Must type faster, must finish post. Ahhhh my carpal tunnel!

And we’re back with Part 2 of Stilts nii-chan’s ridiculously detailed Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon Retrospective. Last time we went over the story’s premise, the world, the characters, and the various factions that are all vying for power on Horizon’s Earth. Then, just to get the party started properly, I went ahead and gave you summaries and impressions for the first six episodes.

This time we’re going to go through episodes 07-13, complete with summaries, impressions, and detailed explanations of anything that I think might trip you up. Finally, we’re going to finish this thing off with my in-depth final impressions of season one. There’s some hard stuff in these episodes, so tune in if you’re not quite sure you got everything last time. As for those of you who still haven’t decided to watch this wonderful series, read my final series impressions! You might catch some spoilers, but if my passionate words don’t make you want to immediately marathon the entire series, then I just don’t know what will. Possibly you’re dead inside. You should probably get that checked out. Let’s begin!

Once again, massive props to kyoukaisen.tumblr for much of the information contained herein. You’re a total pro, sensei. Keep up the good work!

Episode 07

Episode Summary:

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I am constantly impressed by how well everything is justified in this series. This is an old pet peeve of mine, and one I’ve in many ways learned to ignore, but it still irks me when details aren’t explained, or things are done “just because.” That’s the easier path when you’re telling a story – and let me tell you, I’ve used it in my own endeavors a few times – but when an author can thoroughly justify everything his or her characters do, I dearly love it. What am I talking about here? Azuma, and why he abstained from the special meeting. The fact that he abstained wasn’t important in and of itself, it’s that it was justified by him possibly swaying people’s opinions when they should decide for themselves. The fact that the author would take time with such a minor detail means good things for the major details later on. Same thing for Sunrise including it here.

Moving on, the Naomasa vs Shirojiro fight was awesome for two reasons. From a purely animation / action standpoint, it was awesome seeing a lone man go toe-to-toe with a giant mech and come out on top. There’s just something so satisfying about seeing a lone man punch out a giant robot! More than that though, Shirojiro explains why he’s fighting, and as is so often the case with people (and always the case with Shirojiro), it all comes down to money. There are two things you need to know here:

  1. For all intents and purposes, energy = money in Horizon’s Earth. That is, energy as in the ether (mana) variety.
  2. Most of the world is Christian in this time period (Europe certainly was in the real 1648 AD, and they’re replicating that part faithfully), and it’s the kind of Christianity that doesn’t allow money-lending.

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Episode 08

Episode Summary:

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From the beginning, was there any doubt that Seijun wanted to help Toori’s cause? As with Naomasa and Neito before her, her heart wasn’t really in the fight. Sure, she answered to the best of her skill, but she didn’t attack or press him to defend his (now the Testament Union’s) side in the debate – she just dutifully answered the questions he asked her, letting him control the flow of the debate while she did his job of convincing her for him. Maybe I don’t really understand the rules of a debate – and in fact, I know I don’t – but I doubt this escaped Seijun as she was speaking. In my eyes, she knew she wasn’t arguing to her fullest, but she did it anyway because now she was arguing the side she actually believed in. After all, why else did she prepare that cheat sheet (which was about how to save Horizon), ne?

As for Masazumi’s logic for why Horizon shouldn’t be held responsible for Mikawa’s destruction, when you take half a step back from all the political intrigue, it’s the obvious answer. She had nothing to do with Mikawa’s destruction, so why should she die for it! But that wasn’t the impressive part. Masazumi’s master stroke was in how she spoke the truth in front of the entire world, and called the Testament Union out on their sham reasons, no matter what the cost. When I first watched this, I thought this is why Shirojiro said they needed Masazumi in order to trade and make port while they’re warring with the Testament Union, because Masazumi could make all the rulers afraid of giving the Testament Union their way, lest they end up suffering a fate similar to that of Horizon and Musashi. That’s not wholly correct, but more on that in a few paragraphs.

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Episode 09

Episode Summary:

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Ohhh man, Kimi’s dance was pure awesome. I must admit, it was hearing about how awesome Kimi-nee was in this episode that made me finally start my original marathon of Kyoukaisen (props to Kurogane for that one). And perhaps I’m lucky for that – I was able to take in all the buildup episodes all at once, and by the time I stopped watching I was already in the thick of the awesome. I don’t think doing it week-to-week would have hampered my enjoyment much, but…well anyway, more on that later.

So yeah, Kimi-nee is awesome. As with Shirojiro’s fight, I have a soft spot for the (seeming) little guy taking out what should have been an insurmountable foe (though really, who doesn’t love that?), and Kimi no-combat-abilities-whatsoever Aoi certainly falls into that category. Or so it appeared! To me though, seeing Futayo stymied by Kimi-nee’s insurmountable Summit Dance wasn’t the best part of their fight, even with purposeful undressing and a little spear licking to knock things up to 14 on the awesome-‘o-meter. No, it was how Kimi-nee beat Futayo that was really awesome. Without any offensive abilities, it seems like Kimi-nee should have had no way to actually beat Futayo, but that’s simple thinking. Rather than attacking her physically, which is what Futayo is good at defending against, Kimi-nee attacked where Futayo was weak and she was strong – the mind. Kneel! Amazing!

Plus, there was a bonus here. Just like with Neito and the knights, beating Futayo along wasn’t the best course of action. If that was the Good End, the Best End was beating her and bringing her completely over to Toori’s side. For her little brother, and despite having no combat abilities whatsoever, Kimi won the critical battle and brought a powerful ally to their side. Gods, Kimi-nee is awesome.

