Watching Kyoukai no Kanata is like riding a train but as it moves, it goes down spiral, into the abyss, and finally reaches trainwreck at the shadow of the pit. Don’t get me wrong, the show has quite an promising premise with the style of a dark fantasy genre. It’s something that Kyoto Animation haven’t tried before in the past so Kyoukai no Kanata should set its par high with this new style, right? Wrong. This series is fails at various levels and if you’re expecting a deep engaging story with well developed characters, then look somewhere else. It doesn’t break any boundary or go beyond its generic setting. Instead, it presents a story that is almost laughable. And no, I’m not laughing.
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”.
"Judgement prevent us from seeing the good that lies beyond appearances."
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
Damn, I feel like one of the few people who really really loves Kyoukai no Kanata on this damn site. I guess it's explaining time because as I really really like it I want it to have a halfway decent review. (especially since most of these seem written from a bias perspective from someone who only watched the first 3 episodes.
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
"No amount of great animation will save a bad story."-John Lasseter
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.
Pretty damn interesting show. Along the way I had some pretty mixed reactions, and feelings, however those negative feelings didn't stop me from enjoying Kyoukai no Kanata.
You can pretty much get a concept or idea of what the show is about by reading the description lol. That aside, the story was actually pretty decent. Full of thrills, excitement, and feels. There were many events that I loved in the story, however my most favorite on-going thing about it was every episode (Including the stupid ones, yeah I'm talking about episode 6) had the right amount of enjoyment whether it was action or comedy a majority of the events that had played out work out pretty well in my book.
It's Kyoto animation or "KyoAni" .... of course they make characters, even characters you don't care about a bit more visually appealing or cute. That aside, the action scenes were visually spectacular!!! Even the scenes that had the feels to them were pretty great to look at.
Honestly, I think the only thing I liked about the sound department was the ending song. I suppose I "tuned" out quite a bit when it came to BGM.
Not the best cast of characters, however after some time, I actually started to warm up to them. I have seen many shows where the perverted MC has some odd fetish, and this was or I think this was the first title I've seen where male MC has a glasses fetish.... so there's that. Moving on, Mirai, I wanted to hate her because unless they are loli's or magical girls that whole "cutesy" "Shy" "Nervous" archetype.. erhm.. character doesn't sit right with me. Especially in genre's that are action/fantasy. Now, there are handfuls of characters that I'm okay with that are "as I listed above" however, I just couldn't find myself at ease with Mirai.... UNTIL.. the middle of the series or the "rising action." After seeing her act so selflessly, it really changed my opinions about her and made her a lot tolerable.. The others I honestly couldn't care too much about.... No, seriously.
Overall though, I thought Kyoukai no Kanata was pretty good. It had its' good moments and bad however, in the end, it was still lots of fun re-watching.
Final thoughts, I would recommend if you love shows with lots of action, developing romance and emotional moments. I had to give this show a 8/10 because it really was an unexpectedly good title from KyoAniread more
Kyoukai no Kanata is the type of show that you complete and feel all warm and fuzzy afterwords. It might not have an intricate story or the deepest, most compelling characters. but it makes up for its faults with an enjoyable ride and a charming message.
Pretty simple overall. Boy meets girl, antagonist comes to town, boy has to battle against himself and the evil outside of him. The show's narrative likes one or two day time skips, and on a couple occasions I felt like the events of the fractured narrative were not completely justified. Namely something that occurs at the end of the final episode.
The lore of Kyoukai no Kanata is pretty engrossing, however. The different types of demons and exterminators make for quite the intriguing world. Unfortunately, a lot of this wonderful lore is left as mere fact with no explanation, but I understand that explaining the intricacies of a fantastical world risks becoming too deep and boring.
The characters are all over the place. Some characters are one dimensional, and stay that way for the whole series (Miroka and Ayaka). Meanwhile, others change significantly and we see their nature change (Sakura, Mirai, Akihito, Hiromi). Some have intriguing backstories, some of those stories (like Mirai's) are fully fleshed out, while some are left half explained (Akihito himself admits to not knowing what exactly he is) and some are left untouched (Izumi's mysterious past).
