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This Week in Anime - Is Spriggan Worth Watching?


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Yu Ominae



Joined: 21 Sep 2008
Posts: 71
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2022 8:09 am Reply with quote
Read the manga (original/English from Singapore), so I know a lot about the lore (as much as possible). Just keep in mind that the original story was set in the Cold War (until after the 1990s past the Gulf War).

CORRECTION: Fatman and Little Boy are with the Machiner's Platoon. Akatsuki is from Trident. The Viz translation originally had them (the former, not Akatsuki) as MJ-12, which is a bit weird, but "correct" as the same time since MJ-12 is a known group that's supposedly linked to the US government in conspiracy circles.

PS: As for Jean-Karlo's questions regarding what McDougall was doing while listening on the breifing after Little Boy/Fatman got pounced, I'd say it, but it goes spoiler territory (maybe a bit).

PS 2: Yoshino uses a RONI carbine with a Glock 18C pistol attached. In the manga, she uses a FAMAS. If you note the peashooter comment, it's also a callback from the manga since Ominae uses a Heckler & Koch G3A4 in the Forest of No Return (eg. The 7.62 NATO caliber packs more punch than 5.56 NATO). The change was done by the anime's military advisor, Kenichi Kaneko. He said on twitter that the decision was made to update the small arms of the major characters, including Yu and the ARCAM Private Army and Trident.

PS 3: Yoshino is really packed since she's a known mercenary treasure hunter. If and when the anime gets more episodes centered on her, you'll see why (partially).


Last edited by Yu Ominae on Fri Jul 01, 2022 8:25 am; edited 1 time in total
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Gilles Poitras



Joined: 05 Apr 2008
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Location: Oakland California
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2022 9:07 am Reply with quote
"Seven Seas will re-release the manga in the U.S."
The first volume came out a couple of weeks ago, at least the e-book version did.

I don't have Netflix, they have very little I'm interested in, so I'll have to wait for a physical release to see this. However I am curious if they mentioned that the crystal skulls were found to have been forgeries made with modern tools. Dropping that detail in with a non-forged skull into the story would have been great.
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Beatdigga



Joined: 26 Oct 2003
Posts: 3848
Location: New York
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2022 9:23 am Reply with quote
Gilles Poitras wrote:
"Seven Seas will re-release the manga in the U.S."
The first volume came out a couple of weeks ago, at least the e-book version did.

I don't have Netflix, they have very little I'm interested in, so I'll have to wait for a physical release to see this. However I am curious if they mentioned that the crystal skulls were found to have been forgeries made with modern tools. Dropping that detail in with a non-forged skull into the story would have been great.


spoiler[There’s actually a line about how several of the skulls they’ve come across were fakes but it’s a blink and you’ll miss it line.]

You know, it’s fun to examine the broader part of this series, because it does feel very…90s. High school student who’s secretly a deep cover agent and has to balance his artifact hunting with his personal life. Kim Possible squeezed four seasons out of a similar concept.
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Dop.L



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2022 9:41 am Reply with quote
Being old and British, Crystal Skulls are something I shall always associate with the old total hokum Yorkshire TV series Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World, which does seem to mesh quite well with this show's use of them. What hands crafted the Skull of Doom, indeed.
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JintoLin



Joined: 29 Sep 2020
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2022 10:47 am Reply with quote
No reference to the original Spriggan anime from 1998? ADV released the sub/dub DVD in 2002, and it basically sunk like a stone due to generally bad reviews. I had a copy of the DVD once, and I remember that it was ... not good.
The animation in the new version is better with the addition of CGI in places, but the story and characterization are as weak as ever.
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doubleO7



Joined: 17 Jul 2009
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2022 1:49 pm Reply with quote
JintoLin wrote:
No reference to the original Spriggan anime from 1998? ADV released the sub/dub DVD in 2002, and it basically sunk like a stone due to generally bad reviews. I had a copy of the DVD once, and I remember that it was ... not good.
The animation in the new version is better with the addition of CGI in places, but the story and characterization are as weak as ever.


They mentioned the movie in there at least once, but yeah they didn't really get into it or even mention the part it adapted when they got there spoiler[(it was the Noah's Ark segment, with some sprinklings of other bits from earlier, for those that are curious).]

I had the itch to watch some 90's anime recently, and Spriggan was on the list. Nothing special, but I thought it was fine for a big, dumb action movie with slick animation. That's the main reason to watch it though. It certainly wasn't much to write home about story wise.
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CaRoss



Joined: 11 Nov 2014
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2022 2:00 pm Reply with quote
I'm glad to read that this one is just a dumb, fun, adventure and violence laden OVA from the 90s that was somehow made and released in 2022. That's great as some friends and I spent a good chunk of the pandemic watching these sorts of anime online. Will definitely be getting them to watch this one with me.
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Yu Ominae



Joined: 21 Sep 2008
Posts: 71
PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2022 7:00 am Reply with quote
doubleO7 wrote:
JintoLin wrote:
No reference to the original Spriggan anime from 1998? ADV released the sub/dub DVD in 2002, and it basically sunk like a stone due to generally bad reviews. I had a copy of the DVD once, and I remember that it was ... not good.
The animation in the new version is better with the addition of CGI in places, but the story and characterization are as weak as ever.


They mentioned the movie in there at least once, but yeah they didn't really get into it or even mention the part it adapted when they got there spoiler[(it was the Noah's Ark segment, with some sprinklings of other bits from earlier, for those that are curious).]

.


spoiler[The movie adapted story arc bits from the Dragon Veins map arc and the Crystal Skull arc (mostly IIRC from reading the manga).]
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LightningCount



Joined: 04 Mar 2018
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2022 5:59 pm Reply with quote
I hope there is a Season 2. Spriggan is a great property, and I am glad it got turned into a series. I've wanted this for decades. I read the six arcs available in English from Viz back in the day, which cover Episodes 1-5 of the Netflix series, barring the prologue of Episode 1 (which is another story that is longer in manga form as I understand it).

Personally, I've always felt the 1998 movie, as impressive as it is as a spectacle, didn't fully capture the tone of the manga. Spriggan is more like Outlaw Star's more serious arcs. While it has a lot of realistic detail, it’s more stylized than the movie. I think the movie version gives a very narrow view of the material and tries to warp it a little bit to be more in the vein of Akira specifically. That was a curious decision.

This series really is a unique mix. In modern times, especially, I can’t think of anything very much like it. As was said, Metal Gear Solid meets Indiana Jones is what this is. It also pulls from things like Rambo, Terminator, Predator…like all the 80s/90s scifi or military hits. But it does these things in an anime fashion that separates it from all its various influences. And more to the point, it's both a fun action romp and a stimulating exercise on concepts about hegemony, mythology, the military-industrial complex, and ancient history. I'm sort of shocked that it's being so dismissed by some outlets as sort of "mindless popcorn fun." I would say that its heart is mindless popcorn fun, sure…but it has a hard shell of heady topics coating it that gives it more substance than one might expect and lets you just as easily take it seriously. When you combine that with the attention to detail on its world-building and tech, it becomes something that was ahead of its time in many ways. I also like that unlike the movie, the "heart" aspects of this series through the school life are shown much better. The theme in the first episode where Yu said spoiler[he was saved first at the orphanage was pretty powerful, too; that deserves mentioning how that works to humanize him and hint at more about his character that should be revealed in time.]

I can't speak to the whole manga and where it goes, sadly, but I can say that these episodes and the manga are not entirely stand-alone episodes as many reviews have said. The story is being built in the background throughout. The red eyes that Yu shows in times of great stress spoiler[have more significance to his past than some might realize…I haven’t gotten to this point in the manga, but I believe they are connected to his conditioning as a member of COSMOS.] In addition, we see the evolution of his arsenal with the cables and the knife. Organizations like Trident and ARCAM are having tidbits trickled out and building. I don’t know how it all adds up yet, but I imagine this is set up something like Witch Hunter Robin or Cowboy Bebop where the various threads on the peripheral eventually build into a climax where the macro story comes into focus.

