I’m going to throw a tantrum if people don’t watch Kyousougiga.
I reviewed Kyousougiga a few weeks ago; now six episodes and halfway through the season later I’m still head over heels with it, but am baffled at why it is not catching on as much as I would like. It seems to be simmering under the radar and I really, really would like to change that. In my opinion it’s one of if not the best anime that has made a “Fall” debut in what is considered a generally “strong” season this year. And it disappoints me to see something bursting with creativity not getting the attention it should be getting.
Therefore here is a second set of points and arguments for you on why you should watch it aka why-you-need- to-watch-it-so-Max-stops-complaining-thanks-and-goodbye:
– Gorgeous animation ranging from subtle to overt graphic styling and effects and great use of CG; there is occasional “pop” styling for more energetic scenes and comedy but otherwise it is rather lush with well thought-out color palettes and lighting for more serious and poignant scenes. The animators like to show off. A LOT. Lighting and seasonal depictions, particularly snow, are well done and frequent. Very cinematic with elements of mono no aware it’s a bit slower than most anime and features some rather spectacular composition and framing as well as unique camera angles, camera wobbles and use of space. It’s more “mature” than your average anime even some of the very glossy ones this fall season if that makes any sense. Fight scenes too are impeccably choreographed.
– Awesome symbolism, mostly Buddhist and Shinto philosophies, Japanese (and perhaps a dash of Greek) myth and folklore as well as heavy floral and fruit symbolism. It also carries literary influence from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland/ Through The Looking Glass. While most series who attempt the Wonderland (or rather more so in this case Through the Looking Glass) inspiration or adaptation; Kyousougiga is unique in that it handles it extremely subtly instead of so on the nose as most tend to do.
– It’s a non-moe and generally fan-service free series with well rounded characters. I actually don’t like a lot of anime anymore purely because the characters are too klutsy, too air-headed, or too inept all in the sake of being cute. It works in Nichijou but that is so heavily slapstick it makes sense. I otherwise like having some degree of range. For instance characters in the current fall favorite Kyoukai no Kanata, the leads are somewhat characterized by their weird quirks and fetishes, it’s all sort of a turn off for me. They feel somewhat, stunted for lack of a better term; something off that stops them from feeling organic or as round as they should. They “feel” like anime. Here, the characters feel more organic. The teenage lead Koto is tomboyish, nonsexualized and acts like a real teenager for the most part with shades of Haruko from FLCL. This goes for all of the characters; most have very round characterization with some pretty deep and serious themes and fall short of stepping over that line of tropes that most series take which oversimplify people into caricature.
– Jigsaw-plot storytelling. This MAY be why people aren’t giving it a chance but I think this is why it is so great. It takes its sweet time to develop characters and reveals plot and back story in an advent calender style manner. This series starts at their 0 episode in media res with a FLCL Gainax-esque mind-screw of an episode that ends with the return of the character Lady Koto to the Mirror World. So far as of episode 6 each subsequent episode has not taken place past the ending to 0. They’ve been mostly nonconsecutive (though some parts are chronological) back story, flashbacks to incidents that came before or led up to that moment, or revisiting moments from 0 episode with a slightly altered perspective or less abstract manner, often showing more details not previously shown before or flat out showing something different. Essentially it’s a “How we got here” approach. While confusing at times things do rather neatly fall into place as things are explained and motifs seen before but not really touched on suddenly have meaning and that add further depth to the series as a whole. The repetition of certain scenes also adds a certain stylistic rhythm that I find interesting. When we move on past the ending of episode 0 I feel the series energy will really pump up with even more action.
– Amazing writing. The plot is fresh and different than the norm and while it adheres to tropes it avoids a lot of common ones anime series can slather onto characters (coughKyoukai no Kanatacough). Family and what constitutes family is a big component and there are some actual pretty dark elements despite its occasional manicness. And yet the balance of comedy, general heartfelt exposition and then action against really heavy themes, is all really well done. As said before all the characters are very relatable and interesting; very round and weighty but that doesn’t mean they aren’t ridiculous either. Also as stated its inspiration from Lewis Carroll is done very subtly. Also, before I forget one little thing. YOU WILL CRY. This series is highly emotional especially if parent-child relationships strike a chord with you. And siblings. And just….everything. It’s very very touching and just beautifully done.
Just everything about it is really well done. So this is my second appeal. Watch this series, halfway through it’s still good and not losing steam. It’s totally free up over at Crunchyroll and entirely worth your time (and tears).
See you guys real soon!