Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon – Retrospective, Part 1 – The Premise, the World, & Episodes 01-06
The natural reaction to how much work went into this post.
Welcome, one and all, to my special series of retrospective posts on the sci-fi / fantasy epic Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon. In the following two posts, I’m going to give you everything you need to know in order to enjoy this wonderfully complex series, including background information, character bios, detailed summaries and impressions for every episode, and a giant final impressions section that explains exactly why I felt compelled to write so much about this series. In the end, these two posts are going to cover the entire season – all 13 episodes – of one of the most vibrant and detailed worlds that has graced our screens in years.
Of course, this all begs the question – why? Why did I do what amounts to over a season’s worth of blogging in two weeks? Other than the fact that I’m clearly a masochist (“you blogged an entire series in two weeks? M!”) , it’s because this series is the reason why I’m here today. While I know many have called me the ecchi writer due to…well, everything I’ve covered on RandomC so far (whoops!), the truth is that the genre I love above all else is Fantasy, with Epic Fantasy standing proudly atop the pile like a haughty king. Stories with rich casts in expansive worlds full of war, politics, intrigue, romance, and magical battles galore are what really get my blood pumping. That’s why, when the first season of Kyoukaisen got dropped here on Randomc, I felt the lack. My favorite blog wasn’t covering my favorite show! That’s when an insidious thought slipped into my mind – if they’re not covering it, then maybe I could…?
In my heart.
So yes, Kyoukaisen holds a special place in my heart, so much so that I took the rights to cover season 2 within a month of joining RandomC. But in order for everyone to enjoy this upcoming season, I think it’s important to understand (and enjoy) the previous one. That’s what these posts are about. Here are my pledges to you, both for these two posts and for the upcoming season:
- I will take extra time to make sure that I’ve explained anything that is potentially confusing about every episode. This show can be complex, so I don’t want you to stay confused.
- I will find the answer to any (Kyoukaisen-related) question you guys ask. If you have one, post it on the latest post, which I’ll check every day until the next one goes up. You should have a place to go get the answers, and I’ll try to provide that.
- I will edit for clarity and additional information. Usually I don’t edit a post much after it goes up, because blog posts are rarely referred back to after they first go up, but for these I’ll edit in more info when necessary. You should have a place where you can get the complete picture, and I’d like that place to be here.
- For these posts I summarized each and every episode, but I don’t know if I’ll do that for next season. Undecided! Feel free to comment on that once you see how I summarized this time, though I will say it’s fairly unlikely. Summarizing is sort of boring =X
That’s my pledge to you. Now, I suppose I should get on with it, eh? First of all we’ll be going over the basic premise, the world, the various factions, and all of the important characters from season one. My primary sources for this information are the Horizon Wiki, MyAnimeList, Wikipedia, and the insanely detailed and useful kyoukaisen.tumblr.com, which is chock full of even more wonderful information than I’ve included here. Highly recommended. Now, let’s begin!
Stilts note: do not be daunted by this post’s length! It may look like a lot, but each of you probably won’t need to read all (or perhaps even most) of it in order to enjoy this series. It’s all just here in case you do. Read through, pick out the details you want to read, and come back if there’s anything you don’t understand – that’s my suggestion.
Stilts note #2: Yes, I realize that if a show needs (or is much enhanced by) a giant post explaining things, it didn’t do it’s job properly. “Show, don’t tell” and etc. I never claimed Kyoukaisen is perfect! I merely said that I enjoy this story, and once you understand it – if you’re willing – I think you might too.
In the distant future, the Earth has been devastated due to the powers wielded by humanity at the time. Seeking a new home, the people of Earth rose to “the heavens” (more on that below), but they fought too much and were soon forced to return to Earth. Though most of the planet had been rendered inhospitable (think wild magic and extra-dimensional interference – scary stuff), there was one part that could still support life: the archipelago formerly known as Japan. This land became known as the Divine States. However, there were more people than there was land available for them to live on, so a mirror image of the Divine States was created in a pocket dimension above it. This became known as the Harmonic Divine States. Most of humanity crossed over to the Harmonic Divine States (especially those of non-Japanese descent), while the powerful items known as the Divine Tools (the devices which maintained the Harmonic Divine States) were entrusted to the people of the Divine States.
