[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Armitage_III_Polymatrix_TVT_6196.jpg]]

In the distant future, Mars has been successfully colonized by humankind and their robotic helpmates. Its domed cities are comfortable and cosmopolitan, and its population sophisticated and prosperous enough to support tours by famous performers from Earth. But one such performer, a country-western singer, is assassinated by a mysterious assailant when she arrives at the Martian spaceport.

The investigation into her killing is assigned to police officer Ross Sylibus, himself newly transferred from Earth in the wake of a tragedy that left him the possessor of a bionic leg. He is partnered with petite, provocative plainclothes cop Naomi Armitage. What looks like a comprehensible (if tragic) killing, though, takes a confusing turn when it's discovered that the dead singer was not a human woman, but an android of hitherto unseen sophistication. And that she was not the only one of her kind living undercover among humanity -- nor was she the only one of her kind recently murdered.

What is the secret of the Thirds, the latest generation of robotics technology? Who is killing them, and why? And what is Naomi's own hidden secret? As Syllabus and Armitage delve deeper into the mystery, they must come face to face with prejudice, sisterhood, and ultimately the very definition of what it means to be human.

A four-episode {{OVA}} miniseries written by Creator/ChiakiKonaka, ''Armitage III'' is tightly plotted and action-packed, yet does not stint on philosophical questions and quandaries. It is old enough to have been created entirely with traditional hand-drawn animation; quality control is high, though, and there is no sign of "rushed" or careless work. Both characters and backgrounds are crisp and detailed -- the Martian cityscapes are a joy to behold at times, as are the main players in the drama, particularly Armitage herself.

''Armitage III'', as brief as it is, spawned a sequel movie called ''Dual Matrix''. It is somewhat less compelling, plotwise, than the original series, and a switch from traditional animation to computer-assisted methods resulted in some unappealing changes in character designs -- Armitage, for example, went from looking cute-sexy in a leather-Loli way to looking like a psychotic housewife(though in all fairness, she sort of was a psychotic housewife, and with good reason!)

In North America, ''Armitage'' was one of Pioneer[=/=]Creator/{{Geneon}}'s first wave of imports in the early 1990s. Unlike most of the other shows in that noteworthy premiere, though, ''Armitage'' suffers from an uneven dub cast. In particular, Syllabus is quite wooden in English. To complicate matters, though, Pioneer [[CompilationMovie edited together the four OVA episodes into a feature-length "motion picture"]] called ''Armitage III: Polymatrix'' and then dubbed it a ''second'' time with "name" actors -- Keifer Sutherland as Syllabus and Elizabeth Berkeley as Armitage. Pioneer has also brought the sequel movie to North America, with yet a ''third'' dub cast, this one featuring Creator/JulietteLewis as Armitage.

A spoilerific note on the title: [[spoiler:The title is often read, incorrectly, as ''Armitage 3'', which might lead some viewers to wonder as to the whereabouts of the nonexistent "first two" Armitage [=OVAs=]. The title is correctly read as if it were the name of a person -- ''Armitage the Third'' -- which rather spoils the big reveal regarding Naomi's true nature. One imagines the creators might have selected the title intentionally, such that the viewer reads it differently before and after seeing the series.]]
----
!!''Armitage III'' provides examples of:

* ActionGirl: Armitage
* AmbiguousRobots: Thirds are frequently said to be robots and we know they are artificially created but [[spoiler:they are capable of bearing children]] so who knows how you're suppossed to classify them.
* AndroidsAndDetectives: Played completely straight.
* AppliedPhlebotinum
* ArmCannon: [[spoiler: Armitage gets upgraded with this in time for the final battle.]]
* ArtificialLimbs
* [[spoiler:BabiesEverAfter: Ross and Armitage make one in the OVA.]]
* BattleCouple: Ross and Armitage.
* BetaTestBaddie: D'anclaude
* BolivianArmyEnding: Naomi and Ross versus the Martian military. Subverted in the epilogues of the OVA and TheMovie.
* BrainUploading
* BrokenBird: Armitage.
* BunnyEarsLawyer[=/=]CowboyCop: Armitage gets away with her punk-rock outfit and tendency towards emotional blow-ups because, hey, she gets the job done.
* ChekhovsGunman: Julian in ''Dual Matrix''
* ColorCodedCharacters: Naomi and Ross usually wear red and blue, respectively, symbolizing their homeworlds among other things. The last episode of the original series has them switching colors, indicating both their closeness and their growing separation from both worlds' societies.
* ConspicuousCG: In ''Dual Matrix''.
* CoolShades: When Naomi puts them on, she's mad at ''something''.
* CranialProcessingUnit: The Thirds are fairly resistant to bullets, but vulnerable to headshots, which are shown to seriously impact their ability to move and communicate.
* CuteBruiser: Armitage again.
* {{Cyberspace}}
* CyberPunk
* CyberpunkIsTechno: The majority of the soundtrack, with the exception of when Cyberpunk Is Country And Western.
* CyberpunkWithAChanceOfRain
* DaChief
* DeadlyUpgrade[=/=]SuperMode: In ''Dual Matrix'': "Heaven's Door." [[spoiler:[[ItGetsBetter She manages not to fully roast herself though.]]]]
* {{Determinator}}: Armitage can be stabbed, shot, electrocuted, and blown up, but in both shows, never shows any signs of yielding or backing down on her missions.
* DoAndroidsDream
* DuelingHackers: Julian and D'anclaude.
* ElectronicTelepathy
* EvilKnockoff[=/=]{{Evil Twin}}s[=/=]RobotMe: The twin Armitage "clones" from ''Dual Matrix''.
* FantasticRacism: The witchhunt against the Thirds, and the anti-robot tension in Martian society in general.
* FirstEpisodeSpoiler: [[spoiler:Naomi Armitage is a Third-series robot]].
* FlawedPrototype: Weirdly, [[spoiler:Armitage]] hits this ''and'' SuperPrototype at the same time. [[spoiler:She has both the Thirds' reproductive capabilities and the assassinroids' strength, speed and overall toughness, but it's revealed that she also possesses mental instabilities due to a bug that originally couldn't be worked out.]]
* {{Foreshadowing}}: At the interview with the conCeption CEO Allen, Ross expressed his amazement at how human-like the robots are by saying, that they can do everything that humans can except reproduce. [[spoiler: It is revealed later that the Third Series can do even that.]]
* HeroicRROD
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: Dimitrio Mardini, the BigBad of ''Dual Matrix'', [[spoiler:gets killed by his own Armitage-knockoff, as this knockoff was possessed/reprogrammed/hijacked/hacked by Julian, a Third, whose hardware had been killed but his software backed-up (thanks to Armitage) and who now aids the heroes from the background.]]
* HugeGuyTinyGirl: Armitage is already short to begin with (5'1"), but standing next to Ross (6'3") makes her look a grade schooler.
* HumanMomNonhumanDad: [[spoiler:Inverted in Dual-Matrix.]]
* IAmAMonster
* [[IHaveYourWife I Have Your Daughter]]
* ImplacableMan: Apparently D'anclaude.
* [[JobStealingRobot Job Stealing Robots]]: The cause of all the tension on Mars, and a pivotal plot point of the series.
* KarmicTransformation: Ross Sylibus, the robot-hating detective, had a [[ArtificialLimbs robotic leg]] since the incident that caused said hatred. He gains even more cybernetic parts as he grows closer to Naomi. D'Anclaude is ''happy'' to {{lampshade}} this as soon as he finds out.
-->"Surely the ironic humor of this hasn't escaped you?"
* KilledOffForReal
* LadyLand: On earth, the average human female is super-privileged, so few want to immigrate to Mars, which keeps the colony from establishing the population it needs to declare independence. [[spoiler:So Mars started building robots human enough to conceive children. When Earth finds this out, they pretty much declare TheWarOfEarthlyAggression - scrap the baby machines and we'll send some real women, or you can all die. This is the reason female androids are targeted for assassination; it's because they're not "real" women.]]
* LastNameBasis: While Armitage eventually starts referring to Ross by his first name, Armitage herself is only ever called Armitage. Dr. Asakura happens to be the exception.
** Ross does improve on this by Dual Matrix though especially in the last third.
* LastOfHisKind: Sort of played for laughs: Kelly Mccanon is the "last country singer in the universe". However, this takes on a serious tone when she ends up being murdered.
* LawyerFriendlyCameo: A [[Franchise/SailorMoon familiar-looking]] set of sex-toy androids in the OVA.
* LayeredMetropolis: St. Lowell is one, with many of its buildings seemingly floating in the air above the lower levels of the city.
* LightningBruiser
* MamaBear and PapaWolf: ''Dual Matrix'' spoiler -- [[spoiler:Naomi and Ross.]]
* MarsNeedsWomen: [[spoiler: The motivation behind the creation of the Thirds.]]
* NonstandardCharacterDesign: The Second-type androids, along with [[spoiler:Naomi and Julian]], are designed and drawn in a traditional, big-eyed Anime style. The humans, D'anclaude, and the Third-type androids are designed in a more realistic style (and with [[{{Mukokuseki}} more visibly European facial features]]).
* OneWomanArmy: Armitage.
* OnlineAlias: "Pluto". WordOfGod actually says that all the Thirds have aliases based on the names of the nine planets of the solar system ([[PlutoIsExpendable as they were considered back then]]).
