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REVIEW: Karas: The Revelation DVD 2




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Case



Joined: 09 Apr 2002
Posts: 1016

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2007 11:26 pm Reply with quote
The conclusion to this miniseries was a complete letdown for me. I don't think it even deserves an A-. The horror atmosphere from the original is completely gone. The campy Gatchaman/Kamen Rider esque entrance sequences are gone. We're suddenly asked to believe that spoiler[Otoha is by day a murderous Yakuza who feels no pain while also being the city's spiritual defender, and they try to cram this whole backstory about his family and Nue's family into the plot in the process.] I got lost and along the way and couldn't continue suspend my disbelief. I thought the pacing of a lot of scenes were pretty inappropriate considering this is the climax, and I think even the animation is poor compared to volume one. (Compare the depiction of his sword transforming in this volume to when it happened the first time. Even, just watch the trailer for volume one; none of the transformation bits were as elaborate as the first part. Nor were many of the "monsters".)

But of course, much of this is understandable to me. It's been two years since the first part was made, and it left off with almost all of the antagonists killed. It would be difficult to maintain your enthusiasm for the show this long and not have certain things like continuity and pacing suffer.
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the Rancorous



Joined: 08 Feb 2006
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Location: Hunting the Dragon in Gransys

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2007 11:56 pm Reply with quote
Case wrote:
none of the transformation bits were as elaborate as the first part.


honestly, the over-done Power Rangers-esque transformations were what bothered me about the 1st one, so I was glad to see them absent from the 2nd.

Quote:
We're suddenly asked to believe that spoiler[Otoha is by day a murderous Yakuza who feels no pain while also being the city's spiritual defender, and they try to cram this whole backstory about his family and Nue's family into the plot in the process. ]I got lost...


Otaha was the "New" Karas, he came to be Karas after spoiler[being shot up and put into a coma for trying to escape the Yakuza.] He was not a "Yakuza by day, Karas by night," he was an ex-Yakuza who was chosen to be the new Karas of the city.

Personally, the mere fact that everything which did not make sense to me in first volume being explained adequately in this one was enough to satisfy me.
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Randall Miyashiro



Joined: 12 Jun 2003
Posts: 2451
Location: A block away from Golden Gate Park

PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2007 1:25 am Reply with quote
I just watched the second DVD and was really impressed by it. I had a bit of a hard time remembering what happened for the first DVD whoch I watched a year and a half ago, but am glad that they released the entire series on two inexpensive DVDs. It is preferable to Geneon only putting one Hellsing episode per DVD, or Bandai's Yukikaze which was spread thin as well.

I am a little sad that the individual credits were not used since I could tell where each episode ended and the transitions were not very smooth. Also I don't remember the staff being credited for specific episodes leaving us guessing who worked on which episode.
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Case



Joined: 09 Apr 2002
Posts: 1016

PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2007 2:04 am Reply with quote
the Rancorous wrote:
honestly, the over-done Power Rangers-esque transformations were what bothered me about the 1st one, so I was glad to see them absent from the 2nd.


Karas is Tatsunoko's 40th Anniversary Present to their fans. Like their style or don't, transforming superheroes and variable aircraft are pretty much mandatory. :/

I thought the director pretty creatively wove that into the scary urban setting and mood of the series; showing that an old-fashioned "henshin" isn't washed up yet and can still be applied in new and interesting ways.

Quote:
He was not a "Yakuza by day, Karas by night," he was an ex-Yakuza who was chosen to be the new Karas of the city.


It had to be more or less that situation. His brother was still tied up in the bathroom of that apartment, being protected by armed guards. All I'm saying is, it seemed pretty forced. There was not even a hint of this situation up to this point; and Otoha's demeanor and reputation as Doctor Karas/Karas-sensei pointed to him being _anything_ other than a Yakuza Terminator.

It seems to me like someone was hard-pressed to come up with an exciting backstory that far into the production, and said "Hey, we might as well make him a rogue Yakuza trying to save his brother's life!" I mean, spoiler[he killed his own father], or so it seems anyway. You'd think that would be a tough decision with long-lasting effects, but no - it just happens and the story rolls right along. Another sign, I think, that the backstory was rushed.

Quote:
Personally, the mere fact that everything which did not make sense to me in first volume being explained adequately in this one was enough to satisfy me.


