「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
- 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.