Well, that was a cheap troll to begin a show…
Kotoura-san begins as a most tragic slice of life regarding a girl which can read minds. She ends up making everybody hate her for that, because she keeps revealing secrets of people that were better off remaining hidden. She gets rejected by everybody and lives a lonely life, until she is approached by people her age that are not bothered by her power and even aim to help her train and make use of it. Nice and cute so far but eventually a troll.
The fail of this show is that it tries to attract your attention with very tragic beginnings of various events, before it completely throws them away in ten minutes and replaces them with comedy and light fan service. We are supposed to sympathise with the girl and then keep watching regardless of the show not being dramatic but just another fluffy school life series.
Before I move to other aspects of this anime let me point out that Kotoura-san is by far the most attractive new title of the winter season for most in the fandom exactly because it is switching from tragic to comedy in a heartbeat. If you have watched enough anime, you will realize that the winning formula for most mainstream anime is to have very tragic premises with very light presentation; and this is what it does very good. Most viewers don’t care about a show being serious about its themes but rather to be an emotional roller coaster. So yes, the sudden mood swings will make most to laugh and cry like immature 14 year old girls, and in a way that is what the series was heading for in the first place.
That of course counts for the AVERAGE anime viewer, who is very easy to be impressed and treats anime as superficial entertainment. A veteran A-type watcher like myself will see the whole thing as yet another series that wastes its true potential for shallow entertainment. And let’s not kid ourselves; it is a shallow series that will be forgotten fast exactly because it is doing that. For the demanding audience, this anime is NOT really doing anything with its premise, other than trolling you into laughing right when you are crying. Works fine if you your emotions are an uncontrollable maelstrom, and doesn’t if you have self-constrain and prefer to look at the execution. Kotoura-san is undeniably a low-tier B-type show and not a high-tier A type that will be talked about in a few years from now.
So now that I have prepared you properly for how to perceive this show, let me point out that it is made with a low budget all across the board. The characters are all drawn very cartoony and there aren’t any fancy cinematics or songs to make the series attractive. Not that it has anything worth to be Kyoto Animation level or that good visuals mean anything in the longrun if the show still manages to inflict the watcher with emotions; a thing it manages even with the crumbs it throws at you. That is something noteworthy, especially for managing to be far more interesting to KyoAni’s Tamako Market that airs next to Kotoura-san and despite its budget it is just another mediocre moe show.
SCRIPT & CAST
Let’s move to the premise, which is becoming stupid very fast since the drama is always overblown and even unrealistic. And I will prove that by presenting both ends of the spectrum it tries to cover.
- Let’s start with the first episode, where the girl gets in trouble for talking when she shouldn’t. I understand that probing peoples’ thoughts is wrong and could easily make you a hated person, but just why didn’t anyone try to make use of this ability all these years? It is just impossible to imagine this girl never using it to pass tests easier. Or for her parents to use her for telling them what their relatives or supervisors really thought about them. Or to become the most powerful person in school by blackmailing or controlling information. Or to rule the world. Hell, there are so many secret organizations that could make good use of her, yet nobody ever tries to use that power to his advantage and just hates her. They don’t even try to send her to a school for problematic children and just tolerate her. Everybody is just pretending that everybody is fine, like it would kill them to try making use of the talents set in front of them. No sir, she doesn’t have amazing superpowers that can help us take over the universe; she is just a compulsive liar and a troublemaker. We are all dull and normal people, and even those who aren’t must pretend to be. Sorry if I call this A LOAD OF CRAP! The setting is not the middle ages; it is modern Japan where they make a spectacle out of every minor and useless thing there is. I am of course overthinking this but it is out of context considering the time and place. And it is of course done for the sake of building up overblown tragedy. And sure, all tragedies are in effect overblown events caused by human stupidity. But MAN, this is so completely one-sided it just can’t pass my suspension of disbelief.
