Kyoukai no Kanata 12 – Shadows and Light


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As I have said on numerous occasions, the relationship between Mirai and Akihito has been at the very centre of this series, they are the odd ones out in society, both cursing their existences, and living with the complicated nature of who they are. The various plots and political intrigue that reared its head from time to time swirled around these two characters like thick fog, clinging to their clothes and never letting them go. That Akihito seemed to be harbouring the Youmu known as Kyoukai no Kanata in his body, a shade so powerful it is said to be capable of destroying the world emphasises how unsure his existence was. What is interesting however is how little we as the audience ever find out about the politics between Miroku – likely acting as a proxy for the Spirit Hunter’s Association – and the Nase clan. In many respects it seems find to leave it as a case of political intrigue, coupled with plans to use the power of Kyoukai no Kanata, along with numerous other Youmu to produce something dramatic and world changing. Read more of this post

Kyoukai no Kanata 09 – Truth and Lies


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As discussed in last weeks post, there has been an arbitrary line placed between Youmu and Spirit Hunters, one that creates the binary division of Youmu = Bad, and Spirit Hunters = Good. However, over the last couple of episodes it has become increasingly clear that such a division does not exist, and that in many cases the roles appear to be switched. Many Youmu such as Ayaka and Ai lead relatively normal lives despite the immense power that they posses (in the case of Ayaka), and do not pose a threat to humans. They good friends with the main characters and even run their own business trading Youmu fragments. They are far from this image of a deadly force, or a mass of dangerous, bloodthirsty creatures that we as the viewers assume them to be. Furthermore, the presence of Yakimon (Sweet Potato) as Mitsuki’s familiar and pet presents us with another, more gentle side to Youmu, and one that is very different from the Hollow Shade in previous episodes. Rather it is humans, and particularly Fujima Miroku – and arguably by extension the Spirit Hunters Association – that come across as the more aggressive and dangerous, more so than most Youmu.

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Kyoukai no Kanata 08 – Into the Gloom


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Throughout Kyoukai no Kanata there has been an arguably arbitrary line forced between Youmu and Spirit Hunters. Spirit Hunters have been portrayed as people who are attempting to rid the world of potentially dangerous shades and creatures that can bring great misfortune to human beings. We know that it is impossible to completely eradicate Youmu as they are often the accumulations of humanities negative energy, or in some cases appear to be the particularly powerful natural spirits. So, the Spirit Hunters act like shepherds on the one hand, herding these potentially dangerous spirits and preventing them from bringing harm to others, while on the other they are hunters, using their powers and abilities to thin out the herd as it were. While characters have debated the merits of this activity, and characters like Izumi Nase have their own opinions on the job of a Spirit Hunter, they are largely portrayed as warriors tasked with helping humanity. Youmu are therefore a scourge, a deadly plague, a faceless mass, or terrifying creatures that threaten all those that come near. Read more of this post

Kyoukai no Kanata 07 – Memories and shadows


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Last weeks Kyoukai no Kanata served as a brilliant diversion from the main narrative of the series, one that explores ideas of cursed existences and the idea of blood as a form of pollution. It was very successful at what it did as well, providing us with another glimpse at the business of hunting and destroying spirits, albeit one that involved classic training montages, a full musical number, and the main characters apparently forgetting that they were supposed to destroy the Youmu, not entertain it. As a break from the darker themes of the series it was both entertaining, hilarious, and also rather interesting as it presents us with a different vision of Youmu and their place next to humans. Up until that point all the Youmu that this series has introduced have been particularly vicious looking creatures with murderous auras, and in the case of the Hollow Shade, a dangerous reputation for destroying Spirit Hunters that try to confront it. What last weeks episode suggests is that Youmu are far from being the evil, destructive creatures that until recently we may have assumed them to be. Instead they are merely spirits, many may be potentially dangerous, but then so are humans, and the reality of it is that many of them do not threaten the safety of humans of Spirit Hunters, providing they are left alone to get on with their own devices. Read more of this post

Kyoukai no Kanata 05 – Bathed in Light


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While Mirai’s abilities and Akihito’s nature continue to drive the story, they both seem to be at the centre of several plots, or plans involving Spirit Hunters, although we do not as yet know what these are supposed to be. However, this week took a slightly different approach, and instead focused on Mistuki and the notion of loneliness. Mitsuki is an intriguing character, one who seems to care about Akihito, and yet remains loyal to her position as a Spirit Hunter and a member of the Nase household. Mitsuki’s character and how she approaches her own duties and personal feelings once again fit into the giri/ninjo (duty/human feelings) model that is mostly seen in samurai or yakuza dramas. Read more of this post

Kyoukai no Kanata 04 – The debt that had to be paid


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As we have seen already, the cursed blood that Mirai has controls how she views the world and her place within society. It is the source of her hatred, anger, pain, and suffering, something that has shaped her perception of her own worth and how people should treat her. Throughout the last three episodes Mirai has consistently tried to distance herself from Akihito, constantly pushing him away by saying that he is different from her, someone with friends, who has a happy, carefree life. Mirai has thus internalised the negativity of individuals around her, truly believing that her clans blood is truly cursed. Interestingly, Sakura Inami reinforces this negative view by describing her as a ‘Shinigami’, a god of death with the power to destroy the land around her with blood that falls like acid rain and purges the land of life. It is easy to see why Mirai’s clan is so maligned when the full power of her blood is unleashed, melting away the trees and leaving the landscape around her barren and scarred.

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Kyoukai no Kanata 03 – The Shadows of the Damned


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Throughout these early episodes of Kyoukai no Kanata it has become obvious that Mirai truly believes that she is from a cursed bloodline and is therefore a cursed individual who may hurt anyone she gets close too. This is further backed up by the latest revelations that she has already killed someone, a good friend in fact, thus reinforcing her already negative attitude towards her own existence and that of her clan. Here we see how easily negative viewpoints and attitudes can be internalised by an individual, to the point where they begin to believe them to be true. We do not know if Mirai’s clan is cursed, or destructive, although it is arguably the case that they were neither, and it is a label they acquired from other Spirit Hunter clans. As I have mentioned in the last couple of posts, blood plays a significant role in Shinto, being a source of pollution, and through the creation myth of Izanagi and Izanami a source of death and destruction for humanity. It can therefore be argued that the ‘cursed existence’ of a clan with the ability to manipulate blood can be directly linked to their abilities, and perhaps a suspicion that they are somehow linked to the very Youmu that the clans are supposed to hunt. Read more of this post