Manga: Kotoura-san

The ESP Society. From left: Hiyori Moritani, Yoshihisa Manabe, Haruka Kotoura, Yuriko Mifune and Daichi Muroto (bottom-right corner).
Kotoura-san is a web-published yonkoma manga by Enokids which has been adapted into an anime by AIC in the winter 2013 season. Enokids ended the series in 2015 in favour of the new series Magical Girl Paracel.

The story follows Haruka Kotoura, a fifteen-year old telepath who can't turn her ability off. As a child, she naively blurts out sensitive information and personal thought. This causes her to be unjustly labelled a compulsive liar; her friends and classmates reject and bully her; and her parents divorce because they cannot understand her special ability or how to deal with its repercussions. After years of persecution and ostracizing, she transfers to a new high school, where she meets Yoshihisa Manabe, a good-hearted boy who is transparent and honest and not scared of her ability.

Viewers in USA, Canada, South America, United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden can watch it legally on Crunchyroll, or Netflix in some locations.

Currently getting a sub-only DVD release by NIS America under the title of The Troubled Life of Miss Kotoura (available August 2015),


Kotoura-san contains examples of:

  • Abomination Accusation Attack: Deconstructed. This is how the Crapsaccharine World's Tatemae ideal is maintained, even if the esper is perfectly innocent.
  • The Abridged Series: Courtesy of Scourgemaster, involving an even more emo and broken Haruka. Now has its own page.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Haruka tells off Yoshihisa for giving her an embarrassing photo of Hiyori, only to crack up while alone and have a hard time not laughing around Hiyori the rest of the next day.
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: The anime does this by shifting the focus from Yoshihisa to Haruka and adding in the very angsty Downer Beginning.
  • Adult Fear: Haruka's backstory includes having her mother callously abandon her in front of her Grandfather and saying she wished she never gave birth to her. It's utterly heartbreaking.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The Downer Beginning that shocked everyone? No, it does not exist in the manga.
  • Another Side, Another Story: Non-game example. In the manga, the first chapters were written in Yoshihisa's perspective, but in the anime it was completely in Haruka's perspective.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: While there are still a significant amount of comedy moments, The Downer Beginning is just the first tear-stained bump in the road. Guess you better have a forklift of tissue handy.
  • Battle Aura/Battle Aura: In episode #2, when Manaba displays his "power" to embarrass Haruka with sexual thoughts about her, he sports an Battle resp. Sex Aura.
  • Beach Episode: The second half of Episode 6.
  • Becoming the Mask: Played Up to Eleven and Deconstructed. Japan has an idea called Tatemae which basically amounts to hiding your true self away from others as a means to be accepted into society. The Downer Beginning's tension stems from a naive, Cheerful Child named Haruka Kotoura who has Telepathy and has no idea since Psychic Powers are not recognized by this setting's science (ergo no formal and proper diagnosis for it). She openly states people's true feelings even though she doesn't know any better, especially since speech and thought sound exactly the same to her due to Power Incontinence. Because nobody wants to admit that she's right and risk being rejected, everybody blames her for their problems. Cue Break the Cutie via Trauma Conga Line.
  • Bedmate Reveal: Happens to Yoshihisa and Hiyori in episode 7, after the psychotrophic effects of Hiyori's bad, bad cooking. They slept together naked with Haruka on the same futon, with Yoshihisa in the middle. Yoshihisa thought he had a Three-Way Sex and had a Heel Realization. Hiyori thought she had sex with Yoshihisa. Both were not true, but Haruka lectured them nonetheless.
  • Big Bad: Kumiko Kotoura is the closest thing to one in the anime. She abandons Haruka during her childhood and dismisses her as a mistake, cruelly claiming that she ruins people's lives with her powers. Since then, the memory of her mother's disownment had haunted and tormented Haruka throughout her life. Even when she reunites with her daughter after years of separation, she treats her rather poorly. Of course, come the last episode, it's eventually revealed that she deeply regretted leaving her daughter behind, and towards the end, she starts to lighten up to her little by little, eventually making her a plate of eggs over easy for breakfast (as she did when Haruka was a child). The "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue suggests that she is now living with her daughter in her apartment, and that their relationship is slowly starting to heal.
    • To a lesser extent, Tsukino is the Big Bad of the "mysterious attacker" storyline.
  • Bigger Bad: Haruka Kotoura's father divorcing Kumiko is part of the reason why Kumiko disowned her. That said, he's only really seen in the first episode.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
  • Big Fancy House: Zenzou's house. Particularly exaggerated in Episode 6 when the ESP Club members went there—turns out it has a private beach, and Zenzou built a theme park just because Haruka brought friends back for the first time...
  • Bland-Name Product: YaHoi!
  • Blank White Eyes:
    • When Yuriko found her mother hanged herself in the manga.
    • When Haruka saw a vision of a violent scene in episode 8's stinger, in which she immediately collapsed due to Heroic BSOD.
  • Blatant Lies: Haruka seems to be hard to tell lies, so there's a few examples.
    • The first on anime's promotional video, in which Haruka spent several minutes downplaying what telepathy does to her.. while having increasing amount of nervous sweat on the face, and she found she can't go on any more at the end of the video. Of course, she's in no position to spoil the Downer Beginning.
    • Manga-only: After Yoshihisa and Haruka came back to Haruka's apartment in Chapter/Episode 1, the first thing Yoshihisa asked was why Haruka lives alone, and Haruka wants to avoid telling him her broken past...
