Man, every week, it just feels like Tokyo ESP sneaks up on me. Usually, Thursday has some great shows (Terror in Resonance was sadly MIA this week, though). Then Saturday is basically the Night of the Living Gary Stus. As a result, you have poor Friday, tucked in between these two eventful days. And what does Friday have to offer? Nothing but Tokyo ESP. And, well, there’s JoJo, but I ain’t watching that.
— Oh, this mom only cares about her career: “If people find out that you’re an esper, I will lose the trust of the public!” There are slight variations with every story, and this is Tokyo ESP’s twist. Problem is, Ayumu has been so thoroughly unlikeable since his introduction that I have a hard time sympathizing with the guy. I just think they overdid it with the “I hate women” nonsense.
— Hey, hey, guess what…? People are still training.
— So protests against espers are mounting, and while this doesn’t look to be a smart move, I can understand where the anger is coming from. The way I see it, none of the non-espers have done anything. Since the beginning of the show, it has been espers fucking up in one way or another. The Professor dropped that tanker and hurt a lot of people. Then racist or not, some asshole tried to kill Ayumu’s mother. So y’know, what do you expect non-espers’ reactions to be when all this shit happens to them? Hell, even Rindo made a big giant mess at the start of the series because he’s one of those overprotective dads. These shows always sweep the damage to infrastructure under the rug as if it’s no big deal, but that shit costs billions of yen to repair.
— But at the end of the day, we’re still watching the same boring story. Special snowflakes start appearing among the general populace. Some snowflakes start trouble, so normies start hating them. Things escalate until the whole thing somewhat resembles a race war… somewhat. And that’s the problem. Not only is Tokyo ESP treading very, very familiar storytelling, it’s not taking the steps to make the story its own. A lot of these tales about mutants or people with special powers are only ever vaguely about racism and discrimination. They don’t refuse to just come right out and take a stand, thereby making the story much more personal and much more powerful.
— Furthermore, the story plays out in exactly the same way too. I have no idea why there’s a presumption that if special snowflakes emerge, a large contingent of them will suddenly go renegade. Remember that show about queerats and shit? Remember the history lesson about how strong psychic users emerged? What was the first thing that happened? People went on a raping and murdering rampage, then war broke out. In the end, normal people were enslaved and civilization declined, yadda yadda yadda. Here, some dude automatically shows up and drops a tanker on the Tokyo Tower. I just think there are several ways to explore the idea of special individuals emerging within a populace that doesn’t always have to resort to an all-out “race war.” But everyone wants to write the same sort of story, apparently.
— Do we really have time for flashbacks? ‘Cause nothing is happening in the story. I totally get flashbacks if they show us something new, or if the story has been so fast-paced, the narrative needs to slow down and remind us some past crucial details. But man, all we’ve seen as of late is Rinka train, train, and train some more. Yet here I am, watching a flashback of how she had to choose between a dying mother and trying to save Kyotarou. Plus, her relationship with Kyotarou is weak, so I don’t understand why the girl is pining for the guy. Maybe if the initial episodes had developed their bond a little better, these scenes would be more meaningful.
— Yeah, it may sound like I’m ragging on the anime. If you just want something easy to digest, then Tokyo ESP works. It’s a mostly inoffensive anime that has action and special powers. On the other hand, the anime is also really, really generic, and I think it’s worth understanding why it is so bland.
— Oh god, really? More flashback? This pacing is horrendous. As a result, we see Rinka visit the amusement park all by her lonesome. I know what these scenes are for, but they’re just not effective because we don’t have an effective relationship between the two main leads to begin with.
— Yet another ESP terrorist tries to stir shit up, but she makes the mistake of targeting Rinka. Our heroine has no problems subduing the girl, and with Peggi’s help, the latter’s powers are gone as well. So the takeaway here is that anyone hoping to join The Professor must first prove themselves by performing an act of terror. In fact, he’s using his daughter to go around as a recruiter. On the other hand, our heroes can fight back by slowly removing people’s problems. That’s going to be one fat penguin by the end of the series.
— Sad thing is, The Professor doesn’t even have a compelling story. He’s just selling himself as the new God of mankind.
— Man, the female characters all have the same face, so I initially thought I was looking at Rinka in some sort of disguise. But no, it’s actually a different character.
What the fuck? For some reason, I’m watching a cook sexually harass a girl by the name of Rin, because she refuses to allow customers to molest her… Essentially, whenever someone is troubled, the school of fishes show up to give them powers — powers to give the downtrodden a way to fight back. With Minami following the fishes, she can quickly recruit them to her cause. While this might partly explain why espers are so eager to cause mayhem, it’s not quite enough in my opinion. Take the girl being harassed in the alley, for instance. You can’t tell me she is willing to become a murderer overnight. Hell, it’s even a stretch for the girl we’re seeing right now. I think the story just too easily accepts the idea that people can kill and maim without any qualms.
— Plus, how nice is it that The Professor is surrounding himself with hot girls.
— According to the bad guys, Minami is carrying everything on her shoulders. Uh-huh. Another hastily developed character.
— Minami: “Saving the world without hurting yourself and hating others isn’t even an ideal.” What?
— Anyway, Minami is cynical whereas Kyotaro is the dorky shounen who believes. So all of a sudden, she lets him go. She’s given up on trying to change his mind, because as long as Rinka lives, Kyotaro will have something to believe in. Therefore, if you want to mindbreak the dude, you gotta kill his woman.
— A random scene where we check up on Ayumu, since we haven’t dealt with him since the start of the episode. It’s kind of like, “Oh, by the way, this is what’s going on with the kid…” Yeah, Murasaki made him cookies, so I guess we’re going to pair everyone up or something.
— The next day, Rinka is on her way to school. I guess even if the world’s at stake, an anime character can never neglect her studies. It’s just silly. Seeing the heroine suddenly decide to take a break in the middle of her training to attend class just doesn’t make any sense. There’s a terrorist organization out there hellbent on enslaving humanity, and not only that, her main squeeze is still, in her mind, a prisoner. Nevertheless, the main character’s got to go and study hard. Why not just make the main characters adults and never have to worry about this nonsense?
— And even now, we get flashbacks. Aye yai yai.
— Just as Rinka thinks to herself, “…but Azuma-san still hasn’t returned,” look who returns!
Oh boy. But it looks like after all those boring flashbacks, we’ll get some action next week. It’s just too bad I’m not terribly excited about anything this anime has to offer.