Having failed 19 job interviews in one day, Juri Yukawa's dreams of moving out of her parents' home are utterly dashed. Stuck living with her working mother Nobuko, NEET brother Tsubasa, laid-off father Takafumi, and single-parent sister Sanae, the only hope for this family to raise a decent adult is her little nephew Makoto. However, this struggling family's life takes a turn for the worse when Makoto and Tsubasa are violently kidnapped by a mysterious organization and held for ransom. With only 30 minutes to deliver five million yen to the criminals, Juri's grandfather reveals a dangerously powerful secret to her and Takafumi.
By offering blood to her grandfather's mystical stone, the three enter the world of "Stasis," a version of their world where time stops for everyone but the users. Having arrived at their destination, their rescue efforts go awry when they are assailed by a surprising group of people who are somehow able to move around within Stasis. While all hope seems lost, a monstrous giant known only as the Herald appears amidst the chaos, its intent and motivations as cryptic as the very nature of this timeless world.
There’s a reason why average amount of anime audiences tend to choose, common, less-risky and visually appealing type of show for their seasonal line-ups rather than the irregular one, because sometimes you’ll get something like Kokkoku: Weird, Slow, and simply put a fucking waste of time. The anime really doesn’t deserve more attention it needed to be.
That doesn’t to say this is kind of stuff that is hard to get into. In fact the anime has pretty straightforward idea: it got superpower, it got alternate world and it got basic tales of good and evil where the good guy trying
to save families whilst try escaping from said world. In all, the basic concept of the anime is quite alright, the execution however is where causing the major problem.
First of all. When I said “weird” that doesn’t meant to say the plot was convoluted or full of disgusting phenomenon (although it does at some point because the visual style). It just the many poorly written even that happen during the show; perverted jokes happen ruining the serious event many times; character changing sides because they want to; valuable item founded in unjustifiable way; the inconsistencies of the world where the good guy sometimes running, sometimes walking when chased by the bad guy, and don’t forget the ED video where it is show lots of skins of female characters. What’s that all about? The journey to say the least is a weird experience that raising “wtf?” during the critical moment. The show also likes to teases the audiences with a cliffhanger at the end of the episode only to show that there is nothing dangerous later on. If it have occurred once, it is tolerable, but when happens many times, it is simply become not exciting anymore. Most of the insult comes from the conclusion, which is anticlimactic to say the least where the bad guy gets second chance despite how much people does he sacrificed. Random revelation of the mastermind, and pulling deus ex machina in the end.
Too many things, the superpower stuff also done poorly. There is no limitation or risk whatsoever for the superpower from the heroes but there are weaknesses on the villain. I know it is understandable to create weaknesses onto the villains because otherwise there’s possibility of pulling an aspull in order to defeat it, but making the heroes overpowering the villain is not right as well, because there is not much tension going on especially when you have unlimited teleportation power. There is lots of cliché, breaking the rule event, such as superpower revealed whenever the author want it to be or when the heroes’ power becomes stronger even though it was said many times that he had already at his limits, just because the protagonist cheered them up.
The second problem is the alternative world itself or called “Stasis” in this show. I can’t recall any anime that surrounding quantum break or time stops world other than Kokkoku in recent year. But even in this novelty, there nothing much it can helps. They try info dumping the world along the way, but the end what we learn is: a) if you try to kill the people who cannot move within the world of Stasis you’ll be ‘punished’ by the ‘Herald’ and b) The Herald is actually the deceased of the previous Stasis user who are not strong enough or defeated. Other than that, everything else is just the same, literally there’s nothing special about this world.
There are also no consequences or relation between Stasis and the real world, making it somewhat of a riddle as to why the show makes use of such setting in the first place. You could replace the setting to something like closed room with many daily life’s supplies like Danganronpa, where it also had someone punished you if you breaking the rule and there not much differences.
By appearances the world is also offer nothing visually appealing since it is the same as the real world. Only the difference is that everything is stopped. As a whole, the show does not deliver anything in the way of a particular outlook on the world, a concept that resonates in everything that happens or a focus on the role of the Herald in the world and the show: while the creators could have had the series be focused far more strongly on the notion that the Herald are really everywhere, living a shadow-existence without all that much interacting with the human world, perhaps there would have been something more of a point to the stories, even if that point wouldn't be all that interesting. As it stands, there is no real point or purpose to the show.
