebody is always easier.

This anime has not lost its touch of comedy, action and drama. Everything that you are familiar with the Gintama series are still retained here. Especially the jokes. From making gags that purposely break the fourth wall (that includes scolding, criticizing and insulting their own production crew) to blurting out copyrighted brands (but with a bleep and censor over it) to disgusting but humorous pervy jokes, intense retorts, shameless parodies and witty one-liners that will either have you cringing in disgust or laughing too hard that your stomach hurts. Those who watch Gintama will be familiar with the roller coaster ride of emotions that they put viewers through. One minute it can be all funny nonsense, the next it suddenly turns into an emotional melodrama that will tug some heart strings, you get emotional and want to cry, then suddenly something silly disrupts it all and you’ll be laughing like mad again. Yeah. You may go hysteria while watching this if you are emotionally unstable. But I loved it. Some scenes happen so fast that you haven’t got time to explain to yourself why you’re laughing one second and then sobbing in the next.

For both seasons, I still feel that there is the lack of the major parts of the series’ real antagonists. I thought at least somewhere within the season, they will dedicate another arc for Takasugi and Kamui. Heck, it was just one stinking episode that didn’t really get us anywhere except the fact that they made an alliance. Even there are some juicy and interesting bits about Nobume who once had some sort of connection with Oboro. Alas, we didn’t get to see anything more than that so in this sense it was a little disappointing. Big powerful villains with an equally tragic past with Gintoki didn’t really make an overall impact in the direction of this series? However this doesn’t really dampen my spirit and my overall feel good factor for this series. Because sometimes I think it is best for this show to have comical standalone nonsensical episodes that will make us laugh out loud till our tummy hurts. Yup. I think that would be the best. Perhaps that is what the movie is for? I don’t know and I can’t say since I didn’t go watch it.

Every other character has their good and bad points but this is what makes them quirky and memorable. Some become the butt of jokes and ‘whipping boy’ of the series like Katsura and his stupidity makes you wonder if he can lead his rebel Joi faction to victory. And you thought that the Renho arc would have gave him some sort of redemption but unfortunately like many other characters, they stay the same as they are in the end. Another character ‘beaten up’ left, right, up, down, centre and everywhere is Hasegawa. He has become synonymous with MADAO and nobody pities his homeless or pitiful state. Kondo is another one since he is frequent to stripping naked, being taunted as a gorilla and beaten up by Otae whenever he becomes a stalker. For Yorozuya, Shinpachi is glasses, Kagura the violent and blunt brat and Gintoki the big guy, big man, big brother of everything. He’s got so many sides from being a joker to a lazy person and to a kind person who will protect those dear to him, seemingly so perfect yet so flawed, I suppose that is why he is the series’ main character. You will love and loath everything about him. That’s what makes him cool. Other usual characters are still identifiable with their odd traits like Otae’s disastrous cooking, Sougou’s sadism, Hijikata’s mayonnaise obsession, Kyuubei’s aversion to a man’s touch, Tsukuyo’s low alcohol tolerance and Otose’s heavy smoking. Only ‘new’ to the bizarre personality is Yamazaki’s anpan obsession which has of course become a running joke each time he appears.

Besides the jokes, drama and characters, the action scenes are quite okay. It may not amount to be the best fight scene ever because this is Gintama, it is a mix of everything so you can’t have the best of every genre that it mashes in. It’s fun and exciting to see Gintoki take up his wooden sword as he go head to head with the big bad villain of the arc as well as the rest of his other pals in action. But eventually Gintoki is the main character so he has to be the one having his final fight with the final boss, right? There are going to be lots of blood spilled when the fight gets intense or reached its climax so if you are the kind who is faint-hearted, you might squirm at the sight of seeing the characters vomiting blood from taking the impact. Heck, you shouldn’t be watching this series if you are faint-hearted as the jokes can be really outrageous. The art and drawing are still good and consistent with the first season so there are no complaints from me on this department.

As usual, a variety of opening and ending songs greet and close this series. Mostly the themes are rock based. Some are memorable but some just didn’t get my attention. If I had to pick the best theme for both these seasons, personally it would be Samurai Heart (Some Like It Hot) by Spyair. This rock theme is quite befitting the Kabukichou Four Devas Arc. Tougenkyou Alien by Serial TV Drama (yes, that is the name of this Japanese band) is crazy enough to get you into the insanity world that is of Gintama. Sometimes it makes you want to go “Dah! Dah! Daaaaahhhhh!”. And that opener with those crazy troll face smiles… Classic. Wonderland by Flip is one of the 2 songs that isn’t actually rock based but more of hip hop. It’s like going through a Gintama trip of nostalgia as we see main and supporting characters from all the Gintama episodes, arcs and seasons making their one shot cameo appearance. Trying to say goodbye? The other non-rock song is Moonwalk by Monobright. No, this isn’t a tribute to Michael Jackson and in fact it sounds like an opera tenor singing to an oldies rock ‘n’ roll tune.

Well, I don’t know if Gintama will be animated with more seasons in the future. It’s like telling me to go read the manga which is still ongoing. Heck, I prefer to watch something than read. Although Gintama is not perfect and may not be suitable for everybody, this is one series that mixes up everything and comes out on top without screwing up everything. Heck, even if it did screw up, they can even make a joke out of it or come up with some funny excuses and we will still accept it. But it will be unforgivable if they do not come up with more episodes because I don’t mind waiting for a year or two. Or maybe even in 5 to 10 years. Oh please. Don’t say it’s really over. Screw your production budget and tight schedule. I want more Gintama! I think I know what kind of answer Gintoki will be giving me. Sure, you’ll get your Gintama sequels… Coming real soon, in the year 2114! I’ve been had. Here’s my crazy troll face smile for you! 

Valvrave The Liberator

June 8, 2014

I think I am really starting to think that I may be a closet mecha fan. From time to time I will find myself picking to watch a mecha series despite each time I deny that I am a fan of such genres. True, that I have not watched epic mecha series like Gundam or Macross but over the years I have watched mecha themed animes from Linebarrels Of Iron to Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and even Code Geass. Each time, I was okay with the mecha battle and action. Heck, I guess it’s better than watching yaoi or hentai. Now my journey of mecha animes has brought me to yet another mecha series. This time, Valvrave The Liberator or also known in its original Japanese name, Kakumeki Valvrave. So does this really mean I am a mecha fan? Well, I still think I am not but I figure I do not dislike the genre as much as I did before. Maybe watching a whole lot of range of animes has broadened my perspective? Yeah. In time, I’ll be excepting yaoi and hentai too.

I’m not really sure nor do I remember why I picked this one up despite there were a handful of other mecha series similarly at that time. Maybe it was the characters? Sure, there are nice looking characters and some pretty girls here. Maybe it was the comedy factor? Sure, every anime has that ice breaking comic relief scene. Even the grimmest one would. Maybe it was the action? Sure, who wouldn’t love to see big robots punching, slicing, hammering and shooting whatever they have in hand with another giant robot. Maybe it was the interesting plot? Let’s see… In the distant future, men have the capability of living in space. However mankind can be divided into 2 factions: The westernized-like ARUS (Atlantic Ring United States) and the German/Russian-like Dorssia Military Pact Federation. However there are those that remain neutral and they belong to JIOR (Japan and Islands of Oceania Republic). And so you’ve guessed it. When a country remains neutral, there is temptation to seize it as their own for whatever nefarious plans. When a particular peaceful module of JIOR gets attacked by Dorssia, so happens that this school district module has to stand up on its 2 feet and defend itself. Yup. A boy who reluctantly becomes a hero. He and his mecha pilot to save the day and bring new order and hope to the people of JIOR. And then there are those dark secrets and conspiracy unveiled along the way. Typical. Unoriginal. But heck, when you have mecha power backing you up, you can’t complain, right?

Episode 1
As narrated, men continued to expand colonizing the universe. With the completion of Dyson Sphere, space colonization has accelerated that 70% of human population have left Earth. A group of transfer students enter the JIOR Sphere. But they seem to be Dorssian military in disguise as they slaughter the welcoming crew. Didn’t expect this to happen, do they? It’s more peaceful down at Sakimori High School because we see Haruto Tokishima in an eating contest with Shouko Sashinami to decide which clubs get to use the grounds. Haruto lost. And the loser gets blamed. In class, Shouko is puzzled why Haruto kept looking and her and pesters him to tell. Because she’s cute when she’s quiet. That wasn’t sarcasm. I think Shouko didn’t really get the picture because she thinks that he thinks she is uglier if she talks! In general, don’t men view women that way? But the most baffling thing was how Shouko confronted Haruto and bugged him about this right in the middle of class! It’s like nobody cared or give a damn! Where the hell is the teacher?! Later Haruto once again talks to Shouko regarding that eating contest. He didn’t like such competitive stuffs and would rather share the place. One of those Dorssian boys, L-elf Karlstein heard it and it seems he has a grudge with the word ‘half’. He confronts Haruto and tells him off about sharing. Should you share a girl’s love in half? Then he pushes him down and lectures him about people coming to beat the crap out of him but won’t fight back. Although the incident is blown over without anything serious, Shouko is upset about it. But Haruto is okay and thanks her for worrying. Then it’s like suddenly he isn’t timid anymore because he wants to tell her something. Shouko is the one who flusters and needs time to prepare herself. I guess they took too long because something just crashed in. That’s because the Dorssian forces have invaded JIOR. The place soon turns into a battlefield and the citizens panicking and hiding for cover.

The Dorssian transfer students hack their way into a secret underground lab in the school and kill all the scientists. Before L-elf could take the Valvrave mecha, one of the scientists ejects the robot to the surface. Oh, how convenient. Just where Haruto and friends are. Shouko wanted to help somebody stuck in a car but the beam blew the place up. Haruto becomes devastated. No time for hide and seek. When reality hits him, he becomes enraged. He wants revenge. Conveniently he climbs into Valvrave and it’s like as though he knows how to pilot this thing and activates it. Or it could just be he is hitting the buttons randomly. But it won’t budge. The Dorssian forces try to force Haruto out. Just before he could give up, his thoughts are filled with L-elf’s words and Shouko. Then he sees the option on the screen to abandon his humanity. What the hell. Go for it! He gets injected in the neck and it’s like some sort of auto check-up is done on him. Valvrave is activated 100%. Now Haruto is like a natural piloting Valvrave as he crushes all the Dorssian forces. Too fast. Too bright. Too powerful. You’re all f*cked. Once it’s over, everybody is singing praises of it! The cyber space is filled with such comments. They can’t stop the commenting. Apparently somebody uploaded Valvrave kicking Dorssian ass onto the internet. Some in surprise, some with questions, some want to be his friend, some think he’s cute. But I guess Haruto is the only one who isn’t jumping with joy. Shouko… When he climbs out of Valvrave, he is approached by L-elf. He suddenly believes what he said earlier about competition. That’s the least of his problem because L-elf stabs his heart! Then shoots him several times! Just when he thought he had won, Haruto springs back to life and bites his neck like a vampire! Wait a minute. Vampire and mecha combo?

Episode 2
Haruto’s friends, Saki Rukino, Kyuuma Inuzuka and Aina Sakurai arrive on scene and are devastated to see blood all over him. The Dorssian students tell them to get away from Valvrave. They are surprised when L-elf points his gun at them and fires at A-drei, blinding his left eye. While Haruto’s friends escape to a nearby shelter, the rest of the Dorssian students, H-neun, X-eins and Q-vier fire back. L-elf runs into the shelter. The friends wonder why he is helping them. L-elf says he is Haruto and doesn’t know how he ended up in this body. Could it be the bite? They believe in him since Haruto has a bad losing streak in rock-scissors-paper. But Haruto wants to go back out and reclaim Valvrave and kill those Dorssian bastards. Revenge is still on his mind. Meanwhile Dorssia has taken over JIOR who have surrendered unconditionally. They will now be under Dorssia’s territory and the citizens are being deported. X-eins reports to his commander of their successful takeover and also L-elf’s betrayal. Haruto didn’t bat an eyelid in killing some low Dorssian army and the scientists examining Valvrave. All is fair in war. He is surprised to see his own body and all the wounds healed. As Dorssia begins to counter attack, Saki enters Valvrave with him. She wants to test out a theory. First she ties Haruto up and then has him bite his own body. Instantly, Haruto is back in his original body and L-elf awakens, surprised at the turn of events. Haruto starts up Valvrave but it looks like an amateur piloting this mecha. Somehow Haruto pilots out into space. More enemies show up. Is surrender an option? Now he pilots like a pro and slashes them all. I think it must be revenge. A-drei despite injured goes into battle mode. Revenge too?

A-drei fires all he’s got at Valvrave. It suddenly stops. L-elf has broken free of his bind and takes Saki as hostage. He is demanding answers from Haruto because A-drei just labelled him a traitor for shooting him. He doesn’t remember what happened and was sure he killed Haruto. Haruto then receives a call from Shouko. She’s still alive buried underground with teacher Takumi Kibukawa. You should hear the relief in his voice. He promises to get back alive and to meet her. Because he wants to continue that discussion. With renewed hope, Haruto is just as motivated but he can’t do anything much because he notices if the heat capacity reaches 100, it will overheat and Valvrave will stop functioning. But L-elf has noticed something in its numbers and other data so I don’t really understand about his explanation when that number reaches the weird 666. That, plus his newfound determination to live, Valvrave literally goes on fire. Well, it seems like it or it could be very bright lights. Then it does hara-kiri and unleashes a powerful blast that disables A-drei’s mighty mecha. Dorssia is utmost surprised with this super blast. They are forced to retreat when ARUS forces arrive. L-elf continues to demand Haruto for answers. He accuses this monster to behind everything that has happened. Haruto looks extremely shocked. When Haruto lands back in JIOR, L-elf is taken into custody. The discussion continues. I suppose he got cold feet in wanting to confess so he tells her all he wanted to say how lame her shirt was. Lame. Can you blame Shouko for getting real upset? Yeah. That shirt was limited edition too. Kyuuma wonders why Haruto did that. Because he has turned into a monster, he has no feelings. If so, why is he breaking down and crying so badly?

Episode 3
L-elf is under interrogation. When Haruto mentions L-elf’s name, the interrogators quickly point their gun at the Dorssian and tell him to up on his feet. L-elf hints a loud speaker, earthquake, panic, 3:14 and the answer will be behind him. The ARUS army arrives and JIOR residents welcome them. Like heroes, huh? But not as much applause when they see Haruto. He’s the real hero. The real star. Yeah. Even girls want to give him their mail address. Lucky bastard. Haruto then analyzes his blood in the lab. Seems normal. But something else is abnormal. The cut on his finger heals immediately. Do you think he should go see a doctor? Saki doesn’t want him to because he’ll be treated like a lab rat then. Suddenly Haruto’s blood starts acting up. He then turns into a vampire and tries to bite Inuzuka’s neck. After all that pushing and resisting, Saki’s slap is the only thing that snapped him out? So what just happened? Before they can think about it, Haruto is brought to meet Senator Figaro, a politician from ARUS. He shows him the website which his heroic deeds were uploaded by young hacker girl, Akira (using an alias named Rainbow). There are many comments wondering about Haruto’s whereabouts so he is advised to reply and let them know. The moment he does so, the web is flooded with all sorts of comments and praise. Even celebrities and top athletics are rooting for this guy. They love him. How does it feel to be a hero? But why isn’t Haruto smiling? Figaro says he is their only hope for JIOR. Haruto understands that as they want him to fight. On the contrary, Figaro wants him to run. What Haruto defeated is just a fraction of Dorssia. He views running away is not the same as losing. You die when you lose but as long as you survive, you win. Meanwhile those interrogators and guards must be slacking because they didn’t even notice L-elf unscrewing a screw on the chair he is sitting on. Then he tosses it up to break the only light in the room. Lights out. He takes the broken glass shreds and cut himself free, cuts all the useless people and slaughters the rest without mercy by ‘borrowing’ their machine gun. They never saw that coming. Now to initiate the next phase in plan.

A-drei and the rest return to Dorssia’s main fleet. They meet Commander Cain Dressel and are honoured to participate in the reconquest. A-drei is still reeling from L-elf’s betrayal but Cain understands this friendship thingy. Haruto helps the students evacuate. The loudspeaker in his hand just reminded him of L-elf’s words. At that time, warning has been sent to ARUS soldiers around the campus of an escaped Dorssian prisoner. 15 minutes later. Even L-elf feels disappointed. He doesn’t care how big ARUS army is or being seen. Because he pulls off this cool manoeuvre as he skydives down and the floors behind him go boom. He checks his own physical and mental capacities and deems them as what they should be. He deduces Haruto is the irregularity. Meanwhile Haruto is checking around if there are other students left behind in the building. Then this delinquent guy, Raizou “Thunder” Yamada confronts him and wants him to hand over Valvrave. He wants to avenge his friend and isn’t going to listen to Haruto’s crap or let him hog all the glory. Well, at least there is one guy who doesn’t view him a hero like the rest. Shouko thinks she saw somebody still in the building and goes to check it out. It leads her to Akira’s room and looks like she is still hacking unaware of Shouko’s presence. The big ship to evacuate the students hits a snag. Some smoke surprise attack causes it to be stuck. There’s your earthquake. When the students realize they won’t be getting out soon, panic starts to rear its ugly head. What’s next on the agenda? Oh, look at the time. It’s 3:14. And the last prophecy comes true. Haruto looks behind to see his answer: L-elf! After taking out Yamada, he wants Haruto to form a contract with him. They will bring revolution to Dorssia.

Episode 4
Those ARUS guys are in a meeting. Their plan is to defend the borders from Dorssia until they can get their hands on JIOR’s secret weapon, in which they will declare war with them. Everybody votes in approval. None objects. Akira starts throwing her stuffs for Shouko to get out. She starts shivering in fear and doesn’t want her to tell others about her existence. Haruto rejects L-elf’s offer since he is the enemy. He tells him his words are prophecies and knows that he must form a contract because he has got no other choice. He will help save this school and his girl. Haruto thought of using Valvrave but L-elf shoots it down. The contract is the only way. Haruto is bent on using his cursed power to protect others so L-elf replies he has to stain his hands to do so. In the event if Haruto decides to form the contract, do the peace sign to him. Haruto returns to Figaro and the rest of the ARUS troops inspecting Valvrave. Haruto tells them to get away from Valvrave since it is cursed. It goes unheeded. When one of them enters the cockpit, the programme views him as a mistake. He gets injected and his body blows up!!! The place is under attack by Dorssia. Figaro panics since he thought it wasn’t supposed to happen so soon. He wants to evacuate and couldn’t care less about the students. This upsets Haruto that he lied. Well, you know politicians. Haruto tries to bite one of the solider but realizes it only works when it is directly to the skin. Figaro has Haruto secured and shall be taken back along with Valvrave for research. Figaro lies to the student about the ‘earthquake’ as some maintenance work and assures their evacuation. Akira and Shouko heard his lies via intercepted transmission and know he is lying to the students. She calls Haruto but he is tied up to pick up. The soldier ends the call. When Inuzuka finds Shouko, she tells him they’re in big trouble.

Satomi Renbokouji, the student council president initiates an emergency meeting to hear Shouko out. However without proof, they can’t believe her and would rather believe ARUS. Shouko is in a bind because she cannot tell about Akira. She starts stripping herself in some twisted logic to show how pure she is. Okay, so they get the idea. We don’t get any Shouko fanservice. While the student council vice president Takahi Ninomya and other students distract the soldiers. Yuusuke Otamaya leads Shouko and Inuzuka inside some ventilation to where Haruto is held. The ventilation breaks and Shouko falls on the lone guard. This easy? Shouko realizes why Haruto didn’t pick up his handphone. Figaro is about to leave when Haruto tells them about ARUS’ lies. The students are worried. The hero can’t lie, right? Figaro then shows his true colours. He takes up a machine gun and fires at Yamada blocking the way! Just short of killing him. While the student panics, Haruto seizes Valvrave (after biting one of the guards). He regains order but the students’ joy is short-lived. Because L-elf announces every other module except this has been under Dorssia’s occupation. This means their families have been taken hostage. He does the peace sign, forcing Haruto to consider. While everybody is at a loss on what to do. Shouko comes up with a brilliant idea. She suggests to blackmail Dorssia back. Because if they harm their families, they will hand Valvrave to ARUS. She also forces Figaro and ARUS to work with them. Or else they’ll give Valvrave to Dorssia. Now either side cannot do anything will not act rashly. She shows the peace sign to Haruto. I’m sure he’ll gladly go with her on this one. Shouko has further plans. She wants this module to be declared independent and not rely on others. A bunch of kids running a ‘country’? Well, it sounds exciting so everybody votes for independence. Valvrave then goes up into space and surprises Dorssia by attacking the module. Actually, he is cutting and separating the module as part of their independence. L-elf starts laughing because he didn’t foresee this.