      Haruka, blushing and sweatdropping: "My, my parents went on a worldwide trip..."
      Haruka: I Lied...
  • Blue with Shock:
    • In episode 2, when Haruka and Yoshihisa enters the ESP clubroom.
    • In episode 4, when Haruka found the ESP club members had came to "catch" her, with Glowing Eyes of Doom.
  • Bookends: The anime both opens and ends with Haruka going to school. The opening was Deliberately Monochrome, people are avoiding her, and she has Dull Eyes of Unhappiness. The ending was colourful (if not overexposed), and with her friends saying hi to her. No guess about what the symbolism is.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The first episode's stinger has Haruka did a Dirty Mind-Reading... on the "tons of people on the other side of the TV." This show is aired during Otaku O'Clock, so viewer sexualization of Haruka is clearly unavoidable. Yoshihisa is jealous.
  • Breather Episode: Episode 5, which follows the ESP club as they enjoy some time together and at school.
  • Brick Joke: The weird purple thing that Yoshihisa dreams about in the first episode does make a reappearance in the last as a prize in a claw machine that Yoshihisa plays while on a date with Haruka.
  • Brought Down to Normal: In episode 8, Haruka's telepathy stops working due to a cold. She gets better, but her powers don't come back until the very end when she accidentally reads the mind of a violent criminal and faints.
  • Butt-Dialing Mordor: At the end of episode 10, The ESP society sets out to find the criminal (whose crimes include assault, murder, and rape of teenage girls) using Haruka's telepathy. After she gets a very harsh Beam of Enlightenment, Haruka immediately keels over and nearly passes out again because she did not expect the criminal to have such a twisted, distorted, and unnaturally deep mental voice and that said criminal knows that the ESP Society has fallen for the Schmuck Bait. Thankfully, the criminal wasn't targeting Haruka during this incident. This doesn't last. In the next episode, the actual criminal (Detective Aki Tsukino's Enemy Within) deliberately targets Haruka not only because she has friends despite being a monster (Tsukino's main motive derived from jealousy), but also because of the aforementioned telepathy which Haruka showed to both her and Detective Gantestsu Ishiyama earlier in episode 10.
  • Call Back:
    • In episode 4, when the monk mentioned his relationship with Haruka, there was a flashback from episode 1, when Haruka's mother brought the girl to him, asking him to exorcize Haruka.
    • In episode 12, Haruka said to her mom in sleep that she wants eggs over easy. This is in fact, the same line as the first time she read people's mind in episode 1.
    • In episode 6, Hiyori apologized to Haruka after recalling the former's bullying of the latter in episode 2.
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster: There are some surprisingly dramatic and rage-inducing moments intertwined with the comedy.
    • Let's take episode 7 as an example for the extent this trope goes. The previous episode ends in a stinger where Haruka's mom Kumiko watches over Haruka and friends playing on the beach (drama). Episode 7 starts with several comedic scenes, followed by the Monk discussing Kumiko's response one the previous night to Zenzou (drama). The next day starts with Yoshihisa and Hiyori's Bedmate Reveal (comedy), followed by Haruka revisiting the room where she often holed up crying as a kid, with her discussion with the Monk (drama). The second half starts with Haruka unable to call Yoshihisa (drama), Yuriko decide to make up a search for him (comedy), and then Haruka finding Yoshihisa acting suspicious (drama with a single comedic scene). Then we see Haruka debriefing with Yuriko, where Yuriko showed her own backstory (drama), Haruka tutoring Hiyori (comedy turned drama), and ends with the Surprise Party (drama). Seven switches is an episode.
  • Childish Pillow Fight: After Haruka rightfully calls her mother out on her cold treatment of her for the past ten years, she and Kumiko engage in this.
  • Circling Birdies: Hiyori, after she bangs her head against the wall a few times to get rid of thoughts about Yoshihisa and Haruka she doesn't want to have.
  • Club Stub: The ESP Society, having two members before Haruka & co. enters.
  • Cool Old Guy:
    • Zenzou Kotoura, the protagonist's grandfather, is something of a Dirty Old Man, but he absolutely stands by Haruka through the series, to the point where he disowns his own daughter after she abandons Haruka. He pays for all Haruka's living expenses, is absolutely supportive of her friends in the ESP Research Society, and welcomes them into his home when they go looking for her in Episode 4 and during Summer Break.
    • The old monk is played straight. When he first encounters Haruka, he promises to bring her mother back and starts a decade-long research into ESP. Why? He wants to help Kotoura any way possible. He also welcomes the ESP Research Society into his place when they have no where else to stay in Episode 4. It also helps he good friends with Zenzou.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When Yuriko says she's gotten bigger in episode 6 and bounces her breasts in front of Daichi, he nonchalantly says that she must have gotten fatter.
  • Conveniently Coherent Thoughts: Averted. Haruka eventually realized even with telepathy she didn't get to pick up everything, like her mom's remorse for disowning her.
  • Corner of Woe: Both Yoshihisa and Zenzou sit in one after they find out the mixed bathhouse is closed due to repairs in episode 7.
  • Covers Always Lie: Promotional material for the series advertised it as a Romantic Comedy. It is only half Rom Com, with the other half occupied with very dark drama.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Good grief. The people are literally living in lies and ignorant bliss. Practically everyone has No Sympathy, and Haruka is among the rare few who realizes what's wrong with this society thanks to her Telepathy and innocently exposing everyone's true feelings to their denial, disbelief, and chargin even though she can't help it. Worse, her once "Childhood Friends" then outcasted "the monster" (Haruka) so disgracefully, the insult haunts her for much of her life afterwards.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Yuriko comments on being prepared for any situation in episode 6.
