Anime Review

Anime Hajime Review: When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace

Original Run: October 7, 2014 - December 23, 2014
Number of Episodes: 12
Genre: Comedy, Harem, Romance, Supernatural
Based on the Series Created By: Kota Nozomi and 029

***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace. Reader discretion is advised.***

Series Synopsis

When someone is said to have “chunibyo,” that means that person has vast, fantastical daydreams of magical lore and superpowers. Jurai Ando (voiced by Nobuhiko Okamoto) has a particularly severe case of chunibyo, something his friends in the Literature Club – Tomoyo Kanzaki, Hatoko Kushikawa, Sayumi Takanashi, and Chifuyu Himeki (voiced respectively by Haruka Yamazaki, Saori Hayami, Risa Taneda, and Nanami Yamashita) – have come to tolerate.

Then one day, something unbelievable happens. Jurai and the rest of the Literature Club actually develop the very powers he has always dreamed of.

However, just because the group can now perform special abilities, that doesn’t mean daily life stops. If anything, the everyday, peaceful existence the Literature Club has known goes on as usual. Sure, the occasional supernatural battle might break out, but that won’t stop the next exam date.

Also, for someone like Jurai, his grand adventures can suddenly become far more elaborate.

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Series Positives

When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace (WSBBC) has existed as a massive question mark for me for some time. Naturally, I have never read a word of the source material, and I knew nothing about the story before episode one. My anticipation/hesitation came from something else.

I won’t lie. A small part of me wanted to hate this show. Doing so would have helped alleviate a long-standing nag in the back of my mind. I could have used this series to say:

“See guys, I told you. I told you that if there were ever a bad one, I would tear into it like all the other bad anime I have reviewed.”

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Shame on me. Going into any show with even the slightest hope that it will be a mess is wrong, and doing it for my stated reasons is selfish. Every anime deserves a fair chance at the start.

With that out of the way, let me make it clear that WSBBC was a lot of goddamn fun. Moreover, WSBBC made it official. I have now watched every television anime Studio Trigger (my absolute favorite animation studio) has yet released. And yes, I have enjoyed them all.

Now, let me make another thing clear. WSBBC was nothing like Studio Trigger’s other productions – Kill la Kill, Little Witch Academia, Darling in the Franxx, to name a few. WSBBC was not a studio original, and therefore, it was much more limited with what it could do and how it could present its story. This was an actual adaptation.

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However, since I have never had the chance to read the original light novels, it is impossible for me to comment if WSBBC was a good adaptation or not. But what I can do is assert that as a standalone product, this series was well done.

Was it perfect? No, and I suppose this is my least favorite Studio Trigger series to date. That notwithstanding, there was a single element which WSBBC nailed brilliantly and which put it on par with its brethren.

This show’s leading group of characters – the members of the Literature Club – was fantastic. The combined chemistry between Jurai, Tomoyo, Hatoko, Sayumi, and Chifuyu was what made this series the special treat that it was, and to run through each of them really quick:

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You could not have asked for a better protagonist than Jurai. He was a phenomenal mix of straight man, instigator, and wild card. He could be the world’s biggest dork as he indulged himself with his fantastical imagination, and yet, he still managed to be a foundation for the other characters to rely on.

Tomoyo had the most complete character growth of the entire cast. Throughout the series, you could get a sense of why she was the way she was. In addition to that, how this show illustrated Tomoyo’s path to realizing her feelings towards Jurai felt natural.

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For most of WSBBC, Hatoko did well as the kindhearted airhead. She was definitely out of her element whenever Jurai went into one of his monolog moments, but she persevered regardless. Thus, it was easy to assume she would remain secondary. That was until Hatoko had one of the best – if not the best – scene in the entire show. Holy s@#$, WSBBC got real for a second.

Sayumi was great because she was the necessary calmness a series like this needed. She was both logical and authoritative; the functional leader of the group. Sayumi could rationalize the craziness that would come out of Tomoyo’s mouth, and if there was ever a dangerous plan, it was she everyone would turn to see if it was worth doing.

Finally, Chifuyu was just downright adorable. Granted, there was a lot more to her than that. If nothing else, this show did an excellent job of framing her as a kid, and as such, how she handled everything that went on was vastly different than what her much older friends did.

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With this rock-solid group supporting its base, WSBBC could jump back and forth between extremes. Overall, this series was more comfortable as a comedy. Nevertheless, when it had to, this story could pull off a tense moment. Hell, some parts of the show got dark. For example, how the Literature Club reacted to Jurai’s power’s second awakening was severe.

And speaking of powers, have you noticed that in the review about the anime with the word “supernatural” in its title, I haven’t yet brought them up. That’s because this may have been the series’ most significant achievement.

The Literature Club’s powers were never an afterthought, they were something that always had a presence. Whenever they did become relevant, it wasn’t a jarring transition. Again, looking at the show’s title, they simply became commonplace. Finding that balance between a fun comedy and an exciting fantasy-adventure anime was what allowed WSBBC to stand out.

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Series Negatives

To be as frank as I can, this series needs a second season. WSBBC did not end on a particularly satisfying note. The unfortunate part was, this didn’t need to be the case.

When a story opens a door, common sense – to me at least – would be to enter said door.

WSBBC didn’t do that.

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It was wonderful that this series had an amazing set of protagonists; I cannot stress how crucial that was. The issue, though, another group got introduced as well. Who were these people, and why were they important?

I’m putting a lot of focus on this other group – and that is what I have to refer to them as – because these characters could have been this story’s…antagonist?

To be fair, this other group didn’t have evil qualities – some of the time. They also appeared to be silent allies to the Literature Club – again, some of the time. They would act in incredibly fishy ways – you guessed it, some of the time. They were around long enough to indicate that they were a critical piece to the WSBBC narrative. However, what did they actually do?

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The other group’s influence on the Literature Club was sprinkled lightly throughout the opening half of this series. So, I suppose they were technically always around. Too bad their presence was so insignificant, when they did eventually play a much larger role, it was entirely out of nowhere.

On top of that, WSBBC went as far as to give the other group a personality. It was almost as if they were the stars of their own separate series that just happened to take place in the same universe and time as the Literature Club’s

Trust me, I am happy that the majority of WSBBC was as fun as it was. It is possible to watch this show as it is and simply tolerate this poorly implemented detail. Sadly, this one detail was big enough to make it impossible to ignore.

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Final Thoughts

Perhaps it’s a pipe dream to hope for a sequel to a series which is turning five-years-old at the time of this post going live. But, this is the kind of show that really does need one.

However, assuming that continuation never comes, this series is more than capable of standing firm on its own two feet. After all, the comedy was funny, there were some excellent drama pieces, and the animation was beautiful.

(Granted, the animation was nowhere near the standard we have come to expect from Studio Trigger, but what are you going to do?)

Most importantly, though, we were given an excellent main cast of characters to follow. If it weren’t for them, this entire series – despite being from my favorite animation studio – would have probably been relegated to an interesting but no less forgettable footnote in my memory.

With that said, When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace gets my full recommendation.

But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? What would be your advice concerning When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.

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