The show makes up for the lack of character development or explanation among all of the principle characters with the small cast's excellent chemistry and presence. Every character but a few gets a lot of screen time, and the interactions between the characters are hilarious to watch.
Production Values: 10/10
Vivid colors, fluid animation, memorable character designs, and an awesome OST. Pretty kick ass all around. Not much else to say.
Critical Rating: 8/10 My Personal Enjoyment and Thoughts: 9/10 (the score that counts)
Despite its faults in the narrative and character departments, Kyoukai no Kanata is one hell of a ride that soars where it soars, and is decent to good in its "weaker" areas. That's why it gets a nine: the character development, depth of narrative, plot holes, and explanation of certain backstories weren't all perfect, but they're much better than a majority of anime. If not for those minor faults, this show could've been an easy 10.
However, a 9 is not a score to dismiss lightly, and KnK earns that score thoroughly. The beautiful artistry, charming characters and hilarious chemistry between them, and the heart warming message of the show make it worth checking out. It's pretty much a diamond in the rough.read more
Despite the various bad comments and reviews panning this series, I took a leap of faith and decided to watch it. I must say that, although not the best anime of all time, it is an enjoyable anime series.
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. read more
"Fools have a habit of believing that everything written by a famous author is admirable. For my part I read only to please myself and like only what suits my taste." ~Voltaire~
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
To be honest, when I finished this series, I did not expect myself to be so intrigued in the anime.
The storyline isn't one that is revealed until about episode 6, so I recommend you watch until there to get a gist instead of dismissing it as any other typical anime.
Of course, this is just an opinion.
The plot is very intriguing, as well as some small plot twists that might not be considered. It's ok. BUT this is not it's best trait: The way they are able to convey the character's emotions and feelings to the viewer in many ways got me attached. Some episodes might be considered fillers, but in some way contributes to the plot and character development, this also helped the characters to have a stronger bond than most anime. The plot begins to become deep towards episode 11, and by the end of 12, you'd be asking what was going on. This causes you to be pulled in and also makes you want to watch the movie. (Spoiler) Mirai loses her memory and makes my feelings crumble, and Akihito just wants her to lead a normal life so he puts aside his past feelings for her in which makes me all the more interested. However, if slow-paced anime are a turn-off for you, you might not want to watch this.
Kyoukai no Kanata is the newest anime from Kyoto Animation who is best known for their multitude of anime all about high school clubs and moe character designs. Kyoukai no Kanata is their first real attempt at a darker action series, despite having all of the previously mentioned aspects in addition to that. So how did this new genre attempt work? Given that it's in KyoAni's name you would expect this, Kyoukai no Kanata has beautiful animation which holds up both during action-packed scenes and the laid back ones. However, while the soundtrack is also good, the story suffers from having a poorly explained plot and setup as well as an average character cast.
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.
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
For quite the long time, people have exposed their wishes for Kyoani, notable for their several slice of life series with high quality animation, to do something else other than the slow moe-filled series they're famous for. After years of exploring safe territory, they finally announced the highly antecipated supernatural series Kyoukai no Kanata. And with that, set themselves up for what is probably their biggest failure in the last few years.
Whether they failed because the transition from slice of life to dark fantasy was too abrupt for them to handle or because they simply do not care for quality anymore, we can't be sure. We can just say for sure that Kyoukai no Kanata went wrong in every single aspect you can imagine, for simultaneously doing too much and nothing at all.
The premise is simple and somewhat cliché: half-human, half-youmu high school boy meets fighter girl who manipulates blood and kills youmu for a living. From this encounter, various events unfold. And that's just how it goes. The plot is all over the place; it constantly jumps around between episodes with moe and plain fanservice at its finest to plot-relevant episodes that actually accomplish nothing at all. It goes from fighting to unappealing drama to unfitting comedy to dancing idols. Yes, you heard me right: dancing idols. You should get a feel about how hard they are trying from that.
