Armitage III: Dual Matrix

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“Oppressed robots = clumsy social metaphors, despite some very cool fights.”

It’d probably be best to watch the original film, Poly Matrix, immediately before this, as otherwise, you’ll be kinda hitting the ground running. After those events, Ross Syllabus and “Third” [a model of android which can reproduce] Armitage have set up home with their daughter, who doesn’t know her mother is anything by human; meanwhile Ross operates under an assumed name as a security guard. However, an incident turns him into an unwilling spokesman for robot rights once again, and when he is sent to Earth as a Martian delegate, his daughter Yoko is kidnapped by a faction seeking to reverse his vote. It’s time for Armitage to put aside her chores and kick butt.

If I’m flaky on details, it’s because chapters 10+11 on the DVD were faulty and refused to play. But I don’t think it made much difference. This improves slightly over the original, since it doesn’t get bogged down in android angst, and the action scenes are lengthy and largely entertaining, particularly a finale in which Armitage takes on two relentless, giggling android killers (whose teamwork reminded me of Bambi + Thumper from Diamonds are Forever!). However, despite flashes of brilliance, the coherence of the story, and occasionally the animation, leaves a lot to be desired; too often, you’re left going “Eh?”, in the dark about what’s happening, and why.

For example, the climax takes place on a space elevator, a concept familiar in SF – but there’s no-one at all around. No security, customers, or staff. And Yoko’s kidnapping seems due to sloppy parenting as much as anything. Similarly to the first, there’s little original thought here, though in its defense, the recent release of I, Robot may make this seem less novel than it was on its 2002 release. In the English dub, Armitage is this time voiced by Juliette Lewis, but we stuck to the Japanese track, so can’t comment on her animation debut.

Dir: Katsuhito Akiyama
Star (voice): Ryôka Yuzuki, Hikaru Hanada, Kazuhiro Yamaji, Yuka Imai

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