Episode 5
It’s been a week since the independence was declared. At least there is peace since ARUS and Dorssia aren’t making any rash moves. The kids are ruling the nation as their own. Yeah. No adult supervision. Like a dream come true to do anything they want’ eh? Especially Shouko who is having the most fun. Throwing items from the supermarket aisle and dancing in the sprinkler water. Probably fun time is over when they realize that somebody needs to maintain the electricity to power up the module. Yup. Blackout. Oddly, it starts snowing too. From what I understand, some electric over-current is causing the artificial atmosphere to malfunction and turning the season into winter. Since Otamaya is knowledgeable about machines, he is sent to fix it. But why is the button to restore everything in the most unreachable place? Ridiculous. Yamada has to let Otamaya hang on his hand while he tries to swing and push it. Better hurry because Yamada is bleeding. But he is willing to withstand the pain as he doesn’t want any more of his friends to die. I guess when things are not going your way, you blame others. The girls blame Shouko for pulling off that independent stint. Otherwise all this would never have happened. Starting to realize they can’t live on your own? Going to die? Saki tells them off that they too are partly to be blamed because they went along with it. The last we need now is a cat fight among themselves. Takahi is so bent on ‘disciplining’ Saki. They trade slaps. Everyone heaves big sigh of relieve when power comes back on. So now everything is okay? Haruto gets an idea from Shouko’s attempts to quell the situation via singing. He broadcasts to the other JIOR people to tell them that the kids are doing fine, a music video with Saki singing and everyone else dancing or doing silly stuffs that is worthy of being a YouTube video. I suppose the entire universe saw their broadcast. From ARUS to Dorssia but the people of JIOR are glad they are fine. Thanks to this stint, the Haruto donation fund initiated by Inuzuka soars from a paltry few thousands to 250 million and counting!!! Haruto and Saki go down deep underground and are surprised to see more Valvrave robots. Saki is impressed but Haruto doesn’t want anymore curses and monsters like him to be made. He hopes this can stay a secret between them. She agrees in exchange for them to be alone together. Is that a sign of confession? If that doesn’t convince you, Saki’s kiss will.

Episode 6
Actually Saki wants to be famous. That kiss? In harem sense, maybe. Ignoring Haruto’s advice, she then enters a Valvrave of her own and is willing to cast away her humanity to pilot it. She flies about and is thrilled with the newfound freedom. Haruto thought she shouldn’t have done that. What about the people she cares? Well, she doesn’t care. From her sob speech, she considers herself a loner with no family and friends. She wants to escape this horrible world. Like the nice guy Haruto is, he wants to do something for her (because she’s crying…). Saki hugs him. But it’s a ploy just to bite his neck. The only other adult in this independent module is Rion Nanami, a trainee teacher and she is forced to be made as JIOR’s representative. Takahi is looking for Saki but stumbles upon Haruto. To her surprise, Haruto starts flirting with her and even wanting to ‘seal her lips’. He puts a candy stick in her mouth instead. Little does she know, this is actually Saki fooling around in Haruto’s body. Having fun? L-elf has been observing them since and is surprised Saki is a compatible match for Valvrave. He concludes this entire school was part of the plan. Soon, rumours spread that Haruto and Saki are dating. There’s that ambiguous picture of them together. Fans of the idol aren’t happy. Plus, there’s this fake announcement that Haruto considers Saki her little sister. Hey, Haruto said he helped, right? That was what the kiss was for. Advance payment. Of course Shouko doesn’t believe all this crap. The girls almost tussle over him. Why is Saki so bent on becoming even more famous if she is already so popular? She’ll vanish unless she carves her existence into the world.

Dorssia makes a surprise attack. Don’t they care if JIOR gives Valvrave to ARUS? Well, not if they can snatch it first. Satomi tries to get Haruto but they are surprised to see another Valvrave and Saki piloting Carmilla (the name she gives for her Valvrave or else we’ll be wondering which Valvrave they’re referring to). Dorssia is caught by surprise as they didn’t know there is another Valvrave. Saki is having fun destroying the small fries. It’s like as if she’s a pro in controlling Carmilla. However play time is over when X-eins releases a flurry of missiles. As part of his analysis, Valvrave is a close range fighter so if they can keep the robot at a distance, their efficiency is reduced by half. Saki becomes scared and is paralyzed with fear. Not so fun anymore, huh? Haruto begins his assault but he too is limited to what he can do when kept at bay. Even the ARUS battleship is taken out in a flash. It was carrying Figaro. Goodbye senator. Shouko contacts Saki to tell her to calm down. Only she and Haruto can save them. Everybody in school is watching her so don’t screw up. Didn’t she say she wants to be famous? This was enough to get Saki going. She wants this clip to be broadcasted to the entire universe. With everyone cheering for her and the chat rooms filled with motivating messages, Saki goes on the offense with high speed agility. She will not let the world kill her. The world who wanted her dead (snippets of flashbacks regarding her untimely retirement from her idol career). She closes in on X-eins and destroys his ship (he escapes via pod). Dorssia orders a retreat. Once again, JIOR is saved. How does it feel to be the heroine? Cain is not fazed by this failure as he has another plan prepared. He leaves command of the fleet to his personal assistant, Kriemhild.

Episode 7
Haruto shows the rest the secret base filled with Valvraves. Satomi wants to put them under the property of the student council but Haruto disagrees. He can’t say about the humanity thing. Shouko knows he has his reasons and agrees to let the Valvraves be in Haruto’s care. Everyone votes for Haruto too. Welcome to democracy. More importantly, Kibukawa will need to have a look at the machines first before letting any other students in. Later Haruto confides in Inuzuka and Aina about losing one’s humanity when using Valvrave. Haruto may have saved many lives with this power but he feels like a monster. He doesn’t even know if he’s dead. Aina believes he is human and will always be their friend. Satomi is still reeling from that democratic vote when Takahi calls him. It’s like she’s luring him to kiss her but pulls out the last minute, feeling this is wrong. Can you understand women? Shouko, Saki and the rest of the girls are in a cooking class when L-elf barges in to give a manual to Shouko. He wants to turn this new JIOR into a military state to survive. She rejects. Since negotiations failed, with a click of the button, the place shuts down. L-elf announces he has taken over this place and everyone will surrender their lives for the glory of this nation. He has filled the place with bombs so be careful where you step. Yamada climbs up to the room and with Saki, they try to beat the crap out of him but were taken out instantly. Meanwhile Aina calls Haruto a holy spirit. Because he is like an immortal who can control others and pilot Valvrave. Only God can do that, right? Haruto likes that term as it’s much better than monster. L-elf summons Haruto and wants him to pilot Valvrave and form the core of the national defence force.

L-elf is going to remind Haruto about his naïve ideals again when they are suddenly attacked by A-drei. How did he get in? Anyway Haruto gets shot while L-elf escapes and then tricks A-drei with a blinding light. A-drei still cannot believe he betrayed them but L-elf doesn’t seem interested in correcting him. A-drei views L-elf as his right hand man however L-elf won’t be anybody’s right hand man and has already picked Haruto as that. A-drei is surprised Haruto is still alive. A-drei orders Q-vier to capture them but he blasts the entire place instead. Aina gets caught in it. L-elf opens the hatch and blows them out where Dorssia reinforcements are waiting. Saki gets into Carmilla to deal with the menace. However her movements are restricted via H-neun’s magnetic boomerangs. Scared all over again? L-elf sees Haruto’s leg pinned under the beam. Cutting it off would reduce his efficiency to pilot Valvrave and there is no time to lift it. He wants Haruto to bite him and take over his body although there is no guarantee L-elf’s body can pilot it. Even if he dies, it is a calculated risk he is willing to take. This is their only option with highest chance of success. He takes the bite. Before Saki is killed, here comes Valvrave and Haruto (in L-elf’s body). Thanks to L-elf’s predictions, Haruto is able to easily gun down important enemies, go head to head with H-neun (who loves melee combat) and destroy his magnetic boomerang gun to free Saki. The plan has failed so Dorssia retreats again. Inuzuka finds Haruto’s body and knows he has taken over somebody else. He calls Aina to help move the body away but to his horror, Aina’s corpse is floating about… Haruto notices a picture in his pocket. It is a picture of a girl, Liselotte. He couldn’t understand why he starts crying.

Episode 8
When L-elf was young and running away from the Dorssian army, he stumbled upon the princess of Dorssia, Liselotte. Desperate he took her hostage. When L-elf opens his eyes, he is tied up but he isn’t pushing the panic button yet. He tells everyone their country will fall in 6 hours. He is still waiting for Haruto to make a contract with him. Do it and he will save everyone. Meanwhile A-drei shows Cain pictures he got from the infiltration. There are several other Valvraves. Cain is impressed but also mentions he is stepping over his bounds for L-elf. This means this is A-drei’s last chance to bring him back and makes him in charge for the next mission. It’s gloom and pending doom for the JIOR students. Saki laments she is not strong enough. When word of Aina’s death gets around, everyone sinks into gloomsville. Inuzuka almost loses his cool, taking out on Haruto that he didn’t protect her despite he was there. Shouko sees Akira to free her (she was tied up prior to L-elf’s coup). Shouko breaks down. Satomi is surprised somebody else has found his little sister’s hideout. More importantly, she was with somebody else other than him. Inuzuka hounds Kibukawa to let him pilot a Valvrave while Yamada was just getting angry and wanting to fight to prevent more deaths. But don’t you think more fighting leads to more deaths? Oh, here come the Dorssian guys again. Haruto and Saki go into action but this is just a distraction as A-drei leads a small team through a backdoor into JIOR. This was how they got in the last time. They even hijack JIOR ships and fire warning shots, demanding them to surrender. Haruto and Saki are having it tough themselves. It’s those pesky boomerangs again but as X-eins calculated, they don’t need to do anything as the Valvraves will eventually run out of power and overheat.

Satomi becomes desperate and wants L-elf to make a plea to beg for his life and will use this as a bargaining chip. You think he’d stoop that low? Satomi even threatens to shoot him! And you thought Yamada was the one who is going to go berserk, eh? That’s when Haruto calls. He wants to make a contract with L-elf. As expected. However he wants L-elf to save everybody with no sacrifice. Deal. L-elf easily breaks out of his chains. It’s like as though he was just lying there pretending to be tied up. As he rushes through the battlefield, he tells Haruto and Saki to wait at certain coordinates and fire all they’ve got at a particular section. The cool seawater gushes out to freeze the boomerangs, cool down the machines and also make it impossible for A-drei’s team to stay in position. Their plan just fell in one swoop. L-elf also pilots a ship to buy time so Valvrave could power up and destroy all the Dorssian battleships in one strike. Like a whiplash. Too late to even think about retreating. Once again the day is saved. Everybody rejoices. Maybe except for Inuzuka. Because he was trying to rush to pilot a Valvrave but got shot in the shoulder by a couple of Dorssian guys. He had no choice but to stay hidden in the corner but L-elf zoomed past him killing those guys without even batting an eyelid. So yeah. Don’t you think it reinforces Inuzuka’s depression he couldn’t do anything? L-elf continues remembering his dream. Liselotte offers to give half her life so he could life. How can you split a life? To a woman, her hair is her life, right? She cuts a small portion and gives it to him. Cain is happily looking through the Valvrave photos and it seems he has that I-have-cast-away-my-humanity-to-pilot-Valvrave mark on his neck to.

Episode 9
There is an online memorial for Aina. It’s streaming with rest in peace comments. Haruto leaves all battle formation and tactics to L-elf because he has decided to trust him. His vampire instincts work up again but this time L-elf punches him out in the gut and notes how frequent it has become. The module is heading towards the moon where it is said to be a neutral place. In preparation for the next war, students undergo military training prepared by L-elf. They readily accept this as they have seen enough sacrifices. Yamada is caught for the fifth time trying to sneak into a Valvrave. Inuzuka thought this will be the key but L-elf could read his intention like a book. He tells him off about seeking vengeance via emotions. Because once a pilot is chosen for Valvrave, it cannot be swapped. What happens if a talentless guy like him becomes one? Avenging won’t bring back the dead. Wars are won by calm and effective machines. Inuzuka trains himself to speed assemble a rifle. Haruto and Shouko are worried about him since he is the hardest hit since Aina’s death. Were they dating? Dorssia returns with another attack. This time JIOR has setup several defensive barriers. Valvrave and Carmilla go into action and that’s when they instantly retreat. Of course it was just a decoy for a bigger fleet to surprise attack the module. What will they do? Valvraves have been completely cut off and not enough time to head back. At the same time, a blackout occurs. I guess the defensive barriers were sucking too much energy. I have a feeling L-elf has all this planned out because with no electricity, Yamada who is under arrest, escapes his cell.

Inuzuka sees Yamada trying to enter a Valvrave and tells him not to. However Yamada doesn’t give a crap about his whining because all he cares about is revenge. Screw everyone. Screw happiness. It made Inuzuka get sentimental about Aina. I’m sure Yamada isn’t interested about his so called ‘confession’ to her. He punches Yamada. He’s not going to fight for everyone but himself. And so Inuzuka willingly casts away his humanity to pilot the blue Valvrave and defend the module from a super cannon blast that could have well destroyed it. But can he handle this many Dorssian forces? Here comes Yamada to help out in his yellow Valvrave. He’s having a field day crushing Dorssians. Revenge never felt so good, eh? The fleet’s commodore orders the use of some main cannon that will even hit their allies. Desperate, isn’t he? L-elf contacts Inuzuka and tells him about the heavy siege artillery. The beam is fired and Inuzuka who was thinking about confessing to Aina if she was around suddenly sees visions of her. Is this her spirit trying to protect him? It gave Inuzuka the resolve to not only block but deflect the beam back and destroy the main ship. Cain orders their retreat. Operation failed yet again. Inuzuka and Yamada return like heroes. Everybody thinks they were so cool. Not exactly everybody. Haruto tries to beat up L-elf because he knows very well the first attack was just a diversion though L-elf claims they got into the machines themselves. Inuzuka is fine with it and wants to fight alongside Haruto. He also mentions he was ‘rejected’ by Aina. Because she doesn’t want him to ‘come to this other side’. Later L-elf confronts Kibukawa at the lab. He wants to know why all the teachers except Nanami were JIOR soldiers. Kibukawa adds that everyone else who worked in JIOR were soldiers because this entire module including the students were made for the Valvraves.

Episode 10
Kibukawa explains some rule that made JIOR unable to maintain a sizeable defence force and thus the creation of Valvraves that could eliminate an entire fleet. Also some explanation about Runes in which information particles are broken down into. In addition, Haruto’s Valvrave is the only unit that has this weird little interface programme and that hara-kiri sword move. Nanami announces that a representative is needed to represent JIOR once they reach the moon. She feels she is not the right person to do it and wants to hold an election to elect their very own Prime Minister. And so among the top running candidates include Satomi. Yeah. He’s looking every bit like a politician on campaign. Then there’s Yamada too. This badass dude is going for the top post? I suppose among the Valvrave quartet, somebody needs to be top to keep their secret a secret. Why not Haruto? No confidence in being a leader? And why the heck is Nanami participating too? I thought she didn’t want to be the representative? Just to show she can be trounced by somebody else? L-elf helps out to oversee the election. He’s a refugee so he can’t vote. Haruto and Takahi are alone in the elevator. She is wary of him when Haruto’s vampire instincts start to take over. Before he could rape her, Saki kicks his gut. They make excuse because Haruto is attracted by her beauty, etc. Haruto tells Saki about this problem getting more frequent and fears he will become some uncontrollable wild beast. If that happens, Saki will kill him. He agrees to that. Everyone wonders why Shouko hasn’t announced her candidacy. She feels she is not a good leader. But Otamaya’s gang would definitely support her since she rescued their stuffs several times. Then the rest misinterpret Shouko is announcing her candidacy but she keeps denying she is the woman suited for the job. Meanwhile Cain tells A-drei and co this is the last time they can attack JIOR. Once they reach the moon, it is a neutral place. Cain will also be heading into battle this time. Kriemhild catches H-neun looking for documents in a room.

Shouko is acting weird so her friend Marie Nobi wants Haruto to help her. At the shrine, he sees her watching a video that indicates her father the Prime Minister is missing and may be dead because the unconditional surrender was signed by the deputy. Haruto realizes she has been fighting a lonely war and knew it for a long time. He blames himself for not knowing. He wants to go bring him back. He’s not even his father so why? He can’t stand her in tears. Someone important to him is crying. If he doesn’t do something now, when will it be? Well… That sounded almost like a confession. It gave Shouko the motivation to run for Prime Minister. She makes it in time before the deadline. Thanks to Marie who has filled out the form on her behalf. Saki who saw the whole thing confronts Haruto about his ‘stupidity’. Love between them will never last because she is a human, he is a holy spirit. Suddenly his vampire instincts start up again. In the election hall, all the candidates give their final speech. Satomi sounds so like a politician. Shouko as the last one bursts into the scene and announces they should have a cultural festival when they get to the moon! Because the war delayed it and that they could even die tomorrow, all the more they should have it. Besides, this is the only time in their lives they get to be students. Then she starts naming all the interesting and exciting activities last year (and the specific person involved) and wants to experience them again this year. Dream big! Do something different! Oh yeah! Everyone is revved up and each one mentioning the dream they want to achieve too. Lastly, Shouko wants to confess to the person she loves once they reach the moon. And all those guys think they’re the one… Dream on. She wonders if Haruto would think she had done well. I don’t think he would because he is busy raping Saki!!!!!!!!!!! HOLY SH*T!!!!!!!!!! So is this really a curse? Once it’s over, Haruto probably doesn’t have any memories of the greatest sex ever. Oh, Shouko won the election.

Episode 11
In a military tribunal held in Dorssia, it seems JIOR’s ex-Prime Minister, Ryuuji Sashinami is being tried for misleading other nations by claiming neutrality and secretly developing weapons of mass destruction. Yamada has called his Valvrave Nobu Lightning (after his dead friend). Haruto feels guilty and calls Saki out to talk. She takes advantage of this. She won’t make him apologize and will be as long as she can with him. Even when Shouko calls his handphone, Saki hides it (he was busy making coffee for her – ironically he can handle a complex mecha robot but can’t operate a simple coffee machine). Shouko and the rest of her cabinet are in a group photo. They include Otamaya (Minister of Education and Science), Inuzuka (Finance), Satomi (Chief Cabinet Secretary), Takahi (Foreign Affairs), Marie (Internal Affairs) Nanami (Health and Welfare), Juuto Banshou (Transport) and Iori Kitagawa (Justice). Apparently Haruto and Saki are also part of it but they’re not here… Shouko gets a congratulatory note from Akira. She decides to speak with her real voice instead of typing it out. Spunky Shouko got carried away and hopes Akira could come see the outside world and make friends. However Akira remembers some trauma and screams crazily, smashing her keyboard. Satomi will go talk to her since she is his sister. But then… Dorssia attack! It is a much bigger fleet than before. As part of L-elf’s plan, he has the module run away. This is to break Dorssia’s formation and when they start chasing, they form a straight line. This is convenient for Haruto to power up his hara-kiri move and slash them in one strike. As Dorssia is hailing them, L-elf will accept their communications from the Prime Minister’s residence. Hey, you’ve got to look the part, right?