Yet, humanity did not want to be stuck on one slip of land and a pocket dimension forever – they wanted to return to the heavens. Over time though, doubt arose about whether mankind could get back there. In response, a plan was hatched – if humanity could just retrace the steps it took to get to the heavens the first time, they could get back there again (and presumably not fight like idiots once there). Thus, the Testament was born.
The Testaments. Just kidding! On the left are vol 1-8 of Kyoukaisen (there are 10 volumes now), while the right is all of Owari no Chronicle (more on that later). And just think, these are classified as “light” novels.
Now, the Testament is not just a set of World History textbooks lifted from an old history professor’s book shelf. Rather, it’s a set of books produced by a device called the Testament Descriptor, which is designed to update the Testament every 100 years by creating another volume. The reason why the Testament works this way isn’t stated (to my knowledge), but the natural conclusion is that, due to humanity’s constant warring, they lost most of the knowledge about history. Thus, they must trust in the Testaments because there is no other way to know.
Up to the present time, the Testaments have been compiled into seven volumes, containing information from the year 10,000 BC up to 1648 AD. During the process of history recreation, the years 10,000 BC to 1,000 BC were done in 90 years, while the following 1,000 years were done in 100 years. Starting from 1 AD, the ratio was slowed to 1 AD per every 1 TE (Testament Era). The Testaments are maintained by the Testament Union, an international organization of nations which oversees the process of history recreation (more on that below).
The seven volumes of the Testament are each held by a different country, specifically those based on European countries (which were all located in the Harmonic Divine States…more on that later as well). Given the world history that this blogger knows from plain old written text books, Europe pushing the rest of the world around in the time periods they’re recreating is not surprising.
History recreation primarily focuses on two things – the reenactment of major wars, and the inheritance of names from key figures in history. A couple of quick notes on the inheritance of names:
- Sometimes those who adopt a name are required to undergo changes in order to better suit the role, such as a Honda Masaszumi’s (aborted) sex change. This is not always necessary, though.
- Those who inherit names are often given roles, responsibilities, and attributes that the name’s original owner had. For example, Tachibana Muneshige was given superhuman speed upon taking the name Garcia de Ceballos.
Harmonic Territories are areas from the Harmonic Divine States that overwrote parts of the real world. They appear as pillars of light, and the climate within them is different from that outside.
The recreation of history went smoothly up until 1413 TE, when the Nanboku-cho War (originally fought between the Northern and Southern Courts in Japan) was recreated in the Divine States. During the war, the Southern Court stormed the Imperial Castle and usurped the Divine Tools from the Emperor. With the mechanisms that maintained their stability disrupted, the Harmonic Divine States collapsed, with more than half of them being completely destroyed. The rest fused with the Divine States, overwriting patches of land entirely and creating the Harmonic Territories.
Naturally, the people of the Harmonic Divine States were pretty pissed about this, so they invaded the Divine States. Unfortunately for the people already living in the Divine States, their resources had been depleted due to the war they had been recreating, so they were quickly defeated. This event became known as the Harmonic Unification War.
This whole situation presented a problem for the Testament Union – Japan was not supposed to be conquered by a bunch of European countries in 1413 AD. To solve this, the nations of the Harmonic Divine States partnered with various powerful clans and relocated to different areas of the Divine States, while the remaining lands that were left to the Divine States’ original occupants, which were renamed the Far East. The people of the Far East were then placed under provisional rule by the Testament Union, losing most of their sovereignty in the process. No surprise there, as historically that’s what happens when a country loses a war. In addition, every country’s military and government was replaced by an academy, with students becoming responsible for all governing and fighting. More on that shortly.
