Zettai Karen Children: The Unlimited Hyoubu Kyousuke – 04

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If anime has taught me anything, it’s that they mean business when they bring out the little girls.

I have a lot to catch up on. While I’ve somehow managed to be relatively timely with ZKC posts, I have to get back in my posting rhythm for Psycho-Pass and an editorial post I was planning for January. There really isn’t enough time in a day to do everything I want! I wish I could just teleport from place to place to save time and energy like the ZKC espers. You have to admit that ESP is a totally sick power. Wouldn’t you like to fly around and shoot balls of fire at things? It may be nothing but a delusional thought, but at least we can live vicariously through Hyoubu and the *newly introduced* Children.

Who needs a set-up when you can just have an entire episode dedicated to fighting? There is little to no pretense to the small-scale esper war that erupts on the two ships – just BABEL doing what I assume is their usual job and hounding down PANDRA. This time, their ambush just so happens to be at sea. Part of why they ignore starting slowly is probably because we already know about the friction between the two groups, and there’s not a lot else that needs to be explained at the moment. Even for someone who is a newbie to the ZKC franchise such as myself can understand what’s going on with only a minimal explanation. It seems that BABEL and PANDRA are in opposition, but they actually have some respect for each other. Hyoubu may badmouth Minamoto, but he still trusts the three girls to remain in his custody. Likewise, Minamoto mumbles something about not wanting Hyoubu to die, so I imagine he chases Hyoubu not just out of duty. For now, there is not a lot we need to know, so the rivalry remains extremely simple. Once the two groups are more fleshed out, I’m sure we’ll have another full-scale fight with more at stake than a vaguely-defined item hidden in the centre of the ship.

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However, what happens with Minamoto and Hyoubu isn’t really what I want to focus on since we’ve already seen them quite a bit. The Children make their debut this week, and boy do they ever make an impact. They clean up PANDRA’s ship at an insane pace, teleporting rapidly to get the job done. I really like the elements teleporting lend to a fight scene. They don’t just use it to dodge attacks, but to move to blindspots and even teleport other objects away from them. Battles are just that much more fast-paced when your opponent can appear in front of your nose at any point of time without actually having to close in by running or flying. This saves a lot of time. Basically…espers fighting each other is really damn cool. I will repeat this as many times as I want per week!

Kaoru takes the cake as the most interesting one to watch. She’s the queen, so this is no surprise. The other two seem more like accessories. Take Shiho for example. I really don’t know why any esper would have to resort to a gun. I guess she specializes in psychometry and mind-reading, which isn’t a very good specialty for the battlefield. Still…LAME! They should cut her out and just keep Kaoru and the megane girl who throws up the devil horns every time she uses her powers. She’s pretty metal.

All in all, my impression of the girls is pretty positive (except for Shiho and her weapons). I can see why Hyoubu regards them so highly because of their power. They’re undoubtedly strong…but Hyoubu is still stronger. He beats all 3 of them in some sort of magical girl combination attack with his Unlimited mode without breaking a sweat. I thought they were equal in power, but he casually just cancels out their attack and flies out of there. Yes, he lifts the entire ship into the air and does some fancy teleportation trick that makes it look like he broke into another dimension. The Children mustering up enough strength to move an entire boat halfway across the ocean was already intense, but Hyoubu’s gravity-defying exit was the real show-stealer. I absolutely love when the espers use their powers on such a grand scale as this.

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Not QUITE in the same league as those people who bend spoons

You see, normals vs esper battles are no fun. It’s only when Hyoubu finds a worthy plaything that the show heats up and gets to showcase these amazing abilities. Things still feel very episodic in nature at this point, but at least they’re delivering on the action. This week’s fight was really fun to watch, but I’m still lamenting the lack of an overarching storyline. I only have the vaguest of ideas what PANDRA and BABEL do for a living, and all of their goals so far have been limited to the scope of one episode.

With the new Sakaki and Minamoto themed ED song now in place, I’m lead to believe BABEL will be a continuing opposing force to Hyoubu. Therefore, leaving things as they are would be inadequate. I need one of them to launch a plan that spans over a few episodes instead of being resolved so quickly. There are only so many one-shots I can be pleased by before I get bored and start wondering what the point of all this fireball-flinging is. I don’t even know whose side I should be on!

