Cyberpunk Review » Malice@Doll

January 15, 2006


Year: 2000

Directed by: Keitarou Motonaga

Written by: Chiaki Konaka

IMDB Reference

Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: High

Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: Medium

Rating: 7 out of 10

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Overview: If you haven’t figured out by now that I have a soft spot for surrealist cyberpunk films, you will after this review. Malice doll is a terrific low-budget surrealist cyberpunk anime that takes place in an unspecified future, after all of mankind has been eradicated. This surrealist cyberpunk version of a pinocchio story focuses on a group of sex andriods called dolls (not unlike GITS2) living in their whore house who now simply drift through existence without any purpose. One Doll, Mallice, while exploring, encounters this strange tentacled beast who “rapes” her with about 40 tentacles (while one goes between her legs, the rest rip into her pretty much everywhere - this isn’t meant as an erotic scene, at least I don’t think so) and ends up transforming Mallice into a human. Malice then shares her “gift” by kissing all the other dolls and robots.

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Malice@Doll is a very deep movie and traces some rather interesting notions. For instance, It challenges the notion that a doll made in man’s image, if given the chance, would choose to become a living organism that looked human - maybe they would choose something completely and utterly different. Simultaneasly, this anime also asks if you would be how you really see yourself, what would you really look like?

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Malice@Doll virtually disappeared almost as soon as it opened for a couple of reasons. First off, it came right on the heels of Final Fantasy, a blockbuster anime. While its wonderfully shot, the animation quality simply doesn’t compare with the high budget 3D movies. Also, Malice@Doll is another one of those films that’s simply too wierd for most people, and ends up being categorized as everything from Hentai on down. Truly, this anime is two scenes removed from being a PG anime, and certainly wouldn’t qualify for anything past R. I happen to love it LOTS more than Final Fantasy though.

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The DVD Extras: Another reason you want to buy this DVD is for its terrific extras. These include a college film class presentation on digital animation from Jonathan Clements - Co-Author of the Anime Encyclopedia. This is flat out terrific. In addition to tracing the change in Japan from cell animation to 3D animation (and the effects this had on the industry), Clements shows how Malice@Doll is one of those films that actually uses story elements to turn its technical weaknesses into strengths.

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For instance, although their capalities for doing high quality stills are there, Motonaga didn’t have the equipment to do fluid movement. He solved this with a “story” solution - he made the movie about android dolls, who are SUPPOSED to be jerky in their movements. For the “human” scenes, they used cell animation as highlights - this makes for a striking difference in the animation (See shot above).

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The Bottom Line: Truly, aside from the surrealist story, the reason to watch this is for the visuals. A lot of the visuals in Malice@Doll almost remind you of a Salvador Dali painting. The diversity is such that I could have taken about 40 completely different screencaps here. BTW, while Amazon sells this for 22 bucks, Deepdiscountdvd sells it for $14.

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Tags: cyberpunk movie review anime

This post has been filed under Animes, 7 Star Movies, Awesome Cyberpunk Visuals, Surreal Cyberpunk Movies, Android Movies, Cyberpunk movies from 2000 - 2009 by SFAM.


December 21, 2006

lzm said:

I just watched this movie.. and i loved it!
It`s beautifully disturbing, the visuals are terriffic, it`s pure ART!!

January 16, 2007

SFAM said:

Hi Izm, glad you liked it! I really wish Malice@Doll would get more recognition.

March 10, 2007

Kiyomi said:

I ordered the DVD the second I read this review, a truly marvellous movie. I wathced it twice in a row and then proceeded straight to doodle some homage for it.
(posted here, should anyone care: )

The thing that I really liked about it was how the setting was completely opposite for what I have come to see in cyberpunk. Usually especially in cyberpunk horror it’s the metal that invades flesh, the emotionless machine is that being resented. In Malice Doll it was the other way around. Meat corrupted the metal, cold logic was swallowed by humane lust and the ages old machine succumbed to the frailty of the flesh.

March 11, 2007

SFAM said:

Wow, Kiyomi! I’m most impressed! God I wish I could “doodle” like that! I love it!

And I absolutely agree with your comment about Malice@Doll having the meat corrupt the metal - that’s a great way of putting it.

July 11, 2008

Sable said:

I just watched it. This move was crazy and made hardly any sense to me.

November 15, 2008

rowdy rob said:

where can I watch Malice@Doll free on the net ? doesn’t have it

November 19, 2008

SFAM said:

Hi Rowdy Rob, not sure where its freely available, but it is worth the purchase…assuming you like fairly wierd movies. And Sable, sorry it didn’t work for you.

May 18, 2009

Renho said:

Hey! I’m currently watching it on Daily Motion, with french subtitles! Great movie!! =D

June 30, 2010

Vambot said:

This movie has sounded interesting to me for quite some time (I love surrealism in general, and look forward to publishing a very surreal cyberpunk graphic novel and story/media series with heavy cyber-gothic themes etc). However, the tentacle scene mentioned reminds me of an anime clip I once saw of a young woman being penetrated by green/red/etc? tentacles in every orifice of her body. It was horrific and utterly unecessary, but due to your review, it seemes that any traces of hentai-themes are made up for by the visuals and the story.

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