Monthly Three: The Horror of Iczer-1

Seeing how Japan’s still buzzing about Iczer-1’s 30th anniversary with the upcoming Blu-Ray release and TV Kanagawa’s censored broadcast last Sunday, the theme for this month might as well be the Iczer series. I went through the conception of the franchise in the 30th anniversary post last year and then some, so may have some repetition. This will be spoiler country.

The original Rei Aran’s Fight!! Iczer-1 comic was a thirty page, two chapter story. Very tidy, very neat, very different from the OVA. It is by far the most exploitative version out of them all, with Aran’s THE ICZER ONE following in suit in the 90’s. Nevertheless, certain elements exist in the original comic that would appear in the comic, and other elements would be completely revised for the better or worse.

The first episode of the OVA is essentially retelling of the comic, having the same basic structure; showcase enemy base, moving to Nagisa having normal, then getting attacked and saved by Nyan/Iczer-1, ending with them two fighting against invading enemy.

The two versions are superficially similar when described that way. Of course, reading and watching the two is night and day, just like Nyan’s and Iczer-1’s designs.

Nyan is one of the most stereotypical 80's character design you'll see in your life
Nyan is one of the most stereotypical 80’s character design you’ll see in your life, thou OVA Iczer-1’s hot pink screams the same

I recommend you to look up a book called Robots and pretty girls Best Works Selection – Lemon People 1982-1986 as it has the original two-parter in it among other Lemon People goodies. I intend to go deeper into the original comic at a later date.

TV Kanagawa’s censorship brought up a comment that struck with me. It was something along the lines of How can anyone call this representative of Cream Lemon? It’s a good question, which also shows how the original OVA, or the first episode at least, stands apart from the rest of the OVA crowd. Much like Megazone 23, Fight!! Iczer-1 was one of the first successful OVAs, and both balanced between themes you couldn’t depict on television without troubles. Unlike Cream Lemon, which was porn through and through, Iczer-1 and Project A-ko were projects that were deemed to have a very different nature to them, A-ko seeing even further changes and removal of all sexual themes outside girl love.

Iczer-1’s edge is that it was one of the first of its kind in many ways for home release anime, or Japanimation as it was called at the time in the West. It had Cronenberg-esque body horror with Lovecraftian themes, it’s music was excellent, animation quality was a thing to behold and it hold you in its grip. It was serious enough with some rare moments of comedy and was handled superbly. It’s main mechas were one of the earliest cyborg-like hybrids, containing an organic being inside while clad in armour mechanics.

Let’s get into the first OVA.

The very first scene in the whole franchise is about a man running down the street as if he was being chased by something. He stops, and sees a silhouette of a golden-haired woman standing above him. His face becomes distorted, until it breaks apart and a red creature rips through his skin, only to be killed by a beam from the woman.

It’s an effective first scene.

After a short girl on girl love and establishing the invading enemy, the show continues from here to follow our second heroine and her morning routines.

I'm betting she was watching porn
I’m betting she was watching porn. Note that the newspaper reads Fight!! Iczer-1 in Japanese

Nagisa passes Iczer-1 on her way to school, where she’s just leaning to a tree. Nagisa doesn’t give two damns about her, thinking Iczer-1 is just some sort of cosplay deviant. At school she’s blanking out, until she sees a ball constantly bouncing up and down, with no one bouncing it. The ball flies towards her, breaking the glass and dropping her into a sub-space. Then, she sees her friend’s skin complex getting worse.

Most of the body horror has a very Japanese flavour to it
Just add few tentacles and a mouth extending from there, trying to eat her

One of the main elements that keeps you on your toes in the first episode is that you barely know what’s happening. Much like how Demon in Devilman are able to posses human bodies, the Cthulhu in Iczer-1 take over a human host. They moult out of the human, ripping its flesh apart and sprinkling blood everywhere to show themselves for full mobility, and it seems they can take that shape back to some extent. It’s not just living things these Cthulhu can possess, but at least two houses are taken over as well. The scene above has a blue gradient to it, as the horror element adds another layer to it with sub-space, a space where the Cthulhu can freely travel to and from. It starts as a very abstract space at first, but then become a generic battlescape later on.

Nagisa’s being attacked, but the golden-haired woman saves Nagisa first with pure intimidation, then from falling to her death when her turned classmates ditch her from the roof. She runs from her saviour, only to be captured into the sub-space once again.

Nagisa offers some slapstick with her reactions
Nagisa offers some slapstick with her reactions

In the sub-space, Iczer-1 kills the Cthulhu and returns Nagisa home. Sir Violet, the leader of Cthulhu has a discussion scene with a the mysterious golden child in a sphere. What makes this scene effective is that everything looks organic and there is a constant heartbeat in the background.

Nagisa has a nice, normal night while Iczer-1 looks after her. Well, her last normal night, as in the morning during her family’s normal morning routines both of them moult. Even the house is being possessed, and Iczer-1 is fighting a Void, a high-class enemy trooper, inside sub-space. She manages to beat the Void just in time to stab the house and kill whatever spirit is being possessing it.

Enemy plans move onwards as Cobalt, one of the characters we’ve seen from the enemy side before, is being dispatched.

GGGAAAAAYYYYY

Cobalt and Sepia are directly lifted from the original comic, as is Cobalt’s demise. Cobalt walks around the city in her Delos Theta and taking down the military’s super weapons without any hassle. She takes it all in good humour, laughing at how weak humans are. Nagisa, who still doesn’t want to fight, turns her head around a bit, and is dragged into the fight by a summoning.

ICZER ROBO KENZAN

Iczer-1 doesn’t understand why Nagisa wouldn’t want to fight. She is her partner, and she’s facing their enemy. After they’re getting their collective asses handed down to them, Iczer-1 pushes Nagisa even further, making her recall her recent parents death she still hasn’t dealt with. With that she only seeks to kill everybody around. With Iczer Robo’s Get the Hell out of Here! beam. Delos Theta is still functional after this, but is severely hurt. Nagisa, not Iczer-1, walks Iczer Robo next to it and punches through the cockpit, crushing Cobalt. The episode ends in Nagisa crying her eyes out in Iczer-1’s arms.

The first episode alone has a death count of Nagisa's classmates and her parents, alongside loads of townspeople
The first episode alone has a death count of Nagisa’s classmates and her parents, alongside loads of townspeople

Second episode is all new material, starting with Cthulhu dropping their invasion pyramid Nova in the middle of city. Nagisa’s still in Iczer Robo and wanting out, and the invasion spreads to military bases.

Accompanied by a lovely sound of cracking skulls
Accompanied by a lovely sound of cracking skulls

However, one thing the OVA does right and garners a special mention is that it keeps the antagonists human. Cobalt, the pilot of Delos Theta that Nagisa and Iczer-1 defeated at the end of episode one, is lying dead in what essentially is an open coffin. We never see her face, or the lack of her head, but we don’t need to. We see the horror the cannon fodder enemies do in order to understand how shitty the situation is, but with moments like this we don’t need to see to what a character reacts. Sepia’s shocked expression is enough.

Sepia sees Cobalt
And if that’s not enough, seeing her lover all crushed up makes her vow revenge, even thou we already know how emotionally soft she is. She’s more like Nagisa in that regard

We return to Nagisa’s, with Iczer-1 giving her a bracelet that protects her and gives her access to Iczer Beam. While she dallies around, Iczer-1 fights a Void, one of the Cthulhu’s higher level peons, inside a sub-space that looks like a desert instead of something a Russian expressionists would paint. Meanwhile, Iczer-2 is prepared to be born.

Nagisa has found a safe place with a little girl and her mother, all the while Iczer-1 now fights in another sub-space that looks proper, but then is thrown into Japanese painting with a ninja. All this happening while the military fights against its own troops as well as against the fortress Nova.

There is a serious feeling of hopelessness about, Iczer-1 fighting to her best, humans essentially losing the war and now the little girl’s, Sayoko’s mother is being taken over.

dun
And oh, the house is possessed as well

Nagisa’s ring protect her and whoever is close to her for sure, but even it has its limitations. She manages to save Sayoko, but her mother is dead deal. At least Iczer-1 manages to defeat the second Void, but is then confronted by Iczer-2.

Iczer-2
Sometimes I whistle her theme while walking in the snow

 Iczer-1 and the main villain Big Gold are two sides of the same coin. The two share the same origin, whereas Iczer-2 has no such connection. She is built from the same basic blocks as her elder sister, but much more powerful. In straight up 1-to-1 fight, she would dominate with her power, but she is less experienced. Still, Iczer-1 is tired from fighting two Voids and while she is getting her ass handed to her, Nagisa is trying to protect Sayoko from possessed townspeople. She ultimately realises why Iczer-1 chose her as her partner and wishes for power to protect Sayoko, which summons Iczer Robo and devastates all the possessed people.

Iczer-2 takes this like a good sport she is, summons her own robot Iczer Sigma with Sepia as her partner and the fight is on! Well, in the third episode, the second episode ends in this screen.

end2
The ending song for the second episode is NEVER RUNAWAY

The third episode was produced later than the first two, as OVAs were usually produced in batches of two in the 1980’s.  It starts with retreading how Sir Violet was wondering through space, until she met with Big Gold. There is a clear change in animation and slight tweaking character designs, but the mechas are completely redesigned. Masami Obari had his hands all over this, and it shows.

There is much less horror elements in the third episode to the point of essentially having none. Sure, Cthulhus tentacles make an entry, but most of the episode is just mulling over events that happened, what it means to fight, why they fight and the occasional action scene.  Iczer-2 loses the opening fight and understands that Nagisa is Iczer-1’s power source while the mankind fights a losing fight. It’s nothing new, and retreads what the first two episode was about in far more menacing way.

As such, the tonal shift from the two first episodes is completely intended. It goes from that depressive horror to a more introspective view and the horror of the situation is in lesser focus. What matters is what is the relationship between Iczer-1 and Nagisa. Nagisa finds her will to fight, and like all heroes of new century, she carries a great sorrow in her hear. Iczer-1 being a war machine, she doesn’t really get this. She loves a lot of things, but she’s all about killing Chtulhu.

It’s not until Nagisa is kidnapped and Iczer-1 fights to the point of exhaustion we get some sort of answer and a resolution to this. Iczer Robo essentially sacrifices itself to bring Iczer-1 to Nagisa inside the Nova fortress, where the she is forced to kill brainwashed Nagisa. This is the point where Iczer-1 realises what is that sorrow Nagisa was carrying. With her soul resonating with Nagisa’s, she pulls out one of the more iconic scenes from the OVA.

If filling up the room with all-destroying golden light wasn't enough, Iczer-1 one-shot kills high ranking enemy
If filling up the room with all-destroying golden light wasn’t enough, Iczer-1 one-shot kills high-ranking enemy

What synchro does did in Iczer Robo was that it powered the Robo up. For Nagisa, she could face her fears and fight, and for an artificial being like Iczer-1, full synchro allows her to see the world through all the emotions and push herself beyond.

Iczer-1’s and her little sisters fight after this is very short and to the point.

killed

What follows after is that Iczer-1 flies to Big Gold, trades some words, accepts him/her/it as a part of herself, fusing each other and then returning everything to normal somehow, time travel or godly powers.

The third episode is also a full forty something minutes compared to first two’s 25min, and it drags itself. The first two episodes hold reins very tightly, but the third episode’s mangled plot resolution gives an unsatisfactory ending. It has a different tone and can’t really exist as a standalone piece. The first episode however is perfect as a standalone piece, and I appoint this to the fact that it was based on something. The original comic lacked any sort of horror element, and it’s a far more comedic romp overall, concentrating on how silly a psychic alien catgirl in heat was with some slightly serious things happening when aliens invade.

I doubt this post conveys how much I really dig the original OVA, despite third episode being slightly weaker overall. I’m sure you get the atmosphere this three parter has. What Fight!! Iczer-1 did to the direct-to-home and OVAs at the time can’t be underestimated. It did what you couldn’t do on television, and became a massive cult hit.

Sadly, its direct sequel, Adventure! Iczer-3 would essentially abandon and tone everything down. I need a week to go through that piece, haven’t seen it in years.

The series, for now, ends with a song called Eternal Iczer-1.

…does this count as a review? No? Ah damn.

Won’t somebody please think of the children!

I don’t really have time or interest to attend local conventions. The biggest reason by far is that the overall offering within the programmes rarely have anything worth watching, and often are incredibly low in quality. Hell, even very specific programmes have been incredibly boring and misinformed to the point of being almost insulting. However, seems like I a new reason to add to the list; moral outrage for nothing.

When you think of Finland, one thing you might recognize as part of the cultural standard is how we bathe in sauna. Butt naked, sometimes with complete strangers and we whack each other with tree branches. To me, how we deal with sexual matters has been very reasonable. Nakedness in itself has not been anything to be ashamed of or to get mad about. Sea, river and lake beaches are full of people in bikinis and whatnot, sometimes topless. Doesn’t matter if its winter or summer, we still go for a swim.

I never saw anyone to have any problems with the human outside what we call flower headdress ladies, i.e. people who spread their own moral views to others in order to maintain certain level of moral cleanliness and how to live, often criticising erotica, pornography, alcohol use, smoking, dating, pre-marital sex and all kinds of musics.

When otaku sub-culture gained popularity across the globe, one of the first comics that was published here in this wake was Dragon Ball. However, in 2003 some parents and Korteniemi-Poikela of Family Federation were indignant of the rowdy humour it had. The aforementioned resented the way Master Roshi was portrayed as a pervert and how, and I quote “little girls are the object of men’s desire, who are taught to use their sexuality for their advantage,” essentially calling it as portrayal of pedophilia. Karhumäki compared the treatment of female characters in Dragon Ball to enjo kousai, compensated dating, a thing who has read Dragon Ball or knows even a little bit about it knows that its slightly racy humour is far from enjo kousai.

In reality, very few parents complained. In truth, only a very marginal amount of loud flower headdress ladies got their shit tight because something they didn’t like was sold on comic stands. Because of this, Dragon Ball was slated R-13 after the first few books, and re-releases would have censored panels.

As such, you can imagine how mad the fans were. For some years afterwards, there was a stigma that all Japanese material was perverted, and it didn’t help that series like Urotsukidouji, Adventure Kid, Devilman OVA were sold next to children’s cartoons in the same rack. People in charge had no idea what they had in their hands and blamed the products rather than the parents who bought these cassettes to their children.

It took some time for the otaku sub-culture to become slightly more mature than it was, and the current base here seems to handle most things with care and with taste. While some bad habits have been imported from elsewhere, there has been an overall quality on how things have been treated, and in a lot of ways the sub-cultured has blossomed and embraced its own oddities. After Dragon Ball we haven’t had any real debacle over anything, even comics have stayed uncensored, gore and all, and nobody has complained.

That was until last weekend in Yukicon Finland, where a cosplayer was asked to change clothes. There is a large post about the subject in Finnish in Facebook (archived) from where it has spread from. Do check the link for the cosplayer, if not for nothing else. The cosplayer had put on the outfit of Ryuko Matoi of Kill la Kill fame, which shows less skin that your normal bikini cosplay we see quite frequently.

KOxDM6u[1]
I don’t honestly give a fuck what you think of the show or who was the cosplayer

The cosplayer had made certain that her own breasts would now show with the underboob and had opted to create relatively impressive fakes with foam and fabric. I’m not going to comment on the quality, because I am known to be less than nice to cosplayers when it comes to the quality of the outfit. Anyway, according to the cosplayer herself, the only people who threw glaring gazes at her and her fakes knockers was the security guard who would issue the outfit change. The cosplayer asked if she could take pictures of the outfit, and as she was outside in the freezing cold, another security guard demanded the outfit change as well.

The reason for the demand was that the convention was family friendly. Do note that their site especially mentioned the following;

Yukicon is mainly intended for teens and young adults but game and anime fans of all ages are welcome.

Note the point mainly intended for teens and young adults. If you intend to bring your small child to a convention that has a specifically targeted audience, you should be expecting content that is relevant for that age group, and the same applies to the event holders.

Is Ryuko’s outfit sexy? Yes. Is it anything out of ordinary? No, you see worse stuff on day time television on the streets, especially during summer. These conventions rarely have children under ten, and anyone older and into the sub-culture has seen worse and actively search for smut. These conventions have bikini laden characters cosplaying everywhere, like Black Rock Shooter, who actually has a more revealing clothing. Then you have the sales stands, where pornography is sold openly to minors, a thing that is counted as sexually assaulting a minor, and skimpy figures with barely nothing on are sold on the tables alongside Osakan love-me pillows i.e. dakimakuras.

The main reason why I’m writing this is because this comes from within the sub-culture. Thus far the sub-culture has managed to be open and admired anyone with enough guts to pull an outfit like this off. Sexuality was not repressed, and never was it sexualised as such. By that I mean how a person looks sexy with her look, just like person with an admirable body with the right clothing, but not sexualised as in Come and fuck me right here. That takes an effort from the wearer and the watcher, and I have seen this action taking place only in mutual fashion and extremely rare outside after parties. Seeing how the cosplayer felt confident, extremely so, about herself with the outfit, the only person who saw problems with the outfit were those who sexualised her themselves, i.e. the security guards, and that’s sad as hell.

Censorship works best when it comes from the inside, and when people begin to silence and limit each other. Then, whoever is in the power, only needs to sit back and let the fruits ripen. Ryuko Matoi’s character design is bold without a doubt, but it has nothing that wouldn’t fly in a family friendly convention about Japanese culture. Rather, a confident Ryuko could work wonderfully as a positive model in few ways.

Hell, the series makes fun of this sort of stupidly puritanical views to boot.

Really, their argument was what Helen Lovejoy is famous for saying.

Think-of-the-children[1]In a convention specifically aimed at a teen and young adult audience? Give me a break

I thought we had handled this matter with the Dragon Ball censorship case, but history does indeed rhyme. I hope this will be the sole case, and that the organisers will see into this matter deeper and do the right thing. They’ve already lost a potential customer, but just like any service provider, they can always win me back. I doubt they will issue an open apology or even recognize the whole thing.

If we start to go the way of Sweden and Germany, I will cosplay as Hentai Kamen sometime and see if I can cause the security to force me cover myself up. Hell, I’ll ask somebody to wear Blue Snow outfit with me and spread smutty pictures around while laughing like maniacs.

Cartoon/industrial dilemma

I have to admit that I have personally grown tired of the term mecha. It’s way too broad and really encompasses anything mechanical. It’s an imprecise and unpractical term if you know what you’re talking about. Robot animation on the other hand is more precise, and we can be more precise with additional terms to this, like Human Robot animation (Tetsuwan Atom) or Giant Robot animation (Mazinger Z) and so forth. Western fandom of course uses the mecha-term simply to note that the show is about some sort of mechanical robots. Then again, it seems that people are using that particular term as a sort of loophole to include bunch of series that have no giant robots to speak of, vetoing to the Japanese use of the word… which then really is anything mechanical. However, I do admit that I use mecha very freely in its western context, but for the sake of this post I’ll have to narrow it down to giant robot. Perhaps giant robot sounds too childish to some.

So, to be exact, I’ll be going over a bit more about giant robot animation designs this time. We’re going to check how giant robots changed at certain point from all-around cartoon characters to more industrial thing.

At some point in the 70’s there was a paradigm shift in giant robot animation, where the creators of these series began stepping away from the older style to a new, more modern direction. This paradigm shift introduced us industrial design in robot animation and comics, which has led to an increased numbers of gimmicks and details in every robot produced since then. The exact moment where this changed happened isn’t really easy to pin down, but I’d guess Combattler V is one of the first giant robots that was more a complete machine than a cartoon character.

We can assume that this shift was mostly due to the need of marketing robot toys to the children. Overall it’s much easier to overdesign something than keep it clean and simple. Mazinger Z is a notable example, and there’s a reason robots like Ga-Keen and Gouwapper 5 Goudam was forgotten.

Go away Goudam, you look horrible, even your name is stolen from a cheese
Go away Goudam, you look horrible, even your name is stolen from a cheese. You even smell horrible

Toy design is a branch of industrial design, so it’s not really anything special to note that when toy companies notices how well Mazinger and Getter Robo toys were selling, they wanted in. Thus, the amount of detail and attention on how the giant robots would and should function increased, and continued to increase further during the next few decades. Incidentally, this also lead into a certain level of isolation, where giant robo animation got its own stigma within the general fandom where every design began looking the same. For example, any design that followed the “real robot” principles laid down by Gundam looks different only because of its added details. This is actually rather large problem, as it just creates a large gray mass of robots where everything looks more or less the same without notable differences, which then translates into lack of interest from the general public who has more money than the core group.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Gurren Lagann became a sort of phenomena. Looking back at the show, it follows more in the lines of cartoony robots rather than what its age usually produced. It doesn’t stress the viewer as much to see a cartoony robot as it does to see a highly detailed machine hulking on the screen. The best example of this would be the live-action Transformers movies. To take a more objective approach to those, they really are some damn fine designs. The amount of attention to the detailing and how the Transformers move is astonishing and has no rivals. By all means this is the highest peak the giant robot design has achieved, but also shows the problem that this isn’t what the audience wants. They’re too detailed, there’s too much too see and keep track of most of the time. Personally, I have no difficulties on following them on-screen, but I recognize the problem. It’s the complete opposite to what Mazinger Z is, where all the shapes and details are rather simple outside the head, which is both the most important aspect of the design and the most difficult to get down just right. Perhaps this is where the super/real robot thing comes into play, as most “super robot” shows are more cartoony than those we call realistic. However, there’s a thin line here, and I still stand by the idea that super/real difference can only be done in Super Robot Wars games and within the show itself.

Did Mazinger series benefit from the paradigm shift? It's your call really
Did Mazinger series benefit from the paradigm shift? It’s your call really

Cartoon/industrial is a troubling dilemma. On the other hand the older audience wishes to see more detailed robots both on screen and in model form. Then again, making too much details will make the animation harder, even if it’s through 3D modelling and producing more detailed toys will cost more. Then again dropping the detail level lowers the cost of both animation and production, but it also might not sell nearly as well. In addition, the older audience might not like more simplified designs, so the whole thing may change the target audience. Thus, it’s more important to know your target audience and design accordingly.

