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Goddamn the music in this show is EXCELLENT. Koko by Tamurapan (opening theme) opens sweet and delicate before exploding into a wild swarm of strings, while Teppan by Shissou Ginga (closing theme) wields a grittier feel with punchier vocals, but both are alike in their sudden-grip openings. Can't say if either song had much meaning, but the tones were spot on, particularly when Teppan becomes the dominant score of episode 9. Its punch is very well used therein.

That's what you hear - but what you see is just as fantastic. The story starts as follows: a Buddhist priest whose every drawing comes to life, draws a rabbit god for his shrine. The rabbit god falls in love with the priest and is granted a human body by a Bodhisattva. The couple then accumulate three children, and decide to go live in a version of Tokyo drawn by the priest known as Mirror City, leaving their old world behind. Most of this anime therefore takes place inside a drawing, and as such, Mirror City's trees have a certain 2D look to them (perhaps conveyed by the white outlines) and is populated by a background populace of vague person-shapes and 3D stick figures. And this is just the background of just one of the many worlds visited by the anime's characters. There's oodles more variety and colour and pocket dimensions decorated with giant mobiles beyond that.

The story of Kyousogiga focusses on the members of the strange family who came to live in the Mirror Capital, using each episode to delve into their lives and longings and treating plot as something of an afterthought. The show cares that we understand what each character wants, and has little concern for telling us what's actually going on. This created an odd situation where I had no idea what rational mechanics if any underlay what I was watching, and yet completely understood each character's stake in the action, which shows the storytellers had their priorities straight. Most of these desires are fairly straightforward - however. There is one character in particular who is far from straightforward, for reasons that require a spoiler cut.

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So, in episode 8, the priest Myoe reveals offhandedly that he is not just some wizard, but is in fact a creator-god, one of two deities tasked by their heavenly father to keep order in the cosmos of 12 parallel universes, and while this is a surprise at the time, it quickly goes on to make sense. Myoe makes for an extremely odd human, particularly as he seems careless to a point of outright callousness. The point where he tells the recently-bereaved and suicidal Yakushimaru that he's his dad now, while remaking him without consent to be immortal, was a horrifying sequence, for while Myoe did indeed save Yakushimaru he did so without displaying any apparent empathy for his mental state. But, if Myoe is a god, that makes sense, becoming a sign of divine remove rather than sociopathy. The same goes for the rest of his behaviour in the series, which continues to be cavalier about the mental wellbeing of those around him. It's not that Myoe doesn't love his family: he certainly seems to. It's more that the character doesn't understand human relationships, until that is the very end, when Koto beats understanding into him. It's a neat reveal, deus ex machina functioning as character development, that retroactively adds a whole other layer to what the show has been so far.

In the end then Kyousogiga sounds great, looks better and has rock-solid character development. The familiars A and Un make great jesters, and my skin was all-a-prickle during the couplet of ending episodes. Also, I gather that it is based somewhat on Alice Through the Looking Glass, so: my next course of action should probably be to read that and gain more insight into this small-yet-powerful anime series.


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January 2016



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