They’re the best Anime that 2002 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of eX-Driver the Movie, Turn A Gundam II Movie: Moonlight Butterfly, Armitage III: Dual-Matrix, and more!
5: eX-Driver the Movie
Japanese: エクスドライバー the Movie
MAL Score: 6.61
After winning domestic preliminary round, Lisa, Lorna, and Soichi advance to ex-Driver world race competition held in Los Angeles as representative team from Japan. Like a bad omen, they encountered a reckless AI car the first night they arrived at Los Angeles. Although they successfully stopped the car, the local police department is not very happy about that and insists to examine their car overnight.
However, the problem did not stop just there. The daughter of the United States team`s sponsor, Angela, has gone missing. Lorna realized that Angela was on the reckless AI car before. Soichi who guessed that Angel could be in danger then start looking for her. But Soichi got captured by a mysterious man, and he shocked to find Angela is also there.
During the confinement inside a warehouse, Soichi finds out that apparently there is a connection between the series of incident and illegal gambling on the ex-Driver world race competition. Now Soichi must escape from the warehouse with Angela…
The movie follows the three leads from the series as they enter and win a domestic preliminary round and advance to the eX-Driver world race competition held in Los Angeles as a representative team from Japan. Not long after arriving in LA, an AI car goes haywire, setting off a chain of events that leads out main trio into a conspiracy involving the race competition and some of the people involved with it.
If my reaction to the series was lukewarm at best, the movie doesn’t do much to change that. We don’t even get to see that many differences between how Japan and America deal with how they handle their AI cars, which would have made for some good world building and could have been a neat culture shock for the three main characters, and would have made the movie stand out more by giving it some personality.
Like I mentioned earlier, the animation is a step up from the series, but unfortunately it still has some of the early 2000s CGI used for the cars. To be fair, it’s not the worst CGI that I’ve seen from the era, and is a bit better than the series, but it might turn some people off who aren’t use to seeing older CGI.
But that’s not all, because on the same day that the movie was released, a short called “eX-Driver: Nina & Rei – Danger Zone”, which was featured as a bonus on the same DVD as the movie, and is a prequel to the series featuring two minor characters, who are the top eX-Driver team.
I’m going to include this as part of my review for the movie because I still want to talk about it, but I don’t think I can justify a whole review for it, especially since it’s only 24 minutes long, and doing a stand alone review with a minimum character/word limit would be stretching it out to the breaking point.
The plot focuses on a mysterious mini-AI car that terrorizes the city, and it’s up to Nina and Rei to stop it, all while having to deal with something or someone from the eX-Driver’s past.
Out of the entire series, this is the most entertaining entry. The whole thing felt like an homage to an 80s or 90s buddy cop action movie, with the angry police chief cliche and everything. The villain for this special was also pretty fun, and I’m not going to spoil it.
This OVA wasn’t anything special, but compared to the rest of the series, it at least feels like there was an attempt made to make something at least fun, even if it ended up being to late into the series for someone to care about it outside of the dedicated fans or people who like to check out everything.
If anything, you could probably watch this without knowing anything about the rest of the series, and you would have to only spend 24 minutes at most to watch it.
I found the art style a bit lackluster and a little outdated i n the series, but the movie seems to be a bit more on par for the era in which it was released. The inconsistencies in the series’ art is largely gone and the movie is much cleaner in both action and non-action scenes.
The sound remains truly stellar. The cars sound proper, that is to say a Europa sounds like a Europa and different from the Stratos. When the car shifts, the sounds changes properly and the voice acting (English dub) is better than many, even it’s predecessor.
While there wasn’t enough time to fully develop the story line and characters out in the series, the movie shows us what a longer show might have treated us to. The story line is not stellar by any means, but it was quite enjoyable. Whereas the original series felt like the action got old quick, the movie presented new challenges and situation. The plot was also decent and felt a bit more cohesive.
