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2022 Is Coming Up 'Spriggan'

By Claude Weaver III | Trailers | April 8, 2022 |

By Claude Weaver III | Trailers | April 8, 2022 |


Ohhhhhhhhboyohboyohboyohboyohboyohboyohboyohboyohboyohboy… Spriggan is back! The frayed remnants of my teenage weeb self are flipping out at this news!

Wait… I might be the only person who knows or cares what Spriggan is in these parts. Dustin certainly looks confused, but what else is new?

Spriggan is a manga series started in 1989 and wrapped up in 1996, collected into 11 volumes, and reprinted in multiple countries. It was released in the US under the name “Striker” (because pre-internet boom, it was assumed that people wouldn’t get the obscure reference to a Celtic fae protecting treasure, which… fair) by Viz Media in 1998, only to be cut short after three volumes and never really establishing a foothold for reasons I’ll go into later.

An animated feature film based on the “Noah’s Ark” storyline was made by STUDIO4℃ and Bandai in 1998, with an American release through ADV Films the next year. The film was my introduction to the franchise, and it is BUCKWILD. The only trailer from that one is pretty bad in that mid-90s anime release way, so instead, I give you the first major scene and tone-setter for the rest of the film:

And yes, “Noah’s Ark” is literal. Protagonist Yu Ominae is what you get if Naruto was Nathan Drake but also James Bond, while occasionally partnered up with a French werewolf and a 20th level monk from D&D to fight cyborgs and Ancient Aliens stuff but also ghosts and psionics are real. Also, plenty of Nazi punching. If that sentence appealed to you in any way, you either already witnessed Spriggan or you really should.

And now, twenty years later (I’m so old…), Netflix and David Production (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Cells at Work!, Fire Force) have teamed up on a new anime adaptation, with input from Takashige. The latest trailer below:

A great civilization once existed on this Earth. Possessing knowledge and scientific prowess far exceeding that of modern man, the relics of this ancient civilization remain hidden across this world even now. As high-speed communications networks cover the globe and the peering eyes of satellites are able to expose all secrets, the armies of great nations clash as they seek to uncover and research these artifacts, which possess an unfathomable “power.” A member of this ancient civilization carved a message into a plate: “Protect our legacy from evildoers.” Taking this message to heart, one organization aims to seal away this ancient civilization for good. The elite secret agents of this organization are known as… Spriggans.

And not only are we getting the new anime series, but publisher Seven Seas Entertainment is also now licensing the original manga and releasing the entire run in four large-trim omnibus editions, each with over 600 pages of material! Whew!


This is especially notable because as I said before, the initial release from Viz was canceled after only three volumes. From what I could find, a constant issue was that Viz had to heavily edit the manga due to a brutally cynical take on the United States and the military-industrial complex. No government comes out looking all that rosy in Spriggan, but the USA gets it really hard. Hell, the main villain of one storyline (that the 1998 film is based on) is a child experimented on for years by the military to become a telekinetic supersoldier and his two main subordinates are codenamed “Fat Man” and “Little Boy,” and that’s after it was toned down. The only ones who get it worse (at least in the bits I was able to read) were the Neo-Nqazis, which again … fair.

But hey, nowadays everybody’s deconstructing the USA as a global power, so Spriggan will probably find a much more welcoming audience than in 1996.

Spriggan debuts on Netflix June 18, while SPRIGGAN: Deluxe Edition 1 will hit with both physical and digital releases in August. Unfortunately, the 1998 version doesn’t seem to be legally available for streaming anywhere, with even the most recent physical releases being out of print for over a decade and commanding some pretty hefty prices. Maybe with the renewed attention on it, that will change.