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「初めての。。。。。。」 (Hajimete no……)
“The First…”

Episode two makes it clear: the drama is here to stay. After all the arguments and the sudden demand to translate the 4-koma, Kotoura-san’s dramatic elements were not a one-shot deal–the show has fully revealed its true genre, hiding nothing about its intentions. I, for one, am relieved that the animation has taken a route that is actually faithful to the original material, where even the comedy has a looming connection to the overarching drama. If you still want to see a straight up romantic comedy with harems and carefree gags, this is not the place; there are many other shows this season that cater to that genre. Kotoura-san is serious about its plot and undoubtedly will seek to make you laugh, cry, d’awwww, and cry while laughing, all in what I like to personally label as the dramatic comedy.

The question remains though: will Kotoura-san live up to the high expectations that its first episode established?

Episode two, if it serves any indication of the future, is making good progress, especially in introducing the rest of the cast. We probably won’t see anything as dramatic as the first episode for a long while, yet the drama is still being pushed to advance the storyline, with a number of foreshadows being dropped, with some hints more obvious than others. It seems like every female character has some form of suffering they’re hiding, which will probably play as the main theme of the show as we move forward.

The first case of which of course lies in the ESP Society’s President, Mifune Yuriko (Hanazawa Kana). At surface she’s your typical club president, egging the rest of the members to take part in ridiculous club activities for the sake of accomplishing some crazy goal. However, dig a little deeper thanks to Kotoura and you find some pretty messed up stuff underneath, with some hidden intentions to boot. For being such a forward person, Mifune is doing well to hide the emotional scars wrought from the death of her celebrity psychic mother (who uncannily looks like Kotoura’s mother). This comes as a benefit though, as Kotoura and Mifune now share a common bond and mutual understanding that can’t come from pure sympathy, especially so for Mifune, whose (perhaps) only source of understanding came from her fellow Vice President Muroto Daichi (Shimono Hiro). Mifune takes a step too far though in exploiting Kotoura, though conclusively makes up for it in the end, so all is okay, right?

Actually, I have my suspicions. First off, Mifune’s desire to convince people that the phenomenon of ESP seems a little…off. It is clear through the reactions of her classmates that they know that Kotoura is a “freak monster”, so any attempts to prove the existence of ESP seems…a little moot? Instead shouldn’t Mifune look instead to garner sympathy and tolerance for those who claim to have ESP?

While it may be easy to blame this on bad scriptwriting, I think something else is at work here that requires us to scrap the idea of categorizing Mifune’s moments as “surface” and “hidden”. While at surface Mifune is a class president and what Kotoura sees at surface is the sad life of Mifune…perhaps at a deeper level, Mifune is sneakier than seen at face value. Since she blatantly spoke out that her sympathy and pity were cheap tactics, I have doubts that this may be the last we see of Mifune’s plans to amend for the crimes against her mother. Although the latter half of the episode with her actual sympathies confuses this theory a little, especially through Muroto’s second conversation with Mifune, it’s an interesting path that might be realized.

Even if that hypothesis isn’t realized though, the current antagonist to Kotoura’s happiness will find the spotlight. Although introduced in episode one quite subtly, Moritani Hiyori (Kubo Yurika) starts showing her darker, yet confused colors this episode. While she will undoubtedly convert to a friendlier attitude towards Kotoura, her current disposition is one to be despised. It’s stereotypical, but it pisses us off all the same–bullying those who threaten your position, Japanese-style. Papers on the back, writing on the chalkboard, negative auras and subtle aggressiveness, all of this combines to make hell for Kotoura, who is actually aware of why Moritani acts like this in the first place.

After the conclusion of this episode though, she must feel like shit, so much so that I sympathize with her a bit…a bit being the emphasis here. Though she did act like a bitch, I like to think that it was her friends, who genuinely despise Kotoura and want to see her suffer out of enjoyment, that pressured her to initiate the bullying. In reality, Kotoura is taking a precious source of happiness away from Moritani, taking away perhaps the first person to view Moritani’s background in a positive light. The justification for Moritani becomes clear this way, though in no way acceptable.

What I truly feel for Moritani though is that her love basically called her shit out in front of an entire class and spoke, “Your mind is so filthy, it mad Kotoura puke,” and, “…because I like her!” A double blow in the course of a few minutes, attacking both her hopes and her personality…wow. I’d be depressed for months if I was in her shoes, though we’ll see what her actual reaction is in the next episode, whether she’s knocked down or intensifies her efforts. Although I do applaude Manabe for being a GAR and standing up for Kotoura as every sensible person should, I can’t help but feel pity for Moritani as she lands herself permanently in Manabe’s friendzone. In fact, this is my reaction to Moritani at this point concerning her hopes for hooking up with Manabe. It’ll be a sight to see how Moritani evolves from this bottom of the pits situation to frendship, but knowing how Kotoura-san pulls at the heartstrings, I expect such development to be dramatically powerful.

