The Let's Play Archive

Conception Plus: Maidens of the Twelve Stars

by Psycho Knight

Part 53: PK finally breaks – Conception: The Anime (Episodes 4-6)

Special Update III: PK finally breaks – Conception: The Anime (Episodes 4-6)

Back to this nonsense once more. In the last update of this kind, we took a look at the first 3 episodes of the Conception Anime adaption and found out that some… liberties were taken with some of the characters, among other things.

Despite that, and the overabundance of Mana, the first few episodes were largely pretty boring. Ruka’s complete change of character was probably the most egregious thing we saw. Everything else was mostly rushed exposition that tried to set up the remaining (limited) runtime of this anime as quickly as humanly possible. Even then, they still had to constantly refer the audience to go check the website and read up on shit themselves in place of explaining it within the show.

…Okay, we’ll get to that in a minute. Point is, the show has so far been boring as sin and fairly bland. With the exposition out of the way, will the next 3 episodes manage to conjure up something of interest? …Probably not, but hey, maybe it will manage to piss us off or offend us in some way that would clear the way for mockery and entertainment.

Now, what the actual shit is going on with this opening of Episode 4? Did one of the local girls sneak into Itsuki’s room for some sexy time?

Oh dear god, no! NO! Stop doing that, Conception: Anime! That’s horrifying!

So Episode 4 cold opens with some romance novel… thing. There’s a woman wearing a Mana mask and the story talks about how this dude that looks exactly like Itsuki (he’s shown with a blue tie instead of Itsuki’s red tie at one point, other than that he’s identical) met her. It also sets up other scenes where Not-Itsuki is clearly fucking different women, including a lady that meets him in the park, the manager of a store, a peasant girl and a governor from what looks like the Feudal period (the governor guy doesn’t even look like Itsuki in this… so I don’t know what the fuck), Not-Itsuki being dominated by a dominatrix, a girl in a school swimsuit (worryingly labeled as “Girl *** Student”).

I’m just going to stop there. You get the idea. It’s being presented as though we are playing an ero game or 18+ rated VN. This goes on for the first full minute of the episode until Itsuki interrupts Mana as part of a fourth-wall gag.

That gag actually proceeds straight into the episode, with Mana chasing Itsuki to a church, where he locks himself in to find shelter from Mana’s weird role-playing shit. Mana then reveals that this was her plan or some crap.

The church is where he encounters Arie.

Arie seems to be presented pretty much in line with how she appears in the game. The kids are crowding her and being whiny, as kids are known to be. She’s polite and kind and all that. Not really anything to talk about so far.

Also we get to see that yes, Mana was indeed reading from an erotic novel and creepily self-inserting herself and Itsuki into the stories.

Anyway, because that scene with Arie had lasted for 60 seconds, we jump cut to a scene of Itsuki trying to battle his way through a big crowd for some reason. Mahiru is standing by, but decides to leave when it looks like Itsuki isn’t going to be able to get through the mob of people. He eventually fights his way out and reveals that he was trying to buy snacks of some kind. He spots Yuzuha looking at the mob of people, but when she sees Itsuki looking at her she bolts. He chases after her, but loses sight. Yuzuha spies on him from behind a tree though.

Itsuki is then shown sitting down on a park bench eating his… sandwich? Bread? Some kind of snack or another. He wonders about Yuzuha and if she had a chance to buy lunch, at which point Mana drops another one of those erotic novel collections out of a tree and then starts offering him “advice” on which setting in the book might be a good fit for Arie. There’s a brief shot where I think Itsuki realizes that Mana is getting her “knowledge” from porn, but I highly doubt we’ll see him start to ignore Mana. It’s probably just a passing sight gag.

Itsuki somehow manages to find where Yuzuha lives. He gets her attention by saying that he brought her some bread, since it looked like she didn’t get the opportunity to buy any herself.

Yuzuha seems to fit her game representation pretty well. She seems more frightened by Itsuki as opposed to shy, but the result is basically the same with her being introverted and kind of a downer.

Yuzuha reveals that she was looking to buy some bread not to eat, but to use on her paintings. Apparently, bread works well as an eraser or something. Yuzuha also mentions liking Onigiri, so I guess I should give credit for the writers knowing that obscure fact about her.

There’s a brief cut back to Mana, who is sitting in a field of flowers reading passages from the ero-novel. Also the camera focuses in on her lower half, her chest, and her mouth (with lip-stick) as if it’s trying to be sexy, which I guess is the gag.

One thing that this episode is really starting to shine a light on is how much runtime is wasted. The show is clearly crunched for time. It was crunched for time the second that someone said “We’re doing a harem show with 13 women, it’s going to be 12 episodes, and also we need to set up a JRPG plot because we’re marketing a game.” Despite that, we still get (very) frequent 1+ minute scenes with Mana being Mana.