  • Cross-Popping Veins: Several characters display these occasionally, usually Haruka or Yuriko.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Yoshihisa. He manages to severly beat up 3 members of the Moritani dojo, by himself, even though they are all larger and more muscular than him. He gets beat up even worse in the process, but it's still quite a feat.
  • Cry Cute:
    • At the end of episode 1, Yoshihisa was turned on by Haruka's crying. Dirty Mind-Reading, of course, follows.
    • Both Hiyori and Yuriko do this in episode 11, although for different reasons. In Hiyori's case, it was finally giving Yoshihisa a Love Confession, only to have him understandably reject her. In Yuriko's case, it was due to Daichi getting hurt protecting her from the attacker earlier in the episode.
  • Cult: Hiyori's parents run this in the manga, rather than a dojo.
  • Curtains Match the Window: The entire cast.
  • Cutaway Gag: Episode 1 uses this as a weird sort of Meet Cute. After a dark and depressing backstory sequence, Haruka meets Yoshihisa, reads his mind, and she and the audience see...a purple frog-man in a desert doing a bizarre dance to a series of random noises. There's no real point to this freaky daydream other than as a "transition" to the cutesy OP and the much less dark second half of the episode.
  • Darker and Edgier: For Yonkoma based material.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: In two ways:
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The Downer Beginning gradually applies the desaturation variety to mark Haruka's life story. It starts with the inverse: layers of white in full color, but more layers of gray add up until the Flashback appears to be covered in black mud as seen before the Flashback. This is most apparent when the elementary school scenes from the beginning and the ending of the Downer Beginning are shown side by side. The saturation ends with a shatter into color upon meeting Yoshihisa.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male:
    • Daichi gets smacked around by Yuriko in episode 3 after he jokingly teased Haruka about wanting to dissect her while they were alone.
    • Hiyori gets to beat up Yoshihisa with impunity, which is rather audacious considering she was responsible for sending him to the hospital with serious injuries earlier, escaping all punishment for that caper because she was "sorrowful".
    • Haruka's mom, generally considered a colossal bitch, also assaults Yoshihisa rather viciously in public without any repercussions, and it is treated as vaguely heartwarming that she still cares enough about Haruka to come to her defense (never mind that she herself is treating Haruka far worse than Yoshihisa ever would).
  • Downer Beginning: The anime is famous for it.
    The first ten minutes and twelve seconds of the first episode of Kotoura-san does nothing but systematically destroy the titular heroine's life.
    How do I stand again, if I have stumbled?
  • Downer Ending: Episode 3, Yoshihisa gets hospitalized, Haruka moves because she blames herself, and Yoshihisa solemnly says he couldn't protect her.
  • Dragged by the Collar: How Yoshihisa and Yuriko literally pull Haruka back into a happy childhood whenever her endearing insecurity gets the better of her; and thankfully always Played for Laughs.
  • Dramedy: A Romantic Comedy with a Broken Bird girlfriend... Certainly.
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • The Monk first appeared in the anime's Downer Beginning. That beginning does not actually exist in the manga.
    • In the anime, Inspector first appeared as a cameo in episode 2, as part of Yuriko's backstory. He does not appear in the corresponding manga.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After over 10 years' worth of emotional torture, Haruka definitely deserved hers, and the ESP Club made damn sure of that. See Bookends or her profile picture for a more visual comparison.
  • Easily Forgiven: Hiyori, despite bullying Haruka and nearly getting Yoshihisa killed. However, Justified in that Haruka can read Hiyori's mind and see that she's genuinely sorry for what she's done.
    • And played absolutely straight by 8 episodes in to the extent that she regularly assaults Yoshihisa without being called on it.
    • And in episode 12 Haruka's mother, Kumiko, is also easily forgiven by the former. Sure, she read her mind and saw that she cried right after she told her "I should have never given birth to you!", but that doesn't change the fact that she abbandoned her, and wanted to have nothing to do with her for 10 years.
  • Environmental Symbolism: The Deliberate Monochrome ends with a shatter of the desaturation filter revealing a more bright and cheerful palette, marking an abrupt end of Haruka's downward spiral of Break the Cutie. (At the same point she also ceases to have Dull Eyes of Unhappiness.)
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Proof that Hiyori has some good in her is that even though she arranged some thugs to beat Yoshihisa up, she thought they went too far when they beat him so badly, he was sent to the hospital.
  • Evil Laugh: Tsukino lets out a sinister cackle when she attacks Haruka.
  • Fantastic Racism: To the Crapsaccharine World around them, Espers are either fakes, monsters, or both even though they blatantly prove their powers to be real. Any Yes-Man would do this to maintain the Tatemae ideal since espers are a threat towards his/her chances of being accepted into society, even if said epser doesn't know better (such as Haruka). So, they intentionally outcast espers to keep other people from knowing the cold hard truth about themselves and risk being rejected.
  • First Episode Spoiler: it looks like a lighthearted Romantic Comedy from the previews, but the first episode is about 75% angst, revealing that the show is actually a dramedy and the very embodiment of Mood Whiplash.
  • Five-Man Band: The ESP Society
  • Flashback Nightmare:
    • Yuriko had one in Episode 2, when she was reminded about posthumous abuses on her mother's abilities, complete with a Big "NO!".
