Appleseed XIII Episode 2
What this is about: Watching all of the anime shows so you don’t have to! For more information about me and my reviews, click here for details on what I am reviewing.
Series Premise: In a war-torn future where most of civilization has fallen into ruin, the utopian city of Olympus stands as a beacon of light, run by genetically-engineered Bioroids for the benefit of humanity. A former SWAT member Deunan Knute and her cyborg partner/lover Briareos are new members of Olympus’ ESWAT team, protecting the city from threats. Based on the 1985 manga series by Masamune Shirow, this is a new CGI-animated series more closely based on the original story than recent animated ventures. This is a 13-part OVA, the first part released in June 2011.
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ep. tl;dr review: Deunan and Briareos fight terrorists for control of empty plane; Another vaguely disappointing effort.
Episode Summary: Deunan and Briareos try to take the day off, but are called to duty when a jet aircraft carrying several thousand people deviates from its course. The duo easily board the plane but find it completely empty — including the cockpit. As Briareos attempts to disarm an explosive device left in the cockpit, Deunan flies off to fight against a flying…thing…that is shooting missiles at the plane. Damaged, the plane lands safely, the terrorists are apprehended, and Deunan discovers the “people” she saved are actually 3000 Bioroid fertilized eggs.
My Impressions: Look, if they’re just going to half-ass it from beginning to end, then they might as well not do it at all.
The whole thing is just underwhelming and disappointing, although I wonder if that is because I am setting my standards higher than normal. I avowedly am not a fan of the CGI-style animation, but it seems that this second episode was a much weaker effort compared to the first episode. Feels like the B-team was tasked with this one, the animation jerky and stilted, some of the character artwork just plain crappy. I really fail to see how the expensive computer-assisted animation adds anything to the show at all.
But it’s not just the animation and artwork, but I have questions about the story and how everything is unfolding as well. Mostly it revolves around Deunan — or rather, some fourteen year old brat that seems to walking around and acting like Deunan. From the manga I remember her as a strong woman, always sure of her abilities and herself, calm and cool and capable. I’d even say cocky to a fault, not willing to admit her deficiencies and always a bundle of trust issues. This version of Deunan, however, is a whiny little idiot that I doubt I would trust with a BB-gun. And the acting always seemed about half a step behind, poorly storyboarded and just *slightly* off balance. I feel like I’m watching some Final Fantasy VIII video game exposition sequence half the time.
As for the actual story itself, not a whole lot happens here, mostly it seems to be setting up a much larger story as the terrorists and Olympus fight over the future of the human race. All fine and dandy, and Shirow has always been much better at the larger picture than the individual pieces.
Perhaps I should continue watching for nothing more than nostalgia’s sake, or for the larger complete story. But this whole effort is seriously flawed I question whether it’s worth it. Given the less-than-stellar reaction, financial woes and no clue when the next episode may become available, though, I wonder if the decision will ultimately be made for me.
- My earlier reviews: Episode 1 (August 26)
- Info resources: My Anime List, Anime News Network, AniDB, and Wikipedia
- If you like this series, then you might also like: Ghost in the Shell, duh. Also: Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.
Sampling of Online Reviews:
- “The creators might have opted to take a different route with these characters, which is perfectly fine by me. I’ll be eager to see what they do. Of course, the flip-side of it is they actually do intend to keep the character dynamics in-line with Shirow’s original templates and are just failing at it. In which case, I’m less eager to find out what happens. Since when do you have a Point man who cries every five seconds while off-duty and has to constantly rely on support during combat?” – Anime New Modality
- “This episode was actually surprisingly interesting. It was based around an interesting premise, and the dialogue of most of the characters was well written. The dogfights in the air were also quite interesting to watch, and the background music turned out to be excellent. It’s got its flaws, though…Also, most of the cast is well acted, but Deunan is trying too hard. At this point I can’t blame it on her period anymore.” – Star Crossed Anime Blog
ROUND TWO RESULTS FOR SPRING 2011 SHOWS:
Thumbs-up for Round Two: Steins;Gate, Deadman Wonderland, Hanasaku Iroha, Moshidora, Ano Hana, Tiger and Bunny, Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko, Nichijou, Yondemasu-yo Azazel-san, C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control, X-Men, Blue Exorcist, Kaiji Season 2, Hyouge Mono, Appleseed XIII
Thumbs-down for Round Two: Dog Days, Fireball Charming, A Channel, Sengoku Otome Time Paradox, Showa Monogatari
Coming up next: Time to move on to Spring Season Round Three!