Kyoukai no Kanata – Episode 8

Welp, it’s Wednesday night again. At this point, I’ve pretty much got a tradition going – Wednesday is the night of the show I begin with optimism and finish with some good-natured head-desking. It’s been  an action-packed night  for a few seasons now, and it seems like the year will be finishing strong . So let’s have a call to order  and have some fun watching KyoAni do what they do best, in addition to several things they don’t do very well at all.

Episode 8

0:02 – I guess this show has kind of demonstrated they maybe shouldn’t do a horror movie, but they are so good at horror movie establishing shots

Kyoukai no Kanata

0:14 – Scandal! Intrigue! 

0:54 – I think we needed more of her earlier, or something.  The family name doesn’t really mean much when we associate it with Mitsuki and Hiromi – Mitsuki had one episode of angst about it, and then was totally cool, and Hiromi has pretty much been Akihito’s best friend the entire show. Maybe a scene of the full family’s usual dynamics would have helped, since she’s mainly only been relevant in scenes with other evil schemers so far

1:04 – At this point, her rodent barely notices when she begins muttering exposition to herself 

2:48 – Oh god, she’s even fluffier than usual 

Kyoukai no Kanata Mirai

3:53 – Look, if they’d told me Sakura was going to matchmake adorably , I wouldn’t have complained about her character in the first place. Gotta tell me these things, KyoAni

4:50 – KyoAni does nail the gags 

5:05 – Hohohoho!  That joke was almost as funny THAT time as when I saw it in Toradora or Madoka or OreGairu or Azumanga Daioh!

6:01 – Rent must have gone up at the KyoAni offices 

Kyoukai no Kanata Mirai

7:00 – KyoAni are so good at building dramatic tension 

7:22 – This shouldn’t be exposition . It seems very unlikely any of these characters wouldn’t know this – it should have been shown, not told

8:11 – This, too, could have been actually tense and mysterious if it were shown organically, and not told after the fact . Dropping storytelling balls left and right

8:19 – Good, they didn’t actually miss that one.  Shots like this are perfect – the town heavy with shadows and full of angles, indicating how soon danger will come and the many dark corners it could spring from. The score also helps – this show’s cinematography and audio have been pretty much stellar throughout, and have worked to elevate the material even when the characters have undercut it

Kyoukai no Kanata

8:23 – Goddamnit what did I just say don’t NARRATE THE DIRECTION . If a character’s sad, make them look sad, don’t have them SAY “I feel sad” – if a scene is supposed to be tense, just use these great shots and musical cues, don’t have someone say “sure is spooky out here!”

8:26 – Okay, maybe the raven is a bit much 

8:53 – It’s a good thing they all have their priorities in order 

9:28 – A face I’d trust a hipster baby with 

Kyoukai no Kanata

10:06 – The relationship between humans and youmus is kinda interesting, considering we’ve already met some very reasonable youmu.  Sorta wish they’d explored that

10:25 – Dun dun dun 

11:04 – And suddenly Mitsuki’s easily the best character.  You think YOU’RE interrogating ME, Mr. Two-Bit Emo Hipster Villain?

11:34 – Goddamn great image.  Those chalk images decorating her “home” are just brutal

I kinda get the feeling this show would have been much better if it were from Mirai’s perspective from the start. If these heartbreaking little flashbacks had been showing up all throughout, and her actions had been given more immediate context, her arc would have actually had some weight to it. Hell, that would have helped Sakura’s character, too. All they’d have to do would be to…

Right. Cut most of the derpy moe parts

Kyoukai no Kanata

11:38 – Context galore!  This is kind of frustrating, though – it’s the Fate/Zero school of storytelling, where you go through a bunch of events the viewer has little reason to be invested in, and then you get all the flashback context that… would have made you care if you’d seen it beforehand

11:56 – It’s like you still don’t trust me or something 

12:10 – I like how characters just use their powers in this show.  No exposition, no channeling or whatnot – they’re weapons, not a performance

13:09 – Another scene I’d have liked a while ago . If you’re going to instill your story with a mystery, the thing you hide shouldn’t be the reason you’re supposed to empathize with the protagonists

Kyoukai no Kanata

14:37 – Cute fever-tending scene please yes 

16:43 – More like lawnmowing then demonslaying, really 

18:08 – This is what you get for hanging out in the trainyard during the goddamn Monster Mash.  Friggin’ kids…

18:45 – Jesus Sakura, if you’d been here at the start we’d have resolved this plot in 2.5 episodes. You go girl

Kyoukai no Kanata

19:49 – Sakura is running a train on this romantic tension.  It kind of… doesn’t at all correlate to any type of personality she’s displayed previously, but I suppose wreaking a path of self-destructive vengeance on behalf of your dead sister can put you a little out of sorts

20:06 – You know, I’m beginning to think we’re not supposed to like this guy 

20:46 – I’m not against shows where every character is a badass 

Kyoukai no Kanata

22:07 – Oh, this is coming along nicely 

And Done

Quite enjoyed that ending – they’re using the cast well, and I can definitely buy all the various relationships at this point. My main complaint with this episode was exposition – some of it was backstory I think we should have received earlier (though it helps nonetheless – both Akihito and Mirai’s little flashbacks were solid here), and some of it was magical-world explanation that should have just explained itself naturally in the way things were demonstrated earlier in the series. Still, it was enjoyable, and Sakura has done a remarkably fast turnaround from relatively flavorless miniboss to pro matchmaker. Also – this was only episode eight! The plot clearly can’t end here, so I’m interested to see what complications are still in store. Ready for the next one!