Kara no Kyoukai, also known as Garden of Sinners, a series of 7 films with a psychological / supernatural focus. The second is called Satsujin Kousatsu or Murder Speculation (Part 1), and is 60 minutes long, and occurs three years before the events of the first film – the second part of “this movie” is the 7th film in the show, which isn’t told in chronological order.
This series of movies almost feels like an anime series, and is the current focus of an online anime watch club I’m participating in. I will share write-ups written for the club, which aren’t written in the form of notes, but also aren’t me trying to come up with a specific point (thus far).
Final and important note – these write-ups are written after watching each movie, not the whole series of movies. Spoilers of movies beyond the one numbered in each entry will not be tolerated.
If you were to take a look at my notes for this film, you’d see I noted the colour usage quite heavily in this movie as well (here is the imgur album of images taken). We still go with red-green and an atmosphere of decay for when things go wrong, or bloody. We have a lighter atmosphere when blue and green give us a sense of calmness, and yellow seems to be the colour of home. It’s quite interesting to note how the scenes tell us what sort of mood they’re going to use through their use of different palettes alone, and unless one devotes conscious thought to it (like I did), then it just sets the stage, like music gets to do. Good stuff.
The direction in this movie was very “movie-esque” once again. The film opened with silence, and it’s been a full 46 seconds before the speakers let through the first sound, and then when we had Kokutou awaiting Shiki only to meet SHIKI? He stood there, there was some sound in the background, and no background music, or some girls squealing. It felt like I was watching a movie, an actual movie, which I quite liked.
First, before we discuss this movie, it’s actually interesting to see our “couple” as they had met. But it’s also weird to call them a couple, because in quite a few ways they actually feel closer in this movie than they did in the first film, where the nature of their relationship was just weird. Well, it’s still weird here. What the previous movie did do for me as I watch this one is understand that Shiki’s words and sometimes expressions of emotions aren’t to be trusted. She cares for Kokutou (or will), but she is not that good at actually showing it, or acting on it.
Now, let us get to the themes of this movie, and I wish to open again with something I touched upon last episode when I discussed Touko’s stance regarding suicide, and how it felt like she was supposed to be the voice of the author, telling us what they think. In this episode, SHIKI’s first two monologues, explaining to Kotukou how Shiki works, how humans work, and it felt as if we should believe this explanation, follow it. But, Shiki can’t express what she truly feels, and SHIKI just wants to have some fun, and as a part of Shiki, how good is he at expressing their feelings? Besides, when it comes down to it, they’re both just teenagers. That SHIKI says something by no means it is true, and actually feels like one should assume the opposite at times, whenever SHIKI speaks.
Before we get back to the two Shikis, let’s talk some of Kokutou and his romance. First, his “love” is one-sided. Even if Shiki feels the same, that is not the point. The decision to love Shiki is for the most part not a decision, and it doesn’t really require any action on her part. It’s infatuation, it’s a crush. He knows it has nothing to do with sense, he just likes her. Which part does he like? That is an important question when Shiki asks it of him, and he, in the throes of love gives the only answer he can – he just does. His experience of love is impressive in its totality, where he will willfully ignore that his love is a killer, at least unless one chooses to interpret everything as merely circumstantial. Do note, however, that although the show is capable of showing us more information about Shiki without divulging it to Kokutou (and does, more than once), we never actually see either Shiki murder or attack anyone, with the exception of Kokutou himself.
One final piece about Kokutou’s “feelings”, and their totality is just how romantic he is, this is shown in the montage of him standing guard outside Shiki’s house. He has a quest, he literally sees himself as a knight. He doesn’t need his lady’s love (and notice how he is on the ground and she looks to him from the balcony above, just how Shakespeare is this?), he is doing it for love itself! Or more seriously, his smile, it feels as if the quest, the romantic notion of love, is more important than love itself. The idea of loving Shiki and sacrificing his comfort for her is more important than actually speaking to her, and actually, well, loving her.
