What They Say
The origin of the Senko High School Literature Club’s powers might be a little sketchy, and they may spend more time chatting than engaging in superhuman feats. Still, there’s no questioning the incredible abilities of the club’s female members: Tomoyo can control time; Hatoko is a mistress of the elements; Chifuyu can create matter; and Sayumi can return any item to a previous state. With these powers, there are few tasks these girls can’t handle. Meanwhile, Jurai, the club’s only male member, has a dark flame that seems a little pointless in comparison, and only time will tell if it matures into anything more useful. Toss in a Student Council president who’s developed powers of her own and things are about to get seriously weird as the study of literature takes a comic book turn in WHEN SUPERNATURAL BATTLES BECAME COMMONPLACE!
I wasn’t too surprised when I found out how well-done the audio quality was in this anime. Sentai Filmwork generally does good work with their audio. The English is Dolby Digital 2.0, which doesn’t mean a whole lot to me. What does mean a lot to me is how there weren’t many differences between the English dub and the Japanese version quality-wise. The English audio was a bit sharper, and there was more clarity than in the Japanese audio. That said, there were certain parts where the clarity seemed a little too sharp, but I found both versions to be an enjoyable watch.
The video for When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace is 480i in 16×9 anamorphic. Because it’s not high definition, there is a drop in video quality than if you bought the bluray, but there weren’t any major issues with the video itself. There were no distortions in the color, no background noise cropping up. So, even though the quality itself wasn’t 1080p, the animation was still fluid and the art style never suffered any degradation, allowing us to see the lush contrast in colors between the characters and background.
Three discs come inside of a black DVD case. Each disc is given its own place to lay, with discs 1 and 2 being placed in an extension set in the middle and the last disc lying against the back. The front cover features a nebula of bright colors and several stars, making the entire thing look like a Chuunbiyo’s magical dream, which is keeping in line with the story. All of the main cast are featured on the front in their school uniforms, which are red and make them pop out from the background, which is made of cooler colors like blue and purple. Meanwhile, the back has illustrations of Tomoyo and Hatoko in two-piece bathing suits, several small thumbs of various scenes from the series, and a clean description of the story.
The menu shows the four episodes that are present on each volume on the left, along with the audio and subtitle options. On the right, we’re given a different illustration of the characters based on which disc you’ve popped into your player. Since there are only five options to choose from, it’s easy to navigate. The only disc that has more options is disc 1, which has the special features on it.
The DVD comes with opening and closing themes with no subtitles, along with Sentai Filmwork’s trailer for Love, Chuunibyo & Other Delusions, Magical Warfare, Wizard Barristers, and Blade Dance of Elementars on disc 1.
When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace is a 12 episode series that details the life of high school literature club members Tomoyo, Hatoko, Chifuyu, Sayumi, and Jurai—the club’s only male member. Like a good portion of today’s anime, this one falls under the harem/romcom/magic high school/light novel adaptation genre. As a genre that’s been gaining popularity, anime like this sometimes feel like a dime a dozen. There are literally over 290 harem titles now, and a lot of them have come out recently—especially light novel adapted high school magical harems. Out of all these anime, When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace is one of the series that stands out.
First of all, this was produced by Trigger. If you don’t know them, they’re the ones who created such anime as Little Witch Academia the short film, Ninja Slayer, Kiznaiver, and the critically acclaimed yet extremely controversial Kill la Kill. Trigger is also something of an off-shoot from Gainax, the studio who brought you Neon Genesis Evangelion and Gurren Lagann.
While this series is no Kill la Kill, it’s a lot more interesting than most standard light novel adaptations. The upgrade from “standard light novel adaptation” to “something unique” lies mostly in the directing and character development. Unlike a good portion of light novel anime, this one focuses mostly on the slice of life aspect, showing us how a group of teenagers going through high school deal with spontaneously gaining supernatural powers. In fact, outside of the random powers, this anime feels almost like a high school anime, and the powers are merely a background curiosity that sometimes comes to the foreground of the story’s main theme.
The characters, particularly the protagonist, Jurai, are also a little more unique than the standard light novel harem characters. Jurai is a Chuunibyo, which makes him pretty interesting right off the bat. He’s not the typical blush and stutter harem protag that we see so often. He’s more like the, “listen to me as I rant about my powers of darkness, thereby making a total fool of myself in the process while simultaneously thinking I’m cool” kind of character. I like how his personality is more in your face than the average harem hero. Likewise, each member of the female cast has a life outside of Jurai. They don’t merely exist for his sake, which adds depth and personality to them.
One of the aspects to this series that was also done well is how the harem develops. Most harems will always have a main girl, that one love interest that everyone knows is the OTP because you see the protagonist with them in just about every scene, minus the few times where the side harem females get their time to shine. In this series, I don’t know who the main girl is. Trigger does an excellent job of giving every girl enough screen time and development that I can’t figure out who Jurai will choose—if he ever decides to choose anyone. This makes the series more exciting because I honestly don’t know how it will turn out.
The series also did well by mixing humor with genuinely serious moments. There were some really heartfelt scenes in here, such as the moment where Hatoko went off on Jurai because she couldn’t understand his Chuunibyo speak. When you combined those scenes with Jurai’s typical penchant for dweebish Chuunibyo lines, it creates a strong dichotomy that I found enjoyable.
If this series had one failing, it’s that nothing was resolved—the series is incomplete. Since this is a light novel adaptation that makes sense. Even so, it’s kind of annoying for American audiences because it means we need to read the light novels to know what happens next, and unfortunately, the light novels that this anime was adapted from aren’t being translated, so unless you know how to read kanji, you’re kinda screwed.
I thought this anime possessed a strong showing of the harem high school genre, and watching a bunch of regular teenagers gain super powers was a blast. Saying this, I would’ve liked a more conclusive ending. As it stands, the entire last episode leaves us on this massive cliff hanger that involves a magical war that was conceived by fairies for reasons that are never quite explained.
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: C
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: August 30th 2016
Running Time: 300 minutes
Video Encoding: 480i
Aspect Ratio: 16×9 Anamorphic
55″ Class AQUOS HD Series LED TV LC-55LE643U, Xbox 360 DVD player