Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Feb 2, 2011
Duration: 33 min. per episode
Rating: PG-13 - Teens 13 or olderL represents licensing company
Score: 7.351 (scored by 9099 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top anime page.
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Feb 6, 2011
Finding a way to end a story can be a little tricky if the tale in question has no "natural" conclusion, and in cases like those there is a tendency towards overemphasizing key events in the plot or particular moments of character development through the use of flashbacks or the ubiquitous clip show before the big finale. There is a problem with this method though, as while it can be effective in the right sort of setting, it also has the potential to ruin a perfectly good narrative. That said, the last hurrah of the Kara no Kyoukai franchise is an interesting variation on this idea that may see more use in the future.
Set after the events of Satsujin Kousatsu Part 2, the Epilogue takes place on a deserted road overlooking the town, and is nothing more than a conversation between Mikiya Kokutou and Ryougi Shiki after the two meet on a snowy night.
The main thing to realise about this installment is that its sole purpose is to close off the series, but the approach it takes may not sit well with certain people as it adopts a far more introspective and thoughtful stance than any of the previous outings. The plot has one goal, and that is to explain Kokutou and Shiki (who they are, why they are, their relationship, etc), and as part of this it also resolves some of the questions that were left unanswered at the end of the final movie.
What's interesting about Epilogue is the manner in which it delivers the information to the audience. Gone are the dark storylines with their action based resolutions, and replacing them is a much quieter, dialogue heavy look at Kokuto and Shiki as individuals. The method used to reinforce specific points about one or both characters is also intriguing as it utilises the recounting of previous installments, but rather than use the traditional flashback sequences (which would really ruin the mood), Epilogue weaves them into the conversations in a manner that is more referential and comparative than anything else.
The overall atmosphere of quiet contemplation is heavily influenced by the look of the show, and the orange-yellow glow that permeates the town and its outskirts gives this episode the feeling of warmth and tenderness. One highlight of the visuals is actually the gently falling snow, which may not be obvious at first as quite often people make judgments based solely on the strength of the foreground and characters. Weather effects are common in anime, but studios rarely distinguish themselves in this department so it's nice that Ufotable have decided to redress that imbalance in a small way, and one look at the panoramic views across the town will highlight just how much effort they have gone to. The overall effect of both the illumination and the snowfall gives the show an ethereal quality that is rare in anime, as rather than relying on special effects and tricks to fool the viewer, it instead uses reality as the benchmark. The only flaw with the snow is that it doesn't stick to clothing or settle on the umbrella, but this is a relatively minor gripe that doesn't really affect the episode as a whole.
There's not much of a change in the overall look of the characters except for the fact that they appear older and more in tune with themselves than before. The difference is actually in the details, in particular in the facial expressions of Kokutou and Shiki. Both have undergone a metamorphosis over the course of Kara no Kyoukai, and this is reflected in the way they look at each other in this episode.
One thing that stands out in this franchise is the quality of the acting, yet while there have been some great performances throughout the series, Epilogue's quiet nature is a very different proposition from the bouts of frenetic activity and angst in the movies. To their credit both Suzumura Kenichi and Sakamoto Maaya offer very good performances, but along with this is the sense that the pair are more comfortable with their roles than at any time before, and this has the effect of "relaxing" the flow of the story.
Another key area for the franchise is the music, and Epilogue is no slouch in this department. The show begins with a haunting classical piece dominated by flute and piano, which leads into purposely subdued background music that at times is barely audible, especially during conversations. The subtlety and slightly off kilter nature of the music, together with the occasional "enhancing" of the speaking roles, add to the dream-like atmosphere of this episode, and all of this is rounded off by a choral, hymn-like ending theme.
The strangest aspect of Epilogue is that it doesn't focus on characterisation or development in any tangible manner. Instead the viewer bears witness to what appears to be character affirmation, which is surprising as the series has studiously avoided this in a number of ways. The interesting part about this though, is that the script has been written in a way that conveys a sense of inevitability, and the focus on introspection and explanation is a major shift away from the more dynamic dialogue of previous outings.
At first glance Epilogue may appear to be a strange and far too wordy addition to the Kara no Kyoukai franchise, but don't be fooled. There is a depth here that may surprise a few people, and while there are no knives, guns, action and the rest, it more than makes up for this by allowing the viewer to empathise with the characters in a way that the movies have ignored up to now. That said, while I enjoyed this addition to the series there will undoubtedly be others who find it far too slow to be entertaining.
Taken as a stand alone episode this may seems more like an art house anime than anything else, especially with the introspective dialogue laced with psychology. As part of the whole though, Epilogue offers closure on one of the major themes of the franchise (the relationship between Kokutou and Shiki), and also provides the series with something that has been missing from day one - a proper ending.
