In the future, as people with ESP increase in numbers, so does the possible good and evil they can cause to society. The Japanese government establishes the Base of Backing ESP Laboratory (B.A.B.E.L.) a special esper organization tasked with dealing with situations that can't be resolved by ordinary means, including dealing with espers engaged in criminal activity. Kouichi Minamoto, a 20-year-old prodigy is assigned by B.A.B.E.L. to the task of supervising the most powerful espers in the country, a trio of gifted but mischievous 10-year-old girls known as "The Children."
Volume 1: Zettai Karen Children (pilot)
In the 21st century, people with psychic powers (espers), have become fairly common, and the BABEL is the branch of the Japanese government responsible for esper affairs. Japan's 3 most powerful espers are a trio of 10-year old girls, the Children. Hilarity ensues, along with a very awesome plot.
Amidst it all, trying to stop a 100% likely apocalyptic future, is a mentally-gifted but otherwise normal 20-year-old, Minamoto Kouichi. And seriously, if anyone deserves his perfect harem ending as a replacement for that bad future, it is this man. Literally his entire life is lived for the sake of helping his charges,
the Children, grow up to be helpful, productive members of society. He endures all manner of hardship over the course of the manga, including but not limited to: 1) Getting taken for a pedophile because he was 2) being sexually harassed by a 10-year-old 3) when the same 10-year-old wasn't slamming him into a wall with her psychic powers (he actually works out several hours a week to build abs to withstand this) because she failed 4) throwing a full-blown temper-tantrum to get him to buy her a toy, all of which pales in comparison to the time when 5) he was possessed by a psychic fly and dunked headfirst into a toilet. He endures this, largely without complaint (even putting his career as a researcher on hold), and does an amazing parenting job, raising the Children the best he can. He doesn't fear them getting angry and will teach life lessons when needed, but he is very conscious of their emotions and avoids hurting them. He gives them a real chance to live like normal kids, which, ironically given their non-normal status, is something they very much needed. His methods come into sharp contrast with those of the Children's previous supervisor, Suma, who had shock collars on them and used them often. Not only that, the manga continues long enough that we do get to see the Children begin to understand what he went through and show their gratitude, in a few heartwarming scenes.
And then there is his nemesis, Hyobu Kyouske, who does something similar – bringing persecuted espers, especially children, into his pro-esper extremist faction (PANDRA) and giving them a home. Hyobu is Minamoto's opposite, something of a Fagin archetype – sure, he's a terrorist, but he's protecting the children of PANDRA from a society that has severely persecuted them. Plus, there are far worse alternatives for a child esper, demonstrated in-universe by Black Phantom, a criminal syndicate that takes traumatized young espers and turns them into killing machines. Some BABEL-side characters recognize this and respect him because of it (to the extent that they pass up some legitimate chances to kill him and end the conflict), and some recognize the good he does but also believe that he does still represent a menace to society and needs to be stopped nonetheless, but their enforcement methods are limited because acting too harshly in dealing with esper criminals might persuade friendly espers (especially the Children) to defect. It's all a very tenuous and tangled moral balance. And it is delicious.
That's the thing about ZKC; the emotional depth is there, but only if you want to look for it. You don't need to look deep into the morals driving each character in order to enjoy the story or the comedy, but it enhances the serious aspect of the story significantly.
It is somewhat difficult to quantify the comedy of ZKC, but it will keep you laughing most of the time. There is certainly a lot of high quality material there, from the one time Minamoto got kidnapped and, ever the dutiful parent, gave his kidnapper a lifestyle makeover, to the other time where the guy with the animal possession ability gets forced into an extremely huggable baby seal body. The variety of character personalities plus the virtually limitless possibilities given by the various types of available superpowers plus an author not afraid to get creative makes for a nearly-flawless humorous repertiore, and this manga delivers. Brilliantly.
This manga is very, very enjoyable, and I recommend it to anyone who isn't totally turned off by lolis, because that might admittedly be it's one sticking point. Even if hate lolis, let this be your one series in that direction. There is fairly little loli fanservice, and there's a lot of fun to be had in reading this manga. Seriously, go read this manga for yourself. It's just crazy awesome both in terms of how hilarious it is and how much sense the characters make.
Every now and then, you find one of these type of mangas , that not only surpasses your expectations , it continues to improve as as the story continues.
To be honest , when i first started this series , I wasn't expecting too much , the name it self (embarrassed to made the same mistake with change 123) didn't lend to anything too exciting and story seemed pretty generic as well.
me tell you, i have never been happier to been proved wrong.
Not only is it a first class comedy , replete with an intelligent and entertaining story line , it also at the same time never fails to pack an emotional punch as well.
Its one of those rare mangas , that can have you laughing and going awww the next.
It does have more than its fair share or echiness and , loli humor , but as the same time , its a story about growing up , loyalty, acceptance and most Importantly love.
What makes this manga so unique as well , is not only do you see the characters (girls growing) , you see them have to grapple with life.Along with the realization, that not everything in life is black and white , and sometimes hard , even painful decisions have to be made.
Some people use to have some kind of prejudice about this series, just because the main characters of this manga are 3 little girls, and because of the name, which is actually very catchy, but doesn't tell you anthing about the series when you translate it. I myself was actually a little bit skeptical to ZKC at the begining, and not due to prejudice; however it only took 2 chapters for me to get interested on it and maybe 4 or 5 chapters to be completly hooked by it. The story is narrated in such a beatiful way, and the characters are so well presented
that you can't help but to empathize with them in just a few chapters.
