Kotoura-san Episode 1 Review

Kotoura-san Episode 1 Review Cover

Title: Kotoura-san, 琴浦さん
Producers: AIC, CBC
Genres: Comedy, Romance, School
Duration: 23 min. per episode

A school love comedy. Kotoura Haruka is a 15-year-old girl who can read people’s minds. She has been suffering from troubles caused by her mind-reading ability, and her parents got divorced as a result. She moves to a new high school but tries to keep away from her classmates. Manabe Yoshihisa, one of her classmates, accepts and appreciates her ability and she begins to interact with her friends with his help.




Fansubs watched: Crunchyroll

Before I divulge into this anime, here is my thought process into watching this anime, it is rather important- to an extent. At first I was browsing the anime chart for the winter season and saw this anime called Kotoura-san. It looks kind of colourful and would be about some randomness at school, since the characters are in uniform. Go onto MAL when the new episode is out- since I forgot what I wanted to watch- and saw that it was indeed another show about romance, comedy and slice of life. Going in with expectations about it being a typical show for the season, and then finishing with a big WOW that was something. The entire episode exceeds and defies my expectations of the anime. It was very interesting and rather impressive. The reason why is, there’s tragedy and drama. This is something I usually don’t do but I think this episode deserves it: a long step by step recount of the introduction of the episode.

Kotoura-san Episode 1 Review Screen 1

The beginning of the episode is where all the surprises happen, and if you haven’t seen the episode yet and are reading this review for an impression, stop reading since pretty much all of my reviews have spoilers about the episode’s plot. The episode begins with a rather dark washed-up palette, and we see a bunch of school kids. We then pan down to see one child, who has orange hair and is far apart from any other children in a 10 metre radius. This orange hair girl has blank eyes, the ones you see in yandere girls. A flashback occurs to the girl’s birth and in her mother’s arms. The flashback continues to her more grown up and being asked what is for breakfast by her mother- noting that her room is rather large and colourful. We also get to know her name, Haruka. The next scene has her parents around the table, and the mother asks the father if he wants coffee, which he complies with. But the girl blurts out that the father prefers tea, much to their surprise in which the father asks how Haruka knew (some suspicion about Haruka as occurred to me). Then, it’s her in kindergarten where she plays Rock, Scissors, Paper and wins, with the other students stating that she always win, which solidifies my suspicion that she has some psychic power.

Over the next few years of school, she hangs out with her friends who then talk about boys they like and deny all enquires, like all normal children would. But as Haruka has psychic powers, she blatantly tells everyone their real thoughts. This causes people to hate her for spouting out the truth, in which many deny that truth. This causes the teacher to tell Haruka’s mother that Haruka has been compulsively lying, which causes her to take Haruka to check ups. They find out nothing is wrong and don’t want to participate in her meddling anymore, which stresses the mother into a drinking habit. The father doesn’t come home much but one day, when both are at home they discuss that they’re having plans for the evening. Which Haruka dismisses as them not telling the truth and blurts them out- about her parent’s true intentions of seeing other people. This causes a large distrust between them, but they ultimately blame Haruko. The mother eventually leaves her with her grandfather, and drops the worse thing a child could hear; “I wish I never gave birth to you.” This is all a tragic introduction, I mean it is not what I expect and it is all well executed.

Kotoura-san Episode 1 Review Screen 4

Since that flashback is over, Haruka transfers to a new school to escape all the madness, name callings and avoidances from her former friends. In this new school, no one knows her powers and everything may not seem so bleak. At the new school, she meets Manabe, who seems to find her ability cool and befriends her. Some shenanigans happen, ecchi thoughts to screw around with Haruka, and she saves his life. The first half of the episode is all tragedy and drama while the second half has a nice clean plate of comedy.

The first half of the episode is so unexpected but done so well- you can tell due to how much I wrote about it. Not only that, but it was emotional and really hits hard. It paints a gloomy picture and a pretty realistic picture, even without Haruka having those powers. It is probably the worst thing that could happen to her- having a mother state that she regrets her being born- and I thought the anime could be approaching something regarding suicide- but I think it’s too much of a tough topic to illustrate for the moment. So she pretty much loses everything, have to live by herself and no one cares about her or want to be friends with her. It is quite sombre and depressing to see such a young child go through this, but of course it’s a comedy, romance slice of life anime and turns around in the second half of the episode.

