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Japanese audiences have long responded tepidly to the use of extensive computer graphics (CG) in anime. Even as CG has become the global standard for animation studios, anime fans prefer their homegrown artists to stick to labor-intensive 2-D illustration techniques and cel animation — or to at least create work that looks like they did.

Case in point: Director and designer Shinji Aramaki’s “Appleseed” film franchise, based on the best-selling manga by Masamune Shirow (famous for “Ghost in the Shell”). The three-film series has grown increasingly digitally enhanced since its inception 12 years ago, with meticulous 3-D character and set designs and blockbuster visual effects.

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