Virtual Star 2000 (Japan 2000)

Rating: *(*)
Review Date: 5/21/06

This might be the biggest waste of money I've ever spent on a DVD (or two, as the case may be). Inspired by the Yuki Terai virtual idol films that came before ("Secret Films" and "Secret Live"), "Virtual Star" features several different virtual idols from various creators, some of whom were showcased in Yuki Terai's "Dancing Queen" video. Unfortunately, they're not nearly as entertaining or skillful as the Yuki Terai videos, and they're also not as mainstream. It's more like virtual porn for CGI fans. Each DVD is only fifteen minutes long and contains three short films, plus a small Yuki Terai segment that features unbelievably bad lip-synching. Huh? What's up with that? Unless state of the art character animation circa 1999 is your thing, you'd be better off avoiding these titles.

Volume 1: First up is "Super Sonic Jet Girl," an adolescent wet dream fantasy come to life. It's basically a gothic stripper routine, set in a sinister night club featuring a band of musical skeletons, giant demons with enormous penises, and an audience of shuffling zombies. Towards the end of her awkwardly erotic gyrations, Jet Girl proceeds to dismember her undead fans with kung fu kicks, katana slices, and two 9mm handguns that appear out of nowhere. After everyone is dead (again), she takes off her top to reveal her blood spattered breasts. This is probably the best entry of the series and the animation and modeling are quite good (although Jet Girl has ridiculous looking feet). The next entry, "Chat," is the polar opposite of "Super Sonic Jet Girl" and focuses entirely on Japanese "good girl" imagery. Unfortunately, apart from the very last scene, it's completely boring and uninteresting. The main character (again with bad feet) is composited into real world video footage, acting innocent and coy, and not particularly convincingly. The last subject is an embarrassment to the entire industry called "Yukari Run, Run, Run!" which is essentially a tech demo for a breast simulator. The entire video focuses on a chubby model with gigantic boobs, running through the same 3-4 motion cycles to give you the ultimate breast jiggling experience. They wobble, they wiggle, they jostle, they jiggle, and undulate in pulse-pounding rhythm from every angle imaginable. It's shameful and atrocious. And to make matters worse, the disc even features a tutorial on the motion paths that the breasts use. Ugh. Unless you have a bizarre breast fetish, stay far away from this.

Volume 2: The second volume isn't as fetish driven as the first volume, but that doesn't make it any better. The first feature is a music video called "A Jelly Fish Day" with an elf-like girl from the "Ridge Racer" series badly lip-synching the tune. While the animation and modeling are rather good, the singing is highly disturbing due to the fact that the character has no bottom teeth and the inside of her mouth has an odd texture, unnatural illumination, and no depth. It's downright creepy. The second entry is a video from Yamag's Garage featuring virtual idol Ryoko going through a variety of runway poses. Pretty, but not particularly interesting. The final piece is a video featuring an Iceman creation named Misty. She's modeled very well and animates quite smoothly, but her lip-synching is jarringly bad. The video also features a nicely rendered, but out of place, sports car. What does it have to do with anything? Misty's movements are kept simple and restrained, so she doesn't suffer from the terrible clipping and shearing problems that she had in "Dancing Queen" (although her fingers do pass through her mic stand a couple of times). Overall, the "Virtual Star" videos only serve as promotional materials for the creators and will only appeal to animation students or virtual idol fetishists.