Monday, August 22, 2011

Anime Reviews: August 2011 + Bonus

It's been a long month, and I'm presenting an even longer post. Yup, you should be grateful that your underarms don't smell like yoghurt and the cat hasn't tried sniffing your bellybutton. Well... Onwards!

*** Obligatory Possible Spoiler Warning ***



Kodocha is 102 episodes of never-ending shojo fun. No, wait. Actually, it’s mostly the first half that’s mindless fun. The second half is more depressing and serious, although that might be just because there aren’t any proper subtitles available for those episodes. The series is centred around a child actress named Sana, who has a very energetic and optimistic personality. She also has a tendency to break out into random song. Except it’s not so much singing as it is rapping to a beat. Or maybe it’s just some form of general, catchy noise.
In addition to the spontaneous rapping, Kodacha’s opening theme song just compels you to sprint out to the middle of the street and burst into dance. Ironically, the name of the song is ‘Ultra Relax’. And the lyrics don’t even make a whole lot of sense. Just watch the opening and tell me if you don’t feel hyper afterwards: 

The story starts out with Sana retaliating in response to classroom chaos caused by the male students. At first she expresses her undying hatred for the group ‘leader’ (Hayama), but later learns that his rotten behaviour is due to his family’s tragic background. Eventually, Hayama’s bad behaviour goes too far and his probably bisexual best friend (Tsuyoshi) decides to help Sana blackmail him into submission. They accomplish this by acquiring a happy-snap of Hayama with his pants pulled down. All righty then. 

Sana is finally able to walk a mile in Hayama’s shoes by getting a role starring in a TV drama, which puts her in a similar family situation as his. She barges into Hayama’s family home and demands that his sister and father watch her drama and learn to treat one another better. Thus, Sana succeeds in putting a stop to Hayama’s destructive behaviour and mending his dysfunctional family of three. Hayama promises to stop blackmailing the school’s teachers with make-out photos and evolves from a troubled, suicidal delinquent into an isolated loner. Throughout this ordeal, Sana realises that Hayama is really a jerk with an inner core of gold, and considers her his close friend from that point onwards. 

The two main characters in Kodacha are Sana and Hayama, and the story usually involves both of them at all times in some way. There is the odd filler episode every now and again which consists of complete randomness, but even then Sana and Hayama are present. Such randomness includes a quiz show, the entire cast being represented in moth form, and even an episode where a skunk kisses a toilet seat. I’m dead serious. See the spoiler screenshots for proof.


There are different plots revolving around each of the major characters, as I shall describe below:


When she is first introduced, Sana is already a well established TV personality on a show called ‘Child’s Toy’. Annoyed with Hayama for leading a crew of delinquent boys in her class, Sana openly announces her distaste for him on national television. Luckily for Sana, the thought of suing for defamation doesn’t occur to anyone in Hayama’s family.

In response to this public outburst, the other boys all decide to beat Sana to a bloody pulp, but Hayama orders them to leave Sana alone. Let this incident be known as major Hint #1.

Shortly after, Sana steps in to defend the teachers from the delinquent boys by hitting Hayama in the eye with a paint gun. The rest of the girls in the class then join Sana in scolding the delinquents for their criminal behaviour. One of Sana’s friends in particular (Mami) declares Hayama to be a devil, and for this she is later thrown into a pond to drown. Sana arrives just in time to pull her out of the water, but unfortunately Mami has already been mentally scarred for life. Hayama receives a clichéd slap across the face from Sana as penance for trying to drown Mami, but to no avail. Hayama closes his frosty grip of steel around Sana’s neck in a half-hearted attempt to strangle her, but otherwise Sana remains unscathed. What a sinister guy.

Eventually Sana discovers that Hayama is a little suicidal, and secretly follows him home to uncover clues. She finds out about his twisted family life, and forces Hayama’s sister and father into taking better care of him. Sana and Hayama become good friends after this. And by that, I mean she always hits him with an oversized hammer. And he hides in the bushes and molests her once. Charming.

While Sana is kind of dense, she has suspected that Hayama likes her since quite early on. But due to the nature of her occupation, she will only believe it fully coming directly from Hayama’s mouth. Rumours and gossip are detrimental to others, you see.

Sana becomes troubled at the thought of her mother (Misako) publishing a book about their private life. We learn that Sana is actually adopted, or rather found dumped at a park. The purpose of the new book is for Misako to meet with Sana’s birth mother. Hayama has a moment with Sana to ease her fears at a school camp. But who has time to be troubled when subjected to a night of undiluted limbo?

Through the publication of the book, Sana does find her birth mother. She apparently had Sana when she was very young (14?) and didn’t know how to break the news to her partner at the time. So she left her newborn baby girl at a park, where Misako picked Sana up. The first thing Misako does upon meeting Sana’s birth mother is slap her across the face for child abandonment. That’s not a very nice welcome, you know. Sana finds out that she has a half sister and that her birth mother is now married to another man. Ultimately, Sana chooses to stay with Misako and never see her real mother again, because she feels absolutely no concern for a woman who played no part in her upbringing.

Some time afterwards, Sana also meets her birth father while filming another project. She remains unaware of their connection, and develops an unsettling love towards him. Sana unwittingly refers to her birth father as her boyfriend on several occasions. Her birth mother believed that Sana’s father had died several years ago, but he actually just disappeared elsewhere. It is shown that Sana’s birth father is suffering from an illness, and a likely terminal one at that.

Sana’s birth father shares a similar quirky humour style to Sana, but has never once in his life finished anything to completion. Wow. As he attempts to escape from the job before it is done, Sana follows him aboard an express train and into a snowy log cabin. She manages to sway him into returning in order to complete the filming, but he collapses on set not long after and is taken away in an ambulance.

The story immediately cuts to after his death. Sana is seen replaying their work together on a video, telling herself that he lied when he promised he would always be there for her. She falls into a state of depression, and snaps when she overhears an executive badmouth her birth father’s acting skill. 

After yelling at the executive for his insolence, Sana runs away and takes the train back to the snowy log cabin. She begins to experience hallucinations where her birth father is still alive and waiting for her there. Sana tells her imaginary birth father that she wants to stay with him forever by living alone together in the cabin.

Meanwhile, Sana’s friends have tracked her whereabouts down and are departing from the express train. A blizzard sets in, and there is no way to go further up the mountain to reach the log cabin. They all end up in the back of a pickup truck, but the road is blocked off due to adverse weather conditions. They are then hit by an avalanche, which knocks Hayama out of the truck and into the snowy wilderness. He not only survives intact, but also somehow finds his way to the log cabin where Sana is staying. The avalanche dislodges the cabin, and Sana dangles precariously off a bench inside, still seeing hallucinations. Hayama works his way vertically down to her and pulls her back up as the bench plummets downwards.

By some holy miracle, the cabin then slides down a slope and smashes through the roof of where Sana’s friends are sheltering from the snowstorm. (By the way, it seemed to take several hours for anyone to notice that Hayama was missing.) Everyone is reunited and unharmed. The villagers all cheer to express their appreciation for the acting talents of Sana’s birth father, and their applause magically cures Sana of her budding schizophrenia.

