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ADV Films presents
Sin: The Movie (2000)

"Sometimes, staying alive is harder than dying."
- John Blade (Kouji Ishii)

Review By: Dan Lopez   
Published: February 01, 2002

Stars: Kouji Ishii, Kikuko Inoue, Hiroya Ishimaru
Other Stars: Karori Yamagata
Director: Yasunori Urata

Manufacturer: Cinram
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (extreme violence, gore, nudity)
Run Time: 00h:59m:41s
Release Date: October 31, 2000
Genre: anime


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B C-A-B+ C+

DVD Review

Sin marks a unique point in the world of anime, primarily because it was entirely funded outside of Japan, although it was a Japanese studio that delivered the final product. It's also interesting because the project was entirely created by ADV studios who had previously only been known as a fan-favorite distributor of anime. Add to that, the unlikely basis on an entirely American-developed video game, and you have something with a unique spin. This spin, though, ends once you've read what I just said, because while Sin has a lot going for it conceptually, the actual movie itself is very weak.

At just under an hour in length, Sin's wafer-thin plot is rooted in the thoroughly mediocre 1998 PC game of the same name. Set in the distant future (when a second New York is built in the sky above the original, on an immense structure), Sin is mainly about HardCorps, a special police force that has been assigned to pursue a series of murders and disappearances associated with a nearly-indestructible, mutant creature. The leader of HardCorps is John Blade, a cyborg whose father was murdered years previous. As the film begins, there is a flashback in which Blade's partner, JC, is killed by this creature while pursuing it into a sewer. Driven by revenge, he continues to pursue the monster, suspicious that a pharmaceutical company called SinTek may be connected to the beast.

Meanwhile, SinTek's insane leader, Sinclaire, who is indeed behind the plot to create "perfect" genetic mutants and let them loose all over the world for no discernible reason. Here we have the elements for good cop and evil villain, but anything beyond is simply not explained. It's not as much that the plot is confusing, it's just plain stupid. Eventually an incomprehensible subplot is introduced about a little girl, Elysse, who is wanted by SinTek because her DNA is valuable: The monsters will grow stronger if mixed their DNA is mixed with hers. Elysse is kidnapped, Blade grabs some guns to go kill everyone at SinTek, and copious violence ensues. Despite some good artwork and character design, Sin is actually pretty dull.

Once I learned that it was primarily Americans that conceived and developed the show, my disappointment in it began to make more sense. Not that Americans are incapable of making good anime, but Western stereotypes of what makes good anime are all inflated to ridiculous proportions. We have tons of explicit gore (for which there is literally no need), the two female leads have to spend at least one scene entirely nude (again, not for the sake of the storyline), and a female villainess dresses entirely in lingerie, despite being a genetic scientist.

There is no need to take this route to be make an anime intense and action packed, but had Sin actually been exciting, I might have overlooked the previous flaws. But it's not. The action sequences are a bit muted and limited, usually ending before they begin. There's no real plot progression, just entanglement and an insanely short running-time. The film also uses an embarrassing mixture of cel-animation and computer generated scenes, which don't really join together very well. It feels forced and gimmicky, especially when, for example, computer graphics are used for something as simple as random data on a computer screen. Some scenes are just laughable, with CG objects often only having maybe one or two poorly animated parts.

In the end, I understand little about Sin. It was a stupid game to begin with; a derivative, first-person shooter game,that I don't think was popular enough to warrant this much attention. ADV had a clever idea to try and bring anime to a more "legitimized" territory—although in 1999, I'm not sure that was necessary. I think they could have made something much bolder , and much more beautiful.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: C-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Image qualites varies a bit here and there, but overall, it is extremely good for animation. While the cel-animated portions have slightly gray black level, the CG portions are digitally perfect, for lack of a better term. The transfer itself doesn't add any additional problems, and everything is crisp and clean.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, Japaneseyes


Audio Transfer Review: Both Japanese and English 2.0 soundtracks are roughly the same, with plenty of energy and action. There aren't many surround effects, but the front speakers get some decent directional material with bassy undertones. The soundtrack is actually a bit flat for what it could have been, but it isn't too disappointing. The biggest element worth mentioning, however, is the fact that the English dub has some retooled script elements from the original Japanese version. If the story is vague and dumb in the Japanese, it's even moreso in the English dub, which makes enough small changes that they add up to one big confusing element. I've heard conflicting reports that English was the original language, but even so,the story seems to make more sense in Japanese.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 8 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
8 Other Trailer(s) featuring Spriggan, Farscape, Shadow Raiders,Gasaraki,Generator Gawl, Bubblegum Crisis 2040,Neon Genesis Evangelion, Samurai X
1 Documentaries
Packaging: Scanavo
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Character Profiles
  2. Conceptual Drawings
Extras Review: A 20-minute making-of feature is comprised of interviews with the developers ofSin, as well as those involved in creating in the original video game. Unlike mosts mall features on DVDs, it has it's own chapter stops (10 to be specific). There is a gallery of conceptual art and a character profile guide that offers background on each person. There are also several trailers in a reel on the disc.

Extras Grade: C+

 

Final Comments

Sin is another example of a failed American anime; barely passable entertainment, but with no real substance or lasting effect. A weak effort for a project intended to add anime aspects to more traditional American animation.

 


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