And let’s face it, the only thing this girl ever needed to learn is good manners. If she can’t keep her mouth shut and keeps revealing all of peoples’ secrets left and right, she was worth the hatred she received. You don’t need to be a mind reader in order to be that snitch nobody likes in class. I used to be the class’ snitch too in elementary school; I used to rat out everybody’s mischievous acts to the teachers. I wanted to keep those fools under control before growing up to be assholes. Well, not only it didn’t work but everybody disliked me; so I stopped trying to fix what was broken beyond repair. By the time I was in junior high, I was no longer a snitch, people disliked me less (but still did) and those assholes turned out to be as I expected and are now either bums, hiding from the police, OR DEAD! MWAHAHAHA WHO IS THE SMARTASS NOW YOU ASSHOLES?!
… Oh wait, I went off topic here. Anyways, what I wanted to say is the following. If that girl didn’t realize that the truth is NOT solving problems if not used properly, even after all the times she got burned because of it, then she is a complete retard. And excuse me for being unable to feel anything for a retarded snitch.
- The problem exists even when she DOES manage to keep her mouth shut, but for inappropriate issues. In the second episode, she doesn’t talk when she should. You see, she meets people who are part of a paranormal school club (since apparently there is a school club for about everything) and the people there want to help her promote her skills. Upon trying to do so, some bitches constantly harass her for being special and getting all the attention, and she reacts by NOT TELLING ANYONE ABOUT IT! What the hell man, ten minutes ago she couldn’t keep her mouth shut and now lets these jealous nobodies to tell her off? This is again proof of how the drama in this show is stupid as hell. It helps you of course to feel like a hormone-crazy teenager but it all comes down to the heroine talking when she shouldn’t and not talking when she should. This girl is a masochist! Third episode, she doesn’t reveal how much she is in love, as if it’s going to kill her, while not talking is exactly what makes her suffer in the first place. SHE DESERVES THE TREATMENT SHE GETS! Something similar happens with the boy that wants to be her friend. He doesn’t mind her dreaded power because he is also a retard! Really, she asked him why he is not afraid, and even by reading his mind, he has no idea why! A retard!
Another issue which makes things even more stupid is the whole mind-reading fuss. You are never let to understand how exactly it works. And I don’t mean some technobabbling nonsense; I mean HOW it works. At some cases the heroine reads minds unconsciously, at some others only when she focuses. At some point she can read only people next to her, at some others even when they are away from her. And if she can read minds, why is she constantly tricked by others? Why does she even ask them when she can just extract the truth? Why isn’t she a genius for learning everything straight from the source and instead acts like a stupid girl with an IQ of 80? Why hasn’t she gone insane from reading thousands of minds every day?
Ok, I am again overthinking this but as I said, it is details such as these which prevent this anime from being anything other than an unrealistic school show that circles around HERP DERP people. The drama doesn’t even mean anything after awhile, since it keeps jumping back and forth to mediocre school comedy and erotic humour. All the episodes are about some problem that builds up and resolves within 10 minutes in a cheap and stupid reason. It is just silly fun, just another mediocrity that tries poorly to troll you into liking it before you realize how obviously mediocre it is and give up on it.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 5/10
General Artwork 1/2 (generic)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 1/2 (basic)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 1/2 (basic)
SOUND SECTION: 6/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 2/4 (typical)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)
STORY SECTION: 5/10
Premise 2/2 (interesting)
Pacing 1/2 (erratic)
Complexity 1/2 (not much)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 1/2 (cheesy)
CHARACTER SECTION: 6/10
Presence 1/2 (generic)
Personality 2/2 (rather cheesy but well founded)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
Catharsis 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
VALUE SECTION: 2/10
Historical Value 0/3 (none)
Rewatchability 1/3 (low because of too much overblown drama)
Memorability 1/4 (the drama makes it somewhat memorable but it is otherwise not doing anything with its premise)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 3/10
Art 0/1 (looks lazy)
Sound 0/2 (sounds meh)
Story 1/3 (interesting but eventually shallow)
Characters 2/4 (they are ok but nothing special)