Mirai Kuriyama is the sole survivor of a clan of Spirit World warriors with the power to employ their blood as weapons. As such, Mirai is tasked with hunting down and killing "youmu"—creatures said to be the manifestation of negative human emotions. One day, while deep in thought on the school roof, Mirai comes across Akihito Kanbara, a rare half-breed of youmu in human form. In a panicked state, she plunges her blood saber into him only to realize that he's an immortal being. From then on, the two form an impromptu friendship that revolves around Mirai constantly trying to kill Akihito, in an effort to boost her own wavering confidence as a Spirit World warrior. Eventually, Akihito also manages to convince her to join the Literary Club, which houses two other powerful Spirit World warriors, Hiroomi and Mitsuki Nase.
As the group's bond strengthens, however, so does the tenacity of the youmu around them. Their misadventures will soon turn into a fight for survival as the inevitable release of the most powerful youmu, Beyond the Boundary, approaches.
Kyoukai no Kanata covers the storyline of the first two volumes of the light novel adaptation. It has been licensed by Sentai Filmworks in North America, Hanabee in Australia and Animatsu Entertainment in the United Kingdom. It was also simulcast on Crunchyroll.
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.
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.
"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.
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