Sana becomes good friends with Fuka, the girl who Hayama kissed in kindergarten in exchange for 60 yen. Fuka is both good at academics and gymnastics, which makes Sana feel a bit useless by comparison. Fuka eventually ends up going out with Hayama, much to Sana’s immense shock.

While away at an isolated filming location, Sana calls Hayama and he tells her that he is dating Fuka. This knowledge causes Sana to spiral down into a serious depression. She takes days off her work to lie around in bed and cry. Her mother is called in to help, and she advises Sana to write down on paper what her problem is so that she can confront it directly. After drawing some love triangles on about a thousand pieces of scrunched up paper, Sana decides grieving over Hayama is silly and gets on with the filming work.

Upon her return to Japan, Sana and Naozumi become an item at some point, even though it is clear that she does not feel any romantic inclination towards him. Hayama also chooses to stay with Fuka out of courtesy, but neither couple is actually happy deep down.

Sana decides to put Hayama behind her and focus on her career. She realises that she should not be running away from the situation, and goes back to school despite dreading the thought of seeing Hayama and Fuka together. 

Fuka gets involved in an arcade scuffle, and has to be hospitalised. She breaks up with Hayama, knowing that she is not the girl he really loves. Naozumi also dumps Sana for refusing to act in a drama where a boy is called ‘Devil’ due to her lingering fondness for Hayama. Naozumi accepts this as solid proof that she is still really in love with Hayama.

Hayama is constantly being unfairly targeted by his malicious teacher (Sengoku), and Sana suggests that they form a karate club to convince him that it is a genuine hobby instead of a violent tool for fighting. This makes Sengoku even more spiteful, but he soon resigns as a teacher due to his poor conduct.

In the ending scene, Sana whacks Hayama for randomly kissing her again on the school rooftop. She wishes him luck on his final karate belt test and says that she has something to tell him when he passes.


May I present your eye candy for this shojo series, Hayama. He ticks all the boxes you would expect:

Hayama is introduced as a good-for-nothing troublemaker in the beginning, but since you can observe his whole family dancing to Ultra Relax in the opening, you can safely assume that he’s really a saint deep inside.

Soon enough, we find out that the real reason behind his delinquent behaviour is the fact that his family despises him for causing the death of his mother. His older sister constantly throws him out of the house and calls him the devil. Perhaps she would be better suited to being an exorcist? Meanwhile, his father is always at work and hardly ever sees his children. How lovely. Take note of the ‘devil’ nickname, as it becomes an important plot point later.

As Hayama steps down as the gang leader, he becomes more isolated from the other students. His best friend (Tsuyoshi) loyally remains by his side, but Hayama soon declares him to be is love rival for Sana. During a field trip at a tall tower, Sana gleefully observes Hayama’s fear of heights. She first thinks of poking fun at Hayama for it, but later feels sorry to see him so uncomfortable and gets him a cup of lemonade. Unfortunately, Sana trips as she is running towards him, and the lemonade soaks deep into the top of Hayama’s head. As she is trying to wipe the spilt beverage off him, Hayama takes advantage of the close encounter and steals Sana’s first kiss. Naturally, she screams with enough force to reduce the surrounding area to rubble, all through the mere power of sonic vibration. Tsuyoshi is crestfallen at this development. 

Getting back to ironing out Hayama’s tragic family background, Sana realises that Hayama is living in an abnormal home environment. Thankfully, Sana demands that all three members of the Hayama household sit down and watch her performance in a new TV drama. In it, Sana plays a girl whose mother died as a result of her birth. Her character also has a hateful older sister, who resents and blames Sana for the loss of their mother. Coincidentally, this is exactly the same scenario as Hayama’s family.

Seeing what monsters they truly are, Hayama’s sister realises that she too is being an evil sibling to Hayama, and bursts into tears. Hayama’s father pledges that he will come home early from work every day and spend time with his children. They both pledge to treat Hayama as a treasured member of the family and are eternally grateful to Sana for showing them the light. Some distance away, Sana is in a park with Hayama pretending to act as his deceased mother. This is just a little bit disconcerting.

Hayama’s father collapses onto the dinner table in a puddle of blood one night, and is rushed to hospital. Sana gets a call from Hayama, and she rushes to the hospital to comfort him. As it turns out, Hayama’s father just had an ulcer from working too hard. Everyone goes home feeling relieved.

Around Christmas, Sana hosts a half-birthday at her house for Hayama. She gets him a toy dinosaur as a gift, because evidently Hayama is a closet dinosaur fanatic. Sadly, Hayama doesn’t have enough willpower to buy her a return gift and ends up making her a demented snowman thingy instead. He kisses her again, Sana doesn’t pull back, and he runs off in the opposite direction. For shame.

A new girl named Fuka arrives at school to ruin Hayama’s budding romance with Sana. Back in kindergarten, Hayama bet his friends money that he could kiss a girl. And that girl was Fuka. Well, that stolen first kiss ruined her life because it broke up the relationship Fuka had with some guy she liked. Hayama gets slapped around for his crimes against women, and Fuka declares that she hates him.

But alas, hate almost always morphs into love when it comes to shojo. It isn’t long before Fuka describes Hayama as ‘cool’ and ‘interesting’. While Sana is away at a film shoot, Fuka asks Hayama to be her pretend boyfriend so she can show off to her old classmates. He refuses at first, but is stupidly bribed by an offer of sushi. Predictably, this leads to Fuka one day saying, ‘I wouldn’t mind if you were my boyfriend for real’. And like a silly piece of wet noodle, Hayama accepts on the basis that he thinks Fuka is ‘interesting’. Fuka also has a personality very similar to Sana.

It’s clear that Hayama doesn’t have a real romantic interest in Fuka. He likes her, but expresses no desire for physical contact with her. They even end up in a popular teen magazine as a featured couple, but Hayama just finds this unsettling. Huge billboards with Sana’s face all over them are also posted throughout the city, preventing Hayama from forgetting about her.

Upon Sana’s return from America, Hayama finally admits that he has always loved her. Tragically, Fuka overhears them confessing their love for one another, and stubbornly declares that she won’t break up with Hayama. Sana tells Hayama that her feelings for him are in the past to spare Fuka’s feelings. Hayama begins to turn rebellious again, angering his jerkface of a science teacher (Sengoku). Meanwhile, Sana goes back to filling her days with commercial and acting work to solidify her career.

Hayama gets into a fight with some older kids, and gets suspended. Fuka is hurt in the scuffle, somehow losing her sight in both eyes. She is taken to hospital for emergency cornea surgery, and has to wear a bandage around her eyes for some time. Hayama feels horribly guilty over this, and sneaks into Fuka’s room to see her. He brings her a cheeseburger on one of his visits, but Fuka finally decides to stop being a selfish twat and breaks up with Hayama so that he can be with Sana.

