Ran is a bright and energetic first-grader in junior high school who possesses supernatual abilities. Together with Midori (her friend who also has supernatural powers) and Rui, the threesome are constantly embroiled in mysterious circumstances. Ran is troubled by her powers because it seems to spark off the ill intentions of people in contact with her. However, with the support of her family and peers, Ran learns to deal with her 'other' side and accepts who she is. The threesome also learn how to team up as a whole and solve these mysterious events.
Telepathy Shoujo Ran is a series that had intrigued me for a while but I had always made excuses not to start it. Because of my interest in it, I did come in with a certain level of expectation and while it certainly is on a whole a pretty solid show the ride was a bit uneven.
The overall story in Telepathy is both the best and worst part of the series. While there really isn’t an overriding plot, the general theme is pretty interesting and in many ways unique from most anime of this kind. The story centers on Ran, a seemingly
normal middle school student who suddenly finds herself able to read minds and possessing other strange powers. In a turn that is a bit different from most series, the plot focuses more on the feelings of fear and isolation of being different from everyone else and how people's impressions of you would change if they found out. While the story is generally light-hearted and upbeat, this theme permeates the entire anime and is the basis for most of the stories. At times the drama is pretty intense, particularly when it comes to Ran's friend Midori who shares her powers. The conflict between the two of them and the development of their characters (particularly Midori) as the series progresses is without a doubt the best part of the entire show.
However it’s not all good. As I mentioned, the series is uneven and that is due mostly to the story. While the beginning portions of the show are extremely interesting as well as portions later on that have to do with Midori's character development, too much of it feels a bit too much like mindless fluffy filler. Many of the stories are monster/freak of the week fare and the only thing that makes them interesting at all is Midori's antics. Though of all the series faults the one that annoyed me the most was the eco-rant and violence in the last story arc of the series. While I have no problem with message stories, this came across as a lecture and really was inappropriate. Though the overall ending seemed to tie things together, I really hate feeling like I am being preached to.
By far, the characters make this series worth watching. As a lead, Ran is pretty typical. She is an earnest and idealistic girl we are used to seeing in anime. She is a bit vanilla but despite that she is going to be the one most people will be able to relate to. Shockingly she is surprisingly normal (despite her telepathic powers) and unlike a lot of anime characters she actually has a normal home life free of perverted brothers and fathers or dead or missing parents completely. It's kind of a shame that I seem to have to point out normalcy when it actually occurs in anime given how rare normal is. But I think it’s refreshing to see a family like this instead of using it for cheap laughs or tired drama plot devices.
Midori however really steals the show overall. While she starts off as a villainess her growing friendship with Ran and their personality conflicts really sets her apart. Her personality could best be described as a closet tsundere. While she puts up a facade of being the demure and elegant rich girl while in reality she is a crabby, foul mouthed glutton. Her crush on Ran's older brother Rin is also quite amusing. However it is the deep emotional scars under the surface and the development of her character over the series that really sets her apart. Midori's experiences is in many ways is what Ran herself feared the most. The rejection of Midori by her mother when she found out about her powers shaped her whole outlook on life but through her friendship with Ran and helping others she is able to come to grips with her powers and her mother.
Rui rounds out the rest of the main cast. He is also the least interesting to me. He is your typical effeminate anime male who mostly comes across as an emotionless robot. I suppose you could call him Ran's boyfriend and while you can certainly tell that he cares and likes Ran a lot there is little change in how he appears to feel about anything really from the first episode to the last.
The supporting cast is pretty solid. Ran's family is refreshingly normal but because of this they aren’t particularly interesting either nor do they really appear much either. The only exception would be her brother Rin, who has the most screen time. They provide bits of levity and comic relief, though perhaps ultimately end up rehabilitating Midori the most from her emotional scars. Since a lot of the stories are a bit standalone most characters appear once and don’t return again.
Artistically, Telepathy is good though not spectacular. The characters are suitably proportioned for their age groups and realistic. That being said it does feel a bit plain and bland. This is not really a bad thing, as I kind of liked the more down to earth and realistic style but given how flashy a lot of series are some people may find it visually dull. Vocalist Chara does an excellent performance with the OP to the anime which I felt fit the show wonderfully. The ending is less spectacular. Overall the voice acting is solid and there is little to complain about, or compliment either for that matter.
I find myself feeling both rewarded and disappointed with this show in the end. I think it had potential to be much better but at the same time it is never bad either. The repetitive stories and environmental raving at the end is a definite negative however this is offset by the great leading cast. It’s a pretty safe series in that it is unlikely to be hated by anyone but equally unlikely to be loved either.
Jinkies! I have to admit that I was rather surprised by Telepathy Shoujo Ran, as I expected something along the lines of Mokke or Mushishi, and instead I was immersed in a supernatural anime version of Scooby Doo (minus the annoying dog - thankfully!).
Telepathy Shoujo Ran started life as a series of light novels by Asano Atsuko that were collectively entitled Telepath Shoujo Ran Jiken Note (or Telepthathy Girl Ran Incident Notes). The series was popular enough for a manga adaptation to be made by Ida Toshitsugu which were serialized in Shounen Sirius magazine. The manga was well received by audiences, which encouraged the
production of a 26 episode anime series which was by NHK.
The anime version of Telpathy Shoujo Ran is essentially a slice of life, supernatural cum mystery series. The story begins with Isozaki Ran, a young girl who has just begun junior high school. She is a rather upbeat and energetic girl who is a member of the track and field club, and is in love with her childhood friend Ayase Rui. One day she suddenly hears a voice which simply says "Found You!", and it's from here that her adventures begin.
