Kyousogiga ONA: A Mirror, A Search for a Rabbit, and What Koto Found There

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.


11 thoughts on “Kyousogiga ONA: A Mirror, A Search for a Rabbit, and What Koto Found There

  1. “There is confusion, but there’s also confusion at its finest.” For me confusion tend to be a bad thing, even at it’s “finest”. For that reason I don’t tend to like the kind of shows, usually called “Fabulous” by fans, as much as other people do (like Sore wo Kakeru Shoujo, Stardriver, Mawaru Penguindrum). The animation quality seemed weak, but then it may be because I watched it from someone who used a bad but earlier released RAW.

    All negativity aside, I did enjoy this episode, especially around the end where things started making more sense. I think this series does have a potential to become a TV series. Gave it 7/10.


    • Yeah, I’m not a big fan of confusion either since I like to know exactly what is going on and why most of the time. I guess I just went into this expecting the chaos since I had seen the PV for it. I also knew it was inspired by Alice, so I also expected that. I haven’t seen Sore wo Kakeru Shoujo or Stardriver, so I can’t say much about those, but I loooooove the chaos in Penguindrum. I do wonder if the art style in Kyousogiga will improve with a BD release.

      A TV series would definitely be interesting, but I’m not so sure it would be as shockingly effective as this ONA.


  2. I was surprised to hear all of this came from one twenty minute episode. I thought surely that this was a series you were speaking of when you first started to summarize the on-goings.

    The show sounds like serious fun, but I am a fan of FLCL.


    • Yes, the amount packed in is impressive. When I first saw the anime on the charts, I was under the impression that it would be a full season series due to its summary and the fact that it was listed next to other TV series. I was pretty disappointed that it would be a 1-episode ONA.


  3. I don’t know. For me, I loved the confusion in Penguindrum, in FLCL, in Star Driver and in Sore wo Kakeru Shoujo. Those were confusing, but it was confusion with a purpose behind it: it all either furthered the plot, introduced symbolism, or made you laugh. But Kyousogiga’s confusion didn’t seem like that to me. It was just confusion for the sake of confusion. It had no point, and I would have had to rewatch it several times to get the vaguest idea of what happened. It introduced a bunch of ideas, but none of them really mattered and it was like they were just shouting things out randomly because they could.

    Anyway, I would be interested in reading your analysis, because you aren’t the only one who seems to be getting something out of this, but I am completely missing it. 🙂


    • I will most definitely have to take some critical approaches to the anime, so I don’t sound like some babbling fan trying to convince others of something that isn’t there…because they most definitely ARE there :p There’s tons of symbolism, a good percentage of which I felt could actually represent several different thoughts. I’m just a bit daunted by writing out these kinds of posts since I don’t do them very often 🙂


  4. I loved this thing the first time through, and I find it keeps improving with each subsequent viewing — though I think a lot of that improvement amounts to a promise. There’s so much promising, pregnant detail in this short film that I feel confident that more episodes will shed light on and reveal the order behind the chaos.

    By the way, I thought “little brothers” at first, too, because they refer to Koto as “onee-chan”, but it’s not that uncommon for little kids to do that to non-relatives. So maybe the boys are Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

    If you like this, you might try to find the very short (15 minute) film Noiseman sound insect, which, among other things, has a soundtrack by Yoko Kanno.

    Another odd little OVA that I’d file with this one is Amuria in star ocean. That one is a good deal more coherent from the start, and not quite as manic, but it has lots of visual and design creativity.


    • Aw, thanks for the recommendations! I’ll definitely take a look around and see if I can find them 🙂

      I haven’t gone for multiple viewings of Kyousogiga, but it’s definitely on my to-do list since I want to do more in-depth posts about it. And the main reason I consider those boys her siblings is because I’m pretty sure I heard the three of them called “kyoudai”, but maybe they were just referring to the two brothers. I was under the impression that they were also all looking for the way back home.


  5. I thought this was rather interesting, and I really do hope there will be more of it. I love Wonderland stuff, and the animation was so cool-looking. The characters all seemed rather likeable, too–which is always a big help.


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