"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.