Mar 22, 2008
Kekkaishi is basically one epic siege story. The very fact that its based around protecting one piece of land (conveniently the main protagonists' school) only at night time, is the show's main hook, and it fulfils its interesting potential throughout.

Yoshimori and Tokine, our plucky teens, are charged with the seemingly life-long mission to protect a mystical piece of land with their barrier technique. The ability to create barriers of all shapes and sizes by pointing their fingers and shouting "Ketsu!" and destroying the contents of their CGI boxes with "Metsu!" It's a very cool and unusual technique and the animation remains consistently good throughout the series, so it never gets old watching the two develop their skills, or to watch Tokine take liberties and use her kekkai to smack Yoshimori in the face.

The manga is written by a female so you can expect some good characterization for Tokine. The two heroes are on an even level for most of the anime, and being that it's written by a female, the relationship and romance has a more deft touch to it. Sexist observation? Maybe, but I can tell you that I didn't really roll my eyes or get bored with any of the lovey dovey moments sprinkled throughout Kekkaishi.

Populated by interesting and amusing characters, an epically memorable Taku Iwasaki score, refreshing pacing, and creative action, Kekkaishi is the definition of how a shonen genre anime is meant to be made. It does get a tad derivative towards the end, being unable to escape the tropes of the genre, but its still good fun. Each episode also ends with a great Photoshop-like montage of characters, basically summing up the climax of the last 20 minutes.

The producers even had the grace to just end the adaptation at the end of an arc, rather than overtake the manga or descend into filler hell. It's a bittersweet compromise but one we should accept and respect. For a show sponsored by McDonalds, you'd think greed would compel them to milk everything out of this show, but they knew when to stop. Whether it was due to Kekkaishi not being as sell-able as Naruto or One Piece for example, I don't know, but I don't care when what they leave us with is an anime as excellent as this.

So like I said, Kekkaishi is a kind of siege story, a staple of the action-thriller genre that live-action films occasionally excel at, but anime rarely ever touches. Kekkaishi greets the genre head on with shonen enthusiasm and ends up an entertaining show worth watching.
Reviewer’s Rating: 9
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