Appleseed is a science fiction manga authored by Masamune Shirow. The series follows the adventures of ESWAT members Deunan Knute and Briareos Hecatonchires in Olympus. Like much of Masamune's work, Appleseed merges elements of the cyberpunk and mecha genres with a heavy dosage of politics, philosophy, and sociology. The series spans four volumes, released between 1985 and 1989. It has been adapted into an OVA, two feature films, and two video games.
Appleseed takes place in the 22nd Century, after the non-nuclear Third World War decimates the Earth. While states like United Kingdom/Great Britain, USA and People's Republic of China have difficulty maintaining order and power, international organizations like the "Sacred Republic of Munma" and "Poseidon" have been established in the aftermath.
The main characters are Deunan Knute and Briareos Hecatonchires, former SWAT members of the Los Angeles Police Department. They are found in the desolated city and are invited to join the prestigious ESWAT (Extra Special Weapons And Tactics) organization in the utopian city of Olympus, the new world's most powerful state. Roughly one half of Olympus's population are bioroids.
The series follows Deunan and Briareos as they protect their new home from enemies, both foreign and domestic.
Originally published in Japan in 1985, Book One Appleseed: The Promethean Challenge was published directly to paperback instead of being serialized, a rarity in the Japanese manga market. This was soon followed by the publication of Book Two, Appleseed: Prometheus Unbound, Book Three Appleseed: The Scales of Prometheus in 1987, and Book Four Appleseed: The Promethean Balance in 1989.
In 1990, Shirow produced the Appleseed Databook, a detailed look into the history, the people, and the technology found in the world of Appleseed. The book includes the short story, called "Game". Appleseed Hypernotes was serialized in Comic Gaia, followed by a collected volume in 1996. The Hypernotes consist of a four chapter story followed by technical information about the world, mechs, and equipment much like Appleseed Databook. Rumors of a possible Volume 5 still persist today, though Shirow had mentioned that he has no plans of pursuing it for the meantime.
From 1988 to 1992, Appleseed was published in English by Eclipse Comics, packaged by Studio Proteus. The manga is currently published by Dark Horse Comics. An English language version of Appleseed Hypernotes was serialized in Dark Horse Comics' Super Manga Blast. One of the terms for Hypernotes publication stated that Appleseed Hypernotes could not be released in English in collected format. The reason for this is because Shirow was unsatisfied with the work and wanted to fix it before releasing it as a complete book for English readers. Dark Horse released an English TPB of Hypernotes in October 2007.
Appleseed ID (short for "Illustration & Data") was released October 10, 2007 by Dark Horse Comics. As a replacement for the discontinued Appleseed Databook, the book includes the short story called "Game". The trade paperback collection came out in December, 2007.
Reviews on the manga series have been seen as positive. Manga Review noted that Shirow's works on Appleseed are both cool and functional. Anime.com points out that the manga's storyline does not detract despite the combination of both action and humor.
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