I’ve been searching for the right word to describe my experience in watching Kyoukai no Kanata, and I think “detached” is about as close as I can get. There’s nothing in here that I really dislike, per se – apart perhaps from a little irritation that Kyoto Animation has to run every series through their special filter – but I don’t feel much of anything one way or the other. It’s just a very flat effect for me – instantly forgettable and lacking in any emotional or intellectual connection.
At this point I’d say it’s an open question as to whether I’ll blog any subsequent episodes of KnK – I suppose if the next one grabs me, I’ll blog it. In some ways I guess this was the best episode of the three so far, at least in terms of having a few moments that had a bit of impact, but the narrative felt disjointed and uneven to me. There was a lot of jumping around from place to place and character to character without much explanation, and as the cast is pretty generic so far I was having a hard time remembering who I was looking at some of the time when Mirai, Akihito and Hiroomi weren’t on-screen.
As for the plot, the big twist seems to be that Mirai accidentally killed a child belonging to the family that had taken her in, while that child was possessed by the Hollow Shadow. As a result she’s bearing a grudge against it and decided to try and take it out, despite the fact that all spirit world warriors have been warned to steer clear and let it move through town unmolested. So she goes after it and end up fighting with a girl named Sakura who fights using a chainsaw (if we’ve met her I can’t remember her), and Mirai seems on the verge of getting bisected until Akihito (who we’ve just seen nuking his dinner) shows up and saves the day. And oh by-the-way, Hiroomi is a siscon.
The discussion about the origin and background of the youmu did at least manage to spark some interest in me (though it isn’t terribly original) but as far as the main plot and any of the central characters, I just don’t feel anything yet. That isn’t helped by the fact that the humor is pretty wooden so far, and the art direction and cinematography seem very uninspired. The last thing anyone needs is for me to keep harping on Hyouka in a KyouKan post, but comparing the two series really highlight how it isn’t enough for KyoAni simply to throw their usual technical prowess at a show – artistry really does matter. Others may feel differently, but for me it’s impossible not to see Hyouka as a series that clearly has far more passion and commitment behind it than Kyoukai no Kanata does. This isn’t a bad show, but it just isn’t yet giving me any compelling reason to care about it.