Netflix’s Spriggan Anime carries an important environmental message

Netflix’s Spriggan Anime carries an important environmental message

While it may not be the most original story, Netflix’s Spriggan shines when it tries to warn humanity about the need for harmony with nature.

Spriggan made quite a few ripples upon its Netflix release in June 2022, perhaps becoming one of those reboots that goes unnoticed and disappears in a few years. A second adaptation of the 1989 manga of the same name – following a 1998 film – Spriggan is an action-packed sci-fi anime set in a fictional modern world where the technological artifacts of ancient civilizations risk igniting new wars between countries.

Despite its 6.92 score on MyAnimeList, the anime certainly has some value: visually, the action scenes are effective and engaging. Maybe the story and characters aren’t all that original, but Netflix’s decision to adapt is Spriggan from the 90s may derive from its most relevant quality: the environmental message.

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The World of Spriggan is on the brink of war

Yu's static beats in Netflix's Spriggan.

Spriggantheir version of humanity is a little more advanced than now, but they still fight for power. According to history, the ancient civilizations that died out left a message for future humans: a warning to protect their weapons from falling into the wrong hands.

Apparently high-tech, these weapons are protected by “spriggans”, technologically enhanced humans who prevent evil politicians and organizations from taking control of them, in an attempt to prevent war.

Spriggan’s message is a call for environmental awareness

A fire attack in ONA Netflix

Yu Ominae, a spriggan, is the protagonist of the series and the embodiment of its message. On the one hand, he is fascinated by humanity’s endless creativity and all the discoveries that are still possible; on the other, he knows that even a hyper-advanced society cannot control the world. In an adrenaline-fuelled first episode, Yu manages to defend the Fire Shrine – whose power is to control volcanic eruptions – and nearly loses his life in the process.

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The villain is defeated by falling into lava, the “serpent” he was trying to control being a metaphor for the force of nature that humanity cannot hope to tame. In the final scenes, when asked about his thoughts on the demise of ancient civilizations, Yu replies that “no matter how scientifically advanced you are, humans are no match for nature.”

It’s clear after the first episode Spriggan is another dystopian sci-fi tale from the 90s, the main character is pretty average and the villains and fights need updating. However, it is the environmental message that resonates with today’s audience. Spriggan is a call to humility: humanity must understand its weakness and mistakes and try to find a new harmony with its ecosystem before it is too late.

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