With that taken care of, the history recreation marched on until another problem arose – the Testaments stopped updating after the year 1648 AD, at the time when the Peace of Westphalia happened (note: they know about the conference that take place at Westphalia, but not necessarily the peace that resulted, and they certainly don’t know what comes next). That means that after over eighteen hundred years of following the Testaments and knowing pretty much exactly what would come next, humanity was about to suddenly be all on its own once again. Naturally, people proceeded to do what they always do when confronted with wide-spread uncertainty that has anything to do with a calendar – they assumed that the apocalypse was coming and began to freak out (see: Y2K, 2012 Mayan Calendar nonsense, etc).
This is the situation the world is in when Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon begins. It’s April 20th, 1648 TE. Now stepping on the stage is Aoi Toori, the memory of the dead Horizon Ariadust, and their friends in class 3-Plum…
So far I have referred to “the heavens” multiple times, but I never actually explained what they are. The reason for that is because I’m not entirely sure. To my knowledge, it’s never been explicitly stated what the heavens are, either in the not-so-light novels or the anime. Some sources say “the heavens” are outer space (which is what I initially assumed), while others imply that they’re alternate dimensions. Either explanation works, though let me give you a few pieces of information to consider:
- Kyoukaisen is not the first popular published work by author Kawakami Minoru. He also wrote Owari no Chronicle, which is a prequel of sorts to Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon. I say “of sorts” because the two story’s plots don’t have much to do with one another, but the worlds they take place in are either extremely similar or exactly the same. For instance, much of the magical system in Kyoukaisen can be directly traced back to that seen in Owari no Chronicle. Anyway, since Owari no Chronicle deals heavily with alternate dimensions, it is reasonable to assume that “the heavens” in Kyoukaisen might be the same.
- Remember, Horizon’s earth is radically different than ours. When I first heard of “the heavens,” I assumed that meant outer space, and wondered why the hell they couldn’t get back to space if they had flying ships like Musashi. However, they also have magical abilities, archdevils, talking slimes, and huge areas of alternate dimensional land that is superimposed over the real world. So yeah, when they say that “something is preventing them from getting back to the heavens,” I’m inclined to believe there’s a pretty good reason!
But to be honest, it doesn’t matter. Whether it’s outer space or another dimension, Horizon’s earth is pretty messed up, and it shows it in a number of visible ways. Where they’re trying to get won’t matter to us until it’s much closer than it is now.
Why Do Students Do All the Fighting?
The short answer is “because that’s how the Testament Union decided it would work” (after the Harmonic Unification War, as noted above). However, I’ll explain why this makes sense. When watching Kyoukaisen, think of the word student as a combination of the words “student” and “citizen“. Students (citizens) are the only people able to take part in military or governmental affairs. For people in most countries, they become students for the first time when they’re very young (as early as elementary school), and remain students for the rest of their lives. If you translate student to the word to “citizen” based on what I’ve said so far, the situation is little different than how countries operate IRL.
Students. Angry, angry students.
The only exception to this is, naturally, the Far East. Due to rules imposed by the Testament Union, the Far East’s Musashi Ariadust Academy is the only place that has a concept of “graduation”, where people stop being students (citizens) and graduate to become…nothing. Once a resident of Musashi graduates from the academy, they essentially become second-class citizens, as they’re no longer able to help run their country, or fight to protect it. Graduates can try to influence the students, but their words hold little weight since only students can make decisions. This is a massive disadvantage for the people of the Far East, because their leaders and soldiers are always far less experienced than those of other countries, and their total number of people eligible for public service is radically smaller. In fact, this is by and far the biggest disadvantage that the Far East must labor under, for even if they were to throw off the restriction and have non-students fight, they would still lack the decades of experience that other countries’ students would have amassed. That’s not something the Far East could make up for overnight.
A little more information on the academies:
- Each country has a single academy to which all of their students belong. Their names are listed under the Factions section below, but the only one you really need to know for now is the Far East’s academy, Musashi Ariadust Academy. That’s the one most of the main characters belong to.
