Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon – 01 Review

Don’t worry the script-writers seemingly also don’t remember every bit of crap that happens in the story since they don’t bother to mention the whole thing until the end with a rushed summary.

“Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere” tries really hard to make you understand what exactly “in the middle of nowhere” means as its setting is just a confusing mess at this point which is hard to grasp since it’s all dumped on the audience in the last few minutes. The rest of the episode tries to do the whole exposition-thingy but it’s hard to understand why and how these character are supposed to matter. At least it’s nice to know that the title of the show was chosen as an ironic remark…

Synopsis:
First of all, let’s just look at what happened before the first episode which you get to hear in the last few minutes of the series:
In the far future, humans abandon the devastated Earth and move to the upper world “Tenjo”. But Tenjo and the law of causation collapse by a war and humans returns to the Earth, which has turns into an inhabitable planet except for Shinshu area.
Shinshu is too small to accommodate all the humans, so they duplicate the area and create “Juso Sekai” in a parallel world. In order to rebuild Tenjo and the law of causation, the returned humans start reproduction of the history from B.C. 10,000. When the reproduction proceeds to A.D. 1413, a war breaks out in Shinshu and Juso Sekai falls onto the original world.
The humans living in Juso Sekai lose their land and invade the original world. People in Shinshu surrender and the land is divided by the invaders from Juso Sekai. They try to resume the history reproduction from A.D.1457, but the update of the history terminates in A.D.1648. A rumor of apocalypse begins to spread the world.- MAL
And that’s what you get to see in the rest of the episode:
Set in a distant land, Japan is divided into feudal territories, yet conquered by outside countries, the city Musashi that will ignite the flame of battle is being targeted and has no choice but to keep its people safe by entering this war, with the fate of the world resting on its hands, the students of Musashi may hold the key to victory.- ANN
Now try to connect these two synopses to understand what exactly happened in this episode. Ah, and good luck since it isn’t really easy to figure out how and why things happen in this series.

The grating humour of this episode seemed to be concerned with only one thing…

Review:
One of the things a first episode has to do is starting with an exposition. Sure, you can start with an action-filled episode that barely makes sense just so that you can hook the audience but the point is to get the audience to understand at least vaguely what is happening and why. What Horizon does here is a really poor job of achieving that.
The first thing you notice is that it’s a sci-fi-series with a lot of strange persons of various appearance (some look even inhuman) but you’re told that they all are teenagers trained to do… something. And they are trained by this young woman to do this and she’s super-strong but has problems with her bosses or whatever. Whatever happens in this series you can’t help but feel like it’s happening in a vacuum. Things happen in a very chaotic manner as seemingly everything’s possible from magic using high-tech and characters aiming to copy personalities or stereotypes from our present folklore. And why is the whole area of the flying ship built like an old Japanese town? Who knows…
But what do we see? Well, it’s a bunch of teenagers (some very strange-looking) running through a town to catch their trainer by attacking her with their magic-like High-Tech while the humour is purely fanservice-based as you get silly stuff like the moment when the main-chara appears who is the first and only one who touches the trainer of the group of teenagers by fondling her breasts all of a sudden. And there’s the moment where the main-chara arrives late because he had to buy a new eroge (they exist in this world for whatever reason). The humour isn’t great and only yawn-worthy.

Right, he’s crying when playing an eroge… Can’t the series pick someone else to be the main-character?

The characters on the whole all just seem like a compilation of stereotypes and there’s really nothing extraordinary or remarkable about them. Some of the characters practically just got on my nerves. Like for example there’s a scene where everyone talks about where the main-chara is since he didn’t arrive to the training-session and all of a sudden this big-boobed girl says “I can tell you where he is – but I don’t! Because I don’t know where he is!”. Great, now that was a worthy contribution to the topic… And like that this episode has a really boring dialogue as well.
And the action is interesting enough to tell you that people can normally shoot laser-beams and do other iffy stuff but besides that you won’t remember much of it. It’s a sort of computer-system that’s used to get the high-tech-magic going but it isn’t really explained so again it’s very vague and simply works.
And the story that tries to tell you how the trainer has to beat up a bad guy is also ridiculous since as she arrives at the location and talks to the magic-demon he says he has no idea why the hell he should be a criminal and it’s not explained either why he’s a criminal. It just seems like a random fight with no apparent reason whatsoever. And it all ends with the main-chara deciding to confess to a girl or something that is important, special, dead or something… whatever. But luckily the last few minutes tell you the whole background-story – but it doesn’t help much since it’s a chaotic mess. The plot of this episode was like the sword-strike destroying the Gordian Knot of the setting but by doing so it became a boring pointless shounen-series.

