Zettai Karen Children: The Unlimited- Hyoubu Kyousuke is a shounen anime based on a manga by Shiina Takashi. The studio behind this adaptation of the series was handled by Manglobe, the studio behind Deadman’s Wonderland, Samurai Champloo and Ergo Proxy, along with a bunch of things I haven’t seen. I have no idea what to expect from this one. I’d describe that as intriguing, but the last time I expressed excitement at watching something completely unfamiliar I ended up watching Cheesesteak Suppository and I don’t want to end up in for a disappointment again. So let’s just take a look without any expectations, positive or negative.
The story of Zettai Karen Children: Unlimited, henceforth referred to in this review as ZKC:U for the sake of brevity, opens with a silver-haired character named Hyoubu Kyousuke using ESP to wreck everything before allowing himself to be captured. He’s taken to a prison camp for espers where he meets up with a young man named Hinomiya. The two start bonding and Hyoubu gives Hinomiya some of his food, which happens to be poisoned. Consequently, Hinomiya is taken to another facility. Hyoubu follows and the two escape along with a captured girl known as Yuugiri. Hyoubu offers Hinomiya a position in his organisation, P.A.N.D.R.A, which is accepted. But Hinomiya has a secret which could threaten Hyoubu and his organisation. The story mainly focuses on Hyoubu, his organisation and their goals. There are some things it does well and some it doesn’t. Let’s start with the latter. The pacing in this is pretty bad. they put some flashback episodes that don’t serve much purpose directly in the middle of the series, which interrupts the much more interesting action that’s going on in the story’s present and leaves less time to flesh out the ending. As a result the ending ends up rushed and kind of weak. On the positive side, the world they create is pretty interesting and the story is mostly effective. With everything aside from the flashbacks following a logical progression.
The characters in this, with the exceptions of Hyoubu and Hinomiya, aren’t particularly well developed. Most characters tend to get either really obvious arcs or be archetypal characters without much to set them apart. That being said, the character interactions are really well done. Hyoubu and Hinomiya are also really interesting characters. Although Hyoubu has some moments that make him seem kind of creepy and make you wonder if he likes little girls in an inappropriate way. Particularly during his dealings with Kaoru. To ZKC:U’s credit, it’s vague enough that that may or may not be what’s going on, but you should never have valid reasons to suspect that your protagonist is a pedophile when they’re portrayed in a generally sympathetic way.
The art in this is pretty impressive. The character designs look good. The effects when certain espers use their powers are pretty flashy but they never cross into the realm of the ridiculous. The action sequences are, mostly, well done. With the exception of one in particular that happens later on in the series and features antagonists with worse aim than the Stormtroopers in Star Wars. That one just comes across as kind of stupid.
The voice acting in this is pretty well done. Suwabe Junichi, Yusa Kouji, and Hirano Aya in particular. The one real weakness is Touyama Nao, who doesn’t have any depth of emotion. Although, to be fair, her character is supposed to be emotionally stunted so it’s a case where that type of performance may not be impressive or deep but it’s functional. The music is quite good.
The yuri factor is a 1/10. This has no yuri.
My final rating for ZKC:U is going to be a 6.4/10. It has some really interesting elements, but Hyoubu’s semi-creepy scenes and the pacing do make it quite a bit less enjoyable than it could have been. With all things considered, it’s still a decent series but not quite good. Next week I’ll look at Gunslinger Girl: il Teatrino