The story is one of the strongest points for this manga; it tries to show, in essence, people who is different from the rest, how society takes these differences and, in contrast, how does this affect the personality of this different people as a result of society's reactions. Topics like: Racism, self integration, friendship, revenge, hatred, prejudice, tolerance, and a lot more are included is these manga's plot. The story shows different sides of a common problem; while some characters develop a personality full of hatred and resentment towards the ones who discriminate them, others try to overcome the prejudice they're vistims from, and the hardships that this carries, with the help of the people around them.
The antagonist lets us see the mistakes made on the past, and the protagonists show us the effort they make in the present to overcome a dark future.
The art starts being a little bit plain in the first chapters, but it improves very fast as the chapters keep going. It is easy to notice how the author starts to feel more and more comfortable with his characters and tries new things and new styles.
The design of the characters is very good and goes perfect with their personalities, which helps you to empathize with them more easily. The design of the scenes and the order in the pages is also good and is a great help to get involved with the situation and the events you're reading, and with the whole story.
The desing in general suits perfect for the content of drama and sometimes comedy that this series has; it can be easily appreciated in the cover page of each chapter.
The chracters are also a good point. We have "the children", the 3 little girls that protagonize this series; they're absolutely lovely, as the name suggest. You'll need just a few chapters to get hooked by their charms; this three girls have a lot of charisma and their different personalities make a good combination which will give you a lot of escenes of laugh and drama. Their personalities have a wonderful development and show a real growth; they grow magnificently along the series in both age and personality. The other characters also show a great growth, but mainly two of them:
-The guardian of the children (Minamoto) who is supossed to teach, protect and guide them, but sometimes ends by learning something from them or being protected by them. He, that once had similar problems due to prejudice, wants to raise these children to be good girls that could have the freedom to act and go wherever they want and be whatever they want. He goes from being a completely unconfident guy to be a reliable leader, and passes from being just a fool for the children to be the person they trust the most.
-The antagonist (Hyobu) who has a very detailed and well constructed personality; he has a huge impact on the story of this series and his growth within it is simply marvelous. You have a normal guy, a villian, a victim and a hero, all in one character. It is incredible how the author can change your perspective about this character that much by showing you his personality in such an smooth way.
I could keep writing about the others but I prefer that you judge them by yourselfs by reading them in the manga. If I can add something else in general, it would be about the psychic powers they have; there are mainly 5 types of super powers divided into 2 groups and 7 levels, which gives us infinite possibilities of a particular power for each character, similar to nen in Hunter x Hunter but more detailed.
If you're looking for a delightful manga which is light to read but has a lot of content, then this one is what you're looking for. ZKC has a wonderful and deep story, but narrated with the help of different approches. In one arc it can contain a little bit of drama, comedy, mistery, suspense and more. This combination is possible because the main point of the plot is a serious topic, which gives places to several dramatic, tragic and sad situations, but at the same time the daily life of the characters is that of a normal person which is seasoned with a good doze of funny situations. As a result, you'll have chapters that make you laugh like crazy, situations that will give you a lot of suspense and emotion, very touching moments filled with romance, a little bit of healthy/funny ecchi scenes and from time to time sad events that will make you shed some tears.
So if I were to talk about my enjoyment with this series, I could say that I have enjoyed so much that I have read it twice and I can't get tired of it. I still can remeber its chapters with joy. It just has so much to offer that you will find something that make you love it for sure.
In conclusion, this manga is a 10 out of 10 for me. A perfect combination of good design, wonderful story line, well constructed characters and enough seriousness along with a delightful comedy. All of this makes this manga a true piece of art that everyone could and should read.
I may have made some mistakes while writting this review, or maybe I was not clear enough to explain my thoughts, since this is the first time I write a review and also since english is not my native language, but this manga definitely deserves the effort to write a review about it; so I just hope this review could help you to figure out how awesome this series is.
I really don't recommend this manga. It was a major dissapointment while the basic idea could create a very good story. It was cheaply made, with typical things like violence and sexual themes put on an anime where the main characters are 10 year old girls, making a rather deformed combination.
Actually, I don't have any complains there. The story itself wasn't bad. Not very original, but satisfactory. It's about a future with espers where criminals have superpowers and the 10year olds stop them... not a bad way to approach a very common theme.
Not bad, really... but I'm not really good at judging artwork...
That was the
real turnoff. The characters are extremely annoying, too violent and with a superiority complex. Although that was for the purpose of comedy, I think it wasn't made right. I personally ended up hating the main characters.
This manga was intended to be primarily comedy. But I hardly gave a few smiles every now and then... plus, I really found disgusting the fact that it has a lot of ecchi content refering to 3 little girls.
I personally think it was a thing filled with bad taste and cheap standard themes.
It's also a bit too childish to be really read by teenagers but it also contains ecchi stuff that makes it inappropriate for children under 13 to read it. In other words, it's also a bit indecisive about its audience.
Perhaps I'm wrong and you would find it enjoyable. And I really think that if the writer gave it more attention, he could have made something very good. But in my opinion, this manga doesn't even count as average.