Overall, a great episode to set the tone of the show, with drama overarching the entire episode. Kotoura stays adorable, our great voice actors HanaKana and ShimoHiro are great supports, and Manabe and Moritani duke it out in style. I look forward to covering this on a regular schedule (if you haven’t seen the schedule already) and seeing what surprises can be dealt next–at its heart it’s a romance comedy, but the unique aspect alone makes it worth watching for many more.

This last part, I couldn’t find a place to fit in the main article, so I’ll add it here as an extra.

Show why Kotoura is so adorable ▼

 

Preview

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January 17, 2013 at 2:51 pm
74 comments »
  • January 17, 2013 at 3:03 pmAex

    Manabe is still the best part of this show. Act fast, think last!

    Was a little disappointed when Mifune turned out to have an agenda, but was glad when we were showed that she really just hadn’t thought things through enough and was really a good person. And that Muroto wasn’t afraid to tell her she was basically being cruel in a naive way. Good senpai is good senpai.

    I know Moritani is the “normal” highschool girl in this lot, but I was still glad when Manabe smacked her down. I don’t care, stealing the guy you like is no excuse to call someone you don’t even know a freak/monster. I was hoping she’d feel bad after it actually made Kotoura vomit, but no, she just became an ever bigger b*tch instead. Typical highschool girls are scary… >.< Love Manabe's word-choice too in the smack-down too, man should become a writer!!

    • January 17, 2013 at 7:52 pmKarmafan

      The difference is this:

      When a bunch of guys get together we will talk about sports, current events, cars, maybe even sex. Its rare for guys to talk smack about other guys.

      When a bunch of girls get together no matter what they are discussing as a group sooner or later the group starts talking shit about other girls they all know (especially when the girl being talked about is not there). Thats what makes girls scary!

      • January 17, 2013 at 9:50 pm*v*

        Eh? The guys I know talk smack about both girls & guys all the time.

  • January 17, 2013 at 3:06 pmQuikbeam

    Thtis show came out of nowhere for me, I am really liking the show. The show definitely has a great balance between the drama and the comedy. Also I like how they are giving each character a reason for acting as they do towards Kotoura. The show Yuriko’s reasons for being interested in Kotoura. Also by the end of the episode you see a change in Yuriko from using her at whatever the cost to being far more aware of her actions, which i really liked.
    Overall I think if the show keeps going as well as it is doing so far, this might be one of the best of the season, imo.

  • January 17, 2013 at 3:07 pmplushkin

    I believe there is already a label for this type of show: it’s called a Romantic Dramedy.
    It’s the show where the situation sucks so much, you just got to laugh to make it to the next day.
    I’m glad the drama is here to stay, I was worried the show might have peaked in episode 1.

  • January 17, 2013 at 3:15 pmdeathtogenericshows

    Hmm, it seems like someone is inspired by a certain particular use spoiler tag from Stilts.
    (disclaimer: I’m neither being negative nor positive. I am a neutral. Simply observing and noticing the use of spoiler tag).

    This show still remains, probably, the best “new show” so far. It’s not a perfect masterpiece and sadly as Zanibas noted, we won’t see that same intensity of the 1st 11 min of 1st episode, but when I think of all other new shows this season, well no contest.

    • January 18, 2013 at 12:11 amdaikama

      Would you really want the same level of intensity week after week? Serious question. I ask this for two reasons.

      First, I would find it mentally draining to watch Kotouro suffer at length to that extent again and again. Sure this episode’s bullying didn’t have the same impact, but it did serve it’s purpose in reminding the viewer that even though Kotoura found a stalwart friend in Manabe, she still has a long, long way to go in finding a peaceful life.

      Second, intensity diminishes with repeated exposure. The second time will not seem as intense as the first and third even less so, etc. At some point it simply becomes repetitive (IMO), and to keep up the same level of impact, the scenes would need to be progressively more extreme.

      I think the first episode felt so intense because it was so unusual and far from what one expected. Seeing the same thing again (and again) would diminish that.

    • January 18, 2013 at 4:20 amZanibas

      I’ll gladly point out that such an occurrence is purely coincidental. On that note though, I do take other subtle ideas and advice from Stilts-onii-chan himself though! Writer feedback ftw!

  • January 17, 2013 at 3:16 pmScruffy

    After the first awesome episode I was a little concerned that Kotoru-san would drop the ball and slip back to a generic rom/com. However I was more than happy that this is not the case. This show has moved up my personal list to be one of my favourite for the season and is the only one so far where I’ve watched the first episode twice.

