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Manga / Tokyo ESP

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Urushiba Rinka is having a strange day.

She was an ordinary girl with an ordinary life, until a flying penguin and a swarm of glowing fish swimming through the air changed everything. Rinka soon finds that she is involuntarily moving through things, walls, the floor of her apartment... and her clothes.

And she is not the only one who changed. A strange boy name Kyoutaro Azuma can teleport, her father can move things with his mind... and any number of petty criminals are using this so-called "ESP" to run wild.

Azuma is using his abilities to become a superhero, albeit with mixed success, and he wants Rinka to join him...

Tokyo ESP began as a manga from Hajime Segawa, the author of Ga-Rei. An anime adaptation began airing on 11 July 2014. It's been licensed in the US and Canada by Funimation, and Crunchyroll is streaming it in much of the world.


It also has a tie-in novel called London ESP, that can easily be accessed through a simple search. It details the misadventures of two of the more important characters and contains heavy spoilers in regards to Part 1 of Tokyo ESP, so we highly recommend you wait to read it.


  • Action Girl: Just about every important female character. Even before gaining her powers, Rinka was capable of manhandling multiple thugs.
  • Affectionate Parody: Azuma is something of a send-up of anyone who ever wanted to be a comic book superhero.
  • A God Am I: The body-snatching esper sees himself as the Electron God. It fails when he gets expelled from her body.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: ESPers aren't exactly well liked in Part 2.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The anime ends this way, just in case it wasn't renewed for a second season. The Professor's plan turns multiple people across Tokyo to become espers, causing the crime rate to rise exponentially. This justifies the need for heroic espers like Rinka and her allies to reveal themselves to the public and fight the good fight.
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  • Anti-Magic: Some ESPers have this ability and are used as bodyguards for officials since they can nullify other people's powers.
  • Arrested for Heroism: Rinka gets arrested in Chapter 52 stopping the hospital bomber because she's still wanted for her attack on the statesman. The CIA has the warrants retracted by framing it on an fictional transformation esper before she gets a lifetime sentence. Also happens to all Espers, good, bad, or indifferent in Chapter 76, for their own protection, against rioters acting out of Misplaced Retribution.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Azuma. And Rinka is the person who inspired him to become a superhero.
  • Assimilation Plot: The goal of the ARES President was to link humanity to the Messiah through telepathy and share the history of mankind, connecting them all through empathy.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: In Chapter 67, the member of the ARES board with Green Thumb abilities creates a giant version of her plant-baby disguise.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Despite everything Rinka and the others did to stop him, he still succeeded in his plan of releasing thousands of light fish, giving a huge amount of Muggles ESP. He is still captured by those two mysterious entities, but his plan succeeded.
  • Barrier Warrior: The pompadour boxer can project force fields.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted with Rinka, who is beaten up and punched in the face more than once, getting visible bruises.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In chapter 24 Rinka along with the Panda and the pompadour boxer charge into the Diet Building and rescue the hostages.
    • In chapter 25 Black Fist, Peggy, Ayumu, and Murasaki take out several espers to save the others.
  • Black Eyes of Crazy / Black Eyes of Evil: When Rinka and Nadja's (the woman in the fluffy Russian hat) Superpowered Evil Sides breakthrough.
  • Blonde Brunette Red Head: One cover showed platinum-blonde Rinka, black-haired Minami, and redhead Black Fist, with Murasaki in the background.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Peggy can do this to others by eating their fish. Also happens if ESPer dies or their heart stops.
  • Bully Hunter: Rinka.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Heroic inversion. Rinka saved Azuma from thugs six months before the story began and then promptly forgot about it.
    • The Siblings are apparently (half-)dressed like heavenly beings all the time (with an elaborate up-do for the sister), whether they're on a mission or just getting food.
  • Changing of the Guard: Part 2 has the new heroes, Ren and Zeusu, along with Ayumu and Murasaki taking the main roles while Rinka, Azuma, and the others either take a secondary role or are absent for the time being.
  • Charm Person: One of the Espers in Part 2 possesses this ability.
  • Clark Kenting: Averted. Azuma uses a mask to conceal his face and Rinka tries to keep hers hidden.
  • Cloudcuckoo Lander: Azuma, so much. When he thinks he's about to die, he's mostly just annoyed that he won't be able to teleport anymore.
