(Before reading, I would like to say that this is my first review in MyAnimeList and any criticism or feedback would be great. In addition, this is a review of the entire KnK series not just the 7th one. Any recommendations from fellow Kara no Kyoukai fans would also be appreciated. There might be spoilers so WATCH OUT. THANK YOU!!!)
The story has been deemed confusing as I cannot myself disagree with this notion. However, I believe this vagueness at the beginning of the anime was meant to interest readers as the anime overall had a mysterious aura to it. If the entire story were explained
linearly, then the story would just not be as compelling. Kara no Kyoukai is instead presented like a puzzle or a detective's case, in which the audience must piece together all of the clues and stories that these movies provide. Once the audience reaches the climax of the story, the puzzle starts to form the picture that it was gradually working towards. The picture itself is emotionally impactful and I personally felt rewarded for the effort that I put into the anime. The ending answered the major questions the anime brought up earlier, such as "What exactly happened to Shiki after she attempted to kill Mikiya?" This anime ended in a rollercoaster of emotions that were released all at once due to the complete understanding of the story after the answers given to the audience.
The small pieces of the puzzle that were provided before the conclusion were outstanding as well. Each piece had its fair share of food for thought. The first movie's unique and poetic take on suicide and the the 5th movie's take on how life can sometimes be described as a habitual spiral are some examples of philosophy that made these first 6 movies not only bearable, but enjoyable. In addition, each antagonist before Lio had his or her own intriguing story that kept me entertained while trying to decipher the anime. Fujino, Souren, etc. all had their own different motives behind murdering, making murder a recurring theme throughout the series to set up for the conclusion.
Art and Sound:
Ufotable's art does not fail to impress once again as Kara no Kyoukai's art was simply beautiful. The fight scenes, as unrealistic as they may actually be, were transformed into realistically fluid scenes that were visually appealling. The art formed the foundation for the dark mood that broods over this anime. The dark undertones of the art and animation bolstered the depressing feelings through the series.
The sound produced mostly by Yuki Kajiura and Kalafina fit the anime well whatever the scene may be. The most common song "In the Garden of Sinners" and most other songs set the tragic tone of the anime from the start to the very end. When the action scenes occurred, the more upbeat songs added to the epicness that was already there from the gorgeous animation. It was obvious to me that Ufotable was selective in their choosing songs for the right moments in the anime.
Even though the story was impressive alone, its effectiveness came from the backbone that the art and the sound created.
My personal favorite part of the anime are its characters, mostly the two main ones. Ryougi Shiki is a type of character that I have never encountered in any form of media as her character is unique. It is not only this uniqueness that attracted me with this character, but also the execution of it. Through her internal and external conflicts, I began to empathize with her gradually while watching the anime. Also, by this process, I experienced the change that she was going through as a character.
Kokutou Mikiya was also interesting because of the way he interacted with Shiki. In a way, he was the perfect complement to Shiki, the most righteous and nice guy who simply had hope regardless of the situation. The hopeless and conflicted Shiki transformed over time because of her affection for Kokutou Mikiya. When the two needed each other the most, the relationship flourished as the story concluded. The relationship became clear and satisfying.
I finished this anime three days ago and I cannot stop thinking about it. Those past few days were full of going through reddit posts and Youtube to find any KnK related stuff to explore. Well, you should get the point already that I thoroughly enjoyed this anime. I never loved animes but simply watched for entertainment purposes. However, after watching Kara no Kyoukai, this has made me want to explore more about this medium. This anime was more than just enjoyable, but it drew me in into the entire world that is anime.
I highly recommend that everyone at least tries to finish through the 7 movies. However, I know that this anime is not for everyone as it is not very accessible. Even to me who loved this anime, there were still scenes that could only be answered by experts of the Nasuverse. This is probably one of the few flaws that I could find with the series. However, these flaws were far outweighed by the quality and complexity of Kara no Kyoukai.
Despite all that, if you can put the time and effort into understanding the plot, this anime will simply blow you away. I have yet to discover any movie or TV show of any country that can top this one. The way it drew all of its elements together in a beautifully orchestrated fashion made this one of the best experiences in my entire lifetime.