Zettai Karen Children (絶対可憐チルドレン?, lit. Absolutely Lovely Children) is a Japanese shōnen manga by Takashi Shiina. The manga started being serialized in Shogakukan's manga magazine Shōnen Sunday in 2005. An anime series began on April 6, 2008 which ran for fifty-one episodes. Shiina developed the series out of a short story he had written in a special issues of Shōnen Sunday. The series was essentially the same, except for the fact that Kōichi Minamoto was named "Hikaru Minamoto", and he also had psychic powers.
In the future, people with ESP are becoming more widespread, requiring training to be able to use their power for constructive purposes. Unfortunately, there are also espers that abuse their powers and wield them to destructive ends. The Japanese government's solution to both challenges is the establishment of the Base of Backing ESP Laboratory (B.A.B.E.L.) for the purpose of appraising, identifying, nurturing, and protecting espers (even if that means apprehending them as if they were criminals). Five decades later, B.A.B.E.L. locates a trio of natural Level 7 (the maximum esper potency designation) espers within Japan, and assembles them into the special esper team known as "The Children". However, all three have developed questionable attitudes because of the persecution and ostracization caused by the ignorant fear of their powers. Still, the question now becomes whether Kaoru Akashi, Shiho Sannomiya, and Aoi Nogami can be refined into young ladies.
- Kōichi Minamoto (皆本 光一 Minamoto Kōichi?)
- Voiced by: Yuuichi Nakamura
- The male protagonist of the series. He's a normal human with abnormal high intelligence (in the pilot chapter, he is also an esper with level 7 negation of anti-esper powers). He is the workaholic field leader of "The Children" Special Esper Team, tasked with overseeing their day-to-day care and making sure they do not get too carried away when they are doing their jobs. While good-natured and tolerant for the most part, there are times when he is pushed over his limits and comically goes into a Fist of the North Star-inspired personality complete with quotes.
- Kaoru Akashi (明石 薫 Akashi Kaoru?)
- Future title: Queen of Catastrophe
- Voiced by: Aya Hirano
- A Level 7 psychokinetic (the maximum esper potency designation), Kaoru is the reckless and zealous member of "The Children", and often goes overkill with her psychic powers. In spite of being a girl, sometimes she acts like a pervert towards women, sexually harasses her team-mates and her classmates as well and shows interest in female figures in general. Ten years old at the start of the story, she has aged to thirteen over the course of the series.
- Aoi Nogami (野上 葵 Nogami Aoi?)
- Future title: Lightspeed Goddess
- Voiced by: Ryōko Shiraishi
- An esper with Level 7 teleportation capability, Aoi is the rational member of "The Children", and likes playing video games in her spare time. She is from Kyoto and speaks in local dialect. Comically, Aoi is concerned about her smaller chest size in comparison to the other two Children. Ten years old at the start of the story, she has aged to thirteen over the course of the series.
- Shiho Sannomiya (三宮 紫穂 Sannomiya Shiho?)
- Future title: Untouchable Empress
- Voiced by: Haruka Tomatsu
- An esper with Level 7 psychometry, Shiho is the sarcastic, sharp-tongued and often childishly sadistic member of "The Children". Her power allows her to read other people's thoughts by touch and to enhance her accuracy when using guns and throwing weapons. Shiho often shows a more grown-up personality than the other children which can sometimes lean toward the dark side. Ten years old at the start of the story, she has aged to thirteen over the course of the series.
Zettai Karen Children began as a shōnen manga written and illustrated by Takashi Shiina. The manga started serialized in Shogakukan's manga magazine Shōnen Sunday in 2005. Shiina developed the series out of a short story he had written in a special issues of Shōnen Sunday.
An anime adaptation produced by SynergySP began airing in Japan on TV Tokyo on April 6, 2008, and contained fifty-one episodes. The anime has five pieces of theme music; two opening themes and four ending themes. The first opening theme is "Over The Future" by Karen Girl's, the first ending theme is "Zettai love×love Sengen!!" (絶対love×love宣言!!?) by "The Children starring Aya Hirano, Ryoko Shiraishi and Haruka Tomatsu"; the second ending theme is "Datte Daihonmei" (DATTE大本命?), also by Hirano, Shiraishi, and Tomatsu. From episode 27 onwards opening theme has changed to "MY WINGS", once again by Karen Girl's, ending theme changed to "Break+Your+Destiny" by Yuuichi Nakamura, Kishō Taniyama and Kōji Yusa and "Soushunfu" performed by Aya Hirano, Ryoko Shiraishi and Haruka Tomatsu. In episode 46 of the series, the opening theme, "MY WINGS", was sung by Aya Hirano, Ryoko Shiraishi and Haruka Tomatsu while the ending theme was "Zettai love×love Sengen!!", sung by Karen Girl's.
An OVA was released in summer of 2010. It will include original material based on the junior high school story arc. The opening theme for this OVA is "Seventh Heaven" by The Children and the ending theme is "Out of Control" by Karen Guy's. The possibility of a second season is also in discussion with the decision being influenced on how successful the sales of the OVA is.
Kaoru Akashi appears as a fighter character in the fighting game Sunday VS Magazine: Shūketsu! Chōjō Daikessen (サンデー VS マガジン 集結！ 頂上大決戦?) for Sony's PlayStation Portable. Characters Aoi, Shiho, Minamoto, Fujiko and Hyōbu also make appearances as part of special moves or as support. The game was also developed by Konami and released on March 26, 2009.
- "Zettai Karen Children episode listing" (in Japanese). TV Tokyo. Retrieved 2008-06-07.
- Zettai Karen Children Manga, Chapter 206, Page 1
- Zettai Karen Children Manga, Chapter 200, Page 1-2
- "Zettai Karen Children DS game official website" (in Japanese). Konami. Retrieved 2008-08-17.
- "Sunday VS Magazine: Shūketsu! Chōjō Daikessen game official website" (in Japanese). Konami. Retrieved 2009-11-18.
- Manga official website (Japanese)
- Anime official website (Japanese)
- Video game official website (Japanese)
- Zettai Karen Children (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia