Title: Lost and Found
Fandom: Battle Spirits: Shounen Toppa Bashin
Pairing: Kyouji "Card Sensei" Kawatou x Masako Inogashira/Number Eight
Spoilers: For a lot of major events. I tried to limit them, but some were hard to avoid.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. The Battle Spirits anime belongs to Sunrise.
Notes: I was working on this for a while, but wasn't sure what to do about posting it, being that it's from a non-existent fandom. Isn't Free Month the perfect excuse? Also, this essay only covers the anime version, as in the manga, both characters are extremely minor.
Battle Spirits is a popular trading card game in Japan, which was adapted into several anime and manga series. To this day, (unconfirmed rumors aside,) none of it has been licensed in the west, and fansubs have only come into existence very recently. So, because of that, there’s really no such thing as an English Battle Spirits fandom. And most English speaking people who have an interest in the Battle Spirits anime are referring to Shounen Gekiha Dan. Don’t get me wrong, I love Dan. The series surpassed Shounen Toppa Bashin in many ways. Still, Bashin had already reserved a special place in my heart before Dan even existed. So how exactly I became so involved stems from my passion for the show alone. Because I look for potential “cute” anime, I actually was interested as soon as I heard of the production of Battle Spirits: Shounen Toppa Bashin. I wanted it from day one.
Bashin is rather slow-paced, and never had much of a plot, but I grew more and more attached to the characters as it went on. All were fun and compelling in their own way, and ultimately drove the show where it lacked in story. I was watching just to squee over them, overanalyze, and ship them all among each other to death, because it’s just that shippy. It wasn’t until about halfway into the series when one particular ship suddenly screamed OTP.
Secrets to hide:
Kyouji Kawatou (usually called Card Sensei by his students) certainly doesn’t seem to have much to hide. He’s Bashin and Meganeko’s elementary school teacher, rather hot-blooded and tends to act like one of the kids himself. He appears to be very much in love with the protagonist Bashin’s single mother, but is far too shy to admit it, and things tend to go wrong when he gets the chance to talk to her anyway.
His character amused me a lot, and was definitely a main reason I kept up with the show at first. As more of his past began to be revealed, he only became more interesting. Sensei is in fact Number Five of Thousand Spirits Group, the main antagonists of the show. He was once a harsher person, and put Smile (Number Four) through intense physical training, shaping him into a person even more frightening than Sensei himself. However, he felt immense guilt when he’d realized what he’d done, and rumors spread about Smile’s fate, and as a result, Sensei left the organization. While some of the other Numbers are resentful towards him for his apparent quitting, viewers get to see that he still works for them secretly, spying on Bashin and the other chosen card battlers. But his secrets don’t end there, as he’s actually a chosen card battler himself, possessing a blue stone which allows him to access Isekai World, a parallel world where the spirits live.
Masako Inogashira (Number Eight of Thousand Spirits Group,) while well-meaning and hardly a villain by any standards, is fairly oblivious, easily irritated, and has absolutely no sense of direction, which she’s well aware of and hates. She manages to get lost in even familiar places. She’s very proud to be a Number, and takes her main mission of delivering High Ranker Passes very seriously, even if Thousand Spirits Group lacks the budget to get her a navigation system. She seems to have a strong sense of loyalty, and doesn’t like to go back on her words.
Of course, this fierce loyalty stems from her deep-seated grudge towards Card Sensei, her ex-lover, who left the Numbers. Despite her inability to forgive him, however, it’s clear that she still holds feelings for him.
The idea of a 5x8 pairing first appears in episode 14. After Number Nine, Smile and Masako were all eliminated in a championship tournament, they talk together in the back. As soon as Number Five’s name comes up in the conversation, Masako gets annoyed, commenting, “That coward ran away from the Numbers a long time ago. He shouldn’t be showing his face here.” Smile asks her, “Shouldn’t you be glad?” She responds, “You’re talking about the ancient past,” and walks out. Afterwards, Smile comments, “I guess a lot’s happened since the time I left Japan.”
