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English: Beyond the Boundary
Synonyms: Beyond the Horizon, Kyokai no Kanata
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Oct 3, 2013 to Dec 19, 2013
Duration: 24 min. per episode
Rating: PG-13 - Teens 13 or olderL represents licensing company
Score: 7.841 (scored by 73001 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top anime page.
Popular TagsNo tags found
Dec 18, 2013
There is one thing I will rarely, if ever, do. That is give the show a rating before watching the entire show through. That doesn't mean that I don't have preconceived notions about the show and have some idea how I'm going to rate it. As a human being, I am flawed with the inability to look at something objectively from the beginning. That being said, I felt like I should take the time to address all the people somehow climbing over each other trying to stick his or her opinion down the throat's of other people. Here is my humble opinion: Kyoukai no Kanata was, at the very least, a show worth watching. Here's why.
Why do I rate it so? Most anime shows - at least for me - have some sort of glimmer of light that seems to catch my eye. (Of course this is for me personally, so don't be snapping on my words). There is something interesting that pulls me in that makes me want to watch the show. For me, originally, it was the story. Of course, that was just a preconceived notion I had; the story was interesting. Now, after finishing Kyoukai no Kanata, am I disappointed? Not really...though it is personal preference. There were parts I didn't like. There were parts I thought were well done. Was it perfect? No. It was still interesting to me though. There were issues with plot execution that made me a little sad, but that didn't make the overall show horrible. In my experience, there are shows far worse. Many many shows.
Well, KyoAni never fails to pull off at least semi decent art. Kyoukai no Kanata is no exception. To me, the art was colorful and fit well with the story. I won't go too far into it, but honestly, it looked good. Well, being KyoAni, the art was magnificent. The scenery was beautiful and the visuals blew me away.
This rating is probably a little high for some of you. But I really enjoyed the OST. It isn't the best, that's for sure, but it was beautiful enough for each scene the show had. And I really enjoyed the opening and ending. Of course, because the story itself was a little sketchy in its execution, the OST lost a little "oomph".
Okay, this part is entirely subjective. Everyone has his or her own opinion. But I thought that with the episode restraint, the characters all had at least a little development with some exceptions. I found it a little strange that all the main characters had such distinction from everyone else, but then again, it could have been worse.
In the end, each character was unique. They had strange quirks and it made the show fun to watch. Despite the show itself being somewhat dark, I was able to get a few laughs from the character interaction. I know that opinion is subjective in its own, but honestly, we all have our own opinions. To me, the character interaction was fun and made my Wednesday's more enjoyable. Watching the characters bicker was by no means unpleasant to watch.
The show wasn't a complete failure. In fact, I could only say that Kyoukai no Kanata was like the majority of the shows out there. Great in some ways, and rather not so great in others. But the show, in its entirety, was better than a lot of others things I watched. It probably wouldn't be anywhere near the best, but it was enjoyable to say the least. I had my laughs. I had my teary-eyed moments. I grew angry. I was sad. Though the show failed to pull me completely in one direction, I was able to get a wide array of emotions, and it was beautiful to me. The show was beautiful in so many ways.
All I can truly say is this: don't judge this show without finishing it. Feel free to disregard what I think of the show. In the end, everyone's review reflects his or her opinion. Even the most professionally written review here on MAL has some subjectivity. I don't condone that. But no one can judge how you like a show but YOU. And if you arrive to a conclusion based on what little you see, because you watched a few episodes, you may or may not be robbing yourself of a good experience. So many times, shows I find to be a good experience to watch happen to have controversial ratings. That doesn't mean the person reading this will find this show to be something they like to watch. Reading my review over again, I can say that it is a measly attempt at an objective review. So...
Here's what I'll say: don't reach a conclusion based on reviews or ratings. At least give the show a chance. Perhaps looking beyond such things you will find a show worth watching. Perhaps not. Only you can judge if this show is truly as [un]pleasant as others say it to be.
I wish you all the best in your pursuit of anime. read more
Dec 18, 2013
Kyoukai no Kanata is an animated series based off the light novel of the same name written by Nagomu Torii. (artwork: Tomoyo Kamoi) The series takes a new turn by adapting the style of dark fantasy in a modern time era involving a group of students whom seems normal at first but contains a dark secret. That secret being that some of them are not human but instead are gifted with abnormal abilities. They use those abilities to save people and combat against the youmu. Ironically, one of the main characters is half youmu but finds himself fighting on the side of humanity as he embraces his destiny.
Kyoto Animation is known for animating various titles with a school life setting but rarely ever incorporates the usage of actual supernatural themes into them with touch of darkness or despair. Series such as Hyouka, Chuunibyou, and the recently Free all never ventured into the supernatural zone that bought viewers to attention. Now finally in this show, there’s actual otherworldly elements that and fans should be grateful for. The initial premise also brings forth a promising start with its small cast of characters and plot. It starts out with an attempted suicide by a young girl named Mirai Kuriyama. After saving her, we witness strange events among its residents as the world they know it becomes a distorted by supernatural entities that threatens their very own existence.
The setting of the series takes place in a modern time era with the typical school life of our characters. Among our main characters includes Akihito Kanbara, a half-human and half-youmu with a gifted ability of regeneration, Mirai Kuriyama with the talent of blood manipulation, the spirit warrior Mitsuki Nase, and her older brother Hiiromi Nase. These four characters makes the ingredients of this show that give Kyoukai no Kanata its odd flavor. Most of them hardly connect at all with their lack of characterization. Almost all their conversations lacks any sort of dynamics but is instead replaced with irrational jokes, meaningless development, and overall a fragile depth. None of the characters stands out on their own either. Mirai is decorated with adorableness that is further evidenced by those noticeable round glasses, petite figure, and nerviness around others. Perhaps also colored as a natural klutz, there is almost nothing that stands out with her being part of this series. On the other hand, Akihito makes more of a presence but for absurd reasons such as his glasses fetish and preposterous humor. His relationship with Mirai is quite empty and can hardly be noticeable at all. In fact, there is hardly any romance between the duo nor any depth. They seem to exist the complete opposite together like oil and water. The Nase siblings aren’t any interesting either considering their constant bickering and Hiiromi’s heavily implied sister complex.
This series’ overall plot execution should be considered a travesty of justice. The plot has many holes that are left wide open thanks to the way of its execution. The way most of the characters are part of the series’ plot often ends in what I can see as rushed sequences. Conflicts are resolved abruptly without proper morals. Back stories seems interesting at first but overall lacks any depth or interest because it’s hard to relate to the characters. This is also shown with the way characters are designed. Mirai is a prominent example as her history with a certain character of the series left her with “scars”. However, her present character shows little to none of those scars until confronted directly. Even afterwards, her interactions with that character is seemingly blushed off as just another event in her past life; a rushed one at that as well. There’s also hardly any depth into the story except sticking with the concept of fighting youmu and saving people. This doesn’t always go in the way they want either with one particular episode that becomes an absurd parody with dancing aesthetics. Least to say, Kyouki no Kanata didn’t go beyond the boundary. It didn’t hit anywhere near home because of its poor writing and construction. There are backstories and reasoning revealed later on but to save them near its ending phases and makes viewers to wait patiently doesn’t cut out right.
Action wise, the series is executed well thanks to Kyoto Animation’s fluid execution. Scenes involving fighting are presented with rapid movements accompanied by its majestic atmosphere. Mirai’s rare ability also spills blood that marks the trace of its grim reality of dark fantasy. The youmu race also present a supernatural feel of explicit malevolence because of their existence; it is mentioned that youmi exists as result of negative emotions. Because of this, they spread that negative influence towards others.
Despite the show being dark and perhaps explores a more psychological side to its story, the series also contains comedy. Unfortunately, the presentation and delivery of that comedy is laughable in the wrong way. There is little chemistry in the way dialogues are delivered because the character interactions of this series lacks depth. Mirai’s character is generic with her annoying catchphrase that fits perfectly with its uninteresting style. The implied sister complex throughout the series becomes a distraction that’s hard to take seriously. And although the series avoid the typical beach episode, it doesn’t evade its poor parody or oddly coordinated fan service scenes. If the series wants us to take it seriously, then it should follow that pattern. But if it wants to make a few jokes here and then, it should at least make sense. Nonetheless, it follows down a path of despair with no decent delivery. I honestly don’t know what went wrong here. Perhaps it's because of the director Taichi Ishidate but he was known to deliver series such as Full Metal Panic: Second Raid that actually explored psychological of despair. Here, the direction is off and the timing is misplaced in many of its moments. Overall, it’s hard to take this show seriously despite its dark genre as it sometimes falls into the slice of life zone, other times with some story depiction ending in senseless solutions. You’ll see some of this yourself if you decide to give the series a try. It’s almost like dichotomy and becomes intolerable.
Thanks to Kyoto Animation’s production values, it’s safe to say that the series is saved in some ways by its scenery and visuals. The artwork for this show is magnificent with rich depth in terms of visual production. Most of the youmu gives off their threatening appearance that makes them a dangerous adversary for the Spirit Warriors. The character designs are typical with Kyoto Animation involved such as Mirai’s dose of moe. Mitsuki’s character gives off her coldness towards most of the others that is a reflection to the way she looks. Background wise, everything fits well and makes sense when the series decides to venture into the dark fantasy region.
