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One of anime's overlooked gems
NOTE: I have not finished the series and my opinion may shift when I do.

Shounen action is one of manga/anime's most formulaic and familiar genres. Thus it is hard for newcomers to the field to really distinguish themselves, especially when they have a setup as generic as Kekkaishis. (Read the plot description; it doesn't exactly sound revolutionary, does it?) Furthermore, it's generally set apart by its loudness and brashness. Think of shounen action and you think of roaring, heart-pounding combat like Fist Of The North Star or Dragon Ball, stylish gangster-influenced attitude a la Bleach, plucky hyperactive youngsters like Luffy and Naruto, maybe something offbeat like Soul Eaters macabre art design.

Kekkaishi doesn't boast any of that. Its protagonist, Yoshimori, is neither Hot Blooded nor naive/innocent. But ultimately he's just as endearing due to his unique combination of sincerity, good humor, quirky personality, determination, and genuine warmth and compassion. He's tasked with inheriting the family business, and isn't entirely happy about it, but he accepts his task without much complaint. His counterpart, Tokine, gets a little mean sometimes, but overall she's awe-inspiring in her cool knowledge and calm demeanor. The two make a great Battle Couple and (in my opinion) one of the most adorable couples in all of anime.

The rest of the show is dominated by this restrained yet effective storytelling. The Kekkaishi are Barrier Warriors, so battles emphasize strategy, agility, and "thinking outside the box" (literally!) over brute force and copious screaming. It's easygoing enough that the characters do their duties while attending school, yet taxing enough that Yoshimori definitely stresses in some fights.

Some have accused the show of being boring, and it's definitely not flashy, but I find the restraint and thoughtfulness Tanabe exhibits very refreshing and endearing. None of the characters are annoying (with the poooossible exception of Yoshi's grandpa), none of the battles are over-the-top, and the animation and art are good. Even if you've "been there, done that" with shows like Bleach or Yu Yu Hakusho, give Kekkaishi a shot. It just might grow on you. (I was hooked from the first episode.)
I agree that this show is definitely worth checking out. I was bored by the first couple of episodes, but I came back to it a while later and I'm glad I did. It's a lot of fun, and I love the dynamic between Yoshimori and Tokine.
comment #5256 75.70.219.47 26th Nov 10
While I love the anime, I think the manga needs a lot more love too! I really love the mangaka's style, and the story advances far beyond the single arc (currently) covered in the anime. I love them both, and I'm really happy that the manga is pushing on hard. Unfortunately, though, the scanalations are pretty damn hard to follow/understand (depending on the group), but Viz's translation is quite awesome. Totally worth a read and a watch.
comment #5572 addikt 29th Dec 10
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