Appleseed (1988)

 

Format: 70-minute OVA feature

Rating: R (GV, maybe other factors?)

Type: Sci-Fi (cyberpunk)

American Production: Manga Entertainment

English Dub Production: U.S. Renditions?

Japanese Production: Bandai Visual/MOVIC

 

Grading

 

Premise:

C

Story:

C+

Writing:

C+

Character Design:

C

Mecha Design:

C+

Animation:

B-

Artistic Merits:

C+

English Dub:

C+

Musical Score:

C

 

 

Humor Content:

n/a

Action Content:

B

Drama Content:

C

 

 

DVD Presentation:

not reviewed

DVD Extras:

not reviewed

 

 

OVERALL:

C+

 

Synopsis

††††† In the wake of the devastation of World War III, the scattered remaining governments of the world pool their resources to build Olympus, a ďperfectĒ city governed by computers and monitored by cyborgs called Biodroids. Some citizens do not take kindly to automated control, however, and many of these elements have come together to form violent terrorist factions. They are opposed by a highly-trained, battle-armored police force.

 

The Long View

††††† Appleseed is based on a story by Masamune Shirow, who also wrote Black Magic M-66 but is best-known for writing Ghost in the Shell. Its credits also include a young Hideaki Anno (the creator and director of Neon Genesis Evangelion) as Mechanical Supervisor and was directed Kazuyoshi Katayama, who would later go on to direct series like Argentosoma, The Big O, and Those Who Hunt Elves, so it is significant simply for having helped establish the anime careers of some industry heavy-hitters if nothing else. It is also an influential series in that it is one of the earlier anime series to focus heavily on cyborgs; the trends in writing and design that eventually led to Ghost in the Shell several years later can clearly be seen here. As one might expect, though, this movie is nowhere near as sophisticated. The plotting here is simple and straightforward and the spirit is that of an action movie rather than a dramatic or philosophical exercise.

††††† One of the most interesting features about Appleseed is its naming conventions, which borrow heavily from Greek mythology. The name for the movie itself is a reference to Johnny Appleseed, the American folk hero who made it his lifeís mission to travel across the land planting apple trees wherever he went. I believe it is supposed to reflect the fact that Olympus is an attempt by mankind to plant the seeds for a new future.

††††† The technical merits are decent but unremarkable, as is the writing and voice work, and the execution is good enough to be entertaining. The character design is a bit odd in places - one main character looks like heís wearing a giant Viking helmet, but apparently itís his head - but nothing that would probably turn anyone away. I cannot comment much on the graphic content since itís been a while since Iíve seen it, but I do recall that it has enough graphic violence to justify an R rating.

††††† Appleseed is not one of the better sci-fi anime movies out there, but it isnít a waste of time. A new cutting-edge version is due out in Japanese theaters in April 2004 and could make it to the States later in 2004. (One can only hope, as the trailer I have seen for it is quite impressive.)

 

DVD Extras

††††† This review is based off of a cable broadcast. The DVD has not been reviewed.

 

Principle English Voice Actors

Role

Voice Actor

Bularios

Bill Roberts

Dunan

Larissa Murray

Karon

David Reynolds

Hitomi

Julia Brahms

Athena

Lorelei King

Sebastian

Vincent Marzello

 

 

 

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