Zettai Karen Children

April 21, 2013

They say that children are our future. They are precious that they are also considered our treasure. But I guess if they have super powers, that would make them a national treasure. Yes, people. Please love our children and don’t mistreat or abuse them. After all, we all only go through our childhood once. Second, third, fourth or multiple childhood periods that comes during our adult phase doesn’t count. Before I lose myself gloating about children, let me make this clear that I do not recently have obsession with little children. Well, I’m not good with them either. An otaku like me good with kids? So what is this all about then? I thought I just wanted to make some cool opening statement for the anime Zettai Karen Children that I recently watched. Disappointed?

Despite being absolutely lovely children, our protagonist trio, Kaoru Akashi, Aoi Nogami and Shiho Sannomiya can just be the opposite. Yup, at times they can be brats. But don’t classify them as bullies because they won’t go that far. Every kid has got to be naughty once in a while. What sets them apart is that they possess super powers. They are considered Japan’s best and highest level of espers (Level 7, that is). You don’t want to mess with these kids. Being children of course means they also act like one. Sometimes. Throw tantrum and the likes. They’re at that age where they want to grow up and be treated like an adult. So do children with special powers need special attention and development? That’s where BABEL comes in. An acronym for Base of Backing ESP Laboratory, its purpose is to identify, protecting and nurture the every growing number of espers in the world.

Our trio are under this organization but it would make sense that they have a main supervisor to watch over their daily activities as well as chart their growth to be accepted into society. That’s where 20 year old prodigy Kouichi Minamoto comes in. Anybody handling the bratty trio would’ve long given up supervising them. So for Minamoto to take on this job, he must have one heck of patience and understanding. Thankfully he is the right man for the job because if nobody can look after these kids, then who? Thus along the way you will see their bonding and interaction among each other and other characters. Typical. Oh, not to mention to fight off threats from rogue esper organizations as well as the negative perceptions of the normal people. Yes. People with no powers and ‘powerless’ do not see espers in a favourable light. Such irony. Just reminds you of X-Men and the mutants. Why can’t we all just get along?

I consider series with more than the typical 2 seasons (around 24-26 episodes, that is) to be a long one so this series has 51 episodes and an OVA. Which means I won’t really be going in detail episode by episode like my usual blog. If you ever read them. Blame my laziness for it. Okay, just blame me. My memory seems to be failing me as the years pass so there are lots of stuffs which I can’ really remember. I can thank Wikipedia or Tenka Seiha for providing some bits of information and episode screenshots respectively. But if you really want me to recall in detail, you can forget about it. Because I’ve already forgotten most of it. Hopefully I would remember the main points and in the future not forget that I have watched this show before. If only I could stay young forever…

The Children – The team name for our main trio of brats, oops I mean, children. So aptly named… I guess it’s better than the 3 Stooges.

Kaoru Akashi – Possesses psychokinetic powers. Crude and reckless, the other annoying thing about her is that she loves women’s breasts. Yup, she sometimes sounds like a dirty old man. Can it be the case of a guy trapped in the wrong body? I’m not pretty sure but she also has this penchant to name every move, Psychic (insert move name here). They look pretty same to me because she slams or drops something into her opponents. It’s like she has a different name for every move. Did she make them up as she goes along?

Aoi Nogami – The bespectacled girl has teleportation powers and speaks in kansai dialect.

Shiho Sannomiya – Her psychometric abilities means she can read the ‘past’ of people or objects she touches. Among the trio, she is the most sarcastic and has a sadistic side.

Pose pros – It’s like posing is their destiny. For many of the episodes when The Children are called upon, they’ll start off with some poetic expression, be it love, friendship, justice, etc, which usually ends in some cool/cute/weird/lame pose. Sometimes they have colour smoke pyrotechnic effects too. Such professionals. Such passion.

Kouichi Minamoto – The Children’s current supervisor and is completely a normal human with no ESP powers. He greatly cares for them and will go to great lengths to provide the best and protect them. For instance, having them go to normal school to experience a normal life of an elementary child and create better looking accessories for their Limiters to restrain their Level 7 powers instead of one that is uncomfortable and makes them look like slaves. Has to put up with the bratty trio with their kiddie like behaviour and tantrums especially gets banged around by Kaoru’s psychokinetic power. Don’t worry. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Yeah. How many times has he put up with those painful moments? Is it all worth it? For Minamoto, you bet.  Also in time, their overall teamwork during mission improves. His dream is to have a world whereby both espers and normal humans can live peacefully together.

