Winter Break is over, my next college quarter has started, and of course I’ve also finished watching Kyoukai no Kanata prior to that.
I must say that the conclusion of Kyoukai no Kanata pretty much sealed my opinion of the series — that is to say, it hasn’t changed quite much. This post isn’t going to be as long as my other Final Impressions posts because, honestly, there isn’t quite much to say about the series.
I’M TOTALLY BUZZED OUT RIGHT NOW
Kyoukai no Kanata pretty much takes the standard “demon hunter” setting and does a really mediocre take on it overall. Is it a bad anime? No, but it never really did much to stand out — I mean, aside from KyoAni’s typical moe side-distractions, which honestly feels very awkward in this type of setting. The way KyoAni slipped in those random humor bits… just makes it feel like they belong in KyoAni’s usual slice-of-life shows (one particular bit in the final — the scene where Akihito and Mirai were yelling “Komochi Shishamo!” at Kyoukai no Kanata, was a fine example of this) and pretty much played a hand in this series’ pacing issues.
Instead of wasting their time on the random cutesy bits, why not take the time to clarify some of the hard-to-follow elements of the plot? Especially since this was a one cour anime, where they really shouldn’t have been able to afford to waste such precious time. That isn’t to say it’d be enough to make the quality up-to-par — the large cast of characters and, of course, the serious portions and the style of humor that they used to approach this story seems like it would have been better off being a long-runner in many ways. While I never did confirm if the term “dark fantasy” was a genre mislabeling by various sites (who kept calling this a show based on a “dark fantasy” light novel), I do feel like the series could have stood out if it was a dark fantasy series. Amongst a season, no, an era of anime filled with either shows that are extremely lighthearted or shows that are extremely hotblooded (Kill la Kill, for instance), a 12-episode dark fantasy anime series would have been a refreshing change of pace.
It’s not like I don’t enjoy THE iDOLM@STER-essque scenes animated by KyoAni (episode 6), but compared to other stories from this genre like say, the Shakugan no SHANA light novels, GARO (live-action), Karas, or Ga-Rei Zero, I personally wouldn’t recommend this to people for anything other than the animation and the pretty characters, which plenty of other KyoAni productions offer. It just isn’t something I can say is good enough.
Don’t worry, I’ll push the plot away!
But, of course, Kyoto Animation. Moe moe humor is required, apparently. While I love their animation and their slice-of-life shows to bits (though I really would prefer more Key, Haruhi Suzumiya and Full Metal Panic…), I don’t appreciate them inserting elements from those shows needlessly into any genre that they’re able to touch, especially when it has so many interesting elements to its universe that could be expanded on and so much potential in its large cast of characters. This anime of theirs definitely had every potential to stand out in the Autumn 2013 season, but in the end, the direction produced a show that’s simply OK. Is that enough to efficiently satisfy some people? Sure, there are probably those out there that will be satisfied with what Kyoukai no Kanata has to offer, but for me? Absolutely not.
Admittedly, I do find the character progression to be rather solid — in fact, that’s what kept me watching, because I wanted to know where Akihito and Mirai were going to end up. However, in the end, I was disappointed. The final was rather convoluted — I mean, there were a bunch of cool fight scenes, but there really wasn’t much clarification with the plot and character motivations even though several revelations were thrown at our faces all in one episode, and we’re treated to a deus ex machina at the very end. Yeah, no. An OK anime series can sit well with me as long as it has a solid and validated conclusion — in fact, the well-executed ending could very well make an anime series stand out to me… but Kyoukai no Kanata’s ending? Haha. No. When you make an OK anime series with an ass-pull ending that I would rather forget, you basically turn me away from acknowledging it as worth a watch altogether.
FYI: Twintails are better than glasses