Beyond the Horizon: A Quick Take

knk01a

Akihito’s first encounter with the mysterious Mirai ends up being a painful one in the first episode of this supernatural series. We quickly find out that Akihito is actually an immortal half-youmu/half-human hybrid who is repeatedly subject to attacks from Mirai, who uses her own blood to forge a blade that does tremendous damage. Akihito is then warned off by his childhood friend Mitsuki, but he instead goes down the path of trying to help Mirai overcome her fears and kill youmu like she was meant to.

The first thing that struck me about this opening episode was the tone of it. It was rather flat despite having an immortal character suffer death repeatedly only to bounce back like nothing happened. South Park or Dokuro-chan are the two things I think of when it comes to this and they were both clearly comedies. By contrast there was a tiredness I felt in what I was watching it. Tiredness of doing the same old non-threatening comedy set in a high school setting with easy money to be made? I can’t say for sure, but this did feel like it was trying to resist its fate in the most passive-aggressive way it could.

The character of Akihito proves to be interesting for the fact that he opens the series by declaring that he’s the sort of protagonist that lets things happen, when in fact he’s the one pushing it forward. Comparisons to Hyouka’s Houtarou are inevitable in the sense that he acts when he feels he’s forced to, but this isn’t some passive genius here. Also of interest from a larger standpoint was Mitsuki. How often do you have a character come out and say she’s the childhood friend with large breasts that is the lust interest of the main character as though she was observing a story? I think the fact the two of them are in a literary club and seem to view events through the lens of a story is well worth noting. Mirai, on the other hand, feels like the cute funny character that should be in the background rather than a main character. The forced catchphrase early in the episode was not great.

As far as production, it’s Kyoto Animation. They have plenty of money to spend on making a first episode look good. The chase scene between Akihito and Mirai was well put together though I struggled to find anything particularly funny with it. It also looked like they spent a ton of money on putting the opening and ending animations together, though I will likely skip over them from now on.

Reasons to Continue Watching

  • Understanding the characters is pretty straightforward like you are reading a book
  • Visual cues that will appeal to viewers who are tuned in to the pop culture database
  • Well produced animation and character designs

Reasons to Drop

  • Feels generic even by KyoAni’s recent standards
  • A co-lead who doesn’t feel like a character that fits the role of a main character
  • Certain aspects of the story’s world seem ridiculously contrived

My Verdict: Admittedly this isn’t KyoAni’s best effort, but there’s enough there for me to give it at least another episode or two. There’s nothing really to hate on this show either which is worrying for the lack of adventure this studio seems to be riding now. Maybe they just had to make this episode to begin to introduce interesting secondary characters. We can only hope.