They’re the best Anime that 2008 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Michi (Movie), Kara no Kyoukai 3: Tsuukaku Zanryuu, Kara no Kyoukai 5: Mujun Rasen, and more!
3: Michi (Movie)
MAL Score: 7.05
The My Road series—Scarlet Road (2002), White Road (2003), Indigo Road (2006), and the most recent instalment Lemon Road (2008)—can be read as meditations on loss and mourning. These poetic films tell their story through motif, character expression, music and montage and require repeated viewing for one to absorb the subtly evoked layers of meaning.
(Source: Midnight Eye)
First of all, I would like to name our protagonist as Bob (hail, Sshuraa). This first short begins by showing us Bob, looking desolate, inside a dark, colorless train. A child, approaching, offers him a red flower, to which he shakes his head, denying it. Here there is already, semiotically, something said. According to websites about the meaning of flowers, “red flowers are associated with love. Receiving a red flower means that you are loved” and, if we assume that this flower is a rose, we could also say that “the rose is the flower of greatest symbolism in Western culture. The Rose is a flower consecrated to many goddesses in mythology. Symbol of Aphrodite and Venus (Greek and Roman goddess of love). Christianity adopted the Rose as the symbol of Mary”, that is, the child, in her purity, offers her the purest love, which can also be the grace of life, and Bob denies it, for reasons that will be shown to us in the future. The train then jerks, and the main character wakes up. When he opens his eyes, he is surprised to find himself in a station in the middle of a deserted place. A buffalo-drawn carriage, driven by an old man, stops in front of him and invites him to board. Inside, he soon finds an open piano, which takes him back to his past, which will be dealt with in the future, and closes it, as if to keep the memory of the trauma locked away and hidden. As he puts his hand under the falling rain, however, he faces his fingers, and a melody played on the piano begins to play. When she returns her hand to her knee, she is already fingering an imaginary piano, unraveling the memory that she wanted to keep hidden. Now Bob brings a melancholic look, as if turned inward. When he arrives at the next station, the same child who had offered him the flower boards the wagon. Along the way, the child opens the closed piano and plucks disordered notes from it. This sight is enough to make Bob’s memory come alive, and it is then that we see what is probably his daughter, in the past, playing, on the piano, the same melody from memory, while being watched by him. And it is then that we see the cause of his reluctance to accept another’s love and of his drive to keep the trigger for his past locked away: the death of his daughter. As he sails her body away, the piano in the room and the girl herself undergo a fade out and disappear, of them only the longing in Bob remains. Back on the wagon, he is now looking into the distance, as if absorbed in his thoughts; the child continues to play until he falls asleep, it is dark. Bob, his eyes glowing (holy detail, Tomoyasu!), faces the open piano once again, takes off his hat and brings it to his chest, closing his eyes. This, besides being a common sign of respect, may also be the beginning of a prayer, an attempt to find the grace he has denied the child. Decided, he then takes a seat and begins to play the piano, accepting the opportunity granted by the innocent purity of that child. Then he faces his open palms once more, and, with the child’s hands over his right, closes his left over them, a gesture that is the final acceptance of the love offered by that child through the rose. Waking up, amazed, from this dreamlike adventure, Bob finds himself on the train again, but now the color saturation of the image and its luminosity are much greater than before, as if the world then seems more alive and warm to him. When he opens his hands, there is the rose, symbol of the acceptance previously mentioned. On that road, on that path that symbolizes the passage of life, Bob was first alone and stopped in the middle of the desert, but the presence of another person willing to give him back the grace took him out of this state, put him back on the road, and he now goes on, as the train goes on, looking for new meaning in life after the acceptance phase of mourning.
I would say that Scarlet is already a complete work in itself, but Murata has much more to comment on about Bob’s life.
