From the opening moments to the dazzling finale, Karas makes very little sense, unless of course youíve read a synopsis of the story. But thatís not to say that the journey isnít an amazing and worthy one.
Karas: The Prophecy (2005)
Producers: Tatsunoko Productions
Features: * Featurettes * Trailers * Interviews * Comic * Animation/Concept Art Comparisons
American Voice Actors:
From the opening moments to the dazzling finale, Karas makes very little sense, unless of course youíve read a synopsis of the story. But thatís not to say that the journey isnít an amazing and worthy one. Karas is a visual marvel, a perfect marriage of CG and 2D footage, beautifully animated. Every frame of Karas is a stunning piece of genuine artwork, worthy of being displayed in an art gallery.
The images can be a little intense, as with a lot of anime, but the film calls for repeat viewings which will aide in the viewers overall enjoyment of the feature. The story, which is basically a mish mash of a lot of superhero action films, is about honor and loyalty, a staple of Japanese culture. The film follows Karas, a warrior of sorts who must battle a band of spiritual monsters that have been enhanced by a demoralized Karas of the past, or something like that.
Essentially, the new Karas runs from place to place battling the various monsters who are out to test his skill. Character development is kept to an annoying minimum and itís hard to tell exactly whatís going on. Some of the artistry is confusing and overloaded, which is likely intentional, but very distracting for any anime newcomers that may stumble upon this film.
Characters in a lot of anime films tend to be caricatures rather than real human beings. They have characteristics of humans and human problems, but they lack a dimensional quality that common films have. Karas is no different, but further viewings of the film will assist in fleshing out what exactly is taking place. This layering adds to the mysticism and overall intrigue of the film, even though itís horribly annoying in the onslaught.
Karas: The Prophecy is actually the first entry in a two parter. It should be interesting to see how the story wraps itself up. The first part ends with an interesting twist thatís sure to keep anime fans on their toes, eagerly awaiting the next entry and while I found the film to be a bit irritating at times, Iím one of them. Bring on part two.
As entertainment: * * *
As a film: * * Ĺ
Presented in Anamorphic Widescreen 1:85:1, I wasnít very impressed with the filmís picture quality. The entire picture was faded, murky and slightly out of focus. The film had an odd black frame around the corners as well, which might have been intentional, but was annoying nonetheless. There are a lot of details in virtually every frame of this film and an HD presentation will likely be the better way to watch this dazzling film.
Iíve read that the region 2 DVD was released as a two disc set which might have allowed for more room on the disc and thus, a better picture. Tragic that this wasnít done here.
Presented in Japanese (with English subtitles) and English Dolby Digital EX 6.1, this is a booming soundtrack that works out each and every channel. The center channel does get drowned out from time to time by the loud, orchestral score (which is fantastic, by the way) and the filmís thunderous rear sound effects. Despite its few flaws, this is a fantastic workout for your system.
Japanese and English 2.0 Surround tracks are also included.
The menus are ridiculously long, so be prepared to have some time wasted. Special features are somewhat limited, unfortunately. A commentary from the American voice actors would have been fun. A two disc set would have been nice as well. I guess American audiences arenít meant to get deluxe, quality editions of the anime they love.
There are a few Featurettes on the disc, most are in Japanese and subtitled in English. They include a behind the scenes montage on the making of Karas. This is a fairly straightforward featurette. If youíre interested in anime, youíll likely want to watch. There are also interviews with the Japanese voice actors and other crew members. This is a pretty long featurette that was surprisingly interesting.
There is a featurette on the sound effects of Karas and an animation and concept art comparison featurette. Finally, there are trailers for Karas and other upcoming Mango Video films.
Thereís also a 25 page comic from Dark Horse thatís well worth reading. It should be noted that the comic appears to have little to do with the story in the film. Rather, itís a continuation of the world created in Karas, which I found to be rather fun.
This isnít the best presentation, but it will have to do for anime fans without a region free DVD player. Newcomers may be confused by this film, but fans of the genre are sure to love every single frame of this exciting and visually impressive movie.
Overall Value: 8
* Running Time: 80 minutes
* List Price: $19.98
* Available on DVD April 25th 2006.
Email Me with Comments, Concerns, Questions and Complaints regarding this review, but please, be nice.
----R. L. Shaffer