Back to what is important… sort of. Yuzuha does start showing some of her downer traits and being self-depreciating, so her anime counterpart seems to be pretty faithful. We’ll see how long that lasts. Oh, and yes, of course she starts doing the “onii-chan”/big brother thing. You really think they would leave out that?

The rest of the scene is a condensed version of Yuzuha’s first few bonding events. It covers her job as a painter, her not liking to go outside, getting painting ideas from her dreams, and also her coffin bed. Notably, the anime gives us a brief line where Yuzuha says that she named her coffin (Katrine) in order to make it sound cute. I don’t think that has a basis in the game itself, but I’ll admit that it is a nice addition.

From there, the scene fast forward through the next few bonding updates. Or maybe skip is the better way to describe it. Yuzuha goes straight into talking about how she hasn’t been dreaming as much lately (I think this is implied in the game to be because of Itsuki’s involvement in her life). Then they make the plan to go to the park, then we cut to the park.

Not going to lie, I thought this was somewhat funny. The game doesn’t give us a good idea of just how small Yuzuha is and how massive a coffin would be when being carried by her.

Yuzuha drags her coffin along, just like in the game. Although in the anime she tells (and shows) us that she decorated it to make it look more cute (it’s very glittery and also has a pink bow on top of it).

Now, here’s where that scene that I thought was cute takes a sudden turn. Yuzuha giving her coffin bed a name to make it sound cute? I don’t have any issue with that. Yuzuha is a very lonely girl and doesn’t have much contact with people, so personifying an object that is central to her daily life makes sense in terms of the illusion of socialization.

Dressing it up and making it cute? I’m not as okay with that, especially since Anime Yuzuha is blushing and smiling while describing it. If you’ll remember what Reone told us during Yuzuha’s final few bonding events, the reason she carries that coffin around and sleeps in it is because she anticipates dying every time she goes to sleep (due to her disease) and she wants the “cleanup” to be as convenient as possible for whomever discovers her so that she doesn’t cause trouble for anyone. It’s morbid. It’s very morbid. It’s also depressing. I don’t really like how goofily the anime treats that.

Stupid kid and her stupid mom are in this scene as well, although the context has been changed to make it a misunderstanding. Yuzuha runs off back home and cries in her coffin because she thinks that the child and the mother were weirded out by her and (by extension) Itsuki. Yuzuha feels awful because she thinks that Itsuki was made to feel like a weirdo due to him hanging out with her. This is how it goes in the game and it is slightly important for showing that Yuzuha’s feelings of alienation are not completely without merit.

But the anime changes that. How? Well, the stupid kid and her stupid mother in the anime are not pointing at/gawking at Yuzuha or her coffin. You see how their eyes are looking upwards and the little girl is pointing up instead of at Yuzuha?

Yes, in the anime the reason why the girl and mother point and gawk is because Mana is hanging out in the tree trying to disguise herself as a bird in order to spy on Itsuki (also she’s humping the branch in that screenshot). Yuzuha just thinks that they are talking about her because she didn’t see Mana up there being weird.

On the one hand, this does make the people of Granvania look slightly less like assholes compared to the game. That part is fine. But on the other hand, this also implies that nobody thinks any differently about Yuzuha and she’s just overreacting and being paranoid that everyone is laughing at her behind her back. I don’t think I like this change, at least not for the sake of a minor gag.

After that, Itsuki goes to the church to pray and repent for (in his belief) being responsible for hurting Yuzuha’s feelings. Arie finds him and explains Yuzuha’s condition to him.

She also explains why Yuzuha carries the coffin around with her and why she doesn’t want people around. It sounds like it’s almost line-for-line what Reone says in the game. It’s not a big deal that Arie is the one giving this explanation to Itsuki (I realize that they need to divide screen time between the Maidens however they can), but it does strike me as weird. It makes sense for Reone to tell Itsuki all of this, because Reone is the doctor that delivers Yuzuha’s medicine and checks on her condition. How did Arie, a nun, come to learn all of this?

Either way, that scene ends and Arie disappears again. I think this is supposed to be a shared episode between Yuzuha and Arie, kind of like how episode 2 was Ruka/Mahiru and episode 3 was Reone/Farun, but we are now two thirds of the way through the episode and Arie hasn’t really had any time devoted to her as a character. We were introduced to her (a second time) and then her next scene is talking to Itsuki entirely about Yuzuha.