It's like the show can't decide whether it's light-hearted or dramatic. The "dark fantasy" label loses all of its meaning when over half of the screentime is spent on flat jokes and the protagonist dressed in costumes for fanservice purposes. The flow of the plot is ragged and it feels like a lot of scenes are incomplete or were cut out from how things are thrown in out of nowhere. Even when things do start to get half-decent, it means nothing when all of the scenes and episodes before that were messy and unfocused. They just feel like lucky pieces of candy in a colorful box full of rocks.
As if that's not enough, there is also an incredibly high number of asspulls happening for the sake of melodrama (the final scene alone is one of the single most gigantic asspulls I've ever seen in any piece of fiction), and roughly one or two out of all the plot-related points are explained. The whole story is weak, sloppy and unsatisfying from beginning to ending.
That being said, the cast of characters is very fitting to such plot. There's more of them than the show can handle, and they all feel ultimately forced. Our female lead, Mirai, is a typical bland airhead ditzy moe uguu anime girl who's more defined by her overused catchphrase than by her personality traits. Our protagonist, Akihito, seems to be defined as a whole by his fetish for glasses and nothing more. The main cast closes with the Nase siblings Mitsuki and Hiromi, who are an obvious pretext for shoving incest jokes where they don't belong, but are surprisingly the best characters in the show.
Like the plot, they are more like sketches that jump around inside their respective stereotypes than actual finished, fully-written characters. They have every kind of adornment you can ask for - catchphrases, defining quirks, canon hobbies, superpowers, fetishes and whatnot - but lack what matters the most: depth that allows them to break free from their respective archetypes. They abuse of Mirai's "how unpleasant" catchprase, Akihito's fetish for glasses and Hiromi's siscon so much that watching them becomes absolutely cringe-worthy at some point. They're so empty that sometimes the dialogue about their motivations needs to be filled with these things when the pseudo-depth inserted by unecessary drama won't cut it. The only one out of the main four who actually feels like a character and not a scribble on the last page of a notebook is Mitsuki, but she alone isn't enough to save the character interactions from being a feast of awkward catchphrase exchanges.
The supporting cast isn't much better than the main cast. Some of them instigate conflict for reasons that are never explained, some of them just exist without ever doing anything relevant or even being fun to watch (I'm looking at you, Ai Shindou), some of them are likeable but butchered by terrible writing. The main antagonist is bland and unreasonable. Some of the characters literally just fade away in the very last episode with little to no explanation given. Most of them never go through character development of any sort, and reach the ending of the series without having gone through any changes at all. They are a group of characters with a sparkle of potential that was thrown inside of the water, making them useless - there's really no other way to put it.
The animation is decent; it is Kyoani after all. The action scenes looked pretty fluid and the characters had good expressions and movements. Not their best, but definitely not bad. The character designs, although not ugly, are really boring and generic. Not much to say about the sound. The voice acting was fine, so was the music, and the only thing that stood out were the OP and ED themes. The art and sound were overall fair and not really bad.
Lastly, is Kyoukai no Kanata enjoyable? In some sort of twisted way, it is. As much as you can't help it but noticing how ridiculous and poorly done the whole thing is, it's most likely that it won't bore you. You may get increasingly frustrated with the amount of wasted potential and lazy writting, but you won't get bored. Kyoani's biggest disappointment might be a good thing to go with if you just want something silly to kill time.
Final scores, tl;dr
Story: 2/10 - Jumps around, plot is all over the place, tries to focus on so many things that succeeds in nothing.
Art & Sound: 6/10 - Not too impressive, but overall pretty decent.
Characters: 2/10 - Empty, defined by their quirks and catchphrases, lacking depth and development completely
Overall: 4/10read more
“ 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.
Following their high success with "Free! Iwatobi Swim Club" Kyoto Animation has done it again with the stellar fall anime "Kyoukai no Kanata". Overall, the series works with supernatural elements, such as the "spirit world warriors" and the "youmu".
