Weekly Digest 10/31/13 – Kyoukai no Kanata, Tokyo Ravens

Kyoukan - 05 -2 Kyoukan - 05 -16 TR - 04 -6 TR - 04 -10

One stays, one goes.

Kyoukai no Kanata – 05

Kyoukan - 05 -1 Kyoukan - 05 -3 Kyoukan - 05 -5
Kyoukan - 05 -6 Kyoukan - 05 -7 Kyoukan - 05 -8
Kyoukan - 05 -9 Kyoukan - 05 -10 Kyoukan - 05 -12
shot0016 6.48.07 PM Kyoukan - 05 -13 Kyoukan - 05 -14
Kyoukan - 05 -15 shot0023 Kyoukan - 05 -17
Kyoukan - 05 -18 Kyoukan - 05 -19 Kyoukan - 05 -20
Kyoukan - 05 -21 Kyoukan - 05 -22 Kyoukan - 05 -23

It’s funny, but somewhere along the line KyouKan has leveled up a little and it’s hard to say exactly why.  The last two eps have certainly been the best – it’s a bit more self-apparent with #4, which was simply the most well-paced and interesting in terms of plot.  But this one was also quite good, and its charms are harder for me to quantify.

I’m certainly not to first to make note of the fact that KyoAni shows can have a bit of a slow build quality to them, even the good ones – and that might be a part of the equation here.  But rather than growing accustomed to the tone and characters, my sense is that this episode was simply better.  The humor was a little crisper, the atmosphere a little more engaging, the narrative flow more natural.  It’s not as though I can point to anything specific in the episode that knocked me out, but I found myself more involved in what was happening than at any time in the series so far.  Whatever the reason, it is what it is, and progress is progress.

A lot of the focus this week was on Mitsuki, a character I didn’t much care about before and still hasn’t made that much of an impression (which I suppose makes my overall reaction to the episode even more odd).  She’s functioning mostly as the silent observer character here, and in a way the structure of the ep was to follow her around as she interacted with the others – Mirai, the club, her siscon brother, Ayaka and Ai at the shop.  It was a sort of “a day in the life” effect, with exposition and plot advancement happening in an almost incidental way that didn’t feel at all forced.  We got the same sort of jokes – Akihito and Hiroomi with their fetishes, Mirai’s poverty and gluttony, et al – but for whatever reason they mostly worked this time.  Comedy is funny that way, no pun intended.

The last couple of scenes were quite good, especially.  Mirai has had her license suspended for a month and thus must find work, and she gets the kind of job only anime characters get – standing around doing nothing in Ayaka’s shop.  But then there’s the “other” job, which is apparently how Ayaka makes her real money (including taking nudes for her “personal collection”, Ai included – feline and loli – with hidden melons – forms).  Then there was the lantern festival, which had a nice wistful, lonely quality to it that suited the content of the scene.  It was nice work, classic KyoAni – the kind of thing that gives me hope that the last two weeks aren’t a mirage, and KyouKan really is a series on the rise.  I may not be able to say exactly why, but it’s the results that matter, not the reasons.

Tokyo Ravens – 04

TR - 04 -1 TR - 04 -2 TR - 04 -3
TR - 04 -4 TR - 04 -5 TR - 04 -7
TR - 04 -8 TR - 04 -9 TR - 04 -11
TR - 04 -12 TR - 04 -13 TR - 04 -14
TR - 04 -15 TR - 04 -16 TR - 04 -17

I’m dropping Tokyo Ravens, though I may give it another week or two to see if it can keep me interested enough to at least watch.  One of the major problems I stressed last week wasn’t much of an issue, but sadly it was by far the lesser of the two – the excessive CGI, which didn’t show up much with this ep lacking major action scenes.

But the other issue remains – for me Tokyo Ravens seems quite disinterested in breaking free from the light novel cliches that keep it firmly tethered to mediocrity.  We got a load of major voice talent added this week – Shimono Hiro, Koji Yusa (as a character who looks and acts almost identically to the one he played in the vastly superior Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge), Kitamrua Eri.  But they’re all playing stock characters we’ve seen a thousand times before, as is Toyasaki Aki as the hyper-kawaii fox familiar Kon.  And seriously – Natsume must be the least convincing reverse trap in years.  How could anyone possible be fooled?

If anything this episode put my in mind of Infinite Stratos (well, maybe that was the least convincing reverse trap), which isn’t much of a compliment.  Tokyo Ravens does do some things well, and it strikes me as a better than average execution of generic LN formula – but it’s still generic LN formula, and based on this episode it doesn’t seem like the change-of-venue is really going to make a difference on that score.  There’s just too much quantity this season for this series to make the cut.



  1. i

    The very reason I like Strike the Blood is that I feel that there are less LN cliches – not completely gone but less, so far. There have definitely been moments and I fear after the last episode that there will be an influx of girls, but for now I like the chemistry between the leads. It's not original but it doesn't annoy me.

    Also is KnK really over the hill? What fed me up about it is that Mirai's personality, the blandness of every other character involved and the story as well seemed quite boring and recycled. So has it overcome any of those?

  2. i

    I've found an interesting correlation. When an anime's episode is given a post on Sankaku Complex, GE either drops it or bashes it in his post.

  3. Given that I avoid SC like plague rats, I assure you it's purely coincidental.

  4. i

    Oh I don't think it's a coincidence that the kind of animes/episodes SC like to post about are the very kind you do not, save maybe KlK though your opinion of it seemed to change recently.

  5. t

    it has finally happened, feels are starting to gather-up and will reach the surface soon. yeah, it's hard to say when, but KNK feels much better. genuine, but most of all, you can feel the characters' issues. Akihito being upset due to his actions (against his will but his own responsiblity), Siscon is somehow nicer, and above all – Mitsuki (best girl). the stuff behind her like the past and present, really got into me.
    Although we havent seen much this episode, it did felt good and genuine after the tough battle against the hollow shadow. the pace was also good. so it was smooth ep.
    we also got an interesting glimpse between Akihito and that agent, imply interesting things behind the scenes as we have seen before.

    Tokyo ravens – I expected you to say this.
    I felt that way too. it feels too much LN-ish again in terms of pace, comic relief, scenario and so. the crazy/bizarre scenes this ep reminded me a bit the stuff from Haiyore Nyaruko, but most LN has that feature (machine-doll this season and others as well).
    mostly I enjoy LN's anime. and it applies to tokyo ravens too (despite that this EP was full of basically nothing which annoyed me). but what really keeps me busy is how there are gonna hold for more 20 eps?

  6. C

    Any plans for Uncensored BD Release? #knk

  7. s

    Im sure the comedy didnt have its misses this time around because it wasnt so routine like it was in previous eps; stuff like hiromi putting his hands under akihito's armpits didnt come with the whole spiel about why its so awkward and it was much funnier for it because it happened so randomly and no one batted an eye or said a word.

    In terms of character progression, this worked as well because we got to see the characters in a more relaxed setting which in my opinion added to atmosphere. And for those who feel that KNK does not have artistic merit behind its visuals, id inquire for them to look again; the preview last week had hints of this and this week pretty much confirmed that there was a slight shift in art direction this week: there was more emphasis on dynamic lighting, bloom effects, objects and surroundings; and this ep was that more enjoyable because of it (the art was looking pretty). This week's color motif being green was also used nicely (the green glow around the sunset sky; the green lamps, the green-luquidy youmu; this show does have some artistic merit unlike its other kyoani counterparts.

    From next week's preview it looks like there is shenanigans afoot. i just hope it is paced well and adds to the characters and the calm-before-the-storm effect they are trying to go for instead of just being nonsensical shenanigans. KNK is on the rise and if it can keep up some consistently good eps while building up to its apex, this series can be more than good.

  8. M

    KnK definitely managed to keep a good atmosphere this week.This is the sort of breather ep I'd like to see more,although at the same time,it might not work as well if used more frequently.And here I was thinking KnK's gonna be like,boring in it's breather/slice of life episodes and fairly good in it's climax ones.Can't say I'm too invested in it but I'm gonna stick with it till the end,whether it goes up or down.

    As for Tokyo Ravens,it's the same thing as before really but I'm sort of relieved with the way this episode went.I mean,I was afraid that I'd go much more into generic LN territory than this,with everyone going to a new school & all.At least the plot is going somewhere and it Harutora ain't that bad of a MC – he's the most interesting character of the cast for me,although that doesn't say much for the others…I still think Tokyo Ravens has potential to be a bit better than let's say,Strike the Blood(which I keep comparing it to every single week and will do so until I can put one above the two!) and it's definitely better than Machine Doll(who's last episode sealed the deal for me and made me drop it).

  9. J

    Meh I thought this weeks Tokyo Ravens was alright and Kyoukai no Kanata was the worst yet. I'm honestly seeing more bad tropeness and cliches in Kyoukai no Kanata as well as atrociously bad pacing while I feel Tokyo Ravens has started to come together and in one less episode too. Too each their own I guess.

  10. p

    " Then there was the lantern festival, which had a nice wistful, lonely quality to it that suited the content of the scene."

    They borrowed the wistful, melancholic, mono-no-aware atmospheric techniques they acquired from Hyouka (and taking a page out of PA Works books). Really liked the bit, in fact I quite liked the majority of the episode, minus putting Mirai into a maid outfit… that was unnecessarily fanservicey and stupid. At the very least, they significantly toned down the stupidity and derpiness of the main character.

    I actually didn't like episode 4 no where near as much as Kyoani despite having a great budget lacks good choreography and has a long way to go before they can reach the levels of the likes of Bones, Madhouse or Production IG, but I do appreciate the effort.

Leave a Comment