Few studios can captivate the world the way Trigger can. Cloverworks, Kyoto, and possibly Mappa come to mind when I think of studios on equal footing but either way, the point is if a show has the Trigger logo slapped on it, I am going to watch and chances are, going to love it. Kill la Kill was an enigma in a lot of ways, rather it is the style, over-the-top action, or soundtrack, it put Trigger front and center as a powerhouse not to be trifled with. Even with lackluster original Darling in The FranXX it still holds a hefty 7.31 on MAL. A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a Reddit gif that I found humorous, looking more into what the show was I discovered a Trigger series from 2014 I missed, a show about superpowers and friends, an OG harem in the purest sense When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace.
I’ll be real, I love Trigger, Kiznaiver is one of my all-time favorite anime, and any show they have released thus far has given me some sort of enjoyment. So when I discovered that When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace was ranked among them, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. This was Trigger, but this was also a 2014 romcom harem, one of the strongest years in anime. 2014 alone had shows like Your Lie in April, the ecchi trash can that is Trinity Seven, I can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying, the second season of Prisma Illya, Black Bullet, and even the legendary Nisekoi. The point I am trying to make is, 2014 had a lot to work with. So I locked in, sat down, and prepared to see what Commonplace had to offer, which was, not a lot.
In short, the show follows chuunibyou Jurai Andou, a member of the school literature club. For those who are unaware, chunnibyou is a derogatory term that describes someone who acts in a delusional way, usually referring to themselves as having some sort of power. So Jurai is just a guy who pretends to have superpowers, then one day, he does. Along with fellows club members, Kanzaki, Tomoyo, Kushikawa, Hatoko, Takanashi, Sayumi, and random elementary school student that hangs out with them for some reason, Himeki, Chifuyu, the five of them all experience on one fated day what it is like to actually obtain powers.
Though dressed up as and flirts with action, this is a bit of a non-factor for most of the show. Jurai has the useless Dark and Dark, a purple flame that burns in the palm of his hand but doesn’t actually burn. Hatoko is just an element wizard, Tomoyo can stop time, Chifuyu can literally make anything materialize if she thinks of it, and finally, Sayumi can return anything to its former state. With the stage set, the series quickly devolves into a crazy off-the-wall tournament arc full of power and mysticism, jk it turns into every other power of friendship harem.
What Commonplace is, is simply about a weirdo guy, and his weirdo friends, doing weirdo things. All of the girls are hopelessly in love with Jurai, which is pretty on point for these types of things. But the real meat of the show exists in intermetal and external conflict, usually among each other as Jurai tries and creates the outcome that is the best for all parties involved. An example of this would be Chifuyu having a fight with her friend, Kuki. Kuki is a bit annoyed her best bud keeps blowing her off after school to hang out with these high schoolers and demands that she stops. After all, Chifuyu is an elementary schooler, and it is kinda off-brand for them to casually hang out with students much older than they are. But, she refuses naturally, stating that all members of the Literature club were just as dear to her as Kuki is. To try to bridge this rift Jurai is thrown into the fray, forced to find a common ground between the two. Kuki, naturally, isn’t having it, but through sheer willpower of being a “decent” guy, Kuki finds herself not only befriending Jurai but in love with him, just like her best friend Chifuyu and every other fucking girl in this series.
The series is chalked full of events like this, Jurai and Hatoko are childhood friends, but she doesn’t understand his chunnibyou lingo. She for the life of herself cannot grasp how something can be both corrupt and good. Add with the stressor that she feels Jurai has grown distant from her she blows up, in one of the most well scripted and voice acted scenes I’ve seen in a while, before storming out of his house disappearing. These moments make the series what it is. One guy four girls (technically five) out there living their best lives that just happen to have superpowers. A point that is briefly addressed but never really answered.
I have no read the source material so I cannot speak to how faithful the adaption is nor can I speak on how the magic part of the light novel is played out. What I can say is the show alludes to the fact some people exist in the world who also have powers that are fighting a war of such. This war, however, is not known to the main five and the actions of people outside of them move in ways to keep it that way. Though whimsical and havening some moments of relevancy as a whole, the powers are mostly irrelevant outside a handful of comedy uses.
Overall my personal feelings on this show come down to two things, the wordplay that exists within it and the interesting take on chunnibyou culture in general. Jurai is a bit of a wordsmith in a lot of ways, idly coming up with nicknames that abuse the limits of kanji to make an elaborate play on words to describe himself and his friends. I haven’t enjoyed or seen this level of complexity when it comes to writings since Monogatari and that alone is a loaded claim. It’s funny, cute, and just a feel-good rom-com that I enjoyed, but it was 2014, and a lot of the charm I sadly feel has been lost to time. In today’s world, I’d give the series a 6 out of 10, and if you missed it back then, it would be a hard sell to get you to go back and watch it now.
Boy, I have been slacking on these things. I currently working on a novel and it has eaten up what free time I did have to write. I will say that I have still have been able to watch a lot of series during this week’s window so expect more soon. As always thanks for the read!