The symbolism of the color white: purity and innocence, concepts also related to childhood. In this second short film, we see him visiting the place where he spent the first stages of his life, as if to remember his whole life in search of finding himself again after the events of the train. His first memory is of him, together with a little girl, collecting acorns in the forest. The hand twisting on her blouse, a nervous gesture, already creates the idea of her affection for little Bob, which is reinforced by her gaze to the sky, as if fantasizing in a daydream. In the middle of the trees, they find another key element of this past, a puppy dog adopted by Bob. The affection he has for the animal is well evidenced by the time he spends lying next to it, and by his reluctance, shown by the look back that Bob has on leaving the dog alone in its separate room in the house. And it is then that two losses occur in sequence for him. One night, a blizzard starts, knocks down the window of the room, killing the dog with cold and covering the area in white, which is followed by the departure of the girl’s family, her included, to another region, which we know is far away by the emphasis given in the girl’s gesture of farewell. Interesting to note: when Bob, an adult, arrives at the place, it is still covered in snow, as if “nothing has changed”, but in a psychological aspect: these two first traumas, related to loss and separation, have become strong enough memories in Bob for the whole place to remain as if stopped in time, always snowed, which reinforces the idea previously mentioned that this trip back to the place is made with the intention of changing this paradigm, of finding the good parts of his childhood. And rightly so, the next scene features Bob walking along a white path towards the old house, while his younger version runs past him, visually symbolizing this meeting of the past self. Nevertheless, the first thing Bob looks at outside the house is his old swing, a probable childhood companion. When he enters the house, he walks through the rooms not only looking at them, but also touching the furniture, in an attempt to relive each memory of that place through synesthetic stimuli. When he falls asleep lying on the floor, we see, as if in spirit, the older version of the dog (which should be his current form if he had survived) staring at his former owner. As if sensing the presence, Bob wakes up, and the first thing he sees, behind the door through which the dog has left, is a red flower. Bearing in mind the aforementioned about the symbolism of this plant, we can infer that at that moment Bob obtained the puppy’s forgiveness and love, gaining from him the grace of life as he had gained from that child. Leaving there, he makes his way to the small village cemetery, where he faces the memory of his last and desperate efforts in trying to warm the already dead dog. The dog, in spirit beside him, seems to show him that, by his intentions and feelings, he is free of the guilt he carried for the animal’s death. Arriving, finally, at the place where he said goodbye to the girl, he sees the puppy in the same position as when he left, a clever way of the work to say that, as in her case, he will now have to deal with the definitive separation with him, which is reinforced by the passage of the bus. Facing the dark sky now, he holds in his hands the last remaining item from the girl’s memory: the acorn they picked up the same day the puppy was adopted. In the last shot, we see the dog in the snow staring at a red flower, which I think is the final representation of what this stage of Michi had as a goal: Bob’s attainment of the grace or meaning of life through the memory of his childhood and the elements in it. Doing a little research, I have found that it is well accepted in psychoanalytic theory to treat a patient’s trauma by the forgiveness given to his past, a past brought to light through hypnosis, and forgiveness granted by the individual himself to his former self. Whether this is the parallel that Tomoyasu brings in this short film I cannot know, but I doubt it is just a coincidence, especially when we think about the visual presence of the dog, which is analogous to the experience of the patient under hypnosis.
Even though Bob has reconciled with his childhood, he has not yet overcome his most recent losses. The color blue, in more contemporary symbolism, carries with it mainly sadness and despair. Not by chance, the term “feeling blue” means, in English, to be sad. However, indigo, in specific, transmits “A better understanding of life situations. As such, the color is excellent for people who cultivate negative thoughts and obsessions of any aspect, since it cancels out these behaviors.” Of the 5 states of grief, this stage is the fourth, depression, while the last short one will be the acceptance stage.
At the beginning, we see Bob awakening from his sleep in the open in the middle of an empty city, with a broom by his side. In the next scene, a woman arranges sheet music lying haphazardly in front of a piano. From then on, the narrative consists of interspersing this woman’s domestic activities with Bob’s visits to different abandoned buildings. Jumping to the final sequences, Bob enters the same room where we saw the woman, and it is from this point that we can interpret the passages I have ignored. Finding the room in a darker and dirtier version than previously shown to us, he bursts into tears, and from this, coupled with his visual search for recognizable traces, we can infer that not only was this his former home, but the woman shown was his companion, probable wife (given that Bob had a daughter), who also left. With this revelation, saved for the ending with cathartic intentions, in mind, every previous scene, which I have so far ignored, takes on new meaning. In the past, we can see a red flower in the window being visited by a butterfly; in the present, we see not only the dead butterfly being swept away by Bob, but the flower also withered and dead. Given the aforementioned symbolism of the flower, and taking the butterfly as a symbol of “happiness, beauty, inconstancy, ephemerality of nature and renewal,” the death of the two in the present signifies precisely the lack of life, of grace, of the passage of time, that is, an eternal melancholy monotony in which the protagonist finds himself. In the past, the woman took care of Bob even when he was not present, as we can see by the organization and cleaning of the house, by the preparation of meals and the dinner table, by the assiduousness with which she arranged everything for when he returned from his job (which, by the way, was that of a pianist in an establishment, given the presence of a grand piano in the already abandoned place visited by Bob in the present time). The loss of her is for Bob the loss of a constantly received affection, of a reason why he returned home happy every day, of a safe haven in the midst of difficulties. When Bob sweeps a hallway, it is in memory of her. When he sees himself in the past cleaning the bathroom, it is in memory of the time he spent alone in that house after the loss. When, following the same path as his past self, he interrupts his walk to look at himself in the mirror, it is to contemplate his present self, finishing the three phases from happy memory to sad memory, and from sad memory to the empty present. Conscious now of the present, he finally goes towards the room in which he spent his conjugal life. His last illusion is of the woman coming to meet him to open the door at the same moment he turns the knob and opens it by himself. A black screen, a sudden interruption in the music. Disappointment and emotional shock come at the same time. When the colors return, from all the windows emanates indigo, whose meaning I have already mentioned. The interior, in contrast to the past, is decrepit and in disorder. It is precisely at this point that we see the withered red flower, whose meaning I have already explained. With the dishes of his last meal still together and haunting him, Bob falls asleep on his bed, bathed in the blue light that brings with it the cruel reality.
