Have you ever heard of the term “wasted potential”?
Intro: Kyoto Animation has developed a reputation over the years. They’re known for amazing animation, but they tend to focus mainly on slice of life shows with tons of MOE and basically cute girls doing cute things. They only recently stepped out of this rut (sort of) with the manservice show known as Free. But then again it played out like a typical Kyotoani show, but with guys. So when I heard they were making a show focused more on action, I was immediately skeptical. Did it impress me? Let’s find out.
Story: Kyoukai no Kanata takes place in a fantasy world filled with magic and monsters. These monsters are known as Youmu. Most of these Youmu are presented as terrible creatures that kill humans. Then there are humans called Spirit World Warriors who use magic to stop these creatures from killing people. The story follows our main character named Akihito Kanbara. He is an immortal half Youmu/Human hybrid who meets a Spirit World Warrior named Mirai Kuriyama. It continues from there as you learn about the world and how they live in it.
I have a huge problem with the story. It sets up this big and interesting world that you want to find out more about, and it’s barely explored. We don’t really find out much of anything about this world, which I was very disappointed with. I would have loved to see some other Spirit World Warriors and how their society works. It doesn’t help when the anime itself has filler episodes. They could have easily cut these two episodes out and gave us two for more world building or character development. And to make things even worse, the last few episodes have info dumping, which could have been fixed with two more episodes to work with. And the ending of the story contains an ass pull that is simply there to give it a feel good ending. And if you’re wondering, the characters aren’t much better.
Characters: One word description for the characters: bland. There are four main characters in Kyoukai no Kanata. Akihito Kanbara is an immortal half Youmu/Human hybrid who is open, VERY OPEN, about his glasses fetish. Mirai Kuriyama is a Spirit World Warrior who has the power of manipulating her own blood. She is also your typical Kyotoani Moe girl. Hiroomi Nase is a friend of Akihito who has a sister complex. Then there is his sister Mitsuki Nase who verbally abuse Akihito and her brother.
So you might be wondering about character development. My question is, what development? These characters don’t develop at all from what I remember. They basically stay the same the entire show. Okay, MAYBE there is a romance subplot that goes absolutely nowhere. The side characters do little to nothing to help the plot and there are times where I can’t even remember their names. There’s an antagonist that is extremely forgettable and character back stories that allude to something great but we get NOTHING.
Animation: This is Kyoto Animation. So Kyoukai no Kanata looks GOREGEOUS. From the movements to the colors and character designs. This anime is visually stunning. Action scenes are one of the shows biggest highlights and it looks freaking incredible. I didn’t notice the animation quality dip at all in this anime.
Sound: The only noticeable piece of music is the ending song. Aside from that, everything else is pretty hit or miss. Sure the music is fitting, but it’s pretty forgettable. The Japanese voice acting is fitting and they all express emotion where they need to.
Conclusion: Did I enjoy Kyoukai no Kanata? Well, sort of. I enjoyed the action scenes the most, while the story and characters just fell flat for me. I felt that the anime could have been something much greater than what it turned out to be. It fell to being a fairly average anime with great animation. That is what you call wasted potential. 3.5/5