    I love the chemistry between Kotoru and Manabe just seems remarkably genuine to me and yes I think it is the way that Manabe makes Kotoru laugh. When you consider that up until now she had very little to laugh at it really is quite heart warming. As to Moritani, well I think that you’re right in that she got wrapped up in her peer group (they were the ones pointing it out to her) and perhaps she isn’t completly unredeamable. We’ll see I guess.

    One final thing, it seems that Kotoru finds it hard to distinguish between peoples spoken words and their inner voice as she was caught a couple of times responding to inner thoughts as if everyone else could hear them.

    • January 17, 2013 at 3:33 pmAnnyms

      I watched the first episode twice as well! I’m probably going to end up doing the same for this episode lol

      • January 17, 2013 at 5:50 pmSIjov

        Oh dear, you too? This show makes me want so much more of it. If this keeps up, I’ll be marathoning it right after it finishes.

    • January 18, 2013 at 1:24 pmDaSilva

      Just a honest question since I couldn’t find it myself after Zanibas drawing attention to it.

      Can anyone point me to a specific scene where Manabe’s antics specifically make Kotoura laugh out loud? I couldn’t find any in the second episode.

      Personally I agree wholeheartedly that their interactions are very lively and are an immediate hook. Just wondered where all this heartfelt, cute laughter that I’m apparently missing out on is.

      • January 19, 2013 at 1:13 pmZanibas

        Ah, I used the wrong term here. It’s those moments where Kotoura restrains herself from laughing or lets out a really short expression of “Lol oh you Manabe” that I’m referring to. At least from my viewpoint, such reactions in a comedy are proportionally underutilized, whether it’s straight out laughing or a happy acknowledgement that the joke was funny (for the character).

  • January 17, 2013 at 3:20 pmAnnyms

    I also couldn’t help but think there was some underlying motive from Mifune after her first discussion with Muroto, but she seems to truly care for Kotoura now even if her intentions may have not been pure at first.

    I liked that Manabe stepped up for Kotoura though. It can be hard to stand up for someone being bullied, but he didn’t care how other people viewed him. It was truly selfless and is one of his qualities that distinguishes him from being your plain perverted idiot male character. I guess it helps that Kotoura is so damn adorable though.

  • January 17, 2013 at 3:29 pmAdrian

    For one reason or another, this show reminds me of Chibi Vampire Karin.

  • January 17, 2013 at 3:31 pmEduardo

    It will be hard to tell my friends to watch this show. “Hey, watch it, it may look like moe comedy, but it drama! I’m serious!”

  • January 17, 2013 at 3:31 pm†Croos†

    They should have said ,in this part, “You’re annoying, you loli” instead of “You’re annoying, you pervert”

    • January 17, 2013 at 6:47 pmKoji

      Maybe you mean lolicon? He’s definitely not a loli himself.

      • January 17, 2013 at 7:13 pmdangerism

        Not to mention they’re the same age, so how is it lolicon? If you’re rationalizing this by saying Kotoura looks like a middle-schooler, then why would Kotoura deride herself in that supposed statement? You’re not making any sense, Croos-san.

  • January 17, 2013 at 3:33 pmJ_the_Man

    Screw Sakurasou… Kotoura-San has taken its spot as #1 Rom-Com in my heart. I know, I know… Plenty of anime left in the year. At the very least it should get an HM. If anything, this anime should be a lock for “Surpassed Expectations.” I was nervous the writing was gonna take a step back when they got all the epic back story out of the way, but I was just as into it this time around as last time.

    “I should sue you for sexual harassment”- Kotoura

    Yes, absolutely yes. Best line of the episode I love Manabe in a “bro, we cool man” kinda way.
    The way the ESP Society has it’s clubhouse all set up and Kotoura’s reaction was so epic. Also, I loved the epic failure of a fortune telling scheme. Please writers, don’t take your foot off the gas pedal. KEEP ON GOING.

  • January 17, 2013 at 3:36 pmxephx

    This may sound kind of mean, but I didn’t feel at all sorry for Moritani. When Manabe made his one-two punch on her feelings I felt like doing a standing ovation. I guess her attacks on Kotoura during the fortune telling made me that angry.

  • January 17, 2013 at 3:41 pmZannafar

    Glad to see they didn’t drop the drama. I also really like that vice president Daichi is a deeper and more serious character than his design gave reason to expect.

  • January 17, 2013 at 3:45 pmmac65

    …see anything as dramatic as the first episode for a long while…

    I dunno, coming home and seeing you mother hanging around might do it…

    But seriously, they have a very good start and a very interesting premise. Mifune’s character
    seems helpful, but has a sinister side that I don’t think disappeared in this episode. I actually
    see the story telling in a similar manner as Sora no Otoshimono — ecchi, funny, but with a
    definite serious undertone to it.
    Show Spoiler ▼

    And the OUTRO theme – beautiful!!!

