October Anime Challenge - Kyoukai no Kanata
We thank all who participated in our September Anime Challenge which was the fantasy comedy anime Zero no Tsukaima. Our anime challenge for October is Kyoukai no Kanata also known as Beyond the Boundary outside Japan. (Shout out to Kirito for choosing this month’s challenge anime) It is based on a series of light novels written by Nagomu Torii, illustrated by Tomoyo Kamoi. The light novel series won an honourable mention in the 2011 Kyoto Animation Award competition. Three volumes of the series have been published so far. The Kyoukai no Kanata anime series ran from October to December 2013, followed by an OVA (Original Video Animation) in July 2014 and a two-part movie in March/April 2015.
The series starts with Akihito Kanbara saving his school friend Mirai Kuriyama from committing suicide. All of a sudden Mirai stabs him with a sword formed from her own blood! That is how it is discovered that Akihito is an immortal. He is a half-youmi, the offspring of a youmi, supernatural entity and a human. Akihito learns that Mirai is a Ikaishi, a spirit world warrior, a special warrior that protects humans from being affected by youmu. He discovers that Mirai is the last surviving member of her spirit hunting clan. Akihito becomes Mirai’s world as he helps her to gain confidence to kill youmu (and to hopefully stop her for trying to kill him for practice!)
Week 1 - 01 - 07 October
Episodes to Watch: 1 to 3
Kyoukai no Kanata is filled with just the right amount of the supernatural, romance and fantasy to make it perfect for October’s challenge… It is the month of Halloween, tricks and treats after all, but it is light enough to not scare the pants off unsuspecting vic…watchers. Let’s explore the dark world of Kyoukai no Kanata a little, let’s lift the veil ‘beyond the boundary’.
Youmu, some call them dreamshades are supernatural creatures that can only be seen by those with an affinity for the unseen and supernatural. Legend say that they are physical manifestations of human animosity, negative emotions, if you will, like jealousy, malice, hatred meaning that as long as humanity exists they will exist alongside with us. We, oblivious to that fact, create them.
They come in all shapes, forms and sizes and some even appear human-like. They can mate with humans, producing half-youmu offspring, our hero Akihito Kanbara is a prime example of such a union. Most youmu are docile, coexisting with humans without mankind even being aware of their presence, but there are incidents where a youmu’s behavior can upset that balance. That is when the Ikaishi, spirit world warriors are sent to take them out. When killed. A youmu produces a Youmu Stone, which can be appraised, and trades, a source of income for spirit world warriors.
Now that we are armed with more knowledge about Kyoukai no Kanata, it is time to start the challenge. This week’s challenge is episode 1 – 3. Enjoy!
Week 2 - 08 - 14 October
Episodes to Watch: 4 to 6
Konnichiwa Minna! It is week 2 of our Kyoukai no Kanata and on our menu to watch this week is episodes 4 to 6, but before that let us look back at episode 1 of last week and reflect on our impressions of it. The anime started with a girl, Mirai seemingly trying to commit suicide by jumping off her school’s roof. Akihito witnesses this and tries to talk her out of it. She suddenly jumps back onto the roof and plunges a blood red sword into him! We also witness later on how she follows him around the school, and him confronting her about it, telling her that no matter how many times she tries to stab him to death it will not work, He is immortal!
Mirai, we also learn from the episode, is the last surviving member of her clan. She has the ability to control her blood and instantly forge it into a blood red sword. She is a World Spirit Warrior and it is her job to kill youmu. Problem is, she can’t bring herself to kill youmu, which is why she decided to stalk the immortal Akihito and attack him every day – to use him as a practice dummy to better her skills and to find the courage to kill youmu. A lot more happened in the episode, but we will not spoil it for those who still want to catch up on our challenge.
Episode 1 sets a nice tone for the rest of the anime which ‘feels’ like a blend of fantasy and reality with a drop of horror. The youmu creature designs are just the right amount of creepy t put you in the mood for Halloween – a perfect watch for some October spookiness. Enjoy this week’s challenge and have a super sugoi week!
