Reviews: Kara No Kyoukai

knk (novels AND movies)

KNK is undoubtedly a tough work to get into. The story is labyrinthine and the order is intentionally jumbled. The concepts that recur with greater clarity in later Nasuverse works are getting a test drive here, and it does show. You will be confused, you will be annoyed, and you will probably need to read slowly.

This being noted, KNK is a really good story for a certain audience. I would restrict it to people who've played Tsukihime (ew not the anime, I mean the actual VN) because a lot of the concepts and themes recur between the two stories. KNK, being a written novel and not a VN, explores them in even more intense detail so you will need to read between the lines, but at least you won't be lost and floundering. Expect a ton of exposition and complicated explanations that all have significance and meaning.

If you are among those people, I think the story will be very enjoyable, especially because KNK is a big part of the history of the Nasuverse. There have been complaints about cokesakto's translation being too fluffy and expanding too much upon the original work, but regardless it reads well. It has its share of comedy, but it's generally somewhere between action, mystery and thriller; the plot seems to be a bit episodic but everything does come together. Mirai Fukuin is also recommended.

I read the novels in the order in which they were presented, not their chronological order, and I think if you have enough perception to follow along, you will understand what is going on. You might have to read over a few parts multiple times and keep your eyes peeled for hints as to the chronological order of events, but by reading the novels in their original order, you can capture the full extent of the storytelling.

I watched the movies as well and I thought they were really fun, but they suffer from the nature of their medium. Kn K is a story that is overflowing with background and hidden exposition. You simply cannot capture it all in the runtime of seven movies, and so you WILL miss out on a lot of the good stuff. Not as much of the movies is kickass fight scenes as some would like, either. I'd only watch them after reading the novels, in which case they're a fun followup. I thought #6 was the worst because the plot changes were most obvious there, but they were all good adaptations - just too short to capture the stories they came from.


I knew a little about Tsukihime and nothing about Kara No Kyoukai except that supposedly the movies were good, so I decided to give this a look.

At first (after watching just the first movie) I felt like it had a ton of unnecessary explanation and abilities that I had no idea about. Questions in my mind:

"What kind of convoluted explanation is that? Isn't it simpler if...?"

"How the hell did she do that? Was that even foreshadowed?"

I didn't think movie #1 stood very well by itself (however awesome the music and action was).

Then I continued watching...and by the 3rd movie I had a more favorable impression as the Kara No Kyoukai world was being built across movies. I think at this point I got into a better mindset for watching - instead of expecting 7 movies, I'm watching 1 very long movie where the important details are scattered throughout each chapter, or where I had to draw my own inferences because the movies neglected them.

My personal high point was movie #5 where a number of threads finally came together and I had a better idea about what was going on - after some rewatching. This seems to be one of those series where subsequent views let you see details you missed on the first time through.

Production values are high throughout the series. Backgrounds are beautiful and dreary, animation is smooth, and music tends to be appropriately epic.

Personal taste: I sort of wished some of the scenes weren't as graphic. Movie #3's opening and some parts of movie #5 and movie #7 stood out in my mind (my recommendation: do not eat while watching movie #7).

I really didn't like some of the philosophy in movie #7 either but I'm a pretty devout pragmatist so your mileage may vary.

Overall? I came away quite satisfied watching this. I recommend a watch, assuming you don't mind doing lots of thinking and aren't put off by having to watch (and possibly re-watch?) 7 movies.

Too much philosophy, not enough killing.

I really expected a lot more from the series. My initial opinion was based mostly on AMV’s I've watched, so I expected fast-paced action, drama and mystery.

Well, I've got neither of that. While the fights are dynamic and well choreographed, in majority they are very predictable, and the action is spread way too thin over the course of the series.

As for other aspects of the story, it's nothing spectacular either. The romance is, despite all the time dedicated to it, unexplored and weird, the dialogues are poorly paced and acted; the story is chock-full of Broken Aesops, Blue And Orange Morality and straight illogical idiocy.

Not that the show doesn't have redeeming qualities, of course. Each movie has something special to it, but it is often buried under such a thick layer of boring and pointless stuff it feels sometimes you are watching not a full-fledged movie but a filler arc to a shonen title.

Also, the seventh movie is a one giant wall banger, and the epilogue is a half-hour long dialogue scene.

I like anime in general for its unconventional philosophy, artistic expression and style, but this is too much even for me.

Kara no Kyoukai movies

Serial murders have begun plaguing a Japanese city. Ryougi Shiki, heir to a family with special powers, seeks out the killers in order to quench her bloodlust. But is Shiki a murderer herself? What is the power behind her eyes? And who is the mastermind behind the serial killers?

Adapted to seven movies from the novels by Nasu Kinoko, the prototype of Tsukihime, Kara No Kyoukai is one of the most visually stunning anime, with a beautiful yet eerily haunting soundtrack by Kajiura Yuki. However, it is not without its flaws. The second movie - the only one without a fight scene - is rather slow paced, and the details of the fifth, sixth, and seventh movies are a bit hard to understand. The seventh also has a Yank The Dogs Chain Like You Would Really Do It ending. However, this does not remove it from must watch status.

P.S. - The first four movies are in Anachronic Order, so unless one is acquainted with Tsukihime, they won't have a clue of what's going on until the fourth movie. Until then just sit back and enjoy the ride, and let the plot sort itself out later.