  • Combo Platter Powers: Mostly averted (for example Rinka, her dad, and Black Fist's ( both of them) strength and speed come from years of training) except for power-nullifiers Peggy (flight (and possibly super strength given the number of people he can fly with)) and Ren (ice powers).
  • Comes Great Responsibility: Azuma’s guiding philosophy.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Actively subverted, and then later abused. In early sections of Tokyo ESP, Rinka's hardest fights, including the one that kills her, are against multiple opponents who, while maybe not Rinka's equal in one-on-one combat, can easily gang up on her. However, by the time Rinka escapes the inspection facility, Yoda has taught her the secret to winning such fights; tactical retreats that force opponents to fight her one-on-one, where she can easily dominate them in a fight. When Rinka finally gets to put these lessons to use, the conservation of ninjutsu becomes justified; most of the Espers attacking her are hoping to gang up on her, and if they can't gang up on her, she can easily abuse the fact she's an Empowered Badass Normal.
  • Costume Porn: Most of the Kuroi family lives and breathes this trope, but Claudia takes the cake and forces all her servants to look as dapper as possible.
  • Corrupt Cops: Rinka's father has a hero complex, and couldn't look away from corruption in his own department and was forced to retire.
  • Crossover: With the Ga-Rei series via manga special called "Shadow Walker". They take place before the start of Ga-Rei and the manga.
  • Curbstomp Battle: The only way to describe the battle in Chapter 12.
  • Cursed With Awesome: Nadja initially thought her powerful psychokinesis would be a great addition to her abilities but her handler/trainer/mentor felt she was "ruined" and abandoned her.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Invoked. Azuma explicitly tells Black Fist that there are nobler and better paying uses for her powers than crime. Then she says money isn't an issue for her.
  • Dark Action Girl: Black Fist and Minami. As well as every woman working for the Professor.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Azuma dear, even if this trope is in full effect that costume of yours is not going to inspire trust.
  • Deconstruction / Reconstruction: Starts out as an about normal story about superheroes and personal heroism, then heads deep into deconstruction territory, and is coming back around to a reconstruction.
  • Despair Event Horizon: The Professor crossed it when he realized exactly how powerful his enemies were (see below).
  • Destination Defenestration: In Part 2, when the bomber from the ESP Liberation front threatens a Suicide Attack, Rinka throws her out of the hospital window without a second thought. It was a bluff and she survived though.
  • Dowsing Device: One of Minami's allies has one that allows her to detect ESPers.
  • Driven to Suicide: The man who helped arrange the murder of Minami and Azuma's parents and their associates was later seen slicing his throat in the middle of a busy Tokyo street. Whether it was intimidation or ESP powers, it made Minami's dad realize just how powerful whoever killed his wife and friends are.
    • One of the fighters "Sponge Tom", a middle-aged man, apparently committed suicide.
    • The body-surfer Esper tries to kill the host when she fights back against his control, but Ren stops him.
    • In chapter 75, Kuroi Claudia, of all people, puts a gun to her head, but throws it away before pulling the trigger.
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: Everyone at Ares who had a hand in the mess that is the Tokyo Esp event gets his or her due punishment.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Everyone who deserves a happy ending in chapter 76 gets one.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: The Paranormal Disaster Countermeasure Headquarters and the Security Police. Unfortunately, they became Red Shirts.
  • Enemy Civil War: A truly convoluted one in chapter 67. The Professor, and what remains of his organization vs the PMSC, Claudia's faction vs. the principal's and Claudia's faction fighting amongst itself featuring Claudia, with "The Messiah" vs the body surfer and the plant lady. Absolutely none of them have the slightest care about any civilians caught in the crossfire.
  • Extranormal Institute: Any school age student with ESP has to go to one in Part 2.
  • Fantastic Racism: The ESPers tend to be discriminated against rather harshly, including being barred from sporting events despite their powers not having anything to do with their skills. More than one has gone the villain route because of this.
    • The espers aren't entirely innocent either. The Esper Liberation Front in particular. Their battle cry is "[non-espers] are an inferior species and should just die!"
  • Far East Asian Terrorists: The ESP Liberation Front, being an urban guerrilla army that goes after law enforcement and anti-ESP politicians and companies and fellow ESPers who they feel have defected or willingly work with the government through assassination.
