Kara no Kyoukai Film 3 – Remaining Sense of Pain – All About Shiki

Kara no Kyoukai 3 / Garden of Sinners - Remaining Sense of Pain / Tsuukaku Zanryuu animeKara no Kyoukai, also known as Garden of Sinners, a series of 7 films with a psychological / supernatural focus. The third film is called Tsuukaku Zanryuu or Remaining Sense of Pain, and is 58 minutes long, and seems to occur shortly before the events of the first film.
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.

(This is a Things I Like post, it’s not a review, but more a discussion of the show and of ideas that have risen in my mind as I’ve watched it. This time it’s slightly farther from a review, but I do note character personalities quite heavily. There will be a fair amount of spoilers. Trigger-warning, this film opens with a rape scene.)

I took notes for this movie as well, about half of what I did for the previous entry. I also took a bunch of images again, and here is the album – more striking/plot relevant moments in general, rather than a showcase of the use of colours.

Whose film was this? Fujino had the most time and development, Kokuto had the most people actually thinking of him and referring to him, right? But this movie was Shiki’s movie. There are those who say that in a dream, everyone is you. You are the one chasing, and you are the one chased. You’re the one doing both the choking and the one being choked. Likewise with this film.

Kara no Kyoukai 3 / Garden of Sinners - Remaining Sense of Pain / Tsuukaku Zanryuu anime - Ryougi Shiki on human death

This series of films has the most striking visuals, especially when blood is involved.

Shiki keeps referring to how Fujino and her are birds of a feather, how they are alike. If that is true, then whenever we see Fujino, whenever we learn more about her character, we’re actually learning more about Shiki – Fujino’s character being explained is Shiki’s character development. The movie seems to believe that as well, because it takes time to actually explain to us where and how the two of them differ. You know what they call a character who is only there in order to highlight another character, to help us understand them better? A supporting character. Sure, many antagonists (of which villains are a sub-group – parents can be quite antagonistic as well ;-)) are supporting characters in this sense, but, check what I said about dreams. The “antagonist” Shiki is fighting against here is the same one she’d been fighting against last movie, which is herself.

Kokuto is an interesting character in this sense. First, in three movies he’s drawn to him 3 supernatural girls. This is somewhat alluded to in the first movie, when Touko says how he is drawn to “soulless dolls”, referring to our three girls. Shiki says, everything has a flaw. Kokuto is drawn to these flaws, and in turn the flawed one seek him out, for he gives them warmth, shows them kindness, and they are drawn to him like moths. That Shiki says everyone’s flawed doesn’t actually make it so, by the by, it’s a continuation of the universal truth which SHIKI uttered last movie – we address others as if they are as we are. Shiki is flawed. Kokuto? He’s too kind, but that’s not exactly a flaw.

Kokuto, you know how Shiki has, or at least had two souls? It’s actually not that simple. Shiki has two souls, but Kokuto is her heart. This is another way in which this is Shiki’s film. No, Kokuto isn’t like Shiki, but his actions toward Fujino are equivalent to how he had treated Shiki, and shows why she is so drawn to him. The other girls being drawn to Kokuto is merely a reflection of Shiki, for we get to hear what Fujino thinks, we get to see how she feels, whereas Shiki is much more of a cipher, and most of what we know of her comes out of her mouth, or Touko’s, and both are quite suspect narrators – they’re not even narrating, they’re saying these things to other characters, and one has to wonder how well they actually know Shiki, and this includes Shiki herself.

Kara no Kyoukai 3 / Garden of Sinners - Remaining Sense of Pain / Tsuukaku Zanryuu anime - On Ryougi Shiki's taste for murder

Shiki explained as “human”, even as she lets go of her human shell for being useless.

