Deep in the Ararat Mountains of Turkey, a secret organization known as ARCAM has found what is believed to be Noah's Ark. However, the U.S. Machine Corps., a rogue organization of the Pentagon, wants to take over the Ark as a means of global supremacy. Only a special ARCAM operative known as a Spriggan stands in their way. Japanese Spriggan Yu Ominae teams up with French Spriggan Jean-Jacques Mondo to combat members of the U.S. Machine Corps. led by Col. MacDougall—a genetically-enhanced boy with deadly psionic powers. However, they must act fast and stop MacDougall before he uses the Ark for his own agenda.
Spriggan's got a relatively interesting premise behind it, but doesn’t do anything interesting with it.
Don’t let that put you off though, there's still some fun to be had in the form of cool 90's action!
This is the first, and currently only time I've seen Turkey depicted in anime. The crew did an ok job capturing its diverse nature; that of being stuck between Europe and Asia. We see metropolitan Istanbul briefly, and far eastern parts like Diyarbakir in the anime and it looks good.
Well actually, the animation in Spriggan is more than good; its impressive considering it was made in 1998. As
expected of Studio 4C. Facial reactions and action scenes are detailed and you find yourself scanning the whole screen to take it all in.
For a moment I thought this anime would be totally realistic but that notion goes out the window with a chase scene in Istanbul which made me grin like an idiot. I swear the main character's modelled after Jackie Chan. He moves around like a hyperactive monkey, doing back-flips and swinging on cables, its fluid and very dynamic watching him beat people up mercilessly.
Unfortunately that is all the character has going for him. Why did he have to be a 17 year old school kid anyway? Why not just a regular guy in his 20's or 30's? The anime doesn’t delve into his dual lifestyle, that of being a school kid one day and ARCAM operative the next, and his extremely brief flashback-assisted back-story is almost like an afterthought. All it does is explain his origin, not shed light on anything in his personality, because he doesn’t have one to begin with! He's a walking cliché.
So in the end I just see the character as a cynical attempt at appeasing teens. "Hey check this out! Wouldn’t it be cool if a kid just like you was a kick-ass mercenary!?" Not really. Unless he's getting the shit kicked out of him by a girl called Chidori Kaname, I'm not interested. At least Full Metal Panic gave us a compelling back-story to make the entire story have weight. The action scenes in Spriggan may be unrealistic, but they could have retained some sense of coherency with the narrative, it feels very lazy and my Suspend-Disbelief-O-Meter just wasn’t compatible this time.
I can enjoy an over the top action-fest as much as the next Read or Die fan, but here it’s not fun and it’s not dramatic, and when it finally builds to an ever-increasingly illogical Akira-esque climax with a psychic super powered deformed kid and apocalyptic style crap blowing up, I'm losing even more respect for it to be even contemplating Katsuhiro Otomo’s masterpiece, let alone riffing off of it.
Spriggan feels both old-school with its late 90's violence; the kind where people and objects are eviscerated with unabashed glee that would make the guys who worked on Ninja Scroll hyperventilate in joy, but the anime also feels ahead of its time because of that attention to detail and unconventional setting. You get the sense that if only the story were much much better, as in: if Studio 4C took a different approach at adapting the manga or just took an entirely different one to adapt in the first place, it would have been nestled comfortably in a list of Top Anime Movies Of The 90's; next to stuff like Production I.G's Ghost in the Shell which came out a few years earlier.
The story isn’t even worth mentioning; it’s just a bunch of plot points ticked off one by one. Guy has to go from A to B; objects have to get from Y to Z. Spriggan has to go from 'plan-to-watch' to 'completed' with a score that means it barely entertained me for the running time and I'll probably never watch it again. An interesting if disappointing look at Studio 4C's earlier efforts. They've come a long way indeed.
A secret government rogue agency sends out two of its best agents, called Spriggans, to thwart an evil organization's plot to acquire Noah's Ark and all the secrets contained therein.
Sounds like the plot for a spy action adventure movie? Correct.
* Hero. Cool, young, Japanese Spriggan Yu Ominae (who actually looks Japanese) with amazing physical martial arts skills and ability to take damage? CHECK
* Sidekick. Cool, sexy French Spriggan Jean-Jacques Mondo who has insane skill with guns? CHECK
* Three to four evil villians, all with special kick ass powers? CHECK
* Plot that takes you all over the world for variety? CHECK
* Spectacular action scenes with
blowing up vehicles, hand to hand fights, hand to gun fights, gun to gun fights, artillery fights, flying vehicles, land vehicles, vehicles in desert, vehicles in jungle, vehicles in snow? CHECK
* Extremely well choreographed action scenes with kick ass sound and animation? CHECK!
* Plot that starts getting religiously and philosophical towards the last one third to try to make the movie seem more "deep" than just a regular action packed flick? CHECK!
* Somehow the fate of the world rests in the hands of our hero spy, because the bad guys would really mess stuff up? CHECK!
This is a great action flick if you like these sorts of movies. Because it is animated there is a lot more licence to make the action even better, in live action I bet insurance wouldn't have covered this! The characters are sort of one dimensional but there's so much eye candy and other stuff to see one can't help but be entertained. An action movie of this calibre is like taking all the best scenes of Black Lagoon and compressing it into 90 minutes of adrenaline. Great fun and you'd enjoy this if you like a combination of James Bond, Tomb Raider and Indiana Jones.
I'm a sucker for evolutionary narratives with symbolism but I was suckered into Spriggan because of this. Right off the bat we're introduced to poor pacing that shows no sign of correcting itself. The entire story jumps around at the most awkward times and it doesn't help that a lot of things are ignored after the fact. It's not that there are subplots, as the main plot is already pretentious enough to cloud out anything else, but the events surrounding the main plotline are, more or less, canon fodder to increase the run time.
Combat sequences are fun and exciting early on but the movie transforms
into more of a dialogue later on. A bit of a bummer since the first sequence is a lot of fun and felt super cool, but even the action scenes have some strange pacing issues and transitions that are stunted. Still, pretty cool stuff.
The animation is pretty dang solid. Loved it. Settings were lively and exciting during the first act but the second they reach the mountain the world quiets down and becomes very boring. However, the animation still flows well and things look fantastic. It's definitely the thing that kept me watching.
Certain tracks are absolutely wonderful and the rest are invasive. Certain scenes are turned humorous due to the overly dramatic and completely non-sensable score. The sound effects themselves are pretty good but go unnoticed for the most part. A shame, since sci-fi's have the opportunity to create otherworldly, impressive effects. However, the work is more worried about the quality of the animation than anything else, which is ok. A shame, but ok.
Empty and vacant shells to carry out the narrative. Nothing more. That said, the main character had some depth that was pretty neat but it comes in mostly at the end. Everyone else isn't a real bother and doesn't bog down the flow so it's sufficient to get to the end of the work, but things have to happen and there's little reason for them other than "oh this character did this and that happened." They're used conveniently to make sure things move forward and nothing more. Nobody matters.
Pretty boring. A neat feature to gaze at the animation but nothing else matters. It's very similar to Akira except Akira has better pacing, a stronger world to explore, and many other neat features. Beyond that, this is a slightly above boring narrative that I'll probably forget about in a few weeks regardless.
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Spriggan was an alright movie that you should maybe watch. However it's biggest weakness is how the movie either never explains something or just doesn't do anything at all. No seriously there's like a sequence where we get shots of the main character driving with some pretty good music. The fights in this movie are pretty cool. It's only about an 1 and 1/2 long. The main character Yu is pretty cool I guess. He does some badass things in the movie but then there's this French Spriggan and he's pretty cool as well but like not as cool as Yu.