- Each academy has two organizations that are responsible for its political and military duties: the Student Council and the Chancellor’s Board. The Student Council is in charge of the academy’s political affairs. It is headed up by the Student Council president, and aided by the Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary. The Chancellor’s Board (also called the Supreme Federation) is in charge of the academy’s military operations. It is headed up by the Chancellor, who is assisted by the Vice Chancellor and a number of Special Agents, each who are tasked with specific duties.
- An important note: the Student Council President and the Chancellor are supposed to always be the same person, according to Article 4 of the School Regulations (though sometimes this is not the case). Needless to say, this person is pretty damn powerful.
I’ve alluded to this before, but Horizon’s Earth is not solely inhabited by humans. It contains a number of other non-human sentient races, including:
An automated doll. No – the best automated doll.
- Automated dolls (sentient machines)
- Elves & Half-elves
- Living gods
- Living skeletons
- Talking algae
- What have been referred to as “Silicon-based races”
- Humans with really big hair. Okay, they probably don’t count.
…and those are only the ones we know of so far. Once again, it’s not overtly stated why there are so many different non-human races – at least, within Kyoukaisen itself – though I believe it has to do with the events of Owari no Chronicle, when the denizens of alternate worlds in different dimensions ended up moving to Earth due to their planets being slightly destroyed.
Regardless, the main reason I point this out here is because I found non-humans just popping up without an explanation to be quite jarring when I first watched this series, so I wanted to prepare you. It makes sense, though. Why would the residents of Horizon’s Earth comment about non-humans? They’re a common occurrence, to the point where some countries are over 50% non-human (though humans are still very much the majority overall). Also, the fact that some characters are non-human isn’t usually that important, since it’s only one facet of their personalities anyway.
Of all the non-human races, automated dolls are the ones that have the most impact on season one, so I’ll go into further detail about them. Automated dolls are a race of mechanical beings which possess souls. Automated doll’s bodies are artificially created, and their soul can be as well, though the soul can also be extracted from a dead person. Either way, the soul is then housed in a marble-sized ball which can be located anywhere on their body. To an automated doll, it doesn’t matter if their body is damaged or destroyed, so long as their soul is alright. As long as that marble is safe, it can be relocated into another body at any time with no ill effects.
Here are the two most important facts about automated dolls: they are emotionless and servile by nature, and they are programmed to always make the best, most logical decision. Remember that for later.
Magic, Mauses, & Sign Frames
I’m going to say very little about the magical system in Kyoukaisen because I think it’s largely self-evident and explained pretty well within the anime. You know how it goes – the caster uses mana (here, called “ether”) as fuel for spells (here, called “abilities”), which are activated by saying certain words. Same thing here. That said, a few notes:
Magic in action.
- The human body produces ether, and it is this ether which most characters use to fuel their abilities. There are some rituals and external fuel sources that can be used to give them access to more energy, though.
- Shinto abilities are extremely powerful because they utilize rituals, or the offering of material objects and/or ritual activities in exchange for the use of an ability. Instead of being limited to a certain number of abilities, a Shinto user can perform any ability so long as they can perform the ritual offering that the god in question requires. Let me repeat that – a Shinto magic user can effectively use any spell, as long as they can afford the offering. That’s some devastating potential right there.
- A maus (pronounced like “mouse”) is an entity that assists with the usage of abilities. If you see a tiny human- or animal-like being floating over a character’s shoulder or lounging on their head, it’s a maus.
- Sign Frames are those little screens that appear when an ability is used. They are also useful for communication and for interacting with abilities, like little floating computer screens. The design of the sign frames differs by nation (torii, crucifixes, books, overlapping squares, etc).
By the way, I told you that last part to tell you this: have you ever noticed the censorship that is always over Toori’s little chancellor? That’s not something Sunrise just threw in there, but an actual ability called God Mosaic that Toori uses so he can do naked play all he wants. Sign frames are very versatile!
