“Kyoukai no Kanata Movie: I’ll Be There – Mirai-hen”

「劇場版 境界の彼方 I’LL BE HERE 未来篇」 (Gekijou Van Kyoukai no Kanata: I ‘ LL BE HERE – Mirai-hen)

Amnesia & Living a New Life:

It’s been nearly two years since the Kyoukai no Kanata TV series finished airing, and I have to admit that when I started this sequel movie, I had to rack my brain to remember where we actually ended last time. I re-tested the waters with the prequel OVA that I forgot to watch when it was originally released, which served as a good background to how our characters met several years before the current timeline. Funnily enough, I think that OVA was the best part of the entire series (TV and Movie included), which is a bit of a shame. Anyone who knows my tastes should know that I’m a self-confessed KyoAni fan. I love the majority of their works and have immense appreciation for their talent as animators and their attention to detail. It take a lot for me to dislike one of their shows, but I have to admit that Kyoukai no Kanata is probably at the bottom of the list. It was pretty, rest assured, and the characters were likeable enough, but once it got to the nitty-gritty it all became a bit nonsensical, and by the end I was left disappointed with the final climax. Thankfully, a sequel was announced, giving me hope that it would flesh out the many leftover plot threads from the TV series.

If anyone else can’t quite remember the details from the original, then I wouldn’t worry all that much, because neither does Kuriyama Mirai (Taneda Risa). After the final battle she now has amnesia – or at least her memories of her previous experiences have been wiped clean. It’s a good way to start fresh and remind the viewers what happened before, which I felt worked well in the first part of the movie. As Mirai slowly unravels the mysteries surrounding her, you can feel the lightbulbs going off in your head, piecing it all together. Kanbara Akihito (KENN) is already shown to be at breaking point, finding it extremely difficult to pretend him and Mirai never knew each other. Their relationship has been restarted, and Mirai sees Akihito has nothing more than a high school crush, wanting to join the literature club to be around him. It’s cute, but as it goes on you can see there are hints of her former memories coming out.

The highlight of Mirai-hen would have to be all the moments between Mirai and Akihito, which is amusing since I felt they were the weaker characters of the first season. Nase Hiroomi (Suzuki Tatsuhisa) and his snarky sister, Nase Mitsuki (Chihara Minori), stood out to me more in the original – Mitsuki especially – but they were pushed back here in favour of our main duo this time around. I can’t complain too much about that choice, since it makes Mirai and Akihito more appealing as a duo (and a couple), but Hiroomi at least got his own sub-plot with the ‘betrayal’ of his elder sister, Nase Izumi (Kawasumi Ayako). Like everything else in this movie, their scenes were very emotional and provided a nice end to the Nase side of the story. It’s just a shame that Mitsuki didn’t get much of chance to shine.

Very Little Has Changed:

While I’m sure the Kyoukai no Kanata has its fans, I wouldn’t consider myself among that group – there are various other KyoAni titles I’d rather get more out of *cough* Hibike! Euphonium *cough* – but I went into this movie expecting it to be an improvement on the original… which, unfortunately, it wasn’t. Sure, the loose ends were tied up rather nicely, as I hoped, but in all honesty Mirai-hen is much the same as the original. The visuals are still spectacular, and the battle sequences are among the best-looking of any action anime in recent years, yet the fights themselves lack that extra punch; they just don’t feel real. It’s all too flashy and over the top that it doesn’t feel all that dangerous. There’s no impact to it. Perhaps KyoAni have put too much effort into the production (if such a thing is possible) that the foundations of what makes a good battle sequence are lost in the making. With more practice, perhaps their fights will pack that extra punch, but for now it’s all just very pretty and praiseworthy on the aesthetics alone.

The movie started off quietly, not getting into the action until about 15 minutes in, which is when I felt my interest slipping away. As I said, my favourite scenes were those between Mirai and Akihito, but we didn’t get them much in the middle part. Mid-way through we were so lost in the action that I found it difficult to care all that much about what was going on. The exact same thing happened in the TV series when the later episodes seemed to trip over their own story and just threw a hundred different things at us at once. Sure, it looked pretty – and it still does here – but I felt myself drifting off when it all became too much. Thankfully, the last 10 minutes of Mirai-hen made up for the weaker middle part, though not quite enough to save the entire film.

Romantic Resolution:

Mirai-hen is like Tamako Love Story in many ways – except Tamako Love Story is far superior, and in my opinion brings out everything you could have wanted from Tamako Market and delivers it in a concise, beautiful way. Perhaps Kyoto Animation are going to make a habit of their movie sequels to their original anime resolve the romantic developments; if that’s the case, I can’t say that’s a bad thing, because it’s always nice to have some resolution. We see Mirai and Akihito gradually come together over the course of the film, hints of their former relationship and their quirky lines returning in spur-of-the-moment situations. One of the strongest scenes would have to be them revisiting the playground with the cherry blossoms swirling around them. Not only was it gorgeous, but it gave me nostalgia of the best parts of Kyoukai no Kanata. It all got very emotional very quickly – perhaps too melodramatic for some – but I enjoyed the tears, tantrums, and emotional turmoil that the characters went through over the course of Mirai-hen, if only because it made the final scenes that much more worthwhile.

