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Manga: Zettai Karen Children

We're absolutely lovely, and that's why we won't lose!!

The adventures of a trio of middle-school girls with Psychic Powers and their long-suffering supervisor in a world where those with power are both treated with prejudice and form the most prominent crime-fighting organization in the world, BABEL. Oh, and did we mention the girls are the three most powerful known espers around?

From the creator of Ghost Sweeper Mikami, and animated by the people who brought us Hayate the Combat Butlernote , this is a fun, entertaining series which is a lot smarter than it first appears. In 2010, the series got an OVA set during the girls' middle school years. In 2013, the series got a Darker and Edgier Spin-Off, The Unlimited: Hyoubu Kyosuke, focusing on Hyoubu and PANDRA.

The TV series has been licensed for Region 1 streaming and DVD under the name Psychic Squad. Kaoru, Aoi, Shiho and friends appear in the Massive Multiplayer Crossover game, Sunday VS Magazine Shuuketsu Choujou Daikessen.


Trope examples:

  • Abusive Parents: Notable in their absence, every parent or surrogate shown is at the very least well intentioned or executes a Heel-Face Turn.
  • Action Dad: Minamoto: marksman, scientist, homemaker. In one episode, he forces his kidnapper to eat her vegetables and take a bath, and washes her panties and then uses the opportunity to his advantage (No, not like that). He cleans in his spare time, and his bento lunches are worth fighting a war over. He even has a moe moe apron.
  • A-Cup Angst: Aoi's drama.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Several characters get an episode that focuses largely on them:
    • Naomi in episodes 4 and 19.
    • Aoi gets the emphasis in episodes 12 and 31.
    • Kaoru's backstory with her sister and mother get explored in episode 13.
    • Shiho gets a lot of screentime in episode 14.
    • Momotaru gets one in episode 20.
    • Takashi Kugutsu gets his coverage in episode 21.
  • All Bikers Are Hells Angels: Subverted. Turns out that the bosozoku gang that Naomi investigates are loud and unpolished, but really a bunch of softies, and when a crook blackens their name, they don't take it at all well. They even go out of their way to apologize to Naomi, stating that the culprit responsible for said action was doing it on his own without them being aware of it, and promised to turn him into the police when they captured him.
  • All of the Other Reindeer:
    • A very pleasant aversion comes when the Children rescue some bank employees from the Normal People. The bank manager thanks them and says that he considers the Normal People to be idiots.
    • Played straight when the girls first look at the kids going to school in episode 5. While they berate the kids, Minamoto senses they want to go too, but can't because of their esper powers, which Kaoru demonstrates in a simulation class when she blasts a robot boy in the head after he insults espers. But fortunately for the girls he manages to find a way for them to go.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Aoi's, as seen in episode 31 when she visits her hometown of Kyoto with Minamoto and Ken. Her father at first attacks Minamoto due to suspecting him of being a Lolicon, and later is teased by several women, prompting his wife to then purchase some expensive kimonos out of anger and jealousy.
  • Angst: Minamoto spends many a sleepless night worried about the legal and social discrimination faced by espers, especially the three under his care. It's kept far, far away from wangst because it isn't self-centered and he generally focuses that energy on productive endeavors, such as giving the Children the opportunity to go to school.
  • Anime Hair: Most of the cast is usually in uniform, and the same age: you really need the hairstyles to tell them apart in combat scenes.
  • Animorphism: Hatsune has the ability to transform into a wolf, aside from having other wolf-like tendencies.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: Hyobu attempts to do this to Minamoto in episode 10 to have the former save the latter and Kaoru from a ship at the bottom of the ocean. However, Minamoto is Genre Savvy enough to realize that it would make him even more subservient to the former, and flat out refuses the offer.
  • Anti-Villain: Kyosuke. He's a marginally sane, sociopathic terrorist who's preparing for a war against Muggles. He's also helping, protecting, and providing a home for espers who have nowhere else to go because the Muggles rejected them, doing his level best to help Minamoto keep Kaoru alive and sane (even if it's for his own purposes), and he's about the only one who's doing anything to stop Black Phantom before Kaoru gets her Messiah powers.
  • Anything That Moves: Kaoru, verging on Depraved Bisexual. She's even hot for her sister and her mother.
  • Art Shift: Kyosuke has some outdated concepts of what the anime adaptation will look like.
  • Badass Adorable: It'd be easier to list a major character who isn't. Minamoto and Kaoru are just the most obvious.
  • Badass Normal: Minamoto, by way of being The Chessmaster, having enough Heroic Willpower to resist psychic control, and going through Training from Hell to condition his body to resist the psychic abuse Kaoru routinely inflicts on him.
  • Barehanded Blade Block: In episode 31, Minamoto does this when Aoi's father goes into Papa Wolf mode after receiving an email from her saying she was coming home with "her honey".
  • Batman Gambit: Minamoto is an exceptional tactician.
  • Beach Episode: Offering The Children a chance to kick butt while wearing bathing suits. And a chance to the men on the beach to admire Fujiko's body from up close while she sleeps when sunbathing.
  • Beauty, Brains and Brawn: That's Shiho, Aoi and Kaoru to you.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me:
    • Aside from the BABEL chief, the girls gradually start warming up to Minamoto because he saw them as people, rather than dangerous animals as their previous supervisor and other people did.
    • Colonel Grisham does his plan in episodes 15 and 16 because the little girl who saw him hiding from the Japanese soldiers instead brought him some much needed water. As a result, when she became old and was nearing death, he manipulated several espers to remove the water from a dam to reveal the house the girl grew up in so she could see it one last time.
  • Becoming the Mask: Subverted, Feather (now a separate entity) reveals that Yuri, Phantom Daughter's "civilian" personality (disregarded by her Emotionless Girl and Ax-Crazy personalities as a mere "puppet") is how she would have been is she hadn't been found by Black Phantom.
  • Berserk Button: The main cast members go any length to protect each other. Jumping into bullet fire, breaking international laws, enduring torture are no problem. But hurt Minamot,o and Kaoru has an Unstoppable Rage that even Hyobu wants nothing to do with.
  • Betrayal Insurance: Minamoto is ordered to always carry the gun with which he kills Kaoru in the precog's visions; he feels pretty conflicted about it.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Shiho, who can be unexpectedly nasty when sufficiently provoked.
    • As the manga progresses, this gets more extreme - In the beginning, Shiho would just tell someone's emberassing secrets. Recently ,her first proposal to deal with a bad guy hidden in a cloud who had pissed her off was using thermobaric bombardment, and her second was using a nuke
    • Just don't anger Minamoto if you don't feel like being clobbered to death with an alligator.
      • Or if you don't feel like having a bottle smashed against your head. Or if you don't feel like having your mansion demolished by a hijacked drill truck. Seriously, don't piss this guy off.
  • BFG: The Blaster weapon Minamoto was given and eventually uses to kill Kaoru in the Bad Future. It doesn't look that big until you see it next to a regular pistol...
  • Big Eater: Hatsune, which comes with her wolf-transformation abilities.
  • Black Comedy Rape: Kaoru at times really skirts the line with her harassment of Oboro.
  • Black Mail: Kaoru does this to Takashi Kugutsu in episode 21 after spotting him taking discreet pictures of Kashiwagi. While his true motive for spying on her was to provide intel for Hyobu, he plays along with Kaoru's accusations of being a Stalker with a Crush, and she forces him to build a life sized robot version of Kashiwagi for her. Unfortunately she accidentally lets that slip out later in the episode, and she throws him under the bus by claiming all the things she planned on doing with that robot, such as having it clean her ears and taking a bath with it, was really what he wanted to do.
  • Bodyguard Crush: Barret and Tim, towards the Power Trio.
  • Born Winner: High level espers, and Level 7s in particular.
  • Brain in a Jar: A dolphin's, responsible for the ESPer prophecy which drives the plot.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Shiina is doing this more and more as time passes (this and Shout-Out are becoming staples of his works). However, the wall is always there, and no one, so far, was able to escape trouble via genresavviness.
    • With the possible exception of Shiho, who calls BABEL's new submarine a "victory for CG" when the girls are talking about how cool it is.