The soundtrack is consistent with its tone. Because the series takes on a dark fantasy theme, it adapts a more eerie OST. Comedy wise though, there are moments when the OST loses balance of itself thanks to its poor execution. The action scenes incorporates good usage of its soundtrack especially with the intense atmosphere it gives off. Likewise, more emotional scenes makes decent usage of its OST to reflect the mood. Both the OP and ED songs also gives off a soft pacing for its mood. Mirai’s VA (Risa Taneda) plays her role well that fits the voice of a shy character. Others such as Mitsuki and Akihito also are consistent with their voice mannerisms.
Overall though, this series didn’t meet the expectations I had in mind. The initial premise had potential. Unfortunately, the characters becomes a major problem with their lack of characterization, interactions, and personalities. Most of the plot/arc hardly makes any sense especially with their resolutions. This doesn’t help by the fact that there is a improper timing with comedic scenes or dialogues. Instead, the dialogues usually falls apart with odd conversations such as involving the male characters’ fetishes. The technical aspect of this show is decent in terms of production especially with its powerful visuals courtesy of Kyoto Animation. The action scenes also makes up a decent base for shounen like battles with touches of dark fantasy. However, this doesn’t excuse the ultimatum of the show being mediocre.
As Mirai would write in her blog that she often gets flamed for, I would also say that Kyoukai no Kanata/Beyond the Boundary is best concluded with “how unpleasant”.
Aug 2, 2014
I think its fair to point out that this isn't a character driven story. If you were looking for deep characters and interesting relationships between them, you should have probably made sure this show had more than 12 episodes. That isn't a cop out, but its important to check your expectations at the door.
I don't usually go for the slice of life, tinged with romance angle, what more or less drew me in was the conflicting thoughts on it. After seeing the show, i chuckled.
KnK is essentially a story about breaking beyond the barriers of self doubt and self pity, to understand that while you may face troubles alone, you can share those with people you care about. It's utterly simplistic in tone, yet elicits a powerful emotion that can be seen in the visuals and dialogue, in fact the entire story is aimed squarely at that feeling.
While its certainly limited in scope, i think it got unfair criticism from people expecting something that it was clearly not meant to be. I don't even understand classifying this as a dark fantasy, it wasn't dark for too long before the sun came right back up. I think that is it's strength and appeal, aside from the beautiful art, the engaging even uplifting soundtrack, and also the intelligent use of characters that are meant to be easily and quickly relate-able.
You can find faults in it, you can blame the chaaracters, accuse it of having plot holes, which it doesn't if you pay attention (not everything needs to be spoon fed to you), or dismiss the apparent convoluted story telling. What you shouldn't do is miss the opportunity to judge for yourself. It really did blend many elements together on its journey; and often its not end of the road that's important rather the journey itself. read more
Jun 21, 2014
Kyuokai is not perfect, but it makes up for a lot of its flaws with gorgeous animation good laughs and a completely enjoyable ride the whole way through. The story of KnK definitely isn't original in the slightest to start off. Like everyone is saying supernatural girl meets immortal boy and they fall in love, and while people may whine that unoriginality just leads to a total shit fest I think that if something works and is enjoyable that's what matters the most, and while originality is always a plus (like in SnK's case) it is not necessary for a good anime.
Where KnK shines is in it's art and it truly is breathtaking. There are so many scenes that evoke emotions beautifully and really just make it an artistic masterpiece in it's own right. It's one of those anime that could be absolutely terrible and the art alone could save it. Luckily the rest is not terrible it's all at least acceptable.
The character's and character development are also high points in this anime. The characters all interact very realistically even if they are reused tropes. The animations of the characters face in a particular scene helps portray the emotions in that respective character in a very real well that leaves it so that there is no need for talking and there is a lot of silence in this anime that leaves the watcher to just look at the beautiful scenery which is where KnK shines the most and it definitely knows it does. The characters also develop so well having episodes where characters slowly become closer to each other instead of leaving it to be implied and that's a very good thing. (Funny enough a lot of people see these episodes as "filler" episodes, I do not agree, but maybe I'm just more optimistic and think Kyoani is smarter than that)
Another very enjoyable aspect of KnK is the level of mysticism it portrays and even if it is an overused overarching story it does a very good job at not feeling stale in the slightest. I believe it does this best through the soundtrack which is absolutely stunning and great to listen to.
Many people are shit talking the story in KnK and I believe that while it is partially justified it also partially isn't because KnK isn't linear. There isn't one story and it seems to fly by very fluidly instead of feeling like there is X arc then X arc it just feels like it passes very nicely. The pacing feels nice and it's overall just very enjoyable to get through.
In the end KnK is enjoyable, the art is great and the characters and story feel to flow very well. There are flaws and those are not to be ignored; however, it is DEFINITELY not nearly as bad as people like to think it is. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will feel satisfied at the end of it. read more
Jan 29, 2014
When news came out that Kyoto Animation was going to make a supernatural anime me like many others were surprised and excited. A supernatural show with great animation made by one of the most popular anime studios in japan? What could possibly go wrong with Kyoukai No Kanata? Almost everything,apparently.
The story is set in a fictional world where Supernatural creatures called Youmu exist. Youmu come in various shapes and sizes. Although most Youmu are harmless. Some could be hostile and dangerous. To stop these Youmu from harming humans there exists spirit world warriors, warriors with special powers who kill dangerous Youmu and keep balance to the world. The story revolves around Half youmu, Akihiro Kanbaru who saves a girl named Kuriyama Mirai, a spirit world warrior with the power to control her blood.
Sounds promising right? What went wrong? The first problem with Kyoukai No Kanata is its lack of direction. Kyoukai No Kanata is supposed to be a dark fantasy. But as the show progresses to the middle the show feels like more like a slice of life with a bit of comedy than a dark anime. The biggest offense is the idol episode. An episode that is pretty much a fan pandering episode in an attempt to boost sales. That may have boosted sales. But after that episode I really couldn't take this anime seriously anymore.
Apart from that there are also other problems with the story. But alot of times there is alot of unneccesary humor. I mean, a few laughs here and there are fine but too much just kills the atmosphere of the show. And it would have helped if the comedy was actually funny. But most of the comedy came up at the wrong time and felt forced.
The characters aren't much better either. There are 4 main characters of the show. Kanbaru Akihito, Kuriyama Mirai, Nase Mitsuki, and Nase Hiroomi. Kyoto Animations signature character designs look great. Mirai looks as cute as ever with her glasses and the others looked quite nice too. But looking deeper into them. They all feel one sided. Aside from her moe character design and clumsy personality there really isn't much to her. She doesn't do anything to stand out and I really couldn't relate to her at all. Akihito isn't good either. His glasses obsession is really annoying and pretty much the only thing that makes him different from other characters. The chemistry between them is also pretty lacking and one can only wonder if Akihito actually likes Mirai for her or for her glasses. The Nase siblings aren't remotely interesting either. So excuse me for not writing about them because there really isn't much to write about.
On a brighter note the Animation is quite detailed which is quite expected from Kyoto Animation. The backgrounds are all done beautifully. Character designs all looked great. The action scenes were also done nicely. But one small thing that I noticed is that Kyoto Animation is still slightly inexperienced in battle scenes. Although most of the movements were fluid some of the camera angles felt a bit awkward. This doesn't detract too much from the whole experience but I can't help think that with that amount of budget the battle scenes could have looked better.
The sound is also very good. Minori Chihara brings off an outstanding opening "Kyoukai No Kanata". An opening that fit with the show quite well. The ending song "Daisy" is also a very nice song done by Stereo Dive Foundation. The soundtrack also fit the show well. Everything from the action scenes to the comedy scenes were all fit with nice pieces. If only the story was as good as the sound...
Kyoukai No Kanata was a major disappointment for me. Not because of how bad it was. But because of what it could have been. Kyoukai No Kanata had alot of potential. But bad execution and bland characters stopped it from becoming something truly special.
Feb 17, 2014
“ Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”
If nothing else, Kyoukai no Kanata was an entertaining anime. It was able to produce tears, surprise, excitement, and many laughs. The coherency of the plot may have been questionable, but nonetheless, the ride that the anime portrayed was over-exceeded any nuances with the direction of the story line.
The main issue that I had with KNK was the plot/story line. The first episode of Kyoukai provided substantial expectations about the nature of the plot. You have an immortal main character (Akihito Kanbara), and this mysterious arched four eyed cutie (Mirai Kuriyama) stabbing him in the stomach every chance she gets. You wonder why she is compulsively stabbing Akihito, and you start wonder whether she is some sort of physical sadist.
The mystery surrounding Mirai is enough to compel watching the next few episodes. Unfortunately, after the first three to four episodes, there is a sense that an integrant factor is missing from this anime. The location of this missing factor can not be exactly pin-pointed, but the direction of the anime did not seem to culminate to any substantive climax. It is like this anime prided in not taking itself seriously, and was being amused by our attempts to do so. However, in an attempt to reel us back in, the story took an interesting twist by showing us the back story of Mirai. This was probably the highlight of the anime since the episode molded and answered the ambivalent aura of the semi-seriously constructed plot that was been shoved down our pharynx.
