Masamune Shirow is a legend amongst legends. The creative mind behind Black Magic, Appleseed, Dominion Tank Police, Ghost in the Shell, and Galgrease is widely regarded as one of the most talented individuals in the world of Manga. The 1988 OVA of Appleseed has joined the ranks of classic anime whose impact will never diminish.
Utilizing characters (but not plot) from the manga, the Appleseed OVA released in 1988 is a perfect example of a late-80′s anime. Big hair, big chests, big robots, and a whole heap of primary colours make up the bulk of this world. After World War III, a huge experimental city called Olympus is constructed. Inhabited by humans, cyborgs, and “bioroids”, there are many who have an issue with the city being run by a giant supercomputer. A plot to destroy Gaia, the super computer running the city, is uncovered. Gunfights, explosions, and drinking ensues.
Shirow brings up deep, philosophical questions that lay the groundwork for his magnum opus Ghost in the Shell. Where does our humanity begin and end in a body that is more mechanical than it is biological? At what point does an entity become “human”? By exploring these gray areas of our own labels, Shirow asks some obvious questions in rather subtle ways.
Released the same year as the Dominion Tank Police OVA, Appleseed uses an animation and visual style very common in the 80′s, also found in titles like Project A-ko, Venus Wars, and Psychic Wars (released in 1991). Colours are slightly dull, although some scenes were extremely detailed given the budget and time period that the OVA was made in. The English dub is cheesy (like most 80′s anime), but passable. Still, many of the characters and reactions lose some of their comedy in the transition from Japanese to English.
Coming in at just under 70 minutes, this one can be squeezed in just about any time. The 1988 Appleseed OVA definitely deserves at least one complete viewing, although providing this classic anime with a space in your collection would be the proper thing to do.