Friday, February 3, 2012

Spriggan Anime Review

ADV Films
Movie - 1 disc
90 min.
$29.98 (2002)
$29.98 (2005) Special Edition
ISBN 702727021527
Japanese/English Audio - English Subtitles
Director - Hirotsugu Kawasaki
Studio - Studio 4⁰C

Synopsis: An ancient artifact is discovered and thought to be Noah's Ark.  Two clandestine groups battle over its possession and the world will never be the same!  On one side is ARCAM, an organization charged with recovering and guarding powerful ancient objects to ensure they never fall into the wrong hands.  On the other is the U.S. Machine Corps - a rogue division of powerful cyborgs funded by the Pentagon.

ARCAM employs hyper-skilled agents called Spriggan in every country across the globe.  One of their most capable Spriggan is Yu Ominae from Japan.  He rushes to investigate the Ark and stumbles upon a secret more terrifying than anyone could imagine.  Along the way he will face his greatest childhood tormentor recreated in a horrific cyborg body. 

The world faces annihilation as Colonel McDougal, a psychically augmented boy with nihilistic dreams, takes possession of the Ark and unleashes is terrible power on the populace.  Can one Spriggan hope to defeat a god? 
Will you be my Valentine?

Pros: Excellent action sequences, good character designs, great background music, nice CG elements, some interesting sci-fi concepts using old testament mythology

Cons: Some stiff 'action movie' one-liners, too few explanations for many of the characters (like how does Yu or any of the other Spriggan have powers?, what's up with McDougal's brain fluid thing?, are Fatman and Little Boy really gay and who is the bottom?, etc), zero character development

Mike Tells It Straight: Spriggan is an action movie first and foremost.  It gives us a non-stop adrenaline rush of violence and killing for the first half of the movie.  The action scenes are pretty amazing and some of the best in anime (particularly when it debuted in 2002).  The plot comes a distant third with little to no real setup for the histories or motivations of the characters.  When we meet Yu, he's in high school and suddenly he's a badass special agent.  No setup, but we're whisked along for the ride and it's a fun one. 

Yeah, it's funny when someone gets kicked in the nuts

The second half of the movie drags as we're forced to somewhat pay attention to the plot and there's a lot more talking.  You can tell Katsuhiro Otomo had a big hand in developing the story and character designs - McDougal could easily have walked straight out of Akira

If you're looking for a good action anime with some killer battles and a paper thin plot then you'll get your fix with Spriggan.  There's no romance, tons of things blow up, the heroes are invincible, and no one ever reloads.  It really hit my nostalgia bone with Otomo-influenced character designs and screenplay.  Turn off your brain and enjoy the ride.

TO BUY and Recommendations: