Angolmois: Genkou Kassenki

January 6, 2019

Remember a time when the Mongols were once one of the greatest, if not the greatest and deadliest empires in the world? So great and deadly that even the historians studied and analysed that with so many people killed under their history, they actually helped in conserving the world environment by eliminating all those carbon and letting the land to return to its original forest roots. And that was when the world wasn’t even billions of people yet. And now, we go back in history to see one of their exploits. A time when they first invaded Japan. Angolmois: Genkou Kassenki is based on that first invasion back in 1274. Historical animes aren’t my cup of tea but if they’re going way back before all that Tokugawa and Meiji era setting that most probably has been done to death in so many other period and historical animes, this sounds like a refreshing idea.

Episode 1
A boat is carrying a group of exiled men. Among them is Jinzaburou Kuchii who was once a retainer for the Kamakura Shogunate. Several disgruntled men complain about being tied up as the sea is rough. They want to be set free because where else could they run? But upon releasing some of them, they rebel and kill the authorities off. They didn’t stop there, though. They try to dispose the other prisoners but Jinzaburou slices them apart. Also on board is Onitakemaru, a former pirate who was captured by Jinzaburou. He is made to steer the ship until it reaches Tsushima, supposedly an island at the edge of Japan. Upon arrival, they are welcomed by the beautiful princess, Teruhi. Is this some sort of dream come true as they are treated to a banquet. Suspicious Jinzaburou questions the point of all this as Teruhi claims they will all fight and lay down their lives for Tsushima. Rumours have it that the Mukuri (Mongolians) are going to invade Japan and are gathering at Goryeo (Korea). If so, Tsushima is the first place they will invade. She claims she has officially enlisted them for this and technically she saved their lives. The prisoners protest that this is no different than a death wish. Those who oppose, swift death comes upon them. This doesn’t come as a surprise to Jinzaburou because exiling is not what he is supposed to get for the things he has done. Teruhi might have sounded brave but in actually fact she was just putting up a brave front and dislikes the idea of war as she hates to see people dying. With some prisoners asking about Tsushima, former wealthy merchant, Zhang Mingfu could easily explain about Tsushima and Goryeo. This island serves as the gateway to Japan and it is only right if foreigners were to invade from Goryeo, Tsushima would be their first stop.

Deep into the night, a small group of bandits kidnap Teruhi. Uhm, that kind of ‘futuristic’ mask, is he like from the future? With the disorganized guards all abuzz trying to save Teruhi, the prisoners easily break out from their prison. Jinzaburou believes they have a better chance of survival if they stay to fight the Mongols rather than steal a flimsy fisherman’s boat back to the mainland. But some part ways into the mountains. Jinzaburou kills some time by burning the entire prison down. Despite the bandits being few in numbers, they are skilled enough to kill many of Teruhi’s guards. I guess Jinzaburou got bored so he decides to join in and slices the baddies with his Gikei style sword technique. Facing off with the bandit boss who seems to hint he is a foreigner with blonde hair, I can’t believe he could jump so far and high back to his own ship to escape. I know this is fantasy in some ways but this feels too much. Next morning, Teruhi hopes to give all those who died a decent burial. Jinzaburou lectures her that this doesn’t even cut it as war as the real deal is a brutal nightmare. Inadvertently he inspires her to vow and protect the people of this land. That’s why he is going to work hard for her. Teruhi’s servant, Kano returns to relay the bad news. The Mongols have begun their invasion as their 900 strong warships have left Goryeo for Tsushima.

Episode 2
As narrated, the Mongols conquered all of Eurasia and became something of what Nostradamus predicted them as Angolmois, the place where the king who destroys the world will be born. Jinzaburou is invited to attend a war strategy meeting conducted by Teruhi’s father, Sukekuni Sou and his adopted son, Yajirou Abiru. Sounds more like a storytelling party. Getting down to business, it seems they have ‘credible’ information that the Mongols will not attack Tsushima and go straight to the mainland. What is this about past alliance and this place breeds strong warriors? Jinzaburou brushes it off that this isn’t some pirate attack and the enemy army won’t just pass by an important base. He is thrown out of the meeting. In the streets, he has the villagers describe Tsushima and he finds it a lot bigger than it is. Enough to be its own country than an island. A monk is interested in this ‘3D map’ Jinzaburou created and wants it copied. But he knows Jinzaburou. Kagesuke Shouni also served the Kamakura Shogunate as a high ranking general. He is here to find out more about the Mongols. He has decided to send 3000 strong men as reinforcements. However they will only arrive in 7 days and he hopes Jinzaburou can hold out by then. He gives him a short blade supposedly belonging to Yoshitsune whom the Gikei style originated. Teruhi fears Jinzaburou leaving with Shouni so she acts out a cheesy nervous flirting for him just so he could promise and stay by her side. But Jinzaburou is worried that he is now forced to rely on Shouni, something he knows he can’t count on.

The Mongols will soon arrive on Tsushima. Sukekuni rallies the men to go fight them and they will hike for days and nights across the mountain to face battle. Teruhi wants to join in but is slapped by Sukekuni to know her place and bloodline. Jinzaburou thinks this indicates that Teruhi isn’t his real daughter or part of his clan. Upon reaching the bay, it must be a shocker to see the numerous invading fleet anchored there. Jinzaburou offers his advice on how to tackle but they will not hear a word of it. Especially Sukekuni who still feels he had been embarrassed during the meeting and should have killed him. But he made him remember his passion for fighting and his past glories are no more than just that. He orders him to the rear to protect Teruhi and is given an armour supposedly worn by their clan’s founder. He battle begins as Jinzaburou observes the battle tactics of the Mongols. He is impressed by the archer’s tactics of just shooting their arrow into the air because they don’t need to be highly trained and it also shows that all the men are from different places. Then the inevitable melee combat. Sukekuni and Yajirou do well enough to slay many guards and even a high ranking general to break through their ranks. However the tide will soon turn when they reach the bay. They see the coastal villages massacred and their corpses piled up. The Mongols then start using the mini trebuchet to throw bombs from their warship! With casualties running high, Yajirou is forced to sound for retreat. Unfortunately Sukekuni gets surrounded and killed by the enemy. No regrets.

Episode 3
Jinzaburou takes command of the fleeing soldiers and he tells them to fight back as the Mongols have decided to pursue them, their resources wear thin. The locals are split and some agree to fight with Jinzaburou while others especially under Yajirou’s command decide not to and continue retreating. Jinzaburou takes the Mongols head on and turns the battlefield bloody. He is aided by other fellow prisoners, Saburou Obusuma, Kazuhisa Shiraishi and Hitari. When Jinzaburou spots the main base of the Mongols, he takes a gamble and rides into it. Meanwhile Teruhi has come to the frontlines to tend to the wounded. She silences all those who oppose her and will take command in her father’s stead. Jinzaburou and his little merry men return and they surprised the rest with their victory. Jinzaburou returns with some package and wants Teruhi to identify. It is not the head of the enemy general but Sukekuni and his son! Jinzaburou risked getting them before they are put up on the enemy’s spear tomorrow as it would really demoralize them. Even though Jinzaburou calls Sukekuni’s attempts at victory as failure, he died a proud death. At night when they are resting, Jinzaburou devises a plan to attack the Mongols while they are sleeping. This is the best strategy to attack a large army with few numbers since they are not familiar with the land. All he needs is a guide. Some of them volunteer like Ginshichi so Jinzaburou has them eat and rest until the moon is at its peak before their night raid. Teruhi is not impressed with all this. As she even thinks of killing him for fear he will drag everyone to hell in his fight. Hey, you’re the one who brought him in to fight! Of course she can’t and it is hinted she did something shady to him while he sleeps. I believe it is a kiss… When it is time to raid, it looks like Yajirou’s faction has decided not to fight and return to the capital to regroup. Thanks to the excellent night vision of fellow prisoner, Amushi, Jinzaburou is able to strategize more. This includes how the Mongols’ goal is Kyushu and they don’t want to spend months fighting on this island. Hence everyone will hide deep in the island where they can’t reach them. Upon reaching the camp, a skeleton Mongol crew is keeping watch. Suddenly a few of the guides start running towards the enemy camp and shouting. Betrayal? Ginshichi is about to strike Jinzaburou from behind but Teruhi spots this and when she tries to warn him, she gets slashed.

Episode 4
Jinzaburou kills Ginshichi as he believes his family was held hostage by the Mongols. The Mongols are now on alert as they shoot fire arrows into the forest. After seeing dead villagers and some killed as examples, Jinzaburou can’t pull out from this now. They barge straight in to attack. Onitakemaru didn’t’ want to fight but after the arrows destroyed his sake, it’s bludgeoning time. When a Mongol commander reports to Kin Houkei, the high inspector of the army, he is not pleased he got scared by a few Japanese and used this reason to flee. He uses his own hearing and sounds from the battle to deduce their actual numbers. Houkei is surprised with the arrival of Ryuu Fukukou, the vice marshal of the Mongol army. He heard there is a wolf on this island who slew one of their mingghan commander and wants to hunt him down. Jinzaburou gives the signal to retreat as their mission is just to show their might. However they here screams. Women and children of the village are being transported to the Mongol ship. Some want to save them but Jinzaburou orders the retreat or else they will be surrounded. Thankfully they are helped by a group called Toibarai who were originally sent to protect Japan from invaders. With their help slaying the Mongols, Jinzaburou and his men are able to save the women and children before retreating. Jinzaburou is then met with the commander of Toibarai, Hangan Nagamine. He tells him they are going to leave now and will not risk losing any more of his men. They didn’t volunteer for this job but a noble requested them. If he is worthy, one day he will meet them. Ryuu stumbles into Onitakemaru. They fight and he finds this pirate a worthy foe. Onitakemaru loses but before he gets killed, Jinzaburou intervenes. They clash swords for a while and Ryuu realizes he is the wolf. Jinzaburou retreats and despite Ryuu would love to chase him, he has orders by the marshal, Hindun to return. The big man hears from his priest the auspicious date to set sail for Hakata and that will be in 7 days. Jinzaburou and his men take a break as they retreat to the capital. Teruhi can’t stop blushing at him but she might turn into a tsundere after Jinzaburou crudely puts some of his traditional grass medicine on her wound. Some of the men mistreat Sasamaru, the child of Ginshichi who was rescued. They view that dead man a traitor. Jinzaburou steps in. He admits he killed his father and gives him a chance to avenge him. Sasamaru is scared but after Jinzaburou explains how Ginshichi was a brave man challenging somebody stronger to save his family, Sasamaru is motivated to become stronger to kill him one day.

Episode 5
When they arrive at the capital, they see it being burnt to the ground. Some of the survivors have fled into the forest. Among them is Yajirou’s group. It seems the Mongols attacked this morning. Yajirou becomes pessimistic with this demoralization so Jinzaburou mocks him for being a pussy. Argument put on hold when reports come in that the Mongols are coming. Hiding behind the bushes, they spot several Mongol scouts. Teruhi is so enraged the Mongols took everything from her, she starts shooting her arrows at them. In no time the rest follow suit and kill all the scouts. The only place left for them now is to retreat to the bay. In order to give the villagers time to escape, Jinzaburou strategizes to build a fort right here on this narrow path. With the Mongols coming around the blind corner, Jinzaburou and go can easily take them out while the archers provide backup from the sides. Some of the men hiding below the valley can pierce the Mongols if they fall off. The strategy is working but Yajirou is still not impressed. He wonders why a guy like Jinzaburou is willing to fight and die for this island. Flashback time. Jinzaburou often visited an acquaintance of his father, Tokiaki Nagoe. The latter warned him not to visit so often as he doesn’t want to give the slightest provocation to other clans. But a few days later, they are attacked by Yorisue Ookura, a servant from the Hojou clan who is close to the shogun. They accuse Tokiaki for rebelling despite without any proof. Jinzaburou intervenes to fight. He got distracted by Tokiaki’s son being a coward while his father was going to be decapitated. Tokiaki’s last words to Jinzaburou was to think of him as his own father since Jinzaburou doesn’t remember much about his own. The moral of the story is that if you throw away your sword and you have one pointing at your throat, you lose everything. Hence learning the hard way, this is how he fights. The Mongols are now using bombs. This causes a little havoc but with Yajirou’s side having experience in dealing them, they manage to surround the Mongols in a valley and kill all of them. Yajirou decides to put his trust in Jinzaburou and wants him to look forward while he protects his back.

Episode 6
Hitari and Teruhi try to take out the commander of this troop, Uriyan Edei. But thanks to his sharp soldiers, he is well protected from behind. Uriyan sees fleeing Teruhi and is captivated by her beauty. He orders his men not to kill her. With another set of Mongol armies seen marching, Jinzaburou believes it is time to abandon their fort. The Mongols at the narrow path fires a gun via gunpowder. It hits Yajirou directly in the guts. Mad Jinzaburou slices them all down. Hey, it will take some time to reload the weapon, right? Yajirou and Jinzaburou exchange final words. The latter promises his death will not be in vain. With Amushi reporting another set of Mongols coming in, this might sound they will be pincered but Jinzaburou believes this is to their advantage. As he noticed both Mongol armies have different uniforms, this means different commanders. If they clash, this will give them more time to run. So as they retreat, it might look despicable that Onitakemaru had looted from the fleeing farmers their items and treasures. But when both Mongol armies arrive, he fights them for a while before running away and leaving his stolen goods behind. The Mongol factions then start to fight each other over the loot. That night as Jinzaburou sleeps, he dreams of all the traumas especially the one on his family. He wakes up only to see Teruhi’s face so close. Nobody panicking. Just checking to see if he is alive. Why does she sound so disappointed? Whatever she was about to steal, was it worse than the stolen loot? An old man appears before Jinzaburou. Reluctantly he invites him to meet the emperor. Man, this old fart can run fast! Jinzaburou chases after him but and it must be a long run because by the time Jinzaburou catches up to him at the top of the mountain peak, this old man is a retainer of the emperor, Tokihito AKA Emperor Antoku. You mean this petite creepy looking fairy is the emperor of Japan?

Episode 7
When Antoku was young, he was saved by Yoshitsune. But instead of following him back to the capital, he gave him a short blade. Now he is glad to see it with Jinzaburou. Slowpoke Teruhi arrives. Long time no see great grandpa. He gives her a message to be given to Nagamine. Orders to protect the people. On the way down, Teruhi explains how her ancestors saved the emperor and brought him to this island, making their clan was part of the Heike when the emperor presented his granddaughter to marry her father. That was how she was born. They reach the bay and since Jinzaburou has a good look of it, he noticed the maze-like inlets that make it hard for the Mongols to navigate. Don’t say now but a small group on a boat is chasing down a group of women on a raft! Before they could do anything, when the Mongols get too close, the women dive into the waters before the hidden Toibarai slaughter them all. Those who dive into the sea are then slaughtered by the woman divers. On land as they rest, Jinzaburou once again notices the different attire of this Mongol army. This unit uses poison arrows but don’t worry, those who got hit are treated by future doctor, Douen. Nagamine meets Teruhi and is given the letter. With his orders, he welcomes all of them and brings them to his huge hideout that was made hundreds of years ago by their Toibarai predecessors. After all, they are the ones who have been fighting to defend Japan. Amushi ‘befriends’ a local girl, Sana as he explores the long run of the wall. It’s like the mini version of China’s Great Wall. Jinzaburou feels this is a flaw and checks it out. Everyone is treated with great hospitality inside this base. They sing praises of their deeds until Jinzaburou becomes the wet blanket that has his detractors pointing their blades at his neck. He mentions how their big castle is a liability. Because of its size, there are not enough guards to protect it and if the Mongols invade, they’ll be overrun in no time.

Episode 8
Nagamine replies that Toibarai will fight to the death here without abandoning it, causing Jinzaburou to believe the reason he protects this place not because the emperor told him so but to recruit more men. Jinzaburou is told he is free to leave. Even if he escapes from the Mongols, can he survive the harsh winter? Outside, a few guards spar with Jinzaburou in an attempt to mock him but he overwhelms them. He as them take off their helmet and tell their names because if they’re fighting the Mongols, can they trust their lives to people whose faces and names you don’t know? Jinzaburou changes his thinking. He thought it was okay to abandon a place to protect the people. But now he believes both can be protected. He wants to help strengthen the walls if he is to stay and protect this place. Obusuma calls Shiraishi to speak to him alone. He hints of fighting for the Mongols. You see, after the first battle at the beach, he fled and tried to ransack some villagers but got caught. That is when a small Mongol group invaded and killed the villagers. Nergui saw potential in him and gave him his Mongol pass to come see him. Speaking of Nergui, he speaks to Uriyan who is about to give up looking for the Japanese since they don’t know where they are hiding. Nergui has been planting spies all around the island and they need just one guy to come forth. Hence Obusuma suggests Shiraishi defect with him as they will be greatly rewarded and return to their glory times. But Shiraishi won’t lose his soul and refuses. Too bad Obusuma tries to cut him down but Shiraishi is faster. When a woman comes by and learns how Shiraishi took care of the traitor and wants to go tell others, Shiraishi kills her and makes it look like she killed Obusuma for trying to rape her.

Jinzaburou has second thoughts about Shouni’s promise. It is that promise that is keeping everyone’s spirits high but he doubts the army giving up the advantage of the terrain in Kyushu they know so well. On the positive note, if they do come, they can do more. Nagamine and co examine the slain bodies but he believes something is wrong. Jinzaburou also smells something wrong with Shiraishi not seen since afternoon. Plus, it is just fishy that a skilled samurai like Obusuma is easily killed by a diver woman. Shiraishi goes to see Uriyan. Nergui is suspicious as this isn’t the person he gave the pass to. Shiraishi tells of the base’s weaknesses and when asked if there are treasures and live slaves, Shiraishi regrets this betrayal but cannot turn back. Uriyan relishes seeing his despair face. Because of that, he is willing to trust him and bring him into his ranks. How does it sound to have the title of the first Japanese to defect to them? Night falls as Nagamine tells Jinzaburou about the strange death of Obusuma. For the little dagger the diver woman had, it is impossible for her to make a clean cut across his collar bone. As suspicions on Shiraishi’s whereabouts grow, the man returns. His excuse? He went hunting for some wild boar meat. Next morning, a report is received that the Mongols are coming to attack this base at full force.

Episode 9
Jinzaburou draws a map of the base. From where the Mongols are coming, it looks like they will be coming up from the south. With their main forces here, Shiraishi offers to guard the west side. Jinzaburou? He’ll be outside. And by that he means doing a skirmish on the vanguard just to make them panic before running back behind the walls. With the Mongols now focusing all their efforts on the south gate, a full assault begins. To keep the Mongols from inching closer, behind the walls are stone catapults used to keep them at bay. Shiraishi tries to have the few men return to the south while he patrols here alone. For those who stayed, the Mongols who have snuck in, killed them. This is part of Uriyan’s plan to concentrate the fighting on the south while they quietly sneak in at other points. Nagamine and Jinzaburou could pick up that the Mongols are not really advancing despite their numbers increased. Like as though they don’t want to take this base. Like as though this is just a distraction. Suddenly the main citadel is on fire. Have the Mongols invaded? Actually, it is their own men who made a fire trap to burn the sneaky Mongols. So when one of Uriyan’s commanders dies from this, he becomes angry and orders a full scale attack on the base as revenge and ignores pleas to retreat and not lose any more men since their main goal is to invade Kyushu. Jinzaburou rides out with his few men for another skirmish to panic the Mongols before heading back. This time Jinzaburou fires an arrow directly at Uriyan. Thanks to his guard’s damn good reflex at blocking it with a shield, he survives but is in total shock. That is when he realizes even if they conquer this place, they have to deal with people like him. Considering it depressing, he calls off the attack. In the aftermath, soldiers who abandoned the west gate explained Shiraishi offered to guard it himself. This has the rest suspicious if he is a traitor. The best way is to go there and see if his corpse is lying there or he has fled with the Mongols. Jinzaburou arrives to see a dejected Shiraishi sitting alone. He asks if he had not retreated with the Mongols. That is when Shiraishi draws his sword at him. If he does not present Jinzaburou’s head to the Mongols, he cannot return.

Episode 10
Shiraishi explains how he was framed by a close one and lost everything and driven away. So he is fighting to get back his clan and lands. As they fight, Shiraishi loses to his Gikei style. He offers to be killed as Jinzaburou gives his last sermon how the last time they fought together was genuine. They were fighting their own wars. After he decapitates him, he passes his head to Teruhi who wish to make an example out of this. That night as Jinzaburou is sleeping, Teruhi again is going to ‘ambush’ him. But she sees Sasamaru wanting to kill him in his sleep. She tells him to not do something so cowardly and become stronger to challenge him. I want to tell the same thing to her. Once he is gone, she does the ‘cowardly’ act of stealing his lips but realizes Sasamaru is watching. That death stare warns him never to tell this or else! Oh, Jinzaburou is awake. Whatcha doing? But they hear a commotion from the south. A large number of deer and wild boars. It seems they have been driven by their land and this only indicates the size of the Mongols coming to crush this place. The Toibarai elder prays to God for a path to success. Probably God showed him a prank because some ominous thing happened and he died on the spot! However Nagamine interprets this as the worst is over as the elder sacrificed himself for the bad omen to pass. WTF. I hope he didn’t read it wrongly just to boost some false morale.

Meanwhile Zhang shows the other prisoners a boat he found near the coast and has packed it with stuff and is seaworthy to the mainland. At first nobody seems interested to defect with him but with the winds in their favour, Onitakemaru is considering. Amushi too but upon noticing Sana is watching, he changes his mind. In the end, only Onitakemaru goes with him. The Mongols kill the Toibarai scouts in the forest. As show of strength, they light up and you can see them covering the entire mountain range. It is probably a scare tactic to make them retreat before they fight. But with Nagamine determined to stay put and fight, Jinzaburou wants to make a compromise. Temporarily retreat until reinforcements come. They can survive in the mountains till they come. With Teruhi reminding about Antoku’s words to survive, Nagamine gives the orders to retreat. But a report soon arrive that what it looks like a large fleet coming from the sea. Are these the reinforcements Jinzaburou is talking about? Meanwhile Shouni is about to finish preparing his men for Tsushima. However his father did not hear of this expedition and cancels it. He believes the Mongols are not their only enemy. When the war is over, there will be clans who will try to claim glory for it and it will change who runs Kyushu. Shouni tries to convince him that Tsushima is under their protection but ultimately the patriarch’s words are final. Hence the large fleet our Tsushima people are seeing isn’t that of Japan but the Mongols. As they are arriving from the north, this means they are surrounded and trapped like rats.

Episode 11
With the final battle at hand, I guess they really need the rally from Jinzaburou as of why he is fighting for Tsushima. The Mongols’ attack this time is deadlier since their commander has put up a competition to see who can steal the most loot. Those who failed will be punished! With the Mongols overwhelming on the east gate, Nagamine sends Jinzaburou to help out there. Good thing, right? Because Teruhi can now be saved by him. Although Nagamine destroys the watchtower at the south gate to buy time for everyone to escape, do we have time for a cheesy romance between Nagamine and Tatsu? Had she not bug to stay with him and probably stutter to say what I think she wants to stay, she wouldn’t have died from the bomb shrapnel when the Mongols bombed the gate. Then Nagamine becomes a mad man and kills as many Mongols he can before he too succumbs to fate. With the Mongols now ambushing from within, Amushi reports that the south gate has fallen and everyone defending there is dead. He then takes his leaves and escapes with Sana along with the other women. Jinzaburou and the others also flee but with the Mongols hot on their tail, Jinzaburou will buy time while Teruhi and her villagers head up to the peak. Kano had to forcefully take Teruhi away. Yeah, like as though she won’t see her man ever again. Jinzaburou is about to fall too but Onitakemaru returns and ‘saves’ him. His excuse is he remembered a score they’re supposed to settle. However he notes Jinzaburou has changed and doesn’t like this face now. But Jinzaburou tells him that it is his own heart change if he has seen others differently. Onitakemaru offers to stay here and fight to let Jinzaburou regroup with the rest. I suppose Onitakemaru wants a rematch with Ryuu. Meanwhile Douen is treating injured people left behind. He will not leave them for he views this as repentance for killing many in the past. He even protects them when the Mongols fire their gun. Hitari manages to easily take those gun wielding Mongols with his bow and arrow but is no match for those with his similar weapon. He too falls. With the Mongols making more ground and breaking through, we see more of Teruhi’s people die trying to defend their ground. Teruhi then hears Jinzaburou’s voice. Yeah, it’s like the voice of God. He is trying to lead them to where he is. Why does it look like Teruhi is running the fastest to go greet him? He is still fighting some Mongols, isn’t he? But then, damn the Mongol bomb blasts Jinzaburou out as he falls off the cliff into the sea. There goes your reunion.

Episode 12
Teruhi falls into despair seeing her men die one by one. But just knowing the fact that Jinzaburou is not confirmed dead as he fell into the sea, gives her the much needed motivation to press on. But soon she’ll be in despair with more Mongols up ahead. While the last of her men fight, Kano devises this twisted idea to strangle Teruhi to death. At least she won’t die by the Mongols’ hands. And all Teruhi could think of is to meet Jinzaburou. Man, she has fallen real hard for him, huh? Kano distracts the Mongols but eventually got raped and killed. Amushi and the women have been surrounding by Mongols. Amushi uses the bomb he earlier stole as distraction. Too bad he got stabbed and Kana’s efforts to save him were all in vain. Jinzaburou continues sinking. Time to go back to his past where he still had his title, land and family. He reprimanded his daughter for trying to plant a tree but because she is so adamant she will protect it, he makes her stay at that spot to prove her point. And so she did. But that night, intruders come in and luckily Jinzaburou defeated them all. The reason he doesn’t want trees on his land is because it makes a great place for intruders to hide. He relaxes on his rules a bit and lets his daughter take care of the tree. Time passed and it is growing well and he could see the beaming smile on her face that she did her best. This wakes him up from his slumber but as he tries to reach the surface, he is exhausted. Hence the need for this whale shark god to save him?!

He finds himself washed ashore. Knowing he is still alive, he can still fight. As he walks through the forest, he sees corpses from both sides. But only Sasamaru lives. He was hiding among the corpses? But all Sasamaru can think of is getting his revenge. Too bad he doesn’t know how to use a sword and can’t even cut him. Jinzaburou is going to show him how it is done. Yeah, those few Mongols behind looting became Jinzaburou’s victim while Sasamaru frees the captured women and children. He is then confronted by Ryuu who is eager to fight him. But first he throws down the broken weapon of Onitakemaru, a sign he had died in his fight. Ryuu wants to see if there is still the wolf spirit in him and mocks him that he has no one left to fight for. Is this petty revenge he is gunning for? But don’t underestimate a mad dog because Jinzaburou gets the better of him. When his guards defend him, Jinzaburou gives off this death stare that scares them! So much so they open a path to Ryuu! WTF?! The Mongols are afraid of him?! Jinzaburou answers him that he fights for himself before walking away. That’s it?! He doesn’t kill him? I guess it won’t be worth it because the Mongols might just kill him where they stand. At the end of the day, Tsushima has fallen. Hindun celebrates their victory although it took a bit longer than expected. Now setting sights on Kyushu, Uriyan is not happy to think there may be more madmen like Jinzaburou on the mainland. As expected, Kano didn’t make sure Teruhi is dead so here she wakes up from ‘death’. After all, how can she kill her own princess? She walks through the forest and sees corpses. Until she sees Jinzaburou before her eyes. It’s really him. The kind of reunion you want now that everybody is dead? She notes she is the only survivor but Jinzaburou is glad because to survive is to win. Sasamaru and the other rescued villagers are also glad she is alive. With this, they take it is a sign that they can still fight and Tsushima isn’t done yet. Too bad this series is :’(.

Battlefield: Mongol Warfare
As history dictates, it would be a sad end for the people of Tsushima since they will eventually lose to the Mongols who will march on to score on a few more decisive battle victories before their withdrawal and eventual annihilation in 1281. And that was due to the weather factor. Oops. Forgot to warn you spoiler alert. But as far as this anime is concerned, although I loved every second of this series, I can’t help feel that there is no conclusion despite knowing that eventually they will lose. Jinzaburou, Teruhi and what is left of the remaining survivors trying to fight more Mongols? It is like playing a game of endurance survival. Therefore with the way they ended this series like as though they want to give us (false) hope, personally this feels worse than if it had ended on a truly tragic note whereby everybody lost and died. I might not like the latter ending either but at least there is closure. With Jinzaburou still alive and having the strength to fight on doesn’t bode well if you’re talking about ending an anime season. It’s not like there will be a second season and Jinzaburou would continue and take his fight to Kyushu, right?!

At first when I started watching this series, I was thinking that everything, if not like 99% of everything here was based on true events. But as I watched the series, it dawned to me it was just historical fiction. For one, I Google and cannot find the characters’ names to pop up anywhere near the real thing. So do they really exist or not? Save for a few characters like Sukekuni. Maybe I don’t know how to Google or because the series is recent and hence pops up at the top of recent searches. Sure, the series is based on this first Mongol invasion event but not on what happened. See the difference? I guess it is easy to be deceived when we hear movies and series based on real historical events. Based, people. Based. Meaning, inspiration is drawn from there and it is not retelling of actual events. After all, when you are producing a movie, you want to make it as interesting as possible and there would be some weird and impossible stuffs that would happen in the reel life rather than real life. In this case, the war. I mean, you see so many people cleanly cut in half like as though their swords are lightsabers! But thankfully, still some realism because no over the top exaggerated moves like throwing fireballs. Yeah…

The best parts of this anime are of course the action sequences. There is no short of it in every episode. And if you like your anime series bloodied to the bone, barbarically violent and people dying like flies, this is your cup of tea. Even if most of the action is hack and slash, it doesn’t feel boring nor repetitious. Perhaps it is shown in a way that the few Japanese people are desperate and like cornered rats, they fight to the teeth and nail with all they’ve got. Because so, we can’t help root for them each time they face off with the indomitable Mongols. We want to see them pull through and survive another day. Of course some minimal strategies are also involved but when it comes to melee combat, nothing beats trying to poke a sharp object into your enemy’s body first. It’s either you or him. I am not sure if this kind of TV violence is okay but it does send you the signal about the atrocities of war and no one, young or old, women or children will be spared from it. But I guess back then, that is the mentality of the people. The strong shall conquer and the weak will either submit or die. But as far as this series is concerned, the few people on Tsushima against the large horde of Mongol army, it is like the Japanese version of 300! Everything so manly! Everything so GAR!!!

Having said that, the other segments of the series aren’t really that much interesting. Already it is based on history so even with this plot to work along, there is only so much you can stray if you want to be as faithful to the real thing. One of the cheesy parts I find is the seemingly romance factor they try to insert in when they are not fighting. Especially Teruhi’s annoying crush on Jinzaburou. Japanese girls are really good being tsundere even for one back then. She gives excuses of needing him to be alive and the likes but in real life she just wants to be with this dude. I don’t blame her since it is women’s dream of falling for a strong and capable men. It’s only natural. But still, this cheesiness of her trying to steal a kiss (which is never properly shown if their lips ever met), it feels very disjointed from the whole war and action theme of the series. I know you can’t be fighting all the time but do we have time for all this? Maybe when you’re living every day like the last. Even so, Teruhi should just straight up tell it to his face she loves him. Or maybe that would make the rest see her in a different light. After all, she is a princess and still has her own responsibility and burden to shoulder. She isn’t particularly a damsel in distress as she showed her mettle in archery with some head shots to her count but too bad I’ll remember her mostly for this cheesy tsundere act more than anything else. In the final stages of the series, they try to put in more cheesy romance in Nagamine x Tatsu and Amushi x Sana. Too bad all ended in tragedy and I am wondering why the need to even have this. Feels so weird.

The characters themselves aren’t interesting either. Even with Jinzaburou as the main character, he is interesting because of the different way he thinks when he is on the battlefield. But if you want to know more about him, his past seems to be very much shrouded in mystery even if that final episode sheds some light, it still doesn’t tell us why he got exiled in the first place. What kind of atrocities did he do to get him here in the first place. Maybe it is that incident at Tokiaki’s residence but nothing of that was confirmed. Perhaps if this series had another cour to run, it would flesh out Jinzaburou’s character. Then again, the reason why this series is exciting is because of the fast action and to slow it down with multiple character flashbacks and develop them would have diluted the interest and worth. So it is a catch-22 situation. Fast and furious action or better character development. I’m glad it was the former.

So it sounds like I am going to complain more about the other characters especially those who are of the same exiled party as Jinzaburou. They do play their small roles and each has their own characteristics you could remember them by like Hitari’s skilled hunting arrow skills, Amushi’s great vision and Onitakemaru’s strength (damn we didn’t get to see this guy get killed – only to speculate that he might not be really dead). But ultimately to solve everything, everybody got killed off. Therefore like the character Douen, I am wondering why they need this character around since he has no fighting abilities and his only worth is to help heal others with his medicinal knowledge. I’m sure it is to assure that the injured villagers have someone in capable hands to deal with their wounds but aren’t there any other decent doctors around on Tsushima?

The only mystery I am wondering is to what happen to Zhang. Is he dead? Because Onitakemaru only returned on his own. I doubt this midget could sail away passed the Mongol fleets by himself so I am assuming he got killed too since he can’t fight and you only remember him as a sneaky merchant. If he is that memorable in the first place. I thought Kano was going to be a handful helping out in the frontline of the battles. But he kunoichi-like dressing makes it deceiving as she is seen most of the time escorting and protecting Teruhi until her final moments.

If there was something that changed many of the characters in this series in generally, it would be the advancing Mongols that united the people of Tsushima to fight against the invaders. At first you see the arrogance of the locals especially those of higher status and lineage. They don’t accept the exiled prisoners’ help and often look down on them. When things get really bad and they manage to scrap one survival after another, titles and status no longer play a vital role anymore. As long as they are Japanese and love this land, that is the only qualification they need to band together and fight. War really brings out the best and the worst in mankind.

It would have been interesting had we seen the perception from the Mongol side as they too have quite a few commanders and top generals of high calibre. Too bad they are just briefly introduced, participated in a few battles and that’s it. Because it would be nice to hear some explanations or be enlightened by a few things from their side. For example, the different Mongol outfits for different Mongol armies. Jinzaburou may have speculated they come from different places but this part could have been explained in detail a bit more. Instead, with the barrage of different uniformed Mongols, it feels like as though they want to put in some variety of different low level baddies because you’ll perhaps get sick of watching the same yellow dotted ones from Goryeo. Imagine in a beat’em up game where you fight the same looking enemies until you reach the end level boss. Boring! Kublai Khan might not be on this expedition to invade Japan but I wish they would have shown more on Hindun instead of showing his face just to let us know he is the big boss of this expedition. And what’s with that foreigner ninja who served under him? What wasted potential that Jinzaburou clashed with him so early and never again.

Noticing the art and animation, although it seems pretty standard and decent, I can’t help notice that the entire series feels like it is drawn on some old scroll. At least you can see those crumpled lines and shades all over the screen. Although it gives a sketch-like and sometimes water colour feel, at times I just find it annoying as the animation doesn’t seem smooth and this kind of art is distracting you especially in slower moments. But it does give the series its unique feel. Although the animation during action bits are decent, sometimes the animation quality during non-battle scenes take a dip and it is noticeable. Maybe they put all their budget in the fight scenes but some of them too feel like there is drop in standard. I mean, how many Mongols are you going to animate on screen and then let them get killed?

As for the character designs, some of the characters do look weird. Like Antoku I thought he is some sort of ghost or something. Maybe great grandpa is close to going to the next world? Oops, sorry. Some Mongols look weird too. Although many generic ones like the soldiers spot the generic Mongolian look (slant squint eyes, that thin moustache), the commanders are given a distinct look. Sometimes they look more like sub-bosses in a video game. Because many of them are like, uhm, fat. Oh right. Mongols are supposed to be stout. But the oddest looking one is Ryuu whom I feel looks so out of place because he looks like an American punk to me. Seriously. Is it me or does Jinzaburou look almost similar to the titular protagonist of Hajime No Ippo? I suppose he is one of the few main characters who doesn’t have that typical handsome bishonen look. It would so anime-like fantasy weird if he is a pretty boy that has awesome killer skills. This series is animated by NAZ who did the Hamatora series, Hajimete No Gal and Dramatical Murder.

The opening theme is Braver by Straightener. While the piece is generally not bad, the song overall sounds a bit drowsy. Perhaps it is the way the singer sings it in such a manner, preventing it from being a total hard rock outfit which would have totally suited the anime like a glove. The same sentiments for the ending theme, Upside Down by She’s. Again, the singer’s voice sounds drowsy to give this slow-moderate rock piece that feel. Only difference his voice sounds a bit more gay. Yeah… But hearing this piece does invoke some feels because of all the bloody bloodshed and deaths that happened in the episode.

Overall, this is a very highly interesting series and packed with lots of action, blood and gore and had me wanting more. It could have done better in other departments such as the characters and explaining certain parts that were not clearly clarified but as far as for this historical fiction. But on a general level, the historical backdrop and how an exiled samurai is fighting this war to redeem himself is indeed interesting and fascinating. War-centric series like this reminds us of the brutality of war and why we should be thankful living in a time and world where peace mostly reigns. Well, almost. But then again, when you see human stupidity and greed all over again rife in this new digital age, do you sometimes wish the great Mongol army and the great Angolmois would revive and reduce the population for a better future and sustainability? I mean, who does a better genocide than the Mongols? Not even Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Leopold II, Ismail Enver, Pol Pot, Mao Zedong and Hideki Tojo combined could match the slaughtering might of the Mongols. Can they do it? Yes, they Kahn!

Damn! Do we really need it again?! You know how annoying that Smartphone series was?! You know how much that sucked?! So why am I here again watching Hyakuren No Haou To Seiyaku No Valkyria?! So I can tell you how sh*t this show is with the use of Smartphone in another world! Even though they did not spam the use of the Smartphone or make it look like it is one of the greatest tools ever in this alternate era, it is still bad enough when you consider how out of place the Smartphone is. In an era or time without such technological advances, imagine how overpowered and invincible you are when you are armed with such devices. Yup, our main character is yet another generic guy from the current modern era to be mysteriously sent to another world and time (and becomes super non-generic). But don’t despair. Luckily he had his Smartphone with him. Otherwise, how else would he have survived the primitive lifestyle and at the same time introduced some new age ideas and technologies? And here is the best part: He can make calls to talk to his friend back in modern time!!!!! FFFFFFUUUUUU!!! Mind blowing. I guess that’s the only feature that was lacking in that ‘very hated’ Smartphone series… Hey, at least this guy here used his Smartphone to communicate. COMMUNICATE. Make calls! That’s what a handphone is supposed to be, people!

Episode 1
Yuuto Suou is the patriarch leader of the Wolf Clan as he employs the phalanx tactic to turn the tables on the Horn Clan. With archers targeting him, his sister, Felicia uses her whip ability to whip them away. Victory is sealed when his daughter, Siegrune captures the patriarch of the Horn Clan. They are surprised to see Linnea, a young girl as the Horn Clan’s patriarch. He offers her to be one of his children but of course she refuses. His last salvation is to be his sister which does not bind her to servitude. Refuse and he will have no choice but to burn down her village and kill her people. Linnea agrees to be his sister. After returning triumphant to his city, this part is where it gets mind boggling. At the top of the temple, Yuuto rushes to call his childhood friend, Mitsuki Shimoya!!! Holy sh*t!!! I don’t know what time era or world they are in but the reception is damn good. It seems she knows about his position and hopes he will find his way home soon. Yuuto narrates he is somewhere on Earth but in a different timeline. This is probably the tools used seemingly from the Bronze Age as well as the stars in the sky that resembles the northern hemisphere. Morning comes, a little potential fanservice with Felicia and Siegrune hinting about ‘washing a man’s pipes’ so as ‘not to let him go astray to evil women’. Luckily for him but too bad for us, he is more hungry for food than of the horny kind. He goes to see Ingrid to increase output of weapons since the Horn Clan will be part of the Wolf Clan. Later, Yuuto and Linnea perform the Chalice of Allegiance ritual to signify their bond. The oath of the chalice is more important and creates stronger ties than those of blood. Yuuto’s goal is to rid all opposition to Wolf Clan so he can have a peace of mind while finding a way home. Later Linnea begs to spare her people and offers her body but of course Yuuto isn’t a dick and promises not to harm them. However horrible news just in. Because of the Horn Clan’s recent defeat, the neighbouring Hoof Clan invaded their nation. Their force numbers around ten thousand. Some council members don’t think they should send reinforcements and should just make slaves out of those Horn Clan people. As expected, Yuuto gets mad and shuts them up. Because doing so would violate the oath they made and ruin their reputation. It’s decided. They’re going to war and save the Horn Clan.

Episode 2
Siegrune leads her unit to do lightning attacks on the Horn Clan’s camp before retreating. Thanks to this tactic that goes on for a few days, the Horn Clan barely has any good rest. So it is time for Yuuto and his main army to attack. As expected, the Horn Clan’s army is exhausted although they still press on with their numbers. The Horn Clan’s patriarch, Yngvi notices a flaw in the Wolf Clan’s phalanx strategy. The flank is left unguarded so he uses his chance to attack it. Wow. Wolf Clan already starting to lose morale when Yngvi starts barging in like a raging bull. Apparently this is all part of Yuuto’s plan. The enemy will notice the weakness and will take action. This is to draw out Yngvi and isolate him so that he could face off with Siegrune. When both warriors clash, it seems Siegrune has the upper hand. Because she has a Japanese katana! OMG! Japanese steel stronger than your puny iron knife! Yngvi is cut down but has no regrets over losing to the stronger warrior. With that, it is victory for the Wolf Clan. Now we can rest with some fanservice as the ladies get into the bath with Yuuto. But what’s this? Linnea boldly asking Yuuto to marry him?! Hold on. The real battle starts now! Felicia tells her the proper procedure of doing things first. Uhm, washing a man’s back? Now they’re fighting over to wash his back. Later they talk to her and want her to spill the truth. Because Linnea wanting Yuuto to become the Horn Clan’s patriarch is too good of a deal. It seems in this world, the patriarch is chosen via merit as hereditary ones will lead to ruin. Yup, Linnea is a hereditary patriarch. Her father loved her so much that he installed her as his heir. She too loved her father and people and wanted to be a patriarch to protect them. But seeing she is weak, she wants Yuuto who is the right man to lead the Horn Clan. Of course they can’t decide this and will have to consult the council. Later as Felicia talks alone to Yuuto, she imagines him taking over the Horn Clan in which he will be one step closer to becoming ruler of Alfheim. She supports his marriage to Linnea because she knows he is trying to return to his world. In this marriage, he’ll have to go to wars and hence stay around. Yuuto appreciates Felicia for being by his side for 2 years and considers her his best friend. Just friends? Nevertheless Felicia is happy and changes her mind to stop this wedding.

Episode 3
What’s this? Lesbian fanservice with sisters Christina and Albertina?! Oh yeah. For whatever reasons dumb Albertina decided to agree and absorb sneaky Christina’s cold. Steinthor, the patriarch of the Lightning Clan pays a visit to Yuuto. He earns Yuuto’s ire when he harasses and mocks everyone who gets in his way since his entrance was deemed rude enough. Until Yuuto had to put on that angry face that hints don’t mess with my harem you dumb f*ck. Steinthor just says hi to him and leaves. Later Yuuto gets lectured by Mitsuki for not calling for 3 weeks (since he rushed off to fight against the Hoof Clan). Yeah. No excuse. So freaking great reception and he can’t be bothered to contact her? No wonder Mitsuki is crying. So glad big brother is still alive. Yuuto and Felicia walk through town and see its somewhat booming economy. Felicia credits Yuuto for ‘inventing’ paper although he claims he ‘cheated’. But in this age, there is also the slave trade. Hence kind Yuuto buys a mother and her young daughter for their freedom. Christina and Albertina saw this so they request an audience with Yuuto, claiming they are envoys from the Claw Clan. Suddenly they ask him to marry them! WTF?! Is Yuuto’s harem growing at a lightning pace?! With Yuuto rejecting them, we see the sisters arguing over this but this affirms Christina as the sneaky and smart one while Albertina the dumb and gullible one. They add that they are daughters of the Claw Clan’s patriarch and were sent by their father to be his wives. Yuuto can’t simply dismiss them as it seems Christina has very good intelligence and knows a lot of secret stuffs Yuuto did. Or maybe she has good hearing. Christina then reveals all this was just to test Yuuto and she is not disappointed. They want him to be their father under the oath but Yuuto wants them to bring him something to prove themselves.

Episode 4
Sorry Linnea. We interrupt your dreams of making out with Yuuto because the gang needs to prepare to head to Gimle. With the sisters’ wind powers, Yuuto’s carriage is able to get there in not time. Then the real battle over Yuuto’s bride begins. But thankfully they have to attend to the people of Gimle so the fight is put on hold for now. That night, Linnea attempts to make her horny dream come true by stripping naked and trying to make out with Yuuto! Good thing or not, Mitsuki’s face flashed before his eyes so he rejects her that he can’t even marry her! He claims he has someone else he loves. He also goes on to explain he is from a different world, perhaps thousands of years in the future as well as himself as being a failure many times over. So his lesson to her is that not to give up just because of a single failure because steels is tempered a hundred times. Thanks to that, Linnea won’t give up and bugs him for marriage. What a way to backfire. Sorry to interrupt this again but the others bring news that the Lightning Clan is preparing to wage a war. So as they discuss their next move, Christina suggests sending the sisters to spy on the Lightning Clan and obtain some information. Christina demonstrates by having Albertina using her super fast stealth moves. She is very fit for an assassination job. They will accomplish this mission and in exchange earn their right to the oath. Yuuto learns from his mistake and calls Mitsuki the battle he is going to go into. Then he returns to discuss tactics against the Lightning Clan. Unfortunately even for Siegrune, she feels she is not powerful enough to stand up against Steinthor. His subjects tell of stories how Steinthor manages to defeat large numbers of armies all by himself even before becoming a patriarch. However Yuuto brushes this off as a fool’s bravery since he relies only on brute force. Hence he believes the Wolf Clan cannot lose to someone like that.

Episode 5
The war begins as the Wolf Clan gets off to a good advantage as they use modern era crossbow and the phalanx strategy. Yuuto finds it strange that fighting them is somewhat easier than the Hoof Clan since the Lightning Clan army feels a lot less organized. When Siegrune and her unit goes in to defend the phalanx’s flank, that is when Steinthor barges in to fight her. Not even Siegrune could stand up to his mighty hammer so she makes a wise decision to retreat. Steinthor than clashes with another of Yuuto’s sons, Scarfior but the latter prefers not to fight him now and distracts the Lightning Clan army to collect precious metal laying on the battlefield. Some army as they don’t even listen to their high commander. Steinthor is advised to rest and treat his wounds. But after that, he finds that one of his great strategist got killed. He gets mad and returns to battle. Again he faces off with Scarfior but once more he parries his attacks enough to escape across the river. Steinthor orders his men to chase the retreating Wolf Clan across the river. Steinthor might be able to deflect arrows and cross it by himself but it’s not so lucky for his army. Steinthor fights against a few best warriors of Wolf Clan and even though their combined might cannot defeat him, all this is just part of Yuuto’s strategy to stall him. Because the time is right now for the river to flood and wash away the Lightning Clan! Previously, Yuuto had Linnea and the Gimle townsfolk build a damn up north of the river. With the river’s overflowing power, it eventually bursts the dam. Man, I must say it is a brilliant strategy but the problem was the timing was just too perfect! Too convenient! But of course Steinthor survives this and just has some broken bones. Back at the temple, Yuuto calls Mitsuki but she doesn’t want to hear his amazing heroic exploits. When is he coming home? Not sure. Don’t know how. But once the Wolf Clan becomes more powerful, he will be able to do more research in more places. So hang in there. It’s not like she has to wait thousands of years, right? Oh wait…

Episode 6
Yuuto teaches Ingrid how to make glasses. The close proximity is having her imagine all sorts of unholy things. To appreciate Yuuto’s talents and success, Jorgen suggests having him relaxed at a hotspring. It will also be a good opportunity for the ladies to get closer to him, if you know what I mean. And I have this feeling that Yuuto isn’t going to get his much needed rest as the girls come bug him in the hotspring as well as washing his body. Damn, Siegrune licking his feet?! Nose bleed incoming! Even after they get lectured, the girls give excuse they are doing this because he will be gone one day and want to repay him. He got careless to give them permission to do whatever they want because now they’re going to give him a massage… Damn this is going to look like gang rape… Back home, Ingrid forges a replacement sword for Siegrune that she lost during her battle with Steinthor. However she feels unsatisfied because it was not done by Yuuto. But lucky for her, Yuuto found and bought it back from a merchant who happened to stumble upon it. I wonder if it is too early to consider Epheria (the young daughter of the slave duo he bought) to be part of Yuuto’s harem. We see her trying to serve him normally but is clumsy. But of course Yuuto is such a kind guy and won’t harm her for such harmless mistakes. When he notices Epheria could read, this gives him an idea to educate all youngsters of the Wolf Clan. For free! They will pay for the buildings and whatever materials needed for education. They have enough wealth from the sale of glasses. This is a good investment for the Wolf Clan’s future by developing their own talented people. Although this idea is great, Felicia is worried because this is a sign that he is planning for what will happen when he is gone.

Episode 7
Flashback shows the former patriarch of the Wolf Clan blamed his aging for their failures and with the recent hard fought victory over the Claw Clan, he decides to pass on the patriarchy to Yuuto. Of course he protests as he wants to go home. But his brother, Loptr thinks it is all an act and is jealous of Yuuto stealing his dream. He tried to kill him but father protected Yuuto. Loptr fled in his fear. Father’s last dying words were if Yuuto goes home, he wants him to make Loptr his successor. Sighs. If only those kids let the old man finished his words. Now, Yuuto receives word that the Panther Clan has conquered the Hoof Clan. It is rumoured they used modern technology and Yuuto fears they have Loptr on their side since his rune allows copying techniques. Oh, Felicia now tells him she received a letter (in stone) 2 weeks ago from Loptr that he is the Panther Clan’s patriarch and wants her to come join him. Now you only say this?! Yuuto tries to act like he doesn’t know this and has Felicia write a fake letter to him. Too bad he can tell it is fake and invades the next area. No choice, Yuuto takes his army to go fight back. They are able to hold their ground against the advance unit but the real battle comes when Loptr joins in with his main army. Because both ex-brothers know each other, they try to outdo the other by thinking what they’ll do. Like Loptr surrounding Yuuto’s camp with his numbers. But Yuuto reveals a secret weapon. Actually, an iron wall! They can shoot arrows from behind without worries. With the Panther Clan’s casualties rising, Loptr won’t give up and wants his aide, Sigyn to use her power. It involves having Yuuto experience some weird hypnotizing thingy and their soldiers turn into fearless zombies as they ram through the iron walls. With Loptr facing off Yuuto, Felicia comes to his defence. Loptr even tries to kill her but Yuuto protects her. Finally when Siegrune arrives on a camel, Loptr’s horse starts acting up. Even the enemy horses start running away. No choice, Loptr retreats. It seems horses can’t stand the smell of camels. This explains why Siegrune is late but she’s the only camel I see around. It’s not like she brought an entire fleet of them. Is the camel that smelly? If so, why can humans stand it? Damn, plot convenience for our Wolf Clan to rest.

Episode 8
It’s so cold but thank goodness for the invention of… Kotatsu! Yuuto notices something strange about Epheria. So when he peeks at her at school, he realizes she is being ignored. A form of bullying. But don’t worry, Christina has a plan. With her sister, they infiltrate as students. Of course Christina doesn’t hesitate to make fun of dumb Albertina in front of everyone. Christina soon reports there is a queen in class and she is making everyone ignore Epheria. Apparently this was Yuuto’s fault. When she brought her to school, he showed too much affection for her and thus making the queen jealous. Christina’s plan is to become the new queen and change Epheria’s status. Soon we see the power shift as Christina is more popular and the (former) queen is now ignored. When all is invited to the hotspring, Epheria invites her as well. Friendship saved. Yuuto calls Mitsuki and they hint us the period Yuuto is in is before Jesus’ birth because no Christmas and hence no presents. So is Yuuto going to invent Christmas???!!! NO WAY!!! Anyway, Ingrid is mad at Yuuto. Apparently he is supposed to spend the day with her in the smithy but he forgot. Now you remember? First he has to shrug off the other girls who are interested to join in. Ingrid soon learns Yuuto wants her to teach him how to make items so he can give them as presents to other women. Grrr… No wonder she is so mad. She tries to seduce him in the meantime but to no avail. In the end when she thinks she has got his attention, Yuuto lectures her about how to be a proper woman instead of you know, trying to get her boobs this close to his face or something. That’s it. Patriarch or not, she hits him! OMG! Next morning, she ignores him but apparently he crafted a necklace for her as apology. More flattering words that she is pretty, etc. Well, all is forgiven. He is sure she can attract more men but there is only one guy she is ever interested in… Guess who? Meanwhile, Loptr agrees to enter an oath with the Lightning Clan. He is fine they are brothers on equal footing as he has had it with younger brothers. With the Lightning Clan and Panther Clan joining forces, they plan to get rid of Yuuto and his Wolf Clan.

Episode 9
Time to take a detour to the real world. Uhm we’re starting off with Mitsuki’s boobs being fondled by Ruri? It seems she also knows about Yuuto being sent back to the past and teases Mitsuki about dating him. Yeah, she’ll do that when he returns. Whenever that is. Ruri invites her to spend New Year’s Day at her place. That’s because she introduces her to her cousin, Saya Takao who is interested to hear about this story. From what Mitsuki says, a lot doesn’t follow the Norse mythology while some are curiously almost similar. In the end, she believes Yuuto is the Surtr in the Ragnarok legend and Mitsuki’s surname is similar to Sinmara, Surtr’s wife. I don’t know, but why is Mitsuki experiencing panic attacks each time Saya explains? And the worse panic attack comes when she realizes at the end of the mythology, they are all killed. Well, let’s hope they don’t follow the mythology 100%. Back to Yuuto, he sounds like a stalker as he can’t get through Mitsuki. He talks to Scarfior and feels guilty about the recent loss to Panther Clan. But without his guidance, he believes the Wolf Clan would have even more casualties. Yuuto hopes he can look out for Siegrun because he views her as the only one who can take down Loptr. Later Yuuto manages to get through to Mitsuki as she tells him about the Norse mythology she was told, albeit not much. Looks like more research needs to be done so stay tuned. Yuuto turns into a jealous guy learning she went to a friend’s house. Thank goodness she is a girl, right? Even more so he wants to know if Ruri’s cousin is a boy! Heck, Mitsuki can’t even tell him the most important thing because he is so pushy of wanting to know if Saya is boy or girl! Like, WTF???!!! He deserved to be called baka. Baka! Baka! BAKA!!! Yuuto leaves and stumbles into a commotion in some bar. To his shock, the female before him looks like Mitsuki!

Episode 10
She is actually Leafa, a princess of Jarl Clan. Looks like she is going to stay at Yuuto’s place. And all his harem mistakes her as Mitsuki. Wow. They really know how his true love looks like. Because not everyone can enter the workshop, Leafa makes a fuss. Luckily Yuuto didn’t give in to her feminine wiles. She learns Yuuto came to this world after looking into a holy mirror made out of elven copper and it activated when Felicia was doing a ritual at the same time. Leafa gives hope that there is such an elven copper mirror in this world too but will only tell after lunch. Yuuto treats her to hamburgers? The talk distracts about Leafa being a magic user. Because Yuuto is sceptical, she demonstrates by paralyzing him. As 2 runes appear on Leafa, Felicia recognizes the only other person who can do this, the divine emperor Sigrdrifa. So this is Leafa’s true identity? Unfortunately this magic about being internal and external, Leafa is good at the former but sucks at the former and needs somebody else to break the spell on him. The only one who can break any spell is Sigyn. Or he can wait a week until the spell wears off. Later Yuuto calls Mitsuki and tells her about Leafa as well as the new hope of being able to come back. A spell named Fimbulvetr just needs to be cast on him. The problem is, Sigyn can do it. Mitsuki’s suggestion: Find somebody else. You mean Yuuto did not think about this and sounds so happy to hear this suggestion? Or did Mitsuki not hear him say she is the only person, ONLY person who can do so. We take a detour with Yuuto celebrating New Year with his harem. As usual, they all got drunk and start stripping for him. Time to go to war as news of Steinthor leading his Lightning Clan to attack them again. So to thank Yuuto’s hospitality, Leafa kisses him. It’s a good luck kiss. No complaints, right? Back to the battle, Steinthor stuns everyone when he uses his iron umbrella to deflect the arrows. He throws it back at their barrier to break an opening for his army to break through. Wolf Clan is weakening so Yuuto sets in motion an encircling tactic. Steinthor knows what he is doing and plans a retreat. However going back means more will die and the only way through is forward (there will be casualties albeit lesser). Steinthor stays back to fight Siegrune who is joined by Scarfior. Steinthor is so powerful that he almost kills Siegrune. Scarfior protects her but gets flung off the cliff! Yuuto thought it is Wolf Clan’s victory but I guess he didn’t see this one coming because Loptr and his Panther Clan are coming in to attack with their 10,000 strong army.

Episode 11
With the Panther Clan and Lightning Clan joining forces, the only option left for Yuuto is to retreat. However… He won’t because he won’t abandon his family. The reason is if they run, they will eventually be swarmed and the entire Wolf Clan will be enslaved. Also, his Smartphone isn’t giving him any further ‘cheats’. Yuuto’s idea is to head down to the frontlines and boost his troops’ morale. This is the reason why Lightning Clan is always high on morale because Steinthor is always down on the ground with them. And with that appearance, the soldiers have their morale boost so high that they fight back. Yeah, they should carry a picture of Yuuto with them. Well, if pictures are invented then. The revitalized Wolf Clan now push back their enemies. We switch the Steinthor’s fight with Siegrune. He is bored with her since she is weak (although on the verge of defeat, she still gets back up to fight). He wants to go fight Yuuto but Siegrune manages to convince him he hasn’t seen all she has to offer yet. And so this is her incredulous winning move. Steinthor strikes her sword away. But it spins so far and long in the air that he forgot it will land. Her sword then lands. She picks it up and slices his gut. WTF???!!! Because of how satisfied he is, he calls for his troops to retreat. More good news as Scarfior is found still alive at the bottom of the cliff. Don’t worry. It must have been a very short cliff. Loptr again isn’t pleased he is inferior to Yuuto. So desperate he is going to fight him now. Well, you want something done, better do it yourself. With Sigyn using her spell to let all soldiers ignore Loptr and pave a way through, Loptr shows us his evil side so that we could hate him as he attacks Felicia who protects Yuuto. And when the men begin to fight, Yuuto just rams into him and Loptr passes out!!!! WTF????!!! THIS GUY IS FREAKING WEAK???!!! But it’s not over yet. Sigyn’s spell now overwhelms Yuuto. Oh no. He is disappearing! Yuuto’s thoughts: Here, Felicia. Take my Smartphone. Bye. Vanished. Hope she knows how to use it. Mitsuki returns home and sees a bright flash from her room. Why, it’s Yuuto!

Episode 12
Natural for both of them to be suspicious at first. But they’re the real deal. Yuuto quickly asks to borrow her Smartphone to call his. No reception. But of course. Meanwhile, Loptr isn’t pleased Yuuto is gone because he wanted to kill him. I thought you want him gone and this is as good as being dead? Yuuto’s disappearance becomes a rife rumour as many are not sure if he died or really just disappeared. Word of it reaches Linnea late and she cannot believe her ears. I guess that’s what happened when you don’t have a Smartphone for the latest news. With Yuuto gone, the Panther Clan and Lightning Clan take this chance to attack the Wolf Clan. Christina talks to Leafa about summoning Yuuto back. As Leafa is as powerful as Sigyn, she can do so but it all depends whether or not Yuuto wants to or not. Meanwhile Yuuto and Mitsuki are out dating. Gotta catch up all those missing years. But you can tell the worried looks on Yuuto’s face that he is itching to go back. And then a call from Yuuto’s phone! Not sure if Ingrid turned into a tech wizard but she managed to get the line through. Yuuto speaks to Felicia as she updates him they lost several places and men. Yuuto is glad they’re still alive especially Siegrune who led the battlefront. She tells him about the possibility of returning but also cautions him. Whatever decisions he makes, they will respect it. Once they hang up, tough act is over, back to crying. He better make the right choice, huh? Mitsuki knows what he wants so she sets up just like the events of that fateful day for him to return. She is okay for him to return. Because she wants to come along too. So Yuuto is okay going back alone but not with her? Oh, now he brings up her friends and family. What about himself? He tries to make it sound scary she cannot come back or see them again but you know what? This is where the cheesy power of love comes in. Even though the past has no electricity or internet, as long as she has him, she will be alright! OMFG! Why does this feel like a longwinded attempt for her to confess to him? So his reply? If she is coming with him, he wants to make her his wife. You mean Mitsuki didn’t think this far and looking this shock? Why do I feel this longwinded drama is for this next scene? With her agreeing, they ‘solemnize’ their love with a kiss under the moon. Come to think of it, I suppose there are no martial restrictions back there. And so Yuuto returns as the glorious patriarch of Wolf Clan. Mitsuki is here too. Leafa sees her ‘clone’ for the first time. No b*tch fight. Everybody is so glad to have him back.

Valkyria Chronicles: The Master Of Shag-A-Lot And Blesser Of Ein-Harem-Jar
OMG. I don’t know whether I am supposed to be happy or sad. Excited or disappointed. Most likely it is the latter. Because it is unbelievable the duo pulled off an Inu Yasha style ending. You know, f*ck the current modern era and go live back in the ancient past. Happily ever after. After all, Yuuto has got his harem back there and now with Mitsuki as his wife, the more the merrier. No stupid legal laws regarding relationship because since Yuuto is the big father, he is the law! He makes the law! Haha! Now I see why the past is so much fun. And because no internet, no social media sites that would just bring all sorts of twisted love you see happening today. OMG. I have to admit it. Taking account the long run of everything, Yuuto and Mitsuki did make the right choice to abandon the present to go back to the past! So are they fulfilling the prophecy of Ragnarok? Only time will tell.

Well, this isn’t so bad as that Smartphone series although it is still pretty bad. Perhaps it doesn’t suck as bad is because he did not excessively use his Smartphone. Maybe he does but it is not shown to us. I think it will make us hate any more future shows that will utilize the Smartphone and make the protagonist look like a overpowered protagonist when all he did was just use the app and go onto the internet and search for stuffs. Really. That is all Yuuto did to gain an advantage. Oh yeah. Google had all the answers to all his war strategies but nothing pertaining to how the f*ck he should get back to his original era. Come on, Google! Buck up!

But it is nice to know and perhaps the only most interesting segment of the series is the mid-intermission. While the first part has a long narration and excerpt for the featured character, the second part describes some of the more interesting things featured in the episode such as war strategies or historical items and systems. It is a bit long to read (the explanations covering half the screen) but I guess they provide some interesting enlightenment to those like yours truly who knows nothing about everything. Sure, I can Google them if I want to but I’m just too lazy… And after I read them, I forget…

Of course everybody would agree with me is how the Smartphone is incredibly used to call Mitsuki. In real time! Holy sh*t! Even today’s technology of live video conferencing and streaming is still shaky. Okay, much better than in the last decade but still, for Yuuto to have perfect reception and to hold a perfectly uninterrupted (until battery life is low) with Mitsuki just shows you how blatant the series wants to insult us. I know we all noticed that Yuuto could only make the call at a very specific place and at a very specific time but the idea of him being able to update Mitsuki like that is absolutely ludicrous. Hey, on the bright side, at least he is using the phone TO TALK AND COMMUNICATE. Then again, this leads to the question of why didn’t he just update and post on Facebook or Twitter or his whatever social media account. Oh right. Specific time and place. If that’s the case, might as well talk to his one true love because he is so homesick to hear her voice. Cheesy…

This is another mind boggling question that bugged me throughout the series. It is stated that Yuuto went back to the past. Doesn’t this mean that all his actions would have changed the future?! Why don’t we read of Yuuto’s exploits and heroics in history books then?! Why is Yuuto not ‘famous’ at least for those who studied Norse history. If they say that Yuuto went to another parallel world or time, I guess that it is okay and just passable (although still crap). But since they stated he went back to the past, you would think that Mitsuki and other Japanese students would have learnt about the great Japanese guy’s feats on a foreign soil long ago. Nope. No such history recorded in the books. And if Yuuto had introduced so many inventions (I would prefer the term of stealing and plagiarising), why isn’t Yuuto credited as the founder or creator of those? Funny, right? So he definitely can’t be in the past. Because I also believe in the past there are no such sexy babes to form such harem for a foreigner guy too.

And gee, Yuuto might not be an expert in telling the constellations and the stars but at least he could have Google it. What I mean is that there was one point early in the anime in which Yuuto was talking to Mitsuki so as to tell us viewers he is stuck in the past. Hence the stars are an excuse because they look familiar to the real world but he couldn’t pinpoint it where. Hey. It’s not like the last few thousand years the stars in the sky changed their positions dramatically, right? So shouldn’t he be able to do a bit of research to at least give him an idea where he is? Such lazy excuse…

Because the past is based on Norse mythology, one of the annoying things I find watching the series is the pronunciation and the spelling of the names of the characters. You know, Norse culture have their own handwriting. Therefore when those odd alphabets start to pop up onscreen, I was like “What the heck are those letters?! I can’t f*cking read them?!”. Thankfully they are pronounced. But again, they aren’t pronounced even close to the letters they are spelled. They don’t even add up. Because of that, I was having a hard time identifying those characters and I’m like, who again? Yeah, I know I should do at least a bit of research on those Norse alphabets but I blame being too lazy after watching this series.

It goes to show you that nobody really cares about Yuuto’s disappearance. I mean, does his family, friends or school even bother to put up some sort of notice that he went missing for some time? Even odder, why the f*ck is he only updating Mitsuki and why did she not tell everyone else? Sure, she did tell her friend and her so called history expert cousin but looks like they weren’t needed after all. So sorry your appearances were a waste. Too bad Mitsuki rather be with her love than you guys. At least she decided. Even more mind boggling when Yuuto returned temporarily, you see them going around living their ordinary lives. The rate at which Yuuto vanished to the past would have attracted headlines and the media frenzy. Him coming back with not so much as a single f*cks given shows that nobody cares or even knows! This is just so ridiculous. And now that they both have gone back, you think Mitsuki’s parents have a say in this? I’m sure she isn’t an orphan because she lives in a decent home, right? So in the extreme case that Mitsuki’s parents and friends gave her their blessing because of that I-want-you-to-be-happy crap reason, it still doesn’t change the fact that the whole world doesn’t care. Hmm… Maybe those are the sentiments of us outsiders watching this series. Okay. Got it.

On a trivial note, I want to point out the different clan names in this series. While some sound okay and passably majestic like the Wolf Clan because you know, main character’s group. Lightning Clan and Panther Clan also sound reasonable. But Hoof Clan? Hoof as in being trampled and run over? No wonder they were defeated. I mean whoever was the founder and patriarch didn’t manage to come up with a better name than this?! Same case for Horn Clan. I mean, why horn of all things? Were they meant to be shoehorned into the story or something? I have yet to come across the Tail Clan (so they can run away with their tail between their legs) or the Ass Clan (special skills include shooting at enemies with their fire powered diarrhoea) or the Water Flea Clan (small and annoying at its best). Yeah, those would be so epic… I don’t know how they pick the name of their clan because they don’t even show the slightest exhibit of that name. There are no wolves in Wolf Clan…

Let me go over the characters quickly then. Cliché and nothing exciting. All has been done and tested in many other animes before. Do I need to remind you how Yuuto fits into almost every trope of being a main character? Japanese dude. Check. From the present time. Check. Super high heroic qualities of never abandoning his family. Check. Harem. A must. Check. And not forgetting his ever useful ‘cheat device’, his Smartphone. Check. List complete. Well, the only thing that makes him different than every other characters of this genre who is trapped in some place other than their original place is that he is able to return home! That dude in Overlord is still trapped there and is continuing to run his band of evil floor guardians. The bunch of guys in Log Horizon are still lost over the horizon. And that programmer in Death March Kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousokyoku continues to live in that other world. Wow, Yuuto. You really came back. But he isn’t the first because Kirito from Sword Art Online also did it.

The rest of Yuuto’s harem of ‘sisters’ and ‘daughters’ feel like an excuse why this series is to be made and to proceed. Because other than Yuuto engaging in subjugation or defending wars against other clans, what else has the patriarch of the Wolf Clan got to do in his free time but his harem bugging him? So we have Felicia who seems as the closest to be his number one because of their proximity all the time. She tries to flirt with him in hopes of awakening his horny side but too bad for her, Yuuto isn’t that kind of guy.

Then there is Siegrune as the, uhm, honourable one. The sisters of Albertina and Christina are obviously created as comic relief characters and they can become very annoying with scheming Christina taking full advantage of her dumb retarded sister because she gets her kicks to see Albertina squeal due to her being so gullible. Ingrid feels like the backup character and kind who is the dark horse of the harem. The one who isn’t in the front running for the main character’s affections but if the rest fails, she’ll gladly be there to take their spot. I feel Linnea is a bit redundant. After becoming Yuuto’s sister, a few episodes of her trying to be his wife, and then the final stretch of the season, she falls off the radar. It’s like she doesn’t matter anymore. Same case for Epheria. But I feel she isn’t in the running to be part of Yuuto’s harem and she looks up to him as a fatherly figure than a lover. Last and not least, Mitsuki. Is there a girl ever so patient to wait for her man’s return even if it means never returning? Ah, such true love. Now it pays off. She is now his wife. And Leafa being a Mitsuki look-a-like, I can see that her only role was to bring Yuuto back. That’s all. Otherwise she is pretty much a redundant character.

The bad guys and so called antagonists of the series also feel one-dimensional. I guess in this era of strife, there is no Facebook and internet, hence nothing else better to do than to fight wars and conquer lands. Steinthor just likes to fight and it’s like his pastime while Loptr is driven by childish jealousy revenge over Yuuto. Because nothing speaks like getting even with your former brother by becoming the patriarch of another clan to take down your former clan. WTF. And Sigyn is like the exotic belly dance this anime needs because she can dance you into trance and cast whatever spells on you. Like transport Yuuto back to his original time. Such plot convenience. Should have done that a long time ago if Loptr really intended to get rid of him. Now that Yuuto is back, they can take their time doing skirmishes. Hey, it’s a way of life then.

The fight scenes aren’t so spectacular. Just mediocre. Sure, there are some interesting war strategies in place but those are just mentioned and then executed quickly before everything descends into some big brawl or the big wigs fight against each other. But even that isn’t exciting. Like Siegrune versus Steinthor it’s just so mediocre… Just swing your Japanese sword, lady! Just swing your big hammer, arrogant guy! And for the rest of you small fries, the one with the better determination to die for your patriarch lives! Or see a formation of soldiers, just charge in and disrupt their structure! With so many soldiers dying in the battlefield, it makes me wonder if this era will run out of men and humans will go extinct. If I want to take into account that past-future thingy how if your ancestors die, you will not be born in the future, hence affecting the path of the future timeline, I think I’m going to end up with a lot of headache so better not go there.

Art and animation feel just average. But it could be just me because the look of the characters I feel they should belong and fit better to a visual novel instead. I tend to notice that at some points the animation feels low quality especially during the battle scenes. Like as though they want to get over this fast. And the other odd thing is how all the normal foot soldiers from all the clans look like your typical scrawny uncle and famer guy. I mean, I don’t expect all the men to have that buffed up Sparta feel but it feels like as though they are just picked out from their village to be enlisted. Just don the helmet and armour, off you go to the frontlines. As for the guys serving as brothers under the patriarch, why do some of them look like malnourished? Like, Scarfior. I thought he was a drug addict or something. No, seriously. Only Yuuto, Loptr and Steinthor have this Japanese anime style look for guys. This series is done by EMT2 who brought us Kuma Miko, Renai Boukun, Alice Or Alice and Urahara.

Voice acting wise, I only recognize Aoi Yuuki and Ayana Taketatsu as Albertina and Christina respectively as well as Kouji Yusa as Loptr and Eri Kitamura as Saya. Ah, I guess one of my biggest ‘relief’ is to find Aoi Yuuki to voice in her cute squeaky trademark voice the way I always recognize and prefer her as. Ever since that, wait for it, Aho Girl thingy that I very often blamed, this kind of voice seems to be getting rarer and rarer. The other casts are Koudai Sakai as Yuuto (Mitsumune in Mayoiga), Rie Suegara as Felicia (Emily in Harukana Receive), Arisa Date as Siegrune (Narumi in Wotaku Ni Koi Wa Muzukashii), Kanon Takao as Linnea (Yuu in Ani Tore), Maki Kawase as Ingrid (El Hoshino in Hisone To Masotan), Aoyama Yoshino as Epheria (Guri in Renai Boukun), Lynn as Sigyn (Asahi in Mahou Shoujo Site), Atsushi Tamaru as Steinthor (Ayato in Gakusen Toshi Asterisk), Aya Uchida as Mitsuki (Kaede in YuruYuri) and Rika Tachibana as Leafa (Reiko in Shomin Sample).

The opening theme is Brightway by Aya Uchida. Typical generic lively anime pop. I suppose it is rather okay for this kind of series but I didn’t pay much attention to it since I didn’t find it appealing. With Aoi Yuuki and Ayana Taketatsu making their appearance, of course we have to utilize Petit Milady. They sing the very girly ending theme, Sekaichuu Ga Koi Wo Suru Yoru. But the ending credits animation might be able to distract you with its kaleidoscope visuals and naked girls lying around wearing only bed sheets to cover their modesty. WTF…

Overall, this series is still bad. It might not feel as bad as that Smartphone one because perhaps we are already immune. We have come to expect the disappointment and it delivered as we expected. So can we all agree now that shows using Smartphones to make overpowered characters are disasters in the making and waiting to happen? If you don’t want to be disappointed with this kind of genre already, you better stay way clear. Deploy the tactic of run and retreat. It will save you millions of brains cells from dying while trying to defend your sanity from the onslaught of absurdity. Oh, one more last thing to ponder. Shouldn’t Yuuto take a selfie of himself in the past? I’m sure it will garner a lot of likes over social media, gain a lot of media attention and if Yuuto ever decides he is bored with the past life and finally wants to return, he will be greeted with a warm and rousing hero’s welcome. All hail the Smartphone! The true master and blesser of the all time, past, present and future.

Grancrest Senki

September 30, 2018

I thought Grancrest Senki was some sort of sequel or even a spinoff to Granblue Fantasy. Blame the name for giving me that impression. Both are totally different and have no relation to each other whatsoever. So what is this series about? Warring nations and greedy Lords fighting over the land for territory and power instead of uniting and fighting against the common supernatural enemy of hell. Yeah, humans being basically humans. No wonder hell isn’t invading humans and just letting themselves kill each other. But of course as the real plot demands it, a young hero and his assembled team are going to liberate the tyranny and unite the land to fight against the true evil. I guess it always starts off this cliché for most action fantasy flicks.

Episode 1
Siluca Meletes is late for a political wedding ceremony between Alexis Deux and Marrine Kreische but makes it in time. This wedding between both nations signify the long outstanding war between the Fantasia Union and Factory Alliance. Too bad the evil Demon Lord of Diabolos had to ruin it by killing both the fathers. This is known as Great Hall Tragedy. Marriage called off. War resumes. Siluca is to be the mage of some lewd count from the Alliance (this explains her slutty uniform) and Irwin who served the Kreische family, left his post to atone for his failure to save the patriarch during the chaos to serve her. Along the way, they are stopped by a few unruly guards claiming to be subjugates under their Lord who is a member of the Union. Coming into the picture is Lord Theo who won’t stand for this atrocity for them attacking an innocent by-passer. Theo claims he is neither with the Alliance or Union. The unruly ones attack him thinking their numbers would win but are defeated easily and sent running with their tails between their legs. Siluca is interested in his Crest in which he crafted from the demons he exterminated. Asking what kind of world he would like to create with this Crest, he explains his hometown of Sistina where Chaos frequently run rampant and hence the frequent natural disasters too. It doesn’t help with their current Lord Viscount Phederico Rossini ruling with an iron fist making the people suffer. His goal is to rid Sistina of all that and save his people but Siluca notes his rank will note have him rule a single town let alone Sistina. She agrees to help him but first tests him by summoning a demon to see how well he could handle the situation. Okay, not bad. As his rank is promoted to Knight, he can now enter a contract with a mage. She forces him to make a contract with her. It’s not that he likes it but he doesn’t mind it either. Sartorius reminds his Lord Mesto Meadrich about his thugs violating the treaty but he doesn’t care. Theo’s group storm the castle to demand him hand over his Crest. He still doesn’t care and will not obey. Sartorius defects since he has violated a lot of rules and hence their contract is voided. Foolish Meadrich then fights Theo alone but being the coward he is, he loses. It didn’t take long for him to choose between his life or his Crest. Now that Theo has inherited his domain, Sartorius wishes to be under his service and offers to go talk to the King of Clovis, Viscount Shakes since there will be other Lords in the area who will oppose to this. Siluca forcefully suggests Theo join the Alliance despite it will make more enemies. This is part of her plan to help realize the world he envisions.

Episode 2
Lassic David hears of Theo’s achievements. He is not pleased and wants to invade his domain to take his Crest and territory. He splurges on his army in a big gamble to take back the land. He is confident that all he needs to do is win. A few more villages recognizes Theo as their Lord but Theo starts to wonder if this is okay because he just wanted a rank high enough to govern Sistina. They also talk about the other neighbouring Lords trying to make their move to seize this land and they suspect Lassic will be the first to do so since he is ambitious. With no allies yet, Siluca decides to call for assistance. True enough, Lassic’s army is seen approaching. The help Siluca sought for is Aishela, her senior when she was an apprentice. I wonder if this is some sort of sisterly greeting since Aishela loves to hug her. Siluca relays her tactics to Aishela and Irwin to take on the different units of Lassic’s army. Siluca comes face to face with a fellow mage, Moreno Dortous. While Irwin is deadly in his sneak attacks, Aishela is slamming her way with her hammer. What is most interesting about her fight is that there is this plain kid who seems so out of place that he doesn’t look like a fighter at all. Just like a normal high school kid if you ask me. He might look weak but he is smart. With Aishela gaining ground, he orders to retreat. Aishela takes a liking for him and manages to kiss him and in the meantime strangle him! This kid is willing to sacrifice him and die with her so she is forced to escape. His side continues to retreat and Aishela takes a liking for him. She hopes they can date when this war is over. I believe his face is all blue not because from the strangle… Siluca is no match for Moreno and could have lost if this lasted longer had not Theo come to her aid. Lassic is about to face off with Irwin when Theo announces he has captured Moreno. Usually when a mage is captured, it’s like game over. Moreno is sure Lassic will not yield to this but to his shock, Lassic agrees to surrender! Lassic wants to serve Theo. He believes he is strong and that they’ll never be defeated. Seems his ambition is just to be able to reign over a nation even if he is serving another. I guess that’s good enough for him. Moreno thinks it is pity but since this is only what Lassic is capable of that’s the reason he had him join his side. After Lassic gives his Crest to Theo, the latter now attains the rank of Baron.

Episode 3
One night, Priestess Priscilla Farnese from the Order of the Crest wants to join Theo and support his fight against Chaos. Siluca shoos them away thinking they’re like the Jehovah Witness of this world but kind Theo allows them their Order takes care of his people too. Siluca lays down Theo’s plan to defeat Rossini and save his people. Hence his first move is to join the Alliance. Well, this is the first time Theo is hearing this. She adds that he should choose a family name and she suggests Cornaro as it is the name of the hero who unified the island only to be betrayed and struck down by Rossini. It looks far-fetched for Theo but he likes it. Laying the groundwork for this plan, they need to negotiate with the King of Sievis, Viscount Naville to recognize Theo’s independence. Sartorius remains suspicious of Siluca’s plans. He doesn’t doubt her loyalty to Theo but is this what he really wants? A Chaos occurs in the nearby town and the main building is on fire. A dangerously rare Salamander from Aether pops up as Theo goes to fight it. Siluca thought she could help since she has done her healing part but slips up but luckily Theo is there to protect her. She wakes up next morning, the aftermath has been dealt with and being guilty for last night’s incident, she helps treat his wounds. She tells him what Sartorius said to him but Theo is glad she came up with that idea because it never occurred to him he should fight Rossini. Now he has a clear goal in mind. Moreno returns with the negotiations failed. Naville is leading his army to subjugate them. Despite the Lords in this region gave them free reins to walk through this land, they didn’t supply any army to help. I suppose they’ll be screwed if not even one of them shows up. Don’t worry. The town they just saved, the folks are eager to help fight. Theo at first disagrees because he is supposed to protect them. Siluca reminds as their Lord, he must also fulfil their wishes. And so Theo raises his Crest, the Patriot’s Flag and gives his blessings to all those fighting for him. The war begins. It looks like Theo’s side is gaining ground. Naville thinks he still has what it takes to fight but the other free Lords join in and fight against him. Naville though lost the war, manages to flee with his life. Siluca then goes to see Marrine and the mage who serves her who is her father, Aubest. As explained in her earlier letter sent to her, it details Theo’s victory over conquering Sievis and thus his wish to join the Alliance. Hence he will pledge his alliance to her in her bid to conquer the continent. Marrine needs some time to consider this.

Episode 4
Marrine and Aubest discuss Siluca’s offer. They come to a conclusion to reject it and add Theo is to relinquish all territory and rank and leave the area. Of course Siluca will not accept this and the next step is now war. Her backup plan is to ally with the Union as she goes to see Villar Constance, the Earl of Altirk but is met with his mage assistant, Margaret Odius. She is hinted Villar doesn’t want to see her and will not offer any help for now. Aubest and his Waldlind Knights prepare to attack Theo’s castle. Theo’s side barely hold their ground and thanks to the traps, the Knights retreat. Aishela gets severely injured and could have died had not Priscilla started healing her. Lassic’s side made a tactical retreat but up the narrow mountain path, Lassic then fights back one on one with Naville’s soldiers until he faces off with the old king himself before finally killing him. With Theo’s victory, the next plan is to broker a ceasefire. It is likely they want Theo to relinquish his rank so they believe to leave Sievis’ leadership in Lassic’s hand and turn Theo into a wandering Lord. But when Siluca talks to Aubest for the ceasefire, his condition for it is Theo’s life as Waldlind is blamed for Naville’s death and hence they will accept no less. Marrine and the Waldlind Knights discuss if they should go all out in full force to wipe out Theo’s forces. The only thing stopping them is Villar’s interference. They are in a dilemma if he is waiting for this chance to spring an attack on them. They take this gamble to go all out fighting and their worst nightmare comes true with Villar’s reinforcements attacking and driving them away, granting Theo’s side a great relief. So great that Siluca hugs Theo? I think this should be the start of another kind of development… Villar talks to Theo’s side. As Siluca was supposed to originally enter into a mage contract with him, he believes she has done all that she is expected to and will welcome her into his ranks. When he suggests Theo to become King of Sievis, Theo rejects. He would rather serve under him as a Knight than give up Siluca. With Margaret’s advice that they are exceptional people, Villar agrees to Theo’s proposal. But he will live in his castle and not get any territories. Also, Siluca will be treated as one of his mages. Theo hands over his court rank to Lassic. He might be demoted but that doesn’t mean he has given up on his dream. Meanwhile Siluca wonders about her feelings…

Episode 5
There seems to be a fallout between the Vampire King, Dimitrie and the Werewolf Queen, Clara. Black Witch, Jana tries to agitate them but Dimitrie allows her to do as she pleases. Theo and Siluca are introduced to Villar’s other mage assistants, Laura Hardry, Helga Piarosa and Colleen Messala. They are visited by Lord Milza Kuces of the small continent of Dartania. He wants Villar to become the new emperor in which he agrees. Good thing because if he refused, Milza would steal his Crest and take it back home. Villar later introduces the duo to the White Witch, Zelma. There seems to be trouble brewing between the vampire and werewolf clan so Villar sends Theo and Siluca to the Forest of Darkness to solve the problem. The duo encounter the werewolf clan waiting at the fringes of the forest. They distrust the humans but Dimitrie lets them pass through to his castle. Dimitrie has no interest in helping them but wants them to relay a message back to Villar. He hopes to return to the Dark Ages where Chaos runs rife. Although the irony is that he was one who fought the Ultimate Chaos, he fears death for he believes when all the Crests are fused and Chaos vanish, Artists will lose their power. That permanent end is what he fears. Meanwhile Clara is facing off with Jana who has captured her daughters, Emma and Luna and is on the losing end. Theo and Siluca enter the scene after being tipped off by Dimitrie. Jana is not pleased to learn Dimitrie has left, hence making her do all the donkey work. She decides to do things her way and attacks them. They fight back and during the commotion, Clara frees her daughters. All attack Jana. Though she is injured, she flees. Unfortunately Clara sustains grave injuries and soon succumbs to it. A burial is held. The werewolf clan are grateful for Theo and Siluca. They pledge their allegiance to them, all part of Villar’s plan to have an ally to a path to the demon world. Theo learns something from this as Sistina is also considered part of the demon world. He vows to grow stronger. Uhm, so are Emma and Luna part of Theo’s harem now? Werewolf maids? Weird…

Episode 6
Villar has Siluca prepare a grand 25th birthday party for Margaret. Officially she will resign from his service and return to her hometown. We get to witness their weird ballroom dance too. We also see Theo clumsily dance with Siluca before Milza who still dislikes this kid takes him outside to fight and prove his worth. He does not like Theo’s fighting style of just defending because he might only protect himself while his allies will die. He views him as unbefitting of a Lord. Theo thinks he wants oppression but Milza’s goal is to serve the emperor in which he hopes Villar to be that man. Of course Theo will walk down his path his own way. Villar and Margaret share their moment together. They talk about Lady Floria, the daughter of the man who founded the Alliance, Jurgen Kreische. She married into the Constance family who was then part of the Alliance. But Villar’s father, Lucifer defected to the Union. Denied with any possible return to the Alliance, his mom hated him and began abusing Villar. That’s how he once came to hate his mom and revered his father. Now he admires Floria because his mom was sure dad would fear the Kreische blood running through his veins. It is believed Villar resembled Floria and hence Floria might have rejected him so harm wouldn’t come to him. So instead of hating his mom, he would rather love her instead. So touching that Margaret cries and even throws in an I-love-you confession. Due to Lassic’s conquest of Sievis, the neighbouring Lords of Forbes and Clovis are gathering. Their plan is to vanquish them while they make their way to Ismeia who is aligned with the Union. First they see some of the men from these countries who want to align themselves with them. The King of Forbes still chose to side with the Alliance and Lord Baron Ladvan has decided to side with him. Milza offers to handle this himself. He barges into his castle and demands him to hand over his Crest. Ladvan wants to negotiate in which Milza refuses. The only option is to kill him. They thought their numbers would make it easy but Milza cuts them down like as though they never had any fighting skills to begin with. He only spares the attendant, Nikola since he was the only sensible one to resolve this amicably. After taking the Crest, Milza tells him to tell Lassic about all he has witnessed when he arrives to take this castle.

