Kara no Kyoukai 「空の境界」 literally means “Boundary of Emptiness” when translated to English. The Garden of Sinners is merely the subtitle (or tagline) of the series, i.e. Kara no Kyoukai: The Garden of Sinners.
If you had to translate the subtitle back to Japanese, it would be something like 「罪人の庭」 (Zainin no Niwa). Somehow, The Garden of Sinners is more poetic than “Zainin no Niwa“, no doubt the reason why the original author chose an English subtitle.
I would like fans to please stop calling the show by its subtitle, The Garden of Sinners, because it’s inaccurate and annoying.
There are several famous past works of fiction that have been attached with long, lyrical subtitles. Here are some examples:
1) The full title of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein novel, is Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus
2) Charles Dickens was very fond of adding subtitles to his books:
– Oliver Twist: The Parish Boy’s Progress
– A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas
– The Personal History, Adventures, Experience and Observation of David Copperfield the Younger of Blunderstone Rookery (Which He Never Meant to Publish on Any Account)
3) Peter Pan; or, The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up
The purpose of a subtitle, is to add extra information to the main title, giving the viewer a possible hint at the contents of the work. The Garden of Sinners is a fitting subtitle because the entire series revolves around Shiki Ryougi’s lust for killing (it’s in her family blood — they are trained to track down and kill unnatural beings), and how she has to suppress and come to terms with her murderous intent. Her antagonists throughout the series (for example, Kirie Fujou, Fujino Asagami, and Rio Shirazumi), are all “sinners” to the same extent, where they also have to come to terms with their own unnatural abilities that were misused in the past.
Now imagine calling the Peter Pan series by its subtitle. Or Oliver Twist by its subtitle. It’s quite silly. See what I mean now?
So please, Kara no Kyoukai fans, I implore all of you, stop calling the series by its subtitle.