Anime Review: Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid

Spoiler Alert.

Don’t read this if you’re under 18.

Year: 2015
Length: 12 Episodes + 6 Specials
Genre: Ecchi, Action, Yuri, Adult, Fantasy
Story: 5/10 and Characters: 7/10

Set on one of many artificial islands, Mermaid; Mamori and Mirei first encounter each other shortly after arriving on the island, and they are quickly attacked by two members of WΓ€rter, the governing body of Mermaid.

As the fight plays out, the two witness the strange powers of the inhabitants of the island. Everyone can classify as either an Exter, which means they can transform into a weapon, or a Liberator, the one that is needed to initiate the transformation and also the one who wields the weapon. As the carriers of a mysterious virus that can only stricken women, the inhabitants of Mermaid are stuck on the island without knowing why they have to live isolated, nor who put them there.

Despite knowing what many people think of this anime, I have to admit that the introduction sounds quite promising, especially since I love my yuri paired up with some action and mystery. The execution, however, could have been a bit better.

So first of all, I know that we were all shocked when the first episode aired, showing uncensored boobs, girls making out with each other heavily, and said girls literally having sex on screen. We were all expecting some ecchi scenes, but no one was expecting to see something as graphic and… uncensored.

Well, let’s say the show had a good start, since the impact this non-censorship introduction had was quite big. I wouldn’t call it hype, but I’m pretty sure Valkyrie Drive managed to get quite a lot of people excited with the simple method. However, as we all know, with ecchi shows, there usually comes many, many problems, and the same applied to Valkyrie Drive.

During the first half of the show, there was little to no real plot involved. The whole thing was a big stringing together of filler episodes, which simply served the purpose of showing us as many different girls with big boobs as possible. Seriously, some characters even got a whole episode for themselves, yet they didn’t serve any other purpose then showing up like once more for a split second for the rest of the show. Well, after all the fillers, the real plot slowly surfaced. Of course, we couldn’t expect that much, I mean, we all know where this show is coming from and just from looking at the cover, you pretty much understand that you just can’t expect an intricate story. Still, as weird as some of the many twists of this show were, I really came to like it.

Though, I still need to list the one thing that bothered me throughout the whole show:

Why are they always just waiting and staring while the other two get ready to kick their asses? Just interfere already, or you’re dead!

I guess my mentality of watching this with only half of my brain functions working helped quite a lot, since I seriously found the story of the second half of Valkyrie Drive intriguing and gripping even. I found myself eagerly waiting for the moment Mirei and Momoka would finally meet, and the road to this moment was really well done. It involved the conflicts we all saw coming, but even though the story often appeared to be predictable, it still held some surprises.

Though, we shouldn’t focus too much on the plot, since the real appeal of the show was definitely its characters. As always, I can’t help but express my love for Mirei. I guess it’s the combination of the badass beauty that rarely speaks, plus the fact that she could be pretty adorable as well. That simply made me fall in love with her. I like her to the point that I’d even say that Mamori, as cute as the two are together, is simply no match for her.

Ah well, I’m glad they were not the only pair, as Lady J and Rain managed to score as my favorite couple of the entire show. I guess every show needs their “Team Sexy” and what better way to describe them as that, right?

I guess I even liked Hiiragi, who kind of intervened with my Mirei x Mamori, but I just can’t get angry with her for some reason.

All in all, we had our share of generic characters, I mean, of course we did, but there were still some gems, like Mirei, who made the show infinitely better~

Yuri: 9.5/10

Yup, no perfect score, since the final love confession was definitely missing. However, there are no men involved, and even those that seem to be male happen to be females in disguise anyway. Well, we have to see past the fact that Mirei was gang-raped by illusion-stone-people-guys, but I guess we all pretty much tried to forget about that scene anyway.

Let’s quickly forget about the stone-guy rape scene by focusing on this instead~

All in all, the yuri is probably one of the most important factors of the whole show, which is something we don’t experience often, not even in full yuri shows. But since we didn’t only get yuri as in romance, but also yuri as a necessary ritual in order to actually be able to fight, yuri is twice as important as it would be in any other show focusing on girls loving other girls, which I find nice.

However, as great as this was, I think they could have gone way deeper into Mirei and Mamori’s relationship. Somewhere in the middle of the show, their relationship development came to a complete stop…. What a waste.

Animation: 7/10

Disregarding the fact that most important characters have unworldly large boobs, they are still mostly really pretty, Mirei standing atop everyone. However, this is not reason enough to give out a high rating, it only means it has good-looking characters, which is then again a must-have for ecchi shows. So how about the animation? Regarding this department, I feel slightly unsure, since I just can’t decide whether I liked or disliked it.

There are some pretty good action scenes that looked really solid, but then there were plenty of scenes that looked really awkward and weird. Most attention was obviously paid to the (super weird) boob physics, while other parts that would mostly be far more important, were simply left what seemed to be raw. Fighting scenes don’t look good simply because they have jiggly boobs….

Sound and Music: 8/10

Great opening, cute ending, meh background music. All in all, I’m really satisfied with it.

Total Enjoyment: 8/10

I know, what am I even doing giving this a 8/10, right? Seriously, I don’t know either. All I can say is that I was looking forward to seeing a new episode every Saturday, so I guess no matter how hollow the plot or how ridiculously big the boobs, I just can’t help but love this. As the yuri fan that I am, this was like a dream coming true – a very ecchi dream, but nonetheless a good one. And I sure as hell hope that there is going to be another season. Knowing that there are 5 artificial islands, there is enough material left to do at least 4 more~

It seems like Mirei is really determined to get a second season as well~

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40 thoughts on “Anime Review: Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid

  1. Well that was quick, lol.

    I think there will be more seasons, but only once the Android game is released, but I get the feeling that we might see more of a story in follow up season, how each Island plays out and whether there will be some decent character development.

    to me I feel like that the series itself raised more questions than answers and I didn't feel like they made any attempt to answer even 25% of those questions while saving the rest for another season, but other than that, it is a series if done right, it could be a really good series.

    and yes, I also have a problem with the boob sizes, they are just too big, wouldn't it get in the way of an important fight? I also get the feeling that Rinka and Ranka will be making it into the anime when the time comes as well, can't see why not, Japan aren't as sensitive about certain topics.

    but overall there are some improvements that need to be made before the next season.

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  2. In the end I think that i liked this show (7/10). I wasn't expecting much before season started, so i could easily overlook flaws in this and simply enjoy ecchi yuri-fest.

    Plot appeared late, but was a little interesting. It doesn't had time to really develop.

    Opening was nice and ending even better, one of the bests this season.

    I can agree with Lady Lady as best pair. Also liked Kasumi (mostly because of her looks ?).
    And our main pair: Yeah, Mirei is ok, but I'm not so sure about Mamori. Not gonna complain about her looks or naive and innocent character, but her attitude towards Mirei was often not cool. I can understand that she wasn't at start all happy and ok about yuri, but she doesn't had to be so ungrateful. Sometimes she looked very unpleased about teaming up with Mirei although all she was doing, was protecting and helping her. And the time when female Akira visited them, what Mrs.Virgin done ? Of course was all happy and friendly toward her, orgasmed by just looking at her and even slept with her. Not with her “partner” Mirei, whom protected her till now, but some stranger lady, that she just met. And there is more …

    Overall about characters: damn ! too much too big oppai, I don't like them this way :/ But most of them looked rather good/sexy.

    Yuri here was extreme, so nice. But mostly in physical department, no much feels (Mayby a little in Kasumi or BIG girl cases).

    I hope for another season, and ending could easily lead to it (they were going to next island, right ?). So I'm waiting.

    p.s.
    Their “final form” totally looked like Erza from Fairy Tail xD

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  3. The first week Volume 1 DVD/BD sales in Japan weren't that great, so I could envision a scenario where they were just trying using the anime to drum up additional interest in the games, and will continue the story there.

    You could literally say that about 95% of anime. If done right, it could be really good. If it were that easy, we wouldn't have the amount of crap shows that hit the airwaves as we do.

    It's as ecchi as ecchi gets (without actually being hentai), so for me, giant boobs were always expected. πŸ˜›

    I always expected Rinka & Ranka to appear at some point, seeing as how they were seen fighting Mirei & Mamori in the very first PV, but I guess not.

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  4. I don't really mind ecchi anime, but this was just way over the top, for me. I'd probably give it a 6, just because it wasn't boring. It wasn't good, but it wasn't boring either. That has to count for something.

    It's the opposite for me. When it was really dumb fun (the giant girl episode comes to mind), it was a lot more entertaining than when it tried to be more serious.

    I'm with you on Kasumi. L didn't even mention her. 😦

    To me, romance is mutual, and that wasn't completely the case with them, so I scoffed when L mentioned romance. All of those reasons you mentioned apply.

