Psychic Academy

Psychic Academy

20140609-221057-79857276.jpgEveryone’s first day at school can be a bit of a chore: getting to know where your classrooms are, meeting your classmates, feeling that you don’t quite belong. Especially if you’re Ai Shiomi, a boy suddenly pushed into Psychic Academy – a school for those gifted with psychokinetic abilities or ‘auras’. He quickly meets up with his childhood friend Orina, the mysterious Myuu… and a telepathic bunny… and begins to see himself settling in his new surroundings.

That is until Ai’s older brother, Zerodaimu Kyupura Pa Azalraku Vairu Rua Darogu (just call him Zero, okay?), appears on the scene. Charismatic, cocky, and an extremely powerful psychic known to everyone as “Vanquisher of the Dark Overlord” (a title and a half), Zero is now also a teacher at Psychic Academy. Meek as he is, Ai finds that his older brother’s achievements cast quite a shadow over him. With his parents’ high expectations and everyone worshipping and swooning over his genius brother, Ai feels that his limited skills hardly justify his presence here. He can barely do anything that his peers seem to find effortless. As he learns about his powers, however, Ai discovers that he has a rare light aura. To add another spanner in the works, a group of researchers are experimenting with ways to artificially awaken dormant genes in humans to enable them all to have aura powers, heedless of the damage and danger they may cause.

Psychic Academy was one of the very first mangas that I read from start to finish. Illustrated by Katsu Aki, this 11 volume story might have been by first seinen manga. Back when I read it for the first time, over ten years ago, I was pretty impressed by it. Now… well. It’s certainly not the worst manga I’ve ever read, but when compared to lots of other similar mangas I read afterwards, it is lacking in quite a few areas.

To begin with, story and character-wise, everything is very strong. It doesn’t rush into introducing too many sub-characters at one time, and focuses on the main characters and their developing relationships. However, towards the end things begin to unravel a little erratically. So much is built up, so many revelations to be revealed that certain things you’ve come to enjoy have to suffer. In an attempt to address everything, reason and explanation are sacrificed in the action-packed rush. This rush isn’t even completely coherent. There are quite a few things which are left unexplained, not to mention drastic swings in character personalities. In this case, the ending is a classic ‘over-promise and under-deliver’ scenario.

However, there was quite enough going on to keep young, teenage me interested until the end. A lot of what I saw appeared very original to me at the time, but alas. I soon came to realise that the ‘special school for teens with superpowers’ is hardly a unique concept. It’s an interesting one, I’ll grant, but not unique. Don’t get me wrong – this isn’t a drawback. The main drawback I found about the Psychic Academy storyline, which is perhaps down to the sudden rush to try and explain everything, is that it uses death in such a way that a reader wouldn’t be blamed for thinking it was a cop-out. It cut the natural flow, and the unexplained questions, by just killing people. It was almost as if the manga-ka lost control of the characters, couldn’t decide what to do with them after they had served their main purpose, and scrapped them.

If I was doing this review ten years ago, it would have been different. However, I have since read some fantastic mangas which have unfortunately brought to light many shortcomings in Psychic Academy. However, it is an easy read and contains lots of classic supernatural/school elements which any budding otaku should know.