Whoa, whoa, whoa… hm, maybe this explains the creepy rape panda.
— So as you’ll recall, Rinka is still in the midst of training in order to save her dams-…. don in distress? Luckily, she’s found herself a new training partner. It’s just too bad he seems to hate women.
— Even better, the guy just spends a good chunk of the early-going beating Rinka up. Oh yeah, he’s berating her too. Good stuff. Apparently, she gets distracted easily. For example, the panda had promised her a steak lunch (steak for lunch sounds heavy if you’re going to spend all day training) if she could land a single hit on the guy. Anime loves that trope where their female characters are ravenous for food. Don’t we all love food? Not as much as an anime shoujo, apparently.
— The dweeb then insults Murasaki too. What a dick.
— Rinka eventually figures out why she can’t land a single hit on the guy: he has precognition. So how do you beat the guy? Rinka tries and tries, but she just can’t seem to come up with a plan. Yo, perverted panda sensei, gimme a hint!
Master Roshi: “…there are times when no amount of thought will lead you to an answer. What is one to do when one cannot come to an answer?”
Rinka: “In that case… I’ll just push forward without thinking!”
Oh, how could I forget! It’s the dreaded no-thinking strategy! No, I get what they’re trying to say. Rinka has to get to the point where her body moves instinctively. I’m just ribbing the subs, because they make her sound dumb.
— So we see Rinka train some more. We’re seven minutes into the episode already, and it has been nothing but training scenes. On the one hand, there’s no doubt she has to get stronger, and it’s always lame when heroes or heroines instantly bypass this step. On the other hand, Tokyo ESP could’ve utilized these scenes in a better way. Maybe explore her mentality a bit more. Or her thought process. Her fears? Concerns? These scenes just feel a tad one-dimensional. It just feels like Tokyo ESP is content to put in the minimum amount of effort. Maybe the training scenes aren’t the problem. Maybe Rinka just isn’t a very complex character so there isn’t much the anime can do here. She wants to get stronger, she needs to take her training seriously, she has a crush on Kyotaro, yadda yadda yadda. That’s about it, honestly. There’s just nothing here to chew on. She’s not overpowered, at least, but the show doesn’t make me think, “Man, I can’t wait to watch another episode!” I feel like what you see is what you get with Rinka, and as such, I don’t really identify with her. Her character feels paper-thin.
— Furthermore, if you combine last week’s training scenes with this week’s training scenes, you almost have an entire episode’s worth of them. And episode’s worth of Rinka jogging and sparring!
— Ayumu’s mom is a politician. Not only that, she really hates esper. She doesn’t know, however, that her son is an esper! Dun dun dun! I feel like I’ve seen this story before, though. Oh that’s right! Remember Takahiro from Hamatora? I mean, Ayumu’s story isn’t a carbon copy of Takahiro’s, but we’re still exploring the same basic themes. Ayumu’s mom will crusade against the espers, thinking she’s doing what’s best for the children. At the same time, she’s pushing her son away, who already has issues with women to begin with. Obviously, I don’t think the guy will turn into a giant berserker, then die tragically like Takahiro had to in Hamatora. Plus, the stark similarities here are not Tokyo ESP‘s fault, per se. It’s just bad luck; I doubt the two shows planned to overlap in any way. Still, I can’t help but feel kind of bored because the two scenarios feel so similar to each other.
— It is raining the following day, but Rinka and Ayumu meet up once more to spare. This time, however, Rinka gets the upper hand because she’s learned to counterpunch. Exciting stuff, I know.
— Ayumu won’t exactly accept defeat, though…
Again, the anime can take advantage of this. Instead of just making Ayumu a misogynist, little shithead, why not explore why he has these feelings? If it’s just because he doesn’t get along with his mom, however, that’s just stupid.
— But instead, the show opts to go for a gag where even Murasaki can beat Ayumu up. Yeah, Murasaki. She can’t normally fight, but thanks to her psychometry, she can emulate famous martial artists. Alright, this is how it works. She’s holding a pair of nunchucks, and those same nunchucks were once used by Bruce Lee! Thanks to her powers, she can see into the nunchuck’s past, and learn how Bruce Lee had used them! Then all of a sudden, she can use the nunchucks like Bruce Lee too! Wow! Of course, since she hasn’t had any real physical training, twenty seconds of pure badassery are enough to leave Murasaki quivering on the ground from overexertion.
— Elsewhere, Kyotaro continues to tire himself out trying to escape from his prison. Obviously, it doesn’t work, but Minami brings him omurice so so he’s actually living a pretty cushy life.
— Minami’s motivations aren’t all that fleshed out, though. I mean, you don’t just wake up one day and decide to take over the world. You don’t just decide to kill or injure a ton of people just because they’re not espers like you. There has to be more to these decisions than what we see. This seems to be Tokyo ESP‘s problem in general, actually. Everyone’s doing what we expect them to do, so I guess their exact motivations are left on the cutting room floor. Maybe the manga actually goes in-depth on these characters and their thought process. It’s just too bad I don’t read manga. If we’re to compare this show to Hamatora, Tokyo ESP has the right tone more often than not; Hamatora is often content to joke around for half an episode before the story actually decides to get serious. Hell, the last episode was nothing but stupid jokes. But for what it’s worth, Hamatora has better villains. Their motives are actually fleshed out. I can see where Art is coming from even if I don’t agree with him. Tokyo ESP‘s villains are as paper-thin as the show’s heroine.
— Oh look, Ayumu’s mom is on her soapbox, ranting about the dangers of espers. Ayumu can’t help but think, “If she knew that her own child was an esper…” Deja vu strikes again.
— All of a sudden, some dude with Pikachu power destroys the entire intersection. He then goes straight for Ayumu’s mom, calling her a racist. Well, he isn’t wrong… he’s just an asshole.
— As a result, Ayumu and Murasaki team up to save the lady from certain death. It wasn’t a bad action scene, but it wasn’t great either. It’s just there.
— Nevertheless, Murasaki’s sense of justice impresses Ayumu, so maybe he’ll stop being such a cynical bastard. But now his secret is out, so… I guess that’s the cliffhanger. Tune in next time to see how his mom copes with the revelation that her son is a dirty, dirty esper.