Section23 Films Announces December 2020 Slate

Home video distributor Section23 Films has announced its December 2020 slate of releases.

Product details follow, in order of release

Coming December 2020

Title: AJIN: THE OADS
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 67 min.
Street Date: 12/1/2020
Format: BD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $29.98

SYNOPSIS: In the world of Ajin: Demi Human, a new subspecies of human has been discovered, one capable of creating lethal black “ghosts” and recovering from even the most extreme physical damage… even death itself. Feared and hunted by governments, no one knows how many Ajin exist, let alone who they all are, as many aren’t even aware of their own nature until their first death. In this special collection of original stories, you’ll follow a motorcyclist who dies in a crash, discovers that he’s an Ajin and is tracked by the ruthless Ajin Management Committee (The Nakamura Shinya Incident), witness a US Marine who becomes fixated upon taking the risk of killing himself to find out if he is or isn’t an Ajin (Sato: ZERO), and even explore the dark humor of the Ajin condition (Hidden Inn/Secret Den) – all in Ajin: The OADs.

Title: OUTBURST DREAMER BOYS
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 12/1/2020
Format: BD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $59.98

SYNOPSIS: When Mizuki Hijiri transfers to Minikami Private High, all she wants is to blend in and study like a nice normal girl. Instead, the members of the school’s “Hero Club” immediately become fixated on Mizuki, and “normal” is the last word that anyone would use to describe these delusional chunibyo, all of whom are living in fantasy worlds in which they’re legendary heroes from comics and mythology. Just dealing with the scheming and manipulative Rei Tsukumo, and Tomoki Takashima, who’s only interested in 2D girls, will be difficult enough, but how can Mizuki convince Sentai-wannabe Yamato Noda that she’s NOT the Pink Ranger to his Red? Toss in Kazuhiro Nakamura, who believes he’s the reincarnation of a half angel/half devil and yet another member waiting in the wings, and it looks like poor Mizuki’s in for a truly epic education with the Outburst Dreamer Boys.

Title: 7 SEEDS
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 12/8/2020
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98

SYNOPSIS: The meteor strikes wiped human civilization from the face of the Earth, then even the face itself changed, transformed into something alien and hostile as devastating climatic shifts, global darkness and unprecedented geologic upheavals reshaped what was once our world. But, even in the aftermath of mass extinctions and world sweeping firestorms, life managed to find a way, evolving to new forms, some close to what came before, others from beyond our worst nightmares. It is into this toxic landscape filled with flesh-eating cockroaches, telepathic wolves, and man-eating plants that humanity’s last survivors are released from frozen cryogenic slumber. Five groups; each consisting of seven youths and one adult survival specialist. They are mankind’s last hope, and if they fail to survive in this strange and horrifying new world, the human race will end forever in 7 SEEDS.

Title: GARDEN OF WORDS
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 46 min.
Street Date: 12/8/2020
Format: BD
Language: English & Spanish, Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $29.98

SYNOPSIS: Some people revel and play in the rain; others dread it and hide at the first drop. For high school student Takao, a summer shower is a source of artistic inspiration… but when he skips school in order to sketch in a rainy garden, Takao finds an even greater muse in Yukino, an older woman who seems adrift in the world. Despite the difference in their ages and lives, they strike up a comfortable relationship that slowly evolves as they randomly meet in the same garden whenever it rains. But with the rainy season coming to a close, Takao wonders if there’s enough time left to put his feelings into actions and words. What will happen between a young man and a woman when the rain falls once again in the Garden of Words?

Title: WHEN SUPERNATURAL BATTLES BECAME COMMONPLACE
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 12/8/2020
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $49.98

SYNOPSIS: The origin of the Senko High School Literature Club’s powers might be a little sketchy, and they may spend more time chatting than engaging in superhuman feats. Still, there’s no questioning the incredible abilities of the club’s female members: Tomoyo can control time; Hatoko is a mistress of the elements; Chifuyu can create matter; and Sayumi can return any item to a previous state. With these powers, there are few tasks these girls can’t handle. Meanwhile, Jurai, the club’s only male member, has a dark flame that seems a little pointless in comparison, and only time will tell if it matures into anything more useful. Toss in a Student Council president who’s developed powers of her own and things are about to get seriously weird as the study of literature takes a comic book turn in When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace.

