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DVD Review

DVD cover



Starring (voice): Meisa Kuroki, Shosuke Tanihara and Yasuko Matsuyuki
Momentum Pictures
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 12
Available 01 September 2008

By 2067 it has become possible to marry humans with cybernetics, a move which the UN tries to curtail. In response to this Japan closes its borders and uses its technology to completely isolate itself. Ten years later there are disturbing signs that Japan has ignored the UN proposals. The west responds by sending in SWORD, Included one of their best operatives Vexilleto, to determine what has been going on...

Vexille (2007 - 1 hr, 49 min) is a  CGI anime film, written, directed and edited by Fumihiko Sori (Ping Pong), and features the voices of Yasuko Matsuyuki, Shosuke Tanihara and Meisa Kuroki. The DVD comes as a two disc set with the film on disc one and the extras on disc two.

Things do not go well with Vexille and her team once they infultrate Japan and she quickly finds herself the only survivor. She also finds that Japan has become a wasteland and although she can see the people around her, they no longer register as life forms. She is appauled when she discovers that, following an outbreak of disease, the population was innoculated with a vaccine which in fact contained nanotechnology which converted the population into synthetic being. Not all of the conversions were sussessful and Vexille teams up with the growing resistance movement which is fighting against the corporation, Daiwa.

The first thing you notice about Vexille is just how good it looks, virtually every frame is a sumptuous visual. This is to be expected as it is the same team which brought us Appleseed, and the team have spent time on improving on what was already an impressive animation technique, allowing the characters more fluid movement and better facial expressions.

For a Japanese film the makers have decided to move away from the traditional stance of the west being the bad guy to making Japan and its isolationist policy the bad guy - a political stance which historically has never worked out. Although the script presents itself as dealing with high concepts, albeit with the requisite number of explosions and action sequences, the script is a little too weak and the character of Vexille less than convincing as the heroine.

I’m not sure if I’m missing something with this disc as the audio options are only for Japanese 5.1 or DTS with burned in subs, there is no English dub, though one does exist, and whilst the Japanese cast do a sterling job, there are those who don’t want to read the subs, missing all the action. The film is presented in a 1.85:1 perfect print.

The first disc contains no extras as such but does have a very informative and well worth listening to, full length audio commentary from Jonathan Clements (co-author of The Anime Encyclopaedia).

Disc two is where all the extra goodies are hidden. Although you only get two, they are meaty. First up it The Making of Vexille (48 min, 2 sec) a dense and informative piece and Vexille: The Inside Story (1 hr, 1 min). These two, plus the commentary, should satisfy even the most ardent Vexille fan.

So, it is a film with great visuals which is let down by a slightly weak and derivative script.


Charles Packer

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