DVD Review: Beyond the Bounday – The Complete Series
16/01/2016 1 Comment
We go beyond the boundaries of release dates to see what Animatsu’s latest DVD release has to offer; so is it filled with monsters and despair? or does it offer something thats actually worth watching? Well take a look at my thoughts and find out!
They should never have met. They shouldn’t even exist. But when they come together, the entire world will change.
The last surviving member of her clan, Mirai Kuriyama is cursed with the terrifying ability to control and manipulate blood, a power so heretical that she is shunned even by those with the ability to understand her “gift”. Akihito Kanbara is only half human, but while the monstrous other half of his lineage seems to have doomed him to a life alone, it has also given him near invulnerability in the form of rapid healing. Alone, their futures seem bleak, but when a chance encounter brings them together, it becomes clear that they share more than just an unexpected bond. Together they share a destiny and a mission that only the two of them together may be strong enough to survive.
Beyond the Boundary is a distinctively deceptive show that focuses more on the animation quality than its progression of the overall story; pacing is an issue and yet I could not help but fall in love with the characters being portrayed on screen. Sure enough at times you will find yourself oblivious to what is transpiring, and for what reason, and the worse still the episodes do not always bridge themselves together correctly; but in hindsight this is all irrelevant due to the relatively action-packed, comical and fast-paced emotional story that’s being played out in front of you.
The deception starts at the very beginning; a girl in glasses stands atop of the school preparing to commit suicide but instead it’s a fleeting attempt at killing our lead protagonist Akihito Kanbara. This is where our story begins; and it’s one more of deception than fate. You see Mirai Kuriyama is actually a Spirit Warrior, a role that sees selective humans with special abilities hunt down Yomu and kill them in order to protect the world; Akihito Kanbara on the other-hand is an immortal half-human and half-yomu with an unhealthy obsession with girls in glasses and as such becomes a target. It’s a potential chance encounter that steadily unfolds into a rather sinister and secretive storyline; with the end result being a fight for survival.
Of course I am not going to spoil the ending; as that is the beauty of this show… discovering the secret that lies within the truth. For now on at least the story with Akihito and Mirai sees them form a bond with each other; with Ahikito providing the necessary guidance and support in order to make Mirai a better spirit warrior. For the most part the perception of this show is one that sees Mirai becoming accustomed to her Spirit Warrior activities; with Akihito, Ayaka, Ai and other characters, such as brother-and-sister combo Mitsuki and Hiroomi, providing support where needed; but as time progresses the story evolves into something more.
For starters the bond between Akihito and Mirai and evolves into a more deeper relationship with neither character being able to truly express their feelings and, as such, resort to cheap comical moments of entertainment that often plague other types of anime shows. Elsewhere however a mysterious character ends up pulling-strings behind the scenes which set a chain of disastrous events in motion; a plan which would see the infamous Beyond the Boundary make its appearance and make people once thought as friends fight each other.
As you can probably tell I am being a bit vague; partly because the show itself is relatively vague but mostly because the best enjoyment is had when uncovering the truth for yourself. For now at least let’s just say that the story revolves around Akihito, Mirai and their friends as they attempt to defeat Yomu within the city limits and uncover the mysteries surrounding the events of Beyond the Boundary.
Of course while it’s true story may be vague, until the end at least, there is no doubt in my mind that the show offers a visually outstanding experience with a cast of uniquely loveable characters to boot and even if the series pacing can be off-putting, whereby events don’t seem to connect together, these characters will surely keep you watching to see the true events unfold.
Most anime releases, especially those originally produced by Animatsu Entertainment, tend to offer a rather bare experience; however in this DVD Collection for Beyond the Boundary the selection of bonus content is extremely noteworthy. For starters a selection of trailers and textless songs can be found on the first disc whereas the third disc will feature a selection of promotional trailers and mini-episode.
The first set of bonus content, all of which is located on the first DVD disc, include the textless opening and closing animation for the show – which is always expected – and a selection of trailers for other Sentai Filmwork produced shows; in this case No Game No Life, Atelier Alchemist of Dusk Sky, Familiar of Zero F, Magical Warfare. At the time of writing only No Game No Life has been confirmed for a UK release; and even then this is being done via MVM Entertainment.
Moving onto the second set of bonus content, which can be found on the third DVD disc, we have a selection of original Japanese promotional videos – such as TV spots, trailers and adverts – and five mini-episodes; otherwise known as Beyond the Boundary: Idol Trial. These mini-episodes, each of which last around five minutes in length, see notable characters from the series judged by chibi versions of Ai, Misutki and Mirai for their obsessions. These mini-episodes may be funny, especially when as they make fun of their own chibi-forms, but they can be informative by breaking down a characters background and personality to the viewer.
Media: DVD 9 x3
Running Time: 1:40:52 (Disc 1), 2:06:05 (Disc 2), 1:15:39 (Disc 3)
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 224kbps (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps
Beyond the Boundary may put some people off with its unnatural pacing and relatively deceptive storyline progression; but stick-with-it till the end and you will be left with a show that’s actually quite deep; if not a little bit confusing due to its jumbled presentation. The general premise is that Mirai has arrived in the city to take down Yomu but along the way finds herself befriended by Akihito and his obsession for girls in glasses. As the series progresses forward their relationship becomes stronger and when push comes to shove each character will do everything in their power to protect the each other. As you’d expect something more sinister lies within the background; be it deceptive characters, old friends with revenge on their mind or hidden pasts; there is always something waiting to be explored alongside the developing relationship of our main protagonists.
From this perspective alone It sounds like Beyond the Boundary is action-centric show with some relationship elements thrown in; which is the case, but this show does offer some variety. When it comes to Yomu then there are some beautifully animated scenes to explore; especially when Mirai’s own blood is her weapon, but outside of this we have colourful characters such as Ai and Hiroomi. Ai, the daughter of the yomu Ayaka, is a cheerful girl that often helps out and in one particular episode sees her, and the rest of the group, becoming a pretend idol group in order to defend a yomu; Hiroomi on the other hand has a sister-complex with Mitsuki and tries to spy on her at any given chance. It’s this ‘serious-but-comical’ balance that provides some momentary relief from the intense moments; and while others say it is mis-placed i found it to be quite timely and i never once found it to be a distraction.
Speaking of distraction the quality of this DVD is near-perfect; sure enough it’s not High Definition quality but not once were any distortion or pixilation noticed. The only downside of this DVD release however was the audio-volume playback on some setups; as playback on the PS4 seemed to feature lower volume than that on a Blu-ray (or DVD) player. In relation to audio-setups both English and Japanese audio tracks are steadily enjoyable; but as you may assume the Japanese audio track far suits the characters emotions that are portrayed on screen. The best element of this release however is the number of bonus features it contains; but sadly as it miss the OVA episode we will never be able to experience the full story.
Truth be told i had no-idea what to expect from Beyond the Boundary;, and in most cases I never know what to expect from an anime unless i see a trailer beforehand; but in this instance I loved everything this show had to offer. Its animation quality, its characters and its progressive-but-jumbled-pacing provided a different type of anime experience; and i believe it’s one that should be enjoyed by everyone. The DVD quality is great as well as the series has been spread across three discs which results in better video quality per episode and more bonus content to be spread out across those said discs.
In short; An action-packed, but deceptive, show is what’s on offer and the pacing may seem jumbled at first it all comes to a relatively conclusive ending that should be seen on Blu-ray.
Beyond the Boundary is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.