Posted by Lenlo on 12 April 2018 with categories: Anime Reviews, Kokkoku

There are lots of bad anime out there, for one reason or another. Whether it be stilted animation, terrible writing or bad direction, a good portion of each season is simply not worth it. Kokkoku is not a bad anime. It is something much worse. Kokkoku is a mediocre anime. Bad ones get talked about, jokes pop up, they become lessons on what not to do in the future. Mediocre anime however simply get forgotten. Kokkoku, for all the promise it started with, will not be a cult classic. It won’t get sub-standard fan-fiction or people arguing on whether its amazing or terrible. No, the best it will get is a review on a couple random blogs that few people will ever read.

Lets jump in!

Animation/Art

First off, animation. In the simplest of terms, Kokkoku is average. The only bad thing I can truly say about its art and animation is the color palette is less than inspired. Every scene comes off looking muted, with only the spirits really popping and drawing attention to themselves. This leads to a lot of scenes just being boring to look at. Palette aside however, Kokkoku never looks bad. Characters are generally on model and the backgrounds are consistent in style so that the characters don’t seem out of place on screen.  Kokkoku also manages the impressive feat of consistent lighting. Kokkoku really try’s to sell that “same day” feel of stopped time and for the most part succeeds.

As far as the CGI goes, its hit or miss on a scene by scene basis. The CGI used for broken glass or materials/objects floating in the air, suspended in time does its job. Most of the Handlers also fit, being just otherworldly enough that the CGI doesn’t ruin them. The issues however comes when they start to move. Handlers in motion, to be frank, do not look good. They are jerky and clumsy and in general need more polish. This wasn’t an issue until the end of the series when they start to feature more prominently, but in the last few episodes you really start to notice.

Direction

Next up we have Direction. Kokkoku does well in this category. The use of stopped time in multiple shots and the consistency of floating objects is great. That moment when you return to a scene at the temple and still see the water from the well floating there, giving away that our heroes visited it? Just perfect. Overall Kokkoku does a good job with its direction. The only gripe I really have in this area is the comedy. It turns series moments/scenes into complete jokes, undercutting the tension. This is a problem Mahoutsukai had as well this season. I understand the desire to deflate the tension between scenes. A good story is a roller coaster, giving the audience time to decompress. Kokkoku however clearly put very little thought into the comedy. Why not have our characters forget time is stopped and run into something or take a bite of a sandwich without their hands, instead of random gags.

Story

For the story, Kokkoku starts interesting, flags in the middle, shoots up in the finale and then crashes and burns in the last 5 minutes. It starts as a dramatic kidnapping/terrorist situation in stopped time, turns into a super powered battle series and ends on a Deus ex Machina to avoid a sad ending. For a moment I was willing to forgive Kokkoku its faults in story, as leaving Juri trapped in this single frame of time would have been fantastically tragic. Instead Kokkoku chooses have her meet the creator of the stones, a veritable God, and get freed that way. If she had to be free, why not have her learn to free herself and come back 20 years older? At Least that would have consequences. Instead we, the audience, are disrespected and fed this random pulled from nowhere contrivance. Kokkoku found a good ending for an otherwise unremarkable all over the place plot, and then refused to commit to it. Disappointing.

Characters

In terms of characters, there are lots of good ideas here. The disjointed family, the cult leader, the random hired thugs. All are good ideas. I loved the early interplay and depictions of Juri’s family, they really nailed the “down and out” feel. Once the actual plot started rolling in however, their actual character seemed to get left behind. Sagawa went from an interesting villain to a super powered monster with a sympathetic backstory. Juri’s father was a bum turned comedic sociopath. It felt like the characters did as the plot demanded, rather than the plot developing based on the characters.

Conclusion

All in all, Kokkoku was a promising series that fell off the wagon. It abandoned its mystery and went for super powers. The sad part is that there is not singular moment that really makes it worth it. The fact that it took me this long to write a review should tell you all about how interesting Kokkoku was, as I had trouble just finding things to write about. Every emotion is muted, just like the color pallet. Compared to other time based epics like Steins;Gate, or more recently the contentious Erased, Kokkoku fails to do or add anything to the conversation. Kokkoku is, in a word, mediocre.

Final Decision: Dont Bother

10 Responses

  1. Avatar SuperWooper says:

    That first paragraph was kind of chilling.

  2. Avatar jf142 says:

    Just for its catchy opening the show shouldn’t get such a low rating. I actually liked Kokkoku and was waiting for a new episodes every week.

    While this show – as any show – can be criticized on various points, this verdict and rating sound pretty harsh. Makes me question the standards you are basing the points on.

  3. Avatar crim says:

    In terms of art, animation, and direction wise I think it didn’t stand out but was rock solid. Not a bad think.
    I liked the OP.
    The plot was quite interesting at first, then it went downhill the superpower route. What the hell?
    And characters were ok at first but then they seemed like robots to me.
    I would give it a 5.5 out of 10. Certainly not garbage, but dissapointing.

  4. Avatar KTravlos says:

    I think I have a very view of mediocre compared to you Lenlo. That is ok, views can differ. For me mediocre is a show that is in generally ok/watchable, and indeed has some good moments, but is not exceptional in any way. I might very well remember it time to go. Indeed I tend to forget what I consider bad shows, but that is simply because I stop watching most bad shows after 2-3 episodes. Anyway I have yet to finish Kokkoku, but I have a feeling it will meet my definition of bad show. We will see.

  5. Avatar Lenlo says:

    The OP was great, I will admit. But I cant judge an entire show on an OP

  6. Avatar Lenlo says:

    I can understand the apprehension with my score. I really can. My argument for it is simple though. I can still remember The Reflection or Touken Ranbu from a few seasons ago

    They had issues but I could remember them. Kokokku? I could barely remember/care about while it was airing. I’d rather watch a bad, memorable dumpster fire than a forgetful disappointment. But that’s just me.

  7. Avatar Mike says:

    Kokkoku looked very promising but unfortunately fell flat. Despite that, I still enjoyed it.

    • Avatar Lenlo says:

      Nothin wrong with that. I admit I enjoyed parts of it, the beginning was brilliantly setup. It just seemed to lose focus about halfway through to me.

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