Cover of Appleseed Volume 1
|Written by||Masamune Shirow|
Media Factory (Bunkoban)
|Original run||February 15, 1985 – April 15, 1989|
Appleseed (アップルシード Appurushīdo ) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Masamune Shirow. The series follows the adventures of ESWAT members Deunan Knute and Briareos Hecatonchires in Olympus. Like much of Masamune's work, Appleseed merges elements of the cyberpunk and mecha genres with a heavy dosage of politics, philosophy, and sociology. The series spans four volumes, released between 1985 and 1989. It has been adapted into an OVA, two feature films, a 13 episode TV series, and two video games.
Appleseed takes place in the 22nd Century, after the non-nuclear Third World War decimates the Earth. While states like Great Britain, USA and China have difficulty maintaining order and power, international organizations like the "Sacred Republic of Munma" and "Poseidon" have been established in the aftermath.
The main characters are Deunan Knute and Briareos Hecatonchires,refugee/combatants in a war that may or not be over as far as they're concerned. They are found in a desolated city and, after a serious conflict,wherein they fight for their lives, are invited to a Utopian society where their prodigious martial skills may be used in the prestigious ESWAT (Extra Special Weapons And Tactics)unit. The Utopian state to which they are invited is called Olympus. Briareos and Deunan must translate from a war mindset to a more gentle,at best,police-style frame of mind. They must also come to terms with a society that has been 'calmed' through the use of bioroids, synthetic humans who are less prone to violence or temper than your average human. Our two protagonists settle into this society without much of a grace period before they are thrust into the worst of political machinations. ESWAT being the sharp point of Olympus' political/operational spear, our heroes end up in some thrilling situations. The interesting thing about Appleseed is the idea of a Utopia where a section of the population must be artificial to the point that peace is a possibility, but outside forces require such a thing as ESWAT. Deunan and Briareos are always at odds with their inherently violent duties. Their best friends are bioroids, and at different points in the series they end up having to defend their peaceful friends with deadly force.
Appleseed is a masterful manga(anime too) that engages the imagination and makes one wonder what the future holds when we dream of a perfect society. Not for the faint of heart, but very much for those who have a hope.
Originally published in Japan in 1985, Book One Appleseed: The Promethean Challenge was published directly to paperback instead of being serialized, a rarity in the Japanese manga market. This was soon followed by the publication of Book Two, Appleseed: Prometheus Unbound, Book Three Appleseed: The Scales of Prometheus in 1987, and Book Four Appleseed: The Promethean Balance in 1989. Rumors of a possible Volume 5 still persist today, though Shirow had mentioned that he has no plans of pursuing it for the meantime. From 1988 to 1992, Appleseed was published in English by Eclipse Comics, packaged by Studio Proteus. The manga is currently published by Dark Horse Comics. In 2004, a special edition compiling the first two volumes was released entitled Appleseed 01&02.
|No.||Title||Japanese release||English release|
|1||The Promethean Challenge
Purometeusu no chōsen (プロメテウスの挑戦)
|February 15, 1985
|March 1, 1995 (2nd Ed.)
Purometeusu no kaihō (プロメテウスの解放)
|November 10, 1985
|March 1, 1995 (2nd Ed.)
|3||The Scales Of Prometheus
Purometeusu no ko tenbin (プロメテウスの小天秤)
|July 31, 1987
|March 1, 1995 (2nd Ed.) 
|4||The Promethean Balance
Purometeusu no dai tenbin (プロメテウスの大天秤)
|April 15, 1989
|March 1995 (2nd Ed.)
A CGI feature film was released in 2004 titled Appleseed and directed by Shinji Aramaki. The sequel to this film, Appleseed Ex Machina, was released on October 20, 2007 in Japan with Aramaki again directing and John Woo producing.
Cancelled TV series
A cancelled anime TV series known as Appleseed: Genesis (アップルシード ジェネシス Appurushīdo Jeneshisu ) was originally announced in 2005. The series was slated to be 26-episodes and scheduled to release in summer 2006. The TV series was officially unveiled at 2008 Tokyo International Anime Fair and was being produced by Radix Mobanimation anime studio. The TV series was being directed by Romanov Higa with Haruhiko Mikimoto as character design and Romi Paku as voice actress for Deunen Knute. On September 26, 2008, the Robix Mobanimation studio filed a lawsuit against Micott & Basara production company for halting the production without reason and not paying for the production costs. On July 14, 2009, Miccot & Basara countersued Robix Mobanimation studio claiming that there was no unpaid production costs and that Radix unilaterally ended their discussion about the production. On April 18, 2012, the two reached a settlement agreement.
