In an alternate 21st century, the robotics industry undergoes a period of rapid advancement worldwide. By the year 2050, Japan has firmly established itself as the leader in robotic technology and manufacture with Daiwa Heavy Industries. As the technology evolves to include robotic enhancements to the human body, the blurring of the line between man and machine triggers a sudden shift in world opinion. In response, the U.N. passes a unilateral ban of further research and development on robotics in 2067. Japan fiercely objects to this ban, but is unable to prevent its passage. In protest, Japan withdrew from international politics and chose to pursue a policy of high-tech national isolation. While only trade continues, Japan disappears from the world scene.
Ten years later, a series of bizarre incidents lead the American technology police agency SWORD to believe that Japan has concealed extensive development of banned technologies through the use of the RACE network. SWORD dispatches a unit of special agents to infiltrate Japan and gather intelligence on the country. Vexille, a veteran agent among the group, uncovers the horrifying truth behind the ten years of isolation.
Set in the year 2077, this cyberpunk thriller starts off with a bang and unfortunately goes out with a wimper.
The story evolves around roughneck yet beautiful girl named Vexille who works for an elite military force codenamed: S.W.O.R.D. In a nutshell, Japan has elected to become an isolated country and decides not to play ball with the rest of the world. A semi interesting story ensues...
Fortunately, as soon as the movie starts you are well treated for some nice visual eye candy. As you would expect from a CGI heavy movie, everything is rendered with utmost detail. But almost immediately you will notice that
the characters are altered slightly than what you would normally expect. They appear to be more styled in a cel-shaded way. A little minor gripe with cel-shading is that sometimes theres a little TOO much 'shading' on the characters. The style may look a little weird (semi-simplified characters over an extremely detailed background) but you will most likely grow used to it after a few minutes. There are a few flaws in the animation but thats proof of how beautiful this movie is. You'll be actively searching for things in the artwork to nit pick.
A great thing about a cyberpunk universe is understanding the universe itself. The back story and technology throughout the movie will most definitely do its job in to pulling you into the Vexille universe as all the technology is pretty believable (for the most part) and cool to look at. Unfortunately what pulls the story down a few points is that the actual plot is very unspectacular. When the viewer discovers the plot, seasoned anime viewers will notice how cliche' the whole move is from the climax to the ending. Which disappointed me so much since they could have easily gone a unique route but decided to take the safe (and unimpressive) route.
With a weakening plot, unfortunately the characters have to suffer as well. As they are near replicas of other cyberpunk characters. It also means that the characters faces don't show emotions very well for some reason (i.e. happy, sad, etc). To add more salt to the wound, the characters don't speak as much which is good and bad. Good as in usually when they're not talking some kick ass action sequence is going on, and bad as in the character chemistry is virtually nonexistent. If you have been following any of my reviews, chemistry is what makes a good anime great.
Don't get me wrong, this movie was for the most part, pretty good and I am most likely going to buy the dvd when it comes out, but the storyline and characters started to wane (or letup) further into the movie. If they only kept its intensity and uniqueness all the way to the end, this would definitely be a 9, but this movie deserves no more than a 6.
Vexille is in the same vein as cyberpunk thriller franchises Appleseed and Ghost in the Shell. There is excellent animation and world/mecha design on display, with great music by Paul Oakenfold.
The story is intriguing and has moments of awe, but is overall generic and subpar. The premise of having the main protagonist from America and treating Japan like current-day hermit North Korea is very cool but not expanded upon creatively.
Vexille settles for obligatory action setpieces and clichéd villains to fill the running time. All stuff straight out of the Rebels-Fight-Empire 101 textbook. A textbook that is in need of a new edition,
I think we can all agree.
Vexille - 2077 Nihon Sakoku shares the same inspiration as Ghost in the Shell and Appleseed, following an almost straight forward cyberpunk plot line.
The story is fairly good and had some potencial. All flows around the isolation of Japan during 10 years because the disagreements in a Treatment for the preservation of mankind during the Robotized era. In short the denial of creating androids.
It is a simple plotline with good potencial for plot twists but unfortunatly it starts entering in a downward spiral to failure due to some bad decisions of the directors.
Art and Sound are simply Amazing. Superb animation not only for the
mechas but for all the scenarios the story passes by. Sound is also superb, with great tracks by Paul Oakenfold and great tracks choosen by the Sound Director (wich is Paul Oakenfold).
The Characters could be way better. They are just plain and simple with no really great mistery behind them. They are what you see.
Enjoyment: Vexille Is a feast to your emotions. Great Animation with Great music quickly lead you to forget about the mediocre plot line and plain characters. You can simply shut your brain after the first 20-30 minutes of the anime and still you will enjoy it.
Overall Vexille had the potencial to be a better movie but the story and the characters cripled that possibility. Still Vexille - 2077 Nihon Sakoku is a good movie that can be enjoyed not only by the CG and Cyberpunk fans but also by the normal watchers.
For the record, I didn't start off hating this movie. I'd actually been searching for it for a good year before they released it in June (July? Something with a J). I looked at it lovingly the whole way home once I'd bought it, and when I watched it for the first time, I felt...happy.
That was about for the first 15 minutes.
I've watched it 3 times since I bought it, and it never gets better. I don't know whether or not I'm biased towards Shirow or whether I just expect better from the producers, but something about this movie was a little off.
me just say that the graphics are awesome. The opening scenes with the snow floating in the wind--excellent. Graphics were not the problem I had with this movie. One of the main problems I had was the mech designs. I mean, you want them to seem as though they could work in real life, and these just didn't seem like they could. Maybe it's a small gripe, but when machines are the majority of your story, you should pay them a little more attention.
The main character, Vexille (I honestly, seriously, hate this name. Who the hell names a girl Vexille?! Whatever....) seems like a copy of Duenan without the spunk and vitality. I believe that they just took the template for Appleseed and slapped some weird black/grey/blond hair on it (I swear to god her hair changes colors). She doesn't really have a back story, there's no sense that she even really loved her partner Zack (or that he loved her back), and by the end of the movie, I just felt indifferent towards her. This wouldn't be a problem if you didn't have to spend almost the entire running time for this movie with her, but you do, so it is.
The story has a good twist about half way in, but it doesn't make up for the rest of the boring, drawn out, ultimately lame plot. It had a great concept, but a few things (Jags) just killed it for me.
Given the fact that Appleseed: Ex Machina was released before this, I really don't see why you'd really need to watch this. I mean, if its your first time, go for it, because at least the visuals can get you through this mediocre piece.
There's hate, and then there's the white hot, seething hatred anime fans have for CGI anime. Look, none's denying there have been some atrocious missteps in the past when it comes to CG in anime, but it can be done right!