“The taste of lemon makes it a reference to the feeling of bitterness and disappointment. For the Hebrews, however, this fruit is the symbol of the heart.” As stated earlier, the latter short is the acceptance of the bitter reality left over after disillusionment, and the attempt to create a heart, in the metaphorical sense, for oneself within it.
Most of it is made up of sequences that show Bob’s routine life after the events of the other three. With the change of weather marking the passage of time, we see Bob coming and going, several times on different days, from a public library. Although there are now people around him, he is still reluctant to accept new contact, preventing another party from dialoguing with him through the use of headphones. A woman, sitting at the same table inside the enclosure, looks at him with interest, a detail that will be important for the conclusion. As we see him, at first, returning two books and already taking out a new one, we deduce that he has become an assiduous reader, trying to fill his life with literature; the clock, twice framed, shows the great amount of time Bob spends in the place. On one of these visits he finds, inside a book of his interest, a paper note, containing a telephone number. The sound of footsteps heard in the background added to the emptiness of the library gives us a hint that one of the regulars there has left him, probably being the woman who had looked at Bob earlier. At home, he refuses to call, for there is still in him a reluctance to start a new life, both out of fear of another loss and because he has not gotten from his ex-wife what he got from his dog; there has not yet been a schism between the Bob of that stage and this one. At a certain point, since there has been no connection on his part, the other party starts calling, giving him the maximum opportunity, but he still ignores it.
And it is then that the dream comes to change this situation. Inside, Bob is in a room, in which there is a telephone and a window. The telephone rings, clamoring to be answered. But just as Bob is gathering the courage to cross the line, the object is pulled out of the window by the cord. Looking through it, our protagonist sees a summary of his fears and traumas: all the things and people around him being swallowed up into nothingness, a visual metaphor for the losses he has suffered, leaving only him, alone, static and inactive as the days and nights go by. The fear that this will happen again is what keeps Bob isolated, refusing to interact and meet new people, lest new happiness become new pain.
Looking into the room again, he sees a huge lemon beside him. And the lemon, what could it be? As I mentioned in the introduction to this section, the heart, but a heart full of the bitterness and sourness of life; Bob’s own sentimental core. And it is then that this heart, with an effort that was only made possible by the forgiveness and flowers received in the first two short films, prints him the note from the telephone, which he had in hand. Accepting the open space in his heart, Bob takes his pass to a new life, and wakes up from the dream.
The next morning, he goes to the phone booth and calls the number on the paper, but is not answered, and the call drops. A final defeat after the last momentum? But suddenly the music becomes more cheerful and energetic, the sky takes on a vivid color, and the atmosphere is bathed in sunshine. The paper, left in the cabin, has its numbers erased, and becomes a butterfly, symbolizing that, even though this chance was only a failed attempt (and that is why the writing is gone), Bob’s acceptance to say goodbye to the past and try new possibilities to be happy with other people and environments around him gives him a new lease on life, gives him the rebirth, already mentioned as one of the meanings of the butterfly, the hope to be happy. And for this reason, the last scene of the play shows us Bob, drinking coffee in a brightly lit place, surrounded by red flowers, of love and the grace of life, even though for the time being he is alone. For, without the blockage of his past, the chances to be happy are in all places and people, and a new meaning to his life can be longed for and sought after. As long as he decides to face the world and risk being betrayed, hurt, and losing everything again, he can rebuild everything he once had, and if the worst happens, he will have the strength to overcome it again, as he has done before.
If in Indigo the butterflies and flowers were dead and withered, now they fill the environment!