Title: AHIRU NO SORA
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 600 min.
Street Date: 12/15/2020
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $89.98

SYNOPSIS: Sora Kurumatani is short and as scrawny as a stick figure, but he loves basketball with a burning passion. Unfortunately, on his first day at Kuzuryu High, he learns that the school’s supposed basketball team is nothing of the sort. Instead of a haven for aspiring athletes, the gym has become the home turf for a gang of thugs, delinquents and perverts whose only skill at dribbling involves drooling on the floor while peeking into the girls’ locker room. But since Kurumatani has to play to fulfill a promise made to his ailing mother, he’ll have to take these sour lemons and squeeze-play out a winning basketball team somehow. Impossible? Perhaps. But with the help of a counselor and members of the girls’ club, he’ll do his best to get them all on the rebound in Ahiru no Sora.

Title: CHIDORI RSC
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 12/15/2020
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98

SYNOPSIS: Due to firearms restrictions, sharp-shooting tournaments in Japan are held using special rifles that fire beams of light instead of bullets… and since devices that fire pulses of photons are so much safer than weapons that shoot live ammunition, there’s little reason for age restrictions at shooting matches. As a result, many Japanese schools now have shooting clubs that compete against each other, culminating in nationwide contests. However, when Olympic hopeful Hikari Kokura transfers to Chidori High, she’s alarmed to discover that the Chidori High School Rifle Shooting Club she’d planned on joining has been dropped due to lack of interest. Convincing her friends and classmates to join this offbeat club will be just the first target in Hikari’s ambitious plans as a team of young markswomen set their sights on going all the way to the national championships in Chidori RSC.

English Cast Announced for the When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace Anime

The English cast has been announced for the When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace anime:

  • Mateo Mpinduzi-Mott is Ando
  • Shanae’a Moore is Tomoyo
  • Melissa Molano is Hatoko
  • Maggie Flecknoe is Sayumi
  • Sasha Paysinger is Chifuyu
  • Melissa Pritchett is Kudo
  • Benjamin McLaughlin is Hajime
  • Terri Doty is Kuki
  • Blake Shepard is Sagami
  • Regina Chen is Hitomi
  • Chaney Moore is Litia
  • Kaytha Coker is Ms. Satomi
  • Karlii Hoch is Maiya
  • Katelyn Barr is Fan
  • Bryson Baugus is Akutagawa
  • Chris Hutchison is Touhei
  • Shelby Blocker is Aki
  • Molly Searcy is Machi
  • Jack Ivy is Toki
  • Carolyn Medrano is Hagiura
  • Kris Saltiel is System
  • Phil Collins is Muscles

Kyle Colby Jones is directing the dub.

Source: ANN

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. 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 was 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 and 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.

Additional Anime Spotlights:

When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace: Episode 12 – “Usual Days”

When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace focuses 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. Six months later, they discover that student council president Mirei Kudo has also mysteriously acquired powers.

Episode 12 sees Mirei trying to attack the Literary Club and take away their powers. Fortunately, Jurai and Tomoyo had been practicing just in case something like this happened. Unfortunately, Chifuyu’s power was taken before they could put their plan in motion. But by Jurai shielding Tomoyo, she is able to stop time and transport them out of the club room.

Jurai surmises that someone is controlling Mirei, and he devises a reckless plan to save her. The others try to dissuade him from using his power, but after Jurai makes his case, the others relent. We see Jurai enact his plan, and the audience finally learns why the others in the Literary Club asked him to not use his power again. I wasn’t surprised by the fact that the actual power itself was still useless, but I was surprised by the effect that it has in its second state. Fortunately, everything works out all right in the end, and Jurai forces the person possessing Mirei to stop.