The Apartment – The Children need somewhere to cram, right? What better place than to stay at his own apartment where he can closely supervise them. Just don’t let anybody outside BABEL find out their true relationship. Don’t worry if they wreck the place too because it is padded with special padding to withstand all the pounding. Ready to go wild?

Taizou Kiritsubo – The leader of BABEL and dotes The Children very much. He might overreact or exaggerate when the slightest harm comes to his beloved Children. To the point where he secretly tries to get even with another kid for bullying The Children! Dangerous guy (in a funny way). But The Children aren’t really too fond of him. Sure, if you ask me, Minamoto provides a better father figure than this dude.

Oboro Kashiwagi – Kiritsubo’s secretary and probably one who straightens him up if he ever starts going ‘extreme’.

Shuuji Sakaki – The psychometric doctor of BABEL who has a playboy character and Minamoto’s best friend.

Double Face – Made up of Natsuko Tokiwa and Hotaru Nowaki who man the receptionist of BABEL. Natsuko has clairvoyance while Hotaru possesses telepathy and they make the ultimate combo in predicting and intercepting possible threats.

Naomi Umegae – A 16 year old Level 6 psychokinetic power user who was once nicknamed Kitty Cat. Thanks to her ever perverted supervisor, Ichirou Tanizaki who has dreams of grooming her to become his ideal wife, thankfully that plan backfires and Naomi no longer becomes the naive girl but one that fights back whenever Tanizaki starts acting up. I think he may be a masochist because he kinda likes getting owned by her powers. Now she is known as Wild Cat.

Chisato Hanai and Masaru Touno – The Children’s classmates at school. It is hinted that they may like each other. Obviously.

Akie and Yoshimi – Kaoru’s famous sexy and busty actress mother and gravure idol elder sister respectively. Even women like them want a piece of Minamoto. This guy is so eligible… Kaoru’s relationship with them is strained because she believes she was neglected for their fear of her being an esper. All she wants for them is to be a normal family. A little kidnapping of them that turns out to be some otaku modelling had them mend their relationship.

Normal people – As the name suggests, ordinary citizens with no special powers but hold deep grudges against espers. I don’t know why but they’re so free to come up with plans to destroy them and it’s ironic that they have no powers, they can still give espers a run for their money. Maybe it’s their numbers and their technology. They are a nefarious bunch that would even sacrifice innocent people for their gains. You can easily identify them because of the typical sunglasses they wear. Yeah. It makes them look so shady. Don’t be surprised if you find your florist or the vegetable seller lady to be part of this organization. They’re just about everywhere.

Esper Counter Measure (ECM) – Devices that can use to block an esper’s powers when activated. I guess nobody is perfect.

Kyousuke Hyoubu – The main antagonist of the series and a very powerful esper. Despite his youthful appearance, he is around 80 years old as this Major is a survivor of World War II and uses his esper power to keep his young looks. Has a little flying squirrel, Momotarou accompanying him.

PANDRA – A rogue esper organization headed by Kyousuke. He has been gathering espers to fight the inevitable war against humans. Main members consists of Mio Tsukushi (typical tsundere who has a crush on Kyousuke and always butting heads with Kaoru), Shirou Magi (hair power?), Muscle Ookama (effeminate dude), Koremitsu Yamada (is this a giant mummy?), Momiji Kanou (calm woman) and You Fujiura (playful guy who sometimes teases Kyousuke).

Takashi Kugutsu – Initially was a scientist in BABEL with the ability to create dolls and animate them. Especially his beloved doll figure, Moga-chan. His real identity is a spy in BABEL to send information to Kyousuke. His downfall came after being marginalized by BABEL too much, he frames Sasaki as a traitor only to be backfired by our heroes. He leaves BABEL and joins PANDRA.

Queen – What Kyousuke calls Kaoru and is particularly interested in her because he sees her as a pivotal piece in achieving his organization’s goals. Due to his soft spot for Kaoru, he can’t force her to join and will wait for her to willingly join him. From time to time when The Children are engaged in dangerous missions, usually Kyousuke will discreetly lend a helping hand to get out of the sticky situation. Momotarou always calls him a lolicon because he always looks out and protects Kaoru.

