Beyond the Boundary Series Review

Overview:

Beyond the Boundary follows Akihito, a not so normal highschool boy who is obsessed with girls wearing glasses but is also a half-shade. One day he sees a beautiful girl wearing glasses standing on the edge of the roof and thinking she’s about to commit suicide he goes to talk her down. The girl then stabs him through the chest with a sword made out of blood. And so the story starts.

Review:

I find this anime perplexing because it is both amazing and yet incredibly disappointing simultaneously. It’s beautiful to watch, it is funny, there’s some excellent action sequences, the magic and lore of the world is fantastic, it’s dramatic, and then there is that ending. No getting around that. I will say that at least it doesn’t leave us hanging but I have real issues with how this concludes.

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However, let’s not jump to the negative straight away. Let’s go through why this is an amazing anime.

First of all the characters are fantastic fun to spend time with. Akihito is pretty jaded about some things and overly effusive about others. He’s incredibly entertaining and even though he is harbouring a deep, dark secret he doesn’t spend all his time brooding about it like so many bland protagonists. It is Akihito’s matter of fact view of so many things and his energy that actually keeps the show from flatlining even when the plot seems to be a little bit lost. His interactions with the rest of the cast are always enjoyable.

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Mirai on the other hand is your standard dark history, no friends, give up kind of girl. At least at the start. Her awesome power to use her own blood to kill shades notwithstanding, other than her glasses which Akihito obsesses over, she doesn’t have a lot to offer in the personality department. Fortunately she isn’t the lead character and her encounters with Akihito help to bring her out of her self-imposed shell constructed of self-loathing and teenage angst. Not saying she doesn’t actually have problems but she would be a lot less interesting if she was on her own.

The Nase’s are an interesting family and all three of them add various necessary elements into the cast as do the appraisers. As a support cast they are really entertaining and as Akihito has an existing relationship with all of these characters that is more complex than it looks on the surface they add a little bit of depth to the story as well.

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Secondly, this is a really pretty anime. Prettiness alone isn’t enough to make something amazing but it certainly helps the story along. Whether it is the striking sun sets, the magic, the combat, or just the characters sitting around and reading, this always looks really gorgeous. There’s a few moments where the quality falters but that’s kind of expected.

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Thirdly, the story itself. Akihito is an immortal half-shade. He literally cannot be killed and yet Mirai has been sent to kill him. She spends a lot of the early part of the series attempting to do so and failing miserably. That’s funny and all but if that was all there was to the story it would wear thin pretty fast.

Fortunately it all gets a bit more complicated with the human half of Akihito losing control when he is particularly weakened. We’re shown the consequences of a previous loss of control in the scars on one character’s back and we see him lose it after he saves Mirai. The other characters have to pull off some pretty fantastic magic to even contain him when he loses it. And then things get worse.

Three great reasons to love Beyond the Boundary.

Now, the ending. Yep, spoilers a plenty so if you haven’t watched, stop now.

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I know some people don’t mind the ending but I just found it really, really tedious. Mirai sacrifices herself to stop the shade inside Akihito and defeat it without killing him but instead of that being the end we get some sort of dream world inside the shade where Mirai continues to fight. Akihito, once he realises this, gains some stone with power and follows after her and they fight their way to the core and kill the thing for good only now Mirai disappears. And then he finds her on the roof of the school.

Seriously? She sacrificed herself once, died a second time, and somehow she’s just standing there on the roof of the school. Happy ending. Wait. That does not make any sense and essentially undermines her sacrifice. Plus it makes no sense.How unpleasant.

Everytime I watch this anime I really enjoy it until I get to that ending and then… It all kind of falls apart.

Anyway, if you like fantasy and magic with a bit of romance and action, Beyond the Boundary is quite a pleasing watch. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you about the ending.


