The big tease about Kakeru's latent psychic power is finally over.
Writer/Artist: Yuya Aoki and Akinari Nao
Translation: Stephen Paul
Adaptation: Stephen Paul
What They Say
Kakeru's life changed when he met the girl of his dreams, the beautiful Ayano. But falling in love with her came with strings attached: Ayano is a gifted psychic whose talents have made her the target of a group of supervillains. She�s also helped Kakeru discover his own extraordinary destiny'"because Kakeru may be the most powerful psychic of all. . . .
A lot of the story in this volume of Psycho Busters revolves around the inevitable reveal of Kakeru's powers. The narrative doesn't restart right there, though, since there's still that fight with the giant spirits left unresolved from last time. This first fight ends pretty quickly when Xiao Long realizes that his healing attacks can bring peace to the undead spirits, and that he can take all of them out at once if he uses his friends to amplify his powers.
After the fight, Kakeru's home life returns almost to normal, with one complication -- a new classmate named Sayaka Mamidori asks Kakeru out before Ayano has a chance. Kakeru eventually turns Mamidori down, though he strings her along long enough that Ayano becomes insanely jealous. A Category One named Masato Miryû takes advantage of Ayano's weakened emotional state to attack the school, killing Ayano and Mamidori (actually Maya in disguise) in the process.
This is the point where Kakeru consciously uses his power for the first time; I won't spoil the "surprise" for the reader, but you should've guessed by now that it gives Kakeru the ability to wipe the floor with Masato and resurrect the other two parts of his love triangle. Unfortunately, I think Aoki pulled out the big guns too early: short of Volume 5 introducing a kryptonite for Kakeru's psychic powers, for all intents and purposes Kakeru's power makes him unstoppable. The big downside of an all-powerful hero is that it tends to suck all the excitement out of action sequences, since victory is a foregone conclusion; so right after Kakeru's superpower is explained, his battle with Masato becomes much less interesting. (Aoki also takes advantage of the situation to write his way around that pesky vision in Volume 2 where Ikushima causes the apocalypse -- be prepared for some really cheap backpedalling right after Kakeru beats Masato.)
But not all the developments in Volume 4 are bad ones. Aoki has added more comedy back into the mix after the relatively dry last volume; although the gags are hit-or-miss as usual, they're much more consistently funny than some of the earlier volumes. There's a great bit at the end where Maya toys with the fact that Ayano is ridiculously emotionally underdeveloped -- it's immature, sure, but it's also one of the few times that a relationship-sabotaging move made me laugh instead of just roll my eyes. Jokes like these don't quite make up for the disappointing fallout from the big reveal, but it's a small enough gap that I'm willing to forgive it.