Final Review: Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon II

DISCLAIMER: Anime reviews on this blog will attempt minimal to no spoilers unless otherwise noted. If a review seems dull or shallow, it’s because I’m trying to make sure not to go into too detail for those who are actually interested in the show before or after reading the review or those who have yet to finish the title. If you want further details, there are usually tons of reviews that can be found elsewhere on the internet. Furthermore, anime reviews in general are the sole opinion of the author writing it and thus differ across the users. There is no such thing as a “right answer” only a majority agreement. You are free to have your own opinions and thereby free to state and/or argue/debate in the comments section below or on the Fansub TV Forums. The review is not necessarily meant to serve as a recommendation but rather a personal opinion of having completed the series.

Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon II (hereafter known as Horizon II) is the direct continuation to Fall 2011’s Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon. The series is based off the ongoing light novel that began in 2008. Horizon II continues immediately from where its prequel cliffhanged as Tres Espana clashes with Musashi. Horizon II also covers the arc when Musashi heads to England, which includes the re-enactments of Bloody Mary and the Spanish Armada. Horizon II aired during the Summer 2012 anime season and like its prequel it was simulcasted by CrunchyRoll and licensed by Sentai Filmworks.

Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon was a show many tried and knew could be good in the future but tested the patience of its audience far too much. Unlike season 1, Horizon II jumps right into the action and emphasizes less on the silliness. In fact, its silliness and trolling moments is now incorporated into the overarching story. But did Horizon II achieve what people were hoping to see in season 1? In my opinion, not quite. Horizon II continues the amazing debate scenarios and does some interesting reenactments of well known historical events such as the Spanish Armada and Bloody Mary. However, the presentation and pacing of this show remains as terrible as ever. Unlike the first season where time stamps were useful in piecing together bits and pieces of the story at times, Horizon II’s time stamps are effectively useless. Transitions are quite poor for the most part leaving many holes in the flow of the so-called “story.” Cast remains large and we don’t really get much development on anyone in particular unlike season 1. Conclusion wise, solid action and leaves a good opening for another sequel. However, it felt rushed in many aspects to try to tie up the loose ends in this arc.

Art and animation remains the same as the previous season. Nothing really changed. Visuals still remain pretty but cheap animation overall coming from Sunrise. Given their work on Accel World, they clearly can do better.

OP/ED themes were solid yet again this time around. Background music remains amazing as usual and continues to be one of Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon’s strong points. Seiyuu also remains priceless for the consistently amusing cast. They also did away with a lot of the lesser cool characters from season 1, which was a big plus.

Enjoyment? Honestly, I expected more from this show after finishing off very strong with season 1. The poor transitions really hurt this series as it left a huge “I don’t know what’s going on” impression on me at various points in the series. Furthermore, if you are not familiar with a number of the historical events in this show, it definitely will confuse you further.

Overall, Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon II continues to show that it has a very interesting plot but it lacks the proper presentation for strong engagement with its audience. It’s definitely more fast paced that its prequel but fast paced doesn’t do any good if your audience has no idea what you’re doing. The series has a lot of work to do despite the strong sales for this show. It’s not a very convincing watch for those who lack some sort of a historical background let alone patience. Nevertheless, Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon remains a very unique show. It’s got a really neat concept of re-enacting major historical events but I’d wish the anime would do a better job at flushing out the details rather than skimming over them.

 

Story and Character:

  • Premise (1/1): Strong premise as ever.
  • Character Personalities (1/1): Same as season 1 with a focus on the more relevant and fun characters.
  • Character Development (0/2): No development this time around.
  • Character Usefulness/Presence (1/2): Lacking in many areas due to the large cast. I still don’t know the names of a majority of the cast.
  • Pacing: (0/1): Lots of work to be done here.
  • Reasonable/Plausible (2/2): For all the nonsense this show has, it’s actually quite reasonable when you take the time to think about it. Then again, many anime viewers don’t take the time to think.
  • Conclusion (0.5/1): Strong action but feels overly rushed
  • Total: 5.5/10

Art and Animation:

  • Backgrounds (1.5/2): Quite detailed and colorful
  • Character Designs (1/2): Cheap as ever. Troll male lead.
  • Fluidity (1/2): Basic and cheap for Sunrise.
  • Visuals/Special Effects/Flashiness (2/2): Remains visually appealing and very flashy.
  • Art and Animation “Expectation” (0.5/2): Sunrise can clearly do better than this, especially after Accel World
  • Total: 6/10

Sound and Music:

  • OP/ED/Insert Themes (2.5/3): Strong OP. ED1 is funny and catchy. ED2 is solid. Wished Ceui was here.
  • Background Music (2/2): Absolutely amazing.
  • Sound Effects (1.5/2):  Above average
  • Seiyuu (3/3): Solid seiyuu cast with still amazing leads.
  • Total: 9/10

Enjoyment:

  • Amusement (1.5/2): Still a lot of fun.
  • Weekly/Next Episode Anticipation (1/2): Lacking in transitions made it difficult to really stay hooked for another episode.
  • Presentation (0/2): Terrible.
  • Re-watchable (0.5/1): Maybe when it animates the rest of the story.
  • Recommendation (1/2): Horizon II remains unique. Not recommended for those who lack historical background, anime experience, and/or patience.
  • Value (0.5/1): Still underrated
  • Total: 4.5/10

Preliminary Score: 7/10

Final Score: 6/10

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