Review: Vexille Anime | My Reviews 17 MAR 2009

VexilleBy the 2060s, robotics technology had advanced to a point where cybernetics were now plausible. However, due to strong negative opinions towards this new and possible dangerous field of science, the U.N. declared a unilateral ban on any further research and development into this new technology. Japan however, already at the forefront of this new technology, was not going to bow down that easily and subsequently withdrew completely from the international world, closing their borders and covering themselves in a deep electromagnetic interference shield to prevent anyone from looking in… or communicating out.

2077, and a bizarre series of incidents leads the American technology police agency “SWORD” to believe that Japan is using their self imposed exile and ‘invisibility’ to conceal their extensive development in the so-called ‘banned technology’, meaning that unsanctioned action is now finally required.

Of course, this means an unauthorised injection of SWORD agents into Japan, including the veteran agents Lieutenant Commancer Vexille Serra and Commander Leon Fayden as part of the team. However, just what horror these agents were about to stumble across, no one could ever have imagined in their wildest dreams…

Vexille, or more fully Vexille: 2077 Japanese Isolation, is a 2007 Japanese CGI anime film written, directed and edited by the famed Ping Pong director Fumihiko Sori and features the voice talents of Meisa Kuroki, Yasuko Matsuyuki and Shosuke Tanihara amongst others.

The story for Vexille is a pretty neat sci-fi tale with a genuinely interesting and unexpected twist which then devolves nicely into a good action-orientated finish, with the movie spouting some philosophy on the meaning of life at the end just for good measure. The story is neat, self-contained, contains plenty of action and drama and as a whole is pretty enjoyable and should please most science fiction nuts.

Visually, Vexille extends on the already impressive cel-shading CG technology used in the earlier Japanese-produced Appleseed CGI movie and presents some of the most stunning computer generated imagery, both character and background, that you would ever have seen on the big screen. Beautifully rendered, capable of dealing with both static and action-packed sequences equally deftly, and almost never seeming to suffer from lag or any other such computer-related drawback, Vexille in a word, simply looks absolutely beautifully stunning.

However, beauty aside, one must note the the basic problem of producing such lifelike CG graphics still remains – the characters look so perfect that at times they are just a little too real, and that funnily enough makes them appear a little unattractive to the naked eye. This coupled with the usual stiffness that is also generally prevalent with most CG generated characters does have a slight negative impact on the movie as a whole, but these are pretty minor niggly points and can pretty much be ignored unless you are one of those hardcore critics that finds the smallest of faults in everything! :)

Aurally, Vexille serves up a particularly intriguing and brilliant mix on its musical score, combining elements of electronic, techno, urumee melam and trance and features a strong musical selection that includes work by Basement Jaxx, Boom Boom Satellites, Asian Dub Foundation, Dead Can Dance, Carl Craig, The Prodigy, DJ Shadow and M.I.A amongst others. Singer Mink provides the hauntingly beautiful theme song Together Again and Paul Oakenfold is tasked with handling the music duties on the movie as a whole.

In summary, Vexille is yet again another successful iteration in Japan’s ever improving full CGI movie stable, producing some of the most beautiful rendered visuals you will ever experience on the big screen. The unique and polished soundtrack together with the excellent voice artists’ performances completes the presentation package, while a deftly written and enjoyable science fiction story provides the meat for what is in the end, a thoroughly enjoyable and worthwhile science fiction romp.


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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.