The third issue is the pacing which is horrendously slow. It literally takes the entire series for the heroes to be finally backed into the real world. Most of the time it was devoted to chasing, running, teleporting, pushing bad guy back to reality, showing a bit of their backgrounds and some info dumping about the stasis which could be summarized of what I said above. There are so many unnecessary events occurs and the actual content of the show is actually quite shorter than it was presented.
The Whole stuff about family were not works too since the shows are too busy about planning strategy and info dumping so there’s not enough time to bonds these characters considering the length of the series. It was been established that they are families but practically the cast had not much differences than the typical survival-death type of series when stranger became friends just because they share the same goals.
Although there are character’s backdrops. They are quite meaningless in regard to their characterization, it doesn’t serve anything aside from as to why they are could be able living in Stasis. Even in content, the backdrops are just ‘good ol tragic’ backstory that we have already seen uptent time.
The villain motivation was okay I guess but it was definitely ‘weird’ to say the least, because it surely raises the question as to why are they feel the need to be kills someone. For appearances, they are very lacking in charisma. The characters in general weren’t deep and very clearly black and white. They are pretty much closer to being plot devices as an exposition tools because they did plan and talked a lot but don’t have anything besides that. If I have to give this show credit for anything, they did a good job at making Takafumi easy to hate. (Because clearly, the man is a douche).
At the end of the day as much as Kokkoku’s novelty in doing time-stops world concept. It didn’t manage to make up itself to be memorable series. Nobody’s going to talk about its plot. Nobody’s going to remember its visual and nobody’s going to care about its characters. What they will care about is the OP song which is probably the catchiest in this season. Overall, it is more interesting for the ideas brewing under the surface than it is for anything that actually transpires.
Kokkoku is an ambitious failure. It fails to understand the limits of its budget and writing, taking on far more than it could possibly handle. Its story is idiotic and illogical, the art is ugly as sin, the characters are frustrating as hell, and its glacial pacing makes it one of the most boring 'thrillers' I have ever seen.
It juggles many intruiging ideas like stopping time, a dysfunctional family, psychic powers, and many more, but Kokkoku wastes them on mediocre execution.
The dysfunctional Yukawa family comprises the main characters; an unusual choice for the cast that piqued my interest. It would be an understatement to
say they don’t get along with one another. They hit, yell at, and curse at each other. The main character and older sister in the family Juri is the most put together of them all. In the first episode, we’re introduced to Juri's NEET older brother Tsubasa, slob father Takafumi, her nephew Makoto, and wise grandfather. She’s usually the one who has to take care of things like picking Makoto up from school, making dinner, and taking care of the family while her sister goes to work. It's understandable why Juri's searching jobs to move out, but sadly she has yet to be accepted after many interviews. Her living situation is well detailed early on and gave me enough to want to see her family grow and change, hopefully becoming tolerable enough for her to happily live with them.
What better of a catalyst to kick off all of their character arcs than a kidnapping? An unbelievable tragedy that happens to two of the family members, but I was intrigued how Kokkoku would answer why this would happen to such a mundane family. Little did I know, there wouldn’t be any logical answers for the many questions that are continuously piled on top of one another all the way into the final episode. After the two are kidnapped, the family receives an impossible ransom request and are unable to ask the police for help.
Knowing they would have to take matters into their own hands, Juri’s grandfather reveals his magical time freezing rock, hoping that they can use it save their family members. The rock gets only one partial explanation at the end that handwaves away any need for logic and chalks it up to ’it just works that way’. This is only the first of many gripes I have with the woefully underdeveloped sci-fi setting and spotty world logic that plagues Kokkoku at every turn.
Juri, her father, and grandfather enter the frozen time world of Stasis. Once entering, the three of them find it won’t be as easy as they thought to retrieve their stolen family. They would go on to fight against the evil criminal group responsible for the kidnapping who also somehow accessed stasis and entered it at the very same moment as the Yukawa’s… Um… What? How? These plot issues crop up everywhere while watching Kokkoku, and the show doesn’t even acknowledge them.
Repeatedly it bends our suspension of disbelief, with no care if it breaks or not. The ridiculous setup at least quickly introduces us to the leader of the group and cruel antagonist Sagawa. Coincidentally, the criminal group is looking for the magical time freezing rock so they can use it to commit crimes and what-not.
