Aum Shinrikyo the Animation


In the future, man discovers the Shinrikyou Drive, bringing limitless prosperity.


Yes, this is a review of an Aum Shinrikyou anime. The Aum Shinrikyou, currently known as Aleph, was the religious cult/organization responsible for the nerve gas attacks in the Tokyo Subway in 1995. During their heyday in the 80s and 90s, Aum, well aware of fiction’s power over men and women, produced their own anime and manga to try and persuade people to join. Fred Schodt’s book, Dreamland Japan, has a section concerning the manga side of things. So here we have this delightful 15 minute piece, entitled Chouetsu Sekai, or Transcendental World.

This is just the name and title of Aum founder, Asahara Shoukou, but I don’t really want to translate it so I can maintain the illusion that it’s an attack in Hokuto no Ken. Pretend it says “Hokuto Ujou Haganken.”

This anime starts off like so many anime with an opening theme. Except it’s clearly sung by someone with no real singing ability or even ability to modify his voice in post-production so he can pretend to sound good. The song is about how all great and wonderful Aum and Asahara are, and I would give details but I didn’t want to expend too much effort watching it.

The main focus of this anime is, of course, Asahara Shoukou, and his benevolent nature and awesome power. Asahara’s primary abilities appear to be levitation, astral projection, levitating while doing astral projection, and having soft anime eyes so he can seem like an upstanding guy. Naturally, his voice actor mumbles a whole lot and you can’t really tell what he’s saying.

Two other important characters are two Aum members who are dating each other. By far the defining moment of this 15 minute extravaganza is when Asahara astral projects himself into an Aum class and notices that the two of them are sitting together with two others and making sure no one knows about their relationship. Later, the girl receives a phone call directly from Asahara and gasps as soon as he says, “You’re seeing that guy aren’t you.” But he says it’s fine and people are made up of their experiences.

Then he goes astral projecting through office buildings.

I can’t quite describe how uniquely terrible this all is. Or maybe I can. Imagine a man with no limbs trying to convince you of the greatness of arm wrestling matches where the prize is getting kicked in the balls by Kenyan marathon runners.

So yes, wonderful. Exactly.

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