Episode 7
Theo is supposed to launch an attack on Lord Ladvan Torius’ castle. Seeing he has the people with him, Theo negotiates with him. Ladvan may give his Crest and castle but will still side with the Alliance. As Theo will not attack and get innocent people involved, he warns that Lassic may march in here with his army and attack. Ladvan thinks the best solution is to go down to Theo. But the people continue to side and protect their king. Theo admits defeat and asks him to join him in defeat. Ladvan thinks again and since he considers his people more important than the allegiance to the Alliance, he defects to the Union. Ladvan got the wrong idea about Theo wanting to fight as he doesn’t care about military achievements and wanted this resolved without any bloodshed. Ladvan would rather serve him but since Theo is serving under Villar, he would serve Ladvan instead. Lassic kills the King of Forbes and takes his land. At the Unions’ ball, Villar introduces Theo and Siluca to his old friend, Lord Croute Gallas and the Earl of Le Couleurs. However Marquis Dawson has a bone to pick with Villar as he ignored the consensus of suspending their hostilities with the Alliance. After Alexis makes his entrance, Villar then has Theo meet Rossini who is not happy Theo took the name Cornaro. That night, Alexis personally visits Theo and Siluca to talk to them privately. He is amazed with Theo’s heroics and admits he is still in love with Marrine. He understands her position to lead the Alliance. His wish is for all Lords to stop fighting and unite. As they leave, they are attacked by assassins. Theo recognizes the markings as Rossini’s flag. All will obey his command without regret no matter how cruel. Alexis is able to depart after all the assassins are killed. Theo and Siluca knows the assassins’ target is Theo. This move will have the Rossini clan expelled from the Union and it is then they will make their move.

Episode 8
I guess now we see a flashback of how Alexis and Marrine met. Weirdly, it was on a public road. He was taken in by her beauty at first sight. Soon he started sending him letters and flowers. She is sceptical at first but at a ball when a guy whom she is not interested tries to make his advances, Alexis politely steps in to diffuse the situation but was punched! It’s a good thing the mask broke and not his face. Thanks to that, Marrine had a private bonding moment with him. They fall in love with each other despite knowing fate will not allow them to be together. But she still kisses him for the flowers. That was supposed to be the last time they see each other but she again sees him doing charity with the poor children. His explanation he isn’t doing charity must have triggered their love. Screw that fate thingy because she wants to marry him and hopes he will wait (even forever) for her. Don’t worry, he will. Sealed with a kiss. During the Union’s conference, all agree to expel Rossini. The next agenda is about either peace or war with the Alliance as Dawson vouches for the former. Villar explains Theo’s actions of defeating Lords who are unfit for their position and wasn’t going around to defeat the Alliance. So when the Alliance attack, surely you don’t expect him to do nothing. Villar’s eloquence charms everyone as Alexis agrees with the proposal to go to war against the Alliance. But he wants to choose a leader for this and picks Villar. To everyone’s shock, he refuses on grounds as the grandchild of the Alliance’s founder, the grandchildren should not be fighting. Hence Dawson picks himself as the leader (since others had no balls to do so) and proposes for peace. Siluca feels the Union has wasted a good chance to destroy the Alliance. Aubest informs Marrine about the Union’s proposal for peace in which makes her mad because they took over Sievis, Clovis and Forbes, and now they want peace? Get real. She orders her forces to prepare to attack Starck which will be their foothold to invade Altirk. Deep down in her heart, she feels sad because her dream of being together with Alexis is fading further and further away.

Episode 9
Lord Pavel Murado seeks to fight alongside Villar and doing so, a few more territories will secede from the Alliance. However Villar claims they are in peace talks with the Union and has no intention of fighting. Siluca argues that fighting is necessary if Altirk is to survive but Villar will not betray Alexis’ will. He sends Theo and Siluca to return to their domain. I guess with them being dismissed we see them having an intimate moment together as Siluca confirms if he likes her. He does and they seal it with a kiss. The armies from both sides clash at Starck. They should just use Milza as he singlehandedly kills the Waldlind Knights. Later as Marrine’s forces gather to discuss their tactical strategy, the geography doesn’t favour them. Aubest suggests creating miasma from a nearby swamp, let the wind blow it and once it is clear, attack the incapacitated forces. This is a dirty tactic against whatever code but Marrine doesn’t intend to be a virtuous inept leader as she wants to hold influence over the continent. Marrine’s forces score overwhelming victory over the enemies as she herself kills Pavel with her own hands. She has her ladies in waiting, Layla and Kamhi to bring Milza to see her. He has a condition she comes to see him alone. She seeks his Dartania support if they are to unite the continent by merging all Crests and in the process ridding Chaos. Milza agrees to fight for her seeing Villar isn’t the worthy man and lacks the will to do so. But Milza has another condition for this alliance. He wants to sleep with her! Is this some kind of ritual for war allies? She agrees but asserts doing so will not make him own her. So they’re going to do it here right now? Oh well, nothing more romantic like sex in the wilderness. He pledges to be her sword and fight for her but not pledge his loyalty. This has got to be the most ‘romantic’ episode so far in the series from both sides of the faction.

Episode 10
Dartania’s king has died and Milza has now ascend the throne. We see several of Villar’s allies rallying up their troops to go into the upcoming battle. From Lord Selge of Regalia, Solon the King of Kilhis and Eudokia the Queen of Haman. Margaret soon returns to Villar’s side to report that Milza has defected to the Alliance. He killed the king, his father who opposed this as well as all other subordinates who supported the king. Milza’s fleet arrives but Villar’s maritime allies fight to stave off Milza. Even so, Milza’s troops continue to sail through. Heck, this Milza is such a one-man killing machine, he might as well be the entire army for Dartania. Meanwhile on the ground, Solon and his Kilhis troops engage the Waldlind. In a fierce to-the-death battle, eventually Solon’s side is surrounded and eliminated. Solon dies in battle. With reports of Lassic driving back the Ozerl forces as well as Theo doing the same to the Bultava side, Villar is amazed that Theo is able to pull off this surprise with such a small army. Although Villar will have them invade the enemy’s territory now, this would mean Waldlind who has lost both those domains will have to fiercely attack Altirk. Villar’s backup plan is to ride out to sea if the castle walls are breached.

Episode 11
With the arrival of a thousand Nordic fleets halfway around the world led by Ulrika, the daughter of Erik who is the Marquis of Nord, Villar knows his time of defeat has come. The question now is how they should lose. Of course, they’ll go down fighting. He leaves his last message for several people. Eudokia’s men punch her out to let her escape alone as they all die to defend the onslaught of the Nordics. Also, one last romantic fling between Villar and Margaret. Meanwhile the other Union members gather to discuss about it. Dawson remains adamant Villar brought this upon himself and once he is defeated, the Alliance will resume peace talks. But Alexis remains worried and wants to save Villar at all costs. Waldlind breaks through the castle as Margaret goes rampage with her hellfire magic to take down as many enemies as she can until she could no more. In the end, she turns into ash and Villar continues his killing spree until he could not go on anymore. In his final confrontation with Marrine, he hands over his Crest. He tells her to continue the path she believes in and he himself still believes and prays for her marriage with Alexis to bring peace. Marrine enters the throne room. Laura hands over the castle to her but warns she has not conquered Altirk as the other Lords will surely rise against her. She then poisons herself. Marrine gives this castle to Milza and wants him to conquer Altirk. News of Villar’s death reaches his comrades and of course they’re pretty sad to hear about it. Villar’s message to Theo is to go forth and further stun the world.

Episode 11.5
Recap episode. No new scenes. Only recycled scenes but at least we have Siluca’s narration and the definitions, important characters and the plot so it is not totally a copy and paste.

Episode 12
Milza fights against soldiers loyal to Villar. He is not pleased he is not achieved anything in life so what does he hope to achieve in death. Lords loyal to Villar has signed a treaty to carry on his legacy. It is suggested Selge who is Villar’s younger brother to be the leader but he deems himself unfit and wants Lassic. He too doesn’t see himself fit and passes the torch to Theo. But with all the Lords favouring Lassic, Theo suggests Lassic be the leader until he proves himself. In the battlefield, Milza and Lassic clash. They didn’t lose their heads but know how formidable the other is and hence Milza pulling back his troops for now. Marrine arranges a meeting with Theo. Before it starts, an odd show of love between Siluca and Aubest as father and daughter hug. Then it’s like, okay it’s over, back to the meeting. Theo begins that Alexis still loves her and would like them and both sides to unite. But she believes that if the war continues, their Crests will eventually be fused. She is prepared to kill and allow bloodshed for that. Theo would like to strive for the ideals Marrine has abandoned and credits Siluca for it. Although both don’t want to fight each other but want to reclaim what they lost, I guess it’s back to the battlefield. As they leave, Theo wants Siluca to make a miracle for him regarding bringing Alexis and Marrine together. He shocks everyone by kissing her in public!!! This is to show that this war is for the sake of love! Whatever, it rallied his men. But Marrine isn’t amused. She still thinks love will not help save her people or country. Later Siluca reports the withdrawal of Waldlind as Croute has crushed the Alliance in the north that was led by Erik and this means Waldlind is left vulnerable from behind. With the battlefield likely to shift to the north, Siluca wants Theo to use this chance to return to Sistina and liberate it. After all, for the miracle to happen, he must achieve the same rank as Alexis and Marrine. With this military achievement, the other Lords will recognize his power and he can take over from Lassic. Lassic hears this and gives his instant approval despite only Theo and Siluca are going. Rossini and his loyals hear the return of Theo. They prepare to take precaution as we see also see the brutal oppression on Silica.

Episode 13
Theo’s group has arrived on Sistina. Siluca’s plan is to go to the main town and announce his return to rally the people. However they see Jana dining with Salvador, Rossini’s son. Since the black witch has a bone to pick with them, Salvador uses his Crest to mind control the people to attack them. Not wanting to involve innocent people, Theo makes a run for it. Theo’s plan is to tour the neighbouring villages to call on the people to revolt. However the people are so in fear of Rossini that they do not believe Theo can overthrow him. All those who have resisted are killed so they think it is better to be on his good side. Because Salvador has sent out warnings to all villages, each village they tour all the villagers become hostile towards them and wanting to get out. Nobody called their help to overthrow Rossini. As suggested by Siluca, Theo visits the village he was born. Everyone never thought he would return. So did he. His childhood friend, Rebecca reveals that when Rossini was plundering the village, Theo’s father kept a secret food cellar. Somebody snitched on him and he was killed to be made an example. Theo left the island blaming them for this father’s death but now he has returned, he asks them if they want to continue living under Rossini’s oppression. As Theo visits his father’s grave, he knows Rebecca has been threatened by them to do something. She claims they will take her to the city if she handed him in. He wants her to tell everyone to flee. Even if Theo is handed over, he will be killed to be made of an example. Theo then goes to face the enemy himself. Rebecca returns and pleads to the villagers to fight with Theo because history will repeat itself if they do the same thing. Remember how they were taxed even more heavily after handing in Theo’s father? The same will happen. With that, the villagers rally behind Theo to face Salvador’s troops. Theo fights Salvador but the latter escapes and lets his guards deal with him. Rebecca tries to stall him but gets killed. Mad Theo cuts down the coward. So his troops retreat? I guess against the soldiers, Rebecca as their only casualty isn’t that bad. Okay, maybe not. Siluca notes despite Rebecca putting her life on the line to stop Salvador, letting him escape would be the same as losing.

Episode 14
Rossini is discussing with his remaining sons about the uprising of the people. It’s gathering steam. Dorni will go take out Theo and though father believes in his son’s abilities, he tells him to take a few thousand soldiers with him because you can never be too sure. It would be too cruel if he loses both his sons. Suppression is the only way they have because that is how they’ve ruled the island. Easing up on that would mean the people losing faith in them. Jana talks to Salvador’s loyal assassin who still needs to finish his mission to kill Irwin. She offers to take out the werewolf twins then they can kill Theo and Siluca. Theo has managed to gather some soldiers and the townspeople to fight. Irwin fights the assassin and manages to kill him but not before he stuck his poison knife into Irwin. But don’t worry, there’s always Priscilla to do the healing. Jana uses some demon magic to rein in the twins but they do some thinking outside the box to dispel her magic and do a great deal of damage to her. It’s mind boggling that the people have more willpower than the Dorni’s soldiers. Because they start fleeing from battle! WTF?! Are they soldiers?! This distracts Dorni as he finally realizes why Theo has only been defending. It is part of his plan to wear him out. When Dorni is tired, Theo sticks his sword into his throat. Jana goes all out to kill Theo but Siluca blasts her out of the sky. With the angry mob outside Rossini’s castle, Rossini is willing to give his life but wants his remaining son, Juzel to escape. Juzel has a plan to negotiate with Theo. Rossini rescinds all his court rank to him. Juzel negotiates for those loyal to Rossini to not lose their lives and fortune. Theo rejects. He wants all their fortune, their Crest and both their lives. This is the will of the people. Juzel agrees to relinquish their lives but those loyal to them would not stay quiet. He proposes to pledge his allegiance to him so those loyalists would listen. Theo rejects again because this would mean going against the will of the people who joined in this revolt. But Theo personally doesn’t want to annihilate the family and asks him to pledge his allegiance to him instead. I guess there’s a difference if Theo is the one saying it. Juzel agrees but the bottom line is that Rossini must still pay for his crimes. The people rejoice their new dawn under Theo.

Episode 15
Siluca interrogates Jana as she also stands accused for the Great Hall Tragedy. However she laughs in delirium. No choice, she is sentenced to be burnt at the stake. But before they could burn her, she summons the Demon Lord to kill her. Milza does not pay heed to Theo’s heroics and still considers him a small fry. However Milza’s areas are under ambushed and his side suffered losses. As advised by Telius, if his people are revolting against him, they are considered enemies. He takes up the suggestion to slay his own citizens as the blame will be put on those who revolted. Milza’s forces subjugate the villages of the werewolves and White Witches before killing all those free Lords against him. Theo has returned and Lassic is glad to see him. Laura is also alive (poison not lethal enough?) and is now serving Eudokia. Meeting with the other treaty Lords, Theo agrees to not change leadership of the treaty now and takes responsibility of the many Lords while he is away liberating Sistina. He declares to invade Altirk and bring down Milza. They discuss their plan to attack Milza’s great forces in the forest because of the thick woods, movements are limited. After their victory here, they have to move on to take Villar’s castle which is heavily defended. Lassic is working hard to get other treaty Lords to contribute manpower but Croute has his hands full fighting Waldlind and can’t spare any. As there is a slave rebellion in Starck, they think of using that but who should they send? Juzel offers himself since Rossini has experience in being a tyrant and knows how to quell such uprising. Once Theo’s declaration reaches Milza’s ears, this angers him as he promptly mobilizes for battle. He disregards Telius’ advice about being at a disadvantageous terrain of the forest because he thinks he can kill Theo with his eyes close. As he wish.

Episode 16
The werewolves and White Witches attack the Dartanian forces in the forest and separate them. Milza manages to defeat some of them but the forest soon turns into a maze. Nevertheless they reach the castle. Theo warns them to return as the forest will be baying for blood during the night time. Surprisingly Milza agrees and leaves. As advised, Theo probably has 2 choices: Return to Bultava or emerge from the forest. If it is the latter, Milza’s force would easily slay him. So for him to lure him out, Milza sends his strong force to attack Regalia. Siluca suggests Theo to take the bait since the people’s morale are high over their recent victory. But Theo is reluctant since he has to use a volunteer army again. However with the people trusting him, he suggests marching towards Villar’s castle in full force. As Milza’s force heads towards Regalia, he receives word that Selge has fled and he left behind his contracted mage. This is odd because Theo was recently victorious over them but Milza thinks Theo isn’t worthy of Theo’s trust. He leaves some troops to reclaim it before Lassic does. Later he sees Theo’s expanding forces. He never thought Theo would sacrifice Regalia to buy time and gather this much soldiers. Milza still things they are a ragtag force and can be dealt with. But when advised to wait for reinforcements and retreat, Milza doesn’t like giving up without a fight but chooses to trust his comrades. Although Marrine has ordered Ulrika to support Milza, it seems she is more interesting in subjugating Haman first. Laura advises Eudokia to strip naked to address to the people that the Nords have taken everything. There is nothing left to take except their lives to fight for freedom. Don’t worry, Laura will go naked with her. They do so and the men rejoice and will die for her! See what a beautiful naked woman could do? But do they need to strip off their armour too? I mean, are they really going to fight naked?! This throws Ulrika off. Eudokia tries to rally the Starck slaves to rebel and with Juzel’s suave persuasion, the slaves eventually fight back. All hail the naked woman! Ulrika is forced to retreat despite she doesn’t want to. Milza is not pleased reinforcements haven’t arrived yet. Because Theo’s army has established as stronghold outside their castle. Even if reinforcements come, it won’t be easy to join them. Milza stares at the possible of his first loss that stands to lose everything. Yeah, things just got worse with Lassic arriving with his 30,000 strong troops.

Episode 17
Milza wants to take on Theo’s forces and not wait for Marrine’s reinforcements. Telius begs him to have faith in Marrine but he reasons he will not put her in danger. Besides, if he loses, it just means he wasn’t the chosen one. Milza leads his Dartanian forces as they barge through waves of forts to reach Theo. He takes a detour and avoids fighting with Lassic’s side. Then he has to put up with Theo’s comrades first before facing off with the man himself. He accepts Milza’s challenge to fight him, making Siluca worried that if he loses, he would have played right into Milza’s hands. She’s saying she has no confidence in Theo winning? Is this so we can have a cheesy romantic moment between them? Because Theo’s hug us sure assuring. Theo and Milza begin their fight. Oddly why do their swords light up like lightsabers?! Theo realizes Milza has changed. Until now he has only used his Crest’s power for himself. But to take over Altirk, he bestowed subjugated Crests on his men and his Crest lost power accordingly. Theo can still fight but Milza is already out of breath. Theo might not have won but Milza is already defeated. Just take a look at his Dartanian forces. They surrendered! Wait a minute. You mean they weren’t going to fight to the death? Who gave them the order to surrender when Milza is still fighting?! With Milza losing, Theo out of formality asks for his Crest or his life. As Milza is one not to beg for his life, Theo kills him and takes back Villar’s Crest. A big relief hug from Siluca. Telius is saddened by Milza’s death that he poisons himself. Marrine is disappointed over hearing Milza’s death. Like as though he never trusted her and belittled her. This means they have no use of continuing their advance as Marrine orders her troops to turn around and reinforce their fight in the north to defeat Le Couleurs.

Episode 18
With Villar’s castle retaken, everyone pays their respects to Villar. Lassic now hands over his Crest to Theo, signifying he is now the Treaty’s leader. Also, Selge renounces his Constance family name and hands it over to his younger brother, Igor. Theo’s goal is to fulfil Villar’s wish to bring peace between the Alliance and Union. To do that, the Treaty will break away from the Union and remain neutral. Uhm, so it isn’t possible between 2 parties but it is so with a third one? This might look like giving Alliance a booster since the Union has already broken up into 2 factions but they will still remain to cooperate with the Union to strike a power balance. For now, they celebrate their victory with a feast. Later Theo talks to Siluca that his final dream is still to return to his village and bring happiness (I guess being liberated doesn’t mean instant happiness). However there is one thing he would like to do that with: Siluca. Siluca didn’t get it and thinks of it as his eternal mage who has sworn loyalty to him. He has to hug her to make her realize his intentions and hence our cheesy Theo x Siluca romance. Later they talk to Priscilla about her Crest that resembles the Holy Grail. Because Pope Leone of the Order of the Crest has proclaimed himself to be the Holy Grail and might eliminate her as a threat. Word has spread that Croute has died in battle. This is due to betrayal from Dawson stamping out reinforcements (Alliance welcomed him in exchange). With this, the Union will be shakier and more vulnerable than ever. Siluca suggests heading to Jalucia to cheer up Alexis since he was close to Croute. Alexis wants Theo to become the head of the Union but he disagrees since he wants both sides to reconcile. Uhm again, so he can’t if he is leader of one of them? Alexis is visibly depressed that he no longer feels he can do it. Time for Theo to play the Marrine trump card. Even if she wins, unites all Crests and becomes emperor, she isn’t happy. She is suppressing her feelings and doing her duty as the leader of the Alliance. Only Alexis can save her. With that, Alexis suddenly matures and has this damn manly confident aura. Even his servants are shocked! No more weakling Alexis. He is going to attack Dawson and when other Union Lords hear about him rising up, they rally behind him. Surely Dawson would have seen this coming since he is being touted as a traitor so why is he so shocked to see Alexis’ troops marching to his doorstep?

Episode 19
Dawson calls Marrine for help but since her reinforcements are busy fighting the Treaty side, she tells him to tough it out. Dawson tries to defect back to the Union but Alexis rejects. He will spare his life if he surrenders and hands over his Crest. And so Dawson decides to fight. But Alexis fights this battle like as though he is a composer and painting?! So the battlefield is his work of art?! Anyway Alexis’ forces easily defeats Dawson. Marrine receives news of this but is shocked to hear that Alexis led the attack. She fears he will be dragged into the war. Alexis’ forces now makes his way to fight the Nords. Erik who prides himself as the king of the seas accepts the challenge in this naval battle. Alexis employs some weird tactic. The Nords get their power and turn into zombies? It’s going to take more than an arrow to kill them. Both sides suffer heavy losses. Erik will not back down and rather die as a warrior. As he makes his way to Alexis’ main ship, I believe he is the character who racked up the body count in such a short time! See him decapitate and spill blood of all the soldiers protecting Alexis! After a hard fought battle, Erik is finally decapitated and this guy has so much blood that it is overflowing the ship! Good riddance. Alexis takes his Crest. Siluca sees Marrine who proposes a truce in which the latter outright rejects. The only way left is to fight. Siluca suggests if the Union and Treaty loses, they will hand over their Crests and territories. Otherwise she must accept their proposal. She also thinks this would only give their true enemy the edge whom she believes is the Mage Academy who is responsible for the Great Hall Tragedy (though she may not have definitive proof). Marrine is still bitter she has sacrificed so much and yet Alexis got involved. She cannot turn back now. This battle might see the creation of the Grancrest and create something far greater than the Great Hall Tragedy.

Episode 20
The Alliance side uses a huge magical beast the barge their way through. Until it fell into a big dug trap. Then it is a messy affair with everybody clashing and flanking everybody. Both sides get motivated when Marrine and Theo head down to the battlefield. When Alexis and his Union show up, Marrine gives the order to retreat or else their escape route will be cut off and will be routed. Theo also backs out and calls for a meeting among the 3 faction leaders. Theo proposes a truce for all sides in which Marrine again rejects because it would benefit their true enemy, the Mage Academy. A truce ensures a court rank system and hence fights over titles. In fact they might even be where they want them now. Theo’s second proposal is for Alexis and Marrine to marry. He will then pledge his loyalty to their Grancrest. Marrine again disagrees because of the fear of the tragedy repeating itself. She is against Alexis helping her and wants the enemy to only target her. She is satisfied with the goal of sacrificing herself, make known to the world the true enemy and one day somebody will take up and continue her fight. Alexis then shows him a huge human rose pattern created by his troops. He proposes to her again. Why she rejects him? Because she lost her virginity to Milza. Oh yeah. Remember that scene? Alexis doesn’t care as long they love each other. Still not convinced? Theo announces Siluca as his wife. So Marrine needs a little bit more nudging, a few more assuring words from Alexis before they are once again happily reunited. Much to the cheers of everybody. Alexis and Marrine want to give their Crest to Theo for him to become the first emperor. Once the miracle is over, Siluca suggests Theo hand it back to Alexis and then they can return to Sistina and live happily ever after. Yeah, we’ll go with that. Meanwhile the head of the Mage Academy is secretly purging mages who support Lords. Knowing that Grancrest is about to be born, he must make the Mage Academy as a monolith and thwart any attempts to bring an era of order.

Episode 21
Wow. Mages at Eramu are being purged like ants. Are they that useless to defend themselves? Theo and Siluca’s romantic moment is being interrupted when a mage informs her about this. Hence Siluca gathers everyone to tell about the situation. Some mages will stick with their Lords but some like Alexis’ decide to terminate their contract and return home. Those who remain are forced to break their wand. They cannot use magic without it but the wand serves as a tracking device as well as communicator for the Mage Academy to eavesdrop. Later there’s this weird reconciliation between Siluca, Aubest and Aishela. Aishela still not too forgiving to Aubest for trying to kill Siluca once. Late that night when Siluca is asleep, she hears Aishela calling her name. Suddenly Aishela tries to kill her! Only to be stopped by Irwin! She admits she is a spy ordered to kill her. Tied up, she is interrogated to spill the beans. She comes from a secret organization within a secret organization, Pandora. Their purpose is to control Chaos and is made up of failed mages like her or collaborators like Jana. Speaking of which, Jana was the one responsible for the Great Hall Tragedy. Aishela’s orders were to kill Theo and Siluca. Theo knows she failed on purpose because she could have killed them in their sleep. But Aishela had to carry it out and not disobey. She shows them a magic mark on her breast. Fail and it will kill her. But why is it activating now? Because she also spilled the beans. Damn this mark is lethal. As the rest try to save her, Aishela screams in pain. Then here comes Priscilla using her Holy Grail to save and heal her. Phew. Siluca is so relieved. Now you going to believe in God? Not really… With Aishela saved and her mark gone, this also means she loses her abilities. She deems herself useless now but Theo views her as trying to protect them by failing her mission. Skirmishes and in-fighting start to break out in all camps. There are casualties in the aftermath against Lords who were used by Pandora and then discarded. Even though the next option is to invade Eramu, they might not be well prepared but that’s the only choice they have. And losing isn’t an option either. But don’t worry, they have the support of the people.

Episode 22
The Order might have a strong following but most of their followers are women, children and the elderly. Damn, you don’t want to be seen like a bully and fight those innocent people. Priscilla suggests going to talk and convince Leone but Theo is against it since it is dangerous as they know better the Order will use these people to shield itself from attacks. Don’t worry, Siluca will accompany her. Oh, Irwin and Aishela will accompany them. Leone tries to rally his followers that those who monopolizes the Crests will be punished by God because they believe all Crests belong to the One God. This is actually the same goal as Theo’s as it is to eliminate Chaos and bring peace. However Leone brands Siluca a liar. Time for Priscilla to step up and wow the followers she is the holder of the Holy Grail. As she shows her Crests, the followers are now convinced she is the true one. Leone fears his dwindling influence so he is advised by his subordinate to kill her and let her Crest turn into Chaos. Leone pretends to agree with Priscilla’s idea. When she gets close enough, he stabs her. Irwin spotted this but is given that look by Priscilla not to intervene as this is a duty she must fulfil. Mad Aishela wants to kill them all but Siluca stops her. If Leone is dead, the inevitable war will happen with the Order. But I guess it’s okay to kill the other guards. Because Priscilla’s Crest continue to shine and didn’t turn into a Chaos, Leone is most shocked. She killed a true holy maiden instead of a fake. His subordinate tells him to seize her Crest but Leone is too shocked to do so. He is about to kill Leone instead but Irwin protects him. Theo is mad after receiving word of Priscilla’s death. I wonder if he teleported because he reached there fast. He takes Priscilla’s Crest and is now the guardian of her Holy Grail. Now the Order’s followers follow him. Seeing Leone’s face makes Theo mad so he lets Siluca deal with him to investigate links between the Mage Academy and the Order. Theo carrying Priscilla like his dead wife…

Episode 23
The Imperial Army is reported to have arrived at Eramu. The Mage Academy head, Hubertus orders the release of a dangerous monster that could destroy Eramu itself. I guess if you don’t take the risks, you won’t reap the rewards. That monster is a giant Cyclops that the Mage Academy once sacrificed many to seal. I suppose this creature only lives to destroy because right after it is freed from its long slumber, it goes on a rampage. Looks like it is time to give Lassic the limelight as he decides to do the impossible and bring it down before it puts Theo’s plan in jeopardy. So we see him and his few men seemingly trying to do some puny damage that don’t even matter. Until Moreno has powered up his whatever solar magic for Lassic to reflect and blind its eye before the Sievis King kills it for good. All hail Lassic the Giant Slayer! And he didn’t even lose a man! Such great happy ending. Meanwhile, Alexis leads the army to attack the castle walls. With all the tricks and strategies, in no time they take the walls. Hubertus isn’t worried. He expected this. Because he believes all they need to do is kill Theo and all the lords will fall into disarray. Theo’s side is about to make his move when they suddenly find themselves in the Forest of Darkness. Siluca realizes they have been ‘invited’ by Dimitrie.

Episode 24
Confronting Dimitrie in his castle, he reasons even if Chaos is gone, people will still fight each other. Even so, that is their choice, Theo replies. Dimitrie became an Artist to survive and he would continue to do so if it is boring. As they fight him, the werewolf twins’ brother, Aeon brings the real body of Dimitrie. Uhm, just bring him here to show he could be killed off? Even so, Dimitrie has cloned his shadows and technically still lives. They fight the shadows but they are a tough bunch. Then a holy miracle in the form of Priscilla’s Holy Grail lighting up so bright that there are no more shadows. Eventually Aeon sacrifices himself to pin Dimitrie down so Theo could finish him off. With the last shadow scared and weak, the twins let him go since they have avenged their mother and brother’s death. With Dimitrie gone, they march into Eramu with Theo and Siluca confronting Hubertus. To know the truth, they are told to touch the Chaos Globe. Doing so, they are teleported to another dimension as they hear the voice of Pandora repeatedly telling them that the Age of Chaos must not end. They are shown the previous civilization which is as futuristic as hell! You see, without Chaos, humanity eventually evolved so great and created an ultimate energy weapon that is on par in destroying the world. To avoid that, a decision was made to flood the world with Chaos and destroy civilization. An age with Chaos is the beginning of the end. Even if Theo now understands, his feelings have not changed. It is not right to sacrifice today’s people and those who have aren’t born yet. Because that is his decision, Hubertus poisons himself. Gee, that’s the easiest final boss fight. With that, Theo has all the Lords gather as he makes his speech. With this empire named Leon and Eramu as its Imperial Capital, he lays down the ground rules that an Emperor must be fair, blah, blah, blah, otherwise the people has the right to revolt and overthrow the Emperor. 3 years later, double wedding! Theo x Siluca and Alexis x Marrine. Siluca almost late for her big day? Kissing scene. Siluca so happy that she cried. Theo creates the Grancrest that purges all Chaos from the world. You mean it was not done then when all the Lords gave him their Crest? In the aftermath, as promised, Theo abdicates his throne to Alexis. He and Siluca retire to their happy farm life in Sistina. And finally another kiss from the duo. So magical that rainbows appeared!

Command & Conquer: Unity (And Love) Through War
And so everybody lived happily ever after. Hooray. Such a great happy ending. But not so happy ending for all the Chaos monsters and Pandora. Well, enjoy the peace while it lasts. Assuming if history repeats itself and that mankind decides to take up war and kill each other again. Who knows how long that will be. It could be centuries or millennia. But Theo won’t be around when that happens! It’s like, that’s not my problem anymore. But it is not fair to pin all the responsibilities and blame on Theo. He already helped created a peaceful world but you war-hungry idiots in the future decide to ruin it all and fight and kill each other. So really, if that is the case where mankind really destroys itself because of no Chaos, is it to also say that there is no God in this world? Damn, I think I just confused myself even further.

Basically, the general plot of the story goes something like this: Lord or King from a country attacks another nation. If successful, they become the new masters and gain new territory. Otherwise, status quo. Hence it was pretty weird for me to see that a big part of this series is about attacking one another. Uh huh. Time for our strategic attack on this kingdom. Charge in! Yay! We did it. Oh no, we lost. We live another day to try again or get our revenge. Planning and strategizing in between. Therefore this series is like one big unofficial world war that has been ongoing ever since and there is no stopping to it until the ultimate Grancrest is created. I still can’t believe it is finally created 3 years later. Could it be that one of the requirements is to be held on a wedding day? A day of utmost sacred union? Maybe.

Speaking of the Grancrest world map, I didn’t realize it at first but I soon noticed that it takes after very much like the map of Europe. Yeah, why is Europe always such a nice base for alternative fantasy settings? From Youjo Senki all the way back to Prism Ark, Europe’s base is a favourite for differing nations because of its vast variety of cultures. Anyway, for this series, it is obvious that Dartania is Turkey while Kilhis and Haman are Greece. While Bultava might sound like Bulgaria and Regalia like Romania, taking a closer look it is actually Regalia that is Bulgaria and Bultava the Czech Republic. Hence I am guessing Altirk is Romania because of the Forest of Darkness in this domain and Dracula, you know, Transylvania? Eramu is suspiciously Switzerland (the supposed most neutral country), Le Couleurs is France and obviously Sistina is Sicily. Rossini is such an Italian name… The rest I feel are like bad puns. Clovis = Croatia? Sievis = Serbia? Ismeia = Italy? Ozerl = Austria? Waldlind = Ukraine? Jalucia = Spain because you know, Andalusia? Oh well, better than obvious making lazy and obvious modifications. Oddly with the battle between the Alliance and Union and then the Treaty, I noticed that Bredland and Courtwells (England and Scotland respectively) aren’t involved. A big war that the British isn’t involved? It must be fantasy.

Other than the attack-here-attack-there plot, the other thing about this series that bugs me is the characters. Technically I am not wrong to say that there are too many of them! However a lot of them are also killed off. Therefore sometimes you think a character is going to be one of those main supporting ones, only to be killed off in the same episode or a few episodes later. Yes, it does make the war theme of this series believable because with so many casualties, sometimes even the warlords are not even sparred from the fate of death. So sometimes when such Lords or Kings fight their last battle and get killed in action, it might be sad but honourable but by the time the next episode rolls out, I would highly have forgotten about them. There are a few of them that actually survived and stuck to the end with Theo (not talking about his immediate troupe) like Selge’s contracted mage but she is insignificant enough that I can’t even remember her name. But generally with so many nations and Lords fighting in this never ending war, it is hard to keep track of who is who and when the plot commands it, they get killed off. Like Croute whom we don’t even see him die in the battlefield! Just a notice. He’s dead. Get over it. But I think some like Milza would leave a longer impression because of his brutal and violent get-what-he-wants personality. Oh right, who could forget about that sex scene he had with Marrine. But I’m sure I’ll remember him for his ruthlessness than that. On a trivial note, I noticed that even Milza had become king, he is still continued to be referred as the prince. WTF?

If you think those characters are bad enough, wait till you hear what I have to say about Theo’s groupie. Now, it is understandable that Theo and Siluca are the main characters so they hog a lot of the screen time whenever there is a chance to show their side. After all, they need to build up that romance factor, right? But for the rest of the other notable comrades in his group, they feel somewhat disappointing. Heck, they feel like the invisible man for most of the time. For example, Aishela. She made her debut very early in the series and looks promising as Siluca’s battle aide. After a few episodes later when she gets seriously injured, she is then side-lined for most of the series until the end where I suppose for the shock factor she turns out to be a spy. But at that point I am asking myself, so what? In between Aishela has been sorely missing and even though she does take to the battlefield sometimes, she does not stand out as much as she did as she made her debut.

This goes the same for Priscilla. Some random priestess suddenly decides to join Theo’s group. Okay. I guess he can add more to his harem. Having a holy woman is a variety in his harem. Heh. Since she has no fighting abilities, she is relegated to the side-lines even more than Aishela. With only her healing ability as her worth, you keep wondering why the heck do they need a redundant character in the group. And of course as the final stretch of the anime nears, that Holy Grail plot twist crap thingy pops up and yet in another attempt for shock factor, Priscilla offers her life because I guess that is the only way Theo is going to have all the Crests other than from Alexis and Marrine. The Holy Grail is after all still technically a Crest. And yeah, a character whom you won’t remember much suddenly dies for the greater good. Wow. So noble. I cried. Read, sarcasm.

Having said that, it goes without saying that Irwin is very underutilized here. As a black butler who offered himself to serve Siluca as atonement for the Great Hall Tragedy, I felt that his super assassin skills are mostly wasted. Sure, we get to see certain fight scenes where he engages in high speed assassin style fighting but that is all we get about him. I know assassins aren’t supposed to stand out but Irwin in this context feels more like a background character the more this series progresses. He guards and protects from the shadows and though that may be good enough for him, I guess it is not good enough for yours truly because I really want to know his past or his struggles so as to have something relatable or at least I can root for him not because he is a super cool killing machine. Lastly, the werewolf twins. What the heck are they here again? Being grateful to Theo is one thing but following him around, don’t see them do much except in some fight scenes when necessary, what else have they got going now that their mother’s killer is dead?

On to Theo and Siluca, like any main character material, he has his own ideals and justice that we all love to have but in this era has become too cliché. You know, the kind of hero that wants to save everybody and not sacrifice a soul and hence bringing ultimate peace to all sides. Thankfully it is anime so it can happen for him. Not sure if I can call his ultimate goal to retire in Sistina and live a happy life with Siluca is refreshing or boring. Becoming the emperor seems like a stepping stone to that and while it is different than most main characters who end up being the permanent leader to lead the new world, I suppose in a way that this is quite a unique dream. He always has Sistina in his heart from start to finish. It just seems that the goal of uniting the warring factions looks bigger and overwhelming, thus the action he takes look like it is in that best interest.

But during Villar’s moment of limelight, Theo like his other groupies, became a bit side-lined as well. Sometimes I feel that Villar is such a great guy and his death was unjust and untimely. He has his own past and his own charm but I guess when you have to push a new young hero to greater heights, somebody has to use his life. Hence Theo feeling more like almost non-existent as he is away when Villar and his allies make their final stand. And then when Theo comes back, it’s like the plot takes a little detour for him to return to Sistina and liberate it. Necessary plot for him to be the next leader. It is meaningless for him to be the leader of the Treaty if his own country isn’t resolved. On a trivial note, I keep thinking Theo Cornaro would make a great ice cream maker. Cornetto…

Siluca started off as a strong independent woman. I remember she has plans for Theo and she sounds like she is using him or if not at least has her own motives for laying out those plans for him. Over the course of the series, it feels like she strayed from that path and becomes more worried about him. Not because he is an integral part of her plan. Get what I mean? I can obviously blame love for this. Uh huh. Ever since that cheesy romance in the Forest of Darkness, there are times watching Siluca being worried feels like she is a teenager in love. But I guess that is what is needed for this series instead of fighting and fighting, killing and killing. So we need some cheesy romance factor as some sort of distraction. After all, when you have 2 main characters who have been working together for a long time, what are the chances of sparks of romance igniting? Unless you’re gay or lesbian but thankfully, right?

Speaking of romance, I am sure that I am not wrong to say this war is prolonged just because of the failed love between Alexis and Marrine. This series would not even have started and Theo getting his chance to shine had not the Great Hall Tragedy happened. They would have been happily wedded ever after. Hence the prolonged war is partly due to Marrine who can’t get over her mourning and hence trying to shoulder all the burden, sacrifice and responsibility on herself just to achieve the minimum. On the other hand, Alexis was totally a wuss. He sounds so gay that I thought he was in the wrong anime! In this sense, I believe Marrine is more brutal and has more balls than Alexis! Thankfully thanks to Theo playing the ultimate matchmaker, their love is reunited and of course our true enemy whom you are supposed to least expect turns out to be the very Mage Academy that produces world class mages.

Although in my personal opinion I dislike war and war is bad in general, I suppose that some people cannot live without all the fighting. So with the Mage Academy as one of those sneaky hidden final boss (not so much of a final boss anyway as seen. They didn’t even put up any resistance with Theo. I guess not seeing he defeated Dimitrie their last line of defence), sometimes I feel that their reason for wanting to preserve Chaos is also correct. In the sense that if you completely destroy Chaos, you destroy the overall balance. Without Chaos, no doubt humans of the land would live in peace but humans being humans, do you think that peace will last? I presume that people will start to fight each other again for even pettier reasons. We see how the Lords and Kings cannot agree with each other and got greedy for land and titles instead of uniting to fight Chaos. Until Theo came along, that is. But ultimately if this goal is reached, it is hard to think that humans will ever sit still. Even the Vampire King himself as a living being is afraid of ceasing to exist. So the idea of war to continue is a good or bad thing is very much debatable. Like I said, Theo and the current people won’t live that long into the future to see where their efforts would lead humanity. But having Chaos destroy civilization is the same as destroying mankind? Either way, it tells us that mankind is the culprit and root of the problem, no?

As I have said that the general plot of this series is about attacking and conquering one another, it goes without saying that the action parts are the main draw of this series. Of course it might look a bit unrealistic since magic is employed but they help add to the might of the fight. To show the brutalities of war, there are a lot of blood spilled. A lot. There are also lots of casualties too and not just minor characters but all those foot soldier guards who lay their lives for their leader. It makes me wonder about the population of this world. At the rate they are killing each other, the population is sure taking a nosedive but yet we see so many soldiers from so many nations. It’s like a never ending supply of men. A lot of young children are going to be orphans with their fathers getting killed in the battlefield. In addition to the brutal war action, sometimes it is not just go all out and kill the enemy. Some strategies and battle of the brains are needed. Thus some of the strategies employed here are interesting and entertaining. Not all victories lie in reducing the number of your enemy. Heck, even retreating is an option sometimes!

While the art and animation feel pretty standard, my only complaint is that during some action scenes, there is a dip in quality. It is obvious. I mean, not so obvious that it sucks but if you at least pay slight attention and watch, you can tell the drop in quality. Don’t underestimate the human eyes because even a normal guy like me can catch it. Such scenes are usually when the action is fast and frantic. So why the heck put in the effort in the detail when the scene might last only under a second or two? As for the character designs, my only comment is that, doesn’t Siluca look like a sexier version of Saber from the Fate series? With so many nations and their emblems, they have this grand feel to them but overall they look pretty similar to me.

This series has so many characters so I guess the list is long, some only making a cameo. But for the main ones, those I recognized are Takahiro Sakurai as Villar, Yuuichi Nakamura as Irvin, Satoshi Hino as Lassic, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Moreno, Youko Hikasa as Jana, Hiro Shimono as Selge, Yuko Kaida as Margaret and Ayane Sakura as Layla. The others are Kentarou Kumagai as Theo (Haruhiko in Tsurezure Children), Akari Kitou as Siluca (Yonaga in Alice To Zouroku), Ai Kayano as Marrine (Inori in Guilty Crown), Yuuichi Iguchi as Alexis (Saji in High School DxD), Natsumi Takamori as Priscilla (Azusa in Orange), Reina Ueda as Aishela (Mira in Dimension W), Wataru Hatano as Milza (Gajeel in Fairy Tail), Satoshi Mikami as Aubest (I-Guy in The Reflection), Chika Anzai as Laura (Hanabi in Kuzu No Honkai), Minori Suzuki as Emma (Freyja Wion in Macross Delta), Megumi Nakajima (Kaede in Kampfer) and Sayaka Harada as Ulrika (Sayaka in Aho Girl).

The first opening theme, Starry by Ayano Mashiro sounds like your typical upbeat anime music that fits this genre very nicely. The second opening theme, Rin by ASCA also sounds familiar but with an added touch of dramatic. ASCA also sings the first ending theme, Pledge. It is a slow ballad and not too bad. Somehow the second ending theme, Shoudou by Ayano Mashiro reminds me of the ending theme of Shukufuku No Campanella, Mirai Kaikisen. The pace and beat sound almost similar and even the singer herself sounds almost comparable.

Overall, I can place this series as just average at best. The simple thin plot of uniting everyone for the ultimate Grancrest is overwhelmed by the excessive battle scenes. Attack and attack and attack! Defend and defend and defend! Lots of blood spilled. Lots of people get killed. You win some, you lose some. Oh yeah, don’t forget the cheesy romance that is happening in the midst of the big war. This series could probably have worked better if it was a video game but unfortunately this wasn’t adapted from a video game but rather a light novel. So I wonder if all the drama in the written words got lost in translation and substituted with action scenes. Not that I read the light novel anyway. Oh right, did I say this series was also a table top RPG game? Yeah, maybe that would work. But for the anime adaptation, it’s like saying war is peace and peace is war only further confuses everyone and make everybody fight everybody. As the saying goes, war is not about finding out who is right, but who is left!

Violet Evergarden

July 22, 2018

Wait a minute. Saber with mechanical hands? And she goes by the moniker of Violet Evergarden now? Of course I know it’s not. But another funny thing because in the same season that Fate/Extra: Last Encore ran its course, there were 2 other anime series in that season in which the main character looked like Saber. One of them being in Grancrest Senki (yes, Siluca looks very much like Saber in my books but in skimpier outfit) and the other one being this series. So I heard the setting is that the war has ended and hence this Saber-like titular main character who was once part of the military, finds a new job and rebuild her life while trying to find the meaning of love. ‘Mysterious words’ left behind by her late beloved killed in the war. I also read that some tissues are needed if you want to sit through this. Oh…

Episode 1
After the war, Violet Evergarden finds herself in a hospital. She writes to Major Gilbert Bougainvillea the need to return to active duty but if she is having a hard time grasping a pencil, I’m not so sure. Claudia Hodgins who is Gilbert’s colleague, comes to retrieve her but Violet keeps insisting about Gilbert. Each time, he tries to change the subject or ‘assure’ her he is alright. I think at this point we already know his fate. As she is discharged, she checks through her belongings and finds the emerald brooch from Gilbert is missing. She becomes frantic and wants to search for the gift Gilbert gave her but Hodgins assure he will find it for her. Arriving at the port city of Leiden, the capital of Leidenschaftlich, he leaves her in the care of the Evergarden family. Since she is still clumsy with her hands, taking off her bandages reveal a mechanical one. She is not used to it but assures in time she will. She is given a pair of gloves. As Hodgins leave, Violet is not satisfied and demands an answer why Gilbert put her here. She insists she can still fight after some retraining. He says the war is over. In that case, she wants to be disposed of if she is no longer needed. She considers herself as Gilbert’s tool. Hodgins changes his mind and has her follow him. He explains he is no longer with the army and has set up his own business. A postal and ghostwriting service. He will give her commands in Gilbert’s stead. He puts her in the postal division and has Benedict Blue show her around. Being the kind who executes her orders perfectly, she literally takes his words and even does night time deliveries! Hey, need to deliver all the letters, right? Hodgins has to stop her and talk to her about things. Asking her last orders from Gilbert, she says it is to run away and live free. And there is also that I love you she is eking out to say. Violet is still confused over his words so Hodgins says taking her in is his way to make amends for Gilbert. One day she’ll understand what he is saying. Violet hears a client using the Auto Memoir Doll (ghostwriting) service. This brings back memories of her with Gilbert during the war. Because she wants to know what I love you means, she wants to work in this division. Flashback shows Violet frantically trying to save Gilbert’s life. But he knew his time was up and ordered her to stop. He uttered those final words before breathing his last breath.

Episode 2
Short flashback shows Gilbert was introduced to Violet by his older brother. She was found on the north eastern front. Violet is introduced to Cattleya Baudelaire who is the best Doll in the company. Other Dolls include Iris Cannary and Erica Brown. Violet is tested for her aptitude using the typewriter. She is hitting it so hard that she is forced to stop. Painful to watch. But Violet isn’t the only Doll facing personal issues. Iris and Brown feel bored since joining the company. They have done nothing but type addresses as Cattleya takes all the best customers. They want to write exciting stuffs. Cattleya tries to flirt with Hodgins to purposely piss off Benedict. Violet sits next to Erica during her ghostwriting job. Since Violet is honest and straight, she actually comments on the direct implication of the client’s words instead of rewording it nicely. Especially when a client becomes angry that the letter is written in a way that makes it sound it is his fault. When he gets violent, Violet reciprocates. With customers complaining, Hodgins has to talk to them. One afternoon when Cattleya is out, a fancy lady is looking to use their service. Erica lights up upon knowing she wants to write a secret love letter to a man she loves. However her recent experience has her hesitating if she should take the job. Too bad Violet usurps her and will take on the job. But soon that lady comes back fuming because the letter she wrote made her sound obnoxious and arrogant instead of being subtle and hinting she wants him to pursue her! No wonder the man was pissed. Cattleya talks to Violet who has realized she has failed to understand. Cattleya says about the 2 sides of words and what is spoken isn’t necessarily all there is to it. It is human’s weakness to test others to reaffirm our worth. Violet and Erica do some soul searching why they want to be a Doll. As for Violet, she wants to know what I love you means. Thus Erica goes to plead to Hodgins not to fire her as her typing skills are exceptional. Despite earlier on she didn’t think Violet would be a good ghostwriter, she views herself as the one who isn’t suitable, that’s why she spoke on her behalf. Erica narrates the history of the typewriter, invented when his wife became blind. Now it becomes a symbol of ghostwriting. As this story touched her heart, she hopes one day she could write letters that touch the hearts of others. Violet is surprised when Hodgins has found the emerald brooch. He claims somebody stole it and was lucky to find it on the black market. In actual fact, he used up the company’s funds to buy it. Cattleya has her suspicions of it and has Hodgins spill the beans.

Episode 3
Violet attends the school that trains Dolls. She is like a robot when the teacher asks to type and hence she needs to be specified how fast and how many words per minute. She awes everyone with her mechanic hands and her insanely precise typing skills. Violet befriends fellow Doll trainee, Luculia Marlborough. It is no surprise Violet always tops in her grades. A little detour as we see Cattleya and Benedict being loggerheads with each other. Violet and Luculia become partners in a ghostwriting practice. While Violet’s letter sounds more like a military report, Luculia decides to address hers to her parents. However Violet makes it sound like a soulless report and hence the teacher admonishes her for not writing a letter. Luculia takes Violet to a rooftop to show her the beautiful scene of Leiden. This reminds Violet that Gilbert told her he hoped she would see the beautiful city of Leiden. Luculia finds her drunk and injured brother, Spencer getting into a bar fight. She brings him home. He doesn’t care. Luculia can only cry in silence. The teacher gives pins for those who graduate as a fine Doll. Luculia is one of them. Violet is not. This has her question why she went to that school for. It makes her realize she can’t understand her client’s expression and hence is not fit to be a Doll. Luculia decides to help Violet in ghostwriting again. She wants her to address it to Gilbert whom she is always talking about. Learning she wants to know the meaning of I love you, Luculia reveals the truth about her parents. They’re dead. Spencer is the only family she has got. During the war, he was posted at a front where it rarely sees action. As the war nears its end, that front got penetrated. Their parents were visiting there then. He was filled with regret he was unable to save them. Despite he became a handicap, she was always happy he at least came back alive. All she wants is to thank him for coming home, which never got to tell him. This might have hit Violet’s heart as she begins to write. Spencer got himself into another fight. His military instincts has him almost beat up Violet but she is here to deliver Luculia’s letter. I guess we know Violet has levelled up if he is crying. When Benedict and Cattleya seems to be on good terms, Violet thought they were fighting. Yeah, they end up fighting. Damn. She just instigated a fight? Next day, Luculia brings Violet to the teacher. She has shown her the letter she wrote. The teacher views her as fit and gives her the pin. Wait. Just 1 letter like that? What if it was a fluke? Luculia is very grateful for Violet’s help. Hodgins is impressed of her progress.

Episode 4
Iris is ecstatic as she gets her first ghostwriting request from her hometown of Kazaly but from an unknown woman, Sara Florent. In her happiness, she trips down the stairs. Although she injures her arm, her fall is broken by Violet. Now she has to accompany her to ghostwrite. When she meets her family, it is obvious Iris tries to exaggerate that she is a successful ghostwriter while trying to hush Violet for correcting. It seems Sara is the name of Iris’ great grandma and the request was actually made by her mom. She wants to write invitations for Iris’ birthday party. Iris is not pleased learning most of the invitations are guys. You know what kind of party this is when mom starts hinting she is already of that age. Iris demands Violet do not send an invitation to one of the guys on the list, Emonn Snow. But during her party, Emonn shows up. Violet checked with her mom and she said to send it. Party ruined with Iris showing that angry face and locking herself in her room. Violet learns from Iris that Emonn was the guy who rejected her. Yeah Violet, care to elaborate out loud what it all means? Now she’s crying. When mom tries to talk to her, more screaming and blaming. After Violet apologizes for not reading her feelings thoroughly, I guess Iris cools down and tells the whole story. She always loved Emonn and confessed to him on the day they graduated from school. But he rejected her as he could only see her as a childhood friend. It broke her heart so much that she couldn’t stay around here and left for Leiden. This has Violet noting that confessing requires a lot of courage. Violet suggests writing apology letters to all the guests. This includes Iris’ parents and you can tell it is a heartfelt apology and sincere gratitude in a way. So Violet’s ghostwriting isn’t a fluke. You can tell when her parents are moved to tears. Too bad Violet will charge Iris for that and won’t give a discount. As they leave, Iris receives flowers from her parents. I guess now we know why she is named so. She was born when those flowers were in full bloom. This has Violet remember how Gilbert named her. He spotted a lovely plant and decided to name her so in hopes she would grow up to be a lovely person worthy of that name instead of a tool.

Episode 5
Hodgins sees his former commander and is told another war might break out as some countries in the north do not accept the peace proposal. Drossel and Flugel are 2 enemy countries and they will be entering a marriage of convenience. Hodgins sends Violet to be the ghoswriter for Princess Charlotte Abelfreyja Drossel as she will exchange public love letters with Prince Damian Baldur Flugel. Violet is introduced to Charlotte by the court maid, Alberta but Charlotte is not happy with all of this one bit. She questions Violet about her age because it seems there is a 10 year gap with Damian. As Violet is unsure with the concept of love, this only upsets Charlotte. She even demands her to show some emotions! Hope she doesn’t regret it… Violet ghostwrites her first letter. Wow. It’s really beautiful. Damian also equally replies. Charlotte is not happy things didn’t go her way and kicks up a fuss. Alberta has to remind her of her position and how she won’t be around once she is married. Charlotte insists she should be since she has been by her side ever since birth. Their public love letter exchange captivates the people and this goes on for a while until Charlotte is fed up of it all as she believes Damian has a Doll writing those letters. She explains to Violet how royalties have their marriage arrangement as soon as they turn 10. So her birthday party looked like a big meeting for a prospective husband. Nobody cared about her feelings. She was crying outside till Damian showed up and consoled her. As he spoke from his heart, he captivated her. Soon the war broke out and talks of marriage was put on hold. She studied on the benefits of the marriage between their countries and is happy to receive his official proposal. But her problem is that she doesn’t know his feelings. She is worried they might not get along. Violet suggests writing the letters herself and she has gone out of her way to talk to Damian’s ghostwriter and they agree to this. Charlotte and Damian write from their heart. The letters sound less flowery but remain true to their hearts. Their weaknesses, fears and all while assuring they still love each other. It captivates the people too and it feels like as though they are watching a real live drama! In the end, Damian proposes they meet and he officially proposes to her. She accepts. Hooray! Charlotte has matured and looks stunning in her wedding dress. Her only regret is that Violet isn’t around to see her wedding. Violet meets up Cattleya on her way home. She was the ghostwriter for Damian. She owes her for convincing Damian. When Violet steps back on Leiden, she is confronted with Dietfried (Gilbert’s brother) and he is not happy she has become a Doll. He is not amused that someone who has taken many lives is now writing letters to bring lives together.

Episode 6
Many Dolls from all over the continent gather at Shaher Astronomy HQ. This means Violet meets up with her old classmates like Luculia. As the men’s usual job in the manuscript department is to preserve old, rare and poorly maintained books, last month they received a huge number of those. Hence the Dolls’ services are required. A man is paired with a Doll for the job. He will read and she will type. Leon Stephanotis is paired with Violet. What are the chances of a guy who doesn’t like Dolls… Yeah, you’ll slowly see him being taken in by Violet’s beauty as well as her skill. Violet is so efficient that they’ve completed 3 days’ worth of work in a day! Man, that guy is sure going to have a sore throat. One day, Leon hears his colleagues trying to tell Violet that he is wasted on her due to his circumstances. Thanks to her honest nature, it doesn’t get through her. Seeing his ‘natural face’ after hearing that, it’s funny how Violet replies she too has this kind of ‘natural face’. Leon summons the courage to ask her to go stargazing with him since Alley’s Comet (Haley’s Comet?) only comes around once in 200 years. What a major coincidence. Too bad the bread was squished to parts unknown for this invitation. While waiting for the comet, Leon explains what his colleagues said was true. His mom was a travelling performer and married a local. He had a happy life and dad’s job was travelling around the world to collect rare books. One day he vanished and the search was called off after 2 years. Mom decided to go look for him and was never seen again, much to Leon’s dismay. That’s why mom is very important to him. It’s Violet’s turn to tell him she has no blood relations but a certain man who cared for her for a long time. Hearing her talk about him, he asks if she would rush to his aid if she finds out he is in danger despite putting herself at risk. Her hesitant to answer is not because of how to answer him but how to apologize to him. That man means the world to her and she would rather die than lose him. I take it he is rejected. Before he could say the obvious she loves that guy, here comes the coincidental comet. The Dolls leave after the enormous work is complete. Leon sees off Violet. He admits he always wanted to follow his dad’s path but thought by being in this manuscript department, he could wait as long as needed for his mom to return. Thanks to her, he has changed his mind and wants to travel the world no matter how dangerous. He hopes they could meet as travellers one day. When that happens, he hopes she would still go stargazing with him. The odds of that might be even more astronomical than Alley’s Comet but he is glad he won’t hesitate anymore for she gave him the courage to take the first step out from the room he locked himself in.

Episode 7
Violet’s ghostwriting skills now take her to the nation of Genetrix where she will ghostwrite for Oscar Webster, a considerably famous playwright. However arriving at his home, his place is unkempt and he is not in good health. He prefers drinking than starting on his work. Plus, he treats her like a maid to do errands! Violet does so much but eventually puts her foot down and gets their work started. She types as he speaks the story but there are still many plot holes. When Violet finds a beautiful parasol, he suddenly wants to be left alone. Then when he sees her use it, she reminded him of someone dear. He snaps and hits it off her hand. He tells her to leave but she apologizes as she lacks the ability to understand whatever he is hiding in his heart. Oscar says he is trying to complete a story told by Olivia, his daughter. After his wife died of an illness, they moved here. However her days were numbered too and they lived as much as they could until she died. He lost all hope. Oh dear, Violet is so sad that she cried! She understands how it feels to lose someone and never getting to see them again. Once they both regain their composure, they continue finishing the story. It seems one of Olivia’s wish was to show she could walk on water across the lake to dad. Oscar didn’t think Violet would actually try and do it! OMG! Is she really walking on water???!!! This scene sparks lots of emotions inside him. Trying so hard to hold back the tears… :’(. Oh, Violet manages to skip 3 times before sinking. Damn I thought 1 was even impossible. Once her service is over, Oscar gives her the parasol. On her way back, she starts thinking words said from Dietfried, Gilbert and Hodgins and it makes her feel conflicted. Landing on Leiden, her former Evergarden family greets her. At this point this is where Violet finds out Gilbert has died as the mistress mentioned about his soul resting in peace. Violet storms back to confront Hodgins about his lie. He didn’t have the heart to tell her. He explains she was found alone alive outside the church. Perhaps moment before the bomb took Gilbert out. Although his body was not found, his dog tag was there. Violet takes this as a sign that Gilbert is still alive and refuses to believe otherwise. She runs away in tears.

Episode 8
Violet forces her way into the military to see Dietfried. Is Gilbert dead? He says yes. She says no! So what do you want to hear? But Dietfried feels mad. How can a heartless tool feel sorrow he thinks. As Violet makes her way home, we have more flashbacks. When Violet was found, Gilbert treated her kindly unlike Dietfried. Hence he took custody of her. Bringing her home, Violet was sceptical at first but gets used to his kindness. Gilbert was ordered to bring Violet to the frontlines to fight. He cannot disobey and in worse case, just abandon that tool. Well, well. They should just send in Violet as a one (wo)man army as she swiftly and efficiently kills the enemies in the most lethal way. Violet has reached Gilbert’s home. Is Gilbert around? Uhm, well, here’s his grave. Oh, it must be a coincidence the tombstone has the same name as Gilbert. The flashback continues. After Gilbert names her Violet, she showed some reaction and understanding. He trained and thought her how to read and write. To show his gratitude, we wanted to get her an accessory. She pointed out that emerald brooch because it has the same eye colour at his and looking at it moved her heart. Honestly she thought his eyes were beautiful when she first saw them. Moments before the final battle, Hodgins was posted to their same unit. He felt uneasy with his promotion because his family was the main funder for the war. Knowing this could be the last battle, Hodgins planned on quitting the army and open a store. He hopes Gilbert to come work for him but he wouldn’t want to. He teased he should hire Violet instead. Violet mistook this as Gilbert may not want her anymore and put her under Hodgins custody. They never got to finish this talk as the final battle soon begun. Gilbert’s troops were at the frontlines storming the enemy’s fort. Lots of casualty and even one whereby they were surrounded and ambush. Even if Violet was superhuman, there was no way she and Gilbert would have gotten unscathed and return to kill of all them. Anyway after a hard fought battle, Gilbert signals the victory to the reinforcements to storm the fort. But shortly after that, the enemy shoots his face.

Episode 9
Violet will not abandon him and carries him away despite under enemy fire. Heck, even if she lost both hands she still insists! And then that final heart wrenching scene we all knew. He tells her to live and be free and the confession of I love you. Confused Violet wants to know what is love (Baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me-… Oops, sorry) but the place soon collapses. Now Violet is at the remnants of the site looking for Gilbert’s body. Hodgins is here too as he reveals the enemy tried to bomb the place in their final attempt. Gilbert must have pushed her out of the explosion. Everyone in hospital lied to her Gilbert was alright because she seemed more concerned about him than herself. Before that final battle, Gilbert strangely asked him to take care of Violet should anything happen to him. He didn’t see her as a tool but was worried over her future as an ordinary girl. Violet follows him back although they have to take a detour as there is a little unrest from the anti-peace faction in the town ahead. Violet is back but she holes up herself in her room. So sad that she is seeing visions of Gilbert interacting with her. Of course it all comes crashing down. Frustration sets in. She breaks stuffs. Tries to strangle herself. Can’t. Interrupted by the old postman guy. He has a letter for her. Because Benedict injured his feet, Violet is asked to cover his delivery. Violet does so and notices the people receiving the letters very happy to receive them. Once done, she returns to read her letter. It is from Iris and Erica. They wrote as they are worried over her wellbeing. Spencer requests Violet to be his ghostwriter to write to Luculia that he is doing fine and found a job. Thanks to her, he got back on her feet. Violet also notes the letter she received was her first one. It made her happy. Violet sees Hodgins and asks if it is alright for her to be a Doll and live on. Why is Hodgins crying? Oh wait, me too. He says all the horrendous things she did cannot be undone. This goes the same when she is a Doll.

Episode 10
Anne Magnolia sees a beautiful large doll (Violet) walking into the house. She is amazed she can talk, drink, etc. Seems her dying mom hired her to type letters for a week. Anne spends some time with Violet during the break and one night as she is tuning her mechanical hands, Anne tries to ask who the letters are addressed to since it couldn’t be her dad as he died in the war. However Violet is unable to disclose that information. Client confidentiality. Does a little girl know what that means? Over the next few spaces, we see Anne bugging Violet for things. She reveals to her that she actually wanted her mom to do those things but Violet keeps spending time writing those letters with her. Thus she wants Violet to stop taking away the time mom spends with her. Of course she can’t do that and this only frustrates Anne. One day, mom shows signs of weakening that she almost collapsed. Distraught Anne wants her to stop writing those letters in which mom insists they are very important to her. Anne is unable to understand and snaps that she knows she is dying and will be left all alone once she is gone. She is upset she is willing to spend her limited time writing letters than with her. Anne runs away as Violet catches up and talks to her. More heartbreak to see Anne cry and blame herself for being a bad girl, the reason why her mom isn’t getting any better. On the last day as Violet leaves, Anne realizes Violet is human and has soft skin (aside her hands). She is warm, gentle and kind. The seasons come and go as Anne spends more time with her mom. As expected, she passed away. Unsurprisingly for me, it is revealed the letters mom wrote are addressed to Anne. Each one delivered on her birthday. Anne reads them as it brings much tears to her and us. Fast forward we see Anne grown up into a lovely woman, married to a lovely husband and has a child of her own. The main point is that no matter how far apart or long it has been, mom will always be watching over her. I don’t want to sound like a jerk but it is revealed that mom wrote 50 years’ worth of letters. But man, she must really be confident her daughter will live that long. I mean, in this age and era… Hopefully she would. When Violet returns to HQ, she starts crying to think how lonely Anne would be when her mom is gone. She was holding back her tears all the while. Yeah, that poker face of hers worked for once. Oops, sorry. Bring me some tissues too, please :’(. Cattleya comforts her that it will be the letters she wrote that Anne will read.

Episode 11
Violet overheard Hodgins and Cattleya talk about a request for a Doll at Ctrigall’s Menace base. It seems that country has just plunged into a civil war as some wants the war to continue. Of course Hodgins will not send his Doll to the battlefield but what do you know? Violet secretly takes up that offer and heads over there. There, the people aren’t willing to send her right into the battlefield. Furthermore, Menace base is completely surrounded. Violet notes a steep hill that is less protected and the only way is to fly a plane and parachute down. The idea is so crazy that the pilot decides to do that just for her. The enemy is preparing to ambush but they got ambushed instead. All were killed except Aiden Field. He desperately flees but is shot by a sniper. Though, he still lives. Not too sure if allies or the enemy finds him and is about to kill him but here comes Violet dropping in. She dodges bullets to bring them down! One of the soldiers recognizes Violet as a killing machine so he tells his men to leave. Must be really fate and coincidence for Violet to meet Aiden. In the cabin, Aiden insists she writes the letters instead of treating his wounds. Okay. So, uhm… Air typewriter? She can memorize them in her hands. First, he has the letters addressed to his parents and hopes he would be reborn as their child again. Close to death, he now has another letter addressed to his childhood friend and crush, Maria. He really loves her and wants to return home to her. He doesn’t want to die but he is weakening by the second. Violet plays as his beloved Maria before he dies. Next morning after she buries him, she makes a detour to deliver the letters. The parents and Maria break down. When they thank Violet for bringing him back, this dismantles all the tears Violet was holding back. Now she is crying along with them :’(. She apologizes she failed to protect him :’(.

Episode 12
Remnants of the anti-peace faction are planning to disrupt a peace treaty signing ceremony. Hence the army assigns Dietfried to ensure this ceremony proceeds. Dietfried sarcastically replies he is now sent to clean up the mess after the original troubleshooter who was his brother is dead. Cattleya and Benedict are to accompany the ambassador for the ceremony. Dietfried is also there and although he is relieved Violet is not on this mission, he still doesn’t miss a chance to badmouth her. Benedict stands up for her and believes her letters she wrote has given a lot of hope to many. Violet is taking a plane back when she spots several explosions along the rail. Up ahead is a train station where the ambassador is on. Violet must have a damn good eyesight to spot Cattleya and wants to drop down here right now! She tells Cattleya what she saw and with Dietfried hearing this, he wants to know the details. He realizes the rebels plan to disrupt several spots along the line before finally attacking the train directly. They will pass a point where they will pass a long tunnel which took a long time to construct. There will be no repairs along this stretch and if the tunnel is bombed, it will take an awful long time to be repaired again. When Violet wants orders, Dietfried is not happy she still wants to be ordered like a tool. I guess there is no other way or transport so the train still continues its run.

I know some rebels infiltrated the train but how did the other rebels climb on board later? Without the other guards knowing? Furthermore, they even detached the train and all the guards are in the last carriage. That’s why mom said never to put all the eggs in one basket… Dietfried will go stop this train and wants her to protect the passengers. She insists she will not kill. I know it’s cool to see Violet fight the baddies on the train top but it’s unbelievable she takes her not killing motto to the extreme that she saves knocked out rebels from falling off the train! Don’t mind getting a few injuries from that. Yeah, some talk about the war and how the rebels felt betrayed and it never ended for them, blah, blah, blah. Then her brooch falls off during the fight. Right into the hands of the rebel leader. It’s her Kryptonite because now all the rebels gang up and beat her up. Why don’t they just throw her off instead of wanting to cut her head? Because of that, Dietfried is able to show up and shoot and throw them all off! Now he is pissed, chastising her that she even failed to protect herself. Is this the woman Gilbert died to protect? He tells her to die but she wants to follow Gilbert’s orders to live. He calls her a deadweight and the reason Gilbert died. She killed him. Violet responds that she too wanted to protect Gilbert. Amazingly rebel leader is still clinging on the edge. Anther rebel fires a mini bazooka. Violet protects him. For once her metal hands come in handy to deflect it.

Episode 13
Wow. A few more shots and her whole arm comes off! Must be worn from all that use. Rebel leader tries to jump off but Violet kicks him back! She almost loses her brooch but Dietfried catches it for her and returns it. Rebel leader thinks he has the last laugh because the train will be passing through a bridge in which a couple of bombs are placed. Dietfried tries to stop the train. Normal brakes don’t work. Violet operates the emergency brakes. With one hand. Then she jumps down to try and pry the bomb out. Oddly, Benedict handles the other bomb as he jumps down and flying kicks it off into the river!!! OMFG! Is he a super soldier too?! Meanwhile Violet can’t even pry it and her arm is tearing apart! Must be one strong glue. Eventually it comes off with her arm. Don’t worry, Benedict saves her from falling. Damn this guy must really be a super soldier. With the ceremony a success, true peace reigns. With Violet back with new arms and ghostwriting, she is advised by Cattleya to write a letter to herself. She doesn’t know what to write so we have this flashback of her with Gilbert before the final battle. She thought he wanted to transfer her away and had no use for her. Because she insisted his orders are everything, he scolds her that if he had seen her as a tool, he wouldn’t have taken her in. He tried to explain the sad and frightened emotions she has right now but she doesn’t understand. He blames himself turning her like this. As Violet is still unsure what to write, Hodgins just tell her perhaps a sentence would do.

Violet is surprised when Dietfried wants to see her (sorry it’s not Gilbert). He takes her to his home to meet his senile mom who thinks Gilbert is still alive. Violet assures he is still alive and shows the brooch. Mother tells Violet it isn’t her fault and is not her burden to bear. Dietfried had many times told to give up on him but as his mother how could she? He is definitely alive. In her heart. Even if it is painful to remember him, she will think about him the rest of her life so as not to forget him. Okay Violet. Try not to hold back your tears so I can cry too :’(. As she leaves, Dietfried gives his final orders for her to live and then die. Best Violet reply ever: She doesn’t need orders anymore. The Air Show Day must be popular since people write letters and a plane randomly drops them all over town and you pick up whatever you read. Interesting ones to note are Erica hinting she has someone she likes, Benedict wanting to take over Hodgins’ position and Cattleya reading aloud Hodgins’ embarrassing letter that he consider his staffs as his children and himself as their papa. Of course we hear Violet’s letter addressed to Gilbert. It might sound she is still in deny that she believes he is still alive somewhere out there. That is because she will continue to live and if she so happens to chance upon him one day (hopefully not in heaven), she will let him know she now understands a little what I love you means. Damn Violet, you crying some more makes me wanna cry some more!!! Oh what the heck, a little more tears wouldn’t hurt.

Episode 14 (OVA)
Taking place when Violet is a ghostwriting noob, Violet attends an opera concert. The conductor, Ardu Morini notices her in the crowd. That kind of beauty definitely stands out. At the backstage, Ardu introduces Violet to Irma Fellicha, the opera singer who hired her ghostwriting skills. However Irma wants to use the alias Marieta to write a letter addressed to a man named Modest. Here’s another catch: She wants Violet to type it out herself. Of course Irma had to reject her many times as it sounds like a military report, outdated and repetitive. Each time Violet tries to do more research but ends up getting rejected. So much so Violet stands at a corner unsure what to do! Like a dunce? She tells Iris and Erica about it but they themselves can’t help out with this complicated task. When Violet meets Ardu, she is told Irma isn’t writing a letter but the lyrics of a song that she wants to sing at the climax of the next opera. Violet tells this to her colleagues and indeed it looks more like a screenplay. Benedict suggests all of them pitch in to write a large letter for the song. I know many hands make light work but too many cooks spoil the broth… Keep trying. Meanwhile Ardu sees Irma and tells her he has already given up but she insists she hasn’t. When Violet shows the ‘masterpiece’ to Ardu, he believes this might be what Irma is looking for. He brings her to watch Irma rehearsing. Violet finds it strange that the opera’s setting is in current times instead of traditional. It is supposed to signal to the people that they live in an era that war is over but the people’s hearts are frozen and cannot move on. The climax is for the protagonist to read the letter but Ardu couldn’t write something of that calibre to convince her. It was when Ardu’s friend, a teacher of a school who trains Dolls recommended Violet. Yes, she is that teacher who coached Violet.

In order to know more about Irma, Violet follows her? Stalker? When Irma learns that Violet has someone dear from the military, she starts to reveal her own. There was a man she was in love with, Fugo. He is Ardu’s son. He promised that he will come back but you know, war doesn’t discriminate against its victims. He is currently listed as missing and Irma hopes he would return despite knowing the overwhelming odds he would not. She just can’t give up. Oh, they’re at the train station as they watch relieved couples reunite. Cue to pull heartstrings. As Violet ponders about all this, the old postman guy, Roland talks to her. He mentions about letters are meant to be delivered otherwise they are returned to the sender. This doesn’t mean it is because they work in a postal company. Roland shows her a warehouse filled with lots of returned letters. Violet is shocked to read some of them. All of them containing “I love you”. Letters that will never reach its intended reader. Now that Violet has an idea, she starts typing. She shows it to Irma and this is what she wants, so much so she cries. Nobody would have thought of the day Violet could actually write this. Not even Violet herself. We hear Irma singing this lovely song on stage, incorporating the words of the letter. Violet and her colleagues attend the opera that ends with a standing ovation.

Evergreen Feelings Via Letters
Sob, sob. Sniff, sniff… Maybe I’m getting old. How long has it been since I have watched an anime that has very long periods of sadness or one that continues to force the tears out of my eyes right till the end. A real tearjerker right till the end. That mixed feelings of sadness as well as happiness when we finally reach the end of the series. It isn’t even a very tragic or sad show to begin with but it really touches your heart. When a journey ends, a new one begins. This is very much true for the titular character herself. But I guess for us, that is as far as we can accompany her on this journey. Any more we might need another load of tissues. I don’t think my heart and eyes can take it any more of the crying.

The overall story might sound ordinary. A fighting machine trying to find the meaning of love and trying to live as a normal human being while coming to terms with reality. Thanks to its pacing as well as how the story is being told, I was never bored and more intrigued to know more about it. Okay, not to say that I was 100% glued to the screen and watching with baited breath anxious and eager to know what is going to happen next. But it was done well and interestingly enough for me to stay put and hoping to find the answers along with Violet. Not the answer to whether Gilbert is dead (that question is still up in the air considering the excuse of his body was never found), but to whether Violet could actually overcome this obstacle that is hindering her progress in life and move forward. Thankfully she did. It would have been a real tragedy had she not and I believe it would not have sit well with viewers. We watched Violet from the start and hoped to see her grow as a character and to see her forever dwell in her past and self-destruct would be an insult.

Therefore some of the episodes might feel like standalone or fillers. Especially when Violet is sent to somewhere to ghostwrite. It may look disconnected at first but if you watch closely and connect the less than obvious dots together, you can see it all forms one big story for Violet. Thus every ghostwriting job is not just to fill in the extra screen time but it helps advances the plot and the direction in life for Violet. I might be getting old because the later episodes where Violet is despatched to ghostwrite like Oscar and Anne’s episode, it gets even more emotional for me to watch and it really hit close to home and pulled the heartstrings.

I’m sure the series is subtly hinting about the use of letters to convey feelings. With electronic technology so advanced in our world, old fashion letters are dying out. Who sends love letters these days? Let alone postcards or greeting cards. Do we even send them? So the theme of letters and typing them using the typewriter (I bet a lot of youngsters of the new generation don’t even know what this is. They’ll probably think it is some fashionable and bulky keyboard) makes this series stands out on its own. That is why I am thinking that the producers of this series whom I read went as far as to create their own alphabet system (actually, just change the Roman letters into some other pattern), if we were to live in this world, we would definitely be illiterate and need a ghostwriter! Quite impressive. Also, having such alphabets mean we can’t clearly proofread what is on the letter and criticise any inconsistencies in its contents. Damn…

As you know, Violet as the main character who is even the name of this anime is given a lot of the limelight. She is the main focus and is given a lot of development and screen time to flesh out her character. Before I get to her, what I want to say is that many of the other characters in that sense feels a bit neglected. Of course we have Iris and Erica being given an episode to focus on their own issues but that is only if it involves Violet somehow. Hence the other minor supporting characters feel like they are not significant especially those at Hodgins’ company. I was wondering about the feud between Cattleya and Benedict and if there was any chemistry between them or even Cattleya with Hodgins but those might look more like distraction than anything. After all, if we get too deep into those characters, Violet will not be fleshed out properly so I’m going with the reason that these characters don’t get too much focus for the benefit of Violet. Yeah, you can’t have everything.

Violet as the main character is an intriguing watch. We see her transform from an emotionless killing tool into one that could think for herself. It is both interesting and heart wrenching to see her go through life and the circumstances stacked against her. She might not be in the most unfortunate of circumstances but we could ‘blame’ Gilbert being the main obstacle in her life. Her life basically revolves around him. Gilbert knows how dangerous that would be and tried to set her free. It is sad to see her not being able to get over the death of Gilbert at first but as you know, she can’t keep crying over his dead body. Oh wait. They never found it. Only with the acceptance of Gilbert’s death could Violet move on as the thought of any chance of him returning to her is the biggest reason why she is being held back. Thank goodness for all those ghostwriting experiences, right?

Talking about Violet’s ghostwriting skills, at first it was amusing to see Violet as a very blunt and straight in your face character. Making it even more amusing is how she can say it with that poker face. Violet looks so much more beautiful if she smiled often and just eking that out feels like hitting the jackpot. Because it is most of the time that poker face or her crying face. It was unbelievable at first that she could pass her ghostwriting school with that fluke letter. It remains to me as the only unbelievable part of the series (there are many more like that skydiving down to the train to warn her colleagues but this is by far the most farfetched one) only because to advance the plot. Imagine if we have to wait a few years for Violet to turn pro, we aren’t that patient, are we? Sure, she learns fast but just like how there are things that can only be conveyed in letters (and vice versa), there are some things you can’t master overnight.

Therefore Violet becoming a ghostwriter is no surprise a blessing in disguise to the lives that she touched. She might still have her problems but she helps bring the emotions of loved ones together and bring them hope. Sometimes it feels like before she could solve her own problem, she has to help others and learn from it. Only then she has earned enough experience to move on. And hence we see Violet being freed from the chains known as Gilbert and living her life not because he told her to but rather because she wants to. I figure that Dietfried being the ‘antagonist’ and the only one who hates Violet (even enemies who fought her don’t want to mess with her) doesn’t really hates her. He might seem like putting the blame on her for killing his brother but I feel that it is more along the lines of him blaming himself for being unable to prevent his death. Violet was the convenient tool to channel that sadness and anger. Every time she says Gilbert’s name and to the point of seeing her face, the pain of remembering his dead brother is too much to bear. Because Gilbert and Violet became somewhat inseparable until his death.

One last thing about Violet, although she did made some improvements, her past is ultimately shrouded in mystery. Conveniently she is given that amnesiac treatment so that we are not tied down to that cliché when a main character starts remembering her past and then she goes berserk or something changes. Hence her past does not bog her down in this sense as fat as this series is concerned. While in a way that is good, this also gives a problem for those who really want to know how Violet came about. How did she became a killing machine that is so adept in fighting and killing, she could have been the one (wo)man army to take down nations whoever her superior is. So, who trained Violet to be that indispensable fighting machine? If it is the military, wouldn’t they want to claim her? Remember, it is claimed that she is found. So did some alien drop her on this continent and left? I think it would be an insult if they ever make a back story of her with something like that. A princess from an alien world being exiled. Yeah, that would really be unsettling.

Oh, a question I pondered for a while: How come the medical technology here is just advanced enough to give Violet her mechanical hands and move it like as though it is her own. I don’t know the medical state and technology now in the series but it still looks ancient enough because there are still people dying of some disease that could have been prevented or at least treated with our real world technology. I’m not a medical expert but this is what I feel. Because of that, sometimes I think that Violet having mechanical hands is just a minor novelty. Just to get people who see her for the first time to be in awe and fascination. Because imagine if she has normal flesh and blood hands, the story and plot will still proceed as normal without any fuss but it would be less stellar because no robotic hands. It’s not like her mechanical hands hide some machine gun or buzzsaw, right? Besides, before she had mechanical hands, she was already moving faster and punching and kicking harder than any ordinary soldier and only got the pair after the war ended. Besides, I don’t see other amputee soldiers. Did Violet only get special medical technology because she’s beautiful? Because if there were other soldiers fitted with mechanical arms, you’d be seeing them around and the military would try to reuse them again as long as you’re not dead.

On a trivial note, flowers seem to be the theme of this series as many of the characters are named after flowers or have relations to them. Obviously as we see how Violet was named so, but do you know in the language of flowers, violet means innocence and the thought of love? Yeah, that seems to fit Violet’s image very well. As for Cattleya’s surname, French author Charles Baudelaire wrote a book called Les Fleurs Du Mal (The Flowers Of Evil). Speaking of names, I find it odd that Hodgins’ first name is of a female. Cattleya teased him once about it but I was really curious to know the history behind his name. Maybe his mom wanted a girl but a boy came out instead. Some mysteries we will never know…

Aside the story, the other biggest draw of the series is the art and animation. Everything is really gorgeous and breath-taking. The sceneries, backgrounds, the lighting effects, the weather and even the characters too look quite good. It is a nice eye candy if you like your setting to be post-war European style. Of course with this anime being produced by Kyoto Animation, there seems to be many character designs that seemed taken from their other works. Most notably, Hibike! Euphonium. So aside the very Saber-like design of the titular character, for most of the other characters I can’t help think how all of them looked like from that said anime. As though the brass band has been disbanded and now they find themselves with jobs in this world. For example, the young Anne looks like Hazuki and Charlotte has that uncanny resemblance to Yuuko. Doesn’t Cattleya look like Asuka without the glasses while Benedict and Shuuichi might be long lost relatives separated by a different anime? This might be a long shot but I do see Kumiko in Maria. But aside all this, the artwork is quite beautiful and to behold.

