The story follows the story of a powerful anti-hero esper named Kyousuke Hyoubu that leads PANDRA, a band of espers against a society that generally doesn’t accept espers equally. Espers are commonly imprisoned or used by government organizations for their own personal gain. The story begins with Kyousuke breaking into an esper prison to rescue one of his PANDRA members that had been imprisoned there. While in the prison, he receives assistance from an inmate named Andy Hinomiya.
After successfully accomplishing the prison break, Andy decides to join PANDRA and assist Kyousuke with his goals of recruiting espers and trying to bring an end to humanity’s rule over espers. However, it turns out Andy has a different goal in mind when he joins the group. Overall, I found the story to be fairly good and the plot itself to be outstanding. I was intrigued by the plot and found it to be an interesting set piece on how unforgiving society can be towards people who can be considered different.
The strongest aspect of The Unlimited was its animation. I found the animation to be downright gorgeous. The character designs were precise, clear-cut, and reflected the personalities of each character rather well. However, where this series really shined was the atmospheric animation when an esper was releasing their power, like when Kyousuke or Yugiri were releasing their powers. It really did a great job of creating a feel that espers are all-powerful beings and provide a reason why they are feared in a normal human society. My jaw dropped at how gorgeous the animation was when Kyousuke turned off his limiter.
I have to give credit to Manglobe, they are on their A-game when they create dark, atmospheric anime like this one. This is not a sunshine and rainbows series. The animation is dark, gritty, and can get downright graphic at times. While I wouldn’t put it in the same category as a Deadman Wonderland for its grittiness or Ergo Proxy for its dark atmosphere, it seems to do a nice job of balancing the two. It’s actually impressive considering Shishou Igarashi (Director) and Jun Takagi (Chief Animation Director) aren’t the most experienced in anime directing. This was definitely a good stepping stone for their careers if they can continue to create animes as polished as this one from an animation standpoint.
The music and voice acting was also incredibly strong as well. The music really knew how to set the mood and I have to give a ton of credit to Koutarou Nakagawa for creating such an excellent soundtrack. Personally speaking, I have a lot of respect for his prior works that include Code Geass, Gosick, and Scryed to name a few. He brought out his best for this series as well and it paid off. The seiyuus were also remarkably well-cast, with most of the original Zettai Karen Children cast returning to their roles for this series. Kouji Yusa returned to his role of Kyousuke, which I must be glad for because he seemed to play the role of a mysterious, all-powerful esper perfectly.
Junichi Suwabe played the role of the eccentric, but naive Andy quite well and the young, up-and-coming Nao Touyama’s portrayal of Yugiri was downright adorable. I even got a laugh at how dynamic the cast members were. Aya Hirano played both Kaoru from The Children AND a young Kyousuke from flashbacks…and the scary part was I couldn’t even tell she was playing both roles until I read the cast listing. Just more proof that Aya Hirano is one of the best in the business. I will give Manglobe one thing, they do excellent cast work and even I have to admit, I got a chuckle out of the subtle Nostalgia Critic and Angry Video Game Nerd reference in one of the episodes.
Where The Unlimited fell a little short in my opinion, with the pun intended, was the length. Considering how detailed the plot was, it felt like there wasn’t enough time to hash out the characters. It was slightly difficult to get attached to the other PANDRA members besides the leads because their exposure was limited and the supporting cast aboard the Catastrophe didn’t get a whole lot of development. Although perhaps they received that development in the original series and I just wasn’t exposed to it, but it felt a little difficult to become attached to PANDRA’s team dynamic.
Considering the feel of the series, plot elements seemed slightly rushed at times. The team sort of jumped from one plot point to the next with little rhyme or reason. I also found the flashback backstory to be a little out-of-place and slightly mundane. I didn’t feel as though it added a whole lot to the story…or rather its focus didn’t add much. It did play a big role in the story as it wore on, but I felt its focus was a bit off since it didn’t seem to portray Saotome’s character motivations very well. The way segments were edited during the series, it seemed as though this series was longer, but editorial mandate required things to be cut altogether. “Cut-and-paste” is really the best way I can describe this series at times. It didn’t completely ruin my Unlimited viewing experience, but it was quite noticeable.
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