“I wish this spiral was a paradox.”
Kara no Kyoukai : Paradox Spiral is the fifth movie in the Kara no Kyoukai series. It takes place inside Kim’s mansion from Ghost in the Shell : Innocence when Batou and Togusa raid it and everything keeps repeating itself in a spiral. Well no, not really. But if you’ve seen Innocence, you’ll see the similarities between these films. Before we proceed with the review, I’ll introduce the cast of characters in this movie-
Kara no Kyoukai has always been a series about the strong characters and this movie is no exception. Most of the movie revolves around the newly introduced Dazs. Häagen-Dazs is brilliantly voice acted (and since these movies don’t have an English dub, thankfully, I didn’t have to endure an English voice actor completely butchering the tone and emotions expressed in Japanese) and we can sense the confusion and desperation he feels throughout the film. Paradox Spiral, as the name suggests, is meant to confuse and disorient its audience. So Dazs is an important character in the film who reaffirms that…don’t worry, I’m confused too, you’re not a dumbass, just keep your eyes open.
Some spoilers herein-
Commander Hanji is finally given a back story in this film and yes, all our suspicions were true, Hanji san is indeed a badass of the first degree. It’s a treat to finally see her open a bag of whoopass (quite literally) after she explains some of the major plot themes in the Kara no Kyoukai universe. Yes kids, you have to watch 5 fucking movies to finally reach a point when they start explaining things!
Major Motoko and LB2000 are their usual selves. So while you want to see more of the Major, you also want to see as less of LB2000 as possible. And when you do see LB2000, you’re wondering why he even exists in this story. I mean seriously…Motoko, who is supposed to be a shell of her former self has more character than ILUBYOUUNCONDITIONALLYANDIHAVENOOTHERPURPOSE Bot 2000.
Snape is introduced as the main antagonist of the series. He generally Snapes around.
Willy Wonka’s purpose in this movie is to further perpetuate the anime stereotype that all top-hat wearing characters must be bat-shit crazy. He does have some interesting dialogues and gets brownie points for trying to open LB2000’s head like a bottle of ketchup. And maybe he does! You’ll have to watch the movie to find out.
The Dark Tower is a character in its own rights as it is the epicenter of Paradox Spiral’s madness and has been beautifully designed by the animators. From the outside, it looks like an ordinary building but once you step in, you immediately feel that something is off. Much like the Fujou building in the first film, The Dark Tower sets the awesomely creepy atmosphere for this film perfectly.
Paradox Spiral’s story is confusing. It is meant to be. If you’re a fan of the movie Memento (like I am), you will immediately get a feeling of déjà vu as soon as you watch the first scene. The story is non-linear and seems to spiral in and out of control at will. While for all the previous movies, you can sit back and relax, Paradox Spiral demands your undivided attention as its events unfold, fold, twist, turn, repeat and return to square one. The movie is full of blink and you’ll miss it moments that encourage a second viewing.
Having said that though, this movie has the most amount of exposition amongst all its preceding films and we get a deeper insight into the universe of Kara no Kyoukai. Major antagonists are revealed, their (super confusing) goals are brought to light and we see some epic battles transpire.
The movie is rife with symbolism and if you didn’t know about it yet, by the end of the movie you’ll be able to write a thesis on Taijitu philosophy (Yin and Yang), as it is the central focus of this film. Character motives, mannerisms and even names adhere to Taiji in one way or another.
Art & Animation
The quality of animation in Paradox Spiral is top-notch. You can clearly see that a big chunk of the budget must’ve been utilized to make this movie as beautiful as possible. Character animations are fluid, the lighting and colours are extremely moody, and the background art is gorgeous.
Oh, and did I mention that there are muhfukken zombies in this film?
Now, if you’re like me, you’ve probably watched THIS FUCKTASTIC FIGHT SCENE before actually having started this series and it’s probably the reason that you even started watching Kara no Kyoukai in the first place. So when Motoko starts beating a bunch of zombies into zombie guacamole, you know that you’re witnessing something special and that your investment in the KnK series has been well worth the time and money.
(THIS FUCKTASTIC FIGHT SCENE)
Just listen to this and tell me it’s not the dopest shit you’ve ever heard-
The music in Kara no Kyoukai is composed by Yuki Kajiura and it effortlessly sets (and even enhances) the dark and brooding tone of the series. If you’ve seen the previous movies, you know what to expect and you will not be disappointed in the least.
As many reviewers before me may have pointed out – the Kara no Kyoukai series reaches its peak in Paradox Spiral and it does so in style. I honestly only wanted to see Major Motoko open a can of whoopass on some unsuspecting zombies but instead, what I got is a series of movies that have extremely high production value, a deep and engaging story, memorable characters, several memorable fight scenes and Major Motoko opening a can of whoopass on some unsuspecting zombies.
Art & Animation: 10/10
Final Rating: 9.0/10.0
Ranajay’s Fucktastic Seal of Approval (or some other random honour that you don’t really give a shit about)