Voice acting helps in bringing out the drama and emotional side of the series. They’ve done quite a good job in portraying their characters. Like Yui Ishikawa who does a fine job as Violet, you might wonder why her poker face and voice is familiar. That’s because she was also the voice behind Shingeki No Kyojin’s Mikasa. Damn, I can see the resemblance between both characters. Casts that I recognize are Takehito Koyasu as Hodgins, Minori Chihara as Erica, Kenjiro Tsuda as Damian and Youko Hikasa as Irma but I couldn’t for Haruka Tomatsu’s Iris. On a side note, Ayako Kawasumi who was the voice of Saber, made a cameo as Anne’s mom.

The rest of the casts are Aya Endou as Cattleya (Miyuki in Lucky Star), Hidenobu Kiuchi as Dietfried (Ryouhei in Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn), Daisuke Namikawa as Gilbert (Rock in Black Lagoon), Kouki Uchiyama as Benedict (Ichika in Infinite Stratos), Azusa Tadokoro as Luculia (Kotori in Gokukoku No Brynhildr), Sumire Morohoshi as Anne (Seira in GJ-Bu), Megumi Nakajima as Charlotte (Ruri in Sacred Seven), Mami Koyama as Alberta (Balalaika in Black Lagoon), Subaru Kimura as Spencer (Gian in Doraemon), Shintarou Asanuma as Aiden (Tsuda in Seitokai Yakuindomo), Yuuto Uemura as Leon (Juugo in Nanbaka), Satoshi Taki as Oscar and Takuya Inagaki as Emonn.

The opening theme is Sincerely by True. Rather and okay song. Fits the pace of the series well. But the one that takes the case is the ending song, Michishirube by Minori Chihara. This is very slow and lovely ballad and if you’re not ‘strong’ enough, you might end up crying listening to this. Thankfully, I didn’t. I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining, but since this is Minori Chihara we’re talking about singing this song, personally I have always found her voice to be one kind when she is singing. It’s not as bad like, say, Nano Ripe but it is something more on that lines. Also another beautiful song is the special ending theme in episode 9, Believe in by Aira Yuki. Even more powerful and emotional as it is played befittingly as the turning point for Violet. Violet Snow by Aira Yuki as the final episode’s ending theme stirs up even more emotions with its emotional ballad. Damn, everything so perfect to make the tears flow so easily!

Overall, this is a very beautiful and emotional story. Great story that would move your heart and almost to tears as well as instilling hope even in times where we could see there is nothing but losses and hopelessness. Despite I’m calling this series beautiful, it still isn’t perfect nor it is a masterpiece since it looks and sounds so beautiful that it fits more like a fairytale. So beautiful that it seems so fake? But inspiring nevertheless. Violet may not have truly grasped the meaning or love but she has naturally given to many others the warmth and love she sought to understand. In that sense, she is already loved. The love she was looking for has always been around her. You don’t see love. You feel it. Some things you just can’t really explain it in words or letters.

Youjo Senki

September 8, 2017

Initially I was sceptical to watch Youjo Senki because of its promotional poster that poses its main character looking like an evil doll. It looks creepy. I thought it was going to be some sort of military horror even when reading the synopsis that in this child-like doll, it is actually a grown man being planted into this body. Yikes! Creepy! But curiosity and my past experiences with military themed animes had me rethink again and so I decided to man up and check it out. So what do you know? The main character in the anime looks nothing like that in the poster. No I can relax and watch this alternate timeline whereby a certain Third Reich became the most powerful nation in the world. Oh, there’s magic too.

Episode 1
The Empire seems to be on the losing end till flying mages with magic spells led by Second Lieutenant Tanya Degurechaff come in to support. As explained, the Empire is a strong military powerhouse but is currently surrounded from all sides by strong potential enemies. Plan 315 was initiated to buy time for a highly mobile concentrated main force to travel to each area and defeat the enemy from within its borders. But the plan looks like it is falling apart. The higher ups (Deputy of Strategy and Operations Brigadier General Kurt Von Rudersdorf, Vice Director of Strategy and Operations Lieutenant Colonel Erich Von Rerugen and Brigadier General Hans Von Zettour) at the Empire’s capital, Berun are ruing the failure of this plan especially the major offensive against the Entente Alliance. Back to Rhine theatre where Tanya’s platoons are, a couple of her men disobeyed orders to fall back and instead went ahead to take out the enemy artillery. In the aftermath, she reprimands them by sending them home for disobedience. They protest since they want to fight for victory or die. She would have killed them for disobeying again but sends them to the rear of the platoon where it is ‘safe’. An emergency meeting is held about their observers encountering enemy mages. They are to go on a rescue mission and Tanya wants to exclude her comrade, Corporal Viktoriya Ivanovna Serebryakova (had a hard time pronouncing and spelling her name) since she is at her limit. She protests and claims she can still fight on. Her insistence has the commander allowing her.

The observers are barely hiding in the trenches but the Republicans use all their power to take them out. Though Tanya’s platoon arrive too late, she views this as a chance to take them out since they used up a lot of their magic. She wants her other comrades to stay out of it. The Republicans made a mistake by underestimating this little girl. She is fast, dodges all their bullets and all of her shots count. Tanya even tries to hold negotiations but apparently the enemy leader isn’t in talking mood. So she unleashes her greatest explosive magic and kills them all. Back in the Republican capital of Parisee, General Pierre-Michel de Lugo, the Ministry of Defence learns about Tanya who singlehandedly eliminated their entire platoon. They don’t know much about her and all they know is that she is known as the Devil of Rhine. Viktoriya learns her reprimanded comrades are dead when the enemy’s artillery struck it. She tries to tell this to Tanya but apparently she knows all about it. In fact, she purposely sent them there knowing that place is an easy target for enemies. So evil! So while the higher ups back in Berun are relieved their redeployment at Rhine has been completed, Rerugen is shocked to learn Tanya was sent there. He has met her once and from his personal experience, he describes her as a monster in the form of a little girl.

Episode 2
Salaryman (as I shall refer to him) is a ruthless employee. He hates those who are useless and shows no mercy. Like a fellow employee whom he just fired. Can’t blame him. Salaryman was just following the rules (which he loves because it is the easiest thing to do) and did no wrong. Because of that, the disgruntled colleague pushes him off and into the path of a train. Suddenly time stops. It may seem that everyone is talking to him but it is hinted that it could be God. He is lamenting the lack of faith in today’s people but Salaryman is an atheist. Plus, he doesn’t believe He is God and refers Him as Being X. Because God wouldn’t allow this to happen. And besides, why is Being X complaining about the explosion in population? Can’t handle it? Poor management on your part. When Salaryman insults how the weak cling to someone when they are in dire straits, this has Being X wonder if he would regain his faith if he was in dire straits. Salaryman realizes the consequence of what he said and tries to take it back. But Being X normally would have sent him for reincarnation and will make him a special case. The next thing he knows, he realizes he is in a body of a baby girl named Tanya. In a world similar to Europe, Tanya lives in a rundown nunnery. Being poor is miserable and war seems to be all the rage. However magic exists this world and those with high aptitude will be scouted by the military. Knowing this would be her ticket for a better life, Tanya quickly drafts in, hoping to survive long enough to get her revenge on Being X. Thanks to the military’s meritocracy, she rises through the ranks within a year and is now qualified to train others. Of course the new recruits are in shock of a young girl teaching them. But Tanya maintains her ruthlessness for those who shows disobedience and would have killed had not the superiors stopped her.

All that is left for her graduation is her training deployment in the north. Her job is to patrol and scout the enemy. It seems relatively easy because it’s like the Entente Alliance was dumb enough to enter enemy territory without being prepared. Tanya gets confident after her side shells and wipes out the infantry. She advances but realizes too late that enemy mages have appeared. She retreats and reports to control who will send reinforcements. However it will take a long time for them to arrive. She requests to leave the battlefield but control denies and wants her to hold the enemy till reinforcements arrive. Tanya is sore since she can’t hold that long. But what pisses her was control’s mention how God is on their side. It boils her blood just to think of that non-existent being. She turns around and goes crazy to fight the enemy. Might as well go out in style. If she runs out of ammo, use close quarter combat. Then she did a sneaky move of self-destruct to take out the group although it wasn’t enough to kill her but enough to make her look she fought tooth and nail. When she is hospitalized, she didn’t realize how good her ‘performance’ was because the higher ups are now treating her like an ace. They award her the Silver Wings Assault Badge in recognition of her heroics. Sure, it’s nice to get rewarded but Tanya hopes this won’t make them send her to the front lines again. Too late to think about child protection agency…

Episode 3
Tanya is happy she gets her wish. She will be transferred to an instruction unit back home. This means this is at the rear and not at the front lines. She plays a little cautious that there is nothing to do but she is told if they send an ace to the front lines, it would look back on them. Yes! For now she is made to do testing. A prototype jewel. Unfortunately it is hell testing this junk as she often bears the brunt of its defectiveness. Worse, she always butt heads with the development chief engineer, Adelheid Von Schugel who always proclaims his theory is always perfect. Well, you can’t argue with a madman, can you? Feeling this is worse than the front lines, she requests to be transferred. Thankfully they approve. Plus, they even scrap the experiment. Tanya is more than happy when she is visited by Being X. He seems frustrated that nothing has changed since 10 years. She sniggers back she isn’t desperate. Being X thinks she needs to witness a miracle but Tanya won’t be convinced over some insufficient observations that are no more than glorious misunderstandings. When she wakes up from this ‘dream’, she sees a card on her table that reads ‘Deus lo vult’ meaning ‘God wills it’.

With the experiment cancelled, Schugel is now able to do experiments he had been putting off. He wants Tanya to take part before she leaves. Reluctantly she does and as expected, the jewel is unstable and going out of control. It could explode anytime. Schugel is confident it will not because last night he had a divine dream telling him it wouldn’t. He was an atheist but now a devout believer. If you pray to God, He will grant your wishes! Either they pray to God or die as martyrs! Before it explodes, Being X appears before Tanya, he says he has blessed her computation jewel. With this miracle, he hopes faith will fill her heart and to spread it. She calls it cheating but each time she needs to use it, she must pray. Reality returns and the jewel is now stable and performing better than ever. All the scientists rejoice. Thus whenever Tania goes into battle like in Rhine, she has to pray to God to activate her magic. So when Rerugen explains how a monster she is, it is because she is the only one capable of using that computation jewel. However Zettour already has other plans for her. Viktoriya is surprised that Tanya has recommended her to be promoted to an officer. She won’t be in the front lines. But you can’t blame her for being a little sceptical. The new place she’ll be sent to won’t blow up, right? Tanya takes a train back to her new posting. She relaxes and thinks good times are upon her. Too bad for Being X, right? Oh, you don’t know what’s waiting for you…

Episode 4
Tanya is enjoying her campus life at the military academy. Because of her medal, she gets respected everywhere she goes. It might look like she is a cautious person who cleans her rifle she always carries along with her every day. But her intention is to shoot Being X whenever he pops up. Can such a being be killed by gunshot? Tanya has the honour to bump into Zettour. As he wants to talk to her, Tanya thinks she has hit it big for the easy life in the upper echelons if she establishes a connection with him. In his room, he asks her to speak freely about her personal opinions of the direction of the war. She believes it will lead to a world war. She is confident in giving suggestions on what to do till she realizes she said a mistake. Something about losing in the short run so as to win in the long run. Worried she might be branded a coward and sent back to the front lines, she tries to sound aggressive by pushing forth aggressive suggestions. He is impressed and she is surprised by herself she could actually come up with that. Zettour wants her to file an official proposal on this. Once done, he sends it to some of his comrades to read. Rerugen is sceptical of this madness but feels that there is some possibility to it. Something about this proposal written by somebody familiar…

While Tanya is having tea, Captain Maximilian Johann Von Ugar comes to talk to her why she drafted into the military at a young age. Her father was a soldier and her mom abandoned her. He is worried because now he has a daughter and wonders if he will have to send her to war, which is insane. She tells him to get to the rear before the madness begins. He must live to fight so that his daughter can’t. It might seem Tanya is being nice but deep inside, she is exploiting his mental weakness. Ugar is and now was her rival for promotion since he dropped out. Now that he is no longer a threat, he is also her valuable ally. Zettour presents the proposal of establishing a rapid response mage battalion. Soon Tanya is called to have a sumptuous dinner with him. After all that fancy stuffs of her redeployment (she is glad all the places on the list are safe zones), the real bomb hits her when Zettour wants her to be in charge of the battalion she proposed. Tanya knows she is in deep sh*t now. That idea she gave is now coming back to bite her. Despite she will have no superior to report to and can freely choose 48 members of her choice, she argues she is not that high of a rank to lead such battalion. Don’t worry. Zettour has everything well prepared. By the time she graduates, she’ll be promoted. Tanya has no choice but to accept it but makes it look like she is looking forward to it. All is not lost since her plan now is to delay the recruitment as long as possible. However after a week, there are tons of recruitment notices piling up in her room! And she thought she made it sound like hell, why do these sick people still want to join?! She believes she can worm her way out of this with an excuse she has no personnel to vet through it all. But hey look. The first person to arrive and report for duty… Viktoriya! Long time no see?

Episode 5
Looks like she is promoted to Tanya’s assistant. And guess what? Viktoriya has also taken the liberty to hire more staffs to sort out the recruitment! Oh boy. Tanya regrets sparing her life. She should have left her at Rhine. Several candidates are being called in to be designated to this new battalion. However the officer in charge interviewing them is just a hologram. Tanya and the other higher ups are being a barrier observing. Those who cannot see through this trickery immediately fail. Only a handful of them passed. Zettour thought her standards are too high. Tanya suggests re-education to devise a new acceptable standard. She shocks everyone by needing only a month when the standard time to train a soldier is 2 years. The new trainees get a real shock on their first day when Tanya starts bombing them with magic shells. Viktoriya is a smart girl knowing how evil Tanya is, has already starting to dig a hole when Tanya was explaining. Everyone manages to survive the bombing for 36 hours. But it’s not over. They have to trek through the snowy rocky mountains to a point in 48 hours without using magic. They make steady progress till an unexpected avalanche floods down. A few have died but Tanya beats them back to live!!! Everyone who sees this realize she is a demon. A fate worse than death would await them if they quit! Therefore when Tanya gives them a chance to quit, everyone vows to soldier one! A month later, everyone graduates. This of course is yet another backfire from Tanya’s plan. A training so harsh that would break any man’s spirit and look how it turned out. Tanya and Rerugen meet to discuss about the battalion’s deployment to the south eastern garrison. Although Tanya wanted more time to train them, the higher ups think they have reached a level where they could be deployed immediately. He advises her to learn Dakian.

To Tanya’s surprise, the Dakian’s troops are somewhat ‘ancient’. Their communications are not encrypted and they have no aerial force. Thus Tanya happily takes her battalion for a live fire exercise and to gun down anybody they see. Despite the large numbers of ground infantry, the mage battalion easily overpowers and destroys the Dakian forces. Too easy that Tanya is bored. Seeing how some of her men decide to play it safe, she decides to show it how it is done by joining the fight. Even when they go on ground, their bullets cannot penetrate their barrier. She orders everyone killed except the commander. Tanya feels odd that they are killing tourists rather than invaders. Then they ransack the place as evidence proof. With the Empire’s reinforcements arriving, Tanya wants to move forward and see how far they can go. They head towards the capital. Such a peaceful and backwater place. Viktoriya suggests attacking now since they have the element of surprise. However Tanya reminds her they are not barbarians and adhere to international laws and ethics of war. They have to give warning and only destroy the weapons factory. So first Tanya puts on her cutesy little girl voice to warn everyone in which nobody seems to believe her as they think it is a child’s prank. Then they fire away and destroy all the weapons factory. Tanya is satisfied. Mission accomplished. Time to head back.

Episode 6
While HQ is pleased with the overwhelming victory in Dakia, they have to be wary of an impending world war. Therefore it is only right they take out the weakest. Next on their plate should be the Entente Alliance who are more fragile than the Republic. However supply is their main problem. As Zettour puts it, their rails in the north are being taxed to its limits. There won’t be enough to launch a major offensive. Rudersdorf has an idea. He wants him to use his ace. And so Tanya’s mage battalion will be heading north to Norden. She feels something is off because they would have taken out Entente Alliance without central forces and that war would be over. It means a foreign entity is intervening. Looks like the Entente Alliance’s council are beginning talks of their next move. They fear they will end up like Dakia. The Empire’s side at Norden is having a tough time fighting foreign mages and bomber planes at high attitude. They are force to defend at all cost because if their supplies get bombed, they won’t last the winter. They can thank God because Tanya’s mage battalion is here to save the day. For the first time they have formidable foes to fight and Tanya is so sadistic in wanting them to enjoy it that she has cancelled reinforcements. Feel free to destroy any enemies as you like. Oh, the team with the least kills will have to pay for the victory party. Tanya then goes to face off with the bomber squad herself. Of course they couldn’t believe a single mage can fly as high as them. She easily takes out the commanding plane. The rest turn tail and abandon mission. But Tanya prays to God as her shell hits some of the planes like homing missiles. As she goes down to the ground to look for survivors, Being X pops in to bug her. He tells her that everyone in the world is out for her blood. How does it feel to fight against the entire world? Tanya is not pleased to hear that but resumes her mission. She then goes to destroy an observation cabin of the Allied Kingdom before they send their data back to HQ. Tanya returns to base but more work is expected of her as Rudersdorf and Rerugen expect. It seems she will be advancing the front lines despite the limited supplies since major powers are starting to intervene in this war. At this point, she’ll take on anybody who messes with them. Colonel Anson Sioux of Entente Alliance isn’t pleased with his promotion. It means his superior is killed and more fighting awaits.

Episode 7
Sioux sees off his daughter, Mary before he gets posted. She gives him a rifle as an early Christmas present. Tanya tells her strategy for the battle. She intends to prolong it past winter to save supplies. However a superior opposes as he doesn’t want to drag out the war. Though this puts a strain on supplies, he argues that Tanya’s plan means she doesn’t care about the lives of the soldiers. As you wish. Later Tanya speaks privately with Rudersdorf and Rerugen. As she states her honest opinion and strategy, she realizes the operation could be just a decoy for a rear assault. They are impressed with her deduction as only a few officers know of this plan. They decide to use her battalion for this surprise attack at Orse Fjord. Tanya’s battalion jumps into battle during the dark hours. They have only 30 minutes to complete this surprise attack. If Tanya or other first lieutenants fail, the mission is deemed failed and Viktoriya must call for a retreat since the other members don’t have equipment to best the defence. The surprise attack works as it takes a while for the Entente Alliance to respond. But their mage battalion is quick to counter. Tanya’s team engages with them as she wants her other teams to continue taking out cannon emplacements. When Sioux sees Tanya, he is shocked and mad to see the return of the devil (he once fought her at Rhine and survived). He becomes enraged trying to get his revenge. At this point, all the cannon emplacements have been taken out. This allows ships from the Empire to bombard the coast. Sioux sees his dead comrades and destroyed forts. He won’t give up and charges straight at Tanya. She prays to God to take out this fanatic. He too prays to God to take out this devil. Too bad Tanya is the devil who made a contract with God so obviously she wins. Sioux is stabbed and thrown down into the icy waters. Tanya takes his rifle as early Christmas present. Tanya calls off her battalion as the Empire’s troops land and seize the coast and rails for their much needed supply. The success of this mission means they have dealt a decisive blow on this war. Sioux’s wife and daughter are in America. They hear the news of the fall of Orse Fjord. With casualties rising and the advancement of the Empire, it is only a matter of time Entente Alliance falls.

Episode 8
Tanya leads her battalion to another victory. But soon she gets word from HQ that there has been a rebellion in Arene City. It was once under the Republicans’ control. The Republicans has also sent their mages to join the rebels and take out the Imperial soldiers in the area. Naturally, Tanya is ordered to go fight there again. She realizes her battalion will be caught in between the hell fire because after they wipe out the enemies, their artillery will begin a barrage to level the place. Since they will be fighting in a city, property damage is allowed. However the problem is distinguishing between fighters and non-fighters. They are not allowed to kill the latter but have to eliminate every single one of the enemy. This doesn’t sit well with some of her comrades especially Second Lieutenant Grantz. As Tanya’s battalion enter Arene, snipers hiding in decimated buildings start firing at them. It is a bit hard to locate and smoke them out with all the buildings and structures. Tanya’s vice commander, Matheus Johan Weiss got shot in the shoulder and is deemed unfit to fight. She has him retreat and will hand him his punishment later for hesitating. When the Republican mages retreat to hide inside some building, Tanya then announces as per war treaty articles for them to surrender and release hostages or else. Of course they wouldn’t. One of the captured Imperial soldiers try to run but the rebels shot him down. This footage is recorded by Viktoriya as instructed by Tanya. After that the Imperial starts the artillery shelling. The devastating damage forces the Republican mages to stop fighting and evacuate the citizens. Grantz cannot take any more of this brutality so he confronts Tanya about it since shelling is to begin again shortly. Orders are to take out the enemies. By sparing them even innocent civilians would mean creating future enemies for the Empire. Because some kids will grow up to hate the Empire and be future soldiers for the Republicans. She will pretend not to hear what he said and after beating him up and ordering him to pick up his gun, Grantz goes crazy and aims and shoots. Rerugen shows Zettour a paper on interpreting war treaties and legalizing wars in cities written by Tanya a year ago. Did Zettour use this plan in this operation? He will use any talented soldier at his disposal. For he is going to give her a very important job to end the war with the Republicans. Sioux is found alive floating in the fjord and recuperating in a hospital somewhere in Allied Kingdom. He claims seeing a light that belonged to God. He told him to destroy that devil.

Episode 9
Tanya is surprised to see Ugar who is now working in the rear guard of the railway division. He lets her in on a secret that there is a plan for emergency transport. It seems the next strategy is to pull out from Rhine. It might sound it makes no sense since they have made quite a progress but the strategy is to make a false retreat, encircle the enemy and take them out. He believes her unit will be asked to serve as the rear guard so the enemy won’t learn of this plan. Back in HQ, the higher ups are discussing this plan. Because the battle at Arene has dampened their supply lines, Zettour’s strategy isn’t to win but to avoid defeat. That is the only way to end the war. Tanya’s battalion is engaging the Republicans at Rhine. Her teams have suffered several casualties. Although given the permission to retreat, she will not do so at this time because it will make the enemy suspicious and catch on to their plan. They fight on until the ground troops make their false retreat. Later Tanya sees Rerugen who praises her efforts that their first stage was successful. Tanya asks as she heard their military is distributing false propaganda via third countries. Even if they make it look like they’re planning a reckless large scale assault to make the enemy believe in it and concentrate their forces, they still need to disrupt and put them in disarray if they are to wipe them out completely just like in Norden. Rerugen gives her the plans for their next strategy, which is to directly take out the enemy’s HQ and leave them in disarray and capture enemy units. However if it was this easy in the first place, the battle at Rhine wouldn’t have been at a stalemate. Their discussion is interrupted when Schugel barges in. He shows her some super rockets that will be used in their next mission. Whatever mumbo-jumbo they’re saying, Tanya doesn’t look impressed. She has some questions and they’re all honestly answered by the mad scientist. Basically you can’t control the rocket’s direction or speed because Schugel believes you just need to just go forward and hit the enemy! That’s all to it! No wonder Tanya has got a bad feeling about this. It’s a one way ticket to hell. So naturally, she hand picks a few of her comrades to ride the rocket. They must succeed this mission as failure means the rest of their other plans will fail. They are basically the head of the entire army at this point. Even the higher ups are nervous and praying for the success of this mission. And so the rockets are launched. Tanya and co drop down once they have reached enemy lines.

Episode 10
Tanya’s battalion split into teams to take out the enemy HQ. Meanwhile Zettour is reporting to a few cabinet ministers about the progress of the battle. Despite their concerns on the toll it would take on their funds, Zettour cannot disclose anything more except that this operation is crucial to the destruction of the Republicans. But they start to get furious when he stays silent regarding the retreat at Rhine so much so it puts their industrial zone in that area in jeopardy. It seems the military is waiting for the right moment for Tanya to report her success. Thankfully her team has destroyed the HQ and ammo depot in time. So when the officer reports their success, Zettour can now has the last laugh as he begins his explanation of the next phase and follow up of this operation. A peaceful flank at the Rhine suddenly explodes over a wide area! It seems the Imperial has been digging underground tunnels to the enemy’s side and placed explosives. Once they have captured this side, they will encircle the main force and totally wipe out the enemy. When the Republicans realize their chain of command is in disarray, they are forced to retreat however the Imperial has tanks and mechanized infantry to block off their escape. Oh, did I mention they sent in the flamethrowers too? Tanya is delighted to receive this news and happily reports to her men about their imminent victory. Now they have the easy task of wiping out any enemy that retreats. After this they’ll return to the capital, celebrate and set for life. Just a little more before she can resume her peaceful life. Suddenly she receives report that an unidentified mage battalion is closing in on her area. Before they know it, a shot is fired and Grantz becomes the first victim. Sioux is leading the Allied Kingdom’s mage battalion for this attack.

Episode 11
The vicious dogfight begins. Allied Kingdom definitely has the superior numbers while Tanya’s side is trying to use altitude to their advantage. Weiss falls into enemy’s trap when he becomes enraged that his comrades got taken down by Sioux. Tanya is forced to pray to God to give her the speed to push Weiss out of harm’s way. Then she turns into her usual speed demon mode and gunning down her enemies. As she engages in the inevitable showdown with Sioux, she realizes he is using a trench gun (like a shotgun?) which is a violation of the international treaty. I thought all is fair in war? When they finally come face to face, it becomes close quarter combat. Sioux allows her to stab him because now he can hold her and take her out as he self-destructs. Tanya remembers him now as she struggles to break free. The fear of death in her eyes and voice. Luckily Viktoriya pumps a few lead into him. Tanya breaks free and shoots him back with his rifle. Sioux explodes but he only took himself out. The Imperial announces a clean-up operation, signalling their victory of this war. Good news for Tanya is that all her comrades are still alive albeit wounded. No casualties. 15 days later, the Empire marches into undefended Parisee. Yeah, they literally withdrew and let the Empire took over. They don’t want their aesthetics destroyed? The diplomats are discussing and sorting things out. Tanya is bored in her HQ and only has Viktoriya as accompany since the rest of the guys are having a BBQ party at some beach. One fanservice I wouldn’t want to be watching. When Tanya hears about Viktoriya reporting about the Republican navy ceasing combat and moving and that it is stated as armistice and not end of war, Tanya then realizes a grave mistake. She wants her men to get ready for assault. Vacation is cancelled. She then pleads to her superior to sortie. She argues the war isn’t over as the Republicans plan to abandon their country and attack from overseas. They must strike in this brief window or lose everything. But she is turned down at every argument. Tanya still has her privileges and invokes some ‘testing’ mission. However she is soon forced to stop when Viktoriya reports orders from HQ to stop whatever she is doing. As a soldier, she must obey or face the firing squad. Tanya lets out her frustration on the furniture…

Episode 12
Tanya goes to HQ to see any higher ups but they are all ‘busy’ celebrating. Luckily there is Rerugen to hear her out. She complains about the military not taking full use of this victory. Rerugen views her unfiltered opinion as arrogant. He shows her a filed complaint that she was trying to disobey order. He warns her despite the special authorities given to her, it is not meant to cause friction in the front lines. As Rerugen tells the reasons why there is no more need for war, Tanya counters that humans make a move on more than just rationalism. They are like beasts. Her proof is mankind’s history and her own experience. She has seen with her own eyes men acting on the pure feelings of hatred that overrides all reasoning. In short, the Empire shouldn’t become intoxicated by a temporary victory. Rerugen feels scared hearing her. It could be an I-told-you moment because an unverified report comes in about the remnants of the Republicans being active in the southern continent. De Lugo is rallying the Republicans how they will fight the Empire to the death. The common people in the Empire are now worried because they thought the war is over but now the Republicans have declared war and their own military is doing nothing. Rudersdorf and Zettour are visibly mad at the turn of events. Although it seems their only way is to go to the south and finish off the enemy, Zettour feels there might be something amiss. Their army is not equipped to cross the ocean to fight. What if another nation intervenes in this war during this operation? Looks like for now it is best to send a small team to fight there and you’ve guessed it, Tanya’s battalion gets the honours. Tanya narrates how the Empire defeated its enemies and failed to realize how the world around has become afraid of them. The irony is that despite the world wanting peace, they are willing to go fight and that prolongs the war. Mary is volunteering to be drafted in the American army so she could be sent across the ocean to fight. She is well aware of the risks and is prepared for it. She makes her tearful pledge of loyalty and swears in the name to bring God’s justice. Look who just powered up. Tanya gives her speech to her troops. First she talks about how God throws them into such cruel fates. And then she vows to kill God. They’ll take over His work and His place. Let’s put God out of a job! While the Empire’s top guns are worried if this plan could work, Rerugen assures and reminds them about Tanya’s reputation, a monster in the form of a little girl.

Despicable Me
And so God also did a cruel twist of fate to me by just ending it like that instead of giving me another season since I’m hooked on the series by the time it ended. Okay, so it’s the producers rather than God. And once again, yet another interesting military themed anime that left me wanting more. I believe it is going to get messier the next time with more nations joining in the fray since we have those cocky English on the west and those crazy ice cold Russians on the east just waiting for the right time. I guess Tanya will have to wait a little more longer to have her revenge on Being X. Could she just pray to God to just beat the hell out of Him? Oh, right. If she is going to beat the sh*t out of that higher being, might as well do it with her own powers instead of using some other power. She is after all the devil and she certainly has the crazy looks of it if she wills it. Imagine the devil as a little young girl. We’re either screwed or totally become her devoted slaves. Either way, end of humanity.

Not sure if I should be feeling conflicted here (I think I shouldn’t) because as the Empire is the focus of the series, they are like the ‘good guys’ while all those enemy nations surrounding them are like the ‘bad guys’. For whatever reasons the war started, watching this anime makes me feel like I want to root for the Imperial. Maybe is it because Tanya is at the helm and how the Empire is going to win? Yeah, everybody loves winners, don’t they? So does this mean I am a Nazi supporter? Pity the fools who can’t even tell the difference between reality and fiction. The Empire may resemble closely to a certain hated group of the past (at least currently in the politically correct culture) and I’m sure you might also see a lot of resemblance in the other nations. Remember, Nazis aren’t even mentioned in this anime. So don’t go screaming your head off because of your own ignorance.

Tanya doesn’t seem like the ultimate evil person herself. Some of her earlier deeds may make her look like a devil and the fact she scorches through the battlefield like on is mainly because we don’t know more about her yet at that point. We are shown that Tanya is a new form taken on by a bitter man from our world and thus will do whatever it takes to secure her future and return. But after getting and leading her own mage battalion, we start to see her in a different light. A competent and effective leader who cares about her comrades and is capable of bringing victories to her country. I know she ‘cheats’ a little at times when she prays to ‘God’ but sometimes you have got to do what you have got to do. Even previously if she was an arrogant and cocky person, sometimes you need to bend a little your strict ways for the better of your future. This is in reference to some moments when she needs to pray to Being X for the much needed power to determine a desirable outcome. Had she been stubborn and not done so, she wouldn’t have lived long enough to reach her ultimate goal to get back at Being X. In the long run, it is ultimately winning against Being X by playing at his own game. Yeah, it is still for her own benefit anyway.

As the series mainly focuses on Tanya, I feel that many of the other characters aren’t given that much of importance. Sure, we do see Rerugen going around to inspect the theatres and Zettour involving in high level strategy meetings or Rudersdorf always smoking his puffy cigar behind his big bushy moustache but that is so much about them. What else more do we need to know about them, old men in uniform? Even Viktoriya doesn’t feel like she is much. Like as though because the entire army are all males, they need another female so as not to make Tanya look out of place. Oh, having a young blonde girl leading one of the most effective squads is already out of place itself. And Viktoriya looking like a girl perhaps slightly older than Tanya, does the Empire only draft young girls into its ranks? And you wonder how a girl like Viktoriya can be drafted seeing she has this sunshiny personality and sometimes a bit retarded. It’s like her destiny to be Tanya’s lapdog or something. The only other ‘lively’ character is Schugel but this mad scientist just has very limited appearance and it sure is amusing seeing him ‘argue’ with Tanya. Both characters at different ends of their poles in their thinking and approach.

There are also a handful of other characters from other nations but their cameo is short that I don’t really remember them. Especially those from higher ranks. Since the series focuses on the Empire, players from these other nations aren’t given much prominence. In a way, characters like Sioux feel a bit like a let-down since I thought he would be the final boss but I have only myself to blame for having too high expectations. Well, indeed Sioux feels like the final boss for Tanya and his character shoehorned in for just this plot. Too bad for Sioux, it feels like his prayers to God isn’t as strong as Tanya’s. Maybe it will live through his daughter and then in the near future another showdown between the young lasses this time?

Sometimes I wonder if God or Being X is just a narcissistic and sadistic being. Call humans dumb or weak to throw themselves into war fighting each other forever. But if he is the Almighty, shouldn’t he put a stop to it all somehow? I know some might argue God shouldn’t intervene but sometimes whoever says their prayers to him will receive some sort of power up. Of course it boils down to individual skill and luck because if everybody starts praying, everything will still remain the same. But as seen here by those who chant in his name, they get some sort of a power boost to their abilities. All you need to do is say his name. You want things to go your way? Pray to God. When word spreads how it actually work and people start doing it, don’t you see this is some sort of blatant and shameless form of advertising? Being X claims he wants to make Tanya believe in the unseen higher power but could it be he just wants to screw her over because he is just bored? With the sudden turn of events at the end, I’m sure it is one of Being X’s sign to tell Tanya she just can’t rest on her laurels yet. Each time she has got her victory, it is short-lived. Something props up soon after.  I am pretty sure Tanya will survive wars after wars because she is a survivor. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Watch out Being X. She is coming for your head. Sorry, but my money is on Tanya! Hmm… Maybe I’m just like God. Wanting another season means prolonging the war and plot for this series just to see Tanya in action and what more she could achieve…

Some of the action scenes are quite entertaining and satisfying. Especially those of the air dogfights between the mages. Not to say that they are so exhilarating that I would be losing my breath each time they start shooting their magic and guns but at least it is well done. The only thing that bothers me about the mages is the magic box that they used to keep them afloat. Different nations have different designs but they all look as weird as f*ck. Like for the Imperial, the box is located in front of their stomach and it is big enough to look like as though they have a big square tummy. The northern side looks like they’re going on a ski trip with one leg. If you think that looks funny, you haven’t seen anything yet. Because Allied Kingdom rides brooms and the Republicans ride metal horses! Truly WTF moments.

Art and animation are pretty decent. While many of the characters look bland because simply every military guy in uniform looks the same, right? The weirdest looking characters are Tanya and Viktoriya. As said, Tanya may be cute as a blonde loli but she still looks a bit weird. But not as weird as Viktoriya. I thought she looks like a creepy doll. Look at her very broad face and very big eyes. Like a doll, right? Creepy, right? It is the sceneries that shine in the visuals. Or rather, devastating. The devastating effects of war can be seen throughout the battlefield like the very dead land in Rhine after a long time fighting, the decimated buildings at Arene as well as the very posh and ‘clean’ Berun. The magic effects are also cool to look at. Some of the scenes can be dark and gory but hey, this isn’t your happy magical girl anime. This anime is animated by NUT, which is their first production.

Aoi Yuuki is absolutely delightful playing Tanya as she sounds both cute and evil at the same time. Sometimes she seamlessly moves in between or from one or another and has that commanding voice whenever she gives orders. She really fits in her role and I can’t think of anyone else better who could pull it off. Other recognizable casts are Saori Hayami as Viktoriya, Shinichiro Miki as Rerugen and Haruka Tomatsu as Mary. The rests are Hochu Ootsuka as Zettour (Jiraiya in Naruto), Tesshou Genda as Rudersdorf (Kaido in One Piece), Daiki Hamano as Weiss (Dante Mogro in Mobile Suite Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans), Nobuo Tobita as Schugel (Souun in Uchouten Kazoku) and Kenyuu Horiuchi as Sioux (Kinemon in One Piece).

There is something catchy about the opening theme, Jingo Jungle by MYTH&ROID. The very effects heavy and techno beat dense music makes it very suitable for any sort of magic action video game. The singer’s powerful voice might be purposely muffled by the effects to sound like as though there are interferences but I think it is the heavy beat that catches my attention. If you want to do some hardcore techno dancing, this music is very much suitable. The ending theme, Los! Los! Los! by Aoi Yuuki feels a bit like military rock music. Also quite befitting the series. But don’t be fooled by her cute singing voice as the lyrics is mainly about going forth to fight for victory and trampling down her enemies, beating them down to the bone and blood. Yikes. Away from all that fast paced rock music is a special ending theme, Sensen No Realism by Mako Niina. Despite it is a slower piece, it still sounds lovely in its own right.

Overall, this anime doesn’t disappoint and it goes to really show that you cannot judge a book by its cover, an anime by its promotional poster and a capable officer by her physical appearance. Interesting alternate world war setting and strategies as well as satisfactory action scenes and a ‘likeable’ main character are its formula of success. The people behind this series must have really prayed to God to make it successful and good. At least to me. Looks like the streak of military themed animes has not failed me in recent years and this anime only increases my confidence in the genre so I will be looking forward to more of such in the future. I pray to God to watch more awesome and entertaining animes in the future. Imagine anime becoming the new religion of the world… Deus lo vult!

Saishuu Heiki Kanojo

August 25, 2017

Imagine if your girlfriend is no ordinary girl. I mean, every guy considers their girlfriend as extraordinary but what if she is really not ordinary. As in, she is a weapon. A weapon of mass destruction. A weapon that could destroy the world. Would you still date this ‘monster’? For the leading guy here in Saishuu Heiki Kanojo (Saikano), he would. Because the story in focus here is not how many enemies she kills or what ultimate forms of weaponry she could transform into and have. It is the tragic and human factor as the couple try to love each other as a human and staying as human beings while the inevitable war rages on. Will their love blossom and save the day or will she lose her humanity and become a mindless tool for destruction?

Episode 1
Shuuji is at a cold decimated place where he first met his girlfriend, Chise. He spots their exchange diary and thinks back of those good ol’ days. He narrates Chise isn’t particularly an outstanding student. Clumsy, weak, bad grades except history and have this penchant to apologize. Despite walking up the steep slopes is a daunting task for her, she still wants to as she wants to get to know him better. It has only been 5 days since she asked him to go out with her and they have already started exchanging diaries. Of course he finds it embarrassing to put his thoughts into words. Chise is relieved when he handed it back to her but to her disappointment it says he can’t do it and wants to meet up with her after school. Nervous, thinking it would be a real confession, Shuuji drops the bomb that he wants to quit this dating thing. It’s not her fault. He isn’t good at this. Chise is of course heartbroken but then she too spills that she doesn’t want to do this. What? Now she’s blaming it is his fault? Well, she always wanted to know what it is like to be in love. She asked her friend Akemi and even read manga but nothing came close. Since she admired Shuuji for a long time, Akemi thought she would just try to ask him out. Nobody knew Shuuji would accept it. I mean, would a guy normally turn down a cute girl? Noticing how awkward everything this is, they start laughing instead. Shuuji suggests giving this a chance since they have already started dating. So what’s next? A kiss. Seriously? Serious. They kiss for the first time and they could hear each other’s nervous heartbeat. They continue to hang out with each other. One day a school outing at Sapporo, Shuuji and his friends are shopping for stuffs. Suddenly they feel the earth vibrate. Earthquake? Actually in the distance, jet fighters. They’re not from Japan. Before they know it, it starts bombing! The chaos gets worse when local fighters enter the scene and other than buildings falling apart, fighter jets are also crashing down. Shuuji sees a flash that takes down the enemy fighters in no time. His heart resonates with it as he tries to chase it down but gets knocked out by an explosion. When he wakes up amidst the rubble, he is shocked to see Chise with weapons protruding from parts of her body. She apologizes this is what she has become. In shock, he hugs her but couldn’t hear her heartbeat.

Episode 2
A week after the air raid, Shuuji and Chise dating like normal? Like as though nothing of that sort happened? Well, Chise has told Shuuji about the weapon implants in her body. Nothing they can do about it, right? Chise also has to keep a pager in case of emergency calls from the military. Like now. Despite tens of thousands dead and much more missing, Shuuji and his friends make a vow not to speak about it because one of their friends was killed. Shuuji is reading the exchange diary and reads about Chise being apologetic about the events that have happened. Because she needs to keep this secret weapon from everyone else, it was a reason why she was embarrassed to be seen by anyone, especially him. She lists down his kindness and forced smile that sometimes make her sad. He rushes out to get her but catches her in her weapon form. Upon realizing he is watching, her embarrassment causes her to revert back to normal. After noticing the scars on her back, he scolds her for coming home like that. He regrets trying to ignore reality which only makes Chise suffer. Although she can’t tell anyone else, Shuuji says as lovers, it will be their secret. One day Akemi tells Shuuji to look after Chise better because it seems like she is going on a diet. When he finds her, she seems to be eating like a glutton in secret. She apologizes she can’t take it anymore. She thought if she fast, she would become weaker but it didn’t. She is afraid of what her body is turning into. Shuuji hugs her. Perhaps a kiss too but Chise won’t allow it. They’re watching her. Not sure whether it is Japan or some other nation but she can tell. Shuuji suggests running away. How far can his bicycle take her? The enemy detects her on the move and she can detect them coming for her. She tells Shuuji not to look behind but ahead. That’s because her body is starting to turn into a weapon. It then fires missiles to destroy the enemies. As they take a breather, the military now is looking for her via helicopter. Chise has this thought of shooting them down but Shuuji stops her. Chise kisses him and apologizes there is no weapon that doesn’t kill. Maybe it would have been better if she dies. I’m not sure what Shuuji is thinking but is sex the proper thing right now?! But then this huge hideous scar over her body might just be the biggest turn off.

Episode 3
Chise is crying how she cannot hear her own heartbeat anymore. She regrets being like this and wants to disappear. Even so, she is in love. She wants to live. Shuuji to gets emotional explaining he wants to live with her and all. He suggests running away. So they go home and pack their bags and leave just like that. Wow. Their parents are sure too busy to even care. However Chise gets a notice from the army to sortie to Osaka now. She doesn’t want to go but they warn her she is the only one who can save lives and if she refuses, this place would be targeted next. Shuuji waits at the station but she never turned up till morning. Her clothes are torn and there are bruises everywhere. All he does is hug her. So I guess plans to run away is put on hold. They head to school the next morning and act as though all of last night never happened. Along the way, Shuuji seems to notice his senior, Fuyumi heading in the opposite direction. Akemi talks to Shuuji because Chise seems to know him acting strange lately. He tells her about Fuyumi so Akemi wants him to talk about this to Chise instead. Flashback shows Shuuji somewhat made out with Fuyumi. When hanging out with Chise, she gets another sortie. This time she really wants to go but Shuuji can’t allow her to change in the middle of the street. She enters an abandon house to do so and blasts off in the sky. However the blast impact made a nearby lady on her bicycle fall off. Shuuji goes to help her and realizes too late she is Fuyumi. She is so happy to see him. He brings her back to her place to treat her minor wounds. It is obvious she is trying to flirt with him so he reminds her he already has a girlfriend. And what’s this? Fuyumi is married?! Well, she is blaming her husband, Tetsu for this. He hasn’t come back in 2 months. She’s lonely. As Chise goes on a rampage, she remembers the night Shuuji wanted to run away with her, something inside her broke. The mechanic told her she will never be the same again. Shuuji thinks himself as a cruel man to be cheating on Chise. When he was with Fuyumi, he forgot about Chise. That made him felt easier with her forgotten.

Episode 4
Shuuji and Chise go on a date. It must be a cheap date at the coastal area since they lost their wallet. It seems Chise didn’t bring her pager as she didn’t want it to interrupt their date. Everything goes fine until the evening when they walk home. Shuuji notices how cold her hand is and wonders how human is she left. Then before them is a roadblock. The army has found her. Time to go. Shuuji wanted to give his piece of mind but Chise holds him back. It’s okay. She goes with them and the last thing Shuuji saw was her smile. Mad Shuuji can only run. What does he do next? He goes to sleep with Fuyumi! As she was starting to make out, he suddenly starts crying. He is saying how much he loves Chise and wants to protect her. Uhm, is it wise to mention another girl’s name when you’re with another girl? Chise returns to the base after another successful mission. Some of the soldiers are awed to see her in the flesh. They are reprimanded by Tetsu who is the squad leader for being disrespectful to their superior officer. As they rest, Chise talks about Shuuji and how his scolding somewhat makes her feel alive. It makes her believe she is still human. Her comrades try to cheer her up that because of her fighting, they are still alive. Chise suddenly detects the enemy stealth weapons targeting her. Thanks to that, her comrades have enough time to take cover as the place explodes. Chise transforms and we see how much it hurts her. As she takes down the enemy, she realizes the need to save and protect people. Maybe then she would get praised by Shuuji. Maybe then things would go back to normal. When the mission is over, Tetsu praises her for another job well done. However she wants him to kill her. She can’t stand this anymore. She was a fool to think she could protect anything. Tetsu prepares to shoot her.

Episode 5
Chise breaks down and changes her mind. She wants to live despite killing so many. Tetsu also changes his stance. He tells her not to worry because nobody can stop her so she can’t die. He tries to cheer her up by telling about his wife. Despite he might die soon, he still wants to go home and hold her because he loves her. So Chise decides to live since she has someone she loves. But in class, she starts acting strange and everyone laughs at her when she says there is going to be an earthquake soon. This forces Shuuji to quickly run out and smash the fire alarm, prompting everyone to assemble outside. He then tries to find out what is happening to Chise but she tells him to run and not watch her transform. At first he takes up her advice. But after the building is blown up, he returns to her side only to be freaked out to see how she transforms. Not really sure if it failed since Chise reverts to herself albeit she is acting callous as though she is sick of everything. All he can do is hug her. She then reverts to the usual Chise. As she tries to explain, he shuts her off about apologizing. It seems the army is here to get her. He doesn’t want her to go but she must. She is now dependent on maintenance and medicine. He wants her to meet him tonight at the observation hill as he has lots to say to her. After that he returns to his friends and tells them Chise is taken to a hospital. Akemi is still mad and slaps him. He slaps her! Obviously a blood curling cry. And then his friend Atsushi punches him. The guys talk it out as Atsushi plans to quit school and get drafted as there is a girl he loves he wants to protect. That night, Chise breaks her pager as it is ringing emergency just to go meet Shuuji. Because of that, Tetsu’s position got attacked and one of his men is left dying. Tetsu is forced to hear his regrets and his wish of being killed by Chise then he doesn’t have to suffer like this. Tetsu shoots him to put him out of his misery. Chise is now confronted by the army who begs her to come. She wants to keep her promise to Shuuji although they say reconnaissance did not find Shuuji there. She still wants to go and when they turn their guns on her, she warns them if they are willing to blow up this town. They try to convince her more people will die if she doesn’t come but to her it is no different. Be it enemies or the people she loves, more will die and she will still feel pain. So she goes off to look for Shuuji but cannot find him. She sees clips that he is at Fuyumi’s place! Why that bastard! She doesn’t want to see it and continues waiting. When she wakes up by dawn, Shuuji is cuddling her but she knows he lied.

Episode 6
We see a short flashback of Shuuji’s unfaithfulness with Fuyumi. More like she seduced him but it’s no excuse, right? So when Chise finds Shuuji by her side, she tried to kiss him but he pushed her away. She started crying and just wished of going back to being just classmates. So as they lie around, Shuuji starts saying how he would like to have sex with Chise but each time he sees that face and scar on her body, he fears it would be painful. Chise doesn’t want to hear any more of this but he continues. He had sex with Fuyumi before and just did. Because he reminded her of her boyfriend, she started crying each time she looked at his face. So he thought he can’t ignore her if she needed his help? WTF. Now it is Chise’s turn to have her say. She is his girlfriend, damnit. She too has lots of things to say but is holding back. Too bad she has this face she is born with and the scar proves she is human. If he wanted sex, why didn’t he just say so. She too would like to have sex with him even more than Fuyumi. After being late for school, they break up. Later Shuuji talks to Atsushi and he too got rejected by Akemi as she loved another guy. But he still wants to quit school and be drafted to protect her. Chise continues to go to school and fight wars as if it was a normal routine. Akemi hopes Chise would reconcile quick with Shuuji but don’t want to hear her lover’s quarrel problems. Because Atsushi continues to talk with Shuuji about fighting the enemy and dying, he tells him off to die. He is going to grow old and die anyway. The question is, you don’t go to the battlefield to die. You go there to kill. Can he kill for Akemi? Shuuji is actually mad about himself for being weak and only thinking of his own helplessness while pretending to be Chise’s boyfriend. When they walk back, they hear the familiar sounds of air raid close by. Atsushi runs to find Akemi. Shuuji can tell it is Chise helping out before things got worse. When he sees her wandering in the streets, he immediately hugs her. She tries to push him away as they are no longer dating but she succumbs to his kiss.

Episode 7
As they try to seek comfort in each other, when Chise looks at the burning patch over the mountains of the enemies she downed, she assures Shuuji that the enemies died instantly and didn’t feel pain. This causes him to give her that worried look. She becomes sad and goes away. Next day in school, Akemi talks to Shuuji about breaking up with Chise but he says that they just went back to being classmates. She remembers Chise telling her about it and that she doesn’t want to fall in love again. However her feelings for Shuuji won’t disappear and she still loves him. Shuuji wants some advice to understand Chise but Akemi tells him off can a man really understand a woman. Later Shuuji meets up with Chise. They talk about Akemi and the war. Chise wonders if he will still love her despite being a killing machine. He does. He suggests skipping school tomorrow to go to the aquarium. But the next day, he finds a letter from Chise that she had to break their promise. On call again. Although she is glad to have fallen in love with him, she wants them to go back being classmates. She hopes he won’t be afraid of her the next time. Atsushi is now drafted. He sees for himself the situation is far worse than he thought he is. The negativity and fear of the new recruits. However he keeps hearing some of them talking about this ultimate weapon called Chise. He asks around but they can’t describe well. Of course Chise is scheduled to give a speech to these new recruits after another mission. Too bad Atsushi got lost and won’t be seeing her speech in person. Chise seems to be eager to go on the next mission. But when a personnel tells her they are now ordered to be on standby, she begs to go fight. She doesn’t want to rest. She wants to get stronger. Meanwhile Atsushi continues his asking about Chise and this leads him to Tetsu who is the lone survivor of Chise’s squad. But demoralized Tetsu isn’t interested in knowing him since he is going to die anyway. He doesn’t want to know more dead people. Meanwhile Shuuji makes his way to the aquarium. This is proof that Chise isn’t useless and has protected them. See those sea lions and dolphins? They’re still alive! So don’t say you’re useless and can’t protect anything. He believes there is something they can still do and protect.

Episode 8
Shuuji continues to ponder his existence as he notices his classmates are slowly thinning out. Atsushi seems to have adjusted to his army life. Till he hears one of the new recruits in his batch just died in a skirmish. Reality hits him hard. That night, Tetsu thought he heard somebody nearby. It could be the enemy. He goes to check it out but only finds crying Chise. He lets her sleep in his hideout and the next day hangs out with her. How does it feel to use their military authority to ‘steal’ a military bike just to go on a date? Shuuji didn’t like the way his friends easily talk about life and death when it could be Atsushi out there dying. Later Akemi talks to Shuuji about her worries that Atsushi got drafted just for her sake. She feels uneasy about it and is bothered by it to the point it scares her. Then Shuuji slaps her! Don’t talk about Atsushi like that! What Akemi meant was she hates herself for feeling like this. How could she live knowing that Atsushi killed somebody for her. Shuuji replies or wrong, Atsushi fought to protect her. While Tetsu waits for Chise in the dressing room, an enemy plane flies close by. This causes Chise to be in pain as she tries to suppress her transformation. Tetsu tries to calm her down and hug her. She only does so when he kisses her lips. On the way back, Tetsu wants her to go home but she refuses to make any more promises. She can tell peace will not last more than 3 days in this town. Negotiations have failed and the enemy will advance here. More people are going to die and their army’s strength is significantly down. That night Chise sleeps at Tetsu’s place. She allows him to kiss her because he is going to die after all. Shocking? Also, an earthquake hit the town deep in the middle of the night.

Episode 9
I guess Tetsu is going to make out with her. I mean, he is going to die, right? Chise kept asking him if this is love but he won’t answer. This prompts her to say Shuuji is the same. He lied to her about loving her despite being terrified. That’s why they go back being classmates so they wouldn’t hurt each other. She thought by being in love she would have a reason to live and makes her human. Tetsu lectures her about men and women and right now he is the only guy in the world who sees her as a girl. He lets her go and when she returns to base, she collapses since it has been 2 days she skipped maintenance and medicine. Her signs don’t look good. Another earthquake rocks the town and the next morning after Shuuji carries his mom to the relief centre, he passes by Akemi’s place. He sees her little sister outside who pleads to him to go see Akemi now. Insider her room, Akemi is very injured and bleeding everywhere. She wants him to come close so she could tell a message from Chise. However it is a prank as she kisses his lips. She confesses she loves him. The guy she likes is him. Atsushi knew about this because she told him when he confessed. Now that she is dying, she sees no reason to hold back. She continues talking about Atsushi. Because of all that, she gave her body to him when she wanted her first time to be with Shuuji. She doesn’t have a body of a woman now. Shuuji wants to take a look. He forces his way. Pervert! Then he lies through his teeth saying how beautiful it is. Is it me or does this guy like scarred bodies? Akemi then tells of her dreams to do things together like going to university and getting a car licence. She fears dying now but after coughing up all that blood, she finally finds her peace. Later Shuuji carries mom back and apologizes for not doing anything. She rubbishes his nonsense and that there is nothing greater for him to be alive and being born. Meanwhile Atsushi’s platoon is attacked. He is the only one who survived. He goes crazy because there is a hole in his Akemi picture? Can’t blame him. When the fighting gets real, Atsushi becomes a coward in hiding. He realizes he wants to live and see Akemi now. Another soldier takes him to run. Tetsu is injured. He decides to go back to Fuyumi’s place to die. To his horror, enemy soldiers camping there! The enemies escape but before them is Chise the weapon. Time to unleash that great light of death.

Episode 10
When Chise enters, she sees Tetsu dying. He is in pain and thinks Chise is Fuyumi. He kept calling out to Fuyumi to kill him to end his misery. She can’t. You don’t think allowing him to touch your boobs will make things better, would it? Okay. Maybe. So after all that screaming and drama, Tetsu finally dies after confessing his love for his wife. Chise’s only regret is that he never called her name. I mean, could you blame him? She is grateful he treated her as a girl all this time. She promises to deliver his letter to her. Then she returns to being a killing machine and obliterates another town. Not sure if Atsushi got caught in that blast. Meanwhile, Shuuji’s school is hosting a little party, supplies from Akemi’s dad. Hey, better than gloom and doom, right? Dad talks to Shuuji and gives him a wine he bought, saving it for the day Akemi would be old enough to talk about her love, future, etc. But she reached the finish line before him. He thanks Shuuji for being by her side during her last moments. Apparently some soldiers want to stop the party. In Shuuji’s head, he really wanted to tell them off they didn’t do anything to help them and that many of their friends also died. Instead, he prostrates himself and begs them to allow it. Chise leaves Tetsu’s letter and ID at wherever Fuyumi is staying. She breaks down upon knowing he is dead. Meanwhile Shuuji is being confronted by Kawahara, a guy from the military who gives him what is left of Chise’s medicine. He laments it is only a matter of time before she succumbs to her fate. Now that Tetsu is dead, Fuyumi finds Shuuji and wants him to make out with her. She’s not giving him a choice. She forces himself on him! Man, this would be great if times were good. But visions of Akemi staring at him freaked him out. So he gets rough with Fuyumi? Might as well. But Fuyumi doesn’t like it?! I thought she asked for it? Now he rants about being unable to protect her, blah, blah, blah. Then she slaps him and laments how she preferred the old simple minded him. That’s it. Sex’s over. Bye. Now Shuuji rues his old school boy fantasies of her. That was the last time he saw Fuyumi. Next morning, Shuuji sees Chise back and waiting for him at the school gates. They act like they’ve been a happy couple for ages and hang out with each other like as though no f*cks were given to the world.

Episode 11
Shuuji and Chise elope for good. It has been 5 days since they left town. Not sure where they are but they are living the ‘happy’ couple life with Shuuji working in a fish market and Chise drawing a long queue at a ramen store. Must be the clumsy girl factor… It seemed like forever their happy days. And of course the awkward sex moment. Shuuji even seemed to skip work just to make out with her! Oh yeah! Might as well since you can’t tell when you’re dead next. Luckily the good part ended before a small war exploded nearby their area in which temporarily awakened Chise. So the next time Shuuji sees her nose bleed, she claims she’s still being horny to cover up. Oh well… One day when Shuuji’s colleagues realize Chise didn’t show up for work, he immediately runs home to see her collapsed on the floor. He sees her medicine has run out and uses his stash from Kawahara. When Kawahara visits the ramen store, Chise uses some telepathy to communicate with him that what he is doing is meaningless as she is trying to spend as much time with Chise. So Kawahara goes to talk to Shuuji next and hopes he can convince Chise. You see, he believes the only way to save her is via war. He is surprised when Shuuji shows him the stash of medicine he gave not used up yet. That won’t last long and Chise will turn into something far more dangerous. Shuuji says Chise is his wife and if there comes a time, he will kill her himself. So Shuuji tries to fix up a bike so he can get away from this place and go picnic with Chise. He has his colleagues help him out. He later gives his medicine stash to Chise. The people find it odd that the same music is playing over the radio like as though someone is broadcasting something. But Chise starts to feel nostalgic with this song. She remembers it is a song Shuuji hums when he is in good mood. Chise then loses control over her senses and unsure if she is still human anymore. The picnic will never materialize since bombs are now dropping over town! Damn the bike got destroyed. Shuuji rushes back to Chise and sees her in the midst of transforming. As she is breaking down and panicking, he tries to hug her but gets zapped. He wonders if this is the kind of pain she faces daily. With Chise spouting regrets, Shuuji reluctantly says he is going to kill her. That calmed her down…

Episode 12
Of course Shuuji can’t kill her. Thankfully Chise returns to being docile. Shuuji takes on the role of nursing Chise. Lots of I love you stuffs here. Although she has lost her voice, he can still understand what she is trying to tell him. After her medicine has finally run out, she collapses. Shuuji carries her out as he calls out to Kawahara. He knows he is around. Yeah. There he is. And the army too. It’s like they’re waiting for this moment to bring back Chise. All Shuuji is concerned is if she will live. Oh, she will survive but he doesn’t know in what form. At this rate she will become an immortal killing machine. He doesn’t blame anybody and it is nobody fault. After that, Kawahara shoots himself. Shuuji returns to the room and reads Chise’s diary. An entry tells him to return to his family. So he returns to his town and at the observation hill, he reads more of Chise’s diaries. The ones she wrote when they started dating. I don’t know how long he took but suddenly Chise returns! However she doesn’t remember him. Oddly she starts crying and feels emotions in her heart. Shuuji explains he is her boyfriend, etc. Because of that, she wants to have his baby?! That escalated quickly. And she wonders if reproduction is a scary thing. And she’s scared of it now that Shuuji really wants to get it going?! OMG! Her arm just came off! She’s not even doing a handjob! Chise wants him to stop since she has this sensation of wanting to kill. So he scolds her that he wants to live. As they cuddle close, she could hear his heartbeat, proof that he loves her. Amidst all the sadness and tears, they continue making out. Yeah, what else is there left to do?

Episode 13
Shuuji once hesitated if he should leave his mom. Dad told him to do what he needs to do as he is a man now. Don’t worry about mom. He’ll take care of her. Mom is sad that all of Shuuji’s friends in his picture are dead. But dad is proud that he has grown up to be a fine man. Speaking of which, Shuuji continues to make out with Chise! Maybe no wonder dad is so proud of him. Just kidding. When all that is done, Chise recites wars of the past that prophesizes the end of the world as well as her desire to stay with him forever. However she reveals the end of the world is really coming. It is already for the other half of the world and soon it will reach here. At first she thought of killing Shuuji and all those she loves to prevent them from suffering but she decides to protect them to the end. Then she flies off to continue the war. Shuuji really starts getting scared when the end of the world is before him. Calling mommy and daddy won’t help. Heck, Akemi is already gone! Shuuji is engulfed by the tsunami. However shortly he finds himself alive in an empty white space. He realizes Chise did all she could to save him. As he hugs whatever is left of this giant part of Chise, he hears Chise’s voice (apparently apologizing for everything). Well, she isn’t in a physical form but inside his heart. This way they can stay together, love each other forever. Suddenly the world is back to normal and Chise back to her human form?! Well, it might all be in Shuuji’s mind and this could be for the best. Because what better way than to live out the rest of your in your own fantasy than some empty gloomy world. Because Chise confirmed that he is the only one left alive in this devastated world! The end of the world he heard was Chise’s heartbeat. So with the duo happily reliving their good times, Shuuji is glad that they will continue to love each other and live on.

Another Love Song

Taking place in the early days when Chise is still an incomplete weapon and starting to date Shuuji, it tells of the story behind those scenes as not seen in the TV series.

OVA 1
Lt Colonel Mizuki is another ultimate weapon created by the military. After another successful mission, she returns for repairs. At that time Chise was a new weapon prototype and she could hear Chise’s inner thoughts. Because she sees how clumsy and goofy she is, plus she keeps thinking about Shuuji, Mizuki doesn’t acknowledge her as a proper soldier. She is shocked to see Chise transform and instantly flies off to battle when an enemy attack is detected. Mizuki wanted to volunteer to fight in her stead but they won’t allow her as she is injured. Plus, this is a chance to see if Chise has what it takes to protect the city. Otherwise they will not win this war. Mizuki remembers she was the only survivor as her entire battalion was wiped out. Because she is willing to fight and die to avenge her comrades, she is introduced to Director Minamoto and Dr Wada who then turn her into a human weapon. One day Mizuki confronts Chise and chides her to know her place that she is no longer human since Chise was trying to leave to see Shuuji. However Kawahara allowed her since she has done her job and the superiors have approved it. So when another attack occurs, Mizuki wants to go instead. She saves Tetsu (whom she knows from their days in the battlefield) from death and destroys the enemy although she has taken heavy damage. As Dr Wada puts it, Mizuki has reached her limit and her growth as a weapon has stopped. She will die if she takes the same damage again. Minamoto isn’t fazed. Mizuki is just an experiment and stepping stone as Chise to become an ultimate weapon. On another mission, the enemies (English speaking hippies?) are confused seeing goofy Chise coming down on the battlefield. However when they realize she is a monster, they start firing. Against Chise’s will, she activates into a weapon and kills them all! H-bomb?!

Mizuki confronts the higher ups about using Chise as an ultimate weapon as that girl has no will to fight as a soldier. Minamoto tells her Chise has the power that she does not. Mizuki wants to be stronger then is told she has reached her limit unlike Chise whose potential is unlimited although she still cannot control her will. Mizuki is not pleased that her only use is her intelligence. Will that end the war? Kawahara explains Chise’s body was the only one at that time to adapt to this human weapon technology. One day when Chise is detected to have run away with Shuuji, a search team is called to bring her back as the enemy is attacking soon. Mizuki wants the search to be called off since she is a weapon and will go to find Chise herself. That night when Chise plans to run away with Shuuji for good, she is confronted by Mizuki who wants her to fight for them as there are countless soldiers and civilians dying. Chise tells her off if she wants to save them so badly then do it herself but is told back she wouldn’t have to ask her if she had the power. Chise dares her to kill her and take her power. Mizuki wouldn’t have hesitated for a second if that power transfer was possible. The clincher was how Mizuki paints the war will reach here and her loved ones will die if she doesn’t fight. She is not ordering her but pleading to her. And so Chise has to break her promise to Shuuji and go fight.

OVA 2
Tetsu’s men ask him he is a decorated soldier and should’ve gone home instead of fighting. He remembers someone asking him the same thing (Mizuki). She was somewhat thankful to have met him and he never knew a superior who cared so much about her soldiers. Too bad she died fighting after he shortly left her squad. Apparently she reassigned him so he could be with his wife. He gave his lighter to her. As Chise continues to fight, Mizuki could hear here sad thoughts calling herself a monster for killing so many. She wants it all to stop. When she tells this to the higher ups, Dr Wada says she has been overdeveloped. The weapon cells are taking over Chise and she will be unable to control it and will attack anyone who attacks her including their allies. But with Chise taking further damage, Minamoto orders Mizuki to take care of her. She could hear more of Chise’s cries. As Mizuki tries to stop her from fighting, Chise goes out of control and destroys him, injuring Mizuki in the process. Even in coma, Mizuki could hear her thoughts, especially Chise crying that she just confessed her love and wants to live. When Mizuki wakes up, she has a heart to heart talk with Chise. She says whether she fights or not, the outcome of this war may not change. So if she is sick of fighting, it is okay to run away. Please be with the one she loves in the end and don’t have regrets. Chise also encourages Mizuki to confess to the one she loves. If Chise can, Mizuki could too.

Mizuki complains to Minamoto about Chise killing and destroying countless of people. Thus Minamoto tells Mizuki to take her place in which she doesn’t hesitate to go to war. Tetsu’s side is trying to hold back the enemy. He gets blown away although it is not fatal. Mizuki enters the scene, gives back his lighter and drops a tear on his face? Can’t bring herself to kiss him? Had they met a long time before, she would have agreed to marry him. Mizuki fights the enemy and although Chise can sense and wants to go help, Mizuki warns her not to. She tells her she is not a weapon but in love. This means she is human. She wants her to live for her love as human. Goodbye. Mizuki blows herself up along with the enemy. After Chise broke up with Shuuji, she became a workaholic and started going into battles without resting. Then one night she just storms into Minamoto’s control room, blames everyone for their nasty tricks that caused many innocent children to die. As she has made a promise to Mizuki, she is going to be with the one she loves in the end. She blows up the place before flying off back home.

A Weapon’s Love Song
Well… It was really a tragic and sad ending no matter how you look at it. Shuuji being the only one left in the world is as good as being dead in the first place. His delusions of living the peaceful lovely life with Chise might seem like a relief but remember, all that is just fantasy and in his head. I know it softens the impact of the harsh reality (does it even exist?) but to me that is as good as dead. From the way everything was going, it was no surprise that I had predicted the end of the world instead of a happy ending. Right from the start I knew that there was never going to be a happy ending. It was like Romeo and Juliet except with the world ending. From the rate they are starting to kill off everyone is also why I had expected this to happen. Yeah, it saves the trouble of me asking what happened to so and so. Now the world can finally find peace. Yup. Rest in peace and pieces! Haha! Oops…

The inevitably tragic and depressing drama between Chise and Shuuji is played out wonderfully although I have to admit that at times I caught myself feeling bored by all the drama. I mean, if you were expecting to see Chise killing enemies and adding to the body count as the main focus, you have to look elsewhere. So if you are not prepared for the unusual high school love romance drama between a guy and his weaponized girlfriend, you’d be bored to death. Uh huh. The irony of dying from boredom even before Chise destroys the world…

Thankfully I have some humanity inside of me. Because watching Chise trying to keep her humanity was just sad and painful. I do feel for her that she is trying so hard to maintain her human side and trying to resist of becoming a mindless killing machine. As much as she tried, it is just sad to know that the inevitable will come. It is just the question of how long. Therefore they’re hammering into us the power of love that keeps us from totally turning into the dark side. The power of love that is the only light that we cling on and gives us hope that Chise desperately clings on as her final salvation to retain her humanity. But I believe that she really fell in love with Shuuji not as a stepping stone to keep her humanity. She genuinely loves Shuuji and her love gives her the strength to carry on. Had she not took this initiative to become his girlfriend, the world would have ended much sooner. Even as a weapon, Chise can be said to be more human than all those fighting this war as she is trying hard to maintain it instead of going all out to kill.

Shuuji may look like he doesn’t do much but if you put yourself in his shoes, what can he do? As a powerless high school kid, he is confused and conflicted by all the current events affecting him. He might look like a sex maniac seeing that at times he just wants to have sex with her but perhaps if sex is the only thing he can do to help reduce her stress, so be it. And sometimes he seem desperate to have sex so as to calm her down (and making that whole scene look like rape), but you’ll never know when you’re going to die so might as well have sex now. To human is sex. Sort of.

Other supporting characters add to the complication and drama between Shuuji and Chise and sometimes feel like a side distraction. Because too much Shuuji-Chise may become boring. So what better than to add in some spice of love triangles. For instance, let’s make Shuuji feel torn with love/sex-attention crazy Fuyumi. And when she’s gone, now let’s throw in Akemi having a secret crush on him before she dies. Her painful death was just sad. Just seeing the desperation of a human trying hard to cling on to her last ounce of life and all the regrets at that final moment. You might call me a sadist at this point because I was expecting Fuyumi to commit suicide from all the depression and emptiness. But end of the world took care of that for me. I guess seeing every character die would just be too depressing.

Remember one of Shuuji’s friends who died in the Sapporo raid? Over the few episodes, they sometimes show his girlfriend going rogue hanging out with another older guy. Then they kill her off when she decided to go on a communist hunt and kill an enemy with her own hands but they killed each other. Just sad. I don’t even know why they need to show us this part because she is really irrelevant to the whole story. It’s not like Shuuji ever talked to her because he just kinda observed and saw her around (she quit school ever since) and got him thinking about stuffs. Lastly I want to note that this Kawahara guy he is always seen worrying and wiping his sweat with his handkerchief. Like as though he has done the biggest crime and feeling the guilt of it. Yeah well, everyone is guilty directly or indirectly in this war.

The thing that kept bugging me throughout the series is the kind of enemy that they are fighting. Throughout the entire series I was wondering who the enemy were. I know this is not important in the series as because as said, it is to focus on the relationship and drama between Shuuji and Chise, the humanity and love song between them. Therefore whoever the enemy was, it wasn’t really that important. But I can’t help still speculate about them. At first it was unclear if they were fighting aliens because when you need to create a super human weapon, aliens invading must be it, right? Then slowly it turns out they are fighting their own fellow men. Not too sure if Japan is facing a civil war or foreigners but it is most likely the latter because of that horrendous accented English heard in the OVA. So why are they fighting in the first place? I guess we will never know. It is just a setting so that we could have this tragic love story. In the end, men must be so dumb to fight until what it looked like their own manmade Apocalypse and destroyed everything. Good riddance, right? I also wonder how many enemies there are because no matter how much Chise kills, they seem to be keep coming and coming. It’s like the entire world versus Japan? The last bastion of safe space?

The other thing is how much weapons that the military has stored inside Chise because it feels like her body has some sort of black hole or alternate dimension thingy as she is able to store tons of missiles! It feels like sci-fi crap but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. You know how much mystery is shrouded around military technology especially weapons, right? I also wonder if Chise has her innards all taken out because all I can see are wire/tentacles that look like they have a mind of its own and are going to kill anybody who messes with her. So assuming if she has no more innards to fit all that, does she still have a brain and heart? Screw logic. As long as it kills… I know it is bad of me think of a pun for Chise but I can’t help it to ‘distract’ me from the gloominess. Because I was thinking each time if Shuuji asks Chise if she is alright (heiki), Chise should answer yes she is a weapon (also pronounced as heiki!). See the pun there? Haha! Whoops. Jokes over. Back to more crying.

One thing that really irks me is the very horrible and horrendous drawing and art. In know this came out way back in 2002 and the art style resembles closely to other anime series at that time, namely Chobits. I know they want to put some quality into the storytelling and the drama but visually speaking it looks horrible that it makes me wonder if they really put in effort at all. Everything from the characters to the background looks so plain, simple and dull. I know it is to paint a gloomy picture about the war but if you take a closer look at just the characters, they don’t really feel and look like human. I mean, sure they are human (perhaps with Chise as an exception) but for example, take a look at Shuuji. When I first looked at this guy, I thought he was some sort of cat human! He’s got that strange and odd look on his face that makes it look so weird. Usually I would forgive retro animes for their old school art but this one came out at the turn of the millennium and it was below average. It just sucks. Good thing Chise did us a favour and helped ended the world. Because a dark empty and blank space is what this series truly deserves in this category. This means the horrendous scar on Chise’s body doesn’t look that all scary… Also, there are many scenes especially in the latter half where the war gets more brutal and grimmer, the scenes are too dark to see anything. It could be my hardware or my eyesight but I’m pretty sure it isn’t.

Voice acting sounds pretty okay but nothing that spectacular. Chise and Shuuji sound a bit like a robot at times but I think it is because they are nervous and confused. But it is really pitiful to hear her in sad mode. It’s like the series’ ploy to pull some heartstrings. Or maybe Chise is just too convincing as an inevitably tragic girl. I only recognized Shinichiro Miki as Tetsu here. The casts are Fumiko Orikasa as Chise (Rukia in Bleach), Shirou Ishimoda as Shuuji (Shiyuu Kusanagi in Tsubasa Chronicle), Yuu Sugimoto as Akemi (Catherine in Gintama), Miki Itou as Fuyumi (Fujimura in Fate series), Tetsu Shiratori as Atsushi (Zancrow in Fairy Tail) and Ai Orikasa as Mizuki (K.K. in Kekkai Sensen). Both the TV opening and ending themes are sung by Yuria Yato. Koisuru Kimochi as the opener sounds okay as a generic pop but the breathy slow ending theme, Sayonara has this sad pitch to it despite it sounds lovely in its own right. Even its title feels like some sort of spoiler to the entire series. For the OVA, Mayonaka No Niji by Akira Asakura as the ending theme also follows this pattern. However this has more a lovely romantic feel to its slow beat than sadness.

Even if you are not into this kind of anime, this old classic is still powerful and has a handful of lessons we could learn from. For some, get ready a few box of tissues. This isn’t about the atrocities of war and how dumb humans can get in killing each other. It isn’t about creating the most sophisticated and ultimate human weapon. It is seeing who can keep their humanity during these dark times and at such times it is a test to see how human we are. That is why we have the power of love inside of us to use at such times but the choice is always in our hands to make. Remember, somebody once said that in war, it is not who is right, but who is left. I guess this anime really answered that question… And also, somebody once said the goal of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his. Looks like this anime has answered that too for everyone. What a fine mess, no? Looks like the love song became a dirge.

Shuumatsu No Izetta

March 26, 2017

There have been countless reimagining of World War II stories, settings and outcomes. From alternate histories to those mixing with modern technological advances and even races from outer space, whatever ideas they had have all mostly been experimented on. Now let’s use witches and magic this time. Shuumatsu No Izetta is set in an alternate timeline during World War II where the names of countries are also closely resembling to the actual ones. When a powerful imperial nation sets forth in conquering all the countries of Europe and hence world domination, a small principality isn’t going to let those big guns roll over their beautiful picturesque country. But if they don’t have the number and strength of a decent military, how can they fight back? Can they even turn the tides in their favour? They can. Because they have a powerful witch by their side. Meh, you say? How about a witch riding a rifle instead of a broomstick!

Episode 1
On a train in a neutral country of Westria, Germanian soldiers are searching the passengers for a wanted person. Princess Ortfine “Fine” Fredericka Von Eylstadt and her men know she is the one they are looking for and flee. The soldiers give chase. The commotion causes Rickert and Arnold Berckmann of the special unit to take notice. Learning what is happening, Rickert wonders if the princess of Eylstadt is trying to seek refuge here. Berckmann informs that the royal family is stubborn and would rather fight to their last breath than seek asylum. So the only reason why she is here is to have political negotiations with the Allies, most probably Britannia. The chase takes place atop the train. Can they maintain their balance and shoot straight at that speed? When Fine and her men re-enter the back of the train, she sees a strange mechanical coffin. Berckmann stops them and will not divulge them anymore top secret information. After the train exits the tunnel, Fine and her men quickly jump off the bridge into the river. Although Fine is unhurt, it is sad that one of her men dies from a gunshot wound he got from Berckmann. A short narration tells us the dictatorship empire of Germania suddenly invaded its neighbouring country, Livonia. Britannia and Thermidor waged war against Germania but cannot best its might and Thermidor fell. With this, Germania now turns its attention to conquer a small Alps kingdom to the south, Eylstadt.

In a theatre, Fine sees Lord Redford of Britannia and starts negotiations. One of them being accepting her marriage to Prince Henry she once rejected. She is willing to give up her claim on the throne since her cousin Leonora is with a child and she will leave her kingdom’s future in their hands. Although Redford is touched by her sacrifice, he cannot help her. He just got message that Germania has invaded Eylstadt as they speak. Gorz and his men barges in to bring Fine back to Germania’s capital, Neue Berlin. Redford didn’t play her out. It is simply Germania’s superior intelligence. Gorz plans to use one of the many ways to get the stubborn people of Eylstadt to stop fighting: Using Fine as blackmail. Some sort of magical particles temporarily stall the plane’s engines. In zero gravity, Fine tries to fight back but is overpowered and shot in her arm. She dares them to kill her but Gorz mocks her if this is what a princess carrying the burdens of her people should do. Fine remains steadfast that she will fight with her people to the end. Upon reciting her full name, the coffin activates. Out comes a red haired witch, Izetta. It seems the ladies know each other with Fine calling Izetta her White Witch. Izetta sees Fine’s injured arm and her power bursts the plane into bits. As the plane dismantles into debris falling in mid-air, Izetta rides a rifle like a broom and swoops Fine to safety. Izetta is happy to see her princess again.

Episode 2
Germanian fighters receive a distress call of a plane crashing. As they fly to the site, they are surprised to see 2 ladies on a flying rifle. They start chasing them. Izetta has bad experience with the Germanian side too but following Fine’s orders not to recklessly use her power, she tries to flee them until they start firing. She uses her blood as magic source to bring down the planes. In the final dogfight with the captain, Fine wanted to use the rifle but I guess the girls are noobs in using such a gun. The captain escapes with his life and only has his engine stalled. Fine collapses from her gun wound. Eylstadt’s king must be having a rough time. Not only he is sick in bed but has to see his kingdom being invaded. He is worried about Fine as he has not received any word from her. A retreating and heavily injured Eylstadt troop led by Hans Obermayer stumble into Fine and Izetta in the bushes. They are taken to the nearby camp where a doctor removes a bullet from her arm. Fine’s life is in no danger but there is an old scar on her body that Izetta continues to blame herself as her fault. Something to do with Fine protecting her when the angry witch hunt mob wanted to kill Izetta and she got injured as a result for saving her. Flashback shows a young Fine caught Izetta red handed using her magic in the forest. Believing she is a good White Witch as per the legend, Weisse Hexe, they soon become friends and enjoy each other’s company. Izetta once travelled around with her grandma and never stayed in once place for very long. Grandma told her their kind has died off and she will probably be the last witch and never to use her powers recklessly. So when she met Fine who didn’t care about her status, Izetta was very happy. Fine wakes up much to everyone’s delight. Even with their side defeated, they have this little morale booster. After Fine discusses with Hans about the situation, she summons Izetta and wants her to escape. This is Eylstadt’s war and she will not get her involved anymore. She values her as the only friend who never cared about her rank. In that case, Izetta also has a request of her. She wants her to be her hope and will protect her country. Berckmann inspects the crash site. The princess and specimen are the only bodies not found. He believes she is a real witch and either way must go after her.

Episode 3
The Germaninan tanks steamroll into Coenenberg. If they take this town, they can strike deep into Eylstadt. With the air raid bombarding the front lines, it is all utter chaos. A young soldier, Jonas Gallea seems to be lucky enough to survive all that and continue fighting in this hell hole. Because no reinforcements will be coming, it saddens Fine that her men are dying to buy time for the people to escape. When some of the soldiers request Fine’s permission to head to Coenenberg to fight even if it means dying and at least kill a few enemies, she puts her foot down and orders a big no. She reminds them they are not here for revenge or a reckless challenge. It is to protect their families. She will call upon them to sacrifice their lives but now is not the time. She is sorry she can’t tell them where to die. Not tell them how to die but how to live. She hopes they can forgive her for not being strong enough. The Eylstadt forces at the front lines are really stubborn and tough to rout out. It is because of the forts at the top of the hill giving the exact location of the enemies. Extra Germanian air bombardments are requested but before the bombers could blow the hell out of the forts, suddenly they explode and crash down. Here comes Izetta riding and firing iron lances (old weaponry found in the old fort’s arsenal) and shooting them through the planes. What about tanks? Surely mere swords can pierce through their thick armour. Why, just flip them over with magic! With the tide turning so quickly both sides are in a state of confusion. When Fine realizes what is going on, she sends a Morse code to her fellow countrymen at the front lines that Izetta is her friend and the White Witch from the legend. She wants them to fight along with her for their country’s freedom. Unbelievably, Eylstadt is able to turn the tables and send Germania packing. Izetta returns to Fine knowing she went off and did this on her own. Fine is glad she is alright. The soldiers sing their national anthem in respect of this victory. News spread that a witch saved them. The king hears about Fine being with the White Witch before exhaling his last breath.

Episode 4
Fine breaks down once she sees her father’s motionless body. The lieutenant general in charge of taking Coenenberg is finding it hard to explain to Germania’s emperor, Otto about their platoon’s rout by a witch. But upon hearing that he feels excited and delighted because he believes in the existence of witches. Izetta doesn’t feel comfortable with the hospitality she is given in the palace. Because Fine has assigned her personal maid, Lotte and bodyguard, Bianca to be with her. With rumours swirling around about Izetta, Lotte says that she is now the hero of the kingdom. Discussing with Schneider and Warmer, as suggested by the late king’s aide, Sieghart Muller, Fine will only announce her father’s death only when she ascends the throne in 2 weeks’ time. They might have temporarily repel the enemy out of Coenenberg but there are other entry points in which the enemy can enter. The news will only confuse their own ranks and benefit the enemy. As for Izetta, Fine is hesitant to further use her to help protect their country. There is something about her powers she is wary of. Because Bianca is suspicious of Izetta as a witch, she wants her to prove it and inadvertently causes a small part of the statue to fall on her head, slightly injuring her. Fine is glad she is alright but soon summons her. She wants Izetta’s help but there is something she needs to confirm first. She is intrigued that she did not use her power to dodge the accident and she carried her by foot after the plane crash. Izetta reveals the biggest secret that witches have kept. The powers do not come from within. They are from outside. Powers that originate from what is called leylines. This capital has none unlike Coenenberg which is flowing with them and allowed her to use the powers freely. Witches who reveal this are killed but no worries, Izetta is the last witch left. While others are contemplating on how to use Izetta as a secret weapon and hide her existence, Sieghart suggests the opposite. The people are already talking about her and it would be even more suspicious to hide her. With the victory at Coenenberg still fresh in everyone’s minds, they should use it to their advantage and make up a myth about the legend. This will make the enemy cautious and Allies to reconsider their decision.

There is another person whom Sieghart wants Izetta to be introduced to. Meet Elvira Friedman. Currently Fine’s tutor as she has worked in various media in America. She is hired to advertise Izetta as the legendary witch. First order of business is to take her physical measurements by hand. Read: Groping and molesting! Do people influenced by America always act like this? Then it’s Fine’s turn. Witch or princess, you can’t hide those boobs from her! Since it will be a hassle to check every inch of the country to see where Izetta can or cannot use her powers, Izetta remembers her grandma telling her about the legendary castle of the White Witch. Currently it is an abandoned castle in the old capital. Bianca drives her there and as she inspects the walls, a secret room opens up. Bianca continues to remain suspicious that Izetta is close to Fine. She expands on the story of how Fine saved her life. Izetta was accused of starting a fire (her power was then going out of control). She tried to run but when a guy attacked, Fine blocked it with her body. At first the angry mob didn’t want to believe but after Fine swears on her royal blood, they relent. Izetta then saw her smile and at that point swore to do anything for her. Fine rendezvous with Izetta at the secret chamber that contains the world map of leylines. Fine warns Izetta that there is no turning back after this. She doesn’t mind despite remembering grandma telling her the White Witch was a traitor in the legend. They are highly motivated to end the war, bring peace to all countries and give everyone a bright future.

