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GENRE: Anime ORIGINAL AIR DATES: July 4, 2016 - December 23, 2016
// review by EscapeRouteBritish

The Not-So-Disastrous Anime of Shūichi Asō.

When I saw this advertised on Netflix I had immediately low expectations. The Disastrous Life? Have you seen my life, Mr. Saiki Kusuo? I think not! This main character with his acid pink hair and nonplussed expression looks like a mid-schooler's made-up anime doodle. The title is long and deliberately obtuse, and from the short snippets that played in the background preview, I got the immediate impression the animation was nothing more than mediocre.

For some reason, I still gave it a chance. You could call it curiosity, or call it getting the most out of my Netflix subscription... Or maybe it was because the premise humoured me. I'm pleased to say that nearly all my first impressions were proven to be false. While an incredibly noisy and demanding show with a lot of characters and dumb scenarios, it does its best to live up to its 'Comedy' tag. It didn't make me guffaw, but little does.

The Disastrous Life of Saiki K focuses on the titular character Saiki Kusuo and his deranged family and friends. It's a high school comedy about a young man with psychic powers, who has to hide his powers from society because it's troublesome and he just wants some peace and quiet. Unfortunately for Saiki (and perhaps also us) his friends are nothing short of meddling and aim to disrupt Saiki in an almost predictable fashion.

The show is based on the manga of the same name, and it does not currently cover the entire plot. Because of this, to avoid spoiling the story for myself I've stayed clear of sources online to help write this review. I care enough about this show that if another season is produced, I definitely will watch it. That's a triumph in my books.

The general gist of each episode is that Saiki (or one of his friends) finds themselves in an awkward situation and Saiki has no choice but to use his powers, opting for the most covert way of doing so. Saiki will talk at length about his powers and what he can/can't do. These rules are kept surprisingly consistent throughout the show so I'm actually impressed at that.


A face only an anime lover could love.

Saiki's parents hate each other vehemently, so Saiki uses his psychic powers to place the thought into their heads that they still love each other - after all, if his parents were at each other's throats then it wouldn't be a quiet life for him. Saiki's parents are pretty much the only people aware of his powers, and his father will constantly ask for Saiki's help with problems rather than dealing with them like a functioning adult, much to his wife's disappointment.

Saiki's powers include the ability to move objects, teleport, turn invisible, set the state of objects/people back in time by one day, change into a girl, change into an animal, communicate with animals, possess impossible strength, impossible agility, speak or understand any language, read the minds of others, place thoughts in the minds of others, read the thoughts and feelings imbued in a letter by its writer, and perhaps, even more. To stop his powers going haywire, he wears small electronic hair clips that keep them under control. Should one ever be removed, the results could be catastrophic.

While the animation isn't phenomenal, it's far better than I was led to believe by the small snippets I saw. The show manages to maintain its style throughout and doesn't turn into a poorly drawn mush. This could be because Netflix uses the BluRay versions of shows for their streaming service rather than the TV versions, but I don't know for sure. What I do know is that it looks nice, and it consistently does so.

The opening and ending songs all appear to have been made expressly for the show. The stand-out number is "Ψ (Psi) I Love You", a denpa-wave ditty with a catchy Engrish-laden rap which happens to also be my favourite part. It is the first ending song. Due to the annoying way Netflix tries to speed up the art of binge-watching, the show skips to the next episode and cuts off the ending songs. This means to listen to the song, I had to manually dismiss the auto-skip on each episode if I wanted to listen to it, rather difficult if you've got your hands in a bowl of soapy dishes at the time. When the second set of songs rolled around, I found myself letting them be skipped because they're quite simply inferior to the first two songs. A curse that can often come with anime, the song changes are not always appreciated.

This show is ultimately in the same vein as a show like School Rumble or Azumanga Daioh. It's a high-school comedy with exaggerated characters and a heaping dose of improbabilities. Everything that should happen doesn't, and everything that shouldn't happen does. It's a wacky show with lots of talking, screaming and yelling, with just the right amount of crazy to keep itself appealing. I patiently wait for more episodes to come.


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