Spriggan Japanese manga cover by Shogakukan
|Genre||Adventure, history, military|
|Written by||Hiroshi Takashige|
|Illustrated by||Ryōji Minagawa|
|Magazine||Weekly Shōnen Sunday
Shōnen Sunday Super
|Original run||1988 – 1996|
|Directed by||Hirotsugu Kawasaki|
|Produced by||Kazuhiko Ikeguchi
|Music by||Kuniaki Haishima|
|Spriggan: Lunar Verse|
|Developer||From Liquid Mirror Software|
|Released||June 17, 1999|
Spriggan (Japanese: スプリガン Hepburn: Supurigan) is a manga series written by Hiroshi Takashige and illustrated by Ryōji Minagawa. It was initially released as Striker in the North American English translation, as it is the English translation of the word "Spriggan" from Cornish.
Spriggan takes places in the last years of the Cold War where mysterious and unknown artifacts called out-of-place artifacts (OOPArt) are discovered in various parts of the world, leading to a secret war between various forces against the ARCAM Corporation, an organization that placed itself the guardians of the OOPArts in order to prevent them from being used as weapons.
Spriggan was serialized in Shogakukan's manga magazines Weekly Shōnen Sunday and Shōnen Sunday Super from 1988-1996. The manga was adapted into an anime film by Studio 4°C in 1998. A PlayStation game called Spriggan: Lunar Verse was also based on the manga with some material created for the game.
Many years ago, an ancient civilization known for their advanced technology once ruled Earth, but were destroyed in the end by their misuse. So, they left messages for later generations in the form of indestructible message plates written in ancient Hebrew, informing them that if they could not find a good use for their creations, they should be destroyed.
Various paramilitaries, national armies, and armed private forces began to secretly search for these "mysterious artifacts" in order to be used for their own good and against their enemies. The ARCAM Corporation and their military arm, the ARCAM Private Army, can stop these forces from destroying themselves with their elite secret agents known as Spriggans (or Strikers).
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- ARCAM Corporation is a company that was founded in the United States and has branches covering all countries from across the globe. Its mission is to covertly secure and destroy all ancient artifacts (items, machines, ruins, etc.) from all known enemies that may use them for their own benefit. Its breakthrough was the refinement of Orichalcum, a strong metal that was used for ARCAM's Armored Muscle Suit and Yu's combat knife. MJ-12 and Trident Corporation were able to refine their own Orichalcum suits, mostly from ARCAM's research. The spelling ARCAM is said to be a misspelling of Arkham.
- ARCAM Private Army: ARCAM's paramilitary wing whose duties vary. Their main purpose is to conduct operations on various artifact locations and its aggressors, ranging from private corporate military wings to national militaries.
- Spriggans: One of ARCAM Private Army's divisions, consisting of special agents recruited for covert work in hostile areas without compromising the company.
- Trident Corporation: Founded by NATO as an R&D Division, it went rogue for unknown reasons and was soon declared as an illegal organization. It searches for ancient artifacts in order to refine them as potential military weapons. Currently, it is heavily funded by the European Campbell Company, American Clovers Heavy Industries and Japanese Takasumi Zaibatsu. Its greatest breakthrough, apparently based on ARCAM's Armored Muscle Suit, was the Orichalcum Armored Machine Suit. One of its users was the Trident Corp. operator Iwao Akatsuki.
- COSMOS (Children Of Soldiers Machine Organic System) is a black-ops unit of the US Army. Most of its operatives are child soldiers who were kidnapped by CIA agents and US Army soldiers from around the world and brainwashed.
The manga was initially published in Japan by Shogakukan in eleven full volumes from June 1988 to April 1996, with reprints in both 2001 and 2006 (including the unpublished stories "First Mission" and "Gold Rush"). Shogakukan Productions Co., Ltd.'s licensing arm in North America, Viz Media, translated and published three out of eleven volumes as Striker after it was first serialized in Manga Vizion, before the company curtailed further translation.
In Europe, two volumes were published in France and in French-speaking countries and territories by Glénat under the name Striker in the Netherlands by Big Balloon, eleven volumes in Germany by Planet Manga, and three full volume in Spain and in Spanish-speaking territories and countries by Planeta DeAgostini in 1993 followed by a reprint from 1996 to 1997. Together with Ranma ½, it was the first manga published in Portugal, by Texto Editora in 1995.
In Asia, the manga was released in Hong Kong by Jade Dynasty, in Indonesia by Elex Media Komputindo, in Malaysia as part of an installment in a fortnightly comic magazine, Komik Remaja (but was cancelled during the Noah's Ark story arc due to 'inappropriate religious elements'), in Singapore with all 11 volumes fully translated by Chuang Yi in English, in South Korea by Daiwon C.I. with the first 11 volumes followed by the 8 volume bunkoban and in Taiwan as eleven full chapters translated into Mandarin by Tong Li Comics under the Youth Comic series label.
A film adaptation of the manga, using the Noah's Ark story, was released to Japanese audiences by Studio 4°C. The movie was directed and story boarded by Hirotsugu Kawasaki, written by Kawasaki and Yasutaka Itō, and supervised by Katsuhiro Otomo. Hiroshi Takashige and Ryoji Minagawa had a hand in assisting the director through production.
ADV Films released the film in all English-speaking countries on April 23, 2002 with a special edition released on February 15, 2005, with the exception of Australia and New Zealand, where the film was distributed by Madman Entertainment. A Japanese release of the film was on DVD on April 25, 1999.
The film was distributed in Japan by Toho, in Hong Kong and other Asian countries under Neovision. The film was released in Taiwan by Proware Multimedia International. In Europe, it was produced in German by Anime Connection of Germany, in Russian by MC Entertainment,  in Dutch by Dybex, Italian by Dynit, in Polish by IDG and in Swedish by Sandrew Metronome.
On June 16, 1999, FromSoftware released a video game adaptation in Japan and Asia of Spriggan for the PlayStation named Spriggan: Lunar Verse with an initial street price of ¥6,090. It can be played by either one or two players. The game introduced the concept of making a 3D action-adventure game, followed by other games such as the modern Ninja Gaiden and Devil May Cry games.
A soundtrack of the game, composed by Keiichiro Segawa, Tsukasa Saito, and Yuji Kanda, was also released by Absord Music Japan and distributed by King Records on November 26, 1999. It has a total of 27 tracks.
The manga has sold 8 million copies in Japan. According to Wilma Jandoc, she criticizes Spriggan for its Anti-American theme when she remarked that any other "country could have been put in its place -- Russia, China, North Korea -- and still it would have just been a nation's name, nothing more. If the issue were more relevant, perhaps it could have said something about America's lust for power. Instead, it comes off as a convenient plot device".
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- Miscellaneous notes
- ^ Cancelled from serialization after 3 volumes