Archive for August 18th, 2012

By Bob Clark

While reading Masamune Shirow’s work in manga after being exposed to their animated adaptations, it’s easy to take for granted the growth and development of ideas and sensibilities apparent throughout much of his early work in the 8o’s. Throughout Dominion Tank Police and Appleseed it’s perhaps even more enlightening to witness the evolution on a step by step basis, as the mangaka’s concerns mature beyond the mere sci-fi mecha action set-pieces that his characters were written around and into a set of stakes, circumstances and scale that’s far more in touch with the real world, to a point. At the same time, as the more adolescent elements of pimped up robot action and even more pimped up sexuality remains in play, it’s apparent that we’re reaching the point where Shirow begins to truly outgrow one narrative branch, necessitating a move onto the next. By the end of his run on the fourth and final book of the series, Appleseed less and less resembles the high-concept utopian action-adventure manga it began as and feels more and more like Ghost in the Shell, for good and ill, and by the time that Shinji Aramaki made his CGI animated adaptations in the past decade, Appleseed had almost completely transformed into something else entire.


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