Anime, as a medium, does not leave me all that satisfied when it comes to the comedy genre. I can count around 4-5 comedy series that managed to get some enjoyment out of me. Two examples would be Cromartie High School and Nichijou. The former, except of being a top-notch comedy series with many bizarre happenings and wacky moments, is also an excellent parody of immeasurable things, including capitalism, gangs, the toll that technology takes on us people, and many many more. The latter is more of an incredible comedy with its fair share of wacky moments on the one hand, exquisite art on the other, also working as a successful parody of moe (K-on, Lucky Star, etc. You do know the deal, I bet).
Checking last season's line-up, quite the amount of series spiked my interest. I stumbled across this entry called "Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan" (I am fortunate because I am Greek, otherwise I would have to use "Psi"). What I got out of a first taste of the thingy was:
>5 minutes per episode
I backed away immediately when I read the two factors above. A short, and a comedy at that? All I got was an intuition that it would definitely fail. However, my prejudice got proved wrong. After pushes from several people, I decided to give its first episode a try. What I found out is that I could not stop pressing the "next episode" button. That's the moment when I said to myself that yup, Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan might have been able to measure up to the several anime comedies that I loved. It truly did, I presume. It even managed to refer to my given examples pricelessly.
The series is about your dude named Saiki Kusuo, who has a lot of psychic powers on his hands, ranging from telekinisis to reading minds to changing sceneries and perceptions of other people. This might sound awesome to some, but our man does not agree. He thinks that harboring all those powers is a hassle most of the times. Letting alone that he does not care about almost anyone, he just wants to lead a calm life, not get into the center of attention that would have been possible hadn't he been who he was, and not get involved with many kinds of people in a more personal manner. Unfortunately for him, that ain't gonna be the case, because he makes many encounters on the way.
There is not a specific plot we could speak about, because the series is strictly episodic, except in some cases where few-episode arcs are evident. The pacing is very fast, as expected from a short and wacky comedy at that, but not in a way that it might feel unnatural in a way. The series itself is quite random of course, but it manages to be satisfying when it comes to pacing and transitions. Especially the transitions, which fit incredibly well with the main point of the series, its all-around pleasing spontaneousness. In contrast with that, it usually takes place at Saiki's home and/or the school he attends.
In addition, Saiki-Kusuo no Ψ-nan manages to bring about a great sense of how cliches should be handled. The dude who wants to lead a peaceful life, the narcissistic girl, the eighth year syndrome pupil, the hyped and hyperkinetic youth, the perverted pal who also has psychic powers, the lad who can not think, moms and dads that fight a lot yet love each other. The whole run is plagued with anime cliches, something that usually does not work well. With Saiki Kusuo though, it was more than triumphant.
Consequently, we strive towards the character section. The whole cast is, for the lack of a better term, hilarious. Not as much the cliches they represent, but the interactions in between, and the situations they are orchestrated to follow. Whether it be slapstick, or wackiness, or long monologues that our main character tends to have, the show relies heavily on its characters. One or two jokes might be able to slip out of my line of perception, but other than that, the humor hits home. That is one thing that this series should not be missed for.
Even if it was not one of its main intentions to develop characters of course, some change between the starting and ending episodes can be detected in the long run. Still managing to representing cliches in a really pleasing way, Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan manages to make our tremendously fun cast to evolve, especially the main character. This change, as I would name it, is mostly evident towards the series' end. Along with this partial development come the emotional scenes, which work surprisingly well.
The art and animation are digestible for a short. There is this short episode which explains as of why all the characters have weird hair styles and harbor strange accessories and clothes in many of the circumstances, and how Saiki changed those things. (And then you might think about why he has those strange game machine-like thingies on his head.) Just thinking about that makes me laugh further more. The backgrounds are nice, though not something I would bother talking a lot about. Character designs, in general, are a joy to bestow, because of the factors mentioned above.
Soundtrack-wise, the opening is full of wack and a nice way to prepare for the short heaven that one single four minute episode might be. The tracks included are not all that memorable to me, to be completely honest, because I was way too busy noticing other things. There is no ending to speak of.
No doubts about it, I managed to enjoy Saiki-Kusuo no Ψ-nan to the fullest. Revealing one more counterpart of Saiki's life per second episode was really fun. The hilarious interactions were quite the sight. The humor, as in overall, smelled success, and some of the supernatural elements were interesting to say the least. I am more than glad to have watched this anime, especially when it did not take all that much of my time in the first place.
In conclusion, I am going to thank J.C.Staff for brightening my days with this piece. Following it for one season made it seem like it was something that was important for the anime industry. A really funny short that can bring many kinds of inventions to the table. Definitely one of the best series of 2016, along with JoJo, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, Mob Psycho 100 etc.
Thanks for reading this review, feedback shall always be appreciated. I am bound to upload more!