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Project Itoh: Empire of Corpses Standard Blu-Ray
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From the studio that produced Attack on Titan (WIT STUDIO) comes a captivating historical action thriller based on the novel by Project Itoh. In an alternate version of 19th century London, the world has been revolutionized by "corpse reanimation technology" creating armies of undead who serve the living as labourers across the globe.
In an attempt to revive his dearly departed friend, young medical student John Watson becomes obsessed with replicating the work of Dr. Victor Frankenstein the legendary corpse engineer whose research produced the only re-animated corpse to possess a soul. But when his illegal experiments put him at odds with the British government, Watson is drafted into a worldwide race to find the lost research notes of Victor Frankenstein before the secrets of the human soul fall into the wrong hands.
Contains the Film with both the English dub and the original Japanese track with English subtitles.
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The animation (by Attack on Titan's WIT Studio) is flat-up astonishing, with stunning action sequences and constantly fluid and realistic motion. There are also plenty of clever weird walk cycle variations for the walking corpses, and the snow and wild weather conditions are almost realistic when combined with the film's stunning background art. All of its characters have distinct and interesting personalities and backstories, and even the film's villains have very understandable motives - one wants to end humanity's war and suffering by stripping it of its free will, and the other simply wants to bring his dead wife back to life, even if he has to force her soul into an innocent woman's body to do it. The philosophy and moral ambiguity of the film are extremely thought provoking, and the story's pacing is flat-up flawless, being just slow enough to allow for proper world building and characterisation but not so slow as for it to become boring. The film preferred to build up intrigue rather than go all-out n action, which while surprising for a WIT Studio project, I really can't complain about due to the complexity of the story. The voice acting, even in the dub, was also superb. I was genuinely shocked to learn that an entirely American voice cast of "Funimation favourites" was used, because the English accents were that good (VERY surprising since many of these same VAs gave awful accents in Hellsing and didn't even bother to do English accents in the dreadful Code:Realize dub). Then again, maybe this time they were actually given proper accent coaching...
Anyway, the main issues that the movie has lie in its pay-offs for the things it sets up. For example, the film's titular "Empire of Corpses" (a city inhabited only by walking dead and one mad scientist), is actually only a tiny part of the story, and its leader (who is set-up as a major villain early on) just doesn't really do much and then goes nuts and kills himself. The entire existence of the Empire of Corpses itself is almost completely superfluous to the film's plot with the exception of one major character death that could have easily been shifted t another scene. The guy's warning that Watson (the protagonist) should destroy rather than use Frankenstein's notes also doesn't really make much sense since his goals were innocuous, and why the main characters continue to abide by the wish of the plainly insane weirdo who made a country for dead people is completely beyond me. The soundtrack also sadly didn't live up to the film's visuals. I also don't understand why Frankenstein's Monster attacked San Francisco about 2/3 of the way through the film or how most of what he does factors into his plans at all. The forced linkages to 19th century literature also really bog down and confuse large parts of the plot, especially since they create huge plot holes within the literature that the film is claiming to tie into.
With that said, it was unbelievably cool to see the Nautilus smashing into the Tower of London.
So, yeah, this film is mainly rule-of-cool, but its also an excellent philosophical character study and a visual marvel. 9/10 highly recommended [especially if you like steampunk].
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