[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/karastitle350px_5295.jpg]]
->''"One...two...three...four...five...six...seven...eight...nine...and it is ten. Sway, to and fro, sway..."''

''Karas'' is a series of six {{OVA}}s by Creator/TatsunokoProduction, later released as a two-DVD set entitled ''Karas: The Prophecy'' and ''Karas: The Revelation''. It was originally produced [[MilestoneCelebration to commemorate Tatsunoko's fortieth anniversary]]. It is very [[{{HSQ}} awesome.]]

The plot is centered around Otoha, the new Karas of Shinjuku, Tokyo. Each city has a single Karas, humans empowered by a contract with the "Will of the City" to protect it. Oh, and each can transform into a sword-wielding knight, a jetplane, or a car-tank.

What makes Shinjuku more interesting is that its ''previous'' Karas, Eko, has decided that the city has been corrupted by humans, and intends to "cleanse" them from the land. To that end, he has created ''mikura'', [[{{Youkai}} demons]] bonded to machines. Most of the first half of the series involves Otoha tracking down and destroying these ''mikura'', leading up to the final battle against Eko for the future of the city.

Supporting characters include Nue, a [[GunsAkimbo dual-pistol wielding]] [[MeaningfulName nue]] who has his own beef with the ''mikura'', Kure Narumi and Minoru Sagisaka, two human police officers in the newly-created [[ParanormalInvestigation demon hunting division]], and Hinaru, a ditzy [[WhyDoYouKeepChangingJobs job seeker]] who survived of a water-goblin (mikura) attack.

Backed up by the near-constant presence of a soundtrack performed mainly by the Prague Symphony orchestra, infused at points with techno beats, the OVA series works to deliver emotionally as well as visually. According to the Other Wiki, reception was somewhat mixed based on the main characters being "underdeveloped". The first two episodes focused mainly on presentation and action, which is a long time to wait for the actual plot in a six episode series. Beautiful and spectacular as the presentation may be.
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!!Tropes:

