「それぞれの少女、それぞれの思い」 (Sorezore no Shoujo, Sorezore no Omoi)
“Each Girl, Each Desire”

It’s a training episode, but the small things still aren’t there.

It’s All About the Story

Let’s talk about terrorism. The object of terrorism is to terrorize. Obvious, right? It’s in the name. But focus on that. It means the object is not to kill a lot of people. That might be a way to incite terror, but it’s not a requirement. Terror and terrorism can exist when no lives are lost, as Zankyou no Terror has proven.

So what makes an act terrifying? It’s the story. That’s why 9/11 struck so deeply in the American people’s minds, because the imagery of those towers falling is potent. I can still remember seeing it for the first time to this day. And that’s why this terrorist attack is brilliant, regardless of the death toll. That tanker now stands as a testament to their power, and a reminder to people every single day to be afraid of the espers and what they can do. That’s some clever terrorism, and for that, they need to go down.

Discrimination Against Espers

Discrimination is a tricky theme when it’s of the fantastic sort. If you’re setting a story in Jim Crow-era America, yes, I can believe that totally; when the discriminated people are espers that nobody knew about a few days ago, it’s trickier. Not because people wouldn’t be scared. I absolutely think they would be. Even the “good” espers – and like someone carrying a gun, you can’t tell which ones are the good and bad ones at a glance – are capable of feats most people wouldn’t dream of. Take Wolverine Papa. What happens if he has a bad day? Nothing, of course; we know him, and know that he’s fundamentally a gentle man. But the people who don’t know him, and see what he can do? Fear is understandable.

The hatred is tricky though. It seems so abrupt…and yet, remember that we know these people. We know that some are good, and some are bad. I think of that, and then think of how the Irish, and Germans, and Africans, and Chinese, and Japanese, and Hispanics, and every single minority I can think of in my own country suffered from discrimination at one point. Because they were “different”, and because the people who didn’t like them didn’t know any of them.

We know some of these espers, and know the truth. The other characters do not, and their reactions – some of them being afraid, others wanting to put them all behind bars – are entirely reasonable. I’m just happy that the police are seeing things as they are. They’ve done nothing wrong and they’re helping, and that’s enough. It’s nice to see the police in a story doing something smart for once.

Execution and the Small Things

This was a training episode, and as such I’m neither surprised nor disappointed that action wasn’t high on the priority list. When you’re doing delicate character building moments, though, you need to build things up skillfully, and Tokyo ESP (the anime) still lacks that. It’s really in the small things that this show falls short, and I truly feel the lack. I’ve read, seen, and even created enough stories to know when there’s a gap, and there are gaps all over this anime.

Take when the three girls walk up, and they’re suddenly talking about espers. It was forced. Or take Rinka & Kobushi-chan. They’re suddenly friends. Why? I know why, because one of you told me, but it’s nowhere in the anime. It’s never shown why they’ve come to peace with each other, and that blasted cold open spoiling the end point isn’t helping. Rush rush rush, why must so many anime rush? I’ll never know. Other than the craven profit-motivated reasons, of course.

Yoda-roshi & CPC

So, references. Martial arts instructor Yodani Roshi (Inoue Kazuhiko) is an interesting one. I think references are best done in passing – the ghost busters – or something that riffs off the original, like Wolverine Papa. Yodani Roshi is just Yoda in a panda suit with a groping problem (so Yoda + Master Yoshi?), and that’s not that interesting. Probably because he has nothing else mixed in. Wolverine Papa is Wolverine (visually) + Magneto (his power) + papa + his own personality, so that’s a new take on old things. Yoda-roshi is just Yoda + Master Roshi + sexual harassment panda, full stop. I’ve seen all this before, so it feels lazy instead of funny.

He does get the job done though, as a trainer. The real crux of the episode is Rinka finding her resolve, and that is…well, sabotaged by the small things not being there, but the point does come across. Rinka herself shines through, no matter the adaptation’s faults, so seeing her overcome her self-doubts and decide to take training seriously was nice. I still root for her, even if I have the undeniable feeling that I should be reading the manga instead.

Looking Ahead – Hello New Guy

I actually kind of liked how the new guy, Oozora Ayumu (Ogata Megumi), was introduced. It felt like Dekomori’s introduction to me. “Oh, she’s my friend from before.” Well, that makes sense. And Yoda-roshi having students (who may or may not be espers) makes sense as well. Quick, clean, and effective. Nice. Now get with the training again!

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Rinka finds her resolve in the wake of the terrorist attack, though the anime is still missing the little things #東京ESP 06

Random thoughts:

  • Why didn’t Rinka just phase the other people through rubble to save them? Ill-explained magic systems are poison to a good fantasy story.
  • Suddenly, Koushi-chan stripped. See what I mean about the little things? No, I’m not talking about Kobushi-chan, I mean the act of pulling up her shirt. Get your mind out of the gutter. Besides, she’s not small at al–erh. I’ll stop now.
  • Rinka is wearing a BEER t-shirt. Rinka is best hero forever!
  • Yoda-roshi is right; Rinka is too reliant on kicks, which are powerful but come with big risks. That’s why MMA fighters usually opt for sweaty nut punching over flashy kicks. Or so I’m told.
  • I’ve come around to the hair color thing. Rinka’s hair should be white all the time. If their powers are on all the time, there’s no reason for it to change other than as visual shorthand, and it’s pretty clear when she’s using her power because she goes through walls and stuff. No reason to gild the lily.