    Since I didn't like it, I don't really care if it gets another season or not. For those that would miss it, it wouldn't be too different watching a hentai instead~

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  5. Well they did get a 5 second cameo, lol

    They did mention Mermaid at the end of Bhikkhuni, we will see what Siren brings up, but either way, I just feel like Bhikkhuni and Mermaid feel a little incomplete, so maybe there will be follow up seasons, but at a later time, I also know what to expect, giant boobs, sexual assault in order to fight and lack of story telling.

    I also feel that both Bhikkhuni and Mermaid were introductions to the series and were meant to be complete in future seasons. who knows what this anime team is thinking.

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  6. That would require people buying what the creators are selling, and thus far, they're not buying. Sakura Trick (which didn't sell well) sold better with its first volume than Valkyrie Drive has. You would think VD would have more considering the tie-in Vita game, the action, the yuri AND cross-over ecchi appeal, and if L is to be believed, the storefront presence in Japan, but no.

    At least Bhikkhuni debuted pretty well, though. Seems the future is brighter with the games~

    (.)(.) < = What that anime team is thinking. πŸ˜›

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  7. I think the VD anime can improve, it does need a second chance, the next season could be good, just as long as they don't rely on the massive boob sizes of the female cast, but our hopes aren't looking too good on that.

    I think the biggest mistake there, was going straight into an anime without introducing us to a manga concept first and presenting us with a game. Having significantly reduced boob sizes would more than likely have helped the series, because I doubt the Japanese were pleased with the anime as well.

    but overall I just feel that the series has potential to be really good, but it is being wasted with the over the top size of the character's breasts and general lack of story telling, I mean (I think) Lady Lady has them so massive, that she should be having back problems. And we all know when Anime and Logic don't seem to have great chemistry.

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  8. I'm pretty sure giant boobs are a requirement for ecchi anime, so yeah, don't get your hopes too high.

    Yeah, definitely agree with that. Some of the other ecchi anime that this gets compared to (Senran Kagura and Queen's Blade) were manga adaptations, while VD was an original property. That might help them be more flexible with the story, but there wasn't an already established fanbase ready to check it out.

    I think first and foremost, this was being geared towards ecchi fans who already know what to expect (boobs and fanservice) and what not to expect (story/overall quality).

    Japan gonna keep doing what they do. They do have a reputation to uphold, after all. πŸ˜€

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  9. Senran Kagura was not a manga adaptation…it was a game adaptation. The game came before any of it. Also evident in how the manga didn't have the same story as the anime. Queens Blade is a more questionable situation where it's hard to say what it was adapted off of, and I haven't even read that manga, so I couldn't give a fair judgement call.

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  10. After reading many different opinions from people, I'll just stick to the game. The first episode was a whole lot of nothing to get me invested. And the second episode didn't do much better. And that's why I dropped it. It was just basically a softcore hentai fest. Then I heard about that episode that everyone wants to forget…and I just couldn't go back to it. From what I hear, from a pretty reliable source, the game has much more well-handled yuri (not just played for getting a rise out of someone), and a much better story.

    If I want yuri hentai…there are plenty of Visual novels out there that accomplish that with much better stories and not such a horrible fixation on horribly oversized proportions…that's fine if someone is into that, but that is not my thing in the slightest.

    I debate watching the funi broadcast one of these days to see what makes the story so interesting. Maybe the censored version will be more interesting to me? I can deal with the white beams of doom.

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  11. Let the ones who could handle the show's high intensity be thankful of this show's existence for who knows when the next time will be that a yuri show with as few restrictions as this one will grace our screens again.
    Hard to choose which couple I liked more, Team MiMo or Lady Lady. The other couples were cute too but those two stole the show. Anyway I am very glad I watched this show Euroninja-chan…but you already knew that from the start of the Fall season.

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  12. I am usually one of those people who finish what they start no matter how much I question it, be it bad or good and I have seen worse anime, but then again on the flip side there have been some really awesome ones like Mirai Nikki or Rakudai Kishi no Calvary and Akuma no Riddle.

    VD Mermaid for me only gets a 5/10, while the animation looks really good, the characters and the story is the weakest aspect of the series, while things really picked up near the end raising the mark from 3.5/10 to a 5/10, there was a lot that this series could have improved on, such as story and characters with the most memorable character being the final villain.

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  13. @Cirno
    Both the Senran Kagura wiki and Wikipedia have both Senran Kagura Spark! and Skirting Shadows starting their original runs a month before the first game hit.

    It's still the same thing, despite the stories being different. At that point, fans knew what to expect when checking out something with the Senran Kagura branding on it, ninjas and boobs.

