Posted by psgels on 27 March 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews


Ah, shounen-fighting series. How many of them have fallen into the pit of mediocrity? Probably too many to count. Still, once in a while a series appears in the genre that actually delivers. The cream of the crop is for me the Law of Ueki, and even though Kekkaishi couldn’t come to that same level, it’s still a good example of a well-developed series in a genre that overall consists out of lazy manga-adaptations and toy-commercials.

For once our lead heroes (Yoshimori and Tokine) don’t have offensive powers. In fact, the entire concept of Kekkaishi is based around defence; all they can do is block, nothing more. The first twenty episodes are basically just reserved for random stories that let the viewer get familiarized with both the characters, and how they make use of their own powers in their own way. The creators manage to keep these episodes more than interesting through lots and lots of quirky characters, who’ll put a smile on your face.

Then when the story comes, this series has the advantage that it can work with characters that are already pretty well fleshed out, and the creators make perfect use for that. Keep a lookout for when Gen appears, because he’s without a doubt the best character of the series. Throughout its run of 52 episodes, Kekkaishi isn’t afraid to do things that usual series of the genre try to avoid.

There are a few problems with this series, though. Fighting-series should NEVER play with hidden powers, and yet every single one seems to have them. Although Kekkaishi uses them in enough moderation, they do pop up at the worst possible moments. This is the cause that the final three episodes will feel rather meh, which is a shame because the episodes that lead up to them are excellent.

It also feels that a part of this series does feel needlessly drawn out, though. I believe that this would have been the perfect series for 39 episodes (my personal favourite series-length). Apparently, this series was dropped by its sponsor and had to be drawn out to a 52-episode format so that it could be sold overseas, though this is why I’m of the opinion that series should just use the amount of episodes that fits for their story, and not make the story fit its amount of episodes.

On a semi-unrelated side-note, I think that this is a good place to voice some complaints about Sunrise that I’ve been having. I personally consider four animation-studios as “the big four” for television-series: Nippon Animation, Production IG, Madhouse and Studio Deen with as runners up Gonzo and Bones. I don’t think of Sunrise at all when I think of my favourite series, and yet they have been behind some interesting series as Freedom, Mai Hime, Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto and Gintama.

I think that I finally know the reason: it’s a bit harder to see, but they’re just like Kyoani and Makoto Shinkai. They may be great in their own way, but they’re too afraid to try out new things. Makoto Shinkai has his male main characters, Kyoani has its high-school settings, and for Sunrise, everything has to be epic and everything has to be a commercial success. Concepts that work get needlessly drawn out, which is probably why Kekkaishi went on for too long.

At the moment, I’m still hoping that Gintama won’t run out of jokes, now that it’s already passed its ninety-episode mark. Sunrise has produced a lot of noteworthy anime, but they’re just not like Gonzo, who can churn out a Master of Epic once in a while from out of nowhere. Come on, why not try a slice-of-life series next time?

15 Responses

  1. Kim says:

    I think you are forgetting a lot of great Sunrise productions: Cowboy Bebop, Escaflowne, Planetes.

    Personally I think they have a much better track record than Gonzo. IMHO the only noteworthy series I saw from Gonzo is Gankutsuou.

  2. psgels psgels says:

    I was indeed mostly referring to the Sunrise of the 21st century, because I do acknowledge that they did a terrific job for Escaflowne. As for Planetes, I’ve yet to see that one, so I can’t judge it. :P

    As for Gonzo, I’ve actually seen quite a few memorable series from them: Bokura no, Red Garden, Master of Epic, NHK ni Youkoso and Blue Submarine no.6, and I haven’t even seen their most famous works yet: Last Exile and Gankutsuou.

  3. Kim says:

    Well I would recommend both Planetes and Gankutsuou. From what you like I think you would definitely like Planetes. It really focuses on the character development.

    Personally I don’t really like Last Exile that much (the first half was good but I think it fell apart in the 2nd half) but a lot of people do like that one. :)

  4. apexantapex says:

    I noticed a while ago that McDonald’s wasn’t appearing on their sponsor screen. That’s some big money to lose. PIty. The action flow in this one runs rings around Naruto — and I’m a Naruto fan (though Studio Pierrot makes it very, very difficult to do so. *sigh*)

    I read the manga in addition to watching this show — I felt that this show had some of the best story rearrangement and filler moments I’ve seen so far. It was pretty seamless — nothing screamed “filler! timesuck!” at me. I also enjoyed the way they rewrote the ending to be more inclusive of Tokine and her abilities, while keeping the ending true to the end of this particular arc in the manga.

    I agree, though, the last 3 episodes were peculiarly draggy for what should be a wham-bang shounen ending. I like character development, but it was a weird time to be doing background story on some of the ayakashi.

    The animation went a little berserk toward the end — nice how Yoshimori grew this long ropy neck and Tokine sported fluttery eyelashes, a tight top and bouncing D-cups in that last scene, and then became a talking puppethead at an odd moment.

    All that said, this has been a favorite of mine for a long time and I’m sad it’s over, though luckily I find it very rewatchable and of course the story goes on in the books.

  5. Westlo says:

    If you want to see Sunrise do something sorta slice of life than watch Planetes from the director of Code Geass, Infinite Ryvuis and Scryed.

  6. nahrub says:

    1st of all, kekkashi is great compared to other similar shounen anime. it knew when to stop. and the characters are not as annoying also.

    2ndly, i personally prefer sunrise over gonzo. considering the series produced in 2007/2008, gonzo only manage 1/8 on an epic level. the 7 rest are been-there-done-that series or it-burned-my-eyes-watching-it series. they starting to slip more n more.

    lastly, makoto shinkai’ll always do romance, satoshi kon’ll always do twisted stories n sunrise’ll always strive for commercial success. coz in the end only money pays the bill n keeps the studio running. gonzo’s quite new, they’ll learn soon enough.

    imo.

  7. Archer says:

    finally a shounen-fighting series that knew that the comedy should be always present in it’s plot because most anime in this genre tend to last to long and try to hard to give us some drama in the story and it all goes downhill from there (example Bleach,very good until around ep 30 i think when i lost interest,good example Hunter X Hunter the perfect shounen-fighting series)
    back to kekkaishi i was kinda disappointed by a few things in the last 3 episodes but in the end i had a lot of fun watching this anime and if i would have to recommend a shounen anime this would one of them
    btw psg i am surprised you had another change to say something about Code Geass (of curse a negative remark ) and i did not find it :p i guess you got bored of mentioning it

  8. psgels psgels says:

    Archer: Well, there are enough chances to say how much it sucks once the next season starts, so yeah, I deliberately didn’t mention Code Geass for that one. I suspect that I’ve been using it as a bad example a few times too many. ^^;

  9. bran says:

    Sunrise is up there with Madhouse as my favorite studios, sure they have put out plenty of mediocre series but rarely repulsively bad like other studios.

    I agree with Archer, Hunter X Hunter is the epitome of a shounen done well.

  10. death13a says:

    I hope for second season as i really like Kekkaishi. And there is more to tell about Urekai and Karasumori. Also psgels watch Planetes(from Greek it translates to wanderers). It really is good series that for me is at same level as Cowboy Bebop.

  11. Dan says:

    “Fighting-series should NEVER play with hidden powers, and yet every single one seems to have them.”
    I think that statement’s a little too broad for its own good. After all, in probably some of the best fight scenes the genre has known, unexpected powers bring in the suspenseful possibility that things may not go as we had all predicted.
    I agree with you that the final few episodes were not as exciting as they could’ve been. I think that’s more a result of the fact that the show was ending, and the focus ultimately had to return to the characters that are important.
    It was definitely a great journey, and I’m hoping for a sequel in the not-too-distant future.