The music in this new anime version is really good. And while the CG is hit or miss, there are many times when it blends very well and fools me. I can see why they had to use it under the production conditions in this era. Even Attack on Titan has gone that route as the scale ramps up. The thing is, based on the age of this property and its increasingly niche status now, I’m not sure in this day and age that it could have gotten a better adaptation. Re-reading the corresponding parts of the manga, it is remarkably accurate overall, even if it updates it for the modern era versus taking place during the Cold War. There is a lot taken almost or exactly shot for shot, and the changes that are made are either legitimate alternatives or improvements more often than not. Some of the comedy has been ramped up in spots, which was surprising. All the same, so happy that Episode 3 was adapted. I love that story in the manga, and I never thought it'd get chosen to be adapted. Not sure why they didn't include the religious-based names in that episode though in English--at least the dub.

It's sort of interesting about the reactions this series has gotten. I think it would have been a bigger hit if it had been adapted earlier into a series. Now there is no reference for it. Think of it. History Channel has sort of accidentally turned the whole ancient mysteries genre into a bit of a gag, Indiana Jones is on its last legs with Disney trying to revive it, and Metal Gear Solid hasn’t been huge since 2001 or 2004—2008 at the latest. MGSV was not a mainstream hit as far as I could tell. And this series’ tone of real-world political-military drama laid on top of supernaturally twisted ancient mysteries and spunky, quirky swashbuckling adventure that doesn’t pull a lot of punches is a mix that is bizarre in this day and age. I had one acquaintance tell me this was an “American anime.” They did not believe it even had Japanese creators. But the truth is this was at one time the definition of anime in America—the earlier end being Bubblegum Crisis, Akira, Ghost in the Shell and the latter end stuff like Outlaw Star and Cowboy Bebop.

All I'm saying is that anime fans should give this series a real shot for themselves.

Thanks to forum member Yu Ominae for covering a lot of ground.

I do have to make one correction on the movie, though. The 1998 movie spoiler[does indeed focus on the Noah's Ark arc, but mixes in other elements. The doctor's design is from the Berserker arc, the Yu fights his former instructor scenario is loosely inspired by the Phantom Island arc and perhaps the COSMOS-related arc I've not read, and Yu's soldier background is from a COSMOS-related arc, too. Also, I think the Crystal Skull story's market fight may have had some influence, but I'm not sure on that. Haven't revisited that manga arc yet.]
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Yu Ominae



Joined: 21 Sep 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2022 9:22 pm Reply with quote
spoiler[I can see bits of the Crystal Skull arc in the 1998 OVA when Yu tosses the broken scimitar blade to the cameras being used by the Machiner's Platoon in Turkey. He did the same thing in the manga.]
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FinalVentCard
ANN Reviewer


Joined: 28 Oct 2018
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2022 9:55 pm Reply with quote
Yu Ominae wrote:
Read the manga (original/English from Singapore), so I know a lot about the lore (as much as possible). Just keep in mind that the original story was set in the Cold War (until after the 1990s past the Gulf War).

CORRECTION: Fatman and Little Boy are with the Machiner's Platoon. Akatsuki is from Trident. The Viz translation originally had them as MJ-12, which is a bit weird, but "correct" as the same time since MJ-12 is a known group that's supposedly linked to the US government in conspiracy circles.

PS: As for Jean-Karlo's questions regarding what McDougall was doing while listening on the breifing after Little Boy/Fatman got pounced, I'd say it, but it goes spoiler territory (maybe a bit).

