Kyoukai no Kanata 08-09

Izumi shows off

Is this emblematic of Kyoukai no Kanata?

spring13-highwHello and welcome to Kyoukai no Kanata again. We’re sorry to have missed last week, but everyone’s run into quite the busyness, so I’m back for this double-episode post!

The Calm

Nino cleans up

Nino has some fun

It’s Youmu-Stompin’ Time! It was fun to watch the land-rush style onslaught of the Spirit Warriors, taking advantage of the effect that The Calm has on the youmu, mainly making them much weaker. So it’s fancy fighting time, with Nino and Izumi showing everyone else how it’s done. That also means it’s a dangerous time for the youmu that have integrated more into everyday life, like Ai and Ayako, and especially Akihito. So everyone’s supposed to take it easy and stay inside. And of course that doesn’t happen.

Akihito

Demons are sleepy

I don’t know if we can really blame Akihito for what happens, tho. This show is really just a mishmash of individual plots, and we’re not getting much in the way of reasons why there are any of them. And personally, I find that offputting. Most offputting is Fujima, who just seems to do whatever he wants, and we never get a reason for anything. He wants that weapon to get a bunch of youmu stones, he wants to get Akihito, he wants to drink juice boxes. Why? Maybe someone else knows, but I sure don’t have a clue.

Beyond the Boundary

shenanigans

Abuse of trust

We actually do get a bit of a clue as to what Izumi’s plan is, when Hiroomi breaks into the library to read Izumi’s notes about the existence of a two-part youmu, which is supposedly super powerful and can destroy the world. And of course she thinks it’s Akihito. So taking the opportunity of The Calm to remove Akihito’s immortality, she’s somehow gotten Mirai to take the initiative to take out Akihito. Of course, there were some shenanigans on Izumi’s part, putting the human part of Akihito into frozen stasis in order to unbalance him and allow his youmu side to take over (where it should have gotten weaker because of the calm).

Battle

I don’t really get Mirai’s motivation for going after Akihito so seemingly unreservedly. I could understand maybe if she happened to come across him and fought, that she’d fight all out and possibly win. But hunting him down just seems weird and not really in line with what characterization we’ve had from Mirai so far. Maybe I read too much into the possible romance between Mirai and Akihito, but it just seems like she should have more trouble going after him from her own thoughts. Especially since Hiroomi is so much on the other side. It seems we’ve had a big switch from pragmatic Hiroomi and emotional Mirai to a swap of their thoughts. And we don’t really have much of a reason why. If we had just had one or the other, that might be ok, if they tried to give more reasons why, but as it is, everyone’s just an enigma.

Ai and Mirai

Saving cute kittens with two tails is a good motivation

header-spr13-highway

If I’m being honest, Kyoukai no Kanata is probably the least interested in the story I’ve been on any anime I’ve blogged, and that’s a weird place for me. It just feels so flat, and oddly, it feels like it’s been contrived to get to even that flatness, like there’s almost nothing there at all. Mirai still feels like she’s just a device for deus ex machina, being whatever the writers need her to be to resolve the situation. She just doesn’t feel like a genuine character. And the people who do feel like genuine characters to me – Ayaka, Mitsuki, Nino – just don’t seem to do anything important. I mean, Ayaka has a big fight with Fujima to keep him from getting Akihito, she’s apparently defeated, and then let’s have a big fight between Izumi and Fujima with no lead in at all, just Izumi shows up to save Ayaka and then just forget about Akihito? Because Mirai just ran in and found him and then Ayaka shows back up! And doesn’t Izumi want to get rid of Akihito anyway? Or does she need to have her patsy, Mirai kill him because then she’ll nab the youmu stone just like she did with the Hollow Shadow? It just feels all out of order, and nothing matters, because we’re just gonna move on to the next thing anyway.

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Proving that you don't have to be young to love anime, I enjoy all genres and styles of shows. If it's not hurting anyone else, you should never be ashamed of what you like!
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22 Responses to “Kyoukai no Kanata 08-09”

  1. skylion says:

    I feel the same way you do, but I also think these two are the best episodes to date; which is still not saying to much.

    Uneven is the word, and that is not a good word for a KyoAni production. Not a good think when the “filler” episode is the best thing going.

    It makes me wonder how they think they are going to unpack the resolutions which make it all work. I’m not holding my breath.

  2. zztop says:

    Still, it has the best, beautiful animation out of all the series I’m watching. :)

    • skylion says:

      It really does. Which kinda makes the series composition that much more strained. Oh, well, here is my hopes for Chu2Koi2 to kick much needed ass.

    • Highway says:

      I dunno, there is Nagi no Asukara as far as outright scenery showing off. And the battle sequences in Kyoukai no Kanata don’t strike me as that good. They’re frequently looped swirls and slashes with a lot of light effects and close ups, and the more there is, the more it’s evident there’s a less interesting sameness to all of it.

