The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere

Title: Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere aka Kyōkai Senjō no Horizon
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: Sunrise
Format: 13 episodes
Date: 1 Oct 2011 – 17 Dec 2011

Synopsis: In the distant future, mankind lives on giant floating ships that house entire cities and has developed a multitude of magic like powers.  The nation of Japan has been broken up into its feudal era territories by foreigners, and much of the remnants of the once prominent rising sun live on the city-ship Musashi.  Life is generally peaceful bar the antics of the school children wrecking havoc with their abilities.  These carefree days are swept away when a madman throws the world into a state of war.

The Highlights
Animation: Some of Sunrise’s best television work.
Ensemble Cast: Mostly one-dimensional but a few are more amusing than they should be.
Story: Complex; convoluted; tortous; insert more synonyms here.
Seriousness: For the sake of your sanity, do not take anything seriously.

Oh my god.  Sunrise has done it.  It has compressed decades worth of crazy anime antics into a single super giant shounen fightin’ anime.  Even the likes of Code Geass R2 and G Gundam have nothing on the sheer absurdity of Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere.  This show pulls together a flood of cliches and twists it into a horrifically complicated knot.  Anyone who cannot dial down their brain functions to the state right above “human vegetable” need not attempt to watch this.

Never have I seen a show kick off as Naruto, evolve into Gintama, devolve into Queen’s Blade, usurp Legend of the Galactic Heroes, summon Nanoha StrikerS and somehow drill its way to Gurren Lagann all in a matter of a couple of episodes.  Whoever wrote this has either compressed a 50 episode anime into 13 episodes or is being drip fed caffeine straight into their brain.  Everything comes with such unrelenting force that it’s hard to tell what’s going down in the chaotic mishmash of cerebral politics, slapstick comedy, sick action and melodrama.

The primary flaw of the show is that it expects the audience members to push their brain functions to an absurd low.  The main protagonist, Aoi Tori, is a goofball who no one aspires to be or can sympathize with, and he only meshes in with the massive cast as comedic relief. Almost every other character is a name and a personality with no depth beyond their originally defined parameters, which makes much of the more emotionally moving parts of the drama something of a joke.  Many of the conflicts result in extremely wordy explanations that are poorly integrated into the dialogue.  The show also suffers from the same kind of shounen logic and meaningless complexity found in shows like Yu Gi Oh! where a trap card counters a trap card which counters another trap card countering a secret trap card that is negated by some arcane rule about trap cards.

Despite the convoluted nature of the series, the show does know how to deliver on some of the time-worn staples of anime.  Whether it be watermelon sized breasts bouncing with the latest jiggle physics, or some visually stunning fight scenes, Sunrise has brought its A game with the animation.  The music is also quite strong along with the voice acting, which features a small army of talent.

Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere is a volatile concoction that’s incredibly amusing because it’s so off the wall crazy.  Enjoy it as a well produced injection of entertaining cliches, and make sure you kick reason to the curb or else the show may blow your mind with how stupid it can be.

The Rating: 5
5/10

Reviewed by: Shadowmage

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