Shouko makes her first debut as Prime Minister as she gets in contact with Dorssia’s Rear Admiral Delius Wartenberg. Without wasting time, he shows Ryuuji in his hands. He has been found guilty and will be executed. Shouko reminds them about giving Valvraves to ARUS if they hurt their families. Delius is unfazed and wants Ryuuji’s execution prepared now. Shouko calls them a coward and Delius reminds her they are at war. Anything goes. Cowardice and justice means nothing before victory. They’ll do anything to obtain that. L-elf whispers they have located their position. It is in the middle, right in the path of Haruto’s hara-kiri blade. However if they don’t fire now, they’ll lose their only chance and everyone will die. Your decision, Prime Minister. Didn’t know her first decision would be so tough, eh? Delius makes a deal that if she hands over the Valvraves, he will transfer their friends and families. What about the other JIOR people? Don’t need to worry about them. They’re just strangers. Shouko still wants to save them. Ryuuji tries to talk to Shouko one last time. He tells her to move forward to the future. He gets beaten up by Delius’ men. Once Haruto has powered up, he unleashes hara-kiri blade and 74% of the enemy gets destroyed. Everyone rejoices except for Shouko in tears. Her dad died before her eyes. She feels she couldn’t do anything. Victory is only a brief reprieve. Because Cain’s little unit ambushes from below. I guess L-elf couldn’t predict everything. Then he sets up some drill that starts boring to the core above while the rest of his men begin the infiltration. Haruto wants to go back and fight (his Valvrave is unable to move after that awesome technique). When Saki tells him to go save Shouko, that guy suddenly returns into her cockpit. What gives? Do we have time for this? He wanted to say this after the battle. What is it? He wants to marry her! Gasp! Trying to take responsibility?

Episode 12
Saki of course rejects him with the reason that being an idol she cannot be tied to anyone, blah, blah, blah. They need to discuss this another time because the more time they waste, the more Dorssian forces will advance. As of now the drill is heading straight up to the school and releasing choking poisonous gas along the way. Haruto calls L-elf to meet up. Shouko doesn’t want L-elf to tell Haruto that he killed her father. Or else he will feel guilty over it and try to take responsibility possibly by marrying her. I’m guessing that is what will happen. Cain has captured Kibukawa and from his scars he knows what kind of soldier he is. He will interrogate him later and is going to attend a ‘graduation ceremony’. Satomi contacts Shouko to tell her to save Akira. He also reveals Akira was bullied as a kid, the reason she holes up there. Akira didn’t like her big mouth brother revealing everything and intercepts the communication, saying she likes it here, no baddies, there is clean justice and a world that only belongs to her. That proves she’s a bully victim, right? L-elf and Haruto plan some Trojan horse tactic but as they enter the chamber supposed to contain Valvrave, the students guarding it are dead and Cain is there. Like as though he has been waiting for them. Haruto is easily shot by Cain (but didn’t die). For once, there is somebody better than L-elf. Cain makes it looks like child’s play when he takes on struggling L-elf who can’t even find an opening. Eventually Haruto the wuss tries to hold back Cain because he believes L-elf can only stop this. I think Cain lets him go because A-drei is waiting for L-elf. Meanwhile the other Valvraves are in a tight spot. The Dorssian forces are trying to ‘iron’ them because when the machines overheat, they stop moving.

Akira doesn’t care about living or dying and she’ll do both alone. Shouko is upset she thought that way and lectures her about their friendship. Since when did they become friends? Ever since Shouko decided. She runs to reach Akira but hacker girl starts activating lots of obstacles along her path. Just when Akira’s heart softens, the drill zooms close to Shouko, knocking her out. Akira panics. Everything mechanical in that area has malfunctioned. The only way is to get out of her box and save her. Can she do it? It does bring back traumatic and horrific memories but her promise and friendship with Shouko is stronger. It took a lot of guts for Akira to burst out of her box and rush to Shouko. However a wall has collapsed and is blocking her path. Conveniently, another path opens and it leads her to a purple Valvrave. She doesn’t hesitate to resign herself as a human (she never viewed herself as one I suppose) and activates this Valvrave. Not only she manages to save Shouko, thanks to her hacking skills she is able to hack and stop the drill, make it go back down and control all the tiny Dorssian ships to take each other out. In that commotion, Haruto and L-elf free themselves and return to Valvrave. L-elf tells him to fire at defenceless Cain. He is a dangerous man so don’t go spouting crap about justice and all that. It’s for the greater future. Despite shooting Cain to death, amazingly he is able to dodge all that! Cain then activates himself to become a super human and flies to a room containing a Valvrave. He easily activates it and the little programme in this Valvrave and Haruto’s start resonating. They are surprised to see Cain’s Valvrave taking a form of a human. L-elf analyzes that since this unit was actually broken, only specially prepared students can pilot Valvraves and Cain was able to harness its light without any equipment proves that Cain is not human at all. What is he? He is Magius, a group of people controlling the world from the shadows.

Episode 13
The president of ARUS as well the Furher of Dorssia, Amadeus K. Dorssia are summoned before the Magius council. The Valvraves have brought the attention of the council and they didn’t like how Amadeus trespassed the domain of Magius and kept it secret from them. They reveal Cain has been a Magius for 10 years and will make Amadeus one. Yup. They bite his neck. Meanwhile Akira continues her fight outside by freeing the other Valvraves and hacking the Dorssian forces. Haruto also continues his fight with Cain but cannot overwhelm him. Cain then rips apart Haruto’s Valvrave and let their little programmes (Pino and Prue) to resonate. However the system overloads so Cain no choice has to pull back so as not to damage it further and retreat with the entire Dorssian forces. Two months down the road, JIOR has successfully planted itself on the moon. Haruto became a symbol of heroism against Dorssia while Saki’s song became the best seller that brings hope to others. But it’s not so rosy for Shouko and her cabinet members as she finds out how hard it is to negotiate with those ARUS blokes. In short, ARUS dominates. Inuzuka calls his Valvrave, Beast High. It is a name of an energy drink. They’re paying him to use that name. Money matters. Haruto agrees to subject himself to an experiment as the gaps between his fits are getting shorter. L-elf and Kibukawa conclude that it has something to do with the more he uses Valvrave. Saki is concerned about Haruto’s state. She is willing to let him rape do what he wants to her like last time since it eases his pain. Tempting, right? He won’t do it and runs away.

Satomi and some of the cabinet members are leaving to Earth in what L-elf calls as reconnaissance. It is to see if there are any countries against them and to display their willingness to use military force. Saki contacts L-elf that she lost Haruto. Suddenly all the Valvraves cannot start up. L-elf thinks they ran out of Runes. Thanks to the tracking device L-elf planted on Haruto, he manages to find him and explain the Valvraves have stopped functioning. Some brief explanation about Rune particles crap. Because Valvraves pack a lot of power and require extraordinary fuel which is no other than Runes, the source that is rich in them is humans. That’s why Haruto attacks people in his fit to ‘refuel’ Valvrave. He is not willing to do it and even thinks the idea of L-elf killing him is good. He won’t have to hurt anyone anymore. But when he thinks about his harem Saki and Shouko, he takes back what he said. Because if he dies, a new pilot will be chosen. He is going to shoulder the curse but will only attack L-elf. They will share this curse, hope and the entire deal 50-50. L-elf lets him bite his neck and all the Valvraves power up. Wow. You mean only Haruto can do this refuelling? Or is it L-elf is a person damn rich in Runes? Once the Valvraves and the module carrying Satomi and co leave the neutral zone, as expected Dorssian forces are waiting just to attack them. Part of the reconnaissance to Earth is to find the ones who created the Valvraves. Because Haruto wants to destroy them and end the curse. Cain shows Amadeus several ‘children’ of Valvrave.

Episode 14
Dorssia has been defeated again. Haruto and the rest try to get Akira who has shut herself inside her Valvrave. Satomi says it is useless to communicate with her. Anything they have to say goes through him first. Akira doesn’t like the sound of it and throws him away. When everyone else is sleeping, Akira tries to sneak out. She could have done better than covering her head with a cardboard box. But Marie discovers her. Marie considers Akira her friend not because Shouko told her to help keep an eye on her. The friend of her friend is also her friend. Geddit? Akira disconnects a call from Satomi. Marie wonders why she hates her brother so much. Because he never stood up for her but keeps talking about family. She only has bitter memories. Marie notes at least she has memories unlike her who doesn’t have any so she can’t even feel sad or anything. As the JIOR guys are preparing to take the port down to Earth, L-elf has Yamada and Inuzuka bite the necks of the officer to temporarily possess them so they can give the clearance to base and let JIOR go through. Satomi sees an incoming call and was too late to heed L-elf’s warning not to answer it. Turns out Dorssia was watching their frequency and since it matches, they launch an all-out attack. Satomi starts feeling guilty he is at fault while the Valvraves launch into action. However the Valvraves cannot stay in action long and must return to the shuttle since the re-entry will cause their machines to overheat unlike the Dorssian’s. They’re like sitting ducks now. Akira moves on her reflex to destroy that Dorssian pest but she overheats and is unable to move. Kibukawa has just finished creating a gadget called Familiar for Haruto to use. Not only it quickly cools his machine, it packs lots of power in a single punch. But Akira is still in danger from burning up and she has strayed too far from the shuttle. But L-elf is reluctant to leave the course and jeopardize the mission.

Flashback reveals Satomi was under immense pressure to do well in his entrance exam so he could fulfil his parents’ wish of becoming the top elite. Akira sympathized and wanted to do something. She hacked into the school’s system. Unfortunately she got caught and though she was very scared during interrogation, what scared her most was that Satomi despite saying he did not order her to do it, he doesn’t know why she is doing this. Akira’s heart sank. That was when her bullying began. To make things worse, Satomi ignored her pleas for help and pretended not to hear. Haruto steers towards Akira as he can’t abandon her. He uses Familiar on her but the system overloads and explodes in Haruto’s face! Akira hears her brother’s plea to go save her because if she dies, he will never make things right with her. She then starts hacking the ground control radio transmissions. The idea is to latch onto another shuttle during re-entry if they are to leave their course. Nobody can hear who is talking what in the cacophony except Satomi. He begs to L-elf to save Akira. Takahi supports him that if he doesn’t, he might lose 2 Valvraves and especially Haruto who is pivotal in his plan. They need Haruto, right? And so L-elf steers close enough for Akira (pulling Haruto) to get back into the shuttle. However it’s not a good landing. They crashed. Thankfully everyone is alright. Marie notices the wound on Haruto’s eye healed. L-elf notes they have strayed from their route and have landed in Dorssian territory.

Episode 15
When the Dorssian team arrive, no Valvraves or passengers. I guess it’s good they have landed in an area where there is no civilization and the canyons are able to hide those big robots. But transportation is their biggest problem. They need a ride to JIOR territory. L-elf suggests they use the enemy. How they’re going to do that. First, a reconnaissance team to spy. He wants Saki and Akira to follow him. Akira? Can this shut-in girl go out? Probably big brother sounded so whiny that she decides to do it. L-elf notes that her skill is important for this mission. Meanwhile back on the moon, fake Valvraves are made to deceive the enemy and buy time. I hope they don’t just make up of cardboards. Also, the ARUS guys learn that the JIOR party has crash landed. Due to some fake data, they pretend to take the bait and use the existence of Valvraves to pressure Dorssia. L-elf leads the girls through the narrow ways. He knows the place like the back of his hand because this is where he was made. They arrive at a canyon village. Saki sees a couple of kids. She tries to be friendly but the boy takes out his gun and shoots her! I guess he isn’t an idol fan. They then attack L-elf and even though he may seem like he is on the run, he is cool and have a plan. As he explains to us, this is no ordinary village. It is where kids are trained to become top agents. This was where he and the rest grew up. Eventually L-elf knocks out the kids. Saki is still alive because she is a holy spirit. L-elf hasn’t killed the kids because they will prove useful. He wants the girls to take over their bodies and lure the army to this hill where they will blow it up and bury them. In that confusion, Akira is to hijack a truck back to the rest. Back at the assembly, Saki (as the boy) reports she has sighted those JIOR people. The higher ups take the bait and will head there. But A-drei and Q-vier are also here to observe.

Meanwhile Marie enters Carmilla and tries to find out more information. She is surprised Pino is interacting with her. Even more surprising, it seems they have both met 5 years ago. Obviously Marie can’t remember since her memories only go as far as 2 years back. Haruto finds her and is surprised. Meanwhile L-elf’s plan begins as planned. Yamada and Inuzuka take out the flying base of Dorssia but unknown enemy fighter machines enter the fray. Yamada doesn’t care as long as he gets to kick some Dorssian butt. Unfortunately he doesn’t know the enemy’s strength. Their laser blasts away Nobu Lightning’s arm. When it is supposed to be Haruto’s cue, that guy is not around. That’s because he is confronting Marie. How come she gets to talk to the programme? Of course she too wants to know what Haruto is because she was damn sure his right eye was damaged and now it’s healed. Haruto probably would have started from the top explaining everything when Marie is suddenly shot in the forehead! OMG! L-elf saved us the trouble of a recap episode. Haha! Now stop the talking and get back to your position because the war has started. Anyway Haruto is upset he had to resort to violence just to prevent Haruto’s real identity from being leaked. Well, what do you know? Marie gets up. Could she also be…

Episode 16
Marie remembers she was a loner when she entered high school. Not because she didn’t want to. How can she get to know others if she didn’t even know herself. A-drei takes a look at the landscape and then orders a retreat. He knows this is part of L-elf’s plan and trying to bait them. Furthermore, this is like his home ground. Saki calls L-elf just to let him hear A-drei’s orders. L-elf is stunned that A-drei is part of this mission so he has to prematurely set off the bombs and take down at least half of the Dorssian forces. This means L-elf’s team is also caught in the ground collapse. Marie is somewhat saved thanks to Valvrave protecting her. In her haste, she gets inside it. L-elf tries to find out what Marie is but how can she when she doesn’t even have memories. Pino then answers it is because she used them. A-drei and Saki (still in the boy’s body) are separated from the rest of the force. A-drei does mouth to mouth CPR to revive the kid. He sees a familiar writing carved onto the rocks and starts laughing. It brings back memories. As part of his spy training then, he killed a friend. He was connected to the royalist, supporters of the old order. If this was found out, the entire team would have been held responsible for the crime. So A-drei killed him in secret to stay alive.

Pino explains to Marie that they met before Valvrave was developed. They were in a same place. Marie was a test pilot when Valvrave was in development phase. In order for Pino to operate, she ‘ate’ her memories. L-elf realizes that the riches human source for Runes comes from the memories. The more she ‘eats’ them, the more Marie loses her memories. Then suddenly, she can’t remember how she enrolled in this school or the entrance ceremony. Akira has hacked the system and relays information to her friends. Everyone is in dreaded situation. Yamada and Inuzuka are being attacked relentlessly by the Dorssian reinforcements. Satomi’s side has been captured by the Dorssian. Their only hope is Haruto and his Valvrave. So where the heck is he?! However Marie is reluctant to pilot Valvrave. Afraid she will lose more memories. Then she remembers Shouko’s words. They might not be able to get her past back but they can make more future memories. With that, Marie pilots Valvrave and begins her attack, using never seen before moves that astound everyone. Even more powerful than Haruto. Although her memories are eating away, she is confident she can make them again. L-elf picks up Haruto and says their plan is back on track. He tells him Marie is the original pilot of Valvrave. Once everyone hijacks a Dorssian transport and flies away, Marie has already forgotten everything. Who is Haruto? She is glad they are friends. Valvrave reaches 666 to enable the hara-kiri sword move. The most powerful slash ever destroys all the Dorssian forces in the vicinity. Marie is unconscious in the aftermath.

Episode 17
Marie is dead!!! L-elf, Haruto and Kibukawa ‘interrogate’ Pino. Although she does admit she ‘eats’ Runes in the form of memories, past and ultimately life force, she says she is not at fault as it is Valvrave who killed her. Isn’t that the same thing? She blames the humans who locked her in this programme and she became some sort of a Rune collector for Valvrave. Kibukawa knows she is telling the truth. Marie’s body showed abnormally low signs of red blood cells. Something that doesn’t happen to a person who is recently healthy. He also cautions Haruto since he too has shown such symptoms. He might end up like her if he continues to use Valvrave. Haruto wakes up from a nightmare that nobody remembers him. When the red alert is sounded, Haruto becomes clumsy in piloting Valvrave as Marie still haunts him. However it was just a test by L-elf to check to see if they’re ready. Or rather to see if Haruto is still of use. L-elf briefs the rest that the Dorssian royalists plan to support them as they want to take back control of their kingdom before the coup. However in exchange for the supplies, they have to take out an underwater submarine called Phantom. H-neun tells X-eins that A-drei has been found alive. This brings back memories 12 years ago when they were fighting to survive and almost died as terrorists but Cain saved them. X-eins then leaves to meet Cain at his Grunau villa. H-neun talks to Kriemhild about this and she says there are lots of rumours about Grunau like those who went there never return. She hopes he won’t do anything silly since plans are in motion. L-elf explains to Haruto about Phantom that it’s a ship that is unknown and doesn’t exist in Dorssian army records. As the royalists don’t have equipment to track it underwater, the reason they are needed. Phantom has an emblem that belongs neither to the royalist or military.

As Haruto and L-elf infiltrated the underwater base, H-neun also infiltrates Grunau. He is going to find out Cain’s true identity because he saw him doing un-human-like stuffs. However Cain is there. Like as though he knew he was coming. I guess he did. H-neun still remembers clearly what he said 12 years ago about never asking a friend to watch his back but be strong enough to watch his and his friend’s back. But today he said the opposite thing. Cain shoots and injures him. Bloodied H-neun runs away and stumbles into a room where Amadeus and the council are in some ceremony. A ceremony that requires a huge amount of Runes. To H-neun’s horror, X-eins will be the next ‘sacrifice’ (because the council wanted a young intellect). Meanwhile L-elf and Haruto find in a large room with humans in chambers. Runes are being harvested from them. L-elf is surprised that Runes weren’t a discovery from JIOR as Dorssia has been using it too but for what purpose? Haruto fires into a few chambers but it didn’t change anything. L-elf tells him he can run but the world won’t stop moving. Satomi’s group is being attacked by Dorssia. Inuzuka can’t hold them off much longer. L-elf contacts Satomi and wants him to pilot Valvrave, lying that Haruto is injured and playing mind games with him to save his sister. From what Pino told him, the entire school is able to pilot Valvrave (so it’s interchangeable now?) and by rotating the pilots, they don’t have to worry about running out of Runes. Haruto is upset that he knew this all along but L-elf says that Haruto is not fit for combat now. He can’t let a coward who can’t fight properly to pilot Valvrave. Haruto thinks he doesn’t understand how it feels like to have memories and life being sucked out from you. L-elf thinks he doesn’t understand how powerless he feels. He can’t even pilot Valvrave. And so Haruto goes back to pilot Valvrave because he can’t let anyone else bear the curse. Due to Marie’s hara-kiri slash that softens the bedrocks, Haruto shocks the ground to erupt the volcano and destroy the Dorssian army. He doesn’t care if L-elf is going to over-use him till he dies. He is confident of ending this war before his body collapses. How sure is he? X-eins finds Cain in the room but surprised to see him holding H-neun’s gun. Cain mentions the ceremony has to be restarted again from scratch but they have found a new food source: Those JIOR people on the moon…

Episode 18
L-elf once tried to escape with Liselotte and left a bloodied trail. However destiny was not meant to be. She herself is in some sort of punishment and as Cain puts it, it’s for betraying Magius. She asserts all she wanted was to be honest. The kids need to get back to the moon because if it gets destroyed, they won’t have a place to call home. L-elf has a plan as usual. They’re going to ride an old rocket in some museum display. He shows them a list of deported JIOR people in the town they are heading to and by rescuing them, they should get a general idea of what is going on. Haruto realizes his father’s name is on the list. Yeah. Somebody’s mother, uncle and grandpa too. Maybe their entire family. Kriemhild secretly sees Liselotte to get some approval letter. She is baffled when Liselotte mentions the name of Mikhail. X-eins and Q-vier are still shocked over the betrayal of H-neun who has been leaking military info. The kids enter Dorssiana, the old capital of Dorssia before the military’s rise to power 10 years ago. Akira hacks into the system and once everything is running, they meet Kriemhild and her men. She was L-elf’s ex-superior. She hands him the approval letter. But when she asks if there is a person called Mikhail among them, L-elf instantly knew where this is going. That was his previous name before he entered the Karlstein institute and adopted this identification code. He knows that the need to use this permission requires someone who is a successor to the throne. There are 63 of them but 56 are not in town. So from the remaining 7, the one who knows his old name could only be her. Yup, it’s Liselotte. He runs off. The rest are not sure to continue with L-elf’s plan. Why take the risk and carry it out if he’s not around? But Haruto suggests they should because everyone is fighting their own battle to protect what is important.