    Zanibas, glad you’re covering this!

    • January 17, 2013 at 3:49 pmZanibas

      Ah, I should clarify in that I meant “dramatic toll”. There’s drama, oh there’s going to be drama that’s possibly as strong as the first episode, but the intensity that the drama raises, created by extended scenes of despair, I feel like that’s on cooldown for now.

      Also, I’m glad you’re glad! I couldn’t bear to see this go uncovered.

  • January 17, 2013 at 3:50 pmrockmanjoe

    Great episode, love this show.

  • January 17, 2013 at 3:54 pmFT5.Havok

    I’m kinda curious what will senpai Muroto Daichi will be playing in the story? Great Second Episode!

    http://randomc.net/image/Kotoura-san/Kotoura-san%20-%2002%20-%20Large%2011.jpg
    PERVERTEDNESS LEVEL: OVER 9000!

  • January 17, 2013 at 4:11 pm†Croos†

    HanaKana effect turn on again.
    Effect?
    Instant Cute by default

  • January 17, 2013 at 4:15 pmShouko

    It’s nice to see the drama continuing to have a role here in Kotoura-san. What’s better is that it doesn’t seem to just be random drama, included for the sake of adding another element to the show but in fact, it seems to flow with the utmost ease in both Mifune’s case and Moritani, both of which I’m looking forward to seeing more of. On another note, the males here in this show are quite the delight to watch. It’s not difficult to understand why Manabe-kun is a delight but Muroto is also a refreshing addition to the cast, what with the small fits of laughter he can bring about and the level headed thinking that seems to perfectly balance that of Mifune.

    Glad to have you covering this, Zanibas.

  • January 17, 2013 at 4:26 pmGenesis

    I was a little worried that the drama would only be used for the hook; it’s great that that isn’t the case, because there’s a really good balance between comedy and drama here that’s playing off itself. It was refreshing to watch Manabe defend Haruka so thoroughly though; Moritani really got put down, which sucks for her, but she needed to realize she was being a bitch too. It’s just nice to actually see a protagonist being so harsh, since it can get tiring to see meek ones.

  • January 17, 2013 at 4:26 pmJ_the_Man

    On “Why is Mifune trying to prove the existence of ESP when people already know it exists”

    I’m gonna take a stab at this. It is quite confusing at first and appears to be one of those little hiccups in writing, but I’ll do my best to theorize…

    I think when Mifune states she wants to prove ESP’s existence, I think she means that she wants to establish the existence of ESP to the point where trying to deny it to the point where they accuse and those born with the gift of fraud out of jealousy, anger, hatred, what have you, and subsequently bully them is no longer a viable response. Remember, not everyone’s reaction to Kotoura’s mind reading was “OH SNAPZ, ESP SHE CAN READ MAH MIND!!!!11!one” Her parents, early grade school teachers and early friends didn’t understand it was ESP. They thought it was “Habitual Lying,” or at least blamed it on that. Mifune’s mother was bullied, being called a fraud to the point of suicide. The second goal of Mifune’s ESP Society is also to protect those who have ESP from slander and character assassination and garner them the respect as human beings that they deserve. Getting people to realize that people like Kotoura who have ESP HAVE ESP as well as getting them to realize they’re humans too and garner that respect is goes a long way into accomplishing that goal.

  • January 17, 2013 at 4:37 pmMutare

    YES!!! DRAMA DRAMA DRAMA!!! <3 KOTOURA-SAN!!! Hope this keeps up ^^

  • January 17, 2013 at 4:49 pmMegas

    Hell Yes, Manabe!

    If you do bitchy BS you have to be prepared to get called out on it, although that was a punch in the gut & a kick to the head. I need a crazy/serious show like this now, stupid taxes.

  • January 17, 2013 at 4:54 pmDvalinn

    I guess this episode basically sealed the deal that this wasn’t going to be a simple romcom, and I quite like the way it’s taking. So, going to follow this.

    The new characters could be interesting if their deeper side is actually explored – they make a nice addition to the cast regardless, with a club that gives Kotoura a ‘home’ of sorts in the school, pushy and clumsily insensitive as they may be sometimes (love the way they keep slamming their doors shut everytime one of their members tries to escape too). And I don’t feel sorry for Moritani in the slightest, to me it was a crowning moment of awesome for Manabe. Some people need to told up straight that they’re being horrible people, or they’ll never get the message. Which leads me to both him and Kotoura, who remain a fun duo that have won my sympathy.