Then again, we have Mazinger Z, which has broken pretty much all barriers and could and should be enjoyed by all ages. This is another problem in addition to cartoon/industrial, where the designer is required to juggle between the themes and tone of the series the robot is meant to be in. This is where cartoony robots shine much more than highly detailed ones, as they can be pretty much anything when portrayed just right. Industrialised designs often start acting funny and strange, and even change proportions to add to the comedy, thus breaking the strict design they’re in. Mazinger Z can be very lighthearted, just like the original series was and it can be a full-out drama like Shin Mazinger Chapter Z is. Could Gundam be a comedy with it’s machines? No, it really couldn’t. All the comedy would come from the human characters. SD Gundam is Gundam with intentional design choices to change the show to make it a complete comedy. For Mazinger Z such changes are unnecessary as the design already allowed the design to be used in comedy.

It's so good that it has been milked to death for three decades now
It’s so good that it has been milked to death for three decades now

While Combattler V can be counted where the industrial design took hold of the design where the giant robot genre would go with its designs, and Macross then stepped up the game even further with VF-1 Valkyrie. The reason to this is that often the toy of the robot was rather different than in the show if it had a transformation gimmick. If the transformation was simple, then it could be replicated in the toy, but for its time Valkyrie’s transformation scheme was complex. On top of that, the transformation was completely replicated in the toy. However, this also meant that Valkyrie’s design wasn’t a cartoon character in any form anymore, but an industrial design. After Macross, almost every giant robot afterwards was industrially designed, thus enforcing certain direction there shows went. There are high number of exceptions where the marriage of cartoon and industrial design is mixed very well together, like Xabungle, but to an extent very few series have been able to survive to this day.

We can also question the need of cartoony robot design nowadays. Animation has changed drastically since Tetsuwan Atom and Tetsujin-28, but even then we need to ask why haven’t these iconic designs been dethroned? Why is that there’s a statue of the original Tetsujin-28 rather than its FX version? I’m not the best person to give an answer to this, as I am not either Japanese or lived long enough to see Tetsujin’s evolution since its birth to the current day.

What Japanese animation (and my Little Pony) has proved that adult people are going to value a well-made children’s cartoon even thou they’re not in the target group. Overall, wouldn’t it be for the best to create designs that would appeal to all? Well, this is impossible to do. However, it would be for the best to balance between all possible target audiences within one design, and do more targeted design and series only occasionally. This is why a lot of giant robot show have been failing; it’s not that there’s audience to be grasped, but because these shows keep cannibalizing the exact same audience over and over. This isn’t the design fault really, but the whole genre’s overall. If the giant robot genre would be able become more broader once more, then things could look more bloomy. However, seeing how Japan’s birthrate’s are down, giant robot genre is in larger trouble than most.

To design a cartoon character is actually very difficult. Designing a robot through industrial approach really isn’t. Industrial design is hard only when you’re not really accustomed to draw within what I call function set-rules, which at its core is function before form, but after than all that follows in that design is to compensate the function with the form. Cartoon characters do not really need to follow this, because they exist in the rules of the cartoon world.

Personally I think that modern comics and cartoon overall have gone far too much into the realm of realism in many ways both in stories and how they look. Lately I have found myself enjoying older comics simply due to their appearance as opposed of modern look. The logic also functions a bit differently as well, and even the most serious stories manage to maintain their comic-like approach.

There’s something I often hear; the modern designs are more prettier and detailed, they’re more pleasing to look at. This is due to the paradigm shift, and how it has integrated itself to the general mind. Giant robots are not thought nor treated as characters in their respected series, but just another machine. Not to say that this is a bad thing, but it has made the genre far too homogeneous, where all machines are machines. In Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet, the main robot of the show, Machine Caliber Chamber, is more or less a character and is unique to all others in the series, but the machine itself is still industrially designed. There has been other interesting designs for some time now, but nothing what we could call new. I hope that during the next five years we will have a new breakthrough series that will not only bring in something new but also would slowly give way to a new paradigm that we’re sorely needing.

Sometimes a service provider takes it to their heart

When a service provider takes critique with a positive attitude, you know that these people care for what they’re doing. My critique is in most cases a bit too extreme and that’s mostly the point, as I wish to showcase mostly opposite views while exploring other possibilities within certain limits. Often I look back at a post and wonder if I was too harsh, but then I remember the general attitude a lot of companies and organizers in general have. It’s a bit unfair to lump them all into one piece, but looking at these people in one general view creates a sort of competition to design better service. Then again, I do admit that I’ve been listening to Josh Hadley’s rants lately a bit too much and some of my intentions have been slightly adjusted to channel the passion that man oozes.

In that sense, you can be surprised that within eight hours of releasing my disappointment on the upcoming Desucon Frostbite I noticed that Antti Myyrä, the main organizer, had commented there and further explained the situation. At the time you’re reading this post the comment will have already been deleted and moved into this post in order to open a transparent dialogue. Let’s see what the man writes back.

Hi there!

Thanks for the feedback and suggestions. The truth is, we actually don’t have a clue beforehand whether our GOH’s will give out signatures or not. Usually they do, but sometimes they just don’t. We realize how important getting an autograph from the GOH is to fans, and we have succeeded in negotiating with many who at first didn’t want to give out any. This time it was unfortunately a different story.

So, being in a situation where we can’t get everything we want, we could have of course cancelled the whole thing, but to whom would that do any good? I still believe fans can get a lot out of the visit, although getting a signature from Mr. Wakamoto would have been a highlight of the event (or even the whole year, for some).

As for communicating the thing, we didn’t release the information until we were certain that this is the deal we’re getting. Releasing incorrect information or just lying about it isn’t how we do things. We are of course offering a full refund on ticket purchase, if someone wishes to cancel their visit because of this.

Information is the most important thing when it comes to event organizing, but not just towards the customers. Having an open dialogue and clear set agreement between the organizer and the guests is highly important, as it helps in solidifying the overall structure of the event. Knowing well beforehand what will be, how it will be and at what time is extremely important. It’s far too common to have this sort of lack of dialogue and information between participants. Every working environment suffers from this from school to event organizing to whatever generic workplace we are in. The problem persists in our information era, even thou we have multiple sorts of instant messengers. Some things are in the human nature by default. 

Uncertainty has been a downfall for few events that I’ve been putting up. That uncertainty needs to be removed with questions and answers from both sides, so no ambiguous assumptions are left open. This of course is always reflected in the information given to the customers. Leaving information allows the customer to assume what will take place rather than to expect what will take place. This is what you want to avoid as much as you can.

It’s understandable that we do not wish to release information that we are not certain on. However, then this uncertainty needs to be reflected on the released information. How this information is released is actually very difficult to achieve with the desired effect. Sometimes it may put the organizers in a position where they look incompetent, but with correct wording it becomes just a part of the information.

Personally, I’m glad to see that the organizers are willing to refund the ticket’s price for all who wish to that. While it’s “merely” 20€, you need to take account the travel and hotel expenses as well. The overall price of the visit is not 20€, but all those expenses added to it. Simply because of this good deed I’m still willing to participate in the event and further explore what do they have to offer.

We do have a version of the site in English (and an English Twitter account, @desukunENG), but the site’s currently not in use. This is actually a thing where we’d appreciate if you’d help us! We don’t want to put up a mirror site, because many things in Desucon Frostbite are completely in Finnish and we don’t want to make people believe that everything is in English at the event. So, we only want to publish the things that an international visitor might need or appreciates. Would you have any suggestions which things we should at least put to the English site? I promise we’ll have one before our summer event, Desucon!

When information on certain events is given in English, it always has to be made clear whether or not the event itself is multilingual. It looks like none of the Finnish convention practise English outside few selected programs, which is both a positive and a negative. While it offers everything to the local audience, it locks out the possible foreign audience. If we were to put an extremely overboard service, one way to open these events to foreign visitors would be to have a translator with a selected group, to which this translator would summarize programs and other matters. This sort of guided event translation service is usually rather expensive. However, the signs in the event could be bilingual and it would ask no extra effort.

Clear cut information is the key overall. A clear page design saves a lot of troubles later on. Mirroring a Finnish site into English would only be half the job, as the other half would demand that the information would be modified to serve the needs of foreign visitors. An English language site should always have relevant information for both local population who do not speak Finnish and information for possible foreign visitors. All the basic stuff from description of the event, history of the event, why and when… It’s all pretty clear overall. The same basic stuff as with any event site. However, English information site should also contain description of the city and a somewhat exhaustive collection of hotels, transportation timetables and maps for foodstuff, restaurants and if possible, a small review on each place would be extremely helpful. Knowing which place sells the cheapest pizza, or what store has the best selection, will always come in handy. Most of these are easily done with Google Maps most of the time, and many travel agency sites already offer this service, but having an exhaustive information package for the possible visitors saves their time, which then turns for the organizers favour on the long run. A happy customer is a returning customer.

The question What is relevant information? in this case it depends on what sort of event is being held. Newsfeed is always necessary, and while I do recognize how useful Facebook and Twitter are nowadays, the good old RSS feed on the site for new updates is still irreplaceable. Keeping both sites updated at the same time is also important, so that neither side misses any important bits.

The event programme schedule itself needs to be translated as well, and further emphasize that all programs are in initially set language unless mentioned differently. English  programs could also play part in the overall event, where certain set of panels or presentations are designed to be presented in English, or if someone would like to see the trouble going through, bilingual with subtitles. I’ve seen few well made presentations, where the presentation was held in Finnish, but a video was rolling in the background showcasing all the presentation with English subtitles. A lot of work, and if well made, really awesome way to present yourself.

This would be a good place for small customer research. If possible, I’d recommend doing a small inquiry among the foreign visitors what they’d like to see on the website. That, and visit hotels’ sites and other similar webpages to amass some material and patching a good vision what is needed to serve foreign customers.

On another note, it would be interesting to see if anyone from abroad would be willing to come here to arrange some sort of programme for the convention. We’d get some change through that. It would also give a chance for some adventurous person to wonder into Finnish wilderness called Lahti.

TL;DR We aren’t complete idiots, just suck at negotiating if you will ;)

Best regards,
Antti Myyrä
Main Organizer
Desucon Frostbite

I like that bit. Negotiating skills grow only through experience, much like everything else.

P.S. I’m pretty sure you already know this but your readers probably don’t, so I’ll need to clarify: the organization behind Desucon is completely non-profit and all the work is completely voluntary. No one gets a salary, or any other kind of pay for doing this, so there’s no hidden scheme to make more money. That doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be criticism, but it should stick to the facts.

Our finances are actually open for everyone and the results for our fiscal year 2011-2012 can be found from here: http://desucon.fi/desucon/blogi/2011/12/luukku-2—desuconin-talous-julkiseksi (in Finnish again, sorry) The newest one was actually completed just before Christmas, and we’ll release it after Frostbite. If you’re interested in details, I’d love to go through them with you.

I admit going overboard with this a bit. However, non-profit or not, I see that there is no reason to not fully realize possibilities that event like this holds. Non-profit or not, it doesn’t matter on the long run. Naturally we can’t expect to have same level of service as in events run by companies that are after profit, but ultimately what only matters from the customers’ point of view is that they get what they get is the best possible outcome. If it would mean that salaries would need to be paid in order to lift the quality of the event, I’m all in. As always, there’s the fine line between doing the best you can, and the best your customers expect. Thou I have to admit, that sometimes the customers can be huge assholes with this.

If relevant in the future, I’ll take on mr. Myyrä’s offer and discuss on what goes into putting up an event like this. I’m sure that his point of views and experiences would be interesting to hear.

Is it too much to ask some decent quality from Finnish conventions?

When I’m writing this blog I’m trying to write to larger audience in text. Then, there’s times when I let the part of me which is completely in the sub-culture rampage. You saw part of this when I reviewed the Finnish Game Awards last year, and from some of the âge related posts. I’m part of the fandom and part of the people whom with I share my hobby and interests. Then sometimes I see something that makes me boil, something that I wish to punch into the ground and ask WHY THE HELL ARE YOU ALLOWING THIS TO HAPPEN? I ask that whenever I watch Star Trek Voyager and Enterprise. So please hold on to your butts when I go slightly drunkard rage about local fandom that can go screw itself in the forest.

Take this hedgehog with you, you might need it.
Take this hedgehog with you, it might come in handy.

Now, with this second glass of 2cl whiskey and Christmas apple pop I read the event schedule for Desucon Frostbite 2013, an anime convention that is held in Lahti Finland. I don’t usually go to conventions unless I’m one of the workforce and having a panel of sort on my own. A panel two years ago bombed because my co-host ultimately only knew about Macross and Gurren Lagann, whereas I spend a lot of time talking about almost every show. Last year I held that OVA history panel. This year I’m aiming to have a panel about how companies succeed and fail at brand management in both visual and content department. See, I wish to bring some class, some actual content to the local event we have. My aim is to inform myself and others about things that matter more outside opinions. Facts can’t lie. Making a panel of matter that has been talked and debated thousands of times over is not good entertainment nor does it inform. Making a panel about one being uninformed and ignorant draws laughter from those who are wiser. In short, I just wish to bring a bit of professionalism to a sub-culture that is filled with idiots and ignorants that want to laugh and hump each other on the conference floor while wanking off each others’ egos about how nice their godawful cosplay is. The larger audience, the real people out there, do not give a flying fuck about us and will never regard this as a serious hobby as long as we keep having panels about fanfiction character relations shipping.

Yes dear reader, I’m mad as hell and on my fourth glass of whiskey at the moment. I ran out of pop. I’m going to tear this schedule a new ass to shit from. I’m sorry that it’s Finnish only, God forbid the people running this show to make an English mirror for their site when they have Norio Wakamoto on the stage and people from all over Europe are coming in. God I hate this level of stupidity.

So OK, Saturday morning panels are Tales of Whaa I’m sorry, if you’re having a Finnish panel then have your panel in Finnish and avoid using these godawful jokes in there if you’re not going to make a comedy panel. The panels is a joke from the get go; they’re going to concentrate on the characters and on the story rather than on the gameplay. Because of people like you the game industry is dying for God’s sake I need more whiskey. The panel this joke is going against is Drills, tits, robots and a little epicness- For the love of all that is holy what is wrong with these people? YES, Gurren Lagann became popular as the cheapest whore in a village consisting only of men, but do you REALLY assume that people in this fandom have missed Gurrel Lagann so completely that you need a panel to explain why its popular? This is a good example of a panel that could be replaced with fifteen minutes of googling or ten minutes of Youtube viewing. There’s no reason this kind of panel should be here; it’s repetitive, self-doubting and clearly aimed at somebody who has never heard of word anime in their lives. And every single time you describe something as epic I want to punch you in the mouth with a brass knuckles that have shotguns shells installed.

Next up are Good, bad and brainless? with You have a weird fliflap.
Now the former might actually be decent as it should dog up some really strange stuff, but I’m completely positive we’ll end up hearing of stuff like Dragon Half or bunch of 80’s OVAs. Hell, my blog alone has more obscure OVAs listed than half of the attendees have ever heard. Then we have the flipflap panel and I want to punch these people if they’re going to use original examples or foreign dubs. This panel shares a problem with pretty much every panel that I won’t be mentioning; it has a specific small group to cater to. If you’re not wanting to be a voice actor, or anally pained how the flipflap misses one millisecond on shows, this panel isn’t for you.

I’m not even going to touch DokiDokisomething, Ghibli part of life (BWAHAHAHAHAHA!) and Cosplay and self-confidence (hint; if you don’t have one, don’t cosplay [Hint #2; Cosplay isn’t about suiting up like your character, it is about being the character. Get your shit right, cosplaying isn’t about being in a carnival.]) panels. They’re completely underwhelming by name and content description, and one can find the content they’re going to have with fifteen minute Googling again. But then, we have something that is wrong with the fandom; shipping. Now in general having a panel about the fandom related activity is a good idea, as most of these will go unnoticed by the larger crowd, like what goes into making a doujin comic. Then we have this kind of panels that talk about something that the panel holders themselves do and what is generally considered a degeneratory thing within the fandom. People, don’t have panels about your fanfictions. Nobody cares outside your own little circlejerk friends. Whoops there went through two or three panels.

Even Daft Punk seems to agree that this is some serious idiocy
Even Daft Punk seems to agree that this is some serious idiocy

Lesson #1; Design panels that are interesting to everybody and that is not offensive to anyone in any way. If you’re going to put tits in your panel name, then you better show be some goddamn good quality tits.

Now there’s a panel that I’m interested in, it’s called Anime’s adoption countries = cult series around the world. This sounds interesting, but then again this panel could be just another googling job. Depending what countries are handled, this could be the shining gem amidst it all. Then again, if they fail to mention how Goldorak is the only anime to get 100% viewership around the world when competing channels existed, they’ve failed. France is a gold mine when it comes to anime to the extent some people talk about euroanime. Then we have Interstellar relationship charts which goes through slew of character relations outside the school environment. Good job ignoring Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, [Editor; bastards] and if you’re not going to mention Muv-Luv then you can I need more whiskey to keep going.

Y’know, if you’re going to have a panel about Upotte, please, PLEASE make intellectual wankery rather than about why RK-95 is insane sadistlesbianmistress. It’s not funny, it’s not entertaining and I can’t masturbate to it in public. That would be a nice general rule; if you’re having anything with slightly touching fanservice to level of softcore porn, don’t use it. Otherwise make it a mid-night show and offer people tissues.

Homepropper’s ABC sounds awesome though, the only really interesting panel this far. While there are tutorials and such, this is really a subject that needs the voice of experience. I’m eagerly waiting for this one. The rest of the day is just unwatchable garbage, thou I’ll give the Chuu2byou a benefit of doubt. All other panels I never mentioned can go screw themselves. They bring nothing new to the table and offer no new information or experiences.

So, Sunday starts with with Don’t watch anime named Gundam-

YOU DO NOT NAME YOUR PRESENTATION AS "DON'T WATCH SERIES NAMED GUNDAM" IF YOU'RE GOING TO TELL THE AUDIENCE HOW TO WATCH GUNDAM AND HOW TO RECOGNIZE THE MOST ICONIC MOBILE SUITS. THAT'S COMPLETELY STUPID.
YOU DO NOT NAME YOUR PRESENTATION AS “DON’T WATCH SERIES NAMED GUNDAM” IF YOU’RE GOING TO TELL THE AUDIENCE HOW TO WATCH  A SERIES NAMED GUNDAM AND HOW TO RECOGNIZE THE MOST ICONIC MOBILE SUITS WITHIN SAID SERIES. THAT’S COMPLETELY STUPID.

The panel is how not to watch the Gundam series. This panel is example of all bad that is in the current fandom; plain ignorance and unwillingess to do any research. This panel is going to be so bad and I’m intending to go there and point every single error the guy makes. Y’know how to watch Gundam? GO to Wikipedia and check what has been made and start watching them as they are listed. It’s not that hard, it just demands three brain cells but knowing the generic anime audience these brain cells are already dead and the genitals do all the thinking. Also, I ran out of whiskey and now I’d drinking beer.

I’ll say it now; Sunday’s program is an atrocity against mankind and breaks all rules of the Geneve convention. But the worse is Pokémon vs. Digimon. Props for typing Pokémon with the é, but do we really need to go through a subject that was settled TEN YEARS AGO? Actually more than that. This panel is unnecessary, stupid and completely bullshit. We’re adults, right? We can do our own research to determine which is better. We can sit down and watch both first seasons of the shows and play the games. We can make our own damn decisions. Unless this is a proper debate, then the panel has no reason to be there whatsoever. It’s like having a panel on Galaxt Express 999 and Captain Harlock; the end result is that both of them are awesome.

I’m not saying that the anime fandom has grown in the last thirty years. Some people in the fandom have, and it’s understandable to see young people to have this kind of panels, but seeing this level is garbage year after year sucks all the fun in going to the conventions. There’s literally no program to the general public, only for selected audience in an already small group. It’s stupid. Sticking to one series to show WHY IT BECAME POPULAR is stupid. If you’re going to discuss one series, have a two hours lecture where you spend the first hour setting the series and introducing it while answering questions, and then the second going in depth about it. Opinionated panels are good as long as you’re admitting it and allowing the opposing views have their stay, otherwise your panel is bad comedy. Needs of the many outweight the needs of the one, and the one being the panelist/s. Seriously, if you’re up there having a show, then make sure that it’s quality from top to bottom and something that the audience finds interesting. Fuck what you think, you, the panels, they do not matter nor do your tastes. Props to you if you manage to find a subject you find interest in.

And for the love of all loving Primus do your own research. Hell. I’ll give you some subjects you could do that would demand some research from you; Change of male/female character depiction from the 70’s to 00’s in selected genre; Effects of Star Trek to Japanese popular culture and how it affects modern anime; Manga, anime and games- how branding and franchising one series is alive in the Japanese culture; Midnight anime series and their evolution from adult humour to softcore porn; Evolution of design in anime, or how cylinders became cubes and then cubic cylinders and Mazinger Z and it’s effects on Japanese otaku culture.

Is it too much to ask for some goddamn quality? Well, of course it is when it comes to these people. Well shit, I had to come to that conclusion after seven glasses of whiskey and a bottle of Asahi Dry beer.

Now, I’m not saying that don’t have fun. I’m not saying that you couldn’t provoke your audience with slightly misleading titles. I care about this hobby of mine enough to get mad at people wasting their time, other people’s time and my own. I’m sure that a lot of people will enjoy some of these panels and presentations, but when the offering is this bad from year to year, you kind of lose the sight of what’s really good. What I’m saying that these people, who are clearly amateurs, should put on their best effort to deliver content that would stay away from the negative stereotypes. Pretty much every single held event there is nothing short of piss easy googling and shows complete lack of enthusiasm to the overall scene outside their own interest. This sort of convention only enforces the negative view the rest of the nation has on the people who are into this sub-culture. Not only that, but you can see that these people have no intention of putting a good show. They’re making them just to make sure that they get in free. Well you do a bett– I’m the paying customer. I have no need to do any better. I have all rights the be there to say that this is piece of shit and not worth the 20€ I paid for the ticket. Anyway, I have done better, and I will make a better program than any of these listed here. Hell, my program last year was better than any program any of these people have at Frostbite, OUTSIDE one.

There’s exactly one panel that I’m sure it will be good, awesome, informative, entertaining and interesting. It’s called An invitation to Japanese comic studies which not only tells everything you need to know about the program, but also that these people might have a slight knowledge what they’re going to talk about. The again, they do mention yuri in the panel description, which automatically throws me into a spiral of suspicion. Why to separate it from other genres? Are they going to concentrate on it that much? If so, then they’re going to lose the credibility I have given here. Otherwise Frostbite is like in a mountain of shit there’s a small shiny gem, but if all signs show me right, the gem will only be covered in shit and only mentioned once in a bard’s song years from here.