For a while, Hayama and Sana just resume their previous close friendship. The jerkface teacher Sengoku spoils the plot by acting completely unprofessional, calling for Hayama’s expulsion from the school at every opportunity. Hayama and Sana start a karate club so that Sengoku might accept it as a hobby, but trouble brews when a suicidal boy named Komori joins. Because the normal karate training is too much for him, Komori ends up having to tarnish his perfect attendance record by staying home from school the next day. Oh, no! 
Hayama wrongly assumes that Komori is too afraid to say he wants to quit the club, so Hayama voluntarily dismisses him. This crushes half of Komori’s fragile spirit. 
The other half of Komori’s delicate mental state is disintegrated when Sengoku asks him, ‘Are you in my class?’ Komori takes this as proof that nobody acknowledges his existence. [Insert Naruto reference here: Don’t try to live so wise, don’t cry, ‘cause you’re so right…] So, he writes an inconspicuous SOS letter to Sengoku that nobody notices until it’s too late. You know, I don’t think he thought this scheme out too well.

When Sengoku fails to save him, Komori becomes full blown suicidal and locks himself in a deserted room. He even pours glue into the door lock so that he can die in peace. When he is about half dead, Hayama and Sana finally figure out where he is hiding. But then they get both their heads wedged in a small wall opening. I did not see that coming.

Yes. As Sana and Hayama try to wriggle their heads out from being stuck in the wall, Hayama realises that there is a nail or something jabbing into his skull. The school staff finally deduce where Komori is and rush to the room, and all three kids are taken to hospital. Needless to say, all of them survived.

Sengoku takes this time to blame Hayama for Komori’s disappearance, as usual. He uses the first page of the suicide letter as evidence against Hayama to get him expelled, and even threatens Hayama’s father. I’m astounded that the education department hasn’t fired Sengoku’s ass yet. Luckily, Fuka finds the second page of Komori’s suicide letter carelessly jammed into one of Sengoku’s textbooks. (Way to incriminate yourself, Mr. Science Teacher.)

Fuka gathers all the students and barges into a teacher meeting, where Sengoku is exposed as pure scum. He resigns from his position as a teacher at the school before the next spring, and nobody at the school ever saw him again. Sensational.

And what was the reason for Komori’s suicidal breakdown? A combination of neglectful parents, two bratty siblings, and lack of recognition from people he respected. I can kind of understand why a guy might look up to Hayama, but who in their right mind could possibly crave Sengoku’s attention? Oh, right. Komori was out of his mind at the time.

Cut to the future, where Hayama apparently still hasn’t asked Sana to go out with him. He gets a bit of dust blown into his eye, and uses it as an excuse to randomly kiss Sana again. If you’re counting, this is kiss number three on the tally. This time, Sana takes some initiative and tells Hayama that if he passes the test for his next karate belt, she has something to tell him.

And that is the end of the series. Let us assume that they eventually got married and had two children. ><


Hayama’s long time best friend and fanboy. He likes Sana at first because she handed him a Valentine chocolate previously, but there was no meaning behind it. (Sana decided to give everyone chocolate on Valentine’s Day so nobody would feel left out, and also so she could collect return gifts on White Day.) Tsuyoshi has a pathological tendency to fall in love with any girl who gives him a gift. While normally well behaved and meek, Tsuyoshi can sometimes fly into an uncontrollable state of rage and destroy everything in his path. The only thing that is known to be able to bring him back under control is one of Hayama’s signature hand chops to his head.

In an early scene, Tsuyoshi chases Sana down a hallway after explaining why he likes Hayama so much, but then trips. He screams a confession after her, but Sana labels him as a  homo fruit and immediately disregards his feelings. This is possibly the funniest point of Tsuyoshi’s story arc.

Shortly after, Tsuyoshi starts to have a mental breakdown of his own. He accidentally calls the teacher ‘Mom’ and all the former delinquent boys laugh and poke fun at him. This causes Tsuyoshi to ‘snap’ and fling school property around like a raging Tauros in a china shop. Of course, Hayama’s hand chop manages to put an end to his rampage. Remember kids, there’s nothing wrong with loving your mother, because Hayama says so.

Another one of Sana’s friends (Aya) loudly defends Tsuyoshi from the delinquents who are mocking him, announcing to everything within a 10 metre radius that she is in love with him. Aya goes on to bake Tsuyoshi homemade cookies, which causes Tsuyoshi to forget all about Sana and start dating Aya. Hayama rejoices at the prospect of having one less rival for Sana's affection.

As it turns out, Tsuyoshi’s parents are getting divorced, and his father has a slightly abusive demeanour. At first, Tsuyoshi claims that he doesn’t care that his father is gone at all. But it’s not long before his estranged father’s mugshot is all over the evening news for beating up some looting punks. That’s okay though, he only did it to save two little children from being assaulted on the street. Tsuyoshi eventually faces his true feelings and goes to pick up his poor, violent, lonely pop from the police station. Apples taste good, and all is well.

Tsuyoshi and Aya become the lovey-dovey couple stereotype for the rest of the show.


Sana meets this bishonen while working on a commercial. He has a similar past as Sana, in that he was also found abandoned at birth. Naozumi was raised in an orphanage, and considers everyone there his family. He is somewhat unstable emotionally, and always plays the trumpet in times of stress or frustration. Naozumi serves as Hayama’s main rival for Sana’s affection.

It is well established that Naozumi has a creepy fixation on Sana right from the start. He carries around a photo album containing baby photos of Sana, and declares himself her long time admirer and inspiration.

Naozumi taunts Hayama when they meet, threatening to confess to Sana and stating that Hayama is not a good match for her because he has no ambition. This partially causes Hayama to take up karate.

When Sana and Naozumi are called to a remote area for three months of film shooting, Hayama considers telling Sana his feelings before she leaves. He decides against it, but then ends up running after her bus and saying that he has something to tell her when she returns.

As Naozumi and Sana spend more time together, the press takes their isolated filming trip as some kind of elope stunt. It is widely published that Sana and Naozumi are dating, complete with suggestive photographs. Back at school, Hayama and Sana’s other friends all read about this false speculation in the media and believe the rumour. Hayama’s brain silently implodes as he tries to convince himself that he no longer loves Sana.

Meanwhile, Naozumi becomes engrossed in the movie roles they are playing, and falls even deeper in love with Sana. He tells Sana how he feels almost instantly, but she rejects him. Near the end of film project, Sana finally realises that she is in love with Hayama. She writes him a cheesy letter, and Asako pinpoints an area with phone reception for Sana to call someone. She gets through to Hayama and asks him what he was going to tell her, but he says it no longer matters because he is now dating Fuka.

This breaks Sana. After the phone call, she is unable to do anything except lie in her bed and cry. Naozumi tries to comfort her, but he just ends up crying even harder than Sana. Way to go, man.

Three evil, jealous fangirls show up to destroy Sana’s belongings and go so far to beat her up with weapons. Sana ends up with a fractured leg, and struggles to finish the scenes for the film. With good reason, Naozumi ends up hating the rabid fangirls for turning themselves into criminals on account of him. I personally wish they would be thrown into prison and forced to compensate Sana by handing over their land deeds. But there are no repercussions for this crime at all, the insane fangirls simply apologise and run away.

After Sana and Naozumi finish the movie, they return home to Japan. Sana can’t stand the sight of Hayama and Fuka together, so she agrees to leave for America with Naozumi to work on a Broadway Musical.

At the airport, Hayama and Fuka show up to see Sana off. Fuka grasps Hayama’s hand to demonstrate that she owns Hayama’s soul, and Hayama reciprocates. Sana is saddened knowing that Hayama has chosen Fuka over her. But Naozumi counters by grabbing Sana’s arm, thus somehow negating the effect of Fuka’s physical display of hand holding.