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34 thoughts on “Beyond the Boundary Series Review

  1. I enjoyed the episodes I watched, but never got around to finishing it. Definitely had heard the ending was lackluster and your post really drives that shortcoming home. It’s amazing how our perception of a show really changes for the worst if the conclusion is sloppy and lazy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love KyoAni and all, but this one just isn’t that good. Sure it’s got a great cast, slick visuals and it really does shine at times, but the back half just kinda goes downhill then then ending really does ruin it. I remember watching it back when it aired and just being really disappointed with the ending, like you said it really undermines her sacrifice. Kinda had a similar feeling about the ending of Izetta. I still need to watch the second movie one of these days, not sure when but I will one day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually Izetta is probably a good comparison in terms of narrative. I enjoyed Beyond the Boundary a lot more than Izetta (probably because of the cast and characters) but the ends both suffer from similar problems.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Skipped the ending spoiler because I want to watch this soon-ish. This is another show that caught my eye (or ear) because I liked the OP. The MAl summary seemed promising too. The positives you’ve listed are compelling. It’s a pity that I’m up for another letdown ending though.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beyond the Boundary was one of the first anime I ever watched to completion, and to my mind it’s still the best looking show I’ve ever seen from Kyoto Animation. I found the characters fairly charming, but none of the final act of the plot makes any sense. I still do not understand the villain’s motivation, Izumi Nase’s motivation, what exactly all that ridiculous effort accomplished in the end, what Akihito’s mother’s role is in all this, and a whole host of other things.

    At that, the actual final scene never bothered me too much, because you’re never clear on whether what Akihito is seeing is actually real. Of course, there is the movie, but I’m not quite willing to sit through the whole thing after what I learned in the first 10 or so minutes. Spoiler alert, Kuriyama has amnesia. Brilliant twist there.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. yeah, you basically hit on my main sore spot for this series. ive heard that the movie is supposed to explain that a bit more, but i doubt it could make it feel like any less of a forced happy end with no business existing. other than that, i honestly cant remember too much that happens in this show to be completely honest.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That was my biggest pet hate about it. It wasn’t just the nonsense of the ending, it was definitely the forced happy ending when so many6 flags for tragedy had been raised. If they could have made a happy ending make sense, sure, why not. But this was just a lot of convoluted story-telling to take us to an unsatisfying conclusion.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a show I’ve heard a lot of varying things about. Some really like it, some really hate it. Lots of in-between, too. It’s something I’m intrigued with, but it seems like “typical KyoAni,” as well.

    Good write-up. I may have to watch this soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I couldn’t agree more with almost everything you said. I mean amazing yet the finale was boring… My favorite thing about it was probably that first ‘arc’ when Akihito lost control/ we saw his other side. The rest of it was just disappointing I guess? Though I do like the overall interactions between the characters… Have you watched the ova yet? It tells the story behind Hiroomi’s scars.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, just the series at this point.
      Agree that Akihito losing control that first time was fairly intense and really well done. I also liked how this changed the tone of the show from that point going forward. Thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Really wanted to like this one but the show was one of the few massive flops for me. My biggest problem was that the world and character’s have so much promise and nothing really gets fleshed out or explained. This really needed to be 26 episodes to even be close to good.

    That being said, it did have moments that were really solid that you note in your review. Personally, I thought the OP and ED were pretty solid and the visuals did not disappoint either. I know this has a movie that might resolve some of the issues we both had, but I’m not entirely sure since I don’t know much about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m told the movie does resolve some issues, but that’s like telling me to read the manga to get the end of a story. It doesn’t make this story finish well.
      I still have a good time with this and I do rewatch it, but that ending kills me every time as I just think how much better it could be. And you are right in that 24 – 26 episodes would have been better. The world and characters could have really been given more time to develop.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve been slowly making my way through this series since the beginning of the year. I definitely agree about the characters being a real draw, with even Mirai becoming more interesting as the episodes progress. Kyoto Animation’s amazing work helps carry things along, and “Daisy” is one of the best EDs I’ve heard.

    A real shame that the ending is disappointing, though. I skipped that section of your review to avoid spoilers but this series seems like it has so much potential so it’s a real shame if they don’t deliver on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m told on Twitter that if you watch the movie it finishes the series but to be honest if they can’t finish the series in the series in a satisfying manner, that isn’t going to improve my opinion of the end of this show. That sentence probably doesn’t make any sense. Sorry.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, no worries. I understood what you were saying just fine. I probably will look for the movie sometime then, but I agree with you. A series should be able to wrap itself up properly without the need for added content *coughKokoroConnect

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve been meaning to watch this for a while now and from the half of your review that I’ve read (I’ll have to remind myself to come back to see what you make of the ending when I’m done), it seems as if I should be bumping it up my plan to watch list. Thanks for sharing šŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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