Kekkai Sensen is essentially a superhero show – not a sentai, but western comic-book style superheros, yet at the same time with an extremely anime-esque and Japanese presentation. It’s by Yasuhiro Nightow of Trigun fame, which isn’t surprising given he’s a known lover of western media – and he has yet again taken that as huge inspiration while creating something original with it. It shares the same mix of very lively light-hearted fun with some legitimately funny comedy, serious and well handled moments, great action, and a fantastic cast as Trigun as well.
The art in this show is phenomenal, it’s really a fantastic looking show with great crispness, stand-out world design, and a great consistency across the board. This may very well be the best I’ve ever seen Bones produce, I mean it’s really genuinely impressive especially for something that isn’t a film. On top of that you have incredibly cool character designs – even the mostly “normal” looking main character looks way cooler than he has any right to, and once his eyes open he just looks plain badass. That’s not even touching on the great designs of the rest of the cast like Klaus, Chain, Femt, Zapp, and so on. I could list everyone that ever appears in the show because they all just look cool as shit in one way or another, it’s thanks to Nightow’s style which is very much here yet also it has clearly progressed since Trigun into something much less gaudy yet still rooted in the same ideas. I really love the very over-the-top shit that goes on a lot of the time too, such as the giant visualized special attack names showing up on the screen in humongous kanji when they do certain attacks and such.
One thing that certainly needs to be pointed out is the music direction and the music itself. This show has a really goddamn great OST from start to finish – the OP is fucking Bump of Chicken which is one of the best Japanese bands there is and the combo of it and the video completely put me in the mood for the show, the ED is super fun to watch and a great song, and all the insert music and BGM throughout every episode is so perfectly fitting of the setting and situations that it bumps the show up to an even higher quality all on its own. The placement just pushes it even further, with the perfect songs playing for the perfect moments and with perfect timing. I said perfect a lot because that’s pretty much what everything in regards to the music in this show is, and hell this jazzy stuff that makes up most of the OST isn’t even music I’d usually care for but it’s so damn good here.
The entire voice cast is made up of all-stars. I mean even side characters or ones that appear for only a paragraph worth of lines in one single episode get huge name seiyuu. For example the cutie at the diner in episode 1 who was voiced by Miyuki Sawashiro…and she’s never been seen in the entire show again. There are no characters in this that are not voiced by one of the biggest names in the industry at the moment, and even new characters introduce more of those huge names such as Mamoru Miyano who just popped up out of nowhere. On top of that, we’ve got about half the main voice cast from Gintama here playing most of the lead roles. This show has to have some pretty high funding to be able to manage all these seiyuu and the fantastic visuals – it feels like Bones is hoping this is their next big hit as their previous one was back in 2009, and I can say that so far it is for me at the very least.
As for the characters themselves, they’re all fucking great. The bad guys, the good guys, the nobody-important-either-way guys. Everyone in this has an extremely distinct and incredibly cool design, as I went over already a little bit earlier. I especially like Leo, Chain, and Abrams – the luckiest unluckiest man to ever exist. I also really like Femt’s design and personality – he’s crazy and loves chaos WITHOUT coming off as edgy at all, and that’s hard to pull off. Actually that brings me to another point that also ties back to the start – the superhero aspect. I don’t know much about them, but I do know some things that are fairly common knowledge even for non-fans. For example, The Joker and Harley Quinn – who without a doubt Femt and Aligura are heavily inspired by and based on in terms of being straight up insane and dangerous as hell while coming off as charismatic and fun rather than edgy (pre-Heath Ledger Joker anyway, as they took him in the edgiest direction possible).
Or maybe Batman, the batmobile, and even Alfred? Yup, that’s here too. Not to mention Leonardo who is a pizza delivery boy in his spare time – much like a certain spider themed super hero, a new character who can Hulk out, and so on. There are plenty of other very obvious references and inspirations and more that I’m probably not noticing and they’re all done here in such a way that they lack any of the negatives their western counterparts typically have.
The show itself in terms of story and just overall feeling is also great, it exudes an extremely fun vibe and I definitely have the most fun watching this every week. Something about it just makes it such a great and fully enjoyable experience during those 24 minutes whenever a new episode is out. The story is pretty simple though seems to have the workings of something bigger going on (especially about the MC’s all seeing eyes of God and his sister), but every episode has a smaller more contained story that’s at least somewhat concluded before the ED.
Kekkai is basically Trigun meets Baccano mixed with a light bit of western superhero comics while avoiding all the retarded shit in the latter two and with amazing directing, top-notch visuals, and fantastic music thrown in. I very highly recommend trying this out – it just has something, or maybe many things about it, that shouldn’t be missed or skipped out on. It’s also something I can guarantee will be on my mind when doing my AOTY stuff even though we still have so many more shows to go before then.