We get to see Tomoyo’s brother, one his sidekicks, and the person possessing Mirei during two or three brief scenes. But the only references to the Fairy War that we get are in these scenes, as well as during Mirei’s confrontation with Jurai. But during this confrontation, she throws out the word “war” coyly and doesn’t explain anything to Jurai. With this being the final episode and looking back at the series, this Fairy War concept wasn’t as major of a focus as it really should have been. But considering this anime was using a still ongoing light novel series as its source material, it might explain why this element doesn’t feel as developed or as important as it should have. Perhaps more of a focus on this aspect is placed in volumes of the light novel that weren’t adapted for this anime series.

At least Mirei finally played an important role in the story in this final episode. For most of the series, she either only showed up briefly or was only mentioned in dialogue. I did have a problem with a line of dialogue she had with Sayumi, though, when she says they’ve both fallen in love with the same person. With the anime adaptation, I really didn’t see much that truly showed that Mirei was in love with Jurai, especially with how little she ultimately appeared in this 12 episode series. As someone who is only familiar with the anime, that line of dialogue just didn’t ring true for me.

And the ending for Episode 12 is such a non-ending. Again, 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.

Since the series was given such an open-ended non-ending, it does leave the door open to potentially make more episodes in the future. However, more often than not, series that have these open-ended non-endings don’t come back with more episodes. But if for some reason there was ever another season of When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace, I probably wouldn’t be in a hurry to watch more of it. In the end, there just wasn’t enough here to make me ever want to come back. Of the series I watched during the Fall 2014 season, my least favorites were When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace and World Trigger.

Additional posts about When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace:

2014 In Review: Fall 2014 Season

I’ve spent the past three days looking back at what I watched during the Winter 2014 season, what I started watching during the Spring 2014 season, and what I started watching during the Summer 2014 season. Today’s post will look back at the anime that I started watching during the Fall 2014 season.

Log Horizon 2: This is the second season of Log Horizon that I’d been looking forward to seeing since the first season ended at the end of the Winter 2014 season. I can say that as of right now, I have not been disappointed with how the series has progressed. From what I’ve seen so far of Log Horizon 2, we’ve gotten great character development for both Akatsuki and Shiroe. I’m looking forward to seeing how this series will progress as it continues in the Winter 2015 season. This will definitely be a title that will be featured in retrospective blog posts for 2015!

Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road: This is the second season of Yowamushi Pedal that I’d been looking forward to seeing since the first season ended at the end of the Spring 2014 season. I can say that as of right now, I’ve been enjoying Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road as much as I did the first season of Yowamushi Pedal. From what I’ve seen so far, there have been some great character development episodes for both Midousuji and Arakita. We finally got to see who won the second day of the Inter-High, and the race is on during the third and final day. A new team from Hiroshima was also introduced, but it seems like their importance was limited to just a handful of episodes during the Fall 2014 season. I’m looking forward to seeing how the third day of the Inter-High will progress as the series continues into the Winter 2015 season. This will definitely be another title that will be featured in retrospective blog posts for 2015!

World Trigger: This is a series I decided to watch because it’s a title I’m familiar with from Weekly Shonen Jump. I didn’t start reading this digital publication until sometime earlier in 2014, so I jumped way ahead into the story. I wanted to see World Trigger because I thought it would help fill in the gap that I have in the story so I could maybe better understand what I was reading in Weekly Shonen Jump. At the point I’m at in the anime, I’ve felt like there has been strange choices made in how episodes are structured, which has helped lead to a glacial pacing for the series as a whole. Also, the animation hasn’t been as strong as I had hoped it would be for an adaptation of a Weekly Shonen Jump title. It was recently announced that World Trigger is scheduled to run for 50 episodes, but I’m not sure I’ll be sticking it out all the way. At this point, I have decided to continue watching it through the Winter 2015 season; at that point, the series will be at its halfway point. If I still feel at that time that the series hasn’t gotten better, then I would consider dropping it in order to free up space on my viewing schedule.