* AbortedArc: Remember how it looked like the humans had some sort of connection to the story at the start?
* ActionPrologue: The series opens with what may well be the best action sequence of the entire OVA, in which Eko dispatches yet another of the younger Karas that the Will of the City has sent against him, leading to Otoha's recruitment to fill his predecessor's blood-stained shoes.
* AlienBlood: The Mikura have flourescent green blood.
* AnAssKickingChristmas: The entire story takes place around Christmas-time.
* AssKickingPose: In combat, your average Karas seems to spend more time performing these than actually ''fighting''. [[RuleOfCool Which is just fine]].
* AnimalMotifs: Most of the characters have one. Otoha's is a crow, which fits with his job title (Karas is the japanese word for crow).
* TheAtoner: [[spoiler: That would be Nue. And Otoha, to some extent.]] They've made some mistakes.
** It's hard to qualify [[spoiler: Otoha]] as an Atoner so much as an IronWoobie. [[spoiler: Product of ParentalIncest, rare male-version EmotionlessGirl, FriendlessBackground, and used as a weapon by his father/brother. When he finally gets a friend, he's not even the one who brings up running away. His friend does, and Otoha just replies "I'll go wherever you go." The only thing he ever expresses regret for is being born a human in the first place.]]
* BadassLongcoat: Otoha and Homura both wear them when not transformed.
* BadassNormal: Otoha before he was Karas. He liked to run around killing mooks carrying guns using only his sword.
** [[FeelNoPain Not quite so normal]], DisabilitySuperpower gives him a major edge over just about anyone.
* BigBad: Eko
* [[spoiler:BittersweetEnding]]: [[spoiler: So the entire city was destroyed, and what is the result? On one hand, the bad guy is dead, the city is being rebuilt, and most of the human cast has survived. On the other hand, the {{Masquerade}} apparently wasn't broken beyond apparently a few rumors of "ghosts" so nobody outside the main cast learned anything, a few important characters were killed, and, oh yes: THE ENTIRE CITY WAS DESTROYED!]]
* BreakTheCutie: Sagisaka's daughter Yoshiko is a post-break example, having become a near-catatonic mute after witnessing a mikura slaughter her entire class. [[spoiler:She gets better, with the help of Kure.]]
* BulletTime: Used liberally, but it actually seems to be an in-universe power of Karas and the Mikura. Often the surrounding PunyHumans will come out of slow-mo and be shocked by scenes of destruction that have suddenly appeared around them.
* ButtMonkey: Kure and Sagisaka, per their occupation as demon investigators in a city that refuses to believe demons exist.
** This is especially apparent for Kure, who gets his ticket jacked by a youkai before he even enters Shinjuku, and later, has to hide from a demon attack in a murky toilet stall.
* ByThePowerOfGreyskull: This is quite possibly the only series where someone else starts the TransformationSequence for the hero. The countdown to transformation is quoted above.
** Of course, she's basically the good form of an EldritchAbomination and the source of the power for the transformation...
*** More like the extended conscious of a {{Genius Loci}} or something
* [[spoiler: CallingTheOldManOut]]
-->'''[[NoNameGiven Mafia Boss]]:''' ''Would you really kill your brother..?''
-->'''Otoha:''' ''You're the only one who calls me a monster... [[spoiler: '''Father''']]!''
* CarFu: More like plane- and ''tank''-fu, but the idea is the same. [[spoiler:Nue manages a particularly fancy example, using a hail of gunfire to distract Tsuchigumo before ramming her with his motorbike... ''out of a window halfway up a skyscraper''. Unfortunately for him, spiders are very good at climbing.]]
* CatGirl: This is how the "Will of the City" is manifested.
* ComicBookAdaptation: A rare instance where the first American DVD came packed with a small comic book tie-in published by Dark Horse that explained the story's main conflict, as opposed to a tie-in manga.
** Surprisingly, the comic was originally published (full-sized) years ''before'' the DVD, so is more of a TieInNovel than an adaptation.
* ConspicuousCGI: Less conspicuous than most, but conspicuous all the same.
** Pretty much any time there's a transformed karas onscreen, it's CG. While some parts are conspicuous, much of it isn't as noticeable.
* CoolBike: Nue has one. Wanyudou can ''[[TransformingMecha become]]'' one.
* CoolCar[=/=]CoolPlane: The Karas's alternate forms.
* CuteMute: Sagisaka's daughter, Yoshiko. Subverted, in that she's catatonic after surviving a horrific demon attack.
** And just plain presumed to be insane for SAYING a demon did it. The catatonia is partly implied to be caused by the attempts to treat her. She'd probably be better off in a world [[ThereAreNoTherapists without therapists.]]
* DarkIsNotEvil: The main hero is themed entirely around black, darkness, and other signifiers. He's also TheHero, without even traces of AntiHero in anything but [[spoiler: his backstory]].
** Until he becomes a true Karas, and picks up that nifty gold & black costume.
* DeadlyDoctor: Otoha isn't actually a doctor, but he helps patch up the demons, so they call him "Doctor Karas."
* DisabilitySuperpower: Otoha, as a mere human, has CIP (Congenital Insensitivity to Pain), which is why he can't feel pain.
* TheDitz: Hinaru. The director said he designed her to represent the noblest aspects of rural folk trying to make it in the big city.
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: Hinaru being single while living in a small apartment in a large city along with her age make her seem like a ChristmasCake. She even sells them.
* DueToTheDead: [[spoiler:TheStinger to the series shows a crow feather drifting past Eko's artificial leg, as Otoha's way of honouring his fallen enemy.]]
* EyeScream
* FanDisservice: Tsuchigumo provides a ''lot'' of this. Which is sort of fitting, seeing as she's also [[MsFanservice the show's primary provider of straight-up fanservice]].
* GodsNeedPrayerBadly: The source of the show's central conflict. Youkai require human belief to exist, and so as humanity drifts away from them, the youkai world slowly withers and dies. The two Karas of Shinjuku have different ideas on how to deal with this.
* {{Gorn}}: The fifth episode dives right into this when [[spoiler: robot tentacles burst out of the ground all over Shinjuku and start impaling people and draining them of all their blood. And that's not even getting into the police chief turning into a robot bull and eating people alive in graphic detail.]]
* GrapplingHookPistol: Yet another weapon in the typical Karas's arsenal. It can apparently be fired from any part of the body, as well.
* GunsAkimbo: Nue does this quite a lot.
