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Kyoukai no Kanata

October 6, 2013

One of the more anticipated and advertised new series of this season is “Kyoukai no Kanata”, the anime adaptation of the “境界の彼方” light novels written by Nagomu Torii. Having seen the promotional videos for this show and with studio Kyoto Animation is at the helm, am confident this series will be good.

The first episode was everything I had expected of it, and those expectations were rather high. Offering lots of cute moments by hamming up Mirai’s moe factor for all she’s worth, this show made clear it isn’t just a fluffy comedy as it already hinted towards plenty of mysteries and promises to deliver supernatural drama and action, perhaps some blood or gore too.

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Not as serious in tone as “Hyouka”, another series made by Kyoto Animation, the appeal of irresistibly cute Mirai and her silly antics in this first episode of “Kyoukai no Kanata” belie the darker side this anime will undeniably show later on.

In that sense, suspect this series might not be all that different from “Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!”, which despite its comedy and innocent romance actually has a more dark underlying theme and at times surprised viewers by bringing heartfelt drama.

At first glance one could compare this show to “RDG Red Data Girl” too, since it deals with the supernatural and seems to have a romantic pairing at the core of the story, but do doubt that “Kyoukai no Kanata” will venture into a more shoujo oriented style with its romance. Nonetheless, the bond between Mirai and Akihito will surely be one of the series’ major pillars.

While the first episode was rather engaging and holds lots of promise for the rest of the show’s run, being unfamiliar with the original light novels it is hard for me to tell what direction the story will definitely take, even though they have already dropped plenty of hints it could become more serious and dark.

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Nonetheless, I do not expect “Kyoukai no Kanata” to become a dark and gloomy supernatural genre series with gore in the style of “Blood-C” or “Ga-Rei Zero”, two shows that have a much darker atmosphere.

As one of the more prominent current studios creating anime, Kyoto Animation often faces criticism and the most common one is that each of their new series is merely a visual clone of the moe art style they used for “K-ON!”. Personally feel such statements are inaccurate and suspect they are caused by viewers mistaking what are other recognizable, signature elements in most series produced by sudio Kyoto Animation for a similarity in character design style.

While it is understandable to compare a studio’s new work to their previous creations, I do not believe it is right to condemn a studio for it when those claims are based on incorrect interpretations. If anything, the character design style of “Kyoukai no Kanata” is closer to that of “Hyouka” or Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!” than to “K-ON!”.

More striking similarities, or rather the real similarities, that these series created by Kyoto Animation do share is in the background detail and styling, the typical use of light and shadow with an expertise in using sunset and nighttime settings as well as character motion, facial expressions and clothing rendering.

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Bespectacled Mirai is voiced by Taneda Risa who also voiced Saki in “Shinsekai Yori”, Aya in “Kiniro Mosaic”, Yukari in “Yuyushiki” and Kaoru in “Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru”.

Chihara Minori voices enigmatic literature club president Mitsuki Nagato, she previously voiced Yuki in “Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu”, Chiaki in “Minami-ke”, Anastasia in “Oniichan no Koto Nanka Zenzen Suki Janain Dakara ne!!” and Horizon in “Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon”.

Izumi is voiced by Kawasumi Ayako, she tackled roles like Henrietta in “Zero no Tsukaima”, Yoshida in “Shakugan no Shana”, Aoi in “Ai Yori Aoshi” and Saber in “Fate/stay night”. Watanabe Akeno voices Shizuku, she also voiced Viletta in “Code Geass” and Rito in “To Love RU”.

Most of the other characters like Sakura, Ai, Shizuku and Izumi have yet to make a significant appearance, though the preview promises we might see more of them in the next episode already.

Personally liked this first episode and will keep on watching “Kyoukai no Kanata”. If you are looking for a solid series with splendid animation in the supernatural genre that is not overly dark or filled with gore, then this show might be just what you’re looking for.

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