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Beyond the Boundary Complete Collection Anime DVD Review

7 min read

Beyond the Boundary DVD CoverWhen an adorable killing machine goes after an immortal half-demon, we all win.

What They Say:
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.

The Review:
Audio:
For this viewing, I took in the English dub, which is offered in 2.0. The Japanese track is offered the same way. There’s some nice directionality in the sound effects, though dialogue stays centered. As always, I would have loved a 5.1 mix, as it could have really enhanced the battle scenes, but frankly, I’m just happy it has a dub. So I’m not going to complain too loudly.

Video:
The visuals for this release are well done. I like the character designs, and there are some really great effects when various people are using their powers. Technically, it’s a solid release too, with nice coloring and no real technical issues that I noticed. The only thing I saw were some softness in the imaging that usually comes from an SD transfer on an HD setup. Otherwise, it looked really nice.

Packaging:
The three discs for this release are housed in a single amaray case with center insert. The front has an image of Mirai and Akihito with a pinkscale color scheme, which matches Mirai well. It looks as if it essentially comes from the opening scene to the series where the two of them first meet. The back has quite a few screen shots along the top with the series summary and technical details beneath. It’s a nice looking set.

Menu:
The menus for this release are basic but well designed. The selections are offered along the left side of the screen in front of a scene from an episode. The selections are pink text along a black background, and in a nice touch, the cursor is a pair of glasses on one side and Mirai’s sword on the other. The sword turns into a bucket when highlighting a non-episode option.

Extras:
A rarity for Sentai releases, this actually has a few extras besides trailers and clean versions of the OP/ED. We also get a five “episode” (six-ish minutes each) series of Trials where SD versions of the main female cast put other characters on Trial for some silly reason. I enjoyed these but almost in a train wreck sorta way: I just couldn’t look away. About the most succinct way I can describe them is that they are very Japanese. So your mileage may vary.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
On the surface, Akihito Kanbara is your normal high-school boy. Well, his extreme fetish for girls in glasses perhaps challenges the idea of normal, but the idea is there anyway. And this glasses fetish draws him to Mirai Kuriyama, a cute girl wearing red frames he first spies appearing to get ready to jump from the roof of their school. But when he tries to talk her down, she responds by stabbing him through the gut with a sword.

Fortunately, it takes a bit more than a sword through the torso to kill Akihito. See, it turns out that Akihito is a half-yomu (half-demon), and Mirai is a demon hunter. An inept demon hunter, but a demon hunter all the same. And she has taken it upon herself to try and rid the world of Akihito’s presence, but as Akihito appears to be immortal, she instead settles for continuing to hunt him purely for the practice. While this is generally a pain for Akihito, the fact that she is utterly adorable in her glasses makes it hard for him to stop her.

Beyond the Boundary is an anime that took me a bit by surprise. I had heard it was good, but I didn’t really know what it was about before I started it. So when innocent-looking Mirai suddenly leaped over Akihito and tried to kill him thirty seconds into the first episode, I was pretty stunned. I was expecting some kind of romantic comedy with a bit of supernatural goings-on, but while there is certainly plenty of humor, I instead got a fairly deep anime exploring the essence of humanity and quite a bit of good action thrown in for good measure.

For me, a title is typically only as good as the characters, and Beyond the Boundary has some pretty good ones. Akihito and Mirai are surrounded by a fun, eclectic cast that helps move the story along but also punctures much of the seriousness with some well-timed humor. Mitsuki is entertaining as the childhood friend who likes to tease Akihito about him having a crush on her, and her older brother Hiroomi is amusing in the somewhat bishounen way he also plays with Akihito’s emotions. Add in Shizuku as the busty and desperate teacher who can’t get a date, Ayaka as a fox-demon who runs a side business in selling sexy photographs of girls, and Yayoi as Akihito’s adorably free-spirited mother, and there’s a little bit of everything on offer here.

But it is our two protagonists who really shine in Beyond the Boundary. Akihito and Mirai come with plenty of baggage that guides them and helps determine their fate. As a half-yomu, Akihito is immune to most of the things that would kill a human, but he is constantly at war with the terrifying demon that is constantly trying to overcome his more normal emotions and wreak havoc on the world. When he is forced to let go, the demon is almost impossible to contain, so he keeps a lid on it as much as he possibly can.

And for Mirai, her innocent pose is not quite so innocent. She is the heir to a clan with cursed blood, marking her a terrifying foe for any yomu who get in her path. Her blood is one of the few things known to be able to completely end the existence of a yomu, but while she uses these powers for good, the nature of her curse tends to make her shunned by everybody else—human and yomu alike.

Not only are the backgrounds of these two interesting enough, but the series does a nice job not to overdo it. The development of their relationship—both in terms of their respective roles in life as well as the possibility of romantic connections—is given a slow build. Akihito doesn’t lose his head every single episode, and Mirai is not asked to call upon the fullness of her powers every time a demon shows up. They are given time to grow comfortable with one another before they are put to these further tests. As they are both outsiders looking in on a supposedly more normal human existence, this allows the two of them the time they need to try to help each other find a path to acceptance.

In Summary:
Beyond the Boundary is a series that I had heard good things about, but was one that I still enjoyed more than I thought I would. It asks a lot of interesting questions and gives us a fun cast of characters to help try and answer them. Mix in some good humor at just the right moments to make sure things don’t get too overwhelmingly dark, and we’re left with an anime that does a good job pressing all the right buttons. Recommended.

Features:
Japanese Language, English Language, English Subtitles, Beyond the Boundary Idol Trial!, Who Judge You Even Though They Waver, Clean Opening and Closing, Japanese Promos.

Content Grade: A-
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: October 13th, 2015
MSRP: $59.98
Running Time: 300 minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Magnavox 37MF337B 37” LCD HDTV, Sony PS3 w/HDMI Connection, Durabrand HT3916 5.1 Surround Sound System


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