Review of Oreimo (Season One)


My little sister can’t be this cute. No, I am not creepily announcing to the world how much I admire my sis – that really is the name of the anime I am reviewing today. Known in its native land as Ore no Imoto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai (or Oreimo for short) this MVM Entertainment release partially adapts Tsukasa Fushimi’s light novel series. Given the eyebrow raising title and the eighteen-age rating on the box I wasn’t sure what to expect from this show. The first thing that came to mind is a tale of incest – a genre that is worryingly popular over in Japan. With everyone having crushes on their siblings is it a wonder why the nation’s fertility rate is dwindling? Thankfully the contents of this Season One collection aren’t all that sordid… perhaps the uncomfortably steamy scenes are being reserved for the next cour?


Kirino Kosaka is so much of a Mary Sue that she wouldn’t look out of place within the pages of a Twilight novel. The fourteen-year student is blessed with good looks, the smarts required to ace exams and a talent for sprinting that has made her the star of her school’s track team. She is literally a “model” daughter… no seriously she makes some part time scratch posing for fashion magazines. The only blemish to Kirino’s name is that she is a closet otaku who has a fondness for magical girl cartoons and adult visual novels (specifically romance stories featuring brothers and their little sisters.) Understandably Kirino keeps her pervy hobby a secret, but that all changes when brother Kyosuke Kosaka accidently stumbles upon a mature game belonging to his sibling.

Watching this anime really highlights what a terrible big bro I am. In my household I would leverage an embarrassing discovery of this nature to secure all manner of favours (hurrah for blackmail.) Kyosuke however is a much more compassionate chap. Rather than mock Kirino’s unorthodox pastime he ends up supporting his sister. Over the course of the series Kyosuke convinces his parents to accept Kirino’s choice of entertainment, he accompanies his sis on trips to doujin conventions and in one episode he even attends the midnight launch of a new eroge title. Kyosuke also plays a part in introducing Kirino to some new geeky friends – namely Saori Makishima (the bespectacled head of an anime web group) and an angsty chuunibyou cosplayer named Ruri Goko.


Despite the reservations I had over the show’s moniker I ended up enjoying this series a lot, so much so that I am awarding it four stars. I was correct in speculating that the anime revolves around a brother/sister relationship, but thankfully it wasn’t anything lecherous. What we get here is two siblings bonding over nerdy diversions and Kyosuke assuming the mantle of responsible big brother, after neglecting his sister for so many years. As a self confessed otaku I dug the show’s anime references and I found myself sympathising with Kirino’s plight. Although attitudes have changed in recent years, I think we can all recall a time when enjoying comics/games was something you would conceal to avoid ridicule.

Overall this DVD collection is a solid set that contains all of the premier season’s episodes along with a few OVAs. There is even an alternate version of the final episode, no doubt paying homage to how visual novels sometimes have multiple endings. The series gets a thumbs up from me thanks to is comical moments and above average visuals (especially when compared to less polished AIC productions such as Bamboo Blade.) The only reason why I didn’t give Oreimo full marks is because Kirino’s personality can be a little grating. Poor Kyosuke suffers a lot of aggravation when sticking up for his sister, but the only reward he gets from the unappreciative Kirino is a raspberry or a smack on the chops. I’ll forgive her though as bratty little sisters aren’t exactly uncommon… and the same applies for anime girls who resort to violence in place of expressing their true feelings.

Review of Moco Moco Friends


The world of Dreamtopia is a magical place where humans live side by side with sentient stuffed toys known as Plushkins. Moco (the titular heroine who is named after the Spanish word for snot) is a young witch who resides in the aforementioned realm. She recently graduated from Plushkin Magic School, where she learned how to enslave adorable critters and force them to do her bidding. Armed with an army of cute servants she patrols the kingdom’s various dungeons eliminating any dark vortexes that manifest. Purging the land of these mysterious anomalies is of paramount importance given the effect they have on local wildlife. If a Plushkin comes into contact with said portals they immediately enrage, making them almost as violent as Mel Gibson getting pulled over by a Jewish copper.