Once in America, Naozumi comes into contact with his birth parents. His mother is an evil stage fanatic who will do anything for the chance to perform. She plots to use Naozumi to extort the funding of a five star production out of his unsuspecting father. Naozumi’s father is actually a well respected and wealthy icon in the entertainment industry, who brought Naozumi to America to live with his family and maximise his long lost son’s acting talent.

However, hired goons and evil family members try to scare, I mean kill, Naozumi and Sana into returning to Japan. It is later revealed that this evil plan was implemented by Brad, who is apparently Hayama’s identical twin. Really, he looks and acts exactly like Hayama, with the only physical differences being slightly different eye and hair colour. This lazy character appears to be a writer’s excuse to include Hayama in the America story arc, just in case the audience finds Naozumi too annoying. How unoriginal.

Anyway, Naozumi falls for his evil birth mother’s nice act. She gets her five star production, but all the staff quit because she is a terrible person. Naozumi’s father finds out about Brad’s murder scheme and puts an end to it. Naozumi’s half sister is also madly in love with Naozumi. Will the creepiness never cease?

Finally, Naozumi’s evil birth mother gets into a car and demands to escape into Mexico or something. But not before she turns around to watch Naozumi’s first Broadway performance. She leaves feeling a twisted sense of pride that her son was able to succeed while she fails as an actress.

By the way, the Broadway performance involves Sana and Naozumi twirling batons and dancing. While dressed as punk twins. The same animated sequence of this performance is played about a hundred times throughout the American story arc.

The media reporters are waiting for Sana and Naozumi at the airport when they make it home to Japan. They all hassle them about whether or not they are dating. Surprisingly, Sana and Naozumi both simply answer that the rumour is true. This is confusing, because at no point in the American arc did they confirm their relationship status or do anything remotely romantic. Oh, well. Maybe they just want to stick it to the man.

Naozumi and Sana become known as an item. This doesn’t make any sense, seeing as how they are hardly ever seen doing anything together, and never have any desire for physical contact. In their defence, Hayama and Fuka have pretty much the same meaningless relationship as Naozumi and Sana. Obviously, Sana still likes Hayama and vice versa. But they don’t want to hurt the other two involved, so they vow to go their separate ways.

Naozumi is then picked up by the most irritating, spectacled, high pitched woman manager to ever exist. She is clearly evil, and plants little ideas into Naozumi’s head. She tells him that Sana will always be his rival, and that he must make the effort to stand out more to an audience than her. Later, she is also the one who lets Naozumi know the reason why Sana turned down an acting role. The part involved Sana calling someone ‘devil’. This causes Naozumi to dump Sana because he knows she is unhappy and really still in love with Hayama. He goes about this by pretending to actually be a jerk underneath instead of a nice guy.


From the very beginning, Sana has introduced her manager as her ‘pimp’. Obviously she has no idea what the word really means, but there it is. Rei was a homeless bum who Sana pulled off the streets and welcomed into her home. Rei has since sworn to become the greatest manager in the world, and accepts his title as Sana’s ‘boyfriend’ even though she is only 11. It is revealed that Rei is actually in love with an actress named Asako, with Sana discovering that he secretly keeps photos and magazine cut-outs of her in a box. Asako and Rei were apparently an item back in college, but she dumped him to pursue her acting career. Asako still has a thing for Rei though, and when she uncovers his identity as Sana’s manager, she chases him down the street and demands that he call her. Sana is not pleased about this.

Eventually, Sana realises that she doesn’t actually love Rei in any meaningful way. She allows Rei to go after Asako, and the two kind of see each other throughout the rest of the series. As Sana’s career begins to take off, Rei begins to neglect Asako. In turn, Asako always has acting work to do, and Rei is left to mope on his own.

So… nothing really happens between Rei and Asako, despite a few petty arguments. Rei doesn’t get to spend time with Asako, and is tormented by the idea of her filling a role where she has to kiss some other actor. Asako complains that all Rei thinks about is Sana, and that he agreed to migrate with her to London without even listening to what it was he was nodding to.

What will I gain from this?

1. Avoid sloppy seconds, or else nobody will end up happy.
2. Let’s limbo!
3. All three of the critical elements for getting girls are: Handsome, kind and funny.

Hayate No Gotoku (Hayate the Combat Butler)

Although this series does have a storyline, I discovered that it was mostly completely random slapstick humour. While I did find it kind of funny, none of the characters where particularly likable and it was a struggle to continue watching. It features robots, fighting, cross-dressing, specific parodies, censorship signs, schoolgirls, maids and high society. If you’re really into any of those elements, you might like this series. As far as any romance goes, it’s just a bunch of silly juvenile girls all liking the main character (who has the face of a poor person) for some reason.

Basically, it’s all about a hapless, overworked boy (Hayate) whose biological parents abandon him one day. Along with millions of dollars of their personal gambling debt to suspicious goons. What a creative start! So Hayate curses his deadbeat (and criminally insane) parents and jumps from his window to escape the debt collector thugs. After experiencing a momentary lapse in morality, he decides to kidnap a lost little girl (Nagi) on the street for ransom money. But that doesn’t work out so well, and he ends up being taken in by the obscenely rich girl as her new butler. After this event, it appears to be mostly just randomness that occurs in Nagi’s mansion. Eventually Hayate ends up enrolling in Nagi’s school as her guardian butler, but the rest is just lost in a haze of sub-par comedy to me.

What will I gain from this?

Mask the Money?

Mahou Sensei Negima

The main character in this series is not even 10 years old, so therefore everything about it is as creepy as the idea of a Skitty being able to mate with Wailord. The opening has a nice musical theme (which actually varies slightly with each episode), but the imagery is disturbing as hell. You’ve got an entire underage class of 31 girls all hitting around a beach ball in slow motion, and then a dorky prepubescent kid kissing each of them. Oh, and the little kid is their teacher

I can’t even remember the names of 31 schoolgirls, let alone their faces. That’s probably one of the many reasons why I would also fail as a school teacher. But my point was, 31 girls is far too many. I would probably set the upper limit of featured girls in an anime to 8, otherwise there isn’t enough time for character development and you tend to forget about their existence.

The plot is about a little boy wizard (erm, or mage) named Negi Springfield, who uses his magical powers to defeat evil entities and harass schoolgirls. (I would point out some similarity to Harry Potter, except I don’t actually know anything about that franchise.) Unfortunately, this series has also chosen to be one of those perverted harem types, which in my opinion was a terrible idea. This boy wizard is not even 10 years old, and yet he’s already swimming naked in the communal girls’ bath and using his crappy magic to inflate the cup size of victim’s chests until they explode. It’s just so awkwardly creepy and troubling that you can actually feel a cold, unearthly chill down your neck as you sit there witnessing such inappropriateness. Oh well, this series was rated quite highly by the masses, so obviously someone is getting something out of it. Although I personally fail to see what that is. 

Was this created by the same guy who brought us Love Hina? I guess that kind of explains why Shinobu and Su exist. And all the emphasis on male duds wearing glasses.

What will I gain from this?

A kiss results in the formation of a provisional contract.