The high point of it all has to be the climactic scene with Mirai and Akihito standing in the field of flowers, overlooking the ocean. It’s the moment the whole series has been building to, and even if getting there was a drag, the resolution is a worthwhile one. These two kids who were destined to kill one another end up pouring their hearts out, and I felt every moment of it. After nearly falling asleep throughout the senseless action scenes just minutes before, I was suddenly gripped by the emotional back and froth, and how they came together in the end, with Mirai finally remembering who she was and the relationship she had with Akihito. Add on that sweet little epilogue after the credits and you’ve got a satisfying ending that makes this film worthwhile.

Overview – Final Impressions:

Mirai-hen is a trip down memory lane, in more ways than one. Overall, it delivered much the same as the TV series, though I suspect some will be happier with the outcome this time around. A good ending can make a lesser series seem much better than it actually is, and even though I wouldn’t classify Kyoukai no Kanata as a ‘bad’, it’s still one of my least favourite of KyoAni’s works. However, fans of the original series will definitely get a lot out of this sequel, in the same way that Tamako Love Story served as the perfect finish to Tamako Market. All things considered, I’d recommend this to those who wanted more resolution in the TV series and have at least some interest in seeing these characters again. It did feel good for Mirai and Akihito to get the ending they deserved, and to finish the story on positive note.



ED Sequence

ED: 「Aitakatta Sora」 (会いたかった空)) by Chihara Minori


  1. quite a ride on watching the movie. I’ve been always mesmerized always by the fight scene on KnK, and as on the story aspect, it still somehow the shadow of the series it followed. I’m satisfied on the story on the closure on the enemies (the glasses guy) and Nase-nee on what the hanging element that kyoani show in the last episode of the series. Also satisfied on the development of the main couple as you said that slowly but surely they gained what they lost bit by bit.

    TL;DR I enjoy the show. Love the visuals. Glad they didn’t bulldoze this like what they did on Chuunibyou S2.

  2. i have to disagree with the notion that mirai-hen was more of the same of the tv series; i thought the movie was a step up from the tv series. You bet your ass the movie could still use some polish, but it ended up being more focused than the tv series was. Kyokai no kanata is a series that makes me both happy and sad. Happy because there is such a heavy thematic element to it, but sad because the screenwriting and directing dont quite live up to the promise of this series’ potential. Now what i mean by heavy thematic elements is the fact that this series focuses on individuals that are quite miserable. Akihito is miserable, mirai is miserable, and the nase siblings are miserable as well. They all try to hide under facades so that they can push through life, each of of them trying to understand what it means to be happy in this dark, sometimes unforgiving world. Had the tv series profoundly explored this theme that pervades this entire narrative, we actually would have got one of kyo ani’s best series ever. Unfortunately the series wasnt so focused and missed out and such a great oppurtunity, which had me nodding in such disappointment. Still, the series had some great strengths as well. The fact that it even tried tackling such a theme was a plus, the animation was brilliant, and the use of subtle facial expressions to convey emotion without telling the audience was spot on, which actually brings me back to the animation.

    Hyouka, hibike, the haruhi movie, and kyokai are hands down kyoani’s best looking work; and all for different reasons too. Hyouka because of it’s wonderful lighting and artistic detail, hibike for its very cinematic scene composition (there’s an interview regarding the production of hibike in which the director specifically stated he wanted hibike to look like a movie regardless of using a tv budget and my god does it show so im glad i noticed), the haruhi movie for it’s intelligent use of wide shots, particle effects, and lighting as well, and kyokai for keeping consistent movement within their action scenes and more importantly, the smooth character facial expressions. Seriously, kyokai no kanata has the best transition of facial expressions in any kyo ani series. It always amazes me when i see a comment of someone saying that KnK’s art and animation looks drab (due to the muted color palette it uses at times) to which i just wonder sometimes if that person even understands….ill say no more but yea. To be honest, i thought the OVA was a mess in terms of pacing and scriptwriting and actually created holes in the plot rather than expanding on it. Overall, i give this move a 7 out of 10. It would have been a 6.5 but it gets extra points for actually mainting the dark atmosphere that was promised in the series’ genre title; this movie got pretty bloody at times which was quite the surprise.

  3. Perhaps Kyoto Animation are going to make a habit of their movie sequels to their original anime resolve the romantic developments; if that’s the case, I can’t say that’s a bad thing, because it’s always nice to have some resolution.

    Okay, I get that Hyouka‘s novel series has been on hiatus, but if Kyoto Animation ever does a Hyouka Love Story, I am all for it.