    • Then, there's the OVA. The robot duplicates of The Children explain to the audience (but confuse the rest of the class) about the making of the OVA and the possibility of a season two.
  • Breather Episode:
    • Episode 6, which follows the girl's first day at school. The next few episodes then become much more serious.
    • Episode 9 is filled with a lot of Fanservice, thanks to Hyobu hypnotizing Minamoto into seeing the girls as more grown up. They take full advantage of it once the former tells them about it.
    • In general, any episodes that has Chisato and Tono in it. Usually things are comedic and light-hearted in nature when they're around, as opposed to actively fighting against high level espers who are trying to either kill or at least harm their friends.
  • Bridge Bunnies: Hotaru and Natsuko, the receptionists at BABEL, who later (after being promoted to field agents) get replaced by Chizuto and Tae.
  • Brutal Honesty: Shiho's mother adopts this as a coping mechanism for the mind-reading aspects of Shiho's powers.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Done to all espers as well as some normals. Considering what espers can do and how it's the normals' fault some of them go bad in the first place, a lot of them may just be Too Dumb to Live.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: With about two exceptions, everyone at BABEL is superhumanly competent and off the wall weird.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Kaoru loves this, using "Psychic [Whatever]!" at any opportunity.
    • She considers this so important, she'll actually stop, mid attack to come up with a suitable name.
  • Cameo: Nagi and Hayate. Episode 33 has full and voiced appearances by several members of the Hayate cast, with Nagi and Hayate being the most major.
  • Canon Immigrant: Andy Hinomiya and Yugiri were characters originally conceived for the "non-canon" series The Unlimited, believed to just appear in the manga's omakes, until they finally appear in the main story.
  • Cat Smile: Kaoru displays one from time to time.
  • Chaste Hero: Minamoto is dedicated to the well being of his charges to the point that he doesn't have much of a social life.
  • Chekhov's Toymaker — Mr.9, who turns out to be B.A.B.E.L turncoat and Otaku extraordinaire Takashi Kugustu
  • The Chessmaster: Minamoto
  • Chick Magnet: Kid Minamoto.
    • And regular Minamoto.
  • Child Soldiers: Kyosuke and Fujiko joined military, when they were 10.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl:
    • Kaoru doesn't like it when anyone tries to disrupt the team's dynamics, such as in episode 18 when Aoi and Shiho start hanging out with some boys. She also doesn't like it when Minamoto starts paying attention to anyone besides herself (though this is done in a cute way). She makes an exception for Sakaki, though.
    • One incident after the Time Skip hints that her jealousy might be getting a bit more serious. All of the girls are pretty clingy to Minamoto, and occasionally they do get jealous at each other.
    • In episode 10, both Aoi and Shiho seem a bit too obsessed with getting back to the sunken ship that Kaoru and Minamoto are stuck on due to having been left behind from lack of space on their submarine after rescuing all the stranded crew. They worry the two will get into some kind of naughty things, and that Kaoru is going to take the lead on them.
    • In episode 9, after the girls spot Chisato and Tono, two of their classmates at school hanging out together, Kaoru jokingly accuses her of being a flirt. She denies it, stating that they were dragged along with their mothers and were simply waiting for them. Tono then asks who'd want to date her anyway, prompting Chisato to smack him in the head with her purse.
    • During episode 17's training, Minamoto is assisting two new esper candidates against the girls, partly to measure their training, and partly because the girls were getting jealous he wasn't spending enough time with them. One of the candidates, Hatsune, feels he belongs to her, and steals him away. The other three girls don't agree with it, especially Kaoru, and she manages to make Hatsune back down.
  • Clip Show: Episode 52, which has Double Face narrating various scenes and introducing several of the main characters.
  • Clothing Damage: To show that the girls are growing... except for Aoi, who is still quite a Pettanko.
  • Combined Energy Attack: Parodied in one episode, where Kaoru asks for the energy of the perverts of the world while training with Naomi.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: So very much. Poor, poor Minamoto...
  • Cooldown Hug: Shown here.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Minamoto in general, and BABEL to a lesser extent. He has enough working knowledge to figure out how to resolve the situations he's in, and can sometimes plan for them, such as the use of ECCM (Esper counter counter measure) in episode 7, and BABEL often provides them with whatever support is needed for their missions.
  • Creepy Child: Shiho, oh so very much.
    Shiho: "The pain and hate of the fish which were brutally murdered... it's delicious."
    • When she first met Aoi, she bullied her and mutilated her toys because she figured people were going to be afraid of her anyway, so they may as well hate her first (she also did it because Aoi annoyed her by being a normal kid worried about her relatively non-destructive power). This was when she was four.
  • Creepy Half-Identical Twins: The Little Mice. In their omake introductions, the boy disguises himself as his sister to be with her due to the nature of their powers, and both greet their "sempai" Naomi with "I'm going to use you as a stepping stone."
  • Cross-Popping Veins: Occurs from time to time on various characters.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: To all appearances, Sakaki is an absent minded skirt-chaser who works in the lab. Then, he disarms someone at 500 meters with a hand gun. He later frightens off one of the more ethically challenged members of PANDRA with a Death Glare when Shiho and Minamoto are in danger.
    • How about his introductory storyline in the manga? Where his response to being shot and slowly bleeding to death is to calmly use his powers to stem the bleeding and keep the bullet from entering his heart, then directing several others in its removal. All the while, perfectly calm, despite the obviously excruciating pain he's in.
    • And now, in a recent arc, he decks himself out in warpaint and CHOPS THE HEAD OFF OF A LION.
    • I'LL GIVE YOU TOXOPLASMAAA!
  • Crouching Scholar Hidden Badass: We knew that Minamoto is a top notch scientist, marksman, expert tactician and that he had special forces training, but it still a suprise to see him put a submission grapple on a level 7 Esper. Oh it doesn't work out of course, but it's still pretty Bad Ass.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • The Children often end up dishing these out.
    • Colonel Grisham in episode 15 deals one to the joint Comerica/Japanese esper teams sent out to stop him, largely because he was able to copy their powers and use it against them. And with Kaoru, he tells her a sad story which weakens her resolve and he simply shoots a tiny ray to defeat her.
    • Hyobu looks weak, but he often pretends to not have the upper hand to give his opponents a Hope Spot before utterly destroying them if he so wishes. Most of the time he only stops because Kaoru tells him to, or because he doesn't want to make her sad in the case of killing Minamoto.
  • Cute Little Fangs: Hatsune still sports them when she's in her human form.
  • Cuteness Proximity:
    • Happens to Akira in episode 33 when he takes over a seal's body. The girls and Kashiwagi can barely contain themselves and constantly cuddle him.
    • Minamoto is also afflicted by this in episode 49. Because of a memory block and hypno applied by Hyobu to help Momotaro restore his memory, Minamoto looks and acts like his ten year old self. However, he is still fairly intelligent, and praises both Kashiwagi and Sakaki for their efforts to help. Both of them then give him The Glomp as a result. The girls get jealous when Kashiwagi does it, then she joins them when Sakaki does his.
  • Dancing Theme: The second ending theme, though only twice out of all the times it's played.
    • The music videos for the two opening themes also feature three young female singers dancing while in cosplay - full dance versions here: Over the Future & My Wings.
  • Dark Magical Girl: Mio.
  • Dark Messiah: Kaoru, as the Queen of Catastrophe, is prophesied to lead a war against non-espers.
  • Date Peepers:
    • The Children spy on a supposed date between Naomi and her art teacher.
    • The chief get his date peep too... using spy satellites.
    • In episode 18, Kaoru spends an afternoon jealously following Aoi and Shiho around on their dates. She eventually teams up with the Chief to take date peeping past eleven.
    • A particularly hilarious variation happens when Minamoto goes to his home town for a marriage interview with a girl which happens to be his childhood friend. Since the Chief and Fujiko and Kyousuke are interested in this, and bring their men with them to participate in peeping, it ends up in a chaotic all-out battle between BABEL and PANDRA.
  • Dark-Skinned Blonde: Lt. Mary Ford of the Americ... I mean, Comerican espers.
  • Deadly Dodging: Firing homing missiles at Lightspeed Goddess Aoi is bad for your health.
  • Deal with the Devil: Or Kyosuke, who's close enough, on several occasions.
