Not making that up: I looked up the director of this film, Ei Aoki, and it turned out his only other major work was noted dreck Girls Bravo. You'd never guess it from his work on this episode of Kara no Kyoukai. You see, Kara no Kyoukai is an experiment: a theatrical anime serial. The film I just watched was only about ffity minutes long, and just like a TV or direct-to-video anime episode it even has a next episode preview. And the next episode is a two-parter! Vicious! The theatrical run and the adorable stop-motion-- animation studio ufotable loves stop-motion-- "turn off your cellphone" warning are the only things that separate this from a big-budget OVA.This episode came out in Japanese theaters back in December, and the fourth film in the series is out tomorrow in Japan. Meanwhile, we get to watch live-action Death Note dubbed weirdly into English. THANKS, VIZ, I GUESS.
Kara no Kyoukai is an adaptation of an early novel by TYPE-MOON's Kinoko Nasu. You guys remember when I was blogging Tsukihime? Aside from the implausiblity of ever finishing the task I had made for myself-- I was maybe a tenth of the way through one of six routes when I stopped blogging-- even when playing the game for my own enjoyment, I ran into Nasu's desperate need for an editor one too many times. Eventually I quit halfway through Ciel's story, from simple boredom. So with this, I am happy to be plunging back into my love-disgust relationship with T-M.
The main characters of this story are clear prototypes of Tsukihime's protagonist Shiki Tohno, the heroine being named Shiki herself, and the hero looking just like him. Shiki is a quiet, creepy, intense girl with big dead grey eyes and similar knife-wielding abilities to Shiki's. She talks like a man. The guy, on the other hand, spends most of the movie as a comatose damsel in distress who isn't terribly interesting when he's finally awake, either. It is made clear that they luuuuv each other, but Shiki is one of those overdone, grating tsundere characters who says "shut up I do what I want" and immediately blushes into her sheets in the film's last scene. I bet the audience was all "UOOOOOOO" as the credits rolled.
The two of them work at, uh... actually, I don't think they ever tell you what the hell this place is where they work. It must be assumed that the viewer read the book and knows what this place is. I certainly never figured it out. Either a newspaper or a detective agency? Checking Wikipedia on this point would betray the fact that the movie doesn't get to this point itself, nor does it supply any background or context on the characters at all. Their boss is Touko Aozaki, sister of Tsukihime's Aoko, who you might remember. Touko makes dolls in the back room. Anyway, it seems that a chain of suicides has something to do with some mysterious building, and that this mysterious building has something to do with the days-long unconsciousness of the hero (which, bizarrely, is treated with a shrug by his co-workers until halfway through the damn movie). Since Shiki luuuuuuvs this guy, she sets out to investigate. In between, people talk about suicide and floating and flying.
A plot summary of this movie makes it sound terribly boring and generic, I'm realizing, but I have to say that I was transfixed while actually watching it. It's really a sight to see, especially when Shiki gets to the fluid, elegant movements involved in slicing up everything around her. You know what? I'm just going to show you things that are in this movie. Here are Shiki's rainbow eyes, an outtake from Silent Hill, Kiri Komori, and doll parts. There is also a painstakingly animated sequence of Shiki opening a Haagen-Dasz that impressed the shit out of me. Scoops.
Sorry, by the way, but while this is in fact a widescreen movie, the aspect ratio on my screenshots comes out all wrong. I didn't want to go back and fix the billion screenshots I made, so I'll just blame Media Player Classic.