Review: Appleseed: The Movie (2004)

Directed by:
Cast: , ,

Distributed in Australia by:

Appleseed is simply the sexiest animation in the known universe. I don’t mean sexy in a “Phwoooaaar” sort of way: I mean sexy in an eyeball-kissing sort of way. The whole film looks so gorgeous you’ll want to lick it.

There are a couple of reasons for this. One is the depth and texture of the animated surfaces: there’s lavish use of 3D graphics with what in a live film would be called effective lighting. The detail of surfaces and distance views is astounding. You’ll find your attention being dragged away from the action to ogle the background, if you’re anything like me.

But that’s not new. We’ve seen 3D animation before, sophisticates that we are. Something that is new is the animation of people: each animated character is animated over the movement of a live actor. This makes the movements much more real than the often-stilted moves of other anime: when our heroine jumps forward into a somersault over an attacker, you feel your muscles tensing in sympathy. And when characters are talking, there’s the small head movements that add life to a character. It may not sound like much, but trust me, when you watch it you’ll be agog. Possibly two gogs.

The story’s reasonably good, too, although it suffers from a few credibility gaps. These may or may not be crucial to your enjoyment of the film, but I found that the visual aspects of Appleseed were well worth putting up with the occasional “Oh, that’s just bollocks” moment.

And for lovers of mecha, there’s enough stonkin’ great robots battling it out and swooshing along highways to keep any mecha fiend happy. If that’s not enough, near the end of the film we’re introduced to characters known as ‘Mobile Fortresses’, which stalk along like huge metallic spiders converging on their civilisational prey. Trust me when I say that robots do not come greater nor more stonkin’ than this.

Overall, not perfect, but nonetheless a defining moment in the history of anime. It will undoubtedly join Akira, Ninja Scroll, and Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust in the collection of anime classics.

8.5 anti-gravity cars out of 10.
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