Kyousougiga Ends

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You have to admit that there is something problematic about a show that devotes 10 of its episodes to telling the actual story, one episode to explaining the symbolism (to the Japanese audience!), and one final episode to explaining what the heck happened.
Kyousougiga end
I’m not sorry that I watched Kyousougiga (Crunchyroll) but I won’t recommend it to the average viewer. It’s interesting but vaguely unsatisfying.

The show strings together a whole bunch of obscure references, most associated with the Kyoto region, including

  • Myoue, an influential 13th century monk.
  • A number of temples and shrines from the Kyoto area including the Kouzan-ji (which Myoue founded).
  • The Choujuugiga, a set of comical illustrated scrolls kept at the Kouzan-ji, which many consider to be the first example of a Japanese manga. (This is the source of the rabbit/monkey/frog images.)
  • Lewis Carroll, particularly Through the Looking Glass.

Scjene from the Choujuugiga

Scene from the Choujuugiga

However I don’t feel that all this fits together well. It feels like somebody went around Kyoto, collected some interesting images, added some quotes from Lewis Carroll, then tried to work it all into a story.

Worse, I find the characters unappealing. The main characters are all basically gods, but they are the sort of gods who seem to spend all their time either brooding or smashing things. It’s all rather uninspiring.

If you want to watch a challenging anime series that features complicated symbolism, non-linear storytelling and multiple universes then you would do better to watch 2011’s Mawaru Penguindrum (Anime Network). Like Kyousougiga it takes some mental effort to follow, but it is much more entertaining and satisfactory, with characters who actually seem human.