Themes! Themes!!! THEMESSSS!!!!!
Themes? Quit kiddin? yourself sonny, IT AIN?T DEERP.
Or so go the two sides on 4chan.
I?m going to attempt to argue for the former. This is also going to be heavily dependent on TakaJun's fansub translation.
Snippet: If you don?t know what SparkNotes is, it is God?s gift to high school English students.
Detailed Summary and Explanations of Dialogue
Warning: Long read ahead.
(This is an accompaniment summary. If you didn?t watch the movie, you?ll have no idea what I?m talking about.)
The movie opens with the introduction of two of the main characters of the story through some blatant product placement and everyday banter. From their conversation, you can tell that they have a pretty decent friendship (though not romantically). There?s the typical ?normal?, nice guy Kokutou Mikiya with the glasses. Then there?s the Ryougi Shiki, the kimono wearing girl with the Strawberry leather jacket. You can tell right off the bat that she?s going to be the one doing much of the ass kicking for Kara no Kyoukai.
The scene now switches to an event that actually happens later. We see Fujou Kirie walking up to the edge of the Fujou building.
Credits now roll in. We hear the theme song for this movie that?s going to be played repeatedly throughout the next 45 or so minutes in various forms and on different instruments. (Editor?s note: But, it sure is damn catchy. That?s Kajiura Yuki for you.) With the music, we are treated to various scenes of a butterfly and dragonfly fluttering around. It seems the director had fun playing with an orange filter that makes it look like it is being played on an old projector. We find out later this is actually the dream Mikiya has while he?s trapped. At the end of the opening credits, we see Kirie?s (eventual) glorious bloody demise from jumping off the Fujou building.
It?s morning. Shiki wakes. She strips, puts on the same kimono she was wearing the night before, opens up her fridge, and all we see is a bunch of water bottles. (Editor?s note: It must be that new diet.) It must be that new diet everyone is raving about. She frowns when she notices that there?s a new message on her phone. Instead of listening to it, she leaves her apartment, not bothering to lock the door.
We get a voice over from a newscaster about how there was a suicide from jumping off the Fujou Building. Shiki is inside a rather messy office looking room having a conversation about the suicide with a red haired woman. She?s Aozaki Touko, but we don?t really know who she is or what she does, and we don?t find out in this movie.
Touko states that this is the fourth suicide from jumping off the same building and goes on to explain that there?s a common link between all of them: that none of them left a suicide note, none of the girls are related, none of them had problems in their personal lives, and that their families and friends have no idea why they would kill themselves. Touko concludes sarcastically that it?s an ?obvious? case of the girls secretively feeling uneasy about their lives and killing themselves without telling anyone about their problems. Shiki notices what Touko is hinting at. The contradiction is this: if the girls really had personal problems that they didn?t care for anyone to know, they would not have chosen to kill themselves in the spectacular fashion that they did. But since they ?chose? to die by jumping off of a building, they obviously did want the world to know. And if they wanted the world to know, they would have also left a suicide note. But they didn?t. So what does it mean? Touko states it means that the cases are not mere suicides, that the girls really didn?t intend to die. Touko gives these cases an analogy: ?It?s as if they went out shopping and got into a traffic accident.? Made up by Mikiya who now is sitting completely still on the sofa in front of the wall of TVs. Touko wonders when he?s ?going to come back?. Shiki doesn?t think much of her strange comment. For now at least.
That night, Shiki goes to investigate the site of the suicides in the Fujou Buildings district of the city. This entire portion of the city looks decrepit and literally rotting. We can see why there aren?t many cars around and why no one would want to live there. Up ahead, she sees a dog making bloody footprints walking towards her. Turns out there another girl just committed suicide, making it the fifth one. Shiki looks up towards the building and sees nine ghosts floating above it.
The next day, Shiki is back at Touko?s office. We see Mikiya is still in the same position as he was in yesterday. Shiki tells Touko that the suicides will end at eight deaths since she saw eight ghosts flying around. Apparently, she can tell apart Kirie from the rest of the ghost cronies. Touko seems to be highly amused at the fact that Shiki went to investigate. Shiki asks her what exactly that Fujou Building is. Touko gives a textbook history speech on the Fujou Buildings noting that they were famous for their high observation decks overlooking the city from above. But now, the buildings fell out of use and are to be demolished.
Shiki rebuffs that that?s not what she?s asking. Of course, Shiki wants to know about the ghosts. Touko consents and goes on to a rather short explanation on how the ghosts exist there. She says that time is distorted in that building, that time goes slower there. Thus, the ?records? there are ?not up to date?. (This meaning that the building?s timeline and reality are out of synch with the rest of the world?s.) Because of this lapse, the ?memories? of (as in the reality of) the girls being alive linger in the building. Giving another analogy (Editor?s note: Nasu sure likes analogies), it?s like how smoke lingers even when a fire goes out. (Editor?s note: It?s rather an apt analogy at that, since ghosts are smoky existences having none of the flare their original counterpart human beings had.)
Touko continues onto her next topic, asking Shiki about that certain emotion a person feels when he looks at a landscape from above. She calls this emotion ?far?. From an overlooking view, that person knows that what he?s seeing is the world that he lives in; but if the view is too high, because of the distance and grandeur that the view would give, he cannot feel it (that what he?s seeing is the world that he lives in). Eventually, from this conflict between what he knows and what he feels, he?ll meet his demise. Thus, Touko concludes, that humans cannot live in special surroundings (such as an overlooking view) without something horrible going wrong. ?Under normal circumstances at least.?