Synopsis: Yu Ominae is in high school, but he's not just a student. He is a member of Arcam Corporation's elite armed force known as Spriggan. The Arcam Corporation's mission is simple: to make sure that powerful ancient artifacts are protected and sealed off, so that no nation in the world can take advantage of them. In a recent excavation though, Arcam discovers a legendary artifact like no other -- Noah's Ark. But Noah's Ark turns out to be no ordinary vessel. It has data on the various life forms on earth, and anyone who gains control of the Ark can choose to destroy everything and start a new world by creating new life. Arcam must do everything in its power to keep the Ark from falling in the wrong hands... and Yu Ominae is just the guy for the job.
Review: I'm not exaggerating when I say there's not one unattractive scene in Spriggan. The crisp, clear visuals and smooth-as-silk animation had me practically glued to the screen... and the buck doesn't stop there. Biblical facts and scientific probabilities are seamlessly merged to create a plot that is clever as well as intriguing. You get to think of what's possible in that eerie, Twilight Zone-ish sort of way.
Yu Ominae is a richly depicted hero. Trained to be a killer since childhood, Yu had originally belonged to Cosmos -- a top secret government elite force. In the course of one mission however, Yu kills a couple of excavation team members and remembers how his own parents were murdered before his eyes. This triggers Yu's memories and he subsequently breaks free of Cosmos' control. Yu is the no. 1 Spriggan in Arcam -- extremely skilled in various types of combat and weaponry. Although characterization mostly focuses on Yu, the supporting cast is just as noteworthy. There's the perpetually cool and collected Spriggan Jean Jaquemonde (my personal favorite); the deceptively child-like Captain McDougal; the brilliant elderly scientist Dr. Mayzel; the list goes on.
As I mentioned earlier, the art and animation are very impressive. Characters, as well as backgrounds, are rendered with a great amount of detail. Scenes are composed very meticulously -- from the simple task of Yu prepping his gun to the more complex events like the car chase sequence. The plot gets a little clouded near the end, but what the heck! It's markedly better than the much hyped up "Ghost in the Shell", and more clear-cut than the sci-fi anime classic "Akira".
Miscellanies: The manga version is available in English as "Striker".