Tokyo ESP - Reviews

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KountSarpadeon's avatar
Jan 13, 2016

Tokyo ESP is a potential wasted in the very worst way.  It's opening episode sets the bar high and then the rest of the episodes proceed to let you down, time and again, on every front.  It sets itself a nice, not too high bar with a very deceptive first episode, and proceeds to lower that bar until it's burrowing to the center of the Earth.

It is a wasted potential, plain and simple.  Things could've been wonderful.  But as it stands, they're not.

Story: It's all-out war - people with psychic powers, whom have taken over Tokyo and have intentions to take over country, have declared themselves homo superior.  Rinka, who, like ever other esper, got her powers from a glowing fish that only she could see (or rather, only espers could see) is there, with a few friends, to put a stop to their reign of terror.

So far, so good.  The show starts in medias res, and then takes you back to where Rinka first gets her powers, and proceeds to show you to lead-up to the showdown.  There are some backstories given, especially one that explains the villains' motivations (which are understandable, of course, but... we'll get to this below.)

Execution: Sloppy.  Starting in medias res and then immediately jumping back to tell the story of how we got here is fine, but starting with an action-packed, battle-for-the-planet episode and immediately shifting to comedy and staying there just brings disappointment.  It takes a good long while (read: the entire series) for Tokyo ESP to ever feature any kind of decent action.  The high-octane, anime-blood-splatter-fest with slightly political undertones that grips you in the first episode is replaced by tame lives-of-espers bits.

Another minus in this front is that at the last possible second, it throws something massively important for the story, so much so that our designated villain remarks we are finally at the point of everything, at the what it's all about.  What that is, I don't know, because we never learn.  We get a seven-day time-skip instead.  Imagine if in

If it was an attempt to wax philosophical about how sometimes there is no point, I'd love it, but it's not.  They just run out of space (and ink, too, didn't you.) 

A further jarring aspect of the anime is that as it goes on, the secondary characters tend to get more bizarre than is called for (goddamn Roshi), deus ex machina are pulled out of consenting butts by the dozen (the telepathic stork, for instance), and at one very crucial point, the power of a main character is played very loosely; a case of Powers as the Plot Demands.  Luckily, the last one is actually a plus and is logical enough that it sits well.  But the rest, just... bleh.

Having a midget in a panda suit for a martial arts trainer, who used to train cops, such as Rinka's father is a pointless visual gag - there is no reason why he can't be just a guy.

Heroes and Villains: Just no.  For one, the heroes are clear-cut, "champions of justice" types, and the one hero that isn't, is recruited because she has the hots for Rinka's dad.  Rinka may be commended for her determination alone, but she's a two-dimensional designated heroine.  Which is actually what every other hero is.

The villains are cardboard "yarr, I'm evil" types.  A sin that the series commits is that the Professor's tragic origins are completely negated by his monstrous actions, to the point where you get apathetic towards him - he's the main villain, yet it's difficult to care if he lives or dies.

Minami is atrocious beyond belief.  Thing is, this character could have been wonderful, and there are ideas thrown around (at the last second), but instead, she's so annoying with her mere presence that it's impossible to think of her as anything but a brainless minion.  The exceptions to that are few, and brief, and the same thing that marks her as a could have been is what ultimately makes the character unbearable.

Animation: Is it me, or is this anime, despite the glossy coloring, very poorly animated? The first episode is so far above the rest of it that one wonders if that's where all the budget went to.  Some secondary characters (Nabeshima for instance) are downright ugly to look at.  The lines are too sharp, most of the character designs are good but too basic, bystanders are poorly-drawn, anyone outside the inner circle is an eyesore... it gets worse and worse as the series goes on.

Sound: Applause to the seiyuu who have managed to keep their tone serious while a lot of lollygagging is going on.  Nice enough soundtrack, some good rock tunes.  Nothing else to say.

The Part that I Said We'd Get to in the Story: The motivations of the Professor are completely irrelevant.  The guy who executed an overarching, long-term plan; who is responsible for every event being put into motion is worthless as a character at all because of this.  The near-full episode wasted explaining how he got to be who he is, is a filler episode with nothing of consequence or importance or of note in it.  It's a waste of space.

