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|Average Rating: 7.33|
chaos scored this with 8/10. Disagree?
'"Blade Runner" meets "Ghost In The Shell" in the cyberpunk action-thriller Mardock Scramble: The First Compression'. That's how Manga introduces the show to us.
Fortunately for me, that was not the first I heard of this trilogy of movies, as I saw the first movie at the Leeds Film Festival in 2010 and then the first again, followed by the second movie at Scotland Loves Anime in 2011. I said 'fortunately', because if I had read that before watching the movie, I'd have had completely unrealistic expectations.
While I can understand the parallels that they want to trace with that comparison, I'd say that the only way that Mardock Scramble pays homage to Blade Runner and GitS is in its stylish scenery, with unbelievably pretty exteriors while a certain degradation happens underneath the shining lights. Mardock Scramble has great production values, which show at every moment of the movie.
The story leads us to Rune Balot, a 15-year-old prostitute, who is "rescued" by a show gambler/casino manager called Shell Septinus. Sadly for Balot, Shell is a sadist who picks up runaways to turn them into blue stones: a destiny Balot couldn't escape, and boom she goes...
Enter Dr Easter and Oeufcoque with the Mardock Scramble 09 technology, which allows them to preserve Balot's consciousness and recreate her body using cyborg technology. What is the good doctor's objective? It's to get Balot to testify against Shell, who then sends the Bandersnatch Company of assassins to get Balot.
Without further spoilers, this set-up provides a reasonably good plot for the first instalment of this action-filled trilogy which has something quite unusual for anime. Balot fights in a more or less believable way, rather than with the anime cliche of a 7 stone kung fu girl beating the crap out of a 20 stone muscleman.
The Blu-Ray includes two options for how you want to enjoy Mardock Scramble; either sexed up (director's cut) or toned down (theatrical release). The versions do have a few different scenes, which made me wonder if they animated some parts twice, but in all honesty, my favourite version has got to be the theatrical release, as I didn't feel as though anything really important was lost and at the same time, it's a version I could invite my parents to sit and watch with me.
The soundtrack is not particularly strong, but as the end credits roll you will be presented with an interesting rendition of "Amazing Grace" in Japanese.
The voice cast is strong both in the Japanese and in the English dub, where I actually preferred the English actress for Balot (Hilary Haag) over the Japanese (Megumi Hayashibara). But for Oeufcoque - Norito Yashima (Japanese)/Andy McAvin (English), and Boiled - Tsutomu Isobe (Japanese)/David Wald (English), the voices seems right, even though there is a different feel to the character when you watch in Japanese or English.
One curiosity pointed out by Jonathan Clements at the Scottish event was that the name of the main characters are all related to eggs (Rune Balot, Dr Easter, Oeufcoque Penteano, Shell Septinus & Dimsdale Boiled). The Bandersnatch Company has names related to meat - Rare the Hair, Medium the Fingernail, Mincemeat the Wink, Fresh the Pike and Welldone the Pussyhand.
Directed by Susumu Kudo
Written by Tow Ubukata
Music by Consich
Animated by Studio GoHands & produced by Aniplex
BD bonus features:
Japanese TV spots
Promotional video 1
Promotional video 2
Japanese dub with English subtitles
69 minutes (director's cut)
65 minutes (theatrical release)
Screenshots (click to pop out)
|Score:||8 out of 10|
|Date Published:||Wed, 11 Apr 2012|
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