    Regardless, I’m still not as enthusiastic as some people here. There’s minor issues here and there that still bother me – both with the drama and Manabe. For the latter, I like him, but there’s too much punchlines where he’s thinking of something perverted. I felt they struck a better balance in him last episode, because otherwise you risk it getting stale. Hell, he was introduced while having some weirdass fantasies – do some more of that then. Secondly, the drama wasn’t as over-the-top as last episode, but it still felt kind of rushed. Dropping hints is fine, but here the entire story of Yuriko’s mother was rushed out the next day to, what, get it out of the way? Forgetting that I doubt people would ‘fess up a trauma like that so easily (even with a mindreader in the room), there’s pacing and placement problems. Personally, it kinda felt like a mood whiplash. Funny stuff, yay – oh shit, a story about suicide… – more funny stuff, yay! Uhm, yeah. Some more buildup and having it be some kind of revelation at the end of an episode would fit better in my opinion. Storytelling-wise, it kinda lacks finesse. Maybe it’s because it’s the adaptation from a 4-koma series, whose storytelling is based around those 4 panels, who knows.

    Regardless, it feels like they’re at least trying. Don’t really feel like being mean to this show, so I hope they can fix the issues I have with it. Looking forward to the next one.

    • January 18, 2013 at 4:30 amZanibas

      I absolutely agree with you. The flaws are there, especially so for me when I rewatched the episode casually. There are too many flaws around that prevent this from becoming a godly anime, but gosh darnit I agree that it’s hard to hate. Already has the studio proven itself to dare, and despite the flaws, the show still works a charm that’s hard to deny.

      The large success lies in the characters, especially in the dynamic with KotouraxManabe, but the flaws lie in a lack of pacing control and slightly convoluted development of the supporting cast. Whether or not these problems continue to grow…I prefer to believe not.

    • January 18, 2013 at 5:25 amJ_the_Man

      I don’t deny the flaws, but this is a one core (don’t know the correct spelling) anime no? Wouldn’t you expect a little rushing of the story since you don’t have as much time to flesh things out? I do agree, they ought to tone down Manabe’s punchlines to hopefully once per episode…

  • January 17, 2013 at 5:18 pmqwert

    I was afraid this show wouldn’t be able to keep up to expectations after the first episode proved such a surprise but damn they’re pulling this off well so far.

    Even with how dramatic the pasts are of Kotoura and Mifune it doesn’t feel that forced, and that’s saying a lot for a second episode that suddenly tosses out a child watching their dead mother hanging from the ceiling. And Manabe’s fantasies may seem like your standard ero fodder but they just blend so well with his personality and the delivery.

  • January 17, 2013 at 5:22 pmNaiika

    Wow, at first I was ready to dismiss this anime but I can’t believe how great it’s turning out to be. Manabe and Kotoura are just… I CAN’T EVEN!<333 TuT I want to hug Kotoura
    I feel no pity for Moritani. While I understand her situation and what led her to react the way that she did I, in no way, feel any pity at the fact that Manabe called her out and made her feel the way she should feel: like crap. I do hope she learns from it and grows up and we get to see her interact with everyone in a friendlier manner, though.
    As far as Mufine goes, while I think there's more manipulation ahead, I really wish there weren't. I rather like her older sis feel to Kotoura but more than that, I don't want to see someone Kotoura has come to like to hurt her in any way. :/

  • January 17, 2013 at 6:20 pmrasi

    well another day as usual til kotoura & manabe meet mifune who want them join esp club with make sure no escape from it also meet small vice pres.

    give cause mifune got her reasons for it due to past cause her mom was a celebrity psychic person til people call her a fake with lead to her mom “buy the wagon for self” which cause mifune rough past.

    yet there also hiyori who family run a dojo & in past like manabe til since kotoura arrive well bit hmm on it.

    so esp club trying fortune tell seem fine til hiyori come in to pick on kotoura with being full HEEL saying on mind even call kotoura a monster to make her punk.

    with cause kotoura get bullied again til manabe to rescue while telling hiyori stop bulling kotoura & mifune being sorry for kotoura for it.

  • January 17, 2013 at 6:36 pmbear

    Kotoura is one of those characters that when I see her happy, I’m happy. When she’s sad, I’m depressed. The opening scenes of her getting ready for school and meeting her friend, Manabe, made up for the horror’s we watched in the first episode. Loved Kotoura’s reaction when she’s kidnapped by Mifune and their reaction on seeing the clubroom. Kotoura’s personality reminds be of Miho’s. Even her happiness is tinged by a certain melancholy.

    Mufine does have her agendas but they’re understandable and she doesn’t seem like she would intentionally hurt Kotoura to achieve her ends. The character I want to know more about is Mutora. He seems the most mature and introspective of the group even if he looks like Gomez to Mufine’s Morticia. You know Manabe’s day dreams remind me of a certain zombie’s….. Moritani, though I guess she has her own issues, had no excuse for her disgusting attacks on Kotoura and I loved that Manabe pulled no punches when he confronted her. I don’t quite see how she is going to be integrated into the group except as a antagonist for Kotoura.

