Halloween Film Review! Kyoukai no Kanata: I’ll be There – Mirai-hen

miraihen lead

Mirai is ready for Trick or Treat!

I’ll be There – Mirai-hen is a sequel to the film I’ll be Here – Kako-hen. If you’ve seen the original Kyoukai no Kanata television series, then you’ve not missed much from the first film as it serves as a recap of that series; the five minutes of original material at the end served as a teaser, and that material is repeated in this film. If you’ve not seen the series, well then, why are you reading this? Go…watch the series and/or the first film. We’ll wait.

For the Future

skylion See. We’re still here. Thank you Internet Magic! Now, for the sake of full disclosure, I’m a big fan of the original KnK television series, and this film as well as a huge fan of Kyoto Animation in general; with few exceptions I would easily call it’s total output since the first K-ON! series debuted as some of my top favorite anime in – both television and film. With that in mind, it would seem that my impression of this film may be inflated, and you might even be right. That’s OK. I’ll still call it like I see it…


Just her scraps now…

So the film wastes no time getting us up to speed. It begins with a recollection of the ending of the original story (first film and television show), and bridges that with the aforementioned new material. Mirai Kuriyama has returned from a seemingly impossible situation. She sacrificed her life so that her beloved senpai, Akihito Kanbara could live on in a relatively normal life. That wasn’t without a deep cost to Akihito as it served to further embitter him from that normal life in many respects. The crux of the film is that and Mirai’s state of return. She’s forgotten all of her previous life. But what could typically be a sad and silly amnesia trope gone wrong (hint! They always go wrong, cause they suck!), is actually played in favor of the overall story; so really it’s not the trope that sucks, as always it’s the handlers.

Some things about her never change…

For me, one of the most compelling things about this whole franchise is how the straightforward story is balanced with it’s overall themes. I will be the first to say that they don’t manage to maintain a perfect balance throughout the entire story.  The emotional framework is, as always, a big old mess of barely spoken love, anger, betrayal, lack of trust, a sense of futility, the list goes on and on. The narrative framework is that of a “typical” high school setting, albeit one with pronounced supernatural elements. This show could have been a straight up romance coupled with intense monster against human combat. But Kyoto Animation choose a different path. They put more premium on the emotional framework than the straight narrative. That was true for the television series, and it’s true for this film as well. I’ll leave the basics of the films plot behind the spoiler cut…

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As I mentioned, there is an imbalance in this franchise. Now, I won’t pretend to know the intents of the producers. If they did intend for this perceived imbalance to give the audience a sense of the character’s own imbalance, they might have done it with more clarity. But, that is a minor quibble to me. It would be a major one had it not been for one very simple part of the equation. I trusted these characters to be genuine.


Hiroomi will tackle someone close to you…

This is because they always were. They were dealing with dreams and nightmares, and pain and memory. That can be told with a simple narrative structure. But in this show, we get the full rush. It isn’t just Akihito and Mirai, the entire supporting cast that has this quality. KyoAni made characters that, for the most part, felt like people could conceivable act -you can have your own fine points to argue if you wish. You might think that that’s the easy part. But don’t kid yourself. You drop the ball on a character, you’ve bollixed the whole shebang.

Over the years, many complained of KyoAni only flexing their muscles on the moeblob. My answer to those complaints is going to be the same now as it usually is. Tough cookies. You don’t like it, go watch something else. But for those that say KyoAni should reach for something more, in this franchise they did. But do you expect any studio of artists to betray their core principles while doing so.


You’ll remember past victories!

This is what they do, and this is what they do well. So, if you’re a fan of the genre tags then you should see the whole of the franchise including this film. It’smay not one of the best of the best it’s rough around the edges; but for my money it’s well worth going through as it touches upon quite a lot of emotional levels, it has KyoAni’s signature grace and style, and it’s message is well worth listening to. For my money, it’s terrific.And…it’s not the power of love that saved the day, but the power to believe that you can love and even deserve to.

