Anime Review: Kyoukai no Kanata

by K. Hopson


What can I say about this series, Kyoukai no Kanata? (Beyond the Boundary)

I can say that I wanted this plot to work out, but … no. Just, no.

Coming from Kyoto Animation, the studio that did Free! And K-ON, (Yes, I liked K-ON okay? Don’t you dare flame me.) I was expecting something cool. A supernatural/action genre seemed like a nice change of pace from their usual cutesy, slice-of-lifey portfolio. Not that I have anything against cute or slice-of-life. But the plot of this show just ended up jumping all over the place, leaving critical plot points WIDE open, while offering abrupt, halfway answers for others.
Kyoukai no Kanata is about Mirai Kuriyama, the very last of a maligned clan of spirit hunters, as she attempts to assimilate into life at her new high school. No, wait. That’s not what it’s about.

It’s focused on Mirai and her attempts to kill an immortal halfling boy, Akihito Kanbara, who just happens to go to the same school, right? See, the confusion started right there at the beginning of the story. I’ll continue since I’ve made that point.

Beings called “dreamshades” exist in this particular world. According to a very abstract and forced explanation in episode three, they are these monster things that are a bi-product of the negative feelings of the human world, or something cliché like that. These are somewhat similar the witches in Madoka Magica, But we’re never told exactly what type of directly negative effect they have on humanity.

Whatever, okay! We know they’re bad, right? That’s all you really need to know.

These spirit hunters take out the dreamshades to, y’know, help save the world and stuff. Mirai comes from a family of spirit hunters that use blood manipulation to fight the monsters, which is what made them maligned and apparently cursed. No one ever really explains why blood manipulation is a problem besides an “Ew, gross! They’re freaks!” kind of reaction. All we know is that they were all killed off a while ago.

This Akihito kid is apparently half dreamshade, half human. That’s a bad combination, but lord knows how the hell it happened. His mother, who is absent for most of the series, refuses to divulge all that information. Because it’s too much like right to tell any of the characters anything that could be pivotal to the whole plot.

I say pivotal since dreamshades are obviously the antagonists in the story. Mirai has to fight two mega-shades throughout the course of the plot, one of which ends up being part of Akihito somehow. This Akihito-monster is called the “Shade from Beyond the Horizon.” So it would be nice to know how he was conceived, right?
Wrong! False hopes! Move on. Forget about it. Anyway, Mirai was handpicked to…possibly/maybe/kinda exterminate this kid. Again, why choose her? This is the actual explanation we got from the show:



What?!? Seriously, you’re just going to cut it off like that? Wow, alright.

And that’s what this series is about, kinda. And you can see where I’m going with this plot hole business. This story is so covered with random, inexplicable crap that the script probably looked like a Louisiana street. (Because the streets are super rocky down here).By the time I got to episode six, I had to remind myself about the premise of this show. It had turned into a slice-of-life, but then jumped back to monster-fighting right after. And continued to jump back and forth, or forget where it was going entirely.
I had written up a huge list of unanswered questions by the time I finished watching. I could detail them all here, but I don’t want to spoil things too much more for those who still want to try watching this show.

KNK3Kyoukai no Kanata isn’t too horrible. If it wasn’t for the plot development, I think I could’ve gotten more attached to the characters. They weren’t all that bad. This is just not an anime for people who like to ask questions.

If you can just sit back and enjoy the pretty animation, (and Mirai’s awesome blood sword) then this will work for you. I feel like this anime could’ve been great, but it had a plot that was simply too big to tell in 12 episodes. But how do fail to realize that during storyboarding and not try to scale it down?

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