The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Kyousougiga

Title: Kyousougiga
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: Toei Animation
Format: 10 episodes
Dates: 2 Oct 2013 – 19 Dec 2013

Synopsis: In a journey to find their long lost mother, Koto and her brothers enter a strange city magically created from a painting called Kyoto, the Mirror Capital.  However, Koto isn’t the only one looking for her mother. The three lords who rule the city take a great interest in Koto, and they aid her in her journey in order to fulfill their own machinations.

The Highlights
Setting: Interesting world that serves as a good incubator for the characters.
Animation and art: Art is gorgeous but animation can be lacking at times.
Characters: Incredibly charming.
Finale: Prepare for the whiplash.

Kyousougiga is a charming series about family bonds set in a futuristic and psychedelic version of feudal Japan. Given the show’s subject matter, it’s a wonder that the show even got past pre-production, much less a full 10 episode television run. Normally, this is an anime that would be released as a movie designed for both the art house circuit and masses alike. For a television series, the show is a breath of fresh air that tells a heartwarming story about children longing for their parents.

As a show that has a deep root in warm emotions, Kyousougiga lives and dies by its cast. Fortunately, the characters are excellently casted, structured and realized. They are a vibrant bunch who are both relatable and interesting. They are also thoroughly realized personalities who are given proper back stories as to what makes them tick. Further enhancing the experience, the voice actors do an exceptional job bringing the characters to life, especially Kugimiya Rie as the lead, Koto.

Though the show is steeped in the feel good emotions of family, it does not make the mistake of wallowing in it.  The show is actually a very light fanfare that tells simple stories about Koto discovering new things about the strange Mirror Capital and merging it with her inborn desire to break things for the fun of it.  Though the budget is clearly a tad sparse, the animation still manages to capture the wonder that is the Mirror Capital while creating extremely zany situations with Koto reminiscent of FLCL.

The biggest flaw of the series boils down to the question of “to what ends.”  The show could have used a couple more episodes to set up the twists in the finale since the events are a huge whiplash in first viewing. The anime does a poor job explaining the extremely unusual mindset of one of its core characters, Inari, which makes his actions feel illogical and haphazardly forced by the narrative when there is a reasonable explanation underneath it all. An episode exploring the world view of Inari would have been enlightening to the madness that ensues.

Though the finale may take a second gander to fully process, the show is still a wonderful reminder as to what anime can do as a medium. Kyousougiga is an emotionally compelling journey that can evoke joy, melancholy and sadness in practically every episode.

The Rating: 8
6/10

Reviewed by: Shadowmage

 

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