Zettai Karen Children: The Unlimited Hyoubu Kyousuke – 07

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Some people just look sweet and trustable. Then there’s this guy.

Gather round, whelps. Hyoubu is going to tell us the story of when he was young and had to walk uphill to school in blizzards every morning at 6am without any of the new-fangled technology us kids are spoiled with today. Err..not really though. Despite being an old man, he (thankfully) saves us the “when I was your age” version of the story and seamlessly explains his past piece by piece.

Part 1 of Hyoubu’s flashback was fairly entertaining, albeit a bit slow. Even the OP was completely grey like an old-fashioned movie lest we forget that Hyoubu isn’t presently a little boy with shorts a few sizes too small. I was expecting a very brief summary told by Hyoubu, but I’m really getting into the way things are done without present-time Hyoubu narrating everything wearily to Andy. This is a much more thorough look at what made Hyoubu who he is today, and the reasons for why he despises normals with every fibre of his being.

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There’s not a lot to say about this episode since it mostly just establishes things such as the military esper unit and the members within. Unlike Hyoubu’s current crew of colourful personalities, most of them seem either dull or irritating. Fujiko in particular is hard to take. Getting through scenes with her in them is like trying not to scream while shredding your ear off with a cheese grater. Stuck-up rich kids who want and expect the world to revolve around them piss me off to no end. Fujiko’s entire contribution in the episode consists of messing things up for people and being a little tyrant. It pains me to think that she will be sharing so much screentime in these flashbacks.

Little Hyoubu is much better than his “sister”. He doesn’t have the same presence as his present day self, but he’s sweet, good-natured, and not the least bit aggravating. You can already see some of his future strength present though. For one thing, his powers as an esper are already considerably above average. He also lost his father, yet he maintains a relatively cheery disposition. He dotes on his death by writing him letters and keeping an old memento of his, but it seems like a healthy amount of respect for the death. He’s not obsessing over his dad or cursing his misfortune all the time. He’s a good kid…but part of that is going to be irreparably broken when he’s betrayed. So although kiddie!Hyoubu shares a lot of resemblance with the current!Hyoubu, there is still a big difference in terms of their innocence.

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The big moment will be when we see the payoff of getting to know the sweet, innocent Hyoubu go on a killing spree. Until then, everything mostly feels like a set-up. We’re made to care about the esper unit, but we know that it’s not exactly a happy ending for them. I hate when I’m watching an anime and they kill off a character I don’t know and expect me to care. Just because someone else in the show cares doesn’t mean I do. Building that initial viewer-character relationship is important! Unfortunately, it’s only working with Hyoubu right now because everyone except for Utsumi Seishiro (fabulous hair man) and maybe Saotome Eiji (megane dude) has no presence. Zilch. Nada. Part of what makes Utsumi so interesting is that we know Hyoubu uses his “ghost” later on, so I’ve got my eye on him and how they befriend each other.

All in all, it was a more mellow episode. The parts with Hyoubu I drink up like a sponge, but take him out of a scene or put the spotlight on someone else and I’m instantly bored. As a result, this post is shorter than usual. ZKC always delivers on the action front, so some high-flying esper hi-jinx in episode 8 should hit the spot.

Bonus Screenshots:Show ▼

Preview: The decisive battle to see if the esper unit will be disbanded or not. They have giant paper airplanes so something is wrong with you if you’re not excited.

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Getting some real Yomiko Readman vibes here.

About

A mad scientist with a third degree black belt. The combination of these two things leads to blog posts combining a love for psychology, violence, anime and watching boys cry.
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18 Responses to “Zettai Karen Children: The Unlimited Hyoubu Kyousuke – 07”

  1. HannoX says:

    I wonder if Utsumi is Yomiko’s grandfather?

    I agree that Fujiko is a spoiled, little rich bitch here, but I don’t think she’s as bad as you make her out to be. Remember, this is 1937 and Japanese society at the time would have done its best to suppress and even crush the spirit of an intelligent, strong-willed female. She’s understandibly rebelling against that, wanting something more than the strict and very limited role set out for her. And she has the power to try and force society to accept her on her terms. Sure, she’s going overboard, but she’s only 10. Cut her some slack. And if she didn’t push just as hard as she could, if she backed off even a little, her society would keep pushing and pushing her into the role it decided was proper for her–subservient wife and mother and nothing else. It’s telling how she was included in the film introducing the Army’s esper team to the Japanese public.

