When I saw that Juliette Lewis was doing the voice for Naomi Armitage, my feelings were mixed. Still, I wanted to check out this action packed anime. Armitage: Dual Matrix plunges us right into the continuing tensions between humans and robots in this far-off future society in which a growing Mars colony seeks independence from Earth and greater rights for robots. This anime plays out as a gritty cyberpunk thriller raising serious questions about the future of our society when technoloy loves, hates and fears.
The idea of a female robot who has the ability to love and procreate is interesting and the villain is quite evil and believeable. The animation was a bit wonky in places and I felt the animators relied too heavily on CGI effects. The dubbing is OK, though Juliette Lewis gives a wooden performance as Armitage, which immediately forces me to recommend the Subs. The story didn’t lose heart though, and explained some more of the politics that were left to crumble in the first movie. It had a different feel to it, but it was still a good story. Moreover, the political intrigue involving the androids striving for true equality with humans, while more explicit in Animatrix, adds a level of depth to the story.
Years after Armitage and Ross get married, they have a child and name her Yoko. But all is still not right in the universe. A new law is being past for robot laws, but an edgy scientist doesn’t want to risk anything on this law so he kidnaps Ross’s daughter. And with two Thirds under his belt, he won’t be taken lightly. Naomi has changed a bit and isn’t as hyper as she was the first time around. However, what she’s lost in nubile cuteness over the years is more than made up for in experience. Yoko’s active role keeps centering the story back on its core values. But the film is a bit flat and two dimensional when compared to previous Armitage efforts.
I’ve read reviews indicating that Armitage III is a hack of a four-part anime series, and about an hour was cut out. That might explain the jerky plot, though it doesn’t excuse the script. Odds against the couple increase when Mardini sends two powerful new clones of Naomi to stop them. The script makes sure that each action scene is even more absurd then the last. The only drawback is the threat level is never really taken that seriously. I feel that is could have been much better with more antagonists to be delt with and the ones already there not so easily delt with. I think what sold me on this movie was the action. Armitage doesn’t hold back at all in this movie. I was drawn to her rage in the first movie and to see it return gives me reason to really enjoy this film.