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Title (English) Sci-Fi Harry
Title (Japanese) Sci-Fi Harry

book cover

Fantasy Novel

Notes Also on R2 DVD: The first DVD= "Jellyfish", ZMBZ-1151 from Media Factory.
Classification -
Synopsis Nerdish schoolboy develops psychic powers.
Review This evening I got to watch the final three episodes of the TV Asahi late night anime, "Sci-Fi Harry", which played on Japanese TV this past winter. I didn't get to see the series during it's original broadcast so I had to buy the region 2 DVD's as they came out. The series was 20 episodes long and spread out over 7 DVD's from Media Factory - ZMBZ-1151 through 1157. It was well worth the cost and wait to see this outstanding mystery/sci-fi/drama. In addition to the episodes, each DVD contains an interview with the creator of the series, as well as another one with the two lead voice actors.
The story is about Harry, who is definitely not your average American teenager. ( The series is set in the US in the very near future in what appears to be a small West Coast town. ) Harry is, instead, the epitome of an "alienated youth" - friendless at school, extremely weird and nervous to the point of paranoia. But a chance occurrence causes Harry to start to demonstrate what appear to be psychic powers - powers that he neither necessarily believes in nor consciously controls. But there are other ominous forces at work who do believe in Harry, and attempt to make use of him in ways that are threatening and frightful.
But "Sci-Fi Harry" isn't just a paranoia story, it also has a small core of key characters who are quite unique and intriguing. There is Catherine, the beautiful and popular girl who Harry admires from afar and who starts to feel a sort of rapport with Harry when she sees how much Harry is like her little, nearly autistic brother. There is John, the tall, handsome jock boyfriend of Catherine who tries to protect Harry while becoming confused and hurt by Catherine's fascination with Harry. There is Mike, the police investigator, who is intelligent, sympathetic and very suspicious of the ever increasingly baroque goings-on surrounding Harry. ( Mike is also the only black I have seen portrayed in an anime in a non-stereotypical manner. ) And, of course, there is also the extremely mysterious and unforgettable Jinori, who is much more and much different than she appears at first or even later.
The anime is well animated in a style that appears to be somewhat simple on the surface but contains a lot of subtle details. The character designs are of the "semi-realistic" school, similar to the designs in "Lain" or "Perfect Blue". The general color scheme of the animation is quite muted. The opening and closing themes are hard rock, but much of the background music is jazz in the spirit of old TV detective shows. There is a certain amount of nudity and a fair amount of sudden and bloody violence.
Despite the fact that "Sci-Fi Harry" was a mystery and I did get to see ( and get rather surprised by ) the ending, it is still eminently re-watchable and I will definitely need to make myself the time some day to do a marathon on this series. All-in-all, I highly recommend it. (Dave Baranyi)

