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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Karas - The Revelation
Karas - The Revelation
Manga // Unrated // October 23, 2007
List Price: $19.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted November 11, 2007 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

The anime company Tatsunko Productions (Speed Racer, Gatchaman) has been around for 40 years, and to mark this feat they decided to do something special: create a six-part OVA series that showcases just what they are capable of.  The result is Karas, a present day tale of demons and demon hunters with some pretty decent 3D and 2D animation.  The only problem is that here in the US, the release was broken up into two parts, with the first three OVA episodes being released as Karas:  The Prophecy back in the early part of 2006.  Now, a year and a half later, we finally get the conclusion of the story in Karas:  The Revelation.  While this second part actually plays out better than the first, many fans may find that they've forgotten the show and aren't that interested any more.

What's gone on before:

Tokyo has a problem.  There is a killer on the loose who has a very bizarre MO; he kills people in bathrooms by draining them of all bodily fluids.  This happens to groups of people, in seconds, and one witness is always left alive.  The police don't know what to do about this so they set up a task force, consisting of only two people, to solve the mystery.  The head of the force thinks he knows what's going on: demons are responsible.

Turns out he's right.  There are a group of demons who have escaped from their dimension into ours.  Led by a demon named Edo, they look like humans, but to keep this form they have to drink human blood.  These renegade monsters augmented with mechanical body part and called Mikura, have to keep their guard up however.  They are being hunted by, Karas, a powerful being who gets his power from Yurine, the being in charge of keeping the dimensions separate.

Edo isn't afraid of Karas however, and starts to hunt both him and Yurine, the only beings that are keeping him from world domination.

This disc:

This second half of the story picks up right where the other DVD left off without a synopsis or much in the way of explanation.  Since a year and a half has passed since part one was released, I'd recommend watching that again before jumping into this part or else things are a bit confusing.

Nue, a rouge Mikura who has helped protect Karas' human form in the last volume lies near death, and Otoha, the current Karas who recently awoke from a coma, gives him some of his blood to help revive the demon.  Otoha finds that he can no longer change into Karas, and sets out to live a normal life, but that's not really possible.

Edo is still out there, and he has plans.  He's created a machine that automates the killing of humans.  Sealing off the city so that no one can escape, Edo gathers up all of the human blood that he can.  The survivors take to hiding, but Otoha isn't going to run.  He takes a stand against a powerful Mikura, but without his Karas powers, he doesn't stand a chance.

While I found the earlier volume of this show to be only mediocre, I enjoyed this one much more.   The story flows a lot better and isn't as purposefully convoluted as the first section.  The tone is also a lot darker.  A lot of people die or are seriously wounded, and some of these deaths are surprising.  This raises the ante a bit and makes the show more engaging.

While the first volume concentrated on style and glitz at the expense of the story, in this volume the plot is developed more fully.  They take the time to answer most of the questions raised earlier which is something I wasn't really expecting them to do, and fill in characters backgrounds.  Otoha, it turns out, is an unlikely hero.  Before he was in a coma he served as yakuza muscle, and was particularly violent and mean.  This background story fleshes out the character and helps define his personality and motivation which makes the end of the story work well.

The action scenes are still eye-popping.  Though some of the CGI doesn't mesh as well as it should with the backgrounds, it's easy to overlook that with the cool battles that rage through this disc.  Even though Karas doesn't make his appearance until the disc is over halfway done, when he does it is worth the wait.

The DVD:


Audio:

This movie comes with both the original Japanese soundtrack and an English dub, both in stereo or DD 5.1.   I viewed this with the Japanese 5.1 track playing and spot checked the English dub.  Both sounded very good.  The audio was clear and free of defects, and there were some impressive audio effects during the fight scenes.  Full use was made of the sound stage with rain and other incidental sounds being thrown to the rear speakers so that the viewer is fully immersed in the sound.

Video:

The anamorphic 1.78:1 image looked very good too.  The colors were strong and the blacks were solid.  Lines were sharp and there was a very good level of detail.  The main problem I had was that the picture was a little dark in places, but this is the way the creators intended it to be.

Extras:

This disc also has a good amount of bonus features.  In the Voiceover Booth is a 22-minute reel showing the English voice actors recording their lines and is followed by an interview with Cree Summer who plays Yurine.  The questions are standard, "what inspired you to become an actress?" and the like and the interview was only semi-interesting.  There is also a Rough Cut reel that shows several scenes in various stages of animation.  While it was interesting to see the CGI over rough backgrounds and such, this ran over 27 minutes in length and it got old rather quickly.  The bonus section is rounded out with a trailer and a still gallery.

Final Thoughts:
 
I enjoyed this second half of the story much more than the first.  The story held together better, and it had much more substance in addition to the cool images.  The only problem I had was that it took so long for this final chapter to be released that I had lost my interest in the show.  It's definitely worth picking up, even if you weren't that impressed with the first volume.  This one is better.  Recommended.
 

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