Posted on 20 December 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews, Telepathy Shoujo Ran


The latest NHK-series: Telepathy Shoujo Ran, a charming mystery shoujo series about the titular character who is blessed with the gift of telepathy, among others. With Yoshiiro Ike’s soundtrack, it features an adaptation of a set of children’s novels; it had the potential to be either a fun little series or a gigantic flop. Thankfully it became the former.

However, you do need to realize that you do not want to watch this series because of its mystery part. The different stories that are presented throughout the series aren’t exactly bad, but they don’t stand out either. They’re often cheesy, involve Ran&co mostly by coincidences or suffer from overmoralistic confession speeches. They’re just… there; in order to support what really makes this series stand out.

What really made me return to this series for every single week is the cast of characters, and then especially the banter that occurs between them. The four lead characters form an excellent team that’s always fun to watch. While this series is not strictly a comedy, there were enough hilarious moments between them, and this remains through the entire length of the series. Hardly any attempt at a joke falls flat. Overall, the point where this series excels at is in fleshing out its characters. Even when there’s no comedy, the creators and the lead characters manage to keep everything going along smoothly to prevent the viewer from getting bored.

The graphics in this series are also pretty decent. Even though there’s lots of epilepsy-inducing CG, characters move smooth and their facial expressions show a very wide range of subtle emotions. It makes use of very bright and varied colours, which makes for a very aesthetically pleasing series. Ike Yoshihiro’s soundtrack also brings this series to life, even though it may not be among his best works.

Overall, expect anything from the story here and you will be disappointed, but nevertheless this series managed to achieve what it set out to do: despite the storylines that usually fail to capture, it’s a continuously fun series from beginning to end. Ran, Rui, Rin and Midori are a set of wonderful characters, with especially wonderful banter between them.

Storytelling: 7/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 8/10
Posted on with categories: Telepathy Shoujo Ran



Short Synopsis: Ran and Midori use the power of love to get rid of the fox deity (hey, what else did you expect? An “Everyone dies”-ending?)
Overall Enjoyment Value: 7/10 (Enjoyable)
Ah crap. Of course, I should have noticed. That’s one major headdesk moment. Remember the episode where Midori met the old lady who was abandoned by her grandchild who turned out to have powers? Yeah. That child turned out to be the evil teacher. Duh.

In any case, it does turn out that the creators decided to safe the story with the cheesiest ending for last. Ran literally managed to win with the power of friendship, turning everyone from animals back into humans. This episode definitely was one of the cheesiest of the series yet, so I’m not going to talk about the storyline.

What I do want to praise in this episode are the visuals. The animation wasn’t exceptional, but nonetheless this was one pretty episode with lots of subtle touches and nice ideas. That floated-city-scenery for example: it was really nice to look at, with an excellent use of CG for the water. The growing tree also looked really nicely.

And I’m also really impressed that the creators managed to get away with actual blood on an NHK-series, even though a bite by a real army of tigers is going to be a bit more severe than just a simple cut. What I especially liked is that the blood here actually looks like blood. I swear, there are just too many anime that stuff their characters with galleons of ketchup.

Overall, I really don’t often blog fun shoujo series like this one. It’s not because I hate the genre, but with these kinds of series it’s very hard to guess whether or not they can remain fresh for their entire airtime (something which Shugo Chara showed me the hard way). With Telepathy Shoujo Ran, I decided to give it a whirl, though. What especially attracted me in the beginning was the colourful characters, and the amount of attention that was put in the slice of life scenes. Always good to flesh out your characters, and indeed: the characters never turned boring. Okay, so the stories for the different episodes were just too cheesy for their own good, the real fun of this series comes from the excellent chemistry between Ran and Midori. For that I’m glad to have watched and blogged this series.

Posted on 19 December 2008 with categories: Telepathy Shoujo Ran



Short Synopsis: All over town, people are turning into animals.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 7,5/10 (Good)
Ah, of course. Finally we understand what was up with the dog and the lighter in the very first episode: it foreshadowed the very final arc. Hehe, nice touch.

