Spriggan runs in the same vein
as what seems to be the anime
equivalent of American superhero comics
. If you've seen Read or Die
, you should be familiar with the concept
. The bad guys
are bad to the bone; the good guys
are endowed with amazing will power
and serve their cause relentless
ly. Certain heroes and villain
s have a shared past, so vengeance
comes into the picture. The big difference, as far as I can see, is the moral ambiguity
of the main characters. The two Spriggan we meet in this film
, Ominae Yu and Jean Jacquemonde, don't hesitate to shoot
The plot isn't terribly complicated, and is also reminiscent of something like X-men. ARCAM is a private organization set up to protect the remnants of an ancient civilization whose highly advanced technology led to its own demise. Their agents are known as Spriggan. A piece of this technology, the ancient Ark of Noah, is discovered by a research expedition in Turkey. ARCAM moves in, but there are other international interests involved.
The major players in the story almost all possess superhuman powers. In ARCAM's case, the agents enjoy exceptional strength and reflexes. All the others are technologically augmented in some way. It makes for some stunning fight scenes.
If action and good visuals are what you're looking for, Spriggan delivers. If you hope for anything beyond that, however, you're likely to be disappointed. The characters are somewhat two-dimensional, and the dialog isn't particularly inspired. The movie also indulges in excessive amounts of America-bashing. In fact, all of the bad guys are working for the Pentagon. At one point, a fat American general explains that their mission is destined for success, since their primary agent is "vested with the consciousness of this nation". When a Japanese professor is speaking with this same person, states "...you are also a creature with the ugly ego of that nation". Uh-huh. The historically literate will also notice that the names given to both the Pentagon's agents and the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki are Fat Man and Little Boy. Draw your own conclusions.
If you're able to look past all of that, though, Spriggan offers an entertaining ride. The art direction deserves a lot of credit; the mountain-scapes are absolutely gorgeous. The fight sequences also take full advantage of the characters' amazing abilities(minigun-dodging, yum), and will truly inspire awe even in action-movie veterans.
All in all, I consider Spriggan above-average for a high-budget anime film (especially considering its hour-and-a-half running time), but not anything which deserves to be lauded as a classic.