Week 3 - 15 - 21 October
Episodes to Watch: 7 to 9
Konnichiwa Minna! It is our third week of the Kyoukai no Kanata and on this week we will watch this week is episodes 7 to 9, before that we have to look back and reflect on important parts of our story we have uncovered thus far. Episode 4 is quite interesting but before we discuss that we must look at the episodes 2 and 3 which set up elements for the happenings in episode 4.
In episode 2 we saw Mirai finally kill a demon on her own, and we also Akihito’s mother sending him a message that he must beware of a very bad and dangerous youmu called The Hollow Shadow, which is heading for their town. To thicken the plot up more for episode 4, we learn from Mirai that she killed someone when she treats Akihito for food she tells him about it. This also becomes the focus point of episode 3 where we learn more of Mirai’s childhood friend and how that friend died.
In episode 4, titled ‘Bitter Orange’ (Japanese: Daidai), Mirai and Akihito gets attacked and they find out that the attacker is Sakura, the younger sister of Inami Yui, the girl Mirai caused to die. They also seem to fight what may be the Hollow Shadow’s main body! Mirai is also put in a situation where she may have to sacrifice a friend’s life for the ‘greater good’ but will she do it?
We will not spoil that answer for those who must still watch episode 4 to 6. We will share some interesting facts about episode 4 though. The name of this episode, Bitter Orange originated from the fruit which is known for its bitter taste and medicinal uses. The fruit’s colour may be linked to Mirai, because of her similarly coloured hair, as well as her bitterness towards the death of Inami Yui. Lastly, the fruit’s Japanese name, daidai, originally meant “several generations”, which may philosophically point to the bloodline of the Kuriyama family, which is known to many as “prone to misfortunes”.
As we watch more Kyoukai no Kanata, we learn more but we question more as well. We hope you also are having fun as more and more mysteries unravel in this tale of blood and horror. Enjoy watching episodes 7 to 9 with us. Have a super sugoi week.
Week 4- 22 - 28 October
Episodes to Watch: 10 to 12
Konnichiwa Minna! It is our fourth and final week of the Kyoukai no Kanata and on this week we will watch this week is episodes 10 to 12, the conclusive episodes of the series. Last week, in Episode 7 ‘Color of clouds’ (Japanese : Kumari Shoku), the trigger event was Sakura transferring to Mirai and Akihito’s school, which is a recipe for conflict as Mirai is responsible for Sakura’s sister’s death.
The anime’s episode name ‘Color of clouds’ itself is an artfully reference to the grayish clouds that were present the day that Yui, Sakura’s sister died as well as their presence the day of the final confrontation between Sakura Inami and Mirai Kuriyama.
Watching this anime this far in, we can safely say that it deals with a lot of strong themes like consequences, acceptance, self-loathing and inner fears. We saw Mirai living as a loner, guilt-stricken over the death of Yui, suffering the consequences of her past. It even made her afraid to fight youmu. We also saw her grow. She made friends, joined the literary club, interact with others more, in episode five we saw her also fight youmu with less hesitation. She truly is the one character with the most character growth in the anime. On the other side we met Akihito, and discovered that he has issues with self-loathing… he hates turning into a demon and sulks for days after a transformation, even if he did it to help the innocent. Mirai and Akihito are normal good people, enslaved by their respective heritages, but in truth, great heroes are born from great strife, right? Just look at Uzumaki Naruto from the Naruto franchise who, cursed as a baby, became the one that saved the world at the end. Or Asta from Black Clover, who was born a magic-less orphan in a world of magic and is rising to be a hero that is acknowledged by many. We can all learn from anime heroes, they take their lemons and make lemonade. Their journeys are hard but they rise like eagles and bring forth light.
Enjoy this week’s challenge, episodes 10 to 12. And have a super sugoi Halloween season too. Our next challenge will be announced next Friday in our newest issue of the bento buffet! Ja mata, minna!