War is a reality. It’s something we as humans have come to somewhat understand, and we know that it isn’t good. It spreads death and sadness, and benefits no party. The unfortunate truth is that there will always be war and the cast of ‘Horizon In The Middle of Nowhere’ know this all too well.
The inhabitants of Earth were once able to soar high up into the heavens and across the galaxy, but one fated day this ability was taken from them and they were cast back down, forever locked to the confines of the planet’s gravitational reach. Ages later, the remaining Earth countries take place in a perpetual war that rages from land to land with death tolls that are constantly on the rise.
To say ‘Horizon In The Middle of Nowhere’ follows only one main character would be an error on my part. Something odd but ultimately interesting about the Anime is that – despite the front cover only featuring the two ‘supposed’ leads – it actually gives most of the characters some time in the spotlight. Often the main male and female lead, Tori Aoi and Horizon Ariadust, are pushed to the wayside so that ‘lesser’ characters can be explored a little better.
That’s not to say they actually are though…but I’ll discuss this more very soon. An apocalyptic war is just on the horizon (please excuse my pun) and the remaining world’s armies are now going head-to-head in ways never seen before. Though there has been constant conflict over the years, no battle has come close to being as cataclysmic as this. Tori, Horizon and the other powerful fight students aboard the ‘Musashi’ – a floating continent that also happens to be an airship – are now expected to use what they’ve learned to aid in the survival of their people and they are more than happy to do so.
The series tries its hand at weaving comedy throughout tragedy but they constantly fall short. It’s clear the writers have never watched a Robin Williams film because then they’d know how it is done. The way they do it: Strip the main character, literally, and have him ‘front’ on government officials, military generals and a man I’m going to refer to as the ‘Space Pope’. Really, every other character bar the one who was meant to be the ‘leader’ actually lead. Tori, as a lead, is quite likable but he is in no way the right type of character to be present in such a role.
He’s a pervert, an idiot, full of naivety and an overall child but he sometimes shows what he’s made of, though…not often enough. In my above statement I mentioned that a lot of the other characters (those who aren’t the ‘main’ characters) get a great deal of screen time. What ‘Horizon In The Middle Of Nowhere’ doesn’t do is actually show any depth in those characters which is very strange seeing as they were absolutely given the chance to do so but decided against it.
The same can actually be said about the story. You’re given minimal information about the world in which the series takes place and characters constantly yet indirectly refer to the world’s history and its inhabitants but not once are you actually told what you need to be told. Instead the series leaves you to do your own research which, in some cases, can be really interesting and ultimately effective…this was not one of those cases.
You are, for the most part, left in the dark. There are so many layers that needed to be peeled back and explained but they left solidly unpeeled and much like an onion…it almost brought me to tears. The cast is populated by interesting and very unique characters: Some are cyborg-type melee brawlers and others are witches who, despite having wings, choose to fly around on mechanical broomsticks. To say the very least, ‘Horizon In The Middle of Nowhere’ had no lack of quirky and eccentric characters.
The feeling I got from this cast? Clearly the writer of the original light novel just wanted to add things into his series for the sake of it being ‘cool’. A ninja in a baseball cap? Put it in! A naked man with bat wings protruding from his temples? You know he’s got to be added! A milk-drinking werewolf? This guy is awesome! He needs to be in it! Mix that with a whole bunch of bodacious babes and you’ve got yourself one hell of a crazy cast, but ‘crazy’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘good’.
Thankfully, for mine and the series’ sake, the animation quality was supreme. Sunrise is the production company behind ‘Horizon In The Middle of Nowhere’ and they did such a good job at not only the actual animation but eh designs of each and every single character. I understand that it was the original author of the light novels who would have described these characters but seeing them in action is something incredible. Absolutely no expense was sparred when animating, clearly.
The action scenes, of which there were many, really captured my attention and kept me watching episode after episode despite the fact that there was little story to justify the significant character clashes. Each army features their own signature colours and uniform style of which, great or small, every character’s design abides by which is a nice little touch. Madman Entertainment provided a Blu-Ray copy for us to review and I must say I wouldn’t have enjoyed this series had I not watched it in such high quality.
The way characters would cast spells in ‘Horizon’ was as impressing as it was interesting. The story blends elements of Shinto and Christian beliefs, as well as a few other denominations, and the characters’ attacks seem to reflect their personal teachings perfectly. This made for some stunning visuals that I had never seen and, for the life of me, could not explain in a way that would do it any form of justice. The use of traditional and religious symbols in combat was simply brilliant and it absolutely made for some of the more interesting Anime combat I’ve seen as of late.
Complementing the animation, the sound track is populated by classical instruments like violins and harps but, on occasion, the definite use of electric guitars and drums could be heard. It was most noticeable during scenes of high action, the intensity kicked up and the score follow suit. Unfortunately, by the end of the series, the music was mostly drowned out by battle sound effects and voice acting so being able to hear a spirit-lifting piece of music was a rare treat.
Speak of voice acting; I found that all the actors and actresses could have been more impactful with their performances had they been given a better script to work with. Many of the voice talents heard throughout ‘Horizon’ have, obviously, worked on other series’ in the past and there they have done some fantastic jobs.
Tori Aoi happens to be voiced by Josh Grelle who you may know is currently playing Armin Arlert from ‘Attack On Titan’ and does a brilliant job in ‘Horizon’ but he isn’t backed up by any well-written characters so he doesn’t shine as much as you’d like him too. Instead you’re forced to focus on silly pieces of dialogue read by professionals who clearly know how to do a good job but are not given the chance to do so.
Watching ‘Horizon In The Middle of Nowhere’ is comparable to being a teacher watching an intelligent student fall behind in class due to lack of care. There’s so much potential that can be unlocked and utilized but all they had to do was try a little harder. Instead of focusing on ten different story elements and barely explaining them, ‘Horizon’ could have focused on two or three and explained a great deal. This series has so much to offer but it is only once you’ve done research on it that you can truly appreciate it.
Some series’ have you watch them and then walk away with questions of which you’ll have a good time trying to figure out. ‘Horizon In the Middle of Nowhere’ has you questioning everything from the first episode all the way until the last practically forcing you to look up episode synopsis just to understand EXACTLY what had gone on. I’m not saying the series was too intelligent for its own good, it simply did not explain what it should have and that was its downfall. On some more positive notes: There’s a huge cast of characters so, even if they’re not fleshed out, chances are you’ll have a favorite.
Visually the series is stimulating, and no I’m not talking about the fan service stuff. There’s plenty of colour, wonderful character designs, fast-paced combat and nice use of CG animation. It has an odd sense of humour that will definitely appeal to fans of slapstick comedy but not to fans of any other types of comedy. ‘Horizon In the Middle of Nowhere’ is just another good Anime that has fallen victim to an overpopulation of story ideas but little explanation but, all in all, still not a waste of my Anime watching time.
Pick up ‘Horizon In The Middle of Nowhere’ on Blu-Ray or DVD through Madman Entertainment’s official online store by Clicking Here.