Esper Mami is a manga and anime from The '80s, about Mami Sakura, an Ordinary Junior High Student who one day manifests supernatural powers, including teleportation, telepathy, and telekinesis. Using these powers, and with the help of her best friend Kazuo Takahata, Mami solves mysteries and helps people in trouble.
Created by Fujiko F. Fujio of Doraemon fame. This series has a similar premise to one of FFF's previous shorts titled Akage no Anko ("Redheaded Anko"), later retitled Anko Ooi ni Okoru ("When Anko Really Gets Angry"), which is about Anko, a teenage girl who discovers her psychic powers and the dark secret of her mother's lineage, and who also poses nude for her own father.
The anime was released in France under the name "Malicieuse Kiki" with no changes except the characters' names.
Esper Mami provides examples of:
- Art Shift: Any of Mr. Sakura's paintings of Mami.
- Berserk Button: Please never mistake Konpoco for a racoon dog. He may look like one but he is not one, and like another Fujiko F. Fujio character, Doraemon, he always gets upset whenever someone mistakes him for a raccoon dog. He understands human speak and is very sensitive so don't comment on his appearance.
- Book Dumb: Mami sometimes doesn't pay attention in class, and other times she can't focus because she want to spend time practicing her psychic powers.
- Bowdlerized: In the 2002 drama version, Mami is a leotard model rather than a nude model for her dad's paintings; justified cuz you couldn't get away with that in a live-action show even in Japan.
- But Not Too Foreign: Mami has European ancestors, more specifically, French. That would explain partially why she has red hair.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Mami is very fond of running around barefoot. While out on a picnic with her father in episode 10 as he tries to paint a picture of the countryside, Mami decides to lose her shoes and socks and go barefoot, even when she needs to teleport back home to get something for her father, surprising her mother into thinking she just hallucinated, who doesn't know about Mami's powers. Unfortunately, when it's time to go home, she's forgotten where she took them off, so she really loses them. Her father jokes about her still being a little kid in that respect, but she fires back by reminding him he napped all day instead of painting his picture. Mami's also seen running across a lake barefoot in the intro of every episode.
- Feud Episode: Earlier into the series, there is one when Takahata finds out that Mami was the real esper and not him. He also feels down because they have been friends for a while by the time she confesses to him she was the one with the powers, so he couldn't believe she was lying to him the whole time. After some days pass, they eventually reconcile because it was never Mami's intention, and Takahata still wants to consider her his friend. After that, he serves as Mami's consultant, using his intelligence and creativity to help Mami manipulate her power effectively and efficiently.
- How Do I Shot Web?: At the very start of her powers' discovery, Mami's teleportation sometimes caused her to crash into things.
- Innocent Fanservice Girl: Mami's father is a painter specializing in nudes. Mami is his favorite subject, and she often (approaching Once per Episode levels in the anime) poses nude for him for extra allowances. She sees nothing unusual with this, and has no qualms about Takahata seeing the nude paintings her father did for her (the fact that he becomes hot and red all over around those paintings is a minor Running Gag), and her mother doesn't seem to have any problem with her own daughter posing nude for her husband either. This is shown in surprising detail (especially when one considers it's a kids show from the late eighties) — Scenery Censor and Nipple and Dimed are completely averted, and the paintings shown are actually art shifted works of what appears to be watercolor. The only time she's allowed to be freely nude, however, is when posing or taking a bath, because her father does actually have a problem with his little girl being nude merely because it's hot summertime, which means nudity to him is only appropriate in an artistically professional environment (Mami actually protested this bias against female nudity). Nowadays you can't get away with this, well at least not on prime time,note this aspect of the series would land the series in a late night time slot which has looser restrictions.
- Lethal Chef: Mami's cooking is quite literally lethal, yet she's too much of an airhead to notice that (or maybe her cohorts don't want to hurt her feeling by being honest). The first time she attempted to cook for Takahata while his parents were away, she literally passed out when tasting her soup, yet was still determined to cook for him, which resulted in him calling his parents and asking them to come home sooner. Later, when she's on a trip with Takahata and her father, she managed to learn to cook a safe meal that wasn't that bad for them from her mother beforehand.
- Non-Human Sidekick: Konpoco (see also Pom Poko), Mami's raccoon dog-looking pet dog (meaning that he's a dog who looks like a racoon dog, but he's not a raccoon dog).
- Potty Emergency: Mami ends up with this in Episodes 36, 40, 82, and 83. Sometimes, she overcomes this by teleporting her pee into another person's bladder, making them rush to the bathroom for her.
- Public Exposure: Completely and utterly inverted. Mami's father is a painter specializing in nude figure painting, and Mami is his favorite subject, something she is not upset by in the least. Her house (and bedroom) are filled with nude paintings of her, something of which she isn't really embarrassed about. The main male lead, however, is embarrassed enough for the both of them. The trope is played more straight later on when she poses for an artist who isn't her father, however, and feels somewhat uncomfortable about it.
- Psychic Powers: Mami's powers include telepathy, telekinesis, teleportation, and levitation. She can also control the weather to some extent.
- Secret Keeper: Among the regular characters in this series, Kazuo Takahata is the only person who knows about Mami's Psychic Powers.
- They Would Cut You Up: Mami considered telling her family about her powers, but changed her mind when she heard about how her French ancestors were hunted as witches.
- Touch Telepathy: At the start of the series, Mami can only read thoughts clearly if she's touching the person. Later, she learns she can do it if they're both touching a metal wire (insulation does not stop the telepathy.)
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Mami is terrified of ghosts. Even ghost stories can spook her.