  • Fights Like a Normal: A downplayed example, but most of the cast tends to make use of common weapons and martial arts training in addition to any powers they have. This is justified by the fact there is no real Flying Brick in the cast. Beyond some ESPers with potentially highly destructive powers (like Ren or The Professor, whose powers are substantial enough they don't often need to get physical), most of the really dangerous ESPers combine their special power with a healthy knowledge of hand-to-hand combat or a weapon of some stripe. This is best exemplified by the protagonist, Rinka, whose power to phase through inorganic objects doesn't improve her combat prowess much but does allow her to No-Sell most powers and weapons directed at her. And when everyone is forced to fight hand-to-hand, Rinka holds a clear advantage.
  • Fingore: Azuma goes through a really disturbing take on the trope. His hand is stabbed into a ship that's capsizing, and Rinka is about to fall off. He slices half his hand off so he can remove his hand from the ship and fall so he can teleport himself, Rinka, and Kobushi to safety.
  • Glorious Mother Russia: We get it, Nadja is Russian. Does she really need to wear that ushanka everywhere? And as some flashback images show, she wore that during her time as an assassin, too. Do you think the Japanese won't notice the tall blonde woman with the fluffy hat usually attributed to Russians? She even wore it during her time as a prizefighter and during the infiltration of ARES HQ. Literally the only time she isn't wearing an ushanka is after getting the hat beaten off her by Kobushi.
  • Good Thing You Have Healers: The head honcho of the esper fighting ring has at least two powerful healers to ensure that the "products" who aren't killed aren't permanently maimed which is probably why "dark Rinka" could go all-out, slicing off fighters' hands and picking out their eyes.
  • Gone Horribly Right: In order to get past an enemy telepath the CIA gives Rinka an evil personality that would overwhelm them and hide her real intentions. It backfires (or seems to; it only just happened) because A) Nadja, an incredibly strong esper on the side of the super-human-traffickers, also had en evil personality installed by the KGB and knows that Rinka must have had help and B) the evil personality is supposed to go away after an hour but it keeps coming out.
    • Rinka does, however, learn to control it to a degree later on. Instead of using it to power herself up, however, she instead uses it to assess the current situation rationally, as the evil side allows her to think of the quickest and most effective solutions to problems.
  • Gonk: Quite a few of the unnamed characters, especially if they're rude. Hilariously enough, even after Ayumu's mother softens up, she still looks like a fusion between a fish and a human.
  • Government Conspiracy: The ones who killed Azuma's parents and Minami's mother, and drove the Professor to decide to destroy the world and create it anew.
  • Graceful Loser: Nadja, upon being beaten, concedes defeat and warns Rinka about how she'll lose herself the further she falls into the darkness and how the ones who hired the twins and made the Hong Kong arena also built the ESP Academy.
  • Groin Attack: Kobushi uses one against Rinka in episode 3, highlighting her status as a really good Combat Pragmatist.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Minami delivers one to Rinka during their fight.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Pretty much all the "lame" esper powers are portrayed as this. While the powers themselves may give no obvious advantage in a fight, many, many characters get around this through intelligent and imaginative uses of their powers coupled with liberal use of firearms.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Nadja became an undercover CIA agent after Hong Kong as a plea bargain.
  • Heroic BSoD: Rinka really doesn't take it well when, after the tanker drop disaster, she finds people who are already beyond saving.
  • Hope Bringer: Rinka, starting in chapter 24.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Used realistically. All of the ESPers have trouble controlling their powers at first, but the main characters experiment and practice with them until they get the hang of it. Though not knowing that she can't phase through organic matter does turn out to be a problem.
  • It Is Beyond Saving: How The Professor's group views society as a whole.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Rinka. But her conscience won't have any of that. She gets Brought Down to Normal in chapter 18 via a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, making it a case of Be Careful What You Wish For.
  • Intangible Man: Rinka. Also another girl who used her powers to attempt murder. Rinka had them taken away using Peggy and turned her over to the police. There are several other minor characters with this ability as well.
  • Jumped at the Call: Azuma.
  • Kick Chick: Rinka and Minami.
  • The Magic Goes Away: Thanks to Claudia's rampage, and direct attack on Peggy in chapter 74, all the esper power in the world is sucked up into the Arc and sealed away. However, its noted that because they were cause by a change in the human body, some may develop ESP again.
  • Mass Super-Empowering Event: Over 20% of the people in Kanto have become espers in Part 2.
  • Master of Illusion: The Professor's ESP ability. And he's very good at it.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Very narrowly averted in chapter 76. As a result of the hundreds of thousands of casualties thanks to rampage of Ares and the professor, relatives and friends of the victims stage riots, forcing the Japanese government to detain all Espers, again, holding them captive three years for their own safety, bar a small group that was literally Reassigned to Antarctica.
  • Missing Mom: Rinka’s missing her mother. Her father claims that she’s working overseas. She may or may not be the American CIA agent who recruits her to infiltrate the super-human trafficking ring.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The "Deva" sister is shown flying down a highway... after getting food from a convenience store.
  • Mythical Motifs: The ESP Liberation Front members wear masks with a religious/mythological theme (examples: a multi-headed Buddha, a Horus hawk, and a First Nation Raven); it's unknown if the maskless Deva Siblings are related to them.
  • Mythology Gag: In "White Girl", several Ga-rei/Ga-rei: Zero characters appear.
  • Mr. and Ms. Fanservice / Walking Shirtless Scene: Both of the "Deva" siblings.
  • Never Found the Body: The Professor was spirited away during the blast by the "Deva" siblings.
  • No Body Left Behind: The Professor's body cracks and completely disintegrates upon his deth and the sealing away of esper powers in chapter 74.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: The bad guys want to beat Rinka and Azuma's ideas out of them. And when the esper task force starts arresting people, they're able to find Rinka and her friends very quickly because everyone already knew who they were—again, because they were helping people.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: In Chapter 18, three espers working for the professor brutally beat down Rinka to the point she lost her powers because her heart stopped for a few minutes and publicly broadcasted it to make an example out of what happens to heroes.
  • Only Mostly Dead: Technically, Rinka was dead after the brutal No-Holds-Barred Beatdown she suffered - her heart had stopped for several minutes. They managed to save her life, but she lost her powers.
  • Panty Fighter: In the Hong Kong underground fights, Rinka and Nadja. Their fight in Chapter 49 has them down to lingerie trying to wail on one another.
  • Papa Wolf: Rinka’s father. A bit of a deconstruction when his concern for Rinka causes his psychokinesis to run amok. He does a fair bit of property damage when she wasn’t in any real danger.
  • Perpetual Poverty: Rinka and her father.
  • Police Are Useless: Azuma certainly thinks so. "Only ESP can stop ESP." Their task force for hunting down espers is the overly brutal and possibly evil variant.
    • Played Straight later on. The SDF got shot down by a couple of flying and teleportation espers and the only reason the rescue team worked for retaking the Diet Building was because of the 5-6 espers on their side...and Rinka
  • Police Brutality / "Villain" With Good Publicity: The anti-ESP police beat an elderly, desperate(ish) esper purse-snatcher beyond necessity (Rinka pays them back when they start on her), but the non-esper public loves them because they keep the peace and literally advertise themselves as super-criminal-fighting Sentai.
  • Power Incontinence: Until an esper adjusts to their power, they suffer from this whenever they are awake. The esper prison exploits this weakness by keeping especially dangerous espers asleep at all times. Ren Jomaku has this particularly bad. Especially at the end in chapter 76.
  • Playing with Fire: A particularly vicious member of the Esper yakuzas and Minami's mother; both of them lose their powers via Peggy's glowfish-eating shark and getting killed, respectively.
  • Psychometry: Murasaki can read the past of objects by touching them. Later she starts using this ability on weapons to copy their past owners' fighting skills.
  • Punny Name: Underground esper fighters "Glady Eita", "Holyknight Naito", and "Senri Q", dressed as a gladiator a knight, and Sen no Rikyu, respectively.
  • Reality Ensues: Azuma and Rinka catch Black Fist, and the police lament that they don’t have any evidence besides the word of a guy in a crow mask. One of the problems present is that there are no laws against ESP until the Wham Episode in chapter 18.
    • The superpowered Yakuza Rinka beat up? They burn down her apartment building in front of her without a backward glance.
    • See No-Holds-Barred Beatdown for what happens because she never covered up her identity.
    • "Only ESP can stop ESP" is always used seriously. Any time the police and the espers fight, the espers easily win. How's a pistol or crowbar supposed to help you against people who can teleport and cause explosions with their bare hands?
  • Red Shirt Army: In "White Girl", the 1st Division soldiers of the Paranormal Disaster Countermeasure Headquarters show up again as Red Shirts to show off how dangerous the Professor is.
  • Retired Bad Ass: Rinka's father, a former cop.
  • Sequel Hook: Ren sneezes and coughs up one of her special ice cubes at the end of chapter 76.
  • Shout-Out
  • Shown Their Work: Rinka's explanation of Kali (aka Arnis/Eskrima) after using dual batons to beat up yakuza goons. The Philippine archipelago is also shown during her explanation.
