「ペンギンと少女」 (Pengin to Shoujo)
“Girl and Penguin”

The action is back as esper yakuza get in on the fun.

Not A Suspect…Until Now

Last episode featured Azuma & Rinka dumping young thief Kuroi Kobushi (Aizawa Mai) on the police and saying “She did it!” before running off. Without evidence that she did anything. Those of you who pointed out that the police taking her into custody based on the accusations of a suspect would be the height of idiocy, and luckily, the police agree! They just took her to the hospital because, ya know, unconscious. Fortunately, Kobushi-chan was nice enough to make herself a suspect by assaulting a couple of police officers. So that was nice.

Rapid Improvement of Power Control

I liked how Wolverine Papa – his real name is Urushiba Rindou (Inada Tetsu), though I will be exclusively referring to him as Wolverine Papa, for obvious reasons. Or Wolverine/Magneto/Super Saiyan Papa, but that’s cumbersome – learned how to control his powers (mostly) so quickly. Like Rinka, it was one early snafu and then he figured it out. That confirms that this is not a story about people coming to terms with and learning how to use their powers. That can be interesting sometimes, but it can also quickly become tedious. This is about people with powers and how they use them. A steep learning curve would just keep us from getting to the fun for too long.

A Loving Parody

Western parodies, in anime? I’m glad that being plugged into Western pop culture for so long is finally paying off in the anime world. It’s clear that original creator Segawa Hajime is a fan of certain Western properties, and is parodying the crap out of them. Here we had the Ghostbusters, and Leonidas from 300. (Not sure if Buddah Yakuza is from something.) Those got a quick laugh, but I was disappointed that they weren’t more faithful to the characters they stole from. Leonidas Yakuza was okay, but the Ghostbuster Kidnappers were nothing like the Ghostbusters we love (rest in peace, Harold Ramis). They were just bullies.

Those were just opportunities to throw in a reference to stuff Segawa-sensei probably enjoys. Wolverine Papa, though, is a loving parody. The hair and Magneto powers were one thing, but when he showed us his own version of Wolverine claws, I had to laugh! That’s a loving send up, and it’s nice to see what with how X-men-ish the whole series is. It means Segawa-sensei is riffing off something he enjoyed, not claiming to have come up with it all on his own, and I thoroughly approve of that.

Who Wants To Be A Hero

Azuma’s backstory made me laugh, but not in the good way. He just suddenly starts monologuing about his backstory, and it was dark. Oddly, off-puttingly so.

Azuma’s desire to become a hero of justice – what is this, Samurai Flamenco? I should finish that show sometime – was at least consistent. For Rinka, it came out of left field a bit. She was reluctant at first, then seemed to be into it, then reluctant, and then all of a sudden she’s lamenting that she couldn’t be a hero. Her brawling in Edoyama Murasaki’s (Tadokoro Azusa) house – wait, was that girl always this small? Hmmm… – seemed more like her defending herself and helping out while she was there then a hero thing.

Honestly, I’m hoping they take the same route they took with their powers – a little uncertainty, and then fuck it, all in on the hero business. This doesn’t feel like a good show for angst. Let’s get past it.

Esper Yakuza

As for the fight against the esper yakuza, the most interesting part was the other teleporter – the teleporter girl from episode one/the ED, I assume – and his or her ability to catch (or create?) the esper fish. I like the idea that it’s all up to some ineffable but visible force who gets the powers – and one that may be triggered by great desire. The fish has decided, and it decides that this girl…!

Looking Ahead

While I would have liked to see Wolverine Papa go on a rampage, I have to admit that him going for the stomach knockout, only for Rinka knee him in the face was great! The big strong guys don’t have a monopoly on the action here, even if it would have been smarter if they all went in. Oh well, I guess the children have to leave the nest eventually, and fly off into a building full of yakuza. Erh–that one got away from me.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – After saving the flying penguin, it’s hero time when super-powered yakuza kidnap their new loli friend. Also, parodies & arson #東京ESP 03

Random thoughts:

  • Where does Azuma keep that crow head? o.O
  • So Rinka can’t phase through people. Good! She’ll still have some challenge in fights.
  • I feel compelled to note that Wolverine Papa has the manliest boxers of them all. Also, that six-pack. He looks like he could eat steel.

Check out my blog about storytelling and the novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: Temporally unfocused, Fast, easy, guaranteed, Starting off with a bang, & why you shouldn’t, and Writer, author, full-time author.

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.




  1. For Rinka, it came out of left field a bit. She was reluctant at first, then seemed to be into it, then reluctant, and then all of a sudden she’s lamenting that she couldn’t be a hero.

    They skipped a fair amount of characterization along with a couple more hero adventures between the time when they rescued Murasaki and Peggy, and the time when they went to her house for a visit and Bad Stuff™ went down. Rinka’s growth from “I want nothing to do with this” to “I’ma bust into this yakuza hideout and break faces” felt more natural in the manga.

    Also, her lamenting about having gotten cocky after being beaten up was because during those omitted adventures nothing had been able to hurt her (and several things had tried). She’d kind of started feeling like she was invincible, and as a result she let her guard down and get the crap beaten out of her now.

  2. adding onto Wanderer’s post, they left out a lot of Rinka’s experimentation with her own powers. and yay for more changes (character design change for the new girl) *sigh*

  3. Lets get the bad stuff out the way first. The pacing is horrible, the characterization is minimal, and even for the anime only viewer like me it’s clear a large amount of stuff from the source material is missing. This episode lends no strength to the idea that Tokyo ESP will be the exception to the rapidly growing base of poorly made adaptations to have been released in the past few years.

    Now does all of the aforementioned matter much? Hell no, IMO the sheer number of Western parodies just in this episode alone nearly makes up for the defects. Not only do we get Wolverine with Goku hair transforming skills and Magneto power, but a group of Ghostbusters dedicated to capturing flying penguins and Leonidas in the role of of a misplaced samurai. If the parodies keep up I’m giving ESP comedy of the season, even if it was never meant to be one 😛

    As for Wolverine Papa, Stilts, I just call him Wolverine Goku, IMO it accounts for more of his manliness than the title of Papa ever could. Not to mention he has the dignified fathering skills down pat already 😛

    1. mmmmhmm… I’m craving some waffles right now… soooo are saying this could be a jojo but unintended? i guess you could wait for a bunch of eps then bingeee watch its best!

    2. Now does all of the aforementioned matter much? Hell no,IMO the sheer number of Western parodies just in this episode alone nearly makes up for the defects.

      ^This right here. While I’m no manga reader,I thought I knew what to expect from Tokyo ESP due to watching Ga Rei Zero(and reading the Ga Rei manga). Turn’s out it’s not exactly so but whether it’s set in the same universe or not,I could care less about that since this show’s fun as hell.

    3. @Pancakes

      Papa is way manlier than Goku. Goku just hits people, but Papa raises heroes. (Gohan doesn’t count, you know Chichi did all of the work.) I’ma stay the course!

      1. Haha! I always thought this. Goku…WORST FATHER OF THE YEAR AWARD!….”Hmmm lemme leave my son with this random evil guy i used to fight, so he can train in the wilderness”…”hey goku do you wanna go back to earth with the dragonballs so you can see your family??”..”nah! Tough guys over here, i rather fight more!!…crazy part is he was an even worse husband..im amazed that there were so few dojins with chi-chi featuring the mailman of the week

        BROOKLYN otaku
  4. I will just say, one of the best parodies is the Star Wars/KungFu Panda (not sure if that movie was around the time the chapter was created) one that will come later. Anyone’s jaw will drop when they see that (if it gets animated).

  5. You’re being awfully nice, Stilts. Let’s not dwell on the negatives, I guess? I just want to say that this looks and feels like a great story that is terribly told… wait, maybe that’s unfair. There are many good moments in this, I mean it’s not butchered, but the pacing and the 1st episode hook just reeks poor / inexperience execution.

