Nerawareta Gakuen Review

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This movie starts off in a cliche manner. Nerawareta Gakuen, or Psychic School Wars, is a misnomer. Not once did anyone have a psychic battle against one another, let alone a war. From what I saw, a new handsome transfer student brainwashes all the students that had an aptitude to do some little magic, and were sent out to bully those who do not have powers. This in turn led to the tyranny of the student council, who created an inquisition hellbent on reprimanding those who bring cell phones to school, because of course cell phones are the root of evil in a learning institution. Hypocritical I say. Of course, the underdog hero saves the day with his pervasive powers and changes the heart of the transfer student responsible. Turns out, humans were living on the moon in the future.

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The plot is stupid. Half of the time I didn’t even know what was going on. It starts of as a sort of slice of life, school romance with a touch of sci-fi but then, out of nowhere, cellphones are accused to be the spawns of devils and the reason why teens are unable to communicate efficiently. Magical powers and sparkly objects begin their work in damaging your eyesight by attempting to blind you at every turn. You suspect a love triangle, a love square? How about some conversation? Oh wait, no. Apparently this has something to do with telepathy. Or no wait, physics? Which is it?

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Oh look! There’s a back story between the neighbor chick and the main guy! Wait, I thought they were just neighbors? Where’s all this water coming from? Why do we need to see this scene? Am I supposed to be reading into this? It’s symbolism isn’t it? No? It’s just pretty? Wait a minute- are they trying to throw in some Shakespeare in here? Is there going to be fighting? This seems to have potential but seriously what’s happening? And these questions are what lead to headaches- which is precisely what you’ll have after you’re done watching this. So please, for your concern, I suggest you watch this movie on your off-time, during a free day, and certainly not when you’re ill because then you’ll just suffer from migraines.  

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The characters are undeniably second rate- the female ones more so than the males. While at the beginning they seem unexpected and interesting, they quickly fall into the routine of what every other anime school girl/boy does. I particularly detest the female characters’ behaviors on some occasions. The neighbor chick (Ryouura Natsuki) is an emotional wreck- and not even the hot kind. She’s ridiculously agile, jumping everywhere, and teasing one moment and the next she’s slapping the main guy (Seki, Kenji) for one, naive statement before crying and running off despite the fact she’s the one who just shoved him to the side of the road. I really despise the fact that violence is displayed acceptable by female anime characters simply because she’s doing it since they’re ‘close’ and ‘joking’. It’s not funny, it will never be funny, and personally, I would never want to be friends with someone who smacks me every chance they get.

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The second girl (Harukawa, Kahori) is another lackluster piece of recycling. She’s shy, has big boobs, is in the student council, does music and surfs in her part time, is friends with the violent neighbor chick, and interested in the transfer student (Kyougoku, Ryouichi). We see these two talk more, bond over the piano, and this girl goes on her merry little way- gasping dramatically at everything he says and clutching her body parts as if- despite being under the pretenses that they’re trying to display her as nervous and cute- she’s coming across as someone who’s being turned on for the first time. It’s sort of awkward to say the least, and I couldn’t even spare a pitiful smile for her despite having a soft spot for quiet characters.

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But perhaps I’m being too harsh, the magical guy seems to be rather intriguing after all and he’s got that mysterious aura going on too. Maybe he’ll turn out to be evil or even cross the line into the gray area an– oh nope, there he goes. He starts preaching about the ‘kokoro’ as its some sort of heart condition people must be made aware of… And, now he’s glowing.. Finally, the main guy. Well, let’s see- how would you define a guy who lets himself get beat senseless by his female neighbor/childhood friend, continually forgets to zip his pants, breaks windows in attempts to apologize for something which he hasn’t even done, and walks into a council room of people wearing a horror which even speedoes can’t outdo, puts his hand in there, pulls out a cell, and throws it across the room while uttering some dramatic line that I’m pretty sure was supposed to add to the plot had we not all been busy screaming no? You don’t define that sort of guy. You give him the one eyed twitch before getting the hell out.  Overall, the characters aren’t horrifyingly annoying to the point where you want them all slaughtered, but they are rather mediocre, slightly disturbing, and highly disappointing because they had some essence of potential.

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It’s truly the art that keeps you watching and still hoping that there’s some thread of story line you haven’t picked up on. The color palette is gorgeous and everything is so shiny and clean and bright that you begin to appreciate your eyesight- even when you’re being blinded by the bubbles, rays of the sunset, odd glowing magical items, and school floorboards. Movement is fluid, and it leaves you feeling fresh and wholesome with its incorporation of nature in every aspect. You’ll even pause or replay some parts in order to appreciate the hues. Overall, it’s magnificent. Consider making some screenshots. Just as wonderful as the art. With soft piano (played by the transfer student, of course), the music comes across as subtle and easily blends in with the feeling provided by whatever scene is playing. Voices, tapping, the blowing of the wind- all are displayed to near perfection. Any vocals you hear are softly sung and blissful to say the least.

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So, should you watch it? On boring, event-less days during which you are healthy, sane, feeling as if you could care less about story lines, and prepared to let the confusion mold itself into a ball that rolls off your back with a shrugging ease. It’s not a bad movie, but it’s definitely not something you’d want to share with your friends when hanging out for fun. It’s an anime you’d watch twice in order to appreciate the animation once again and perhaps attempt tackling whatever mumbo jumbo is thrown at you- crafting it into a plot you can actually comprehend without having to be part of that niche group that read the novel (who knew there was a novel?), but it’s not a film you’d consider worth mentioning as an award-winning production since it clearly did not make it a goal to cater to the general audience. All in all, give it a shot, but keep your expectations low- even those of the art and music, just so you’ll have something to be pleasantly surprised about.

 

 

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