There are few works of art in this world that are comparable to Appleseed. The original manga comic written by the legendary, an understatement in this case, Masamune Shirow. Long considered the Godfather of anime, his manga comics were infused with insightful politics, utopian overtones, warmongering ideologies, and a certain philosophical ambivalence towards the future of humans and machinery.
All that aside, Appleseed is the story of how WWIII breaks out and lasts for decades. It results in a near total collapse of civilization and a complete over-dependence of humanity on robots, androids, and artificial intelligence bio-genetic humanoid machines. In this setting a group of humans decide to found a floating city known as Olympus and there they build a utopia. The city creates a harmony and a balance between man and machine; and in this setting those who wish to interfere with that balance come forward to destroy utopia. Yet the people of utopia will not be deterred by violence or destruction, overtime Olympus is destroyed it is rebuilt. Appleseed may be about utopia, but more likely it is about utopia lost and the human need to rebuild that paradise lost.
The anime is a powerful and emotive depiction of the human need to fight and all the things that are truly worth fighting for; but it is how the fight is framed that makes Appleseed superior to other animes. Deunan and Briareos, the two main characters and former soldiers, have to negotiate and constantly renegotiate how much force is used and when. In the end utopia and by extension Olympus is not about the ability to destroy the enemy but the ability to build an inclusive society including some that were once considered an enemy. If there is anything that invokes the memory of Guy Fawkes, the graphic novel V For Vendetta, and the spirit of revolution, it is Appleseed. So this autumn, do yourself a service: watch Aramaki at his finest, read Shirow at his finest, and discover what rebuilding utopia is all about.