Nov 23, 2011
I shouldn't be too harsh on judging the film's story, since this is an addendum to the series' story and doesn't necessarily have to be seen in order to understand the series' main plot. In fact, there really isn't a plot to speak of, since it is simply a conversation between Shiki and Mikiya, What is interesting about it, however, is that it acts as a sort of bookend for the entire series as a whole. The series begins with a meeting between these two characters, and if you include the epilogue in the series' main plotline, then that is where it ends. Normally, I would give the character and the plot two separate ratings, but in this case, they both share the same rating because this film is nothing but character interaction. I use the term "character interaction" loosely because Shiki's lines mainly consist of one monologue after another while Mikiya simply responds with a few sentences. The film might as well be renamed "Shiki Ryougi Waxes Philosophical for 30 Minutes" due to how much she speaks here. Luckily, what she has to say may prove to be very interesting to those who like the psychological aspect of the series. Keep in mind that if you decide to watch this, you should have a fresh idea of how some of the key elements of the series play out, because she refers to them quite a bit. Otherwise, you'll sort of feel detached from what she is saying, almost like you have never seen the series before. Her monologues also do stretch out longer than they should be and take them from a level of meaningful character analysis to melodramatic ramblings. Seeing how this is, once again, an added bonus to the entire series, do not watch this unless you have seen all of the movies, because you will be spoiled and confused. What the "story" and characters are able to do, they do well, but other than that, it's nothing special.
The animation is also nothing to marvel at in this film, which is a surprise, given studio ufotable's technical expertise shown in all of the films in the series. Seeing how the film only takes place in one location, I can understand that they were limited in their expression because of that, but they could have done more than place the camera on Shiki for a lot of the time. There were several opportunities in which the animators could show Mikiya's reactions to Shiki's monologues outside of the moments before it was his turn to speak. It could have been worse, though. ufotable could have been lazy and edited stock footage from the previous films in, but being true to their craft, they decided to animate as much as the could for the sequence. In contrast to the nearly-stagnant animation, the artistry held up very well. The characters looked as beautifully-designed as ever and you could see the lights on every individual building in the far-off city. Even for a half-hour sequence, ufotable did not give anything less than their best. Had it not been for the artistry of the film, the animation would have bothered me even more.
Rarely, I would describe the audio aspect of any form of visual media as hypnotic, but in this film, i can't help but feel drawn in by the hushed tones of the soundtrack and the voice acting. Keeping to the intimacy of the characters' conversation, Maaya Sakamoto give Shiki an almost motherly sound to her voice, sounding different than the two previous "Shiki" that she played throughout the series. She gives this "new" Shiki a wise, poised, and almost otherworldly personality. The sincerity in Kenichi Suzumura's Mikiya reciprocates that nicely, making him seem well-grounded and mature in front of this graceful, almost intimidating woman. Accompanying the film is several new pieces by series composer Yuki Kajiura, who does not approach the film with her usual theatricality, but with music as delicate as the snow falling around the characters. The ending theme is another Kajiura composition, "snow falling", performed by the songstress trio Kalafina. It is a version of the last instrumental piece to play before the credits, but features the group singing in the composer's signature "Kajiuran" vocalization style. Although the music seems tacked on to such a short film, the pieces that play are beautiful enough to be remembered.
The film treats its audience in a way that "Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children" treats its audience. It expects the viewer to know every important aspect about the film in order to understand it. Watching this without having any recollection of the series' events will have you scratching your heads over "SHIKI and Shiki" and "what Touko Aozaki said". It's probably the main reason why people would want to give it such a low rating, but judging it as its own entity rather than as part of a whole spectrum would make it unfavorable to some. This film isn't reserved for those who watched the series in its entirety, but for those who watched it and relished every minute of it. Even if you qualify as one of those people, this is the kind of film to watch to say that you did, in fact, watch it, and that you have fully completed the Kara no Kyoukai viewing experience. You can say that, for you, the story has truly ended. read more
Aug 6, 2012
Though this story starts off low-key, proceeds slowly, and ends just as ponderously, I believe that it does well in showing the oft-hinted at deeper understanding that Ryougi Shiki and Kokutou Mikiya really have of each other. Character interaction on the purely social level is present in the parent stories, but it rarely went to the deep, philosophical reaches as it does here. Mikiya's responses to Shiki's explanations are, of course, typically (and irritatingly) brief, but he still manages cram a lot of insight into his simple observations.
The latter part of the epilogue left me wondering about the true boundaries of Shiki's power and abilities, but as with the rest of the stories, this is not an uncommon theme, and therefore didn't bewilder me; the same thing could be considered about Aozaki Touko, for example. Despite the possibility that the relationship between Mikiya and Shiki could suddenly become a whole lot more complicated, this story ended quietly, with the idea of "we like each other just as we are, so don't change".