Jormungand suffered from the same issues, and only managed to have very short arcs without any unifying direction until the very end. I can only hope that things start to roll towards an end goal soon. There’s a bit of promise there since Andy is getting closer and closer to finding the object on the ship he wants, so he shares some similar interests with BABEL. Then again, were BABEL really after the same thing as him or did they just want to capture Hyoubu? Andy may find that his organization is the most corrupt out of all of them, and if Hyoubu is hiding some sort of weapon, I bet you anything it’s going to be used for evil.

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Whatever the case, Hyoubu doesn’t give a damn. He gives Andy the key even after catching him running off from the group and acting suspiciously, because he’s probably already planned about 10 steps ahead of Andy. I’d be shocked if he wasn’t baiting him at this point since the signs of betrayal are so blatant. Anyways, now that he has his access key, he might start making bolder moves. It’s only a matter of time before he’ll have to make a very important decision. So far, this is a better told story than The Children versus Hyoubu since we have a clearer picture of what each side wants.

Part of why I like Andy’s story so much is that it’s easy to see where it is progressing each week. First of all, Hyoubu trusts Andy more and more each week. He starts off giving him an important assassination job, gives him a Limiter, then eventually gives him an access pass to the centre of the ship. Secondly, the other members actually trust Andy less as the show progresses. In contrast to Hyoubu’s kindness towards Andy, the other members are almost always on pins and needles around him. They call him newbie and look scandalized when he receives the holy all-access pass from Hyoubu. Fujiura shows this the most, as he verbally abuses him as well as physically snubbing him with negative body language. This contrast in interests works so well because no matter how sketchy Andy seems to everyone else, Hyoubu’s decisions cannot be challenged. I think he knows this, so he is purposely trying to make everyone else uncomfortable as he becomes more and more familiar with Andy. Now, if only the story with BABEL could become just as coherent. Then we’ll have a winner!

Preview: It seems like we’ll get to learn more about the nurturing side of PANDRA since “Family” seems to describe their rag-tag gathering of espers. At the very least, Yugiri gets to go to an amusement park!

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Is that non-fish shaped taiyaki? What a cop out!


A neuroscience graduate, black belt, and all-around nerd. You'll either find me in my lab or curled up in my rilakkuma kigurumi watching anime.
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28 Responses to “Zettai Karen Children: The Unlimited Hyoubu Kyousuke – 04”

  1. BlackBriar says:

    It’s my birthday today and that means I’ve gotten a year older. NOOOO!! Well, at least I can drown my sorrows in this anime.

    The peak of esper power was fiercely shown here and I enjoyed every minute of it. The fights were fluid and well animated. Kyousuke always keeps a cool head on his shoulders no matter the situation. The Children are efficient little agents. They should have their own organization. The question is, why is Kaoru is opposing if she’s their queen?

    I find the treatment of espers by human beings show how ugly human nature can be sometimes. Like “The Children” being sent to take over the Catastrophe in a full scale even though they’re little kids. Humans have a tendency to outcast, kill or manipulate into weapons those who are different from them like Yugiri and the notion is depressing. The end result is that it proves Kyousuke’s (and Magneto, if you want to go into X-Men territory) views on why they can’t be trusted. Whatever Minamoto is planning, capturing PANDRA must mean they’re a means to an end.

    • Foshizzel says:

      Happy birthday buddy!

      Well I don’t have a huge grasp on the whole queen thing but in the first series I think it is revealed around the 7th or 8th episode that Kaoru is quite powerful and that interests Kyousuke, but at that time she was only 10 which meant he would “wait” for her to mature in power and age xD oh and Karou always viewed him as a perv LOL

      Yeah the treatment of the the children was bad and they were basically kept as pets! They even went as far as to put limiters on them to prevent them from running wild…also they didn’t get to really go to school like normal children for a while anyway xD

      It really is interesting to see how Kyousuke views the world and how he plans of fixing it…

    • Kiseki says:

      Kaoru is their future Queen. She’s foreseen to join them one day.
      Not quite spoilers at this point, but: Show ▼

      The Children are fully capable of such large scale missions at this point. :Y
      You have an interesting point of view here. :0 The thing about BABEL is that Fujiko (who is as powerful as her little brother herself, sans this new super saiyan thing) was one of its founders. Lower level espers are no problem, but higher level espers such as The Children need BABEL to train them to control their powers. They do their best to integrate espers into regular society. Unfortunately, they had to be separated from their families from a young age (Kaoru accidentally put her mother in the hospital at one point), so they only had each other for the longest time. If Minamoto hadn’t come along, The Children might be with PANDRA by now.
      Not every country has it as nice as Japan though.