Moco Moco Friends is a turn based RPG were you traipse through randomly generated levels beating up any stray Pokemon… um Plushkins that you encounter. Much like in Game Freak’s popular franchise, the 120 creatures available to capture come in various elemental flavours. You all know the drill by now. Light attacks receive a damage boost when targeting dark Plushkins whilst fire attacks are ineffective against water types. The similarities between Moco Moco Friends and titles featuring Pikachu are uncanny, although the action plays out a little differently. Battles against enemies require that you summon three Plushkins onto the field, with the fourth slot of your team being reserved for a substitute you can call in at the start of each turn.

It is said that money doesn’t grow on trees, but apparently textiles grow on cacti. When navigating a dungeon be on the look out for prickly plants because Moco is able to transmute flora into buttons and fabrics by using her trusty feline headed staff. These materials can be used back at home to sew anything from health restorative waffles (extra syrup on mine please) to enchanted gems that can make Plushkins evolve into a stronger form (I wonder if these cotton stuffed animals are related to Freeza.) During her travels Moco can also procure seedlings, which can be planted at her garden. After a ten to twenty minute wait seeds will sprout into flowers that can be harvested to earn additional crafting ingredients.


Although the game is a shameless Pokemon clone I think Moco Moco Friends is worthy of three and a half stars. From a gameplay perspective I preferred managing a party of three characters to the one on one duels Pokemon is famous for. As someone who is pressed for time I also appreciated that the two floor dungeons can be briskly cleared. Much less frustrating than getting lost for hours in a vast cavern where endless waves of Zubats assault you every time you take a step. Adding to the game’s fun factor are the cutesy visuals, jovial tunes and a charming cast of characters. Moco is a dim-witted sleepy glutton whilst her pals include a spell caster who yells out Sumo battle cries whenever she is frustrated and a giant canine that suffers from phalacrophobia.

My only real complaint with Moco Moco Friends is that after a few hours it begins to feel a tad repetitive. Clearly this is one of those handheld games that should be played in short bursts. Another disappointment was the title’s lack of challenge. Providing that you carry sufficient healing items you can pretty much neglect the tactical nuances of countering foes with attacks they are weak against. All that said I can pardon the developers for making things too easy as the title is targeted at youngsters. Moco Moco Friends is a 3DS release I would recommend to any parents who have a daughter that has expressed an interest in playing daddy’s RPGs. She can give this lovable adventure a go and if she manages to complete it you can then promote her to something slightly more taxing like say… Bloodborne.

Review of Michiko & Hatchin


Rest in peace Manglobe Inc. The animation studio responsible for Deadman Wonderland and The Sacred Blacksmith is no longer with us, after being declared bankrupt during the tail end of September 2015. Let us pay homage to the insolvent filmmakers by critiquing one of their earliest works – Michiko & Hatchin. This twenty-two episode series is presently available to buy in the UK courtesy of MVM Entertainment, who have packaged the show across two DVD collections. Anyone fond of either Cowboy Bebop or Samurai Champloo should consider checking out this release, as the legendary Shinichiro Watanabe produced it (his influence can be felt from the offset, when the jazzy Tank like opening theme trumpets its way into your ears.)


Michiko & Hatchin takes place in the fictional nation of Diamandra – a Latin country made up of Cuban styled dilapidated towns, separated by a vast barren desert. The titular Michiko is a dark skinned fugitive who has recently fled from prison (much bloodshed could have been avoided had the warden accepted her Monopoly “get out of jail free” card.) Now on the outside, Michiko is determined to reunite with former lover Hiroshi Morenos. Unfortunately for her Hiroshi’s whereabouts are presently unknown. Desperate for clues, which may point to the current location of her ex, Michiko decides to kidnap Morenos’s young daughter Hana (aka Hatchin.)

Hatchin’s abduction feels almost like a liberation, especially when you consider that the religious foster family tasked with raising her treated Hana like a slave. With Michiko proving to be the lesser of two evils Hatchin reluctantly agrees to join the sassy convict in the search for her estranged dad.

The manhunt won’t be easy however, as the elusive Hiroshi is a slippery customer who switches aliases whenever he migrates to a new address. Further complicating matters is the small issue of Michiko being pursued by both sides of the law. Satoshi Batista, the sadistic head of the Monstro Preto crime syndicate, has an axe to grind with the ebony protagonist. On the flip side police officer Atsuko Jackson, who grew up in the same orphanage as Michiko, is on the case to apprehend her former pal. Atsuko is not someone to be trifled with – I haven’t seen someone pull off such a fuzzy Afro since the days when Sam Jackson voiced a samurai.