    As for Kyoukai no Kanata Movie: I’ll Be There – Mirai-hen itself, it’s nice to know that everything is wrapped up. I do agree that this is KyoAni’s weakest series. It has its moments, but I would have liked to have seen more focus on the Nase siblings.

    1. kyo ani’s weakest series??? munto would like to have a word with you. While i dont like the way some things play out in KnK, i have some respect for it for trying to deviate and tell a story about it’s depressed cast of characters. Id like to see kyo ani give this another shot more in tone with this movie than the tv series. What shocks me the most is that Kyo ani is actiually planning on adapting the koe no kitachi manga in a movie. it would be the first time in a while that they are adapting a work that’s not in-house (crosses fingers that this means kyo ani will branch out to more works in the future). Also, they are going to dip their hands into the fantasy realm once again with their future adaptation of myriad colors phantasm

  4. Now with Mirai-hen finished I suppose KyoAni’s gonna prepare for the movie adaptation of Koe no Katachi.

    Crossing my fingers here that they won’t screw up such a beautiful story, storywise that is.

  5. The way I see Mirai-hen would be a method medium to (literally) clean up the stray ends, not input a wildcard and see what the scenario would output – ie. Tamako Love Story – since the scenario is already there back in the TV series proper. This movie would’ve been an easy 3-4 episode-length OVA if KyoAni ever bothered.

    That being said, it may be more of what made the series as a whole work for those that love it (or hate it), but it definitely wrapped up the loose ends, from the nightmare fuel to the reason why the ring is still around. It certainly finishes Mirai and Akihito’s journey on a high note.

  6. I liked the Akihito-Mirai moments at the start of the movie, but got impatient towards the middle when they got too much for me. Then all the fighting and stuff came, and I really wanted to go back to the Akihito-Mirai moments because while everything was so pretty, I got quite bored (and bored is worse than impatient).
    The movie was really pretty as expected. I don’t regret watching it, but I wouldn’t regret not watching it either. I liked the characters (except Sakura) but I don’t love them, so I guess the feels didn’t hit me as hard as it did other people. I guess it would have been a lot more enjoyable if I had loved the characters more before watching the movie, oh well.

  7. am i the only one to think that ending sequence fits perfectly with the beautiful ending song aitakatta sora by chihara minori ? i really think that’s one of the movie’s strongpoint

  8. Thank you for reviewing this, Samu! I have been waiting for this release for a long time, glad to see it’s getting some coverage here on RC 🙂

    I didn’t think the anime was that amazing either, but it certainly had a little bit of charm (before the story went a little off kilter with so many unexplained things). I truly loved the main couple, especially Akihito. I thought he was a pretty developed and “normal” male protagonist, which is nice to see (and quite rare) in animes today, imho. The fight scenes were truly spectacular. That one sequence in the anime when Aki was running towards the Kyoukai no Kanata and then seamlessly “floated” into (or dropped down to) Mirai’s world, along with that background track….sends shivers down my spine every time 🙂

    1. No problem! Happy to help~ As I said, I wasn’t a massive fan of the original, but I know for show that fans of the original will love what Mirai-hen gives them. I’m glad you got something out of it.

  9. KnK was a very messy anime, but I liked the show more than I liked this movie. The movie was too serious for me. So much agonizing as Akihito resists telling Mirai the truth, so much angst and crying. I liked the serious episodes of KnK — Episodes 4 and 11 were quite good — but they were balanced out by fun character interactions and silly humor. I didn’t get that here. My favorite scene in the movie was that group hug, and it only lasted a second.

  10. I didn’t get that Mirai got her memories back. Why’d she ask those same questions like she was comparing her past self at the end then? Anyways, this sequel movie left me feeling better than the first movie due to the fact that it actually felt more complete this time. (I know that the first movie was basically a compilation of the TV series and that the only new part to the plot was the epilogue. And that the movie we were waiting for was actually suppose to be this second movie.) But I would still have to hold my vote on if this was the best movie of this year or not. It’s great to see all those nostalgic faces of the characters I once spent time to know of. It’s satisfying to watch if you are shipping the couple, yet Show Spoiler ▼

    random viewer
  11. Whoa, wasn’t expecting RandomC to cover the release this movie! Thanks for the hq screenshots!
    The criticism addressed to the series as a whole is spot-on, but I was happy to see those characters gather for one last ride. Hiroomi is classy as fuck with his longcoat, and Izumi seems to have dropped her ice queen persona by the end, which is really nice. Villain-san’s motivations are messed up but hey, at least they tried.
    The epilogue was heartwarming, I’d love to watch a slice of life season of KnK but of course that’ll never happen. Nevertheless I’m happy we got a proper closure. Wish you all the best, Akihito and Mirai.

    1. You can expect me to cover anything KyoAni (if no one else takes it first~). The series did have its problems, but I agree that the characters were likeable enough and it was good to see them get a proper end. It will be interesting to see what the Free! prequel movie has to offer, if it’s anything like Tamako Love Story or Mirai-hen.


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