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Light Novel / Kara no Kyoukai

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"April 1995. I met her."

Kara no Kyoukai: The Garden of Sinners ("The Boundary of Emptiness") is a novel by Kinoko Nasu of TYPE-MOON/Notes fame, written before he became involved in the Visual Novel business. Though considered by many to be the prototype of Tsukihime, it is much, MUCH more complex, sometimes to the point of being Mind Screw.

Shiki Ryougi is a girl who grew up in a family imbued with supernatural powers. In particular, certain members possess something close to dual personalities; the "male" and "female" sides, who are aware of each other, are both conscious, and are essentially the same person with different qualities. This dual consciousness combined with her upbringing has led her to avoid other human beings' company.

One day at school, however, she encounters an empathetic classmate, Mikiya Kokutou, who tries to break her self-imposed isolation. Soon thereafter, gruesome murders begin occurring across the city, and one night, Mikiya stumbles upon Shiki standing over a headless corpse, drenched in blood. Refusing to believe that she was the killer, Mikiya slowly creeps into Shiki's life... until he grows too close.


I don't... want to die...

A warm smile.

I want to kill you.

June 1998. Shiki Ryougi wakes up from a coma; her eyes are bandaged. In her mind, she feels only " " — utter void. Her memories are a blur, and she feels disconnected from them, as though they are not her own. Her doctor tells her that it was a car accident. She wants to be rid of those eyes; eyes that stare into the void. A woman stops her, saying that they are "too wasteful to destroy"; after all, they are the Mystic Eyes of Death Perception.

Kara no Kyoukai can be read as a multitude of ways. On the surface level, it is a Paranormal Investigation story about the Garan-no-dou detective agency that confronts various, seemingly unconnected aberrations occurring within the city which seem to have something bigger behind them than it first appears. It is also, however, a story of Shiki coming to terms with the death of her other self — the only companion she has ever had or needed before. Finally, it is a dark and twisted love story of a perfectly ordinary boy and an extraordinarily broken girl. As one of the earliest works within the Nasuverse, the novel also introduces most of The 'Verse's fundamental concepts, including souls, Akasha, Counter Force, Magic and Magecraft, and Origin.


    Consists of the following novels and stories 
  • Volume 1:
    • Panorama: Thanatos (chronologically, part 4): Following a series of unexplained schoolgirl suicides, Touko dispatches Shiki and Mikiya to investigate. They quickly discover a powerful ghost behind the suicides, and things get personal when Mikiya falls prey to its powers.
    • The First Homicide Inquiry: ...and nothing heart (chr. pt. 1): Shiki's Origins Episode. Mifune City is shaken by a spree of brutal murders, and high school student Mikiya starts suspecting his eerie schoolmate Shiki of being behind them. As he gets to know her better, however, a bond starts forming between them, and Shiki's confusion at this fact soon drives her over the edge.
    • Lingering Pain: ever cry, never life (chr. pt. 3): A sick, abused girl named Fujino Asagami discovers her latent telekinetic powers and sets out to kill her abusers. When she starts killing innocent bystanders, as well, Shiki resolves to use lethal force against her, despite Mikiya's objections.
  • Volume 2:
    • The Hollow: garan-no-dou (chr. pt. 2). Shiki awakens from her two-year coma to discover that her male personality, SHIKI, is dead, leaving her with the Mystic Eyes of Death Perception. Under Touko's guidance, she rediscovers her will to live and leaves the hospital to work for her, alongside Mikiya.
      • "Boundary Goetia": An intermission focusing on Kirie Fujou and Fujino Asagami, the antagonists of two of the previous chapters.
    • Spiral Paradox: Paradox Paradigm (pt. 5): A disturbed youth named Tomoe Enjo stumbles into Shiki's life, claiming to have murdered his parents. As they try to figure out what had really transpired, Shiki becomes embroiled in a labyrinthine plot targeting her and confronts the overarching villain of the series.
  • Volume 3:
    • Records of Oblivion: Fairy Tale (pt. 6): Reports of fairy abductions at the boarding school attended by Mikiya's sister Azaka prompt Touko to send Shiki there on an undercover investigation.
      • "Boundary Goetia": An intermission focusing on Lio Shirazumi, the antagonist of the next chapter.
    • The Second Homicide Inquiry: ...not nothing heart (pt. 7): The (never-caught) killer from 1995 seemingly returns to Mifune with an equally brutal murder spree. As Shiki grows increasingly unstable, Mikiya races to catch the real perpetrator before she gives in to her own murderous impulses.
    • Empty Boundaries: nothing id, nothing cosmos (the original epilogue): A month after the last chapter, Mikiya gets a chance to talk with Shiki's reclusive third personality.
  • Future Gospel: recalled out summer, written ten years after the original novel, consists of an Interquel chapter, a Distant Finale epilogue, and a preface:
    • "Möbius Ring" (set between Lingering Pain and Panorama): Mikiya helps his sister's classmate Shizune come to terms with her precognitive abilities, while Shiki is targeted by a bomber-for-hire whose perfect success record strongly implies a different kind of precognition.
    • "Möbius Link" (set ten years after the original finale): Mana Ryougi (Shiki and Mikiya's daughter) and Mitsuru Kamekura (the aforementioned bomber-for-hire) pay a visit to the famous fortune-teller going by the name "Mother Mifune".
    • Preface (chapter 0): Shortly before his death, SHIKI has his fortune read by Mother Mifune.
    • Extra Chorus: A short supplementary manga by Type-Moon co-founder Takashi Takeuchi, featuring three vignettes about minor and even unseen characters from the series.
      • "Feline": During Shiki's rehab after her fight against Fujino, Mikiya asks her to take care of his cat while he is out of town.
      • "Daylight": The Best Friend of one of Fujou's victims is wracked by Survivor Guilt, but gets some tough-love counseling from Asagami Fujino, of all people.
      • "Say Grace": On the New Years Eve 1998, Shiki and Mikiya visit a shrine, fulfilling a promise they made before her coma, as the first snow begins to fall.
  • Final Record (the only chapter to have not been animated): Shizune, Azaka, Fujino, and Misaya Ouji become trapped in Touko's mystical movie projector, which puts them through various scenarios ending with their deaths at Shiki's hands, until the real Shiki frees them from it.

Each of the first seven chapters was adapted into a movie by ufotable from 2007 to 2009, and the original epilogue was released as a 30-minute OVA in February 2011. The Distant Finale Mirai Fukuin/Future Gospel received a movie adaptation in 2013, and was released on Japanese home video in February of 2014.

Now with its very own Character Page. You can read the novels' translation here, translated as "Empty Boundaries". The last additional chapter, translated into English, can be found here.

The series as a whole provides examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    Overarching Tropes 
  • The '90s: The setting of the story is the late 90s, ranging from 1995 to 1999.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The author of the original novels had hoped to rewrite several of the stories to be less "clumsy". Then he read the script for the first movie, and concluded that there was no need—they'd already addressed his concerns by cutting out most of the excesses.
  • Alternate Continuity: Word of God states that there can only be one user of the Mystic Eyes of Death Perception, which means either Tohno Shiki has them, or this Ryougi Shiki. In addition, Aozaki Touko's goal contradicts with the existence of the True Ancestor Arcueid, also from Tsukihime. See the YMMV page for a different interpretation.
  • Anachronic Order: Chronologically, the story begins in 1995, but the first chapter is set in June 1998. The viewer is thrown abruptly into the story from the middle, without explanation of the powers, relationships, and backstory of the cast, which are elaborated upon later. Familiarity with the Nasuverse helps. To make things simpler, the chronological order of the stories is 2, 4, 3, 1, 5, 6, 7.
  • Ancient Tradition: The Ryougi Family, as well as other members of the Demon Hunter's Association.
  • Audible Sharpness: Done to excess in the film adaptation.
  • Babies Ever After: Shiki and Mikiya have a daughter named Mana in the distant future shown in "Mirai Fukuin".
  • Big Bad: Souren Araya is the superpowered Mad Scientist who manipulated all the other villains and is responsible for every single conflict Shiki faces, all in an attempt to reach the Origin so he can end the world and all its meaningless deaths. Notably, he was confronted about halfway through the series and taken out, leaving Lio Shirazumi as the Final Boss whom Souren drove insane by awakening his Origin.
  • Book-Ends: Chronologically speaking, Shiki and Mikiya's story begins and ends with a meeting and conversation in between the two in the snow. To be precise, it begins and ends with Mikiya speaking to Shiki's third personality.
  • Central Theme: Life and Death. Themes and concepts such as murder (and its moral justifications), suicide, reincarnation, and existentialism are present in every story.
  • Chastity Couple: Shiki and Mikiya, to the point of one time sleeping in the same bed with their clothes on and not doing anything.
  • Chiaroscuro: Kara no Kyoukai loves shading, and shading loves Kara no Kyoukai.
  • City with No Name: The city where the story takes place is never actually referred by name in the entirety of the original novel (although there are many indications that it's Tokyo), and in fact, the name "Mifune" first appeared in the Mirai Fukuin bonus chapter, ten years after the original publication. In a strange twist of recursive inspiration, the city name appears, out-of-universe, to have been chosen to match that of the character "Mother (of) Mifune" (exclusive to Mirai Fukuin), who, in turn, was named after Chizuko Mifune, whereas in-universe, Mother Mifune was probably named so after the city she lives in.
  • Color Motif: More frequent in the first movies, but the colors red and/or green are often used when something bloody is about to happen. Even more noticeable in the third movie, where it turns out that Asagami Fujino's ability stems from her eyes, which can generate a red and green spiral to bend objects and people.
  • Compilation Movie: Kara no Kyoukai Remix: Gate of Seventh Heaven, which also serves as an Adaptation Expansion. It also adds in the first meeting of Mikiya and "Void" Shiki.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: A prayer is something overflowing with the good news of the future...
  • Environmental Symbolism: Most scenes occur either at night or in dimly-lit rooms, which helps add to the series' horror and mystery elements.
  • Everyone Is Bi: Several concepts tackled in the series present the idea that a person's gender in correlation with their sexual orientation is never truly fixed, and that every person has a dual mentality within themselves.
  • Evil Plan: As perpetrated by Araya Souren, is to end the world to stop endless and meaningless death.
  • Expy: As the Nasuverse's first work, a lot of later characters from the same franchise owe their appearance and backstory to some of Kara no Kyoukai's cast.
    • Mikiya is borderline-indistinguishable to Shiki Tohno.
    • Tomoe Enjou looks rather a lot like Shirou Emiya.
    • For that matter, Mikiya's cousin Daisuke Akimi is the inspiration for Kiritsugu Emiya.
    • Azaka bears a resemblance to Akiha from Tsukihime. In addition, when we see her as a child in the sixth movie, she looks a lot like Rin Tohsaka. She has shades of Satsuki Yumizuka as well.
    • Lio Shirazumi is probably the inspiration for Arcueid (in appearance only, though: blonde hair, red eyes, claws, skirt/dress) and also a precursor to both SHIKI (being a sort of 'mirror image' of the protagonist Shiki as well) and to an extent, Nero Chaos's ability, what with the whole 'beast' thing he's got going on.
    • Fujino Asagami is a purple-haired character who suffers sexual abuse, which served as inspiration to Sakura Matou.
    • Shiki Ryougi has a fair resemblance to Mitsuzuri Ayako, and Canaan looks like a younger version of her, albeit with an obvious palette swap. Also, Canaan's Mystical Eyes are not, well, of Death Perception.
  • Extra-Long Episode: Most movies that comprise the adaptation are about an hour long. Episode five and seven, however, are at least twice that, because they are so pivotal to the plot. The former resolves the overarching conflict with the Big Bad of the series, while the latter brings closure to the lead couple's personal arcs.
  • Functional Magic: Magecraft is defined as "artificial reenactment of Magic", requiring Equivalent Exchange, whereas Magic is "achieving the impossible" (e.g., Operation of Parallel Worlds).
  • Genre-Busting: It's a mix of romance, horror, Urban Fantasy, murder mystery, and action.
