Yoshimura Sumimura comes from a long line of "Kekkaishi," individuals who have supernatural abilities and are able to destroy evil creatures called Ayakashi that venture into the human realm from time to time. The Ayakashi are demons that look to feast on the power emanating from the land of Karasumori, which also happens to be where Yoshimura's high school is located. Now, Yoshimura must fight to protect his beloved school and hometown. Although, if it were up to him, he would rather be baking cakes than fighting off the ugly characters that show up at night.
Thankfully, Yoshimura isn't the only one helping to keep the baddies at bay. His childhood friend and neighbor, Tokine Yukimura, joins him in this righteous battle. Despite the fact that they are from rival clans, these two make a fantastic team. And teamwork is something vital to fighting the evil that is closing in, as the Ayakashi attack in waves, looking to claim the land as their own, and a shadowy organization looks on, ready to pounce when the time is right...
Kekkaishi is basically one epic siege story. The very fact that its based around protecting one piece of land (conveniently the main protagonists' school) only at night time, is the show's main hook, and it fulfils its interesting potential throughout.
Yoshimori and Tokine, our plucky teens, are charged with the seemingly life-long mission to protect a mystical piece of land with their barrier technique. The ability to create barriers of all shapes and sizes by pointing their fingers and shouting "Ketsu!" and destroying the contents of their CGI boxes with "Metsu!" It’s a very cool and unusual technique and the animation remains consistently
good throughout the series, so it never gets old watching the two develop their skills, or to watch Tokine take liberties and use her kekkai to smack Yoshimori in the face.
The manga is written by a female so you can expect some good characterization for Tokine. The two heroes are on an even level for most of the anime, and being that it’s written by a female, the relationship and romance has a more deft touch to it. Sexist observation? Maybe, but I can tell you that I didn’t really roll my eyes or get bored with any of the lovey dovey moments sprinkled throughout Kekkaishi.
Populated by interesting and amusing characters, an epically memorable Taku Iwasaki score, refreshing pacing, and creative action, Kekkaishi is the definition of how a shonen genre anime is meant to be made. It does get a tad derivative towards the end, being unable to escape the tropes of the genre, but its still good fun. Each episode also ends with a great Photoshop-like montage of characters, basically summing up the climax of the last 20 minutes.
The producers even had the grace to just end the adaptation at the end of an arc, rather than overtake the manga or descend into filler hell. It’s a bittersweet compromise but one we should accept and respect. For a show sponsored by McDonalds, you'd think greed would compel them to milk everything out of this show, but they knew when to stop. Whether it was due to Kekkaishi not being as sell-able as Naruto or One Piece for example, I don’t know, but I don’t care when what they leave us with is an anime as excellent as this.
So like I said, Kekkaishi is a kind of siege story, a staple of the action-thriller genre that live-action films occasionally excel at, but anime rarely ever touches. Kekkaishi greets the genre head on with shonen enthusiasm and ends up an entertaining show worth watching.
Let me start off by saying that Kekkaishi is NOT your average mainstream anime, because let me tell you, it ISN'T. It starts off making you think it's all "we've got one aspiring, goofy young teen who wants to be noticed, one smart-perfect round about girl, and one best friend who is half-human half-other" but then it takes you onto a whole other plane.
Kekkaishi has your drama, your comic relief scenes, and your thought provoking scenarios all in one AND the best part is that it isn't long and overly drawn out like Naruto, Bleach, or InuYasha.
As mentioned earlier, it's got your basic goofy
main character who has a crush on his neighbor and later on meets his best friend who happens to be half-Ayakashi ("ghost"/"demon"). HOWEVER, Kekaishi also successfully merges in some well back story plots that defies your average shounen story making it about 100x more interesting and it isn't drawn out to be annoying. The only reason I don't give it a full 10 was because I felt the ending could have used a little more "padding" i.e, giving it a slightly more thorough conclusion. It wasn't completely open-ended, but I do feel that there were maybe one or two knots that could have been tied before ending completely.
Considering that I'm writing this review in 2015 and this anime finished airing in 2008, I'm actually rather impressed with some of the special effects in the show. There were a few questionable shots, but overall I thought the art work was clean, well-done, and interesting. I only give it an 8 though because there were a few awkward shots/angles.
Awesome voice acing (I'm talking about the original Japanese) the voices are all amazing and you really feel like you're watching something and not listening to someone reading off a script. There are also some very good, well-known voice actors such as Hiroyuki Yoshino and Kenjiro Tsuda. Also, including sound, the voice sound wasn't as ill-proportioned as some anime can be (i.e, the sound effects and music overpowers the voices making it difficult to hear).
The characters were all very "3D" meaning they really captured the audience's attention. In my opinion, I really got to "know" the characters more as people than just characters in a story. Even the villain Kaguro, because dang, did that guy have STYLE! He was bad to the core, but there was a certain amount of charm in the way he did things that kind of makes you like him and respect him, but still not "like-liking" him enough to hope he isn't killed off in the end. He made for a very good villain and normally one would hope to look for "grey villains" in anime that can decide to be seen as good or bad, but not this time. Kaguro was completely black in personality, and it was kind of "refreshing" in a way because often anime creates antagonists who, more usually than not, join the hero side which, although interesting, can kind of become predictably boring after seeing it occur so often.
There is also a good amount of character development and interesting personalities and, like I said, you really "fall in love" with the characters.