    Besides, the ZKC manga and anime shows that she does change as an adult. Sure, she’s still self-centered but a lot of adults are, but she also cares about others. And she founded BABEL in order to help espers be accepted by normal society by having espers help normals and take down espers who would prey upon normals whether by stealing from them or killing them. She was able to get pass the betrayal of espers by the Japanese army at the end of WWII, unlike Hyoubu who hates all normals because of it and still hates them decades later. So which one is the one who matured and which one is the case of arrested development?

    • Overcooled says:

      Secret relatives!

      Whether or not her behaviour or warranted is not only plays a small role in decided if I dislike her. I get that 10 years olds can be brats and that she’s just trying to survive as an independent woman in a society that tries to push them down. I still don’t have to like it. She could get her arm cleaved off and I’d complain that she was screaming out in pain. Totally warranted, but as a person I can’t stand her to the point that everything she does makes me mad. She just has that kind of presence.

      Fortunately, she seems to get un-annoying with age. She handles the event in a healthy manner while Hyoubu holds an all-consuming grudge. That’s where she has a leg up over Hyoubu.

      • BlackBriar says:

        Fujiko is a child raised in a privilidged life. Her high and mighty attitude is to be expected but she seems to have reflected on her actions seeing that the consequences have affected everyone around her. Knowing that things aren’t focused on her alone has probably given her a good attitude adjustment so I’m not completely sour at her.

    • Irenesharda says:

      You say that she got over the betrayal of espers when Hyoubu didn’t. However, Fujiko was never full-faced betrayed by the man she considered her father. She wasn’t shot multiple times by that same trusted figure in cold blood. Hyoubu did. That is a horrifying trust-destroying experience for anyone, especially for a young man who was without a family to call his own except for the unit that was be destroyed around him and the captain that he looked up to like a trusted guardian. Young Kyousuke only wanted to find acceptance in a world where his own parent didn’t even like the fact that he was an esper. He thought he had that, only for it to turn out to be a lie. Fujiko on the other had was confidant in herself, her relationship with her father, and had a life outside of the army.

      Comparing their reactions to the betrayal is unfair as their experiences were totally different. Hyoubu has actually become quite well adjusted to the situation considering. I mean, he can actually have fun and laugh, despite his horrible betrayal and death experience. Most would be mentally broken beyond repair from such a horror.

      • HannoX says:

        You think being able to have fun and laugh even when you want to kill billions of people (who had nothing to do with you being betrayed), no matter what your motivation and no matter you haven’t yet acted upon that, is a sign of someone who isn’t mentally broken? I bet Hitler and Stalin could laugh, too.

        • Irenesharda says:

          1) I would never put Hyoubu in the same category as Hitler or Stalin. Just as I would never do that to Magneto. Those are just two completely separate categories. I could never feel for Hitler as I do for Hyoubu nor could I ever get behind him as I do for Hyoubu. Hitler did more than just talk about his hatred for a race, he actually took steps towards that genocide that systematically killed thousands. Hyoubu has yet to do this unless its to protect his people. I’ve told you before, that until his actions match his words I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

          2) I’m saying that he can actually generally enjoy himself now, when most people who have faced what he has faced would end up being an emotionally broken vegetable, constantly suicidal, and a psychotic mess. Hyoubu was actually able to conquer his psychotic breakdown and turn that mental pain and anguish into something useful in protecting and sheltering other espers. Yes, he is still mentally (and physically) scarred and still carries hatred. Who wouldn’t after something that traumatic happened to them. But the fact that he has been actually able to function within normal society and reach beyond himself and his pain to help others, show that he has made tremendous leaps and bounds mentally and gained a premature maturity. Like that a child soldier would gain after being in war too long and seeing too many things.