  • Staged Shooting: The incident that got Rinka and Azuma as wanted criminals was staged by the CIA as a ruse to get them in a position to deal with the Superhuman Trafficking issue. They have it retracted in chapter 52, after they've dealt with the issue.
  • Status Buff: The real power of the Messiah is that it can boost those who are its disciples' ESP Up to Eleven.
  • Super Empowering: The source of the fish that give people powers is actually the tablets engraved with the Ten Commandments, contained in The Ark of the Covenant.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in chapter 68 when we learn the Messiah's ability is to increase the power of a person's ESP tenfold, as seen with Claudia as she's now able to teleport multiple buildings out the sky as a bombardment on one of the branch members she betrayed that was after her.
  • Superhuman Trafficking: Part of the reason why Rinka and Azuma joined the CIA is because some of the ESPers have left the country and were taken for their powers.
  • Super Power Lottery: Some powers are Stock Powers, while others are just overkill.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: Installed into Rinka by the CIA to get past an enemy telepath. It's supposed to go away after an hour but it keeps coming out...
  • Super Registration Act:
    • The government spends the summer break trying to decide whether to enact esper-specific laws and round up all the ones they can find. Considering that under the current laws, they can't even arrest pyrokinetics for arson, you can understand where they might be coming from. They decide to go through with it, revealing that they have a blood test for identifying espers and an underground prison dedicated to holding them. They don't seem to care that the actual bad guys are too powerful and too organized to get caught.
    • After the Time Skip they have ESP Police and require Espers wear a bracelet marking them as such, also placing them in specific schools.
  • Take Over the World: The body-snatching esper's goal after Chapter 67, using overwhelming firepower and electronic control.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: Minami and Azuma.
  • They Would Cut You Up: Fear of this trope is why Azuma and Rinka don’t go to the authorities early on.
  • Threatening Shark: If you're an ESPer and you see a shadowy shark, beware: your powers are about to taken away, possibly permanently.
  • Throwing the Fight: Rinka threw the final fight to ensure her mission would be successful. She ended up with broken bones everywhere.
  • Time Skip: Part 2 starts one year and four months after the end of Part 1.
    • The epilogue ends with one set three years into the future.
  • Too Dumb to Live: An hypnotic esper is in a fight to the Forced Prize Fight with Rinka, who K.O'd the last champion and managed to gain control of her arm. He tries to get her to take off her bikini, rather than beat herself to death or anything. While the fighters are encouraged to put on a spectacle, she's the last person who you want to fool around with. Her dark side takes over and promptly blinds him for it.
  • Training from Hell: Over the summer break, Rinka and the others train with her father's old master to make up for their utter defeat at the hands of the Professor and his minions.
  • Übermensch: A depressing number of ESPers decide to go this route.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Rinka once stopped a purse-snatcher, only for the woman who owned the purse to hit her because she was an Esper.
    • Claudia.
  • Unwitting Pawn: All the ESPers who worked for the Professor and followed his dreams for a new world order were simply bait to draw out the organization that killed his wife. Minami likewise uses them to get her father released from them, willing to trade the Ark for it.
    • Orisube for Claudia, who shoves the Messiah into her and then shoots her so that no one else can get the power.
  • War for Fun and Profit: Claudia's branch of the PMSC has dedicated their lives to this trope. They are completely and utterly incapable of living their lives unless they're either preparing for or actually engaged in warfare. If there's nobody around for them to shoot at, they will very happily turn their guns on each other. Nobody sheds a tear when The Professor starts to coldly and methodically execute them one by one.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The ARES Board President that ran the school wanted to share empathy though mankind in one big Assimilation Plot.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 18 had Rinka Brought Down to Normal after a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown that killed her for a few minutes, and Azuma is kidnapped by Minami.
    • Chapter 26 The professor is dead, Rinka regained her power, and apparently its the end of part 1.
    • Chapter 36 Rinka and Azuma return to assist Ren Jomaku.
    • Chapter 40 The Professor is apparently alive.
    • Chapter 60: All of Rinka's allies come under attack, with the mafia men being gunned down, her father being made to fall from a great height after being shot, Kuroi gets captured, Ren gets captured, Marume get a Grand Theft Me pulled on her, and Zeusu is apparently the leader of the bad guys.
    • Chapter 71: The Professor, the ARES Board President, the dowsing esper, and the fire-using twin, are killed.


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