The anime feature Appleseed, which debuted theatrically in Japan early last year, opens today in select cities in the U.S. Released by Geneon Ent., the sci-fi film is based on the manga by Masamune Shirow (Ghost In The Shell) and directed by Shinji Aramaki (Bubblegum Crisis). It made its North American debut during the American Film Market in February.
Appleseed is set in the year 2131, after most of the world has been devastated by war. The story chronicles the battle between mankind and bioroids, a race of cybernetic pseudo-clones designed to aid humans in domestic capacities. But when ideologies flare and aggression rises to the surface, the thin veneer of peaceful coexistence is shattered.
The pic combines 2D character animation and 3D motion-capture technology. The film’s unique look was dictated by director Aramaki and producer Fumihiko Sori, whose credits include CG animation work on the Hollywood blockbuster, Titanic.
Appleseed is the first film to fall under the new Geneon Films umbrella, a division dedicated to marketing and distributing live-action and animated feature films from Asia. Geneon Ent. also acquired North American and European distribution rights for the film Tetsujin 28th. The company previously released the anime masterpiece Akira, as well as the hits Patlabor WXIII and Onmyoji.
The Appleseed property is apparently set to become a trilogy. The film’s Japanese creator, Micott & Basara, has reportedly teamed with Los Angeles-based Axis Ent. to co-produce a pair of sequels and a television series based on the film. A live-action feature film may also emerge from the partnership.
For an in-depth look at the movie, see the February issue of Animation Magazine.