OP: “Koko (Here)” by Tamura Pan
There’s nothing much new in Kyousogiga for those of us that have seen the ONA that started a bit of an underground obsession with this series. Still, it’s well-worth watching even for those folks, because the material has never looked better – and visuals are a more important component of Kyousogiga’s success than just about any series in recent years. I suppose the number of viewers who’ve actually seen that ONA is relatively small, so while I detest starting series with recaps as a rule, it was probably necessary here.
If you haven’t seen the ONA there’s a pretty good chance you’re utterly confused about what you just watched, but here’s the thing: even after having watched that ONA and the five mini-episodes that followed and taking time to digest, I still have very little idea what’s going on. And in terms of blogging, I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t even attempt to explain it. Hell, I’m not even sure I should attempt to describe it. I think this is the kind of show that you simply need to experience – and yes, I use that word intentionally rather than “watch” – and decide for yourself if it does anything for you.
What is Kyousogiga? It has elements of Alice in Wonderland, for certain, with strong additions of Buddhist folklore. It has a setting of “Mirror Kyoto“, which is a kind of surrealistic re-imagination of the real thing (it’s a good year for that concept in anime). It has Koto squared (Rie Kugiyama as a girl, Hisakawa Aya as the woman who might be the girl, her mother or someone else entirely), her non-human twin “brothers“, hyperactive A (Hidaka Noriko) and deadpan Um (Shiraihi Ryoko), the Monk who looks after them, Myoue (Suzumura Kenichi) and an enormous supporting cast. Most importantly for me, it’s easily the most interesting series visually that I’m likely to watch this year. It’s endlessly, fiercely, spectacularly imaginative and fearless with the images it presents on screen. This is a rare foray into late-night TV for Toei, my neighbor over on Ughigome-Dori, and they don’t disappoint – it really is a fantastic thing to see.
As for plot and character, I don’t really want to even dip my toe in the water. There are very strong elements of FLCL both in the visual and narrative style here, though I’ve yet to find anything as compelling on the story side with Kyousogiga. But there hasn’t been any series in 12 years that’s reminded me so much of FLCL (except arguably MGX, in quite a different way) and as that’s easily in my top 5 anime of all-time, even the suggestion is a huge compliment coming from me. I’ve thought about what blogging FLCL would have been like, and I can’t decide if it would have been the easiest or hardest series ever. I’m in that same boat here – my gut is telling me that this show is going to be a nightmare if I decide to cover it, but I’m sure as hell going to be watching it.
ED: “Shissou Ginga (疾走銀河)” by TEPPAN