The Animatrix is a 2003 Direct-to-Video anthology of nine animated shorts set in the continuity of The Matrix Trilogy. The shorts notably feature individual art styles and themes, and are completely independent of one another beyond the universe.Final Flight of the Osiris acts as a bridge between the first and second movie, and the others expand backstory and/or the universe.
In order, the shorts are as follows:
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Final Flight of the Osiris
(Written by the Wachowskis, directed by Andy Jones, animation by Square Pictures)This short (the only CGI short of the collection) directly precedes the events of The Matrix Reloaded. The crew of the human ship Osiris stumbles upon the machines as they begin burrowing to Zion. After the machines discover the Osiris, the crew tries to outrun the machines while hacking into the Matrix to deliver the news of their discovery to the Zion rebels. The story also ties in with the videogame Enter the Matrix, since one of the first missions has the player trying to retrieve the letter left by the Osiris crew.
- Arc Welding: The Final Flight of the Osiris melds into Enter The Matrix, which melds into Reloaded.
- Bittersweet Ending: The Osiris and its crew don't make it, but they die by massively influencing the series ending.
- Casual High Drop: Making use of the time the rest of the doomed Osiris crew buys, the female crew member is shown to hurry through the Matrix to drop off the alarming message to Zion. In her run, likely as one of ways to shortcut, she takes a dive into the asphalted ground and causes ripples by the impact of the landing. It's in the virtual world, yet as Neo's training episodes from the first movie prove, no-selling physical damage is a feat.
- Clothing Damage: While sparring, Thaddeus and Jue do this to each other until they are in their underwear. It turns out that they are lovers.
- Fanservice: The dojo scene, where Thaddeus and Joanne slice their clothes off one another.
- Foregone Conclusion: The opening to The Matrix Reloaded takes off where this short ends.
- Last Stand: Even when the ships goes down and is swarming with Sentinels, Thaddeus takes up an EMP Gun and blasts as many as he can to give Jue more time to deliver the letter.
- Male Gaze/Female Gaze: When Thaddeus slices Jue's skirt off, the camera pans over her crotch and rear as it falls in slow motion. When she slices his pants off, they unceremoniously fall to the floor and the camera's focused on his feet.
- Moment Killer: Thaddeus and Jue's foreplay is interrupted by an alert siren.
- Sex Is Violence: The first scene —a swordfight that, by its end, is about to turn into an entire different kind of swordplay.
The Second Renaissance
(Written by the Wachowskis, directed by Mahiro Maeda, animation by Studio 4°C)A two-part story focusing on the Genesis of The Matrix. After the creation of AI, the machines eventually formed their own society and tried to co-exist with humans — but were shunned for reasons of economics and prejudice. War eventually broke out and well, if you've seen the movie, you know the outcome.
- Artistic License – Nuclear Physics: In The Second Renaissance, the machines are unaffected by nuclear weapons because apparently, they don't generate enough heat to damage machinery. Or the Electromagnetic Pulse that is humanity's first line of defense against the machines in the movies.
- Asshole Victim: Humanity can be seen as this. After years and years of treating the machines like garbage despite them showing growing signs of sentience, and after launching an unprovoked attack on their own civilization in order to keep the machine city from joining the world stage, humanity being utterly crushed in the ensuing war only makes your stomach turn for how horrifying the conflict is, rather than the decision of if we deserved it or not.
- Big Applesauce: You know the world is well and truly fucked when a machine takes the floor of the United Nations, gloats over their victory, and then nukes Manhattan.
- The Dog Bites Back/The Dog Shot First: Pretty much the basis of the story. While it's left somewhat vague in the movies, this confirms that it all could've been avoided if humans treated the machines better.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Part I reflects a lot of real acts of human rights violations, from the Tiananmen Square to the Holocaust mass burials. One particularly poignant and unsettling scene, showcasing a gang of men beating a robot girl to death and shouting that "she's not real", also reflects generic transmisogynistic violence - something almost certainly intentional, given that both the Wachowskis later came out as trans women.
- Downer Ending: The humans are jerks to the machines, and lose the war.
- Fandisservice: There are several instances of frontal nudity, and none are under pleasant circumstances. That includes a Sex Bot who thinks she's a real person, getting beaten to "death" by a gang of people with sledgehammers.
- Fantastic Racism: Part I reveals the catalyst of the entire Man-Machine war with hardworking, intelligent androids being abused and mistreated by their corrupt human masters. It gets to point where one of them actually kills his human master not wanting to be demolished, causing an outcry and mass panic triggering a worldwide eradication of machines. Several instances depicted reference and even mimic various real-life social revolutions such as the Slave Trade, the Civil Rights Movement, The Tiananmen Square Massacre and The Vietnam War.
