Reviews of yesteryear: Kara no Kyoukai 3: Tsuukaku Zanryuu

Welcome to the end of film festival week. As promised, we’re going to look at Kara No Kyoukai 3: Tsuukaku Zanryuu. Which is also the third film chronologically. Hey, they got one out of four in the right spot. I just hope it’s more like the second film (first chronologically) than it is the first (fourth chronologically.) Let’s take a look at KnK 3 and find out.

We open the story with a scene of a woman being raped… Isn’t that a bit too heavy of a scene to open with? This is the type of content you want to give your audience time to brace for, not just put it in from the get go. We need time to brace ourselves, Movie. You know, build up and narrative context. We then switch ahead a bit and find out that most of the rapists have been killed off screen. A fate that should be suffered by all sexual predators. Preferably with a lot of pain involved. Touko’s agency is hired to find the killer who, it turns out, is their victim, Fujino. And no, that’s not a spoiler. It’s revealed almost right away. Someone give that girl extensive therapy to deal with the shit she’s been through, a medal and a puppy. Meanwhile, Keita is approached to find the last surviving rapist who doesn’t deserve an actual name so I’ll just call him Scum but Fujino is looking for him as well. They should just hand him over to her, but they decide to protect him in spite of his confessed crimes because… murder is bad even when it’s well deserved and entirely justified. Yeah, I’m not buying it, especially when we’ve seen our “heroes” kill people already. But there’s more to this scenario than a justified revenge killing spree and it could mean disaster.

Okay, let’s look at the positives and negatives. I’ll start with the negatives because, in this case, there are fewer of them. One issue with the film is the pacing. Although, unlike the first two, this one doesn’t have a bunch of slow stretches. It’s just overly hectic. They introduce a lot of story elements which they either rush through or leave unfinished. They just try to cram too much in. That leads to my biggest issue. Scum never has to go through any sort of punishment, at least none that you see. Which really ticks me off. They aren’t going to vivisect him? Disembowel him? Quarter him? We don’t even get to see him maimed a little. They could’ve at least sent him to prison where he would hopefully get shanked and die of tetanus. Now we move on to the positives. This has quite a bit of disturbing content but, in spite of the impression I may have given, it is handled pretty well. Yeah, the opening sets a very dark tone and it could’ve easily led to some huge problems if they’d tried to, say, inject humour into later scenes, but they avoid that. The moral questions they bring up are pretty poignant. Even if some of us already have a strong opinion on them. I also like the way that Touko, Shiki, and Mikiya are inclined to sympathise with Fujino, albeit in different ways and that the event that leads to her climactic clash with Fujino is somewhat separate from the original case.

One thing that’s a little odd about KnK 3 is that the “antagonist,” Fujino, comes off as the most sympathetic character around. If you don’t feel sorry for her there’s something wrong with you. This isn’t to say that our three major protagonists aren’t well handled. They all have a good sense of personality in this. Mikiya especially comes off really well. Like the other films, the side characters in this are pretty shallow, but the main characters do carry things effectively so it’s not a major issue. This is also the first film that’s given you a sense of Touko’s personality which does have some interesting elements to it.

The art remains incredibly well done. With really detailed backgrounds and objects. The character art is still the weak link being well done, but kind of standard.

This film, like the last one, has really good voice acting. Noto Mamiko, Suzumura Kenichi and Honda Takako in particular give strong performances. Although there really isn’t a weak link. The music is used to add to the atmosphere and works quite well.

The yuri factor is a 1/10. There’s no yuri in this.

KnK 3 is a dark and disturbing film. It is certainly not for everyone and you should probably skip it if you’re a sensitive sort. However, it is a pretty well done film and, if you can handle the content, it is an interesting work with some layers to it. That being said, it does have some pretty serious faults and I didn’t like it as much as the second film, overall. I give it a 6/10.

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