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.
The USEI launches a massive, multi-pronged attack, using UAVs to distract Hyoubu. Assault teams armed with ESP-nullifying ECM devices board the ship, but Patty stops them from getting to the children. The director, Andy’s boss, boards the Catastrophe and captures Yuugiri. Andy tries to stop him, and is shot, but the bullet is stopped by his necklace. Hyoubu manages to hold off the USEI barrage long enough for Magi, Yoh, and Momiji and Patty to transport the children to safety. Andy manages to jump off the Catastrophe as it explodes and sinks.
After two episodes that essentially spin off the spinoff by going back to Hyoubu’s tender youth, this week the present returns with unyielding force, and PANDRA is dealt a serious blow. Andy betrays his new family by de-cloaking the ship, opening it up to bombardment. Naturally, when he sees the USEI boarding the ship and hunting down espers, he objects (because he has a moral compass), but it’s out of his hands now; he served his role as puppet, and has to either watch the consequences unfold, or rebel. Watching the Catastrophe go down and the evacuees escaping by the skin of their teeth wraps up a shocking series of events.
It’s amazing how swiftly things go so very very badly for PANDRA. But most shocking is that even with his Unlimited power, Hyoubu can’t put a dent in the onslaught before him. It doesn’t help that he’s close to death, and has an attack right in the middle of battle. Now relieved of their floating haven, with their leader reeling and perhaps their most powerful child in enemy hands, tough times are ahead for PANDRA. It makes us wonder if their plight will lead to them allying with BABEL, who you can’t really call their nemesis at this point. It’s normal humans like Andy’s evil bigot boss who are the nemeses.
Rating: 8 (Great)
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 attends a summit in the Kingdom of Monarch, whose leader Princess Sophie is in favor of normal-esper coexistence. They cross paths with Minamoto and Sasaki of the BAse of Backing ESP Laboratory (BABEL). Sasaki steals a USB drive from Hyoubu that contains a video game, which unlocks state secrets when they beat it. Meanwhile, PANDRA kidnaps Sophie after Yugiri had a premonition about her assassination. Minamoto finds out that an anti-Esper member of the government arranged the assassination. PANDRA successfully foils his plans and he is arrested.
There’s comfort in easy wins, but not much excitement. Sometimes, you want the good guys (or in this case bad…ish guys) to be truly challenged; to have to put everything on the line and expend the maximum amount of energy and resources to achieve their goals. But that’s not yet the case, and part of it is because PANDRA and Hyoubu Kyousuke are so damned powerful, they more often than not make humans look pitiful, powerless, and silly. The number of humans who hate espers may outnumber those espers by quite a degree, but they can’t kill an esper with a thought.
So: easy wins. This is certainly one. The outcome was never in doubt; Princess Sophie wasn’t going to get assassinated. The trick was to get the assassin – the mastermind, if you can call him that – to reveal himself. To do so, Hyoubu arranged a clever set of lures, including the princess herself. But the time spent wandering the city with her and watching the BABEL guys play a video game, while fun, feel like padding, and the animation didn’t look particularly good this week. One redeeming quality: the princess was neither a high-pitched squirt nor spoiled bitch. She was an adult, and a very pleasant one.
Rating: 5 (Average)
Ousawa Akatsuki is returning to the normal world after a long stint as a “hero maverick” in another dimension, after having defeated the Demon King Garinth. He has brought with him the daughter of Garinth, Myuu, who he passes off as his long-lost little sister as they undergo preliminary exams at Babel, a school that helps Akaksuki and other victims of “Samon Syndrome” polish and control the powers they gained in the other dimension. The student council president, Hikami Kyouya, takes an interestin both, as a prophecy states Ousawa will rise to become “True Hero” and “Supreme King.”
The concept of ordinary people who are transported to other dimensions and take on the persona of epic heroes, only to return to earth with the same powers – is not a terrible one. Where this series really falls flat on its face is in the execution, right from the start. An initially interesting-looking chase scene at the beginning ends with the hero relieving all his attackers (all maids, natch) of their bras, instantly eliminating any and all dignity and solemnity. Har har.
Visually speaking, the character design is dull, and many scenes are over-saturated or washed out by light, obscuring faces and details. The choice to mention and show Myuu’s boobs – purely for the sake of mentioning and showing her boobs – leads us to predict that future episodes will expand on this topic…and like Akatsuki’s cocky playa attitude and his albino rival Kyouya’s evil grins, we see that getting old fast.
Rating: 4 (Fair) (dropped)