Musaigen no Phantom World – The Ghostbusters go to High School:


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I do love Kyoto Animation – they have produced many of my favourite anime over the years (although I’ve never been a big fan of Haruhi), and may well continue to create series I enjoy watching for many more years. Saying that, Musaigen no Phantom World is a step back when compared to recent series like Hibike Euphonium, and yet, I still rather enjoyed the first episode. As setups go it’s a fairly standard Light Novel story, with a school, phantoms or ‘youkai’, and a plot that allows our central characters to interact with these phantoms, and even capture them. Read more of this post

Behind the Façade: Hibike Euphonium and the Pressures of School Life


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Hibike Euphonium provides us with a snapshot of school life, and the ordinary, everyday workings of an afterschool club and those who are a part of it. We are given the opportunity to look at how complicated a social group this club is, and the myriad different attitudes, ideals, and ideas that something apparently as simple as playing in a concert band can be. Like most anime, the afterschool club is a focal point for all the drama, human interactions, problems, tensions, and character growth. Rather than examination and studying – although we can assume they still exist – these characters are preoccupied with their club. Some may continue to participate out of force of habit, others may be very serious about their club, and there are also those who may simply have nothing better to do, and had to join a club anyway. The school space within anime like Hibike Euphonium remains central to character development, acting as the focal point for all of their hopes and worries, and serving as the one space where they are capable of exploring new ideas and approaches to life, seemingly without worry. Read more of this post

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 11 – A Place Between Worlds


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The relationship between Mirai and Akihito has been a complex one, with both characters coming from complicated backgrounds and having to deal with their own issues throughout the series. This episode acted as a continuation of the progression in their relationship, and arguably served as a defining moment in how they view each other, and themselves. From the very beginning of this series Mirai, and Akihito have had their fair share of problems stemming from their backgrounds and lineage. The complex issues of pollution within (traditional) Japanese belief means that both characters are arguably polluted, with backgrounds that single them out as strangers, outcasts that neither fit in the world of humans or the world of dreams and shadows. Read more of this post

Kyoukai no Kanata 10 – Truth and Lies (Slight Return)


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Last weeks episode helped to clarify the idea that the binary division of Youmu as bad and Spirit Hunters as good is rather problematic and glosses over the intricacies of the relationship between these two groups. We now have a better grasp of the current state of things within the series universe, while also being introduced to the political intrigue that has been one of the more subtle parts of this anime so far. What may have at first appeared to be a chance encounter between two very complicated individuals has become a clash of clans vying for power, groups that are willing to use people as pawns in order to achieve their goals. The various figures, and Youmu that have appeared in the series have all become a part of a complex web of intrigue and politics, with Mirai and Akihito firmly at the center of the Nase Clan and Spirit Hunter Associations plans. Read more of this post

Kyoukai no Kanata – Youmu 1, Idols 0


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While previous weeks of Kyoukai no Kanata have had a decidedly serious, often very dark tone, with the central characters fighting for their lives in one form or another, this weeks took a different approach to Youmu and Youmu hunting. Initially Youmu hunting was introduced as a serious matter, one where Spirit Hunters would go out and hunt down and destroy potentially dangerous spirits – at least we are told they are dangerous, and the threat they pose to human’s remains to be seen. Mirai has to hunt to survive, her powers are immense, but for a variety of reasons, many we have yet to fully comprehend she has not spent much of her time hunting Youmu, and is therefore immensely poor. In fact, one of the main comedic gags used throughout the series so far has been Mirai’s poverty, and her immense pride that makes her try to ignore others charity, even when she knows would allow her to survive. 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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