Stasis is a very intriguing idea that thankfully does get some moral exploration, but from a logical perspective, Kokkoku rarely makes an effort to be more than nonsensical. When a story wants to be mature and realistic it cannot have such glaring plot issues. It's so difficult to be immersed in this anime when the story is so unbelievable, no matter how maturely it presents itself.
In spite of this, the show offers up some intruiging moral implications. The grandfather states how this world can lead to people losing all sense of morality while they know there isn’t any consequence. It’s a thought-provoking moral quandary to put forward right away; what would you do if you had this power? Adding to the moral intrigue are the giant tree-like monsters known as Heralds. These frightening creatures enforce the rules of Stasis by brutally killing anyone who dares to break them, namely no killing allowed.
Sadly we don't get much more in terms of moral intrigue until the end, instead, the show tries to distract us with a shallow but occasionally entertaining mystery.
Plagued with horribly inconsistent pacing, the mystery story becomes nearly impossible to get engaged with. Most of the show takes place in Stasis, spent following the Yukawa family as they plan what there next move will be to save their family and escape. I'm not saying I dislike thrillers with a strategic side to them, but here it feels like Kokkoku is stalling for time. Even the backstories and explanation conversations that fill up much of the screentime have barely any relevance to the story in the long run.
Frequently we're forced to watch the characters discuss random backstories, shallow world explanations, and pointless strategy discussions; all of this presented as crucial information. After watching all twelve episodes I can tell you with certainty, those scenes are just filler. Almost nothing that happens in Kokkoku actually matters, it is just a collection of speed bumps only existing to stall for time. Trying it’s best to distract you from how poorly written the story and characters are.
As a mystery, it’s moderately successful at keeping you guessing, but sadly it’s deeply flawed story isn’t good enough to justify the many cliffhangers we’re left with. Let alone provide us with even a single satisfying payoff. Hell, the word satisfying would only come to my mind in one scene of the show. The final shot episode twelve ends with is technically satisfying, but at that moment the show also reached its peak in disappointment because instead of giving us even one answer for any of its intriguing twist it simply ends. That’s it. Kokkoku spits in its audience’s face and says ’you got what you came for, now leave’.
Maybe if the characters were better I could have gone a little bit easier on the terrible story. The idea of a dysfunctional family being forced to put aside their differences in the face of grave danger is cool, it was easy to connect with their arguments. But my problem is that there is nothing to them beyond those frustrating fights and annoying personalities.
Juri is likable in how strong-willed she is, but there’s really nothing else to her than a strong-willed woman who wants to protect her family. She's a likable character for these traits but lacked the characterization beyond surface level information. The rest of them are just annoying. Makoto nags about wanting things because ‘he’s a kid and doesn’t know what’s going on’ only existing as a plot device to be kidnapped and add stakes (which works but is a cheap trick). Takafumi stays a stupid slob for the entire show, never changing, only adding frustration. At least Tsubasa's character had major growth thanks to the low point in life he started on, sadly we don’t see much of him in the show diminishing the impact of his arc. And the grandfather’s only purpose is to be the wise old guy, is a lame excuse to get some random family involved in Stasis.
We occasionally see the characters tested by the events that occur throughout the show, but that often felt like the writer shifting them around to keep the plot moving when considering how little (if at all) they change. They start as a dysfunctional family and for all, we know they still are one after the show ends.
There is one definitive change made to some of the Yukawa family members throughout the show, some of them get psychic powers while in Stasis. As if pulled out of thin air, for unexplained reasons certain characters have abilities like teleportation and sending people out of Stasis. These powers seem like little more than plot contrivances added so the Yukawa's can get out of dangerous run-ins with the crime group.
The menacing villain at first made up for the family's overall annoyances; that is until he got a development episode which just boils his mysterious presence down to a pretty pointless and irrelevant explanation. I really couldn't figure out what the point was to him getting an extensive backstory when all it did was take was extinguish his intimidation and replace it with an interesting but ultimately irrelevant story. His story is meant to explain why he’s so evil and wants to kill people, but it feels like they forgot that important part of his character because it is in no way referred to in his story. You’re really going to tell me he just started killing because his childhood was a little different than everyone else’s? Why not Kokkoku, it’s not like I believed anything you were selling me this far into your shitshow of a story anyways. The issues don’t end here with the characters, both art and sound have their own problems too.