Negima! Magister Negi Magi

An alternate recount of the first Negima series, with different pacing and better animation. This one seems less light-hearted than the original, and jumps straight to the vampire girl sucking the blood of Negi’s classmates. Er, I mean students.

The opening now also shows all 31 female students with convenient class numbers next to them for viewers to more easily identify them with. I still can’t remember half their faces this second time around. I can’t even recall any names off the top of my head, except Evangeline. And I couldn’t even spell that right on my first attempt. Hmm.

The best thing about the second instalment of Negima is shown below:


It’s a little squeaky bit of fluff which goes ‘Mya!’ I don’t even know what it is exactly, but I need one on my pillow. Evidently, it’s actual name is ‘Shichimi’. But I’m just going to call it ‘Mya’. :3

What will I gain from this?

It’s not a rat, it’s an ermine!

Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu

If I had to choose just one word to sum up this series, it would be a resounding ‘Meh.’ I expected Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu to at least be interesting enough to be comfortably watchable, but it’s brimming of the most typical cut-out anime stereotypes I have ever seen. Same goes for the plot, you already know exactly what you are going to see next in any given episode. This might still have been satisfactory if it were 1) funny, 2) attractively drawn or 3) featured interesting or likeable characters. But this series possesses none of these key qualities, so therefore it will forever go down in history as being forgettable and insipid.

The only thing about Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu that sets it apart from similar series (which are neither horrible nor good) is the apparent discrimination against the anime otaku type. The disgust towards anyone who likes anime, manga or games in this universe is completely blown out of proportion. Getting caught with a harmless cosplay catalogue at school here is the equivalent to being busted for chain smoking 12 different kinds of illicit drugs all at once. While committing armed assault at an orphanage. Okay, maybe not quite that far. But it’s still completely ridiculous how much the majority of people in the Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu world despise the ‘Akiba-type.’

As far as the story goes, it’s a very typical Mr. Bland-meets-spectacular girl-who-is-way-out-of-his-league setting. There are other potential girls introduced in the series too, but most of them are just thrown in there for brief cameo appearances. Largely the story focuses on two love interests, the main character (Haruka) and the love rival (Shiina). It is well established that Shiina pretty much has no chance with Mr. Bland from the very beginning, so her existence in this series is present only for fan service shots. That, and to make Haruka feel bad on occasion with petty jealousy.

Haruka herself is supposedly a genius at playing the piano, academics and sports. Except she’s clumsy and incredibly dense. Something about these contrasting qualities just doesn’t quite add up. Haruka doesn’t seem to be particularly hard working or intelligent, she only comes across as a useless ditz. Her personality appears to be rather two dimensional, generally timid and stutter-prone. This is probably the worst type of main character you can create, as it makes everything else in the story frustrating and tedious. The one thing about Haruka that is distinctive is her forbidden love for anime, but there’s no depth to that aspect of her either. Her passion as a hardcore otaku is actually pretty questionable. I think if Haruka was really as in love with anime as she claims, she would have told her Gozaburo-gangster-clone-father to shove it long ago to fill her room with rare figurines and animation cells.

As for the main character (Mr. Bland/Yuto), he’s a predictably average looking guy with glasses. I wish I could say something about this personality, except he has none. He’s just there so that all the other real life average guys can relate to him, and then perhaps pray for an anime girl avalanche in reality. Yup, Mr. Bland is totally boring and vapid, just as his name suggests. Sadly, the support characters have even less substance than the two main characters, which makes things increasingly monotonous. 
The storyline progresses as follows:

1. Mr. Bland finds out about Haruka’s secret anime fetish.
2. Fan service!
3. Haruka warms up to Mr. Bland because he is the only person in the entire world to accept her anime fetish. He subsequently goes out of his way to help her with hiding it from their anime-loathing school population.
4. Haruka drags Mr. Bland out to the anime district, as a sort of date. Nothing of interest happens.
5. Shiina cameo. Fan service!
6. Haruka’s gangster father discovers her anime collection and goes into an all caps rage. Haruka flees to Mr. Bland’s house.
7. Haruka’s mother arrives on the scene to scare the crap out of the gangster father. All is well.
8. Shiina enrols in their school. Fan service!
9. Blah, blah, anime convention, blah, cosplay cafe. Haruka walks in on Mr. Bland molesting Shiina, but it was just an ‘accident.’ Mr. Bland clears up the misunderstanding by giving Haruka a figurine in a music box. Woot.
10. Mr. Bland gets Haruka a present for her birthday, but then Mr. Snobby appears to put down poor commoners. Mr. Bland is disheartened because his cheap gift of an anime figurine is no match for Mr. Snobby’s diamond encrusted dress and accessory offering.
11. Mr. Snobby gets his butt kicked for his insolence, and Mr. Bland proudly presents his gift of an anime figurine. Haruka is delighted, and doesn’t even glance at the gift of 500+ CT diamonds. At this juncture, I would like to nonchalantly mention that the selling of 500+ CT diamonds would allow for the purchase of many anime figurines, and possibly also a houseboat.
12. Mr. Bland and Haruka end up in a room alone, but then the rest of the forgettable cast bursts in to interrupt. Truncated fan service! End of season one. (Sorry, I’m not going to torture myself further with season two.)

What will I gain from this?

Having anime and manga related hobbies is taboo and frowned upon. Apparently.


A lovely, soothing little series of shorts about the happenings and quirks surrounding a woman who lives with cats. It has a very familiar feel about it if you are a cat owner, as you will fondly recall many of the cat behaviours demonstrated in Kuruneko. Although this series doesn’t really provide true comedy, it definitely keeps you interested and makes you chuckle here and there. It was like viewing a premonition into my own future two decades from now. Well, except without all the alcoholic beverages. 

Kuruneko is a series based off a blog writer and her cats. I would tell you all the names of her cats, except this series was impossible for me to find with English subtitles. I ended up with Chinese subtitles, which totally didn’t help me comprehend much. Luckily, Kuruneko is quite easy to understand just by watching, so you can pick up the gist of the story even without understanding the audio. It is animated and drawn in an endearing, simple style. There is just enough colour and animation to get the story across, which was fine by me.

As far as I can gather, the woman featured in Kuruneko is a writer who spends her days drinking sake and enjoying the company of her many cats. At first she begins with just one cat, but then slowly welcomes more and more into her home. She appears to take pity on one cat that is left all alone at the pet store, and then later raises kittens that become attached to her. She even feels sorry for a starving cat on the street and takes it home in her bicycle basket. 

The majority of the episodes focus on quirky cat behaviours. There is one cat that likes to carry around gloves, another that knocks over a pot of curry in the dead of night, and one that enjoys being near water. I think there’s even a spazz episode where all the different reactions of the cats are documented. Now, only a true cat person can appreciate that. 

What will I gain from this?

A glimpse into my probable future.

Other Animated Gems

They aren’t Japanese anime, but I’m throwing them in to counter the many let-down series I ended up watching lately. Enjoy! ^^

Dave the Barbarian

Probably my favourite series affiliated with Disney to date, Dave the Barbarian is a uniquely eccentric comic delight. Set in the Middle Ages, the story involves a family of Barbarians who are rulers of a land known as Udrogoth.

