The second season of Kekkai Sensen is more of the same show from 2015. If you liked the first season, you will probably like this one as well. If you did not like the first season, chances are high your opinion will not change. Style over substance - the anime.
STORY: Bizarre, aimless and minimalistic.
Kekkai Sensen & Beyond is a simple case of the week show. There is no overarching plotline, 1.5 episodes of overall story progression is a major letdown. Each episode is concatenation of bizarre events mixed with introduction of Libra members, who did not get attention in the first season. Those small and
isolated stories are random to a degree, that you could think anything can happen in this city. In the process the show cannot establish its internal rules or boundaries for the world it is presenting and seems aimless. I mean if there are Vampires and Demons, why not highly advanced space bacteria?
There are numerous attempts to do humor, however most jokes, especially the physical ones, don't land; the whole ep 10 is one ongoing joke, which overstayed its welcome. The show tries to do meta humor with a lot of references of other shows: Inception ep 4, HxH ep 6 and more, however subpar writing transforms it in cheap rip-offs.
CHARACTERS: Wide as a sea, shallow as a puddle.
Kekkai Sensen & Beyond will often dedicate one whole episode to a character, and yet it somehow manages to tell almost nothing about the person in spotlight. Those episodes focus too much on the case and not the character, so that only one or two attributes can be added to a character description, leaving them paper thin. Afterwards their screen time will be reduced to nothing per episode.
There are not many occasions when the whole (or some) cast is in one room and bounces of each other in a snappy dialogue, a setting I would like to see because it actually advances characters and shows relationships. Zapp and Chain got their moments, sadly those are rare and far between.
I don’t remember Leo being this annoying in the first season. He is still a damsel in distress, but now he is mostly targeted by random thugs for his pocket money and not some higher beings for his God’s eyes.
But Sonic is still the best and steals the spotlight in every frame.
ART & ANIMATION: All that glitter is not gold.
Backgrounds are detailed and character models are appealing, although the later ones will be off model from time to time.
The animation of action scenes is somewhat sparse. Those will often consist of stylish freeze frames, most notably in ep 2 or 6. However, from time to time the viewer is spoiled with beautiful sakuga, like in ep 5. All in all, Kekkai Sensen & Beyond draws attention with its high production values, but cannot deliver consistently high quality visuals.
MUSIC: Some big shoes to fill.
The first season had very memorably music, especially the end theme, so that reaching the same quality was a very difficult task. Background music and original voice acting are still amazing.
Watching some over the top action anime these days can really fill anyone with a dose of popcorn entertainment. There’s popular Marvel based movies coming out each year, book adaptations that turned into cultural influence, and iconic Hollywood stars that made history in the film industry. Then, there was Kekkai Sensen. Remember Spring 2015? Among the many action based shows, Kekkai Sensen stood out as a show that stylized action and violence to present a storyteller of supernatural gimmicks. Well guess what? Bones is back at it again and made sure that Kekkai Sensen is here to talk about for 2017.
I’m not going to lie.
Kekkai Sensen’s return didn’t come as a total surprise given the popularity of the manga in Japan. What started out as a one-shot by Yasuhiro Nighthow became a serialized manga and eventually turned into this animated action flick. Known for his work Trigun and Gungrave, Kekkai Sensen had to make a name for itself. It did just that through the incredibly addicting storytelling and characters. To make things even better, the franchise adapted Nighthow’s style of humor, the type that can hook anyone in with just how over the top it can be.
Titled as “Kekkai Sensen & Beyond”, the sequel starts off in the aftermath of the first season. Some time has passed and once again, we are introduced to the city of Hellsalem’s Lot. From the first few episodes, we see that Leo’s life is still as hectic as you can imagine. It doesn’t long at all for the sequel to get you into the mood again as the pilot episode reintroduces the humor of the franchise. Episode 2 also gives an insight on the backstory of Hellsalem’s Lot that is more than just an exposition. It’s told through meaningful dialogues and gives the viewers a better understanding of its world setting. Indeed, Kekkai Sensen’s world fiction is colorful and has always bought a fascination to me.
Now, here’s the curious part about Kekkai Sensen. Who is your favorite character? Maybe you like the typical main protagonist, Leo. Perhaps someone as crazy as Zapp is on your list to look out for. Or maybe, someone that was overlooked from season 1 like K.K or Gilbert? Thankfully, Kekkai Sensen & Beyond gets to work at bringing those characters to attention. The first season heavily focused on the core members of Libra. However, this sequel brings to light with storytelling about the other characters too. Some of the noticeable examples are Chain, Gilbert, K.K., and even Zed. It’s interesting to see what these characters do during their free time and honestly, it bought more interest to them. For instance, did you know that Chain and her fellow comrades (a member of the Invisible Werewolf) still had an old nemesis who wanted revenge? Ever curious about what K.K’s family life is like and relationship with her son? Or even, Zed. The man has been really an outcast but in this sequel, he gets a nice spotlight with is background storytelling. I can also confess that seeing Gilbert go beyond his duty as a combat butler was highly entertaining. It reminds me of the Gotham/Batman-style action that became iconic from American culture.
That being said, I can’t say the storytelling is always great at selling its plot. Some of the later episodes can be a bit tedious and even boring to watch. Two episodes in particular (as a 2-episode arc) in the latter half of the show gave me a weak impression. It focused on one of Leo’s friends (Riel) that I just couldn’t bring myself to enjoy watching. Not mention, Riel’s personality isn’t interesting to watch either despite the friendship he shares with Leo. In addition, it also felt inevitable that the sequel would bring back important characters from the first season. Leo’s sister Michella is a prime example. There have been several flashbacks throughout the sequel that shows how important she is to his life. It’s hard for me to say this but while it’s important to get to her character’s story, it doesn’t feel that impactful. Sure it’s important to see her again but did we really need two episodes to focus on her? I’ve only read parts of the manga so this came to me as more of letdown than as a blessing. Still, the series does maintain a decent pace mostly thanks to the character cast, stylistic episode adventures, and excessive humor.
Bones is back at it again and Hellsalem’s Lot is looking better than ever. Just like season 1, this sequel makes attention to detail as one of its highlights. The complexity of the cities, advanced technology of abnormal sci-fi elements, and the even everyday objects makes its mark. It really excels at making its world feel alive. Character designs still gives a sense of style to themselves and we also get to see the hardcore action that bought so much entertainment like the first season. Fan service is mostly presented through the action sequences as the characters showcase their unique powers. The key selling point is how they influence outcomes and interacting with certain situations. I also can’t stress this enough but when it comes to action, Kekkai Sensen knows how to hit the bull’s eye to give the viewers what it wants.
While I can’t say Kekkai Sensen & Beyond’s theme songs are as creative as the first season’s, it still gives a memorable impression to showcase the talent of the directors. What really drew my interest towards technical aspects of the show is the OST. The mixture of jazz, eerie, orchestral, and melancholic music really synchronizes well with each other.
After watching this show, it’s easy to say that Kekkai Sensen still has what it takes to deliver entertainment. It had the capability of expanding its plot even with episodic adventures while giving side characters their own stories. However, I will say that the sequel isn’t as impactful compared to the first season. At some point, you may feel like the show tried to showcase everything and has nothing more to offer. I had that feeling at some point especially in the final few episodes. Still, give the sequel a try. It’s a series celebrating the work of Yasuhiro Nighthow that opens the doors to fun.
Except for the last two episodes, there is no plot in none of the 10 episodes. Some are just background of Libra members (4,6,7), others are nonsense ( 1,8,9) and some are rushed (2,3,10). The episodes 8 and 9 are the worst of the season. The episodic episodes feels like a bunch of OVA mixed together.
In this aspect the show in much better than the other options. The fights have very good animation and the colour is beautiful.
Besides the opening and the ending, i don't remember much of the soundrack.
Despite the show have episodes dedicated to Libra members, after that,
their presence feels nonexistent. Also they still are some Libra members that barely know anything. Leo is undeveloped until the last two episodes, he is just beaten all the time. Klaus feels more a background character in most episodes unlike the first season. Zapp have less screen. Steven in the only character in this season that was well treated.
The villains: all are generic, boring and are the same just with different designs. The Blood Breed of episode 10 and the villain of the last two episodes are the only with personality in the entire season. They are so bad written that i just remember the villains of the first season. Aligura and Femt barely appears despite being in the opening.
I don't like most of the episodes. Nearly all the episodes are just the same: some generic villain do something against a Libra member → characters try to finding them or do something to defeat them→ explosions everywhere and the generic villain is defeated. Even in the background episodes this happens.
I don't like this season. Despite the first season was average (5/10), this season feels more chaotic and a wasted of time in most of the 10 episodes. This season handled very bad the villains and forget Femt and Aligura. Only for the animation and the last two episodes, my score for Kekkai Sensen & Beyond is 4/10.