The future vision – From time to time, you will see this repetitive vision of how Minamoto despite giving numerous futile warnings, had to shoot an adult Kaoru, the Queen of Catastrophe who is believed to have crossed over to the other side. Is this future inevitable? Well, Minamoto believes he could change destiny.

Comerica – WTF is this fictitious nation? Somehow my guts tell me that it closely resembles America. Thankfully the Comerica esper agents of Ken McGwire and Mary Ford are on our side as they sometimes work with the Japanese counterparts to counter threats of espers between their nations.

Colonel J.D. Grisham – A Level 7 Comerican esper with the ability to copy powers of espers close to him. Thought to be a traitor defecting to another nation, it is revealed it was an elaborate scheme to see off the final wishes of a terminally ill women who sheltered him during World War II as he was the sole survivor in Kyousuke’s attacks.

The Hound – Consists of Akira Yadogiri with metempsychosis (interchanging souls of living beings) and Hatsune Inugami with metamorphosis (turning into an animal). Hatsune’s animal instinct means Akira always has a hard time controlling her. Especially when she easily gets distracted by meat and food. But if you demonstrate superiority like Kaoru did, she submits to you.

Keiko Kojika – I guess Minamoto already has his hands full with The Children so he can’t possibly take on The Hound. Also, there would be rivalry among the kids. Thus Keiko is later introduced as The Hound’s supervisor since she loves animals. But unknowingly Akira and Keiko’s closeness sense bad vibes to Hatsune. Animal instincts or teen girl in love instincts? So Keiko had to work hard to prove that she isn’t bias and cares for Hatsune too.

Love matters – As we can already see, The Children really love Minamoto and sometimes do daring stuff to him (short of being anything ecchi or hentai). I guess he has this dilemma of loving them as adults and it would be totally wrong in the eyes of society if he did love them as kids because he would look like a lolicon. There is an episode whereby Shiho and Aoi went out with a date with boys with similar interests with them. It made Kaoru jealous and went on a tailing spree but ends up thinking back about the days they first met and best of all, she get to spend time with Minamoto in the end. Of course Aoi and Shiho treasure their friendship more and it’s heartbreak for the boys.

Friend or foe? – When The Children rescues Momotarou and nurses him back to health (also learning about the hideous experiments people back then were doing to animals), Momotarou becomes friends with them though he still follows Kyousuke and PANDRA. So who should he root for when BABEL and PANDRA clash?

Lieutenant Ikyuugo – A dolphin whose predictions are said to be always accurate. Minamoto and The Children are tasked to protect him when Ikyuugo predicts his own death. Though his death wasn’t able to be prevented (as so it seems), he reveals the more frightening premonition. About the one whereby Minamoto shoots Kaoru in the future.

Kidnapped – Mio out of jealousy kidnaps Minamoto to lure The Children. But the roles are reversed because Minamoto becomes like her father/mother/guardian, cooking her good food (she’s living on junk food) and taking good care of her while he is under captive. So how did this prisoner turned into housekeeper?

Fujiko Tsubomi – The real leader of BABEL who has been sleeping for 10 years!!! Why wake up now? Despite her young and busty looks, she is around 80 years old and is Kyousuke’s adopted sister. She is very flirty especially with Minamoto and this irks The Children very much (I’m sure that kiss was the last straw). She believes that in order for Minamoto’s relationship to develop better with The Children, they must be more intimate. Maybe she’s just bored after sleeping for so long. Okay, she seems serious in countering PANDRA but can she be effective when she’s always fooling around?

Triple Boost – After a trap incident in a bank set by the normal people, Minamoto improvises on the Limiters that allow The Children to combine their esper powers to enhance one of their powers. Kaoru especially powers up to a point whereby she sprouts white angelic wings and a power called Force of Absolution that nullifies all hypnotism.

Angel, devil or undecided? – I don’t know there is even this prediction that indicates the kind of characters that The Children will turn out in the future. Though the percentage is ever shifting, as of now it is more inclined to the devil’s side. So will they actually turn out bad or like the prophecy that Minamoto fears? Well, if the future can be changed, I’m guessing they’re going to need lots of work to bring that percentage to the favourable side.

