Appleseed: Ex Machina

WSR Score3
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Warner Home Video
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Action/violence and brief strong language
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Single Side, Single Layer (BD-25)
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Not Indicated
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Shinji Aramaki
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Dolby Digital 5.1
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"Ex Machina" is the second installment in the "Appleseed" animé series. Deunan (Christian) and her cyborg partner and boyfriend Briareos (Matranga) are members of the elite force, ESWAT, serving and protecting the citizens of Olympus. Deunan and Braireos find their partnership tested in a new way when Tereus (Guardiola) arrives, bearing an uncanny resemblance to Briareos before his wartime injuries, which led to him becoming a Cyborg. Based on the Seishinsha comic book by Shirow Masamune. (Stacey Pendry)

Special features include the 20-minute The Appleseed Chronicles, 19-minute East Meets West, 16-minute Team Up: John Woo and Shinji Aramaki, and 19-minute Revolution: Animating Ex Machina featurettes; a feature commentary track;and previews.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78:1 DVD shows a believable sense of depth, with very nicely crafted animation that, while not completely realistic in its color scheme, looks believable. Black levels are not as deep as they could be, which can give the image a somewhat hazy appearance, but shadow delineation is nicely rendered. Resolution is generally impressive, and compression artifacts are not problematic. Moiré patterns can be recognized from time to time, and while edge enhancement is noticeable, it isn't overly distracting. The VC-1-encoded Blu-ray Disc shows better resolution, as expected, but black levels are still limited, which is the major issue of this release. But, resolution still is not as impressive as the best live-action films transferred to high-definition. (Danny Richelieu)

The English and Japanese language Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel soundtracks feature a very lively mix, with each of the channels incorporated nicely. Pans between each channel pair are crafted well, helping create a believable soundstage. Subtle atmospheric effects are delivered well, creating an expansive sense of atmosphere in even the most quiescent scenes. Deep bass is delivered well with the LFE channel at times, but it is rarely present in the full-range channels with much bravado. Voices are recorded well, but the entire soundtrack can have a somewhat bright timbre. The Blu-ray Disc includes the same encodings as the DVD, sounding somewhat bright but with the same engaging mix. It would have been preferred to hear one of the lossless codecs used. (Danny Richelieu)