I didn’t cover a lot of first episodes I watched this season. Mostly because they were all rubbish, but in Kyosogigia’s case it was because the first episode aired was billed as an episode 0. It was the exact same as the web-release thing from a year or so ago and was, even on second viewing, still completely incomprehensible. Absolutely beautiful, but a pile of total nonsense. Thankfully episode 1 came out and wasn’t a heap of impenetrable noise. Turns out it was quite good. How it relates to the 5 episode web anime that came after the original Kyosogiga release I’m afraid I don’t know because I didn’t watch that. But if you’re totally new to all this, skip episode 0 and just watch episode 1 of Kyosogigia.
The first episode felt like an old Brother’s Grimm fairy tale as told through a modern, faintly British style of storytelling. Not in that it sugar-coats over the gorier details or anything like that, although if this was written by the Brother’s Grimm I’d bet it ended on the rabbit eating all her children or something like that. It was more in that it felt like an old wives tale but with modern people with a sense of humour playing the characters. The rabbit that falls in love with the human is slightly eccentric and batty, with personality and charm rather than an indistinct fair lady. The children don’t frolic mindlessly. They feel like actual children and do things like fight each other and get bopped on the head and probably make fart jokes.
The artstyle lends itself to this style quite well. While not as wild as the episode 0, it still likes to jump about a bit with exaggerated actions and bursts of colour. It still looks cartoony but without ever losing the detail in the artwork or style its trying to achieve. The meshing of the fable style of story with the more personable, cartoony directing and slightly dry character sense of humour means you end up taking the best parts from each style. It has the depth of the fairy tale, the personality of the cartoony, and the characters of a…errr, thing with good characters. Yeah.
It is rushed though. The first episode feels like a story-setting flashback to the real story when Koto and her magical polka dot hammer appears. In the space of the first episode a kid is ostracised, grows up, gets a girl, starts a family, moves house, gets uncomfortable, kid feels unsettled, and even more stuff all in the space of that 20 minutes. It’s less rushed than it sounds, if only because it sounds like it’s moving at 5 million miles an hour. That’s fine if this really was the setup to the real story. It’s done a really good job of laying the groundwork to a fascinating story and has all the right elements. Just gotta hope it doesn’t turn to nonsense again.