originally posted at https://canmom.tumblr.com/post/715326...

Hi everyone, welcome back to Animation Night!

Last week we absorbed the first half of Kinoko Nasu’s early work Kara no Kyōkai, as adapted by a variety of directors at Ufotable. You can read about the background to this project there.

Tonight we’ll finish the job, with the last three films!

Gif source: @cute-is-right

Let me give a little summary of the story so far. cw for rape, suicide, and trauma type stuff. This is a pretty edgy story.


In the first part, Overlooking View, we are introduced to taciturn knife-wielding Shiki, and her companion cardboard-nothing-boy Mikiya - who spends most of this episode asleep. They work for a woman called Tōko, who constructs startlingly lifelike human-sized puppets and prosthetics as well as running something like a supernatural detective agency. Shiki has a prosthetic arm, which Tōko made for her.

A rash of suicides taking place at an abandoned building draws the agency’s attention. Shiki observes a group of seven ghosts floating at the top of the building. Her first attempt to enter the building sees her attacked by her own prosthetic arm, but once it’s repaired, Shiki goes back and kills the ghosts, concluding they have something to do with Mikiya’s unconsciousness. Mikiya is her emotional support normie, not for others!

Meanwhile, Tōko tracks down a terminally ill girl in a local hospital. It turns out this girl has learned to astral project! She made contact and awakened the spirits of some other girls. But her astral body got ideas and went off on its own, and attempted to possess the body of Mikiya, who had regularly visited the hospital. With nothing left to live for, the girl kills herself too.


In the second part, A Study in Murder - Part I, we flash back to when Shiki and Mikiya were kids. Mikiya becomes interested in the spooky girl Shiki (式) in the school, discovering she has a male alter called SHIKI (織), and they hit it off - SHIKI definitely the alter that’s more interested which is a neat touch. But Shiki is behind a spate of brutal murders in the area, supposedly targeting people that cause SHIKI to front. Mikiya’s cousin, a detective, cheerfully spills details of the crimes.

Mikiya discovers Shiki standing over a corpse, but refuses to believe she dunnit, even when she straight up tells him as much. He starts camping outside her large, aristocratic house. Eventually, Shiki attacks Mikiya with a knife, but hesitates before finishing him off, sitting on him on a road. For reasons as yet unknown, she then passes out and is rushed to hospital.


The third part, Remaining Sense of Pain, is set in between the previous two movies. It concerns a girl called Fujino who, like Shiki, was unable to feel pain due to some sorcery performed when she was a kid. She has been routinely raped by a group of men. One day this changed after one of them hit her with a bat, and she went on a murder spree against the rapists using psychic powers. Afterwards, she is sheltered by Mikiya.

Shiki recognises in Fujino a mirror of her own whole thing, magic eyes included, and goes off to fight her. But she only seems to get satisfaction when Fujino is not dissociating to hell (feeling pain, enjoying killing), so she backs off at first. Tōko discovers that Fujino has a ruptured appendix, that is going to kill her sooner or later, and is now causing her constant pain.

Shiki pursues Fujino again, resulting in a psychic battle on a bridge - one that Shiki wins, at the cost of her left arm and massive damage to the bridge. But with Fujino at her mercy, Shiki comes around to using her magic eye of killing abstract concepts to kill her appendicitis instead, letting Fujino live…


The fourth movie, The Hollow Shrine, takes place after the second. Shiki wakes up from her coma, and the SHIKI alter has disappeared, or merged into Shiki, or something. She’s also gained ‘mystic eyes of depth perception’ as a result of whatever brush with death happened at the end of movie 1. These let her see flaws in everything that she can touch to ‘kill’ them, from flowers to people to rather more abstract things. She is morose and suicidal.

Alerted to the situation by Mikiya (not sure how they know each other), Tōko poses as a speech therapist and explains the whole magic eye thing to Shiki. A spirit possesses a corpse to pass through Tōko’s wards, attacking Shiki in the night. Shiki decides she would rather live, and uses her new powers to draw in the spirit and kill it.

Last time was a good time: both Nasu experts and people as naive as me experiencing the twists and turns of this bizarre story. So how will it end? Well, next up we have…

Hello again! We did not in the end have time to watch all of these on Thursday, so here’s a special extra bonus Animation Night starting at 8pm UK time, about 30 minutes’ time!

Paradox Spiral was a ridiculous, insane film. I loved it. Truly maximum chuuni. All that occult bullshit - the taiji, akashi record, etc. - got packed into one film, not to mention some genuinely incredible fight choreo courtesy of Tetsuya Takeuchi who both storyboarded and animated this incredibly kinetic sequence where Shiki fights a bunch of zombies.

Oblivion Recording I wasn’t able to fully concentrate on because someone gave me a job offer in the middle of it (no seriously, what is my life), but yes, this is the one that pulls out brocon character, because it wouldn’t be a sprawling Japanese supernatural novel series without at least a little incest. Ongoing high level of wizard nonsense. It all makes the first few movies look downright grounded.

So I can’t wait to see what Nasu will pull out to end this whole series. We’ll finally learn what it is that gave Shiki her funky eyes.

Alongside that, we’ll watch the epilogue film Future Gospel, where we find out what happens to the gang ten years on in 2010, intertwined with the story of a fortune teller in 1998. This film was made in 2013, a good while after the initial mad rush that produced the first seven films, and I believe its story is fully original and not based on the novels.


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