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
  • MM
    (Sunday, Jan 25. 2015 06:31 PM)
    Hey. You should watch M3: The dark metal ;)
  • Nyangoro
    (Sunday, Jan 25. 2015 09:33 AM)
    But hey, a step in the right direction is still a step. And I’ll take it. I also like that we’ve learned both can go to the same place, instead of either or.
  • Nyangoro
    (Sunday, Jan 25. 2015 09:32 AM)
    Watched Death Parade’s third episode. Easily the best so far. Significantly better execution, felt a lot less forced. The weight of their situation actually added something to their story, giving the Queen Decim gimmick more purpose. That said, the game itself was still heavily underutilized beyond tangential connection to their living selves. And the setting still needs attention if we’re meant to care about it in and of itself.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Jan 25. 2015 07:32 AM)
    Regarding isuca’s female protagonist, whatever anyone or I thinks or not of her character or design/situations involving her its another case of me wanting to beat her to death with a baseball bat. Not a good sign…
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Jan 25. 2015 06:27 AM)
    *while the series took me a bit to get into
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Jan 25. 2015 06:15 AM)
    Despite the fairly rubbish turn, twist this last chapter of shinigami and 4 girlfriends took and while it took me a bit to get into and felt it could have been funnier, it doesn’t ruin the manga for me, but this could have if it had gone on been better than the world God only knows.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Jan 25. 2015 05:53 AM)
    I really don’t know…don’t know why I bother checking out these bottom of the barrel LN style trash knowing I’ll hate them…
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Jan 25. 2015 05:51 AM)
    Oh Arms if only you could go back to your Genshiken, Elfen lied I”s days, you made three good anime.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Jan 25. 2015 05:49 AM)
    *Delightfully mad
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Jan 25. 2015 05:48 AM)
    I’ve seen a fair bit of stuff associated with Go Nagai now and theres an insane, mad mind at work there whether it be in the action, violence or humour, Isuca having a Go Nagai style monster is an insult.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Durarara!!X2 – 2

If this episode had a focus then the stars would be Celty and the Orihara sisters. Though there were other events such as Anri and Mikado going to karaoke with Erika and Walker but it wasn’t really all the important and seemed to be there to foreshadow a new character and set up what looks […]

Death Parade – 02

Well this isn’t the best start. I must admit to being disappointed in this weeks Death Parade. Mainly because it was essentially a recap of the first episode. This episode was from the perspective of two characters who were watching the events of the first episode. With a white haired ponytail girl introducing another to […]

Some Really Quick First Impressions: The Leftovers

Sorry for leaving these out but they are not really worthy of a full impression. So I am just tossing down my two cents here. Seiken Tsukai no World Break – Hoo boy…maybe I spoke too soon about Juuou Mujin no Fafnir being worse than Absolute Duo. Because beside this trash heap it’s at least […]

Some Quick First Impressions: The Rolling Girls, Yoru no Yatterman and Sengoku Musou

The Rolling Girls Short Synopsis: What did I just watch? I am just going to break it to you. I have no idea what to think of this show. This is a work by the same studio who animated Attack on titan. It is an anime original show (meaning it is not based on anything) […]

Some Quick First Impressions: Durarara!!X2, Soukyuu no Fafner Dead Aggressor – Exodus and Aldnoah Zero Season 2

Durarara!!X2 Short Synopsis: People are strange, when you’re a stranger. It felt like a lot happened, but nothing really changed. That is the first season of Durarara summarized perfectly. The show itself even seems to revel in this. That said the main enjoyment of Durarara is seeing the cast of wacky characters interact with each […]

Some Quick First Impressions: Kantai Collection, The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls and Tokyo Ghoul √A

Kantai Collection Short Synopsis: Our protagonist sucks at playing battleship This is an anime based on the popular browser game of the same name. I haven’t played it but from what I hear it has ship daughters and some form of strategy. So I went into this blind, not knowing what I would get. That […]

Some Quick First Impressions: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure S3, Death Parade and Assassination Classroom

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure – Stardust Crusaders Egypt Arc Short Synopsis: Our protagonist is going to Egypt to kill a vampire Jojo’s first season was a breath of fresh air with it’s ridiculous entertainment value. However with the second season I found that a lot of it’s magic had been lost as the series took a […]

Some Quick First Impressions: Shinmai Maou no Testament, Tantei Kageki Milky Holmes and Junketsu no Maria

Shinmai Maou no Testament Short Synopsis: Our protagonist has just got two little sisters who are demons. Here’s a fun fact. Due to myself being in a position at one point where I couldn’t do much of anything besides read novels and happening to see this title pop up in front of me a few […]

Some Quick First Impressions: Absolute Duo, Yuri Kuma Arashi and Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love!

Absolute Duo Short Synopsis: Our main character is called Thor and goes to magic high school. There are some shows in anime which make you wonder if there’s a random story generator in Japan in which you pull the handle and it just pulls a series of random tropes together. Then an author shoves them […]

Latest Reviews

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: […]

Clipboard04

Silver Spoon Review – 86/100

When Noitamina started airing two series per season, it was amazing. It’s a timeslot that on average tends to be aimed at a much older audience than usual, and having two series with the same mentality definitely helped to bring more diversity to anime overall. Unfortunately it’s a schedule that could not be kept up […]

Clipboard07

Yondemasuyo, Azazel-San Z Review – 82,5/100

Reviewing a comedy sequel usually is quite simple: in most cases it just drops the bomb and runs out of inspiration, and in rare cases it actually manages to stay hilarious. The tricky thing with these kinds of series is that you need to remain funny, and you need to have the inspiration for that. […]

Clipboard05

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet Review – 81/100

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet tells the storyline of a planet that is completely submerged, with only giant ships residing on the surface, while one of those ships gets visited by this guy and his AI-mecha from this very technologically advanced civilization. Yes, this show is about world building. What this show managed to do […]