STUDIO: Manga Video
MSRP: $19.98

80 Minutes

• Behind-the-scenes montage
• Concept art/Final animation comparisons
• Trailers and TV Spots
• Intervews with cast and crew

The Pitch

meets Cat Soup, with a little of Marvel
Comics’ Darkhawk thrown in."

The Humans

language: Jay Hernandez (Hostel), Matthew Lillard (SLC
), and Piper Perabo (Coyote Ugly).

The Nutshell

There is
another world co-existing with ours, just on the other side of the veil,
wherein demons and spirits live. Apparently, that world isn’t such a nice place
to live, because scores of those nasty critters try to force their way into our
dimension. When they do, they do strange things to humans, such as drain them
of all bodily fluids and/or submerge them in water with frogmen.

To battle
all this incoherency comes Karas — who isn’t a person so much as a thing that used to be a person — and his
trusty sidekick Yurine, who, according to the back of the box, represents the
will of the people. The Karas fights against the bad demons and keeps the human
world safe for puppies and pedophiles, furries and fusty old cops alike.

"I was all right with the cucumbers and the dress-up,
but I draw the line at the dingy bathroom. I am a professional!"

The Lowdown

Karas: The Prophecy is not a self-contained film. It
is not a story that has a beginning, middle, and end. Apparently, it’s the
first in a two-part series, and it has a cliffhanger that jars you like a car
crash, or, more accurately, like a commercial break. It doesn’t have an arc of
drama, character, or plot. It is flatlined all the way across, and then it
stops — not dead, just out of space. And it’s only eighty minutes long.

The rules
of the world are completely concealed from the audience’s perception, which
makes getting into the story, such as it is, a monumental challenge. This isn’t
an example of restraint on the part of the filmmakers, it’s pure distraction;
they are so concerned with driving into the next flashy action sequence or
sequence of surreal juxtapositions that they seem to say, "Fuck the
audience. This is our masturbation fantasy."

Icthos 2.0 focuses much more of the power of Jesus. Buy your crate today!

actions sequences are decent, but the angles, moves, and exchanges of blows are
so reminiscent of other more successful films (just try and avoid the specter
of John Woo) as to render them boring. The 2D animation is gorgeous, but the
melding with CGI is ineffective and laden with cheap effects that put me in
mind of a script-kiddie playing with the lens-flare filter in Photoshop.

This is
the latest production from the venerable Tatsunoko Productions (who did Speed
and Battle of the Planets), who have harnessed admirable talent in
creating cheeseball action before, but this isn’t even that. This is ripoff
cinema (my favorite bit: a skeptic detective is paired up with an investigator
of the paranormal to discredit the latter’s theories). It is flashy,
distracted, and distant — a complete failure in terms of world-building and plot,
and only a modest success in technical achievement.

Hey look! The monsters went away!

The Package

Audio and
video quality are worth some praise. Both language tracks are available in 6.1
Dolby Surround, with a perfect mix. Dolby 2.0 is also available. The video is
anamorphic 16×9 widescreen, and as crisp and color-balanced as could be.

bonuses are scant and brief, though informative. You get a behind-the-scenes
"montage" (i.e., edited poorly and lacking a focus), a couple
comparisons between concept art and finished footage, a few original Japanese
trailers, and some slight interviews with the Japanese cast and crew.

5 out of 10