  12. Ghost~ says:

    What are you talking about? Kekkaishi is not in any way shape or form, a good series. It’s just your ordinary generic shounen/fighting series. When I look at it, the first thing that always crosses my mind is that it’s essentially Inuyasha for little kids. The plot doesn’t make any sense, I mean, if the mage who was trying to protect the lord (who had for god knows why, unimaginable power that demons wanted)fell ill and couldn’t protect the lord any more and then suddenly woke up to everybody in the castle, including the lord, to be dead, it’s obvious that the demons killed them, so why didn’t the demons drain the lords power when they had the chance? Instead the body of the lord stayed there, got buried, had a school built over him, which became sacred land? Why didn’t they just take the body of the lord, and put it in more capable hands, like those shadow clan assholes or something. It’s obvious that the body of the lord is the only reason that the school grounds are sacred, the only reason demons are drawn to it, the only reason that the kekkaishi have to do what they do instead of leading normal lives, and the only reason that the main character came across his stupid resolution, to protect Tokine so that she never gets hurt again? You’re both in a line of work where you have to fight demons, you’re both going to get hurt at some point or another, it’s unavoidable. The characters are badly drawn, they use the same played out shounen humor that everybody else has used a hundred times already, powers are poping out of nowhere like, “hey I’m a ghost and I don’t want to go with you” hey look, a convenient spirit rope that can hold ghosts out of fucking nowhere. At least in something like Inuyasha they had some trial they had to go through before gaining a new power, although, also too convenient, at least they weren’t, again, out of fucking nowhere. Along with that, the main character is extremely stupid. Ten years of being and learning Kekkaishi ways and he’s still as piss poor as he was when he was a kid. Tokine was far beyond the level he’s at at age fourteen when she was still six. Overall I’d have to say that it’s a generic, bad, and just flat out nonsense series that I wouldn’t recommend to anyone, I’d sooner recommend Bakugan because they’re at least not trying to be good when they’re clearly not. 86 thumbs down for Kekkaishi and any weeaboo who thinks it’s a good series.

  13. Roldan says:

    The only weeaboo here are you, Ghost. You wrote a goddamn wall of text. Who does that nowadays?

    Your complains comes down to this “waah waah why? waah waah why? i’m stupid”. Kekkaishi isn’t by no means a 90+ series but it has some really great qualitys and it’s certainly not generic (ok a slight but aren’t most anime a bit generic?).

  14. Tanz says:

    I just learned of this series, watched it, and finished the manga. It’s amazing. Not perfect, but amazing. I found the dynamics of the main cast to be wonderfully played. It did fall off at the end and became mediocre in the end but Kekkaishi had those priceless moments that elevated the whole series.

    I’m aware that some of its premise is generic but I thought the art is very fitting and great. It’s simple and normal. I love Yoshimori’s simple design.

    And man, I love the humor. I found that to be one of the greatest points in Kekkaishi. I don’t honestly understand how people could find this to be a rubbish series. Obviously it’s flawed, but you need to at least notice that it has its moments that were done masterfully.

    I don’t agree at all with the comments Ghost~ made. The illogical aspects he found were completely explained and there’s nothing stupid at all for a person to never want to see the person they love to get hurt. Yoshimori’s simplicity and ordinariness is what makes him a very appealing shounen main character.

  15. xxyy Jiban says:

    I am really fan of Kekkaishi, almost 6 years then I rewatched it.. then I asked sunrise company if they continue http://www.sunrise-inc.co.jp/contact/work.html here where you can ask them for a sequel

Leave a Reply

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • k-off
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 03:42 AM)
    @Aidan People care about the product itself, but not about anything else related to it, like the quality or the uncertain development cycle. If they did, they wouldn’t put their money down. They’re initially so blinded by nostalgia that they don’t care either way about the rocky development cycle.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 03:41 AM)
    @K-off, I haven’t touched a VN in a while myself. If you don’t count DanganRonpa.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 03:38 AM)
    @K-off, That’s not it. When people put their money into something they really do give a crap. To some Kickstarter is like a game and they like interacting with other backers and see the number go up. Others truly want the product. The problem I say is that most the hype burns out by the time the product actually releases.
  • k-off
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 03:36 AM)
    @Aidan But on the topic of VNs what are some newer ones that you recommend? I haven’t touched a VN since my first experience left a bad taste in my mouth.
  • k-off
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 03:30 AM)
    @Aidan That’s the problem, as I’ve said, too much of Kickstarter is about churning out giant mounds of decent but undifferentiated products to be bought for pennies by people who don’t give a crap either way.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 03:28 AM)
    On matter of Kickstarter I feel like Square is pulling an Inafune with FF15 with all these animes and movies before the games even out. They are trying to milk something that hasn’t even been established as good yet.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 03:27 AM)
    Kickstarter is somewhat to blame for the uprising of just doing what was done before as nostalgia is the easiest method to net cash there. Otherwise it’s not so much a lack of creativity but rather putting out a safe cash grab with an established fanbase instead of a new IP.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 03:23 AM)
    Speaking of which, Treasure. Where the fuck is that port of radiant slivergun and new game you promised for steam?
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 03:22 AM)
    I have no problems with the Japanese putting ports to steam of old games as it means I have a means to play what I normally couldn’t. Even if the port is shit, a modder usualy comes along and fixes it. Then again my laptop can even run a shitty port well. After all I finished Arkham knight on PC with just one crash and a few moments of slowdown while moving at high speed.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 03:20 AM)
    Hell the last of us got a ps4 remaster only one year after it’s first release.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress – 03

