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Dio Brando
12-14-2010, 04:29 AM
I really doubt anyone here knows this anime, that's why I'm making this thread. Its an really underrated anime series, it needs some real love. Its a 7 movie series and those movies are some of the best in the anime history. Here is a review of the first movie I made back when I first finished it -

Kara no Kyoukai (lit. The Boundary of Emptiness), is a series that has taken a long time to become well known. The story was originally created in 1998 by Nasu Kinoko and Takeuchi Takashi (who later went on to form TYPE-MOON), with the first five chapters being released on their doujin website, whilst the final two chapters were released in August 1999 at Comiket 56. The series was picked up by Kodansha for commercial publication in 2004, and this year (2009), will see the series released on the international market courtesy of Del Rey Manga.

Now fans of Shingetsutan Tsukihime will be find many things in Kara no Kyoukai familiar, not the least of which is the fact that they are both created by TYPE-MOON. The stories have several parallels within them, which has led to the latter series being considered an alternate version of the former, or at the very least, set in the same world.

The anime adaptation of the series is being released as seven movies that run for approxiamtely 50 minutes each. Each individual film features a different time period, with no two consecutive movies following in any kind of chronological order. Unlike Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu though, this seemingly out-of-sequence airing is not simply because of a whim on the part of the producers. The non-consecutive ordering is how the series is should be portrayed, and the anime has stayed faithful to that method.

The first movie, entitled Overlooking View, is surprisingly good in terms of its story. Although there is very little character development, the story moves along at a nice pace, and the tense nature of the movie is very much apparent to the viewer. The movie is somewhat predictable in places though, however this doesn't really detract from one's enjoyment of it as an individual episode.

One thing to note is that the series subtitle, "The Garden of Sinners", is actually very appropriate. The first movie does a good job of highlighting the fact that the world in which the story takes place is no heaven by any measure, and that not everything is as simple as people may at first believe.

The art and animation for the series is done by Ufotable, a company for which I have a distinct soft spot. Like many Ufotable productions the animation style is distinctive in certain ways, especially during the action sequences (fans of Futakoi Alternative will know what I'm talking about here), and fans will notice Ufotable's trademark claymation sequences at the beginning of each movie (in other series they are shown with the credits at the end of each episode). The animation is generally very well done, and what may seem like blips in the animating sequence are often purposeful, part of this distinctive style I mentioned.

The backgrounds and backdrops are generally excellent. The maze-like structure of the Fujo building is very well depicted, as are the various outdoor scenes and indoor scenes. The CG has been almost seamlessly incorporated into the show, and the smoothness of the CG adds to the effect of the action sequences.

Character designs are taken directly from the original designs for the novels by Takeuchi Takashi, however fans of Tsukihime will also notice similarities in the features of several of the characters.

One area where the movie manages to stamp it's mark is with the sound effects. These are often very clear and well used, fading to background noise when necessary.The effects used during the action sequences are sometimes sharp in comparison to the rest of the movie, whilst the effects used to promote an atmosphere of tension are a little lacking. The music sometimes lacks a little subtlety, but generally serves to heighten the effect of a particular scene, addinga sense of foreboding in some sequences.

The voice actors are well used, with the three main characters being decently portrayed. Sakamoto Maaya, who plays the role of Ryougi Shiki, brings a certain edge, a certain chill, to her voice at the times when it's necessary, something which adds to the overall effect of the character. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast don't really have much scope to display their skill. Hopefully the following movies will rectify this though.

A valid assessment of each character is extremely difficult in this case. The fact that the movie is only 50 minutes long means that there is no real development to each character, but I am withholding a final opinion until the end of the series.

As I mentioned before there are certain parallels with Shingetsutan Tsukihime, and nowhere is this more apparent than with the characters. Ryougi Shiki doesn't just share her name with Tohno Shiki of Tsukihime, she also has the "Mystic Eyes of Death Perception" (and she looks a bit like Ciel). Likewise, Aozaki Touko shares her name with Aozaki Aoko, and both help the person named Shiki in their respective shows (they also seem to know more than they let on as well).

In general the characters are well done, but they lack a certain depth which will hopefully be rectified as the series continues.

Overall this is a very enjoyable movie. The pacing of the story, the tension of various scenes, and the semi-combative relationship of the characters, all serve to raise this above the often substandard fare around. The fact that the series is being done as individual movies is also a plus, as each story arc is completed within a nice timeframe. The movie may be a little predictable, but as a first offering it was very impressive nonetheless.

Some people may not enjoy the first movie for a number of reasons (it has no real romance, no character development, no sequential plot, etc), but personally, I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.