Why?

Because we never get to see what he was aiming for.

Since the series sees fit to cut out before we can learn what he intended to do, and why, this means we were just wasting time showing background decoration to a villain whose efficiency is admirable but whose mere existence is negated by the fact that we never find out what he was after.  He gives a few mission statements, of course, but these mission statements are utterly and completely worthless, as they do not relate to what his real plan was.

In short, you can cut the villain out completely and not lose much, because his shoes can be filled by a more coherent character, easy.

Overall: I watched it, but I had nothing else to do and no other series I wanted to engage.  Would I recommend it? Give it a try.  I was bored through most of it.  Someone might like it.  Just not what I expected.

5/10 story
3/10 animation
8/10 sound
3/10 characters
3.5/10 overall
kidkonseptual's avatar
Oct 9, 2014

This was originally a recap on the finale (containing spoilers) as well as the following final impressions. You can read the post on my website found here.

Tokyo ESP title screen.
Tokyo ESP title screen.

Tokyo ESP is a bland superhero anime. Based on an on-going manga (at the time this was written) It seems to have drawn major inspiration from American-style comic books. Indeed, there’s even several references to international films as well. The series has its moments, but with little character depth, no real rhyme or reason to the super powers people receive and a serious — and I mean serious — lack of fun, ESP is mediocre at its best.

If I was forced to summarize the series, I’d say the following; this is a story of people who develop mutant like superpowers, who then fall into two camps, the justice filled heroes and the morally corrupt villains. That’s it. That’s the entire show. So let’s break down the various elements and you can make your own judgment.

Mean girls. All look equally terrible.
Mean girls. All look equally terrible.

The show looks terrible. It was animated by Xebec Studios, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was outsourced somewhere. There’s almost zero variety between the character designs and the color palette is completely un-comic book like. It really looks like a 1980′s Saturday morning cartoon. While the animation isn’t as terrible as the designs — why bother? How can you possibly make lemonade without the lemons?

All the audio is uninspiring as well — although not as atrocious as the overall look. The background music is sort of campy and sort of catchy in a superhero, actiony sort of way. The voice acting is erratically good at best. The dialogue is so campy and straightforward overall, the seiyus really had their work cut out for them from the beginning.

That leaves us with the plot and the characters. The characters are 100% predictable in their nature. There’s too many and not enough time for each to grow as characters, or to portray any real depth. I’m ok with that generally, as long as they’re fun or interesting. Unfortunately, they’re not. As I write this, I’m trying to recall some fun moments during the series, and I’m coming up dry.

Theres a fucking dinosaur on this show.
There’s a fucking velociraptor on this show.

I suppose that leads to the plot, which did supply some humorous moments, but not because they were scripted that way. More like, things were so stupid and/or so random, I couldn’t help but laugh. The references to the Ghostbusters or Bruce Lee are so out of place, and people riding on a magical penguin was just so damn silly. There’s many such moments over the 12 episodes.

The storyline itself isn’t something worth talking about to be honest. There are superheroes and super-villains, victory and defeat, Justice and Doom, etc. I do have to point out a few more things to make this review complete. First up is — appropriately enough — the first episode.

First episode spoils everything, but has this shot.
First episode spoils everything, but has this shot.

So, the first episode of Tokyo ESP was unnecessary and hurt the series overall. It’s pretty much a giant flash-forward to events that take place at the end of episode 11 (or there about). Which means it contains spoilers for an assortment of things. While the events in episode one aren’t repeated exactly, I would still wait before watching it.

Watching the first episode after episode eleven would be my advice, should you choose to accept this mission. Also, be aware that there are two bait and switch examples early on, or perhaps just the bating. Not that kind of bating. Well, one example concerns that kind of bating maybe.

So, there are scenes early on that are incredibly violent and bloody. This led me to believe that the show would pull no punches when it came to the action sequences throughout. Wrong. It never gets more bloody than in the bullshit first episode. Secondly, in episode two (the real first episode), we see Rinka, the main character, nude.