In 2011, a CGI-animated series Appleseed XIII premiered, directed by Takayuki Hamana. It was released in Japan as a 13-episode ONA series and were compiled into two theatrical feature films. The first feature film titled, Appleseed XIII: Tartaros was released on June 13, 2011. The second titled, Appleseed XIII: Ouranos was released on October 24, 2011. During the release of the feature films, limited edition first Blu-ray volumes were being sold in theatres and the episodes were being streamed online.
A Tactical role-playing game sharing the same name of the manga was released on October 19, 1988. An action video game titled Appleseed: Oracle of Prometheus (アップルシード プロメテウスの神託 Appurushīdo purometeusu no shintaku ) for the Super Famicom, based on the manga of the same name by Masamune Shirow, was released on August 26, 1994 and was published by Visit. A PlayStation 2 game titled, Appleseed EX was developed by Sega and based on the 2004 film adaptation. The game was released in February 2007, as well as the Limited Box set. An online game known as "Appleseed the Online" was released on October 20, 2005 however servers closed on November 13, 2006. A second online game known as Appleseed Tactics was released on October 29, 2009. Servers closed on July 15, 2010.
In 1990, Shirow produced the Appleseed Databook, a detailed look into the history, the people, and the technology found in the world of Appleseed. The book includes the short tory, called "Game".
Appleseed Hypernotes was serialized in Comic Gaia, followed by a collected volume in 1996. The Hypernotes consist of a four chapter story followed by technical information about the world, mechs, and equipment much like Appleseed Databook. An English language version of Appleseed Hypernotes was serialized in Dark Horse Comics' Super Manga Blast. One of the terms for Hypernotes publication stated that Appleseed Hypernotes could not be released in English in collected format. The reason for this is because Shirow was unsatisfied with the work and wanted to fix it before releasing it as a complete book for English readers.  Dark Horse eventually released an English TPB of Hypernotes in October 2007.
Dark Horse also released Appleseed ID.
Reviews on the manga series have been seen as positive. Manga Review noted that Shirow's works on Appleseed are both cool and functional. Anime.com points out that the manga's storyline does not detract despite the combination of both action and humor.
- MANGA & BOOK INFORMATIONS. Retrieved on May 13, 2008.
- Appleseed Information Page. Retrieved on May 13, 2008. (Japanese)
- Appleseed. Retrieved on May 13, 2008. Archived 2009-10-25.
- "Super Manga Blast Article". Anime News Network. August 30, 2002. Retrieved May 7, 2013.
- "原画サイズ版 アップルシ－ド 1" (in Japanese). Jbook. Retrieved February 13, 2012.
- "APPLESEED BOOK 1: THE PROMETHEAN CHALLENGE TPB". Dark Horse. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
- "原画サイズ版 アップルシ－ド 2" (in Japanese). Jbook. Retrieved February 13, 2012.
- "APPLESEED BOOK 2: PROMETHEUS UNBOUND TPB". Dark Horse. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
- "原画サイズ版 アップルシ－ド 3" (in Japanese). Jbook. Retrieved February 13, 2012.
- "APPLESEED BOOK 3: THE SCALES OF PROMETHEUS TPB". Dark Horse. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
- "原画サイズ版 アップルシ－ド 4" (in Japanese). Jbook. Retrieved February 13, 2012.
- "New Appleseed Movie and TV Series in the Works". Anime News Network. April 14, 2005. Retrieved May 7, 2013.
- "Appleseed: Genesis Anime Studio Sues Rights Holders". Anime News Network. September 26, 2008. Retrieved May 7, 2013.
- "Micott Countersues Radix over Appleseed TV Anime". Anime News Network. July 16, 2009. Retrieved May 7, 2013.
- "Appleseed: Genesis TV Anime Lawsuits Settled". Anime News Network. July 16, 2009. Retrieved May 7, 2013.
- "Appleseed XIII: Tartaros Appleseed XIII: Ouranos". Production I.G. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
- "Appleseed XIII Released on Film/Net/BD Simultaneously". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2011-08-26.
- "オンラインゲーム｢APPLESEED TACTICS｣ 正 式スタート". Animeanime.jp. October 29, 2000. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
- "Manga News from Studio Proteus". Anime Tourist. May 24, 2002. Retrieved May 7, 2013.
- "Appleseed Hypernotes". Dark Horse Comics. August 30, 2002. Retrieved May 7, 2013.
- "Appleseed ID". Dark Horse Comics. August 30, 2002. Retrieved May 7, 2013.
- Japanese Science Fiction Con Award Nominees Announced. Retrieved on May 13, 2008.
- Manga Review's Appleseed, Vol. 1: The Promethean Challenge. Retrieved on May 13, 2008.
- Anime.com's Appleseed manga review. Retrieved on May 13, 2008.
- Appleseed (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Appleseed at Takotech.net
- Official Appleseed PS2 game website
- IGN PS2 page