Saotome plans to change the future in which espers revolt by using a hypnotized Yuugiri to assassinate New York’s new pro-esper mayor, starting riots and causing anti-esper sentiment to spread. Hyoubu penetrate’s Saotome’s elaborate lattice of illusions to get through to Yuugiri and break her hypnosis. His use of Unlimited causes his power to go out of control, but Andy and Yuugiri won’t abandon him: Andy uses his eye to stop the power overload. Hyoubu tracks down Saotome and erases his memories. Andy sets off on his own, but is made an honorary member of PANDRA.
If this is the end, it isn’t such a bad one.
Whoa, there, Hyoubu: we’ll be the judge of that! The finale ends in New York City, pretty much the last place you want ESP bombs like Yuugiri or Hyoubu going off, unless it’s your intent to cause mayhem. Saotome has clung to life just as Hyoubu has so that he can change the future he saw. He thought the survival of humanity required the subjugation of espers. Not surprisingly, his ethos loses out, thanks to Hyoubu’s persistence and Andy’s magic eye. Everyone else sits this out, with only token scenes of farewell, but the focus on Hyoubu, Saotomne, Andy and Yuugiri was as good a place as any to end things.
To its credit, this series doesn’t go longer than the twelve promised episodes, and manages to bring everything to a satisfying close. Hyoubu is ready to finally give in to the grim reaper, but his family stops him. He lives on to realize a future of equal rights for espers. One could say the doomsday Saotome warned is still in the cards, but screw that old man; his alternative future that curbs the freedom of an entire people wasn’t a future worth saving. Maybe a revolt has to happen if equality is ever going to be a reality.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
- The BABEL chaps arrive right at the nick of time to save Andy from getting arrested. Good timing, right?
- If the Children want to be treated more like adults, maybe they should stop sleeping in the same bed, eh?
- We were surprised Kaoru didn’t really do anything here, but maybe they’ll make a spin-off show about the older her. Maybe!
Hyoubu and Andy locate Walsh, and make him show them the location of Yugiri. He leads them to the bowels of a USEI installation, but it’s a trap. Saotome tells them they have to “administer” espers in order to prevent Ihachigo’s prophecy of catastrophe led by Akashi Kaoru in the future. Hyoubu and Andy are able to escape as PANDRA members show up to help, but when they travel to New York, where they find a reprogramed Yugiri who defeats them one by one.
This week, Hyoubu reunites with PANDRA, Andy chooses a side, they learn that Saotome’s still alive (somehow), and the USEI’s plan for espers, manage to escape a maximum security military installation, and did we mention a pro-esper mayor is elected in New York? Yeah, that last one is kinda out of left field; apparently meant to be a hint that the foretold destruction of mankind will occur there. The idea is, that if given equal rights, espers will cause the apocalypse. Unfortunately, Hyoubu and Andy’s escape is downright ludicrous.
There’s a scene during their escape when all of their opponents helpfully stop firing for a very long time…for no reason. The mini-security drones are laughably inept, and the human commandos have abysmal aim. Combined with the routine twist of Yuugiri being re-programmed by USEI to attack espers and the convenient reappearance of PANDRA’s sub in the knick of time, this episode is a bit of a mess: more concerned with packing in as much plot and action as possible without regard to pace and plausibility. When the baddies are this stupid, it neutralizes the peril. Though we do like how Kaoru is prophesied to be the harbinger of doom.
Rating: 5 (Average)
Andy saves Hyoubu, and Fujiko saves the two of them. Andy is sent to BABEL, where a USEI tracking chip is removed from his skull. Hyoubu is brought to the Tsubomi Manor. The children gain Hyoubu’s location from a BABEl administrator, and Kaoru agrees to let Andy come along, and he confirms that Saotome Eiji hired him. Kaoru donates blood to Hyoubu, who escapes to find Eiji. Tsubomi and Kaoru let him go, and Andy joins him.
Hyoubu and Kaoru are both immensely powerful espers, who could accomplish a lot if they joined forces, just like if BABEL and PANDRA did the same. But that doesn’t ever seem likely, for one very important reason: while Kaoru is always looking towards a future, one in which espers and normals can coexist and thrive, Hyoubu is stuck in the past, devoted to making normals pay for their sins. And ne’r the twain shall meet, and all that. Kaoru faces endless possibilities; but Hyoubu claims to be trapped.
You can’t fault Kaoru for her wide-eyed dreamer optimism, but nor can we dismiss Hyoubu’s thirst for justice, let alone revenge. After all, the man he trusted most in the world shot him dead, and he only came back because he has unfinished business. As far as he’s concerned, he only lives to exact justice on Saotome Eiji and everyone else who wronged him. And yet, we can help but think part of him wants to correct the mistakes he himself has made, which got Yuugiri captured and put his PANDRA family in jeopardy.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
P.S. We enjoyed scenes with estranged siblings Fujiko and Hyoubu, even if the latter wasn’t interested in any kind of re-connection; we also dug the tense post-betrayal interactions between Hyoubu and Andy; as the episode is quite eager to point out, Hyoubu doesn’t take well to betrayal.
