I could put the entire names within the title of this post, but that would take up far too much space, so I’ll simply distinguish these by their number order. I decided to take the time to watch two of these at a time, as the length of most of the films are so short that I’d hardly count them as films. Some are much longer, while some only hover around forty-five minutes. These next coming days will either feature one of two of these films, leading all the way to the end of the month.
KnK 1: Fukan Fuukei
In introduces the audience to a world not quite like our own. The characters are already established and the relations are already in place. It’s a rather confusing entry to the film series that takes the route of showing what’s to come rather than giving the facts right away. This leads to it effectively being reliant on its miscellaneous features to succeed, which in this case would be things such as atmosphere, animation and art, and basic character interaction. To some degree, it succeeds in these ways, but not without any reason to give it any insight.
A lot of things don’t really make sense, and many of the events have the sympathetic value of seeing a random kid get a ‘D’ on their latest homework assignment. That’s not to say the film doesn’t try to make them sound interesting, but the way it chooses to begin, it couldn’t possibly manage to make everything interesting while also creating a serious and dramatic tone, which limits character personality most often. I only recall a single point where the characters have anything that can be considered a “cute” discourse. It feels heavily important to take all of it in, just not for the sake of this film in particular.
Maybe later on the film will make more sense. On its own, there’s simply little reason to watch it, aside from it being the first in the series. From its other points, action scenes (the few there are) are decent, with a lot of fluid motion put forth to make cinematic actions feel grand. Outside of this, the art and animation is standard, while sloppy in some spots. There isn’t much else to say, other than that what is there isn’t completely outside the radar of interest. Things are foreshadowed and a lot of intellectual mumbo jumbo is brought to light for the sake of symbolic hootenanny. Anyone should know that I adore symbolic hootenanny.
Final Score: 5/10
KnK 2: Satsujin Kousatsu (Zen)
And now we have some interesting story!
Two of the characters from the first film return in more prominent roles, providing some much needed insight on their character dynamic. Develop them it does, as the female lead in particular, Shiki, becomes far more dangerous than what she seems in the first film.
Before anything though, this male lead is absolutely insane. He sees this girl, alone in the middle of a dreary night, then falls in love with her. Over the course of the film, he finds out she’s capable of horrid, atrocious things, yet never feels the need to abandon her or believe in her goodness. This obviously pays off, as shown in the first film, which takes place three years after this one, but still. This guy is horribly persistent, even for a male lead.
Even so, Shiki makes this film all the more intriguing, with her strange distinction and haunting pastime. The focus of her and the male lead’s growing relationship makes for an endearing endeavor, even if the background holds a bloody secret. It’s the kind of build-up one would typically enjoy from a typical high school romance, except the loner involved isn’t a loner by means of “feeling outcast.” There’s some serious psychological contamination involved that makes the events feel bigger than normal, but somewhat in the way that feels too serious to be believable—not such that fantasy has to be, but within the range that it should be.
Character interaction alone makes this film a fascinating trinket, even with the somewhat despondent effort to make it feel grounded. There’s a lot of insightful idiosyncrasies involved that make it feel as though they try too hard to have it be grand on a scale that only the writers expect it to surpass. I suppose the need to always have something dark looming in the background gives it a sharp edge, but must they always make it feel so pseudo-intellectual through mind hacks and witty statements? These are teenagers here. Keep it simple, silly.
Art, animation, and atmosphere are better this time around as well, with a particular scene with the male lead running away from Shiki highlighting a boost in animation detail. Lots of dark (in brightness) scenes with eerie glows, and a sheen to common aspects that give it a spooky feel, which helps the horrifying tone of half of this film. Movements don’t feel as blocky this time around. Characters have a greater allure of color to their faces and attires, only to be outshined by the constant attention to background and time of day.
It’s still within those introductory stages—thankfully it seems good things are to come with a decent backstory like this one. If it can prove that it can make characters feel real and interesting, and not only one or the other, the already intriguing overarching story could really flourish. Animation is already something of a guaranteed hit at this point, the future looks bright(ly sinister) for the coming days.
Final Score: 6.5/10
The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.
For more, check out the March of the Movies Archive!