ALTERED CARBON: RESLEEVED (2020) brings this cyberpunk universe to anime

Netflix has taken Altered Carbon from TV to film and from live-action to anime with the release of Altered Carbon: Resleeved, a standalone story following Takeshi Kovacs as he protects a tattooist from an unknown threat on the planet Latimer.

Altered Carbon: Resleeved gets one thing straight within minutes of starting; it has successfully captured the essence of the series through brilliant futuristic cyberpunk visuals. The main draw of this anime is not the story, rather it’s the slick animation and non-stop action. I loved the character design and just the general world-building that adds to what we’ve seen in the series. Every scene is utterly stunning, with flawless animation that highlights certain elements of this cyberpunk world and is able to deliver polished action sequences that are very easy and exciting to follow.

Speaking of the action, not only are the action sequences fast paced, they’re non-stop throughout the entire film. You can’t go five minutes without some sort of chase scene, fight scene or intense confrontation that ups the stakes and and builds suspense going into the final act. The bloody and brutal action sequences are thrilling and are what keep you engaged from beginning to end as the story itself isn’t really anything spectacular.

With a runtime of only 75 minutes, that does mean there are going to be a number of sacrifices when it comes to the story. It’s a pretty decent narrative overall that is largely isolated from the events of the series, with some clever connections and tie-ins to some notable events and characters in both seasons one and two of the series. The short runtime makes for a compact story that gets right to the point and keeps on moving, but that results in having to sacrifice character building.

There isn’t a whole lot of time for the film to go in depth with character backstories, with most characters getting a couple of lines to set up who they are. There’s also not much character development going on, to where no one really changes through the events of the film. Everything just sort of happens and those who experienced certain things go on with their lives after. It does set up a couple of avenues for some characters to go into after these events but, for the most part, the story does feel a little weightless.

I can’t really speak too much about the voice performances as it depends whether you see the film with its Japanese voice actors or you see the English dubbed version. I saw the Japanese version and I thoroughly enjoyed all of the performances. After I finished the film, I went back and listened to some scenes with the English cast and I just felt like the same level of passion and intensity wasn’t there with the English cast.

In the end, Altered Carbon: Resleeved is a great companion to the Altered Carbon series, that can also be consumed as its own thing with a decent story that largely stands on its own. The story is lacking in some areas, the action is breathtaking and violent and the animation is stunning across every scene. For fans of the series, or anime fans in general, I’d say this is a fun watch with the Japanese voice cast.


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