PS 2: Yoshino uses a RONI carbine with a Glock 18C pistol attached. In the manga, she uses a FAMAS. If you note the peashooter comment, it's also a callback from the manga since Ominae uses a Heckler & Koch G3A4 in the Forest of No Return (eg. The 7.62 NATO caliber packs more punch than 5.56 NATO). The change was done by the anime's military advisor, Kenichi Kaneko. He said on twitter that the decision was made to update the small arms of the major characters, including Yu and the ARCAM Private Army and Trident.

PS 3: Yoshino is really packed since she's a known mercenary treasure hunter. If and when the anime gets more episodes centered on her, you'll see why (partially).


1. Ah, so they went with Majestic 12. I remember that from Deus Ex.
2. I don't mind spoilers on what McDougall was doing!
3/4. Thanks for the extra details on the weapons! I'm amused that they'd go so far as to update the character's firearms for the series, it's a nice touch. I'm not, like, a huge gun-nut or anything, I'm just curious of the real-world details that old mangaka like to put into their stories (because as I like to joke, old otaku were all about their military vehicles and weapons before modern otaku just obsessed over anime girls lol). And I like seeing creatives put that kind of attention to detail in their works, especially if modern works reflect that in kind to ensure similar care in modern adaptations.

Also, thanks for the reminder that this series is very heavy on Cold War leanings; I mostly got into anime in the late-90s, so much of what I consumed was long since out from under the shadow of the Cold War (even though I did see Hunt for Red October as a kid). It's a bit of context I'd forgotten for a series like this.
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Yu Ominae



Joined: 21 Sep 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2022 10:07 pm Reply with quote
FinalVentCard wrote:


1. Ah, so they went with Majestic 12. I remember that from Deus Ex.
2. I don't mind spoilers on what McDougall was doing!
3/4. Thanks for the extra details on the weapons! I'm amused that they'd go so far as to update the character's firearms for the series, it's a nice touch. I'm not, like, a huge gun-nut or anything, I'm just curious of the real-world details that old mangaka like to put into their stories (because as I like to joke, old otaku were all about their military vehicles and weapons before modern otaku just obsessed over anime girls lol). And I like seeing creatives put that kind of attention to detail in their works, especially if modern works reflect that in kind to ensure similar care in modern adaptations.

Also, thanks for the reminder that this series is very heavy on Cold War leanings; I mostly got into anime in the late-90s, so much of what I consumed was long since out from under the shadow of the Cold War (even though I did see Hunt for Red October as a kid). It's a bit of context I'd forgotten for a series like this.


1. MJ-12's a popular conspiracy-type antagonist. Probably used that since X-Files (and as you said, Deus Ex) and the board game Delta Green. The Japanese version never used it and IIRC, mentioned references on the American military. You can see where the (understandable) anti-US military sentiment comes from. The manga was first serialized in the late 80s, so there's some animosity against the US government in terms of what was happening during the Cold War (eg Vietnam, South America). I sadly cannot speak for the mangakas if they based it on growing up in the era, but it wouldn't surprise me.

2. MacDougall doesn't play a console. He just sits around and boasts that he can take on ARCAM. Poor bugger.

3. Yeah, Spriggan did a Banana Fish route and updated this to GWOT times aka 2022. Kenichi Kaneko helped the staff on updating the small arms. This is also evident in the Forest of No Return arc with Trident mercenaries using XM8s. Manga showed them having Steyr ACRs, although they do use the AUG (Kaneko explains via twitter/upcoming guidebook that the ACRs were the fad before in the race then to let the US Army choose the supposed next-gen rifle before the contest was dropped).

Same reflection of Ominae using the G36. 7.62 NATO rounds are being relegated to DMRs back in the 1990s after the US/Canada/most of Europe were using 5.56 NATO to fit the NATO standard.

Just a note that the ARCAM Private Army in the Noah's Ark story don't look very professional in the manga (eg they're dressed in a variety of clothes and used a variety of small arms). The Machiner's Platoon had the same problem of using a variety of small arms (having a mix of 5.56 NATO and 5.45 Russian/7.62 Soviet rifles for crying out loud), but it comes with the territory of being a black ops group under USSOCOM command and it can be used for plausible deniability purposes. Same reason why Kaneko "made" them look professional in the ONA.

