Hey, wow, it’s been awhile. Two months since my last actual post? Wow. Anyways, here’s a post about a show from 2013.
The reason I watched this is kind of dumb. I’m doing a panel about soundtracks from 2015. I had already heard the Kyoukai no Kanata movie soundtracks awhile ago and was suuuper impressed with them. So to include them in this panel, I wanted to watch the movie first which meant watching this series (rather than say, Concrete Revolutio, One Punch Man or Battle Blood Brigade which actually did air and that I should watch for said panel).
I had watched the first few episodes when it aired and it hadn’t knocked the pants right off of me so I guess I dropped it. I never thought I was wrong for doing this. After all, nobody really talks about Kyoukai no Kanata and the few times it had come up, everybody had done the same as I had. Watched a few episodes and then dropped because it just didn’t click.
Naturally, I assumed that Kyoukai no Kanata must not be very good then.
I’m pleased and surprised to say I definitely don’t think that is the case. I actually ended up loving this show despite the ending. It’s not my favourite Kyoani show (that’s Tamako Market) but that’s a pretty silly thing to even say because do people say ‘well, it’s fine but it’s not my favourite White Fox show’? No, not really.
Though we can’t actually ignore Kyoani’s involvement because this show was consistently beautiful. The action in it was far, far better than anything I ever saw in Phantom World and that’s the only real action-y Kyoani show I can think of theirs to compare it too.
But seriously for light novel adaptions you could do a whole hell of a lot worse.
I’ll admit I knew two things going into my continued watch of this show (since I picked up on episode three where I left off but I regret that and should have started from the beginning). One: the idol scene.
Episode six was so goddamn funny. I was expecting ‘haha idols’ but the whole episode had great comedic timing, great gags and used all of the characters involved so well. As good as the rest of the episodes after turned out being (Sakura and Mitsuki’s episodes were pretty bleh, all things considered), I think that episode six of this show may have ended up being one of my favourite all time episodes.
This show has pretty good characters too. They lend themselves well to comedic episodes like that and to the serious stuff that came later without faltering at either.
Actually all the characters were good and nobody stands out as being awful but I think Akihito was by far the strongest and most engaging character in the show. He constantly stole the scene later on when things got more dramatic but he was still able to deliver a joke better than most.
Plus he sure gets his share of Old Fashioned Suffering and when it really hits the fan he cries and wow I guess I find that really endearing? Like Mochizou, Kyoani delivers on the cute sensitive anime boys. I ain’t even into that kinda thing but if you want to see a cute boy be sad and cry a bunch then boy just watch either the Kyoukai no Kanata or Tamako Market movie.
Hiromi too. Well, not the crying thing. But he’s real good. I guess I’m biased because I don’t find the siscon thing creepy in this series. Probably because he’s just such a suave nerd. He ended up being my favourite next to Akihito and the teacher. Never saw that coming.
Kuriyama is fine, sure, and later on there’s the reveal about why she acted in such a frustrating way but she’s just… fine. She doesn’t stand out or lack anything. She’s just an acceptable, above average heroine. Above average because I mean come on. Look at the usual light novel heroine.
Anyways, back on topic, the second thing I knew was that it probably ends on a sad note.
I was always intrigued by that second one. A bittersweet ending, I was sure. And then episode nine hits and sure, yeah, anybody can see where this is probably going.
Episode nine was where the series really started going from ‘alright this is dece’ to ‘okay, you have my undivided attention’. The final scene of that episode was really intense and would be the start of many moments where I think I was actually holding my breath in real life from excitement and sheer concentration.
The following episode was even better. The jump between the ‘white world’ to the ‘real world’ let you know that one of these things wasn’t right and hey guess what both aren’t right and one ends on a super sad note. Rather, it’s the scene in the following episode where he reads her texts (And “Senpai…” trailing off into silence to reveal ‘I don’t feel unpleasant’ was SUCH a great touch) and remembers everything she said leading up to her goodbye was sad.