  • Harmful Healing: Araya Souren repairs Fujino's cracked vertebrae and restores her sense of feeling. Yes, this is an evil act. Araya knows good and well why, and a lot of people wind up dead.
  • In the Blood: Many characters in the story belong to families who are listed under the Demon Hunter's Association detailed in Tsukihime. Families in this group tend to partially have monstrous blood, which is partially the reason for their supernatural abilities.
  • Informed Attribute: The Ryougi are a Yakuza family. This is barely a part of the narrative, there are no further depths to it, no one chastises, recognizes, mentions, praises, gets shocked for Shiki being part of it, there are no gang rivals, no turf wars, no problems with the police; nothing to place value to this fact happens until the very last event in the very last Novel/Movie gives some weight to it.
  • Invisible to Normals: Minor supernatural beings (e.g. ghosts, fairies) generally can't be seen as they are not powerful enough to manifest.
  • It Gets Easier: Presumably why the Ryougis insist that a person can only commit one murder—no murder will be as difficult or as totally warping to the mind as the first.
  • Leitmotif: In the movies, a specific tune (of which, Seventh Heaven, aptly the ED of the seventh film, is the vocal version) is usually associated with Shiki (see also Theme Music Power-Up). The villains in part 5 also get Leitmotifs representative to their personalities (that Alba's sounds vaguely like "Hall of the Mountain King" may be a reference to M). Shiki's Leitmotif even finds its way into Melty Blood Actress Again as her stage's music.
  • The Lifestream: Akasha, the Root of everything and nothing, the beginning and the end, the Swirl of Origin, etc. The Nothing After Death would be more appropriate a description, though you're still sort-of conscious in it.
  • Magical Eye: Several characters possess Mystic Eyes, with abilities ranging from "Suggestion" to the famous "Eyes of Death Perception." By extension, this also includes Hellish Pupils. Most are quite colorful when activated.
  • Multi-Gendered Split Personalities: Shiki Ryougi—at least, until a car accident kills off her male personality. Also, her entire bloodline is apparently afflicted by this disorder.
  • Mundane Utility: The theater PSA for the fifth movie has Araya use his bound field to deny Neco-Arc cell phone service.
  • Never Given a Name: Shiki Ryougi's "third personality" is referred to simply with a pair of empty quotation marks, since it is actually the result of the Ryougi family's "split mind" psychic abilities forcing a vacated space in her mind to gain control of her body. Even calling it something like "Void Shiki" is said to be inaccurate, since the true nature of "" cannot be expressed by language, but it is implied to be the nothingness before the universe given human form, with Enlightenment Superpowers of inconceivable strength.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The series loves scenes that just follow one character walking alone in decaying/highly industrial urban environments, by night, in almost complete darkness.
  • Official Couple: Shiki and Mikiya. The seventh movie places a lot of emphasis on the struggles of their relationship.
  • Old School Building: The sixth book/movie's climax takes place in the abandoned school building in the Reien Girls' Academy.
  • One Steve Limit: You have Ryougi Shiki, and then you have her alternate personality, also named Shiki.
  • Paranormal Investigation: Touko's agency, Garan no Dou/The Hollow Temple, is doing this, hunting ghosts and rogue mages.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The films cut out a good number of things from the novel, such as character backstory. This is especially notable in the sixth film, where Dragon Satsuki is reduced to a flat villain as opposed to the more rounded character in the novels.
  • Primordial Tongue: The Unified Language is the language of ancient Babylonia, back when no other languages existed and humans, animals, and non-living things all spoke. It is able to commune directly with the soul, allowing it to function as a form of telepathy or hypnotism that can force people to things. In the modern day, the only person able to speak it is Satsuki Kurogiri after he was kidnapped and tampered with by faeries.
  • Psychic Powers: Several types. It is fundamentally different from Magecraft in that it is not a learned ability, but a one-time mutation. This reaches its greatest focus in the third movie, where Fujino develops telekinesis and clairvoyance.
  • Rousseau Was Right: Subverted. The series plays around with the idea of fate vs. will (mainly through the concept of the Origin) in correlation with each of the villains' respective back-stories.
  • Scenery Porn: There are some very nice landscapes shown, even though they tend to be of decrepit buildings and city areas.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Averted; the Big Bad and the mastermind behind most of the story has only one proper appearance in the fifth chapter.
  • Super-Deformed: The hilariously cute opening stop motion "don't smoke" warnings to each movie.
  • Supporting Harem: Mikiya only has eyes for Shiki. Even though several other girls such as Kirie Fujou, Fujino Asagami and even his own sister Azaka are also in love with him, they can't compete with Shiki.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Did you know the Ryougi are a Yakuza family? You wouldn't be the first not to know since they aren't seen doing anything of sorts beyond a very specific scene, and the Anime adaptation barely touches upon this. In fact only the very last Movie does anything with this when Ryougi’s foot soldiers accost Mitsuru over a debt of his.
  • Title Drop: The epilogue, which also explains what "The Boundary of Emptiness" is. It is Shiki's third, but original personality, the Void, Akasha, the root of everything itself.
  • Touch the Intangible: Shiki's left arm is replaced by a magical prosthetic after the original is torn off by Fujino Asagami's telekinesis. It can grip otherwise intangible spirits, which proves essential when she fights Kirie Fujou.
  • Unfazed Everyman: Kokutou Mikiya, completely normal guy working for a magus.
  • Urban Fantasy: A story with strong supernatural elements, based in a large Japanese city.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Played straight in the anime adaptation, where the location of Mifune City is carefully obscured (except the fact that it lies on the coast). Subverted in the original novel, whose fifth chapter places Mifune firmly within the Greater Tokyo Area, when Tomoe makes his way from Shiki's apartment to the famous Hachiko statue at the Shibuya Crossing within a couple of hours.

