I remember buying this film as soon as I bought my HDTV a few years ago. I was anxious to see how the animation would look in high def. Now, I have an extensive collection of anime. Everything from the really silly stuff, filled with fan service, to the very serious classics that so many fans rave about. I’m not really into the mecha thing, though I do have a lot of it. After one glance at the animation I decided to make an exception and blind buy Appleseed. In this city, humans coexist with the Bioroids, an advanced human clone form whose purpose is to make human existence more peaceful. When the balance of this relationship is threatened, Deunan and Briareos are the only hope to save the city of Olympus. Simply put, it is beautiful. Hands down, the animation in Appleseed is some of the best I’ve ever seen; a stunning combination of computer rendering and cell animation, with mind-blowing results.
So, we know Appleseed boasts incredible visuals (and a blu-ray release later in the year only makes things better) but how is the story? The story is a solid one, propelled by believable characters and a steadily-moving plotline. Action sequences are paced nicely, and the dialogue is simple but works. There are extremist human groups who want to get rid of the Bioroids completely, thusly returning full control and power to the humans. It’s probably a good thing to remember that the manga that this film is based off of was mainly targeted for teenage boys, so the story sensibility reflects that.
There’s also an almost complete absence of emotional facial expression from most of the cast. All we’re given are a few smiles and frowns here and there and a few raised/lowered eyebrows. This could have been heavily improved upon. The break neck action and interesting concepts were fun at first but by the end, I really felt like I needed more and this feature wasn’t going to provide it. But, I’ve watched Appleseed a few times now and I return to it from time to time.
It’s just…the original story was so rich and very well thought out that I was let down by the changes in this encapsulated version. Fortunately, Appleseed DOES touch on the larger issues Shirow addresses in the manga, such as freedom, duty, war, and the nature of humanity. Appleseed is a gorgeous piece of work well-deserving of being watched by any true fan of either anime or cyberpunk. Just keep my criticisms in mind and realize that even though the story may be unpolished, it is still far superior to most movies, anime or live-action alike.