The sword of blood burns as it slides into Akihito, acid. His cry rends the air and swirls the pink hair of his assailant. His chest rises and falls against the blade as he looks at the large, open eyes of the girl that skewered him. He smiles and says, “Be-speckled beauty.”
Beyond the Boundary is yet another high school focused anime. Akihito is an immortal half-human, half-youmu. Mirai is an ikaishi, Spirit World Warrior from a family with cursed blood. Blood that burns and kills. Only Mirai isn’t much of a warrior. She needs practice and confidence. She thrusts her blood blade through Akihito again.
“How unpleasant,” Mirai says.
The series has heart and moments of charm. It flatly calls Akihito and the Spirit Warrior Hiroomi Nase perverts. Akihito has a thing for girls with glasses, Hiroomi has a sister-complex. Their perversity stays tame and comedic. Although, I found Akihito’s fetish outbursts annoying more than funny. The girls in the series are certainly kawaii. Mirai is a source for soft-fan service. She takes a side job (because she sucks as a Spirit Warrior at first) posing in various fetish-friendly outfits for a photography side business ran by a youmu stone buyer. Youmu leave behind their essence in the form of a stone that Spirit Warriors use to collect bounties. Mirai’s outfits range from maid to pop idol. Thankfully, the series avoids typical fan service fair like up-skirt shots.
Beyond the Boundary has a lot of action. Youmu are everywhere. The animation quality of action sequences is fair, if repetitive. Mirai thrusts, twirls, and threshes with her blood blade. She forms shields and can turn her blood into darts. She just doesn’t do it very often. Generally, the animation quality is consistent. Action doesn’t break down to action lines. Many of the sub-characters share similar face and hair designs. I found myself confused a few times because of this.
Unfortunately, Beyond the Boundary felt rushed. At the end of the 12 episode run, events grew frantic and stilted. Characters appear without warning and some fights are finished in flashbacks. Two episodes were stuffed with what should have developed over at least 6 episodes. The ending episodes were jarring with the hurried pace compared to the more sedate start. Apparently the budget was running out. This rush hurt the series.
So how do I weigh in? Mirai is cute yet has steel within her: good. The rushed ending: bad. Akihito’s fetish was played up too much. Fight sequences were okay but not memorable. The anime is best called okay. None of the characters grabbed my interest. I am sure the light novel series handles the pacing and characterization better.
It is interesting how often fetishes appear in anime. We all have preferences and things that rev the motor. Anime is interesting in how it mentions and plays up these things. Beyond the Boundary is only another example. Anime also tends to focus on small things that happen in everyday life, such as how someone adjusts her glasses, and okays them up as part of a character. Mirai’s glasses adjustments speaks to her feelings in various scenes. In Attack on Titan, there is a character that has a habit of biting his tongue. These small everyday things are not usually mentioned in Western stories. In anime, they can be a source of comedy or endearment. Beyond the Boundary is a good example of how these little things are used to develop characters.