In any case, in the final arc of the series, the themes suddenly become environmental. As it turns out the whole arc was about a fox deity who is fed up with humankind ruining the world. It really fits as a children’s series, since children of Ran’s age are often interested in protecting the environment (albeit a bit too moralistic). This arc really doesn’t try to be anything deep: the whole backstory really is as simple as a deity who has gotten angry at humans for screwing up earth so much, period. The interesting things, as usual, were the things that happened around it.

Right now, I’m really curious whether the creators are going to be able to end this series correctly, especially because the inclusion of the evil teacher felt really forced here. I mean, what the heck was her point of appearing, rather than just confirming what the fox said? How did she know about the animals-thing in the first place? (Telepathy, okay, but that doesn’t explain why she found it a good idea to enter the lion’s den…)

Right now, it’s pretty obvious that everything is going to have a happy end: the animals are going to be turned back into humans, the fox deity will see the errors of her ways and the teacher will also become one of the good guys; it’s even more predictable than your average ending. What the next episode needs to do is provide lots of banter. Avoid the straightforward, and make the episode fun to watch despite the predictability. I know that this series can do it, but it all depends whether or not the creators will write themselves into a corner, trying to achieve the “perfect ending”.

Posted on 6 December 2008 with categories: Telepathy Shoujo Ran



Short Synopsis: Animals start acting strangely in Ran’s hometown.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 7,5/10 (Good)
Well, it’s finally time for this series’ finale, and as it turns out I was wrong about the amount of novel volumes: there are just eight of them, not nine. The final arc, if I’m not mistaken, comes from the third or fourth volume, which proves that the creators really grabbed themselves the opportunity to select the most appropriate story for the series’ finale.

And I must say that up till now, they’ve made a pretty good choice. After all, they could just as well have gotten with the… Snake Island Arc… Yeah, that would have been exciting. Anyway, this episode definitely served its purpose as introduction. As usual with the introduction-episodes to these arcs, nothing much exciting happened, and yet this episode in particular had something ominous: you know something really bad is about to happen, and this episode did a great job of building up that feeling. Especially those crows crashing into the window were… strange to say the least. And yeah, so what if it’s nowhere explained why this evil spirit has chosen this time and space to re-awaken. This series was never famous for its brilliant introductions. ^^;

And the end of the series had another advantage: the series was planned well, and so there’s lots of nice budget left for some solid animation for that final arc. Especially the scene following the pillow thrown at Rui showed that the animators had lots of fun animating it. This episode also brought Ran’s class to life a bit by its small attention to the new teacher and one of the random classmates. So overall I’m happy.

Please, let this series end with a good climax, instead of a downer.

Posted on 29 November 2008 with categories: Telepathy Shoujo Ran



Short Synopsis: Ran gets called by a wooden statue who turns out to contain the spirit of an ancient Japanese dude.
Highlights: What was up with these strange fantasies of Midori?
Overall Enjoyment Value: 7/10 (Enjoyable)
Well, so this was one of the more nonsensical stories of this series. From out of nowhere, Ran gets called in the library by a strange statue. This turns out to be the spirit of a guy who once left his war struck country in order to search for a princess fit to rule his country. The episode eventually ends with the past coming alive again, and the guy saving everyone by labelling Ran as said princess. So, yeah…

Still, the banter was as awesome as ever, so I’m not the one to complain here. For some reason, Midori’s sudden mood fluctuations whenever Rin gets mentioned remain hilarious. It was also nice to see some breaking of the fourth wall, when the spirit contacted Ran, and Midori went “oh, here we go again”.