My rating for Michiko & Hatchin is four stars. If the series had a stronger narrative I might have awarded it full marks. As it stands “Deadbeat Dad Hiroshi” is a McGuffin used to justify the nationwide trek our heroines go on. Much like Cowboy Bebop, M&H’s episodes are mostly standalone affairs. Each tale can range from action to comedy to drama. My favourite moments included Michiko trading bullets with assassins and speeding away on a scooter, with a fleet of law enforcement Herbie Love Bugs on her trail. It’s a shame that the writers didn’t focus exclusively on action because I found the more emotional episodes to be lacking. Michiko’s motel based bout of adultery and the romance between Hatchin and a lovesick bibliophile tugged more on my boredom receptors than my heartstrings.

For the most part however Michiko & Hatchin hits more than it misses. The dynamic between the two polar opposites results in plenty of entertaining banter. When strapped for cash Michiko is the kind of gal that has no qualms about resorting to robbery, whilst Hatchin would favour finding a job to pay the bills. Despite her age Hatchin comes across as the more mature of the two, although when you consider how Diamandra’s denizens prey on the naive one can begin to sympathize with Michiko’s uncharitable outlook on life. That’s not to say that Michiko is completely heartless though. The bond that forms between her and Hatchin reveals that she possesses some tender maternal qualities.

It’s a crying shame that Manglobe went bust. Michiko & Hatchin prove that the studio had some very talented employees. Alas when financial hardship strikes lowly artists can’t command the obscene bailouts that bankers do. I still can’t believe that the general public allowed gambling investors to ruin the economy with no repercussions. I guess when it comes to banking topics it doesn’t take much for people to lose “interest.”

Witch and Hero Review


Oh dear, Medusa is running amok tormenting the kingdom’s citizens (I think she is cranky because there isn’t a salon in the land willing to style her serpentine locks.) Whatever shall we do? I know, let’s hire a mighty knight (Hero) and a sorceress who likes pointy hats (Witch) to smack some sense into her. That was the plan anyway, but alas things didn’t quite work out. Witch was transformed into a statue during the skirmish and Hero only just managed to escape from the battle, after being beaten to a pulp. It was the biggest hammering since Rousey clashed with Holm. Ah well, never mind – time for a rematch! Eager to annul the stone curse on his companion (and claim the bounty on Medusa’s petrifying head) Hero sets off in this retro styled 3DS adventure.


Witch and Hero is a Nintendo eshop title that has players controlling the titular pair across twenty action packed levels. The objective of each stage is to survive against waves of hostile mythical creatures (including slimes, skeletal undead and flying sharks) until the boss monster you need to subjugate appears onscreen. Due to her granite condition, Witch cannot defend herself against Medusa’s minions – so Hero is tasked with protecting his partner from harm. If too many fiends strike the female spell caster she will be reduced to rubble, signalling a Game Over.

If memorizing complex combos is the bane of your existence then Witch and Hero is the game for you. The simplistic combat system only asks that Hero bump into an opponent in order to damage them (akin to the early Ys games.) Whacking a foe in this manner also harms Hero so whenever possible it is encouraged that you strike enemies from behind, as doing so negates your target’s counter attack. Hmmm, hitting someone whilst their back is turned doesn’t sound very heroic Mr Hero. Underhanded tactics must however be employed because whenever Hero’s health depletes to zero he will collapse on the ground for a few seconds, leaving the hapless Witch completely exposed.

A solitary warrior versus a legion of monsters doesn’t seem fair, so be sure to pick up the spoils of war to even up the odds. Defeated enemies drop potions that restore health in addition to experience orbs and gold. Accumulate enough experience and Hero will level up, making him a sturdier chap via a modest increase to his health points. On the flip side, coinage harvested from corpses can be spent on beefing up your attack, defence and movement speed. Another thing worth mentioning is that slain enemies will discharge blood. Collecting sufficient quantities of this bodily fluid will cause Witch to reanimate briefly, allowing her to pelt assailants with fireballs and enchanted tornadoes. Thanks for the assist Witch, but what’s the deal with this fondness for blood? I thought you were a magician not a vampire.


