SPRIGGAN (1998)

 

Format: 90-minute feature

 

Rating: R (AL, GV)

 

Type: Sci-Fi Action

 

American Production: A.D. Vision

 

Japanese Production: Bandai Visual/Toho

 

Grading

 

Premise:

C

Story:

C

Writing:

C

Character Design:

A

Animation:

A

Artistic Merits:

A

English Dub:

B

Musical Score:

A-

 

 

Humor Content:

n/a

Action Content:

A

Drama Content:

C

 

 

DVD Presentation:

B

DVD Extras:

B-

 

 

OVERALL:

B

 

Synopsis

††††† An ancient and forgotten civilization left behind various artifacts, some of them quite powerful and potentially dangerous. To keep these artifacts from falling into the wrong hands, the secret organization ARCAM is established to recover and store them, and Spriggan is the name given its hyper-talented warriors/agents. With physical talents bordering on superhuman and incredible combat skills, 17-year old high school student Ominae Yu is the premiere Japanese Spriggan. Tough, determined, stubborn, and hard-nosed, it takes a lot to actually stop him - and enemy agents and cyborgs do try, as he matches wits and reflexes against the heavily armed and armored Fatman, the fast and lethal Little Boy, and the monstrously powerful psychic child called Colonel MacDougall. On his side are Professor Meisel and his assistant Miss Margaret, who provide him with a very nice experimental combat suit, and a capable French Spriggan named Jean-Jacques. The prize at hand? Control of the massive artifact called Noah's Ark buried under Mount Ararat in Turkey, an item which can become an engine of unequalled destructive capability in the wrong hands.

 

The Long View

††††† The movie Spriggan is based on an anime sci-fi series that has never been released in the States. It gives the feel of being an expanded episode of the regular series, though itís hard for me to tell without having actually seen the series. It is, in essence, James Bond on steroids, with a good measure of pure sci-fi and a bit of metaphysical philosophizing thrown in. That Katsuhiro Otomo, the man behind Akira, is one of the principle creative forces behind the movie assures of it of a fine pedigree, and Spriggan lives up to that reputation Ė for the most part.

††††† What Spriggan does well it does really well. Its dynamic, fast-paced action sequences are among the best youíll find in animation, as are all aspects of its technical merits. The music serves well to hype up the action, and the weaponry and tech items floating about are quite cool. Unfortunately Spriggan suffers from significant inadequacies in other areas. The plot, such as it is, is strictly run-of-the-mill, and character development is mostly lacking. For as great and cool as it looks, it has all of the substance of a cream puff. The lack of better explanations of the background of the two major organizations (ARCAM and the U.S. Machine Shop) and past character relationships is also a negative, although this could be more because the movie wasnít intended to be viewed separately from its series. (Consider, for instance, how much sense the X-Files movie would make to one who isnít familiar with the series.) And, quite frankly, some parts of it are just a bit too unbelievable. Even with his physical talents and the special suit heís wearing in mind, Ominae recovers awfully quickly from the severe beatings he takes.

Spriggan is quite graphically violent and has a bit of foul language in its English translation, so it is not appropriate for younger audiences or the squeamish. It is purely a movie for action junkies, though a very good one for such a crowd. Those seeking depth should look elsewhere.

 

DVD Extras

  Company Previews

  ADR Directorís Commentary

  Character Designs

  Vehicle, Equipment, and Background sketches

  

Principle English Voice Actors

Role

Voice Actor

Ominae Yu

Chris Patton

Fattman

Mike Kleinhenz

Little Boy

Spike Spencer

Jean

Andy McAvin

MacDougall

Kevin Corn

Dr. Meisel

Ted Pfister

Miss Margaret

Kelly Manison

Yamamoto, narration

John Paul Shephard

Mr. Smith

John Swasey*

Tanaka

Andrew Klimko*

Turkish ARCAM agent

Paul Sidello

Classmates

Brett Weaver,

Kurt Stoll

Turkish Customs Inspector

Rob Mungle

Stewardess

Amanda Winn (Lee)

ARCAM explorers

Markham Anderson*, Phil Ross,

 Ralph Ehntholt

 

††††† * - also among the additional voices

 

 

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