Characters from Dengeki light novels (Sword Art Online, A Certain Magical Index, Toradora, Durarara) duke it out in Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax, an arcade game being brought to the PS3/PSVita

This looks absolutely awesome!

It features many of the popular franchises from the Dengeki Bunko imprint – basically, light novels. Here is the full list:

  • Asuna – Sword Art Online
  • Kirino Kosaka – Oreimo
  • Kirito – Sword Art Online
  • Kuroyukihime – Accel World
  • Mikoto Misaka – A Certain Magical Index
  • Miyuki Shiba – The Irregular at Magic High School
  • Rentaro Satomi – Black Bullet
  • Shana – Shakugan no Shana
  • Shizuo Heiwajima – Durarara!!
  • Taiga Aisaka – Toradora!
  • Tomoka Minato – Ro-Kyu-Bu!
  • Yukina Himeragi – Strike the Blood

As it is published by SEGA, it will also feature two SEGA characters: Selvaria Bles from Valkyria Chronicles and Akira Yuki from Virtua Fighter. Here is some gameplay of Selvaria and Yukina:

Here is some gameplay of Misaka Mikoto and Shana:

As some might notice, the game uses the original artstyle of the light novels. I think that is pretty neat.

Opinion: Toshi Suzuki’s comments about Hideaki Anno’s role as the “next-Miyazaki”

The latest news concerning the state of Studio Ghibli has just reached the United States. As Scott Green on Crunchyroll puts it,

During this, Suzuki spoke to Anno’s role in the future of anime, and the ever-popular subject of a next-Miyazaki, insisting that after Miyazaki, it has to be Anno.

As those “in the know” are familiar with, Ghibli is going through a “restructuring” period right now as it tries to adjust to losing the most well-known, and perhaps most prestigious, anime director living today, Hayao Miyazaki.

Toshio Suzuki’s comments add an additional entry to Hideaki Anno’s now 30-year public relationship with Studio Ghibli. Anno had first received major attention as an animator when he worked with Studio Ghibli on the 1984 film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. He was known for animating the “god warrior” at the end of the film, as shown below.

Last year, Hayao Miyazaki has stated that, if a Nausicaa sequel were to be made, then he would be willing to let Hideaki Anno direct the film.

When asked if he was interested in making a continuation or part 2 of Nausicaä, he replied, “No, I don’t. I don’t really feel like doing it, but Anno keeps on saying, ‘I want to do it! I want to do it!,’ so I tell him now that I’ve come to think lately that if he wanted to do it, it would be fine for him to do it.”

Will Hideaki Anno become the replacement for Hayao Miyazaki?

It is important to not jump ahead. Is that question even worth considering? Let us look at it this way.

I am a little confused about the terminology that Scott Green uses. Specifically, “next-Miyazaki.” What is a “next-Miyazaki”? Hyphenation changes the meaning of words. Why hyphenate “next Miyazaki”? To me, there is a difference between “Anno is the next Miyazaki” and “Anno is the next-Miyazaki.” I can also confused by the fact that Anno is “a” “next-Miyazaki,” not “the” “next-Miyazaki.” What is the difference? Well, I can only provide my opinion.

My position on this is that they are not actually considering Anno joining Ghibli. As I have talked about in my previous article,

The general manager of Ghibli, Toshio Suzuki, made it clear what they want to do when he retired in March from producing. As was said in an article by Anime News Network, “Instead, he hoped to step aside and boost the new era of Ghibli with “young strength” such as 36-year-old Nishimura and 40-year-old Yonebayashi.”

Toshio Suzuki is on record for saying that he would like Ghibli’s young talent to lead the studio. He said this back in March. If he is already considering abandoning that plan, then I feel very sorry for the current Ghibli employees.

Perhaps what Toshio Suzuki means is that, Anno must assume a leading position in the anime industry. Hayao Miyazaki is the most well-known anime talent in the world, even after he has retired. He is one of only two anime creators to ever win an Academy Award (the other one being Kunio Kato). Spirited Away is Japan’s most financially successful film ever, with a box office total of $330 million.

Anno is, to a lesser extent, a world-renown anime creator. His series, Neon Genesis Evangelion, is considered a must-watch for anime fans around the world. Even Robin Williams was a fan of the series. The Evangelion anime has also spanned a very successful media franchise.