Everyone is flawed, the “Garden of Sinners”, which is as obvious a reference to Earth, where Adam and Eve had been cast after they had been banished from the Garden of Eden. Original sin, no respite. The movie opening with a rape scene had come out of nowhere, and I guess was a good way to set up the scene of this movie, how it’s all morally grey – not the rape itself, but the whole “discussion” about murder versus massacre, how even Kokuto doesn’t feel bad these people die, etc. But circling back to original sin, which one is it? The rape, the father who tried to stifle his daughter’s burgeoning powers? If we look at “original sin” and the biblical reference, along with Shiki talking about how everything is flawed, especially humans, then the sin is the same one as in Catholicism, it’s the one of being born. We can’t help it, but people like Fujino whose body had no hope, whose soul had no hope, and whose father had ordered her death, had truly gotten the short end of the stick.

Why did Fujino survive? Why is Shiki alive? Shiki killed herself, that’s my take away from the 2nd film. Shiki now killed Fujino, so Fujino could live. But could they have lived without Kokuto? In my mind, it’s without doubt that “Would Kokuto approve?” is something that Shiki considers. Touko called it “Unconsciously, Shiki still understands the importance of life,” but to me it’s a lesson driven there by Kokuto. To paraphrase SHIKI once more, it’s because she now has some appreciation for her own life. To be so close to death, to live on the boundary as she had called it between the place one is human and where one stops being human, she must be ever aware of it.

On an aside, and also related to the whole rape and detachment thing, one could almost consider it to be a series about body issues, about where the soul dwells, and the relation to our body. Kirie had two bodies, but one soul, Shiki has two souls within one body, and Fujino has a soul without a body. Fujino and Shiki complete one another, she just needs to transfer something over. Shiki hunts down those who can complete her, almost. On a slightly more concrete literary over-analysis, Fujino’s body is trying to kill her with an organ her kind has no need for, while Shiki shows she is the master of her own body and sacrifices a “trivial” appendage in order to achieve her goals.

Kara no Kyoukai 3 / Garden of Sinners - Remaining Sense of Pain / Tsuukaku Zanryuu anime - Ryougi Shiki in the rain

Looks adorable, right after telling her loved one she wants to murder him – and meaning it literally.

On a small aside, I felt satisfied when the movie referred to Fujino’s destructive power as a combination of “red and green”, when I’ve already spent so many words in the past entries discussing how red and green within this series show us that someone is going to get treated in a gruesome manner, something which was quite apparent in this film in the sequence amongst the containers, where Shiki first confronted Fujino with killing intent.

This movie had felt the most complete out of all of them thus far, and I give it 7.5/10. I thought it was a good movie. Obviously, my thoughts about it are affected by watching the previous two, and had I watched this one first, I might have liked it less – though I suspect still more than I did the first.

6 comments on “Kara no Kyoukai Film 3 – Remaining Sense of Pain – All About Shiki

  1. What did you think about the twists, turns and explanations of this movie? I was personally not a fan of the style of having events happen, only to be later explained via a Touko infodump. Particularly in regards to Fujino’s condition, from a writing perspective, I wasn’t too fond of the revelation that it was due to appendicitis in the end.

    I also thought the explanations of how the Remaining Sense of Pain worked (the mechanical aspects) lacking, although this is to be expected coming from someone who hasn’t delved into the KnK LN’s, F/SN VN, Tsukihime, and the rest of the Type-MOON universe, as I hear that the specific explanations and magical world-building is spread out throughout their franchises.

    I feel it would have worked better if the viewer was actually given the clues and tools to work it all out before the finale, not after/during. I guess its a problem arising due to the short movie format.

    Final question: What did you think about Shiki being merciful at the end of the film? There seems to be no apparent purpose for keeping Fujino alive, at-least that is how I see it.