                There are no brakes on the Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress train even when it goes for a pit stop to pick up some water and say a prayer for the dead. While my fellow writers firmly believe that Koutetsujou no Kabaneri will disintegrate into a trainwreck […]

Bungou Stray Dogs – 04

Bungou Stray Dogs sure never get tired to showcase more new characters every week, and judging from the OP I’m certain that there are more to come. This week there are 3 more new faces and each of them is over the top in their own ways, but that turns out to be for good […]

Joker Game – 04

I am starting to get a little worried about Joker Game. After a very strong start it’s gone down in quality once it revealed it’s episodic format. This episode marks the lowest point of the series so far though I still don’t think of it as bad. Rather than focus on a member of the […]

Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World – 04

Despite nearly dying our protagonist wakes up out of the loop and now in the mansion of a strange clown like fellow with twin maids. The mansion looks to be Emilia’s home and we not look to be in a new time loop as evidenced by the last scene where it appears that Subaru was […]

Kiznaiver – 03

So this episode was an introduction to our new seventh Kiznaiver who looks to be a roguish shut in with a pendent for self harm. Adding a masochist to a group that shares pain is certainly a dilemma but I wonder just how they plan to make use of him in the plot. Considering that […]

Flying witch – 03

Flying witch has another solid episode this week. Flying week’s formula seems to be half of Makoto the witch getting to know an everyday country life, and other half of Makoto’s witchcrafts and meeting people from that magic world. All of these stories take place mostly in a single location as well, this time are […]

Mayoiga – 04

It’s until this week that I just noticed the rather strange part of the OP of Mayoiga, the sequence was shown in the point of view of Masaki. It starts with her, then introducing the cast and finally ends with her standing alone in the lost village. But when I think about that, only in […]

Bungou Stray Dogs – 03

This week Bungou Stray Dogs had improved a lot over its last episode, probably because the main storyline has kicked in. Look, I’m always in favor for character developments more than plot development, and one of my favorite character development is through the small character moments when the cast interacts with each other. That’s why […]

Joker Game – 03

I was going to make this a full announcement but seeing as most of it is already known I might as well include it here. I now have full admin rights to the site which means that I now pretty much run the place officially. I managed to get in contact with psgels with the […]

Latest Reviews

Schwarzesmarken – 65/100

Schwarzesmarken is a strange title in that it has a setting with fantastic potential yet the story is dampened by a rushed pacing and Missing characterisation. Despite this there are signs of a greater story under the hood and at times that story can shine despite haphazard adaption. The Stasi make for a great villain […]

Boku dake ga Inai Machi – 85/100

In the large reservoir of anime it is surprising just how few titles focus on the concept of time travel. There are of course titles which feature time travel but few that make it the core focus. So here we have Boku Machi or ERASED, a tale about a mangaka time traveling to his childhood […]

Gangsta. – 58/100

Gangsta is an anime with a lot of things going for it. A mature cast, gritty themes, a interesting setting and a trio of main characters who can carry the show. However due to a number of factors it never quite reached its potential. The main trio of characters are unconventional and quite interesting with […]

Gakkou Gurashi! – 80/100

Gakkou is one with a good facade as promotional material would have you believe it was some dime a dozen moe slice of life. I was one who wasn’t fooled by the cute cuddly exterior but I was truly surprised with just how good this anime ended up being. Gakkou is one of those rare […]

Little Witch Academia The Enchanted Parade – 81/100

I wonder when it was that a film being childish became a flaw. As a medium grows it takes steps to aim to mature itself and seek a more intellectual level of presenting entertainment. Animation did it as Anime aimed to explore terrontry that cartoons refuse to explore and video games only recently broke away […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks Review – 85/100

For a long time now this adaption has been the dreams of many a Fate fan with many believing it would never come to pass, but now that it is here is it everything that we dreamed? Short answer to this is no, long answer is nearly. I feel this show will have many divided […]

Shirobako Review – 80/100

When you see a harem anime and sigh as the breasts of the female lead jiggle with every step and wind that can flip a skirt it’s easy to forget that somewhere in Japan a group of people worked hard to get that jiggle right and draw each frame of animation. The hardships of the […]

Clipboard06

Nerawareta Gakuen Review – 84/100

Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series […]

Clipboard03

Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]