OP: 「東京ゼロハーツ」 (Tokyo Zero Hearts) by 飛蘭 (Faylan)
「ガールミーツボーイ」 (Gaaru Miitsu Booi)
“Girl Meets Boy”
This should have been the first episode. Just watch this episode, at least.
This Should Have Been The First Episode
One of the greatest feelings I think a storyteller can evoke is wonder. The feeling that you’re looking into a world you never imagined could exist is wonderful, and I got that when Rinka’s father was trying to get to her, but said “but I can’t seem to move forward!” This is the folly of trying to start with a bang, because often times a story started more gradually is more interesting. Last episode they didn’t give us any reason to feel attached to the characters, so I didn’t really care what was happening; this time they let us dive deeply into Urushiba Rinka’s (Kido Ibuki) story, so I was enraptured by the events that happened to her. Lesson: It’s the characters that matter. Flash and bang only matter when it’s happening to characters we care about. Last episode? A lot of noise and not much else. This episode? It begins to put that noise into perspective.
An Understated Power
One of the more interesting things about this story is that it stars a character whose powers are…well, have you ever told yourself “I wish Kitty Pryde was the star of an X-Men book/movie”? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean it can’t work. Rinka’s power is that she can go through objects, and having a protagonist with such an…understated power is fascinating. It’s not flashy, not even as much as Azuma Kyoutarou’s (Koumoto Keisuke) teleportation ability is. And that’s fascinating, because it feels like Rinka will need to be a lot more clever to best people than, say, Cyclops of Wolverine would need to be.
But Seriously, That’s Not ESP
While I’m continually making X-Men references, let’s get one thing clear – 90+% of the powers Tokyo ESP exhibits are not ESP. Extrasensory perception entirely involves information gained through means other than the recognized physical senses; that’s why it’s called extrasensory perception. I’m quibbling over details here, and you’re free to gripe at me for doing so, but it bears noting – this is not ESP. They’re mutants or quasi-magical power havers due to their interaction with the glowing fish. Words matter dammit! Moving on.
With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
Rinka appears to be following a Spiderman arc, where her acquisition of powers leads her to, because she’s one of the few people who can stop espers, dedicating herself to protecting her city. And as far as tropes go, that’s a solid one, and I don’t dislike seeing it again. In this case, what I appreciated was how smoothly the idea was imparted on her. Uncle Ben telling Peter Parker “With great power comes great responsibility” always seemed arbitrary to me, because why would some random dude be saying that? But Azuma has great power, so him espousing this idea makes sense. And if she now takes it up as a mantra, it will make more sense, because she has already seen great power used improperly.
This was a much stronger episode than the first one, and in fact should have been the first episode. I guess they were trying to mirror Ga-Rei Zero, but as someone who has never seen it, the first episode was a confusing flop. This though, showed the strength of the source material everyone has been telling me about.
Series picked up. Let’s see where this sucker goes.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – After an uneven premiere, this second episode shows the strength of the source, & promotes wonder in a world of fantastical powers #東京ESP 02
- I appreciate fanservice with a story purpose. This I can enjoy wholeheartedly. Rinka-chwan~!
- Counter to the first episode, I liked them starting out with her falling through the floor and then backing up. This worked because it was a same-episode teaser, not a full-episode “What just happened?”
- I like Rinka’s attitude. She starts off wanting to stop the thief to preserve her and her father’s secret, and only later decides (I assume) to assume that greater responsibility. That’s the arc I feel most people would take. That’s more believable.
Check out my blog about storytelling and the novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: Fast, easy, guaranteed, Starting off with a bang, & why you shouldn’t, Writer, author, full-time author, and Disorganized ≠ creative.
I’m looking for an artist for commission work. If you’re a talented illustrator, email me at stiltsoutloud(at)gmail(dot)com with samples. If I like what I see, I’ll tell you about the job. If you’ve already contacted me, please give me some time to respond. And yes, this is a paying gig.
Full-length images: 07.
ED: 「救世Άργυρóϛ」 (Kyuusei Argyros) by 妖精帝國 (Yousei Teikoku)