This scene first tells us that Sensei must have meant something to Masako in the past. Smile, who had just returned from America after several years, still hadn’t caught up on all that had changed. Next, it displays that regardless of her dislike for Sensei, he still makes an impact on Masako, as she was immediately angry, and wouldn’t even stay in the room when he was being discussed. At this point of the series, Card Sensei and Masako seem like they’d be quite an unlikely pair, as they’d yet to interact. To me, their having past ties was an interesting revelation. Also, it certainly helps clarify an occurrence in the previous episode. While Card Sensei has been known to like pretty women (seen from his crush on Bashin’s mother, and his hopes that the rumored bus guide from their class trip would be a woman) he has no reaction to Masako at all while watching her tournament match against Bashin. And this is considering she’s walking around half-naked. It’s clear something happened between them, if they choose to avoid each other.
The next bit of evidence isn’t until the end of episode 26, and is the scene that drew me in to this shipping. After dropping off Number Nine, Masako stays behind in Toaru city. She goes to Card Sensei’s apartment. Unfortunately, she’s too late, as he’s not only resigned officially from Numbers Elite, in order to keep Bashin and the other children from getting involved in danger, but has also moved out of his apartment. Frustrated, she punches his door, calling “Where did you disappear to, Number Five?”
Now of course, this brings some more questions. It seems she knew he’d resigned, so was coming to try and change his mind? Could she, if they’d been avoiding each other for so long? And of course, how was she able to find his house? Despite her poor sense of direction, she knows right where her ex-lover lives. But being serious, it’s pretty obvious from that short moment how much Masako does still care for Sensei. She was clearly upset over him leaving. From that point on, I was anxious to see any more developments concerning their past together, as I really enjoy relationships with a love/hate dynamic.
Now, with Sensei out of the picture, there’s no one watching the chosen card battlers. To correct this, Number Nine convinces Masako to take over the role. So thus, when Bashin starts middle school, Number Eight takes up the identity of a music teacher, using her real name and a paper-thin disguise. We don’t get to see too much of her playing teacher though, until episode 33, which also gets back to the 5x8 pairing.
While managing to get herself lost in the school, and too frustrated to pay attention, Masako crashes into Meganeko, who was distracted by the excitement of finally getting her own X-rare. Meganeko drops the card accidentally, and frantically looks for it. The two end up talking about Bashin a bit, and Masako is convinced that he’s figured out her identity. Meganeko finally finds her card, but it’s then when Masako realizes that she dropped a Battle Spirits card she was carrying as well. When she finds it, she’s very relieved. Meganeko wonders if Masako plays Battle Spirits too, but being too paranoid at the moment that her cover is blown, she lies and states that this is her only card. She claims, “This is a special card. It was given to me from someone who’s gone. It’s kind of like a charm.” “It was from an important person?” Meganeko asks. Though she doesn’t answer, it’s pretty clear she didn’t make all of that up on the spot.
When Masako finally finds the music room, Smile was waiting for her. He comments at her lateness that she’s running away just like Number Five. “You’re the only one who thinks differently,” he says. “But you’re the same as that coward, Five.” Masako yells at him to shut up, but once she leaves the room, actually seems upset rather than angry, and holds her hand to her heart.
That scene pretty much says a lot. Smile seems to enjoy taunting people in general, but also, Card Sensei’s betrayal had an effect on both her and Smile (as he used to train Smile) so he probably understands how much she resents him. That’s why it makes a good subject to use against her. But more than getting her worked up, which is probably what Smile intended, what he said basically rang true to her. Perhaps she’d like to take the same path as Card Sensei, but can’t even admit it to herself. She’s already becoming more like him, in carrying out his former mission. But still, she’s shaped her ways for a long time around never doing the things that she resents him for. So obviously, she’s pretty torn.
