Posted by psgels on 30 December 2013 with categories: Anime Reviews, Kyousogiga


Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s a wonderful thing because that allows us to have so many different forms of media that all aim toward their own niche. My blog is obviously written from the perspective of my own taste, and even when a show doesn’t cater to it (which is nearly always), I love getting worked up a bit about what if the show did get everything right. That’s why there is no one “best series” out there.

A show that I really didn’t have anything to say against, that really seemed to cater exactly to someone with my tastes, is Kyousogiga. Seriously, to me, that show was perfect and it hit every right note.

This series is really well made: the animation is consistently good, with very few moments of weaknesses. The series looks really good, but that can be said for a lot of series this season. What the animators also did however, was that they made the faces of the characters incredibly expressive, more than any other show that aired alongside it. The variety is great, and the camera always knows how to capture them in the most genuine ways. The way in which they’re able to keep this up for more than 10 episodes shows that this was a series made with a lot of passion.

This is a series that’s deeply rooted in Buddhist themes: not only are there many monks in the series, but also many characters from Buddhist folklore make cameos, the whole world this is based on has many winks here and there to the religion (although Shinto also has its noticeable roots here), combined with plenty of ideas of its own. This all combined leads to a very detailed and imaginative setting that is perfect for a short and whimsical series that can be enjoyed by all ages.

One complaint I’ve hear a lot is that the big conflict of the series isn’t really that big, but that’s something I actually liked a lot. To be vague for the sake of spoilers, Kyousogiga is about the inner turmoil of a family of characters with world-changing powers. The latter may seem serious, but the end resolution is much less dramatic than what you might expect. And I loved that! It’s got plenty of conflict, but for once it isn’t all gloomy. There is really no villain whatsoever, nor anyone who even remotely looks like the stereotypical evil villain who is out there to destroy the world for some superficial reason, even though this might appear to be the case at times. The entire series however is focused on the characters: them coming to terms with their identities and the ones around them. It’s one of the few series that in the end, manages to be epic while keeping the focus on the characters and their issues, without taking any cheap writing-tricks to simplify things near the end. It’s got plenty of touching moment, its just not as grand as what it was made out to be.

I was a long-time fan of this series, so obviously I’m biased. The creators actually managed to incorporate the OVAs into the series and integrated them seamlessly, so you do not need to watch anything before starting the TV-series, aside from episode 05 of the second OVA, and even that isn’t really necessary. This series makes use of vague storytelling: not everything is told or stated explicitly, but you’re also expected to think a bit for yourself and piece things together, and it does that in an intelligent way, rather than what you usually see where the creators obviously ran out of time (this series is also perfectly paced, not too slow nor too fast).

If you want to know whether this series is for you or not, ask yourself the question of what you want to watch. If the answer comes close to a series which excels at bringing animation, music, story, characters, setting, and all together flawlessly, then by all means give this a chance. If you’re looking for complexity or grandeur, or something mundane though, then there are better choices.
One-Sentence Review: Lots of love and passion
Suggestions:
Mahou Shoujotai
Strange Dawn
Ooedo Rocket

8 Responses

  1. dango says:

    I agree with this review 100%, favorite series of this season.

  2. Hogart says:

    Kyousougiga is definitely a nice little anime that will impress certain viewers more than others, but is worth almost everyone’s time (it’s only 10 episodes after all).

    At the end of the day it’s a good take on some classic staples that anime rarely executes well to begin with, and at least it doesn’t blow its wad on another needlessly overwrought story, only really doing what it sets out to do (more or less).

    I’d say the execution is just a bit overwrought, or perhaps they couldn’t get 12 episodes of time and had to cut it down to 10, thus making the middle bits a bit choppy in places and potentially deflating the ending a tad for viewers liking their drama a bit punchier (not that I remember it ever being downright bad).

    It’s at least solidly entertaining and comes much closer to timelessness than usual, and it feels like a breath of fresh air compared to most of what’s aired this year, so I’d say it’s earned its fanbase.