Chaika –The Coffin Princess- AVENGING BATTLE: This is the second season of Chaika –The Coffin Princess-, which I had been looking forward to seeing since the end of the Spring 2014 season. I have to admit that it was a little more difficult for me to get back into the story than I thought it would be, since no recap was included at the beginning of Episode One. However, by the end of the episode, I had pieced a lot of things together and was starting to get back into the story. The series also seemed to be off to a decent start. Episode Two built nicely off of the story that was established in Episode One. At the end of Episode Four, there were just as many new questions being asked as the questions that were being answered. At the time, I hoped that the series would answers those new questions and tie up all the loose ends satisfactorily. After seeing the entirety of Chaika –The Coffin Princess- AVENGING BATTLE, I can say with certainty that it did. I was able to predict some of the events and revelations that were made over the course of this series. However, there were also twists that I hadn’t anticipated, so that helped to make the series an enjoyable viewing experience. Now that I’ve seen both Chaika –The Coffin Princess- and Chaika –The Coffin Princess- AVENGING BATTLE, I can say that I enjoyed the journey that it took me on as a viewer. From Chaika’s introduction and the setup of the series, there were always questions for the viewer to ponder and make the viewer anticipate learning the answers to the questions. I really came to care about many of these characters over the course of both of these series, and in some respects, I’m a little sad to see that their adventures are over.

When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace: This is a series that starts out with the main characters mysteriously getting supernatural powers as well as hints of an overarching story. There were also signs that this could probably be a “harem” series as well. As the series has progressed, it became more and more evident that this is ultimately a harem series and that the supernatural power element was something thrown in to make this more than a typical harem series. At least I have to give this series credit for creating actual characters for the members of the harem and not relying simply on having them fall into various character types. While I’m a little disappointed that was a harem series, I can at least say that this is better than Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara was.

SHIROBAKO: This is a series that starts out seeing a group of friends in a high school anime club producing their own short anime for their school festival. They make a promise to get together again someday to make their own anime. Two of the girls now work for an animation studio; one is an animator, while the other is a production assistant. Another member of the group is trying to break into voice acting, and a fourth one is working in computer graphics. The fifth one was younger than the rest, so she’s still in college; however, it’s her dream to become a writer. The series primarily focuses on Aoi, the one who is now a production assistant. Through her, the audience gets to see all the chaos and pitfalls that can take place behind the scenes of an anime production. And SHIROBAKO will be continuing in Winter 2014, so this will definitely be another title that’s featured in a 2015 retrospective!

Additional 2014 In Review posts:

When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace: Episode 11 – “Cupid Error”

When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace focuses 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. Six months later, they discover that student council president Mirei Kudo has also mysteriously acquired powers.

Like with Episode 10, Episode 11 takes place over summer vacation with Jurai spending time with two of the girls over the course of it. The main difference here is that instead of going to Sealand two times, he goes to the beach with one of the girls and then he goes to a festival with the other one.

Roughly the first half of the episode focuses on Jurai being on a beach trip that his family takes with Hatoko’s every summer. Hatoko reads a teen girl magazine with a “Love Manual for Summer at the Beach” and tries to follow what it tells her to do. As can be expected from a series like this, these actions don’t get Jurai to notice her any more then he already does. But when they have a talk later, Jurai tells Hatoko that having her by his side has saved him and that he thinks of her as more than just a friend. Hatoko takes this to mean that he’s interested in her romantically, but I personally don’t think that’s what he had intended. But during this conversation, Hatoko says she’s done some mean things to Tomoyo.

During the rest of the episode, Jurai spends time with Tomoyo at a festival. After spending time together at the game and food stalls, he takes her somewhere away from the crowd so they can talk. But instead of being a love confession like Tomoyo thinks, Jurai asks her about what Hatoko did to her. Tomoyo reassures him that what Hatoko did wasn’t that bad and that it’s something that’s between the two girls and shouldn’t involve him. She also admits to Jurai that she had failed the second round of the contest. During the fireworks, Tomoyo has a flashback of the times she’s spent with Jurai, and she finally admits to herself that she’s in love with him.