Haruto, Inuzuka and Kibukawa meet the deported JIOR scientists who are happy they are going to be rescued. Haruto wants to know if his father, Souichi is around. Here he is and he is happy to see his son. Not a single day goes by without thinking of him. That’s a frame of his gene… Freaky…  This explains his senile and mad scientist look. He reveals that he was part of the project to create Valvraves although he denies it being a weapon (the army ‘sponsored’ them with weapons) and it was supposed to be a new life form. He views at as the ultimate being of the universe. Does this mean they’re God? Souichi is happy Haruto and the rest are the chosen ones adjusted for the project. Every JIOR children born had their genes and Runes adjusted for Valvrave. They might not have given their consent but their parents did. So the children of this project are not only experiment subjects but also hostages. He wants Haruto to be proud as he is the ultimate being. However Haruto doesn’t view it as a blessing but a curse as too many has died. Since daddy is laughing like a mad scientist, Haruto punches him. He has then decided. No, actually he already did that a long time ago. He is more determined than ever to destroy Valvrave. Souichi panics and begs him not to destroy his dream and mankind’s future and progress. Sorry, dad. The big robots must go. Meanwhile L-elf has burst into the tower and leaving a trail of Dorssian blood in his wake. Not even the helicopters can get him. He enters the room Liselotte is being held captive. She is surprised that he is doing this. Because he wasn’t the same 3 years ago. Now he has created a path, a country where they can run to. He wants to take her away.

Episode 19
A-drei and Saki enter the transport that JIOR hijacked but find nobody. Saki snoops around and finds her Carmilla. She also finds her original body and bites it to return. However A-drei sees it and wants to question her. The scientists are evacuated but Souichi decides to stay put, disappointed at all the deserters. Cain knows how L-elf thinks so he has his Dorssian army attack the museum and blow up the runway. L-elf rescues Liselotte not because he wants to repay his debt of her saving his life. It’s because he also loves her! I could never have guessed. Okay, I somewhat had a hunch it was something like that. He kills all the Dorssian forces in his way but here is Q-vier. He is happy fighting L-elf in a knife battle. Till Haruto blows up the wall to rescue them. However L-elf wants him to take Liselotte as he is going to settle things with Cain. Pino is surprised to see Liselotte and wonders who she is. Liselotte admits she is not human and is the same like Pino. She is a Magius, a creature that has taken hold of a human body. Centuries ago, their race crash landed on Earth and lost contact with their own kind. As they need a body to survive, they possess living things. As for Haruto, he is more of something that takes after them. He remembers Souichi’s of trying to create a new life form. Over the long duration of their war against humans, they formed an organization the 101 Council where the most influential Magius and humans were chosen to keep their existence a secret from the public and secure nutrients (Runes) for their survival. Humans are the only things in this planet full of Runes. Thus Liselotte survives by consuming humans. Because she tried to reveal the truth and coexist with humans, she is punished with some curse placed on her. Her Runes are drained at regular intervals and is constantly on the brink of death.

Haruto returns to protect his friends at the museum from the attacking Dorssian army but is close to overheating. Liselotte thinks it is time to part as she only went with him or L-elf wouldn’t have gone further. She tells Haruto L-elf told her he loved her but she can’t reciprocate that because a Magius can never be with humans. Haruto objects to that (based on his experience I guess) and doesn’t want her to write it off like that. Praising L-elf for all the amazing qualities he has, he is sure L-elf wouldn’t want this and can make her happy. L-elf has been riding his back and avoiding all the attacks that come his way but not without taking some damage. He arrives at a control centre and calls Satomi about the change in plan. They will use the road as their runway. But there is a drawbridge that shortens their runway and they won’t make it for lift off. That’s why L-elf is there to lower the drawbridge. Once the rocket blasts off, Q-vier fires and damages the thrusters. At this rate they won’t make it to the atmosphere but if they abandon, Dorssia will attack them. L-elf didn’t count on Haruto to come back and rescue him. However Valvrave is on the verge of overheating and can’t help push the rocket. So Liselotte flies out and uses her curse to stop the damage. Remembering her younger days, as beings not of the body but the soul, she never understood this thing called love till she met L-elf. Thanks to him, she thinks she does now. She would love to return that love to him. Things start to take a toll on her. She starts losing her memories and when the rocket breaks through the atmosphere, she loses her life. L-elf is devastated to see this. Haven’t seen him showing so much emotion before… His efforts all in vain?

Episode 20
The Valvraves are trying to shoot Phantom down. No luck. Haruto has no choice but to charge and hit it with his sword. Although Valvrave overheats, it manages to save the day. And they manage to do it for once without L-elf’s plan. Yeah. L-elf is so sad sulking alone that he’s practically useless. Going by his own terms, that is. He’s still clinging on to his past as he scribbles on what was supposed to be the best method to save her and where he went wrong. The walls, the floor, the ceiling… It looks like he wrote some rocket scientist equation. Conclusion: There was no way he could have saved her despite all the simulations. Haruto and co return to a hero’s welcome. Shouko’s hug just shows how much she missed him. Everyone is being interviewed by a famous journalist, Barlet and it is being broadcasted throughout the rest of civilization. Back on Dorssia, an uprising against the military is taking place. Especially those loyal to the royalist are beginning to move. Thanks to the Valvraves who have shaken the people’s trust in the army. Also, Liselotte’s death may have made her a martyr in the eyes of the royalists. Cain isn’t about to push the panic button yet. For he has Saki held captive. While the people pay their respects to departed Marie, Haruto continues to put on a long face. I don’t think he caught L-elf’s symptoms. Even with Barlet asking him mean questions, he just says he doesn’t know. How can he care so much? So many problems at hand. Magius. The council. Phantom. Saving Saki. Dorssia. It never ends. So he gets some timely advice from Inuzuka. Just go on a date with Shouko to take his mind off. All these problems are the reason more why he should. Because they don’t know when they will die next. Although people can do amazing things when faced with deaths, just don’t leave regrets.

Shouko relays the good news to Haruto that ARUS and many other countries decide to vote and condemn Dorssia’s attack. Shouko has been pushing for this for a long time and was turned down many times. But she never gave up. Probably ARUS’ elections are coming up. If Dorssia ignores the condemning vote, sanctions on them will follow. That’s why she got the TV station and Barlet for this interview. Haruto realizes that everyone here was fighting too. Weren’t they? Shouko is glad he returned and believed in him. X-eins laments the death of H-neun and wonders who killed him. Fiddling around with his ring memento, something in it activates. The council thinks those kids have gone too far. They need to take them out from the stage. Shouko and the ARUS president meet in a high level conference. I guess the gym is the best place they could hold for now. Amadeus joins the discussion via video conference. But first he shows them Saki as his captive. Has everyone wondered why mere kids can stand their ground and even win against the military might of Dorssia? Behold and witness this! Cain stabs his sword through Saki’s heart! Everyone watches in horror as she screams and drops dead. However they soon see the unbelievable as her wound heals and she wakes up. Special effects? Too real for that. Amadeus says that before them is not even human. It is a monster!

Episode 21
There’s more footage. Barlet has boarded Phantom (JIOR took it under their custody) and broadcasts the heinous scene of people being sucked of their life force. And die. Thus Amadeus argues this is the reason why Dorssia has been fighting them, monsters that feed on humans. Shouko and the rest of the other JIOR students don’t know what is happening and are taken aback. Haruto stands up and explains that he was going to tell everyone about this after the conference. Well, that just worsens the situation. ARUS president orders Shouko’s arrest. Even among the JIOR students, they’re fighting and blaming each other about this monster thing. Are they monsters? They thought they were humans all along. And then all hell breaks loose. The army starts shooting and slaughtering every student!!! Oddly, if they are monsters that could resurrect, they shouldn’t be dead, right? Not that they care. As long as the monsters are purged. JIOR becomes a bloody massacre as the survivors panic and scram for evacuation. ARUS and Dorssia then form an alliance to wipe out JIOR and their armies will soon attack the moon. The chat sites are filled with death calls, wanting the heads of JIOR. Shouko and Iori’s capsule is the last to evacuate but the rail got damaged and needs time to recharge. They get a call from ARUS president. Haruto receives a distressing call from them when he starts to lose his memories. Upon entering the capsule, Iori and the rest point their gun at him. It’s a trap. ARUS president promised to let them go if they hand over the Valvrave pilots. Iori then shoots him in the heart. Shouko is distraught. Now she’s a killer. Trying to justify that he killed her scientist father on Phantom sounds like an excuse.

Oh wait. She isn’t a killer yet because Haruto revives. Shouko is shocked to see this. So is everyone. He is truly a monster. Is he the Haruto she knew? Shouko cannot express in words her shock and disappointment. He knew it all the time and never told her. She trusted him. She believed in him. Remember those old times? Oh no. He can’t remember. Something is missing. Haruto can only remain silent. Shouko calls him a liar. Shouko announces to all the Valvrave pilots to cease attack. She is going to hand over Haruto over to ARUS to save her people. Yamada isn’t particularly happy about her decision because it just defeats the purpose they have been fighting all the time. Once Haruto and L-elf are handed over, ARUS forces are ready to destroy Shouko’s capsule. Breaking the promise? Yeah well. That’s how we look at it. So how does it feel to be betrayed left and right? Before they are doomed, Inuzuka protects them. He corrects them all that they are not monsters but holy spirits. Otherwise, why are they protecting them? Inuzuka plans to save Haruto in his final attempt. Oh dear. He takes in a lot of damage and takes back the capsule Haruto and L-elf are in. However he takes in the biggest blast just to protect Shouko’s capsule. He wants to know about Haruto’s feelings for Shouko. Is there time for this? Probably he’s not going to make it so might as well. Haruto says he has always loved Shouko. Now and forever. Now Inuzuka can die happy. He does a kamikaze and takes out all the enemies with him.

Episode 22
Haruto and L-elf are somehow stranded on a crater. Haruto is still reeling from Inuzuka’s death and L-elf… He just couldn’t be bothered with living. Meanwhile Shouko will not allow Yamada or his ‘kind’ get close to them. So much about gratitude. As Prime Minister, her priority is her people. Yamada blows his top about everything but Kibukawa sides with her. Would he have done any better? A-drei learns from Saki that L-elf’s body was possessed when he shot his eye. It made him remember they the 2 of them wanted to start a revolution because the Dorssian military has become so much worse than ARUS in terms of greed and corruption. Haruto and L-elf eventually start fighting each other. Well, there’s pretty much nothing to do and the outlook looks grim. They start punching and accuse each other it’s their fault, this and that. L-elf reveals Haruto killed Shouko’s father. And true enough, that guy falls into guilty mode. L-elf wants him to give up on Shouko since their relationship can never be mended or go back to where it was. This riles Haruto up and he fights back. No match for L-elf, though. Shouko is devastated when more of her students succumb to their injuries. She steels her heart and decides to go pilot Valvrave. It’s not like Haruto is coming back, right? She is surprised to see the option to cast away her humanity. Pino wants her to quickly do it since she is ‘hungry’. Shouko is confused when Pino shows her clips how Haruto first piloted Valvrave to avenge Shouko. When she realizes that’s how she turned into a monster, it’s her turn to feel guilty and devastated.

Back to Haruto and L-elf. They’re still at each other. Blaming each other. It’s always your fault! Then Haruto also riles L-elf up by saying Liselotte was a Magius and was punished because she sided the humans and went against the council. L-elf cannot believe it all and beats him up. L-elf tries to think back Liselotte’s words and actions as they might hold a clue to make sense of it all. Then he realizes what Haruto said was true. Although Liselotte is no longer around, he can inherit her dream. Haruto sees L-elf in tears and is convinced he brings sadness to those around him. Then he meets his other self in his subconscious who paints a grim outlook of everything. However he reasons he cannot die yet because there are things he needs to do. Then it’s like Haruto suddenly cause a short burst of magic, sending L-elf flying a short distance. No gravity on the moon. He recognizes that light as the same thing Cain did and won’t be surprised if he is able to do the same thing as a Magius. They both agree to make a world where both men and holy spirits can live together. Using Haruto’s new power, they fire the flare to signal for help. Then they sit together like buddies while awaiting rescue. Part of Haruto’s plan is to unveil everything to the world because he got his hands burnt trying to keep it a secret. In order for everyone to live peacefully together, they must know about Magius and the council. Dorssia small fries pick up the flare and are about to exterminate the duo when suddenly Carmilla whizzes in to fight. Saki and Haruto are relieved to see each other. X-eins points his gun at A-drei. First L-elf, then H-neun and now him. What is going on? Did he betray them and release Saki? A-drei doesn’t call his act betrayal but his punishment.

Episode 23
Because of A-drei’s suspicious background, X-eins was ordered by Cain to investigate him so he knows about his revolution plan. He plays the H-neun’s ring which reveals that Cain killed him. He wants to avenge his friend. Haruto is onboard Carmilla and her return to protect her friends brings rejoice and relief. Back on Satomi’s side, Haruto tells his intention to unveil the world so that everyone can live peacefully. Can they trust him? Of course. Now he’s teeming with confidence. The plan has already started with L-elf infiltrating the enemy. First he poses as an injured soldier to get in. However A-drei can see through his move. Now that he has known he didn’t blind his eye, he harbours no ill will. However he is still considered the enemy of the state. Why didn’t he say his innocence? If he did, would he have believed? A-drei is appalled at the state of Dorssia now as it is being consumed by monsters. His mission is to eliminate Cain and all parties related to him. Since their interests are aligned, A-drei sanctions L-elf back to active duty. Saki talks to Haruto and wonders if his plan can work because he might be putting up a brave face then. She heard from Kibukawa about the Runes eating up their memories. Haruto is confident enough to say he’s got them all intact. Another bluff? I was hoping Saki was thinking if he still remembers that rape scene… Satomi is concerned about Akira so he had to tell her to eat him. His Runes. She kicks him out. If he only didn’t sound so perverted.

Haruto requests to see Shouko but the other students don’t want to let the monster near him. Shouko meets him but he is only restricted to the hangar since she cannot let him closer without ascertaining he is dangerous. Akira is visibly upset but Haruto regrets lying to her. He is going to show her the world. Then he learns from Pino that Shouko sat in his Valvrave and learnt everything. Not time to get emotional, buddy. While Amadeus and ARUS president are giving their damning speech on the monsters on JIOR, our heroes begin their move. The Valvraves fight through waves of Dorssian and ARUS mechas while trying to deliver Akira to the module so she can hack her way in. Haruto starts losing his childhood memories with Shouko but he soldiers on to fight. Akira begins her hacking but is attacked by Q-vier. Yamada goes to protect and buy her time and deals with the sadistic kid. In the end, they killed each other. Or more precisely, Yamada got tricked by him and gets one helluva big blast. Akira has completed her hacking and is devastated to see Yamada in his dying moments. The allied forces fire all they’ve got to overkill this dude. Another one bites the dust. Haruto is mad. Where the hell is L-elf?! Speaking of him, his team has infiltrated the stage Amadeus is giving his speech. Killing all the Dorssian soldiers in his way, he slices Amadeus’ neck. Thanks to Akira’s hacking, this scene of his wound heals and this is being broadcasted to everywhere. Now the chat rooms are filled with talk that this guys is like those monsters. I guess Akira’s hacking is so good that the council can’t even do anything about it. Hah. Living for so long and they can’t even best a kid who hacks? Big joke.

Episode 24
The galaxy is in uproar. Does this mean those Dorssia blokes are traitors too? ROAR! Chat rooms filled with flaming. Just when our heroes thought the tide turn in their favour, the broadcast shortly goes out before turning back on with a statement that the video was fake. Guess what? Everybody believes it! WTF?! In that case don’t you think that those JIOR students who resurrected should also be fake? Akira is attacked by Cain’s Valvrave and takes heavy damage. Haruto comes to her rescue as wells as X-eins charging in to avenge H-neun’s death. A-drei also wants a piece of the action but has to be content with Q-vier who is all out to eliminate traitors. Haruto is losing memories fast but he still believes he can go on. He gets knocked down into the module. X-eins takes this chance to fight Cain and ends up trying to take him out via self-sacrifice. All in vain. L-elf views Haruto is an amateur fighter and cannot best Cain. The only way is to hijack his body and pilot Valvrave. Of course. What else do they have to lose? As Saki pushes the module away, she thought to herself that she was happy when Haruto started losing his memories. Because it could mean she would stand on equal footing with Shouko. He knew he would always choose Shouko but she promised herself not to give up. She has time to think about this? Q-vier is ecstatic there is another Valvrave to fight so he abandons his just for that. A-drei tries to hold him back accidentally shoots and kills him when they struggle. Cain explains that the council isn’t an evil organization but one of justice. Furthermore, it is humans who attacked them first. Magius wanted to co-exist but humans feared them. For that reason, over the course of many years have made deals with leading figures of humanity. Magius will live in secret so as not to arouse fear in humans and in exchange they are allowed to prey upon a certain number of humans. This system has kept humanity safe from fear and chaos. In conclusion, the ones who threaten the world and peace are humans and Valvraves!

Haruto doesn’t give a damn about all that and objects when Cain mentions this is the best system without conflict as both sides live separately. Because they never tried to live together. Giving examples of his friends who despite lost everything and even their lives continued to fight and make the dream come true. This increases Valvrave’s power but also causes all his memories to be eaten up. Even the most recent ones. Meanwhile there is a revolution spreading across Dorssia with the royalist breaking out all over. Kriemhild is part of the royalist and acts on the royals order. Magius is having trouble too because lots of influential people are being arrested on being suspicions of being a Magius. Fake or not, they get apprehended. Seems this is part of ARUS president to try and take out Magius too. After all that fighting, Haruto finally stabs and destroys Cain with his sword. And that’s the end of it. In the aftermath, Pino and Prue are reunited. L-elf wakes up and to his horror, Haruto doesn’t remember a thing. Not even their contract or their recent fight on the crater. Haruto wonders if he knows who he is. L-elf does. His friend. Because all his Runes are eaten up, Haruto passes away but with a smile on his face. Chaos continued throughout the world and because the people have become so paranoid, it descended into a Magius hunt and not even the council is spared from the massacre. I guess this is what happens when everything is so wired up. You cannot hide anything! The JIOR people still got a place to call home. Satomi and Takahi got married. All this turned out to be a big story told by Saki and Akira to a mini L-elf kid? Satomi then breaks the alert that there are alien intruders at the memorial hall. Yes, aliens. But before them there is Shouko. She shows them the bust statues of all the heroes who died in founding this country. Those people dear to her. She wants to be friends with them. Yeah. After all that fighting, why don’t we just get along?

The Price Of Freedom
WTF?! What the hell is this rushed ending? I figure there is nothing else more to tell since the hero died. So you want to fast forward life as normal for the rest without the hero as Haruto joins the league of a handful of heroes who die in the last episode. Seriously, at the rate they’re killing off certain characters as the series goes by, I thought that everybody should have just died in the end. Serious. If that happened, that would have been more believable despite everything is already so gloomy and chaotic. Everybody should just die. Ah well, I guess it is to show that when there are survivors, their responsibility and duty is to continue living just to show that those who died are not in vain. Already with this kind of ending and then they had to end with another random piece of crap of other life forms trying to take Shouko’s life. Or so it seems. So they’ve discovered there are other aliens. Why are they all hostile towards us? Or is it that we are hostile towards them? How many alien life forms have humans met since? The aliens should have just nuked everybody and save the trouble about future and friendship. If you really want to be friends, just add them on Facebook intergalactic version.

So I still can’t believe everything was over. In just a few minutes ago, we were seeing Haruto battling the final boss and using up all his life just to end it. It also brings in a lot of questions. A lot. Like that L-elf look-a-like kid that Saki and Akira have been telling this entire anime to. There were a few episodes in the second half whereby it starts off with Saki telling this kid a short story. So it’s like some sort of scene that makes you expect that something is going to happen. But I wonder why they chose to design this kid looking so close to L-elf, like as though he is a love child between Haruto and L-elf. Oh sh*t! I really said that. Any random looking kid would just do but a mini L-elf? Feels suspicious. Call me a nitpick but when an anime ends something like this, I kinda remember and start to think back at all of the ‘bad’ stuffs and even trivial ones. That Pino and Prue thing I also don’t understand. Huh? What?

