Deunan and Briareos

Perhaps the best known image of Appleseed. From the movie Ex Machina (2007).

If you've just discovered Appleseed, or are returning to the saga after seeing the new CGI movies, welcome! Any questions you might have will be answered both here, and on our in-depth FAQ page.

Best described as a sci-fi series that began in 1985, spanning four graphic novels (manga), two encyclopedias, and soon, five movies (animes), Appleseed somehow manages to be both a well-known and an undiscovered work of fiction. Uniquely, it popularized early cyberpunk, and the concept of volume published manga, featured a female soldier as a lead character, tackled sociological issues as entertainment, and later pioneered a new form of motion-capture animation which now sees use in Hollywood. Unlike most of its contemporaries, it mixed drama and dry humour, in a formula which most critics find to be well-done.

It also finds loyal fans in people as diverse as Chinese film director John Woo, and Italian fashion designer Miucca Prada, who loved the saga so much that she later designed clothing for the characters in a later sequel. What else is there to know about the series, which for nearly fifteen years now, has been underrated, and cast aside as Ghost in the Shell's little brother?

A brief synopsis[]

Set in the mid 22nd century, Appleseed deals with a shattered, postwar Earth where few progressive countries exist, and those that do, now hold the last seeds of hope for human existence; equally, also the keys to mankind's total destruction.


The future is not what they told us it would be.

Unwittingly, the country with the most potential to affect either outcome, is the peaceful, yet socially divded city-state known as Olympus, located on a manufactured island in the South Atlantic. Using a combination of AI governance, cybernetics, human genetic-engineering, and sometimes mind control, the troublesome instincts of man to resort towards violence, greed, and war, are supposedly now under total control. The earth will be repopulated under these new principles . . . if only they can be made to work harmoniously in Olympus first. And that is proving to be a very difficult task.

A melting pot of international refugees and perfect Bioroid humans—those born biologically superior through genetic modification—Olympus struggles with internal strife, unemployment, race riots, and an overall perception by its residents that everything is too perfect, too moderated, and too quiet. After four world wars, the promise to restore international peace, and totally eliminate global conflicts, is unbelievable and cause for argument. So, while the Central Management Bureau claims that the island metropolis is all well, quietly, beneath the gleam of the fantastic city, struggles continue.

Perhaps that's why three separate law-enforcement agencies exist, and perhaps that explains the ironic practice of hiring war-skilled mercenaries, still battling age-old conflicts in the Badlands, to form the spearhead of Olympuses' peacekeeping ES.W.A.T. unit. Deunan Knute and Briareos Hecatonchires, plucked from the dying embers of World War IV, are two such outsiders turned law-enforcers; through their confused, shell-shocked and culture-shocked viewpoint, we glimpse the future. And whether they—or us—like what there is to be seen, is very much up for discussion.

The manga features cameo appearances by both Kurt Russell and David Carradine. There are also numerous jabs at the popular culture of the 1980s, and jokingly, even the names of fictional companies and products bear trademark symbols.


Comparison to Ghost in the Shell