Appleseed is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Masamune Shirow. The series follows the adventures of ESWAT members Deunan Knute and Briareos Hecatonchires in Olympus. Like much of Masamune’s work, Appleseed merges elements of the cyberpunk and mecha genres with a heavy dose of politics, philosophy, and sociology. The series spans four volumes, released between 1985 and 1989.
Originally published in Japan in 1985, Book One Appleseed: The Promethean Challenge was published directly to paperback instead of being serialized, a rarity in the Japanese manga market. This was soon followed by the publication of Book Two, Appleseed: Prometheus Unbound, Book Three Appleseed: The Scales of Prometheus in 1987, and Book Four Appleseed: The Promethean Balance in 1989. Rumors of a possible Volume 5 still persist today, though Shirow had mentioned that he has no plans of pursuing it for the meantime. From 1988 to 1992, Appleseed was published in English by Eclipse Comics, packaged by Studio Proteus. The manga is currently published by Dark Horse Comics. In 2004, a special edition compiling the first two volumes was released, under the title Appleseed 01&02.
Appleseed takes place in the 22nd Century, after the non-nuclear Third World War has decimated the Earth. While countries like Great Britain, USA and China have difficulty maintaining order and power, international organizations like the “Sacred Republic of Munma” and “Poseidon” have been established in the aftermath.
The main characters are Deunan Knute and Briareos Hecatonchires, former SWAT members of the LAPD. They are found in the desolated city and invited to join the prestigious ESWAT (Extra Special Weapons And Tactics) organization in the utopian city of Olympus, the new world’s most powerful state. Roughly one half of Olympus’s population are bionically augmented.
The series follows Deunan and Briareos as they protect their new home from both foreign and domestic threats to its security.