Posted by psgels on 26 July 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews


Next up in the category of “very obscure OVAs from the 80s and 90s” is Karura Mau (or as its full title reads: “Hengeitaimayakou Karuramau! Sendaikokeshienka”, which I’d rather keep abbreviated for rather obvious reasons). It aired back in 1990 as a six-part OVA (there was a movie too, I believe), but my guess is that it never really caught on. Which is a shame, because it’s really good. If you’re looking for horror and know a bit of Japanese (yes, I watched this in raw, so don’t bother asking me where to find subs) then you should check this out.

Before I start this review, I’d like to note one thing about the OVA’s rather questionable promo-art that you can find on sites as AniDB and MyAnimelist, because for the love of god… it’s got absolutely nothing to do with what actually happens here. Where the heck did that overly BL-picture come from anyway, because this is a story about two sisters who work for a shrine. These two guys who appear in the promo-art never appear in this story at all.

Anyway, Karura Mau is a pure, unadulterated horror thriller. At first sight, it may seem that it’ll be a collection of 6 random horror stories, in which our lovely leads exorcise one ghost every episode, but instead this turns out to be a continuous storyline. It’s easy to just stab someone in the hand, or draw some random corpse or goon, but horror really tries to make these scenes have impact, and Karura Mau succeeds really well in this department. It knows exactly that good horrors comes with good characters, and so it makes sure that throughout only 6 episodes, the antagonists are fleshed out and developed really well into sympathetic characters. The result is that this anime gets better and better with every single episode.

Another major plus for Karura Mau is its terrific soundtrack, full of influences from the eighties that manages to create a perfect scary mood. The graphics also look really good for something that’s nearly twenty years old, but I want to give especially credit to the gory scenes and blood. Because this OVA comes from the time of hand-painted cells, the bloody limbs and corpses are drawn in such a way that can’t possibly be mimicked by today’s computerized animation techniques. The budget for this series isn’t stellar, but nevertheless it shows the beauty of hand-painted cells.

Unfortunately, this is yet another one of these anime with the “the manga is so much larger”-syndrome. In Karura Mau, this doesn’t show through the story (it’s pretty standalone and wraps itself up nicely), but through the main characters. It’s obvious that they were developed in another arc than the one of the OVA, and so they pale in comparison to the well-fleshed out antagonists. Especially the two main characters are guilty of this, and the OVA partly assumes the viewer to be familiar with the manga (which, considering the popularity of this OVA, must be even more obscure)

It’s really a pure coincidence that I managed to discover Karura Mau, but as a fan of horror, I’m really glad that I did. It’s another one of those ancient gems that nobody knows about, and it deserves to be subbed or licensed. Its protagonists may feel a bit weird at times, but the antagonists really make up for it.

Storytelling: 9/10
Characters: 8/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 8/10

5 Responses

  1. Petrouchka says:

    I’m guessing you got this on Share? I’ve no idea how to use that thing so I’ll try to look in some other places, but I have the feeling this is gonna be a hard one to find. Which is a shame, it sounded interesting.
    Also, if you’re a fan of horror, can I suggest you to give Kikoushi Enma a shot? It’s worth watching for the last two OVAs alone, as they give the humans more time in the spotlight than the main character. Not exactly original, but quite well-done.

  2. psgels psgels says:

    Petrouchka: actually, I got my version from the site below. You can just use bittorrent to download it, if you’re able to understand a bit of Japanese:

    http://saiei.edwardk.info/

  3. Petrouchka says:

    Awesome ! Thanks for the link, there’s a load of interesting stuff in there.

  4. jan_l says:

    where exactly did you download yours? i’ve been searching for it like mad and yet seems like not alot of people knows about this anime.

  5. Al says:

    There is indeed a Karura Mau movie and it is excellent. It takes place before the OVAs and gives much of the back story for the main characters. If you can, you should absolutely watch the movie first.

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  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 12:40 PM)
    @Bam, That sounds like the lamest Fan fiction of fate I have ever heard.
    @Miyako, Monty python and the holy grail never had a holy grail. Nor did they reference it much besides saying they were searching for it. Obvious troll is obvious, go back to your bridge.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 11:48 AM)
    @Wyatt@Friend: That exploitation/horror flick megan is missing was alright, doesn’t deserve to be in the same sentence as Martyrs however , Marytrs was much better. This film had a good idea behind it for a horror, it did actually try to make the audience care and the ending feels rightly grimy with one decent working shock, it got on the wrong side of corny at points though. Average fare.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 11:40 AM)
    @Bam@Realist: Tow ubukata writing psycho pass over urobuchi and a possible more ghost in the shellish feel at some point may get me to look into it someday.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 11:38 AM)
    @Wyatt: Also new apocalypse no toride chapter.
    Also meant to ask you, what is your opinion of “sad and tragic themed hentai” .
    Also I am now starting my 12 days of halloween thing with The prowler.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 11:36 AM)
    @Wyatt: To each their own but objectively/on assumption, those doujins you mentioned don’t sound that bad to me. And now I’ve gone and admit that a person of nutjob taste like me apparently likes the idea of vanilla hentai outside of yuri.
    I’d hope they have the permission of the creators to sell those doujins, but I doubt it. I’ve always used e-hentai instead.
  • Jalapeno Bagel
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 10:31 AM)
    I don’t know, it seems like a lot of sites have been less prolific lately. perhaps fall comiket’s goods have just dwindled and we have to wait for winter.
  • WyattX
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 07:30 AM)
    Basically, they just want more money, but they’re forgetting about the people who made the site possible: us. I’ve been frequenting the site since mid 2007.
  • WyattX
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 07:26 AM)
    I also filed a minor complaint to Fakku recently. If you’ve been there as of late, you’d know that they’ve started to publish & sell doujin on their own. However, this is taking up too much of their effort and is pretty unnecessary, because all that it has done is slow down their stream of new doujins. Other sites, like hentai.ms, has been comparatively far more prolific.
  • WyattX
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 06:39 AM)
    Example, obviously nsfw. This is Karma’s latest work: https://www.fakku.net/manga/rainsnow-english
  • WyattX
    (Monday, Oct 20. 2014 06:35 AM)
    If you’re that apt at writing pleasant slice of lifes, I’d recommend sticking to writing fluffy slice of lifes. Because you’re mediocre at writing hentai.

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