Tuesday, November 13, 2012

[Ended] Horizon on the Middle of Nowhere II: Coherence On Top of Nonsense

Though  it was actually among the first several series from last season I finished watching, it ended up being the last series in the end-of-season review block--it took me quite some time to write up a review that in my opinion is worthy of the series it's reviewing. On top of that, save the best for the last, right? So here comes:

Even towards the end of the second series, I still find myself asking the same question once a while: "What is this I am watching?!! It looks like a bunch of nonsense!" Yet at the same time, lack of coherence is never an issue, throughout the story. That may sound a bit contradicting, but it really isn't. Let me tell you why:

As I said during season one's review, in order to understand and appreciate this story, you have to wipe your mind clear of the realm you currently exist in, i.e. throw away everything you know as "common sense" or "indisputable fact" in the universe you live in, and then rebuild a new one from scratch with whatever this story gives you, at its face value. Then you'll have an universe that everything in this story just makes complete sense, period.

No doubt, denying everything you know since birth as the truth is a bit difficult to do. That may be one contributing factor that Horizon does not have as many stellar reviews as it deserves. But if you manage to do so successfully, you're bound for a wild ride with some amazingly interesting characters and lots of massively complex plots. I know this may come out sounding a bit, um, arrogant, but I'll say it anyway: don't hate the anime, hate yourself for not understanding it.

From time to time, I did forget to tune out of our reality. Those are the times I would roll my head side way and think "WTF am I watching?" But it usually wouldn't take too long before I was able to snap out of it and enjoy what to come.

Now I'm finished ranting about how you should prepare yourself for the series, let's talk about this second season. While it feels very much like the first season, the elements they decide impose emphasis upon has shifted slightly--during season one, due to the fact the audiences were forcefully thrown into an unknown universe, they placed more emphasis on character development, especially on the main group, so that audience would have something familiar they can feel attached to while desperately trying to not drown in the flood of unfamiliar building blocks for this new universe. In this second season, however, since those who are continuing on most likely already have a pretty good grasp of the settings, the story branched into a bigger scope where you see a larger number of additional characters come into play in a much more complicated political situation, which in my opinion, is the sweet spot of this series at.

If you honestly tried, but still have trouble getting everything, then I would recommend you to go through the "Preface" and "Glossary" of the novel (which, unlike normal novels, they are at the beginning of the book) that is available in fan translation by baka-tsuki (though it's a bit difficult to resist the temptation in continuing reading the rest of the novel once you're there :-)

One thing did bother me a bit during this season, is that either the animator or the author of the story up-played a bit too much on the "naked Tori". As I see it, aside from a very few situation that his "naked-ness" actually contributed to resolving certain situation (yeah, surprisingly), for the most part, it's just down right unnecessary.

Though there's no clear announcement like it had in the end of season one, the final moments of this season two showed some new characters that are relevant in the future story. It's possible they simply pulled them directly from the novel's original artwork, but I do hope they keep make more.

All in all, if you can shift your mind into the universe, this is one amazing story, even though it still gets my

WTF of the Year for 2012


[Edit 11/14/12] One thing I forgot to mention because I was a bit too absorbed in recalling the story of Horizon, is that there's an anime that came out in 2009 that is equally amazing in terms of building a completely coherent story with elements that you couldn't make any sense of. It's called "Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo" (US release translates it to Girl who Leapt through Space, not to confuse it with Girl who Leapt through Time which is a completely different anime has nothing to do with each other). If you liked Horizon, you would like it equally.

Final Scoreboard:

Drama: 92 (Quite dramatic)

Comedy: 90 (No lack of that)
Action: 93 (Over the top, hilarious, and exciting) 
Art/Animation: 88 (Original design from the novel)
Sound/Music: 90 (Quite good)
Character: 93 (Lots of interesting ones)
Plot: 97 (Wild ride)
Ending: 92 (Good wrap up point for the moment)

Re-watch value: 80 - You might need to do that to wrap your brain around it

Overall: 92 - Get ready to be Blown Away

Recommendation: If you get it, you'll love it. If not, well, sorry, you're missing out on one amazing story.


Reik said...

I feel so much better now hahaha - How far did you get into the novel? I picked it up after the first season and its great (sucks that i dont have much time to read it)- as for naked tori that only annoyed me when "crotch shots" happenend or when he was sent flying and landed on weird positions.
The OST was awesome, one of the best i've seen in anime i think i downloaded all the OST and all the singles they added to Jpopsuki.
And about the third season, i'am willing to put my hand on the fire that there will be a third season - they showed so many important characters on that last episode and the sales on horizon are so great it would be really stupid of them to stop production - and thanks for bearing with my "rushy" and grammarless posts!
Oh and gj on the review, coudnt agree more

The Evil Cat said...

you're on Jpopsuki?! do you have any invitation handy? I sure like to get into Jpopsuki...^_^

I haven't read much of the actually novel content, I've only been using its preface and glossary for reference purpose

glad you like the review :D

btw, if you haven't already seen it, an anime came out in 2009 which is similar in almost every single way to Horizon, called "Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo", translated version call it "the Girl who Leapt through Space". It is an equally amazing anime. If you liked Horizon, you would most definitely love it too.

Reik said...

Yeah, i have 2 invites atm, just leave your email down and i'll throw you an invite when i read this post again!
I've seen the movie called "The Girl that leapt through time" :P
I'll probabbly check the space version (probabbly unrelated)

Reik said...

Oh these are the "basic" warnings they give me so just to let you know: Do NOT send invites to sbcglobal.net mail accounts, they will never arrive!

Please note that the selling of our invitations is strictly forbidden, and will result in you and your entire invite tree being banned.

Make sure that the user you are about to invite knows the basics about torrenting and how to keep up his ratio, if not - teach him! If a user you invited shows up on the forum asking questions that he should already know the answer to, you MIGHT get into trouble.

The Evil Cat said...

Thanks. you can send it to rljps_at_theevilcat.com (replace _at_ with @)

lol, don't worry, I'm usually the quiet one in any forum. I don't usually ask anything unless I absolutely can't find the answer myself.

I'm familiar with the ratio as I've been in bakaBt for a while.

Reik said...

Alright, sent it! good luck and enjoy! I'll send you some points later in the month i just need to farm them a bit.

basically points are traded into ratio so :P