Oh, here’s another one. Remember how people got scared and went on a Magius hunt? Why didn’t they hunt down Shouko, Saki and Akira? Just because they look like pretty girls, doesn’t mean they aren’t dangerous, right? Of course we know they aren’t but people were so panicked that anything Magius must die. Heck, even all those hooded people in the council die just for convenience so this anime can come to a closure. It is even more mind boggling because Saki was the one used in the first demonstration. She was a famous idol, right? People should recognize her. Yet, she gets to live in the end. And I am speculating that this storytelling is done many years in the future since the founding of this new country looks pretty settled in. Besides, as holy spirits, they don’t age, right? So the only way for them to die is to use up all their Runes. How are they going to do that? What happened to the remaining Valvraves anyway? Akira’s Valvrave is pretty much damaged so I understand if they don’t want to fix it. But Carmilla is in fine working shape and hell if other countries are just going to leave it as it is. So where did it go? Even at least Haruto’s Valvrave was seen as some towering figure at Satomi and Takahi’s wedding. And Shouko dons Haruto’s red suit for nostalgia? If she can’t get that guy, wearing his clothes is good enough.

Many of the characters towards the end feel redundant. That’s why personally I felt that in a why it would have been better if everyone was killed off. Like for instance, Haruto’s dad. They left him alone back at the Dorssian capital and he slowly goes senile. That’s all you’ll ever get to hear from him. I wonder if he knows his son even died in battle. Should have made him died after that by making the building collapse all over him. Then there are Kibukawa and Nanami whose presence I felt is so that it won’t make this new JIOR a totally student country where everybody is just 15-17 years old. What do they seriously do in this anime? Don’t remember. It’s not like they leave a lasting impact. Should have made them died during the massacre of the JIOR students. Kriemhild was a closet royalist and her role was just to help start the revolution? Why now? Why take so long to start the revolution? Should have made her ship exploded after that call. L-elf and A-drei continue to live peacefully in the new country? Shouldn’t they have died in the battlefield along with their comrades? Shouko… A lot of loved ones have been killed. Shouldn’t the trauma of it all lead her to kill herself? Should have just died… Everyone should have just died! I mean, they killed off the hero, they killed off some cute girls, they killed off the hero’s pals and then conveniently massacre a good number of Sakimori students, so I thought while they’re at it they should just kill off everybody! Hahaha! Oops. Sorry. Got a little ahead of myself. There are probably more things that I didn’t understand but what are the chances of remembering things that I don’t comprehend? I don’t even need Runes to be eaten by others to have bad memory problems.

Despite that shortcoming, in terms of storyline and plot, I would say that this anime is quite interesting with the things are developing. So it’s thumbs up in this section as it keeps me intrigue to want to know what is going to happen next. Although there are many characters main and supporting, each have their role to play in the progression of the story no matter how big or small that role is. The best and personally my favourite character goes to L-elf because of his ‘predictions’. It makes him a super cool dude. The way he can foresee and plan various scenarios makes him a true and ultimate survivor. It is like as though he is someone who can see into the future or futures and he just picks the best route for the best outcome. He never falters and rarely shows emotions, sticking strong to his principles and beliefs, which I deem is the reason why he always stays 10 steps ahead of everybody and keeps them eating his dust. He expects the unexpected. He expects everything. Always prepared. So is it no wonder that he is my favourite character in my books? Even if his act may seen inhumane but what would you have done in his shoes? I would really love to become a guy like him of this calibre. Haruto the reluctant hero tries to solve everything himself and takes everything upon himself. The more he tries to hide or not get others involved, the more it does. A total opposite of L-elf, it is perhaps he has something to lose, the reason he thinks so and hesitates. So in the end when he just screws with everything and is going all or nothing, it is that point he truly shines. Not to say that he didn’t because he has always been the nice caring guy his friends know him to be. Now he has repositioned his priorities for what is best for everything, there is nothing to be afraid of. The rest of the characters some have their quirks and traits like Q-vier who is itching to just kill and Yamada who is always bursting with anger over everything. Satomi is painted like a worrywart especially when it comes to his sister and thus looks like a weakling. Akira has overcome her fear of other people so much that her trauma of being bullied seems like a distant memory. I suppose the Valvrave could be her ideal cure if she ever wants to forget those memories.

Romance and love triangle could have been another great factor for guys like me to look forward to. Sadly, there isn’t. Because that rape scene is the most memorable scene ever in this series, many had nicknamed this show as Valve-rape. May I add Libido Raper too? As in Liberator, geddit? Too bad for folks who want to watch that scene uncensored in the DVDs because I read it is still censored. The first half of the series was somewhat a little fun in this area. You can sense either Shouko or Saki wanting to be with this guy. There is a kiss scene. A date scene. Almost a cat fight scene. And a proposal scene. Wow. Even if this is supposed to be a mecha themed anime, I wouldn’t complain with such little distractions. And then when it comes to the second half, the romance died down because somebody had this great idea of splitting up the gang, one heading towards Earth and the other remained back on the moon. Heck, Haruto didn’t even have enough screen time with either Shouko or Saki. Damn it’s the curse of the harem and not the bite ;p. It’s like in the second half, everybody was everywhere and all over the place so it’s hard to get this romance thing going. Of course it was a surprised that it is revealed L-elf is doing all this because of the simple reason for the woman he loves. At least this shows he is still human. Just not your ordinary human. And then she had to die. He became useless. It felt like a big slap in the face because the once untouchable dude has turned into a useless extra character whose presence doesn’t matter. Thankfully he redeemed himself in the end and even called Haruto his friend. He never liked that guy till they shared the same goal to reveal the world. Initially I thought Takahi was going to be part of the tussle with Shouko and Saki for Haruto. Especially when Saki hijacked Haruto’s body and teased her about it. Unless it was just a push to get her with Satomi. Not that we see anything between developed between 2 dozen episodes till that final sudden wedding scene. Aina could have been part of the race too since it is hinted she does have a secret crush on Haruto. Too bad she died.

Action wise, I think there are lots of great action scenes. Some with blood and gore so if you can’t stomach a soldier’s neck getting slit or blood flying and scattering across anywhere, you’ll be much safer watching Barney and Friends or Sesame Street. The mecha fights are entertaining too but they don’t spam those robot battles and sometimes bring in some variety like hand to hand combat between humans. But still, the mecha duels are the biggest thing to expect. Especially with the Valvraves with their flashy light when they start getting aggressive. I figure enemies get stunned ‘admiring’ those beautiful lights, the reason why Valvraves get to slash their way through. But it’s odd that such big mechas is prone to overheating. Have they not found a solution to it? Like, make them carry a big pack of ice each time they go into battle? And isn’t space supposed to be cold, at least in your own shadow because you can actually freeze in it. Heck, we’ve seen so many Hollywood sci-fi movies that we even think it is normal to see explosions in space. There is no air in space, people! So you can’t hear or even make such noise. Nobody can hear you scream in space.

Since I’m not a mecha fan or even an expert, I can’t really say much about the mecha design and concept. I’m sure with so many mecha animes around, each one is trying to design their own unique mecha. For a casual viewer like me, the Valvraves look great, cool and majestic. However with their different colours, sometimes it feels like they are a mechanized version of Power Rangers. Really. You’ve got the red (which is like the leader colour in such tokusatsu or sentai shows), yellow, blue, green and purple. And then the bad guy’s one is white and black. To add more uniqueness to the Valvraves, each design have their own weapon like Carmilla’s round “air filter” buzz saws, Beast High’s shield, Nobu Thunder’s extra large arms which also serve as cannons and a little wand for Akira’s Valvrave. I suppose to paint a prettier picture of Valvrave, the enemy mechas somewhat look plain and ugly. Like for instance the giant battleships look like a Gorgon. The smaller and faster but weaker ones look like a rip-off from Star Wars’ TIE Fighter. Although later on they have humanoid mecha versions, they look so plain, boring and generic. Even the ARUS fighter jet feels like it was ripped-off from somewhere.

The art and drawing quality seems pretty good. With lots of pretty girls and handsome guys all the way, you can never go wrong. Even the Dorssian antagonists have this bishonen look and feel. Heh. How can good looking guys like L-elf and A-drei be the real bad guys even though they initially start out on the enemy camp and remain in one for most of the series. Some of the visuals of the setting and locations are quite good too. Since this anime was produced by Sunrise, it is no surprised that they have lots of experience in producing mecha themed shows such as Code Geass, Space Runaway Ideon, Overman King Gainer and Blue Comet SPT Layzner. Of course the biggest and most famous mecha under their belt is the Gundam series.

There are quite a number of popular seiyuus lending their voice to this anime. Oh, where do I start? Ryota Ohsaka plays the lead role as Haruto (adult Jun in Rozen Maiden Zuruckspulen) with Ryohei Kimura playing as L-elf (Kodaka in Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai). Then there are popular seiyuus-cum-singers like Haruka Tomatsu as Saki (Asuna in Sword Art Online), Yui Horie as Nanami (Hanekawa in Bakemonogatari), Aki Toyosaki as Liselotte (Yui in K-ON!) and Nana Mizuki as Kriemhild (Tsubasa in Senki Zesshou Symphogear). Yuuichi Nakamura as Yamada I thought he was the embodiment of all the angry character roles or those who are susceptible to get angry he voiced (think like Gray in Fairy Tail, Tomoya in Clannad, Minamoto in Zettai Karen Children) because for every time he opens his mouth, it’s like his words are filled with angst even if he is on friendly terms. Other recognizable seiyuus include Jun Fukuyama as A-drei (Lelouch in Code Geass), Daisuke Ono as Cain (Sebastian in Kuroshitsuji), Aoi Yuuki as Akira (Madoka in Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica), Yuuki Kaji as Q-vier (Alibaba in Magi), Mamoru Miyano as H-neun (Light/Kira in Death Note), Takehito Koyasu as Amadeus (Aokiji in One Piece) and Koji Fusa as Figaro (Ichimaru Gin in Bleach). The rest that I don’t ‘recognize’ include Asami Seto as Shouko (Chihaya in Chihayafuru), Daisuke Namikawa as Satomi (Waver in Fate/Zero), Yuuki Ono as Inuzuka (Zenkichi in Medaka Box), Minako Kotobuki as Takahi (Tsumugi in K-ON!), Hiroyuki Yoshino as Otamaya (Bossun in Sket Dance), Wataru Hatano as Kibukawa (Gajeel in Fairy Tail), Yoshimasa Hosoya as X-eins (Haruto in Kimi No Iru Machi), Misato Fukuen as Marie (Eve in Black Cat), Ai Kayano as Aina and Pino (Mayaka in Hyouka).

The opening themes are done by the duet of Nana Mizuki and T.M. Revolution. The rock and energetic pace befits the nature of the series and I think they’re quite fun to hear. Mainly because the duo seem to be taking turns singing their lines, like as though they are completing each other’s sentence. In a way, it seems quite addictive just to hear them sing that way. The first opening theme is Preserved Rose while the second opening theme is Kakumei Dualism. Although I feel that Preserved Rose sounds better than the latter. The first ending theme is Boku Janai by Angela. This song is also not bad but it reminds me of her style like she sang in the Shikabane Hime series. The second ending theme is Soba Ni Iru Yo by Elisa. I didn’t find this one appealing because it feels like an opera singer trying to hold in her high pitch voice till the end she realizes really one high pitch tone. Realism also by Elisa is the third ending piece but this time this one sounds dramatic orchestra song with choir voices accompanying the lead. She’s like trying a lower opera voice for this one. I thought the entire song just felt weird. The final ending theme is Akai Memories Wo Anata Ni by Momoko Kanade, a generic anime pop.

One thing I noticed about the people in general in this anime. They have short memory and herd mentality. They forget who their saviour was and are easy to condemn. Remember when Dorssia first attacked JIOR and all hope were lost? And then came Haruto piloting Valvrave to save the day. Everybody loves him. Yay. He’s the hero. We love you. And then when Magius come up with that conspiracy to paint them as monsters, everybody starts believing in this lie and starts condemning like as though they are the big devils. Short memory, huh? So much for gratitude, huh? Didn’t they ever think how can a high school boy pilot something so complicated? Easy to praise when things go their way, easy to criticize when things do not. So basically everybody here is also some sort of in denial because when the same trick on Amadeus is done and quickly brushed off as hoax, they quickly believe in it. Like as though they want to take the easy way out and are afraid to change from what they firmly believed in. Therefore everybody is equally as guilty as all of the characters in this series since they either do nothing about it or this. Everybody should just die! Whoops… There I go again. So what do we learn in the end? Never send kids to do an adult’s job like running the country. That’s definitely not child’s play stuff.

Overall, I won’t say that this anime is mediocre since I did find it enjoyable and entertaining. But! Disclaimer note: Not to a point where I have become a mecha fan. Call me a liar or a closet mecha fan but I still prefer harem romance comedies. So maybe it will be some time before in the future once again I will conveniently pick another mecha anime to watch. And maybe next time hopefully it won’t be as complicated as a reluctant kid who becomes a hero and saves the world in a giant robot. With a little help from his friends. Then you also have a secret organization ruling and controlling the world from the shadows that our hero must also rid off in order to attain true peace. And then he dies, everybody dies. More importantly, nobody gets the girl in the end. Haha! So when it comes to saving the world, let’s leave it to the professionals like superheroes, shall we? Because throwing away your humanity just to save the world isn’t worth all the trouble. You should live for humanity, not die for it. Food for thought: A human who has thrown away humanity to save humans, who is more human?

Cowboy Bebop

April 13, 2014

I read comments here and there and they say this was a classic anime. Well, I take it that Cowboy Bebop must be that good so it is a reason why I decided to give it a try. Or maybe there wasn’t many animes back in the late 90’s that anyone could classify as great. Or maybe I just couldn’t remember them. No harm in taking a look at it since it is one of those times where I picked a retro anime to watch. Judging from the very short synopsis, it is about a group of Cowboys, a term in this anime that refers to bounty hunters, and their adventures from planet to planet trying to make a living by apprehending targets with bounty on their heads. Oh, did I mention that the setting is in the future and you can see all sorts of cool futuristic gadgets and equipment? Space travelling is possible and the norm although it isn’t the kind of utopian future that we had in mind. Well, it was kind of cool looking for an anime produced in that era. You didn’t think it was going to be a typical western flick with real cowboys on horses and their six-shooters, didn’t you?

Episode 1
Jet Black is telling Spike Spiegel their next target, Asimov Solensan who is in some shady syndicate. He killed his own men and fled. Currently he is hiding at Tijuana with a woman. But Spike is more concerned about the food Jet cooked for him. Lacks lots of stuffs. This is what you get when you’re broke. The last bounty he collected was used up for repairs and hospital bills for the injured. Still not interested despite the $2.5 million bounty for a nobody? Jet heard there is good food at Tijuana. There’s you r motivation. Asimov enters a bar with his lover, Katerina. He sees the bartender at the back and shows him Bloody Eye. The bartender wants to prove it’s the real deal so Asimov sprays droplets in his eyes. At the same time, several men start spraying bullets all over the bar but Asimov has turned into some sort of wild beast. He can see those bullets and dodges them. He slaughters everyone. Spike is doing his investigation. He gets his info from a fortune teller shaman? He tells Spike where to find the red eye coyote and that this will lead him to a woman that will get him killed. He isn’t fazed since he was almost killed by one before. Spike’s ship runs out of fuel so he takes a break at a toilet. Asimov is there too. But Spike just washes his hands and leaves. Spike bumps into Katerina outside and they strike up a conversation. It seems she wants to escape the harsh life here and head to Mars with her lover. But she gets defensive when she learns he is a Cowboy. However he isn’t going to take them in because he has no interest in nobodies. Besides, her partner looks ill and I suppose it’s not his policy to take on the weak. Maybe he’ll regret that because Asimov strangles him from behind. But she tells him to stop it so they escape.

Jet then comes by. He tells Spike he is giving up on this case because he has dug up some information that this dude is impossible to catch. When he betrayed and ran from the syndicate, he took with him a bunch of illegal eye drops drugs called Bloody Eye. The organization of course is hunting him down to get the goods back but all Asimov left behind is a trail of dead bodies. Spike instantly knows he wants to sell Bloody Eyes because it will be their ticket to Mars. Asimov is at the next bar trying to strike up a trade with a Mexican. But when Asimov is going to show him Bloody Eye, he finds it missing. The Mexican turns out to be Spike in disguise and he stole Bloody Eye from him when Asimov was strangling him. The guys fight but Spike is better since Asimov is relying too much on his eyes. He can’t see everything at the same time. At the same time, those syndicate guys come into the picture so it’s one big messy hell. Asimov and Katerina hijack somebody’s plane and flee. The woman gets shot in the stomach but it seems her pregnancy is fake as it is filled with capsules of Bloody Eye. After Spike and Jet manage to give the syndicate men the slip, they chase after their target up to space. Asimov becomes desperate and sprays another dose into his eyes. With space police before them, she realizes they are not going to make it and cannot run away or anywhere anymore. By the time Spike catches up to them, he sees her putting a bullet into Asimov’s head before a hail of bullet takes out the ship.

Episode 2
Abdul Hakim is a serial pet kidnapper and it seems he is at it again, easily dispatching his pursuers even while taking a dump. Of course he ends up on the wanted list and the bounty on his head is $8 million. Spike takes up the job when the Doctor tells him too. Oh, Doctor has a request of him too. Beat the crap out of that guy! Because he’s got a swollen cheek for that. Hakim is at a Chinese medicine shop trying to punish some guy for bumping into him. Cockroach in his drink as his treat? Some guy then steals his suitcase. Hakim chases him but soon loses sight of his target. That guy tries to sell the suitcase to a pet shop when Spike points his gun at him. He doesn’t believe this guy isn’t Hakim since that dude has undergone many disguises. Upon opening the suitcase, seems there is a cute dog inside. Doesn’t even worth much since this Welsh corgi is common. Disappointed? Spike leaves but that’s when the real Hakim shows up. He wants his dog back but the dog gets agitated and pounds on him. In the commotion, the dog escapes. And the big chase begins. The dog being chased by Hakim being chased by the vet guys being chased by Spike. Eventually Spike and Hakim have a showdown at the bridge. The dog jumps off onto the boat. When it lands, it jumps back up into Spike’s face and into the water. Hakim of course fell onto the boat loaded with crabs. Spike brings back the dog to Jet. Although Spike isn’t very fond of the mongrel, Jet has a plan. The dog might be worthless (in monetary terms) but the owner is loaded.

Part of the plan sees Spike walking the dog through the streets. Meanwhile the vet guys are desperate in catching the dog because they have put a lot of data into it and do not want their illegal experiment to be exposed. So desperate that they start using the dog whistle. All the dogs in the vicinity nearby start chasing after the vet truck. Hakim after calling somebody to put off the meeting for a while, he sees a bunch of dogs running after the truck and goes after it (by stealing a newlywed’s car – so sad the groom got punched in the face). Spike flies his ship. Another round of chase begins. This time in vehicles. The dog is smart enough to evade the net capture by the vet guys. But it gets caught by Hakim who sprays it so sleep. But I think he didn’t spray enough because the dog wakes up and messes up the controllers on the steering wheel. It causes the dog to be flung out and Spike somehow goes to save the mutt instead of getting the $8 million bounty guy. Yeah, even though he hates the dog, I guess this shows he has a soft spot for them. Hakim and the vet guys crash off the highway and down into the police station. How convenient. Talk about turning yourself in. In the end, both Hakim and the vet guys are arrested. It is revealed the dog contains data, making it a very intelligent dog and thus a precious collector’s item. However, the dog is still missing. Actually, it is living with Spike. Still hate it? Then why bring it back? Anyway they call it Ein.

Episode 3
Faye Valentine walks into a Chinese medicine shop. Sexy. Cool. Oh baby. She senses baddies outside so she fires first. Then they fire back. She gives up when too many guns are pointing at her. And nobody cares that the poor old Chinese chap’s shop got trashed. Faye is taken to see the boss of a space casino, Gordon. Looks like she has racked up lots of debts. He cuts her a deal to cooperate with him or the police. Spike and Jet are also at the casino. Spike plays blackjack at the table where Faye is the croupier. This is part of Gordon’s plan to steal a chip the target has when he loses at a certain point. As expected, Spike loses but decides to keep a chip as memento. Faye goes after him. The real target is some goofy guy who looks like Spike. They bump into each other and their chips switch. Faye confronts Spike and tells him this wasn’t part of the plan and should have given her the last chip. Spike blurts out loud that he doesn’t want to since he played along with her. Everyone thinks the dealer cheated. Some guys want Spike to come with him to the office but he fights back. Seriously, those baddies need to take up basic martial arts. So many of them and they still can’t best Spike. Faye meanwhile summons her ship to make her escape. Jet has to cut short his winning streak as Spike drags him along to escape. Didn’t even have time to cash in. They jump onto Faye’s ship for their getaway. Meanwhile the fake Spike is caught and the Gordon is not happy the chip with him is fake. He orders his men to hunt for it as well as Faye and will not allow the chip to fall into the police’s hands. Oh, he shoots the fake Spike too.