    • Evidence 1: In an occasion he creates a situation for Minamoto to ask for his help, but he realizes it is a trick to make him his mindless puppet
    • Evidence 2: He tempts Minamoto once more by having him spend a day with The Children as his 12-year-old self and offers him a chance to make it permanent
    • Evidence 3: The president of Comerica promises his younger son, a humongous brat and level-7 esper, to PANDRA if Minamoto can't get him under control (just one all-powerful demon child with issues? no problem!).
  • Declaration of Protection: Minamoto does this repeatedly for the girls, vowing to protect them from Hyobu, and anything else that may jeopardize their childhood. This is also one reason why the girls grow close to him, because he views them as human girls, and not strange beings that have to be suppressed and controlled.
  • Delayed Reaction: A Running Gag with Mio, who takes a while before realizing why having no air to breathe is bad for you.
  • Diminishing Villain Threat: Averted. It's clear that Kyosuke could wipe out countries (And does in fact take one over) if he had a care to, he just has in-character reasons not to.
  • Dirty Old Man: Kaoru is this in spirit, while Supervisor Tanizaki is a more straight example.
    • Though after the Time Skip, Kaoru develops a modicum of modesty, at least when it comes to Minamoto. Other girls are still fair game.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Several examples:
    • Minamoto suffers from this a lot from Kaoru. Sometimes he deserves it, but usually it's her overreacting to something and taking it out on him.
    • In episode 21, Kashiwagi and the other BABEL staff sees the life-sized robot of her Kugutsu was building. Though he was actually building it for Kaoru due to Black Mail from her, the latter lies and says he had a crush on Kashiwagi. When she sees the robot, Kashiwagi pulls out a gatling gun, and blasts it repeatedly.
  • Distracted by the Sexy:
    • Kaoru has trouble focusing goes completely gaga when around hordes of busty women, often screwing up her missions because of it.
    • Happens to Minamoto in episode 9 after getting afflicted by a hypnotic spell from Hyobu. As a result, he sees the girls a few years older, and is understandably trying to avoid them to avoid temptation. Naturally after being told about this by Hyobu, the girls take full advantage of it, deliberately trying to tease him to see which one of them he likes as a woman.
  • The Ditz: Kojika.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Muscle Okama uses crotch blasts.
    • What do his crotch blasts do? They make things "harder" or "softer".
    • A non-sexual example of this trope is the scale used to describe the power levels of espers. The Description of the effects of espers at various levels appear to be taken almost word for word from the JMA earthquake scale, making the heroines literally Persons of Mass Destruction.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Minamoto is on the receiving end of this a lot from Kaoru.
  • Dude, She's Like in a Coma: In the first episode, when Kaoru encounters a woman who's been Taken for Granite, she takes the chance to look up her skirt and fondle her thighs, to the irritation of Aoi.
  • Eagleland: Comerica, standing in for America. You begin to notice it's not really America when the stripes on the flag are vertical.
    • That and the name are about the only differences, though.
  • The Empath: Shiho.
    • A pretty unnerving use of it, considering her age.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Minamoto, after 50+ episodes of constant devotion has advanced the chance of a good future by a grand total of 2%. Even so, Fujiko treats it as a significant accomplishment, and The Children tell him that they're aware of, and grateful for everything he's done.
  • Enemy Mine: There are times PANDRA helps out the Children, or are forced to work with them, usually when Black Phantom is involved. As much as Hyobu hates Minamoto, he hates normals even more, especially ones that would dare brainwash and use espers like that.
  • Enforced Cold War: BABEL and PANDRA can't seriously fight each other because Kaoru's heart and mind are the most important prize. Kaoru loves almost everyone on both sides, so using lethal force would prejudice her against whoever started the fire.
    • Other thing is they seem sometimes to even like each other.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: ESPer supremacist group PANDRA is totally opposed to the brainwashing esper Terrorists Without a Cause Black Phantom. Black Phantom is slightly disturbed at themselves for turning children into Tyke Bombs, and remedies this by "not letting them get infected with emotion so they can live unaware they they're human".
  • Everybody Lives: In the anime, there has not been one individual killed yet, despite how narrowly several people have escaped death. Lieutenant Ikyuugo is the most blatant example, since this leads to a Like You Would Really Do It effect that slightly trims back the drama.
  • Eviler than Thou: Episode 37 introduces the criminal organization Black Phantom. One Brainwashed and Crazy esper assassin sent by the organization was able to take on Hyobu, and it took a Deus ex Machina courtesy of Kaoru to stop him.
    • Where by Deus ex Machina you mean the plot point the previous 36 episodes have been building up to, but yes.
    • Hyobu was trying to save his opponent, not kill him. He was about to give up and take off the gloves when Kaoru smacked him into a wall. A minion later notes that most of his injuries came from Kaoru.
    • The assassin did manage to give Hyobu trouble thanks to his ability to manipulate bullets. Specifically, he manipulated the bullets that had been left inside Hyobu's body for the last few decades after his former army superior tried to kill him.
  • Excited Title! Two-Part Episode Name!
  • Expy: Most character will seem very familiar if you've read Ghost Sweeper Mikami (Shiho, for example, seems to be growing up with all the morality and softness of Reiko), but the only true expy so far seems to be Dr. Chaos / Col. Grisham.
  • Eye Catch: Like Hayate, shiritori is being played across it.
  • Face Fault:
    • Happens to Tono who's trying to pick a fight with Kaoru in episode 6, after the class bell rings and she switches from wanting to beat him up to a sweet girl.
    • Happens to the girls, Minamoto, and Sakaki in episode 45 after the girls approach a boy that the latter two believe may have latent esper powers. Minamoto tells them to observe him secretly, so of course the girls greet him up front, causing him to wonder who they are.
  • Face Palm: Minamoto does one in episode 26, after Kaoru gets Distracted by the Sexy, forgets to move the ferris wheel to a safe spot, and it consequently sinks into the nearby river.
  • Fake Defector: In episode 15, Colonel Grisham, a US esper colonel, plans to defect to an unspecified country, and Comerica and Japan's esper teams work together to try and apprehend him before he can do that. Episode 16 reveals it was all part of The Plan he was working on to help a little girl, who was now a very old woman, to see her the house she grew up in, which was buried in water behind a dam.
  • Fantastic Racism: Espers are subjected to this by normal people, with very few exceptions. They attemp to justify it because espers have strange powers and as a result seem different, and therefore scary, to people unfamiliar with it. And it doesn't help that some espers, such as the PANDRA group, use their powers largely to harm people, and further reinforcing the stereotype that all espers are bad.
  • Flipping the Table: Lampshaded by Aoi regarding the interview room for Takeshi-kun and his father.
  • Foreign Fanservice: Lt. Mary Ford, "the big breasted-er, foreign, woman."
  • Fountain of Youth: Minamoto ends up getting regressed to The Childrens' age.
  • Freudian Excuse: Deconstructed by Minamoto in the last episode.
    • Any number of PANDRA members imply that they have back grounds like this, though they're treated with much more sympathy. Sometimes.
  • Friendly Enemy: BABEL has a shoot on sight order for Kyosuke, but otherwise, The Children and PANDRA members are just as likely to snark at each other, visit amusement parks together or ask for help as actually fight.
    • Taken to a whole new level when Kyosuke hijacks a country to allow Mio and the other young members of PANDRA to attend school with The Children under the aegis of diplomatic immunity.
  • From the Mouths of Babes: In episode 25, after rescuing the pregnant woman and she delivers a healthy baby, Kaoru, Aoi, and Shiho all say they want to have Minamoto's baby. They say they don't know how babies are made, but surely he must, which gets him a bit flustered.
  • Furo Scene: In a twist, Minamoto gets one of these when the children teleport at home while he's taking a shower. He even chases them off throwing things.
  • Fictional Counterpart: Except for Japan, all other countries have fictional names, slightly different from their real counterparts, including Comerica, Chena, Jermany, Idaly, Ingland, Franse, Paland, Robiet and Vrajil.
  • Gagging on Your Words: In an omake Kyosuke is forced to admit that he and PANDRA can't remove the bomb implanted in Sai's head, but he would rather die than say Sakaki is better than him at something.
