Directed by: Fumihiko Sori | 109 minutes | action, animation, science fiction | Actors: Meisa Kuroki, Shosuke Tanihara, Yasuko Matsuyuki, Tetsuya Kakihara, Toshiyuki Morikawa, Akio Ôtsuka, Romi Pak, Takahiro Sakurai
In the visually stunning “Vexille”, Sword, an elite commando team, is sent to infiltrate Japan. The country has been cut off from the rest of the world for a decade in 2077, after the United Nations passed a motion banning the country from continuing to manufacture androids. Japan, under pressure from multinational Daiwa Heavy Industries, where robots are made, then decides to leave the UN and isolate itself from the rest of the world. An electromagnetic shield ensures that even satellites cannot penetrate the land, so the last images of Tokyo date back a decade. Communication is no longer possible: both the country incoming and outgoing messages are filtered.
Vexille is the name of the heroine, one of the UN agents, who, together with her boyfriend Leon, succeeds in penetrating the protected land and in search of the forbidden robot technology. What she finds there exceeds her expectations (but unfortunately not those of the viewer, who already sees a thing or two coming). She ends up with Maria, leader of a rebel group, who wants to take on the powerful Daiwa. Vexille decides to help them with that. “Vexille” houses quite a few characters, but except for Leon, Maria and Vexille, none of the characters have any value. They are exchangeable. Because the viewer lacks background information about the characters and not all questions are answered, the viewer does not even really succeed in establishing a connection with the three main characters. For example, the history between Maria and Leon, which took place ten years before, is briefly touched upon, but the viewer cannot really pinpoint where and why things went wrong. The heroic Maria is an interesting character, but unfortunately remains one-dimensional, not to mention Leon altogether. The flashbacks that are shown are meaningless or insufficiently explained.
Director and scriptwriter Fumihiko Sori, who was a producer on the refined “Appleseed”, mainly focused on the action in “Vexille”. The world he created offers room for more, as does the stunning visual style. Unfortunately, he doesn’t get everything out of it. The combination of 2-D and 3-D works great in “Vexille” and the film bodes well for the future of anime in that regard.
The strongest points of the film are without a doubt the action scenes, supported by loud music by Paul Oakenfold, which last the most. An example of this is the scorching scene where Vexille, Maria and the rest of the rebel group tear through a desert setting to stay ahead of the terrifying JAGS. The JAGS are like worms: tube-like, all-devouring monsters, made of residual metal. Very beautiful and spectacular. Unfortunately Sori has finished with a Jantje van Leiden in terms of plot and character development, this is simply insufficient. The dialogues are meaningless and the political aspect is hardly elaborated. The beautiful images make “Vexille” worthwhile and you will enjoy yourself, but in general you can say that “Vexille” gets stuck in good intentions.