I bet you’ve never heard of this movie before. If you have, well, I lose 🙁
Honestly though, Psychic School Wars (Nerawareta Gakuen) flew way below my radar when it came out. Granted it’s a full-length movie so (1) even if it had its initial screening during Fall 2012 in Japan, we still had to wait for the physical release and (2) anime movies nowadays don’t really get that much advertising as supposed to new season shows. Even worse is they get buried by highly anticipated movies from already established sources (take Garden of Words, or Wolf Children, for example).
That aside this really is a relatively new feature and it definitely shows. The visuals are fairly vibrant and are a real treat for the eyes. A nice cherry on top of that is the nice fluid movement of the characters. I’m no expert, but I’d assume that the way Sunrise (yeah, Sunrise did this one) animated every movement; from simple walking to mid-air pirouettes, was amusingly overdone and overall refreshing to see. Also, the always-loved supercell and up-and-coming seiyuu/singer Watanabe Mayu offer their respective talents for the movie’s opening and ending credits. Not much to say about that, other than the fact that the new supercell (with Kaede) is really growing on me.
Now, as much as I would have loved to review Psychic School Wars, I decided to simply feature it as a Quick Look. The reasoning behind that being I’d probably end up steering away the already few people stumbling upon it by even trying to explain what this movie is about – which is really the opposite of what I want to do here. With a title like Psychic School Wars you’d think it’s as straightforward as it gets. But, well, I see no harm in telling you that although there is Psychic and School in this movie, there’re simply no Wars.
If anything, Psychic School Wars is a sci-fi/romance story. That about ends the misleading-ness as far as the title is concerned. Why Sunrise even chose such a random title is beyond me. I mean, nerawareta gakuen, is literally “school in [my] sights” or “targeted school”, which, makes more sense given what the movie is about, so I dunno. In their defense though, a movie called “Psychic School Wars” can attract a lot of attention (maybe even you who’s reading this at this very moment :D)
So yeah, going back I’ll talk a little about what we do have in this movie; psychics and a school (again, sci-fi and romance). The plot revolves around Seki Kenji, Harukawa Kahori, and Suzuura Natsuki, whose individuals lives become interwoven with the arrival Kyougoku Ryouichi – an esper covertly manipulating people through though communication while trying to find possible candidates for receiving psychic powers themselves. The unaffected Seki now must find out why he is dong this, and for what purpose, while dealing with a (fairly common) love square situation between the four of them.
On paper the story looks like it’s been done (or at least mix-and-matched) a few times already, but Psychic School Wars takes that paper and draws on its backside like an imaginative school boy channeling Shirodaira Kyou (author of Zetsuen no Tempest and Spiral – Bond of Reasoning). Obscure analogy aside, what I mean is, this story is far from conventional and really blindsides you at times if you’re not prepared. Trust me, most of the times you won’t be. Think of it as part of the fun.
Give it a try. I mean, I’ll go ahead and say it’s not spectacular or anything, but it’s something that I think deserves an audience. At the very least, I personally would watch it a second time.