* OnlyPointTwoPercentDifferent: The different types of androids are numbered according to the order in which they were created. "Firsts" are non-human robots, "Seconds" are androids, and the "Thirds" are so close to human they can [[spoiler:get pregnant. And yes, they can reproduce with a human]]. The "Fourth" were modeled after plants and are arguable improved versions of natural plant life (such as trees that are capable of moving around.)
* PlayfulHacker: Mouse from ''Dual Matrix''
* PowerGivesYouWings: The upgrade that [[spoiler: Armitage]] receives at the end of the OVA plays with this, as the wings (and the subsequent mobility they provide) is half of the upgrade. Even [[spoiler: Armitage]] [[LampshadeHanging finds them to be a little pretentious]].
-->"It's a little too ''angelic'' for my taste."
* ProductPlacement: Pioneer (The company that animated it) appears a whole lot through the series.
* ProperLady / SpiritedYoungLady: The Third-types were all variations of this, [[spoiler:the better to [[HouseWife raise their children]]]].
* RedOniBlueOni: Ross and Armitage, even down to the color of their clothes.
* ReplacementGoldfish
* RidiculouslyHumanRobots: Especially the Thirds, which are human enough to [[spoiler:get pregnant.]]
* RoboFamily: Armitage considers Julian her brother and the other female Thirds her sisters.
* RobotGirl
* RobotMe: [[spoiler: The D'anclaude Naomi and Ross encounter in the first few episodes turns out to be an [[KillBot assassinroid]] built in the image of their creator, one Doctor Rene D'anclaude. (Another D'anclaude-bot was [[HeelFaceBrainwashing reprogrammed]] to serve as a lab assistant to Dr. Asakura.)]]
* RoboticReveal
* RoboticSpouse: Which is even able to [[spoiler:get pregnant and bear children, the purpose the Third Types were built for.]]
* RollerbladeGood: The Armitage replicas.
* SequelHook: Mouse manages to fish one of the Armitage III knock-offs out of the garbage and get it to work, although it's never clarified, how well.
* {{Shojo}}
* SlidingScaleOfRobotIntelligence
* SmallGirlBigGun
* SpaceWestern: Some aspects, in that country music is a part of the plot and Mars is very much a frontier colony (which probably contributes to Kelly Mccanon's appeal).
* SpiritualSuccessor: ''Armitage III'' clearly takes inspiration from Creator/IsaacAsimov's ''Literature/TheCavesOfSteel''. Though [[spoiler:Naomi Armitage]] is most probably cuter than R. Daneel Olivaw.
** It's also been described as the anime version of ''Film/BladeRunner''. The two are undoubtedly very similar in moral and plot.
* {{Straw Feminist}}s: Earth's government. The {{backstory}} is only implied, but a key plot element is that feminists have become political powerhouses equivalent to Greens. It is implied by the presence of an Earth "observer" that on Earth, women have gained status equivalent to South African whites under apartheid - and few are willing to give that up just because MarsNeedsWomen. Space has been colonized, and Mars has been partially {{Terraform}}ed, but has thus been unable to draw enough women to the planet to breed new Martians. Androids known as "[[AMechByAnyOtherName Seconds]]" were created first as a source of labor, then upgraded to {{Ridiculously Human Robot}}s as a immigration draw; come to Mars and leave the shrews behind for a [[ExtremeDoormat sweet, willing]] [[MegaCorp conCeption]] {{Sexbot}}! The long term solution was to [[spoiler:''build'' fertile women - the titular "Thirds"; robots so human that they can be '''impregnated''' -- and actually raise the children they give birth to. When the Straw Feminists find out about the plan, the threat to their power base pisses them off to no end, resulting in an ultimatum; scrap the baby makers or Mommy will come do it personally, [[TheWarOfEarthlyAggression along with as much of the landscape as necessary]].]]
* {{Stripperiffic}}: Ross even [[{{Lampshading}} lampshades]] this in the first OVA.
* SuicideAttack: D'anclaude has a habit of turning second-generation robots into walking bombs. [[spoiler:In episode 3, Armitage also uses her power of self-destruction to take out a D'anclaude clone. She doesn't die, but she's badly damaged.]]
* SuperSpeed: Armitage pulls off some positively SonicTheHedgehog-esque moves in the first episode.
* SuperPrototype: [[spoiler:Naomi]]
* SuperToughness: Armitage can take bullets, stab wounds and head-on ''grenade'' hits and keep going.
* ThePowerOfLove: [[spoiler:According to Julian, it takes more than the right "plumbing" for androids to be able to bear children, they have to be capable of motherly love to do so.]]
* {{Technopath}}: Armitage.
* {{Terraform}}ing: Taking place on Mars during the story.
* ThereCanBeOnlyOne
* TheWarOfEarthlyAggression: A low-intensity version -- the Thirds were designed to help pave the way for Martian independence (because [[spoiler: MarsNeedsWomen even if they have to ''build them'']]), and D'anclaude's goal was to ensure that couldn't happen.
* TorchesAndPitchforks: D'anclaude drives the Martian populace to this against one of the Thirds.
* [[spoiler:UterineReplicator]]: The ''key'' plot element, and the true purpose of the Thirds;
-->'''Pluto''': (It's) why the Thirds were made to seem so human, not just in appearance but emotionally, like the murdered singer and that novelist. They weren't just machines. They had souls. It takes more than the right plumbing to [[spoiler:procreate. Yes, sir. The perfect receptacle for human babies.]]
* VirtualGhost: ''Dual Matrix'' spoiler -- [[spoiler:Julian]]
** Also the murdered Thirds in general, whose ghosts live on in cyberspace. Armitage and Ross even become these temporarily.
* WhatMeasureIsANonHuman: "If humans don't want me, then why did they create me?" -- [[spoiler:Armitage]]
* WhoWearsShortShorts: Armitage's pants aren't exactly regulation.
----