originally posted at https://canmom.tumblr.com/post/718603...

Good evening animation devotees! It is once again Sunday, the day of animation.

Apologies for the late start this evening. It’s been tricky to run everything while I’m in Glasgow, but on the other hand, tonight’s subject comes at the suggestion of my wonderful host. Since it’s so late, no lengthy intro today… by my standards, anyway x3

Gif source: @nyaa

So, 1995 was a big year in anime. Ghost in the Shell happened. The story behind it is fascinating and I barely told any of it back on AN39. Production I.G. had recently come into existence, the synthesis of anime studio I.G. Tatsunoko  and the Headgear collective, which had come together on the Patlabor movies. It managed to bring all its elements together to create a really novel synthesis of all its elements: deeply atmospheric, exceptionally animated, and with enough of the crazy autistic passion of Shirow’s manga shining through to give it a dimension missing in the drier Patlabor movies that came before. It became a reference point for just about anything even vaguely in the vicinity of cyberpunk to come…

And Evangelion happened. The impact of Anno’s unification of psychological drama, body horror, conspiracies and robots is maybe even greater. Even beyond its direct aesthetic influences, or inspiring the word moe, its sekaikei plot became a template for anime stories in all sots of genres. I wrote a bunch about Eva back on AN18, but of course there is so much more to dive into.

Tonight our subject is another cyberpunk robot story from 1995, a project of AIC - veterans of the world of OVAs. They’re behind the invention of hentai anime with Cream Lemon in 1984 (AN69), they made the iconic 80s robot ova Bubblegum Crisis, and at the start of the 1990s, they were the place where The Hakkenden experimented with the devices that would become the core of 90s animation (AN 122).

Gif source: @my-sugar-bones

Armitage III is another cyberpunk robot-focused anime - but when we say cyberpunk it’s in the literary sense too, with overt allusion to Neuromancer. And also Lovecraft. It’s a Pinocchio-type story about the line between robots and humans, set on a Mars colony which has recently discovered the existence of ‘third type’ robots which are superficially identical to humans and gone a bit nuts about it. ‘Armitage’ refers to protagonist Naomi Armitage, one of a duo of cops who are trying to contain the chaos - but Naomi is herself one of these third type androids. There’s some rather wacky gender shit with Earth having a ‘feminist’ society motivating more men emigrate to Mars, and also robot pregnancy which is a subject rarely touched on in these sexy robot stories.

But also it’s mostly a chance to bask in that 90s anime aesthetic. Like its contemporaries, expect something dark and moody and full of fascinating designs and intricate mechanical animations. Character designs are detailed and volumetric, but there’s also an element of the spiky stylisation of e.g. Gunnm, especially as our protagonist starts to take on some upgrades.

Gif source: @anipike

Rather than write more, I think I’d best just hurry up and get the ball rolling while it’s still technically Sunday.

Tonight the plan is to show the four episodes of the OVA. They got compiled into a movie (Poly-Matrix) but I hear it is overly compressed and hard to follow. There’s a sequel, Dual-Matrix, but I generally hear it’s not great and since it’s so late, I’m just gonna watch the original OVA.

We’ll be going live in just a minute at twitch.tv/canmom. I’d love to see you there!!


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