2: Kara no Kyoukai 3: Tsuukaku Zanryuu
English: the Garden of sinners Chapter 3: Remaining Sense of Pain
Japanese: 劇場版 空の境界 the Garden of sinners 第三章『痛覚残留』
MAL Score: 8.06
On a solemn night in July 1998, teenager Fujino Asagami is mercilessly raped by a street gang in a dilapidated bar. No matter what physical or sexual abuse they deal, however, the girl regards her captors with the same apathetic expression. The next day, mangled bodies are discovered in that same building, so torn apart that investigators find it infeasible to even consider the culprit human.
Elsewhere, a client request reaches Touko Aozaki’s detective agency, tasking Shiki Ryougi with either capturing or killing the perpetrator of last night’s incident. But soon, word spreads that a single survivor escaped the slaughter, and now the murderer is plowing down everything in their path to locate and exterminate him. A brutal race against time begins, pitting Shiki against a dangerous foe imperceptible even to her legendary eyes.
Sometimes you have to take a step back in order to make any progress, and in a sense that’s exactly what happens with the third installment of Kara no Kyoukai ~The Garden of Sinners~. After Satsujin Kosatsu Part 1 viewers may have been under the impression that the franchise would progress in a way that would allow for a degree of linearity with the development of the characters, but it seems like TYPE-MOON have their own agenda, and they’re sticking to it.
Set a mere two months after the events in the first movie, Tsuukaku Zanryuu (Remaining Sense of Pain), focuses on a young girl named Asagami Fujino, and begins with quite a brutal scene in an abandoned underground bar. Through seemingly random chance Fujino meets Kokutou Mikiya, who finds her huddled in an alleyway and takes care of her for a night, only to find her gone the next morning. Meanwhile, there is a report of a gruesome murder, and Aozaki Touko asks Ryougi Shiki to capture the suspected perpetrator. Shiki sets out to find the culprit, but doesn’t check any background information as she believes they will try to kill each other when they meet.
The strange thing about Tsuukaku Zanryuu is that even though there is a degree of predictability to certain events, the plot only really makes sense in hindsight. The events in this episode may initially seem disjointed and without reason, but this is actually a pretty interesting method of storytelling as it requires a degree of intuivity from the viewer. That said, there is a slightly aimless quality to the storyline at certain points which can slow proceedings down to almost a crawl, but the plot is quick to pick up the pace and the latter half of the movie moves along at a fair clip.
The art and animation in this installment are actually a step up for Ufotable. Given the quality they’ve shown in the previous two outings it’s difficult to believe that they could actually outdo themselves, but they’ve managed it with their efforts here. The animation is top-notch throughout, and the various action sequences are superbly detailed without suffering any major loss in quality. The CG is rendered and integrated very well, and is almost indistinguishable from the traditional animation in many sequences.
The character designs haven’t really changed much from the first movie where two of the leads and Touko are concerned, the only difference being an increase in the variety of expressions for both Shiki and Kokutou. Unfortunately it seems as though there has been a step backwards when it comes to the design of Fujino, and while she may appear to be a fairly well realised character, there is an impassive quality to her features which is sometimes at odds with her speech or actions.
The voice actors are, once again, extremely good. Suzumura Kenichi (Kokutou Mikiya), hasn’t had much of a chance to shine thus far in the series, but several scenes in this episode allows him to show some of his quality. Sakamoto Maaya once again brings out the best in Shiki, and it’s surprising how much she has settled into the role of the “psychogirl”. There’s also a very good performance from Noto Mamiko in the role of Fujino, which is ironic as it’s her ability to act that highlights the issues with the character design.
The effects are pretty good throughout the movie, but like Satsujin Kousatsu Part 1 there are occasions where the noises and music clash, and this can be a little harder on the eardrums than before due to the action based nature of this episode. That said, the overall quality and choreography is a step up from the previous two installments, and some efforts have been made to resolve the niggling issues with timing that have pestered the series thus far. This also applies to the background music which, like before, follows the usual themes of sombre and dramatic, and it seems as though the tracks are more suited to their purpose in Tsukakuu Zanryuu, but that may be due to the new pieces on offer rather than any inherent improvement.
It should come as no surprise though, that the one area where the movie falls down is with the characters. Fujino is fairly well realised on the whole, and possesses a surprising amount of depth thanks to some great acting and very good scripting. The problem is that while Shiki and Kokutou receive some new development, it’s not nearly enough to satisfy viewers and fans. There continues to be little to no justification for their actions throughout the narrative, and while there is an effort to garner audience participation in order to make the story work, this does not automatically mean that viewers are willing to fill in the blanks where the characters are concerned. In addition to this there is a distinct lack of Touko in this episode, and her presence in this movie is relegated to bit parts, which seems a little odd as she is an integral part of both the lead character’s stories, so one would assume that the series would allow more screentime so that the audience would get a better perspective on her.
Even with that flaw though, this is still a highly enjoyable addition to the series. The action sequences are enough to satisfy any junkie of the genre, and fans of Kara no Kyoukai will be pleased to see some different sides to Shiki and Kokutou.
Now, bring on the trumpets and the fourth installment.
Well anyway onto this review.
Warning: Their are spoilers within this review, so please watch the movie first if you don’t wish to be spoiled.
Story – 9
Well first off the story in the third movie, in my opinion, is much better than the second and first. The story in this one is a stand-alone story, like the first movie, and its pretty much understandable by itself. Definitely some twists and turns in this one and keeps you on your toes. Some parts are more understandable if you’ve seen the first two before this one and explains somethings that appeared in the first movie.
Art – 10
As always the visuals in this series is just outstanding. The special effects were just done beautifully and the background with excellent dark tones that fit this supernatural series. And as always the murder scenes made so gruesomely and lifelike. Again, excellent.
Sound – 8
Not much change in this category. Pretty much the same as the first two movies. Still good bgm for its supernatural and suspense theme. I thought the theme song "Kizuato" was alright as well.
Character – 9
Ok now the third movie definitely improved in this category. Not in character development, but more background info. It also introduced a very interesting character in this story by the name of Fujino Asagami and her ability; whom you’ll feel pity for or not. This movie also explains Shiki’s ability known as Mystic Eyes of Death Perception, which has been unexplained since the first movie, but still doesnt reveal how she got them though.
Enjoyment – 9
Well all I can say is that, if you’ve at least watched this series since the first movie then you’ll probably be blown away by this one. Alot more action than the others, though its more towards the end of the movie. And how the story unfolds til the end you might be shocked. Not to mention this movie explains some things from the first one. And like the first two, murder scenes are still explicit. I should also mention that their’s also nudity in the scenes where it shows Fujino getting violated (although those guys did deserve to die).
Overall – 9
All I can say, even from an average anime viewer’s point of view, that this movie is the best movie of the three movies released so far. The action scenes is definitely great and the animation is excellent as always. Overall the movie itself is excellent, with flaws here and their. Definitely a great movie of the supernatural.
Actually if you only saw this movie, you’ll probably still enjoy it, but if you’ve seen the first two movies before this one, then you’ll probably be blown away by this one as Ive mentioned before. So its recommended to watch Fukan Fuukei first, Satsujin Kousatsu (Part 1) second and this one third to truly enjoy this series.
So an average anime viewer should definitely watch as well as you TYPE-moon fans out there.
We open the story with a scene of a woman being raped… Isn’t that a bit too serious of a scene to open with? This is the type of content you want to give your audience time to brace for, not just put it in from the get go. We need time to brace ourselves, Movie. We then switch ahead a bit and find out that most of the rapists have been killed off screen. A fate that should be suffered by all sexual predators. Preferably with a lot of pain involved. Touko’s agency is hired to find the killer who, it turns out, is their victim, Fujino. And no, that’s not a spoiler. It’s revealed almost right away. Someone give that girl a medal and a puppy. Meanwhile, Keita is approached to find the last surviving rapist who doesn’t deserve an actual name so I’ll just call him Scum but Fujino is looking for him as well. They should just hand him over to her, but they decide to protect him in spite of his confessed crimes because… murder is bad even when it’s well deserved and entirely justified. Yeah, I’m not buying it. But there’s more to this scenario than a justified revenge killing spree and it could mean disaster. Okay, let’s look at the positives and negatives. I’ll start with the negatives because, in this case, there are fewer of them. One issue with the film is the pacing. Although, unlike the first two, this one doesn’t have a bunch of slow stretches. It’s just overly hectic. They introduce a lot of story elements which they either rush through or leave unfinished. They just try to cram too much in. That leads to my biggest issue. Scum never has to go through any sort of punishment, at least none that you see. Which really ticks me off. They aren’t going to vivisect him? Disembowel him? Quarter him? We don’t even get to see him maimed a little. They could’ve at least sent him to prison where he would hopefully get shanked and die of tetanus. Now we move on to the positives. This has quite a bit of disturbing content but, in spite of the impression I may have given, it is handled pretty well. Yeah, the opening sets a very dark tone and it could’ve easily led to some huge problems if they’d tried to, say, inject humour into later scenes, but they avoid that. The moral questions they bring up are pretty poignant. Even if some of us already have a strong opinion on them. I also like the way that Touko, Shiki, and Mikiya are inclined to sympathise with Fujino, albeit in different ways and that the event that leads to her climactic clash with Fujino is somewhat separate from the original case.