    Regardless of the long term quality, the show has been the surprise of the season for me.

    • January 17, 2013 at 10:33 pmdaikama

      Kotoura is one of those characters that when I see her happy, I’m happy. When she’s sad, I’m depressed.

      Agree 100% with you on that. Kotoura is one of the most sympathetic characters I’ve watched in a quite while. There is no shortage of anime characters who suffer to some degree through no fault of their own, but to see Kotoura, at such an young age, be constantly subject to insidious mental torment (intentional or not) day after day, year after year, only to ultimately be abandoned by her sole remaining emotional anchor (her “mother”) left an indelible impression on me.

      Frankly, I thought the scene where she gets ready for school was kind of depressing. Saying “Good Morning” and “I’m off” to an empty house poignantly illustrated that despite the fact she’s living alone, she still tries to create the illusion of the family life she misses dearly. Thankfully, we soon see a cheerful Manabe return Kotoura’s morning greeting, dispelling the notion that Kotouru is still truly alone.

      LOL @ the “Adams Family” reference, though Muroto needs to grow a mustache before I can really see him as Gomez. I do agree that he’s an interesting character in the sense that he’s almost like an external balance for Mifune. He gently keeps her from going too far or (assumption on my part) becoming too obsessed with trying to clear her mother’s name. I’m curious as to the relationship between those two because I suspect that one thing that helped Mifune recover from her mother’s death/difficult past was Muroto’s support – similar to what’s now going on with Kotoura & Manabe.

      • January 17, 2013 at 10:43 pmAex

        Now see, to me the morning sequence was like her revving herself up, reminding herself that she wasn’t alone anymore. It would’ve helped if we had seen a similar scene before she met Manabe, but I felt that he had brought an energy back to her even when home alone, and she was sorta celebrating that after their moment at her place. Her eyes weren’t blank anymore, so it seemed she wasn’t pretending anything, she was really getting ready to give the day some good spirit. I liked it, it felt hopeful.

      • January 17, 2013 at 11:40 pmdaikama

        @Aex: I do understand your (and bear’s) point. Certainly her actions and tone of voice were cheerful – probably much more so than before. It’s just that when she said “Good Morning” and even more so, “I’m off” with no one to reply, it struck me as kind of a sad and lonely scene. Could be just me on this one. Maybe I still haven’t recovered from EP 01′s introduction yet LOL.

      • January 17, 2013 at 11:40 pmjunglepenguin

        I’ll take a mix of what both of you have to say about the morning scene. There is that hint of sadness, seeing her whisper “I’m going” to an empty house, and it’s a reminder of what she was before her meeting with Manabe. But at the same time, we see her cheerfulness as she prepares for school, where she can start her life anew. She’s transitioning into a new phase; moving from despair to hope, and the morning scene subtly brings this point across.

      • January 18, 2013 at 8:14 ambear

        The morning sequence was part of the reason I mentioned that even her happiness is tinged with melancholy. Her saying good bye to a stark empty room had a sadness to it, but in a sense she was saying goodbye to that empty life she was leading and moving forward. However, it doesn’t negate the fact that the empty room and abandonment by her family are still there. This show has thrown about every emotion I can thing of at the audience, one after the other, and made it work somehow and it’s only been two episodes.

      • January 18, 2013 at 11:53 amdaikama

        @bear: This show has thrown about every emotion I can thing of at the audience, one after the other, and made it work somehow and it’s only been two episodes.

        Great way to sum things up. Others have pointed out that the show does have it’s faults and is not quite at “epic” levels (though I think one could argue that the first EP was), but the show works so well in several ways that at times I really don’t notice it’s faults. Who would have guessed that Kotoura-San would be in the front running for this seasons best show?

  • January 17, 2013 at 7:46 pmKevin Yamagata

    This is supposed to be romcom…

    • January 17, 2013 at 9:34 pmAex

      It is. So are ToraDora, Ano Natsu de Matteru, and such others. RomCom doesn’t mean it has to be happy all the time, just about 70%. The bits of drama makes the romance and comedy more real, I guess?

    • January 17, 2013 at 10:20 pmjunglepenguin

      “… But this turned out to be so much better than the romcom I was expecting!”

      There, I helped you finish your sentence. =)

      • January 18, 2013 at 1:06 amKevin Yamagata

        Yeah…parent disownment, heartbreaking moment of despair, school bullying…definitely moment of comedy over there…

        Not that it’s disappointing, which is not the case; in fact, I’m totally sold by the series
        Show Spoiler ▼

        but it just something confusing for me…

  • January 17, 2013 at 11:14 pmkondee

    Wow, I was underwhelmed by most of this season’s anime (not that they were bad, just not for me) and decided to watch this since I heard a lot from the community.

