by Timothy Georgi
"The Chosen shall rule. The Foolish must perish. That is the natural course of fate..."
Time to revisit the bizarre world of Inca warriors and reincarnation in a few of the latest volumes of the series Nazca. For those who missed the review of Vol. 1: Blades of Fate in our last issue, let's go over a bit of background before we jump into Volumes 2 and 3.
Five hundred years ago, the Inca Empire found itself in the middle of a bloody civil war. The forces of two brothers clash as each side tries to claim the rights to the throne. But beyond the feud, there's a much more immediate battle brewing. One-time comrades, Bilka and Yawaru are in a battle seemingly more important than any other. The object of their desire is the High Priestess of the Sun, Aquira. Her position prevents her from going to either of them, but that doesn't stop the personal battle between two of the greatest warriors of the Inca. Both battles continue until desperation finally sets in and the losing side decides to release the overwhelming power of Iriyatesse, a weapon that nearly destroys the entire planet.
As we time warp back to the present, we find that Inca warriors have been reincarnated in present-day Japan. The reincarnated souls are forced to chose up sides as more of the warrior's sleeping souls are awakened and the battle lines are redrawn. Kyoji as the reincarnated warrior Bilka is forced to battle against his teacher and friend Tate, the reincarnated Yawaru. Remembering Yawaru's evil obsession to create a utopia for God's chosen people, Tate sets out to eliminate corruption from the world even if it means exterminating the entire population of the planet. Friends are pitted against friends, enemies against enemies as they become aware of their former lives. The battle is brewing once again and the final results could be devastating...
We rejoin the story with Kyoji returning from Peru to keep an eye on Tate. Walking on a bridge in the rain, Kyoji is attacked from behind and is thrust into the water. As he is propelled further downstream, Kyoji reflects on the recent events and ponders just letting the rushing water be his grave, but his Inca counterpart refuses to die.
The next day, Tate sends Shiogami and Daimon to go find the next sleeping soul and attempt to persuade him to join Yawaru. That next soul would be none other than Kyoji's friend Dan. Shiogami follows Dan as he's about to head out to the woods to do some hiking. As Dan gets out on the trails, Shiogami and Daimon meet back up only to find that an unexpected guest has appeared, Dan's friend Seino. Shiogami being his usual charming self decides that if he's not a sleeping soul, he's as good as dead. Shiogami transforms into the warrior Jigumi and attacks Dan and Seino in an attempt to awaken Dan's sleeping soul. They are taken by surprise when they're confronted with not just Dan but Seino also. Dan turns out to be the warrior Kamaros and Seino is the priest Amaro. Jigumi and Orehon try to talk Kamaros and Amaro to join with Yawaru, but both refuse.
Elsewhere, Kyoji confronts Tate in an attempt to find out why Yawaru must do what he's doing. After a rather pointed discussion, Kyoji realizes that he must accept the situation and decides that he must stop Yawaru and his evil ambitions to create his "perfect world". As Shiogami and Daimon return, Kyoji and Tate square off and Kyoji sends Tate flying through a window to the lawn outside. Shiogami tries to take down Kyoji, but he is forced into submission by Kyoji. The battle lines have been drawn and the fight is about to begin.
Later, Tate and company decide to perform an experiment to test the power of Iriyatesse. They travel out to a remote part of Japan and use Iriyatesse's power to destroy a town and everything in it. While preparing to release the power of Iriyatesse, Shiogami helps his half-sister Tatsuko awaken as the warrior Elela. After the test, Kyoji and his group arrive. Too late to stop the carnage, a pre-final battle ensues. Kyoji, Dan, Yuka and Seino are overpowered by Tate and his followers. Yuka is forced to use her powers as the High Priestess to transport them away from the fight. Safe for the moment, they must now find a way to stop Yawaru from releasing the full power of Iriyatesse.
Betrayal of Humanity
Tate returns to face Yuka and attempts to make her remember her feelings for him. Trying to use that as leverage to persuade her to join him, Tate takes Yuka on a trip down memory lane.
Bilka heads off on a long training mission having to leave Aquira behind. Years later, Yawaru and Aquira were set to be married when Bilka returns. Bilka supposedly accepts the fact, but deep down he still loves Aquira. Meanwhile, the High Priestess of the Sun was dying. As an extra twist of fate, Aquira was chosen to become the new High Priestess of the Sun. Now that neither Yawaru nor Bilka can have Aquira, they take their personal battle into the overall struggle for power in the Inca nation. Despite all the memories, she tells him that they weren't destined to be together in either time. Before Tate can do any heavy persuading, Kyoji shows up and breaks things up.
Tate retreats and decides to further his plans by heading to the sacred land of Asuka, the Japanese connection to the Nazca region in Peru. There Tate and his group must recreate the ground drawings that correspond to the ones in Nazca in order to unleash the greater powers of Iriyatesse.
Tate and the others end up releasing more of Iriyatesse's powers and cause disasters all over the world. After looking back at the destruction that had occurred, Tate realized that there was someone else that had caused the majority of the calamities. Tate links the assistance to a man named Satoshi Kariya. Satoshi openly reveals his true identity as the Inca priest Garos. He had been using his powers as a priest to aid the people of the small town he lived in to heal their wounds and illnesses. Despite his outward generosity, Garos has other plans for his powers. Will his agenda help Tate in his madness? Will he defy Yawaru and help Kyoji defeat Tate? Or does he have something else planned for the world? The adventure continues in the next volume of Nazca.
Yet again, Pioneer and New Gen have come out with some great stuff. Continuing with New Gen's "dubbing quality vs. mouth movement accuracy" stand, the latest volumes of Nazca have kept their quality levels high. There are a few times when you can see the effects of their choice, but if you're totally engrossed in the story and animation, you won't even notice.
As the main characters' voice actors have progressed through the series, the familiarity with the scripts and scenes have improved. There are very few places where you can find a voice that seems out of place.
With the newer episodes, various new characters have been introduced and the choices for VAs have been exceptional. The cast as a whole has several notable portrayals. Ted Sroka as Kyoji provides a youthfully stubborn feeling that in the early episodes screamed wariness and questioning and now is the voice of wild, uncontrollable passion for his cause. There are times where Ted takes Kyoji a bit "over the top" in the overly emotional scenes where the line between anger and flat-out rage meet, but they work well considering the type of scene. Shiogami's VA, Thom Adcox, with his raspy tones, lends a perfect sense of evil thinking and wonton disregard for everyone that isn't one of his allies. Wil Castillo, the voice of Tate, is the cool, calm one, projecting assurance and dignified power (albeit evil power, but power nonetheless).
Some of the recent additions have also integrated well with their characters. Dean Shelton as Seino gives us a sense of energetic youth with an occasional quiet powerful side. And the mysterious Garos, played by Ryan Paregien, sends the world into a sidetrip from Tate's evil ambition with his subtle accent, a nice contrast to Tate with just as much commanding power getting through.
The story is building to a grandiose climax as more and more pieces of the past are revealed and the present is being shaped to a seemingly tragic end for life on Earth. Will Tate succeed in his plans or will Kyoji be able to stop his evil ambitions? And what role will Garos play in the final outcome? Volume 4 of Nazca will reveal the answer. For those that can't wait to see how it all ends, Volume 4 is available now on DVD and VHS.
So, if you are a big time dub fan or if you're into the fantasy-reincarnation-swordfighting-endoftheworld type thing, this set from Nazca is exactly what you're looking for.