So the male lead has a megane fetish? Huh, I guess the commercial for the light novel was titled “Megane-hen” for a reason.
With its first episode, Kyoukai no Kanata seems to have struck a middle ground in terms of what expectations it would meet. Many anime fans hoped that KyoAni would finally use their visual prowess to create something more dark and serious, while the more jaded ones insisted that it’d probably be just like any of their other moe-pandering series. Both of these have turned out true, as this is indeed very much an action-horror series but still with a considerable amount of slice of life elements to it.
We have the heroine who’s a huge ditsy clutz and is basically the archetypal moe character which KyoAni loves animating so much, and the male lead who’s role as the straight man to Mirai is hardly much different KyoAni’s other male leads. What’s neat about all that though is how it juxtaposes these typical KyoAni tropes with the action-horror aspect of the story. Like how instead of Mirai’s clumsiness solely being used as a sort of comedy for moefans to gush over, it’s actually pivotal to establishing her status as an underdog in the realm of Spirit World Warriors. And plus she actually does show some actual adeptness with her blood-manipulation sword skills, since in between each trip or fall is her jumping around and slicing stuff up with her sword. As for Akihito, quite a few of his straight-man moments involve him protesting about the numerous times Mirai has stabbed him, so the humor here is just a tad darker than what’s usually employed in moe comedies.
I’m really liking this show so far, although I hope this light-hearted atmosphere isn’t reflective of how the whole series will be. I mean, either way I’ll probably still be all over this show because I’ll eat up KyoAni’s moe-pandering any day of the week, but really I want to see them do something serious here. That whole “disturbing events begin to unfold” bit in the show’s description on MAL better actually lead to something!
Aside from the usual controversy which KyoAni sparks, one big complaint about the episode seems to be focused on the exposition, since the majority of the world building is done solely through the dialogue. The information wasn’t all that difficult to process really, and I’m usually not bothered at all by animes with heavy dialogue (one my favorites animes is Monogatari Series, after all.) The characters did seem to drop a lot of information simply for the sake of giving the audience exposition however, although it was still well-written and relatively subtle enough that it was more of a minor nuisance, and didn’t ruin the flow of each conversation.
Huh, Akihito says that these youma are a no-brainer to deal with for Spirit World Warriors, but both of the youma in the episode seemed pretty deadly. Perhaps the typical Spirit World Warrior is just that good, I guess?
The scene where Mirai and Akihito dine at a Mexican restaurant is quite a comforting sight, I must say. You never really see that in anime, probably because Mexican restaurants are uncommon in Japan or something, but as someone who lives in an area abundant with them the idea of a country without them is a truly horrifying and incomprehensible concept for me to grasp.