  • Gambit Pileup: Fujiko and Kyosuke both have their own plans for how to Screw Destiny. Minamoto has his own ideas and doesn't want either of them telling him what to do. We still don't know Black Phantom's true objectives (if they have any).
  • Gambit Roulette: Usually, Minamoto's planning is completely believable, but in the episode where he gets the Normal People to threaten Kaoru and fall into his trap, even if we accept that he had concealed an emergency ECCM and limiter release program in his laptop for just such a contingency, which admittedly is in character for him, he still got lucky in that Kaoru was the Child being threatened instead of Shiho (who lacks direct combat powers).
  • Genre Savvy: Given that Kyosuke is a Master of Disguise who gets a little too much enjoyment from disguising himself as Minamoto Tim doesn't lower his gun when Minamoto says "It's me", Tim checks the finger prints. It actually is Minamoto, but BABEL needs to give the kid a raise.
  • Girls Are Really Scared of Horror Movies: Aside from the opening skit where they tell viewers to watch the show with the lights on, in episode 9 Minamoto takes them to watch The Ring. While he didn't seem particularly scared of it, Kaoru is clutching him afterwards, and the other two suffer a Color Failure.
  • Girls Love: Episode 36 takes a potshot at the genre. It may qualify as an Indecisive Parody; while Kaoru and Sakaki's lustful Lampshade Hanging is clearly a gag, the vase of white lilies, focus on the girls' hands, subtext, and Bait-and-Switch Lesbians are all hallmarks of the genre played completely straight.
  • Go Karting with Bowser: The Children and PANDRA's younger members go to school together, and often spend their free time with each other. Kyosuke and Kaoru also frequently hang out together, even going on dates from time to time.
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Evil: BABEL are the good guys, and Black Phantom and the Normal People are evil. PANDRA are more nuanced bad guys who spend more time helping The Children than fighting them.
  • Goo Goo Godlike: Kaoru once put her mother in the hospital with a psychic temper-tantrum. Her family later admits to fearing that it might happen again.
  • Gratuitous English: "The Children" for a start (yes, the "The" is important and capitalised), then we have BAse of Backing Esp. Laboratory. Goofier than that is the PANDRA ad in episode 27. "Let's join us!"
    • In the manga version, it's actually hard to find chapters whose titles don't contain gratuitous English. In English translations of the manga, this is lost for obvious reasons.
    • The three girls do this in the OVA during a class. See the Suspiciously Specific Denial entry for further info.
  • Groin Attack: Happens to Okama a lot, and Shiho in particular happens to specialize in threatening it.
  • The Gunslinger: Shiho has become one in more recent episodes.
  • Hair Antennae: Kojika, the guardian of HOUND, sports a set.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: A few characters engage in this, usually Kaoru and whoever she's arguing with at the time, such as Tono or Mary.
  • Hard Gay: Muscle Okama. A leather getup and psychic crotch beams that turn people to stone. Really. With some Camp Gay mannerisms thrown in for good measure.
  • Hates Being Touched: Inverted trope. People go out of their way to avoid physical contact with psychometers. Sakaki expresses open jealousy that Shiho has people willing to hug her and hold her hand.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Psychometry. It seems like the kind of thing that wouldn't be much use in combat (and it actually isn't at first), until Shiho explains that psychometry grants Improbable Aiming Skills and lets her use any weapon like a prothe second she picks it up. Don't believe it? Toss her a shamsir and see how long you live.
  • Heavy Sleeper: Fujiko
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Fujiko
  • Hero of Another Story: The other esper units at BABEL, such as the Hound, and Naomi, have their own missions and stories to tell. Some of them are covered in the main show, but one must wonder what other things they go through that isn't shown.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The homing missiles shot by the rogue Roviet colonel at Aoi in episode 11 ends up destroying his fighter jet after she purposely teleports on top of his jet to lure the missiles towards him. Minamoto then exposes his agenda to the Roviet government, who promptly arrest him.
  • Hollywood Density: Kaoru stuffs her shirt with gold bars without ripping it, even though she has no powers due to ECMs.
  • Honor Before Reason: The Children get very agitated when Minamoto does the pragmatic thing rather than the right thing. In one instance, he lets the Big Bad get away rather then subject The Children to the sight of a normal human shooting an esper in cold blood. Unusually for the this trope, it works for the best. The fact that Minamoto honestly tries to live up to this standard has Kaoru reacting to Kyosuke's nastier actions and beliefs with horror and disgust in later episodes.
    • Kaoru goes way, way out on a limb to trust Mio and the other PANDRA kids at their word, even though she is very much aware of the risk.
  • Hot-Blooded: Kaoru, so very much. Fujiko was this when she was younger; nowadays she takes her craziness in a different direction.
  • Hot Springs Episode: Kaoru proves to be rather Genre Savvy in this episode, trying to make sure all the expected tropes play out.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • In episode 4, Naomi tries to stop an esper who's using his powers for perversion. Her trainer Tanzaki releases her limiter, and all of her attacks land on him instead of the pervert. She then says she'll avenge her trainer for the damage he's suffered, never mind that she was the one who caused it in the first place. The attacker meanwhile uses this opportunity to escape.
    • In episode 9, Kaoru demands that Minamoto treat them like adults, since they're 10 years old. In the very next scene, she's throwing a temper tantrum like a kid because he won't buy a limited edition doll for her.
  • Idiot Hero: Though not dumb per se, Kaoru certainly has elements of this.
  • I Have the High Ground: Naomi's favorite entrance.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: The Children really want to go to a normal school and deal with other kids. Minamoto makes it happen for them, but things sure ain't easy.
    • The underage children of PANDRA make the same decision, much to Kyosuke's chagrin.
    • Minamoto had the same experience as a child, and it for the basis of an offer that Kyosuke makes for him
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Kaoru does this to Minamoto in the OVA after the latter is brainwashed by the Phantom Daughter. She starts to repeat the lines from his vision, which causes him to pause long enough for her to break the hypnosis being used on him.
  • Image Song
  • Imagine Spot: Happens from time to time, with various characters thinking about how certain scenarios may play out.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: In the manga, Sakaki manages to hit a power staff carried by a man standing on top of a passenger jet in flight, using a handgun. It's implied that psychometers like Sakaki and Shiho use their powers to aim.
    • He can also throw scalpels down the barrel of a helicopter-mounted gun, apparently.
  • In the End, You Are on Your Own: Kaoru is the Children's combat machine. Aoi and Shiho support her, but she's the only one with blasty powers.
  • In the Name of the Moon: Complete with sentai-style smoke-bombs at the end. Lampshaded by Aoi, Minamoto, hell anyone who's watching as they all think it's a bit silly. The speech is never the same one twice. Even when Aoi's going on a mission alone, she still does a heroic speech. While it doesn't turn out completely perfect, the finale even has The Hound trying their hand at one.
  • Invocation: Sure, Minamoto doesn't need to call out "Released!" when he deactivates the limiters with his phone, but it looks cool.
  • Ironic Echo: In an effort to kill The Children, the Normal People are willing to let three civilians suffocate to death in a vault, and say that it is "a small sacrifice". Much later, some members of PANDRA blows up a plane to flush out a Black Phantom agent. They call it "a small sacrifice".
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: In episode 44, Kaoru, Shiho, and Aoi make the painful decision to let Minamoto go off with Carry, his ex-girlfriend from back in college. Fortunately for them, Carry hadn't intended to steal him away; rather she just wanted to confirm the angelic being she saw behind him the first time, and was happy with that, so she parts way to avoid causing any more strife for him.
  • Jekyll & Hyde: Arabian princess Sera and her colder ancestor Masara.
  • Kansai Regional Accent: Aoi (Kyoto to be precise).
  • Kawaiiko: Fujiko is eighty years old and, of course, overdoes the cute to compensate. She doesn't quite manage the Moe however.
  • Kick the Dog: Just in case there was any worry of the PANDRA sliding into Anti-Villain territory, they blow up a plane to smoke out a Black Phantom agent, smugly explaining that normals have no right to live. In front of Kaoru. Given that Kyosuke has bent over backwards to paint PANDRA as La Résistance, you'd think he'd have explained the whole "hearts and minds" thing.
