Last week I read a lot of comments (and not just on RC) that mentioned how people like KyoAni anime because of its name, not because of the anime itself. I also read a lot of comments that said that a lot of their character designs are similar, and the character themselves are quite stereotypical. Yes… I agree that it might come off that way because that’s just the style of KyoAni. No doubt, their animation is top notch though and no one is going to complain about that even if the girls (and guys) aren’t drawn the way you’d like. However, despite the characteristics that define KyoAni, I don’t think that’s a reason to skip out on Kyoukai no Kanata because you think it might turn out to be all moe girls jumping around doing stuff. The dark fantasy elements are slowly emerging (and I tried to highlight that in the excerpt images) and there’s quite a bit of action and mystery locked in as well. I don’t want to say that there aren’t any comedic moments in-between, but I think an excellent story is one that is able to combine all those elements and genres into a cohesive plot. This is a series that I think has high potential for that.
So there’s my vouch for everyone still on the fence about continuing with Kyoukai no Kanata but I think the second episode already speaks for itself. The action sequence was so detailed and crisp, it was seriously amazing to watch Mirai kill her first youmu. It wasn’t easy for her, but everyone has to start off as a novice some time. Her ability to control blood goes beyond solidifying it and it turns into something that resembles acid, totally immobilizing the youmu until it disintegrates and can’t regenerate. All that work and what is it worth? Well it’s worth two bowls of rice and a warm stomach. Tough luck in the world… and poor Mirai has to figure out how she’s going to pay rent now. Compared to the youmu that Shizuku captured, Mirai’s must have been small beans. It goes to show how skilled Shizuku is as a warrior and she’ll probably act as a model for Mirai later on. I think this is a good starting point for Mirai though – she’s just got her first “reward” and she started off very well for someone that’s never killed a youmu before. I wouldn’t have liked to see it any other way – if she was suddenly given 20,000 Yen for her first kill, that just like giving a university graduate $1,000,000 as a starting salary. That’s not realistic and doesn’t help you make you level up; I also don’t like main characters that just come off as overpowered and lucky.
Speaking of which, I absolutely love the idea of selling the “ultramarine” for money. The setting with Shindou Ai (Yamaoka Yuri) and Shindou Ayaka (Shindo Namoi) as storekeepers reminds me of fantasy novels I used to read. There is a system at play between rewarding warriors with actual Yen for killing youmu. What Ayaka does with the ultramarine is the question. Previous stories that I’ve read usually involve creating something out of the dead corpses of youmu or recycling them somehow that make it valuable. I’m not sure if that’s the direction that the story is taking because I don’t think Ayaka is a bad
person character, but it’d be interesting to see that side of operations. Ayaka’s shop reminds me of a gypsy house or somewhere you’d go to buy potions and sell your frog hearts or something – not in a creepy way, more like a safe-house way.
The next youmu that’s likely to appear is this “Hollow Shadow” that Akihito’s mother is hinting at. First off, I don’t think anyone was expecting Akihito’s mother to behave like that. Talk about awkward introductions when you have your first day at school or when your friends meet her. She’s quite the character though and there are not a lot of parents out there (Nagisa’s parents come to mind from Clannad) that truly stand out. Secondly, where is she and where is Akihito’s father? It doesn’t strike me as odd anymore that a youmu and a human would mate (especially if Ayaka and Ai have “human forms”) but I’m dying to hear how that came to be. I’m a sucker for romance, but a beauty and the beast story is my preferred trope in romance. Somehow I thought both of Akihito’s parents were dead but I guess these are the surprises that I’m waiting for. The revelation at the end though… somehow doesn’t strike me as odd. Akihito doesn’t look too taken back either… could it be because he also murdered someone?
TL;DR – @RCCherrie: That right. That animation. Can I be any more impressed by the buildup of this anime? The atmosphere gives me shivers… #kyo_kai