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
Kyoukai no Kanata aka 'Beyond the Boundary' seems to be quite a controversial anime in a sense that some people seem to love it i think, while others say its a let down. I think its brilliant and i loved it till the end. True it could be better. But every anime has areas it needs to improve in. The fall i would say about Kyoukai no Kanata is its potential. It has masses of it. I already think its amazing, but i think it has the potential to be even greater. There was simply not enough time allowed to truly explore and understand the world and characters and to draw out its real potential. Like the past of Akihito and Mirai and there trauma's for example. Its something that should've been explored a bit more I feel. Also, I would've liked to know the other characters a bit better as well.
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
Kyoukai no Kanata/Beyond the Boundary was one of my first animes (my fifth to be precise), so I'm probably a bit biased, but here I go anyway.
The show starts off in an unexpected way: A girl backflipping over a fence and stabbing our male lead in the heart. Extremely surprising, to say the least. However, he isn't dead. Akihito Kanbara is immortal so needless to say, being stabbed in the chest doesn't kill him.
And here we are introduced to our two main characters. We have Mirai, shunned due to her blood manipulation powers, and Akihito, existing as an immortal half-youmu.
So what's a youmu? Similar to Madoka Magica's concept of witches and Noragami's Phantoms, youmu are born out of the ill wishes and curses of people. Spirit World Warriors, of which Mirai is a part, make a living off of hunting them down. Since this isn't the first show to do this, it's not an original concept, but at least in this show if you're a good warrior you can make a lot of money killing these things (whereas in Madoka Magica and Noragami it's more of a charity duty; I know I'm skimming over details, but here is not the place to explain the plots of other shows).
However, Mirai dislikes drawing attention to her abnormal powers (I mean, she uses a sword made out of her own hardened blood. How badass is that?), so while she is a powerful Spirit World Warrior, she lacks experience and is pretty poor too, buying discounted food and struggling to make each month's rent.
Anyway, the story takes a while to get its feet under itself. We bounce around from arc to arc, each segment taking only a couple of episodes apiece, and finally in the last few episodes, we move to our main plot. I think there's two potential areas of improvement here:
1. Making the show longer, so to have each arc give us maximum impact (the Hollow Shadow arc? Ouch).
2. If there was no way to make the show longer, keeping the story focused on its central plot would have kept us from being detracted into side stories (like episode 6) and made the story more cohesive from start to finish.
Don't get me wrong, I liked all the little mini-arcs. But that led to the main plot feeling rushed and squeezed in at the last minute. I would have liked it to be more drawn-out.
We also have the enigma that is episode 6. I'm still not entirely sure what happened in development to lead to that. Still, it's an amusing episode to say the least.
Basically, some youmu that's worth a crazy amount appears on the top of the kids' school rooftop. They try to kill it, but that fails and they have to regroup. Long story short, their overly elaborate plot doesn't work, and the youmu gets away.
The stink that the youmu sprays on them apparently doesn't go away until they defeat it, and since they never do, I suppose the characters just smell really bad for the rest of the show. It's a weird little plot hole, but I enjoyed the episode and the insert song, so whatever.
Episode 6 serves as a nice break before we start moving back into dark fantasy, though this time it gets darker than it did before.
We also move into the main plot, which is somewhat confusing in terms of worldbuilding and leaves you to figure out stuff for yourself. It's weak on the technical side, but everything besides that is better in my opinion.
The ending of the show is controversial, since a lot of people say it was a cop-out and a gaping plot hole. The plot hole part may be true, but as someone who watched the show as it was airing, I can say that I was hoping above all else for that particular ending so I didn't mind when they gave it to us.
Also, we're getting a sequel movie pretty soon so I'm assuming we're at least going to get an explanation for this ending.
Overall, the plot isn't super original and it takes a while for the main story to get itself up and going, but I still liked the ideas the show presented, even if it didn't execute them all that well.
This show is done by Kyoto Animation, who normally does drama/slice of life/romance anime, so it's interesting to see them experiment with "dark fantasy," which is what Kyoukai no Kanata is.
