Ten minutes. That’s roughly the amount of time it took for this series to roll its pilot episode prior to giving us the opening theme. That’s the amount of time people were introduced to the tone of this comedy series (despite what people might say otherwise). That’s the amount of time people had to make their first reaction; and you probably should watch the first ten minutes yourself before you decide to continue reading this review, if you haven’t watched this series before!
And yet, ten minutes is all I needed to fully invest my emotions into this series. For in just ten minutes, anyone who has ever related to sorrow, loneliness, rejection, or bullying had their hearts proverbially ripped out, only to have their emotions shattered by the events to come. Whether or not you think this series is good or bad, there is no doubting just how powerful ten minutes can be.
Kotoura-san brings us into the world of Haruka Kotoura, a petite high school girl who was born with extrasensory perception (ESP), allowing her to read minds. And while most stories tend to make this sound much cooler by principle, this series takes on a different perspective on this supernatural ability, as Kotoura-san is ostracized by friends and family, doctors can’t believe her power exists, and she is branded for a life of misery. Being different is great, but being different doesn’t mean life will be easy; it rarely ever is.
And perhaps the reason audiences all over reacted to the pilot episode so strongly wasn’t because this is a different perspective on one with ESP; on the contrary, they reacted strongly because this is a pain that every one of us carry, fear, or have experienced as regular human beings. Haruka may be different, but there is no doubt that there is something about her that everyone can relate to.
But let’s not be a downer about this for a second. Kotoura-san is a comedy anime after all. And when it comes to being funny, this show will play with your emotions by having depressingly emotional moments in one scene and stupidly perverted scenes in another. This is a lingering theme that happens a lot.
Throughout the series, one must wonder whether Haruka will manage to keep some new-found friends she has made in the most recent high school she was able to transfer to. The first episode makes her new environment seem grim, only to have a single classmate, Yoshihisa Manabe, literally shatter the world she once knew. But after one of the most depressing pilots I have ever seen, can she truly be happy now?
Lucky for her as well as for the series, Haruka is introduced to the ESP Research Society, whose main goal is to promote awareness for alleged psychic abilities. But deep within the foolery of this strange club is yet another development made by the club’s president, Yuriko Mifune, to redeem her mother.
SPOILER: the darkest part of this already-dark comedy series is probably a flashback scene of Yuriko, as she witnesses her mother hanging herself. You have been warned.
On top of all of the craziness that happens in this series, whatever that may be, is some very sentimental music to set ourselves in the mood of Haruka’s life. The score used for several scenes set almost immediate tears the moment I hear them now. And despite one of three ending themes that will likely make me cry just hearing it, the opening theme as well as two additional ending themes balance out the idea that this show is clearly not a drama.
My biggest problem with a show like this one, however, is that the ending felt rushed. On the other hand, it’s interesting to note that Haruka is given some closure for many of her original problems. At the beginning of the series, I often wondered to myself whether Haruka would be able to find true friends, as well as make up with the mother that disowned her. Perhaps before the series can answer that, one has to realize, as Haruka did, that her problems are not solely hers alone. In order to change her world, Haruka had to change her perspective.
And just like the emotions I had with this series, she changed so much from beginning to end!
Sometimes we change drastically, surprising those around us in the immediacy in response to dramatic changes in our own lives. But for Haruka, the change is slow and gradual; but that change is enough to make the biggest impact not only in her life, but in the lives of those around her.
But enough of the dramatic stuff about this series. It may have been a cry fest, but it’s got some pretty funny moments too. It is a comedy, after all.
So if you enjoy a good laugh and a good cry, or perhaps need an anime that will heal the heart, watch Kotoura-san. It may play with your emotions for far more than it should, but perhaps that is all part of the process for one to recognize the good changes to come.