    Anyway, I love the story, I love the set-up and I like the characters enough that I’m willing to make some extra effort to make their actions and background feel more natural to me.

    1. We here at RandomC do generally prefer to damn with faint praise, it is true.

      Plus this is the first (and likely last) Tokyo ESP post that I have written sober, so I was probably a little confused.

      1. Friday night reviews, huh? It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it. Besides, it sounds like a really good idea! I’ll start watching Tokyo ESP after the pub instead of before. Maybe the pacing won’t be so jarring as it is when sober

      1. The animation was off, e.g. the scene where she kneed her father. Felt like a few frames were missing after he went down.

        Didn’t expect this series to be so brutal, be it Rinka getting destroyed by the redhead with visible damage or crow boy laying the smack down to the yakuza. Is the manga shonen or seinen?

  6. Yeeaaaaa…i dont know happened this ep. I was cool with the in-media res opening and i actually thought the second ep was fairly good even with the dip in animation, but this ep is starting to make me quite concerned about this adaptation. Im all for adaptation changes; I dont mind rearranging events, or changes to the plot, or certain characteristic changes in characters; So as long as the themes that make the source material strong and give it its own identity is retained, I dont care what changes are made. So as long as those changes make sense for the adaptation and enhance the story, Im peachy keen. What ive seen this ep did not enhance the source material in any way. The characterization is coming off as weak and to add insult to injury, with all the flashy fantastical elements that make Tokyo ESP so awesome, the animation cannot even deliver on that either (but then i half-expected this when i heard Xebec was animating and I saw an ep of argevollen). I want to see this adaptation succeed and so i will continue to watch with an open mind but i am a bit disappointed with how things are turning out. I can let Snafus like this go when its a necessary evil, but the choices made this ep was not a necessary evil; there wont be any pay off.

  7. Welp, that was pretty terrible. This is what happens when you try to cram too much stuff into one episode with a fraction of the budget you used for episode 1. Hopefully it slows down later on where they get to the really important stuff in this arc.

    Like everyone else, I’d recommend Stilts check out Ga-Rei Zero. To me, it’s the Star Wars Prequel that should have been, where Yomi’s journey is the rise and fall of Anakin Skywalker. It’s fun, check it out.

    1. To me, it’s the Star Wars Prequel that should have been, where Yomi’s journey is the rise and fall of Anakin Skywalker. It’s fun, check it out.

      LOL! Great comparison there 🙂

  8. The animation and art took a serious nosedive this ep. Feels like they blew the whole budget on ep 1, and used whatever was left on beers or something. (Maybe they should have spent more on a writer who knows how to adapt a manga into an anime?)

    Adaptation is an art form, not paint-by-numbers. Just because someone storyboards out a great manga doesn’t mean the staff can just mail in any ol’ pile of drawings and think it’ll be “just as good.”

    I guess I’m just not feeling it with the anime version of Tokyo ESP. It’s a 9 or 9.5 manga, but it’s a 6 anime, and I’m totally bummed about that.

    I’ll keep watching, but my expectations have been lowered accordingly. *sigh*

    1. I totally agree with s_w, the animation took a noise dive. Fortunately it was such a funny episode, Ghostbusters ha! Great times considering this is the 30th anniversary of Ghostbusters.

    1. So,I got curious and decided to check the manga a bit – only as far as the anime covered so far though. While I’m enjoying this show a lot,I definitely see where the complaints are coming from now as well…They indeed cut off an entire chapter,as well as a few interesting flash-backs & dialogues(maybe they’ll just rearrange those though). But for sake of enjoying the anime,I won’t read further until it’s over or maybe just read as far as the anime covers.

    2. I suggest you wait until the anime is over or the manga might ruin some elements for you like the pop culture references. Wolverine papa and Leonidas are just the icing on the cake. Wait till you see the master.