That there were so many things I forgot about or missed that all came together to reveal Mirai knew about this the whole time really floored me too and I thought it was a great reveal. Heck, it’s probably just my fault for getting too wrapped up and being forgetful but I remember catching the after credits scene where Izumi pulls Mirai aside and wondering what the result would be but then I completely forgot until they showed what was going on.
Episode eleven’s end was another moment where the show had me wrapped around it’s finger and I was on the edge of my seat. The whole scene of Akihito going to Beyond the Boundary was so interesting visually, so emotionally impactful and had such great dramatic timing.
Which brings us to the last episode (which I hadn’t watched before writing everything prior) that I was worried about. When I went to look up the director I saw conflicting things about how the last episode ended and hoo boy, that did not set my nerves at ease. I already figured it must end terribly if it was this good up until now and yet people still didn’t seem to like or care about it.
Surely, it must end in an awful and terrible way! Well, I mean I guess it kinda did and didn’t.
I did think that the comedic timing in the final episode was a little off since it felt as if it undermined the great drama that had come before it but I accepted that was the dynamic these two characters had.
Initially, I thought the motorcycle scene was a bit much but I ended up finding it endearing and a good indication of how different the place they’re in is from their world. The hand thing was kind of dumb though. Thankfully it didn’t last long.
Not to mention it lent to something I had really noticed a lot of in the final episode. Floatiness.
The episode was incredibly pretty. Not just pretty though. The overly blue palette was fantastic and gave lots of scenes and etheral feeling, both of the sky and the water (which I mean was /both/ how Beyond the Boundary was represented in the series). That floatiness – lots of falling, being suspended in air and general disregard for gravity in general – I mentioned just adds to a fantastic atmosphere. Which really makes it hard to take Beyond the Boundary serious as a potentially world destroying enemy.
!!!Start Fang-tan’s Explanation So, I’ll be honest. I wrote almost everything after episode 11 while paused at EXACTLY 21:55 of the final episode. Surely, I stupidly thought, in the last two minutes (exactly!!) of this show, my opinion of it won’t change when it’s wowed me so much already! WELL THE EGG WAS ON MY FACE. I’ve left the following content in so you can see what a dumdum I am. End Fang-tan Explanation!!!
I GUESS I can understand what made people upset. The idea that Kuriyama sacrificed herself to remove Beyond the Boundary only for him to take it back and therefore she really just died for nothing. Like, the threat of him eventually destroying the world REALLY hasn’t gone away. It’s sad but seeing the story stick to it’s guns and the rules it set for this world rather than “oh lol actually she’s okay too” was good EXCEPT for the fact that I have a movie that will remove the ‘living with grief’ aspect this ending had. And if there’s one thing I love, it’s a good story that ends with surviving, carrying on but not letting go of that grief. Granted, the whole why and how of Beyond the Boundary sure is a thing and Izumi being revealed to be possessed by a youmu and isn’t touched upon sure could use some explanation. One more thing that might still trouble me, movie or not, is that it’s a light novel adaptation so like… is this how the novels ended? They’re ongoing, aren’t they? This is such a fine definitive ending (even though… it’s not) that proceeding further just tramples on what makes this series so good to me. Well, whatever. I don’t know. Nothing further will very likely ever get animated so once I watch the movies and OVAs and stuff, I can just live with that and not worry about if the light novels take it too far and ruin the goodwill I have towards this series.
I was seriously, seriously impressed it was ending on a melancholic note like that and was sooo excited the movie would bring comfort like Rebellion did for Sayaka fans but man nope.
If I had just stopped watching instead of hitting play, I could have lived my life happily and believed they had taken a chance with this series. I thought that for sure she would be dead and gone and then come back in the movies or something.
This is what you get for trusting a light novel adaption in this day and age. You only get suffering.
Okay, whatever. There was a lot of good in this series. A lot of good scenes and episodes that I really, really enjoyed.
Overall though I had gone from showering this show with praise to slight regret for having watched it because the ending where they shoehorn a happy ending in is so goddamn shitty. Sure, it’s probably the LN’s fault because it’s a LN and those are bad but my god. I felt so BETRAYED.
But it gets better. It actually, genuinely gets better after the show.
Then I watched the end of the first movie, which is recap, because I heard there was a new scene. Basically, this scene follows up on where the anime leaves off terribly and it turns out that whoops, Mirai doesn’t have her memories.
This twist didn’t inspire much confidence for the next movie with new content. However, surprisingly I wasn’t disappointed. It was a cliche I didn’t think I’d enjoy but it was used for Maximum Drama and gosh darn I fell right for it.
The end of the TV show left a bitter taste in my mouth even though I thought the series was amazing at times. I felt very conflicted.
The movie though? It was fantastic from start to finish. It washed away the anger I had from the cop out end of the series and returned the sense of wonder and enjoyment that I had felt in the show prior to the ending.
Particularly, the scene where Mirai and Akihito talk under the cherry blossoms was such a fantastic scene. It felt long and that was nice because they were trying to talk. They weren’t just running away from their problems. It was an emotional scene and embodied the best of the series.
Not to mention it’s a nice callback to an earlier scene although that scene was a lot less pretty and a lot less meaningful then this one here. Still, it just made it all the more lovely.
The movie excelled at emotionally charged scenes be them quiet and subdued like the cherry blossom one, the one scene early on where Akihito escapes Mirai and then it cuts to him crying behind the wall 1 or the one where everybody helps Akihito lie to Mirai after they’re attacked. All nicely done. Even dramatic and high energy scenes like the whole black haired Mirai part carried weight though.
At times it bordered on melodramatic but it just lacked that sappy oomph to push it on into that territory. Though I’m sure some will disagree with me. This just happened to be the right amount of sappy, romantic dramatics to keep me satisfied.
Miroku’s youmu was pretty ridiculous but it made for good drama so I guess I can’t complain too much in the end. He was pretty useless in this movie though really. I expected something more climactic from him.
Though I can and will complain about Izumi being used in such a way. Showing up looking all Bucky Barnes and throwing that false villain in the beginning.
Though I guess it’s good it was her and Miroku since a new villain would have felt pretty cheap. It would have taken away from the completed feeling of this movie.
Which, saying that, makes me realize how glad I am this was a movie and not another season. I don’t think this would have been as emotionally effective otherwise.
Hiromi’s suit game is on point too. Worth going out of my way to note. Very nice. An anime with everybody, guys and gals, dressed all fine and sharp in suits would be nice, KyoAni.
I guess I did get the grief aspect I was looking forward to in the first season before the carpet was pulled from underneath my feet. Mirai doesn’t get her memories back, right? They still kind of have to accept that the Mirai they know is gone. I’m not mistaken here, am I?
The music, which inspired me to watch the series, was really good too. It wasn’t very present in the show in my opinion. There were only a few tracks that stood out where as in the movies, I felt they were utilized better. I’m sure if I listened to the shows actual OST it would be very similar to the movies.
Unless the movie soundtrack I’ve been listening to is different from the series entirely? It’s a really large soundtrack after all.
Now I didn’t watch the whole recap movie so I don’t know if they leave out fantastic episode six but what I recommend is just watching the movies. You’ll get the good of the first season without any middling bits and the ending won’t feel as abrupt and disruptive because in my opinion it felt like it flowed well into the second movie.
And as I said, the second movie is just lovely. I’ll probably watch them both soon because I’m just so enamored with this series for some inexplicable reason. Also, I want to see if the recap movie has better use of the great soundtrack. That’s a reason too.
So do yourself a favor if you enjoy gorgeous looking supernatural romances and watch the movies! At least with the movies, you’ll get a satisfying ending to your melodramatic romance and really what else can you even ask for in life?
- That messed me up real good ↩