The fighting animation is very fluid and nice-looking, and always a pleasure to watch. I didn't like it when I first watched the show, but rewatching it I think my past self was crazy. I also think the reason I didn't like it is because the fight animation only lasts a couple of seconds or less between cuts. So it's a bit jarring, especially after I was used to animes with drawn-out shots of action scenes. However, in between the cuts, the movement is very nice. There's also a lot of small details, from the dust that Mirai kicks up with her legs to the bubbles floating in her sword to the colorful sparks thrown up whenever weapons clash. The Cages made by Spirit World Warriors to contain a certain area also contain lots of colors and look very nice.
Backgrounds are a given. Gorgeous, as can be expected of Kyoani. Especially in the opening scene, a sunset from a rooftop, they are detailed and colorful and very nice to look at.
One thing that stuck out to me when I first watched the show, and one that I continued to notice rewatching it, is that they don't use the same shot for very long before switching. Live-action shows cut camera every time a character speaks, and this show does the same. I think that's because Kyoani has a lot of money and can afford to draw new shots for every second of the show.
Really, the only complaint I have is that sometimes during fights, and at some other seemingly random times, there'd be a lack of shading on the characters. I'm not sure what was up with that, but it was kind of distracting to move from the beautiful lighting and shading to a lack thereof.
The other complaint I have is the two-second shot of Akihito in the ED. The way he's drawn is reminiscent of the train wreck that is episode 9 of Mekakucity Actors. I'm not sure what possessed Kyoani to draw him that way. If you've seen the show, you may remember what I'm talking about.
Aside from that, both the OP and ED have outstanding animation. The OP has gorgeous backgrounds with amazing lighting and raindrops on a window that look realistic, as well as characters fighting and twirling weapons. The ED features textures and colors abound, as well as a lot of symbolism. The characters don't move around much (most of the ED is Mirai with her arm outstretched), but the backgrounds and other details are what make it truly special.
The opening of this show, "Beyond the Boundary," (not the most original title, but whatever) is sung by the voice actor of one of the main characters. The song's beginning and ending are kind of mellow, but the middle part is fast-paced and awesome. It's a good opening all around.
The ending song is called "Daisy," performed by Stereo Dive Foundation. It's also a pretty mellow song, but a very good one. I also love the "I never say goodbye" at the end of it, since I think that especially suits the show.
As far as OST, I really like the soundtrack of this show. It's kind of creepy and spooky, but appropriately bubbly and upbeat during the happier moments. One issue I do have is that they'd often recycle pieces too much. One time, they even finished playing one song and then just started it right over again (and I noticed this because I happen to have this song on my iPod, so I hear it a lot). I have no idea how many songs are in the total soundtrack, but I did notice the lack of variety.
And the insert song performed in episode 6, Future Star, is just as the characters describe it: sickly sweet but actually pretty catchy. It's a cute song.
This show has no dub, and I'm kind of glad since if it did get one it'd likely be an ADV dub and I dislike ADV dubs.
The Japanese cast does a fine job with voices and voice acting. I also found it surprising how Mirai's voice actor, Risa Taneda, voices Saki in Shinsekai Yori since the two sound almost nothing alike. Mirai has a very cute and high-pitched voice, but despite her voice, she portrays the proper negative emotions when it's needed.
What a strange misfit cast of dorks we have in this show.
There's Mirai Kuriyama, our protagonist. She's the moe cuteness obligatory in every Kyoani work. Glasses, skinny body, fluffy hair, high voice, the works. She has the catchphrase "How unpleasant!" which she utters whenever possible. But despite all the cuteness, Mirai is isolated due to her strange powers, and is unwilling to interact with others in the beginning. She also confesses early on that she has killed a person with her own two hands. That's a pretty shocking statement coming from someone like her, who hates killing youmu because of the thought of death.
Mirai is also apparently pretty clumsy, tripping over everything in the first episode, but despite her clumsiness, she is able to perform complicated aerial maneuvers (like backflipping over her school's fence) and fight confidently with her blood sword. It's somewhat contradictory.
