Appleseed takes place in the 22nd Century, after the non-nuclear Third World War decimates the Earth. While states like Great Britain, France and China have difficulty maintaining order and power, international organizations like the "Sacred Republique of Mumna" and "Poseidon" have been established in the aftermath.
The main characters are Deunan Knute and Briareos Hecatonchires, former SWAT members of the LAPD. They are found in the desolated city and invited to join the prestigious ESWAT (Extra Special Weapons And Tactics) organization in the utopian city of Olympus, the new world's most powerful state. Roughly one half of Olympus's population are bioroids.
The series follows Deunan and Briareos as they protect their new home from enemies, both foreign and domestic.
Originally published in Japan in 1985, Book One Appleseed: The Promethean Challenge was published directly to paperback instead of being serialized, a rarity in the Japanese manga market. This was soon followed by the publication of Book Two, Appleseed: Prometheus Unbound, Book Three Appleseed: The Scales of Prometheus in 1987, and Book Four Appleseed: The Promethean Balance in 1989.
In 1990, Shirow produced the Appleseed Databook, a detailed look into the history, the people, and the technology found in the world of Appleseed. The book includes the short story, "Called Game."
Appleseed Hypernotes was serialized in Comic Gaia, followed by a collected volume in 1996. The Hypernotes consist of a four chapter story followed by technical information about the world, mechs, and equipment much like Appleseed Databook.
Rumors of a possible Volume 5 still persist today, though Shirow had mentioned that he has no plans of pursuing it for the meantime.
English language releases
An English language version of Appleseed Hypernotes was serialized in Dark Horse Comics' Super Manga Blast (issues 25–36). One of the terms for Hypernotes publication stated that Appleseed Hypernotes could not be released in English in collected format. The reason for this is because Shirow was unsatisfied with the work and wanted to fix it before releasing it as a complete book for English readers.
Appleseed ID (short for "Illustration & Data") was released October 10, 2007 by Dark Horse Comics. As a replacement for the discontinued Appleseed Databook, the book includes the short story "Called Game."
A new CGI feature film was released in 2004 entitled Appleseed and directed by Shinji Aramaki. The sequel to this film, Appleseed Ex Machina, was released on October 20, 2007 in Japan with Aramaki again directing and John Woo producing.
Reviews on the manga series have been seen as positive. Manga Review noted that Shirow's works on Appleseed are both cool and functional. Anime.com points out that the manga's storyline does not detract despite the combination of both action and humor.
- Appleseed Information Page. Retrieved on May 13, 2008.
- Appleseed. Retrieved on May 13, 2008.
- Super Manga Blast article. Retrieved on May 13, 2008.
- Official Appleseed Hypernotes TPB. Retrieved on May 13, 2008.
- Official Appleseed ID TPB Page. Retrieved on May 13, 2008.
- Japanese Science Fiction Con Award Nominees Announced. Retrieved on May 13, 2008.
- Manga Review's Appleseed, Vol. 1: The Promethean Challenge. Retrieved on May 13, 2008.
- Anime.com's Appleseed manga review. Retrieved on May 13, 2008.