Recap: As our pair continue to fight the Hollow Shadow, Akihito gets possessed. Using her powers unleashed, Mirai is able to cut it out of him, however this activates Akihito’s dark side.
I was talking to some people who watched last weeks episode, and if there’s one thing that was poorly handled here it’s telling us about Sakura. I would have to assume that, in the book, there is a much shorter distance between the reveal of her character and knowing who she is. That’s not what we got here though, as Sakura appears last episode and is not explained. I had at least two people think she was Yui or the Hollow Shadow. Now while her relation to Yui was established, it still did not explain at all why she was following the Hollow Shadow’s storm. Was it pure coincidence? It seemed like Mirai was her only objective, but it seems like she wouldn’t be that hard to track down. Hopefully we’ll get more answers in the next arc.
Sometimes I forget how lucky we are to have companies like KyoAni. While animation shouldn’t be the foremost reason one enjoys a show, it is so easy to see how it improves upon what is already present in story and characterization. The magic here really feels alive and dangerous. Even though we know Akihito is immortal, we have enough foreshadowing that his gruesome transformation leaves us uneasy as to what is actually going to happen to him. While a cooldown hug is probably the biggest cliche in the book, it works for the character development we’ve been getting between the two. Oddly enough I’d say that was the strangest part in the animation direction, where we just got stills of Mirai going in for the hug instead of actually showing us it in real time.
While it was obviously less pronounced than previous weeks, the snark made a return, and here is where I feel it is least natural. They are both obviously in a dangerous place, and it is hardly the time to be making jokes. I know KyoAni has always done light-hearted affairs best, but even if this was part of the original dialogue you need to know when certain actions just seem inappropriate. Overall it was saved by great dialogue at the end, proving that this show is definitely capable of the kind of drama that keeps you watching.
Lifesong’s Thoughts: What is a monster? Personally I love stories that can ask this question in an interesting way, especially when the emphasis is closer to -what is a sinner?- I think Beyond the Boundary managed to do exactly that in this episode.
So the episode preview spoiled the big stab scene, but Akihito’s awakening hit pretty hard. Personally I felt like it was foreshadowed well. We knew that something awful happened in his past thanks to a flash back showing him covered in blood and overall attitude toward Mirai falls into place now that we have seen his dark side.
I appreciate the way no one was absolved of their guilt. Mirai did murder her friend and Akihito is an incredibly powerful youkai who can’t control his powers. Basically this episode confirmed something very important for Beyond the Boundary: This actually is a dark fantasy, not just moe moe dark fantasy kyun! from KyoAni. I also loved the exchange between between Akihiko and Mirai. “Do you think I look like a normal person?” It fit what I think the show was going for perfectly.
Sakura sure disappeared in a hurry. I assume she knew the other spirit warriors were closing in and decided to withdraw, that or she had a change of heart when Mirai actually beat the monster. On that note, adults are all filthy thieves! I wonder if this was the end of the first light novel. Killing the monster, but getting ripped off by someone with an unknown goal feels like a sequel tie in to me. If any of you readers have finished the light novels please tell me!
Looking forward I am excited to how the character dynamics evolve now that Mirai and Akihito are on the same page. Friends? Hah! He doesn’t have those either. This episode made it pretty clear that the Nase family has a very real reason to keep him under surveillance and it’s not because they want to be best buddies with the immortal guy.