So later, Meganeko and her friends discuss their plans for Golden Week, only to find out they need an advisor if their school Battle Spirits club was to go on a trip. They wonder how they’ll find a willing teacher, until Meganeko remembers that Masako had a Battle Spirits card. On the subject of that, she shows off her new X-rare. Too bad for her, she hadn’t actually looked at the card since she dropped it. Instead, she has Masako’s charm, a common yellow magic card, Angel Voice. The next day at school, the club attempts to recruit her. Though Masako refuses to do it, Meganeko begs her, and eventually mentions that she realized Masako’s “secret.” Wanting to make sure Meganeko never tells, she agrees to battle her, and if she loses, she’ll become their advisor.
Masako borrows Bashin’s deck and faces Meganeko. Ultimately, Meganeko is able to win. After the battle, they return each other’s cards, and Masako consents to being their advisor. Meganeko, at that point, explains how she realized Masako’s secret. Since she practices in the music room with Smile, and her card is Angel Voice, that must mean that even though she’s a music teacher, she’s tone deaf. Actually, this is true, but Masako is just relieved that Meganeko didn’t figure out her true secret. And on the subject of her tone-deafness, she remembers back to her last date with Card Sensei, where they sang karaoke. Of course, she was horrible. After that, Sensei gave her the Angel Voice card, which she assumed was him being sarcastic, before walking away.
And this is the part where I hate the writers for not going into more depth on their date. But regardless of that, this little flashback was too cute. If I didn’t love this pairing enough for being interesting and emotional, it now has the added plus of being adorable. Sensei’s facial expression was priceless, and it’s cute that the card he gave her was Angel Voice. And of course, this scene also proves (if it wasn’t obvious) that Sensei was the “important person” who gave it to her. So if Masako treasures a little tease that much, it’s even more apparent that she doesn’t hate Card Sensei as much as she wants to think.
In the next episode, the Battle Spirits club heads to training camp. There, the master priest who is “training” them is actually a Nazo-Otona. While the ep. is mainly about Striker, it does provide a pretty funny 5x8 moment. The Nazo-Otona comments to Masako, as they watch the kids work, “It reminds me of you guys in the past.” He explains, “That guy in the blue sweatsuit. He was always together with you, right?” Needless to say, at his insinuation of her and Card Sensei together, Masako flips out and yells at him not to talk about it. Which translates to me as a typical “he’s not my boyfriend” tsundere reaction.
Now, episode 36. A great episode for other reasons, but also, the first onscreen conversation between Card Sensei and Masako. By request from Meganeko, Masako accompanies the kids on a trip to Kyoto, where Bashin plans to finally meet up with J, who joined Thousand Spirits Group for unknown reasons. Masako, of course, isn’t participating in the tournament as a Number, but just hanging out to cheer Bashin and his friends on. Hmm… what does showing up with the opposing team mean for someone so loyal to Thousand Spirits Group?
Meanwhile, Card Sensei (who's grown a beard) also attends. Being a chosen card battler himself, he feels maybe he can use his power to bring J back. While wandering around the place, he also finds Masako lost in the halls, and decides to give her directions. She turns around, and is stunned to see him. “Your sense of direction hasn’t changed,” Sensei teases. “But you’re getting better at humming.” Masako looks away from him and begins yelling at him for running away. Trying to change the subject, Sensei asks her why she’s involved with the kids. Masako responds that it’s because he abandoned them, which leads him to realize that she inherited his mission. She defends that it’s only because or orders. “However, isn’t Bashin Ma-chin’s student?,” Sensei questions back. At being called that cutesy pet name, Masako is even more annoyed. She states, “I am Number Eight. I’m proud to be a Number. I won’t run away like you!” Just as she’s looking like she’s about to attack him, they hear an announcement that the main tournament is starting. Masako is surprised that the kids got that far, and has to rush back. As she leaves, Sensei tries to give her a last warning. He calls her Ma-chin again, in which she turns around and glares at him in response. When Masako returns to watch the finals, she still clearly looks irritated throughout the match.
