Series: Kyoukai no Kanata
Genre: Slice of Life, Supernatural
Summary: The dark fantasy follows a high school sophomore named Akihito Kanbara. Although the boy appears human, he is half youmu and invulnerable to wounds because he can heal quickly. One day, Akihito meets freshman Mirai Kuriyama when it seems she is about to jump from the school rooftop. Mirai is isolated because of her ability to manipulate blood, which is unique even among members of the spirit world. Disturbing events begin to unfold after Akihito saves Mirai.
Here we have another anime from Kyoto Animation, the company responsible for amazing works such as Chuunibyou, Clannad, Hyouka, and the Haruhi Suzumiya saga, but also created trainwrecks such as Tamako Market and K-On. When I first saw the trailer for Kyoukai no Kanata, I was really impressed by the change in genre that KyoAni was taking. Super natural was a theme lightly touched, the most being in Chuunibyou. After watching the series at first with excitement, I ended it with less satisfaction than before.
KnK started off really strong, setting up the plot and the characters excellently. It hooked you in really well, but once the plot got going, it slowed down... a lot. They had to put a filler episode in a 13-episode series for who knows why and the story line ended up becoming bumpy because of that and other factors. The climax in the last three episodes was very much rushed thanks to the poor pacing, making it extremely hard to follow and very confusing. Still, the plot was interesting and held out a lot of potential. It was just poorly executed and could have been loads better.
You can never go wrong with the quality of Kyoto Animation art. KyoAni is best known for amazing art elements and fluid animation. Combine this factor with supernatural Spirit World Warrior powers, and you've got one hell of a treat for the eyes. The different character and youmu designs were colorful and no doubt was it stunning.
Kyoukai no Kanata's opening and ending sequences were rather average. They didn't exactly blow me away and I'd usually skip them. The background and original soundtrack music wasn't anything too amazing either. However, the voice acting was spot on. The characters were quite lively and no one seemed out of place with their voices. The too scores balance each other out, so KnK's sound was an above average 8.
Each of the characters here were really interesting. The main cast, consisting of the high school gang, the Nase's and Aya and Ai, all had powers and secrets among them. Seeing them interact and revealing surprising background information kept me watching the series, but the development and relationships between them was lacking. The two that got the most growth was, of course, Akihito and Mirai. To really make the characters pop, more development should have been made. Otherwise, they were interesting, likable, and mostly well rounded.
Despite the shoddy pacing, I still really enjoyed Kyoukai no Kanata. Now, I wouldn't say that it made me super happy and excited, but it was enough for me to like watching it. I'm glad I finished it all the way through because the climax was pretty hectic in an appealing way.
Every anime that Kyoto Animation releases has a tendency to be remembered as either a masterpiece or a trainwreck. Kyoukai no Kanata was able to avoid both categories and to me, was an anime to watch but not one to be remembered. It very much could have been twice as good as it was, but that fault lies in the storyline.