Saturday, February 5, 2011
THE GARDEN OF SINNERS
Spun from a visual novel by Kinoko Nasu, this gorgeously atmospheric anime series chronicles the efforts of a closely-knit group of individuals to take on an array of disturbing crimes. The story skips back and forth over a five year period, and hinges mainly on the relationship between the mildly schizophrenic and mystically powered Shiki Ryōgi and the physically average but perceptive young man Mikiya Kokutou. Though Shiki is the strongest member of the group, evidence points to her as the most likely suspect in a spree of killings early on, and Mikiya sets out at extreme personal risk to prove her innocence. To Shiki herself as much as anyone else.
Blood runs red, and deep, in these films, and yet the overall mood is one of quiet alienation, melancholy. There's a pleasant lack of distracting fanservice, and a powerful attention to the quiet moments and character details. During a presentation of three chapters of this saga at San Francisco's Viz Cinema, key creative team members confirmed that it is the quieter moments, rather than the intricate and supercharged action scenes, that often pose the most creative challenges to the makers of anime. Given their devotion to the original vision of Kinoko Nasu, the Garden of Sinners team have realized an abundance of such moments, crafting a dark but precious jewel in the anime corpus.