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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Break time!

Hijikata: Fire & Water

Because a shirtless Hijikata is worth painting....

Totally fangirled all over the place last week to rid myself of those awful vibes from my Week From Hell.  The Week from Hell Part II might be coming as soon as next week...meh.

But, on the bright side, I will be taking vacation from 3/7 - 3/13 so I can at least not think about work and stuff during that time, sleep in and play otome games to my heart's delight.  I just discovered the Bakumatsu Shinsengumi game on iPhone apps.  Did not know there was such a game!  Naturally, my first choice is to play the Hijikata route...

Since it's just going to be a staycation and I'm totally dumping a last minute project a client dumped on me with the convenient excuse that I'll be on vacation, I might must turn off my phone entirely and log off my mail and just vegetate/find inner peace at a jimjilbang or something.  Ah, the life of an OL....

So if you don't hear from me, I'm on break! Yay!


Sunday, January 31, 2016

Looking for my zen....

So I'm dreading this week, as I've said before.  But there's nothing like a little watercolor for meditation.

Here's my rendition of what it would be like for the "demon of the fleeting blossom" to watch the cherry blossoms with the "woman in the moon."  For those who have played the Hakuouki: Stories of the Shinsengumi game, you will understand the references.

Step 1: start with the doodle

Step 2: doodle with feeling

Step 3: tape up the doodle to fill background

Step 4: add a little moonlight

Step 5: and cherry blossoms

Step 6: remove tape

Step 7: add color

Step 8: add more color! (I liked Hijikata with longer hair so I did a hybrid style for a post-game look)

Hakuouki: In the Moonlight

Add some waka for good measure:  

By: Sanjo In (Emperor Sanjo)

Kokoro ni mo / Though I do not want 
Arade ukiyo ni / 
To live on in this floating world, 
Nagaraeba / 
If I remain here, 

Koishikaru beki / 
Let me remember only 
Yowa no tsuki kana / 
This midnight and this moonrise.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Chihayafuru Vol. 15, Chapter 79

I am totally procrastinating!!  Hahah, I have this awful meeting next Thursday and I have to pull a miracle out of nowhere to get two sides who don't want to agree, to agree!  So one of my bosses is breathing down my neck making sure everything is going well, second guessing all my decisions.  On top of that, the client trusts him more than he trusts me, probably because I'm a woman.  For real?! But if both sides continue acting like children there's nothing I can do about that.  So besides getting my blood pressure checked at the doctor's tomorrow to see if I have stress induced hypertension, there's still time to procrastinate! >_<  Being an OL is hard... TT__TT  Really wish I was independently wealthy....

Let's start with Chihaya, and how I think she broke her finger in the last chapter... (really...?)  After this I'm going to finish Harada's route in Hakuouki: Stories of the Shinsengumi ^_^ and get the trophy for unlocking all CGs....  Whoohoo!

Chihayafuru Vol. 15, Chapter 79

Even Rion looks a little concerned as Chihaya clutches her finger close.  Her teammates are certainly worried.

Can it be... she's injured??!!

Has Chihaya also injured herself?? Taichi thinks, almost getting up.

"Excuse me," says one of the overseers/referees thinking she might need to forfeit.
"Ah!" Chihaya says, flexing her hand.  "No, I'm alright."  Her teammates all look at her in exasperation.
"Scared me--" says Meatbun.

Rion looks a bit relieved and her team captain, Makoto eyes her.
"Please excuse me," Chihaya states as she gets up and stretches to buy herself some time.

The Oe card takes experience and skill, thinks Makoto. Rion that girl...  Because she relies on 'feeling' the way she takes cards is unrefined in comparison.  How irritating...

Chihaya is still trying to recover as she stands.  Originally I wanted to take the other card (TN: the Chinese version recounts the "ocean island" card, which doesn't really exist in that form.  But the first five syllables of the Oe Mountain card are exactly the same as this card)

It's really not easy taking the Oeyama card!

Next time I've got to turn the tide.  One card at a time... One card!

[Throb...sting...stab...pain...]  Chihaya's concentration is broken by her finger injury. card....

Meanwhile, as the match starts up, Taichi is cornered by his opponent.
Ah! Shoot!  Penalty!  Taichi laments as he took the wrong card.  I still haven't forgotten the prior games' memorization order.

He recalls Desktomu's lecture from before the game.  "You have to be careful.  Emuro Ryoga won't make any mistakes during the game."

Damn!  He looks over at his silent opponent.  He's already into his fifth match and yet he maintains that completely professional facade...  Isn't he tired?  Surprisingly he still makes no mistakes...

Emuro looks up at him and grins as if taunting him, "I'm not like you because I'm A-ranked!"  (Just by looking at him Taichi can hear Emuro's inner voice)

He checks his teammates.  Not good!  Every one of Fujisaki's controlling the direction of the game.  Even Chihaya, she's....

Chihaya loses another card to Rion.  That last card...I could have taken it...  What's wrong with me?  That was right in my opponent's lower right quadrant!


What is this? she clutches her hand.  This kind of shocking pain... it's not at all like the usual finger bruising....?

What's going on?
What is this....

Meatbun notices her expression.  Ayase?

"Fine!" she says quietly as she stretches.  "Just start now!  Start now!"

She recalls the words Kana said to her when she had to bow out of the last game.  "I'm so glad it was me.  I'm so glad the one who got hurt wasn't the team's wild card, Chihaya..."

"The situation is to our advantage!"

I can't!  Chihaya stretches her arm and hand.  [Throb...throb...throb] I can't let Kana-chan's advantage disappear!

Meanwhile, Shinobu is dozing off in a corner as those around her marvel at Fujisaki High's strength.
Fujisaki really is that strong....
All five players are taking the lead...
All of their players are pulling ahead.
There's just no comparison in rank.
Will they just keep pulling further and further ahead...

"Ah...Ah...ACHOO!" Shinobu sneezes into the sleeve of the poor guy next to her.
(TN: -_____-;)
"I'm so sorry!" she apologizes as she tries to wipe his sleeve clean.  I guess I should really just go home...

The older overseer recognizes her instantly as the reigning Queen.
"Wakamiya-san, you've come!" he whispers.  "Please don't just stand around in a place like this.  Come closer to the front.
"No, no," she protests.  "How could I impose?"
"If everyone sees that even the Queen has come to observe, they will all work even harder." he beams.

So....he sits her right in the middle of the Fukisaki - Mizusawa front line....
(TN: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  Everyone has their wut? faces on)


Shinobu isn't really thrilled to be put on the spot.

They're just saying the same thing...

"There must be someone who can be encouraged by this, "Arata had said.
"If they see that the Queen has come to observe, they will all work even harder," the overseer had told her.

The crowd titters.
Omigosh, isn't that the Queen?
That's Shinobu Wakamiya.
She got skinnier...
How odd.  This is my first time seeing her.

What the heck.  How could that possibly be?  Shinobu thinks.  She notices Chihaya in the far corner.

I've seen her before...  Another card is called and Shinobu grimaces as Chihaya is unable to take another card.  Tch, perhaps my feeling was wrong.

Here...there is no one who who can face me as an opponent!  Shinobu feels alone in the crowd.


Rion notices Chihaya is starting to sweat.  That's strange... during the first half of the match her reaction was swift and fierce...  Rion notices that Chihaya is gripping her right hand.

She's hurt...

Rion is distracted that she misses the next card and yields it to Chihaya

That's good!  She can still take cards by pressing on them.

Chihaya notices the look of sympathy on Rion's face.  Chihaya takes the next card as well.

That's odd...  for someone whose 'instincts' are good, she should have been skilled enough to take that card... (TN: I'm not bothering trying to translate the card name/meanings this time around)

She remembers something Harada-sensei had said to her.  "The best thing is to not get hurt.  You cannot get hurt!  But...there will always be that opportunity!  When you get hurt... Compared with the one who actually got injured, the one who committed the injury will be even more shaken."

What am I doing? Rion asks herself.  I have to be more attentive at listening to the sounds.  I have to win!  She thinks about how both her teacher and Makoto are watching her.

I have to win, I'm only here to win...  So I...

Flashback: to Rion with her club members.
"Yamashiro-san, you're only enthusiastic when you put the CD on...  You're clearly dissatisfied with the way senpai reads the cards!  Even with us it's like being criticized by your arrogant, bored stare! It's annoying!" *end flashback*

There's no shelter.

There's no

I have to win here!

"Yeeeesh!" Chihaya declares suddenly, snapping Rion out of it.  She dramatically clutches her injured hand.  "It's no problem.  I yield this card to you."

The audience:  EH?

She surprisingly yielded a single syllable card... the overseer observes.  Even if she was using it as a counter attack, that's still a little rash!  Is she just giving it up?

Chihaya takes a deep breath.  Right now it's just my right index finger that's hurting.

I've always just done it... with my right middle finger against the side of the cards in practice.  (TN: like Shinobu)


Chihaya focuses only on that finger.  When the next card is read, Chihaya tries but again jams her injured finger.

SO PAINFUL---------aaaaaaahhhhhh!  Tears come to her eyes as she tries again.

Even more focused...more...  until there is only one finger in my right hand.  A player who follows her ears!

Even as the reader picks up the next card and opens her mouth to read, Chihaya reacts.

"Tatsuta no kawa no ~"  (TN: chose card 69 because it describes the river's current as translated in Chinese.  There are 3 cards though it might be, I picked this one)

Chihaya touches the side of the card and flicks it by the edge with lightning speed.

Everyone, including the reader, is shocked.
What? gasps the overseer in surprise. fast!
Besides the Queen, there's actually a player who's also that fast?

Shinobu finally realizes.  Ah!  I remember!  Last year the one who stole the single syllable card in my left lower quadrant!  I remember you...


"Oooh," Chihaya has some trouble reaching for the card she just took.  Rion just stares at her in shock.

..... (Chihaya's forgotten her first name.... -__-)
...... (still trying)
......Yama-chan.  (She gave up)

It doesn't matter that I'm injured!  Don't be like that!  Grasping a professional reader's color intonation, let's grasp each syllable to determine the winner!

She looks at Rion in challenge.  If you don't focus your energy, you will be cast aside!

Heh, idiot.  Just how naive is that girl with the bob?  She put the single syllable card her opponent handed her own lower right quadrant.  Obvious mistake.  It was easily in sight of her opponent's attack.  She needs to heighten her guard and slightly back away.  If it were me, I would not have been so foolish... If it were me....

She's leaning forward to observe the match, but Sakurazawa-sensei is frowning.  You're leaning too far forward!

Ayase has taken a string of them!  thinks Desktomu
Four in a row! thinks Tsukuba.  Awesome!
Even though she's still down six cards, thinks Taichi, but... that expression!
That expression... thinks Meatbun.

Ayase... even if you're trying to hide it, sitting next to you I still know.  Both the girls on our team gave so much that they were injured!  At this most important time I've continued to lose... and even now there's a guy who's posed like a ground excavator continuously pressing down on me as we battle...  When will I start giving it my all?


Meatbun gets up to break up the game's momentum.  "Excuse me."

Just then he notices Taichi has done the same thing.  Taichi notices that Tsukuba and Desktomu have also done the same.  They stare at each other knowingly, and all together they slap themselves to focus.  (TN: teamwork!)

Everyone stares at them in surprise.

The one who...

...takes her passion and transfers it to us...

...has always been Chihaya.

But what is this feeling? thinks Taichi clutching at his shirt.  Surging upwards!  Like a scorching hot sensation from my gut...  like magma...

Each group is trying to dominate... thinks Makoto.  Don't think you can reverse this!

We know....this burning sensation... are five wills saying...  "DON'T GIVE UP!"

~Chapter 79 end~

Wow, pretty exciting stuff guys!  Pull your heads out of your butts and fight!  Don't make the girls do all the work.  I'm glad I could translate this chapter quickly (with the exception of the poetry I skipped).  I found this awesome app on my phone that helps me translate twice as fast.  Yay technology! -Kero

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Hakuouki SSL (Sweet School Life) TV Drama - Final Episode

Hakuouki SSL (Sweet School Life) TV Drama - Episode 6, Final Episode

We're at the end already!  Aside from all the repetitive clips, I thought this drama was pretty entertaining.  I think you have to be a Hakuouki fan to appreciate the subtle nuances--like Okita disliking Hijikata no matter what day/age/lifetime; Hijikata's strict/no-nonsense character and fierce calligraphy style, Hijikata's gratuitous half naked fangirl service scene, Itou's character, Nakagura's gambling problem, the academy evolving from Kondo's dojo, the way Kazama still creep-stalks her, Kaoru's sister complex that transcends space/time, and the fact there is one girl in an entire school, the fact that the elixir exists even in the future yet all the characters reject it relying on their own power.   

The more I watch the more I want to think that this is their future.  It's a nice thought to imagine heroic/legendary comrades reborn into a peaceful era, all together again, but this time without the need to stain their hands with blood or conflict with one another.  Instead of the Shogun's lackeys, pitiable lackeys since the Shogun eventually abandoned them to save himself, it's nice to imagine that they could drop that "do honor by your lord/master in both word and deed" mentality, and that the pure essence of what the Shinsengumi stood for is unencumbered in a peaceful future:  Faith, honor, integrity, justice, excellence.

But the storyline is straightforward enough and the reverse harem characters are total bishounen.  Even if you didn't play the games, watching handsome samurai slay enemies or watching bishounen students/teachers beat the cr*p out of gangsters is pretty entertaining. 

I just wish Chizuru was a little bit more...everything.  She's a nondescript character because she's the person you play in a reverse harem so it gives her the flexibility to be the chosen romantic hero's love interest, no matter who you chose.  In a drama role though, it only makes her one of many side characters.  There is no main character in this drama. She's sweet and cute and stuff, she's smart and she's brave so I guess she's got all the basic heroine characteristics.  I just thought in the future she could be less demure, more vocal and outgoing and modern so we could understand why this girl would join a school full of guys.  But maybe we're not supposed to think too much about how this wouldn't work in RL.

Hakuouki SSL (Sweet School Life) TV Drama - Episode 6, [Smile For You] Final Episode, Runtime 25 min.

Kyoto, 1864

We're back to that fateful scene where Chizuru is stabbed by a ronin and she gasps for breath/life.  This time we see the ronin has driven the entire blade into her chest.  Everyone freezes for a moment.  Harada, who is closest, takes down her attacker with a kick and a vicious slice. Chizuru collapses to the ground, gasping for air.

"Yukimura, are you alright?" asks Saito, taking a protective stance in front of her.
"I-I'm fine," she gasps.  "I'll just sit here for a little bit, and I'll be fine."  He spares a look for her.
"Please, just hang on for a little bit longer."

He turns to take out another ronin.  "I will not let the woman I love die."

As they continue fighting, Chizuru gasps for air on the ground.  A figure in white enters the inn behind her.  Kazama sees that she's been injured and his eyes glow red as he watches the melee before him.

"Kazama!" Hijikata yells out.  Everyone in the room freezes.
"K-Kazama?!" cries a ronin.
"K-Kazama!" stammers another.  "Kazama, that demon!"
Kazama draws his blade. "Whomever it was who harmed my bride, I care not who you are, I will not forgive you.  The ronin all cower in fear.
"Get away!"  They all make a hasty retreat.

"Yukimura!" shouts Hijikata, running to her side.  She's still gasping for air as he takes her into his arms.
"Hang in there," he says gently.
"She's injured," scoffs Kazama towards the Shinsengumi.  "But it's your fate to be a demon bride of my clan, and my wife, woman."

"This is not the time for that!" exclaims Heisuke.
"That type of wound will heal quickly," Kazama dismisses.  But Chizuru seems to get worse.
"It's strange..." she gasps.  "My wound...isn't healing..."
"Tch," Kazama glares down at her with concern.  "Could it be you were stabbed in the heart?"  Hijikata looks up at him.
Kazama glares out at the exit through where the ronin escaped.  "I am going to kill them all!"  He draws his sword but Chizuru starts to cough violently.
"Yukimura," Hijikata says with concern.  Everyone watches helplessly.
"I'm so sorry!" she gasps.  "You all went through all this trouble just to save me."
"This was nothing," Hijikata responds emotionally, in a thick voice.  "But for now, save your breath and don't speak."
"That's right," Heisuke says almost in a pleading sob. "Don't worry about stuff like that, Chizuru!"
"Everyone," Chizuru says as her gasps start to slow.  "I am so happy to have been able to make your acquaintance."

Everyone looks like they're about to cry.

"Goodbye" is the last thing she says before her body goes limp.
"YUKIMURA!" Hijikata cries.  Heisuke sobs.

...we were in some other time...
...our fate...
...would it be any different?

(TN: That got dark fast....)

Modern Day, 2015

Chizuru watches in horror as a thug with a switchblade charges her.
"Look out!" calls Harada, and Heisuke, Hijikata and the others all freeze momentarily to see that she's in danger.
"Yukimura!" Saito calls after her.  The audience gets a foreboding sense of deja vu until Harada knocks the blade out of the gangster's hand with his shinai and kicks him back.

Chizuru falls weakly to the ground as her legs give out.  A gangster comes in from the outside and closes the warehouse door behind her.
"Prepare to die!" he shouts as he raises his bokken over her.  But Saito is there to defend her and whacks him painfully in the arm.
"Yukimura, are you alright?" he asks calmly, while keeping an eye on his opponent.
She nods slowly. "F-fine. I'm fine."