My rating for Witch and Knight is three stars. Although I enjoyed this game, it may be advisable to try out the demo before making a purchase. Based on other reviews I have read this is one of those titles you will either love or hate. Some critics have been harsh on how repetitive the gameplay is and how the difficulty ramps up, forcing you to grind on earlier stages to level up your character. It wasn’t an issue for me though; especially when you consider that the game is designed for play in short bursts. Perhaps the disparate opinions can be attributed to a player’s age? Young whippersnappers may find the primitive 8-bit graphics to be hideous, whilst an old fogey such as myself finds them to be charming.

In terms of value Witch and Knight can easily be beaten in a day. Not an issue though, when you consider that the asking price is less than £4.00. There’s some replay value too as besting the story unlocks a harder campaign, time trial and survival mode. The combat may be shallow, but it isn’t without strategy. Deciding when to chug a potion, what order to tackle enemies and when to activate Holy Blade (a late game skill that makes Hero momentarily invulnerable) will determine your success or failure. The only frustrating thing about Witch and Hero was how many times it took me to vanquish the final boss. Here’s a tip – don’t go into the encounter if you are inebriated. You stand no chance of beating Medusa if you are “stoned.”

Review of The Eccentric Family


The Eccentric Family is a thirteen episode anime series based on the book penned by Tomihiko Morimi. Set in an alternate version of present day Kyoto City, the show chronicles the adventures of the Shimogamo clan who happen to be a bunch of shape shifting Tanuki (those adorable racoon like critters that Super Mario likes to transform into.)


Kyoto, a bustling city situated on Honshu Island, is home to humans, Tanuki and Tengu (a supernatural race of Yokai who are part man/part avian.) Why so many Tanuki reside in Japan’s former capital is beyond me, given that the municipality is where the Friday Fellows are located. This club of oddballs has a bizarre culinary tradition, which calls upon its members to celebrate the upcoming New Year with a meal of Tanuki stew. I’d rather herald the arrival of January by chowing down on twelve grapes, rather than dining on a furry bandit, but whatever. There is no convincing the Fellows otherwise – they already have a taste for Tanuki flesh given that the father of the Shimogamo household was once on their menu.

Yasaburo Shimogamo is the show’s protagonist. He’s a young Tanuki who loves masquerading as a human; normally adopting the form of a teenage boy… although when we first meet him he assumes the guise of a schoolgirl. Man, that is most disturbing. Most guys have nightmares about getting intoxicated and then mistakenly sleeping with a cross dresser. Waking up next to a bushy tailed quadruped would however be much worse. It would make you almost as cranky as Professor Akadama (Yasburo’s Tengu master, who is irritable as a spinal injury has robbed him of the ability to fly.)

Gender bending is rather eccentric, but it must be said that Yasaburo’s family are all equally quirky. His mom for example spends her days playing Billiards in a prince’s outfit. Evidently she has a fondness for names beginning with the letter Y, because she named her other offspring Yashiro, Yajiro and Yaichiro. The youngest of the trio is Yashiro – a timid boy who exposes his tail whenever he gets startled. Yajiro isn’t much better when it comes to controlling his shape shifting abilities. He transformed into a frog one day and has since remained an amphibian, as he cannot recall how to revert back. Yaichiro is the eldest son and the most straight laced of the lot. He presumably acts sensible as he harbours aspirations of leading the Tanuki race one day. If he gets elected let’s hope that he doesn’t construct a wall to keep the Mexicans out of the country.


My rating for The Eccentric Family is three and a half stars. It’s an entertaining mix of comedy and drama, featuring some very nice visuals from P.A. Works (the animation studio behind Angel Beats and Another.) The show’s strongest asset is its interesting cast of characters, which isn’t limited to supernatural beings. Benten, a human who can soar through the skies thanks to Akadama’s tutelage, is especially fascinating. Allied with the Friday Fellows, she sometimes threatens to gobble up Yasaburo and on other occasions lends him aid via subtle manipulation. Whenever Benten is onscreen it is hard to take your eyes off her… partly because of her unpredictable personality and partly because she fills out a business suit so well.