      • skylion says:

        That loopyness I can agree on. But I feel they have done great on general character animation, that hasn’t slipped at all.

        But then, I think that Outbreak is doing a good job on that as well….

    • BlackBriar says:

      It may be a bit early to pass judgment on best animation. Nagi no Asukara has proven to be tough competition thanks to P.A Works.

  3. sonicsenryaku says:

    I actually would have to kindly disagree on that loopiness in action you are referring to highway. Take ep 2 for example when mirai begins here fight with that mummy looking hollow; each of those slashes.are individually drawn with some stellar in-between animation to back them up…ep 3 or.four didn’t have looped slashes either…and the best contender for.the most well choreographed fight scenes in this.series is this episode right here…especially in mirai’s fight with akihito as it was more dynamic than most fights we’ve seen in this series, often playing with the.camera and color schemes. The only ep really guilty of using the.looped slashes.was ep 8 when izumi was getting rid of all those youmu so I personally didn’t mind.

    I think its nice that you do.mention Nagi no Asakura because it is indeed a beautiful series…but that more has to do with its art direction than its.actually animation…in terms of animation there is a lot more.going on in kyokai no kanata than there is in Nagi n that’s were kyokai excels in its beauty…in terms of art direction though I will say that Nagi has it beat. If you actually dissect Nagi’s visuals…you’ll be able to.see that the.animation itself is only slightly above average and that there are frames of animation and.backgrounds.that are reused; but.then again that’s par the course for most anime. The series is still very beautiful though and one of the best looking series this season

    • Highway says:

      For me, unless the animation is outright bad, I don’t really discern too much of a quality difference, or favor one over another. But I do know which series I’d rather look at between Nagi no Asukara and Kyoukai no Kanata, and it’s definitely the former. The color palettes, the action, none of it really excites me in Kyo_Kai. In fact, in this last episode, the thing that I was most drawn to, visually, was the rain. I found that more engrossing than all of the combat put together.

  4. sonicsenryaku says:

    @highway

    Hahaha wow kyokai really isn’t doing it for you then…in regards to how you feel about animation…im the same way myself in that if the animation is not outright terrible, I have no qualms with it. I am just really sensitive to small detail as im able to pick up on them quite easily; but whether they are positive or negative, I don’t use that to truly judge my enjoyment of a series.

    I have noticed though this comparison as of late between P.A Works and kyoani, especially this fall season as to who are the better animators and if we want to be factual…kyo ani have superior animation on da technical side…art direction-wise P.A works projects tend to stand out more..but even so…I find that if kyoani wanted to and put their soul into their art, they are capable of art exceeding P.A was shown by something like Hyoka; it had the beauty along with the motion-filled animation we know kyoani for. I personally don’t care either way as long as anime in general can deliver heart-breaking/cool/awesome art and animation while weaving.a beautiful tale.

    Kyokai has really good.ideas.and.lots of potential, the.problem is that its just not being executed.properly much to my dismay. Even so I still think this series is solid n I hope for some good closure on it by the end of its run…speaking of its run, it also feels like a part of the reason why the narrative is suffering a bit is because the story it’s trying to tell is too big for a 13-ep run.

    • Highway says:

      You point out what may be some of my disappointment with Kyoukai no Kanata. I know it can look better, because it did in Chuu2Koi. I thought the fights there were visually spectacular and much more well coreographed, AND they had a much better art direction / color palette. And Hyouka was also a visual treat. So that this is bland and dull and not that interesting contrasts with those to lower this one’s opinion.

  5. zztop says:

    What do you suppose went wrong with Beyond the Boundary?

    The source material? The writers? The director?

    Certainly not the animation,for sure.

    • Highway says:

      Not having read any source material, I can’t really say how it is, but I would *guess* that since a lot of the problem I have is with the characters and their lack of being interesting, that it’s just that it’s not that interesting a story. It could be direction, in that all the characters are played super flat. It could be the screenplay, just not a great adaptation. It’s just hard to tell without anything to compare it to, but the net effect is that I just don’t think the final product delivers on the promise that you’d think from the parts.

    • skylion says:

      Everyone. They all tried something different. Except for most animation and the moe astheic, they fixed what was never broken.

  6. Irenesharda says:

    I thought this episode (9) very interesting. For we all knew Izumi and the Nase family were up to no good, but you really think that maybe they’re doing it for the good of everyone. However, you then think about what the really stand for and how they prize status and influence over all and how Izumi stated that she thinks ALL youmu are monsters…and you begin to realize who the real villains are here. The amount of manipulation at work here, from saving Mirai just so she can use her against Akihito, to sending out Hiromi and Mitsuki to observe Akkey without telling them why, to her subduing Akihito’s human side, just so he can go crazy and then twist Mirai up in order to kill him, with that will put the “Beyond the Boundary” in the Nase family’s hands, secure their overall status as THE authority on spirit warriors.