Capricious Orange Road and The Eternity You Wished For

Kimagure Orange Road (KOR) is one of those shows that are defining classics across the genres. It’s one of the most popular romantic comedy comics from the 1980’s that most older animation fans know about, but the younger audience most likely has missed it. KOR’s influence is still seen in Japanese romance comedies, but let’s take a look at how many parallels it has with Kimi ga Nozomu Eien. Now I’m basing the introduction to KOR on the animated version, as the comic hasn’t been released in the West in English… yet. There have been promises about that thou. And oh yeah, spoiler alarm for all who have not yet seen KOR.


Damnit the 80’s had gorgeous TV-animation

The story of Kimagure Orange Road starts as our main character Kyousoke Kasuga is walking hundred steps stairs in his new home town. There Kyousuke sees a red hat flying low in the sky, grabbed by the wind. He proceeds to make a bold jump and catches the hat. The hat belongs to Madoka Ayukawa, a girl of his age. The two banter slightly over how many steps the stairs had, and the two seem to enjoy the newfound company. Madoka gifts the hat to Kyousuke as a present, and walks away. Of course, Kyousuke can’t get her out of his mind.

However, Kyousuke isn’t the most normal person. Actually, his mother and her family hold supernatural powers known as the Power. What the Power does varies between the family members. For example, Kyousuke can teleport whereas his cousin can’t. Naturally, Kyousuke and his younger twin sisters are forbidden from using the Power in public, as it would lead into series of difficult situations.

The following day is their first school day, where he happens to meet Hikaru Hiyama, a tough talking rapscallion who is two years older than her friend Madoka. She makes fun of a punk who gave her lift to school, and the punk swears revenge. She doesn’t seem to care for him, Kyousuke or his sisters, and she merely passes them.

Later that day Kyousuke and the twins witness a fight, where Madoka is beating up pun

. Hikaru’s also there, and Kyousuke just watches about, not believing that this is the same kind person who he had met previously. It’s the same punk that Hikaru made into clown of earlier, and now he has his gang in the mess. Still, Madoka kicks all of their asses, and just as she’s about to light a cigarette Kyousuke steps in to stop her by popping her cigarette with the Power and destroys it by hand, telling her straight that if she smokes at a young age, she won’t be able to have healthy babies. He gets slapped silly and Madoka refuses to acknowledge she ever met a guy like him.

The day after the incident Kyousuke reflects on his situation and about his powers. He could use them to win a basketball game, or he could’ve had influenced Madoka’s fight. Yet, he acknowledges that showing off with his powers to Madoka is kind of a real life cheat code and he doesn’t want to use it. As he is reflecting alone in the gym and bouncing a ball, Kyousuke musters up atiny bit of his powers as a test and throws the ball to the other side, and the balls slips right through the net. What he doesn’t know is that Hikaru had sneaked into the gym’s storage room to smoke and saw him do the throw. She’s completely astonished; her opinion on Kyousuke on that moment changes from generic creeper to pretty awesome guy whose also pretty damn cute. In other words, she falls in love that instant.

Later on Kyousuke bumps in Hikaru while chasing his two new friends down the hall, and there she gives him thepetname Darling. Naturally Kyousuke gets in trouble for doing so (laying on girls in the middle of school’s hallway is rarely a good idea) and it is Madoka who gets him out from the teacher’s lounge after some tough talk of her own to the teachers. It looks like she is a sweet girl after all, and stays with him for some time in the school premise. However, Hikaru is a girl who really knows what she wants, and manages to appoint herself as Kyousuke’s girlfriend and acts all lovey-dovey towards her, much to Kyousuke’s own dismay and to certain extent, Madoka’s as well.

And so, our love triangle is ready.

The three friends; Kyousuke, Madoka and Hikaru
The three friends; Kyousuke, Madoka and Hikaru

The parallels with Kimi ga Nozomu Eien are clear at this point; we have a main character falling in love with someone, and not taking real steps toward bringing his feelings out. Ultimately, he ends up dating his interest’s friend.

I’m quite sure that âge has taken this love triangle setup from Kimagure Orange Road almost directly, but without realizing it. They’re fanboys after all, if all those references to games, mecha series and more in KGNE and Muv-Luv didn’t tip you off. It’s not the most uncommon setup ever used, but it saw a large spike in popularity in TV and comics after KOR had started. While KOR keeps the love triangle all the way to the end, KGNE does break it with Haruka’s accident. Of course, it returns when she wakes up.

The main characters of both series, Takayuki and Kyousuke, share very few common elements outside of being somewhat oblivious about their situation and what to do. Takayuki even more so, but then again very few teenage boys do during their first relationship. However, Madoka and Hayase do share a lot of similarities. Both of them act though while hiding something within, and in the end they both are very lovable girls who have fallen in love. While Hayase’s toughness is mostly playful, Madoka is a straight punk beater with her own reputation. She’s sort of a legendary ring leader. Perhaps we can compare that to Hayase’s swimming career to an extent. Nevertheless, there’s some visual similarities as well, like the long hair. In personality the two do put their best friend before themselves, which kinda is the reason things never go anywhere at first, but it takes two to tango. In love triangle it’s hard when the third one has nabbed your man. Madoka especially remembers her giving up on certain memento for Hikaru’s sake. This kind of mindset of It’s OK, I’m close enough to him this way kinda sucks, and I know it first hand.

The comparison between Haruka and Hikaru might seem weird to some, but ultimately they both have a similar starting point. Where Hikaru just falls into mad love within two days after meeting the Kyousuke, Haruka has clearly watched over Takayuki for some time through Hayase’s interaction with him. The two do what they need to do to get their man, and I’m afraid Haruka’s the bitchier of the two, as she clearly acknowledges Hayase’s and Takayuki’s feelings before stepping inbetween them. Hikaru has no idea of the feelings of Kyousuke and Madoka, but as the series continues she clearly realizes that Madoka is not only her best friend, but also her rival in love. The sad thing is, I’m sure she realized at one point that she has no chance to win over his heart. Nevertheless, the two have their sides switched, where Haruka mostly keeps her stronger side hidden while being all girly, and Hikaru does the opposite at first.

Hikaru, a hard bitch and a caring girlfriend
Hikaru, a hard bitch and a caring girlfriend

There’s also the sister character. While archetypical, Akane does wish to see Takayuki end up with her sister, and Kyousuke’s more motherly little sister would want to see him end up with Hikaru. True, we can argue if this comparison is valid as Akane is Haruka’s sister, but my counterargument would be that Takayuki always saw Akane as a little sister to himself and nothing more.

The side characters are more unique to both of the stories, but a comparison between the café Abcb Master and the Doctor Kouzuki Motoko can be drawn. Both of these characters stand in the sidelines watching the main character’s life and decision while giving drops of information here and there, and supporting the main character when needed. Both of them fill the same role, and I have to say that certain warm element comefrom both of them, as they can be stern when needed. They’re not really the archetypical big brother/sister character either, as they live separate from the main character and generally work around the mainframe of the setting while directly affecting it. Not really the most common big brother/sister trope out there.

Seriously, these artbooks have some gorgeous artwork
Seriously, these artbooks have some gorgeous artwork

Then there’s the sex. Kimagure Orange Road dances around this subject quite well without directlyaddressing it any more than you’d expect a romantic comedy to. However, the two films that create a third alternate ending address this matter more directly and with heavy emphasize on the meaning of it to lovers. Kimi ga Nozomu Eien gives a bit more raw image of it mostly because of the VN standards with sex, thou in KGNE’s case it’s clearly about connecting one to another on all levels to ensure closeness. The characters in KGNE are not the most balanced ones, whereas in KOR they have not gone through anything that would make them go all mental with alcohol. I got to give praise to Touru Furuya on his voice acting in the end of the second movie, where Kyousuke tearfully opens his whole soul to Madoka. It’s a beautiful scene, that I won’t forget in a long, long time.

All this fetches something from the back of my mind; is Kimi ga Nozomu Eien a classic? The answer would be no, it’s not. This is because of its VN roots, and while it did affect series that came after and coined the popular tsundere term, KGNE has not become a similar classic as Kimagure Orange Road. The animation is infamous within the hobbyists, and it divides opinions quite a lot. While the story itself is somewhat timeless and can be applied to almostevery era with slight changes, it will never be able to stand on the same ground as KOR. I hate to say, but VN is not really a good form to release high calibre stories, unless somebody manages to lift it into an actually legitimate storytelling form in the eyes of the general populace. It’s put there, but if it had been a comic or a TV-series first, then it would have become more known and more popular. Not by much, but enough to allow me to call it a classic.

Kimagure Orange Road is a must-see classic. Its influence over Kimi ga Nozomu Eien is wider than the few bullet points I’ve brought up, but this kind of similar points can be pinpointed in various other stories as well. KOR didn’t just influence elements of these romance comedies, but also their way to tell it and what to emphasize. Sadly, nowadays the genre’s pretty much dead, replaced by perverted comedies that have some love thrown into them. Mysterious Girlfriend X has influence of KOR written in it, but it as well dances in the sidelines of the new generation of fanservice comedies.KOR wasn’t a hit just with the core animation fan audience, but in the general Japanese public as well. It was like lighting, and it’s cancellation was partly due to the declining sales of the comics, and the upcoming economic crash Japan had in the change of 80’s to 90’s. Still, it got published few times around, and the cut ending got expanded later on in the collected versions.

Kimagure Orange Road’s TV-series and films were released in English in 2001 by now bankrupted ADV. Sadly, these DVDs are rather high prices nowadays and are not remastered. If you want to see the series, I recommend getting the Japanese remastered DVD. In Katsucon 18 it was announced that Kimagure Orange Road has been licensed for English translation by Hivelinx, thou only for digital distribution via NTT Solmare. To my knowledge various European countries like France and Spain have had their own releases, so you might want to do some digging.

Unlike most 80’s stuff, Kimagure Orange Road is a significant piece of influence. Simply by watching it you can notice the numerous allegories made towards it in other works, and how it pioneered a certain genre to a better direction, and also expanded the readership (and the market) by large amount, captivating readers’ and viewers’ hearts for years and years to come.

And you know what’s pretty awesome? The original artist for the comic was influences by none other than YouTube: Uncle Go himself.

Madoka_075

Happy Birthday Mazinger Z

Some forty years ago a man named Go Nagai was sitting in a car. He was stuck in the traffic, unable to move anywhere. There he imagined to have a giant robot to control and most likely to step and throw all those assholes to the side of the road. Well, he liked this idea quite a lot and decided to make a comic out this idea as well as use it as a proposal for a TV-series to Toei. They took the idea and the rest is cartoon history.

The comic itself served as an escape route to Uncle Go himself, as he intensely drew another small body of work known as YouTube: Devilman.

You might ask why this matters. Well, Mazinger Z has affected pretty much every robot series that came after it either directly or indirectly. Mazinger Z has all the archetypical super robot weapons; rocket punch, chest beam and eye beams. It created the old tested and tried story of a boy getting a giant robot from his relative and fighting against evil forces and more. Modern animation does continue making references to Mazinger Z, mainly in Japan, but sometimes few European works have a hidden Goldorak somewhere in there. Granted, that’s a bit of a stretch but let that slide for now.

Mazinger Z has a place in the history among as such works like AstroBoy (or Tetsuwan Atom if you want to be a prick) and I do hope that you’ll support the official English release next year from Discotek.

“This is a story of love and guilt; a story of friends Eternal”

This post was know as To step from eternity to the future prior to editing and slight reworking

This post is dedicated to one friend faraway in another land, to a friend who used to download everythinghe could get his hands on, to all friends I haven’t seen in ages, and to all those who have survived âge’s PTSD train. Thank you to all of you, and sorry for the grammar errors and all that.

When I started reading Muv-Luv a little less than a year ago, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Yes, I had previous experience with âge’s stories and yet it struck me like lighting. The story didn’t just speak to me, it changed something within me me on a fundamental level, just like their previous story. It was something unexpected, something inspiring that just rushed in, kissed me and said that she would never leave me. Well, that’s a way to describe a story.

But âge’s previous work, Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, was something completely different. I’m going to say something personal, and something with a strong basis here; Kimi ga Nozomu Eien is âge’s masterpiece so far. Has Muv-Luv become more popular? I… can’t really say. I haven’t been a part of the visual novel community at large on either side of the sea, so I can’t tell. Perhaps quick Googling would yield some results, but that’s unimportant now.

Yes, it’s time for a personal post once more, but in similar spirit as my most popular post in the blog. Actually, no. This isn’t a personal post even thou it might seem like it. This is story about a story which affected one person’s life to an extended degree. That person just happens to be me. This time I will discuss only a little about Muv-Luv, and more about KimiNozo. Just remember our agreement on Muv-Luv; whenever I’m mentioning of it, or making asome sort of reference to it, take a drink. You might be wasted by the end of this post.

I had immense difficulties with this post in general, as I tried to trim down the pictorial content and leave out as many Youtube links as possible. That, and I had horrible pains of conscience for spending a whole week working on one post that I know goes against majority of the posts in this blog. However, it’s something that I need to get off my chest. Still, you can see this post as a sort of review and overview, much like majority of Muv-Luv’s are. There’s just a personal story included. I’ve been meaning to make a sort of post about Kimi ga Nozomu Eien anyway, and now it’s finally time to blow the bank vaults open.

Let’s have some personal history out of the way. You can read how I met with KimiNozo from the Muv-Luv post, but I think that’s far too condensed. Let’s say that a person nicknamed Daironeri can be faulted forthis initially. He introduced the series to me, and told something along the lines of  Check the first two episodes, and then decide whether or not you want me to get more for you. Sure, I did check the first episode and I was rather impressed,to be honest. It was like I was watching, to quote another friend, some little girls’ princess shit. Yeah, the first episode can be called that, but I really can’t do it. This is partially because I know the story, but mostly because I’ve started to learn to see those little things that are left in, hinting something beneath the surface and foreshadowing elements that exist in the scene. Back in ’03 I was a child, I don’t deny it. I didn’t know what to look at. A year later I did, but I didn’t come back to KimiNozo for a reason, but I did visit it once, and then once more, until I finally managed to properly rewatch it last year after reading Muv-Luv.

The second episode of the animation adaptation ends where the first “chapter” of the Kimi ga Nozomu Eien visual novel ends; the story defining the turn that sends the main character into a spiral of a mental breakdown. I began to love these characters without noticing it, calling it a girlish story, a fairy tale for children. Because of this love towards these characters the second episode struck me hard.

At this moment I am sitting opposite to you, dear reader, and telling how I finally closed a matter that has haunted me for a long time, a matter that has been there in my head and calling me back.

I’m here, at this moment, to tell you how a man spends six years being afraid of his own emotions, and which story made him to into what he is today and how the same story has managed to change him yet again.

Dear reader, take a sip from your glass and let this old lonely man tell about the eternity he wished for. Allow me to tell you a story so you can experience it through me.

With Muv-Luv I’ve seen a lot of people telling that You will never experience Muv-Luv for the first time again and I wish I could reread it completely fresh again. They are all good hopes and ideas in a way, as Muv-Luv really is an unique piece with no real competition to match it. The again, Kimi ga Nozomu Eien wrestles in a completely different series. While I’d love to experience it completely anew, I’m afraid that it would be a completely different experience, as pretty much every major experience I’ve had, even in my personal life, can be traced to influences from KimiNozo. The experience I had with the series is completely and utterly unique. Especially with Muv-Luv; it would not have been as a strong experience without KimiNozo and what influence it had over me.

This point is important; Kimi ga Nozomu Eien did not make me, it did not transform me nor did it suddenly change me; I allowed it to influence me. I’m not even that easy to influence, thou I willfully give a different kind of image to some. I can’t call it a positive choice, but it wasn’t negative either. It was a choice of subconscious, as the series just spoke to me.

How KimiNozo exactly influenced me is an open question. Did it wake my suppressed emotions? Did it make me realize some sort of fragility of life? Did it tell me to value my friends and make choices before it was too late?

Honestly, I need a bit more time to answer questions, but perhaps I do not need answers in words. I have no doubt that you, my dear reader, can read between the lines I never typed in.

Eight years ago years ago I started reading the original Kimi ga Nozomu Eien visual novel on Dreamcast. It still sits on my shelf. I remember getting my hands on it, seeing the calendar and thinking that this is pretty sweet, I can finally see the original story.

Only some weeks prior… It’s history now, so I may as well tell you the whole story. I met my girlfriend of that time around those times as well, and after only a month or so I broke up with her after having a high fever for a week. On Friday she came to meet me, and I broke my wishes and reasons to her face to face. A month went by between us under rather harsh conditions, during which few weeks and I was running KimiNozo from my Dreamcast when she came to visit me as usual. She saw the VN, knew what it was and broke down into tears. She had misunderstood a song I had put up when I broke up with her, Precious Memories, and I felt horrible even when was just a silly misunderstanding.

After that day I never could put Kimi ga Nozomu Eien into my Dreamcast again. I never managed to finish the that particular version. I don’t think I never took the disc out of the jewel case after that.

I searched the PC version from the Internet some years later and ploughed it through, stopping mostly with the naughty bits, and for most important story bits. I gleamed it through once with thought, but I recall nothing of that time. Nothing. While I technically did finish the visual novel, I never thought I did. I remember nothing of it as I most likely blocked all the memories and all the emotions. I felt that this series, which was so important to me, had hurt the person I loved even when it had been nothing but a misunderstanding.

Some six months ago I noticed that there was this thing called Latest Edition of Kimi ga Nozomu Eien visual novel, mostly because a kind anonymous person on that image board of the fourth kind pointed out to me, as I had been trying to stay away from the VN. I got my hands on it mostly by pure luck (and some money). I held in my hands, feeling the guilt seeping back into my consciousness and I put the case on my shelf. During the next weeks I looked over the box many times, seeing the main heroines Haruka and Hayase there. It was somehow too much for me.

A month later I popped the disc in. When the opening video, the same as above started playing I quickly reacted to it by pressing Ctrl+F4. It was something new I wasn’t expecting. I didn’t really want to see it either. An hour later I booted the VN again, and managed to watch it all the way through, and broke down in tears on my keyboard. Ctrl+F4 was my friend at that time once more.

I remember staring at the Menu screen for a long time and listening to the gentle yet somehow ominous music.

Then I took the dive; I clicked to start the story once more and… I was amazed. Latest Edition adopted a lot from Muv-Luv Alternative in its system, refined the sprites and graphics, renewed them and generally made everything look more sleek, shinier and polished. It was a bit of a shock at first to be honest, seeing their mouths move as the characters spoke and the sprites move so dynamically. I still seem to regard Visual Novels as a rather static genre, thou they can be insanely dynamic as well, in a way Muv-Luv Alternative showed me. It’s a small wonder what rUGP can do. Now creating something like this is craftsmen’s work, not artists’.

And the characters there. It always begins and it always ends on That Hill. Seeing it all again like this was… I was there again, but at the same time for the first time. Not because of the upgraded system, but because I knew more about the language spoken, and because of many other reasons. I was there. Nostalgia had nothing to do with it.

That GODDAMN hill

When I heard Taira Shinji’s voice for the first time in a long, long time I chocked a bit. I have a lot of respect towards this fictional… OK, let’s make this clear; these characters might as well exist for me, in my mind. I have a lot of respect towards this man, who is the best friend of the main character of the story; Narumi Takayuki.

But I couldn’t take it a much more, when Hayase Mitsuki stepped into the scene with her carefree attitude and small banter she always makes with Takayuki. I gazed at her like I gaze at old friends after meeting them after long time, with greeted her with a smile. Then I just noticed that I could barely see. I was lucky I had a tissue box next to me, so I could take these weird salty drops away from my eyes. I wonder how this kind of water could get near my eyes, you don’t cry because of fictional characters, right? Your crush towards a fictional character can’t be rekindled with just one sentence from her, right? Yeah, sometimes it seems I take these things a bit too far, but remember; I’m a romanticist. Loving something fictional isn’t out of my books, but everything has to have it’s limits and extensions. But still, those blue eyes, that voice and that stature… it’s something that a man can drown into. Not to mention that her long, flowing hair is quite a sight as well, thou I prefer her… older self with that somewhat shorter hair.

There’s few things that Hayase’s younger self does in this first chapter that she drops. One of her most prevailing catchphrase is 三二一はい! as in Three Two One Go! whenever she’s asking something even slightly important from Takayuki or similar. The anime version downplays this way too much, basically using it once for the fans’ sake and then dropping it altogether. It’s pretty sad because it’s really endearing. I like it, and I’d love to steal it, but I just know people would think I’m some kind of freakish guy of I just go and start spouting moonlanguage in the middle if conversation.

Ah, the feeling that wallowed inside of me was like lemon with honey. The first chapter before the accident is nothing but sweet life at its best. Some would compare it as like watching a trainwreck or the like, but that’s inaccurate as hell. The more proper comparison would be that the first chapter is like watching four best friends spending their days without a worry, but seeing small hints from every character of their (ulterior)motives, of their true feelings and difficulties that were to be, but before anything could truly become a fruit it all suddenly ends with a tragic crash.

People should really start learning that few minutes might make all the difference in the world.

OK, let’s get you with the program anyway. The first chapter lays the groundwork on which the whole story stands on. We see the three people we’ve already met, Takayuki, Hayase and Shinji, spending grand time together and trying to survive the horrible twists that school may present. Hayase shows some hints of having certain emotion towards Takayuki, but still she and Shinji set up Takayuki with another girl; Suzumiya Haruka. She is the hardest character to read from the cast for certain reasons to which we will return later on. There’s a reason her Character Song is called YouTube: Nemuri Hime, the Sleeping Princess. Now that I think of it, there’s a lot elements in the storytelling, and in her character, which deliberately leaves out a lot of small but intricate details that are vital to her character. She is not only stronger than she looks, but also far more… how should I put it? Well, perhaps I can find the proper word when the time comes to discuss more about her.

So, the boy meets with the girl in a book store. The girl starts to look towards the boy. The normal stuff, right? Yeah, you could say that. During Takayuki’s and Haruka’s first meeting he just tries to help her to give her a book she couldn’t get from the top shelf. She just gets a bit scared, the book gets dropped and she runs. Takayuki’s left there standing and wondering just what the hell was with her. Well, not with those exact words, but still. Still, the good man he is, he doesn’t let it weight on him and pretty much forgets about the incident.

Some time later on the previously discussed set-up takes place during a festival. Hayase brings Haruka along and basically tags Takayuki to look after her. Takayuki remembers the small incident with her, but Haruka’s encouraged enough to come out of Hayase’s shadow.

