Based on the classic manga by Shirow Masamune, Ex Machina – Appleseed Saga (a.k.a. Appleseed: Ex Machina) is the sequel to the hit 2004 computer-animated film Appleseed. Taking place in the futuristic utopia of Olympus, Ex Machina features the continuing adventures of ES.W.A.T. member Deunan Knute and her partner/lover Briareos, a cyborg possessing a robot head instead of a human one. The two find their close partnership tested when they receive a new teammate, Tereus, a bioroid (an artificially-created humanoid) who was built based on Briareos DNA – meaning he has a human face and latent feelings for Deunan. But the arrival of an insidious, mind-controlling virus puts the love triangle on hold. Free will and individuality are being threatened in Olympus, and only Deunan and Briareos can set things right. Appleseed director Aramaki Shinji returns to helm this sequel, made with the involvement of Hong Kong director John Woo, who served as producer on the project. Woo’s impact is felt in the feature’s pared down plot and thrilling action sequences, a departure from the previous exposition-heavy cyberpunk storylines of the original Appleseed and its traditionally-animated eighties precursor. The state-of-the-art computer-animated imagery bring the futuristic world of Olympus to stunning life, with the man-machine love story injecting surprising emotion into a typically cerebral anime genre. The film was released in October 2007 in, before receiving an American premiere at the Jules Verne Adventures Film Festival in Los Angeles in December 2007.