There are a few interesting recurring themes used throughout the series, including atrocious poetry, paper crafts, home cooking, cheese, musical pieces and hygiene. Given the individual style of the series, it is very difficult for me to generally describe. So without further ado, I’m just going to list some character notes in order of most likeable to least:


The protagonist and the middle brother out of three siblings. He is a very ironic character, as explicitly expressed in the opening theme song. While built like an oversized Austrian bodybuilder, Dave’s personality is actually much closer to that of a cowardly house maid. His favourite hobbies include cooking, cleaning, writing poetry and paper crafts. Dave also suffers from various health issues, such as multiple allergies and an ingrown toenail. It is discovered that his dream job is to design knitwear for poodles. Dave’s talents also include the ability to bend iron bars into a gazebo, pulping wood by hand to make fabric, and carving granite to create a lemon juicer.

Despite possessing great strength, Dave prefers to run away from all threats to the kingdom due to his fear of pain. He often escapes by letting out an effeminate, high-pitched scream before either hiding behind something or fleeing in terror. In many cases, villains are defeated by his many random hobbies, such as the recital of horrible poetry, origami, papier-mâché, love of decorative knick-knacks and careful attention to washing instructions. Rarely is Dave’s enormous physical strength the only contributing factor to saving the day.

Although Dave does come across as extremely campy and vaguely gay, he is a very likeable character. He always tries to help others, is very well mannered, and acts as a slave to the rest of the family’s selfish desires with little complaint. He wishes for the rest of his family to display a high level of etiquette and embrace high society. Dave is recognised as having the rare quality of male sensitivity for the time period, otherwise identified as a SNAB (Sensitive New Age Barbarian).
Pulling off a solid, oddly effeminate protagonist is a very difficult feat to conquer, but Dave is one such accomplishment done right. The other example is Tamaki from Ouran Host Club.
Lula has described Dave as resembling a shaven baboon with his arms stuffed full of watermelons. Poetic!

The Narrator

Yes, my second favourite… entity is none other than The Narrator. He’s just a voice, and yet his commentary adds so much to the essence of the series. He ties the story together, speaks directly to the characters and provides extra hilarity. There’s even an entire episode which deals with what it would be like without him. And the attempts at substitute storytellers are terrible.

Let it be known that The Narrator borrows the voice talents of Jeff Bennett. 


Uncle Oswidge is known as a wizard, but it is revealed that he never went to magic school and instead worked as a cook at the cafeteria. He appears to have a dishevelled appearance and seldom shaves any excess body hair. Oswidge is often seen overeating and performing magic incorrectly. He also has an inability to stop eating ham or nutlogs. In one episode, Oswidge admits to having more than ten toes afflicted with ingrown toenails. His deepest wish involves being a powerful wizard while keeping a full head of hair and remaining slim no matter how much he eats.

The youngest sibling, who is repeatedly mistaken for a monkey. She is very violent, uncivilized, and hates being a defenceless girl. Fang is very resentful and envious of Dave’s massive build. Because of this, she frequently tries to force him into acting more like a barbarian against his will. Fang’s hobbies include destroying things, digging holes in search of treasure, and secretly playing with dolls. She is very small and weak, and cannot fight most of the villains which attack Udrogoth. Fang misses her parents the most out of everyone in the castle, but they are both indefinitely away fighting evil around the world. Mysteriously enough, Fang’s talent is squashing bugs, and yet it is shown that she is too scrawny to even fight against an amoeba.

The oldest sister, who is left in charge of the kingdom while the King and Queen are away fighting evil. Candy is the least panicky member of the family, but unfortunately she is also both extremely selfish and materialistic. It is observed that she is always concerned with her image, going to extreme lengths to be fashionable while under peer pressure. She fears being judged as being uncool by her friends more than any villain that attacks Udrogoth. Candy’s hobbies include shopping and keeping up with the latest fashion, although she also has skills in martial arts. Her wish is for all her family members to be 'cool' and to be serenaded by medieval boy bands.    


Dave’s sarcastic, magical sword. She is not used much to defeat villains, but instead spends her time insulting and nagging the family. Lula is related to Thor’s hammer and Poseidon’s trident, as proven with her trying to impress her sister during a visit. Lula was once in love with a male bimbo (or himbo) by the name of Argon the Ageless, who stuck her in a snowman and left her there for centuries. When Argon returns, Lula quits being Dave’s sword and reunites with him. Sadly, Argon does not value Lula at all and constantly trades her up for fancier swords. Meanwhile, Dave can’t help but feel naked without a sword, and unsuccessfully attempts to replace Lula with an oversized toothbrush. Lula rejoins the family once she finally accepts that Argon the Ageless is a jerk.  

Twinkle the Marvel Horse

Candy’s magical, flying horse. He speaks of incredibly disturbing things, and strongly resembles a depressed Christopher Walken.


The domesticated, pet dragon of the family. He is tremendously dumb and able to pass for a lemon. Faffy has the ability to scorch people with lightning breath, and usually only makes unintelligible noises. In one episode, he actually talks while playing cards with some other dragons. Faffy grows jealous of the special treatment Dave exhibits towards a diseased weasel, and tries to kill the rival pet off. He also betrays the family in favour of hanging out with some rebel dragons, but finally realises how much he loves them.

Alas, Dave the Barbarian only ran a mere 21 episodes. This was probably a result the show of being somewhat unappealing to younger children and instead drawing in peculiar, older audience members like myself. The humour involves fairly complicated concepts at times, which I think would have probably been better aimed at adults. Such factors include the references to ailments, the narrator dialogue, and a sense of humorous irony above all. 

If you are a typical 7 year old child presented with a campy main character and a main villain by the name of Chuckles the Silly Piggy, you tend to not quite comprehend the humour involved. Most likely you would just think it was lame or inconceivable due to a lack of understanding. There are also quite a few intricate words thrown into the script which would probably sound like gibberish to small children. However, if you watch Dave the Barbarian at the age of about 15 or over, suddenly it becomes the most exceptionally entertaining children’s cartoon you’ve ever seen.

Here’s a random episode as an example of Dave the Barbarian’s unique originality: 

What will I gain from this?


The Weekenders

Another unusually written Disney series, this one revolves around four high schoolers who have hung out together every weekend since the first grade. The main protagonist is Tino, who intermittently stops to talk directly to the audience at different points in each episode. In this way, we get to know a lot about the characters as if we were being introduced as a new member of the group. 

The three other major characters are Tish (likes art and poetry), Lor (likes sports), and Carver (likes fashionable shoes). Arguably, Tino is the most interesting character because he is the most difficult to label and yet seems to have the most considerate personality out of the four leads. I’m leaning towards the title of ‘geek’ due to his poor athletic ability, comic book fixation, and tendency to be obsessive-neurotic, but that doesn’t seem to quite cover it.

Anyway, I’ve just realised that the distinctive humour style of The Weekenders is due to the fact that it was created by the same guy as Dave the Barbarian, Doug Langdale. Now that explains a lot.
As seen in Dave the Barbarian, the characters all seem to be completely aware that they are starring in a cartoon. Another thing I would like to mention is that this series has incredible quoting potential. I think half the things I say are sometimes unknowingly derived from The Weekenders script.

There are also a couple of running food jokes which always bring in something new, such as the repulsive cuisine served by both Tino’s mother and the museum, plus the ever changing theme of the local pizza shop. And that’s only on top of the more minor running jokes.