Where to begin in dissecting this bit? Well first, Sensei calls her Ma-chin. As far as honorifics go, “chin” is basically a cuter version of the more common “chan.” Seeing how Masako’s been in this point of the series, while she certainly is cute in ways, she’s still quite prideful and temperamental. Not the kind of person you’d expect to have a cute nickname like that. But apparently, she and Card Sensei had quite a lovey-dovey relationship once. And we know Card Sensei does like to tease her, seeing why he gave her the card he did, and even how he was commenting on her sense of direction and humming in this episode. It shows their obvious innocent closeness they once had. As the priest pointed out, the two spent a lot of time together. Therefore, it makes even more sense now how hurt and angry Masako was about his leaving. And thus, when they finally get a chance to meet again, all she wants to do is lash out at him.
Aside from that, this talk addressed the point of Masako’s feelings toward her students. Sensei, holding the protective nature that he does, of course wants Bashin and the others safe. He only came in hopes of rescuing J himself, so that the others wouldn’t have to get involved. And perhaps, as he points out, Masako may want to look out for them too. But of course, to care about them would make her more like Card Sensei, and less like the Number she wants to be. However, it’s shown right away that he’s right. In episode 37, she nearly forgets about her task of delivering High Ranker passes while being busy administrating the mid-term tests, and when grading Bashin’s later on, appears quite happy that he was able to pass. Whether or not Masako realizes it, she and Sensei aren't so different.
Still, those are just the small things. The extent of how much Masako cares is shown in ep. 39. There, Bashin’s team, “Team Shomen Toppa” enters into a tournament in hopes of getting J back once and for all. His comrades include the other chosen card battlers and Seven, president of the Battle Spirits club. Unfortunately for them, Seven is actually Number Seven, and was set to make his debut as an official member of Numbers Elite at that tournament. Bashin’s team is left one member short, and thus would be disqualified. Masako had expected this all along, as she was the one pushing for Seven’s entry onto the Number’s team. She watches as he ultimately explains his choice to Bashin, while conspicuously (or not) holding her Angel Voice Card. After this, she signs up as the sixth member of Bashin’s team, allowing them entry again.
And so, while looking at her memory of Card Sensei, she makes the choice that he would’ve been happy with, and protects the kids’ entry, despite looking like a traitor to her own comrades. Of course, Masako doesn’t consider this a betrayal at all, and is shocked to find that the others think so, even though Team Shomen Toppa, who wouldn’t have been able to enter at all without her, ultimately wins the tournament.
So now we have episode 43. A.K.A. one big 5x8 shippy fest. After the tournament, Number Nine threatens Masako by saying that she’ll have to quit her job at Toaru Middle School. She objects to this, but Nine responds, “You’re a Number until the end. You can’t be soft. Otherwise, it’s clear that you’re the same as that man. A coward as well as a traitor, your former love, Number Five”. “You’re wrong!” she declares. “I’m nothing like that man.” Number Nine gives her a chance to prove this by assigning her the mission of delivering invitations for his King Uchuuchouten Cup to the chosen card battlers.
Masako goes along with the mission, all while constantly reminding herself of Nine’s words. She’s a Number until the end. Of course, being as hopeless as she is, she ends up losing one of the invitations. Then, on her way to try and deliver it, she gets lost in the Sawaragi mansion. Who’s there to help her, but Card Sensei of course. He’s quick to tease her about her eternally poor sense of direction, and shows her that he’s found the last envelope. Angry, Masako asks for it back, but Sensei refuses, not wanting her to lead the kids into the trap tournament. He says “You haven’t realized Thousand Spirits Group’s true objective. Wake up, Ma-chin!” “Didn’t I tell you not to call me that?!” Masako yells. Sensei continues by stating, “Ma-chin became an ordinary teacher like me. You want to protect those children’s smiles, and you don’t want to involve the children in danger.” “That’s not it!” she argues. “Then how come you cooperated with Bashin and the others at the championship?” he replies. “You’re no longer Number Eight of Thousand Spirits Group. You’re Toaru Middle School’s music teacher, Inogashira Masako! But you don’t even know yourself.”
