2013: 7th day of Animanga

40249104 by 杉原マチコ

Kyousogiga 

Once upon a time, there existed many realms, and the line between man and god was ill-defined. This is a certain family’s story of love and rebirth.

Kyousogiga - 03 -23[2]

This was a pleasant surprise for two reasons mainly: a. I’m not keen on stories that are crazy for the sake of being crazy (and the very first ONA back in 2011 of the series was just that), and b. family stories are hard to win my heart due to how the relationships are usually handled (*cough* Uchouten Kazoku *cough* Mawaru Penguindrum *cough*).

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Yes, anime is a visual medium and as such we “shouldn’t read it only as a text” – a complaint that I’ve read quite often lately- but anime aren’t illustrations or paintings either meaning that if there’s nothing substantial to be said, no matter how marvelous the framing, lighting, angles and colors are, the viewer gets a hollow golden egg. Kyousogiga wasn’t like that thankfully. It’s a bit confusing and it takes its time to grow on you, yet it’s not convoluted. Although symbolism and all the jazz is fun to have in a series and try to decode it, I’m of the opinion the viewer should be able to foremost comprehent the basic story and take enjoyment from it. And Kyousogiga achieved just that. Great opening, enticing visuals, emotive music, interesting story structure, touching directing, and a fantastic story.

koto crying

The writers also didn’t forget that respect and responsibility towards one another is fundamental.

  • Koto calls out Kurama who arbitrarily decided to sacrifice Yase’s doll, which held many memories of their mother’s affection towards her, to test the chance to get their mother back.
  • Koto again is the one who attracts our attention to understand how unfair it was that her father to hid her the truth about her own existence and her mother as well as that everyone kept demanding things from her without taking in account her feelings.
  • Lady Koto slaps the Monk, the initial Myoue as a punishment for the negligence and selfishness he showed towards Koto, and when he manipulated the latter to get the results he wanted.
  • Kurama asks for explanations from his father about their abandonment all these years, too.
  • Koto makes sure with her punches that her father understands that him disappearing is what neither he nor anyone else wants.

The theme of family itself isn’t even the typical one. There’s adoption involved. There are parents that act on what they think good for their kids bypassing the kids’ wishes. There are sibling quarrels. There are spouses arguing. And not a single time are these situations sugarcoated or excused in a hurry. I wonder if the fact the director was a woman, plays any role.

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The characters are endearing and quite pretty which helps a lot in my decision to pick up the tv series after the ONA’s creative mess. Lady Koto in particular had a very charming character design, very CLAMP-like and chic and motivated me to give Kyousogiga another chance. I’m more than glad I did in the end. I think she rocked as a mom and she proved both tender and assertive when it counted. The moments she is shown spending with her daughters are my very favorites. Koto and Yase are amicable, too, and that’s thanks to their very humane portrayal. Koto isn’t only badass but also a girl of her age who feels lost; Yase isn’t just a pretty girl who likes dolls and tea, but also an ogre who found the courage to accept herself and the ability to control herself in her mother’s love.

If you’ve been scared of the bizarreness of the title, I can assure you you shouldn’t anymore. Kyousogiga is considered by many the best anime series of 2013 and for very good reasons.

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