A boat beneath a sunny sky,
Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July —
Children three that nestle near,
eager eye and willing ear,
Pleased a simple tale to hear —
Long has paled that sunny sky:
Echoes fade and memories die.
Autumn frosts have slain July.
Ever drifting down a stream —
Lingering in the golden gleam —
Life, what is it but a dream?
(Carroll, as qtd. in Kyousogiga)
Any fan of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There will recognize this version of Lewis Carroll’s poem and understand that what he or she is about to experience will no doubt be an adventure to boggle the senses. Kyousogiga definitely does not disappoint, as it takes the ideas of Wonderland and all its colorful characters and re-imagines them in a style reminiscent of FLCL…and maybe a little bit of Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon‘s beginning. Granted, I don’t even like FLCL (I’ve only seen it once, back as a beginner to anime), and I’ve only seen one episode of Horizon, but I know for sure that I took to Kyousogiga 10 times better than I did to either of them. This could be due to a large number of reasons, such as art style, setting, and literary influence, but overall I enjoyed every second of my romp through Mirror Kyoto.
If we’re to try and strip the overlying events to a single plot and skeleton, then I imagine that it would look something like this:
Regular humans Koto and her two little brothers have been swept away into a Kyoto that mirrors their own, only one with far less limitations to the imagination than either of them have ever dreamed about. This is a world where creatures of every shape and form walk and live together, those that appear as human, as spirits, or even as robots. The three of them wreck havoc daily with their otherworldly strength and power, though their acts transition from the intent for fun to that of finding their way back home via a mysterious rabbit.
The destruction catches the attention of other beings who seem to be from parallel dimensions, including one who treats the world as a giant video game and another trio of rulers who act as representatives for the saints, demons, and humans of this Wonderland-like world–they all have their reasons for wanting to capture the siblings, the least of which includes sending them back on their way out of this mirror world. In a battle with the two heads of the saints and demons, we learn that these “god” siblings believe that young Koto is in fact their mother and the maker of Mirror Kyoto. Lady Koto’s subsequent return releases human Koto and her brothers from the clutches of the higher beings, but does not insure the siblings’ journey back home, which they are told is no longer reachable.
There are a lot of ways to tackle this short piece of work, and I’m not going to even try to do so here after only one viewing. I do want to point out, however, that Kyousogiga overflows with a love for animation and all its freedoms, a love I can see in its carnival of images and ideas. I remain impressed by the amount of characters and ground covered in the ONA’s short 25 minutes, which pales in comparison to the depth of material available for analysis. I observed literary, religious, sexual, and parallel world approaches that could be taken with this single episode, and that’s only after a one-time viewing of it. I knew while I watched it that I was probably missing a million little details amidst all the shapes and explosions. There is confusion, but there’s also confusion at its finest. I’m not sure if Kyousogiga quite makes the top, but it certainly does what it does with a chaotic sense of finesse.
Overall: 8/10 (Very Good)
Plan: rewatch FLCL over my short Christmas break.