    Tropes in Chapter/Movie # 1 

#1: "Overlooking View"/"Panorama" (September 1998)

The first chapter abruptly focuses on a mysterious series of apparent suicides, as schoolgirls begin throwing themselves off of a certain abandoned building without reason. Ghosts are seen flying floating in the area.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Shiki absolutely slaughters the suicide-ghosts the second time she encounters them. They literally do nothing but flee for their lives when she shows up.
  • Evil Hand: Shiki's artificial arm gets remotely possessed by a ghost and tries to choke and throw her off a building.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • There's a scene in which the events of the third movie are reported on by the news on TV. Novel readers and people rewatching the movies will catch it, but otherwise it'll pass by without notice.
    • When Touko is fixing Shiki's artificial arm she makes a nod to Fujino.
  • Leave the Camera Running: There is a very long scene of Shiki (with one arm) eating ice cream that takes about a minute and a half. It's intended to be symbolic and a Pet the Dog scene about Shiki and Mikiya's relationship.
  • Product Placement: Shiki's ice cream is prominently stated to be Haagen-Dazs in both the movies and the original novel. Her fridge also contains Volvic water.
  • Prosthetic Limb Reveal: Shiki first appears to have two functional arms — right until a ghost manages to possess one of them, which is revealed to be a magically-animated prosthetic, forcing Shiki to cut it off and "kill" it. The circumstances under which she lost her own arm are shown in chapter three.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Mikiya drops this:
    "She is either an eminent virtuoso, or just a big weirdo."
  • Spoiler Opening: Who was the girl on the ceiling that commits suicide at the end of the opening credits? Kirie Fujou, the current antagonist.
  • Suicide Is Painless: Basically the entire story has to do with this concept.
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide: The schoolgirls throw themselves off the building because of this.

    Tropes in Chapter/Movie # 2 

#2: "Murder Speculation (Part 1)"/"The First Homicide Inquiry" (March 1995 - February 1996)

This chronologically-first chapter shows the initial meeting of high school classmates Ryougi Shiki and Kokutou Mikiya. As he gets closer to Shiki, Mikiya finds out about her dual personalities. Meanwhile, Mikiya's cousin, police detective Akimi Daisuke, warns him of a serial killer who stalks the town at night, leaving behind gruesome corpses. Only one piece of evidence has been left behind: the badge of attendance for their school.
  • Cliffhanger: The chapter ends with Shiki about to kill Mikiya with a smile on her face. The context of this scene isn't revealed until the seveth movie.
  • Enemy Within: Shiki herself doesn't care, but her male side is essentially a Blood Knight.
  • Gaussian Girl: The odd and chronologically misplaced Shiki when she and Mikiya first meet.
  • Hidden Eyes: Shiki when she goes partially Ax-Crazy.
  • Mistaken for Murderer: Done straight and serious, though not resolved until Movie 7.
  • Shout-Out: Two plushie cat dolls, one black and one white, both with ribbons, are won by Kokutou in a UFO Catcher game to give to Shiki; these are Len and White Len from Melty Blood in cat form. Appropriately, this is when Shiki tells him about her multiple personalities. Only in the films, though. The cameo didn't happen in the original novels., because the original novels predate Tsukihime, and thus, ''Melty Blood.
  • Snow Means Love: The Official Couple Shiki and Mikiya first meet in a snowy night.
  • Time Skip: The end moves the story back to July 1998. Not to mention within the story it jumps from March-April to August to September to December to January and then finally February.

