- Psychic Academy
Shiomi Ai has been enrolled in the Psychic Academy - a high school where
users of a mysterious force named "Aura" are trained in how the
channel their powers. Unfortunately, Ai's power is practically undetectable,
and he's not even sure why he's following in his brother's footsteps. To make
things worse, he's caught in a love triangle between his childhood friend
Orina and the tomboyish Myuu. And even worse, he's supposed to defend himself
from random psychic battles.
This series is noted for being one of the first anime to be released
straight to the Internet. However, like the "pioneering" OAV Dallos
before it (and a legion of Western web comics in the current age), Psychic
Academy Aura Banshou is an unpolished series that tries to succeed by
executing a "tried-and-true" formula in a "fresh",
"hip" (and network executive-free) format.
Let's see how well they're doing. Hmm, we can start with the premise:
super-powered psychics going to high school. What a terribly original concept!
Pneumatically inflated girls ... loser lead ... and they even tried the whole
Harry Potter look with the boy's uniforms. Yeah. Some real creative genius in
this series, to be sure.
Okay, now we've established that this is a been-there-done-that series of
the worst sort, but beyond the obvious rehashes, there are other reasons why
this really isn't anything extraordinary.
For starters, we've got the seemingly New Standard episode length of ten
minutes, which is frustratingly short and gives little time to set a proper
story before the end credits run. Blink and you miss it, rather like most
rural Arizona towns. It's that inconsequential. Granted, it's not a festering,
steaming pile of crap like Rizelmine, for which we should all be grateful.
What this series does offer is some rather generic fighting action, an
obvious fixation with the female characters' breasts (which would be amusing
if it weren't so painfully contrived).
There is one bright spot, though: the main character's mentor. Imagine the
coach from Rocky, crusty, abrasive, and hard-bitten- then put him into the
body of a psychic rabbit named Buu. No, seriously. If anything, that character
alone lifts this otherwise stale series out of the Gowcaizer trash heap and
into the realm of enjoyable cheese.
Another nice thing they're going for in this series is that, while the
whole love triangle cliché has been done to death, Ai, Orina, and Myuu are at
least on this side of likable, and it's actually nice seeing characters who
*aren't* able to use their super powers without so much as breaking a sweat
like in too many other series. I severely doubt the writers broke a sweat
creating the plot for this series, either.
Unfortunately, the actual animation isn't very well done, and the music is
either bad enough or unremarkable enough for me to have stricken it from my
memory - I'm not quite sure.
Now we'll have to wait and see whether this thing actually grows a story,
because the later episodes that we've viewed seem to point in the general
direction of "we don't want to suck". If you're feeling charitable,
you can give them the points for trying. Besides, it's a nice little
time-waster of an anime -- not that ten minutes per episode is much time to
waste in the first place.