“You made me kill a bucket!”: because buckets die when they are killed.
Kyoto Animation has brought us some pretty interesting stuff for the past few seasons. We had the cutesy Chuunibyou, the simplicity that was Tamako Market, and the swimming awesomeness that was Free!. These 3 also have another thing in common: they were all original content licensed by Kyoto Animation. This review is not about any of those 3, however. This review is about another original content anime series. Does it continue the trend that its predecessors created?
To start off, let’s give a little background check. Beyond the Boundary (AKA Kyokai no Kanata in Japanese) is a 2013 anime series adapted by Kyoto Animation (people who animated K-On, Haruhi, Clannad, and Lucky Star) from the light novel series of the same name. Directed by Taichi Ishidate and written by Jukki Hanada (screenwriter for K-On, Steins;Gate, and Fate/stay night), Beyond the Boundary aired on the Fall 2013 anime season, being an immediate descendant of Free! (from the summer of the same year). Well, now that the overview of the technical background aspects of the show is over, shall we begin?
Uhm…okay, a 7? Hang on; let me explain the premise first: Beyond the Boundary is set on a fantasy world that coincides with the real world. In this fantasy world, specialists called Spirit World Warriors hunt down supernatural creatures called youmu, physical manifestations of the negative emotions that humans possess. While there are docile and harmless youmu, violent youmu also exist. On rare occasions, people and youmu can procreate half-youmu offspring. Enter our main protagonist, high-school student Akihito Kanbara, a half-youmu with an advanced healing factor who meets a Spirit World Warrior named Mirai Kuriyama, who is also the last surviving member of her clan of BLOOD BENDERS! No, seriously, she has the ability to control her blood. <insert spoilerific plot points about the character’s past here>
The main premise for the show is, overall, quite interesting. Nothing too original, but nothing too overused either. The show also has fairly good pacing, combined with bits and pieces of comedy and a good serving of drama and action to spice things up. However, Beyond the Boundary needs to work more on its execution. There are certain plot points and elements that are either explained late in the series, or are not explained at all, leading some people to be confused about some aspects of the show.
Kyokai no Kanata also likes to deviate from its plot-path and go on an episodic trip from time to time. Not that it’s a bad thing. Some of the episodes are very well done with certain elements to it that help with the story in some way or another, though the number of episodes this show has isn’t really as fit to put episodic stuff in as much as a 22-26 episode series. Regardless, the plot does a great job in taking in my interest, even though I admittedly got confused with some parts, but that’s just me.
Also, a brief mention of that ending.
Besides our 2 main characters Akihito Kanbara (the immortal, half-youmu, high-school student with a glasses fetish like yours truly) and Mirai Kuriyama (the clumsy but badass bespectacled beauty), we are also introduced to 2 other characters: the Nase siblings, Hiromi and Mitsuki. Hiromi is the elder brother: cool, calm, collected, and proud of his affections for his little imouto Mitsuki, who is more level-headed and sarcastic than her older brother. The rest of the cast are all colorful and interesting, from cutesy youmu Ai Shindou to Spirit World Warrior/teacher Shizuku Ninomiya.
What makes these characters shine is their interactions with each other. You really get a sense of bonding from the 4 main characters, from Mirai and Akihito’s mutual understanding, to Mitsuki and Hiroomi’s relationship as siblings of one of the most influential families in the Spirit world. No relationship felt like it was just there for plot convenience; everything had a purpose of some way or another. The only detail that I would pick on is the lack of character development for the main characters, although some of them do change quite a bit over the course of the series. Also, some characters, including the supposed main antagonist, weren’t developed as much as I would want them to be, and this could be disappointing for some people.
……………….as if THIS would affect a sophisticated chap such as myself…*blood gushes out of nose*
It goes without saying that Kyoto Animation has a talent for marvelous animating, and Kyokai no Kanata is no exception. The art style is light on the eyes, the backgrounds and sceneries are breath-takingly detailed, and the youmu designs are unique for each one, which is a plus. Oh, and did I mention how beautifully animated the fight-scenes are?
Character designs were pretty okay, for the most part. Some characters might seem to have been re-used from KyoAni’s “Vault of Characters” (I’m looking at you, Nase siblings), but, otherwise, I thought the character designs were excellent.
It’s like Free!, but with blood. Oooh, if KyoAni did Deadman Wonderland…
Another thing that I love about KyoAni is their prevalent use of great opening and ending songs. Beyond the Boundary has an amazing OP song, and their ED song ranks as one of my favorites for its simple, yet sophisticated style. Both of the songs are great overall, fitting the show to a T, while also great to listen to on their own. The soundtrack is nothing too great, although it does suit the overall mysterious and fantasy-esque nature of the show. Lastly, I don’t have much to say about the voice actors/actresses apart from they did a bang-up job; the voices were definitely spot-on and made the characters come to life even more.
This song is just…like a majestic nightingale: it sings pretty and it looks pretty
I am a little tsundere about KnK. For the most part, I totally enjoyed the show, regardless of its flaws, which I picked up most from the last episodes. However, there are flaws that I couldn’t overlook, and those flaws prevent this show from getting a perfect mark on enjoyment. Nevertheless, Beyond the Boundary is still an enjoyable show that can put you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions. As for me, I wasn’t affected by the drama at all. As if I would be affected…//I said, with a posed look//
Beyond the Boundary, despite its various flaws, is a really intriguing and enjoyable anime. It has a good premise, promising characters, and BRILLIANT animation. Add in a great opening and ending song, and you have great popcorn material that can be enjoyed anytime. The flaws, although some may stick up like a glowing neon sign, aren’t really enough to hinder you from enjoying this KyoAni marvel. This anime gets full-recommendation from me, and I urge you to give Kyokai no Kanata a spin.
As per usual, leave a comment down below pertaining to your thoughts on this review, on the show itself, or if you would like me to review anything. And, speaking of liking, give the review a like if you enjoyed it. With that, until next time, this has been Ken, and I’ll see you guys in the future. ^__^
I enjoyed Kyoukai no Kanata overall, though admittedly I’m a bit disappointed with it. 12 episodes is too short to truly encompass the scope of the series and capture most of the aspects the world has to offer so I would really appreciate a season 2. But I think it needs to build on the characters more than anything. Like you mentioned, the interactions were nice and in particular I quite enjoyed the parallels between Akihito and Mirai and how they both coped with their struggles and grew as a result. As far as characterization goes, however, I felt most of the cast was weak. Akihito and Mirai have some nice interactions and potential for depth but it rarely comes into play. Then there are the Nases, who were interesting to watch but didn’t show a great deal of development or depth so I would certainly like more from them if a second season is made.
Kyoukai was a fun watch but there were a few aspects of execution I felt could have improved. Seems like recent KyoAni series have been pretty good but I don’t think I’ve thoroughly enjoyed a series from them since Hyouka or Chuunibyou S1. Hopefully they can pull things together and build upon the series they’ve established in a more meaningful way.
I approve this comment very much
I second that approval. I have not watched the anime yet but it made it on my to watch list thanks to the splendid review and recommendations of my bro Ken.
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