The Divine Protector: Master Salt Begins is an anthology-esque film from HS Productions. Members of the Occult Research Club summon Master Salt to help a friend who has been the victim of mysterious incidents. The classmates soon learn they can help more people. They decide to ask Master Salt to help those who seemed to be cursed.
It is hard to watch the movie without thinking of the group behind it. Happy Science is a relatively new religion in Japan. Their claims of being able to prevent and cure Covid through spiritual vaccines – which they sold for hundreds of dollars – is just one of the reasons they have been characterized as a cult. (They also spread misinformation about the Presidential election and hosted a séance to contact former United Kingdom Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.)
Unfortunately, the film does not live up to the advance billing. Quite frankly, it is not as wacky as most religious movies. If anything, its themes of accountability and self-reflection are fine. That being said, telling a wife who is being abused by her husband she is just as responsible is a rough watch. Another segment blames a demon because a professor at university does not believe in UFOs. It is funny when Master Salt tells an honor student it is partially their fault a classmate is jealous of her, however.
There is some campy, if repetitive, fun to be had. Whenever Master Salt is summoned she is accompanied by an awesome entrance song. Each segment is also relatively painless with The Divine Protector inferring all of the world’s problems are due to curses and devils. This leads to quick battles with demons that Master Salt easily wins with the same hand gestures each time.Assigning blame.
The Divine Protector is broken down into chapters that essentially rinse and repeat the same story with small changes. It is like watching a show that has combined its first few episodes into a movie. There are teases that the film will deal with interesting themes like science versus faith, but nothing ever pans out. At two hours, this is a lot to ask of the audience. Maybe it is just the demon in me saying that.