Armitage III

OVA (4 eps x 34 min)
AIC
1995
3.548 out of 5 from 3,337 votes
Rank #4,668

The year is 2179: humans and robots have colonized Mars. A newer Third-Type robot has been designed to interact undetected in human society. That is, until a man named D'anclaude discovers their secret and starts a movement to wipe them out. Armitage is a Third-Type that works for the police with her partner Ross, and now these two must rid the planet of D'anclaude and his evil plans.

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Reviews

sothis
9.5

StoryI love cyberpunk. I dress like it, read about it, and am enamored with anything related to it. For god’s sake, I’m covered in cyborg tattoos because I’ve been obsessed with becoming a cyborg since I was 10, and since I can’t physically, I might as well look like it superficially. Thus, people have been telling me for years that I’d love Armitage, yet I put it off until today. The moral of the story? Listen to your friends more often. Armitage III takes place on Mars, in a dark and futuristic city. Androids, amongst other things, serve as housekeepers, babysitters, and intimate companions, but some feel that robots are becoming too much like humans for their own good. One such man, D’anclaude, has made it his mission to destroy high tech robot prototypes known as Thirds, but what is his real reason? Armitage III follows two cops: the hardened Ross, and the gorgeous gun-toting Armitage (pronounced Armahtaygee as opposed to the English pronunciation "Armahtahjhe") as they try to figure out the reason behind the mayhem, and uncover the true purpose of the elusive Thirds. Armitage III ends up playing out strongly like a cross between Blade Runner and AI. The story, while perhaps a tad predictable in this day and age, is still wonderfully constructed and engaging. The pacing is fantastic, and in general it just ends up being a damn good sci fi adventure. It’s hard to put my praise into words, so just trust me: the story kicks ass. Even the ending is fulfilling. The only thing (and this is minor) that I wasn’t down with was the very first shot in the OVA, which is a close up of an android ass that says "don’t touch" on it. It’s a stewardess of sorts walking down the aisle, in essentially a thong leotard. I was quite concerned, because of that first impression, that Armitage III would be nothing more than an ecchi boob fest. As it turns out, that ended up being the extent of the ecchi; the rest was nothing more than the occasional (appropriate for the scenes) naked scene, or Armitage in skimpy clothes. Thankfully, the condensed movie version of this OVA (Armitage III: Poly Matrix) removed that shot. AnimationFor something so old, I am incredibly impressed with the animation. Usually when I watch older titles it’s hard to rate something highly; it’s hard to when you are spoiled with such beautiful current animation. Not the Case with Armitage III; it’s freaking GORGEOUS. From the dark cyberpunk cityscape to the detail of the robots, there’s almost nothing to complain about. Brilliant florescent green and red data flows across Armitage’s visor, prophetically mirroring the Matrix. Dusky street corners are illuminated with neon signs and filled with busy crowds. Literally every shot of the city made me think "wow", time and time again. The level of detail is also incredibly amazing for something of this time period (or even for now). EVERYTHING is detailed, unlike many anime out there that only focus on something like the background. At times, the background shots almost looked real. I also was a big fan of the way the internet (or whatever you’d call it) was represented/ Literally the only thing that I thought was less than perfect was the character designs; specifically, Armitage. She looks very much like a character from the 80s, and often her face in the light was very simplistic and freakish. In general though, outstanding visuals. SoundI’m a big fan of industrial music. Thus, I was extremely happy that the opening theme song sounded quite a bit like the background to a 80s industrial track. What better music for a cyberpunk anime than industrial?! Completely effective and a great change from the usual J-pop fest. The rest of the songs were a little more minimal and often bizarre (such as English-singing pop music), but all of it fit wonderfully. Kudos to the composer for making an intro song so catchy to a girl like me, that I’d never skip it. The voice actors were all fantastic.CharactersArmitage is a badass, plain and simple. Her clothes are hot, she fights like a pro and has an attitude to match. Ross is a hardened cop whose hatred of robots is apparent. Together they have a wonderful dynamic, and both go through a great deal of character development by the end. The villains are evil and the robot types unique (especially the ones near the end, that’s all I’ll say without spoiling). There are plenty of secondary characters who are forgettable, but that’s acceptable in this case due to the strong personalities of the main characters. OverallArmitage III ended up being a smash hit in my book, hence the high rating (based not on the average of the scores above, but how much I liked it as a whole). For any fans of sci fi or cyberpunk, there’s no reason you shouldn’t see this. With gorgeous visuals, an interesting story and great soundtrack, this OVA is definitely something that will go on my frequent watch list. Don’t wait, watch it now!

DeathBecomesDavid
5

When I think of cyberpunk OVAs I think gaudy style, sex, and violence matched with halfhearted exposition and nary a scene wasted on trivial things like character or theme. For these and other dull observations, most of this catalog is either forgettable (Metal Skin Panic, Appleseed) or entertaining in the flimsy ways Roger Corman films are (Goku: Midnight Eye, Black Magic M66). This is all to say, you go into these with measured expectations and, given the short length of the format, the confidence that you won’t waste too much time. Armitage III has an unusual reputation thanks to being re-edited into a 90-minute film with a dub featuring Elizabeth Berkley and Kiefer Sutherland. It was a mean, messy way for teen millennials to waste part of their weekend on a VHS rental. You weren’t gonna see the sadistic murders of women in US cartoons after all. The original 4 episode series written by Chiaki Konaka (Serial Experiments Lain) would never have carried the same rep. Even at just 30 minutes longer, Armitage III is clumsy, and likely written during production. It’s heavy on plotting that barely connects and sometimes forgets how many balls it has in the air before they come crashing down. Buddy cops chasing a serial killer is so pat it’s embarrassing when the show drops a reveal that alters nothing, but because this is where that reveal would happen (episode 3) in a better script, we get one anyways. It didn’t have to be impressive, but that this turn doesn’t, you know, turn the story had me questioning just how “short” this OVA was. There’s an incredible line where the character barely recalls they can save every victim of the killer via AI copy & paste, but just sort of haven’t and then the credits roll. When the truth finally comes out it’s a wet fart of right-wing nationalism pleading for a better tomorrow, where men & women couple up, have babies, and become productive little drones. I’m not kidding when I say the mystery amounts to fear of automized labor being used to stoke anti android sentiment so newly colonized Mars will remain economically reliant on the tyrannical Feminist Earth Government. Why the android murders? Well, these are the special 3rd generation androids, so human they can reproduce and would allow Mars to bolster its population (read: workforce) and remain independently sustainable. Konaka sprinkles in some shallow diversions to try and muddy the waters as Cyberpunk is an extension of Noir, right? So we get stuff like all the victims working in the arts as singers, painters, and writers, “bourgeois” as one character describes them. The protests against the androids also have real-life parallels from the 90s in what would later be called Japan’s “lost decade”. Look, Mars is Japan and the feminazi empire is the U.S. for some reason? It’s like the show is saying “The Future is Female” with an added “Oh shit”. Armitage III dodges migrant works altogether, assumes a Martian national identity is inherent somehow, and serves up the nuclear family as an answer to the world’s problems. Despite all this, I can’t say I didn’t dig the aesthetic, but again, in the same sloppy way, I enjoy crap like Deathstalker 2. The action is elaborate but inert. The sex is teased, but absent. Intimacy is suggested when it could stand to make an on-screen appearance before our heroes fall into each other's arms or when an ally dies. I ultimately only watched this after being reminded of its existence through a Polygon listicle and to justify my Funimation sub I haven’t touched in months. Sometimes vintage isn’t where it's at.

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