Armitage III (1994)

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Released 18-Sep-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Notes-Thoughts on Armitage III; Director & Character Designer
Biographies-Crew-Chiaki Konaka; Hiroyuki Ochi
Trailer-Armitage: Dual-Matrix; Berserk; Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
Theatrical Trailer
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1994
Running Time 92:24 (Case: 95)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Takuya Sato
Gaga Communications
Madman Entertainment
Starring Elizabeth Berkley
Kiefer Sutherland
Dan Woren
Wanda Nowicki
Mike Reynolds
Bryan Cranston
Stephen Apostolina
Barry Stigler
Case Click
RPI $29.95 Music Hiroyuki Namba

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    Armitage III: Poly-Matrix is an animated feature about a group that is hunting down and destroying a new generation of robots that are living among the general population on Mars.

    In the year 2179, Mars has been heavily populated by both humans and a second generation of robots that are employed in the jobs that nobody wants. As the population on Mars has risen, a vocal segment of the population has formed against this group of robots. When Ross Sylibus, a police detective from Earth, arrives on Mars, a high profile murder makes it clear that a new generation of robots are also on the planet. These new robots, known as thirds, have infiltrated the general Martian population and are almost impossible to distinguish from humans. Ross teams up with his new partner Armitage who is also a third, and they must discover why the third types were created and why a group is specifically targeting them.

    This feature was created by cutting together a four part Japanese series known as Armitage III - The Complete OVA. These cuts removed approximately 40 minutes of footage and consequently Armitage III: Poly-Matrix has slight jumps in the plot and occasionally feels disjointed. Despite this problem, Poly-Matrix is still quite easy to follow and is enjoyable but some fans would undoubtedly prefer the complete series that this feature is taken from.

    Armitage Dual Matrix, released in 2002, is a sequel to this film and has already been released on DVD locally.

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Transfer Quality


    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and it is not 16x9 enhanced. This is very close to the original aspect ratio that Poly-Matrix was presented at but it was created by matting Armitage III - The Complete OVA, which itself has an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The matting performed for Poly-Matrix was presumably done to give the program a more theatrical feel.

    The image is quite sharp throughout the transfer and is always able to reveal the full detail of the original animation. During a single shot at 2:48 the image is significantly softer but this seems to have been done intentionally to help create the illusion of fog. During the numerous dark scenes, excellent levels of shadow detail may be seen.

    The colours displayed during the transfer were always consistently bright and well saturated and the detailed shading in the animation is reproduced accurately.

    During a single shot at 18:06 a small number of minor MPEG artefacts may be seen which are slightly disruptive. Some slight instances of aliasing may be seen at 4:07 and 29:42 but due to their short duration these are only minimally annoying. A number of minor film artefacts may be seen during the transfer. Some examples of these artefacts may be seen at 6:01, 8:11, 10:54, 13:06 and 16:47.

    During the transfer, obvious telecine wobble may be seen at a number of different points. Examples of this wobble may be seen at 0:07, 11:25, 13:22, 19:13 and 21:29 and despite their short duration they are moderately distracting.

    A small number of obvious NTSC to PAL frame rate conversion artefacts may be seen during the high paced scenes at 18:06, 31:59, 59:27, 61:41 and 65:18. These artefacts are only obvious for a short period of time and are only slightly annoying.

    A single set of yellow English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles is provided on the disc, I extensively sampled this stream and found it to be consistently accurate.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    English Dolby Digital 384 kbps 5.1 and English Dolby Digital 224 kbps 2.0 soundtracks are provided on the disc. As Poly-Matrix was edited primarily for the US market only English soundtracks were created for the feature.

    The dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times. Kiefer Sutherland and Elizabeth Berkley voice the two lead roles and I found that they did not really suit the characters, but other viewers may enjoy their performances.

    As this is an animated feature there are the expected obvious problems with audio sync for each soundtrack. A single dropout occurs at 28:13 during the Dolby Digital 2.0 track which is minimally distracting. Three small clicks may be heard at 32:47, 37:08 and 80:17 on both audio tracks but these are quite small and are not disruptive.

    The impressive atmospheric score by Hiroyuki Namba makes its presence felt throughout the transfer and always suits the on-screen action.

    The surround channels are used extensively throughout the transfer for the score to create an enveloping soundfield. The surround channels are also used for numerous effects but these have little to no directionality. From the opening credits the LFE channel is used extensively throughout the transfer to support both the score and numerous effects such as explosions.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The animated menu is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

Notes: Chiaki Konaka

    This is a short four-page collection of notes about the film's screenplay writer Chiaki Konaka. In addition to Armitage III he was also a writer for Lain and a chief writer for Bubblegum Crisis.

Notes: Hiroyuki Ochi

    This is a four-page profile for director and character designer Hiroyuki Ochi who has worked in the Japanese animation industry for a number of years.

Original Trailer (1:30)

    This trailer is presented with an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and it is not 16x9 enhanced.

Trailer: Armitage Dual Matrix (1:50)

    This trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a musical Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Trailer: Berserk (2:03)

    This trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Trailer: Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust (1:54)

    This trailer is presented with an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and it is not 16x9 enhanced.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    As the only real differences between the R1 and R4 versions is the inclusion of Japanese subtitles I would have no preference for either release of Poly-Matrix.


    Armitage III: Poly-Matrix is an enjoyable if occasionally disjointed feature that should be enjoyed by most viewers, but if you find this entertaining you should consider checking out the R1 Complete OVA.

    The video transfer shows a number of minor artefacts but these are never significantly distracting.

    The surround audio track is of high quality but some people may find the voice acting by the main characters to be slightly annoying.

    The minimal extras provide only a small amount of additional information regarding the feature.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Anthony Kable (read my bio)
Saturday, May 17, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 2109, using S-Video output
DisplaySony KP-E41SN11. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationFront left/right: ME75b; Center: DA50ES; rear left/right: DA50ES; subwoofer: NAD 2600 (Bridged)
SpeakersFront left/right: VAF DC-X; Center: VAF DC-6; rear left/right: VAF DC-7; subwoofer: Custom NHT-1259

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