    Color me surprised.

    I haven’t had an anime simultaneously carry me from one end of the emotional spectrum to another in a short amount of time. First episode made me depressed only to have me burst out laughing the next minute.

    Love the colorful characters so far…except Moritani. I know she’s going through her bitch phase and she will eventually become one of the closest friends of the main character (judging by the OP/ED) but it’s hard to imagine me liking her in any future episodes. What an ignorant selfish brat. I’m glad Manabe put her out in front of the whole class…highlight of the episode.

    I’m looking forward to the next antics of the ESP club.

  • January 17, 2013 at 11:32 pmdaikama

    I liked this episode better than the last. Certainly the first episode had tremendous impact, and quite arguably is better from an artistic standpoint. Even so, EP 02 I think EP 02 had better overall balance. The mix of additional comedy, romance/endearing moments along with continued sad/dark moments kept he overall tone from being too dark for my tastes. It was fine, maybe even necessary, for one episode, but I’m not sure if I’d keep watching if half of every episode was as dark as the first half of EP 01.

    Manabe scored some major points when confronting Moritani. He perfectly shot her down though I doubt Moritani will understand why not only she was wrong, but that her actions had the opposite effect of what she desires (i.e. driving Manabe away). Well, it’s not like she had much of a shot with him anyway. Manabe’s doing a fine job as Kotouro’s knight-protector, albeit an ero knight LOL. Kotouro may be show’s namesake, but for me, Manabe, is a co-star of equal status.

    As for Moritani herself, it’s pretty much “what you see is what you get”. She fills a needed role as an antagonist for Kotoura even if her character isn’t that memorable or unique (so far). I did like the fact that the show took a moment to explain why she likes Manabe – something I wondered about. Good job script writers.

    Mifune is certainly manipulative, but frankly, she’s not very good at it. While she deserves sympathy for what happened to her and her mother, it’s hard to do so to any great extent in light of what’s happened to Kotoura. My guess is that as the story unfolds, with Muroto’s guidance from time to time, she will turn out to to be a friend for Kotoura instead of someone just trying to use her.

    The big question for me is whether Mifune’s obsession with clearing her mother’s name will ultimately be beneficial or harmful to Kotoura. Even if they “prove” ESP exists, is that really going to help Kotoura be accepted by others? It could make things worse (if that’s possible), and/or motivate others to attempt to manipulate Kotoura and use her ability for their own profit. Frankly, I think Kotoura should strongly consider becoming a professional poker player. Can’t see how she’d lose a single hand.

    In short, I think this was a solid episode following a very memorable first one. No guarantees, but I truly expect that the show will continue to deliver quality episodes week after week. What can I say? I’m impressed.

    • January 18, 2013 at 4:48 amZanibas

      This is the 2nd time that poker has been mentioned, which has me thinking of what Kotoura would actually be boss at, such as…

      Any game involving pre-planning. ANY GAME.
      A magician
      Stock broker
      Sex addict counselor (she can wave away their thoughts!)
      Human lie detector
      Test proctor
      Political watchdog
      etc. etc.

      Yes, I took an abnormal amount of time on this list :P.

      • January 18, 2013 at 5:51 amGiorno Giovanna

        Putting aside any possible uses, some examples of mind reading in other works had this result.
        Personally, if such an ability existed, couldn’t you just think in a different language as well? Heh, what a tangent.

      • January 18, 2013 at 5:53 amGiorno Giovanna

        Why didn’t that link work? Bah. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JD_xB8_dIl0

    • January 18, 2013 at 7:37 pmbear

      Ii rewatched the show and focused on how Mifune reacted when she realized Kotoura was being bullied. She was horrified that she had been partly to blame for Kotoura being treated in a way similar to her mother was. Muroto even drove the point home. She may want to be tough and manipulative but she doesn’t have the heart for it.

  • January 17, 2013 at 11:36 pmWhee

    i was expecting so much more goofy comedy and less drama.
    heading in a good direction :)

  • January 18, 2013 at 1:04 amCorin

    ….hm.

    This is cheap, exploitative drama… and yet somehow it works. Works very well, on some level I can’t quite quantify. The writing is absolutely anything but subtle… yet somehow it doesn’t annoy me. Hmmm.

    …I should follow this for a while.

    • January 18, 2013 at 4:36 amZanibas

      May I take a stab at it? Perhaps though cheap, exploitative, and not subtle, the drama still rings true at the core of its message–the dissonance between thought and action is shocking, and honesty in both thought and mind is a beautiful sight to see. Like someone said last episode, the evil cat lady was completely begging to pull at the heartstrings, but the entire half of that episode spoke a sharp message. Even here too, when Moritani’s character setup was obviously setup for us to rage, the delivering message of being called out on your shit is a sweet sweet victory that we can’t help but cheer on.

