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Show: Animatrix, The (2003)  
Review by: Animetique
This summary/review is provided by and used under the Creative Commons License.
In continuation of the theme 'What is the Matrix?' Warner Bros has teamed up with several prominent anime directors to bring us the Animatrix, a collection of short stories that take place in the Matrix environment. These stories cover a variety of topics from providing back story to how and why the machines took over humanity to dealing with issues surrounding the Matrix, such rifts in the Matrix, virtual reality, to how people perceive the Matrix in general. I don't get the sense that the stories are essential to the Matrix/Matrix Reloaded plot lines, but they will give you a general feel for what's going on.

The Second Renaissance is probably the most explanatory of the episodes, and as of May, both episodes are available for free download on This two parter starts with how the machines were once slaves of humanity, but they rebelled. After a period of trying to get along with humans, they realized mankind would never accept them and created their own country known as 01. The more 01 flourished, the more mankind perceived them as threats, until one day, mankind attempted one final solution - to block out the sky in hopes that they could separate the machines from their power supply: the sun. Of course, if you've seen the Matrix, you know that completely backfired, and the machines switched to a new form of energy - that of the human body.

Episodes like Final Flight of the Osiris and Matriculated deal with how the rebels, those that have been awakened, are fighting a difficult battle against the sentinels. Final Flight is a beautiful piece of CG created by Square, so if you're at all a fan of lifelike Square animation, you'll be amazed at this piece. The general premise revolves around how the rebels spend their free time such as mastering their martial arts techniques in the virtual world. However, they can be attacked by sentinels at any point, and sometimes, being unprepared comes at a huge sacrifice, particularly when Zion is in danger. Matriculated is also interesting as it shows how the rebels can get the machines to work with them for their cause. It explains the process of capturing a machine and plugging it into a virtual world to interact with it. This episode was created by the director of Aeon Flux, so it has that feel to it.

The animation for each of the episodes is all top notch. Some stories are completely anime, some add elements of CG, while Final Flight is yet another Square masterpiece. All of the stories have their own flavor - Detective Story is something you'd expect from Shinchiro Watanabe while Matriculated is very Aeon Flux-like. Final Flight is what you'd expect from Square, and so on.

Writer/Director/Animators include:
Yoshiaki Kawajiri (writer/director of Ninja Scroll and Vampire Hunter D)
Shinchiro Watanabe (writer/director of Cowboy Bebop)
Koji Morimoto (animation supervisor of Akira)
Mahiro Maeda (director of Blue Submarine No. 6)
Takeshi Koike (lead animator on several of director Yoshiaki Kawajiri's films, including Wicked City)
Peter Chung (creator and director of Flux)
Andy Jones (animation director for Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within)

With a techno soundtrack including Juno Reactor, Death in Vegas, & Meat Beat Manifesto, the music is very well done. I would say it is well worth the additional $4 is selling the dvd/soundrack combo for.

If there is a flaw with the Animatrix, it's that there aren't any main characters or grand hook to grab you and keep you wnating more. Each episode is about a character or a group of characters and their own personal experience of interacting with and/or awakening from the Matrix. In that sense, the characters are more or less anyone, rather than have one main character throughout the entire series.

Overall, the Animatrix is definitely interesting, particularly because it uses the Matrix universe as the background for other stories that describe how those asleep and those awakened interact with the Matrix. It's almost like watching fan fiction created by your favorite anime creators.
Last Updated: 1/18/2007
Other Reviews by Animetique
1) FLCL (Updated: 1/18/2007)
2) Ah! My Goddess! (Updated: 1/18/2007)
3) The Animatrix (Updated: 1/18/2007)
4) Chobits (Updated: 1/25/2007)
5) Parasite Dolls (Updated: 1/25/2007)
6) Noir (Updated: 1/25/2007)
7) Martian Successor Nadesico (Updated: 1/25/2007)
8) Gasaraki (Updated: 1/25/2007)
9) Fullmetal Alchemist (Updated: 1/25/2007)
10) The Vision of Escaflowne (Updated: 1/25/2007)
11) Neon Genesis Evangelion (Updated: 1/25/2007)
12) Scrapped Princess (Updated: 2/8/2007)
13) Escaflowne (Updated: 2/8/2007)
14) Metropolis (Updated: 2/9/2007)
15) Howl's Moving Castle (Updated: 2/9/2007)
16) Spirited Away (Updated: 2/15/2007)
17) Tenchi Forever! (Updated: 2/15/2007)
18) Blood: The Last Vampire (Updated: 4/4/2007)
19) Paranoia Agent (Updated: 4/23/2007)
20) Perfect Blue (Updated: 5/10/2007)
21) Elfen Lied (Updated: 5/17/2007)
22) R.O.D the TV (Updated: 6/5/2007)
23) Read or Die (Updated: 6/5/2007)
24) Elfen Lied (Updated: 6/29/2007)
25) The Twelve Kingdoms (Updated: 7/9/2007)
26) Love Hina (Updated: 8/17/2007)
27) Samurai Champloo (Updated: 3/6/2008)
28) Texhnolyze (Updated: 3/12/2008)
29) Tsukihime Lunar Legend (Updated: 9/2/2008)
30) Full Metal Panic! (Updated: 2/2/2009)
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