Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere (Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon in Japanese) is a very interesting anime. Interesting enough that were I to wake tomorrow with a perfect understanding of Japanese, reading the series that had spawned the show is likely the first thing I’d do with that knowledge. Horizon is a good show with some very noticeable flaws, which keep it from being “great”, but I still think it’s more than worth your while.
This post is the third post in the series of shows about “Mind Expanding anime with Fukuyama Jun“, the other two were about Maoyu and Spice and Wolf.
First, let’s begin with a story that explains why I was favourably disposed to the show from the first episode. I’m a roleplayer; I’m talking about tabletop RPGs such as D&D. For those who don’t know, the Dragonlance series of novels began out of a D&D campaign (with moments such as Flint falling off a bridge early in the series being influenced by a critical fumble in the game that spawned the series). The Record of Lodoss War from the late 80s had also been based on D&D replay. Well, the reason for this story is that Horizon reminds me of the Exalted RPG by White Wolf (and more recently of the Japanese TTRPG Tenra Bansho Zero, translated and commercially released by my friend Andy Kitkowski).
Exalted, and the world of Horizon deliver onto you a world of many influences. You’ve got witches soaring through the sky, you have magic that is largely fueled by petitions to gods who must grant them, you have mecha, people with weapons several times their size, you have “named weapons” with mythical abilities such as being able to sever the existence of anything they reflect – including one of the cardinal directions. You have fights in which one side may use weapons and the other side can remain on equal footing though they’re only using an erotic dancing technique which renders them immune to damage, or debates which are actually “fights” (this too can be done in quite an awesome way in the Exalted RPG). City states fight one another, people sacrifice themselves for causes, androids and history-reshaping fights galore.
(This is a Things I Like post, it’s not a review, but more a discussion of the show and of ideas that have risen in my mind as I’ve watched it. There will be a large amount of spoilers in this post.)
Spice and Wolf is a series I’ve heard of for a long time, but never got to watch until recently. After watching Maoyu, which I’ve covered last week, I’ve been told that this show is exceedingly similar to it. Having enjoyed Maoyu quite a bit I’ve decided to check it out. Part of what makes it so similar is what makes this the 2nd out of three posts about “mind-expanding anime” which star Fukuyama Jun.
One reason I didn’t really watch the show could probably be seen in a recent Reddit thread where people had tried to give a “Boring tl;dr” treatment to show’s synopsis. Spice and Wolf was represented in that thread numerous times, and they didn’t even have to work hard to simplify the show’s concept: A small-time merchant travels around, teaching us concepts in economy. That sounds quite dull, right? But as some places have said, it’s not about concepts, and most concepts have been done multiple times each, but about execution.
(This is a Things I Like post, it’s not a review, but more a discussion of the show and of ideas that have risen in my mind as I’ve watched it. There will be very few spoilers in this post.)
Maoyu, as Maoyu Mao Yusha (Demon king and Hero) is more commonly known, is an anime that also takes the time to teach its viewers some real world concepts, and as such this post will be the first of the three “Mind Expanding Anime” posts, and all three happen to have Fukuyama Jun portraying a main role in. Maoyu at its base is a tale of changing the world through technological and mercantile advancements, about the side-effects and benefits(!) of war, and is a romantic comedy show, of sorts.
“Hello! I don’t want to fight” said the Demon King to the Hero
(This is a Things I Like post, it’s not a review, but more a discussion of the show and of ideas that have risen in my mind as I’ve watched it. There will be major spoilers in this post. I will also make predictions as to what I think will happen in the future in the story, not based on certain knowledge.)
The first episode is one of the better first episodes I’ve seen. The Hero storms the castle of the Demon King, ready to kill him in order to stop the ongoing war between humanity and the demons. It turns out however that the Demon King is a buxom young-looking woman, who tells the Hero that she loves him, doesn’t want to fight him, and wants to enlist his aid in bringing peace to both humanity and demon-kind.
Well, I’m actually watching a lot of shows airing right now, so I’ll give each one a paragraph to help everyone else navigate this season’s shows. My opinion might change – there are more than a few series which were amazing until 4-6 episodes and then went downhill, but at 4-6 episodes you also get to feel you begin to see what these shows have to offer.
Let’s begin with new series:
Valvrave the Liberator / Kokumeiki Valvrave – We have a mecha show that really reminds me of Code Geass. Considering how much I love Code Geass, this is a good thing. We have kids running their school/country, we have mecha and inhumanity, we have an oppressive military empire opposed by a jackass capitalist empire… everyone is a jackass in this world, and thus far everyone also has redeemable qualities and isn’t a caricature villain. Good job thus far.
Only complaint is Fukuyama Jun gets a minor adversary role of A-Drei when giving him L-Elf who’s bound to get more time in the show would’ve been perfect. Watched: 5/12 episodes. Second season already slated for Fall 2013. Current Grade: A. Worthy of your time, unless you dislike school shows, dark shows, mecha shows, and political shows. In that case, what anime are you watching?