I honestly believe that most people suffer from some form of delusion. It might even be a part of the human experience to harbor certain delusions, and many of these delusions may even be healthy on a social or personal level. After all, individually, each of us experiences reality subjectively, and sometimes our interpretations of reality are bound to be disconnected from objective reality. We can avoid harboring too many delusions by assuming that we don’t have the context to understand most things and therefore don’t form any definitive opinion on them, which is how I chose to view the majority of the world around me. However, it’s hard to live by any set of convictions or make moral and personal decisions without having some kind of worldview and stance on things, and as such we very often have to choose an interpretation of the world around us. I would posit that it is impossible to have opinions on a significant number of things without harboring some kind of delusion. Unless you are scientifically analyzing every minute facet of your life, then you’re bound to interpret certain things incorrectly–and even the scientific method can be alarmingly fallible.
Because most people are used to interpreting their surroundings without any real concern for determining objective truths, delusion is an incredibly easy thing to manipulate. Much of the time, all you have to do is misinform someone, and that person will fabricate their own web of logic to justify their delusion, whether or not it makes sense. This is what happens to Ouji in Boukyaku Rokuon, and could even be called the foundation of the magic used by God’s Word. His power is to verbally trick and misinform his victims into harboring delusions. In Ouji’s case, it was a simple matter of misinforming her and letting her run wild, while in his fight with Shiki, his lies are imbued with a magic that forces the listener to believe them.
Azaka Kokuto is attracted to what she describes as “special things.” By this she mostly means taboos, and it’s partly because of this that she’s in love with her brother Mikiya. In a way, I wonder if Azaka’s reason for falling in love with Mikiya isn’t just a projection of why Nasu wanted to write a character like Azaka. Nasu is clearly attracted to taboos and to the idea of a girl who’s in love with her brother, so he’s written the same logic right into the character.
It’s certainly something I can appreciate. I, too, am fascinated with taboos, and especially with people whose passion is a taboo. As someone who is not only deeply passionate about many things, but who also respects and relates to others largely through their passions, one of the hardest things in the world for me is to deny someone their passion. I probably wouldn’t feel the same way about real people, but especially when watching anime, the characters who fascinate me the most are those who are passionate about something that they shouldn’t be–a trait which many characters in the Nasuverse share, though comparatively Azaka’s passion is actually the most tame.
In fairness, it might’ve seemed at least a little bit more taboo in 1998. Incestuous characters have always been a thing in anime and manga, but in recent years, the presence of little sisters who are in love with their brothers has reached some kind of event horizon. In the spring 2014 anime season there were like 5 shows with those kind of characters on at the same time. Still, Azaka’s passion is child’s play next to other characters in the story, such as Shiki whose passion is murder.
And I guess that brings me to why I actually didn’t really care for this film. It feels like breaking character a bit to talk about this, but I did say at the beginning that I want to approach these films in the same way that I engage with them, and in this case my main engagement with this film was a lack thereof.
Azaka Kokuto is not very interesting. I’m not sure she’s supposed to be, either. She comes off as just being a somewhat naive and ignorant child who mostly serves to be a cute younger sister character without having much of a narrative arc of her own. In the little claymation opening of the film, the lesson she teaches is, “don’t burn, be moe!” which is a pun on the origin of the word “moe” coming from “moeru” which means “to burn,” but it really seems from this like Azaka’s entire purpose is to be moe. Her power is to control fire, and just like how her love of taboo things seems to be Nasu writing his own interest into the story, so to does it seem liker her power was written to reflect her purpose. It’s like her entire character is built as a reflection of the reasons that Nasu wrote her to begin with–he likes moe little sisters.
But because Azaka’s story seems so tangential to the main plot of the films, and because she’s so much less interesting than the other characters, she comes off as nothing more than an aesthetic persona with no real depth, development, or chemistry within the story. The best part of her involvement for me was what she brought out in Shiki. I love how Shiki clearly sees through Azaka and puts up with her shit just because she’s too lazy or too kind to fight against her. Shiki holds up under it like a boss and even gives her a chance with Mikiya at the end just out of kindness. Mikiya says that Shiki sees Azaka as her own little sister, and I can’t help but wonder if for some reason, she really likes Azaka deep down.
From what I’ve read online, Boukyaku Rokuon is the most truncated of the adaptations from the original novel. A lot of details about God’s Word, including his eventual fate, are left out, which is kind of a shame, but it does give the impression that they were tacitly admitting that this story held less weight than the others to begin with–or maybe that’s just my bias talking. Either way, with its distance from the dark urban setting that I love so much and focus on a character I don’t really care for, this is my least favorite Kara no Kyoukai film. We’ll see how things may turn around tomorrow night with Satsujin Kousatsu Part Two.