At the beginning of the episode, we get to see Tomoyo have a dream that confirms what I had already figured out: Tomoyo was the girl Jurai met in junior high that inspired him to become a chuuinbyou when she was out and about in a disguise. From Tomoyo’s reaction in an earlier episode, it was obvious that this was her, so this really wasn’t as big of a “reveal” as it could have been.

Right at the very end of the episode, Mirei (the student council president) finally plays an important role. She receives an unexpected visitor, summons the Literary Club to their club room over summer vacation, and then starts attacking them. From what’s seen in the preview for Episode 12, it appears that it will focus on a battle with the Literary Club members, Mirei, and Tomoyo’s brother’s group. The preview also clearly states that Episode 12 is the final episode of When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace.

At this point, I’m really not expecting any real resolution to the series, especially in regards to the harem angle. I understand that the light novel series this is based on is still ongoing so a true resolution isn’t going to be possible, but I’m afraid I’m going to be left unsatisfied with how the series concludes. I’ll know for sure when I see Episode 12 next week.

Additional posts about When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace:

When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace: Episode 10 – “Fool’s Labyrinth”

When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace focuses 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. Six months later, they discover that student council president Mirei Kudo has also mysteriously acquired powers.

Episode 10 takes place over summer vacation, and it focuses on Jurai spending time with two of the girls on two different trips to Sealand. The first trip is the one that Jurai promised to make with Chifuyu in Episode Nine. Kuki comes along with the intention of trying to make Jurai look bad in front of Chifuyu so she’ll lose her interest in him. Kuki tries three different plans, but they all backfire and make Jurai look good. But with how the third plan fails, Kuki comes to realize that Jurai isn’t as bad as she thought he was. In fact, she seems to develop an interest in him and has potentially joined the harem. And after seeing this episode, it feels like Kuki has become a more important character than Mirei. Mirei may be featured in the credit sequences, but she’s hardly appeared and doesn’t seem to be a major player in the harem.

But the most important part of this storyline is a serious conversation that Jurai has with Kuki while Chifuyu takes a nap. He stresses to Kuki that she needs to stay friends with Chifuyu, since the members of the Literature Club will be graduating before too much longer and going their separate ways. When I see Jurai in these types of moments, it reinforces that he isn’t simply a one-dimensional character and that he can have his serious moments. It’s also refreshing to see that Jurai understands the reality of the situation and is trying to look out for Chifuyu like a big brother.

Later, Sayumi calls Jurai at the last minute, telling him to come with her to Sealand. She has a pair tickets to go there, and claims that her sister Maiya bailed on her. But as we later see, this is a plan that Sagami hatched to help Sayumi get together with Jurai. Sagami has made it so Sayumi has to wear a white bikini that he got for her, and then claims that if it gets wet it will become see-through. This is supposed to provide comedy, since we see Sayumi go to great lengths to make sure the bikini doesn’t get wet. Personally, I didn’t find it to be that amusing.

But it turns out Sagami had lied to Sayumi for his own entertainment purposes. She gets mad and decks him, then declares she will no longer be his puppet. I nearly wanted to cheer when I saw this happen. But Sagami does something after Sayumi leaves: he takes out his phone and calls someone named Naoe Hagiura, who is supposedly a former member of F. Unfortunately, nothing further is touched on the subject after Sagami makes his call.

The best part of this episode for me was seeing Mako from Kill la Kill swimming in the pool in the background during one of the scenes at Sealand. It’s always fun to catch references to other anime. There may have been some other references in the episode that I may have missed.

At this point, it appears that When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace is a harem series, and that the supernatural element was simply a plot device to bring these particular characters together for the harem. This seems to fall into the same category as Kanojo ga Flag wo Oratera, but the main difference is that the characters are much better developed and are more interesting in this series. While I may not be much of a fan of these harem series, I have to admit that When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace is one of the better ones that I’ve seen. It’s not bad for what it is.

