Posted by psgels on 12 February 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews, Kara no Kyoukai



For those who were expecting much of the same for the fifth Kara no Kyoukai movie, you’re going to be pretty surprised, because it’s really nothing like any of the previous movies so far. The length has doubled, the animation style has changed, the story is no longer simple, and the dialogue is a lot more complex than it already was. Ever since the second movie, every consecutive movie has been better than its predecessor, and Paradox Spiral is continuing this tradition. Do note though, that it’s going to be a movie that you’ll either love or hate.

At this point, the installments have become chronological again: the story of the fifth movie takes place after all previous four movies, unlike the previous ones which were in a random order. Still, the progression of events throughout the movie is pretty much the exact opposite of linear: the first three quarters of the airtime are filled with flashbacks, foreshadowing, shots of future scenes, and all pretty appear without any prior warning or explanation what the heck is going on. This movie aims to confuse, and does a really well job at it.

Along with that comes a very smart sense of dialogue, probably the best of the five movies so far. You’re going to need to pay attention for this one, otherwise you might miss something important. As the movie goes on, the story starts to take shape, and at the end of the two hours, most of the important questions asked are answered. The best thing about this story was definitely the huge amount of layers that it’s built up from. It doesn’t assume its viewers to be idiots, and neither does it for its characters.

Where this movie falls short, especially when compared to the fourth movie, is that it all feels a bit impersonal. This movie is definitely about its story, so the characters don’t get as much development as they should have gotten, but that’s indeed a choice you have to make with such a movie: the airtime is limited, so you have to focus on something, and this movie decided to focus on its complex storyline, in order to get the best out of that, and at least Shiki, Touko and Mikiya were already fleshed out a bit in the previous movies.

The animation style is also pretty interesting, as instead of the solid production-values of the previous movies, the animation team for this one decided to go for a much more messy style. Ufo Table’s trademark computer-shaded hair is gone as well, but in exchange for that we get to see some of the best animated fight scenes of the series yet.

Overall, while not as complex as your average Mamoru Oshii-movie, Spiral Paradox still is a very good recommendation for those who want a movie to make them think about the plot. It’s perfect for any mystery-fan who doesn’t like his meal to be handed to him on a silver platter. Overall, I’m pretty impressed by the Kara no Kyoukai franchise so far. It leaves a bit to be desired on its characters, but the mystery so far has been excellent and varied.

Storytelling: 9/10
Characters: 7/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 9/10

10 Responses

  1. Howling-kun says:

    Some characters were highlighted, some were shadowed in this movie.

    The villains didn’t have much development, but Tomoe was pretty well developed IMO.

    I think watching the previous movies was essential this time for understanding the main characters, since Shiki had almost no development at all and Mikiya hardly showed up.

    Touko, however, was the one who amazed me the most, we now know more of her past and a bit of her “darker side”. She finally can stand up from being a character in the background to one of the protagonists.

    Also,
    Production-Values: 9/10
    Have you ever given out a 10? :D
    The “messy style” was awesome.

  2. Kokutou says:

    I agree with you that the characters don’t have much development (especially the antagonists), yet to argue along those lines seems a little like rash criticism. I think the whole idea of leaving these characters relatively unknown, with respect to their background and motives, is to give them a mysterious outlook. I don’t know if the flaw in this movie is so much in the character development, as it wasn’t completely necessary, but rather because it was so random in it’s creation. The story comes from nothing and solely gives us some more information about Aozaki. Unlike the other four which were more tied to a unified storyline, this one kind of jumps out as a major discrepancy, with the sole purpose of outlining the strength and ultimate ends of a magus, within the story of course.
    I can’t blame the director, considering that the story is based on a book, but there was something else that made me wonder.

    The other thing that I questioned was the loose ends that weren’t completely tied in this movie. First, how was Shiki able to get out of that “cage” that arya made? Was it the sword?
    Second, it was far too cheesy for Aozaki to just appear a second time. I mean had she died, I think it might have ended up better, assuming Kokutou was able to live (considering how massively important he is), which could have been difficult to do.

    Regardless I thought it was a great creative job and I really liked how the whole flashback/forshadowing was all intertwined. Yes, it was confusing and yes, some people might not like it, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better job.

    And remember, it’s an OVA and not an anime where they have 13 or 26 minimum episodes to flesh characters out. Regardless, the way it all came together, the plot twists, the depth of the story, and the ability to make the characters so likable despite much development really made it shine,for me at least.

    P.S. I love the blogs on Casshern. They are right on and the show is INCREDIBLE!!! Too bad I can’t watch the raw versions of all those other animes you say are so good. If only I could understand Japanese. Also, I really appreciate your blogs as there are things that I did miss and didn’t know (the hair). Thanks

  3. The_Observer says:

    “Shiki had almost no development at all and Mikiya hardly showed up”

    I guess they couldn’t fit all that they could from the novel into tht 1hr 50 mins of play.

    There were some interesting things we found out abt both Shiki and Mikiya (and some Azaka) from reading the translated novel.

    Eg. Shiki’s cooking skills, or lack thereof…or is it really “lack thereof”?

    You can find out more by reading it up yourself.

    And I don’t mean the doujin 4-koma where Shiki “kills” the stench from a fish…

  4. Veldril says:

    “Shiki had almost no development…”

    Actually, Shiki has one very important development in the movie. But it is very well hidden that if you don’t pay very close attention, you won’t notice. (This development will be revealed at the end of the serie.)

  5. clara's buddy says:

    “Shiki had almost no development…”
    “how was Shiki able to get out of that “cage” that arya made?”

    the interesting thing about shiki’s character is that revealing her “self” is the true mystery of the plot. these will all be answered in the last movie…the loose ends were left on purpose ;)

    “it was far too cheesy for Aozaki to just appear a second time”
    they were hinting in the earlier movies what her true ability is. also, the Touko that returned isn’t the same “Touko” we saw in the last 4 movies…her memory was just sent to her replacement.

  6. lol says:

    holy crap, this episode and the parts of movie 4 after the credits give me fate/stay night char vibes. purple girl = sakura. big guy = kire (the girls name as well). And of course there is emiya ‘dead things die’ shirou

  7. riddle says:

    dude this movie was awesome

  8. Pata says:

    “how was Shiki able to get out of that “cage” that arya made?”

    …she cut it open using her Mystic Eyes.

  9. Etrangere says:

    I thought this movie was pretty damn amazing. Loved the animation style much more, and the structural mindfuck was brilliant. I actually thought the characterisation was interesting as well, Shiki and Koukuyo were less on the foreground, but Touko and Tomoe was a very well realised character.
    I was very much wowed.

  10. Yuna says:

    I can’t take seriously a review that brings a comparison with a Mamoru Oshii movie out of nowhere. What was your point? To highlight Mamoru Oshii or to show the viewers that KnK5 isn’t as complex as some people may think? I can’t understand why people nowadays don’t know to analyze anything without bringing other series in the review.

Leave a Reply

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • MCAL
    (Sunday, Jul 5. 2015 04:50 AM)
  • ;(
    (Sunday, Jul 5. 2015 04:37 AM)
    Sorry I am unfamiliar with google docs.
    Though I can just send you these via e-mail.
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Jul 5. 2015 02:10 AM)
    @;(, For now try writing up a review of a manga in google docs and see if you can post a read only link on the shoutbox. I will check it out and see then.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jul 4. 2015 09:29 PM)
    Finally caught up with dorohedero up to date, still hilarious, starting to make a bit more sense now.
  • ;(
    (Saturday, Jul 4. 2015 07:42 PM)
    That’s…
    Actually pretty hilarious. Anyway Aidan, if you want help then set the terms and if I can fulfill them then I and others can help you.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Jul 4. 2015 05:49 PM)
    @;), He was a writer taken on by Ninja who wrote one post and nothing more. And also was stupid enough to make his password his bloody username. Causing some troll to get admin access to the site.
  • ;(
    (Saturday, Jul 4. 2015 05:43 PM)
    I have no idea what the LighteningBolts is…
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Jul 4. 2015 03:33 PM)
    Also bam, Little witch academia’s second episode came straight out of nowhere.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Jul 4. 2015 03:32 PM)
    @;), Might be interesting. Though I don’t have any power to add you to the site. I can however give you the password the LighteningBlots account seeing as I got it when we had that incident before. I am a little reluctant to hand that out to just anyone.
  • ;(
    (Saturday, Jul 4. 2015 02:52 PM)
    Btw Aidan, if you want for more stuff to be covered on the site I am willing to cover some manga I read here and there, since I have spare time lately.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Knights of Sidonia S2: Battle for Planet Nine review – 73/100

The second season of Sidonia makes a number of mistakes that a lot of second seasons do. That namely being that the anime slows down and introduces characters and conflicts that are often resolved in a undetermined to exist, third season. A new antagonist is introduced, whom does very little in the season and only […]

Knights of Sidonia S2 – 12

Tanikaze’s rendezvous with Benizumie looks to have been cut short as Izana interrupted with some hacker magic. The entire sequence being as uncomfortable and disturbing as you could imagine. I still wonder just what was her goal in doing all this to Tanikaze. Was it some method of killing him or just some really kinky […]

Knights of Sidonia S2 – 11

It’s quite the coincidence that both shows I am covering have decided to use their last episodes to make up for the season’s shortcomings. This will be a short post as while action packed episodes are great to watch, they make it hard to bring up topics to talk about. Guana look to be imitating […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 24

Now this is more like it. Well as they say, better late than never and this was at least the best moment to bring back the quality. All I ask is where this was three episodes ago which it could have made all the difference in the world. Admittedly this episode has made me a […]

Knights of Sidonia S2 – 10

Unfortunately this wasn’t the time for Izana to become an ace pilot though she did at least show some ingenuity in her escape from gauna. Instead the spotlight falls once again to Tsugumi and Tanikaze. A lot of the fight scenes before the challenger appeared was to shown that Tsugumi and Tanikaze have great teamwork […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 23

Sometimes it’s hard being a veteran anime fan and a huge Fate Franchise fan. I sit down to watch the latest episode of this series and I want to shut up the cynical critic in the back of my brain pointing out everything that is wrong with this episode. But as events I adored from […]

Knights of Sidonia S2 – 9

Though the majority of the episode was of the same antics I have been complaining about in previous episodes, it’s nice to see Sidonia get back to what it does best. Dire situations and sci-fi mecha action. Izana being pushed into the role of scouting with a new weapon has to be the best path […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 22

A fairly uneventful episode this week.In some ways for me that’s good as it allows me to go into detail about the nature of the ever so popular CGI dolpins. But first let’s speak about what happened. Our three heroes had a strategy meeting discussing how to deal with Gilgamesh and the grail while all […]

Knights of Sidonia S2 – 8

I think something is wrong when I consider a protagonist from a movie these characters are watching a more compelling lead than our current one. I was surprised when starting the episode to see a sudden rise in visual quality only for it to turn out to be a movie within an anime. Actually I […]

Latest Reviews

Little Witch Academia The Enchanted Parade – 81/100

I wonder when it was that a film being childish became a flaw. As a medium grows it takes steps to aim to mature itself and seek a more intellectual level of presenting entertainment. Animation did it as Anime aimed to explore terrontry that cartoons refuse to explore and video games only recently broke away […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks Review – 85/100

For a long time now this adaption has been the dreams of many a Fate fan with many believing it would never come to pass, but now that it is here is it everything that we dreamed? Short answer to this is no, long answer is nearly. I feel this show will have many divided […]

Shirobako Review – 80/100

When you see a harem anime and sigh as the breasts of the female lead jiggle with every step and wind that can flip a skirt it’s easy to forget that somewhere in Japan a group of people worked hard to get that jiggle right and draw each frame of animation. The hardships of the […]

Clipboard06

Nerawareta Gakuen Review – 84/100

Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series […]

Clipboard03

Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]

Clipboard01

Kyousogiga Review – 90/100

Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s a wonderful thing because that allows us to have so many different forms of media that all aim toward their own niche. My blog is obviously written from the perspective of my own taste, and even when a show doesn’t cater to it (which is nearly always), I love […]

Clipboard04

Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Lovecome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru Review – 80/100

Noucome! You do not want to know how long I have been waiting for a series like this. More than half a decade, at the very least. Finally a series comes along and puts the incredibly overused harem genre in its place. And it actually does it well. Thank you! So to elaborate: the harem […]

Clipboard01

Pokemon: The Origin Review – 75/100

Normally I try to avoid spoilers with these reviews, but screw it, it’s Pokemon. Pokemon The Origin is a bomb of nostalgia. If you haven’t played Pokemon Red, Blue or Green, then you will not enjoy this one slight bit. This really is made as pure undilluted fanservice for the fans of the first games. […]

Clipboard08

Tamayura – More Aggressive Review – 75/100

I’m not going to dedicate a post for my impression for the final three episodes of this series. It was just too boring to write much about. I guess that that gives a pretty accurate indication of what I think about this series. Right at the start of Tamayura’s second season, I asked one question: […]