    • Haruka endured more trauma than Yuriko was, so this trope happens a bit more common that Yuriko did.
      • In episode 1, after finding Yoshihisa has no problems about her powers—which was a first for her—she starts to find him desirable as she goes to rest. Immediately she had a flashback which is pretty much the entire Downer Beginning, and decided she should must not make friends with him.
      • Episode 6 has her recalling the scene when when her mother disowned her. Which foreshadows something at the stinger.
      • In episode 7, Yoshihisa stopped talking with her for two whole weeks, which got her worried about their relationship. This time she had a flashback about she and Yoshihisa being separated by the crowds, and Yoshihisa morphing into her mom who immediately disowns her.
  • Forgiven, but Not Forgotten: Most characters' feeling towards Hiyori, except Haruka herself.
    • Yoshihisa, was not amused knowing she was the one responsible for his attack in episode 4, and the credits of the same episode show he is shocked and suspicious when she starts hanging out with them.
    • Ditto for Zenzou. Who makes Hiyori painfully aware that he knows what she's done in episode 6. Also, at the end of the first half when everyone comes out into Harukaland, Hiyori's character is inside a burning cage.
  • Forgot About the Mind Reader: Yoshihisa defies this in Episode 7 by not telling anybody else about his plans since his girlfriend is a telepath who should not know his Big Secret until The Reveal. Afterwards, he admits this as the reason behind his suspicious behavior to work around her Power Incontinence issue, and quite literally at that.
  • Freak Out
  • Funbag Airbag: In episode 9 while Haruka is walking to school with everyone, busy lamenting to herself about perverts after overhearing a phone call between Yoshihisa and her grandfather, she accidentally walks head on into Detective Tsukino's chest.
  • Gainaxing: Yuriko deliberately does this to Daichi while on the train in episode 6. He ignores it, much to her frustration.
  • Genius Bruiser: Some of the men who practice at Hiyori's dojo are college graduates, coming from prestigious universities like Tokyo U and Harvard.
  • Girls Are Really Scared of Horror Movies: Haruka during the first part of episode 6 when the ESP club is going through an abandoned hospital that her grandfather deliberately left them at. Interestingly, neither Yuriko nor Hiyori seem scared of it, despite Haruka clinging onto them.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Yoshihisa has those kinds of fantasies as well, after mistaking Haruka and Yuriko (episode 2) or Hiyori (episode 5) as Romantic Two-Girl Friendship.
  • Giving Up the Ghost: Haruka in episode 12, after knowing the ESP Society is disbanding.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Played for Laughs in episode 4, when the rest of the ESP Club did this to Haruka so that they could "catch" her.
  • The Glomp: Yuriko did this to Haruka at the end of episode 2.
  • Gone Horribly Right: When Yoshihisa and Zenzou begin digging for a hot spring, they find oil instead. They're not all that happy about it since they wanted to use the hot spring as an excuse to see Haruka bathing, and Zenzou is absurdly wealthy as is.
  • Good Victims, Bad Victims: A surprising amount of both for a Twelve-Episode Anime:
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Detective Tsukino, who hates Haruka because the latter has things the former didn't, such as friends in high school. She unconsciously develops an evil alter-ego which attacks those she perceives to be popular.
  • Grey Rain of Depression: the Downer Beginning is already Deliberately Monochrome, but this trope is in full effect during the stray cat incident, when Haruka got passed the Despair Event Horizon for a second time.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: Yoshihisa and Zenzou get into a perverted argument about Haruka, the grandfather bragging about direct contact with her thighs and butt, Yoshihisa about the joy of seeing her flustered face.
  • Hate Sink: Haruka's parents, due to their (mis)treatment of Haruka and no real redeeming qualities — her father is plain Parental Neglect, and while her mother does care for her a bit, she finally disowned her.
  • Heiress To The Dojo: Hiyori in the anime, but she dislikes being it. This is why she has a crush with Yoshihisa; he didn't care about her position, similar to how he see Haruka now.
  • Heroic BSOD: Eventually it would be too many to count.
    • In episode 2, Haruka had one after seeing Hiyori's disdain towards her, complete with Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises and vomiting, and, possibly, passing out.
    • And again in episode 3, when Yoshihisa gets beaten up by several thugs sent by Hiyori. Haruka believes it's all her fault and decides to run away. The ride never ends!
    • Also in episode 3 Hiyori has one at school, out of guilt for what she did to Yoshihisa.
    • The stinger of Episode 8 has Haruka seeing a vision of a murder scene. She actually got so much shock that she fainted, with Blank White Eyes.
    • In episode 10, Hiyori fell into this state, with Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises, after she was arrested.
  • Holding Both Sides of the Conversation: The first preview video has Haruka interviewing herself, with her switching seats as the interviewer and the interviewee.
  • How We Got Here: In episode 1, Haruka is seen walking alone to school, or, to be precise, people were avoiding her like plague. She has Dull Eyes of Unhappiness, then a Flash Back her entire life up to that point is gradually played out and how she got those eyes.
  • Huge Schoolgirl: In episode 11, Detective Tsukino tells Haruka she was one while going through high school. Unfortunately it made her an easy target for bullying.
  • I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin: Hiyori's cooking is so bad that, when she and Yoshihisa eat some in episode 7, they both act like they're drunk and/or on some sort of hallucinogen.
    • In the yonkoma they did actually get drunk, but since they can't show minors drinking on TV in Japan, it was changed to this.