I love quirky anime, and I also love mysteries, so I'm really happy with my "gut feeling " decision to order the first DVD volume of the Fall anime, "Sci-Fi Harry". This is one of two "late night" anime that aren't showing in the Kansai region, so my friend can't tape it for me. But I was intrigued by "Kaicho's" little advance blurb about the show on his "Anihabara" web site:
"Psy-Fi-Harry (Oct.6 26:09 TV Asahi) One day, Harry noticed his supernatural power, but then, a weird murder case happened. Produced by A.P.P.P. Directed by Kodera Katsuyuki. "
The first DVD, "Jellyfish", ZMBZ-1151 from Media Factory, just came out before Christmas and was in the big shipment that I got this week from CD Japan. The DVD contains the first two episodes, "Jellyfish" and "Omen".
So, what is the show about and why do I like it? "Sci-Fi Harry" looks like a cross between "Lain", "Key" and "Perfect Blue". The show also has some of the bleakness and cynicism of those shows too. The show starts out with some teens playing basketball, Harry, the main character, is the "alienated teen from Hell". He stands there in the court, getting pushed around by the other players, looking like he is about to either go totally psycho or collapse and die. He gets the ball, almost by accident, and stands there not able to decide what to do with it, when suddenly from the stands, Catherine, a sexy classmate suddenly shouts for Harry to shoot. Harry is even more panicked and finally throws the ball way too high in the sky - the ball finally comes down like a rocket and smashes through a window about the heads of Catherine and the other girls who are watching, showering them with glass.
We next see blood on the floor in the shower room - three of the players from the opposing side are beating Harry for the sheer pleasure of it. Harry is curled up in a ball on the floor, waiting for more beating, when John, the best and biggest player comes by and tells the toughs to get out. John is not Harry's friend, but he doesn't like the toughs. When everyone leaves, Catherine calls out to Harry, but Harry runs off by himself.
Later that night, while on a date with John, Catherine is kidnapped by the toughs and is about to be raped in an abandoned building when Harry, who is quivering in his bare room at home, gets a premonition about this and shows up at the building. But once he confronts the toughs, there is nothing Harry can do - the lead tough simply beats Harry again and leaves him on the ground while they go off back to Catherine. Suddenly, a huge explosion occurs outside the building and the toughs get scared and run off.
In the meanwhile, John has called the police and they are looking for Catherine, when the find the body of someone with his head snapped off. This is not the first case of this sort. The police can't believe that a human could do this sort of thing.
Catherine brings Harry to her house, where her younger brother Elliot is intently watching a TV show of a man who claims to be able to bend spoons by the power of his mind. Elliot looks as psycho as Harry. Catherine tries to relax Harry and asks him to try to bend a spoon - to everyone's surprise he can. Then he can do another, and more and even ones that he isn't holding.
The next day, Catherine and Harry are going to school when they chance upon John who is confronting the toughs. One of the toughs pulls a knife on John, but the knife is suddenly whisked into the air and comes down bent several times. Catherine tells everyone that it was Harry's power that did that, but no one believes that. Suddenly, there are screams from the school and we see that a teacher is dead on the ground - his neck twisted nearly off. Later on, when thinking about all that has happened, John comes to the conclusion that the broken neck of the teacher, and 12 other recent similar cases, is probably due to Harry.
Okay, so up until now we have a gender reversed version of "Carrie" to a good extent. But the mystery is being done very well. Are the gruesome deaths due to some side effect of Harry's psychic powers? He really isn't controlling what he is doing in any way. Are there other forces at work here, such as the mysterious woman who looks over the scene of one of the murders? Harry is very much a "borderline case" - can he come to grips with these developing powers without totally losing it? He can't believe that Catherine is actually paying attention to him. What will happen when Harry gets to go on the psychic TV show - the former "host" wants to know Harry's "trick" at any cost.
So I'm "hooked". I'm also pissed off that I will have to wait until the end of February to see the next 3 episodes and that the entire 20 episode series won't be out until the end of July. BTW - there were two "specials" on the DVD, an interview with some of the creative staff, and another sort of "chat" between the two lead voice actors. In the box there were also two collector's cards, one of Harry and one of Elliot. (Dave Baranyi)

A little known, nihilistic morality story which just finished its late night run recently. A very intense story about Harry, who if he isn't already psychotic, is being turned so rapidly by the actions of a number of malevolent organizations who are trying to take advantage of what appear to be very strong but uncontrolled psychic powers latent within him. I've seen the first 12 episodes and it is painful to have to wait for the monthly releases. This is a series I could watch in an all-day, all-night marathon. Rating must see, but not for the squeamish.

Credits Produced by A.P.P.P. Directed by Kodera Katsuyuki.
Episodes 21
Release Jap:DVD
TV Showing See the whole series for free? This series may be syndicated to regional cable, satellite or terrestial TV stations. For Europe click here.
Date 2000 October 7 - 2001 March 23
Production A.P.P.P.
Broadcaster TV Asahi
References & Help Look up the latest data on this title at:
Richard Llewellyn's Animated Divots, or
Anime News Network (see Encyclopedia section) ,
or in "The Anime Encyclopedia" (Clements & McCarthy, Stone Bridge Press, 2001).
Help & further information.



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