Considered to be a classic cyberpunk anime, it introduced a wave of cyberpunk and anime fans when this movie was released in 1995. However, it got overshadowed by Ghost In The Shell, which in the US became such a well-known anime movie but Armitage III had strong popularity in Japan, so that kinda counts. Armitage III Poly-Matrix is a must-see anime film for all cyberpunk and anime fans who missed this gem a long time ago.
Welcome to the year 2046. The Earth became overpopulated and therefore, mankind created a colonization in Mars with the help of first type" androids and built the city of Saint
Lowell. Seventy years later, the city is inhabited by humans and "Second-type" androids, which are improvements over the first type and this new robots talk and react like real humans. On the space-port, a man named Ross Sylllibus arrives on Mars to meet his new partner, a young woman named Naomi Armitage, which for a partner she does know how to dress up nicely. However, all hell goes down when Armitage stops a man with a briefcase that she shot down and in the case, they find the body of a country singer named Kelly McCannon, which turns out that she's a "third-type" robot, able to act like a human but in a more advanced realistic way. Now humanity loses faith on the robots and now hellbent on destroying every last one of them, Armitage and Ross must now stop the man that's committing these murders and discover the secret of the "third-type" robots.
As you probably know by now, the story is the main selling-point of this movie and why people love it so much. It asks the question of why did mankind create robots when in reality they want them dead cause robots are becoming smarter than their creators. Did we wanted to create robots for our miserable enjoyment, to treat them like slaves, to make us feel better or to have them do our dirty work for them on the city? While it doesn't go too deep, it still talks about the issues with man's relation with machine and the fear that machines will become stronger creatures than man itself, kind like The Terminator. The 2 main characters are charming and to my surprise, they are well developed. Armitage is a woman who is different from the rest of us but doesn't care about it cause she just wants man and machines to live together in the city and will do anything to protect her kind. Ross Syllibus is also a great character. He's a cop who lost trust on robots since his beloved one was murdered by a robot but in the end, he learns that not all robots are programmed to be killers and has faith that both kinds can live in harmony. The side characters are just boring, minus one character that I won't spoil here. They are useless and throughout this movie, they do nothing despite that there are riots in the city and no other cop does a damn thing about it.
The animation by AIC, the animation company that worked on Oh My Goddess and Inspector Gadget, looks phenomenal for a 1995 anime film. The cyberpunk look is impressive, giving it a Blade-Runner inspiration style, and the water color art is beautifully rendered in the background. The English voice acting is good but you have to get used to them in order to appreciate it. Elizabeth Barkley starts off strong as Armitage and she gives a top-notch performance out of her character. Kiefer Sutherland starts weak as Ross cause he sounds bored at times but in the second half of the series, he does improve a bit more than the beginning of the film. The music is fantastic and it gives you chills on your spine on how well the music is composed here.
Armitage III: Poly Matrix is a fantastic anime that should be watched by everyone. The story and themes are excellent, the 2 main characters are well-developed, the action is excellent, the animation is top-notch and the music is phenomenal. It's a great addition to the cyberpunk genre and I do hope that someone remake this film to a new generation of cyberpunks fans... In a good way of course.
A product of the early 90's cyber-punk craze, Armitage the Third, like many other cyber-punk movies of the time, focused on robot/human relations and questions about what constituted as being human.
The artwork is hand drawn in painstaking detail, as CGI was in it's infancy at the time, so the background artwork is very rich and complex. The main characters in the American dub were voiced by people who were A-list stars at the time, so you can expect great voice acting.
One last word of warning though: Like many cyber-punk movies of the time, nudity and ultra-violence is prevalent throughout the movie. Certain naughty bits appear
on screen with no warning at all.