Kara no Kyoukai Chapter 3: Remaining Sense of Pain

[空の境界/第三章 痛覚残留]


I figured out what was wrong with my screencapping and now I can take them at the right resolution.  I’ll try to go back and fix 2 soon.  I may not fix Chapter 1 just because it’s so old, and I need to find my DVD again (bad habit of piling things into boxes), but who knows, it could happen.  It depends on how much free time I have.

Anyway, chapter 3 seems like the answer to most of the complaints about the series so far (how it may be too vague, too slow, etc).  Chapter 3 is certainly much more fast-paced than either of the previous movies, and for those who have stuck with it to this point, we were certainly rewarded with the best installment of the series so far.  Here we have an example of something that could stand by itself, and yet still fit into the larger puzzle.

And as I mention at the end, because I can’t seem to write good summaries, this is probably the last one.  The rest of them will still have plenty of images to look at, but will be simply impressions.  If you like the current format (I try to make the reading interesting at least), let me know and I’ll consider it.

‘Synopsis’ (This really can’t be called a summary, skip all the way to “Impressions” if you’d like):

June, 1998.

The depths of the city hides the darkness within its heart.  Here is no exception, as the opening scene is basically a girl, who will be identified as Asagami Fujino, being raped by gang members.  Shortly afterwards, however, Fujino is on the side of the street when Kokuto Mikiya finds her and takes her to his apartment to get cleaned up.  In the middle of the night, Fujino sneaks out again, and the next morning, the news reports the deaths of several gang members in an abandoned bar.

Back at Touko’s “office”, Mikiya has found out that he gets no paycheck because Touko decided to buy a really old Ouija board to check it for magical energy.  As he leaves to find some cash to borrow, Touko gives Shiki the next assignment: secure a subject, and kill her if she resists.  Shiki doesn’t even need identification since she can understand the other persons nature as a ‘killer’ herself.

Meanwhile, Mikiya meets with Gakutou, who promises to loan him some cash in exchange for his assistance in finding Keita, one of their juniors who has gone into hiding.  Keita, if you remember, was one of the gang members raping Fujino, and now he has someone out for his life.  Now it’s not only the money; Mikiya, being a good person, of course gets involved and looks for his junior.

There is also another person looking for Keita: Asagami Fujino.  The nighttrain provides some backlight to her murdering another gang member (quite grotesquely), and she moves on to…have tea with Kokuto Azaka.  Azaka, waiting for her brother so he can help Fujino, is greeted by Shiki, with whom she is on very bad terms with.  After all, Shiki stole away her brother…however, Shiki is there to say that Mikiya stood her up and sent Shiki to say so.  After Fujino speaks up about everybody’s attention being drawn to them, Shiki has a small sense of pain in Fujino; however, she decides that she couldn’t possibly the killer, and lets her go for the time being.  Shiki leaves with the message “Please cut ties with this woman” for Mikiya.  Fujino doesn’t like Shiki…

Somewhere else in the city, Mikiya is out looking for Keita, asking every person where he might be.  After arriving at a Karaoke bar, he comes to a bit of a problem as Kouhei isn’t around.  It turns out Kouhei is being turned inside out and all around by Fujino, who tries to get Keita’s position out of him but ends up twisting his body into an unrecognizable lump of meat. Out of the shadows walks Shiki, and after an odd conversation of how Kouhei is human and not a ‘lump of meat’ and Shiki’s response of ‘humans don’t die like that”, she readies her knife.  However, the fire behind Fujino’s eyes disappear, leaving a very confused Shiki unable to kill her.  She walks away, leaving Fujino standing in a pool of blood.

Flashback to Fujino’s childhood; a troubled childhood, as it is, where a knife got into her playthings and she ended up cutting herself multiple times.  Although she could feel no pain, she understood her mother cared for her and ended up crying.  Fast forwarding to the present, Fujino explains (over the phone) how she finally understands what her mother meant about pain, and why she had to kill Keita no matter what.  As Mikiya hangs up, Keita explains how the gang repeatedly raped Fujino, who acted as lifeless as a doll until the last night, when the another member hit her with a baseball bat.  It was the first time she acted human, and the last time anybody except for Keita left the building alive.  Mikiya isn’t thrilled, but moves Keita to Touko’s office for protective custody, drawing complaints from both Shiki and his employer.

Mikiya wants to go out and talk to Fujino, but Shiki insists that it’s not possible to reason with her anymore.  Fujino has dropped out of school since the incident (leaving Azaka behind as well), focusing on getting her revenge.  Mikiya tries to stave off a fight, but Touko explains the leader attacked her with a knife and yet Fujino had no wounds, meaning that everything is mental to her, and simply remembering the pain may drive her insane.  She’s a lost case, but Mikiya continues to fight, choosing to go to her hometown to try and dig up information.  He is still confused about Fujino’s inability to feel pain, and wants to check on her history to see if it can be explained.  Touko agrees, saying “to feel no sensation means you cannot gain anything”.  Shiki agrees to try and not do anything too reckless, but insists that Mikiya is the reckless idiot.

