Tokyo ESP Vol. 1 – Strange Times in Tokyo

The first volume of Tokyo ESP gets off to a great start. It plants the seeds for a successful series while standing on its own as an enjoyable read even if you never picked up another volume in the new IP.

TESP follows Rinka Urushiba, a normal girl who lives with her police chief father. Together they are rather poor and—up until a mysterious event that leads to Rinka being able to shift through objects—life has not been easy, but it has also been unassuming.

Shortly after discovering her new found ability, Rinka runs into both a colorful character named “Crow Head” and a boy named Kyōtarō Azuma. Who is this Crow Head? Donning a tuxedo and appearing in the news whenever a robbery takes place, it’s unclear if he’s to be trusted. The same goes for this new boy who almost out of nowhere has come into Rinka’s life, not to mention he too has a special ability of his own.

A story of characters adapting to their super powers would be decent enough, but a slew of antogonists soon show to throw a wrinkle in the story. They’re interesting and the author, Hajime Segawa, is coy about revealing their powers until the last possible moment. In addition to Yakuza gang members, one particular female rival turns up to make a great counter to Rinka’s personality and way of life.

The art in the manga is detailed and rather beautiful. At no point did I have to review pages to figure out what was supposed to be going on during the action. Drawing interesting action sequences is not easy. Drawing sequences that make sense and are easy to read is even more difficult and a problem that the best artists can run into. Here’s hoping that TESP stays true to form and never has to rush their work.

Lastly, but certainly not least, did I mention the manga features a flying penguin that does some really cool shit?! There’s even an awesome image of the penguin flying, superimposed in a real photograph in Japan. Try Toyko ESP Vol. 1, I promise it’s not kitschy, and see what you think. It’ll be worth your while.