What it’s about: An urban fantasy set in the TYPE-MOON universe, Kara no Kyoukai is a series of “films” (more like extended episodes). The story focuses on a…specialist detective agency of sorts, made up of a cynical magus named Toko Aozaki and two younger characters. The first, Mikiya Kokuto, is an everyman – a harmless, friendly guy who contributes much of the brains and heart of the show. The second and arguably primary protagonist is Shiki Ryogi, a beautiful but unsociable girl with an incredibly powerful gift. The first film is set some years after their introduction, though the storyline bounces around from episode to episode.
Why you should watch it: Kara no Kyoukai is something of a cross between a mystery series, an action series, and a romance series. The animation is first-rate (as expected of ufotable), and the directorial choices are generally spot on. Add onto that a phenomenal soundtrack and you’ve got a strong contender right out of the gate. The story itself is something like a puzzle, made up of self-contained episodes shown out of chronological order (if you’re familiar with The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, it’s a lot like that). There’s enough going on in each episode to keep you interested but the series requires you to take a holistic view, seeing each episode as part of a greater whole.
Caveats: This was one of Nasu’s earlier writing projects, and it shows. The first episode or two are quite slow, with much of the necessary context left unexplained until “flashback” episodes later on. Episodes 5 and 7 are by far the strongest and to some degree carry the entire series.