Monday, April 28, 2014

Kyousougiga Final Thoughts--Third Time's the Charm!

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If you were waiting for the definitive version of the craziness that is Kyousougiga, this is it.

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Following Kyousougiga from it's first release has been an interesting experience, like watching the animated version of a writer's room going through several edits based around a core story idea. It started out as a visually interesting but overall confusing mess, then filled in some background detail, and finally the full-length 12 episode version hit all of the right notes in story, characterization, and animation. It pulled together the loose strings from the other releases to make something truly beautiful and heartwarming.

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The story loosely follows Koto, a girl with a strange shapeshifting weapon who is searching for her mother. I say "loosely" because I was only aware that she was supposed to be the main character due to watching the other versions; the lion's share of the spotlight and story development goes to Myoue and his two siblings, who are still reeling from the being abandoned by their parents in a world that was supposed to be the family's personal paradise. The "Alice in Wonderland" focus that was promised from the initial release is now a distant motif in favor of focusing on the theme of family. Even with the heavy supernatural bent of the plot, the themes explores through the family members are very relatable despite most of them not even being human.

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Most of the show deals with their relationship to each other, particularly focusing on Myoue. His character has a bit more baggage to deal with than the rest, to the point that I was convinced that the show belonged to him more than it did to Koto, despite her being the catalyst that moves the story forward. While it was amazing to see what was kept and what was changed from the two previous versions I've seen, there are still rough parts to the story that don't make a lot of sense. Some scenes felt like they were kept because they had amazing animation associated with them, not because it made sense alongside the plot (ex: the giant robot fight). Additionally, a lot of plot points end up resolving themselves with no real input from any of the characters in the final few episodes, making some things feel rushed and pointless. We're even treated to a long infodump with a scrolling animation reel in the second to last episode.

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But despite the rockiness, the heart of the work really shines through. This is an amazing creative endeavor to come out of Toei, showing that they have an incredibly imaginative team on hand that can still put out great original work. I'm glad to see Kyousougiga grow beyond just being "that confusing OVA with the cool animation" into something the lives up to all of the potential it showed in that first random installment. I highly recommended watching it, since it is a must-see show for fans of animation and good storytelling.

Images from Crunchyroll.com.

9 comments:

  1. Kyousougiga was arty, beautiful and meaningful all at once. :D

    Do you have any other final impressions lined up for release? I'd like reading your opinions of series like Gargantia and Noragami in the near future.

    Re Winter series: I've heard plenty of praises for Captain Earth, and it seems pretty OK so far. Nobunaga the Fool still remains highly enjoyable for me for its tarot themes and tarot card art, although I know plenty of bloggers dropped it due to iits increasing over the topness. Have you watched either of them so far?

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  2. Yes, it was fantastic. I'm really glad that the full, final story was so great.


    I've got Gargantia sitting in my drafts, and I'm hoping to get that one done once school clears up. Noragami is first on the to-watch list once that happens as well. I'm thinking of doing some kind of backlog posts over the summer as I work my way through stuff I missed.


    I haven't seen Captain Earth either, but I do remember reading something on Twitter about it getting weird and people dropping it? I'm not sure.

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  3. Captain Earth's just started, plus it's going to be for 26 episodes. Probably best to wait for half the season to air to get a better idea of what the show will be like.

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  4. Yeah, depending on what I hear about it I may watch it over the summer.

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  5. yeah.. so many mysteries remain :o

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  6. Kyousougiga sounds like something I should check out. I have seen it on a lot of Top 10 of the year lists. Also, the animation looks fantastic!



    -James

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  7. You really should! It's a great explosion of creative energy.

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