Again, "adequately" is a distinction I question. But besides that, I don't think it's nearly enough just to give him a name, role and motive, and have him kill the bad guy. There's a lot to be said for the execution (direction), and I really think that was lacking in this volume. The pacing of Prophecy (the first three parts) was aggressive with a suspense-building event and at least one intense combat scene every episode, with a clear progression toward a confrontation with Eko in the next volume, and an interesting plot twist at the end.

What measurable progress is there in Revelation? They cram all this backstory and new characters into the first segment including everything about the instrumentality of Nue's brother (it would have made much more sense to have Eko's Yurine at the center of that thing IMO; yet another irrelevant loss of life there apparently) and all these unexpected plot elements keep flying in from left and right field (the two bureaucrats parlaying with Eko, the evacuation shelters, the senior investigator's daughter reawakening, the Karases from outside the city looking on) and little to none of the new events ever amount to anything other than maybe a monster being distracted for a few seconds so our heroes can run our from beneath its foot...

Otoha's resurrection was a textbook deus ex machina! To me, that surely points to hasty execution, especially in light of every other confusing thing thrown at us.

And all the while, the story was presented in the very minimalist, characters-walking-in-setting kind of format. I think the unique angles and perspectives that made the first half so great were completely lacking from the second half. I think if you watch Revelation and then go back and only watch the trailer for Prophecy alone, you can see lots of examples of how unenthusiastic the director(s) of Revelation was.

For all these reasons, it's pretty clear to me that this one failed to reach the high bar it set for itself in the first three episodes; and a darn shame. ~.~
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v1cious



Joined: 31 Dec 2002
Posts: 5058
Location: Fresno, TX

PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2007 3:59 am Reply with quote
i don't know if it's cause you're used to reviewing anime, but Cree Summer is not a "minor name" by any stretch of the imagination. she's probably the biggest voice actress in the industry next to Tress Macneile.
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Vortextk



Joined: 10 Jan 2006
Posts: 892
Location: Orlando, Fl

PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2007 5:19 am Reply with quote
Case wrote:
Quote:
He was not a "Yakuza by day, Karas by night," he was an ex-Yakuza who was chosen to be the new Karas of the city.


It had to be more or less that situation. His brother was still tied up in the bathroom of that apartment, being protected by armed guards. All I'm saying is, it seemed pretty forced. There was not even a hint of this situation up to this point; and Otoha's demeanor and reputation as Doctor Karas/Karas-sensei pointed to him being _anything_ other than a Yakuza Terminator.


While I pretty much agree with your ho-hum it was average attitude, I can't believe how generic the story felt on this second DVD, it does explain the whole Yakuza angle. Whether you liked the explanation or not is up to you. Every Karas had to have similar experiences to this; powerful sorrow and despair(thought I forget the exact words they used). I don't believe it was his actual brother and it seemed almost like Otoha and him would almost be lovers when I watched it. All of this was prior to him ever being Karas as after he almost died in the hospital was the first point he met Yurine so he is never both Yakuza and Karas.

Also, if you remember in the first volume, he wakes up in that house that he treats the demons in and doesn't know what's going on. After he looks into the eye(was it a watch as well?), it seems to be more or less a device that kind of implants the memories of Karas into him. He suddenly knows what is going on. You could infer that for both his job in the real world as protector and in the spirit world as doctor.
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Key
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Joined: 03 Nov 2003
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Location: Indianapolis, IN (formerly Mimiho Valley)

PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2007 6:16 am Reply with quote
v1cious wrote:
i don't know if it's cause you're used to reviewing anime, but Cree Summer is not a "minor name" by any stretch of the imagination. she's probably the biggest voice actress in the industry next to Tress Macneile.


In voice acting, maybe. (Although I looked at her list of VA credits and wasn't terribly impressed.) However, she hasn't done much live-action TV/movie fare beyond occasional guest spots since A Different World - and that was, what, 15 years ago now?

For others: keep in mind that the Overall grade is being buoyed up by the visual marks. It certainly doesn't carry that grade based only on the story and writing. And I agree, the episode transitions were not smooth at all; forgot to mention that.
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Citan



Joined: 21 Sep 2006
Posts: 14
Location: Minneapolis, MN

PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2007 6:50 pm Reply with quote
I loved the first part of Karas, the 2nd left me a tad disappointed. Visually fantastic but I felt more yawn than awe with Revelation.

