Mika DoiToshio FurukawaTamio OhkiMasako Katsuki
Appleseed
Medium: OVA
Year: 1988
Writer/director: Kazuyoshi Katayama
Original creator: Masamune Shirow
Actor: Kenichi Ono, Koji Totani, Kumiko Takizawa, Mari Yokoo, Masako Katsuki, Masayuki Omoro, Mayumi Sho, Mika Doi, Nobuyuki Furuta, Norio Wakamoto, Takao Ohyama, Tamio Ohki, Toshiko Sawada, Toshio Furukawa, Yasunori Matsumoto, Yoshisada Sakaguchi, Yousuke Akimoto, Yuji Mitsuya, Yuzuru Fujimoto
Keywords: anime, SF
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 67 minutes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=512
Website category: Anime old
Review date: 21 May 2024
Appleseed
I found it a bit boring. Later, I found it extremely boring.
It's based on a Masamune Shirow manga, but even his fans don't hold this OVA in high regard. There have since been three Appleseed anime movies (2004, 2007, 2014) and a 2011 Appleseed XIII all-CGI TV series that generated two compilation movies. I'll be skipping all those. (Apparently they're all set in alternate continuities and don't fit together anyway, except for the 2007 film being a sequel to the 2004 one.)
It's the city of Olympus in the 22nd century. About 80% of its population are "Bioroids", artificial humans who exist for some reason or other. Nothing memorable. Our heroes (more or less) are Deunan Knute and Briareos Hecatonchires, who are initially SWAT cops.
The film's mostly about cops, terrorists and cops who help terrorists. There's lots of gunfire. Anonymous robot suits fight other anonymous robot suits. There's an anticlimactic bullet ending. It's hard to care too much about any of it, especially given the good guys' incompetence. For example...
(a) our cop heroes captured the terrorist at the start, but he escaped and went on to kill lots of people because they'd put him in handcuffs that his mechanical arms could snap. If 80% of the city's population are Bioroids, why didn't they consider that possibility? Or indeed the option of the terrorist detaching his arms to get out of the handcuffs. That's possible too.
(b) Deunan thinks shooting a ten-foot-tall robot in the head will incapacitate it. (Its human pilot is in its belly.)
(c) Deunan and Briareos's boss has them arrested on suspicion of espionage while they're in the middle of chasing and shooting at some terrorists. Great timing. The terrorists get away.
The baddies' thinking is just as impenetrable, though. 1. An emotionless guy with detachable robot limbs is helping someone try to stop all Bioroids. Uh, what? Run that past me again. 2. A cop's wife committed suicide, so he helps terrorists because he thinks utopia is like a zoo. No, sorry, I don't get that either. Maybe it made sense in the original manga, but my conclusion here was simply that he had his head up his arse. Mind you, the city authorities had arrested a suicide victim's grieving husband and subjected him to mind probes on the assumption that someone must be a terrorist.
Anyway, these people are morons. But you can just watch the bullets flying, if you like.
It's not all bad. Our heroes aren't unlikeable and Briareos has an amazing robot head. I like the fact that the film is trying to tackle all this politics and sociology, even if it's made a pig's ear of it. (Immigration and anti-immigration arguments are scrutinised, albeit through a 22nd century lens in which the only racial difference is between human and bioroid.) This OVA's sort of vaguely okay, in a Masamune Shirow "cops, guns, violence, cyberpunk, etc." way... but I don't think I'd be physically capable of rewatching it. I'd fall asleep if I tried.