Beautiful Story Filled With Rich Characters
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.
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. Although, like with many anime there is a follow up OVA but I haven’t watched it at this point.
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 flat-lining even when the plot seems to be a little bit lost. His interactions with the rest of the cast are always enjoyable. Even his obsession (fetish?) with glasses wearing girls is relatively harmless and entertaining throughout the run of the series.
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.
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.
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.
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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KYOUKAI NO KANATA ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK