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...
Kara no Kyoukai – Tsuukaku Zenryuu (AKA Remaining Sense of Pain) is the third movie in this seinen supernatural mystery series. While I enjoyed the first 2 movies, I wasn’t looking forward to this one. I’ve read the original novels by Kinoko Nasu so I know what to expect. The book alone disturbed me and put me off as it made me feel uncomfortable. This chapter of the novel was the most unpleasant of the series due to the subject matter, I really don’t do well with rape. Yet it was depicted sensibly here. I happened to start reading the Kara no Kyoukai novels when I was horribly ill and when the first two stories were fine, this was too much for my already tormented mind to take, thus I stopped reading and had to return when my health got better. As I’ve mentioned before, this is set in the Type-Moon universe. I recommend readers refer to my reviews of previous movies for more info on certain things like sound and animation. Animation Refer to my review of the first movie for most of the details on animation, which is as immaculate as the first 2 movies. One thing that is different from the previous two movies, is the inclusion of explicit physical and sexual abuse (rape). This is a far cry from the likes of ecchi and fan-service, it is tantamount to horror from my perspective, but then again, I am very uncomfortable with the subject, so much so that I’d stopped watching a couple of movies because of it (for the latter I happened to also be badly ill and I resumed it later when I’d cleared my worries with something more cheerful). I even stopped reading the book because of how uncomfortable it made me feel, though I was already ill at the time and that exaggerated the distress I felt. I feel that it’s unreasonable for me to be this way, it’s almost like an irrational fear. Unfortunately I can’t help it, however on a few occasions I have been able to look past these things and enjoy a story, as is the case for what is probably my second favourite movie (Shawshank Redemption). Be warned, I know some folks would rather not watch this sort of thing or would turn it off as soon as it comes to that part. Though, the strangest thing was that all the nasty stuff was kept to a minimum, even the gore was downplayed. I appreciate, since that helped me tolerate something I otherwise struggle to and otherwise enjoy the movie. Sound Once again, the sound and music is on point, refer to my review of the first movie for details. The additional main character in this movie, Fujino Asagami is voiced by Mamiko Noto, she voiced Takami Komoda in Bokurano, Kotomi Ichinose in Clannad, Yuka in Elfen Lied, Tomoe Wajima in Hanasaku Iroha, Rin Asogi in Mnemosyne (a similarly messed-up but somehow still enjoyable anime), Hecate in Shakugan no Shana, Matsuri Shihou in Sola, Shihou Okita in Tari Tari, Cordelia de Randgriz in Valkyria Chronicles, Masane Amaha in Witchblade and a whole host of other characters from anime I haven’t watched or anime I severely disliked. A mixed bag of experience, but experienced nonetheless. Characters Please refer to my review on the 2nd movie for more info and clarification. Some of these descriptions are extended thanks to the help of the characters being explained more in the novel. I really don't like how the characters aren't as developed as they are in the book. I'm docking points for that. It shouldn't matter since we see the main characters throughout the series, but the character who is a main character only in this movie is missing some substantial background. Shiki Ryougi returns and this is where the minor exclusions of the story from the first movie come into play. The events of this movie take place a mere month after Shiki has awoken from her 2 year coma. She can’t remember some of the key events that led up to her accident to put her in that coma, including the fact that she tried to kill Mikiya at the end of the second movie and of course, she feels a bit odd. Thus we don’t find out how she ended up in a coma. This is likely due to the fact that her alternate personality SHIKI (the masculine and impulsive) is no longer around. But Shiki herself has changed, she has somehow retained her deranged bloodlust and desire for murder from before, she remains a very mentally unstable person. Yet despite all this, she seems to have some semblance of a sense of justice, she doesn’t like it when other people kill for no good reason and she is good at figuring out others. She likes that Touko is allowing her to sate her desire to kill with no strings attached. It’s now obvious that Shiki has eyes imbued with magic power that allow her to see lines of death on objects and living things, which she cuts with her good old knife to kill. Those eyes also allow her to see magic too. I will also add that Shiki still has her left arm, which was a prosthetic in the first movie (set sometime after this one). Mikiya Kokuto now works for Touko, though he usually goes around doing his own thing. He still has connections with Gakuto, his old friend from school and is on good terms with him. While he remains the same old nice person he was before, this movie brings out the very human flaws in him, if you could call them that. While he strongly believes that killing is wrong, his view is challenged by the situation in this movie, which might make him think for once, the murders are acceptable. He knows that Shiki is dangerous and killer, but he won’t tell her that as she doesn’t seem to remember it all and he doesn’t want her to try and kill him again. For the most part, he remains a serious individual and is very protective of the people he cares about. He’s good at finding things and acquiring information, which helps him in his job. Perhaps the most important character of this story is Fujino Asagami. She is of the high standing, noble noble Asakami lineage and attends a private academy in Tokyo and has been a long term friend of Azaka Kokuto. Theone person she really looks up to and adores is her senpai, a guy who helped her out when she was younger and has never seen since. Fujino has a health issue where is unable to feel physical pain. And something horrible has been happening to her over the past several months. Something this movie left out, but was in the novel was the one major issue I have with this character. She gives up too easy, she doesn’t fight back. It’s almost like she prefers to tolerate insufferable things. She tries to justify her inaction, but the excuse just falls flat. This was the character I had the most problem with, she’s too prideful to act, when her pride doesn’t matter and counts for jack. This was the character who boggled my mind and upset me, she amplified my revulsion at the events she has gone through. She is definitely in denial about a few things, including one thing that Shiki openly enjoys. Touko Aozaki is the same as ever, but now we get a bit more info on her. Well in the novel at the very least. Touko is a mage, she acquired her magical ability through study and learning, this seems to link the Kara no Kyoukai series to the Fate