An end that came too soon.
Alright, we are at the end haul for my namesake series and it has seen it’s ups and downs. However it has turned out, KyoAni sure went out of their way to ditch their usual formula of moe, slice of life around girls doing cute things together. Joining me on this review is Highway and I would also like to shoutout to Hoshi, Miyu, Kara and Cools who took part in tagging and reviewing this series with us. Hope you enjoyed reading the different perspectives.
Thanks to Kyo for letting me come back for the final post on Kyoukai no Kanata. My opinion has been going up of the show since my last post, and these last couple episodes have been the best, but is it enough to overcome the general impression of the show?
Alright, so not all of my predictions came true but at least the two worlds were introduced properly with the fight going on with Mirai and Beyond the Boundary youmu. I’m not sure how Mirai spent the three months of time slip that Akihito went through, while he recovered the effects of his half-youmu being sucked out but this was not the only thing that was left to our imagination. The most powerful family, Nase members could not sense the youmu that had almost engulfed their small town, even with the telltale signs of their reduced powers and the feeling of something being horribly wrong. Until Akihito woke up and started asking lots of questions about Mirai, no development really happened.
The spy-megane’s goal wasn’t described either and the fact that why he even bothered to kickstart that weird car in revealing Beyond the Boundary. Sure, he wanted to acquire the ultimate gem and required other people interfering like Nase and other spirit hunters but even that turned out to be for plot convenience. Don’t even get me started on the appearance of Akihito’s estranged mother. From the dubious dialogue that was exchanged between Izumi, Yayoi and Shizuku, it seems that they were not aware of her being Akihito’s mother…?! Now, that’s pretty strange when his existence has been a threat to all of them because of its volatility and the fact Nase family were his appointed guardians of keeping his powers in check.
I remember asking for adults to butt in and solve some matter but the only thing they did is confuse the situation even more. Izumi has a youmu inside her, Shizuku is not that powerful and easily overwhelmed, not to mention Yayoi, who is a cosplaying hentai with weird fetishes… She just ups and leaves after annoying everyone. I was glad that Mitsuki and Hiro’omi were around to take proper actions rather than adults after that. I came to love these characters but seeing them walking all over each other was painful. This series should have been of two-cour at least so that the last few episodes were not so rushed. However, for this episode at least, in the end, all my doubts did melt away when Mirai and Akihito came together. They sure keep meeting each other in tough situations.
Moar plot tweeeest
With Akihito now in Beyond the Boundary with Mirai, the final battle begins. And of course we’ve got a situation where both of them want the best for the other one, but ultimately, Akihito isn’t going to just let Mirai go while he ‘lives’. So we get the best battle of the series, and this is one that I thought really showed imagination and cleverness. Was it silly? Yep, with that sequence of riding a scooter in the snow, up a hill, over a cliff, with Mirai on the front like a knight riding into battle. They work together much better as a team, and you really get that feeling that they’re drawing strength from each other.
he other ones who are growing in strength are Hiro’omi and Mitsuki. And while Izumi fights her battle with Fujima, her two younger siblings realize that it’s their time to step up. And I’m still not sure what Fujima was trying to do, since it seemed like he just wanted to destroy the world. Why? I never got any reason for it. I guess just being a jerk? Or is it something with the Society of Spirit World Warriors? He never answered that question that I saw. But eventually, Fujima does lose out to Izumi, but not until he’s made a big reveal about her, and she’s answered satisfactorily (at least for me).
In the end, though, there’s very little change. Kyoukai no Kanata started out this whole thing inside Akihito, and after all of this it ends up back inside him. And the part of Mirai that was still alive inside the youmu’s dimension fades away, leaving Akihito the way he said he didn’t want to be: living in a world without her. And while this was sad, I really liked their parting moments, where it finally seemed all the weight had been lifted from Mirai: her guilt over Yui’s death, her fear of loving Akihito, her worries about having to kill him. All of that was forgotten, and she went out with a smile, a genuine smile of happiness.
And then they messed it all up! I love happy endings. I want couples, I want love, I want smooches, I want ‘happily ever after’. I don’t even mind if it’s improbable, or contrived, or even a deus ex machina. But this? This took the cake. This was just outright gratuitous. If you’ll forgive me, it was Beyond the Boundary of anything approaching good storytelling. That ending had been great, and there was no reason for Mirai to come back. And even if her smile was brilliant, and it was good to see her again, it’s just not something that you can accept. They didn’t give any mechanism for it. I mean, hell, Peter Pan imploring children in the audience to clap to bring Tinkerbell back to life had more reason behind it. I could go on and on, but let’s just leave it at this: It was the wrong ending.
This was one of my favourite show of the season but the last few episodes just did not do it justice. After Free! this was another big experiment for KyoAni and even with the audience’s doubt, this series was pretty popular throughout its run. Sure, not everyone appreciated the troll episode of K/Jpop homage but I loved it personally. Whatever the outcomes were, this was another beautifully animated series with some misgivings. I am sure we will have people liking this series by the end, like Highway, and I even did too but the only thing that ruined it for me was the ending.
Even when the last few episodes were seriously dedicated to the PLOT but they came too late for massive explanations because of deviating from the original story. Sakura stuck out like a sore thumb (she doesn’t exist in novels), and a lot of other characters became superfluous, including Mr. spy (yeah, I just never bothered remembering his name), and even Yayoi. I know her character was designed to appeal to moe fans but damn, I wanted to not only kick her but smash her head in somewhere for being too vague.
All the characters I came to love just fell apart. Mitsuki and Hiro’omi had the potential of being amazing supporting characters and they always made their presence felt but there was not just enough time. Coming to the happy ending, it came with a price and usually I don’t mind some plotholes but with the kind of goodbye they went through, that last scene just did not cut it. Don’t get me wrong, I love Mirai and Akihito pairing and this is one of the first canon pairings in a while. If things would have gone well, that ending with arriving at the same rooftop where they first met would have been beautiful. But oh well, sometimes happiness rules out everything and I can personally vouch: love is a beautiful thing.
Kyoukai no Kanata wasn’t a bad show, overall. But because it was KyoAni, I think everyone was expecting more. In terms of storytelling, this wasn’t anywhere in the same class as their recent efforts. I don’t think it’s because it wasn’t ‘slice of life’, because I think that Chuu2koi had a similar level of plot, at least the same order of magnitude, but seemed to tell its story so much better, with far less downtime, far less muddiness, and none of the WTF. We know they can do better, so it’s disappointing that they didn’t. There were flashes of brilliance, to be sure, but really, the final impression is that it left a lot on the table.
And while there’s been discussion this season about the pacing, I still don’t think it was an issue of not having enough episodes. This finish wasn’t rushed at all. The last two episodes were as close to excellent as the series got, and they were very good (excepting the last 2 minutes). And we had at least two ‘throwaway’ episodes out of these 12, with Sakura’s story, and the pervy youmu on the roof. I just think there wasn’t the material to support the story, at least not to my satisfaction. What was Fujima doing? That’s what I think the main thing that didn’t fit in was. And without having a real motivation for that tension, I think much of the rest of the story falls apart. Not a giant failure of a show, but just disappointing because we expected more.
We leave you with the best ED of the season, hands down.