And on that note, there's a lot of defying physics in this show without a reason why. But whatever, since a lot of animes defy physics without bothering to explain why.
Next we have Akihito Kanbara, our male lead. As explained, he's half-youmu, and has a powerful youmu consciousness inside his body, though luckily his human mind is in control most of the time. However, when Akihito's life is in peril, the youmu inside him awakes, and he develops a nasty tendency to attack everything around him.
Despite the fact that Mirai kicks off the show by trying to kill him over and over again, Akihito is sympathetic toward her and helps her hunt down youmu, buys her food, and even offers to help cover her rent. He's a pretty sweet guy to be so nice to someone who tried to kill him, but that's just his nature I guess.
We do meet his mother a couple of times, but she's pretty irrelevant and mostly fanservice. I would like to know about his father though, since they don't mention him once in the show. Same for the rest of the parents in this show, actually. We know nothing of Mirai's family or anyone else's.
The one thing I dislike about Akihito's character is his over-the-top glasses fetish. As someone who wears glasses, it made me happy to hear him talking about how pretty girls with glasses are, but his obsession with them borders on unrealistic. He's constantly trying to get the other characters in glasses and he has a weird obsession with Mirai since she wears glasses. Yes, those two are cute, but I think we could do without the fetishes. You can write a cute relationship without one of them obsessing over the other's accessories.
The other two main characters are Mitsuki and Hiromi Nase, siblings from the rich Nase family of Spirit World Warriors. Mitsuki is pretty apathetic most of the time, eating lollipops and calling the guys perverts. She's a Spirit World Warrior who specializes in Cages and has a catlike youmu as a pet. She also refuses to go along with her older brother's strange requests.
Which brings us to Hiromi. His fetish makes Akihito's look almost normal by comparison: He has a little sister complex, and is constantly trying to get Mitsuki to call him "Onii-chan," which she purposely avoids. I'm not sure why Japan loves incestual relationships so much, but there you have it.
To be honest, Hiromi's character would actually be pretty interesting if he wasn't constantly exclaiming how pretty his little sister is. He fights with the scarf he always wears, is a pro at Cages, and has an interesting history with Akihito. But alas, he's pretty much no more than a fetish creep.
As far as minor characters, we have Sakura Inami who I've heard is an anime-only character, but I'm not sure about that. She starts out with a personal vendetta against Mirai for spoilery reasons, but pulls the quickest 180 I've ever seen in a character.
There's also Mitsuki and Hiromi's older sister, Izumi Nase. She's got an interesting plot twist in the last episodes but it's unfortunately never capitalized on. Maybe we can get some more info in the sequel movie, but who knows.
Then there's Miroku, who in some ways is the villan of this story, but he's mostly just an interfering asshole.
There's several other minor characters, but none of them are relevant to the story to be honest. They're mostly just there and don't really have any outstanding characteristics.
As I mentioned, I watched this series back when it was airing. My friends and I had some pretty amusing predictions in hindsight, and there was a lot of yelling and crying whenever a new episode would come out (I'm talking the last few episodes, by the way). The light novels are not fully translated, so we were all at a loss for what would happen next.
So yeah, as someone who watched this and had no idea what would happen next, my enjoyment of this show was quite high. Even rewatching it, when I noticed a lot of problems, I still finished my rewatch in two days and enjoyed every minute of it.
It's not the best show out there, but it has great audiovisuals and a pretty interesting cast of characters despite their shortcomings and fetishes. The story is pretty good too, but I wish it'd gotten to its point sooner.
I think this show is a must-watch, especially for those fond of Kyoani's usual works, to see how different this one is. Though it contains slice of life elements, it's a far cry from their typical works and shows how heartbreaking and ruthless Kyoani can be (That movie preview? Brutal). And if you just like a plain old action anime, that fulfills this desire too, since there's really pretty fighting animation and some interesting concepts, even if said concepts don't get fully capitalized on.read more
I never knew there was a fetish for girls who wears glasses until I watched this anime. Now I realize I enjoy it when some girls wear their glasses? Warning, you may become a megane freak from this anime. Oh and you may get a Japanese lesson from this series as well... how unfortunate.
