Armitage III: Poly Matrix (Anime)

 They don’t make trailers like this anymore. COMING SOOOON! (…1997) (Lol Jack Bauer

Japanese title: アミテージ・ザ・サード POLY-MATRIX Animation Production: Pioneer LDC Genres: Action, Adventure, Mecha, Romance, Sci-Fi, Military, Police, Cyberpunk Runtime: 90 minutes.

Plot Summary: “A policeman, Ross Sylibus, is assigned to a unit on a Martian colony, to find that women are being murdered by a psychotic named D’anclaude. He is assigned a very unorthodox partner named Naomi Armitage, who seems to have links to the victims. To stir things up more, every victim is found to be an illegally made third-generation android, built to be almost perfect replications of humans. It becomes a race against time when the government attempts to cover up the existence of the ‘Third Types’, and eliminate the only ones with the evidence. And even more importantly, why are the Thirds created to be so similar to humans, even to the extent of being indistinguishable from them on every level, mentally and biologically?”IMDB

Have you ever heard of Armitage III? No? I didn’t think so! and it is a bit of a shame considering how great I thought this movie was. Poly Matrix is a compilation of the OVA series that was released in 1995 and although I have not seen the original OVA series, judging by the similar running times I think I can safely say that it has not been diluted down, but perhaps upgraded for its feature film and includes scenes not found in the OVA release. The OVA series is relatively difficult to find, but that should not deter you from watching the movie, Poly Matrix may as well be the definitive version.

Armitage III has been completely overshadowed by similar cyberpunk releases, most notably, Ghost in the Shell, especially with its huge advertising campaign leading up to its release. Subsequently, Poly Matrix received very little attention when it was produced which is incredibly unfortunate given the enjoyment I derived from this movie. In just 90 minutes I fell in love with the characters, and as a rarity I found myself asking substantial philosophical questions throughout.

Ghost in the Shell had a very political theme with minor personal focus, whereas Armitage III felt much more personal with a minor focus on politics, in that sense they are very similar, but also very different. Armitage III focused on human emotions, with robots, and on human opinion regarding robots, with a little bit of politics thrown in. I grew to like the characters quickly, and the movie held my attention from start to finish.

Comparatively, whilst Ghost in the Shell felt a little slow, Armitage III was jam packed full of action, and it feels very much like a 90’s police action adventure movie (because that is what it is). In terms of relatability, I believe that this movies closest match is the original Appleseed movie, but Armitage III seems to have had a larger budget, and the animation shows surprising detail at times, the OST was very suitable and of high quality.

Armitage III raised some interesting questions pertaining to the line defining man and machine, putting forward questions regarding humanity and romance relevant to the world today. With the significant advancement of technology, certain robots have become almost indistinguishable from humans, and are fully functional in a human capacity, and in contrast, the humanity of various human characters was constantly put into question, both on and off screen. I found myself to be quite empathetic towards the characters, and I find the whole concept to be enlightening. If you want to see some more thought provoking human-robot romance, watch some ChobitsEve no Jikan, or perhaps some Saikano.

If you liked Ghost in the Shell, the original Appleseed movie or Macross Plus, I think that you will love this. Additionally, if you enjoyed this and would like to bolster your list with a little obscure cyberpunk, might I also suggest another little known number, Black Magic M-66?

“Don’t let bitterness change you.” Download Armitage III: Poly Matrix Download the sequel, Armitage III: Dual Matrix

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