  3. Petit Orenji says:

    The setting and graphics definitely made the watch worthwhile. I wonder if you really like semi-superflat graphics, since the shows you’ve donned higher scores to are often those with interesting shading techniques. Studio 4˚C must be a close favorite of yours.

    I have no problem with subtle conflict development and resolutions, but the conflict and the solving of it in the series was just unclear. When it’s more ambiguous than not, viewers will usually respond with “what are these characters doing, why are they feeling what they’re feeling, and why should we care?”

    Out of pure curiosity, if you had not had a long history with this story and its characters, would you still have rated it as high?

  4. ShadowMoon says:

    In my case the problem was exactly how mundane both characters and storytelling ended up towards the end, falling short compared to the creative and emotional setting. It kinda feels like the creators lacked something to finish what they started in such a high note. Still, one of the best rides of the year.

  5. Cytl says:

    I liked all three deliveries of Kyousogiga but my favorite was, by far, the 2012 OVA set, where not everything was explained yet we could get inside the characters. It felt much more stimulant.

  6. witchy says:

    I love the ending and overall. I plan to re-watch it with a different subber though because somebody told me everything is more understandable with another subber.

  7. Spike says:

    I never watched the ovas and I thought the show was great. It was confusing but in a good way… if that makes sense. It kept me intrigued as opposed to frustrated is the best way to put it. Controlled chaos makes for a fun watch.

  8. ModeX says:

    you need to add another entry for best music, because the new kill la kill ost is so orgasmic!

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  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 01:23 PM)
    The voice of the main character got kind of annoying though, the dub wasn’t all that good either.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 01:22 PM)
    This was based on/was a homage to a series by the Gigantor creator and having grown up with gigantors 90s reboot this felt like a nice throwback, plot is fairly simple but used effectively. It’s a shame that it feels like there was more to tell but at seven episodes I suppose it avoids outstaying its welcome.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 01:20 PM)
    Decided to marathon Giant Robo, I think this was mentioned by someone on here before. I guess it was fairly entertaining, great action direction, looked good for its time, you don’t notice the hour long episodes go by, adequate characters, nice retro artstyle also, not sure if I got excited over this as big O and Mazinger however but still fun enough nonetheless.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 07:10 AM)
    Seeing Hoffman in before the devil knows your dead and his character being dependent on drugs, that was another thing that hit me a bit knowing the circumstances of his death. Watching most wanted man I could also see that he was wearing out physically.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 07:00 AM)
    This is not Anno bitching about otakus jacking off to his characters and turning around and selling Rei panties, this isn’t the idiots at Shaft throwing around meaningless camera angles and the oh-so-symbolic teeth brushing scenes, this is a human being looking you in the eye with fear and telling you that he’s dying; morbid, honest, moving and remarkable.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:55 AM)
    Given my rants regarding Birdman it should be clear that I’m a sucker for these rare instances where the line between movie and reality get blurred- when an actor looks at a camera and just bares their heart out. This is the realism that reality tv tried but could never capture. this is art in one of its most sincere forms.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:50 AM)
    Oh yeah Hoffman was a massive talent and a beloved actor, so I don’t take it lightly when I call Synecdoche his greatest role ever. Given his death and knowing the circumstances of his life at the time imbues this performance with a chilling sincerity that just breaks your heart and leaves you in awe.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:42 AM)
    Oh Andrew Niccol, oh how the mighty have fallen.
    Hoffman showed up in Capote and most wanted man, the latter which I especially love and there need to be more thrillers of that vein coming out.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:37 AM)
    It’s funny how they also each have a Nicolas Cage movie. Kaufman has Adaptation and Niccol has Lord of War. Although despite the usual Cage antics neither of those movies is really that bad.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:33 AM)
    Eternal Sunshine and The Truman Show are the two roles where Jim Carrey really demonstrated his acting chops well outside of his usual comfort zone. But Kaufman moved forward from Sunshine with the superior Synecdoche, while Andrew Niccol went from doing Truman Show and Gattaca to doing young adult garbage like The Host *wretches*

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