The same thing happens with the characters. With Lorna, Lisa and Sōichi now a known quantity, the movie shines a bit more in displaying their relationship as a team. It is now fully clear that Sōichi and Lisa are attracted to each other and as I suggested in my review of the series, they are able to use that budding love interest to lead to some fun interactions between them and other characters. It made for a much more enjoyable character set.
Even the characters outside the main three are better thought out and developed in the movie, which overall raises the score.
The most frustrating part of this series is its premature end. Worth a watch, especially if you like cars. If you were disappointed by potential in the series that was not fully realized, it is all a little bit more polished in the movie. It makes me little bit sad that there never got to be a longer run of this concept.
4: Turn A Gundam II Movie: Moonlight Butterfly
English: Gundam II: Moonlight Butterfly
Japanese: 劇場版 ガンダムII 月光蝶
MAL Score: 6.64
The movie retelling of the final half of the Turn A Gundam series.
3: Armitage III: Dual-Matrix
Japanese: アミテージ ザ サード DUAL-MATRIX
MAL Score: 6.85
A few years after they first met, Naomi Armitage and Ross Syllabus have started a family. Despite their normal lives, they must keep their identities a secret because many people believe that Robots do not deserve equal status with humans. Ross has an opportunity to abolish these ideas on Earth through a vote, but organizations in the shadows are working so that it doesn’t happen.
The story itself is a complete reversal of the original/Polymatrix. Now, Earth (or at least a part of it) wants the Third reproduction capabilities, when the original the Earth wanted all Thirds destroyed BECAUSE of those abilities. Add in the go-nowhere/excuse subplot of the Robot Rights bill simply to get Ross and Yoko on Earth, and you get a clunky, non-cohesive story. Not to mention Yoko’s eidetic memory.
The art, to be fair, is decent, but lacks the punch of the original as well. This version loses on the shading, favoring instead somewhat brighter colors. So decent, but not the best.
Going full cyber instead of cyberpunk, the music reflects the nature of the film; muted, letting the action and interaction speak for itself. The voices are well done, for the most part fitting the characters perfectly.
To be honest, the only reason this scores so high is because they didn’t completely lose the elements of Ross and Naomi from the first film; they managed to retain their fighting skills, even if there are some asspulls.
In the end, i didn’t enjoy this film; while okay or average, as a followup to the original it falls completely flat. This movie does not harmonize with the first at all, ignoring the tightly done story of the first and rewriting the world.
With a futuristic theme and a lot of sci-fi Armitage III Dual Matrix is a must for those who like science fiction and robots. You’ll get the classic Matrix style action, high tech battles and a very interesting environment.
Though a few details are left shrouded in mystery, a lot of character development does go on, making it a worth-while movie.
It does have the classic and often overused theme of a robot becoming very much like a human, but it’s not sappy about it in the least. While some search for the logic that explains an event proving that humanity, which is not the common "I have feelings too" claim but a different kind of event, others can’t help it but to be amazed by the mystery. To say anything else would spoil it, so just watch it for yourself and enjoy a great sci-fi movie.
The story in this movie focuses more on the heroine Naomi. It focuses on the 2 sides of her; One that she is a Third type fighting machine and the second is that she is a loving mother who will risk her life to save her child from any danger she faces. The relationship with Naomi and Yoki is very hearfelt and you can clearly see that she cares for her own daughter, even if Naomi is a robot. Ross is still good but he has little to do in this movie and he’s only useful in the last hours of the movie where he is protecting Yoki from a bunch of Thirds prototype robots that love to kill and for some reason, they can’t stop laughing. The villain in this movie was boring as shit here and he’s there to be an evil stereotype guy with no purpose whatsoever. Even the side-characters are as boring as ever in this movie and have barely to do in the story, minus that clown looking guy that helps Armitage (forgot the name).