All the old religions still exist, though they’ve acquired new names over the years. Christianity has become known the Tsirhc Church (Tsirhc = Christ reversed), while Islam has become known as Murasai (Iasarum reversed, which is of course engrish for Islam). Tsirhc is further split up into the Old School (Catholicism) and the New School (Protestant). As was the case during the historical period they’re recreating, certain countries are heavily religious, while others are moving away from this. Which countries are which is mentioned under the Factions section below – I’m merely mentioning this here so you’re familiar with the words ahead of time.
Judge and Tes
This one’s easy (and short, for once). “Judge” and “Tes” are the equivalent of “roger” or “acknowledged.” The Far East uses Judge (short for Judgment, abbreviated “Jud”), while everyone else uses Tes (short for Testament, abbreviated “Tes”). Even creating new words based on the changed situation of the world…these are the kind of little details that I love.
Time Elapsed During Season One – Two Days
Here is perhaps the most crucial fact that you need to know in order to enjoy the first few episodes of this series – aside from a short scene at the beginning of the first episode and the second half of episodes 13, the entire first season takes place over two days. Episodes 1-5 take place on the first day (April 20th, 1648 TE), while 6-13 take place on the following day (April 21st, 1648 TE). What’s more, Episodes 1-5 each start at the beginning of April 20th, and then follow different character’s points of view throughout the day. The first few episodes can be very confusing if you don’t pay attention to the times and dates, because it can easily feel like there’s too much happening for the whole season to take place during two in-universe days – especially if you watched it the first time when it was airing, and had to wait a week between every episode.
Yes, it’s still the same morning, Masazumi. Time to wake up.
Below is a rough outline of how the first day proceeds, by episode number. After the 5th episode, the plot proceed in a more linear fashion and doesn’t jump around as much, so it’s easier to keep track of things then. It’s still always important to watch the dates and times when they appear, though.
- Episode 1: starts at 8am, ends at 9am. Total consecutive time covered: 1hr.
- Episode 2: starts with scenes at 8am and 8:30am, skips forward to 9:30am, goes to 2pm. One scene at the end is from 6:30pm. Total consecutive time covered: 4 1/2hrs.
- Episode 3: starts with a scene at 5am, skips forward to 2pm, goes until 7:59pm. Total consecutive time covered: 6hrs.
- Episode 4: starts with a scene at 5am, skips forward to 2pm, goes until 8pm. Total consecutive time covered: 6hrs.
- Episode 5: starts with a scene at 8am, skips forward to 8pm, goes until 9pm. Skips forward to 6am the next day. Total consecutive time covered: 1hr.
From there, the episodes proceed in a fairly linear manner. As you can see, there’s a great deal of overlap, with episodes 3 & 4 taking place at almost exactly the same times, just from different character’s points of view. This is probably the most crucial thing I didn’t realize on my first watch through, so make sure you’ve got it!
Note: if you’re ever unsure about the times, check my summaries in the coming posts. They’re not perfect (especially for the earlier ones), but I tried to note the times whenever I saw them.
Now, onto the map! I’m going to keep this short and let the picture below do most of the talking, but let me get a few things out of the way first.
- Yes, that is (or rather, used to be) Japan. Re-read the premise stuff above if you’re confused about this.
- No, I don’t know why it’s all blocky and unrealistic. Possibly dimensional interference? Or maybe they just thought maps would look cooler that way. It’s probably that second thing.
…and that’s it. Now the map. Immediately below is a little more info on the map, after which I’ll be going straight into each of the major factions in Horizon’s Earth. By the way, the majority of this information is courtesy of kyoukaisen.tumblr, with me merely providing some trimming, reorganization, and readability improvements.
On the map, the words under each dot provide the following information: the area of the country (Ex: Setouchi), the clan (Aki), and the faction (K.P.A. Italia). By the way, the clans they’re referring to are the feudal clans that controlled those areas before the Harmonic Unification War, and which the Harmonic Divine States combined with when they relocated into the real world. They’re not terribly important though – or at least, they aren’t yet – so we’ll mainly just focus on the factions and go from there.