The newly founded Geno Studio gets off to a rough start with Kokkoku; which is worrying considering they’re at the helm of the much anticipated Golden Kamuy adaptation. Environments are made of dull colors and lack much personality. They were likely aiming to create a believable world, and they did, but the issue is how unappealing it is to look at. Perhaps if there were details added to the environment (ie: visual symbolism) it wouldn't feel tiresome to look at the thing.
Characters look decent but in the later episodes, they frequently look off model. At its worst we see them warped with just plain ugly looking faces. These flaws are so surprising in a show that does not require much animation, it takes place in a frozen world and most of the screen time is dedicated to conversations explaining what’s going on and planning what to do next. It’s hard to take a character seriously when their face looks like a potato.
Most of the voice acting is suitably grating on the ears to fit the annoying characters. Juri is well voiced thankfully, a decent reprieve from the others. The opening song Flashback is fun, frantic, and wild. The song is unlike any this season, one of the best. The op’s visuals of it are great too, even changing slightly with the show's progression.
The ed is trash. It’s full of fanservice of the two lead female characters (the only female characters in the show) which doesn’t send a good message. Any tension from the cliffhangers is totally drained by this tone-deaf ed. I’m not sure if Geno Studio had a fanservice quota to meet (because the show is thankfully devoid of it) or if this was some misguided creative decision, but it does not fit this anime.
[Story: 3/10] Poorly paced, illogical, unbelievable.
[Character: 4/10] Unlikable, uninteresting, little to no development.
[Art: 4/10] Passable at best, ugly at worst.
[Sound: 5.5/10] Great op, mediocre sound effects, weak voice work.
[Enjoyment: 5/10] Glacial pacing hampers excitement.
Kokkoku has lots of ideas, but it has no clue what to do with them. You’d expect it to make something of all of its pieces, but then it just ends. A collection of intriguing but mediocre parts doesn’t culminate into a good whole. It’s as boring and mediocre as it could possibly be. Just skip it and listen to the op instead.
You are now stuck in a world where everything is frozen, except you. What now?
That's basically what Kokkoku is about, Juri and her group is stuck in the "Statis" along with the bad guys of course.
Review will contain minor spoilers, I guess.
Kokkoku started out as an interesting anime, interesting premise. Why are they stuck in the Statis? What is that world? And what is that huge creature shown in the OP (or the ending of the first episode?)
Many questions, some answered, some not, but meanwhile- The bad guys are taking place. Well, they want to research this statis, so they're bad.
Oh and they kill people too because why not.
The "bad" people REALLY weren't fleshed out at all, they felt like some random background characters, which maybe was true to classify them as background.
Kokkoku went from a mystery thriller anime of trying to unveil the mysteries of the Statis to.... Let's all fight the bad guy boss!
Well that sounds familiar right? Many anime and stories in general have this, which is fine. But it was nothing like what the premise showed, the start didn't make me think it'll be just going full force forward into the enemy. Oh and just you wait until you see his foolish backstory. It's better you don't know it though.
On the other hand, what I think was nice to see is the strong female lead. Juri, and later on Majima were a nice change of pace. Strong, determined, you don't see that in anime every day.
But... While many remained in the background, those who didn't remain in the background were... lacking.
Takafumi (dad) was always annoying and brought nothing except problems. I can deal with that, as they somewhat tried to make it funny. Well.. It didn't work.
The NEET brother was more on the side, but he didn't contribute anything too.
Makoto, the kid, was always the "prince"/"princess" of this show (aka PROTECT THE PRESIDENT), but oh btw he's also pretty strong it seems, because why not.
Now to the more main characters, It was nice seeing Grandpa in action, reminds me of Inuyashiki. But what was... weird? Is that he knew of this Statis from his father and yet never questioned it. So he was pretty clueless, except some useful abilities (ex: Aegis to prevent being thrown out) and teleport. But that's all there is to him. He's just there to save Juri whenever she needs to get out.
Majima... Gets some spotlight, she wants to protect/save her family, and she's a bit familiar with the Statis, Well I guess that works.
Oh also I want to mention, the OP and ED are top tier.
So... Did I enjoy Kokkoku? Kinda, I can also say that it's better to binge. Would I go out of my way to recommend it to others? Probably not.
It was really good at the beginning, but... failed and fell. Trainwreck. One weird thing after another. And yes that includes the bad guy's back story.
At the beginning every episode went so fast as I enjoyed it, I thought it would be close to AOTS (well after SoraYori), but nah, too many "fillers" if I can call it that.
Disappointment, yet still a honorable mention for the good first half.