The Fly – There is this hilarious episode whereby Minamoto and The Children are called to contain a swarm of flies under the control of a rogue esper. The funny part comes when Minamoto switches personality with a fly so much so The Children had a hard time trying to prevent him from eating sh*t!!! So hilarious that even Kyousuke can’t help laugh out loud. Though it is Kyousuke’s point to prove to Minamoto that his powerlessness can’t save The Children, Minamoto uses his willpower to break free and prove otherwise.

Black Phantom – Another rogue esper organization outside Japan and is making its presence felt in the Land of the Rising Sun. Led by a mysterious man, he brainwashes and controls espers with deep hatred and grudge to do his bidding. Bullet Silver and Tim Toy were unfortunate espers under him sent to disrupt the peace. Though PANDRA teams up with BABEL indirectly to fight them off, ultimately it is Kaoru’s Force of Absolution that saves them from Black Phantom’s grasp. The duo undergo rehabilitation and later become part of BABEL despite having no memories of their past.

Setsuko Kuromaki – Also known as the Dream Maker, she was once an agent of BABEL but quit and crossed over to PANDRA because she was bored and sought excitement. A package sent to Minamoto has him fall into comatose state whereby he has to relieve the painful dream of shooting Kaoru in the future. Kaoru has to dive into his memories to save him. In the end when the Minamoto and Kaoru return to reality, cornered Setsuko uses the powers on herself to turn into a vegetable state and seal her lips forever.

Big fleets – Houston! We have a problem! I don’t actually see what Kaoru’s problem is regarding those ‘big fleets’ from those busty buxom babes like Fujiko. I thought she would really love them. Maybe too big to handle? Anyway, she’s still like a perverted old man wanting to grope them. But I don’t really get the drill joke…

Fujiko’s holiday villa – I’m sure Fujiko wanted to give her BABEL staffs a well deserved break high up in the snow mountain retreat. I don’t remember much but from what I do remember is that everyone manages to piss off Minamoto a lot and man, that guy can really get mad when you push him to a corner. Very well lesson learnt. This also leads to an all-new discovery of a previous woman in Minamoto’s life…

Caroline Magi – The other woman that was once in Minamoto’s life. Enough to make The Children boil with jealousy once more. The Comerican astronaut met Minamoto and Sakaki while they were studying in university. She is temporarily back in his life because she has another child-like personality called Carrie due to an experiment to create espers. Because of that, Minamoto was made to care after Carrie and as usual, her feelings for him developed into a romantic one despite her character still remained as a kid. With Carrie back in the picture, there are other parties pursuing her like Comerica who wants to retain her ability and Kyousuke looking to add members to PANDRA and sees her fitting that bill. In the end, Carrie forces to seal herself so that Caroline could realize her space dream (not before going out on a date with Minamoto and some mushy goodbye moments).

Takashi Kawamura – A young boy whose esper power was recently discovered. The Children are made to befriend him and though there are no problems becoming his friend, the real issue is that his father is a famous anti-esper author and has written a book about it. But once he sees his son using his esper powers for good along with The Children against the despicable schemes of the normal people to frame espers, he changes his stand and advocates the good points for espers and normals to live together.

Magic wish note – An episode which highly parodies that detective cat-and-mouse series, Death Note, this episode actually sees a notebook that grants small wishes instead. Thus we have The Children trying to outdo and deceive each other so that they could have Minamoto all for themselves. Too bad they got what they deserved and got knocked out by each other’s wish. Just as planned… Of course Kyousuke impersonated himself as Minamoto to have some fun for himself. I guess that’s why the girls can’t really get a direct answer when they wrote who among them ‘Minamoto’ loves the most. I just wonder why Kyousuke had to keep Momotarou underneath his shirt when there’s always a change he’ll fall out and expose him. Just as planned…? Think not.

Patty Crew – Another Black Phantom member sent. Some of PANDRA members that include Momiji, Mio, Momotarou, Kazura Tamaki and Kagiri Hino are sent to request Kaoru’s help to take Patty down (they wanted her to use her Force of Absolution). Patty provides a tough fight and though Kaoru uses her ultimate move via channelling the powers of the PANDRA members to her, it wasn’t enough to stop Patty from trying to commit suicide. Quick thinking by Kyousuke saved her from slitting her throat.

