- Genre : Supernatural thriller, suspense, action, drama
- Movie: 1 hour, 1 min
- Studio: Ufotable
Shiki is a girl who’s isolated but never alone. She keeps the outside world at arm’s length because they would never understand what’s happening inside. Shiki’s own world is complicated, violent, frightening… It runs in the familia. It’s better for people to keep their distance. Better for Shiki’s and better for them. She’s managed to stick to this principle all the way to prep school. But beautiful teenage girls tend to attract attention, and Kokutou is very eager to get to know her better. But the boy is kind and patient. He doesn’t pry. He’s particularly difficult to push away. Shiki’s world just got even more complicated. Meanwhile, a string of gruesome murders are happening in the real world. Will the two collide?
If you’ve read my review for the first Garden of Sinners movie, you know that I was drawn to it’s experimental production style. It was a bare bones storytelling experience that invested a lot in the mechanics of an animated narrative. I sort of film school nerded out over it. I didn’t go to film school… I mostly studied chemistry. Nerding out is pretty much my go to, as you can imagine.
The first movie of The Garden of Sinners struck a delicate balance (and one that did not work for most), by complementing an occasionally lack luster plot with very interesting animation narrative devices. As you can imagine, visuals and sound design become particularly important in that context. So how did the second movie stack up? That sort of depends on your preferences.
Let me get this out of the way right now. The Garden of Sinners Chapter 2: …and nothing heart. (Murder Speculation Part A) is in all things a much more conventional movie. Except for the title. That’s impressive. I didn’t even add on to it for my post because I ran out of space!
The designs have been cleaned up and are much closer to what we’ve come to expect from traditional anime. Well the designs in and of themselves stay pretty much the same. But the art style has removed all the extra artistic effects in favor of sharper, more detailed and vibrant images. It’s visibly prettier. Color still plays an important role but in a much more obvious way (scenes becoming bathed in mono color schemes or colors getting singled out and intensified).
Basically, the production decision making this time around valued a visually attractive product. Even the animation, which is once more extremely slow and calm except for bursts of intense action, has been smoothed out creating a pleasurable watching experience. There’s a chase scene towards the end of the movie that is downright breathtaking (my header gif is just a little taste of it). There is no doubt that The Garden of Sinners Chapter 2: …and nothing heart. (Murder Speculation Part A) is an all around animation boost. Visual storytelling was traded for eye candy and it’s up to you to figure out if that’s a plus. Personally, I think it evens out.
By contrast, sound design was much more integrated to the plot. I don’t think anyone will be listening to the soundtrack on their way to work, but the playful use of music contrasting intense silences definitely added a lot to the story.
Maybe because the non verbal narrative was somewhat pared down, the story itself is much clearer and better defined this time around. Despite being the second movie, it is chronologically a prequel to the events of Thanatos. We are introduced to Shiki and Kokutou at the time of their first meeting while they are both still in school. The characters remain fairly mysterious but are considerably more fleshed out. You get a pretty good sense of exactly who everyone is and how they relate to each other, in a way that was not previously clear. The background plot of a serial killer on the loose is likewise much more defined and wraps you into the mystery.
When I say the characters seem more three dimensional, I should really specify, the *main* characters. Of which there are only two: Kokutou and Shiki. Everyone else remains a barely there extra that might as well be a plot significant piece of the scenery.
Unfortunately, as the title implies The Garden of Sinners Chapter 2: …and nothing heart. (Murder Speculation Part A), this is only the first half of the story and many questions are left unanswered. Despite this, The Garden of Sinners Chapter 2: …and nothing heart. (Murder Speculation Part A) is less open ended than its predecessor and provides a more satisfying conclusion in my opinion. in fact, a lot of questions actually come about due to events of the first movie, rather than any plot holes in the current one.
It should be said that part B only resumes in the 7th movie, so the story was always meant to have a long interval between the two halves and was probably written with that in mind.
Random thought: Shiki wears all sorts of kimonos this time around. Still, exclusively kimonos for some reason.
In mind… Although I do miss the interesting directorial choices of the first movie, The Garden of Sinners Chapter 2: …and nothing heart. (Murder Speculation Part A)’s more accessible and fleshed out storyline offers plenty of incentive to watch this movie. It also offers a great mystery to sink your brain teeth into. I am now considerably more interested in seeing where the story goes!
Favorite character: Kokutou
What this anime taught me: the deafening silence of snow is the same the world over.
So who’s this Moderation guy everyone keeps telling me to go drink with?
Suggested drink: First Love
- Every time someone calls out to Shiki – take a sip
- Every time Kokutou strikes up a conversation – root for him
- Every time there’s a new victim – take a gulp
- Every time the weather’s bad – take a sip
- Every time SHIKI comes out – take a sip
- Every time we see a doll or doll parts – take a sip
- Every time we see the police – take a sip
- Every time Kokutou narrates – pay attention
- Every time Shiki bites her thumbnail – get a snack
Here are a few more screencaps. If you want to see the rest, they’re HERE