Episode 5
Fine’s coronation begins as she takes over the reign of Eylstadt. She also introduces Izetta who demonstrates her powers wowing the press and crowd. With the news now spread throughout the world, Otto is even more excited. He has Berckmann give his opinion and he believes Izetta is the real deal. Otto now wants Izetta captured no matter the cost. His aide, Elliot reminds him that the subjugation of Eylstadt is to secure a supply route to the Mediterranean and Africa with their allies in the Romulus Federation. Of course his plan is to kill 2 birds with a stone. Capture Eylstadt and the witch while they’re at it. News come in that Izetta now launches a surprise attack to take back one of Eylstadt’s conquered towns serving as Germania’s base point. This is a blatant advertising ploy to show the world about her powers. She easily overwhelms the entire battalion. With the world getting excited about this, Berckmann and his special unit are now given all the money and resources they want to claim this witch. He meets with Basler, the captain of the air force and only survivor who first fought with Izetta. He gives his statement on his first hand witness of Izetta’s terrifying powers. He is then drafted to help hunt her down. Berckmann also suspects Izetta has some sort of weakness because if she was invincible, she would have reached Eylstadt’s capital in a few minutes instead of a couple of days. Of course she would have easily flown to Germania and kill the emperor and end all wars. There must be a limit to her power. Otherwise witches would have ruled the world.

Now that Izetta’s existence is known, looks like she has ‘fans’ from other nations even requesting to come see her. They have a copy of the leylines in Eylstadt which covers most of the area. Then a call comes in regarding Germanian forces invading from Veile Pass. It is one of those small areas the leylines aren’t present. Sieghart has expected this and talked to Fine about it. This was the gamble they had to take when they advertised Izetta. It is time to see if the gamble pays off. The environment is also ideal for them. It is foggy and the Germanian side will not bomb the area but send infantry as they need to secure a smooth route. Fine introduces Izetta to Bianca and her entire secret group of royal guards who work in the shadow. Part of the plan is for one of them to dress up as Izetta. Once the Germanian forces advance, it is show time. They see Izetta flying behind the Eylstadt’s planes. In actual fact it is just a dummy tagging along the wire. The real Izetta pops up to demand the Germanian soldiers to retreat or else. They don’t believe in fairytales, eh? Izetta uses her ‘magic’ to smack away her weapons. Real credit goes to the royal guards’ sharp shooting away the guns from their hands. Still stubborn? Time to use ‘magic’ and blow up the rock and bury them under. Yeah, bombs were planted there already. News of Izetta’s victory spreads again. Berckmann isn’t panicking yet and has sent a spy into Eylstadt’s army. As Jonas is fetching water, he accidentally drops his family picture. As he tries to retrieve it, he hears a secret conversation between Sieghart and Schneider. The latter realizes this whole thing is a setup and royal guards were used. As for why the real Izetta was exposed, Izetta herself willed it. Originally one of them was going to be used as a decoy but she wanted to do this herself. Sieghart thought he heard something from the river. Nobody. Just a photo.

Episode 6
Jonas runs back to his camp and the first person he meet as he murmurs about Izetta’s secret (though short of saying what it is) is that spy, Laurence. Izetta still can’t get used to the compliments Fine showers her. They thought of putting Izetta in a dress but the corset was a torture. Then the top cannot be zipped up because her boobs are too big. Fine looks around and feels defeated because Bianca and Elvira are bigger than hers. Metaphorically she is even speaking can a small kingdom defeat huge ones! Izetta wears back her ordinary dress as Elvira teaches her how to do ballroom dancing. When Fine learns that her favourite bakery will be able to bake her favourite pie (sugar is rationed during the war and with Eylstadt’s recent victory, Fine distributed extra as celebration from the stores), she cannot hide her happiness to visit it. Jonas’ photo is in Sieghart’s hands. He sends Koontz to make contact with him and pretend to be a journalist. Rickert takes Basler to the design division to show him the state of the art high-tech plane. Berckmann also sees the division head and has an official letter from Otto to conduct his investigations. He wants to investigate the workshop for clues. Fine and co are disguised as commoners as they enjoy the delicious pie. But the owners can recognize her. When Bianca and Lotte reveal they know Fine often sneak out to visit her, Fine loses her balance. Her disguise and pie fall off. At least Izetta saved her pie. With everyone recognizing her majesty, time for Fine to give her reassuring speech. When they return, Sieghart requests Fine to send him to Britannia as they are holding a conference between governments in exile and allied countries against Germania. Oh, America will be there too. Fine knows what they want to know is Izetta’s powers and if this is the case, it is best she and Izetta go. While Bianca disagrees, the phone rings. Sieghart picks up to learn the Germanian spy has been located within the platoon. He allows Fine and Izetta to go. Yeah, they’re going to ride the entire way riding on a rifle? Won’t their butt hurt? Anyway Jonas is shocked when Laurence turns his gun at him and wants him to spill details about Izetta. Since he won’t, he gets shot in the leg as warning and even threatens his comrade is now with his siblings. You know what this means, right? Luckily Kloontz and Sieghart come chasing so he flees. Sieghart asks Jonas if he is willing to whatever it takes to protect his country. He nods yes. Sieghart then shoots him!

Episode 7
Off the Bergen Coast of the Scandinavian Peninsula lies Germania’s aircraft carrier, Drachenfels. Redford hosts the representatives of several nations as they discuss about Germania’s plan to use it to cross the Channel from Normandy and attack Britannia. They request America to send troops but with the constitution thingy, guess not. Then they discuss about the witch and many don’t believe such exists in this century. Redford ushers in Fine as she introduces Izetta with a bit of demonstrated magic. Seeing is believing. Of course they wonder if a single witch can still defeat Germania. That is why Fine is also requesting troop assistance and as a gift, she will have Izetta sink Drachenfels. The ladies are introduced to Wing Commander Groman who will be flying with Izetta as part of the bombing operations. The plan is for her to carry and drop 4 torpedoes in the centre of Drachenfels to have the maximum shockwave effect of breaking it into half. All goes as planned until Izetta realizes Drachenfels is not at the port. Thinking it has gone out to sea, she flies over there only to be ambushed by other carriers. It is obviously a trap and Germania knows about this plan. A couple of torpedoes have been destroyed by enemy fire. Basler rides in his new plane that can match and follow closely Izetta’s movements. Izetta has to drop the remaining torpedoes into sea just to dodge Basler and his air force trying to surround her. Luckily Groman’s side help keep the Germanian air fighters at bay. When Izetta sees the elevator opening on Drachenfels, she picks up the torpedoes and fires them into it. Drachenfels sinks as one of them directly hits the fuel tank. Mission accomplished. Basler wants to go after Izetta but Berckmann orders him to return. They have achieved what they want. Later Berckmann reveals to Rickert that Drachenfels was just a decoy to expose Izetta’s weakness. He is now sure after witnessing today’s battle. He can move on to the next phase of the plan but he needs to confirm the White Witch’s legend at Eylstadt’s old castle. He wants to send Laurence for the job but Rickert volunteers for it.

Episode 8
Rickert reads the White Witch’s legend. A prince went hunting and was saved by a woman with silver hair. At first he feared her as she is a witch but upon realizing she is kind, he opened up to her and they gradually fell in love. He wanted to marry her but she declined. Instead, she promised her that if he ever needs her power, she will offer it. Rickert parachutes down in Eylstadt at night. A bit of bad luck because the wind blows him off course and got a rough landing. He has to trek quite a distance and fall into a river. Luckily Bianca and Lotte were passing and picked him up. Rickert hides his identity by saying that he is from Tull but was away overseas studying. He returned home to fight the war but he has some illness so they refused him. Bianca is amazed at his bravery and there is no shame in his failure. This makes Rickert wonder if they are really the people he is fighting against. Rickert continues reading the legend. When the prince returned, a war broke out. He was injured and almost lost the war. The White Witch appeared and saved the day and drove the enemies away. However the prince shortly died from his injuries. In grievance, she vowed to protect his country until the end of her life. Rickert stays at the inn run by Lotte’s sister. As Bianca is a fan of the legend, Rickert mentions an alternate ending. This makes her blow her top. If you think that was an embarrassing head start, wait till he later accidentally enters her room after hearing her scream. She is being bathed by Lotte. Whoops. Rickert later meets Laurence whose proof of Jonas knowing something was how he was silenced. With the royal guards keeping constant watch on the old castle, it proves that there is something they want to hide.

Izetta and Fine attend Redford’s birthday. While it might look like that on the outside, it is also a meeting for the Allies to respond on Izetta’s effort. Also at this party is Berckmann. His date is strange. Already with dead zombie eyes, she goes up to Izetta to suddenly kiss her! Actually she bit her lips! After that she collapses. Berckmann apologizes over his fanatic Izetta fan but hints he knows who Izetta is before ‘disappearing’. Fine is delighted as America agrees to send troops to help. Rickert and Laurence sneak in the old castle by hiding underneath the cart of an old man delivering goods to the soldiers. Rickert relays to Laurence what Berckmann told him about the secret room in the old castle. The legend is much darker but more believable than the fairytale. It states that the prince was already married when he met the White Witch. When his wife found out he gave all his love to her, she was enraged. After the prince died, the wife found out about the White Witch’s secret, sealed her power and sold her to the enemy. After suffering inquisitions, she was burnt at the stake. After the wife died, the people who feared the White Witch sealed her secret within this room in her memory. True enough they stumble upon this room which has murals depicting the dark story. Rickert takes pictures of the leylines when the vial of blood in his pocket reacts. A short earthquake occurs before a mystic stone drops out from the wall. At this point, Bianca and her royal guards enter the room. Rickert and Bianca are shocked to realize each other’s position. The Germanians escape via underground. However Rickert was shot. He hands the evidence to Laurence so he could escape. Rickert will become the decoy. Bianca face off with Rickert who apologizes for shattering her fantasy. After all, it is a fairytale and it needs a happy ending. A reason why all fairytales have happy ending is so that tragedies in real life can be avoided. Rickert draws his gun but didn’t shoot. Bianca did. Bianca’s sniper takes out Laurence. However the evidence is taken by that old man of the cart, a Germanian spy. Stanley, the representative of America writes back to his higher ups about Izetta’s power that could be equal or higher threat. That is why he is suggesting to send troops to defeat both Germania and Eylstadt.

Episode 9
The resistance forces across Europe attack Germanian forces. They are further delighted when Izetta comes to their aid. She is now so famous worldwide she even stars in her own comics! Ever since Izetta’s return from Britannia 3 months ago, Germania has not invaded Eylstadt and they’re just ‘staring’ at each other across the borders. Bianca reports to Sieghart that because no evidences were found on the bodies on the spies, it is assumed they ventured into the castle not knowing what they are looking for. It is theorized that the enemy knew about that place when they captured Izetta and took her blood samples. It gave credence to whatever fairytales and must have led to them to discover such room was in existence. Hans shows Fine photos of strange enemy tanks. Based on their weapon manufacturer’s side deduction, it is believed Germania may have created a weapon to defeat Izetta. Fine is also surprised they might be trying to attack from the west again because it is as though they didn’t learn anything from Coenenberg. But if they want a fight, a fight they’ll give them. When Izetta is at the Coenenberg’s fort, a report comes in that the enemy has already begin their attacking. However it is not here but at the eastern border of Sellun Corridor. Looks like they feigned the attack from the west and came from the east instead. That elaborated weapon was just an elaborated hoax. Izetta makes her way there and everyone is confident it is Eylstadt’s victory because Sellun Corridor is a place containing lots of leylines. Before Izetta could bomb the enemy, her air torpedoes are stopped by another witch! Sophie once called herself the White Witch and pleads to Izetta to stop this.

Flashback 3 months ago, a hidden lab seems to have successfully cloned a witch. Years ago, one of their researchers found documents pertaining to the White Witch in an abandoned church in the Alps and it led to records about the location where she was buried as well as the truth about her legend. Using the records to buy her body, they were able to finally recreate her. That’s why Otto was so sure witches existed. However she is now in enemy hands and they have no choice but to make this one succeed. Unfortunately Sophie is like a doll and has no own free will. Then they realized she reacted to Izetta’s blood samples and Berckmann decided to test her out. So the night at Redford’s party, that crazy fan girl was Sophie biting Izetta’s lips to taste her blood and awakened her. With tears and emotional drama, Sophie tries to convince Izetta to stop using her powers because this is not what a witch’s power should be used for. However Izetta made a promise to Fine and will carry on fighting no matter the outcome. In that case, cue for Sophie to turn on her crazy mode. No more Ms Nice. Both witches engage in mortal combat but Izetta surprisingly loses power and crashes. After Sophie ties her up, word of Izetta’s loss spreads like wildfire. People who once relied and placed hope in her are now in utter shock. In no time, Germanian forces steamrolled into Eylstadt and the capital being bombed in a blitz. In 2 hours, it fell into enemy hands.

Episode 10
Fine and her entourage escape via secret underground passage as Sophie mercilessly uses her mystic stone powers to destroy Eylstadt. Izetta is tied up and filmed. Hans leads a small team to rescue her from the enemy. But the damage is done with the world now in fear of Sophie after propaganda photos of Izetta’s lost is being publicized worldwide. Otto promotes Berckmann to Lieutenant Colonel but his service ends there since Otto will personally take charge of any matters pertaining to the witch. Sophie is impatient but is told to wait as she wants to destroy Eylstadt, which is her ultimate goal. Izetta remembers grandma told her that the White Witch is a traitor because she used her powers to meddle with the human affairs. To win the battle, she stole a mystic stone which the first witch had. In turn of giving her powers, it devours her life. Izetta wakes up and Fine is glad she has regained consciousness. Fine tells her what happened and they are now remaining hidden in a secret base built by her ancestors in the Alps. Izetta blames herself for failing but Fine blames her own arrogance and complacency for letting this happen. Sieghart confirms Sophie is the name of the legendary White Witch. This means she will show less mercy to them as she was the one who was hated by the prince’s wife (Fine’s ancestor), betrayed by her men and sold to the inquisition to be executed. She’s really out for their blood and revenge. Sophie was able to use powers in areas without leylines because of the mystic stone. It stores powers it absorbs. Now Sophie is using it to materialize a huge Exenium (magic crystals) to be carried out for their next attack on Britannia. Sieghart further explains his family was involved in the reality that was the White Witch incident, the reason he knew a lot about this. It was passed down orally through its generations. He never thought it was real till Izetta showed up. When Izetta was away at Britannia, he searched his ancestors’ home and found a diary detailing the betrayal, regret and sin of the White Witch.

Meanwhile word has reached everyone that Londenion has fallen. That’s London, right? Oh look. London Bridge is burning down, burning down, burning down… The strain of that attack still puts a burden on Sophie’s body despite the mystic stone is only half. Thus the lab has cloned many artificial bodies just in case for standby. Basler reports the different ways the witches fight totally rewrites the rules of warfare. He is not amused that Berckmann who drafted him into his team now wants out. He explains that he was ‘kicked out’ and thus he is seeing him just to say goodbye. It is suggested that Fine seeks asylum in another country and try to establish a government to fight from there. Izetta insists she can still fight although she has taken a lot of damage. She can’t even walk. This makes Fine realize that she won’t stop fighting if she doesn’t give up. She remembers Izetta’s grandma telling her not to use her powers but she made Izetta fight the war. No amount of thank you or sorry could be enough. Otto is making extravagant conditions for the Allies to surrender. He knows they have no choice. After that, they attack the Volga Federation. Although Germania has signed a nonaggression pact with them, Otto never intended to honour it. Once the entire Europe is under Germania’s rule, they’ll attack America. Then the world will be theirs! Sieg Reich! Izetta is sad she made Fine cry and hasn’t repaid her yet. Sieghart comes up to her with some hope. He has half the mystic stone. If she still wants to change things no matter what…

Episode 11
Sieghart reads his ancestors’ diary as it details how they betrayed Sophie. The moment they took away her mystic stone, it broke into half as though it was signalling the country’s betrayal of their hero. They cannot forget the rage on Sophie’s face when she was handed over. Berckmann is at Rickert’s grave when he hears Lieutenant Colonel Hagar leading the assault as he has discovered Fine’s hideout. He wants to join in claiming he has met the princess twice. The Germanians ambush the hideout and slaughter most of the troops. To lure Fine out, Hagar kills the hostages one by one. Although she decides to surrender, Hagar is not happy because it ruins his fun if she isn’t resisting. At this point, Izetta returns and turns the tables on the Germanians with her power. Flashback reveals Sieghart warning her she is able to use her powers freely like Sophie but at the risk of shortening her life. Bianca was against this because she felt Izetta had fought enough and can’t bear to see her like this anymore. Izetta wants to fight till the end. As Izetta starts throwing bricks around, the Germanians scatter. Hagar hits a dead end and cannot believe his rotten luck. Berckmann corners him and confirms that Otto has ordered his execution. Berckmann shoots Hagar before surrendering himself.

He is blindfolded and taken to a storeroom where Sieghart interrogates him. Berckmann wants a trade. Letting Sieghart take hidden films in his back pocket, Berckmann explains Germania has successfully created a bomb using Exenium. They plan to load it on a missile and use Sophie to bomb Eylstadt. Let’s say a single bomb can destroy the entire place. Then they are going to hold a peace conference in Westria with all the major powers. This is just a ploy to unveil the new bomb and threaten all of them to submit or end up like Eylstadt. It is obvious that Berckmann has defected and is willing to share this information. He is vouching for Izetta to defeat Sophie and perhaps Germania itself. Sieghart is not amused he has no loyalty but Berckmann prefers to stay alive and what better way to do that is to strike first the person after his life even if it means he is the only person left. Sieghart punches him and is glad he was never like him. After Sieghart tells everything to Fine and co, Fine decides to surrender herself to Germania. She puts the blame on herself that she can’t make Izetta fight anymore. It was the temptation of using her witch powers that led to this. Izetta slaps her for trying to be a hero. Because since they started this together, they’ll end this together. All she wants is for Fine to be as she has always been. Fine changes her stance and will fight with Izetta. Berckmann further explains when and how the missile will be launched. Because Sophie is a clone, her powers are limited to 2 hours and this is depending what kind of magic she uses. Thus this is where Izetta comes in to stall and fight her for that duration. At the same time, Fine will attend the conference. Sieghart and Bianca will accompany her. That night, Izetta takes Fine flying around the forest as apology for slapping her. All the major powers arrive at Westria. At the guard check, when Fine’s side show their documents as proof, Basler suddenly comes in and rips Berckmann’s documents. He is disappointed that he is now a traitor. Izetta begins her face off with Sophie.

Episode 12
Fine gives Sieghart the signal as he rams the car through the post. After they alight, Berckmann parts from them. The conference begins as well as the witches’ messy aerial battle. They’re throwing planes and tanks too! Knowing that Sophie needs to power the missile, Izetta distracts her away. It works since Sophie is so crazily bent on killing her. Don’t worry. The Germanians have got another clone to wake up and do the remote control. Sieghart distracts the guards so Fine and Bianca can head into the conference. As he runs, a soldier stands before him. Because he looks so much like Jonas, he hesitates and enough time for the panicky green soldier to fire back and kill him. Karma? Berckmann is about to escape via boat but Basler again catches him and lectures him about loyalty. Because Berckmann mocks Rickert’s sacrifice, Basler shoots him. Fine has made it into the conference. Although she is not invited and the Germanians could have her arrested, the Allies want her to have a say in this because the bombing of Eylstadt is very much of her concern, right? However Stanley argues that even if Sophie and Germania are defeated, this means Eylstadt will be left as the only powerful nation possessing magic technology. Who will stand up to them if they ever have ambitions like Otto? Sophie reveals her hatred for Eylstadt not because it was the prince’s wife who betrayed him but the prince himself who sold her out. Although the prince’s last dying words worries about Sophie’s status as a witch reaching the Vatican and thus Eylstadt was in danger of becoming branded as a heretic country, Sophie still takes this as ultimate betrayal after all the sacrifice she had done and pain endured for him. Izetta may not know everything but she believes someone who has entrusted with everyone’s lives cannot focus on just 1 person.

Stanley continues that his nation is divided. At first they were thrilled by the witch’s power but now some are fearful and do not want to take action. That is why America’s forces are still in Britannia remain stationed. Fine promises that the battle of witches and magic will end today. Izetta will absorb all the powers from the leylines over the continent and thus no magic thereafter. This is at the cost of her life. Prior to this when Izetta told her about this, Fine was against it but Izetta despite knowing the risks still wants to do it. As long as she has this power, she will fight. I guess Fine makes it even more convincing with all those real tears that they should be happy after Izetta, magic, witches and all those destructive weapons will be gone after today. And yet will Germania still think itself as the ruler of the world? Izetta successfully absorbs all the Exenium and even faster because Sophie tries to match it. Ultimately Sophie runs out of power and Izetta is left happy able to fulfil her duty. A bright light is shot into the sky. Fine takes this that Izetta is gone and breaks down. Otto is mad but will continue his conquest via traditional iron and blood. By 1941, America kept its promise by bringing together the Allies to fight against Germania. The Volga Federation also started their own invasion and this pushes back Germania and liberating a few countries. Shortly, Otto takes his own life and the war ended. It is believed the war could have last longer had not the actions of Fine and Izetta. While Fine believes as long as humanity still exists, there will some war popping up in the future, she still won’t give up in making a world where everyone can choose their own future. Berckmann is seen making shady trades with shady people. He just lost an eye. Basler a bad shooter? Lastly, all is not lost as Fine pays a visit deep in the woods. A cabin where wheelchair-ridden Izetta still lives and is being taken care by Lotte.

Strike Witch: Operation Victory Eylstadt
This is amazing. I never knew that I would be enjoying this series so much. I mean, I had really high hopes of this after a couple of war themed animes like Senjou No Valkyria and Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou No Alderamin made war genres pretty likeable in my books. Of course at first there was this scepticism that this will not be as good as the aforementioned series because despite it has fantasy elements, it is still closely based on some real life events like the name of the countries and the time period for World War II. I did not expect to be blown away by the amazing flow of the story. Well, maybe except the ending which I had mixed feelings about. I thought it was all too rushed because with the great big war averted, they make Otto kill himself like Hitler did but only years earlier and that to satiate crying fan boys of Izetta, they make her live instead of die (although not sure if she is a vegetable). I wonder if it’s because Sophie absorbed some of the magic so it didn’t actually affect Izetta greatly. But then again, thinking hard on what could have been the better ending would be futile because nothing would have been more fitting an ending like this. Fine and Izetta has played their vital part in securing Eylstadt’s freedom as well as ending the war. Therefore what comes after that doesn’t really matter. Remember, this is a series about Izetta and Fine.

I really got lost in the plot and when I say lost, I don’t mean getting confused. I was quite enthralled by the simple and yet fascinating flow of the story as we see both sides trying to up each other in times of war. It gets better with the power of the witch intervening. Although I have to admit that the revelations of the White Witch wasn’t that interesting because I somehow have guessed that she was betrayed by the ones she loved and trusted. I don’t think Sophie ever found any closure since this Sophie isn’t the real Sophie and this wasn’t about making right the dark history of Eylstadt. It’s to fight against the invading Germanians, remember?

The characters are absolutely perfect and each play their role perfectly no matter how small their role or appearance they have. Although that itself is a bit of a complaint on my side. More on that later. The main characters, Fine and Izetta have really great chemistry and they really have this bond that makes you feel that they’ve been with each other for ages instead of meeting each other again since the war began. I love Fine and her steadfast to fight for her people although her character might be very cliché in such stories. She isn’t just a royal princess who lives a spoilt life but is very down to earth and connected with her people. She takes action and kicks ass. She knows what needs to be done for the greater good even if it means losing Izetta (and lots of tears of course). Izetta of course compliments Fine and the duo are so fine as a combo that it is hard to imagine one without the other. They might be away sometimes for separate missions but you know that they are making things work at the same time. They have a very good friendship that touches all of our hearts because this is what we all love to have and look for in a friend. Despite a few very hinting scenes of Fine x Izetta lesbianism, thankfully it didn’t go that far or it might have left a bad aftertaste in the mouth.

Though I did say that many of the other characters are also great and play their role in the anime as they should, sometimes I can’t help that because of that they too are insignificant in an overall manner (like those heads of states such as Redford and the rest whom I couldn’t name). Just enough to play out their role. What I really meant is, take for instance Elvira. She is a great tutor to the girls and also helps in the advertising of Izetta as the great witch. However you don’t really see her play that role and because it is mostly behind the scenes, sometimes her character felt a bit redundant. What the heck happened to Hans? It’s like he is no longer relevant in the second half of the series. He is still alive in the infantry but it would be as good as dead if he had no more role to pay after that. Then there is Lotte who is just there being a maid and Bianca being a close royal guard for Fine. Basler just had a single proper episode (and that was just for a while) where he had his rematch with Izetta but other than that, he could have been just some nameless pilot as I don’t see him really fitting anywhere properly in the story.

There are many other small characters here and there that die but that don’t matter anyway. They come and go and are mostly forgettable whether or not they live or die. But some like that poor Jonas kid whom I thought would have some standout role (or at least of some importance) because it looked like he had some sort of potential story to tell (family of his photo tells you a lot) but looks like the poor chap existed just to get shot to cover up a big secret. Just sad. Because compared to Rickert who actually played a part and died for it seemed better from this point of view. And when Sieghart really died, it’s like we’ve forgotten all about him. It’s like as though he lives long enough to reveal his ancestor’s dirty work and do Fine one last service before biting the bullet.

Otto is supposedly the villain and the equivalent to our Hitler. However it is hard to see him as the bad guy because we hardly see him in some sort of vile action. Just sitting on his throne or hanging out somewhere in his palace while he makes his plans. Even if his plans to snatch away Berckmann’s hard work, orders for him to be killed and betray the Volga Federation are supposed to make him sound evil but you know what they say about actions speak louder than words. And when he died so ‘quickly’, the shock wasn’t as resonating as Izetta’s ‘death’. Just saying… So the main bulk of the action falls on Berckmann who is supposed to be the despicable villain but from the way I see it, he isn’t such a bad guy in the vilest sense after all. I mean, in times of war, all is fair and to spew nonsense about loyalty and your own life differs on the individual’s stance. Though, it was really odd for me to see someone who had been fighting against Eylstadt in the beginning only to easily defect to the other side and fighting his own homeland, that makes him a dangerous character. All the more so he didn’t die and close his case because he is still alive and might be the next perpetrator for the Cold War, the Vietnam War, the Korean War, the Gulf War, the Arab Spring, the Syrian War… Oh yeah. And Sophie? She’s just a mad bloodthirsty clone.

The battle scenes are also impressive and although you might say that Izetta’s magic might have exaggerated things because uplifting and throwing heavy tanks and lances feel more fantasy than reality, it is still kept to a believable level. In that sense you can’t help vouch, support and even cheer on Izetta when she charges into the battlefield to save the day. Yeah, she makes it all look so easy. It’s like Superman making his debut saving the world. Otherwise, without Izetta’s witchy intervention, it might looked like plain ol’ boring warzone to remind us the atrocities of war. Nobody really wins in a war, right?

Although art and drawing are rather okay, I won’t go so far to say they are spectacular but because the setting is in the 1940s, the lush greeneries and sceneries of Eylstadt do amaze me even if the quality is just pretty standard. The design of the European houses and structures in the 1940s as well as the tanks and planes are also beautiful and quite accurate. The animation is pretty fluid itself but I really didn’t take full notice of it since I was more focused and drawn into the plot and storyline. But I guess it is a good thing too because if the animation was that bad, I would have already complained about it. CG is also used by thankfully very sparingly because I thought the Exenium stones looked ugly (unless it was intentional to look like this). But the simple magic effects and the lighting are quite okay. This series is animated by Ajia-Do who seems to be making a comeback after a few years of hiatus. This is the first TV series they made this year and the last they did was DD Hokuto No Ken way back in 2013. Other works under them include Zettai Shonen, Kujibiki Unbalance, Emma: A Victorian Romance Second Act and the long running Nintama Rantarou series.

There are a handful popular seiyuus lending their voice to this series. Most notably for example Saori Hayami as Fine. Quite some time ago she played a red haired princess of a fictional fairytale kingdom of a fictional world. This time she plays a blonde princess of another fictional kingdom in an alternate parallel world. Other recognizable seiyuus include Juinichi Suwabe as Berckmann, Kana Hanazawa as Elvira, Nao Touyama as Lotte, Koji Yusa as Gorz and Takehito Koyasu as Hagar. The rest of the other casts are Himika Akaneya as Izetta (Honoka in ReLIFE), Sora Amamiya as Sophie (titular character in Akame Ga Kill), Hiroki Takahashi as Seighart (Japan in Hetalia series), Aya Uchida as Bianca (Kotori in Love Live!), Kouichi Yamadera as Otto (Spike in Cowboy Bebop), Kenn as Hans (Jinbei in Mushibugyou), Natsuki Hanae as Rickert (Inaho in Aldnoah.Zero), Yoshimasa Hosoya as Basler (Reiner in Shingeki No Kyojin), Mitsuaki Hoshino as Redford (Magellan in One Piece) and Hiroyuki Endou as Jonas (Rui in Sora Wo Miageru Shoujo No Hitomi Ni Utsuru Sekai).

The fast pace rock outfit of the opening theme, Cross The Line by Akino with Bless4 somehow I personally feel that the beat of this song doesn’t quite fit the setting of this series. It gives me a projection that this song would have been better suited for a mecha shonen genre. Seriously. It is a sudden u-turn for the ending theme because Hikari Aru Basho E by May’n is a very heavy and gloomy song. The slow pounding of the piano is enough to make you feel heavy and grounded. Luckily the string parts are better on the ears but despite being a sad sounding song, it is quite lovely and beautiful in its own right. There is also the Eylstadt Kokka (Eylstadt’s National Anthem) as a special ending theme. This one really sounds like a patriotic national anthem. Not sure if they really write it or they rip it off from some nation’s national anthem. I mean, it’s not like you’re going to recognize every darn anthem in the world, right? There are also a variety of background music from those dramatic pieces fit for a fantasy world to battle themes and the weird but lively a cappella sung by female choirs. In some ways, I do find it a little creepy depending on the scene they are played. For example, the scene is mellow and all of a sudden you hear this loud a cappella voices in the background.

Overall, I am very satisfied and very thrilled to have watched this series. It might not be perfect but it has a good story with many good characters. I’ll say this is really an interesting watch and would recommend that sometimes you don’t really need epic exaggerations and action like a certain Titan slaying anime or even crazy flashy over-the-top series like a certain clothes aliens trying to control the minds of humans, to make a good anime. I know it is just impossible and wishful thinking, but sometimes I wished that Izetta would really exist for real to stop all the stupid conflicts and clashes our world has had enough of. Because f*ck Superman and Batman who throughout the ages continue to fail to stop evil megalomaniac villains and aliens from constantly trying to take over or destroy Earth. Izetta literally ended a war prematurely than it should! And she rides a rifle for Heaven’s sake! Move aside. Witches are the new superheroes!

At first I was going to pass Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou No Alderamin or also known as Alderamin On The Sky seeing that this is another military series, a genre ranked quite lowly on my favourite genres list. I’m not saying I totally dislike this genre (better than mecha or yaoi) but seeing I have watched mecha series when I am supposedly not interested to begin with, what are the chances of this one? The main point that attracted me was the synopsis about a main character who is lazy as f*ck. He gets drafted into the military and forced to fight a war he doesn’t want. But his lazy tactics prove to be the winning formula. Sounds familiar? That’s right. Because of my stint with the amazing Senjou No Valkyria which also has a non-military background protagonist who used his unorthodox non-military out-of-the-box thinking to win, it is simply this reason and similarity that I became interested in checking this out. Man, did I procrastinate long enough to release this blog? Talk about being lazy already…

Episode 1
Ikta Solork and Yatorishino “Yatori” Igsem are going to board a ship that will take them to their official exam. Currently the kingdoms are at war and Ikta is viewed as a pessimist for believing the defence garrison under their kingdom, Katjvarna Empire will soon fall under the hands of Kioka Republic. Also on board this ship to take the exam are Haroma “Haro” Becker (nurse wannabe whom Ikta can’t help flirt), Matthew Tetdrich (whose family has been famous in the military for generations but not many seem to know it) and Torway Remeon (handsome guy whom Ikta scorns as his rival). The ship starts sinking during a stormy weather. The quintet are then ushered to the deck whereby they are dropped into a lifeboat. In this weather? I guess it beats going down with the ship. They see a little girl slipping off the deck and into the sea. Ikta becomes a hero by diving in to save her. When she wakes up, everyone is in a cave on a remote island. Yatori can tell from her royal ring that she is Chamille Kitra Katjvanmaninik. They have met before when Chamille’s father the emperor visited her home but that was many years ago. Yatori informs that only them have survived the storm and were fortunately washed up on this shore. Ikta and Torway return from their scouting and they have spotted a garrison line. This means they are in Kioka’s territory. Ikta has 2 options: Surrender and become their prisoner of war or take a gamble and burst through it to reach back to their kingdom. Because Chamille furiously won’t become a prisoner of war, Ikta shuts her up that being angry won’t make the impossible possible. Yatori tackles him and asks Chamille to forgive his rudeness since this is the man who saved her. So while they live out their isolated life, they have time to think about their options. They spot a Kioka blimp hovering over and go into hiding. It is Kioka’s new weapon that recently caused much damage to the eastern mission. Since it is alone, it is just on a scouting mission. That night, Chamille goes into the woods to relief herself. However the enemy patrol is metres away from her. Because they tripped on some makeshift alarm, the rest instantly got up and take precautionary measures. Chamille thought she is going to be discovered but it seems the enemy caught Ikta instead.

Episode 2
Ikta acts like a scared asylum seeker and this makes the enemy let their guard down. When Ikta gives the signal, his comrades strike and kill them. One of them is barely alive so Ikta interrogates him in exchange for treatment. But he died from his wounds after Ikta gets all the necessary information. Torway is scared because it is the first time he killed and almost screwed up so Yatori had to remind him he is a valuable comrade since he can use an air gun. Chamille also feels guilty about this so she bites her finger till it bleeds. Ikta kisses it and uses his scientific explanation why her blood isn’t rotten and it should be as good as it is if it remains in her body. Chamille thought he hated her but he says he just thought what happened before was just a childish tantrum. As twisted as Ikta may be, he gives his enemies a decent burial and even offerings. Next day they discover a mini blimp that the enemy came by at the beach. Instead of picking 3 to ride it home, Ikta has this sly idea. Dressing up as a Kioka army and the rest as asylum seekers, Ikta pleads to the garrison’s chief that the blimp is being stolen (currently it is unmanned and visibly flying away in the sky). Ikta lies that the ‘thief’ demands his family to be returned to the kingdom in exchange for the blimp. The chief of course panics as he has to make a decision now and Ikta’s acting is so convincing he could win an Oscar. Thus a decision is made and Ikta and co are moving steadily across the border and back into Katjvarna. Chamille is greeted by the garrison’s head, Lieutenant General Hazaf Rikan. She introduces her saviours.

A month later, our heroes are living the luxurious life but it all comes crashing down when news reports that the eastern territory has fallen into enemy’s hands and Rikan has died in battle. Flashback shows Ikta desperately tried to persuade Rikan to withdraw because either way they are going to lose. He believes the whole war is rigged. Because the Empire failed to develop this section, they want to rid of it. To make the people think they are fighting the war seriously, that is why they placed a famous general there. Of course he cannot withdraw because he is following direct orders. Ikta becomes mad and before he could get violent, he is knocked out by Yatori. The quintet then have an audience with the emperor who bestow upon them the title of Imperial Knight. Ikta is not happy because this means they are now soldiers who cannot disobey orders. So much for his life. He blames Chamille for this political move because the people had no favourable news for the loss and the only way was to make heroes to make them feel better. Chamille has dug up some past on Ikta. His real name is Ikta Sankrei. His father was the famous General Bada Sankrei who died in prison for disobeying orders. She also knows about Ikta’s master who thought him about science, Dr Anarai Kahn who fled to Kioka last year. She also talks about his mom, Yuhka who was part of the emperor’s harem. Before she could continue, Ikta gets violent with her but luckily Yatori puts him down. While Ikta is glad that this Imperial Knight thingy may be good for Yatori, it isn’t for him. He managed to become 3 things he didn’t want to in the same day: A noble, a soldier and a hero.

Episode 3
The Imperial Knights attend Katjvarna Empire High Level Officer’s School. Chamille also enrols here to learn with them. Some bullies think they can get the better of Ikta by dropping him a live centipede. Ikta isn’t scared. Instead he kills it and eats it! How about that! Even in class he might look like he is slacking but he knows his stuff well. If his comprehensive textbook answer isn’t impressive enough, he even adds his own analytical thoughts to it! Torway runs into trouble when he meets his elder brothers, Sarihaslag and Sushuraf. It seems they hate their younger brother and badmouth him as a coward. Because their loudness ruined Ikta’s nap, he intervenes and says what he wants. Sarihaslag beats him up even when he is down but that didn’t stop Ikta from running his mouth. They stop when Yatori and Chamille pass by. Yatori tags with Ikta to judo throw some of them so Sarihaslag calls it a day and leaves. Don’t bet it would be their last time. 3 months later, the Imperial Knights are done with their studying and some of them are given their own platoon. Like Yatori commands the Fire Troop, Torway leads the Air Rifle Platoon and Ikta gets Light Platoon. In this platoon is Sergeant Major Suya Mitcalif. Who? The daughter of the woman whom Ikta slept with! Oh sh*t! Not even Yatori can save him from this. Because of that, the troops won’t listen to him and Suya won’t let him take command. Matthew relays bad news about their upcoming problem. It seems the groups have been split to have Sarihaslag and Yatori on one side against Ikta, Torway and Matthew. Obviously revenge objective but Ikta isn’t panicking yet. He goes to make a deal with Suya that if he can prove himself that he is a vital factor in this victory, he will be allowed to lead the platoon. He makes his first proof as his platoon treks to the camping grounds. Nothing special except that Ikta got his troops to the site exactly on time and having without using a map. It’s all memorized in his head! He also sets up camps all over the place that will give him advantage in battle. On the second day the mock battle is supposed to start, Sarihaslag thought Ikta’s side didn’t turn up because they got lost. Then Yatori points out this is just a meeting place and it didn’t say anything about fighting. Sarihaslag panics and advances his troops. Ikta knows this will happen and has his men already lying in wait.

Episode 4
Sarihaslag thinks he knows the grounds and conditions better than anyone and is even confident of splitting up his troops to get ahead of the enemy. He disregards Yatori’s advice just because he is the commanding officer. But then it proves fatal because Ikta has his troops cross the river to attack. Last night they used a tree and made an underwater bridge. Thanks to the rainy day before, the muddiness hid it. Sarihaslag panics and has his troops fight back. Only when Yatori returns, Ikta too has his troops retreat. Sarihaslag thinks Ikta will come chasing him and has his troops lie in wait for a pincer attack. However we know Ikta won’t be doing that. It’s just exhausting to chase somebody. Instead he cuts off the northern exits that lead to the central base. At some point they have to return there and if they can’t, it is as good as they have lost and Ikta’s team will win by default. Predictably Sarihaslag follows the enemy for a showdown. He even orders his troops to break the rules just win. Before he can charge, he is sniped in the head courtesy of Torway hiding in the trees. Sushuraf takes over command and has everyone break through to reach the base. In the aftermath it is Ikta’s win. He lectures his troops about science and laziness. Apparently he believes slacking off in a war means doing the right thing. So follow him and they can fight easy and win easy! Woah. With all the men cheering his name, it’s like Ikta is now God! Ikta then receives news that Chamille is heading towards a wrong direction and something feels wrong. He sends a Morse code signal to Yatori about this. Chamille and her royal guards are rushing through the forest when some of them are killed. It is then Chamille realizes that the report of Ikta being hurt was just a ruse to lure her out. The mastermind is no other than the royal guard captain, Ison Ho. As they make their way, some of them are ambushed by Yatori’s troops. Yatori sticks her sword at Ison’s neck. He is willing to die and orders his men to shoot her. However they don’t move. Ison then reveals they are all students of Rikan and admired him. They know his death was all part of a political ploy and their aim is to kill Chamille to avenge him. Ison overpowers Yatori and could have killed her had not Torway snipe a headshot. Yatori swiftly picks up her swords and slices the remaining guards. She is reeling in shock and blood all over her. Only Ikta’s voice calms her down. Ikta learns of Ison’s aim and understands. He tries to cheer up Chamille soaked in blood as well but I guess that tomato joke went too far and she starts crying and hitting him.

Episode 5
It still gives Yatori the chills to think she was in that state. Ikta’s touch can only bring her back. She is sure that as long he is around, she can never fully turn into a sword. Flashback shows Yatori wanted to go study under Bada and her father gave his approval. She arrives in this remote village and started learning about scientific stuffs under Bada and Anarai. She quickly learns about scientific explanations which are another approach to explain theology instead of just always claiming acts of God. Of course there was young Ikta too and she trained him sword fighting. It looked like a blissful time the duo have. Playing pranks on some villagers, ‘taking’ ingredients from old ladies and fishing a big one out of a swamp. It’s really the simple life. One day the duo go on an expedition with Ikta’s older brother. At a remote cabin, the grownups forgot some tools and head back. But why the heck leave the kids behind?! They could have had the whole day to themselves had not for a hungry pack of wolves attacking them. They are holed inside the cabin as they use whatever resources, ingenuity and traps to scare them off and show who is boss. But that won’t deter the wolves because they’re really hungry. So far so good in counter attacking the wolves’ attack and even killing a few of them. In the dead of the night, the battle resumes again. This time a wolf jumps inside from the roof. The kids were fast and hid in a makeshift crate fortress. Yatori is willing to sacrifice her life for his safe return since one dead is better than both dead. However Ikta disagrees and anything less than both of them alive is a failure. The only way is for them to become one and solve this together. They will be each other’s hands. Somehow they manage to escape outside and trap the wolves in. They set the cabin on fire and wolves that try to breakthrough get killed in their trap. Eventually they face off with the remaining 2 wolves and one of them is the pack’s leader. The suspenseful battle is heading for a standoff when a cub’s cry is heard. The wolves back down and return to the forest with their offspring. Next day, the duo just chill eating whatever leftover burnt meat from the burnt down cabin. Shortly, Bada is captured and Ikta and his mom went missing. Many years later, Ikta returned to her and claimed he is here to take her away from this land with no future.

Episode 6
Ikta reads a letter saying that Anarai’s box is about to open. It is a safe supposedly containing his intellectual properties. But when he sought asylum, Kioka had him give up some of the military applications of it. The usuals are heading to the north for an expedition and some aren’t too fond of the Sinack tribe ruling there. Commanding the northern garrison is Lt General Tamtooktsk Safida and Major Yukshiram Toakk. During the banquet, Ikta meets First Lieutenant Senpa Sazaluf who will be his supervisor throughout the duration. A burly platoon commander, Deinkun Hargunska challenges Yatori to a duel. After getting permission, they face off where they stand. Chamille didn’t like how Yatori’s sword skills are to be gawked at but Ikta begs to differ as it is meant to be gawked at. The emperor gave the Igsem family the ability to wield 2 swords which is the symbol of invincibility as long as they never lose a sword fight. The family values this order very highly and to continue carrying 2 swords, they must show everyone their superiority and protect that order. Yatori might look like she is just defending but one strike back is enough to win the match. Sazaluf leads the trainees patrolling around the mountains. It might look boring since they have been circling the same path for 3 hours. But this is to show their force and put silent pressure to keep the peace. He then realizes Ikta has gone missing. An officer is confiscating books belonging to Kanna Temari. This is when smooth operator Ikta comes in the save the day. He reveals this officer’s intention to sell the books he confiscates as they have a high value. The officer wants to teach Ikta a lesson but a spider prank has him running away. Kanna is grateful he saved her books. They discuss about this particular book that contains the Aldera religion. Ikta views her as a fellow science member. Before he could really hit off with her, Sazaluf is here to bring him back and reprimand him. Ikta is so sly that he could even trick Sazaluf and escape. However he stumbles upon a cell he shouldn’t have. Nanaku Daru thinks it is time to go to war to recover their stolen Hahashiku.

Episode 7
Ikta returns all dried up but with some liquids, he is back to normal. This guy then goes to flirt with Kanna. She thinks he is a lady killer but Ikta has the best reply: All the women in the world are conspiring to seduce him! Ikta learns from Kanna’s observations that Toakk does most of the leading around and keeps an eye on Safida. However when it comes to Sinack matters, Safida takes full charge. This is in line with what Ikta saw in the dungeon. There were many sprites locked up. He believes they were forcefully taken away from their Sinack masters and this amounts to spirit abuse. Sazaluf says they are all locked up under Safida’s orders. Kanna then explains her analysis of Aldera because the Sinack speak of the spirits without mentioning the God that everyone else prays to: Alderamin. With the difference in core tenants and commandments, she feels as though the sprites have nothing to do with being messengers of Alderamin. This sends Ikta into ecstasy because this means she escaped the bigotry that twists the truth. He likes her scientific thinking and believes if there was ever a God, the first command should be thou shall be lazy and all other Gods are fakes. Huh? Toakk and his men are supposed to fetch a Sinack representative but see him dead in his home. They are then attacked by Sinack rebels. When gunshots are heard, Yatori heads in and sees Sinack and his men killed. She instantly kills some of them but the rest escaped. Shortly, Ikta and Kanna enter the place and see the massacre. All other tenants of the house are dead. Ikta sees Alderan pilgrimage clothes in which Sinack people do not wear.

Yatori and her men chase the rebels but stop in time once she realizes an ambush is waiting for them. She seeks answers to her comrades’ murder but Nanaku as the chieftain of Sinack speaks of the discrimination and oppression over her people. She calls them monsters for stealing Hahashiku. They demand nothing and will return everything to its original state like how she should be. Erm, so isn’t declaring a holy war the same as a demand? Once Safida learns of this, he doesn’t want to report to Central yet. He will use this moment to purge all the Sinack. When some soldiers call for revenge for Toakk, surprisingly Deinkun voices his disagreement. He might always sound willing to go to war but that is only if it involves the enemy. And the enemy is no other than Kioka. Although Sinack people are considered citizens under the Empire, they aren’t treated on the same level as other races. As a fellow imperial soldier, they should be reluctant to point their sword at their own people. Ikta keeps thinking hard about the holy war declaration because that word never existed in the Sinack vocabulary. To them, war is just survival. He can’t bring himself to think it is to take back their spirits. The only reason he can come up with is someone has been giving them ready-made excuses for war. Safida mobilizes his punitive force to strike the northern mountains at dawn. With Chamille being sent away to the halfway base instead of Central, it only proves that Safida is acting on his own. What more, he managed to gather this large punitive force in such a short time. While the Imperial Knights are just on standby, the other soldiers are already starting the heavy fighting.

Episode 8
Casualties are mounting because the soldiers are not used to the high elevations. But Safida will not retreat and orders to keep pressing forward. The Imperial Knights are now thrown into the front lines since they have to deliver supplies. When the enemy attacks at night, Ikta suggests his platoon defend at the back. Since the front is chaotic, he doesn’t want to get caught up in it. With great tactics and strategy, Ikta and his side manage to defeat the waves of Sinack rebels without losing a single man. Kanna is part of the troops at the front. When her platoon takes over a seemingly abandoned Sinack fort, they realize too late that it is a trap since the Sinack surround them at night. Though they manage to escape to higher ground, Ikta’s troops who are supposed to deliver supplies to this fort can only see the enemy occupying it. First Lieutenant Manubans Najiru is hell bent on sending the supplies and orders Ikta and Matthew’s troop to perform force reconnaissance. Ikta knows the conditions will be unfavourable to them and requests Torway’s group as support. He even guarantees he can retake the fort in an hour. In actual fact everything can be settled in 20 minutes. To summarise the plan, Torway will snipe the enemy and the rest will barge in. But how? Can his air gun reach such distance with accuracy? Well, it did. The enemies are taken out right under their noses before they got a chance to prepare. It seems based on Anarai’s technology from his box, Torway was able to modify this air rifle to make the shot more stable and accurate. When an injured soldier from the front lines requests aid because the fort is being surrounded by the enemy, Ikta will take command of this mission and no one else will know about this. As they trek higher, suddenly Ikta wants everyone to make camp even though they can still go on and have energy. The reason being he wants everyone to adapt to the high altitude or risk having Alpine Sickness. They may be late in saving their comrades but his top priority is to keep everyone here safe. Speaking of that sickness, everyone in that fort is already starting to weaken. By the time Ikta and his troops adapt and move on, he realizes they have lost because he couldn’t see any of their comrades from the fort moving. Everyone has been slaughtered. To his dismay, among the bodies is Kanna. He had hoped so much to see her again but I guess this is goodbye.

Episode 9
Sazaluf explains to Ikta and co their next mission to fight the Sinack tribe by separating their forces and taking 3 different routes. Then he has them burn down the homes of a Sinack village and take them with them to a refugee camp. It is at least better than Safida’s haphazard plan of killing them all because at least they can be used for negotiations. Besides, Ikta is wary of the separation plan as the routes are over 100km wide and there is no way they can get help from each other. While Ikta is sorting the housing for the refugees, a little Sinack boy comes to take out his frustrations on him. Ikta ignores him but flicks his nose. He starts bleeding and crying. Then Deinkun punches Ikta. And then himself. It was his way to save Ikta from the hostility. Safida gives his speech on the upcoming battle with the Sinack where a large force of them has gathered on the other side of the canyon. So that night they rest and the guys talk about… Sex? At least it is hinted that way. Hey, you still got to make love and peace in times of war. Next day as the troops march through the canyons, Ikta and Sazaluf have a bad feeling the enemy can flank them from the opposite mountain although it may seem impossible. Better to be safe than sorry, Ikta suggests Sazaluf talk to Safida to walk instead of riding a horse since he is the highest officer around. Lucky old fat guy agrees although he isn’t happy. True enough, the Sinack rebels attack from above with arrows and from the opposite with air rifles. Haro is slow to equip herself and could have died if not for Ikta’s quick saving. But he too needs to be saved from Deinkun again. Nanaku targets Safida but Yatori stands in her way. Yatori observes her unorthodox fighting and finally learns her trick. It might look like she stabbed her back but it is some equipment powered by her sprite. As a sword warrior, Yatori find it odd that she was confident in leaving her back open and knew she had a trick up her sleeve and thus managed to avoid her hidden gun. Nanaku’s sprite self destructs to let her escape. Meanwhile an elite assassination group crops out from the bottom of the cliff to target Safida. As they race towards him, Deinkun gets slashed. However when Yatori faces them and other troops surround them, they dive back down the cliff. Yatori hears Deinkun’s last words to take care of his comrades before passing away. Nanaku returns home vowing revenge but finds her village burnt down.

Episode 10
9 years ago, Ikta was at Nanaku’s village for a festival celebration and they know each other well. Nanaku is devastated to see her grandparents killed. She mercilessly kills the guards. Although she is pinned down, they make a foolish mistake of not finishing her off because they want to rape her. Thank goodness they are such dumbasses fighting over who is supposed to f*ck her first because this gives Ikta time to beat the crap out of them and save Nanaku. Once everything is under control, Ikta explains to his comrades that the men who showed up at the end of the last battle are Kala Karm, the ghost squad of Kioka. It only makes sense that Kioka has been teaching Sinack guerrilla tactics and supplying them with air rifles. When an Aldera inspection team speaks with Safida, he mentions they were here to check on spirit abuse. But seeing how some of them are dead in the recent battle, the answer is clear now. Safida has Ikta’s team chase after him and they discover a huge army, La Saia Alderamin making their way here. They are the nation army of Aldera who invade other countries in the name of God. Ikta puts the pieces of the puzzle. From Toakk’s assassination, Kioka has been manipulating Sinack so this will spur Aldera to invade the Empire. With Safida needing suggestions on what to be done, Sazaluf suggests forming a small team to buy time for the others to escape. As this is his suggestion, he is put in charge. Part of the plan is to use Sinack’s help and manpower. This is where Ikta comes in to work his charm. First he frees Nanaku who feels this apology thingy is an insult. While Ikta doesn’t intend to apologize for the war, he will apologize for those non-combatants who were killed in the midst of it. To show his sincerity, he cuts off the tip of his pinky finger!!! Yikes!!! This is part of the Sinack tradition of apology as Nanaku once told him. It is then she recognizes who Ikta is.

He has 3 favours to ask from her. First is to accept his apology for the misdeeds. Second, the Sinack help them to repel Aldera. They are using this opportunity to wipe out both of them since both sides are exhausted from the war. Of course this is an excuse for Aldera to crush them in the name of the spirits. They are just a pawn for Kioka because once Aldera takes over here, they will destroy Sinack whom they view their religious beliefs are heretical. As apology for this favour, Ikta cuts off the rest of his pinky finger!!! OMG!!! I can’t watch this! Does Ikta know fingers don’t grow back?! His third favour is to remain calling her Nanaku. Well, since this favour is made as a friend instead of a soldier, he doesn’t need to cut any fingers. Phew? Once Ikta returns to the rest, he tells them Nanaku can supply 800 men for this operation. Thanks to Sazaluf putting them in one village, it will be easier to gather them. Sazaluf also returns promoting the quintet as per Safida’s reward. Ikta wants Matthew, Torway and Haro’s troops to be part of the evacuating squad. Because he makes it sound like it is goodbye, Matthew becomes upset that it is as though he has been a hindrance in his battles. He knows that there is a high chance his men will die, he will die. But it’s the same for Ikta too. Even so, will he be a hindrance? Ikta and Yatori retract their statement and apologize for underestimating their resolve. They hope they can lend their strength for this upcoming battle. For the next few days, the rear troops work hard to cut down and burn the forest because this is where Aldera must pass through if they want to invade. However they are quick to counter it by also using fire to fight fire by burning down the forest. Rumour has it that they have a guest officer from Kioka lending their strength as a strategist. Like as though God send somebody to counter and balance Ikta. They heard this prodigy is never seen resting and is always working nonstop. Nicknamed the Unsleeping Shining Officer, he is Major Jean Alkiniks.

Episode 11
Jean is fascinated and wants to know the tactician on the other side. Certainly it couldn’t be that incompetent Safida. Ikta’s plan now is to shift the enemy’s focus on them by fighting them head on. This is because there is a small pass through the mountains that will come out near the back of their camp that Kala Karm might use. Of course using this longer route will delay the enemy’s attack but it is not enough time to let the main group evacuate. Ikta wants to pin them down here for at least 8 days. So when there is a portion of the forest that stopped burning, opening a route, Jean knows that the enemy is trying to invite them to head that way. He has a plan so they are going to play along. Ikta and his troops wait around the newly erected fort at night. The first wave of enemy arrives and they are taken out. However they realize that this wave is to set up barricades. This is a problem as it will throw their cannon trajectory off and it is like they are trying to bring in something. Immediately Yatori and Nanaku request to fight the enemy head on. Nanaku gets too confident and has her Sinack men push further forward against Yatori’s better judgment. They are then sniped by the Kioka’s air rifle squad. Aldera then pushes in a giant trebuchet. Ikta is in a dilemma to abandon the Sinack or rescue them but risk some of his men’s lives. He can’t hesitate so he orders his men to protect the Sinack. After carrying back all the wounded to the fort, they set fire and escape. Although Jean’s side lost this battle, he is happy to have got certain information from the enemy like their battalion numbers. Even more important they didn’t lose entirely.

Back at the camp, Suya reports to Ikta the number of casualties of their men. However she is not happy as she thinks he doesn’t take their deaths seriously as they died upon his orders. These men lost their lives because Ikta ordered them to save the Sinack. Well, would you have all the Sinack die then? Suya still cannot accept this because those men looked up to Ikta and admired him. Yatori tells her she is blaming the wrong person. Yatori is partly responsible for this because she knows Ikta will take her into consideration to make such orders. It was the same assumption for Ikta too. When told soldiers are required to put aside all emotions, Suya asks if she will kill Ikta if ordered to. Without hesitation and in short, yes. Suya still can’t accept all this. After all, everyone here has always been on the winning side and thought it would be okay if they followed Ikta’s orders. But that is what war is about and the tide can swing the other way quickly. Ikta then asks Yatori how she would kill him. She’ll kill and destroy everything about herself first so that she will never come back to life. Then the last remaining Igsem will kill him. Kala Karm receives word that their allies are still delayed at the mountain’s base. This time they are going to move out.

Episode 12
Chamille is not pleased that Safida has returned safely. It is the priority to safely evacuate the commanding officer? Good too. Because he is going to stand in the military tribunal. Nanaku wants to atone her sin to Suya by allowing her to cut off her hands. But do so only after the war. But Suya can’t bring herself to do it. She has killed so many enemies. How will she forgive herself? Sazaluf tells her there is no reason she should be blamed at all. All responsibilities fall on him as he gave the orders. When it is reported the Aldera’s cavalry are giving the infantry a ride so the journey will be faster, they believe the enemy plans to split their units. Somebody needs to go intercept them but who? Sazaluf volunteers as he believes Ikta and Yatori must not leave this place. Jean flies his blimp over enemy territory to scout. This is shocking because such technology is a blasphemy to Aldera. With the forest fire dying out, Ikta rallies his troops to fight scientifically and lazily. Huh? It means replenishing the forest fire and repelling the enemy as they attack. While Matthews’ troops are putting up extra forest fire fuel, they are attacked but manage to hold their ground. The blimp is reported to be seen hovering over the eastern area again and again. Nanaku confirms there is no route there so Ikta is suspicious of the blimp’s actions. When Torway suggests deploying his troops to the rear of the fort, it was a wise move because Kala Karm is lying ready in wait to ambush. Torway’s troops ambush them first from higher ground. The remaining Kala Karm retreat but they are flanked by other troops at the end and got taken out. This is all thanks to Ikta’s foresight as he knows they will setup a rear attack. He has Torway think what he would do if he was Kala Karm’s commander and in turn what he himself will do to counter it. On the 6th day, enemy reinforcements are seen taking the long route around the east and pulling something big. They are explosion cannons and they pack a massive impact in shooting through the fire and destroying the fort. This is another technology from Kioka that is blasphemous t Aldera. Ikta then realizes they have been had. The blimp was there to record paths through the forest. The enemy setup obstacles and memorized how to break through the wall of flames as training. With the fire wall broken, Jean leads his side through.

Episode 13
Ikta has Matthew take command of this post for the next few days. He is pessimistic of his chances so Ikta reminds him he will never give orders to others like defend this place with your life. That is unscientific. Because if he dies, everything else will also collapse. So his single order is to live. Easier said than done, right? Ikta and Yatori head out to the battlefront. He needs to adjust his thinking to defeat the enemy. Then it hit him. When Jean and his army arrive, they see the traps laid out before them and also smell oil. They figure the enemy is going to burn the place. Not wanting to end up falling into their hands, Jean orders his troops to prepare fire. Suddenly he feels something amiss when the oil smell starts to subside. From underneath them, Ikta and his soldiers pop out from their hiding and pierce through and attack. This causes chaos for Jean’s side as they have to recalibrate their attack on the sudden change in distance and thus nullify their horses and air rifles advantages. Ikta then puts up a willing to negotiate flag. Not to be mistaken as want to negotiate because it means they are cornered. He is counting on Jean to do the same because he is the kind of guy who wants to be in control and they’re both sick of this battle. Jean accepts. Both masterminds meet each other for the first time. Jean calls for their full unconditional surrender and Ikta wants their troops to complete retreat. Since both sides are not backing down, Ikta uses his sprite to shine at Jean’s heart. How is this light going to kill him? He warns Torway is lying in wait to snipe him and he has been marked. Jean reminds him the war treaty regarding attacks during negotiation is disallowed. Ikta says this negotiation can fail and then he will quickly lower his flag and shoot him. Jean calls this a threat instead of a negotiation but in war times, what’s the difference? Just because it didn’t go his way, he calls it a threat. Ikta further reminds the difference now is that he has put his troops in place where they could aim directly at him but Jean has failed to do that. Jean has a feeling Ikta is 90% bluffing but he still can’t ignore the 10%. Surprisingly, Jean accepts Ikta’s terms. A good move that Jean should not be ashamed of. A good one for Ikta too because Torway isn’t there! He won the poker game.

Before they part ways, Jean asks Ikta what motivates him to work for the Empire because he wants to make Kioka’s ideals come true. Ikta tells him he doesn’t even want to protect the country in the first place. What he wants to protect are people. More advice from Ikta as he says all heroes die from overworking. Jean is an ideal example as he is slaving himself to death. A wrong way to work hard. And the rest around him are being lazy in a wrong way. Chamille is desperate to find Ikta and co once she learns the troops are back. Almost given a scare when Ikta isn’t around. He’s right here. A big hug from her but he points out important people she needs to encourage now. Chamille praises her brave men and the Sinack. In the aftermath, Safida is tried. He is demoted and will be executed for prolonging this war. We can only hear him scream for his life. When Ikta tells Chamille privately about the decaying state of the Empire, she wants him to make it to the top of the military because he has talent and knows he can do it. And then immediately lose a war to Kioka. This will lead to Kioka’s external influence of economy and political philosophy to purify the Empire’s core. Of course Ikta needs to lose just enough to maintain the Empire’s unique culture. As a person who hates soldiers, the imperial family and heroes, he is the right person for the job. I’m sure Ikta is lamenting about it as he notes his dad died of overworking and with no regard for how the people felt around him. If he follows Chamille’s plan, it won’t be long he will come into conflict with Yatori. If this country wants to die, let it die. What he wanted to protect has never been the country. That’s why he came to take her away from this and not allow her to be caught up in its collapse.

Too Lazy To Be Lazy
So what’s next for Ikta? Looks like the more he tries to get his hands out of this military business, the more deeply he gets involved. If the only way out of all that crap is through this sh*t hole, so be it. Thankfully this series lives up to expectations. As said in my opening paragraph that I didn’t like war genres but the thought of Senjou No Valkyria and its near similar setting had me raise the bar of expectations of this series. And once again I am awed and pleased with everything it offered.

The plot and story unfold and move at a decent and fast pace. From escaping enemy lines to being drafted into the military, having a mock game and even a quick royalty vengeance story thrown in. All this was just in the first half of the series. Then they spend the rest of the second half in the mountainous region battling the Sinack before making a truce with them to fight the Aldera army. Safe to say that none of these stories feel bored and by the end of it all, you feel like you want to see more. So it’s that dilemma of wanting the war to go on so we can see what interesting tactics they come up with.

Well, since this series is set in a fantasy world (not the kind with dragons and exotic floating islands), it naturally tries to set itself apart with weird names. Thus my old problem of trying to pronounce and remembering some of the tongue twisting names. Yeah, it felt like as though I am trying to learn Latin names or something. Some are easy to pronounce and remember but the rest are just like, how do you spell that again?

The concept of war is nothing new especially when war is fought on the baseless religious grounds. Well, if your religion tells you it is right to kill others, then you should rethink and relook at your religion again. What this series perhaps subtly tries to add into the mix is the factor of science. While this isn’t dominating the aspects of this series, it feels like in addition to the battle of wits, this war also boils down to a battle between religion and science. Even if you are blindly faithful to your religion, there are some scientific and technological aspects that you have to use and improvise if you want to win a war. After all, you’re not just going to sit there and pray to God, hoping He would rain boulders on your enemies, would you? God doesn’t work that way! He won’t give you that kind of victory you ask from a prayer. Because first you kill your enemies and then you ask for forgiveness! Haha! Whoops…

Ikta is likeable as the main character because he thinks differently from the rest. Complete with his suave charm and you’ll be rooting for this guy in no time. One of the biggest ironies I find about him is that despite claiming to be lazy and thinking so, he is in fact the most hardworking of them all, don’t you agree? He doesn’t sound or look like he needs to think hard to come up with solutions and tactics and the way he does so makes him sound lazy. But then again I would like to beg to differ because if Ikta didn’t really put in his effort and hard work, he wouldn’t have been where he is standing now and not be respected by many. I mean, war especially with eternal rivalry with a neighbouring country is not child’s play to say the least.

You also noticed that Ikta has to take into account so many factors when he lays out his plans to send troops to fight the enemy while minimizing casualties. That itself is already a herculean feat. Maybe he is such a smart guy that such strategies are just peanuts to him but an ordinary (dumb) viewer like me would definitely be in awe. Also, this guy is a scientific believer. How can you be a lazy bag of bones if you support science? There are lots of hard work, the amount of time and energy spent in researching and all that sh*t. So how can Ikta be lazy as he claims to be? If it is his way to motivate the morale of others, maybe. But then again how do you scientifically explain that? Hmm… Maybe this quote will: “Hard work pays off tomorrow. Laziness pays off today!”. Wow. That makes sense. Now I am motivated to be lazy too. Another reason Ikta isn’t a lazy person he claims to be is that when he takes on a job or mission, he properly sees through it till the end instead of doing it half heartedly. In a way, the perfect word to describe him is responsible. That’s why a lot of people respect him.

Complementing Ikta is Yatori and if this guy is the brain, this girl is his hands. They both make an interesting and effective pair since they have known each other from young. They think alike and know what each other is thinking. It is as though they are twins only born from different mothers. It is true that two heads are better than one that it is applied here. Because if Ikta loses his way, Yatori will be there to remind him and bring him back and vice versa. Jean proves to be a formidable foe for Ikta with his own ideas and tactics. I won’t go so far to say that he lost because Ikta is the hero but rather Ikta played his cards better. Remember, it was a battle of wits (and bluffing) and Ikta played his part more convincing and calmly than Jean in the final lap. I bet this won’t be the last time these great brains will meet as there will be more such encounters in the future seeing Ikta now has to go lose a war. Oh heck, why not just let Kioka walk through your Empire and ‘welcome’ them with open arms?

Unfortunately for the other main characters like Haro, Torway and Matthew, it is nice that they do get a little of the screen time but they are always being overshadowed Ikta and Yatori. Maybe because Ikta and Yatori have their own flashback whereas the trio are just there to make up the numbers as their close comrades. I’m not saying that they can be done without as they too play a few minor important roles throughout the series. But then again as I said, ultimately they will be eclipsed by the superiority and amazing dynamic duo. So we’ve got chubby Matthew whom you’d remember as someone who complains the most but he gets his job done. He is sometimes pessimistic but who isn’t afraid to die in a war? But it’s always the cool words of Ikta that motivates him. Sort of. Then there is Torway whom we’ll always remember as a sharp shooter with his air rifle. Sure, he has his past with his brothers but that is forgettable once that story is over since Sarihaslag is a jerk nobody wants to remember. Finally Haro is like, uhm, can somebody tell me this medical officer’s achievements here?

Other characters are pretty decent too. Like Chamille trying to do her duty as a royalty but unfortunately with the second half of the series being fought in the mountains, Chamille’s presence has been relegated to somewhere safer: Off the screen. Haha! Oops. Then suddenly she grows up and got all serious business with this devilish plan of hers to save her country by losing a war. In order to win you have to lose? Is that scientific? I know Suya is trying to be a good soldier but it is hard when you have a superior officer who once had a fling with your mom! Imagine a classmate same as your age having an affair with your mother! No wonder she can’t trust him but Ikta uses the right head to win back her trust and respect. You know, I have this feeling inside that all these girls would somehow have some sort of romantic interest in Ikta. That guy is pretty charming in his own right too, right? Some of them he tries to blatantly flirt with. Too bad this damn war couldn’t afford to turn this into a harem anime whereby we will have tropes of a childhood friend, the other childhood friend of a different race, the rich royalty, the tomboy, the shy and friendly natural beauty and the fellow bookworm. Oh right. Kanna’s dead.

One of the mind boggling if not disappointing elements of the series is the sprites. Their presence is hardly felt and it feels as though they can actually be done without. Sure, they are part of the lore and setting of this series but they hardly do anything that would warrant anything memorable. Some weapons and vehicles are powered by them and it feels funny because I thought they are just living batteries. Even funnier to see how soldiers insert sprites into their guns but I hardly noticed any sort of ‘magical’ effects while the sprites just look stoned as they are put in use. Or not. I always try to keep in mind that maybe somewhere the little sprites will play a pivotal role and a turning point in the series but it turns out we are so engrossed in the war tactics that they hardly even matter. These small little fairies are the sole and diminutive reason why the latter half of the series is dedicated to a single arc of fighting in the northern mountains in which you will hardly notice them playing any sort of important role anyway. Oh, I noticed they’re good torch lights, by the way.

Therefore it felt like nothing when we see those sprites who have names and belonged to our heroes, sometimes they talk to them and show some concern but eventually in the end they don’t really matter. I mean, do you even remember their names after their initial introduction in the early episodes? And to think that they come in a variety of elemental types based on their colours. Say what? Hence these sprites as far as this anime is concerned are only there to look cute and perhaps distract you from the atrocities of war. I suppose that they don’t have any decent screen time to focus on them so as to remind us, the next episode preview is just a still picture of them lazing around or doing whatever cute pose they are doing. WTF, right?

The action scenes compliment the war tactics and strategies well. Whether it is seeing Yatori slicing her enemies with her double sword wielding technique or seeing both sides of the divide firing their guns to outdo the other. But be warned there is quite an amount of blood spilled here. I mean, what is the use of having a war themed anime when there are no deaths and casualties. Therefore some scenes might get real bloody like as though somebody simply splashed red paint everywhere like that Ison and Chamille scene. Yeah, there was blood everywhere.

The animation is fluid and art and drawing are pretty decent but the funny thing is that the main and supporting characters look like they have more colour compared to the rest of the extra background characters who are just bland in terms of hue. Of course this is to easily identify the characters. Because how many red heads do you know and see in this anime? Who else here have green or purple hair colour? Is it me or does Matthew have that uncanny resemblance to that guy from Nameless in Senjou No Valkyria, Alfons Auclair? The designs of some of the weaponry and objects are not too bad either and perhaps quite creative as we see the guns and cannons mixed with some sort of air compressors to give it that extra oomph. Science, b*tch!

Let me bring up the sprites again but this time on your design. I know they are supposed to look cute but I can’t help feel their design is inspired from Care Bears… Don’t laugh! It’s true. They might not have those cute lovely colourful symbols on their stomach and yell out “Care Bears Stare!” but certainly when they use their power, their stomach flashes, right? Remember what I said about them being useful as torch lights? Maybe this is their Care Bears Stare. And don’t their overall body design somewhat resembles closely to Care Bears? Ugh… Anyway note that Care Bears are way much cuter than these sprites. Just saying…

I was pretty damn sure that Yoshitsugu Matsuoka was the voice behind Ikta. To my surprise after finishing watching the series, I only realized that it wasn’t him at all but Nobuhiko Okamoto (Karma in Ansatsu Kyoushitsu). It’s pretty embarrassing since I was really 1000% confident it was that guy from Shokugeki No Souma and Sword Art Online. At least I got it right for Risa Taneda’s Yatori, Takehito Koyasu’s Sarihaslag, Tomokazu Sugita’s Ison, Jun Fukuyama’s Jean and Keiji Fujiwara’s Bada. The rest of the casts are Ryousuke Kanemoto as Torway (Seiji Sagara in Happiness Charge PreCure), Junji Majima as Matthew (Kinji in Hidan No Aria), Haruka Chigusa as Haro (Tsugumi in Soul Eater NOT!), Inori Minase as Chamille (Chino in Gochuumon Wa Usagi Desu Ka), Rie Takahashi as Nanaku (Megumin in Kono Subarashi Sekai Ni Shukufuku Wo), Ayumu Akikawa as Suya (debut), Shinobu Matsumoto as Sazaluf (Galdarblog in Dakara Boku Wa H Ga Dekinai), Toshiharu Sakurai as Safida (Andou in Kaiji), Itaru Yamamoto as Deinkun (Jacques in Zero No Tsukaima F), Ikumi Hayama as Kanna (Sayaka in Strike The Blood) and Mugihito as Anarai (Wombat in Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love!).

The rock based opening theme is Tenkyou No Alderamin by Kishidan Kyoudan and The Akaboshi Rockets. If you find their style of music pretty similar it is because they have also sung the opening themes for Gate and Strike The Blood in which all of them strikingly sound almost the same. At first glance I can’t seem to tell the difference between the songs since they have this very similar rock beat to them. Very similar. Another rock outfit graces the ending theme, Nameless by Kano (for some reason I keep thinking the singer has some sort of relation to that Black Dragon dude in Mortal Kombat).

Overall, this series might not be Senjou No Valkyria but it manages to be more than interesting enough that you don’t remember and want to compare them. Even if you aren’t the kind of person who has any interest with war related things, at least the action bits as well as the tactics and strategies thought up by a ‘lazy’ person should be fascinating. Especially some of the decisions that Ikta makes it compel you to question what the heck he is thinking. I thought the yakuza only cut off their fingers but… Since when cutting off limbs is a true sign of sincere apology? It might be wrong to look up to Ikta’s laziness as motivation. But I’ll stop being lazy once lazy stops being awesome.

Heavy Object

December 11, 2016

Oh no. It is that time to be hypocritical again. This time I decided to watch the mecha themed Heavy Object simply because I read somewhere there are maid characters in this anime. Yup. Shame on me. But I can’t help it. I love them too much till it became a silly reason for me to pick up this series that would never have easily been on my list of anime series to watch. Not even a casual one. And with this reason, that is why I am here. I hope the maids will be worth it. Yeah, really. And I’m sure I am deluding myself if Heavy Objects are some sort of term referring to maids. But instead, in the near future where the face of war and how war is conducted has totally changed. No more infantry foot soldiers and fancy jet fighters or tanks. One big mother spherical weapon called Object is now used to fight battles. A country losing an Object is akin to losing the war. This is the story of how a couple of young engineers bring those juggernauts down with their ingenuity and instinct for survival. A story of David versus Goliath. The bigger they are the harder they fall.

Episode 1
Despite human’s advancement in technology, they never stopped fighting each other. You see all the wars they fought till this super military weapon, Object obliterated allies in a blink of an eye and its defence is super hard. It changed the face of war with nations using Objects piloted by Elites to do most of the fighting. So it is no surprise that in the remote Alaskan base, a couple of low ranking soldiers, Qwenthur Barbotage and Havia Winchell are relegated to and so bored shovelling snow, they decide to go fishing and hunting deer respectively. While Qwenthur waits for his catch, Milinda Brantini talks to him since the guys forgot to off their communicators and was heard all over the command centre. As her Object, Baby Magnum is being maintained, she thought of killing time to see what they’re doing. They talk about the second generation Objects which are more specialized for certain places or objectives compared to the multi-role first generation and this allows them to perform better. Milinda is suspicious that a mechanic like him transferred here although he claims it is a faster way to learn Objects and become rich quick. She warns him not to be too greedy. As expected, the guys get an earful from their sexy but strict superior, Frolaytia Capistrano. But she lets them off lightly since they manage to shoot a deer and she can have BBQ tonight instead of the usual sickening base rations. Later Qwenthur goes to help maintain Baby Magnum. He accidentally pushes some buttons that causes the seatbelt to tighten over her body. I don’t know but I believe this is our fanservice cue for her boobs to protrude! Qwenthur’s mind must be crazy thinking about what he should do next and the obvious fanservice before his eyes. Milinda saves all that trouble by ejecting her seat. While having BBQ with Frolaytia, Qwenthur asks her what if an Object loses (because Milinda once said her upcoming battle she didn’t have any confidence to win). All you need to do is raise the white flag. Losing an Object is as good as losing the battle and it is pointless for the victor to go after helpless infantrymen. But in the next battle, Baby Magnum did get destroyed. Qwenthur for the first time finds himself face to face with the enemy’s Object.

Episode 2
We see the battle between Baby Magnum against Water Strider. They’re racing to get a favourable position to shoot each other. Whoever does it first wins. And perhaps Baby Magnum wasn’t suitable for this terrain and it contributed to its downfall. Even when the fight flag is raised, Water Strider continues to attack and decimates the entire base! Dead bodies everywhere. Qwenthur and Havia thought they are done when Water Strider turns away. They do not understand why they are alive. Till Frolaytia tells them Milinda became a decoy to buy time for survivors to escape. Qwenthur doesn’t like this a bit so he is going to do this insane rescue mission by himself. He sees Milinda captured by ground troops. He is nervous in taking them out as he never killed before. But when those assholes start talking about raping her, he pulls the trigger to take out a couple of them and Milinda finishes off the rest. The last one shoots a rocket launcher at Qwenthur and he could have died had not Havia pushed him away. Milinda is confused why they saved her without any protection. Even more so, she sees herself as a person who looks down on them and protecting them all the time. Qwenthur admits Objects are the monsters but who has been toughing it out alone in piloting those monsters? They have to run when the Water Strider targets them. Using their resources, it seems they have dived into a cave and blow up the entrance. This is just a decoy to make the enemy think they are trapped in the cave and to go searching for them. They are actually outside plotting their next move. It seems like a crazy idea to buy time for their comrades to escape because it is either they die with honour or live with guilt for the rest of their lives. They’re going to find Water Strider and find its weakness.

Episode 3
The trio discuss about what they know on Water Strider. Eventually they decide to go sabotage its maintenance base since it must be maintained every day to perform at optimum. Qwenthur and Havia sneak inside, careful not to trigger any alarm but it is going to be a tall order to take down the entire facility with very limited arsenal. As Water Strider is spotted returning, Milinda is in a dilemma to alert her comrades as this will signal to the enemy their presence. She runs off on her own. Time is running out for our guys when Qwenthur finds a maintenance manual. He goes off to find some part and stick a bomb in it. Water Strider returns and maintenance personnel start striding in. The guys get out in time as they randomly toss their bombs around. Then change of plans when they see Milinda captured. Again? I guess she let herself become the decoy again. After coming this far, surely they’re not going to abandon her again, right? Upon Qwenthur’s request, Havia hacks the communication so he could call Frolaytia to send reinforcements. Once done, they are surrounded by enemy guards. The enemy chief toys with them and after Water Strider finishes its maintenance, Qwenthur causes a distraction by attacking the chief and then sets off a bomb that he placed in a Water Strider’s part. Although nothing happens, Qwenthur then explains how Objects is a big load of secrets and when it is incapacitated, the system will automatically self destruct. He believes their Object is no different than any others. What is manmade can also be destroyed by man. Soon, Water Strider explodes and it takes out the entire base! Our heroes saved by scraps of metal? The enemy soldiers fire at them but I guess that’s what those random bombs are for. Before the mad enemy chief can shoot Qwenthur, he is taken out by Frolaytia’s snipe. Looks like her reinforcements are here. And they continue bombing the already destroyed base? Overkill? Just to be safe… Our heroes return as real heroes and attend a ceremony to be awarded with medals. But the real award is when Milinda thanks them for saving her. But they too thank her for always keeping them safe. After getting their medals, they thought they could retire and live a happy life. Then they hear military plans of their next posting for the next battle. Yup, they’ve been had. Screw this damn war!

Episode 4
Not only Objects get their due maintenance but the pilots too. Yeah… Because some lucky doctor is rubbing lube all over Milinda’s naked body for her usual maintenance. Meanwhile our newly promoted guys are tasked with a new mission to stop an Object named Tri-Core. It is believed that it is delivering oil to terrorist associations. Although Objects do not run on fuel, the sale of oil will give terrorist affiliates some source of revenue. Thus the guys are stationed at an oil rig at Gibraltar to stop it from advancing to the Mediterranean where it will distribute its oil. This means the guys will be at the front lines. Death has been accelerated faster. Even more so the higher ups are now watching them and any screw ups means there will be consequences to pay. And then Tri-Core attacks. Uh huh. It is like shooting at oil rigs as target practice. When undersea mines can’t even stop it, you’re really screwed. The guys are wondering about Milinda’s Object. Haven’t they heard? It is being fitted with sea adapting accessories. That is why the duo are called to stall it until she is ready since they have a reputation for taking down Objects without an Object. Screw this sh*t! Jump off the rig now if you don’t want to be blown into pieces! Call it lucky or unlucky, they’re still alive. They put on their diving mask and dive under to avoid being rammed. Then they get caught in the net which got caught in the Object’s fin. They climb up to the deck to put explosives around but the enemy soldiers start attacking. They shouldn’t be too relieved that Baby Magnum is here. Because she might blow the smithereens out of them. Qwenthur contacts her to inform they are on board and to switch to lasers. But due to bad reception, she misinterprets a different kind of laser which is as devastating. It would be really bad luck if they get killed by friendly fire. After they jump off into the sea and blow up the deck. Mission accomplished? Well, Tri-Core isn’t sinking and still running.

Episode 5
Frolaytia picks them up and then into the rescue helicopter. She reminds them their mission is done once Milinda is on the battlefield. However they notice Milinda’s attacking tempo decreasing. Tri-Core is taking out her weapons and attacking ability seeing they know this is going to be a long drawn out battle. At this rate, she will sink. Of course this means Qwenthur wants to go save her, much to Havia’s dismay since they were lucky to survive all that, are they going to risk their lives again? Well, he hopes he remembers the Alaskan lesson about everything manmade has a weakness and can be destroyed. Qwenthur jumps back into the sea. He notices Tri-Core has only been moving in clockwise direction and something in it must be damaged. He realizes its weakness and starts swimming towards it. Something about its fins and the balance it keeps Tri-Core afloat. He sets his explosives to go off and explode the mines on the net. Havia thought he wants to blow up the fins but Qwenthur’s aims is to blow up the net stuck to it. His logic is that with Tri-Core being 3 times heavier than standard Objects, it produces a phenomenal amount of kinetic energy. So if the fin is useless, the shifting of mass will not occur and this will put a strain on Tri-Core itself. Thus using its own weight to destroy the Object. Tri-Core malfunctions and sinks. However Qwenthur is caught in its tidal wave. Thankfully he is caught by Baby Magnum. Back on the helicopter, the guys are treated to teasing fanservice by Frolaytia as he eats with her legs open and even baths nearby, letting the guys only watch her silhouette on the curtains. I think Qwenthur appreciates more the personal thanks from Milinda. But time for some news. The good news: This mission will elevate their status even further but no more commendation medals or event. Bad news: There is something going on at Oceania and the higher ups want them to scramble there right now! No use complaining guys. You’re the MacGyvers of the series. Deal with it!

Episode 6
Now the guys are raking tumbleweeds in some desert? Oh well, what else is there to do but to watch videos of his military idol known as Mini Skirt Santa (to be nicknamed Ohoho since her real name is unknown). Wow. Those G-cup boobs are such monstrosity! Those are real Heavy Objects! Hahaha!!! The duo also talked to a curious young girl at the border but were told off by Frolaytia not to slack since there are many reporters waiting trying to dig up dirt on them. They go visit Milinda who is in yet another suit tuning maintenance. This time using a flute to tune? I don’t know the musical connotations but seriously? She lets Qwenthur see the flute. Not only he tries it out and did an indirect kiss, he doesn’t play well so this sends weird sensations to her. By the time he notices something is wrong, he thinks she has been holding it in and needs to go to the toilet! Oh yes, she has been holding it in and now she is letting it all go. One big punch coming up! The guys then happen to pass by Heavy Object, Rush who is piloted by no other than Ohoho. Qwenthur is happy to learn a lot of technical stuffs from her but this doesn’t sit well with Milinda. They sound like they get along so well, eh? To show her disapproval, she sweeps their jeep off the ground. Frolaytia will be working along with Flide who isn’t a soldier but involved in the development of Elites, to oversee the security at Oceania. He orders her to attack. Baby Magnum and Rush fire into the woods to flush out the enemies. Seeing nothing comes out, they think it is a dud but this is where the guys come in. They need to scout into the woods to check if there are communities before the Objects move on to their next target. Ohoho turns on enthusiastic Qwenthur with details about the pressure suits Elites wear (they’re probably bluffs) and this makes Milinda mad. This causes the girls to clash in their Objects. Yeah, the guys remind them they’d rather see a cat fight in a swimsuit! But for now they are allies. Once this mission is over, they’ll go back to enemies so watch your back. The guys head into the forest to scout. They see the military massacring the local community. Qwenthur spots a familiar young girl. Okay. Time to get involved.

