I sat silently for a while after watching the last installment of Kara no Kyoukai (空の境界: The Garden of Sinners). Sometimes, I gazed at the screen in utter disbelief, other times, I felt shocked and dismayed. But my appreciation grew and I began to wonder about a variety of story elements.
Having read the novel twice, I knew the ending in the movie is happier in comparison. Despite whatever happened, the movie managed to squeeze out a happy ending. Actually, I had similar critique for the novel, except the novel described an unavoidable loss, a much stronger displacement or blank where the male Shiki (織) once existed. In addition, there is something about the current Shiki that Mikiya will never quite reach.
There is much blood and violence in the movie, not to mention one strongly sexually charged scene. It is nothing like eroticism; rather, it is like watching a butterfly caught as prey as it is being overwhelmed and at the same time, strangely fascinated by its helplessness in facing a certain death.
Indeed, much blood is spilt, much like in John Woo films where much shell casings and sparks fly and bodies tangle in the dance of death. As the blades cross, bite and scratch each other, one wonders for the similarities and differences between Shiki and the anti-Shiki, the latter seeking to find a companion in the world; anyone would do; anyone would do? Right?
Being a self-proclaimed Otaku (most likely just another geek in a geek culture), I struggled much as the antagonist had. Throughout the movie, the anti-Shiki seeks solace; he seeks salvation of a sort by his effort of trying to find and to seduce Shiki and others to his side. It is his belief that Shiki can go back to the side that he believes he resides; it is his downfall that Shiki is no longer the same Shiki four years ago.
However, as perhaps only the audience could observe and be sure of, Shiki was not the person the anti-Shiki wanted to be with four years ago, and after the events that followed, Shiki became something closer to a sense of believed normality. The novel hints at the acceptance of such as “the truth” but the movie forgoes the key conversation in the novel in favor of a gentler and more loving ending, perhaps to provide a crutch to people like me, who seeks normalcy in a world where its definition is becoming more and more blurred. But the fact remain is that I am still broken.
The novel seems to confirm that, as Shiki muses the lost of the male part of self and the conversation that affirms that musing. The movie doesn’t ignore it, but it is certainly portrayed in a more positive light. The male Shiki is the killer urge, thus as he is gone, it is better for Shiki, Mikiya and the world. But the loss is there. Both the novel and the movie come to terms with that fact, but somehow, I am slightly dissatisfied with the movie and the extension, the series. However, with the wonderful animation, superior voice acting, camera direction and music, the movies are masterpieces in emotional intensity and psychological quests of self-discovery in their own right.
Also See Mono no aware’s Review