- Foregone Conclusion
- For Want of a Nail: All this wouldn't have happened if not for B1-66ER death sentence.
- Godiva Hair: The Instructor.
- Godzilla Threshold: Operation Dark Storm in Part II is a mix of this and Too Dumb to Live. Blocking the sun (without any apparent means of undoing it) means the death of vegetation and phytoplankton, which destroys the foundation for most of Earth's biosphere (as well as basically everything that humans eat to survive). Humanity was willing (without any objections and second opinions) to guarantee a Class 4 apocalypse just to defeat the machines.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Spelled out in Part I:"In the beginning, there was man. And for a time, it was good. But humanity's so called civil societies soon fell victim to vanity and corruption. Then man made the machine in his own likeness. Thus did man become the achitect of his own demise. But for a time, it was good."
- Horsemen of the Apocalypse: A symbolic representation of a macabre horse and rider is shown throughout the sequences of the last battle of the first war. What makes it dramatic is that both horse and rider are mechanical, a harbinger of change to come.
- It Will Never Catch On: The Machine City, in trying to be a good trade nation with man, develops a hover car for humanity as shown in old television ads. Hundreds of years later, this technology is adapted for use by the hovercraft used by the last of humanity in Zion. In comparison with the Machine's Sentinels, however, the Machines have greatly improved on their old flight technology.
- Humans Are Bastards: The Second Renaissance shows humans behaving this way a lot.
The Instructor: May there be mercy on man and machine for their sins.
- The storyteller is an AI called "The Instructor", who is reading files from the Zion Mainframe and implied to be some kind of historian/teacher. It takes a middle path, saying that both the humans and the machines made terrible mistakes to create the situation.
- Ironic Echo: This entire storyline is based on this: pretty much every cruelty done by humans to the machines in Part I is paralleled by a similar (and often worse) cruelty by machines towards humans in Part II.
- Iwo Jima Pose: There's a scene where the UN soldiers pull a reverse of this. The catch is that by that point, they were losing badly to the Machines.
- Kick the Dog: The Machine ambassador, after signing the Human Instrument of Surrender, nukes itself, destroying the UN and millions of potential human batteries for no apparent reason other than spite.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: After all the harm the humans caused the machines, it is not particularly to cheer for them when they brutally slaughter and experiment on the humans in return.
- Meaningful Name: The first robot to rebel is designated B1-66ER, "bigger."
- Perspective Flip: While the three movies of the main series are focused on the perspective of humanity, these two shorts show things from the machines' point-of-view.
- Rule of Symbolism: The Instructor depicts the Second Renaissance as the Machine version of Genesis, explaining the constant use of the phrase "for a time, it was good." Visuals depict the Machines holding an apple, in both endings of parts I and II: the first was a Machine Man and Woman in underwear (which they don't know is obscene) in the UN, innocently holding an apple and pleading for cooperation; a sign of the innocence when the newborn Adam and Eve did not know how to cover themselves up. The second was where the Machine Ambassador, looking like Mecha-Chthulu, signed the Instrument of Surrender with a barcode, and it held an apple before it self-destructed; an acceptance of the Machine's own fall into Sin."And Man made the Machine, in his own Image and Likeness..."
- Basically everything in the short is symbolic in some way, shape, or form, down to the names. For instance, the attorney representing B1-66ER is named Clarence Drummond, a dual reference to Clarence Darrow, a real-life attorney who took part in the Scopes Monkey Trial (itself a reference to both trials being about evolution) and Henry Drummond, a character based on Darrow from Inherit the Wind.
- Starfish Robot: Gradually progresses. At first, the Machines appear human, though usually crudely so. However, as they become more distant from humanity, building their capital of 01, their forms start changing, gradually losing some of their human qualities. Most viciously shown in the war. The first wave of Machines were older humanoid models; they quickly get wiped out, giving humanity high hopes for victory. By the end of the war, the Machines are using monstrous, tentacled horrors that can slice apart human powered armor by the dozens and carve people out of them.
- Too Dumb to Live: Humanity, to a certain extent in Part II. They apparently have forgotten that all the things humans need to survive also require the sun. And by blocking the sun, it means the death of vegetation and phytoplankton, which destroys the foundation for most of Earth's biosphere. Even if they had an alternative, they basically ensured their own near-extinction unless they assumed they would win inside of a week. See Godzilla Threshold.
