A pool episode, a beach episode, and a festival episode, what more could you ask for? When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace has everything a shameless harem needs to be successful! But can it truly be called shameless? Notwithstanding the basic school setting coupled with uninspired character archetypes, Supernatural Battles presents a main character who genuinely deserves the awkwardly placed love that the entire female cast has for him. Of course, the aforementioned trope episodes bring the integrity of the show down a level, but what can you do? At times, it feels like there’s a lack of direction, and most plot points seem to be leading to so much more than what is given. For what it is, Supernatural Battles is enjoyable, but I wish certain aspects were explored in greater detail.
The seemingly ordinary literature club of Senko High School hides a terrible secret. Multiple secrets, in fact. Little do people know that one of its members is none other than Guiltia Sin Jurai, who has recently come into possession of the “all-powerful” Dark and Dark ability. This awesome, shadowy flame leaves no doubt in his mind about how cool he is. In reality, the other members of the club, who happen to all be female, are the ones with powers worthy of praise. Nonetheless, Jurai never misses an opportunity to spout off his long-winded incantation to activate his power. Despite having the potential to do both good and evil with their new capabilities, these kids are content with continuing their ordinary lives.
Suffice to say, nothing about the character designs in Supernatural Battles is particularly innovative. The main character fits the confident, good-guy role to a tee. Along with the fact that he’s essentially a Kirito-looking piece of otaku-trash, we have someone the general anime watching populace can root for. Jurai’s entire gimmick is that he’s an over-the-top chuunibyou (someone who acts out fantastical, imaginary scenarios in day-to-day life). Deep down he’s sensitive and considerate, giving the train of women seeking him out reasonable cause to pursue him. I do enjoy his character, as he is incredibly admirable compared to other harem protagonists, but I can’t say I’m a fan of the comedic whiplash when he switches personas.
All the romantic interests are even worse in terms of originality. It’s immediately obvious who the tsundere is, and the addition of the childhood friend along with the girl who’s way too young to even be considered don’t add much excitement either. Throw in the dignified intellectual and the cast is complete. The cookie-cutter formula employed here leads to the sincere moments held between characters to be thrown aside when their generic traits are brought back for comedic effect. This isn’t helped when romance in the show feels increasingly out of place as the repercussions of having superpowers begin to become apparent.
Trying to keep your brand-new superpowers hidden as a teenager is an interesting concept, one that was overshadowed by every single female character struggling harder with the fact that they’re in love with cringe personified. The idea of average high school kids coming into possession of some of the most coveted superpowers makes for some quality entertainment. However, this aspect of Supernatural Battles seemed more like a way to bring the audience in than as something of worth to the story. Naturally, there are several parts where the plot progresses due to the existence of these powers, but overall it feels like a tease.
It’s not unusual for anime in this genre to start off in one fashion and completely divert half-way through. In saying that, Supernatural Battles does things a little differently, where it’s almost like two completely different shows running at the same time. Flipflopping between romance and action, constant clashes occur throughout the show. At one point, during an outburst between Jurai and the childhood friend, Hatoko, that I wholeheartedly urge to watch in Japanese to experience some top-notch voice acting, the show begins to promise some meaningful development in regards to the love held between characters. Almost immediately after, the supernatural battles side of Supernatural Battles makes some headway and renders the scene insignificant. Then everything is reduced to irrelevance once again as the onslaught of swimsuit episodes begins.
After writing that all out it seems I hold a lot of negativity towards When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace. Not that I didn’t enjoy this anime, it’s just that it had a lot of potential and didn’t quite live up to it. Nevertheless, Supernatural Battles provides basic characters that are all likeable alongside a convoluted story that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. It’s a show where every girl is best girl, and every girl has seemingly limitless powers. As a harem, it’s a nice break from the stock standard iterations that are typical these days. Surpassing all expectations to create meaningful relationships between characters at the same time as having something greater going on in the background. While unlikely that there will ever be a second season, I’d personally consider opening up the light novel series one day. Which, I suppose, was the whole purpose of the anime.
A review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment to the author for the purpose of this review.