Zettai Karen Children - Reviews

Alt title: Psychic Squad

Zettai Karen Children
Deago's avatar
Jun 18, 2023

Psychic Squad, also known as Zettai Karen Children in Japan, is one of the long manga series in terms of volume count. Lengthy manga series can be daunting to read for obvious reasons, such as time constraints. However, one of the positive aspects of Psychic Squad is that the manga is clear and explicit about its nature right from the start. It heavily caters to fans of action and superpower genres and can arguably also be considered a magical girl manga that draws inspiration from the famous American cartoon, The Powerpuff Girls. Despite its positive reception and large cult following, the manga falls short in several areas and fails to provide a satisfying reading experience due to a lacklustre plot, uninspired artwork, and weak characterisation that does not justify its long run.

The plot of the manga is very simple, it revolves around three young girls with supernatural abilities who are recruited by a government agency called 'B.A.B.E.L.' to fight against other people with superhuman abilities. The story takes place in an urban setting where people with extraordinary abilities, known as 'espers', coexist. The power system is explained (numerously) in the first volume, where the espers are classified into various 'power levels'. Level 7 is the highest level and denotes individuals with god-like abilities, such as the three main girls, so we know from beginning they are overpowered protagonists. Fortunately, each of the three girls, Kaoru, Aoi, and Shiho, as well as the antagonist, Kyousuke, possesses distinct abilities that distinguish them. Shiho has psychometry and can read memories, Kaoru can move objects psychokinetically and Aoi can teleport. Kyousuke, on the other hand, umm, has everything. Throughout the series, the girls are assigned different missions and must battle against people who have other superpower abilities, so you know from the start the manga is going for an episodic and arc-based format, which may not be to everyone's taste because works in this format tend to become repetitive. Psychic Squad attempted to address this issue, but unfortunately, it did so by introducing another problem; the manga relied heavily on incoherent randomness, which ultimately created its own set of issues. While it did introduce new ideas for arcs, they often felt disjointed and loosely connected. In fact, some arcs and episodes could easily be swapped without much impact on the overall story.

One of the main problems with the Psychic Squad is the lack of character development; despite what appears to be a gradual maturation of characters into sexier beings with sporadic time jumps, except for their chests, the characters are still flat, one-dimensional, and lacking depth or complexity. Kyousuke and his band of psychic henchmen are presented as being overly powerful, which makes their victories seem undeserved and unimpressive. Furthermore, their motivations and backstories are poorly developed, which makes it challenging to empathise with their struggles or support their achievements. Their personalities are poorly defined beneath the surface, and their interactions with one another frequently feel forced and unnatural. The manga fails to provide a compelling reason for readers to care about these characters, making them difficult to emotionally connect with. Some may argue that emotional investment occurs naturally over time as readers become acquainted with the characters, even if they retain their initial personalities. This could, however, be a false effect caused by nostalgia or simply becoming accustomed to the same old characters after enduring such a ridiculously long manga. Reading it all at once can be an agonising experience.

The plot suffers as well, with poorly executed storylines that feel random, disjointed, and occasionally confusing. The manga always seems to try to force action with supernatural elements, but it never manages to create a coherent narrative. The pacing is inconsistent, with slow, meandering chapters followed by sudden, rushed plot developments that lack proper build-up, particularly the ending, which felt like it could have happened at any time because the build-up began near the end anyway. The overarching plot is poorly defined; it has an aim, but lacks direction. One could argue that it's purely for comedy, but the manga's attempts at weaving in elements of humour often fall flat, not to mentioned it got worse later on; I enjoyed the comedy about the young girls' innocence, who, despite their exceptional esper skills, are simply easily manipulated children who do idiotic things, but as the characters get older, this type of comedy begins to lose its meaning. Overall, the story arcs lack cohesion and direction, creating a sense of aimlessness in some arcs. It often feels as though the story is being made up as it goes along.

The artwork is another area of concern. While the manga has some visually stunning panels, the overall quality is inconsistent. Characters are often drawn in awkward, inhuman poses, and their facial expressions sometimes don't match the contextual atmosphere, which can be distracting and takes away from the overall reading experience. Additionally, the background art is often sparse and uninspired, with even the art in spreads lacking creativity and filled mostly with empty white backgrounds. This adds to the overall feeling of a lack of effort and attention to detail in the art.

