Kotoura-san – 01

Kotoura Haruka was born with ESP, allowing her to read minds. But as she always blurted out what others were thinking, she became and object of loathing and inadvertently pushed away both her parents and everyone who ever met her. In the present she lives alone and transferred to a new school, but doesn’t escape the backlash of her powers. However, the boy seated next to her in class, Manabe Yoshihisa, reaches out to her, impressed that she can read minds. Haruka warns him to stay away or be hurt, but he rejects her notions and declares them friends.

We really liked this. The premise of this show is exceedingly easy to lay out: Girl who has struggled with her telepathy all her life finally meets someone who wants to be her friend anyway. And yet, we were surprised how deeply this show delved into her past turmoil, and how affecting it was. Like Muv-Luv did with Yui, this series wastes no time establishing just how fucked-up and horrible of a life Kotoura has had to endure thus far. The prologue gradually gets darker and darker (visually and dramatically) as Kotoura grows up and starts destroying everything around her, simply by being honest with people. It’s hard to watch, and we don’t mean that it a bad way – despite her utter lack of tact (she’s a kid, what do you want?), you can’t help but sympathize with her. Her telepathy is a curse, while everyone around her thinks she’s a monster.

Would her parents really so callously abandon her? Would absolutely everyone she meets up to high school (with the exception of her kindly grandfather) really find her so repellent  For the purposes of this series, yes and yes. The end of this episode marks the first bright spot in her life, like, ever, when someone, Manabe, finally reaches outto her. When she reads his mind, sometimes it’s dirty, but it’s never mean like everyone else. Her insistence that she stay away is well-grounded in what we’ve seen; she may not mean to do it, but she has ruined lives. At this point, she’s given up ever connecting with anyone, because she’s afraid she’ll just push them away and hurt them. But even before she uses her power to save Manabe’s life, he doesn’t consider her a monster or a curse. He considers her a new friend. We may have just found our dark horse of the Winter!


Rating: 8 (Great)

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