I’ve already written about the anime and how sad I was that it didn’t reach greater heights of popularity, especially in the West, so there’s really no need to restate that. But today, I got around to finishing the manga, and thought the series deserves a few more words, because though the last arc was rather problematic, the big payoff at the end touched me.
I’d love to see a Kekkaishi series 2 in anime form. I know it had its turn and it didn’t make a huge impact, but it seems to me there’s just the perfect amount of manga now to animate another full season and finish off the full story. I think that’s a pipe dream, though – Kekkaishi aired and though during its run, the manga really hit its stride and the arc immediately after the end of the anime was a great one, especially where it concerned Mudou-san, after the anime came to an end seeming distinctly unfinished, the manga seemed to lose steam as well.
No tie-in with a second anime and a great long final chapter for Yellow Tanabe, unlike what happened with that other notable monthy shounen series written by a woman, Fullmetal Alchemist. In fact, I get the impression that while it obviously didn’t get abruptly cancelled, either Tanabe was told she had to wrap things up soon or she decided to bring the title to an end herself, because the final arc was a bit confused. The various new characters introduced in the circle around the founder of the Urukai (and the two brothers’ different bodies) were somewhat undefined, all the Ougis got a bit muddled, and ultimately the final battle threw in all the unresolved elements – the rest of the council, the full Sumimura family including Yoshimori’s mother, the original Kekkaishi thought long-dead, the battle with the founder and the establishment of a new home for the god of Karasumori, who turned out to be an adorable small boy who gets named Chuushinmaru. So it was a little too much to squeeze in, and ultimately the end was a bit clumsy, relying on a mysterious ‘watcher’ who was a literal deus ex machina (the deus part at least), but never seemed all that necessary anyway.
But it was all worth it for the wonderful chapter in which Yoshimaru creates a whole world for Chuushinmaru from nothingness, especially when he peoples it and we get one last glimpse of an old friend, and a version of Yoshi given a happiness he himself will never have. The last couple of chapters don’t really feel necessary after that, but tie things up neatly as a kind of epilogue similar to the stinger in a film that plays after the credits have run – or those final episodes of anime that play their credits mid-episode over a poignant scene so that the aftermath comes later.
I’m sad that Kekkaishi has ended. I’m sad it wasn’t bigger, especially having an anime whose Japanese viewing figures, lest we forget, dwarfed those of Naruto and Bleach and every other fashionable anime of the moment. But I’m very glad I was along for the ride, and saw it through to the end. And though the last story wasn’t the best, the very end was brilliant, and I’ll always be a fan.