Faye is tied up in the toilet of Jet’s ship, Bebop. She tries to convince them to give back the chip to Gordon for a handsome reward. Of course now that they know the chip is something, they aren’t going to just do that. Jet does his research while Spike sees Faye’s name popping up on the bounty hunter’s list. She’s worth $6 million. Imagine, she herself feels disappointed. Just how much debt has she accumulated? Faye secretly contacts Gordon about the chip and their whereabouts. So when Gordon contacts Jet, he hopes to strike a deal. Jet has discovered that there was some decryption programme, some sort of ‘magical keys’ that can decode and unlock every code. The problem is that the creator was killed, and it was left it encrypted and the chip serves as the key to open the programme. Jet wants $300 million if he wants the chip back. It should be a good price for a ‘magic key’. Spike goes off into space onto Gordon’s ship to make the trade. On the count of 3, they’re supposed to exchange it. But you know… They never trusted each other so when the count ends, the baddie starts shooting and Spike makes his move to kick him into space. Seriously, that guy should have taken shooting lessons. Loading off so many bullets and yet couldn’t hit Spike. At that time, Faye was able to free herself and escape to her ship. In that commotion, she steals the suitcase containing the money. Gordon fires all his missiles but the chaff she releases has the missiles hitting back at Gordon. What kind of missile is that? I guess this guy is just bad luck. Thankfully it will be his last. Faye escapes with the money and all Spike and Jet got is this lousy chip. I guess there is only one way left to properly use it. Try their luck at a casino. Starting from scratch, eh? Easy come, easy go.

Episode 4
Faye is floating in space. Out of gas. She tries to use her sexy charms and communicate with passing ships to hitchhike but they just zoom past. Something tells me they did the right decision. Meanwhile Jet and Spike are in some posh restaurant, eyeing on their next target, Morgan. Before they could go and apprehend him, an old lady, Twinkle Maria Murdock and her ‘sons’, confront him and open fire everywhere! As they escape, they drop a hologram message saying they are Space Warriors and protectors of endangered species (Morgan was trying to order some endangered rat species). However Spike points a gun to Twinkle and though her sons are distraught, she tells them to back down as they are no match for bounty hunters. I guess she has a higher bounty than Morgan who is now riddled with holes. The sons are forced to flee empty handed but Twinkle is keeping cool. Back on Bebop, Jet does his research and it seems Space Warriors were once a good organization preserving and protecting endangered species. When their previous leader died, the group reduced in its numbers and its goal changed. It’s now like a terrorist group keen on protecting that Ganymede sea rats. However they can’t cash her in because her bounty was just cancelled. It seems her sons have made a deal with some Minister to cancel their mom’s bounty but even so as long as mama isn’t back with them, they’re going to set that plan into action immediately. Jet suddenly finds all the data on Space Warriors deleted. I mean, he just saw them moments ago. See Twinkle’s grin? Something fishy is going on. Meanwhile Faye stumbles upon a wrecked ship. The dying pilot wants her to take the suitcase to ISSP without opening it. Of course she ‘accidentally’ opens it only to find a vial. Can’t fill her stomach with that, can’t she. Another ship passes and once more she uses her sexy charms. She gets no response. That’s because it is Jet and Spike and they recognize this sly woman’s voice. The silent treatment is taking too long so she blows her top and when she looks up to see the familiar ship, she just went “Oh my God…”.

Faye is tied back on Bebop. While Spike is trying to open the vile (Twinkle seems to be keeping a close watch on what he is doing), Jet contacts his old friend Bob to find out what has happened. After a little threat, Bob reveals that Space Warriors is threatening under the mask of negotiation as some 8 million residents of Ganymede are being held hostage. Then there’s some virus they created to their liking called Monkey Business. If humans get in contact with it, they’ll turn into a monkey. As they lost their spy that infiltrated their group (I guess he got turned into a monkey), they are forced to go with their terms. Spike is about to shoot the vile (no prizes for guessing what’s in it) but Jet catches it and relays the bad news that they have to release Twinkle. No bounty, no worth. After Twinkle is released to her sons, she contacts the Minister and since he didn’t completely do as she wishes, she’ll punish him. Later Bob contacts Jet and wants him to watch a certain channel because Twinkle is making a live broadcast. She’s blabbing about humans committing crimes against nature that can’t be amended. They are going to get rid of those ‘bugs’. The Minister thought he had his men secure the ship she was broadcasting on but was a decoy and it exploded, killing those close by. Twinkle lets loose a missile that contains Monkey Business to turn everyone into primates. As the bounty on her is established, Spike goes into action since Bebop is the only one closest to them. However they have to stop the missile too because if it hits the planet and turns the people to monkeys, they won’t have anybody compensating their reward. Spike enters the hyperdrive to destroy the missiles. Since he is having problems, Faye offers to help but with a cut of the reward. 60-40. But I guess she won’t be much of a help because the missile suddenly split into several smaller ones! Is this some kind of warhead? Spike and Faye fly as fast as they can since the portal is closing. In the nick of time they manage to do so. As for Twinkle and her crew, they make an emergency brake. But the vile that Twinkle stole from Spike before she departed his ship flew out of her pocket and breaks. You reap what you sew. Going back to nature… Because of that, Jet and Spike rue another wasted effort. All that work and no reward. Faye sounds optimistic that they’ll make money next time. That, coming from a thief?

Episode 5
Mao Yenrai and some other syndicate boss reach a deal regarding some alliance. But soon after they are killed by Vicious and his men. His last words were things would be different if Spike was around. Meanwhile Jet and Spike are in an argument. Because Jet thinks Mao is an easy bounty to collect but apparently Spike isn’t interested in taking up the job and leaves on his own. Faye returns and is told to shut up by the angry bald guy. She intercepts a message meant for Jet. Meanwhile Spike sees an old acquaintance, Annie. She is shocked to see him because the story goes around here that he is supposed to be dead 3 years ago. She knows with him back, he wants to know something. It’s about Mao and what happened to him. She also knows he won’t be listening to what she tells him to but she just says. After Spike left, Mao searched in vain for him believing he was still alive. And now that he has returned, Mao’s dead. Faye dresses up gorgeously and heads to the opera disguising as some sort of acquaintance to Mao (she’s doing this for the bounty). She is ushered in by his men but they seem to know who she is and let her take her seat. She sees Mao’s bloodied face sitting nicely on the chair. She asks who these guys are and what do you know, it’s Vicious. Jet has bought a mini arsenal back and Jet smells he is up to something. He tells him the bounty for Mao is off because he is dead. Spike knows that too and is not doing it for the money. Apparently he owes it to Mao for something and he considers this one of his life’s duties. They receive a message from Faye that she has been taken hostage and to come to a certain place before she is killed. Jet didn’t really care about her but Spike is interested to know where. For your information, it’s not to save her.

Spike meets Vicious in the chapel and it has been a long time since these guys seen each other. Faye is brought in as a hostage so Spike is ordered to drop his gun. He fired an accurate shot into that guy’s forehead! Then all hell breaks loose. Gunshots fired everywhere. Faye escapes by the skin of her teeth. It’s mind boggling that the baddies equipped with machine guns and better arsenal can’t even hit Spike and his pistol. Thank God for the thick church pillars. And Spike shoots them with deadly accuracy. Rage? To show that he isn’t perfect, Spike receives one lousy shot in the stomach. Even so, he pumped lots of bullets into his giver. Then the ultimate showdown with Vicious. He says they are of the same. Those who desires the blood of others. Although Spike has thrown away that kind of life, Vicious is not happy that he is alive. Both men attack but Spike is thrown out of the window. Prior to that, he dropped a grenade and safe to say Vicious goes boom along with the church. While falling down, this chapel scene must be reminding Spike of his old days and scattered memories of his. Buddies with Vicious. Some woman. Lots of gunfire. Spike gets shot. He survives somehow. Yeah. All that. Spike wakes up all bandaged in Bebop. Seems Faye saved him. She thought he would be grateful but he commented on her tone deaf singing. She gives it to him.

Episode 6
Spike wakes up from a nightmare. He was on some operation table. He and Jet are now in a blues bar, trying to get their next bounty target, Giraffe. They see an old ‘acquaintance’, Fatty River so Jet has no chance but to go talk with him to distract the dude. At the end of the play, Giraffe tails the blues harmonica kid, Wen and a wheel chair guy, Zebra into a taxi with Spike closely following them. Giraffe tails them to a hotel room and barges in but was shot through the window. I guess that was how long Spike took to get his ship and arrive at the scene. Only enough time to retrieve his body. Before Giraffe dies, he wants Spike to save Zebra and gives him a stone ring. There goes his bounty. Jet talks to Fatty to find out more information. Seems Zebra and Giraffe were on the same Volunteer Self Defence Squad 10 years ago where they tried to reclaim some facility. However Zebra ended up missing and Giraffe found himself kidnapped in some unknown place. Giraffe wanted to go after the top heads in the group but was betrayed. Zebra was also found alive. In the end Giraffe was killed by some betrayal. Back on Bebop, Jet does more research. Seems Wen has appeared in some article 30 years ago and looks the same exactly as he is now. Meanwhile Spike tails Wen and Zebra into some facility. He is spotted by them. Wen shoots away his gun and warns him that despite his kiddie look, he has been around since humans crawled the planet. He explains his body ceased to age and can’t die on the day some accidental explosion of the hyperspace gate. Everything around him just got decimated. There were many interested in him and experimented on him but all died. Then Zebra sneaked in, Wen used this change to use him to escape and made him his ‘parent’ to hide himself. Wen wants him to hand over the stone but whether he does it or not, he tries to shoot and kill Spike. When Spike manages to retrieve his gun and shoots the one off Wen’s hand, Wen throws Zebra at him. Spike shoots Wen’s forehead but when he goes over to check, there is blood but no body.

Zebra is brought back to Bebop and he is in a vegetative state. They see tears coming out from his eyes and they plug in some device to see his memories. He is thinking when Giraffe barged into the hotel room. Giraffe said something about the stone that will return time to him and to hand over Zebra back. However Wen shot him. From what Jet explains, due to the explosion of the gate, a vast amount of energy is stored inside it. An imagery coordinate system was created from the resulting twists in hyperspace and it got enclosed inside the stone, which broke his whatever rhythm or gland and prevents him from aging. The only way to deal with this is to stick this stone into Wen. It is a dangerous mission since the stone might explode upon contact and Spike won’t come back. Well, he’s excited for it. Even Faye is here to see him off. Since when did she care? Meanwhile Wen kills a taxi driver and takes his taxi. Spike finds him and fires at the vehicle, conveniently crashing into a petrol station. Of course Wen is still standing and looking fine. Spike exits his ship and plants the single bullet (which is laced with stone) into his forehead. I thought it was dumb of Wen to just stand there to get shot. But then again, he didn’t know the bullet contains the stone. Suddenly he starts aging and becomes a bag of bones. Looking very much like a zombie. He feels old. Duh. But he is glad that he can now die. And he dies with a smile. So where’s that big explosion they feared so much? All unfounded for, eh?

Episode 7
A burly space trucker woman, VT and her cat, Zeros enter their usual diner only to learn it is filled with lots of bounty hunters that she hates. They heard some target called Decker is passing by here and are waiting to catch him. Spike is here too but he’s having a bad case of stomach ache. Faye is also on this planet but in a desserts bar. She spots this big yakuza-like guy entering and believes it to be Decker since the only description about him is a dragon tattoo. She tells him to stick ‘em up while wanting the other customer in the next table to call the police. Hmm… Something tells me this scrawny little nerd is Decker. See that dragon tattoo? Oh yeah. It’s him. He runs away as Faye realizes her mistake. I guess that’s what happens when you jump to conclusions. That big fat guy’s ‘dragon’ tattoo turns out to be a love eel. She chases the real Decker but he gives her the slip when he tosses a bomb. There goes her ship. Meanwhile at the diner, a group of Mexican bounty hunters are harassing a waitress. VT goes to tell them off and the next thing you know, it becomes a brawl. Because Spike’s food got messed up in the process, he also joins in and beats the crap out of them. VT appreciates him and will treat him to a drink. While talking, there are other people who come in to do some bet with VT. They’re trying to guess her name but always wrong. Spike wants to play too but gets a call from Jet to go after Decker since Faye screwed up. VT realizes he is a bounty hunter and tells him to get out. Spike’s woes continue because those Mexicans, they trashed his ship. So he has to hitchhike. VT didn’t want to bother with him but seems Zeros takes a liking for Spike. He requests another passenger to hitchhike. And so Faye journeys with them and they have to endure her loud metal music all the way.

VT contacts his trucker pals to get information on Decker’s whereabouts. She finally spots his truck and chases after him into an abandoned asteroid. She calls Spike about this but was told to stay away because the cargo Decker is carrying is very dangerous. He is a master of explosives and is currently hauling solid nitro to some people he made deals with. Spike and Faye hurry to their location. I think Jet didn’t have time to finish fixing the badly messed up ships. Decker tries to shake VT off and even drops one of his bombs but it is going to take more than that to kill her. Of course with the impact in such an enclosed space, the place starts blowing up. Decker is killed and there goes the bounty. Spike, Faye and VT are trapped and this place could blow up any time soon. Oh, did I mention this asteroid was an old mining area? What are the chances? How can they get out alive? VT suggests using one of the solid nitro to blast their way out. Since Faye’s ship has hands, she is forced to extract the solid nitro and be very careful to it. Because it is sensitive to touch and the slightest mistake means they all go boom. The next plan is very risky and dangerous. Because Spike exits his cockpit (he must have taken a deep long breath) so that Faye can put the solid nitro into it and when the timer is over, the little pod will accelerate and rams towards the blocked exit. VT quickly brings Spike into her truck in time before the pod speeds up and blows up an exit. They barely survived. Spike thanks Victoria Telpsicorei for the help. He saw her name in her locket. Her late husband was a legendary bounty hunter. She gives him the reward money but he only takes a note and has her keep the rest as offering to her husband in Heaven.

Episode 8
A plane is being hijacked (Lewey, Hewey and Dewey?). Spike is one of the passengers but he is sleeping. When is rudely awakened by them, I’m not sure if it’s his lady luck or sleepy kung fu that knocks them out. Of course, with a little help from Faye. At the airport, Spike cashes in on the captured target and Faye didn’t waste time in asking for her share. She’s going to blow it all at the casino. Better than putting in the bank? Spike is suddenly attacked by a passenger on that plane, Roco Bonnaro. Of course he blunders. But this Roco guy views his kung fu as the real deal and bugs him to teach him. After all that pestering, I guess Spike relents. He even demonstrates using his flow and be like water Chinese kung fu philosophy thingy. I wonder if Roco gets it. But since a group of baddies are after him, Roco shoves a package onto Spike, telling him to hold it and bring it to a cathedral at the outskirts of town tomorrow night. Back on Bebop, Jet suggests in making some extra cash by capturing a small time crook, Piccaro Calvino. If the entire gang is captured, the price doubles. Seems they have stolen some remedy for planet Venus sickness. That plant is hard to grow and it’s worth tens of millions. Guess what? It’s the package Spike is holding. Oh Gosh. And Roco is one of the gang members. Faye suggests to just sell this plant since it’s more profitable than nabbing the baddies. Jet disagrees as he doesn’t want to get involved with trouble. But Spike is going to handle Roco and leaves Piccaro to them. Spike arrives at Roco’s home but a lady tells him to stick ‘em up. She is Roco’s sister, Stella and has some sort of eye disease that makes her blind. She mistakes Spike as Roco’s friend. As they talk, she doesn’t mind staying this way but Roco cares about her and wants to get her treated. She shows him an orgel that Roco sent her. Inside there is a little package inside which I believe is seeds of the plant. She adds that Roco may have hung out with bad people but he is a good person. She doesn’t think Spike is one of those bad guys.

Meanwhile Roco is so good at running that he manages to lose his pursuers. However when he goes to take the leak, he realized too late that the baddies and even Piccaro himself are easing themselves at the toilet. Cornered. They force him to reveal the whereabouts of the plant. Elsewhere, Faye is in foul mood. She is extorting information of Piccaro’s whereabouts (including one that leads her to a couple of gays having sex!). Roco sees Spike waiting at the cathedral. Spike mentions he has peeked into the contents as Roco realizes he is a bounty hunter. At first he thought he was here to nab him but when Spike mentions Stella needs this, Roco tells him to run. Piccaro and his men surround the place. Care to hand it over? Roco makes a daring move to subdue one of the baddies. A gunfight ensues. It gets messier when Faye comes crashing into the picture and starts firing away. She’s in a bad mood for being sent on a wild goose chase. Roco uses his newly learnt kung fu move on one of the baddies. Wow. He looks like an expert but then he gets shot in the chest. He drops the plant and when the glass breaks, it withers. Piccaro and his men are arrested. Roco has one last favour for Spike to leave Stella in his care and it’s in the orgel. Spike knows what it is and will do it. Spike goes to see Stella at the hospital. She is happy that Roco has got the money for her to undergo the operation (I guess the plant’s seed did the trick). However with Spike being silent, she realizes something is wrong. He’s dead. She’s sad as she wanted him to be the first to see her recover her eyesight but that won’t happen now. She wonders what kind of person Roco is as she has never seen him with her own eyes. Spike says she doesn’t need eyes for that because he is a great guy.

Episode 9
Radical Edward seems to be trying to hack in Bebop when some laser satellite shoots at her position. Well, he’s still alive although the place is toast. The news interviews some guy on the mysterious South American drawings. He insists it is the work of aliens despite proofs that somebody hacked into the satellite and made the art. Even so, the crazy guy thinks it is a conspiracy of the government to hide something. Maybe aliens controlled that guy’s mind to hack the satellite. Whatever. As there is a bounty placed on the hacker’s head, this attracts Faye’s attention. She’s going to do it but Spike wants to sit this one out. In another news interview, it is mentioned that the Gate accident 50 years ago, Earthlings have migrated underground due to the changing climate and falling moon rocks. Thus space networks are necessary for them to stay in contact with those living in space. Thus it becomes a foundation to create hackers. Ed hacks the police’s ship (they’re here to arrest him), toys with it and crashes it. Faye and Jet get down to Earth to find more information on the hacker. Jet’s leads have him learn that everyone knows the famous hacker called Ed. But ‘his’ description varies. Some think ‘he’ is a woman, a gay or even an alien! Ed hacks into somewhere and finds an information area not connected to Earth and only between satellites. Nobody else has hacked it too. She hears a voice saying that nobody is here. The voice is a programme controlling a satellite. Ed calls it MPU as its nickname. Just like how Ed is for Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV. Seriously? MPU explains before the Gate incident, Earth was beautiful and filled with such pictures and always looked at them. He remembered them and tried to recreate them. Their conversation is cut off when the police put on a jamming signal.

Ed contacts Bebop and tells them the real culprit isn’t a hacker and is willing to tell them in return for a favour. As explained the A.I. of the satellite is the one responsible for the doodling. As it is listed as a weather satellite, nobody suspected anything. This means the satellite is their bounty. As MPU’s access code is lost, they have to go directly to the satellite, break its communication to other satellites and download MPU to a disk. They have to do it manually because the other laser satellites connected to it will sense and attack them. Jet thinks it’s impossible but Spike loves this kind of stuff. Spike approaches it and everything seems to be proceeding as planned. But a satellite blocks his shot and this alerts the other satellites. Now they’re firing at him and the only way left is to take them all out. Seriously. Hundreds of them? Ed suggests Faye be the decoy while Spike approaches 20 metres of MPU so that he won’t be attacked. Once Spike touches down, he starts downloading MPU as Ed talks to MPU one last time. She wants him to come over to this side filled with lots of friends it must have been lonely up there. The news reports the strange end twist to this strange drawing. The culprit is the A.I. of a satellite and the police are dumbfounded on how to reward Spike and Jet about this. However they didn’t get any reward because the target can’t be something non-living. Bummer. Ed has packed her bags and ready to board Bebop. The favour she asked was to be part of their crew. Faye wants Jet to fly away. What about the promise? Promises are made to be broken. Bebop flies off but not to worry. Ed has hacked into the system and remotes control Bebop like her own toy to land at his feet. Welcome aboard? Not only Jet and Spike have no money, they are stuck with things they hate most: Beasts, kids and tomboys. The woman is a tomboy? Well, nothing feminine about her except her racks and curves… Shouldn’t Ed be the tomboy?