I'll try and explain why this isn't a good sequel, at all. [Spoiler Free]
I'd just like to get it out of the way that I'm watching this hot off the heels of the first season, as I binged the first and second season in about a day. The details of which are still very fresh in my mind.
This is also the second season of Kekkai Sensen, so I'm assuming you're familiar with the story.
Why does Kekkai Sensen 2 fail as a sequel? To put it bluntly, it's because this season is much more episodic in nature.
In the first season, almost every episode leading up
to the finale had something to do with or laid down the subtext for the overarching plot of the story, which culminated in a satisfying, if a bit hollow ending. It was still episodic, but was also eluding to the bigger picture.
The second season has failed to do this mostly and has felt flatter and less engaging because of it.
This is a spoiler free review, but the plot point that ended up being the finale was the exact one I thought it was in my preliminary review, and was only mentioned a grand total of about two minutes before the final two episodes.
Every other episode just feels like exposition and world building that are just loosely strung together without any grounding in a plot structure.
That's why I feel like this fails as a sequel, it feels like a bunch of OVA episodes mashed together.
I was honestly, truly looking forward to the new kekkai sensen season. My friend and I absolutely adored the first season. It had the right amount of craziness and enough plot to keep us going. Because of how great the first season was, we both went into this with high expectations. But this season... has been a train wreck.
With only 3 episodes left, I have very little hope that there's going to be a truly satisfying ending. Seeing the preview for the next episode even further solidifies my feeling.
The format has been that of an episodic anime, where something that happens in one episode doesn't
really correlate with another. Nothing connects. There's very little actual story going on. We're getting GREAT episodes that focus on one character at a time where we learn about a specific character, but that's all Beyond has going for it.
There's nothing building up. No story other than "yeah crazy shit is happening again". We're being introduced to new characters that I can't feel anything for because, again, we only focus on them for like one episode and that's it.
For the most part, Kekkai Sensen and Beyond is nice if you're wanting a snapshot of one of the main cast's day in everyday life. But you're also missing very little if you choose to skip around.
The first season of this show is one of my favorites of all time. The wild and crazy antics that Leo goes through on top of a deeply connected story was amazing so I had high hopes coming into this. The story is basically about the aftermath of a fallout which connected new york to another world to state it quickly. This season lacks the continuity that the first season had. It is more like a series of OVAs so far. The show also feels toned down compared to the first season the antics aren't as frequent or heavy but they are still there and
just as enjoyable.
The art is also really good. It is one of the staples of this show for me since anything can happen at any time. The show doesn't limit itself so, the art supports it very well because it has to. The characters designs and when people use their powers are enough to get you to watch the show on their own if you didn't much for anything else.
The first season's music was amazing all the way through. I spam the soundtrack in the car all the time and this season doesn't fall far behind in quality but it isn't as good and that's not saying a lot. Every song you hear makes you happy and fits the scenes well.
This season focuses less on Leo and more on the side characters so far giving everyone their own episodes and I love it. Chain is laid back and good for parties despite are ultimate badassness, Zapp is as stupid as always and etc. you can't help but love everyone and it's nice getting to know them more as the main plot of this story ended last season and this whole show could have stopped there and left you satisfied. It makes you wonder if we do get to an actual story or stick to this OVA like format.
I enjoy the crap out of this show and am never disappointed as we move on. Overall I give it a 8 because as much as love this I admit it's not perfect. It might make bring more score up if we get that serious side back but for now... You should watch this if you loved the first season you will enjoy this too but don't start here you won't get into it.
Kekkai Sensen is... a fairly unique show by today's standards. It fills a niche category that doesn't pop up every season, and is even more rarely well done: that of the episodic action series. Instead of a linear plotline, Kekkai Sensen instead focuses on worldbuilding through mostly one-off episodes, shifting its focal point to different characters around the protagonist in order to further pull you, the viewer, into their world. While this style alienates some viewers of the show, for me it reminds me of the first season of Darker than Black, a series I greatly enjoyed (we don't talk about the second season). While
these shows both had overarching plot points, the majority of both shows are spent covering fun, self contained stories that pop up each episode. Both of these shows greatest strengths were their world concepts, and this episodic structure is part of what invests the viewer into these inventive settings.
And what a world Kekkai Sensen gives us - Hellsalem's Lot; a crossdimensional apocalyptic version of New York City. This strange dystopia, along with the eccentric but lively main cast, provide an exceptional vehicle for a show of this kind. The city is painstakingly animated, with bustling streets providing a true of sense of reality to a show drunk on fantasy. The main cast, while relatively shallow so far save for the main character, are nonetheless enjoyable, quirky, and distinctive, further flavoring an unconventional setting with suitably strange individuals.