Anyway, the scene cuts and Itsuki finds Mana working on a coffin as an apology to Yuzuha for that misunderstanding in the park. Itsuki thinks it’s a great idea and brings it to Yuzuha’s house to show her. Itsuki talks about how he will support her and be there for her and all of that. They show the two having fun together outdoors:

They also talk about the Pisces constellation and how it’s fitting for Yuzuha since it’s the faintest, and doesn’t stand out, and its shape is uneven. She also wonders why it’s considered part of the zodiac even though it doesn’t have a third magnitude star (the answer is that that’s not how the zodiac works. Remember the Ophiuchus talk we had?). There’s also constellation puns:

Continuing on from that, Yuzuha’s entire route is basically wrapped up as she tells Itsuki that she will fulfill her duty as a Star Maiden and seems to have a new lease on life. This is followed by a very brief Love Ritual scene (yes, Yuzuha is naked for this as well and doesn’t seem the least bit shy). We don’t get to see the Star Child that’s created though. Instead, the scene cuts to Mana giving a gift to Itsuki and explaining that he should take it to Arie (there’s like 2 minutes left in this episode, I should mention). Itsuki gets to the church but Arie doesn’t seem to be there, until…

I will give the anime points for making Arie’s hidden room actually look hidden, though. It’s basically just a section of the wall that slides open.

Arie quickly changes the subject away from her secret room and back to Yuzuha. Itsuki gives her the gift that Mana gave him to give to her. He says it’s thanks for the advice she gave to him. Then Itsuki realizes that he never actually looked inside the box, which is the dumbest thing you could do after getting something from Mana.

Turns out it was a perfectly normal gift though. Who knew?

For fuck’s sake… of course it’s not. Yes, Mana included a whip in the gift box and I guess now apparently the anime is going to characterize Arie’s weapon-collecting thing as a dominatrix fetish.

Go drown in sewage, Conception: Anime.

So ends Episode 4. We spent 85% of the episode talking about Yuzuha and going through her entire character arc from the game, and then the only thing we see of Arie is a “funny” scene suggesting that she’s secretly into sadist stuff, even though (according to the game) that’s a Mahiru thing.

Episode 5 opens up with the big crab we fought just a little while ago, which means that Itsuki and the kids are tackling the Cancer Star Labyrinth at the moment. Noticeably, he has added a bunch of new Star Children that we were not introduced to at any point, such as a Paladin and a Berserker.

After killing the big crab, a scene happens where that loud roar is heard (they are still in the dungeon at this point, instead of the game version where they are standing outside). Apparently Itsuki and Mana are already aware of the roaring by this point, because Itsuki says “Again?” when it happens.

Itsuki talks about how he hasn’t had time to spend with the Maidens to make more Star Children because him and the kids have been fighting constantly. Mana then talks about having arranged a “summer fling” to remedy that, so I guess this is going to be the beach episode.

Also, does something stand out to you a little bit in that screenshot? Maybe the very modern looking road?

Yes, the anime clears up the weird technology vagueness that the game has been giving us and just shows that Granvania is fucking identical to Earth. They’ve got cars and modern highways.

Also, Alfie is coming along for the trip! You might be asking, “Why is Alfie coming along? Did we miss something where she became the Ophiuchus Maiden?” Nope!

It’s because the Star Children get to go along as well! Look at those little monster slaying bastards.

As soon as we come back from the opening, Mahiru mentions that Mana prepared swimsuits for all of them. However, before anything else can be said, we hear someone calling out.

Seiya is in this episode! Remember Seiya?

Good stuff. Also he has a convertible. We’ve left behind basically all pretense of this being a fantasy world at this point. This is Japan, pure and simple.

I wanted to include this screenshot because it’s the Star Children and I love when they get screentime. The Star Children make a bunch of comments on Seiya, like how they think his clothes are ripped up (he has his shirt left open to show off his bod), or how they think he’s creepy, or that he looks weak. One of the Star Children even says they could beat him in a single hit.

Itsuki wonders who Seiya is and Mana explains how he’s the idol of the academy.

Unlike the game, Anime Seiya doesn’t only have eyes for Lillith. Mahiru mentions that he has apparently been hitting on all the Star Maidens. Lillith is simply his current “target”. Farun mentions that Seiya used to spend every night at the bar where she works, drinking (I guess Seiya is exempt from the MINIMUM DRINKING AGE! DO NOT VIOLATE! law?). Mahiru mentions that before he was doing that, he was following her around.

Lillith isn’t quite as hard on him in the anime. She says that he’s not exactly a bad person, it’s just the kind of personality he has. Lillith then says that all they can do is wait for him to just give up.

Anyway, the group wonders how Seiya managed to find out about their beach—It was Mana. Come on. I don’t even need to finish that sentence. You know Mana is behind it.

Yes, there’s straight up cell phones and social media in this world too. We’re not even going with the “Star Energy Communication Device” thing. There’s just smart phones and internet.

Anyway, we get a rundown of everyone in their swimsuits. Alfie’s is completely different from what she wears in the game, though (maybe it hadn’t been finalized when this episode was being animated). The design isn’t bad, but that colour combination doesn’t look great. I’m not a fashion person though, so maybe I’m wrong and that combo “works”, who knows? Also we can see that Sue is still in her cosplay gear. Itsuki is wearing standard trunks, in case you’re curious. No speedo for him.