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Episode 10

Episode Summary:

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Some people will say that this show is weak because, despite the large cast, not all the characters get a chance to stand in the spotlight. I disagree. Others might instead say that the large cast prevents us exploring in-depth the backgrounds and personalities of all these characters, and to that I would say shut up that’s not the point!! *tsun tsun* But let’s take that first objection. It really started three episodes ago, but I love how all these different characters get a chance to stand up, show their stuff, and help out their friends and their cause. In this episode we got to see that from a few different characters, so I’ll take each in turn:

  • Neshinbara is getting to strut his stuff as strategist / coordinator, and he clearly loves it. His true time to shine is later, but I enjoyed him talking about everyone in trope-like terms, and even calling out Toori as the protagonist. I do that sometimes too, though I’m never quite clear who the protagonist is. As for his speech, it’s another scene that gives me chills. Friends who would rescue you from danger, a name to call out when all is lost, a place to return to…may we all have as much.
  • Adele being demoted to a constantly suffering human shield was both hilarious and cute. Her earnest attitude might just make her one of my favorite characters in this show, though with such a vibrant cast, there’s a lot of competition.
  • Ohandbytheway, the quiet and frequently overshadowed Persona-kun even got to come in handy again. That’s one of the lovely things about a big cast – there are so many characters that can do so many different things that there will always be a chance for them to shine.
  • Moving on, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Asama. She is a stone-cold badass. While Musashi-sama deserves props for blocking all those shots, and especially the big one, Asama tore through the Tres España primary cannon and sent the entire ship plummeting. Do not piss her off, gentlemen. It will not end well for you.

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Episode 11

Episode Summary:

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Wow, there’s so much going on in this episode, and it contains one of my other favorite scenes in the series thus far! Let’s dive right in. First is Neito. Simply put, seeing her sling those chains around in ridiculous and logic-defying ways was awesome. I have no idea how they work, but shutupit’smagicjustshutup!! But mostly I enjoyed how she came over to Toori and proudly said he could praise her if he wanted to. D’aaawww!

Now, a bit of a qualm that’s not really much of a qualm anymore. They sure do stand around talking a lot for being in the middle of a battle, don’t they? Part of that has to do with this being adapted from a bunch of novels, and that’s fair enough. But that aside, there’s another reason for this. You notice how nobody is really dying? I’m pretty sure the magic here has fail safes (ala Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha once again) where it can’t kill people, or at least doesn’t do so in most cases. So, with death off the table and with the Testament Union’s only goal being to stop Musashi from getting Horizon until she commits suicide, they’re really only stalling – I mean, if Musashi wants to waste what little time they have talking instead of fighting, what do they care? That just means there’s less effort needed for the Testament Union soldiers to do their jobs. And mind you, taking the death out of war (or at least markedly lessening its chances) does decrease some of the horror and danger from the whole endeavor. That’s one of my more unequivocal qualms about this series – I like the stakes to be high, and that’s one way the stakes can quickly be made higher, even if it does threaten us losing some of the great characters we’re given here.

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Episode 12

Episode Summary:

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First of all, if you’ve ever wanted to read Toori’s big long line at your own pace, check out the summary above. I copied the whole thing there, courtesy of kyoukaisen.tumblr. Seriously, that place is great.

There were really only three things that happened this episode, but they were all huge, so let’s get into it. The first one was Futayo and Muneshige’s fight. This one was short, but no less important for its brevity. Alas, there’s not a whole lot to say about this one – Muneshige wasn’t smart enough to knock her unconscious or break her legs or something, so Futayo got another shot, and this time she won. I don’t know that I agree with her that Muneshige’s Garcia name got sealed by Tadakatsu, though. In fact, I’m not even sure that Futayo believes that. That’s not to say that she’s going to get a big head over this, but I think she mainly just didn’t want to insinuate that Muneshige was someone unskilled enough to be beaten by a person with little experience like her. She was being kind, attributing the victory to her much more experienced and skilled father instead of taking credit for it herself. Was nice of her.

Wow, I guess there was a fair amount to say on that one. Anyway, moving on, I’m going to attack the two Horizon / debate / parallel scenes from two different points of view: the first will be how I understood them the first time I saw this episode (and enjoyed it despite my ignorance), while the second will be about how they actually happened, with plenty of explanations.

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Episode 13

Episode Summary:

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So each time they’ve happened, I’ve pointed out my favorite moments of this series thus far. Episode 9 had the best one, episode 11 had another, and this one has the third, for the hat trick. Honestly, I’m not sure if Toori’s Mr. Impossible moment or this one gets the second seat, but they’re certainly up there in the gives-me-glorious-chills-every-time meter.

But before that, a few things I enjoyed. Once again, a bunch of different characters are getting to be useful! This one featured a lot of repeats – Naomasa, Neito, Masazumi, Persona-kun – but the new one was NENJI! You would think that the slime with 3 hps would be useless, but in a pinch Nenji came through, swooping down with Neito’s help and whisking away the beleaguered Toori and Horizon. I wouldn’t say Nenji is my favorite character by any means – he’s too minor for that to even be an option – but I like seeing everyone contributing, and all the characters being useful. Well played, slime-guy.

So my favorite scene from this episode is where Toori and Horizon are firing Lype Katarripsi at Innocentius’ ship (the Eikomaru), and Horizon reclaims her emotions. I cannot praise the OST and Toori enough for this scene. Horizon’s emotionless nature never really bothered me, to be honest – after all the anime I’ve seen, it’s not like an emotionless girl is exactly uncommon, or even undesired in some quarters. Still, as the music played and Toori gave his wholehearted support for the floundering Horizon…well, these are the moments where media like TV and movies excel. If you just want to tell a story, a book is one of the best places to do it, because you can do it practically zero cost and you can use your readers’ imaginations to enhance the experience. However, for these singular moments, where the pictures and the words and the music and the writing and the emotions all collide together…it’s hard for a book to replicate that feeling, that moment. Seeing that kind of thing is an experience, and Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon’s ability to continually deliver these powerful scenes is one of the reasons I enjoy it so dearly. It’s okay to cry, Horizon. Let it all out.

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Practice makes perfect, Horizon-tan. Uh, usually.


