Pioneer packaged this set strangely by putting Dual Matrix in the front slot of this package. If you don't know much about Armitage, you should know this: watch Poly Matrix before Dual Matrix

Poly Matrix:

The Year is 2179, and Mars is a colony of Earth, relying heavily on robot workers known as "seconds." People are divided over the belief that robots should have some basic rights, while others wish to stop production of robots for labor purposes all together. The story focuses on Ross Syllabus, a detective from Chicago, and Naomi Armitage, a member of the Martian Police Department.

The galaxy is in shock after the murder of its last country singer takes place on Mars, and Naomi and Ross are thrown together to solve this crime. What makes this murder unique is not because this country singer was the last of her kind. Instead, she turns out to have been an illegally manufactured robot type, "Third." Her murderer Rene D'anclaude goes on a killing binge, publicly exposing and disposing of all "thirds." Ross, who hates robots altogether for the murder of his previous partner by one, is now in a situation where he must do some soul searching in order to do his job right, help his partner who has some secrets of her own, and catch the criminal behind this mayhem.

Most people consider Armitage as another cyberpunk anime that offers little more than a good action sequence here and there. It actually has a little more to offer in terms of storyline, and a lot more to think about in terms of the future. Although the animation style is a little old-fashioned, its idea and heart is in the right place.

Kind of sad, really, that we had to stoop to this picture to get you to pay attention.
But it worked.
Unfortunately, Pioneer's packaging almost destroys a fan's willingness to buy this DVD, simply because it does not use the full potential. The transfer onto digital is an okay job, but come on. Give fans a break and give us the DVD with original JAPANESE language. What is all that extra space on the DVD for? Kiefer Sutherland just does not cut it, and the rest of the dubbing is simply horrible. Elizabeth Berkley is no exception. This is probably the biggest reason to buy the 2 disc set, instead of the individual DVD, because while the movie itself may be entertaining, it needs more to justify its purchase.

The ride through this action packed film is worth the watch, the baddie always seems to be coming back again, and Ross's reliability on his mechanical implants increases his change of heart. Armitage's history and secrets reveal slowly, allowing one to believe she comes to terms with her destiny.

But is it truly enough? It becomes more apparent in the second installment than it does here. She definitely is a force to be reckoned with, and "…when she puts on the shades, Watch out!"

Dual Matrix:

Five years have passed since the events of Poly Matrix and Ross, Armitage, and little Baby Yoko have vanished from the spotlight, leading a quiet life on Mars with newly forged identities. Armitage seems to have matured, as she should with the responsibilities of motherhood. Now known as Kevin, Ross works as a security guard, He accidentally throws himself into the spotlight when his assigned facility ends up overrun by terrorists. In his response, he kills all the humans without destroying any robots. Although it is all a set up, of course this shines the media in his direction as a pro-robot rights advocate, and this turn of events sends Ross back to Earth to vote on a Bill of Rights for Robots.

Far more serious...
On the other hand, Armitage witnesses a mass murder and destruction of an illegal "Third" construction plant on Earth by Colonel Strings of Earth Military forces. Doing some investigation of her own pits Armitage against both the colonel and the Executive Vice-president of the Earth Robot Union, Demitrio Mardini.

All heck breaks loose when Demitrio tries to play Ross into voting against the Bill of Rights, and gets Armitage to piece together the final puzzle in his quest to build the perfect Third. Of course he does so by kidnapping their daughter, and that doesn't go too well with either Armitage or Ross.

The animation style is a little more modern this time, extremely different from Poly Matrix. Armitage's design doesn't look the same, and is reminiscent of a mix between Ghost in the Shell and Aeon Flux. The addition of 3D Computer Graphics sacrifices a lot of the visuals, as it just doesn't blend too well with the rest of the film. Eventually it becomes routine, and if you can ignore it, all is well.

The characterization this time around does not focus on the relationships, but more of the soul searching Armitage lacks in Poly Matrix. She wants to truly find the reasons for being who she is, and realizes that she draws her strength from motherhood. It's a contrasting view from the previous installment. For Ross the feeling is mutual, and it makes the film all the more realistic when he is torn between his daughter and Armitage.

Here Pioneer gives us the original Japanese version, a blessing because anime in general are poorly dubbed. I can still complain, though. Why didn't they make it wide screen?

The features on this DVD are better than the first, yet I still just want to get to the nitty gritty, and see some kick @$$ action.

Buy Armitage - Dual Matrix/Poly Matrix from Amazon.

Mish'al Samman


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