Review: Mardock Scramble – The Trilogy Collection DVD

Release Date
Blu-ray / DVD
Kaze, Manga Entertainment
Language / Subtitles
English, Japanese / English
Run Time
181 Minutes

Mardock Scramble is an anime movie trilogy and is adapted from the Mardock Scramble novel series written by Tow Ubukata. The Mardock Scramble trilogy consists of The First Compression, The Second Combustion and The Third Exhaust, released in the UK by Kaze and Manga Entertainment. The trilogy was directed by Susumu Kudo and written by the original author Tow Ubukata.

“Brought back to life thanks to spectacular technology, Rune wakes up to find she’s now a cyborg. This technique of cybernetics, usually forbidden, has been allowed by a special amendment: the “Mardock Scramble 09”.

With the help of Doctor Easter, the man who restored her to life, the young cyborg will have to dive into the slums of Mardock City, a megalopolis where violence and despair reign, in search of the psychopath who took her life…” – Manga Entertainment

Immediately, on the DVD edition at least, you can notice a great deal of grain or noise; whether it’s intentional or not is neither here nor there and could just be a side effect of being on DVD. Without a Blu-ray copy to test, only those that purchase the format can verify. It should be noted that this does not impact negatively on the viewing experience and becomes less noticeable as you progress through the trilogy. The use of loud vibrant colours is a strong theme within the three films and while they look great on DVD I could only assume they would look breath-taking on Blu-ray.

The bane of all anime fans is the use of CGI within anime and you’d be hard pushed to find an anime in recent years without it. Mardock Scramble is no exception and chooses to use CGI for cars that appear within the films; quite a common choice as far as CGI use in anime goes, to be fair, but it does stick out like a sore thumb in some areas, especially the opening of The First Compression. Aside from the use of CGI, overall the Mardock Scramble trilogy feels, both story-wise and visually, like a 90’s classic sci-fi anime despite being made post-2010.

The score was handled by Conisch (Appleseed XIII, Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal) for all three movies and it should be said that it felt very much like watching Tron at times, which isn’t a bad thing for a futurist themed sci-fi story; it’s actually quite fitting. The first movie in the trilogy comes with a few different language options, having English, French, Italian and Japanese audio tracks with English, French, Italian and Netherlands subtitle tracks, while the last two movies, however, only come with English and Japanese.

Each disc comes with a selection of extras, most important of those being the uncensored versions of their respective movies. Other extras include the Japanese trailer, teaser, promotional videos and English trailers, while disc two contains an interesting addition called ‘On the way to movie theatres’ which is a 20-odd minute celebration panel at one of the Japanese theatre screenings.

The First Compression:

  • Director’s Cut
  • TV Spot 1 & 2
  • Japanese Trailer
  • Japanese Teaser

The Second Combustion:

  • Theatrical Version
  • Trailers – Berserk: The Golden Age Arc – The Egg of the King, Persona 4 the Animation
  • ‘On the way to movie theatres’
  • Promotional Videos
  • Film 3 Preview

The Third Exhaust:

  • Theatrical Version
  • Berserk: The Golden Age Arc – The Egg of the King, Nura – Rise Of The Yokai Clan Season 1 Part 1
  • Promotional Videos
The Mardock Scramble trilogy is a visually impressive and well-written story that offers a mature audience a change of pace compared to today’s harem theme offerings. Feeling like a 90’s classic, rather than a post-2010 production, fans of Ghost in the Shell and Cowboy Bebop alike will feel at home here. Collecting all three previous movie releases into one collection it doesn’t add much else but a reduced price tag for those looking to buy into the trilogy and of course a nice sleeve to keep them in.