Welcome back to another Memory Monday, the weekly segment that never gets old even though the series featured here might. I doubt there are any newcomers to this segment, but just in case you are, Memory Monday is a weekly segment where I take an anime that aired 4+ years ago and talk about it. Memory Monday is purely for nostalgic purposes and is in no way a review. I just pick at some general points that made the show memorable to me and try to convince you to watch it or not to watch it.
This week’s pick is Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon.
There will be NO spoilers this week.
Number of seasons: 2
Number of episodes: 13/13
Time: 24 minutes per episode
Personal rating: 4/4
I can’t find any official links to the series.
Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon is an adaptation of a very, very thick series of “light” novels. If you thought the to aru series was long, well Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon can definitely compete with it. The anime version of the light novels is indisputably one of the worst anime series to have ever come out. It makes no sense, is over the top, and tries too hard for what it is. Every week watching it was agony.
What it’s about:
Idk. Watching it, I kind of get what it was about, but at the same time, it made little to no sense, so I can’t really summarize it, so here’s the MyAnimeList summary for it:.
In the far future, humans abandon a devastated Earth and traveled to outer space. However, due to unknown phenomenon that prevents them from traveling into space, humanity returns to Earth only to find it inhospitable except for Japan.
To accommodate the entire human population, pocket dimensions are created around Japan to house in the populace. In order to find a way to return to outer space, the humans began reenacting human history according to the Holy book Testament. But in the year 1413 of the Testament Era, the nations of the pocket dimensions invade and conquer Japan, dividing the territory into feudal fiefdoms and forcing the original inhabitants of Japan to leave.
It is now the year 1648 of the Testament Era, the refugees of Japan now live in the city ship Musashi, where it constantly travels around Japan while being watched by the Testament Union, the authority that runs the re-enactment of history. However, rumors of an apocalypse and war begin to spread when the Testament stops revealing what happens next after 1648.
Taking advantage of this situation, Toori Aoi, head of Musashi Ariadust Academy’s Supreme Federation and President of the student council, leads his fellow classmates to use this opportunity to regain their homeland.
You’re Saying Words, But…
One of the biggest things about Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon was the dialogue. Without the dialogue, it would’ve made even less sense than it otherwise did. Even so, the characters tried to explain everything that they were doing, everything that was happening to the world, what they were fighting against, etc. but it was just so overwhelming and cluttered that it was hard to keep up.The anime takes absolutely no time to explain anything that’s going on and just throws you into the action. It’s jarring and confusing. At first, you might think that explanations will come during the series, but they never do. Then you think that maybe the second season will give some explanation, but it doesn’t. The anime gives zero cares towards a new audience and just charges right in with a seemingly nonsensical, over the top plot that is going nowhere.
This is only made worse because at all times, the characters are talking to each other about the various affairs that are going on, but the new viewer has no clue what they’re talking about. It’s like being forced to sit in a meeting where you have no idea what’s going on. It just feels uncomfortable and confusing which an anime shouldn’t be, especially one that is trying to get people interested in the series. There might be several stragglers who were so confused that they decided to pick up the light novel and read it, but I’m sure that for most, they just decided that if the anime is this much of a clusterfuck, the light novels probably are too.
A Cast of Colorful Characters
The only pleasure you can derive out of the series is the interactions between characters that you don’t really need to thoroughly understand the context to enjoy. The characters for the series were the make it or break it for most people since you couldn’t really rely on the story bringing any comfort. The characters for Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon were very eccentric and unique. If you’ve ever watched or read Danganronpa, imagine their cast, but tripled… maybe even quadrupled. Imagine having to remember each and every single one of those characters all of a sudden. It’s difficult to try and remember all of these characters especially when the anime gives barely any breathing room since you’re trying to catch onto the story that’s just running away from you.
Surprisingly, despite the amount of characters in the series, each character had their own unique personality, situations, and interactions with one another. Even though it was difficult to keep track of them all, it was still fun to see them interact every now and then. Since they were all so unique and over the top, they’d sometimes say the craziest, most random things that would definitely get a laugh out of people. But this also backfires because it’s precisely that the series tries to emphasize all of their individuality that it feels like each character is trying to outdo one another and it comes off as them trying too hard to stand out. It’s the bad kind of “really unique.” It’s more Mayoiga instead of Danganronpa. I never really brought myself to like any of the characters because it was hard to connect with any single one of them mostly because the series, despite being brief, tried to give each of the characters equal amount of screen time.
Short and Not so Sweet
Despite having a crapload of material to cover, Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon only lasted for thirteen episodes per season. It was short, but very muddled and convoluted because it had no wiggle room. It should’ve had space to try and expand on the story because I can guarantee most of the people watching it were hearing about and watching it for the first time. If you’re going to be catering to a new audience, a short series is fine, but you have to make sure it makes sense. Things happened in the series for sure, but I never recognized just how dire the situations were or how great their accomplishments were.
I’m honestly not too convinced that they’d have done a better to explain the story with more time because it’s not like they even started from the beginning of the light novel series, but at least with a little more time, they could have taken a little more time to make everything flow better. We could’ve gotten a little more time to acclimate to the huge cast of characters and the new world that we know next to nothing about. Unfortunately, Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon only had the short part down of “short and sweet.” To a certain extent, I’m glad it was only thirteen episodes, because if it was as confusing and convoluted as it was for twenty episodes or so, I don’t know what I’d do with myself.
The one thing I understood was that they were waging wars against other schools that also happened to be floating ships or something like that. Because they were constantly at war, there were tons of fights in the series. Most of them were pretty fun, but because they featured the unique cast of characters, it was always a hit or miss fight. It was either serious or very strange, ridiculous fight where it highlighted the uniqueness of the characters involved. More than not, it was the latter. There were times that people narrowly dodged blades because they were just that flat chested, people danced their way to victory, and others would just read literature. I’m sure it sounded a lot better when reading the actual series in light novel form, but when watching it, it was just constant “wtf” moments.
The fights were well animated enough that they weren’t always completely ridiculous, but it was rare for me not to be confused as to what was going on and reevaluate my life for watching this show. Maybe to the actual fans of the series, seeing these fights in anime form was more a treat than a chore like it was to me, but I’m sure that to any newcomer to the series, it was always very confusing to watch just like the rest of the series.
Should You Watch It?
Speaking from a new viewer’s perspective, Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon was confusing, over the top, and overall not worth the time. It takes no time to explain anything and just throws you into the story with no explanation at all. It gives new viewers little to no respect and I’m sure that even for fans, the series was too fast paced and cluttered to be considered a good adaptation of the light novels. While it wasn’t a slouch in terms of animation and sound, it failed at the most important source of entertainment, the story and characters. I still find it hard to believe that there was a first season, never mind a second season as well. If there was any anime I’d want to unwatch, it’d probably be Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon.