Beyond the Boundary (or Kyoukai no Kanata) however you like to proclaim it, was one of the more talked about premieres of this season, and after hearing nearly everyone talking it up, I thought I’d finally get around to it. Of the three shows I’m writing about this season, it’s the least excited I’ve gotten about every week; that is until around episode 4. At episode 4 we really get into the action, the premise, and the characters and their motivations. The first three episodes are just so poorly paced and filled with agonizing ‘comedy’ that, for someone like me, I shudder more than I chuckle. Japanese humor has never translated well for me, and unless it’s live action, it almost always falls flat. Luckily after episode 3 the comedy portions nearly dry up and, save for one episode, the series stays consistently great and watchable.
Set for a 12-episde cour, and headed by Kyoto Animation, Beyond the Boundary is based off a light novel and is centered on Akihito Kanbara and Mirai Kuriyama. Akihito is a half-youmu (half demon, half human) and Mirai is a Spirit World Warrior. They meet under some rather dreary circumstances as Akihito notices Mirai is standing on the school’s roof ready to jump, and as he tries to stop her, she stabs him. Don’t worry this is all in the first five minutes, so it’s not spoiling anything. Turns out Mirai has rather low self-esteem and lacks the confidence to do her job: kill youmu. What springs forward is a friendship of Akihito and Mirai training together to raise her self-assurance so she can do her tasks. While this sounds rather droll and uninteresting, please stick with it, as after episode 3 it really kicks into high gear and we see some of the more Sprit World Warriors and learn more on why Mirai was on the rooftop to begin with; and it’s a pretty startling reason…
Kyoto Animation definitely have a strong budget for this show as several of the fights contain some of the best animation this season, next to maybe Kill la Kill. Even subtle moments are filled with detail that show the animators care about the presentation. However, the music isn’t as astounding as I was expecting for a show like this. It’s not bad it’s just forgettable 90% of the time. There are bits and pieces that trickle through, but it rarely resonates after an episode. The voice acting is on point and never grating, though the comedy bits with Mirai screeching and panicking can be a little irritating, but, again, that’s because that kind of humor fails to do anything for me.
Beyond the Boundary had a slow start, and if you’re not feeling it by episode three, and definitely by episode four, feel free to drop it, I won’t be mad. Those that stick with it will find a creative world with some interesting promise and characters that will help motivate you forward. With only six episodes left and still more to learn about the world, it’s very intriguing to see what Beyond the Boundary holds for its climax. You can stream Beyond the Boundary via Crunchyroll every Wednesday at 12:30pm EST.