Monday, May 23, 2005

I WATCH ANIME: Shirow's Appleseed sprouts CG movie

Masamune Shirow is a manga genius, in more ways than one. Not only is he a skilled artist, he also creates some of the most dense, deep thinking science fiction comics have ever seen. As a testament to this, most people are familiar to his work through their media adaptations. Most notably Ghost In the Shell, but more recently his Appleseed manga was the source for a new fully CG animated feature release, that even hit some screens here in the US (not too far on the heels of the second Ghost in the Shell film). And as of May 10th, the DVD release of Appleseed is available.

It's fitting that the animation in Appleseed is state of the art, since Shirow in renowned for his embrace of cutting edge technology in his work. Think Final Fantasy CG animation, but married to a cel-shaded, more anime approach (or very similar to the brief MTV Spider-Man animation). Here, the CG animation is much closer to being fluid, than ever before. That's not to say it doesn't still come across a bit stiff at times, but man, there are some scenes in this movie that are amazing.

Outside of the animation, the story of Appleseed is a bit of a challenge at first. They pull the ol trick of showing you plot elements that at first make no sense, until later getting the backstory, but I'm not sure it's really of any benefit. The story turns out solid enough, but feels a bit light when all is said and done, and doesn't deliver enough action, or punch I think. I really enjoyed it, but was expecting, or hoping for more (from what I'd heard). One of those situations where it's better not coming in with expectation, or perhaps low ones, so you can be pleasantly surprised.

If you like comics, manga, animation, or sci-fi you must see this film, just don't buy into all the hype going in.

Check out the movie site HERE

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