Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva

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Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva
Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva Poster.jpg
Japanese release poster
Directed by Masakazu Hashimoto
Produced by Kenji Horikawa
Arimasa Okada
Toshiaki Okuno
Shin Omura
Ichiro Takase
Screenplay by Aya Matsui
Story by Akihiro Hino
Starring Yo Oizumi
Maki Horikita
Nana Mizuki
Atsurô Watabe
Saki Aibu
Music by Tomohito Nishiura
Tsuneyoshi Saito
Production
  company
P.A. Works
OLM, Inc.
Robot Communications
Distributed by Toho
Manga UK
Release date(s)
  • December 19, 2009 (2009-12-19)
Running time 99 minutes
Country Japan
Language Japanese

Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva (レイトン教授と永遠の歌姫 Reiton-kyōju to Eien no Utahime?), also known as Professor Layton: The First Movie (レイトン教授 ザ・ファースト・ムービー Reiton-kyōju Za Fāsuto Mūbī?), is a 2009 anime mystery comedy-drama film directed by Masakazu Hashimoto and produced by P.A. Works, OLM, Inc., and Robot Communications. The film is based on the Professor Layton video game series by Level-5, taking place between the events of the video games Professor Layton and the Last Specter and Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask.

According to Level-5, the film stays true to the games, with music, puzzles and characters. An English-language version was released by Manga Entertainment in the United Kingdom on October 18, 2010 at the same time Professor Layton and the Unwound Future was. The film was released in the United States on November 8, 2011 by Viz Media.

Plot[edit]

In the present day, archaeologist and puzzle master Professor Layton and his young apprentice Luke Triton solve the mystery of the theft of the sound of Big Ben, deducing the culprit to be Layton's perennial adversary, Don Paolo. Following this resolution, the pair return to Layton's office, where they listen to "The Eternal Diva", a record by an old student of the professor's named Janice Quatlane, prompting them to recall one of their earliest adventures together from three years ago...

Layton is invited by Janice to attend an opera in which she is performing, centered around the legendary lost land of Ambrosia and the secret of eternal life it claims to hold, which it is claimed will be rediscovered when its queen returns. Janice believes recent strange occurrences are somehow connected to the opera: in addition to girls disappearing from London, the opera's composer Oswald Whistler has recently adopted a young girl who has claimed to be Whistler's deceased daughter, and Janice's friend, Melina. Layton and Luke attend the opera at the Crown Petone opera house, built on the White Cliffs of Dover, and witness Whistler play the entire piece on an elaborate one-man orchestra machine known as the Detragon. Once the opera is complete, however, a mystery man (speaking through a marionette), informs the audience that they are to play a game, the winner of which will receive the secret of eternal life.

The Crown Petone is revealed to be a ship, which breaks off from the cliffs and sets sail to isolate the "game", after which the mystery man unveils a series of timed puzzles intended to progressively eliminate the players until one winner remains. The first two puzzles challenge the players to find "the oldest thing they can see", then go where they can "see the largest crown", but Layton's prolific puzzle-solving prowess allows him and a group of eleven others to quickly deduce the answers (the sky and the Crown Petone itself, respectively). To "see the largest crown", the group leaves the ship in two lifeboats, rowing out to a distance from which they can see the whole ship, at which point the lifeboats start moving on their own, taking the successful players to their next destination.

The next morning, the group finds that the boats have brought them to a mysterious island. Discovering a sculpted stone seal, party member and amateur historian Marco Brock realizes that they have discovered Ambrosia. Evading mentally-controlled wolves as they make their way towards the bizarre castle at the centre of the island, Layton, Luke and Janice become separated from the rest of the group and cobble together a makeshift helicopter that allows them to fly to the castle in short order. There, they solve the fourth and final puzzle that directs them to the final room of the contest, but Layton leaves Luke, Janice and two other contestants (Brock and child prodigy Amelia Ruth) to enter it while he explores the rest of the castle. He's followed by two others, who are quickly claimed by a trap.

