When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace Review

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Club shows, harems, and gifted children with dangerous powers is nothing really new in the realm of anime.  Despite the stigma, when this title hit the Fall 2014 line-up, it brought forth a unique flavor that could potentially set itself aside from the busy crowd.

e1commonplace6Story
Andou is quite an odd fellow.  Most would define him as a chuunibyou, or someone with a childlike imagination that leads him to believe in supernatural powers and grand adventures in a modern and normal world.

While expressing his own truth and the chance of supernatural powers existing in the real world to his literature club, suddenly the entire room fills with light. Turns out that on that day the entire literature club was granted supernatural powers for unknown reasons.

They keep this fact to themselves and never use them in public. Instead they continue their normal lives while only occasionally experimenting with the progression of their powers in an alternate dimension created by one of the girls Chifuyu. Besides her, Hatoko can control elements, Sayumi can restore things to their original condition, Tomoyo can slow or stop time, and Andou can summon a useless shadow flame.

e1commonplace2Now I’ll be the first to admit that I’m easily turned off by club shows. I’ve just seen too many of them. Add on to that the typical archetypes and harem elements in this show and you have a formula for a quick drop by me. Except this show manages to do quite a few things to change my perspective rather quickly.

To begin, the show has a host of likable characters. The staple loli has a soft wit and is lovable. The tsundere has an interesting side to her and she’s not as loud as most tsundere types. Then there’s the protagonist and his chuunibyou antics that create some entertaining moments.

It’s a formula that spells for good times, however it’s not all roses. Layered in the background is a competition of sorts, except it’s not really touched on until the final episodes. To add to this useless addition at such a late time, nothing ever comes of it. To be honest, the powers in this show have no real significant use to the series. They are rarely used but a handful of times.

e1commonplace8Though this odd fact is surprisingly a sign of good writing. Even though they have powers, the powers don’t define the show. Rather the presence of powers is what leads the characters to accept the personality of the main character by breaking down barriers that separated characters.  It’s in that element that proves magical powers don’t necessarily mean violence and battles but (shockingly) advancing the characters.

While comedy is a big part of this series, I was more interested in the deeper moments of the show. Touching on friendships, trust, and more importantly, understanding. At one time, a character had a very powerful breakdown that took me completely off-guard. We’re not talking about huge development or game changing stuff, but it was still good nonetheless.

Animation
Taking into consideration the setting and lack of many battles or use of powers, the necessity for high visuals isn’t expected here. Despite that, the character designs are well done and the animation is good. On the rare case of e1commonplace7them using powers, it was done very well.

The only real issue I take in the animation was a rare occasion where the style seemed to shift enough to change the feel of the show itself. Randomly the characters would become overly animated and silly looking. It stood out and seemed off-putting.

Verdict
Despite my early worries, Supernatural Battles became quite an enjoyable show that I found little to complain about. Sure there was a side story that was never touched on and many could find the lack of power use to be an odd thing, however in the end I felt that the show pulled something interesting off. Making a show about powers that only uses it as a presence rather than a focus.

Mixed in with that was some fun comedic points, cute characters, fun interactions, and a likable cast. It all adds up to a show I can recommend, as long as people aren’t actually looking for supernatural battles (oddly enough).

Good

REVIEW VERDICT:
Good

Goods:

  • Surprisingly serious at times
  • Likable characters
  • Unique direction despite premise

Bads:

  • Feels like little was solved
  • Animation sporadic at times
  • Overarching plot was never touched
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Co-Founder of OtakuSpirit.com and Co-Host of the OtakuSpirit Animecast. A huge fan of anime since the early 1990s, consuming over 800 shows. While he's late to the collecting scene, he's found a lot of joy in filling his DVD/Blu-ray collection as well as collecting figures. Once a week, he posts unboxing and feature videos on anime goods to YouTube.