    As for Queen's Blade (and Senran Kagura, really), I'm not saying the anime's based on any particular work, they just come after the franchise had already been established in another medium. Any potential fans that were made prior to the anime release were able to recognize the name and migrate over from that earlier work to the anime.

    @Mustang
    I'm the same way, mostly. Although I've gotten a bit away from that in the last year or so, and I did drop Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry after one episode. I didn't think it was bad, but it just didn't seem like anything special to me, and I was already watching too much.

    Improved to a 5? πŸ˜€
    Wow. And I thought I disliked it.

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  14. I hear you. The only thing that really kept me from dropping it was a sense of obligation, since I happen to write here. I haven't played the game myself, but it's hard to imagine it not having more well-handled yuri.

    My sentiments exactly. It's blatant objectification that's not really aimed at yuri fans, but ecchi fans all the while trying to lure over the yuri fans that are desperate for yuri anime to watch. Regardless of whether there's a second season or not, I'm not going to watch it… probably. πŸ˜€

    I watched all but the first episode (and the first mini OVA) censored, and it definitely made it more tolerable for me. I mean, it was still bad, but it was one less bad thing to have to put up with.

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  15. Few restrictions, and they still managed to shit the bed. Way to go, Valkyrie Drive. Way to go!

    Given how relationships were handled in this show, I'm kinda glad Meifon never hooked up with anyone.

    She's still in Japan, so the baby's all mine for another week. Sorry. πŸ˜€

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  16. Well you have to consider that, even though I did finish watching the series, it wasn't anything special and the last few episodes were the best parts of the series, it really picked up. The final Villain was interesting and really kicked some ass big time. I enjoyed the final few episodes more than I enjoyed the entire series.

    for me I am a very picky watcher, there are a lot of Anime I don't watch, some of them being One Piece or Naruto, as they don't really interest me, their Manga is awesome. but what makes them so popular is the fact that they are established franchises while Valkyrie Drive isn't well that established, which is where it falls down in the end.

    what I disliked the most was the fact that some of the designs were over the top, the fact that the story wasn't good and some of the characters were a little on the annoying side, but the last few episodes were an improvement.

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  17. WoW giving that anime a 8/10 is pretty umm…unexpected? I mean i also watched it and i also was waiting for every new episode to be aired. but in the end this might be more because of the fact that there isnt not much yuri around so u just take what u can get? But doenst mean for me that its any good. Ok the Opening is amazing and i got to like the ending song too. I must also admit that i really like mirei(who doesnt) and that Lady Lady pairing where not bad so for. But this mass amount of reallyreally oversized boobs and ecchi just all the way isnt really my thing. futhermore this tentacelscene in the last episode WTF is this shit doing here? It was just so wrong in place like the whole last episode was just hilarious with no sense or meaning in the end. But since i didnt really expect much from that anime one could say it did match my expectations. But i would never recommend that anime to anyone.

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  18. If she were here, she might be tempted to change her score, since she's already changed the yuri scores in 2 of her reviews after people questioned them. πŸ˜›

    I was waiting for someone to mention the tentacle scene! Thank you!!! If that had happened earlier in the show, I'm sure many more people would've dropped it. That was even more ridiculous than the other ridiculous stuff in the show.

    I'm actually proud that people seem to dislike this anime. It's like the creators thought they could just throw giant boobs, tons of fanservice, and lesbians in a blender and yuri fans would gladly eat it up. It's clearly made by non-Yuri fans for those non-Yuri fans who only would watch because “lesbians are hot”. Sure, some yuri fans would legitimately like it, but probably nowhere near as many as they would've thought.

    I'm sure people could say that we should just be happy that we're getting something, anything yuri, but I don't think we should be so willing to just settle for anything~

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  19. To me it's no different from how The L Word handled relationships. By now you must have noticed that I have as few triggers to say “This is obscene and disgraceful!” as Lena K when it comes to yuri.

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  20. Definitely wasn't my cup of tea. I won't go out of my way to say it was the best thing ever, but I won't say it was particularly bad. I wasn't even turned off by the Yuri; it was moreso the massive amount of massive boobs everywhere. I don't mind action or whatever, but I generally prefer to watch or read something where the characters have common/realistic proportions. I'm really just a sucker for “normal” Yuri, if you know what I mean.