So, the question then becomes, Should Anno become the “face” of anime for overseas audiences?

Preview: “Under the Dog,” the latest anime to appear on Kickstarter

“Our enemy is the light of humanity”

The latest animation production to hit Kickstarter is “Under the Dog.” It needs $580,000 to reach its goals and they currently have $181,303 pledged. This goal trumps previous Kickstarters such as Masaaki Yuasa’s “Kick-Heart” goal of $150,000. On the “pledged” side, both “Kick-Heart” and the already-produced series “Time of EVE” had made over $200,000.

Set in the year 2025, the International School for Boys and Girls operates as a cover for recruiting minors into its “elite death squad,” as the “Under the Dog” Kickstarter page puts it.

The catalyst for the International School for Boys and Girls was a deadly terrorist attack on the 2020 Summer Olympics. Created by the United Nations, its intended purpose is to hunt down anyone with “special abilities.”

The Kickstarter page makes no mention of it, but my impression of it is that this story has some sort of “super powers” thing going on. They use terms such as “specially enhanced groups of terrorists” and “gifted high school students, each with their own special abilities.” The one that stands out, however, is “These troops are tasked with ferreting out and exterminating all individuals with powers like their own.” I read that, and I can only imagine something similar to X-Men. Except in this instance, we are given the perspective of the hunters. However, nothing about super powers was stated explicitly.

On the other hand, I am reminded of series such as “From the New World.” Here we have a society that heavily tries to trample out these “new humans.” In “From the New World,” we saw humans trying to control a specific group through mythology, folklore, culture, and illusion. Here, we are given murder. Further, “Under the Dog” establishes the hunters as not being ruthless killers, but reluctant heroes. The Kickstarter page offers us this definition for the phrase “under the dog”:

when one is in a situation so disagreeable that they would wish to rather be “under the dog,” a place of dishonor, misery, and filth, in order to escape their current state of affairs

While they are hunters, their situation is not rosy. Last, the recruits of the International School of Boys and Girls are forced into service by threat of their and their family’s lives. Failure means the death of the recruit and his/her family.

Is the fact that “Under the Dog” feature minors operating in a military combat capacity an oversight or social commentary about reactionary tendencies? They are high school students, after all. Let’s look at the official definitions for “child soldiers.” The United Nations (the creators of the International School for Boys and Girls in the setting) has stated that anyone over the age of 15 may enter military service. As stated on the UNICEF website,

The Convention also set 15 years as the minimum age at which an individual can be voluntarily recruited into or enlist in the armed forces

It goes further on to state,

States must also raise the minimum age for voluntary recruitment into the armed forces from 15 years but does not require a minimum age of 18. The Protocol does, however, remind States that children under 18 are entitled to special protection and so any voluntary recruitment under the age of 18 must include sufficient safeguards. It further bans compulsory recruitment below the age of 18.

“bans compulsory recruitment below the age of 18”? Of course, the UN does not pay attention to that part in this setting – possible social commentary? The catalyst was a terrorist attack, so the very fact that the UN is forcefully recruiting soldiers into its “elite death squads” could be a comment that organizations will change their attitudes because “terrorism.” Whether it’s a simple oversight or social commentary, one thing is for sure: we have another story about terrorists.

Let’s start with the production staff. Under the Dog actually features an international staff so far. On the Japanese side, we have Masahiro Ando as director, Yusuke Kozaki providing character and mechanical design, Hiroaki Yura as producer, the story provided by Jiro Ishii, Kinema Citrus as the main animation studio, and Orange Co. providing the 3d CGI. On the international side, we have Kevin Penkin providing the original score and John Kurlander as Mixing and Recording Engineer. Keiichi Momose, a Japanese, works with those two as Audio Director.

Masahiro Ando started as a key animator and has worked on series such as “Neon Genesis Evangelion” and “Jin-roh: The Wolf Brigade.” Pinpointing down exactly what he has animated in those works is a bit tricky, but fortunately for us he has been credited for animating the first “opening” for the series “Monster Rancher.”

