Mardock Scramble: The First Compression Review
I have been awaiting the release sci-fi Movie for a while now. It may come as a surprise to some of you but I am actually a much bigger sci-fi fan than a drama or moe one. Sci-fi in anime just seems to have gone in what I would call a wrong direction in the past few years for my liking. So how does this movie hold up, is it the second coming of Ergo Proxy..or could it even be better?
The plot centers around a 15 year old prostitute named Balot, She is nearly murdered by what seems to be a crazed psychopath but is rescued by a doctor and his cyborg rat Eufcoqueis. The doctor uses advanced biological technology called Mardock Scramble 09 to bring the girl back to full consciousness. The technology grants the girl the ability to manipulate any inanimate object with an electrical current but also renders her dumb.
The Doctor asks Balot to help apprehend the Murderer who also happens to be part of an illegal syndicate dealing in human body trafficking. Balot and Eufcoque use their abilities to manipulate objects and morph into weapons to battle this syndicate and hopefully bring justice to this dark bleak futuristic Dystopian world.
Like I said, I just adore this setting, its so refreshing to see a modern anime tackle this kind of subject matter with a decent budget and script. I really liked the visual aesthetic that the movie decided to go with, dark but colorful. The character models have thick outlines and really dark opaque shadows very reminiscent of Madhouse anime like Hellsing.
Its take on a dark grim future is also not as far fetched as most anime would portray. Instead of flying cars we have roads up in the sky navigating the various sky scrapers. I especially liked the rental service cars that drove themselves using some sort of Sat Nav AI that was really neat.
The action scenes were also very well done, it reminded me of some scenes from the original Matrix movie and Equilibrium. It doesnt hurt that the animation in these scenes is very fluid and little or no shortcuts are taken in showing us the action. Its bloody, its gory and its cool and they are not afraid to show it.
I also liked the story and how it didn’t hold back on its dark themes. The emotional trauma that Balot has to go through is not sugar coated at all and she makes some pretty stupid decisions throughout the movie but the solid writing helps the viewers empathise with her situations. The overall plot is not groundbreaking or unique but it manages to hold its own without seeming too far fetched.
While I personally enjoyed how they didn’t hold back with the dark themes its not easy to ignore the R18+ rating slapped on the cover. There are a lot of rape scenes in this movie and I know this can be disturbing for some viewers.
The English dub of this movie was average at best, I decided to switch over to the Japanese audio about 10 minutes in and that increased my enjoyment of the show tenfold. Megumi Hayashibara does a great Balot and the minor role played by Norio Wakamoto is bound to please more than a few fans.
The extras are what I would call weak at best, unless you count the Directors cut version of the movie as an extra then I guess that’s okay.
Final Verdict: Buy It! Its an hour long movie and while it may seem like an outrageous asking price at first the long lasting appeal of this movie will show in time. I guarantee that once you watch the movie you will be hooked and be begging for the next one to be released ASAP just like the rest of us. Its not very often we get good sci-fi anime so when one comes along grab it with both arms. Besides its CyberPunk, everybody loves Cyber Punk right?
Mardock Scramble is now available from Madman on DVD.