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.)