Movie Name: Appleseed
Studio: Micott & Basara
Release Date(s): April 17, 2004
MPAA Rating: R
War has swept the planet and humanity is on the verge of extinction unless things change. Deunan Knute finds herself taken to the city of Olypmus where human clone hybrids called Bioroids live in unison with humans. The Bioroids are in search of Appleseed which could be detrimental to their survival and Deunan could be the key…but someone doesn’t want Appleseed found and humanity and Bioroids find their civilations on the brink.
Directed by Shinji Aramaki, Appleseed (アップルシード or Appurushīdo) is an anime sci-fi fantasy. The film is loosely based upon the original Appleseed manga which ran from 1985-1989 and the manga was previously touched upon in an original video animated film also called Appleseed from 1988. The film was released to mix to positive reviews.
I’m on the fence on anime in general. A lot of the stories adapted into the format have so many matching pieces from film to film that it doesn’t always seem original. This isn’t uncommon for American films as well, but with a much larger pool of films here it doesn’t seem as blatant as the big budget anime films that make it over from Japan. In this case, Appleseed resembles a lot of other anime movies but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its moments.
The story for Appleseed is one of the aspects criticized. I actually found it ok. The basic concept of the two groups Bioroids and humans trying to use each other and the multiple double crosses are fun. It does drag on too long and a lot of the surprise twists are rather predictable.
The animation is where Appleseed (to me) both soars and flounders. I love some of the kinetic energy driven sequences in the film. The suits and the shooting and armor are well done and Briareos Hecatonchires is cool (though I think they just look like Mobile Suit Gundam characters). I think that Appleseed fails in the basic human presentation. The animation isn’t right on the facial features of the humans and it is kind of distracting…even in Japanese animation sense. I wish that more effort had been given to give them humanoid speaking animation with the other slick anime.
As a result, Appleseed is so-so. It is better than many anime movies you might pick up though I wish that they had pushed the R-Rated nature of the movie harder. The movie was followed by a direct sequel Appleseed Ex Machina in 2007 and a semi-prequel Appleseed Alpha in 2014.