As you might notice, his style has highly detailed body movements. Taking that, crediting Masahiro Ando at Sakugabooru for this scene in “Jin-roh: the Wolf Brigade” seems more believable to me:

 

Yusuke Kozaki is perhaps best known for providing the character designs for “No More Heroes” and “Fire Emblem: Awakening.” Here are the character designs that they have posted so far on the Kickstarter page:

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He has also completed designs for the “Trike.” These are pretty cool.

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There are a lot more images of the “Trike” design on the Kickstarter page.

Perhaps the strangest of the bunch is Hiroaki Yura. He brings with him very little animation production experience. He does, however, have a successful career as a musician. According to an interview of Hiroaki Yura by the Anime News Network, he was awarded a scholarship to the Sydney Conservatorium of Music at the age of twelve, and he is one of the youngest recipients of an Associate Diploma from the Australian Music Examination Board. Nowadays, he is the founder and Artistic Director of the Eminence Symphony Orchestra in Sydney, Australia, and he is also the founder of Central Intelligence Arts, Inc. who created the Kickstarter page and most likely acts as the production company.

As producer, he is most likely responsible for bringing all of this talent together. Websites are unfortunately quite scarce on his professional history, however, the Kickstarter page claims that Hiroaki Yura has worked on anime such as “The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya” and “Steins;Gate Fuka Ryōiki no Déjà vu (movie)” (which Anime News Network confirmed as “Orchestra Conductor”). For Disappearance, no one has listed his contribution, however, he has stated on an AMA on reddit that he was “Music Director.” Here is what he had to say about that:

I worked on the two films as Music Director / Supervisor.

What I did was to direct music recordings to make sure it suited the story and the picture at specific times so I knew the story back to front and knew what we had to convey through the music.

I had great fun working on Haruhi as we spent a long time trying to hone in on the details of the emotion that the picture and the VAs were trying to convey.

Very interesting.

The story was originally produced by Jiro Ishii, director of the critically acclaimed video game 428: In a Blockaded Shibuya. He created the story back in 1997. That video game was also semi-adapted into the animated series CANAAN, which was incidentally directed by Masahiro Ando, director of this animated production. He has also worked for Chunsoft and currently works for LEVEL 5. Not much more information is available on Jiro Ishii, unfortunately.

Now, onto the sound crew. We have a very interesting team here so far – two foreigners, John Kurlander and Kevin Penkin.

John Kurlander is the more famous of the two, having worked on films such as Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. He is a “Balance Engineer / Remixer,” according to his website. Working on the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy earned him three Grammy Awards.

Kevin Penkin is the younger of the two, but he is impressive in his own way. His first professional gig was at the age of 18 when he collaborated on a Japanese video game with Nobuo Uematsu (best known as the composer for the Final Fantasy series). He has worked with Jiro Ishii before on the video game “Phoenix Project.” He actually tweeted about “Under the Dog”  on August 8th:

He seems to be quite excited about this project.

Last but not least, we have the Audio Director, Keiichi Momose. He is primarily a sound director and has worked on series such as Mitsuo Iso’s “Dennou Coil,” Katsuhiro Otomo’s “Steamboy,” and Masaaki Yuasa’s “Kaiba.”

Now that we’ve gotten to this point – will you fund the project? I have not decided. I do think it could turn out to be a pretty decent anime. If they get enough money, they will produce movies as well, which I would watch as well. On the other hand, I am not too keen on being an “amateur investor.”

Other resources

Some thoughts on the whole “Studio Ghibli” fiasco

I call it a fiasco, because it totally mislead a large number of people.

I had been getting hearsay about this whole thing for a long time: “Studio Ghibli is going to close” and whatnot. I had been told by someone that “Studio Ghibli is stopping animation of animated feature films.”

At this point, that was pretty much all I knew. I had no concrete details. I knew some rumors, and I also knew that Hayao Miyazaki was looking to retire soon. I have also heard rumors that Isao Takahata, co-founder of Ghibli and longtime friend and collaborator with Miyazaki, is looking to retire. Another co-founder, Toshio Suzuki, announced earlier this year his intention to retire from producing but he remains the Studio’s representative director.

I did kinda know that this would happen eventually. And so does Hayao Miyazaki himself. That image had been circulating around the internet, and it supposedly comes from a documentary called The Kingdom of Dreams & Mandess. I myself cannot verify this, nor the subtitles, because the documentary is not released in the United States (yet).

My perception of the situation was basically, Isao Takahata and Hayao Miyazaki are retiring, if not already retired, and Studio Ghibli will become a license management company.

Here are my thoughts as of then:

  • Studio Ghibli closing is regrettable, but inevitable; nothing lasts forever. Look no further than the opening passage of The Tale of the Heike for an insight into impermanence:

The sound of the Gion Shōja bells echoes the impermanence of all things; the color of the sāla flowers reveals the truth that the prosperous must decline. The proud do not endure, they are like a dream on a spring night; the mighty fall at last, they are as dust before the wind.

Translation was done by Helen Craig McCullough. Impermanence is an important concept in Buddhism (in fact it forms the basis of its entire metaphysics), so I am not surprised that Hayao Miyazaki would be quite comfortable with Ghibli closing.

  • While it is regrettable, it needs to happen: Ghibli is far too reliant on Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. I have not cared for anything this studio has made in the past 15 years. Ghibli is also a large studio with a lot of young talent, and that young talent needs to either be given a chance to create their own work, or they have to move onto other things. In my opinion, Ghibli is a studio resting on its laurels.

I continue to believe those two points, however, things have changed. As it turns out, the closing of Ghibli’s animation department was not the entire story. Yes, it is closing, but no one said that it was closing forever.

Essentially, what is going on is, Studio Ghibli is restructuring. The general manager of Ghibli, Toshio Suzuki, made it clear what they want to do when he retired in March from producing. As was said in an article by Anime News Network, “Instead, he hoped to step aside and boost the new era of Ghibli with “young strength” such as 36-year-old Nishimura and 40-year-old Yonebayashi.” They are closing the animation department for now, possibly so they can save money while they figure how to adapt to changing conditions. This, by the way, is not uncommon; businesses will shut down temporarily all the time, either because of economic conditions or so they can plan.

They have realized that they will not have the financial resources to continue operating the same way; instead of releasing a movie every year that breaks $100 million in revenue, they will have to make due with half or a third of that. These “young strength” cannot bring in the same money as Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. One plan they talked about was switching how they produce movies: instead of keeping full-time animators on-hand all the time, they might have to change to freelance workers or temporary hire; that is, animators will only be there when the department is working on a project. It also worth mentioning that changing the structure of a business is not something that can done overnight.

What about Ghibli becoming a license management company? Well, that is more like a plan B. If Ghibli cannot remain financially solvent, then they will go with that.

Of course, anything is possible, but the point is that nothing is really set in stone right now. They do plan to continue making movies, but they have to figure out how to keep making them with less money and with new talent. Keep in mind that Isao Takahata, Hayao Miyazaki, and Toshio Suzuki are all retirement age; they are the ones that have been running the show, but now they have to hand that job over to young talent. Unfortunately, that young talent cannot make movies that sell as well as their predecessors.

One last thing, and this concerns the retirement of Isao Takahata: I have not found anything that makes me believe this. The closest I can find is speculation. Is he retiring? Well, eventually. But I do not know when, and I highly doubt anyone outside of Ghibli knows either.

UPDATE: Oh I do not pin the blame on Studio Ghibli themselves, just bad translations and baseless rumors. Check your sources, kids.

New Yamato 2199 film trailer!

Here’s the story:

2199 AD. Yamato tried to leave behind the great Magellan system, after receiving a “Cosmo Reverse System” at his destination, Iskandal. However, suddenly, he encounters a mysterious group at the edge of the Magellan system. He finds out that they are called the “Gatlantis,” and that their leader is the Gutaba expedition group’s governor-general who calls himself “Goran Dagam of the Thunder,” and the governor-general demands that Yamato be handed over to him. Yamato, wanting to hurry to Earth, escapes the fray. However, Yamato is attacked by a vicious beam weapon called the “Flame Direct Attack Cannon” that can transcend space.

Yamato was able to retreat within a hair’s breadth, but ends up getting himself lost, and finds himself in a strangely-colored irregular dimension. He decides to turn off the engine on the ship, and explore the mysterious planet. In order to collect information, Kodai, Kirio, Sawamura, Niima, and Aihara also arrive at the planet. What they saw when they arrived was a ship that wasn’t supposed to be there.