Yuuri Kumoi – Black Phantom’s daughter and has multiple esper powers mainly the ability to change people’s mindset and bend it to her will. Other esper powers from this gothic chick include teleportation and cloning illusion.

Second childhood – Kyousuke turns Minamoto into a 12 year old kid. Guess how this sits with The Children? They totally dig it! For realism, PANDRA has infiltrated posing as teachers or students and even brainwashed the school so that Minamoto and The Children can attend it like normal kids. Seems Minamoto had a neglected childhood too. Because he was too intelligent for his fellow peers, he was ostracized and thus had to go somewhere else to continue his studies. It was a lonely and sad childhood. That’s why there is a dilemma that part of him wants to stay this way to live out the childhood he has never had. But when Yuuri begins her attack, Minamoto has to decide. What has happened has already happened. You can’t change the past. Plus, The Children believe in him. Cue for Triple Boost to set him free from Black Phantom’s clutches. Everyone is freed, PANDRA withdraws. Kyousuke dares Minamoto to shoot him. He won’t. He believes they can change that future but because of their different beliefs, it prevents them from becoming allies.

That’s a wrap – In the last episode, we see PANDRA hijacking a ship containing many espers. Patty becomes part of PANDRA and has this yaoi fetish between You and Magi. The Children have graduated from elementary school and are now moving on to middle school. I find it odd that within just a few months, The Children look like young teenagers. Did they experience growth spurt? Besides, to show everyone that time has passed, almost everybody’s hair had grown longer. And almost everybody cries at The Children’s graduation ceremony. Including Minamoto (after holding it in). Even big boys do cry. While The Hound could pull off their own pose, Tim and Bullet are discharged from hospital and part of the new special team of BABEL. Yuuri infiltrates the middle school The Children are going as a fellow student. Oh, the dolphin still lives…

OVA – Released over a year later after the TV series ended, it starts off with a shocking bang as Minamoto pulls off a terrorist attack on BABEL. Yes, that’s him alright. It’s revealed that Yuuri penetrated his mind to find his weakness. Yup, that future vision thingy. She changes that future and makes Minamoto call her Queen (she also brainwashed several PANDRA and BABEL members as her slaves). So with everyone reeling in from the shock, BABEL and PANDRA have to join forces to bring Minamoto back. And part of the plan is to stage that mock future vision thingy. Kaoru’s is able to do the Triple Boost by herself to free Minamoto. But could it be too strong that it almost killed him? Sakaki and Kyousuke cooperate to revive Minamoto, who thinks he just had the weirdest dream. If he was, then why is he on the rooftop with everybody else next to him?

Absolutely Lovely Brats
What more can I say? The fight for the future for both humans and espers to live together continues. It’s going to be a long fight and I’m pretty sure it won’t just end with that Kaoru-getting-shot-by-Minamoto vision. Though they didn’t play it very often, but it was regular enough to annoy me that they’re trying to convince me that this is the outcome that will happen no matter what you think. Every excuse and attempt to change that is just futile. Seems we are heading in that direction, right? Oh well. Who would actually know what the future holds? I can’t even say that complex prediction thingy at BABEL isn’t entirely 100% accurate either. It’s like also trying to say that although you can change the future, that it is just by a little and the ultimate main one will still be inevitable. Besides, there was one episode whereby it was in the future but most of that episode was in flashback mode. And that episode briefly sees future Kaoru against Aoi and Shiho. It’s a sign, right? When The Children step into adulthood, they too will lose that childhood innocence. One day. That day is coming soon.

Of course this series isn’t entirely about all that or even the struggle between humans and espers (say, whatever happened to those anti-espers normal people?) but the relationship and interaction mainly between Minamoto and The Children as well as the other characters. You can see that their bond grows in every moment spent and in every mission spearheaded together (some really odd ones like trying to convince an unborn child not to be afraid and assisting a prince from a fictitious country to free his beloved princess from a long dead spirit’s possession). There are some episodes whereby you get to see Minamoto participating missions with only one of The Children due to circumstances and this serves to deepen their bond. I guess Minamoto is having a hard time trying to keep his relationship with them as professional and private. As children, they are still cheeky and bratty and sometimes love teasing Minamoto to a point whereby his usual excuse to have them back off is to tell them off not to tease adults. They love each other. But how long will the walls of the love as an adult and the love as kids dissipate? It is clear that The Children would really want to love Minamoto as an adult but that guy thankfully isn’t really tempted. Maybe he just views them as annoying. If he does, he would’ve been labelled a lolicon. But you’ve got to hand it to that guy because he has lots of patience in dealing and handling The Children. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s smooth sailing all the way. Almost every episode you can just hear him blow his stop, releasing his angst. I know, being a parent, in his case a supervisor is a very stressful job when you’re dealing with children who are about to enter puberty and the rebellious stage.

The coolest character has got to be Kyousuke. He has got lots of strong esper powers and stays one step ahead of BABEL. So cool this guy is that he even got a sequel spin-off of his own back in early 2013. How often do you have an antagonist having a spin-off of their own? So this guy just like Minamoto has his own ideologies but from a different angle. Because of Kaoru’s stance, he is torn between completely cooperating with BABEL or go all out against them. Despite being the leader, sometimes Kyousuke do portray a childish side like an episode whereby he made bento for The Children and won’t lose out to others (remember, this guy is an old fart). The other PANDRA members don’t really make a great impact. Ookama is just somebody who wants to flash his ‘down there’, Mio the eternal tsundere, Momotarou always finding opportunities to criticize especially Kyousuke for being a lolicon, Magi’s endless serious face wants to make you go “Why so serious?” and Kugutsu is always nothing but his Moga-chan. Just like the BABEL counterparts, each of them have their quirky personalities and if they’re not in serious fighting mode, they are for comical relief (okay, sometimes their fights are comical too).

As for the other characters in BABEL, well not much I can truly say either because they are basically the same as we know from episode one, though with a few minor changes. Kiritsubo will continue to dote on The Children in his one-sided affection (but lately he seems to trust them more in Minamoto’s hands and don’t go worrying as often as he initially would), Sakaki the playboy doctor who is still Minamoto’s best friend, Tanizaki is definitely a masochist because when Naomi starts treating him kindly, he couldn’t believe it’s the Naomi he always knew. Total denial. Safe to say, if Naomi needs somebody to beat up to vent her frustrations, this idiot will be glad to be her punching bag. Fujiko as the cheeky administrator of BABEL I feel her role is getting lesser and lesser as the series draws to a close. Same case with the Comerica counterparts. If they didn’t make a short cameo in the final episode, we certainly would have forgotten all about them. Natsuko and Hotaru feel like side comic relief characters when they are not rope in to help in BABEL’s missions. It seems that their inability to get guys of their own is somewhat a running joke. And they drown that sorrows by becoming drunk. Is it a wonder why guys don’t find drunk women attractive? I figure that their screen time is so limited that I notice the sponsor screen is dedicated to footage of them in the episode. Yeah, they had an entire special episode doing a recap as well. And notice how they seem to be arguing with each other Minamoto at other times as well? Yeah, that guy is really loved by many women. Good or bad thing? The family of BABEL is growing so with The Hound coming up as another reliable special esper team, rehabilitated Tim and Bullet are now part of the family.

The biggest mysterious threat in the name of Black Phantom is still out there so who knows when he will strike again using poor hapless espers as his tool. With Yuuri doing the groundwork and the dirty job, now that she has infiltrated the school, I am sure that things are going to get even tougher. It’s a multiple angle fight from various corners. In one corner we have the supposed hero BABEL. In the other corners we have PANDRA, Black Phantom and normal people. Imagine how much messier things will get if more groups are placed into the fray? So it all boils down to the ideologies of these organizations have. How much do they believe in their cause. This would also raise a question of what ifs. What if BABEL had saved all those discarded espers in PANDRA in the first place? Otherwise they wouldn’t have sworn their loyalty to Kyousuke and follow him around, including putting up with his elaborate schemes. Depending on which side you are on, it isn’t really clear cut on who is right or who is wrong.