White girl makes first appearance.
White girl shows up — bating material.

It fits in the context, so it’s fine (so fine), but this led me to believe there would be lighter moments, maybe some fan service, or I thought perhaps that Tokyo ESP wouldn’t be taking itself so seriously. Wrong. What fan service-like moments are in the show, feel so out of place that you can mark them down in the WTF column.

The series has some moments of promise, but overall could have been a lot better. If the story was inspired by classic Marvel and DC stories, why not just copy them even more. The bad origin stories, lack of variety in powers and numerous other problems, force ESP to actually power down. With it’s sub-par everything I’d give Tokyo ESP a generous 2 out of Kitsunes.

scale-2

While watching this, I probably haven’t rolled my eyes as much since I was 14. I never did think of dropping this series, although I have to be honest here — if i wasn’t recapping this all season, I wouldn’t have watched it.

Would I recommend this series? Jeez, that’s a tough one. If you’re into campy superhero stuff that doesn’t need to make sense, look good or be entertaining, then yes, go ahead and waste your time. Otherwise there’s lots of slightly better mediocre anime to watch. Thanks for reading my Tokyo ESP reviews all!

Wonder powers activate!
One last time -- Wonder powers activate!

5/10 story
4/10 animation
6/10 sound
3/10 characters
4/10 overall
ffcfran's avatar
May 29, 2016

Rinka sees a penguin flying in the sky towards the Tokyo Sky Tree. She chases after it only to find fish swimming in the air. (yes it sounds crazya nd yes it happens) One of the fish goes through Rinka and causes her to pass out. She wakes up to find that she has developed the ability to slip through solid objects. theres also someone that can read the emotions in an object, someone that can read minds, someone that can see into the future and so on. all these espers (the magically inclined) are not all on the same side. some want to just hide their powers and live on as normal people, some want to become heroes, and some want to use their powers to take over the world (theres always one isnt there). Rinka starts out falling under the first category but ends up being pushed into the second. her and others like her band together to stop the attacks from the a-holes who want world domination. the anime ends before the worst has come but the battles are still epic. the begining has a bit of a slow start but stick with it and you wont regret it.

9/10 story
8/10 animation
8/10 sound
10/10 characters
8/10 overall
Kennyle98445's avatar
Oct 31, 2015

The only good thing about this anime that ive seen so far is the sound and the animation. Character development so far is very cringy because of all of the little things they just pass off as something un needed. And the story is so bad and does not seem to be compatible to what the animation has for it. When kyotaro got his hand stabbed by the sword, couldn't he have teleported out of it? He has teleported with things in contact with him before. I dont see the difference between having an object inside you making you unable to use your teleport power. I do like the music in it though, its not too bad. But everything else is like half-assed for emphasis on "always try your best" even though they are definitely missing a lot of important details 

4/10 story
7/10 animation
7/10 sound
3/10 characters
4/10 overall
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tollie01's avatar
Jan 26, 2020

First some items I need to adress. I'm Dutch to expect some spelling errors, if they are to annoying just message me and I'll fix it.

My opinion may vary from others and this is fine. People are different so there is a good chance that I will not like what you love. Deal with it. I'm not telling you that you should hate it too, I'm telling you why I didn't like it.

I'll try to keep swearing to a minimum but fail utterly on occasion. In general it is the more the anime pisses me off the more I swear so watch out for the low scored ones.

Art: As for normal these days this anime relies heavily on CGI and it shows more in some scenes than in others. I;ve stated many times that I'm not a fan of CGI or rather I do not mind CGI when it is used to enhance what is there. In terms of looks this is fine, I've seen better and I've seen worse.

Sound: Can't remember any of the songs and that is how I prefer it. Voice acting was good so no real complaints there either.

Characters: The main character is Rinka. She is a student who lives alone with her father, a former police officer, trying very hard to make ends meet. She learned martial arts from her father and has a strong sense of justice.