Dagam chases after the traces of Yamato’s warp, and also reaches the strangely-colored galaxy. The planet on which Yamato landed was in fact what Dagam had been looking for all along.

I fucking knew it. While it certainly does not take a rocket scientist, I predicted that Gatlantis would be appearing in the story eventually. Ah, that feels good. Yamato 2199 is a gigantic fangasm for anyone that is a fan of the original. It’s hard to describe, but I think an American counterpart would be the Marvel Cinematic Universe and its huge metanarrative (I knew they would tie in Guardians of the Galaxy with the Avengers… I almost hit the floor when Thanos showed up – I don’t really know anything about comics, though).

There’s also this neat picture:

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Not sure what that ship is in the background – perhaps a new Andromeda design? Considering how faithful they’ve been, I don’t see that as being likely. It kinda looks like a Gelvades Class Astro Battleship-carrier, but those were destroyed by the Yamato.

Eh. I’m not too good with ships.

Source: ANN.

The Mystical Laws: insanity, Japanese nationalism, and hate disguised as love and tolerance

Image from: Spin Serpent.

According to the official website, The Mystical Laws is a movie that predicts the future; it is “prophecy.” We are told that the events happen in the year “202X” which means any of these events could happen in that ten year span of time. Which is wonderful, because that gives them a ten-year leeway to work with. What do I mean? Well, I could create a prophecy and then say, “This will happen in the year 2XXX!” I just gave myself more than 900 years to work with (2014-2999). Awesome! This prophesy stuff is easy. This is, of course, assuming that any of the prophecy in this movie is ever going to happen.

Let’s go straight into it: none of what happens in this movie will ever happen, not in ten years, not in a hundred years, not in a million years. The movie begins with China being taken over by a man named Tathagata Killer (“Killer” is his last name!) with the help of someone named Leika Chan. Leika Chan is an alien that possesses technology 1,000 years ahead of humanity’s. Seeing as the creators claim this film is a prophecy, they are literally predicting that China will be taken over by aliens in 10 years. They actually believe this shit.

It gets even crazier. On the film’s official website, there is this little snippet,

One of the most evil events in the memory of the human race must be the ambitions of world domination by dictator Adolf Hitler. The Swastika-bearing devil’s ambitions were defeated many decades ago and the tyrant died too. Yet, the devil had not. What if the present central figure of China has been possessed by Hitler’s spirit…?

Words were bolded by me, everything else is exactly as present on the website. It is very strange that the website asks that question, when later on it says that the film is prophetic. Well, what is it? Is this a “what if” film or a prophetic film? Inconsistencies aside, the website claims that this film is prophetic. And, as you can clearly see, this film predicts that in ten years the leader of China is going to be possessed by Hitler’s spirit. Just… WHAT?

This is not a joke. If you think it is, it is not. This film is serious. The people that made this movie are serious. They seriously think that China is going to be taken over by a man possessed by Hitler’s spirit with the help of aliens. Within the next ten years.

What we have talked about so far does not even scratch the surface of how crazy this movie gets. What is the explanation, though? Who the hell made this, and for what purpose? The Mystical Laws is the product of IRH Press, a publishing company based in Tokyo. IRH Press is the publishing, broadcasting, and film portion of the religious organization “Happy Science.” What the hell is Happy Science, you ask? Get a load of this…

According to Happy Science’s official website, the religion of Happy Science is centered around a god named El Cantare. El Cantare is the “Lord, Buddha and Savior,” as the website puts it. It later goes on to say that El Cantare is the Lord of all people, which incidentally includes “Jesus Christ, Moses, Confucius and others, who are known as Angels, Archangels, Tathagatas, and Bodhisattvas.” You hear that? El Cantare is the Lord of Jesus Christ! In other words, El Cantare transcends and even rules Jesus Christ!

But it gets even better. Not only is El Cantare all-powerful and the rightful lord of all humans, El Cantare reveals himself through humans. “And who,” you ask, “has he revealed himself through in our modern times?” Well, that question is fucking easy! Obviously, El Cantare has revealed himself through the founder of Happy Science, Ryuho Okawa. Ryuho Okawa is actually a rather successful author, with an impressive over 500 books published. From my impression, they seem to be mostly spiritual self-help books. Luckily for us all, Happy Science has not yet reached Scientology levels of religious fervor and violence; they mostly preach love and tolerance. Which is fine.