2 part movies always have a hard time balancing out the overall story. The first part is usually filled with tons of action, hints of character development, and a cliffhanger, the 2nd you get slammed with back-story and top off with the dramatic grand finale. Problem with Revelation was, the back-story was a little lame. Not only was none of it hinted in the first one making this one seem forced and tacked on, but it felt so unnecessary to the overall Karas plot that you didn't care about any of it. I'm not saying it was horrible by any means, it just wasn't the fast paced action epic I was expecting after Karas: The Prophecy.
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Mr. sickVisionz



Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 1505

PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2007 3:19 pm Reply with quote
I actually enjoyed part 2 way more than part 1. Part one was horrible to me. The camera panned so much during the fights that you couldn't tell what was going on. The story seemed like it could be interesting but it was convoluted and nothing suggested that it would ever be explained in any type of way. When you could follow it, it was quickly interrupted by an action scene with "matrix on crack" camera work. Karas and Appleseed led me to believe that whenever an anime review said "visually stunning" it meant the film would be the prettiest piece of garbage out there.

I went into Karas 2 expecting absolute trash and was totally shocked. The story made sense and you could actually tell what was going on. The fights were so much better because they stopped with the ridiculous constant camera pans. It was a total 180 of the original... and this was just in the first 5 minutes. I saw it at an anime convention and everyone walked out saying that it was way better than the first one. I agreed with them.
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Porcupine



Joined: 21 Jul 2004
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2007 4:02 pm Reply with quote
I think that Karas 1 was way better than Karas 2 simply because it was made to a significantly higher quality standard in terms of the animation quality. However, I do agree that writing-wise, Karas 2 was done better than Karas 1. Still more confusing than it needed to be, but at least things made sense in Karas 2, and almost everything was explained well by the end, which is better than with a lot of other anime out there (which end confusingly with many things unresolved or unexplained).

Story-wise I don't think it's fair to say that Karas 1 or Karas 2 had the better story. Because they are from the same series, they are the same story. If you don't like the new story developments of Karas 2, you can't blame it on these new episodes. Because the back-story has already been determined from the very beginning, so Karas 1 should inherit the same issues. The thing that one can look at though is the writing, i.e. how clearly and concisely the story is presented, and I think in that respect Karas 2 did a somewhat better job than Karas 1.
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Keonyn
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2007 6:36 pm Reply with quote
The role of part 2 was to bring the elements of part 1 together, so it's no surprise part 1 didn't make complete sense. I mean, of course it's not going to, you've only seen 50% of what is there to see.

I thought part 2 was weak, not just weak but really disappointing considering how long I've been waiting to see it. It doesn't top Advent Children when it comes to disappointment factor and I still somewhat enjoyed the ending, but it could have been far far better.

The explanations were there, but a lot of them were just way way too far fetched. Otoha's back story felt like a cruel joke and was way over the top, it made some of the most ludicrous old school comic books feel plausible. It also felt completely unimportant and dragged on and as a result so much after it felt rushed. The final confrontation was also one of the weaker battles in the series which was a disappointment considering it's the most important.

As far as superheroes goes there's always going to be some ridiculous components and things that are just ... way out there. But it felt like they tried too hard in Karas 2 to live up to that component of a superhero and it just made the sequel feel like a mess that wasn't sure what it was trying to be. It went from a more realist slant in the first to something completely over the top in the second. It also just didn't feel like the same quality was there, and I'm not just talking about the voices.
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Porcupine



Joined: 21 Jul 2004
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2007 8:51 pm Reply with quote
I agree that Part 1 couldn't be expected to make complete sense because the story isn't finished yet at that point. But I still think the writing in Part 1 was overall weaker than Part 2 (which was also not that great, but better at least). By that, I mean that IMO Part 1 was way more confusing than it needed to be. Not everything needs to be explained after Part 1, but the order in which many things were presented was not optimal to helping the viewer understand what is going on.

For example, why show "Nue" the "bad" Mikura in the opening sequence and quickly show Nue the good Mikura right after, when they look reasonably different (I'm assuming you are correct when you said that was Nue in the beginning with the weird mechanical eyeglasses). It's confusing. We should have been given a sequence to help explain who that guy is. And why change the number of triangular mustaches on Nue's chin from 3 to 1? At least keep something definitively constant, that way it helps the viewer understand it's the same guy.