Overall, I would have enjoyed The Eccentric Family a smidgen more had its story been tighter. The opening episodes, which focus mostly on world building and fleshing out the characters, are a bit too slow-paced for my tastes. Thankfully things heat up towards the end courtesy of a leadership contest between Yaichiro and his uncle. UK anime aficionados, who like the sound of this show, can already purchase the series on Blu Ray thanks to the Collector’s Edition from MVM Entertainment. If you are on a budget however you will have to wait for the standard DVD release due out later this month. I guess MVM give the wealthy preferential treatment. What’s their reasoning? No idea. I refuse to listen to their excuses, cos I am too poor to pay attention.

The Top 5 Animes I Reviewed in 2015


Following on from yesterday’s video game list, the time has come for me to announce the finest animes reviewed by The Otaku Judge in 2015. I didn’t have much trouble selecting the year’s top three shows, but I did have to wrack my brain a bit to determine who would secure the last two spots. Looking back at the past twelve months, I have to say that my love for Japanese animation shows no signs of waning. I am however buying fewer DVDs. Storage space has hit saturation point at my household and sadly most releases aren’t available to download legally over here in Europe. Hopefully the UK’s increasing number of anime distributors will make more of an effort to secure digital rights in the future. At the moment though they continue to focus on the physical market, with pricey special editions becoming more and more commonplace.

Honourable Mentions: Beyond the Boundary, Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F, Kamisama Dolls and Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions.

5th) Log Horizon (Season One): The Oculus Rift is due out this year – fools did Tron teach you nothing? Whenever humanity dabbles with VR the risk exists that you will find yourself trapped within a digital world. Case in point – Log Horizon written by tax dodger Mamare Touno. This excellent series follows an ensemble cast who are coming to terms with life inside a fantasy MMO. Rather than escape their confines the former players integrate with the native NPCs and begin to influence the land’s politics. Mistakenly compared with Sword Art Online, this more cerebral tale feels like Spice & Wolf given that major portions of the story deal with medieval business ventures.

4th) Cross Ange: This is likely to be the most controversial pick on my list, as squeamish audiences found the brutality Ange suffered in the opening episodes to be abhorrent. Viewers who can stomach those scenes (and the excessive nudity) will however be rewarded with an excellent Sunrise mech show. The biggest praise I can lavish upon Cross Ange is that at times it channels the awesome Code Geass. The bot versus dragon action sequences are impressive and the script has that Geass knack of seamlessly transitioning from tragedy to comedy. My only gripe with the show is that Angelise’s love interest (Tusk) is a bit of a dweeb. Yuri fans would have been much happier had he perished leaving Ange to fly off into the sunset with Hilda instead.

3rd) Kill la Kill: In search of her father’s killer, Ryuko Matoi enrols at Honnouji Academy. Once there she takes on the fascist student council armed only with an elongated scissor blade and a sailor uniform that leaves nothing to the imagination. Kill la Kill is just as whacky as its premise sounds, but that should come as no surprise given that the series is the brainchild of Gurren Lagann’s creators. Thanks to the zany comedy, awesome soundtrack, over the top action and stylish visuals Kill la Kill deservedly earns a place in my 2015 anime top three. I would have ranked it even higher were it not for the extortionate home release, which cut up (scissor pun not intended) the series into three pricey special editions.

2nd) Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works: For the second year running a Fate series takes the runner-up spot. Unlimited Blade Works may not match the quality of Fate/Zero, but it’s still an exceptional show. Ufotable’s rendition of the Holy Grail War, which pits mages and ancient heroes against each other, easily surpasses Studio Deen’s 2006 effort. The outstanding animation brings the epic duels to life and I much preferred this version of the story, as it focuses more on everyone’s favourite twin tail tsundere Rin. Perhaps 2016 will be the year when Fate finally earns first place in my anime chart, courtesy of the upcoming Heaven’s Feel movie? It all depends if Ufotable release the movie on time… never a certainty as their adaptation of God Eater will attest to.

1st) Parasyte the Maxim: Ever since I read my first Spider-Man comic I have had a soft spot for nerdy heroes. Perhaps that’s why Parasyte resonated with me. Protagonist Shinichi Izumi certainly fits the Peter Parker mould, of nerd who acquires superhuman powers, after his right hand gets replaced with an extra-terrestrial named Migi. The pair form an uneasy alliance and in order to survive have to pit their wits against an array of nightmarish parasitic organisms. Madhouse have done a sublime job modernizing the eighties source material for a twenty first century audience. The action is deliciously gory and the banter between the leads succeeded in eliciting chuckles from yours truly. The only fault the series has is a weak female supporting cast, although Reiko Tamura did stand out as the best anime mom since Wolf Children’s Hana.