          • HannoX says:

            It’s not my intent to put Hyoubu in the same class as Hitler or Stalin. I was just pointing out that an ability to have fun and laugh is no proof a person isn’t a killer or isn’t mentally unstable in some way. Hyoubu is not well-balanced mentally and is a killer at heart. Just because he hasn’t killed anyone lately (other than during the prison breakout), don’t forget he has killed a number of people in the past, some of whom had nothing to do with his betrayal.

  2. BlackBriar says:

    I appreciate the flashback being slow for it to better show us in detail who Kyousuke was and why he has become the person he is now. Back then, he was the embodiment of naïve innocence crushed by the harsh facts of reality.

    This has been said a lot times with Zettai Karen Children sharing similarities with X-Men but the era set in this episode fits very close with X-Men: First Class with the espers being recruited by government as expenadable living weapons. Fujiko was high strong but she was right defending Kyousuke and that it was wrong to be criticized just because you want to be different and not let your values and lifestyle be decided even though there’s a war going on.

    What I wish would happen is everyone catching on to that Captain’s true personality. His appearence screamed backstabbing traitor the moment he came on screen but those like him always get theirs in the end but it leaves a bitter taste in the mouth that it only happens after so many innocent casualties occur.

    • Overcooled says:

      Me too. I’m hoping the payoff is a lot better when things really go down because we have all this to compare it to.

      No one is even scared of the Captain despite him having the trademark megane glint which pinpoint villains like a radar. -_- Sadly, those kinds of visual cues aren’t available for other characters in the show.

      • BlackBriar says:

        Judging from the preview of the next episode, things will start to hit the fan. When a whole group unique rally together for something, it’s during a setting that’s viewed as the calm before the storm.

        That megane glint is designed to set off warning bells in the brain telling you to back up. Whenever that shows up, it means nothing but trouble. Like when I watched the early episodes of Naruto, when Kabuto Yakushi first appeared, I didn’t trust him for a minute. He was too easy going in a dire situation which is a universal sign for saying he has a hand in whatever is going on.

      • HannoX says:

        But in 1937 they didn’t have TV anime to warn them against someone with the megane glint. So they can’t be blamed for being trusting innocents.

        • BlackBriar says:

          But they can be blamed for being a little too trusting. People tend to be suspicious of outsiders but the real problems mostly come from within. I think it’s better not to do anything with anyone until you know them to a certain degree and that Captain is definitely hiding something.

          • HannoX says:

            But in 1937 all over the world almost everyone trusted those in authority, and it was probably every strong in Japan. Don’t project our viewpoints regarding authority upon people more than 70 years ago.

            • BlackBriar says:

              True. It was a diffrent era with less escalated conflicts. We have problems now what they didn’t have back then.

      • Irenesharda says:

        Actually, I don’t even trust good guy with glinting glasses in anime. I mean, look at Kyoya from OHSHC! Good guy, but don’t you ever cross him!

        • BlackBriar says:

          I haven’t completely watched that anime but he looks really quiet and only acts when he’s provoked. In anime or in life, never trust the quiet ones. There’s no telling what they’re thinking.

  3. Irenesharda says:

    Well, its been a while, but I somehow got back here.

    This was a good episode, I liked the background on Kyousuke and his role in WW2. (I find it hilarious that only in these WW2 episodes that they bother with a disclaimer about its truth. I actually see that a lot in serious anime dramas that take place during that time period. Feeling a little sheepish about owning up, Japan?)
    Anyway, I thought the ESP Unit interesting, though only some characters are memorable (some of them become more interesting in the next episode), but that Taicho is definitely up to no good. As many others have already said, #1 Rule of Anime: Never trust a man with glowing glasses and squinty eyes.

    Fujiko was annoying in this episode in that she’s jealous of Hyoubu’s power and just wants to be stronger than him. She acts like an annoying drama diva. Hyoubu himself is adorably cute and its so sad to know that he will eventually lose that innocence…and all because of a stupid self-fulfilled prophecy.

    • Overcooled says:

      You mean the disclaimer about all the events and people being purely fictional at the end? I guess they really wanted to cover their asses just in case since war can be a touchy subject. I bet they’ll stop using it when the flashbacks are over (i.e. next week) too.

      The glasses say it all! It is a failproof measure to determine if someone has ulterior motives.

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