Review: ‘The Mystical Laws’

Crackpot mysticism, screwball spirituality and an anime style that recalls early "Astro Boy" are the hallmarks of "The Mystical Laws."

Crackpot mysticism, screwball spirituality and an anime style that recalls early “Astro Boy” are the hallmarks of helmer Isamu Imakake’s “The Mystical Laws.” The brainchild of cult leader Ryuho Okawa and his Happy Science religious organization, this Manicheanism-meets-“The Matrix” tale of a fascist takeover on the “Planet of Love” (Earth) received an Oscar-qualifying run in November. Wherever it goes from here, the rudimentary visuals will alienate anime fans; the fuzzy-headed anti-intellectualism will boggle even the most science-averse viewers; and the philosophizing bombast should have any remaining auds ankling early.

In the year “A.D. 202X,” the Godom Empire (a vision of a future, swastika-waving China) is marching across the planet, crushing all in its path. The U.S., having cut back on military spending, is no match for evil Godom leader Tathagata Killer, who is about to invade a Japan too morally/spiritually weak to resist — except for a resistance movement known as Hermes Wings, one member of which will turn out to be the reincarnation of the Buddha. The evoking of divinities, none of which seems capable of putting much motion in this motion picture, is pretty delirious, as is the thinking.

The Mystical Laws

Animated - Japan

Production

A Happy Science presentation. Produced by Zuisho Motochikawa, Koji Matsumoto. Executive producer, Ryuho Okawa. Directed by Isamu Imakake. Screenplay, Ryuho Okawa. (Color); music, Yuichi Mizusawa; art director, Masaaki Kawaguchi; visual effects supervisor, Yumiko Awaya. Reviewed at Sony Wonder Technology Lab, New York, Dec. 14, 2012. Running time: 119 MIN.

With

the most science-averse viewers; and the philosophizing bombast should have any remaining auds ankling early. Voices: Ayumi Fujimura, Banjo Ginga, Daisuke Hirakawa.

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