Posted by psgels on 14 December 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews, Kara no Kyoukai



The seventh and final Kara no Kyoukai Movie is another long one, clocking in at two whole hours. This really gives more than enough time to properly give attention to the story that explains the rest of the mysteries that the previous six movies have left behind. And really, these past seven movies have been a real treat. They’re all different and don’t try to rip off each other, contrary to what you might expect. They’re a great recommendation for any mystery-fan, though do note that the seventh movie isn’t the best.

I’m pretty surprised with some of the flaws that actually managed to slip by in the second part of A Study In Murder. The focus this time is the shock-factor: there is a lot of gore, even more disturbing than in the previous movies, and it also touches upon a big taboo in anime: drugs. While I applaud this series for actually going there, I do think that they could have spent a bit more time making them work out right. Bluntly said: this is the most unrealistic of all the Kara no Kyoukai movies.

The gore really is gruesome, but there are times when it’s overdone a bit too much. Characters who are badly wounded (even those without any sort of supernatural powers) just walk away without even flinching (or bleeding, for that matter), and not to mention Shiki’s ingenious “handcuff-escape-trick”. hello? You have a mechanical arm! What was the point of giving her that anyway? The effects of drugs on people also didn’t seem too well portrayed. Especially for a movie of this caliber, I expected a lot more detail. This also was the only movie in which the CG didn’t blend in well with the other graphics. While most of the movie looks as gorgeous as ever, the CG saliva just looked way off, and some of the goreish flesh-wounds had this as well. Really, what happened?

But despite these, does it have enough to make up for it? Plenty. The interplay between Shiki and Mikiya in this movie adds a lot of depth to their characters and it provides a satisfying closure to the questions that were asked throughout this series of movies, mainly in the second one. It’s pretty unpredictable as well: before starting this movie, I had a completely different image of the true culprit.

The direction is also as solid as ever, and the double length really allows the story to play out like it should have. It’s just a shame of the above-mentioned flaws though. In the end, my favourite movie of the seven remains the fifth one, closely followed by the fourth. This one hovers somewhere in the middle: still very good, but hampered by strange flaws and a story that just isn’t as strong as some of the others.

Storytelling: 8/10
Characters: 8/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 8/10

14 Responses

  1. chaostangent says:

    I certainly don’t agree with your statement about the gore being more so than in the previous movies. Movie three (Remaining Sense of Pain) had some really graphic deaths by Fujino, and Movie two (Murder Speculation part one) was rife with decombobulated victims. Likewise for the “most unrealistic”, it seemed a lot more grounded than past ones, especially the last two hour epic that is movie five (Paradox Spiral) which went for crazy lava cats and invisible Mikiya.

    That said, couldn’t agree more re: Shiki and Mikiya, some wonderful moments with those two, especially just after the climax and before the credits roll. I also wondered about Shiki’s artificial arm, she must have some powerful teeth if she went through that as wasn’t it supposed to “survive an elephant walking on it” or similar according to Touko?

    Anyways, nice to see someone else covering movie seven, my thoughts in length: http://chaostangent.com/2009/12/kara-no-kyoukai-7/

  2. tzuge says:

    The thumb bit was pretty ridiculous. Even ignoring the prosthetic hand, isn’t dislocating the thumb sufficient? Also, did anyone else find the whole last bit too much drama for drama-sake? Considering the end results, pretty much everyone would’ve been better off if Shiki had killed in self-defense earlier.

  3. blakraven66 says:

    Speaking of the thumb bit…noticed the thumb came back after the fight…lol.

  4. Reverse says:

    blakraven66 @ lol

    The moral of the show about kill is wrong, totally ruin the show being anything but good. for god sake just kill that guy. why you want make everything so complicated

    I have nothing again moral in anime, but went it start to hold back progression of the show itself, it just terrible in my book

  5. Morgoth says:

    *Spoilers – so who still has to watch the movie shouldn’t read on*
    I liked the movie, I have to admit but the end wasn’t really what I had expected. It seemed just so… “wrong”. How is that happy end related to any themes presented previously in this movie? It doesn’t add up: All that talking about evil, killing, drugs and so on – in the end it just came down to “Shiki kills evil guy – day is saved”. And Mikiya survives somehow against all odds which wouldn’t have disturbed me that much, if only he wouldn’t be drugged with such a great dosis that no normal human could survive (that at least the antagonist says to Mikiya).
    Beside that the movie was great: animation, characters and so on.

  6. PL says:

    SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS

    The drugs bit was really poorly researched…PCP definitely would have worked better for the sort of effects she was wanting, but apparently in Japan the drug use rate is very low compared to many other places in the world, and even amongst drug users it is very seldom talked about openly, so I think she can be forgiven for getting the details wrong. Also, remember, what was really making people go crazy was the “bloodchip” acid that had Whackjob’s supernatural blood in it. So, I imagine that for a Japanese audience made up of everyday otaku’s, somewhat removed from drug culture, this would have achieved the level of belief neccessary for the story’s sake. So, while it didn’t work for me, because I know better, I just pretended like I didn’t, and in that case it works well…for Americans, imagine if all you knew about those drugs was what you heard in the DARE program at school? It would be pretty believable. I think that’s the level of knowledge about drug use for your typical Japanese.

    Second, Mikiya’s always been supernaturally tough when it comes to Shiki, we see that from the second movie on. So, of course he survives. I mean the guy went weeks without sleep just to prove Shiki’s innocence, and keep her from going out and getting involved in the violence during the second movie, because he knew she was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. He survives massive head trauma in the fifth movie, when he becomes the decoy so Tomoe can try to rescue her. And we see in the very first movie he has some unique qualities because he is apparently able to leave his body in his dreams, which is how that girl steals his soul. So, it’s not really any surprise that he survives that stuff…because, it’s tied closely to the most important theme in the whole series, which I’ll get to in a bit.

    Third, Shiki bit her thumb off because she has that mechanical arm, which she couldn’t detach because she didnt have a free hand, and couldn’t bite through because its been built to be extremely tough with both magic and technology. And that she was able to do it is again tied to the theme.

    I thought the gore really served to underscore the reality of gruesome violence. There were scenes that literally turned my stomach, like when Whackjob bit Shiki’s neck. And for once in an anime, violence isn’t glorified, ennobled, or applauded, and we see how horrible and monstrous it truly is. It was purposefully made to look as ugly as possible. The slober was a bit much though, and even though I didn’t notice any problem with the CG, it was difficult to watch and over done.

    Finally, those complaining about Shiki’s struggle with killing that guy missed the whole point of the whole series. Shiki has always struggled with and been torn between her “destiny” as a natural-born killer, and her feelings for Mikiya. She realizes something fundamental would change if she just meaninglessly kills someone on purpose. Mikiya on the other hand, has always loved Shiki unconditionally. And even though he is against killing for ethical reasons, his real concern is the psychological damage Shiki would do to herself if she killed, and especially once he discovers how sick Whackjob has really become. That’s all made really clear as he struggles up the stairs. Shiki is under the mistaken notion that if she kills even in self-defense, Mikiya will reject her. But back to that theme I mentioned earlier. Kara no kyoukai took the most overdone, cliche theme in all of anime and made it work and be truly moving: the power of love. It works here and only here, because for once, this movie explores the real “power” of love. It isn’t some magical force working in the universe, or the ultimate spell to defeat the bad guy, or some special feature of human existence that can break through all psychological barriers. For once, the power of love is represented as that will to believe in someone and push on, no matter what stands against you, and the genuine way in which true love alters you as a human being. So, Mikiya is able to endure great physical trauma and keep pushing on because of his love for Shiki. Sometimes in an almost supernatural way, but mostly just with the sheer grit and mental toughness we humans are capable of when we really truly love someone. Similarly, Shiki finally realizes she never had this painful choice to make at all because she’s always loved Mikiya and that love has fundamentally altered who she is. Because of her feelings for Mikiya, she simply is not the kind of predator she’s always imagined herself to be. Up to the very end, however, she’s under the mistaken notion that she’ll lose Mikiya if she kills Whackjob, but her final reaction isn’t that of a predatory homicidal maniac, instead, it’s the simple human reaction of a person whose had their loved one murdered. Does it make what she did right? No, but it is certainly human and not the same as if she’d killed him earlier when she was purposefully hunting him down. And, Mikiya doesn’t react in anger because it has never been about the principle, it’s always been about Shiki herself, and the hurt he thinks she might feel if she allows herself to give in to those murderous impulses. So, they get to have a happy ending, because, in the end, love does win, in a very human, not over the top, kind of way. Shiki had chosen Mikiya all along, and finally she could see that herself, and lay down this idea that she’s a cold-blooded killer, and Mikiya could forgive Shiki for killing Whackjob because there was never anything to forgive, he just didn’t want her to suffer. So, they could finally move forward with their relationship, which had been on-hold for four years. That’s why Shiki said at the end, she never really wanted a knife in her hand, just Mikiya’s hand to hold. And, we have seen this theme at work throughout the entire series, foreshadowed by Tomoe’s love for Shiki, Azaka’s love for Mikiya, and Touko’s love for all three of her employees. I think the best symbol of this theme in the movie is the sword going up the elevator, and when Araya Soren is trying to figure out how Shiki woke up, the realistic nature of the theme gets put into words well. He says something like, “Tomoe woke you.” Shiki says, “Nobody woke me. He didn’t have to come. But he, and only he, brought your death to this building,” Then she draws the sword. In other words, Tomoe didn’t have some magical power that transcended all Araya’s bad-ass magic to wake her, but damned if he didn’t bring the special kick-ass sword, and manage to get it to her against all odds, and even after her death. LOVE is the counter-force.

    The only question I’m left with is, why did the Ryougi family work so hard to hone and draw out this ability and impulse in Shiki when it sounds like her grandfather very much was against violence and wanted Shiki to have a normal life? The purpose behind it all was never really explained. I mean, it made sense for Shiki’s character when she was hunting monsters and mages for Touko, but what was the ultimate purpose? Was it the same or a similar thing?

  7. andrea says:

    Now that I finished the last movie, I can safely say that I watched the whole thing only for the visuals and the gore :D I mean the characters where totally unoriginal, when the evil guy said “I seek absolute knowledge!1!11!!!” I lold hard. But the sister of the good guy being in love with him was the best, they did a whole movie only of her going around killing fairies! Overall I prefer to consider the kara no kyoukai movies as a series made of longer episodes, cause I can’t even think of comparing them with the anime shorts done by Yuasa, Kon or Miyazaki. Sure, the production values were good, but what about the personal style? They basically took the Fate Stay Night style (which is pretty average imo) and pumped it up with a lot of money.

  8. Ting says:

    This is not really the last. Take a look at this.
    http://myanimelist.net/forum/?topicid=104913

    epilogue will be shown “recalled out summer – Gospel in the Future ” : 未来福音・序

  9. tom says:

    I really really hate Mikiya character, what the hell is wrong in killing a murderer just in self-defense or just killing him to prevent him from taking more innocent lives. His whole killing is a wrong idea, I wanna punch him in the face so bad and drag his ass to face the family members of those murder victim. Have him look into the eyes of little kids who got left behind because their parent is dead and have him tell them

    ” I know who kill your parents but I think killing is wrong so I won’t kill him” I want him to go tell that to the victims family. He is so retarded, so in his mind he think is wrong to kill a murder but ok to let him go loose and murder more innocent lives. I was so hoping he was really dead near the end cause ppl like him don’t deserve to live, his stupidity is a disease. I would punch ppl like him if I ever see one.

  10. PL says:

    Tom, that isn’t Mikiya’s point…no, he doesn’t think murder is justified, even in those situations, but he also wouldn’t blame anyone for killing in those circumstances either. His point is the psychological impact he realizes commiting murder will have on Shiki. Shiki didn’t have to go hunt that guy down if it was just to stop him or punish him, she could have given the authorities the information…instead, she WANTS to kill him, and Mikiya knows she won’t be the same if she crosses that line. Mikiya is an awesome character.

  11. Deus says:

    Pretty much. The point is not that killing is *absolutely wrong*, but that Shiki has unique circumstances that when triggered (i.e. actually killing someone) might actually send her off the brink into stab-happy homicidal mania.

    Hence the entire point of the badguy wanting her to kill, and Mikiya preventing her.

    That Shiki actually didn’t devolve to follow her own origin (Death) after actually going through with killing someone had to do with her growth as a person and attachment to Mikiya. By all accounts, she should have.

  12. mindtrix says:

    lmao he said he gave him a dose of 10x potent marijuana?

    the fact is you can’t overdose from marijuana no matter how high the strain.
    the homicidal maniac was obviously high as fuck o.O
    he should be glad he didn’t take the LSD LOL Then he might have died although the maniac did a very poor job of finishing him off.

    • ronri says:

      @mintrix
      You ought to remember that his marijuana wasn’t ordinary as it was some effed up version Araya had. It’s obviously meant that the drug was 10 times more dangerous than anything like marijuana, as opposed to being literally “Marijuana Dosage x10″.

      • vykromod says:

        The whole drugs bit was probably the most poorly handled part of the adaptation in this movie. The original novel is certainly not perfect in this respect, either, but it’s much clearer exactly what is going on there. It’s even mentioned at one point that Lio is growing a low THC content industrial hemp strain called tochigishiro, but it’s been modified in some manner, like how his LSD blotters have his blood added to them as an attempt to awaken the user’s origin.

        Actually having drugs as a plot point of any kind in anime is so incredibly rare that I can’t really complain, though. At least they didn’t completely censor it. Kind of funny as well, that the whole teen prostitution/pregnancy thing from part 6 was retooled to just be (generic) “drug abuse” too.

