I can definitely say, Kyousou Giga is an interesting show. Stupidly complicated and artistic, but interesting nonetheless.
One thing that stuck out to me with this title was its episode placement. The first episode throws a fucking meteor of information at you. Almost like they used one of those magic bags to compress all of it into a single-episode space. The first episode says more than most series say in six. After that, each episode focuses on one character—gives them a background, motivation, and displays their base personality. This is already much more impressive than most titles, as others fumble upon how to do this effectively without letting their main character end up in provocative situations every three seconds. The series then takes the final four episodes to squeeze in some actual conflict, further complicating the plot and displaying the consequences of one such character’s selfish actions from the beginning.
This formulaic scheme is both good and bad. On the plus side, it does give attention to the most major characters, along with stringing along other characters to help portray different situations in which the character being highlighted can react to. It pays close attention to its characters, and doesn’t make them feel they’re only there to establish a mirror identity. These are real characters, with motivations and flaws. On the negative side, the episode structure does have an effect of making these characters only feel important during their specific episodes. They may appear or interact with others in later/earlier episodes to strengthen the character being highlighted, but are ultimately shrugged aside by the time the final four episodes arrive. The relationship between these characters is strong, though they hold little merit to the point of the show, as the real star of the show is Koto (daughter).
Koto is a bit of an enigma. Her character appears human… but isn’t really human. Not to spoil the anime, as I feel it isn’t worth being spoiled, but she doesn’t really act as a normal character. She seems almost robotic, or like a wild animal. She seems similar to Ryuuko Matoi, in a way. But again, she doesn’t feel “real,” in a sense. And that’s not to say she’s a bad character (though she’s admittedly worse than most), she just feels somewhat off when compared to everyone else. Her development episode (episode two) actually touched me more than others, which is ironic, seeing as I didn’t identify with her present personality. I suppose the last few episodes, which painted her as uncertain and guilt-ridden, before returning her core personality, may have turned me off.
The other major characters consist of the father, the mother, and the three children. The mother mainly stars in the first episode. The father mainly stars in the last two episodes. The three children get their own individual episode (except Myoue, who gets two). Each of their base personalities are nothing new or innovative. Kurama is based around intellect and logic, while maintaining a child-like sense of curiosity. Yase is fit and proper, almost snooty, but has a quick temper and a ravaging demonic form (not exaggerating). Myoue is constantly sighing at everything and is lazy and seemingly carefree, but doesn’t view life in a healthy way. Koto (mother) is rambunctious and fun. Father is a know-it-all rebel. Smash all of these characters together and you have a cake that tastes like strawberries, bananas, chocolate pudding, grapes, sour apples, pizza, and mashed potatoes with a side of cinnamon. The characters themselves aren’t the highlight of the show, rather their relationships with one another and the effort the show gives into making them feel as though their matters… matter. The strong bond between every character is pleasing to watch.
Let me provide one more negative about the episode layout: predictability. Episode by episode, a character is established, and a setting is set. Rinse. Repeat. Once everyone’s been firmly established, things begin to take a darker turn. Things become serious. Once the anime feels as though the viewer cares enough, they test it by putting their lives and loved ones in peril. Never seen this before ever in approximately 86 other anime titles. Not to mention, episode nine was absolutely excruciating to watch. All sorts of bullshit was spewed and the plot progressed slower than a turtle on a treadmill. I feel they could’ve cut out the entire episode and saved the budget some. In fact, the pacing of the final four episodes was fairly slow at times. It made me clamor for the uniformed, yet standard pacing of the previous half of the show.
Another huge (but not entirely impactful to the overall score) plus to Kyousou Giga was its art direction. Lots of abstract settings and colorful displays that differ with each character on screen. The mood of the anime fit very well with each character, and the background helped considerably. Kurama dressed in a colorful, almost parodic style of priest clothing, surrounding himself with high-tech gadgets and machinery that dazzled the entire screen with vivid hues and a sense of isolation. Yase dressed in proper attire. Her home is filled with underlings and butlers and maids (of the demonic variety). She hoards things special to her, even implementing an underground storehouse for the most important items. She values vanity, but also sentimentality. She’s a proper woman. Myoue’s home is clean, simple, practical. Nothing stands out about it. It implies his interest in nothing, but attention to detail. He has no passion, but abides by his own set of standards nonetheless. Despite this, his hair is long and unkempt, and noticeably lighter than his childhood hair color. A sign of aloofness, perhaps.
Animation was standard, though.
One of the more enjoyable anime in recent months, Kyousou Giga probably would’ve been more highly praised, had it not been for the last few episodes’ problem with pacing and, dare I say, logic. When compared to standard anime, it does a lot more in terms of character development and artistic effort. It’s story still feels incredibly hard to swallow and too-big-to-explain-in-ten-episodes, though. Pacing is also a noticeable negative, but not to the point where it’s worth swearing off. Kyousou Giga does an excellent job with character relationships and showcasing a wide variety of different character motivations that all lead to a single conclusion in the end. It’s enough to make me care about the characters (I considered making Kurama a favorite at one point), and if an anime can do that, it’s likely I’ll enjoy it, granted the plot isn’t completely asinine. It kind of is, but it’s simple at heart:
Family is most important. A cliched standard that can still work wonders.