Title: Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon
Summary: In a distant future, Japan is divided into feudal territories, which have been conquered and are ruled by outside countries. The flying city-ship Musashi, which holds the remnants of the Japanese, is being targeted and has no choice but to keep its people safe by going to war. With the fate of the world resting on its hands, the students of Musashi may hold the key to victory.
Review: Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon was a complete season of twisting and turning. Action could be prominent in one episode and almost non-existent in the next. Sometimes you would get an episode with boob-groping and rolling naked men, and then next week you are taken down the bitter path of someone’s past. I wasn’t sure what was going on half the time, or why I continued to watch. However, I’m rather happy I did. Everything came together in the end, and if you paid close attention to the dialogue the series was actually rather witty. The anime takes a different view on war, and personally find it a more accurate representation. I can’t say that the anime is for everyone, but I wouldn’t steer people away from it.
The art for Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon was top notch and remained as such throughout its duration, which is more than you can say about many anime. As I said earlier the anime wasn’t completely focused around action; It had a lot of heavy dialogue moments as well. Even during the heavy conversational scenes the anime still took art into consideration. Dynamic backgrounds and visual changes to the character faces made the scenes much easier to watch. The action scenes took things over the top. Nearly every action scene had something new to offer. Whether it be the choreography or lighting effects, the action always felt fresh and exciting. A few scenes are still implanted into my memory for their lush backgrounds and jaw-dropping effects. The character models were pleasing to look at as well because no two characters looked remotely the same. The distinctions represented their personalities quite well. For example, Suzu Mukai is a soft spoken, innocent girl. Her small stature and constantly eye-covering hair reflect that in the series. Unfortunately the story for Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon wasn’t as clear cut and solid as the art.
The story of Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon is where the series gained and lost most of its rating. Doesn’t really make sense does it? Well hopefully by the end of this little excerpt you’ll get a better understanding of what I mean. When the first series first started I was really debating whether or not I should continue watching it. For the first few episodes the only thing I saw was a dense main character, strangely oblivious support characters, and a poor story base. Things turned around once I started understanding what the series was trying to do, and started to appreciate its new approach on setting. One of the biggest things that I noticed was the introduction of war. Not for its dramatic entrance, but its unexpected dramatic entrance. Not only did the audience feel blindsided, so did the characters. This method of engrossing your audience into the world is one of my favorites. I like to feel that I know just as much as the characters; it keeps the mystery and development more personal. After a major fight broke out, it was clear I would be pretty lost. As the series released more episode things weren’t looking too good. It wasn’t that the content was missing or the story wasn’t progressing, quite the opposite actually. There was so much content, heavy dialogue, and quick story progression that I felt overwhelmed. I had to go back and rewatch the series just to get a better understanding for it. The series pushed away from the expected progression of instant battles to politics. I was pleasantly surprised that an anime decided to show more of the background of war. There are a lot of politics involved and even though two parties disagree on something they must show face and have some version of respect. Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon of course does have a bit of comedy to ease up the tension, but nothing that takes away from the story. By going down the politic road, the series pulled a double edged sword. Trying something new was a step in the right direction and I appreciated for that, but it was very difficult to keep up with. The story was very cloudy and I wasn’t too sure what was going on. The dialogue was far from simple and as I said before it was rather fast pace. There were also a number of characters and names flying around making it difficult to keep track. Even though many of them can be considered unimportant it was still frustrating to think about how everyone was linked up. Fathers, sisters, daughters, cousins, second cousins, androids… everyone was connected in some way or another. Thankfully the ending sort of wrapped things up nicely and brought together what the entire series was about. Originally it didn’t strike me as a romance, but it ended up having one of the best romance scenes I’ve ever witnessed. I think this is what finally made me raise my hands and say the series was worth watching. There is also a confirmed season two that I’m looking forward to.
The soundtrack had one of the better insert songs I’ve heard, matching in caliber with Star Driver. The background music is what took the cake though. The background music for the fight scenes was intense and impacting. It also had some other great songs like “Kimi no Pace de” which took a step back and had a much calmer listen (and personally one of my favorites). What made the soundtrack so great was the diversity. They really covered all bases and I would suggest anyone give the OST a good listen. Even if you don’t like most of them, I guarantee you will find at least one you enjoy.
Final statements: I’m looking forward to the second season which is meant to come out in Summer 2012. I can’t say that everyone will like this anime, because it did take a while for me to get into it, however, I suggest everyone at least give a look. The only reason I could see people stirring away is because it does take a bit of effort to understand what is going on. A preferred watch for season one, and hopefully a higher rating for season two.