OK lion tamers (I used it before, I'm sticking with it ). Here we go.
Appleseed (2004), when I saw this right after release, was a terrific treasure. But I need to talk about some other work, which tends to explain why the producers made Appleseed in the format they did.
In 2001, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, was released. When this movie came out, and released into the theaters, something important happened. For the first time, an anime movie had been created in the mind of a CG computer, so accurate that the pours on the skin of the actors were visible. The overall details were breath-taking. The effect this movie had on the movie industry was frightening. Actors in live action material saw their profession disappearing. If this quality could be maintained, live -action movies might eventually give way to CG produced first line products. And in an evolutionary way, see the end of the studio system and Actors Guild, for all time. Believe me, many meetings were held, to determine a strategy, against this new threat.
In the wake of this problem, in 2004; Appleseed was released to DVD (and later on Bluray). Remember, to get distribution, in many countries, the Studios had to provide that distribution. So Appleseed needed to be something that did not heavily frighten the Studios, and their attendant Actors Guilds.
Appleseed Film Partners decided on a course that had not been tried before. They created a mix of visual styles, in which inanimate objects (from guns to buildings) were fully painted in 3D CGI, while the people were all drawn in a more cartoonist style. It succeeds on virtually every level.
Appleseed is not a anime than can be discussed like any other. No clear description is possible. It truly needs to be seen, by an intelligent audience, to be appreciated. A stupid viewer won't get what was created.
Characters are strong, dynamic. Dialog is read out perfectly, enhancing every scene. The visual effects are a piece of artistic splendor. Even emotional moments are handled with delicacy, and nuance. The battle scenes are plotted well, with a proper back-story, making the battle necessary.
I'll describe a scene, so you get the idea. Deunan Knute is confronted by her clear enemy at gun point, and he is telling her that with the destruction of the bioroids, her fathers' legacy will be erased. The emotions playing across her face, make it absolutely clear that her enemy is not making any friends. Ultimately, in the middle of a rapid exit with her friend, both falling headlong over a railing into the ocean; she takes a mad chance over his shoulder and puts a bullet into her enemy, right between the eyes. With her father's gun.
Her father was a soldier. She is a soldier. That is romantic nuance.
One more scene, and then I'll quit. Deunan Knute is confronted by the Elders, seven men so old they need maintenance by the city's central computer to live. They have decided they wish to die, so they hatch a grand scheme to eliminate all Mankind via the release of a super-virus. So she tells them; "... so you're going to hand our problems to the next race? We have to believe the future is what we make of it! ..." And with that, she plunges headlong into the night, following a super-battle-suit, which catches her, and she begins the ultimate battle for the survival of us all. WOW!
Every character has a reason. Every line matters. Nothing is shown that has no purpose. Even the scene where an aircraft resembling a cross between a V-22 Osprey and a C-130 cargo plane is being parked. The C-130 has specific sound that sounds like a bird twittering while it taxis. They get that exact sound into the soundtrack. Now that is attention to detail!
This movie is not intended for the audience for anime alone. This is real movie, with a real story, and characters that are alive in a very real way. Even the villains have intelligence and features that enhance the purpose for their being.
Good stories are rarely appreciated by the folks that bring us H-Ecchi, or by the folks that enjoy the raping of a loli in a Hentai production. Appleseed was not made for them. It was made for the discerning viewer, that has a desire to soar with the eagles; and to see justice done.
That's enough. I give this movie, an overall 9, and I would have given it a 9.5, but that rating isn't available.