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Yuki in Comet

August 2002                                                  SITE MAP   SEARCH
Yuki Terai: Secrets

created by Kenichi Kutsugi

79 minutes (18) 2000
Escapi UK DVD Region 2 retail
[released 26 August]

RATING: 6/10
reviewed by Steven Hampton
It was probably British TV show Max Headroom (1985), and William Gibson's novel Idoru (1996), which bought the curious phenomena of virtual stardom to the attention of non-SF fans in the West. Belatedly, here's the first of a 'virtually real' range of disc compilations that introduce computer-generated media icons to the new generation of techno geeks.
   Japanese 'teenager' Yuki Terai appears in eight short episodes, ranging from the kung fu action movie style of cat burglary in Comet The Thief (eight minutes), and beyond-the-looking-glass dreamland chills of Mirror (five minutes), where she's menaced by a multitude of 'clones', to robot dog sitcom Dos/Chin (seven minutes), which ends in near tragedy, and music promo Fly Away Alone (six minutes) where she performs as a lounge singer. Perhaps the most ambitious sequence here is the sinister sci-fi thriller Lazy Gui (seven minutes), in which a deadly computer virus on a spaceship repeatedly threatens our scantily clad heroine. The silent movie contemplation piece, A Life (five minutes), sees her getting dolled up to a cello score for an apparent suicide - which may be reason for otherwise inappropriate adults-only certificate, while the WWII spy drama vignette Project BB-II (four minutes) looks like it's simply the trailer for a much longer tale, and My Dearest You (five minutes) is another music video with the chameleonic Yuki in disco diva mode.
   These subtitled episodes of 3D anime have varied rock or electronic scores and impressively cinematic angles, framing and 'camera movement' producing plenty of seductive images. However, by 21st century standards this is cut-price CGI and although the motion capture techniques are exemplary, the texture mapping and ripple effects are sometimes so flawed that 'fabrics' look stiff as cardboard. Tomb raiding adventuress Lara Croft may have reason to worry about losing popularity, but the quality of animation in feature film, Final Fantasy (2001), is far superior to anything here.
   DVD extras include a series of making-of items covering technology and tricks of the trade used to create the character, plus a slideshow of stills and artwork, and trailers for other Escapi releases.