Vexille is an anime thriller, released in Japanese theaters in August 2007. It is entirely CGI, and was released on DVD in North America by Funimation, in February of 2008. The movie, directed and written by Fumihiko Sori, is about a woman named Vexille Serra who works for an American Police Agency called “SWORD.” The story line follows her and other members of SWORD, including her fiancé, on one of their most important missions: the tedious task of infiltrating Japan and revealing to the world what they are hiding. This is difficult, however, because Japan has hidden itself behind technology that won’t allow satellite images to be taken and an “electronic wall” that won’t allow anyone near the waters of Japan (with one gate left open for trade). Cybernetics has been outlawed worldwide, so Japan opts to “go it alone”, leaving the U.N. and cutting themselves off from the world, assumedly to continue research.
The plot is exiting, and is up to par with many American Live Action Sci-Fi films. In fact Vexille ,or Vexille: 2077 Japanese Isolation as it is known in Japan, acts more like a Live Action Sci-Fi/Action summer flick than a typical futuristic anime movie. Which, of course, has some distinct advantages. After the first few minutes, one forgets that they are not watching real people, but computer generated images. The action scenes are somewhat Matrix inspired, minus the bizarre slow-mo bullet dodging. Perhaps what serves to be the most fascinating plot point is this anime’s choice to have America as the “good guys” and Japan as the “bad guys”.
Many of the characters are compelling, but of course Vexille, voiced by Colleen Clinkenbeard, steals center stage. The fact the lead is a strong willed female is captivating, we can practically hear the feminists cheering. Fumihiko Sori was probably inspired by strong female leads like Ripley from Alien. The CEO of the evil corporation Daiwa, Kisaragi, has a distinct “Bond villain” feel to him. His assistant is an android and is aptly terrifying. Surprisingly, behind the veil there is no super advanced Japan that we all imagined, but rather a wasteland, with nothing but the evil Daiwa Corporation Headquarters intact. There is also still a ghetto on the outskirts where the remainder of Japan’s population lives. And it’s very intriguing to learn what’s left of the population is not entirely human anymore. Daiwa has managed to turn the entire population into cyborgs and plan to do the same to the rest of the world. It is up to Vexille and a band of rebels living in the ghetto to stop Kisaragi, show the world what Japan is hiding, and bring an end to Daiwa. However time is limited, because what is left of the citizens of Japan’s humanity is slowly disappearing. The movie has an action pack ending scene-involving Giant Machine Worms straight out of Tremors and Dune .
While the plot is action packed character development is seriously lacking. Perhaps this is an ode to an American live action movie. However, seeing how that is the films biggest problem, it’s not enough to ruin the movie. The music is top quality. The opening theme “Close Your Eyes” (song in English by Linda Lewis) could easily fit in with any normal American radio stations play list. The other music is mostly J-pop and techno, which fit in well with the films themes about the future and what it means to truly be human. The CGI is fantastic, and the attention to detail is marvelous. The English voice acting is very well done, and would impress many “subtitle only” anime fans.
So good action, nice CGI, good acting, good music, interesting themes about humanity, what’s not to like? Well, except for the clear lack of character personailty. Oh well. We’ll let that slide
– Written by Mike (Prede)
-Edited by Elke
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