Final Impressions

Ho-boy, final impressions. I could say “go read the ones I just wrote for every episode!”, but I’m not silly enough to think that most of you read all of those. I could also try to give you an objective analysis of this show, but I’ve never been much good at that. I mean, I just blogged the entire series (in a ridiculous amount of detail, with extras) inside of two weeks! Clearly I am not objective. So instead, I’m going to tell you what I like about Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon. Perhaps you’ll disagree, and feel that the negatives I’ll briefly gloss over are too glaring and heinous for you to ignore. Yet maybe a few of you who read this will decide to give this show another shot, or come to enjoy it for more reasons than you originally did. If you’re looking for any hard information or explanations, scroll up or check out Part 1 – it’ll all be thoughts, feelings, and other frivolous wordy bullshit from here on out. Let’s start.

The world of Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon is incredibly complex and detailed. To some people this is a negative, but I say it with nothing but respect. You see, I was the kind of young’un who loved stories like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. In fact, I’ve heard it said that the reason there are so many “stereotypical fantasy” (what a ridiculous phrase that is, stereotypical fantasy) works is that a bunch of kids who would one day become authors got to the end Tolkien’s books, set the last one down…but were not quite ready to leave his world just yet. To them, Middle Earth was so rich and alive that they wanted to spend more time among the leaves of Lothlorien and on the planes of Rohan. Count me among that group. There’s nothing like an impossibly rich and complex world to suck you in like nothing else can. The attention to detail, the care, and the thought that goes into every facet of the world…I can only stand in awe in front of such achievements, and wish to step in and wile my days away amongst their roads and battlefields.

I never want to leave, these long and winding roads.

Another thing is scale. In fiction, enemies that threaten to destroy the earth (or whatever planet they’re on at the time) are a dime a dozen, and every two-bit hero seems to end up saving the damn thing at least once by the time the credits roll. I don’t buy it. You can only see the world saved so many times before it loses its punch. But it’s not even that. It’s a problem of scale, and what the human mind can wrap itself around. Saving the world is too big of a concept to really grasp. Why are we supposed to care about the world when we only ever see one little part of it? And that’s where Kyoukaisen gets it fantastically right. First of all, their scale is huge – the entire world. That’s not an exaggeration when the leaders and soldiers of every major country on the planet are constantly hacking at each other’s kneecaps in the search of one little slight advantage over one another. But Kyoukaisen also did the complete opposite, and took it small. It’s still hard to truly grasp worldwide consequences, even when you’re playing on a world stage, so the author shrunk them down and embodied them in a single character, Horizon. The stakes are both big (huge, globe-spanning, world-shattering) and small (personal, intimate, a single life), which helps to really drive home the scope of what we’re dealing with here, and to make us care about it.

Then there’s the gray. While I’ve come to accept it as part of fiction, I naturally deplore worlds of black and white. If there is problem I have with Lord of the Rings – and there are a few, actually, though this is the greatest one – it would be that it was too cut and dry. There were the good guys and the bad guys, and no one ever doubted who was who. That’s not how the world works! In my eyes, conflicts are always fought between two sides who both think they’re the good guys but generally act like bad guys. This might seem terribly cynical, and perhaps it is, but if so I apologize – I am a cynic at heart, and have only arrived at my present irrational optimism by dint of great effort. Anyway, I naturally abhor worlds of black and white – the earth of Kyoukaisen is not one of those. Gray abounds, with all the characters working at cross purposes towards what they each honestly think is the best thing for them and their people. Sure, Innocentius and Galileo are sort of dicks, but they’re not exactly evil, not really. Would not the people of Musashi sacrifice lives for their goals? Deaths aren’t really a thing in Horizon’s world, at least so far, but tell me that they didn’t at least risk a few deaths when Horizon and Toori shot down the Eikomaru during episode 13. And that’s even before we get to antagonists like Muneshige and Gin, who are legitimately good people who just happen to be opposed to the ones we’re rooting for. Grays, grays, grays! I know who I want to win, but it needn’t be because they’re right, or righteous. I’m fine if it’s only because they’re mine.

Maybe they’re good guys too? You never know…

Speaking of, the characters. Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon has so many characters that there are bound to be some that strike a chord with everyone, and a few that are truly memorable. For me, there are many of both. Toori is a seemingly useless pervert, but he’s actually an incredibly perceptive and kind leader who binds his friends together, and only wants them to smile and laugh. Horizon didn’t start out as much – she was an emotionless girl, after all – but her interactions with Toori really bring her character to (sarcastic) life. Kimi-nee is amazing from the very first episode, when Saitou Chiwa starts chewing the scenery (trope!) like a pro, and she doesn’t stop being awesome until well after she’s lost most of her clothing…or really, ever. I like it when Shirojiro and Heidi get super miserly, when Neshinbara starts talking about people like they’re characters (too meta, Neshinbara!), when Masazumi gestures like the politician version of Phoenix Wright, and when Futayo cuddles with a sake bottle after declaring her lack of friends. I like it when Neito gets embarrassed or proudly dere, when Adele gets batted around and used to hit people, or when Tenzo, Kiyonari, and the others discuss ero-games. I like it when Suzu acts like the heart of the group, Noriki the stoic spine, and Makiko-sensei the supportive hand on their back that pushes them forward. I like Margot and Malga, Miriam and Azuma, Asama, Naomasa, and all the others…and that’s just class 3-Plum! Are you starting to see where I’m going with this? The thing I like most about the characters of Kyoukaisen is all of them.

You see, one of the ways that Kyoukaisen most resonates with me – and this is above nearly everything else I’ve said so far, or will say after this point – is in the camaraderie shared between the students of class 3-Plum. When the world is worried about armageddon, all they’re worried about is whether Toori will get the girl. When they’re fighting, it’s not for their country or to save the planet , it’s for the sake of one of their own. From when they walk down the stairs together at the end of Episode 9 to when they finally have that party they were so looking forward to in Episode 13 – and everything that happened before, after, and in between – that feeling of strong friendships that won’t break no matter what happens always touches me. Consequently, this is something that is amplified by the large cast. While close friendships between a couple or even a few characters are seen frequently, the more people you add, the harder it becomes to make it work. Think of your own life. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s hard for us to get all of our friends to set aside a single night for everyone to hang out, and the more people there are to coordinate, the harder it is. Yet, here we see these friends who decide to go to war against the entire world for the sake of one of their own. Marvelous.