    • It's then followed up by Kyosuke erasing Kaoru's memory of the incident so that she'll be more likely to join them in the future. Not to mention the whole "trying to turn a young girl into a living WMD against Normals despite knowing that this will eventually lead to her death."
  • Kill Me Now or Forever Stay Your Hand: Kyosuke does this to Minamoto when the latter has the blaster drawn on him. He actively taunts Minamoto into shooting, because he knows that if Minamoto does take him down, Kaoru will come away with a grudge and the esper-human war will be assured.
  • Knight of Cerebus: The second season is generally a lot more serious than the first, what with the prophecy, Future!Kaoru and all, but Black Phantom's appearance is by far the closest the show comes to playing for keeps.
  • Legion of Doom: PANDRA
    • An unusual example of the trope as the members of PANDRA are genuinely loyal to one another.
    • The Normal People and Black Phantom are both non-sympathetic examples, notable in that they're non-esper groups.
  • Let's Just Be Friends: Aoi and Shiho do this to the two boys at the end of episode 18. Made more painful for them because they were both NiceGuys, but Status Quo Is God here. They then get mad at Kaoru for having gone on a date with Minamoto during that same time.
  • Likes Older Women: Kaoru, for sure. Note her reaction to "the great armada" in the second Hot Springs Episode.
  • Lightning Glare: Kaoru does this with Tono in episode 11 after he beats her score on a test.
  • Little Miss Snarker: As a ten-year-old ultrapowerful mind reader, Shiho is naturally suited to the role. Like Guu, she's more playful and deadpan than actively sarcastic.
  • Lolicon:
    • Minamoto being accused of this is a running gag.
    • Momotaro calls Kyosuke this on occasion in order to annoy him.
  • Loophole Abuse: Used twice in episode 43:
    • Carry, Minamoto's old girlfriend from college is being pursued by the Comericans, and Minamoto escapes with her. The Comericans ask BABEL not to interfere in their attempt to capture her, and the Japanese government agrees, lest it causes an international incident. Hyobu naturally decides to meddle in the affairs, stating that if PANDRA attacks the Comerican agents, it shouldn't cause any issues with them helping Minamoto and Carry since they're considered terrorists.
    • And after PANDRA gets involved, Taizo uses this opportunity to allow BABEL to intervene, since they're technically going in to stop Hyobu's group, not necessarily impede on the Comerican's efforts.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Kuromaki's power. She's known as the Dreamweaver, and traps Minamoto inside his own mind. Then Kaoru decides to join him in there.
  • Lovable Sex Maniac: Kaoru. She loves the ladies, and isn't above flirting with Minamoto either.
    • Also Sakaki, who occasionally makes use of his position as the resident BABEL physician to convince female patients that he needs to check their chest.
    • Fujiko has a streak of this as well.
  • Love Letter Lunacy: Kaoru gets one in episode 18...from a girl. She's upset, both because she Likes Older Women and because, even if she normally chases women, she still wants to be asked out by a guy. Meanwhile she gets a little jealous at the amount of love letters Shiho and Aoi received from boys.
  • MacGuffin: Arguably, the prophecy about the girls fighting non-espers since none of it gets addressed in the end.
  • Made of Iron: Kaoru regularly throws people against walls, causing massive craters, without seriously hurting the people themselves.
    • An omake in the manga shows Minamoto working out frequently so his body can take the brunt of Kaoru's frequent psychic temper tantrums.
  • Magic Skirt: In the anime.
  • Manly Tears: Minamoto cries a river when Kaoru and the others graduate from elementary school.
  • Meganekko: Aoi
  • Memory Gambit: Phantom Daughter. Four different personalities, only one of them (possibly) is sure what's going on.
  • Men Can't Keep House: Averted with Minamoto.
  • Midseason Upgrade: The girls receive a "Triple Boost" on their limiters, which allows them to enhance their already powerful esper abilities in episode 30. It does come into play a couple of times afterwards.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: The two boys who take Shiho and Aoi out on a date in episode 18, after they're taken over by Kaoru who was trying to sabotage the date along with the BABEL chief.
  • Mind Over Manners: Shiho is not shy about using her powers to tease Minamoto.
  • Moment Killer: Kugutsu suffers from one in episode 21 when he was about to give a Love Confession to Ranko Kaneko, one of the technicians working at BABEL.
  • Mood-Swinger: Naomi, though not without reason. Her supervisor is something of a Dirty Old Man. Her tendency to quickly go from calm and collected to throwing Tanizaki into a wall made Naomi's Code Name change from "Kitty Cat" to "Wild Cat" early in the series.
  • Mood Whiplash: The series frequently switches tone from serious to comedic, sometimes within a few minutes (or, in the manga, in the space of a few panels). Even Minatmoto's vision of him killing Kaoru becomes an example when the characters themselves start parodying it.
  • Morality Chain: Reconstructed or subverted depending on interpretation. The Children start off trying to please Minamoto because he treats them with kindness and discipline rather than the neglect and abuse of their previous supervisors, and they are violently protective of him as a result. Eventually, they get older and mature enough that they do the right thing without supervision.
  • Morality Pet One of PANDRA's functions is as an entire organization of morality pets to Hyobu.
  • Mr. Exposition: Taizo shows Minamoto around the BABEL headquarters in episode 2, even though the latter says he doesn't really have to. However, he humors his boss and allows him to show him, and the audience, around BABEL.
  • Mrs. Robinson: Kaoru's mother, who hits on Minamoto in episode 13. Her sister does the same thing.
  • Ms. Fanservice Fujiko.
    • Hotaru does it while taking a shower.
  • Multiple Demographic Appeal: Despite the girls supposedly being the stars of the story, Minamoto, Sakaki and Hyoubu's popularity usually give them a run for their money, to the pleasure of the female readers (fujoshi or not). This gets more evident in the spin-off series with all three getting even more screentime than them.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
    • Generally anytime Minamoto releases the limiters on the girls, and they get to do an introduction for it, usually accompanied by colored smoke.
    • Mary and Ken attempt to do this in episode 15 in order to not get upstaged by the girls.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Kaoru realizes she's gone too far in trying to sabotage Aoi and Shiho's dates in episode 18 after seeing the men ordered by the BABEL chief to stop them. Fortunately Minamoto manages to get his phone out and release her limiter.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Kaoru destroys half a building and damages several more in the first episode in an attempt to stop Muscle Okama. She also forgets to stop a plane from crashing after Aoi and Shiho save the pilot who was suffering a heart attack at the time.
  • No Ontological Inertia: People turned to stone by Muscle Okama are inexplicably healed when he is arrested.
    • May be subverted as those were power-nullifying cuffs they put on him.
    • That and he receved the mother of all nutshots, which was jus' about where Okama was firin' his beams...god that didn't sound right at all...
  • No Social Skills: Hatsune. Without Akira's help she'd probably be roaming the woods somewhere.
  • Not Quite Flight: Aoi's Chain Teleport. It's a rather bumpy ride, but it gets you where you're going at supersonic speed.
  • Not So Different: Used twice in episode 3:
    • Minamoto is at first angry that the three girls want to move in the apartment he moved into. However, Shiho examines a class picture where he wasn't in it, and sees that he was "different" in his own way (too smart in his case), much like they are.
    • The bank robber attempts to appeal to the girls this way as well after they're inadvertently led there and tied up with the other hostages. Several characters tell Minamoto that he should reassure the girls as they're feeling confused right now, and could very well go down the wrong path if they follow the bank robber instead of stopping him. Fortunately the girls still have a sense of justice and stop the bad guy. Minamoto also allows them to stay with him afterwards as well.
    • Hyobu attempts to appeal to Kaoru about this from time to time, stating that only an esper can understand the plights other espers suffer from.
  • Occidental Otaku: Ex-Black Phantom Espers are the most Otaku like of the cast (the two boys are always going on about Moe and 2D, while the girl is a Yaoi Fangirl), but it is heavily hinted that Black Phantom gets its espers from outside Japan in most, if not all, cases. Also one of the Comerica agents is a massive fan of Japanese Culture, though Traditional culture more than Otaku culture.
    • It is implied in the manga's Chapter 203 and Episode 46 of the anime that the otaku behavior of Bullet, Tim, and Patty is an odd sort of coping mechanism for their loss of memories after getting freed from Black Phantom's control.