The Star Children are apparently here to train, not have beach fun.

Anyway, this is apparently going to be the Lillith episode. We get some scenes of the other Maidens playing and tanning and eating and enjoying the beach, after which we cut to Itsuki sitting down with Lillith.

I’m not going to bother describing the Maiden scenes in detail anymore. I’ll just point out anything that is weird or different from the game. Lillith immediately talks about her having had a bad fortune in regards to water, which is why she’s not swimming, so I’m pretty sure we’re just going to be running through every other portion of her character route during this episode, like what happened with Yuzuha and Mahiru.

You know who is rocking a speedo, though? Seiya is. Also he has a selfie stick, because this is fucking modern day Japan, not the magical fantasy world it’s supposed to be.

One thing that does stand out here is that Lillith apparently thinks that Seiya’s narcissism is because of her fortune telling. We get a flashback scene where she tells Itsuki about how she answered Seiya’s question about his “fated partner”. Seiya talks about how he knows that the Star Maidens are virgins and that that must mean they have to remain pure, but that they still must be free to fall in love despite their duties.

There’s a shot of Lillith looking into her Crystal Ball during this where we see Seiya looking at Seiya, implying that Seiya’s “fated partner” is himself, which I thought was a decent sight gag. Anyway, Lillith mentions that Seiya is the biggest narcissist and playboy in this world and Itsuki wonders how that can even be. Lillith then loses her shit because she thinks he’s calling her fortune telling a sham. She starts to cry a bit and there’s a brief cut to a fruity island drink or something. When it cuts back—

Yeah, it’s Lillie. I want to point out that it doesn’t seem like Lillith got hit on the head or shocked/surprised. The switch just happens because whatever.

Lillie starts freaking the fuck out about what Itsuki did, and he just explains that he doesn’t believe in that fortune telling stuff. Lillie then talks about how Lillith’s fortunes are never wrong and all that, then she hits herself on the head to bring Lillith back out in order to prove the accuracy to Itsuki. Lillith wants him to try it as well. Itsuki agrees to go along with it if it satisfies the two of them.

I’ll admit, while I do think that Lillith/Lillie completely overreacts to Itsuki not buying the fortune telling thing, Anime Itsuki is also being kind of a dick in this scene with his insensitive attitude. It’s a bit weird. Even if you don’t buy into fortune telling, it is Lillith’s profession. It’d be different if she was scamming people, but she’s just running a little street business kind of thing for mostly love-struck students, so he doesn’t need to be so “Pshaw” about it in front of her.

Lillith tells Itsuki’s fortune, although what she sees is shocking or surprising enough that she won’t tell Itsuki and immediately turns around to scrawl a note to Lillie while basically telling Itsuki that “You know what? My fortune telling is a sham! Yeah, let’s go with that.” Lillith then switches back to Lillie.

There’s a minor scene in the middle of this where Mana is massaging sunblock onto Seiya’s back. I’ll spare you that screenshot because it contains Mana. The two of them are concocting some kind of plan and Mana is getting something out of it (a watermelon, I think). Not sure what Seiya is planning.

When we get back to Lillie, her and Itsuki are talking about the fortune. Lillie finds the note that Lillith wrote to her and explains what Lillith couldn’t bring herself to say: Itsuki has the “seal of death” on him. He’s apparently fated to die in the near-future. Itsuki is… pretty nonplussed about that actually.

I do like this sight gag.

Lillie gets mad because Itsuki doesn’t seem to care, but Itsuki rightly points out that there’s not really anything he can do about a fortune like that. If that’s what is meant to be, then that’s just what’s going to happen. Not like he can react in any way to a fortune like that since it’s vague as fuck.

I don’t really want to talk about what’s happening here.

The rest of this scene is quickly devolving into a clusterfuck. Itsuki tries to get Lillith to tell him details about how he’s supposedly going to die, like when, where, and through what method he’ll bite it, but she says she can’t do something like that because the Maidens are supposed to assist the Visitor and… I don’t even know. Somehow Mana fisting Seiya over on the beach (his speedo comes off and it’s clear Mana made him climax, so something happened) proves that Lillith’s fortune telling is accurate and Itsuki apologizes for not believing her.

Anyway, Itsuki’s belief in her gets Lillith to look into what they can do to save Itsuki’s life. Mana is implied to have some hand in the results of the fortune. Lillith turns beat red and writes a note to Lillie, then we cut to Itsuki naked in the Love Ritual bed with Lillie. The Love Ritual happens and then I guess that’s all for the beach/Lillith’s screentime.

Pull-ups are nothing for Paladin.

