OP: 「Flashback」 by KenKen and Miyavi
「㐧壱刻」 ( Daiichi Koku)
“The First Moment”
The initial description of Kokkoku breaks down what this first episode is about, but it makes much more sense seeing it in action. Kokkoku is a fascinating urban fantasy story that explores a particular family’s relationship with the supernatural, and their ability to stop time. Kokkoku sets up its story well as the first half of the premiere tells us about Juri, her motivations for wanting to find a job in the city as a suburban girl in her twenties who’s surrounded by other family members that are either retired, laid-off, or NEET. It works to make Juri relatable and give us some background on what her family life is like just in time for there to be conflict as her shut-in brother Tsubasa is ransomed along with his little brother Makoto. You would think that there would be a tragic stand-off with knives, money exchanges, and murder…
But then Jiisan tells everyone to shut their faces and touch his Stone. After they comply, he calls forth spirits and halts time. They can just waltz over and return Tsubasa and Makoto back home. Case closed, right? Wrong! As with any good sci-fi action series, there has to be someone else with this power. Jiisan hints about how people who have come across this power never use it sparingly, and are always out to abuse it, whether it’s for theft or perversions. In this case, a man named Junji with the same powers orchestrates the hostage situation as a front to ensnare the Yukawa family in a trap. How will the Yukawa family use the Herald spirit to free Makoto?
As a first episode, Kokkoku introduces its mechanics and characters in an efficient way that gives you just enough information to go off of to familiarize yourself with the Yukawa’s, build an attachment to Juri and her experiences, and wonder what will happen next within the confines of this new world where stopping time is within the realm of possibility for our protagonists, antagonists, and those in-between. It helps that Juri is an interesting character herself with her reliability on top of how her memories picked up a past experience where she once took part in Jiisan’s Stone ritual as a young girl. Even more fascinating will be how we factor in the powers Juri has in addition to her family’s time stoppage ability as she was this close to summoning a Herald on the frozen goons for holding Makoto hostage. If she also called on the Herald that showed up at the end of the episode, it’ll be neat to see where the show goes with this as it has potential for bringing awesome fights out of the series.
One more important detail of note is how impressive the OP/ED of the anime are. The OP sequence itself isn’t too jaw-dropping, but “Flashback” brings out a nice, stylish flair to the sequence that does justice to the show even if the content itself isn’t as flashy. The ED is structured in the reverse as the song “Asayake to Nettaigyo” is a mellow tune, but the sequence’s bright colors and cheeky fanservice give it a personality of its own. It reminds me a little of how Blood+‘s OP/ED segments had a certain coolness to them that set a great tone of the episode whether it was eventful or slow.
Regardless, Kokkoku is playing it safe so far by sticking with the basic elements of the Yukawa’s supernatural affiliation, but in the process, it creates a lot of promise with how engaging the plot is, laying out the framework of how stopping time works within the universe, and what the rest of the story can entail knowing that the Yukawa family has made some enemies that Juri could possibly face in the future. Next time, we’ll be able to see how the other girl from the ED, Shouko, factors into the storyline. And now that Amazon Prime did away with their Anime Strike subscription bundle, keeping up with it the wholesome way has gotten slightly easier!
ED: 「朝焼けと熱帯魚」 (Asayake to Nettaigyo) by Boku no Lyric no Bouyomi