Let us now address the elephant in the room; the paedophilic fanservice:
With shameless panty shots being the least form of sexualisation, the manga features a significant amount of fanservice, particularly in the form of sexualised depictions of the three underage protagonists. The manga's portrayal of female characters is demeaning and disrespctful; the female characters are often objectified and portrayed in a sexualised manner, with their bodies being the focus of many panels, with Kaoru constantly acting like a horny bisexual pervert, and it did not help that Kyousuke was acting like an obsessed lolicon chasing after Kaoru. It does not stop there, because Minamoto is portrayed as a father figure to the young girls, but you can not ignore the obvious age gap romantic subtext. Sure, the girls get a little older towards the end of the manga, but the romance is still unsettling, and it felt like child grooming even if it was not intentional.

Overall, Psychic Squad falls short of its potential and is a complete waste of time. Character development is lacking, the plot is random and perplexing, the artwork is often below average and is inconsistent, and the occasional fanservice makes you lose respect to the work unless you were a horny lolicon who likes softporn in their plot, I gave up my time reading this garbage to tell you that if you want a well-crafted and engaging story, you should avoid this manga.

< Manga vs Anime >
The anime skips a lot of the useless chapters, making it more streamlined, but slower paced. It also has less of the overt sexualisation and fanservice that is present in the manga, although it still has plenty of it. However, I appreciate that the anime includes original comedic scenes and is often better at delivering punchlines than the manga.

For instance, in chapter 46 of the manga, the three powerful girls were manipulated and convinced that injuring themselves would make their love interest, Minamoto, realise his feelings for them. The manga ends abruptly with the girls getting caught red-handed throwing tomato sauce and faking a knife stab. In contrast, the anime actually shows the girls putting the fake blood and preparing the knife before being caught. This highlights the exaggerated nature of the situation and the extent of how far they went in fabricating the injury.

Overall, I don't recommend either version. However, if you are interested in the plot and a more complete picture of the story, I would recommend reading the manga. On the other hand, if you're looking for a Powerpuff Girls with Japanese twists and flavours, the anime might be enjoyable, because it doesn't delve into the later serious parts of the plot, and I have noticed that it skips some early tragic chapters. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and what you're looking for in the work.

0.6/10 story
3.3/10 art
1.1/10 characters
0.1/10 overall
NateDrago's avatar
Sep 3, 2013

Zettai Karen Children starts off..... interesting... 


If you haven't read this series before your villain senses should be tingling. Which is quite funny since the main conflict of this series is Kaoru aka the Queen of Catastrophe whose a level 7 Psychokinesis along with her friends Aoi a level 7 Teleporter and Shiho a level 7 Psychometry deciding to side with the humans or espers. Espers are advance human being who develop powers such as Psychokinesis (moving objects) , Psychometry (Reading minds) (which is the best power ever by the way), and Teleportation .B.A.B.E.L "the good guys" wants The Children (Kaoru, Aoi, and Shiho) to side with the human while P.A.N.D.R.A "the bad guys" wants Kaoru to side with Esper so the Esper can take over. The reason why I put good guys and bad guys in quotes is because I mostly agree with Pandra view. Espers are treated horribly in the world of Zettai Karen Children, it's not their fault they have all these cool, useful abilities. They should get more respect.  In my eyes ZKC is the weird love child of the Powerpuff girls and the X-men in a way.


I'm not really a big art judge however this series has some okay artwork. Nothing that could be worth hanging up in a museum or anything but it's okay.  


This one is a hard one for since this series has 2 parts. The 1st part of the series the trio are 10 year old and other half the trio are 13. In the 1st part, I love the way Minamoto who is a member of Babel and the leader/ guardian of the Children deal with them. At points of the series I felt that I was getting parenting advices of all thing from this series which is a huge plus. However when they turn 13 everything goes down the drain because Kaoru and her friends are now they have teen girl problems which is boring as crap in my opinion because it makes them kind of  unrelatable. To make it worse, Kaoru has a crush on Minamoto who is 23. Normally, I approve of love in all kind but that’s her guardian! However what makes the characters so great is one character who redeems them all. Hyoubu Kyousuke, the leader of Pandra. He singling the most likable character I seen in a long time. Sure you might hate him at 1st because he hates all “normals” but once you understand his backstory it will all make sense. I could write a whole review on what makes Hyoubu Kyousuke so great but if you really want to find out read the series.


I say check this series out especially the 1st half of it. It might surprise you with it’s comedy, (it got me laughing a few times) and will make you stay for it’s rich characters.

8/10 story
6/10 art
8.5/10 characters
7.5/10 overall
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