Well………First Anime Discovery in 2017. A new year and…….well, it’s almost the end of January and I have posted nothing much.
I guess I should look into my long, long, long……….very long backlog of anime to review and even new stuff to look into. Although I do want to look into a title that I’m sure not everybody has on the brain right now. That and hey, it’s Anime DISCOVERY….meaning I need to look upon some glanced-over titles and I think I found me something today.
Psychic School Wars….and if you wonder what the hell is it?
Well, the original material to this is a 1973 sci-fi novel by Taku Mayumura and the novel has been adapted before to 4 television dramas throughout the late ’70s to the mid-90s and live-action films were produced by 1981 and 1997. This is the first anime adaptation of the novel. Oh, and if the name is recognizable to you, Mayumura has another literary work that has an anime adaptation….Neo Tokyo.
Anyway, back on topic. What’s Psychic School Wars about?
It’s a new school year at the local Junior High School I Kamakura. The school year starts off with a new transfer student Ryoichi Kyogoku who joins the 8th grade class. He has been ordered to join the school, and use his special gift of telepathy and take over their school. This boy who happens to be handsome, and be a charismatic person, gains popularity, and using his powers takes over the entire school, except for Seki. This begins a war to regain their freedom for their school and themselves.
OK, if you read that and if you were expecting some stylized action based from the plot and maybe the title…….well, turn back because this may not be the anime for you at all. The ‘wars’ is more of a conflict via communication than the broader sense of it. Plus, there is more than what the plot synopsis I just gave you describe and most of what’s going on here is 50/50. Why I say that? OK, the whole aspect of telepathy and psychic powers are interesting. Plus, the whole thing with the student council about banning cell phones in the classroom did seemed like good dialogue throughout….although it got me questioning if this movie was anti-cell phone or something I was getting a lot of how it distracts and slows down direct communication skills.
And then there’s the whole thing with the other character in here Natsuki, who is going through some frustrations because Seki, the main character has a crush on this girl Kahori and she might have a liking on either him or that new transfer student Ryoichi.
In other words, it’s a LOVE TRIANGLE or SQUARE or…..oh god…..
Yeah, I’m not a fan of this particular aspect of the story because it’s too predictable and cliche. We know how it’s all going to go down. We know Natsuki and Seki has been friends since childhood and sometimes she does mess with him time to time and of course, she hits him (a lot) over for some petty shit. You know, that old formula of friendship between 2 platonic but not-really or maybe friends. I get it but at the same time, it’s too damn annoying and just got me shouting at them for being total morons. Hell, there were parts where I’m thinking that “Damn, these are some dumb motherfuckers here” and I know that they’re teenagers and I should understand the emotions they go through and all and you should expect that from them……um, that doesn’t excuse them for being frustrating to watch and if they were better constructed and/or interesting characters, then I would fully be on board.
And looking at the staff and especially the director, I can see why I would be annoyed as the same director also did Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash….as in that anime I really disliked and landed on my 2016 Worst of List. Thankfully for this one, I don’t loathe this like I did with Grimgar.
Speaking of characters, I’m going to be quick on this because they’re really isn’t much to them. Seki is your average shy teenage boy who can be dumb a few times and boy, the dumb parts got me sighing and facepalming. Natsuki….I immediately find her annoying from that first scene of her calling Seki a ‘pervert’ after talking to the girl he has a crush on and her blatant lashings on him don’t make me want to side with her fully. It comes across as petty and childish even if we can understand it a bit. Kahori is……not much special or interesting as she’s the type-cast perfect girl of the movie although she might be the one character I can fully like and can emphasize more with her. As for Ryoichi, if it wasn’t for the fact that he got the telepathy powers and all…..he would be another bland hot teenage guy who transferred there.
Wow, this animation looks like it was from a Makoto Shinkai movie aka that director whose movies I have never saw before except that one that played on Toonami in 2 in the morning that one time. But, yeah, art and animation-wise, this is really impressive when it comes to visual candy. Some parts of it does look rough in some areas but never what I call bad animation. Plus, it’s done by Sunrise….Studio 8. Yeah, I think they have a lot of studios to do projects on.
The music in here is….good. Fairly good and I especially like that piano piece that I have heard before but can’t get the name of it. I know what it is because I heard it before played on The Simpsons before (the one episode “A Star is Born Again”) but I actually love that particular piece.
Yeah, that’s the one. Clair de Lune…..music is fine overall here and for the ending theme, I actually never got that attached to it so I got nothing on that.
Oh, and of course, the English dub which since this is licensed by Funimation in the US, there is a dub but it’s not from them in-house. OK, technically, the dub was founded by an UK licensor Anime Limited and they choose NYAV Post to do the dub and it was fine. Although I know one thing might irk some people is the pronunciation of Natsuki being “Nat-soo-key” and not “Nats-ki” in the Japanese language. Look, that doesn’t bother me in the slightest but it was very noticeable in here. I also noticed the one VA in a main role I instantly recognized was Cassandra Lee Morris as Natsuki and while I don’t like the character that much, she does a great job portraying her and yeah, I looked up most of these VAs and the majority of them has been in Pokemon and since I don’t watch that show at all, I might not recognize any of these voices although while I don’t know much of this actress’ work either voicing or ADR writing/direction, Lisa Ortiz’ direction was solid.
FINAL VERDICT: Psychic School Wars was a frustrating yet interesting watch from beginning to end. We have parts of it being a genuinely interesting story that does captivate us into getting immersed into the movie but unfortunately when it comes to the easily predictable and lackluster aspects, they overshadowed what could have been a good story but just one that also has a mediocre side story that grew into the full story.
And so, this war has come to an end and I give it a…..
It’s a low VANILLA.
Psychic School Wars is available to buy on DVD and Blu-ray via Funimation Entertainment. You can also stream it on their FUNIMATION|Now service both sub and dub.
And that’s it for me. I’m MAK2.0 aka The Blue Hybrid and…next time, don’t wake up your friend by shooting an acorn at them.
PSYCHIC SCHOOL WARS – animated by SUNRISE / licensed by FUNIMATION ENTERTAINMENT