First Reactions: Kyoukai no Kanata Episode 5

Ishidate Taichi evidentially doesn’t believe in bringing his B-game to an interlude episode. While the nominal content to this week’s episode was mostly small fallout from last week’s midway-climax, the execution was a thing of beauty, and the cast actually fleshed out a lot through body language, without any need for backstory. More to the point… They did the glass thing! The deliberately awkward, “I don’t know what to say so I’m looking down at my drink” glass thing! If I needed another reason to import this show, that would have been it. First-person camera has been vastly underutilized tactic for over a decade, and it was a real pleasure to see it pop up here.

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The contrast in the restaurant scenes and the gradual warming-up happening between Mirai and Mitsuki were well-done exhibitions of how to do a “two friends break the ice” plot that could have gone in a 10-minute standalone OVA just as easily. Another aspect that really stood out to me was how the episode handled Akihito, who showed up on-screen for all of 30 seconds in the second half, first skipping class on a park bench and then being dragged kicking and screaming to the lantern festival. I really dig what that park bench scene did, establishing that he was taking the events of the past few days rather hard by having him do something that depressed kids do fairly often and mixing in some collaborative body language. That’s the power of good direction; making every scene count. The finishing line delivered by Mirai that wrapped up both plots was sloppy, but the leadup was artfully precise enough that it didn’t really matter at that point.

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Oh, and plenty of comedy happened amidst the development. Mirai joining the lit club and begrudgingly agreeing to a sketchy source of income were two subplots that figured to increase the groups camraderie going forward while being fairly hilarious in the moment. Frankly, I’d be bored if the show was all drama and fights; the cosplay photography came in at just the right time to keep things on an even keel.

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