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KOTOURA-SAN #1 - - Special Review

I feel like I just got Rick-Roll’ed or something...

Surely, the creators of this show are having themselves a good cackle at my expense, wherever they are...

Putting everything else aside, the first 11 minutes of this make up one of the most arresting openers I’ve seen in any anime pilot. Taking a few CITIZEN KANE-esque cues (yes, I went there), the show takes us through a heartbreaking montage of how mutant telepathy really would slowly ruin a person’s life if the power manifested long before they understood it. Dropping into this totally cold, I really appreciated how the clues escalated; with cute lunch-time mind-reading tricks steadily leading into traumatic social isolation.

I was all set to complain about how the virtuosity was sullied a bit by some of the moments being too forced (it’s hard buying how the mother just jumps to an all-hands-off hatred of her daughter) but then… then… then…

Then the most jarring intro ever kicks in at the 11 minute mark, the sky literally turns from gray to vibrant color and I feel the most hilarious sense of catharsis. I could continue to show off my film degree and cite an old movie like SUNRISE (yes, I went there again) as a comparable case of a somber, mirthless melodrama suddenly taking a switchback turn into conflict-free escapism. HESHER would be a more contemporary comparison point, though - - a flick that essentially shows what happens when an “important” family drama gets hijacked by a badass stoner.

Seriously, there’s a really meta hook to this. It’s almost like we were supposed to get SERIAL EXPERIMENTS LAIN or something, but because our lead accidentally got seated next to this out-of-this-world goofball, we’re getting RANMA ½ instead. I mean, it’s even appropriate watching this after PSYCHO-PASS, since Koutara-san’s beau-to-be really offers the best quality to a psychic - - an absolutely charming lack of thoughts in his head.

My head is still spinning over what I just watched...

Watch this episode, "Kotoura-san and Manabe-kun" here and decide for yourself.

Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk

metalsnakezeroon Feb. 4, 2013 at 6:19 a.m.

The show is both charming and sad but it does go for a good balance as the series goes on. Funny how this was a 4 panel manga was nothing but jokes.

budokazon Feb. 4, 2013 at 6:32 a.m.

Pretty much my thoughts exactly, Tom. I went into it fully expecting the show to be a little bland, but then that ten minute gut-punching opening was powerful enough to keep me watching until the end of the episode. There's a dark undertone to the proceeding episodes that is a lot less subtle and integral to the plot than similar shows, and it doesn't really impede on the lighthearted comedy of each episodes main story. It has potential to be this seasons sleeper hit

Petiewon Feb. 4, 2013 at 8:08 a.m.
@metalsnakezero said:

Fun how this was a 4 panel manga was nothing but jokes.

I've only read a little of it, but the manga is fairly similar to the anime. The events in episode 3 of the anime are actually toned down a lot from the manga which is a bit more bloody and serious.
Sonata moderator on Feb. 4, 2013 at 12:32 p.m.
In love with this series so far. I thought is going to be all moody as well, but was thrown a curveball because of the comedy. It does balance seriousness and comedy pretty well so far.
Kino88on Feb. 4, 2013 at 12:59 p.m.

dammit Tom! stop finding so many compelling and original shows' at such a rapid pace, I can't keep up! pretty soon I'm gonna need a dam list just to keep each show from slipping away, in fact that's exactly what I am going to do, and while I'm at it I might as well clone myself a twin, that way while I'm at work my other self will stay home and watch any anime I might have missed other wise,

still I don't blame you for dropping Full Metal Alchemist Lol, OVER RATED!!

UsachanMaNon Feb. 4, 2013 at 6:06 p.m.

@Sonata said:

In love with this series so far. I thought is going to be all moody as well, but was thrown a curveball because of the comedy. It does balance seriousness and comedy pretty well so far.

Agreed with all what Son said!! This is one of my favorite 2013 Winter anime :P

Darokion Feb. 4, 2013 at 7:23 p.m.

There is a level of psychological violence to the first ten minutes that reminds me a lot of Texhnolyze's opening, except this series seems to then remember it's set in anime high school and snaps out of it. It's jarring in how it switches back and forth the way it does, but so far it's switches in tone and mood are working. I could see this overstaying it's welcome if it leans too far one way or another or relies too strongly on the shock value of it's wild mood swings, but right now it's walking the tightrope just fine.

Marshal Victoryon Feb. 4, 2013 at 9:56 p.m.

It mixes the cutesy with dark sureal realism .. then rifts on cutsey for while. Its worth watching .But dont expect the levle of the show to stay any where near as the pilot. If ya look at it as dam that opener was good an just want to see where they go with out pushing where you want the story to go.It will be worth while an sevrial laugh out loud moments.

Actualy next few feel like a difretn director took over in many ways.

Dig Deeper into Kotoura-san

Kotoura Haruka is a young girl shunned by her peers and loved because of her uncontrollable ability to read minds.

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