Check out my blog about storytelling and the novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: Completely unbiased, You have to sell free, Different answers, and Compromise.

Full-length images: 04, 21.




  1. That was an OK episode.

    This show manages to stay afloat. I am entertained by each episode, but there’s something lacking to make this the kind of series you have to watch immediately.

    I’m weirded out by the pupilless eyes.

    I really appreciate how japanese superhero series avoid, quite deliberately, the standard american costumed thing. There’s something incredibly unaesthetic about those outfits which anime avoids.

    It’s particularily interesting I think because when this show goes for costumes, it goes for more extreme outfits. Azuma’s mask, for example. It’s not something you’d see in a superhero comic.

    1. It’s not the ridiculous costumes… You see, it’s been 6 episodes and they’re not “heroes” yet. They got mutant powers, but in the end they’ll be only people with mutant who are trying to help in this messed up situation. And villains will not be super villains, but terrorists with extra power.

      In American cartoons/comics, the first day they find they have a power, they make a costume and start fighting crime. And, from nowhere, super villains start popping up for no good reason at all.

      American comics books are a fine source to make some cheesy Michael Bay movies, but I don’t really understand how some people can take them seriously. Anime for children like Digimon are actually more mature and have deeper plot and characters than Batman, X-men, Spiderman, etc.

      And the good American comics, that try to be less ridiculous and make more sense, ended up being considered “alternative” and not getting enough attention, which is very sad.

  2. Stilts, Rinka cant phase people; i think that point was illustrated in ep 3 when she got the tar kicked out of her by Kobushi. It’s also the reason why she couldnt phase the sword out of Kyoutaro last ep either. Rinka can phase objects through herself but not through others, nor can she phase while carrying others. Those are the rules to her powers more or less..either that or the whole sword thing with kyoutaro was a giant gap in logic, but the rules of her powers dictate otherwise.

    1. Rinka cannot phase herself through people, but she can cause living things she is carrying to be phased through other things, as she has carried Peggy while phasing through things.

      Show Spoiler ▼

      1. Size matters (no sexual innuendo intended) in the context of her powers, and she can phase other living beings with her powers, but her power immediately comes to a screeching halt when it is a human. In this case it doesnt matter what the size is (which is why she couldnt phase the sword out of kyoutaro) or the weight (which is why she couldnt phase through kobushi’s punches) the fact that its human is what makes her powers unable to work. Something like peggy is different because peggy isnt human, which then her limitation is based on size. In my opinion though, that limitation seems to have been manufactured by the writing to not make Rinka have an easy time with her enemies otherwise she would be too OP, and its a decision that works more or less.

      1. Terror and terrorism can exist when no lives are lost, as Zankyou no Terror has proven.

        While I don’t disagree with that,in the case of Zankyou no Terror,it does make it harder for some people(myself included) to take the show as seriously as it would like us to.

      2. In this case, I was referring to (spoiler tags, just in case) Show Spoiler ▼

    2. Would not Phasing Living Cells not destroy something inside it? And Perhaps She is only able to protect her own Body Cells to get destroyed? And this Peggy is not an ordinary Penguin. He is perhaps a Special being

      1. If i remember correct, some of this Phasing of Living Human Cells was once in a “Captain Future” Episode (Yes this old Anime for Europe). They explain it there, that a device bend the Body Molecules some how into new Frequency from the Atom and his Electron circle it

        The Atom is circled with his Electron, and somehow the Device swift a bit the distance so that other Atom cores could pass through without catching the Electron or destroying the Atom.. somehow, if my memory not fails me.. Sorry, i was a little Kid back then

  3. Why didn’t Rinka just phase the other people through rubble to save them? Ill-explained magic systems are poison to a good fantasy story.

    That all goes back to some of the “testing and learning how to use their powers” that was cut out of the anime. The simplest explanation is that she can’t. If you want to know more I could tell you more. It’s not like it’s a big spoiler or anything.

    I still root for her, even if I have the undeniable feeling that I should be reading the manga instead.

    You really should, but for the sake of fairness and such I suppose you should properly watch the anime through on its own merits. Once it’s done, though, you really should go read the manga. Hopefully the anime won’t have ruined things too much for you.

  4. Can say I liked the police being competent and reasonable for once. The authorities are generally a bunch of oppressive and/or restrictive jackasses in these types of stories, but here they’re shown to be rather open-minded when it comes to Rinka and her group. It’s one of those little details that the show actually manages to pull off pretty well. And it needs them too, to offset scenes like the one in the classroom or the sudden friendschip between Rinka and Kobushi. Because for me, whether I like a show or not is like a game of tug o’ war between its good and bad sides, and this show is holding a precarious balance straight down the middle. I’d hate it if it ended up falling into disfavour.

