OP: 「境界の彼方」 (Kyoukai no Kanata) by 茅原実里 (Minori Chihara)
When I first heard that Kyoukai no Kanata was going to be a dark fantasy, I cheated a little and read the first chapter or so of the light novel. I’m pleased to say that the anime has adaptated the light novel fairly well so far – very well actually and any details left out of the novel are filled in with the animation. Given that the novel is supposedly very good and received honorable mentions in competitions, I’m expecting great things from this adaptation. Let’s hope that it continues that way until the end.
The overall plot of the story is fairly simplistic beginning with a boy meets girl type of prologue. Kuriyama Mirai (Taneda Risa) is a first year student, but she’s also the only remaining descendant from an strong ancient clan of Spirit World Warriors. Kanbara Akihito (Kenn) is seemingly more normal – if you consider being half youmu/half human normal. This makes Akihito an immortal being but also the target of Mirai’s violent attacks. Akihito’s friend, Nase Mitsuki (Chihara Minori) is also part of a powerful family of Spirit World Warriors but a much more prominent family in the area and they have their eyes on Mirai. Joining the 3 is Nase Hiroomi… however he hasn’t be thoroughly introduced yet so we’ll have to wait for him next episode.
So what are youmu? Youmu (妖夢) directly translates to “monster dream” (or dream monster would make much more sense). At first I thought they were demons, but they seem to be illusions that only the Spirit World Warriors can see (and Akihito since it’s half youmu). They’re highly dangerous as well but the extent of the damage that they do is unknown yet… especially their impact on humans. I can see the first arc or two dealing with the youmu as individual monsters (like Ninomiya Shizuku (Watanabe Akeno) has) while Mirai develops her ability to fight. The overarching story is likely the history behind the clans and the Spirit World Warriors because they probably exist to eliminate youmu (or can youmu be artifically created?). There are signs of the story getting darker and more grim with hints of Mirai’s past and her ability is stated as cursed. So far it’s been relatively light and introductory but I expect surprises along the way which is what makes this story so much fun.
Plots and stories aside, the characters are also quite unique and also very familiar to other Kyoto Animations. I’m drawn to Akihito and Mitsuki the most because as protagonists, they are not average people who stumble into something extraordinary. They are already abnormal “people” whose story happens to start now after Akihito meets Mirai. It’s as if the audience is thrown into the middle of a story that’s already years in the making which makes the setting very solid and events take place for a reason. Mirai also surprises me because while she’s quite clumsy and innocent, she’s also very determined and prideful. She’s not ashamed of who she is and she’s just trying to do her best with what she has and I can picture this becoming a “Coming of Age” story for her. The fantasy setting which the story takes place in, isn’t that unique in it of itself. The use of youmu and supernatural powers is not something that blows my mind – but I think it’s how these powers are going to be used that makes it different. An immortal guy like Akihito, isn’t really good for anything unless he can fight too so what’s his purpose in the story? I’m secretly hoping that his family history is actually intertwined with everyone else’s.
Even with all the hype that surrounds this series, I’d like to think that KyoAni has met my expectations in terms of a pilot episode for Kyoukai no Kanata. The story has been very well presented and it’s definitely captured my interest from the get go. The animation is top notch as I expected and while I love the OP, I love the ED even more because it ties in so well with the final scene. When done right, I think the ED can add to the emotional intensity of an ending scene (much like Kamisama no Iani Nichiyoubi) and it’d be lovely to see more of that in this series. There’s a streak of highly anticipated shows that I have for this fall and Kyoukai no Kanata has not let me down.
TL;DR – @RCCherrie: Great first episode of #kyo_kai =) True #kyoani animation and the story sticks true to the light novel. Very impressed ^^
ED: 「DAISY」 by STEREO DIVE FOUNDATION