(I know the pictures are inconsistent.)
KnK 3: Tsuukaku Zanryuu
The film teleports back to “present time,” where the premise is very similar to that of the first film. The only true difference between the two is that, after the second film, the viewer now has further insight on the relationship between (some) of the characters and their situations. Also, this film is a lot grittier than the first, as along with murder, we also have rape. Indeed, the film opens with a rape scene. You have been warned.
Does this darker tone mean anything to the grander scheme of things? Yes and no. It helps cement the issues that revolve around this film’s main target, a girl who cannot feel, while also being there just for the sake of making the girl pitiable. I enjoyed the way that they incorporated the darker actions through the perspective of both the detached victim and the attacker. A flavor is added to the secondary characters through simple conversations, looking back on their actions and how they describe it to the major characters. This is probably what the film does best, as intrigue is really all this series has to its name thus far.
Apart from this, I could almost copy/paste exactly what I said about the first film here, because they’re incredibly similar. Opens with the introduction of conflict, featuring characters important to the film. Has the major characters converse with one another about random things in their little hideout. Bad things happen due to the aforementioned characters important to the specific film. Major characters catch wind of it and investigate. More is revealed about the important character’s past and lifestyle, cluing in on what could be wrong with them. End it with a flashy action scene, then end it with some foreshadowing of more to come or some sappy resolution. Barely a difference, barely more that I can say that hasn’t already been said.
Enjoyment was a tad higher with this one as I found the antagonist girl interesting, though she’s hardly enough to carry the film. It still feels as though the film has better things to show later on, frustratingly stuck within the introductory phases that disallow it to reveal too much early on. If, per chance, the film did a better job of making the major characters feel more like they controlled the (horribly slow and rather dull) story, instead of the other way around, I’d be more inclined to care about what was going on. Truth be told, it’s somewhat hard to watch these films seeing as they tend to blend in with one another to some extent.
Final Score: 5.5/10
KnK 4: Garan no Dou
Here, the audience is given a continuation of Part 2, as odd numbers seem to be present time, while even numbers are reserved for flashbacks. It details the events that transpire semi-directly after the events of Part 2, with some leeway in time dedicated to one character being in a coma. The third member of the group of major characters (shown above) is introduced as the scenes show what she means to the male and female lead outside of… an employer, I suppose.
To make matters direct, Part 4 isn’t as well-paced or as dramatically emotional as Part 2, but has a lot more going for it than either Parts 1 or 3. Conversations within this film are a combination of Part 2 and Parts 1 and 3, with some focusing on the situation at hand and a dizzyingly depressing mood all throughout, along with some further character development for Shiki. Male lead is fairly absent this time around, though still shows himself as someone for Shiki to rely on (Again, the unreal determination of this guy). The third character doesn’t reveal much more about herself as much as her expertise, which while gratifying, doesn’t hold the same weight to making her feel at all relatable or likably charismatic.
A lot of the time spent in Part 4 has Shiki sitting in a bed realizing her newfound power and trying to cope with it. Essentially it comes down to her facing a horrifying new reality on her own accord, providing core strength to her character and will. She’s said to have developed this herself, but I’d like to think it’s the commitment of the two other major characters that kept her spirit and resolve to live alive. There’s a lot of talking, not necessarily new for the series, but a stark increase here as there is very little distraction from reality and humanity. Some pretty scenes of symbolic nature appear, but they’re pretty standard. Again, this film ends with some flashy action scenes, which are almost a requirement for these films to have at this point. I’m starting to lose the will to live myself.
Animation and art take a step in the right direction, as the attention to detail make it a tad more intriguing to pay attention to. Characters have a little more bravado to their forms, as Shiki’s new ability sees to it that they don’t remain normal through her perception. Her new ability also gives leeway to making more intrinsically sadistic imagery present, which better enhances the dark atmosphere’s inescapable coating. It does more for the special features to these characters that the audience gets to experience them firsthand with the characters, something the odd-numbered films lack in hindsight.
Word around the community is that I’m in for a treat tomorrow, as Part 5 is typically referred to as the best of the film franchise’s bunch. I’m looking forward to it, as aside from Part 2, nothing from this series shows me that it deserves the praise and popularity it’s garnered over the years. Part 4, after Part 2, was a bit of a disappointment, but not anything that I would actively dissuade people from watching. It’s a decent film on its own and one of the better films thus far. Still, if only I could escape this unrelenting urge to dig my way out of a blackened prison cell.
Final Score: 6/10
The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.
For more, check out the March of the Movies Archive!