Although I was intrigued by the first two Kara no Kyoukai movie outings I wasn’t totally sold until I’d seen the third one. The brutal and shocking opening scene made me sit up and take notice, but the way the whole film was constructed convinced me of how unusual and special this story is. This is I think the point where Nasu really started to hit his stride as a writer.
Part 3 of the original novel begins with a different scene from the film adaptation, although I can understand why Ufotable took the route they did because it has more dramatic impact. The Gate of Seventh Heaven remix movie includes the deleted scene though, and I sort-of wish that it had found its way into the theatrical version somewhere; it dramatises the conversation between Mikiya and the university professor when they’re discussing parapsychology related to the Fujino Asagami case, and adds some useful background details in the process.
The second chapter of KnK may seem like one of the weaker sections since it’s so heavy on exposition and concepts that don’t gain much from the transition from print to screen; even in novel form it doesn’t have many exciting moments. The novel has a ‘greater than the sum of its parts’ thing going on though, and the character study of this chapter is one of the main reasons why it feels that way. If you’re patient and take the time with this part, it’s easier to appreciate the rest.
By which I mean: it’s important in understanding how the two protagonists’ minds work and what drives them to make the decisions they make later on. I guess the narrative also needs time to pause and offer something character-driven before leaping headlong into the next action-orientated arc. After reading this chapter through, the first one feels like a ‘cold open’ to get the reader’s/viewer’s attention while the heart of the story lies elsewhere.
The process of adapting a novel for the screen fascinates me, if not as much as the writing process itself. On those rare and wonderful occasions where there’s no “…the book was better…” sensation, the people responsible for the adaptation are competent but also recognise what it is about the original that made it special.
Could I find a pic of Kirie on her own? Could I heck. This is much better though (click to see in its fully embiggened glory)
Reading the the opening chapter of Kara no Kyoukai after watching the movie, I can’t ignore the fact that it’s a very ‘early’ attempt on Nasu’s part to focus his creative energy and bring his inspiration together into a tangible, and readable, form. It has a rough-around-the-edges, first-draft feel to it, which is bad for casual readers but interesting to fans and those of us who like to dig beneath the surface to find out what makes the story, and the mind that wrote it, tick.
Looks like I made it to the second round of the tourney thing, but I’m sadly short on topics for writing thanks to the fact that my laptop is the only working PC I have right now. It’s able to cope with DVD playback though so I can at least rewatch old favourites; I’ve had Le Portrait de Petite Cossette for instance on my shelf for a while but only came back to it last week…and I’m glad I did.
The first time I watched this I felt a bit overwhelmed by the visuals so didn’t really grasp what it was trying to say. I guess it was slightly wasted on me at the time but watching the three episodes again, across as many days, worked better for me so now I really feel I appreciate it more than I did then.
I found myself staring dumbly at a blank screen for quite some time before being able to type a single word about this film. My feelings mirrored the closing phrase of Takami’s Battle Royale, “…but of course they’re part of you now.” I followed the characters through thick and thin; I felt stunned, drained and somewhat overwhelmed. Rewatching the series in its entirety didn’t lead me to believe this instalment is flawless but I was able to view it as the final(?) component part of the greater whole.
Not many of the scenes were brightly-lit enough to give decent screencaps
I believe it’s unfair to judge the Kara no Kyoukai adaptations against the other Type Moon productions when its source material pre-dates them all, but the fact remains that in terms of storytelling, presentation and character dynamics it’s a classic in the making. I’m not using that term lightly either: I’m choosing my words carefully here, even though I’m using so bloody many.
I must admit that the premise of this outing didn’t fill me with as much enthusiasm as some of the earlier ones. It sounded like the story was shying away from the hard-edged grittiness that I’ve come to respect so much in the series, what with it being about something as light-hearted as Mikiya’s kid sister Azaka looking for fairies at school. Sure enough, the general tone of this movie is a lot brighter, more humorous and is mostly concerned with Azaka and her personal perpective on things rather than putting Shiki in centre stage.