The cast is assembled.

And then there are the romantic relationships. I love two things about those. First of all, there are realistic relationships between secondary and minor characters. Shirojiro and Heidi, Margot and Malga, Muneshige and Gin, and perhaps a little something brewing between Miriam and Azuma (hey, I can hope!) – these liven up the setting because, let’s face it, getting into relationships is what people do. There’s another, more important thing though – this is not a harem show! Some people wouldn’t say that’s a good thing, and I certainly watch enough harem shows to have no problem with them myself, but that doesn’t mean they’re appropriate everywhere. Sure, this show is full of women that would put most harems to shame. I mean, just imagine a harem that featured Asama, Suzu, Masazumi, Futayo, Naomasa, and Kimi-nee. Unholy sh–, we’d make a million!

But, that’s not the point of the romance in this show. Everyone loves Toori…but they also love Horizon, and they love Toori and Horizon when they’re together most of all, just as Suzu said. A lot of stories take the whole “getting together” as the most important part of a romance. I think this is a mistake. Getting together is crucial, of course, and it’s a big milestone, but the most important part is what comes next. Toori and Horizon being the ones that are supposed to be together was never in question, at least since the moment each of us realized who P-01s really was. The question is in how they would get together, and once there, how they would earn their happy ending. As for everyone else, their full-throated support of Toori x Horizon is another thing that is somewhat unrealistic, but in the best possible way. Sometimes realism in fiction is overrated. I want to believe there are friends like that out there, and even if there aren’t, I’d like to hear a story where there are.

This is only the beginning, Horizon.

Visuals. The animation isn’t KyoAni movie-level, but it’s good, with Sunrise not cutting any corners or phoning it in. The character designs are also luscious and attractive. This is not a battle anime, but when fighting happens, it looks good. From Kazuno stalling Gods of War with levitated asphalt blades to Futayo going one-on-one against Muneshige, the fights were exciting to watch, and a real treat to behold. What’s more, fights weren’t won by characters pulling heretofore unseen abilities out of their asses. They have certain abilities, and everything is built off of those. When Shirojiro hired out for a bunch of guards’ strength or Kimi-nee started to dance, there was always a sense of ohhhh, that makes sense. He’s a miser who always talks about money, and she’s definitely erotic. Alright! And once introduced, everything was built off of that. Once we saw Neito’s chains, they came up again when she and Nenji pulled Toori and Horizon into the ship. Good conservation of detail (trope!), good planning, and good avoidance of the dreaded ass pull (trope!!). I approve.

Sound. Moomba says it better than I could, but the long and short of it is this: the soundtrack is phenomenal. This is not something that I usually notice, but when a scene is building and the tensions high and your eyes are glued to the screen, and then the soundtracks cuts in, the notes flowing and booming and filling the scene with life and energy and emotions in a way that reading words on a page could never compare with–well, then I sit up and take notice. Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon’s soundtrack was that and more. Oh, and the OP and ED songs were pretty good too, especially with how they switched between the two EDs depending on the tone of the last scene of that episode. More series should do that.

Thoughts. Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon is hard to understand at times, there’s no question about it. If you only watch things that are light and fluffy, pick another show – there is little for you here. But who ever said thinking was a bad thing? I never was much fond of the idea that TV had to be stupid. Kyoukaisen doesn’t treat us like children, which I appreciate. Instead, it challenges us, challenges us to keep up and understand and take in what it’s throwing at us. True, sometimes it goes too far – I spent an entire day trying to get my explanation of the debate between Toori and Horizon in episode 11 right, and I’m still not sure I managed it – but I would rather it go too far than dumb itself down so everyone could understand. After all, while compromise makes for great public policy, it makes for terrible art.

Emotions. Feeling! This one is trouble because it’s even more subjective than my other points. Did a chill run down your spine when the whole cast assembled and headed off to war? Did you slump in sadness with Toori when he was too late and too weak to stop Horizon from being taken away? Did you exalt when Masazumi came over to Toori’s side, when Futayo got back up and beat Muneshige, or when the barrier dissolved and Toori and Horizon embraced? I did, and have each and every time I’ve seen them. If you didn’t, use my posts to understand the world better, and then let yourself dive in. Life is too short not to get swept away by marvelous stories.

And, and, and…

And the best couple in the show. (I wish)

Of course, not everything is sunshine and blowjobs. The world is complex. You will have to think. There are a lot of characters and a lot going on, so each one doesn’t get a lot of time in the spotlight. Many of the women’s chests and hairstyles are implausibly large (if that bothers you). Needing to read supplementary information to understand everything isn’t an ideal situation – though there is a reason that people said this would be impossible to adapt. Nobody really dies, nor does anyone come under inordinate threat of as much, so the danger in combat isn’t very high. And yes, even some of the very central premises behind the plot are absurd, though to my eyes it’s with very human absurdity. Retrace the steps of history? Ridiculous! But it’s the kind of ridiculous I could see coming from a bunch of quasi-religious zealots who stand to gain a great deal of power and influence from such a plan, or at least retain that which they already had.

Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon can be confusing, convoluted, chaotic, and just plain unintuitive – but isn’t that how life is? This is not a perfect story, and though I have and will continue to focus on its good aspects, I will not claim that the negatives do not exist. Still, through it all I find Kyokaisen to be a very human story. People work and strive together to shape the world into what they want it to be, and they run into others trying to do the same, with them all working at cross purposes and undoing what each of them have done. So they argue, and they clash, and some people get hurt while others may even die. Yet others laugh until they cry, party well into the night, run across the city on adventures, get punched back across it for perverted antics they shouldn’t have done, or kiss their beloved as the sun sets behind them. This world of Horizon’s is giant, complex, and not easy to understand, but it is inhabited by fantastic characters, each with lives of their own. I can almost imagine that the author created all these characters, knowing where they were going for maybe the first book or two…and after that it just took off, with the characters themselves dictating the course of the world. A wonderful thought, ne?

Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon II starts on Saturday, July 7th, 2012 AD. Get ready for it!

Onward, to season two! Ikouze, minna!


  1. There are a few series that cannot be justly expressed by a few paragraphs,
    this was/is one of those. It’ll take some time to read/understand your post.

    Excellent, excellent dedication Stilts – thank you!

  2. I don’t post comments very often, but I just feel the need to say here: These two posts have been quite impressive, to say the least! An enjoyable read certainly, it’s been great to see your dedication to examining the series.

    Having watched as it aired, I have to agree with you about the sheer depth in the world of the story, along with the characters. I tend to consider likable characters the most important factor in any series, and I love fleshed-out, interesting worlds to explore and commit to memory, and Horizon provides both far beyond any measure. Hell, I don’t even like politics in any other context, but this series makes them interesting!

    So, now I’m looking forward to (Or shaking from withdrawals until) the arrival of the second season, and now a bonus the first didn’t have while airing, your thoughts on it!

    (As a side note, that first Lyrical Nanoha mention….. Stilts, please say you’re not one of the crazy Yuuno-haters!)

    1. Thank you kindly! And yeah, after about a day of rest (tiiiired!) I’ll be joining you in fidgeting for season 2 to get here already. Just a few more days…!!

      As for Yuuno, I’ve no problems with him. He’s actually kind of a badass, since his binding and shields spells are insanely powerful, and he can force teleport enemies (which would lead to some awesome telefrags in the hands of a less kind character). Still, it’s just obvious he’s not the one that’s with Nanoha, nishishi~

  3. LOL at the last banner. Very fitting.

    My two cents: the reason why some people do not understand Horizon is because of:

    1. Hadena’s bad to normal subs
    2. Didn’t get the fact that the first three episodes happened on the same day, with the fourth telling what happened only hours later

    >But who ever said thinking was a bad thing?

    True. I despise people who liked to bee spoon-fed and shows that spoon feed the audience.

    The Moondoggie
    1. I agree.
      Somehow, people tends to go with anime with lots of action, graphics, and with good plot of course(actually it depends on the treading). Somehow they forgot that by using that idea over and over and over again makes the genre dead during its popularity days.
      Now that we have an anime, Horizon, which needs logic of understanding of the situation, we really need to thing deep. Specially of the culture difference we have from them. But since, like you said Moondoggie, people are spoon-fed and already poisoned by ideas from the popularity treading.

    2. True. Even a delicious cake becomes boring and uninteresting if you have it day after week after month after year.

      Of course, it’s not necessary that all shows make us think – I like a good relaxing slice-of-life as much as the next guy, and I certainly wouldn’t call watching Kyoukaisen relaxing, even if it’s a whole lot more fun – but the ones with true depth who try to spoon feed everything…well, that’s just unfortunate.

    3. This is that exact, awful elitist attitude I was referring to when talking to you the other day. (Check back to summer previews) “I despise people who liked to bee spoon-fed and shows that spoon feed the audience.” Furthermore you don’t seem to understand the difference between a niche audience/complexity and a plain old clumsy, bulky exposition.

      I’ll explain it in the terms of a movie. Take Primer, an incredibly complex, jargon-specific film aimed at engineers. It’s great for engineers, but not for anybody else. If Stephen Hawking could explain the origins and structure of the universe in a thin book using a equation only once, or Feyman explaining the Challenger disaster to non-scientists, then Shane Carruth (writer/director/producer of Primer) should have been able to convey his concepts in a more viewer-friendly way. But he didn’t. So the movie sucks (for everybody who isn’t an engineer).

      You want an example of a thematically heavy, self-contained series? Take the novel of Nausicaa. It is the best manga period. You don’t have to look up supplementary information to understand the series. Everything is there for you. You just have to read between the lines and panels to really understand what Miyazaki is trying to convey. The movie however, managed to make itself appealing by truncating large parts of the series and only covering a select part of the overall work. Basically it understood that film was a different medium entirely and set out to make a successful film rather than a word for word, faithful adaptation. And it succeeded in that regard. Horizon on the other hand went the complete opposite route and chucked as much as it could, as fast as it could.

      It’s fine for already avid fan of the series, but just that. And plenty of people were engrossed enough to check it out for themselves; that’s fine too. But how many people do you think could understand the show as a standalone work? Pretty much nobody, and that’s why it failed for everybody else. In terms of spoon feeding, the show didn’t just expect you to just take the spoon and feed yourself. It expected you go and browse for some specific brand of spoon, order it, schedule a pick-up, and then drive to the post office. All in order to eat your food.

      How about another example? Take the American Digimon movie. It’s three separate movies cobbled together into one lazy and incohesive mess. Is the average audience member stupid for not understanding the plot of the movie? Or take the first Pokemon movie. Would you call the parents taking their children to the movie stupid for not understanding its world?

      Who knows maybe the novel is great? Stilts and many others seem to think so. But the show? They could have done a better job in all it’s exposition dumping. One of its biggest weaknesses was that it got distracted far too easily into exceedingly dry ramblings about world politics or people’s abilities which were barely even tangentially connected to the big thing of the series, Toori getting Horizon back and having her reciprocate his feelings. Maybe they were better handled or more relevant in the novel, given it’s not restricted by twenty minutes of screen time for twelve episodes. But we’re not talking about the novel. Again asking for an audience’s attention is one thing, requiring prior knowledge is different entirely.

      You like the show, that’s great! Everybody who didn’t like/understand it is just some vapid, superficial, paste-eater? Just sit back down kid.

      1. Top2NE1 – that actually is why Horizon is so good.

        Everything needed to understand is there for you. You just need to try to understand it. SUpplementary material is not needed at any time

        I wasn’t an avid fan of the series. I started watching it when it aired, expecting to dislike it – the design (big breasts, skin-tight armor) usually puts me off. I knew nothing. It’s not the kind of series I usually fangirl.

