Kara No Kyoukai: The Garden of Sinners, goes to the top of my list, no doubt! In my opinion, this show certainly makes anime for what it is in its untainted form. I’ll try my best to explicate things the best I can, and without spoilers.
The series falls under Type-Moon’s Nasuverse (Also the same universe of Tsukihime and Fate/Stay Night) so if this is a first time, the concepts, theories and even how reality is interpreted in that universe will be daunting at first. Kara No Kyoukai is composed of 7 animated films, all of which should be watched sequentially even though they aren’t chronological in order.
Synopsis: The first movie introduces Ryougi Shiki, who possess a rather special ability called the Chokushi no Magan, or Mystic Eyes of Death Perception where it allows the user to see the “death” of everything in existence as lines. A cut along any line will bifurcate the object no matter the sharpness of the cutting tool used, and a stab at the point destroys the object’s origin, causing instant death. This is due to her 2-year comma after an accident, where her consciousness was able to understand death after dwelling in it for so long. The ‘eyes’ are portrayed by having a rainbow-like color.
Next up is Mikiya Kokuto, a high school friend of Shiki and one who shares a deep affection for her. Despite Shiki’s being cold and unattending, Kokuto still sees her as someone who needs taking care of. In the present timeline, both Shiki and Kokuto work for Aozaki Touko: a puppet-maker who owns a design agency that sells architecture and craftsmanship. Though behind the facade, she is actually a powerful magus, and her agency occasionally takes on supernatural or otherwise abnormal cases.
Now that we’ve come to magic and sorcery, how the Nasuverse explains things are quite interesting. After skimming Type-Moon’s Wikia, a human must possess a magic circuit for him to qualify as a magus. The circuit is explained as:
“A pseudo-nervous system that spreads itself through the human body. Originally, its function was to just replenish a person’s life force whenever the amount of Od inside his body reaches zero, but humans learned how to control it and use it to perform mysteries. That which connects the material world to the astral plane, if prana is the force that actualize the rules of a Thaumaturgical Theory’s system, then the Magic Circuits are the pipelines that converts prana and transmit that energy from the magus to the system.”
The Nasuverse is fun as it incorporates different theories and concepts from various religions, philosophies and principles.
Here are brief non-spoiler summaries of all 7 movies:
Chapter 1 – Overlooking the Scenery
Shiki, Kokuto and Touko are introduced but aren’t given much character background yet. There seems to be an increasing number of high school girls committing suicide in the deserted Fujo Buildings, so Shiki visits the area. She then stumbles upon the body of the newest victim, though her attention was drawn to several ghostly figures floating above the building.
Chapter 2 – Murder Study (Part 1)
Kokuto meets Shiki for the first time. This movie partially unfolds the background between Kokuto and Shiki when they were in high school, as well as how things got to where they were in the present story.
Chapter 3 – Remaining Sense of Pain
“A teenaged girl, Fujino Asagami, is being raped by a street gang in an abandoned bar. During one night, Mikiya finds a confused Fujino crouched in an alley and noticing she is suffering from pain in her abdomen. Mikiya accompanies her to his apartment where she falls asleep. In the next morning, Mikiya notices Fujino is gone and at the same time, the news report a murder scene in an abandoned underground bar where the victims’ corpses were found with their limbs torn off.”
Chapter 4 – The Hollow Shrine
Shiki wakes up from her coma after the incident from 2 years ago and finds that everything she sees has ‘cracks.’
Chapter 5 – Paradox Spiral
This is the longest movie yet, having 2 hours of run time. This is where they face the antagonist Araya Souren.
Chapter 6 – Oblivion Recorder
This movie focuses more on Azaka’s incestuous love for her brother, Kokuto. Shiki is assigned to her school with orders from Touko, that they investigate the reports of fairies stealing the students’ memories and a suspicious suicide.
Chapter 7 – Murder Study (Part 2)
This concludes everything. I will say no more. ^_^
If the movies are to be arranged chronologically, then it would be Chapters 2-4-3-1-5-6-7.
One thing I really gotta point out in the series, is the music by Yuki Kajiura and her group specifically formed for Kara No Kyoukai, Kalafina! I immediately fell in love with their music, as the feel really expresses the gloomy and disheartening emotions portrayed per scenario. The scoring is one of the things why you should watch Kara No Kyoukai.
Having said all that, please watch this wonderful piece of anime, and enjoy!