Writer/Artist: Shirow Masamune
Translation/Adaptation: Dana Lewis and Toren Smith with Duane Johnson
What They Say
Paradise ain’t easy! In the future utopian metropolis of Olympus, a blazing beacon of humanity amidst a post-global-war wasteland, ESWAT agents Deunan and Briareos have fought tooth and nail to keep the peace and prevent Olympus from sliding back into chaos. When Olympus intelligence learns of a giant Landmate power suit being built in secrecy, and on the threshold of a top-secret international conference of the highest importance to be held in Olympus, ESWAT is mobilized to crack the mystery and disrupt a terrorist operation that could turn the fragile peace into World War IV!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
In the midst of a large, multi-national peacekeeping conference, ESWAT uncovers a terrorist plot by the remnants of a religious state to use a massive Landmate to disrupt the conference, threatening the fragile peace. After Deunan loses her right eye in a training exercise thanks to the impetuousness of a teammate, she is removed from the main assault squad sent to prevent the terrorist squad and instead set to stakeout another suspect. But when she stumbles onto the fact that the Giant is just a decoy for a more subtle strike, and she is not in a position to get in touch with her team, she is forced to try and prevent the terrorist action herself.
If volume 3 of Appleseed left me underwhelmed, volume 4 left me anything but. From the opening page of this volume, there is almost non-stop action as it opens with the training exercise where Deunan loses her eye and transitions immediately into the special ops mission that runs for the rest of the volume. As such, this thing just rolls from beginning-to-end.
Unlike the last volume, which overwhelmed us with all sorts of discussion of political matters, this volume gives us just enough about the terrorist organization and their plans to get the gist of the stakes here but stops short of stopping and explaining everything that could happen if they are successful. It is the same formula that was used for the first two volumes, and I welcomed a return to it.
I also really liked the switching of the roles of Deunan and Briarios here, as not only is Briarios now supposed to be the muscle and Deunan the brains, but there is also a reversal of their apparent usefulness. Prior to this, Deunan is seen as a wild animal that does not play well with others, often creating problems for Briarios. But seeing her in action when she goes solo, it opens the possibility that Briarios is actually holding her back, which is a neat idea.
My only issue here is that this is the end of Appleseed, and it felt like there is still more to go. Masamune is apparently keeping open the possibility that there could still be more, but it has been over twenty years since this volume was completed, so I doubt it will happen. I would certainly like to see more, and I am enjoying (or have enjoyed, I guess) the hell out of this manga. And with the new dynamics introduced with Deunan and Briarios, I would really like to see where it goes after this.
Content Grade: A
Art Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: 14+
Released By: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: February 25th, 2009