ANIME MONDAY: Beyond The Boundary – “Carmine” Review

A new show produced by KyoAni (Kyoto Animation) has hit US shores (courtesy of Crunchyroll). Based off the success of last season’s Free, can Beyond The Boundary become it’s fall equivalent? Spoilers Ahead!

Second year high school student Akihito Kanbara lived a pretty normal life, that is until a girl he tries to save from committing suicide stabs him in the chest. Later in the Literature Club room, Akihito and his friend Mitsuki are talking about what transpired on the top of the roof, the young girl; named Mirai Kuriyama returns and attacks Akihito again. After a monster interrupts them, the two go get something to eat and Mirai tells Akihito about herself, her complicated life and why she can’t go home.

The world that the episode sets up and the characters within it is certainly one that will keep you intrigued throughout the entire first episode. Akihito is a likeable protagonist who just happens to be an immortal, he is a half-human half-youmu (dreamscape monster) which is what attracts Mirai.

Mirai is your typical, glasses-wearing, klutzy, moe girl who just happens to use her blood as a weapon (the sword she stabs Akihito with was made from her blood). She is also a spirit warrior who is charged with the task of hunting youmu. Their relationship is kind of a mix of a rock friendship and give & take, despite being a Spirit Warrior Mirai has never actually killed a youmu as she fears taking a life; so she keeps trying to kill Akihito in order to get her courage up (seeing as how he’s immortal it all works out according to her), Akihito on the other hand keeps talking to Mirai (despite Mitsuki’s protests) because he has a glasses fetish. They strike up an awkward friendship based on these facts and Mirai begins to reveal more about herself.

Our ass-kicking spirit warrior ladies and gentleman

There is certainly a lot of mystery surrounding the two and the world they inhabit as the episode rolls forward. Just how widely recognized are youmu? When the two are interrupted by a youmu, a teacher comes in and takes care of the beast while acknowledging she knows of Akihito. What does Mitsuki know about Mirai? She tells Akihito no to associate with her but she won’t tell why. Just what happened to Mirai’s family? When they have dinner Mirai tells Akihito that her clan was wiped out because of their ability to use their blood as weapons, but why was the massacre necessary?

“Carmine” is a decent first episode that certainly sets up some things for the series as a whole. The characters are interesting with room for growth and the world they inhabit has quite a bit of mystery to keep you entertained along with bits of wry humor that garner a chuckle. While the execution leaves a little to be desired, the animation is superb (as expected from KyoAni) and the music hits in the right places. With these things going for it, Beyond the Boundary is certainly a show to keep watch of this season. Tune in next week when Akihito helps Mirai take care of her house problem.