Review by David Paul Hellings
“Filled with sex, drugs, fast cars and hover boards, Serbian cyberpunk anime hybrid Technotise: Edit & I has all the makings of a cult classic and now comes to UK DVD for the very first time courtesy of Simply Media.
Directed and written by renowned comic book author and artist Aleksa Gajić (Scourge of the Gods), this exhilarating sci-fi animation based on his graphic novel Technotise makes its UK DVD debut on 9 November 2015.
Belgrade, Serbia, the year is 2074. Edit keeps failing her exams. Her parents keep nagging her. Her boyfriend’s a pothead. Her teacher is pervy. She is bored with life and no-one’s giving her a break. When her drug-dealing friend offers to implant a stolen military memory chip into her bloodstream to improve her brain power, she jumps at the chance. Little could she predict just how powerful the chip is.
The stolen technology begins to take over her mind and body. She develops a split personality and new powers greater than she ever imagined. But, the battle is now on to retrieve the stolen technology running through her veins – and Edit has to race against time to save her life…
Meet your new hero. She’s about to blow your mind in Technotise: Edit & I. ”
If a country had to be suggested as the origin and setting of a cyberpunk anime feature film, it’s fair to say that Serbia might not be top of the list, but it’s another sign of the once maligned and still controversial nation taking steps forward that it has produced a film that is gathering interest and praise in the wider world.
Director Aleksa Gajić’s film, based on his graphic novel, shows a future Belgrade that is a mixture of old decayed buildings and high tech contruction, in which the youth live for a life of recreational excess, while the old drink their days away in oblivion and broken down robots sit begging in the street. Shady science based corporations are still not to be trusted and the vision of the future seems little different from the world of today in terms of expectation and lifestyle. One curiosity is the near absence of non-white populace, as though those who are not caucasian have been cleansed from society, apart from the occasional drug dealer.
Belgrade 2074 appears a spartan place in which our characters exist. A bright, shiny city existing with no real mention of the outside world, perhaps a sign of the ostracised nature of Serbia as it’s currently seen by the nations around it. Edit, herself, is an alienated youth who seeks only to finally pass her exams and have a good time; her only meaningful contribution to society being in caring for an autistic maths genius who the corporation seeks to exploit. The introduction of tech into Edit’s body sees her gaining new powers as well as slowly killing her. It’s an area that’s been mined often in sci-fi, with the work of people such as William Gibson being the most obvious.
“Technotise: Edit & I” presents a fascinating future view of a nation that is still a mystery in so many ways to those beyond its borders. In terms of animation, this is a lower budget labour of love looking to compete in a market historically dominated by Japan and classics such as “Akira”. Whereas there is a darkness and inherent horror still drawn from the Atomic age experiences in Japanese anime, Aleksa Gajić opts instead for a simpler story of a girl who suddenly finds herself with powers beyond her and the need to fight to survive. There is a mixture of animation styles producing a pleasing aesthetic.
It’s a hugely positive sign that Serbia is emerging from its self-created shadows to present work that is reaching out to engage with the rest of the planet, and “Technotise & I” is an enjoyable and entertaining outing that should appeal to anime fans and those seeking new stories in settings beyond Tokyo and the US.
Title: Technotise: Edit & I
Release Date: 9 November 2015
Cat No: 139278
Running Time: 100 mins approx.
This review originally appeared on SFFWorld: