Although one computer-generated robot film was already released this year, “Vexille” is more thoughtful and exciting than “Appleseed: Ex Machina.” Despite the slow pace of the film, I loved watching this new prediction of an apocalyptic future of Japan.
At first, the film seems to go in the same direction as “Appleseed: Ex Machina,” with intense robot battles and fast action. However, this movie decides to take a much different approach–this time, the robot force is investigating the use of cyborg technology in Japan.
According to the film, Japan isolated itself from the world in the year 2067. The entire island was secluded, and no foreigners could come in or out of the area. In fact, the movie shows that there is a flashing electronic security network called R.A.C.E. between Japan and the rest of the world.
The film centers around Vexille, a member of S.W.O.R.D., which is a military group that specializes in fighting in robot suits. Ten years later, her husband, Leon, found a messenger in San Pedro, California, who said that Maria needed him, and that Daiwa Industries is meeting at Mt. Fila on Christmas Day to discuss admission of their cyborg technology. Saito of Daiwa Industries escaped on an airplane. Although Vexille hung on to his leg, Saito chopped the leg off!
Later, some scientists explained that this was actually a cyborg leg, which is illegal under the United Nations restrictions. Eventually, the head of S.W.O.R.D. operations decides to act without United States authorization to investigate the nation of Japan.
Unfortunately, the mission doesn’t go well. Leon’s robot suit gets hit by a rocket, and Vexille’s other members are killed. Vexille wakes up in a shocking new world of Japan. Tokyo has turned into a shantytown.
Vexille also meets Maria, who was Leon’s ex-girlfriend in Japan. Maria was a U.N. investigator in Japan, but after regulations by Daiwa, Maria could not move out of Japan. Leon left for the United States, but Maria explains that Daiwa also did something else to Japan–they turned all the people into cyborgs.
According to Maria, after Daiwa Industries took governmental control over Japan, they gave all the people vaccinations. Unfortunately, these vaccinations were special chemicals that turned all their genes into robotic parts. While they are all human, when their eyes turn black, they will all turn into empty cyborgs who are forced to work for Daiwa.
And Japan is a wasteland. That’s right, after Daiwa took over, they used up its natural resources. Now it has no mountains or rivers or greenery–it is all flat. This is sure one heck of a message to convert to environment-friendly energy sources, but it works very well. The depiction is incredible–I really loved the desolate world of Japan, with desert expanses and huge robotic worms made of scrap metal.
Vexille is a brilliant film from start to finish. The Japanese voices are incredibly compelling, and the computer-generated graphics are just as awesome. I saw many complaints that the graphics are not as good as, say, “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.” However, the director chose a style that used more cell-shaded graphics, to make it somewhat more cartoony. The images were probably rendered in this way to offer a sense of comic relief from the dark apocalyptic story.
But it’s clear that “Vexille” offers excellent images and a brilliant story that paints a desolate future for Japan. Let’s just hope that Japan doesn’t get this messed up 60 or 70 years from now.
Images courtesy of seaslugteam.com