Episode 7
When they attack just to create diversion, the enemy instead fights back because there is an unknown sniper cutting them off so all they can do is just fight back blindly. Qwenthur and Havia receive reinforcements but Havia wants to take care of the sniper. Eventually the sniper, Seewax is caught and fiercely interrogated by Frolaytia. He is just a journalist who maintains what he did was right but from what I understand, his single shot will start a misunderstanding that will lead to a great massacre and have undone all the efforts they have done. Back to square one. With the higher ups already giving their orders, it feels like they’re going to let this massacre slide. The only thing they can do before the massacre happens is to find the water plant the enemy is operating from. As Qwenthur and Havia try to narrow down all the possible plants, the alarm to sortie is activated. It seems Flide has discovered the enemy base based on the satellite picking up its reactor activating. Qwenthur senses something amiss because the enemy has been hiding all the while only to let it be spotted like this. He realizes it could be a trap because this reactor might be a prototype (before building an Object, it is standard practice to build a prototype reactor to test it). So if they blow it up, it has got the energy to blow 200 kilotons. In other words, big sh*t! They sneak into the briefing room to look for clues but Seewax tells them everything since he heard it all. Mind boggling that the interrogation room is right next to the briefing room. Seewax wants to be taken along too to atone his wrongdoings. Making their way there, the guys communicate back to base to let everyone listen that the one at Great Sandy is a decoy and the real threat is at Tamami Desert. They have no time to verify the source and that is why they suggest both be taken out. Qwenthur suggests Milinda to use her long range attack to destroy Great Sandy to avoid getting caught in the blast. Frolaytia will not give permission to this but the guys make a bet with her (including doing kinky stuffs to her body parts?!) and mention that they are doing this on their own will and she can hold them responsible. They might be up against an Object but hey, that’s their specialty, right?

Episode 8
The duo are at Tamami Desert and confirm the sighting of the enemy’s Object, 0.5 Gen. Heck, it even fires a practice shot destroying the mountains! They request reinforcements to focus here and Milinda is happy to oblige except Ohoho blocks her way. Flide jams their communication and tells everyone to ignore the duo. Then he personally contacts them to tell them they must die here for their acts have been giving hope to terrorists thinking they can take down Objects as humans. The guys don’t think so since if they die here, the massacre will happen. They know Flide has his own interests to protect by prolonging the war so they make a bet to see who can take each other down first. Heading inside its hangar, they are shocked to see electrocuted corpses. It seems the crews tried to increase its energy output but it backfired. So they are going to destroy 0.5 Gen by overflowing it with power by connecting to its broken cable. But 0.5 Gen spots them and fires. Qwenthur is injured and immobilized. Havia too had not for his devil’s luck when the cable reaches its maximum length, the jerk throws him off the tractor and thus the shot missed him. Qwenthur gets an idea as he tells Havia to climb the water tower. Qwenthur fires into the water storage and uses it as conductor to connect the power supply. Boom! With the enemy down, Frolaytia orders Milinda to go rescue their men. Flide is not about to give up yet as he sends another Object, Exact Javelin to fight Baby Magnum. Frolaytia confronts Flide about the hijacked transmission. He maintains he exerted his influence to protect the world since those boys are only destroying the balance and roles of Objects. Frolaytia threatens to court martial him although he claims he has the police, court and military on his side. Qwenthur sends the enemy attack patterns to Milinda as she easily claims victory over Exact Javelin. I don’t know how fast Havia was but he returns to the base to give a good punch in Flide’s face. You lose. Flide thinks they’ll regret this but they refute because if the world is all about the stronger winning side and with better numbers, then that world can go screw itself.

Episode 9
You’re wondering why the guys are being treated to such low errand job of filling bullet chambers after their miracle victories. Life so unfair… Havia finds a raunchy training video and oh my, it gives them the motivation to do their job faster!!! But then their watching is interrupted when Havia’s fiancée, Lady Vanderbilt contacts him. Busted? Thankfully or not, Frolaytia takes the guys away for another mission. What have they done to deserve a mission in freezing Antarctica? A survey aircraft that was flying by was shot down by the enemy’s SAM and its crew taken hostage. Their job is to find the enemy base on foot. Some political geographical thing that doesn’t allow the use of satellites for easy tracking. Oh, Objects will just break the ice if they set foot. So once they find the enemy base, they can relay to Milinda who will fire via long range. The guys engage a group of enemies. But a group of baby penguins walk by! OMG! Both sides stop to watch how cute they are! OMFG!!! When they’re gone, they resume fighting. F*cking sh*t! Should have just brought penguins. Once Qwenthur has them where he wants, he bombs the ice as underneath is an abyss. After finding the enemy base, they are set upon by rail guns. As they hide from its blast, Qwenthur has Milinda fire at their coordinates. She looks like she has missed but when the rail guns fire again, they topple. Qwenthur’s plan was to weaken the ground in which the rail guns were anchored to as they have very powerful recoil. The enemy base is secured but nobody is in. The guys then find a suspicious probe robot nearby that is operating via remote. It seems it is trying to hijack a satellite and fire its laser at a moon resort. Frolaytia says it is no cause for worry because if they are targeting this elusive general, Buffer Planters whom they have been trying to rid for a long time, they’ll just turn a blind eye and let the terrorists do their job. But they remember Havia’s fiancée is at some faraway resort. Havia contacts her to confirm. F*CK!!! I think she got the wrong idea of that word… So the guys pretend to slip up to stop the firing. Why does it always have to be 1 second left on the clock? The duo are reprimanded by Frolaytia but since this is an unofficial extra mission, they cannot be officially punished for all their violations. Phew, right? Milinda discovers power supply cables from the sea. She is baffled why it can move around secretly and if this Object is submersible and has stealth capabilities.

Episode 10
Our heroes are now going to fight another war against Mass Driver Conglomerate (MDC) at the Amazons, some huge mega rich company that makes mass drivers (powerful weapons that can shoot right up into the orbit) that broke away from its parent company, Capital Enterprise. There are lots of messy political stuffs that I don’t want to go into. Apparently MDC is the one behind that Antarctica drone and moon resort attack plan and are believed to be hiding an Object. Thus from what I understand, our heroes have to get involved in this war just to ensure their overall long term safety. As Milinda receives report that there are iron ores detected via satellite behind a mountain, she fires but it seems there are no enemies responding. But when the crew begin to land onshore, multiple enemy shots are targeted at them. Oh what the heck, Baby Magnum just blasts the entire mountain range! The guys check the area and it seems there were only gun barrels and thick power transmission cables. They then scout on food for any sightings of MDC’s Object but nothing in sight. Then they hear over the transmission radio from Major Halreed Copacabana, a noble and Elite pilot of Bright Hopper relaying to Frolaytia to wait for his team before commencing their operation. Of course she will only begin right on the dot. It seems Halreed is suggesting her team damage the Object enough for him to take down and steal the glory. Frolaytia of course rejects that so Halreed advises her to accept his proposal, both public and private. Well, looks like Frolaytia is also a noble and having her own high class problems and she’s not too happy about it. She contacts Qwenthur and Havia to return to base. Change of plans. They’re going to settle this before Bright Hopper can interfere and mess up their operations.

Episode 11
Big Hopper is on its way when he detects enemy shells targeting at him. Halreed fires at the shells but they turn out to be chaffs. Before he knows it, artillery shells coming down at the speed of mach 25 heavily damage Big Hopper! Everyone is shock at this development as Qwenthur deduces the chaff was used as a big reflector for the target. This also means the enemy can accurately target while remaining hidden as they are not relying on satellites. Qwenthur suddenly knows what the enemy is up to and in the nick of them calls Milinda to move. Had she not, Baby Magnum would have been totally destroyed by the incoming shells. It only sustained moderate damage. The enemy shells then destroy the main base. When Qwenthur wakes up, Frolaytia is by his side. Their base is devastated but they are considered lucky because the shell somehow detonated in mid-air. Even if it didn’t reach its target, the effects were still devastating. She proposes that they retreat from this mission since they have no way to engage the enemy. Meanwhile Havia has Baby Magnum hide under some anti-reflecting cover for the time being. They are contacted by Halreed’s subordinate, Corporal Bilany Saronna who suggests working together to take down the enemy. The plan is for Baby Magnum to fire a shot at a nearby dam and flooding the area to immobilize the enemy. Havia is of course against this as there are civilians living around the dam. No sh*t is given for them. If Baby Magnum won’t cooperate, they’ll just blow up the dam themselves. And they’re already there. While Havia will personally go to stop them, Qwenthur and Frolaytia will go scout the enemy Object codenamed Break Carrier which is on its way to their base. As they wait, Qwenthur learns a little about Frolaytia noble heritage. Her family has this trait that will produce 100% male. Don’t start thinking she is a cross-dresser! She is a true blue woman. Because of that, rumours get out of hand that she will produce a male and this is important for noble families who are seeking a male heir. There is a long list of potential candidates who are just out to bed her. That is why she prefers being on the battlefield instead of a safe nation and will be as useful as she can till she is as old as a granny. Halreed is one of them and although one of the kinder ones, she can’t help feel happy when Big Hopper was taken out. So living and dying on the battlefield is true freedom for her.

Episode 12
Havia is now at the dam. Communicating with Qwenthur, it seems all he needs is just to find a bomb and disable it as the sum of its destructive explosion is needed to destroy the dam. As the bombs are wired, Havia just shoots the wire. It is then Bilany comes out of her hiding to fire at him. Her team also try to take him out with shoot to kill orders. Bilany gives him a chance to surrender. That is when Havia tells her that Baby Magnum is now on its way to rendezvous with Qwenthur. They will take out Break Carrier therefore her destruction of the dam will be unjustified. Thus Havia’s goal here is to buy them time. As Break Carrier will be approaching from 1 of the 3 routes, the reverberating mountain echoes are making it hard for him to determine where it is coming from. With time running out and they have only 1 shot to decide, Qwenthur suggests they each take a route and if it is a dud, it should be the third one where Baby Magnum is waiting. Milinda isn’t getting any response from Qwenthur so she is jealous that he must be having a grand time with Frolaytia. So call Havia to complain? He is in a pinch too… Break Carrier appears at Qwenthur’s route. However his communication is broken. The only way is taking out his gun and firing at Break Carrier? He is not that dumb to finish it off with a pee shooter but rather his shots resembles Morse code to relay a message to Milinda. How many f*cking bullets does he have?! And Milinda is so sharp she can pick it up but the enemy so dumb trying just to locate where Qwenthur is? Baby Magnum fires through a mine shaft, obliterating Break Carrier. There, another one bites the dust. Havia and Bilany’s fight ends once victory is confirmed.

Qwenthur know gets a proper beating from Frolaytia for pulling such a dangerous stunt. Later Havia discusses with Milinda that there was a different Object that bombarded them when they arrived at the shore. It could be the mysterious Object that can’t be detected by radar or sensor. Frolaytia is about to begin her personal sadistic torture on Qwenthur when she gets contacted by Halreed. He survived the ordeal and because his participation is considered heroic, he has now moved to the top of her potential candidates list. He wants her to return or even retire from the military for a check-up. Qwenthur can’t stand this arrogance anymore as he quickly fondles Frolaytia’s breasts and indicates they are in an illicit relationship. This upsets Halreed as he will have no vulgar woman bear his child. Time to start looking again? Well, embarrassed-cum-upset Frolaytia certainly showed her gratitude by beating him up to the max. I’m sure there would be consequences if word of this goes around since it will make her look like a slut. More importantly, will Qwenthur be pulling off this stunt each time she rejects a candidate? But she is still grateful that he was bothered about her situation and wanted to do something about it. It’s a good thing Milinda didn’t find out about this, right?

Episode 13
Frolaytia and a few others are discussing about the survivors of MDC somehow invaded and took base of Amazon City, the world’s largest ghost town after it was abandoned when some virus popped up. With Baby Magnum still undergoing maintenance, they suggest to work together and pool resources. Their only fear is how many Objects MDC has. There is also talk about Sladder Honeysuckle who is now in charge of MDC. He is a genius as he is MDC’s in-house Object designer. Their mission now is to kill him and in turn the survivors will fall apart. On an unrelated note, seems Milinda has found out about the breast fondling and questions Frolaytia about it! This will be the toughest battle yet… When the guys enter Amazon City, survival is imminent because they are about to be attacked by… Amazon ants!!! After throwing all they’ve got, finally they use smoke and explosion impact above it to kill them all. Phew. It couldn’t be worst timing for Frolaytia as she receives communication from Buffer regarding Honeysuckle’s asylum intention. Qwenthur and Havia inspect the enemy base. Many died because of the ants’ bite. They also inspect the enemy’s ammo and find it odd about its supplier. Suddenly they get an emergency call from Frolaytia to quickly finish their mission. Seems Honeysuckle and co are planning to seek asylum with Intelligence Union and all they need to do is hole up and wait until then. This will give Intelligence Union pretext to invade the area with their Object. In turn, Capital Enterprise will fear their technology will be leaked and send their Object to intervene. And if you take into account MDC might be having a hidden Object, there will be 4 Objects waging war in the area, making it hell on Earth. Oh, looks like it is already here. MDC has brought out their spare gun from Break Carrier which is a high output rail gun.

Episode 14
With the uneven ground, Baby Magnum has trouble being mobile and the compact buildings are preventing her to have a clear shot. A jet fighter ally bombs a clear path. When Baby Magnum makes a move, Qwenthur feels something amiss. Why is the enemy using a rail gun? It must mean they don’t an Object. Considering how rail guns need ground stability to fire, he realizes this one is a decoy to lure Baby Magnum. Too late. Caught up in a huge explosion. Meanwhile Frolaytia is talking to Intelligence Union’s Lieutenant Colonel Lendy Farolito about her kingdom’s goal. She is here to get the mass driver space technology and not the rail gun. Frolaytia thinks she is trying to confuse her with information so the only way is to kill Honeysuckle at all costs and thus eliminating her reason to intervene. Because Baby Magnum is stuck and damage, this naturally sets it on a self destruction mode. Milinda is trying to override the command but since it is not working, the only option left is to eject. However somebody throws a wire net over the hatch. Imagine Milinda being cut into strips ejecting at the speed. Qwenthur hurriedly rushes over, throws a bomb to destroy the net before Milinda could eject safely. However she spots a suspicious guy aiming at her. Sitting duck. Luckily Qwenthur was fast enough to distract him for Milinda to safely land. As Qwenthur takes cover, he discovers this guy is Honeysuckle! Qwenthur doubts if any country would accept a traitor and it seems Honeysuckle’s aim is to destroy the conventional doctrine. That is, using non-Objects to destroy Objects (just like how Qwenthur has been doing). He is confident that with his rail gun technology and expertise, it will be his selling point. Furthermore, such prototypes cost less to produce compared to Objects. Whether successful or not, it doesn’t matter as he is projecting a great possibility. Although Qwenthur gets a flesh wound from Honeysuckle’s bullet, he did another decoy move as he exposes his body wrapped with bombs. The real bomb was thrown near Honeysuckle and he almost got caught in the blast. It’s game over when Havia secures him. In the aftermath, Honeysuckle is to be tried in their country and because of their failure to kill him on the spot and end all the complications, Intelligence Union and Capital Enterprise are trying to ‘negotiate’ for his release in which they are no circumstances to oblige. The guys think they’ve done another great job till Frolaytia mentions all the violations they did. Including the breast fondling! Still having a grudge over that? The only way to get back her trust via results. How does another mission to destroy Objects at the far end of the Earth sound? Yeah, military punishment sounds a whole lot easier.

Episode 15
Qwenthur and Havia are secretly exchanging their porn stash. Suddenly Frolaytia and her all-female team of inspectors barge into the place to arrest them and confiscate their porn. Yeah, they’ve got porn for all sorts of categories! I suppose there is only 1 way to overlook all this: Go on another mission. Welcome back to Alaska, boys. Remember their first mission when they destroyed Water Strider? Since its wreckage has been lying around for weeks, Intelligence Union has been sneaking into the place in search of any technology as well as scavenge for rare metal parts. They have also built a satellite to transmit information back so it is the guys’ job to destroy that station. Because so, they may come face to face with Rush. The duo bomb certain routes to confuse the enemy as Baby Magnum and Rush face off. When Ohoho hints Milinda to surrender so she can capture her mechanic as her prisoner, no more talking, just kill the hell out of each other. Both Heavy Objects take heave damage. They rush back to their station to repair their main cannon. The guys believe it will be their victory since those routes they make are like a maze. In terms of time, Baby Magnum will finish repairs first and win it. However Frolaytia contacts them with an emergency. Rush is not heading back to its station but meeting the maintenance crew halfway. They are dragging the parts via manual labour using power suits! This means Rush will finish reparations first. As the guys are still in the area, they need to sabotage the repairs. It is a very risky and dangerous move but there are no other choices. Qwenthur knows one of the routes have heavy rubble and that Rush must detour in which it will pass closest to them. After Havia fires a missile at Rush as distraction, Qwenthur swings on board. Ohoho detects a little bug and fires all her mini cannons to shake it off. When Rush is starting its maintenance, Qwenthur drops into Rush’s cockpit and holds Ohoho hostage. But he is shocked to see her true form. A flat chest loli?

Episode 16
Qwenthur is in despair! His dreams crushed! Give back those G-cups! Apparently Ohoho’s busty self is just a 3D rendered model. So real, eh? Although Qwenthur tries to hold her hostage by making her do nothing, she quickly activates her AI, Juliet. Rush disengages from repairs and instantly heads out to the battlefield. Qwenthur is tossed like inside a washing machine from the G-force. Baby Magnum has not progressed much in its repairs and is forced to engage Rush. To taunt the enemy, Ohoho starts singing! Well, since Juliet is handling the combat, it leaves her free. To up the ante, Ohoho shows pictures of her flirting with Qwenthur. You know how this is always a death flag, right? So Milinda gives him the ultimatum to get out of there or she’ll blast him along with Rush. And then he had to say this: If he dies, there is an engagement ring in his barrack. Return it to his fiancée, Angelina back at his hometown. Immediately Milinda fires her full force at Rush!!! Then she gives him options to die. Qwenthur continues to mention about his playboy status with some foreigner named Julia to rile up Ohoho. Then he gives Milinda commands to lead Rush to be blocked by an obstacle. Although Rush is faster and packs more firepower than Baby Magnum, suddenly it shuts down. From Qwenthur’s explanation, what I understand is that Juliet recalculated risks trying to avoid a checkmate but got itself into one. The messages Qwenthur relayed to Milinda weren’t for her but to Havia to manipulate some infrared targeting system to make Rush mistakenly think Water Strider’s main guns are aiming at it.

Ohoho can shut down and restart manually but Qwenthur tells her to quiet and shut off communications. He hints there is a bomb at the back of her seat. It seems when Rush halted despite having overwhelming advantage, her higher ups deemed her as a traitor and is going to blow up the Object. Because it is not Rush or the Elite that they want. It is Juliet. Ohoho becomes mad as she blames and punches Qwenthur repeatedly. He makes a deal with her to let her escape since her song was nice. In exchange for her life, they get to capture this enemy Object intact. After she ejects, it is revealed this was just an elaborated cooked up plan. The bomb is from Qwenthur. Although Havia can help keep this a secret to Frolaytia and Milinda, the problem now is to cook up an excuse for Milinda who is raging who the f*ck are Angelina and Julia… Ohoho is picked up by Lendy who assures her despite Rush’s loss, their military attaches importance to control systems and AIs so it is okay. Besides, they have a backup of Juliet’s system. Even if Juliet is seized, there are measures to keep its intelligence under wraps. After Ohoho realizes she has been tricked, she slaps Lendy and threatens to shoot their own team if they pull this off again. This makes her want Qwenthur all to herself.

Episode 17
Their next operation will be a night time blitz at the Kamchatka Peninsula. Qwenthur is getting supply parts for Baby Magnum when he stumbles upon a woman in black uniform. This strict lady pulls out her gun and demands his rank and affiliation. Once she realizes he is a student, she goes away seeing that is not her jurisdiction. It seems such people are like the police for the military to keep an eye on them so they won’t commit crimes. Frolaytia initiates her battle plan briefing with the engineers. Their mission is to destroy a coal mine belonging to Faith Organization. It is believed this is their power source for their Objects and will greatly stifle their movement. Also, it is spotted they have deployed a second generation Object codenamed Wing Balancer. In short, Baby Magnum is no match head to head with this amphibious gunner. And because the Kamchatka Peninsula’s geographic layout is not suitable for Baby Magnum, that is where the engineers come in to hack in some radar facility. I’ll skill the technical details. After they complete their mission, a grace period will be given for the commander to surrender and coal mine staffs to evacuate before Baby Magnum fires and destroys everything. The engineers are split into 2 teams. Havia has Cookman, Myongli and Westie trekking to some point. Qwenthur has Nutley, Charles and Charlotte Zoom (that strict lady in black) for company. I’m going to cut out lots of small chatter as they proceed with the operation. Aside Baby Magnum, there is also Indigo Plasma on their side but this is just a decoy to keep Wing Balancer in its place while the engineers carry out their mission. When Qwenthur spots the enemy’s target plane, he relays to Charles. However there is no answer. Blood is hinted splattered in his area. Qwenthur and Charlotte are then shot in the back by Nutley.

Episode 18
The duo are still alive because their f*cking thick backpack protected them (at the expense of their communication device). But Charles is confirmed dead since Qwenthur has his dog tag. And Nutley didn’t bother to check if they’re dead?! I understand we can blame the bad weather for poor vision but if he was travelling with them, he should have known what they were carrying, right?! So he just sabotaged their hacking device and gone ‘missing’? Some spy. Meanwhile Havia’s group is not too pleased that before them is Wing Balancer. Running away now won’t do any good so it is believed Wing Balancer has some build bridging mechanism to cross the terrains. If they destroy it while it is crossing the gorge, maybe they’ll seize victory? Well, don’t bother. Because Wing Balancer flew over the gorge!!! The turbulence and impact blew everyone away. Literally. It might have even caused Cookman and Westie’s life seeing they were flung deep into the ravine. Havia and Myongli enter the barracks and discover a room that is seemingly kid friendly. Till they realize it is a spy room trying to learn their country’s language and culture. Qwenthur and Charlotte are walking through the mine shaft. A civilian bringing first aid appears. Charlotte is ready to shoot to kill but Qwenthur stops her. Because of that, Charlotte gives him a gun not to defend himself but to commit suicide in the case that girl goes to report to the enemy and then they swarm and corner them. As the epic battle between Baby Magnum and Wing Balancer begins (it’s jumping everywhere!), Havia beats up Qwenthur thinking he screwed up on the operation. After explaining thins, Qwenthur notices this isn’t a coal mine but a mine filled with diamonds, they realize this is a war over resources. But they find it odd if it was over it, why isn’t the enemy Object stationed and guarding here? Based on Myongli’s theory, perhaps there are civilian pacifists trying to learn cultures and languages for diplomacy unlike higher ups who want to wage war. Thus the people in power want to get rid of them and make it look like they get crossed in a fight between Objects. And you know the backlash if they are killed by the nation whom they were trying to reach out the most, right? This means Baby Magnum is very much in danger as Wing Balancer is luring her to shoot at the mines. Qwenthur and co make haste but stopping them in their tracks is traitor Nutley in a powered suit.

Episode 19
The civilian attacks the powered suit with a pick, giving Qwenthur a new lease of life. The guys split up as Nutley chases Qwenthur and Charlotte. He drops explosives along the way to slow it down but Nutley retaliates by throwing a rock. A debris cuts and injures Charlotte’s leg. Playing hide and seek in the mine, Qwenthur ends the game by planting explosives in the diamond ores. The blast and impact pierce through the powered suit, making it Nutley’s glittering coffin. Qwenthur then hacks a communication device to communicate with Milinda. Talking about the rage of air cushions in newer Objects, he then discovers Wing Balancer’s weakness. You might think he is crazy to shoot at it with his rifle. But it is actually to take out the sensors at the bottom of its feet as they are used to sense the uneven ground and terrain. With that taken out, a single shot from Baby Magnum is enough to send it toppling over. Qwenthur thought the war is over and victory is theirs but when Frolaytia contacts him about the civilians still being target, he didn’t see this one coming. Indigo Plasma fires a powerful blast to destroy the mines! Qwenthur realizes that the higher ups want the war to continue. The enemy isn’t just confined to the different factions but from within. Nutley wasn’t a spy from the other side. He was a spy sent by their own country. Qwenthur laments the atrocities of war but Frolaytia relays the good news that there are no civilian casualties. Everyone escaped via underground submarine since the mines used to be a submarine base. Back at base, Myongli can’t believe how the guys are so nonchalant after what they’ve been through and the possibility of an impending civil war. Well, they’ve been having the devil’s luck and living this far… You learn to take life as a joke. Charlotte admits she isn’t cut out for this kind of job. She also mentions she is a ‘fan’ of him ever since hearing his heroics of taking down Objects with his ingenuity. Then a box of diamonds drops out from Qwenthur’s pocket. She was going to get mad about him but lets it slide since she has no authority over students. Later Charlotte reports to her commander and clears Qwenthur that his victories aren’t due to List’s scenarios but his own efforts. He has her continue sticking with List and investigate Flide who has escaped and now a fugitive.

Episode 20
Indigo Plasma is attempting to cross the Atlantic Ocean into Europe. The plan is to intercept it with Baby Magnum, Snow Quake and Active Sledge. The decisive battle will be held at Victoria Island. There is this briefing about this noble dude, Prizewell City Slicker behind this ‘war’. He is a selfish person who gets what he wants. He started falling out of favour so his goal is to threaten their homeland with overwhelming military might to get people to listen to him again and to have his say in matters. When Milinda is worried about the maintenance granny as she is acting unusual, Qwenthur goes to talk to her. He is shocked to see a beautiful photo of her in her teens. Granny is an emigrant from Capital Enterprise (supposedly the old Japan) when her daughter and her husband were almost executed because of their philanthropic ways which was seen as ‘hurting the economy’. Now they live in an immigrant settlement city near Victoria Island. Qwenthur and Havia go help their infantry by sniping the enemy’s infantry engaged in a gun battle. As they inspect the bodies, strange gas starts flooding the place just as when the Heavy Objects are arriving to engage in heavy fighting. Everyone runs for higher ground as Qwenthur finds it odd it isn’t poisonous or flammable. Then it hit him. Just in time for everyone to duck, a big area blows up. Qwenthur explains some plasma cannon thingy in which its high temperatures will be spread via gas. That is why the enemy infantry was trying to spread the gas around. That area now is a huge magma crater! Snow Quake takes damage in its base. Baby Magnum makes a risky move to save it before it gets toast. The guys believe the battle will turn in their favour if Active Sledge arrives. However they hear reports it has been sunk! But how?! 6 stealth Objects emerged from underneath the sea. Once those Objects arrive on land, Slicker makes his broadcast about the stagnation of their country due to the many languages other than the official language. That is why they aren’t united. He will make their country great again by eliminating all the other inferior languages.

Episode 21
Nobody is going to believe about Slicker’s BS exercise when they know he is targeting the immigrant city. Luckily Frolaytia evacuates the personnel of the base first before Slicker’s Objects blast it to smithereens. As Snow Quake’s Elite has ejected, Baby Magnum is damaged but still operatable, Frolaytia orders the crew to scavenge parts and go fix it before Slicker’s Objects destroy it. However granny is not around and it is believe she has fled to the village to save her family. Qwenthur and Havia get into an argument about the former’s risky move. Qwenthur argues about Slicker’s Objects. Are there really 7 of them? Do you know the cost and manpower to maintain and operate one? Some may just be a ploy to deceive and throw them into confusion. Qwenthur proves his theory by examining the carrier the Objects arrived on. Because of the structure of the cheaper metal it used, in no way it could have supported a real Object. Thus some of the dummy Objects may not even have any other fire power except their main guns and they can even take them out with their weapons. Havia agrees to participate in this crazy attempt one last time. Suddenly they are attacked by mercenaries of Capital Enterprise. FINALLY! THOSE FABULOUS MAIDS APPEARED!!!!!!! WOHOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Led by Wydine Uptown, they capture the duo and want them to trick Baby Magnum’s Elite to eject and after they capture her, this place will be defenceless and when Capital Enterprise make their move, they’ll get rewarded.

Qwenthur wants to buy their services but they mock him of not knowing his position and his allowance cannot buy them. Then he shows a box of Kamchatka diamonds. You listening now? Qwenthur says he has a few more boxes of it and will give it to them at the end regardless of the outcome. After verifying its top quality authenticity, suddenly it they become goshuujin-sama! Gladly at your service! Wow. Money really rules the world. Hitching a ride to the immigrant city, it seems only Qwenthur only gets first class treatment as Havia is scorned since he didn’t cough up any cash. They discuss about the strategies the enemy might be using. Whatever it is, the maids will gladly use all their expertise to help. Granny has reached the city as she frantically gets her daughter. She notices all internet and even the telephone lines cut so as not to spread the panic. She tells her daughter what is going on and then slaps her when she panics. Granny doesn’t want her to tell others as she is only here to save her family. She will bear this sin and responsibility. They go pick up the husband and granddaughter. But since the enemy Object is already within firing range, granny feels she has failed and there is not enough time to escape. That is when she is contacted by Qwenthur and Havia via walkie-talkie that they can’t have her die on them just yet. They’re going to stop the Objects and the maids will gladly oblige their orders to take out anyone who stands in their way.

Episode 22
The maids use land and air drones as distraction. The Objects take the bait and destroy some of them. The gas is fired and it is getting pretty close to where Qwenthur is. If not for the drone shooting it away and Qwenthur throwing his bomb to disperse the gas back, he would have got caught in it. Like how it destroyed its own ground platoon. Qwenthur notices the destroyed pieces of the fake armour from the fake Object. Although it is thick, it is very light. He contacts granny for help on how to analyze it. Using some radio frequency, granny speculates the ‘armour’ is just special ceramic to make it look like an Object. Yup, everyone was visually fooled. The communication is then jammed so Qwenthur contacts the maids to initiate their attack. So one of the remaining drones behind the Objects fire a shot. This has the AI controlled Objects to turn around and vaporize it, taking out the entire infantry following behind! This AI is certainly dumb! Because of the gas the infantry was carrying, this means the plasma also turned the area into that magma crater. Thanks to the subzero temperatures of the land combined with the heat from the plasma, the sudden shock in different temperature causes the fake Objects to crumble! All that is left is Indigo Plasma as a pissed Slicker is going to wipe out Qwenthur. But Baby Magnum is here. She fires her cannons at Indigo Plasma and since his side is shrouded with the gas, everything goes boom. Baby Magnum shields Qwenthur from the impact. Safe. It’s good he is alive because the maids are so afraid they won’t get their payment. Money face. In the aftermath, Qwenthur and Havia pick up granny who is ready to face the music. However they say Frolaytia will overlook this as long as she makes up with results. Back at base, Frolaytia is not amused the higher ups are fighting over who to take credit. She just hates the paper work that comes with it. Learning that Qwenthur teamed up with a bunch of mercenary maids, she has checked that every mercenary under Capital Enterprise is registered. The maids are not. She has a feeling he might have met a troublesome bunch. It is revealed the maids are under Intelligence Union’s Lendy. They were sent as spies and to destroy information on Rush. They have erased one and all that is left is one more. Charlotte is seen interrogating Honeysuckle in prison. He warns to act quick or else Baby Magnum’s battalion will be annihilated.

Episode 23
Qwenthur and Havia are in the middle of a flower field. But they’re not stopping to smell the flowers. They are on a peace mission to exchange a prisoner, Klondike. Originally from Faith Organization, he is popular and has many followers around the world. Because he preaches peace and non-violence and his teachings are more like ideology, he doesn’t fit into Faith Organization. They don’t want him but want to be seen protecting him. This is the same for every country as they don’t want him to spread his ideology but cannot risk international incident if they kill him. So they just detain him. He has been ‘tossed’ around various countries and this time Intelligence Union is willing to take him in. Before Klondike goes with Frolaytia for the handover, he meets Qwenthur and Havia. He questions their ideology of killing one to save thousands. He has them think again if that kind of thinking is the reason why war never ends. Meanwhile Milinda and Ohoho are having a war of words since Milinda is chirpy about Qwenthur making and giving her a small mirror gift. Let the b*tching fly. As Qwenthur tries to calm her down, all communications to her is cut off. Contacting Frolaytia about it, she too is having the same problem. It seems an unknown source is trying to obstruct her. She traces a source to a nearby town and wants them to deal with this before anything unnecessary crops up. On the way, they are contacted by Charlotte who tells them Flide might be behind this. As he ran the Elite training programme, he has data on Milinda and is traced to be in this area. Because all the superpower Objects are in the area, Flide might want to hack Baby Magnum and trigger a big war by foiling the exchange. By the time the guys arrive in a dilapidated house, Flide has already finished his final hacking. All systems in Baby Magnum shut down. Milinda experiences some kind of kaleidoscope horror vision before everything is restored. Back to normal? Then she targets where Flide is. Part of his plan to die along with the hacking evidence. He chained himself so the guys have to escape themselves. After Milinda fires a shot, she targets Rush and both Objects now engage in a bloody battle. She doesn’t listen to Frolaytia’s orders to stop. As explained by Honeysuckle, Milinda has been affected by this cognitive intervention programme for Elites, Mirror of Truth which was developed by Intelligence Union. Now Milinda will interpret every data as negative. It cannot be stopped since the key died along with Flide. The only way to stop this from getting out of hand and Klondike from dying is to destroy Baby Magnum.

Episode 24
Qwenthur and Havia get hit by a stray shot. While Havia sustains injuries and not life threatening, Qwenthur is on the verge of death. Had not Wydine find him, he might have bled to death. The doctors desperately try to bring him back to life. Fortunately he lives. But ironically he wakes up as though he was just lightly injured. By his side is Ohoho. It seems she is not piloting Rush as it is being remotely controlled. Lendy meets Qwenthur for the first time and learns about Mirror of Truth. She is interested to know more from his source. Qwenthur talks to Honeysuckle about this. He reiterates what we already know. The only way is to destroy Baby Magnum as he suggests all the parts that could easily obliterate the Object. With Frolaytia confirming the higher ups have decided to abandon Baby Magnum, I guess the only way for Qwenthur is to screw all that and do it by himself. He is going to inflict enough damage to force eject Milinda but not kill her when he destroys the Object. Ohoho reminds him he is their prisoner and proposes that he defects to Intelligence Union and becomes her personal maintenance engineer. However he rejects her. I take it that he chose Milinda. His reason threads along the lines that Elites like her have been alone all the time and building thick walls around themselves. Isn’t it the same case for other Elites and Ohoho as well? Whatever. He requests Ohoho’s help to pilot an Object if she wants to repay her debt from Alaska. Qwenthur and Havia ride their jeep as Ohoho gets into her Rush to fight Baby Magnum. Ohoho’s role is to lure Baby Magnum to a designated area. However feeling the need to save Frolaytia still in the battlefield, she strays from the course. With no time left (Capital Enterprise and Faith Organization are also mobilizing their Objects), Qwenthur decides to become the decoy. It’s of course another dangerous stunt. He former contacts Milinda and despite telling her not to shoot their jeep, she interprets as an order to shoot it. In a well timed coordination, she fires and the jeep is hit. This distraction allows Ohoho to fire some sort of powder gas into Baby Magnum’s cannons. When Milinda fires, the cannon’s heat causes Baby Magnum to explode but enough to eject Milinda out. There is some technical explanation from Qwenthur about this but I’ll skip it. I don’t understand and couldn’t really care. But it seems Qwenthur took a big gamble with that shot and got very lucky this time he wasn’t killed. A happy ending as Milinda happily drops into Qwenthur’s arms. Honeysuckle and Klondike have their own comments that Qwenthur can be the new change that everyone should look out for.

Heavy Fanservice
Not really. But in every episode, there is guarantee to have at least one fanservice scene be it a small subtle one or a big obvious one. A close up on those boobs or those curvy asses, well I guess we need to have our little distractions from the plot and mecha action. Heck, even many of the sponsor screens have a seemingly fanservice-like pose from a scene in the episode. And yes, sometimes our pervy nature of our main duo is one of those small reasons why fanservice is forced into the show. Raunchy training video anyone?

I have to admit that watching the first few episodes, I was already hooked on where the series was heading. Yeah, it made me forget (but not entirely) that I would be patiently waiting for the maids to pop up and squeal with glee. Seriously. I was going to do that. But thankfully the resourcefulness of Qwenthur and Havia was the one that kept everything interesting because they were thinking outside of the box to bring down something that is so many times bigger and more damaging than them. It was absolutely thrilling and mind blowing to see them come up with creative and ingenious plans and tactics to bring down the enemy. Sure, it got a bit stale after a few arcs and after halfway through, I thought they might have ran out of steam seeing they somewhat follow this formula albeit with a bit of tweaking. But still, it is still fun to see them in action and get out alive after all that.

Which brings me to the next point at how freaking lucky the duo are. Yes, people. These guys have lady luck smiling on them. I am guessing Qwenthur is such a ladies’ man that not only he has some of the girls in the series interested in him but even lady luck herself can’t help be on his side throughout the series. They could have died anytime from the extremities and impossibilities that they are facing but they always get out alive and the most are only a few scratches. Nothing as serious as breaking bones that would have put them out of commission for weeks. I mean, they prove that beating an Object all by themselves isn’t just a fluke. They do it all the time! Sure, there are times when they are in a pinch but there will always be something that will get them out of their unlucky situation and turn the tables in their favour. If Objects were a casino, they’d strike jackpot all the time! They are better than cats or Contra cheat code because it is like they have infinite lives. Making them even luckier is the fact that they get to travel around the world! Notice how each arc brings them to different locations around the world? From the freezing cold of Alaska to the deep waters of Gibraltar and the dense forests of the Amazon. I think they visit cold places more often as they revisited Alaska and Kamchatka as well. Man, these guys got a paid trip around the world. Of course you can argue that they are risking their lives on the mission but hey, I guess those are the perks and dangers that come with the job. You lucky bastards!

Another fun part that kept my interests in the show is the dynamic interaction between Qwenthur and Havia. These two are inseparable, probably fated to be together and may God forbid, die together on the battlefield. Though, it is always mainly Qwenthur’s initiative that drags Havia into the mess because the latter would very much like to stay out of trouble. He could have an easier noble life back in his home town had not this military requirement that requires him to rack up some reputation points. I hope it was all worth it for his fiancée. Because no matter how much Havia screams and complains, I guess he will eventually have to tighten his seat belts because he is already in for the ride with his partner. With all the jabs and prodding the duo make, it is never a dull moment to see the dynamic duo get things done and outsmart the enemy. And with them going around destroying Objects without using Objects, I bet that when they reach well into their adults there won’t be many Objects left because you know how freaking hard and expensive it is to maintain such war machines. They’ll rack up such reputation that even Elites would run upon learning if they are present in the battlefield. Like how a mouse could scare away an elephant, no?

I want to say that Milinda completes the trio but she is hardly physically with them. Because if you noticed she is mostly cooped up in her Baby Magnum most of the time. Seeing her outside of it is something rare. I would say that half of the time you will see her piloting inside the cockpit of Baby Magnum. Though she plays a pivotal role in many of the missions as you still need an Object to finish the other Object or at least stave it off before Qwenthur works his scientific magic, somehow I just don’t feel Milinda is as close as the guys. They are out on the battlefield but she is inside her Object while the guys are on the ground. Even if they are separated at least the guys have more physical contact with each other on occasions unlike Milinda who is often on standby inside Baby Magnum.

So that is why I thought that the only way to make her relevant (notwithstanding the final arc which feels like a shoehorn so that she would have some sort of ‘proactive’ role) and have something to do with Qwenthur is to make her have this secret crush on him. It is so freaking obvious. She likes him. Any other girls come into the picture, she pouts and you can see a drastic change in her attitude. Not even Frolaytia is spared. Not sure if the guys know about this or just deliberately ignoring it because you can’t have your love in fruition when you’re on the battlefield, right? Because you can hear Havia teasing lightly about this and Qwenthur is like, well, not sure if he’s just acting to just appease her. So if you’re hoping for some sort of romance, it is a big miss. It’s like trying to bait us with a potential harem because nerds with brains like Qwenthur is a hit with chicks (girls dig brainy guys, right?) but nothing of it materializes. Just a distraction. Or is Ohoho trying to piss off Milinda by trolling that she would steal her man? If I am not mistaken, in one of the later arcs, there was this idol reporter waltzing into the base doing her cutie reporting. I believe she was trying to look for Qwenthur but left disappointed as she couldn’t find him around. Duh. He was on the battlefield risking his life. What is his relationship with him? Could she be another love rival? It feels like a waste and troll just to show cameos of her in that arc.

Having described the trio, there is nothing more we can say about the character development about them or any other character partly due to the nature of this series. If you want to know more about their past in depth, you’d be disappointed because there isn’t much to know about. I mean, how much do you know about Qwenthur? We know a bit more in Havia and his Vanderbilt fiancée but that is about it. How about Milinda as an Elite? How did she end up in this position? What is her back story? Again, nothing told. At least Frolaytia has slightly more back story and past despite being shoehorned as part of the story arc. So what else can I say about Frolaytia that she is like your typical higher up who acts strict and is quirky in her own way but cares for her subordinates. Busty assets to flaunt and tease Havia just because she can.

Oh, before I forget too, by the times the maids appeared (it’s about time), I have almost lost my enthusiasm that I had as I did from the start since my main interest by then is Qwenthur and Havia’s feats. Not to say that I totally lost interests in maids (NEVER WILL!), because at the start and end of each arc my conscious would be telling me that there was no show from the maids here. Could it be I was deceived? And then they finally pop up. Didn’t do pretty much except providing backup to Qwenthur and then off they go. Well, what was I expecting anyway. Other characters are like, uhm, well I don’t know how to elaborate more. Ohoho is only remembered as Milinda’s rival on both the battlefields (give me back those G-cups too!). Lendy is sneaky (I think everyone in Intelligence Union is as sneaky). Charlotte, why do we still need her? Anybody else that matter? No? Baddies? No? Honeysuckle. In prison. Flide? Dead. Slicker? Dead. Nutley? Dead. Halreed? Finding someone new to go f*ck with. Haha! With baddies and characters with names like these, oh boy, sometimes you wonder if the world has gone ‘internationalized’ is a good thing or not.

For the plot, overall it might sound silly and recycled seeing that every arc is more or less the same. Some country is going to do something bad. Our heroes need to interfere. Qwenthur and Havia have racked up a reputation big enough to be sent around the world to stop and foil the enemy’s plan. And they did it. End of mission. Mission successful. Well, at least it is easy to follow this way. That is why the ‘ending’ didn’t feel like anything much because you know, if there was going to be another arc, it would probably follow this same formula. That is why there isn’t any closure for any of the characters because it is most likely the same stuffs will continue. But hey, at least Qwenthur gets the girl in the end. Literally. Besides, if you look at the settings of the world, a few things feeling unrealistic especially about Objects being the sole thing that are used for war. I know such behemoths are so precious and important but do they really need to do away with classic military weapons and arsenal? Because they are all just reduced to just useless supporting roles. And somehow the world is only divided into 4 major powerhouse countries. I don’t know. In today’s reality with more countries breaking up, I can’t see why it will all turn to just a few of them. Oh right. They did something similar in this setting for Code Geass too. And to call those big sophisticated war machines as Objects… Can’t they come up with a classier name? Don’t get me started at the penguin scene. What the f*ck was that all about?!

Then there are those sci-fi and engineering terms. Well, I’m not saying that they are as bad as To Aru Majutsu No Index but there are enough spewed around to make it sound, uhm, authentic. You know, they can come up with all those classy sounding names and terms and all those BS and still get away with it because I’m just too dumb to understand what it all means and too lazy to even Google and find out how true it is. I’ll just accept them all! And I’ll also give an excuse that I am not an engineering or science student to understand all that crap.

The action scenes especially the Objects facing off with each other do not disappoint (fire and explosions, okay?). While they might seem that they are just shifting and realigning to get better positions than their opponent and then firing big beams, you can feel the powerful impact when they fire their main cannons. It really packs a punch. Definitely you do not want to be caught in between the crossfire. Your entire existence will be erased right down to your last DNA I kid you not. Seeing the enemy Object crumble in dramatic fashion also yields some sort of relief because after all the hard work our little heroes put in and to see it pay off is just satisfying. Though, it is a bit silly that something this big and almost indestructible would be destroyed just like that. You know, the end level boss is so tough and once you finish off his last health point, he breaks down and disintegrates to bits. Like as though their DNA molecules have reached their limit in holding up and just let it all go. Seriously.

The art style and animation are pretty fluid and good especially with the Objects using CGI, they don’t look very jarring and blend in perfectly. It is no doubt about the quality because the veteran anime studio, J.C. Staff did this (in collaboration with Sanzigen too). If you find similarities in their art style in other animes, say To Aru Majutsu No Index, now you know why. With a big part of the backgrounds and scenes concentrated on the battlefield, this means the natural environments like the icy desert and the plains, not to say they are masterpieces but good enough to look at. At least it isn’t urban warfare. On a trivial note, the mid-intermission eyecatch is a good place to view comprehensive details on Objects if you really want to get to know its specs. Although eventually many of them will be repeated because there are only a handful of Objects in the series. However the second part of the eyecatch might feel a bit out of place. Because they are just silly random poses of the characters (mostly fanservice for Milinda and Frolaytia) that borders comical. Screw all the technical stuffs. We need to laugh and get a boner sometimes.

I’m not sure why I thought it was Akira Ishida behind Qwenthur’s voice but it was rather Natsuki Hanae (Inaho in Aldnoah.Zero). Maybe at first they sound closely similar but as the series goes on, there was some notable difference but I still thought the character was so. At least I didn’t make the same mistake for Shizuka Itou as Frolaytia and Rikiya Koyama as Seewax as well as Satomi Arai as the head maid Wydine. Rina Satou as Lendy? Didn’t think it was her since she lacks screen time and more lines. Hisako Kanemoto as Ohoho? Trading her “~de geso” line for “ohoho” laughter? There are quite a number of casts here thanks to the nature of the series. Some even playing multiple roles albeit they are just minor background characters that we’ll never notice anyway. So the rest of the (selective) casts are Kaito Ishikawa as Havia (Genos in One Punch Man), Eri Suzuki as Milinda (Chinatsu in Flying Witch), Saori Oonishi as Charlotte (La Folia in Strike The Blood), Maaya Uchida as Vanderbilt (Rikka in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai), Yoshimasa Hosoya as Honeysuckle (X-eins in Valvrave The Liberator), Ryota Takeuchi as Halreed (Shiro in Ansatsu Kyoshitsu), Katsuyki Konishi as Slicker (Laxus in Fairy Tail), Ryuusuke Oobayashi as Flide (Soun in Ranma 1/2) and Shinpachi Tsuji as Klondike (Makarov in Fairy Tail).

Both the opening themes are sung by All Off. Both are hard rock pieces supposedly to give you a feel and pace of what this series is about. One More Chance is the first opening theme while Never Gave Up is the second one. But it is an easier pace for the ending themes. Dear Brave by Kano as the first ending theme is still a rock outfit. The second ending theme is Unchanging Strength and is more of a slow anime pop. Done by Yuka Iguchi who only sang and did not provide any voice acting. Not even a cameo. I suppose with Milinda’s limited appearance, I have a feeling that is why the ending credits animation is mostly all on her.

Overall, I have to admit that despite falling under the mecha category that I dislike, this series has been a fun and enjoyable ride thanks to the boys’ cleverness and interesting tactics to take down the nearly invincible despite the stacking impossible odds against them. Not to mention their teamwork that sometimes could border as a manzai comedy duo (they can be good stand-up comedians if they retire). Also partly thank the maids for appearing or else I might have been feeling more disappointed had they not and screamed deception. Also thanks to the big mecha action to remind us why war is big business and reinforce and make us feel less guilty why we will forever fight each other despite you’re not supposed to take this anime seriously. Last and not least, thank the few fanservice peppered throughout because what is all that explosive action if you don’t have a little boobs and butts to show even if they are just mild. Sex sells. Hentai parody when? Heavy Sex Object. Haha! Song parody when? He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Object. Haha! So yeah. Why the heck do we want boring peace anyway when we can have so much fun in war?

Senjou No Valkyria

November 20, 2016

Military and war genres aren’t really my kind of taste when it comes to picking animes to watch. Not to say that I really dislike the genre but it is rather very low on my priority list as compared to high school romance comedy and yeah, fanservice genres. So perhaps the only reason why I decided to watch Senjou No Valkyria was perhaps the many rave reviews it got. No, not the anime but rather the critical and positive reviews from the tactical role playing game that it was adapted from. Now, many of such Japanese games are rich in story, plot and characters so probably that is one reason why at that point in time I decided to give the anime a chance. Furthermore, the game was created and developed by Sega, a childhood console favourite of mine (because of certain blue hedgehog). However sometimes adaptations from games to the silver screen doesn’t necessarily transit well like in the case of Hollywood. In the case of Sega there have been some hits and misses. I can’t really point out good ones because there are many of their series that I have never watched like the Evangelion movies and Persona 4. Those that I have seen are rather okay and passable like World Destruction, Sakura Taisen and Shining Hearts. Some are just mediocre and fail like Shining Tear and the more recently dreadful Phantasy Star Online 2 The Animation. Remembering the funny and nostalgic Hi-sCoool! SeHa Girls, maybe there is still hope for Sega still although this anime was released way back in 2009.

Episode 1
Alicia Melchiott is part of the Bruhl Patrol and is evacuating the townspeople because the evil Imperial will soon launch its attack. Her fellow colleague, Susie Evans report of a possible spy at the bridge. Alicia rendezvous with Jean and Miguro to watch the spy noting down in his notebook. When they confront him, he claims he is just sketching trout. Indeed he is but they think it is some code and take him away. When she learns his name is Welkin Gunther, she becomes more suspicious because that family name is supposed to be a well respected one in the Patrol. The emergency siren goes off and Alicia has to go for a meeting with her superiors about the possible delay of reinforcements that will put a damper to their plans. Then she returns to tie him up in a shed although he pleads to be released and promises to be back because he needs to go get someone. Not buying it. Jean and Miguro wonder if the Imperial is really going to attack this place so Alicia reminds them about the history about the war between Eastern Europa Empire Alliance and Atlantic Federation to control the important resource called Ragnite. Therefore Gallia must fight to protect itself. She returns to the meeting and after it ends, she sees Welkin escaping before her eyes. She goes after him but she hasn’t the guts to shoot. Once she catches up in the forest, he has her keep quiet because they spot the Imperial scouts from a distance. Welkin mentions the person he is supposed to get is his younger sister, Isara. The scouts spot them and they run. Thank goodness they are all bad shots. When they take refuge inside a manor, Alicia couldn’t understand why he is familiar with the place. Then it hit her. Could he be the son of the famous general that saved Gallia in the first war? Yup. Alicia almost got beheaded by Isara in the kitchen thinking she was an intruder. Alicia thinks the siblings are liars since Isara has the Darcsen looks. She has them raise their hands in the air but a rocket propeller rocks the place. Alicia drops her gun. Isara picks it up and shoots the enemy scout at the window. Now you trust her? Isara guides them to the back where more weapons are stored. When the scout reinforcements are here, Alicia throws the old fashion grenade to silence them. Isara then unveils the biggest weapon they can use: A tank!

Episode 2
This tank, Edelweiss was created by Isara’s biological Darcsen father (this means Isara is adopted into Welkin’s family) and it is loaded up and has enough fuel for the ride. They surprise the enemy by barging through them. They return and reunite with the other patrol members who aren’t too thrilled Isara is a Darcsen. When Alicia reports of the advancing Imperial army, the patrol deputy is upset that her act will lead them straight to this town. She believes the enemy is in disarray after seeing an unknown tank and will definitely come after them. They will just need to hold out till the town people evacuate. Welkin couldn’t be more embarrassing in his timing to ask the question when they can retreat. You can’t blame him as he has never been in the front lines and need to take care of himself. There are a couple of tanks the patrol has but they are in unworthy condition. While they try to start it up, the rest go fend off the Imperial army. If you’re wondering why the enemy could stand in the open without getting shot unlike the Bruhl Patrol, hiding behind sand bags and yet they die, it’s because… Better weapons… With so many dead, the deputy returns for the tank. Unheeding Isara’s advice, he sets out in it. Sure, he destroyed a tank but he soon runs out of fuel. Sitting duck. Enemy is here. Bang! Game over. The injury and death toll is taking a toll and it is only a matter of time they succumb. With the patrol chief returning to confirm the completion of evacuees and the Gallian army will be here soon, Alicia, Welkin and Isara will ride Edelweiss to stall the enemy so the patrol can escape. Edelweiss is fast, flexible and powerful. It even deflects bullets! Eat this! With the Gallian army coming, the Imperial side retreats. In the sad aftermath fate of Bruhl, the Gallian army decides to abandon it. Alicia is sad the war has ravaged her home and to just think she was just working in a bakery here a few years ago. Because of this, she decides to join the militia to end the war so that the death of her comrades will not be in vain. When Alicia is summoned to give the commander the report on Bruhl’s retreat, guess who she bumps into? Welkin! Did he join the army too?

Episode 3
Eleanor Varrot makes Welkin the commander of Squad 7. Despite having no actual combat experience, his heroics at Bruhl is enough to be considered so. He gets permission to bring Edelweiss under his care this means Isara is also assigned to his squad. But it is bad news for Alicia because she is assigned to be Welkin’s assistant. They meet Welkin’s university friend, Faldio Landzaat who is the commander of Squad 1. Faldio wonders why he joined the militia seeing he hates fighting and there were many ways for him to avoid being drafted. After experiencing Bruhl, he thought he must end the war fast and return to that place. Welkin addresses his squad but some like Largo Potter and Brigitte “Rosie” Stark already dislike him for being a greenhorn ranking higher above them. Welkin talks about the most important in battle is not experience but their lives. He promises to do his best to protect them. Varrot has the squad commanders in briefing in a next mission to take over Vasel Town as its bridge is a crucial location that connects to the capital city of Randgriz. The squads are to sortie their team there. Things aren’t looking good for the Gallian side and Welkin has another set of problems on his hand. Largo and Rosie spite Isara as a Darcsen. Welkin then decides to make a bet because he knows this is clearly a question whether or not he is fit to be their commander. Give him 2 days and they will take the other side of the bridge. If successful, they will follow his orders. Otherwise he will resign as the squad leader. That night, the area is shrouded in fog. Welkin knew about this because he spotted the swallows flying low and could be a sign of low air pressure. So he summons his squad to cross over. Not via bridge but by river. The non-believers cannot believe a tank can cross water. That is why Edelweiss will do it. The siblings ride the tank underwater and they have to go faster as water is sipping in. The rest follow behind via boat. When it resurfaces, Edelweiss continuously attacks the enemy to confuse them about the numbers. With Squad 7 flanking the enemies at the bank, the confused enemies give up thinking they are outnumbered. By day, Gallian has taken control of the bridge. With Welkin winning the bet, they agree to follow his orders but this doesn’t mean they will accept Isara. The hate is strong…

Episode 4
The Imperial generals are discussing about Vasel’s defeat. Imperial Prince Maximilian will not be cowed by this setback and must stem them before they grow bigger. His tactic is to push the Gallians back by increasing their forces where the resistance is strong. Therefore it is necessary to reinforce the supply route through Kloden. He sends Berthold Gregor there to take command and Radi Jaeger to support him. Selvaria Bles will accompany him to Barious Desert. Welkin and Alicia are summoned by General Georg von Damon. His Regular troops plan to cut off the supply lines at Kloden. Thus he wants Squad 7 to stay out of this thinking they will be a burden unless they would like to be their shield. That Vasel victory was just luck he thinks. Welkin agrees not to participate. Of course his squad isn’t too happy that Welkin did not retaliate after Damon looked down upon their squad like that but Welkin’s order to stay out is clear. So what will they do? Cleaning and laundry… Gregor arrives at Kloden. So do Damon and his troops. When the Gallian side attacks, Gregor orders a decoy troop to the front lines as bait although this will cause casualties. He doesn’t care as he will counter the Gallian force with a bigger attack then. Damon’s troops suffer heavy damage. Like the coward he is, he runs. Only he survived the onslaught and everybody else died. Thus Varrot explains how lucky Squad 7 is by staying out of it. However orders from central HQ will have Squad 7 assault Kloden. Welkin tells his team about this and they are revved up to show those Regulars what they are made of. But it is not only Squad 7 who will be going in alone. Squad 1 will be supporting them too. Because Faldio won’t let Welkin steal all the glory.

Episode 5
Squad 7 and Squad 1 are at the outskirts of Kloden. Alicia thought there is a spy in the bushes. Rosie intercepts it but it turns out to be a pig? With wings? Alicia wants to keep it to avoid it being on the dinner plate of somebody?! It then hit Welkin what their plan will be. As there is an animal trail in the forest, this will lead to the base. Edelweiss and the main attacking team will be the decoy to attack the base from the front while another team will travel via the animal trail and flank them. Edelweiss begins the attack. Alicia and Faldio are part of the flanking team. They reach the base and Alicia is feeling nervous that she couldn’t think. Faldio plays a prank on her and though it startles her, he tells her being nervous makes her weaker than any soldier and it will also make others nervous. And yes, believe in Welkin. As told many times, he is a man who does things when he needs to. The flanking catches the enemy by surprise. Although Alicia get shot in the leg, don’t worry, she is such a strong girl and won’t let this little wound slow her down. Gregor is furious that his numbers cannot best a small army. Jaeger tells Gregor to retreat. It might be painful to lose this base but they must cut their losses. As much as Gregor doesn’t like this idea, he orders his troops to load up the Ragnite and retreat. As the Imperial army escapes, Alicia wants to chase after them but Welkin stops her. Faldio suggests using this momentum to their advantage. However Welkin explains their orders were to occupy this base. This might be detrimental for their side in the future but if an enemy general made the wise call to retreat his troops when the situation changed, it is dangerous to depend on the momentum when facing a commander who gave such a decisive order. Jaeger also notices the Gallian side has a wise commander because he chose not to chase them. The success of this mission gives Alicia the more reason to keep the pig. She names it Hans.

Episode 6
Irene Ellet, a reporter from GBS Radio gets permission to interview Welkin. Despite his good looks, Alicia knows how different this guy is and if the public finds out who he really is, this will not only bring down the militia and Squad 7 but ultimately herself whom she is an assistant to. She needs to stop this interview. Sorry girl. While you were being paranoid, Welkin already accepted it. Making it odder, Alicia answers all questions on his behalf and makes Welkin agree to them! Of course Ellet feels something suspicious and will get to know Welkin via his other members. As Alicia is about to go stop her, she is confronted by Varrot. My, what a long lecture on the do’s and don’ts of the interview… But Ellet isn’t faring well either. Just how weird is Squad 7? Largo talking about his vegetables, Rosie trying to sing, there is this one guy who is gay and Susie and the other girls are taking time dolling up themselves till they realize this is a radio interview. No pictures… And why the heck did Ellet interview Hans too?! Wherever Ellet tries to interview Welkin, there Alicia is intercepting. So will Alicia follow wherever Welkin goes? Except the men’s toilet… But there is where Ellet is waiting. She tries to seduce him in hopes he would open up because she believes Alicia’s strange acting means there is something to hide. Alicia wondering why he is taking so long, barges in and misinterprets they are having a scandal. Nothing happening. Because Ellet promised she would do anything, Welkin has her throw his squad a BBQ party. All the glorious meat! Since they cannot finish it, Squad 1 is called to join in. Before long, some petty jealousy has both sides in a big brawl. Things are thrown, punches are made. But at the end of it all, they make up, drink up and become friends. Yeah, confusing, right? In that chaos, Ellet takes the opportunity to talk to Welkin. Once she learns why he isn’t like typical commanders who are strict and stiff, she understands what Alicia was trying to hide. The real interview starts. Alicia is depressed thinking the militia’s reputation is doomed. But when Ellet’s broadcast is played live, she praises all about Squad 7. But in the end, she surprises everyone that she doesn’t really understand Welkin and will one day interview him again. Oh dear. Does she really need to come back again?

Episode 7
Damon is back to his arrogant ways like as though that humiliation never happened. As he plans his next mission at Fouzen, Varrot makes a suggestion but he scoffs her off and instead gives her an investigation mission to Barious Desert. Squad 7 must be a jovial squad. The guys gambling, Alicia is baking good bread and Welkin sketching his wildlife. Only that uptight kid from Squad 1, Ramal Valt seems to disagree with all that. Wet blanket. Even more so he doesn’t believe they have a Darcsen fighting on their side. This is a perfect chance for them all to discuss about the Darcsen Calamity that happened 2000 years ago right at this spot, Barious Ruins. Of course there are many theories and inconsistencies. Also the Darcsen records themselves do not tell of such conflict. So our related parties head to the ruins to further their investigation. I think Isara is giving an excuse not to go and would just stay back to fix the vehicle. And I think Ramal has a thing for Isara because he changed his mind to stay back to watch over her in case somebody attacks. Welkin, Alicia and Faldio read the old scriptures of the ruins about the calamity, the war that devastated the continent between the Darcsen and Valkyrur races that result the latter being wiped out despite being the more powerful one. Also in the ruins are Maximilian and Selvaria to find the legendary lance. Selvaria initiates and opens some chambers. Faldio thought lucky girl Alicia did something because a chamber nearby them also opens and it reveals more scriptures that would decipher the real truth of this calamity. Welkin has his reservations to venture further since they don’t know what lies ahead but Faldio is insistent as he doesn’t want to let Damon hog all the credit. Who wouldn’t be happy if you are the first to discover something this big? While examining the scriptures, that is when both sides meet.

Episode 8
Alicia tells the Imperials to get out of her land. However Maximilian replies this isn’t theirs either. It belongs to Valkyrur. Thought they were extinct? Selvaria is their descendent. Alicia panics and accidentally fires a shot but Selvaria deflects it with her sword. Once Maximilian gets what he is looking for, he returns to his giant monster tank and has it destroy the entire ruins. Apparently it is cue for our Gallian soldiers to get out but Faldio wants to confirm what Maximilian said first. Is he that desperate? Welkin pushes Alicia towards Faldio from a falling slab before the entire ceiling caves in and separates them. Isara and Ramal head to the ruins and only see Welkin. He promises to save the others. What else for Faldio and Alicia to do but talk about how awesome and mysterious Welkin is. This includes during their university days where there was this hot chick whom all the guys bet who will be the first to approach her. Guess who? But you know what Welkin first said to her when he usurped the rest? He was interested in her cheekbones and wanted to sketch it! Definitely worth a slap. Ironically they became close although he didn’t see her as a woman. When Welkin’s voice echoes through the rubble, they communicate. Then there are uninvited guests: Lizards! Don’t worry, they’re harmless. And cute. Welkin knows that because they are seeking shelter from the desert’s cold, there must be spaces big enough for them to crawl in and thus the duo need to find that space to crawl out. Welkin knows where the exit will be because the scriptures were inscribed on Ragnite and thus its light is being reflected. They reunite and Alicia hugs Welkin the first thing. But what is the first thing Welkin asked her? About the lizards! This guy… We continue Welkin’s ‘university love story’, Faldio talking to him about saying empty words to that chick. Welkin isn’t worried because he knows she has made the right choice and will be alright (although Welkin rejected her). They were at her wedding ceremony. Lastly, the battle at Fouzen, Gallia totally lost. Still, Gregor isn’t satisfied because his ‘favourite tank’ didn’t show up.

Episode 9
Maximilian is summoned back to the capital since Central is not happy with his war record. He orders Selvaria to stay behind. Central has also sent a few aides for the generals and one of them being Karl Oswald who is to be Selvaria’s aide. However Selvaria always keeps her distance and never giving him a proper response, confusing this kid a lot. Meanwhile at the capital, the crown prince and his cronies can’t wait to take over the throne once the emperor kicks the bucket. However he feels the need to eliminate an obstacle. His cronies already assured it is already being carried out. Selvaria is about to go to Maximilian and would have if not for Karl reminding her she would be betraying Maximilian’s orders. Flashback reveals that Karl is under orders to keep Selvaria away from Maximilian. When he returns to his quarters, an assassin congratulates his job well done and will kill him since he has outlived his usefulness. After all, an elite soldier from Central committing suicide from demotion is not uncommon. Luckily Selvaria slices him up. Once Karl tells what he knows, Jaeger believes he is caught up in a conspiracy from the higher ups. Karl becomes distraught that he has nowhere to return after this. This reminds Selvaria of something similar. But Maximilian offered his hand. She does the same to him. Noting that Maximilian’s life is in danger (speaking of which, assassins have already infiltrated his place of stay and trying to kill him), they ride all the way there. Be prepared for bumpy short cuts. They made it in time as Selvaria shows why she is known as the Blue Witch as she cuts all assassins (and bullets!) into half! To their relief, Maximilian is fine because he too can fight and sliced up a couple of assassins himself. Next day, Maximilian sees the emperor who berates him of his recent failures and will continue to be observed and his troops subject to reduction. The crown prince isn’t pleased Maximilian is still alive. When they cross path, he warns Maximilian to watch over his shoulders. Right back at him too. Karl has found his new place under Selvaria and he is quite happy about it.

Episode 10
Alicia has Welkin to thank for when they take shelter in a cabin as he predicted a blizzard would be coming. So… You’d be expecting some sort of romance, right? She wants him to talk about Squad 7 or even himself but all that guy got is animal stories. She didn’t sign up for Animal Planet… He credits his father for making him have an interest in nature since he was an avid insect collector. Alicia notes it is nice to have a family since she is an orphan. Welkin adds his complicated family that despite his dad being proclaimed as a war hero, he couldn’t save his wife who died in the war. Just when you think the mood is right, the warm fire, cuddling up close together, Alicia looking like she is making her first move… Then Welkin chickens out and says to get some rest. Some romance we’re expecting, huh? Deep in the night, they are awakened when footsteps are heard. As they prepare themselves, a mad soldier from the Imperial barges in and threatens to let go a bomb in his hand. The standoff continues… Meanwhile Squad 7 members are anxiously waiting. They believe something has happened to them. As Largo is in charge, he will wait for 2 more hours and then decide since the longer they wait, the more dangerous it will get as they are in enemy’s territory. When Alicia notices the soldier’s injuries, she becomes daring and dares him to shoot at her because she wants to treat his wounds. Before they are soldiers, they are human beings. Despite doing her best, the soldier knows he has not long to live so he tells his story as his last will. He was a farmer in the empire and like many believed the better life if you rise up through the military. Over the years, the many wars fought, the many enemies killed, the many friends who have died, he started questioning what is it that he wanted from this war. That is when he ran away. The wounds he got are from his fellow soldiers shooting at him for trying to dessert the army. Once he learns their names, he summons all his strength to put back the safety pin in the bomb. His final wish is that they remember him and his name, Michael Weber. Sadly, he dies. Next morning when the weather is clear, the Imperial army find Michael’s grave outside the cabin. The commander doesn’t want his men to give chase since he knows the enemy respected a fallen comrade by burying him. Welkin and Alicia get a surprise as they see Squad 7 still waiting for them. They never stopped believing, right?

Episode 11
Cordelia gi Randgriz, the princess of Gallia like any girls her age would rather be outside playing with nature instead of listening to an old fart teaching her political stuffs that won’t do her any good. She is also hosting a banquet and Welkin and co are also invited. On the surface this banquet might look like to celebrate the victories at Vasel and Kloden but its true purpose is to raise the Randgriz family’s influence. Ellet is also here to get any big scoop but with all the stuck ups, it is hard to get anything out of them although her reporter guts tell her something interesting is going to happen. Selvaria and Jaeger are also here masquerading as a noble couple for an infiltration mission. So when Selvaria and Alicia see each other, things are going to get more interesting. Cordelia gives her speech but it sounds so boring, robotic, monotonous and her face is all written over that says I-wish-I-wasn’t-here. The rest of the ceremony is handled by Maurits von Borg, Gallia’s Prime Minister and Cordelia’s close aide. Welkin and Faldio receive their medals for their bravery. As Alicia takes some fresh air, she is surprised Jaeger approaches her. Since she is still suspicious, he lets her know a warning and to tell it to her friends too. Faldio knows Welkin doesn’t want the medal and is here on behalf of Varrot to show face. Faldio wants to know about his relationship progress with Alicia especially that one night with her in the cabin. Sorry to disappoint but nothing happened. You should have known better that his head is only filled with lizards and dung beetles… When Alicia tells what happens to the guys, Welkin goes to find Isara. Since Alicia is still uneasy the way Jaeger kissed her hand, Faldio gives her a piece of the inscription he collected from Barious to calm her nerves. Shortly after Cordelia retires to her room (must be a tiring day, huh?), she gets kidnapped. Alicia got lost trying to find Welkin and sees Cordelia being hauled away. Too bad she too gets knocked out and taken away. It is no surprise that Borg is the ringmaster behind this.

Episode 12
Karl reports Cordelia being kidnapped as expected. However he also saw another unidentified hostage. When Faldio and Welkin reunite, they know something is wrong when Alicia is not with either. They go search around and they mistake Jaeger and Selvaria may have a hand in this since Selvaria picked up Alicia’s dropped inscription. Making a big assumption that Alicia is also kidnapped, they dismiss the Imperial will not gain from doing this and deduced somebody must be hungry for power to even sell out Gallia. Indeed because Borg’ plan is to make known Cordelia’s defection to the Federation. This will make Gallia under the Federation’s control and Borg will be put in charge of the new territory. Welkin suggests both sides to cooperate. It will benefit them. By saving the ladies, the Empire can stop Gallia from becoming part of the Federation. Alicia and Cordelia wake up on the back of the truck. Alicia plans for their escape but Cordelia is not interested. She has resigned to her fate and doesn’t care what happens to herself. When Faldio and Welkin catch up to the truck, the kidnapper is dumb and useless enough to let them hijack. Alicia wants Cordelia to jump onto Edelweiss and Welkin will catch her. Too bad she continues being pessimistic. She doesn’t want to be rescued since nothing will change. Alicia then scolds her for the spoilt brat she is. Change of heart? But the kidnapper takes Alicia hostage (how the f*ck did he climb back up at such a high speed chase on a narrow cliff road?!). Any funny moves, he’ll shoot Alicia in the head. But Welkin pulls out his gun. What is he thinking? Even the kidnapper panics. Luckily Welkin shoots and wounds him. Alicia gives the signal for Cordelia to jump into Welkin’s arms. Faldio finally wrests control from the driver and steps on the brakes in time before it goes off the cliff. Phew. Meanwhile Jaeger and Cordelia successful defeat the accomplices the kidnappers are supposed to hand over Cordelia to. Cordelia is returned to the palace before sunrise. She decides not to let the public know about this issue as she doesn’t want her people to panic. But Alicia and Welkin’s words have given her new hope to try and do something to change her country. Later Faldio asks Welkin how he can aim the gun while Alicia is a hostage. Saving Cordelia was the priority. If he missed? He never thought so. He thought there is this trust between them and everything will be okay. With Welkin continuing to be his happy-go-lucky self, Faldio gets serious and makes him sweat. What will he do if Faldio tells him he loves Alicia? He’s not joking. You looking very stunned, Welkin.

Episode 13
Despite Gallia is doing well recently, Daman is not pleased. Because the militia is usurping the Regulars especially Welkin’s reputation is rising among the military. He decides to send the militia to a death mission at Fouzen. While many other squads suffer casualties as a result from the missiles from the armed locomotive commanded by Gregor, Esel, Squad 1 and Squad 7 are silently infiltrating Fouzen. This town is rich in Ragnite and whoever controls it may turn the tide of the war. They meet up with resistance leader, Zaka. He is a Darcsen and Rosie doesn’t restrain herself in letting him know how much she hates that race. Not that he cares anyway but he warns that this is their town and they cannot do anything without them. Zaka explains when this town fell into the Imperial’s hands, a concentration camp of Darcsen all over the continent was brought here to mine Ragnite. Thus the resistance has been fighting to release their kind. The midnight mission at Fouzen is a 3 pronged attack. The teams are split into 3 divisions. One team is to destroy Esel which is the greatest obstacle to capture Fouzen, another team will assault the mining base that is serving as the command centre and the final team will liberate the concentration camp. Rosie gets permission to go out but under condition she is accompanied by Zaka. When Imperial soldiers pass them, Zaka has to cover her by faking a rape scene. She isn’t too pleased, though. She warns him she is a militia first before a woman. But he replies that she is more human than anyone else. All teams are on standby as they get ready to carry out their mission.

Episode 14
The assault begins and proceeds smoothly. The Darcsen prisoners are freed. Many run but a handful stay back to help with the riot as a diversion. Although the resistance and Gallian sides use the darkness to their advantage, it isn’t long before the Imperial side brightens everything up with flares. Isara and Ramal steal an enemy tank to increase their advantage. Alicia almost got shot by a sniper but Faldio rescues her. Add that to the list of seemingly romantic moments for the duo and another worry for Welkin. Zaka and Rosie plant a bomb on the tracks so when Esel passes, they will blow it up. Gregor knows the Gallian side is behind the attack since the resistance cannot have such organized force. He senses something amiss when the Imperial is still losing despite their strength. When he gets to know Squad 7 is part of this operation, he sets Esel into motion. The bomb goes off but only half of it detonated. Despite derailed, it still can fire its cannon. Gregor broadcasts to his enemies to retreat now or he will fire at the escaping Darcsen. This is of course to buy them time. When they come out of their hiding, they will be shot. Welkin is hesitating as he cannot come up with a good plan. He knows they will be killed if they come out of their hiding. Since it is taking too long, Faldio takes over command and orders to attack. Gregor expected this and fires the cannon, killing all the escaping Darcsen. Apparently Rosie is the maddest. What can she do when she charges at Esel? Zaka saves her before the guns make her into Swiss cheese. Isara’s tank then shoots the other half of the bombs to fully blow up Esel. Gregor admits his defeat and resigns to his death fate but warns that the Gallian’s actions have caused deaths of innocent Darcsen. Everyone mourns over the bodies of the Darcsen people. None as emotional as Rosie. And you thought she hated them.

Episode 15
After what happened, it is reasonable that nobody is in the mood. With no missions at hand, Varrot has the militia rest and relax with a simple banquet. With a suggestion that every squad puts up a performance, Squad 7 is eager to hear Rosie sing. However she does not agree with it and gives an excuse she will not sing before a Darcsen. Welkin goes to convince her but the only way he is going to get her to sing is if he orders her. She will not disobey it. Since he won’t do that, tough luck. Isara feels guilty for being that cause and ironically gets the unlikeliest advice from Ramal to push forward (he was probably just to see her face). So Isara confronts Rosie and knows she felt sad for what happened at Fouzen. Despite her hate for Darcsen, Isara wants her to treat her as Isara and not a Darcsen. She mustn’t run away although her past his shackling her down. This is when Rosie discloses her past. During a time when the hunt for to purge Darcsen was at its peak by the Imperial, Rosie’s family lived in a town where there were many Darcsen. Her family was forced to hide some and they threatened to kill them if they rat them out. When an Imperial patrol comes over to check, a misunderstanding has them panic so the Darcsen shoot everybody, killing Rosie’s parents. Only Rosie survived. Isara feels sad but she still wants her to sing for everyone. In exchange she will not participate. Isara tells this to Welkin who is of course against it. He doesn’t want her to be singled out or sacrificed. But since she put it in a way to respect her wishes, he has no choice. Eventually Faldio learns about it from Alicia’s complaints (because she is mad Welkin won’t do anything about it) so he weaves his magic to take Isara along. With everything that has happened so far, Rosie makes tonight an exception, delighting Isara. Everybody has a good time and in awe hearing Rosie’s magical voice. The morale of the militia is back to normal at the end. That is when Faldio takes this chance to confess to Alicia he loves her.

Episode 16
With the fall of Fouzen to Gallia and the loss of Gregor, the war has not been advantageous to the Imperial. But Maximilian has his own plans. More flashbacks on how Selvaria and Maximilian met. She was hiding in his blue rose garden. Because he gave her a chance to exist, today she is able to walk under the sun and beside him. Alicia has been spacing out and almost burnt her bread. After Faldio confessed, she just ran away. Even Welkin couldn’t pay attention during the squad briefing. Largo noticing him as such, takes him to a makeshift tent bath to talk. He knows what is going on because he too experienced something similar. Largo had a best friend too during his heydays in the militia. Nice handsome guy as a friend. Largo was introduced to newbie Varrot then on the same squad. He was smitten with her and tried to communicate. But he never confessed after he realized his best friend also liked her. It was one of those thoughts of whether to value friendship or being true to your feelings. But before any sort of complicated decisions could be made, his best friend sacrificed himself. He too chose friendship as there were too many problems arising at that point. Largo accidentally reveals Varrot’s name so he warns surprised Welkin not to tell others or else. Love must be in the air too because as Isara leaves the base for town, Ramal is ‘coincidentally’ there to give her a lift. See how happy he is when she calls him by his name? He must be imagining… Alicia can’t stand moping around so she confronts Welkin. She knows things have been awkward between them lately and hopes they can go back to how it used to be. Welkin is glad because he thought she hated him. Reconciliation seems to be on the tracks till Welkin made this mistake of mentioning Faldio’s name. Oh boy. Alicia reveals Faldio’s confession and wants to know what she should do. I know it is not Welkin’s place to decide but my guts tell me Alicia is mad. Even if Welkin paints Faldio as a good guy, you can tell she’s mad. If that is how he feels and thinks, then there is nothing else to be said. Yup, she’s mad. Welkin returns to his room and sees Isara preparing a splendid meal for him. At least tonight is not getting any worse.

Episode 17
Varrot tells Welkin Squad 7’s next operation. They are going to take the Imperial’s strong fort at Mulberry Beach and the only way to access it via sea. The enemy has heavily fortified the cliffs and coming by sea means no cover. Well, since it is a plan from Damon to test waters, I guess you know what this means, right? Ellet then shows Welkin photos of Damon and Borg together. They have been meeting a lot lately and she feels something big is coming up although she hopes to be wrong. After Welkin informs his squad of the next mission which is during the Festival of Spirits, Alicia chides Welkin for always apologizing and blaming himself. It is not what a commander should do. Rosie believes he got arrogant after getting the medal and now the squad is being targeted by jealous people. Fortunately the rest of the squad throw their support behind Welkin and rev themselves up to fight the enemy. Alicia’s mind is so preoccupied that she burnt her hands while trying to save her baking bread. Faldio assists in cooling them down, though Alicia takes her leave shortly. So the Festival of Spirits is like giving gifts to your loved ones? Faldio comes to check on Alicia’s wound and it is perfectly healed within the short span of days. He then gives her the inscription. Welkin sees this and he looks worried. As Welkin surveys the beach and notices the wind conditions, Isara shows him smoke bombs which she has diligently made. She is not sure if they will work under the wind conditions but an idea just cropped up in Welkin’s head. He briefs his squad to attack during periods when there is no wind. Isara gives Rosie a doll for the festival. It is a Darcsen charm. The battle at Mulberry goes in favour for the Gallians as the smoke bombs cover the enemy’s visibility. The charm proves to be a life saver because had not Rosie bend down to pick it up, her head would have been blown off. She just got a flesh wound on her arm and everybody is so worried? Yeah, how many Imperial enemies did they kill? With Gallian reinforcements arriving, the enemy is forced to retreat. Yet another victory for Gallia. Rosie thanks Isara for the charm. A lone Imperial soldier wants to get his last revenge and aims at them. Isara gets shot in the chest! Isara… NOOO!!!!!!!!!

Episode 18
Our worst fears have come true. ISARA IS DEAD!!!!!!!!! NOOOOO!!!!!!!! A gloomy day as Squad 7 and Squad 1 attend her funeral. Ramal is emotionally most affected and blames Welkin for not taking his sister along. She blames him as Isara’s killer. Faldio tells him to calm down and not see off Isara with angry feelings. Everyone is shocked when Welkin tells them to forget about this fast as they have many more battles to fight. This is what Isara would have wanted. Some members thought of cheering Welkin up by bringing him some beetle they found. Instead, he wants them to rest if they have energy to worry about him. Rosie as the only one who didn’t attend the funeral is recuperating in hospital. She still has recurring nightmares of watching Isara die. She remembers she furiously gunned down the perpetrator and desperately trying save Isara, Isara wanted her to sing a song. Too late for her to sing any song because Isara died with a smile. Rosie as expected blames herself that she should have been more alert. Damon is not happy despite Gallia’s victory and Mulberry. He is interested in the smoke bombs and orders Squad 7 to gather. When he learns the creator is dead and nobody else knows how to make it, he orders them to find the blueprints. He sees a Darcsen mark on Edelweiss and becomes furious. He disrespects it and Rosie beats him up. Fatty general cannot even fight… Welkin apologizes and will bear all responsibility. Damon orders him to find the blueprints or he will consider this as military offence. Although it isn’t Welkin’s fault, he will still take responsibility (and all of it) otherwise Rosie will be punished.

Alicia finds some of the squad members trying to dig a pit as trap for that fatty general. They won’t listen to her to stop and even dare her to report to Damon. Alicia talks to Welkin about this but he too isn’t interested in stopping them. If they won’t listen to her, what are the chances they will to him? Alicia doesn’t want him to bear the sorrow alone and at this rate he will be distancing himself from everybody. He wants to be left alone but Alicia won’t. Because she loves him. Oops. Okay, now she leaves him alone. On her way out, she bumps into Faldio. She accidentally drops the inscription in which it was temporarily glowing. Faldio finds out what is wrong and talks to the squad members. He isn’t going to stop them but finds their method inefficient. Because the military is filled with people like Damon, even though they get rid of him, another one will replace him. So the best way is to fight and win. Win and get peace back for Gallia. This is the only way to honour Isara’s death. Time to cover back the hole. Rosie visits Isara’s grave and sings for her. Faldio goes to talk to Welkin who as usual blames himself unfit to be a commander for failing to protect Isara. Faldio chides him 3 of his squad members have been discharged and he never once said he failed to protect them. So what is he? God? Just a fool wallowing in self pity. Welkin agrees to that but this upsets Faldio that he punches him. Feeling better?

Episode 19
With operation orders expected to come in, all personnel are ordered to rest and wait for the next orders. Welkin and Alicia put aside their difference to continue working but the rest know they are the most painfully affected. Varrot summons Welkin and tells him their next mission is to take over Bruhl. Rosie is surprised that Zaka is here. He learns about Isara’s death but this is nothing new to him since he has watched countless of his comrades die. It is how you react and move on. Zaka is here because he has joined Squad 7 to be Edelweiss’ replacement driver. Meanwhile Welkin has to pack up Isara’s belongings. He never realized she had so little stuffs. It was the same when his father brought her home. Because she moved frequently, she only packed necessary things. Welkin said it won’t be necessary anymore since they will always be together. Faldio researches more on Valkyrur and he deduces Alicia is its descendent. Squad 7 moves out ready to recapture Bruhl, the birthplace of some Squad 7 members including Welkin. They fight the enemy but I believe they aren’t that aggressive because even so, the enemy just surrenders. Even the command centre at Bruhl gives up without a fight! Welkin goes to visit his old home. He sees visions of Isara. He feels bitter. He feels sorrow. He feels mad he should have done something else to save Isara then. Alicia knows how he feels. Because she was with him the entire time. Welkin then asks after all the pain and suffering, why can he not cry. Alicia just hugs him. Then all the tears come out lie the dam walls crumble. Better for him to cry all his heart out. He is going to need it. Once done, he joins Alicia outside watching the Edelweiss flowers growing nicely while they hold hands.

Episode 20
Maximilian relays bad news to his generals. Due to their recent failures and the lost of Gregor, the emperor will be relieving him of his commander post in a month. They are not willing to use resources for a single country when they should be concentrating on fighting the Federation. Of course Maximilian isn’t going to follow orders so he takes his entire army for a decisive battle at Naggiar Plains. No doubt their size will draw out the Gallian forces. This is part of their plan to wipe them all out at one go. Varrot relays the Imperial’s impeding attack to the squad leaders. But Welkin believes Gallia has the advantage because the enemy must be pushed to a corner to resort to this tactic. With Gallia’s recent victories, the Imperial wants to win this one to turn the tide and get some results. As the battle rages on, Squad 7 continues to serve as the rear because jealous Damon doesn’t want them to gain more fame than they already have. Cordelia has also gone down to the battleground to give the Gallian troops a big morale booster. Faldio leads his Squad 1 in taking down the enemy tanks. Their confidence bolster when they manage to stop the big ones. Just when it seems Gallia is winning, Maximilian unleashes Selvaria. We almost forgot they’ve got a Valkyrur on their side too. OMG! Her lance fires devastating beams! And her tiny shield protects her entire body?! Too freaking awesome?! Selvaria then finishes off everybody with her super beam. Ramal saves Faldio by pushing him into the ditch before getting vaporized. It seems Faldio is the only survivor. He trudges back to base camp and he is clearly in shock. Not even Alicia can calm his soul. Maybe he needs more time alone. But the thought that Alicia is also a Valkyrur makes Faldio even more scared. He pulls out a gun and shoots her! OMFG! What have you done?!

