Anime Reviews Netflix Reviews

Anime Review: Spriggan (2022) by Hiroshi Kobayashi

"You dare insult my beautiful body?"

Based on the manga series written by Hiroshi Takashige and illustrated by Ryoji Minagawa, “” is another franchise relaunch by Netflix, as it was first adapted into an anime film by in 1998. 

The story takes place during the last years of the Cold War, when a number of mysterious artifacts, usually associated with some ancient civilization, are discovered throughout the world. The artifacts are called OOPart and a secret war is ranging among forces from around the world, including Americans and Nazis, who target ARCAM Corporation, an organization that placed itself as the guardians of the OOPArts in order to prevent them from being used as weapons. Yu Ominae, a 16-year-old high school student who doubles as a super soldier, is in the forefront of ARCAM, tasked with finding and securing the objects, among both allies and foes. His adventures bring him into various locations, including Japan, Turkey, Egypt, mysterious forests and mythical islands. 

The series follows the classic pattern of the “Villain of the Week”, with Spriggan going to another location for each 45-50 minute episode, facing a different set of enemies from different countries, and with different allies, some of which, however, recur throughout. As such, and since the first season includes just 6 episodes, the focus is on action in the usual, dumbed-down fashion Netflix has gotten us used to. At the same time, there are some minor elements that allow for some context here, with the fact that Spriggan is actually a student coming to the fore a number of times, while his facing of former teachers and colleagues on occasion adds an element of drama that is quite welcome. Of course, as the characters come and go, creating some sort of connection with them is out of the question, but at least allows the protagonist to be a bit more interesting than usual. 

Shuhei Handa's character design is among the best assets of the series, with the protagonist looking really appealing in his youthfulness, and the various villains occasionally standing significantly out, with the giant in the pyramids and the two former teachers being the most memorable. The female characters follow a more humorous approach, both in design and overall behavior, with the exception of an officer, but in general, work quite well for the narrative. The locations are also interesting, with the ancient civilization and folklore influences being well embedded in the series, even if in an almost completely uneducated and inaccurate approach. 

The action scenes is where the title truly thrives, with the one-on-ones and the grand scale battles being quite brutal in their presentation, and the combination with CGI working well on most occasions. Some glitches in the animation do exist, though, with the movement of some characters looking almost absurd on occasion, as with, once more, one of Spriggan's former teachers, while the CGI do not work that well in that regard. Particularly in a comparison with some other titles, as in the case of “Fire Force”, “Spriggan” looks painfully worse. 

“Spriggan” has its merits, and for those who look for shonen anime that focus on action, and do not like CGI-only titles, the series has its merits as it is quite easy to binge in that regard. Considering, though, the plethora of similar titles in the anime industry and how much better a number of them are, it becomes evident that “Spriggan” has not that much to offer. 

About the author

Panos Kotzathanasis

My name is Panos Kotzathanasis and I am Greek. Being a fan of Asian cinema and especially of Chinese kung fu and Japanese samurai movies since I was a little kid, I cultivated that love during my adolescence, to extend to the whole of SE Asia.

Starting from my own blog in Greek, I then moved on to write for some of the major publications in Greece, and in a number of websites dealing with (Asian) cinema, such as Taste of Cinema, Hancinema, EasternKicks, Chinese Policy Institute, and of course, Asian Movie Pulse. in which I still continue to contribute.

In the beginning of 2017, I launched my own website, Asian Film Vault, which I merged in 2018 with Asian Movie Pulse, creating the most complete website about the Asian movie industry, as it deals with almost every country from East and South Asia, and definitely all genres.

You can follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

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