The last few episodes did not leave us with any certainty which is not a necessary requirement for excellence, but the ending did leave a significant amount of abstruse quandaries unanswered. If I assume that there will not be a second season, then this ending, in terms of plot development, was sub par.
The art style of this anime was fantastic. The grandiose colours matched with uniquely drawn characters were enough to have me gaping at some of the scenes. For the most part, the animation was consistently fluid, and the action scenes were marvelously done. Every episode seemed sumptuous and fervent with sound and colour.
Speaking of sound, the background music was decent too. I do not believe that KnK has any stick-out-the-page musical piece, but the soundtrack wafted along with the majority of the scenes benignly. What did stand out to me was the ED of the anime, the way that the beginning of the ED innocently guided the final ending scenes of the episode into the first ED scene were done with potent aesthetics. I was amazed by the way Mirai was used in the ED as being alone, and extending her hand in front of her chest, aiming to have someone...anyone grab it back. You see people, supposed friends, just walk past her, giving her no mind. Finally, Akihito comes to her, and does not need to grab her hands, he just smiles at her. She smiles back. Amazingly done, I was not an initial fan of the ED, but it really grew on me after giving it a fair chance.
The characters of Kyoukai No Kanata had a tendency to be archetypal and paradigmatic. The variance of their comportment usually did not portray diversity. After a while, you get sick of the glasses fetish jokes given by the Akihito, the incestial jokes of Hiroomi loses shock value after the second episode, Mitsuki's jokes are uninspired and non-rememberable, and Mirai's unpleasantries showed no bounds of reason. I understand that the anime is restricted to 12 episodes, but at least there should be an attempt to diversify these character's personality instead of the blatant banality of creativity.
This is not to say that I absolutely disliked the characters. I found Mirai to be rather cute, and charming (in her own way). Her shy but honest ( and I use the term honest loosely) attitude grew on me, and left me wanting to see more of her, minus her annoying “This is sooo unpleasant” quote. I enjoyed her character design, it is not typical of an anime heroine, and she resembles the girl next door, or the girl sitting next to you in calculus class.
I found Hiroomi to be a comical character, most of my laughs originated from this guy. I just found his nonchalant demeanor to be hilarious, and I laughed at his initial incestial jokes, before they became repetitive and boring. I wanted the story to delve deeper into his background, and there were hints on his past (intertwined with Akihito's past) being shown, but at the end left me wanting.
Mitsuki turned out to be the most lacking of the characters. She was the standard paradigmatic witty beautiful arrogant but caring girl. Nothing more, nothing less. Her jokes were useless, let alone funny. Her strength was not substantive, and there episodes at a time where she was MIA....I mean it's like we were expected to not care for this character at all. Mituski existed in this anime in just the capacity that she needed to exist for Hiroomi's jokes to be relevant. Her character design was also non-inspiring.
My favorite character in KNK is by far Akihito. Despite his turbulent and dark past, Akihito still manages to demonstrate an exuberant comportment, and a fervent fetish towards girl wearing glasses. Though his jokes were hardly funny, I found Akihito's optimism to be inspiring and touching. The moment where he tells Mirai, “ I'm just like you....a monster.” was the most powerful moment for me in KNK. Though he suffered an abject past, he continued to make friends, laugh, and even fall in love. His maturity was refreshing for me to experience, and my only drawback is that I wished that he would have been more combat-inclined. There may not be any unique qualities about Akihito, his character type is rampant in modern anime, but that did not decrease my enjoyment of him.
My enjoyment of KNK was in a state of fluctuation between the first half of the anime, but strong near the end. The ambiguity in whether the anime should be taken seriously or as a comedy left me ambivalent about my enjoyment until a decision was made to take the second half seriously. There was a “filler” episode thrown in there that had me rolling in laughter, but after that episode, the plot became more dark and serious. Ignoring the nuances of the plot, I would say that this anime was enjoyable and has the capacity to be rewatchable. Overall, I give the anime an 8/10, and I would recommend KNK to anyone who is looking for a quick watch (that involves comedy, drama, and action) and isn't meticulous about plot details.
Overall: 8 read more
Aug 15, 2014
I am mad at the creators of this show. M. A. D. They left so many innuendos about the different characters but never exploited any. Instead, they focused on the moe, megane and nii-chan fetishes that really didn't bring anything to the show, as well as homosexual "hints". It could have been integrated tastefully, but it was just thrown on there to attract otaku crowds. The only characters that were "partly" developed are the two main characters. Others seemed to have deep, interesting back-stories, but none of them was brought up.
These characters deserved a 24-episodes show, plenty of development, tasteful humour and tiny bits of tragedy, along with a sensible plot instead of one that just makes no sense at all for the sake of an ending that would please the fans.
Jun 22, 2014
When i first saw the promo vid of Kyoukai i thought of two things...eh didnt look interesting and Kyoto Animation! I enjoyed Hyouka and Chunnibyou n im pretty sure clannad was also produced by Kyoto Ani...anyways i never planned to watch it until the first ep....was full of moe. Ok ok thats not why i wanted to watch it. The characters especially Akihito and Mirai hooked me.
Story: Akihito is a half youmu and human who attracted Mirai, a descendant of the blood clan who uses blood as a weapon against youmui, to kill him. There's only one problem Mirai cannot kill a youmu because of her past. Akihito helps her overcome her past and eventually they becomes friends. Things get icky after hearing the powerful youmu " Beyond the Boundary". And that ENDING! Pretty beast ending but im confuse on one thing n u'll know what im talking abut if u watch it. No spoilers so ill end there. One more thing, that filler ep was enjoyable n funny to watch.
Art: Its a kyoto animation, wats there to hate?
Sound: Opening is alright but that ending song DAISY by Stereo Foundation is too beast. Nuff said.
Character: Both main characters are really fun to watch. Mirai is too moe n kawaii. Akihito is well done main hero who can interact with Mirai perfectly. Nase siblings r funny too. Both main characters goes through a development change which I always enjoy watching(in any animes).
Overall verdict: I love it. Anyone who enjoys Kyoto Animation would not be disappointed. I would recommend it to those who enjoy fantasy, romance(da kiss scene),action, comedy. read more
Dec 18, 2013
The story… It’s not like it’s badly paced, but it doesn’t seem to go into much detail regarding certain points and I was getting really frustrated. What are youmu? They have “types”, what do you mean they have types? Why would they have types? What do you mean, malice? Clearly not every youmu is like that, so why would you come to that conclusion? Organization? Jewels? What relates to what? Why do they want to do this? How can they do that? Powers? Beyond the Boundary? Hollow Shadow? Human youmu and idol judgment?! (And this still lacks questions, I’m saving you from the ultimate question list)
Tell me something already!!! By the way, what I wrote reveals nothing about the plot as it lacks its context so don’t worry. Anyway, you could see why I dropped it so early (but picked it up again). Sure, I didn’t have all those questions in the beginning but they kept piling up until even in the ending I barely get my answers. Even when they actually take the time to explain things to you, it will only be for the sake of making sure you know what’s going on and don’t you dare call that foreshadowing. They do add details to that explanation but those details usually only solve 1 out of 10 questions and tell you that “this is what happened”.
It might seem like I was taking the story too seriously or that it’s not for me, but I actually liked the concept a lot. The not-so-normal protagonist runs into this girl thinking she’ll kill herself and stop her from doing so because he loves glasses, only to find that she stabbed him right there! And the story unfolds… Seems abnormal for the most part, what generic protagonist has a love for glasses? The girl seems interesting and the plot is more than it looks so why wasn’t it good enough?
Well, one thing would be how long it took to get serious: Do you seriously have time for a filler episode when you have a limit of 12 episodes?! If you have time for that then answer all the god damned questions I have! And no, it doesn’t serve to “see how the group bonded” or anything, it was literally irrelevant to the story and other things… (Fanservice) But that aside, the humor was pretty bad. It’s only a matter of time that I get sick of seeing our protagonist get teased, made fun of and much more until I feel like killing certain characters.
Another thing would be its tendency to appear character-driven yet making the development of the characters lacking in various areas, the explanations, flashbacks and acts of change being way too sudden for me to actually think: “Wow, she came a long way from how she started.”
And then the ending happened. It was great, it was dramatic and it gave a message… Or at least that’s what it could’ve been if they hadn’t decided to leave an immense plot hole at the end for the sake of pleasing the fans of a certain character and a lackluster romance. It had the potential to be great and yet it was not. With that, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. I mean, after so much I had to endure with all these questions they give me a plot hole like my family gives me Christmas presents?
I tried, I really tried liking all the female characters, I really did. No matter how many good things they started doing, the hatred was still in my heart. At first, the hatred was strong for the protagonist Mirai Kuriyama—Oh wait, Akihito was the protagonist, my bad!
At first, the hatred was strong on the female lead and obvious love interest Mirai Kuriyama. In the first episodes, most if not all of her actions made me want to break a table with rage. All of her mannerisms pointed right at the moe road while her personality was so quiet, unreasonably anti-social to the people that are holding their hands out for her and as she says:
不愉快です。If you want this to be grammatically correct in relation to this review then: 不愉快でした。
Her development throughout the story was so sudden that I didn’t even notice that it was there until I finished the show, even when the show itself was throwing it in my face and shouting it out as exposition. The romance between her and Akihito was barely there to the point of being barely relevant: they could’ve ended up as friends and nothing would’ve really changed. Her backstory was interesting but the reasons for her hateful personality were not because they were that generic. And then the focus on her and her feelings combined with the plot finally starting to pick up made me think that Akihito was less of a protagonist than Mirai.
