Armitage III

Volume 2 sleeve Volume 3 sleeve

Official Blurb:


"Following its success in Japan and the US, Pioneer is proud to announce the UK launch of the eagerly-awaited ARMITAGE III series. Kicking off on 22 January 1996 with the First episode ELECTRO BLOOD certificate 15 (tbc), 'Blade Runner' meets 'Total Recall' in this gritty New Wave sci-fi thriller where robots have emotions and nothing is as it appears. However, our heroine gives the guys a run for their money as she leaves no stone unturned in the pursuit of justice."

"The fast cut ultra-hip opening credits, from the director of Moldiver, Hiroyuki Kitazume, and outstanding soundtrack combined with superior animation from director Hiroyuki Ochi, delivers a mature series with a sophisticated plotline that keeps you on the edge of your seat whilst the stylised animation glues you to the screen until the very last frame."

"MARS, 2179. A world where people live among highly- developed humanoid robots. When the murder of country singing star Kelly McCanon reveals she's a 'Third Type' robot, a much-advanced version than the 'Seconds', the humans go on the rampage."

"The Martian Police Department (MPD) calls out Ross Sylibus, a recently transferred cop from Chicago, and his partner Armitage, the irreverent 19 year-old Martian-born detective with a cool attitude, a wardrobe to shock, and death-defying secret."

"She's a deadly weapon under leather.... A stormy soul behind sunglasses... But... What is Armitage's secret and will we find out this time around?"

Director:        Hitoyuki Ochi
Screenplay:      Chiaki Konaka
Design:          Atsushi Takeuchi
Music:           Hitoyuki Namba
Copyright:       AIC/Pioneer LDC

Language Format: English Language
Running time:    45/30/30/30 mins
Certificate:     15/15/15/15
Catalogue no:    PIO 10015/PIO 10016/PIO 10017/PIO 10018
Label:           Pioneer Anime
Price:           £6.99 each
Release Date:    22nd Jan/25th Mar/7th May/17th Jun 1996

Also available as a compilation movie with new dubbing and
footage under the title 'Armitage III - Polymatrix':
Language Format: English Language
Cast: Armitage:  Elizabeth Berkley
      Ross:      Keifer Sutherland
Running time:    90 mins
Certificate:     18
Catalogue no:    PIO 10047
Price:           £13.99
Release Date:    17th August 1998


In contrast to Pioneer's previously stated aim of making anime entirely suitable for youngsters, ARMITAGE III is fairly violent and seemingly aimed at more mature viewers. In an attempt to quantify my reaction I can say that on a big screen with cinema sound the imagery is quite stunning: both the opening pictures of Armitage herself, and in the scenes of the Martian city. The animation and character design are cool and realistic. And the racism is ugly, even when directed against androids. Much of the impact however lies in the characterisation of Armitage: her closeness to a real personality is quite startling. In some publicity material ARMITAGE looks like a fetishist's delight, but on screen the effect is strangely muted. We are seeing a real girl who dresses for effect; a real girl with real behavioural problems, seen further in the later episodes - who is also a robot. A disturbing prospect! Such strength of characterisation is not common in SF and even rarer in animation.

Occasionally one sees an animated character who (like the secretive Rikako Muto in I CAN HEAR THE SEA) is defined with sufficient distinction to seem like a real person. This is what is happening here: Armitage is more than a robot or an animated character; she's as real as any fictional character. Personally I realised that there was something about her behaviour that reminded me of some women I have known. Verdict: No anime or SF fan dare miss this. [Geoff Cowie]

Comment from newsgroups:

Loyd Goodbar:
I'm extremely impressed by everything in the video, with the exception
of the music, which was okay, but not great. (I'm not too fond of
country/western music, but that was part of the plot. I didn't care
for the rest of the BGM, either....) The animation was extremely good,
and I liked the characterizations. The plot was interesting, but still
a takeoff from Blade Runner (artificial people vs. real people). I can
already see parallels to Battle Angel (machines with souls/morals),
and I have yet to see B.A.

Chadwick Ngan:
I agree that Armitage has a heavy Blade Runner overtone.  I kinda
like that actually, seeing that I like that classic a lot.  The parallels
to Gunnm (Battle Angel) are a lot less than you think as the series progress.
But then, I am speaking from the manga perspective so perhaps things are
different if you only compare the two animes.  (I never liked the Gunnm
anime much myself.  They tried to cover too much in too little time, and
end up losing the essence.)

Hmmm ... how can I better phrase myself so as to avoid a flame war.
Okay.  Armitage is about sentinent machines trying to find acceptance in the
human society; whereas Gunnm is about exploring humanity via Gally's own
self-discovery journey.  Am I making myself clearer now?

William Edward Barnes:
Overall, I enjoyed it quite a bit, although I'm not sure why: the storyline
isn't anything we haven't seen before; the art and animation, while nice,
isn't spectacular; the techno soundtrack, for the most part, fails to
impress me; and the Japanese voice actors (haven't heard the English ones),
while certainly competent at their jobs, don't turn in stellar performances.
And yet, somehow, the first episode just clicked into place for me and I
really liked it.  I'd recommend a look-see to anyone who considers themselves
a fan of BGC or similar anime.

I watched the movie, 3 times now, and I like it.  While I've been a dub
detractor for a long time, I came to accept this English language dub.  Why? 
The fact that two well known actors play the roles of the two main characters. 
The fact, I believe, that this is a Japanese production and not a domestic dub
farce, and so the level of professionalism is way, way, way higher than the
usual "just-read-the-goddamned-line-and-move-on" approach to dub acting in NA. 
Overall I enjoyed it very much and was surprised by the plot developments.  It
made me laugh, and feel sad, and surprised.  It evoked emotional responses on
me, so I'm happy with it.
Some people have complained that Keifer Sutherland delivered his lines in a
monotone.  Well, I've never heard him say any lines in any other way.  That's
the way the man speaks!  I think he delivered his lines well.  Elizabeth
Berkley, well, woooeeee!, she delivered one heck of a performance IMO, to ask
anything more of her is unrealistic.  She made the character of Armitage come
alive for me.  She gave Armitage emotion, and a soul.  She's good!


The begining of the movie is a little, I'll say, confusing.  Some editing
shortcoming was evident because of the lack of continuity.  Why the heck did the
passenger doohickey went out of control?  And why did they include what was
possibly an intro for one of the Armitage III OVA's when they had a perfectly
good intro for the movie?  Continuity went back on track after Sylabous(sp?)
entered the baggage claim area and met Armitage, although I had to play catch-up
mentally.  Now, this is only in the first few minutes.  After things got going,
I totally forgot about it.  In the end, it did not affect the outcome at all.

The movie is well worth the money, IMO.  It has become one of my very favorites.
Sure, some will say the subtitled OVAs are better, the translations and dub job
in the movie are not the best.  But having not seen the subbed OVA I must say
that I enjoyed and understood the plot of the movie very well.  The rest of the
cast was equally good and delivered very good performances.  You cannot ever
have the perfect translation.  The Armitage III movie offers, IMO, the best one
possible and one of the best, if not the best, English language voice acting
jobs I have ever heard.