But is that really what this movie is about? Not really. It does talk about love and tolerance, but after some research I get the feeling that Okawa does like not China and North Korea at all. In an article by David McNeill, he gives us a good overview of Happy Science. He also talks about the political views of Happy Science:

Offering what it calls a “third choice,” the Happies have an eye-catching manifesto: multiply Japan’s population by 2 1/2 to 300 million and make it the world’s No. 1 economic power, and rapidly rearm for conflict with North Korea and China. If elected, the party’s lawmakers will invite millions of foreigners to work here, inject religion into all areas of life, and fight to overcome Japan’s “colonial” mentality, which has “fettered” the nation’s true claim to global leadership.

The religion, and the movie itself, puts heavy emphasis on accepting others. Which is fine and everything, but when you consider their hostility towards China and North Korea and their desire to use immigration as a means to make Japan powerful, it reveals a new perspective. Is all of this mumbo jumbo super charged Japanese nationalism? Is the movie’s insistence that we accept others simply an attempt at making Japan the most powerful country on the world, through immigration? Considering that, I am convinced that this movie was aimed solely at a Japanese audience; that the Japanese should tolerate immigrants, because it will make Japan powerful. We’ll talk about this a little later, because there is a movie to talk about.

Let’s get back to the film. It basically follows a man named Sho Shishimaru, a doctor working for Earths Doctors, a cover-up for a secret organization named Hermes Wings. I do not exactly know what this organization does, but apparently they fight the Godom Empire. The Godom Empire is China ruled by ghost Hitler with the help of aliens. The Godom Empire is on a mission to conquer the world, and all nations (including the United States) are helpless to stop them.

Again, we have a political statement: the Americans cannot defend Japan. The film cites the decrease in military spending by the United States as the primary reason as to why the USA cannot fight back. This is an actual political position of the party, as stated in the article:

“We can’t keep depending on the U.S. and the rest of the world. We have to stand up for ourselves.”

So, because China is evil and wants to conquer the world, Japan gets conquered because those pesky Americans are helpless against alien technology!

But the implication is even greater. They profess love and tolerance not for its own sake, but so that Japan can go to war with China and North Korea without the aid of the USA. Going to war with China is a key policy of this political party. They want Japan to be rearmed. They want Japan to replace the USA as the world’s superpowers. Which is fine, but they sugar coat all of this under love of their fellow humans. It’s disgusting.

As it turns out, Sho Shishimaru is the reincarnation of Siddhartha Gautama, according to these ancient scrolls that some Indian monks found. Well, as I learned through research, he is actually not only Buddha, but also the reincarnation of El Cantare. Buddha was also one of them, as was the Incan King Rient Arl Croud, Hermes, Ophealis, La Mu of the Mu continent, and Thoth of Atlantis.

Here we have a look at Japanese-centrism: the main character, Sho Shishimaru, is Japanese and the savior of civilization. The Indian monks claim that he’s going to save all of humanity (from the Chinese and Koreans), but really the movie only cares about him saving Japan. Most of the movie happens there, and it doesn’t help that he only speaks Japanese. Japanese-centrism, everyone.

This film seems to be aimed at someone that actually knows anything about Happy Science, because it is fucking confusing as hell and it does whatever it wants. Characters are revealed as aliens with little to no foreshadowing, things happen because the plot demands it, and nothing is ever really explained as to why certain things are the way they are. For instance, perhaps my favorite part of the movie is when an alien reveals to the main character that one of the ancient “gods of the Earth” was in fact an Incan King called Rient Arl Croud. What? An Incan King? Why? Just by watching the movie, you will never know why an Incan King was once the god of Earth. I actually learned why by researching about Happy Science. As it turns out, El Cantare had revealed himself to Rient Arl Croud over 7,000 years ago. They never say this in the film. This shit happens all the time in this movie.