Episode 10
Bebop is to turn in a fugitive at Ganymede when Jet comes into contact with an old friend, Donelly. They talk on the good ol’ days when Donelly remembers the girl Jet was once with: Alisa. Jet takes some personal time off to go see Alisa who is working as a bar master. They haven’t seen each other for a while and catch up on things. She plans to close business and move to somewhere else but Jet is concerned if she can cope with the high cost of living of new island cities. She believes she can since she has her boyfriend, Rhint Celonius. Yeah. That guy who gave Jet that suspicious look when he entered the bar. With Jet away, Spike takes the liberty to fix Bebop (Faye is just sunbathing her ass). Spike gets a personal call from Donelly. This next target bounty has not been announced publicly yet. Rhint is a port thug and last night he contacted Law Rentzuo the financial broker (read: loan shark) and the latter was killed. He warns that Rhint is Alisa’s gigolo. All Spike is interested in is how much the bounty reward will be. I guess it must be enough for him to take off and earn some pocket money. Jet continues his reminiscing. One day when Jet came back from work, Alisa was gone. All she left was the clock which is now in his possession and a farewell note. Oddly he didn’t feel sad. He felt something inside him grew numb. He made a bet with himself. In 6 months if she did not return by the time this clock stopped, he will leave this planet. He doesn’t want to blame her and just want to know why she disappeared back them. Alisa says she’s forgotten about that long story and bids him farewell again.

After Jet leaves, Rhint is seen squirming in guilt. He really did kill the loan shark but he was cornered and out of self defence. He thinks Jet was here to arrest him as a bounty hunter. Alisa suggests they run away. So happen when they are riding their boat, Spike sees them and engages the target. He almost collided with Jet and tells him what is going on. Jet wants him to go home and will handle this himself. He assures him he will not let the target go because this is his home planet and was once a tough cop. Once he bites, he never lets go. After chasing the duo through tight waterways, Jet fires his spear at the boat. The propeller gets dislodged and sends the boat crashing onto land. Alisa points the gun at Jet and doesn’t want him to get close. Jet is not cowed even after a few warning shots. She tells him to find other bounties but if he lets her go, somebody else will come after her. If she runs, she’ll be an accomplice. She explains that he has been the same since. He decided everything and was always right. She never to do anything when she was with him. She wants to decide how to live her life even if it is a mistake. As she breaks down, Rhint tries to run away, squirming like a coward that he doesn’t want to go to prison. Jet punches him and tells him to be strong to protect her. After the police apprehend Rhint, Jet asks Alisa for her next plan. She isn’t going anywhere but will wait in her bar for Rhint. He doesn’t think it will take long because time is flowing. Jet throws away the clock into the sea.

Episode 11
Just like some horror movie, there is something lurking on Bebop. Jet must be desperate to make cash but he should have known better than to gamble with Faye. He lost everything. Including his underwear. We know Faye cheated, right? Jet is in the storeroom and stumbles upon the fridge where he gets bitten. The rest think it is a mice but he is certain it wasn’t. And nobody gives a damn to what Ein is growling at. Should have been a sign. Jet is made to drink crushed lizard as herbal remedy for his sore. It’s that or crushed scorpion. This is going to go down well. Right after that, he collapses! I don’t think it’s the drink because the bruise is getting bigger. Spike tries to match what kind of virus he has but none of it in the database matches. Ed thinks it’s some mysterious space creature along with the crappy theory of mysterious evolution, mysterious mutation and mysterious poison it carries. When Faye is taking a bath, she encounters that mysterious creature. And so the reason why she is panicking to Spike that if you get bitten you may die is because she too got bitten on the leg. Young, beautiful and sexy. She’s got a full life ahead of her and things she wants to do. Why does she have to die so early when she didn’t even commit a single crime?! Oh, Faye… Maybe that’s why… So the rest go hunting for the creature with heat vision goggles. Spike gets a close encounter with the mysterious creature, which turns out to be some freaking fast blob after hearing Ein’s scream. Yeah. Doggone it. With Ed’s goggles on the floor, I guess something has happened to the kid too. So Spike is now alone. Okay, alone with the blob. Arming himself with all sorts of weapons, he hunts down the blob. Then it’s the showdown. All weapons fail to kill it till he blasts it with the flame thrower. Feeling hungry after that, he remembers something important. A year ago, he got a real lobster and hid it in the storeroom’s fridge for his own. He forgot all about it. As he slowly opens the fridge to take a look what is inside now, he slams it back. Some horror growth that we don’t want to see. Yeah. You might lose your appetite. He disables to ship’s gravity to throw the fridge out into space but the blob attacks and bites his hand. The fridge bounces back and the door threatening to open. Spike summons all his strength to open the gate to suck it out and close it in time before he passes out. So with everybody out on Bebop… Oh wait…. Ed is just sleeping. The blob slides to her and she eats it! WTF?! I thought that thing is poisonous?! And it’s like nothing happened to him. Lesson of the day: Never leave things in your fridge… So that’s it? What happened to the crew? Will they get treated? So? SO?! Unless the virus isn’t lethal to begin with. Everyone just falls asleep… Enjoy Waltz of the Flowers while you’re at it…

Episode 12
Vicious lives. He is before some Chinese council of old men (more like corpses) requesting to do some deal with Red Eye. I can’t understand what their conversation is about but it seems those Chinese buggers give him the permission and warns him about betraying Van because those who did will be punished. They send Lin to accompany him to the cold planet of Callisto. Meanwhile on Bebop, Faye has fled. Yeah. She left a note telling them not to look for her and took off with their loot. So predictable of this woman, right? Using Ed to track her down, Ed receives a connection with someone with a codename called Julia. Spike instantly sits up and wants to know where that connection comes from. Blue Crow on Callisto. Spike immediately leaves. What about finding Faye? He leaves it to Jet while he finds his own woman. Jet warns him not to be so rash but since Spike is still stubborn, he threatens he won’t be welcomed back again. So be it. I guess their 3 year friendship only goes so far. All because of women… Well, at least Jet has got odd new shipmates to keep him company. Spike gathers all information he can to find Julia. It leads him to a transsexual named Julius. Ugh… Julius thinks Gren might know. He is a saxophone player at Blue Crow bar. And it seems Faye is at that bar too. She thought this guy Gren wanted to pick her up but he notes he is not interested in women. He also warns her that this planet has no women in town so she’ll be very popular and watch out. Spike must be poking around for information too much that he runs into bad company. They think he is Vicious but Spike gets mad instead and beats the hell out of them! No mercy! It is revealed there is going to be some deal taking place from Gren to Vicious and he thought of taking that cash. It is then Spike realizes the codename for this trade is Julia.

Jet is on this planet too. He sees the bounty hunter programme that a bounty named Gren who escaped a military facility 3 years ago, his statute limitation is about to expire and so his bounty will be doubled. Jet wanted to call Spike to tell him this info but perishes the thought. Faye is being confronted by those guys whom Spike beat up. Never learn their lesson, eh? I’m sure Faye would have given them another round of good beating had not Gren took her hand and fled the scene. In his home, she seems to speak from experience that she came here alone. She doesn’t need comrades because they’re not worth having. Viewing herself as a good girl, guys always end up fighting over her. It’s said that humans can’t live long by themselves but oddly you can live pretty long by yourself. Instead of feeling alone in a group, it’s better to live in solitude. Gren thinks she is afraid of losing them and distanced herself. When Gren is in the shower, the phone rings. Faye is surprised to hear Vicious’ voice as he leaves a message for their meeting place. Faye gets ready to take out Gren but is shocked to see him a woman. Or is Gren a male? He is both… And neither… Has your brains exploded yet? Meanwhile Spike confronts Vicious and didn’t like how he used Julia’s name for crooked deals. They’re ready to face off seeing they didn’t settle their previous score. But Lin comes in between them. Spike doesn’t want to kill him but Lin fires back.

Episode 13
Vicious and Gren were once comrades in some mercenary army on Titan. Close enough for Vicious to give him a little orgel and save him from a scorpion’s sting. I don’t know what war they were fighting for but when it’s over and Gren returned home, he was imprisoned because he was suspected to be a spy. Vicious testified against him. He had insomnia while doing time and took some drugs. The side effects caused his body to ‘morph’ into such. Faye wonders why he wants to see Vicious. Didn’t he betray him? He wants to see it for himself even if he knows he’s going to die. Faye calls him selfish because he drags people into his problem and then goes off to die. She fires a few rounds at him but he was fast enough to dodge them and take her out. Jet’s investigation leads him to the bar where Gren plays. The bar master recognizes Faye because it has been a long time he has seen a woman and can’t be mistaken. A prettier one came by 2 years ago. She was beautiful but disappeared barely after a month here. Spike is having that strange dream again. Vicious. Gunfire and that woman. I guess this is a sign he is still alive. Because he wakes up only to realize Lin fired tranquilizers into him. Jet enters Gren’s room to see Faye tied up. After freeing her, he contacts Spike and tells him about this ‘Julia’ case. If he catches the culprit, he’ll allow him back on Bebop. Gren sees Vicious and Lin to make the trade. What he has is genuine but before the deal could end, Gren kicks a suitcase containing a bomb towards him. Gren reveals that he tore apart the orgel and found a transmitter. More like it was Julia who found it. He wonders if he wants to kill him again despite being comrades and fought on that desert battlefield. He believed in him. Vicious replies there is nothing to believe. Gren shoots back but Lin uses his body to protect Vicious. Spike sees this before his eyes and gets distraught. Now it’s time for some aerial battle. With Gren in the fray, it’s going to be a threesome. Vicious hears the sound of the orgel in his cockpit. When it ends, his ship goes boom and he crashes. Gren’s body couldn’t hold on any longer so he too crashes. Spike wants to know about Julia but he requests to be put back in his ship. He wants to return to Titan. It might be a long way but he wants to be close to it. Gren knows he is Spike because Julia always talks about him. Those eyes of different colours. His left eye sees the past. She always sat in the same corner of the bar, requesting to play the same song and putting on that sad smile. Spike gives Gren a little push back into space. He returns to Bebop and despite he has nothing, Jet lets him back in.

Episode 14
Our Bebop crew each apprehend their bounty. But when they get back, why to long sour face? Seems they get no reward for it because they weren’t the target. As Ed puts it, everyone caught a criminal but have no clue of who that person they’re really after. And so it is revealed that around 20 criminals have been caught by several bounty hunters but because the criminal isn’t the mastermind, they aren’t paying out. Too bad. As the gang do their research, Jet notes the crime of hacking the Gate tollbooth is done in a similar fashion. Something about the laundering of funds that makes it hard to track where the funds went. All the caught criminals have nothing in common and you can say they come in all age, gender, nationality, religion, etc. Besides, they don’t even have the stolen money. Faye has a flyer that states an easy way to make money for a thief. There’s a manual on how to rob? It’s from a website that no longer exists. Perhaps all the criminals were reading from that same manual. From Spike’s side, he believes somebody who is familiar with the Gate system should only know how to hack it. It must be somebody from that company or who once worked there. Even worse, Gate Corporation suddenly became uncooperative in assisting them. The only clue is a king chess piece. Ed fools around (got electrocuted but lives) and hacks into some system (why didn’t they ask this kid instead). She has Jet give her the chess piece. It is a memory cartridge to play chess over the internet. Though Ed isn’t sure if this has anything to do with the hacking. Jet thinks all this is some game. He wants Ed to continue playing while he goes to see those Gate guys again. He shows the chess piece but was told to just do his bounty hunter job. How can they? When they don’t even know who the mastermind is. I mean, they put a bounty on a mastermind that they aren’t sure even exists. He hints that it is perhaps someone they don’t want the police to know. Jet is shown the door and not to pry any further. Of course he has planted a transmission to hear their conversation later. Seems they are very concerned of the risk if this gets out to the public. It’ll get worse if they don’t catch him. They are puzzled why Chessmaster Hex, a ghost of 50 years ago would come back. Maybe it’s really a game he setup because he gave everyone a chess piece.

Spike and Faye couldn’t decipher and hidden meaning behind the chess moves. Maybe they’re just normal chess moves. Jet contacts the gang to investigate on Hex. Ed won’t budge from her game because she’s in an interesting match with Hex! Hex was once a genius programmer in his teens. He was also a genius chess player. At 30 years old, he created some central control system that Gates use today. However he undermined its safety when he put them to practical use. As a result he was banned from the company and his whereabouts unknown for the last 50 years. But why get his revenge now? Furthermore, they easily traced him to an abandoned place where scrap metals gathered. It is the perfect hideout since there is no government, no nationality, no anything. You don’t even have to pay tax here. Too easy? A trap? One way to find out. Spike and Faye head in only to find it inhabited by weird homeless or stateless people. There are even animals and plants! Meanwhile, a bounty hunter named Jonathan who has eavesdropped Jet crashes into the place because he has something to settle with Hex. Spike and Faye are about to arrest Hex in his room, still playing chess but that’s when Jonathan comes in and wants this old bugger to return his life savings! But Hex seems genuinely senile as he talks with his old friends about this amazing chess player he is playing with. The rest realize he has no memory of what happened yesterday, what more 50 years ago. Jonathan is upset that his life savings will never come back and tears up the place but is punched out by the duo. Jet explains to the Gate guys that Hex wanted revenge and planned it all out and made it so that this incident will happen 50 years later when the system programme gets an automatic update. He even made those who commit the crime to hold chess pieces to hint it was his doing. But 50 years is too long a time and he turned senile, forgetting the traps he set. Though this is good news for Gate Corporation, it also means Jet has learnt about the defect. The guys wonder if he wants money to prevent this being leaked to the press. But all Jet wants is to leave Hex alone. Because Ed will be sad if she loses a chess companion. Yup. She’s still playing it for a week now. And she lost. Oh, Jonathan becomes a senile occupant in that abandoned station. No money, no life.

Episode 15
Faye is awakened by Ein. Somehow the dog’s face reminds her of an old acquaintance, Whitney Hagas Matsumoto. Want to hear her story? Ein yawns… Faye is seen ‘defrosted’ in a hospital’s operation room. She has no memories of herself. Then this Whitney guy pops up and claims to be a lawyer hired by the insurance company for her medical bills. It seems Faye was involved in a horrible accident 54 years ago! Medical technology wasn’t advanced then so she was kept frozen in deep sleep until today. Look at her body. No scars or anything. She’s like Sleeping Beauty too. Faye couldn’t believe things as they are now. I mean, that television is actually a washing machine? That night, she escapes from the hospital. Can’t afford to pay $300 million hospital fees with compounded interests, eh? Being not technology savvy, she triggers the alarm but kept running. She experiences culture shock from hologram videos and flying ships on highways. Eventually Whitney catches up and wants to help her. She accepts his help and starts trusting him as he treats her like his precious woman. One night the insurance company got impatient for the collection and chased them. Whitney drops Faye somewhere to lose their pursuers and hopes they will meet again at the hospital. Why is he helping her so much? Because the prince must help the Sleeping Beauty. To her dismay, he got done in. At the hospital, the doctor mentions how Whitney has left all his assets to her. All she needs is to put in her thumbprint. Faye is touched that she truly cares about him. And then on the screen… It appears all his massive debts… It makes Faye’s like a tiny drop in the ocean. Hey… Debts are assets? That’s when Faye blew her top. Now do we understand why she became a distrustful sly thieving fox? Spike heard everything but has his reservations. She did tell lots of lies, right?

Jet has just come back and captured a small fry bounty with him. Faye seems to find him familiar and realizes this is Whitney! OMG! He’s so fat now! Of course Faye interrogates him. The past is brought up. Seems everyone was in it. Whitney mentions he prefers to be handed in to the police for his crime. The police is here to pick him up but Faye won’t hand him over and takes him with her. She wants to repay her debts to him. Imagine how surprised the guys are because this woman is taking the man instead of the money. It’s really odd to see a fat guy and a sexy bombshell squeezed into a cockpit and flying off into space. Spike chases them and disables them. Faye wants to know the truth but to her dismay he doesn’t know anything about her past. When the police is here to pick him up, she recognizes that familiar voice. It’s that doctor! Faye is mad that this is another one of Whitney’s lies because she was told he was dead. The doctor confirms that he is the one who named her Valentine after his favourite song. She was in cryogenic sleep in his hospital but as to why, who she is or anything else, it will remain a mystery because all data of her was wiped out during the Gate incident. With the real police entering the scene, the doctor decides to flee, causing Whitney to panic and call to his uncle not to leave him. That black doctor is his uncle? I suppose Faye got enough of it and decides to claim the paltry bounty on him. Seeing him land in prison really makes her day. Whitney notes that of all the lies he told, there is one truth: He fell in love with Sleeping Beauty while she was asleep. A lie? The truth? Well, Faye won’t be swayed anymore. And perhaps to further take out her frustrations, she draws fake eyebrows on Ein and returns to sleep. Now she’s a Sleeping Beast.

Episode 16
A prisoner onboard the prison transport, Udai Taxim slaughters all the authorities with ease. When the other death row inmates take control of the ship and one of the hot-headed one kills the pilot for not wanting to be ordered around, Udai slices his throat. The other prisoners remember him as an assassin for a syndicate. Meanwhile Jet receives a call from his friend from the police force, Fad. He meets up and is told about the electrical malfunction on the prison transport ship that caused a riot and hijacking incident. The ship’s whereabouts is unknown. The point is, Udai is on that ship. He is someone who has to do with Jet quit being a cop and his now mechanized left arm. Though Jet says he isn’t interested in that old story, he still thinks back how they were after Udai and fell into his trap. He’s still going to do something about it, right? Meanwhile Udai has a plan on how to bust through security with limited ammunition. When the police force finds him, they feign releasing the prisoners. But the pod was filled with explosives that caught them off guard. The prisoners use the gun turrets to finish off what is left of the force. By the time Jet and Fad arrive, there is only ship wreckage carnage. But Jet knows where Udai has headed: Europa. He knows this guy is old fashioned and wants to get back with the syndicate. True enough, he is contacting the syndicate but they have cut all ties with him since he was doing time. They don’t want him back anymore no matter what he thinks.

Jet goes in solo while the other prisoners fire all they’ve got at him. He barely makes it into the ship and makes his presence known. Udai is going to welcome his guest. One of the prisoners doesn’t want to be caught up in this mess and tries to escape. However he didn’t know Fad has crashed his ship into the exit so when he opens the door, he gets sucked out into the vacuum. Fad then goes to kill the rest of the prisoners. Meanwhile Jet and Udai have their fight. Thanks to his mechanized arm, it saved him from being shot. Udai reveals it wasn’t him who shot him back then but his partner. Everything was planned out from the beginning. He was long betrayed and been used. As the story ends, Fad puts a bullet in Udai’s head. So why? Fad blames him that it ended this way because he went on his own. He is tired of people leaving the syndicate either they quit like Jet or die. They can’t keep living on their petty ideals, that’s why he betrayed and kept fooling him. But he really wanted to team up with him back them. Fad is going to shoot him but Jet is faster as he picks up Udai’s gun and fires back. Or is it? Jet realizes that Fad let him to shoot back on purpose. Jet gives him one last smoke before his last breath.

