Mar 29, 2010
Ian_K (All reviews)
Anthologies of animated shorts based on Western properties have become something a big deal. In the past two years we've seen both Batman and Halo get this treatment, as well as the videogame Dante's Inferno. However, the Animatrix is still the gold standard of such works, even going so far as to outshine some of its source material.

The secret for the Animatrix's success is the talent that was poured into it. Some of the creative minds that worked on it include Mahiro Maeda (Gankutsuou), Yoshiaki Kawajiri (Ninja Scroll), and Shinichirō Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop), in addition to some up-and-coming talents as well.

While the Matrix sequels devolved into mysticism and spectacle, the different pieces of the Animatrix give us new spins on the ideas that first made this world so compelling. Each segment gives us something completely different while still remaining true to the thematic elements of reality and identity that are at the heart of the Matrix. And these differing visions are captured in a kaleidoscope of visual styles, making the experience an enriching one for the brain and the eyes.

Of course, in an anthology work such as this, everyone will be drawn to different parts. I certainly have my favorites, but I found that each segment had some to offer - with one exception. The first segment, The Final Flight of Osiris, made by Square (who you might know from Final Fantasy:Advent Children), features remarkably realistic CG but has such a poor story that any sense of wonder is lost, and the overall effect is rather one of boredom. Fortunately, this misstep is quickly forgotten as it is eclipsed by the equally pretty and much more interesting works that follow it.