It’s ironic that only two premières this season have been exceptional, and Ohta Masahiko is directly connected to both of them.
OP: "Sonna Koto Ura no Mata Urabanashi Desho? (そんなこと裏のまた裏話でしょ？)" by Megumi Nakajima
Haruka Kotoura-san (the unsurprisingly excellent Kanemoto Hisako) whose ESP abilities have systematically estranged her from almost everyone in her life from the moment she was old enough to speak – ultimately including her parents.
increasingly desperate search for a way to “cure” her daughter (even extending to Buddhist exorcism) her mother finally abandons her to her Grandfather – the one person who hasn’t retreated from her ability – with the ultimate in motherly curses, “I should never have given birth to you.”
Manabe Yoshihisa (Fukishima Jun – please note that this is not Fukuyama Jun, thank goodness), a boy at the school Kotoura transfers to. If I were to pick one word to initially describe Manabe, it would be “transparent” – and this makes him a perfect match for Kotoura. Unlike all the others in her life, Manabe-kun actually says what he thinks – he’s even open about his ecchi thoughts and realistic about how they’re simply a part of his makeup – and thus, Kotoura-san isn’t a threat to him. Her ability is actually “cool” – and despite her efforts to push him away, he stubbornly refuses to be pushed – slowly breaking down her resistance with goofy humor and sheer persistence. It’s a really winning and likeable relationship, right from the very first moment – both these characters are well-crafted and identifiable, and already form a rock-solid core around which to build the series, which is going to include several other members of the ESP Club.
first looked into Manabe’s mind and saw no fear or revulsion there, and the dark world she inhabits shattered like a pane of glass – a perfect symbolic representation of what that meeting means to her. That may or may not be in the manga, I don’t know, but it was beautifully shot – and while this isn’t going to be a series that wows us with KyoAni or P.A .Works visuals, AIC has proved more than capable of delivering given the right source material. Ohta has brought some of his Mitsudomoe team with him, including character designer and animation director Ookuma Takaharu, and that may not be to everyone’s tastes, but I like that look (though it took some getting used to with Mitsudomoe). The chemistry between Kanemoto and Fukushima is excellent – he’s a relatively new voice in anime as far as major roles are concerned, and that’s welcome for its own sake, but the fact is that Fukushima-san delivers a likeable and amusing performance here. There’s just an awful lot to like in Kotoura-san, both in terms of the pedigree and the product on-screen. If the source material is as good as the premiere seems to indicate, this has a chance to be special.