Episode 17
Jet summons the crew and wants to know who is responsible for eating the emergency food. Nobody admits. They’ve been without food and gas for 2 days. Suddenly a ship crash into them and flies away. Hit and run? The impact causes them to go off trajectory and fall into the planet. On ground, Faye suddenly feels the urge to go to toilet. Is she trying to be lazy again? Till the rest realize the expiry date on the emergency food was a year ago. Serves her right. Divine punishment. But this doesn’t solve their stomach woes. Ed and Ein go out exploring in the vast desert. They have no money to buy at the watermelon stand when a sexy Foxxy Cleopatra babe pulls up. She gives extra cash to the guy and also hopes he could contact her if he has any news on this bounty guy she is looking for, Domino Walker. Ed and Ein hide in her boot. At the petrol station, the police are conducting checks as they are after Domino for selling illegal mushrooms. They see Ed and Ein in the back and misinterpret she is some child kidnapper and arrest her! The duo then continue their journey in town where they see Domino munching away some food. When they confront him, they are interrupted by this black guy, Shaft who wants revenge on Domino because his brother ate his mushrooms and died laughing. A happy way to die? Yeah, his intestines got twisted. He even brought a coffin to bring his body back but it got smashed by the truck. Shaft chases after Domino who doesn’t remember who that guy is. Ein eats the mushroom Domino drops and starts hopping like a stiff bunny. Noticing they are inedible, she takes it back and sets them as obvious traps for the adults to eat. No effect at first. It comes later. They are absorbed in their hallucination. Spike is climbing an eternal stairway, Faye ‘air swimming’ in the toilet and Jet talking to his bonsai plants. When Ed sees Domino on the bounty hunter programme, she decides to go catch him and earn money to buy food.

Foxxy manages to give the dumb policeman the slip because he is on the phone with his girlfriend. He abandoned the interrogation just to talk to her? She sees Ed zooming past and goes after her. Likewise, Shaft sees Ed and also hurries finishing his ice cream. Ed finds Domino cultivating his mushrooms in a wrecked ship. He won’t be caught so the chase begins. Domino escapes by hoping on the train. Shaft hijacks the watermelon guy’s truck, Foxxy in her sports car and Ed on her scooter. It ends when Ein bites one of Domino’s bags. He lets go and it hits Shaft in the face. In turn he crashes down into Foxxy’s car. Game over for them. The train puts on the brakes when there is cow in the middle of the tracks. Domino wants Ed to take the bag of mushrooms containing $100,000 each. I guess she is happy as long there is food. Back at Bebop. The hallucinations must be over. Spike has climbed his stairway to heaven, Faye rolled with toilet paper and Jet has lipstick on his face. Ed shows them the mushrooms when a policeman checks up on them for anything on Domino. Jet and Faye shut up Ed because she was going to tell everything. Unfortunately Spike is still under hallucination so he shows the officer the bag. He checks it and deems it to be normal. In the end, our Bebop crew except Ed and Ein are disgusted after having nothing but mushroom dishes for days. Hey, it’s better than no food at all, right?

Episode 18
Faye just lost her bet on a horse race. You can tell her mood. When she gets back, Jet gives her a package from a courier service. Since the sender is unknown, Faye flees. She thinks it’s some collection agency or something that would want revenge on her. How many bad things have she done? So the guys are puzzled because she doesn’t want to claim something that belongs to her and when they check it out, it is an old fashioned cassette video tape. Of course this is the future so they don’t know what it is. Based on the courier service records, this package has been forwarded to and from various places like a nunnery, prison, studio and observatory. Not having a proper use for this, they decide to sell it to cover the courier cost to some antique maniac. He is excited they have some beta video tape and starts ranting about the history of cassettes. I don’t think those guys are interested. Is he going to buy it or not? Playing the tape to check its contents, seems pretty normal of somebody videotaping but when the image starts to blur as the player is eating into the tape, Spike kicks the player to restore it but breaks it instead. Well, he thought this method always works. Now the maniac wants them to pay for the repair cost! Jet calls it even since he’s not going to buy the tape. Now that it has come down to this, Jet is going to find out the contents of the tape and Ed locates it to some underground city electrical museum in old Asia. Meanwhile Faye is having her luck in dog racing. She is winning every bet! She loves it!

The guys seem to be going through a lot of trouble just to get the player. Crawling through ventilation spaces, sliding down ropes and wires, wading through waist-high water. All for just a player and a monitor? And when they find a room filled with them, they take the biggest one. Under what assumption. But when they bring it back, the tape doesn’t fit because Ed points out it is VHS type. All that effort for nothing. Didn’t they try it first back then? Of course they’re in such a gloomy mood. On the other hand, Faye’s luck is also short-lived. She loses all her bet. Easy come, easy go. Calling Bebop, she thinks the guys are feeling lonely without her and decides to come back. Really? Just then, another package for Faye arrives. Jet refuses it but Spike has already opened the package. Pay up. Inside the package is a beta type player. Faye has to pay back the courier charges if she wants to watch. Not going to. Of course she watches secretly from afar. The video contains footage of a group of girls filming themselves for their future selves. One of them looks like Faye. IT IS HER! Wow. She is so different when she is young. She is making a video tape of herself and thinking about her future. Who she’ll be with, how she’ll turn out. Whatever happens, this tape serves as motivation and cheer for herself. Although Faye cannot remember all this, tears start welling in her eyes.

Episode 19
Jet and Faye are preparing to bait and capture Starship Pirates. But where is Spike? He has never been heard off since he went to overhaul his ship. Actually he crashed and is stranded in the middle of the desert. He calls his old buddy, Doohan to pick him up but he sends his baseball crazy assistant Miles to do so because he is busy fixing some ship of his. Of course Doohan might be a slave driver but he knows his work as he starts fixing Spike’s ship and getting the necessary parts. Meanwhile Jet and Faye fall into Starship Pirate’s trap. Their computer got hacked and so their machines are firing at each other while the pirates escape. When Spike is able to contact Bebop, he learns Jet is having a hard time fixing the ship’s computer. Everything has gone haywire by the virus. Based on some info, they conclude the pirates are operating in some suspicious delivery truck. Jet wants payback for what they’ve done but to overcome their hacking, he gives spike a normal communicator and will navigate him with this as this is based on an old communication system. When they approach where the pirates operate, they see 2 delivery ships. They have this bright idea that if they fire a warning shot, the one that runs must be the pirates. Never thought that they’d both be genuine delivery trucks? And they didn’t see this one coming either. When they fire, both flee! Spike and Faye chase one each but Faye gets the fake one. Spike and Jet face off with the pirates. Of course they try to hack their system but Spike cuts off his system and has the pirates get a taste of their own medicine. As they can’t control their ship, they collide into the asteroid. Miles hears Jet and Spike’s communication and lets Doohan know. He is going to start up his space shuttle. From Spike’s position, the re-entry will burn up his ship. Oh, he is out of fuel too. That’s when Doohan tells him he is going to tow him back. He lets Spike know the basics of using Earth’s gravity, atmosphere and the angle he needs to maintain to escape the burn. He knows he can do it. That’s why he gave him that ship. Spike manually controls the ship to reach a certain angle. In great timing, he fits nicely into the space shuttle. However during this entry, the ship scraped off the heat resistant tiles and the landing gear won’t work. Oh sh*t… Miles is panicking he is too young to die… I don’t know how but I guess God was on their side because they crash land in the desert and miraculously survive without a scratch. Can’t say the same for the space shuttle.

Episode 20
A big fat joker, Mad Pierrot waltzes into the dark alley, announces his intention to take their life and slaughters everyone. Spike so happen to come in the picture so Pierrot wastes no time in shooting him. Bullets can’t penetrate this dude and he can even fly! Spike gets beaten with some funny juggling combo that only exists in fighting games. Spike is about to die when a cat distracts Pierrot. He becomes cat and tries to shoot the cat. This gives Spike enough time to throw and shoot a canister at him. The entire alley is blown up but Pierrot still lives. I don’t know how Spike miraculously escaped but he didn’t do so without getting wounded. Yeah. All bandaged back in Bebop. It’s like Faye is here to piss him off, eats his mandarin orange and leaves the skin on his head. Like everything has got nothing to do with her. Meanwhile Jet sees an old friend, Bob. He cautions Jet that his partner is in danger. Pierrot is a perfect killing machine and has already killed several high profiles. The people in ISSP don’t want word of this to go out so it’s a tightly guarded confidential secret. Nobody lives to see Pierrot’s face. Even those who do will be tracked down till the ends of the Earth. He is also the mysterious killer known as Tongpu. Faye gets a message of some part at an amusement park. She knows this is a trap laid out by Pierrot and doesn’t want Spike to see it. Too bad he already did. He is going to settle the score. And the moment he arrives, they didn’t waste any time to get the party started. And that means they trash the place as they try to kill each other. Meanwhile Jet has Ed hack into ISSP’s server to find out more about Tongpu. Flashback reveals he was in some sort of inhumane experiment, supposedly trying to turn him into a killing machine. Whenever in pain, he always saw a cat staring at him. That’s scary, right? Eventually the experiment failed due to his mind regression and was cancelled. Pierrot was to be quarantined forever but he broke out and started killing everybody involved. Now he is killing for fun but his mind is regressing like a kid. Faye also arrives to help but I doubt she would make a difference. Spike crashes into a souvenir shop. A cat plushie falls out. Pierrot becomes scared and shoots it till it is destroyed. Enough time to regain his ground. In the final standoff, Spike throws his knife at his knee although he takes a bullet in his shoulder. I suppose that is the only part Pierrot isn’t protected. He starts screaming like a kid that it hurts a lot (obviously). Then he gets squashed by the giant mascot parade. Over? Just like that? By the time Jet calls Spike for info on Pierrot, he doesn’t really need it anymore.

Episode 21
Jet receives mail from an old friend, Pao who was one of the greatest feng shui masters. To seek the sacred beast from Anzan and at the meeting place of the 4 gods. He tracks Pao’s whereabouts but by the time he did, he is already dead. Paying his respects at his grave, he is almost shot by MIBs. He is saved by Pao’s daughter, Meifa as she uses her feng shui for their escape. Back at Bebop, having Meifa around raises the eyebrows of the other members. Girlfriend? Secret love child? Whatever. When Jet mentions about the mail he received 3 days ago. It was just before Pao’s death. Meifa wants Jet to help her find the sun stone since his time and arrival were the best feng shui combination. As they begin their search, Meifa explains about some basics of feng shui and how it is divided into 3 classes like Heaven (energy from the sun), Earth (planet’s surface) and Magnetism (organisms like humans). Eventually they find Anzan to be the Mountain Hotel building and it is surrounded by the 4 gods of Seiryuu, Byakko, Genbu and Suzaku. At least the surroundings make it look like so. They find a black coal which is supposed to be the sun stone. Noticing those MIBs are tailing them, Jet beats them up to cough up their objective. Seems they are from the Blue Snake syndicate and were ordered to get the person who received Pao’s mail since they couldn’t get Pao himself. In this case, Jet thinks Pao is still alive somewhere. Analyzing the sun stone back on Bebop, it turns out to be a moon rock from the Gate incident and conceals a tremendous amount of energy. At first they aren’t sure what to do with it till they realize it is reacting with the feng shui board. Sticking the stone into the middle, Meifa remembers her father also possesses a sun stone. As the stones resonate with each other, it will show them the way to his whereabouts.

But Meifa doesn’t understand why Jet received his mail and not her. Due to some difference in feng shui beliefs, Pao and his wife divorced and the latter took Meifa along with her. She couldn’t understand why her father never went to see her as they weren’t hard to find. Jet shows her a picture of him and Pao together. When he was a detective, Pao works for a syndicate as a consultant and used to leak information to him. He wanted out then and as you know, nobody leaves the syndicate especially those who know its secrets. He is sure Pao was afraid bad things would happen to his family and never looked for them. Using the sun stone to track Pao’s whereabouts, they are attacked by the syndicate. Spike and Faye go fend them off. Jet has an idea. He is going to use the sun stone to amplify their power. After Ed flushes it down and out of Bebop, Spike fires into it and it creates a large energy barrier that zaps all the small fries. A wormhole also opens but since it is unstable, they are unable to go close. Pao appears on the screen and is alive but has not much time left since the place he is in is going to run out of oxygen. He sent Jet the mail because he wanted to bring his daughter here via using feng shui. Jet corrects him that it is not his doing but rather Meifa who came here on her own accord. Pao is glad to see her daughter for one last time but she tells him how much she hated him all this time. Is that what she really wanted to say? Too bad, time over. Communications cut. I can guess what she wanted to say. In the end, this strange case solved. Meifa went back to her home planet and Bebop return to their ordinary lives. Only difference is, Jet stopped reading fortune telling in magazines.

Episode 22
Spike manages to stop Teddy Bomber from blowing up buildings with bombs hidden in teddy bears. Teddy Bomber knows Spike too because his name is famous among the criminals. He is going to blow up the building but Spike has already defused it. However he has set more than 1 bomb. Suddenly here comes Andy Von De Oniyate the cowboy riding his horse! Wyatt Earp wannabe? He mistakes Spike as the bomber! It gives the criminal enough time to run away and set off the remaining bombs. And then Andy flees. WTF. So it’s no wonder those Bebop guys don’t really believe Spike. Ed does research on him and he turns out to be part of YMCA (Young Men’s Cowboy Association). But he was kicked out soon after as he caused lots of trouble. Damaged property and public property destruction. Due to some tracking device, the gang knows he is going to strike at a costume party. True enough, he turns up. They want to know why he likes blowing up things. It’s for warning. Before he could finish. Here comes Andy on his horse. So now you believe? Guess what? He mistakes Jet to be the bomber! Or Spike. WTF?! He couldn’t remember Spike’s face yesterday? Teddy Bomber gets upset because he is being ignored so he sets off the bombs causing panic. Faye hitches a ride on Andy’s horse and they go chase Teddy Bomber in his car. Spike is hot on their tail in his ship too. He’s mad. The chase causes destruction and chaos all around and when Teddy Bomber crashes, Andy just rides past him. What the? Faye is brought back to his stylish rich place. He tells her the reason why he is doing this is because it’s his hobby. He’s rich, right?

On the bounty hunter programme, Teddy Bomber leaves another warning message that he is going to blow up another building and hints this one is to those who made fun of him. You know who you are. The letter even states his intention of blowing things up but the programme ran out of time. Jet and Faye wants to stay out of this troublesome mess but Spike has his own grudges to fulfil. And so Teddy Bomber waits outside the building… Yeah. He really waited for them. But when Spike and Andy arrive, they want to settle the score with each other and have no interest in Teddy Bomber! So pissed off that dude, that he blows up the place! For now, Spike and Andy cooperate to take him down. They are tricked and trapped in a lift whereby if it reaches the top, it will explode. The duo panic and try to break out. They manage to do so in the nick of time. Meanwhile Faye knocks out Teddy Bomber and is going to turn him in. As for those monkeys, they continue their match as they race to the building top and engage in gunfight and fist fight on the dangerous edge. In the end, Andy concedes defeat because he views Spike’s punch to be beautiful. He gives up being a cowboy and passes his hat to him. Is that how the term Space Cowboy came about? Andy will find a new hobby. Meanwhile Teddy Bomber is being escorted in a van to prison and reveals his intention of blowing buildings up. It’s to raise awareness of the wasteful thinking created by capitalism. Then he sees Andy in a samurai outfit galloping on his horse. Call him Musashi now. Space samurai? Teddy Bomber couldn’t care less now because he realizes everything was just a waste. Even the guard took pity on him.

Episode 23
There is this electronic transcendence group called SCRATCH advertising how one can free oneself from the filthy desires of this world. Something about existing as a soul without a body. In short, some sort of religious cult. And it’s gaining popularity by the day. There are 20,000 members now. What follows next are several interview programmes of this cult. Some praising it and some scorning it because there are already hundreds of suicide deaths involved. But the most surprising one has got to be Faye! She is a member! Because she wants to be free from her debt! The Bebop guys discuss how the cult leader, Londes was once some sort of neurology researcher 50 years ago but believed to have received vision of God. He then immersed himself in some research to store human spirit as digital data. He went missing since but reappeared 2 years ago forming SCRATCH. They go do investigate more details on Londes but unfortunately, they got nothing. Either his followers believe he is in Heaven, suspicious of them joining (because they really want to meet Londes in person) and his last surviving researcher colleague has gone senile. Even Ed is frustrated she can’t find anything on him on the internet. The guys get a distressing call from message. She looks like in trouble but communications got cut off. Jet stands in line to buy some game helmet (old version of NerveGear?) that dives into virtual reality so he could hack the site. Accessing it on fake pretence he wants to be a member, suddenly he feels sleepy and is losing his consciousness as Londes speaks to him. Ein has been barking at the programme ever since. Before Jet could black out, he feels a sharp pain on his leg. It’s Ein’s bite. Jet concludes there is some sort of contraption that paralyzes the sympathetic nerves. This time Ein wears the helmet. I guess a dog’s brain is constructed differently because Ein could easily hack into it (even better than Ed) and reveal some surprising information. Londes never existed and everything was made up and all controls are traced back to Alles Valley Hospice.

Spikes has found Faye lying unconscious in an abandoned building. There are many monitors and Londes’ face pops up. He admits Londes never existed in this world and a character merely created. He continues about humans believing in God. Because they wanted to. Londes never forced anyone into anything. A penny for your thoughts: Is it God who made human. Or humans that made God? He adds the greatest invention ever made is the TV. Because it controls all sorts of information flow and steals their sense of reality. TV itself is religion. People are easily fooled by such idiotic fantasies. Spike refuses to give in as he feels weak. He shoots the monitor but how many can he take out? He tells Londes that he is the one who can’t tell fantasy from reality. Suddenly Londes feels strange. Like as though he is going to be unplugged. He pleads this is unfair blah, blah, blah, before disintegrating into some error programme. This is because Jet and Ed visit the hospital pretending as father and daughter who have found their other long lost child. Jet really put up a sad sob story to make the guards allow him to enter. They see a comatose kid and with Ed’s hacking skills, she shuts down the computer beside him. This kid, Ronny Spangen was once a hacker and became a vegetable 2 years ago due to a medical accident. Jet puts the handcuffs on him and calls him a con artist. Faye wakes up like as though nothing happened.

Episode 24
Faye rewatches the video of herself. That place looks familiar… A Merlion… She is surprised Ed is next to her. Unsure if she knows anything or not, she takes her along. And the guys especially Jet what the heck they are doing on Earth when they are bound for Mars to catch a fugitive. Pipe down. The women are gone. While Ed is searching through a pile of garbage, several odd children surround Faye. They can be as eccentric as Ed if I must say. One of them was even odd enough to ask Faye for her nails because she collects them! The nun reigns the kids in and recognizes Ed. She wandered in here 5 years ago and then wandered away again. She never thought she would see her back in this place again. The nun has Ed look into the drawer. A holographic picture of a man pops out from a wallet. This guy is supposedly to be Ed’s father. He came looking for her here 2 months ago and said he forgot to put her in a day care and ever since has been looking around the world for her for 7 years! Faye takes her leave and as she is at the Merlion, an old lady is surprised to see Faye. She is Sally Yung and her classmate. Yeah. She thought she was a ghost. Faye doesn’t want to overstay her welcome and leaves. When she gets back on Bebop, she spaces out a lot. The kind of reaction that scares the guys because she actually apologizes. This woman, apologize? Then bits of her memories return. Especially some space shuttle accident. That’s when she decides to leave because she remembers where she belongs.

The guys see their next big bounty catch worth $50 million and this one looks like an easy job. Appledelhi Siniz Hesap Luften. Weird name. But doesn’t he look like Ed’s father? Speaking of which, he and his assistant whose name he can never remember (it’s Macintyre by the way) seems to be chasing freshly crashed meteors. The guys go apprehend Appledelhi but it seems he doesn’t want them to interrupt their work of creating a map. Because the Earth is constantly being hit by meteors, they are creating maps to save this planet as only true happiness comes in the form of a map. What? I don’t even… The bounty hunters aren’t going to buy this crap and try to arrest him but Appledelhi fights back. He is no pushover. He is big. He is strong. He knows his kung fu. Even giving Spike a run for his money. Suddenly Ed leaps into the scene. The father and daughter (or son, daddy isn’t even sure) happily reunite in their odd dancing fashion. So Ed’s real name is Francoise? I guess it’s all in the genes. Can’ believe this girl even had a father? Jet takes a closer look at the reward bounty and somebody must have just add in the zeroes because he is only worth $50! Suddenly another meteor crashes nearby so Appledelhi and Macintyre rush to the scene. So much about that. Probably this was how Ed got left behind. Meanwhile Faye rushes to the home where she used to live. There is nothing there left. Only marks of the foundation. The guys return to Bebop only to learn the women have left for good. Faye stays at her old ‘house’ (draw some lines on the ground and call it a room) while Ed also leaves on her own journey. Ein decides to follow Ed. Now the guys are back to where they once were. Peace and quiet? At least they have more share of the hard boiled eggs.

Episode 25
Vicious