Armitage III: Polymatrix
See original review.
Way back in the day, this was one of the first titles that introduced me to anime. Yes it was the butchered Sci-Fi version of the movie, but I actually liked it quite a bit - as did quite a few of my friends (that poor, worn, recordable VHS tape never saw it coming). The deeper themes of the future of computer/robot-human interaction and the boundaries that define what it is to be “alive” and “human” are explored in a very unique way.
After purchasing and viewing both versions of this title, I can safely say that while I enjoyed the OAV’s extended story, I still find that I enjoy the shortened, concise package that this movie offers quite a bit more.
Since the OAV series is the basis for the movie, there are some general aspects for both titles that should be mentioned first. Animation-wise, while some crowd-, and generally low-import scenes may be slightly dated to some viewers who are used to the newer CG- animation, Armitage is crisp and surprisingly detailed for an OAV series. The character designs and action scenes are especially well done, rivaling even the early work of Masumane Shirow.
Both the OAV series and the movie have very concise and intelligent plots as well. And while it is a common complaint that the movie suffers from the condensing/editing process, after viewing them both, I feel that it actually gains in the trade-off. It keeps the important parts and delivers them in a rather high-paced manner, allowing you to get the whole story in just one sitting. This is actually preferable because this title, in both versions, shows a preference to both leave parts of the character development slightly implied, such as Ross Syllabus overcoming his hatred of robots, and develop parts of the plot through inter-character dialogue (a seemingly favorite technique of “deeper” anime). With the OAVs, while it does appear to have more information and substance, to me it just seems to have the same amount of core plot, only it’s stretched to cover a longer play time, with the only aspects that are really expanded being the extraneous information, such as competing “robot” manufacturers.
As far as soundtracks go this title literally shines (mmm… ambient techno… *lick*). Sometimes weaving in and out of the background or adding a punch to an action scene, Nanba Hiroyuki’s soundtrack seems to always be right on the mark. I should also mention here that I definitely prefer the movie-length feature’s English dub voices over the OVA’s. Elizabeth Berkley (“Showgirls”) croons out a sexy, dead-on Armitage performance, and while I’ve heard Keifer Sutherland’s (“24”) performance criticized in other reviews, in my opinion he at least performs his role competently. B.G. Mills, while being a talented voice actor, just isn’t suited for her role as Armitage (in the OAVs) and though the other voice actors may be competent or even well-suited for their roles (David Lucas plays the very minor role of McCannon’s manager), the weakly-played lead in Armitage just leaves my opinion of the other voice actors' performances tainted.
At the end of it all though, any fan of cyberpunk, or even anyone just interested in cyberpunk, should seriously take a look into this movie.
A little bit of the rushed/lightly touched on plot points issue. Please, though, if you like deeper-themed anime and are even remotely interested in similar titles like Ghost in the Shell, do yourself a favor: Add a star and watch this movie (or the OVAs, your choice). — Isaac Cynova
Recommended Audience: Some nudity on the part of the Thirds, and some rather brutal violence on d'Anclaude's part limit this to older teens and adults.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Armitage III: Polymatrix © 1994 AIC / Pioneer LDCA / Oniro
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