Finding 'Melina' in the castle and witnessing her apparently talking to herself, Layton realizes the truth of what is going on, and races to rejoin the others: Oswald Whistler is behind everything, having conspired with Layton's old foe, scientist Jean Descole, to abduct girls from London and use the Detragon to "program" them with his dead daughter's memories in order to keep her 'alive'. This is the fate that befell "Melina" — actually named Nina — and it is the fate that Whistler has planned for another contestant called Amelia... until Layton explains that Janice was also a victim to Whistler's experiments, and that unbeknownst to Whistler, he had succeeded. Janice was 'given' Melina's memories, and had invited Layton to stop her father from hurting any more girls, at which point Descole reveals himself to be the true villain of the piece, having always intended to use the Detragon in concert with Melina's voice to combine the melodies hidden in the seal of Ambrosia to raise the island itself. Melina complies, but when Ambrosia does not rise after two attempts (Both involving Descole playing the melody of the stars and Melina singing that of the sea), Descole loses patience and thinking music is not enough, resorts to drastic measures. The Detragon destroys the castle, unveiling and becoming the controls of a gigantic excavation robot called the Detragiganto, which Descole commandeers and begins rampaging across the island in a desperate attempt to uncover Ambrosia by force.

During the fracas, Melina tries to stop Descole, who (believing he has no further use for her) knocks her away, causing her to fall over the side of the robot, leaving her holding on for dear life. Upon seeing this, Luke pleads to save her from falling. While Luke rescues Melina, Layton duels with Descole on top of the Detragiganto, and reveals that Descole had overlooked a third melody hidden in the seal (that of the sun, revealed by turning the seal upside-down). Again, Melina sings as Layton takes the Detragon's controls, and this time, the ruins of Ambrosia do indeed rise, infuriating Descole even further. He lunges at Layton, believing that the ruins only belong to him, but merely damages the control panel instead, throwing the Detragiganto out of control and causing it to heavily damage itself and him to fall off it and disappear. In the aftermath of the island's rise, Melina's thoughts and memories leave Janice's body (as Melina decided she could not take over Janice's life).

In a post-credits scene, back in the present day, Layton and Luke finish listening to the record, just as Janice arrives at Layton's office.

Characters[edit]

Professor Layton series chronology
  • Professor Hershel Layton Voiced by: You Oizumi (Japanese), Christopher Robin Miller (English): A tea-loving professor of archaeology from London's Gressenheller University, and an avid puzzle solver. He is no detective, but there are no mysteries he cannot solve. His adventures around the world solving cases brought him much fame, and a very good reputation.
  • Luke Triton Voiced by: Maki Horikita (Japanese), Maria Darling (English): The self-proclaimed "apprentice number one" of Professor Layton. Luke follows his teacher everywhere, and is always trying to learn from him. Luke has a special talent that allows him to speak to animals.
  • Emmy Altava Voiced by: Saki Aibu (Japanese), Emma Tate (English): The appointed assistant of Professor Layton. She is quite knowledgeable, and is described as a heroine and jokingly refers Luke as Layton's "second assistant". She leaves Layton and Luke to investigate about kidnapped children from London with Dr. Schrader.
  • Janice Quatlane Voiced by: Nana Mizuki (Japanese), Emma Tate (English): A famed opera singer who requests Professor Layton's aid. She is known to have a beautiful voice. It is interesting to note that her Japanese voice actress also serves as her singing voice, regardless of language
  • Jean Descole Voiced by: Atsuro Watabe (Japanese), Jonathan Keeble (English): The true villain of the film. He is an intelligent scientist, who draws people to his side with his empty promises.
  • Inspector Clamp Grosky Voiced by: Houchu Ohtsuka (Japanese), Stuart Organ (English): Head of Scotland Yard, he investigates the Crown Petone to find out about the abductions.
  • Oswald Whistler Voiced by: Iemasa Kayumi (Japanese), Robbie Stevens (English): The 54-year-old pianist who runs the music in the opera house. He built the Crown Petone opera house with the help of Dr. Andrew Schrader, but built the Detragon with Descole's help.
  • Melina Whistler Voiced by: Fumiko Orikasa: Oswald's daughter and Janice' best friend who died from an illness one year prior to the start of the film at the early age of 22.
  • Nina Voiced by: Sumire Morohoshi: Seven-year-old girl who claims to have been granted the gift of Eternal Life. She also claims to be Janice' friend, Melina brought back to life.
  • Amelia Ruth Voiced by: Megumi Toyoguchi (Japanese), Claire Morgan (English): The 16-year-old, talented, and beautiful young lady. She is a champion chess player, known throughout all Britain. She is more determined than the other contestants to gain Eternal Life, not for herself, but rather wants to give it to her sick grandfather (who has a month to live) to keep him alive.
  • Curtis O'Donnel Voiced by: Shozo Iizuka (Japanese), Wayne Forester] (English): 65-year-old adventurous sea-captain. He wants to win Eternal Life in order to navigate the seas forever.
  • Marco Brock Voiced by: Kenta Miyake (Japanese), David Holt (English): 45-year-old amateur historian who has studied the legend of Ambrosia extensively. He wants to win Eternal Life in order to solve all the mysteries of the ancient world.
  • Frederick Bargland Voiced by: Jouji Nakata (Japanese), Stuart Organ (English): Wealthy CEO of the World Fleet Corporation, who lives in London. His doctor gave him six months to live, and he wants to win Eternal Life so his companies will remain successful.
  • Annie Dretche Voiced by: LiliCo (Japanese), Maria Darling (English): A famous British author, who wrote famous mystery novel, 'Murder on the Thames'. She wants Eternal Life in order to write novels forever.
  • Celia Raidley Voiced by: Kikuko Inoue (Japanese), Sarah Hadland (English): The beautiful 32-year-old widow of a former millionaire, who often appears in gossip magazines. She wants Eternal Life so she will retain her beauty forever.
  • Pierre Starbuck Voiced by: Kouichi Yamadera (Japanese), Robbie Stevens (English): The young 25-year-old talented football player nicknamed "The Man with the Golden Left Leg", who had to give up playing due to a leg injury. He wants Eternal Life in order to "get his strength back".

