This is a collection of 9 animated shorts inspired by the Matrix movies, and it’s a rather mixed bag to be sure. The styles reflect the different types of anime and manga. Some of this material barely qualifies as having a story; it is definitely a DVD of diminishing returns. The version piece, Final Flight of Osiris, is a prequel to the Matrix Reloaded movie, and is rather good. At times one wonders if it is indeed animation instead of live action (although much of the Matrix’s movies is cgi), and the opening sword duel is pretty amazing. The movies thereafter, including the Rennaisance series, display the differences in anime and manga styles more than anything that is that spectacular. The last two films, ‘A Detective Story’ and ‘Matriculated’, are the most enjoyable of the rest. The Detective piece is a noir-esque piece set in a city that looks rather a lot like Chicago. The animation is very 2d, but the story-line, while being predictable, is good for a laugh. ‘Matriculated’ is similar in style to the opening film and features visual nods to Lawnmower Man and Tron. In the other films there are visual nods to The Wall and Blade Runner. This is neither surprising nor unpleasant. This DVD is far from an essential purchase and probably best rented. However, once through it’s an interesting tour of the different views of anime (in fact the CD includes a history of the genre). If you wondered what the whole style is about but are weary of the sometimes turgid and ponderous plots that make up many anime series, then this just might be a perfect place to dip your toes in the animated water.
Rating: 3.5Powered by Sidelines