Posts with the “kara no kyoukai” tag

Winter is coming

Six perfect winter scenes in anime

I spent a large part of my childhood in the north eastern part of Scotland which, to those who aren't familiar with the area would describe as “the middle of nowhere”. Those who are would likely nod and then call it something much worse. Summers were short and hot, the hills abundant and green and the winters biting and long. Water pipes froze, roads closed, and snow drifts towered over children sledging carelessly into them.

they wander from the warm light of the station into the vast, frozen night

It has a romantic appeal, being snowed in snug and warm beneath a blanket next to a crackling fire, until you actually want to do something productive like eat or travel anywhere. That child-like nostalgia persists however, so whenever a video game or anime does winter, I’m always searching for that ephemeral feeling that only a quiet, snowy vista can elicit.

Just having a good scene set during winter though doesn’t automatically make it a good winter scene - Guts versus Griffith (part two) takes place on a crisp, white morning and it’s understandably evocative, but doesn’t tickle memories of the past. Similarly neither does just setting a scene, or even your entire series, during winter - so Non Non Biyori, WWW.Working!! (the northern one), Noragami and Primsa Illya 3rei all feel frosty but don’t make the grade. And just faking winter snow is cheating, yes I’m looking at you Nagi no Asukara, salt flakes doesn’t count.

So to lead be example, here are six perfect winter scenes in anime.

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A Kara no Kyoukai: Mirai Fukin review

Kara no Kyoukai is a bit like the suit I use for job interviews. It’s not especially well worn, nor does it sit either end of the comfort scale, but by wearing it there are certain expectations. It seems that for ufotable, now the de-facto steward of all Type Moon’s animated properties, the same can be said. It has been almost four years since the last Kara no Kyoukai (Boundary of Emptiness) film was released, three if you count the punctuation mark that the OVA in the limited edition box-set represented. Since then of course the studio has put out the well-received Fate/Zero and is on track to release a new chapter in the Fate/stay night mythos.

like an appendix to a book, stuffed with obvious fan pleasing points of note

That contextualises where the studio sits with the release of Kara no Kyoukai: Mirai Fukin (Future Gospel), but doesn’t really adequately convey just how assured and confident this new movie’s execution is. There is a knowledge and appreciation of the characters that populate Kinoko Nasu’s work but also of the roles played by the location and themes underpinning them. It is still arrestingly beautiful and quietly unsettling that perhaps only an intrinsic understanding and time could produce.

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Fate's shadow

A review of the Fate/Zero anime

First released: October 2011
Version reviewed: BluRay

I will never be ready to talk about Type-Moon’s works with any kind of certainty. I only have to glance at a page on the relevant Wikia to realise that what I know is but a sliver of what is, somehow, established lore. I’ve even forgone calling it the “Nasuverse”; even that term seems questionable when you consider Fate/Zero was originally a light novel written by Gen Urobuchi (he of Madoka and Psycho Pass heritage) and turned into an anime series in 2011.

breaking the spirit and bodies of those he faces before gifting them an ignominious death

It is with some certainty that I can say Fate/Zero is a prequel to Fate/stay night (surely dividing “Fate” by zero would be undefined…) and is, in every regard, immeasurably better than it. Well, better than 2006 Studio Deen produced series at least, the recently announced "new chapter" is still an unknown quantity. Sumptuously produced by UFOTable (see also: Kara no Kyoukai) and with a plot that bares its mettle from the outset, the story of the fourth Holy Grail war is dark, vicious, and mind-bogglingly spectacular.

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Aural pleasure

A few years ago I almost lost the hearing in my left ear. The gory details are best omitted, but I was left with (what the doctors claimed) was 20-30% hearing and only two thirds of the bones I should. For all intents and purposes I was deaf in that ear, a lopsided and mono world where car alarms didn't exist (a boon at 3am) but wearing headphones was painful.

Two years and two operations on I have most of my hearing back. All of this is just context for me to say: my hearing is precious to me and I am precious about it. It is a cliché to say that you don't know what you've got until you've lost it, but when it's personal it really brings it home.

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3 Episode Taste Test: Arakawa Under the Bridge

Perhaps a reflection of a troubled production or the lack of faith placed in the source material, but the opening episodes of Arakwa Under the Bridge are supremely underwhelming. Individual components of the prototypical SHAFT show are all present - the reliance on abstract close ups and over-coloured backgrounds, the ponderous and circular script, the abjectly peculiar concept - however here they've all been weathered by time and overuse and sit bluntly against one another. Without a strong story to carry it, the show is forced to rely upon a script which is bereft of the sharp writing past series have been known for. Only memories of past glories and faith in the studio's ability will determine how much one can both stomach the lacklustre start and how long one can wait for the series to hit its stride.

the charming misadventures of the outlandish river folk

After an unfortunate incident with some hoodlums and a faulty bridge support, Kou Ichinomiya finds himself sinking to the bottom of a river. He is saved by Nino, a local blonde waif; unfortunately the mantra of his life is to never be in a position to owe anyone anything, this is how he came to live under the bridge with Nino and a cavalcade of eccentric characters. This includes the mayor of the riverbank - a man dressed in a full body kappa suit - a belligerent man with a face in the shape and colour of a star and a man who can only walk on white lines, making the trip down from Hokkaido using a linesman's marking machine. This is to say nothing of Nino herself who claims to be from Venus and demonstrates only a fleeting grasp of common sense. Kou's decision to live under the bridge could, for better or worse, entirely undermine his privileged upbringing.

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