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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  • Bam
    (Friday, Nov 21. 2014 11:09 AM)
    @ninja: I certainly hope that they got better shit to do.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Nov 21. 2014 11:08 AM)
    @Emma: I agree. I also had no clue that it was a Shoujo, tines have certainly changed. I enjoy me a Ray Mustang type of character every once in a while.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Nov 21. 2014 08:52 AM)
    @Bam: Furthermore watching these ovas , its like being twelve again =P
  • Emma
    (Friday, Nov 21. 2014 08:49 AM)
    @Bam: Of interest twilight of the dark master is considered shoujo and its such a shame that the demographic has gone to for most part shit since the old days.
  • ninjarealist
    (Friday, Nov 21. 2014 08:48 AM)
    @Bam All this talk about drugs being bad is for the benefit of my personal NSA monitor. I just want them to know I’m right with the DEA. The NSA is reading everything we type so it’s nice to give them some fanservice when you can.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Nov 21. 2014 08:48 AM)
    @Bam: And would you believe Akiyuki shinbou directed this? It was interesting enough to trace back to his early work/beginning of his directing style and compare it to now.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Nov 21. 2014 08:46 AM)
    @Bam: I just finished twilight of the dark master, enjoyable nonsense. What I liked about these old ovas is that you don’t really end up caring about the why, you get a bit of fun violence, an artstyle you just don’t see enough of anymore, the plots are simple, quick, entertaining and digestable.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Nov 21. 2014 08:31 AM)
    @Emma: easier said than done. The results of a mixture are often strangely unpredictable and quite overwhelming
  • Bam
    (Friday, Nov 21. 2014 08:21 AM)
    @ninja: a bit of an over-generalization don’t you think m8?
  • Emma
    (Friday, Nov 21. 2014 07:53 AM)
    @Friend: And speaking of scenes from a marriage, I really do wish that anime could, like some films like that, focus on a mature couple.

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