Appleseed: Ex Machina pushes anime to its limits

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appleseed ex machina

Welcome Japan’s answer to Beowulf.

While American audiences were blown away by last year’s epic CG gem Beowulf, Japanese animators have created their own visual masterpiece with Appleseed: Ex Machina, an action-packed, techno-driven, sci-fi thriller. Appleseed: Ex Machina, the sequel to 2004’s Appleseed, breaks new ground with its next-gen, computer-generated animation and ramps up the stylish action with the help of producer John Woo.

appleseed photos
Images courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

The film, directed by Shinji Aramaki, is the second in a planned trilogy based on the hit cyber-punk manga Appleseed from creator Shirow Masamune. Back in 2004 when Appleseed was released, it was touted as the first feature-length totally CG anime movie ever made. It was a beautifully rendered film that brought anime to life without loosing the visual style and storytelling techniques of traditional hand-drawn anime. I can’t think of any other film, besides 2005’s Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, that has done this with such success. Appleseed: Ex Machina not only raises the bar on impressive visuals (it’s crazy how much better it looks than the first film), but offers viewers a juicier story and improved character development, especially between Deunan (human) and Briareos (cyborg) who are partners in an elite swat team and lovers. For this reason and many more, Appleseed: Ex Machina is a must own for fans of anime and/or any kind of animation.

appleseed.bluraySo here’s where I pimp the high-definition format. The DVD and Blu-Ray versions of the movie were released on March 11, and the HD-DVD version will be relased on April 1. If you’re not watching this movie in HD you are missing out. Much like seeing Beowulf on HD-DVD, Appleseed: Ex Machina on Blu-Ray was simply the best quality picture I have ever seen. If you don’t know it already, some high definition discs dissapoint. Sometimes the image is grainy or the blacks aren’t dark enough. This was not a problem with either of these CG movies in their HD format. In fact, they are (to steal from the dying HD-DVD’s slogan) “the look and sound of perfect.”

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Scott Kirchhofer
One of Nerdvana's founding bloggers, Scott Kirchhofer is a graphic artist and designer of the Nerdvana logo, as well as a gamer and comic book movie fan.