Kara no Kyoukai 5: Mujun Rasen

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Kara no Kyoukai review Part 5

Wow. I have to say that this movie is enough to leave one speechless at times, and for a variety of reasons.

The fifth installment of the Kara no Kyoukai series, Mujun Rasen (Paradox Spiral), is somewhat of a departure from the previous four outings not just in terms of its running time (almost two hours), but also in terms of art direction and story.

Set around two months after Fukan Fuukei, the tale begins with a disjointed sequence of events that are gradually cleared up as the movie continues. The story itself centres around a boy named Enjou Tomoe, who is saved from a group of thugs by Ryougi Shiki. She invites him to stay with her after he begs her to hide him somewhere as he believes that he has committed a crime and appears to be on the run.

During this time it seems that Kokuto Mikiya is away on some business, and Aozaki Touko is investigating an odd rumour she has heard from a policeman she knows.

Now the main problem with the story direction is that many people will be confused by the path it takes. There are numerous sequences that are repeated several times, and the story has a tendency to not only jump about from one time to another, but also from one event to another (a style similar to that used by Luc Besson at times). The result is something more along the lines of a Satoshi Kon production, and while there will be many people who enjoy the numerous twists, turns, loops and whorls that take place in the story, there will be just as many who will be put off by the overwhelming amount of information one has to process at times.

The art and animation throughout the series thus far has been top notch, however there is a noticeable drop in quality in this Mujun Rasen. Given the length of the movie it may be that Ufotable were forced to cut some corners with the designs and animation, but there are quite a few scenes where their normal quality really shines through. The CG is, as always, of a very high standard and runs smoothly in conjunction with the normal animation. The backgrounds and backdrops are well designed, and a lot of thought has gone into ensuring that certain elements in this area follow the concept of the story.

Unfortunately, the drop in quality I mentioned is noticeable in several scenes, and in one in particular, the character looks constipated rather than hysterical. In addition to this the animation of the action sequences, whilst being excellent overall, suffers towards the end of the movie, with one key sequence being more dizzying than breathtaking. That said, the sequence in question will appeal to those who like roller coasters at the very least.

The sound is on par with the other movies and is well executed overall. The effects are extremely good throughout, but the old problem of the noise sometimes being too overwhelming has reared its head once more. The score used throughout the Mujun Rasen lends to the general atmosphere, however there are times when the music seems a little out of sync with the on-screen action.

On the plus side it seems my prayers have been answered as more is revealed about Touko, especially as the antagonist in this film, Araya Souren (who appeared briefly at the very end of the previous movie declaring himself to be a magus), has a history with her. In addition to this, there is a secondary character named Cornelius Alba who also has a history with both Touko and Araya. In addition to this the viewer can finally see some different sides to Shiki, as well as gaining some insight into why Touko was so interested in her during the events of Garan no Dou.

The downside is that Mikiya continues to be more of a supporting role in this movie, and Tomoe, while generally being a decent character for the most part, may annoy some people.

Even with those flaws, this is still an excellent movie (especially if you can get your head around the plot). Fans of Kara no Kyoukai should generally be pleased with this latest addition to the franchise, and although it does drop a little in terms of animation and artwork, Mujun Rasen will hopefully herald a new direction for the series.

I’m expecting good things from the sixth movie…

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