    Tropes in Chapter/Movie # 3 

#3: "Lingering Sense of Pain"/"Lingering Pain" (July 1998)

Ryougi Shiki's first case after her awakening from the coma. The unassuming Asagami Fujino, a girl unable to feel pain, experiences life for the first time in the passion of killing. As Aozaki Touko and Kokutou Mikiya investigates the truth behind this murderer, Ryougi Shiki hunts her down, leading to a confrontation between the two very different kinds of Mystic Eyes.
  • Asshole Victim: The punks who raped Fujino end up being torn to shreds by her newfound psychic powers.
  • Battle in the Rain: Shiki's final fight against Fujino.
  • Fan Disservice: The scenes of Fujino being abused and raped by the delinquents.
  • Pet the Dog: In an odd way; Shiki lets Fujino live by killing her appendicitis, which by her standards is petting the dog.
  • Product Placement: If you look at the shoes of one of the punks during the rape scene in the alley, you'll see the familiar sight of the Converse logo.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Kokutou, of all people. Granted, he's being told how one of his former friends and his buddies abused Fujino, so he's disgusted.
  • Save the Villain: Shiki decides to show mercy to Fujino and saves her life by killing off her appendicitis.
  • Take It to the Bridge: Shiki and Fujino's confrontation takes place on a bridge, which ends up getting wrecked by Fujino's Superpower Meltdown.

    Tropes in Chapter/Movie # 4 

#4: "Hollow Shrine"/"The Hollow" (June 1998)

Ryougi Shiki awakens from her coma, and is immediately restrained after attempting to gouge out her own eyes. For two years, she has been staring into " " - not just "emptiness", but a complete void without meanings, forms, or concepts. And she is alone - SHIKI has disappeared. Chronologically the second chapter, this chapter covers Shiki's recovery, the consequences of her coma, and her struggle to survive while submersed in death.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The corpse being carried in one scene. It becomes the zombie that will attack Shiki later.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Kirie Fujou (from the first movie) can be seen in the background in one scene.
    • The nurses comment that Touko is replacing Araya as a counselor at the hospital.
    • There's also the post-credits scene, showing how Araya Souren is connected to the first three parts.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: When Shiki first wakes up the fact that her hair is now past shoulder-length lets us know she's been asleep for a long time. Add an Important Haircut later and you know she's serious.
  • Eye Scream: One of the first things Shiki does upon waking up is try to claw her own eyes out, as the result of a Freak Out upon realizing what her eyes can see.
  • She's Back: Shiki regains her will to live when a ghoul tries to kill her. She then leaps out of a multi-story hospital and finally uncovers her eyes, using her new Mystic Eyes of Death Perception to damage the ghoul. Then Touko tosses a knife to Shiki, which then proceeds to use to cut her hair back to its familiar length and kill the ghoul and the spirit that was possessing it.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: There's a rather eerie scene in which a recovering Shiki is being attacked by a zombie in her hospital room, overlayed by Mikiya (elsewhere) singing "Singing in the Rain" (possibly a Shout-Out to A Clockwork Orange).

    Tropes in Chapter/Movie # 5 

#5: "Paradox Spiral" (October-November 1998)

