Summer Anime Spotlight: Appleseed XIII

Masamune Shirow's 80's Cyborg SWAT Partners Assault a New Decade

Having spawned an OVA and two popular CG movies, Appleseed is the second most recognized creation of Ghost in the Shell manga artist Shirow Masamune.

The story follows the exploits of the ES.W.A.T. special forces member Deunan Knute and her combat cyborg colleague Briareos at the city of Olympus after World War V. Again, this is cyborg cops and tactical robots, but where as Ghost in the Shell's sci-fi is a guess of tomorrow may look like, Appleseed looks to the day after tomorrow.


Politically, economically, and even geographically, Applseed's globe has been rearranged. The premise is informed by the global conflicts of the mid-eighties given that the manga started in 1984. According to the annotated map in the manga/art/design book Appleseed: ID, large meteor strikes have radically impacted the United States, China, and Russia. Global, non-nuclear war incapacitated most nations, leading to a large scale social collapse. In the wake of this crisis, the Central Management Bureau stepped in, rolled out its disarmament policy and vision for global trade, then set up its utopian city, Olympus, with a society leveraging genetically engineer bioroids to dull humanities baser instincts.

The heroes of the franchise are Deunan Knute and Briareos Hecatonchires, LAPD SWAT officers who were in the thick of it during the bad times. Both are designed with Shirow Masamume's vision of a pan-racial future in mind. She is one of his tough, mind on the business, gear head heroines. He lost most of his natural body in the line of duty, and it's been replaced by the cybernetic Hecatonchires system, recognizable for its trademark bunny ear sensors.


Following Bandai Visual's 1988 OVA and the 2004 and 2007 Shinji Aramaki directed CG features, the new Production I.G series Appleseed XIII has Masamune Shirow overseeing a plot written by Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex's Junichi Fujisaku. Prince of Tennis' Takayuki Hamana directs, with Kouichi Yamadera (Spike Spiegel) and Maaya Sakamoto assuming the roles of Brialeos and Deunan.


If you're in Japan, you can both buy the series Blu-ray/DVD and see episodes streamed on Nico Nico Douga. The first episode began its region locked web run on June 3rd, with the home video was released the 6th.


Appleseed XIII will also be released in Japanese theaters as two feature compilation films. The first one,Appleseed XIII: Tartaros will open June 13th, 2011. The second one, Appleseed XIII: Ouranos will be released on October 24th.


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