If there’s a show on my watchlist I did not expect to make it to the end of the season, it’s The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window. No other premiere let me in such conflict after the first episode, both loving and hating the presentation but still curious to see how it could change for the better. Ultimately, I do think the work succeeded in world building and character development, even if it floundered its way there.
The occult nature of Tricornered Window drew me in where mostly ignorance prevailed; I knew nothing about the source material and hadn’t looked into reception towards the anime. Obviously there was BL involved, but that isn’t any kind of deterrent–I’m always a sucker for good romance. So when I spun up the first episode, I hoped for the best even if I didn’t expect much. I’ve waffled on writing this review for several weeks now mainly out of confusion about how to even describe my feelings towards this show. I hated the first episode. Hated. While the supernatural side of the story interested me, I was horrified at Rihito Hiyakawa’s portrayal. His initial interest in main character Kousuke Mikado went far beyond curiosity; it veered deep into obsession. His claim to help failed to pass review with his possessive assault of a confused individual. That entire scene where Rihito delves into Mikado’s soul generated an intense revulsion I can only compare to my reaction to rape.
That disgust very nearly ended my time with Tricornered Window. I continued with the series because of my inexplicable curiosity in how Mikado would react to this situation and how he might grow from it. I gave zero fucks about Rihito–a more than ironic attitude given the character development at the end of the show. Rihito turns out to be our main focus and someone you arguably sympathize with once you learn his traumatic history. This by no means excuses his actions then and now, but it does give more context to why he is the way that he is and helps the viewer see him as a human, albeit a very damaged one.
Part of my reluctance to drop the show stemmed from not only Mikado and his later familial connections, but also Erika’s relationship with death, curses, and her family. The beginning of the series paints her as a villain whose very name is a curse that appears almost everywhere Mikado and Rihito investigate. Even when we do learn more about her abilities and motivations, there are still wrongs she needs to atone for. Either way, I was impressed at the show’s ability to get me to eventually like her despite the horrors we witness early on.
Another aspect of this world that interested me that I don’t see too often is the armor provided by disbelief. Oftentimes in other occult stories, those people are just as susceptible to danger, or more so. Here, strong disbelief protects people like Hiroki Hanzawa, a cop who understands enough to call in specialist Rihito but whose mental fortitude prevents curses or other supernatural effects from taking hold. This stands in contrast to ignorance, which seems to not be enough protection–when his wife is attacked as an innocent bystander, she takes the full brunt of the curse. This might suggest her inclinations towards belief, even when she hadn’t made a conscious decision in that moment.
I would only recommend this show to people particularly interested in the occult and willing to get past a horrible start to see the story and characters develop. I do not view Tricornered Window as a notable example of romance. View it more as an analysis of criminals and the events that can lead to their thoughts and actions.
Rating: 1 dango
- 0 dango – average and forgettable.
- 1 dango – very good in its category.
- 2 dango – excellent show that is worth a try.
- 3 dango – exceptional show one must watch.