Enjou Tomoe flees his apartment after killing his parents and unexpectedly finds sanctuary at Shiki's place. Tomoe then finds that his parents have apparently failed to stay dead, and that's only the first sign of the abnormalities surrounding the building. Things get bloody messy, and Touko meets some old acquaintances. This movie is notable in that Shiki kills off the Big Bad of the series here, while the following two movies explore the loose and still-unused plot threads.
  • Alas, Poor Yorick: Touko Aozaki gets this treatment when Alba beheads her and takes her head.
  • All There in the Manual: The concepts in this movie are a lot clearer after reading the novels. The movie is also more passive over the fact that Tomoe escaping and Shiki and Touko getting involved (most of the plot, really) were caused by the Counter Force manipulating them to have the situation resolved.
  • Anachronic Order: Especially notable here. The movie plays out in three "arcs"—one from Shiki's perspective, then one from Mikiya's, and lastly a finale tying the two together—divided by title cards with a hand-sketched appearance. Several short scenes are repeated verbatim, such as Mikiya's surprise at Shiki's locked apartment door, with others shown from different perspectives. The long flashback as Shiki breaks out of Araya's confinement fills in some gaps towards the end.
  • And Show It to You: Araya rips out Touko's heart, which is still beating, and yet they still manage to have a philosophical conversation. Touko gets better.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Despite the large amount of blood elsewhere in the movie, the scene near the beginning of Tomoe killing his mother is oddly lacking. This lack of blood is actually a critical clue to what's really going on. This also works as an effective Mind Screw, since when blood starts appearing again it has a jarring effect.
  • Brain in a Jar: Everyone in Tomoe's apartment is just a puppet, with their brains actually kept alive in a pile of jars in the basement.
  • Continuity Nod: Done very literally in-story with a completely different (and important) meaning: while Shiki is basically in Akasha and viewing all the moments the Counter Force had an influence on the situation, she sees the moment she first met Mikiya — and "that her" stops talking, looks up at the screen where Shiki is watching from Akasha, and smiles at her. This is a huge plot detail.
  • Demonic Head Shake: Araya does this while regenerating from a wound on his neck where he was stabbed by Shiki earlier. Enjo Tomoe is freaked out by the sight to such an extent, he runs away shrieking.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Enjou didn't have a chance against Araya. But damn did he tell him off.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The... thing in Touko's briefcase. Sometimes it just resembles a traditional bakeneko. Other times it is much more grotesque
  • Expy: Cornelius Alba is basically the most disgusting parts of Willy Wonka and Alexander De-Large rolled into one humanoid mass; combining the arrogance and bad-fashion sense of both. He even goes as far as to gleefully sing Bethoven's 9th Symphony 4th Movement, the favourite tune of Alex from A Clockwork Orange, when he tried to murder Mikiya in a chillingly sadistic torture scene. Maybe not so coincidentally, Mikiya himself has sung Singin' In The Rain, the song that Alex sung while raping a writer's helpless wife, twice in the film series.
  • Former Friends Photo: An old photograph of Touko, Cornelius Alba, and Souren Araya from back when they were working together at the Clock Tower shows the three of them seem quite friendly for people who take the first opportunity to murder each other in the story proper.
  • Free-Fall Fight: During the climax, when Shiki fights against Araya he jumps off the building with the intention of destroying it with Shiki inside, but Shiki follows him and lands the final blow in the middle of the air.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: After thinking for a minute, Kokutou decides that he'd probably like Shiki the same regardless of her gender, though he does add that he's pretty happy that she's a girl.
  • Inn Between the Worlds: The Cafe Of Impossible Meetings, Cafe Ahnenerbe. Used in this series between Life and Death.
  • Innocuously Important Episode: While made clear from the beginning that this is an important chapter, why it is isn't explained until the seventh chapter.
  • Jobless Parent Drama: This is a major story arc, specifically with Tomoe Enjo's family: his father couldn't find any work (because he ran over a teenager while driving under influence, so nobody would ever hire him again) and gave to drinking. Tomoe assumes that this was what drove his mother to stab her husband to death before attempting to kill him, too (he then killed her in self-defense). This all turns out to be Fake Memories, however: the Enjo family was actually quite loving and tightly-knit despite their hardships, but had the misfortune of moving into an apartment block used by the Big Bad for experiments that drove them insane, then killed them. The Tomoe we meet is actually a clone with tweaked memories implanted to lure Shiki to the Big Bad's lair.
  • Lyrical Cold Open: The end theme, "Sprinter", begins with vocals cutting in shortly before the instrumentation.
  • Malevolent Architecture: Araya's apartment building is made this way on purpose, to drive people crazy. Justified since it's an Eldritch Location made to be as repetitive as possible.
  • Matricide: The movie starts with Tomoe killing his mother in self defence, after she murdered his father. Treated oddly sympathetically, despite the rather... strange circumstances that turn out to be surrounding it.
  • Meteor Move: After fighting with Shiki and realizing that she is stronger physically, Araya teleports from the tenth floor (where they both are) down to the the ground outside. Shiki goes to the nearest opening, jumps down and lands sword-first right on top of him, breaking the usually invincible Japanese Sword and knocking Shiki out in process. And even then she was only saved by the Big Bad's Mobile Bounded Field (kind of like a shield) taking most of the landing impact (it's slightly implied he activated it on purpose for that reason).
  • Mind Screw: Of truly epic proportions. Without reading the novels, you really need to see this film at least twice to even get a rough idea about what going on. A great case of All There in the Manual (listed above).
  • Pet the Dog: Shiki goes somewhere between this and simple Tsundere-ness (but not quite - she is very hard to categorize) when she starts stabbing her pillow in frustration while griping about Mikiya's absence to Tomoe.
  • Revealing Continuity Lapse: In the anime adaptation, where apparent continuity errors allow the viewers to piece together the distorted chronology of the movie. E.g. when Touko arrives at the Oogawa building, she parks next to two cars already there, but in the next scene, we see Mikiya and Tomoe arrive in one of the cars that "were" already there in Touko's scene, allowing viewers to infer that Touko arrives after the guys have gone inside.
  • Single-Stroke Battle: Shiki vs. zombie. Zombie explodes in half.
  • Snow Means Death: Araya's death cues snowfall.
  • Start of Darkness: A flashback/dream of Araya's shows him standing in the aftermath of a bloody conflict 200 years ago, looking at the corpse of a little boy who got caught up in it. He resolves that since he cannot save anybody, he will at least collect and record the deaths of people and reach the origin so he can end this world so there can be no more meaningless deaths.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Touko chatters on about her meaning of life for a while after Araya rips her heart out and only seems to actually die when he crushes it in his hand.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: The Tomoe who interacts with Shiki is a fake, as he himself confirms when he finds the Brain in a Jar with his name on it.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Subverted. Araya mercilessly destroys Touko, but keeps her head alive on purpose - she's created an exact duplicate of her own body and linked them to herself. Whenever she is "killed" the other body awakens, allowing her to come back - when Alba crushes her head, she comes back. With a vengeance.

    Tropes in Chapter/Movie # 6 

#6: "Oblivion Recorder"/"Records of Oblivion" (January 1999)

Azaka and Shiki go to the Reien Girl's Academy to find the culprit behind a rash of disappearing memories caused by "fairies".
  • Anachronism Stew: Satsuki Kurogiri's desktop computer has a flat screen monitor, which were very expensive for the time and rather uncommon compared to CRT monitors. Given it appears larger than available LCD monitors at that time, this seems like a genuine mistake.
  • Bowdlerization: The child prostitution and teen pregnancy subplot between Tachibana Kaori and Hayama Hideo in the novel is reduced to drug addiction in the movie. Which is odd, considering Fujino's rather graphic rape scenes in the third movie were preserved. They also left Kurogiri's fate unclear: we never see Ouji kill him in the ending. It actually looked like Shiki simply cut him as he restored her memories, but then the scene ends, which might imply that he died in that encounter.
  • Breather Episode: The film adaptation turned this chapter into one by shifting the focus onto Azaka. The sixth novel is just as grim as the rest of them, but the Lighter and Softer movie give you a breather before a soul-shatteringly traumatic Grand Finale.
  • Dartboard of Hate: Azaka uses a plush doll of Shiki for her magical targeting practice.
  • Driven to Suicide: Tachibana Kaori. In the novel, she intended her suicide to be atonement for her and her classmates' sins.
  • Elaborate University High: Reien Academy.
  • Enjo Kosai: What Tachibana Kaori's class ended up doing, with their teacher Hayama Hideo as the pimp. Kaori herself was the last to hold out due to her Christian convictions, and was raped and impregnated by the said teacher as a result. Both aspects were cut out of the movie.
  • Everyone Can See It: Azaka's crush on Mikiya is pretty obvious. Shiki knows about it and says she isn't the only one who has noticed it, but Mikiya doesn't know.
  • The Fair Folk: Not talking about the packaged-for-kids Christmas version. These are the child-kidnapping, terrifyingly alien kind all over.
  • Foe-Tossing Charge: Azaka performs one of these against the big demon flower controlling Ouji. She even finishes it off with her best approximation of a Super Inazuma Kick.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Shiki and Azaka. Shiki is a Blood Knight trying to play the role of a masculine personality, while Azaka is a Plucky Girl who plays the role of a Deliberately Cute Teenage Girl.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Azaka actually respects Shiki, and is quite fond of her; the feeling is mutual on Shiki's part. The girls understand each other enough to laugh at and finish the punch line of each-other's jokes, and marvellously complementing each together in abilities on the battlefield. The one thing that prevents them from actually openly admitting their friendship to one another is their shared love for Mikiya.

    Tropes in Chapter/Movie # 7 

#7: "Murder Speculation (Part 2)"/"The Second Homicide Inquiry" (February 1999)

The murders from before Shiki's coma resume, and both Shiki and Mikiya are trying to find the killer.
  • Book-Ends: A number of themes from Overlooking View (as well as the other five movies) get a reprise here.
  • Cherry Blossoms: The post-credits scene has Shiki and Mikiya walking together while Holding Hands under cherry blossom trees.
  • Cry Cute: Shiki cries when she believes Mikiya was killed. It continues when he comes out and hugs her.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Averted, despite what was shown. While it looks as if Shiki was able to take out Lio easily in the final battle, her earlier confrontation proved he was more than a match for her. The novel elaborates, outlining how Shiki was still experiencing the lingering paralyzing effects of the drugs, and Lio was weakening Shiki's limbs one by one like a predator slowly taking down its prey, with the final blow directed at her neck. Had she waited a second longer, she would have died. When she chose to fight back, Shiki basically took full advantage of the amount of space between them and struck as effectively as she could at precisely the right moment to ensure he went down before he could injure her further. The result was a Single-Stroke Battle.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: A few minutes from the end of the movie, Mikiya is apparently dead from a stab to the face, and Shiki's resigned herself to death after killing Lio. The situation improves.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Mikiya obtains info on the drug-related serial killings by the only drug dealer around who's not selling that particular new cocktail, because she thinks it's too damaging for the human body. Possibly she's being pragmatic - dead customers aren't repeat customers.
  • Eye Scream: Mikiya loses his left eye towards the end of the movie. Considering Lio was trying to kill him, he may have gotten off lucky.
  • Fan Disservice: Anything Lio does to Shiki, especially the drooling all over her after ripping open her kimono with his teeth. That he's modeled himself after her doesn't make it better. Also anything he does to Mikiya, including Eye Scream.
  • Fingore: Shiki breaks free of the bindings holding her hands by gnawing her thumb off. Of course, that was off her artificial hand.
  • Indirect Kiss: Shiki refuses a canned sweet drink when Mikiya offers her one, but says she changed her mind and drinks it after Mikiya drinks a bit of the can.
  • Ironic Echo: Lio's diary starts with one. "April 1995. I met her."
  • Irony: Mikiya ended up becoming Shiki's reason for being a murderer.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: The audience finally gets to see the event that led to Shiki's coma from where the second movie cuts off, but it cuts out some of the dialogue, so while the audience understands what happened, they don't understand, among other things, why it happened. Later, the segment with the cut dialogue is revisited, only now the dialogue is present, explaining why Shiki tried to kill Mikiya and why she tried to commit suicide afterwards.
  • Plot-Based Voice Cancellation: The night train passes by as Mikiya learns the drug dealer's name, Lio Shirazumi.
  • Snow Means Death: Shiki kills Lio when it's snowing.
  • Snow Means Love: As it's snowing outside, Mikiya embraces Shiki and swears to never let her go.
  • Stalker Shrine: Featured in the opening credits, and it's very creepy. Shows up again when Mikiya investigates Lio's apartment. More detail is given and the camera pans around to truly show all the pictures.
  • They Were Holding You Back: Lio believes this about Mikiya and Shiki, and tries to murder Mikiya to prove that he and Shiki are Not So Different.