The film also features many short cameo appearances of many of the characters throughout the Professor Layton series including Flora Reinhold, Don Paolo, Inspector Chelme, Constable Barton, Spring and Cogg, Stachenscarfen, Sammy Thunder, Mr. Beluga, Granny Riddleton, Babette, Claudia the Cat, Dorothea and Dr. Andrew Schrader. The Elysian Box (Pandora's Box) also makes an appearance on Dr. Schrader's office.

Home media[edit]

Promotion of the film at the Tokyo Game Show 2009

The film was released in Singapore on March 18, 2010, showing in Japanese with English and Chinese subtitles. Manga Entertainment UK has licensed the film for DVD and Blu-ray Disc release in the United Kingdom in October 2010.[1] The Manga Entertainment release is dubbed by the voice actors used in the UK releases of the game, including several new voice actors, like Sarah Hadland and Wayne Forester.[2] Several versions of the film have been released: a standard DVD release, a standard Blu-ray release, a three-disc DVD and Blu-ray combo pack, and a three-disc collector's edition that includes a 630 page book containing the complete storyboard.

When asked about a North American release, director Akihiro Hino said, "We don't have any plans to release the movies in America currently, but we'll make sure to let you know if that changes."[3] Viz Media announced they had licensed the movie at the 2011 Anime Expo and released it on DVD in North America on November 8, 2011.[4] The DVD was a direct port of the UK version and was not redubbed with the North American voice actors. The film was also released in German as Professor Layton und die ewige Diva and in Holland as Professor Layton en de Eeuwige Diva.

Soundtracks[edit]

[citation needed]

Two albums were released in Japan containing the music of the film. One titled The Eternal Diva: Janice Quatlane, containing all the vocal songs, and the other titled Layton Kyouju To Eien no Utahime Original Soundtrack, containing the main music from the film (most of which is reorchestrated versions of music from the first four games). Unlike the games, an actual orchestra was used for most of the music. In addition, the film's ending theme, The Eternal Diva, is included with its lyrics on both albums.

Reception[edit]

Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva debuted at number 6 at the Japanese box office, grossing $1,074,959 USD during its opening weekend. By the weekend of March 24 to the 26th, the film had grossed $6,140,049 in both Japanese and overseas (Taiwan and Singapore) totals.[5] It was the ninth most watched anime film of the first of half of 2010 in Japan,[6] and the 14th of the entire year.[7]

The film has been given generally good reviews. GameSync.net gave it a positive review, calling it "wholeheartedly entertaining and heartwarming, with a dash of British wit and eccentricity."[8] IGN UK gave the film 3.5 out of 5 stars, praising its plot, animation, and how the puzzles were incorporated into the film, but criticized its "overreliance of CG." It also regarded the film one of the first "good" video game films.[9]

Possible Sequel[edit]

The game series' developer and publisher Level-5 has stated that they wished to release a Professor Layton film every winter, and that they are already producing the next film. Besides the animated films, a British/Japanese live-action film was in the works as well.[10] While not committing to a second film, director Akihiro Hino said that the "second season" of the Layton series (which begins with Professor Layton and the Last Specter) was originally imagined with another film.[11]

References[edit]

External links[edit]