Which reminds me that Viz also translated the in-universe origins differently from the Japanese version. From what I remember, the origin didn't have any anti-Western military views.


Last edited by Yu Ominae on Thu Jun 30, 2022 5:44 am; edited 1 time in total
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zrdb



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2022 11:37 pm Reply with quote
JintoLin wrote:
No reference to the original Spriggan anime from 1998? ADV released the sub/dub DVD in 2002, and it basically sunk like a stone due to generally bad reviews. I had a copy of the DVD once, and I remember that it was ... not good.
The animation in the new version is better with the addition of CGI in places, but the story and characterization are as weak as ever.


Totally disagree-I loved it then and even more now. To use a well worn cliché-"it kicks butt and takes no prisoners". It was trying to be the animated version of Raiders Of The Lost Ark and it succeeded in almost every metric there is. Really funny because I'm wondering if a bluray of it was ever released in the us? I found a bluray rip floating around the internet that I downloaded and it had Discotek's fingerprints all over it.
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Yu Ominae



Joined: 21 Sep 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2022 7:26 am Reply with quote
zrdb wrote:
JintoLin wrote:
No reference to the original Spriggan anime from 1998? ADV released the sub/dub DVD in 2002, and it basically sunk like a stone due to generally bad reviews. I had a copy of the DVD once, and I remember that it was ... not good.
The animation in the new version is better with the addition of CGI in places, but the story and characterization are as weak as ever.


Really funny because I'm wondering if a bluray of it was ever released in the us? I found a bluray rip floating around the internet that I downloaded and it had Discotek's fingerprints all over it.


I dunno personally. It's been released in a few places in Asia/Europe. Don't know if anyone bagged the rights to retail/stream it in English.
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kakugo complete



Joined: 01 Jul 2020
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2022 9:21 am Reply with quote
"Can Spriggan finally step out of Akira's shadow?" I'd say that only applies to the US where the manga's name was changed to Striker & the movie's different tone and visuals came to define it, not so much places like Japan or Italy. Even the "Aryan superman" trying and failing to win with Eastern techniques and being told "nice try, but you've got a long way to go Wink" by an Asian dude is there for a reason

Wouldn't call it just dumb popcorn entertainment when it took America decades to realize the premise isn't actually unrealistic and the US government (plus world powers in general) would absolutely kill countless people to get their hands on such all-powerful artefacts if they existed.

The "even Hitler had some good in him Smile" part of the manga is really funny and obviously neither the anime nor the Seven Seas release will touch it (hell it made the translators uncomfortable even back in the 90s), but it still shows the general Cold War-inspired attitude of the writer; fearing insane old men of various sides will blow up the world but still hoping there's some fundamental part of them that's self-aware about their evil.




But also lol at Yoshino feeling bad for Hitler.

I'd say the Crystal Skull episode was good story-wise but the animation & art are clearly a significant notch down from the rest outside of some "sakuga money shot" moments and it's sad because it could've been amazing. I'd say Noah's Ark is still the strongest and I like that the anime gave the Akira kid some subtle redemption by the end.

JintoLin wrote:
No reference to the original Spriggan anime from 1998? ADV released the sub/dub DVD in 2002, and it basically sunk like a stone due to generally bad reviews. I had a copy of the DVD once, and I remember that it was ... not good.
The animation in the new version is better with the addition of CGI in places, but the story and characterization are as weak as ever.


Practically no one cares about reviews that much. I'm not huge on it but plenty of people find the movie cool. And the art/animation is technically miles above this show (though I think it's too realistic and serious looking & this is still impressive while reflecting the manga better).


Last edited by kakugo complete on Thu Jun 30, 2022 10:00 am; edited 2 times in total
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