Now, let’s return to SHIKI (I’ll refer to SHIKI as “he” to make it easier, as opposed to she-Shiki). Even if we don’t accept his explanation of Shiki’s nature (though they might both think it’s right, as she says later “Why aren’t you staying from me after hearing all of that?” or at least they say it with the purpose of driving Kokutou away), then we can see it as a good explanation of SHIKI’s nature – the emotions one knows how to direct outside are the ones within themselves, but those are also the emotions directed towards them – this has close relation to the idea that our sense of self is comprised of the image we have of ourselves as held within others. So he says children love themselves, and thus think everyone loves them, and in turn love everyone as well. SHIKI had always been about murder, did it start from his desire to murder Shiki, or her desire to murder him, as he had said? That question is ultimately irrelevant. He says he likes Kokutou, and that he likes Shiki (or at least that Shiki has him), but if all he can feel is “Murder” (and that’s one weird emotion), then how can we take his statement of loving Shiki seriously?
SHIKI to me seems jealous, and it also seems he lies. Why does he lie? Because when Shiki is killing SHIKI, she’s actually killing herself. He desires to kill Shiki, because that is what she desires. Does he desire to kill her body? Doesn’t seem that way, so he’ll settle for murdering her soul, and since Shiki wishes to murder her soul as well, this is a suicide pact, essentially. There are a couple of moments where it feels Kokuto is Shiki’s heart, and thus to murder him would be to kill her soul. But there is no need to actually kill him, just his love. Here is a part where it really feels SHIKI lies which ties all of this together – He said he is about rejection (for he is the “Rebel”), and Shiki is about acceptance. Does it feel Shiki accepts Kokuto? Not really. Does it feel as if she accepts those around her, with her anachronistic dress and her behaviour? SHIKI seems to be the one embracing everything, including Shiki’s desire for the death of the Self. To me, SHIKI is about embracing, and Shiki is about denial and rejection. If SHIKI rejects anything, it’s Shiki’s desire to close the doors of the cloister, and leave the Kokutou-knight outside.
What is the chief thing Shiki denies though? The thing Shiki denies the most, denies the hardest, is SHIKI. She thinks she denies her desire to kill others, her desire to kill herself, but she doesn’t truly deny her sense of killing herself, for she appears as if she wants to cease. No, what Shiki denies first and foremost is her desire to affirm, to accept, to stop denying others.
In the first film, Shiki kills for Kokutou, when the 2nd film ends, she also kills for Kokutou – kills herself. Here is the final bit where SHIKI’s exploration of emotions is relevant – people can only express what they know, and they can express what had been expressed at them. Where did SHIKI’s knowledge of “Murder” come from? Because Shiki rejected him, wanted to kill him. So the two of them know “Murder”, and denial. If Shiki denies and rejects, then she can only accept being rejected and denied, which is why she is so mystified by Kokutou’s affirmation, his acceptance. And when he accepts her, she learns to accept as well, causing the clash between the two personalities, perhaps, who can’t just kill and deny one another any longer? Or perhaps, in order to accept Kokutou, she must deny her own nature to the utmost, leaving her an empty shell in the hospital.
This is the story of an impossible love between two teenagers. Some would say this is a story of love, but I would say it is a story about love. About people who love the idea of being in love, about people who do not wish to be alone, though they are trapped and freed of their minds. Kokutou whose soul soars the skies, and Shiki who has to fight for possession of her mind, until she willingly lets it loose. This is a story of people who wish succor, but don’t understand what is truly required in order to achieve it. Even Kokutou is unwilling to say what he feels, what he thinks, even to himself, for it might come between him and his idealized love.
The mystery was well done, the characters actually had characterization, this time, including people at school, Kokutou’s cousin, etc. And to see this story conclude is 5 movies away, dang. I’m giving this film 7.3/10 – it was solid and gave me not only more of an actual feeling of the characters, but some investment in a mystery, their backgrounds, and relationships.