      The Atomic Dwarf
  9. If there were more eps to adapt the first part of the manga, the pace might be slower. Things that should weigh would weigh. But as they are cramming 26 chapters with 30-50 pages (?) each, I can only endure watching such a poor adaptation until the end. They added fillers here and there in the first ep, and that really, already chopped off the chance of putting the important characterizations in the next eps. If they wanted to flesh out what happened in the final fight, they should do it only when they have more than 12 eps to do in their budget.

    There’s no slow mo, no great impact. Yet I will still watch it until the end just because I want to see what I read animated, even though it will suck in the pacing and developments. As much as it is what it is, I will still watch it because it seems like the most interesting thing to do is talk about it afterwards and read what people say of it. I love the manga, but it’s just sad that the adaptation is a laughingstock. It has its moments, but…*sigh*

    P.S. They cut off a chapter, I think, before the yakuza kidnapping. It was an important chapter as it featured Rinka’s best line in the manga for me—which was about her thoughts of her own sense of justice that differed from Kazuma’s. It was what made me fall in love with Rinka’s character in the first place. Also, Merayama was introduced in this cut-off chap for the first time, so the character dump would have not been so heavy in this ep if they did the chap and added the fillers they wanted. But nope. Would not happen. It would never happen. There’s no hope.

    1. It was an important chapter as it featured Rinka’s best line in the manga for me—which was about her thoughts of her own sense of justice that differed from Kazuma’s

      Was it by any chance Show Spoiler ▼


      (Dunno if that should even be considered a spoiler though,since the chapter was skipped but maybe she’ll say it later on or something.)

      1. It is!!!! I freaking love the page she said the last sentence!!! T_T

        If they’ll ever include it in later eps, I hope it wouldn’t be too late. It definitely makes characterization off somehow. =.=

  10. I’m afraid while the manga laughs off angst, the anime seems to enjoy wallowing in it.

    My complaint from the previous episode remains: that the anime takes itself too seriously and this hurts not only how the story flows but also takes the punch out of scenes that have quite an impact in the manga. It’s like someone has dampened the story’s vibrancy and reduced it to a muted shadow of the chaotic but fun ride that we see in the manga.

    Ironically, this over-all seriousness actually downplays the darker parts of the story. Part of Tokyo ESP(manga)’s appeal is that it meshes relatively well the lighthearted and darker parts; in fact the darker parts stand out even better thanks to the contrast to the lighter side.

    Random Comment
    1. I wouldn’t say the manga completely laughs off angst: Rinka suffers from her share of it when things get really bad.

      It’s true that a lot of the comedic moments have been cut out, but so have a lot of other scenes. The adaptation is really just lacking depth. The characters and story haven’t gone through all the chracterization and development that they should have gone through, so even though the scenes we’re seeing here are (in and of themselves) fairly true to the manga, everyone’s behavior just feels… off, because we haven’t seen the growth that made that behavior make sense in the original.

  11. Man…. Yakuza Leoniadas’s 300 yakuza guards were rather useless, the Ghostbusters got busted by X-Men, Pyro gets owned by Wolverine and Mrs Fantastic is starting to grow on me…..

    I wonder if Mrs Fantastic would turn coat and join Professor Xavier’s group….

  12. A lot of good points made already to which I largely agree. Given the amount of source material the adaptation plans to cover, it’s almost 2-cour worth of material crammed into a 1-cour run and something has to give. As I previously noted, episode 01’s full length in medias res action/battle “hook” left me with greater concern about pacing and excessive source material cuts. An episode long “hook” is simply a luxury the adaptation doesn’t have with a 12 episode run. Watching EP 03 confirmed my concerns about these potential problems rather than alleviate them.

    The one word that comes to mind for EP 03 is “abrupt”. Things just happen with a too frequent “OK, something got cut here” feeling. Summation versus flowing story telling. It wasn’t bad – certainly watchable. Still, the anime isn’t up to were it could be IMO even with at 1-cour run, and I don’t think you need to read the manga to get a sense of that.

    I still plan to follow the show. It’s entertaining enough if you don’t expect too much from the adaptation. I just hope the budget holds out because among other things, I thought this episode had a noticeable step down in visual quality.