The action rather feels okay but sometimes it feels repetitive because many espers like The Children have only one esper power. How much variety can they pull off with Kaoru’s psychokinetic power allowing her to just pick up and throw heavy objects. Besides, like I have said, are her various technique names just for distraction? Then maybe sometimes we can have Aoi’s teleportation combo but that’s about it since Shiho’s psychometric power can’t do much in fights so she is given a pistol to even up. Although it is said that Level 7 is the highest level, I still find it confusing about the other levels because it feels like they are so close to each other that it makes no difference. I mean, The Children did encounter some resistance in facing some of their enemies. If they are said to be the highest esper level in Japan, shouldn’t they have clean things up in a jiffy? You can say that their Limiters are on (but I even notice this when Minamoto releases them) or that they are kids and have yet to learn to fully control their powers but as I observed from even petty criminals, I myself would say that it could have been on par if not just slightly below The Children’s power. Let me give another example. When psychokinetic users like Kaoru, Naomi (who is Level 6) and Mary use their ability, you don’t really see any power difference, right? Well at least, the impact is not there. Of course Kaoru in the end will still be the strongest but still, do you not see the no-difference in level power? I’m sure BABEL has a way to determine an esper’s level but I’m not really interested in that. I thought there was going to be conspiracy of breaking into Level 8. But I guess I was having too much To Aru Majutsu No Index on my mind.

Besides the action and the drama, this series is also not short of its funny moments. Some may find it repetitive especially Kaoru fantasizing about busty and sexy women to a point that it gets a little annoying. Same case about Tanizaki being slammed to the wall or getting pinned underneath by enraged Naomi about his ‘undying love’ for her. What about Ookama’s passion to flash his manhood? Maybe it’s more disgusting than funny. Minamoto blowing his top, Shiho’s sadism, Kaoru’s density, Hatsune’s animal instincts that overwrites her common sense as a human being, the rivalry between Kaoru and Mary likewise Kaoru with Mio, Kiritsubo flexing his muscles (sometimes going Rambo or ripping his shirt like the Hulk) whenever he feels the need to step in and protect The Children, the idiocies of petty (and odd) criminals, The Children’s trademark passionate posing, etc, etc, etc. Are these scenes supposed to be funny? Well, yeah. If they aren’t then I don’t know what it is. I know I had my share of laughs so that’s fine by my standards.

If you keep your eyes opened, you can spot a few trivia laced across the series. However as I observed, most of them come from Hayate No Gotoku as you can see the main characters of Nagi and her butler Hayate making short cameos in some episodes. This is because the studio that animated both these series is SynergySP who also did MAR, Mermaid Melody and Major. Other obvious trivia include that Death Note parody and there are some which aren’t so obvious and may take a sharp eye to spot like Midori Days, Kamen Rider, the SOS Brigade from Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu and that afro guy from Excel Saga, Nabeshin. Although the art and drawing looks okay, I can’t help feel that the characters have that one kind look. I can’t really put my finger on it. As for some of the minor extra characters, they look the same. For example, when Naomi made her episode debut to rescue a school girl from some perverted esper, I thought the victim looked like Kaoru! I thought it was her! And I’m not too sure about this one but I think Mr President Obama did made a short cameo in one of the episodes. He is friends with Fujiko? Did she blackmail him with some sexual harassment? By the way, I thought his face was too fat to be Obama. Just saying… Oh wait. Maybe it’s Forest Whitaker.

For the voice acting, Aya Hirano as Kaoru sounds like a more perverted version of Fairy Tail’s Lucy and Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu’s Haruhi gone wild. Well at least she does sound like the part. I think Ryoko Shiraishi has been stereotyped (at least to me) to voice kansai accent characters. As Aoi, it reminds me of her somewhat similar sounding characters like Himeko in Sket Dance and Zelnogrard in Busou Shinki. I never would have thought Haruka Tomatsu is the voice of Shiho because of her sometimes dark and sadistic nature, I never would have figured out this is the voice of To Love-Ru’s Lala or Natsuiro Kiseki’s Yuka. If you need a guy who suits best with lots of angst or blowing his top, Yuuichi Nakamura is the best person to fit that bill because he played other similar characters like Gray in Fairy Tail, Tomoya in Clannad and Gekkou in Itsuka Tenma No Kurousagi. Rie Kugimiya amazingly does 3 roles here (4 if you count the cameo by Hayate No Gotoku’s Nagi). I guess there’s not much difference between Mio and Momotarou since one is a tsundere and the other lots of sarcasm. At least I could easily guess it was the same person and it feels odd when their dialogues are one after another. The third other role she voiced here is Minamoto as a child. Though she does her boyish role like Shunpei of Oh Edo Rocket and Al in Fullmetal Alchemist, it still made me feel weird since you know it is, well, Rie Kugimiya.