That’s some bullshit right there Haruka. Sorry, this just… I think she did it intentionally, kind of. It’s not against her, it’s just how she is.

During the festival Takayuki and Haruka get separated from Hayase and Shinji. This has to be on purpose from Hayase’s part, and I can’t fault her choice. No, yes I can. Hayase is a bit stupid in her own way, but she really wishes the best for Haruka, and she really wishes her to become a proper item with Takayki. They’re all just bunch of kids anyway, and none of them have enough experience with these emotions and the way some things just go in life.

Wanting the best for your friend is a good thing indeed, one of the best things you can do. However, if you can’t think your own best when time demands so is stupid. If you can’t support yourself then, how are you going to support your friend in any situation when you falter in your own?

I should know the answer. Sometimes we just learn things far too late, and that we call experience. Some times we gain experience with heavy cost. Experience asks time, and there are situations where we have no time at all, or too much of it.

Still, Takayuki’s and Haruka’s “date” goes pretty well, even if Haruka is a bit afraid of the fireworks. Well, she has a reliable man at his side, so she takes cover behind him and clings to his shirt. I can hear some of you laughing at that. Takayuki, reliable? Don’t fuck with me Aalt, we know it ain’t so. to which I answer with a sip from my whiskey and answer; yes, the man is reliable and wait for you to see my determination. With your laughter silenced, I take another sip and tell you that yes, Takayuki might not seem reliable, but he is. You ask why and I answer you; because he is Takayuki.

The two finally meet with Hayase and Shinji, and the quartet walk to the YouTube: train station, where Shinji and Haruka say goodbye and take their leave towards home. Takayuki is left with Hayase, who inquires a bit on their time, but her getta seems to be malfunctioning a bit and she falls, but Takayuki manages to grab her. The two share a small, but somewhat intense and important moment, as Hayase gets flustered and quickly gets away from him. This is the second point in the story we see clear cut nudge to Hayase’s real feelings on the whole deal. It’s not really subtle, but I could see my younger self… no, I wasn’t that dense back then. And boy, was I dense.

Well, the next day comes and it’s raining like hell. No, not like that. Why do I mention this? There a scene that still shows Hayase’s feeling, but in a far more subtle way. Takayuki manages to lose his wallet, and Hayse loans her cellphone (cellphones in ’98? Hayase’s parents [at least mom] must’ve been stacked wit money), but it ends up being found by none else than mothercocking Homura Manami, the craziest bitch in the whole series who ends up being a nurse. Christ, I’ve never see anything worse than what Homura did to Takayuki on her route.

Dedicated to all brave men who have survived
Oh yeah, that… and that and that and that…

So OK, Homura isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen, but she’s the worst thing Takayuki can ever face. Oh, you want to know what she does? Well, imagine Takayuki in an insanely fragile state, in which she steps in, breaks him into even smaller pieces, shattering his psyche and rebuilding him to be her very own sex toy. And by rebuilding I do mean something along the lines of involuntary gender reassignment surgery followed by rape, both mental and physical. And that’s just wrong, man. Just… holy shit that’s just WRONG.

And this same bitch is the nurse who takes care of Takeru in Alternative after Marimo’s head gets eaten!

Ahem, let’s forget her for now. For all time if it was up to me, but I just know some of you will go and search down the CGs or the VN just to see how the hell she does that. Enjoy your NO JUST NO. AT least Latest Edition seems to have more happier ending between Takayuki and Homura but by God I’m not that desperate for complete CGs to wander her route. Yet.

Ok, let’s get back to the main story and not the sidetracks.

After the whole wallet fiasco Hayase shows something Sumika has in common with her; the ability to strike her man with force of thousand suns. Well, not really, but her Zero Range Snipe can be directly compared to Sumika’s Milky Drill Punch.

The discussion between Takayuki and Hayase afterwards shows further her feelings, but you wouldn’t really give it a much thought, as the subject doesn’t really give much leeway to that direction. That, or I’m just seeing every blush she makes as an indication. Good thing I don’t think a girl has a crush towards me when I get their faces red.

Well, fast forward a bit again. Takayuki for once is going early to school and meets with Hayase and Haruka on his way. Hayase has a proper reaction to it with What the hell are you doing here?! It’s pretty clear what they were talking about, and Hayase does really bad job at covering it. I love this kind of thing in KimiNozo’s first chapter. It’s well written and… serves a certain sinister agenda. In Muv-Luv EXTRA serves as a way to introduce the characters properly in a normal setting until it makes 90-degree turn. KimiNozo’s first chapter kinda does the same thing, but it doesn’t make a 90-degree turn; it takes the line, picks it off and throws it somewhere in the horizon. It doesn’t just introduce the characters and make us know them pretty damn well, but almost love them already. It represents none of the characters in negative light, but you are sure to pick up your favourite from the bunch.
The shit hits the fan a bit later.

Normal school day continues, and Takayuki bumps into Haruka, who’s carrying a load of cardboard boxes. At this point Takayuki offers his help (if the reader so chooses,) but the right (wrong?) options just lead to more Homura on the screen. Later on The Trio are signing at karaoke to spend some quality time between friends, until Hayase’s cellphone rings and she needs to out a bit. Shinji knows what’s going on, and only moments later Haruka enters the karaoke box. So, the Trio has been officially made into a Quartet. I know, I used the word before but that was with a small q.

Haruka sings when Takayuki’s out for a while, and when he enters her song starts to falter. Even her bangs jump in the air. She’s clearly pretty flustered and awkward with Takayuki but oh god does she like him. Well… More every time she spends with him.

On their way home by train, Haruka falters a bit due to the train’s movements and she bumps into Takayuki. The usual, but I can’t ignore that she looks pretty damn cute when she’s clumsy.

Hayase’s attempts to bump Takayuki more and more into Haruka’s direction seem to pay off, and ultimately Haruka wants to meet with him alone. So, Hayase tells him to go to that hill. Takayuki does as instructed, and meets Haruka there. She managed to say that she was one What follows is a somewhat awkward, but honest love confession.

ON THAT GODDAMN HILL

And Takayuki’s reaction to it as honest What? in his head, but he accepts her feelings.

And the following morning Hayase’s there to inquire about how things went. Her reaction is… less than excited. Perhaps worried could be called the right description, which it is, but as with most scenes with her and Takayuki alone something just shines through.

Cue for rather happy days with this dense bastard who doesn’t really know anything about dating a woman, especially with as timid as Haruka. Good thing Haruka has Hayse, who is constantly kicking Takayuki to a more appropriate direction for the two and making sure that the damn man really pays his attention to her. And then there’s Shinji, who doesn’t really kick him to any direction, but stands next to him like a good friend should. She doesn’t provoke anything, but makes the right questions to make Takayuki think his position as a boyfriend. Shinji’s character doesn’t really change during the story, but it grows and becomes more mature. He is perhaps the most mature character of the series next to Haruka’s parents, but even he can falter in a given situation. Shinji’s kind of man I wouldn’t mind hugging and calling him an awesome man, even he does few things that makes me want to punch him in the nuts. Between the two, Hayase is far more forceful for her own reasons, and for Haruka.

Well, things seem to go well with Haruka and Takayuki to a point, but because of Takayuki’s own denseness he is made to properly solidify his relationship with Haruka, and take her as his first priority in many things. (Christ, saying that makes feel rather bad) So, Takayuki takes her on that hill and makes a stance; they’re and item, and he needs to start treating her as his own precious girlfriend she is. They share their first kiss. Makes me a bit teary eyed every time, but that’s mostly because I know far too well what’s coming. So might you. Mostly because I already told you but that’s beside the point.

We’re introduced the fifth and last major player of the main group of the characters; Haruka’s little sister, Akane.

Akane’s pretty interesting character whose main drive for the first part of the story is to cheer on her more timid big sister and get them share a bed proper. She’s far more aggressive than Haruka, far more energetic and some of her stuff are just dirty as hell. Well, at this younger age she is basically Hayase 2.0 with the power of Duracel battery bunny. Akane even uses Hayase’s 321 Go! catchphrase as her own! She idolizes Hayase to an extent and pretty much continues Hayase’s original life dream later on. Still, the only one who can properly stand against her is Takayuki on his own weird way, and Haruka with her directness. Something that really never changes is that she always listens to Hayase and takes her word into consideration, even is she refuses to listen. She’s an interesting character who really would need an extravagant character to balancer her out. Someone really out there, someone who could just turn into a YouTube: knight to fight against an evil alien invasion. But that kind of character would need to be almost a parody, right? It’s not like âge’s just going to throw their characters into a giant robot and fight against alien invaders.

Oh, right…

Well, when we meet Akane we have a small arc of her, Hayase, Haruka and Takayuki at swimming pool. We don’t really get anything special out of it, except that Takayuki does value the sight of women in their bikinis and he manages to learn some pool safety rules as well.

I never liked meatpies before. I don’t really like the idea of having certain kind of meat inside a bread. On top I don’t have problems with, but inside? That’s just nasty, but that’s how I used to think. Meatpie’s Takayuki’s favourite of sorts, and Haruka offers him her very own handmade meatpie on a date. This arc is really nothing special, but it’s there further to show how the two fit together quite well even thou some things do exist to… I can’t say that it doesn’t matter, but I can say those things are there. They’re not explicit, but they are there, having an effect or two on all of our characters. Nevertheless, the two have a grand time.

However, the following part of the story has a bit larger part, and Akane’s playing the cupid of sorts in this one, basically dragging Takayuki to her family’s residence to make him meet with her. Well, this of course leads into a Haruka getting a bit flustered and she falls down the stairs on her little butt. Haruka soon introduced her room for him and here we truly see Haruka’s love for picture books. Sure, she was looking at a picture book exhibition ad earlier on, but here Haruka tells us her dream; to become a children’s picture book writer and artist. The way her words are conveyed by the voice actor is… it just tells us that this is something that she will be doing as soon as it is possible for her. It’s not just a dream, it’s… it’s something she feels that she is meant to do.

With this Haruka has opened up a bit more to Takayuki, and they share a soft, intimate kiss that is separated and interrupted by a certain little sister. Akane, I like you but goddamn your interest in other people’s sexual matters are not your concern, so stop interrupting Takayuki’s seduction of this fair maiden in front of him! Well, Haruka’s strong opinion of Akane-get-the-hell-out works well here. Haruka then escorts Takayuki out into the night outside her home, and they share a quick lover’s parting kiss, and Takayuki heads home.

These picture books that Haruka speak of are one of the motifs of the whole story. Kimi ga Nozomu Eien’s first chapter is indeed a almost a complete fairy tale when you first see or read it. Haruka’s favourite books is called Mayauru’s Gift. She doesn’t own the book yet, as it’s kinda rare. This might be a good chance Takayuki to score some points if he would manage to get his paws in the book.

Mayauru’s Gift was sold with the first Kimi ga Nozomu Eien DVD as a gift set in Japan in a rather limited fashion. You can deduce how much it all matters to me to own this book plus the first DVD

Mayauru’s Gift is a story that tells about a fairy who had lost all of her memories and lives alone in a forest. One day a girl to meet with Mayauru, and the two become friends. The next day the girl comes with friends, and they all played together. However, as Mayauru didn’t age like humans, the children gradually grew older and played less with Mayauru, until they finally forgot about her. The girl who first met with Mayauru was the last one to meet with her, but even she grew into adulthood and couldn’t play with the fairy any more. Nevertheless, she never forgot about Mayauru, she refused to forget about the fairy in the forest.

One day the girl went back to the forest. Mayauru was very happy, like nothing had changed and the girl went to meet with Mayauru every day. The grown up girl became very lonely because of this, but she couldn’t leave Mayauru alone. One day the girl burst into tears, and Mayauru smiled at her, and gave her a present as her gratitude towards her;

The words of farewell

The time the two had spent together was a good, but what if the time they would spend together would become sad? For these sad events, remember those words of farewell. The girl cried more and tried her best to laugh. Mayauru laughed with a bright smile and taught the girl the words of farewell.
Until this no one knew the words of farewell. With this word, the girl became the happiest person of all people.

“Let’s say farewell with a smile”

Mayuru’s Gift is close to Haruka’s heart, and in a way it is a mirror of her as of now. She is, without a doubt, a kind of fairy herself. Mayauru’s Gift is a kind of pillar which is hidden in the first chapter, but as the story continues the pillar becomes more and more visible, until another pillar shows itself. That we will leave for a a bit later.

There’s a small story arc in the VN, which further expands on the characters. As Haruka and Takayuki are dating a rumour starts spreading; Hayase’s seeing someone. When Takayuki decides to confront her on the subject she’s very evasive. Of course she is, she wouldn’t want to have him and Haruka worrying over her, but goddammit Takayuki, the nicest guy in the town, sees her at the town with a some weird looking ace and starts tailing them.


Well there’s a new type of character

Yeah, Hayase’s feeling a bit awkward with her, but the guy just keeps pushing on like a rocket. I kinda feel for the guy, as he is asking to know Hayase’s friends as well. He really seems like a cool guy, thou he might a bit out there at first, but I trust my instincts on this one. It’s either that, or this guy just ends up being an idiot and humps a damn chair during important situations. Well, Takayuki faces her about him indirectly after the guy has left. She naturally feels a bit offended by his concerns as his head should be filled with care for Haruka, not her. Still, she seems relieved that he is here, and I guess it can be said that without Takayuki’s kind stalking she might’ve done something stupid on the long run. Spending your lovetime with a person you don’t care for is unhealthy as hell, and I can testify this, my dear reader.

Akane’s cupid role is cute and all that, but it’s not really clear at all why she’s so out there to basically push the two lovers together so closely. She even goes to the point that she calls Takayuki to tell her that something bad is going on and there’s a need for him. Of course, the gullible idiot he is Takayuki takes runs like North wind to the Suzumiya residence and finds out that Akane tricked him there just to ask him to play with her as Haruka and parents are out shopping. However, this ultimately ends Takayuki meeting with the Parents Suzumiya and have a dinner with the whole family.

I’ve got to say that I love Dad Suzumiya’s moustache and his attitude towards things. His like a role model I never had, but goddamn if I manage to half as good father some day as he is, I can say that job well done. He is the kind of dad who sits down, talks pretty calmly and friendly with his daughter’s boyfriend whom of he just has heard stories from Akane. Well, mostly from Akane, I’m sure Hayase has said a word or two about Takayki. I’m not sure about Haruka, but it’s safe to say the Haruka has given her two cents as well. Dad Suzumiya takes it all well, sits down and smokes some pipe. Damn, pipes are awesome. I should abandon cigars and start smoking pipe very rarely.

Mom Suzumiya is more like your typical Japanese mother, or a good image of such. She’s what you’d expect from such archetype, and she does it well. There’s nothing much said about her at this point, but that she makes good food and looks a bit like Kagami Sumika.

Hot milf train coming through to choo choo
Just take a look at that dear lord that looks so HNNGGG

Dear God, what if Sumika grows up to be this kind of hot mother character later on? No, I mustn’t think so, both characters are saints in my head and nothing good comes out of that anyway. Well, at least Mom Suzumiya is, Sumika’s just far too close to me to properly to tell anything properly without resorting to dry (read; bad) humour and pulling my punches the wrong way.

Aalt, you’ve described these characters and events for five thousand words worth now and then some. Are we almost done yet? you ask. I order another bottle of the same drink you’re having and sip a little bit of mine and tell, that we’re almost done with the constitution that needs to padded down. So this is padding? No, this is what I initially regarded as just a minor part of the story, an introduction. No, this is a sort of introduction to the characters and to the situations that we need to discuss before we hit the big stuff. But it’s also important, so highly important. So I can take a break now? You might, you’re the one listening, but if you will allow me to tell you a bit more, then we’ll have that break.

On evening Takayuki finally faces Hayase while she’s training at the school’s pool. They end up speaking their minds to each other loud and clear beside the pool so long that the sunset eventually turns into night. I have to admit that how âge did the changing sky in here is subtle, until it’s almost dark. It’s eerie in a way, but it gives an impact that very few things can do. Hayase tries to run away by going to the lockers and changing her clothes, and makes Takayuki wait nearly twenty minutes. Then the two then walk to that hill behind the school with the tree.

This is kind of conversation only very close friends could go on, about love, life and friendship. They’re both a bit down, a bit distracted. Hayase tells that a lot boys have come up to her, but she’s turned them all down. With a smile and gentle voice she says she’s going to punch Takayuki because of his amazement that she’s that popular. The hair she has, the long swaying hair, is a kind of burden to her. Everybody tells her that it looks good, but for her it really is nothing but a burden. However, she refuses to cut it down for a reason; there was a person who once said that it looked good on her, and so she has kept her hair long just for this person, even thou this person has forgotten all about it. Even so, she’s still very happy to know, that this person said it. She then turns the table around, and asks what’s matter with him.

Takayuki’s problems aren’t that big, mostly concerning Haruka and his situation with her, the dinner and all that. Not really a problem, but the man needs to vent it to somebody, and Hayase is his closest friend next to Shinji, but it’s pretty clear that Hayse’s closer to Takayuki that Shinji. Well, Takayuki’s dense as always.

It’s kinda bad to see that Hayase speaks of this one guy, and Takayuki has no clue of whom she is talking about. Well, men need to do these always to grow a bit. But damn if women are not as dense when spoken similarly. Still, the two keep talking, and it turns more into the every day banter they’re having.

That is until Shinji comes with Haruka to the tree. Shinji’s pissed off, seeing Takayuki spending some night-time with Hayase under this tree, and then there’s the fact that Takayuki had a date with Haruka to which he never appeared. Shinji has a case on Takayuki’s ass, but Hayase steps in to say that it was her fault to cause this, but Haruka resorts countering that she was worried about her as well. And if Haruka isn’t mad, Shinji drops his case. Dammit man, stand on your ground more! What if you had forced everybody to say their feelings at that moment in all complete honesty at this moment? Bah, let’s not get to that. Still, the four stand under the hill, and take a picture to commemorate their friendship with no hatred in sight. They’re all happy, all so happy.

Takayuki walks Haruka home at that night, and Haruka asks Takayuki to make a vow between the two.

Like the stars that twinkle in the night sky

Hearts that have melted together will never come apart.

Even though these hands let go

As long as neither of us forget

Later, the two take date to the park, and Haruka has an incident with pigeons. After their rather successful date, they end up in the Suzumiya residence alone. They talk this and that, every day stuff, read a picture book, until Takayuki leans over her for a kiss that she too yearns for. It’s a passionate kiss, more intimate than what they’ve done before. It leads them to Haruka’s bed and Are you really going to describe me who the two have sex? Have you no dignity Aalt? No, no I’m not. The thing is that they both want to share their bodies with each other, dwell into each other’s emotions and open themselves on most physical level and connect to each other. They do manage to get their clothes off, but it never really goes anywhere else, as Haruka’s having doubts and some performance anxiety, Takayuki less so. There’s a tender moment in this scene he tells Haruka that they have all the time in the world, that there’s no reason to hurry.

Later on Akane confronts him and tells that his shirt smells bad. She just came from the pool where Hayase had been training her to become a swimmer like her due to Akane’s own request. Akane goes on small details, on how the lovers’ are having a date on the picture book exposition and how Takayuki has to look his best for Haruka there.

And then she just blabbers it out; Akane asks if her sister was a tasty one, she asks in which way he ate her sister, how many times and what orifice on her body he defiled with his manhood and how long it took. And yes, that directly. She goes all out on him. Takayuki evades this by acting completely and utterly ignorant on what she’s speaking of, and he does admit kissing but he doesn’t know what the hell Akane’s talking about. Her reaction to this is just pure adorable comedy, as she turn completely red with proper sound effects and distances herself from Takayuki, only to slap him multiple times. She gets completely pissed off and say that he better marry her sister, otherwise she’ll never forgive him. Their banter reminds me of Takayuki’s and Hayase’s banter, but in a more direct manner. Akane even goes as far as using Hayases 321Go! phrase to fetch an answer from him, to which he does answer honestly; he’ll make tomorrow’s date a good one. Akane also says something that Takayuki doesn’t really get, but the reader can read between the lines and see that her face is now blushing in a different manner now. She goes inside, leaving Takayuki to walk home. I’m sure she had read it all from some magazines she herself got her hands on. That, or from very late 90’s Internet.

I woke my neighbours that night and another knocked my window to ask if I was all right. I had laughed at this scene so loudly that even the dogs two stairs up had gotten restless, and this building is pretty well soundproofed for a 60’s Finnish building. It makes me feel more for Akane than previously. Do I feel more for her because I know what’s going to happen, or did I sincerely take her as she was now, at that moment? I’d love to think it’s the latter.


Now can I take the break?
One more part dear reader, just one more part.

It’s the fated day of picture book exhibition, and Takayuki meets with Shinji on that morning to give the picture from earlier. A bit later on the main man meets with Hayase and gives her piece of the picture, which gets less than warm response, but it was taken with the moment. You can’t expect the best picture of your life with throw shots. Still, that kind of pictures do capture the best of people. Posing for a picture is something that you do when you’re going to be in a picture that’s going to be official or the like. The best pictures always come when the objects are in their natural state. I never understood why people want to pose completely fake in pictures, even thou it might have memories beneath. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I do understand memento pictures, but making them fake on purpose just doesn’t sit well with me.

Well, the next thing Takayuki hears from Hayase that she’s going home, as she had turned the man she was loosely dating. Well, it’s also Hayase’s birthday, so she’s got to have plans, right? She does seem a bit down at one point, but soon drags Takayuki to buy her a small present. Because dammit, if your best friend has a birthday, a date with your woman shouldn’t stop you from buying something from the nearby stand. Well, Takayuki’s a man enough to stand his side on the business and won’t purchase anything that’s far too expensive. Hayase slips “perhaps a ring isn’t a good idea after all…” and is calling the whole deal off. Damnit Hayase, stop being so blushed about the idea. I think Takayuki had the same idea, and buys her a ring just as she’s about the leave. Instead of 1500yen ring he selects a 4000yenYouTube: silver ring in which the rings are interlocked together.

As of this writing I have made a proof of concept, and skill, of this ring from steel. I can make. I will make it.

After this Hayse promptly asks Takeru if he is getting for his date. And the man just jumps and realizes that of he doesn’t hurry he is going to be late. Just before he takes off like a Nato missile, Hayse gives her parting words

Thank you for the present… I’ll cherish it, always.

