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AppleSeed Ex Machina
Appleseed Ex Machina
Anime DVD Review

I thought 2004's CGI Appleseed movie was about as good as it was going to get for the franchise, but I stand corrected. Appleseed Ex Machina is a tour-de-force of edge of your seat action wrapped around a solid love-triangle storyline, wrapped around a decent sci-fi plot.

Appleseed Ex MachinaProduced by John Woo (yes, John Woo!) it's full of his signature style of gunplay with lots of slo-mo bullets and enough detail to have you watching it again and again just to experience everything that's happening all at once. It's detail overload in fact, and can become mind-numbing at times trying to absorb it all.

But this movie gets its heart from the love triangle, which is thankfully handled in a mature manner. Deunan and Briareos' loving, intense relationship gets plenty of cute moments, despite the tension brought about by Tereus, and Briareos' fear that Deunan will prefer him as a flesh and blood lover. Tereus, to his credit, is a well-developed rival, with a lot of Briareos' rough kindness, but also insecurities of his own.

In all, this film succeeds where the previous one failed. The look is different this time around. I think I preferred the 2004 film's style, but this incarnation of Appleseed more than makes up for it with a far more solid storyline and characters. Also, this time, they are definitely making anime that you'll want to watch in High Def.

Appleseed Ex Machina

Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, May 2008

Manga Review

The manga Appleseed really is the standard by which all other manga are judged. Although Masamune Shirow is more widely known for creating Ghost in the Shell, it is with this long-running manga series that he became appreciated as a master storyteller. As a cyberpunk piece of fiction, it is without equal.

Appleseed mangaThe world that Appleseed takes place in—a near-future, post-WWIII city-state utopia—is exquisitely crafted and detailed. Into this city comes Deunan Knute, a nomad street-smart soldier from the destroyed outer territories, and her cyborg partner, Briareos.

The series initially introduces the characters and their new home on the island of Olympus. But once the stage is set and the pieces are in place, action erupts that carries through the rest of the book. It turns out this "utopia" is full of strife and factional in-fighting between ruling classes.

From here the central thematic conflict of the series is established: the human race's two options of (1) pursuing their every desire, thereby dragging their whole world into destruction, or (2) changing their very nature to preserve the present sterile utopia forever. This is essential reading for anyone interested in science fiction.

The series is awash with action, amazing technical designs, and great characters, all of which is rounded off by a nice dose of humor which does not detract from the very serious plotline. Shirow's artwork is simply gorgeous, and displays a flair for design, both architectural and mechanical, that shows up in some of the niftiest vehicles, buildings and mechs ever seen in a comic (or any medium). His character designs (some of whom are partially mecha themselves) are attractive, and exhibit that flair and style that makes this manga such a joy to look at.

Appleseed manga

Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, April 2007

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Anime DVD Review

Geneon's release of the groundbreaking anime mega-hit from last summer is armed and dangerous. A stunning film to look at, it is also amazing that they managed to condense Shirow's awesome manga series down to 90 minutes without losing the impact and overall message of the story.
Fully 3-D animated, it still manages to maintain a cel-animated look and feel - the film is a marvel from the technical standpoint and marks new high ground in the art of anime film-making. Loaded with a decent voice-cast, plenty of kick-ass action, and a visual punch that is sure to please, Appleseed is a blast!

Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, May 2005

Appleseed Robots!

Appleseed Action!


Appleseed Website Links:

Official Appleseed the movie Website

AnimeFringe review of Appleseed

Anime News Network entry for Appleseed

Masamune Shirow Hyperpage
(Appleseed manga artist)

Masamune Shirow Shrine
(Appleseed manga artist)

Appleseed Ex Machina trailer:

Appleseed trailer:

Appleseed - Original Soundtrack
Anime Soundtrack Review

Appleseed broke new ground in advancing the art of the animated film, and the awesome soundtrack that accompanies the astounding visuals is no exception. Loaded with killer beats, the album is a standout in the electronica/techno/trance/house/dance realm.

This two disc set contains both the third party songs contributed towards the film as well as the orchestral BGM score.

AppleseedOn Disc 1, the stand out track is the Boom Boom Satellites "Dive for You." Paul Oakenfold's "Burn Attack" is a DJ style techno song & Basement Jaxx's "Good Luck" is a house/dance anthem you can picture being blared in a underground dance club in New York. Atom's "White Car" has a nice combination of crazy beats overlaid with each other very unusual and subtle ways. And there's plenty more where that came from.

Some soundtracks mix up the beats and the orchestra, but this one separates the two. In combination with Disc 2 (the BGM), this is a good balanced soundtrack, and depending upon your mood or taste, you can play Disc 1 or 2 as you please.

Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, October 2006

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