8 Nights of Kara no Kyoukai, Part Three: Tsuukaku Zanryuu

Text version and links:

Maddox on Osama Bin Laden: http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=osama_death_day

Everyone’s pissed. Shiki’s pissed, Mikiya’s pissed, and most of all, I’m pissed. Tsuukaku Zanryuu is a film of outrage. Its outrageousness is hard to watch, unless you can be like Touko and simply smile at how it all clicks in your head. You’ll notice that no one accosts Touko for her attitude in this film, and that’s because Kara no Kyoukai doesn’t talk down at its audience. There’s nothing wrong with Touko’s frame of mind, and if anything, it’s enviable. I’d even kill to be Shiki in this film over Mikiya or, god forbid, any of the characters driving the plot.

Tsuukaku Zanryuu is all about exploring the black and grey morality that distinguishes victim from perpetrator, and pushes even Mikiya’s morals to their outer limits. This film is very effective for me because back when I watched it in 2010, it actually showed me, for the first time, where my morals lie. In fact, so much of how the Kara no Kyoukai films affected me was in how I came to grips with my own sense of morality through Mikiya. The most important line in this film to me is when Mikiya says that he really feels for Fujino, but feels nothing for any of the men that she attacked. I feel exactly as Mikiya does–in the moment, I would’ve begged her not to do it, but the moment she did, I’d probably give her a high-five.

Backpedaling a bit, it was hard to get myself psyched for this movie because I remembered its stark depictions of rape. I wouldn’t be surprised if a huge part of the reason Kara no Kyoukai was made as a film series instead of a TV series was because of the graphic depictions of rape and violence which would never fly on Japanese television. There’s something strangely terrifying about depictions of rape in media that far outweighs that of violence. Probably because not many people actually know someone who’s been murdered outside of military service, but almost everyone knows someone who’s been raped, whether they’re aware of it or not. And knowing how many people have been raped is that much more terrifying when you start thinking statistically about how many people exist in your surroundings at any given time. In the last film, Mikiya talked about how as a child, he feared ghosts and monsters, but as an adult, he fears people, as he realized that the true form of darkness is people you don’t know. This film is the kind of thing that makes me fear and hate the people in the world outside of me.

We’re presented with what seems to be a no-win situation. Fujino is simultaneously dying and losing her mind. Everyone she wants to kill can hardly be called worthy of living. It’s hard to feel justified stopping her warpath, yet it’s not something we could tell her to do. When Fujino crosses the line and kills someone unrelated is when Shiki can’t take it anymore, though her outrage had already begun the moment Fujino started killing people who hadn’t done anything to her directly. Would it have been ideal if no one had died? Were the people that she killed worth keeping alive?

On a purely idealistic level, it’s difficult for me to feel that a death is ever justified. I can’t bring myself to judge another person’s worth, or whether that person is beyond helping. I do know that regrets are best left behind. If a person had killed a hundred men, but spent the rest of his life living well, I can’t say that it would be worth killing him. It has nothing to do with repentance, I just don’t think the past is worth clinging to. If someone can prove beneficial to the future, then it’s only a waste to lose them. Not to say that I necessarily could trust someone who’s committed evil acts in the past, certainly not without a lot of effort, but I’m speaking on a purely ideological level.

It’s with that same sense of leaving the past behind, though, that I can’t regret the death of an evil man. Even if I really believed that the possibility existed for them to do something good in the future, there’s no use crying over spilled milk, especially if the first few sips gave you a stomach ache. At that point, I’d rather just be happy about it. There’s a fantastic write-up by internet legend Maddox about celebrating the death of Osama Bin Laden that I found pretty interesting. He writes about how in contrast to many pretentiously claiming that the death of another person is never something to celebrate, he was ready to throw a party over Bin Laden’s death after all the pain that man had caused the world. And I readily agree–if anything it was a huge relief and had an undeniable catharsis to it.

Fujino needed to be stopped. If she could’ve been stopped sooner, it would’ve been better, but she wasn’t, and it’s too late for all those that she killed. But it’s not too late for her. Shiki ends up saving her life, and Mikiya admits that he’s hopeful for her. He points out that Fujino will likely harbor regret for her actions for the rest of her life, as a sort of justification for his feelings, but I don’t think he’s so much saying that she needs to repent as expressing relief that he doesn’t think she’ll do it again. It’s not that he wants her to suffer, but there’s a certain relief in knowing that in her suffering, she will also find strength to be better in the future.

To feel this strongly about this film gives me a sense of how I’ve changed and matured. I used to see myself as more of a Touko, with a stand-offish approach to human drama–sort of looking in from the outside with amusement and lack of emotion. However, the reality is that Touko really does care and is involved, at least insofar as being able to tell right from wrong and act accordingly. She is emotionally detached, but not irresponsibly so as I once was. I’m happy too see myself as more of a Mikiya now. Someone capable of being outraged and wanting to do something about it. I used to run away from pain because I felt that the world was entirely too full of it, and there was nothing to do about it but be overwhelmed. Now, I have the feeling that no matter how much pain there is, it’s a battle worth constantly fighting. It’s worth getting upset over and pissed off over and fighting tooth and nail in a battle with no victory, because to keep fighting is the only way to stave off defeat. A moral battle isn’t one that you fight to win so much as one that you fight to persevere.

This video is going to come out a bit shorter than usual because in truth, there’s not much to say about what really goes on in this film. I couldn’t connect with Fujino’s inability to feel pain, nor her lingering sense of pain. I can’t really relate to Shiki’s instincts of rage towards another of her kind, though I guess if I made it a real stretch I can relate to it somewhat as a rivalry. Most of the violence in this film isn’t really meant to be enjoyed, and I can’t say it’s the kind of thing I would readily rewatch. It made me think about valuable things, and in that sense it is a valuable film, and one that I won’t just turn away from. Still, it’s an abyss I’d rather not stare too long into. Tomorrow night, we’ll make our way onto Garan no Dou.

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