      • Overcooled says:

        @BB: HAPPY BIRTHHDAAYYYYYY!!!!! Sorry I’m so late in responding. Hope you had fun on your day of birth~

        @Kiseki: Hmm, interesting. I assume all this happened in the original series. That explains why Hyoubu is so particularly bitter towards the normals. but lol trusting a dolphin with that kind of thing no matter how accurate it may be…

        Again, I never watched the first series so I can’t really say if their treatment of the girls was cruel or not. They seem pretty happy to be with BABEL at the moment though.

  2. Foshizzel says:


    Recently I went back and checked out the first 9 episodes of ZKC and became quite addicted, but that series favors the lulz more than "badass" moments! Then again I am only 9/50+ episodes...

    I think they even pulled the original actors to voice the children? I think that is really cool, but I have seen other series like Eureka Seven which was extremely popular and then you get a 2nd season after years of waiting with Eureka Seven AO! I enjoy all the cameo appearances so I am sticking around to see what else they do next.

    • Overcooled says:

      Still chugging along with the original? At least you’re liking it more now!

      Yeah, it’d be really weird if they changed the actors for original fans. It took me forever to get used to them changing the dub voice for Chie in P4G. :/

  3. Kiseki says:

    You’ll have to forgive me as I don’t really know what’s going on with this anime, I just downloaded this episode because I heard The Children showed up and had speaking roles. = u=;;

    Shiho’s the one you’d want to watch out for. She has a pretty twisted personality (there aren’t enough twisted murder cases for her to solve). She specializes in psychological damage, but she might be the mostdangerous of them all if equipped with a gun.

    Hirano Aya making her return as Kaoru dispels the rumor that they weren’t making a second season due to her, hmm…

    I had a major problem with the continuity, though??? There’s the whole BABEL vs PANDRA thing that shouldn’t be happening due to PANDRA’s diplomatic relations with some country. Then there’s Kaoru not being on friendly terms with Hyoubu…? Then Hyoubu overpowered the Boost. O-okay.

    At least we know that this is occurring some time after April 2013, I guess.

    • Irenesharda says:

      Well, actually like I’ve been telling some others who read ZKC, this show might as well be an AU rather than a spin-off as Hyoubu never wears a limiter in the manga and never will have the power he does here as this was made just for the anime. Consider the fact that an esper without a limiter is in their natural state and level, which must mean that if Hyoubu didn’t have a limiter he would literally be purple and glowy all the time and the ground would be destroyed wherever he walks.

      Also consider that they have made this show has two original characters. They might also be trying to be show how Kaoru would realistically be treating a man she is commanded to arrest and how BABEL are against PANDRA and wish to arrest them (as much good that would do them…). You have to remember that people are supposed to be able to pick up this show without having ever seen or heard of ZKC, so since it has been said that PANDRA are criminals it would make since to the general audience if the opposing police force was trying to capture them.

      And for all those who are wondering about a second season? Have you realized by now that ZKC was not really that original, nor did it have a very large audience? Its a show meant for really otakus and not really a mainstream audience. Almost every fan I know has never even heard of it.
      Its a show that ended well, and already got 50+ episodes and an OVA. I’m honestly surprised that someone made a pitch for this show and was able to get it. But at least they tried to get a more mainstream shounen audience by focusing on the more popular character of the original.

