Anime Spotlight: When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace

When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace is an anime based on a light novel series written by Kota Nozomi and illustrated by 029. The anime is produced by Trigger, and is directed by Masahiko Otsuka. The series aired on Japanese television from October 6-December 22, 2014.

As of this writing, no one holds the North American distribution license for When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace.

The focus of the series is on the five members of Senko High School’s Literary Club. Jurai Ando has a case of “chunibyo” (eighth grade syndrome), Tomoyo Kanzaki is bemused by Jurai’s antics, Hatoko Kurshikawa is a polite girl who takes Jurai’s antics seriously, Sayumi Takanashi is the club’s president, and Chifuyu Himeki is the niece of the advisor who hangs out with the club.

One day, Jurai is pulling one of his antics and claiming that his arm’s hurt due to possessing a superpower. They’re all surprised when light suddenly manifests from Jurai’s hand and spreads across the Literary Club’s room.

This opening scene quickly established the various character tropes that will be appearing in the series, and it also established the various characters’ interactions with each other. This scene also established the tone of the series; while this first scene was amusing, I wouldn’t say it was laugh out loud funny. This kind of humor continued for the remainder of the episode.

The story jumps ahead six months in time, and we learn that everyone in the club room now has some kind of superpower. Jurai’s power is a seemingly useless black flame called “Dark and Dark”; Tomoyo can speed up, slow down, or stop time, although she cannot rewind it; Hatoko has the ability to manipulate earth, water, fire, wind, and light; Sayumi can return people to their original state by touching them; and Chifuyu can create any element and manipulate space. At first, these superpowers just come across as kind of random; however, knowing that the title of the series is When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace, it can be assumed that these powers are going to become more important as the story progresses.

It’s revealed later in the episode that they aren’t the only ones who awakened supernatural powers; student council president Mirei Kudo can steal any ability she witnesses being activated.

As the series progresses, the series shifts its focus from the supernatural abilities to the girls around Jurai becoming his harem. In addition, hints are dropped that their powers came about because of a Fairy War taking place that the main characters are unaware of.

As I watched Episode One, I admit that I started getting a little bored about halfway through; however, I think this was due to the fact that the nature of the episode was that of an establishing episode, so not a lot of action was taking place. Even though I felt a little bored during Episode One, I could still see that the series seemed to have promise and potential going forward. The humor may not have been laugh out loud funny, it was still amusing enough that I could see the humor in it. And even though I saw some very obvious character tropes in the series, I hoped that the story could help the characters rise above these tropes and become more developed over time.

It appeared that Episode Two was meant to be more of a character development episode than anything else. Not only were the superpowers never used in the episode, there was also nothing to tie back to the overarching story that was hinted at with the end of Episode One with the person watching from the shadows. I was hoping to see some advancement in the overarching story, because I didn’t want the series to end up being like Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara, which was a series that established an interesting premise but ended up putting more focus on the character types and the gags than on the actual overarching story.

After watching Episode Four, I thought the title for the series didn’t seem to fit at that point; where were the supernatural battles? The characters have these supernatural abilities, but they weren’t being focused on or used that much by the end of that episode.

After Episode Five, I came to realize that while the title may play up the supernatural element of the series, it actually focused much more on the characters, their interactions, and their relationships with each other. The supernatural powers seemed to be more there as a concept that brings these characters together; while most of the characters with the powers are in the literature club, there’s at least one who isn’t. At this point, When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace seemed to be shaping up to be more about Jurai having a group of girls interested in him than on the concept of supernatural battles. While I liked seeing the story that was building between the characters, I believed that the title is a little misleading.

After Episode Six, it appeared that When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace was starting to go in the same direction that Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara ended up going in its storytelling. The main difference between the two series was the fact that When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace has characters that the audience can actually care for because they’ve been developed as characters, rather than simply being character types. Also, When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace didn’t find itself relying on gags that wear thin very quickly due to being overused. At least I was enjoying the characters and their interactions with each other, which helped to make this much less of a disappointment than Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara had been.

After Episode Eight, I thought it was great to finally get the backstory and background information to bring various elements of the series together, but I was frustrated that this information wasn’t revealed until this late in the series.

After Episode 10, I realized that When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace was a harem series first are foremost, and that the supernatural abilities are secondary. After resigning myself to this, I decided that I had to try to judge the final two episodes from the harem angle than the overarching story that supposedly exists.

After watching Episode 12, I was rather unsatisfied with how the series ended, because it was such a non-ending. This is probably due to the fact that the light novel series hasn’t ended, so those involved with the anime adaptation felt the series needed to have such a non-ending so they didn’t accidentally contradict something that could appear in a future volume of the light novel series. There’s still so many loose ends that are left unresolved that I just wasn’t satisfied as a viewer at the end of the series. It really made me wonder why I’d invested 12 weeks of my life into this series.

Even though I was unsatisfied with When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace, I have to admit that it wasn’t bad for what it was. I definitely saw a similar idea done worse with Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara.

While I didn’t care much for When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace when all was said and done, I think the series will have a strong appeal to anime viewers who are fans of harem series.

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