What every Animatrix brief brings to the world of The Matrix

The Matrix Resurrections, Lana Wachowski’s return to the universe of the Matrix almost 18 years since the conclusion of the original trilogy, returned to streaming on HBO Max this week following its premiere final December.

Again in 2003, the Wachowskis created what stays to today one of the crucial formidable multimedia storytelling tasks tried in mainstream cinema: an interconnected universe of comedian books, video video games, and anime designed to be launched and watched inside and after the six-month launch window between 2003’s The Matrix Reloaded and 2003’s The Matrix Revolutions.

Whereas sure titles, particularly the 2003 video game Enter the Matrix and the 2005 MMO The Matrix On-line, have both turn into tougher to search out or discontinued outright — thus rendering it impossible to expertise the unique story because it was supposed — the 2003 anime anthology The Animatrix stays each broadly obtainable (streaming on HBO Max) and extremely acclaimed by each followers of the franchise and animation lovers alike. Produced by the Wachowskis and boasting the inimitable skills of administrators similar to Mahiro Maeda, Shinichirō Watanabe, Yoshiaki Kawajiri, and extra, The Animatrix reigns supreme because the platonic excellent of what one would need out of one other franchise anthology tie-in of its ilk.

In honor of the arrival of the most recent Matrix entry on streaming, let’s have a look again on one of many enduring cornerstones of the Matrix multimedia mission and break down how every brief ties into the bigger mythos of the collection and what they contribute to the universe as an entire.


Ultimate Flight of the Osiris

Two blindfolded fighters sparing in a dojo in Final Flight of the Osiris. Picture: Sq. Photos/Warner Bros. Residence Leisure

What it’s: Directed by visible results animator Andy Jones (Avatar) and produced by Sq. Photos, Ultimate Flight of the Osiris depicts the invention of a large Machine military by a resistance hovercraft crew and their last-ditch effort to warn the human metropolis of Zion of its imminent assault.

The way it pertains to the unique Matrix: Ultimate Flight of the Osiris is a direct prequel to 2003’s The Matrix Reloaded and the 2003 online game Enter the Matrix, providing particulars pertaining to an essential occasion that transpires between the occasions of the unique Matrix movie and its cinematic sequels.

What it provides to the Matrix: Extra cool, horny dojo fights; extra terrifying mechanical squid monsters; and extra spectacular acrobatics and parkour, rendered in the identical uncanny valley-adjacent animation model of 2001’s Ultimate Fantasy: The Spirits Inside.

The Second Renaissance (Half I and II)

Two soldiers in hazmat suits standing next to a dying tree, a ray of sunshine shining through the clouds in the distance in The Second Renaissance. Picture: Studio 4°C/Warner Bros. Residence Leisure

What it’s: Directed by Mahiro Maeda (Blue Submarine No. 6, Gankutsuou: The Rely of Monte Cristo), The Second Renaissance tells the story of the beginnings of the Human-Machine Battle, from the tip of the golden period of synthetic intelligence to the creation of the Matrix.

The way it pertains to the unique Matrix: Written by the Wachowskis, and partially primarily based on the 1999 net comedian Bits and Items of Info, The Second Renaissance is the canonical prequel to the unique Matrix trilogy.

What it provides to the Matrix: Rather a lot, in truth! Earlier than this movie, the closest audiences needed to a proof of the Matrix’s origins was Morpheus’ “Desert of the Actual” speech from The Matrix. In contrast to Morpheus’ take, although, The Second Renaissance doesn’t paint humanity in any respect in a flattering gentle, conjuring parallels to a number of historic atrocities to depict the cruelty people inflicted on their Machine creations. The second half goes on to discover the Machines’ thwarted makes an attempt to peacefully coexist with their creators, the creation of the nanite shroud that coated the planet in perpetual darkness, and the last-ditch creation of the Matrix by the Machines out of existential necessity.

The framing of the brief, that of a Zion archive program guiding the viewer by means of a historic simulation, implies that sure members of Zion — opposite to what others may consider — are in truth conscious of the true origins of the Human-Machine Battle, and have chosen to hide this fact in order to not undermine the morale of the human resistance.

Child’s Story

A Kid’s Story - Animatrix short film Picture: Studio 4°C/Warner Bros. Residence Leisure

What it’s: Directed by Shinichirō Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo), Child’s Story follows a young person who discovers the Matrix and enters the Actual World by means of shocking, albeit fatally tragic, means.

The way it pertains to the unique Matrix: Written by the Wachowskis, Child’s Story depicts the origin of Child, a supporting character in The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions who would go on to carry out an essential function within the people’ protection of Zion whereas below assault by the Machine military. It additionally encompasses a transient vocal cameo by Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss as Neo and Trinity.

What it provides to the Matrix: Except for arguably being the grisliest brief in your complete Animatrix anthology, Child’s Story introduces the idea of “self-substantiation”: the power to exit the Matrix with out the usage of a crimson capsule by means of willpower alone. Though not defined intimately, an analogous phenomenon is talked about by Morpheus in The Matrix when discussing the legend of the primary founding father of Zion, who freed himself with out outdoors help.

Program

Cis clasping the broken top half of a samurai sword between her palms against a blood red sky in Program, an Animatrix short. Picture: Madhouse/Warner Bros. Residence Leisure

What it’s: Directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri (Ninja Scroll, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust), Program tells the story of Cis and Duo, two human resistance members sparring in a coaching simulation modeled after historic Japan. When a horrible revelation involves gentle, the 2 are pressured to battle each other to the demise.

The way it pertains to the unique Matrix: No direct reference to the remainder of the Matrix franchise.

What it provides to the Matrix: Ninja Scroll was one of many anime movies cited by The Wachowskis as a core inspiration behind the unique Matrix movie, alongside 1988’s Akira and 1995’s Ghost within the Shell. Right here, Kawajiri takes the identical kinetic swordplay and feudal Japanese aesthetic of that movie and transplants it into the world of the Matrix to stellar impact, delivering a heart-racing duel that step by step escalates with wuxia-like grace and ferocity.

World Report

Dan Davis at the starting line of a race in World Record, an Animatrix short. Picture: Madhouse/Warner Bros. Residence Leisure

What’s it: Directed by Takeshi Koike (Redline), World Report tells the story of Dan Davis, a disgraced American athlete whose try to set the world report for the 100-meter dash brings him to the brink of changing into conscious of the Matrix.

The way it pertains to the unique Matrix: No direct reference to the remainder of the Matrix franchise.

What it provides to the Matrix: World Report touches on the identical idea of “self-substantiation” broached in Shinichirō Watanabe’s Child’s Story. Whereas that’s attention-grabbing in and of itself, the actual draw for this brief is in its visuals. Koike is an outstanding animator with a particular model that evokes comparability to the aesthetic flamboyance of Franco-Belgian comics, the exaggerated character designs of his up to date Peter Chung, and the stark, silhouette-heavy aesthetic of Frank Miller’s Sin Metropolis.

World Report’s power is in reworking the spectacle of bodily exhaustion into excessive drama, with muscle groups spasming and skinny geysers of blood erupting as Dan comes inside hair’s breadth of the end line. In numerous methods it seems like an oblique tribute to his former mentor Yoshiaki Kawajiri’s earlier brief for the 1987 anime anthology Neo Tokyo, paradoxically sufficient titled “Working Man.” Ultimately, World Report itself quantities to a different tragic but transferring story of perseverance within the face of unattainable odds, the form of story that speaks to the guts of the core themes and concepts behind the Matrix collection.

Past

A screenshot of Yoko transfixed by the sight of bird frozen in mid-flight from the Animatrix short “Beyond.” Picture: Studio 4°C/Warner Bros. Residence Leisure

What it’s: Directed by animator Kōji Morimoto (Reminiscences, Akira), Past follows the story of a teenage woman whose seek for her lacking cat leads her to an deserted constructing “haunted” by unusual, inexplicable phenomena.

The way it pertains to the unique Matrix: No direct reference to the remainder of the Matrix franchise.

What it provides to the Matrix: The in-universe rationalization of supernatural phenomena as “glitches” within the Matrix dates way back to the unique movie and was later expanded on in 2003’s The Matrix Reloaded. Morimoto’s brief explores this idea, in addition to an alternative choice to the phenomenon of déjà vu, from the unwitting perspective of a rambunctious group of adolescents. Past repurposes the core components of The Matrix in service of a narrative that touches on the imaginative potentialities of childhood and the melancholy of witnessing a spot that meant a lot to you in your youth being demolished and bulldozed to assemble one more equivalent parking zone.

A Detective Story

A screenshot of Ash sitting in a train car pointing his pistol while lighting a cigarette in the Animatrix short “A Detective Story” Picture: Studio 4°C/Warner Bros. Residence Leisure

What’s it: Shinichirō Watanabe’s second anthology brief follows the story of a personal detective whose seek for a mysterious hacker will lead him to query the very nature of his actuality.

The way it pertains to the unique Matrix: Set in a model of the Matrix totally unbiased from the one glimpsed within the Matrix trilogy, A Detective Story nonetheless encompasses a distinguished cameo by Trinity.

What it provides to the Matrix: Whereas the plot of A Detective Story has no direct ties to the remainder of the Matrix franchise, the brief arguably stands out as one essentially the most visually distinctive of the anthology, with grainy, monochromatic visuals; analog, steampunk-adjacent know-how; and an eerie, noir-inflected rating by Matrix trilogy composer Don Davis. It’s these visuals, and particularly the looks of Trinity, that gesture towards a tantalizing risk that the Matrix as seen within the unique trilogy and the one seen on this brief — or for that matter, any of the Animatrix shorts — are in truth nothing however a handful of an incalculably huge variety of Matrices working concurrently alongside each other.

Matriculated

The human rebel Alexa from the Animatrix short “Matriculated” Picture: DNA Productions/Warner Bros. Residence Leisure

What it’s: Directed by Peter Chung (Æon Flux), Matriculated follows a gaggle of above-ground human rebels who try to make use of a “Matrix” of their very own design to transform an enemy Machine sentinel to their trigger.

The way it pertains to the unique Matrix: No direct reference to the remainder of the Matrix franchise.

What it provides to the Matrix: The idea of a human-created Matrix is an enchanting one. We’ve seen coaching simulations, such because the bounce check and sparring dojo the place Neo fought Morpheus within the unique Matrix movie, however a Matrix created particularly for Machines in thoughts to navigate and work together with is exclusive to Matriculated. Removed from the sterile hyperreality of the Matrix we all know from the movies, the Matrix glimpsed here’s a labyrinth of earthly delights composed of pulsing fractal-like textures, writhing natural plenty, and hallucinatory dimensions.

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