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.
Kyoukai no Kanata. The very name conjures cryptic mystery and fantastical wonder. The world is divided into humans, and youmu. Here's my personal review of this fast, strange experience.
The concept of humans and monsters struggling for control in the same world is not unseen. In fact, it's used extremely often. Kyoukai no Kanata is no stranger to this tradition. Touting a common concept and developing from it, Kyoukai takes us on a somewhat unique look towards a familiar yarn - losing some charm in the process.
Kyoto Animation's animation and art are not to be trifled with. Known for masterful eye-candy such as Free!, Chuunibyou, K-ON and Haruhi, KyoAni has brought us another breathtaking piece of animated wizardry. The story may be overused, but watching this for the art is more than worth it.
As with KyoAni's god par animation, sound is also extremely well done, captivating your ears for more than just twelve episodes. Not once, not twice, not thrice, but ten times have I attained eargasms.
Mirai is just adorable. There's no doubt about that. Akkey may be your average, sacrificial main character, but he's nothing compared to Hiroomi and his adorable imouto.
Most of the time I would watch this show for the animation. The animation, the animation, everything about it rocked my balls off. Once or twice, I got excited about the story, but this was a very enjoyable anime.
Not your best monsters vs. humans anime, but the animation, sound, character and raw action take it away. Recommended to anyone who likes anything animated.read more
This is by far one of my favorite (if not my favorite) anime of all time. Why, you ask? Well i'm about to tell you. From the beginning of the story I fell in love, not only with the animation but with the music and the characters and all other aspects of this show. I just thought it was so wonderful, keep in mind that this is my first review ever though, so the quality of it will be who knows how bad or good- and i'm sure that many of you probably disagree and that's okay. Now onto the review:
Story: (8/10) The fact that not much is explained until almost the last episode is cool. I see a lot of people complain about that, but the reality is that it's from Akihito's point of view and we get to know just about as much as he does. Al though this is true, some things could have gone further explained- youmu for example. Youmu come from people's jealousy, hatred, and malice, they also range from humanoids to insectoids- that's just about all i got, why do they possess humans? Why can some take on human forms? Why are some good (ex. Ayaka and Ai)? I also would have loved to have seen different encounters with humans that were possessed by youmu, and i feel as if a lot could have been explained about Izumi and the one guy who was trying to let the kyoukai no kanata destroy the world for some reason. Another flaw in the story would have to be going into depth about the character's pasts. In conclusion, they could have gone into more depth about the characters but instead they chose not to. While reading the light novel I found lots of things that seemed crucial to the story that were left out. Other than things not being explained thoroughly enough and the slow-ish pace, I thought the story was great. Although slow-paced, It was very captivating and humorous, the episodes could make me sob one minute and laugh the next.
Sound: (10/10) The sound definitely gets a 10/10, i'm the kind of person who will watch the opening and ending once throughout the entire series and then never watch it again. This wasn't the case for this show, I love both the opening and the ending sososo much and haven't skipped it once. Not sure if special effect sounds are included in this, but I saw no flaw in those either. The background music always fit the scene, and the character songs were marvelous. Everything in the musical aspect was great.
Character: (1000/10) Geez, this set of characters is by far my favorite ever. I am super picky with characters, honestly most of the time I really don't necessarily favor any of the characters in a show or anime that I watch. There were no two characters that were two much a like, they all stood out in their own little ways. Whether you're looking for a funny, over-dramatic, cute, pervert character or a masochistic, emotionless, yet very funny character you're going to find it and everything in between. Mirai and Akihito's relationship was honestly perfect to me. I hate stories that overly focus on the romance aspect and spend too much time dwelling on it, in this story you get to see them slowly fall for each other, which I find to be the cutest thing. I love love love the occasional cute moments and act of affection that have actual motives, which is what I found here. Since it doesn't explain the characters in much detail, you get to learn about them yourself. You get to see them grow confident in themselves, fight different battles, and interact with others. For a show with a measly 12 episodes I thought the character development and character's in general were pretty great.