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  21. I'm with you on that, but looking at the rΓ©sumΓ© of the director/character designer, he's directed stuff like Seikon no Qwaser, Manyuu Hikenchou, Kagaku na Yatsura, Maken-Ki! Two, and various hentai; so it shouldn't be all that surprising that seemingly everyone in Valkyrie Drive has disproportionately huge boobs. It's his M.O.~

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  22. Honestly, I enjoyed VD Mermaid and I think the 8/10 review was warranted. Sure, the plot and the character relationships could've been developed a bit more in the first five or six episodes, but I love how Yuri is essentially the focal point of all this–it's a requirement. How rare is that, huh? Like many, I questioned the colossal boobs inclusion but after a while I guess I got used to them. Why draw realistic-sized, equally proportionate boobs in an incredibly unrealistic story anyway? Go big or go home, I guess. The ecchi scenes didn't bother me at all because to my very old-fashioned understanding, Yuri is supposed to be somewhat ecchi anyway. I guess that's a very “Old World” thought by the way, since the term is often used with virtually the same meaning as shoujo-ai…or hell, just shipping two female characters in any anime or manga. Smh…my point being, the ecchi was okay with me πŸ˜‰ (could've said that without the whole “Yuri is and isn't” rant, huh?

    I will say that VD Mermaid left me with several annoying questions like how did Lady Lady become Lady Lady? And why was or how did Charlotte become such a power-hungry witch? And what was the deal with Mamori and Hiiragi (outside of the allure that she was posing as a guy)? And the list goes on. It would've also been nice to hear someone say “I like you” or “I love you” in this anime but now I'm just being nitpicky.

    Overall, I'm genuinely happy with this anime. It's had its annoying moments, its cute moments, and its thrilling moments and I'm okay with that. Not the most well-rounded Yuri anime I've seen, but certainly a good attempt.

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  23. I think the Total Enjoyment scores can be a bit deceiving. I gave Hidan no Aria AA a 7/10, and while watching, it doesn't really feel like it should score that high. Nor does my review sound like it should get a 7, so I can understand how L could score VD that high. Sometimes something is just plain entertaining, and quality isn't necessarily a prerequisite for enjoying it.

    My expectations for the story were always embarrassingly low, so I never expected much out of it. Given how nonsensical the rest of the story was, it may actually be a good thing that they didn't spend more time fleshing out backstories and whatnot.

    Personally, I didn't think it was very good, but it was also never boring. You can't say that about every show. So yeah, there was definitely some good mixed in with the bad, even if the bad gets a lion's share of the attention.

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  24. Can't say that I really liked Mirei all that much.
    She was way too boring for me to even care about her. She never says anything and we never really got any clear motive from her. She was just there to be a sexy badass.

    I actraully found a lot of the characters annoying.

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  25. She's the stoic soldier who… actually, I think I've already forgotten half of the story. πŸ˜€

    I'd say about half of the cast was annoying to me. Mirei, Meifon, Rayne, Akira, and Kasumi were the only ones I didn't dislike~

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  26. haha ur welcome πŸ˜€ for me a tentacle scene is a absolute and i seriously mean absolut no go. it just makes me spit my breakfast all over the table. i mean just that i watch and read nearly everything that might have yuri doesnt mean i count it as good ^^

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  27. Yeah. For me, that's about as bad as it can get. I can deal with ginormous boobs, but tentacles just take the whole thing way too far.

    I still can't believe someone thought that was a good idea.

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  28. well, i watched it, i liked it and yes. Mirei turned out to be my favourite character as well.
    but there is just one thing bothering me.
    was it just me that the ending kind of reminded Madoka's ending??
    please someone answer…. i need to know.

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  29. well I got to episode 5… was ready to quit at 4 but I held out for one more. For me as soon as het is involved (even if it was a girl in the end) I get on a short fuse and episode didn't make it up to me.. man i was hoping for one of the rare good ecchi and not just soft porn… I hate porn.

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  30. L's really busy atm, so I'm handling the comments again. πŸ˜›

    I thought about adding a poll to this post at the last minute, and now, I'm kind of regretting that I didn't. It seems like a lot of people dislike this show, and I'm curious what the percentage would be of people saying they didn't like it.

    That is what Valkyrie Drive is like. One of those porns that have a (terrible) plot. πŸ˜€

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  31. It was my fault in reality, I knew what I was getting into but I was just hoping that the ecchi would be more like stike witches and not 1% away from being a hentai πŸ˜„

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  32. The first time that i read the plot my first thought was: wtf???. But one day that i was really boring i said: let’s give it an opportunity and thabk god i did it1
    This anime got me since with its powerful opening. And then: Mirei (yeiiii), the “Lady Lady” pair (my goshh..) and of course, Kasumi (gooodddd those glassesssss).
    Definitely you have to open your mid to watch it. But what you find behind tons of ecchi is a good love story.

    Liked by 1 person

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