Kotoura-san Review

kotourasan_1-1What does it say when I don’t really even really want to talk about an anime after completing it? Because my thoughts could probably be summarized as, “A bit inconsistent at points with a rubbish final third with the silliness being something fulfilled by many others.”  But to give an answer longer than a tweet, elaboration time!

Kotoura-san Review                                                                                                        Studio: AIC Classic                                                                                                           Length: 12 episodes                                                                                                       Availability: CrunchyRoll

The titular Kotoura-san is a high school girl born with psychic abilities and after going through a life that the show sums up in the first ten minutes, ends up going on a quest to learn that Friendship is Magic.  Which sets forth another lighthearted romp about high schoolers with a hint of drama possibly being thrown in, because that template is not quite broken after hopping on it for several years.  However, the drama bit reigns highly in the show, serving as a major heart of the story that made the first ten minutes one of my favorite beginnings to, well, anything.

Normally I would describe what happens, but the amount of almost vicious cruelty and the unrealistically devious children make the beginning of the show something that would be hard to live up to and ultimately resolve, which Kotoura-san is sadly unable to do in the end.  Either way, the shows literally breaks away the veil of darkness that drenched the framing piece for the ten minutes as Kotoura-san is more often a comedy show, with a lot of jokes relying on situations, expressions, or one character’s perverted thoughts being viewed by the mindreading Kotoura.

KS Confidence comign from the breasts boobs

Which is perfectly fine, and in fact the mixing of instances where the show pulls the tragedy lever and pushing the comedy buttons is a pretty optimal strategy to have them both work.  And the show does it quite well in the first of its three arcs, where the emotional rollercoaster was revving up and the character actions were all believable.  With an ESP club helping Kotoura out of her abyss of sorrow, so she can become an adorfable little girl as her past justifies her understandably odd actions.  Most of which can be related to a mix of trust and self loathing that the show does indeed explore.

Namely in the second arc, as it removes most of the drama and has the five main characters goof about as a club, with only minor mentions to the big bad past as the ratio is more 4:1 than 2:3 between the two extremes.  An aspect that did not really detract from my enjoyment, as the five main characters are a fairly enjoyable bunch, with the possible exception of one who begins in more of an antagonist role.  Being a real bastard for the first arc before a very clean cut reformation that has her making funny faces the next episode.  Saving the guilt phase for the second arc for reasons unknown beyond establishing a status quo early on.

KS Hiss Go Away Snake Form

However, once the third arc comes, the show decides to take a very unwelcomed twist back into the more darker stuff.  Through a murder mystery that seems to exist in order to take into consideration the whole psychic gimmick the show has.  But as it never made it especially clear how exactly Kotoura reads minds, I would have assumed that she would’ve seen into the dark bowels of humanity long ago and be used to the idea of muscle growth diaper sissy bonage vore.  Or whatever I can come up with just by sticking a foot into the cesspool that is my imagination.

Even then, the actual resolution to the arc is very jumbled, trying to tie it in as a major resolution for one character quickly as well, with the murderer’s identity being foreshadowed two scenes before it was revealed.  While also making sure it doesn’t name anything to cause me to search through the big old book of mental disorders so it could not be proven for the bullcrap I suspect it to be.  Nothing is really gained other than continuing to show that Kotoura learned that friendship is swell and make the relationship between her and the love interest main character feel all the weaker.  Before the show rapidly resolves everything it set forth in the twelfth and final episode, with no real wiggle room for a sequel season.

KS These aren't right Mother, you messed up and I am sad

Which results in a very rushed lid put over an uncooked meal.  Ultimately taking the delightfully malicious ten minutes that I will salivate over like the differently dark ending to Berserk’s first arc and Mass Effect 3’s Green ending, and wrapping it up within seven.  As the subplot only got about another five to develop with its two most central characters.  It’s close to the narrative equivalent of trying to fix a shattered knee with a packet of salt and some gaws, and just makes everything it set forth beforehand feel a lot less quality.

Which comes up when the show tries to tie things up with the love interest, who serves more as comic relief with his constantly perverted thoughts played for the majority of laughs soley not based on visuals.  The idea of seeing Kotoura, a short high schooler with the face of a twelve year old in a romantic relationship with someone who looks to be significantly older than her is very icky.  Not helped much by her sheltered life, clear desire for affection, shame that comes with the idea of harming others, or how they were at the level where they had one “date” before announcing love over a sporadically placed Christmas tree.  And while the perverted fantasies always stayed fantasies, I never saw the relationship as anything more than deep friendship.

KS Naked Bottom Unknowingly Huh

With all of this being something that really can’t be helped by a visual style, even though I am rather fond of the one at hand.  Using a slightly more stylized manages to give every character a slightly different facial layout with a plethora of funny faces, it is past the fence of distinction.  Yet where I dish out most of my praise is for how vibrant and expressive the show makes the characters.  An act that even disregarding how I made a segment based on my collection of screen caps with expressions similar and including these, does provide manage to enhance the sillier aspects, while still not harming the more serious ones.

As the show does have a good deal of charm with it, after watching the end of it, pretty much all my investment managed to be drained away.  While I will not point to a bad ending and call something bad on the whole, the resolution in question and the build up to it makes it hard to recommend watching this show past the eighth episode, which in itself leads into a cliffhanger.  Yet even before that, the premise of a psychic is fairly underutilized, along with the comedic bits being fulfilled through countless other sources, I would really only recommend the first four episodes.  With the show as a singular entity being very bleh, which I say a lot, but it doesn’t stop me from slapping an average sticker at the end.

Alright (11/20)                                                                                                                      Fans of the genre or premise might enjoy the product.  There is a kernel of goodness, but it’s still surrounded by some non-goodness, making the final product a bit “bleh”.

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