Animation has long been used to teach the concepts of religion to new followers, so it’s not absurd, in principal, that Ryuho Okawa would minister to the masses via anime in “The Laws of the Universe: The Age of Elohim.”
But the prophet and founder of “Happy Science” must be counting on a lot of uncritical eyeballs and ears greeting his pan-theistic messaging with minds untainted by say, exposure to the Many Myths and Faiths and more importantly, the many movies this religious anime goulash was concocted from.
“Age of Elohim,” set hundreds of millions of years ago in Earth’s past, features a universe of competing, space faring races of species ranging from human or elvish to simian, feline and reptilian, all engaged in a struggle of good “vulnerable” races vs. bad “aggressive” ones.
It’s stereotypical at best, Japanese-style racism at its worst.
Film fans will note the imagery and ideas cribbed from everything from “Battlefield Earth” to “The Chronicles of Narnia,” with crab-soldiers from “Starship Troopers” tossed into the salad at one point.
That’s pretty much the theology our Japanese guru is selling, too. “The primordial Buddha of the Universe” assigns gods to rule planets and star systems, with Lord Elohim the ruler of Earth. Characters speak of “the Supreme Truth of God.”
An Amazonian warrior Yaizael is sent from Vega in Wonder Woman gear with a magical samurai sword to help defend the many diverse immigrant (from elsewhere in space) and reincarnated races of Earth from the simian/reptilian minions of the evil blonde mastermind Dahar, Mr. “I won’t go EASY on you, just because you’re a girl.”
Just when things look their bleakest, the bearded Amor shows up looking suspiciously like the guy on every crucifix the world over, with his winged warrior (archangel) Michael.
So Jesus (as one of the many insipid “Ooooo oooo ooo, ahhhh ahhhh ahhhh, uhhh, uhhhh, uhhh” choral ballad/hymns says) saves the day? Preaching “diversity” and “love for all races?”
C.S. Lewis was a Buddhist?
Is Okawa a John Travolta fan? Because you know he didn’t stop with “Battlefield Earth.” He must’ve watched “Michael” as well. And “Narnia.”
The animated vistas, depicting an Olympus-mythic Earth that looks like EPCOT built in the age of the Pharaohs, are impressive. The action is TV anime generic and underwhelming. And the story is cut and paste rubbish, with dialogue that…loses something in translation.
“Of all the different types of people, I despise YOUR kind the most!”
The mix-and-match theology I’ll let you make your own mind up about. One tip though. Having a lot of movies under your belt really pulls the curtain on this Japanese “Oz the Great and Powerful,” a prophet who plainly plumbs the outer reaches of Netflix for his version of the wisdom of the ancients.
Cast: English language voice cast not credited
Credits: Directed by Isamu Imakake, scripted by Sayaka Okawa, Ryuho Okawa. A Freestyle release.
Running time: 1:59