Kyoukai no Kanata — Episode 0

Kyoukai no Kanata, the KyoAni anime we all love to hate, is releasing the seventh volume of its Blu-Ray DVD soon. While this isn’t precisely news to us, fans (if there’re still any) will be pleased to know that this DVD edition comes with an Episode 0, which is a special episode that is like a prequel to the story. This Episode 0, entitled Shinnome (or Daybreak) will take place 2 years before the events of the anime and is basically about how Hiroumi and Mitsuki meet Akihito for the first time. Sounds very cool, considering that when we met these people in the anime, they were already good friends. So how would a family of Exorcists (as I like to call them) get to know and even befriend a half-demon? Hopefully this episode will clear up some loose ends.

What is also included in this seventh volume are 2 new shorts of the Beyond the Boundary Idol Trial! For lucky people who haven’t caught the first 3 shorts posted online, these are terrible. Imagine all the girls in the show in chibi form, presiding some trashy excuse for a courtroom, with Ai — the useless little fox demon who is there for “moe” effect — being an extremely ditzy judge, and a jury of all other girls such as Mirai, Mitsuki and Sakura. And they “judge” silly court cases like Akihito’s glasses fetish and Hiroumi flaunting his naked body. And then the girls descend into some weird terribly-animated chibi dance performance. Basically each short is a pain to watch. I mean, yeah, they’re cute, but then this bimbotic cuteness can only go so far.

Since we’re on the subject of Kyoukai no Kanata, perhaps I shall chime in to talk about how under-developed the plot is. Most people have 2 complaints and 1 compliment. The first complaint relates to 1 episode in the middle of the series, which is basically a filler episode showing them as some kind of singing group. The compliment comes somewhat at the climax, where it is revealed that Mirai’s behaviour throughout the show can be explained that she already knew Akihito’s true form from the beginning, and that she had been tasked to kill him all along, and only feigned ignorance. It’s pretty awesome, cuz you start thinking of all the foreshadowing you had missed, except in my opinion it wasn’t a very good explanation at all. Frankly Mirai hadn’t stricken me as a person that capable of deception.

And finally, the biggest complaint, the ending. It can be summarised as “Mirai being alive is a delusion — she’s actually dead in reality”, followed by “it turns out Mirai isn’t actually dead”, followed by “oh oops she’s really dead now” followed by “well guess what, she’s alive after all”. Most people would rather she died along with the show’s producers.

As for me, another criticism I have towards the show is that it leaves many questions unanswered, namely “what became of Hiroumi and his family in the end?” It looks like Hiroumi found out the deep dark secret of his elder sister (by the way, what was the big deal again? I forgot), and then next we see him becoming leader of the clan in her place. What happened between those 2 scenes? We never know. That is I think the most perplexing part of the last episode, which really ought to have been addressed.

Alright, enough ranting, the show’s over long ago. In any case it’s not all bad. The show has some surprisingly good seiyuu (notably Taneda Risa, who was part of the reason Mirai’s so jaw-droppingly cute; and KENN was also pretty good) and some decent, catchy music. The art is of course the magic of KyoAni. So basically everything was good, if only they’d brushed up on the plot by a lot. So it’s not entirely a no-go, but just try not to watch it with too high expectations.

And I certainly look forward to that Episode 0, even if my darling Mirai probably won’t be showing up.

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