Posted by psgels on 27 December 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews

Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon is… weird. I mean, Kimi to Boku was annoying, but that was part of the reason why it worked. Most of Horizon’s flaws are completely pointless. For starters, this is directed by Manabu Ono. This guy has found himself a trademark. A very annoying trademark that involves pasting enormous boobs on his characters.

The result is a show with character designs who are indeed very varied and inspired, but look absolutely abysmal. The enormous hair of the characters looks like this series is still stuck ten years ago. Because of this, even though this show has a large budget, there is hardly any room for eye candy at all.

To continue: the great thing about the characters in Horizon is their diversity: it’s chock full of colourful characters of all kinds of ages, shapes and forms. And yet the main character is an incredible pervert who considers groping boobs a greeting. The fanservice in this show is so completely out of place and gets thrown so often into otherwise serious scenes that it’s not even funny.

Overall, this is a show that thrives on chaos: it tries to put an immense amount of content into just 13 episodes. The result is a massive cast of characters, a huge setting, and very fast-paced dialogue that have their good points and their bad points. The good points about the characters are that when they want to, they can deliver some interesting chemistry. Alone they’re cliches, but together their relationships become quite unique. The bad points re the aforementioned fanservice, and the huge amount of underdeveloped ones. It unfortunately… doesn’t really mask that.

Then there is the storytelling: the setting in this series is full of ideas. every single character has this really weird and unique power that he or she uses to fight. The good thing about this is the imagination that went into it. The bad thing is that all of the battles in this series make no sense. It feels like the animation staff at times just doesn’t know what they’re animating. The battles furthermore completely create pull their own rules from out of their ass, depending on what is most convenient for the plot, and this changes with every battle. This is a show that on one hand forces its viewers to think and pay attention, but on the other hand it demands a ton of suspense of disbelief and expects the viewers to not really think about the logic behind each battle. That doesn’t really match here!

Above all though: Horizon wants to tell a story, no matter how crazy and incoherent. The ideas in this series are like a blast from a shotgun shell: some hit, while others completely miss the target. There is one thing I cannot fault this series for, and that’s for being generic. Compare that to Koukaku no Regios, which at first started out with a similar setting. only to refuse to focus on it. Horizon refuses to not focus on its setting. It definitely needed to be more refined, and the story desperately lacks some kind of editor. But it is a great trainwreck to watch.

Storytelling: 8/10 – This show is a complete chaos. It’s well written, but also lacks direction at times.
Characters: 8/10 – Huge and diverse cast of characters, with some characters who work, others who don’t, or characters who do work, but make it really hard to actually be likable (the male lead for one)
Production-Values: 7/10 – This show has a large budget. So why go for these abysmal character designs that make any possible form of eye candy impossible?
Setting: 9/10 – Really diverse, full of ideas, tries to put as much into its setting as possible.

Suggestions:
Overman King Gainer
Turn A Gundam
Baccano!

13 Responses

  1. Avatar Firechick says:

    Did you know there’s gonna be a second season of this?

  2. Avatar Fog says:

    “This guy has found himself a trademark. A very annoying trademark that involves pasting enormous boobs on his characters”

    The characters have ‘enormous boobs’ in the LN too (>novel illustrations). Even if you find it annoying, it’s pretty faithful ;)

  3. Avatar Cytl says:

    This series is specially dependent of personal opinions, as it’s hard to see it as a whole, so it’s normal for some people to love it, for some people to hate it and for some people to think it’s ok. Personally I didn’t find bothersome the character designs (the only part you could hate about them are the big boobs and it seems like nitpicking). I loved how everything was so conceptual (a spear that cuts names, a technique that requires you to be a happy idiot, a barrier that makes your relive your traumas). I never understood why people say the story is hard to understand, both the setting and the plot are quite basic. The second season seems to be a 2-cour so let’s hope things go well.

    • Avatar Ofx360 says:

      “…so it’s normal for some people to love it, for some people to hate it and for some people to think it’s ok.”

      lmfao! No shit, huh?

      • Avatar Cytl says:

        It’s not like it’s normal for people to love Maken-ki and hate MPD and UN-GO; if that helps to explain my idea a little better.

        • Avatar Ofx360 says:

          No, it didn’t :P

          But i enjoyed Maken-ki more than Un-Go (i don’t know what MPD is). I thought Maken-ki executed on its idea and world better than Un-Go did.

          I never quite understood what was kosher in the world of Un-Go. Things just kinda happened. Like that fight at the end…what? They’re able to do that?

    • Avatar hikari says:

      Well, it’s just mean that apparently many anime-otaku in japan happen to love Horizon, It’s still an ok&enjoyable series if you can pass off all the cliches&fanservices in this series. Beside, it’s not that surprising anyway since this series along with Working!!, P4 & F/Z are already considered as the Top 4 Blockbuster titles of this fall season since the beginning if you pay attention to the amazon stalker list.

  4. Avatar Marilis says:

    Aside from the fact that this score is way too generous and makes me question the entire rating system, I also think it is very weird to see you’re reviewing this “season” of an obviously incomplete and ongoing story, but in the case of stuff like Gundam 00 you only wrote the review after all 50 episodes.

    Why the change? I don’t get it.

    • psgels psgels says:

      Actually, I did write a review for both seasons of Gundam 00. There was a time though, in which I indeed waited for a franchise to be fully finished, in the first year in which I worte this blog. I abandoned it because it was a nightmare to keep up: series that seemed to end suddenly got a sequel announced, series with announced sequels suddenly cancelled those, and series suddenly started delaying their ending episodes by months.

      So for the sake of consistency, I review every series separately.

    • Avatar Ofx360 says:

      @psgels, keep doing what you’re doing, i enjoy it.

  5. Avatar dm00 says:

    I came to this show late in the game — I missed it completely while it was airing, but enough people I trust said enough positive about it that I thought I should check it out.

    I’m glad I did. I have a high tolerance for chaos, especially chaos that contains evidence of creativity beneath it. Horizon is that, in spades.

    I’m going to differ with you on the character designs — aside from the flotation devices so many of the women wear on their chests, the character designs appealed to me. The animation was excellent, the battles chaotic but thrilling. I think one of the high points for me came in the middle of the series, where pairs of characters were having ritualized duels. The debate between Tori and Honda was delightful; the “duel” between the other Honda and Kimi Tori — between a warrior and a courtesan — was a delightful twist. The crazy powers all evidenced an internal logic. Take for example the weapon Severing Dragonfly can bind anything its blade reflects, leading to some fantastically clever ways to avoid being caught by it.

    I think this is a series that will only grow with each viewing, as you learn to process what you’re seeing and hearing.

    Because I waited until the entire show was out, I was able to watch it in large chunks of several episodes at a time — indeed, it was hard to stop watching, I felt a strong pull to keep going as each episode ended. I suspect that’s a better way to see it than weekly sips, either because it gives you less time to forget, or less time to reflect (and therefore spot all the flaws). Maybe the show is genius, maybe it’s just great at bullshit. Either one works for an entertainment medium like anime.

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