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MALICE@DOLL
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Reviewed by: JimmyO

Directed by: Keitarou Motonaga

Starring:
Laurence Bouvard
Rhiannon Baines
Noah Lee Margetts

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
After a bizarre and intimate encounter with a strange being, Malice’s doll parts become human. She soon realizes she has a seductive power as she discovers her kiss can bring pleasure and pain.
Is it good movie?
Now if only Hollywood had half the imagination as the CG animated beauty Malice@Doll, we would have some wild and wonderful stories. This anime creation is a vivid and atmospheric tale of a doll. You see, in the future, humanity has ceased to exist. Leaving behind dolls that had been created for pleasure. And when they have nobody to please, they begin to deteriorate. Malice is one doll who realizes, when she starts leaking fluid (tears?), that she is broken. In a quest to be repaired, she runs into a strange, alien form that makes her human. Not understanding, but more than a little excited, she reveals her new form to the other dolls. When aware of her new form, they only express fear and hatred for her. Not knowing what to do, she uses the only knowledge she has; her kiss. What the others soon realize is that her kiss will bring them the ultimate pleasure and pain. She turns dolls into creatures that would make Clive Barker proud.

The animation here is beautiful yet sometimes filth ridden. Each shot feels like some kind of modern piece of art which you cannot really understand but may speak to you on some deep level. The dolls are designed to be stunning creatures until they are released into their nightmarish form by the kiss. At first they are seduced by the excitement they find but soon realize that suffering will follow. It’s a fascinating look at how innocent we view the world and how quickly we are taken in by beauty and pleasure. And Malice remains innocent for much of the film, not realizing the plague she spreads. She was trained for a single purpose, “I will give you a kiss. This is the only thing I am able to do.” At first her naive nature became unnerving. Can anybody (even if they are a doll) be that clueless? But after awhile it made the concept more believable and disturbing.

Although beautiful, I did feel Malice tended to be quite plastic. Yes the idea is fantastic but I think the script could have taken it farther. Even the sexuality on display seemed tame for the type of story told. I felt that many times they wanted to avoid crossing the line which I think was a mistake. Steeped in sexuality, violence and gore, the visuals did not take it far enough. Luckily, they made up for that by giving us incredible animation including the head of this vivid landscape, Joe. A dolls face, part alien body and a little bit of something else thrown in. Malice as a doll and as a human with all them fleshy parts was pure beauty. She was perfectly drawn as someone caught somewhere between innocent and seductress.
Video / Audio
Video: Full screen 1.33:1 for a nice transfer.

Audio: Dolby Stereo in your choice of Japanese or English. The Japanese with subtitles is the wisest choice, it fits the mystery and music much better than the good to just plain awful American dubbing.
The Extras
The extras for this DVD are not quite as exquisite as the pleasure dolls themselves. They include Bio/Filmographies for Shinobu Nishioka - character design, Yasu Moriki - creature design, Keitaro Motonaga - director and Chiaki J. Konaka who wrote the script. This is a read and click. So if that’s your pleasure…

Next we have a few Character Models which is also a read and click. And it is also very short.

Interview with the Creators (26:00) is like sitting next to some people having a conversation about making movies on a large balcony area because that is what it is. The camera work is much too MTV for my taste, especially for a freakin’ interview. But not to worry, we also have…

Final Fantasies (31:03) is a lecture with Jonathan Clements, co-author of The Anime Encyclopedia. I dug this although it felt like one of those funky college courses that you take because you don’t want to take a math class. Good lecturer though as he discusses the current state of CG animation. Very informative.

We get a few Trailers including Malice@Doll, Alice and Blue Remains. They all seemed worth a look.

And finally we get Artwork which is another point and click.

And if you don’t happen to speak Japanese the extras are available with or without subtitles.
Last Call
A wonderfully imaginative look inside the world of dolls made for the pleasure of the flesh. There is much to like here, from a creative story and some beautiful animation but it is not a perfect film. The story opens so many doors but they are not fully explored. The sexuality, the gore and all the other elements are only hinted at. Thankfully you have a very flawed yet interesting character named Malice who will make you more than you ever imagined with a single kiss. Pucker up, baby!
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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