And so the man runs for his train. On his way Takayuki curses that he’s late and Haruka’s gonna be mad at him. Well, he just needs to apologize properly and make this the best date ever. After all, he wouldn’t want to face Akane’s wrath as well.

At this point of the Visual Novel I can feel my tension rising, my blood pressure getting a bit higher. Stress creeps in and I notice my breath getting heavier, louder. It could be compared to the similar tense feelings that I had just before Muv-Luv Alternative’s fights started. This however was a tension to make me ready for action.

As Takeru steps out from the train, he notices that a lot of people are flocking to certain direction. An accident had taken place, so the station is a bit more chaotic than normal. Takayuki doesn’t really concern himself with it and concentrates on finding Haruka. He hears people talking to each other about how bad it looks. A car had hit somebody, and that can’t really end well. But something catches his eye, something that makes him wish that the person in that accident is all right. People can’t really see who was in that accident, until someone says that it was a girl, that she looks dead.

Takayuki’s heart beats. Haruka’s nowhere to be seen, and he panics a little bit. He pushes through the crowd, calling for Haruka. The ambulance takes off. It’s my heart that now beats louder than the one from the speakers. As Haruka’s nowhere to be seen, she must’ve gone home already. He was too late it seems. Then he hears a policeman radioing information.



Aalt, surely you expected this from the start? I mean, this is kind of apparent from the get go, right? Especially after you told me this in the beginning.
Dear reader, it’s time for that break now. I need a new tissue box anyway.

Go on, take that break. I’ll be here when you get back.

I never expected it. The series makes no indication on what would occur, and I expected it to be just another slice of life romance series. It’s not unheard of to have very low key series series that doesn’t tell anything special, and I was really expecting nothing more. To be completely honest, I expected far less from the story. I followed the first episodes with innocence only a child could have. I’m afraid Kimi ga Nozomu Eien has a lot of to do with me analysing TV-shows and movies even before they have properly began. I don’t really like it. It takes so much away from their existence if the first thing I do is rip them apart on structural level.

I’ve shared my first experience with Muv-Luv a few times over with friends, but I’ve never told you whole real deal. Back in early 00’s I used to watch any series Daironeri burned for me on CD discs. It was a sort of ritual for us at the time. Of course, it cost me shitloads of money to buy new CDs, so it didn’t last that long, even with RW discs. I used to watch these discs and whatever was on them on my dad’s laptop computer, which served as his work computer as well. At the time the security systems weren’t that good on work laptops, so I could install pretty much whatever I wanted. I don’t remember the date or anything like that, but it was already dark outside during evenings, so it must’ve been autumn or winter at this point.

And there I was, sitting on my bed in a room meant for two, and watching KimiNozo with headphones borrowed from my brother. At that evening my brother was out as usual, and my dad was drinking at local bar, as usual. Not the nicest way to spend an evening /night alone, but it had to do. I rewatched the first episode, and then jumped into the second episode. It was the story and the characters that caught me, and never loosened their grip. And the ending of the second episode just echoed in my head. At that exact moment, when the title screen hits the screen I noticed something weird; there was tears. It shook me, as I never before had cried because of something fictional. Hell, the only times I had cried before was when I was a little kid and had hurt myself. I loved my grandfather, and I didn’t cry at his funeral. But this… this just struck somewhere deep within my psyche.

I remember sitting on that bed after the end scene for a long time. I just couldn’t get that bloody bow out of my head. I just stared. I was woken from my state when my intoxicated dad came home. He never checked if I was sleeping or not, so he just fell asleep in the kitchen in a sitting position. I remember this because I shut the lights and left a note on his shirt to remember to eat a bit before going to bed.

When I got back to my room, the laptop’s screen was still showing the same scene. I rewatched the scene again and again. I listened to the song, trying to understand what it said without the subtitles. I slept lousy that night. I couldn’t get it from my head and I couldn’t understand why.

Aalt, are you really crying because of bunch of fictional characters?
Yes. I can cry for fiction, but it seems that I can’t cry for real people for reason or other, not until lately. You can’t blame Daironeri either, as I was the one who made the call for more. Perhaps it drew something deep within from me, something long ignored. I’d like to think so, even thou the reality may be something different and far less romantic.

With the Latest Edition version of the VN I kind of new what was going to happen. After all, I had seen the series and started the Dreamcast port. It’s almost ten years later and I still wasn’t ready for it. Kind of. There’s so much more what the VN has what the animation doesn’t, thou the animation does some things far better in audiovisual department.

It was hard, but I enjoyed the first chapter insanely. And then I took almost half a year break, because I couldn’t make myself read it any further. Just after this, there’s a scene of nothing but rain from the sky and Takayuki’s own inner monologue. That, and a woman’s moaning faintly resonates with the falling rain drops. I saved my progress there, and couldn’t look at it.

Many times I tried to boot up the visual novel. The disc just sat there inside my drive, waiting for me. Whenever I booted it I skipped the introduction video, but always froze in the Menu screen, unable to continue. Sometimes I even managed to open the Save Load screen. I still ended up pressing Ctrl+F4, or close the window.

I’ve got no excuses outside “I couldn’t force myself.” I knew roundabout events that would going to take place, I knew there would be differences and a lot of things from the original VN. I knew it would a roller coaster of emotions on more than on level, that it would break me down. Still, every single time I booted the VN I had gathered a bit more courage to face whatever emotions might come against me. I think that I was more afraid of myself in the end, rather than the story itself.

I finished the visual novel a week ago. I’ve told you hows and whys I kept going on even thou it didn’t seem like my kind of story. Dear reader, please hang on a bit longer with me during this evening and pour yourself another glass. We have yet to discuss how it all ends, but before that we must go through the rest of the story (hopefully not a painstakingly detailed this time) and introduce few new characters that do not perhaps serve a great purpose in the grand scheme of things at first, but I think you’ll see things a bit differently after this.

So, is this another long story?
I’d say we’re about the halfway through now.

Let’s rewind few weeks back, somewhere around August 20th I said ‘fuck it’ and continued reading. I was expecting soul crushing scenes from the get go, but what I got was daily banter in a family restaurant.

Think of the silver ring for a moment. I have referenced it earlier and pretty much everywhere. Those who know, and have been able to read between the lines know that I have one dream that I’m not backing from; to make that silver ring, and give it to someone I love. That ring is the reason I’m in design at this very moment. I wanted to learn to make silver rings, so I could make that same ring by my own hands. I wanted to cut the silver, bend it, hammer it, solder the seams and polish it by these very two hands. I wonder if it was that moment when the decision was made in my unconscious or not. Shit, I’ve made handful of silver rings, but I’ve yet to make the one ring I want, as I have no trust in my own skills to pull it off.

I’m going to try to make it this year. I need to make it at least once for practise. I need to have it in my hands, as my own creation. It’s still an open matter to me.

So, it all bogs down on something you had not experienced before, and to a one silver ring?
Seems like it, doesn’t it? Your call is just as valid as mine, I guess.

Let’s get on with the program. I still need to introduce few side characters. While they’re just side characters, they do offer a lot of importance to the story from the sidelines, as they’re the ones giving Takayuki what we could call a normal daily life at one point.

It’s three years since the accident. Haruka has been in coma ever since. Takayuki didn’t really take it well, and suffers of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and blames himself on the accident. During these three years he has been standing next to suicide and he would’ve most likely killed himself if it wasn’t for Mitsuki.

The first scene we start here is with a view of Takeru’s unchanged room, and Mitsuki’s voice, and there we see her, laying next him, talking with a soft voice. She’s grown, her hair is shorter and… well, she speaks of moving somewhere else, as ‘this place is a bit far away.’ The ring is on her hand, as ever.

In the morning she has fixed some breakfast, and then Takayuki takes off to his work; the family restaurant Sky Temple. It’s a bit different day from all others, as they’re getting a new manager. Still, he tries to creep in to the work, as the man seems to be late once more. Still, he bumps to his co-worker, Daikuuji Ayu.

So yeah, this girl divides opinions like Moses divides the Red Sea. Ayu, by all means, is the first character to be called tsundere as âge pretty coined the term. She acts cold, aggressive and looks Takayuki by her nose. It’s not evident from the start, but Ayu’s from a high-status family. She shows her affection towards Takayuki few times over, but never directly. She is able to speak very, very politely to whomever she chooses so, which is the manager and her family.

I find it Visual Novel version of Ayu far more attractive than her animation counterpart, as she’s a bit more reserved and less of a loudmouth, plus she has mannerism that I haven’t really seen anywhere else. She has her own way of speaking which is somewhat between very polite and offensively arrogant, and still a combination of both. She’s a unique character, and lot of characters sharing her archetype just blow everything into stratosphere how much of an insane bitch they are. Sure, the animation Ayu does that a bit, but the VN is much more reserved in a very good way.

Still, she has a love/hate friendship with Takayuki. They fight, they bicker, sometimes the help each other without the other noticing and play tricks at each other. It’s just their nature. In other kind of situation they could’ve been more.

Well, the manager is introduced after this. While not really the largest side character to grace the story, the manager is still important in a sense that he plays role of Takayuki’s own reflection and anchor in few moments where the man needs some reality banged into him with direct and careful words. The manager isn’t a father character, but he is someone who can help Takayuki to realize points in situation where he really can’t talk to anyone else. For example, a discussion about perverts kind of confuses the manager, but Takayuki has to come to his level and explain things. Afterwards, the manager asks that the discussion is left between them, as it’s a bit embarrassing. I wish I had this level of reservation sometimes. There’s just something in this man that you just have to admire.

Nevertheless, he tells that another waiter will be joining their ranks, and he wishes them both to show her the ways of Skytemple.

After long good day of work Takayuki goes home and we witness rather infamous shower scene, that was referenced in the animation version as well. They spend the evening together, with and without clothes, until Mitsuki has to go. Cue for next day and the last major supporting character that has a route.

There we have them; the whole staff of Skytemple.
Mayu is a soft spoken klutz, who does mean well but always bumbles down and breaks plates and gets dizzy because there’s some blood spouting from her finger. In comparison with Ayu, who is more like friendly rival or badmouthing sister, Mayu is like that little sister you always have to take care of even if she was supposed to manage something by herself.

Well, she’s a bit bland person in the VN, as she speaks v e r y s l o w l y at times. Her animation counterpart is far more energetic, even if she’s more like Ayu’s sidekick there. Here she has her own show going on next to her. Takayuki mostly treats her as his co-worker, but in more softer way than she does with Ayu. As such, Mayu offers a nice balance with her more reserved and innocent nature than Ayu, who knows a thing or two about men that Mayu doesn’t.

These three know Takayuki as he is now, not from the first chapter. At least Ayu has been there for some time, knowing him and seen him grow a little bit. Ayu must’ve been his first friend he made after the accident and all that came after it, and I always got the feeling that Ayu pissed Takayuki on purpose give him more boost in everything he needed next to Mitsuki. Hate or love Ayu, she’s rather important background figure (unless you decide to aim for her, but we’re not doing that.) They’re the counterbalance for all that Takayuki will go through, and they’re the ones that give him a helping hand when his feeling down at work… in their own way.

Well, Mitsuki visits the restaurant in the middle of the day, and Takayuki’s a bit hesitant to waiter her first, until she puts on her disappointed face. He makes her order a sandwich. You can make your own joke here about that. They talk this and that and banter a little bit. Mitsuki has changed and not just by appearance. She’s not as flamboyant and forthcoming, thou her words still carry certain high amounts of weight in meaning.

I just have to love VN Ayu’s siren like quotes, like she was playing as the police car siren but with words. Here she goes on Kanojo~ Kanojo~ Kanojo~ for girlfriend. Then Mayu asks whose girlfriend and the situation just explodes in Takayuki’s face in a small manner. Chichikuri~ Chichikuri~

Well, the man gets her woman the sandwich she ordered, and basically she says that Takayuki needs to eat today as she can’t be there making him his dinner tonight, and then Mitsuki’s off. Mayu creeps beneath Takayuki to mention that he has a gentle girlfriend.

Sigh.

And that Mayu’s a bit jealous of him. Ayu steps in with a frown, repeating Chichikere pretty breathless. Has she been repeating that all this time? Well, seems like she doesn’t mind it all, but really she just seems to be on his level now. Perhaps for the better.

When Takayuki gets home, he sees that there’s two messages left to his phone. One is from Shinji, who asks for him and Mitsuki to join for a drink. The second message is from Father Suzumiya, who tells that Haruka has woken up. He flashes to the day of the accident, momentarily freezing in time.

I’ll break how the VN tells the story at this point. We know that Mitsuki and Takayuki have been… well, you could call that they are dating, but it has never really been said aloud, not before one point and even then it’s left to the reader to decide whether or not it’s said out loud. During these three years he has gone through very harsh times with his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and there’s strong hints that there were multiple points where he was ready to kill himself. He has managed to get a life that resembles normal on the outside, but he still lapses. His relationship with Mitsuki is clearly the one that has kept him from stepping over the edge, as he hasn’t really been in contact with Shinji either. In all regards, he is pretty well prior to the message.

What sets him off here is that he most likely couldn’t give any proper through to Haruka any more. Takayuki blames himself on that fact, and he visited her bedside every day, setting next to her bed, talking to her and crying. One day he stopped visiting. The reason to this is because Father Suzumiya stood stern on his ground and told him not to visit his daughter any more, as he was damaging himself both mentally and physically by the guilt. However, this wasn’t just because he saw Takayuki’s slow ruination, but because he too put some blame on him in his anger. What parent wouldn’t? Same can be said of Mother Suzumiya, who didn’t directly agree or disagree but saw it as a good thing as well. As such, it can’t be blamed on Takayuki that he wasn’t by her side. In the end, he also had his own life to live. If he had stopped to that time for all eternity, what would have come of him?

Shit. I think I just got why the story is called Eternity You Desire. Well that didn’t took long, just eight years.

So, Takayuki has been robbed his life meaning to an extend. You can see what’s his first solution to an empty life is. However, for him there was Mitsuki. Perhaps it was because Haruka wasn’t there any more, perhaps it was because Takayuki needed someone, or perhaps it was that Mitsuki saw all of his misery and loved him too much to see him destroy himself. There’s no clear line anywhere between those, as it was just how the situation was. For Takayuki Mitsuki was ready to give on her dream to become an Olympic level swimmer and quit school to take care of him. In the end, they grew closer to each other on every level and ended up having a relationship. Whether or not it was healthy is a bit moot point, as it clearly wasn’t. Healthy or not, it’s thanks to Mitsuki that Takayuki has been able to live. She made him food and made him eat, and even dragged him out. It wasn’t just love or dedication, not mere friendship. She had to deal with her own feelings towards him, and with her guilt. She blames herself on Haruka’s accident as well, as she was the one who wanted Takayuki to buy her that ring. However, she never came forth with her guilt to anyone except to one later on. Mitsuki had told herself at one point that she had to take care of Takayuki for Haruka’s sake, but this reasoning is also behind her insecurity.

Mitsuki’s insecurity towards Takayuki is because of Haruka and the stand-still situation they live in. While they all lived their life onwards despite Haruka’s coma, only Shinji really advanced in his life. Mitsuki might lose him any moment now with Haruka’s awakening, and has a need to connect with Takayuki physically to keep him close, and to reassure herself that he indeed loves and wants her. I have no doubts that Takayuki only used Mitsuki at first, but at some point after becoming much more healthier, his member got inserted with love rather than lust. As said, their relationship isn’t what you’d call healthy. Still, if Haruka hadn’t been there, these two would’ve started dating with each other, at least I believe so. They both show feelings towards each other prior Haruka asks Mitsuki to introduce her. Without Haruka, they both can be more honest to their feelings, even if it’s in this somewhat twisted way. That does not mean that Takayuki didn’t love Haruka, but rather that Mitsuki never was really in his grasp before as neither of them stepped over the line of friendship towards romance. However, Haruka was brave enough to do so.

Takayuki as a person is one who never had a real reason to live, he just went day by day without thinking things too much. He did things on his own way, had fun with his friends and did as people expected of his to an extent. With Haruka he slowly had a reason to actually start to live and do more than he already had. A dreamless guy who gets confessed by a lovely girl; a fairy tale come true for him. He had a base on his life to stand on, perhaps a proper structure he ever had next to school and all that. With the accident, everything fell apart. During those three years he most likely rebuild his basis back together; he starts stitches himself back together piece by piece because there’s someone there. Ultimately, he begins to learn how to live for himself once more, and not for the Sleeping Princess or for the Silver Ring. Still, he has questions to answer and choices to make to truly rise from the stagnation he still voluntarily lives in.

“Your place is the same as three years ago”

Takayuki is a gentle person, a kind person. He does things out if good nature without thinking it any further. Both Haruka and Mitsuki fell into this side, and one things that never goes away from his character is this kindness. He had his first choice when Haruka confessed her love to him; he chose to accept her feeling mostly out of kindness. He stopped to buy Mitsuki’s present because he felt that it was the right thing to do, as it is in his nature. He never made the hard choice over Haruka or Mitsuki, because it would’ve gone against his nature. If the accident never had took place, would he had been able to live with Haruka to the fullest extent? I believe he had, and Kimi ga Nozomu Eien Special Fandisc agrees with me.

Takayuki’s just too kind for his own good. He has spine, he has will, he does right things for the right reasons. Never doubt that. Much like with Muv-Luv it’s very easy to say I wouldn’t be that wimpy in that situation, but in reality I think a lot of us would be. Same with Takayuki; if we were in the same situation, we’d do think in another manner, but never necessarily any better. His personality wasn’t equipped to handle what happened. Then again, when was the last time you managed to be completely stern and make rational decision when your most precious person has been in a life threatening situation?

Now, let’s visit the hospital where Haruka eagerly waits for Takayuki. The first person he meets there is a green haired nurse NO HOMURA GO AWAY NOBODY WANTS YOU JUST LEAVE ME ALONE GODDAMMIT.
Luckily, Kouzuki Motoko steps in and takes the lead. Takayuki’s clearly not in best of shapes, and we need somebody who understands people’s hearts and minds.

SERIOUSLY HOMURA NOBODY WANTS YOUR FORCED SEX CHANGE + RAPE OFFER

Thankfully, Motoko seems to know how insane Homura is and drives her away. Unlike her younger sister, she treats people like human beings rather than something to experiment with. She shows loving care for everybody, even if its with tough words. She’s the last person we meet who give her support to Takayuki, and the one who tells him straight how the matters are and how his actions are to influence others. She’s the voice of reason when there is none. Her presence  is highly appreciated. It doesn’t really matter whether or not her attitude towards people is just because of her occupation. It feels that Motoko truly cares about people she meets.

Dammit, when she works with her sister, things got to get completely insane. The things they could together. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Motoko’s BETA-verse counterpart was the one responsible on Haruka’s artificial legs, or majority of 00-Unit’s body.

Motoko inquires if Takayuki heard of Haruka from Father Suzumiya, and he tells her that he got contacted yesterday. She condemns his haste with the matter. She notes that he then now have a different face. Mentioning past seems to make him lapse back a bit, but he holds together well.

Motoko asks about what he does now, and he answers, until she asks him about the new girlfriend. This causes him to lash out a bit, asking her to stop, and wondering if she knows about Mitsuki. It’s a hint that they’re not really on public on their relationship, but it must be hard to keep such thing a secret. Takayuki is loved by many, and there are numerous people who know him. Rumours do start from the smallest thing, and this isn’t really a small situation they’re having. Things have changed since three years ago. Nothing stands still in time. Still, Motoko has to calm him down a bit as they walk towards Haruka’s room.

There’s no reason that she woke now. It’s nothing short of miravle. Three months or three years, it makes no matter. However, for Haruka, there has been no three years. For her it’s like a yesterday when the accident happened, and these three years have been nothing but a dream.

Takayuki’s allowed to meet with Haruka mostly because she herself has asked so, but also because Takayuki can be the key for her well being, and encourage her to get better faster. As it is now, Haruka can’t walk, and her body is rather fragile. For example, she tires herself quite fast, and has other problems as well. That’s why Motoko asks Takayuki to protect her from time, to act like he was three years ago. This is a lot to ask, and Motoko knows it. To ask Takayuki to return as he was may not be the best choice for him, but at the moment her highest priority is Haruka.

Comatose patients lose their conscious of time rather often, so as such this is not a rare case. Losing that time is not the problem at hand, rather her fragile state. Physically, too large of a shock might bring her system down to a point of death. There are other points as well; Haruka has lost memories of herself, and others as well in detail. For example, she does not remember how her hair was before the accident, thus she accepts her own physical self as it was back then. During these three years she has grown as well, but it’s a question if her mind can accept this body she has now? From her fingertips to her hair, to her voice and her whole body, nothing is the same any more. Time does not wait, not even those who sleep.

With these things in mind, they step inside the Haruka’s room to meet familiar faces; Father and Mother Suzumiya, and Akane. They’re all grown with visible changes. Akane the most, and her smiling serene face soon takes turn to a more shocked and despising, as they all slide away.

And there she sits, on top of the bed.

And he flashes back to all those times with her, ever since the festival. Without words his tears begin to fall down, as he himself. Father Suzumiya retreats from the room, taking Mother and Akane with him.

Neither of them can speak, but they both cry. The only words he can bring forth from his throat is I’m sorry. He finally can let it out to her, all of his regrets and tears he couldn’t give before. With this Haruka manages to say, that it was her fault, because she couldn’t make it to the promised date. She asks her to come closer, and he does. They’re close to each other again. He doesn’t really believe that’s she all right, and even Motoko resorts asking whether or not she’s feeling well. Nevertheless, Haruka convinces both of them that she’s feeling fine.

And then Haruka asks why Takayuki is here. Motoko intervenes and tells that he has to go now, to which Haruka seems to be displeased a bit. She would like to be with him a bit more. In a way, she’s acting like a little kid, to which Motoko treats her like. Perhaps against his will, Motoko removes Takayuki from the room with words he has to go home now and they step out.

Anyone would be confused and angered. Takayuki seems to be both, but more there’s more than just those. Parents Suzumiya were waiting for them. Father greets Takayuki with a bow, as does his wife. Father admits, that he didn’t think that Takayuki would grant his wish and visit the hospital after what the two had asked him before. Mother asks how her daughter was, and Motoko allows Takayuki to describe what had taken place. Things are as they are; this is the start.

