Stephen reviews: Appleseed (2004)

20052694156.7577495Appleseed [アップルシード] (2004)

Starring Ai Kobayashi, Jurouta Kosugi, Mami Koyama, Yuki Matsuoka, Miho Yamada, Takehito Koyasu, Toshiyuki Morikawa, Yuzuru Fujimoto

Directed by Shinji Aramaki


It took 15 years for someone to make another Appleseed film, and this one is pretty much the exact opposite of the first. They both center around Deunan and Briareos, members of Olympus’s S.W.A.T. team in the wake of World War III, facing off against terrorists and traitorous elements of their utopian society. But where the original film focused on tactical and strategic combat without any real attempt at characterization or explanation, the newer adaptation of the tale is chock full of explanation while dumbing down the action scenes to just look cool rather than have any thought behind them.

The other big difference is the animation. The original film was low-budget and looked rather dated even for its time. This version, however, came after the colossal success of Ghost in the Shell, and producers were a lot more willing to risk cash on Masamune Shirow’s other properties. So the new version has sleek CG animation, which astonishes by actually not looking like total shit. Just partial shit. Pixar this ain’t, but I have seen a good deal worse. In fact, most anime CG from the 2000s does look like total shit — anime has always lagged behind its western counterparts in terms of digital functionality — but it’s clear that Appleseed had a lot of loving care put into its production design. That doesn’t mean I like it. I still hate CG productions like this, but when you knowingly jump head first into a full CG film, there’s not much reason to rant about it being CG. So I’ll restrain myself and focus on the film’s other features instead.

Continue reading Stephen reviews: Appleseed (2004) →

Stephen reviews: Kimera (1996)

kimera_1Kimera (1996)
AKA Ki*Me*Ra

Starring Yasunori Matsumoto, Mugito, Jurota Kosugi, Tatsuo Tobita, Daisuke Gori, Yoshitaka Arimoto

Directed by Kazu Kokota


Kimera throws a bit of a curveball at you by blending horror with gay romance. I wasn’t quite aware of that particular sub-genre, but I doubt it’s a very large one. What makes it really odd, though, is that the title character is, despite all appearances, actually a woman, and one of the most confusingly gendered characters I’ve ever seen. The film clearly states that she has ovaries and a menstrual cycle, but it makes no mention of male reproductive organs. Kimera, the character, nevertheless looks exactly like a dude. I’m still not sure whether to consider it a cop-out for guys who are insecure about their sexuality so they can say it’s not gay, or whether it was just a forced plot device because the story needed to have a reproductive aspect to work. Either way, it is this gender-bending confusion that becomes the defining aspect of the movie.

This is not the only convoluted thing about this film either. The film’s biggest problem is that its paltry 45-minute run time just isn’t enough time to explain all the ideas that it tackles. I mean, look how long it took me to explain Kimera’s gender, and that’s not even what the film is about. The movie feels very rushed and incomplete, and that really drags it down. If the plot had more room to deal with its ideas it could have been a pretty decent film. As it is, however, it comes across cluttered and incoherent. Other than that, Kimera is a pretty mediocre anime, anyway. If it weren’t for its bizarre gender confusion, it would be a pretty forgettable film.

Continue reading Stephen reviews: Kimera (1996) →

Subscribe via Email!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,593 other subscribers

Ongoing Series

Top Posts & Pages

The Films of Jackie Chan
Best Of/Worst Of Lists
Shaw Brothers Martial Arts Films
Four Riders (1972)
Stephen reviews: Wicked City (1987)
The New One-Armed Swordsman (1971)
Hex After Hex (1982)
City Hunter (1993)