Azuma goes to school with Rinka and has a bit of a crush on her due to some event in his past where she saved him from some bullies. His wish is to become a champion for justice.

Story. On her way to school a down on her luck Rinka, desperate for cash, spots a flying penguin.Thinking her luck has changed she chases after it so that she can make a lot of money of it. It is then that she spots the flying fish and one of them flies into her. Next she knows she has the power to phase through any non-living matter at will. She is helped by Azuma, a boy from her school, who was with her when the fish happened to go into her and he explains that she now has powers. He has the power to teleport and wishes to use his powers for justice and their help will be needed sooner rather than later. While he wishes to use his powers for good, many others use it for personal gain or are simply to dangerous to remain at large. Then there is the question of the flying fish and where they came from and why only some people can see them.

Rant. This is one of the rare cases where I own the both the manga and the anime. I had the manga first though and quite liked it so when I realised that this was based on that, I bought the anime. It sucked.

Whenever I find myself in situations like this, I try to keep and open mind and not compare the 2 media. I found this impossible to do here as I really disliked the anime and I couldn't figure out why. So I went back to the manga and read it again to compare. To my surprise the anime is extremely loyal to the manga and only small changes were made but oh what a difference those changes made.

First off: The anime only covers the first 3 volumes of the manga and there are 8 volumes. This is not a problem as the first 3 volumes are a fairly well contained arc that sets up events for the remaining 5 volumes. As mentioned the anime pretty closely follows the events of the manga. In fact the first volume is copied almost word for word. The problems start later and mainly has effect on the character of Rinka, which is a problem as she is the main character.

First problem is the start of the anime as it doesn't start at the beginning but the end. Yes, this is one of those anime that decides that linear story telling is stupid and the best place to start a story is at the end, thereby destroying any possible tension as you know where which characters end up and in what condition. SKIP EPISODE 1!!

Episode 2 is where the story begins properly and here we run into our first minor change. Rinka drops through her apartment floor naked and lands on her neighbours table. This also happens in the manga but there she isn't naked but wearing her underwear. 2 things are possible here. The first is that the manga I have is censored for US release, as I do have a US copy, or the anime wanted to start early with the fan service. Either way, her being naked serves no purpose and doesn't come up again at any point in both the manga or anime.

Second issue I had is with the name she is given: White Girl. This is given to het because she is blond. In the anime her hair changes to white when she uses her powers but in the manga her hair is white because that is her natural colour. In the anime her fathers' hair also turns white when he uses his power but NONE of the other ESP users show this side effect. While minor it is a completely useless addition to the anime.

The character of Rinka is utterly butchered in the anime. In both the manga and the anime she eventually fights because she either can't stand by and watch or she is pulled in against her will. In the manga she kicks all sorts of ass and only loses when she is caught by surprise, outclassed or badly outnumbered. In the anime she wins a couple of fights but spends most of her time eating dust. This is a bit of the problem when literally EVERYONE in the city is crying out that only she can save them.

The relationship between Rinka and Azuma is non existent in the anime. Again a change that I didn't understand is the relationship between Azuma and Rinka. In the manga their relationship grows over time and they even go on a date at one point. This date, and subsequent progression of their relationship, is not in the anime because they decided that what the story needed was a kidnapping.

Azuma has a connection to the main bad guy and his daughter in particular. In fact he was adopted by them so she is his stepsister. This becomes known fairly early in both the anime and the manga. So instead of developing the relationship between Azuma and Rinke they went for Minami and Azuma instead. So midway the anime we get a kidnapping of Azuma and he basically disappears from the story at that point.

Funny part is that it is pointless as Minami just lets him go at one point only to kidnap him AGAIN shortly after. This second kidnapping is from the manga and there it has a lot bigger impact because there they had gone on that date and you know they cared for each other.

All in all this anime is a waste of time for all involved. If you ever find yourself faced with a choice on which version to get: Go for the manga. As mentioned the first 3 volumes are a fairly closed arc with some setup for future volumes but it is leagues better than the anime

3/10 story
3/10 animation
5/10 sound
1/10 characters
3/10 overall
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