series and also Tsukihime, where mages also exist and provides more evidence that these different anime narratives are set in the same world. She doesn’t seem to like people who are born with their powers and didn’t earn them, but she seems to tolerate Shiki very easily and is willing to use her (and her bloodlust) to solve some problems. She is still kinda mean to Mikiya, and is bad with money. She’d rather waste all the earnings from a job on a ridiculously expensive antique Ouija board which not work, instead of paying Mikiya his rightfully earned wages and is totally fine with not paying him for one month due to her selfish and pointless desires. I’m honestly starting to like her less and less. She’s still very knowledgeable on a bunch of stuff and is good at acquiring information. Azaka Kokuto is Mikiya’s younger sister who he hasn’t seen for many years. She is kinda tsundere and mean, she really doesn’t like Shiki and the fact that she associates with her older brother, this may be due to a possible brother complex. She is best friends with Fujino and attends the same school. While her personality is a very aggressive one, she is the sort of person who would offend someone right in front of their face and then the next moment admit a positive note about the same person. She also is kinda stubborn, once she decides to do something, she will follow it through and make sure it happens. Story The events of this movie are set roughly a month after Shiki woke up from her coma. Once again, some mysterious murders have been taking place, or rather one event that left the victims remains in a gruesome fashion. Mikiya take a job from his old friend Gakuto as Touko isn’t giving him any pay, which is to find the one survivor who ran off. Touko is sending Shiki out to directly deal with the killer, since Shiki is able to handle a good fight. Meanwhile, the girl named Fujino Asagami is wandering around in severe pain, not having the option of being able to return home or to call for help. Where will her aimless wandering take her and what will she do? The biggest issue I have here, is that they leave out too much from the original novel, moreso than any of the other movies did. They leave out a lot of backstory about Fujino, including her parents where her mother remarried (maybe her father died? We never find out why) a man named Asagami who merely desires the power and perks of the Asakami name, with only his step-daughter Fujino standing in his way. This explains the discrepancy between her surname Asagami and the Asakami family. Her experience wandering around and finding certain people is also left out, all we see is the end of those meetings. We don’t find her reasoning of how she came to be in a bad situation for too long, thereby missing out a major criticism I had of her character. We also don’t see that Mikiya is capable of small lies, in the novel he buys a packet of cigarettes even though he doesn’t smoke and later he smokes it in front of Keiji in order to make them feel comfortable around him. Mikiya’s extensive detective work is also left out. Not a word is mentioned about SHIKI and during a fight scene, an arm that was meant to come off, didn’t. The backstory behind the bridge-being a project by Fujino’s stepfather is also missing. The most important aspects of the story are murder, pain, torture, abuse, insanity, mental health and it just gets very psychological. It’s probably just as bad as Elfen Lied if not worse, though in this movie I don’t think any little children are horribly murdered. I’d have thought that revenge was a part of it, but it seems almost irrelevant. Perhaps it is, and it ties in with the murder aspect. When is murder justifiable? Should a person murder in order to take revenge? This is discussed among the characters, some of whom may have surprising opinions on the matter. Of course, Shiki is in the strong belief that killing shouldn’t be aimless or random, it should be someone whose death will bring benefit and someone who will give her the joy of murder, i.e. someone who will fight back. The pain topic is a very interesting one, without pain, we cannot tell whether we are injured or not and it regulates our behaviour to be more careful and more self-preserving while sustaining injuries. Without pain, broken bones and muscles may get worse. I’ll be honest in that there have been occasions when I’ve not noticed my own injuries and bleeding. But then there’s also the negative aspect, the torture and psychological strain can be too much in some situations. Algophobia is the phobia of pain and by coincidence I happen to have it. By an even bigger coincidence, it was a major aspect of my illness that I was going through when I started reading the Kara no Kyoukai books and stopped at this one. A lot of people out there would prefer not to feel pain, but would this really be a good thing? I won’t go into the details about the other horrible things this anime features, though one lesser thing is the presence of hard drugs. I guess when folks are very depressed, they seem to use drugs to make them happy, but I’m not very qualified to talk on the subject, since I’ve only done legal stuff like tobacco/alcohol. I will mention that drugs are forcibly given against one’s will and a high amount. I’ve heard of a similar crime happening IRL. The mind is a topic at the centre of the whole series of movies, besides there being a lot said to bewilder said minds, there’s a lot of broken minds around. Or not necessarily, some people in this movie are just outright horrible. I don’t see how they can find enjoyment out of hurting others and doing very horrible things to people. The behaviour of some people is sickening, not only is it shown in this anime, but it unfortunately does happen in real life. That’s the cold, harsh reality we live in. Where dreadful things happen and they go unnoticed, or nobody bothers to bat an eye or question something and let it happen. Conclusion Despite all the negativity and anxiety this chapter of the Kara no Kyoukai saga has made me spew/feel, I can really appreciate this anime. I commend the folks who made this for being able to make it and for keeping it close to the book and as serious as possible, these are not light topics depicted here. I’ve already mentioned in previous reviews that this series isn’t for everyone. If you’ve watched the first couple, I guess you won’t stop here. I don’t like how they missed out a lot of plot concerning a character, but I am very grateful for the reduction of the nasty stuff, which made this more watchable. If you liked Elfen Lied and Mnemosyne and can tolerate those kinds of anime, you should be fine with the 3rd movie in the Kara no Kyoukai series. Unfortunately, this movie is a bit lacklustre in terms of story compared to the previous 2, simply due to the sheer amount of missing bits of plot from the original novel. Family-friendliness Rating: 5/5 Explicit themes including drugs and rape (lower is better) Overall Rating: 8/10 (higher is better)
Kara no Kyoukai review Part 3Sometimes 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.