Mikiya travels to Fujino’s hometown to find her house a wreck, and the other villagers treating it like cursed ground.  That night, however, another murder occurred, this time to a person completely unrelated to the gang incident.  Apparently a driver had their head twisted off before they crashed, forcing Shiki into action against Fujino.  Touko gives her a bunch of identification cards with the name “Araya Souren”, another mage and Touko’s friend, on them.  Shiki and Touko want to finish before Mikiya gets back, but Touko worries that Shiki could get killed if things go badly and she goes on her own.

Underneath a bridge, Fujino clutches her side in pain when she remembers her meeting with Mikiya after track and field.  Apparently, Fujino has to keep her inability to feel pain hidden, or else she would go insane.  After acting properly, Mikiya ends up carrying her back, presumably to the infirmary.  Fujino walks on, remembering her ‘senpai’ fondly…

Mikiya, on cue, returns early in order to beat a typhoon with new information.  She was once a normal child who could feel pain, but a doctor had her sense of pain removed in order to control her abilities of being able to bend objects without touching them.  The Asagami family had wanted to seal her powers, and took her pain with it.  Thus, the trigger to Fujino’s rampant killing was twofold: the baseball bat to her back, as well as a huge misunderstanding.  Fujino, according to Touko’s research, has appendicitis, so she thinks the pain she feels from a knife wound is actually just her own medical condition.  It’s probably not treatable any longer, as it’s been so long since the appendix ruptured and let poison spread through her body.  Even with Touko driving a wickedly fast car, however, both she and Mikiya are far behind Shiki and Fujino, who have already begun their fight.

Fujino’s capabilities destroy the entire area around her in an effort to find Shiki.  Her “arms” tear huge chunks from the concrete walls, destroy a parking pay station, and reduce the columns to its steel support beams.  From the doorway, Shiki jumps in to deliver a fatal slash.  Fujino manages to dodge and take Shiki’s left arm in the process, forcing Shiki to jump away to splint her destroyed arm.

Back with Mikiya, Touko continues to explain that Fujino is a lost cause.  As Mikiya continues to fight, Touko informs him that the client is none other than the Asagami family – Fujino’s father.  After he recognized her capabilities, he wanted his own daughter, a ‘monster’, put down before any more were hurt.  In spite of everything, Mikiya is still angry at himself, Asagami, and jus about everybody.  Meanwhile, Fujino struggles to walk on to find Shiki.

Shiki appears directly in front of Fujino, who thinks that Shiki is insane for exposing herself that easily.  With a small smile (despite her previous statements that she did not enjoy killing), Fujino chants “bend”, sending a projectile towards Shiki.  Unfortunately for her, however, Shiki has a superior capability: Mystic Eyes of Death Perception.  Although it bears no form, Shiki is able to cut through her bending waves of red and green.  Shiki’s explanation:

Everything in creation has a flaw.  Air, intent, and even time.  My eyes can see the death of things.  So I can kill anything that lives, even if that thing is God.

Just as in Chapter 1, Fujino goes insane, yelling “bend” over and over in vain to get something through Shiki’s defenses.  However, it all proves useless as Shiki approaches her, tosses her on the ground, and prepares to kill her.  Fujino is confused why she has to be killed until Shiki asks her why she was smiling.  Fujino is confused, but she reaches for her face and finds a huge grin plastered there.  Shiki, as a person with knowledge of her circumstances, knows that Fujino enjoys killing now, and will never go back.  As Shiki prepares to swing her knife down, however, a final, desperate plea from Fujino shakes the bridge to its core and destroys parts of it outright.  Amidst the chaos and destruction, Shiki is forced to step away and avoid the collapsing concrete blocks falling all around her.

After the collapse, Fujino struggles to gain footing but finds she can’t, instead coughing up tons of blood and collapsing.  Her thoughts drift back to Mikiya, her senpai, and how, in spite of her pain, she wants to live more, talk more, love him more, and continue being ‘here’.  She speaks the same lines she spoke to Mikiya before, asking her senpai if it’s okay to cry.  Shiki approaches her fallen form, and with a line echoing Mikiya, says “If it hurts, you should’ve said so”.  Shiki raises her knife, and the sound of a knife falling echoes through the area.