      • Kiseki says:

        Might as well treat it as an AU then. u_u I never really thought of it as canon, but I wanted things to make sense weh. ;_;

        I thought Zettai Karen Children was pretty popular? It seems to be aiming toward a pretty wide range in terms of its audience, both male and female, young and old. The manga sells well, and I think the anime ranked a couple of times on DVD sales. I’d expect higher sales if it really was mostly an otaku-oriented show.
        It’s just not popular in wfen, that’s all. It’s like trying to find an Inazuma Eleven fan in Hawaii. Horrible, horrible, horrible.
        …And the Karen Guys is still a thing…lol… I wouldn’t consider late night anime to be “mainstream” though…? At least a morning or prime time slot. Or even 10 o’clock would be better.

        • Overcooled says:

          Same faces, new story. I guess that’s how things are.

          To be honest, I hadn’t heard of this show before now. It might manage to make good sales, but it doesn’t seem like anyone’s favourite thing, so the fans probably aren’t that into it. That’s my guess.

  4. Irenesharda says:

    I enjoyed this episode very much, even though I too wish for an overlying plot as well.
    I have already expressed my thoughts about BABEL vs PANDRA and which side I pull for. Hyoubu will always be more interesting than the girls in my book, and the fact that despite his greater strength that he still holds Kaoru higher than himself, makes him that much better of a character in my book. (Because face it ZKC purists, when he turns off that limiter and he is thus in his natural state, I would say he is either Level 7 or higher. Sorry for the blasphemy and all, but it’s true.)

    My interests this episode were more with Andy and Hyoubu. I’m sorry, but Andy is a bad spy. He was nearly caught twice this episode, and Hyoubu would have to be an idiot not to know he’s a spy by now. And since we all know that the Major is the furthest thing from an idiot there is, he knows.
    I think he’s slowly trying to pull Andy to their side, and I think it’s working. First, Andy feels the familial atmosphere between PANDRA members, and they do keep bringing up that they are not just some criminal organization, but that they are much more than that.
    Also, there was the striking difference in bosses, between his real boss and Hyoubu. The USEI boss is very cold and unfeeling, and it’s clear that to him Andy is but a tool that can either be useful or thrown away. When he told Andy “Good job” with the Monarch Kingdom thing, Andy didn’t even bat an eyelash because he knew it was insincere and simply something to say. Now contrast that with when Hyoubu told him “You did well” near the end, Andy instinctively grinned at its very real sincerity and it took him a moment to catch himself.
    Also, when he finally does get an access pass, he doesn’t look calculating or satisfied with getting it. He actually looked guilty and indecisive. With all that trust placed on him, from trusting him on missions, to giving him the key to their inner sanctum, the guilt might just be getting to him.
    I love seeing the interaction between Kyousuke and Andy and I hope that Andy does decide to join their side. I don’t particularly think the other core members necessarily dislike Andy, they simply distrust him, especially Yoh and Magi, but as you say, they follow Hyoubu’s lead. I would like them to go deeper into those two to see why they, above everyone else, are more protective.

    Anyway, the fights in this episode are great, and I like that they gave Andy more abilities. He was actually able to take down Fujiko, (I can’t stand that self-righteous woman.) so good for him. And that flying ship was awesome and I loved how everyone was down to military precision in making it happen.

    I am excited to see the next episode and I hope we do get more plot. I see some of the other members of PANDRA will actually say a line or two. I just hope they cut out most of the silliness for them, just as they did the girls. (Yes, I’m looking at you Muscle Okama!)

    • Overcooled says:

      Hyoubu showing respect is always a HUGE DEAL since he’s so haughty. The fact he calls Kaoru his queen is what makes me so interested in her…and him for seeing the potential of a kid like that.

      Andy is definitely a bad spy. He sucks at being discreet, and he’s totally getting too comfy in PANDRA. I also noticed that Andy caught himself smiling at Hyoubu’s praise (which is rare, but very sincere when it comes out) and thought it was sweet. He’s totally getting used to them.

      Fujiura hates Andy’s guts. Magi distrusts him, which really isn’t that far away from disliking him. It’s hard to distrust someone but still like them. Anyways, so far the storytelling regarding Andy and Hyoubu has been great so I’m confident at least that will develop well and end well.

      • Irenesharda says:

        I honestly don’t know if Yoh hates Andy or simply treats him like the new guy. I think saying “hates his guts” is a little strong.
        He really seems to joke around with the guy, at Andy’s expense most of the time, but still not really anything hateful. Look at the way he smiles and looks at him at the end of the episode when they were all talking about the full name of the Catastrophe.