Enjoyment: (10/10) This is quite obvious. The mere fact that I am taking my time to write this review after sleeping for about an hour last night and continuing to not sleep just so I could watch the show, shows that the enjoyment level was high up in my eyes. I take lots and lots of time to finish an anime, especially if i'm not too interested in it. I definitely wouldn't have to look forward to watching it every week the minute it comes out (even if that means doing it in class) if the enjoyment level wasn't a 10.
Overall I give this anime a 10, with the only weak point being the story (or how they portray the story in the anime, i should say) this anime deserves a 10. I hope this review is helpful for whatever reason and I hope there are others who can find as much joy in this show as I can. Thank you for reading. read more
Ordinarily, I can just grit my teeth and power through moe fanservice like this, but Kyoukai no Kanata broke me in three episodes. The opening sequence was so heart-pounding and exciting, and I felt like the show was doing a good job with world-building and setting itself apart from the standard supernatural high school series. But Mirai's constant clumsiness and general incompetence is so clearly fan baiting that it wore me down quickly.
The final straw was Hiroomi and Akihito talking projecting their fetishes onto Mitsuki -- who I think is a pretty funny, smart and interesting character. Show me a topless minor and you better believe I'm getting the hell out.
The other great flaw was the writing which was pretty ham-fisted, but who knows what lies beyond the third episode. If only the girls were the main characters!read more
It surprises me to see the mixed reaction to Kyoukai no Kanata. Some love it, even considering it as their favourite anime ever, yet some dropped it quick and didn't like it at all. I'm neither of these. I don't hate it, yet don't considering it a masterpiece. I just really liked it. Here's why.
Now, as a story, Kyoukai no Kanata goes completely unanswered until the last episode. You are quite frankly left wondering many things, and a lot of "whys" float in your head. However this isn't the worst thing that could possibly happen. It's supposed to be a dark fantasy anime. Perhaps it's right that there is a lot of mystery involved. That's good. For most it keeps you watching. Yet for some that might not be the case. In terms of a story, if you don't like getting confused or waiting for the resolution (basically the last episode), don't watch Kyoukai no Kanata. The stories darkness and mystery is a fundamental aspect of everything you watch, so I believe if you have patience, you'll love it.
Kyoto Animation did a great job on Kyoukai no Kanata. Simple as that. They captured the essence of story, the emotions, the feelings of the characters with the animation. The Youmu in particular as well as the fight scenes are great to watch. I say good job Kyoto animation. Characters voices are very much suitable to the sorts of characters, and is very much helpful in allowing you to feel the way they do. The music for me wasn't the most amazing thing to my ears, but it certainly wasn't bad at all.
Now, for the characters as they are, can be considered good. There is a lot of focus on the identity of each character, and their specific traits. However that's about as far as it goes. I can share my criticism with others in that there is little depth to the characters. Don't get me wrong the characters are brilliant and suit Kyoukai no Kanata to a T. I feel that sometimes the misplaced comedy and sexual gags get in the way of some potentially great dialogue or charade development. It certainly doesn't drag anything down, it's more of a personal suggestion that there be more stories behind the characters. But you can only do so much in 12 episodes so I do understand why it was made how it was.
In summary, I can really say I enjoyed it. I would have rated Kyoukai no Kanata an 8 an hour ago. However on watching the final episode it did step up the mark to a 9. Some might disagree with me on this rating, seeing as most feel the lack of a fluidic story and decently developed characters ruin it. However I do see Kyoukai no Kanatas purpose. As a fantasy darkness anime, you cannot be certain on anything. Just about anything could have been done for the final episode, and the way it was ended was great. I believe you should watch it. Test your patience, and then watch the final episode. Then you'll understand why Kyoukai no Kanata actually goes beyond the boundary (Haha) in its genre.