Now, admittedly a lot of the hinting we’ve gotten for this pairing is about Masako’s feelings toward Sensei. But this scene definitely shows that Sensei feels strongly towards her. Putting their lost relationship aside, what Sensei wants most here is just for Masako to realize the truth, which is that she’s begun to care very much for Bashin and the others, despite her old grudge and stubbornness. Considering his comments, and that he tells her to wake up, it seems like he feels she’s practically been brainwashed by her own feelings and Number Nine’s using it to manipulate her.
Unfortunately for Sensei, reasoning with Masako isn’t going to work, as she just wants to fight with him. He’s left only with the option of challenging her to a battle, which Masako accepts. As they battle, Masako makes no delay to bring up how different she is from Sensei, and how wrong he is, as often as possible. Because he manages to have six spirits on the field at once, she calls him a coward, and because he doesn’t react immediately to her attack, she yells at him for being indecisive in the past. (To which his reaction is really cute.) As Sensei uses some feminine spirits, she uses that opportunity to insinuate that he’s a cheater. Of course, to counteract this, Sensei keeps trying to get her to admit that she actually does care about Bashin.
While Sensei is doing well in the battle, Masako tries to keep herself a step ahead of him. To defeat one of Card Sensei’s X-rares, she uses Angel Voice. Proud to have used that particular card against him, she says, “It’s not a rare card at all. Only a common card. But when used skillfully, it’s able to deal a major blow to your opponent.” On Sensei’s next turn, he summons The ArcAngelia Mikafar, one of the most powerful X-rares at that time, and replies, “Of course, when used skillfully, Angel Voice is a powerful weapon. However, that kind of Angel Voice is no match for Ma-chin’s voice!” Masako appears shocked to hear this, and remembers a moment in her past, when she and Card Sensei were dating. As Sensei gradually destroys everything on Masako’s field, he continues. “A gentle, sweet voice, that whispers in my ears and makes me fall madly in love.” Finally, he attacks, taking out all four of her remaining lives at once, and leaving Masako further stunned. “Ma-chin’s voice is surely an angel voice to me.” “What are you saying?!” Masako yells, doing her best to look away from him, and ignore the memories that keep returning to her. “A tone-deaf angel voice,” he continues. “It’s that voice… that Ma-chin… that I love!” And thus, hearing these words, Masako can’t fight him any longer. She remembers back to the day when he first confessed his love to her. Back to real time, they share a cute cuddle together, and Masako, in full deredere mode, calls him “Kyo-chin.”
But anyway, their romantic moment is interrupted when security guards find them. Taking Masako’s hand, Sensei tries to get them away as fast as possible, when they bump into Bashin and his friends. There, Masako finally reveals to them all that she was Number Eight, and tries to apologize to them. Bashin, still grateful to her for helping them at the tournament, accepts.
But still, just because the two are a happy couple again, doesn’t mean everything is resolved. With the King Uchuuchouten Cup approaching, Number Nine has moved quite far ahead in his ambitions. He’s collected many followers, and hopes to bring back the members who quit, including Number Eight. But she has plans to take Number Nine down. In episode 45, she recruits Number Ten to come out of retirement and talk with Nine. When he fails, Masako decides to go on a trip, for reasons not entirely specified. After she gets lost, as always, she stops for a bit, holding her Angel Voice card and looking into the distance, thinking about Card Sensei. Unknown to her, she’s being watched by one of Number Nine’s masked followers.
I’m not really sure myself exactly what Masako was off investigating. Whatever the case, it’s still quite intriguing. She seemed to be lost in more than just the usual sense. Perhaps a bit lost in thought, or where to really go from this point. Still, she brings along her treasured card, and calls for him, even though she left on a trip without him knowing.
As for Sensei, by episode 47, it’s clear he’s quite worried for his now missing girlfriend. Unable to get in contact with her, he decides to search the school. On her desk, he finds a picture from the Golden Week trip, and smiles, commenting that she makes a much better teacher than him. Meanwhile, a masked Baito-san reveals that Number Eight, as well as Number Two, Three, and Ten, have “vanished” and won’t return. Card Sensei explains to Bashin and his friends that the black mask was created by Number Nine, and it takes away human will. He believes the missing Numbers could be controlled by it too, and naturally, is quite upset by this, as that would include Masako.
Card Sensei leaves the kids, and decides to head to Isekai World Dome to save Masako by himself. On the way, he meets with Hayami, Bashin’s mother, who offers him a ride. Now, despite having confessed to Masako, it’s still hard to forget how infatuated he was over Hayami earlier on. However, this scene helps to clarify his feelings toward her. Sensei mentions a masked card battler he once admired called The Speed Star. As Bashin’s mother goes by that name presently, as a taxi driver, he realized that they must’ve been the same person. Hayami denies knowing of the Speed Star, but Sensei still seems certain of the truth. So in short, his feelings for Hayami weren’t as much romantic love as deep admiration. It actually explains his awkwardness around her, because it would be like any person having the chance to be around a hero to them. Still, there’s the fact that Sensei and Masako were avoiding each other for years. If his affection did transfer to Hayami at a point, which wouldn’t be impossible, it wouldn’t really be cheating on Masako, as they were no longer together.
When Sensei arrives, many of Nine’s masked followers are waiting. Among them is Masako. This obviously angers him, and he makes no delay to try and punch Number Nine in the face for it. Unfortunately for him, there are enough people out there to overpower him, and he ends up captured with the rest of the former Numbers as well.
Ultimately, J, Hayami and the pets are able to free everyone. In episode 49, they all rush out to watch Bashin and Number Nine battle. Card Sensei and Masako are standing very close together.
Finally, Bashin faces Uchuuchouten, in a battle risking the stones themselves. This, of course, would kill the spirits inside the card battler’s pets, causing them to revert to normal animals. One by one, their lives are lost, including Card Sensei’s turtle, Guraguri. While Sensei is devastated, Guraguri tells him not to cry, because their days together were fun. His last words are “Take care of Masako.” Several of the pets, as their spirits die, encourage their owners to treasure their most important relationships. For example, Nanarin tells Meganeko to stay close to Bashin and Pink reminds Suiren that she has friends now. So thus, Guraguri expresses that Sensei’s relationship with Masako is the most important thing to him.
That’s it for 5x8 moments. Although, things seem to be well with them in the end. Also the stones have probably been restored, as Aibou is seen speaking to Bashin again, so Guraguri would most likely be alright too.
Well yeah, it’s canon. But just because a couple is canon, doesn’t mean I’ll support it, and certainly doesn’t mean I’ll be all over it. I like a lot of canon couples, but I also like a lot of pairings that will never happen. In Battle Spirits in particular, I ship all over the place. Anyway, I’ve always been baffled by those who hate all canon pairings because “the writers already explored it completely so writing about it is boring” or something like that. Pft. There’s always new things to explore in a pairing if you’re creative enough. So that leads me to reason number 1.
-There’s still so much to explore: Yeah, we see them interact a couple times, fight, make up, and apparently live happily ever after. What happened when they were dating? How did they first meet and fall in love? How did they feel being separated when Sensei went to live in the wilderness to train Smile? How did Sensei feel when he first decided to break ties with the person he loved so much? How did Masako react when he first left them? Have they ever interacted off-screen during the course of the series? What will their future be like? Will they get married? Get involved in new adventures and battles? The series just gives us such little foundation. I could go on and on. It’s an absolute great pairing for exploring, even though the writers already started something.
-It’s kind of ironic: And irony is fun to me. Why? Well Card Sensei’s role in the first half of the series is largely to help and mentor Meganeko, after she feels neglected and abandoned when Bashin would rather spend more time with his Battle Spirits friends than her. In a sense, Bashin and Meganeko’s present parallel his own past with Masako, putting him in the place of the neglector, whether or not he even realizes it or not. But knowing Sensei, he probably does. That could explain why he cared about Meganeko so much, and wanted to help her, in an attempt to make up for his own mistakes. But in the end, Meganeko has to reach Bashin herself, by finally learning Battle Spirits and facing him, and Sensei as well has to stop running, and face his own past, including Masako. This was just a theory I saw on a Japanese forum, and it actually made the pairing more interesting to me.