        I liked it precisely because it did what you think Nausicaa did well. So does Horizon, you just may need to think a bit more about it. It’s nice that we have series like this as well.
        I mean…I knew nothing about this, I read no supplementary stuff, and yet, I noticed EVERYTHING detailed in this long post on my own, with the exception of the money parallel.

        It wasn’t hard, either, and I am certainly not the most intelligent gal around.

        “Pretty much nobody!”

        Wrong. Most people could. I am proof of that.
        The problem here is you. YOU couldn’t understand it, for whatever reason. And thats okay, you don’t need to feel bad about it or justify it like this. Just admit it, instead of making up BS like “pretty much nobody” to make you feel better. It’s downright silly, and insulting to humanity as a whole.

        Humans are clever, and easily able to understand a series like this. You just need to start thinking for a moment. Just use that brain you cultivated in, say, watching Umineko or Higurashi to spot all the little details and clues.

        “requiring prior knowledge is different entirely.”

        None is needed. Just don’t watch Hadena, and you’re fine.

        Really, your arguments are downright cliché. Any anime that isn’t too obvious gets “criticism” like yours, usually with the exact same arguments.
        Not everything has to be blatantly obvious and boring like shonen manga :/

      2. Ha that’s exactly why I said “pretty much” nobody. Are semantics lost on you? Most other people watching the series at the time who actually understood everything that was going on either came in with prior knowledge or kept pointing out various links to blogspots or tumblrs. Just look at the comments for either stilts’s previous post or the various other bloggers. Take some random friend of yours and watch the first four episodes together. Then ask them the names of 1/4 of the classmates. Or to pin down any of the important historical events. Heck ask them to describe the plot.

        A few unnaturally observant and insular viewers means nothing. Correct me if I’m wrong but even Stilts mentioned that he looks up supplementary information and he’s practically a robot (No offense Stilts, while your posts are pretty interesting they’re some of the longer and more random things I’ve encountered.) If it were just a manner of attention, then we probably wouldn’t even be having this conversation. But qualms surrounding this series exist, and for a good reason. The writers know it and despite your godlike diligence, you should realize it too. Why do you think stilts would even have to make posts like these? To catch people up on what everybody already understands? And you tell me that I’m the one that needs to think? I’m just knocking down the pegs of the pedagogical pantheon whelp!

        You’re an outlier. Congratulations. Pat yourself on the back brah! Keep on reinforcing the notion that everyone else is a blundering idiot! You’ve just given the middle finger to every single person that Stilts was trying to help out. And Umineko and Higurashi aren’t even comparable. Those were murder mysteries with fans discussing theories and personal observations. Horizon on the other hand was one giant exposition dump trying to establish its world at a clumsy pace. (Which means complexity wasn’t the real issue! It’s the manner in which it infodumps!)

        I’m not gonna stand for anybody calling others stupid over something like this. Lol and who said anything about shounen manga? My favorite series of all time are Nausicaa and Lone Wolf and Cub. But there you go again, insinuating that something like shounen is food for the witless doofs. You tell me I’m insulting humanity? How? By defending those who are called idiots by people like you? And you know what, I do like some shounen. So what? Half the writers on this blog do. Yep everybody reading Harry Potter or watching Toy Story should stop what they’re doing and pick up their handy dandy Proust novels and tune into Primer.

        And I’m not even debating whether the story itself is good or not. The show’s execution being a bit ham-fisted? Yeah. Show don’t tell, look it up. You want a good example!?

      3. I didn’t say you are a paste eater: I simply said you don’t understand. Period. No additions, no insults, no nothing. It just is. I did have a hard time figuring it out in episode 2, though.

        You just don’t understand, but it doesn’t mean that your intelligence is lower. Maybe you just don’t like thinking when watching anime, like Omni’s girl(or was it Divine’s?) It’s normal since watching anime is for relaxing and enjoying, not mind games.

        But then there are anime like that. And those aren’t the types for you I’m afraid. Hey! Everyone has his own flavor.

        The Moondoggie
      4. “I despise people who liked to bee spoon-fed and shows that spoon feed the audience.”

        This is such a broad catch-all phrase that literally belittles anyone who enjoys or creates simple entertainment. You may not have meant it, but that’s exactly what it implies. And the thing is that simple entertainment isn’t synonymous with stupid entertainment. Toy Story, Simpsons, South Park, Phineas and Ferb – all easygoing things that are still plenty clever. Twilight, Baby Geniuses, Captain Planet – simple entertainment that is equally stupid.

        And you know why Horizon was confusing for most? Not because of some overarcing, thematically heavy, complex plot. But because of the manner in which it tried to adapt and establish its world. The novel is tome-sized, and they tried to cram quite a lot into such a small period of allotted time. It’s like some friend of yours shouting thirty random numbers at you and asking you to remember them all. Maybe some people could remember most of the names, places, historical events, nations, etc. But most others couldn’t and they were turned off. (That’s why people like Stilts are trying to help them out!) In a novel you can take things in at your own pace, but with a show you’re pretty much stuck with what they hand you. And in this case, what they handed you was pretty cluttered.

        If insulting people is not what you intended then hey, that’s good to hear! Once the first few volumes are translated I’ll probably give it another shot, because in addition to receiving the story in the way the author actually intended, I also enjoy reading more than watching when it comes to anime/manga/novels. But unlike you, people like Macha make it painfully obvious just how high their horses are.

  4. “Simply put, seeing her sling those chains around in ridiculous and logic-defying ways was awesome. I have no idea how they work, but shutupit’smagicjustshutup!!”

    Nate’s Silver chains is a Divine weapon (like Tonbokiri), the chains can extend long distances and are sentient, protecting her from harm by themselves if needed and they are also capable of communicating by forming words out of the chain. Combined with her half-werewolf strength she can toss around objects and enemies like ragdolls

    1. This is accurate, but I was referring to how the chains themselves actually do what they do. When it comes down to it, I’ve no idea how Slicing Dragonfly severs a name or Lype Katarripsi fires a city-devastating blast, so they same kind of thing.