Saito knocks her attacker away and smiles gently down at her.  "You are commendable.  Please persevere a little longer."  He goes into the fray to fight again.

Chizuru watches her friends and her teachers fighting fiercely and bows her head, overcome by her emotions.

"How long do you all intend to be so noisy?" Kazama demands as he makes his grand entrance.  Everyone turns to glance at him.
"Whomever dares harm my bride, I don't care who he is, I will not forgive him."

More thugs in the warehouse approach the newcomer to defend their turf but Shiranui and Amagiri are immediately by his side.  They take down the first two with quick jiujitsu moves.
"What the f##k!" cries out another gang member
"Let's get out of here!"  They hastily drop their weapons and head out through the other exit.
(TN: apparently lightning fists are more impressive to gangsters than bamboo shinai.)

Everyone watches as their attackers flee, and then their gaze turns to Chizuru, who is quietly sitting on the floor, staring down at nothing.

Cutscene to a wall clock signalling it's 9 o'clock.
Chizuru is sitting quietly in the teacher's lounge, apparently still in shock by her harrowing experience when Hijikata comes to drape his coat over her shoulders.  (TN: Awwwwwww...! In the game, it was Chizuru who did that for Hijikata when he was recovering from his battle wounds....)
"Why don't you just rest here for a while?" he asks gently.  She says nothing at first.  But as he walks away she says, "I'm really sorry."  He turns to look at her.
"It's because I was taken...everyone was caught up in such a dangerous situation."
"It wasn't a big deal," he responds.  He walks out quietly and she begins to cry.

Hijikata leaves the faculty office and sees the others standing by just outside.
He turns to Kazama's group.  "Why is it that you all came as well?"
"When I was on campus I had known that Yukimura and Ibuki had left together," begins Amagiri.
"That was when Kazama told Amagiri to follow them and observe," added Shiranui.
"Kazama-senpai, you--!" begins Heisuke.
"But, when I informed Kazama that Yukimura had been taken, that was the first time I saw that kind of expression on his face."
"It's true," adds Amagiri.  "It was like a demon."
"It's because I swore that no matter what I, Kazama Chikage, would protect Chizuru," Kazama says quietly.

Behind the door they can all hear Chizuru sobbing and they all stand around helplessly.   Hijikata just clenches his jaw outside and waits.  (TN: OMG one of you go in and give the girl a hug!  Where are her girlfriends??  Guys are so useless....)

Cutscene to Itou-sensei putting up his finished poster for the school festival.  [Hakuou Festival, October 24 - 25, 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.]  A nearby sign indicates [7th Annual Hakuou Cultural Festival].
"It's finally finished," he compliments himself.  He cracks open his fan.  "Behold my strength."  He laughs as he spreads his fan and saunters off.

"It's about time," says Kaoru.  "The school cultural festival starts tomorrow."  Saito says nothing.
"Toudou!" shouts Kaoru.  "You're nearly late to school again.  And you saunter in so slowly, you sure are relaxed."
"Huh?" Heisuke looks up at him, realizing that he was talking.  "Oh, yeah."
"What's wrong?" asks Kaoru.  "You seem down today.  It isn't like you."
"It's nothing," he says.
"That's right," adds Kaoru.  "Chizuru hasn't come to school for two days.  Is she sick or something?"  Heisuke has no response for him.  Kaoru gets distracted by a student trying to run past.
"Hey! Hold on!"

Saito approaches Heisuke.  "How has Yukimura been?"
"At least she's eating," Heisuke responds.  "That's something at least.  But...she still feels responsible and sorry towards us for what happened."

In Harada-sensei's Class 1-1 he's taking role.
Silence.  Harada sensei pauses but then continues on.  Ryunosuke looks at her desk remorsefully.

In Hijikata's Class 2-1, he's also taking role.
"Okita."  No answer.  He looks up to see that Okita is absent.
"Oi, Heisuke," he asks.  "What's up with Soji?"
"Huh?  Beats me."
Hijikata sighs heavily.  "It can't be helped then."

Okita's on the roof.  Looking at the selfie on his phone of him and Chizuru.

In the Student Council room, Shiranui is doing paper work whil Kazama paces the room and Amagiri stands by.
"Chizuru still hasn't returned to school?" Kazama asks.
"That is correct," answers Amagiri.
"After experiencing that, it can't be helped," says Shiranui.  Kazama holds his emotions in check as he stares at a portrait of Chizuru smiling.

Back in the faculty office, Nakagura strikes up conversation.
"I heard Yukimura-kun was absent again today?"
Harada, who was spacing out, turns to him.
"Huh? Yeah."
"Well, what happened to her?" asks Itou.
"It should be just a cold," says Hijikata.  Harada stares at him.
"A cold?" asks Sannan.  "That's worrisome."  He pulls out a bottle of the elixir.  "I think at a time like this--"
"Tomorrow is the school festival at last," interrupts Hijikata, standing from his seat. "I'd like everyone to go over these documents."  They all follow him to the opposite end of the office.  Sannan shows the bottle to Itou and Itou nearly trips as he distances himself.

"This is the timetable of activities for this year," Hijikata shows them.  "Shinpachi, your responsibility isn't much different from last year's cultural festival."

Sannan grips his elixir in silence.  "Someone hurry up and drink this so I can gather some data...!"

Meanwhile, Class 1-1 is busy decorating the interior for their maid cafe.    In the corner, Ryunosuke is sulking because he's the one dressed as a maid.

"Hey," someone says, "Don't be so down."
"It would be weird if I didn't feel down.  Why am I the one who has to dress like this?" he whines.
 His classmates laugh.
"It can't be helped," one classmate responds.  "We're guessing Yukimura isn't going to be here tomorrow."  They all can barely contain their amusement.
(TN: there is a lot of cross dressing in Hakuouki, isn't there? ^_^)

"But guys, seriously..." he complains.
"Isn't this fine?  It really suits you!"  Harada looks mildly amused but it's apparent he's still concerned for Chizuru.
"You're the one who definitely looks the best in it," chides another classmate.

Harada notices Hijikata pass by outside and follows him down the hall.
"Hijikata-san!" he calls out after him.
"As the one responsible for the students in my class, I think I should go to Yukimura's house and see if she's alright."
"I see," Hijikata contemplates.  Harada eyes him suspiciously.
"What's wrong?" Hijikata asks.

"Just this once," Ryunosuke begs his classmates, "You guys need to let me out of this."  He opens the door and runs out of the classroom in his costume.  Hijikata pauses and watches him go.  His classmates chase after him.
"Hey! Ryu!  Come back here!"  Harada smirks after them and Hijikata looks bewildered.
"My class is deciding who will replace Yukimura in a very rowdy sort of way," he says apologetically.  "I don't think I can let them out of my sight right now."  Harada looks at Hijikata meaningfully.
"Fine, I guess it can't be helped," Hijikata sighs in exasperation.  (TN: you know you want to go, man...( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°))

"Don't give me any more troubles than I already have," Harada smiles after him.

Back in Chizuru's neighborhood, Hijikata rings the doorbell.
"Yes?" answers a despondent sounding Chizuru.
She opens the door to see Hijikata standing there.
"Hijikata-sensei," she says in surprise.  She steps outside and speaks to him but she can't seem to meet his gaze.
"How is your condition?" he asks.
"My condition..." she responds quietly.  "My physical condition is fine."
He sighs.  "You were scared back then."
She shakes her head.  "No, how could I be?  I'm fine."  He takes a good look at her, and she still can't look him in the eye.
"I will protect you!" he declares suddenly.  (TN: I think my <3 just skipped)
She looks up at him wide-eyed.  "What?"
"I mean--" he says nervously and turns around and walks to the end of the front entrance.  "I meant it's my responsibility as a member of the Academy's educational administration.  I would protect any member of Hakuo Academy's student body.  So under those circumstances of course I was ready to do my utmost, with all my ability and save you.  As for the others, all of them just really wanted to save you so that's what brought them there."  Hijikata looks up to the sky.
"So no one would ever say it was your fault."  He turns to face her.
"Yukimura," he says seriously.  "Come back."
"Hijikata-sensei."  Chizuru seems moved by his words.

That night, Heisuke and Okita are eating at the local diner when his phone rings.  He checks the screen and chuckles, "I really don't want to pick it up."
"Who is it?" asks Heisuke.  He puts his phone down and shows him the screen.
"It's Hijikata-sensei?  That's rare.  He's actually calling you.  Aren't you picking up?  If you don't he'll hang up."  He picks up the phone and hands it to Soji.  "Here.  Take it."
"What's up?" Soji answers the call.  He smiles and puts the phone down.
"What?  What's happened?"  Heisuke questions.
Soji texts something on his phone.  "I can't keep such happy news to myself."

