Appleseed (1988)

This animated adaptation of Shirow’s manga makes all the wrong moves. It takes a complex main character and turns her into a simple airhead. It takes a layered and ambiguous conflict and takes everything away that makes it interesting and meaningful, turning it into something generic and bland.

It’s not that there’s no attempt to capture the original, it’s just that everything is so simplified that it simply doesn’t work anymore. All that remains from Shirow’s manga is the surface. It looks like the original, it goes through the motions of something that resembles the original plot, but that’s where it stops.

Whereupon Appleseed the manga asked some hard questions about building a better world through technology and what would give first, the human animal trying to follow its eon-old urges or the sentient tools trying to gives humans what they want, while trying to figure out where the optimum between actual human wants and needs lay.

In its present state quite unfinished and burdened by an opaque narrative, Appleseed still manages to impress with depth and ambition. This movie version has neither and remains a complete mediocre experience.