When I first started watching this series, I originally thought, “Oh, it's just another anime with cool guys and girls using superpowers and flying around like Superman-wannabees.”. Of course, that was before I watched its parent story, Zettai Karen Children. But more so, it was before I fully embraced the spinoff known as Zettai Karen Children: The Unlimited - Hyoubu Kyousuke. This new piece of work that Manglobe is presenting here could be defined as their latest line in their evolution of supernatural phenomenon. In fact, Zettai Karen Children: The Unlimited takes supernatural with a world of super powers and transforms it into profound psychic tale starring....
The one and only Hyoubu Kyousuke
Zettai Karen Children: The Unlimited - Hyoubu Kyousuke is a spinoff the original Zettai Karen Children. It is presented by Manglobe, a Japanese anime studio, who is known for some of its other works involving supernatural such as Deadman Wonderland, Ergo Proxy, and The World That God Only Knows. And now here we are with their latest presentation. Now, this series can spell out a lot of questions for potential fans. One of most common ones may be something along the line of, “Do I need to watch the original Zettai Karen Children?” From my perspective, it is not necessary but I would say that it can open some insight as well as background to this spinoff. But of course, this isn't the parent series. This is UNLIMITED featuring Hyoubu Kyousuke as the star of the show.
The way the series is adapted is quite a peculiar one from my point of view. Even from the starters, we can clearly see that Hyoubu Kyousuke is not your typical hero. Rather, he can be seen as an anti-hero with the way he dresses, the way he acts, the words he speaks, and the action he commits. With his silver jet hair and floating around the city, he is a man of many mysteries especially behind that devious smile. Even from the beginning, he seems to have devious plans from his head. For example, he has himself taken prisoner on purpose for the reason to save one of his own partners in crime. He often thinks before he acts and is calculating toward his goals. Additionally, Kyousuke seems to be a man with a brilliant mind and often plans strategically in order stay ahead of his adversaries. As the leader of the mysterious organization, P.A.N.D.R.A, Kyosuke shows why he is the leader with his ruthlessness when events calls for it. He really is a star of his own show here folks.
Having seen the original series, Zettai Karen Children, this spinoff originally put me on odds side with Kyousuke. In fact, he is an antagonist from the original title. Here, he is portrayed as a protagonist. (although I see him more as an anti-hero) I found out the easy way during the first few episodes when Kyousuke is able to pull off his plan in his own 'heroic' effort. With that, he even meets a new friend by the name of Andy Hinomiya. He has a mysterious power of his own that can be compared to a certain unlucky protagonist from another series. I won't spoil here so watch more to find out. At any rate, he is introduced as an anime original character who joins P.A.N.D.R.A. His friendship with Kyousuke seems to be based on both fear and respect. Yet, they do work hand-in-hand and often times gets the job done. Speaking of anime original, there is the cute Yuugiri. She is a strange girl with the ability to read minds but that often puts her at odds with society. She is even viewed sometimes as a 'monster' for just being an esper. This isn't surprising though as the world often sees those who are special regarded as being a threat to society. Among others of the team includes includes some returning characters from the original series such as You Fujiura, Momiji Kanou, and Shirou Magi. They make up the firepower of the team and gives P.A.N.D.R.A a reason to being so feared and dominant.
So, this spinoff takes the setting in a more dark city atmopshere as opposed to the 'family oriented' atmosphere that the original Zettai Karen bought to us years ago. Honestly, who remembers that stuff anyways? In most of today's anime series, the market often aims at viewers for fan service, gore, and those romance subplots. Thankfully, this series avoids most of that and aims directly towards the story along with its strong cast of characters. With his name being set as the title, it is no surprise that Kyousuke gets the most attention even through the flashback scenes we see in later episodes. The other characters aren't omitted either as they all get his or her own little spotlights.
The story focuses mainly on the organization that Kyosuke sets up. His idea is to save Espers of his own kind because the way society ostracizes them. In fact, Espers in this spinoff are not seen as saviors of the world but as harbingers of destruction. It can easily be taken the fact even from the pilot episode given Andy's treatment behind that prison. It's cruel for them just because they are “different” from others. The way I see this though is an utter misunderstanding. In fact, some of the people who treats the Espers themselves can be seen as the real monsters to society. It's irony at its very best. However, this shouldn't be entirely be blamed on such trivial accusations that Espers are evil. There have been facts which proves the existence of espers to be a threat in the case of criminals in the series. As a matter of fact, Kyosuke's father ran into a case many years ago that changed his outlook on espers forever.
The series seems to lack the ultimatum for its plot. I guess the long story short here is that this spinoff contains way too many mysteries. It starts off fast and keeps its pace here and there. As mentioned before, Kyousuke acts with a plan through his head and cunning strategies. But most of the time, I find that this is almost redundant. The guy is nearly unstoppable and presented as being a boss. His powers of flight, telekinesis, and super strength is overpowered as he takes the skies and dominates in most of his fights. Even from the original series, Kyousuke is calculating and manipulative with his actions. In this spinoff, he is no different and often plays his plans like a chessboard. The pieces are his organization but rather than using them, Kyousuke plays the role of a leader leading them through missions.
The action of the series is also full throttle and packed with explosive warfare. It doesn't run through egoistic dialogues and strange gags but gets straight to the point. Otherwise, it does occasionally lack a bit of flavor as it just seems stale. Additionally, I find the characters' designs to be a bit generic. With the lack of fan service, the characters' clothing makes its impression through..generic designs. Their seemingly lack of attractiveness in their outfits also makes their stance a bit dull. The result often leads to a repetitive fight scenes and in general, a lack of flavor. If they were so 'badass', why not go all out and make the skies your God?
Oh wait, they don't need to do that since being OP does all that for them already.
In terms of overall visuals, I thought the series did a great job here. Taken on the opposite side of the original series, Unlimited makes its way of with more of a cutting dark age background. It's not on a dystopian level but gets its point across in that the world the espers live in is not a paradise. The artwork of the city in fact reflects more of a 'gotham' like atmosphere, one where there are criminals and people who prejudices against others just based on personal outlooks.The characters' design in particular Kyousuke show that they are indeed not normal. I mean, look at that silver hair and you tell me if you see that often in real life. It's definitely not something you see every day.
The soundtrack of this spinoff makes a strong impression on me. Its organ plays and style of choice in using more of a dramatic tone enhances the theme of a dark series as opposed to the family-oriented Zettai Karen Children. In other words, most of the soundtrack is serious because the series makes its way of being darkier, edgier, and sexier. (in that Unlimited way) The OP song LΛST RESOLUTION (for some reason performed both in English and Japanese), shows the revolution in which Kyousuke sets towards those who are a threat to espers. Oh and those various ED songs? Pleasure to my ears.
Overall, this underrated series gets a score of “8” from me. I don't know about you but Unlimited sure got my attention. No, it's not because I watched the original series so I can get a taste of the spinoff. But rather, the characters, setting, and the general mood of the story gives a more defined way of the psychic world. Despite having some generic/shounen fight styles, I feel that this series pulled it off right. It doesn't seemed to be forced and balances itself well between its subplots. Hell, even the flashback arc was an entertaining watch. Ultimately, I would like to ask people to give this series a shot. It's not perfect but a definitely a way to make your time pass by. At least it did for me. After all, time isn't unlimited so make use of it wisely. This series right here is something you should spent that time on.