The next scene brings us to the training camp with the kids and Alfie. A Merchant Star Child is now in the group, so I guess that was the result of Itsuki/Lillie’s session.

Alfie is a slave driver. Although I guess she kind of is in the game, too.

Weirdly, Arie is also part of this scene. She’s hiding behind some nearby crates wearing sunglasses and spying on Itsuki with binoculars.

I really despise what this anime is seemingly doing to Arie.

Alfie gets weirdly affectionate when she sees Itsuki drop by and brings him out some tea.

This was a real-world tie in with a restaurant in Tokyo. They had the tea, as well as special merchandise to promote the game/anime.

Also Seiya is here now too. I assume he’s spying on Arie, because there’s still been no mention of Alfie being a Star Maiden, so I doubt he’d be here because of her.

This isn’t Arie, Conception Anime. You’re taking her “weapon hobby” thing, which existed for roughly 2 events, and stretching it out to compose her entire personality while also cranking it up to 11. Fuck off with this.

Itsuki gets the same idea (of Seiya being after Arie) and summons his sword to try and chase Seiya away. Arie gets flustered and runs off, claiming that she is not Arie (she was wearing a “disguise”). Itsuki just decides to continue chasing Seiya.

I will admit that I like this thing of the anime turning Seiya into a rival/foil of Itsuki. Not sure if it will continue or if it will only exist for this one episode, but it is nice. I mentioned this a ways back in the game: I didn’t like the fact that Itsuki never had any male side character to interact with. A “Chlotz” of his own, if you will.

The next scene (yes, we abandoned Alfie midway through that scene to switch to Arie instead) is Arie picking up a Naginata she had ordered from the weapon shop. The only reason I include this screenshot is because the shop owner makes an appearance and actually gets some lines. More than he gets in the game.

Also, Arie explains that the reason she ordered the weapon was to be closer to Itsuki in spirit, since the Star Maidens can’t actually fight the impurities. I like the idea behind that line, but I hate the fact that Arie’s character has been mangled in the process.

We also get a brief shot of Arie in her “forbidden room”, where she has the “creepy/sinister” look and refers to the weapon she just picked up as “Naginata-chan”. Fuck this show for what it’s doing to her. I cannot stress how much I hate this character mangling. Yeah, it’s mostly a personal hatred because I really like Arie. I’ll admit to that. I definitely wouldn’t be getting worked up if this was Tarua. But I’m the one that has to watch this so I’m damn sure going to openly complain about it in-update.

We cut to Seiya again, who is still trying to dodge Itsuki. He ducks into the church where Arie is praying and Seiya apparently explains to her what’s on his mind (we don’t really hear what is bothering him, but it’s something related to love). Arie’s counsel seems to be a relief to Seiya. Arie then says that because he shared his secret with her, she feels as though she has to share her secret with him.

No, I am most certainly not shitting you. Arie reveals her “BIG SHAMEFUL SECRET” to fucking Seiya at the drop of a hat. We also get a close up shot “nudge nudge wink wink” thing before the shot above where the anime tries to suggest that Seiya is fucking Arie from behind.

Uggghhhh… Yeah. Arie gets upset that Seiya isn’t good at swinging around the Naginata, then he slips in some of his own sweat and somehow falls off the table on top of Arie. Itsuki hears Arie call out and rushes to the church, which leads to wacky misunderstandings. Seiya tries to hurriedly explain the situation to Itsuki and clear up the misunderstanding, Arie is relieved that her naginata-chan isn’t broken, and Itsuki starts telling Arie not to worry and that he’ll still support her even if she’s no longer a Maiden.

Yes, the anime is doing this scene. A scene where Itsuki thinks Arie was raped/sexually assaulted and now he’s trying to tell her that everything will be okay because he’ll always be there for her, even if she’s “ruined”. Am I reading into that? Fuck no! Mana floats around Arie sniffing her and then holds up an “Okay” sign while telling Itsuki that everything is totally cool, she’s still a virgin and she still hasn’t even kissed anyone yet, so she hasn't been ruined. That is 100% what the show was doing.

Fuck this show. It took until Episode 5, but I’ve finally reached that point.

Can’t believe I still have 5 minutes of this episode plus another 20 of the next one before I can be done with this for another few weeks.

So Arie explains things by showing Itsuki (and Seiya, who is also still around) her weapons room. She is worried that Itsuki thinks it’s creepy, but Itsuki thinks it rules. Arie then starts getting hot under the collar as Itsuki picks up a spear and starts posing with it.

This goes on for a bit. The one thing notable about this scene is that Seiya is there and excitedly taking pictures at Arie’s request. He doesn’t seem to have any animosity towards Itsuki, which I think is nice (assuming it continues that way for the rest of the series). As I said, the game was really missing a bumbling friend for Itsuki. It also helps to make Seiya look slightly less like a jackass and more like a lovable loser.

