When I reviewed the first Kara no Kyoukai film, I thought that would be the end of it. I had no intention of continuing through the other six, but I changed my mind because the fan base was surprisingly cool and reasonable. I’m glad I did because the next five films ranged from decent to really superb. This week let’s look at the seventh film in the series, Kara no Kyoukai 7: Satsujin Kousatsu (Kou).
Japan’s been experiencing a series of grisly murders with scattered body parts being left mutilated and strewn about. For Kokutou Mikiya, the incidents remind him of the series of murders four years ago. The ones that Shiki’s now dead second personality seems to have been responsible for. To make matters worse, Shiki is acting strange and disappears from her apartment without leaving any way to contact her. Mikiya heads for the area where the crimes have been occurring to investigate the incident. He’ll find more than he bargains for as he seeks answers.
Let’s start with my issues with the film. The first, and more minor gripe, is that this film uses a lot of flashbacks. While it’s obvious that they’re being used to connect this film and the second more intimately, they also go overboard with it, spending more time with the flashbacks than they need to. My big gripe with the film, however, is with the philosophising. The film makes an effort to comment on the nature of killing. The problem is that its commentary is overly simplistic and really not well thought out. Basically, the answer we get is that murder is done when someone’s emotions for another person overflow and need an outlet and that slaughter happens when a being that no longer qualifies as human kills a bunch of people. Really? Because I’d love to see where people who kill in self defence land. Soldiers, for that matter. Someone who kills a relative, not because of any feelings they harbour towards that relative, but because they stand to inherit money, where do they fall? How about Asagami Fujino from the third film? You may remember her as the one who completely justifiably killed a bunch of guys. She wasn’t inhuman, nor did the film’s narrative treat her as such. If anything the rapist bastards she killed were inhuman. This philosophy is bollocks and yet the film treats it as though it’s profound and significant.
Moving on to the positives, the film is really well paced and it excels at building tension. The first third is dedicated to Mikiya’s investigation and then it proceeds very naturally from there. The story, overall, is really well done with mystery and suspense elements that work really effectively. The climax is really good working on multiple levels. There are also some skilfully done creepy moments, particularly towards the end. The film also brings several plot threads from the prior six films to their own resolutions and does that really well. The romantic tension between Mikiya and Shiki being the one that gets the most focus.
One thing this film is really good about is building off of the characterisation from the prior films. One of the positive aspects of the flashbacks is that we get to see where the characters were when this whole affair began and how they’ve developed since. There are some really strong character moments for both Shiki and Mikiya. There’s not as much with Touko and Azaka but the stuff that Touko does get is really good. If anything, the weakness here is Azaka since she shows up for all of one scene and only slightly contributes to Touko’s character arc. Aside from that she does bugger all.
The artwork and animation are as stunning as ever. Ufotable does a stellar job at using the artwork to build the atmosphere in this. When they want to show something disturbing, it looks really disturbing. When they want to show an amazing & intense action sequence, they deliver an amazing and intense action sequence. When they just want to draw a background, they give you a really detailed and impressive background.
There’s a strong cast in this. Suzumura Kenichi, Sakamoto Maaya, Honda Takako and Hoshi Soichiro all give strong performances. The music is really good and atmospheric as well.
Really isn’t any in this.
Kara no Kyoukai 7: Satsujin Kousatsu (Kou) is actually a really good film. There are certainly issues with it and there are some things that could have been better, but the story and characters are still really well done and accompanied by some really strong vocal performances and artwork. My final rating on this one is going to be an 8/10. Next week I’m looking at a series that was requested quite a while ago, Kyattou Ninden Teyandee. So, join me in looking at a series intended for children.