    • Guy says:

      I touched about Touko infodumping on us I believe, I know I did in the first film, where I actually mentioned how much I disliked it. I also think SHIKI was a tool to info-dump information upon us in the second film. I find it a bad storytelling tool. Sometimes it can’t be helped and even makes sense within the story (Shinsekai Yori), but here it’s a combination of not enough time, making sure we don’t miss things, and just plain bad writing. I also see the characters who infodump on us as characters whom the author uses to voice their opinions – say on suicide, the nature of emotions, etc. The way I resolve these issues to not hamper my enjoyment watching the films is to treat anything these characters say as suspect, because they’re not omniscient characters, and they suffer from flaws, aside from being untrustworthy characters within the context of the films.

      When you talk of clues and such, I dunno how they could’ve given us clues to piece it together, considering how you noted above it was basically pulled out of thin air. I found the appendicitis explanation slightly weird, raised an eyebrow, and moved on – what caused her pain is really not what is interesting, and the focus of the story. I think it’s, as you said, just a mechanical answer to not leave it completely open. I just put it out of mind.

      What did I think of Shiki being merciful at the end of the film? Well, two answers. The first, which is where they show us what they had told us – this is showing the nature of what Touko infodumped upon us – Shiki has restraint, sees the value of life, and avoids killing when not absolutely necessary – Shiki thinks Fujino can be fixed now, so why kill her? That’d be massacre.

      Second, and I find it slightly weird you even asked – I actually said it in my write-up. Fujino is Shiki, or at least a reflection of her. Shiki sparing Fujino is Shiki showing kindness to herself, showing her moving past murdering herself. Furthermore, Kokuto’s voice is her inner conscience, and she knew he’d appreciate it.

  2. I think that you’ve touched on one of the biggest strengths of this series. Kara no Kyoukai has very efficient characterisation, since it’s characters are constructed to mirror each other in so many ways. In contrast, normal stories pay attention to characters one at a time. Even the ‘greats’ do this; I started The Brothers Karamazov recently, and It struck me that even though the characterisations in that tier of writing are fantastic, very often they aren’t done with the grace that Kara no Kyoukai does it with, and consist of long periods of ‘characterisation time’.

    I wonder if the subtitle ‘Garden of Sinners’ even has anything to do with Original Sin and the tale of Adam and Eve; It’s only cursorily related to the story and characters. Personally, I think it is cleaner to interpret it more literally.

    • Guy says:

      Well, Kara no Kyoukai actually has very few characters. Often we learn of 2-3 characters at a time, such as in harem/classroom shows, but we still have an issue when the cast has ~8-10 important characters, and only so much time to cover them all.

      Also, you think it’s a strength, I think it’s interesting, some people would consider it a weakness, especially since not only do we learn of one character via the others, but they’re all basically the same character. Furthermore, had we learnt first of one character via a second, then of a third via a fourth, it’d be one thing, but all characters serve to tell us of one character. It is very efficient, but I’m not sure everyone appreciates it.

      Finally, let us not forget that not everyone necessarily agrees with the way I’ve depicted the characterization :D

      As for the title, it might be nothing more than just name-dropping, but I can’t really see the name as referring to anything else. It could be just using the name, but it’s definitely there.

  3. Artemis says:

    I really need to try re-watching Kara no Kyoukai at some point. I love the art style and the soundtrack is truly excellent, so I would have thought that watching would have been a pleasure for that alone, but I found myself oddly disinterested last time around and never ended up finishing. However, it’s possible that I may simply have not been in the right mood. From what little I have actually seen of it, Kara no Kyoukai strikes me as extremely atmospheric, and I think I may have just been too tired at the time to give it the attention it deserved.

    • Guy says:

      I found myself oddly disinterested.

      I’m not surprised, it has a very cold aesthetic to it, and just as one of its themes is detachment, it’s easy to not get attached to the series, and its characters. The series does next to nothing to actually make you care for the characters, at least in the first 3 films (I plan to watch the 4th tonight). It’s very much a show about atmosphere and mystery, of enjoying piecing the puzzle in your head as you enjoy a truly lavish atmosphere.

      Well, I don’t know if it’ll end up “worth it”, but it’s interesting, and that’s worthwhile in its own right, at least thus far :)

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