Sooooo fucking close to being one of those all-time great series. So close. No cigar, but so close. One tentacle short of a truly epic hentai, so to speak.
No, Beyond the Boundary (or Kyoukai no Kanata as it is known in its mother language) is not pr0n. Far from it. It is an anime based on some light novels (what isn't these days) about spirit hunters and the spirits that they hunt. Every character is likeable (even the douchy bad guys whom you're supposed to love/hate), the animation quality is in the "A+" zone of excellence, and the plot is fun, deep, disturbing at times, and all around very entertaining... But that ending. Goddammit, Japan! Learn from others' mistakes!
Okay, so Beyond the Boundary takes place in Nagatsuki City (aka "Typical Japan Town That Is Not Tokyo"), and things start off with blonde-haired high school junior Akihito Kanbara trying to stop a cute co-ed from throwing herself off the school's roof. Only this was never her intention, and the petite glasses-wearing girl instead jumps away from the building's edge, forms a giant sword from her own blood, and proceeds to stab the megane-freak Akihito through the heart.
Akihito lives through this attack though because he is half Dreamshade (Dreamshades are what the spirit-demons are called in this tale). Mirai Kuriyama, the cute girl who gutted Akihito like a guppy, turns out to be a Dreamshade hunter from an ancient and powerful family of gifted warriors, but she's all alone now, and looking for redemption from something that happened in her past, and she's a little wary of killing Dreamshades... Which is why she takes up stalking and hunting and slaying Akihito over and over again (because his half human/half Dreamshade body renders him virtually unkillable): in order to build up her confidence to kill 100% feral Dreamshades.
Into the whole situation of the madness that has become Akihito's life are his two best friends in school, brother and sister team Hiroomi and Mitsuki Nase — both in the literary club with the main character, and also impressive spirit-hunters in their own right, coming from a prestigious family that holds much power and influence over the region. Hiroomi and Akihito are bonded by their perverted sensibilities: Aki jizzes his pants over cute girls in glasses, and frequently spends his monthly budget for photos of young sexy, glasses-wearing girls taken by the local Dreamshade Appraiser (one who pays hard cash for the defeated cores of energetic Shades), and Hiroomi loves the idea of "the little sister," which pisses off his real little sister, Mitsuki, something fierce.
Anyway, so there are Dreamshades, Spirit-Hunters, Spirit-Hunter Clans, ancient and unkillable Shades, and crossbreeds that can't be killed by conventional means. They all stew together in Nagatsuki-town and it seems that Mirai is the spark that sets off an epic all-out monster attack due to her past and her special abilities. Lots of good old fashioned fighting, blood lettings, misunderstandings, and hilarity then occur. For being a mostly serious show dealing with loss and pain, Beyond the Boundary really knows how to do comedy right. Yeah, there are lots of quips and sarcastic barbs between the more dour members of the cast and the pervy Aki and Hiro in every chapter, but there is one whole episode in particular (the Stink Dreamshade chapter) that had me chuckling quite heartily the whole way through.
Beyond the Boundary is fun, it's clever, it's exciting, it's dramatic (very dramatic at times), it looks absofuckinglutely amazing, and I even enjoy the opening and ending theme songs... "So," you ask like a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic lover who doesn't understand why preaching to the world about his desire to fuck a cartoon pony from a shittily-animated show aimed at 3 year-old girls is justifiably frowned upon in modern society (Psssst! It's because you're freaks!), "why did you bitch and moan about BtB's ending if you liked the show proper so much?" I bitched and moaned because like several hundred shows that came before it, BtB dropped the ball at the 1 yard line. At least this time I expected it since it does happen so goddamn often.
SSSSSSSSSSSPOILERS! Seriously, I talk about the very end of the series, and pretty much ruin the finale for you. This show is fun enough to warrant a watch despite the last 10 seconds of screentime, so read on at your own risk!
Seriously, I recommend this show and don't want you to know how it ends if you haven't already seen it.