Mother Suzumiya steps a bit forth, and with motherly worry she asks Takayuki to visit Haruka again. Father quickly responds to this, but she continues begging of him; now that she has finally opened her eyes after all this time, not knowing anything. Here is where Father gets second of the three points of respect from me; he acknowledges that it has been three years, that Takayuki has his own life to live now. Even after his wife tear up, he can only give his regrets, but Mother asks whether or not this sits right with Takayuki; that it’s OK to him to leave things as they are in his memories. Father sternly asks her wife stop, which she does. They both know in which position they are, unable to make such bold request to a boy they drove away not just from their family, but from his loved one as well to a world where nothing mattered.

Takayuki thinks. Can he act like he was back then? Motoko will allow him to visit her, if he can do so. She wishes him to think this not as her boyfriend, but as an individual person.

There are two options given to the reader and to Takayuki. We will choose to see her, because here Father will ask whether or not Takayuki will be able to think more himself at this point. Takayuki says that he can. Three years ago before this man stood a boy, crushed by his own guilt who barely ate enough to live. Now, this man looks into the eyes of a person who has overcome those times, and who wants not to falter back the way he once was. With those words, Father Suzumiya once more gives part of his daughters care into Takayuki’s hands.

As Motoko walks Takayuki out, she inquires of his friends, of Mitsuki and Shinji. Motoko would like them to visit Haruka as well, as it may yield yet another change, perhaps for the better. As walks out, Takayuki confronts Akane.

It’s been a long time between these two as well, and Akane’s less than ecstatic to meet him. With a sharp tongue she directly tells him that Good for you for having fun life my sister slept, Mr. Narumi. It has been long time. With a smile Akane insults both him and Mitsuki, and won’t forgive is the two appear the way they are now in front of her sister. With steady and low pace she brings forth the worst kind of guilty trip on him. Takayuki clearly seems to think that Akane didn’t know about Mitsuki, to which she imply resorts that whole town knows about them. Akane is not just angry, she’s also despising him and makes her best to have Takayuki feel even worse. Takayuki mostly stands there, letting her lash out words that she must’ve bottled inside for a long time now. Of course you come here to see my sister because she needs you.

“But you, Narumi, don’t need my sister any more, is that right?”

This makes Takayuki answer with thoughtless word, which only makes her lash out more on him, and requests of him never to talk to her that friendly, unless in front of her sister. With yet another request to think what he can do for Haruka, Akane leaves with tears.

Akane seems to know more than most other people. After the accident she must’ve searched high and low for him after Takayuki stopped seeing Haruka. It’s most likely that her parents never told that it was their decision to stop him coming to the hospital. Akane’s world must’ve collapsed bit by bit without Haruka and Mitsuki, and then she finds out that Mitsuki has abandoned her everything just to take Haruka’s place next to Takayuki. In the animation Akane walks on them while they’re in bed. It’s a good scene and serves its purpose for the story quite well, but here Akane only hears people talk, sees the consequences of Mitsuki’s choices, but never really sees what hell Takayuki had to go through. She feels nothing but contempt towards person whose words were filled nothing but empty promises, and shed crocodile tears. In her eyes, they both are traitors and back stabbers of worse kind. Akane can barely see how things are from anywhere else but from her own point of view, and out of all characters she is the one who is most stuck and obsessed with returning with the way things were. For her it was too much, and she still lives Mitsuki’s shadow so to speak. Before she truly can find herself, and her own way in life, she’s always be second to Mitsuki, and to her sister. While her fate in this story is the most saddest, she does not go through the worst. That place is for Mitsuki.

Just before Takayuki is leaving she bumps in holy shit Homura why the hell are you following me like this? Did I make wrong choices in the first chapter this time because goddammit if I did. Well, Homura asks Takayuki to cheer up, and perhaps he does. Well done Homura, you made his day a bit better. You’re still my Life’s End Boss.

At home Takayuki calls to Skytemple. Ayu answers with her usual flavour, but soon changes to a more low level voice. She gives the phone to the manager, who inquires of Takayuki’s current situation a bit, and he answers to it bit absent minded. They rearrange his works schedule a bit, and the manager changes back to Ayu. She tells him to go step on cat shit. Then he calls Shinji, who complains that if the man has a phone, then the man should call! His a bit silent, until Shinji asks if something has happened, and he drops the bomb on him as well. They’ll go together to meet her next day, but he can’t answer whether or not he’ll tell to Mitsuki. Shinji mentions, that he sees courage in Takayuki, and that he shouldn’t rely too much on him; otherwise Mitsuki’ll get mad. Like a real friend, he recommends Takayuki to think things through.

So he does, again and again, until his doorbell rings. It’s Mitsuki. She was coming to his place to see his face, but on the way her reason changed; Shinji had called her about Haruka. She’s naturally a bit mad, as Takayuki seemed to have little intentions of calling her, but he also feels a bit offended by her at the moment. Her reasons were worry and care, and they both lay low in front of each other, until Mitsuki breaks the atmosphere and begins to talk about good smelling yakitori at the local Super Tama De. She just mentions some market, so it just might Super Tama De. She bought bunch of them, thinking that Takayuki might want to eat some. With that, Takayuki drives his suggestion to drink through her, even thou tomorrow’s a work day (hell, if you don’t have a flask of whiskey with you, how the hell you do think you’ll manage those design workdays?)

With Takayuki almost plastered, Mitsuki gets Takayuki to sleep in the bed. In the twilight between dream and awake, he flashes to Haruka and call her. Mitsuki takes him, and tells him to look at her, and only her. With a kiss, the two spend the night intimately. Party due to Takayuki’s drunkness, partly due to Mitsuki’s own faltering confidence.

This is the setting we have now. Sounds like shit might get real any time they meet. So it does, my dear reader. Every time these people meet, one of them ends up involuntarily hurting somebody. Things can’t stay stable for a long time like that. You can guess that there will be dark feelings thrown around, and that only few will come out with clean slate to continue with. Haruka’s situation is pretty bad, but is seems that she’s got the short end of the stick. I wouldn’t say so. They all got the short end of the stick. We’ll need to skip a lot of details from now on, because none of those have high significance where the story leads us. I want to describe and discuss those that matter the most. To quote KimiNozo’s Special fandisc’s MuvNozo, Takayuki has to “choose in the name of true love.” Bartender, bring another bottle of Hibiki! We need another break.

So, the reunited friends are going to go to see Haruka the following day. Takayuki has a little bit of problems to wake up due to slight hangover, but Mitsuki pulls him up nevertheless. Before meeting with Haruka they need to visit the doctor HomuragetoutIdon’twanttoseeyou. Kouzuki remembers both Mitsuki and Shinji, even thou they really don’t, and mentions that they all have changed during these three years. Especially Mitsuki, who has become more beautiful as the time has moved, and her hair. It might be a problem, but on the other hand it just might be a blessing in disguise. Nevertheless, next to Takayuki Mitsuki is the person Haruka has been wanting to see the most. After this small meeting, they go to meet with Haruka.

Akane’s there, and her her greeting towards the doc is stopped in the middle as she notices the three of them. Her face flashes through slew of emotions, until she takes her evasive stand once more. Haruka notices Takayuki first, until the other two visitors step behind him to greet her. Haruka’s a little bot more than surprised.

Mitsuki breaks the ice and silence that had fell upon them, until Haruka realizes, or rather remembers, who they are. Shinji gives Haruka the flower they have brought, to which Akane puts her best fake smile on. Akane does things well, and reacts as she meets Shinji for the first time. Shinji slips a bit by telling that they have met once before, but of course she wouldn’t remember it. Still, they manage to pull everything through by introducing themselves. Haruka seems to enjoy all this. After this Akane takes off, perhaps because she just doesn’t want to be there, next to the person she despises the most.

Haruka asks them all shit down, and she asks with a puzzled expression if Mitsuki has cut her hair. With a quick reply she tells that she had it cut yesterday and inquires if it looks good. Haruka just asks why she did it. Mitsuki resorts to a white lie about upcoming tournament, but Haruka presses in with a stern face if she had cut it already during the festival. Takayuki steps in here before Haruka asks something to which none of them could answer. However, Haruka won’t let go, and asks in what grade they are, to which Takayuki answers promptly and accurately 3rd year students. Haruka seems to remember that she and Mitsuki were in different classes. Akane comes back with better attitude and wider smile.

Takayuki is lost in his thoughts, and thinks how everything’s just strange. Haruka clearly has some memories, an almost complete schema of Mitsuki, and of times and places. Shinji awakes him, just as Haruka shows signs of tiredness. Indeed, they must have discussed matters at least for an hour now. Haruka again complains about them going, but Shinji and Mitsuki do say that they’ll come visit soon again. Just as they are leaving, Takayuki asks Akane with them, which makes her lose her stance and guard, and even her voice reverts to normal.

Outside Akane waits no empty moments. She inquires what is that Takayuki wanted of her. The moment he manages to ask what was that in Haruka’s room with her, Akane begins to lash out about him and Mitsuki. She even asks Mitsuki to stop calling her by her first name the second Mitsuki opens her mouth. Before Takayuki manages to step in and actually show some damn spine, Mitsuki stops him. But still continues, and Mitsuki resorts asking her permission on seeing Haruka. She says without hesitation a direct no, but she can’t stop it as Mitsuki is her sisters friend, but asks her to do it when she’s not around. Mitsuki basically drags Takayuki out before he can go ballistic on her sorry ass. Akane, I do like you, but goddammit you’re a childish bitch a this moment. Yes; you feel anger and betrayed, and that you have no other way to vent it out, but…. I can’ tell her to grow up, as she’s just a child, just as they all were three years ago, much like I was in her age.

On the train Takayuki is deep in his thoughts, until Shinji tells that he is right and Akane’s wrong. They discuss the matter, and at their stop they all split up. Takayuki ends up in work.

In a way, things go like this for the time being. Takayuki juggles between going to work and seeing Haruka at the hospital, and the rest of the time is divided between Mitsuki and whatever he feels like doing. In a way, his work is the least stressing time he spends in his everyday life at the moment. What about the time he spends with Hayase? Mitsuki’s an extremely good question, to which we’ll come a bit later on. How late? You’re over 15k words in already. Eh, not too late. We’re getting to the speedzone now.

One day Takayuki is alone with Haruka in the hospital room, as Akane basically kicked herself out to buy them ice-cream. Haruka, with shy expression, asks for a kiss.

Well, nothing in the work really goes well as Mayu breaks Wait, did he kiss her? Does it matter? YES. Ok, it’s a choice question to or not to. However, you have to ask yourself whether or not Takayuki will still grasp on those feelings he had three years ago that are resurfacing, or will he keep his sight on the future just Father Suzumiya had requested. This is important, as during this time, and the third chapter, Takayuki will constantly have flashbacks to the day of the accident at the hospital. It’s up to you as a reader to decide on it, but you may also decide it on the character of Takayuki. Throughout the story thus far Takayuki has shown spine and will to continue onwards. He does waver, as he does in the animation, but the question is does he waver enough, and to what direction.

There’s a time when Haruka asks him to recite the vow they had made. Will he remember, or will he not? It’s once again up to the reader, but this time I’m certain that he would, albeit with slight difficulties. For him it has been three years, but even I with my infamously bad memory can cite certain words I’ve told to the most important person I’ve had. If I can remember those words, he can remember the vow.

I have to mention one night Takayuki and Mitsuki go out and drink. She gets pretty plastered, and I can’t fault her… much. Mitsuki asks him into a love hotel, and as they kiss Takayuki has a flash of Haruka, but this time it’s him who presses on, and they spend the night with embracing each other. The following morning Mitsuki decides to visit Haruka after all, as she believes that she’ll be fine if Takayuki’s there. I believe that this here is the first time Mitsuki has said anything like that; she’ll be fine as long as he is there. If he wouldn’t be, what would come of her?

Haruka’s sleeping when they are at the hospital, but the two have a discussion with Mother Suzumiya, who still regards Mitsuki as her daughter’s best friend, and mentor for the younger one. Mother asks her to walk more with her face up, and in all essence, to be more happy.

This sort of juggling with visiting Haruka, going to work and doing whatever Takayuki wishes during evenings finally take their toll; she asks how long is he going to continue with this charade? How long will he spend time with her? Will he play the role of Haruka’s boyfriend for all time it takes her to properly recover? That alone can be anywhere between one to ten years, and even more. Their argument over Haruka’s condition and Takayuki’s position in it soon leads to a question of whom he thinks of these days. For Mitsuki he is her greatest concern, and nowadays the man’s face is more and more tired every day. He convinces that whatever he is doing is temporary. And she agrees to watch over him. Mitsuki is allowing him to act to his own accordance, even if she’s the one getting hurt because of it.

Some time later, Takayuki buys Haruka a present called Mayauru’s Gift. He spends one evening looking for it, and by Haruka’s side they read it together. He still remembers the first time they met at the bookstore, as Haruka was eyeing the very same book, but couldn’t never reach to it but wanting it so badly, like a fruit in a tree just out of reach. It’s late, after visiting hours, and doc Kouzuki catches them red handed. She understands his worry over Haruka, but firmly places him where needs to be; this is a hospital, and hospital is no place for fooling around.

The very same evening Mitsuki has been waiting for him. Takayuki couldn’t leave the book to Haruka yet (most likely because it was re-printed after the accident) and Mitsuki notices it. She remembers that the day of the accident he had this same book with him, and she still remembers his smiling face. She remembers it, because that one copy got destroyed, and realizes that Takayuki had to go and buy a new one.

Takayuki’s kind, but thoughtless. No, not thoughtless, but lost. He doesn’t know what’s the right thing to do, or how to do those right things. To this Mitsuki quotes Father Suzumiya and Takayuki’s promise to live his life for himself. She just wants to know if she exists in those thoughts of his life… and why he can’t get mad at him, even thou she has hurt him many times this evening. Is she so worthless in his eyes now?

Why did you go to see Haruka?
is her question. Why he went there? There’s no answer, but she knows how he feels.

Mitsuki will go home, until he can give her the answer.

With this, Mitsuki has given the choice of two he had to make one day; her or Haruka. He can always choose to run away, but even then misery would follow him, either by just one night stand, by losing a loved one or losing himself for one bastard nurse.

What if he had made the choice three years ago? Good question. At then there was just three friends, and later one lover. Mitsuki never was an option, she never made herself as one, even is she wanted. These two shared a common feeling towards each other, but never confronted each other.

She could’ve said few simple but hard words to achieve a different future. The same goes for Takayuki. However there was Haruka.

Mitsuki tells Takayuki to call her when he can give him the answer, and closes the door.

On the following day Takayuki finds feverish Akane sitting on the bench outside the hospital, and basically drags her out and escorts her safely to the Suzumiya residence. She wanted to see Haruka, but honestly Akane, your sister might die because of a shock. Do you WANT to give her weak system a goddamn fever bug? Takayuki leaves before Mother Suzumiya can properly thank him or change words. Perhaps it was for the best not to meet with Haruka on that day, as he got more time to think while getting Akane home. Still, he goes to meet Haruka the next day, and she’s a bit miffed that they couldn’t read more of the book.

Last night she had a dream, that she had been sleeping here for ever and that Takayuki came next to her, crying. Day after day he had came and cried, and whatever he said and told to her went to deaf ears; she didn’t wake up. She too in her sleep was crying, but no tears would ever come out. Her hands would not rise, not her mouth would allow a word to be spoken. One day, he stopped coming, never to return. Because of this dream, she’s really happy to see him. If he had not come, there’s no telling what she’d thought or done.

Haruka asks where she has changed.

Her face, her body and these hands of her, where has she changed? Takayuki dances around the question, but Haruka presses the matter. She questions if her hand really is her own, and once more asks; has she changed? With each small realization that something has changed, Haruka cries, and nobody can give her answer, not directly. Takayuki assures Haruka, that nothing is wrong, that her hand is her very own hand, that her body belongs to no one else and never has but to her.

As Takayuki steps out, Father Suzumiya is there. Here, he gets the last part of my respect; while he hears her daughter’s distress through the door, he does not back from their promise, but further asks Takayuki to stay true to himself; whatever he would do will never bring back these cruel three years Haruka has already lost. Takayuki has already lived a life without her, and he still continues to do so.

And for him, to Takayuki alone, that is a victory over many hardships.

Father Suzumiya deeply appreciates Takayuki for cherishing her, but at this moment which feelings and emotions have given risen to it? He wishes nothing more than Takayuki ponder this question not just for his own sake, but for their all. For him, Takayuki is nothing short of family. He will now say anything, as long as Takayuki stays true to himself, and through that to everybody else around him.

Damnit Father, you’re an awesome man.

Takayuki steps inside Haruka’s room for a moment, where doc Kouzuki is checking on her. With a gentle voice, Haruka requests to see the one picture they took on that hill. She wonders what had happened to it. With stronger voice she maker her case heard, until she stops… to ask that if it really is Takayuki standing there. Kouzuki kicks him out soon enough as Haruka’s having a seizure. The two nurses rush in…. as does the green haired one.

Takayuki waits, and loses sense of time, until doc Kouzuki startles him. For now Haruka is sleeping soundly. She asks if he has the picture with him, and if he is going to be carrying it in the future as well. With this, the doc recommends him to go home and settle down a bit.

That evening Takayuki sees Mitsuki in a pinch, as she’s been drinking with her coworkers, and her boss it totally drunk and feeling up on her. The man he is, he just hits her boss and snatchers her away. They run a bit further away.

For some reason Takayuki’s not feeling quite right, and Mitsuki notices this. His face is red, as the man’s having pretty bad fever. Mitsuki’s reaction is as expected; a bit angered, but more worried. He must’ve caught it from Akane. Mitsuki basically drags his sorry ass to home, makes him change clothes and get into bed. She goes out to get some medicine and food, during which Takayuki is able to reflect matters, before he falls into sleep. He wakes up as Mitsuki sits by his side, and offers some food and strong medicine.

For today, Mitsuki’s going to be next to him. The only thing he can say is a lousy apology, to which she just replies with her worried face, and asks him to not think of bad thoughts. With her gentle voice, Mitsuki lulls miserable Takayuki into sleep.

In the mornig he wakes up still sick. He feels a warm hand holding his. She never went away, she stayed by his side the whole night. Now that he is awake, Mitsuki offers some medicine and call to Skytemple. Soon, he falls into sleep again, but Mitsuki never leaves his sides, except when she goes out buying necessities because Takayuki asks her.

Takayuki takes this chance and goes out to see Haruka in the hospital. Doc and Akane are there. Akane seems genuinely smiling this time, as if she had resolved something. Somebody must have done something good for her. He gives Haruka rose he picked up on his way, but doc Kouzuki soon sees that our main man isn’t feeling quite right at the moment. Mitsuki’s voice is soon heard from the door, and with stern voice she asks what the hell is he doing?

Well, aren’t we all?
Yes dear reader, we are. I can’t really get over this small arc for two reasons; it signs the end of chapter two, and that I hate my decisions and thoughts when I’m in a fever. How so? Once I came to a conclusion which I still kind of hate myself for. But I already told you about that as the reason why I never finished Dreamcast KimiNozo.

Mitsuki shows more stern concern and genuine pissed-off attitude and even cuts Akane’s words in a one swift sentence. The man’s having 39°C fever, which sends everybody into a spiral of visible concern. In the first case he could die. I should know, I regularly have 41°C fever if I ever have one. At this point Mitsuki is slipping, but manages to tell it all in a simple but covered words; if you care of her, take care of yourself first.

Mitsuki tells him to give the rose to Haruka. Then it’s go time. As he gives the rose, he calls Hayase as Mitsuki. Haruka notices this straight, as does everybody else, and the picture slips out of his pocket.

The picture has date for 2001. Three years after the accident.

After looking at the picture for a moment, Haruka asks who are these people in her room. She goes into a fit, asking what has happened to everyone, what’s going on, and what the hell is 2001? She pushes Takayuki away and finally realizes it all and finally asks what time it is. Doc Kouzuki’s words do not really help on panicked Haruka, and Takayuki comes out straight, telling her that she has been in coma for three years. In a way, this calms her down, and she asks whether or not Mitsuki and Takayuki are… together I suppose.

And then he collpases straight down. This here starts the ‘third chapter.’

During his fever sleep he remembers the first time Haruka came to visit his house, and found his badly hidden men’s magazine. As always, it’s just for research. Not just only that, but also to a time when he and Mitsuki were friends, before Haruka was in the picture. In this memory Takayuki remembers Mitsuki asking of him if he would like to have a girlfriend, to which he asks if she would like to have a boyfriend.

Takayuki wakes up in the hospital. He hears Mitsuki and doc Kouzuki speaking outside his room, and the doc requests Mitsuki not to mention what has happened to Haruka, as the shock might be too much for him. Mitsuki steps into his room, and the first question after asking how long he has slept is about Haruka, to which Mitsuki is a bit more than reluctant to answer, and he won’t get any answers out of her. His only option seems to be to get up and see Haruka by himself, even if Mitsuki asks him to drop the matter for the time with a gentle voice.

Takayuki finds an empty bed in Haruka’s room. Even the loli nurse acts completely oblivious, or as oblivious as her nature allows her to. She’s saved from Takayuki’s clutches when her co-worker calls for her. Doc Kouzuki manages to find him, and makes an exception; she’ll allow Takayuki to see Haruka, but only after preparing him with antiseptics and all other preparations. Haruka has slipped back into coma. She evens his burden with kind words, but also agrees that she is not perhaps completely guilt free either, as it was her idea to begin with to allow Haruka to live in a lie.

That’s one motif in the story, sort of. People tell lies to protect their loved ones, and ultimately they tend to hurt the most. Then there’s simple part of not telling certain things at all, even thou these small thing might mean a world for someone else. Because of these two there’s also responsibility of your actions, and Takayuki has evaded that most of the time, even if Mitsuki has confronted him on this.

But now, Kouzuki once more kicks Takayuki home, and tells that the only thing that could help Haruka is a miracle. His deeds, or anyone else’s, will not be enough. After the doc leaves, Mitsuki approaches him only to be target of his frustration. Realizing that he is being an immense asshat at the moment, he apologises. The two go together as far as the train station, and Takayuki goes home alone. He begins to shatter once more in the empty room with nothing but drink. In his sleep, he goes back to the past again.

Takayuki remembers how there were rumours if him and Mitsuki dating, which they deny, but in their words there’s something that tells a different story. Mitsuki manages to slip away, and Takayuki later finds her on that hill. The young bastards they both are, Mitsuki puts up a deal that they both try to find a companion for the other. If I were Takayuki in that situation, regardless of my age, I would have asked “Would you like to be my girlfriend?” Dammit Mitsuki, why couldn’t you just say it then?