Aliens play a pretty prominent role in this film as well. Numerous characters are revealed to be aliens, and as it turns out, the root cause of all this chaos was because of aliens. Aliens tried to migrate to the planet Earth during the time of Rient Arl Croud. He agreed to let them live on Earth, with conditions, but unfortunately these aliens brought with them destructive weapons. The Godom Empire possesses that weapon, by the way. What is that weapon called? Hilariously, it is called the “ultimate destructive weapon.” Well, that’s straight-forward! The aliens brought these with them, for whatever reason. Sho Shishimaru has to stop the Godom Empire from using this weapon and killing out all of humanity.

As the reincarnation of El Cantare, Sho Shishimaru also has visions of the future. This bit gets a little confusing, because the film establishes that he cannot change the future. Vision about Japan being invaded? Can’t change it! Visions about someone getting killed? Can’t change it! Visions about you being chased? Can’t… wait, did he just evade those guys? In one scene, he has a vision about being chased by pursuers. He successfully evades them. Why was he able to change that vision, but not the others?

This Sho Shishimaru guy is something else, though. He doesn’t really do anything in the movie. He listens. And meditates. And stares. And talks. And that’s it. Every single time he has tried to accomplish something, he’s failed. Tried to infiltrate the base? Oops, I failed! Try to save this one guy? Failed again! It’s a wonder why he is such a big deal. He talks about love and tolerance and all that shit. Does he actually defeat the Godom Empire? No. Servants do that for him. Does he stop the “ultimate destructive weapon” from killing all of humanity? No. Someone else does that for him. Other people save the day, then he takes the spotlight and preaches about love and tolerance and shit, and then everyone says that he is so great for whatever the fuck reason. Pisses me the fuck off. Goddamn fuckhead.

The Mystical Laws is just one long-ass two hour exposition dump. Every single fucking opportunity they get, they start explaining the beliefs of Happy Science. Eventually the movie just becomes an alternating pattern of plot twist, exposition, plot twist, exposition, and so on. It’s just so goddamn fucking tiring. EXPOSITION, EXPOSITION, EXPOSITION. YOU KNOW THAT GUY? HE’S AN ALIEN! EXPOSITION! OH WHO’S RIENT ARL CROUD! KING OF THE INCAS? EXPOSITION! OH YOU KNOW THAT GIRL? EXPOSITION! SHE’S AN ALIEN! EXPOSITION! OH WHY ARE THERE ALIENS? OH WAIT THAT GUY ALIEN IS AN ALIEN TOO! EXPOSITION! SPACE SHIPS!

FUCK THIS SHIT.

Sigh… let’s move on. Visually, well, the film is OK. The CGI is pretty bad, and it looks like something pulled out of a PS2 game. The action sequences are a snore fest, and they seem to be there just to lengthen the time of the movie. I will admit that it does look better than I would expect. I don’t know how they managed to get this film made, though. The Mystical Laws was directed by Isamu Imakake, which is surprising considering he has worked as a key animator for series such as Neon Genesis Evangelion and Cowboy Bebop. He has also directed another film written by Ryuho Okawa, called The Laws of Eternity. That makes me wonder what their relationship is like.

The music was done by Yuichi Mizusawa, who has mostly worked with Ryuho Okawa in the past. He has worked on The Final Judgment and The Golden Laws. I do not think I will ever watch those two movies. I did not notice the music at all in The Mystical Laws, so that says what I think about the music.

Art direction was provided by Masaaki Kawaguchi. Interestingly, he has worked on a few of the Doraemon films and Shin-chan. It is very strange to go from Doraemon to… this.

Is there anything good about this movie? I don’t even think so.  I think even saying, “this film was animated,” is offensive. Even so, I think the only good thing to come out of this film was actually found on the website:

We believe that animation film has great power to send out important messages, and it is grand possibility of animation

Fuck you. This movie is a damn lie. “Love and tolerance” my ass! The real message is, “love and tolerate immigrants, so that Japan can go to war with China!” That’s the real fucking moral of this movie! They don’t give a shit about anyone else; these guys want Japan to rule the world. That’s the real goal. The savior of human civilization? Japanese! Love and tolerance? Come to our country and make it strong so we can wage war with our neighbors!

Is this movie really prophetic? This movie basically says to its (Japanese) audience, “If you don’t accept immigrants, Japan will be conquered by China!” Is that the true prophecy?

Warmongers have taken love and tolerance as their banner. This movie is not retarded; this movie is dangerous.