  • I Have No Daughter: Haruka's parents disown her, after she reveals that they are both having affairs. It's implied that Zenzou then disowned Haruka's mother, e.i. his daughter, because she disowned Haruka. It turns out that her mom Kumiko regrets the decision.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Haruka does this with Detective Tsukino in episode 11 when they find out she's the attacker from earlier episodes.
  • I'm Taking Her Home with Me!: Played with in episode 2 when Haruka first meets Yuriko. The latter is ecstatic to meet the former, and attempts to carry her to the ESP club room.
  • In the Blood: That's the reason why Yuriko was bullied when she was younger—a compulsive liar's daughter will also be a compulsive liar.
  • Ironic Echo: During the anime's Downer Beginning, Kumiko harshly (and dramatically) pushes Haruka to the floor after the latter begs her not to leave. During the final episode, the brief scuffle between the two ends with Haruka pushing Kumiko down in the exact same fashion.
  • It's All My Fault: Generally, there is at least one person who thinks/says "It's my fault!", per episode. Usually Haruka (who has a Guilt Complex) or Hiyori.
    • She didn't speak it out, but this is how Haruka thinks about the events in the latter half of episode 3, when Hiyori sent dojo members/cult thugs to attack Yoshihisa, causing Yoshihisa to be hospitalized and Hiyori having a My God, What Have I Done? moment. She regressed back to her thinking before (see Jerkass Fašade) and decided to leave for good. Of course, being a Twelve-Episode Anime, it doesn't last long.
  • Jerkass:
    • Haruka's parents abandon her because they just can't deal with the strain of raising her. It turns out by Episode 12, though, that Kumiko realized what she had done to her daughter and regrets her "I Have No Daughter" line.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Hiyori points out that Haruka's mind-reading powers are an incredible invasion of privacy. Does this excuse in any way, shape, or form, the way she and others treat her for most of the story? Not really... but it's still a valid point, although it should be noted that Haruka can't turn off her mind reading or keep some of her findings secret.
  • Kids Are Cruel: In both Haruka and Yuriko's childhoods, they were picked on by kids their age. If that wasn't bad enough, the bullies made rather painful remarks (Haruka's mind-reading was the reason why her parents divorced and left her and Yuriko's mother "fake" psychic abilities were why she was Driven to Suicide).
  • Last Name Basis: Everybody towards everybody, even including Yoshihisa and Haruka who are supposed to be stable lovers.
  • Lighter and Softer: The anime seems to be toning down certain parts of the original yonkoma.
    • Episode 3 has Yoshihisa beaten up significantly in the anime. In the yonkoma, he got stabbed, and was not conscious when Haruka came to check on him. Also, Hiyori convinces the thugs to go after Yoshihisa by telling him that he's stalking her. In the yonkoma, she tells them he raped her.
    • In the anime, one story arc has a criminal prowling the streets savagely beating up schoolgirls, resulting in them getting hospitalized. In the yonkoma, the criminal actually rapes and murders them.
  • Like Mother, Like Daughter: The Boyfriends of Haruka and Kumiko Kotoura tend often not to think with their brains, but to let a certain organ ca 80 cm below to take command.
  • Love Confession:
    • Unusually early in anime. Episode 2. Yoshihisa declared his love towards Haruka when he confronted Hiyori. Haruka fell into tears as she overheard this.
      • An official one occurs in the end. In episode 12 Haruka finally confesses to Yoshihisa, who in turn confesses to her out loud, as he did not realize that he didn't do so 'till then.
      • In the manga this happened much, much earlier, as early as chapter three. Namely, it happenes after Yoshihisa's first confrontation with Hiyori. Yoshihisa escorts Haruka home, and confesses to her out loud, and she does the same in turn.
    • Hiyori gives one to Yoshihisa in episode 11, long after he's established a relationship with Haruka. Although she plays it off while he's around, she breaks down in tears after he leaves.
  • The Maiden Name Debate: Zenzou is Haruka's maternal grandfather. This implies her nameless father married into the Kotouras, likely a rural landed gentry household.
  • Mama Bear: When she's first introduced to Manabe and the others, Kumiko punches Manabe in the gut for trying to kiss her daughter. She quickly reverts to her Jerkass Fašade after realizing what happened.
  • Meanwhile Scene: In episode 7, Haruka haven't been able to contact Yoshihisa and asked Yuriko and Dai'chi for assistance. Yuriko thought he maybe doing This and That with Hiyori, but Dai'chi disagreed, saying she's still still struggling her summer assignments. The scene then cut to the Moritani dojo and we see Hiyori desk was moved to the middle of the hall, being surrounded by trainers.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Yoshihisa sees this between Haruka and Yuriko in episode 2, nd again in episode 12.
  • Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness: One Big Lie as far as narrative goes. In-Universe, it's Speculative Science. The setting doesn't recognize Psychic Powers as fact even though they truly exist, albeit extremely rarely. Ironically, espers are treated like liars and fakes. Yuriko's goal is to go lower on this scale via finding scientific proof of these powers.
  • Mood Whiplash: An omnipresent trope for the series, considering it being a constant Cerebus Roller Coaster ride. For example:
    • Haruka's seeing Yoshihisa's goofy daydream that's enough to break the Deliberately Monochrome in the Downer Beginning.
    • In the stinger of episode 8, Haruka was clearly really happy on her Not a Date with Yoshihisa and would want to "feel like this forever." The next second she saw a vision of a murder scene and fell into Heroic BSOD / Fainting Seer.
    • Averted with the ending theme, though: there are a couple of different ending songs, seemingly chosen for each episode to fit the tone of the final scene. Contrast it with the opening, which is a very cheerful song that would make unaware viewers assume its a straight comedy show.
  • Mouthful of Pi: Yoshihisa does this as a Psychic Static to prevent Haruka from finding out what he may or may not be up to in episode 7.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Episode 7 has a truly heartwarming example, both In-Universe and likely out: Haruka's Surprise Party. Justified for two reasons: One, it was not easy to keep this a secret from a telepath, and the gravitas of the success made everything Worth It from Yoshihisa's perspective; and two, this is likely Haruka's first birthday in years that was actually worth celebrating. It's understandable that she would take the time to enjoy the surrealism of the moment.
  • My Greatest Failure:
    • This is how Yoshihisa thought at the end of Episode 3, after Haruka vanished because she thought it's all her fault that he was attacked.
    • And more importantly, Haruka causing her own mother to hate and abandon her pretty much defines who she is today.
    • The Head Priest feels that his inability to help Haruka after her mother abandoned her was his greatest failure, and vows to bring them back together someday. Unfortunately, as evidenced by her comments in episode 7, her mother still wants nothing to do with her.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Hiyori suffers this after she arranges for thugs to beat up Yoshihisa for choosing Haruka over her. The encounter doesn't go as planned, ending up with Yoshihisa getting injured - stabbed in the manga and sorely beaten in the anime - and sent to the hospital. She then suffers Heel Realization about how much of a Jerk Ass she's been.
    • Haruka believes she's the cause of all the strife between Yoshihisa and Hiyori, which ended up getting Yoshihisa hurt in the process because of the latter's jealousy.
    • Yuriko suffers from this after Daichi takes a blow and ends up in the hospital.
    • Not outright stated but this is the main thought Kumiko had after disowning Haruka.
  • Naked Apron: Yoshihisa's fantasy when Haruka was cooking in episode 5. Obviously, no one is amused by this.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Yuriko's mother Chizuru Mifune was named after a Real Life clairvoyant, Chizuko Mifune, per Word of God.
  • No Sympathy: It's almost comical how fast nearly everybody at the new school writes off Haruka as a monster after they find out she has telepathy. Other then the ESP club, people don't even show any curiosity about her powers!
  • Not a Date: In episode 8 of the anime, Yuriko forces Yoshihisa to have a date with Haruka as a punishment for his perverted thoughts towards Haruka earlier that episode. Haruka insisted that's not a date, just Yoshihisa's "assigned punishment." The people on the streets disagrees. It's even the title of that episode.
  • Official Couple: Haruka and Yoshihisa; declared as early as chapter/episode 2.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Yoshihisa getting ambushed by four thugs. However, he manages to seriously beat all of them up by himself, forcing them to resort to stabbing him.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: In episode 9, Daichi stops puffing up his lips strangely in order to discuss a series of serial muggings Kotora might have psychically picked up on.
  • Orbital Shot: This is used during the Downer Beginning when Haruka's elementary classmates chant "Monster! Monster! Monster!" towards her after they figured out she has Telepathy. It is done very effectively since that moment forever and clearly establishes her Trigger as well as gives the viewers the sense of loneliness and betrayal even though she was being Innocently Insensitive.
  • Parental Abandonment: Haruka and Yuriko.
  • Parental Neglect: Haruka's father. Let's say, his daughter is having serious social issues at school, and his wife was frantically trying to find a cause, to no avail. His response? Relegated it as "woman's work" and started rarely coming home.
  • Playing the Heart Strings: The prologue theme is 10 and a half minutes' worth of this. After a while, it suddenly turns into a Song of Solace and then into a Grief Song when the old woman sends the cat that Haruka had befriended to an animal shelter. Certain sections of the song even become a Recurring Riff to maintain this effect.
  • Please Don't Leave Me:
    • Haruka begs this of her mother in the first episode, but she ends up leaving anyway. It became her mother's biggest regret, but by then the damage was done.
    • Yuriko tells this to Daichi in episode 11.
  • Poke in the Third Eye:
    • Exploited with much glee by Hiyori in Episode 2, to the point that Haruka vomits.
    • Daichi does this as well, with...better intentions, in Episode 3. He feeds Haruka images of her strapped to a table and him ready to dissect her, thinking that neither Yoshihisa nor Yuriko will be coming...30 seconds before they arrive with lunch and Haruka realizes he was teasing her.
    • Yoshihisa also regularly does a much milder form of this to Haruka. He readily admits that he'll sometimes fantasize about her (including imagining a bust upgrade) just to get a reaction out of her - it's just a form of playful teasing to him. He even internally notes that fantasizing about her isn't as fun if she can't react, such as when she briefly lost her telepathy due to a cold.
  • Protectorate: The ESP Research Society:
    Yuriko "The objective of the ESP Research Society is to scientifically prove the existence of psychic abilities so that the general populace will acknowledge them. Also, to protect those with psychic abilities from people's prejudiced views."
  • Psychic Static: Yoshihisa used multiplication tables and Mouthful of Pi to hide whatever he was planning in episode 7.
  • The Reveal: In "Stand By Me", Tsukino is revealed to be the attacker.
  • Reverse Cerebus Syndrome: The Downer Beginning is a buildup for a Romantic Comedy, albeit a bit Darker and Edgier than the average.
  • Rock-Paper-Scissors: Played for Drama in the Downer Beginning. This is the first scenario when she innocently showed off her telepathy, to her detriment.
  • Sand In My Eyes: In chapter 1 of the manga, Haruka cried after Yoshihisa mentioned "people who want to leave are going to leave." When Yoshihisa asked, she denied crying and claimed of Onion Tears. Yoshihisa of course lampshaded about how fake it is. The eyecatch that follows have Haruka mentioned she actually keeps onions at home to make up excuses like this!
  • Self-Fanservice: In-Universe, Yoshihisa's fantasies about Haruka always have her being much curvier than she actually is.
  • School Festival:
    • The "ESP Fortune Telling" in episode 2 was held during a Cultural Festival in the manga.
    • A sports festival is held in the second half of episode 5.
  • Shipper on Deck: Haruka and Yoshihisa was so much of an Official Couple that everyone ships them.
    • The boys in Haruka and Yoshihisa's class put their names under an Umbrella of Togetherness in episode 3. Yoshihisa at first seems offended by it, but rather than take offense that they shipped them together, he complains that they forgot to add hearts to it.
    • Zenzou is all for the couple, too. He even berates Yoshihisa for missing the perfect moments for a Relationship Upgrade.
    • Hiyori is also actively shipping Yoshihisa and Haruka, despite having a crush on Yoshihisa at the same time. Even she finds that to be strange.
    • Dai'chi's mother ships Yuriko and Dai'chi, even when they're quite young.invoked
    • Yuriko consistently gives advice to Kotoura on how she can get "that idiot" Manabe to take the next step.
  • Shout-Out: A possible one to Dark Souls. (! Trigger Warning !) The entrance to the ESP Club bears a striking resemblance to the room where the first Capra Demon is encountered.
  • Shower of Angst: Yuriko had one in episode 2, after the Flashback Nightmare about her Dark and Troubled Past.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Yoshihisa's confrontation with Hiyori in the second episode. For all the bluster she's ready to give, Yoshihisa cuts through it all in just three lines, ending with a Love Confession in front of nearly the entire class (with Haruka overhearing the entire thing just outside of the classroom).
  • Single Women Seek Good Men: Kotoura and Yuriko fall for Manabe and Dai'chi respectively.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: The show starts off very cynically, then gets Zig Zagged due to an ever present Cerebus Rollercoaster since it's more of a Romantic Dramedy. In spite of all this, the show ends on a well-deserved Happily Ever After.
  • Social Services Does Not Exist: Unfortunately for both Haruka and Yuriko. Haruka's parents could rival Hayate's in jerkassery. To be fair however, Haruka's mother did attempt to see several doctors to discover what was wrong, but none of them could offer any help. Moreover, she also recognized the evil in disowning her own daughter. For all her faults, she does try to get better and that is a huge step above Hayate's parents. Yuriko's case is even more inexcusable since she witnessed her mother Driven to Suicide during her own Dark and Troubled Past. Seriously! It's as if this isn't enough of a Crapsaccharine World to begin with!
  • Solemn Ending Theme: The first four episodes uses The Flower of Hope (Kibou no Hana) as the ending theme. While it is not completely sad, it is a more-or-less accurate portrayal of Yoshihisa's effect on Haruka—it starts with How do I stand again/ once I've fallen down?, with a refrain starting with that day you taught me the meaning of life, and gave me the strength to live on.
  • Special Edition Title: Episode 5 with Theme of the ESP Society and Episode 6 with Flat as a Board, for the two episodes being a bit of a breather compared to the others. The other episodes use the solemn yet heartwarming Flower of Hope.
  • Spit Take: Haruka does this in the first episode when Yoshihisa sticks some chopsticks on his face in a really funny way. She does it again in episode 5 after Yoshihisa gives an embarrassing picture of a young Hiyori in a photo promoting their dojo.
  • Spoiler Opening: Those who have watched episode 2 and/or 3 would find the opening and ending spoiling. As you can see in the page image (clipped from the ending), Hiyori would eventually be a member of the ESP Club. This implies her issue with Haruka and Yoshihisa will resolve at some point.
  • Split Personality: Detective Tsukino has one, due to being bullied as a child. Her evil personality was in charge or revenge and was also the perp of the physical assaults on school girls in episode 10. With the help of Haruka, the good side is able to eliminate the evil one and she is even ready to turn herself in to pay for "her" crimes, which is refused by her superior, whom she has an apparently close friendship with.
  • The Stinger:
    • Episode 6, "Summer Vacation!", features an after-credits scene in which Kumiko coldly watches her daughter and her friends from afar (with the priest by her side).
    • Episode 8, "It's Not a Date", ends with Haruka passing out after getting a nightmarish vision of someone being attacked.
    • Episode 9 ("Everyone is Around Me") ends with a traumatized Hiyori kneeling over a girl's body in a dark alley, her hands coated with blood.
  • Stress Vomit: In episode 2, this is the direct result of Hiyori's Poke in the Third Eye Mind Rape on Haruka, by using emphasizing the trigger of a girl who endured a decade of emotional trauma.
  • Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: For Psychic Powers and not magic per se, but intentionally Averted to be Played for Drama nonetheless. Because these powers are so scarce in the setting, its science is literally unaware and unassuming that espers actually exist. This is why Haruka's Telepathy never could get an official diagnosis despite her mother's gradually aggressive means in trying to get it during the Downer Beginning. By contrast, Yuriko proudly Invokes this trope as one of her founding principles for the ESP Society and Research Club.
  • Super-Deformed: The main cast in the ending of episode 5.
  • Superhero Prevalence Stages: Very Early Stage and often in cruel ways as Haruka's Downer Beginning shows. Yuriko is purposely aiming for the Middle Stage.
