Psychic School Wars (2012)

Psychic School Wars (2012)

Dave author picI’ll give Psychic School Wars this: it’s certainly very pretty. This adaptation of Taku Mayumura’s 1973 sci-fi novel – the third adaptation, in fact – is rendered in a gorgeously iridescent, opaline aesthetic: all setting suns coruscating off café windows as shimmering cherry blossoms waft through the sky. Any given frame of Ryosuke Nakamura’s film would make for a lovely desktop background.

But looks aren’t everything. This lovingly-rendered animation is in service of a slight plot about time travellers, psychics and – oddly, incessantly – a high school’s cell phone ban (Yeah, I dunno). The “Wars” of the title are rather muted: while there are occasional clashes with the fate of humanity at stake (or something), the film’s primary mode is romance (across a polite love quadrilateral).

It’s a shame, then, that the characters are too broadly drawn for said romances to resonate in any meaningful way. Like those blossom petals floating in a summer breeze, I was left adrift, as the narrative flitted aimlessly between student council politics, psychic time travel, unrequited crushes and the like. Nakamura is too focused on fostering a sense of otherworldly calm to direct it towards any kind of compelling story. But, hey – at least it looks nice.

2 stars

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