Once in a while, a show manages to catch my interest enough for me to do a detailed article throwing out my thoughts and enjoyment of said show. One of those shows for the fall season this year is Kyoukai no Kanata, or Beyond the Horizon. Initial impressions for me would have included that it is a Kyoto Animation work, which most likely means that it is a high school slice of life moe show. Which it is; partially. That aspect of KyoAni will probably never go away. (Especially with the dawn of K-On! back in 2009)
Now from the actual looks of it, Kyokai no Kanata is indeed a slice of life high school show, but is it moe? I deem not, but that is possibly subjective in my eyes, and is too early to be absolute.
Just like it’s theoretical predecessors, Hyouka and Chuunibyou, Kyoukai no Kanata takes a slightly different turn on the high school life, while at the same time possessing the usual cliches that we see so much in the anime world. Most dominantly, a dying club in need of members, and a male protagonist that meets this strange female protagonist.
The formula is the same, albeit that it might get old at times, that’s just how it goes. The difference is, however, when compared to a show like Chuunibyou, which expresses the idea of the child mindset conflicting with an adult mindset (Though not very thoroughly and deviated into a more moe show anyway), or with Hyouka, which focuses on a mystery aspect. Kyoukai really delves into a more supernatural world, in parallel with our human world.
Though the high school setting might seem plain, old, and overused, the sheer fact that it was placed into an alternate reality where beings called Youmu possess people and cause them to do unruly acts, sets it away from the other KyoAni shows.
The show starts off with the thoughts of suicide. Suicide you ask me? That’s one dark subject to talk about in the first place, and KyoAni is taking it up as the first words to their new series. I call it daring, for such a company known for fluffy and cute shows.
As we progress through this first episode, we soon realize that our main protagonist is a boy,, and he sees this girl standing upon the rooftop of the school, about to jump off. Through his narrative, he tells the viewer about the two options of course that he might take, ignore, and act.
That’s quite strange, for the main character to set upon two choices for himself to make and as usual as it might sound for him to act, this situation is quite different. This isn’t our main character helping out with carrying books or anything, he’s trying to prevent a death, and in a realistic context, this is what all of us would do. As a result, his action in this scenario is justified and human.
However, that’s the catch. After preventing the girls pending suicide, he blatantly states that he loves glasses. Now as a fan of glasses myself, I found it amusing how blunt this character of ours is, and see myself liking him for how shameless he is at this point.
Going back to the subject, our female protagonist does a fancy back flip over the fence and approaches our male protagonist. But wait, here’s another thing, she has a red sword in her hand, and referring to the catch before, she stabs our male protagonist in the chest!
But you know what? Everything is okay because we soon find out that our main character is immortal! That’s right, Naruto, Ichigo, and Eren can go SUCK IT! Akihito Kanbara is part Youmu, and as a result, he cannot die.
Afterward, we learn that the glasses moe girl is Mirai Kuriyama. She is a blood manipulator, the last of her clan. In her, I am quite unsettled. As the premise of the show is quite excellent, and the characters so far are a great match to most of my liking. I can’t help but feel that Mirai’s klutziness is unnecessary, and her reactions to it are aiming towards the cute and moe. I don’t completely object this, but I would prefer it not be there. Especially at the idiotic sense of not feeling a bucket over your head.
Or rather, the act of killing a bucket.
I suppose Mirai is a bucket killer now. It is revealed to us that she is actually scared to fight the Youmu, as, that is what the job of a Spirit World Warrior is, to protect the humans from the Youmu.
A Spirit World Warrior is a person with special abilities. Not much is known about them at the moment, but it appears that there are many of them, and all of them are human.
As a blood manipulator, she possesses an extremely powerful ability, and is hated by many because of it. What she truly yearns is an ordinary life.
But moving on. We have another character by the name of Mitsuki Nase, and she is really your typical cold black haired girl. Usually not very outgoing or friendly, and somewhat cold towards our main character, however, I do not consider this as tsundere material (Seriously! Those bitches need to die!)
Mitsuki, though, from what I could tell, harbors some sort of care towards Akihito. I can tell this as she is somewhat sassy towards him, and often times teases him for her own amusement. I like her.
She does also mysterious side, one in which we know not much about as of yet. The only thing we know so far, is that she’s the daughter of a very powerful family. Oh little miss hime two shoes huh?
Actually, there’s an extremely interesting tidbit that caught my attention when she said it to Akihito.
This alerts me to the fact that maybe she herself wants to kill him, or perhaps, because of her theoretical feelings for him, she doesn’t want him to feel pain anymore. But then again, she might be just a crazy yandere, which I’m completely fine with.
The show likes to crack a few amusing jokes from time to time, like the teasing rack joke above, or like Mirai admitting that she was using Akihito for practice since she is not accustomed to fighting the Youmu.
These subtle jokes I find to be amusing and adds to how these characters interact with each other.
Overall, the show is very interesting in both premise, and characters, and I really don’t have much of anything bad to say aside from Mirai’s slightly airheaded personality and klutziness, alongside the occasional chibi expression from Akihito. Other than that, pretty good episode overall.
Animation is solid, as usual with any KyoAni show. Action scenes are spectacular, and we get a bit of that in this episode. Characters all look different while all retaining the KyoAni style of art and human anatomy, despite all going to the same school. This especially, is a recurring problem in high school anime. There is not much flexibility, as that is what a definition of a uniform is. This greatly hinders the uniqueness of characters since they are restricted to only on form of clothing for the majority of the show. Kyoukai, however, does this great. There are things that very much differentiates the characters from each other, especially Mirai with her glasses. Or Akihito with his vest, or perhaps Nase and her larger -cough- rack -cough-.
From watching K-On! and Chuunibyou, it is gratifying to see a show like this from KyoAni since the dawn of Hyouka. As hopefully, this show does not turn out to be a moe generic show, (which it does not from my eyes) and take a turn towards a more serious story since the premise is so different. I truly look forward to the future of this show, and I admit that I am very excited for the future of this interesting show.
With that said, and without further a due, I bid farewell for now. Much fellowship, and I will see you next week.