One thing that’s a little odd about KnK 3 is that the antagonist, Fujino, comes off as the most sympathetic character around. If you don’t feel sorry for her there’s something wrong with you. This isn’t to say that our three major protagonists aren’t well handled. They all have a good sense of personality in this. Mikiya especially comes off really well. Like the other films, the side characters in this are pretty shallow, but the main characters do carry things effectively so it’s not a major issue. This is also the first film that’s given you a sense of Touko’s personality which does have some interesting elements to it.
The art remains incredibly well done. With really detailed backgrounds and objects. The character art is still the weak link being well done, but kind of standard.
This film, like the last one, has really good voice acting. Noto Mamiko, Suzumura Kenichi and Honda Takako in particular give strong performances. Although there really isn’t a weak link. The music is used to add to the atmosphere and works quite well.
The yuri factor is a 1/10. There’s no yuri in this.
KnK 3 is a dark and disturbing film. It is certainly not for everyone and you should probably skip it if you’re a sensitive sort. However, it is a pretty well done film and, if you can handle the content, it is an interesting work with some layers to it. That being said, it does have some pretty serious faults and I didn’t like it as much as the second film overall. I give it a 6/10.
1: Kara no Kyoukai 5: Mujun Rasen
English: the Garden of sinners Chapter 5: Paradox Paradigm
Japanese: 劇場版 空の境界 the Garden of sinners 第五章『矛盾螺旋』
MAL Score: 8.55
In November 1998, a double homicide occurs at the newly constructed Ogawa apartment complex in the heart of Mifune City. The murderer, Tomoe Enjou, has fled in a panic. To his astonishment, he is not pursued by the police and news of the incident has not been reported through media outlets. After Shiki Ryougi defends Tomoe from a group of thugs, she allows him to use her residence as a hideout. However, a few days later, Tomoe is shaken to discover that his mother is alive, even though he is convinced that he killed her.
Coincidentally, Mikiya Kokutou is investigating a tip that his associate Touko Aozaki receives regarding the murder at the unique apartment complex. As he uncovers more information about the incident, Mikiya takes a particular interest in Tomoe. Deciding to investigate him further, Mikiya soon discovers the disturbing truth of the foreboding Ogawa complex.
The fifth installment of the Kara no Kyoukai film series, Mujun Rasen combines an intricately constructed mystery with established themes and characters to produce a dark, thought-provoking story.
Wow. I have to say that this movie is enough to leave one speechless at times, and for a variety of reasons.
The fifth installment of the Kara no Kyoukai series, Mujun Rasen (Paradox Spiral), is somewhat of a departure from the previous four outings not just in terms of its running time (almost two hours), but also in terms of art direction and story.
Set around two months after Fukan Fuukei, the tale begins with a disjointed sequence of events that are gradually cleared up as the movie continues. The story itself centres around a boy named Enjou Tomoe, who is saved from a group of thugs by Ryougi Shiki. She invites him to stay with her after he begs her to hide him somewhere as he believes that he has committed a crime and appears to be on the run.
During this time it seems that Kokuto Mikiya is away on some business, and Aozaki Touko is investigating an odd rumour she has heard from a policeman she knows.
Now the main problem with the story direction is that many people will be confused by the path it takes. There are numerous sequences that are repeated several times, and the story has a tendency to not only jump about from one time to another, but also from one event to another (a style similar to that used by Luc Besson at times). The result is something more along the lines of a Satoshi Kon production, and while there will be many people who enjoy the numerous twists, turns, loops and whorls that take place in the story, there will be just as many who will be put off by the overwhelming amount of information one has to process at times.
The art and animation throughout the series thus far has been top notch, however there is a noticeable drop in quality in this Mujun Rasen. Given the length of the movie it may be that Ufotable were forced to cut some corners with the designs and animation, but there are quite a few scenes where their normal quality really shines through. The CG is, as always, of a very high standard and runs smoothly in conjunction with the normal animation. The backgrounds and backdrops are well designed, and a lot of thought has gone into ensuring that certain elements in this area follow the concept of the story.
Unfortunately, the drop in quality I mentioned is noticeable in several scenes, and in one in particular, the character looks constipated rather than hysterical. In addition to this the animation of the action sequences, whilst being excellent overall, suffers towards the end of the movie, with one key sequence being more dizzying than breathtaking. That said, the sequence in question will appeal to those who like roller coasters at the very least.
The sound is on par with the other movies and is well executed overall. The effects are extremely good throughout, but the old problem of the noise sometimes being too overwhelming has reared its head once more. The score used throughout the Mujun Rasen lends to the general atmosphere, however there are times when the music seems a little out of sync with the on-screen action.
On the plus side it seems my prayers have been answered as more is revealed about Touko, especially as the antagonist in this film, Araya Souren (who appeared briefly at the very end of the previous movie declaring himself to be a magus), has a history with her. In addition to this, there is a secondary character named Cornelius Alba who also has a history with both Touko and Araya. In addition to this the viewer can finally see some different sides to Shiki, as well as gaining some insight into why Touko was so interested in her during the events of Garan no Dou.
The downside is that Mikiya continues to be more of a supporting role in this movie, and Tomoe, while generally being a decent character for the most part, may annoy some people.
Even with those flaws, this is still an excellent movie (especially if you can get your head around the plot). Fans of Kara no Kyoukai should generally be pleased with this latest addition to the franchise, and although it does drop a little in terms of animation and artwork, Mujun Rasen will hopefully herald a new direction for the series.
I’m expecting good things from the sixth movie…
OK, so this is version 3 of my KnK 5 review after watching the movie for the second time and getting part of my first review deleted. The full summary part has been taken off to keep the size down (I spent a lot of time on that too). I will be more in-depth and critical this time around. Before you read this review or watch the movie, make sure you’ve watched the first 4 KnK movies. Scores are based on 2nd time around. Comments and private messages are appreciated to help me review better next time around.
First Time: 8.5/10
The thing to note for #5 compared to the other 4 is that this time, the movie is nearly 2 hours long. That’s more than double any of the previous movies. However, the story is by no means slow, and there are more than enough turn-arounds and absurd twists to keep it enjoyable. Odd installments of flashbacks and repeating scenes make the whole thing a bit difficult to follow, but overall, the story was unique compared to the other Kara no Kyoukai episodes and understandable if you’ve watched the other 4. By this time, you should be quite familiar with Shiki’s as well as Touko’s abilities.
Second Time: 9.2/10
The problem with the first time around was the confusing non-linear story pattern. The montage when Shiki reappears was helpful at clearing this up, and the second time through, I could grasp some of the deeper meaning in some of the obscure statements. Araya and Touko had some really profound quotes that only truly struck me after watching the movie again (this time, I didn’t have to worry about catching the plot). Philosophically, it was almost like GiTS for me. I also noticed some real logic lapses the second time around. Stuff like how the police didn’t do a follow-up and the lack of blood in some scenes and excess of blood in other scenes. Some of the coming back from the dead and not being fazed by stab wounds are also ridiculous, but within the bounds of a supernatural anime like KnK.
First Time: 10/10
I was going to give this a 9, but I suppose art also entails animation. As always, KnK has some of the best (or possibly the best) animation of all time. The fights are packed full of excitement and every attack is conveyed beautifully. Again, Shiki’s eyes are as beautiful as ever, and there is plenty of blood. This time around, there is more than one fight scene, so it’s almost like double the awesomeness.
Second Time: 10/10
KnK is basically the height of animation quality. There were a few lapses here and there and some sloppy artwork in some places, but the second time made me concentrate more on how beautiful the animation really is. Sometimes, I take KnK for granted, but compared to other anime, this is on its own level. Since there were 3 fight scenes, I am satisfied that there weren’t any blatant drops in quality for any of them. Some criticisms for you picky people include lack of blood during the stabbing scene and some cgi moments that were less than superb. Also, Touko regrows her teeth in her fight and Mikiya is present in the very beginning of Touko’s fight on the ground (1:07:32 in the gg-Takajun subs) when he shouldn’t be (he disappears in the next set of frames). Overall excellent though.
First Time: 9.3/10
Every person has their own personal taste with music. For me, the soundtrack of every KnK movie is beautiful, and this is no exception. With mixes of familiar tracks from the previous 4 movies as well as a few of its own, KnK 5 has perhaps the best soundtrack of the entire series so far. Additionally, the ED song is Sprinter, which is my favorite Kalafina song so far. The thing that makes KnK so amazing is not only the animation quality and straight-up beauty of the fight scenes, but also the incredible bgm that backs each fight scene up. Ever since the first movie, the bgm that they play has never failed to engage me more into the story and “feel” the emotions.
Second Time: 9.7/10
I downloaded a rip of the KnK 5 OST after watching it the first time. Lo and behold, the second time around, I loved it even more. Once again, Sprinter is a definite plus. Sure, the soundtrack is a bit repetitive, especially from other KnK movies, but I think that’s what makes it great. Why take down a winning formula? That being said, this is the best OST of the 5 movies in my opinion because it combines many great tracks into a full 2 hours, along with adding a few compositions of its own.
First Time: 9.7/10
If animation is the one thing KnK is associated with, character would be a close second. From the utterly confusing first movie to the scene-setting second movie, we’ve seen Shiki, Mikiya, and Touko develop. Now that I have become comfortable with Shiki, I consider her to be one of the most interesting characters of any anime, regardless of her eyes. Her monotone conversations never cease to amuse me, and she gets in a lot of time talking with Tomoe, the new character. The psychological aspects of KnK 5 rival those of some of the previous movies, and there is some questioning on the side of the “bad guys” as to what “absolute wisdom” is. If you’ve seen and understood the other movies, the character development in this is just as good, if not better because we get to see a side of Touko that has not been revealed before.
Second Time: 9.4/10
So I HAD reviews of individual characters, but it got eaten up by the MAL system somehow… Basically, there was some fluctuation between characters. Shiki and Touko really shone through this one, but Enjou was just annoying in some ways and Mikiya got almost no screen time. To reiterate, Shiki was just adorable at times, which is part of the reasoning behind the high score.
First Time: 9.9/10
I don’t really remember what I had written here before, but basically, this is well worth the time to watch. Heck, I even watched it twice… Just absolutely fantastic fight scenes and some serious plot development to think over.
Second Time: 9.2/10
Watch it again if you want. The fight scenes are still top-notch and engaging. Plot elements may drag on for the second time, but it’s helpful to know what’s going on as it’s going on.
Extremely impressive movie with some serious psychological elements interweaved into a complex plot. As always with KnK, incredible animation and character development. Basically what I’m trying to say is that this was one of the best things I have ever seen, anime or not, and something that I rewatched a week after seeing it the first time (don’t forget that it’s 2 hours long).
After having watched the four prequels of the series and finishing the fifth just now, I will write this review based on the information we have up to now for the characters, storyline and so on. Not for what this series could be or how the adaptation should have been either.
Also, this is my first actual review, so I hope I will end up being helpful to those reading this.
Ok, let’s begin! I’ll seperate this into 5 parts.
First off; The story. 9/10
The 5th part of the series does not fail to deliver yet another storyline that will not confuse the viewer, as long as he pays attention to the dialogue, that most of the time drives the show along.
Mystery, incredible twists and gore scenes lead to this increadibly dark show. The reason behind my 9 is based on the fact that I found the mystery absolutely original, it’s something I have never seen nor did I ever think of, and the way it was explained in the movie was simple and clear. As for its negative side, the only part of it that always annoyed me was the order of the series themselves. It never had a fluent continuation, a new movie was always beginning from a new checkpoint making it unclear at times.
The main characters are extremely well drawn. The simillarities between this movie and Fate/Zero are quite obvious, especially in the faces/eyes. Takeuchi Takashi is easily one of my favourite character designers and he has not failed to impress me yet another time. I can guarantee satisfaction on this certain aspect.
As for the animation, compared to the rest of the movies it was downgraded due to the length. However, ufotable is like pizza. Even when it is bad, it is still good. This part of the show is still its high point and when it has to get good, you know it will. The fights are excellent, wild and bloody as always, the movements are smooth and realistic and will keep the viewer glued to the screen whenever they occur.
Just like the movies before it, and, from what I’ve read, the movies after it, the sound is fitting always to the situation, energetic as well as calming whenever it should be, however, in this particular movie, the soundtracks tend to get very loud, making it hard to hear the voice actors or focusing on certain situations, although that really gives you an adrenalin dose when it should.
The characters in this movie had their best performance yet. We have seen each one of them in action this time, as well as proof of their intelligence and the potential that they have in the development of the story. We also get introduced to the counterpart of Shiki, who is the main focus of the first half of the show. The mystery that, as mentioned above impressed me the most in this movie was revolving around him, so I really enjoyed his stay on the show.
Overall, this movie’s advantages far outdo its flaws and the viewer will remain speechless at times. It deliveres pure entertainment. Intense plot, with truly well done fight sequences that might make your jaw drop. That’s what made me make a review on this particular movie.
Do not hold back from watching. And do it as many times as you want.
I hope I helped you out and I’ll try and get better with reviewing.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Kara no Kyoukai 5: Mujun Rasen
2. Kara no Kyoukai 3: Tsuukaku Zanryuu
3. Michi (Movie)