The animation is improved in this movie for the better or worst. For the good about this animation is that it looks more slick and stylish than the first and the colors are greatly improved. For the bad part is that the animation company AIC had a low budget for this project and they used incredibly cheap CG animation that looks terrible and doesn’t even fit with the 2D art style but I can’t blame them. The English voice-acting is improved tremendously and Juliette Lewis performance as Naomi Armitage is badass, cool and most of all, heartwarming and she did a bang job at her role. Hank Wilspank’s performance as Ross is a greater improvement over Sutherland’s and while it isn’t perfect, at least he gives more energy to his role than what Sutherland did in the first movie.
While not as good as the original, Dual Matrix offers enough depth and charm that it hardly matters if the sequel is better or not. If you’re a fan of the OVAS or the movie, then I recommend this to you but don’t expect this to be the perfect sequel that makes the original look bad cause it’s not. It’s only a solid and fun movie.
2: Doraemon: The Day When I Was Born
Japanese: ドラえもん ぼくの生まれた日
MAL Score: 7.02
No synopsis information has been added to this title. Help improve our database by adding a synopsis here.
1: Digimon Tamers: Bousou Digimon Tokkyuu
English: Digimon Tamers: Runaway Locomon
Japanese: デジモンテイマーズ 暴走デジモン特急
MAL Score: 7.06
Locomon, a train digimon, has suddenly appeared in the real world. All the tamers scramble to stop the train before it reaches its final destination: the portal into the Digital world.
There’s not much a of deep storyline, it’s basically just about stopping Locomon. However, that doesn’t mean that it ends there. We get slowly uncovering mystery of how and why Locomon got into the real world and what it wants . Not even the fight against it is straight forward or plain and it’s full of surprises. The only problem I had with story is that it’s a little cliche and unoriginal at the beginning.
I don’t see anything wrong with art. It’s the same as Tamers had and that was over average.
Sound wasn’t different from Tamers either, however, the inserted song is truly a gem and even though it may seem random at first glance, it truly belongs there and couldn’t imagine it without it. Not to mention that it’s a tearjerker.
This was already one of the best things in Tamers and this film is like a cherry on top. There isn’t much character development but we get more information regarding Ruki’s past and her emotions.
I truly love this film because it does Tamers justice. Unlike a few other Digimon films, this has every right to belong to the Tamers season. The action scenes were very good and I also really liked the introduction and how every tamer saw Locomon and got to him.
This is a must watch for everyone who likes Tamers season and Ruki. Since every tamer makes an appearance, everyone can find the characters they like in this film.
That was the first disappointing thing about this, I expected a movie, that at least would take longer then a hour, but then I got this.
Then the story, it’s a fun idea, but not to make a special thing, like a movie for it. This is something to do in the series. Anyway, it’s a nice story, but that’s it, I love Digimon, it’s one of my favorite show, so is Digimon Tame…rs, where this movie is from. But the whole storyline is too childish, some things don’t work out either, there are also dialogue’s that make no sense at all.
The art is like it’s supposed to be, the animation is the same like in the series, nothing new or improved. The characters are still the same, we get some new flashbacks about Ruki when she’s possesed. Sound’s good.
Although it’s short, and the storyline is simple and childish, it’s worth watching if you’re a Digimon fan. Guilmon makes it extra enjoyable like always of course.
If you have seen the anime, you will know that this “movie” does not make any sense, because it is impossible to put it in the timeline.
It’s Bandai saying GIVE ME MONEY!
And basically that’s It, Bandai trying to get more money, the only redeemable thing is that they talk about the relationship between Ruki and his father.
Si has visto el anime, sabrás que esta “película” no tiene ningún sentido, porque es imposible meterla en la línea de tiempo.
Es Bandai diciendo ¡DADME DINERO!
Y básicamente eso, Bandai intentando sacar más dinero, lo único rescatable es que se habla sobre la relación entre Ruki y su padre.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Digimon Tamers: Bousou Digimon Tokkyuu
2. Doraemon: The Day When I Was Born
3. Armitage III: Dual-Matrix
4. Turn A Gundam II Movie: Moonlight Butterfly
5. eX-Driver the Movie