But my hatred for Mirai wasn’t as strong as my hatred for Mitsuki Nase, Akihito’s friend (?) who is usually the one that starts my most hated joke in this show: Teasing and making fun of Akihito. In the first episodes it seemed like her only function and her only way to speak, it’s like she had to tease everyone, like a mechanism she had put up. It sure would’ve been more interesting if it were but unfortunately we have no such luck.
In later episodes she starts to show that she had more to that but the personality that she gained wasn’t interesting and it wasn’t even development, it was seriously showing more of her personality. She is also the first person to tie the story to its main plot because she belongs to one of the main factions in this anime but then again, we have a billion questions to ask about that faction.
Another character that I really hated was Ai Shindou, the ultimate loli of this show. She is such a loli that it is her only trait and the only extent of her personality. Because of this, I was getting sick of just being in her presence. At least give her a personality beyond being a loli, at least that! But then a ray of hope appeared…
Sakura Inami, a female character that had a certain amount of meaning to Mirai’s backstory. She seemed to have no hateful personality like Mirai or Ai and she had more to her than teasing Akihito while having a certain amount of backstory and development in the episode dedicated to her. Except that the backstory was a product of Mirai’s not-so-good backstory and her development was pretty fast too.
But there’s still her personality too, right? Yeah, that’s a big fat no. Her first appearance was so sudden that I didn’t even know what the hell was going on but in the first time we get to actually know her, she seemed like the quiet type of girl. Afterwards she became the quiet, blunt type of girl that liked Mirai a lot and spoke weirdly. Needless to say, I lost hope for the female cast of this series.
So after being trolled with a false ray of hope, I turned to the male characters: the light at the end of my tunnel. And no, I did not end up hating them this time. At first, I thought nothing of Akihito but the female characters were so hateful that I had no choice but to turn to him.
Akihito is a half-youmu with the power of regenerating so fast that it might as well be called immortality, and that is what he calls it. He also has a glasses fetish which I guess triggered his interest in her in the first place with the first episode. So, why do I like him?
Because I had no choice, okay?! Every girl in this show was so hateable that I had to cling to something and he was the closest thing to that!! I still have to admit that he's nothing special though, and it was misleading of me to praise him before. Welp, he did have to deal with every girl in the series, that sure requires quite the mental strength (at least for me)… But of course, there’s the romance. Frankly, it just seemed like they were trying to have Akihito relate with Mirai so bad, but failing because they were trying too hard. They were trying so hard to the point of even flat out telling us that they were similar.
The male cast of this series doesn’t end here since we have Hiromi Nase, Mitsuki’s older brother who just so happens to have a sister complex. He also graced us with the fabulous and wonderful nickname “Akkey” for Akihito. Yes, I found him to be hilarious. The sister complex was a bit weird but compared to the terrible, terrible jokes they had before, having Hiromi and Akihito talk about their fetishes and portraying it in a comedic way seemed way better for me.
Unfortunately, he also has to be the show’s resident exposition holder, having almost half of the information that this show explained to us, sometimes by him, sometimes by somebody else. The supporting characters also seemed to serve as representatives of their factions or exposition holders, while only two seemed to create conflict in the anime. Honestly, I wish they didn’t since it led to a bit of rage on my part.
For me, the characterization in this show can be resumed to this: Slacking off until realizing that it was almost over and adding something at the last minute, thinking that would be good enough considering the nice pink ribbon they wrapped them around with. Sprinkling characterization around characters won’t make them develop, no matter how pretty those sparkles look.
Art and Animation:
After all of that criticism above, let me tell you that the art and animation in this anime is absolutely great. My favorite character design… I have none but I have to say that Mirai’s hair was pretty and I liked it a lot. All the youmu that the main characters have to fight look like monsters of malice and yet the youmu that they don’t have to fight look like youkai, humans or lolis (because they’re a different category apart from humans, didn’t you know?), something that I cannot consider to be “good character designs”.
The animation is amazing. Right on the first episode, I could see that it was more fluid than with other shows and that the production values were definitely high here. All fighting scenes looked beautiful with all the lights but I think I would rather have to see their mouths moving than a close up of someone’s boobs or something else like for example their hands as if it were relevant to anything. It’s like faking foreshadowing except that the boobs were for fanservice!
There is nothing much to speak of in the soundtrack in my opinion. It’s more noticeable in action scenes and really serves its purpose: being background music. There was also this song in the anime that appeared in the filler episode that was pretty “meh” to me. The opening and ending of the anime though, those were pretty good. I especially liked the opening because of how dramatic it seemed to me.
If I were forced to pick my favorite voice acting performance, I would have to say it was from KENN who did Akihito. All the other voices were good or would destroy me ears from being too high-pitched if they dared screaming, especially Mitsuki and Mirai since luckily, Ai didn’t get to shout.
I don’t know why, but I always felt so down and demotivated while watching this, except when Hiromi and Akihito were involved and that one filler episode (Best ultimate weapon ever, how did I not guess that?). I would become depressed just from watching this show which made me unable to watch other anime. Because of this I had to finish this one in two days! I think it was because I was giving up hope on the anime or something of the sort, and knowing that my questions would never be answered I went to the emo corner.
Because of this, I also became a bit apathetic towards the show, except when it involved Akihito because he was the light Beyond the Boundary!
…Okay, I know that joke sucked.
In general, there was a lot of potential with this anime that was completely wasted by its vague explanations, plot holes, lacking characterization and irrelevant romance. All of these could’ve been executed properly, but it seems like the people behind this anime were too busy gift wrapping it with beautiful animation and art. All of the characters lack development and even when they do have development, it is so little and barely touched upon to the point of not even being noticeable. My dislike for all of the main female characters in this anime almost made me break everything apart in rage and the protagonist of all things was my salvation.
In other words, if you want to fully enjoy this anime, you should turn your brain off. With that done, you won’t have questions or doubts and you will only find yourself staring at the beautiful pictures… Except if you dislike most of the characters like me since I don’t think you’ll be able to ignore that. But if that’s the case, this anime is not for you.
Jan 9, 2014
In what seems to be a normal world is actually inhabited by supernatural creatures (Different subs use different names for these supernatural creatures) and people with supernatural powers. Our main character is half human and half creature as well as a person with a fetish for glasses. The story follows his journey to help Mirai, a girl from a cursed clan and has the ability to manipulate her own blood, fight these supernatural creatures.
The ending felt very forced and unnatural. The ending seemed to just be there to make the viewer of the show happy, but the way they did it felt so forced in.
The pacing was fine, it felt a bit rushed towards the end. They may have been able to remove some fillers as well and spaced it out a bit better... but the fillers were enjoyable as well.
I do wish they answered more questions instead of introducing more, as at the end of the series, there were so many things I wanted to ask but I knew that these questions were purposely left there to let the viewers think.
Kyoto Animation is known for their great animation and scenery. There work on Kyoukai no Kanata is no exception. Many times throughout the series was I in wonder and awe because of how amazing the animation was. Every movement of the characters were smooth.
The action scenes in the anime are better than most. Most action themed anime series lose details in the background and animation of the fight scene are never as smooth as scenes outside an action scene. Kyoto Animation did an excellent job with their action scenes, as they used transitions during the right times, as well as keeping the background as detailed as it was during normal scenes. They even did rapid still frames during the action scenes and it still looked smooth.
The only problem I had were some character designs, aside from Mirai, Hi'romi and Akhito, the designs for the characters weren't too amazing. Mitsuki and Aoi look like normal background characters and weren't given a design that allowed them to stand out, such as glasses, a scarf or a vest. This is just a small problem though, as the characters are still memorable outside of their design.
Kyoukai no Kanata by Minori Chihara, the self-named OP for the series is a great way to start every episode. Starts off very calm but leads to an exciting verse and chorus, it is very similar to how the series progresses. The series starts off warm and calm, but escalates in action. My favorite thing about this entire series, is the ED, Daisy by STEREO DIVE FOUNDATION. Nothing sounds as good as the actual series transitions into the ED through the sound. Typically used toward the last episodes of most series, Kyoukai no Kanata uses this transition into the ED frequently and is very enjoyable. The song itself is a very good song.
If you aren't aware, since the internet blew up when the episode aired... Kyoukai no Kanata has a filler episode that has an idol theme to it. The insert song used for that episode, Yakusoku no Kizun, is pretty much an idol song... but is still enjoyable.
The background music was great as well, matched the mood, no problems.
The characters were very good. They all are memorable as the story gives enough depths and back story to each character to make them memorable... except one. The one character I wished we had more background information and possible history was the antagonist... Fujima. (I had to look up his name since he wasn't that memorable at all..) He is a character that is shown to be a normal villain, but with no depth making him easy to forget.
The only three characters that developed were Akhito, Mirai and Mitsuki. I would say the only two that needed development were Akhito and Mirai as Mitsuki opening up to her brother is a minor development. Akhito and Mirai's character development was quite a ride and very enjoyable as they developed around each other, much like a romance. Watching this development was a highlight for this series.
