Snapshots: Zettai Karen Children
We can try over the future world!! Melting your icy heart and bringing a smile to your face, here’s Zettai Karen Children (絶対可憐チルドレン), Sunday mornings at 10:00 JST on TV Tokyo.
With Hayate no Gotoku on hiatus, director Kawaguchi Keiichirou has found himself a new project, this time based on Shiina Takashi‘s manga Zettai Karen Children, which started its run in 2005 and has piled up 12 volumes so far. The screenplay is authored by Nishizono Satoru, who’s been heavily influential on Naruto and NHK ni Youkoso.
The plot follows The Children, a squad of three super-powered 10-year-old girls and their 20-year-old commander, as they perform missions under the government branch known as B.A.B.E.L. The girls all possess maximum level 7 psychic powers, where the spunky boob-loving Akashi Kaoru is psychokinetic, Kansai-ben speaking Nogami Aoi is able to teleport, while seemingly calm and gentle Sannomiya Shiho is psychometric. Due to the extreme nature of their powers, and the way buildings tend to explode whenever they’re active, they’ve all been outfitted with an ESP Limiter device, which acts to reduce their hazardous powers and impact on the lives of normal people. The first episode features an assignment where the city is plagued by a mighty ESPer calling himself Muscle Ookama (pun on “gay”), who shoots beams out of his crotch which turn people into metal statues. During the chase they run into Minamoto Kouichi, a brilliant scientist, who turns out to be their newly assigned commander, and perhaps the first person ever to treat the girls like human beings rather than wild beasts (or pets).
Just like Hayate no Gotoku, Synergy SP produces this kids show, and the animation is a joy to behold in high resolution. The character design is fairly simple but tasteful, and they’re managing to stay away from shots of panties, despite scenes where it might seem inevitable. This is very different from the director’s previous Moetan. The music’s done by Nakagawa Koutarou, who must be really busy this season, considering he’s also working on Code Geass R2, but the two sound nothing alike, with this being more of a jazzy funk, I suppose. Voice actor fans can cheer a bit, because our pretty goddess Hirano Aya (Konata in Lucky Star) is back as Kaoru, while Shiraishi Ryouko (Hayate in Hayate no Gotoku) plays Aoi, and young Tomatsu Haruka (Lala in To Love-ru) is really interesting as Shiho. Nakamura Yuuichi (Tomoya in Clannad) gets to show just how kind he can be, in the role as Kouichi.
This was surprisingly good. A couple of minutes in, it seemed like just another exaggerated action comedy with silly enemies (humping gay beams, really?), but the opening song is so very cute, and some of the jokes are genuinely amusing. What really got to me was the way Kouichi reaches into the girls’ hearts, and I’m actually interested in seeing if he can become a bridge that unites them with the rest of humanity. It was unexpected to see something so strangely touching among all that crazy comedy, and it makes me want to see more episodes.