This show is a joyride. It rolls out a wacky combination of action, political intrigue, and humor. The rule of cool is constantly in effect, and with BONES animating it, you can bet your bottom dollar that it looks fantastic. While this show is far from perfect, its flaws are more than overshadowed by its strengths. This show's top priority is fun, and for me it has captured that in every episode so far. My favorite episode so far was about a mushroom person with a burger addiction, and if that's not fun and wacky, I don't know what is.
This show is well done, but based on its unique formatting is certainly not everyone's cup of tea. If your favorite episode of Cowboy Bebop was Toys in the Attic, you'll most likely enjoy this show. If you're looking for something more plot driven rather than character/world driven, you'll most likely find this show frustrating. Personally? I'm having a blast.
Its not Kekkai Sensen Season 2. It is Kekkai Sensen and Beyond!...
The first season of Kekkai Sensen was aired last Spring 2015 and gave us a good plotline of the characters of Libra. With the story on point in season 1 up to the end, it was a good anime on my perspective. Then here comes Kekkai Sensen and Beyond. The season 2 of the hit anime and I, to be honest cannot really decide which is better. Thus, I compared both of them for this review and come up that it is without a doubt there is a great difference.
Beyond starts of with
Leonardo reflecting the past event that happened to obtain his "All Seeing Eyes Of God" power. In season 1 we are hinted about his sister's involvement on the eyes of Leonardo although we were never showed the history, riddle or anything about it (except its abilities prior to combat). This anime this season gave us a clue or a hint already in the very start that Beyond's objective will be focusing on uncovering some details about the mystery eyes of Leonardo. Though I was surprised that it didnt get along with the storyline of the first Kekkai Sensen. Instead of rushing to the objective (which is uncovering any details about the eyes), it offered us backgrounds on each and every member of Libra. To be fair, I really don't like this type of things in anime like reflecting or having side story and all but it turns out that Beyond gave me or gave you a good impression to every single character. Enjoying there fun moments and feeling their struggles when they have problems. For example, I was amazed by how awesome Gilbert Altstein was in the episode he was feature. He looks like Alfred from Batman on that time. In season 1 it looks to me that he is just a trustworthy butler but I was surprised by it. Also, the story behind Obrien Zed, is also a quite emotional and informative on how he interacts with others. Even though these are all good stories in an episode or two, I have one question. Why not just turn this stories of every Libra members as specials or OVA's?
Here's the point. The storyline is quite confusing in Beyond. At first we were given a certain clue about the storyline. Hinting us that this will be Leonardo's spotlight again but different as he will be encountering a secret about his eyes, or his sister. But that idea got temporarily dispose and replaced by stories of each characters. I am not against it that much because I, to be honest enjoyed there own episodes, but along that characters should try to solve the main conflict little by little, though this was never seen until episode 11 - 12 (which is a fight about those eyes). Although despite of all this, the action of the story is still mindblowing and fun to watch as it gets intense on every episode.
The characters are the same and still being one of the best groups in anime. I still love it when especially when they say their moves like "Lance Of Absolute Zero" by Steven. The whackiness of Leonardo and Zapp are still onpoint that makes Beyond have a bit of comedy tint on it.
The art never changed, thus it is a good thing as the art on season 1 of Kekkai Sensen is already perfect for the story. The visuals of when they say their moves (the japanese letters striking to your screen) never gets old and the effects of the action parts.
Season 1 opening and ending is indeed better than this one though the jazz soundtrack of season 1 is reflected to season 2 which gives us a nostalgic atmosphere. The jazz fits the aerosphere of mood on situations. Though I said that opening and ending of season 1 was better, I still can't stand that the new openings and endings are quite plausible as they are unique as well.
Overall thoughts and Enjoyment
Kekkai Sensen and Beyond brought me back to when I watched the season 1. How I judge it if it was better than it is quite difficult because the enjoyment level is quite indeed very good for me but the storyline and outlining the conflicts is always important on storytelling. And that whats lacking Beyond. It maybe enjoyable although a story... is a story. Overall, I enjoyed Beyond but not as I enjoyed season 1 of Kekkai Sensen. Even though its like this, I still highly recommend you to watch it. If you still didnt watch Season 1 then go ahead and then watch Season 2.
