Shuffle! 17 - Sia Strike

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The further I get into these anime, the less I can really post for summaries in the pre-jump section. Pretty much all I could say about the situation in which Rin and Sia ditch class to go on a date is, em, to put it Haruhi style, classified information.

Here's an interesting thing though; the episode's titled True Feelings. But whose? Something that would be very interesting to find out, as the Shuffle! Race for Rin (tm) continues, with 2 and a half contestants left in the race.

It's Sia 2nd turn at the date-o event. She put up good numbers on her first attempt but her scores have quickly been eclipsed and if she doesn't improve soon she may be eliminated from this competition...let's take a look at the hidden camera presented by Daidouji&Thyme Incorporated and oh my!

I think we may have to cut the feed on this one. We'll be right back folks, after the jump! (oh yeah, and spoiler-free (relatively) post; covers through episode 17)

How'd we get here, you ask? Long story short; it's neither Sia nor Rin's idea to cut class for an impromptu date, but rather the 3rd-party arbitrator named Kikyou, a.k.a. Mirror Sia. It seems both the God and Demon realms have something about dual personalities; Lico is to Nerine as Kikyou is to Sia. Except Lico's awesome and 'perfect' all-around while Kikyou's crazy and willing to do anything it takes to get Rin.

As you may have guessed by now.

Although, I suppose, Kikyou is remarkably good at her art. First off she seems to be playing off the popular tsundere trait, in which she alters between ordering Rin around and, uh, clinging to him. She's well versed in the Karin art of sexual blackmail, as when Rin threatens to leave her he starts screaming claims of sexual harassment.

Even the classic negation style of "well, I don't hate you, so, conclude the opposite" is used to good effect in conjunction with the googly eyes. Kikyou's been doing her research, apparently, and this is her time to, uh, shine.

Although, there's one problem in that Kikyou != Sia. And so, as attractive as she may make herself seem, she's just too...different for Rin, who still seems more interested in school than "Sia". Not to mention the whole manipulative type girl just might not work for everybody.

Also, Rin's concerned about school because he's ditching someone important there. Asa still seems to be the one rival that could possibly outlast Kaede (the "Chosen One" as per anime cliche) in the overall race; it seems strange to talk about it because I know the real ending, but these were just my thoughts at this point.

Rin and Kikyou continue to go on an adventure, with Rin resisting most of the way. Kikyou finally pulls out the "something important" trump card - right now Nerine's the only one on the board in terms of confessions, but the tables just might change soon enough...if it really matters in the end?

And so they head to the strangely empty movies, even for school hours during a weekday. There should at least be some adults or fellow deliquents watching; otherwise there wouldn't be any reason to screen a movie for just two people. But then again, I'm ranting about inaccuracies in a world where one normal guy has the chance to date score with marry get with two otherworldly princesses, one childhood friend of 10+ years, an artificial loli, and, uh, Asa. Who is unique in her own Engrishy way.

Maybe it's a closed space movie theater.

They also go clothes shopping, which is code for "Kikyou flaunting what she's got". When Rin fails to react - and, evil of evils, mentions Asa audibly, she pulls out all the stops and starts changing in front of him. Bra and all. Hello, R-15. She throws on the naive look (what? me? breasts? no wai) while doing it, which is somewhere between highly disturbing and seductive.

Rin takes the former.

Meanwhile, at school, Kaede and Asa conference about Rin's sudden absence. Asa phrases it rather funny like she should be the one dating with Rin (don't give Kareha gossip material now), while Kaede is more worried about Rin's health in general. She ends up freaking out completely and runs off from class also to mobilize a rescue force. Meanwhile, nobody manages to connect the dots of Rin gone + Sia gone = gone off together. Well done, harem.

Meanwhile, reams of time pass, as we cut to the sunset, which, as any Key game will teach you is where all the important stuff happens. Rin finally begins to voice his suspicions about Sia's sudden personality change. I don't know, Rin, do you like this Sia? The choice is probably up to you - as long as a Sia wins in the end Kikyou will take on any personality necessary. She's hardcore like that.

As they're walking around in the sunset they come across someone shadowy. It's hard to tell who (for obvious reasons) but the figure seems most similar to one of the harem girls, most likely Asa. Kikyou gets worried a bit and drags Rin off to a grassy field so they can be alone again.

She acts really troubled. It's difficult to tell here whether this is a part of the act or her true feelings of being worried (about being doubted, and about being so close to the goal), but it really tugs on the heartstrings a bit as it's a sharp changed from normal insane Kikyou.

