Karas: The Revelation picks up where its predecessor left off, continuing the conflict between demon “Mikuras”, the protagonist, Otoha, and the human population of Tokyo. Otoha has been chosen as a “Karas,” a super powered benevolent guardian that protects the city of Tokyo. In Karas: The Revelation, the seeds of the first movie come to fruition. The confusing, at times incoherent, plot of the previous movie becomes more focused as characters mature and a stable narrative emerges. Karas: The Revelation untangles the series of character subplots, which made up the first movie. These are woven together as each are unified by the threat of Eko, a rogue Karas, who is hell-bent on utilising demons in his plan to cleanse humankind.
The movie initially suffers from its use of subplots, making the story disjointed and difficult to follow. The audience has to patiently trust that the separate and seemingly irrelevant stories of various characters would begin to take meaning. They do, but it takes too long. Characters in Karas II grow, becoming more complex and substantial: Otaha’s former life as a gang member is explored and we see glimpses of Nue’s tragic past. Conflict exists between demons and Karas, but also in the conscience and intentions of many of the main characters. Whilst many characters are explored more fully, undeveloped ideas continue to detract from the movie throughout, as it fails to effectively bring all of its plot elements together.
The plot takes on a darker, more epic scale than first movie, which was a little trivial at times. Karas: The Revelation’s grittier storyline is epitomized a scene of a child crying over her dead mothers’ corpse in the aftermath of a demon attack. We didn’t see anything like this in the first movie. As the struggle between demons and Karas escalate, we see the impact on the main characters and the human population. This puts the story in context and develops the unifying narrative that Karas’ last offering badly lacked. The plot remains interesting, and has a few good twists. With a stronger central plot, each character’s story is given meaning and perspective as their role, intentions and relevance become clearer.
The art direction in Karas: The Prophecy was outstanding, littered with stylish and beautiful fight scenes and backgrounds. Karas: The Revelation maintains the blend of 2d and 3d effects, however it does not reach the artistic heights of its predecessor. Thematically, Karas II continues to explore the tensions between modernity and Japanese tradition. Eko believes humanity has become arrogant and his city, corrupt. He is motivated by a desire to restore the right balance of power between the demons that represent tradition, and man. The Fiends are helpless spirits that rely on human belief in their existence for survival. Karas II explores the contrast between modern living in a bustling city and traditional Japanese culture and morality.
Karas: The Revelation doesn’t flit between subplots as much as its predecessor. Characters’ stories merge to provide a cohesive and interesting narrative. Characters development becomes much more complex, drawing the audience in. The animation was good, but failed to be as impressive as Karas I and elements of the storyline continued to suffer from lack of depth. However, as the plot came together, things improved it concluded with a satisfying ending.