    • The supplement 4koma for Chapter 198 show that Yuuri (schoolgirl form) has inexplicably collected Chil Vermillion anime figures without Mirage's approval, and the supplement 4koma of Chapter 234 shows that Black Hanzo wearing a "Maruto" shirt - which prompts Mirage to ask "are all of our Espers into that kind of thing...!!?"
  • Older than They Look; Kyousuke doesn't look a day over 20, but he's really in his 80s. The same for Fujiko.
  • Omake: Plenty of them. In a slight subversion of the trope, some of them are more or less Canon.
  • Omniscient Morality License: Fujiko and Hyobu both claim this because they know one of Lieutenant Ikyuugo's premonitions; Hyobu believes it's inevitable and must be brought about, Fujiko has a plan that might stop it. Minamoto doesn't buy either.
  • Out-Gambitted: In the more light hearted stories, Kyosuke frequently assures his comrades (mostly Magi) that he has a brillant plan to lure Kaoru to PANDRA. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Overnight Age-Up: Minamoto is hypnotized by the Big Bad into seeing the girls as fully-grown women. The girls decide to have fun with this much to his dismay...
  • Override Command: After being captured by the Normals terrorist group, they demand Minamoto reveal the password to his laptop, which has information on every known esper location from BABEL. They wanted it so that they could then take out said espers, which they view as a threat to humanity. Minamoto is then forced to give it to them after Kaoru is captured due to the ECM (esper counter measure) being deployed to prohibit their esper abilities. Turns out that the password he gave was actually a secret password to allow the laptop to give off ECCM (esper counter counter measure) waves, which counters the ECM, and allows the Children temporary use of their powers.
  • Papa Wolf: Minamoto. So very much.
  • Paper Fan of Doom: Aoi slaps Mio with one in episode 49 when she shows up at their school as a student as part of Hyobu's hypnosis.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Pretty much all characters treat those three girls like that in the beginning. Minamoto might be the first to think of them as actual people. Kaoru definitely is one and is still growing into her powers; Fujiko and Hyobu are already there. Aoi and Shiho don't cause big blasts, but Aoi can teleport people into solid matter, among other things, and Shiho's power suddenly becomes really scary when applied to international politics or stuff like launch codes.
  • Pet the Dog: You know the made-of-Squick Tanizaki? Yeah, that one. He was one of Suma's most outspoken critics.
  • Phenotype Stereotype: Ken McGwire, one of the Espers from America Comerica.
  • Pinky Swear:
    • Minamoto forces the girls to do this in episode 6 when they promise not to use their powers at school. Kaoru seems ready to break the promise at one point but then remembers it and stops herself.
    • Fujiko does one with Kaoru in episode 29 after promising the girls she'll make him reconsider his resignation.
  • Plot-Based Voice Cancellation: One occurs in episode 26, when Minamoto has a vision of seeing Kaoru in the future. He has a gun pointed at her, and she says something to him before he pulls the trigger and shoots her. It turns out to be a Love Confession, as seen in episode 39 when Kaoru enters his dream to help wake him up from a coma. Minamoto then comments that he's always heard what she said.
  • Power Incontinence: When Kaoru suffers a head whack early on, her psychokinesis goes out of control. There's a reason for the Power Limiter. Other espers are later shown to have had trouble with their powers while young.
  • Power Levels: The girls are Level 7, which equates to weapon of mass destruction. Hyoubu Kyousuke isn't given a level, probably because he's completely off the scale.
    • Actually, his powers are mentioned in same chapter he's introduced; he's a hybrid type with use of 7 power types between 2rd and 4th level, however as he can combine their effects it does make him far more powerful then some one with only 1-2 of those powers would be. Not to mention 80-ish years of practice
  • Power Limiter: Very essential here. High level espers without limiters can unintentionally damage themselves and others.
  • Power Nullifier: The ECMs are the wide-area weapon version of the above limiters. And even then they're no match for Hyoubu.
    • BABEL has the ECCM, which nullifies the nullifier.
      • In the pilot chapters of the manga, Minamoto did actually have (unknowingly) an esper ability - he was a living ECCM.
  • Power Gives You Wings: Kaoru manifests a pair when facing off against one of Mio's copies merged with a bulldozer. The second opening theme (titled "MY WINGS") plays this up even further by granting all three of The Children wings.
  • Power Trio
  • Prehensile Hair: Appears to happen to Chisato's hair extensions in an omake. It's really just Kaoru's psychokinesis.
  • Promotion to Parent: Minamoto has his current job is because he's the parent figure Kaoru and the others need but never had. In somes cases he's more responsible than their actual parents.
  • Punch Clock Villain: Kazura invokes this claiming PANDRA and BABEL should get along because they work in the same place. Subverted when Aoi retorts that cops and robbers work in the same place. Double subverted when Aoi and Kazura proceed to get along just famously.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Kaoru squees at the sight of Minamoto in an apron.
  • Red Baron: All three of The Children's future selves (as seen through precognition) have one that the Big Bad likes to refer to their present selves as, which mostly just confuses them.
    Kaoru: Queen of Catastrophe
    Aoi: Lightspeed Goddess
    Shiho: Untouchable Empress
  • Reality Warper: Kyosuke's telekinesis is so powerful and finely controlled that it tends to work like this.
  • Relationship Sabotage: The BABEL chief tries to do this in episode 18 with Aoi and Shiho. Kaoru joins in after she finds out that he was trying to actively stop them, unlike her who was merely observing them. Fortunately for both of them Status Quo Is God is at work here, and the girls turn down the boys at the end.
  • Running Gag: Quite a few:
    • A BABEL esper throwing a superior into a wall. First it was Minamoto and/or chief Kiritsubo, now it's Tanizaki.
    • Minamoto and Kyosuke being called lolicons.
    • The 4-koma 'supplements' depicting the anime and OVA in a really retro style, much to the cast's consternation.
    • Kyosuke calling Sakaki a quack.
  • Sacred First Kiss: The girls are very upset when they lose theirs to Fujiko.
    • Which is perhaps a bit odd in Kaoru's case, since Fujiko should be right up her alley.
  • Sad Clown: Shiho and Sakaki are more heavily affected than they let on when people flinch at the thought of touching a psychometer.
  • Samaritan Syndrome: A major pain for high level espers on BABEL's payroll. Vacations, birthdays and school days can all be cancelled in an emergency.
  • Sapient Cetaceans: Lieutenant Ikyuugo, one of the friendly espers, is a dolphin. Kaoru is disappointed to learn that he's inedible.
  • Scarpia Ultimatum: A variation. At one point, if Hanae doesn't use her hypnosis to become The Children's adult forms and try to seduce him, Fujiko will cut the funding to her hospice.
  • Screw Destiny: The basic premise of the plot is to stop a war that's been predicted between normals and espers. Or, more specifically, a future in which Minamoto is forced to kill Kaoru.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: The Children are allowed to go to school because Minamoto and the Chief are putting some serious weight behind it. However, the girls are required to undergo a simulation first to ensure they don't use their powers there, and Kaoru nearly screws that up.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Supernatural Powers!: A running theme. PANDRA believes that they don't have to obey the rules because they're powerful enough to blast their way through anyone trying to stop them (and in Kyosuke's case, he's pretty much right), and the threat of this (along with plain old bigotry) is the impetus behind the Normal People's terrorism. BABEL is caught in the middle, and it doesn't help that not all of their members are perfectly responsible with their powers either. Many one-off villains also have this as their motivation, such as the telekinetic bank robber.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: In episode 41, Prince Badjura decides that even though royalty isn't supposed to marry non-royalty, he's going to do it anyway because he's in love with Sera. His grandmother doesn't approve of it, but eventually backs down after being bested in combat with the Children, and losing the support of the other elder spirits, who are okay with him marrying the girl he loves. This helps to clue Minamoto in that maybe he can also avert that vision he keeps seeing of shooting Kaoru years later.
