By Sherilyn Connelly
The Mystical Laws is an (un)holy mess, a religious tract masquerading as a paint-by-numbers hero's journey. It's the anime equivalent of one of those Christploitation movies starring Kirk Cameron, except in this case the hero is a surrogate for executive producer Ryuho Okawa, leader of the newish religion Happy Science, and described on the H.S. website as "a living Buddha and a Savior." Just like the protagonist of The Mystical Laws! The Happy Science logo is displayed at the beginning, but nobody involved seem to be fans of science -- in one of many interminable speeches, Darwin is cited as an example of how demons control humans by luring them away from faith, or something -- and the movie will not make you happy. The shame of it is, the potential for campy fun is there (The villain actually does a Vader-style Force choke!), but the onslaught of banal religious chatter is wearying, and worse, the film is cheap and unpleasant to look at. The use of half-baked rotoscoping is reminiscent of Ralph Bakshi's 1978 eyesore The Lord of the Rings, and the state-of-the-1997-art CGI creatures should at least be good for a laugh, but like everything else, they’re dragged down by the film's own self-importance. And the less said about the Vegans from outer space, the better.
Isamu Imakake Ayumi Fujimura, Banjô Ginga, Daisuke Hirakawa The Mystical Laws Scenario Project Ryuho Okawa


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