The storyline to Psychic School Wars didn’t really capture me. It’s a time travel drama, with Ryoichi Nyogoku travelling back from a future where the human race is almost extinct, living only on the moon. He has psychic powers, as does a boy from the present day named Kenji Seki. Kenji’s neighbour also used to have powers, but gave them up in some kind of a bargain for Kenji’s life. I have to admit to not being a massive fan of this kind of stuff unless it stars Michael J Fox, and I tend to find it all a bit confusing and not particularly engaging.
Much better is the romantic storyline, but then again that’s says as much about my viewing preferences as anything, because it’s not a particularly original story, just a standard love triangle… well, love square I suppose. Kenji’s neighbour who has known him forever, Natsuki, is in love with him. He is in love with a pretty girl (who has never had powers) named Kahori Harukawa, and she falls in love with Ryoichi at first sight. So yes, it’s one of those where everyone is in love with the wrong person, and everyone is oblivious to everyone else’s feelings. I am a sucker for that kind of thing, as long as there is a happy ending. You will need to watch beyond the end credits to find out if that happens here or not.
So the story isn’t anything to write home about, but this still managed to be one of the best films I have ever seen. Why? Well, simply put, there are two main things I look for in an anime: a great story and great animation. I can enjoy a great story with average animation. I can also enjoy an average story with great animation. If neither of those things are present and correct, then there’s nothing to draw me in. Psychic School Wars is an average story, but the animation… wow, the animation… it’s breathtaking.
I’ve seen some beautiful anime movies, not least of all the best that Studio Ghibli has to offer, but this tops them all. The scenery is gorgeous, but it’s not just that. It’s like the animators made sure that every scene bursts with colour. Even scenes set in the school come alive, with light flowing through the school’s stain glass windows. The colours are rarely naturalistic, with outdoor scenes tending to be set at times like sunset so the sea can be red or whatever. Maybe it’s because my colour vision isn’t perfect and I thrive on bright colours in an anime, but whatever the reason this was just utterly gorgeous from beginning to end. If anyone doesn’t think anime is a form of art, they need to watch this movie. It’s so beautiful, and runs to nearly two hours, that you become almost fatigued by the visual feast. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.
So this may not be the most exciting film in the world, but there is something for everyone here. If you’re a sci-fi fan you’ll probably appreciate the timey wimey stuff. If not, you’ll probably enjoy the human drama and the romantic misunderstandings. Neither of those things are likely to blow you away, but everyone can surely appreciate the quality of the art. In the end, I didn’t really care about the story. I was just happy to sit back and appreciate the sheer genius that must have gone into producing something as visually sublime as this exquisite anime.
There is a dub on the DVD, but the following subbed trailer will give a good idea of the visuals. RP