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Title:
  Karas - The Revelation

UK Distributor:  Manga Entertainment

BBFC Certificate:  15

Suggested Retail Price (SRP):  19.99

Running Time:  90mins (approx.)

Audio Options:  English DTS/5.1/2.0; Japanese DTS/5.1/2.0

Subtitles:  English

Reviewer:  Rich (Webmaster)

 

We at Animetion quite liked Karas The Prophecy.  It was action packed, stunning to watch and benefited from great voice acting and a decent story.  Because of this we were really looking forward to the second part, so we waited.  And waited.  And waited.

Despite Karas being one of Manga Entertainment's major titles we had to wait for over a year for the second part.  They say absence makes the heart grow stronger, but that's taking the Schmeichel.

Still, it's here now and if you can remember what happened in the first part you'll know that things were left on a bit of a knife edge.  Karas is defeated and the spirit being Yurine is captured.  With them gone there appears to be nothing to stop the insane Eko from achieving his goal of enslaving the city, but hope still remains.  Karas was channelled through the spirit of a comatose man, now that man has awakened.  Otoha is a former hitman betrayed by his Yakuza masters and left for dead.  His spirit is the strength behind the current Karas, and despite his shady past he may be the only hope for the city if he can recover the powers lost when he awoke and Yurine was taken.  Meanwhile the demon Nue braces himself for a last stand against Eko in the hope of rescuing his brother, his aim is to destroy Eko's incarnation of Yurine and in the process Eko himself.  With Eko close to achieving his twisted utopia time is running out, and, as other incarnations of Karas and Yurine from around Tokyo look on, both sides shape up for the final deadly conflict.  With Eko's powers nearing unstoppable proportions is there any chance to save the city and its people?
 

  I remember when I saw Karas The Prophecy how completely blown away I was by the opening scenes.  Eko fought another Karas in the snow-filled sky around the skyscrapers of Tokyo, a stunning hyperrealist CGI sequence that was simply jaw-dropping.  This time things start in a more low-key manner, with Otoha leaving the ruined hospital and going back to the criminal underworld to rescue a young friend.  The big showpiece CGI battle is saved for the final third of the disc, and before that things take a decidedly darker tone.  Viewers

of the first part will know that Karas could be gory and violent and didn't pull its punches when it came to innocents caught in the crossfire.  This time it's even more extreme, with a growing bodycount that even takes in some of the main characters.  There is a stronger focus on horror in Karas The Revelation than there was in the first part, and it's a lot bloodier too.  To be honest the dark tone does make for quite bleak viewing, and also gives it a strangely old fashioned feel.

Karas always wore its influences on its sleeve.  In the first part you could see elements inspired by The X-Files, Batman and Stephen King's The Stand, in this second part things are reminiscent of Manga Entertainment's trademark releases of the early to mid-nineties.  Those with longer memories will find that things aren't a million miles away from Doomed Megalopolis, Devilman or Monster City.  Despite the amazing visuals, design and sound in Karas The Revelation (and, trust me, they are amazing) it has a very retro heart beating beneath the surface, making it oddly familiar to some fans.  The problem with this is that for all the dressing up Karas is a violent and gory action horror series the likes of which originally gave anime a bad name in the UK.  However, what Karas has that many of its early-nineties peers didn't is a decent story, a welcome lack of sexual violence and a lot more sophistication.
 

A lot of effort has been put into Karas, and it really shows.  As well as the obvious quality of the visuals and sound a lot of thought has gone into fleshing out the characters and adding pathos to Eko's character.  Although he is a nutter it's the breakdown of human society that has caused him to lose the care he had for the city as Karas.  It's elements like this that ensure that Karas The Revelation is doing more than just reinventing the wheel, there's enough depth to the story and the characters are good enough to keep you interested.  The 

action is amazing once again, with the highlight probably being Otoha's assault on a Yakuza hideout, but it's the final action scene that leads to Karas The Revelation's greatest drawback.

The opening scene of Karas The Prophecy was truly mindblowing, and sadly the final battle can't quite live up to it.  That's not to say the climax is poor, it's just that the bar was raised so high at the start that raising it further is nearly impossible.  This does provide a slight anti-climax and the clips of the opening fight that are used towards the end of this volume only highlight that more.  The sheer bleakness as it builds up to the climax is also quite depressing and it must be said that Eko's minions - the Mikura - are a bit crap when in robot demon form too.  However, despite this Karas The Revelation is packed with rip-roaring action, decent horror and the most amazing visuals you are likely to see for a long while.  The final battle may not match what has gone before, but it's miles better than pretty much everything else and the design (on all but the Mikura) is excellent.  Simply put, if you buy Karas The Revelation you will not be disappointed, it may not be quite as good as the first part but it is still an amazing anime DVD that wraps up all the loose ends and leaves you wanting more.  Great stuff.

Extras

A great range of extras once again, with two featurettes weighing in at over 20 minutes long each, a gallery of stills and trailers.  The featurettes focus on the recording of the English dub and spends plenty of time talking to Cree Summer, the voice actress who takes over the role of Yurine from Piper Purabo this time round, and a behind the scenes look at the making of the anime in Japan.  Both are well worth a watch, and it's interesting to see how amazing the still images look in the gallery too.

Ratings

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