Laws of the Universe Part 1 Review
Laws of the Universe Part 1 is an animated feature film which opens today, October 12th. Despite its name, it is actually the second in the anime series written by Happy Science founder Ryuho Okawa. We’ll get to Happy Science in a minute, but first let’s talk about the film.
The plot of Laws of the Universe Part 1 revolves around a group of young heroes who protect the earth against invading aliens. An evil overlord named Dahar enchants one of them, Tyler, forcing his best friend Ray to travel back 330 million years to try and save him. Tyler goes a little bonkers and completely destroys the home planet of a group of Reptilians led by Queen Zamza — leading them to flock to Earth for sanctuary. Shenanigans ensue as Zamza first tries to conquer Earth for herself, then joins Ray in trying to save his friend and planet Earth from evil.
Now…who are the makers of Laws of the Universe Part 1 and why should you care? Well, it is backed by religious organization founded in 1986 by Ryuho Okawa, called Happy Science. On its website it claims to be “Japan’s biggest and the most influential religion,” (actually, that is Shinto) and Okawa furthermore claims to channel Jesus. Now, I feel people can believe what they want to believe as long as they don’t hurt others, so more power to him. But the reason I bring it up is that this explains a lot about the plots in this series.
There is a lot of new-Age spirituality injected into both films. In this one, Alpha, the God of Earth and his wife, appear as golden angelic figures who live in a flying Egyptian-style pyramid to moralize and save the day. In both the earlier film, Laws of the Universe Part 0, and this one, there’s a lot of talk about reptilians and apocalyptic alien invasions, the true spiritual nature of man, brotherly love and understanding, and other things which seem kinda odd for an anime.
When I saw the first movie three years ago, this puzzled me — until I put two and two together and found that these ideas are based on some of the teachings of Happy Science. So, I think it is kind of a dissemination or enlightenment vehicle rather than a pure creative work by storytellers. There is a definite religious angle here, although I wouldn’t go so far as to call it propaganda.
This latest film, Laws of the Universe Part 1 (why oh why isn’t it called “Part Two,” since its the 2nd?) thankfully is more action-packed and less “preachy” than the first film. The animation is pretty great except for one giant CGI-spider thing which doesn’t do the rest of the animation justice.
There are some unintentionally funny moments, such as when a group of primitive early humans start chanting what I believed was “ENEMA! ENEMA! ENEMA!” and the reptilians show delight at the idea of eating this tasty “HUMAN ENEMA.” Gross!
Until I realized they were saying ANIMA…which I imagine means soul or life force. Awkward.
And there is this gem of a line: “Don’t forget to remember your place!” Actually, you could have just said “Remember your place!” but I’ll let that slide because this was translated from Japanese and little grammar things are forgivable.
The filmmakers did use some great voice talent for the English dub, including Kari Wahlgren and Tom Kenny, so that is a plus.
The film is long, at exactly two hours, but there is enough action and decent visuals to keep you entertained throughout. If you end up watching it, I would love to hear your feedback. Was it too spiritual? Too melodramatic? Just right? Leave a comment below!
For showtimes and tickets, go to: https://www.elevenarts.net/animedistrbution/laws-of-the-universe-part-1
Watch our interviews from the first movie’s red carpet in 2015.