Danger Gal Friday: Deunan Knute

This week’s Danger Gal profile is of Deunan Knute from the anime movie Appleseed, based on the manga of the same name created by Masamune Shirow. I’ve had the first Appleseed movie in my Netflix queue for quite a while and finally found the time to watch it over the Thanksgiving holiday. I wish I hadn’t waited so long and will definitely be watching the sequel, called Appleseed: Ex Machina and directed by John Woo, as soon as I can.

I was originally interested in the movie because Deunan Knute seemed like a kick-ass heroine and she does indeed live up to that assumption. Factor in the science fiction and romance elements and I was hooked. This is primarily an action movie, but the science fiction aspects do ask the question of what makes us human and what makes us machine.

World War III has ended and Deunan Knute, a soldier in that war, is rescued by her lover Briareos and the bioroid Hitomi. They take her to Olympus, a Utopian city built from the ashes of a ruined world. Similar to the Replicants in Blade Runner, Hitomi and all bioroids are part biological/part robot. They are genetically engineered without negative emotions in order to keep the peace in Olympus. Deunan’s mother created the bioroids using DNA from Deunan’s father. When a terrorist attack destroys the bioroid ability to recharge, Deunan must find the Appleseed data to restore the bioroids. She must also destroy the D-tank, which is set to release a virus that will wipe out all humans.

Wikipedia describes Deunan as a member of the ESWAT teams and “. . . a specialist in weapons handling, explosive devices manipulations, hand-to-hand combat, and an excellent Landmate pilot. According to the Appleseed Databook, she is trained to be ambidextrous.”

Deunan’s partner is Briareos Hecatonchires, her former lover who she thought dead. Briareos’ badly damaged body was kept alive by turning him into a cyborg. Briareos’ “alien” nature plays into the damaged/monster hero archetype so prevalent in the Romance genre from scarred heroes in Historicals to vampire/shape-changing heroes in Paranormals. I’m just going to keep saying it over and over: Cyborgs are the new vampires.

Appleseed was a heart-thumping good time with pacing that never stopped, cool science gadgets, and a love story I enjoyed.