Armitage III

Armitage III (1994)
Pioneer Entertainment
Extras: Trailers, Cover Artwork, Concept Art, Background Art

Pioneer, the leader in the Japanese animation field has finally gotten around to release ’Armitage III’ on DVD. It is the precursor to the acclaimed ’Armitage: Dual Matrix’ and one of the most enjoyable cyberpunk animes I’ve had the pleasure to watch.

The murder of a celebrity in the year 2046 reveals the existence of a secret robot that is so advanced that it can pass itself off as human. Ross and Armitage go undercover to find out more and learn about a big government conspiracy revolving around this robot.

The DVD contains all four episodes that make up ’Armitage III’ – ’Electro Blood, ’ ’Flesh and Stone,’ ’Heart Core,’ and ’Bit of Love.’ The show is presented in its original fullscreen aspect ratio on this DVD and the print is good looking, although occasional speckles and grain are visible. Blacks are very deep and solid, giving the image a lot of depth, while highlights are rendered without blooming. Colors are nicely reproduced, creating a powerful presentation without oversaturation. Given some of the extreme contrasts found in the material occasional halos are evident, which can be mistaken for edge-enhancement but are not. They are a result of NTSC’s inherent limitations to display such high contrast imagery. The compression is generally good, though some slight pixelation is noticeable on occasion.

The DVD contains an English dub in Dolby Surround as well as the original Japanese language track. The dub is workable and features the voice of Kiefer Sutherland among others. Evidently fans of the series will much rather prefer the original language track, which more accurately reflects the movie’s original impact.

’Armitage III’ contains a number of extras, such as trailers for other Armitage releases, as well as a selection of cover artwork, concept art and background art.

Once again Pioneer is presenting a great-looking release of a Japanese animation feature. Fans will certainly enjoy this release for the quality of the film itself, as well as the technical merits of the DVD.