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Apple Seed (Aramaki Shinji 2004)


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Apple Seed
[Appurusheedo]

Genre: EXCELLENT (!) Sci-Fi Action CG Anime -- Please Don't Wake Me Up

review in one breath

With humanity on the brink of self-annihilation due to prolonged and numerous wars, human-like androids endowed with artificial intelligence are dispersed throughout the population to "balance" mankind's irrational emotionalism. But as the androids appear ready to surpass humanity on the evolutionary stage, a subversive movement is spawned to overthrow the new life forms, and with them the critical balance to humanity's darker side. This is such an incredible visual experience that I can only implore that you see it for yourself!


intro

HOLY COW!!

Have I been asleep with Van Winkle for decades or has there been a sudden REVOLUTION in CG animation? Sure, I've seen the purely CG films like Toy Story or what have you, but I confess, I had not yet seen anything like Appleseed, and WOW (!) am I impressed!

This film is the second of only two films directed by Aramaki Shinji. (His first film was a mere 15 years prior to this, the rather unfamiliar MagaZone 23 III (1989).) Appleseed is based on the manga by Masamune Shirou, the incredible manga artist also responsible for Ghost in the Shell.

As a 2004 production, Appleseed comes on the heels (three months later, actually) of Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence by veteran anime director Ishii Mamoru. In my review of that film I noted the remarkable progress made in anime rendering evident between that film and its 1995 prequel. But as beautiful and cutting-edge as Ghost in the Shell 2 may be (and it indeed is), it simply takes a back seat to the visual wonder which is Appleseed.

I don't think I can quite convey how impressed I am with this film! I do not know much (if anything) about animation other than that there is pure (old school) cell animation, pure CG (computer generated) animation, and blends of these two. Ghost in the Shell 2 and Appleseed are both highly polished and impressive "blends", and yet it is fascinating to see the differences between them.

Perhaps my (utter) enthusiasm here can also be explained in part due to my being an adamant fan of (the computer game) MechWarrior which involves suiting up in large, highly armored robots and obliterating anything that moves. That entire notion, of course, hearkens back to the days of the Transformers, a Japanese creation in the mid 1980's, which creative (Japanese) manga artists increasingly polished over the years in other anime series such as Gundam and possibly (thus far) culiminating in Appleseed.

So here you get not only amazing eye candy but also huge armored mechs blasting heavy artillery to an incredible rave soundtrack. What more could you want?

story

Believe me, it doesn't matter. Just see this.

verdict

This is undoubtedly an anime classic which can confidently sit alongside your copy of Akira. Of course there are different types of Japanese anime, and similarly different strokes for different folks, but on the SaruDama Scale of Adrenalin Inducing Visual Cortex Excitement (SSCAIVCE) this is a very rare 10 out of 10.

Version reviewed: Region 1 subtitled DVD available at all mainstream venues.

cultural interest violence sex strangeness
DUDE! This is WAY COOL!! MAJOR warfare inflicts MAJOR damage to all forms of robotic and holographic entities, and a couple flesh and blood humans! No, you must not imagine the subsequent experiments between Deunan and Briareos! (Okay, just for a minute...) This sits atop my favorites list for Japanese anime, rivalled only by (the wholly different) Akira.

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