-The dynamic: Of course. First, Card Sensei and Number Eight fit so well together because of their similarities. They’re both stubborn, of course. Both tend to act like children, but have a serious side when it matters. Both also seem to have a sense of justice (as shown by Masako’s need to allow Team Shomen Toppa to participate in the tournament, and Sensei’s attempts to keep the kids away from danger and handle everything himself). From the little that’s known about their past relationship, it’s definitely shown that they were quite attached to one-another. Having similar mannerisms and ideals, and of course the shared love for Battle Spirits probably helped keep them so close. And they both seem to have an interest in music too. Masako became a music teacher, Sensei likes to practice singing haikus, and they went on a date to sing karaoke.
As mentioned earlier, I have a massive thing for the love/hate relationship going on, mainly from Masako’s part, throughout the series. That kind of thing is like a magnet when drawing me to pairings, because it keeps me invested, wanting to see them just admit they love each other, and enjoying the tension along the way.
And lastly, one thing I really like to see in a relationship is that both halves come out stronger. I believe all the main characters of Battle Spirits are strong people, at least in the sense of their passionate, determined personalities. Naturally, Masako is no exception. She may get lost easily, but she’ll be sure to complete a mission no matter what. She may not think she wants to advise the Battle Spirits club, but she’ll do whatever she can to make those kids happy. But what she lacks is the strength to forgive. Personally, forgiveness is something I’ve struggled with all my life, so I feel it takes a very strong person to accept it when someone close to you hurts you. Of course, some things are inexcusable, but there’s a lot that isn’t, especially in concern to a person who loves you. In the end, Masako is able to realize this about Sensei, and finally forgives him.
In the case of Sensei’s feelings for Masako, I would have liked it if the series delved into them a bit more. But the small amount that we got expressed these feelings just perfectly. One thing that always stood out to me was Sensei’s drive to save Masako in episode 47, even though failure was the only option, something he seemed to be aware of. Of course, Card Sensei is a protective person by nature. Much of what he does throughout the series is for the purpose of keeping Bashin and his friends out of danger. It isn’t just Masako that he wants to protect. But when it is Masako, something seems a bit different in him. From the way he looked upon explaining to the kids that the missing Numbers were likely converted into masked humans, to his actual anger when confronting Number Nine, the difference is clear when Masako is concerned. And considering that Card Sensei is one who was mocked by his former comrades as “a coward who ran away,” rushing in to try to save Masako when he didn’t expect to succeed is certainly a contrast to that.
It’s things like the above which really give the relationship some depth and appeal, despite the fact that it comes out of a cute kids’ show. This isn’t a typical story of two people falling in love, like you see all the time. It’s about two people who are already in love, but need to overcome their own weaknesses before they can be together again.
Or in other words, shameless self-pimping. I was serious about the lack of fandom. Even in Japan, where there is a fandom, it's pretty much all slash.
Missing- This was a fic I wrote for a multi-fandom fluff contest, and is a discussion between Masako and Meganeko about Card Sensei, post ep. 33.
Questionable Hobbies- A stab at post-series, and basically crack fic. Based on the premise of Masako finding out about Card Sensei's My Sunshine collection.
I've done a ton of drawings, ranging from fail to decent. No, I don't consider myself an amazing artist (but what else is there to rec) but I love to draw for fun. Here's a few.
Kannazuki no Numbers- Of course, a parody of the Kannazuki no Miko ED theme.
The Other Use of Seaserpenta: Ep. 43 inspired.
Happy 5/8 Day: This is my newest. Manga inspired.
As you can see, there's seriously no fandom for this anime. I totally recommend checking it out, if you're looking for something cute and you don't require a deep plot. I don't know the stance on posting links to any material here, but I will throw in that there are now subs on YT at long last.