Review: Spriggan (1998) Anime | My Reviews 24 JAN 2013

ARCAM, a mysterious secret organization was originally set up to safeguard the enigmatic and powerful artefacts left behind by a technologically superior race that once ruled the Earth, before being destroyed by their own power. ARCAM’s private military force is enhanced by the inclusion of so-called Spriggan, humans with enhanced abilities like super speed and reflexes. One of these Spriggans is Japanese teenage delinquent Yu Ominae.

Following the latest discovery of what is believed to be Noah’s Ark deep in the Ararat Mountains of Turkey, Yu finds himself dragged into conflict as an unnamed group targets him through the manipulation of his friends. Now in Turkey, Yu must battle the forces of a USA who are desperate to seize the artefact for their own nefarious purposes, and who have sent along their own powerful (and slightly deranged) Machinists team.

But the genetically enhanced, psionic-enabled leader Colonel MacDougall has other, even more sinister plans for Noah’s Ark should he be able to claim it for himself…

Based on the manga of the same name, Studio 4°C unleashed Spriggan to Japanese audiences back in 1998. The movie was directed and story boarded by Hirotsugu Kawasaki, written by Kawasaki and Yasutaka Ito, and supervised by Katsuhiro Otomo. Hiroshi Takashige and Ryoji Minagawa had a hand in assisting the director through production.

In other words, some of the top 90’s action anime talent all had a hand in this one!

The story premise is an interesting one and certainly makes for a great set up for all the intense action that is to follow. Unfortunately the writing isn’t all that good though, as the story has a few holes and given its action-orientated nature, fails to emotionally tie you to any of the characters or for that matter the actual plot.

However, all that said, what Spriggan does do and does do well is pound you with unrelenting action that is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat for pretty much the entire 90 minute run time!

However, what really makes Spriggan stand out is its jaw-dropping detailed and smooth animation, its effortless choreography of the action sequences and its breathtaking visual style. This really is a pinnacle of 90’s anime animation techniques.

In the same vein, the voice actors all put in a great go as their respective characters, backed by a fast and tightly woven musical score.

In short, although Spriggan is not necessarily a story heavyweight that will ensure it is fondly remembered by all fans, it does however hugely satisfy all gun fight action fanatics and based on its quality of animation alone, it should definitely be regarded as a 90’s anime treasure!

Worth picking up if you want a nice adrenaline boost from the 90’s then.

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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.