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Karas: The Revelation (2007)
15th Nov 07
Karas tries to defend the city from being over run by a former Karas and his evil demon minions.
Okay, so Karas is back after a long stretch in the wilderness and it's time for us to catch up. Does anyone remember what happened in the last Karas movie? You know, all that stuff about demons being from another dimension and the precarious balance of power situation we have, with that cutesy teenage Yurine demon looking after the city and her champion, the Karas, keeping the piece? That guy Eko, a former Karas, voiced by Matthew Lillard, lead the demons, do you recall? And that cool good guy demon Nue, voiced by Jay Hernandez, who favours the twin pistol approach? Remember the cool fight he has with that demon in the subway? Hello? Can you hear me at the back?
Alright, to be fair, Karas: The Prophecy, while being one of the best looking animes we'd ever seen, with some of the most amazing CG assisted battle sequences I can think of, was also probably the most confusing ever to get a UK release. The opening battle between what appears to be two Karas's is electric, as are the many demon fights along the way, while the final battle in the hospital is just astounding. But what did it all mean? Who were those two Karas's fighting at the beginning and what the hell does this have to do with Jay Hernandez and Matthew Lillard's characters?
Well, let's just say that upon popping the DVD of the second movie into the player I had no expectations of any kind of plot being explained. Imagine my complete surprise when, in the first few minutes, we get exactly that.
So let's recap by going over this whole Yurine/Karas thing. It seems that, to protect them from the demon kind, each city gives birth to a Yurine to watch over it and that Yurine chooses a lucky soul Ė usually of demon kind but on occasion a human Ė to be her champion. This is Karas. Now years ago Eko, a successful Karas at the time, got bored of his job and began to despise the humans he was tasked to protect, so he turned on his Yurine, imprisoning her for his own gains, and chose instead to lead a new form of machine demon hybrid known as mikado into our world to take over humanity. However, when Eko captured his own Yurine the city gave birth to a new one who chose a demon karas to fight Eko and foil his plan, but alas that Karas failed (yes - that is the Karas battle at the beginning of the first movie).
Undeterred by her first Karasí failure, the Yurine selects a new being to become Karas, this time a human. Meanwhile a small band of demons that refuse to join the mikado and sympathise with the humans start to battle the mikado on the city streets. One such demon is Nue, who we later find out is actually Ekoís brother, and has a pair of demon pistols with unlimited bullets. Naturally, things escalate quickly; the police fumble around trying to work out whatís going on and eventually half a hospital is wiped out as the good demons battle the mikado, but the mikado triumph and in the confusion this Yurine is captured too. Thatís pretty much the first movie.
The second movie immediately fills in the gaps. Starting in the aftermath of the hospital battle, we soon learn that it was all about capturing that Yurine, nothing more, but the hospital was important as thatís where our new Karasí human form was in a coma. Luckily though, he wakes up in time to assist an injured Nue away from aftermath right under the copsí noses. But, because the Yurine is incapacitated he canít transform into Karas, which makes the film quite dull until in desperation the city gives birth to another Yurine who gives our hero the power to turn back in to Karas, fight Eko in a splendid end-of-franchise royal rumble and there we have it ladies and gentlemen.
Essentially, this means youíll come away from Karas: The Revelation with a very different feeling than you did when you watched Karas: The Prophecy. In the first film you didnít really understand what was going on but it didnít really matter because the pyrotechnics on show were great. The problem with Revelation is that, when it takes its time to explain the plot to you, you soon realize itís really all a bit silly and you enjoyed it much more when it had this mysterious air to it. Plus, of course, thereís the fact that plot explaining takes time and consequently the second film isnít as action packed as the first and it suffers from a really long dull bit in the middle where the plot drifts off into pointless stuff like Eko feeling melancholy, random mikado feeding on humans scenes and even Yurines from different cities just hanging out for no reason, although thereís a very cute tall one with a female Karas who I admit was fun, but she doesnít really have a great relevance within the main story line.
Still, despite a mild feeling of being let down, Karas: The Revelation is still worthy of a viewing if youíre in to this kind of thing and especially if youíve seen Karas: The Prophecy and are looking for a bit of closure. I know I was, and the final confrontation at the end between Karas and Eko to own the city, is worth the wait, easily matching the epic Karas battle at the beginning of the first film. It would certainly make a good double-bill, thatís for sure, just donít expect to be as blown away as you were the last time.
31st Mar 05 HGL has his characters simply play with human organs / intestines / eyes in sockets close-up needlessly and for longer than is necessary, if indeed it was necessary at all, which it isn't. Like close-up...