Episode 21
Faldio carries Alicia to the infirmary. Squad 7 receives word that Alicia is gravely injured. At first Welkin wanted to go see her but realizes that his team needs to sortie. He decides to carry out his mission and at the same time protect Alicia. Damon must be sweating in his pants since Selvaria continues her slaughter over the Gallian troops. Man, is she on cheat code? So much so, Damon desperately pleads to Cordelia to go fight in the frontlines since she has the symbolic lance and shield! Then Faldio comes in wanting to borrow the lance and shield because he also believes they have another Valkyrur. They don’t believe him so he takes Cordelia hostage to do the necessary. Going back to the infirmary, it seems Alicia’s wounds are almost healed. Faldio explains Alicia’s Valkyrur powers will awaken when she returns from the brink of death. As proof, she starts glowing. Now Faldio is desperately trying to wake her up but to no avail. Selvaria has broken through the third line of defence. Squad 7 fires from all directions to keep her occupy (she can’t defend and attack at the same time). She was almost caught off guard by Largo and in her rage, he almost got killed by her. Welkin has no choice but to order his squad to retreat to the final defence line. Faldio continues to call Alicia. Then they hear Squad 7 retreating. She reacts when Welkin’s name is said. Faldio I suppose know what is going on so he uses Welkin’s name to his advantage. Alicia then wakes up like in a trance and goes to war. Not only the Gallians are surprised but the Imperials too. They never knew they had a Valkyrur. Now it is time for them to get a taste of their own medicine because Alicia also unleashes terrible beam blasts to obliterate the enemy! For the first time, Maximilian is agitated and losing his composure and orders his men to shoot Alicia. You think normal bullets can harm her? Then it is a showdown between the Valkyrur ladies. But it seems Alicia is superior. When Alicia targets Maximilian’s tank, Jaeger orders a retreat. Maximilian still lives and leaves with his troops. Gallian celebrate their miracle victory although Squad 7 is in shock about Alicia. Once she loses her Valkyria power, she collapses in Welkin’s arms.

Episode 22
Alicia was once part of a group of experimented children. A girl looking a lot like Selvaria helped her out. Alicia thought that obliteration was just a dream. Nope, it wasn’t. Welkin wants to go see Alicia but top brass has prevented anyone from seeing her. Damon and his generals discuss about using Alicia as their weapon against the Imperial. Against Varrot’s wishes, he will not consult her opinion and will immediately transfer Alicia to the Regulars. Welkin sees Faldio and is shocked to learn he is the one who shot Alicia. Faldio explains he noticed some of the signs Alicia had as a Valkyrur. The lance and shield amplified her power. Welkin is upset that he put Alicia through all that although Faldio is equally correct that had he not done all that, they would have been wiped out. He couldn’t stand seeing his squad annihilated while he is the only survivor. He knows Alicia will go through a lot now and hopes Welkin will support her. Welkin is still mad but seeing his confused face, he can’t stay mad forever. Meanwhile Jaeger is worried their loss will have serious implications since Central isn’t going to turn a blind eye to this. Maximilian doesn’t care since he has a trump card. Speaking of which, the engineering division has completed it. Damon goes to see Alicia, praising her for everything and then relaying the good news of her transfer and promotion. But Alicia doesn’t want this so the rest explains after displaying such power, nobody is going to see her the same. This means she doesn’t belong there anymore. Unfortunately Damon lies that Welkin agrees to her transfer but Alicia knows better than his BS. She runs out while believing that Welkin would never send her away. Meanwhile Squad 7 discusses about Alicia. Some are confused and feel they can’t interact with Alicia like before. Well, what do you know? Alicia heard all that so she thought they had said what they wanted. She’s just here to say goodbye now that she has been transferred. Welkin goes after Alicia. He explains they have always been fighting together. She took care of him when he was in sorrow after losing Isara so now it is his turn. But she tells him he doesn’t understand. She is no longer the Alicia everyone knows. She is a monster. I guess this is goodbye.

Episode 23
With Alicia in the frontlines, she just bulldozes through the enemy! Flawless victories! Meanwhile Jaeger is worried of Maximilian’s next move. He is not too happy that Maximilian plans to disobey Central. He claims he is no longer part of the empire and thus a ruler of his own nation. Jaeger is upset that this means he have followed him for naught but he has only himself to blame as it was his choice. He goes to see Selvaria who has distanced herself from Maximilian since. A little talk here and there, we find Jaeger’s hometown was destroyed by the Empire and the reason he follows Maximilian is that he hopes one day it will be rebuild. Squad 7 is worried about Alicia and wants to go see her. Of course the officials will not allow them. Things get heated up when they hear superiors badmouthing Alicia and even claiming credit for themselves over the recent victories. Then it descends into a big brawl. Welkin tries to stop them and even admonishes his own troops. But when the superior calls Alicia a monster, he punches him! Cordelia goes to talk and free Faldio. The officers then throw Welkin in and Cordelia demands them to show more respect to this decorated officer. Thanks to this, Welkin and Squad 7 are let off the hook. Damon is addressing his generals for the upcoming decisive final battle. He even lets Alicia have a few words. She hopes there will minimal casualties on both sides and will do whatever it takes to end the war quickly. The men applause like as though she meant leaving everything to her. I suppose they don’t even want to question why she looks so forlorn giving her speech. Only Cordelia shares her pain… Later Cordelia personally sees Alicia and wants to grant her a wish. Any wish. Alicia wants Squad 7 and Faldio to be kept safe and once the war is over, please let them return to their hometowns safely. Before the Gallian troops move out, Welkin is not pleased that Varrot relays orders that Squad 7 is to guard Cordelia. This is a personal request from her. However Welkin knows Alicia has a hand in this and goes to look for her. They did cross paths but Damon won’t allow her to see him since the troops are already moving out. All Welkin can do is scream her name. Selvaria returns to Maximilian and vows him victory. The rematch of the Valkyrur ladies is at hand.

Episode 24
Squad 7 safely escorts Cordelia back to her palace. Meanwhile the Valkyrur ladies are duking it out in an epic battle but Alicia is losing because she keeps wondering what she is fighting for as she has lost everything and no place to return. Alicia recognizes Selvaria from the orphanage and asks her why she can still fight like that. This has Selvaria remembering Alicia from the orphanage too and ‘advises’ her not to put unnecessary feelings into the battle. More flashbacks reveal that Selvaria was tested positive for her Valkyrur powers and named A1. Other orphans were released. She was subjected to abuse and testing so naturally she always tried to run away. One day she successfully escaped and hid in Maximilian’s garden. He found her, named her, called her to serve him and the rest is history as we know it. And thus this is the reason why Selvaria can still fight. Cordelia is shocked to hear that Maximilian himself is coming to negotiate for a ceasefire. At first she is suspicious but agrees to hear his conditions to end the war. He wants to marry her! Cordelia believes he just wants the throne to control Gallia but he claims by doing so all the in-fighting in the empire will stop as he will wield ultimate power and shape the world according to his ideals. However Cordelia says that is impossible. She says she is not of Valkyrur descent and takes off her wig. Well, what do you know? She is a Darcsen! Shocking, right? Meanwhile Alicia continues to lose till she starts remembering Squad 7. This is what gave her more strength to fight back and eventually win the rematch. Selvaria wants her to finish her off but Alicia won’t, believing that she too has someone precious. Selvaria thinks she doesn’t understand because the moment she lost, she has lost her worth. Alicia believes she still has a chance if she is still alive. Too bad if you’re as stubborn as Selvaria. She commits suicide by turning herself into a bomb? Is this a Valkyrur power? OMG! Atomic bomb?! It’s sad that she blew herself up this way but I hope Damon and those general blokes get caught and die in this blast too. Cordelia threatens to reveal her Darcsen lineage to her people and thus preventing Maximilian from obtaining the throne. Time to end the fake history. Viewing her as no longer of use, he orders Jaeger to initiate the operation. You mean steamrolling this giant dreadnought into the palace to pick him up? When Karl reports of Selvaria’s death, Maximilian is unfazed. This makes Karl mad that she died for his sake only to be shot by Maximilian. Know your place, small fry. And don’t get in my way. Scary.

Episode 25
There is fierce fighting going on at the palace. Emile gets shot. Another casualty for Squad 7? Welkin gets his groove back to command his squad and give them motivation to carry on fighting or else they can’t face Alicia. Once a giant Valkyrur spear relic hidden in the palace is fitted on the dreadnought, Maximilian orders a test fire at the mountains! Oh sh*t! Flattened only at 20% output?! Maximilian explains this spear’s power was what Valkyrur used to defeat Darcsen and oppress them. This land belonged to Darcsen and Valkyrur were the invaders. As victors of the war, they rewrote history and made themselves as legends and saviours. Maximilian then orders all Gallian forces to surrender. Welkin knows better this is the Imperial’s tactic to weaken their morale because they will not believe Alicia is dead. They must fight on. Now Maximilian turns the spear to fire at the palace. Jaeger wonders why Maximilian thirsts for so much power and feels he has an ulterior motive seeing they have technically conquered Gallia. But Maximilian asks him about hesitating now because he knows Jaeger used him as a stepping stone to get where he is now. Jaeger isn’t hesitating. He betted on his power that he could regain his country as long as he had military strength. But after invading Gallia, he is at a loss. Maximilian sacrificed his own comrades just for power and the Gallian who love their country cared for their companions.

All Maximilian needs is power. As long as you have that, attacking is the same as protecting. Jaeger wonders if this is for revenge. Partly. Flashback shows his mother died in some train ambush. In order to bury that hateful past with his father and brother, he will surpass the emperor and become ruler of Valkyria. As long as the spear is in his hands, that goal is within his reach. Jaeger warns of repeating the Darcsen Calamity but Maximilian will bear that fate as his destiny. When they fire, it seems Alicia stands between their way and her tiny spear could neutralize the big one! WOW! Squad 7 is happy to see Alicia and rush to provide her support. The Imperials keep firing at her and Maximilian could tell from his observations on Selvaria that Alicia cannot control her power effectively after a heavily fought battle. The spear recharges and they aim at her. Alicia uses her will to block the attack and deflect it back to damage part of the dreadnought. She then collapses from exhaustion. Maximilian orders Alicia’s capture. Jaeger once again disagrees of his motives to obtain her. Getting more power will only be more dangerous. This is the last straw as Jaeger will find another path to reach his goal. Maximilian points his gun at him. A gunshot is heard. After the Imperial soldiers retrieve Alicia, Welkin wants to go alone to rescue her. You think his squad is going to let him hog all the glory? They’re coming along. Faldio backs them up while Squad 7 races towards the dreadnought. Thank goodness the Imperial soldiers are bad shots and Faldio’s is so accurate.

Episode 26
Squad 7 infiltrates the dreadnought. The rest become the decoy so Welkin and Faldio can go look for Alicia. When Faldio gets shot, he tells Welkin to go ahead first. Welkin won’t abandon his friend but Faldio reminds him about why his comrades became the decoy. Don’t worry. He’ll catch up. It might be one of those times Faldio lies. Because he can’t keep his conscious and goes all out assaulting the enemy. Alicia is taken before Maximilian. He claims he has saved her and as long as she obeys, she can have anything. Alicia is disgusted with the way he categorize people into those who obey and those who don’t. She laments Selvaria died for his sake but Maximilian denies. It was Alicia who defeated her and then drove her to suicide. Alicia claims she is just a normal person but Maximilian replies that normal people are everywhere and have no value. She earns his wrath (and a big slap) when she tells him he must be talking about himself because he is afraid of his own lacking values. That is why he treats everyone like trash. By the time Welkin gets to Alicia, Maximilian is geared up in his artificial Valkyria spear and shield. Some technology of his using Ragnite that allows this weapon to replicate the original without having to rely on the empire or Valkyrur anymore. He wants Alicia and Welkin to fight so that he can show off his new powers. As they try to find his power source, they realize his weapon starts malfunctioning. Could it be because it cannot handle the power? Their plan is to overload the weapon.

When Welkin gets injured, Alicia becomes mad. Her Valkyrur power awakens as she holds down Maximilian. This causes her Valkyrur power to be infused into him and the weapon. The weapon malfunctions while his veins… Ugh. They’re bursting! Maximilian knows he is defeated but refused to be capture. So he kills himself but will also destroy this dreadnought and take everything with him. Alicia realizes her swelling power is the same like Selvaria. She is going to turn into an A-bomb. She tells Welkin to get away and protect everyone or they will be engulfed. You think Welkin cares? Instead he hugs her despite the power burning him. He returns her scarf and reminds her he will always be with her. It doesn’t matter if she is a Valkyrur or a baker. It is that part of Alicia that he loves. Then the much awaited kiss. I am guessing this kiss dissipates her overflowing Valkyrur power? As the dreadnought is collapsing, Squad 7 waits with anxiety for their captain. Then over the horizon, Welkin and Alicia are seen together. In the aftermath, the empire calls for a truce with Gallia. With the war over, many return to their hometown and families. If you look closely, Jaeger can be seen in the background. Susie from a noble family? Oh sh*t! I wouldn’t have guessed. Zaka and Rosie seems like they’re hitting off together. Cordelia reveals her true Darcsen origin to her people and they welcome her. Alicia and Welkin return to Bruhl.

Theatre

3 minute specials from the DVD.

Special 1
Beach episode! Of course for the Squad 7 girls only. We see them compliment each other’s swimsuit (nothing too risqué), play beach volleyball, play water, surf the wave, bare in the sun… Ah, yes such a fun outing. At the end of the day when they leave, Selvaria arrives. Waiting for her majesty who will never ever show up…

Special 2
Now it is time for the festivals. This means our main characters in their lovely yukata. Nothing really much happening except when the fireworks start, it startles Alicia as she hugs Welkin. When the fireworks take a break, they realize their embarrassing position before resuming watching the fireworks again. And poor Selvaria. She too is watching the display alone and laments her highness’ no-show.

Special 3
The young boys are tired after hard training. Ellet has a way to freshen them up as she shows pictures of the girls. We all know why Ramal can’t help stare into pictures with Isara but his pride won’t admit it. So you don’t want it? What are better than pictures of girls? Pictures of the faces of the girls sleeping! Again, Ramal why are you so infatuated with a sleeping photo of Isara? But what could beat such pictures? Ellet is about to reveal a racy picture of Alicia but Alicia caught her red handed and confiscates them all. And she has the guts to ask if there are pictures of Welkin. Oh, the racy picture is just Alicia sleeping in a crude position.

Special 4
Selvaria is unsure what civilians wear so she has Karl do some research. I believe why he is so eager beaver is because he gets to dress up Selvaria in various outfits from a plain commoner even to the Gallian militia’s uniform! Where the heck did he get all those uniforms? The final outfit has Selvaria very reserved but Karl argues it is necessary if she is to fully understand his will. And so she puts on Maximilian’s garb and starts acting like him. Unknown to her, Maximilian spots this and just lets her be. Could he be considerate not to embarrass her? Or he just doesn’t care?

Special 5
Maximilian and his generals are playing Old Maid. Jaeger and Gregor have reached their goal and all that is left are Maximilian and Selvaria. She is in a dilemma to let him win and decides to let him so but each time he is going to draw her joker, she quickly withdraws. This arouses his suspicions and he wonders if she is mocking him. So when he finally picks the joker, he wins the game. There are 2 joker cards?! Because this game is called Old Man?! Game for another round? Oh God it’s already morning…

Special 6
Bath fanservice time. Hans is one lucky pig to be swimming with our Squad 7 girls. As usual, girls must target somebody to molest and the victim is Alicia. Then Varrot comes in and all the shenanigans stop. The girls ask about Varrot and Largo so she explains how they met and all. Varrot must be dense never noticing Largo’s feelings because she always thought he loves his flower farm so much that he always gave her different flowers. Yeah… Eventually Varrot goes on and on and on, lasting longer than a Duracell battery. All the girls have passed out from the heat. I wonder if Hans has turned into bacon…

Special 7
You know this is going to be Hans’ episode when everybody suddenly wears pig ears and can only oink. Buuhi! Yes, Hans is now the new commander of Squad 7 and the only one who can speak in proper human tongue! From stopping the English populace from eating pork to saving the Randgriz palace from Imperials, man this pig is going places! And if you think all this is too good to be true, it is because it is just a nice dream from little piggy. Hey, even pigs can dream, right?

Special 8
Cordelia feels the need to give a surprise gift for Welkin on his next visit. I’m not sure why all she has are animal headgears. Even more baffling is how she tries them on and tries to act like it. From a frog to a newt to a bunny, what was her intention again? None seems right as she tires herself out till early morning. That is when she realizes she is late for her English test. She makes haste but forgot she is wearing a chick headgear. But imagine her surprise when she sees Borg. He is not donning his wig… But Cordelia’s official headgear! My, is everyone here so absentminded?

Special 9
This feels more like an extension and epilogue of the TV series. Alicia writes a letter to her squad members that she will be marrying Welkin. But due to their busy schedules (Welkin returning to university and Alicia getting her baker’s licence), they are unable to hold a ceremony for the time being. Of course everyone can’t sit around and agree to it as they arrive at Bruhl to give them a surprise and hold their own ceremony. It ends with a lovely wedding kiss. Last picture: The duo are blessed with a beautiful child.

Unrecorded Chronicles: Ta Ga Tame no Juusou

OVA 1
Taking place during the war between Imperial and Gallian sides where everybody you love or hate in the TV series are still alive, the Gallian army is fighting in a decimated town at night. The enemy is taking them by surprise and the darkness is shrouding their presence. Then they realize they are fighting Nameless, a group of renegade military members led by Kurt Irving. They are forced to flee with their tails between their legs. Maximilian plans his next assault on the capital and plans to capture the town of Dillsburg as their stepping stone. He assigns Darcsen Dahau to defend this town that is being stationed by Munchhausen. Similarly, Nameless is also going to take part in the fight at Dillsburg believing the enemy will not anticipate them. As they make their way there, one night while they are camping, a little girl strays into their camp and collapses. They find out that the Imperial army suddenly invaded her town and took everyone hostage. Nameless is in a dilemma to go save her village because of their depleted ammo. There is this thought that Gallia will send reinforcements to save the village but they know better from their position that Gallia doesn’t care about this little village and it is most likely abandoned. With Kurt reminding everyone that even insignificant and innocent people still bear names, where the regular army cannot protect the people, Nameless can, I guess it is decided that they’re going to save this village with what they’ve got. The plan starts at midnight as some members take out the guards stealthily. When their tank is in position, they go into full force attacking the enemy till they capture the commander. The Imperial army surrenders as Nameless disarms them. As thanks, the village throws them a feast. When they leave, Kurt decides not to take the enemy weapons and leave it with the villagers so they can defend themselves. I believe Nameless get their much needed supplies after Lt. Col. Ramsey Crowe pulled some strings and left a whole truck load of necessities in the jungle. The Imperial army gets a rude awakening when Squad 7 attacks them during the foggy morning. Dahau isn’t taking any hard action and just drinking his tea because he notes their mission is just to protect these large ‘toys’. When Nameless arrives, they hear gunfire in the vicinity. They save Isara from being chased and shot by Imperial soldiers. Kurt knows about Isara and wonders why she is here. She is pleading for help because the Gallian army is being routed.

OVA 2
Isara explains the Imperial started relentlessly firing their twin cannons, causing the Gallian side to retreat. Edelweiss was hit and its engine damaged. Despite Welkin’s objection, Isara volunteered to go look for reinforcements. Kurt plans to approach the enemy base by climbing this steep and narrow mountain. It is very risky and dangerous but they can creep up on the enemy. But first, they need to fill their stomach is food. Sure, time is ticking but certainly you can’t fight on an empty stomach, right? Better than an empty arsenal. Isara mentions about different uniformed soldiers at the base and Kurt knows they are Calamity Raven, an autonomous military unit comprised of entirely Darcsen led by Dahau. Once Nameless traverses the tricky mountain, Kurt’s sharpness spots several landmines at the mouth. Looks like Dahau anticipated a platoon will show up here and sent Gusurg to wait and assault. Kurt and his team are forced to retreat and take cover. It gets worse when the retreated Gallians come out of their hiding and charge back at the base. This is part of the Imperial’s plan to lure them out by stop firing the cannons to make them think it is safe to come back out. Now they are sitting ducks in the open. Munchhausen orders to fire the cannons at them. Kurt then tells Isara not to tell what she is about to see to anybody, not even her brother. Riela Marcellis uses the Valkyrur spear and shield to power up as she fires a beam to take out one of the two cannons. Gusurg could have cornered and wiped out Kurt’s team had not he received orders to return to base, much to his dismay. As part of Kurt’s plan, his other team served as a decoy in the forests. They make it sound that the Gallians have come back with reinforcements and surrounded the base. Thus Dahau has ordered his Calamity Raven to pull back and retreat. He reminds his generals that their battles aren’t waged for the sake of the empire but to build an independent Darcsen nation. So if it gets dangerous here, they don’t have any obligation to comply.

Kurt splits his team further as they try to infiltrate the base to take out the other cannon. With the heavy attack from the south, Munchhausen starts panicking that is where the main force is attacking from and deploys all his force to concentrate there. This gives the Gallian side a much needed reprieve. Isara returns to Squad 7 and wants to introduce some of the Nameless reinforcements but none followed her. The other cannon is about to fire but Edelweiss is able to take it out thanks to Nameless’ Alfons Auclair giving coordinates of the cannon from the mountains via Morse code. This drives Munchhausen crazy as his ‘children’ are destroyed. He gets desperate to kill the enemy as he is going to use his other secret cannon albeit it is not ready for battle. The coordinates of this cannon is too far for Edelweiss to take it out. This is where Imca comes in, barging her way through enemy fire like Rambo (seriously, what the f*ck are the enemies doing?) and even has time to fire several rocket grenades into the cannon! And then run back out! WTF?! Super cool!!! The cannon is destroyed, taking along Munchhausen. With the enemy fallen, the Gallian army now fully charge forward to take over the base. Yeah, it is like they’re taking credit for everything, huh? But Welkin knows that Nameless did most of the work behind the scenes and knowing that itself is good. Dahau and his Calamity Raven have safely escaped. They receive word the base has fallen. Despite some taunting Munchhausen’s incompetence, Dahau believes he was a good commander because ‘he gave them time to escape’. Nameless continue their journey to find others in need of their help. For their battle still carries on.

War… Never Changes
Wow. I never imagined that I would find this series interesting from start till end. And there I was ready to write it off as early as the first episode this was going to be a long drawn out genre not to my liking but I was proven to be very wrong. I should be ashamed of myself for having such thoughts at the very beginning and that I shouldn’t even have picked this series up if I had thought so. But I am glad that I watched this series and as it easily blew away all the negative perception that I was once so eager to label this series as. So it goes to show that you must always give things a chance. Just like Squad 7 itself. The more chances it gets, the more credibility they get for their deeds. Thanks Welkin and co for giving me that chance to change my mind. Though, it was as early as at the end of the first episode that my views totally changed. Hah.

I never thought that the first few episodes would be so interesting and drew me in intensely. Although the plot gradually gears towards to be somewhat predictable at the end but it isn’t all that bad overall. Welkin is the sole reason for retaining my attention and made me eagerly want to watch the next episode so badly. Because he is not your typical military man, his tactics and strategies are thinking out of the box and this makes it very refreshing. I’m not saying that I have watched lots of war movies or series but in such genres you’d normally expect the usual of both sides showering each other with hot lead and RPGs. So when Welkin who has no military background at all and uses his keen observations and his love for nature to turn the tides against stronger opponents, this sealed the deal. I was then quite interested to see him and his team fight in more skirmishes just to see what kind of brilliant strategy he would come up with. Each victory didn’t feel like a fluke and each time I would just be amazed and give him the respect that they earned it.

I thought the ending and the final episode of the TV series felt a bit rushed. For 2 things that I say this. After eluding and teasing us with the romance between Welkin and Alicia, it is like he suddenly wins the game when the duo kissed at the end. Uh huh. It just feels so unrealistic if not rushed. I know it is irritating throughout the series that Alicia and Welkin aren’t being honest with their own feelings but I suppose that kind of ‘tension’ and build up in its own way is good. We were hoping for them to get together somehow in the end (and sometimes even not) but in this way? And then with the finale, the main antagonist is dead, Faldio is dead like as though he is the main stopper that prevent the realization of their romance and once he is gone, the duo are free to love each other till the end. It just feels odd. Yeah, romance feels like a jinx here because the potential pair of Isara and Ramal died, Selvaria died and her one-sided crush never materialized while Largo will forever stay in friend zone with Varrot. Yeah, truly cursed this romance thingy.

The other second reason is the sudden end of the war. You know, it got me thinking that this prolonged war between the empire and Gallia just feels like it is just one big elaborate plan to get rid of Maximilian and his subjects. Do you not notice that the moment he is gone, both sides sought truce and peace reigned! OMG! I didn’t know it was that easy! Because you do also notice how Central has been annoying patient with Maximilian’s less than stellar progress. At the same time it is like they know he isn’t one who is going to play by their rules so they just let him do whatever he wants. Not like they can personally take him out easily seeing we had an episode that sees how the most skilled assassins fell to his swords. So I guess what better way than to rid of this thorn in their side via battle. A befitting way for a commander to go down in the battlefield. And so when we have the epic battle between our main hero and main antagonist and it ended in a good ol’ good triumphs over evil route, it just feels freaking suspicious to think what the heck this war was about in the first place.

I believe (although I am not entirely sure) that the game itself has lots of characters with equally rich backgrounds and personalities. I am not saying that the anime version sucks but it is predominantly about Welkin, Alicia and Faldio. The rest like Rosie and Isara have their moments too but they are way too limited. What I am trying to say is that the other members of Squad 7 feel like they are just extra characters. Because the main focus is usually on Welkin, Alicia and on occasions Rosie and Isara, the rest just feels they are just there. Heck, I don’t think I even remembered their names. Despite the closeness of Squad 7 in the story, but the way they lack decent screen time where it matters makes me feel like I don’t really want to care about them. Look, if one of them died, I wouldn’t even shed a tear or care about him or her. Like those in Squad 1 whom I believe many are even just nameless. These characters didn’t even reach the minimum level like Isara to shock us when she actually did die. At least we cared about her. But for the rest, I don’t think so. Therefore the most mind boggling character ever in Squad 7 is Hans. I don’t even know what this pig is for despite being a cute mascot. It ended up in one of the girl’s ownership but I didn’t really care since it did nothing that really mattered throughout the series. The series could have been done without it but seeing Squad 7 as mentioned has cute boys and pretty girls, why not the heck just throw in a cute animal to go with it all.

On a trivial note, I can’t help notice how Squad 7 is comprised mainly of people who aren’t the kind to fit working in a military. I’m not saying that other squads do not have their own weirdoes (because they don’t even get decent appearances) but doesn’t Squad 7 look like a squad for little boys and pretty girls? I mean take a look at this squad. At first look you might think they are some sort of orphanage or something. Only Largo seems to fit the stereotype of a military man thanks to his big burly body size but when you have a group that has this gay guy and a bar singer apart from little boys and girls, you wonder if the recruitment screwed up somewhere. Especially Susie whose running joke seems to be fainting at the slightest hardship or bad news. It makes you wonder how the daughter of a noble family even ended up joining the militia. You thought being in the Bruhl Patrol was already bad enough and that after the end of it, that will be the last time she’ll join a war. But then surprisingly here she is in Squad 7. Did she follow Alicia because they’re like BFF? It is amazing that she actually survived till the end of the war. So don’t you think Squad 7 in this sense feels like they have odd members? Take a look at Squad 1 which as far as I can see consists of only macho men. There are some young lads too like Ramal but Squad 1 is basically the manliest of the manliest squad ever. It makes Faldio like the pretty poster boy of the squad. Am I right?!

If you want to talk about colourful characters of a squad, the big irony is that Nameless seems more interesting in this aspect. Because in addition to have a hot hunk leader, the group consists of a wide variety of characters from a fatty to a grandma, lots of beautiful babes and brooding hot men. And the biggest irony is that their appearance is only limited to those double OVAs. Two episodes were enough for them to attract my attention. If they had more appearances I am sure they would have been a whole interesting lot with their own interesting back stories to tell seeing that Nameless are comprised of deserted soldiers and military offenders. Compared to Squad 7 who had an entire 26 episodes to fairly give out their individual stories but fail to get any sympathy from me. Of course you can play the game which is fully fleshed out but that would be missing the point for those who just want to watch a good story instead of engaging in game play.

Talking about the main characters, throughout the course of the war, we see how Welkin gradually changes when war starts to take a toll on him especially the turning point when his adopted sister is killed (I still can’t believe they killed her off) and when the love triangle starts to rear its ugly head. It sure would be confusing about your feelings in the middle of a war. You will notice that from a man who doesn’t follow regular military regulations and does things his own way and pace gradually becomes rigid and closing himself off to the rest of the squad. I am sure he wants to keep a brave front and not show any weakness that might send the wrong signals but this isn’t really Welkin as we know and it made everyone worry. Then there’s Alicia who doesn’t think too highly of Welkin at first and always an excuse that she is needed to clean up after him. Probably after sticking with him for so long, it is only natural she sees him in a better light. Finally is Faldio the third wheel? Actually because of his charisma, he bridges the gap between the duo and many of the other squad members. He is cool, observant and mature so without his guidance and advice, there are many times that worse things could have happened. It is unfortunate he had to perish in the end.

Maximilian and his generals might be painted as the series’ main antagonist but once you get to know his background, they aren’t all that bad. It is like they are just fighting on the wrong side. Whether his way is right or wrong depends on your discretion, your stand and perception of things. He is after all fighting another war of his own. The war with Gallia is just a stepping stone to achieve that. Since he would do about anything to achieve that, sometimes it makes you wonder if he is just as bad as the Imperial side. Because despite showing kindness by saving Selvaria, he doesn’t hesitate to use her and doesn’t even bother when she died and is happy she served her role. But a baddie is still a baddie so he still has to die, right? Assuming he is really dead. Or he could be touring the countryside in secret just like Jaeger? Just like in any other wars, the true devils and big baddies are those at the top, letting others fight for them while they remain behind the lines. Whether you are from the Imperial or the Federation, power, money and politics rule. So I’m glad that people like Damon got killed in the battlefield (at least in its own way there is justice in death rather than letting Isara and Squad 1 people die) but still rue that people like Borg and the Imperial’s emperor are still alive. Well, life isn’t all that fair either despite the saying all is fair in war.

Coming as part of the package in wars is of course discrimination of certain people and as seen here the Darcsen. Not only they are persecuted and discriminated for this war but throughout the history. The odd thing I find is that the Darcsen are almost everywhere at least where this anime is concerned. You noticed how every main squad you see here has at least a Darcsen member. From Squad 7 to Nameless to Calamity Raven. So you lose a Darcsen in your squad, just replace with another Darcsen! And what do you know? The princess of Gallia is actually of Darcsen origin! As much as we want skin colour and race not to play a pivotal factor but that itself is the source for many conflicts. Like how we see the people rally behind Cordelia after her revelation but somehow we can’t feel sceptic that such won’t last. And what about Rosie’s initial hatred for Darcsen at first? Spend a bit longer times with a Darcsen and her entire life of misguided hatred for the clan becomes friendship. It’s almost as you could say her best friend is Welkin’s late sister.

Aside from all that drama, the war and action scenes are also sufficient and satisfying to complement it. As said, Welkin’s unconventional methods to seize victory without losing any of his members are an incredible and amazing feat. Then it gets a bit weird when both sides start to throw their Valkyrur trump cards into the battlefield because then it suddenly becomes an overpowered fantasy battle with both sides shooting beams that could even destroy the moon! It looks fake, it looks exaggerated, it doesn’t make sense but hell yeah, it was fun. I just wanted to tell Maximilian to use Selvaria’s Valkyrur powers from the start and blow Gallia and his own Imperial side away instead of waiting for last minute for the decisive battle.

Art and drawing are beautiful in its own right. I believe they follow closely to the game. One thing that makes the art style stand out is how they look like they are done with colour pencils. Now, you may say that using colour pencils in today’s anime standards is like child’s play or that it may look cartoonish but I assure you that instead of looking low quality, the characters and the background sceneries are looking gorgeous instead. In a way, it is quite refreshing and unique itself. With nice character designs (at least for many of the main characters because you have lots of your bishonen and bishoujo looks) and military uniform designs, it makes this series quite the eye candy in this department. The only odd character design was Cordelia’s princess ‘suit’. Those horns or flaps or whatever those are makes her look like she is some sort of alien. Really.

However I cannot say the same for the OVA. It seems they have done away with this colour pencil technique and decided to go with the standard anime art style. Although not obvious but it is noticeable. One big reason I didn’t like this style is not only the fact that I have gotten used to the TV version’s style (since the OVA only had a couple of episodes), but the characters look somewhat different! Take for example, Isara. In the OVA she looks a little different. I mean, I could tell it is her but at the same time it didn’t really look like her. Like as though she had ‘less quality’ put into her. Yeah, you could say the Isara of the OVA version is less cute. Even the rest of Squad 7 in the OVAs were looking a bit different than usual. It had thinking if that was Alicia or her twin.

Voice acting is quite good with the seiyuus portraying their characters very well. There are some recognizable ones such as Marina Inoue as Alicia, Takahiro Sakurai as Faldio, Jun Fukuyama as Maximilian, Sayaka Ohara as Selvaria (again another villainess character), Kazuya Nakai as Zaka and most important of all, Mamiko Noto as Cordelia. Phew. I’m glad she didn’t die in this one. With Isara and Selvaria dead, man I thought she would be next. Phew. Thank goodness. Hehehe… At first I thought Miyuki Sawashiro was behind Ellet but it turned out to be Naomi Shindou (Shizuru in Mai-HiME). For the rest of the casts, they are Susumu Chiba as Welkin (Kondou in Gintama), Houko Kuwashima as Isara (Sango in Inu Yasha), Junko Minagawa as Rosie (Ryouma in Prince Of Tennis), Kenji Nomura as Largo (Kugayama in Genshiken), Atsuko Tanaka as Varrot (Caster in Fate/Stay Night series), Makoto Naruse as Ramal (Kei in Pretear), Akio Ootsuka as Jaeger (titular character in Black Jack), Chikao Ootsuka as Gregor (Gold Roger in One Piece), Hiroshi Okamoto as Karl (Tanbabashi in Inari Kon Kon), Hidekatsu Shibata as Borg (King Bradley in Fullmetal Alchemist series) and Hans even having his own seiyuu and probably the easiest of the lot, by Chigusa Ikeda (Mizuno in Yakitate! Japan).

Both the opening themes of the series are pretty decent. The anime rock of Ashita E No Kizuna (first opening theme) by Himeka and Kanashimi Rensa (second opening theme) by Maria are not bad but they won’t end up staying in my head for days. The first ending theme is weird. Not only Ano Kaze Ni Notte by Pe’zmoku sounds like the singer is having synthesizer effects in his voice but the carnival and casual feel of this song makes it weird for the genre this anime is supposed to be in. I suppose with all that fighting, we need to take a little break once in a while, no? And doesn’t the animation style and execution of it feel uncannily similar to the one in the first season of Kuroshitsuji’s first ending animation as well? Hmm… Suspicious… The second ending theme is Hitotsu No Negai by Hikari Inoue and is a very slow and lovely ballad that sometimes feels like you are going to have tears well up in your eyes. Another slow and lovely slow piece for the final episode of the TV series, Brightest Morning also by Hikari Inoue, a befitting song to fit the end of the show. For the OVA, the opening theme also has that anime rock feel. Entitled Tomoshibi by Faylan. Its ending is the acoustic ballad, Itsuka Saku Hikari No Hana by Minami Kuribayashi.

Overall, this anime is one of those few adaptations done in the right step. Few games have very much or even little success when they translate to the silver screen or even your normal TV. There could have been better potentials and developments that could be slightly improved (if you are very nitpicking) but as far for an average viewer who hasn’t heard of the series or played the games before, it did a pretty good job and maintained its quality. We shouldn’t be too greedy sometimes… Sometimes it is a curse and blessing that humans have all these wars and conflicts. Otherwise where would we be able to get such great stories that bring out the best and worst in us? Maybe for every 1 in 10 war themed stories, there will be good ones like this. It’s like saying we’re keeping on fighting so we have great legendary tales to tell our future generations.

Gate S2

August 27, 2016

There is always a little devil in our heart. We get worked up when we see the enemy invade and do all the heinous barbaric acts on the innocent. Then we smile and heave a sigh of relief when our heroes turn up to kick all their sorry asses to back where they came from. Don’t we just love such great action stories like that? Be glad because we are about to see more and continue Japan and the SDF’s awesome dominance over the primitive magical world in Gate: Jietai Kanochi Nite, Kaku Tatakeri S2. The first season was awesome enough to assert their dominance and with the sequel, we’ll get to see even more of their coolness as they ride through crisis after crisis plaguing the land in search for peace. Yes people. All hail and glory to the SDF! Ahem… Maybe they just look like big bullies with over-firepower if you sympathise with the enemy… Oh yeah, then there is that otaku first lieutenant guy and his harem girls from this world… It’s all getting as exciting as before, I tell ‘ya!

Episode 13
Itami is dressed as a local for the negotiations. Don’t blame you if you can’t stop laughing at how dorky he looks. Meanwhile Prince Zolzal El Caesar is f*cking hard a furry sex slave, Tyuule. Punishment sex-cum-rape?! She has to put up with it and scream like hell since he threatens her comrades lives depend on it. I guess she couldn’t keep it up. Anyway, he is interrupted by Count Marx about some of their senators being bought over by the enemy ambassadors with the promise of their safe return as a bargaining chip. As this may be disadvantageous to Zolzal who would be next in line to the throne, Zolzal will make his visit and give the enemy his piece of mind. Pina and Sugawara are holding a garden party. There is this noble loli, Sherry Tyueri who seems to be infatuated with Sugawara. Itami and his troops demonstrate their military firepower. The nobles are so freaking impressed and want to know how to make them! Then they visualize how this firepower can bring down their cities and so they are wise enough to negotiate for what Japan wants in exchange for peace. This negotiation is put off when uninvited Zolzal and his party are seen riding in. Pina is surprised to see her brother here. He takes a look around and isn’t impressed. Till he tastes the food. Yeah, he goes away satisfied, bringing back a few of those delicious meat. You know what they say about a man and his heart. Pina talks to Sugawara that she knows this is Marx’s warning by sending her brother here. Sugawara wants to start negotiations as soon as possible but Pina is shocked and fainted after hearing the freaking huge amount of reparations. I suppose all the gold in the kingdom will not be able to pay that off. Marx reports this to Molto who tells him to let Japan negotiate all they want because he is not giving them anything. And when negotiations fail, Japan will break them off themselves.

Chief Nyuutabaru has Kurokawa under his wing as a medical staff. She tends to a local furry, Misery. She is a whore. With a painful name and body for pleasure, I can imagine… She is here to buy contraceptives. Misery gives out some information that Bessala was a big shot around the red light district. Until that fateful night when the army wipe them all out with their firepower. F*cking slaughtered them all! After that all the other big shots split up his money and territory and even went out their way to offer information to SDF. Misery is sad that the men in SDF refuse to do business with the whores and it breaks their confidence. Yeah, heard of STD’s? I’m sure they’re trying to stay safe instead of being gay. Yao desperately tries to find Itami and some information about him. Especially if he has something he would risk his life to protect. She was told there are 3 people… Late that night, Misery brings her fellow furry whores to Kurokawa as one of her friends couldn’t shake off that shaking feeling. Nyuutabaru recognizes this as a sign of a major earthquake because birds and animals panic before one. He orders for everyone to evacuate. Pina doesn’t appreciate Itami waking up her beauty sleep to inform her about the earthquake. She doesn’t believe it. Then the ground shakes… You believe now?

Episode 14
With the locals panicking and proclaiming the end of the world, Itami and the SDF are just cool. They’re accessing the mini earthquake and it is nothing to be alarmed about as this isn’t the epicentre. Pina wonders why they can be so calm at this moment. Because it happens a lot in Japan. She needs to go warn her father and since the SDF can’t just waltz into enemy territory, Pina begs Itami to accompany her. Is she a little girl?! In his throne room before anything could begin, Zolzal barges in and wants father to escape because this woman Noriko predicted another big one coming. Everyone wonders who that woman is and when Zolzal brings her in, Itami and co are devastated she is a Japanese. Zolzal claims she is a survivor during that invasion. Itami becomes so mad that he beats up Zolzal and his entourage! Boxing time! When Zolzal commands to attack, Itami commands his to fire at will! So Kuribayashi relishes going all out from her punches to shooting her machine gun! Man, those shields are useless! The bullets just went through! Now you surrender? Itami questions Zolzal if there are other such survivors but he won’t say. Kuribayashi then proceeds to give him a super combo beat down till his face swells like hell! Itami could have killed him if not for Tyuule protecting him. When Noriko asks about Hiroki, Zolzal says the men have been sold as slaves at the market. Sugawara will have his banquet with Molto once they rescue the hostages. Molto mentions how strong they are but they have a weakness: They love their people too much. Of course he knows he cannot best them anyhow and agrees to initiate peace talks immediately. Pina is sure going to have lots of explaining to do. Can she?

To further show Japan’s might and as warning, the senate house is bombed although there are no casualties. The senate discusses about this unfortunate event all because Zolzal kept Japanese prisoners. Shaky Pina seems to be describing about the Japanese’s greatness and how much they love their people. Zolzal talks to his younger brother, Diabo that unconditional surrender is inevitable. Zolzal regrets he is not smart like him to make his way through life but it is hard too playing the fool. As they talk about succeeding their father, Zolzal believes himself as most likely. Diabo disagrees because word goes around that he is not favoured. That is precisely why. To end this war, father must resign but that man isn’t going to give up on power and will rule behind the shadows. Since Zolzal is easy to manipulate, it makes it more so he will be chosen. Therefore Diabo is told to choose his allegiance either to father or him. They can’t count on Pina as she has betrayed them. As for the slaves, it is learnt out of the 2 that were sold, Hiroki has already died. When Itami and co return to base, he is told by Yanagida that he won’t be charged because the government intends to use this prisoner rescue incident to boost their image and thus cannot punish the saviour. He is also told about Noriko’s family handing out flyers over her disappearance at Ginza then when the invasion broke out. Itami doesn’t want his team to tell her about this yet. Meanwhile Tuka continues to look for her father…

Episode 15
Yanagida further tells Itami about Yao’s request to slay a dragon back at her home. Itami isn’t too keen on it and what’s more, higher authorities have rejected her. But when Yanagida points out there are oil and diamond resources, perhaps a reconnaissance mission would suffice. You know, he has more liberty to do things. Like, he might stumble upon a dragon and kill it? Itami protests to that. He would not risk his men to fight another dragon. Yanagida then tells him to go see Tuka. She is kicking up a fuss because she is being told her dad is dead. When Itami enters the picture, her hallucination is so bad that she sees her father in him. She becomes all clingy with that in-your-face attitude that her ‘father’ is still alive. It is said that Yao told her the truth and that broke Tuka. Itami confronts Yao about this but she doesn’t regret her actions as she merely told the truth. She was also told Itami hold these 3 women dearly and would do anything for help. It gets emotional for Yao when she explains she sought help through her comrades to defeat the dragon but was turned down. They said only Itami could do it. Therefore she broke Tuka’s sanity just to make her understand the dragon killed her father and thus fuelling her desire for revenge. After all, when a man kills another, he can track him down and take dragon. But what if it’s a dragon? How do you direct your anger? She is willing to give her mind, body and soul to Itami if he pulls this off. When Pina tells Diabo that Zolzal has been chosen as the heir, he cautious her that Zolzal plans to go against Molto. He is worried because Zolzal is the kind who will also bring others around him down. Tyuule is told by her informant, Bouro about Zolzal’s succession. Her plan for revenge has begun and will not let this land be in peace. Bouro suggests killing the Japanese slaves so their comrades will burn down the land in rage. She cautions it is not that easy because Noriko was in the same position as her but offered salvation. Bouro wonders who will kill her. She says Pina will do the job.

Everyone is shocked that Itami decides to play Tuka’s father. Oh, happy days are here. Then one day he gets a mission to head to the capital for another translation duty. He takes this chance to tell her he will be going away for a while. Of course she is not too happy about it. Later Itami is confronted by Yao who tells him he can’t keep up with this act forever. She can see Tuka is still in pain. He can play her father but he doesn’t know her father and that is what causes the inconsistency and pain in Tuka. Even playing house continues to bother Yanagida as he wants him to go slay the dragon. He would even help arrange the paperwork when he is ready to go. Itami sees a doctor to ask his opinion if revenge can help one move forward. Then there is this talk with Duran who reminds him he is forgetting his heart. One must act even though it is very dangerous. Because in his heart he already knows what must be done. After Itami and his team leave for their mission, Tuka’s words flash before Itami’s mind. He suddenly changes his mind and jumps out of the helicopter! OMG! Yeah, they’re going to slay the dragon together. I thought Yanagida should be happy but he is blowing his top because he can’t come up with good excuses to cover for Itami abandoning his current mission. So is Itami sure he is going alone with only Tuka? Think again because Rory wants in on the action. You don’t go play fire with a girl alone, right? I suppose she is making him consider her in his team and even so it will be costly. Can he pay for her assistance? She bites his arm and drinks his blood. A contract is formed. What contract? When he dies, his soul is hers! As you might have guessed, Lelei and Yao will also be tagging along. Off they go and Yanagida cannot understand why there are people who volunteer to follow him. Yeah, I wonder. Four hot gorgeous babes, damn it!

Episode 16
Delilah must be one happy singing bunny girl. Till she receives an official kill order. Now, this is all part of Tyuule’s plan to use her spy to kill Noriko and make it look like the orders came from Pina. Relations with Japan will then break down and war will continue. Then Zolzal, the man who destroyed her clan will be destroyed with everything else. When Yanagida reports to Hazama about Itami’s reconnaissance, the latter knows there is more to it. Since Itami is such an important man, he sends out more troops to support him. Yanagida is in shock since he didn’t expect troops to be sent out so easily. Yanagida is then tasked to talk with Duran. He believes his crown prince is trying to get him out of the picture and needs his help to send letters to his allies to retake his province. Of course Yanagida won’t get involved in this family affair if there is nothing in it for SDF. Duran will allow him to cross borders to fight the dragon but that itself isn’t sufficient. Yanagida negotiates for mining rights and tax exemption. Noriko tries to call her family but there is no answer. She thinks of dying. Delilah heard that and she is very much happy to oblige. Oddly when Noriko accepts her fate to die, Delilah becomes worried. Nobody in her line of work would want to die that easy, eh? Yanagida catches her in the act. They face off. As reinforcements come, Delilah stabs him in the back. This causes him to panic and unload all his bullets into her. Double KO.

As they are in ICU, the SDF use their manpower and intelligence to track the mole and information. It seems the anti-peace faction is trying to use the Formar clan to assassinate Noriko and the one who will gain most from it is Zolzal. As information will take 10 days to reach him, they decide to leak out information of the failed assassination and see how far it takes them. Also, they will investigate people around Zolzal. The air force division tracks down a dragon. Normally a dragon would be furious if something zooms faster and closer than it is. This is part of the air force’s plan to observe the dragon’s flying capabilities. Then they play chicken? Well, the jet seemed to get roasted and the pilot got roasted by the mechanic for being too reckless. Itami and co arrive at the canyon where Yao’s clan lives. As she goes down to call her clan, other clan members surround Itami and co. However the dragon drops by. Bullets and arrows do no harm. Rory and Lelei tackle the beast while Tuka starts reeling from the trauma. Itami then tells her this is the dragon that killed her father. She continues to be in denial so he put his foot down he is not her father and they are going to kill the dragon that killed her father. Then he guides her to use a bazooka and aim at the dragon. Missed. But that felt good, right? Or not. But it got away.

Episode 17
Itami and co take shelter for the night. Yao introduces the rest of her clan members who will accompany Itami to kill the dragon as some know where the dragon’s nest is. First, they are trained on how to use a bazooka. I wonder if they understand the fancy words. Then they begin their long trek to the volcano. Lelei puts Tuka to sleep all the way so she won’t kick up any fuss. Because Rory has bad experienced with undergrounds, she is made to wait outside to lookout for the dragon. The rest head in to plant C4 bombs around and it is a good thing the dragon is not around. They notice swords of fallen warriors who died while challenging the dragon. Also, hatched egg shells. Could there be more than one? Rory spots the dragon coming back but the geographical rocks are interfering with the headset. Everyone panics when they see the dragon. I guess the dark elves forgot their training. We see them all get burnt, smacked, stomped and even eaten! Even worse, the wiring to the C4 is cut off. Can Itami rewire them back in this chaos? Tuka wakes up from all that ruckus and this brings back her trauma. She remembers her dad died protecting her and now she blames herself for his death. Lelei dismisses it and tells her it is the dragon that killed him. Now vent your anger towards it. Tuka feels helpless to defeat it. Lelei also explains the same experience of the dragon slaughtering her village and she lost many friends. She uses all her magic to pick up the weapons and pierce the dragon. It worked. But the dragon is even madder. Seeing the utter chaos and Itami’s life in danger, Tuka unleashes her lightning power down on the dragon. This in turn sets off the C4 explosives as it blows the dragon to bits!

Itami and his harem manage to get out alive. If you’re wondering where the hell Rory is all this while, please note that she is bleeding with all the wounds outside! Giselle, a fellow Apostle like her swoops down to explain how she easily defeated Rory. Because Rory made a contract with Itami, all his wounds transferred to her. Therefore in normal circumstances, Giselle can never beat her. Now you know why he is unscathed, right? Giselle is here under orders from Hardy to bring Rory to her. Giselle reveals she has bred 2 dragons and trained it to obey her. Thus the awakening of the dragon 50 years earlier from its slumber is due to Hardy’s doing. Like she gives a f*ck about other lives, right? She orders the dragons to get them as Itami and his girls make a run for it. That is when the air force and the tank artillery support arrive in time to bomb the hell out of the dragons!!! Oh sh*t! Such awesome firepower! Now Giselle is left shaking in fear what the heck she just saw. Better make a run for it before it’s Rory to return the favour. Itami is surprised at the turn of events. I know, it must be shocking to still be alive. Yeah, a miracle. Tuka has come to terms with reality and is glad she has got her revenge. But she won’t stop calling Itami her father is she is already used to it.

Episode 18
For Itami’s act of desertion, he will be suspended for 2 weeks, stripped of his command and get a pay cut. But now for his rewards! And there are a whole damn lot of them! From obtaining honorary ranks from chieftains to commendations to riches to even ownership of Yao, he is also promoted as the Special Region resources and can go anywhere and even bring his harem along to look for anything. What has he got to say for all this? He just wants his break… Itami and his harem make their way to the academic magic city of Rondel since Lelei has a presentation to do so she can be promoted to the rank of master. This town is as odd as any other town. People think they are followers of Rory but thanks to this they get preferential treatment at their inn. Except for Itami whom they think is a manservant so he gets to stay in the dusty storeroom. The gang make their way to the R&D department of the city. The very hip and lively old lady grandmaster, Mimoza La Mer welcomes them with open arms. Only is she managed to pronounce Lelei’s name right. It’s Lelei not Lily! She is impressed she is trying to become a master at such a young age and even making it more commendable is Kato’s recommendations. Happy Mimoza makes a mess by tripping over the books. This earns the wrath of her assistant, Arpeggio. She is Lelei’s older sister. You can tell how much jealous her sister is when she sarcastically hints about a certain someone trying to become a master while her sister is struggling in her doctorate. A certain someone dabbling in romance while her sister can’t land a man. A certain someone hanging out with rich people but her sister has no money at all. Yeah, jealous sister alright. Got a problem? Deal with it!

The peace talks at the capital begin. Sherry continues to bug Sugawara about being her future wife. No doubt being a lolicon is frowned upon in Japan, it is legal here. However Sherry isn’t just an annoying loli because she observes that no one is talking to the Japanese diplomats as the people are too afraid to approach them. She hopes he can use her as lack on conversation skills won’t be good for peace talks. Zolzal is mad that peace talks have reached this stage. He didn’t want this to happen and despite being the crown prince, he feels powerless. Tyuule can only note he doesn’t realize he is being controlled. The ceremony begins. Zolzal breaks protocol to meet some of his subjects who survived that humiliating beat down. He remembers he held back during the beat down so he could feign incompetence and avoid a purge but it backfired. The head of the dragon was found at the castle gates and nobody knew who put it there. Molto wants to know who defeated the dragon so Shandy Gaff names Itami and his harem. He isn’t too impressed hearing the name but as Shandy describes each of the members, Molto takes an interest for Lelei because she can be considered as an Imperial citizen. Furthermore, a student of Kato. He orders Pina to find her and invite her to this palace as he wants to reward her. Zolzal is furious that someone else is getting higher glory just for slaying the dragon. When everyone drinks to a toast, suddenly Molto collapses, shocking everyone. Tyuule and Bouro had slipped poison in his drink. Zolzal didn’t have a part in this but you can see his face he is sure damn happy about the turn of events.

Episode 19
Zolzal takes over the throne as he rallies his people and army to make their kingdom great again. In short, they’re going to war with Japan. Pina talks to him about imprisoning pro-peace senators without proof that they were bribed to support Japan. Well… They’ll eventually find it. His friends are made generals as they plot their less than ethical way to wage war with Japan. This includes gathering goblins to attack villages around Arnus. They will also dress some of their men up as bandits and criminals. This means Japan will take the fall and have the people lose faith in them. Pina then tries to convince Diabo to help her stop Zolzal’s tyranny but his plan is to bring in other countries to stop Zolzal. Not a wise move from Pina’s perspective because this could mean their kingdom and people will be stolen. Unfortunately Diabo will do the way he deems fit. Meanwhile Mimoza talks to Lelei and co. Mimoza knows Rory 50 years ago and once travelled with her. Rory tries to tease her for becoming an old woman but Mimoza the ever happy old lady takes that in perfect stride. No fun… When Lelei talks about cheap books, this sends Arpeggio into break down mode because it seems her part time job is writing book copies (no Photostat machines in this world) and her pay is dictated by its price. Well, studying mineral magic isn’t cheap… Rory reminds Mimoza about the ‘homework’ she gave her before they parted: Why are there so many races in this world. Her life research shows that the Gods created some Primal Forest where elves came from and then its different clans scattered throughout time. As every elven legend points Arnus as their home, the reason why there are many reasons is because of the Gate. From time to time, a portal from another world opens and it brings other worldly creatures here. They fight with the locals but over time they mix and consummate with each other. Thus it is no doubt that humans here have also originated the same way although they are the newest to arrive. Rory praises her work. Although Rory might not know everything entirely, demigods like her only obey the will of Gods by guiding those who are promising and eliminating those who approach the forbidden. That is how world order is maintained.

Back to Arpeggio is might be going crazy upon seeing a laptop. You know how this could replace books, right? She reaches breaking point upon realizing Lelei has surpassed her in everything and that she should just give up and be a housewife. She asks if Itami is single! Then all the girls gladly give out what they know about him and she is taking down notes! However Lelei notes Itami is no longer single because he has done Ceremony of Three Nights with her. Basically it is as good as married in this world when you sleep in 3 different places together. Didn’t know that, did he? Furthermore, Tuka can be considered during her moments of lunacy. This makes Rory mad because she is left out! Now Arpeggio has lost it. She snaps. Lelei is ahead in everything she does. What else to do? SHE DUMPS SOUP ON HER HEAD!!! OMFG!!! Time for a b*tch fight! Rory officiates this ‘match’ and anything goes as long as you don’t kill or scar the face. So destroying the city is okay? The match is equally fought and when it seemed like a draw, an assassin walks up to Lelei and fires his crossbow! Luckily Grey Co Aldo took him out. They explain about the orders to bring Lelei home because she is a human hero of the Imperial that slew the dragon (I wonder if Arpeggio can keep her cool upon hearing another awesome milestone). Although Lelei protests and doesn’t consider herself an Imperial citizen, that is not what the people thinks. Furthermore, this assassination could mean somebody is jealous of Lelei and wants her taken out. Grey adds another skilled assassin, Pied Piper is also hired to assassinate Lelei. He hopes to work with Itami to protect her and defeat the enemy. However Itami has a different plan: Run! Meanwhile Tyuule passes to Luflus a law created by Zolzal that would make him convict anyone he wants. She hopes the senate will pass this and set it in motion.

Episode 20
Kanou learns this oppressive law, Oprichnina. However he will not let Japan take in refugees and wants those in the Special Region to stay low. As many are being arrested, Casel as the leader of the pro-peace faction is seeking refuge in Sherry’s home. But it isn’t long before those Cleaners come looking here. Sherry’s parents have her guide Casel to safety as they sacrifice themselves and burn down the mansion. She is in shock over her parents’ death but Casel slaps her to her sense so as not to let their sacrifice be in vain. As they have no food, Sherry has to trade some of her pearls Sugawara gave her to get some. Luckily she also has gained some valuable information about the changing of the guard. She suggests to Casel to seek asylum at Jade Palace, the only foreign territory here under Japan that is guarded by the treaty and the empire cannot touch them. They make their way as the Cleaners are making a ruckus from their door to door search. Bozes and Beefeater E Caty have them wait as they go request for the ambassadors to have an audience with them. No luck. Rejected. Sherry wants her to try again and seek Sugawara’s help since that guy is going to be her future husband. Being the good diplomat he is, he has to turn down that offer because if he accepts one, he might as well have to accept all. Besides, Japan’s orders are already clear. Even more heart breaking is how Sherry is screaming his name to hear his voice. Being the professional, he ignores her. The Cleaners are here and Casel knows his time is up and surrenders. Sherry is dragged away but she continues to scream Sugawara’s name. I guess it got to him because here he is telling those uncouth barbarians not to touch his future wife. The Rose Knights help Sherry cross over to Japan’s territory. Sugawara and Sherry emotionally embrace. She apologizes for selling his necklace but he promises to get her another one with his own money and not taxpayer’s money. So that’s how… Of course Sugawara’s act just opened a can of worms. The Rose Knights fight off the Cleaners.

Episode 21
The Cleaners are amateur soldiers so it is no wonder they take heavy casualty. Some ministers talk to the PM about this crisis and to get their people out to safety but the PM insists no action to be taken because of the media and foreign ambassadors who are touring Arnus currently. He doesn’t want such information leak would let the media have a field day. So looks like everyone will have to hang in there for a week… After the Cleaners retreat, Sugawara is left wondering the consequences of his decision. By saving Sherry, he put his nation in danger. But Casel has who now become a refugee in Japan, mentions about the sin he will bear either way. The most he could do is choose the sin he feels most satisfied with. As part of the Imperial’s law, he is now Sherry’s guardian. That is, he is now her father-in-law. Noriko is now a neutral coordinator for the media and talking to Kazunari Komurazaki who intends to expose the SDF’s incompetency and wasting taxpayer’s money. He is sure SDF only wants them to visit areas they approve and the locals are putting up a show to see how good their relationship is. Noriko wonders about this negative reporting and if there is no objective journalism, who are readers supposed to trust? It is not the media’s responsibility! I guess in a way he is right. You are responsible for what you read and believe. Itami and co are back in Rondel after a little runaway detour. That night they anticipate assassins will come into their room. True enough, they did. Itami unleashes a flash bomb that temporarily blinds them and Rory knocking them out. They recognize those assassins as the inn’s staffs. Talking with the inn’s manager, Hamel, they reveal somebody paid them and convinced them they were criminals. They are very sorry for what they done and Hamel too hopes they won’t punish them. Thanks to Lelei and Rory’s mercy, they live.

Grey talks about Pied Piper whose real identity is unknown and he operates from behind the shadows manipulating others to do his dirty job. Unless he is defeated, he will send more assassins. Lelei suggests they remain staying at the same inn as those who are tricked will be more wary. Also, it helps narrow down their opponent’s identities and she is confident Pipe Piper will contact them again and will use the inn staffs as bait to ambush Pied Piper. Next morning, there is a commotion outside the inn. With the bridge repaired, a messenger arrived and spread that heroic dragon killing act, which of course has been blown out of proportion. So the people want to glimpse them especially Lelei who has been made a hero. Itami feels something amiss. If Grey knew about their situation and came here from the capital, but how come this just became public knowledge? As there are many bridges from the capital to here, Itami suspects someone knocked them out and that something happened in the capital after Grey left and they didn’t want them to know. A thousand Imperial guards now appear outside the Jade Palace. Pina is summoned by Zolzal to request her knights to stand down so he could capture the escaped people there. As promised he won’t hurt the ambassadors and leave them until the political situation stabilizes. She refuses to hand over Casel and tells him to do what he wants since this country now belongs to him. In that case, he won’t let her leave this place. The PM chides his ministers about Sugawara’s actions in accepting those refugees. If the media finds out about this, they will be criticized in every way and lose the next elections. But these good men would rather lose the election than not do the right thing and regret it. The PM relents and gives him permission but they will solely bear this responsibility. Time for the SDF to get moving.

Episode 22
Shandy is tasked to keep tabs on the inn staffs as they do not recognize her face. She spots them meeting up with this hot chick, Norra who tells them to let Lelei know there will be an assassin on her presentation day and to wear an armour. Norra will pretend to be the Pied Piper and pretend to kill Lelei. The real Pied Piper will come to check the body and that is when they will nab him. After Norra leaves, Shandy goes to tail her. Man, it took her 4 days to return to the rest! She lets them know everything as well as seeing the real Pied Piper in person. Itami’s plan is to let the enemy think their plan is proceeding well. On the day of the presentation, everyone is on a lookout for anybody suspicious. A frail old man takes out his knife but is easily apprehended. He accuses Lelei of stealing somebody’s life research for he cannot believe a girl as young as her is trying to be a master. When it is Lelei’s turn to present, Norra comes out of her hiding to attack. Suddenly all the magic blasts Norra away. As word of Lelei’s assassin spread around, it seems everyone in the hall has anticipated for this day. Itami and co believe Lelei is in safe hands as they leave the stage. Suddenly Shandy stabs her in the chest! Thankfully Lelei was wearing armour beneath. But I wonder why didn’t everybody blast her with their magic? They didn’t think there would be a second attempt?

The battle between the Rose Knights and the Imperial guards are taking its toll. Tyuule is not amused that Luflus is taking this long and warns him to do whatever it takes to win because Zolzal is awaiting news of their victory. Pina is now treated as a slave and locked in a cell where Tyuule was once imprisoned. Tyuule herself even personally welcomed her to her old room and tells her a message from Zolzal: You lose. Shandy is apprehended and Lelei manages to finish her presentation but her masters title will have to wait until this commotion is settled. I don’t understand this part because it seems Shandy doesn’t remember hearing the inn staffs talking to Norra about letting Lelei wear an armour. Unless she didn’t hear them or she didn’t believe they would tell her. Shandy explains her doing. As Zolzal is after Pina’s life, she wants to prove her loyalty to Pina by bringing Lelei’s head. If Pina is held captive in the palace and risking her life, wouldn’t it be easier to just raid the castle? Unless you want to fight the thousands of soldiers protecting it. Therefore Grey says the fastest way is to cut everything off from the source and kill Zolzal. Otherwise the assassinations will just keep coming. The messenger has just arrived to update everyone about the bad news on Pina. Hazama has now received the official word. He immediately mobilizes the SDF.

Episode 23
It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for! To see how cool SDF kick ass and kill all their enemies! The action that we have been deprived of this season is now here! Oh yeah! Watch how the SDF easily take out the primitive enemies with their firepower and stealth, leaving no stones unturned. Everybody dies! Also see how cool their jets bomb the place and helicopters drop down parachuting troops into the capital. You enemies are no match! You’re in sh*t hell now Zolzal! Tyuule reminds him he mustn’t run and stay here even if the enemy comes here because he is supposed to give orders. The SDF continue their mission to free the nobles and ambassadors and send them to Italica. They made it to Jade Palace to slaughter all the troops there. To show that they aren’t all perfect, just one freaking guy just got an arrow in his arm. That’s it?! Luflus is slain when he attempts to escape. With the enemy slain, they secure Sugawara and the rest. Bozes and Beefeater hope the SDF can take their Rose Knights with them to Italica too. Then they ride off to rescue Pina. Unfortunately the castle defence is heavy so they have to make a run for it. Fortunately for them, a unit of SDF has been waiting for them. They shoot the chasing cavalry pack and everyone got onboard safely just in the nick of time! Super wow! Only Bozes is crying hysterically because she couldn’t save her beloved Pina. Yeah, no fun reading yaoi doujin without her partner, right? Oops… Zolzal is at a loss over the heavy defeat and asks Tyuule for advice. She suggests telling the people he is leading his army to defeat the Japanese even if it doesn’t seem so. But she knows they will come back here because the biggest key to peace is still locked up in the capital. Pina is screaming at the top of her voice to be freed but nobody is there… Itami is driving recklessly and fast back to the capital. His girls wonder what gives for this bumpy ride. He is worried about his men and can’t let them die.

Episode 24
We are reminded of Itami’s priorities of working to support his hobby. Remember who this guy really is. Itami is reunited with his team as they plan out a rescue mission for Pina and Molto (yup, this guy is still very much alive but in ICU). Although Itami will go through the front gates with Rory and Lelei, he has to act as their servant. Pulling the humvee hidden beneath all that wood to make it look like an oversized cart? Good luck. Pina is bought before Zolzal and she isn’t giving him any answers he wants to hear. However is not cowed because he knows the SDF will return to save her and he will be ready for them when they arrive. You think so? See how scared he looks when Rory bursts in. The guards are hesitant to act because all those outside have been put under a sleeping spell and those inside the chamber want to slug it out with Rory, be my guest. Zolzal becomes desperate as he calls his ogre to attack them. Man, how did this huge creature enter the hallway? Anyway, Rory and Lelei fight it but it is Lelei who steals the limelight and finishes it off with her powerful magic. Zolzal wants to fight Itami man to man but Itami fires a warning shot to stay where he is. After all, they are always watching him and can go to him anytime they want. He is just here to rescue Pina and Molto as well as remind Zolzal to stop sending assassins after Lelei. With the rescue mission done, Itami and co drive their way out as they pick up their comrades, smashing through the Imperial guards. Seriously, bullets versus spears? Humvee versus horses? It doesn’t take a genius to figure out who will win. I just have to commend the Imperial guards for their bravery and loyalty.

The bumpy ride even wakes up Molto from his slumber! He even finishes their sentence about making Zolzal a traitor once Pina reunites with the pro-peace senators in Italica. Molto knows Zolzal will not listen to him anymore and thus a civil war is inevitable. He has decided to side with Japan and will make Pina the crown princess and establish a real government. Whether she wants to fight her brother is up to her. It is her path to decide. Zolzal and his subjects as well as the pro-war senators are leaving the capital to the northeast even if it means the government here would fall. Zolzal promises revenge but how can he say that when he spots such a scared looking face and cowering each time he hears a gunshot? Tyuule is also in a dilemma. She spent her life as a prisoner and trying to bring down the empire to avenge her fallen people. Now it is achieved, she cannot understand why she is still crying. I suppose those aren’t tears of joy? Ten days later at Italica, Pina is officially appointed as the crown princess. In this lavish ceremony, we notice a lot of hook-ups . Other than Sugawara-Sherry, there are also Tomita-Bozes (she’s pregnant too?!), Beefeater takes a liking for Shunya Kengun after that last minute rescue, and finally Delilah taking responsibility caring for Yanagida. Shocking romances, right? Especially Shandy who laments nobody chose her. That’s what you get for being conned by the Pied Piper, right? But the most important person of all, Itami is not here. Because he is back in Japan getting his ‘revenge’ attending his doujin convention he missed so much! Oh yeah! This is it! Screw coronation ceremonies! This is his reason for living! His spree is abruptly halted because Tuka, Lelei and Rory won’t let him have all the fun as they have got permission from Hazama to come here so he must take care of them. He tells them to go back but his nightmare has only just begun. Everyone recognizes the girls and they surround them like celebrities! A policeman offers to give them special escort and as they sit in his police car, Risa passes by and is in shocked what her ex-husband did this time!!! And all he wanted to do is to buy his doujin… This war will continue…

Nobody Messes With Japan! And I Mean Nobody!
The ending felt insufficient… Not because it was a bad one because I want more! It is not enough to end it like that! Don’t leave me hanging, come on! It is a worrying trend these days that anime series usually getting sequels will most likely ending having that sequel faring worse and fall below expectations. Thankfully I can say that Gate does not fall into that category because the second season is still as exciting and impressive as the first. Although there are a few things that prevent me from saying that the second season is much better than the first and even if it was, it is just perhaps a little bit more. Even with the serious stuffs picking up this season feel like glorifying Japan’s military propaganda. Yeah, so good I don’t mind being brainwashed by it.

Now, one reason why I said it isn’t way much better (please note, I still mean this season is pretty damn good) is because there are too many characters and this itself can be both a double edged sword in a short series although this series is 24 episodes if you take into account both seasons. But that is still by far an underachievement where it is concerned. Take for instance Itami’s own troops. Last season some of them I believe had very minimal dialogue and roles like as though they are there to make up for the numbers. This season feels even worse with only Kuribayashi and Kurokawa getting the most albeit very limited screen time. And that is just relegated to the first half of the series. What happened to the other guys? Like Itami’s fellow otaku Kurata? Because with Itami away from his team most of the time this season, it is like they need not showcase his little platoon as there are many other army personnel to feature and go about. Not that it makes any difference anyway. Then it is like because it is the final episode, they decided to make it one last hurrah for them to remind us they are still around and not to be forgotten like Itami’s otaku hobby and thus reuniting his team for one big operation. I don’t know if this is fair or not. As long as it ends well.

Some characters who were featured in the first season were sorely missed in this season. Remember Itami’s ex-otaku wife, Risa? Yeah… My hopes of seeing her make her return this season is dashed. Even making her cameo in the final episode didn’t make up for it. After all, this season mainly concentrates on the events in the other world instead of in Japan. Therefore no sneaky moves from foreign world leaders, hit squads and CIA agents this time (sorry folks, Komakado not appearing this season). Same case for Bozes’ partner, Panache. I didn’t know what happened to her till that final episode cameo. Then there are some characters who didn’t even appear this season despite appearing in the first. Such as Lelei’s old wizard master, Kato. Remember this guy? I suppose nobody likes to remember an old fart so that is why he has been dropped. Not that he would play a pivotal part in any of the plots anyway. Remember that merchant, Lyudo too? No? Guess not. Not that it mattered anyway. Maybe the series was just trolling with some of the characters to appear in the first season, making you think they are important but they aren’t actually. What about Diabo? How long does this guy take to get help from other countries? Or did he just run away and never to be seen again.

Remember Kuribayashi’s reporter sister, Nanami? Only appearing for one freaking short scene when the media visited Arnus. That’s it?! What the heck was that scene for anyway? It wouldn’t have been necessary to the plot (at least for this season concerned) and my view is that it is just to show what happened to Noriko. Some new characters debuting this season showed potential but their very short and sometimes single episode appearance only leaves more to be desired. Especially Giselle whom I thought would become the antagonist or at least sub-boss and thus opening up another development that is related to Rory. How unfortunate that did not happen. At least not as unfortunate as Yao’s other dark elves, all who died during the dragon slaying stint. Because it felt a bit funny when Yao introduced them all like as though they might be staying with us for a little longer but they only served their purpose to be sacrifices. I wonder what happened to Norra too. Just another unimportant character tossed away after her failed assassination…

Then there is the plot too. Rest assured that the plots and developments are intriguing as they are amazing. It keeps you on the edge of your seat trying to anticipate what happens next because a lot of things happened in this season. Some would turn out serious and affect the tone for the rest of the series like Zolzal becoming the next emperor and some turned out to be duds and just trolls. Like that seemingly earthquake that occurred right in the initial episodes. Mainly they substituted many of the comedy parts for the serious drama this season. Either way, they are all interesting nevertheless. The plot moves quickly from one to another and this branches out into a handful of developments, splitting this season into one that focuses on Itami’s group and the other on the rest. That is why it feels that Itami and his little platoon didn’t have much screen time this season as Itami is mostly away with his harem from slaying the fire dragon to escorting Lelei to obtain her masters. And while he is away, Zolzal makes his moves to further throw the world into chaos with his brand of war to Japan. I hope after this season that he and the future emperors would learn never ever to f*ck with Japan! All hail Japan!

Talking about Itami and his harem as the main characters, like I have said in my previous paragraph that because of the plot developments and many other characters, their role and appearance seem to have dwindled albeit you will still feel that they are the main characters. One thing good I can see about this that it shows that the SDF doesn’t need to overly rely on this guy to get things done. Itami may have did some ‘miracles’ in the first season but it goes to show that the SDF too can perform as good without the need for being him in every damn mission. With Itami getting a bit serious here, we hear less of his otaku penchant. My last season’s blog I remembered that I was hoping to see more development for Itami’s harem as well. Unfortunately with what I said about too many other plots and characters, this seems to dilute this too. Tuka is basically a damsel in (mental) distress for the first half of the season until she overcomes it but after that it feels like she is just tagging along. A food for thought: Is it okay to get revenge as cure for psychological trauma? Yeah, we’re only human. Apparently it works for elves too.

It feels the same for Lelei too because doing her masters isn’t exactly exciting but making her the target of an assassination plot seemed to drum it up although it isn’t that necessary. Finally the most disappointing would be Rory because she is cheeky, sarcastic (she did ask Itami how it feels to have a ‘daughter’ way older than him) and bubbly and other than her short stint with Giselle, there was nothing devilishly interesting in her role. You don’t see her go on a crazy killing spree in the name of Emloy and thus she is by far quite tame this season. She didn’t even do bold flirty stuffs with Itami here (biting his arm doesn’t count) like the last time (remember that seductive hotspring inn night?) and dare she blame him for not doing anything to her? I thought she is the one who is supposed to take the initiative? And with Yao confirming to be the latest in Itami’s harem, she didn’t do anything important either. She is with him because she is now his property after the dragon slaying mission.

With the drama drumming up, there is no time for Pina to appreciate and enjoy her yaoi doujin… After all, it is all hard work trying to prevent her kingdom and world falling into chaos and it gets even tougher when she gets imprisoned. If yaoi was something subtle last season, then perhaps the issue of child marriage would be that subtle issue this season. Sugawara’s unexpected engagement to Sherry might seem a bit odd for now. It is not like they are getting married instantly. But you have to remember that Sherry is willing to wait till she grows up till the legal age before they get married. By that time she would have grown up into a stunning beautiful woman instead of looking like a loli. Then it would be no different story because even in the real world, there are many marriages with such wide age gaps between men and women.

Some new characters this season were fast becoming my favourites like Arpeggio and Mimoza. In need for a comical character this season (because Pina was one in the last season especially the way stressed out herself), Arpeggio quickly became a likable idiot in my books simply because of her jealousy towards her little sister who seems to be better in everything than her. That soup dumping incident was the funniest by all. She might not take sisterly fights and rivalry to a new height but you can sympathise with her whenever she goes into that breakdown and stress mode. Or not. Somewhat reminds you a bit like Pina, eh? And Mimoza is truly likable because of her bubbly personality. You can never insult or bring this woman down because she takes everything as a compliment. It is odd for me to say this but I find her penchant for saying “Oh my, oh my, oh my…” to be highly addictive. I thought Shandy would become another joker character especially after that flash bomb incident with the assassins. She was really funny, her reaction being temporarily blinded. I’m not sure why or how she became a traitor even if it is the effects of Pied Piper whom we will never know of his identity, it is just mind boggling that she would easily do the unthinkable. Or a crazy theory of mine, she could be Pied Piper herself! Then again, since she is back to her normal ditzy self, guess not. Or is it?

Zolzal might look like the antagonist of the series but everyone knows Tyuule is the puppet master behind it all. This guy became a puppet anyway and if it is not by his father, it would be his furry slave. All under his nose. Just like Zolzal, I feel Tyuule is also lost because unlike others like Pina who have support and backup, Tyuule has always been very much alone. Had she met the right people earlier, would things have turned out much differently? With the way this season ended, you won’t hear the last of him (or any other characters in that matter) because muscle brain guys like him are very hard to put down or change over a new leaf. Even after being scared by the might of the SDF, he still won’t learn his lesson. And with the SDF do not practise killing the big fish (small fries who are unimportant to the series are acceptable), Zolzal will come back again with a vengeance unless somebody really puts a stop in his tracks. Uh huh. Let’s leave it to Itami and co again, huh?

The action parts do not disappoint and it is as good as before. Though, this season they leave it a little late to showcase the SDF’s firepower. I have to admit that there is a little guilty pleasure inside me (and most of us) in seeing the SDF gun down the ‘enemy’ and emerging unscathed. Yes, they make no mistakes and their missions always work out as planned. To perfection. Even if there are injuries, it is so minor that we will overlook it and still consider their victory to perfect. Flawless victory. Oh yeah. True heroes of the world! It is in a way sad to see them being glorified like this because at the same time if you think too much about it, they look like big bullies taking out on enemies with lesser and backwater technology. Heck, I don’t think they even have technology! That is why in a certain light, the media in this series are the other ‘antagonists’ as they are trying to find ways to bring down the SDF. Of course don’t worry. The SDF can’t be guilty of war crimes and slavery, right? (Read: Sarcasm). Other than SDF kicking ass, the dragon slaying mission was also exciting in its own right. Because they added explosions. Yeah, we all love explosions and things going boom. The most boring one goes to Rose Knights and Imperial guards clashing. See how allies clash in a primitive hand to hand combat… Even Lelei and Arpeggio’s magic fight that didn’t amount to anything much seemed better. Just saying…

The same seiyuus from the first season are retained and with more characters this season, the list of seiyuus expands. Joining the casts this season are Ami Koshimizu as Tyuule (Ryuuko in Kill La Kill), Katsuyuki Konishi as Zolzal (Oga in Beelzebub), Rina Hidaka as Sherry (Silica in Sword Art Online), Rumi Ookubo as Shandy (Hibachi in Mushibugyou), Mutsumi Tamura as Beefeater (Sonya in Kill me Baby), Fumi Hirano as Mimoza (Squall in Infinite Stratos 2), Ayahi Takagaki as Arpeggio (Chris in Senki Zesshou Symphogear series), Yuichiro Yumehara as Diabo (Mitsuhide in Akagami No Shirayuki-hime), Hibiku Yamamura as Noriko (Asuramaru in Owari No Seraph), Ayane Sakura as Giselle (Nao in Charlotte), Rina Satou as Norra (Misaka in To Aru Kagaku No Railgun), Makoto Furukawa as Luflus (Banri in Golden Time), Yuka Saitou as Misery (Tamamo in Daitoshokan No Hitsujikai) and Tsuyoshi Kouyama as Bouro (Leon in Trinity Blood).

The same group of people that sang the opening and ending themes for the first season continue to reprise their roles in their respective themes. Thus don’t be surprised to hear Kishida Kyoudan and The Akeboshi Rockets singing the very rock based Gate II ~Sekai Wo Koete~. This song somewhat reminds me of Highschool Of The Dead’s opening theme since it is also sung by the same group. The voices behind Tuka, Lelei and Rory again sing the ending theme, Itsudatte Communication, a generic anime pop ballad. The ending credits animation shows Itami’s harem having fun in a military training stint. Rather odd because I believe army training regiments are quite strict and disciplined. So it feels like they are like in some kid’s summer boot camp. Really.

Overall, this marks the end of a great season and it leaves me wanting for more. Since the novel which it is adapted from is still ongoing, there is still hope that there might be more episodes and seasons in the future. If you can get past all that military propaganda, this series is a good and entertaining watch. If there is one thing we learn from this series, even if it is all just waxing lyrical about the SDF being nice and ethical blokes dedicated to protecting their country and loved ones, you still wouldn’t want to mess with them. They will kick your ass so hard it will send you flying back in time to a primitive era and turn your civilization into a caveman. You have a choice of making them your friends or your enemies and risk being taken out. Don’t you even dare thinking of f*cking them. You have been warned. All hail the SDF! All hail Japan! All hail mighty Japan for their continuous unrelenting efforts in protecting world peace. And anime and manga too!

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!!!

Dog Days S3

November 14, 2015

I knew they announced the third season years ago. And because anime seasons come and go so fast in a normal year, I thought they have forgotten all about it or even abandoned making the next sequel. Yeah, it felt like a really long time. And then to my surprise, it did happen. Yeah. Dog Days S3 is (now was) back and I figure that there are a lot of furry lovers to warrant another season. The first season was interesting enough but the second season was lukewarm although it wasn’t that bad for me to never ever want to watch the third season. And now that it is here, I hope that it will get back on track in making things more interesting as before. I hope.

Episode 1
Today is the day that all our furry friends can be excited again because their heroes will be returning. It’s like their master coming home, eh? Meanwhile in the Iron Athletics on Earth, Shinku and Nanami ended up crossing the line together and thus for the first time co-champions of the games. Our heroes including Becky start packing to prepare for their journey to Flonyard. Everything seems to be going fine till Shinku and Nanami didn’t fall in the expected location and crash deep within the forests. Something must have gone wrong in the summoning. Be careful. Not everything is as cute as thought it would be. Like that carnivorous plant! And they must have had the ride of their lives when a Pterodactyl swoop them up before they drop back down into the stream. No rest for the duo because suddenly there is a stampede of… Hairy Brontosaurus?! Luckily they are chased away by the dragon priestess who resides in this forest, Sharu. She warns them that this is the dragon’s forest and that humans should stay away. By this time, the concerned nations are already dispatching their units to go find their lost heroes. Sharu doesn’t believe they are heroes since they do not possess their holy treasure. Besides, their outfits look more childish than elegant. Judging a book by its cover? Anyway she doesn’t have TV in her home so she has never seen those games the nations play. She warns them that recently there are demons popping up in the forest lately. Her pig familiar, Pega finds Nanami’s keychain so they follow to retrieve their lost items. Sharu notices many of the plants and animals have turned violent when they used to be docile. Could it be because of the Dragon Eaters? She sees a Brontosaurus being chased by a demon and goes to rescue it. But there is more popping up. Don’t worry, this is a cue for our heroes to go into action. Each demon they destroy turns it back into their original cute animal form. Sharu is in awe seeing them. So now do you believe they are heroes?

Episode 2
Shinku finally manages to get some reception to communicate with Millhiore. Everyone is relieved they are okay. They have to stay put in Sharu’s home till the rescue unit arrives. Sharu explains the land being ruled by Divinegons, huge god-like dragons that embody the life of this planet. They exist to restore the balance in mother nature that was disrupted by humans. Dragon priestesses help communicate humans with these dragons. But recently there are demons that keep harming the animals. She needs to find the source and destroy it. The heroes want to help but she insists this duty only belongs to her. Well, hope she is ready to go into action because more are detected. Chasing those Brontosaurus… Of course with so many demons, there is only a limit on how many she can destroy. That is why our heroes jump in to help her. Cue for some hinting romance when Shinku saves Sharu from certain death. Eventually with so many demons, this means our heroes can’t hog all the action together. The other nations arrive in time to demonstrate their demon butt kicking skills. While resting at her home, Ricotta and Noir talk to Sharu about their research that these demons are more dangerous than before as they speculate they might be attacking dragons and stealing power from Divinegons. According to the legend, whenever this happens, this is when the dragon priestess sacrifices herself to slay them. Ricotta and Noir continue their investigations and learn that the demons they fought were actually local creatures that were transformed into demons. There is a mother demon as the source of their transformation and they need to defeat it to save the dragons. Adele and Valery are doing their research on this. Suddenly they realize the great danger the continent is in. They immediately request all the nations to get ready for war because it is coming to the dragon’s forest.

Episode 3
The war is real. They are up against Dragon Eaters who consume other animals and turn them into one of them and repeat the cycle until the entire world is consumed. So while a nation help protect a Divinegon each, the heroes with Sharu go in search of the mother source. Better hurry. Because the demons are already corrupting the Divinegons. Once the heroes find the source, it is some big mother bug that oddly has a penchant for tentacle raping some of the female soldiers. Damn it. Is it time for pantsu fanservice already? Our heroes use their Hero Stone to turn themselves into adult versions so as to power up and do more effective damage. They cooperate to allow Sharu to strike the decisive blow and destroy it once and for all. The energy that the demon took starts raining down on the land in what the legend calls it as dragon’s tears. I didn’t know dragon’s tears were pervy too because it melts your clothes! Everybody in their birthday suit! Sharu seems like she wants to confess something to Shinku but the damn dragon’s tears have to ruin it all. Adele and Valery may not be needed this time but they have to do some extra work behind the scene to seal it and make sure this demon doesn’t reincarnate into a poor one again. As everyone leaves Sharu’s place, Shinku hopes he can visit her again. She wouldn’t want that in fear he would get lost in the forest again. Instead, she’ll come visit him next time.