On the day of the festival, the students happily make it through the gate as Saito and Kaoru monitor them.  They all greet "Good morning!" as they pass by.  Saito looks up to see Soji walking in.
"Good morning, Soji," he greets.
"Good morning," he answers, and then turns to stand with them.
 "What are you doing?" demands Kaoru.
"Nothing," Soji answers.
"Hey!" says Harada-sensei coming up behind them wearing a rather girly apron.  "Morning."
"Morning," they greet.
"Why are you also here, Harada-sensei?" asks Kaoru.  "And what's with that apron?"
Harada looks down at the pink frilly apron.  "Isn't it cute?" he asks.
"Good morning!" says Ryunosuke cheerfully as he makes it to the entrance.  He also stands by and waits with Harada.
"Not you too?" asks Kaoru.  Ryu just grins.
"What are you all up to?" Kaoru demands.

They watch as Kazama and his posse stride up the walk and join them.
"It can't be..." says Kaoru incredulously.  Kazama takes his place from the gate post.  (TN: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA)
"This vantage point isn't bad," says Kazama.  Amagiri bows in greeting, while Shiranui shields his eyes from the glare.
"Hey," says Kaoru.  "You're not supposed to stand up there."
"You're so noisy, little dwarf," Kazama responds.
"D-Dwarf..?" Kaoru stammers.  Before he can retort, Heisuke joins them.

"Morning y'all!" he greets.  He too stands with them and waits.
"Heisuke," says Harada.
"Eh? Toudou-senpai?" asks Kaoru.  "You came alone?"
"Soji," says Saito.  "This is different from what you told us."
"What's exactly going on here?" demands Kazama.
"You guys, I'm not even that sure myself," Soji responds.
"Just what the heck is going on here?" demands Kaoru.

"Everyone!" Heisuke interrupts and points down the road.  "Presenting in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0--!"  Yukimura Chizuru is running and panting as she turns the corner towards the entrance.
"Chizuru!" exclaims Kaoru.
"You came," says Saito.
"I knew it," says Okita.
Kazama gives her a nod.

"What's up with you, Chizuru," her brother reprimands. "Missing school for so many days, and when you do come, you run here gasping for breath.  How unladylike is that?"
"All right, all right, Nagumo," interrupts Ryunosuke.  "You'll have to forgive her this time, ok?"
"Good morning!" she beams.
"Good morning, Yukimura," smiles Harada.
"Good morning, Chizuru-chan," Soji greets.
"Chizuru, you finally came," smiles Kazama.  "We've been waiting long for you."

"Hey you bums, just how long do you intend to stand at the entrance?" demands the grumpy voice from behind them.  Hijikata spares a smile for Chizuru and she smiles back at him.
"Well, Hakuo Festival begins now," he announces.
"Right?" smirks Soji.
"All right!" says Heisuke.
"Yes," responds Saito.
"You all don't get in the way of me talking to my younger sister--" starts Kaoru.
"Ok, ok, okay...that's enough Kaoru," interrupts Ryu.

"Let's go," says Hijikata leading the way.
"Let's go then, Yukimura," says Harada.

"Um--!" Chizuru calls out after them.  They all turn.
"I'm really happy that I'm acquainted with all of you.  From here on, please continue to look after me."  She bows.

"Hey you guys, hurry up!" shouts Nakagura with Itou, Sannan and the class rep from Shinpachi's class.

"All right!  Let's go!"  Hijikata orders.
"Yes, sir!" responds Saito.
"Yes!" responds Chizuru.  As they dash off, Kazama shouts down.
"Hey, wait a moment!"
Shiranui and Amagiri look up at Kazama.
"Kazama-sama," says Amagiri.
"Hey, Kazama!" Shiranui calls out.
"I knew how to get up here, but getting down is another matter...."  Facepalm.

~Episode 6 [Final] End~

So I really did like this series.  It was hilarious like I said for Hakuouki fans.  This was more of an expose of the potential routes you could take in the game rather than any particular couple romance.  Of course, Hijikata, Saito, Soji and Heisuke, as well as Kazama carry feelings for her that seem to transcend space and time.  But the theme seems to be that in this different time, they are content to just be together again.

Unfortunately, I don't have a PS Vita, so I can't really say if the SSL game is worth playing.  I don't know why they don't port the darn thing to the PS3.  But I hear good things about it, and I hope otome fans give it a shot.  I can't wait for the movie (2/6/16)!!  Trailer below.

I know, I know... I'm such a fangirl....

Hakuouki SSL - THE MOVIE!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Hakuouki SSL (Sweet School Life) Episode 5

I can't believe it's only 6 episodes!  One showcase for each romantic route I guess.  Aw man, I'm going to miss all this eye candy running around in kimono and hakama and modern wear.  How cute would this be as a 20 episode slice of life drama??  Then if it follows the path of the SSL game (Hijikata route) we could have Chizuru becoming a teacher at Hakuo Academy in the end!  Oh wells....

But at last we have a movie coming out....

Hakuouki SSL (Sweet School Life) Episode 5, [For the Sake of A Comrade] Runtime: 25 minutes

Kyoto, 1864

We left off in this timeline at the point where Chizuru gets stabbed.  (TN: Yikes!)  She gasps in pain as the members of the Shinsengumi are at a standstill.  Hijikata watches in horror.

What if we lived in a different time from this one... would our fate be different?

(TN: could have totally done without the ENTIRE recap this time around, but meh...I'm sure they wanted to parallel the past with the present and rub it into the audience's eyes for good measure in a not so subtle way....)

This time the scene of them approaching the inn is in black and white.

"This is the place," says Hijikata as he stops the other Shinsengumi members in the wet street.  "This is where they're hiding."
"We have to hurry inside, Hijikata-san," says Heisuke.
"Keep calm, Heisuke," he warns.
"But--"  He pulls out the glass vial of red liquid.
"Hey now," warns Harada.
"You cannot use that," orders Hijikata.
"But if I do, we can have the power of a demon on our side."
"Yet you won't be a real demon," warns Okita.  "And the exchange is your life force."
"Even as it drains your life force it will drain your humanity until you can no longer be considered human," says Hijikata.  "Are you fine with that?"

Heisuke puts it back into his lape.  "Fine, I get it."

"I'll take the lead," says Saito quietly.
"Understood," responds Hijikata.
"I'll back up Hajime-kun," volunteers Heisuke.
"Counting on you, Heisuke," says Harada.  "I'll guard your backs, as usual."
"Thanks, Harada," nods Hijikata.
"Then I guess I'm with Hijikata-san," says Okita calmly.
"Soji," he warns.  "Don't be too hot-blooded in there."
"I'm not the only hot blooded one among us," he smirks.

They storm the entrance and the door guards are immediately taken down.
"Hijikata Toshizo and the Shinsengumi have arrived!" the commander announces.  The first two fly in and take down the door guards.
"Now's the time," says Saito crossing swords with a ronin.
"Go!" shouts Heisuke holding the front for Hijikata and Soji to head upstairs.
"You better be prepared...assholes!" says Harada, coming in with his spear slung over one shoulder.

"Damned Shinsengumi! Come at me!" shouts a ronin as Hijikata and Soji approach the stairs.
"Outta the way!" roars Hijikata.
"Let me handle this," says Souji calmly before walking slowly up the steps and lashing out at his opponent with lightning speed.

Hijikata makes it to where Chizuru is being held.
"Yukimura!" he calls out before running to her side and taking off her gag.
"Are you alright?" he asks.  She nods but shouts for him to look out when a shadow approaches on the other side of the room.
"Behind you!"
"Bastard!" shouts the ronin bearing down on Hijikata.
"Hijikata-san!" she shouts.
"You actually came all the way here to rescue this girl!" the ronin scoffs.  Hijikata cuts him down expertly and turns to her.

"Let us depart," he says calmly.  He kneels and offers his hand, which she takes.

Downstairs while fighting the horde, Heisuke asks, "Do you think Hijikata has rescued Chizuru?"
"I have faith in Hijikata-san," says Saito absolutely.
"Soji is also there," adds Harada, running someone through.  "Don't you worry."

Heisuke spots her on the stairs and calls up to her.  "Chizuru!  Chizuru come down!"  He takes down another ronin.  "Chizuru!  Hurry!"

She seems frozen on the spot.  Okita pushes back his opponent and kicks him down.  "Go on ahead," he smiles at her.  She nods and races down to Heisuke.  Another ronin comes at him.  This time both Okita and Hijikata are preoccupied with their own attackers.  Okita sees that Hijikata has been brought low and kicks the enemy down.
"Thanks," says Hijikata.
"No need.  Even though I hate you, if the commander fell here, Chief Kondo would be sad.  That would be unacceptable."  With a nod of mutual understanding they continue to fight.  Soji notices Chizuru scared and huddled in a corner behind Heisuke.

