Guest Author - Lesley Aeschliman
Warner Home Video released Appleseed Ex Machina on both DVD and Blu-ray. This review focuses on the Blu-ray pressing of the film.
This is a sequel to the 2004 Appleseed anime film that was directed by Shinji Aramaki. This film introduces a new character named Tereus, who is a new generation of combat bioroid who was created based on the DNA of Deunan's partner, Briareos. Tereus looks exactly like Briareos did before he became a cyborg. This causes a lot of confusion of Deunan, especially since he is assigned to be her partner in ESWAT while Briareos is recovering from injuries he received during a battle early in the film.
An international conference is taking place in Olympus, and it concerns the idea of putting all of the nations' satellites under Olympus' control. Rioting breaks out during the conference, and both bioroids and humans are involved. Also, a device called the Connexus is also introduced in the movie, and it plays an important role in the plot.
When it comes to the Blu-ray release of Appleseed Ex Machina, my husband and I discovered that when you put it into a Blu-ray player, the film starts to play automatically instead of going into a menu. We thought this was an annoyance, because for someone who is putting in the disc to watch one of the bonus features instead of the film has to hit the "menu" button on their remote in order to get to what it is they want to see.
Also, the version of the film that plays is the English dub. In order to change the language, you have to pop up a menu to make changes to the audio and subtitle specifications. Just like the DVD pressing, the audio options are done in such a way that the language for each country is written in that country's respective language. Unfortunately, this means that for the Japanese and Chinese options, they are written in their respective country's characters. You have to have some familiarity with the characters for at least one of those languages to figure out which one it is that you want.
The Blu-ray pressing of Appleseed Ex Machina includes the bonus features from both the regular DVD release and the two-disc special edition release of the film. These extras are four short documentaries: "Team Up: John Woo and Shinji Aramaki," "Revolution: Animating Ex Machina," "The Appleseed Chronicles," and "East Meets West." These documentaries are informative and enjoyable. For me personally, it was nice to see some names I recognize from my involvement in the anime and manga communities, and to be able to put faces with these names.
According to the box, the film is 1080p High Definition 16X9, while the special features "may be in standard definition." For audio, it says the film is in Dolby Digital English 5.1, Francais 2.0, Cantonese 2.0, Dutch 2.0, and German 2.0. For the special features, it says, "Audio standards may vary." For subtitles, the box lists English, Francais, Chinese, Dutch, German and Korean for the movie and select bonus material.
When it comes to comparing the video quality of the Blu-ray to the DVD, I really didn't notice anything that look significantly different between the two releases. However, I do have a gripe with the subtitles on the Blu-ray release. There were times that the subtitles were hard to read, especially on really bright shots. I think it may be a combination of the white used for the text, as well as the font that was used for the Blu-ray's subtitles.
If you're looking to add Appleseed Ex Machina to your home video collection, I would recommend either purchasing the Blu-ray pressing or the two-disc special edition DVD release.
I wrote this review after watching a copy of this Blu-ray release that my husband bought for me as a gift.