    This then begins to put another spin on the association that the juice-box drinking awesome dude is working for. Is he actually a red herring this whole time? Are they really the better of two evils here and they are trying to make sure Akihito and the “Beyond the Boundary” stay out of the Nase family’s hands and Akkey doesn’t end up sealed in one their walls.

    I actually proud of Hiromi and a little ashamed of Mirai. Hiromi took the time to investigate and find out the truth to save his friend. Mirai decided to take Izumi at her word and will just kill the boy she’s beginning to fall for just because someone says she must? Have a little faith, Mirai…

  7. sonicsenryaku says:

    @skylion

    I definetly agree that they tried something different….but I feel like because they tried to go somewhere different, they didn’t have enough faith in themselves to give.this series the proper care and attention it needs to truly be a passionate narrative piece. I mean chuu2koi is set to air right after this; its almost like they said “crap, we kinda steppes out of our comfort zone a bit and we.might have slipped but lets get this series out of the way so that we can get chuu2koi out and make all that sweet ass money”. Im not trying to say that ever.series needs.more than 13 eps to succeed as that’s clearly not the case, but something like KnK needed that length

    @zztop
    What went wrong in my opinion, is the screenplay in that whoever put it together rushed it, without really seeing if events followed together properly or if the characters got the appropriate time to be fleshed out. The director is also key in this: it’s his first time in da director’s chair and it shows his inexperience in pacing the story and handling the character growth is quite apparent. Then there’s the storyboarding in each ep, which if it was strong enough, might have helped catch some flaws in the script or screenplay so revision could have been had.

    Either way, Contrary to others I enjoy this series; its solid and it doesn’t even come.close.to being terrible as some make it out to be…I’ve watch a lot of terrible anime.in.my.life so I’ve gotten the hang of spotting terrible anime and.terrible KnK is not. The animation is really spot on (sorry highway but it actually looks pretty hahaha : D.the bland color palette u probably referring to is intentionally done to give the series a more somber feel but that’s not the actual weakness in the art direction…how its expresses is what the issue….although ep 5 had some very good art direction…check that one out again to see what I mean of u have the patience). That color palette is aesthetic choice that I think works for this series

    • Highway says:

      I really don’t see where more episodes would necessarily help it. It’s not that they’re trying to rush any characterization or plt. I would have no problem if they’d cut off a story arc. The problem I see is that the characterization is just not good. That’s not a problem that would be fixed by more episodes.

      They obviously felt they had enough time to add Sakura completely into the story (with two pretty bad episodes), still have the idol side story, and both the Hollow Shadow and Beyond the Boundary story arcs. And at that, it’s felt kind of slow. It’s more that there really isn’t much substance there. It’s more that it’s lacking detail to flesh out the characters, or make them consistent.

      I don’t know if I’d say it’s ‘terrible’. It’s more that I just don’t really care that much about the story or the characters. And that’s what’s disappointing.

      • sonicsenryaku says:

        with more than 13 eps, they could have made sakura’s story arc, heck, everyone’s story arc more impactful. It is very apparent that this series is rushed; there is no if, ands, or buts about it. The characterization feels weak because the story is not giving you enough time to care about what’s going on. The narrative has this knack of telling you “oh feel this” instead of just letting you feel it and that’s a result of poor pacing and story framework.

        Again, many narratives can be told in 13 eps, and kyo ani has done that with a lot of their series, but that’s because the content that needs to be told fits within a 13-ep format and its paced to fit 13 eps. KnK is not paced to fit 13 eps, and the whole universe of KnK has a sort of structure that demands a lil more than 13 eps to tell. Take Hyoka for example, Hyoka didnt exactly step out of the park running aside from its visuals, but before you knew it, you started to become so absorbed in the characters and how they had changed throughout the series run, that it solidified its place as a good series with good characterization and beautiful art. Arguably, with the way hyoka was paced, this could not have been achieved in 13 eps and KnK needed that same type of attention because of the way its narrative structure is (im also factoring the source material into this).

        Im almost positive that things with KnK would be completely different had it got the 2 cour treatment (the pacing would be better, the writing would supplement the pacing, and the results of the improved pacing would give much breath to the characters and their dilemma)

    • skylion says:

      That “somber” look might have better if used for specific scenes rather than the whole look of the show.

      Ah, haters gonna hate. That is fashionable law.

  8. BlackBriar says:

    The fighting sequences were good. Frankly, I don’t see any frequently looped swirls and slashes.

    I wonder if Izumi didn’t set the barrier on Akihito in that moment on the train and it activate until the Lull started its effects on the shades.

    • Highway says:

      She didn’t set a barrier on him on the train. She froze his human side, like she froze that other girl earlier, and that allowed his Youmu side to take over.

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