A manga written and drawn by Kigitsu Katsuhisa, the same mangaka responsible for the remarkably dark Franken Fran
It tells the story of Helen Takahara La Guido, a young Japanese girl who, five years ago, lost her sight, hearing, and ability to speak in a traffic accident. Until the beginning of the story, Helen was having a peaceful and normal life with her uncle and her guide dog Victor, when suddenly strange powers woke on her. Despite the range of those powers are unclear, the series shows Helen helping several people in extremely unusual ways with them, as well as sensing and meeting beings that are unseen to normal people. Beside all this, she also can communicate with Victor via telepathy. With her innocent and optimistic nature, Helen is able to solve problems that couldn't be done by a regular human, albeit some of them make her in getting herself trouble.
Started in 2008 and finished in 2010, spawning only two volumes, the series is a big surprise to the readers who know Katsuhisa's other work. While Franken Fran
presents us with shockingly violent scenes
, very disturbing situations
and not so happy endings
, Helen ESP
surprises in showing a more positive and light-hearted story. However, one thing that both series have in common is that the protagonists see themselves entagled in problematic situations of the human nature, and try to solve them no matter what cost. A good suggestion for someone who is looking for something completely different
, but which still retains the great story-telling seen in Franken Fran
This series provides examples of:
- A Boy and his X: "Helen's Song" features a young circus performer and his giant boar.
- Ant War: In "Helen And The Dream", two warring ant colonies are who Helen has been advising.
- Bittersweet Ending: The way how several chapters end.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: The last chapter of the series has Helen having a dream where she comes in contact with the person who was reading the story all along. She then warmly greets the reader.
- But Not Too Foreign: It is stated that Helen is half-Japanese, half-French.
- The Cameo: Fran (yes, that Fran) makes a special appearance in the bonus chapter of volume 1. She even offers to help Helen in getting out of her disability. Hilariously, however, Helen asks Fran to help her in something else: to read Braille faster.
- Canine Companion: Victor.
- Creepy Doll: One story features a female manequinn of the school falling in love with the teacher who built her, and tries to kill him because she can't have him physically. Subverted since the mannequin herself knows she is doing something wrong.
- Cute Mute
- Deadpan Snarker: Again, Victor.
- Disability Superpower
- Face of a Thug: Helen's principal is introduced with Scary Shiny Glasses, steepled fingers, claiming his school supports diversity and tolerance while his face can only be described as Japanese Hitler. This turns out to be entirely correct, with every student being more than willing to help Helen (the principal himself makes no further appearances).
- If I Can't Have You: In the chapter "Helen and the Doll".
- Invisible to Normals: Occasionally Helen meets supernatural deities that can't be noticed by other people. Some of them tend to be good-natured, while others... not really.
- Japanese Delinquents: Oguri's older brother Midou is a classic example, though he reforms himself later.
- Lighter and Softer: To the eyes of readers who have read Franken Fran first, at least.
- Magical Realism: The series' attitude toward Helen's esper powers gives it a Magical Realism tone. We never find out exactly why she has them or how they work, and despite Helen being powerful enough to "destroy this world" (according to the demon in the first chapter), her life doesn't change much after she finds out about her abilities.
- Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: The supernatural creature of chapter 2, who helps Helen when she is about to be attacked by a would-be rapist.
- The Pollyanna: Helen.
- Psychic Powers
- The Speechless: Helen.
- Talking with Signs: Helen's primary method of communicating with other people.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Helen's schoolfriend Oguri plays the former while Helen herself is the latter.