      I’m glad you’re following this for awhile, and I appreciate your honesty.

  • January 18, 2013 at 4:34 amD

    Manabe is such a boss.

  • January 18, 2013 at 5:56 amsadakups

    Dark horse, indeed, this show. Two episodes down and I’m loving it so far. Thought that they will completely put aside the mind-reading plot device as drama, but it’s still there while providing some laughs and cuteness in the mix.

    Manabe is a bro amongst bros. No fuck, that. What he did was so BAWSS.

  • January 18, 2013 at 9:05 amKuro

    I love this episode. Moritani reminds me of my arch enemy.

  • January 18, 2013 at 8:17 pmMeh

    I can’t wait to see what Mifune really has in mind. The second conversation she had with Muroto got me a bit confused as to what she really wants to happen. I’m crossing my fingers that they’ll elaborate on it, especially since she did say that she’ll use sympathies and such to get what she wants. I really hope it wouldn’t just be a one-shot, ended in one episode thing.

  • January 18, 2013 at 11:32 pmBanana Furikake

    Happy as a cat lost in a warehouse full of catnip.

    I tell you, this episode is a gift that kept on giving. I had to watch it twice.

    I really felt for Kotoura as Moritani drove the screws in. 意地悪. It really turns your stomach to watch someone get perverse joy from making someone else suffer. However, it’s sad that art imitates life. Bullying, unfortunately is fairly prevalent. 虐める. Yuck.

    I am impressed with Manabe- he’s honest and sticks up for whats right. He wasn’t afraid to mince words- and wasn’t your typical wishy washy type. Call me refreshed.

  • January 19, 2013 at 4:36 amlegwkio

    Manabe’s awesome. If I were a mind-reading esper tortured by my powers and society, I’ll so fall in love with him as well. Perverted thoughts and all.

  • January 19, 2013 at 5:44 amManabe MAX

    50 Shades of Manabe.

  • January 19, 2013 at 8:12 amMCPhatman

    So does Kotoura’s psychic abilities only work when someone is projecting her thoughts?

    • January 19, 2013 at 8:16 amAex

      It seems more like normal hearing, she just can’t control it so she hears everything. Hearing can be focused too, and that seems like what she was doing with the fortune-telling, probably why she was “missing” when under that cover.

  • January 19, 2013 at 1:56 pmtorami

    I wasn’t planning to watch this, but I didn’t expect the first episode and this one to be so good! And Manabe is great, goooo pervert! :P he and kotoura are truly d’aawww

  • January 19, 2013 at 2:37 pmZhinvu

    So far too I really can’t feel anything sympathy towards Moritani for what she did. Yeah, Manabe’s 2-hit combo may have hurt, but that pain doesn’t compare to what Kotoura has gone through ever since her mind reading manifested, and that’s almost her entire life. Also speaking of Kotoura-san, her reactions are simply the cutest.

    http://randomc.net/image/Kotoura-san/Kotoura-san%20-%2002%20-%20Large%2035.jpg
    - That Metal Gear box near the end was so unexpected that I love it, unintended reference or not.

    http://randomc.net/image/Kotoura-san/Kotoura-san%20-%2002%20-%20Large%2004.jpg
    - Wild Haruka spotted…caught!

    http://randomc.net/image/Kotoura-san/Kotoura-san%20-%2002%20-%20Large%2007.jpg
    - This scene I didn’t see coming from Yuriko-san. Comedy gold!

    To whoever did this, my thanks as I love this part of the opening so much.
    http://vindik4tor.tumblr.com/post/40265397854

    • January 20, 2013 at 9:19 amMatroid

      Moritani was probably just confused. She is the dominating type that can’t let go and feels compelled to do something to turn things into her favor. She just let her dark side take control and used the wrong method. I bet she will regret in the story later for what she did.

      • January 21, 2013 at 3:19 amZhinvu

        Good point. That’s why I’m looking forward to the next episodes, to see how she ended up getting along with Haruka as already indicated by many from the opening sequence. My opinion of Moritani would definitely change if something happened that redeemed her character in a big way.

  • January 19, 2013 at 4:15 pmninjaugal

    Manabe : a real cool pervert! im rooting you.

  • January 20, 2013 at 2:22 amColentas

    I’ve come to really enjoy when characters are actually animated singing the opening (despite it not being the same voice actress notwithstanding). This might be in part due to those super-cute little inserts of her going “demo demo” and so on, with just pure emotion from a girl who tries to keep it back most of the time. The song itself is just ok.

    OreShura also has the characters animated as singing the opening.