Leave a Reply

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Sep 23. 2014 04:16 PM)
    @afgm, nope. Just nope. You have failed dear sir. Failed.
  • afgm
    (Tuesday, Sep 23. 2014 04:11 PM)
    Calling people weeboos is pretty weaboo-ish, to be honest.
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Sep 23. 2014 12:15 PM)
    @KuRoZuka, A bit of advice fake economist. Mixing Japanese words with the english language is a weeaboo practice and is seen with the greatest contempt. Just saying.
    As for fairytail, well I read a bit of the manga and got bored pretty fast.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Sep 23. 2014 09:46 AM)
    The sheer amount of talent behind Dandy is staggering. There are veterans from all the corners of Anime industry present here, so in a way this might be the biggest anthology yet. I mostly watched week-by-week just to see the new guys’ take on the Dandy sandbox, and I have to say some of them were pretty interesting. Definitely quirky, but interesting.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Sep 23. 2014 09:41 AM)
    Yeah but it’s interesting how much more sophisticated the humor was in Bebop, even despite not really being a comedy-heavy series.
    I’m sure if you’ll continue to the end you’ll find some memorable episodes in Dandy, and once people accept that it’s not Bebop, and that it’s really silly but kinda proud of it, they’ll start enjoying it more for what it is and say it was worth their time.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Sep 23. 2014 09:36 AM)
    Even though I wasn’t really into the episodes I’ve seen I will definitely say, yes it was a mixed bag. Then again so was Bebop.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Sep 23. 2014 09:34 AM)
    Season 2 has more mature material in general, and a few pseudo-philosophical episodes really stand out. The different experimental animations that are peppered throughout are a very nice treat also. And again each episode has different talent behind it so it’s a VERY mixed bag.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Sep 23. 2014 09:33 AM)
    Ah Johnny Bravo, a cartoon I laughed at now and then while I was much much younger.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Sep 23. 2014 09:30 AM)
    @Emma: Season 2 is far better, I think they kind of got the hints that the booby gags weren’t working. The humor is by far the weakest link in this show. I would also add that I think the dub is superior. The theme and style is very American, kinda like Johnny Bravo, so English fits more naturally.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Sep 23. 2014 09:25 AM)
    The zombie episode kind of grabbed my attention though a bit.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Clipboard03

Mushishi – 07

Now this was such a beautiful episode. We often see Mushi portrayed as parasites. In fact, they are pretty much based on the insects and viruses of their world. There probably are enough real viruses and insects living in the Mushishi world, but they just aren’t the focus of the series. Anyway, what they did […]

Clipboard04

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – Stardust Crusaders – 06 & 07

This is where this arc gets weird. We’re still in adventure modus, however in these two episodes Jotaro not only meets some of the most bizarre Stand users, it’s also done in the most camp way possible. You can see a clear difference with the first two seasons of Jojo: there it was all about […]

Clipboard01

Ping Pong – 05 & 06

Episodes 05 and 06 are dedicated to character-development. It’s here where Ping Pong shows that it also knows its stuff in terms of storytelling; the develoment doesn’t start too early or too late, and these two episodes really added depth to all of the different characters, despite that there were no big matches. I’m currently […]

Clipboard01

Mushishi – 03 – 06

I have not forgotten about this show. Not at all. I just finished marathoning these four episodes, and holy cheeseballs on a stick! this is the best anime in years! This was everything I could have hoped for and blows just about everything else out of the water. Talk about raw, powerful storytelling. I now […]

Clipboard03

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – 03 – 05

Jojo really is not kind to its females. Every time a hint is even dropped to a girl kicking ass here, it comes with this weird plot-twist that undermines any fighting potential of them. In this arc, it’s the rule that says that your stand will kill you if youaren’t strong enough. And so, Joseph’s […]

Clipboard01

Ping Pong – 03 & 04

The opening of Ping Pong wasn’t done in time, so the first two episodes showed a sortof montage as a placeholder. Now we know why, with episode 03 and 04. The creators actually got the single best animator currently in the business to oversee it: Shinya Ohira. This guy understands animation like no other. The […]

Clipboard07

Ping Pong – 02

Yes, I know that more people here were involved in making this series beyond Masaaki Yuasa. It’s written by the creator of Tekkon Kinkreet, Taiyo Mashimoto. That guy is awesome. And the combination between those two makes this series even better. Because here’s the thing: anime is significantly different from manga or light novels. Beyond […]

Clipboard02

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – Stardust Crusaders – 02

We can never quite get rid of magic fights at a school, now can we, Jojo. Ah well, I forgive it this time, just due to how hilarious it looks seeing these ridiculously bulky men walk around pretending to be high school students. It’s just so over the top, and yet Jojo sets itself apart […]

Clipboard01

Mushishi Season 2 – 02

Oh yes. This is it. This is what storytelling should be about: telling real stories about real people, all with their own problems that need to be overcome. And this show does that time and time again in just one episode. I still can’t believe how authentic this series is. The thing is, when I […]

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 […]