Armitage III: The Complete Saga DVD Review
The “Armitage III” OVAs shine while the films aren’t worth your time.
If you’ve ever been curious about the cyberpunk anime series “Armitage III,” now is your chance to check out the whole saga with this new DVD.
First up on the set are four OVAs titled “Electro Blood,” “Flesh and Stone,” “Heart Core,” and “Bit Of Love.” The OVAs revolve around a sexy, bad-ass police officer (Armitage) on Mars (now colonized by Earth) who investigates the murder of a country singer who happens to be an illegal android that resembles a human (AKA a Third). With her new partner Ross Sylibus, Armitage try to track down the killer. As the investigation continues, more dead Thirds pop up and Armitage is soon suspected of the murders (even though a Third hating man named Rene D’anclaude is linked to the murders). In the later half of the OVA, the story delves more into the fact that Armitage herself is a Third and that her father (Asakura) is the creator of the Thirds. Seeing as how the Thirds are illegal, the military is now after Armitage, but her partner turned lover Ross helps protect her.
After the OVAs, there are two films titled “Poly-Matrix” and “Dual-Matrix.” “Poly-Matrix” is nothing more than an edited down version of the 4 OVAs rolled into one movie with an English voice cast attached (namely Kiefer Sutherland and Elizabeth Berkley). The sequel (“Dual-Matrix”) is an original story that takes place after ‘Poly’ and it focuses on Armitage and Ross who now have a daughter named Yoko. The villain of this piece is a Robotics Corp sleaze bag named Demetrio who wants Armitage to give him information about the Thirds for his own evil purposes. Eventually, Demetrio kidnaps Yoko which makes Ross and Armitage team up once again to rescue her.
Despite the dated animation and music and the “Blade Runner” inspired plot, the gritty “Armitage III” OVAs are definitely a cut above most anime series. It’s a fast paced, atmospheric anime series that creates a visually engaging futuristic cyberpunk noir universe. The defined clear cut story, developed characters and ongoing mysteries really grab your attention from the first frame to the last frame.
Unfortunately, I can’t say the same of the 2 films. As I mentioned above “Poly-Matrix” is just a re-edited version of the OVAs and there is no real reason to watch it. “Dual-Matrix” isn’t any better as the whole thing feels unnecessary. It may be a continuation of the OVAs, but the story isn’t on par with what you’ve seen before.
The OVAs and “Poly-Matrix” are both presented in fullscreen. They’re both a bit rough looking as the animation has aged, but the actual character and environment designs are still very well done. “Dual-Matrix” obviously looks the best here as it’s newer and in widescreen. There are some truly stunning sequences and cityscapes with the CGI animation.
The OVAs contain English and Japanese Stereo tracks. The English dub is so-so while the Japanese track definitely gets my recommendation. “Poly-Matrix” only contains an English track, but the voice cast is certainly more interesting than that of the OVAs as there are some big names attached. “Dual-Matrix” gives viewers the option of playing English Dolby Digital 5.1 (and English stereo) tracks as well as a Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 track. Both 5.1 tracks are worth checking out.
* Trailers for “.hack//Quantum,” “Chaos;Head,” “Fractale,” “Disgaea,” “Tales Of Vesperia,” “Serial Experiments Lain,” “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood,” and Funimation.com.
* 5.1 Music Player allows you to play 3 isolated score tracks titled “Armitage’s Theme,” “Orchestral Theme,” and “Red Planet.”
* “Assembling Armitage”- A standard making of featurette that contains storyboards, discussions about music, voice acting and animation, interviews, etc.
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