Appleseed Vol. #04 -

Manga Review

Mania Grade: A

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Text/Translation Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 13 and Up
  • Released By: Dark Horse
  • MSRP: 14.95
  • Pages: 224
  • ISBN: 978-1593076948
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Appleseed Vol. #04

Appleseed Vol. #04 Manga Review

By Mark Thomas     November 03, 2010
Release Date: February 25, 2009

Appleseed Vol. #4
© Dark Horse

The (currently) final volume of the Appleseed manga gives us some fantastic cover-to-cover action.

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Masamune Shirow
Translation: Dana Lewis and Toren Smith
Adaptation: Dana Lewis and Toren Smith

What They Say
Paradise ain't easy! In the future utopian metropolis of Olympus, a blazing beacon of humanity amidst a post-global-war wasteland, ESWAT agents Deunan and Briareos have fought tooth and nail to keep the peace and prevent Olympus from sliding back into chaos. When Olympus intelligence learns of a giant Landmate powersuit being built in secrecy, and on the threshhold of a top-secret international conference of the highest importance to be held in Olympus, ESWAT is mobilized to crack the mystery and disrupt a terrorist operation that could turn the fragile peace into World War IV! From the imagination of Ghost in the Shell creator Shirow Masamune comes the manga masterpiece Appleseed, an epic cyberpunk vision deftly balancing hardcore techno-science, wry political commentary, and explosive action. A visionary work that inspired the wildly popular animated film, Appleseed is now presented for the first time in America in right-to-left reading format, as originally published in Japan.

The Review!

In the midst of a large, multi-national peacekeeping conference, ESWAT uncovers a terrorist plot by the remnants of a religious state to use a massive Landmate to disrupt the conference, threatening the fragile peace. After Deunan loses her right eye in a training exercise thanks to the impetuousness of a teammate, she is removed from the main assault squad sent to prevent the terrorist squad and instead set to stakeout another suspect. But when she stumbles onto the fact that the Giant is just a decoy for a more subtle strike, and she is not in a position to get in touch with her team, she is forced to try and prevent the terrorist action herself.
If volume 3 of Appleseed left me underwhelmed, volume 4 left me anything but. From the opening page of this volume, there is almost non-stop action as it opens with the training exercise where Deunana loses her eye and transitions immediately into the special ops mission that runs for the rest of the volume. As such, this thing just rolls from beginning-to-end.
Unlike the last volume, which overwhelmed us with all sorts of discussion of political matters, this volume gives us just enough about the terrorist organization and their plans to get the gist of the stakes here, but stops short of stopping and explaining everything that could happen if they are successful. It is the same formula that was used for the first two volumes, and I welcomed a return to it.
I also really liked the switching of the rolls of Deunan and Briarios here, as not only is Briarios now supposed to be the muscle and Deunan the brains, but there is also a reversal of their apparent usefulness. Prior to this, Deunan is seen as a wild animal that does not play well with others, often creating problems for Briarios. But seeing her in action when she goes solo, it opens the possibility that Briarios is actually holding her back, which is a neat idea.
My only issue here is that this is the end of Appleseed, and it felt like there is still more to go. Masamune is apparently keeping open the possibility that there could still be more, but it has been over twenty years since this volume was completed, so I doubt it will happen. I would certainly like to see more, and I am enjoying (or have enjoyed, I guess) the hell out of this manga. And with the new dynamics introduced with Deunan and Briarios, I would really like to see where it goes after this.

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