  • Secret Test of Character: In episode 28, Fujiko, as the head of BABEL and therefore outranking even the chief Taizo Kiritsubo, reassigns Minamoto from being the children's supervisor to being needed in the R&D department. He's rather unhappy there, and then sees a vision of the girls in danger. Fujiko then confronts him and asks if he's risking his career, and life, by disobeying her orders. He says he will for the sake of the girls. Turns out that the girls were completely okay, and in fact were putting ketchup on themselves to make it look like they suffered seriously. Unfortunately Minamoto arrives before they're done, and he sees them in the act. However, Fujiko was testing him to see if he had the resolve necessary to protect the girls and change the future if needed.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy:
    • Tied to Hyobu's Start of Darkness.
    • In episode 2, the pre-cogs predict some terrible things will happen, such as a gas station on fire, so they get the girls out into the locations. While they do save a pilot's life, they forget about the plane and inadvertently cause it to crash, causing the fire the pre-cogs saw. They later crash an aerial accident when Kaoru's powers go out of control and crashes their helicopter into the building the pre-cogs once again saw. Minamoto was Genre Savvy enough to realize they were the only aircraft in the vicinity, but warned the pilot too late.
  • Serious Business:
    • The dodgeball game in episode 6.
    • The BABEL chief, and Kaoru, attempting to sabotage Aoi's and Shiho's dates in episode 18. He goes so far as to have Kaoru use her powers to control the boys, and the chief orders his men to use their esper jammer to restrain the girls.
    • Fujiko's attempts at trying to help Minamoto in episode 29. He sees through much of her acts, and for the most part doesn't buy it due to how silly some of the things turn out to be, such as hospice girl breaking character or forgetting to take her name tag off when disguised as an adult Kaoru. However, her plan ultimately succeeds, since it causes Minamoto to reconsider resigning and to protect the girls from the bad future Hyobu is trying to get them into.
    • Hyobu playing and losing repeated games against Momotaro in episode 31.
    • Sakaki playing a racing game against Shiho in episode 32.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Feather's backstory.
  • Shadow Walker: Nai can teleport herself or somebody else using an existing shadow.
  • Shipper on Deck: Fujiko ships Minamoto/The Children. Because if they don't get together, Minamoto will kill Kaoru.
  • Shiritori: For the eyecatches.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page here.
  • Show Within a Show: Zettai! ChilChil and the Gundam mashup God Robo.
  • "Silly Me" Gesture: Kaoru does one in episode 6.
  • Sleep Cute: The Children do this on several occasions.
  • Something Else Also Rises: In one episode, Kaoru gets a picture of Oboro while she's changing. While she's rapidly gushing about Oboro's "attributes," her camera lens is extending and retracting.
  • Split Personality: Phantom Daughter AKA Mirage AKA Yuri/The Doll AKA Feather. Yuri is just a "container", Phantom and Mirage are opposite personalities and Feather is an unknown interloper.
    • Arabian princess Sera, due to possession.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Minamoto is a credible leader, fighter, and tactician, but he's on a team full of the world's most powerful espers, often fighting another team of the world's most powerful espers, and his teammates occassionally tell him to get out of combat. Kyosuke loves rubbing Minamoto's face in this.
  • The Strategist: Minamoto's second-biggest contribution to the Children (after being the Team Mom) is through cunning ploys that would make Zhuge Liang proud.
  • Stop, or I Shoot Myself!: The thug in episode 51 attempts to do this, then goes on a rant about how the girls are special and don't have the same problems he faced and suffered from for being an esper. However, Minamoto tells him that he can choose how he lives his own life, not just by what others tell him to do. This stops him long enough for the girls to disarm him.
  • Strawman Political: Subverted with the radical normals. While a lot of the anti-esper stuff they do is over the top, it does get taken to that extent with real life hate.
  • Superpower Lottery: Level 7 espers in general are vastly more capable than espers at lower levels, even Level 6s. Kyosuke, who is basically a Reality Warper thanks to his phenomenally precise telekinesis, is broken even by Level 7 standards..
  • Superpower Meltdown: Kaoru, semi-frequently.
  • Super Registration Act: Espers face significant legal restrictions in Japanese society, including being excluded from normal schooling unless their powers can be completely suppressed.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: The girls in the OVA speak in Gratuitous English that the OVA was okayed by the manga author, and not the animation team doing something on their own. They also mention that if they can sell twenty thousand copies of the OVA, there may be a possibility of a sequel.
  • Sweet Tooth: Shiho consumes large amounts of pocky.
  • Synchronous Episodes: Episode 31 covers Aoi, Minamoto and Ken while they're in Kyoto. Then episode 32 shows what was happening with Sakaki as he watched over Kaoru and Shiho when the first three were in Kyoto.
  • Taking the Bullet:
    • Minamoto nearly does this for Kaoru. The ensuing Unstoppable Rage disintegrates the bullet, and very nearly the person who fired it.
    • And in a later episode, the dolphin Lieutenant Ikyuugo actually does it to save Taizou.
  • Team Dad: Magi. Kyosuke cares deeply about his followers but a responsible, organized individual he is not. In the manga back story we see that Magi has actually raised several espers into adulthood, and has the unenviable duty of riding herd on PANDRA as Kyosuke's straight man.
  • Teen Genius: Minamoto, in his past and when he was hypnotized and had his memories regressed to when he was 12.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: The Children sing an off-key version of the first ending theme in a karaoke bar at one point.
  • The Plan: Colonel Grisham has one in episode 15, starting out with his defection. At first the Comerican esper team contacted BABEL for a joint operation to stop him from defecting and handing over valuable intelligence to a hostile country. However, try as they might, he's Dangerously Genre Savvy and delivers a Curb-Stomp Battle to them in their first encounter. However, all of that was part of his true plan, which was to get Kaoru and Mary to power up and drain the water away from a dam which flooded an area where the little girl who saved him during World War II grew up at.
  • The Password Is Always Swordfish: Minamoto is able to figure out what the limiter release password is in the first episode after the girl's supervisor is Taken for Granite by Muscle Okama.
  • Time Skip: In the last episode of the anime (and a similar point in the manga), the show jumps ahead a few years, the most prominent change being that The Children are a little older and have spiffy new uniforms.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: Aoi and Mio
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Minamoto finally blows his stack after catching Fujiko and the Children playing games with him during a mission. He comes back after Fujiko spends an episode messing with his head and he blows his stack at her.
  • Thanks For The Mammaries: Kaoru does this to Mary in episode 16, while griping about her own lack of a chest.
  • The Thing That Goes Doink: Episode 11, the Hot Springs Episode, naturally features a brief shot of one of these.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: "Over the Future" is played at least once an episode during a battle or similar situation.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: At least three different groups. Exaggerated to the point of parody when one of the Normal People goes "We're the Normal People! We'll make mistakes that are careless and unpleasant!"
  • Third-Person Person: Fujiko.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Hyobu does this in episode 16, giving Colonel Grisham and the little girl who saved him a vision of seeing her home one last time. He also erases all records of him defecting, and replacing it with him having been kidnapped by an anti-esper terrorist group to help him maintain a clean record. He says that he feels a little responsible for awakening the colonel's powers back then when he destroyed the bomber the latter was on during World War II.
  • To the Batpole!: When the super-submarine BABEL-2 launches, a full sequence for the launching comes with it.
    • Parodied in episode 35 when they speed up the sequence by a factor of five and The Children comment, "Wah! It's fast."
  • Took a Level in Badass: After being press ganged from being a lab technician into becoming the supervisor of the Children, Minamoto is sent to the "hellish training" of the JDSF special forces. He comes back as BABEL's resident Badass Normal.
    • As of their latest appearance, the Normal People seem to have become much more competant terrorists (for all the good it does them.)
  • Torture Always Works: Subverted. The Normal People torture Minamoto for information, and it doesn't work. When they bring Kaoru into the room for additional leverage, they just fall into a trap Minamoto had prepared before hand.
  • Transformation Sequence: The act of disabling the girls' power limiters also causes them to transform to their default BABEL uniforms, despite this not being necessary for them to use their powers.
    • In the above submarine episode, the girls are put in scuba-like suits, then transform into their BABEL uniforms... then five seconds later are right back in the scuba gear.
    • Aoi is good enough to teleport their clothes on, if an explanation is needed.