From the preview for Episode 11, it looks like we’ll be seeing Jurai spending time with Hatoko over summer vacation. At this point, I’m really not expecting too much more from the overarching supernatural story arc, since there are only two episodes remaining for the series. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that is a harem series first and foremost. With this resignation, I’ll be trying to go into the final two episodes judging them more from a harem angle than the overarching story that supposedly exists.

Additional posts about When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace:

When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace: Episode 9 – “Girls Approach”

When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace focuses 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. Six months later, they discover that student council president Mirei Kudo has also mysteriously acquired powers.

After making some serious progress on the overarching story in Episode Eight, that progress comes to a screeching halt in Episode Nine. There’s only one brief scene in this entire episode that focuses on the overarching story, and even then, that scene really did nothing to actually progress it.

Instead, Episode Nine focuses on the harem aspect to the point that it’s shoved into the viewer’s face. Tomoyo realizes she has feelings for Jurai, Hatoko tells Tomoyo about her own feelings for Jurai, Sayumi has an encounter with Sagami where he points out that he knows about her feelings for Jurai, and Chifuyu tells Kuki how she feels when she’s around Jurai.

A couple of things here. First, Sagami seems to insinuate during his scene with Sayumi that he’s not simply just a high school student; he keeps referring to himself as a “reader.” He offers Sayumi a deal to help her and Jurai get together. Well, this thing with Sagami seemed to come from completely out of nowhere, and I’m wondering if maybe he’s somehow affiliated with one of the groups involved in the Fairy War. Also, when Hatoko shares her feelings about Jurai with Tomoyo, she comes across as being extremely obsessed, almost to the point where she’d do almost anything to get rid of any competition so she can be Jurai’s “chosen one.”

I’m beginning to wonder if maybe this whole harem idea will end up having some kind of connection with the overarching story about the Fairy War. Could it be part of some machination of one of the sides to try to control the outcome? I’ll be very disappointed if the harem aspect doesn’t somehow tie directly in with the overarching story.

Also, this is yet another episode where the student council president is referenced but never actually makes an appearance. It makes me wonder if she was originally intended to be a more major character, but the story ended up evolving in a way where she couldn’t be a major player. Or perhaps she also has a tie with one of the sides of the Fairy War and will end up playing an important role in the final episodes of the series.

From what’s shown in the preview for Episode 10, it looks like the episode will continue focusing on the harem aspect of the series. With only two episodes remaining after that one, I’m almost afraid that the overarching story will have to be rushed in order to bring the series to its conclusion.

Additional posts about When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace:

When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace: Episode 8 – “Holmgang Battle”

When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace focuses 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. Six months later, they discover that student council president Mirei Kudo has also mysteriously acquired powers.

Episode Eight primarily focuses on providing the backstory that’s needed to finally start having some understanding about the supernatural abilities that appear in the series. It turns out that Kiryuu, Tomoyo’s brother, is very involved with the situation. While he isn’t the one providing the powers, he’s still a player behind the scenes. It’s revealed that there’s a Fairy War going on, and that humans are being given powers to fight each other for the fairies’ enjoyment. There seem to be two factions when it comes to the fairies, and that a faction known as “F” is fighting against the war. A fairy named Litia gives Kiryuu the task of crushing “F.”

Admittedly, it was hard pinpointing where this part of the story is taking place at first. But when a scene we saw earlier in the series shows up, where Jurai talks with Kiryuu in a restaurant, it indicated that what was being seen took place in the past. When Kiryuu and his group, Fallen Black, go to take down F and their trump card, “System,” they are surprised by what they find. It’s even more surprising what happens with System at the end of this scene.

The episode jumps ahead in time a couple of weeks, and ultimately returns to where Episode Seven had ended. Kiryuu has injured his eye, and asks Hitomi to hypnotize the healer in Jurai’s group and bring her to him. She made a mistake and hypnotized Hatoko. This explains why Hatoko had unexpectedly wandered off to a city she’s never seen before.