PANDRA’s next mission is to steal an ECM while in transit, but Andy decides it’s time to execute the mission the USEI assigned: to take the Catastrophe’s source of power: the brain of Ihachigo, a soldier who died in the war. The USEI instructs BABEL to distract PANDRA but not to deploy the Children. When Hyoubu smells a trap, he’s stopped by Kaoru (acting on her own), whom he defeats with his Unlimited ability. Andy races back to the Catastrophe, but Hyoubu is waiting for him.
Hyoubu appears to be near the end of his rope, and yet he still finds the theft of some random piece of technology to be worth his swiftly dwindling time. Still, the mission turns out to serve as a rather useful test for Andy, which he fails. Hyoubu knew he was an undercover agent all along, but maybe held out some hope that he’d come around, after seeing what a warm family PANDRA is. Andy is at least half-esper, after all, making him at least halfway on Hyoubu’s side…right?
Wrong. Andy’s on no one’s side. He joined the USEI so he could “be himself”, even if he still hasn’t grasped exactly who that is. While he sympathizes with Yuugiri and the other esper children and civilians, the hard truth is, Hyoubu wants to exterminate the normals. That’s genocide, and Andy won’t have a part in it, so he does his duty. Things go pretty smoothly at first, but he didn’t count on Hyoubu shaking off all of the diversions so soon, nor did he know Hyoubu was even on to him. Now he’s made his choice, and Hyoubu means to kill him for it.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
PANDRA is in Tokyo, repairing the ship and stocking up on supplies. While keeping an eye on Yuugiri in Asakusa Andy discovers Minamoto and Tsubomi are watching him. They know he’s an American spy. They want to arrest PANDRA en masse, and want his help in exchange for keeping his secret. The meeting is interrupted when Yuugiri comes afoul of policemen after helping a lost boy with her ESP. Andy arrives before things get out of hand. Meanwhile, on his birthday, Hyoubu sneaks into BABEL to perform medical scans, and learns that he’s “running out of time.”
A mass murderer and an esper savior…which is the true Hyoubu?
Can’t he be both? Hyoubu is a legitimate savior of espers, and they love him for it. When Momiji tells Andy the harrowing tale of how Hyoubu saved her from a certain, cruel death, you can’t help but sympathize with him and PANDRA. But normals despise espers, he despises them right back in kind, and isn’t going to lose any sleep if some normals have to die to save espers, or in service of revenge for their mistreatment. A “No Espers” sign, an ESP detector at fun park, and the normals’ reaction to Yuugiri serves as a stark reminders that distrust and resultant oppression of espers is rampant.
If an esper cannot be used as a tool or weapon for their own purposes, they are simply hunted down. Hyoubu is doing his part to create a world where espers don’t have to fear anything, but it’s obvious that his time is limited. BABEL is breathing down PANDRA’s neck, Andy’s cover is in danger of being blown (even if Hyoubu knows, it’s possible the others don’t), and his medical scans aren’t encouraging. Before returning to the ship for a surprise party that further illustrates his “children’s” devotion and esteem for him, the Major checks in on Kaoru, whom we’re reasonably confident he wants to replace him one day. That day may have to come sooner than he’d like.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
PANDRA travels to Japan where Hyoubu Kyousuke wishes to check on his “queen” Akashi Kaoru, one of the Children who work for BABEL. Minamoto sends her along with Nogami Aoi and Sannomiya Shiho to impound the Catastrophe and arrest all of PANDRA. Andy is stuck in the middle, but ultimately helps Hyoubu defeat BABEL. The Children use their Triple Boost ESP to control the Catastrophe, but Hyoubu counters with his Unlimited power, and PANDRA escapes.
We were just saying last week how we were bummed that so far Hyoubu and PANDRA were punching so far below their weight class. This week, our concerns are addressed, as they face off against their arch-rivals. We meet the Children from Zettai Karen Children for the first time, and they’re a force to behold. It’s almost scary how quick, efficient, and coordinated they are, which is good, because for once PANDRA actually has to break a sweat. If it weren’t for Hyoubu and Andy, they’d all be in Japanese prison.
Hyoubu wants to create a world where espers aren’t treated like second-class citizens. He’ll always put an esper above a “normal”. So in this regard, the espers of BABEL aren’t really his enemies, only misguided comrades to be converted. The one he’s most bent on converting is Akashi Kaoru, the most powerful of the Children and the one he wants sitting on the Throne as queen of the new world he wants to build. Of course, she and her two colleagues are still just kids (and sore losers to boot), so Hyoubu will do what all good antagonists do and bide his time.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)