For a while now, Kyoto Animation has been focusing on their in-house intellectual properties. With that, they finally adapt Kyokai no Kanata (境界の彼方, Beyond the Boundary) as their fourth show in their new effort. Does it live up to expectations? Let’s find out! (Image Source)
The story involves a 2nd year high school student named Kanbara Akihito. Although he has a human appearance, he processes has a youmu side that makes him immortal. One day, he finds a girl on the roof that attempts to commit suicide because of the isolation caused by her ability to manipulate blood from being part of a cursed bloodline. He saves her and shortly after, she stabs him. With that, their relationship stars to de el as other spirit hunters try to stop the Ultimate Youmu from destroying the entire world.
While this show is a mixed bag, let’s focus on the good first. There were a lot of great moments, especially when Akihito and Mirai hunts down the Shadow Hallow, other spirit hunters attempting to subdue Akihito’s youmu side and the last fight inside the “Beyond the Boundary” mostly because the fight scenes look great. Not only that, the fantasy world looks rather interesting as there are things such as Youmus, which are essentially monsters that can take on many forms, although Ai and Ayaka are the only ones that have a human form in addition to their Youmu form. There is also the Spirit Hunters and the Spirit World Society who collects these Youmus and learns more about them. However, I felt that all the details regarding the setting for this show couldn’t be fleshed out in 12 episodes because of its vast premise and setting. For instance, when the show ended with Mirai coming back, it feels somewhat incomplete as we don’t know how she achieves this. Even so, the fantasy elements in this show are one of the stronger aspects of this show.
On the other hand, I felt that the comedy was a mixed bag for the fact that it didn’t really fit with the overall premise with the show of being mostly dark and dramatic. One of the instances of this is Akihito’s glasses obsession as he is obsessed with girls who wears glasses, which is one of the reasons why he is attracted to Mirai. It felt as if Kyoto Animation was trying to cater this show to a wider audience. While I liked some of these moments such as Episode 6, which Mirai and Mitsuki decides to become idol singers in order to defeat a hard to defeat youmu, these scenes don’t only feel out-of-place, but it takes away time which they could use on character development. To me, they should have used the time developing characters like Ayaka and Ai who don’t receive much screen time even though they play an important part in the plot as they deal with Youmus. Also, Yayoi’s (Akihito’s mother) appearance in the final episodes felt so awkward that it broke the mood before the final fight.
As a whole, while I had mixed feelings about the comedy, I enjoyed this show mostly for the fantasy elements, fights and of course the developments regarding the Nase family. Not only that, I liked the romantic moments between Akihito and Mirai since they are not normal humans. However, I can see why some people are disappointed for the fact that the Anime Adaptation is slightly light-hearted compared to the actual source material. I don’t think that it’s the worst show of the year for the fact that I enjoyed it. If Kyoto Animation decides to make another season, they need to base it more on the light novel. There are a lot of good things from the source material that made this show interesting. I think they need to keep this in mind when they decide to make another season rather than appealing to a wider audience.
Overall Rating: 7.9/10, C+, Good ¶