Japanese Title: Spriggan
Similar: Ghost in the Shell
Origin: Spirits of the Past
Watched in: Japanese & English
Length: 1 hr. 30 min. movie
- Good action with impact.
- Solid art and sound.
- Little but the action.
- Dull villain.
- Lacks the ‘adventure’ part of action adventure.
An aeon ago, I bought Spriggan for a friend’s birthday gift, as it was the store’s sole standalone “grownups” anime. The only detail of the film that stayed with me was how the Asian characters actually looked Asian – the first time I had seen this in anime – which matters in this multi-national cast. How often does the American transfer student in high school anime look the same as her Japanese friends except for her blonde hair? Watching it again for review, nothing else imprinted apart from a newfound appreciation of its art. Spriggan isn’t a memorable film.
Spriggan centres on a conflict to control a magi-tech version of Noah’s Ark, believed to hold an incredible power once unlocked. Naturally, organisations want this power. The U.S. Machine Corps makes its move with psionic child Col. MacDougall at the helm. Only the Spriggan operatives with their enhanced capabilities can stand against MacDougall and his cyborg unit. Japanese Spriggan Yu and French Spriggan Jean-Jacques are humanity’s best hope.
Spriggan is almost nonstop action. So if you’re not an action fan, you’re already out. Nonetheless, the action is good – explosions every brawl, super powered fistfights, guns of all sorts, and great environmental kills. If the action is good, why is Spriggan unmemorable? Simple: it lacks the charm found in popular action films. Spriggan doesn’t have an Arnold Schwarzenegger to love or a Jackie Chan whose fun style can carry a film. It’s an action adventure movie without the adventure of Indiana Jones. Yu is a Jet Li-type protagonist, but doesn’t have Jet Li’s fish-out-of-water mannerisms from his Hollywood films, so he isn’t fun enough for this sort of film. In short, there’s nothing to hang the action on – having such a boring villain doesn’t help either.
I don’t have much else to say. Spriggan is a pure action film set to impressive visuals that sits on the line where it has nothing to make it bad nor anything to call it good. It falls right in the middle on meh.
Art – Very High
Fantastic animation and effects gives the action impact. Explosions tear away the environment and you can feel the wind on a character’s face. Some environments look so realistic that they make characters look flat by comparison.
Sound – High
Good acting in both languages (RahXephon team for the dub). The music reminds me of Enigma with its electronics beats and a choir.
Story – Medium
Special operatives known as Spriggan must stop the U.S. Machine Corps from claiming control of Noah’s Ark, said to be a powerful weapon. With minimal story, Spriggan is almost wall-to-wall action.
Overall Quality – Medium
Recommendation: For action fans only. If you like Hollywood action films, Spriggan could give an entertaining hour and a half.
Awards: (hover mouse over each award to see descriptions; click award for more recipients)