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Beyond The Boundary I’LL BE HERE Blu-ray Anime Review

9 min read

Beyond the Boundary Movie CoverClosure arrives as the TV series gets the feature film treatment.

What They Say:
Can anyone outrun their past forever? Mirai Kuriyama’s ability to control and manipulate her blood, even to use it as a weapon, has left her an outcast and pariah. But a chance encounter with Akihito Kanbara, whose own lineage is only partially human and allows him to heal from almost any injury, may have finally given her a chance at finding peace. When the cost of that path becomes apparent, will the two of them be willing to pay the price for a true happy ending? Even if it’s achieved, how long can it last in a world where Mirai’s mere existence is seen as a lethal threat?

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for these features are pretty straightforward with the original Japanese language track and the new English language track done up in 5.1 and encoded using the DTS-HD MA lossless codec. The show is one that does balance the action and dialogue sides well but for the most part it doesn’t really go too much bigger here in movie form than it did with the TV incarnation. The action component for the show uses the forward soundstage well to tell its tales well as Mirai leaps about the place and the yomu and general sound effects are well placed and have a good sense of impact about them without overpowering. The flow of it is solid and the music complements it as well without overpowering it either. Dialogue works in a more straightforward fashion as it’s mostly center channel based with what it does as it moves between characters but changes the focus more than panning about. It’s something that comes across well and the mixes for both tracks are solid and problem free.

Video:
Originally airing in 2015, the transfer for these two movies are presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. Both films are on the same Blu-ray discs here whereas the DVD side breaks them onto separate discs. Animated by Kyoto Animation, the films have a strong visual design that you’d expect and a handsome amount of detail throughout to give it a really lived in and engaging feeling. Both works largely capture the same look and design as the TV series, which was a strong looking one to begin with, so it keeps in line with that here to good effect The transfer captures this look well with colors that are solid and rich in presentation, detail that doesn’t break apart, and some very fluid motion sequences that are some of the strongest out there. I loved the look of this show and Mirai’s blood magic in particular with how it moved about the screen and the color definition of it. It’s brought out beautifully here with a fantastic look that stands out and has you revisiting it. The transfer pretty much hits all the right notes with what it needs to do and the end result is smooth and clean.

Packaging:
The packaging for this release comes in a standard sized Blu-ray case and has a hinge inside to hold two of the discs. The front cover artwork uses the familiar key visual for the film that gives us our two leads in their pretty regular outfits. The colors for the cover definitely provide some eye-catching elements and overall it has an appealing look. I like the simple strip along the top noting that it’s a combo release as well as it doesn’t stand out in a distracting way. The back cover has some good visuals from the film with an expansive piece along the top and some smaller shots below it. The extras are clearly listed, though a little tough to read with it being red on black, while the technical grid is clean and easy to read in figuring out what each format has to offer. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.

Menu:
THe menu design for this release works from the cover artwork but expanded to the left side more as we get a good look at the two leads and the setting behind them with its creepy colors and all. The logo is kept simple and the main draw is that of the characters themselves in all the right ways. The navigation is kept to the lower left with easy access to each film and the usual submenus past that. This is nicely designed in black and red with the inky black all around it in a good and creepy way. Everything loads quickly and the menu has a good look as both the main menu and as the pop-up menu during playback.

Extras:
The extras for this release are pretty minimal overall as we get the trailers and promos from the Japanese side to see how it was promoted there. We also get the music video closing in clean form and the cute dance music video itself that was such a big mini-viral event when the TV series aired.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the light novel series that began in 2012 by Nagomu Torii, Beyond the Boundary has three volumes to it and was done up as a twelve episode series back in 2013 from Kyoto Animation The novels are interesting in that the first one was actually entered into the Kyoto Animation Award contest back in 2011 and won an honorable mention, which the company then used to get it published in 2012 and then adapt it into an anime series. This provided them with an interesting approach to new content that wasn’t quite in-house, but came close enough while still not being among their stable of regulars or approaching the usual parties to adapt something else. That said, Kyoto Animation is no stranger to the “dark fantasy” genre either, so it fit in well.

The design of this film project is fairly familiar in that while there’s the desire to make a new film you also have to be able to make it accessible to new viewers, hence the compilation film. That’s what the first film is here as it attempts to take about five hours of material in twelve episodes and bring it down to a manageable eighty minute running time, the equivalent of about four episodes. Suffice to say, having seen the TV series in simulcast and complete form previously, the first film does a weak job in getting things done. It covers the main points well enough and you get the point A to point B side of things, but all the real characterization is lost that you get in the TV series. That’s almost a given but there are some film compilations that can do this well. The problem becomes in that for new viewers to the property you don’t have a strong emotional connection going into the second film.

The second film, going under the name of Mirai-hen, aka The Future, serves as a kind of closure to the TV series. But it’s one that you know how it’s going to end because it’s going to “fix” the things from the end of the TV series where it felt a touch ambiguous but mostly hopeful. Most frustrating is that while it does end with some good lines it leaves you in a place where once again I want the story that comes after, not the will they or won’t they. With Mirai back in the world months after the events of the first film, she’s in a weird place because she doesn’t remember anything of what happened or her abilities and is largely a regular high school girl at this point. That’s hard for Akihito for obvious reasons while the others are doing their best to protect her so that she doesn’t get sucked into that dark world again, which Akihito is totally fine with because he cares about her as well.

The problem is that while Akihito is struggling with all of this as he really is a calm looking emotional mess, Mirai’s slowly starting to realize that she’s not normal and is beginning to secretly experiment with her abilities. Combine that with a new darkness that’s slinking back into the world that’s about to go big and wide, making for an action ending after being a hidden threat for much of the film, With the way that Akihito has to be kind of distant with her but also having had some emotional moments when she first returned and “woke up,” she knows there’s something different about their relationship that she can’t pin down. So when she reveals to him some of what she can do it’s her reaching out for help from him because she has that underlying sense that he’ll be there for her. Naturally, he is, but there’s that concern about what he really is and how it could spike everything.

It’s not a bad film but it is largely by the numbers when you get down to it. Visually, Kyoto Animation delivers as it looks great and builds naturally from what I thought was a great looking TV series already. The designs are appealing, the fluidity of the action and movement sequences is great when it kicks into the serious side, and the color palette is the right kind of richness that I like. But the film reminded me in some ways of the end of the original Terminator film in that we got our ending with the TV series and it had a good kind of somber yet positive side to it. Here, it’s like the bad guy has to rise one more time and our leads have to defeat it before they can finally say what needs to be said. Akihito, sadly, don’t say it fully and that really frustrated me more than I expected.

In Summary:
The Beyond the Boundary movie set is a solid addition overall because it does give us that last bit of closure with the TV series. We touch upon most of the cast, nowhere near as much as we might with a second season of this, but where things unfold is handled pretty well and it’s visually appealing from top to bottom. Sentai’s release is definitely strong when it comes to the two films with a great bilingual presentation and beautiful visuals. I’m still not sure how well it’ll resonate with someone who hasn’t seen the TV series because I don’t think the first movie brought the material to life in condensed form as well as it needed to. But for fans of the show the second film gives us that extended closure for our two leads and that’s what counts.

Features:
Japanese DTS-HD MA 5.1 Language, English DTS-HD MA 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Japanese Trailer & Promos, “Future Star” Dance Music Video, and Dance Music Video Clean Close Animation

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

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: August 22nd, 2017
MSRP: $49.98
Running Time: 180 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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