Nerawareta Gakuen

Nerawareta Gakuen

Can’t get more straightforward than that

An anime adaptation based on an old sci-fi novel that’s been made into drama and movies in the past before, Nerawareta Gakuen is about a school being threatened by a mysterious psychic whose aim is to control the school through the student council. Or so it says, but actually it focuses more on the main quartet of the story.

Our main hero is Kenji, your typical dense harem lead who’s been best friends forever with his neighbour Natsuki. While Natsuki has a massive crush on him since forever, our hero is enraptured by the beautiful and perfect Harukawa on the student council. Things start changing when mysterious transfer student, Kyougoku, arrives. Soon mysterious things start happening and it’s not long before it affects the three of them too.

Nerawareta Gakuen

Boy meets boy.

While it certainly sounds like a setup for a sci-fi mystery action thriller, there’s really not much real fighting or conflict going on in the movie. Heck, even when the psychic parts kick it, it’s as if the director just remembered that this isn’t just a romance drama. Which is what this rendition of Nerawareta Gakuen really focuses on.

In fact, NeraGaku actually works a hell lot more better as a romance drama, which it does quite well for the first half of the movie as we get introduced to Kenji, Natsuki and Harukawa and the love polygon forming amongst them and Kyogoku. Even later on, when the “conflict” starts, rather than forcing a change of tone to action, things get solved in rather… unexpected ways (including a scene where Kenji grosses everyone out by pulling his phone out from his trunks!) instead of having psychic battles. Or any form of violence in fact. Probably disappoints a few people, but overall, everything worked out fine for me.

Nerawareta Gakuen

Where else do I keep it?!

The strength of the movie is really in the visuals and the production quality, which never seems to drop even for a second. It’s extremely colorful, with almost every scene having photorealistic backgrounds and fluid character animation all around. I would love to see more of this style from Sunrise. There’s opinions that there’s way too many Photoshop filters being used, but I actually didn’t really mind it much once I got into the movie.

Nerawareta Gakuen

Guess how many filters

On the seiyuu side of things, there’s great performances to be found from Kana Hanazawa (voicing Harukawa) and Ono-D (voicing Kyogoku) to be found here, but I found myself being swept away at parts by Mayu Watanabe’s performance of Natsuki. Sure, it’s pretty rough and it doesn’t have that “anime voice” quality, but she has a really expressive performance and that’s really all I ask from voice acting. I’d already quite liked her performance in AKB0048 as Chieri, but seeing her Natsuki makes me think she might stand a chance as a seiyuu as well.

To wrap things up, Nerawareta Gakuen is very pretty and touching movie. Just don’t get tricked by the whole “Psychic School Wars” tagline that the movie is selling on. It’s really more of a romance drama with some sci-fi elements, in the vein of Mamoru Hosoda’s (TokiKake, Summer Wars) works, but Nerawareta Gakuen is a lot more competently done. A recommended watch on a weekend.

Additional Reading: A slightly more straightforward review by NovaJinx.

8 Comments

  1. Crimson7 Said,

    June 29, 2013 @ 12:59 am

    Thanks for the review! Glad to see someone other than me and my brother give the movie some praise.

  2. Selcca Said,

    June 29, 2013 @ 7:04 am

    Visuals, voice acting, characters, music, amazing. The plot, however, was weighed down by the sci-fi elements (ironically). Many plot points were introduced and then either dropped or explained shoddily. Would have been fantastic if they smoothed that out.

  3. Smith Said,

    June 29, 2013 @ 7:55 am

    >Still waiting for the war scenes…

    Actually there were a few things I didn’t understand but I don’t know if I should as them here considering they’re spoilers.

  4. Rei Said,

    June 29, 2013 @ 2:02 pm

    There were so many things I didn’t understand about the movie though. I loved the romance, but over halfway it seemed like the movie took forever to end. I was rather confused with a few things. Sure I understood the time travel part with Ken-chan and Natsuki, losing powers to save him, etc. But then the other things, like, who is Kyogoku’s mother really, and the ferret (if it was his father, then who is Prof Kyogoku they mentioned to each other if not the same person??;;), who is grandpa really DD:, why at the end Kyogoku looks like the ferret instead and how does the whole gem system work… like whhaaat my mind was so full of “I want to understand but where is the answers”. I’ve heard this is like a sequel to the light-novel of some sort, but really quite sad that I didn’t understand a few concepts =[ also at that ‘climax’ it’s like the whole mind reading psychic fiasco just completely disappeared after the council confrontation and it completely moved on without addressing it? ahaha OTL maybe I’m reading too much into it.

    Animation was superb though, wow Sunrise where has all this animation been? Even though it was slap on full sakura and lens flares. The seiyuu work was top notch (even Tomatoes was in on it!), loved listening to DaisukeHomo and Hanazawawa always. And yes, I agree on Mayu Watanabe also! Quite enjoyed her performance :D Overall, enjoyed it, and screenshotted everything, but so many unanswered questions that I can’t piece together.

  5. LockedBox Said,

    June 29, 2013 @ 2:43 pm

    For a spin-off of a novel back in the 70s, I’d say this is satisfying enough. As for the confusing plot, it would only make sense if you know the the setting based on the original novel beforehand, otherwise, I wouldn’t take it seriously. Just enjoy the visuals and VA performance and you’ll have a good watch (which I certainly did!)

  6. Blacksun88 Said,

    June 30, 2013 @ 12:41 am

    thanks for review, will check this out ^_^

  7. skylion Said,

    July 2, 2013 @ 9:46 am

    This was written, had characters designed, and was directed by the same fella that did all three of those jobs on Aiura….

    I really really loved this film. More than I loved Aiura…

  8. MsWriterPerson Said,

    July 16, 2013 @ 11:31 pm

    I loved this movie. It was a bit weighed down, but the animation and the performances were wonderful, and made up for it. Plus, I like the Shakespeare references, although I disagree with some of the interpretations.
    Overall, I greatly enjoyed the film.

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