Kikyou ends up going in for the kiss, a la Nerine, and...

Shot down~! Ouch, even for someone as detested as Kikyou! Rin protests this time, as he didn't with Nerine (perhaps hers was sudden enough and made enough sense). Awkward silence ensues as Rin sits there and meditates. We're not sure what this emotion is. Rage? Fear? Confusion? All of the above? Sure.

Kikyou, at a complete loss for once in her life, runs away from the situation.

Rin stops here.

Contemplate this for a bit. You've been dragged out on a date with a girl that you used to know but now no longer do, because she's gone crazy. She tried to make a move on her and you turned her down (to some, questionable in itself). She runs away, leaves you and peace, and you try to stop her.

That's pure, unadultered harem lead right there.

Oh, but, by the way, while you were monologuing Kikyou ran away. Oops.

Rin wanders his way home in a daze, and is welcomed back at the Fuyou house by a full police strike force, out searching for him. Rimu is amusingly cool as always, deadpanning "Welcome back, Rin" like the household loli she is, while Kaede is brought to tears. Whether you find this action stalkerish or really adorable will tell you a lot about your Kaede fandom. I'll take the latter.

Meanwhile, World War III erupts in Sia's room.

We've got 2 demoralized and highly emotional Sia's here in the same room now, both fighting and struggling to figure out who is the villain and victim here. Who took advantage of who? Is it Sia's fault for not taking charge? Is it Kikyou's fault for taking too much charge?

And, who is the girl in the mirror, truly? Sia? Or Kikyou?

Kikyou ends up the depressed one for once, talking about how it'd be better if she left the task up to Sia. But, still, despite it all, Sia wants Kikyou to stay. She doesn't want to be left all alone.

She is.

You know how Shuffle says it's serious to you? It doesn't jump at the fanservice opportunities it normally does. Sia War II is entirely clean, something that you wouldn't expect happening with the outfit Sia's got on.

Flash forward to the next day, where Sia looks at Rin, Asa and co. from afar today. But instead of being smug (and, y'know, all Kikyou-ish), she's sad and melancholy.

Asa seems a bit different as well, contemplating the reasons why Rin stood her up yesterday. She seems to be the one Rin saw yesterday, as Asa explains how he hurt her "more than usual". The mood here is definitely a departure from genki Asa, and genki Sia.

Sia asks Rin to accompany her again to a different place, and strangely enough despite yesterday's events Rin isn't scared of a second meeting - perhaps he can already tell that Sia is "normal" again. She is as happy as usual; even if this is a bit of fake feelings, Rin is comforted by the return of Sia to her normal demeanor.

Sia finally officially explains Kikyou to Rin, who finally gets it. Kikyou apparently was Sia's twin sister who never was; unlike Lico, Kikyou didn't even make it out of the womb. And so Sia absorbed Kikyou into her own body for the two of them to share. She didn't want to lose her precious sister (who she apparently loved already, even before birth). Hmm. Given the previous events, that could be a bit of an issue.

Sia shows some more of her great compassionate side by sympathizing with Kikyou, who despite all her insanity with Rin, really has good intentions, and gives Sia courage and hope. She, like Sia, is just trying to find happiness. Kikyou's just more, mm, 'enthusiastic'.

And finally, Sia finishes the business she's been meaning to do for 17 episodes:

A heart-felt confession in a field of flowers! Certainly a super bonus awesome event that can equal Nerine's, even without the kiss. Sia seems happier just saying it, letting her feelings out, giving herself a chance.

Of course, Rin has someone else, and he goes all apologetic to Sia. She doesn't seem too fazed by it, sounding like she already knows it (although it is unknown if he knows exactly who). She even finishes off the episode with a great quip, one that, per se, reopens the field for all the harem members:

And as such Sia's arc is resolved in great fashion. It seems that once again I find myself unable to hate Sia; to me it is the mark of a great eroge/harem anime for it to really develop characters to the point where my opinion of them changes from negative to positive; the better it is for me, the harder it is for me to find a character to hate.

Although, with Shuffle, there really is no character that stands above and beyond the others, like Mai Kawasumi or Yuki Nagato, but perhaps that's more a fault of quiet girl/meganekko adoration than any fault of the anime itself.



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can anyone tell me which is the best counter strike guide ? :)...i found this one :


What do you nigh not far from it ?

Thanx in advance

Sorry for my bad english :s

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