Touko and Mikiya FINALLY arrive to see a Shiki struggle with a destroyed left arm.  Fujino apparently ended up with an enormous power, and if she were clairvoiyant, she would be all-powerful if she were to be left alone.  Touko is surprised by Shiki’s unwillingness to kill the Fujino that can’t kill pain.  Instead of payment, Shiki arranges to get a replacement arm from Touko, and Mikiya stays behind to wait for the ambulance.  Instead of returning with Touko, Shiki decides to stay with him.

In the end, both Mikiya and Shiki are alone, with Shiki unable to forgive Fujino (or kill her since she already did ‘kill’ a part of her), and with Mikiya willing to bend some of his beliefs on murder.  Mikiya, for all of his righteousness, still feels nothing for the gang that raped Fujino.  He still believes that Fujino is just a normal girl with common sense, and will eventually accept what she’s done.  For Shiki, however, Mikiya is willing to bear sins in order to save her.  This triggerse more of her memory, and how the old ‘Shiki’ hated those jokes.  However, the entire situation has benefited her memory and her character; she realizes her ability isn’t nearly as dark as she thought it was, and she has an ever-so-small inclination to kill Mikiya…just as before.

Impressions:

Wow.  For all the naysayers out there, this chapter could certainly put a few of them to rest.  Production quality remains as high as ever (just look at the water AGAIN…looks even better than before!), and to me, this was a fast-paced section that was still carefully controlled so it doesn’t burn out after the first ten minutes.  If there’s a part that bumps this movie series ino “MUST WATCH” range, this would be it.

  • Kokuto Azaka – As I mentioned previously, this character is the prototype to the future Tohno Akiha, Tohno Shiki’s little sister and of Tsukihime fame.  In this chapter, we still don’t see Azaka as anything more than an annoyed sister who had her beloved brother taken away by some weirdo with short hair and a kimono.  Still, her character someone balanced the rest of the chapter.  The scene in the cafe was charged with Shiki’s arrival, but Azaka’s lightheartedness and concern only for her brother serves as a great contrast to what was going on between Fujino and Shiki.  It’s only a little bit compared to the rest of the chapter, but somehow it felt so right to be there.
  • Noto Mamiko – Okay, not a character, but the VA for Asagami Fujino.  To be honest, this is the kind of role she is ridiculously good at: the haunted, borderline insane girl with a soft but menacing voice.  I still cringe in pain when I hear her voice in Zero no Tsukaima 3 as that absurd elf person, Tiffania (I think…).  Amusing point for maybe just me: since I just watched Jigoku Shoujo a while ago, I can’t help but think of the similarities between Fujino and Enma Ai.  Half the time, I expected her to roll out the いっぺん死んでみる line just as a nod to her previous role.  But I digress; this was a very good casting call, and fit very well.  With her and Sakamoto Maaya, this was riduclously good.

  • Fit into the story – I mentioned earlier, but this is the first chapter that I’ve felt could stand on its own.  Maybe the last two minutes would make no sense to you, but this is as tidy as we might see in this entire series.  I’m pretty sure Fujino appears as a major character in this chapter alone, so when they say it’s done, they really mean that it’s done.  It’s fast, it’s entertaining, and the producers don’t pull any punches (not often you see animators willing to show that much gore.  I guess that’s the advantage of late night movie showings.).  In comparision to chapter 2, however, the first thing immediately noticeable is Shiki’s completely different personality.  If you didn’t understand the difference before, this should make it crystal clear.  Instead of the split personalities, now there’s a third “Shiki”, which is a combination of the two.
  • Shiki v. Fujino – This is like pitting an assassin against a knight.  Seriously.  Or maybe if you have played BMW, it’d be the difference between using Shiki and Saber.  Saber goes up and delivers a pounding to whatever the hell she comes across…pure brute force.  Shiki, on the other hand, has a high movement capability, and can practically dance around her opponent, scoring easy criticals.  Yeah.  Dorky, but it works, sorta.
  • Chronology – If you HAVEN’T noticed yet, this entire series is out of order.  Think Haruhi.  A very, very dark Haruhi.  With what we have on hand, the order is 2-3-1.  I should probably put this higher up sometime just in case people have no idea what’s going on.  Highly likely too, since KnK has such a small following compared to other TM works.
  • Maaya Sakamoto – Your continued casting as Shiki allows me to forgive you for that horrendous OP you did for Macross Frontier.  That is all.

That’s pretty much all from me.  I don’t have any conspiracy theories here because it seemed like most of it was answered (or I’m really tired and still burnt out from Chapter 2).  The real brain puzzle is Chapter 2.  Oh, and maybe the line “ever cry, never life”.  What’s up with the weird quotations at the end of each chapter title?  Leave a comment if you have an idea, because I never bothered thinking about them until now.

I’ve grown bored of writing summaries, which have gotten more detailed than my meeting minutes, so the next one may be just a humongous picture barrage and a more complete set of thoughts.