Episode 4
With everyone returning to their respective nations, time for some fun. Millhiore is already up eager for Shinku to take her for a doggy walk. Oh, don’t forget the Frisbee too. Couvre and Becky sleeping together look like yuri… Nanami gives naked Leo a good body massage. Nanami and Genoise visit Pastillage so the former can thank Adele for giving her a Hero Stone. Trouble soon lurks because squishy little blobs are on the loose, eating all clothes and armour! Time for your fanservice of naked furries. The first person to blame is Valery. True enough it is his fault. Despite those blobs were original sealed, because his ass was always being busted by Liscia and co and wanted to get back at them. So everyone quickly goes to stop the blobs before they turn the entire nation into a birthday suit party. Too bad they multiply so fast that the entire castle is now over flooded with them! Yeah. This means our heroines are pretty much naked too. I thought they should have done this from the start because those with Hero Stone transform themselves to put a stop to this. But it is Couvre who steals the limelight as her gun is able to purify the blobs into spirits. Everything returns to normal although all programmes are pretty much delayed and ended late thanks to this mess. The ladies are resting and having snacks at the end of it all. Some wonder where Valery is. Adele has tied him up upside down deep in the dungeons. Time to repent.

Episode 5
Shinku and co are only leaving for a field research expedition so why does Ricotta need to pack like she is going on a year’s vacation? So we see them research on the ores and crystals in this forest. Shinku spots little green people. No, they’re not aliens. They are Moribito, forest spirits. As cute and friendly as they are, but they are requesting for help because their princess has been captured by a demon. Ah, there is that frog demon eating all the ores and crystals like there’s no tomorrow. So where’s the princess? In his belly! Don’t worry, anything the frog devours will be slowly absorbed in his stomach. So our heroes go to give this frog a warning but I guess he prefers doing the hard work. Wow. This frog throws stuffs like as though he is a pro pitcher! Then of course, he starts spitting yucky sticky gooey slime on the girls. Only Shinku is ‘immune’ to it because he is a guy. For that, he gets eaten alive! Oh the horror! Inside the belly, Shinku finds the princess. Then he uses his firepower to give the frog some mean stomach ache (bouncing all about?) till he spits them out. The frog reverts to its harmless chibi form. It seems a demon sword stuck to it was the cause of it all. Everybody takes a well deserved break at the hotspring. The Moribito people show their gratitude to Shinku by giving him drink their tonic. I guess it was too strong for him that he passed out. So as our girls clamour around him to help him recover (not taking advantage?), Couvre and Eclair happen to turn up late and they see this ambiguous scene. While Couvre wants to join in the fun, Eclair is so stunned that she wants an explanation from everybody on what they’re doing. Oh, why don’t you just join in the fun like everybody else?

Episode 6
It’s time for an exciting festival. Leo’s engagement festival. Say what? Hey. It’s like a carnival atmosphere. It seems there are men from far and wide who want to marry her but they’ll have to do it Leo’s way: A duel. You’ll have to beat her if you want her hand in marriage. Yeah. This is going to be fun. No wonder everybody is looking forward to it. So we see all the contestants vying for her but you know, Leo is still superior and beats them all flat. Yeah, some have been trying for years and the result is still the same. So as not to insult these losers, Leo announces that she enjoys fighting with them and praises their bravery to duel with her. And of course the final contestant is a mystery person. He is able to fight on par with Leo. She deduces it is somebody she knows because he is hiding his face. He says they did meet but will only reveal more when he wins. The fight continues till Leo manages to unleash him. Those rabbit ears and tail… He is Vert’s distant relative, Prince Lief Langue de Chat Halver of the Halver Kingdom. The last time they met was when he was a kid. She thought him swordsmanship and archery. She was also the one who told him to train and become stronger so that women would like him. But if he is here it means… You’ve guessed it. So the intense power battle continues and Leo barely wins by the skin of her teeth. And again this year, Leo will remain single. I wonder, if she continues to do this, she’ll be a very old single in no time. And an unexpected free fanservice for everybody as her armour shatters and her clothes rip in the aftermath. Wow. A great festival indeed! There is a social party afterwards. Everyone learns that Lief had the wrong impression of this battle. He participated so that he could talk to Leo and didn’t intend on marrying her. He always thought a marriage meeting would be something more private and engaging in conversation. But once Vert whispers him the truth, he can’t help blush like mad that he gave the crowd the wrong impression. Well, but you can’t deny the fact that he does like Leo in a way and looks up to her.

Episode 7
Lief becomes the guest of honour at Galette. He is taken a tour around the country. Godwin who just came back from an expedition didn’t see Leo’s engagement festival so he doesn’t know the strong warrior who almost beat her. Imagine his surprise when he learns it is Lief. Lief and Nanami then have an exhibition battle. The power fight ends in a draw but there’s still something for all the viewers at the end: Their clothes rip apart. Why does it always have to end like that? Now everybody wants to spar with him. Then they visit Brioche’s home before go watching Millhiore in concert. There’s an after-party after that. Finally they’ll be heading over to Pastillage to hear old hero stories from Adele and Valery. I guess everybody is interested to listen so why not? Adele begins her story of her travels. Along with her and Valery, there was Isuka and a woman who summoned Adele to Flonyard. She was the last princess of Pastillage, Clarifie Eins Pastillage AKA Fie.

Episode 8
During the days when demons were running rampage and threatening towns, Fie wanted to change all that so she summoned a French girl (Adele) as her hero to aid her in her quest. Adele didn’t have a good impression when she first met Valery because she thought he was a peeping tom (he claims it was his bath time). So as the duo head out to fight demons, the first demons they had to fight were… Clothes melting blobs! Next… Clothes ripping rabbits! WTF. As they fight more powerful demons, they are saved by Isuka and Hina (Brioche’s real name). They explain they are travelling to collect curse swords that impale creatures in this world to turn them into demons. Fie wants them to meet Valery because he is an expert researcher in cursed swords and demons. Valery seems to have a different thinking. He claims the world cannot afford to fight each other as they are busy fighting demons. However, what happens when you rid of demons? Peace will reign and soon they will be fighting among themselves. So leaving things as it is would be a better choice? Fie and Adele still want to hunt demons but Isuka warns them in travelling together. Isuka and Hina were the only survivors of their villager which was attacked by a demon. They were drenched in its blood at the end and have become immortal. There are many things they do not understand about demons so it is too risky.

With Adele’s heartfelt speech which she wants to continue this mission, the quintet set off on a journey to everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE to slay boss level demons. In doing so, they get to bridge nations closer, power up their Hero and Spirit Stones and become world famous! Peace did reign and as expected war among themselves was inevitable. That is why a treaty was setup that lasted till today. Valery gained the notorious nickname of Demon King as he stopped showing himself in public and continued his research behind closed doors. He had to keep a close watch on live demon samples and although it started out as a prank, he unleashed demons to those who challenged him and those who became arrogant. Fie however never stopped hunting demons. She delegated running Pastillage to Adele whom she felt guilty of bringing her over without permission and had no way of sending her back. One day as Fie left to fight demons as usual, she came back messed up. She barely won a fight with a toxic dragon. She used too much spells that made her susceptible to demon miasma. She knew her time was near but couldn’t be happier of her accomplishments. Soon Fie passed on and Pastillage turned from a kingdom to principality. Valery and Adele decide to join her in slumber after watching their grandchildren grow up happily. Isuka and Hina continued their journey but went their separate ways after Hina found Yukikaze. The rest is history after Shinku and Couvre woke them up from their slumber and they couldn’t be happier to see their descendents living happily. I guess the story is so long that everywhere is closed!

Episode 9
It could have been another boring fine day had not Sharu pay a visit on her flame dragon. Seems she has sensed something wrong with Skysea, a place above Flonyard with its own ecosystem. There is a huge Skywhale supposedly related to the gods or something and believed to have existed even longer than Divinegons. Just like dragons having dragon priestess, there is also a sky priestess for Skywhale. Nobody has seen her before but Sharu claims she has as Pega is a celestial messenger born from the sky priestess’ abode. Pega told her something is amiss with Skywhale and since it is floating above their nations, Sharu is requesting permission to investigate. Of course she can but they want to tag along too. Can’t miss out on the fun? Because the princesses are busy with their jobs, those who will accompany Sharu are the heroes, Genoise, Gaul, Lief, Ricotta and Yukikaze. As they ride up above the clouds, it is like a whole new kingdom. They see the gigantic huge Skywhale but as they approach, it seems it is sucking them in. Eventually they cannot fight its force and got swallowed. The gang are split up but Gaul is neither among them. He is alone and surprised to see Moribito with a girl named Aria who only communicates telepathically. She saved him from drowning in the lake but has no memories prior to coming here. He wants to go find his friends and she is happy to come with him but doesn’t want him to go now because it is dangerous. The rest are fighting demons. Gaul can’t sit back and goes to help eradicate the demons. He meets up with Shinku’s group and with Gaul found, they delegate Nanami’s group to find the flame dragon while they find the sky priestess’ abode. They hear fighting coming from the abode. Don’t worry. The sky priestess has everything under control cleaning up the mess.

Episode 10
Farine the priestess is huge! She explains when Skywhale is ill, the toxins turn into dark beings and if they pour out, they will wreak havoc upon the lands below. Farine clones herself into mini versions to guide the gang and help search for them. Shinku’s group is brought to the village of the star people (cosplay mermaids?) and most of them are ill thanks to the disease. When Gaul and Lief reunite with them and bringing weakened Aria in, the star people recognize her. Aria is their diva and an important person for the Star Festival. Apparently she went missing 2 days ago. More explanation of how the Skywhale inhales toxins and tainted air and purifies it inside its body. The song of the star people helps in the purification. But with them being sick and unable to sing, things are looking bad. Till Becky asks a question if only a certain people can sing to cure the illness. Well, as long as that person has a good soothing voice. Instantly everybody knew who the right candidate. Ricotta has brought her player along and plays a sample of Millhiore’s singing. You can see the healing effect! So it is decided, Shinku and Becky will go down to get the real deal here. Sharu, Yukikaze and Ricotta will stay here to protect Aria while the rest head out to destroy the disease. While the girls talk with the star people, suddenly this creepy kid pops up and starts attacking them with his disease. Yukikaze and Sharu are not match for him and got owned a couple of times. Seems he wants Aria to remember about her promise. When the last defence is down, he proceeds to be by Aria’s side and wants her to sing only for him. She recognizes him as Verde.

Episode 11
There is an explanation about humanoid demons that exist long ago. Verde could be its apostle. So the gang goes to find Aria while slashing demons along the way. When Aria wakes up, it’s time for flashback. Verde seems to be a chibi familiar by Aria’s side. Her singing continues to heal Skywhale and all its inhabitants. Because Aria had always wished to go to the earth below, Verde becomes obsessed in making her wish come true. So in some crystal room, Verde makes a wish with his power and that is when it corrupts and starts turning Skywhale ill. Aria is shocked to learn of this because this is not what she wanted. Verde is about to bring her down when Skywhale’s inhalation causes them to be blown away and separated. Aria didn’t have her memories and that is when she saw Gaul falling into the river and saved him. Now Gaul has found Verde as they both engage in brutal mortal combat. This is a diversion for Genoise to steal Aria away. Aria thinks that Verde will listen to her if she talks to him but Genoise is under orders from their boss to bring her to safety. Gaul tells Verde that he can bring them down if he changes his attitude. However Verde doesn’t believe in him. He doesn’t trust anybody else. Because long ago their kind tried to banish him even he did nothing wrong. He is going to put everyone sleep and make the world a safer place for himself. Too bad Verde can’t finish Gaul off because here comes Shinku to his aid. This means the rest of the gang and their entire army are here. Farine wants the Star Festival to begin its preparations. She turns Pega into its true form. What the heck is that? This piggy is a dragon and a unicorn?! Once Verde losses, Millhiore starts singing. Instantly it heals and purifies everything! So amazing! Even more amazing is how the entire song is just her going “Lalala~”!!! Now, all you star people sing along too! Yeah, the world’s biggest “Lalala~” choir!

Episode 12
Guess what? Millhiore’s song is also healing Verde and making him hard to keep up this form. Seeing the enemy in such a pitiful state, the guys want to save him (giving excuse there are lots of questions they want to ask him) but Sharu is the only one against this and wants the demon purged. Because she’s the only one and the minority, she gives in. Yeah. Democracy. Using their Hero Stones to further heal him, Aria and Verde get a good lecture from Gaul and Noir before reconciling and being true to their feelings. A cursed sword is purged from him and shatters. It ends with Verde returning to his chibi form but crystallized. It will take many years for him to recover. Aria then joins Millhiore in singing for the ultimate healing. As token for their heroism, Farine gives them her familiar. Although its true form is a ferocious griffin, so as not to scare us, it takes the form of a little cute bird (Angry Birds?). It takes a liking for Gaul but like guys who don’t want responsibility, it settles to Vert as substitute since she has the biggest bust. I can’t believe even mythical beasts can be perverts. Now it’s time to say goodbye. Gaul wants everyone to say goodbye to Aria but Nanami tells him he needs to do it himself since she saved him. Also, I think they want to see some sort of romance cooking up between them. Long distance relationship? As the heroes make their descend, they get another present from Skywhale as it drops little light balls like snow throughout the land. Don’t worry, they’re harmless. They won’t melt you clothes. Guarantee. And of course, this means the time has come for our heroes to leave for their own world. Time flies when you’re having fun, eh? Miss you. Come back again. See you soon. Yeah. We get it. Thankfully they land back on Earth safely because if they ever crash landed like how they did when they came to Flonyard, I bet humans are not going to help them but whip out their phones and start snapping pictures and upload it on social media sites. Yeah…

Doggone It Daze!
Shucks… To be honest, I actually have read online comments from here and there over the internet before I started watching this show. Many claim that this season is the most boring ever and sad to say I couldn’t agree more to that! Yup, indeed this season has been a total bore since many of the episodes felt like happy fillers. I mean, it is good that the people in this anime don’t fight each other like in real wars where real deaths occur. Heck, so boring that the previous 2 seasons had 13 episodes each and this time around, they are just short one episode! And they didn’t even play their usual war games! Not even a slightest hint of it. I know this breaks the boring pattern but isn’t that what this show is all about? Not really. So it feels like Shinku, Nanami and Becky just came to Flonyard just to visit their pals and play around (other than in the war games), which I think that is supposedly their visit because they are the heroes, right?

Personally, I thought the first few episodes that start it off were the more interesting parts of this entire season but even the arc of fighting demons in the dragon’s forest isn’t as half as interesting as the ones in the previous seasons. Really. Because they were up against a formidable enemy that we know little off and it was interesting in that aspect to see if they can really pull it off, in which they could because they’re the heroes and they have the numbers. Yes, seriously. And then subsequent episodes became so filler-like because how in the world with stories like Leo’s fighting marriage engagement tournament and saving the Moribito’s princess do anything to advance in the plot of the story or characters? They finally end it with the visit to the sick Skywhale and trying to cure its illness. Even if they put a badass Verde that could fight on par with our heroes, personally I still it is one big bore considering I know how it all is going to end. That itself took the excitement out of my watching and in a way decreases my attention that I am paying. Yeah, I have to admit that my mind starts to wander each time I watch an episode of this season.

Also very much lacking this season is the character development. Because there are too many characters in the first place and even the supporting ones are likeable enough. Therefore it goes without saying that for an anime with only 1 cour, there is no justice done to them seeing that they try to give each of these characters some sort of decent screen time but ultimately fails. Like Eclair who was supposed to be the greatest tsundere character of the series is sorely lacking this season. Not just her. Even the princesses of the nations feel very much lacking in appearance. I can say the same for the heroes from our world. The most we get is an insight on Adele, Valery, Isuka and Brioche’s past. Yeah, adding new characters this season like Sharu, Lief and Fie hardly turned up the excitement. Fie is dead, Sharu missing in between the fillers and Lief seems to be turned into a regular background character who seems to always be by Gaul’s side. All in all, it is just disappointing.

Alas, if you are hoping for some sort of romance, forget it. It was already bewildering that Sharu sent mixed signals to Shinku at the end of their first adventure at the dragon’s forest. You’d think they’d follow up on that. Maybe it is just to troll us. Yeah. Maybe. Perhaps all Sharu wants is to be friends. No need to be shy-shy girl. Or is there something in your heart that indicates you want to be more than friends? Because during the Skywhale adventure Sharu doesn’t seem so conscious being near Shinku. I might just be thinking a little too much… Just when we forget that there would be any romance, they hint us with Gaul and Aria. Again, are they trolling us? And the last scene back on Earth, Nanami hinting about love too? She didn’t blush. That guy did. I know all the girls love Shinku (I hope doggie girls won’t see Shinku as their master and that kind of love) but it’ll be just sad to see the friendship and nations torn apart thanks to love. So I think in a way it is great they rule out the romance part. It just doesn’t fit here. Not at this moment.

Therefore it is sad that we don’t know any much more of the demons that haunt this world than the characters themselves. It would have been good to learn a bit more about the cursed swords or whatever is corrupting cute little animals of the world and turning them into destructive demons. Unfortunately, it feels like an excuse too that our casts don’t know any more and thus maybe give our heroes a reason to fight something. I mean, how else can you have them unleash their powers when they have nothing to fight against, right? Can’t be practising among each other always, right? So with demons popping up and terrorizing the land, let’s just ask questions later and keep slashing them first. Yeah. We really don’t know about anything. Well, keep on researching. Therefore I am assuming that every darn living thing in this fantasy world is actually good. Just that some evil sword corrupted and turned them evil. Seems to be the trend, no?

What is more amusing this season is the mid-intermission. This time we see random characters being put in the outfits of clothes another character. It is interesting to see how different they look just because they don another outfit. And then there is one on Valery which just screams funny and disgusting… Really. I don’t want to ever see that picture ever again! Including that picture of Shinku cross-dressing! Never again! And who could forget the little fanservice that each season offers. This season is no different although I feel it is very much toned down. I don’t know if creatures or whatever dangers in this world has a penchant for eating clothes and turning girls naked. Heck, shouldn’t animals/furries be naked in the first place? And why do most power fights end up getting their armour and clothes ripped? Somebody should be complaining about the armour’s quality! Because the way I see it, no bodily injuries. Just the clothes get torn apart ‘nicely’.

Just like in previous seasons, when you have the biggest names in both singing and voice acting, it would be a waste for them just to do just one. And so like we have come to expect, Nana Mizuki sings the opening theme, No Limit and it sounds like your typical energetic lively piece that is on par with the previous seasons’ opening themes. Yui Horie on the other hand performs the ending theme, Stay With me and is a slower piece. The ending credits animation bugs me. I think it is supposed to be cute and fanservice altogether. Because we see the chibi form of Shinku, Gaul and Valery happily running and jumping with their mouths wide open all over the contours of the female characters in this series! It makes you go WTF?! It looks like they’re having a great time. But when they reach to the final girl, a sleeping Millhiore, they stop dead in their tracks and just watch her. Huh? Let sleeping dogs lie?

A sadly disappointing and boring season if I am going to sum up this series. Too bad it fell into that unfortunate trap whereby a series starts off great but declines with its sequels. Too many lovable characters but too little screen time is partially what killed it too. If you love furries so much, your stance might soften a little but I doubt it would change anything. I am not sure if a fourth season is in the midst of being planned but even if they are, I would still want to catch it because I am hoping it will save the entire series. But I am greatly lowering my expectations when it comes. Well, at least I know that although I didn’t have much fun watching the series, our heroes did have a fun and swell time at Flonyard. So all is not lost. At least technically ‘some people’ did enjoy something out of this series. In that case I won’t want to b*tch any further and let sleeping dogs lie. Cats, squirrels and rabbits too.

Junketsu No Maria

October 4, 2015

Everyone who has read old fairytales would have been told countless times that witches are evil and ugly creatures who use their magic to create chaos. But do you know that there was a witch who loved peace instead and tried to put an end to the feuding humans? I don’t blame you. History and stories of the old has never recognized nor recorded this fact. Hah… At least that is what I think when I watched Junketsu No Maria. As ironic as it can get, our titular character is not only a witch that loves peace, she is also named after the holy mother and also share a similar trait: A virgin. Something that most devout of Christians would find an insult to. At least for those living at such dark ancient times. Although this anime does not intend to test, challenge or even ripple the waters of the Christian faith, there may be some elements that question about God’s role and the likes so it is best if you decide to check this series out (whether you are Christian or not), please have an open mind at all times. You know how religion is such a touchy subject these days.

Episode 1
France and England are at war during the Middle Ages. Anne and her mother trek through the woods to find the hut of Maria the witch to fetch medicine for her sick grandma, Martha. Anne is an innocent young girl and she speaks with honesty as she converses with the old witch. She is worried about her father who is selected to participate in the upcoming war. Maria could only promise to watch over him. Maria’s owl familiar, Artemis (now transformed into her sexy human female version) stumbles in to ruin the mood, revealing Maria as a young sexy witch instead. Maria is not amused since this ruins the cool first impression she wants to give. After Anne leaves, a young lad, Joseph now visits her. He is here to tell her that he is joining in the war, much to Maria’s dismay because she hates all that fighting. She calls him an idiot but you can’t blame that kid for never living in a time when peace reigns. Maybe Maria can make that happen. Maria knows that his superior knows he came to visit her and if questioned, tell the Church she manipulated him to gain their forgiveness. Touched by her kindness, he kisses her hand. Hope nothing smells funny. As dawn breaks, all the drafted French men (a motley crew of them – I wonder if they are even properly trained) start trekking to the designated war destination. Joseph and Anne’s father meet war veteran, Galfa. As the monk rallies to the men about God being on their side, blah, blah, blah, he gets hit by an arrow! So much of God’s divine protection. The war begins as the English rains down arrows on the French troops. Casualties are mounting and it gets worse for the French’s side as the English’s reinforcements arrive. Now how the hell are they going to win against knights in shining armour armed with lances on horses? No wonder Anne’s dad is already resigned to his fate, apologizing that he can’t keep his promise to Anne he will come back. Joseph then makes a plea of wanting to see Maria just once. A pot falls from the sky. Maria warns them to cease fighting and summons a dragon to send both sides scattering. Artemis noting Joseph happy, lectures Maria about being a virgin and this doesn’t give her the right to impose her ideals on others. It is ironic that all this chaos is caused by a witch who is the embodiment of Christian teachings: A pure, untainted virgin. I don’t know what Maria is ranting about some historical figure, a girl who was betrayed and burnt at the stake. She believes they’ll treat her as a maiden of patriotism or something. Because Maria won’t lose to the Church, she would gladly give up her virginity to anyone. Even a dog. Really? I wonder if she knows what she is saying because it sounded like she doesn’t know that ‘s’ word.

Episode 2
Artemis’ true form is a succubus so she starts seducing the English captain and probably he had a very good time so the next morning he orders his troops to withdraw from the battlefield. Some of the monks are not pleased that Maria is behind this doing but they have to admit they have been saved from the English’s attack. Anne goes to see Maria to thank her for bringing back her father. Maria isn’t happy that Joseph has got the guts to show his face but he is here to thank her for saving them. After they leave, Artemis complains her ‘painful ass’. Must be one hell of a night, eh? However she got every guy except one. Yup, that guy was gay! She thinks homosexuality is the in-thing now. She suggests Maria make a male familiar but she won’t. Is it because she has never seen a male anatomy? She takes up the challenge and turns another stray owl into a young boy, Priapos. However he lacks that male anatomy. Artemis cannot believe this and tries to force Maria to go see what a guy’s thing looks like. This is going to take a while… But first, Maria stops another war by summoning a Cyclops. Then, time to make Priapos do his first male succubus job. At first he thought he is going to seduce this pretty lady. Turns out to be a macho gay man! Oh sh*t! But that man doesn’t care as long as he can ‘stick it in’! Double sh*t! Artemis then throws Maria inside to solve her problem. Who wants to go first?! Maria busts out via riding a serpent. That is when she is hit by the light of Archangel Michael as warning.

As they head back, they notice Anne’s village being pillaged by soldiers turned bandits. Maria is disappointed of the people’s ugly hearts. She cannot let this slip as this is the first village who accepted her as a witch. Maria drops in and warns those bandits to get out. But as she uses her magic, Michael’s light strikes her. The light also temporary blinds the bandits. Maria is mad that God never do anything to help these people despite praying for salvation. That is why she is trying to help others. Michael tells her, there are other villages being pillaged right now. However Michael says this is the law of their world and that Maria is the one disrupting the flow. The villagers pick up the weapons ready to kill the bandits but Maria tells them to stop as they are no longer a threat. Michael warns they will be once they can see again. Everyone listens to Maria. Michael takes Maria away as she adds that people’s prayers are not requests or commands. These are concern of men and heaven does not meddle in it. That is why Maria is the one disrupting the flow of the world. Maria still believes if everyone followed her way, there won’t be fighting in the first place. Besides, she is a witch and doesn’t need any sermon from God. Maybe Maria got a little too confident to attack Michael but nothing happens. Michael gives Maria warning or would she rather ascend to heaven right now. Joseph and Anne are drawn by the light head over as Joseph fires his arrow at Michael for her to let go of Maria. The next one will be at her head.

Episode 3
Joseph is in shock to learn he just shot Michael. But he is forgiven since he didn’t know. They plead to Michael about Maria’s good deeds. But when told Maria will be punished, Joseph raises his arrow at her because they love Maria the witch. Isn’t it part of the Ten Commandments, love thy neighbour? The heavens start to light up and it is a sign that they have decided to grant Maria clemency. But with a condition that she is never to use magic in front of people. Also, the moment she loses her virginity, she will lose her powers. Michael summons Ezekiel as her representative to watch over her. Ezekiel can also take a form of a little owl but this only makes her an easy bully victim for Artemis and Priapos. Priapos is still frustrated he is lacking that guy thing and his libido is screaming to get it all out. Back to serious discussion, Maria asks Ezekiel to go stop the war because it will be okay if it is through Church’s power rather than a witch, right? That same answer of heaven only watches and never intervenes. Joseph has always wondered what a world of peace would be like and although it is unfortunate heaven can’t help, is it too much to ask for a sign or omen? He does not believe Maria’s actions are evil and worthy of divine punishment. Yet another war between English and France. Ezekiel keeps a close tab and warns Maria not to intervene. But once she confirms that Michael cannot always be watching her 24/7, when Ezekiel is not looking, she summons a monster cat to break up the fight! Ezekiel is appalled that she did it but hey, she didn’t see that, right? Maybe it just fell out of the sky.

Word of Maria’s doing goes around so Bernard the monk wants to have a word with her. Joseph brings Maria through the city as she is appalled to see a pig being judged and sentenced to death for trampling over others. They meet drunk Galfa who thinks Maria is his girlfriend and tells her to satisfy this kid. Maria meets Bernard alone. He is bewildered she shares the same name as their holy mother. Maria doesn’t remember how she got. She already knew herself as that. Bernard is willing to put a good work to the bishop if she confesses her sins. Her actions are unorthodox but she has followers and he can’t overlook the fact she calls herself a witch. Confession is the only way to go. But what’s in it for her? She’ll gain great love and a peaceful life. What’s in it for them? The Church doesn’t act out of self interest. They offer their hand to those who seek God’s love. Maria realizes she should not be hesitating. She is a witch and doesn’t give a damn about God or heaven. Send her regards to your other Maria. Bernard would like to request a confession for he has spoken to a witch. For now, he suggests letting Maria be and lending her aid to the villages. There is no need for drastic measure till she becomes a problem. Late that night, Maria is visited by a being known only as Cernunnos. It must be the umpteenth time Maria has been asked what she would like to achieve with her actions. Simple. She hates wars. And if she doesn’t like what is happening before her, she can’t let it go. Cernunnos tells her the harsh reality about pain and death. Living things inflict pain upon others before they die. When new life is born, the cycle repeats. Her efforts are futile. Well, you won’t know if you don’t try. But to Cernunnos, it looks like the same pattern is just repeating itself. He will watch her with great pleasure.

Episode 4
Rogue soldiers are trying to pilfer a village and rape its women. The villagers put up resistance but it is not enough. They’ve got guns! That is when a wyvern appears to scare them away. Yeah, thank Maria. Ezekiel has her eyes covered by Priapos! Can’t report what she can’t see, eh? It is no surprise Ezekiel is screaming her head off at Maria but she doesn’t give a damn as she is curious about the gun she found. Boom! Don’t let it frighten you. Maria is visited by an English witch, Viv. On behalf of the complaining guilds, she wants Maria to stay out of the war because there is gold to be made the longer it lasts. Viv even thinks of drafting Maria to be part of the team to earn money but when Maria says she isn’t doing this for the money but for peace, Viv chides her for being naïve. Without war, it is the reason why those soldiers tried to rob a village. Isn’t she just forcing her ideals on others? When Viv learns Maria is a virgin, she tries to persuade her about the thrills of sex. First time is painful but once you get passed that… Is Maria curious? Is Maria interested? She seems panicky. Ezekiel shutting her ears? Can it work? Viv wants to take her to find a man now but since Maria needs time to prepare her heart, watching will just do. Viv sees Priapos and thinks he is the perfect start. Imagine to her horror when she finds the missing goods. Disappointed? She wants Maria to finish this the next time she comes.

As Ezekiel is forced to deliver medicine to Martha with Priapos, they pass a nearby village that was ravaged by a plague. They get into an argument especially about Maria being selective on who to save. Why didn’t she save this village then? Oh, really? Why didn’t God? After they deliver the medicine to Martha, the old lady starts to speak of the fine days with Maria. However Ezekiel is not pleased. Despite Martha praying to God and yet she uses a witch’s medicine and thanks her? Martha tells a story that before Anne was born, a nearby village was being ravaged by an epidemic. Fearing it would spread here, they prayed to God day and night but it was Maria who came to their aid with medicine. Because of that, not a single person fell ill. Thanks to that, Anne was able to be conceived in this world. How can she not be thankful? Don’t get the wrong idea. Martha is still loyal to God but in this complicated world, one needs to keep an open mind. Maria visits the abandoned village and the truth is she wanted to help but the villagers chased her away and do not want help from a witch. They paid the price for their blind faith. Ezekiel wonders if Maria would become the next God if people desire her. Well, the best way is to ask her yourself. When Bernard receives news that the last survivor of that ravaged village has died, he wants his deeds to be remember because that is true faith. As there are rumours the forest around that area is related to Maria, he decides to send a message to the noble lord about an upcoming battle.

Episode 5
Bernard goes to see his uncle, Guillaume over Maria’s increasing influence. As she brings chaos to the battlefield, the king has no choice but to raise taxes for the war the longer it holds out. It is suggested that Maria only attacks the English side. Bernard has a friend that will keep them inform of England’s plan and will use a messenger to relay messages to Maria. Although this might seem to increase Maria’s reputation, but this is only because the people see her as a need during the war. Once peaceful time reigns, she will be no longer needed and forgotten. And then they will step in at the end to rid the English and ward off Maria. Joseph becomes the messenger to deliver messages to Maria although mostly feel like petty quarrels. As the French mercenaries under Yvain are getting paid in advance ahead of the war, his troops celebrate. But Galfa is caught with his pants down. He was too drunk and ended up bedding a knight’s lady, Eugenie. It is no surprise Jean de Drouant and his men beat him up but since this will affect both sides, Bernard suggests holding a duel to uphold the honour of both sides. What are the odds since Galfa has a broken arm? Joseph is worried that Galfa will die and he has dreams to achieve but Galfa tells him off that he might do anything to achieve his dream but this is what he has chosen to live his life. Dilemma ridden Joseph seeks Maria’s advice about his friend going to die and he is chosen to be the witness of the duel. He wants to know how she keeps her cool and resolve. Maria disagrees with that because the people she saves usually turn on themselves and there is no end to the conflicts each time she intervenes. The biggest puzzle is how to end the fighting for good but what is most important is that she decided on her own. So duel day comes. Looks very unfair. Jean on his horse in his armour and sword. What does Galfa have? That helmet and small shield won’t do him any good. Besides, his fellow mercenaries are mocking him to die fast since they bet against him. Jean like the noble knight he is decides to fight him at the same level. On his feet, without armour. But he won’t use only an arm, won’t he? The duel begins and it is definitely one sided. Galfa takes a beating while Maria is reduced to just watching, wondering if she should just intervene. When the fight is seemingly over and Jean is about to win, sly Galfa uses his broken arm (which actually isn’t) as he has hidden a metal shield there. He turns the tables on Jean and beats him up with his own sword! Bernard signals the end of the match to declare Galfa the winner. Was this all part of his plan? Galfa is now rich enough to repay Joseph. Jean killed himself as he couldn’t bear the humiliation of his peers mocking and Eugenie disappeared. Like Galfa cares.

Episode 6
Maria once again drives away the English by summoning her dragon and giant mermaid. She didn’t even bother hiding using her magic! But did Ezekiel really see her summon those? Joseph sees Galfa and brings him to his master, Guillaume who wants a word with him. Galfa explains why he shared his rewards with others from that duel. Bernard was listening and after confirming his faith in God, he hopes he could help save Maria and kill her if she continues her sinful ways. Joseph didn’t like what he hears and tries arguing about Maria saving many lives but Bernard silences him about his faith in believing in a witch. Plus, if Maria desires to end the war, the will be no more need of her when peace reigns. Joseph does not like his new mission one bit but he has to go deliver a message to Maria about the upcoming war at Normandy. Joseph brings Galfa to see Maria for himself though he doesn’t mince his words about the need to kill her later. Maria then whisks Joseph away to talk. Since planes weren’t invented at that time, the flight must be a real scary one for him, eh? With a heavy heart, Joseph tells of the upcoming war and the big decisive one that will end it all. That is why he is telling Maria not to interfere this time. Anne’s dad laments he is being called to fight again. Anne is not worried and will go seek Maria’s help when she goes to get grandma’s medicine. But father isn’t too sure this time. Is it right for them to rely on a witch always? Anne goes to Maria’s house but only Ezekiel is there. She has made wreaths for them all and hopes she could do her a favour by telling Maria to keep her father safe during the war. Ezekiel won’t give in at first but I guess Anne’s cutie begging has her relent. But only just to tell her.

After happy Anne leaves, Michael appears before Ezekiel! Oh sh*t! Somebody slacking on the job? You can tell Michael is not pleased by the way she lectures and reminds Ezekiel about her duty. However Ezekiel is also in doubt as she asks if it is wrong for someone in this world to listen and fulfil wishes that Heaven only hears. Michael says humans are limited in their abilities. There are many things they don’t understand and thus there is no choice for them but to accept the kind of world they live in. Oh, one final reminder: Should Maria use her magic again, she will be returned to heaven by Ezekiel’s own hands. Bernard’s assistant, Gilbert is about to relay more info about the English soldiers but Bernard starts laughing hysterically that Maria is a virgin! He looks like he’s being possessed by the devil! Artemis cannot understand why Maria is lying around and taking no action when the war is about to begin. After all the scouting she has done and now she is doing nothing? The French side ambushes and flanks the English. Viv and her English witches are gleefully watching it all but Viv feels something is wrong. Where is Maria? Ezekiel remembers after being told off by Michael, she got scared sh*t and went off to search for Maria. She spotted her with Joseph and eavesdropped on them. Maria knew Joseph was being made to inform her. Joseph wants to help Maria fulfil and share her dream by her side but she finds that cruel. Ezekiel finally relays Anne’s message to Maria but that is just that. She won’t let her go to the war since that is her purpose. Wrong choice of words? Because Maria’s mind is made up now as she flies into the battlefield. Artemis and Priapos tie Ezekiel up in a sack but she manages to break out and go after them. You don’t want to be f*cked by Michael again, do you?

Episode 7
The English are being routed. Galfa thinks they won’t be making much money and suggests joining the main war. Joseph is about to get his first kill but gets cold feet and lets his enemy run away. The English dude is grateful but is shortly killed by Joseph’s fellow man. Just shocking, eh? Just as the French are gaining the upper-hand, here comes Maria in her usual ways to tell them to stop or else. She even gives the English a chance to escape. Everyone has no choice but to abide till a disgruntled Englishman fires back. Then all hell breaks loose again. Maria is going to use her magic when Michael turns Ezekiel into her spear and is moments before striking her down. Viv saw it coming and tries to warn her but too late. Maria was struck down. Viv becomes frantic in trying to look where Maria fell. Meanwhile the battle rages on as the English push forward. Guillaume panics as they come closer and wonder where Yvain’s troops are because they’re supposed to be protecting him. Guillaume orders to fire canons at them despite knowing there are allies in the field. Well, he paid good money for those canons. Time to earn their keep. When Yvain finds out, he orders his men to quickly return because they won’t get paid at this rate. He blames Galfa for this idea and that he will not get a single gold after this. Galfa slits his throat! Lolotte cannot believe he did that but as he tries to explain himself, a canon blew off his left arm. Several soldiers find Maria. They blame her for everything and are about the get their revenge. Artemis shoos them away but it is not enough till Viv comes kicking their asses. Meanwhile Ezekiel must be scared sh*t. She cannot answer Michael why she missed hitting Maria on purpose. Guillaume sees the advancing English and has no choice but to call for a retreat.

Maria wakes up in the place of Edwina, Viv’s witch friend. Viv lets Maria talk to the other witches about their differing views on the war as she needs to hear opinions of others. Maria is steadfast in her stance to stop the war even if it means going against Michael. As her pitchfork is missing, Artemis and Priapos go to look for it. Thankfully it is in Joseph’s hands as he sees Ezekiel sitting dejectedly alone. She tells him about her dilemma. She told Michael she doesn’t know how she feels about Maria anymore and was told she is her spear and spears do not think or have emotions. The next time, she will strike down Maria. Ezekiel believes she made a mistake but Joseph didn’t think so. Everyone makes mistake. He realizes he only brought more grief to Maria. The problem is to face Maria now because Ezekiel thinks she will be mad for shooting her down but Joseph knows it wasn’t done by her own will and Maria will understand. The owls are here to pick them up to see Maria. First a big emotional hug and sorry from Ezekiel. Then Maria thanks her for saving her. Bernard heard lots of complains about Maria’s doing and that she may not be on their side. Gilbert wondered why he went all his way to save Galfa. Because that guy has a grudge against Maria and knows of a plan to deal with her. Yeah, friendship is a wonderful thing. Anne is glad that her father has returned. She calls out to grandma daddy is back but there is no answer.

Episode 8
Maria returns home but sees a clan of Yoda orcs outside her house. They are here to get some medicine for those injured in the war (not sure if it is with humans or their own kind). As they leave, they claim they saw a young girl (Anne) coming and desperately calling out to her. Maria sends Priapos to go check it out. Martha is doing fine as Gilbert has delivered medicine from Bernard. But Anne is not happy. She tells Priapos that she heard Gilbert saying it was Maria’s ‘poison’ that was making grandma sick. So who is telling the truth? Joseph is tasked to deliver something to Galfa who is now the chief of Guillaume’s Red Army. Galfa questions Joseph over Maria’s betrayal because he thought he had convinced her to stay put. Joseph thinks Maria’s intervention was because she decided to stay true to her beliefs. Galfa thinks that it is because of that they ended up losing a winning battle. He also heard rumours that everyone is now blaming Maria for this loss. It is best for her to lie low now. When Priapos reports to Maria, she cannot help feel upset that her medicine is being labelled as poison. She wants to go clear things up but Artemis advises her not to as the village has lost trust in her. It took an emotional Ezekiel to calm her down. She’s saying that everything happened because Maria is a heretic. She is reminded of the village that refused her. Since she lives a life where people punish her for the slightest mistakes, yet she still acts purely based on emotions. She should have realized it by now. All this would not have happened had she listened. If she keeps acting childish and swayed by emotions, she’ll end up alone. Joseph believes Maria’s doing is not wrong. Even if the world is against her, he will always be by her side so please continue to walk the path she believes. Maria hugs him before realizing how embarrassing it is.

A soldier confronts Galfa and believes he killed Yvain. So he is going to kill him too? Well, he thought it would be easy now that Galfa lost an arm. Remember that package? It contains a metal arm. Oh man, this is going to be sweet. Easy victory. Artemis teases Maria for doing it with Joseph in the woods since she took her time. That classic blushing-cum-denying face… Cernunnos visits Maria again and warns her it is going to begin. People are going to remove her acts from their life and she will be easily forgotten. Again, the umpteenth question he asks about Maria wanting to end this war. He invites her to be their companion but Artemis shoos him away. Bernard visits the village and speaks to Martha. As usual, he calls her speedy recovery this a miracle of God. Then when he mentions about her association with Maria, she is made to confess. What choice does this old lady have but to sever ties with Maria in the name of God? Anne is such a sad girl. Bernard continues to give his smooth speech about Maria wanting chaos and thus her existence unlike humans who strive for peace and free of conflict. They can do this by believing in their faith and forgetting Maria. He assigns Gilbert to assist the village in their faith. Galfa is on his way to see Maria. Apparently Bernard told him about Maria losing her magic when she loses her virginity. Guess who is going to do that job? He has prepared some concoction for him and leaves it to him on how he wants to do it. It would also serve a good revenge. When Galfa notes Bernard’s devilish side, this is the best reply ever: There is a little devil inside everyone’s heart and that is why we need God.

Episode 9
After her familiars leave the house to bring back some help, Galfa releases a gas that weakens Maria. She tries to summon her magic and could only bring forth a mini phoenix. But that wasn’t enough to stop him. Priapos and Ezekiel return to help save Maria but when she cannot use her magic anymore, Galfa dances happily on his way out. Gilbert and the soldiers prepare to storm in to apprehend her so Maria tells Priapos and Ezekiel to take her pitchfork and run. When Joseph passes by Galfa who didn’t say much, he finds something amiss. Maria’s home is burnt down and the witch is taken away for trial. Next day they see the monks making the villagers confess before Maria that they saw her summon demons. Bernard makes Martha show her unwavering faith. Maria can tell Martha is sad and hurt so she allows her to throw a stone at her. Ezekiel blames herself for letting Galfa knows about Maria’s secret but Joseph believes Maria’s purity is still intact because had she totally lost her magic, her familiars would not have retrained human form. He has Artemis and Ezekiel go seek Viv’s help while Priapos is to observe Maria who is being held at the monastery. Since she will be put on trial, there will not be branded a heretic immediately and this should buy them some time. Joseph then speaks to Guillaume that he wants to save Maria but was scolded about the trouble he will bring. He is told to forget about her and prepare for war since he heard the English are preparing for another attack. Later Guillaume talks to Galfa about not finishing his job because Maria’s purity is still intact. Galfa says he was tasked to make sure her magic didn’t work and not screw with her.

Viv is on her way with Artemis and Ezekiel when Michael pops up before her! Why is she going to save Maria? Because she is her friend. Viv doesn’t care who Michael is and harvests all the weapons from the English army to strike her. You think that will work? Bernard talks to Maria that he finds it curious that despite the doctor examined and confirmed her purity, she lost her magic ability. He learns of Maria encouraging Martha to throw a stone so that her family could be spared. When Bernard starts talking about God, Maria talks back about him preaching gospel that he hardly understands. Because if God really appeared, he would have solved everything instantly. But now it looks like it is better to rely on themselves instead relying on a silent God. This makes Bernard rant about the existence and non-existence of God. If you don’t understand all that he is saying, don’t worry because Maria also don’t know what the f*cks he is blabbing. Her reason is simple. All they need to live in this world is to be able to stand on their own 2 feet. Bernard is so enlightened by Maria’s thoughts that he kisses her foot! OMFG! So disgusting! Don’t think there are no witnesses. Aside God, Priapos and Gilbert see this unholy act.

Episode 10
Viv doesn’t care who Michael is and continues to attack. She tells Ezekiel about why God doesn’t help humans who seek and pray for His love. The answer is simple: God doesn’t know what love is! So stop trying to rule over them! Viv must be proud she said that but that slight distraction was enough for Michael to turn Ezekiel into her spear and stab her! Michael tells Ezekiel that it was not Viv’s words that made her strike but the fact Viv pointed her sword at the Heavenly Father. She gives an example about humans and wheat. Will humans ever listen to wheat if they could tell them when they will be sowed? Luckily Viv still lives although she is heavily injured as she recuperates in Edwina’s house. Guillaume is fed up of Joseph thinking about Maria so he tells him to fight for him in this upcoming war with the English and he’ll personally settle this Maria thing for him. I don’t think Joseph is convinced but he is going to do his part and return from his war to save her. For once we see Joseph getting mad. But overturning tables won’t make Galfa show up. Lolotte tells him to find him at the battlefield. He’ll definitely be there. Maria is under Gilbert’s inquisition. She will not seek the Lord’s forgiveness and continue her ways. Gilbert reports her failed confession to Bernard but he seems to be not paying attention like as though he has lost interest and lets Gilbert do whatever he wants. Artemis tries to convince Edwina to come help rescue Maria but Edwina is scared and doesn’t want to risk being killed by Michael. All she wants is a peaceful life. Ezekiel hoping to find answers, visits Martha and Anne. They are in great pain for hurting Maria especially Anne who is now thinking what the church did to Maria was totally wrong.

It seems with Gilbert’s power, Maria’s burning at the stake comes early. It will be tomorrow. Priapos desperate for help, reports this to Artemis and is even willing to lose his virginity to Edwina for it! You’re scaring her without a dick, kid! Sorry guys, Edwina is too scared to help. You’ll have to do this by yourselves. Ezekiel visits Maria and tells her about her visit to Anne. She is still puzzled that all this could be solved had she just said those words. It‘s only words. But Maria being the staunch believer in her beliefs, knows better she can’t no matter what. Maria must have the whole night to think why she is doing this. Was she doing this for the praise instead of really helping the people? Yeah well, she can’t be as shocked to see the villagers coming to see her burning at the stake. Some are so happy and giving applause! Meanwhile Guillaume leads his troops to storm the English castle. It looked like the French isn’t making any progress with their puny attacks. I mean, how can they bring down a castle wall?! They can. But it takes time to load this super cannon! And it only takes one hit. Once the wall is down, the invasion begins. Before Maria could be torched and her owl familiars barge in to save her, Edwina crashes down. She blames Maria for making it easy for witches everywhere to be witch hunt. Does she want other witches to be harmed? Although still trembling in fear, she keeps the guards at bay with her magic as they try to kill them. The owls free Maria and off they go into the sky. But Maria doesn’t want to go back home yet. She wants to head to the battlefield. Joseph is being ambushed by Galfa. Looks like they have more than just serious talking to do.

Episode 11
Gilbert remembers one of his informants. He now realizes she is a witch (Edwina’s cat). This means the medicine he got is also from her. This means Maria’s temporary paralysis (how Galfa did her in) was one of Edwina’s medicine and they never thought humans would go this far to use them. When Gilbert confronts Bernard about this, he doesn’t deny it was medicine from witches. This means he was associated with them for a very long time? Well, he thinks everything that can be used to make this world a better place, will be used. Joseph is mad as he fights Galfa but the latter is also mad thinking about Joseph’s sheltered life and never had to worry about food or shelter. Once Maria crashes into the battlefield, she quickly goes to find Joseph. Good thing she did it fast because he is no match for skilled Galfa. Maria is not happy that this is the umpteenth time he told her he was against war but yet again he rushed off to fight. Joseph gets even more upset now that Galfa wants to really finish them off. Thanks to everyone cooperating, Joseph deals the winning blow. But he didn’t stop there. He is filled with so much rage that he continues to punch Galfa! It took Maria several calls to make him stop. Lolotte waltzes in like as though everything was a joke to take Galfa away. Enough for today, boys. If their chief gets killed, nobody is going to collect their reward. Yeah, she’s even singing a sick fighting song…

Meanwhile Anne is at Maria’s devastated home. Cernunnos speaks to her as she feels guilty for what she has done for Maria. He tells her to forget and the pain will go away but Anne will not and tells Cernunnos not to drag Maria onto his side (since he claims Maria is not on human’s side). Maria updates Joseph on what happened to her. He feels he does not deserve to stay by her side since he gave in to his rage. He realizes he is weak and only Guillaume’s puppet. Maria had to slap him for beating himself up. I mean, she came all the way here instead of home for one obvious reason, right? To save him! But he still considers himself weak and unable to do things. She tells him to just do it. Stay with her and support her. Doesn’t this sound like a proposal? Joseph has decided. He apologizes for not seeing her more than a witch. He confesses he loves her and proposes to marry her. Maria’s face lights up so bright that not only it reconstructs her house back to normal and heal their wounds, this believe in herself has return her magic. Huge overgrowth envelope the entire battlefield. Maria takes to the skies with Joseph and rounds up all the weapons from the soldiers’ hands. With a loud happy voice, she thanks everyone. Every single soul. Because she has found her happiness. Then she happily summons all her monsters to scare them away. Maria is then lifted up further into the skies. Michael has summoned her. Oh, Maria happily introduces her new boyfriend!!! Such a happy witch!

Episode 12
So what does Maria have to say for all this? She believes that everyone should just find their own happiness and that way the balance of the world would balance out itself. Well, it doesn’t sound like the answer Michael is looking for. She is going to kill Maria but backup arrives. Artemis, Priapos, Viv, Edwina, the English witches and their summoned monsters are supporting Maria. Looks like they don’t give a hoot about God or heaven. They’re sick of hearing this order thingy because it makes you angels look like puppets. True to Maria’s spirit, she doesn’t want them to fight. I guess they’re not listening. Power battle! No different than humans, eh? Meanwhile Gilbert confronts Bernard to go on a witch hunt but he seems more preoccupied in writing his scrolls that contains ‘new teachings’. Bernard is obsessed with this new idea they can create a new world without God’s protection. Michael of course bests her opponents. She wants Ezekiel to become her spear and kill them. Surprisingly Ezekiel resists her. As she has spent time living with them, she has decided Maria and co are good people. With the heavens lighting up, Michael will review Maria’s doing. She projects herself in everyone’s thoughts to have them opine about Maria. Some call her a pest, some aren’t sure and there are those who are 100% behind her. Bernard is most shocked seeing Michael before him. He cannot accept this because it contradicts his new learning. He is going to strangle Michael???!!! Nut case! He got turned into sand upon contact. Martha’s testimony of Maria has her view Maria as an important person in her life and is sorry for stoning her. Finally, what has Joseph has to say? He once met a hermit who told him about world peace. But living in a world rife with war, that is only a dream. He never did anything to change it unlike Maria. She made him realize that he wanted to make a difference. From now on he wants to fight on her side.

Maria also wants a say. She’ll continue doing what she does whether she has magic or not. If Michael wants to kill her then go ahead. She has an idea how heaven is feeling with everything happening right now. So for this once, she will forgive God! Amazing?! So amazing that Michael is laughing! The heavens lighting up again means they have accepted her as part of the world’s natural order. Of course the heavens will not heed Maria’s words and will continue to watch her. Each time Maria does her thing, Michael will be there to stop her. Michael relays to everyone that Maria’s judgment has been decided. She will be everyone’s good neighbour. Remember the commandments, love thy neighbour. Because Ezekiel has gone against heaven, she is no longer fit to serve there. She will become human in this world but she may choose which mother she wants to be reborn from. Everyone is looking at Maria… She doesn’t want to take this responsibility but with everybody begging her, I guess it’s decided. Hope she comes out a healthy baby. In the aftermath, Edwina continues to stay put in her place. She is still scared because she thinks witches are not being forgiven yet. Viv thinks of going back to England and getting a job. Then maybe she’ll try to bring peace to the world. Joseph resigns as Guillaume’s messenger. The latter isn’t shocked but notes he has grown stronger like his father. Bernard’s scrolls are burnt away. Maria departs with Joseph to live in the human world. Before she goes, Cernunnos talks to her. She thanks him for his answer to Michael. He considered himself the past and Maria the future. One day Maria will be like him but she still has a purpose. This world is built upon each and every living thing. Not even Michael can escape from this process. As long as Maria remembers him, he will not disappear. So please do not make her something of the past. Maria invites him to join them but he will return to the forest and with permission, use Maria’s old house. Maria and Joseph now live in Anne’s village (the owl familiars as their pet?). They are happy to welcome them and they’re just in time for the harvest festival. England returned to their homeland and there was no more war. Everybody lived happily ever after! All thanks to a witch.

War Veterans, Peace Virgins
Hmm… Despite being quite a good anime, something in the end feels lacking. I am not saying that the end is bad. It is a good one. Satisfying. Ties up everything nicely. But somehow it feels like it lacks the oomph to make me marvel and consider this an epic anime. This an epic anime? When you have God and his archangel seemingly like the ‘antagonist’, how can you not consider this to be not epic? Anyhow, it is still a good ending for everyone because eventually with peace reigning over the lands, Maria doesn’t have to risk her neck in the battlefield and in turn risk being killed by her usual stalker- oops, I mean the archangel. Hmm… Maybe that is what feels lacking. The sudden resolve and peace to end the story makes it feel like a happily ever after fairytale. Well, isn’t it?

Without a doubt after hearing arguments about if God actually cares about his creations and the fact if he knows anything about love, there is going to be divides and differing opinions from all sides. I hope it will be a fruitful one so I hope to give my 2 cents worth of it too. Although I am not a very religious guy (can I consider anime as my religion?), what is being said about God and his angels is neither right nor wrong. In fact, both could be correct. After all, who are we puny beings to try and understand Him? Perhaps it is something that goes beyond science or even explanation in words that we do not comprehend how He thinks. But as far as the setting in this anime is concerned, it is of course ironic that a witch is trying to make pace while the very being that people devoutly pray to day and night does nothing and watches over them. Because peace would have reigned for a very long time and war never to even start if He wanted to set things straight. But He did not. How do you explain this?

But the funny thing is that if people are left to decide to do what they want even if this means killing themselves, going by that same logic, I do not see why Michael should stop Maria from trying to save a handful of lives. I mean, this is her will, right? This is her choice, right? Why does she label Maria from trying to interfere and disrupt the flow of nature if considering and assuming Maria is part of that flow? Just that she just doesn’t want to see people fighting. So if Maria continues her ways as usual, don’t you think this is also part of the flow of the natural order? Because by obstructing Maria and letting humans fight, doesn’t this mean God loves watching humans kill each other? Now that the heavens have declared Maria as a good neighbour, I suppose nobody is going to have the guts to go against that decree. So she is safe to come out of her hiding and assimilate with the humans.

Therefore it is a big irony, pity and shame that Maria who desires peace, goes all her way out to do what she believes is right, only for her doings to be backfired. All because everybody only recognizes her status as a witch and only praises her when she does things that turns out favourable. Humans being humans can be cruel and forgetful as seen here. Each time Maria goes to do her usual stuffs, only to be hindered and obstructed. You can’t help feel her efforts in danger of going to waste and you want to root for her so bad that you might go to the extreme lengths in labelling Michael and God as the bad guys! OMG! Is this considered as heresy? I know there is a limit to how much Maria can help but at least she is doing something instead of nothing. It might not make a dent in the world. It might not make any difference in the big wide world. It might not even be remembered for the generations and times to come. But at least she does make an impact and matters to those that she got involved with. Even if everybody is against her, not everyone is. As seen in Joseph, Martha and Anne who are considered her staunch believers, you can’t blame them for siding with Maria because she gets things done and has the results to show for. To these people, it is not who you are but what you do to make a difference.

All in all, Maria is not perfect but everyone forgets that aside from being a witch, she is the same living thing like everything else on this planet. Even more so, she is considered more human than most humans would be. All she wants is love happiness. But even if she can’t change the world or her area, at least she found happiness for herself. It’s like lowering your goals and screw the world, eh? Which isn’t a bad thing because how can you make the world a happier place if you yourself aren’t happy? So I feel that it is a good thing to start small and achieving smaller things before proceeding to bigger stuffs, one step at a time. The most important and biggest fact is that Maria believes in doing what she thinks is right regardless of what others tried to tell and impose on her. She might be lost at certain times but eventually she stays true to herself. This is what I think the anime is trying to tell us all in real life too.

Ezekiel was a pretty amusing and fun character. She was like a joker and comic relief seeing as the newbie and freeloader who only knows how to give lip service, she often gets ‘bullied’ and even easily ‘conned’ whenever Maria uses simple loopholes to prevent her from witnessing the use of her magic. And then when she starts hanging out with Maria a little too long and observing her actions firsthand, she starts to fall into a big dilemma that she might start experiencing nervous breakdown anytime. It wasn’t so fun seeing her anymore…

Artemis and Priapos are good familiars but I wish that they would do something more but I suppose that would mean usurping Maria’s role and overshadowing her. So they’ve been relegated to just her sidekicks with a little quirky habit whenever they’re not in any mission like Artemis’ penchant to tease Maria about her virginity (she must really like to see her blushing reactions) and Priapos desperately trying to cross over his manhood. I wonder if he can since he still lacks that important genital. Viv strikes as an interesting character as she takes interest in Maria’s actions. But before I knew it, suddenly Viv becomes Maria’s friend. I don’t know when this happened but I guess it is better than being foes. Oddly, if witches lived so long and assuming Viv and her English witches watching human battles for so long while Maria has been doing her war disrupting efforts for equally the same amount of time, why only now does Viv take notice of her? Maybe she did. Just that they never talked and when they first do, it was fascinating enough for Viv to take a liking for her.

It was obvious that Joseph took a liking from Maria from the start. It might take a while for Maria after a few prodding from Joseph but I guess it is more fun for them to be in denial and only confess it all in the end. So do you see the power of love triumphing in the end?! So with everyone putting their hopes on Maria to give birth to Ezekiel, I figure that means she is going to lose her virginity to Joseph, right? Unless she becomes the second Mother Mary giving birth to Jesus Christ. Well… I can imagine this awesome family… An ex-messenger and his wife who is an ex-witch. They have a daughter who was an ex-servant of heaven as well as a couple of owls as pets. A goddaughter and a godmother grandma as extension family. If the witches took a pledge of sisterhood, Viv and the rest could have been Maria’s sisters. Awesome family indeed.

Other minor and supporting characters do play their role and bit in the development of the climax of the story despite it feels like they make less of an impact overall. Like those English witches who are just watching from the sidelines and then all of a sudden in the final episode they want to play hero and gang up against Michael after they spend a little time bonding with Maria. Edwina is commendable for her bravery despite always being scared and pessimistic. At least she is being realistic. But when it comes down to what is most important, she’ll do what is right. Albeit still scared sh*t. I thought Cernunnos would be Michael in disguise. The archangel taking another form just to troll us and try a different approach to change Maria’s mind. In the end he was entirely a different being and his role in this anime was only reserved in the last moments as one of the testimonies for Maria. Well, if words could change the outcome and world like that. Galfa must be the biggest loser because he lost everything and at the end of it all, his testimony to Michael is he doesn’t want any more to do with her. He’s had it.

It is hard to say if the monks are the real villains because based from history and our stereotypes, the closest aides to God can also turn out to be the biggest devil. So we see Bernard’s actions that make us wonder if he is genuinely good or otherwise. Some of his intentions are sly and it is surprisingly shocking that after his inquisition with Maria, he seemingly lost all interest in her. So he lets Gilbert take over his role? But from what we have seen from Bernard, he remains the biggest hypocrite ever because despite preaching to others about God and the evil of witches, he himself has been associated with them for his own purposes and recently seeing that unholy act of kissing Maria’s feet! Is he considering her his new Maria? He reaps what he sows eventually. The one who is supposed to be closest to God pushes Him far away even when a miracle appears before his eyes. Needless to say, he paid with his life. May God bless his soul.

For some reason, I thought the character designs remind me of those from Dragonball but it is actually only in Maria that I see this. Maybe it is because I am just fresh off from my Nanatsu No Taizai stint so this may be only a big coincidence. The characters look pretty okay but not too much anime-like characteristics that might have diluted the ‘realism’ of the history setting. But when I first saw Ezekiel, I jumped up thinking what the heck was that squid girl from Shinryaku! Ika Musume doing here?! OMG! They look so similar! At certain points there were times that my mind will go crazy thinking when would her hair turn into long tentacles and start using them as extensions to her arms. Heh… Most of the witches’ sexy outfit somehow makes them feel out of place because you know, this is the Middle Ages and then you have some like Artemis dressing in what looks like S&M bondage outfit. Maybe that is how such getup got brought over well into our current era? But Artemis and Priapos in their owl familiar form do look cute. So cute and lovable that you’d wish they get a spin-off series like how those Minions did. Really. You should see that scene when Priapos as an owl fitted just nicely inside the window cell that Maria was held. Freaking cute! Aside the characters, the sceneries and backgrounds are also okay, depicting well the old European lifestyle.

It was such a pleasure to hear Mamiko Noto in a supporting character role as Viv albeit not much. Lately she has been only voicing cameos and very minor characters so it was such a big relief and ultimately my overall happiness (yes, it’s true!) to hear her voicing lines that lasts more than a couple of scenes or episodes, characters that aren’t so insignificant. Kana Hanazawa was also pretty fun as Ezekiel. At least initially when she was a newbie who was a constant ‘bully victim’ to her senior owls. I guess the voice behind Ika from Shinryaku! Ika Musume has grown up. Because as the voice of Maria, there wasn’t the slightest shred that reminded me of that squid girl. Well, at least Takahiro Sakurai as Bernard was recognizable. There were a few seiyuus that I have mistakenly identified. For example, I thought it was Ayane Sakura behind Anne’s shrieky voice but it turns out to be Ai Kakuma instead (Isuzu in Amagi Brilliant Park). Also, I thought it was Kazuya Nakai behind Galfa but it was Yuuki Ono (Zenkichi in Medaka Box).

And thus others that I should have recognized but didn’t include Kikuko Inoue as Michael, Mikako Komatsu as Priapos and Youko Hikasa as Artemis. The rest of the casts include Kensho Ono as Joseph (Slaine in Aldnoah.Zero), Natsuki Hanae as Gilbert (Kousei in Shigatsu Wa Kimi No Uso), Bin Shimada as Guillaume (Ken in You’re Under Arrest), Yumi Uchiyama as Edwina (Momiji in Binbougami Ga), Sachiko Kojima as Lolotte (Sayako in Bamboo Blade), Miyuki Ichijou as Martha (Elizabeth in Mars Daybreak) and Takaya Hashi as Cernunnos (Bacchus in Mirai Nikki). The opening theme is Philosophy Of Dear World by ZAQ is surprisingly a catchy rock outfit. The ending theme, Ailes by True is a total opposite. A slow rock ballad but yet a beautiful peace.

Overall, this series is a remarkable and entertaining story that makes you think a little bit although it is not meant to encourage you from deviating from your faith. You are just questioning to understand better instead of questioning to go against. It might not be deep in religious values as I believe this is also not what the anime is intended to, so it is safe to watch for all people from all kinds of faith or no faith. Unless you are the close minded kind than this series would already be blasphemy just by reading the synopsis. Because it is just unthinkable for God to sit back and do nothing but let a witch run about and ruin the so called world order just to achieve peace. Well, it worked out fine in the end, didn’t it? Yeah… Maybe all this was also part of God’s greater plan as well. Oh, you sly Father. You knew this would happen and that is why you sat back and did nothing. Yup, a part of God’s plan indeed.

I read the reason for producing Hyakka Ryouran Samurai After was to introduce a new character to the series and give her some screen time. Well, nothing wrong with that but I thought it was just an excuse not to make another season and introduce her somewhere along the way or at the start instead of condemning her debut to a couple of OVAs. Heh. That’s just my opinion after all. And of course if you know about this series, you would know better about its brand of fanservice offered and thus all the more reason why we buy the DVDs to see samurai boobs and more samurai boobs. Oh yeah, samurai boobs save Japan!

Episode 1
WOW! Samurai girls making out right at the start!!! Keiji and Kagekatsu Uesgi making love, kissing and caressing!!! Kagekatsu has Keiji’s hand put on her stomach and it starts glowing! Wait a minute. Is she going to give birth to some super samurai?! Keiji notes her great qi thanks to all the training but there is still room for improvement. Meanwhile, the tussle for Muneakira continues. They’re arguing there is a big difference being a Samurai Bride and a wife. Yeah… Big difference… Even Gisen gets into the fray although she’s more into being his mistress thingy. Kanetsugu… What the heck is she talking about changing wives every 3 months?! Before things get ugly, they’re being attacked by Kagekatsu’s power arrow. Kanetsugu recognizes her friend. Seems she respects her for being kind to her. Yeah, unlike some girls who loves to subject this retard to abuse, right? Seems Keiji is here too and to see Muneakira. This shocks everyone especially Kagekatsu. Maybe except Juubei who is more than delighted thinking she might want to be Muneakira’s bride too. Since everyone starts arguing they are the best to be his wife, Keiji proposes a match to determine who will be his wife. However it will be decided via third parties. Yup, something like a reality TV. All of them will try to act and please him as much while raking votes from online viewers. The one with the highest votes wins. Matabei and Hanzou are in a dilemma to enter or support their masters so Gisen suggests they should refrain so as not to embarrass their master. Because Juubei thinks the more the merrier, Keiji agrees to join in. This causes Kagekatsu to be jealous and she also wants in. But shortly Keiji withdraws because somebody needs to take care of the notes. Did Kagekatsu get tricked into this? Thanks to some technology, viewers will have a first person view via lens that Muneakira is wearing. What he sees, everybody sees.

And so on day 1, we see Sen ordering her servants to clean about as she acts like the dominant master. I guess some guys dig this sadistic side. Yukimura shows her great finance management skills by saving more power during hot summer by wearing swimsuits. That sure brings in the votes. But it couldn’t be more insulting to them because Juubei is just fooling around with Muneakira and she scores the most points! Kanetsugu and Kagekatsu do the naked apron gig. The latter’s clumsiness causes the ingredients that like some ambiguous liquid splash over her face and chest. And with clumsy Kanetsugu slipping and accidentally pulling down her pantsu, wow, the ratings are going up. This infuriates Sen and Yukimura. Two can play that game! So they try more lewd stuffs by getting wet or skimpier swimsuits (saves 70% more energy!). Juubei continues to fool around her usual way and gets Muneakira into a compromising position. Kanetsugu thinks she can show her the better way so she transforms into her magical girl outfit. Only 1 problem: She’s totally naked! OMG! Ratings shoot through the roof! And this was unintentional for her side. Everybody got free fanservice. Meanwhile Kagekatsu is feeling down and the one lagging behind. Keiji talks to her and hopes she would actively participate. But Kagekatsu is in a dilemma. If she wins, she will no longer be Keiji’s bride anymore. Keiji says the problem is not becoming somebody’s wife. She hints she wants to have a size of a football team for children! At least half of them if Kagekatsu can’t ‘produce’ that much.

For the next few days, the intense competition continues with all the competitors being neck to neck in ratings. The weirder the attempt, the higher the votes. I think the one getting the most kick out of this is Keiji. Look at her laughing… On the last day, things get desperate. The girls are competing to wash his back. Kagekatsu’s accident with her boobs has the rest start using their boobs on him. The ultimate one whereby Muneakira slips and has his face planted in Juubei’s crotch! Matabei and Hanzou are helpless in seeing this fight as they too want to help their masters. But Gisen tells them they must win this battle by their own terms. And the servants just relegate to taking a bath while listening to Gisen’s ‘wisdom’. Since the tug of war might tear apart Muneakira’s limbs, I guess the girls are getting serious now to beat the crap out of each other. That is when Muneakira has had it and tells them to stop. He believes this is not the right way to choose and become his bride. He has them remember when they all turned into their Samurai Bride form, their hearts were in unison. So why make this disappear now? Choosing a bride is something that requires reflection and time. The girls couldn’t be more ashamed of themselves. Keiji lauds Muneakira’s words. Hey wait. Isn’t she the one who suggested this game? Of course. All just to see Kagekatsu’s worried face. Don’t worry. She had a great time. Yeah, everybody just felt they are the biggest loser. The participants, the viewers… Scammed… The only real winners are perhaps Gisen, Matabei and Hanzou who were right in staying behind. Keiji asks Kagekatsu’s opinion on Muneakira. Truly, he is an interesting man.

Episode 2
Unheeding Nia’ word, Sen breaks into a sealed tomb and opens a sealed box. Oh no. Looks like Pandora’s Box from the way things look. Muneakira thought Gisen crept up into his bed again but surprise! It’s Sen! Oh, Gisen is on his other side. So she did creep into his bed. As usual, the morning jinx with the girls around, Muneakira rushes to the toilet to clean himself up but bumps into naked Kanetsugu and sees her entirety. The rest of the day must be tiring for Muneakira because he has to escape from Sen’s seduction attempts. While Kanetsugu is complaining in her kennel about Muneakira, suddenly Sen kisses her and turns her into her minion. Muneakira can tell something is wrong when Juubei and Gisen start wanting to do bold things with him. Looks like they are under Sen’s spell too. This is all part of Sen’s plan to force Muneakira to marry her since he is taking too long over her proposal. She transforms into the legendary wedding dress that she got from Toyotomi’s hidden treasure. Hmm… This black revealing jester outfit is the legendary wedding dress? Luckily Yukimura and Matabei are here to stop their shenanigans. They have noticed Sen acting weird lately and have been observing her. They have also done their research that she is not wearing the legendary wedding dress which is supposed to be white. This dress is supposed to be worn after the wedding ceremony. Based on records, those who wear the legendary dress will be married for sure. To counter other powers, the black version was created to please men by gathering concubines. In other words, a harem. Sen is not convinced since she did her research based from Yoshihiko’s documents. But if so, how come Muneakira is not charmed by her? Before Sen and her underlings could give him the ultimate pleasure, Yukimura’s light bomb comes in handy for their escape.

Yukimura explains about both dresses being kept in the same place to balance out each other’s power. Separating the dress would mean unbalanced power and Sen will slowly go berserk if she is left alone. The only way is to take off the dress and put it back in the seal. Sen interrogates Nia about the dress but her lips are tightly sealed. Sen does some nipple torture but why is Hanzou the one feeling ‘good’ about it? Muneakira and Yukimura barge into surprise attack and capture Sen. There is some sort of ritual to take off the dress by fondling and squeezing the boobs in certain directions 3 times? Finally, press the nipples! Did it work? When Muneakira goes to free Nia, Sen wakes up and kisses Yukimura followed by Matabei. Game over. Juubei is still her usual self as she continues to flirt and then kiss Muneakira. She transforms into her Master Samurai form. Seems she wasn’t under Sen’s spell. Was she playing along? Don’t know. She’s too airhead as always to tell. As they make a run, Nia explains that Yoshihiko sent her to stop Sen from this mess when she learnt about the treasure. Although she failed, why didn’t she fall into Sen’s spell? Yoshihiko gave her a charm to protect her against that. In order to defeat the black dress, they need the white dress’ power. To activate it, Juubei will have to wear it and kiss Muneakira. Why is he flustering? Hasn’t he done this many times? No time to think or even be hesitant (because Juubei can’t help wonder about the implications of putting on a wedding dress) since Nia is at her limit stalling Sen and co. Juubei puts on the dress. Looks magnificent. Now for the kiss. Sen tries to intercept them. Muneakira freaks out so Juubei forces kiss him. The superb power frees all the girls and a special warmth feeling as bonus. But now another battle will take place… Juubei back to her airhead self is claiming she is his official wife since she is wearing this. Not so fast! The other girls claim this dress belongs to their family’s property and start fighting over it. Don’t rip the dress apart please!

Special 1
A short special lasting 5 minutes, a first person view, through the eyes of the protagonist, although no dialogue from the him but I am guessing it is supposedly Muneakira (those manly hands) or the viewer. Kagekatsu is the featured girl as we see her waking you up and you getting naughty with her while she makes breakfast. Then you both go for a walk and you fell asleep on her lap in which by the time you wake up, you see her sleeping face. Back home, you join her in the shower (I thought this borders like porn logic since which girl would be more than happy to let you in and when you surprise her while she takes a bath). And yeah… Washing those delicious parts… And the moment you’ve been waiting for. After shower sex… And then suddenly Kagekatsu wakes up from this dream… What a letdown…

Special 2
It is Sen’s t turn but this time the view is from a video camera. Here we are at the beautiful beach but Sen tells us to stop recording the beautiful blue sea, skies and sandy beach and record her instead! Okay. And when you’re too focused on her ‘prized assets’ she tells you not to just record her all the time! Women! Make up your mind! Now it’s time to put sunscreen. Man, I think you’re good in filming with one hand while putting lotion on her back with the other. Can’t help resist poking her? Now it’s her turn to do the same. With her boobs. Damn. Why did the recording stop! Hands can’t be still? Anyway the filming continues as we see Sen in various beach activities. But during the watermelon breaking one, she accidentally smashes your head! Thank goodness the camera is still okay! Finally as she basks in the sunset glow, you have the cheek to record up close her boobs and fondle them! Then I guess she has really had it. Drop the camera and screw with her! Oh yeah! Sorry, folks. No footage for this one :).

Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Bride Specials

Prior to Samurai After, there were short specials lasting around 3 minutes for Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Bride if you get your hands on the DVD releases. What else? Fanservce! Even samurai girls need to take a break from their rigorous training and missions to relax and let their boobs out. Oops, I mean let their hair down. But really… They let their boobs out literally.

Special 1
Sasuke and Musashi are about to enter the public bath. Only one problem: No pets allowed! Juubei has got this ‘brilliant’ idea and turns Sasuke into her human form. Yay! Next problem: No money! I suppose Musashi has to pay for them otherwise we won’t have our fanservice fix of seeing their tits, rubbing, molesting and even licking them! I think it got too intense to Sasuke reverts back to a monkey. A staff heard an animal sound and comes in to check. What is this monkey fooling around in the bath? Erm… That’s not a monkey. That’s a towel! Gee, ‘brilliant’ cover there, ladies. And to prove it, she uses Sasuke to scrub Musashi’s back. Monkey abuse!

Special 2
Kojirou believes this maid outfit is the one corrupting her beloved Musashi. She puts it on and tries to act one to see for herself. Gisen catches her in the act and despite how embarrassed Kojirou is, Gisen is going to teach her the finer points of being a maid so she can snag the heart of that special someone. First, she rips the chest area and the skirt to make those delicious parts more exposed. Then she teachers her how to pose in very sexy poses and greetings. Is she teaching her how to do maid porn? Later when Matabei realizes that one of the maid outfits is missing and from her smell realizes the missing outfit belongs to Kanetsugu, Gisen lies that it could have been blown away by the wind. In actual fact, Kojirou has taken it back with her, fantasizing Musashi will be all hers…

Special 3
Mataemon is trying different swimsuit outfits and the more she tries, the more risqué and super sexy it becomes. And she loves it! Then she hears Sen is also trying out in the next cubicle. Can’t believe that she has chosen a boring outfit, she forces it off her and force dresses a sexy one on her. Wow. This looks good on her. Your unique charm is really shining. Kanetsugu in the next cubicle heard this and also wants her opinion. As usual, Mataemon is appalled at this boring fashion sense and proceeds to strip and dress another sexy swimsuit for her. Flawless victory! But it cannot be more insulting for Mataemon as the ladies leave satisfied after their purchase thinking how this store clerk looks so much like Mataemon.

Special 4
One of the most taboo things for Yukimura: Talking about her small boobs! But Keiji asks her if she is really content with them right now. Of course not. Don’t worry. She has a method that will help increase it up to D-cup in no time by using qi. I suppose Yukimura must be desperate enough to follow the silly rules of pinching her nipples and then rotate her hips both ways (so as to evenly grow both sides) round and round. So this method is supposed to bring out your female hormones and accelerate your boob growth? Well, do it a few more times and she’ll get that bust she has always wanted. It seems Inshun is also eavesdropping on them and trying out this embarrassing method. Once done and Yukimura leaves, Keiji tells Inshun to stop following it because it was just a trick! Yeah, she had her fill of making fun of small tits for today.

Special 5
Nia sounds tired as she comes home, completed her secret report. There are hidden videos she has recorded of Matabei and Hanzou doing intensive training. Nia is not sure what the points of these training are for but tries them out and thus that weary and unfortunate soul you see her now. Whether it is sitting on an exercise ball, soaking for a long time in hot water or standing under the waterfall to detect and avoid falling logs, she is not sure if these training methods are somewhat related to them transforming into Master Samurai. Then she receives mail about her credit card that she lost a little while ago. It is the bill. Why do all the charges come from the maid cafe???!!! OMG! Musashi and co you sneaky charges!!! Wow. You can say Nia is completely drained out physically, spiritually, emotionally and financially!

Special 6
Juubei and Musashi are soaking together in the hot bath. The rest of their group are sleeping because it was indeed a fun filled day for them playing at the beach. They reminisce at all the fun things they did together from building sand castles to beach volleyball to eating shaved ice cream and sunbathing. Coincidentally they also checked into the same inn and took a bath at the same time. Yeah, fun and crazy indeed. Juubei hopes everyone should come back here again.

Samurai Bachelor & Samurai Harem
Well… To be honest, it was rather okay. Just like any other OVA that does not contribute to the main plot of the series. If you remember them, that is. But personally the funny thing is I thought Kagekatsu would be appearing for both OVAs and instead only appeared for the first one. Doesn’t it feel wasted? Because the second seems to be focused on Sen like as though Sen fans have written a complaint about their favourite samurai girl not getting her due screen time but eventually it has to be Juubei who steals the limelight, eh? And so having Kagekatsu appear for just an episode like I said feels wasted because although she isn’t interested in Muneakira (for now) why bother getting her mixed up in the cat fight over him? If Sasuke’s role was just pathetic in the second season, then in the OVAs she is even more so and reduced to only appearing as a mascot during scene changers. At least better than Musashi and co who are non-existent, which make the OVAs feel like all this happened before them. But if Keiji is around then they should be. Or could it be after, like the second title suggests?

Seeing the other recurring characters does bring back the nostalgia for the series in me. Like Juubei’s airhead and completely in a world of her own, Sen and Yukimura continue to butt heads and lead the harem cat fight over the main man, Kanetsugu continues to be the resident idiot and bully victim of the pack (you always need somebody to be a punching bag and to be treated like a pet dog), Matabei still looking dangerous as she is still wearing a skimpy loincloth as her underwear, Hanzou still having that masochist fantasies for her master, Gisen being deceptively playful and sly although it is still hard to read her intentions if she is really gunning for Muneakira or if there is an ulterior motive underneath it, Nia the very loyalist to Yoshihiko and Keiji love screwing around with others and have fun watching their reactions. Well, I suppose it is the right thing for Muneakira to bring some sense to the samurai girls about their desperation to pick one of them to be his wife (and the rest his concubines) because it is true to what he said. Outwitting each other to be his wife isn’t a competition. Nor is it for the amusement for others to watch. Being his wife means responsibility and respecting the sacredness of marriage. And now that he has ‘delayed’ choosing his bride, looks like the harem cat fight will continue… Yeah, the very basic cliché problem of every undecided harem shows. I think it is worth the run for a few seasons material of reality TV…

Aldnoah.Zero

August 28, 2015

Here we go again. It is that time that I catch myself being a hypocrite. Despite still not liking the mecha genre, that never stopped me from watching a handful of mecha themed animes year in year out. And now here I am, having a go at Aldnoah.Zero. There must be some sort of better excuse, if you’re asking? As far as I can remember, I don’t know, it could be that I have misread it somewhere over the internet that this mecha show is somewhat similar to Shingeki No Kyojin. The only difference is that you replace the Titans with big giant robots. And I remember that Titan show was pretty epic enough so it made me assume that Aldnoah.Zero is also as epic as it except that it would just be mechas. Yes people, you can laugh at me for that pathetic reason but after watching the series, I don’t see how similar it is. Maybe there was but I couldn’t connect it. Anyway, as far as this story is concerned, the reason why you need big mechas firing at each other is because different nations are at war, right? Yup. Turn that into an inter-planetary level and it is all the reason you need to see such robot fights.

Episode 1
Princess Asseylum Vers Allusia is talking to Slaine Troyard that she is looking forward to her goodwill trip on Earth. Back on Earth, Inaho Kaizuka joins his friends, Inko Amifumi, Calm Craftman and Okisuke Mikuni to school as we are given a brief history of what happened. Thanks to the discovery of some ancient artefact belonging to some Martian civilization, Hyper Gate paved the way for human colonization and development of Mars. This resulted in the appearance of Vers Empire who claimed the technology like Aldnoah as their own and this resulted a war between Earth and Mars on the moon. The intense fighting caused Hyper Gate to go berserk and destroyed the moon. Heaven’s Fall happened 15 years ago. Lt Kouichirou Marito is supervising the kids in a live fire exercise. But he is already drinking this early? Later he talks to his friend, Souma Yagarai about some cover up on Tanegashima by the top brass 15 years ago. Nobody believed him now but he know what he saw. He is also concerned about the kids now having to take up military practice and what will happen if they actually find out the real truth. Everyone believes this transitory peace will last forever but what happens when those kids have to fight those guys lurking in the moon’s wreckage. How will they make up for their lies? Before Asseylum’s departure, Slaine gives her a pendant as a protective charm since he is grateful for her help that saved him from death’s door 5 years ago. However after that, Count Cruhteo beats him up to make him know his place. Later he talks to Count Saazbaum and it seems many of the lords are against their princess on this trip and tried dissuading her. Of course they know there will be retaliation if something happens to her. Or maybe they’re waiting for just that? Inaho and friends are at the procession of Asseylum’s arrival. There are terrorists working in the background and when the time is right, they let loose several homing devices that take out the security and one right on Asseylum as she crawled out of the limo! Of course this means Vers Empire won’t take this lightly as they begin their hammer of justice on Earth. Orbital Knights, its 37 clans who are also independent military units are crash landing their gigantic Landing Castle on selected cities over the world in a race to become king of the hill. As though, they have been waiting for this time for the past 15 years to fight again. A Landing Castle touches down in New Orleans. Massive explosion that burns everything away! Massive destruction. Massive blackout. And young kids are innocent enough to think those are shooting stars and make a wish for world peace. If it only was that simple…

Episode 2
The Martians begin their full assault. First they take out undersea cables and satellites so you puny Earthlings are cut off from communication. Then their Martian Cataphracts destroy all of Earth’s military and mechas so easily. It’s like they never put up a fight to begin with and head to the battlefield to get slaughtered. Inaho is back home and calls his sister Yuki who is on military standby. They’re supposed to meet up and evacuate via her car but she is appalled he didn’t use his guts and evacuate with the rest of the town. Inaho makes his way out and finds a couple of lost foreigners. Trying to tell them to evacuate, he gets pinned down. He thinks they are from some embassy and wants to make contact. But they tell him Asseylum is still alive as she was feeling sick from Earth’s gravity and did not participate in the parade. A double took part. Inaho meets up with his friends and brings along the chicks with them. They come across Yuki and her unit who are going to engage the enemy soon. Better leave quickly as this place is going to turn into a battlefield. Cruhteo sends Trillram and Slaine to go find out what happened to Asseylum. As Slaine is an Earthling, he cannot bear to kill his own men. Thus Trillram is going to ‘educate’ him about war and kills all the fighter jet pilots. Their weapons can’t even harm his Cataphract. Trillram then rendezvous with the culprits who began this whole mess. They think they can return to Vers and collect their knighthood but Trillram kills them! The leader’s daughter, Rayet Areash is the only survivor as Trillram chases her. Marito’s unit engages him but he and Yuki defy orders to go save the girl. The other units get owned. Trillram defeats Marito and goes after Yuki. She bumps into Inaho’s group (they’re going around in circles?) and leaves Rayet to them. Too bad she too cannot best Trillram. Inko takes over the driving after the driver runs out and gets owned by a slab. Trillram chases them throughout town and Okisuke perished when Inaho tried to go rescue Yuki in her cockpit. It ends when they enter an underground shelter. Marito contacts Yuki and wants her to act as bait to buy time for the civilians’ evacuation at the port. But it is Inaho who picks this message up and suggests to his friends to fight back. Their school has got some units and live ammunition.

Episode 3
Trillram contacts Saazbaum and the latter is not too happy he got 1 rat got away. Anyhow, he will order some meteor strike. Although Cruhteo’s Landing Castle is close by, sacrifices are necessary. Marito is back at his base and is not pleased there are orders for them to evacuate. A colleague of his is still fighting, the reason this place isn’t turned to rubble yet. But Darzana Magbaredge says he is the only survivor and communications are cut off so sending a rescue team is not viable. Marito says some of his students are not onboard the ferry list yet so Magbaredge will request for a search party and give him a landing craft. But if he can’t find enough people to crew it, he will abandon his mission. Yuki wakes up in the school infirmary and is not happy Inaho is going to fight. He says it back to her about adapting in situations. Now is the time. With his friends, they discuss the Martian Cataphract’s ability, its barrier seems to absorb everything and making it invincible. However this means his vision is blinded although he could attack with deadly accuracy. Something like an aerial satellite must be providing its vision because he stopped when they entered the tunnel. Inaho has a hunch this guy is persistent in getting them and they will buy the time needed to get evacuees out. Since they are going to fight, they need somebody to drive a decoy truck. The foreigner girls and Rayet volunteer. They start moving at the light of dawn. Then they release giant smokescreen all around. Trillram panics because now his vision is blocked. Slaine comes in a jet to blow away the smoke and also assist in Trillram’s vision but Inko shoots him down. Trillram goes after the truck and successfully crashes it. Rayet wants foreigner girl to escape but she won’t. She steps out and tells Trillram to stop this violence. She reveals herself as Asseylum. Trillram cannot believe she is alive and falls into shock. Marito and Inko fire all they got. The bridge collapses and Trillram is trapped in the water. Noticing that water is not being absorbed, Inaho also finds the gap in his barrier and pierces it open. His invincibility cannot be perfect and cover himself completely because for example otherwise the ground that he steps on will also be absorbed. The Cataphract goes offline. Slaine picks up Trillram who is freaking mad. He wants to go kill the princess himself or else his clan will be branded a traitor. Slaine realizes he is the one who planned Asseylum’s assassination and steals his gun to pump several bullets into him.