      • Kaoru will probably be quite happy to take advantage of that.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Kugutsu suffers this in episode 21. After being forced to build a life-sized robot of Kashiwagi for Kaoru, the latter throws him under the bus by claiming the robot was secretly for him and that he was a Stalker with a Crush. Kashiwagi blasts her robot self with a gatling gun, turns him down, and he's chastised by several of the BABEL employees all because Kaoru accidentally let her deal with him slip out. And to make matters worse, Ranko Kaneko, the girl he was really interested in and was about to give a Love Confession to, assumed he was interested in Kashiwagi, and instead agrees to go on a date with Sakaki instead. He vows revenge on them all afterwards for the humiliation.
  • Traumatic Superpower Awakening: Kaoru goes through one in episode 7, after Minamoto pushes her out of the way of a bullet being fired by one of the terrorists. Her trauma from him being potentially killed causes a large wave of esper power to awaken inside her, destroying the esper jamming device and knocking out the terrorists.
  • Tsundere: Kaoru has a tendency to express frustration or embarrassment by throwing Minamoto into a wall. She does this less as she gets older.
  • Totem Pole Trench: Kaoru, Aoi, and Shiho do this while infiltrating a school.
  • A Twinkle in the Sky: In episode 29, after Minamoto learns he's been tricked by Fujiko again, he takes a crocodile that Kaoru teleported with them, and bats her and the hospice girl into the sky for playing with his emotions again.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: The previous supervisor, Suma. Thankfully BABEL drops her like an annoyed tarantula.
  • Unobtainium: The so-called "rare metal", which can be used to store the "psychic fingerprint" of a particular person with psychic abilities and, ultimately, the soul of a dead psychic.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: The girls' relative lack of training or combat experience frequently puts them at a disadvantage against weaker but more experienced espers.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Kaoru goes through this in episode 7 after nearly witnessing Minamoto Taking the Bullet for her. She then picks up the terrorist leader, and says she's going to inflict the same pain on him as he did to Minamoto. Fortunately for him Minamoto calms her down and brings her sanity back in time before she did any lasting damage to the guy.
  • Villainous Rescue: Hyobu, despite usually working against BABEL, will often swoop in to save the children and/or Minamoto if it's convenient for his cause.
  • Villains Out Shopping: When Kyousuke isn't organizing PANDRA or plotting, he's...playing video games with Momotaro. And losing.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Kaoru and Miu.
    • Kyosuke and Momotaro.
  • Weasel Mascot: Momotaro, Kyousuke's psychic flying squirrel.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Episode 7, when stuff seriously hits the fan for the first time. The girls, Minamoto, and their pilot are kidnapped by the terrorist group, the Normal People. To make matters worse, the terrorists also got their hands on an esper jamming device being co-developed by BABEL due to a mole working in the military, and they threaten to kill Kaoru if Minamoto doesn't give them the password to his laptop which has the datafiles on every known esper.
    • In episode 22, Sakaki is suspected of being a spy. Minamoto refuses to believe this and tries to investigate it, only to find out Kugutsu is the real traitor.
    • In episode 23, Minamoto's apartment is trashed by one of the PANDRA members, and he's kidnapped by them.
    • OVA episode #1 sends the message loud and clear in the first two minutes: the OVA isn't going to be nearly as lighthearted as the TV series.
    • The "As Time Goes By Arc" in the manga. HOLY crap...
  • Wham Line:
    • Minamoto says he's quitting after thinking he's been played a fool in episode 28 and the beginning of 29. The girls don't take that very well, and cause a lot of destruction while crying.
    • Minamoto's line prompts Fujiko to say one to him shortly afterwards when he refuses to cooperate with her. She says the lines that he foresaw in episode 26 before shooting Kaoru in the vision of the future. He immediately stops protesting and goes with her to discuss things.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: At first, Minamoto thinks that Momotaro is a dangerous animal to be put down rather than a being with rights. Kaoru doesn't take it well. Later in that episode, this is discussed when Kyosuke comments that he doesn't see himself as human and humans don't either, and he challenges Minamoto to shoot him and prove his point. Of course, the Normal People see all espers as nonhumans who should be destroyed.
    • What Measure Is a Non-Super?: The flip side of the above. As far as he's concerned, Kyosuke and other espers aren't part of humanity, and humans need to be destroyed for the protection of the esper race. Minamoto and BABEL try to Take a Third Option and work for harmony between humans and espers, while The Children don't even make us-and-them distinctions in the first place.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The BABEL chief is called out on this in episode 6, after he turns out to be the culprit who's doing unusual things at school. Turns out he was doing things to the boy who kept insulting espers such as throwing an eraser at his head, and later holding his leg down in dodgeball to give an unfair advantage to Kaoru. The prototype suit he had on also turns out to be incredibly expensive, and his assistant makes sure he pays for the damages.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Invoked by Kyosuke when he explains why he doesn't kill Minamoto. Kyosuke knows that Kaoru would immediately hunt him down like a dog, and he recognizes that Minamoto is the most devoted guardian that Kaoru has (and Kyosuke hates him for it).
  • Wife Husbandry: Attempted, but only partially successful: Naomi's supervisor Tanizaki engaging in this is the reason she changed from a sweet and quiet girl to a Mood-Swinger once The Children helped her realize it.
    • Later, when Minamoto and Aoi visit Aoi's home during a mission, her father and brother worry that Minamoto might be trying something similar with Aoi. Aoi's obvious fondness for Minamoto does not help matters.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Although ten, Shiho has a pretty good idea of how dark the world can be thanks to her powers. Minamoto finds it a little disconcerting that even solving murder cases by psychicly extracting clues from the murder weapons doesn't really upset her.
    • It's not that it doesn't upset her, she gets stressed out when she doesn't get enough crazy murders to solve.
  • The Worf Effect: In his initial appearance, Grisham 'ESPer Killer' is a Cloudcuckoolander Badass Grandpa in a Badass Longcoat who manhandles and manipulates BABEL and Comerica. His second appearance? Jobbing to some punk who decides Grisham is Not Worth Killing.
  • World War II: An important part of the series' backstory.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Minamoto is usually a devotee of the Batman Gambit, but during a training exercise against the The Children he finds out that the chief is rigging the contest. Minamoto takes it in stride and decides that it can work to his benefit
  • Yaoi Fangirl: Patty of PANDRA. Needless to say, she's thrilled by the Foe Yay between Hyobu and Minamoto.
  • You Are Not Alone: Used several times to various espers who think they're isolated and have no one to turn to, such as Minamoto to the girls, and later Kaoru to Mio.
  • You Can't Fight Fate:
    • Kyosuke constantly states that Kaoru's future Face-Heel Turn is inevitable, and that Minamoto's attempts to resist are pointless, but he's not above using Laser-Guided Amnesia to make sure fate stays inevitable.
      • Subverted in that he is trying to avoid the fate of having Kaoru killed by Minamoto.
    • Zigzagged in episode 26, with Lt. Ikyuugo, who predicted he was going be shot. The BABEL chief says that the Lieutenant's predictions have a 100% chance of occurring, and he's made over three thousand predictions already. In the end, he does get shot, but Minamoto intercepts a few of those bullets by having Aoi teleport him to the lieutenant at the last second. He is seen jumping out of the water at the end, indicating that he survived the gunshot wound he took.
  • You Have Failed Me: Averted. Kyosuke's treatment of his underlings is a textbook example of Genre Savvy villainy.
    • Played straight with Black Phantom: upon failing a mission, their agents are ordered to kill themselves as part of the hypnosis that was placed on them.
  • You Shall Not Pass: Done nearly verbatim by the professor from the Carrie Flashbacks to the G-men. They don't take him seriously. Then the school football team gets involved...
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Mio sports this look. The Children get it as part of a costume upgrade when they hit middle school.


Zatch Bell!Magazine/Shonen SundayBirdy the Mighty
Yokohama Kaidashi KikouScience Fiction Anime and MangaZetman
Zettai Bouei LeviathanAnimeZettai Muteki Raijin-Oh
Zetsuen no TempestShonen (Demographic)    
Yu-Gi-Oh! 5DsAnime of the 2000sAnimal Detectives Kiruminzoo
Psychic Detective YakumoNo Dub for YouMuteki Kanban Musume
ZetmanSuper HeroAgents of Atlas
Zettai Heiwa DaisakusenMangaZettai Shoujo Seiiki Amnesian

alternative title(s): Zettai Karen Children; Psychic Squad
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