What pleasantly surprised me though was that this relative levity and the shift in character focus offered so much to enjoy on their own. Azaka has always been a bit, well, overprotective of her elder brother but this is where she is given the opportunity to explain why as best she can. The mystery thriller side of things is still present, of course, but it’s more character- rather than plot-driven. With a some FIRE to spice it up a bit.
Of the five Kara no Kyoukai instalments on the fansub circuit the most recent, Mujun Rasen (a.k.a. Paradox Spiral), has been the one that fans have made the biggest fuss over. It’s certainly the longest: clocking in at a full two hours it uses this time to weave a convoluted and disorientating story that keeps the viewer on their toes from the first moment to the last. No wonder really that so many cite it as their favourite so far – it’s the most confusing and shocking but it’s a headfuck in the best possible kind of way.
Be honest now. would YOU live there?!
The editing and scene compositions, in addition to the tense atmospherics and poetic dialogue that have already made the series memorable for me, are particularly outstanding. I don’t want to over-emphasise a certain point I made a while back but even next to the previous four this one comes across as particularly cinematic and sophisticated. It takes longer to set out its intentions and see them through, throws out more intertwining story threads and also has a brazen desire to play mind games with the viewer on a scale that Satoshi Kon would be proud of.
Nope, I’ve not yet seen the notoriously popular episode #5. It’s on my hard drive but at a full two hours I’m saving it for the plane (which is twelve hours in total 0_o). The fourth movie, Garan no Dou, is the shortest of the lot so doesn’t offer as much to get excited about as I expect the fifth one to do but even so, there are some interesting developments going on that pick up where the second film left off, among other things. Until the English-langage translation of the original novels gets past the rumours stage I guess this will have to do.
I’m beginning to see why Shiki Ryougi is one of Takeuchi’s most loved creations. She isn’t a character who exudes the typical bishoujo femininity: she’s sullen and introverted, flattens her bust down with bandages and wears a leather jacket incongruously over her kimono, and is the opposite of clumsy…oh yeah, she also goes on the occasional homicidal rampage. Despite all this making her the anti-moe she has legions of loyal fans. And I’m one of them.
One of the things I love about Nasu’s writing is the unflinching examination of the darker aspects of the human condition: I don’t think you can avoid the grim details and keep the power of the subject matter intact when you’re telling a story like this. There’s rape, mutiliation and all sorts of nastiness to be found here – I’m not sure if it would make it to these shores in any form without the BBFC’s Editing Scissors having their fun with it first but whatever. I found this to be in turns gleefully out-there and decidedly uncomfortable viewing but the said nastiness is very much relevant and in context.
It also looks spectacular: ufotable are doing a wonderful job of recreating Nasu’s vision and Takeuchi’s iconic characters. The rumours I’ve read about how they were consulted more than they were for either of the TV adaptations of Tsukihime and Fate/Stay Night seem to be right on the money: it has the visceral, borderline-sadistic but ultimately exhilerating atmosphere of their visual novels that neither TV outing fully captured. At the same time it has a tangible quality; a feeling that’s akin to the ‘synesthaesia’ that Gaguri and IKnight noted in Mononoke and Gankutsuou. Oh yeah, it has another Kajiura-penned music score that ups the ante from previous outings too.
The more I watch of this series the more I fall in love with the way it’s all put together. I daresay the sedate pacing and idiosyncratic dialogue won’t be to everyone’s taste but personally I’m finding myself more and more in my element; “Where were you all my life?” springs to mind. Thanks for answering my “Where’s the love?” question so well though, guys. ^_^ It’s reassuring to know that these films are getting more attention than I initially thought.
Like its predecessor Kara no Kyoukai: Satsujin Kohatsu expects patience and open-mindedness from the viewer but in return I was rewarded with a viewing experience that is more mature than either of the other Nasu/Takeuchi animated adaptations; I was once again left speechless at the marriage of visuals and music but the storytelling goes further into the characters’ heads, and is all the more satisfying for that. There are plenty of supernatural thrillers around these days but it’s not often that it’s handled in this way: namely portraying events from the point of view of the supposed killer as well as those caught up in the investigations that ensue.