It’s a strange story that surrounds this series but it appears to make matters just confusing and the story at the heart of this episode appeared to be so random and minimalistic that it didn’t seem to have anything to do with the chaotic setting. If you ignore the setting, what’s left of the story is nothing interesting and its grating humour doesn’t make the episode much of an noteworthy experience. The greatest problem of all this is that the episode can’t tell you convincingly what exactly this series has to do with the confusing setting and why you should care about the story you have seen.
Episode-Rating: 4/10

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About M0rg0th

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

Posted on October 5, 2011, in Anime, Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon, Reviews and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. I would say you were a little harder on it than I was. I’ve frankly been a bit surprised at all the anime so far that’s putting out trailers that appear to be serious sci-fi only to be goofball comedies. Not that that’s a bad thing, necessarily — but why not portray that in the trailer to begin with, right? Anyway… see my thoughts here: http://www.jgeeks.com/?p=1997

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    • Well, I do have to admit that I’m a sucker for story-telling and stories in general. I’m not a great fan of these shows that practically treat their story like it was an unnecessary weight keeping it from simply doing 4-koma-like-jokes and flashy battle-sequences. This series was definitely one of those. The worst thing about the storytelling of this first episode was the infodump at the end of it as that part was simply confusing. I’ve felt like watching a generic shounen-series while in the last minutes someone tells me it has something to do with Legend of the Galactic Heroes (just as example of a lengthy and complex plot) and recaps the whole plot within a few minutes. It isn’t really about whether you could follow these revelations or not, it’s about how silly the whole thing was told that bugged me about the first episode.
      I agree with you that the action was okay even if nothing special but I think the Maji Watashi-whatever was more fun as it was way better in the over-the-top-departement. In that regard this episode was just confusing again with all the chaos that left you asking yourself how this all could be possible.

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  2. i liked it, sure it wasn’t the most story-like episode but heck its the FIRST episode, i watched many animes that make a flashy first start, and graduellny explains everything after, just like the first episode of gintama, or beelzebub

    other then that, the character, concept seems great. And im assuming the whole magic stuff is still technology, if you see, all “spells” seem to involve a screen appearing out of nowhere like a futuristic touchable computer screen..

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    • i liked it, sure it wasn’t the most story-like episode but heck its the FIRST episode, i watched many animes that make a flashy first start, and graduellny explains everything after, just like the first episode of gintama, or beelzebub

      The problem wasn’t that it didn’t tell much as rather what it did tell was badly told. A big infodump at the end of the first episode definitely isn’t the way to go as far as exposition is concerned.

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  3. WTFdidIjustWatch

    can you dumb it down for me about this episode >< I won't get what happen to earth of why does the build look so old

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  4. I think the animation studio that put this out forgot to release the first season first.

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  5. I was impressed about the animation and diversity of the characters. However, it’s considered weak sauce if the female characters wear a school uniform that is sexually provocative. And no one wants to follow a leader who’s already known to everyone as a moron. And what’s with the androids, everyone knows that androids don’t need citizenship, they’re already created to look like people. And no one gives a rat’s whisker about a country that’s already been conquered never to be reclaimed again AKA Japan. And I have one more thing to the idiotic creator of the series. “Is your creation really that ignorant or it’s just one of those trash that’s just plain stupid?” And another thing, this show’s plot makes definitely no sense and shows some disgustingly shameless behavior which a blind guy could see already. In the end, I say the TV network that broadcasted it should sentence that show to instant, sudden, and immediate death.

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  6. I agree, off with the show’s head.

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  7. Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon is hereby to be publicly executed and I’ll publicly execute those who dare who are against it. Either you surrender to these terms due to poor ratings or face the consquences.

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  8. After watching 5 episodes i am still in the middle of nowhere.waste of time

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  9. i agree, i like the story but the plot was horrible. They tried explaining it but i really didn’t seem to understand and the main character was is only in some parts. It’s really not interesting.

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  10. Me and my friends watched it and one of the most ridiculous thing about it was that it was hard to keep up. Too many things happening at once and it skewed away from the main problem, whatever it was. I was hoping to get a better understanding of the setting and the story…but it was hard to wrap my head around it because there was just too much. 20-30 something characters that were just everywhere and I got so lost I forgot who the main character was…if there was any.

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