Also the flashback order was kind of weird. First the previous Karas died, then suddenly time fast forwards 3 years in the future to Otoha being rushed to the hospital. Then, halfway through the first episode, the story flashes back 3 years to the previous Karas dead in bed, then suddenly flashes forward again 2 seconds later to Otoha's bed 3 years later. It's confusing, a better order could probably have been chosen I think. Also the "flashes" aren't obviously depicted visually so one has to guess when they are and how much time lapsed between them and in what direction. I personally believe that if most people have to watch more than 2 times over to fully understand what's been presented so far, then the show and script weren't written well. I doubt that anyone watching Karas the Prophecy understood everything possible in his first viewing.

The other confusion the above sequence of events gave me was that I thought Otoha had been Karas for 3 years. But actually he was only Karas for 10 days (as The Revelation revealed).
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mpchi



Joined: 19 Feb 2004
Posts: 54

PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2007 9:15 pm Reply with quote
I actually like the way in Karas vol.1 how things don't all makes sense. Keep me in the suspense, while the pacing of the action and the storytelling works well hand in hand with the progression. I ddin't find it too confusing or too hard to follow, as its obvious that the director intensionally wants his audience to feel a little bit disjointed and guessing. Though I do feel that in Vol.2, things are not executed so well. While I like Otoha's back story without feeling it being forced, I felt that they are almost too much in a hurry to explain everything to you all in episode 4. As if they heard people complaining about story a little confusing and throw them all out in the light. Especially not too fond of the Yurine being the embodiment of the city's spirit. Sound a bit lame, and not realistic. So do smaller towns not have one? How about suburbs or village? LOL. Rather them leaving some of it untold or vague, if it creates a sense of disbelief telling too much. Nue's brother also another plot element I don't like as much. While its a good motive for him to fight, but nowhere did all the Mikura became some powerhouse before, even the ones that died, and all became these generator-like machines of Eko's 'not very attractive new suit'. They could have just skipped all that, and just put some emphasis on Eko's sorrow. So we see & feel his reason to do what he does. Not just from his couple short monologue. The lighting on some of the fight scenes can be better too. Too bright and too much glow, & CG doesn't blend in as well as in vol.1, regardless still very detailed action and awesome animation. Could have used more dark environment and cast shadows like they did before. That CG dragon thing is especially jarring. Looks quite unpolish and out of place.

So overall, I feel that they have flawless execution from ep.1-3, and slowly went downhill on ep.4-6. But its not like its really bad. Still love the show. But ep.4-6 just did a few small things wrong, but enough to keep this from being an all time favorite unlike ep.1-3. Or more like an all-time favorite first half. Yet at the same time, you can't really recommend just half of a series to friends, can you? Razz This show could have been sooo great. It was really really close.
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Porcupine



Joined: 21 Jul 2004
Posts: 1033

PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2007 9:08 pm Reply with quote
mpchi wrote:
I ddin't find it too confusing or too hard to follow, as its obvious that the director intensionally wants his audience to feel a little bit disjointed and guessing.

...in episode 4...Especially not too fond of the Yurine being the embodiment of the city's spirit.

...all the Mikura became some powerhouse before, even the ones that died, and all became these generator-like machines of Eko's 'not very attractive new suit'.
It was already known at the end of The Prophecy that Yurine was the embodiment of the city's spirit. Episode 4 only re-explained this redundantly for the people who still did not understand from The Prophecy.

The Mikura did not become the generators of Eko's new "suit". Watch again, Eko undergoes his transformation BEFORE he even sacrifices his Mikura.

I hope you don't take too much offense at what I'm going to say next, but there appear to be several things about this show that you did NOT understand correctly. So your first statement above is meaningless. You didn't find this show too confusing or hard to follow, but you didn't even understand what it was about, so you don't have the qualifications to say if this show is confusing or not.

I also completely disagree that the director intentionally wanted Karas to be disjointed and guessing-like. I think he wanted to present a concise story but he simply failed, due to poor writing. I am not certain of that, it's just my opinion. But even so, it's certainly not "obvious" that the director wanted to present a purposefully mysterious story, since not everyone even agrees on that.
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Bushwack



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 10:01 am Reply with quote
I know this is belated but just watched Karas: the Revelation.

I had a number of problems with it. Chiefly the animation.

Lets face it the eye candy was the main thing this title had going for it and oh boy was I let down. They must have blown the whole budget in the first OVA.

As to story line... well sometimes its better not to know the whole story... the mystery and "we aren't even going to try to tie this together" elements of the first one are tossed out.

For me it turned into just another machines bad / nature good show.
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