The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window

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    Episodes: 12 Original airing dates: 3rd October 2021 – 19th December 2021
    Studio: Zero-G Genre: Supernatural/mystery/horror/yaoi
    Recommended audience: Fans of mysteries or physiological thrillers who have no aversions to boy love.
    Trailer:

    Background/synopsis:

    The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window also known as Sankaku Mado no Sotogawa wa Yoru is a supernatural/mystery with powerful yaoi undertones. The Anime was released in the autumn 2021 with Zero-G as the studio behind the animation. The story centres on Mikado Kousuke who has the ability to see spirits for as long as he can remember. Petrified of what he witnesses, he hides and attempts to suppresses his abilities using a pair of glasses. That is until one day when he makes a fateful encounter with Rihita Hiyakawa who promises that he will take away all his fears if he only follows his lead.

    Mikado is soon thrust into a world full of paranormal activity and it is not long before he discovers the horrors of curses and the damage they inflict on other people. With a particularly grizzly curse that all points to a certain individual can the pair stop the culprit before more innocent bystanders lose their lives?

    Story/characters:

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    One disclaimer I will lay out from the get-go is this Anime is in essence a yaoi series. If you are adamant about not watching such things then turn away. However, if you can look beyond that fact what you will get is an Anime with a good storyline, gripping mystery and a level of character development that is not often seen in most conventional Anime.

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    These great developments are not immediately apparent in the first few episodes though as the show goes out of its way to showcase its two main male lovers. To me that is not a bad thing (outside the crazy dialogue) but what I did find disturbing was the abusive relationship dynamics between this pairing. It makes for difficult viewing as it becomes abundantly clear early on that one of the men is a control freak who treats his partner like a possession and has massive jealously issues. The fact there are supernatural elements thrown in only fuels an extra dimension to this abuse.

    Yes, it is that bad and makes for difficult viewing but if you persevere, then you will be rewarded as a good explanation is provided as to why this relationship dynamic came about. I don’t want to spoil by explaining the details conveyed as it forms an integral part of the story narrative suffice to say I found it to be convincing.

    This type of relationship building is not all the show has to offer though as this Anime is thick with supernatural activity. The cases start small with some strange phenomenon that the men encounter. Using their different abilities in creative ways, the cases are solved and we slowly learn about various paranormal activities that go on. What is more, our main duo are not the only people with special powers as we are soon introduced to other characters who have an affinity for special powers.

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    What motives these people have and what they represent form part of the mystery early on and it is this factor that helps you overlook the troubling Mikado/Rihita relationship. As we learn more about these secondary characters the mystery that unfolds only becomes deeper as a bigger curse that afflicts more people becomes the driver of this story.

    It is at this point when the story reaches its element as not only do we learn the fundamental dynamics of our yaoi pairing but we also come to understand the weaknesses and shortcomings of other major characters. The Anime then becomes a story of personal discovery as most of the cast attempts to overcome the various demons that plague them. If you are a fan of physiological thrillers then the final segment of Tricornered Window will be the most satisfying part of the series but even if that is not your thing so long as you like mysteries then you are likely to find the final episodes gripping affairs.

    The climax and ending delivered is also satisfying as it provides good closure and nothing is left hanging. More importantly, many of the characters have grown a healthier outlook on life especially when it comes to Mikado and Rihito. The fact the abuser has overcome his massive insecurities is a major relief but what was also very satisfying is how the other party has developed into someone who is stronger and less mentally frail. I suppose if you are a lover of romance (who likes all type of love) then this type of ending would also be very wholesome.

    Animation/music:

    I never saw the Manga but get the sense the animation style draws heavily from it. The reason I mention this is because I was not the biggest fan of the style but at the same time if the studio is being faithful to the original Manga artwork then I have a hard time to criticise it. I will say there are numerous scenes when the detail was lost in the character models which also impacted in some key scenes. The standard of animation may not be the best around but it does a good enough job to convey the mood of most horror scenes.

    The animation sequences for the opening and ending sequences are also of a similar standard i.e. nothing to write home about. I didn’t think the relatively upbeat opening "Saika" by Frederic was the most suitable song to use given the nature of the series although the sombre ending “Breakers" by Wataru Hatano was not only superior but fit the theme of the show better.

    Summary:

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    At its core Tricornered Window is a yaoi series but beyond the love story that forms the centrepiece of the Anime there lies a series with good supernatural/mystery elements that is likely to garner the interests of a much wider audience. The fact I could get over the opening episodes even with the obvious abusive relationship dynamics is testament to how strong the mystery element pulled me in.

    If you can get over this initial hurdle what you will get is strong character development as we explore the past background of most of the major players in this series. We may not like it but we will come to understand why the people act the way they do and what weaknesses they have that compels them to act in often irrational ways.

    It this deep dive into the various character mindsets that means this series will be most appealing to those who like their Anime steeped in psychological dialogue. Still there is enough mystery to be had that even those who like those elements will get good mileage out of Tricornered Window. If there is one regret I had over this show it is that – and this is unfortunate – it is the thought that if the main pairing where heterosexuals or even yuri then this show would likely have been received more favourably in the Anime community.

    Story 7 – The early paranormal cases in the story do a good job in creating intrigue and is the hook that keeps you going despite the questionable relationship but as the Anime progresses the stakes naturally increase elevating the Drama both from the story and character dynamics involved. The ending is solid as all the loose ends are covered to a satisfactory degree.

    Characters 8 – Gets off to a very shaky start as not only are some of the pick-up lines comically bad but the relationship dynamics are highly suspect. Fortunately, this apparent shortcoming is addressed properly and the inherent weaknesses in the characters personalities become the main fuel that guides the story narrative. The developments do not stop with the main pairing though as time is taken to explain the motives and shortcomings of the secondary characters and antagonist. There are no two-dimensional characters in this series.

    Animation/music 6 – The biggest weakness in this show as there are numerous moments when the quality of animation does dip and the character modelling loses detail. This even occurs during key moments. The animation sequences for the opening and ending is only so-so and I felt the opening song did not suit the tone of the series although the ending piece was a better effort.

    Overall 7.5 – The biggest pain points this series has are found in the opening acts when you need to endure some questionable relationship dynamics. This can easily put people off. Despite this, there are good enough mystery moments to keep you engaged and when the backgrounds of our protagonists are explored in detail that is the moment when Tricornered Window takes a turn for the better. It is here when reaches the series reaches zenith and all the Drama is resolved once and for all. If you are fan of supernatural mysteries or physiological thrillers then I would recommend this to you.

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