Ah, I finally got the chance to watch this one. If I recall correctly, The Garden of Sinners 01 is the first part of a series of seven movies, based on short stories by the creators of Fate/Stay Night and Tsukihime, produced by the Ufotable that did Manabi Straight and Tales of Symphonia. After watching the 45-minute long first part, I’m eager for the next ones, because It had quite a few good points.
It’s rare to see a mystery-movie nowadays, since most of them focus on either action or drama. The Garden of Sinners deals with the topic of suicide and adds a supernatural touch to it, and the result works quite well. A lot of effort has gone into the dialogue, and it ends up meaningful and thought-provoking, but the real highlight of this movie is without a doubt the gorgeous graphics. Ufotable received a big budget to work with, and they knew exactly how to use it. Yuki Kajiura’s soundtrack may not be among the best of her work, but it still manages to make The Garden of Sinners into a feast for the senses.
The storytelling is a bit sloppy, though. We hardly learn anything about the main characters: where did Shiki’s l33t-powers come from? How did the boy lose his consciousness? How did Shiki lose her arm? What kind of job does she do anyway? Why is she the only one who goes after the string of suicides? All questions that remain unanswered, and I hope that the next movies will at least answer the most basic ones, and give some much-needed background to the characters. At this point, I found it hard to sympathize with them, because I knew hardly anything about them.
And there is of course the matter of Haagen Dasz. The pizza hut references in Code Geass and Darker than Black is one thing, but these commercials always knew how to stay in the background. In the Garden of Sinners, a bunch of pointless scenes are wasted, simply because they only focus on a bunch of packs of Haagen Dasz.
Still, overall this movie made good use of its limited time to deliver a solid enough mystery-story. Now let’s see what the other movies will have in store.