Preview:

By now we’ve seen the previous Shiki, and the “current” Shiki.  What happened to SHIKI?!  Maybe this chapter we’ll find out.

As always, here’s another wallpaper for those of you who made it down here.

It’s chibi-Shiki!  😀

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7 Responses to Kara no Kyoukai Chapter 3: Remaining Sense of Pain

  1. Ryuujin says:

    The films have been fairly following the original novelization. One film per chapter. Movies 1-3 chronologically occur in the order of Murder Suspicion (2nd chapter), Residual Sense of Pain (3rd chapter), and Overlooking View (1st chapter). The English quotes generally have something poetic to do with each chapter such as the discussion about Hypnos(sleep) and Thanatos(death) in Chapter 1.

  2. Moonlight says:

    The ending quotations for the chapter names are generally poetic license on Nasu’s part, imo.

    Some are less vague than others. “..ever cry, never life” is more clearly related to the focus on Fujino and her distorted sense of pain and self. “..and nothing heart” with Murder Study just sounds like it fits with Shiki and her “insanity” and the cold sort of beauty that she has (or that I like a bit at least) “Thanatos”…I’m not so sure. It could be related to introducing a main character who’s effectively a goddess of death…OR it could be referencing the Thanatos concept in Freudian psychology. The Thanatos impulse is supposedly what drives people to do reckless/self-destructive things, suicide I’d guess being the ultimate extreme. Now that I’ve read it, Ryuujin’s theory sounds good too, though I don’t remember anything about “Hypnos” being mentioned in Overlooking View

    I’d admit, I don’t see any clear relevance with some of those quotations. Like the last chapter or the epilogue, “..is nothing id, nothing cosmos”. I remember that Id is effectively the opposite of Thanatos in Freudian psychology, but I don’t know what that really has to do with Shiki. Anyway, I think I treat KnK as much as a story as I look at it like a painting, so I kind of like the esoteric, artsy aspects that Nasu originally had in the novel.

    I also think comparing Fujino to Saber is a bit odd since Fujino never physically attacks anyone. I think Araya Souren will be more comparable to Saber when we see him in action with his barriers, and his incredible physical strength IIRC.

    If only because of how beautiful Shiki is to me when her hair is overgrown and her eyes are bandaged, I’m anticipating #4. I’m actually curious as to how long it could possibly be, but I don’t really remember how long that chapter was in the novel. It’ll probably be along the lines of the first two movies (with even less action, it seems), and draw the exact same criticism for that reason.

    If you’re interested, I might consider starting a blog where, among other things like reviews, I might try analyzing the obscure ideas that Kara throws out. I think they’re there. I’m sure Kara doesn’t purport itself to be like Ghost in the Shell to abandon our preconceptions or teach us some “truth” about reality or humanity, but I think there are themes, even in individual movies (like Remaining Sense of Pain) that tie into the overall theme of the entire series and the general mood that Nasu’s tried to establish in KnK.
    In the end, I still think Kara is like a painting, or maybe..a haiku. The fact that it’s anime aside, Kara reminds me a lot of the bygone beauty of Japan or the Eastern world in general.

  3. Moonlight says:

    Um, I meant that I was considering starting said blog. Its creation isn’t dependent on your opinion as I just realized I made my last comment sound. Just advertising, I guess.

  4. phelan says:

    I know, Fujino and Saber is a bit of a stretch. Just leave it to me to try to work my favorite character in there somehow. We’ll have to see later if there’s a better fit (Souren, is it?). As I wrote on someone else’s blog, the next character I could really see Fujino would be Ciel (which isn’t surprising, given KnK is the predecessor of Tsukihime). Heck, Fujino practically has Burial Agent clothing already, so why not give her some Church duties and go put down some vampires? It’s not a far stretch of the mind. Other than that, it’d be Lucy or Nana from Elfen Lied for their vector ability roughly mirroring some of Fujino’s bending capabilities.

    I’d love to see a blog that looks more closely into some of the obscure things Kara no Kyoukai brings up. I think that some of the topics could be really interesting, and is one of the reasons Nasuverse, for all its Nasu-logues and problems, is still so popular today. If you do start the blog, by all means let me know, and I’ll link to it on the front page.

    Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  5. Kencost says:

    Thanks! Really interesting. Big ups!

  6. BigBan says:

    Oh, Thanks! Really interesting. keep working!

  7. Leander says:

    I may only find peace of mind if “Keita Minato” …perishes…
    but…I don’t want it to end “that way…”

    I’ll make him suffer…hearing him begging for his miserable life makes me wanna puke my disgust!
    I’ll take pleasure while hearing the screams of agony…

    …till I get tired of it…then finally…he perished.

    …I’m longing for it till now…

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