    Tropes in the Epilogue 

Epilogue: "Boundary of Emptiness" (March 1999)

The original epilogue of the series, where Mikiya meets Ryougi Shiki under circumstances very similar to his first meeting with Shiki.
  • The Reveal: Shiki's Origin and nature is finally spelled out.
  • Talking Heads: There is literally nothing happening in the epilogue except Mikiya and Shiki discussing the secrets of the universe.
  • Walk and Talk: At some point, Shiki starts walking up the road and, for a bit, their dialogue continues on the move.

    Tropes in "Future Gospel" 

"Future Gospel" (August 1998 & 2008)

Consists of two parts. "Möbius Ring" takes place between "Lingering Sense of Pain" and "Overlooking View" and concerns a psychic bomb-maker's attempts to assassinate Shiki to prevent her from revealing his identity to the police. "Möbius Link" takes place ten years later. The overarching topic of this chapter is precognition and clairvoyance.

Part 1: "Möbius Ring"

  • Anachronic Order: The anime adaptation jumps back and forth in the timeline, in a way similar to, though easier to follow than "Paradox Spiral".
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: The story basically consists of two plots related only by their overarching theme and occurring at the same time.
  • How We Got Here: The anime adaptation opens with a graphic scene of Shiki walking into a Death Trap and being shredded to pieces by shrapnel. The rest of the movie shows how she ended up in that predicament.
  • Loophole Abuse: Normally, Shiki can't do anything about the future with her Mystic Eyes. The future is usually too uncertain and changing. It doesn't really "exist" until it becomes the present. Even Seo's predictions are just uncertain (albeit highly likely) probabilities. However, Meruka's precognitive "calculation" allow him to get the exact future that he wants. This would normally be a good thing that makes it better than just simply predicting the future, but this narrows down the possiblilities of the future, removing its uncertainty and making it a concrete concept. In other words, the future now has an existence, and Shiki can kill anything that exists...
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: In the novel, this is how Seo imagines most of her Reien schoolmates laugh.
  • Rube Goldberg Device: Basically, how Meruka Kuramitsu's precognitive powers work. By doing specific but often unrelated things in a specific sequence, he is somehow able to bring about a very specific future he foresaw.
  • Seers: Touko gets to exposition two types of precognitive talents in Nasuverse: one extrapolates the most likely future scenario from the available data (kinda like a mystic weather forecast), while the other allows the wielder to set up a specific future they desire.
  • Sliding Scale of Free Will vs. Fate: Both Shizune and Meruka come to believe that their futures are predetermined Because Destiny Says So, but Shizune is proven wrong when Mikiya simply acts on her prediction and saves the life of a man whose death she foresaw, while Meruka learns his lesson in a much more violent and traumatic fashion from Shiki, who literally destroys the future he set up for her, taking his precognitive ability as collateral damage.

Part 2: "Möbius Link"

  • Knight In Sour Armor: Mitsuru, kinda. Having experienced a time where everything he started was automatically 100% successful, he perceives his current life, full of uncertainty, as one long string of failures. Still, he ultimately finds this alternative much better than being effectively doomed to win at all times.
  • The Stinger: This one has a hidden scene after the credits, in which Mother of Mifune reads SHIKI's fortune shortly before his suicide and realizes that there is literally no future timeline in which he survives the next few weeks. He is OK with it, though, since she also reads that his dream will live on and eventually be realized.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: This chapter is basically this to the protagonists and the antagonist of "Möbius Ring": Shiki and Mikiya are married and have a daughter, Mana; Shiki is also the new head of the Ryougi family enterprise (a.k.a. yakuza); and Mitsuru has become a moderately successful children book writer and was hired by Shiki has her organization's on-staff PI.

    Tropes in "Extra Chorus" 
A compilation of short stories occurring in-between the original chapters: "Feline" after "Lingering Sense of Pain", "Daylight" after "Overlooking View", and "Say Grace" after "Paradox Spiral".


  • Burning with Anger: Played with. Mikiya tells Shiki that he has to go out of town for a two days. He returns a week later to find a very pissed Shiki with a boiling teapot.


  • Survivor Guilt: Miyazuki has some serious emotional issues following Yuuko's death, particularly since she believes it were her own inconsiderate words that led to Yuuko's suicide, unaware of Fujou's role in it.
  • Talking Down the Suicidal: Asagami Fujino's "talking down" is more like "scaring you shitless of death": after interrupting Miyazuki's suicide attempt, she points out the ineffectiveness of her chosen method and offers her help, admitting to prior murders and demonstrating her powers. Miyazuki is sufficiently freaked out by it to break down and to actually talk about her issues, allowing herself to finally move on.

"Say Grace"

  • Snow Means Love: Just as Mikiya and Shiki are about to leave the shrine and Mikiya offers his hand to her in a symbolically chivalrous gesture, the first snow of the year begins to fall.

Alternative Title(s): Kara No Kyoukai


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