Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon – Final Thoughts

The Fall 2011 anime season has ended two or three weeks ago, and these days I usually do a round-up final thoughts post for all of the shows that I watched but didn’t blog weekly. However, the only show in my line-up that ended last season was Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon, so hence Horizon will get the final thoughts post all to itself. Horizon was a decent show that had some good elements, but after a season of the show I’m still not sure what the entire story is about.

In the world of Horizon, humans moved into space but then returned to Earth for some reason and found that only Japan is inhabitable. The people from space (the Testament Union) conquered Japan and divided up the land, and original inhabitants of Japan are forced to wander the land on a flying city ship Musashi. The Testament Union is trying to return to space by reacting history according to some holy book, but things don’t go quite according to plan and now the people on Musashi has a chance to fight back and take back their land.

That’s Wikipedia version of the back story. From what I can make out from this season of the show, the ruler of Mikawa region destroyed the land to “make things interesting”, and this leads the Tres Espana and KPA Italia factions to seize the P-01s automaton from Musashi because the automaton contains one of the Deadly Sin weapons and the soul of our leading man Tori Aoi’s dead childhood friend Horizon Ariadust. The rest of the season is then about Tori rallying his classmates from the Musashi Academy and other supporters and mounting a rescue effort for Horizon.

The large picture of what happened in the season wasn’t too hard to understand, I still don’t really get the background story and details such as how the political system works in the show. There is just a lot of information that the audience needs to absorb to completely understand story, and obviously I didn’t pick up everything partly because I’m watching subtitles. It certainly didn’t help that there are a number of factions which results in a large number of characters. Even Tori’s class by itself is around 20 named characters, and a few of them seem to have potentially good back stories, but with only one season worth of episodes and so many other characters vying for attention it’s hard to set the supporting characters apart other than through appearance. I recognize the character designs, but I don’t remember the names except those of the very important characters. We only saw 3-4 factions in this season of Horizon, but it certainly looks like we’ll get more factions as the show continues in its next season and this will make the characters even harder to keep track of.

Although I didn’t really understand all of the story and had trouble remembering who is who, Horizon was still fun show to watch mostly because it had good production quality (courtesy of Sunrise), decent action, and a good dose of slapstick comedy. Tori plays the class jester and helps to lighten the mood with his stupidly happy smile and perverted antics. Tori isn’t the most courageous, cunning or skilled leader, but he has his own way of getting the job done through unconventional means and that was also amusing to watch. Another fun thing about the show is the character design. Even within Tori’s class there is a wide variety, ranging from witches and girls with impossibly large hair to half-dragons, a naked incubus and a blob. The cast looks like they came out of some wacky fighting video game. All of the combat involving calling up prompts to power up was pretty interesting, and it’s good to see different character source their powers from different means. The fights can be quite impressive at times, and in general they are decent.

Overall, I enjoyed watching Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon despite the fact that I didn’t really understand the story. I’ll probably watch the next season of the show which will come out in the 2012 summer season. The first season was the introductory story arc, so perhaps I can get a better appreciation of how the world of Horizon works as the show continues.

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