But you’ll grow…

For technical marks, this one has a high pedigree. With that in mind I consider the Tamako Market film to be of the highest; which is saying quite a bit. If I had to give this one an edge, I would call out it’s diverse OST. KyoAni is no slouch when it comes to that in any production they do, and this one took the cake. There are pieces which stay with me long after the film is over, always a good mark. Especially when they bring the heart of the story with them…


…and you’ll love!

So, I hope you enjoyed it. Let me know what you think…


All around nerd that enjoys just about any anime genre. I love history, politics, public policy, the sciences, literature, arts...pretty much anything can make me geeky...except sports. Follow me @theskylion
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22 Responses to “Halloween Film Review! Kyoukai no Kanata: I’ll be There – Mirai-hen”

  1. JPNIgor says:

    My only complaint here is that Stereo Dive Foundation didn’t come back with a new song… Really sad.

    Man, Tamako Love Story and this film, damn it. They are really wishing for my tears, they have a bucket in their office where they intend to store all their fans’ tears.

    I’ll give them if you make more of these.

    • skylion says:

      Yeah, I miss SDF as well, but I got a new song by Minori Chihara (Mitsuki’s VA, and the VA for Yuki Nagato!) so I call it a more than even trade off. I love her singing voice.

      As for Kyoto Animation and film, I will agree that they really pull out all the stops. And they aren’t finished yet.

      Kyoto Animation’s Sound! Euphonium Gets Film & TV Series Sequel

      So get ready to mail the studio your tears!

      • JPNIgor says:

        YESSSS! THIS IS AWESOME! *-* Though the movie is a rewind of the series, right? ¬¬

        • skylion says:

          Two films…first is a recap, second is original material…

          • skylion says:

            Well, now I’m seeing a recap film with a new television series following. Heck, at this point it could be a pachinko game, a social media game, a new manga, a live action film, and a Summer Stock dance interpretation for all we know…stupid anime news cycle…

            Edit: Looks like it’s a recap film then a new series!

  2. sonicsenryaku says:

    I felt that the original tv series had plenty of potential but didnt tap into it as well as i would have hoped. The movie however did a better job of making some use of that potential and as i result, i enjoyed it more. Plus the movie felt darker than the tv series (playing to its dark fantasy strengths). This series is supposed to be about a cast of characters who are miserable in a world where the line between dreams and reality are blurred. There is so much character exploration that could be achieved but the original tv series fell short of that. The movie did a much better job portraying the casts emotional turmoils but it could only do so much because of how rushed and choppy the direction of the tv series was (even tho i enjoyed it).

    It seems that the director has gotten a bit better since the tv series, and there is a scene that greatly depicts his growth which i dont see much people talk about. It’s a scene in which akihito is having a vision of young mitsuki and hiroomi. He sees his younger self playing in the park as he watches young mitsuki and hiroomi running until mitsuki trips. As she’s crying, it looks like akihito wants to go over to her to console her but he lacks the nerve to do so and misses his chance. The whole scene is lacking in dialogue, using just facial expressions and good scene compostion. In that short but sweet segment, you learn quite a bit about akihito. You learn that he plays a major part in his isolation. He was too afraid to approach mitsuki and hiroomi. how different would his life have been if he had made friends with them sooner? You can see the regret on his face from not making a move. And in that, we see that akihito hesitates to get close to others, most likely because of his nature as a half Youmu. I could go on for a bit more but the point is, that scene was polished. Oh and kyokai no kanata is seriously Kyo ani’s best work when it comes to facial expressions. The change in expressions are so seemless, something barely see in anime period

    overall a good movie-I’d give it a 7/10

    • skylion says:

      Rushed and choppy is a pretty good way to describe the earlier television series. But still loving it despite that is an even better way…

      Thanks for adding in your favorite scene! I had wanted to go over more of the content, but decided that it would have been a much longer review than it already is, and I felt hitting the theme was more important. Besides, giving commentors the space to say what they liked is more interesting. You’re right, that was an incredibly touching scene done just as is. It would have been horrible had they put on an unnecessary narration.

      I may have to disagree with you on the facial expressions, as I thought that Tamako Market nailed that even better. But it’s only a mild disagreement.