Jurai and the Literature Club are primarily focused on near the end of the episode, and Sayumi is shown trying to awaken her ability’s next stage in order to bring Hatoko back. After Sayumi succeeds in bringing Hatoko back, there are some important developments in regards to some of the Literature Club characters. With these developments, it appears that Jurai may finally be getting a clue to the fact that Hatoko has feelings for him. Also, it was good to see Tomoyo finally admit to the others about her dream of becoming a light novel author in order to help Hatoko better understand what had been going on between her and Jurai before Hatoko had run off.

While it was great to finally get the backstory and background information to bring various elements of the series together, it’s a little frustrating that this information wasn’t revealed until this late in the series. Too bad they couldn’t find a way to start introducing some of this information earlier, especially since the early part of Episode Eight was bogged down by so much exposition. There was a lot of information being thrown at the viewer in a short amount of time, and the sheer amount of information being presented could make it hard to digest at times. But even with that complaint, I’m still glad to see that the overarching story is finally being developed and fleshed out. However, I want to learn more about “F” and see them become an integral part of the story. Hopefully the remaining episodes of When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace will make sense and be able to bring the story to a satisfactory conclusion.

Additional posts about When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace:

When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace: Episode 7 – “Juggernaut On”

When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace focuses 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. Six months later, they discover that student council president Mirei Kudo has also mysteriously acquired powers.

Episode Seven focuses on Hatoko and her relationship with Jurai. Through flashbacks, we see that the two of them have been friends since they were kids. Also, we see that Jurai has been trying to recommend manga and light novels to her for a few years, but that she just couldn’t understand them or get into them.

Jurai is trying to help Tomoyo with her light novel writing, but has to keep evading Hatoko’s questions when she asks what the two of them are talking about in order to keep Tomoyo’s secret. She becomes so frustrated that the usually sweet and docile Hatoko just snaps. In her rant, she lets loose on how she doesn’t understand anything that Jurai is talking about, tells him to quit quoting people and things he’s only read about briefly on the internet, and asks him to explain things to her in his own words in a way that she can understand.

Wow. Just wow. I knew that she was being portrayed as not truly understanding what Jurai talks about, but I had no idea that she had these feelings and had been keeping them bottled up inside. And from what we saw earlier in the series, it isn’t surprising that Jurai’s inability to tell Hatoko about what he’s doing with Tomoyo was what ultimately triggered this blow up. It’s been pretty obvious that Hatoko has feelings for Jurai, so she’d feel threatened by him spending time with Tomoyo and not being told what they’re doing.

Hatoko runs off, and she manages to end up in a town she’s unfamiliar with. While she’s there, she runs into Tomoyo’s brother, who listens to what she has to say and tries to give her advice. But he does something near the end that seems to confirm my suspicions that Tomoyo’s brother appears to be related to this whole supernatural power situation. And we also see there are others who join him, so it appears there’s a group of them involved with something.

I’m hoping that now that we’ve had character episodes for the girls in the Literature Club and we’ve seen something that appears to finally be moving the overarching story forward, that the remaining episodes will focus on the overarching story. I’m also hoping that we’ll finally get to learn what exactly caused these characters to get their supernatural powers in the first place.

In this episode, I did notice one instance where the animation wasn’t quite as strong as we usually see in this series. Unfortunately, it was in a scene that, to me, was a rather important one. When Tomoyo is trying to knock some sense into Jurai as they’re looking for Hatoko, Tomoyo was drawn in such a way where there wasn’t as much detail or definition to her, so this made her look kind of flat. To me, this kind of weakened this particular scene, because I found myself focused too much on how wrong Tomoyo was looking instead of what was going on in the scene.

While it’s been good to get the main female characters developed, I’m glad to see that it finally appears that the overarching story will be moving along. I just hope that the writers aren’t forced to rush the overarching story in order to get it to fit in the remaining five episodes of the series.

Additional posts about When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace: