For a supposed spin-off of Shingetsutan Tsukihime, I must admit I was expecting a decent-but-entertaining action flick that would drift off into the far reaches of my memory banks and quickly be forgotten. Thus, when it subsequently blew me out of the water with culling graphics, euphoric audio, and kick-ass story line, you can only imagine my elation.
Keeping in mind that this film is a mere fifty minutes in length, the story turns out to be surprisingly intriguing. From the get-go Shiki has a mysterious aura about her that just doesn't seem right, as her attitude toward the series of "suicide" deaths gives her personality a rather chilling edge. Sure enough, the movie introduces the killings in a bang-one-two-three fashion, leading straight into the first action sequence without dwelling too long on idle story points. Those familiar with Tsukihime will, no doubt, start to notice a surprising number of similarities between the two works at this point with one notable exception: Kara no Kyoukai doesn't blunder, it keeps its momentum all the way through. It ends with an ominous, angst-driven tone, too, hinting that the events that transpire in this film are merely a prelude for what's to come; and, if the movie's sheer level of quality is any fine indicator, it's going to be one hell of a ride.
If I've ever come across an anime that could give Shinkai a run for his money in terms of visual quality, Kara no Kyoukai is it - the animation is absolutely amazing. It captures every single architectural detail within its urban landscape, from soft tinges of rust to grand arches to faintly gleaming steel. The attention to lighting effects is magnificently breathtaking, carried through especially well within both the movies' action sequences. These are, without a doubt, some of the best to date, as not only do they look spectacular but their level of animation proves some of the most fluid and crisp to date; the animators left not a single twitch, turn, or flicker untouched.
Tack on absolutely gorgeous character detail as well, and it should come as no surprise that this title takes a perfect score. There is, quite literally, not a single lapse or flaw within the movies' visuals - perfection if I've ever seen it.
Hell, if anything was even remotely comparable to the visuals it was the music; I knew from the moment the opening song played through that I was in for a feast of audible delight. Indeed, the soundtrack flaunted not only amazing music, but amazingly appropriate music - every single scene was captured with masterful precision; while the visuals pleased my eyes, the music enraptured my ears. With top-notch voice acting to boot, it leaves me with little else to say; I'm astoundingly speechless.
As with most movies of this class, the characters are given very little time to develop deep or captivating personalities. Even so, Shiki's distance and dissonance are part of her personality, and definitely contribute to her fell persona. From the moment she grabs her red leather jacket and slings it violently around her shoulders, you know she means business. Indeed, she's the center of both fight scenes, and she kicks royal ass - that's all that's important. Since this is but the first of seven movies, I wasn't really expecting too much from her, but she certainly didn't disappoint.
The rest of the cast wasn't too terribly bad, either, but their lack of screen time makes it hard for me to pass any substantial judgement. Solely on the basis of their roles they did a good job, and hopefully they'll see some more development in the sequels.
If for nothing more than to gape in awe, Kara no Kyoukai should make its way onto everyone's list - movies like this are every action fan's wet dream. Even at that, its level of production is so magnificently high that I expect it to appeal to just about any anime fan regardless of taste. I'll keep my fingers crossed, but if Kara no Kyoukai's trend continues down the path of greatness, this very well could be 2008's sleeping giant; not to be missed.
When an odd string of suicides begins to occur at a local high rise building, most of the townsfolk treat it as an unfortunate series of events. One girl, however, senses something more sinister at work - especially when a close friend of hers falls mysteriously ill. After witnessing one of the deaths for herself, Shiki begins to realize that a strange connection exists between each of the girls, and predicts a total of eight will die. With seven dead and the accuracy of her prediction unclear, she sets out to put an end to the killings. Yet, as she nears the truth, she finds herself closer and closer to the brink of death; will Shiki become the town's savior, or the next victim?
Though I'm a big fan of slice of life and romance, I'll watch just about anything that catches my interest. My opinions tend to be pretty level-headed, but I have been known to be controversial from time to time! Feel free to lay into me if you so desire, as I always appreciate feedback - positive or negative. I hope you enjoy reading!