- Genre : Supernatural, School, Mystery, maybe a bit of implied yuri? I dunno, I may just be starved for yuri lately…
- Length: 59 min
- Studio: ufotable
Ahh to be 16, nubile and in love. Azaka certainly has everything a young girl could ask for. She’s beautiful, smart, imbued with magical abilities and has the bestest most handsome brother any sister could ever wish for. She’s living her youthful days to the fullest, spending blissful days at Reien Girl’s Academy surrounded by friends and doting teachers. What could possibly go wrong? Except that a couple of sudden deaths and a devastating fire have rocked the peaceful atmosphere at her school. And now, Azaka’s mentor suspects magical foul play and has tasked her with finding out exactly what’s going on. Worst of all, his brother has a crush! And it’s not on her. And now she has to work with the little homewrecker! Could things possibly get any worse?
Let me just start by saying Cruncyroll is really trolling us with this thumbnail:
I thought Azaka had finally snapped! You’ll have to watch the movie to find out the actual context of that image but let me just say it is very misleading! That box art is a much better representation.
If you’ve read my reviews for the previous the Garden of Sinners movies (1, 2, 3, 4, 5), you’ve probably picked up on the pattern by now. I tend to appreciate these movies on a technical basis more than a narrative one. This isn’t a slight in the least, I have been captivated by ufotable’s craftsmanship in these movies and encourage anyone who loves anime as a medium to give them a try.
Actually, wait up, there’s a lot of trouble stuff going on in these. Maybe give this movie a try.
Because the technical production of the Garden of Sinners movies is so integrally intertwined with the story itself, I find it impractical to examine them separately. So, diverging from my standard reviewing template a bit, let me start by telling you what Oblivion Recording is actually about.
Up until now, we’ve been following either Shiki or Mikiya through a series of somewhat convoluted and generally violent adventures with no clear aim. The movies, in general, explore themes of existential angst through notions of suicide and murder as well as questions of identity. The stories tend to be grim, slow paced and have a purposefully cryptic feel to them. They can be a little off-putting and graphic. The aim seems to be to make the audience a little uncomfortable. So far, the overarching narrative seems unfocused, but story threads are slowly being brought together and I do have hope that by the end of it all, we’ll be left with a cohesive whole.
Chapter 5 seems like a break. Or maybe a calm before the storm. For the first time we have Azaka as our point of view character and she is much livelier and more spirited than just about anyone else in the cast which instantly makes the experience that much more lighthearted. I am not a fan of movies that start with voice-over narration, especially ones that concentrate so much on brocon, but somehow Azaka made it completely charming and I was sold from the start.
The production followed suit. The colours are richer and more saturated than ever before. Lines are crisper. Scenes beam with light, whether its bright sun-filled days or warmly lit evenings, the movie is just radiant. Animation and direction are kept very traditional, especially when compared to chapter 5, which plays into the relative normalcy of the story. It’s a respite to the insanity. Instead, a playful soundtrack has been woven through the scenes to further lighten the mood.
If this was a series, I would call it a filler episode. A very good one. At least for the first half. The bulk of the movie plays out almost like a buddy/odd couple caper, with Azaka and her eternal rival Shiki having to team up to solve a mystery. The chemistry between the two is fantastic. Azaka’s one-sided rivalry is amusing to watch, while her exuberant personality is possibly the best foil Shiki has had. Their interactions bring out the best of both characters and it makes me wish they had shared more scenes in the past.
Unfortunately, the mystery gets resolved rather quickly and is far from satisfying. There’s no point in dwelling on it. The movie was not constructed in a way that would allow the audience to solve it for themselves, so you never get wrapped up in the puzzle and the explanation was rather flat in my opinion.
I find that one of the great weaknesses of the franchise is a lack of interesting antagonists. I moaned about it a lot in chapter 5. This was not that big a problem in this movie but that’s partly due to the fact that we got a barely there villain that could have been removed entirely from the movie with very little consequence. He was there simply as a bridge between this chapter and the others.
By the end of the movie, we return to more familiar Garden of Sinners territory. The signature bad weather is back, colours suddenly lose their saturation and light drains out of the scenes. The break is over. Sadly, this return to form was fairly lacklustre and the weakest part of the movie.
This said Azaka herself is a wonderful character. Endearing and fun to follow around. I was afraid that she would get either too precious or cloying. Or that her bratty side would become annoying after a while. But she turned out to be a well-balanced character with unexpected depth. She makes this movie worth a watch. The Garden of Sinners Chapter 6 is not the best the franchise has to offer. As a standalone movie, it’s a bit thin. However, it’s welcomed as a little sunny interlude in the sombre tale of the Garden of Sinners.
Favourite character: Azaka AND Touko. Still, Azaka was very endearing here.
What this webtoon taught me: All girls schools never change
Being half drunk is just another way of saying ‘you’re almost there.
Suggested drink: Fairy Belle
- Every time Azaka laughs – raise your glass
- Every time you see fairy – take a sip
- Every time you see a puppy – cheer!
- Every time Azaka gets angry – take a sip
- Every time the girls have a bonding moment – take a sip in anticipation
- Every time Azaka wakes up on the floor – switch to water
- Every time we see Kurogiri sensei – take a sip
- Every time we watch the stars – take a sip
You know the drill by now. A few screencaps are here and way too many more are over on imgur HERE