Tokyo ESP Vol. 1 (Omnibus) by Hajime Segawa

*This Review is Spoiler Free*

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Someone once said: There are only two ways you can live your life. Either you live your life as if things like miracles don’t ever happen, or you live your life as if perhaps everything is a miracle.

This has turned out to be one of my most anticipated reads this year! Say nothing for all the gorgeous covers, this has been a very interesting story. The anime adaptation by the same name is what first thing to get me onto the manga (which is complete in it’s country of origin Japan, but just started printing 2-1 omnibus editions in English late last year), but as the anime has some odd pacing issues the manga is definitely the better pick. 

Not giving anything beyond the 1st chapter away, Tokyo ESP kicks off with main character Rinka Urashiba, a poverty stricken young teenager, as she wakes up one morning to call her father in a panic- suddenly falling through the floor and household furniture tends to do that to a person. A flashback to the previous day reveals Rinka’s encounter, along with a fellow high school student, with a very strange and mysterious event: A small African Penguin flying through the sky following a school of small, glowing, flying fish, one of which flies right into her. While she puzzles this out with aforementioned school mate, her protective father (a retired police officer and single parent since his wife took off) attempts to run home after receiving Rinka’s panicked message. A  very difficult task when you have every car in the area flying toward you like your a magnet. After witnessing this event and Rinka’s role in putting a stop to it while protecting dozens of nearby citizens, Kyotaro Azuma (the fellow high school student) lends a helping hand in their get away…by using teleportation to whisk them away.

With the mystery and issues that arise from dozens of magical fish flying through the city and gifting ordinary citizens with an array of superhuman abilities, it follows that groups of justice seeking masked vigilantes and super-powered villains would arise. This is a story that caters to superhero lovers as it centers around Rinka, Azuma, and their new friends as she incorporates her father’s morals and fights back against the raising tide of public chaos, and struggles with her own weaknesses in order to protect everything she holds dear. As you could probably already tell this story is a classic that has been told plenty of times, though as the story progresses (and boy does it ever), characters overcome and challenge themselves, mysteries arise and questions are answered, and both antagonist’s and protagonist’s pasts’ are revealed it gathers plenty of originality to keep readers coming back for more (I’ve read up to the fifth 2-in-1 omnibus volume). As for the art…I’m a bit conflicted on it. It’s different from what I’m use to and at times it’s very well done (those front and centered coloured pages in every bind-up are GORGEOUS!!), but it can sometimes drop in quality and become a little disjointed (never to the point the story-line can’t be followed). 

This was a really great find! I’d recommend it to anyone who loves stories with supernatural elements, superheroes, an undercurrent of romance, complex villains, kick-ass heroines (Rinka can hold her own against the best), and themes involving crime and justice.

8/10 Unicorn Horns!

I’m totally fangirling here but just look at all those beautiful covers!!

*Omnibus volumes 1-7 are currently all available in English. The last omnibus (volume 8) is scheduled to be released April 25th, 2017*

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13 Comments

    • Thanks 😁. It’s a bit hard to explain without having a manga in front of me for reference to show you but I’ll do my best!

      They are essentially Japanese comics (called manga), and are generally the size of a small novel the size of Frankenstein (unless it’s a bind-up/omnibus edition with multiple volumes). They differ from American comics in that respect and a few others. The pictures are almost always black and white, the art style is different from American comics for the most part, and the biggest tell is they are usually read in the traditional Japanese way from back to front and panels are read right to left (backwards for most of us in the west). There is also, from what i understand, quite the cultural difference in the way manga is viewed/produced as opposed to here. As for content it differs in the same way American comics and regular novels do- everything from fantasy and stories that discuss heavy philosophical/moral topics to contemporary romance, historical fiction, the equivalent of Harliquin novels, and kids stories (which makes sense as some manga are adaptations of light novels). I haven’t been reading either manga or American comics for that long so I could be wrong on some points but that’s what I’ve picked up so far.

      A manga series called Bakuman (which has an anime-Japanese cartoon- adaptation) is a popular work about two teenagers with a dream of becoming manga artists. It goes into the manga industry giving an idea of what manga artists go through and how it’s published…i kind of really went off there lol. Sorry for such a long reply.

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