Some of the other mentionable casts include Koji Yusa as Kyousuke (Ichimaru Gin in Bleach), Yukana as Fujiko (C.C. In Code Geass), Ayumi Fujimura as Naomi (Misaki in Kaichou Wa Maid-sama), Kishou Taniyama as Sakaki (Natsuki in Uta No Prince-sama Maji Love 1000%), Eri Nakao as Natsuko (Miki in Hayate No Gotoku), Juurota Kosugi as Kitisubo (Arlong in One Piece), Masumi Asano as Kashiwagi (Hakufu in Ikkitousen), Fuyuka Oura as Akira (Ren in To Love-Ru), Ai Shimizu as Hatsune (Elise in Seitokai No Ichizon), Hiroshi Yanaka as Tanizaki (Shell in Chuuka Ichiban), Fumihiko Tachiki as Black Phantom (Zaraki in Bleach), Takayuki Sugo as Grisham (Wanyuudou in Jigoku Shoujo), Kaori Nazuka as Caroline/Carrie (Nunnally in Code Geass) and Kaori Fukuhara as Chisato (Astrea in Sora No Otoshimono, Tsukasa in Lucky Star) Due to the large number of casts, many take on several roles like Rina Satou playing as Hotaru and Touno (Kaoru in Amagami SS), Marina Inoue as Yuuri and young Kyousuke (Matsurika in Maria+Holic), Saeko Chiba doing triple roles as Momiji, Bullet and Mary (Natsuki in Mai-HiME), Wataru Hatano voicing Ken and You (Yuuto in Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu). There are also lots of famous and veteran seiyuus lending their voice to very minor roles. They include Hitomi Nabatame, Junko Minagawa, Daisuke Ono, Kana Ueda, Ami Koshimizu, Kikuko Inoue, Norio Wakamoto and Emiri Katou. I wouldn’t really have recognized them had I not go through the casting list.

For both the opening themes, they are sung by the young pop idol group consisting of Ayami, Suzuka and Yuika. They also made a very short cameo appearance in one of the episodes. If you know how pop idol groups sound like, you can typically expect it here. The first opening theme is Over The Future and I can safely say that this is the theme of the series usually played in action sequences or comeback scenes. The second opening theme, My Wings doesn’t really sound as ‘attractive’ as the first one. Three out of the four ending themes are sung by the trio seiyuus of The Children. Well, sound like another anime pop if you ask me. The first ending theme is Zettai Love X Love Sengen and Datte Daihonmei being the second piece. Soushunfu as the fourth ending song has the girls sounding a little more mature in their voice compared to the other two which makes The Children sound like they are a pop idol group. Seventh Heaven is the ending theme for the OVA. Breaking this Aya Hirano, Ryoko Shiraishi and Haruka Tomatsu trio’s ‘stranglehold’ is Break+Your+Destiny by the trio of Koji Yusa, Yuuichi Nakamura and Kishou Taniyama. This rock piece gives a darker and edgier feel to all the ‘angelic’ themes we have heard so far.

I suppose there is an underlying theme to this series about how well society treats its children. In some parts of the world, children are being trafficked, put to harsh labour and even being made child soldiers. I’m not expert on the subject but I can say that if the child does not have a happy childhood, then it is very probable that the child will grow up to be some sort of psychopath or a danger to society. Who is to blame then? Even though they may be children, but they are still human beings in need of love and affection. They are at a point in their lives where they are most vulnerable and exposed. Therefore it is important to watch and guide the child’s upbringing down the right path. A happy child translates into a happy adult, right? Then happy adults will breed and pass down their happiness to their child, right? Well, theoretically. Of course if along the way the pressure and stress of society turns the growing up child the other way, then that’s another sad case and a different story.

There is something I have been wondering about. We all know that it is only about time that The Children grow up to be adults, right? When they do, don’t you think it will be odd to call them The Children? I mean, they really do have a mature body by then so is it really appropriate to call them by that name again? Well, The Adults may sound too sleazy and may send the wrong signals. Besides, I think The Children will always be their precious babies whether they are in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s or even 80’s. I guess that’s better than being a national treasure, huh? So remember people, treasure your children and treat them with respect. That way we can always be one big lovely family and never lose. Now come on everybody. Let’s sing Whitney Houstan’s The Greatest Love Of All. I believe that children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way…

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