The Animatrix
Type: DVD
Genre: Film reel shorts
Version: Region 1 DVD
Reviewed: 6/7/03


The Animatrix is an anime DVD like no other. It is the most conglomerated piece of anime I know of. Why? Cause when you take seven of Japan’s and the USA’s biggest names in animation and put all their work in one package I’d say that pretty much means gold. This DVD features a set of nine shorts all giving the viewer a better glimpse into the world of the Matrix done in very unique, yet similar fashions. Pay attention to the word “shorts” though because a lot of people will come into this DVD expecting to see one long movie and that’s not what you’ll be getting…

So with all that said here’s a brief summary of each short. (Don’t worry, I don’t plan on spoiling anything) Oh and I will probably spell the character’s names wrong since I don’t have the proper spelling for them. Here we go…

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Don’t cry, emo crew!

Final Flight of the Osiris, Director Andy Jones

The creative minds behind this short were the same people that worked on the film Final Fantasy: Spirits Within. But don’t let that scare you away. This short features the most visually pleasing scenes of the entire DVD. It is so realistic you’ll think it’s a scene from the next Matrix. It starts off with Commander Thadius and Juio, the sexy Trinity wannabe, on a dojo training simulation. They spar each other in a provocative way with swords when they find out they have a major problem. The machines are attacking their ship the Osiris and approaching Zion! This short has a huge connection to the Matrix: Reloaded because if you’ve watched the movie you’d know that the Osiris was the ship that gave the people of Zion the warning that the machines were coming…

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No, your honor. I shall never wear pants!

The Second Renaissance Part I and II, Director Mahiro Maeda

Mahiro Maeda, known for his popular anime movie Blue Submarine No. 6. is the creator of these two shorts. They are very special because if you follow the Matrix saga, you will know that it gives the audience a history lesson surrounding the events that lead up to the first Matrix movie. The way these shorts are set up is a marvelous work of art. You get everything thrown at you in the form of newsreels and video clips explaining how the humans and the machines tried to co-exist, and how it soon became impossible for them. There is a continuous power struggle until one side wins. These shorts are very graphically violent so be warned….

A Kid’s Story, Director Shinichiro Watanabe

Shinichiro Watanabe is the director of the popular anime series Cowboy Bebop. The troubled boy in this short keeps having dreams of falling; he realizes that things feel more real when he’s dreaming then when he’s awake. When he’s in school this notion starts to push him until he realizes that there is something wrong with the world he lives in. Noticing that he’s on to something the machines start to plan on silencing him. Be sure to pay close attention to the ending!

Program, Director Yoshi Kawajiri

Kawajiri is famous for directing: Wicked City, Ninja Scroll, and Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. The style in this short is very close to i>Ninja Scroll but has a Matrix twist. It begins with a girl and a man training in a simulation based on the Japanese feudal period. After fighting off a few enemies they begin to train together. The guy lets the girl in on a secret. He hates the way the real world is and wishes he could go back to living in the Matrix. He wants to take her with him, and if brute force is the only way so be it! This short ties in with the first Matrix because it shows how easy it is for people to want to believe in what is not true just to make themselves happy.

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Samurai warrior fights with honor, in his giant hat

World Record, Director Takeshi Koike

Takeshi Koike also has Ninja Scroll to his credit. This short is about a famous track star that ignores the limitations of the Matrix to run faster and faster, only to discover the terrible reality of the rules he’s breaking while running in his final, disastrous, race.

Beyond, Director Koji Morimoto

Morimoto was an animation supervisor for Akira. The story is about a girl who is looking for her runaway cat and bumps into a bunch of kids who show her a “haunted house”. The house is really a location in the Matrix that has serious programming errors. Because of this irregularity in the system, the kids are able to defy physics, so they all play there. The girl looking for her cat gets introduced to this oddity but finds herself caught in the middle when the machines realize that this error needs to be fixed….

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A Detective Story, Director Shinichiro Watanabe

Watanabe created the idea behind Detective Story. The animation style is like an old fifties detective drama. This story tells a tale about a private eye who is searching for Trinity. After following many leads he pinpoints her location and realizes the situation is very different from what he expected. The short climaxes with a battle between the machines, the detective, and Trinity…

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Don’t move, a T-Rex can’t see you as long as you don’t mov-

Matriculated, Director Peter Chung

What if the tables where turned? What if the machines where immersed in an artificial world instead of the humans?

Chung, director of the famous anime Aeon Flux, took this idea and created Matriculated. A team of humans take on the mission to try and convert machines to their side. The protagonist leads a machine to their base and then they try to convert it by showing them what’s inside the human mind. But of course all hell breaks loose when other machines decide to crash the party. The animation style is very similar to Aeon Flux.

Final Thoughts…

The Animatrix is a DVD for serious Matrix fans, and people who like to collect special anime works of art. For most people, a rental would be best, but for hardcore Matrix fans, this is a must buy.

-Q Jets