Kokkoku – 20 Question Anime Review (Moderate Spoilers)

What’s the show? Kokkoku (2018).

Kokomo? Stop with your old man references, I don’t know what Beach Boys song your referencing…

Ah-ha! Shit… I guess I’m old as well…

Heh, so what’s this show about? A four generation, lower middle-class family living in the same house somewhere in Japan, our protagonist, Juri is an unemployed woman who’s trying her best to stay positive for her family of slackers and NEET’s despite being downtrodden by her lot in life. Her grandfather however has a magical stone that can stop time, which after Juri’s brother and nephew are kidnapped by thugs, he reveals its power to Juri and her lazy father Takafumi in order to rescue their family.

Telemarketers are the worst…

Stopping time, huh? So it’s sci-fi? Well… it’s about as least sci-fi as stopping time gets if I’m honest, it’s all very mystical and the stopping time phenomena isn’t really explained until the last episode and even then it’s kinda wishy washy, but it’s also kind of what I love about the show! It doesn’t hammer you over the head with exposition or techno-babble, it’s just content to tell a story about a family stuck in a terrible situation.

Me either, dude.

And this terrible situation is? Aside from the kidnapping of course. Juri, her father and her grandfather quickly discover they aren’t the only ones able to move around ‘Stasis’ (that’s the name given to their time stopped world). There’s Junji, the leader of a religious cult called ‘The Genuine Love Society’ who are not only single-minded and obsessive but also violent and dangerous. They want to kidnap Juri’s grandfather and kill the rest of the family and obtain the powerful stone which is central to their “religion”.

Yup, that’s a cult.

Oh wow, okay, sounds dramatic, anything else? There’s also giant and powerful creature’s that roam the ‘Stasis’ called “Heralds” or “Handlers” depending on which faction you ask, who make sure that the people able to move around this time-stopped world can’t do any harm to “The Stalled” which is what they call everyone else for whom time has stopped.

Nice afro.

Sounds kinda complicated if I’m honest… Maybe, but I mean as long as you’re paying attention and aren’t on your phone while watching it it’s pretty standard stuff. Not to say that it’s not original or interesting, just that it’s not all that complicated.

Uh-huh. So I take it that’s a weird show, then? I didn’t think so, but apparently a lot of people felt it went ‘that’ way. Personally I thought it was very consistent, up until an ending which is admittedly a ‘deus ex machina’ but one that didn’t feel unearned.

This is what happens if you spend all day inside playing video games!

So, Googling the show, the Wikipedia page says its a ‘Horror/Drama/Mystery’? Yeah… I don’t know what about it is horror or mystery. Maybe that’s more the manga than the anime because it felt distinctly sci-fi/supernatural to me.

*shrugs* Indeed!

So what else did you want to say about this show? Juri is such a great protagonist, like she pretty much carries the show herself, I’m kind of in love with how strong and determined she is. And all the men in her family know she’s the strongest character and all (for the most part) respect her decision making abilities.

BAMF.

Yeah? Yup, it’s great not having fragile male egos competing for the role of protagonist and just letting the most capable person lead the show!

Well this seems to have been a mostly positive review, anything negative to say? Well yeah, of course, it’s not perfect! The pacing can be atrocious at points, like other anime could have done what this show did in half as many episodes, but even then I kind of like that this show took its time… plus it benefits from being binge watched.

Ethereal jellyfish make time freeze, it’s pretty obvious guys!

We’re doing negatives here, stop complimenting the show for a second, will ya? Right, ahem, um… some of the various plot ‘twists’ that come along are either far too obvious or so far out of left field that it’s a bit jarring, also ‘the ladder’ oh my god that made me laugh more than it probably should have, it’s just you don’t usually expect a portable ladder to be used to defeat the ‘big bad’ but here we are!

Anything else before we wrap up? The opening song is the most fun I had with an OP in the Winter ’18 season, and the ending (ED) song is pretty great too!

There’s a lot of weird imagery in this show and I love it.

Great. So final score and recommendation? I don’t know the target audience for this kind of anime, I don’t even know if my opinion is a relatable one because this show was that kind of unexpected treat that I looked forward to each episode despite the content being spread thinly across more episodes than it maybe needed to be. The time stop elements are handled consistently well and the characters are likeable and lively even if the story ends in a predictably safe way. 87 out of 100…

W-what’s this? Since when do we continue after the score has been given? The review is over isn’t it? I just wanted to add something, because I wrote this review like two weeks ago, and something’s been bothering me…

Oh? It’s just that as much as I raved about how unique and interesting this show was, as soon it was done I kind of immediately forgot about it, like to the point where I don’t even know if I watched it!

That’s bad… I know right! Like I still like the show a whole bunch but ultimately, I guess what I’m saying is the show is kinda forgettable, like kinda really forgettable. But my positive compliments still stand, just bare in mind what you’re getting isn’t really some kind of classic, frozen in time to appreciate, ’tis but a momentary highlight across the breadth of existence, destined to be swept away by the unceasing current of time’s passing.


If you liked my review and want to support my content, please consider supporting my Patreon page, or donating by buying me a coffee on Ko-fi!

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One comment

  1. I have to agree with your last point. While I enjoyed parts of the show, though found the overall mystery part of it pretty frustrating in the end and the antagonists’ goals were never overly clear or made a lot of sense, now that the show is done I’ve pretty much forgotten what happened. Even reading this review I was having to really think hard to remember what happened while watching. It feels like a show about stopping time should have more impact than this one seems to.

    Liked by 1 person

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