These are listed in order of plot importance to season one, and then by the little number in the top left-hand corner of each page (which is simply the order they were presented in the original light novels).
The Far East
Finally we have the cast. For this, the vast majority of the information (including the pictures) has been taken straight from kyoukaisen.tumblr, with a bit from MAL. They did the work, not me! I want that to be perfectly clear so that nobody thinks I’m taking credit. I have, however, mixed in some supplementary information from other sources / my own knowledge, killed a few spoilers (these are all from an episode 1 of season one point of view), spruced up the prose, and included some short impressions of my own. Characters are sorted by faction and their relative rank/plot importance, in descending order. Also, these are for season one only! Though I did leave out some characters that only appeared for a moment and didn’t say much. I hope this is helpful
The Far East – Musashi
The Main Characters
The protagonist. His studies and athletic abilities are average, and he’s publicly recognized as an incompetent leader (he agrees), which is why he was selected by the Testament Union to be Musashi’s head representative. However, due to his cheerful attitude, he’s still very popular and respected. Knows a lot of strip-jokes, and often plays the fool. He is known as “Mr. Impossible”.
Stilts note: Toori is a silly, ridiculous pervert, but he’s super fun. I just can’t help but liking honest idiots like him.
An automated doll that works at the Blue Thunder bakery. She strongly resembles a girl killed ten years ago.
Stilts note: P-01s isn’t quite like most emotional girls. I think you’ll find there’s more depth here than that…
Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon
Holy Tsirhc, did I really write all of that? Clearly I’m out of my mind, because I’m not done yet! Let’s get going in style with full summaries and impressions of episodes 1-6. What can I say – I just have to give Kyoukaisen the love it deserves. And myself carpal tunnel. Let’s begin!
Stilts note: the summaries are a bit rough. I’ll freely admit that I haven’t edited them up to my normal standards, merely because I’m running out of time to finish these posts. Apologies in advance if anything in there reads weird.
As is befitting of the first episode of the series, episode one was mainly introduction. There was a fair bit of exposition (which I am not ashamed to admit I didn’t completely grasp the first time I watched it), so if you are in the same boat, check out all the premise information above. There’s also the summary I did of the episode immediately above, in case that’s helpful. By the way, did anyone catch that foreshadowing Toori did at the end? I didn’t notice that until the second time though, but I loved it when I caught it. Oh Toori, you’re deeper than you appear, aren’t you? :D
Anyway, to me this episode was always about the chase scene. Seeing all those different kinds of magic really ignited my imagination and got me excited for what was to come. I felt the whole thing was done pretty well, because each character wasn’t introduced too much, yet we still got a glimpse of their personalities. Adele is fast, Tenzou is perverted, Shirojiro is greedy, Asama has something to do with a shrine, etc. Plus, Makiko-sensei was a stonecold badass. It’s probably a good thing she’s not a student anymore, or she’d kick too much ass and not leave any baddies for everybody else!
This is commonly where people start to get confused, which is why I’m beginning to narrate at such great length. The key here is timing – as I noted earlier in this post, this episode takes place on the same day as episode one. Scroll up for the time line, because this is important to realize to avoid confusion. Episode one took about an hour in universe, with this one taking ~4hrs on the same day. Vury important.
This episode is all about two things: camaraderie, and tragedy. To me, Toori has always been an interesting character because he manages to command the loyalty of his friends and lead them despite being so silly. As we delve more into the tragedy of Horizon’s death alongside Masazumi, it becomes more and more clear why people support a pervert like him – not out of pity, but because even after such a huge tragedy he can still laugh, because he cares about everyone and wants them to be happy and at ease, and because even after a decade he hasn’t forgotten about Horizon. He’s an idiot to be sure, but he’s also strong, and sensitive, and kind. That’s why people follow him. That’s what begins to become clear here, as we watched the Master of Remorse Way struggle to step down that path again.
