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Spriggan (1998)

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0:36 | Trailer
An elite superhuman agent must stop a foreign military unit from seizing control of an ancient artifact that holds the key to ultimate power.

Director:

Hirotsugu Kawasaki

Writers:

Yasutaka Itô (script), Hirotsugu Kawasaki (script) | 2 more credits »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Shôtarô Morikubo ... Yu Ominae (voice)
Ryuji Aigase Ryuji Aigase ... Colonel MacDougal (voice)
Takehito Koyasu ... Jean-Jacques Mondo (voice)
Katsumi Suzuki Katsumi Suzuki ... Little Boy (voice)
Ken Shiroyama Ken Shiroyama ... Dr. Meisel (voice)
Sakiko Tamagawa Sakiko Tamagawa ... Margaret (voice)
Kenji Takano Kenji Takano ... Fat Man (voice)
Fumihiko Goto Fumihiko Goto ... Turkish Agent B (voice)
Dai Matsumoto Dai Matsumoto ... Manager (voice)
Hiroyuki Oshida Hiroyuki Oshida ... Guard B (voice)
Ikumi Kimura Ikumi Kimura ... Stewardess (voice)
Katsuhisa Hôki Katsuhisa Hôki ... Turkish Agent A (voice)
Kenichi Sakaguchi Kenichi Sakaguchi ... N.C.O (voice)
Kinryû Arimoto Kinryû Arimoto ... Yamamoto (voice)
Masaaki Yajima Masaaki Yajima ... Narrator (voice)
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Storyline

Yu is a young man who has a past he desperately wants to forget. His present is that he is a superhuman top agent for Arcan, an organization dedicated to protecting ancient artifacts to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands. However, he receives several bloody messages, culminating in the suicide of a friend, telling that Noah would be his death. In response, Yu travels to Turkey to visit the Arcan dig at Mount Arrat, where Noah's Ark is supposed to have rested. Along the way there and at the destination, he learns of forces of his past have returned to stop him and sieze control of the Ark, which turns out to be an alien device of ultimate power. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They were looking for a sign. What they found was a warning.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

5 September 1998 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Spriggan See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,420, 14 October 2001

Gross USA:

$25,824

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$25,824
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Fatman and Little Boy are the names of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. See more »

Goofs

During the fight with Colonel MacDougal Ominae's arm was broken in multiple places and left hanging limp. However, when he was falling with Jean after escaping the Ark he used the broken arm to shoot his grappling hook and hung from it, then after landing was using his 'broken' arm as if it weren't injured at all. See more »

Quotes

Yu Ominae: No! Don't do it Tanaka!
See more »

Crazy Credits

"The Spriggan Ice Cream Social Club" See more »

Alternate Versions

In the original subtitled prints of the film, Dr. Meisel says, "You Americans are so arrogant" in the scene where he's walking with McDougall. On the US DVD, the line was later changed to, "You're the product of arrogant minds." This was changed due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Kill.switch (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Jing Ling
Performed by Saju
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Great production values... pity about the plot.
20 July 2002 | by erebus53See all my reviews

Spriggan is an animé action film of extreme proportion. With production supervised by Katsuhiro Ôtomo (director of Akira), this is not surprising. Our main character is Yu Ominae, a 17 year old special operative, code named Spriggan. The story is one of warring covert government factions as they race to take possession of "Noah's Ark", an ancient artifact with immense power.

All this seems simple enough. Yu is the stereotypical action hero; he catches swords with his bare hands, dispatches "bad guys" without flinching, sustains near mortal injuries and still manages to hurl abuse at his oppressors, and yet, still swerves to avoid hitting innocent pedestrians. Our bad guys include a big guy with body armour and replacement cybernetics with a very, very large gun, a small guy who is fast and also cybernetically enhanced, and a mysterious, small boy.

Spriggan is based on a comic that ran in Shonen Magazine in Japan between 1989 and 1996. As such it has a following in Japan, but in the west (where it was known by the title "Striker") it has very few fans, as distribution of Japanese manga and animé is only now beginning to pick up.

As far as production values are concerned, Spriggan is a showcase of modern cinematic animé. Huge rotoscoped panoramas form gorgeous backdrops for scenes such as a car chase through the streets of Turkey and you feel a true sense of immersion in flurries of mountaintop snow. What little CG there is, is integrated fluidly and adds to the film, unlike in many other productions where it may distract the viewer. The score is brilliant and the 5.1 surround mix caught me off guard. A couple of times I caught myself turning to see if there was someone behind me.

I am generally a fan of subtitled animé, so I watched it in this form first. It is interesting to note that in most animé the character animation is done before the voices are added. However, in this production (as it was a cinema release), the voices for the Japanese tracks were recorded first and then the animation was made around those tracks, much in the same way Disney movies are made. Now this may bode poorly for the English dub, as the mouths instead of flapping open and closed are actually forming the shapes of words, yet great care and attention has been put into the English dub. In places the English track is a lot more plausible than the Japanese... it makes more sense that folks at the Pentagon sound like Americans. Had I my way I would change languages tracks part way through so that the English stuff is in English and the scenes set in Japan were in Japanese (more like in Blood: The Last Vampire) but that is just me being finicky. (If you get a chance to see the DVD you may want to check out the ADR team's commentary.)

I feel that Spriggan is a film that has used mythology from other cultures and Christianity (in much the same way as Neon Genesis: Evangelion) to make the plot seem more interesting and arcane to a Japanese audience. The word Spriggan describes a faerie from Cornish mythology, with an ugly visage, large head and small body, and a penchant for stealing babies and replacing them. This draws some symbolic similarities to the main character as he is a character of power in a small body who was "adopted" by his organisation at a young age. I don't know how readily Americans will receive this film, as it portrays the American government in a bad light and says blatantly that the Christian Bible is wrong.

Spriggan has a running time of 90 minutes. The first 60 of those play pretty much as a stereotypical action/adventure flick, but at about 60 minutes it starts getting weird. All of a sudden the plot moves from high action to metaphysical stuff and that may leave the viewer behind or feeling a little disjointed. During this section are some pretty cool visuals but to my mind the plot falls flat on its face. It seems that the film has fallen into the old animé trap of freaky villains and blood-spattered heroes yelling at each other for a bit, having their final confrontation, barely tying up the loose ends of the plot and then the bad guy threatens that there will be a sequel.

In overview, I'd say that this is a technical film enthusiast's dream, not for kids, a good film for action buffs and a poor one for people who like good drama. So, to quote Douglas Adams: "Ten out of ten for style, but minus several million for good thinking".


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