Three cheers to Parasyte for winning The Otaku Judge’s 2015 Top Five Anime Award. Shinichi I would congratulate you with a hardy handshake but you’ll have to make do with my well wishes, as that Cyclops protruding from your palm looks peckish.

The Top 5 Games I Reviewed in 2015


Happy New Year everyone! The unwrapping of a new calendar means that I must once again deliberate on what titles shall earn a spot in my annual top fives. Starting things off are the best video games I covered in 2015. It was the year when I finally embraced the next gen by purchasing a PS4, partially because enough good games came out for the console and partially because the PS3 was on its last legs in terms of new releases. Looking back at my other top fives, I think the 2015 list has been the toughest one to compile due to the sheer number of exceptional titles I got to play. Let’s kick off the show with some fun games that narrowly missed the cut.

Honourable mentions: Atelier Shallie, Criminal Girls, Disgaea 5, HuniePop, Hyperdevotion Noire, Lost Dimension and Nekopara.

5th) Valiant Hearts: Commemorating the Great War, which took place a century ago, Valiant Hearts proves that Ubisoft are still capable of delivering creative titles (something that is easy to forget given how many bug riddled Assassin Creed games they churn out on a yearly basis.) This educational tribute, to the people who fought in the conflict, impressed me as it favoured puzzle solving over combat. Don’t let the cartoony visuals and lack of dialogue deceive you; Valiant Hearts is an emotional experience from start to finish. You may want to keep a hanky close by for the tear-jerking finale.

4th) Until Dawn: You know a game is good when you feel compelled to keep on playing, even if your natural cowardice is pleading for you to turn off the TV and cower behind the settee. Similar to David Cage’s productions, Until Dawn is a realistic looking interactive story… with the difference being that Until Dawn is actually fun to play and well written. Taking inspiration from monster movies and slasher flicks from the nineties, this tour de force has players controlling a group of teens who are marooned at a remote cabin. Despite its short running time, overuse of QTEs and motion controls I really enjoyed Until Dawn. Well worth the asking price and the new pants I had to buy after soiling the trousers I was wearing.

3rd) Tales from the Borderlands: You’ll have to forgive me for including another interactive story in this chart, but alas I am an old fogey who no longer has the reflexes to play high-octane games. The fun I had playing through this five-part adventure was a big surprise, given that I detest the mainline Borderlands games (nothing personal, I just happen to suck at FPS titles.) No one could have predicted that Tales would outshine Telltale’s Game of Thrones adaptation but it did thanks to a hilarious script, which proves the company’s comedic efforts can equal their dramatic forays. If you enjoy space westerns like Firefly I highly recommend giving this Pandora based heist caper a try.

2nd) Bloodborne: Who says that the PlayStation 4 has no good exclusives? My 2015 runner-up says otherwise. Seeing a From Software release nab second place is unexpected, as I am not fond of the Souls series. Although I can appreciate their quality, my inept gaming skills are not up to the brutal difficulty. Bloodborne however managed to win me over, perhaps because the Lovecraftian setting is so cool or perhaps because the more offensive combat system forces you to attack rather than hide behind a shield. Multiple endings, chalice dungeons and the recent DLC ensure that Bloodborne players get a lot of bang for their buck. As the name suggests, Bloodborne is bloody good.

1st) Eiyuu Senki The World Conquest: Unless Yakuza 5 can convince me otherwise, Eiyuu Senki is likely to be the final PS3 game I ever purchase. If that’s the case, I can happily proclaim that Sony’s seventh gen system bowed out on a high note. This digital only release, were you lead an army of gender-bent historical figures, really deserved more attention than it got. The harem comedy cut scenes are hysterical and the turn based combat succeeded in scratching my strategy game itch. If you aren’t averse to playing text heavy games, and like battles akin to what you would find in Fire Emblem, it’s well worth unearthing your PS3 from the loft to give Eiyuu Senki a bash. Many games on this list have stellar storylines and excellent gameplay, but only Eiyuu Senki allows you to snog a female Napoleon. That alone is enough to win my 2015 award… yeah I really need to get a girlfriend.