Anyway, I’m trying to distract myself from this godawful excuse of an adaption of Arie’s route. She’s talking to her weapons and about how they want to be embraced by Itsuki and Mana is there and I hate it all.

There’s also a scene where Arie talks about the naginata being a ceremonial weapon for weddings and that she wants it by her side for their (her and Itsuki’s) wedding (she doesn’t say that last bit, but that’s what is implied to be leading to). Itsuki stops her to point out that a real naginata looks different than what Arie had earlier picked up. Mana then shows her a picture of a real naginata (the one Arie has looks like a yanyuedao, or maybe a glaive) and also mentions the Firearms and Swords Control Act (Mana says that Arie would be arrested for carrying around a weapon like that on Sola).

Let’s just finish the damn episode so I can take a break… Itsuki says that he’s relieved to see a hobby like this from Arie (or a frivolous side) because he found her hard to approach due to how serious she always looks. Arie is really happy that Itsuki accepts her hobbies and likes her a lot—

Then the Love Ritual happens where Arie acts as a total dominatrix by whipping Itsuki and getting turned on by it and FUCK IT! FUCK IT I CAN’T DO THIS ANYMORE! THIS EPISODE IS DONE! This stupid series completely decimated Arie’s entire character and mutated it into this abomination for the sake of desperately trying to be funny, which they still failed at. The only thing even slightly resembling sadist tendencies by Arie is her love of blades, and even then, she shows no inclinations towards getting pleasure from causing pain, with or without the weapons. She’s a goddamn nun that spends the majority of her route struggling with religious guilt about enjoying her weapon collecting hobby and feeling good during the ritual/her time with Itsuki. Where in the monkey-fucking shit did the writers conjure up this interpretation from?

There’s a post-credits scene where Arie meets with Seiya and gets some pictures of Itsuki and the weapons from him and then it’s implied that Seiya is secretly after Itsuki. There, episode over now!

Christ, what fresh hell is this?

Okay, we’re doing Collette now. At least I kind of hate Collette, so I don’t have to worry about a gradually building rage-quit that eventually explodes.

We’re told that Collette is pure and innocent, to the point that she thinks babies are delivered to the cabbage field by storks. We then see that this is Mana describing Collette to Itsuki, with the two of them hiding behind a nearby tree. Mana talks about corrupting her, but Itsuki is actually reluctant this time. He feels kind of scummy for doing something like the Love Ritual with Collette (as he should).

After the opening, Itsuki is in Collette’s bakery helping her out. I think we’re a third of the way into Collette’s route now and this is the first we’ve seen of her. This scene goes for a few minutes. It’s entirely about Itsuki wanting to help her out, Collette picking up on the fact that he’s doing that because of the Love Ritual thing, Itsuki denying that but also admitting to it, and then the two of them working together on making the bread.

I should note that Collette doesn’t really feel like Collette so far. Game Collette has a bit of an impish side to her. The “I’m so sweet and pure and innocent” thing is mostly an act she puts on. She’s more frank with Itsuki and is clearly more knowledgeable about “impure” things than outward appearance would imply. Her whole thing is acting like a little girl, but teasing the player that is thirsty for her with the fact that they’re chasing a goddamn child.

…Sorry, I’m still angry from last episode. I’m typing this as I go, so the last episode is still fresh in my mind.

Anyway, Mana is doing Mana things the entire time. Pretending to be Itsuki’s inner thoughts about defiling Collette and that creepy bullshit. It’s noteworthy that Itsuki is growing increasingly pissed off with Mana as the series goes on. There’s a scene here where he grabs Mana and pitches her out the window into the sky for muttering that stuff.

This is a 1-second shot that occurs after Itsuki and Collette talk about getting the bread ready to sell to Collette’s customers. I have no sweet clue what it means and the show doesn’t address it. It confuses me.

No customers show up and Itsuki tries to reassure Collette, but Collette mentions that it’s been like this ever since her grandfather fell ill. So Anime Collette apparently isn’t even good enough to run the bakery at all. There’s no mention of a competing store (yet). Collette just sucks at running a bakery in this version I guess.

The anime does give us a look at Collette’s grandfather though, or at least a picture of his younger days.

Collette seems depressed about her inability to draw in customers, Mana makes another appearance to destroy the mood and then we get the scene of Itsuki pitching her out the window for a third time (officially running the gag into the ground). Mahiru and Arie then show up at the bakery because they heard Itsuki was working here and they wanted to see if they could help out as well.

They both buy a bag full of bread and take their leave. Itsuki then declares that they will sell a lot of bread today. There’s a brief cutaway that shows Ruka out playing with the orphans at the orphanage, then it cuts back to the empty store again. Itsuki asks if there’s some reason why the store is deserted like this.

