Sci-fi has long explored the idea of immortality, but Trickster adds its own twist with the question: “What if your superpowers had a mind of their own and wouldn’t let you die?”
Trickster is a story set in the near future that follows the lives of a those working in a private detective agency–i.e., master detective Kogorō Akechi and the team of young apprentices that support his work. One of these teens, perpetual truant Kensuke, comes across a homeless boy and quickly discovers that this boy, Yoshio, is far more than just another street rat. He is, for all rights and purposes, unkillable.
But it’s not that he can’t die–his body is as frail as any normal human’s–it’s that his powers won’t let him.
Yoshio is surrounded by an invisible force that destroys anything that tries to enter a thirty-centimeter (about a foot) radius of his body. This can include everything from bullets to living things. And worse yet, he has no control over this aspect of his powers.
This in turn leads to his homeless state and antisocial view of the world. All it takes is for a person to try and touch him and they lose an arm or worse. Walking down a crowded street or riding a packed train would become a bloodbath. Thus, Yoshio has no choice to live isolated from the world–to protect them from himself. But living without meaning, devoid of human contact, is a very real kind of torture. So it is no surprise that he wants to end it all.
But his powers won’t let him.
He has tried countless times to kill himself. He has leaped off buildings, only to have his fall cushioned by his powers. He has tried to drown himself, only to have his powers create an air pocket and drag him to the surface. In the anime so far, we have seen him survive explosions and even fall into molten metal. Even starvation is impossible: his powers will eventually gather anything edible–garbage, plants, rats–and shove them down his throat.
Of course, his powers do have some interesting quirks. Walking down the street, sitting in chairs, and riding in cars don’t destroy the environment he is touching, unless he actually wills it, anyway. And anything he chooses to pick up is likewise unaffected. He is even able to pick up a gun, put it in his mouth, and pull the trigger–though his powers stop the bullet before it even fully leaves the barrel.
However, the most interesting thing about his powers is that they are able to discern danger, even if Yoshio himself is unaware. Should he try to eat poisoned food, for example, his powers simply pull the food back out of his body. This implies that the powers have a mind of their own. While they will respond when Yoshio wills it, his powers act like a living thing–namely a parasite. A parasite survives only as long as the host does. Thus, it does everything in its power to keep the host alive as long as possible.
But the fact of the matter is that Yoshio still wants to die more than anything. Kensuke, being a bit of a boy genius, promises he will figure out a way to kill Yoshio in order to gain the superpowered boy’s aid. But, in the end, it is a race. Can Kensuke convince Yoshio that life is worth living before he figures out a way to kill him? This is the personal conflict that drives the anime and one that makes the superpower conundrum all the captivating.
Trickster can be seen with English subtitles on Crunchyroll.