Back in time, when I was wandering around at the anime list of what were about to air in Winter Season, there were an specific anime I got attracted to: Kokkoku, the PV, the art and the synopsis looked great and quite different from what we normaly watch. But is it being different what makes an anime good? Not in this case. This review might be heavy on spoilers.
From my life time, I always wanted to stop time and do whatever I want, be it kissing girls, trying to finish my homework, trying to have more time at certain stuff, things like that. And when
I saw that this anime had this "time stop" theme on it, I wanted to check out what was it about and the logic behind it. And when I watched it, I have thoughts of being an Inuyashiki again, meaning that it would disappoint and suck, yet there was something on it that was relieving on that sense, we were having some explanations about the logic behind it, and even if some things were quite convenient, it had something that make me think: "Well this makes sense". But in fact, things weren't that far to become retarded in no time.
The story goes around Juri, a Woman who one day got a call from kidnappers that kidnapped his brother and her nephew. Armed with a Knife (because reasons) she decides to go and set them free. Fortunately, Her grandfather stops her from doing a mistake. Here we are introduced to the "Stone" a Stone that is capable of stopping time. After some assurances, they decide to stop time. So, this is not your JoJo kind of Dio Stopping time, everything will stay still until they use the stone to go back after doing what they had to do. Unfortunately, when they reach the place were they have Juri's Brother and her Nephew, they found out that they aren't the only ones capable of moving while time is stopped, this is also where the "herald" appears, an omnipresent being that serves as an overseer of "Statis" (this is how the stopped world is called), this herald holds the power to instantly kill someone who is threatening the life of the "Stopped" (This is what the people that isn't moving is called) with a single blow of its hands. This is also the place were we see the grandpa using his teleport ability.
This pretty much sums up the introduction of Kokkoku, it was alright at this moment, but then, what went wrong?
On the first episodes, we are set on explaining how Statis works and how the abilities works. The abilities explanation is quite bullshit, as the grandpa just says that "it happens spontaneously", still the abilities aren't god tier. Grandpa's teleportation isn't accurate, and later on we are introduced to Juri's ability which is very practical for the situation she's in, her ability is to force someone out of statis as she touches the chest of whoever threatens her. I accepted the "logic" behind these abilities because they weren't good enough as an advantage against their enemies. We are introduced to another abilities later on in the anime, which I won't go into much detail to avoid spoilers (Potential spoilers for the end of the anime)
Then, we come to the heralds explanation. Oh boy, the Heralds were the thing that most sense had in this anime, the effort put into its explanation was noticeable. Apparently, when someone enters in Statis without concern and starts freaking out because they are weak of mind, the "jelly" of their body starts leaving it, transforming them into Heralds (In this anime, your "Jelly" is what maintains you in Statis). But then, the anime starts destroying its explanations attempting to do a more "complex" story and this is were Kokkoku throws everything they have done to shit. This anime suffered from a lot of twists on the main plot: it goes from saving your family from kidnappers, to fanatical people of the "stone" trying to claim what's theirs, to a "Villain" transforming into Hulk, to a "Villain" that wanted to stay in statis and "see the future" by himself, to a Evangelion kind of psycho shit. The amount of bullshit and plot conveniences thrown at your face starts increasing by a lot. And boy, it doesn't work.
It saddens me that they spent a lot of time trying to explain what Statis is and how Heralds works just to make it go full retard in no time. The main antagonist of this series tried to make himself a "conscious" herald with powers that exceeds humans. As I said before, this is supposed to make him live in statis to witness what the future holds, I mean, if he wanted to do that, why would he need to do a lot of killing in order to do that? As easy as he can go by himself and explain statis to Juri's family and see if he can borrow their stone for scientific purposes instead of threatening the lives of innocent people. But well, the anime decided to go for the most "complex" and ludicrous way in order to do that, which obviously backfired.
After the appearance of "The Hulk" this anime went downhill pretty fast as more and more bullshit were thrown at the screen because the plot demands it. This anime had the potential to be as good and interesting as Steins;Gate, but it went full retard like Inuyashiki. Hell, there's even an ability shown later in the anime that consists of CONTROLLING HERALDS as if they were pets LMFAO.
Probably, the only good thing about this anime is the Opening, which is very unique, there is nothing else left to speak on over the Art and Sound department.
Enjoyment 6/10: Even if things went retard, I must say that this anime can keep you entertained as long as you disconnect your brain from your logic data base.