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Appleseed XIII- The Complete Series Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Review

Appleseed XIII- The Complete Series Blu-ray-DVD Combo Pack

“Appleseed XIII” is an ambitious failure that never lives up to its potential.

The 13 episode “Appleseed XIII” series takes place in a post-nuclear war setting in Olympus City. In this time period and place, humans and bioroids (clones made from human DNA) co-exist, but they don’t do so peacefully as the Human Liberation Front terrorists (AKA the Argonauts) are opposed to the Bioroids. Enter the main characters Deunan and her Cyborg pal Briareos who are members of the ES.W.A.T. team. Together (along with other team members) the two fight against the Argonauts (who have a plan of their own). Other key storylines involve the mysterious and devious Deia, an alleged mission to rescue hostages on a plane, bioroid suicides, a malfunctioning police robot, Landmates and AutoInsectors, an infection, an investigation into the terrorist group the Argonauts, a nuclear bomb carrying Argonauts’ Landmate, a submarine security mission gone awry, bioroids on a kill list, protection details, Gaia (the A.I. system), murder, Poseidon, and Deunan and Briareos looking for “paradise.”

On paper, “Appleseed XIII” sounds like a deep and intriguing sci-fi anime series, but, unfortunately, the show doesn’t dig deep enough. The universe director Takayuki Hamana and writer Junichi Fujisaku built here provide a wealth of potential, but sadly the stories that we get limit that potential. The show never delves deeply into the mythology, the characters, the politics, and the conflicts in these 13 episodes like it should. In fact, this is one of the few anime series in which 13 episodes does not feel like enough to tell the whole story. Of course, these problems are a direct result of Junichi Fujisaku’s suspect writing choices. Fujisaku has a strange tendency to pad episodes with cheesy and sentimental character moments, an overabundance of Greek mythology tie-ins, lots of scenes with Deunan whining and squabbling, and a plethora of flashbacks that bog down the episodes.

“Appleseed XIII” isn’t a complete waste of time, however, as the show provides some interesting plots about politics, race, war, dreams, technological advances, and so forth. I just wish these ideas were presented in a better show with characters the audience actually cared about because I certainly never find myself engaged by Deunan or Briareos.

Video/Audio:

The series, which is presented in in widescreen 1080p, is visually uneven. The series looks its best when it comes to the CGI cityscapes and action set pieces. On the other hand, the character models and movements are profoundly clunky. Furthermore, when comparing the DVD to the Blu-ray, the animations flaws are much more apparent in hi-def (even though the series still looks better in hi-def).

This set contains English and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio tracks. The English dub didn’t connect with me as Luci Christian is clearly miscast as Deunan. The Japanese track is vastly superior in terms of voice acting and is certainly the track to go with.

Extras:
* Trailers for “Mass Effect: Paragon Lost,” “Steins;Gate,” “Evangelion,” “Summer Wars,” “Sengoku Basara,” “Eden of the East,” “Chrome Shelled Regios,” “Tenchi Muyo! War On Geminar,” “Phantom- Requiem For The Phantom,” “Remnant Knights Game,” and Funimation.com.
* Textless opening and closing themes.
* Commentary on episode 7 by Mike McFarland, Ian Sinclair, and Monica Rial. If you are a fan of the very loud Rial, feel free to listen to this track.
* A U.S. trailer for “Appleseed XIII.”
* Commentary on episode 12 by Colleen Clinkenbeard and David Matranga. The two talk about the dubbing business, characters, acting, etc.
* “Appleseed XIII: The Inside”- We don’t often see a wealth of in-depth extras on Funimation discs, but “The Inside” is a rare exception. This behind-the-scenes series of extras on all 13 episodes contains crew interviews, a look at the CGI animation and motion capture processes, the lighting, the companies that worked on the series, and much more. I’d love to see more lengthy extras like this on future anime sets.

Summary: ‘Appleseed’ fans may want to check this series out, but I can’t recommend the show to anyone outside that fanbase.

August 9, 2013 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , ,

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