The character designs kind of leave something to be desired, seeing as how I’m not a fan of Ponyo’s pop-eyed appearance. But aside from that, there is a lot of clever dialogue and little subtle life lessons peppered throughout the series. Because of the high school setting, I think younger kids could relate to the issues brought up in The Weekenders more, and the show managed stretch four seasons.

Now, a sample of an especially enlightening episode of The Weekenders:

What will I gain from this?

1. LGS – Lateral Gravity Syndrome.
2. Be a mysterious, vulnerable, dangerous, lost puppy.
3. Romance is a stretch limousine, a moustache, and fine jewellery.
4. Have the immutable laws of the universe been suspended?
5. For society to function normally, every person must have a single dominant personality trait.
6. That’s a breeding ground for bacteria.

Yet another underlying reference I have noticed in both The Weekenders and Dave the Barbarian is the subtle presence of cats. I’ll even list a few for you:

The Weekenders

- Whenever Tino flings his mother’s food off his plate, the following sound effect always includes shattering glass and a screeching cat. This also applies to other scenes of destruction.
- At Tish’s house, there is a cat ornament on a counter.
- At the all purpose furniture store, there is a gag involving getting cats fixed.
- On one occasion, Tish hisses like a cat when the door to her room is opened.
- Carver mentions that he is a cat person in response to being told to get back on a horse.
- Tish’s mother requests six cats, one pair of flame proof pants, and a piano filled with sausages for a pool shot.
- At Carver’s house, there is an oblong painting of a purple cat on the wall.

Dave the Barbarian

- Faffy uses a litterbox.
- Whenever anything is thrown, the following sound effect is always of a screeching cat.
- Oswidge gets the ‘Hi-cats’ which causes him to periodically hiccup cats.
- Dave is apparently allergic to cats.
- Dave makes a kitten mask out of papier-mâché, just because he likes cats.
- At the marketplace, Fang tries to smash some cat ornaments that are for sale.
- Through the rose coloured glasses, Dave has two kittens.
- The Magical Grape of Bobo-De-Dobo transforms Chuckles into a giant kitten. 
- There is a giant stuffed cat in Candy's secret chamber. 
- Dave passes a law for all the cats in Udrogoth to be shaven.
- After turning into a were-cow, Dave is bitten by a cat and seen shredding the drapes. 
- Dave has made cat shaped pancakes. 
- When the family forms a famous rock band, Dave wears a blue top with a cat on it.
- Fang loses tug-of-war to a small cat at the Mongrel Hordes boot camp.
- Lumpsack the ghost picks up a plush cat named 'Mr. Fluffy Tat' and questions why it stares at him.
- Candy tosses Mr. Porkypuss (Chuckles) next to a plush cat.
- On the Island of Lost Sunglasses, Dave wears kitty shaped glasses and a cat ears headband.

黑猫警 (Black Cat Detective)

This was the absolute most favourite thing of my childhood living in Shanghai. The loosely translated Black Cat Detective was a children’s cartoon in China, designed to help cement faith in the police force. But I didn’t care about that, I just liked cats. And so, my lifelong admiration for cats stemmed from this short animation series about police cats.

(Incidentally, my second and third most favourite things at the time were animals and rocks.)

I recently rediscovered Black Cat Detective and realised that the original series only ran for 5 episodes. And boy, was it violent for a kid’s show. Dragonball Z comes to mind here, because once I re-watched a few of those episodes later, I again realised just how graphic some of the scenes actually were. I don’t think kids really have enough awareness at their young age to truly feel alarmed about death and suffering. In contrast, I also watched Looney Tunes again and found it completely hilarious. I think it might just have something to do with the differing Asian production values and censorship issues concerning children’s programming. Or maybe they are just really good at realistically portraying pain and suffering through animation. And aren’t afraid of showing it to children.

Here’s an example of what I mean:

Yes, this series is in Mandarin. Episode 4 is a pretty straightforward story which shows us all the natural life cycle of the praying mantis. It has everything a kid could want. Police violence, a locust swarm, romance, catchy tunes and even some scientific education. Note the catchy but yet still somehow patriotic theme song.

If you’re still interested, here’s a more detailed recount of the entire episode in English:

Mr. Criminal Mouse finds himself in a field of corn and drools over the thought of stealing some to eat. But, Ms. Mantis hears the thudding of innocent ears of corn hitting the ground! So she runs into her house to call the police, and Black Cat Detective assures her that he’ll come to her aid immediately. Ms. Mantis also broadcasts news of the intruder through strategically placed speakers in the corn field to alert all the other male praying mantises to catch the thief. The mantis minions all grab their pirate cutlasses and run out dressed kind of like Zoro if he had just broken out of prison. 
All the male praying mantises swarm all over Mr. Criminal Mouse’s head and start to stab him with their swords. For some reason, one mantis magically morphs his cutlass into a pair of pliers, even though I think a sharp pointy object would be more effective at hurting the mouse anyway.

Black Cat Detective arrives at the scene, just in time to conveniently follow a trail of stolen corn to a hole the mouse has escaped into. Except Mr. Criminal Mouse is smart enough to cover up his footprints using his tail, thus confusing our hero. Black Cat Detective orders his police squad to pursue the mouse down the wrong tunnel, and they all end up outside again. Just in time to witness the arrival of an insect swarm. Hooray!

Black Cat Detective wonders what creature could possibly fly so fast, and confirms (with the suitable use of binoculars) that they are dealing with a dagger wielding swarm of bandit locusts. The locusts start eating up the corn crops, so the praying mantis guards all spring into action to defend their field. 

Interestingly, the pattern on the male mantis shirts all appear to change from black to red stripes, and one of the mantis minions is now carrying a spear instead of a cutlass. The locusts all start to get sliced up and massacred. One of them creeps up behind Ms. Mantis, but a male mantis wielding two blades stabs it to death just in time. Let us name this double bladed hero ‘Mr. Mantis’ from now on. Ms. Mantis and Mr. Mantis continue to fight alongside each other, slaughtering locusts relentlessly.

Meanwhile, Black Cat Detective pulls out a pistol and manages to shoot down a row of three airborne locusts at a time. But the swarm then stops flying in a neat formation and erratically surround the mantis guards. Black Cat Detective orders the use of locust seeking arrow missiles, which follow the locust’s movements before obliterating them with fire via explosion. He simply loads an attachment onto the top of his gun to fire the arrows, and presses the button on a detonating control device to trigger instant fiery doom. As the locusts are reduced to smouldering ashes, Black Cat Detective laughs and exclaims that he has just created the best fertiliser. Maybe it’s just me, but am I the only one who finds this scene a little too sinister for children?

Oh, well. Moving on, all the praying mantises cheer for the police squad as they leave after annihilating the locust bandits. Cut to the romantic part of the episode, where Ms. Mantis is lying around in her bedroom and Mr. Mantis is sitting on the moon serenading her with a guitar. I guess he somehow mastered space travel off screen.

As Ms. Mantis enjoys the music, Mr. Mantis suddenly warps from the surface of the moon onto a nearby leaf of corn. He continues to play his courting song on the guitar as all the other surrounding insects all emerge to enjoy the concert. Mr. Mantis gets down on one knee and spreads his arms out, but Ms. Mantis just… shyly walks away? I suppose this represents some kind of failed mating proposal, because Mr. Mantis gapes in disbelief and bursts into tears. Oddly enough, his crying voice sounds like that of a small boy.
Shattered over his rejection, Mr. Mantis decides he no longer has a reason to live and tries to commit suicide by jumping into a pond. This seems to get the attention of Ms. Mantis, who runs to his aid. She tells him, ‘My darling, you cannot die. I love you.’ Which is kind of… spontaneous?

Ms. Mantis then throws her shoe into the water at Mr. Mantis, which doesn’t really make much sense. Mr. Mantis grabs the shoe in his hand and kisses it before sinking vertically down into the pond, only to resurface again half a second later. He says, ‘I won’t die. I love you.’ Weird.

A nearby dragonfly then serves as a helicopter and saves Mr. Mantis from his watery grave using a rope ladder. So, Mr. Mantis returns the shoe to Ms. Mantis, and then… I guess they decide to mate after all. Joy! 

The bees and beetles all start clapping in unison, as well as delivering miscellaneous fruits. The newly established mantis couple break into dance. Someone smuggles in firecrackers and red paper while the fruits are dropped into a giant bowl. Mr. Criminal Mouse sticks his head out of his burrow for a cameo appearance.

A beetle conductor directs the gathered insect band, complete with brass instruments, violins and a piano. Everyone sings, puts up decorations and raises their beverage glasses in celebration. The mantis couple now each have a flower pinned to their shirts, which I presume means they are legally married. I think some of the insects actually take a wedding photo of them.

The mantis couple return to their tampon shaped abode, while the bees giggle bashfully at them. One kid bee asks his mother, ‘What does darling mean?’ The mother bee replies, ‘You’re still young, you won’t understand yet.’

Mr. Criminal Mouse slinks out of his hiding place and spies a tasty cake in the mantis house. He drools and sneaks inside while the mantis couple silhouettes hold hands behind a curtain. The moon suddenly sprouts arms and covers itself in embarrassment. One bee continues to play the violin while the others go to sleep.

Meanwhile, Black Cat Detective is still awake, looking over clues and evidence which have been gathered about Mr. Criminal Mouse. He eventually gives up and draws a giant question mark over the paperwork. Nice.

The sound of a screeching cat cuts through the pleasant atmosphere. All the insects are alarmed, although a strange blue-headed grasshopper instantly falls asleep immediately afterwards. Maybe he had narcolepsy.

They call up Black Cat Detective, who arrives with his police cat squad on hovercraft motorcycles. The officers investigate the mantis house by looking through a magnifying glass and taking photographs. The flattened exoskeleton of Mr. Mantis is seen on the floor, perfectly assembled and complete with his pressed outfit. They also come across some footprints of Mr. Criminal Mouse, and assume that he was up to no good again.

*I would like to mention at this point that the literal translation of Mr. Criminal Mouse is actually ‘One-Eared’. This is because in the first episode of the series, Black Cat Detective fired a gun shot that severed off one of Mr. Criminal Mouse’s ears. It was kind of bloody.

So Ms. Mantis ends up getting into a steel box to give evidence at the police station. Black Cat Detective is shown a slideshow of mouse footprints and cake crumbs. The officer concludes that this is definitely the work of Mr. Criminal Mouse. Black Cat Detective fiddles with his whiskers and rolls his eyes around. This signifies that he is thinking.

Black Cat Detective looks through a microscope at the steamrollered remains of Mr. Mantis, and shuffles the body pieces around with a pair of tweezers. He notices that there are bite marks on the exoskeleton, and decides to read up on praying mantis behaviour. Erm, I mean listen to an audio tape about them. The tape makes a high pitched whistling sound for two seconds, and then Black Cat Detective says, ‘So, it was like that.’ Obviously, he is well trained in efficient communication through whistling noises.

The officer asks Black Cat Detective who the culprit was, so that they can arrest them. But the Detective just replies, ‘The problem is now very clear. Let us have a formal meeting.’ And the commencement of the meeting is announced on magic loudspeakers so that all the local insects can attend.

It’s hastily thrown together English script translation time! 

Black Cat Detective: ‘Ms. Mantis, answer me this. Mr. Mantis was eaten by you, is that correct?’
Ms. Mantis: ‘Yes. It was I who ate Mr. Mantis.’ 

[The bees understandably look horrified at this revelation.]

Black Cat Detective: ‘Why did you eat your own husband?’
Ms. Mantis: ‘Because I loved him too much.’ 

[The bees all start screaming for her blood and yelling for her to be locked up.] 

Ms. Mantis: ‘I’m not lying to you. I loved my husband too much, and so I ate him. Detective, please let me explain from the beginning.’
Black Cat Detective: ‘Very well. You may speak.’  
Ms. Mantis: ‘Here is how I met Mr. Mantis…’

{Cut to flashback}

Ms. Mantis: ‘Three days ago, a swarm of locusts flew to the corn field. We got rid of them together. After that, we got married. During the serenade/courting process/guitar lifting event, Mr. Mantis suddenly knelt before me and told me, ‘Darling, if you love me, after we get married… Please eat me.’ I thought this was too awful a deed for me to perform. The strange thing was that he had already written his will. What kind of will was that? At the time, I could not accept his will. But he just said to me, ‘So that we can give rise to more pest-eating offspring, this is how it must be.’ He also told me, ‘Grandma ate grandpa, and gave birth to my mother. My mother ate my father, and then gave birth to me. If you truly love me, then eat me, okay?’ And because I really loved him, I eventually ate him.’

*Ms. Mantis bursts into tears*

Ms. Mantis: ‘Now, I can only think of him. This is the will he left. Please understand my situation. I have finished speaking, so please arrest me.’

[The bees start sobbing.]

Ms. Mantis: ‘I hope you can allow me to give birth to the baby praying mantises and then lock me up afterwards, otherwise I won’t be able to do enough to repay their father.’

[The bees are now weeping uncontrollably.]

Black Cat Detective: ‘Everyone has heard the story clearly now. Female praying mantises eating male praying mantises is a part of their normal breeding behaviour. We condone their natural life cycle methods. I declare that Ms. Mantis bears no responsibility regarding this incident.’

[The bees start cheering happily.]   

Ms. Mantis: ‘Thank you, Black Cat Detective. Thank you, everyone.’
Black Cat Detective: ‘I hope that you produce more of those pest-eating praying mantis babies.’
Ms. Mantis: ‘I will definitely raise more offspring to combat pest insects.’
Black Cat Detective: ‘Concerning the nutrition problem related to Ms. Mantis eating her husband, she will never have to eat her own husband again.’ <Yeah, this sentence wasn’t translated very well… Sorry.>

[All the insects cheer enthusiastically. Most are shouting, ‘Very good!’]

Someone else then calls the police officers about another crime. Black Cat Detective orders the squad to chase the offender. But unfortunately, they are foiled by the ocean.
Black Cat Detective contacts Mr. Police Eagle by radio to fly across the sea and help them out. The end credits roll!

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like it's time to explore anime genres other than romantic comedy. I liked the bit on Dave the Barbarian because he reminds me of myself.