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Kara no Kyoukai....Masterpiece

The theme this month was to gush about something. Well there is nothing more gush worthy that I can think of in recent times then Kara No Kyoukai The Garden Of Sinners. There really is one word to explain the series and that is masterpiece.

For those uninformed Kara No Kyoukai was originally a series of novels written by Kinoko Nasu who is most famous for writing the Tsukihime and Fate/Stay Night visual novels. The series was then adapted into 7 films by animation company ufotable(whom after seeing the films I now consider gods of animation). What ufotable was able to achieve can be called nothing short of a masterpiece. Why? Well that's where the gushing part comes in because there are countless reasons for why Kara No Kyoukai is considered by myself(and many others) to be a masterpiece.

Firstly you have the animation. The background animation done for Kara No Kyoukai is hands down the best you will ever see. The detail is immense and the feeling that comes along with many of the views seen in the movie is undeniable. Never have I seen such loving care put into a background portraying a desolate abandoned apartment complex or simply cobble stones on a walk way. The detail is always pure eye candy no matter how spectacular or how mundane the view or object seems to be.

The character animation is also top notch. Now I have personally always loved Type-Moon character designs so it could just be me but I love the way all the characters look. One may say that many of the characters look a little bland or to basic but I think they look great and they may not look over the top because alot of the time the characters personality is more important. Battle scenes are given immense care to make sure they are fast paced and exciting and never does the animation cheapen during fights like many other films and movies tend to do. In fact these are where the animation shines the most. The fluid movement and inventiveness of the fight scenes all the while maintaining such a incredible level of detail is flooring.

A little also needs to be said for the imagery in the films. There are frames and imagines that will haunt you and I mean that in the best of ways. A puppy walking into frame leaving behind it bloody paw prints, using fresh blood as lip stick, or simply looking at Shiki's eyes. I don't want to spoil anything but the list goes on. It's really shocking how ufotable was able to make something gruesome and grotesque have a eerie kind of beauty. Never in any other series would you say a blood soaked corpse was beautiful but in Kara No Kyoukai there is a twisted beauty to it all.

Then there is the music. The soundtrack for all 7 films was composed by Yuki Kajiura(most known for Mai Hime/Otome, Noir, Xenosaga II and III and many others) and these are soundtracks that will stay with you. They add so much to the moment it's hard to imagine the films even working without her music. The blending of the visuals and the music is so flawless I can't really fully explain it. The amount of music composed for all the films is quite large(easily over 200 pieces) and each movie has it's own tone while still maintaining overall themes and melodies. I find it very fitting that one of the first melodies you hear during the opening of the first film is also one of the last year hear during the last film.

Then there are the closing songs. Yuki Kajiura did something unprecedented for the soundtrack of Kara no Kyoukai. She created and formed a group named Kalafina for the sole purpose of singing the ending theme songs for the films. And WOW did it ever pay off. These songs are all written from the ground up to fit each film and it's almost as if they are the feelings of the characters pouring out into song. Each song matches the plot and feelings of at least one of the characters in each film. Rarely do you have theme songs that go so well with what they are representing. It's nice to see that Kalafina has remained together even after the completion of the films as they are very talented and I look forward to what they will create in the future.

Then we have the story. Never to my knowledge has a film series that spanned 7 films told one concise over arching story. Sure you have trilogies in fact they are common and so to do you have film series that have run on forever but never do those long running series tell one story one over arching tale that you need to see all the films to understand. Doing that is asking alot of the viewers and Kara No Kyoukai certainly asks alot of viewers as they need to sit through nearly 9 hours of film to get the complete story.

The start of the films often leaves people confused and turned off as you are introduced to these characters and you have no idea who they are, what they are doing and why they are there. But the thing is the films don't take place in order. So you see the past of the characters and you see events take place out of order. What this does though is creates a sense of unraveling as the story slowly reveals itself. You slowly learn about the characters who they are, how they met, what happened to them, and what leads to the conclusion. It's one of the big "OH!!!!" moments as the films come together throughout the 5-7 movies(the only three that do take place in order). You really do feel a sense of awe as everything you have been seeing comes together in a way that works and makes sense and it doesn't hurt that the final payoff is one hell of a emotional punch. By the end you know who the characters are and you will feel for them which makes the ending work that much more. You even see how minor characters played a role in the giant puzzle and who the mastermind behind everything was. By the end of the 7th film there are few unanswered questions and the few that do remain are perhaps intentional and left to the viewers imagination to answer.

Again no films series I can think of has ever been able to do this. The fact that this was animated is all the more reason to be completely floored by it. I mean the fact that all these 7 films were made and nothing got in the way of it at some point is incredible. The fact that they all look exactly the same and at no point did a budget get cut or did lack of vision get in the way of making the films look and be as good as they could be.

Oh and then there is one more little thing. If you are a Type-Moon fan there is TONS to gush about here. There are a ton of references to other type moon works. In the first film for example Shiki at one point wears a yellow hooded rain coat. This is the same rain coat Saber wears in Fate/Stay Night. Or the character of Tomoe Enjou and how he himself is something of a reference to Shirou Emiya of Fate/Stay Night or Shiki herself having the same name as the main character of Tsukihime who also has the Mystic Eyes of Death Perception. The references go on and on. It's just extra for the fans. It doesn't add anything to the story but it does add a bit for those who know what to look for.

At the end of the day there are those who will disagree that the Kara No Kyoukai films are a masterpiece and I can't tell you how many people I have taken crap from just for loving these films as much as I do(most of those who bash the films have never seen them all which is part of what makes them so great) and that's fine everyone is entitled to their opinion. That however won't change my view on the subject and that is Kara No Kyoukai is simply a masterpiece.

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