「回復術士は、新たなる旅に出る！」 (Kaifuku Jutsushi wa, Arata Naru Tabi ni Deru!)
“The Healer Starts a New Journey!”
Alright Kaiyari, you got me, I did not see that coming. Literally. Sure, Norn was always going to get the healing shaft in the final moments of this wild ride – but don’t deny, I wager few saw it arriving alongside big sister climaxes and happy ever afters that is likely to even leave the stereotypical Alabaman blushing like an angel. Laugh, cry, get increasingly hot and bothered? I think all are legitimate responses to the note this show left on as, and while we are unlikely to see that revenge against Bullet in animated form, something tells me imagination will more than fill in the blanks. After all, as Kaiyari has shown, there’s no limits to just what’s possible here. Anyway, onto those impressions.
I’ll be blunt: Kaiyari is shit. And not the good shit either. Regardless of the fun I had covering it this show makes the play for possibly the most simplistic and divisive power trip in current anime, taking the concepts many fans love to debate (read: fling holy hell at each other over) and cranking them to eleven. Or in other words, veritable hentai without the really juicy bits. And yet with that said I still enjoyed watching because Kaiyari also has an undercurrent often lost among similar contemporaries: a sense of fun.
At its core Kaiyari’s main fault is arguably the sex. Everything in some capacity revolved around this, whether setting up the reasons behind Keyaru’s pursuit of revenge or Keyaru similarity exacting his vendetta against the various antagonists – i.e. what you normally expect from typical edgy power trips (as sex is one of the psychologically strongest ways to assert dominance). The issue is that this extended beyond the usual titillations into weekly orgies seemingly just for the sake of orgies. Sure, watching Flare and Setsuna get pounded senseless is exhilarating, but do we really need it every week? Is it necessary to have tsundere demon birb girl masturbate every episode? This was time spent that arguably could have been used fleshing out Keyaru’s various revenge schemes and reinforcing (or reveling) in the actual thing we are all supposedly here to see in the first place. And considering how much of that aforementioned revenge revolved around sex in the first place, I don’t think many would’ve found much fault in exploring it in greater detail.
Such lascivious excesses though coincidentally highlight Kaiyari’s strength in terms of imagination. While revenge stories are inherently simplistic at heart and naturally endowed with an expiration date (as even Keyaru himself occasionally hints towards), this one was undeniably helped through sheer variety of outcomes. Torture; rape; literal mindfucking: the usual setups one expects from such material had some quite honestly shocking script flips at times courtesy of utilizing anything and everything to break from the pack. And everything means everything – not that many series willing to exact revenge by having one sister rape the other after all. While this diversity doesn’t inherently lift Kaiyari out of the gutter and into acceptable territory (or lend to it having enough staying power for another full season), it does prevent the show from treading too much water. Provided you like the material and prefer your fantasy edgy I’d argue there’s little risk of growing bored when giving this one a watch.
In the end, however, Kaiyari isn’t as likely to be remembered over the scenes it featured or type of story it presented as much as the precedent it sets for future anime adaptations. If Shield Hero opened the door and Ishuzoku Reviewers widened the passageway, Kaiyari blew apart the entire wall and left serious room for series of comparable narrative and visual inclinations to see the light of day. It may not be next season or even next year, but it won’t be that long before a similar series pops up on radar, and when it does Kaiyari can be thanked for helping show the way.