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

Kyoukai no Kanata 01 – It’s all in the blood


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Kyoukai no Kanata is a series about cursed existences and the continued importance of blood within Japanese belief. Both of the main characters live cursed existences due to their connections with blood and the realms of gods and spirits. There is no moral notion of sin within Shinto belief; death is not the ‘wages of sin’ as it might be for Christianity, but rather the outcome of evil-doing. Because purity is valued above all else, evil is defined as that which is ‘pollution’, or ‘polluting’. The primary pollutions within this belief system are sickness, death, and blood, and exposure to such pollution can offend the kami, resulting in disasters such as plagues or famine. Because of this Shinto shrines usually do not conduct funerals, leading the to familiar adage, ‘Shinto for weddings, Buddhism for funerals’. Nevertheless, Shinto has historically dealt with ideas of dead; with practitioners believe that spirits of the dead go to the mountains, above the sky, below the ear, or beyond the horizon (Kyoukai no Kanata). Living beings from this world may visit those from the other worlds in borderlands such as cliffs, caves and coastlines, places where the boundary between the two worlds is considered weak. Read more of this post

Tamako Market 01 – Royal Birds, Mochi and Top Hats


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Kyoto Animation have a wonderful habit of infusing their tales of apparently everyday life in Japan with a real sense of wonder and fantasy, with the main characters often wandering off into their own worlds or encountering strange and wonderful creatures or ideas. Tamako Market continues that tradition with the introduction of a relatively normal school girl and the mochi shop that her family runs, but instead of sticking with the ‘cute girls do cute things’ formula, we are also introduced to one of the greatest characters of the season. Dera Mochimazzi is a fascinating character, especially because he is a bird, and a talking bird at that, the humour that his presence and sharp remarks bring is wonderful to watch, especially when without his character Tamako Market would simply be a relatively everyday slice of life series. Although this doesn’t mean that slice of life anime are boring, but it is nice to see another take on it without having magical monsters and demons or aliens appearing from everywhere. Read more of this post