The following day Takayuki goes to the hospital to see Haruka’s empty room, and meets with Akane. Akane seems to be a bit relieved and having found new faith in him, but the more important part is this.

In the animation there is a similar scene which plays after Mitsuki has broken down and lost all of hope to be with Takayuki again. It’s well played and shows the worst situation she could find herself. No, there’s worse situation she could be in, but let’s not got to those. In the animation Shinji has taken advantage of drunk Mitsuki and has taken her to a love hotel. He seems to be regretting it afterwards, and we see completely shattered Mitsuki trying to fix her high heel in nigh catatonic state, until she begins to cry. Later on, he drags Takayuki out from Skytemple, and basically beats his PTSDing ass with crying eyes yelling at him that for Mitsuki there can be no one else; it has to be him. With this, he realizes something that has always been there.

In the VN things are not as explosive. Shinji meets Takayuki in front of a market (might as well Super Tama De again.) Shinji is worried, and sees straight through him. He tells Takayuki directly that he can’t do anything to change things as they are. With a worried face he asks of Takayuki not to return to the way he was. No, with a voice of man to another, he tells not to slip back the way he was. Shinji knows that Takayuki has the strength to stand on his own two feet now, and tells that he needs to think Mitsuki as well; he needs to hold her closer to himself than he has before. For now, Shinji will only watch, and say no word, but if Takayuki will hit the limit he will step in. With this, the two go to their separate ways, and Takayuki has a lot to think again.

In the morning doc Kouzuki calls him. It’s about Haruka’s condition. She has opened he eyes again, and it seems that she has returned to a more normal condition, remembering more than she did before. Haruka wishes to see him. With the doc’s helping word, he decides to meet with her, even though it’s not just her emotions that must be in shambles, but his as well.

Wait wait wait, why would his feelings be in shambles?
Takayuki has given responsibility to major decisions. First, he needs to decide what is best for him alone. Second, this decision will affect both Haruka and Mitsuki regardless of anything else. And thirdly… he has to think of Mitsuki as well. And yet, he feels that Haruka needs him, that it is his duty to be there for her and support her the best he can. As such, it’s not just his emotion are not the only thing that’s in shambles, but his very self as well as he is ripped apart by guilt, responsibility and love, not to mention his ever looming PTSD that wishes to drag him back to the ditch he barely managed to climb out and live almost a normal life.

When he arrives at the hospital, doc Kouzuki takes him to her room. Haruka is sleeping, but wakes up as he gets closer. She recognizes him, but with a sad face which is soon coloured by tears. She can’t really believe that it has been three years already, but she recognizes that Takayuki has grown into a man. She remembers her dream of him crying next to her, but in a way for her it’s a relief that he has stayed true to himself. She acknowledges that Akane has changed a lot. Still, for her the day of the accident is like yesterday. She inquires more on what has taken place during those years, what have her friends been doing and they’ve lived. Naturally she’s surprised to hear that Mitsuki quit swimming. She make a note on Takayuki calling Mitsuki by her first name.

Haruka knows that emotions and feelings have changed during that time.

Akane steps in, and to be honest, she’s the most honest she’s ever been now that moment, even though she excuses herself soon to get doc Kouzuki. She makes her usual checkup on Haruka with a gentle smile (thou she might want to discard the cigarette there) and notes how Takayuki really hasn’t changed at all and still walks around with the same face when he is around Haruka. Still, Takayuki has to go, and he departs from melancholic Haruka.

The next time Takayuki visits Haruka, they talk about those three years. How he quit school and is working. Haruka has been thinking of why Takayuki still is here, as those three years must’ve seen a lot of change, but he is still here like nothing had happened. She meant nothing bad with those words, but it’s a point made. Things have moved on, but he hasn’t.

Next time he goes to meet with Haruka, Mitsuki is there. Haruka wishes to speak with the two alone. Somehow, Haruka is less than excited to see her visitors. She wishes to know something to which only these two can answer… or rather only the other can answer.

You two are… dating, right?

I broke down at this question. Even thou Haruka says that there’s nothing wrong in it, that it’s something she herself has noticed, that she just wants to confirm it, it hurts. Personally, it hurts to answer, because I know what it does. Lies have hurt people enough, and it’s finally time to choose. Whatever has happened during these three years does not make them any less friends, she proclaims to Takayuki and Mitsuki.

For her honesty one can only answer with honesty, but also for Mitsuki. It might not been the most healthy relationship the world has known, but there is no denying it. The answer is left up to the reader, but truly there’s only one option. Regardless how the animation portrayed Takayuki, he still almost a different person now. For him alone, returning is not an option. He has an unknown future. There’s a person who truly needs him for a while longer, and there’s a person who will need him for the rest of her life.

With honesty, Takayuki simply says Yeah, we are.

It’s a shock to Mitsuki. For a moment Haruka is speechless, but with a smile she responds that it can’t be helped, it has been three years after all. She puts her best face on, wondering why they kept it as a secret and we’re acting like nothing was between them, but she saw through both of them. Especially Mitsuki, who is lousy at lying overall. In her way, Haruka gives Takayuki to Mitsuki’s care, bit in exchange she wants to be friends once more, with all four of them. She’s honest; she thinks that it might be impossible, but she still believes the four of them can be friends once more. To this Takayuki once more shows his spine and basically tells Haruka that nobody cares what she has thought would be impossible, because the four of them will always be friends. With this, Haruka is assured, and that she wishes to see them all. With air filled with mixed feelings, Mitsuki and Takayuki leave saddened Haruka, promising to come see her again.

 

We’re always be friends, right?

Yes…

Outside the hospital Mitsuki breaks down.

For the first time during her time with Takayuki he has said this. For him it was not a matter of anything else but say how things are, and to stay true to his own self just as he had promised. Perhaps for the first time in a long time he has been honest to himself, but this is just a first step. A large one, but still just the first one.

But for Mitsuki that one sentence is nothing short of absolute relief, a thing she has looked after and wished to hear for all this time she has spend with him. She falls to embrace him, and they stand there, in the night.
At the station, Mitsuki is going home, even thou now she wants to be with Takayuki. Her chest is bursting with happiness, but she has a lot to do. She’s high in the clouds, still thanking him for those words. Still, she manages to a grip of herself and she just might burst open with happiness if she was to be too much with him, kinda.Still, there’s a looming dark cloud in their words; she asks him to go see Haruka, as he has thus far and then leaves.

That night he sees a dream from his past, one of those days when he buys Mitsuki a pair of mugs. Those play much more important part in the animation, and the way they were handled there was really well done, as they reminded the two of their bond, and the first day Takayuki managed to be dragged out from his near-death slumber.

Next time Takayuki meets with Haruka is with Shinji, and they both reminisce how well Takayuki and Mitsuki went together. Haruka also tells Takayuki that she has gotten a lot better, so he needn’t to worry so much about her any more. He has more important matters with Mitsuki, and she wishes him to spend more time with her, the time he spends when he visits seeing her. Haruka also has a request for Shinji; she wishes him to watch over Takayuki, because he tends to be too kind. Takayuki’s getting a bit nervous at this, and the Two Nurses step in, as well as Akane. It’s time for rehab baby! No, that just sounds wrong…
From this day on, Haruka will begin to try and walk. It’s not just Mitsuki and Takayuki who are doing their best, but Haruka as well. This is a good place for the guys to leave. Outside the two have a discussion on Haruka, and about seeing her, in an uplifted spirit. Everything seems to be going all right, but Takayuki seems to be lost still. With Shinji’s friendly words of Takayuki’s own courage to walk the path he has chosen (has he?) Shinji can give it all.

At that evening Shinji brings Mitsuki to Takayki’s place and at least a bagful of alcohol. I’ve seen enough alcohol bags here to know where this is going. No doubt it’ll end up someone dancing on the table without a shirt while one of them is hurling over the balcony’s railing. That, or they all end up smoking cigars and talking about Laserdiscs and how good plots the 70’s porn movies had.

Well, not really. There’s a small awkward moment with Takayuki and Mitsuki, but on that evening it’s Takayuki’s turn to let it all out. Still, they all spend rather nice evening, and the loosen a bit.

But Takayuki’s still torn apart. Even when he has faced something that he has kept bottled inside, Haruka invades her mind. There are people who need him, but one of them needs him less and less every day…

Well a good day work at Skytemple should clear his mind, but he still goes to see Haruka afterwards. WHY? Good question my dear reader, and the only thing that really brings him back is the memories and feelings he had; he isn’t on the clear yet, and hasn’t done the most important decision he has to make.
Still, Haruka seems to be bit down when she sees him, but soon she finds her smile when they begin to discuss how the world has changed, what the outside world beyond these hospital windows look like nowadays. Haruka also wishes to hear more about him as he is now, and the days he has lived without her next him. The two also speak of Akane, how she must’ve gone through hard times, and not just because of her world being lost due to Takayuki’s and Mitsuki’s relationship.

One rainy night Takayuki goes alone to see Haruka. After changing few words with doc Kouzuki, he arrives at her slightly open door and hears her silent wailing. With anger Haruka tells her legs to move time after time, cursing the time she has lost; she can’t be happy the way she is now. What has she done to deserve this? The way she is, she can’t be beside him.

Even if Takayuki tries to be silent, Haruka notices a presence, asking if someone’s there. Whether or not the reader wants to stay unnoticed or not, Takayuki enters the room. For a moment the two speak of Haruka’s rehab, but ultimately she asks whether or not Takayuki’s properly playing attention to Mitsuki, if he has called her, taken her to date and all that. Haruka’s worried about Mitsuki, not just because of the rain, but also because of her work. Takayuki’s awkward mumbling (that someone could call an answer) Haruka hurries him to worry about Mitsuki more; during days like these it would be better if he didn’t come and would stay next to Mitsuki. Even if he protests that he is here because the man’s just worried about his friend, Haruka tells him that the face he makes is not the face of a worried friend. She’s truly glad that he comes to visit her, but for his own good, it would be better if he wouldn’t come again. If he were to come to see her, Haruka asks him to come with Mitsuki. With this, he leaves.

What makes Haruka say these things? Alone she’s angered, feels betrayed and yet pushes the one man away who would wish there for her. So, does she not love Takayuki? No, she loves him far too much, and it’s evident that he does love him, but is his love an obligation he feels to have? After all, Haruka is pushing him away for his own good. No, there’s another reason as well. The man doesn’t realize it yet, but he has made his choice already, but he can’t act on it. He never has been able, but soon after he will.

That night Mitsuki comes to see Takayuki, mostly because she was worried about him. Seems like he had drank a bit more than usual, as in a lot more. She can’t help it, through rain, wind and ice she’ll come to see him if she feels worried. Even thou he has come clean to Haruka, he is still having awkward time with Mitsuki, but she puts on her best. Perhaps this “silence” between them triggers Mitsuki’s wish to reassure herself once more with him. On that night, she breaks into tears next him, but won’t tell the reason. She just thanks him. It’s like she has distanced herself from Takayuki a bit. His words back in the hospital seems to have closed something, but with this he has also opened a path he never thought of; What if Mitsuki would be willingly let him to be beside Haruka, and disappear? But why would she do that? Guilt and friendship are a company of two, sort of.

The next time Takayuki visits Haruka, she is in the middle of rehab training. Akane’s there with doc Kouzuki, and they follow Haruka’s steps from afar.

She falls down only to get up. Her instructor, a strict lady person, tells her to rise and walk if she has time to sit down. She does again, and again. It’s just been two days, but it’s sort of miracle that she can stand this well already. Just as Takayuki is to enter the room proper, doc Kouzuki stop him and asks what is his intentions. With stern voice she tells him to get out if he is to offer a helping hand; Haruka won’t be able to walk by herself, if there is someone holding her. Her place is not in this hospital for all time, nor in wheelchair. She can do it as long as she has the drive, as long as she finds a need to take one step at a time. This moment for her is the most cruel, and not because of the rehab; she has lost all the good times, all the bad times, and she can’t run after the lost time. Haruka’s only wish is catch that lost time, and denies herself the possibility to lose any more precious time. If she was to lose, it would end everything.

Haruka’s strong. With each taken step, her body as well as her mind becomes stronger, until she finally walks under her very own strength.

Before she enters the room, the doc tells few selected words to Takayuki; what Haruka needs now is the cruel truth, not reality coloured by lies. She is strong enough to face whatever this world is to throw at her, even if she looks alone, frightened and fragile.


You’re all young and all of your lives are just starting.”

Kouzuki hopes, that no person in this world would be alone, that there would always be a person beside one other. With these words, she enters the room, leaving Takayuki to stand there. He reflects all that Haruka has said in these past days for him, all that has taken place. And then, his thoughts turn to Mitsuki. He has made his decision. Akane has stood there for moment midst his silence, and finally asks what has he been thinking. With a newfound resolution he tells Akane that he’ll go now, leaving Akane there.

The next day Shinji comes to see Takayuki at the Skytemple as he has something to discuss with him. Takayuki seems to have drink quite a bit the other night if even Shinji comes to see him this late. I mean, nobody ever asks about my hangover two/three days after getting boozed up (thou that’s very rare event anyway.) Just as Shinji’s allowing him to decide on his small order, Akane steps in the restaurant. Goddammit, Skytemple was his last escape from the whole deal, and now it’s been finally brought in here as well. She wishes to see Takayuki after his work is over. Seems like Akane has something to discuss with him, and she wishes Shinji to come along as well.

Ayu’s reaction is proper; Why the hell are you bringing your trouble here? She manages to bring him a bit about with her usual means of insults and getting Mayu backs her up. Chichikuri~ Of course, Takayuki manages to insult her back just as much. I hope this little event managed to lift some pressure off him, but it sure didn’t from me.

The three of them find a quiet place near the harbour.
Here, Akane comes out with it all; she requests him to return to her sister. She knew what Takayuki had been thinking the day before, and asks if he is fine with his decision, if he truly wishes to choose that one person over her sister. It’s not like her sister wished to sleep for the three years, she has done nothing wrong nor she knew nothing. Yet still she woke up into a lonely world without him there. This is how Akane sees things, never admitting herself that those three years have changed things and people. As much as Takayuki has stayed the way he has, she has grown much to see things from larger view. She has never stopped thinking what her sister’s true feelings are.

Akane argues through her sister’s feelings and through Takayuki’s love towards her from three years ago. She can’t convince him to turn his decision, and finally resorts to tell him the real reason why Mitsuki had stopped swimming. Shinji steps in, only to be scolded by Akane before another word is said. It’s not that Mitsuki couldn’t go with her chosen path, but she choose not to. Mitsuki has allowed Takayuki to blame himself on Haruka’s accident even thou she herself carries part of that blame, and that it was she who kept Takayuki from going to that date, that she knew that would happen. Mitsuki never said a thing about this, and allowed Takayuki to carry the blame. She only wished to be there for him. Thus Akane asks; would he had allowed her to be there is he had known Mitsuki’s thoughts and deeds? Even during time when Haruka and Takayuki dated, Mitsuki had loved him. Now that Haruka was not there, he was hers to take away and do as she pleased.

This stops Takayuki out cold, and draws a sad look from all of them. He snaps out the moment Shinji asks if he too thinks that Mitsuki is this kind of person who allows other to live in a detrimental lie only to nab them away from the person whom they love? No, he does not. Even thou things look like that on the outside, was it not also Takayuki who had feelings towards Mitsuki at that time? Was he not the one who needed Mitsuki by his side the most?

Even Akane knows this. She has lost him completely. If he had stayed as her sister’s lover, she could’ve lived near him, always calling him big bro. She has always stayed silenced, looking over him, losing his heart to another. And he tells with words of affection, not just towards Mitsuki but towards Akane as well, that he is truly sorry to cause so much pain and grief to her.

With kind words, Akane’s heart is gently shattered piece by piece. He can’t return to Haruka’s side any more, and thus, he’ll never be at her side either. Takayuki thanks her for coming out to confront him properly for the first time after all this time. With eyes full of tears Akane tells him not to thank her, runs away.

Shinji tells him one last bit of Mitsuki that Akane couldn’t know. As Mitsuki saw into what state Takayuki had fallen in, she herself fell into a shock. She had said to herself that This person loved Haruka this much… At that time Shinji wanted to do something for her, but couldn’t. Shinji had tried to take her away from Takayuki, but with that Takayuki says that it doesn’t matter any more. What now, Shinji asks. Haruka will be feeling alone, and Akane will feel responsible. Takayuki has stood on his ground, and has not wavered.

Later that evening Shinji still calls him, and tells that he has managed to get time to see Haruka with him and Mitsuki. With slight precaution, he agrees to go. After all, Shinji knows that the man has courage to pull things through.

So the following day Takayuki slips out from work a bit early with Ayu’s protest echoing behind him. He meets with Mitsuki, who just had a call from Shinji. He can’t make it, and that raises a few questions. Mitsuki grabs his arm, and on their way they are. Takayuki’ lost in his thoughts to the point he doesn’t notice the train.

Haruka’s happy to see the two. Haruka and Mitsuki soon find their pace just as they used to. Haruka admits that he was pushing Takayuki to spend more time with Mitsuki, which draws a certain surprise. She still sees through both of them, and is a bit worried about the two. There’ still an awkward atmosphere, which Haruka tries to brake it off by saying, that it can’t really be helped, and that Mitsuki has nothing to apologise for. Haruka tells that she remembers how good the two looked together when they were at school, to which both Mitsuki and Takayuki answer with a surprised face. Haruka reminisces how the two of them always smiled, laughed and seemed to have good times together; that she thinks this is for the best.

This causes Mitsuki to stop her with a serious face, and she asks of Haruka if she’s serious. Haruka’s clearly confused as Mitsuki seems to be angry. Her answer is almost a simple so what. This pisses Mitsuki ever further, asking if she realizes how much shit Takayuki has gone through after all this time. She knows, and knows it’s because Takayuki is too kind for his own well being. But the same thing can be said of Mitsuki’s behaviour. Takayuki steps in and tries to settle things, but he only receives Mitsuki’s harsh words about it all. And Haruka just asks what is it that she wants her to say? That she hasn’t forgotten about him yet? How can she say something like that when Mitsuki is the one who loves Takayuki the most? Why can’t she show more happiness that she was chosen over the two? Oh much fun the two must’ve had during those three years when she was sleeping, how Mitsuki must’ve joyed herself that Haruka had that accident. Perhaps all this time Mitsuki had thought that it would’ve been better if Haruka had died, that even Takayuki must’ve thought so –


With wavering words and a scared face Mitsuki runs out from the room. Takayuki yells after her for nothing, and as he helps Haruka up she asks why isn’t he running after her. If he were to stay there, Mitsuki won’t come back. Without Mitsuki, Takayuki can’t be long longer. With bitter words, Haruka tells him that she will be alright by herself. She asks if he will regret. No, it’s almost as she asks him to regret.

“Aren’t you going to go to Mitsuki?”

And he flashes to all the hard times he has seen Haruka pulling through. And he runs. First on the roof, taking his phone out and calling, and call he does as he continues to run after her. Finally, she answers with no voice. Not only he speaks and she answers with a wavering voice. She doesn’t answer where she is, but he hears familiar bell ringing somewhere in the background. So he runs once more.

And so, there she stands. On that hill that has started so many things.


“I was … always waiting. For me … that was happiness.”

This time she can’t do so any more. She was scared to answer his call, to hear his words. She has done a horrible thing to Haruka, but she just couldn’t stand it any further. Not until Takayuki tells her directly of his wishes and decisions, as well as Haruka’s, she realizes the true shape of things. Even after all this time, she can only think of how she must’ve hurt a Haruka’s feelings; how in the end she came to point with it all came out in one burst. After Takayuki has calmed her down, Mitsuki tells that she wishes she could go back those three years, so that nobody would have these cruel memories, and he would still have a happy future. So that they all could laugh as friends.

“And that would be alright!?”

Takayuki makes Mitsuki listen; is she willing to forget these three years? Does she want to forget all these days the two have spend together? All the good times, all the bad times, is she willing to just let go of those feelings they have now?

No, she does not want to forget these feelings, she does not wish to let his love away. She has always loved him.

But as she is now, she can’t be next to him, because she has lied to him; he has fallen into the fake her. She begins to tell the true reasons she stopped swimming and is about to come out with it all, but Takayuki just embraces her. There’s no meaning what she has done, because she was always there, and the reasons she has had were always true to herself; she has not done anything wrong.

Two to get to Takayuki’s place, but Mitsuki’s still in an emotional state, still apologising. Takayuki needs to have her promise not to to do so any further. For the first time in a long time they can be with each other without anything holding either of them back, even bantering with each other properly for the first time after Haruka’s awakening. They allow their emotions take control, and spend the night together in passion.

During that night Takayuki wakes up as Hayase’s leaving. She can’t really go to the work with the same set of clothes. Takayuki’s about to pull Mitsuki back, but allows her to leave after that.

Takayuki still goes to see Haruka the following day and is met by one of the nurses. Haruka’s gone missing from her room. They search high and low, until Takayuki sees her at the beach from the hospital room. He sprints there, seeing her standing on her two feet. Haruka just wanted to see the ocean. As Takayuki gets closer, Haruka tells him that there’s nothing to worry about, that she’s alright; she can do it by herself. She even makes him watch as she walks around a bit, but as she gets closer to Takayuki, she falls on him. In that moment she kisses him. She apologises fast with a tearful voice.

“Let’s say… Farewell”

She wished that all of them could see each other as friends like they used to, but now what happened yesterday would just repeat itself. Haruka herself does not know what would happen to her if she was to be near him again. That’s why they can’t see each other any more. Takayuki agrees with regrets, but Takayuki says that one day things will be different, that one day they’ll still be able to be friends.

As they sit on the beach, Haruka tells Takayuki that she always knew Mitsuki’s feelings towards him, but she was afraid. So, Haruka through that she could become something more to him than just friends. Haruka admits that things are different, that those three years have changed Takayuki to a person whom she doesn’t know. The person she has chased, the person she loves, is no more. For her that one month with him is a dream. That dream for her was most fun and happy. She thanks him for it, and tells him farewell.

farewell. The book that brought these two together shall now separate them, as Haruka gives Takayuki the gift that Mayuru gave for humanity; the happy words of farewell.

With a smile they say that word to each other, and Takayuki walks away.

Mitsuki is waiting for Takayuki. She knows it must’ve been hard for him, and he allows himself to fall into her arms, crying. With this, their life can truly start.

And so, we close the third chapter. One heckuva story, gotta admit. Then let me tell you the last part, the epilogue. Awwshit man. This won’t take long, I promise.