Episode 4
The meteor strike is here. Thankfully everybody escaped before it hits. Asseylum is back in her disguise and her maid, Eddelrittuo is glad she is safe. However Asseylum decides to reveal her true self only to Inaho. She needs to get to United Earth (UE) headquarters to contact her grandpa. Once he knows she is alive and well, the attack will stop. She doesn’t want Inaho to let others know because there may be spies among them who are out to kill her. Slaine reports to Cruhteo about Trillram’s death in the meteor strike. Cruhteo is mad and sends out a troop to find the culprit and dispense justice. Slaine wants to take part in the fight but was beaten up. Cruhteo tells him he has no place in their war and this is the moment they have been waiting for since the princess paid with her life for this. Slaine wonders if he too is trying to take advantage of Asseylum’s death and could there be a ringleader in this assassination plot. Magbaredge and everyone else is docking and refuelling while waiting for her destroyer craft to come pick them up. However an enemy is spotted. Vlad is sent by Cruhteo to kill them all and his laser sword slices through everything. The ship takes some damage as Marito and Yuki tries to repair the engine. Asseylum wants to go talk to that knight but Inaho tells her to sit put. Inaho tests out a few different ammunition to see if it is effective. But Vlad knows Calm is sneaking up behind him. Vlad does a sneaky move but Inaho closes up on him. Inaho’s mecha can’t stand the force Vlad’s Cataphract is putting on him. Inko does a surprise attack and slams the container into him, damaging his main visuals. The destroyer craft is here and lends its support. Once the engine is up and running, everyone retreats. Slaine goes up to Cruhteo to beg to take part in this war and wants a chance to avenge Asseylum.

Episode 5
5 years ago, Slaine crash landed into the Vers Empire palace. Asseylum kissed him to suck out the water in his lungs. Cruhteo reports to Saazbaum of their conquest on Tokyo but also the death of Trillram. But Saazbaum is puzzled he died in the meteor strike because he personally informed him about it. The emperor of Vers, Rayregalia Vers Rayvers cannot understand his fellow men’s actions for a full assault on Earth if his granddaughter’s death was just at the hands of assassins. His subject thinks UE is guising themselves as terrorist to assassinate Asseylum as her blood is capable of stirring the power of Aldnoah to life. That bloodline is the very foundation of the empire’s might. It still doesn’t make sense so Rayregalia calls for armistice/truce to UE. Magbaredge sees Inko and Inaho and praise their actions for repelling a Cataphract. Though, Inko credits Inaho for coming up with this operation. Cruhteo is not pleased the emperor has come up with an armistice so he is going to advise him. Saazbaum has his men investigate to uncover the truth behind Trillram’s death. It is confirmed he didn’t die in the bombardment so he wants somebody to infiltrate Cruhteo’s castle and investigate. After Cruhteo’s failed advice, Slaine sneaks into the room to communicate with the emperor that Asseylum is still alive and he saw it with his own eyes. The assassination must have been plotted by the Orbital Knights. Please stop the war. Vlad ignores the truce and attacks the destroyer to avenge his honour. As usual, the other mechas are no match for him so it is up to a high school kid to fight him. Vlad thought he can have this over in a second but Inaho has planted explosives in his armour that explode upon contact (this was originally designed to detonate and deflect incoming fire). Inaho then has the destroyer tilt to a side as he drags Vlad down into the sea. But before the mechas fall into the ocean, Inaho ejects. Vlad is killed in the undersea explosion. Because his laser sword gives out enormous heat energy, it instantly converted into high pressure steam and thus the impact destroyed him. After Slaine finishes his audience with Rayregalia, the emperor calls out to Saazbaum who has been listening. Saazbaum argues Earthlings cannot be trusted as their spies are everywhere awaiting opportunity to overthrow Vers. And so Rayregalia resumes the war on Earth. All those who harm his flesh and blood will burn!

Episode 6
Slaine is ordered to be found and killed but Saazbaum wants him alive because as the son of Dr Troyard, he might be useful in answering questions about Aldnoah’s research. Too bad he managed to escape. Asseylum is shocked that grandpa has formally declared a war. Marito lets them know about reality that they have always been at war. They chose to ignore it. Despite Asseylum was sent as goodwill to build a friendship between Earth and Vers, she became the very reason why this war ignited. Yuki makes an emergency announcement for everyone to gather. Magbaredge announces everyone will be drafted into military to fight this war. Calm isn’t happy he is drafted as a mechanic but Marito points out everyone who has been in war 15 years ago died. Technically they are all war virgins. However Inaho points out he is a survivor. That is not what the records said. He recalls the trauma of how the Martians levelled them. There were no solid evidence and his report was written off as ramblings of a madman. As long as they don’t have Aldnoah, their technology will be far behind Vers. Inaho thinks about this and asks Asseylum about it. When her grandpa first made contact with this ancient technology, it activated and recognized him as its rightful inheritor. Only his descendants have this innate ability to command Aldnoah. In exchange for loyalty from the Orbital Knights, Rayregalia gave them Aldnoah. They used it to build grand castles and Cataphracts and ruled over the colonies. Now they are setting their sights on Earth. The next refuelling station is at Tanegashima and this of course brings back trauma to Marito since he best friend John Humeray was killed. He believes it was his fault he died. Magbaredge joins him in drinking. She heard about the reports of Tanegashima and doesn’t consider him a liar. She reveals her brother fought in that war and died. Magbaredge is just her adoptive name. Her real surname is Humeray and her brother is Marito’s best friend. That too much shock for you to handle? They are suddenly attacked by gauntlets belonging to the Cataphract of Femieanne. As usual, other mechas get owned by it. The destroyer is beyond saving so Magbaredge calls for everyone to abandon it. Just before it gets destroyed, Inaho fires some kind of ammunition to blast it away. It may not be enough to destroy it but the explosion is enough to repel it off track. Then the last gauntlet and Inaho runs out of bullets. Has his luck run out? Inaho is really a lucky kid because that last gauntlet is deflected away by Slaine.

Episode 7
Cruhteo wants to go after Slaine but Saazbaum wants him to stay put. He thinks if Slaine is a spy, he might have accomplices and he will see where that rat is going to. Femieanne targets Slaine and he has a hard time running away. Inaho returns the favour to deflect the gauntlets. As the attack continues, one of the gauntlets destroys a cliff to reveal a hidden dock. Magbaredge orders to enter it and once in, they shoot the cave mouth to completely close it, leaving Inaho, Yuki and Inko outside. But I suppose it’s time to take on the big boss. Inaho thinks that Cataphract has no other weapons beside its gauntlets since it is just standing there. Inside the base, everyone is horrified to see a huge Martian Cataphract lying dormant. This was the Cataphract that levelled the place. They realize the reason the Tanegashima report was quashed was so as to hide this. Inaho teams up with Slaine to fight the gauntlets. Inaho deduces there are weaknesses in it that makes it not completely invincible. For example, its tail and its engine are not protected and if they fire in there, the gauntlets can be destroyed. Femieanne is upset that her ‘children’ are destroyed. Her Cataphract turns into a giant missile gauntlet as she tries to finish them. The duo pull off crazy stunts to avoid being quashed. Suddenly a giant flying battleship bursts out of the island. It is being powered by Asseylum. After Inaho shoots out Femieanne’s engine, the battleship collides into her and Rayet shoots the final shot to blow it up. All Martians will die for her revenge, says she. Slaine is happy to see Asseylum again and wants to meet with her but Inaho wants to know how he knows the princess is alive. He won’t answer. Inaho shoots him down. Now they’re enemies.

Episode 8
Short flashback shows Magbaredge and the rest spotted Deucalion the flying ship resting below. They are puzzled why such a good working condition ship was left behind and has no fuel garage. They realize it has Aldnoah Drive. That is when Asseylum reveals herself and uses her power to start it up. Slaine is captured and mercilessly tortured by Cruhteo to reveal his intentions but his mouth is tightly zipped. Saazbaum doesn’t want him killed or else they will learn nothing. Magbaredge talks to Asseylum, Inaho and Rayet and learn that Orbital Knights are the ones behind her assassination. But letting the public know Asseylum is alive may not be a good idea. All satellite communication is down and there is no guarantee it will reach the correct parties. Rayet is still bitter that her team was betrayed and still doesn’t trust Martians. Later Inaho tells Asseylum that the Martian he met on Tanegashima was looking for her. It shows that there are some who know she is still alive. Asseylum takes out a pendant that Slaine gave to her as charm. As his father came to Vers to study about Aldnoah, Slaine told her many stories of Earth that fascinated her. Slaine continues to endure the torture and how he will remain silent on Asseylum’s life to avoid others from exploiting her. After all, he owes her for saving his life then. Cruhteo has had enough of this farce and wants to kill him, much to Saazbaum’s dismay. Cruhteo sees Slaine smirking and beats him up. His subordinate reports the wreckage of Femieanne’s Cataphract and also that Cataphract at Tanegashima with its Aldnoah Drive ripped out. Cruhteo doesn’t think any importance of it since no Earthlings can pilot it anyway but when Slaine smirks, he senses something amiss. A few more beatings and that is when he starts to realize Asseylum is alive. Slaine also reveals he killed Trillram. He won’t let Cruhteo get what he wants and crush Asseylum’s goal of peace. Realizing he risked his life to protect Asseylum, now Cruhteo commends him for his unwavering loyalty and has his mend tend to his injuries! What a big change! Cruhteo will now find out which Orbital Knight tried to assassinate Asseylum. He wants to call for truce with Earth and seek their help to find Asseylum when suddenly Saazbaum’s Cataphract crashes into his Landing Castle. Just as Cruhteo connects all the dots he is behind Asseylum’s assassination plot, he gets killed. Saazbaum retrieves Slaine.

Episode 9
Slaine wakes up in the care of Saazbaum. He saved him because he is indebted to his father who rescued him when he was caught in the events of Heaven’s Fall. Saazbaum did not hesitate to reveal he is the one who plotted Asseylum’s assassination. Yuki is talking to Calm about how she knows what kind of face Inaho puts despite he’s looking that same grumpy view. It’s because she is his sister. Inko really gets concerned when she starts talking about Inaho and his possible girlfriend especially with a certain Martian princess (because that guy is listening to her so attentively) that Inko got out of her simulator just to go ‘take a break’. When Rayet is practising in the simulator, she starts panicking when faced with Trillram’s Cataphract. She loses the simulator. Rayet cannot understand why Asseylum is still being calm despite being betrayed and all. Lots of why this and why that but yet no answers. Yagarai has Marito undergo some post traumatic stress disorder treatment. He is to relive his trauma via simulator till he gets over it. With bad graphics and polygons? Well, it gets real all in his mind. When Marito was leading his platoon they never expected to encounter that Cataphract. Everyone got owned and Humeray was trapped in his tank that is on fire. He told Marito to kill him and reluctantly he did right before the tank exploded. Marito went crazy. So can he relive that simulator again? Slaine asks Saazbaum his reason to wage war with Earth. Something about his duty as a lord to expand his territory and also to seize Earth’s resources that they are blessed with. But does Asseylum have to die for it? Being a royalty itself is a sin. Because 15 years ago the royalty whipped the knights into a frenzy and set them on Earth. They will atone for that with their own flesh and blood. Then there is this propaganda of how Vers are brainwashed to hate Earth in a feudal system surrounding Aldnoah. To keep Vers within their grip, the royalty chose to kindle the flames of conflict and as a result led to Heaven’s Fall. Saazbaum’s fiancée, Orlane died in that conflict and this war is his vengeance. Rayet strangles Asseylum in the shower with an iron chain. Oh great. She did it this time. So who is powering Deucalion? It is losing speed and altitude. Brace for impact!

Episode 10
Inaho finds Asseylum unconscious and with no pulse. He employs CPR, defibrillators and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation till she comes back alive! Before she can reveal who attacked her, Rayet steals Magbaredge’s gun and reveals her father, a Martian spy living on Earth was the one who assassinated Asseylum after being promised nobility and riches. But after he was successful, they got rid of him to eliminate all witnesses. So no Rayet is blaming EVERY SINGLE THING that happened just because Asseylum came to Earth?! She thought Asseylum was the same like her but turns out she wasn’t (in the sense that she had no qualms revealing her identity and was calm). All Asseylum can do is apologize and cry. I don’t know what Rayet wants. She’s not happy that she doesn’t hate her that she is trying to kill her. Rayet turns the gun on herself but Inaho was fast enough to tackle and disarm her. He says he doesn’t care which side she belongs to but so far she has been helping them. Whether or not he trusts her, he thinks at least they are not enemies. Magbaredge then has Rayet taken into custody. Yagarai gives Magbaredge the medical file condition of Marito and also his prescription for her. Marito ponders about the irony about Martians killing Martians (Earth had nothing to do with it in this case, right?). He wonders how Humeray felt to be shot by his own side. Saazbaum shows where Deucalion lies after Heaven’s Fall. That Cataphract was piloted by Orlane. He explains due to Mars’ atmosphere, no matter how much land they have, they cannot harvest from it. The population grows and the people are in misery. The royalty ignored that and at the height of hatred for Earth, Vers came to believe they were superior and Earth was hoarding all the resources and trying to rule over them. An invasion was plotted and as the forces gather at the moon where the Hyper Gate is located, Saazbaum and Orlane were part of the first invading forces. It was a walk in the park overrunning those Earthlings. But suddenly the Hyper Gate collapses and the moon shattered into pieces. Saazbaum ordered a retreat but Orlane was stuck (something about her Cataphract’s gravity thingy) and thus killed. Saazbaum has vowed to lay her ghost to rest. Deucalion finally reaches UE headquarters in Russia. The refugees are taking refuge in an underground shelter that is designed to stave off nuclear attacks. But the numbers are not adding up since many refugees never made it here. So if this place is attacked, humans will be extinct. Asseylum makes a broadcast that she is fine and alive and to stop this war at once. Of course Saazbaum isn’t going to listen. He has intercepted the princess’ transmission to not reach his comrades. They are going to war. Saazbaum frees Slaine as his last repayment to his father. He is now free to fight alongside them or flee to Earth. Saazbaum’s Landing Castle is arriving at UE headquarters.

Episode 11
The attack begins. As usual Earthlings’ defences and attacks are so puny it’s like as though they’re just standing there to die. Yeah. 50% casualties already! And the missiles are digging deep into underground so easily. Asseylum is a sad princess because the war is not stopping. Was it really war they want? Her life was irrelevant from the beginning. But she’s not going to sit around and mope. She contacts Inaho about her plan to cut off the Landing Castle from its Aldnoah Drive. One with royalty blood can do so. Inaho agrees to send her there but Yuki ticks him off for being reckless again. However he tells her this is war and now that negotiations are useless and Asseylum is no longer any use to them politically, this is their best shot to reduce casualties since the only chance they’ve got is a tactical one. If they lose, she’ll die anyway. Eddelrittuo drives Asseylum in a humvee towards Deucalion with Rayet protecting them. Once Asseylum is on board, Inaho briefs his plan on how to get Asseylum to the Landing Castle. First, they’ll drop lots of decoys for the enemy to take countermeasure. Then the first wave of assault team will land and take out the other turrets and assure a safe landing zone for Asseylum. It is a freaking crazy stunt enough to earn Yuki’s wrath but is there any other choice? The plan goes well and Inaho becomes the hero taking out the turrets himself to save the rest from being blown to bits. When it is Asseylum’s turn to dive, Saazbaum shoots Deucalion down. With many systems offline, Magbaredge orders to crash Deucalion into the Landing Castle. They’re going to let Asseylum dock directly.

Episode 12
Of course with that impact, everyone is knocked out but thankfully they’re still in one piece. Asseylum’s gets into her usual guilt mode and thinks Earth hates Vers, blah, blah, blah. Leave it to Inaho to say something to calm her down. First he asks what drives war. No, it is not hatred but rather ideology, resources, territory, pride, religion, etc. Therefore war ends when such goals are achieved. It can also end another way: When too many people have died that it is no longer economical. Anger and hatred are only tools to tilt the war in your favour. He is not interested in those emotions and that is why he will not hate Earthlings and Martians. Great words. But Saazbaum is not impressed. He hates Earth for existing. Inaho becomes hero once more to slow down Saazbaum so the rest could deliver Asseylum. And this is why Inaho must be a hero alone because all those who come to his aid got easily killed by Saazbaum! Slaine is still looking for Asseylum and he is in a dilemma on which side he is fighting for. Make up your mind! Anyway he steals a Cataphract to pilot. I don’t even know how he activated its Aldnoah Drive. Inaho and Saazbaum’s fight crashes right before Asseylum and co. It might be that Inaho was using Inko as bait to test and observe Saazbaum’s Cataphract’s abilities. He realizes that whenever he shoots his gauntlets, he cannot have his barrier up and uses this chance to attack. Also, he knows that not every part of the Cataphract will be covered in that barrier. Then a close up shot I think to disable everything. But the mechas are still functioning. So how? Fist fight! Saazbaum is pissed and talking about he’ll never know the hatred and loved one being taken, blah, blah, blah. You think Inaho cares? Slaine sees this fight and intercepts. Asseylum makes her way on foot into the room and shuts everything down. Then Inaho and Slaine crashes in. Slaine is glad to see Asseylum but she goes to tend injured Inaho and happily tells him how their mission is a success. Suddenly she is shot! OMFG! Who the hell did this?! Saazbaum is not dead yet? Well, he thanks Slaine for coming to his aid. Oh Slaine, did you screw up? Slaine is so mad that he pumps bullets into him. Can you believe he missed many of his shots?! So much so Saazbaum hints by pointing in his forehead! Now what? Got no balls to do that? Slaine sees Inaho crawling up to Asseylum’s dead body. Lots of happy memories… Slaine chooses to point his gun at Inaho. Don’t even think of touching the princess. They recognize each other. They meet for the first time face to face. Inaho pulls out a gun. Slaine shoots him. Dead. With Saazbaum defeated, UE claims victory but with high casualties from both sides. Asseylum has not been heard since…

Season 2

Episode 13
19 months down the road… They’re still fighting! At least in the asteroid belt. But Slaine has powered up so much that he actually kicks ass in his Cataphract! Not a single resistance can touch him! Down on Earth, we see Rayet, Inko and the other girls sunbathing on some beach while Deucalion undergoes maintenance. Time to take it easy? There is this video of Asseylum how she discovered the truth about Earth after her ‘death’. They take the blessed resources for granted and wastes them. So now this war is to free Earth from those exploiters? Slaine returns to Saazbaum who praises him for his exceptional skills and that it was right to have knighted him. Yeah. Now he has his own personal manservant, Harklight. They go see Princess Lemrina to report their progress on Earth’s conquest. Although she is royalty, she hates the blood she has as it only serves to power Aldnoah. But nevertheless she is grateful to Saazbaum for extending his hand of friendship to her. Fun time is over as Deucalion makes a sortie when a Martian Cataphract attacks them. It freezes everything in its radius so you can’t get near him. Not even bullets. Suddenly! Inaho comes back! He wastes no time going into analytical overdrive to calculate this and that. Thank his left mechanical eye for that? In no time, he perfectly closes up on the Cataphract and kills it point blank! It thought it was overkill when the entire area went up in flames. Inko is so relieved that he is back that she instantly hugs him. So this is his first actual return? Want to know how this happened, right? Right. Flashback after Slaine shot him, he went over to Saazbaum, doesn’t kill him, swears his loyalty and ‘threatens’ him to take Asseylum and leave together. Die with his goals unrealized or live with Asseylum. I guess we know what he chose. When Yuki and Inko came, they are devastated to see Inaho in his pool of blood. They bring him back to Yagarai and I think they’re hoping some sort of a miracle this doctor can bullet. I mean, what are the chances of him surviving after a bullet went right through his eye socket? Suddenly Aldnoah’s light starts emitting from him. Is he a Martian? Actually, he might have got it during Asseylum’s CPR. It was enough to power Deucalion as it makes its way to some base up in the atmosphere. That video of Asseylum declaring war on Earth is actually Lemrina in disguise. Nobody could tell the difference, eh? Slaine goes to visit Asseylum whose body lies in some chamber and on life support.

Episode 14
Deucalion docks at Trident Base in space. Inaho is testing out a software for his eye. Its analysis is so freaking accurate that he could tell Inko’s weight as well as her nervousness in emotions that makes her lying! I don’t think this feature will bring in the chicks. But then again, does he care? Also, this same nervousness is what he detected in that Asseylum’s war speech video. It could mean this video is fake. I guess Lemrina’s disguise is so perfect that Rayregalia still believes she is Asseylum. But he is now on his deathbed as he seeks Saazbaum’s help to look after his granddaughter. Saazbaum feels bad about lying about Asseylum twice and asks for Slaine’s opinion of Vers. Something that even if they conquer Earth’s resources, the commoners’ lives won’t change. The solution is Aldnoah which is also the root of the problem. Saazbaum is grateful that the royalty gave the knights Aldnoah but are also to be blamed for creating a highly stratified society. He will bring change to Mars and wants Slaine’s help. As he orders his unit to sortie, Slaine realizes his Cataphract is not activated. Aldnoah drive is disabled. He requests Lemrina to activate it but she won’t. She thinks he is just using her as replacement for Asseylum and only admires her Aldnoah power (they might have the same father but different mothers). He disagrees and shows his scarred back and explains his tough circumstances. He might not understand the burden she carries but assures his loyalty. She kisses him to transfer her Aldnoah power. But only good for one use? Trident Base knows they will be passing Mars’ space base, Marineros Base. And within that close distance, an epic battle is inevitable. However Saazbaum’s unit makes a surprise attack on Trident Base from behind. Time for action. Both sides cannot land hits on each other thanks to the asteroids and space wind. But one can. You guessed it. Inaho! Thanks to his super eye, right? 100% accuracy! Of course, there is only another person who can rival him. You guessed it. Slaine! He has improved so much that he can dodge Inaho’s shots! And Inaho can even replay that scene to see how he super dodged it! Both guys are curious to know who they are fighting and boy, are they ‘glad’ to see each other again? It’s been 19 months…

Episode 15
Magbaredge talks to Inaho that everyone on Deucalion owes their lives to him. So if he wants to go to fight in the front lines, they will support him the best they can. She reveals they have been doing experiments of Aldnoah activation with the princess’ blood samples but cannot get it to work. Only Inaho seems to be the exception. It might have to do with that transfer during resuscitation and his exposure to her blood when she was shot. When Slaine returns from practice, Count Barouhcruz and Count Marylcian do not like him so much and are about to beat him up when Saazbaum intervenes. They do not approve of Slaine because despite if Saazbaum want to keep this Earthling as his pet dog, it is fine but knighting him has gone too far. They are sure he will betray them. Slaine dares him to cut him down now. They are about to but Saazbaum announces to adopt Slaine as his own son. Touch him, you die. They back down for now but if they suspect the slightest betrayal, they’ll kill him. Saazbaum has been thinking of making Slaine his son for some time because he needs somebody to be his heir. Then it is time for another space fight between the bases. Inko is in trouble and once again, Inaho comes to her rescue. He must be so cock sure with his analysis that he goes ahead into the battlefield of the enemy’s territory. And once again, he faces off with Slaine. Trident Base is able to shoot and break off Marineros Base. Orders are given to pull back and make defend the base but Inaho and Slaine are busy engaging with each other. They’re so good in predicting each other that it looks like a draw. Saazbaum wants to take over the fight since he has a score to settle with Inaho. His Cataphract has powered up too as Inaho fires all his got to locate gaps in his barrier. With Inko’s split second help, he manages to locate it but Saazbaum is hit with a rain of debris. Slaine explains it is not. They are bullets he fired in advance. It was a trap he devised to defeat Inaho. Although he did not factor in his barrier, he knew Inaho would somehow figure it out. Saline reveals that he never really swore loyalty to him. Especially the one who pulled the trigger on Asseylum. Goodbye father. The second rain destroys Saazbaum. Saline gives a magnificent eulogy in the aftermath and calls for the knights to unite and destroy Earth. He takes over Saazbaum’s position and wants Harklight to join him to bring a new revolution to Vers where it will be a new era for people like them. Inaho analyzes Slaine’s speech and can tell he is not lying. This means Asseylum is still alive.

Episode 16
Deucalion is set to return to Earth. Slaine talks to Lemrina about the nobles’ act after Saazbaum’s death. As of now they do not want to show their disapproval or fight over his inheritance while some still mourn him. Lemrina believes Saazbaum was a great loss to Vers. She was a result of indiscretion of her father, the second emperor Gillzeria on the moon. His second sin was Heaven’s Fall which cost him his life. Saazbaum found her and swore allegiance to her when she had nothing. She doesn’t know if he had ulterior motives but that is fine. She finds it difficult to trust someone without Machiavellian ambition. Now all of Saazbaum’s privileges are in Slaine’s possession including guardianship of Asseylum. She hopes he won’t forget the princess he is supposed to protect before him. Barouhcruz and Marylcian contact Count Mazuurek that they are suspicious of Saazbaum’s death right after he named Slaine as his heir. They suggest putting aside their differences and teaming up. Mazuurek launches his attack near Yemen as Marito and Yuki’s team head in to engage him. It’s going to be tough as always without that kid. Especially Mazuurek’s Cataphract causing a desert storm by manipulating gravity. Yeah, it’s causing their heads to spin too. Marito is taking pot shots at it for distraction when his trauma begins to work up. As always, you need Inaho for victory. A well timed shot from above disables the Cataphract and ensured their victory. Meanwhile a lone Cataphract attacks Trident Base with speed and accuracy despite the dense debris. I know who that is… And I think Inaho also has an idea who can pull all that stuffs alone. Marito talks to Yagarai about his returning trauma but the latter believes the shock therapy may be working because he is unconsciously using that trauma as a reason to fight. Reward? A glass of liquor?! When Slaine returns to base, everyone gives him the salute so the counts that are against him will now think twice about going against him. He delivered results with flying colours and no one can call him a traitor now.

Episode 17
Mazuurek has been taken prisoner. Yagarai takes a look at Inaho’s left eye and was told he wrote and expanded the software himself. He is also warned not to use it too much as there is a risk. Yuki talks to Inaho about joining this fight when he could have stayed put at the hospital. She is not like him who became a soldier to protect him. So it must be that princess, right? He believes she is still alive somewhere. He saw before his eyes that she was shot and therefore will rescue her. Inaho then interrogates Mazuurek. His loyalty to Vers is what makes him perfect for this interrogation. First he asks his loyalty to Asseylum and then reveals that the one seen in the video is an imposter. The real one is alive and being hidden somewhere. Rayet joins the interrogation after Inaho details of the events when he was with Asseylum during the assault. She is still bitter her father was killed that way but Mazuurek says in any event her father would have died sooner or later and it is better than being branded a traitor. Inaho ends the interrogation. Rayet thinks he must think she is the same stupid Martian who is living in the past. All she does is blame, hate and kill them. Although he believes she is different, she asserts she still hates Martians especially herself. Marylcian contacts ‘Asseylum’ when Slaine isn’t around. Mazuurek has escaped thanks to Inaho and Rayet. They want him to return to his Landing Castle to investigate Asseylum’s whereabouts. Inaho sees Mazuurek having the same eyes as Asseylum because both do not want war with Earth and are interested in the nature of this planet. Inaho also wants him to help investigate Slaine’s objectives. Slaine is not too pleased that Lemrina has granted an audience with Marylcian. With Barouhcruz, Marylcian wants to serve as her personal knight. Slaine disagrees but Marylcian tells him to shut it and then starts badmouthing him about his lowly Earthling status that he has no right to even set foot in this place. Marylcian challenges Slaine to a duel to see who is worthy to be Asseylum’s guard.

Episode 18
Slaine speaks to some of the Orbital Knights who support him. They find it contradictory despite Slaine wants all of them to unite but he himself is picking a fight with Marylcian. Slaine believes that Vers sees themselves as superior to their Earth counterparts and this had led to their carelessness and ultimately undoing. This is the state of Orbital Knights now. He believes some things are better seen from an outside perspective. I’m not sure if Lemrina feels bad about letting the duel happen but Slaine couldn’t be more grateful as this gives him a chance to quell any opposition. Lemrina wants to help him even if it means being Asseylum’s substitute. Marito and his team are engaging another Orbital Knight. They’ve been lucky so far because nobody has died! Then you need Inaho for victory because he is from a safe distance, pinpointing the exact location and when to shoot your weapon! Even if the knight takes out the communicators, Inaho fires some tracer rounds but Yuki decides to play hero this time and with luck, destroys the Martian Cataphract. Inaho didn’t like her sister for disobeying his order to stay clear (her mecha luckily lost only an arm) but she says there is no way a little brother can order a big sister around despite he ranks higher! WTF?! Slaine and Marylcian’s duel begins. The former is seen only running away from the latter’s many laser turrets. No letting up as it shoots from all angles. But Slaine overcomes this by hiding in some tunnel to limit its attack to only 1 angle and takes out all the turrets. Now Marylcian is the one running. Slaine then cuts open his hatch to let that bastard get suck out into the vacuum of space. Barouhcruz is forced to acknowledge Slaine’s victory as witness and as per the rules, Marylcian’s entire estate will be transferred to Slaine. Inaho’s eye is the most useful eye ever because he has been watching the entire battle from the ground!!! HE CAN SEE THAT FAR UP IN SPACE???!!! Lastly, Asseylum makes an official announcement that she will become Slaine’s husband and their new kingdom will be Earth. What is the best way to stay as that? Lemrina shuts off Asseylum’s life support system! She will be her from now on… Then… Just kidding! She switches back on and can’t kill her because she is still her sister despite their differences. After she leaves, Asseylum’s eyes slowly open…

Episode 19
Asseylum also rallies Vers to unite. This means Slaine also holds the same authority as her and this includes the power to utilize Aldnoah. Magbaredge is talking to the higher ups who would love her to continue operating Deucalion. They thing Asseylum’s announcement is just a ploy to rally Orbital Knights. However she feels they are being complacent and letting their guard down just because the tide is in their favour. Eddelrittuo reports to Slaine about Asseylum so he orders her to transport her to his castle. No one is to know about this. Not even Lemrina. So Slaine tells Lemrina about the worsening condition of Asseylum. She feels bad that he is in pain right now and that he doesn’t need to hold back in front of her. It’s because she is already his. Lemrina’s monologue tells us she has always admired Asseylum and wonders if that incident triggered it. But rest assured she will be there for Slaine in her stead. She will support him when she cannot. She can’t control herself and starts crying. Yuki talks to Inaho about recent Asseylum’s announcement. She still hates Slaine for being and asshole for shooting her brother. To Inaho, it doesn’t matter if Asseylum is fake or not. Nobody will listen to her again if she seeks for peace between the planets. Slaine goes to check on Asseylum’s condition. Suddenly she regains consciousness. Her first words were Eddelrittuo’s name. Slaine wonders if she remembers him and keeps saying his name. Of course she does. Proof of that is how she repeats his name like a broken recorder. What a lovely reunion. While they’re at that, the ugly war is still ongoing in the background. Then Slaine goes to lie to Lemrina about Eddelrittuo taking some time off to take care of Asseylum’s ‘worsening condition’. Lemrina agrees but is worried about him too. He assures her she is the only one he can rely on. My, what a player he is. Mazuurek returns to his Landing Castle and communicates to Barouhcruz. After being informed of the latest updates, Mazuurek is in a dilemma on what to do. Barouhcruz brushes off rumours that Saazbaum was killed by Slaine. And now back to some mecha action with Inaho and co fighting the Martian Cataphracts. He knows Slaine has made his move because several Landing Castles and Orbital Knights join in this coordinated attack.

Episode 20
I guess when you’re fighting against 3 Orbital Knights, it is only wise to pull back. Too late for some of the platoon divisions. Easy kill. Annihilated. Slaine orders the offensive to be continued as he remembers the first time Asseylum was put in the chamber on life support. This was the best Saazbaum could do and all that was left was to pray for a miracle. Slaine couldn’t accept this reality and goes crazy. Deucalion arrives in time to pick up its mechas but a Martian Cataphract that is able to clone itself is hot on its tail. Although Deucalion escapes in time, it takes a major damage as all electronic communications and readings are out. How can they pilot the ship then? Don’t worry. There’s always Inaho’s to guide you! Heck, he should just pilot the entire ship himself. And then orders from the higher ups came. An all-out attack to reclaim their lost territory. So they’re just throwing in the numbers now, huh? Mazuurek will pledge his loyalty to Slaine but wants to have an audience with him and Asseylum. Slaine doesn’t mind this request as long as it helps grow their power for the time being. Slaine’s guilt must be increasing as he talks to Lemrina about making Earth their new kingdom because either way, he never had a home. She too feels the same but notes whenever she is with him, that is her home. Slaine talks to Eddelrittuo about her concerns about that proclamation. That proclamation as he says was born from the weakness of his heart, holding on to his faith that Asseylum would wake up someday. And now that she has, the irony is that he doesn’t want her memories to return (her mind is still a little hazy). His priority now is to make Asseylum happy and couldn’t care less about everything else. As for Lemrina, he knows she is looking a place to belong but knows that people like them can never attain it. Mazuurek sees Asseylum and as he talks to her about Earth, the more he feels suspicious about the way she says things. Later he talks to Eddelrittuo and since the little attendant isn’t a good actor, he can tell something is wrong. Lemrina is upset that Slaine wasn’t with her during Mazuurek’s audience although Harklight told her he is preoccupied with new mission plans. Yeah, he seems to be spending more time in his Landing Castle than anything else. That includes being by her side. When Eddelrittuo passes a gift to Asseylum from Mazuurek, suddenly all her memories come flooding back when she sees the pendant. Lemrina laments how long it will be till Asseylum releases her grip on Slaine’s feelings. She goes to check on her but is shocked to see the chamber empty.

Episode 21
I’m sure everyone is depending on Inaho to analyze the enemy’s Cataphracts. Based on their abilities, they are nicknamed Ninja (cloning), Sparky (lightning/electricity) and Houdini (invisibility). Slaine contacts Lemrina and propose to do an announcement of their progress victory to rally support. She agrees and asks about Asseylum’s condition. Of course she knows he is lying when he tells her that her condition is still in critical state. Asseylum learns the war has been going on ever since she went into coma and is supposedly started by Slaine. She wants to see him to ascertain the truth. As she walks out, she sees herself (Lemrina in disguise). Lemrina is not happy. She points her gun at her and claims she is her. Inaho and co go into battle with the Orbital Knights. As usual, tough opposition till Inaho steps in with his plan. I can’t be bothered to think how it works because I know it’ll work in the end as Sparky and Houdini get destroyed. Now all that is left is to face Ninja. Make that Ninjas. Inaho gets so technical explaining about Ninja’s abilities that even his comrades tell him to get to the point! It seems that all the clones are real! Say what? And then with this plan of his, he synchronizes all his allies’ mechas to fire simultaneously at all the clones. Because they’re all real and linked so they’ll be destroyed simultaneously including the original one. I don’t get it, but hell, it works, right? Lemrina summons Slaine to explain about Asseylum’s awakening. He tells her Asseylum’s memories have not returned and still needs to use her to act as the princess till he creates their new world. Even if this is not what Asseylum wants, that is why he will create it and present it to her. Noting he has changed a lot, Lemrina than stands up. She is actually Asseylum in disguise. The real Lemrina reveals she told her everything. Asseylum points her gun at him and orders him to call an immediate ceasefire. However he is not afraid, claiming he is no longer under her authority as he is not a citizen of Vers anymore. He has his men take the princesses into custody. Just when the higher ups praise Deucalion for another great victory, they are going to send them into battle again. This time it will be way up in space. They think they’re on a roll. Meanwhile Klancain, the son of Cruhteo seeks permission to see Slaine.

Episode 22
Deucalion leaves orbit for Parnassos Base. Seems their two-pronged operation this time is to divide the enemy forces and be the bait. Magbaredge of course doesn’t intend to follow that suspicious plan. Eddelrittuo apologizes to Asseylum. Asseylum blames herself and takes responsibility for this. Lemrina blames her for waking up because had she not, she will be in full control and Slaine would not have been this confused. Klancain sees Slaine and they talk about things when the alert sounds. The Terrans have begun their assault. Inaho deduces that HQ has a bigger plan for this mission. Since the assault team is using their offensive cover for infiltration, it could only mean that the plan is to assassinate Asseylum. However they are ambushed as Slaine predicted this. Inaho also personally infiltrates the base to find her. I guess he used too much of his eye and it’s starting to hurt. And I thought he’d always be untouchable forever. The princesses are being evacuated but come into contact with the assault team. They barely escape. When Slaine hears about this, he personally goes to handle this himself. Lemrina decides not to go with Asseylum because this is her place. Where else will she go? Where else can she run to and from? Inaho is looking for Asseylum but encounters Slaine. A gun fight ensues as Inaho tells him to leave Asseylum out of this. Slaine believes their goal goes hand in hand so Inaho says he is only using her. Inaho manages to shoot the steam pipes for distraction and get away. He finally meets with Asseylum and since he is glad she is okay, he falls unconscious from his wound. His mechanical eye then takes a life of its own. It even speaks on behalf of Inaho to give escape information to Asseylum. There is no time for her to take him so they have to make haste. She leaves her necklace with him and leaves a message of thanks. When Asseylum is at the dock, she is ambushed by an assault team member but Klancain saves the day.

Episode 23
Klancain takes Asseylum aboard his ship to escape. The real Inaho wakes up and receives information from his eye. He contacts Inko if Asseylum has been retrieved. Despite the negative answer, he knows the mission is a success because she has escaped the base and calls for Inko to pick him up. The strain of his mechanical eye must be taking its toll. Yagarai fears that since he has used it too much, it is like giving part of his brain to the machine. Deucalion is ordered to retreat since HQ has claimed to achieve their objective. Slaine contacts Klancain on what he is doing and tells him to turn back as the base is the safest place for the princess. Asseylum even pleads in tears to Slaine for him to make peace with Earth. He will talk about that if they turn around now. Klancain doesn’t listen to Slaine’s orders to turn around but his loyalty is to Asseylum. She is still bent on stopping the war and wants to address the Orbital Knights but Klancain says that no longer is enough because they have swore loyalty to Slaine. Everything hinges on their marriage now. Remember, Slaine still has Lemrina who can be her. Speaking of which, she meets Slaine and pities him and her sister. Asseylum is brought to Mazuurek who is glad he is able to show his loyalty to her and also repay his debt to Inaho. Shortly, Slaine orders the commencement of an all-out attack on Earth. He will show Earthlings what it is like with no place to return. You know what? Inaho’s eye pick this news up and despite his condition, he is going into battle. Yuki must very well know this is coming and whatever she says won’t stop him. But what about Inko? She’s crying about him trying to be a hero. He might be lucky surviving the last few times but miracles don’t always happen. I suppose this guy must have run out of ideas to assure her so he guarantees they’ll all come back alive. Because his eye says so! Asseylum seeks an audience with Rayregalia whose health is very frail. She wants him to stop the war but he won’t. He cannot forgive Earth. Seems he is senile and talking about his dead son and the glory of obtaining Aldnoah that would advance mankind. Once he finally recognizes her, he hopes she’ll be a good princess and lead the people. The assault begins as Slaine rallies every Orbital Knight to attack with full power. Suddenly his transmission is hijacked by Asseylum who makes her broadcast everywhere about the regrets and suffering of this war. Therefore she is claiming her right to the throne as Empress of Vers. She also announces her engagement to Klancain and will extend an olive branch of peace to Earth.

Episode 24
The Orbital Knights are confused over Asseylum’s announcement but some still continue their attack on Earth’s forces. I guess with Slaine screwed over this unexpected turn of incidents, the only person he can turn to now is Lemrina. Yeah, she’ll always be by his side. So when Barouhcruz demands an explanation from Slaine, he orders all forces to surrender to Earth and abandon the moon base. This means Lemrina is forced to evacuate against her will while Slaine tries to be a martyr and self destructs the base! WTF?! Did they really install this feature in the base?! But Harklight and some Slaine loyalists turn back to fight the Earthlings. They won’t listen to Slaine anymore. Can’t blame them. Everybody is so confused. Just when Slaine is to resign to his fate, then he sees a familiar Cataphract approaching. Inaho is coming to get him. Rather, time to settle things between them once and for all. So in between the battle of the ‘emperors’, the rest also need have the obligatory minimum screen action time. You can tell the Terrans will be victorious since the Mars’ side are out of ammo, damaged Cataphract parts and only a small number remain. Yeah, they all become martyrs and die in battle. Eventually, Slaine also lost but instead of resigning to his fate of burning up in the atmosphere’s re-entry, Inaho goes with him to soften his fall. They crash land safely on some shore. They look okay. This time it is Inaho who is pointing his gun at Slaine. He signals and points at his forehead. Like father, like son? In the aftermath, the news reports Asseylum officiating a ceremony of the construction of Aldnoah Reactor as goodwill between Earth and Vers based on Dr Troyard’s research. It’s a symbiotic relationship with Earth using the technology to rebuild and spur the economy with Aldnoah based industries while Vers earns good foreign capital. Although some Orbital Knights still occupy Earth’s territory, Asseylum will go negotiate with them to return it. Slaine is reported to be dead (which allowed this treaty possible) but he is actually held in a high security facility. He’s like so lifeless with nothing to live for. Inaho visits and talks to him. If you’re wondering about Inaho’s pirate fashion sense not because he wants to be Captain Harlock but rather he has removed his eye due to the strain it is causing him. Besides, the war is over. He doesn’t need it anymore. Slaine is bitter that he saved him. A person who stole, lied and killed his comrades deserves death. However Inaho says this wasn’t his decision. It was Asseylum’s. Her request was to save Slaine from his misery. This turns Slaine into an emotional wreck. How can still she be so considerate for an asshole like him? Asseylum and Klancain tour the vast beach and are impressed of the endless blue sky.

W.A.R. is for We Are Right!
What the heck is this unsatisfying ending? It feels like a rushed job. Because I feel like they didn’t tie up things properly with the rest of the characters and just rushed to give a good ending. Good as in peace between Earth and Vers. Until the next conflict arises. So rushed that instead of showing snippets and montage of other characters to tie up loose ends (those attending Asseylum’s officiating ceremony isn’t counted), they feature the full 3 minute length of the first season’s song just to fill in the remaining space. Uh huh. And they didn’t even show any clips or animation during this either. Just a pitch black background while the credits of everyone and everything keep rolling as long as the music’s duration. Like as though you are leaving a cinema after the long movie ends. Yeah. That.

Honestly, the first season felt great and it was interesting enough to keep me focused on what is going on despite I may not understand everything. The cliff-hanger ending wasn’t that all bad and heart pounding enough for me to keep wondering how they will play it out. And then they had to ‘reset’ it in the second season and the war becomes more like something personally. Reset as in bringing back characters like Inaho and Asseylum who are supposed to be dead. I know they are important to the series and it wouldn’t be the same without them but somehow that is where I felt it went downhill. Not very steeply but it wasn’t as great as when I watched the first season. A hero and a princess die at the end? Not good! Might as well revive them. Feels lame… Catch-22 situation.

This is what I summed up for both seasons of this series: For the first season, it is the rise of Inaho because you get to see how this kid performed miracles to earn Earth’s victory in otherwise would have been an early loss. For the second season feels more like the rise of Slaine because you get to see how this kid fuelled by the unfortunate event that befell his beloved princess, to take provocative and aggressive action to work his way up to where he is now and surprisingly as the one leading the Orbital Knights. So while you see the rise of one of them, the other plays a secondary role in that season. Like when it is Inaho’s first season, Slaine feels like a character who just screws up everything including the one where he got Asseylum killed. When it is Slaine’s turn to lead, Inaho is reduced to being in the background doing things that lack making any big impact. Therefore this show is really just about these 2 characters as far as I can see and everyone else somehow feels and falls flat.

Inaho as the main character sometimes feel like a big fail. Because he is already such an emotionless kid unlike your puberty-hit angst-ridden main characters, you don’t even this guy doesn’t scream from the top of his voice! Where is the passion in such characters?! I mean when Okisuke died, this guy didn’t show a shred of emotions! I thought there was something wrong. Yeah, maybe his expressionless personality is something wrong. And then you see him become the genius and super kid because he always has a plan that never fails. I know he is perhaps trying to live by the motto that you won’t get anywhere if you don’t take risks but sometimes I feel that he is too confident that it will work like as though he has read the script beforehand and knew the outcome. That is why he is so calm. Oh man, this guy should switch name with his engineering pal. And now that he has got a mechanical eye, this guy is a step closer in becoming God. I think he is already one. Accurate calculations, thorough analysis, detailed computations… Wow. Unbelievable that I almost suffered stomach cramps ;p. How can you not win the war with this kind of ability? Earth should just send this one-man kid to save Earth while everybody just sit back their ass and relax. Besides, don’t you think he did most of the work in ensuring Earth’s victory? Come to think of it, who the heck designed the programme for his eye anyway? It is such a big waste for it not to be patented or anything since it has a mind of its own while you’re unconscious. Yeah right. Nobody cares…

Then there is this Slaine dude who seems to have tremendously changed. From the first season he is like the whipping kid and the subject of Cruhteo’s torment and he is only enduring it because of his loyalty-cum-love for Asseylum. He is submissive and screws up and he must be one hell of a lucky son of a gun to survive it all. And when he cleverly planned his way to the top and killing Saazbaum after legally seizing all he could, he becomes the major ‘antagonist’ fighting a meaningless war despite his calls for taking back resources, supremacy, blah, blah, blah. But as Eddelrittuo said, Slaine might not have changed all the while because his hope of having Asseylum come to was always his priority. But how is that different now that she is awakened? I guess he got confused. It’s like he is trying to cover up his mistakes with this war. Well, winners get to write and rewrite history, right?

Asseylum who was the culprit of the war and how it all started despite the irony she longs for peace on both sides. The biggest mind boggling thing about her is the fact that after she really revives, how come nobody actually questions her about her earlier decisions to wage war on Earth? Okay, assuming some may suspect the video is fake but in general, shouldn’t everybody be suspicious of her when she makes a sudden u-turn in her decision? Even more mind boggling is how she is officiating the construction without all those watching Earthlings having the slightest grudge on their face. This was the princess who came to Earth at first for goodwill. Then she declared war and now she pronounced ceasefire and peace? What kind of crap is this? Shouldn’t there at least be disgruntled humans and assassins trying to assassinate her? Because she looks so open and unguarded. The lax in security is even worse when she first arrived. I guess humans have suffered so much from the war that they also suffer from having a short memory.

The other characters just feel fleeting. Especially the final episode, the host of surviving characters are just shown for the sake of that. It’s not like they bear anything significant or anything. Like Lemrina. So what happened to her after that? Where will she go? Even if they show her making up with Asseylum or being by her side, it wouldn’t be that bad. But she is nowhere to be seen after the evacuation. Nowhere. Yuki could have seriously died of a heart attack every time she has to see her little brother take risky risks. Each time he amazingly comes back alive. So can you not blame her for being overly worried like an overprotective sister? Only that Inaho is being stubborn and doesn’t feel like sitting back. Marito seems to have his problem of overcoming his trauma. Each time he goes into battle, his trauma gets in the way that prevents him from completing his mission. In a way, it gives Inaho the very much opportunity he needed to earn his reputation. Although it might seem Marito has gotten over his trauma (because he seems to be piloting decently without reliving that nightmare), I feel he doesn’t make an overall impact. I don’t know what Magbaredge’s deal is because initially this feels like a running joke as she from time to time loves teasing her XO, Kaoru Mizusaki. Because of the decisions or opinions, she always have to remind her isn’t it any wonder this is why no men like her. WTF?! I know she looks a little tomboyish. So what?! What about you yourself, captain?

Eddelrittuo feels ‘amusing’ because in the first season, she is like suspicious of every damn Earthling who talks to Asseylum. I know she’s trying to be a good attendant trying to protect Asseylum for her own good but she’s doing it enough to make it look annoying. Can you cut that princess some slack? Then in the second season, it feels like she has been reduced to a side character in the background. Like part of the furniture or something. Haha! Just kidding. You see her more worried than before, before and after Asseylum’s revival. Lemrina also feels like a confused princess just like Slaine. All she ever wanted was a place she could belong to. And she thought by taking over Asseylum’s place she could have it and at least Slaine. And that princess had to wake up. Already a second fiddle, won’t you get upset when the first fiddler withdraws and just when you thought you’re going to get the limelight, that withdrawer returns. Frustrating, right? I assume Rayregalia must be dead, right? Is it right for Asseylum to assume the supreme throne when grandpa hasn’t kicked the bucket yet? Maybe emergency times call for emergency measures. Yeah. They didn’t even have the decency to show him breathe his last breath. Who cares for an old geezer anyway?

No time for romance on board when you have an inter-planetary war. I wasn’t putting my hopes to seeing Inaho in any romantic scenes with Inko or even Rayet. True enough, nothing of that sort happened although it might just be hinted on Inko’s side. I mean, with a guy with no expression or that sort, how do you expect any romantic clichés? I guess those are the reasons why those 2 girls are still alive and by his side. To troll us if the prospects of a love triangle would happen. Isn’t that what Rayet’s character is for? For the potential of any romance if there would be but nothing actually. This girl keeps regretting about the death of her father and won’t forgive Martians, blah, blah, blah. That’s about it. Just like Inko, in battle they are just pretty decent in holding out because Inaho is still the main man. They’re just there for the numbers, huh?

In a bigger picture, it seemed like Inaho and Slaine are fighting over Asseylum because you can sense that they both don’t want to give up on her and are doing things on behalf of her as they believed. Their whatever excuses otherwise feel like a cover up. So in the end, neither of them got the girl because for Klancain to show up at the penultimate episode (actually he showed up right at the end of 3 episodes from the finish to be exact but that doesn’t really count, right?) to usurp them both and land the big fish herself. Wow. Didn’t see this coming. And sometimes you thought it was going to be Inaho or Slaine who will get her and in worst case scenario, none of them. But no. The son of Cruhteo got her instead. Yeah, I guess the guys, the main character duo are the biggest losers. Even bigger than the loss of the war. Oh, and no Marito x Magbaredge or Marito x Yuki romance (not even any hinting ones) because we don’t want complicated adult romance in animes. Watching high school kids’ romance is better. If it ever happens here.

As this series isn’t as original as you may think it is, it is because it seems to borrow elements heavily from other animes before it. Sometimes it feels like plagiarism but it isn’t. With so many animes churning out every year, you can’t help feel the similarities the more animes you watch. So a similarity that I can see with Shingeki No Kyojin is the Martian Cataphracts that are like Titans. Earth’s forces are puny and nothing against them. They are just defenceless against those superior robots. All the shots fired at them feel like pot shots. You can never win. Unless… Then there is that Code Geass feel because you have got Slaine who is from Earth fighting for Vers whereas Asseylum who is of Vers royalty trying to make peace with Earth. But mostly, I read that many said its borrowed elements are from Valvrave The Liberator especially the similarities between the main characters and the different human factions at war with each other.

The actions bits are satisfactory. Even if I don’t feel anything extraordinary about it but at least it keeps you entertained and the norm of what mecha themed animes are supposed to be. It defeats the purpose if you don’t have cool big robots pounding each other, right? But I just keep wondering why there are so many soldiers/pilots/fighters on either side because during action sequences, we see so many Cataphracts explode and its pilot die from both sides. I think they want to rake up the body count but seriously, after all that fighting and there are still so many left in the army? While the Earth’s mechas are just plain boring because each one is about the same (of course they do not have the technology for better arms), the Martian Cataphracts are more interesting because there are no 2 Cataphracts that are the same. At least for the Orbital Knights. Each come with their own unique abilities so each time you engage with one of them, you’ll need a new plan or meet your maker. I thought the side characters should just die in the last episode’s final battle because it didn’t really matter. To save us from tying up the loose ends of where they will be, maybe they should have just killed them all. Because like for example Marito who is having his trauma problems the entire way, he should have did some last action hero thingy and succumbed to death on the battlefield. Not like he did anything much in every battle either. Yeah, I’ve said it so many times. It is always Inaho who gets the job done.

I have to admit that the animation and art are of top notch quality. I suppose when you have a mecha genre, you need to have majestic and shiny robots to appeal to the audience. Therefore in this department, the mechas of both sides look pretty neat (thanks to the help of CGI effects of course) although I feel the ones from Earth are a bit bland. They still look cool except for their ‘oversized shoulder pads’ that somewhat made me feel that if they’re going to some intergalactic American football game. Of course our hero Inaho gets to be ‘different’ as he rides an orange coloured one since it was the one he used at the start as practice. It gives him luck, right? Yeah well, they should try painting the other dull coloured ones the same and maybe the death ratio will be lowered. Then again, maybe not. Therefore I prefer the designs of the Martian Cataphracts because with different Orbital Knights each having their own Cataphracts, each with their own unique power and ability and thus their designs seem way cooler than their Earthling counterparts. Other than that, the human characters are okay as well as the sceneries. Well, I personally thought the sceneries and structures in space are better looking anyway. On a trivial note, the first time I looked at Lemrina, I thought her hairstyle looked like a pair of balls hanging on her side! Really!

Voice acting seems pretty okay and nothing to shout about. New kids on the block are taking the lead with Natsuki Hanae as Inaho (Kousei in Shigatsu Wa Kimi No Uso), Kensho Ono as Slaine (Hakuryuu in Magi) and Sora Amamiya as Asseylum (titular character in Akame Ga Kill). The rest include Mikako Komatsu as Inko (Tsugumi in Nisekoi), Sachika Misawa as Rayet (Black Lotus in Accel World), Shiina Natsukawa as Lemrina (Nonoka in Sora No Method), Sayaka Ohara as Yuki (Erza in Fairy Tail), Kazuya Nakai as Marito (Zoro in One Piece), Ai Kayano as Magbaredge (Inori in Guilty Crown), Kousuke Toriumi as Yagarai (Gennosuke in Basilisk), Inori Minase as Eddelrittuo (Chino in Gochuumon Wa Usagi Desu Ka), Toru Ohkawa as Saazbaum (Roy in Fullmetal Alchemist), Daisuke Hirakawa as Harklight (Muneakira in Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls), Sho Hayami as Cruhteo (Tokiomi in Fate/Zero), Takahiro Sakurai as Trillram (Suzaku in Code Geass), Toshiyuki Toyonaga as Mazuurek (Shun in Kimi to Boku), Ryota Ohsaka as Klancain (Marco in Shingeki No Kyojin), Shinji Ogawa as Rayregalia (Stresemann in Nodame Cantabile) and Taishi Murata as Calm (Eiichirou Maruo in Baby Steps). Not forgetting this, maybe it has become a little joy for me now to spot short cameo appearances of my favourite Mamiko Noto as she rarely takes on main roles these days. Despite only a short scene, she is the voice behind Orlane.

If the first opening theme sounds familiar, it is because Heavenly Blue is sung by Kalafina whose trademark voices can be heard in anime songs like Kuroshitsuji and Fate/Zero. I prefer this compared to the second opening theme, &Z by Sawano Hiroyuki[nZk]:mizuki. I don’t even know how to pronounce the title and the artist’s name. Seriously, I thought it shouldn’t have changed but new seasons call for new themes. That same Sawano whatever-this-group-name-is also sings the ending themes for the first season. I think they have a penchant for weirdly naming their songs too. The first ending theme is A/Z and sounds okay as a rock piece while the second ending theme, aLIEz has a little techno feel. Both songs aren’t that bad. For the second season, it is Genesis by Eir Aoi as the main one while Harmonious by Sora Amamiya is a mainly a rock drum cover and special ending theme only appearing for the penultimate episode. There are also a handful of insert songs but nothing that memorable for me although it does quite fit the scenes well.

Overall, if you want to pass the time for some explosive mecha action without thinking too deep about the plot or characters, this should be good to pass the time. Don’t worry. It will fly by as you are flabbergasted at Inaho’s super human intelligence, tactics and action. If they could clone and make soldiers out of him, you’re screwed. Thank God nobody did. So it goes to show that how something so minute can spark a full scale war that will leave a scar for generations to come. Hmm… Doesn’t this mirrors how World War I was started in the first place? I think everybody on Vers should just return home to Earth and humans continue to live as one big happy family. There, problem solved. Oh wait. This would give rise to a new form of discrimination for those migrated/returning people. It is perhaps a vicious cycle that would make humans learn and appreciate but then again, they never. So when is the next justice through Heaven’s Fall?

Madan No Ou To Vanadis

July 11, 2015

War genres do not particularly interest me especially those of the historical setting whether it is the period setting or modern warfare. But if it is fantasy, I might have a look at it. And if they put cute busty babes in it, that just increases the chance. Haha. Shame on me. But honestly that was how I decided to take a look at Madan No Ou To Vanadis. Fighting among different clans, tribes and people are uncommon throughout mankind’s history. It is no different in this fantasy setting world. Nations fighting each other for whatever reasons (though I can think world dominance is the main reason) and as a result lots of people die. But this anime isn’t just about mindless killing, blood and deaths. When a country’s dying king is causing a civil war between his 2 heirs, it gets worse when an enemy country decides to launch an invasion on it. During this invasion, a sole survivor is captured and even recruited into the army. I guess if this guy wasn’t as cute, this lady general wouldn’t have taken him in. No, seriously.

Episode 1
In another devastating war between the Brune and Zhcted sides, casualties are mounting on the bloodied battlefield. Tigrevurmud Vorn AKA Tigre, a great Brune archer is probably one of the last survivors. He spots War Maiden Eleonora Viltaria AKA Elen and tries to take her down with his remaining arrows. Her exceptional sword skills deflect his arrows. It is Tigre’s lost and thus he belongs to her now. Flashback reveals Tigre was part of the Brune forces and their superior numbers is what makes them believe they are invincible. Fellow nobleman, Zion Thenardier doesn’t like Tigre a bit and continues to mock his status, especially his bow weapon of choice. Only the Count of Aude, Mashas Rodant stops Zion from further belittling Tigre. There are rumours going around that Duke Felix Aaron Thenardier is forcing his subjects to contribute for the war, burning those who refuse and making an example of families fighting each other to the death. Tigre hopes their prince can do something about it. Suddenly it becomes totally weird because Mashas puts his finger into Tigre’s mouth! Turns out Tigre has woken from his slumber and Limalisha AKA Lim is putting her sword into his mouth. He is now a prisoner in Leitmeritz in Zhcted. Mashas sends a message back to Titta, Tigre’s maid back in Alsace in Brune. Despite the Brune army outnumbering their enemy greatly, they still lost and Tigre has been captured as prisoner. Based on some treaty, if a ransom is not delivered to Zhcted within 50 days, Tigre becomes their property. Tigre is sent to see Elen about this ransom and he knows it is too high for his people to even pay. Elen then has Tigre demonstrate in an archery match. Everyone ridicules at his poor shot when actually he was just testing and getting the feel of this bow. When an assassin is spotted, Elen quickly defends herself with her wind power. Tigre then quickly fires to accurately maim his leg instead of killing him. Elen is sorry that she didn’t know her subjects gave Tigre a bad bow to publicly humiliate him. But Tigre doesn’t want their heads and hopes she can forgive them.

Tigre is surprised to learn that Elen had fallen for him at first sight. Rumours of this spread and because her men wants him killed, she thought the best way to suppress that was to show them his archery skills. It worked better than she hoped. She also points out that recent battle was the most boring she has ever faced. She has laid out lots of plans and tactics but only for his side to fall so quickly. Even more so, they took the head of their prince. All is fair in war since Tigre himself killed some Zhcted soldiers. Once news of the prince spreads, the entire Brune force collapsed. That’s when Zhcted basically ran them over and bored Elen met Tigre. Elen is amazed at his skills and how he tried to kill her calmly! A reason why Lim doesn’t like Tigre is probably one of his earlier arrows took down her horse. Elen suggests Tigre serve under her and can bestow the same title he had in Brune. But he declines since he already has a place to return and protect. A place that he inherited from his late father. Tigre may have made friends with another bowman, Rurick but walking around so freely may not be a good idea since in the eyes of others he is still a prisoner. He accidentally stumbles into naked Elen while bathing. He is the one freaking out. She tells it straight to him: “I want you”. Later that night, an old Brunish man was caught and brought before Tigre. He is Bertrand, his attendant. Although happy to see each other, Bertrand reports Thenardier’s forces are marching on Alsace. Tigre wants to return to his county but Elen stands in his way.

Tigre-kun To Vanadi-chu 0: Short flash specials lasting 2.5 minutes streamed alongside the series with the characters in chibi form and of course, for fun. But I noticed there will always be one still picture of the characters drawn in their usual bishoujo/bishonen form and illustrated by Miyahiko. In this opener, we learn about Dragon Gear made from dragon with mysterious powers that can only be wielded by War Maidens. There are 7 of them in Zhcted and one of them is Elen. Elen doesn’t want Lim so formal in her explanation but Tigre pops up to argue he is supposed to be the protagonist of the show but Lim disputes from the anime’s title how the show isn’t about him. Just watch the anime and you’ll see…

Tigre-kun To Vanadi-chu 1: Elen tests Tigre’s combat skills. He chooses a spear but no matter how much he attacks, he cannot land a single hit on her. Not even doing a surprise attack when her guard is down. I guess he got desperate enough to do some ultimate attack. I don’t know what it is but it looks like he landed his palm on her boobs. While Elen is impressed with his bold move (well, she did tell him to go all out), Lim is not and quickly knocks him out. Permission to behead?

Episode 2
Thenardier gives his eldest son, Zion 2 dragons and makes him in charge for the takeover of Alsace. Elen wants to know what a single man like Tigre can do against thousands of soldiers. Better than standing around doing nothing? Try again. Elen is annoyed that he is rushing into things and is supposed to be calm and using his brains. So he calms down and thinks his possible next move. He bows his head to request Elen lend her soldiers. She starts laughing and allows it but not for free. Tigre agrees to give Alsace as long as she governs fairly. Elen never expected this answer because she thought he was going to become his subordinate. Thenardier reveals he sent his son to take Alsace because since the prince’s death, the king is losing his grip on the throne and Brune will either be ruled by him or Maximilian Bennusa Ganelon. Even though Alsace is a remote and backwater country, Thenardier wants his son to get used to handling the dragons. While the people of Alsace are being evacuated to safety shelters, Titta continues to wait in Tigre’s home, hoping to greet her master when he returns. Zion’s army pillage Alsace but they can’t touch the temple where the people are hiding otherwise all other Brune people will turn against them. Zion trespasses into Tigre’s house. Like the big bully he is, he looks like about to rape the maid but before he could lay his hands on her, an arrow is shot through his palm. Feel the pain! Tigre comes riding to rescue Titta and with Elen’s wind power to soften the reckless rescue act. She reveals her sword, Arifar controls the wind and only a War Maiden can wield it. Titta has an emotional reunion with Tigre. She was scared but believed in him. Tigre could feel a hidden assassin. He uses his hand to stop an arrow shot from hitting Titta before nailing one back at him. Titta gives Tigre a black bow that she has been protecting all the while. It has been handed down through the family for generations. Tigre remembers his father telling him only to use it when he needs to. Elen orders her army to rout the remaining enemies.

Tigre-kun To Vanadi-chu 2: Lim is mad. Because Elen ran away from the castle to run about in town to buy snacks. She wants a summarized explanation from Tigre. Any lies will result in death! Well, sounds like a lot of fun tasting the delicious snacks, right? And what deserved break from hard work is she talking about? Elen hasn’t even started doing it! They try to convince her but it’s hard to be so when you have jam spread on your face. They wipe it off each other and this only makes Lim’s anger increase. To calm her down, Elen tosses her a teddy bear. That worked alright.

Episode 3
Although the enemies pillaging Alsace are killed, they will still need to face the main force. Zion panics and blames Tigre for this and akin to betrayal of his fellow countrymen. He splits up his force into 3 groups but the special trump card they hold are the dragons. Since Lim wants ropes in their next battle, Titta will help gather as much as she can from the people. Titta embarrasses herself when she asks Elen about her relationship with Tigre. So she won’t give up on him? Zhcted forces charge straight into the battlefield. They are encountered with a brass land dragon. This is part of Zion’s plan as his army flank and surround them. Lim’s team is acting as an independent unit and attacks the flanking army. While the soldiers get squished, Elen powers up Arifar by using a Dragon Art called Ley Admos to float up in the air and then cut it into half! Once done, Lim’s team retreat. The enemy follows but got tripped by the ropes laid as traps. Zion learns the enemy has reinforcement of 2000 soldiers approaching and coming from behind overwhelming theirs (it is just an elaborate plan of using the setting sun and terrain to look they have a big number but they’re just horses without riders). His subjects suggest using the other dragon but Zion refuses. He already lost one and if he loses this one, he fears he will be blamed. Thinking his own life is more important, he orders his men to retreat. Some believe they can tough it out but Zion won’t have that. The retreating men are slain. Tigre is now face to face with Zion. Zion continues to mock commoners and of course Tigre. But the latter will not tolerate him plundering his land. All that is left now is for them to duel. That’s a very long lance you got there, Zion. But Tigre chooses only a bow. He tests a few shots but is blocked by cocky Zion’s shield. When Zion charges, Tigre’s next arrow goes through his arm. He failed to notice the shots were hit at the same place and weakened the structure. Armies from both sides now clash. Zion escapes on the dragon. Tigre hears a voice from the black bow to aim at the dragon. The bow also absorbs some power from Arifar. The super charged shot kills the dragon and sends Zion plunging to his death. Zion’s soldiers’ morale falls to all-time low and are easily routed.

Tigre-kun to Vanadi-chu 3: Elen and Tigre are hiding in Lim’s room. Even though if they’re going to watch something interesting, is this morally right? They can get caught, you know. Oh, who cares? They watch Lim turn into a different persona while cuddling her teddy bears. Unbelievable, eh? She’s so happy playing with them and even has background stories for them. Suddenly she feels there is someone else in the room. Did she notice them? Elen suggests Tigre to pretend talking like a teddy bear. Will that work? Sounds crazy but what choice do they have? Tigre is expecting the worst and that this plan has failed. He is totally screwed. But she totally believes in it. Didn’t see that one coming? They’re still screwed anyway…

Episode 4
Titta finds Elen trying to wake up Tigre by putting her sword in his mouth! Is this a tradition of Zhcted? Titta is sure making a big deal out of this. Meanwhile Thenardier curses Ganelon because the moment his troops lost, he pulled out. To deal with Tigre, he wants to send Serrash, a group of notorious assassins to kill him and as for Elen, they’ll send another War Maiden to deal with her. Elen returns to Silesia, Zhcted’s capital to seek an audience with the king. He is not pleased that Elen did not seek his permission by taking her army into Brune territory. Although Elen explains Tigre’s reason to protect his country, the king finds it a lame excuse because it is like involving their country in a war like a common mercenary. Fellow War Maiden, Sofya Obertas alleviates his anger that in war, victory often favours haste over caution. Later, Elen runs into another War Maiden, Ludmila Lourie. You can say they both hate each other and before sparks can start to fly, Sofya puts her foot down. Sofya cautious Elen in making enemies out of her since she has contacts with Thenardier. Although her house has been on good terms with them for a long time, Ludmila doesn’t like them but will never let her personal feelings endanger their partnership. Tigre is happy that Mashas has returned, although the latter is cautious of Lim and her army’s presence. He understands once Tigre explains. Mashas wants to know Tigre’s next step. He will attack Thenardier. As feudal lord of his country, he is obliged to protect his people. Mashas then head to the Brune capital to seek an audience with the king to make Tigre’s case as just cause. At the same time, Tigre and Lim travel to other counties to seek allies. Then they meet up with Elen who explains the condition her king gave her. If Alsace becomes her territory, she must hand it over to the king. This isn’t a big deal as they can try to change Alsace’s situation.

The problem is the other condition. She must put Zhcted’s interest above anything else and behave prudently. Tigre thought that felt normal but he failed to see the deeper aspect of it. With such ambiguous phrasing, he is trying to tie everyone to the war whoever wins, the king benefits in the end. Therefore it is safe to assume aristocrats won’t make any sudden moves. The hierarchy of Zhcted is absolute with the king on top followed by War Maidens and then nobles. This would lead to problem with other War Maidens as not all of them are on their side. But she cautions that one will only be a problem. Speaking of her, here comes Ludmila. She is here to take a look at him. And as usual, cocky as ever. Ludmila doesn’t hide her connection with Thenardier to him. She wants to take the conversation elsewhere so as they ride through the forest, they noticed traps laid out by assassins. Elen thinks Tigre is the target since Thenardier would be happy with his death and Elen would be forced to leave Brune. They are attacked but are able to fight back. Noticing their crest, the assassins are from Serrash. When Lim is bitten by a snake, Tigre has to enforce first aid immediately and suck out the poison. Now I know why the snake bit her breast… When the rest of the assassins simultaneously attack, Ludmila activates her special attack and summons large icicles from the ground to stab all of them. Ludmila is disappointed over Elen for getting so flustered over her retainer and fails her as a War Maiden. She heads off first to Rodnik while leaving them to get medical aid for Lim. Yeah, thanks for that.

Tigre-kun To Vanadi-chu 4: Titta panics when Lim has a request of her. Thinking it must be something extreme, turns out she wants her teddy bear although Lim pretends it is for one of Elen’s retainers. Since this is old and worn out, Titta will make a new one. By all means, please do. Tigre sees this and Lim starts to panic. He wants to know this retainer who loves teddy bears so much. Lim is flustering like hell trying to explain without giving herself away. She flusters greatly when Tigre mentions this retainer who loves teddy bears must be a lovely girl.

Episode 5
Lim is healed and Elen is going to let Tigre have his reward. Stepping into the bath while Ludmila is there? More like she wants to irk her. But Ludmila didn’t panic since she views him as an animal instead of a man. In town, because Ludmila’s pride has her not tasting stall food, Elen starts eating and claiming how tasty it is to spite her. Tigre lets her taste some and Elen is not too pleased. After they part, Elen tells Lim to strengthen their border patrol. True enough as predicted, Ludmila assembled an army on Leitmeritz’s border. This means Elen’s forces are sandwiched between Ludmila and Thenardier’s army. Elen lets Tigre decide. Fight Ludmila now and stop worrying about her in the future or prepare against Thenardier and Ganelon’s invasion on Alsace. Tigre sends an envoy first but Ludmila ignores. Both sides clash and both suffer heavy casualties and forced to withdraw. As Elen gets ready for the next battle, Ludmila’s forces withdraw and hole up at her ice castle stronghold at Tatra Mountains. Elen realizes they have been had since it is a tough place to penetrate. Although Elen attacks, her forces are being pushed back. So she wants to do a desperate move by herself to wipe the enemy out from behind since the cold is getting to her men. But Lim doesn’t want her to do this and wants Tigre to convince her. At such times, Elen is asserting her position that Tigre belongs to her. Doesn’t he get to decide now? He also doesn’t want her doing this and considers her important. Really? Nobody above her? Only one: Alsace. She finds it funny and would have cut off his head if he said the name of another woman. If he has a better plan, she is all ears.

Tigre goes on a scouting mission. Lim gave him a bear skin (guess why) so he could trek across the snowy terrain without suspicion. Low on food, he shoots his arrow at a fox. However Ludmila was also hunting and also shot it. At first she didn’t believe he could shoot that far but when he demonstrates, she is amazed. Now do you believe? She invites him to share it with her, not knowing who is behind this bear skin. Tigre calls himself Urs (his father’s name) and maintains wearing the bear skin (claiming it is a law of his country not to take out animal hide on the mountains). He notices a different side of Ludmila as she serves him tea and could smile like that. She doesn’t suspect him a spy and talks about her responsibility as a War Maiden and had to hide her feelings working for people she hates just for her country’s good. As they part, she hopes he would stop by her castle one day. After a while, Tigre follows her footsteps to her castle to survey the surroundings. Then he returns with Elen and her troops getting ready to take it down. Elen uses her wind power to break down the gate but to no avail. It’s like the enemy expected her and they start raining arrows of her. She is obsessed in trying again and could have been killed had not Tigre save her. Tigre pleads to Arifar to lend its power and because the sword likes him, it powers up his arrow to make a hole in the gate. Elen then orders her men to charge in.

Tigre-kun To Vanadi-chu 5: Lim is so happy that Titta has finished making a new teddy bear. She forgot about the ‘retainer’… Oh sh*t… When Elen comes by, it’s that cheeky smirk on her face upon knowing what’s going on. Lim tries to change the subject to Serrash’s ambush but Elen keeps emphasizing on how Tigre saved her and how much attention he paid to her breasts! Titta cannot stop flustering and could explode any time from embarrassment. When Tigre comes, the ladies won’t let him know what they’re talking about.

Episode 6
As Elen and Ludmila clash, a Serrash member tries to kill Ludmila but Tigre’s arrow was fast enough to kill him. For this gratitude, Ludmila slaps him! She realizes his arrow skills and is that Urs guy. Tigre considers this as repayment for her delicious tea. His wish is that she stays neutral. It would be great if she allies with him but he has nothing to offer. With this, Ludmila is amazed with his honesty to protect his homeland and announces that she will not support Thenardier. Although Elen doesn’t have to worry about Ludmila’s forces, it seems Thenardier has got another faction involved. Roland, Brune’s strongest knight and the head of the Order of Navarre wielding the invincible Durandal sword, is being ordered to take out insurgents. A month later, Tigre has a decent army backing from Zhcted as well as some ragtag group several counts he allied with. However with their army from different backgrounds, fighting is going to be plenty. Tigre has to step in to quell them even for the silliest reason of fighting over the shape of a cloud! Of course Elen is worried that with Mashas not back yet, she wonders if Tigre’s petition has been delivered. While resting at the riverbanks, Tigre stumbles onto Elen’s pet dragon, Lunie. Perhaps cheeky little dragon saw this coming. As Sofya was looking for it, her mind was perhaps too focused on it as she bumps into Tigre. Did I mention she is stark naked? Elen not pleased…

Sofya explains she is on official business here. As they have not heard Brune’s explanation for their actions, she is sent as an envoy. Though, she was told the Brune King was ill and wasn’t able to meet him to clarify their stance. However she was made to pass a message to Elen for Tigre: Tigre is now considered a traitor and stripped of all his titles and powers. Alsace will be considered property of the king and for now will be self governed. A messenger will soon be dispatched for this but perhaps Tigre could learn more about this from Mashas. Although there won’t be any concerns for other War Maidens’ actions, the big concern is how the fellow Brune people will act once they learn Tigre stand accuse for treason. Order of Navarre is drawing closer to them. Although messengers were sent, they were ignored. Some of the counts are worried about this and wonder if they should ally themselves with their fellow Brune instead of the Zhcted army that is backing them. However Tigre considers Thenardier as a ruthless and cruel king and they need to go into battle for their own sakes. So both sides clash. Roland fights Elen and is impressed by her fighting calibre. Elen is knocked off her horse. Her only choice is to use Dragon Art but him being human is what is making her hold back. Tigre comes to save the day. It might seem he misfired his arrow but that serves as a distraction to pick up Elen. Also, in right timing, that misfired arrow strikes and kills Roland’s horse. But Tigre is out of action as he has taken a nasty slash across his chest from Roland. Sofya has Elen escape with him while she handles things from here.

Tigre-kun To Vanadi-chu 6: Ludmila praises the nice bear outfit that Lim made. Lim stops Tigre before he could further reveal her cute side. After Tigre compliments her tea, Elen and Ludmila get into their usual argument. Tigre tries to stop them especially about Elen calling names on Ludmila’s small boobs. He goes on describing its nice shape and colour. Bad move. For once, Ludmila and Elen are in sync to kill him…

Episode 7
Sofya fights Roland for a short while since it is her plan to buy time for her comrades to escape. With Mashas’ army coming in as reinforcement, Roland withdraws his troops. Mashas then speaks to Elen and co that he failed to seek an audience with the king. However the prime minister and his best friend, Pierre Badouin secretly took him to the king’s chambers. He is shocked to see him playing with building blocks. The shock of losing his son must have turned him so. Not many are aware of his condition and perhaps Thenardier and Ganelon knew about this and using it to their advantage. After he left, he was ambushed by assassins. Sofya saved him and that was how he met her. Elen goes to see unconscious Tigre in his bed and vows to fight on his behalf. Defend what he is protecting. He belongs to her after all. When Tigre wakes up, he finds Titta by his side. However his bow starts resonating as they follow its guide to a temple. Meanwhile Elen leads the attack against Order of Navarre. The latter may be using its flanking attack but Elen’s troops are using sandbags to divert the river and turn the battlefield into a swampy marshland to turn the tides. Inside the temple, Titta believes this is a temple that houses Tir Na Fa, the goddess of death and darkness. The goddess possesses Titta to speak to Tigre that it was him who came here to seek for greater powers and not she who summoned him. She will give him power but he must prove his resolve by shooting Titta. Tigre agrees and powers up his arrow. Right before it hits Titta, the power disperses and stops the arrow. I guess the force was so powerful that it ripped Titta’s clothes. No wonder that maid was so scared sh*t. The goddess barely passes him. Then he rushes back to the battlefield. Roland is fighting Elen and Sofya. The women can’t best his Durandal. It cuts through their power. Tigre fires his arrow but he is able to strike it down. Roland confirms with him about hiring Zhcted army to protect Alsace. They mention that Thenardier is their goal and want Roland to join them but he refuses since he is his royal knight. Tigre’s wound starts to open again so he makes it quick to fire his arrow (powered up with the goddess’ power). Roland strikes it head on and is in a dilemma who is protecting the people. In the aftermath of the power clash, everyone is surprised Roland is still standing (although his armour is in pieces). However Roland admits defeat as he cannot raise his arms to use Durandal. He cannot win as he is now and contributes his loss to his doubts. Tigre can rest easy as he faints. With Order of Navarre withdrawing, Elen and co march directly towards Thenardier.

Tigre-kun To Vanadi-chu 7: Sofya has Tigre think what he likes about Elen. But how come all her answers are pertaining to her boobs? Doesn’t he like that? Well, he considers Elen his saviour and brother in arms. Later Sofya talks to Elen on how sincere and honest a guy like him. But she is thinking more of his crotch?! Wondering if Elen loves him, she replies he belongs to her and is on contract. In that case, wouldn’t she be so kind to lend Tigre to her? She promises if he gets ‘dirty’, she’ll ‘wash him clean at many places’ before giving him back. Elen wants her to stay away from him.

Episode 8
To make amends for attacking him, Roland will return to the capital to help seek an audience with the king. He leaves Durandal in Tigre’s hands. Also, Elen receives a letter from her fellow War Maiden friend that she is indebted to, Alexandra Alshavin AKA Sasha. She is under attack from another War Maiden and they promised to be at rush to the other’s side when in trouble. Why didn’t Sasha for Elen all the while? She’s bedridden. Elen and Lim will be away for a while. When Roland returns to the capital, he is trapped in a room by Ganelon. Viewing this as his failure to kill the traitor, poison bees are unleashed. Roland’s death reaches everyone and of course Thenardier is not amused. Even more worrying is the fact that Brune’s southern neighbour, Muozinel is taking advantage and advancing on them (these people still believe in plundering and slavery). Thenardier leads a small army in luring some Muozinel troops into his territory to fight them. He leaves his main force under pretence to protect Ganelon but in actual fact he wants to keep an eye on that old dude. This means Tigre and his army need to fight and defend the Territoire region with only 1700 men in hopes of preventing a national crisis. Tigre sees Muozinel troops taking an entire village as prisoners and although he wants so much to save them, he is only here to scout and prepare. More woes on their side because they do not have enough weapon supplies and the Muozinel forces might use the prisoners as human shields to prevent their attacking.

The Muozinel supreme commander, Qasim learns about the skirmish attack of a small army on their troop. He knows it is a decoy and sends thousands of his men to eliminate them. True enough, they are lured into a valley where they are ambushed. They are defeated and this is part of Tigre’s plan to salvage the enemy’s weapon. Tigre continues to make small ambushes to reduce their number. In retaliation, Qasim executes some of the prisoners outright. When both forces meet head on, Qasim cannot believe Tigre is the commander of the Brune army as those people hate archers. As the fight begins, Tigre shoots his arrow right into Qasim’s forehead! I guess he let his guard down that he could never shoot that far and that Qasim was deep within his troops. The Muozinel soldiers lose hope and run as Tigre’s forces give chase and hunt them down. As Tigre frees the prisoners, some are mad that he didn’t take action earlier because those executed could have been prevented. Tigre can only apologize. But at the end of the day, they are grateful for being saved and you could say they got their revenge on the same day. It is considered an achievement for Tigre’s troops to destroy a quarter of Muozinel’s considering the size of their army. But they can’t rest yet. Captured Muozinel prisoners mention this is just the beginning. They were just the vanguard and a strong 30,000 men troop is advancing. It is already tough that they have to escape with the newly freed people but the Muozinel is taking no chances and charging straight at them. Tigre takes some of his archers to try and take some pot shots at them. It didn’t slow them down. He didn’t expect to get help from Ludmila and her troops.

Tigre-kun To Vanadi-chu 8: Rurick and Gerard Augre are arguing. They can’t agree on anything. Especially about their views on Tigre. Rurick is loyal to him but Gerard is just passing him. Then it descends into a talk of Tigre’s popularity with women that allows him to get into naughty situations. It makes them feel jealous and for once they agree on this.

Episode 9
Long ago when Elen and Ludmila were still locking horns, Sasha came by and they stopped dead in their tracks. Seemed they were scared of her. She suggested fighting them both at once. If they win, she’ll do anything they ask. Otherwise they must apologize to each other. And because the ladies hate each other more than anything, they quickly team up and attack Sasha but lost. They are forced to apologize but it doesn’t sound sincere. Elen has arrived at Sasha’s side. She learns War Maiden Elizaveta Fomina is the one trying to attack her. It all began when they tried to eliminate pirates together. As they were finishing things up, Elizaveta accused her army of deliberating leading the pirates towards hers. They have broken contact since. Ludmila talks to Tigre and is chiding him of his submissive attitude and the way he sounds desperate wanting her help. She knows during Elen’s attack on her fortress, it wasn’t Arifar that could break through that thick gate. She suspects it was his bow. She has a look at it but isn’t impressed despite being his family heirloom. She asks why he doesn’t use it often in battle. He has not mastered its powers yet and each time he uses it, he will black out. Ludmila agrees to help him out and in return she hopes he will repay the favour by showing the bow’s power to her. Elen faces off with Elizaveta. Both sides clash and of course the big ladies themselves. Elen seems to be winning and will not let Elizaveta go till the latter warns that she has more things to worry about. Ganelon has started mobilizing his army (indicating she is working under him) and Muozinel is invading from the south. Elizaveta can keep her company here by fighting but who is more pressed for time? She suggests withdrawing and get back talking about business with the pirates while adding a 1 year non-aggression pact for good measure. Elen agrees under one condition that she sincerely apologizes to Sasha. Done. With this settled, Elen rushes back to Leitmeritz. Ludmila discusses war strategy with Tigre. Seems his men can only last one more battle and facing this huge army, it won’t be easy taking out their supplies or commander. Speaking of which, Kureys Shahin Balamir is the brother of Muozinel’s king and a powerful one. Once Sachstein sent thousands of ships against his side but Kureys only had 200 ships and prevailed. He was nicknamed Red Beard or Barbarossa (shortened to Barbaros later). Kureys split his army into many divisions to stem out ambush attacks as he marches through the land. In the end, Tigre’s men never showed up. A scout reports to Kureys that an oral message was sent to them. Something about they better leave (because they are invaders) or risk getting burnt. He’s not going to turn tail. Challenge accepted.

Tigre-kun To Vanadi-chu 9: After Elizaveta apologizes to Sasha, she asks about Tigre. Sasha is surprised that she never imagined her asking this. As Sasha explains as what she