Alfie then comes by the bakery with the Star Children and they proceed to act adorable, as they always are. This brings a flash of light to my cold dead heart. Unfortunately I now know that the light will be fleeting.

Grappler says he wants bread, Berserker says she’s hungry, and Warrior gives Itsuki a look of anticipation/begging. Itsuki then has a look on his face like “Shit, there goes my money for the week” and caves, telling the Star Children that they can get as much as they want.

Itsuki looks through his empty wallet, but Alfie hands over a bag of money. I guess Alfie’s “focus episode” is divided into tiny chunks throughout the episodes, since she seems to show up and get little moments in-between the other Maidens a lot, instead of half an episode devoted just to her.

We then turn our attention back to why Collette’s bakery doesn’t get customers, but are once again interrupted by—

Great… these two morons. Are we about to cross over into Reone’s route here?

The two idiots introduce themselves as the “number one bakery in this country”. Yeah, that’s a thing that’s happening. These two guys are apparently from the company that produces the Lunch Packs (the vacuum sealed things that Itsuki grabbed in Yuzuha’s episode). They mention that their company has been looking for land for a new shop and Collette’s bakery meets all of their conditions. So yes, Collette is officially stealing Reone’s route and repurposing it.

The two are trying to pressure Collette into selling her shop to them. I think it should be obvious to everyone that the reason she doesn’t get customers is that these two are bullying people away or something. It’s all falling into place now.

The Star Children butt in to tell the two chucklefucks that they’re being too loud. I am really hoping that we get a scene of the Star Children beating the shit out of these two. Please, just give me this.

Unfortunately, no. Granted, what actually happens is at least sort of funny in its own right. The Star Children start chewing out the two guys for being rude. They call them losers for going around harassing girls like Collette and tell them that their mothers would be ashamed to see them acting this way. The children then happily talk about being grateful that they are Itsuki’s children, that Alfie raised them the right way, and that they won’t grow up to be adults like those two losers.

Then the two thugs run from the store in tears, shouting at the Star Children not to bully them.

The Star Children are the best thing about this adaption. Why couldn’t they have had scenes like this in the game?

Anyway, Collette finally explains that rampant capitalism is the reason why her bakery doesn’t get any customers (as well as why other bakeries have been closing down). The Lunch Packs are cheap and available in a bunch of different flavours, which traditional bakeries apparently can’t compete with.

Interestingly, Mana pops in to mention that Lunch Pack is a business owned by Femiruna’s family (so I don’t know who those two guys were as far as “corporate ladder” goes. Maybe franchisees?). Mana thinks that Femiruna might be able to help Collette out if Itsuki goes to her to make a request.

We cut to Femiruna, who says that there’s nothing she can do to help. It’s not her business after all, it’s her family’s (meaning her mother’s and father’s). She says that, while she understands the situation, she can’t let her personal feelings get in the way of operations. Itsuki begs her, but Femiruna rebuffs him. Just as she turns to leave, Itsuki grabs her wrist and begs her to listen to what he has to say. When Femiruna yanks her hand out of his grip, she loses her balance and falls backwards, striking her head off of a table.

This is not a good situation. …I wonder what happens to a God’s Gift when he’s culpable for unintentional manslaughter? They kind of need him to keep saving the world after all.

Itsuki is stunned and tries to wake Femiruna, but there’s no response and the title fades in to the bottom right corner as though we’re cutting to commercial break and there’s any semblance of tension as to whether or not Femiruna was seriously hurt (of course she’s not dead or concussed).

When it cuts back, Femiruna wakes up in a darkened storage room of some kind, I think. Itsuki opens the door with a paper bag on his head that has a single eye hole cut out. He starts walking towards her and Femiruna understandably starts freaking the fuck out at whatever this Hostel situation she now finds herself in is.

Not sure why the Japanese subtitles are in here. From what little Japanese I know, this seems to say roughly what English Sub Itsuki is saying. Maybe it’s intended to convey that his voice is being masked/disguised? Polsy will probably clarify this later.

Disguised-Itsuki leaves a basket of bread for Femiruna and tells her to eat it and rest up, then leaves. Outside the room, Itsuki and Mana talk about the situation (Mana was the one that suggested that Itsuki disguise himself). Itsuki and Mana say that Femiruna hit her head really hard and still seems dazed and confused, which she would be because, you know… SHE WAS FUCKING KIDNAPPED! Itsuki then asks if this was really a good idea, which NO! NO IT WAS NOT!

I want to be clear. Itsuki grabbed Femiruna to try and force her to listen to him, she tripped and struck the back of her head/neck off of the edge of what looked like a solid mahogany table (which knocked her out cold for what seems like at least an hour), and then Itsuki proceeded to drag her out of her home and stuff her in a dark windowless storage room while disguising himself like he’s fucking Faust from Guilty Gear.

