This weekend I indulged in a double bill of anime movie sequels. Saturday morning I watched the excellent Girls und Panzer der Film and on Sunday I checked out the follow up to Beyond the Boundary – subtitled I’ll Be Here. There are actually two Beyond the Boundary movies, available to buy in the UK via Manga Entertainment’s combo pack, but the focus of this review will be on the one dubbed Future Arc. I see no point in covering the Past Chapter film, as it is one of those horrible recap movies. Why watch an abridged version of the series when you can just enjoy the show instead? Beyond the Boundary is only twelve episodes long, so hardly a huge time investment. The only point of including a recap movie in this bundle is to inflate the DVD’s asking price. For shame!
I’ll Be Here takes place one year after the show’s conclusion. With Izumi going AWOL, it falls on her Siscon brother Hiroomi to take control of the Nase clan and assume responsibility for protecting their hometown from evil Youmu. Meanwhile, over in the local high school, immortal hybrid Akihito Kanbara and barrier summoner Mitsuki Nase continue to run the academy’s Literary Club. The club has shrunk in size as former member Mirai Kuriyama is suffering from amnesia, after barely surviving the show’s finale. Don’t feel bad Mirai, I too suffer from memory loss. Whilst watching this movie it soon became apparent that I was struggling to recall key events from the original anime. Who can blame me though, given that it aired four years ago? Maybe I should have watched the recap movie after all!
Although it pains Akihito, that knowledge of their relationship has been purged from Mirai’s mind, he feels it would be best not to remind Mirai of her tragic past. Unaware of her superhuman agility and cursed blood, Mirai can enjoy the life of a regular teenage girl. Ignorance is bliss after all. How long the secret can be kept hidden from Mirai remains to be seen though, as she has become the target of a hooded assailant who controls seemingly indestructible minions. The identity of the attacker is a mystery, as is the race of the servants he commands. Said creatures are too weak to be Youmu, but they can’t be mindless puppets either as they seem to possess a degree of intellect. Can our heroes unmask the villain before he harms Akihito’s favourite bespectacled beauty? Only time will tell.
My rating for Beyond the Boundary: I’ll Be Here is a three out of five. I really enjoyed the series and only declined awarding it full marks due to the inconclusive ending. This movie on the other hand is the complete opposite. I found the story to be mediocre, but on the plus side it does wrap up the franchise in a satisfactory manner. Many elements of the show, which I enjoyed such as the humour and action, are absent from this slow paced flick. The script is heavy on drama and tears, so there aren’t many jokes aside from a scene were Mirai showcases how poor she is at playing tennis. On the action front I thought that the battles were flashy, as you’d expect from a KyoAni production bolstered by a movie budget, but many of the fights are guilty of ending seconds after they begin.
For better or worse Beyond the Boundary: I’ll Be Here is one of those anime movies were conflicts are resolved by characters yelling out their feelings, rather than dishing out a super powered smack down. To quote Mirai, the movie isn’t “unpleasant” to watch, but it didn’t quite live up to the years of anticipation I had for it. Despite my misgivings I would still recommend purchasing the film, if you are a fan of the series, as there is a good payoff for sitting through the motion picture’s ninety minutes. Just like a Marvel movie I strongly advise that you refrain from hitting the eject button until the credits have finished rolling. Paying over a tenner to experience an ending that could easily have been tacked onto the original series is a bit steep, but hey it’s not all bad. The recap movie disc makes for a nice coaster.