Kara no Kyoukai Movie 3: Tsuukaku Zanryuu is definitely better than the first two movies in the series. The animation is superb if retaining the faults of the earlier installations. The sound is solid all around. The plot is a bit shock-value oriented (explicit sexual abuse, gore), and is overall quite pedestrian in the landscape of modern anime (it doesn't revel in the brutality yet the violence isn't particularly necessary). That being said, the movie is overall an enjoyable experience. As opposed to the earlier installations, this piece is quite self contained (though there are references to other movies in the series), which gives it a profound edge over the first two. Movie is in the name, and a movie is what it is (well, mostly). Still, there are problems with the art (a lot of still shots that are just scrolled, parts of shots that are completely static, etc) that don't allow this to reach technical perfection in a way I'd like a movie to have. Perhaps I've grown familiar with the characters and premise and can now enjoy this a bit more. Perhaps I am starting to view it as a series. Still, I think that as a movie, as opposed to the first two, this holds up much better and manages to be greater than a sum of its parts. Writing (Story and Characters): It is not that I dislike shock value. Hell, at times I find it awesome. But when a movie has disturbing and brutal scenes, I would like for them to be important or just the whole point of it. Unfortunately, this is the major downfall of Kara no Kyoukai Movie 3: Tsuukaku Zanryuu. Cutting out the rape and gore would have pretty much changed very little. Still, I'm going to give an added point for a sex scene in something that is just that: one scene. Usually anime chooses either complete chastity (on and off screen) or devolves into pornography. This is not the case here. The "mystery" in and of itself is a rather minor plot point. We learn of the most of the backstory of the "antagonist" through reports (a major literary no-no), and we don't really see detective work doing anything to aid hunting her down. But Kara no Kyoukai Movie 3: Tsuukaku Zanryuu is, like the other installations, about the main characters. There is a disconnect between the main plot and the character development, but less of one than you'd expect considering that they are given roughly equal time. Overall, the writing here isn't as bad as the first film, but worse than the second. Finally we get a sense of continuity, which makes up for the fact that there is a hidden assumption here that we have watched other things in the franchise to drive home the ending. That being said, even without prior knowledge, this manages to be rather self-contained. Art (Animation and Sound): Every single frame is wonderful. There is plenty of detail and some amazing scenery at times. The rain is well done overall (though it usually just covers underlying layers rather than distorting them), and the lighting is rather inspired at times. The choice of sound direction is subdued and in the background; the effects are seemless, the music doesn't try and steal the show. Overall, this is film quality, just what you'd expect from something that has "movie" in the title. Kara no Kyoukai Movie 3: Tsuukaku Zanryuu is artistically sound. There is some interesting cinematography, careful choice of backgrounds, and overall it just works. The voice acting is good, and doesn't try to be over the top too much. The underlying theme of "bending" is hinted at through the use of bridges and other subtle tricks - which is intelligent and powerful even if you don't really notice it. My personal take is that while the art is good, there is very clever use of restraint. It makes the gore stand out, and while at times disturbing (the rape scene), overall it is the strong point of Kara no Kyoukai Movie 3: Tsuukaku Zanryuu. It is not quite an exercise in perfection, but it does stand out. Overall: This is a movie worth watching. It might help watching the others in the series, and if you've seen the earlier installations, it is definitely worth your time to continue. It gave me a taste for more of the series, and didn't leave me frustrated with anything in particular. It would have been great had there been added focus on the detective work, and this had been a feature length film (an extra 30-40 minutes), but all in all it is quite good.
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