「灰色の世界」 (Haiiro no Sekai)
At some point, I think you just have to sit back and enjoy the show without asking too many questions. Kyoukai no Kanata was that type of show for me; especially in the case of this episode. If I spend too much time wondering why and how, then that just takes away from the entertainment value that the show is providing. I’ve learned to just ignore all the messy pacing issues and plot holes and just roll with it. This finale was a good example of just taking in all the pretty animation and sweet commentary in the epilogue. It makes me feel a little less cheated when I don’t think about what the story could’ve been because my expectations were too high. Instead, KnK delivers on many points that I don’t give it enough credit for and perhaps that’s where it excels the most.
These points being the animation and the beautiful use of visual and audio stimuli. Some sequences and scenes were so well done in the past 12 episodes that it’s hard not to sit back and admire it. The most obvious one being last week’s ending, but I thought every week had a great ending tie-in to the ED. Episode 10’s opening sequence was also a very subtle way to foreshadow events… until you realize it’s actually a flashback! It’s these tiny moments in the show that make you think that it’s capable of so much more and the storytelling can actually come out as excellent rather than just mediocre. Unfortunately, these elements are simply just added value to the show and it doesn’t help the show stand out on its own.
I think one of the biggest flaws in the show (and it’s very evident in this episode) was the large cast of characters and how the story diversifies so much amongst the different families/clans/students etc. It’s very interesting that each character has their own motives and secret agenda, but it has to be used cautiously and maybe it’d work better for grander, longer running anime. In such a short run, it’s hard to capture that entire plot into a sequence that is understandable, and not completely random or choppy. The beginning was a great example of something that built up a lot of mystery and anticipation, without sacrificing all the small details and character development between Mirai and Akihito. However, as more problems occurred and Izumi and Miroku were integrated further into the story, they had their own subplot that distracted a lot from the main cast. In the end, it turned out to be two battles focused on Akihito’s inner youmu and Miroku vs. Izumi. It would’ve made a lot more worthwhile if these two final scenes didn’t look like they were happening in parallel, but together and unified. After all, what happened to Miroku in the end? Did he just… die?
Anyway, I don’t have any more overarching complaints or compliments for the story because I feel like I’m being overly repetitive. The only other piece that I thought was obviously a deus ex machina, was that ending. Oh dear that ending. When the epilogue rolled and the voice-over started playing, I just knew that something was going to happen. Call it unexpected (or expected) but I thought the ending was very forced and morphed to become a happy ending. Personally I thought it would’ve made for a more bittersweet, memorable ending if they left it at that, but I guess KnK has to have that token KyoAni ending that gives us all hope.
TL;DR – @RCCherrie: That deus ex machina… I think it would’ve been much more impactful if they left the epilogue without it =S #kyo_kai #finale
There was a lot of hype surrounding Kyoukai no Kanata when it was first aired – from being a KyoAni show to being a dark fantasy and having great source material to draw from. As the show progressed, I’d have to admit that the first arc was really well done. It had a lot of surprising elements, great set of characters that weren’t too boring or generic and I thought the setting for the story was very solid and well-articulated. Around mid-season, the show started to take interesting spins to situations… I won’t spoil too much, but let’s just say that you either love it or hate it. There are also a lot of distracting points around the middle of the season that don’t necessarily flow with the rest of the story. From then on, the story seems to suffer from lack of character development and pacing issues, all for the sake of advancing the story forward. Honestly, a lot of this can probably be overlooked (or maybe I’m just being picky) because in the end, the story ends up exactly where you’d expect it to be.
I don’t think KnK lives up to all the hype that it received early on, however I do think it’s one of the better shows I’ve seen in terms of being an excellent audio and visual experience. Some of the episodes (highlights being ep. 4 & 10) really amazed me and showed exactly what this show was capable of delivering. Admittedly, I don’t think that the storytelling was very great for most of the series, but there are some moments that really capture your attention again and leave you wondering if they can do it one more time. I also wasn’t a fan of the main couple which made me feel a lot less invested in the show (mentally and emotionally). I don’t want to speak for everyone though, so if you’re wondering if there’s romance in here, there clearly is – it’s just not my cup of tea. Mitsuki and Hiroomi were the characters that interested me the most, but that might be because I’m a fan of second girl wins.
Regardless of whether Kyoukai no Kanata is a contender for AOTY or not, it’s still a worthwhile watch in my opinion. It’s definitely very pleasing to the eye and entertaining at that. The story doesn’t leave many cliffhangers because it ties itself up very well and there’s a happy ending. There are flaws in the story, but that shouldn’t deter you from watching it anyway if you’re into fantasy. I wouldn’t label this as a “dark fantasy” having seen it all now, but I would probably say it’s more of fantasy, drama with hints of slice-of-life.
Updated Note: Forgot to thank Divine for helping me out with screencaps in the latter half of this show! It’s been a struggle but I’ll try and keep my posts semi-timely from now on. Laptop will be going back to the shop so I’ll be blogging from a tablet for the next while!