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
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 10:44 AM)
    In a world where Urotsukidoji gets 3 series of OVAs there is nothing you want to make that is too risqué or edgy that nobody would want to pick up. I get a small startup trying to push their fist film out, but most big Kickstarters are ran by bigname talents that already have a string of hits on their resume. C’mon, just have some faith in your work, it’s just crazy to ask for money upfront.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 10:37 AM)
    SuperMario: I assume you mean Charlie Kaufman’s new film, in which case he already did pretty much whatever he wanted. Have you seen Synecdoche, New York and Adaptation? Now I’m a big ran of the man, but this creative control card gets a bit overplayed. The Under the Dog producers claim the same thing, but looking at their trailer it doesn’t look like anything that Japanese studios don’t already greenlight.
  • SuperMario
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 09:01 AM)
    for me though, I only pay for projects that I’m certain to watch (and have to pay for it eventually), so I don’t see the point not to “helping” them out. It’s all the same for me.
  • SuperMario
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:58 AM)
    @Bam I think the core concept is 1) with Kickstarter, many projects that otherwise never could have made is get supported here and 2) creators have more artistic control over their project. Take Amonalisa for example, big studios was very hesitate to fund the film, because of the commercial failure of his first film, but he insisted to get crowdfund and we have one of the more creative animation output last year.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:53 AM)
    A lot of the tech stuff is things you will never use twice; like a smartphone microscope attachment. they’re usually pretty shifty with it too. Yeah I’m sure it takes the price of a house to make a video series about sexism in videogames- right? And it takes almost a million dollars to make a 4 level indie game with three guys- seems legit. Must be pretty nice to basically do business with zero chance of failure.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:47 AM)
    I just don’t get the core concept of why I should pay for someone else’s business endeavors? They’re going to reap the benefits, they usually have money, let them pay for it. I get it if it’s research, or some strange art project for the sake of the art, but movies, games and anime that are going to get a commercial release? I swear people are so easily bamboozled.
  • SuperMario
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:21 AM)
    @Kaiser:I have been supporting Kickstarter for a while, but not for games or movies, but for animation projects. I think it’s worth it. But like Bam, Aiden and K-Off said, sometimes it gets a bit muddy. For movies for example there are a lot of projects that was just ideas… and ideas alone are not enough.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:08 AM)
    Ah but that would frustrate me in muv-luv, I’d be the one suffering as a result of having to wait for the characters suffering to start.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:06 AM)
    I’ve heard kickstarter being used for crowdfunding indie films, honestly as a film buff I really should get on that and start supporting.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 07:41 AM)
    I generally don’t pre-order unless its a gift for someone else, so I can guarantee for 100% sure I can get it for them and it won’t sell out.

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