Psychic Academy revisited

This girl, who is a minor character, may be the voice of the creator in this anime.

While copying my anime to the hard disks, I took the opportunity to view once more one of my old favorites, Psychic Academy Aura Banshou. Actually I took a peek at several of my old favorites, but most of them were not as good as I remembered them.  I guess I was not spoiled with high quality graphics in the past.

That said, although the screen resolution is less than awesome, the art in Psychic Academy is actually quite good, but slightly exaggerated. As it should be, because the Psychic Academy is basically a high school for superheroes.

Well, “heroes” may be slightly misleading.  While Japanese does have a concept of extraordinary powers (magical, psychic, mutant or even feats of martial arts are all described as “abilities” and treated much the same), there is less focus on combat between good and evil power users, although it is not unheard of. Mostly though people with abilities are supposed to learn to use them for the good of society in a more or less official setting.

Psychic Academy is tentatively classified as a romantic comedy. It is not extremely funny though, unless you think a running gag of unintentional breast grabbing is the heights of hilarity. There is also more bathing than one would expect, although I am sure that is a lot of time by western standards.  (Japanese are extremely sensitive to body odor.) Generally, your grandmother will probably not want to watch this movie with you. That said, this is merely their attempt at comedy. The real point of the story is the character development and the romantic feelings of the main characters, in particular the boy Ai.  (Conveniently, this is also the Japanese word for “love”. That should give a big clue right from the start.)

Ai is transferred to the Psychic Academy when a blood test reveals that he has powers, although it is not yet clear what they are.  Since his brother is one of the country’s most famous superheroes, everyone has great expectations from the start.  The exception is his childhood friend Orina, whom he has not seen for years.  They had a puppy love for each other back then, and both of them have conveniently nursed this feeling without getting distracted too much by anyone else, so that they click romantically pretty much on sight.  But it would be boring if it was that simple, right?

Enter Myuu (whose name basically means “mew”). A classmate of Ai, she has for some reason “100% aura compatibility” with him, even though her main aura power is fire and his is light.  (Well, it turns out to be light. It is unknown from the start.)  Also, he is born with his aura (although he cannot use it), but she has had her aura artificially awakened. Somehow two wrongs seem to have made one right, because they have this thing going on where they can sense each other’s presence through walls, and get glimpses of each other’s strong thoughts or emotions, and whenever they get close, there is a powerful resonance that makes their world jump in distortion. The resonance also makes it possible for Ai to use powers he has never used before, when Myuu is near.

The intensity of their experiences when they resonate make the both of them feel that the other is special, of course.  While Myuu does not want to get in the way of Orina’s love, the two of them automatically gravitate toward each other.

The center of the story is Ai’s love conflict:  On one hand the long, gradual building of natural love between him and Orina; on the other hand, the sudden resonance between him and Myuu.  I am pretty sure a lot of people, both men and women, can identify with this.

In fact, it reminds me of something I wrote in one of my early journal entries, about two girls:  One of them makes my heart beat faster, one of them makes it beat more slowly.  The one may be what I want, but the other may be what I need.  (Theoretically speaking, of course.  Romance is not a completable project for me, and I have known that for some time.) Still, it is interesting to see it drawn up as clearly as this.

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