DVD Review: Lady Death – The Motion Picture

lady_death_screenshot_5Is 101 Films DVD Release of Lady Death’s animated movie adaptation any good or should it remain in hell? Find out in our DVD Review of Lady Death – The Motion Picture.

Synopsis:

Her legend begins in the 15th Century, stripped of her innocence through her father’s betrayal, a pious, young woman, Hope, is sentenced to a trial by fire. She reluctantly accepts Lucifer’s offer of life in hell over a hideous painful death. Lucifer’s offer takes a diabolical twist as she discovers her true origins and the existing fate of her lost love and departed mother.

Unable to corrupt a soul of such purity, Lucifer banishes Hope to the horrors of hell, where she must find the strength and courage to survive and ultimately return to free the souls of the ones she loves. Together with the valiant outcast, Cremator and her trusted companions, Vassago and the Nameless Wolves, she is transformed into the powerful warrior LADY DEATH and challenges the Lord of Lies for control of Hell itself.

Our View:

Lady Death: The Motion Picture is the animated adaptation of the American comic book with the same name, with it depicting the events of Hope, a beautiful young women, who after being accused of being the devil’s spawn and tricked by her farther is transformed into the hell raiser known as Lady Death, with revenge being the only agenda on her mind.

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The story starts in 15th Century Sweden, with Hope (the main character of this film) peacefully living out her daily life within the village, while in another part of village her farther, Matthias, is seen by the local priest violently rounding up villagers under the pretence of doing god’s work. Angered by Matthias’s action, the priest rally’s every abled villager and storms Matthias castle in order to look for answers, during this escapade however Hope learns that her farther Matthias is preforming demonic actions with the villagers he has rounded up and so to save the one she loves she makes a deal with her farther that leads her on the road to hell.

It’s from here where the story really starts to get interesting, as Matthias is transformed into Lucifer a demonic red demon that mimic’s satan while Hope goes through her own transformation from the innocent and beautiful women to the avenger Lady Death. During the rest of the film Lady Death acquires new accomplices by defeating them in battle, forms an army and interacts with many demonic beings all of which want to help Lady Death get her revenge on her farther and save the boy that she loves.

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It’s pretty clear that Lady Death isn’t a Japanese anime and not because it was produced by American companies, but because the animation style used has a child friendly vibe to it with the characters and scenes being overly bright for the topic that it’s trying to portray. The film does contain bloody violence, mature themes and occasional swearing but the animation mixed with the brightness levels of the character design don’t really do it any justice other than to say “this looks like a kids film but it isn’t for kids”.

Extras:

Seeing as this release is just another ADV Re-author viewers are treated to all of the original extra content and while this may seem like a good thing (and usually it would be) it’s actually a bad thing as all of the DVD Menu’s are in German.

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As you can see (in german) included extras for this DVD release are production artwork, a behind the scenes look at the film and ADV Trailers, with even the ADV trailers being presented in German.

  • Visons of Hell – Landscape & Minions Artwork (4 minutes each)
  • Animating Death (20 Minutes)
  • ADV Trailers (Neon Genesis Evangelion Platinum Collection, Final Fantasy Unlimited, Full Metal Panic, Mezo)

The Animating Death featurette, which is a 20 minute look at how the film was produced, is an interesting viewing experience and provides great detail into the art, voice acting and character personalities. It’s a great viewing experience and something that’s not usually included on Anime / Cartoon DVD releases, so it’s great to be included in this set. Despite the back of the DVD Box saying this releases includes a Directors Commentary (as seen in our unboxing video) I was unable to find it on this DVD Disc, and this isn’t due to the German Menu layout but because it’s not actually included.

Specs:

Media:  DVD 9 x1
Region: 2
Running Time:  1:16:23
Video: MPEG-2
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 448Kbps (English & German)
Subtitles: German (Yellow)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps

Overall:

Lady Death: The Motion Picture attempts to bring the comic book world of Lady Death into animation, with it depicting the story of how a regular women (Hope) became the demon known as Lady Death.  The film itself is around 80 minutes in length and does a reasonable job of portraying the origin story of Lady Death and it has some entertaining battles, however with the animation looking as it does (and the lack of emotion from voice actors) means that it’s a rather dismal experience that, maybe, should have been left in the past.

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Speaking of voice actors since this is an ADV Films produced Audio track there are a variety of regular anime voice actors providing their voices for the characters, voice actors including Chris Patton, Andy McAvin, and Jason Douglas, but even with these voice actors the characters don’t seem to show much emotion or excitement, that being said the film is over 8 years old. In regards to the audio track both are presented clearly in 5.1 Surround Sound and in terms of subtitles there is only the German language available, which is locked onto one of the English Audio options and is accessed via the DVD Menu.

While the film is mediocre (possibly even comical) the biggest issue with this release is the DVD itself as the whole DVD Menu is provided in German.  It’s not just the DVD Menu either as the additional extra features (excluding the staff interview) along with the copy protection warning at the start of the disc are in German, with the only content available in English being the Film and the Staff Commentary. According to 101 Films this is the ‘final product’and is a re-author of the original ADV Release, which basically means if you buy this DVD you’ll be treated to the same German content. It’s puzzling why its released like this, as it feels like a German imported DVD with English Audio as an ‘option’ rather than a dedicated UK DVD Release.

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The 101 Films release of Lady Death is a mixed bag, it has the original animated movie along with the English Staff Interview but places it onto a German Authored DVD Menu that’s difficult (and slow) to navigate, thus creating a rather botched release. Furthermore to add more ‘insult to injury’ the Directors Commentary, which is supposed to be included, is nowhere to be found on this DVD. In terms of the film it’s “watchable” at best and most likely won’t appeal to the general ‘anime’ masses unless you’re looking for something different, however if you are one of the few looking for this film then this release may be your saviour.

Score: review-stars-1

Lady Death the Motion Picture will be available on DVD from the 26th June 2013.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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