      I did not know they could communicate by forming words out of their links though. That’s pretty cool! Hopefully we’ll get to see that sometime soon.

  5. I admitted marathon this show over three days back in December. It did help me keep the continuity of the histories at the time but I find myself forgetting ALL that happened because so may character were fleshed out.

    1. It could be that she needs to unlock it? But really, it’s probably just because she hasn’t been given a reason to be specifically jealous. It’s not like we’ve seen Toori groping other girls after they saved Horizon…all that happened beforehand, haha!

      1. Well the second preview for next season shows Juana accidentally grabbing Tori’s nether regions and then later we see Horizon punch him down there.. Jealousy at work?

  6. Massive props for these two posts, Stilts. I profess to being one of those who only properly came into the show about six or seven weeks into its running time. In retrospect, I think that definitely helped me to keep staying on the Horizon bandwagon as the first few episodes were very hard to digest if you were not a light novel reader. Thankfully, the narrative got easier to comprehend as the episode number increased and the story kicked into higher gear and I was officially hooked. Even if at the end of the series I (and a huge percentage of the viewers) didn’t completely understand all the complex intricacies of the plot for this adaptation of this series of ‘not-so-light’ light novels, it was undoubtedly one of the standout titles of the Fall 2011 season for me. Now, with your in-depth research and analysis into the world of KyoukaiSen, plus your detailed summaries and episode reviews, I can finally begin to appreciate this magnificent anime series to its fullest.

    The second season is almost upon us, and I can hardly wait to rejoin the gang in their adventures in the world of KyoukaiSen. Hopefully you’ll be able to keep providing this level of detail in the episode reviews, Stilts, cause if the first season is any indication, I’ll probably need it to fully enjoy this second season too.

    1. It’s certainly not too extensive to blog about, considering the ridiculous amount of detail I’ve already thrown at you (whooops!), but I have to at least take a break before I tackle anything else crazy.

      In the meantime, are there any characters you’re specifically confused about? If there are, the answers might be in the episode summaries where those characters fight, but if not I will try to answer them for you here!

      1. Not really a specific character, more like a curiosity on the magic part, contract part and why adults rarely seem to have them to name a few things.
        For example, what defines which ability’s one get in forming a contract with a god besides the area that is connected with that god?

      2. In case you didn’t see it, check out Part 1 for some more information on the magic system.

        For why adults rarely seem to have contracts: it’s not that they don’t have contracts, but as non-students the adults of Musashi cannot fight, which means their abilities aren’t particularly important to story. They all might have contracts for all we know, but since they can’t use em to fight, no time is dwelt on them. This only applies to the adults of Musashi, though – while adults of other nations stay as students, since they’re generally not shinto they don’t have contracts with gods anyway.

        As for what defines what abilities one gets, that comes down to what the (shinto) ability user wants. Like the hax infinite MP ability that Toori got was because he wanted that ability and found out what particular offerings he had to make to get it. Different abilities have different costs, but it all comes down to 1) what the deity can do, and 2) what the ability user wants.

      3. So basicly, Kimi having an impenatrable defense while dancing is because she wanted that ability from the god of erotiscm and dancing? Weird idea if you ask me, wanting something that is not really associated with those two things.

      4. Not at all, it’s absolutely related. Kimi is erotic (by her own admission), but that doesn’t mean she’s loose – she won’t just accept anyone that wants a piece of her (ifyouknowwhatImean). But what about uncouth people who try to take what she doesn’t want to offer them? That’s what the summit dance is for – it allows Kimi absolute choice of who she is erotic with by giving her absolute defense against those she doesn’t want to “wilt away for”.

        tl;dr – Kimi is erotic, but that doesn’t mean she wants to get raped. The summit dance prevents that from happening. The fact that it’s useful in combat is just a nice side benefit.

      5. And that half-god azuma? Any info about his powers or godly things?
        But that summit dance makes you wonder if she can also get offensive techniques with her contract.

    2. “The child of the emperor and a half-god. Abilities are sealed. Lives on the Musashi. Somewhat clueless about the world.” Is Azuma’s profile and that’s pretty much all we know about his abilities, they are sealed and they stay sealed (for now). So far his role for the most part is to provide with some family slice of life with ‘mama’ and the ghost child and some comedy relief while other members of the cast deal with the apocalypse and fighting.

  7. And I just managed to finish up season 1. It only took me two days since I got so into it. Definitely up there on my list of favorites now, though I’m glad I waited until now to watch it since waiting a whole season for II would have sucked.

  8. PHEW!!!!!…, I’m glad I’m not DEAD inside….another bullet dodged. thanks fo this second part\

    on another NOTE…this should be a reoccurring thing on THIS SITE..imean I’m sure there are MANY MANY series that could use this type of INFORMATION treatment…maybe yall should put up a small poll deciding which show/manga from past/current/future that needs EXPLAINING… off hand i cant really remember many….but I’m certain there were a few that i gave up on simply because the background was too VAST.. thanks again yo

    BROOKLYN otaku
  9. Thanks, Stilts! I know now for sure that I don’t want to watch this show. I was thinking about maybe checking it out before, but after reading these posts, now I’m 100% convinced that I don’t; it’s definitely not for me!

    systematic curiosity
    1. All in one day, I’m impressed! Wish I had the time to properly marathon animu series anymore

      Lord Motonobu blew himself (and Mikawa) up because he wanted there to be a war that wasn’t seen in the Testament. The best way to do that was to make sure there was a good reason (avert the apocalypse by collecting the Armaments of Deadly Sins, which he scattered around the world beforehand), make sure there was plenty of desire for it (the crime of destroying Mikawa on one side, the crime of executing the innocent Horizon on the other), and make sure there wasn’t anything to distract them (like the creator of the Armaments, Lord Motonobu himself, being alive for them to harass). His plan wasn’t perfect by any means – the countries of Horizon’s Earth could have cooperated to collect the Armaments and peacefully stop the apocalypse – but it was a pretty safe bet that they wouldn’t. He did all he could to bring about the thing he wanted – war.