"Chizuru-chan.  Let me be the one to protect you," Okita says gently.  He dispatches his opponent and calls to Heisuke, "Take Chizuru-chan out of here first!"
"Got it!" says Heisuke, but he's being held back by a burly guy.  "Go!" he shouts to her over his shoulder.   She partially complies but is distracted.
"Look out!" shouts Harada.  This is where she gets stabbed.... (TN: Ugh...really?  I do lament that Chizuru is rather a useless heroine in the game as well....)

Aaaannnddd...we are back where we began.  OMG they wasted 5 minutes on recap??

Harada takes down her attacker and Chizuru falls to the ground, still gasping.  Saito is suddenly in front to guard her.
"Yukimura," he says calmly.  "Are you alright?"  (TN: aside from being stabbed?  Yes, she's peachy)
She gasps a response.  "I'm...f-fine..."  (TN: In the game, Chizuru is from a powerful demon lineage and has extreme healing capabilities.  Unless you stab her in the heart or slice off her head, she probably would survive....)  "I'm just feeling a little weak."

Saito holds back another attacker as Chizuru watches helplessly.
"I do not wish for you to die," he says calmly.  He dispatches his opponent swiftly and looks down at her.  They share a nod.
"Just hang in there a little longer," he says gently.  She gives him a weak smile.  He takes down another opponent.

Once I love a woman, I will not let her die.

Modern Day, 2015

OMG more recap....

Ibuki lies unconscious in an alley.  Kosuzu is with him, trying to get him back to his senses.
"Ibuki-kun!  Ibuki-kun!"  Ibuki opens his eyes.
"Are you alright?'
"I---" he says quietly and then curses.
"What's wrong, Ibuki?" asks Saito who happens by.

Harada and Sen are making their way back to the scene.  He calls Hijikata first.
"C'mon, pick up!" he mutters.
Hijikata is just walking out of the administrative office when his phone rings.
"What's up, Harada?" he asks
"Yukimura's gotten tangled up with a group of unsavory people.  You said it before, right, those kinds of bastards that can't be forgiven."  Hijikata hangs up and races out of the building.

"Are you Ok now?" asks Kosuzu, cleaning up Ryunosuke's face.
"Ryunosuke!" says Harada.
"Harada-sense!" says his student, bowing slightly.  "I'm so sorry."
"Where did those thugs take Yukimura?" demands Harada.
"Saito-senpai is chasing after them."

Meanwhile, said thugs are dragging Chizuru along the backways of town.
"It hurts!" she shouts but it falls on deaf ears.  "Let go!  Let go of me!!  I said LET GO!!"
"SHUT UP!" shouts the leader.  Chizuru freezes.  "If you're not quieter...heh, you get it, right?" her captor purs.  All his minions chuckle.

"Stop," says a voice behind them.  They turn and see Saito, having caught up with them.
"Saito-senpai!" Chizuru calls out.
"Let the girl go," he says calmly.
"Hah?" says a minion.  "What'd ya say, pretty boy?"
"Ya wanna fight?" asks another.
"Quit it," commands the leader.  He measures up Saito with a glance.  "You won't be able to beat him."
"Let me take care of this guy," says the leader.  "Until I return you guys are not to lay a finger on the girl.  UNDERSTAND?!"
"Yes!" they answer in unison.
"Let's go!" they shout and depart.
"Come on, girl!" says a thug as he pulls Chizuru along.
"Saito-senpai!" she shouts at the top of her lungs.

The gang leader and Saito get down to business in the tunnel.  The mohawk gets into position as a feint, and Saito quickly reacts in turn.
"Calm down," he leers at Saito.  "Let's make the first shot count."  (TN: one strike to determine the winner).

Saito unties his shinai from its cover and positions himself.  The match is quickly determined with Saito pointing the tip of his shinai at his opponent's throat.
"Where did they take the girl?" he asks with deadly calm.

"Saito!" shouts Harada, catching up with him.

Back at school, Okita is smiling at the picture of Chizuru he took on his phone.
"You were here," asks Heisuke, approaching.
"You haven't gone home yet?" asks Okita.
"I'm still exhausted from practice.  Hajime-kun was especially overpowering today.  Hajime-kun is really merciless."
"Huh, Heisuke, you somehow seem to be in a really good mood," comments Okita.
"It's a huge turnaround from earlier."
"When all's said and done, I am me.  I can't change that," he responds simply.
"I've decided!" he announces, standing up.  "If I like a person or hate a person, it doesn't matter.  It doesn't matter how that person sees me either.  After I set my mind on it, I can only firmly be myself."  Okita stands with him and grins.

Suddenly his phone rings.
"Huh.  It's Hajime-kun.  That's odd."  He picks up the call.

Meanwhile in the Student Council room, yet again....
"My bride," he says to the portrait on the wall.  "What are you thinking right now?  For you, what is it that I can do?"
"Kazama!"  Shiranui rushes into the room.
"What's wrong with you? Coming in so disheveled?"
"I just heard some news from Amagiri."

Cutscene to Saito and Harada who have located Chizuru at the gang hideout.
"Harada!" says Hijikata, catching up with them.  "And Saito, you as well."
"I just followed my instinct and found myself here."
"So is Ibuki alright?" asks Hijikata.
"Yeah," says Harada.  "I left him with Yukimura's friends."
"Where is Yukimura?" Hijikata asks.
"She's over there," answers Saito.  As they head towards their destination, a voice calls out.

"Hold up!" says Heisuke.  Both he and Okita have brought their shinai.
"You two as well," comments Hijikata.
"They too have followed their instincts," explains Saito.
"We made inquiries and it seems there are quite a few thugs inside," comments Harada.
"This is an emergency," states Saito.  "We must respond as quickly as possible.  Since there are so many of them inside we should have a set number of people for the job."
"So be it," says Hijikata.

"Hey," says Heisuke.  "Where's Shinpachi-san?  Wouldn't it be better if he were here?"
"I've already called him," says Harada.
"Ah, that's good," says Heisuke, relieved.
"And yet he's still not here," comments Hijikata in agitation.
"I think he went to watch the races," sighs Harada.  "So his phone was shut off."  Heisuke groans.

"We can't wait," says Saito.
"Ah," agrees Hijikata.  "Let's go!"
(TN: getting a little nostalgic for the Shinsengumi in the game, who, for the most part died off one at a time as you continued any particular route.  It's kind of touching to see them in action again in modern times)

They race into another alley in between warehouses.  He stops in front of the building, their formation exactly the same as the scene in 1864.

"This is the place," says Hijikata in a glance.  "This is where they've taken Yukimura."
"We should hurry inside, Hijikata-sense," says Heisuke urgently.  "Otherwise..."
"Calm down, Heisuke," Hijikata orders.
"But..."  Heisuke pulls a red vial from his pocket.  (TN: wtf was he carrying that for...?)
"You--" starts Harada.
"This is something Sannan-sensei gave me before we left.  Even though I've said I didn't want it before..." replies Heisuke.
"It looks like something that would shorten your life after drinking..." comments Okita.
"Even though I don't fully understand it, it does seem a little frightening, doesn't it?"
"When faced with a decision that could alter your lifespan, follow your instincts if it tells you it's a bad idea," warns Hijikata.
"Got it," answers Heisuke, pocketing the elixir once again.

"Hijikata-sensei," says Saito calmly.  "Let me lead the attack."
"Ah, as you wish," Hijikata allows.
"I'll go with Hajime-kun," volunteers Heisuke.
"Then as usual, let me cover the exit," says Harada.
"I'm counting on you, Harada," agrees Hijikata.

"Well then, that leaves me following Hijikata-san, then," smirks Soji.
"Don't be overly impulsive, Soji," Hijikata warns.
"But are you sure it's ok for you to go in like this, Hijikata-san?  I suppose there was a reason Saito made me bring this," Soji pulls a second shinai from his bundle.  Hijikata looks uncertain.

"This is not violence," suggest Saito. "Because we are doing this to protect Yukimura."  Harada and Hijikata are both given a weapon.
"What, you couldn't bring a staff?" mumbles Harada.
"Huh?" asks Heisuke.  "Why would you ask that?"
"Heh, funny I'm not sure.  It just felt like I should ask," says Harada.  (TN: his past life is calling to him....)
"But, it does feel a bit nostalgic, doesn't it?" says Heisuke, pulling out his shinai.  "To see Hijikata-sensei and Sano-san take up swords like this.  It really makes you think of the past."

"Let us hurry then," says Saito.
"That's right," says Heisuke.  "We can't continue dawdling like this."
"Let's go!" Hijikata orders.

The doors to the warehouse slide open and they rush in.
"What the he--" but before the thug can finish, Saito takes him out and Heisuke is not far behind.  The shinai make a distinctive "crack" sound as they whack their targets.
"The f**k!" shouts a gang member.