  • Super Senses: Also Deconstructed. Yuriko's mother had telescopic vision and used that in a high-profile way, then people said she's a fake, and she was Driven to Suicide.
  • Surprise Party: In the second half of episode 7, Yoshihisa doesn't hang out with Haruka at all, nor does he talk to her very much. She and Yuriko go around town looking for him, and they suspect he's cheating on her, or at least up to no good. Then it turns out he was working because he wanted to get money to give a birthday party to Haruka, since her birthday is September 1st.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: In episode 10, Haruka claims she wasn't thinking about Yoshihisa, shortly after they had a fight regarding her trying to find the criminal attacking high school girls.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: In episode 2, Yoshihisa chews Hiyori after he found out that she psychically exploited Haruka during the Fortune Teller scene and teased her about the Stress Vomit. It's made better by Yoshihisa's Tranquil Fury, his Love Confession for Haruka, and the fact that both Haruka and Yuriko were eavesdropping on this conversation. The former sheds Tender Tears afterwards as the latter holds her tenderly.
  • Television Geography: Just compare Kotoura Station(in anime) with Urayasu Station(in real life) of Kotoura Tōhaku District. They look practically alike there.
  • Theme Tune Cameo:
    • In episode 3, when the ESP Club members were singing karaoke, Yuriko picked the anime's opening theme for Haruka to sing.
    • In episode 12 they do it again, and this time Haruka sings the (main) ending theme.
  • There Are No Therapists: At least not for any esper or anybody closely related to one. Kumiko and Yuriko fit the latter.
  • They're Called Personal Issues For A Reason: The whole reason why Tatemae exists in the setting. Deconstructed during the Downer Beginning due to Haruka's presence as an Innocently Insensitive Living Lie Detector and a Curious Honest Advisor which causes everyone to play on their facades.
  • Through His Stomach: Dramatically subverted in Episode 3. Yuriko suggested Haruka to do that to Yoshihisa, and Haruka did made one... on the day after Yoshihisa was attacked. Also see It's All My Fault for its symbolism.
  • Training Montage: Haruka goes through one in episode 5.
  • Trash of the Titans: Subverted. Yuriko assumed this of Haruka's apartment in episode 5 since she's living alone, but that's not the case.
  • True Companions: The ESP Club for Haruka. It's one of the show's Central Themes.
  • Tsundere: Haruka to Yoshihisa. It runs in the family. Her mother is worse, towards Haruka.
  • Unnamed Parent: So far, the only named parents are Haruka's mother Kumiko, her grandfather Zenzou (who took a parental role), and Yuriko's late mother Chizuru. Other parents are not named, even they may have a speaking role.
  • Understatement: The first preview video, having Haruka interiewing herself, gravely downplays the effects of telepathy on her. She did say, "I don't really want it," and quoted her constant Dirty Mind-Reading of Yoshihisa as an example. That is actually the least of her problems, particularly considering he's her first friend in nearly a decade. In fact, she started to sweat profusely as the "interview" went on and eventually she decided it's too tiring to go on.
  • Untrusting Community: to Haruka and Yuriko by proxy since her mother had Super Senses. See Crapsaccharine World above.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: When Haruka had a Heroic BSOD after knowing what Hiyori thinks in Episode 2, she covers her mouth as the screen turns dark to hide the horror that prompts a student to exclaim with understandably surprising disgust since the Trigger wasn't apparent to anybody else. See the trope's image for the more queasy details.
  • Wham Episode: In episode 8, where Haruka inadvertently reads the mind of a murderer.
  • Wham Line: Both caused Haruka cross the Despair Event Horizon.
    Kumiko, Haruka's mother: (Pushes Haruka off on the floor) I should never have given birth to you.
    Nameless lady, to Haruka: Are you the one who has been feeding that cat? What a nuisance. I took it to a shelter, so don't ever come here again.
  • Worth Living For: The main idea of the first ending Flower of Hope.
    That day you taught me the meaning of life,
    and gave me the strength to live on
    and I embrace it with all my heart
    • Invoked by Haruka in Ep. 11 ducking from a baton strike by Detective Tsukino that's probably meant to kill her:
      Kotuora: (internal monologue): "Until recently, I thought the world would be better off if I'd never been born. Sometimes, I even felt like I should die. *Images of her friends flash in her head* But, I don't want to die! I want to live! Manabe-kun!"
  • Yes-Man: They are everywhere since Tatemae is a dominant concept in the setting. These are the people that chase away psychics like Haruka, Yuriko's mother (who was Driven to Suicide), and Yuriko herself by extention even though the last one doesn't have any Psychic Powers. It's the fact that Yoshihisa and Dai'ichi aren't this which gives the former two some solace in an otherwise Crapsaccharine World for them.
  • You Are Not Alone: One of the main themes. Consider the situation: Yoshihisa and Dai'chi are the only teen that understands Haruka and Yuriko's psychic problems, respectively. Haruka and Hiyori shares annoyance over Yoshihisa's perversion, etc, etc.
  • Your Cheating Heart:
    • Haruka's parents were cheating behind each other. Kumiko and her boyfriend Tsuyama has been animated, but how about her father? We don't know which women is he with, but Haruka already has a half-sister.
    • In volume 2 of the manga, it turns out Kumiko's boyfriend Tsuyama has a girlfriend of Haruka's age in the equivalent of the second part of Episode 12.

Alternative Title(s):

Kotoura San