Later on Takayuki and Mitsuki are looking for a new apartment and they’re flipping through magazines to find a good one. Takayuki answer a phone and after some silence Akane’s voice tells him that Haruka has been dispatched from the hospital, and she asks if he can and come see her. Akane’s response to Takayuki’s is to close the phone. Akane needs someone else to help her, someone with a passion for life. Mitsuki’s face shows that she’s still a bit wry of the past, but soon they continue on their task at hand, and for the last time leave this place that has stayed the same for more than three years now. Finally, they can step from this still time to a future.

Some unspecified time later Takayuki’s rushing home from work. She decides to go by a bookstore and flip through their selection if he was to find something of interest. He remembers there the time when he met Haruka, and walks by the children’s book department. There, a name hits the corner of his eye, and he picks it up. And he reads the pages one after another.

He buys and rans home to Mitsuki. She has been waiting for him with tears and as soon as he comes home Mitsuki makes him read a letter. It’s from Akane, in which she tells of her and Haruka, that she herself has finally been able to move on with her life. It’s more than enough to make them both cry of happiness. Then, Takayuki gives the book to Mitsuki to read.

The book is named True Treasure, written by Murakami Haruka. Mitsuki reads it, and much like me, she falls into tears.

Alrighty, I think I can!
Today, once again, Haru the Ferret
Is climbing the great big hill with all her might
She has in her tiny body.
Today, once again, the four friends will take a nap together.
Alrighty, I think I can!

When Haru arrives at the top of the hill
The sun has also arrived, to the very top of the sky.
To take a nap on top of the hill is a joy to Haru.
But today, something is different.

On top of the hill three ferrets have gathered.
Gathered here, what are they doing?
“Wow, this is a wonderful place.
Would it be all right for us to nap here with you?”
Haru responds, brimming with happiness,
“Yes. Let’s all nap together.”

Alrighty, I think I can!
Today, once again, Haru the Ferret
Is climbing the great big hill with all her might
She has in her tiny body.
Today, once again, the four friends will nap together.
Alrighty, I think I can!

“Let’s plant a giant tree here!”
Says Aki the Ferret.
“If we do, this place will become even better!”
Everyone agrees.

This tree is their treasure.
It is a treasure planted with all their hard work.

Alrighty, I think I can!
Today, once again, she will nap together with her four friends,
Gathered beneath the tree at the peak of the hill.
What’s this? The tree has given a fruit.
Upon the tree one teeny, tiny, lonely fruit has sprung forth.
A new treasure has been borne.

“What a delicious-looking fruit! I’d like to eat it,”
Says Haru the Ferret.

“No way! It was I who found it! I’ll eat it,”
Says Nattsu the Ferret.

“Idiots! If the tree has borne this fruit,
Many more are sure to follow,”
Says Aki the Ferret.

“I don’t think so. No, definitely not.
This fruit has come forth only with great difficulty,”
Says Fuyuyu the Ferret.

Oh no! Oh no! Things have degenerated into a quarrel.
Because there is just one fruit these quarrels have arisen.
Soon, everyone will no longer nap and play together

“Goodbye.”
“Goodbye.”
“Goodbye.”

At the peak of the hill, only Haru remains.
Before, everyone took soothing naps together.
Now, only Haru remains.

The next day, Haru naps at home.
And the next day. And the next day.
She naps alone.
“I’m lonely. I’m so lonely.
I want to see my friends. I want to see everyone!”

… Alrighty, I think I can!
The following day, Haru is once again
Climbing the hill with all the might in her little body.
I think I can! I think I can! I think I can!

On the top of the hill is a tree that has become a giant.
It’s massive branches have borne much fruit.
But Haru remains sad.
Even though these are the treasures she pined for,
She no longer wants them.

“I’m so lonely! It’s so miserable to be alone!
I miss my friends! I want to see them again.”

So saying, Haru has found the true treasure.

I think I can! I think I can! I think I can!
Haru has found the true treasure.
She believes.
She believes with all her heart that the day will come
When once again everyone will be able to sleep peacefully together.

With this hope in her heart,
Today, once again, Haru the Ferret
Is climbing the great big hill with all the might
In her little body.
Alrighty, I think I can!


And so, I got my closure with Kimi ga Nozomu Eien. I believe I don’t need to say much about the ending, except it made me cry like bitch. Eight years ago I saw a story that touched me, and it has taken me this long to finally finish it. With those last words in the story, I reached a catharsis. I’m not really a person who believes into destiny, but I managed to bring this Visual Novel to an end pretty much the same day it ends within the story.

Few years ago the KimiNozo was a hurtful thing. I couldn’t make jokes about it and I hot mad at people for the pettiest of reasons. I’ve managed to come far from that time, as I can make and laugh at jokes about getting hit by a car and falling into coma for three years. Hell, whenever I see Daironeri either of us is bound to make the joke. I can value all the stupid things the story has, all the idiotic things I’ve said and done because of it, like this post. It’s been hell to write this within a week, but it’s something that needed to be said.

Are you OK? Your eyes seem a bit red.
Yeah, I’m fine. Dear reader, I hope you have been given a glimpse of this story through my eyes. There’s so much I could tell you about it, so much to show, but I think I’ve overshot everything that I was aiming at. It’s been rough to write this on both physical and emotional level. Even now as I’m finishing this I’m having a massive headache through two Panadols.

So many things have been hanging there in the air, in the imaginary space. Now, I can finally take them down.

It’s a sad story filled with happy and cruel moments. Without it I would never had so many experiences, so many different things to laugh at and to cry for. Even Muv-Luv would’ve had been a completely different story Kimi ga Nozomu Eien had not been there before. I wouldn’t have my life thus far any other way. It may sound stupid, but I truly believe that friendship does last like this, even though we need to say farewells to get our own time, we can always meet again and be friends. There are those times when we might not be able to see each other, there might be times when we fight, and there might be times when we willingly become separate. And yet, the next time we meet, we’ll still be friends.

While time is a cruel mistress, it’s also the one who heals our wounds.

Afterwords 27.8.2013

It’s been now a year. Today is Hayase’s birthday, and I saw it fit that the this post should get updated on this day. Looking back at my own text makes me feel uneasy. Not just because the horrible grammar and typos that exited for all this time, but… we all know it. This is a hard story that will draw emotions from you. There are few clear things Kimi ga Nozomu Eien is saying; we all are victims in life we triumph in. Road to hell is pawed with good intentions. We can only blame ourselves for hurting others and ourselves. Inaction leads to the same position. In human relations, we must be bold and take that step to say I love you. At the same time we have to be just as bold to say I do not love you. Then, we have to stand our grounds and act the best way we can. The world moves and time passes on, neither waits for anyone. Even when we say goodbye, we can always say hello again.

In Haruka’s case, she went all out even when she knew she’d hurt her best, and perhaps only friend. The accident is something we can’t expect to see in our daily lives, whatever it may be for you. Things change, and we change with them. When and if it happens, we must continue living on. Stopping in your place only does disservice to you. If a person like Takayuki learned to be honest with himself and take responsibility of his actions and to a tight grip on his own life, what keeps us from doing the same? In the end, they had to say goodbye only so that they could say hello again.

I had no title for this post, just a placeholder. I made peace with my past while I wrote this a year ago, and now I have found the title for it. The name is for all those who I call me their friend, for all those who love me back as much as it is to describe the friendship between the characters in Kimi ga Nozomu Eien. We have the unyielding strength and will to be happy, together as friends. This is what I choose to believe.

Let’s take a look at OVAs Part 2; The Couragous and the Pretty

There’s few frameworks that we have to lay down before we start speaking of good OVAs. I’m mostly speaking of same things as every other person when it comes to good animation and storytelling, but when it comes to OVAs we have the luxury of observing the coda, execution and uniqueness as well. TV-animation is meant to be sold to a wide variety of audiences and to expand the market (or at least it should be, otherwise something’s seriously wrong) while OVAs are meant for the niche audience. In this sense a good OVA is a completely different product from other animation works, even from movies as they’re more comparable to short stories from literature whereas movies and TV-series are more akin to whole novels.

As such all the series presented here might not be what you’d call masterpieces. Some of them are actually pretty meh or even bad at most levels, but excel at being what OVAs should be. I’ll be skipping the most known series just for variety, such as Aim for the Top! Gunbuster, Mobile Police Patlabor, Dirty Pair and such. There’s slew of recommendation lists out there, and while you can take this post as one, I’d suggest you to take this list as something like a glance at more uncommon and yet good shows. OVAs do not play with the same set rules as other works of animation mostly due to niche nature they have. While the overall quality can be determined by the sales (sales always determine the quality of the product over opinions, as rough as it is) OVAs have the small lax in this rule; an overlooked work might have had a small spread and print, affecting its sales overall.

The first example perhaps I can offer you is Cosmos Pink Shock, which I already mentioned in the Part 1. It’s a good 40min show about a girl crossing the universe inside a hyper-rocket that can achieve near-light speed travel in order to find her childhood sweetheart who was abducted by aliens. Cosmos Pink Shock has very nice animation, very nice designs, good music and overall the quality is up there. It only saw tape releases, even thou the animation alone would have demanded an LD release. It’s a beautiful little work that never really spread anywhere. A group called BOX actually searched for this kind rare releases for wider spread. The group has ceased to exist , but their work has been nothing short of remarkable. I’d almost call this a cultural preservation act, as they have subbed such works as Superman Locke and Queen Millenia, which both have had more than slight impact on Japanese animation and comic culture, thou their effect has become near extinct since the end of the 90’s. While BOX’s site has dead MegaUpload links, I presume my dear readers are smart enough to add “bakabt” to their Google search. Nevertheless, give Cosmos Pink Shock a shot. You might not want to stop at there thou.

Speaking of gorgeous animation, go watch DAICON III and DAICON IV from Youtube now. Never mind the quality, it can’t be helped.

There’s schlock, but then there’s good schlock, and then there’s schlock that’s like Cyber City Oedo 808.


To be honest, Oedo isn’t really bad. It’s an OVA that’s completely in spirit of the 80’s OVAs at its best; not really good, but goddamn if its not entertaining as hell. Oedo’s an example of well done Japanese cyber-punk without going all babbling like Ghost in the Shell, or all coffee on you like the Humanoid. It’s far more action packed and is more subtle on its questions on humanity and such, thou they can be dismissed quickly by the characters’ nature. It’s very dystopian, and some have drawn similarities with Judge Dredd and Robocop in certain feel to Oedo, thou I’m not sure whether or not I should agree. Oedo is unique enough to stand on its own to feet, and this is mostly because it’s well animated, has decent voicework and its execution is nothing short well paced. The story in Oedo is more akin to not-so generic cyberpunk detective/murder story, but somehow I can’t put my finger why the plot was decent. Honestly, it really doesn’t matter; Oedo’s a ride that is meant to be enjoyed, not to thought through.

If you want something more cerebral, wait one more entry when we enter the 90’s as promised. But for now, enjoy one of my personal favourites; Birdy the Mighty.


Birdy the Mighty is one of those OVAs that never really saw an end, and neither did its later 00’s TV-series. Birdy the Mighty is nothing short of your generic sci-fi detective story, but that’s not a bad thing. Birdy has a lot of charm both as a series and as a character. I’m partial for her 80’s appearance because fuck yeah 80’s. Still, the plot’s pretty simple; Birdy accidentally kills a young boy while chasing down a fugitive criminal, and to save this boy’s life her superior commands her to allow this boy’s soul into her body. When this boy, Tsutomu, is in control the body they share looks like his, but when needed Birdy can and will take her own form back. As such there’s an interesting duality going on all the time, but sadly it’s not well thought out or even used. It’s kind of there, but as with most OVAs there really wasn’t time for it. The 00’s series does it a bit better, but the show was too slow for its own good and didn’t really grasp the audience to have the final third season. As such, Birdy the Mighty OVA is flawed and could have done a lot of things better, but it’s nowhere near bad. It’s not even OK series, as the animation, acting and the concepts lift the OVA above most others even if the execution is partially sloppy. It’s the concept and idea that is Birdy’s mightiest point.

To follow with the path of good concepts and ideas, let’s move to the 90’s, and to the one of the last true OVAs that was made during that time. Enter JaJa Uma! Quartette, known as Wild Cardz in the West.

JaJaUma! could be described as a two-part pilot for a full TV-series, or so it has always felt like. The world a lot of content and is fleshed out reasonably well in relatively short period of time. A lot of things are shown and not explained, the pacing is tight and fast, and the story is honestly well written and never loses its goal. There’s also a bit of mystery in there and not everything is explained outright, which shows Studio Ox’s trust in their viewers. The worst thing JaJaUma! Quartette has going for it that there’s not nearly enough of it anywhere. Sure, it was adapted from a comic and there’s few radio dramas and a YouTube: PlayStation game but goddammit there’s a lot of wasted potential in here. With more development this series could’ve become phenomenal, and while that can be said about a lot of things, JaJaUma! Quartette has the same kind of charm that a lot of other female character driven series have had during the past ten years and beyond. There’s a lot of love and labour in here.

Now I promised something more cerebral, and here it comes; Giant Robo the Animation. I can’t do enough justice to this series, but what I can say that while I recognize it as one of the best animation works to date, it’s not what OVAs should be. Yasuhiro Imagawa is a good director and I like his works, but it took ten to twelve years to finish Giant Robo. Fist of all, it’s seven episode series, and while that’s not bad, it took most of the 90’s to finish this work. It was always late, the staff went over budget and it wasn’t successful at all. Anyway, it’s still recognized as one of THE animation works out there for a good reason.

Let’s move to the 00’s where OVAs are mostly dead and TV-animation is facing dire times.

I’m cheating a little bit with this one, but might as well as this counts as Original ‘Net Animation; Kyousogiga.


Kyousogiga has similar problem as JaJaUma! Quartette. A lot of stuff is bashed into very short time and most of the details can go by fast. At its core Kyousogiga is shinto version of Alice in the Wonderland with some Mirror thrown in there. For modern animation it’s very detailed and lively, and actually manages to avoid looking all too plastic like 99% of the TV-anime out there. I presume that much like a lot of Studio 4°C’s works, Kyousogiga was thrown in as a potential TV-series, but never took off. Which is sad, because this could have worked, but perhaps they thought that it was too surreal for its own good. Now this sounds something I wouldn’t say, but if the anime industry is dying due to lack of new and creative (hrhrrh) works, why aren’t the likes of Kyousogiga given the Green Light? Well, mostly because the people in charge have lost the touch with their audience at large and aims only at lonely otakus who sit on their computers writing about OVAs. Expanding market means getting new viewers, not taking existing viewers from other competing products.

None of the mentioned series have done anything major alone. OVA as a whole was one of the driving forces behind the VHS standard due to its popularity at the time. Nowadays pressing DVDs is cheap, but costs to make a movie or a video original have risen far too much. The current situation of the economy doesn’t help either, and the fact that the TV and movies at large do not target large audience any more but fight over the same audience, much like the game industry is doing. It’s an unhealthy form of competition and serves only industries’ own destruction at best. OVA format filled a certain slot that was open. However, OVA can’t fill that slot, but it can’t fill the newly opened slot either. It’s a format out of its time, and OVA is barely alive mainly because it has been there since the 80’s. DVD did not have to fight any format wars or punch through same kind of think walls as VHS had to, and as such we’re enjoying the kind of consumer culture. There’s a lot of good and bad in the current format/s, but we’ll get back to HD-DVD and BD in few years.

Appreciation is kind of keyword here; people don’t need to like OVA format or anything other things that have moulded our current way of consuming entertainment, but if we can’t appreciate them and what they have managed to do, then we can’t appreciate what we have now, or value them at any level. This kind of attitude doesn’t just apply to customers, but to the industries as well. Abandoning what has worked for something that really doesn’t have the same punch but is cheaper and easier to produce just doesn’t work. Sometimes it’s also the other way around, as seen in the video game industry.

The best way to revive the current animation culture in Japan would be to start developing and creating TV-series that expand the market and clean their current image, and revive the OVA format for what it was made to begin with.

With this, I’ll end this summer’s theme of OVA history. These last two parts are mostly just extra, but what the heck, most of these deserve proper mentioning. Next week we’ll return to a more normal rhythm and discuss a bit more about designing.

Let’s take a look at OVAs Part 1; The bad, the terrible and the beautiful

This is an additional part to ‘From LaserDisc to DVD; how original video animation paved way for modern consumer culture’ post. It is recommended to read it first for overall understanding. Also, notice that I have started adding links of interest to the right side column for your pleasure

There’s a concept called shit 80’s OVA. At its core this encompasses all 80’s OVAs that are hyper-violent, make no sense whatsoever, most likely have sex scenes for no reason and plot is totally and completely all over the place. I’m talking about series that either take themselves way too seriously, or have been made in the most coke dusted animation studios the 80’s Japan had to offer. Some of you might be very familiar with these OVAs, as they were cheap to license and easy to get hold of when ADV and other companies started their venture into releasing anime, or have followed numerous Internet critics. I’m talking about OVAs like Hon Ran, Angel Cop, The Dog Soldier and Megami Tensei. All of these mentioned are bad shows on their own rights, but all of them are so bad that they’re enjoyable.

A certain movement has taken slight flight in the last seven years of watching shit OVAs for their own value. This began as a spinoff from the shit movie watching that has been rampart for years now (and won’t end until the film industry stops producing this much shit.) Well, it’s not a new phenomena or anything, but for this young sub-culture it’s what we old folks do when the new shows just don’t cut it any more. Anyway, the 80’s offer insane amounts of OVAs unknown to the West (or to Japan) that we need to see. Who knows, there just might be gems upon gems upon gems that the mainstream audience has missed. Like Cosmos Pink Shock!


Finding the film itself is harder than finding its LP

For this post we’ll be visiting few OVAs of varying but low quality. Some of them are just plain boring, but some of them are well animated shit with nice visuals, but otherwise they’re completely bonkers. All of the listed shows are recommended to watch, as they’re all unique and they have an entertaining coda in there, but otherwise they’re just schlock. Let’s start with Hon Ran; Crimson Wolf.

Hon Ran is one of the hidden pieces of garbage that is missed in most lists of shit anime. I mean, the main bad guys are bunch of Great Men of China’s history, like Mao, and the fights consist of flying in imaginary world and using tanks as weaponry. No, not using tanks’ weaponry, but tanks themselves. Hon Ran also houses perhaps the worst sex scene in anime to date, and believe me; I’ve seen some shitloads of animated sex scenes. The story is something about a Hon Ran, or Crimson Warrior, who is destined to rise against evil entities and defeat them. Honestly, I don’t recall much about Hon Ran, but dammit it’s somewhat entertaining in a weird way. Hon Ran’s also just as violent as any stereotypical 80’s OVA, so it’s recommended to have children with you to desensitize them as soon as possible.


Oh, more ultraviolence! Spirit Warrior (or Kujaku Oh) is directed by Rintarou, the man who is partially responsible of such shows as Doomed Megalopolis, X/1999, Harmagedon and the ’69 Moomins. In the series bunch of manly priest warriors first fight atavistic cryptofacists in Tibet, until the series reboots itself completely and the same men then fight some of the famous men of Japan’s history while saving bunch of ladies in distress. Honestly, this is pretty bad, but what Spirit Warrior has going is that it actually has good basis to exist. The comic is pretty decent and the game for the Sega Mega Drive is infamous for being one of the first games where people noticed that there’s both Western and Japanese version on the same cartridge. This kind of brainless violence is always fun to watch.

Now let’s leave the ultaviolence for a moment and let’s concentrate on awesome 80’s America as seen by drug filled 80’s Japanese animators.


The very first thing you might notice about California Crisis is how awesome it looks. This has to be one of the most expensive single episode OVA produced, as the amount of lines and the colours, as well as the general style used has to fetch rather high amount of time, but also love, to produce. I’ve got no idea how much cocaine the staff took while doing this OVA (hint; much less than in Dragon Half) but whatever; California Crisis is hilarious on its own rights. Basically it’s a story about two people going all around California with a space McGuffin while the government or some other highly organized people are chasing them. California Crisis is high on my list because of how insane amounts of shading it has, and how it looks. It’s a joyride and an attack to the senses.

Go Nagai is well remembered as one of the most influential person to the modern Japanese animation culture in general alongside other masters, but I’d argue that this dirty uncle was one of the first people to draw a porn comic for kids. Because, y’know, kids need to be educated on porn! Go Nagai’s Abarashi Family is an old and oddly warmly remembered series from this old bastard, which got an animation adaptation much like his other works.


Much like some other works from Uncle Go, one needs to have certain kind of cold and analytical attitude towards Abarashi Family’s abundance of violence, sex, teasing, sleaze rape and all those things. It’s entertainment as hell, because just sometimes you need to have fun made of these things, and somehow Uncle Go just makes them fun. No, not really, but dammit this much sleaze just has to be fun as hell. Mostly because it’s also completely insane.

On a more light-hearted note, Scramble Wars sort of prototypical cross-over OVA, which took a lot of influences from Hanna-Barbera’s Wacky Racers, where the animation studio just took shitloads of their licenses into one super deformed race of complete insanity.


Scramble Wars’ concept was later used in SD Gundam series and some other works, but Scramble Wars can be called as kind of stepping stone in this SD crossovers. It’s fun to watch after Abarashi Family has forced you to take a long, cold and cleansing shower.

80’s schlock OVA had a long lasting effect in both style and direction for better or worse. Certain hyperviolence stuck to the 90’s TV animation and movies and not only because the directors and animators got those jobs, but because the OVAs had such an effect. Their bold and insane effect can still be seen in the modern games, movies and animation in general. The generous amount of blood and gore, the certain stylistic approach that Obari and his masters were engineering and generally an attitude that never really seeped through anywhere else. While shit can always be shit, there’s also shit that’s beautiful to watch and entertaining.

One of the modern OVAs that have spirit of these shit OVAs is Mazinkaiser SKL. While not really shit, there’s unmistakeable amounts of similar elements there that the previously mentioned OVAs has, albeit in more modern form. I mentioned SKL to be the last of its kind in the previous entry to the History of OVA, but it demands repetition; as much as Mazinkaiser SKL is just “decent” it encompasses all the good and bad that the 80’s OVA had to offer, and it stands pretty much all alone in the 2000’s offering on OVAs.

At this point I have to give credit to Dr.Nick. His help on making these synopsis’ was a life saver.

Next time we’ll take a look at bunch of good OVAs from the 80’s, and if we’re lucky I’m going overboard and putting in some 00’s shows as well.