Appleseed OVA - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B-
  • Video Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: B-
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 15 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: Manga UK
  • MSRP: £19.99
  • Running time: 66
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Appleseed

Appleseed OVA

By Paul Jacques     December 07, 2005
Release Date: November 14, 2005


Appleseed OVA
© Manga UK


What They Say
The fierce battle takes place in the cyberpunk mega city, Olympus. After the devastation of World War III, the scattered governments of the world construct the perfect city administered by perfect Biodroids - artificially created half-human half-robots. Life in Olympus is carefully controlled and monitored - and some of its human population have had enough. A dedicated band of terrorists plot to destroy Gaia, the central computer, and
restore freedom to mankind. After a daring raid on a high security facility, they have the weapons and information they need to complete their mission - including the key to the end of Gaia. Will they be stopped before they ruin the dream of paradise?
Join two of the finest and most reckless officers on the force in this high-tech animated thriller. Based on the internationally successful comic series by Masamune Shirow (Ghost In The Shell, Dominion Tank Police), Appleseed is a high-octane, action-packed race against time as the future of a civilisation hangs in the balance.

The Review!
This is the original anime of Masamune Shirow’s manga, making it some 17~20 years old (ah, the bouffant 80’s). And as we just had the 2004 remake release, how does the original stand up to the new version?

Audio:
We have English 2.0 and 5.1 audio, and to be honest there isn’t much difference, as they both go with front and centre sound, with no attempt to move the sound source around. The 2.0 Japanese track is also basic stereo, but at least it’s a little less grating on the ears. All the VA’s must have been told to be gung-ho in delivery, with volume of sound taking priority over any finessing of emotional scenes. And is it just me, or does Athena sound like a guy?

No Op, but the Ed song – and the music in general – is played in the key of 80’s rock! It’s called Crystal Celebration and sung by Risa Yuuki, alas it’s not a toe tapper.

Video:
It’s 4:3 TV aspect. Print quality looks a little washed out and fuzzy, with some blurring during panning scenes. Otherwise it’s a full VHS quality picture (never a betamax when you need one) transfer. Remember, it is from a time when VHS was all we had, so HDTV it isn’t.

Packaging:
N/A Check disc only

Menu:
A simple green screen menu, with the menu options along the bottom and some of the anime scenes looping in the background. All the links worked and no dead ends were encountered.

Extras:
The first option is some stills from the anime (ho-hum), what’s more interesting are the few stills from the manga- very nice artwork. Next are the tfive short character bios, which you can read prior to watching the anime without ill effect. A list of trailers is also available- I note it has GiTS SAC 2Gig!

The real gem is the addition of a “Clementary”: Jonathan Clements and VA Larissa Murray do their commentary throughout, and so you get oodles of Appleseed explanations along the way- good stuff for sure. So be sure and select English audio track 3 when you want some more info.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain some spoilers)
WW3 has been and gone. In the aftermath the world begins to rebuild towards a better quality of life.

The story centres on a leading edge city called Olympus. A place where natural born humans and bio-engineered humans aka Biodroids (sic) live in what seems like paradise. Only not everyone likes this utopian lifestyle: Terrorists abound, with evil intent (icky).

In the opening scenes we see Fleia throw herself out of the window in a suicide, only later do we learn from her husband Karen (sic) that she was depressed about living in paradise (no pleasing some people).

Protecting the population is are the SWAT team members Deunan and Buliaros (sic), who are attempting to find a terrorist called AJ Sebastian. Mr Sebastian doesn’t like Olympus (for unspecified reasons) and secretly works with SWAT spy Karen to bring down Olympus. As to how Sebastian and Karen meet we don’t know, they don’t even know each other’s name until the very end. And the way they talk to each other makes it seem as though they once met over a game of darts and a pint of beer- most peculiar.

In order to bring chaos to the city the baddies need to do two things:
1.Shutdown the supercomputer Gaia. Gaia controls EVERYTHING in the city.
2.Steal the new Olympus super weapon called a Multipede Cannon.

In order to shutdown Gaia the baddies kidnap Biodroid Hitomi, whose mere presence at special control booths will cause Gaia to immediately shutdown. This task is carried out by Karen. Alas, as to why Hitomi, agrees to even go with Karen in the first place to de-activate Gaia does not make a lick of sense, and pretty much sinks the story at that point. NB Deunan’s suggestion at the very end that Hitomi did this because she fancied Karen is just too stupid for words.

Meanwhile Mr Sebastian steals the Multipede Cannon and waits for the signal to start blowing holes in Olympus central command centre Tartarus.

‘R’ heroes attempt to stop all of this happening, but fail miserably. In the end it takes the combined efforts Olympus Government head Athena, Deunan and Buliaros to overcome Gaia self-defences in order to re-activate the slumbering computer, so that Gaia can shut the Multipede Cannon down before it blows everything to pieces.

In Summary:
So, is the original anime better? This original release has slightly better script dialogue (less one liners) than the 2004 version, but lacks the back-story to make you care about anyone. This original version never engaged me emotionally as the 2004 version did: Whereas the 2004 version pulled me in with pathos, this original repels me with judicious swearing and “out of left field” plot twists.

When I first saw this back in the 90’s (I still have it) I thought is was so-so because Hitomi’s actions were in congress with her stated programming, having watched it again in 2005 it’s still so-so for the exact same reason.

Features
English Language DD 5.1,Japanese Language DD 2.0,English Language DD 2.0,English Subtitles,Jonathan Clements & Larissa Murray commentary,Extras

Review Equipment
JVC 28" Pure Flat Wide Screen TV, Pioneer 454 Progressive Scan code free DVD player, Logitech Z-680 THX DD/DTS receiver & Speakers. Secondary equipment, 19” Samsung 930BF TFT, ATI X700 & PowerDVD v4, Creative Audigy 2 & headphones and a duck.

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