The Garden of Sinners Remix: Gate of Seventh Heaven

Alt title: Kara no Kyoukai Remix: Gate of Seventh Heaven

Movie (1 ep x 61 min)
3.893 out of 5 from 1,839 votes
Rank #1,539
The Garden of Sinners Remix: Gate of Seventh Heaven

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    Kara no Kyoukai Review Part 7What is fanservice?To many fans of anime and manga the term is used to denote content that in many other media would be considered "questionable", and a number of studios have begun using ecchi or near pornographic tactics in an effort to bolster the sales of DVDs, BluRays and associated merchandise. Unfortunately the average viewer continues to fall for what is effectively nothing more than a marketing tool (sex sells after all), without ever thinking that they could have more than stripes and jiggling. The resulting marginal increase in sales is then taken as proof positive that "fanservice" in its current form is a viable method for marketing and selling anime, and thus there has been a gradual increase in the number of shows that feature panty shots, large breasts, lolis, moe, and the kind of nonsense that has more to in common with adolescent wet dreams than actual entertainment.It seems that the industry bigwigs have forgotten that fanservice can be a simple message of appreciation from the studios, and that contrary to popular belief it doesn't have to stroke the viewers ... ego. Thankfully there are a few things out there that take a slightly more wholesome stance when it comes to servicing the fans, but sadly these are rapidly becoming a rarity in an age where the focus seems more on the the area below the viewer's waist than the one above the neck.Gate Of The Seventh Heaven may initially appear to be nothing more than another clip show, but in truth it's a type of fanservice that doesn't demean the studio, the creators, the viewers, and anyone else associated with the franchise.Now fans of Kara no Kyoukai may already be familiar with the adventures of Ryougi Shiki, Kokutou Mikiya and Aozaki Touko as they go around solving all manner of supernatural shenanigans, usually in a fairly exciting manner. This special episode strings together a collection of choice moments from the first six installments in the series, and while the sequence of events is much abridged, the manner in which Gate Of The Seventh Heaven is constructed allows for a degree of accessibility that makes this a great introduction to the world that TYPE-MOON and Ufotable have created. The simplicity of proceedings and the straightforward approach to chronology also serves as something of an anodyne to those who had difficulty getting their head around the various jumps in time from one episode to the next, as well as addressing one of the biggest criticisms that people have had of the franchise thus far.The movies were originally released in a non chronological order similar to that used by Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu, and like that series the issue of continuity has been raised several times in the past. Now while Gate Of The Seventh Heaven only touches lightly on the main thrust of the plot for each episode, it allows the viewer to gain an overview of the various events and how they link to each other over the course of the series, and even hints at some things that might occur in the future. One could argue that every clip show does this to a degree, but the difference here is that unlike the shows that feature a time sequential plot line, the Kara no Kyoukai franchise actually needs a few straightforward explanatory notes to help viewers connect events between one movie and the next.It may be surprising for many people to hear, but sometimes a clip show can be more than the sum of its parts.The surprises don't stop with new scenes and hints of things to come though. Ufotable have gone the extra mile for the fans, and towards the end of Gate Of The Seventh Heaven viewers can sit back and enjoy a rather well made AMV set to Kalafina's Oblivious.Which is a rather fitting segue to the topic of visuals.Now given the nature of this episode pretty much everything I could say about the design has already been said in my other reviews, yet even with that the extra scenes in this installment are well realised and fit neatly into the whole. In truth, the one aspect of Gate Of The Seventh Heaven that stands out is the quality of the visual editing as, contrary to popular belief, making a clip show isn't as easy as many people might think. The main issues to be confronted are the pacing of the storyline, the sense of perspective, and most difficult of all for a series like this, promoting the inherent continuity that may not have been obvious before, and it's to the credit of Ufotable that they manage to achieve this to a large degree. Granted there are a few small issues here and there, but these can be forgiven in light of the effort that has gone into making what began as a clip show into something more.As for the AMV, while it could be construed as nothing more than Ufotable "showing off", it's also rather refreshing as it's a definite nod to AMV creators all over the world, and a novel way of showing how much the studio have enjoyed working on the franchise.One of the hallmarks of Kara no Kyoukai has been the quality of the audio, from the voice acting and background music to the effects and choreography, and it's nice to see that standards have been maintained to a large degree. While a great deal of the quality for this episode is directly handed down from the individual episodes, once again it's the editing, timing and choreography that raises this from the realms of the clip show. That said, there are a few oddities to be found in the AMV, but as with the small flaws in the visuals, these are easy to overlook.To be honest, there's only one area where people may find criticism, and that's with the characters themselves. The Kara no Kyoukai franchise has been continuously hounded by problems with characterisation and development, partly because of the out of sequence manner in which the series has been released, and partly because the run time of each movie places a limitation on growth.The weird thing is that fans may actually criticise Gate Of The Seventh Heaven for making sense. The nature of this episode promotes the idea that the characters develop over time, mainly because of the manner in which the story is told. The fact that events follow a linear path allows viewers to see how much the characters change over the course of the franchise, and this may come as a shock to many people as while the growth of each individual tends to be more of a stop-start affair, it's also far more clearly defined because of the sequential nature of the plot.It's a well established fact that I have a soft spot for the Kara no Kyoukai franchise, but that doesn't mean I'm willing to sit through an hour long clip show. To say I was surprised when the credits ran after the AMV and the final scene, would be an understatement as not only did I enjoy Gate Of The Seventh Heaven, it also clarified certains aspects of the series that were a tad confusing the first time around. Granted there are flaws here and there, and the core elements of the plot lack a degree of substance due to the highly abbreviated nature of the episode, but these can be forgiven as this installment is an enjoyable addition to the franchise if nothing else.Kara no Kyoukai: Gate Of The Seventh Heaven is about as far as one can get from the current idea of fanservice, and because of this it stands out as an example of how good all those DVD extras, OVA's and special episodes <em>could</em> be, so much so in fact that the BluRay box set (priced at $300-$400), sold out in the US in a very short space of time.Hopefully the other studios will take note and realise that fanservice doesn't have to be aimed at the groin.

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