Night Head 2041

Title:Night Head 2041
Keywords: , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - Shirogumi Inc.
ONO Daisuke
ONO Kenshou
SAKURAI Takahiro
18 years after WWIII, the philosophy of the government of Japan is that people should only believe in things which can be physically proven to exist. Practicing religion is a 'thought crime' and even works of fiction are forbidden. Anyone who disobeys is liable to be stomped on by the 'Special Weapons Enforcement', or SWE, branch. Into this unforgiving environment the psychics Naoto Kirihara and his younger brother Naoya find themselves inexplicably released from the Mikuriya Laboratory where they had been kept.

12 episodes

See also: Night Head Genesis
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Unevaluated Stretch [series:4351#628]
(Seven episodes watched):

If this were a typical anime, the SWE would be a brutal, faceless, evil group persecuting good folks who haven't done anything wrong. But here we get to know a couple of SWE personnel, their target, 'Miracle Mick' seems like a charlatan, and in general it looks like this will be more than a simplistic matter of good versus evil. SWE agent Takuya seems to realize that he possesses some sort of supposedly nonexistent power. He does something which saves a comrade (his own brother) and sets something in motion--we leap to the Kirihara brothers who have found themselves outside the facility where they were confined. I was confused--had we switched to an alternate reality? Had time travel occurred? Whatever is going on, this show seemed fairly classy and neat. It seems a good deal more complex and intriguing than most anime; for instance, Takuya's SWE superior seems to know some stuff which is contrary to the official line. Perhaps best of all, psychic powers haven't been overused and rendered ridiculous, which happens in more than a few shows. As a result I was left wondering what the explanation for all these freaky events might be. I had never heard of the Night Head genre, but apparently it has been around since 1992 with a previous anime and a live-action incarnation already existent. So, while still confusing, I felt that this is a show for which it might be worth making the extra effort necessary to sort things out.

In episode two we learn some intriguing things. Despite everything they have been told, the elite SWE agents of Takuya's team learn that not only do psychics exist, but each of them has been chosen for this job because they have the potential to become one. The idea is that it's OK for the government to employ psychics in order to maintain law and order (but nobody else should). It takes a thief to catch a thief, sort of. And the Kirihara brothers struggle with a problem of timing: from their perspective, it should be 2029, but by all accounts it's 2041. What happened to the dozen years in between? The two groups encounter each other for the first time, apparently by coincidence. There's a mysterious girl, Shoko Futami, who appears to be in a coma in a laboratory yet somehow appears to the main characters occasionally. All the mind tricks that occur are difficult to get a grasp on. And then there's the revelation in episode four that people in general tend to experience a strange memory loss regarding events since the war, and rely on the government version of what happened. What? That seems like a pretty big deal which you would think would have been made clear in episode one or two. I wished it was easier to keep track of just what's going on here, because for the most part this still seemed like a neat show. It seemed overcomplicated, however. What went on at the Mikuriya laboratory? Why were Naoto and Naoya suddenly released from there? What's going on with Shoko? How is time being warped? What is this boy in SWE custody capable of? Is the SWE really trying to enforce the law, or does it have an ulterior motive? There are so many ongoing unanswered questions that it's difficult to keep track of them all. More and more get added on but few get answered. Still, this show seemed to be of a higher class than most.

In episode seven Naoto and Naoya encounter Mr. Mikuriya again, and he tells them a good deal about what's really going on. Apparently, if I understood this correctly, a parallel planet Earth was created and 2/3 of humanity--those who could accept things like psychic powers--was shifted there, where they enjoy idyllic lives. The remaining 1/3 remained here. For some reason the two brothers stayed here, even though they clearly deserved entry. This was rather difficult to take seriously; the implication is that some intelligent power divided the population, but (as if we didn't have enough unanswered questions already) no mention is made of who or what that would have been. Why can't such a being rearrange the population rather than Naota and Naoya have to do it? It makes little sense and seems like a weak attempt to moralize things by declaring that psychics are good people who have been rewarded with their extra-sensory powers while ordinary humans are bad ones who haven't. And 2/3 of humanity passed this test? I decided that if this is as good as the secret behind this story is going to get, I no longer wanted to watch.

Last updated Saturday, October 02 2021. Created Saturday, July 17 2021.

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