Spriggan Season 1 Review – IGN

Spriggan: Season 1 Review - IGN

Spriggan can now be viewed on Netflix.

The first season of Netflix’s Spriggan provides a decent start to what could be a promising animated series. The series’ intriguing premise, almost nonstop action and charming yet mysterious protagonists make it a great choice for binging. – as long as you can get over its uneven animation and unfortunate relation to the superior 1998 film.

Based on the Japanese manga series created by Hiroshi Takashige and Ryōji Minagawa, the anime follows the exploits of Yu Ominae, a 16-year-old super soldier who’s tasked with finding and securing powerful out-of-place artifacts (OOPArt). Paramilitary groups as well as national-backed entities secretly battle for control over these weapons of mass devastation. This results in a Cold War public that is far from peaceful. Thankfully, the ARCAM Corporation – poised as the voice of reason and Yu’s current employer – seeks to safeguard the artifacts in an effort to save lives.

Best Anime Series on Netflix

Spriggan’s likable characters and over-the-top action made it a successful manga. It also featured fascinating twists on religious doctrine and world history. Netflix’s six-episode adaptation mostly benefits in the same fashion by adhering closely to the source material. Although the action is sometimes solid, Yu can still take a punch even if it causes him to fall through many walls. OOPArt is a product of an advanced technology civilization. It supports the shift in accepted ideologies. The reimagining of Noah’s Ark as a giant weather machine remains a creative narrative thread.

As for the cast, Yu Ominae (voiced by Kyle McCarley and Chiaki Kobayashi) still delicately treads the line between being hopeful of the future and foolishly naïve. That said, he isn’t depicted as a goofy hero with questionable decision-making skills; he will kill a foe if the situation warrants it. Jean Jacquemond, Jean Jacquemond’s rival (Xander mobus/Yohei Azakami), on his other hand is as charismatic than he is violent. He never hesitates to remove an enemy’s head and that’s before he turns into a werewolf. Morally, it’s quite a contrast to Yu. Jean’s appeal isn’t diminished by this. He is more Vegeta than Yu’s Goku. He is always looking for the greater good and he may invoke the darkest urges of the audience when confronted with some truly evil characters.

Yoshino Manyi (voiced Jenny Yokobori/Mariya Itse) offers some humor amid all the bloodshed. Always looking to snag an artifact or some other expensive bobble to sell, she’s constantly at odds with Yu. Sometimes comical but always resourceful – seeing her slip an automatic weapon from her backpack in the midst of battling zombies is a win – Yoshino acts like the little sister Yu never wanted. Yu is not happy with her insisting that Yoshino stay out of ARCAM affairs. This is just a game. Yoshino, deep down, is a well-meaning thief that saves the day on many occasions.

Spriggan is a fascinating enough character to recommend to both movie and manga fans. However, some people might find it difficult to follow the plot. Like the manga, the show spends most of its time setting up future events. Introduce shady companies. Villains either die or are exterminated. Character development is very limited. There are only a few glimpses into the past relative to the present. Aside from the segments where Yu is in school, where his peers question why he’s always tired and covered in bruises, there isn’t much tying each event to one another. Even the supporting cast gets shuffled episode to episode.

Yu’s globe-trotting adventure allows for some inventive encounters.

This open-ended storytelling does facilitate Spriggan’s episodic format, though. Yu’s globe-trotting adventure allows for some inventive encounters. He quickly switches from fighting zombies in a cursed wood to fighting cybernetic soldiers within an apartment building. There’s always something new to be enthralled by. Those who already know what to expect from reading the manga won’t be surprised to see heroes and villains enter and exit the show in quick fashion. And since the expectation is that these first six episodes are just the beginning – while Netflix hasn’t officially confirmed another season, it makes sense that Spriggan would be released in parts/multiple seasons that will eventually allow for better connective tissue between events – more emphasis being placed on the action isn’t necessarily a bad thing…well, at least until it is.

There’s plenty of action-packed segments between cybernetically enhanced individuals. Arms are torn off. Bones are broken. The fighting entertains. Unfortunately, these fights aren’t always animated well. Spriggan employs both computer-generated animations and hand-drawn animations. But not in equal amounts. 2D animations are fluid and have realistic movements. When that’s combined with CG, the action slows down as characters become stiff. It at least makes sense when used with mechs or robotic enemies, although that doesn’t mean those mechs look good, mind you. The massive metal machine is heavy and metallic but looks strange when placed next to the rest of the screen.

Even though it was released in 1998, the Spriggan movie still stands out. It only focuses on one incident, doesn’t include all of the characters, and is finite, story-wise (which is fine given the nature of the medium). The anime is a better representation than the manga. The Spriggan anime is not perfect. Voice acting is the only thing that makes the film stand out, aside from a strict adherence of the manga. The entire cast did an incredible job, whether they were subbed and dubbed.

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