Friday, January 3, 2020

My Life In Fandom: "Appleseed", Anime's Forgotten Cyberpunk Classic

Folks know about Ghost in the Shell, and plenty know of AD Police and Bubblegum Crisis/Crash/2040. Akira is a classic, but one other title once well-known in popular Japanese cyberpunk of the 80s has since faded: Appleseed.

There have been post-2000 adaptations, but none are as good as the 1988 OVA and the original manga--if you can find it--is still better than all the adaptations to date.

If you're familiar with GITS, then the set-up is familiar. You have a masculine female lead, a cyborg male support character, plenty of intrigue and politics with philosophical commentary, mecha (Landmates, just too big to be powered armor; you pilot it mostly via motion controls.), and the noir tropes and themes cyberpunk inherented from detective noir. The protagonist is a counter-terrorist operative that gets wrapped up in government intrigues, and doesn't always come out the winner.

Compare the dates between this and GITS' original manga publication and you'll see that this is Shirow's Kull and GITS is his Conan.

It is unfortunate that this Shirow property is mostly forgotten. It can be distinguished from GITS if handled properly, which it hasn't since the '80s OVA, but I doubt we'll see it due to a lack of normie-friendly merch opportunities; cheesecake figurines and cyborg action figures only go so far and Landmates are not the breakout cutesy characters that the Tachikomas are.

Give it a chance. Watch or read as you can find them. You can see where he would go with GITS for yourself, while enjoying a distinct story of its own substance.

1 comment:

  1. Bradford

    That brings back a lot of memories. I read the French translation and enjoyed it.


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