Reviewby Richard Winters, May 4th 2011
The dark secret of future Tokyo!
Japan, 2077: A female agent named Vexille is dispatched to Tokyo to investigate whether the Japanese are developing robotic technology, which has been banned by the U.N. due to its potential threat to humankind. For ten years, Japan has cut itself off from all outside contact, with the changed society within hiding a shocking secret.
When you sit down and decide to re-hash one of the oldest story concepts in anime ―the fuzzy border line between man and machine― it is important to bring something fresh to the table, and avoid being too preachy. Vexille unfortunately has other ideas about this, fresh is back off the agenda and preachy is the order of the day.
The plot will seem terribly familiar to anyone who is more than a casual watcher of anime, with (as far as I can tell) not a single element of originality to be seen. I was going to list a bunch of TV tropes links here reflecting on how every single god-damned plot element is a trope, but fortunately I don't have to because Tropers have done it for me. Please note the last trope in particular.
The preachy-ness couldn't be more evident than in the presentation of societal contrast. What's left of the now fully android Japanese population lives in a close knit community while the heroic Americans complain bitterly that they no longer have human contact outside of their dehumanising jobs. Even worse is that despite wanting to claim the legacy of Appleseed ("From the creators of Appleseed" it says right there on the cover), the creators know just as much about industrial design, nanotechnology, and robotics as my M.S.I.A. 1/100 bolt Gundam knows about quantum physics. Yeah that's right, all the scientific acumen of a lump of plastic.
As someone who does keenly keep up with these sorts of fields, the resulting string of plot holes is only remotely feasible as a story structure if you accept that an entire movie can be crafted as a two pronged attack on corporations and scientific research. The dramatic conclusion, where the Japanese people as an entire whole sacrifice themselves to stop the evil spreading to the rest of the world was as predictable as it was trite. Dear Japan, your martyr complex is getting old.
While some of the solo CGI sequences are quite good, their integration with the traditional animation sequences is sloppy at best, resulting in rotoscoping so horrible that caffeine addled and sleep deprived iron amv creators would be ashamed to claim it. Most disappointing of all for me however were the powered armour sequences. When Red Vs Blue manages a lot more expression than you can, it's time to rethink your power armour from square one.
It's a damned shame that the English language voice acting crew put such a lot of effort into their jobs, as this movie has one of the better dubs I've come across in quite some time. Unfortunately even pouring heart and soul into the sound booth can not save Vexille from both its trite predictable preaching script, and terrible animation.
(c) 2007 VEXILLE Film Partners
Overall : C-
Story : F
Animation : B-
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