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Title:
  Karas - The Prophecy

UK distributor: Manga Entertainment

BBFC Certificate: 12

Suggested Retail Price (SRP):
19.99

Running Time:

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

Subtitles: English

Release Date: 24th April 2006

Reviewer:  Tom (Webmaster)
 

It doesn't happen often but when does, God does it happen - a new release from Manga Entertainment.  It looked like they were nearly standing alone with just Ghost In The Shell in their recent catalogue but Karas is soon to hit the shelves and, oh boy, is this going to HIT the shelves.
 

Karas opens with a fight over a city between two cyber guys with an excellent orchestral score and mix of 2D & CGI animation with typical fast-moving camera angles.  The direction of this opening is jaw-dropping to say the least and is a scene that many would save until the finale but not KarasKaras grabs your eyes and makes you take notice that Karas is ahead of anything before it and the opening ensures that the standard is set.  The relentless action also screams that Karas is not just going to purely show off some fancy animation, it's going to entertain too. 



Things like this happen often - oh yes!
 


Although Karas may at first appear to be a standard 'guy with superpowers is destined to save city' story, it is in fact a little more complex then that.  Set in present day Tokyo, a guardian known as the Karas protects the human inhabitants from inter-dimensional demons which they cannot see.  Since time began the Karas and it's masters have maintained the balance between the dimensions, but that balance is now under threat as a former Karas (Eko) plans to takes over the city using his mechanical demons.  Eko has to contend with a being known as Yukine however, who embodies the spiritual will of the humans and she has called on a new Karas (Otoha) to fight Eko. 

While Otoha fights Eko's minions, a detective by the name of Kure investigates a string of murders in which demon involvement is suspected.  As the mysteries behind these murders unfold, it is clear that it will accumulate in battle between good and evil. 
 


See?  Those things still happening - YES! 

Described by it's creators as 'Batman with a samurai sword', they were thankfully inspired by Tim Burton's masterful 1988 vision (not the camp '60's series) and this is clear from the industrial gothic design of the city as well as the complex characterisation.  This influence of dark American comics is welcome in my opinion, as it means Karas is more likely to introduce more people to anime then Ghost In The Shell ever will.  Other notable influences include The Crow and even X-Men and it is these references that stick out even more then possible anime comparisons such as The

GuyverKaras instead takes American inspiration and gives it an anime sheen that gleams throughout - the animation is more stunning then recent Hollywood effects and certainly more thrilling. 

The only downside with Karas is that, in a few years time, it will become just another sci-fi action anime.  Once the effects are inevitably past by future anime features it may even drift into obscurity without the aid of any sequels or spin-offs.  This would be a great shame as Karas is the most thrilling anime I have seen for years that concentrates more on entertaining then philosophising like most other sci-fi anime. 

Karas is certainly a breath of fresh air that I hope fans will come to regard as one of the greatest anime of all time.  Although it is heavily influenced by other material, Karas does it with flair and style and manages to bring all the influences together to produce something that feels different to what it apes.  Put short, Karas delivers on every level: animation, action, characters, score and more.  Karas deserves it's place in anime history. 

Extras

An impressive range of extras befit this fine feature, most notably a free 24-page Dark Horse manga included in the DVD, as well a limited edition slip case. 

On the disc there are insightful interviews with the Japanese actors, a behind the scenes featurette as well as an excellent comparison of concept art with final results.  Also included is an average sound effects featurette as well as the original trailers and TV spots.  Trailers for other Manga Entertainment titles are also included. 

Ratings

Feature: Extras:

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