Overall and Enjoyment (10/10:
Overall, it was an awesome show with a relatively satisfying ending and I'm actually really depressed now that it's over. I suggest it for people who want mindless fun, but not to the point of brain dead fluff. I mean, I liked it so much that I managed to write a review for it, which I haven't even done for my most FAVORITE or favorite shows; so it just goes to show how great this series is, right? :P
Watching _Kekkaishi_ is like enjoying a big box of chocolate; you know it's essentially just fat and sugar, but that doesn't stop you from eating it.
_Kekkaishi_ offers nothing new, nothing spectacular, essentially nothing. It's not one of those animes that tries to be high brow and thought provoking. In the limitation of its scope, however, the series has done extremely well. The story progresses with fast enough pace that one doesn't feel the urge to fast forward, often with suspense--in the form of unresolved secrets or crisis--sustained throughout several episodes. The art is excellent as well: very clean and rarely with the exaggeration of either
being too 'shoujo' or too 'shounen.' It's rather rare these days to see the female protagonist drawn without over-developed body parts, which in this case only makes her more charming and lovable.
The story is simple and rather straight-forward. The basic premise of nearly all episodes lies on the encounter of the two main characters with the invading monster(s) of the week, with stories dedicated to character development revolving around this premise. I am glad to say, however, that the story has not fallen into one of the major caveats of this structure. The conflict resolution does not always depend on the main characters getting stronger (through training, for instance), but also on their character growth and interaction.
Many hints are dropped within the series suggesting the series targets a rather young main audience: too many things are explicitly spelled out for you. The male protagonist's main drive, for instance, is hammered repeatedly to the audience from his own dialogue. A good thing that comes out of this is that the characters have well-defined personalities that explain why they do the things they do. Every character remains faithful to his/her main trait. This, unfortunately, also makes the characters rather simplistic and two-dimensional, with no room left for surprise. I find it difficult, however, to blame a series dedicated to younger audience for being reductionist in its portrayal of human psyche.
What is it that sets Kekkaishi apart from other shounen anime? Well, nothing really. Kekkaishi had a fairly original premise of two young kekkai users battling ayakashi (youkai) in order to protect a powerful piece of land. In order to protect the land, their rivaling families have lived next to each other for 400 years. Growing up together from a young age, Yoshimori and Tokine knew that their families were "frienemies" and that they should not maintain a close relationship. So the story begins...
Unfortunately, all the unique and interesting parts of the anime had little development, and the anime
focused on the run-of-the-mill shounen fodder. It would have been interesting if they had addressed Yoshimori's unrequited love for Tokine and what makes Yoshimori's powers so unique, but sadly it was mostly ignored. Another disturbing characteristic was the seeming lack of emotion over death. Without going into too much detail, usually people have a strong emotional reaction to death. Well, in this case, the next episode was back to usual and the death was rather unemotionally brought up only when convenient.
Many parallels can been seen between Kekkaishi, Naruto, and Bleach. Yoshimori is basically a pre-Shippuden, less obnoxious Naruto; while Tokine is a slightly more useful and naggy Sakura. One of the enemy ayakashi is a forgery of Rukia from Bleach. It was pretty blatant character stealing.
Story: 5 Mediocre. It had potential, but the beginning of the anime basically had no plot.
Art: 8 Very good. While it was not my preferred style, the art was crisp and clean. The characters were a little above average, but the backgrounds were beautiful. Unfortunately, they use the same background over-and-over again. Definitely the best aspect of the series.
Sound: 3 Poor. Whoever decided on the theme song needs to be fired. It's one of those songs that is maybe ok once, but that screechy harpy voice makes you angry the second time you hear it. All the ending themes but one were lackluster. Sound effects were normal in the episodes. Obviously, something the series fails at.
Characters: 6 This is what kept me coming back for more. No, not Tokine and Yoshimori, but some fairly decent bad guys. It's pretty sad when you want the protagonists to lose and have the antagonists take over the story. Almost all the characters (especially the protagonists) were one-trick-ponies. They had no discernible character development and felt flat.
Enjoyment: 5 Mediocre. Unfortunately, the last 10 or so episodes do not make up for the 40+ bland episodes before it. I would have rated this higher if the first episodes had been less repetitive.
Overall: 6 Fair. Although the the anime wasn't terrible at the every-episode-fight-weak-random-bad-guys scenario, I could have substituted any episode for the other. That said, the anime did show significant improvement after the 40th episode. Kekkaishi could have benefited from compacting the beginning storyline and reducing the episode count. Quantity does not equal quality.
In conclusion: At this time, I would only recommend this anime to people who are new to the shounen genre. Maybe you can enjoy it more if you have nothing to compare it to. If there is a second season, that picks up were the first left off, I might actually recommend it. That being said, you would have to sift through the previous 40 boring episodes. I would recommend Bleach and Naruto over Kekkaishi (as long as you skip the fillers), and less well-known series such as: Sengoku Basara, Soul Eater, Monochrome Factor (manga is better), and Tactics.
Whether noble or savage, wise or feral, wolves have always had a place in our hearts. In this list, we'll showcase 15 of the most famous anime wolf characters. Read on to see if your favorite made the list!
Kaze no Stigma is a funny and action-packed tale of magic, family, and revenge that came out in 2007. It may have been a rollercoaster of fun while it lasted, but what now? Worry not my dear friends, for we have here a list of five other anime like Kaze no Stigma to fill in that empty void.