      Hope this helps!

  10. Hoo boy I <3 you Stilts! Read through ALL of it. Even all the summaries, and I've concluded that I need to watch episodes 7-13 in the next few days to prepare for Season 2. I don't remember the last 2 episodes very well, which lead me to wonder if I actually watched them or not :\. The rest are just because I love the debate episodes and the whole second half in general!

    Looking forward to your second season posts even more so now, thank you for clearing up the questions I had!

    It'll be a fun ride :).

  11. Great job Stilts, but I will disagree with you on one important point:

    This isn’t Dog Days. The concept that people don’t die in these battles is false.

    B1T2 and B1T3, as well as at least 2 of Tres España’s Gods of War were killed in the fight with Kazuno and Dacchan. (Both guards were killed by Tonbogiri, as were one of the Gods of War. The other was killed by Kazuno.) The T.E. ship Zaragosa was shot down as well. Surely there were casualties. Same goes for the T.E. troops coming behind the Gods of War in the fight with Mikawa.

    Casualties were part of the reason why T.E. tried to make a show of strength in their own numbers when they returned Tonbogiri to Futayo. (Meanwhile, Futayo is trying to make her own show of strength. Politics is fun.)

    And of course the KPA Italia flagship was destroyed by Horizon before everyone could evacuate. We see it getting destroyed, we see the evacuation order, but we don’t see anyone actually escaping. They pushed off the younger “students” before they left because it was a suicide mission.

    The fight between Dacchan and Muneshige was serious. Dacchan was trying to kill him with Tonbogiri. Muneshige survived because he’s resourceful, and had Gin backing him up. (Otherwise he would have been destroyed in Mikawa.)

    And of course, Dacchan, Kazuno, Motonobuko, and all of the Jidoningyou in Mikawa were killed when the reactor went critical and exploded. If Horizon dies and it’s considered murder/suicide, then the same would go for any Jidoningyou. Mikawa was chock-full of them, as they had replaced the humans there.

    So yeah, there is a death toll. Don’t lose sight of that.

    But other than that, good work. Can’t wait until Saturday Night.

    1. That’s all true. I guess I was thinking of the threat of death during battle, which doesn’t seem to be as high as in other shows – compare the fight scenes where Musashi troops are pushed onto their asses to any of the more bloody shows where mook troops get impaled as a matter of course – but you’re right, there definitely are casualties. Even if some are brushed away (I have heard that the pilot of the God of War that Margot and Malga shot down survived), it’s doubtful that everyone that Tadakatsu and co attacked did, and it’s equally doubtful that everyone on the Eikomaru escaped.

      So yeah, you’re right!

    2. There’s actually a frame when you see something fly off the Eikomaru and then become a star in the distance. It’s a short shot but it’s there. Also If I’m remembering right Gods of War are basically the same with safety measures.

  12. Awesome article again Stilts. And thanks for clearing up the debate between Toori and Horizon. I guess I sorta got why he won, yet it still didn’t click. Guess I needed to read it to do it.

  13. Excellent article Stilts, I recently finished another rewatch of Horizon (4th time now, loveeeee the series…)
    I didn’t notice the 2 conflicting…viewpoints in P-01s so when I rewatched that scene dang…Nice catch there(and toori’s confession + their debate is my fav scene of the series so far XD)

    — I do have one question since you are quite observant, but in episode 12, after Futayo jumps on Muneshige’s back before delivering her last few strikes and defeating him…what was the point of her detaching part of her spear?

    Anyway…I think I fell in love with the series for almost all the reasons you did when it was airing. (the characters, the camaraderie they had for one another,etc. Also can’t forget the wonderful OST!)

    Really Horizon was the gem of the fall season for me. (not a novel reader btw~) F/Z was close but I already read the novels a while before the anime adaption for that was even announced lol)

    S2 is almost here~

    1. Futayo detached part of her spear to make it lighter. She had to whip it around really quickly to block Muneshige’s strike (who was coming from behind at that point). Then she was at close range with him, where weight and power matter less than speed and maneuverability. That’s why, once she was able to get under his strike and knock it away – and notice how far she knocked it away…she pretty much knocked him off balance there – she was able to press forward and strike him multiple times before he could react.

      tl;dr – she did it because less weight = extra speed, and that’s what she needed right then to win

  14. Great review, you did a wonderful job!
    I dropped the show when it was airing after the 1st episode thinking it’d be just another generic/mediocre anime like Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou…seems I was terribly wrong and thanks to your review I just finished marathoning the 1st season just in time before the start of the second season.
    ..If only Chrome Shelled Regios and Legend of the Legendary Heroes were given to the same anime staff that did Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon..

  15. “The thing I like most about the characters of Kyoukaisen is all of them.”
    You, my dear sir, are a man after my own heart. Many thanks for the summaries, it’s been a great refresher to get ready for season 2!

  16. Finally ended it. And to be honest, I didn’t need your posts as much as I first thought. Still, if it weren’t for that info at the previous post and your impressions of the 4 first episodes, I wouldn’t have enough information of the setting to figure out the rest on my own. Now, after having finished everything, I went to read this whole post through (which took quite long, actually xD) And it was a really good read, one which helped me understand some points that passed through me, like what was the meaning of the dance intermission of the fight between Kimi and Futayo and the thing about how money could provide power. I also hadn’t gotten how Toori and Horizon got out of the wall (which is rather strange, since I understood how the previous debate had worked), so your insight was helpful on the issue as well.

    But anyway, I really have to thank you for being the catalyst that got me to watch this series, and also for your first post, which I read right after watching the first episode and without which I wouldn’t have enjoyed this as much, for I wouldn’t have had any base understanding of the setting to relate and build up the information acquired through the episodes. I thank you for giving me the little push to start a series I ended up enjoying immensely. ^^

    1. The guy with the cat ears is Satomi Yoshiyori, Chancellor of Satomi Academy. Their clan is future allies of Musashi and they appear for the first time in Volume 3 of the novels.


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