Much as everyone has said about this anime, the series has a strong start but gets a bit rough at the ending. I argue that it gets rough around the last two episodes, others argue it gets rough earlier. I did have a higher expectation for this series, but it only fell a little short story-wise, but the sound and art made up for the rough ending.
What would be nice would be a special for what happened after the ending or a movie and knowing Kyoto Animation, one of these is going to happen. A chance for a sequel? The way the series ended, and with the questions left, there could be a sequel... but the ending has enough closure to completely end the series where it is.
Dec 18, 2013
Kyoukai no Kanata was by no means a very ambitious project (or a very pretentious subject). It had very linear and straight forward story line which actually very easy to understand and very comfy to follow, delivered with excellent animation and a proper adolescence romance development ... is probably an understatement. But, saying it was the best foreshadowing is also an exaggeration.
For starters, the anime was built upon a very basic concept: human with supernatural power, hunting monster. Well, I can get the hunch of where all this 'generic' spouting comes from. But the foundation itself was built upon several layers, in which each layer redefine the rough concept and premise into its own unique traits. So, on the surface, it does looks like any supernatural anime which comes from before 2005. But, if we take a closer look, the show didn't follow the usual formula for a show which tagged: "teen, supernatural, fantasy, anime" in which I'll call it 'chuuni anime' for shorts. So, that was also explain very polar opposite receptions by fans.
The main idea behind the story is about seeking a new light at the other side of tunnel/boundary. Which is basically, what Mirai was trying to do. But of course its ot so easy as to flip the other side of a coin. There are also Akihito who has the same (more or less) state as Mirai. Yes, the story revolves between these two characters, starting from where their first encounter, their conflict, acceptance and longingness. This is one of very few shows which shows a proper teenage romantic development mostly due because they have a rather similar condition which makes them able relate to each other. That was the basic story concept.
The world was built upon nowadays era and civilization but with a little tweak, that there are monsters which lurking in the darkness, waiting to infect humans with its poisonous nature... or killed them, whatever bad effects they brought. All of this 'youmu' concept-building is shallow, weak, generic and so does the 'ikaishi' part. There are almost not enough explicit exposition in exploring both concepts, because its not your usual 'nerdy' chuuni shows which spouting something like 5 new vocabularies every 3 new episodes or so. The mixture of slice of life and supernatural in a sense is very pleasant, but in another sense was frightfully almost doesn't mix. The reason is maybe has something to do with this studio specialty, which is Slice of Life (SoL), and cute girls. The SoL part has more depth even when compared to any other SoL anime (let alone another chuuni anime). Their technique in mastering this particular aspect was just so excellently done. You could feel the atmosphere surrounding this show. Heck it does feels like watching someone bringing a mini-DV into 2D world. But this depth of exploring SoL side was a bit backfired. Every supernatural elements looks out of place. The youmu form for example, just looks like derived from a pok*mon game or something.
The storyline was very linear as I said earlier, but it doesn't follow the regular formula which says "beginning, middle, end". Rather, it straight forward jump into a start-middle scene which left some people confused and screaming "plot hole" out loud. Well, this is to be expected, since that was how it was... in the beginning. I even have this tingling funny sensation when watching first 3 episodes. Why did they leave plot hole so open, and heck even pointed it out. Then, I understand it was a foreshadowing... which was revealed after episode 8. Here's the problem: This show tried to bring forth a whole huge concept story on to the table, which is actually very rare thing to see since all we've got were per-arc episode(s) which doesn't entangled to each other. So, we're used to a scheme where: 1st episode doing foreshadowing, then following episode (or two) does the revelation... which you can see in every single chuuni anime... ever..., also don't forget the explicit spoonfeeding. This show does none of those thing. which is why for some people, watching this show was kinda tiring. It could be understandable since this show requires huge amount of observation span and very long patience... which not many people have. As a proof, a lot of people doesn't recognize 'Sakura Inami' in her first confrontation with Mirai despite all the clues being littered throughout the show. (sorry, no further spoiler).
The execution is a bit flocky sometimes, but in general still pretty decent. But of course you still need to be observant and use a bit of deduction thinking in figuring how the world moves. Since there are barely any explicit long-ass chuuni dialogue in this show (I didn't say none). In directional stand-point is still also very flocky. There are some good-standout episode (like Takemoto ones), but there are also very bad ones. The reason why the difference in directional execution was so glaring might because there are almost no clean-up from the general director. The reson is..., well I don't know.
The animation..., is the core of this show. I could talk for hours regarding this topic, but lets just make it simple. The production quality of this product is simply..., outstanding. Kyoukai no Kanata looks like a saint compared to any other action anime. Well, you could say I was exaggerating, but as far as TV anime are concerned, there are very few other action anime which have this kind of production quality, not even SnK (sorry titan fans). There are no reused scene (except that single one from ep 6), no still images (except it was used in succession to create a sense of complex movement (e.g. ep 2, when Mirai slashed zombie youmu form the sand), it has sense of impact and sense of weight (like several scene in EoE), It doesn't have black screen followed by flashing effect, It doesn't have badly produced CG sequence(s), it has terrific inbetweening, but it does however has some share of bad cuts. For example in ep 2 where Mirai swinging her blood without sense of direction and ep 3..., you know that infamous 'timber'. Also, I don't know why, it has several 'copycat' key frames (not reused, but done in similar style). You might felt that the action scenes were a bit short compared to any other action shows. That was because 3 minutes action in this anime = 8 ~ 15 minutes in any other anime. Action flow were so packed and almost gives no room for chanting or engaging in conversation. Even if it does, it still managed to perfectly fit into the timing between action cuts. It doesn't sacrifice the loss of quality for sake of having flowing animation, which is actually a big plus into the animation department. And, lastly of course the shiny Kigami episode. (inb4 idol dancing episode)
The lightning and several effects were movie-tier. And small quirk and gestures from characters were delicious seasoning in this already well-produced show. The music (BGM) were a bit hit & miss, but in general was good, the sound directions were flawless. There are several effect of sound where people talk outside the door is different from inside the door. It also have distinct variation, where people talk up-close or faraway, left or right direction. The voice act for each characters were also very good. Several hiccups sure, but it does gets better once you used to. Some people might not overcome them, but of course different people = different taste buds. The opening and ending song were also very catchy. More over this is also one of very few anime which are using Op/ED sequence in layering one of episode, which is actually very neat works.
And the ending..., THE ENDING, never forget the ending. By no means a satisfactory ending since it leaves so many questions and makes people a bit impatient. But as far as the main story concept was concerned, it was a...., well to be honest I'm not too satisfied with the ending too. Or maybe it was intentionally letting the viewer to interpret the ending as their imagination or their deduction just like Hyo*ka was.
Kyoukai no Kanata stands at the basis of simplicity and displayed as it is without sounding so deep or pretentious or dramatic. But because it started at that very simple idea, because of great directing, multilayer subtlety, and very long foreshadowing, it entices the viewer to at least pay attention to a bit of exposition without feeding needless explicit argument for the sake of understanding. At the end of the day, if you're someone who don't satisfied with action sequence in anime, if you don't want to exhaust yourself in complicated chuuni dialogue, if you're tired watching too many harem anime, or were just seeking for a nice, comfy action anime to spend on weekend or when you're tired from work/school. Kyoukai no Kanata does just that. I might advise to marathon it, at least it will eliminates the patience/impatience factor. But the observation will still there. read more
Jan 10, 2014
With a length of 12 episodes, Kyoto Animation's "Kyoukai no Kanata (Beyond the Boundary)" brings us a tale of two young teenagers, whose hearts are filled with regrets and burdens placed on their shoulders. Their actions will determine the fate of humanity itself, and while at that, they will draw near each other as they learn more about themselves and come to terms with their hardships. It is an excellent story about two ill-fated youngsters with a fresh sci-fi twist.
Next, I will give you certain characteristics of the series that I find necessary to tell to those who are considering watching this series, as well as the premise. (TL;DR/Conclusions at the end.)
Story and characters:
The world is protected by Spirit Warriors, which have multiple powers to keep demon-esque creatures, called the "yomu" in line from attacking humanity. Then there's this certain Spirit Warrior girl with the name of Mirai Kuriyama. She is a Spirit Warrior, whose bloodline is considered cursed, that allows her to manipulate her blood as a weapon, such as a shield or a blade. This feature is considered cursed, and as a consequence, she is constantly isolated by the rest of the Spirit Warrior community. Akihito Kanbara is a hybrid of half-yomu and half-human. This uncommon mixture grants him the power to be immortal, although he is not a Spirit Warrior. He, just like Mirai, is another outcast of society because of the strange anomaly that he is.
The story is all about the burdens that these two characters, Akihito Kanbara and Mirai Kuriyama, have to carry; and the relationship between these two, that begins to grow and flourish as the series progresses. We are thrown into this compelling and exciting world with close to no information about what's going on, and much of it comes through dialog between the characters. This is all about showing, not telling. The bad side of this is that you can get easily lost if you don't pay enough attention, but the good one is that time is not wasted by explaining.
