I enjoyed eps.1-8. It's a likeable, quirky show with vulnerable characters in an interesting world. I was very happy with it... until the last few episodes went off the rails. He's a monster, she's dead, she's alive (?), he's in her dream, or is she in his dream, it's summer and winter in the same episode (which one happened first?), she's dead again, she's alive again... etc. After that, what's going on with the villain? I don't understand his motivation. Why's he bothering? What's the point? Thus a strong show degenerated into a confusing mess, with our heroes going back and forth between death, life, being sort of both and/or in a dreamstate. This lasts for about four episodes, then it's the end.
Most of this is barely explained, if at all. It just happens. Since the show is a "magical spirit monsters" fantasy, it's hard to see a good reason why they shouldn't have established its fictional rules clearly enough to let the audience process what's happening. Most glaring is the very end of ep.12. It's happy and dramatically inevitable, but it's an arse-pull from the scriptwriter. Apparently the sequel movie partly fixes it, from a certain point of view, but I'm no longer sure whether or not I'll be watching that.
I should start at the beginning, though. Most of the show is very good. One day, a schoolboy (Akihito Kanbara) stops a schoolgirl (Mirai Kuriyama) from committing suicide. She's cute, timid, clumsy and wears glasses. She's adorable. However she impales Akihito on a giant blade made of her own blood, killing him. Fortunately he's immortal and doesn't take it personally, but Mirai doesn't believe in giving up and so spends the next few days killing him repeatedly. It's a quirky start to their relationship. To be precise, Akihito is half-human and half-youmu, with the latter being dream-demons that can be anything from a little old lady next door to a world-devouring harbinger of apocalypse. As for Mirai, she's a Spirit World Warrior and earns a meagre living by hunting youma and selling their dead, crystallised remains. (Other Spirit World Warriors do better at this, but Mirai is dirt poor and has crippling guilt issues.)
This is surprisingly charming. Mirai is inconsistent, petulant and doing her best to be a prickly loner, but she's too sweet to be convincing. She says doesn't want friends. Akihito isn't accepting that and keeps trying to bring her together with his friends instead, although that said his friends are pretty odd themselves. Mitsuki Nase is technically Akihito's guardian rather than a friend and her brother Hiroomi has a sister complex. (Akihito's not much better, though, having a glasses fetish that approaches full-blown pervert levels.) They also know a pair of lovely youma sisters who buy dead youma crystals.
The show can be dramatic, with both Mirai and Akihito having problems that they see as excluding them from the rest of humanity. People have died. However it can also be funny, e.g. the stink-attack pervert eyeball in ep.6. The comedy's often surprisingly broad, but the show can also get dark and serious.
The full list of Beyond the Boundary is, I think:
- TV series (eps.1-12)
- OVA (prequel ep.0, set three years earlier)
- Beyond the Boundary Idol Trial! (five comedy net shorts)
- Beyond the Boundary -I'LL BE HERE- Past (compilation movie)
- Beyond the Boundary -I'LL BE HERE- Future (sequel movie, set one year later)
I'm still undecided about "-I'LL BE HERE- Future". I like the characters and I like the show's fundamentals. However this TV series's ended so messily that I've disconnected. It's not that they're aiming unsuccessfully for depth. That they can do. They're quite good at it. I'd describe it as unsuccessful attempted drama that's hard work to the audience to follow and just feels like an arbitrary script collage. That said, though, apparently the sequel movie's quite popular.
Believe it or not, I'd recommend this show. It's charming. Mirai is both very sweet and a fragile, dark co-protagonist. Just don't be surprised when it goes downhill towards the end.