The owner of the voice is Naha Midori, a girl the same age as Ran, who transfers to Ran and Rui's school as she wishes to test Ran's powers. Midori is very clearly hostile towards Ran and Rui, and pretty much everyone else, at the start of the show, but she is pulled along by events in the same way that Ran is until the two become firm friends.
The series is actually rather well animated, and the characters are designed to be individuals rather than posessing a generic face and body (unlike so many other shows). The scenery is very well envisioned, as are the various dreamscapes and ethereal planes that appear in the show. A nice touch that was added to the anime was the ability to distinguish whether Ran or Midori was in a heightened emotional state by the change in their aura when using their powers.
Sound for the series was also well done, epsecially Midori's attempts to hide her usage of Kanji in everyday conversation. The VAs did rather well with their respective characters, and managed to make them sound like individuals on the whole.
The OP is a nice mellow J-rock track sung by a breathy voiced songstress (if anyone knows the name of the song then let me know). The ED is a more typical J-rock ballad featuring Rui running along a beach towards Ran.
On the whole, the characters in the anime were rather well done. The main characters of Ran, Rui and Midori, along with Ran's older brother Rin to a certain degree, form the core of all of the stories in the series. There is a certain amount of development given to both Ran and Midori, as they are the two most omportant characters, however I felt that both Rui and Rin needed more development by the end of the show, especially given the fact that Rui seems to act exactly the same as he did when the show begins. Rin is a bigger case for development, especially as Midori has a major crush on him. There were numerous occasions where I wondered why they didn't show him actually being aware of her feelings (which are blatantly obvious by the way her personality changes whenever he's around). Both Rui and Rin needed a few more episodes to flesh out their characters, and it would have been nice if there were more episodes that explored Rui's power and it's uses.
That said, I did like both Ran and Midori on the whole. I found the constant arguing between the two to be a nice change of pace to the typical "friends forever" scenarios, and add this to the fact that Ran and Midori had two very different childhoods and you have a formula for some good character growth. Ran is very obviously the "golden girl" - always nice, polite, kind, etc, whilst Midori is very much dysfunctional because of her childhood. The show makes a great play about the differences between the two, especially during the first few episodes with Momoko.
I was actually surprised by how much I did enjoy this series, and I'd recommend it to fans of Mokke, or quasi-supernatural romance shows like Air, Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~, Wind - A Breath of the Heart, Kanon, etc, although Telepathy Shoujo Ran has more mystery and less romance.
The thing that I was most surprised by whilst watching this show though, was the number of times I expected to see Scooby Doo make an appearance, and how often I expected to hear "And I would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for you pesky kids!"
Many people have overlooked or dismissed this anime. At first glance it seems rather bland. It's pleasant and cute. It has no sex to speak of. There's nothing most people would find offensive about it, even for their children to watch. In fact, what it is, is the perfect anime for young girls before they are ready for young adult material, but after they are children. I'm no expert in defining what age watches or reads what these days, so I am not going to give specific ages. The basis of my opinion is that it has
two cute girls (not the moe cute type, the real girl cute type); a genial, somewhat nerdy older brother, who is not a great catch in the looks department but is very nice; and a male friend who is cute as someone in the junior high age range is, in the same way that the girls are cute. There are many comedic moments, and the main story is that of discovering that there are other people that will accept the person you are, even if you were rejected in the past. The individual episodes or story arcs are occult or horror mysteries, not terribly gruesome, but just like a ghost story kids will tell at a slumber party or around a campfire to amuse each other. There are even hints of romance among the main characters, without much overt demonstration of it. The general mood is one of light-heartedness, with the reminder that there are serious issues to be confronted in growing up.
The opening and closing animations are very attractive to young girls just discovering hanging out with friends, going shopping, or trying on clothes; the closing sequence is a bit romantic. The musical styles of the opening and closing songs are a bit unusual but have a more modern and original pop style than is usually seen in anime. All in all I recommend it highly for young girls especially, but I think other people can enjoy it too.
Story: So the story is mostly solving mysteries with the help of the psychic powers the girls have- specifically supernatural mysteries seek out our main character Ran through telepathy so they get caught up in it. Some of the stories involve ghosts, murders, myths, animals, etc. There is a diversity of mysteries that aren't very predictable. I would rank it higher except it was pretty repetitive. Almost every episode (some of them were a bit longer lasting 2-3 eps) was them solving some form of mystery one way or another. There was obviously character building and interactions as well but yeah. Also the ending two
episodes got pretty wacky. I won't go into detail but I think they should've just ended it on a more casual note with the same pace and stakes as the rest of the anime but instead they wanted to go out with a bang and created this enormous situation that seemed way to grand and out of place. Still had a cute ending though.
Art: Basic. Nothing bad or great about it really. The quality was consistent and there was no 'same face syndrome' which is all I ask for in an anime to be honest. The character designs were good too and it is nice to have an anime that doesn't give crazy hair and eye colors. But there were no scenes that were absolutely gorgeous or anything like that.
Sound: I liked having a main character with a kansai accent- that is not very common. The voice acting was good, though Rui really didn't have many changes in the pitch of his voice. I wouldn't be able to differentiate his serious voice from his happy voice etc. But he was a pretty mellow character so it might've been done one purpose. The OST was very well done as well.
Character: I loved the characters! They worked well together and each character had a very different personality. There really wasn't much background or character growth though, except for Midori. That isn't necessarily bad though, but for a 26 episode series they could've had a few episodes that focused less on the mysteries and more on the characters. For example: we almost never see them interacting with their classmates- only with characters involved in mysteries.
Overall: I think this is a hidden gem anime that everyone should give a chance and I think it is age appropriate for everyone!