        Also, take a look how he address him during episode 5, there even Magi seems to cut the guys some slack. I think that as Andy is getting used to PANDRA as a family, the members of PANDRA are also getting more comfortable with him around.

        • Overcooled says:

          I get the impression Fujiura really doesn’t like him, but he realizes he has to act nice every now and then to maintain unity in the group and make Hyoubu happy. If he had the choice, I can’t see him ever willingly hanging out with Andy. Magi is a little more chill about it in that he’s willing to go either way, but he still doesn’t really like the guy.

          Andy is getting more used to them, but I only see a small amount of PANDRA warming up to him.

  5. HannoX says:

    Hyoubu is more powerful than Kaoru is right now. Who knows what the future will bring? As The Children gain experience overall and learn to co-ordinate better during their triple boost, of which Kaoru is the focus, she may become more powerful than Hyoubu. And that is why he calls her “Queen” and says she will be the future leader of the espers. Also, whenever they showed the future in ZKC I can’t recall Hyoubu was ever shown. It was usually Minamoto facing off against Kaoru with Aoi and Shiho sometimes also making an appearance. Just a guess, but does that mean Hyoubu knows he won’t be around then?

    Shiho is a necessary member of the team. With her ability to read people’s minds and get information from objects, she’s their intelligence specialist. It may seem lame for an esper to have to use a gun, but her power really doesn’t bestow much in the way of combat ability. She was originally given a gun at 10 in order to protect herself. And she was disappointed when it didn’t have “real bullets.”

    Shiho is the darkest and scariest of The Children. Her father is the head of Japan’s National Police and from an early age she was called in to solve murders that could not be solved by normal means. So she is very familiar with the dark depths of the human soul and some of that darkness has entered hers. For one, she seems to enjoy hurting people when fighting them.

    • Overcooled says:

      They’re just kids, so I imagine they’re going to get even stronger with time. Kaoru especially. It’s just amusing that right now the big heroes of the original show that I was so hype for got owned by Hyoubu~ I hope Hyoubu doesn’t die in an anime about HIMSELF.

      It’s a useful ability, but she just looks so lame having to use a gun a world of people who can kill effortlessly with their mind. Learning about her ability to psychologically damage people improved my opinion of her though. If I had seen that sadistic side she would have been my instant favourite!

      • Irenesharda says:

        Actually, being a psychometrist, she can’t really influence people’s thoughts, nor can she read minds technically. She is not a telepath.
        Her ability allows her to use touch to read emotion and residual thought that have entered the object though another person’s use. That’s all there is to it. Sakaki also is a psychometrist, but he as able to apply it to combat by creating an extending bo-staff that once it touches the person can give him the person’s history and background. In doing so, he can use that info to fight the person and anticipate their moves and fighting style.
        It can be quite a curse if the psychometrist can’t control their powers. I read another super-powered human series that had a psychometrist in it, where he could never let anyone touch any part of his body, or let his body touch and surface that wasn’t his. He let no one in his home because anything that he touched or touched him, would tell him the history of the object. It was extremely easy for his mind to be flooded with impressions and he would go crazy from sensory overload.
        Yet, it seems in here that espers’ powers to some degree are controllable. Though you wonder, as in X-men, how they train their powers so that they don’t go crazy? How can Yoh train himself so he doesn’t hear everything at once? Or Yugiri, how does she keep out everyone’s thoughts?

        • HannoX says:

          Shiho can read thoughts by touching a person. In ZKC she is constantly reading Minamoto’s, always something he doesn’t want The Children to know.

          • Overcooled says:

            I meant psychologically damage via using her abilities at either reading emotions or thoughts to get an upper edge on people. I was under the impression she was the type to manipulate people with whatever information she can get her hands on?

            Anyways, what series had someone with uncontrolled psychometry? It sounds a lot less like a fun power when it’s involuntary like that. Tragic, even. I guess the espers in ZKC learn to control their abilities for the most part just through practice. They learn to use them like a baby learns to walk. Although, it’s probably harder since they might not have a good example of how to do it.