Hijikata and the others saunter inside.  Ah, the badassery. (TN: fangirl squeal)

"Who the hell are you?!" a guy demands.
"We're members of Shiei Hall!" Hijikata announces.  (TN: Shiei Hall was Kondo Isami's poor country dojo where most of the main members of the Shinsengumi met, befriended each other and trained before they became the "Wolves of Mibu" for the Shogun and then officially recognized as the Shinsengumi.)  Saito and Heisuke immediately attack.
"Now is the time," says Saito to the others.
"Go!" shouts Heisuke.

"You'd better be prepared, you bastards!" says Harada covering the exit with his shinai slung over one shoulder.
"What the hell is going on he--! says another thug coming up from the back but Heisuke smacks him over the head while Saito finishes him off.  Harada just pushes the falling thug aside.

The rest of the thugs pull out weapons and attack in earnest and it becomes an all out melee of fists against shinai.  Hijikata and Soji make their way towards the stairs when a thug in sunglasses at the top shouts, "Hold it right there!  I don't care if you're from Shiei Hall or whatever the hell hall.  If you got balls then come up and fight me!"
"Move!" shouts Hijikata but Soji stops him.  "Let me handle things here," he says calmly.  He makes his way up the steps calmly and then suddenly lunges at the big guy who blocks with a big wooden plank.
"What are ya gonna do, bastard!" the thug threatens.

Hijikata runs across the empty second floor and frantically shouts for Chizuru.
"Yukimura!  Hey!!"  He looks around and sees some wooden platforms leaning against the far wall.  He pulls them away and finds her tied up and gagged on the ground.
"Yukimura!" he calls out and helps her sit up.  He unties the gag.  "Are you alright?" he asks.  She gives him a nod.  Hijikata proceeds to help untie her rope when she cries out, "Behind you!"  Hijikata blocks an attack from a metal rod just barely.
"Hijikata-sensei!" she calls out.
"Stay there!" he shouts.

"Just for this woman you came here and made such a ruckus," he sneers.  Hijikata pulls out a piece of wood from the ground and whacks the guy's knee.  His assailant falls back and stumbles, giving Hijikata the opportunity to knock him down for the count.  He turns to Chizuru.
"Let's go."   Still scared, Chizuru firms her resolve and gives a nod, getting back onto her feet.  She takes the hand he offers and follows him out.

Downstairs, Heisuke and Saito are up on higher ground, still holding firm against multiple opponents.
"Do you think Hijikata has rescued Chizuru?" asks Heisuke.
"I have complete faith in Hijikata-sensei," Saito responds calmly.
"Soji's also there.  Relax," says Harada as he takes a thug into a chokehold.

Heisuke spots Chizuru at the top of the stairs and calls out to her.
"Chizuru!"  She hesitates as she stands behind Hijikata, who is taking on another thug up top.
"Chizuru!  This way!" Heisuke calls out again.  Okita dispatches his opponent and looks over to her.
"Go on," he smiles.  She gives a hesitant nod and hurries down.  Just as she makes it to him Heisuke is attacked again and she cowers behind him.

Okita takes out the large guy in sunglasses and notices Hijikata has been knocked into a crouch on the floor.  He is about to be struck by a thug but Soji quickly takes him out.

"Thanks," says Hijikata, catching his breath.
"No need," says Soji.  "I really hate you.  But Kondo relies on you the most.  So if that's the case, I can only approve."  He and Soji share a glance before confronting other thugs.  Soji notices Heisuke down below and Chizuru watching him anxiously.
"Heisuke, you're monopolizing Chizuru," he complains.
"Talking here won't do any good," grumbles Hijikata, locked in battle with his opponent. "Be careful not to get hit!"
"Please.  How on earth could I possibly get hit?" Soji asks nonchalantly.  He takes out his attacker in a series of blunt force trauma.
"Chizuru, I'll be the one to protect you," he smiles at the downed man. He calls out to Heisuke.  "Hey, hurry up and take Chizuru out of here."  He and Hijikata are again attacked.
"I got it," Heisuke responds, still struggling against his opponent.  Heisuke holds back his opponent and calls back towards her.  "Go!"

Chizuru makes her way to the door and pauses to look back, but someone rises from the ground and attacks her with a switchblade.
"Look out!" yells Harada from further away.  Heisuke turns to see it coming.  Chizuru is frozen in place and panics.  They all stop and watch it happen in slow motion.
"Yukimura!" Saito calls out to her.

Total cliffhanger.  Fade to credits.

~End Episode 5 ~

I actually like the end theme [Refrain] sung by Blu Billion.  

Friday, January 22, 2016

Hakuouki SSL (Sweet School Life) ~ Episode 4

Hakuouki SSL (Sweet School Life) ~ Episode 4 [The One I Should Protect], Runtime: 25 minuntes

Kyoto, 1864

The episode recaps the same night of the rescue of Chizuru, who was taken hostage by a group of ronin, by the Shinsengumi.  They rush down the street and stop when their leader gives a signal.
"This is the place," says Hijikata .  "This is where those criminals are hiding."

They storm inside.  "The Shinsengumi have arrived!"  (TN: Will never tire of this shot....)

Hijikata:  Even if it costs me my life, I will protect Yukimura....  I will definitely protect her!

Saito: This is something the Shinsengumi must do....

Heisuke:  Chizuru....  I'm going to rescue Chizuru!  I absolutely will... I will get you safely out of here!

Chizuru:  If we existed in some other time different that this one... would our fates be any different?

Harada:  Any bastard who dares harm Chizuru, don't care who the hell ya are, we will not forgive you!

Harada drives his spear into someone, making a squishy sort of sound.
"I told you, don't worry!" says someone in the background.

Okita: My precious Chizuru-chan...  yes...that's right... that's why... that's why...

"Chizuru-chan," he says gently when he sees her trapped in a corner behind Heisuke.  "Let me protect you."
He leans over the railing to Heisuke.  "Take Chizuru-chan out of here first."  (TN: Wut? But you just said---)
"I know!" says Heisuke, but he seems to be struggling with his much bigger opponent.  He turns to Chizuru.  "Go!"

Chizuru finds her legs and dashes behind him, heading towards the door.  She is startled when she sees another ronin charge at Harada with a loud battle cry.  She suddenly forgets to run.

Harada turns to see someone approaching her.  "Look out!" he shouts.  All the members of the Shinsengumi pause at the urgency in his voice and watch in horror as someone stabs her with a kodachi.   (TN: don't know why he chose his short blade, but maybe he was disarmed earlier? Or maybe a katana would be overkill... But who stabs a girl in a sword fight? She's not armed!)  The thrust takes her breath away and she is too shocked to scream.  (O_O )

Everyone in the room freezes.  She gasps for air.
Harada viciously slices her assailant in half.

Modern Day, 2015

On a wall of Hakuo Academy a sign reads [ 7 days until the Cultural Fair!]  The students of Class 1-1 discuss their plans as Ryunosuke takes charge of the meeting with Harada-sensei watching on.
"The inside of the cafe will be decorated.  Let everyone confer how they're going to do it, but make it a little more feminine."
"Like how a guy thinks a girl's room should look like?" (TN: b/c you've never been in one, virgin?)
"I'm sure there are differences of opinion on that topic between guys and girls," Chizuru says doubtfully.
"So tomorrow let's confirm the idea one more time," suggests the class representative.
"Oh, one more thing," she presents her sketch pad to them.  "For the maid costume, let's go with this."

Flashback to the last episode where a half naked Hijikata was advising her on the specs for the dress.  (TN: In RL, Hijikata Toshizo was known around Kyoto to be very well dressed.... maybe he's channeling his inner Tim Gunn)
"It's good!  It's good!" say the guys in unison.
"So we don't upset members of the Disciplinary Committee I changed it up a little bit.  I can make this."
"Then, we leave it to you," says another classmate.  "If we made it, it might look a little weird."  They all laugh together.
"It'd be really ugly," laughs another.  He points to himself, "This is also really ugly."  Everyone laughs again.  (TN: Japanese comedy)
"I can also make everyone else's costumes," Chizuru volunteers.

Harada interrupts, "Even though I don't think there's anything wrong with this costume design, but just to be safe,  we should run this by the Disciplinary Committee advisor, Hijikata-san."  She hands over her note pad to Harada-sensei.
"Thank you very much," she smiles.  Her smile is infectious and he smiles back at her.

It's evening at the Yukimura residence and Chizuru brings a serving tray into her room for her friends.
"Here are your snacks!"
"Thanks so much, Chizuru-chan," says Sen.  (TN: Sen-hime was a demon princess of a Kyoto based clan.  Her clan is in tact and her lineage as old as Yukimura Chizuru's.  Chizuru is the princess of a fallen demon clan)
"Sorry to put you through the trouble," the other girl adds.
"Don't worry about it," says Chizuru.  "I haven't seen you two in such a long time, Sen, Kosuzu.  I'm really happy!"  (TN: Kosuzu is Ryonosuke's love interest in both the anime and the Reimeiroku game)

"How's life at a private academy?" asks Sen.
"Yup.  The teachers and students really look after me," replies Chizuru.
"But getting back to the point, Chizuru-chan," says Kosuzu, "doesn't Ibuki-kun attend Hakuo Academy?"
"Yes.  He's in my class."
"REALLY?" she shouts.  "Then, do you have his picture??"
"Picture...?  Ah!  I have a group photo of our class."  She reaches over to her phone and opens up the home screen to reveal Harada and her classmates posing.  "There he is," she points.

