My Guilty Pleasure: The Appleseed Franchise

I am not sure if I ever talked about this before in sort of detail or at all here, but I love the Appleseed Franchise and not in the way people usually love it. I love it for all the wrong reasons. For starters, the source material is from the same guy behind Ghost in the Shell, Masamune Shirow. Unlike Ghost in the Shell, this franchise was never put into the hands of a genius director like Mamoru Oshii, it was put into the hands of Shinji Aramaki. If you don’t know who that is or why it makes a difference, this is where it gets good. Shinji Aramaki has spent more time as a mechanical designer then a director. That is what makes the whole difference. If you don’t understand yet, let me put this into more detail. (Side note: the 1980’s OVA counts here as well, even if it wasn’t directed by this person. It is just as stupid and wonderful).

Let’s dive into the world of this particular anime franchise first. In a world that has been ravaged by the chaos of war, there stands one city that is a sparkling beacon of hope. A city called Olympus. It is a futuristic city that is half populated by androids. In this future, a human woman who is the ultimate warrior named Duenan Knute and her cyborg boyfriend Briareos come from the outside. Because of this chaos is brought throughout the city. That is the story in a nutshell. There are many different forms of this anime that have been redone quite a few times, but these basic aspects stay the same. It’s a cyberpunk series with some robot combat in it that could have something intelligent to say, if this franchise was ever put in the hands of the right people.

If you were wondering why having a mechanical designer as a director was never a 100% solid idea, it’s because they focus too much on the mechanical aspects and not enough on the plot. Every single Appleseed thing (movie, tv series, and OVA) are very thin on plot and very thick on having robots moving around and shooting each other. I do admit that the 2004 movie TRIED to have harder then everything else to have some sort of deep plot, but it failed. Instead, we got some cool shots of robots chasing each other and firing at each other in the middle of a high-tech high way or the finale when unstoppable and invincible giant robots the size of the city with cannons that can destroy anything working toward the city. What I’m saying is, the plot doesn’t matter because it’s a vehicle to get all these cool machines fighting each other. It’s why I like to watch these things. The material is there to say something meaningful about human kind, but it never does.

Appleseed movies are always cg, but the cg is great for its time. The original Appleseed film looks dated now, but in 2004 it was beautiful. Even right now on a film front, anime still has some trouble looking this good. Expelled from Paradise from 2014 looks about as nice as this film does. Appleseed’s cg has improved since then. Appleseed Alpha was an action filled musical video, but it was a very fun action filled music video. The plot barely existed, but who cares. I want to see people carry around machine guns firing at cyborgs and so many other things.

So yeah, that’s Appleseed. A thing plot with some cool action scenes. Flying pilotable robots firing four machine guns at once is the kind of dumb fun that I love. Just like giant monster films, this is pure Scott dumb fun material. You guys have no idea how excited I was when Appleseed Alpha, a prequel movie, was announced and came out a few years ago. More good and dumb material for me to enjoy. I do admit that the balance of cyber punk and mecha action works as another explanation for why I love it as well. More, give me more Appleseed. I realize that some people might take this franchise as high quality material, but I just don’t see how. If you do, please let me know how. I’m willing to discuss this issue.

What about you guys? What is something that you watched which is so stupid, but you loved it anyway? This should get fun.

9 thoughts on “My Guilty Pleasure: The Appleseed Franchise

  1. Not anime but the whole Hobbit trilogy, there is thing that doesn’t make sense, pretty sure more than once Tolkien wanted to get out from his coffin and fly to New-Zealand just to yelled at them, but I still love it since the most of the important cast where on point and the fx were great, even if I feel there was maybe too much in those movie compare to LotR.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sort of reminds me of Pacific Rim. You know the plot is cliche. You can predict everything that’s going to happen and you know you’ve seen these characters before. But all that doesn’t matter because the action si so friggin’ awesome!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This was a series i remember from my dark days as an anime. The time between my childhood and my high school resurgence. Where I forgot about anime or what anime was. I believe it was the Appleseed Ex Machina film that I watched during this time that I kind of fell in love with this franchise a bit and i have been looking to grab it ever since. It was a fun little movie that I could see becoming something along the lines of Deus Ex Machina: Human Revolution if it wanted but felt more like Face/Off in moments without the direct sense of ham. Great action to just watch unfold. To me the equivalent of all style no substance type of anime that I have watched would be Redline which is just a blast to watch even though it literally makes no sense half the time. Great to see this franchise get some love!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had a similar situation with the first film. Did not see Ex Machina until recently, but loved it too. More people need to see this franchise’s stuff.

      Red Line is fun too.

      Liked by 1 person

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