  13. What’s preventing me from watching this is the numerous comparison to X-Men. While I enjoy X-Men, I would rather watch something that is original or unique in its own way and not almost constantly compared to another franchise or series.

    1. Artists steal. It’s what they do. Artists take what others do and tweak it into something new (and hopefully interesting). Make no mistake, Tokyo ESP does that; the X-men comparisons largely come from the esper’s powers and the fact that there are a lot of them, but it lacks the discrimination backbone that makes up so much of the X-men lore and focus.

      Also, originality is overrated. There’s nothing new under the sun. It all comes down to whether you know where the artists stole her material from, not whether it was stolen or not. It was almost certainly stolen. And that’s fine.

      1. and not only that, but imitation and ripoffs are ripe in the comic book world. it’s not so hard to see the comparisons between Aquaman and Namor, Green Arrow and Hawkeye, the Flash and Quicksilver, Wonder Woman and She-Hulk, Hulk and Solomon Grundy, Deathstroke and Deadpool, or JLU and the Avengers.

        My all time favorite is the tidbit that Thanos is based off of Darkseid, and Mongol is some sort of ripoff of Thanos, which makes him a ripoff of a ripoff! ironically both were Jim Starlin creations.

        and I think DC already had a team of mutant like characters the X-Men may have been influenced by or copied from – Doom Patrol.

        Impel Down Hippo
      2. I don’t know about that honestly. Just about every single artist in every form of expression was influenced by something. They didn’t just come up with their stories from thin air. They always had inspiration. But with shows like this which come off as almost a blatant rip off I find it hard to have anything that I’m supposed to appreciate about it. It doesn’t really do anything different from the super hero norm. I just don’t know what’s supposed to come of it. All I’m feeling from the show is a resounding vibe of “meh” and not much else. By the time the shows over it will do very little to impact anything most likely.

        That’s what irritates me. A waste of potential. When i comes to slice of life I’m a bit more forgiving of reused formulas but when it comes to supernatural stuff I expect MUCH more. A deconstruction? Something that deviates from the norm? Anything to make it something more than average at best.

      3. one other thing I wanted to add (wish we could edit these stupid things – maybe one day we could switch to the ever popular but much maligned disqus?), is that sometimes imitations make improvements upon the originals (such as Jimi Hendrix’s cover of All Along the Watchtower which totally blows Dylan’s version out of the water).

        sticking to comic books, I found X-O Manowar to be a much more interesting concept and story than Iron Man which it was based off of, or sticking with Valiant titles, Harbinger was a much more complex and better written version of X-Men (also felt like it was inspired by Scanners). and I’m sure plenty of people feel the same way about other ripoff characters.

        imitation is the best form of flattery as they say.

        Impel Down Hippo
  14. Personally, I still can’t completely accept that Segawa Hajime-sensei can produce a world of mass murdering, trigger-happy, for s*its & giggles henchmen that readily murders any innocent people they come across. I just think murder should be treated with a little more respect.

    Other than that, good show!

  15. Maybe they can get Samurai Flamenco to come cameo? 😛

    Theres some Goddess seen in ep1 and she is there with other mythical looking characters (goddess?, god? and demon?) in the top left of the picture of the offcial site:
    Anyone knows who are those characters? Can’t find them in the JA wiki.

    Only read chapter 1 of the manga by according to the JA wiki it seems like the anime should be about the 1st part of Tokyo ESP (serialized from 2010 to 2012)? At least that is complete so the anime can follow the manga story. At least there is some origin to the Espers and the fishes. Still waiting for the origins of Titans and ghouls 😛

    Fence this up just in case it is classified as such.
    Show Spoiler ▼

    1. Tokyo ESP: After-school psychic action [tagline from offcial manga site]
      Ga-rei: Non-stop after-school exorcising action [tagline from JA wiki article]

      Kind of reminds me of Index and Railgun.
      The shared universe and crossovers (in Shadow Walker).


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