      • sonicsenryaku says:

        i wouldnt say it’s my favorite scene as there are two other scenes along with that one that are in the running for that position but i mention it because it demonstrates the improvement of direction over the tv series. I have yet to watch tamako market. i however did watch a clip of ep 1 and noticed how crisp the animation directing and scene composition was. I would have to watch a couple more eps to see how well tamako market handles facial expressions and their transitions. All i know was that the knK movie did a terrific job in that department and it’s one of the few in my years of watching anime to do it so well

        • skylion says:

          Well Tamako has that light, fuwa-fuwa approach to it, and KnK…well, it’s not fuwa fuwa, but it does the job.

          They do wonders with backgrounds and comp, which is one of the best reasons to watch anime period.

          • sonicsenryaku says:

            oh and i wouldnt say that this movie addressed all the plot points the tv series layed out. There’s actually quite a bunch of questions still in the air. However, the movie concludes certain arcs in such a fashion that if another kyokai no kanata series was never to be released,..id be ok with that (even tho id like to see more from this series as that potential is still there). Looks like our next fantasy action series from kyoani will be myriad colors phantom world

            • skylion says:

              I kinda like that they left us with something to mull over by the end of this film. It means the world persists; a narrative device I’m quite fond of.

              Myriad Colors Phantom World looks interesting, if not outright generic in it’s approach. But then, so did KnK just going by it’s previews. I guess it’s the ever-present high school setting?

              The wiki entry has better information. I’m happy to see that Shinpei Sawa is going to be working on whatever monsters this one has in store.

            • sonicsenryaku says:

              yea i literally just say the promo; the animation is not on Hyouka/kyokai/hibike level but it looks good nevertheless (which is to be expected of kyoani. In other news, we are supposedly getting an FMP sequel. Never thought id live to see this day

            • skylion says:

              I just went over the credits for the crew. With Hibike’s director and the writer behind Golden Time, Engaged to the Unexpected, Non Non Biyori/Repeat, and Kokoro Connect (just to name favorites), the show should be tight.

              I did hear about something coming out regarding FMP. But I never really got into it’s groove, so it doesn’t really register with me…but, I’m happy the fans are happy. Maybe now they’ll stop it with the “KyoAni is making X, and not a new FMP! RAAAAAAAGE!” thing…

            • skylion says:

              Holy Twin-Tails! They be pointin’ forward! She’s as cute as a….bug!

              But yeah, this is looking really generic…

            • sonicsenryaku says:

              haha that loli (mushi??) has quite the character design

            • skylion says:

              LOLi Mushi! I’m actually liking the character design….twintails evolve!

  3. zztop says:

    Kanata’s setting is based on Nara City, Japan:

    All are real life locations, except the Nase mansion, which is based on the Meiji-era Nara Hotel.

    So the point of Miroku’s whole plot was so he and Izumi could be together? I’m not getting it.

    • skylion says:

      Well, that’s another city to add to my ever growing list of places to visit.

      Well, the way I see it: Mikoku came to his own conclusions that is was useless to fight the youmu, so if you can’t beat them, join them…then do the whole reign in hell thing afterwards cause he’s a pompous twit like that. As far as him being together with Izumi, well, he didn’t want to suffer alone, cause he’s a twit like that. So he convinced her to let the youmu in and help him spread it.

      It was there to provide a contrast to Akkey and Mirai’s growth and budding relationship. One built on selfish desire, the other built on…budding teenage hormones…other things…

      • sonicsenryaku says:

        i found that part of miroku’s character interesting: he has disdain for the whole youmu hunter association because he finds their fight against youmu to be pointless. Like you said: if you cant beat em’, join em’…and not burn in hell by yourself when you set the world aflame. Again, the problem with that whole character element is that it isnt well fleshed out so im left feeling like “damn..they could have done more with that”

        • skylion says:

          I felt they gave him just enough depth to be a spanner in the already complicated works, so whatever else they could have done with Miroku’s character, I’m all ears.

  4. akagami says:

    Got around to watching the prequel OVA today – start of the legendary hand-warmer bromance!

    Now I have to get around to finding time to watch the 2nd movie.

    • skylion says:

      Yeah, the OVA really gave the show the “bottom” it needed. Feel free to comment when you watch this film!

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