WMG: Kotoura-san

Kotoura's psychic powers are, at least in part, a metaphor for social/developmental disorders.

This theory comes from this comments section, and was written by the user kotomikun.

There's a lot of evidence for it, especially in the prologue that was dismissed as melodramatic "emotional manipulation" by many people. Everything that happens to the younger Kotoura is familiar to socially disordered people, if not to me personally. Being abandoned by your friends because you said rude or disruptive things and couldn't understand why it was wrong, being dragged around to clueless doctors who can't really help you, getting attached to animals because they aren't assholes like most people seem to be but then they suddenly die or run away because animals do that...all of this is depressingly realistic, and hit very close to home for me. Parents irrationally blaming the disabled kid for their own problems is also very common, though it didn't happen to me (much).

And there's the usual "being an outcast" tropes that Kotoura and her real-life counterparts also deal with: bullying, rumor-mill victimization, etc. Kotoura's interceptions of people's hateful thoughts about her is, like the rest of it, a supernatural twist on a real phenomenon.

Finding a group of real friends who accept her abnormality is probably the most unrealistic part, from my point of view; but it's not impossible, and it's...cathartic, I guess.

  • It is also notable that Kumiko's attitude towards Haruka looks as if what the latter have is a disability.
    • Also some of Detective Tsukino's comments, like her disbelief that any of Kotoura's friends would want to be around someone like her, and later during her other personality's attack on Kotoura, she remarks how it sickens her that she herself got picked on and ostrascized, but a freak like Kotoura manages to make friends.
      • The "freak" in here was originally bakemono, i.e. "monster."

Kotoura-San's father is a bigger Jerkass than the mother

You know, I've thought about it, and for as much hate as Kotoura's mother gets, I see very few people talk about her father. Even before the reveal of their cheating he wanted no part in trying to figure out Kotoura or help Kumiko. He relegated it as "woman's work" and started rarely coming home. At least Kumiko tried to help Kotoura at first, even if it broke her in the end.I don't excuse Kumiko's actions, but perhaps she wouldn't have been driven to the breaking point if her husband wasn't all, "Not my problem, bitch." This is why we see Kumiko again in the series and why she gets a bit of vague closure on her relationship with Kotoura, while the father is never seen again after the first episode.

Haruka Kotoura's is a mutant

Haruka is a mutant in an Alternate Universe, where the existence of mutants didn't became public knowledge. Sometime later, she'll be picked up by Professor X and become a member of the X-men. If Yoshihisa Manabe is still her boyfriend by then (youth romances rarely last long), he'll follow her to the US and enroll at a local high school near Xavier's place and will support the X-Men in general and Haruka in particular.
  • While by X-Men standards Haruka would be a mutant... Her powers would also be quite lame in X-Men standards—half a telepath (cannot project thoughts on people). What would be her Code Name and what's her position in the entire team?

The darker elements of the setting are not inherent to Kotoura-San, but bleeding through from other anime series

In addition to the fact that Haruka's character design is practically modeled off of a certain Madoka Kaname, the cute art-style and subverted, then-reconstructed themes of friendship and trust are very similar to Higurashi: When They Cry. It's entirely possible this series shares it's universe with one or both of those series.

For some bonus fridge horror, this makes the shrunken-iris reaction several characters exhibit when under stress terrifyingly reminiscent of late-stage Hinamizawa Syndrome. How long do you think Haruka or Moritani had before they snapped and started systematically murdering their friends?
  • For reference—the first Kotoura-san picture uploaded to Danbooru (#530461) has a date stamp of 26 September, 2009.

Kotoura is an esper
The glowing fish swam through her mother's belly, when she was pregnant with her. Due to these unique circumstance not her mother, but the unborn Kotoura got the powers, but since she did not gain them when already born, she can't turn them off.

Not only is Kotoura unable to distinguish between speech and thoughts, she literally doesn't know that those thoughts come from other people.
I always thought that the Downer Beginning made no sense because, even though Haruka can't help but hear what everyone around her is thinking, surely she would notice when someone's lips are moving. Then I remembered that in real life, people don't develop the cognitive skills necessary to understand that other people have minds too and are capable of thought until they are around five, and even then, it doesn't really sink in till about age eleven. But since Haruka is always hearing the thoughts of other people and can't tune them out, and this has been going on for as long as she can remember, for the first half of her life, she would have thought that those were her own thoughts. (And what are the chances that she'd hear other people's thoughts in their own voices if she hasn't heard them speak yet?) With no reference point otherwise, and the fact that she had anything but an emotionally stable childhood, who's to say that her growth wasn't stunted because of this? In episode 6, she actually has a minor Heroic BSOD over the fact that she no way of knowing whether or not she answered a test by herself, or just copied what another student was thinking without realizing it, so she obviously can't tell her own thoughts from other people's, meaning that, for all she knows, she's the only intelligent being in the universe and everyone else is just an automaton. Anything she might say or do that acknowledges the existence of other minds is just her being resigned to following the internal logic of her solipsistic delusions.