The narrative starts slow paced, with a focus on introducing the characters and their qualities, fetishes and catchphrases: It is more like a slice of life anime, with each episode having a yomu and being fought by the main characters, and in-between, we see how the characters interact as if they are living a completely normal life; but as the series progresses, the plot starts to gain momentum and delivers a well balanced dose of comedy, action, drama and a shot of romance, as these two outcasts begin to draw together. Near the end, the loose ends are being tied up and the hidden motivations explained, as well as the tension begins to rise exponentially. I have to say that by the end of the series, my hands were clinched as the narration becomes way faster and entertaining than in the beginning (I actually considered dropping it by the third episode). Some episodes focus more on side stories, rather than the actual storyline. Although they are enjoyable and entertaining, they do kill some momentum from the previous episodes.
While the series is itself more a drama series than a comedy series, there are a lot of laughs that can be found between the difficult events that lead to the climax. All the characters are excellently designed, all having a certain aspect of their personality that makes their interactions with one another really funny and enjoyable overall, being the episode 6 the pinnacle of the comedy in this series.
A big flaw I find in the series is that one of the enemy's goal or motive is never stated. It gave you a vague explanation of what he was doing, but didn't give a clear motive. Although at last he is not the main enemy, I would have liked some closure on him. (I won't say the name of the character, to avoid spoilers.) In a similar fashion, some of the supporting cast is largely ignored for big part of the series. Even though these slips, I consider the story and characters well designed.
Art and sound:
The art was astounding and is really one of the strongest areas of the series, if not the strongest. It is one of the greatest series that I've seen when it comes to animation. This series makes you want to take a screenshot of every scene and make it your newest wallpaper for your cellphone: The shots are so beautifully colored and detailed and the sequences are so fluid and eye catching that it stuns you every time an action scene comes up and the special effects come to effect. Nothing less than expected from a work by Kyoto Animation. I really think that this was the factor that made me continue the series, despite my consideration of dropping it. The music is also remarkable. Although it is not the greatest soundtrack I've heard, the OST blends well into the environment and the scenes. The opening and ending find I really fitting to the story and premise; as well as the insert song in episode 6.
Enjoyment and final thoughts (TL;DR):
At first, I wasn't really enjoying the series. It was really hard for me to give full attention and avoid being distracted while watching the very first episodes. But as the series progressed, the more momentum it gained and by episode 6, I couldn't get my eyes off it. (It specially is episode 6 a really hysterical one. It had been long since I had genuinely laughed with an anime series.) Despite many critics panning this series, I really liked it. I can say that this is not the best anime I’ve seen, but I don’t regret the time I spent watching it. But well, this is just, like, my opinion, man.
All in all, Kyoukai no Kanata is an amazing series. It’s got well designed characters, a captivating and credible love story, attention-catching premise, beautiful scenery worth a wallpaper, and fluid sequences. Although I believe the series starts slow and sloppy, if you like sci-fi, beautiful art and/or romance and drama, I highly recommend you this series, and please, don't reach any conclusion based on reviews, since everybody can have different opinions.
Jul 6, 2014
Jun 26, 2014
The plot is easily the most disappointing aspect of KnK. The biggest problem is simply the poor pacing and lack of direction. With only 12 episodes, a series doesn't have time for filler episodes and multiple story arcs; it needs to pick a direction and go. KnK struggled with finding this direction. The first few episodes seem to be a supernatural comedy about the male protagonist Akihito helping the female protagonist Mirai become a successful Spirit World Warrior. Then it turns to the approach of the Hollow Shadow, a powerful youmu considered almost impossible to defeat, we learn some disturbing facts about Mirai's past, and the show takes on a deeper, more psychological tone. The sixth episode is filler with absolutely no connection to the rest of the series, the seventh is dedicated exclusively to the reconciliation of Mirai and a side character, and after that the series tries to be a paranormal romantic drama revolving around Akihito's half-youmu status and some sort of half-baked plot involving the Society of Spirit World Warriors, the Nase family, and a youmu called Beyond the Boundary.
The show could have taken any of these directions and been highly successful. A romantic comedy about a half-youmu teaching a supernatural warrior how to defeat youmu? I'd watch that. A psychological drama about a girl from a cursed clan trying to become a powerful warrior? Hell yes. Instead, though, KnK switched between these different themes constantly and ultimately failed to establish any meaningful story whatsoever. One minute we're getting funny, casual, low-stakes situations -- like Mirai needing to defeat a youmu in order to make rent for the month -- and the next, the Hollow Shadow is approaching and it's endangering the entire city, oh my god, this is serious business everybody! And then before we know it the Hollow Shadow is out of the way and we're back to watching Akihito and Hiromi monologue about their bizarre fetishes. It's the eighth episode before we hear a single word about the namesake of the entire series, and even then we don't get much information about it -- or about the rest of the world, for that matter; the mechanics of the KnK universe are never really established or explained, and new information is simply shoehorned in when the plot requires it. Even in the final episodes, when the fate of Earth itself supposedly hangs in the balance, the story lacks tension or suspense. The countless fight scenes may have been beautifully animated, but I never felt like the characters were in any danger. Concepts and conflicts are never explained or even fully resolved; there is no logical transition from one plot point to the next. Things just pop up to cause drama for the characters, who inevitably are able to solve even the most overwhelming problems for no apparent reason, and the show stumbles along to the next meaningless scene. If it sounds like I'm ranting, it's only because I'm frustrated -- I truly think this show had a fantastic premise and enormous potential, but it didn't capitalize on it at all.
As I mentioned earlier, the art is really the only redeeming quality of this show. Not only is the animation clear and fluid 100% of the time, the color and composition are gorgeous. Even if the fight scenes were pretty much meaningless, they're still total eye candy. In particular the animation of the supernatural powers that Mirai, Mitsuki, Hiromi, Izumi, and others use to fight youmu was a pleasure to watch. There's so much color and vibrance that it's easy to imagine the Spirit World Warriors' powers being real.
The character designs were also very well done; some series are full of sameface moeblobs, and while KnK certainly has its moeblobs (Ai, I'm looking at you), they are easily distinguishable from one another. Not as distinct as the character designs of, say, Cowboy Bebop, but still better than plenty of shows out there.
KnK's music isn't particularly outstanding, but still good. There were two tracks that would always catch my attention; the rest were pretty generic, not bad, but not really worth mentioning either. The voice acting was mostly really good. I personally got a bit tired of Mirai's high-pitched whispery "senpai?!"-ing, but that fit her. Every character had a distinct and recognizable voice, and the seiyuus' delivery of lines always matched the mood of the scene very well.
I didn't particularly like the OP or ED, but I didn't hate them either. The OP ended up growing on me, while the ED never really took. I think they fit my expectation of the series better than they fit the actual series; they both have a lot of energy that KnK never really achieves.
After plot and worldbuilding, character development is this show's greatest failing. Initially all of the characters seem distinct and interesting rather than typical anime archetypes. Akihito isn't just an average easygoing high school boy; he's an immortal half-youmu. Mirai isn't just a warrior with a dark past; she's a socially awkward klutz with a thing for growing bonsai. Every character KnK presents is completely unique. Logically, they should have a lot of room to develop even further and conflict with one another in interesting ways.
However, this never happens. The characters never truly develop beyond these first impressions. Sometimes we get new information about characters' pasts and secrets, but this doesn't make them change as people; it just means that viewers learn something contradictory to what they thought they knew all along. Furthermore, pretty much everything about the characters is told through dialogue rather than shown through their actions, which only serve to push the plot along in a certain direction rather than demonstrating a character's unique personalities or beliefs. The relationships between characters are even worse; they seem extremely forced and illogical. Most of them only exist to support certain plot points, but even this construction falls apart because the plot points are equally weak and contrived. The motivations behind many characters' actions are extremely unclear, and I found myself wondering frequently why certain characters existed at all. Some of them still manage to be likeable, but like most aspects of the show, they are never allowed to reach their potential.
For a specific example, take the protagonist Mirai. Supposedly she is the last remaining member of a cursed clan of warriors and has a dark past that causes her to distance herself from others. This is a good foundation for a character. But why is her clan cursed/why were they all murdered? Not a word about this for the entirety of the series. Why doesn't this influence her own feelings about her powers? If she's supposed to be so distanced from everyone, why does she just suddenly give in and start hanging out with the other characters like it's no big deal? (For that matter, if it's so important that she stays distant from them, as we learn towards the end, why in the world did she give in so that she could read gardening books? This is an example of how the comedic and serious elements of the story are completely at odds with each other, rather than uplifting one another.) Why doesn't she display any emotional damage from the disturbing past that we learn about? Why is she able to repair a horribly broken relationship, one that has been haunting her for years, in the span of literally five minutes, just by saying a few really cliché lines to the other character? These questions are never answered or even legitimately considered, leaving Mirai to be a two-dimensional ditz whose only two lines are "S-Senpai!" and "Fuyukai desu!'" Other characters get similar (lack of) treatment: where's the complexity Akihito feels about being half-youmu, an extremely rare creature? Why don't we get to see any of that until he alludes to it in the series finale? I will reiterate that every character, like the entire show, had vast potential -- but then were reduced to catchphrases and bad jokes, and pushed around like pawns to accomplish illogical plot points.
There were times during KnK that I laughed, but most of the jokes and catchphrases were overused (and weren't that funny to begin with). There were times that I cared about the characters and wondered what they would do next, but most of the time I was too confused by their motivations (or lack thereof) and illogical behavior to feel very invested in their fates. There were times that I thought the show would end up redeeming itself and I'd love it after all, but that never really happened. And with every episode that failed to live up to my originally high expectations, I was reminded of those expectations and how good the show could have been. I spent a lot of time thinking "If only x had been done differently, this part would have been so interesting!" and not very much time thinking that the actual show in front of me was very interesting. So while I enjoyed certain aspects of KnK, those aspects were completely overwhelmed by the ones that made me roll my eyes in disgust again and again. I have nothing against cute slice-of-life comedy or over-the-top action, but KnK constantly vacillated between these two things with no rhyme or reason, and it was impossible to enjoy because the story and characters weren't making any sense. I have a policy of finishing every anime I start, but this one was hard to stick with. I mostly kept watching for the animation; anytime the Spirit World Warriors used their supernatural powers was a visual treat.
I hate to write off KnK as a bad anime. I really wanted to like it; it started out with a lot of potential. Unfortunately, it just didn't deliver, and I have to be honest. The animation and music were the only completely positive elements of the entire series; everything else was an absolute mess. Characters and story were all over the place, never deciding which direction to take, and most of the concepts and plot points were merely thrown in to stir up mediocre melodrama. I'm sure literally every other critical reviewer of Kyoukai no Kanata has already used this phrase, but as Mirai Kuriyama said approximately five million times: "How unpleasant." read more
Apr 20, 2014
I really want to give the story element a good score. I really do. But unfortunately, it doesn’t deserve more than a 5.5. Right from the very start I found quite a few aspects confusing, especially about the nature of youmu and Spirit World Warriors. I ended up googling them before I could understand. I think what they’re trying to do is immerse the viewer into the world of the anime so that they figure everything out on their rather than explaining stuff. Eh, not my style, and quite confusing in the end. I’m not a huge fan of when characters explain stuff more than they need to, but in this case they didn’t explain stuff enough. In fact, I think that the ending was ruined for me because of the sheer amount of stuff I didn’t understand. They introduced a lot of new concepts in the last episode, which is fine by me IF they answer the questions that are posed before the end of the series. Kyoukai no Kanata failed to do this. Whilst it wasn’t boring, there wasn’t a particular direction to the plot line either.
Apart from those flaws, I found the story interesting and original. While it is relatively dark, there are plenty of light-hearted moments. Sure, the jokes aren’t that great and are quite shallow, so I didn’t laugh a lot, but I did smile often.The element of humour was very much welcome and did not go overboard.
An element that was very much appreciated in my eyes was the art. I’m sure it’s not the best out there, but it is the best I have seen so far. It had a realistic quality whilst still remaining in the anime genre. A 9, I would say.
I believe that one of my favourite things about anime is the music. I relish the chance to find beautiful music, which, when I hear it, can relate to a particular scene or anime. For me that is very special. Kyoukai no Kanata lacked tracks, which was quite disappointing, but the tracks that it did have were beautiful, and I have downloaded all the ones I could find. Considering how much I like the tracks present, there just wasn’t enough to quell my desire. A 6.8, I’m sad to say.
But, the thing I enjoyed the most about this anime is the character development. This is an area which has often been below a decent level in the other anime I have seen. Considering the amount of characters, Kyoukai no Kanata excels in this aspect, which I believe to be very important. I cannot stress how happy I am with the characters in this anime. This is the best I have seen so far. Not only do the main characters get a good amount of development, but the supporting characters also get their fair share. To prove my point, my favourite character is a supporting character who doesn’t really add too much to the plot line. Yes, I know that Ai-chan does get quite a bit of screen time, and she is quite likeable, but still… I do agree that they could have done a better job for the adults, but I am more than satisfied with these strong characters. I shouldn’t really give this score, but I can’t help it. 10.
To conclude, Kyoukai no Kanata was a very good anime and I enjoyed watching it. The art was beautiful, the music as well though there wasn’t much of it. The great character development almost makes up for the terribly confusing story line.
Overall: 7.86/10 (rounded to 8) read more
Dec 20, 2013
The story of Kyoukai no Kanata is about protagonists Kuriyama Mirai and Kanbara Akihito. Students in high school, both extraordinary in different ways. Mirai is the only living member of the 'cursed' spirit world warrior clan that is able to manipulate blood. Akihito is a half-youmu, half-human, making him immortal. The story revolves around these two and their adventures, and the even mysterious "Kyoukai no Kanata" or "Beyond the Boundary". Kyoto Animation deemed this anime as a "slice of life" but I think it is anything but. Setting aside the filler episode, episode 6, Kyoukai no Kanata very much has a plot that is driven forward through the whole series. The plot is never really slow, and is intriguing with each episode. Kyoukai no Kanata has many different subject matter and themes that get your brain thinking.
Kyoto Animation has always been known for their beautiful, flawless animation and character design. None of this is forgotten in Kyoukai no Kanata. The atmosphere is set beautifully, each character's movement fluid and realistic. Battle scenes are works of art. There is never a time during the series where I questioned the animator's abilities.
I am not one to pay attention much to soundtracks,. but I must say that the soundtrack work in Kyoukai no Kanata fit with the mood. The OST is well suited for the scenes they are played during, and add to the atmosphere of the scene. As well, the voice actors are always on par, and portray each character distinctly, with the correct feelings and dramatization.
For a 12 episode anime, I believe the main characters are developed fairly well. Mirai Kuriyama, first of all, portrays as a sweet heart in the beginning. She is a cutie with bubble gum pink hair and red rimmed glasses. Over the series, I was delighted to see depth put into her character, and she was ultimately likable. She is not the kind of protagonist that sits around and waits for things to happen. She does not rely on other people for help, and ultimately is strong on her own. Kanbara Akihito has his quirks. And it's interesting to see these little quirks in action. He has a thing for glasses, often calling Mirai a "megane bishoujo" (bespectacled beauty). As for the other characters, each had distinctions that make them different from each other. For a time frame of 12 episodes, each character gets a relative amount of screen time suitable to their role.
To be honest, Kyoukai no Kanata is definitely my favourite of the season. It has been a long time since I have found dual protagonists (Mirai and Akihito) so likable. The ever present plot, the senseless fluff, the jokes, the quirks, all of it tied together had me enjoying Kyoukai no Kanata all the way through. While it depends on the person as to if they enjoy it or not, I dare say Kyoukai no Kanata is worth it.
For all these reasons, I believe Kyoto Animation hit the mark with Kyoukai no Kanata. With the series finished and wrapped up, I can only hope for a second season to answer all the questions I still have. Kyoukai no Kanata is overall a superb anime that deserves a chance. read more
Dec 18, 2013
The story begins when our glasses-loving protagonist, Akihito, sees a girl on the roof of his school. He proceeds to make some monologue about suicide that seems like foreshadowing at the time but never really applies to anything later on as he calls out to the girl on the roof. The girl, whose name is Mirai, stabs him but fails to kill him as it turns out that Aikihito is immortal. Mirai is a novice "Spirit World Warrior," people who fight creatures called "youmu" that are invisible to normal humans. Mirai had heard that Akihito was an immortal half-youmu and decided to get some practice by using him as a "stabbing-bag" which Akihito obviously did not appreciate. The story continues on as Akihito and Mirai grow closer together, discover secrets about each other, and get caught up in the plans of both other people and youmu.
The story suffers from a few things. It poorly introduces the world of youmu and Spirit World Warriors by skipping over some important details and saving them for later. Despite an entertaining filler episode, it comes at a bad time and interrupts a side story which interrupts the main story which leads to some confusion for the viewer. It also has a bit of a cop-out ending with things being a little rushed at the end.
The story isn't all bad, but the good parts are mostly due to the relatively good main characters. The four main characters consist of Mirai, Akihito, and the siblings Mitsuki and Hiromi. Where the main characters hit their strongest points is in the sarcastic comedy between them. From Mirai's catchphrase "you're unpleasant" to Akihito and Hiromi's fetishes for glasses and younger sisters respectively to Mitsuki's disgusted sarcasm towards both guys, the characters never let the serious attitude of the story prevent them from being the normal sarcastic assholes that teenagers really are (or at least my group of friends is minus the fetishes). While their quirks may be a little overdone at times, they never become a hindrance to the story (well, not more than it was already doing on it's on). The minor characters are where some more noticeable issues arise. None of them get enough screen time to develop aside from maybe Ai-chan, and many of them are easily forgettable and hardly relevant to the plot at all. The few who are important are easily forgettable or just annoying like in the case of the obvious villain. Aside from Ai, the minor characters are basically all of the adults in the show and most of their designs are similar to the point where a few of them can be mixed up (this is one of the very few problems with the animation).
But onto the best part of this show. The fluid fight scenes, interesting character designs of the main characters (as long as you don't mind moe), and the beautiful scenery despite most of the show taking place in an average-looking Japanese town are what make the animation of this show top-notch. Even as far as KyoAni shows go, this one still stands out in this category (mainly due to it being one of the few with action sequences). One of the only issues is something which many anime have problems with: character designs become much less detailed when the characters are "farther away" from the camera. The soundtrack during the action scenes also adds to the intensity and makes them even more impressive. It also adds to the comedic/sarcastic moments and makes them even more of a pleasure to watch.
