Kara no Kyoukai: Mirai Fukuin is a solid film. The artwork is top notch, the story is interesting, the characters are well rounded, and all in all, it is an enjoyable experience. It is also the proper epilogue of the Kara no Kyoukai series, as opposed to the so-called epilogue, which is just a bunch of philosophical musings in a pretty wrapping. But most of all, this can more or less stand on its own, which is a necessity for any movie. Prior viewing of the series (or at least the fifth and seventh installations) will add a bit more depth to it though.
There is some action, bits of a philosophy, a healthy sprinkle of slice of life, and most of all, it remains rather light hearted and fun. Don't expect it to be all grim and gritty, because it is surprisingly optimistic for the series of films. Still, while it does not reach new heights, this is definitely a strong showing on all fronts. There is not one part of it which is deficient from a technical standpoint, and while the sum of it all is just the sum of it all and nothing more, it is still a hefty sum of good components.
Still, I can't help but say that Kara no Kyoukai: Mirai Fukuin is an enjoyable ride. It is a proper farewell to the franchise, and does so with top notch animation through and through, good sound work, a solid plot, good characterizations, and most of all, while open ended it gives a feeling of optimism that just hit the spot for me. Perhaps I should complain about stuff, but really, there is nothing that really annoys me about this movie... which I suppose is high praise indeed.
Writing (Story and Characters):
Kara no Kyoukai: Mirai Fukuin has solid writing all around. The plot is good, the characters are well rounded, and the choice of making it a one hour piece followed by a half hour epilogue is rather inspired because it is executed well. Generally speaking, when something experiments a bit and it works out, this is a good thing - and surely it does for this. While it did not wow me with originality, this movie did impress me with its self-awareness and knowing exactly where its limits are.
The plot in itself is rather interesting. There is a lot of philosophy about the essence of the future as a concept interspersed throughout the Kara no Kyoukai: Mirai Fukuin, and perhaps that would be the main theme of it. But also of note is how the different aspects were explored. Slice of life bits, along with stylized action sequences, complemented by a character driven attitude make it quite an original combination. There is no pretense of attempting to blow people's minds, but rather just a story about what different people do with different ways of viewing the future.
The characters are interesting. A boy who can see the future and how to achieve it, a girl who has premonitions, a fortune teller who works at giving relationship advice; all three manage to fit into different roles as well. The characters have their own personality and voice, outlook and philosophy. This is of course ignoring the knife wielding killing machine and the care free do-gooder, which also manage to have their moment in the spotlight. But really, the essence of this film is on the different perspectives of the different characters. Each gets their time, and it is not wasted.
For people who have watched the Kara no Kyoukai series, this is definitely more satisfying an epilogue than what is called the epilogue. For people who didn't, the writing remains well above average. Perhaps it could do more with developing the characters given another hour or so, but then it would lose a lot of the pacing which makes it enjoyable.
Art (Animation and Sound):
The artwork in Kara no Kyoukai: Mirai Fukuin is top notch. The backgrounds and settings are gorgeous, the action scenes well choreographed, the movement fluid, and character design solid. The sound is subdued but professional, and fits like a glove. There is nothing too over the top, but really this movie says "if everything is done right, then there is no need to go far outside the box", and in this case it works like a charm.
The animation is gorgeous. Each frame can stand on its own, the movement of the characters gives each a personality, down to the body language. The character designs are intelligent and have just enough personality without ostentatiousness. Really, this is probably the strong point of the film - it is plain top-tier stuff, through and through. Very few manage to surpass this, and when you think of cinema quality, this is right up there.
The soundtrack is good, the voice acting smooth, the effects work is very fitting, and while this does not reach a new frontier, it is definitely in the higher echelons. No, this didn't wow me. Yes, it is professional, tight, and intelligent work in the sound department. Really though, it just helps express what everything else does, and takes the back seat to the other elements, helping achieve a nice cohesiveness between art and writing.
Kara no Kyoukai: Mirai Fukuin is a recommended view for everyone who wants a combination of action, philosophy and slice of life. It is a must view for anyone who has watched the Kara no Kyoukai series. Watch and enjoy!