Life's Littlest Imperfections

Interfering imperfection and fearing perfection--an in-depth look into the world of Appleseed.

by Aaron H. Bynum

Just as there are positive effects of dreaming for a future in which worries and anxieties are not as prevalent as they are in the present, so are there disadvantageous points of difference in having ambition for perfection. As can be found in a variety of media formats, the Appleseed franchise provides an interesting explanation of the deadly nature of the overly ambitious, personally and publicly (i.e. socially). Appleseed is not a simplistic view or an observation of a futuristic world blossoming with technology and intelligence, but rather a revelation of the dangers of personal or public accomplishment in certain fields of interest. The perfection of such interests, as I understand it, is thusly referred to as an "utopian" nature.

Referencing the late eighties anime incarnation of Appleseed for the sake of this article, one will nevertheless find that Utopia is understood and recognized to plague four fields of interest, all four fields being personally identifiable yet universally applicable. Here, there is the analysis of the Utopia of Self, Emotion, Knowledge, and of Environment, four pieces of human existence that unless managed properly have the potential to inactivate human will.


The story of the Appleseed anime takes place in the utopian city of Olympus, a metropolis with well-managed workplaces, a burgeoning social atmosphere, and much more. Granted, this futuristic city has all of the technological amenities necessary for the average person to live in peace, yet crime and terrorism still serve as a balancing point for Olympus' public servants, perhaps serving the necessary function of grounding those public servants firmly to the reality that they seek to preserve. Enter the main characters Deunan and Briareos, two law enforcement officers whom although being highly intelligent and physically capable to serve Olympus, they are just as susceptible to the dangers of the utopian society as any other citizen. Deunan is a tough young woman who seeks indefinite hope and adventure, while Briareos, cyborg, partner and dear friend of Deunan, is a relatively dynamic person when it comes to acting on the side of justice. Without a doubt, Olympus is safer because of the efforts of Deunan, Briareos and their comrades, yet seeing that eighty percent of the population consists of genetically engineered entities known as bioroids, and that the city is run by an all-purpose super-computer known as Gaia, one is lead to wonder whether or not the justice that these public servants seek to protect is humane, and whether the reasoning of their defense is, inconceivably, not very human.


Appleseed's recognition of the Utopia of Self can be simply defined as the search of personal glory. In a city as magnificent as Olympus, it becomes clear that a lack of conflict, or rather, a lack of concern for diversity fuels personal aspirations. Understandably, the goal of any individual wishing to make a difference in the world is also the goal of an individual so corrupt as to generously neglect all that is true and just for that which is merely superfluous. This is the most personal puzzle piece of societal perfection, wherein one has the potential to become so engaged in his or her own achievements that it suddenly becomes painful to divert any attention to anything perceived as less rewarding. The Utopia of Self is a powerful regulator of thought and action, and as is the case with each utopian reference analyzed here, it has certain effectiveness when mapped out with the law of causality.

The problem of relying too much on the Self and the problem of distinguishing the Self as the only person of significance is the fact that such a distinction leaves loved ones behind. Simply stated, when a person hopes to find glory and gratitude in the public eye, there is a great chance that those more credible for one's integrity will be left without concern. Neglecting friends and family is, physically, an unbearable notion; however, to do so consciously is even more reckless. The Utopia of Self is self-appreciation and self-concern so far influential as to refuse to remember all that is truly important, significant and meaningful to the Self. Thus this utopia arises in the absence of patience and, subsequently, gratefulness.


The Utopia of Emotion is centered on respect and the sentiments that one feels and understands when one aids another out of kindness and compassion, with the aid not necessarily being obligatory in nature. Working hand in hand with personal recognition is emotional security; that is, the absolute calmest of mindsets. The Utopia of Emotion is sought when an individual weathers the ordinary to become extraordinary; however, in doing so loses the altruistic foundation of his act of generosity. In the ageless Appleseed anime, Briareos files for a departmental transfer after vowing to help Deunan to catch a certain terrorist because a fellow ESWAT team member was killed. Thankfully unselfish in nature, Briareos lends aid to a cause well known to be atypical and dangerous. His gesture to help Deunan can be interpreted in a number of ways, but what is most important is the fact that he does not allow such a dynamic act of consideration to consume his ego. His character is capable of maintaining a humanistic outlook on his duty and his personal life, resisting the menacing trap that often results of an excess religiosity of Emotion.

The disadvantage in provoking respect of a certain manner is that over-anxiousness precedes egoism. Understandably proof of appreciation, the Utopia of Emotion nevertheless has the ability to evolve into a senseless and ambitious search for a high on admiration.


The Utopia of Knowledge regards the distribution of and the maintenance of information, and the effects of such a control of information on the general mentality of any one individual. Knowledge is the result of patient experience by nature, and it is by far the most sensitive of utopia's mentioned here, for if tampered with, it can leave a trail of incalculable desolation. This point becomes evident in Appleseed when a terrorist named Sebastian detonates explosives at a key bioroid information facility in Olympus, and data is lost. Sebastian's goal is to eradicate bioroid life forms, because artificial life is becoming more able and mindful of their existence than existential life forms (i.e. humans), and interestingly, his act of disrupting the flow of knowledge and information allows him the chance to control the judgment of his peers. This is because the overindulgence of knowledge and/or the denying of knowledge to others are the manipulation of truth, for positive or negative effect.

The effects of placing one's mistrust in, or of one's misuse of the Utopia of Knowledge --the goal of achieving the perfected balance of reality and ideology-- is that the usurpation of information is denying wisdom and help to those who need it. Appleseed suggests that through supplementary character motives (such as suicide and the manipulation of memories) that if this intellectual utopia is used for other, truth-managing purposes, it will result in the denial of the ability to learn for one group or individual.

The Utopia of Environment involves the greater societal accomplishment of, or ambition to create a workplace, natural world, and/or judicial structure that are ideal. While it is imperative to ensure the security and well being of any local citizenry, it is also important to recognize the limitations of such security. This particular utopian thought involves the replacement of all processes of difficulty with those that are effortless; it is the pretending of a relationship, a social system, or of a circumstance to be perfect which often includes the neglect of said relationship's, social system's, or circumstance's imperfections.


Calon, an ESWAT member and friend of Deunan and Briareos, suffered the loss of his wife prior to Appleseed, wherein she had commit suicide. The environment of Olympus was so superficially idyllic that it was "suffocating", to the point where the woman simply did not feel alive, much less an existential creature. Calon tells Deunan that, "living here, there are no hardships, no inconveniences", and furthermore, "anything can be gotten with the slightest effort... and there's no longer any competition. For anything". The purpose of the man's argument is to point out the fact that when one person or group of persons' understanding of the Utopia of Environment goes awry, conscious beings soon deny themselves the right to make mistakes. For we all know that knowledge and wisdom arrive through experience and example, which is oft wrought by challenges, undertaken correctly or mistakenly. The Utopia of Environment may be a more global perspective of societal improvement, but its effects are nevertheless influencing every single individual of said society.

It is true that the seeds of the future were initially planted in the distant past; however, it is the natural ambition, emotional strength, intellectual aptitude, and societal integrity of the present that provides nutrients to said seeds of the future.

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