Grey is a laconic trooper in a rough, futuristic military system which rewards success in battle with high pay and promotions, but only three precent of troopers live long enough for the final goal - citizenship and the chance for a life above the misery of most of the populace. Grey has managed to keep coming back alive, even earning the nickname Grey Death. But is the society he's fought for worth it?
Some movies are instantly recognizable by a single iconic image. For example, Silence of the Lambs has the moth, Fight Club has the bar of soap and Full Metal Jacket has the army helmet. In fact, it's hard to imagine Full Metal Jacket without the iconic camouflage helmet decorated with bullets, a peace sign and with “born to kill” written across its side.
Grey: Digital Target can be best summed up by a single iconic image as well, and like Full Metal Jacket it's the main character's helmet. Yet unlike the dark camouflage helmet of Full Metal Jacket, Grey's helmet serves as a
bright red beacon. Just as his iconic helmet stands out from the bland landscapes it's cast against, Grey stands out from the other inhabitants of his post-apocalyptic world. The wanderer's sheer number of kills, ability to survive and meteoric rise in the ranks made him a legend, earning him the nickname "Death."
Yet the helmet is more important than a simple symbol - it has a story of its own. The original owner of the helmet and Grey's lover, Lips, died in pursuit of her dream- to become a “citizen.” In Grey's world, lower-class “people” of “towns” yearn to join the privileged upper class “citizens” in “cities.” Luckily there is class mobility of sorts - by joining the army and raking up kills "people" earn points. As points add up, ranks increase until "people" can finally become citizens. Grey dons the helmet in Lip's place, continuing her quest for citizenship.
On the surface, Grey: Digital Target seems like a typical 80's sci-fi anime. It takes place in a post apocalyptic future, where life is a nightmarish struggle for survival and technology serves only to repress or kill. But beneath the cliches, Grey has immense potential.
Grey: Digital Target's jargon is one of its most endearing features. Terms like town, citizen, bird, and mama that take on new meanings. The words always fit, never become confusing and serve to enrich the story's world and history.
Another great aspect of the series is Grey's harsh and unapologetic plot. One would be hard-pressed to find any positives in Grey's nightmarish world. Few series dare to be so bleak and even fewer see it through to the finish.
Yet Grey undercuts its good points with bland art and mundane animation. The drawings lack detail and the animation lacks flow. Poor animation ruins the robots', tanks' and other warmachines' interesting designs. The machinery begs to be brought to life with movements and vibrations, but remains stagnant and dull. Even the battles and explosions fail to impress. Although Grey has many opportunities to offer viewers memorable visuals, it fails to do so.
Grey's bgm doesn't do the movie any favors either. The simple midi is unengaged and uninspired. Grey's world deserves a soundtrack that would allow viewers to feel the atmosphere, making for a deeper experience. Instead the soundtrack matches the movie's bland visuals, making for bland visual and audio experiences.
It's unfortunate that Grey: Digital Target's poor presentation undermines its dark plot and great machine designs. Overall, the production values are more typical of a TV series than a theatrical feature. That isn't to say Grey isn't worth checking out - it's still a good watch. Yet it's hard not to think of what might have been. Unlike Lip's charismatic helmet, Grey: Digital Target does nothing to stand out from the vast landscape of anime it's cast against and has deservedly fallen into obscurity as a result.
I think this one deserves more credit. I'm old-school so I love these old anime. At the time the story wasn't all that original, but it had "feeling". There was an emotional element to it. Yes the animation wasn't that great, especially by todays standards. You can't judge old anime that way though.
Story: Dang good even though you don't get some of it. That's kinda par for most anime anyway.
Art: not so great, but the action is good.
Sound: Mediocre... never have figured out why this is a category... Who cares. All anyone talks about is
opening and ending songs which make no difference in the story.
Character: Well done and with feeling, there is a love story and you get it.
You'll like it or hate it. Just depends on your taste and whether you're addicted to the new style of anime art. I thought this was great.