Kotoura-san Episode 1 Review Screen 2

Pretty much when Haruka meets Manabe, everything changes- you can tell by the fact that the gloomy and dark colours are shattered by the colourfulness. Then queue the super bright opening and things start moving up from there. The remainder of the episode is comical, with Manabe seeing like some sort of idiot. But he is the main character, though he does seem to break a couple norms. When he does discover Haurka’s ability, Manabe tests it, by no other way than by thinking seductive, horny thoughts of Haruka. Also, when they meet for the first time Manabe is thinking of some weird things, namely purple, naked men dancing around…yeah, that happens. Of course they develop a relationship since Manabe thinks that Haruka’s psychic powers are awesome rather than creepy- because children think that and are the worst. She eventually saves him from being run over by hearing the thoughts of a truck driver, which Manabe (the pervert now) gets a chance to go into her apartments. More funny shenanigans happen and they become best friends. Wow, a psychic becoming friends with a pervert.

Usually I write about the characters before the episode summary, but the latter takes more precedence in this case. Haruka has psychic powers (as stated over 3 times) and initially, in the flashback she is quite happy to be living a normal life. Then everyone begins to ditch her and she becomes depressed, which doesn’t really make a good character. But the chemistry between her and the pervert, is very amusing. Namely because of her powers and Manabe being some worthless pervert, they do get along pretty well. Maybe Manabe might rub off some of his cheerfulness onto Haruka’s personality. Regardless, the parents far kind of horrible. Of course, we need to take note the stuff they’re going through, but the mother just turns horrible. Initially, she is the typical mother that does everything for her daughter, but I guess she gave up and it was the final straw. She might be coming back, I think I spotted her during the opening. Other that those, no other character of significance appears, unless the grandfather does something in the future.

Kotoura-san Episode 1 Review Screen 5

Onto the animation, which is rather has a charm to it. For me, the character designs are quite intriguing as the eyes are pretty much the focal point of the design- as opposed to other anime? I don’t know- and those horrible moments in the beginning are done very well. The second half features a lot of bright colours, as does all the other presentations. The first half had a more washed out and dark tone to it, to emphasise the tragic story that unfolded. Back onto the designs, I’m not much of a big fan to the shapes of the heads, since it just seems odd to me. The backgrounds are all fine and so are some objects in the foreground. I guess Haruka is the only design I really enjoy, especially her bright orange hair.

This is probably the first anime this season I have seen that has both an opening and an ending for its first episode. The opening shows up in the middle of the anime to cut the line between tragic and comedy. The opening is all bright and colourful and filled with random chibis- not that I’m complaining. It’s also cute to see Haruka singing to the opening song, even if it isn’t her really singing. As for the song itself, it’s not the best since it’s all too happy and upbeat compared to what I was watching before, but after rewatching it, it seems to be somewhat catchy and lifts your spirits up a little. The whole opening is pretty much the most colourful thing here, except for OreShura’s opening that’s just colours having an orgasm. The ending is acutally quite beautiful, since it is a more melodic piece that plays into a more drama-ish anime. The song is beautiful as are the vocals. The animation of the ending has some kind blur, which makes it hard to screenshot, but adds to the effect of the song. So the ending is more of a drama-esque song while the opening is balls happy, a weird choice.

Kotoura-san Episode 1 Review Screen 3

And to sum up this weirdly compiled review, due to most of it reprising what happened in the first half of the anime. It exceeding mine and I guess everyone’s expectations from this anime, I mean at first glance anyone would think it would be a lovey dovey anime. But the first part hit hard with all the right moments. The second half is amusing, which I assume will be the tone for most of the anime. While everything else isn’t as spectacular, I will be continuing to watch this and hope that something as well executed as the first half of the episode will appear again. Dam, the first 10 minutes were good.