Kokkoku Series Review: An Unexplained Mystery Wrapped Around An Uninteresting Cast

This anime starts out with a promising mystery even if the pace is slow, and yet it never quite manages to deliver. What were your thoughts on Kokkoku?

Review:

Kokkoku is one of those anime that on paper looks like a pretty good idea. You have a mysterious organisation kidnapping a family member to motivate the protagonist into action whereby a supernatural ability is revealed leaving the main characters in a frozen moment that they can navigate through. It seems really promising and full of potential. So where did Kokkoku go wrong?

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While I was drawn to the premise of this show and it was the ideas and where they might go with the mystery that kept me watching past the point where I might have dropped it, the characters are really not interesting. Juri, her grandfather, Takafumi (her father) and even her brother and nephew are incredibly dull and have no chemistry as a cast. Part of that is because they are trying to build up the idea of family dysfunction before they go into stasis, but at no point in the following 12 episodes do they manage to build anything from these characters. This kind of makes it hard to particularly care about any of the dangers faced by the family and that unfortunately makes even the few moments that might be tense fall kind of flat.

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When we add in that the initial motive for action is more or less resolved three or four episodes in with the nephew retrieved and yet for some reason they stay in stasis, you start wondering what the point of the anime actually is. Keep wondering because it is unlikely you will find yourself with a satisfactory answer to that one.

The introduction of Sagawa as a genuine villain and potential threat had possibilities for a moment at giving them something new to rally against, but that was also a plot thread that kind of went nowhere and by the time we got there a lot of viewers had ceased to care or were just kind of bemused by the explanation.

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And that takes us to the deal breaker for this anime. While the other points are possibly off-putting depending on your preferences, the way this anime explains things by simply having a character assert them and then never providing any justification or evidence is frustrating. The rules of stasis, how some weird transformation is occurring, and even the ultimate plot breaking move in the final episode which seems to undermine most of what you’ve watched, all just have an ‘explanation’ muttered by a character in a disinterested fashion and the other characters all just kind of accept that it is true and the audience is kind of forced to as well. It makes for an incredibly unsatisfying viewing experience.

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There are too many inconsistencies, illogical moments, and just plain random events for this anime to really be considered recommended viewing for anyone. Couple that with an incredibly slow pace and the tiresome cast and really there is very little left that could be positive about the review other than the OP is kind of weird in an interesting way and the premise sounds good even if it doesn’t quite work out.

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I haven’t really touched on visuals and that is because characters are pretty ugly to look at and the world of stasis is pretty colourless and dull. While there are at times some interesting visual effects used when expelling characters from stasis, for the most part the visuals are either bland or borderline ugly.

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I really wanted to enjoy this. I did. And yet week after week I kind of felt my hope for this show turning things around dwindle and by the time episode 10 rolled around I gave up even pretending there was hope for this series to end on any kind of positive.

That said, I’d love to know your thoughts on the series if you gave it a watch so be sure to leave me a comment below.

Episode Reviews:


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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7 thoughts on “Kokkoku Series Review: An Unexplained Mystery Wrapped Around An Uninteresting Cast

  1. I dropped after three episodes. May write about it in the future if I need a filler article. It’s just… dull? Like, the premise isn’t bad, but it doesn’t make me excited to keep watching.

    It exists to keep some people entertained, and that’s about all the show means to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Also,
      >When we add in that the initial motive for action is more or less resolved three or four episodes in with the nephew retrieved and yet for some reason they stay in stasis
      IIRC that was because they wanted to leave stasis together (otherwise it’d be impossible to enter the same stasis world/time moment again to retrieve the ones left behind), but some of the protagonists were captured by the enemy camp and not immediately available for leaving.

      My biggest gripe though, was how the spirit thingie, out of all the other people in the stasis world it could have picked as it flew about town, chose the nephew. It just felt like such a contrived way at making the plot advance.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. It isn’t really working to make people excited. I think intrigued was about the most I felt in this show and by mid-season it was fairly clear that I wasn’t going to get much of a payoff from even my curiosity. By the time we got some answers I was pretty much just watching to see that it ended.

      Like

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