"That's him!  Ibuki-kun!" smiles Kosuzu.
"That's your sensei?!  He's so cool looking!" exclaims Sen.
"Chizuru-chan!  Next time invite me over to see Ibuki-kun, won't you?"  Chizuru is speechless.  Sen changes the subject.
"Actually, we were harassed by a band of ruffians a while ago.  But Ibuki-kun, who was just passing by, took care of them quite decidedly.  It was this guy, Ibuki-kun."
"Eh...this Ibuki-kun?" points Chizuru.
"Even though his legs were trembling something fierce at the time," adds Sen.
"That just goes to show he's a courageous man, doesn't it?" asks Kosuzu.  She turns to Chizuru.  "Come on!  Chizuru!  Pretty please!"
"Eh, heh, heh, heh...." Chizuru laughs nervously.

Back on the roof of the school Heisuke is making short work of some Pocky sticks.  He STILL can't get over the fact that Hijikata walked Chizuru home.
"UGH..." he sighs in frustration.  "If this continues it's gonna be all weird.  But even now I can't seem to stop it."

He sighs.  Someone sighs after him.
He turns to see Nakagura sitting on a bench further away.
"Right now for the first time I actually regret being a teacher," he laments.
"Why do you say that?"
"My class is hosting a haunted house event for the school cultural festival."
"Ah, Shinpachi-san, you've had this phobia from a long time ago."  Nakagura sighs heavily.
"But, is this something normal people would regret being a teacher over?"
"To be worried over something like this... another wouldn't be able to take this seriously."  He walks over and takes his Pocky. (TN: The nerve!)

"Scoot over."  Nagakura sits next to him.  "What's wrong with you?" he asks.  "Sitting alone here sighing to yourself.'
"Heisuke," says Nagakura frankly.  "Is something bothering you?"

Meanwhile, Chizuru is reading her notes and making her way down the stairs at school.
"I need to go to the marketplace to buy the materials.  Would they sell plastic boards though?
As she's talking to herself a voice booms out.
"My bride," says Kazama.  She turns to see him at the top of the steps.
"Kazama-senpai!"  HE makes his way slowly down the steps.
"After dining together, we meet again, my wife."
"Dining...?"  She thinks back to the time he sat in front of her for lunch.  "Oh, you mean in the cafeteria!"

"I heard your class is going to present a maid cafe."
", yes, that's true."
"So you must be wearing a maid uniform?" he asks.
"Yes, I will."
Kazama smiles.  "Then let me give you one."
"Listen to me with pleasure.  Let me give one to you, one worthy of my family name my bride will inherit; the most exquisite maid uniform."
"In exchange," he takes her hand.  "Let me be the only one to see you wear it."  (TN: kinky....)  He leans in.  "Do you understand?"

She just stares at him blankly.

"Kazama," calls out Shiranui.  He and Amagiri appear at the top of the steps.  "Don't go running off like that."
"We have searched long for you," says Amagiri.  "If we are to finish the Student Council work done on time, it would be a hardship."
"Don't get in my way, you guys.  Once they hear the news my bride was going to be wearing a maid outfit, all the boys will be squirming in their seats."

"Um..." Chizuru interrupts.   "Though it makes me grateful that you would be so considerate..."
"Isn't it, though?!" Kazama exclaims happily and rushes up towards her.  "Chizuru, my bride... be my exclusive maid."  (TN:  Rated "M" for Mature...)
"I can't," she answers politely.
"This is my homeroom's event, so it's wouldn't do that only the Student Council president gets to see it."  She bows.  "I'm sorry!"

Kazama looks like he's about to cry and his minions carry him off.
"That's too bad, Kazama," says Shiranui.
"Let us depart, Kazama-sama," says Amagiri.

"Yukimura," calls out Harada-sensei from the top of the stairs.
"Harada-sensei!" she greets.

Back on the roof, Heisuke is trying to explain himself.
"It's not really bothering me," he says to Nagakura.  "It's just something that I can't seem to think through."
"Is it one of those problems where you don't understand it, so nothing is clear kind of thing?" asks Nagakura.
"Yeah, that feels about right."
"So it's like that.  It might be better to stop thinking about it at all."
"Stop thinking?"
"You're the type that acts intuitively rather than spends his time thinking about it, right?  When you're anxious, the more you think, the more frustrated you become.  That in turn brings about more troublesome things, and that causes more agitation.  That's how it is."
"Yeah.  Truth," says Heisuke.

Nagakura gets up and smacks him on the arm.
"That hurt!"
"Although I don't know what it is in particular, just try going with your gut.  Compared with haunted houses, I still like being a teacher.  Hahaha.  I'm out."  He walks off.
"Sure," says Heisuke, feeling better after their "man talk."
"It's no use if I keep moping about it," Heisuke says to the sky.

In the faculty office, Itou-sensei is designing a poster for the school festival.
"Is Harada not here?" asks Hijikata as he enters.
"Ara.  If you're looking for Harada-sensei, he said he had to step out for a bit.  He just left in fact.  Why, what's up?"
"Nothing really.  I just wanted to discuss the modifications to the maid cafe uniform."  He looks down at Chizuru's sketch and it seems Harada drew a pair of gym pants on the maid.  O_o

"Ah, I heard Harada-sensei's class wanted to present a maid cafe stand.  If Yukimura-san wears a maid uniform I'm sure she'd look very cute."  He says it almost jealously.  Hijikata seem uncomfortable and instead looks down at the sketch.
"Itou-sensei," says Hijikata, "it seems the program is almost ready."
"Ara, before I am an art teacher I am an artist," Itou responds. "No, I am an artist."  (TN:  Itou uses the word "artist" in English as a pun on the word "artist" in Japanese) "I would never do anything halfway."
"I recall last year someone couldn't make it in time and completely missed the Hakuo festival..." begins Hijikata.  "Who was that?" he asks menacingly.

Itou gets on his hands and knees and begs for forgiveness.  "Forgive me, Hijikata-san!  This year I, Itou Kashitarou, will absolutely, with complete devotion, wholeheartedly complete it.  Please wait a bit longer, sir!"  He strikes a pose (TN: he freezes on the ground in a pose) and Hijikata just walks away without a word and before Itou notices he's already left.

Harada and Chizuru go shopping at the outdoor mall together for supplies for the event.
"Thank you so much for helping me!" Chizuru says.
"It's nothing.  But seriously, you bought a lot of stuff," says Harada, holding several bags himself.
"Is it all related to the maid uniform?"
"No, not all of it.  The bags you're holding have to do with the interior decorations."  (TN: Why are they making Chizuru do all the work?)  "Ibuki-kun will come with me to get the remaining table settings and related paraphernalia."
"I see.  Then, I guess I'll take these back to school.  You can go ahead and go home."
"Is that ok?"
"Ah, see you," says Harada.  She bows and starts to head off when she hears a loud crash down the side street Harada just took.

"Omigosh!  Are you alright?" asks Chizuru rushing to his side.  He's spilled out the contents of his bag all over the floor.  "Are you alright?" she asks again as they gather the items from the ground and accidentally bump heads and then break into laughter.
"Man, what luck," he chuckles.
"I'll help you clean up this side," she offers while giggling.
"That's fine."
"There a lot that fell out from here," she comments. From a distance Saito observes and feels a bit uneasy.

"What is this?  Why is my heart pounding?"  He hand goes to his chest.   "What's with this uneasy feeling...uneasy...uneasy...."  He trails back down the steps backwards.

Back in the Student Council room, Kazama pounds a hand on the wall next to Chizuru's picture.
"My bride, what is it that I can give you?  What kind of surprise can I give you?"
"You should give up," suggests Shiranui.
"Don't blame me for being frank," says Amagiri.  "Giving someone a gift as a bribe to win over their affections is rather abject behavior."  Shiranui nods in agreement.  Kazama merely pouts more.

Meanwhile, Harada-sensei has made it back to school with his homeroom's festival materials.
"Oh, Harada," says Hijikata from the top of the steps.  "I've been waiting."
"Hijikata-san," greets Harada, lugging the bags over his shoulder as he clears the stairs.
"What's with all the stuff?"
"These are our class' maid cafe decorations," Harada replies.  "I went shopping with Yukimura."
"With Yukimura?" Hijikata asks angrily.
"What's with that reaction?

