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Anime Review: Saiki Kusuo no Psi Nan (The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.)

When my school holidays came around, I finally had the time to watch Saiki Kusuo no Psi Nan, a gag anime that was getting tons of positive reviews since its airing. Since all episodes are available on Netflix, it was very convenient for me to watch the anime as I already had a subscription. Without further ado, I present to you my review of this anime.

Saiki Kusuo no Psi Nan is an anime about the life of a psychic, Saiki Kusuo. Although he was gifted with multiple powers and abilities from birth, his greatest wish is to live an average and normal life. This is repeatedly proven impossible by the wacky characters around him, including his own family, and his friends at school. Despite Saiki’s attempts at trying to mind his own business, he somehow always gets roped into crazy situations that require him to use his powers to solve. Apart from his near-unhealthy obsession with coffee jelly and other sweets, he seems to be the most “normal” person among his friends.

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Saiki enjoying coffee jelly - the only thing that brings him joy in his disastrous life

Since Saiki K is a gag anime, it’s very easy to watch as the plot is not heavy with depressing themes and emotional arcs. Sometimes we all need to take a break from all the gore and angst-heavy anime and switch to a more light-hearted one!

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It is common for a gag anime to have humour that primarily panders to the Japanese audience, comprising Japanese puns and cultural references that are hard for non-Japanese viewers to understand without a detailed explanation. However, the humour in Saiki K is mostly easily understandable and quite universal, making it a great anime to enjoy for all ages worldwide. The humour in Saiki K tends to be more slapstick and exaggerated, which makes for great comedy.

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Saiki performing a magic trick like a professional illusionist

The characters in the anime (excluding Saiki) are caricatures, each with overplayed character traits unique to themselves. For example, Teruhashi’s beauty is so overpowering in the anime that she literally emits a faint glow around her all the time.

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As the anime is told through Saiki’s perspective, we share his telepathic abilities and are fully aware of the characters’ true thoughts and feelings, which are more often than not, completely ridiculous. This makes the episodes spiral into something bizarre in a matter of minutes, which is really quite amusing.

Teruhashi's (shameless) inner thoughts revealing that she is fully aware of her beauty
Kuboyasu casually insulting Takahashi in his head

Kuboyasu struggling to adapt to his new school and weird classmates
A stray cat's true thoughts

The anime is also not afraid to poke fun at itself, breaking the fourth wall frequently and making self-referential jokes that regular anime viewers would appreciate.

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Image result for saiki k breaking the fourth wall
Image result for saiki k breaking the fourth wall

Right off the bat, one would immediately notice that this anime is much more fast-paced compared to a typical anime, which takes some time getting used to, but it somehow works with the type of humour the show is going for. Each 23-minute episode is also divided into 5 sub-episodes, wherein every single story or arc is resolved and the universe returns to its original state. Longer arcs rarely span across more than 2 sub-episodes (with the exception of season 3). This makes every episode watchable without needing any sort of recap, even for a new audience who has not watched the anime before. The simple stories also make for excellent rewatch value, especially if one has no emotional energy to watch something heavy after a long day at work (been there, done that). It’s also a great anime to just throw on the TV when there are guests around since the sub-episodes are so short and engaging.

One would expect a fast-paced anime like Saiki K to have little to no character development or emotional payoff, but I beg to differ. Granted, Saiki K is definitely not as emotionally rewarding as other story-rich anime such as Noragami or Tokyo Ghoul, but there is some character development involved. The characters are all likeable, even if they are extreme and dramatic in every sense of the word.

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For example, although Nendou is a complete airhead, he is a truly earnest person who cares for his friends and his mother. He may not show it through words, but his actions are more than enough to prove his sincerity.

Nendou working part time to earn money to buy his mother a gift

Kaidou brags about his strength although he’s really just a very weak, cowardly boy at heart, but when it comes down to it he is willing to fight for his friends even if it puts him in real danger. For someone so cowardly, him standing up for his friends is truly courageous.

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Kaidou sacrificing himself so that Saiki could escape from gangsters
Kaidou protecting Teruhashi from gross men

Saiki himself is constantly complaining about how these weird characters annoy him all the time and involve him in their nonsensical schemes, but he never has the heart to truly refuse them, and uses his powers to save them from their own shenanigans, explaining afterwards that he had no other choice, or that he simply wanted the nonsense to stop because it was getting annoying (yes, we all know he’s just a tsundere).

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Saiki using clairvoyance to check on Teruhashi's well-being

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Saiki "complaining" about being around his friends while smiling fondly

In short, Saiki’s friend group is very wholesome and they truly care for each other and are willing to put up with each other’s weird quirks.

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Coffee jelly for everyone who has read up to this point

I most definitely recommend everyone to watch this anime. It’s really easy to get into, and I’m honestly not sure how anyone could be disappointed with this anime unless you don’t have a sense of humour at all. So put it on your watchlist right now if you have a Netflix subscription!

Written by yin

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