"The most visually stunning APPLESEED movie yet" – Zac Bertschy, ANIME NEWS NETWORK
Masamune Shirow’s pioneering work of cyberpunk manga, APPLESEED, has already seen several animated iterations since its comic-book version debuted in 1985. The action and intrigue surrounding super-soldier Deunan and her hulking cyborg companion Briareos in the futuristic fortress city Olympus has been fully realized in the animation medium — but the pair’s exciting back story, their battle for survival in the ruined landscape outside the city walls, has only ever been hinted at. Now it can be told, and in eye-popping, exquisitely rendered 3D animation! Former SWAT cops turned mercenaries, Deunan and Briareos stalk the shattered husk of New York City. During an operation in the periphery of the ruins, the pair encounters agents of the fabled utopian city Olympus, and places them squarely in the middle of a conflict riddled with secret schemes and large-calibre bullet holes…
Japanese manga artist Shirow became a globally recognized name when the anime version of his GHOST IN THE SHELL hit screens in 1995. It was the definitive work of cyberpunk animation, soon to be echoed in the Wachowskis’ MATRIX series. But GITS was hardly Shirow’s first foray into hard-hitting, high-tech, dystopian thriller territory. In the mid-’80s, as the cyberpunk wave was ascendant in science fiction, he launched the initial manga version of his APPLESEED universe. It was a solid part of a movement that served a gritty, cynical response to the grandiose space opera of STAR WARS and such. Set in a 22nd century devastated by global war and now seething with constant strife, it showed the lines between government, insurgency, big business and criminal underworld blurred and fractured, likewise the distinction between man and machine. 2004’s APPLESEED and its’ 2007 sequel EX MACHINA, produced by John Woo, were both directed by Shinji Aramaki (who also helmed SPACE PIRATE CAPTAIN HARLOCK). A decade after the first of these, the series returns with this intense prequel, also directed by Aramaki but with a fresh new visual style founded in vivid and finely detailed realism (and a soundtrack jacked up with jams from Skrillex and a host of Japanese beat warriors). A tour-de-force of digital design, APPLESSED ALPHA is essential viewing in canon of kick-ass cyberpunk animation. Lock and load, forces of Fantasia — your mission is to secure a seat at our screening of APPLESEED ALPHA!
— Rupert Bottenberg