If episode one was a little teaser to suck us in, while two & three were the background that laid the foundation of the story (and these are all true statements), episode 4 is the windup to the plot punch. With a bunch of the foreshadowing coming to a head, the action really heats up here, and boy was it awesome. Kazuno’s gravity-controlled-asphalt-blades fighting was beautifully animated, and even if I didn’t already know what was coming next I’d say it was a sign of good things to come. I remember watching this the first time through, and it wasn’t entirely clear what was going on, but I knew that by now I was interested…especially with Tadakatsu’s rival, the Peerless Man of the West (Tachibana Muneshige) en route for a throw down.
Wow. I know some people have a “three episodes and you’re out” rule, but if you did that to Kyoukaisen and didn’t get to this episode, you missed out. First of all, the action in this episode was great. Tadakatsu / Kazuno’s fight against Muneshige featured rapid fire one-upping, with each of them pulling something out of their bag of tricks just as soon as their opponent did the same. The best part was that, given what we knew about each of these character’s abilities, none of what they did was especially surprising. Or rather, it was, but it wasn’t like they pulled them out of their asses, which I appreciate quite a bit. There’s also the fact that both sides are admirable individuals, making it a fight between two “good guys” going at each other. Rather than straight black and white, I prefer fights like this where the morality of each side is gray. More on that in my final series impressions later on.
By the way, it occurs to me that I should probably comment on their weapons a bit. As far as Slicing Dragonfly goes, the whole “severing names” thing might be a bit confusing to some. Remember that “true names” are said to be powerful in many magical systems, which is why (in those worlds) they are a closely guarded secret. That doesn’t appear to be the case for most things on Horizon’s Earth, but names still clearly have power, as is shown by the inheritance of names for history recreation (which was how Muneshige got his speed). Slicing Dragonfly severs those true names, both of people and things, and takes away those attributes that the name gives the person or object when the name is severed. In the case of a person only having one name, and that being severed – well, without a name, it would appear one doesn’t really exist. Not anymore, at least!
There was a lot to enjoy about this episode, if you’re a weirdo like me. I’m not talking about anything perverted, but about politics, symbols, and morale. Take Futayo trying to grab Slicing Dragonfly from Gin. Though she didn’t stop Horizon from being taken by the Testament Union, she doesn’t want the spirit of the Far East to be broken, so she makes a gesture. In a practical sense (we’re going into realpolitik here), it doesn’t mean a damn thing – Futayo would have gotten the weapon either way, and in fact she did. But that wasn’t the point. The point was to send a message, to show the people of the Far East that they still had strength. I love how so much was said, so many complex issues were considered in such a short time, and she sent a message that didn’t mean much…but perhaps helped stir the hearts of a few crucial people. Morale counts, people. I guess you can tell I’m not a big fan of realpolitik, ne?
Likewise, I enjoyed Shirojiro’s plan for getting Masazumi on their side (more on why that’s important later on). One of the things that makes Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon so difficult to understand – but also so remarkable – is that it’s extremely faithful to the complicated way our world works, especially in regards to politics. In most stories, politics are either glossed over, approached at a kindergarten level, or ignored entirely. Think the Star Wars prequels for a stupidly black-and-white view of politics. Not here! This is politics between nations as it truly is – with knives hidden behind words and snakes lurking in every speech. Wonderful.
I’m going to end the madness there for now, and give those of you who want to start watching (or re-watching) the series some time to catch up. Part 2 will go live either next Tuesday or Wednesday (late Tuesday is the hope, though I’ve been tardy with everything about these posts so far, so I’m not making any promises!), so look forward to complete summaries and impressions of episodes 07-13 and my intensely insightful final series impressions to appear then. There have already been some awesome events, but these episodes were just the buildup. It only gets better from here!
Edit: Thank you for all your kind words, everyone! Now, for your enjoyment…Part 2 is live!