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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Armitage III
Armitage III
Pioneer // Unrated // November 5, 2002
List Price: $19.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Buzz Burgess | posted November 12, 2002 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
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The Movie
Not to be confused with "Armitage III - Poly-Matrix" (1997), the chopped-to-90-minute version, "Armitage III - The Complete OVA" (2002) is the full 2 hour and 20 minute compilation of the original 1995 4-part series of this graphic and intense anime from Pioneer Entertainment.

The year is 2179. Mars is in the middle of a terra-forming phase by Earthlings who have colonized it. With them, they brought robots known as "Seconds" to do menial labor. Also present are illegal humanoid robots called "Thirds", mirror images of humans designed by an opposing force to infiltrate the population. Rene D'anclaude, a human, vows to destroy all the "Thirds" and sets out to do just that. Ross Sylibus, also human, is recruited to find Rene and bring him to justice. Having recently lost his partner at the hands of a renegade Cyborg, Ross is not too keen on robots in general. He is teamed with Naomi Armitage, a cyber-punk cop in the Martian Police Department. She's also a "Third," and her fight against D'anclaude is a fight for her survival. Ross has trouble with the partnership until he is injured and is forced to receive a cybernetic limb replacement, partially transforming him into one of the machines he hates. Slowly, he comes to realize that being human is more than just flesh and blood and eventually joins Armitage in her quest to discover the mystery of why "Thirds" were created. Armitage and Ross are brought together in a bond of love and hope as their journey uncovers a secret that could destroy both planets!

Episode 1: Electro Blood
A victim turns up, Kelly McCanon, a popular singer. Ross discovered something shocking: the fact that the corpse was not a human, but a "Third".

Episode 2: Flesh & Stone
Another bullet-riddled "Third", Lavinia Whately, is found dead at an industrial power plant. But, Armitage is missing and Rene is is custody. All leads point to her.

Episode 3: Heart Core
The Martian Police Dept. decides to drop the investigation. Ross doesn't agree with the department's decision and heads out on his own to discover Rene is not what he appears to be.

Episode 4: Bit of Love
The only remaining person with the knowledge of the secret of the "Thirds" is Asakura. But, Asakura's memories have been altered. Will the secret ever be revealed?

This movie, produced from the OAV series, parallels Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner" and the plot has strong ties to the short story "Do Robots Dream of Electric Sheep" by Philip K. Dick. The English dub cast including the unknowns of Hank Wilspank, B.G. Mills and Lee Stone deliver excellent performances and are are much more robust and vocally animated than their Japanese equivalents. The animation is good with fast pacing supported by the rock tracks and mixes traditional art style with rough distance drawings. Slow-mo effects are inserted at points to accentuate the dramatic scenes. Recommended for mature audiences, this violent production has a fair amount of blood and a hefty applications of profanity, thanks to Pioneer's choice in the translation. There are a couple short nude scenes as well.

DVD
Full screen 1.33:1, non-anamorphic, spanning 140 minutes, in color.

Video
The DVD contains sharp imagery with full color saturation and detail. Color fidelity is excellent with deep, solid blacks and vibrant colors. Noise and other artifacts are virtually nonexistent. Very pleasing overall.

Sound
The Dolby surround track, has nice separation containing dynamic sound and the presence of deep, powerful low frequencies. Very good, but somewhat short of spectacular. The dialog did seem ADR manufactured, but wasn't too noticeable. In total, an above average audio presentation. Music tracks are identical in both selections differing only in the language voice-overs.

Menus
Static with toggle animations. (Play, Setup, Scenes, Extras)

Setup
English 2.0, Japanese 2.0, Subtitles on/off.

Scene Selection
4 screens (episodes), each with an Opening, Part A, Part B and a preview of the next episode.

Extras
Trailers
Dual Matrix and Poly Matrix.

LD Cover Art
4 stills of the covers of each of the episode laserdiscs.

Concept Art
30 stills of concept art developed prior to filming of the movie.

Backgrounds
21 stills of background art present in the movie.

Previews
Previews of titles available from Pioneer Entertainment including: Gatekeepers, Hellsing, X, Mysterious Play, Vandread, The Second Stage and Strawberry.

DVD Credits
Credit list of the producers, dvd menu and authoring crew.

Final Thoughts
I've always been partial to animation that leans toward the mature audience, especially ones that put the whole package of graphics, sound and dub together in a nice story line. This one has all that and ranks among my all-time top 5 (Akira, The Ghost in the Shell, Vampire Hunter-D, Metropolis.) If you are a connoisseur of mature anime, and like or own titles such as those mentioned above, you are sure to put this offering in your collection right beside them. It's deep, which does great things for the replay value, and really beckons you to review it right after the first time through. Kudos to director Hiroyuki Ochi on this film.

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