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Kokkoku: First Impressions (Winter Anime 2018)

Kokkoku: Moment by Moment originally caught my eye due to its unique synopsis, and the excellent animation that was exhibited in the series’ preview video. However, upon finishing the first episode, not only was I left feeling disappointed, I question how it well it shall fair as the season proceeds.

In the first episode, we meet Juri Yukawa as she struggles to find employment. When she returns home, she is frustrated with her NEET brother and father, who seem to have no ambition apart from sitting at home and watching television, or playing video games. When her sister asks her to pick her up her nephew from school, she convinces her brother to go to get him out of the house. As he approaches the school, both the nephew and brother are kidnapped. Juri receives a call for ransom in exchange for her family members’ lives. Through various plot events, Juri’s grandfather reveals to her an ability to stop time entirely, one which he hopes will assist them in getting their family back unharmed.

Kokkoku: Moment by Moment was originally a seinen, horror manga series written by Seita Horio. The anime adaptation is being produced by Geno Studio and directed by Yoshimitsu Ohashi.

I have plenty of mixed feelings regarding the pilot episode. The negative feelings I have are mostly related to the animation. In the preview video, the animation was great. But the episode itself showed us a brew of styles that did not completely blend well together, thus creating a bit of an awkward watching experience. Scenery shots were detailed and very pretty, while the rest of it was average at best. The animation did get more appealing during certain action sequences, but overall retained its blandness. There are CG elements to the episode, however its used in a stiff way that makes it obvious and unnatural.

The story’s foundation was laid out decently. We get introduced to our main characters, a conflict is revealed along with some special qualities, such as the ability to stop time, and the episode comes to close with an action-packed revelation that I assume was supposed to incite excitement on the level of intense cliff-hangers, which it did not. Notwithstanding, for a first episode, it covered everything it needed to. Nonetheless, I felt there was something missing. I am not entirely sure what, but it was a weird vibe that I got. I wish I could explain it better, yet that is the best way for me to describe it. Something was missing.

The story in and of itself is a strange one, but it is unique enough to make me want to keep watching to see how things shall unravel. The fast-paced progression also helped to maintain the suspense of the situation, and the animation, while being in disarray, did not completely detract from the viewing experience. I would say that episode one of Kokkoku was slightly above average, to say the least. My goal is to watch another couple of episodes to see if I can really get caught up with it, or to discover that it may not be my cup of chai in the end.

All in all, I would recommend this for people who are interested in strange, horror type shows that have a gritty type of aura to it. If you do not mind something that it tightly wound and heavy with tension. Just do not go into it expecting a masterpiece. Go into with a grain of salt.

Also, I would briefly like to mention that Kokkoku has one of the most bizarre fucking openings that I have seen in a long time.

You can catch Kokkoku on Amazon Prime’s Video streaming service in select countries.

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