Appleseed (2004 version)

Genre: Sci-Fi
Length: Feature Film
Rating: 15 for violence and adult themes
Score: Very Good

Growing out of the chaos of a global war, the utopian city of Olympus is populated by humans and bioroids. On the surface, everything is harmonious, but tensions lurk. Into this seemingly perfect society comes a seasoned warrior, Deunan Knute, who carries a legacy that will turn out to be of critical importance to the future of humanity.

As with much of Masamune Shirow’s work, Appleseed is set in the near future, around 120 years from present, in a world decimated by war and populated with a mix of humans, cyborgs and clones (and various stages between). The “world” has certain similarities with that presented in the various Ghost in the Shell stories, and anyone who’s seen those will recognise the style. Graphically, Appleseed is stunning, with almost photo-realistic scenery in many places and some of the best animation I’ve seen. Characters are extremely detailed, and things like individual clumps of hair have a realistic physics model applied to them.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say I found Appleseed more enjoyable to watch than Ghost in the Shell. I think the plot in Ghost is more complex and involving, but the Appleseed plot felt (to me) more believable.

This is something you could quite comfortably show an anime newbie (provided they had at least a modicum of interest in sci-fi stuff) without risk of them getting hopelessly lost.