Wednesday, December 30, 2015

It's Preferable to Watch the Anime Series First Before Watching 'Beyond the Boundary the Movie: I'll Be Here'

Beyond the Boundary the Movie: I’ll Be Here is a sequel to the anime series, Beyond the Boundary (Kyōkai no Kanata in Japanese).  The film is a two-part production.  The first part, Kako-hen (“The Past” in English), summarizes the events of the 12-episode series; and the second part, Mirai-hen (“The Future”), is an original, follow-up story to the series.

I haven’t watched the Beyond the Boundary anime series, so I wasn’t familiar what it’s all about.  But Kako-hen is supposed to help me with that.  Unfortunately, it’s not a movie retelling of the story of the anime series.  It was simply scenes from episodes spliced together.  Beyond the Boundary is a pretty complicated anime, and a badly edited abridgment won’t do an effective job in presenting the anime’s layers and appeal fully.  Thus, I had a hard time understanding and getting invested on its plot and characters.  Nonetheless, it gave me some idea of its premise.  But I didn’t really enjoy it.

The second part, Mirai-hen, is set a year after the end of the anime series.  As what I got from Kako-hen, the series had a happy ending.  But it’s later revealed in Mirai-hen that the “happy ending” wasn’t really quite that happy.

I liked Mirai-hen significantly better than Kako-hen, primarily because the narrative is more coherent since it’s a legitimate film and not a faux film consisting of a mosaic of the series’ episodes.  Thus, without being distracted and confused by bad editing, I was able to notice and appreciate Beyond the Boundary’s merits.

First of all, it’s visually appealing.   The way magic and action scenes are animated is strikingly beautiful.  The lighting and transition of colors are artistically executed.  If anything else, Beyond the Boundary is delicious to watch.

Second, the worldbuilding is charmingly complicated.  Beyond the Boundary’s world is that of secret dimensions, magic, demon creatures, and demon hunters.  And most satisfyingly, the narrative doesn’t spoon feed its audience too much to explain everything, but respects them enough to let them figure them out on their own by watching.

Third, the romance between the two main characters is interestingly complicated as well.  Yes, it gets too melodramatic for my tastes at times, but it develops quite satisfactorily in general.

And fourth, the movie has a thoughtful theme.  It begs the question, “Is it truly right to keep someone from knowing the truth in order to protect her from pain?”  The movie involves amnesia, and it’s a plot device that has been done to death.  However, I thought it was used wonderfully in this case.

I find Beyond the Boundary somewhat of original.  It has some elements that will delightfully surprise even avid anime fans who are already familiar with every anime trope out there.  That said, I can’t truly say that I get to love this anime.  Again, I haven’t watched the anime series, and I believe to truly savor Beyond the Boundary, watching the two-part movie alone – like I did – will never be enough.  By only watching Beyond the Boundary the Movie: I’ll Be Here, I’ve probably only scratched the surface of the anime’s true worth.

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