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Appleseed: Ex Machina

Score: 90%
Rating: PG-13
Publisher: Warner Brothers Home

Region: 1
Media: DVD/1
Running Time: 104 Mins.
Genre: Anime
Audio: English, French, Spanish,
           Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese

Subtitles: English, French, Spanish,
           Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese


  • Team-up: John Woo and Shinji Aramaki
  • Revolution: Animating Ex Machina
  • Commentary
  • Trailers

As far back as 1985, people have been enjoying the work of author Masamune Shirow's Appleseed. It found its way to the US through Dark Horse Comics Publications in the late '80's. What it is now more notably known for, in my mind, are the beautiful Anime films that have arisen from the original story. The first Appleseed OVA came to us in '88 and was directed by Kazuyoshi Katayama, also known for Big O. This was a traditional and very classically styled Anime for the time. But, what came next with Appleseed in 2004 was a beautiful CGI version from Shinji Aramaka. Masamune Shirow's stories were all about a post-conflict world where cyberpunk and mecha coexisted as everyday life. It only seemed fitting to see a story like this told with CGI. Now we have a third film in the series with Appleseed Ex Machina, again by Shinji Aramaka. As beautiful as the 2004 vision was, the CGI styling here is stunning. This version is produced by John Woo who is world renowned for his fight scenes and distinct style. Even though its not fair to look at it in terms of budget and years gone by, I would hold this up against the quality of the Final Fantasy movies.

There are three distinct classes of people in the Appleseed worlds. There are humans, cyborgs, and bioroids. You can figure out humans and cyborgs, but let me touch on bioroids real quick. A bioroid is a genetically engineered humanoid. They are genetically manipulated people who are basically machines built with human components. In Appleseed Ex Machina, we rejoin the main characters Deunan Knute and Briareos Hecatonchires. Theirs is actually a love story interrupted by the fact the Briareos is wounded in battle and transformed into the cyborg she still loves. Emotions mix when the bioroids decide to use Briareos's DNA to create a prototype warrior named Tereus who looks exactly like his former self and she is torn between seeing the man she loves either behind synthetic eyes or a mask of metal. As he is born of the same DNA as Briareos, he himself is attracted to Deunan as well.

Love stories in Appleseed Ex Machina aside, there are cyber terrorists attempting to use a newly formed satellite array system to control the minds of everyone on earth. The array was meant to help protect the world by allowing all satellites to provide information to everyone, while at the same time allowing for better communication. An abandoned project named Halcon was created to help victims of brain trauma and has had years to grow and swell, and now the project has new purpose when it is used to control the minds of everyone on earth. To do this, they used Nanites inside of a popular personal media device that is worn constantly and widely adopted. Everyone has one. When they receive the signal, they are fully under Halcon's control.

Like I said in my opening remarks, I put the look and feel of the quality of Appleseed Ex Machina right next to well received predecessors like the Final Fantasy movies. The first CGI movie was done in a cel shaded style that more combined the emotions of true Anime and the tech of CGI. Here it is an entirely new realistic style that shows such a great attention to detail that you cannot refer to it as anything but a true work of art.

Appleseed Ex Machina is a great work of art to look at. It has a very classic Anime feel to the story and delivery of every line. With Anime becoming even more popular in the West, I have noticed Western influences in the art form. Obviously with John Woo at the helm, we were going to see some heavy fight scenes, and they did not disappoint. But, with that being said about the choreography, I did not for one second feel that influence in the emotion of the movie or the writing. I personally respect this and it means a lot to see it remain pure.

-WUMPUSJAGGER, GameVortex Communications
AKA Bryon Lloyd

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