Story - 4/10
Animation - 9/10
Soundtrack - 8/10
Characters - 5/10
Enjoyment - 7/10
Overall - 6.6/10
Kyoukai no Kanata is an enjoyable show with excellent animation, a good soundtrack, but unfortunately suffers from weak minor characters and an inconsistent plot with some pointless side features that distract from the real story. It all culminates in a visually impressive ending but makes little sense story-wise. I hope KyoAni (which is one of my favorite anime studios) continues to make visually amazing action series, but it would help if they improved the story of their next one. read more
Aug 10, 2014
I can't not bring up the action as playing a major role in the way the story unfolds, where some would brush it off into the Art category. 10/10(30% of story)
My attempt to explain why this anime's story style felt different to me:
This anime is (overall) like a large puzzle that fills itself in as it grows bigger and sacrifices bits and pieces as it grows outward. This allows a lot more content to be discovered about earlier episodes regardless of arc, and i think this is what throws people off about this anime.
Where as most other anime have a small series-wide puzzle and each episode or arc fills in a separate puzzle, as to not leave any pieces out.
If that makes sense lol.
Art 10 - This is undeniably where the anime shines the brightest through the action scenes. Fluid, amazingly detailed, colorful. So many wonderful frames. This is where a good amount of the story takes place and for good reason.
Sound 8 - Nothing special here, satisfying without standing out. Voice acting was well done at conveying emotions.
Characters 7 - Mirai, I found her to be something different then the average kawaii. She is absolutely charming and makes you smile with her quirks and it grows on you. This is something i haven't felt often in other animes or as strongly and i absolutely want more, a very simple character that adds depth through minor actions.
The rest of the cast comes off as relatively basic. The brother with a sister complex doesn't come off as sexual attraction anymore than just seeking affection from her.
The evil intentioned characters needed far more explanation + depth.
Enjoyment 9 - You get a whole lot of insanely satisfying action and a bit of everything else. comedy, feels, darkness, hope, hopelessness. It rolls up into a trip that might not take the road you wanted, but makes its way.
Overall 8 - This anime isn't anything new, but it felt fresh in its own way. It's like a restaurant brings you a slightly different dish then what you ordered, so you either return it in anger, or try it, and realize you wanted this instead of your original order.
Personal Overall Rating - 10/10 I want to see new anime show a unique side like this did for me through superb action and a hard to describe different approach, and correct what needed to be done better. read more
Dec 18, 2013
Otherwise I would say Kyoukai no Kanata is a breath of fresh air. Its original. Its unique and I adored it. The sad, darker undertone was covered brilliantly with hilarious quips and quirks that were admittedly a bit odd and awkward at times but hilarious none the less. I have no complaints about the art. The story line is undeniably linear and even somewhat predictable in some cases, but I don't think it takes away from the anime at all.
I fell there is a considerable amount of depth to Akihito and Mirai especially albeit there could be a tiny bit more for the other main characters. The music compliments the moods and genre well and I adore the characters. Albeit I would like to get know the other characters a little better.
If i sound like Im singing Kyoukai no Kanata's praises as if the best anime in the world then let me make it clear that its because I wouldn't want others to overlook because of the various bad reviews it has. Since joining here I've found that people on this website can be exceedingly harsh in there judgment. There are other animes that far surpass Kyoukai No Kanata. But it is a diamond in the rough which i feel saddly has been undermined and I invite you to watch it and judge it for yourself
I definitely recommend it
Aug 19, 2014
Before I even get started, I need to get three things out of the way: I'm a sucker for "bespectacled beauties", this review is based solely on the anime and will not reference to the LN at all, and this is not an in-depth analysis featuring a full thesis on why I rated it this way. This is me simply giving my opinion.
The only thing I can compare watching this to is eating at a buffet. You stand at the front doors, really hungry and excited. As you get your first plate of food, an overwhelming amount of feelings rush you head-on; Satisfaction, anticipation, happiness. However, as you get up for seconds, thirds, fourths, and then dessert, the guilt sets in and you just feel terrible. "Why did I eat this much? I never should have came. I can't even finish this little square cake and some ice cream... It was a mistake to come here. I've had my fill. I thought it was a good idea to come here, but now I just feel like dying."
Then you leave the buffet, and in 4 hours you wish you enjoyed it more instead of regretting going there in the first place because it wasn't as bad as you thought.
So, anyway, all jokes aside, let's get down into the breakdown of this show.
Story: 6/10 (Fair)
It was a great concept. In fact, it was amazing, but poor delivery and plot development issues stopped it from growing into something great. Creatures called Youmu roam the Earth and the Spirit World Warriors defeat them. Then boy who happened to be part-Youmu meets girl who happened to be a Spirit World Warrior, and hilarity ensues.
For the first few episodes, I was genuinely confused on what was happening. Although the main concepts (boy and girl, basic setting) were very easy to understand, I didn't know what Spirit World Warriors were, and any time something of the sort was mentioned, I didn't feel any immediate danger even though there clearly was, because the concept was not fully explained to me. I'm not sure if it was just my own stupidity or not, but after a while I caught on.
Um, I can't tell what this show was trying to be. The Slice of Life aspect of the show was great! The comedy was great- I loved every scene of it. Then, after everyone had a nice laugh, they would switch gears and become really serious. Some shows can do that really well. This is not one of them. Because of this, I failed to feel any emotions towards the characters because of the conflicting genres. If they executed it better, I would have felt sadness, or extreme happiness. Don't get me wrong- I'm a softie. I've cried at shows that weren't even supposed to be that sad (-cough- K-On!! -cough-). However, they were basically forcing sadness on me, and I was hurting on the inside because I really wanted to be on my knees bawling, but I couldn't be brought to do that. This thought will be continued during the Character sequence.
Art: 9/10 (Great)
As expected of KyoAni, the art in this show is beautiful. Honestly, there's nothing to be said. The idle shots are masterfully crafted, the fight scenes are on point, fluid, and crisp, and any shadows, ambient light, etc. are drawn pretty well. Of course it's not completely perfect as everything has it's flaws, but it's very deserving of it's 9 rating. They continually have their quality consistent throughout all their shows, and it's brilliant. Well done, KyoAni!
Sound: 8/10 (Very Good)
Tsuruoka Yota, thank you. Thank you for being the bass player for the band that is Anime. People don't seem to realize that sound plays a big part in shows, and with Kyoukai no Kanata, there is no exception. Although I don't agree with some of his choices, overall the sound is great and probably 90% of the sound in the show was placed for the optimal experience. It was one of the things I enjoyed- I love sound more than anything in the world, and I'm glad that I was not disappointed. Every bang, crash, boom, BGM, and ambient noise was placed pretty well.
Character: 7/10 (Fair)
Wow, for once, the main character was not a complete copy/paste of a protagonist. Akihito has his own personality and it suits him very well, along with his character design. Kuriyama Mirai, as another main character, was also very pleasant. All the "slice of life" moments of the show really bring out what each character's quirks are. The "siscon" brother, the sister of the aforementioned, the eccentric and somewhat crazy mother, the conflicting rival, etc. However, that is where it stops. During serious scenes, there was, again, no feeling of immediate danger. I am someone who gets attatched to characters very easily. Naturally I was attatched to Kuriyama, but for some reason, when something important happened, or something sad happened, or whenever she made a decision, I didn't feel anything. I really beat myself up inside for not feeling anything, but it was something I could not put into words. It directly ties into the plot, because it just does not give the characters justice. If this adds anything, I was attatched to Kuriyama Mirai a lot more than any other character I've been attatched to, so something went wrong somewhere in the middle.
Enjoyment: 7/10 (Good)
I enjoyed the show. I really loved the laid-back scenes, where the characters poke fun at each other for their fetishes and quirks. The fight scenes were very fun to watch and it gave off this "Ooh, did you see that sword hit? That was brutal." kind of vibe. However, what threw me off were the blatant plot holes and the unexplainable feats of anime. They also say that an ending can make or break an anime; Unfortunately, the ending breaks the anime. It completely nullifies the reason you watched the show in the first place, and leaves you going "What? Did that actually just happen?"
Despite that, I did enjoy all the moe moments and it made it worth the watch.
Overall: 7/10 (Good)
What can I say that already hasn't been said? It was a show with a boatload of potential that was clearly wasted with poor choices across the board. The characters are something to love, but any character would look bad if it was handed a poor retelling of a very well-written story.
It was really pleasing to watch, and it didn't feel like a task. I wish from the bottom of my heart that I could have gave this show a higher rating, but as I got deeper and deeper into the anime, I just couldn't give it the rating I was hoping I could give it. It was a truly disappointing experience for me, but that's not to say that you shouldn't watch it. Maybe I missed something! Maybe I'm just biased. Maybe I don't know how to properly analyze anime and I'm completely wrong. Whatever your logic may be, I would still recommend this anime to someone who's looking for a mix of cute girls, action, comedy and drama coupled with beautiful art and superb sound. I still wish that this was just a Slice of Life show. I would love it so much- they did such an amazing job during those types of scenes. You could even say that those scenes were... "Beyond the Boundary" of good. read more