            • HannoX says:

              Offhand I can’t think of any particular instance where Shiho used her power to physcologically crush someone, but that is something I think she’d do. She has said things she had to know was going to creep out Kaoru and Aoi. More than once they’ve said she’s scary.

    • Irenesharda says:

      Shiho is a good analyst and profiler because her powers aren’t really combat related. Yet, because her powers can’t really be used for combat, she should stick to a desk, just like a real government analyst!

      Later on, maybe she can learn combat and her psychometry can accent that, just as Sakaki does. He uses his ability in combat, but not as the main focus.

      • HannoX says:

        Shiho has to be in the field with Kaoru and Aoi. She can only gather information by touching an object or person, so staying behind at a desk would make her useless. In a fluid, fast moving situation they need her ability RIGHT NOW, not later after the object or person in question has been taken back to the office. Besides, it’s not always practical to take an object to her. Some of them are pretty big and there are the times she reads the ground.

  6. Reaper201 says:

    From what I picked up when I saw ZKC, a psychometric can effectively use any weapon what so ever just by touching it. Add to that that when using guns they can pin point the exact location where that bullet will hit with dead eye precision. Take for example a part in the manga where Sakaki manages to throw scalpels down the barrel of a helicopter-mounted gun from the ground.

    If ur ever bored enough, just read the tvtropes on ZKC, get the basic gist of the original series.
    ht tp://tinyurl . com/ a4rtcfa

    • Overcooled says:

      Whoa, that’s strong. How does psychometry teach them to use the weapon? I thought psychometry was a type of sensor ability (like mind-reading or emotion-reading), so how does that relate to knowing how to use a weapon?

      I really don’t want to get into the old series, to be honest. I’m content with just the new one…and a little buffer as fans of the original teach me stuff in the comments section lol

      • HannoX says:

        There have been a number of times Shiho has learned how to operate heavy machinery just by getting in the seat or has known what it is and what it can do merely by touching it. So I think she would know how to use a weapon just by picking it up. However, I don’t think that means she’d automatically hit whatever she aimed at. Perhaps she could when she’s older and has more skill with her power.

  7. Irenesharda says:

    Now here’s a question: Do you think Kyousuke is a villain or an anti-hero?

    I personally think he’s an anti-hero who operates in a gray realm of morality. However, some have posed that he is simply a villain since he has no hesitation about killing others, and has even said that he would kill Minamoto if not for the fact that Kaoru likes him. Now , while I don’t think that’s untrue, and that if Minamoto ever showed even the tiniest bit of disloyalty and/or threat towards the girls, he wouldn’t think twice about killing him. I also think this is simply part of him wanting to protect the girls and his people, the only way he knows how.

    I’m interested to know what others think: villain or anti-hero?

    • HannoX says:

      Villian, but with some likeable traits/goals. If Hyoubu just refused to operate within bounds set by the government, following his own path/code, and only broke certain laws he’d be an anti-hero. But he has murdered (as opposed to killed in self-defense or in a fight) a number of people, including espers who were early members of BABEL, the latter as stated by Fujiko in Ep. 5. In my book murder moves you into the villian catagory.

      • Irenesharda says:

        That depends on what you classify as murder. Even in law, simply killing someone does not get you charged with murder. Most anti-heroes I know, especially from anime, kill others with no regrets. Famous anti-heroes like The Punisher, Spawn, Ghost Rider, and even Magneto at times (Yes, he has worked with, and even led the X-Men for a time.) kill all the time and lose no sleep over it. They are willing to kill in order to protect others, even if they are killing in cold-blood.
        The ability to kill or murder does not make you a villain as even heroes and/or good people if put in the right circumstances can do that. It is the intent and reasoning that are important A villain is by definition “a cruelly malicious person who is involved in or devoted to wickedness or crime; scoundrel”. Hyoubu does not fit that definition, he kills those he perceives as a threat and protects those who are close to him. To the espers, he’s a hero, and to the rest of the world he is the enemy.

        If he was simply a man who went against organized government, he would be simply a rebel. He does have morals, a conduct code, protects those weaker than himself, and has a love for others. He does do heroic things, he just doesn’t adhere to the standards of a typical hero. In other words: an anti-hero.

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