"What? Tch, idiot. What reaction?"  He points down the hallway. "Let's head over there and talk."  
"As the one responsible for our homeroom class, I accompanied her so she wouldn't be molested by unsavory people," prods Harada.  "That's why I went."
"If there are guys who would actually do that, that would be unforgivable," Hijikata comments darkly.
"Are you saying that from purely an educational administrator's point of view?" smirks Harada.
Hijikata turns on him.  "Shut up! What are you implying?"  He walks off in a huff and Harada just has an amused expression on his face.

Cutscene:  Ryunosuke and Chizuru are waiting by a fountain.
"Yukimura," says Ryunosuke dejectedly, "Let's just go home."
"We're already here, what are you talking about?" she demands.  "They're a pair of really good girls."
"I didn't save them so I could be introduced to girls," he responds.  Ryunosuke gets up to leave.
"Hey! Wait up!  That's fine. We can just go shopping for the rest of the tableware for the maid cafe."
He grumbles.

"Chizuru-chan!" calls out her friends Kosuzu and Sen.   Kosuzu hides behind and Sen says, "Hey, properly introduce yourself."
"Kosuzu-chan," says Chizuru, "Let me introduce him to you.  This is my classmate, Ibuki-kun."  She pushes him ahead of her.
"H-Hey," he says shyly, with a little bow.
"I'm Suzuka Kosuzu," she responds shyly.
"I'm her older (foster) sister, Suzuka Sen," Sen introduces herself confidently.  "It's nice to meet you.'

Kosuzu beams at him and Ryunosuke shifts uncomfortably.  But soon they are both hitting it off very well.
"Ahahahahaha!" he laughs.  "Did you know?  The ocean sunfish' weakness is right here," he points to the front of his face.  (TN: wtf?)
"You don't say!" says Kosuzu, enchanted. "You know so many things!"
"And this is not something I learned in biology class," he says.  "It's something I heard from my art teacher!"  They laugh.

"Those two are getting along splendidly," comments Sen as she walks behind them with Chizuru.
"For sure.  Ibuki-kun and Kosuzu-chan seem really happy together.  That's good," agrees Chizuru.
"And what about you, Chizuru-chan?" asks Sen.
"Isn't it about time you found a guy you could also walk down the street with like this?"
"No," protests Chizuru.  "I haven't even thought about something like that."  They are suddenly interrupted by Ibuki calling out.

"What the hell, you guys?" he says threateningly.  They've walked right into a street gang, apparently.
"Ibuki-kun," says Chizuru with caution.  Dude with a blonde tipped mohawk steps forward.
"Was it this little shit that stuck his nose where it don't belong?" he asks.
"Yup," answers another.  "That's him."
"How's it goin', Your Highness?" asks another.  "We've been lookin' for ya."

"W-What the hell?" responds Ibuki nervously.  He gets pushed.
"Let's not cause a ruckus, nitwit," says one of the thugs.
"Who ya callin' nitwit, nitwit?" argues another.
"Move aside!" yells the leader, pushing the minions away.
"Hey," he smiles at Ryunosuke.
"What?" Ryunosuke asks nervously before he gets punched in the face.  The girls scream.
"Ryunosuke!" yells Chizuru.  Ryunosuke is down for the count.

"What's wrong?" shouts the leader at Ryunosuke's back, but Chizuru suddenly steps in front of him, shielding her classmate.
"What up, woman?" the leader asks.
"Pl-Please stop hitting him," she responds bravely.
"Move aside."
She holds her position.
"I SAID MOVE!" he shouts.  Chizuru flinches but slaps him hard on the cheek.
"What the hell?!" the other's shout but the leader holds up a hand to stop them.
"Go find help!  Hurry!" she yells to Kosuzu and Sen.  The girls dash off and the gang starts chasing but the leader stays them.

"Let them go," he says.  He turns to leer at Chizuru.
"I like you," he smiles.  He grabs her and pulls her away, and she struggles.
"Let go of me!" she cries. "Let go!!"  The others just laugh as they follow behind.  "Hey! I said let go!!" Chizuru continues to cry out.  Kosuzu is hiding behind the wall, holdig her hands to her ears but stays behind to make sure Ibuki is OK.  (TN: Awesome friend you are to forget your real friend who is being held hostage, or worse...)   Sen is the one who runs off to look for assistance.  She frantically finds no one around until she spots Harada-sensei and recognizes him from the photo.
"It's him!"
Harada stares at her curiously.

"Ibuki-kun!" she cries out, shaking him.  "Ibuki-kun! Ibuki-kun!!"  Ryunosuke wakes up in a daze with a cut lip.
"Are you alright?"
He shoots up.  "I..."  But he hangs his head and curses, "Shit."

Just then, Saito walks by.
"What happened? Ibuki?"
"Saito-senpai," he says desperately.

"Yukimura?!" demands Harada.
"Yes!" says Sen desperately.
"Where's Ryunosuke?" Harada asks.
"Over there!" she points.  In a flash they are both racing back to the scene.  As he runs, Harada calls someone on his cell phone.  No one picks up.
"Hurry up," he mutters under his breath.

Hijikata walks out of the administration office and picks up his cell.
"Oh, Harada. What's up?"
"Yukimura's run into some trouble," Harada explains while running.  "You said so before right, those types of guys can't be forgiven? Those are the guys who have her."
Hijikata hangs up and races out of the building.

Kosuzu is helping clean up his face but Ryunosuke just sits there dejectedly.
"Are you OK?" she asks quietly.
"Ryunosuke!" says Harada, catching up with him.
Ryunosuke stands up and looks ashamed.  "Harada-sensei.  I'm sorry."
"Where did those bastards take Yukimura?" Harada asks.
"Saito-senpai is currently pursuing them," he answers.    Harada looks down the alley and glowers.  (TN: I have to say I found Harada's actor pretty hot in this episode...) 

~End Episode 4~

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

This song...

This is the first time I've heard it (I didn't watch season 2 remember?)  OMG my feels!!!

Yeah, I know, where have I been right?  I just found this song while I was scrolling through some music on the net and TT___TT .......'s #chiharata FTW....  I'm gonna go ugly cry in a corner...

Akane Sora... 茜空Madder Red Sky

Description: 2nd season ending

Transliteration: chokoreeto

Translation: karice - hot chocolate in a bowl

Performed by: Seto Asami (Chihaya Ayase)

Lyrics: coffa

Music composition: Shin'ya Yutaka

Music arrangement: Shin'ya Yutaka

akaneiro ni somatteku sakamichi
ashi o tomete tatazumu sonna hi wa/One day, on the hillside road painted a vivid red,
I pause my footsteps and stand still for a while.

koko ni inai kimi o omoiukabete
miushinaisou na michi o sagashitemiru yo /In your absence, thoughts about you float to my mind, 
And I search for the path that seems so easily lost.

ima kimi ga doko ni ita tte
kawaru hazu nai yo ne
kokoro wa itsu demo tsunagatteru /Wherever you are right now,
I doubt that things would change

Our hearts remain connected, even now.

tooku hanareteite mo wasurezu ni ite ne
ano hi kanjita jounetsu futari de kasaneta yume
akaneiro no sora nijindeku yuuhi
ue o muite aruiteikou /No matter how far apart we are, please never forget
The passion I felt in you that day, the dream the two of us built together
As the evening sun bleeds into the madder sky,
Let’s turn our gazes upwards and keep moving forward.

ano hi wa mada kizuki mo shinakatta
konna ni mo taisetsu na deai datte
butsukattari naitari mo shita kedo
kakegae no nai toki o sugoshitekita ne /On that day I had yet to realise
just how important a meeting it was
We’ve clashed a lot and cried as well
But the time we’ve passed together has been irreplaceable

ima kimi ga nanimo iwazu ni
yarou to shiteru koto
dare yori chikaku de mimamotteru/And now I watch over you,

Closer than anyone,As you wordlessly strive for what you are trying to do 

sou shinjiteru kara ne akiramenaide ne
negaitsuzukete ima hora hitotsu ni kasanaru yume
akaneiro no sora shizundeku yuuhi
furimukazu ni aruiteikou /I believe in you, so please do not give up
Continue pursuing the dream that we now share
As the sun sets in a madder sky,
Let’s not look back and keep moving forward.

tooku hanareteite mo wasurezu ni ite ne
ano hi kanjita jounetsu futari de kasaneta yume
akaneiro no sora kazesoyogu kisetsu
utainagara aruiteikou /No matter how far apart we are, please never forget,
The passion I felt in you that day, the dream that the two of us built together
In the season that stirs the wind in the madder sky,
Let’s raise our voices in song and keep moving forward

akaneiro no sora shizundeku yuuhi... watashirashiku aruiteikou/

As the sun sets in a madder sky,
Let’s just be ourselves and keep moving forward.

Does this have a karaoke version??