Mana says that it’s the only thing they could do, because even if Itsuki is a Visitor, he might be sentenced to death if he ever physically hurt a Star Maiden. So I guess a God’s Gift would suffer consequences… although I’m still not sure what the hell would happen to Granvania at that point. Killing Itsuki would mean condemning the world to death. Star God doesn’t just replace a God’s Gift willy-nilly. It’s a 10-year wait for a new one.

Itsuki still feels guilty about what he did and is doing. Mana then says that if that’s the case, then he better take good care of her to make it up. Mana is sure that Femiruna will open up to him once she feels his sincerity. You know, like Stockholm Syndrome!

Also, Collette is an accessory to this crime. It’s her storeroom that they are locking Femiruna up in. Itsuki apologizes to Mana for thinking she was just some dirty racoon that was only interested in shacking him up with Star Maidens. As soon as Itsuki leaves, Mana reveals that Itsuki was 100% correct in his assessment of her. Mana is apparently using this situation as a way to get to Femiruna.

Look at her. She’s fucking terrified! She’s from the richest family in Granvania. She’s definitely thinking at this point that she’s been abducted as part of some kind of ransom scheme or something.

Femiruna then starts looking for a way to escape her new prison. She quickly discovers a small vent/window to the outside behind some bags. When she opens it, she sees nothing but open fields and mountains (she’s at Collette’s bakery in town, but because the storage room is at the back and facing away from the town, Femiruna thinks she’s been brought to some remote location in the wilderness).

Because she thinks there’s no escape, she stays in the room. Itsuki comes back with more of Collette’s bread and finds that Femiruna didn’t eat any of the stuff he left before. Femiruna starts freaking out a bit because she thinks Disguise-Itsuki is after her body (which Disguise-Itsuki doesn’t help by saying something like “I am worried about your body, but it won’t get better unless you eat”). Femiruna then understandably gets suspicious of the bread because Disguise-Itsuki keeps telling her to eat it and she thinks it could be drugged or something. She turns around and starts cowering in the corner, trying to fight the urge to eat. This sets up a gag where Collete quickly walks in, gets something off of a shelf, and walks back out (unknown to Femiruna).

I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I want to keep watching this episode.

We get a montage of different kinds of bread/sandwiches being left in front of Femiruna and her fighting her hunger. Eventually she’s laying flat on her back, dead-eyed, as Itsuki finds her and rushes over to try and get her to eat something before she starves to death. At this point he finally takes off the fucking disguise and explains that he’s trying to help her get better. He also apologizes for hurting her and says that he’s trying to make things right.

Of course this works on her, because Stockholm has completely set in. Femiruna thinks about how everyone else that gets close to her is always after her father’s power or wealth, but Itsuki seems different and seems to passionately care about her (HE KIDNAPPED YOU AND FORCIBLY CONFINED YOU! FOR WHAT SEEMS LIKE A FEW DAYS AT LEAST!).

Yes, they set up Itsuki feeding Femiruna some bread so that it sounds suggestive.

I think I’m done. The Arie thing last episode pissed me off because it was assassinating a character I really like in the game, but this, this is different. This is offensive. This show just gave us half an episode where the hero kidnaps a woman he nearly got killed or paralyzed or potentially brain damaged (unintentionally, but still), locks her in a basement against her will in a desperate attempt to save his own ass from the consequences, doesn’t seek medical help of any kind, disguises himself as part of the desperate attempt to dodge responsibility which leads to the mental torturing of the woman (who thinks she’s been kidnapped and could be killed or raped at any moment), and culminates in the woman thinking that the hero’s batshit creepy insanity is actually a sign of deep passion and caring. Then the show nudges us in the ribs and goes “Heh!? Heh!? The dialogue makes it sound like she’s blowing him. Get it? Open your mouth wider? Swallow it all? Did you choke? Take it slow? Are you getting it yet? It’s funny! You’re such a perv, viewer!”.

It gets a little worse after that, with Femiruna starting to act like a fussy child, but I don’t want to go on. I’m just done with this. This isn’t an adaption of Femiruna’s supposedly “masochistic” side. It’s not. I’m sure that’s the excuse the writers of the show would throw out, but it doesn’t fly. This isn’t funny, or cute, or endearing, or romantic, or whatever. This is disturbing. This is disturbing even before you start thinking about the underlying implications of what kind of message is being sent. “It’s okay to do this, because eventually the person will learn to love you. It’s goofy romance stuff!”

In case you’re wondering, since the episode basically forgot about Collette’s bakery situation, near the end of the episode Collette’s grandfather runs in and implores her to take his bread recipes and get ready for the academy festival or some crap. We also get a brief shot of Narcisstes discovering (presumably) the whole 13th Labyrinth thing.

There’s no rating this time. I don’t think Episode 5 or the latter half of Episode 6 deserve that extra effort.