    Also, your comment about MMA reminds me of this comic: http://penny-arcade.com/comic/2009/07/15 .

  5. This episode probably feels worse off because it’s lacking in action, and so far it’s been the action scenes that have papered over ESP’s faults in pacing and character development. ESP isn’t actually bad as far as adaptations go, it’s just the little things which are impacting the show overall. Not to mention the references remain hilarious while Wolverine Papa continues to exude the most manly manliness.

    Would have been something to see if ESP was given two cours to work with instead of one.

  6. Interesting episode this was. Horriblesubs did not translate the Panda properly sadly it is.

    Perverse as he was, managed to train Luke he did.

    Reminded of Luke’s vision of Vader on Dagobah the last scene is.

    Anyway, why do I have a feeling that Luke would attempt to lift the X-Wing from Tokyo Tower…. Anyone? Anyone?

    “The Force is the pathway to many things that many dream of”

    “Use the Force Luke. Free your mind”

    “Bright her future is”

  7. They’ve really toned down the look on the glasses guy’s mother because, believe me, she looks so ridiculous in the manga that even dramatic situations with her can be funny. But even that little thing works so well in making her somewhat lovable.

    On another note, I agree with everyone else that you should read the manga after the anime finishes, Stilts. Or you do what Mgmaster(?) did—reading the manga up to the point the episode stopped. But to be honest, the manga can be addictive lol. So Idk…maybe not yet…? Lol Of course, you decide.

    As to the little things, they’re rushing too much. And then, Minami “kidnapped” Azuma way too early. As a result, Show Spoiler ▼

    With how things are, I just wish they will animate the biggest turning point and have it make sense. I don’t like how they are rearranging and omitting stuff. I’m a writer too, and this anime is poorly written. Even Minami declaring she’ll take Azuma is just…=.= I mean, she didn’t really need to say anything. She could just take him and then have Rinka stopped by the people’s agonized voices—thereby giving her enough tension. Those few minutes of inessential dialogue could have been used better.

    I do like that they retained the reasonability of the police and even gave enough perspective from non-espers being helped by espers. As to Yoda(ni?), lol. I have no comment.

      1. Edited it for you. And even did it without reading the spoiler! So not all was lost : )

        And while I say I should be reading the manga, I know I won’t. I simply don’t have the time to watch the 20+ series I watch a season to keep my anime blogger credentials, read fiction, read my business books, write my novel, keep up with all the stuff my non-anime watching friends say I should be following, and then read manga too. It’s now on my extensive (and never-to-be-finished) backlog, though!

      2. Thanks, Stilts! ^^ And yeah, I understand that situation lol. I haven’t been reading manga myself nowadays. I just read Tokyo ESP before it aired as a refresher. Good job on not looking at the spoiler! Lol XD

    1. But to be honest, the manga can be addictive lol.

      Yep! But the fact that I’m also enjoying the anime and want to continue enjoying it makes it easier to stop myself from reading too much 😛 Works great up till now since I’m enjoying the series in both it’s forms. Perhaps the biggest result due to this is that I ended up getting really attached to Rinka. She’s undoubtedly my favorite female character of the season,and maybe more.

    2. Still,to add some stuff after reading a few chapters,I probably spoiled myself more than I should have this time but it was hard not to. I didn’t even get to the part where Azuma was taken away by Minami because I was probably spoiling myself too much trying to get to it,although I probably got close enough. I didn’t have any problem with him being kidnapped this early except for the fact that that the anime

      Show Spoiler ▼

  8. Training episodes can be tricky to keep interesting, but I think this was slightly better than many. Mostly because it wasn’t all training, also some (rushed) character development.
    Speaking of development, I’m guessing Kobushi had a whole arc for herself and that got scrapped here?

    As for the three girls, to me that didn’t feel forced as much as it was pointless. There didn’t seem to be any other point than to tell viewers what exactly it was that Rinka was down about. As if that was necessary. (Also, starting a conversation about local terrorism at a famous landmark with “hey, did you see it?”, really?)

    As for Yoda(ni), I found some comedy with him to work. Nothing too great, but he did get a few chuckles out of me (mostly the ridiculousness of his outfit and that Panda Boob Fist Returns)

  9. New rule for Rinka: Hair up in normal mode or white hair all the time! She looks so plain with her normal hair down but very cute with it up.

    Other thoughts: how long is this supposed to be. The pacing seems too slow for 11-13 episodes but I don’t know if they have enough for 22-24 without slowing down too much.

  10. Oh my… I don’t want to be this guy again, but this anime continually botches the source material, especially when it comes to characterization (Ayumu, I’ll miss your constant scowl).
    And why everyone is so prettified?The way mangaka drew background characters was a constant reminder that this manga’s not supposed to be taken 100% seriously (despite having some pretty serious themes and moments). Rinka’s classmates were almost caricatures, and Mrs Oozora looked like a fish. In the anime even Ayumu’s afro can be called afro only if someone tries very hard.
    At least Rinka and Rindou are left more or less untouched and Kobushi’s voice is still awesome.


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