* GunsAreWorthless: Conventional firearms ''can'', in fact, inflict some damage on Mikura... in much the same way as beestings can inflict damage on an elephant. They're quite useful for temporary distractions, though, which is why Nue bothers to carry his considerable collection of them around.
** Nue's are specially designed and fire special bullets. They're still not very effective though.
* HenshinHero: The Karas
* HeroicResolve: Otoha's first act on waking up from his coma? Bisect a Mikura.
* HopeSpot: Otoha is taking on what amounts to a tank-sized mech covered in spikes. In his BadAssNormal form. With just a sword. [[spoiler: Tank-Mikura uses a WaveMotionGun and Otoha tries to block it. Initiate Karas BattleAura. And then the sword breaks, shards of metal spraying in Otoha's eyes. And he loses an arm. And coughs up blood. But he's still alive. Barely, and not for long.]]
* HumansAreBastards: The BigBad wants to wipe the city clean of human life, and for the most part, looks like a jerk because of it. That is, until the end when [[spoiler:the city police attempt to fire upon the weakened and non-aggressive youkai, just because they're scared of them. Luckily, there's a Karas around to set them to rights.]]
** We're talking about a guy who's been guarding his city for hundreds of years. And watched the Industrial Revolution rape the tradition, history, and mythology of Japan. The loss of honor and the rise of handguns. Invasion by foreign nations. He doesn't take it well. Eko's way into WellIntentionedExtremist territory, the show just doesn't take the time to expand on it. Sadly.
* KudzuPlot: The primary complaint about the series. It takes more than one viewing to get a really good idea of what's happening.
** First episode especially. Despite being really awesome.
* LaserGuidedAmnesia: One side-effect of turning someone into a Karas is that they lose their memories of their past life, presumably to eliminate any distractions from their duty. [[spoiler:Turns out that if they ''lose'' their job, the memories come back.]]
* LightIsNotGood: The main villain is themed around white, shininess, and light. He also has no traces of any morality except in his backstory.
* LooksLikeSheIsEnjoyingIt: Tsuchigumo's reaction to [[spoiler:being absorbed by Eko's DoomsdayDevice]]. [[FanDisservice Initially, at least.]]
* MagicSkirt: Near the end of episode 3, Yurine jumps out of a window of a tall building. We see her falling for a few seconds and, while her skirt flutters a bit, it stays down pretty well. Probably done mostly for the artistic element more than modesty, seeing as she wears full-length pantyhose.
* MilestoneCelebration: For the studio that produced this.
* NegatedMomentOfAwesome: [[spoiler:Sagisaka, an aged human, almost doing in the Police Chief turned bull demon with supernatural trinkets and wards, until being chomped to death.]]
* NotSoDifferent: A very subtle, but genius example. [[spoiler: The main character and the main villain are ''exact opposites''. The main villain started out as a hero, but became a monster. The main character was a mafia hitman before becoming a hero.]]
* OedipusComplex: [[spoiler: Eko, who sees the city as a father-figure and Yurine as a mother-figure]].
* OneWingedAngel: Basically everyone who fights. The ''mikura'' have their mechanical forms, and even the Karas have their alternate forms--although that's more of a SuperMode than anything else.
* OurVampiresAreDifferent: The Mikura are predators in human guise who feed on the blood of mortals, which is pretty standard for vampires. They're also technosorcerous TransformingMecha inhabited by spirits from Japanese mythology, which is... less so.
* ParentalIncest: [[spoiler: Otaha's]] father/brother.
* ParanormalInvestigation: Kure and Sagisaka work as Shinjuku's sole paranormal police task force, making them a bit of a joke to the rest of the police.
* TheQuisling: [[spoiler: The mayor.]]
* RedEyesTakeWarning: The Mikura are often depicted with these whilst in their human forms.
* RuleOfCool: The series uses this all the time, especially when it comes to the monsters and transformations.
* SceneryGorn: [[spoiler:The lovingly-detailed destruction of Shinjuku]] is all about this.
* SoulJar: A Karas's TransformationTrinket doubles as this. It's quite a user-friendly design, too - if the amulet is damaged or otherwise disrupted, the soul inside is returned to its original body rather than being destroyed. [[spoiler:Not only, that, but the Will of the City can make you a new one if your current one breaks.]]
* SoundtrackDissonance: The music that plays while Otoha cuts down a gang of guys trying to gun him down is a slow blues. Saxophone and all.
** A remix of the main Karas theme, in fact.
* SpinToDeflectStuff: An ability shared by the various Karas (mostly using their remote-controlled weapons), and by the Mikura Kamaitachi (mostly using the various whirling blades fitted across his body).
* TheStoic: Yurine, in comparison to her Karas Otoha.
** The advent of Homura reveals that [[spoiler:most, if not all the Yurines act this way.]]
* SuperSpeed: Otoha and other Karas can move so fast they can slash demons (who can move so fast that time appears frozen to them) over a dozen times before said demons can react.
* ThisIsGonnaSuck: [[TheBaroness Tsuchigumo]]'s impressively understated reaction once she realises that [[spoiler:the hospital patient she just ate wasn't the Karas's real body]].
* TheUnintelligible: Kamaitachi, who seems to speak like a tape playing backwards. Fortunately, his speech is subbed. In the dubbed version though, he's subbed in ''Japanese.'' That's an unfortunate trend with dubbing.
** Presumably that's from the original footage. In the dub, he speaks pretty normal, with some heavy editing. Auto tuner maybe?
* VoluntaryShapeshifting: Karas can use [[GeometricMagic magic]] to transform into armored knights, planes, tanks, or back to human. ''Mikura'' can use this to become mechanical monsters. Or, more accurately, they can use it to hide as humans.
* WhyDoYouKeepChangingJobs: Hinaru, who works as a Christmas tree salesgirl to complement her other job as a gimmicky news reporter.
** She actually quits the reporting job after the incident. Wanted to start fresh.
* WidgetSeries: Quite a few things, including Nue's role in the story and the bad guys, make a lot more sense if you're familiar with Japanese mythology.
* XMeetsY: ''{{Guyver}}'' meets ''Franchise/TheCrow''.
** Or Franchise/{{Batman}} meets KamenRider, what with the brooding atmosphere and transforming hero legacy.
* {{Yakuza}}: [[spoiler: Otoha]]
* {{Youkai}}: Are invisible, but possess a symbiotic relationship with humans. As humans stop believing in them, they start to get sick.
* ZettaiRyouiki: Homura's outfit when she isn't transformed is a Grade A, whereas her Yurine sports a Grade C.
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