Ultimately, I really enjoyed this and the rest of the series. I wish the epilogue could have lasted for a solid hour or more, with some changeups in scenery and more ideas shared; these are the only reasons why I didn't give it a perfect score. read more
Sep 7, 2011
I really really wonder why this episode was rated so high. Maybe people were afraid that if they didn't rate such DEEP THOUGHTS high, others would find them dull.
DEEP THOUGHT equals not enjoyable anime.
DEEP THOUGHTS + PLOT can equal enjoyable anime.
Plot, plot, where are you?
Apr 12, 2011
Yeah so, there's not actually any story in this. I know, sue me, but there's storytelling in the dialogue, should you be inclined to follow it. I'll warn you though, it's deeper than the subsonic frequencies produced in the Mariana Trench while watching Boku no Pico. It's harder to follow than a blind and deaf man in a pitch-black labyrinth while drunk, dizzy, and inexplicably blindfolded. Or maybe I'm just not smart enough to figure it out.
From watching, here's what I can tell in terms of a non-verbal story.
The guy goes and sees her on the hill. The snow is pretty. They have a conversation while walking slowly on the road. The snow is pretty. There's a gust of wind and she vanishes. And the snow is still pretty. The end.
If you enjoyed the previous seven Kara no Kyoukai movies, for their beautiful artwork, compelling plots, great soundtracks, exciting and sometimes gruesome fight scenes, and all the good things that come with that, then you'll probably notice the epilogue is a bit of a change from all that. It's still pretty looking. It's just boring as hell. 45 minutes of a bunch of nonsensical dialogue about how the body is made of the physical being, the spirit, and the bullshit.
That snow is so pretty.
That's all you're gonna be watching.
It's beautiful snow.
Kalafina. There's not much background music, and no sound to speak of other than talking. I guess it's soothing.
The characters are obviously here from throughout the series. This lies right in with story though, there's character development in the dialogue, if you can pick it out. I'm sure. At least, I desperately hope there is. I mean, there has to be, right? Right?
I sat there with my eyes crossed watching the snow and laughing about stupid comments I made with my friend while eating a cookie cake, and other than that I barely even noticed the movie at all. Other than the snow. That snow was so beautiful.
Yyyyyyyep. In retrospect, the epilogue was entirely not necessary for a conclusive end to the series, especially since it DOESN'T MAKE ANY GOD DAMN SENSE. read more
Apr 22, 2012
So what exactly is wrong with this epilogue?
Where to begin...
The epilogue is meant to expand on some of the ‘behind the scenes’ goings ons in Shiki’s head. It’s basically supposed to clarify the how’s and why’s of her multiple personalities and explain the SHIKI versus Shiki dichotomy. The real issue with the epilogue is how they chose to do it.
It’s one giant speech…
Kokutou meets Shiki on the same bridge where they first met all those years ago, and they talk and talk and talk …. and talk. The thing is, by the time Shiki’s done explaining everything, you will have way more questions than answers. Which is kind of funny...
The 7th movie for Kara no Kyoukai, provides a pitch perfect ending. This epilogue does everything it can to disturb that. Now this might not have been done intentionally, but the more I thought about the epilogue, the more I found my focus less drawn to what Shiki was saying as much as the situation we find herself and Kokutou in during the epilogue. Why are they on the bridge? What was she doing there by herself? Why does Kokutou arrive to talk to her there? … in other words, what the hell is going on with those two??? And if you’re waiting for answer, you’re not going to get one, which feels positively awful.
Also, there’s the issue of how confusing the epilogue is. Truth is, unless you’re a metaphysics ninja, you will probably need to watch this twice to understand half of what’s going on. But I found that after sitting through this the first time, I just did not want to. There was too much that was ‘different’ about the epilogue, and not nearly enough continuity between the series and this add on. Even Shiki looks different, and by different I mean more generic. I’m not sure if it’s the result of different artists or what, but that trademark character design, especially her eyes, is noticeably different, and I did not care for it.
Personally, I found the entire thing a tad forced, too heavy and melodramatic. And you could almost have swapped out Shiki for Touko, and achieved a more realistic feel, or at least one that didn’t leave you with so many damn questions.
I can telly you that this epilogue will ask some serious questions about what we assumed happened after the end of the 7th movie. This is not a good thing. You do not need this to be your last episode of Kara no Kyoukai. It takes a perfectly good ending from the series and changes it just slightly enough to put you off. You’re much better off stopping this series after the 7th. But since you’ve probably already watched it as you read this, I’m sure you already knew that. read more
Jun 14, 2013