In the thirties, a young Hyoubu Kyousuke moves from the mainland to Japan to live with his new adoptive father Baron Tsubomi and his daughter, Fujiko, who is an esper like him. Imperial Army Captain Saotome Eiji asks the children to join his special ESP unit, which mimics a similar Nazi program that makes use of espers for the accelerating war effort.
They join the unit and watch themselves be advertised in the newsreels as Japan’s newest weapon. The unit falls out of favor when Fujiko gets in an altercation with a policeman and naval officer. Rather than submit to standard military training, which will harm their powers, Eiji proposes a duel: the ESP unit versus the Navy’s new Mitsubishi Zero fighter plane.
As last week ended in something of a cliffhanger, and we’re in the middle of the season, now’s as good a time as any for more backstory on Hyoubu. Specifically, the show backs up many decades to when Hyoubu first meets Fujuko (and learn she’s his adoptive sister), to when he first gets involved with the military. It’s fun to watch this proto-PANDRA come to life. And like that later group, this is more of a family than a military unit.
We also like how one seemingly minor incident with the cop and naval officer gets blow into a situation where the entire unit is punished and the whole program threatened. It’s as if the military higher-ups were just waiting for an excuse to shut them down. Fortunately, the unit enjoys the support of Baron Tsubomi. But knowing how things turn out in the present day, the mood is bound to sour sometime in the next episode.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)