Kokkoku: Season 1 – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Title card for the anime Kokkoku.
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Kokkoku ultimately is like walking down a dead end street, reaching the end, and continuing to walk forward, into an empty lot, hoping to find something valuable.


Network
Amazon Prime
Creator Seita Horio
Noted Cast
Makoto Ryuto Iwata
Tsubasa Hirofumi Nojima
Juri Chika Anzai
Grandpa Kazuhiro Yamaji
Sagawa Hozumi Goda
Majima Asami Seto
Takafumi Koji Tsujitani

Summary

In order to gain exclusive access to this still time state known as “Stasis,” The Genuine Love Society kidnaps a little kid named Makoto, his uncle Tsubasa. Following that, they coerce Tsubasa’s sister Juri and their grandpa to go into stasis so they can rescue them. This is all done with a single stone which allows two-way travel of which The Genuine Love Society only has one which allows them to enter stasis but not exit. However, with capturing Juri and grandpa, they now have the only two known ways to get into stasis which is part one of their leader, Sagawa’s, plan.

The second part is investigating these giant things, protectors of those who cannot move, known as Harolds, or Heralds[note]I can’t remember the spelling[/note]. Something which isn’t just of Sagawa’s interest, as he tries to study them to obtain their, and the specters (who allow them to be in stasis) power. Majima, Sagawa’s associate, also has her own agenda for going into stasis and those two, alongside a dozen other people, pose a serious problem for Juri, Grandpa, and their whole family’s safety.

Luckily, Grandpa has powers, as does Juri, and later we find a third family member does too. Something which helps tip the scales but with them not just outnumbered, but dealing with some who are outright criminals, sacrifices are made. The kind which makes it seem death may not be the worse thing that could happen.

Highlights

It Had Potential

There are quite a few factors involved that made this show get a positive first impression. It began with a sense of normalcy, a young girl trying to get a job and thinking she did badly. Then people are kidnapped, we enter another world, this weird religious cult is calling upon these gargantuan beings, and then there is hope they’ll break everything down and deliver quite the payoff.

Low Points

It Doesn’t Try To Make Any Character That Interesting or Elaborate Much

One of the disciples asking why does the Genuine Love Society exist?

Let me clarify, while we are presented the backgrounds of characters like Majima and Sagawa, they aren’t presented to us in such a way to make us invested in them. Then, to make matters worse, Juri’s whole family, while nice people, recognizably our heroes, there isn’t much to say about them. We know they are considered poor and Makoto’s dad isn’t seemingly an active part of his life, but that’s it.

Which would have been okay if stasis was at least built up, since then the characters could be written off as mediums for us to experience the still world. Yeah, not the case. We do learn they are within a frame of time, specters control the world, Harolds/ Heralds defend those who can’t move about, and the only way to get in is through one of the few stones made and out through a single one. Oh, and if you get too depressed, you become a Herald. As for how you become a specter or what they are? That is much harder to say since it isn’t explained.

But, generally speaking, questions are always the bigger focus than answers. How does this work, that work, how did Sagawa become a Herald/Harold hybrid? What was that character’s name again? Why is Takafumi, Juri’s dad, so annoying? I mean, you’ll make it through the show but not be left with much to talk about.

The Genuine Love Society’s Hoodlums Obsession With Sex And Even Rape

Majima's reaction to Mr. Kato proposing sex in exchange for his help.

Though mostly gotten rid of after the first few episodes, it was a bit weird how far the show wanted to push the idea that The Genuine Love Society hired legit criminals. You get it was for the sake of numbers, but considering how many were brought over, it seemed like overkill – at first. Plus, it sets you up for another disappointment in terms of tone.

Let me explain, with how messed up these criminals are, to the point of trying to rape Juri, it makes you think The Genuine Love Society is all the way messed up and taking the idea of being a villain past episode 1 expectations. Yet, thankfully, Juri isn’t raped but also we learn the Genuine Love Society isn’t as diabolical as they seem. They just hired some really f***ed up people for one of Sagawa’s experiments.

On The Fence

Majima and Sagawa’s Character Backgrounds

Sagawa noting how tired Grandpa and Juri must be of his story.

On one hand, you have to appreciate we got to see Sagawa and Majima’s past. Yet, on the other, Majima’s only really helped explained how people become Harolds/ Heralds and Sagawa’s was about humanizing him. Which, considering the type of villain he was presented as, kind of ruins his character. Also, when a character themselves talks about how boring their monolog is, that is a warning sign.

Overall: Negative (Don’t Watch)

I would love to say this is something to stick around for but it lacks pay off. Then, to add insult to injury, the ending presents the most convenient solution to a character’s problem you feel like the one thing which made things tense got thrown out. But, to follow that, you don’t even get a compelling epilogue with the characters. Especially someone like Majima whose ending you will have an acute desire to know because of her special circumstances.

Leading to the negative rating. I can’t firmly say if it is because it just didn’t live up to any of its potential or because you’ll feel strung along throughout the whole thing. Either way, I’m left more so with regret for seriously thinking this could get better vs. just dropping it when it became clear it wouldn’t.

Has Another Season Been Confirmed?: I can’t find anything on a second season.

Episode List

Episode 1
Kokkoku presents an oddly satisfying opener which makes the death of Anime Strike something to celebrate.
Episode 2
As some of the rules of the stasis are established, there are tests to see what the overseers may and may not allow.
Episode 3
A lot of information about specters are dropped but, with only Majima even having an inkling of a clue of what is happening, we’re mostly left in the dark.
Episode 4
We start to dig into Juri’s mysterious gift as Majima continues to slowly unravel what she knows and her past.
Episode 5
Majima’s past and connection to Juri is revealed as a trap is laid using Takafumi and the fate of Tsubasa in question.
Episode 6
Majima forces the Yazuma family to help her rescue her family and it leads to interesting results.
Episode 7
As Majima receives the happiest bit of news ever, Sagawa might have gone too far with his disciples and hired help.
Episode 8
As Sagawa tests the possibility of being a human with Herald like abilities, Juri, and co. struggle on how to combat their disadvantage.
Episode 9
As Juri does something drastic, we discover someone else in her family has a power which may shift who has the upper hand.
Episode 10
What could have been the final battle and end of Sagawa segues into talking about his childhood… yeah.
Episode 11
It’s a rather strange episode as Sagawa being humanized continues and Juri comes to terms with the inevitable.
Episode 12
Kokkoku comes to an uninspiring end that decides to push a character who, at the last minute, could give Juri hope.

 

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