Kekkai Sensen & Beyond or Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond or BBB & B is back! (That's alot of B's)
The very first thing LA would mention about this second season is the absences of Rie Matsumoto, the director of the first season who brought that zany flair she added to Kekkai Sensen that will be sorely missed in this season but nonetheless, this season helmed by Shigehito Takayanagi (Director of Dagashi Kashi and both season of The World God Only Knows) tries to emulate Rie's vision in his own way as well as pay respects to Rie all into this second season with great results.
one, Kekkai Sensen's episodic nature is back and takes a more character focused narrative this season by bringing us perspective from the various main characters of Libra and giving us their daily lives of them.
The funniest thing is, many of the episodes even pays homage to media references (which is probably Yasuhiro Nightow's influence, the author of Kekkai Sensen), from paying homage to Batman, Akira and Godzilla among others.
Character-wise the development of the minor cast of Libra was a good step, from Gilbert F. Altstein, Chain Sumeragi, K.K, Zed and Steven A. Starphase. LA's favourite would be a tie between K.K and Chain's episodes and involvement in several of the off-handed non main character focused episodes. LA felt that Klaus didn't get as much as the rest of the cast though he was linked to a Demon Hospital episode that had at least showed his resolve before Hellsalem's Lots actually became a thing. Now Leo's actual character focused episode doesn't show up until the final 2 episodes of Beyond and it involving Michella, you know it was gonna get serious. Before all that it hinted us the audience that Leo wanted to get rid of the curse of his All Seeing Eyes and culminated into the final episodes into something as bombastically intense as it did, with a villain Leo faces who surpasses him in terms of supernatural power.
Animation and voice acting wise, it has all the feel of the first season, with the crisp and zany battles that Libra goes through and all the alien nature of the anime taken as normalcy. The animation done by Bones is once again great and consistent all throughout from both the first season and this one. Voice acting wise, LA thought Yuu Kobayashi and Ai Orikasa got to use more of their acting chops during this season and it paid off. Daisuke Sakaguchi who voiced Leo is his normal yet zany self and his over-exacerbated reactions are great as always. What's great for the voice cast for LA would be Nana Mizuki as Michella and in voicing Leo's kind hearted sister (LA says this as Nana usually voices the badass character) but LA has this thing with Nana Mizuki where LA can't displace Nana Mizuki from Tsubasa from Symphogear, but nonetheless with all this rambling, the voice cast is expected greatness.
So if you thinking with the change of directors and change of plot focus would deter you from liking this season of Kekkai Sensen, LA would say you can rest easy as it still has the same vibe to the original and given the character development to Libra actually working it's own advantage, the same animation studio pegging this season and the voice cast being as amazing as always, Beyond quite honestly eviscerated any notion that this season would go down on the wayside with what passion, homages and emulate the first season to this season own unique greatness!
Okay incoming 1 episode reviewer here, don't take me too seriously:
HA this is shit BUT IT'S GREAT. This is approved by someone with S1 in his top 5 favorites. I'll be honest: This season is 100% imitations of Rie Matsumoto's OG style for season 1and no lie; it's only 1 ep in so I may be completely wrong but this style is everything I wanted in a second season against all my expectations WOOP...
Okay well MAL requires me to submit a longer review so I will, just give some of my general thoughts to please the overlords. But here's my general idea after watching just
a bit of it (remember one episode is all I got!):
The art this everything from S1, as well as the music; the music is from the same composer at least so its fantastic. That's more a credit to Bones than the director they hired to take over for Rie (Dagashi Kashi director incoming, brace yourselves) but somehow, SOMEHOW... Shigehito Takayanagi has captured the original series' magic. It may be he's simply riding on studio Bones' incredible style but it's working.
Bottom line: If you loved Kekkai Sensen S1 give this one a chance; it defied my expectations (which were quite low coming in). We'll see if this keeps up but so far I'm in for the long haul.
I'll gladly update this review as more episodes come out (that's fun right?), and I do hope this keeps the wacky off-the-cuff-fun and quality it's shown so far.
There's a lot of reviews on the frontpage that seem to point a pretty negative light on this second season of Kekkai Sensen, and while the points they bring up are valid, I feel like judging Kekkai Sensen based off a conventional anime framework doesn't really do it justice, especially considering how ambitious it is as a series.
Story: This anime is episodic and unlike the first season which developed the plot throughout the season, the second season only contributes to the main plot in the last two episodes. This is perfectly fine as Kekkai Sensen at its absolute best is 1-2 episodes per arc. The
simplicity of each arc and how it fleshes out each character can be described as efficient. The pacing never feels too slow, and even when its going too fast, it plays into the theme of a chaotic mood that is perfect for the setting of Hellsalem's Lot. While the stories aren't the best, they pave the way for something more important which is leaving the watcher at awe with the world and how the characters interact with it. Compared to the first season, I feel like the later episodes weren't bogged down to fit the whole black/white arc and that I preferred how each of the episodes had its own "Hero's Journey". To criticize Kekkai Sensen for this format seems absolutely ridiculous, as fast pace is important to the overall mood of kekkai sensen and plenty of successful anime have employed the same method with conflicts being introduced and resolved within the same episode.
Art: The animation is like the first season. Stylistically, the style matches the fast paced anime style. The action scenes look fluid and there's no real ambiguity with what's happening. However, the animation doesn't stand out as much as the other strengths, and there are a lot of still frames that look horrendous with regards to proportions.
Sound: First season had one of the best soundtrack in modern anime, and the second season also delivers. The soundtrack fits the mood and the pure variety is enough to be impressed by what Kekkai Sensen brings to the table in terms of audio. My only complaint is that the soundtrack doesn't seem too big of an upgrade from the first season, and I really miss the old ED :(
Character: Kekkai Sensen has static characters, but that doesn't mean these characters are bad by any means. Many of the episodes in Kekkai Sensen were meant to not develop already established characters like a lot of these reviewers claim, but rather to give insight to the nuances these characters display. Chain during season 1 was a straight laced no nonsense tough girl, but in season 2 she feels infinitely more human and personable. Steven was cool in season 1, but in season 2 he feels infinitely more dangerous and ominous. These are just a couple of examples, and while some of these characters still come off as flat, there are enough characters to like that aren't cookie cutter tropes.
Enjoyment: Since this is the etc option of MAL, I'll just talk about the best quality of Kekkai Sensen which is the fact that the setting and world building are top notch. While Kekkai Sensen isn't special in terms of the metrics we measure regular anime, the amount of cohesion that fits into the universe makes this a real treat. The episodic format, multiple static format, high tempo music, and even the animation all play into a beautiful romp committed to crazy characters in a equally crazy world and their hi jinks.
Awesome sequel to season 1, I have to say I preferred this season a lot more to season 1. Like season 1, there was a great selection of BGM and OP/ED, which reflect the mood of the anime. The way in which the soundtrack was woven into the animation alone should be reason for watching this sequel
Some of its downfalls are that the finale of the anime didn't have a lot of foreshadowing to it (technically hints were dropped since season 1, but this could have been with more emphasis). Would also have loved to learn more about the power he was given and why
he was given it - questions that haven't quite been answered in either season.
However, this is redeemed with the main character's growth. A lot of development can be seen in how the protagonist struggles to better himself. His actions slowly start to take influence from the people he admires. He has certainly become a comfortable Libra member, and has definitely become part of HL despite how "normal" he is. Furthermore, I enjoyed taking a look at each individual member's lives. The anime does not go into deep, soppy backstories, so these episodes gave us enough to build on the characters and yet leave us wanting more. Beautifully written, fantastic direction and animation; eagerly hoping there is a 3rd season.
To be fair, I am biased towards this anime. I loved the first season of it, because it was so off-the-wall and against every standard, run-of-the-mill series you generally see out of the industry today. No high schools, no love triangles, no moe, no cliffhangers, no training regimens, no by-the-numbers plot. The anime is absolutely insane, disjointed, bizarre, and creative, while still being able to deliver a cohesive storytelling experience, which excellent characters, tons of over-the-top action, and a main character in Leo Watch, that while weak, isn't too weak to be annoying and will man up when need be. You
can get behind him as a vulnerable MC.
This is one of my favorite series ever, so in that regard I go into Season 2 already deeply swayed in favor of the anime. Season 2 didn't disappoint me, but I can definitely see where people might have complaints. This season, it didn't really tell a overarching story like Season 1 did, which followed Leonardo Watch coming to Hellsalem's Lot in order to find a way to help himself and his sister. This season was more of an ode to each individual supporting character, with the final episodes focusing on Leo and Michella. As such, it may seem all over the place as it was very episodic, which you rarely see in anime today. As someone who has seen so much anime that I get sick of the normal way animes present themselves, it was refreshing to me, but I can see where it may irritate others.
For me, the Kekkai Sensen team was already one of my favorite teams out there, so delving into the back stories of some of them really helped to flush out the entire cast and make the team even more likable for me. They particularly did a good job with KK and Chain Sumeragi. I went from not really caring much about KK, to really enjoying her. I believe that this was the main purpose of the creators of the anime, to get fans more acquainted with each supporting character, so they will be more invested in them going forward in Season 3. For me, it definitely worked, but again, it may irritate some.
As with the first season, the soundtrack was outstanding. Because Kekkai Sensen is so focused on not being like other animes, the soundtrack is also much different. They blend in a lot of Chillhop, alternative rock, jazz, and top it off with a killer intro called "Fake Town". I kept playing the intro over and over just to hear Fake Town. It's so good. This is one of those animes where I look up the OST so I can get some of the sounds I hear on it, similar to Samurai Champloo.
My one complaint about the creative process is that I never really have cared much for the artwork of Kekkai Sensen. It's not bad, but it's not particularly great, either. At times it can look a little cheap when it comes to the character designs of the inhabitants of Hellsalem's Lot, but I am sure that's also by design, as well. It's just not my particular cup of tea.
At the end of the day, if you're a huge fan of Kekkai Sensen like I am, you're going to love this anime, especially if you were like me and wanted to see more of the cast get screen time in the first season. If you were on the fence in the first season, you may not care for this one or its episodic, disjointed nature. I loved it, though.
Kekkai Sensen & beyond was an enjoyable second season. Given so, I'd like to elaborate on where I felt it did well, and what held it back.
In terms of the shows entertainment value I found this installment to be quite enjoyable. The action scenes were intense and well animated, the humor was not overdone nor out of place, and subtlety placed throughout the show.
This season gave us a small look into the backstories of many side characters who lacked depth from the first season and this, i believe, was a good touch.
Art and sound were solid but not exceptional, but i certainly liked the
openning and many charecter models for the Hellsalems lot inhabitants.
The main complaint I have for the show is its episodic nature. While I dont mind episodic shows, Kekkai Sensen's original series felt like it had a storyline progressing throughout, which this season lacked. While we learned more and more about charecters, Michella, and the events of the city, I would have liked a larger picture plot line or some additional convergences between stories. In my personal opinion, a show with such entertaining episodes was fine, but after each episode I merely would discard my conviction or emotional connection knowing most of the remaining show given some small arcs would start fresh.
Overall, I award the show a 7. I found it enjoyable with clever characters, some fine humor, and decent action scenes, but felt the lack of emotional connection to the events and characters held me from loving the show more. In a way this show reminded me of Bungo stray dogs, which also has a fun cast, and semi episodic nature of crime solving, but this show thrived in a more comidic sense plot wise unlike the darker counterpart. In all, for a fun show with a few laughs and some well animated action, I'd say give it a try!
Hellsalem's Lot - the city where the human world and the alterworld intersects. Commotions are never bizarre in the city's everyday life as a plethora of different creatures crawl upon it. As two "distinct" worlds collide, a secret organization, Libra, maintains the balance of these two realms. After White sacrificed herself to protect the barriers of Hellsalem's Lot, what destiny lies upon the men behind Libra?
Kekkai Sensen & Beyond starts after the events of the Spring 2015 anime Kekkai Sensen, with Leonardo Watch continuing his daily life in Hellsalem's Lot to support his younger sister Michella. Traversing every weirdness this city has to offer, he
soon unearths about a very important possession he has. Surely, two years and two seasons is an enough break for BONES. Also considering other projects the studio has (e.g. Boku no Hero Academia 2nd Season), BONES is ready to offer the continuity the tales of Hellsalem's Lot.
The story is a plain narrative of Leonardo's life with Libra and their action-packed missions. There's nothing new in the series, putting its genre in consideration, but it didn't fail in giving life by inserting some comedy sketches, especially with Zapp. Some parts of the first half lack substance and clear motivation to keep the viewer watching. (Yup - I fell asleep in those parts). But the second half regained my interest in the series with some cheeses BONES has been hiding.
As expected, BONES never fails to reconstruct New York City into an urban realm full of supernatural identities. The character designs have been improved as well as the setting.
The insert songs were so great. They encompassed the whole mood of the situation, especially the awesome parts where the Libra pose but inserted a slow and dramatic song, which contrasts initially but with depth, the scenes were just soothing and awesome. The score is good with the fight scenes. Unison Square Garden once again turn the hypes up with the OP theme, as well as the disco and dance ED theme.
Characters have been greatly improved since the first season. Aside from the design, the backstory and depth of each are unquestionable.
BONES deserves an applause with this series. I would not call it a masterpiece, but it deserves to be appreciated by the many. What a great way to fill the gaps before ending the year. And expecting more in the next season, if there is.
Season 2 is over. I had ups and downs with this season, but the ending shows it again: I just love Kekkai Sensen. The comedy, the action... just a very cool combination! This Season focused on Backgroundstorys and other Characters. Yes, it was a little annoying to see little stories and not a big one. BUT all these parts made a really overall season.
The ending was very good, because Leo don´t have these depressions about his sister anymore.
I highly recommend it, but i think that season 1 was a little bit better. it isnt 10/10, not 9... but a very good 8 and I WANT
A THIRD SEASON :D
I Prefer to call this season to be a long OVA between season 1 and season 2 (if ever comes).
There probably will be people who expected the story of the anime to go on more seriously and wanted the anime to be more focused on the main story line in this season. In that case they will be disappointed because most of the episodes are about characters and their own personal stuff and the writer is trying to get us to feel more close to the characters.A reason maybe that we couldn't find the time to know most of them in the first season because
of the story going so fast on.
But if you enjoy the environment ,characters and the main story itself and don't care about the story going on that much, you're gonna like this season.
Preface: Most reviews break down into categories to assign a numerical rank too (sound, story, art, etc), so to change it up my reviews will be focus on what works, doesn't work, and what kind of viewer I think would enjoy this series.
I have never had a love hate relationship with a series as I do with the two seasons of Kekkai Sensen. I find this series bounces back and forth from getting me invested into the character drama and then to leaving me behind with a bunch of events that have no stakes to them. It's beyond colourful in all
the right ways, but then blinds us with too much colour. Kekkai Sensen & Beyond or Blood Blockade Battlefront Beyond is such a roller coaster that it either leaves me either breathless or with whiplash.
A fun ride (what works):
I love this cast, the Libra gang is colourful, diverse, easily stand out from each other, yet their chemistry is flawless. The show never stops to explain these guy's interactions, it just shows them to you, and they feel real and natural. Some episodes spend more time flushing out these wonderful characters and while the episodic nature is problematic (talk about this later), I can happily say there isn't a single character based story that is boring in comparison to the others. The writing, animation, and voice actors knock these characters out of the park every time. If there is one thing you should learn from this show, is this is how you create a interesting and diverse cast.
The serious moments/episodes. The moment this shows decides to slow down a tad, focus on something tangible with stakes, is it awesome. Not going into spoiler territory, but when Kekkai Sensen manages to find out how to showcase it's crazy world in a grounded perspective, it is truly unique. The shame is these moments are far and few between, and can only be really explored in a spoiler full essay format, then a review. However, the two episode finale is a great example of this and if you make it through the first 10 episodes, the ending is pretty solid reward.
I'm afraid of heights (What doesn't work)
This show has a tendency to more often then not leave me scratching my head confounded, confused, and curious as to why I should care. While the wacky destructive events of the Salem's Lot is undeniably important to theme, setting, and general feel of the show, the second season has a tendency to take it too far. We had season 1 to establish the setting pretty solidly, we really don't need to have how "hilarious" and "chaotic" this place is constantly beaten over our heads. It all just ends up feeling like destruction for comedic value, and that joke only has so much reusable value.
Additionally a second season is building on what the predecessor established, but this really isn't the case here. To be honest you could probably take most of these episodes and insert them randomly into season 1, and wouldn't feel all that lost (more then you already were). While certain Libra members did become more defined in this season, it was really more flushing out there history, not their present/future. The stuff that is present day happens in their own little bubbles you're never worried about something bad happening in let's say episode 4, will affect the character or the world in episode 10. While this formula does typically work for episodic storytelling, their isn't even single episode growth displayed in any episode. This leaves you wondering what was the point of having this specific story shown to the viewer? It all just feels filler at the end of the day. The episodic format is also hindered since season 1 did have a sort of story advancement to it, which makes the fact season 2 is running in place stand out that much more by comparison.
Am I tall enough for this ride? (Viewer recommendation)
This is not an anime for new comers to the medium. This anime sort of requires a bit of history and knowledge about anime customs to appreciate this. While Kekkai Sensen isn't a meta-narrative, it does require you to already possess the ability to suspend your disbelief on a lot of levels in way western shows would never force you too, while needing to stay grounded at the same time.
That being said if you're a more seasoned anime viewer and looking for something to shake up the standards in ways similar to Studio Trigger (Gurren Laggan, Kill la Kill, etc), Kekkai Sensen maybe just what you're looking for. Just don't expect a masterpiece or a lot of consistency in your viewing, for better or worse.