Okay, so Mirai sacrifices herself (in a most epic and heart-wrenching way) to save Akihito against the big, big bad she pulled out of him. The final battle was beautifully destructive and awe-inspiring to see, and their final moments together were utterly tragic beyond anything from even Will Shakespeare... Then, she's gone, leaving only the smallest physical memento for Akihito to remember her by, her ring.
Time and life goes on for the survivors of the Battle of the Beyond the Boundary, and Akihito seems to finally begin his own healing... Then, in the last ten seconds of showtime, Mirai's ring disappears and Akihito knows (he just fucking KNOWS, man!) that he'll find her on the roof of the school where they first met. And he does. And they declare their love for each other. And it ends. We're never told how this deus ex machina came to be. It just is. And it sucks.
What. The. Fuck. Come on, Japan! How many times must you give us a great, emotional, sad, but heart-felt finale, only to pull a dead one back from the grave with no explanation as to HOW it was done (well, no reasonable explanation at least)? Recently Dusk Maiden pulled this crap, and it almost totally ruined that silly-entertaining show for me in the end. Granted, I liked Beyond the Boundary MUCH more than Dusk Maiden, but this ending still hurt my overall thoughts on the show. It would have gotten a solid "A" or maybe an "A+" from me, but no. Having an "Indian Giver" final moment like this drags my enjoyment level down to a "B+" for me. Fuck. I should have just turned it off when Akito left school and before the ring disappeared. Fuck.
SPOILERS OVER. It's safe to read again.
And so there. If Beyond the Boundary had the balls to not renege on its own exceptional sacrificial finale I would have bowed down to it and praised it as the next Ga Rei Zero or something, but no. It was not in the stars. It chose to neuter itself at the last moment thinking that what its audience wanted to see was a eunuch writhing around in a puddle of its own blood and pain instead of a complete and epic series. Why?..... I honestly just don't understand.
I once tried to make weapons out of blood; I'm always trying to find cheap methods of scaring off unsolicited G-men and law-enforcement who come around investigating missing people and bloodless bodies found in the river. In the end I think I used up about 500 gallons of freshly donated human plasma and none of it would turn into a sword, a spear, or red bullets when hit with an electro-shock pulse or a psychic mind-scream by the blood donor. And with how many hundreds of contributors that I went through, you just know that the odds would have it that at least ONE of them would have some sort of mind-powers. But alas, no.
All I ended up doing in the end was just using the blood in the traditional way: putting it in buckets above my bunker-lab door and dumping it on anybody who rings the bell. All my regular clients know to use the secret door in the sewer. In fact that "front door" is really just a wall with a doorbell and a bucket of blood above it. You should hear them scream when they get it poured all over their nice three-piece suits and uniforms. And that one FBI agent, when he kept screaming and running around saying "Oh no! What if I get AIDS from this?! AIDS!" I could not help but laugh! Especially because it was Jimmy Jammer's blood, and he more than likely truly did have AIDS.
Whoa, people, what's with all the spirit-world hate going on in Japan? Why they all gotta be like "Oh, there's a spirit! Let's KILL IT!"? That's just not right, my bro-skis. Just, just let the little spirits live, man. Really, is that so hard? What if YOU got left behind after you died, Mr. Anime Director! What if I made it so that you had to stay behind and you were a spirit, and then somebody was all like "Oh no! A spirit! Let's kill it!" And then they did, and like your soul was totally killed for good! You would not like that, would you?
No, haunting spirits being left behind usually isn't my bag, you know, but I'd make an exception in order to make my point. Watch your ass, Japan! Stop killing my homies in your entertainment! If the Holy Ghost ever got wind of this schapoopie he'd go all Sodom and Gomorrah on your butts! That was his idea you know. A couple of dudes in those towns liked to have sex with goats they dressed up as ghosts. The Holy Spirit did not take that shit well. I'm just saying. Watch your backs...