It’s interesting how the creators decided to end the series with short stories, instead of two-episode arcs. I originally thought that the final four episodes of this series would be spent on the final two novel volumes, but it actually looks like the creators are going for an anime-original ending. Either that, or the series will end with a bunch of forest animals rampaging…

Posted on 22 November 2008 with categories: Telepathy Shoujo Ran



Short Synopsis: Ran&co go skiing during their holidays.
Highlights: Most natural storytelling of the entire series.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8,0/10 (Excellent)
It’s episodes like this that really make me ask the following question:

Why the heck didn’t the creators just ditch the original novels and went with their own direction? Seriously.

And don’t get me wrong, the novels are by no means not enjoyable, and admittedly they remain flawed. There’s simply no continuity or character development whatsoever; the novels were animated in a random order, and you wouldn’t suspect the difference unless you knew. The creators of the anime have a vision, though. They somehow made the lacking novel stories fun to watch until the end, and they seized every chance at filler to include some development so that at least Midori comes out as a complex character. On top of that, the fact remains that the banter between the characters is consistently at its best during the filler episodes. These guys know how to make an anime dammit!

This is why I don’t mind it at all when an anime simply ditches the story of its original source material and goes into a different direction. It only becomes a bad thing when the anime creators clearly aren’t up to the task (I’m looking at you, Romeo and Juliet), but that would have been the same if they decided to follow the original source material (I’m looking at you, Hatenkou Yuugi). What matters is whether or not the creators have a vision. Himitsu ~ The Revelation’s original stories were very capable ones for example, and the anime creators had enough inspiration for the manga’s unique premise, so they just decided to go with their own look at the story, resulting in two different views at the same subject in anime- and manga-form.

In any case, with this episode, the filler episodes for this series have unfortunately come to an end, since there are two novels left to be animated. What I hope is that the anime creators chose the order of the stories so, that the best ones would be saved for last, so that the series at least isn’t going to end with a bad taste.

About this episode, I really liked that this has been the episode that felt the most natural of all of the cases so far. Ran and the others don’t conveniently happen to run into a case. There was just one coincidence that felt a bit weird, but apart from that everything made sense: Ran and Midori actually went to the resort, searching for a local legend about a snow woman. The legend turns out to be wrong, it was the ghost of a fox that took the form of a little girl. The fox was attached to one particular person when it was still alive, and when it called out to it, Ran picked up the same waves, involving her with the story. They then use their powers to reunite the two, and act as a sort of medium between the two. As a result, the climax was rather quiet, but very sweet.

Posted on 16 November 2008 with categories: Telepathy Shoujo Ran



Short Synopsis: Ran and Midori meet a grumpy old grandmother.
Highlights: Awwwwwwwww
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8/10 (Excellent)
So yeah, the premise doesn’t sound the most exciting, but for a series where drama definitely isn’t one of the strong points, it pretty much surprised me in terms of impact it made. Episode 19 and 21 were really genuine development for Midori, and far away from the usual cheesy drama from this series. I must say that I really like the idea of having Midori meet someone with the same outlook as her parents: scared to death because their daughter had strange powers.

Okay, so what if Midori’s violin just appeared from out of nowhere, this was such an adorable episode either way. I’m really glad to see that the creators had no intention to leave the series without any of the characters sufficiently developed, as I started to fear a few months ago. After all, the characters have been fleshed out really nicely, and their problems established, so it’s good to see that the added bit of drama actually works for this series.

It’s actually a bloody shame: I know that there are two novels that still need to be animated, which are going to take up four episodes. That leaves just one episode that the creators can fill in on their own wishes, and there’s still so much left that they can stuff in there: a bit of development for Ran (ironic how the titular character receives less development than her co-star, isn’t it?), an episode dedicated to Rui, Midori’s parents. Ah well, if they’re going to have to choose one: go for Midori’s parents. They’ve been strange McGuffin’s so far, but we hardly know anything about them. What’s up with them right now? Are they still scared of Midori? It would be awesome to see Midori as she tries to talk to them again. That’s in any case something that really fits in with the development of the past episodes.

Posted on 8 November 2008 with categories: Telepathy Shoujo Ran



Short Synopsis: Rin gets a love-letter.
Highlights: Quite possibly one of the funniest episodes of the series yet.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8/10 (Excellent)
Okay, so this episode was just a standalone story, there was no real continuity and it didn’t really progress the series forth in anyway. That classifies as filler, doesn’t it?

Ah, who cares if it’s a filler! This episode was hilarious!

I think that the term “filler” has evolved into a bit too negative of a term. I mean, a bad filler is just as bad (if not worse) as a bad episode that does progress the story. I’ve also seen many episodes that were labelled as fillers that actually did progress the series a little bit (El Cazador’s episodes for example: are they fillers or not?). I mean, if the episodes are fun, interesting or well written, then who cares if it’s a filler or not? That’s why I rather dislike the use of this term.

In any case, I really loved this episode. It was all about Rin, and he really is awesome when he stands in the spotlights. Seeing this series lapse into self-parody in the second half was also really fun to watch, and there was plenty of hilarious banter throughout the episode. Overall, it’s an episode well spent and it pretty much eliminated my fears that this series would turn dull in its final quarter.

It’s just a shame that the creators wasted a lot of potential due to the format of this episode. It’s obvious that the love-letter was just a misunderstanding, because Rin getting a girlfriend wouldn’t exactly fit the rest of the concept. I’m not sure whether I should be glad or not that this series won’t introduce a love-triangle near the end, but it would have been interesting to see what this series could do with it.

And so, with only six episodes left, there’s one thing that I still really want to see here: an episode dedicated to Rui. It was pretty hilarious how he completely emerged from the background like a bloodhound as soon as the word “jiken” (case) got mentioned, but I want more: an episode where he can fully show off his character. Even the time with the other ran didn’t really give him the chance to give everything he had.

Posted on 1 November 2008 with categories: Telepathy Shoujo Ran



Short Synopsis: It’s back to one-episode arcs as this episode shows the local school-festival.
Highlights: Finally! Character-development!
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8/10 (Excellent)
Those of you who’ve been following my posts about this series (all three of you) may remember how for the past episodes, I’ve been whining about the lack of character-development. Well, I didn’t think that the creators were actually going to listen to me. Sure, the episode was a bit cheesy here and there, but there’s no way that I’m going to complain about this excellent episode. It ranks both amongst the best and most hilarious episodes of the series so far, and right now it tossed my fears about this series losing steam in its final quarter into the trash bin.

I’m really glad that the creators decided to use the extra time of this series on character-development, rather than providing even more random stories (after all, that’s what the regular arcs are for). I can now also see the point that the creators wanted to make with Midori’s bad youth. In this episode, she fully realizes how differently she grew up from Ran (the background on Ran’s parents was also really appreciated), but the creators also pretty much set this series apart nearly every other mahou shoujo-series, by making Ran’s parents find out about Ran’s and Midori’s powers.

One thing that I also find strange is that a school-festival episode is definitely nothing new, and yet that never stood in the hilarity of this episode. I mean, it feels like 75% of every series that’s set into a school somehow has a school-festival that looks suspiciously like the other, but I guess that the fun comes from the different ways in which the featured classmates decide to solve their problems, and the different tasks that are handed to each other, making them still a bit unique, when compared to for example pool- and hot-spring-episodes, where there aren’t many different situations you can put your characters in…

Ran and Midori’s class couldn’t decide between a cafe and a haunted house, so they decided to go for a haunted cafe (which later turned into a haunted Kansai-ben cafe, due to an inside-joke from Midori). Especially Midori’s Medusa-outfit was awesome. It’s also interesting how her character-designs change, depending on her mood: when we first met her, she had evil eyes, she then went to a neutral/sarcastic look, and in this episode, her eyes switched shape to allow for a better dramatic effect. I only have to wonder where the animators were at that point. It’s such a shame that the budget didn’t work in the series’ favour at that time, and especially the part in the middle of the episode sounded like it was rushed at the last minute.

So, while I usually like to blog less light-hearted series, with complex plots or intense storylines, it’s also fun to once in a while blog such a light-hearted series, especially if it knows what it is and doesn’t get dull in its second half (which is kind-of why I don’t blog a lot of them. It’s one thing to blog a bad series with a complex plot, but I can imagine that it’s going to be exceptionally painful to blog a bad comedy-series, where you’ll run out of things to rant about after only two episodes). I’m not going to say that after this episode, I’m glad to have blogged this series. I did the same with Macross Frontier, also around this point in the series, and it went downhill pretty much instantly afterwards, so instead I’m just going to enjoy the final quarter of this charming series. ^^;

Posted on 26 October 2008 with categories: Telepathy Shoujo Ran



Short Synopsis: Ran gets possessed by the snake spirits, and their role on the island gets revealed.
Highlights: Blood? In this series?
Overall Enjoyment Value: 7/10 (Enjoyable)
Okay, so after this we’re about to reach the final quarter of this series, and I really wonder if it can pull off a good finale (and what kind of finale ti has in mind in the first place): the next episodes are either going to make or break this series, because it’s going to have to come up with original material, and it’s a bit stupid to close off the series with stories of the same calibre as episodes 8 to 10.

I’m going to be happy if the final episodes can manage the same consistency as the rest of the series; for this sort of anime, that’s good enough, though I’m not sure yet if it has the potential to pull it off. The fact remains that the main characters of this series haven’t been developed that well, so far. The creators have made up for it by fleshing them out really well, and interesting dialogue, and the question remains whether they can keep this up for the final part of the series. But still, this episode at least showed the very first blush on Rui when Ran touched him. Let’s hope that that’s a sign of things to come. I’d love to see the two of them get closer together in the end.

This episode wasn’t among the highlights of this series, but that’s understandable. It didn’t really have to do with the writing: this was meant to be a simple story, which was mostly about its conclusion (and indeed, it was a great conclusion), and it neither had the expressive animation or outstanding soundtrack of its preceding arcs. It was never meant to be an outstanding arc, and so the producers didn’t treat it as one. It’s nice, but I do expect the next arc to make up for it. In any case, the series shouldn’t go any lower in terms of quality than what it is right now. If it manages to do that, then I’ll call this one a success.

Shoutbox

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  • Qate
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 08:13 PM)
    Hello..
    So if I have time to watch only one anime this season, what new (NEW) series do you guys recommend?
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 06:50 PM)
    Guess it’s just me then.
  • ninjarealist
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 05:40 PM)
    And with that post I have been magically removed from the shoutbox blacklist. Praise Ishtar! (knock on wood)
  • ninjarealist
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 05:38 PM)
    I can appreciate the fact that Ore no Twintails shoots from the hip. I think that’s the main reason it’s been such a surprise hit. Ore no Twintails makes no apologies and just single-mindedly pursues its absurd vision. Still, I have to agree with K-Off here, I found it to be more irritating than funny.
  • k-off
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 05:10 PM)
    @Aidan I’ll humor you, so I watched it. Honestly, I cannot count how many times I cringed. The main character is annoying as fuck and even with a “screw all” mindset, I wanted to straight up murder everyone in the show.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 04:51 PM)
    @K-Off, don’t put it like that. I find if you enter the sailor moon mindset of screw it lets just go with this (And it is basically a take the piss tokusatsu show)then it’s pretty entertaining. And genuinely funny at times.
    Alright you watch it with the screw logic mindset and see if I am just crazy or if it does have some sort of charm.
  • k-off
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 04:44 PM)
    @Aidan You have yourself a newfound fetish.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 04:27 PM)
    Man this Ore no Twintail show is ungodly stupid and silly as hell…yet strangely entertaining. Alright I give up, I can’t figure out why I like this. Let’s mark it guilty pleasure and move on.
  • Friend
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 08:15 AM)
    :-)
  • Friend
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 08:11 AM)
    @Bam I’ve sent you the rough sketch via Deviantart. Don’t expect too much, It’s only done to show the perspective and lighting.

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