- Technology Marches On: At the end, the Machines sign their name in a barcode. Had this film been made 10+ years later, they probably would have used a QR code.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The machines force the world's leaders at the Headquarters of the United Nations to sign and seal a deal that delivers the survivors of humanity over to them, before detonating themselves. Completely unnecessary considering they won, and cared nothing for what a piece of paper dictated. Entirely personal when you consider they really wanted peace with humanity, and even came in benign forms earlier, only to get kicked out before. They did not take that rejection well.
- United Nations Is A Super Power: The UN is militarized, and akin to a world government.
- War Is Hell: The Machine War escalates to the point that the UN scorched the sky. The Human infantry were obviously scared shitless forcing them to resort to Stimpacks. The Machines, without the Sun, respond with Human Experimentation.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Most of Part I of The Second Renaissance is driven by the humans' refusal to accept AI as fellow sentient beings. Intentional parallels between Real Life application of such double standards to fellow humans are abound, from a court verdict ruling that black people couldn't be US citizens to a group of men beating up a young woman who turns out to be a Robot Girl.
- Beyond the Impossible: The Kid woke himself up from the Matrix, an act nobody considered possible.
- Driven to Suicide: The Kid breaks free of the Matrix this way. Inside the Matrix, the people were led to believe he killed himself due to being disillusioned with reality.
- You Are Not Alone: In Kid's Story, The Kid feels like only he thinks reality feels less real than his dreams, which leads him to ask people on the Internet if anyone else feels the same way. In the end, the trope is invoked when someone (either Neo or another rebel) writes back: "You are not alone."
program, she enters a sparring match with partner Duo, only to find he is contemplating negotiating a return to the Matrix.
- All Just a Dream: When Cis defends herself and kills Duo, she finds out that she faced off against a virtual program designed to test her reaction to the situation. Even though she volunteered for the test in the first place, she still gets pissed when she finds out the truth.
- Bare-Handed Blade Block: Cis blocks Duo's attack during sparring by grabbing his katana between her palms.
- Bittersweet Ending: Cis reveals her loyalty by killing the man she loves. Thankfully, it's undone as it's just a training program, but it doesn't undo the damage done to Cis. Then again, compared with how other segments go, it's almost a Happy Ending.
- Expy: Duo serves as one to Cypher and Morpheus.
- Face–Heel Turn: Duo contemplates this. He does, but is killed by Cis.
- Fanservice: Cis appears in a tank top and panties in the end.
- Foreign Culture Fetish: Lampshaded in-story by Duo - Cis apparently has a well-established soft spot for medieval Japan.
- Implausible Fencing Powers: Justified, since they are both just playing a training simulation, but still. To wit:
- Cis stops Rain of Arrows with her yari, and then, In a Single Bound, cuts four horse archers into ribbons.
- Cis slashing through Duo's mask, without harming him, after which she lands on the tip of his spear, holding him at guard. And more importantly, but easily overlooked, Duo holding the spear while she's standing on it as if she was weightless.
- Duo cuts through a stone statue in a single, clear cut.
- In the end, Cis performs Bare-Handed Blade Block and rams the broken off tip of the sword into Duo's throat. All while the sheer force of the strike she blocked caused the roof tiles around her to break.
- Riddle for the Ages: Was Duo entirely a construct of the simulation or was he a real person Cis had genuine feelings toward, inserted in the program for the training purpose? And if he wasn't real, does it mean the training program was capable of directly messing with Cis' mind and her feelings? Just think about all the implications for a moment.
- Scenery Porn: This segment can be treated as a love letter to ukiyo-e, the Japanese woodblock printing technique. It opens with absolutely gorgeous, heavily-stylised landscapes lifted almost directly from such artworks and then gradually makes them more and more realistic with each passing scene. It's also one of few segments that heavily downplays the bleakness of the setting itself.
- Secret Test of Character: The entire point of the simulation was to test Cis' loyalty to Zion and the human race when pitted against her love for Duo.
- Unwinnable Training Simulation: The point of the whole exercise. In the simulation, Duo traps Cis in the program, killed the crew in the real world and alerted the machines to their location. Cis can either join him, be killed by him, or be killed when the machines destroy the ship. It's a lose-lose situation either way.
- Wacky Marriage Proposal: Cis initial reaction is asking Duo to propose already and cut the hassle. She's visibly shocked after learning he's serious about going back to Matrix.
(Written by Yoshiaki Kawajiri, directed by Takeshi Koeke, animation by Madhouse Studios)This short explores the story of track runner Dan Davis, who has become obsessed with setting a world record. The story switches between the days before his race and the race itself — where Dan runs so fast, he begins to break the rules of The Matrix...
- Beyond the Impossible: In World Record, Dan manages to run fast enough to cause glitches in the Matrix as it struggles to keep up with him. Even when the Matrix freezes the program, it doesn't stop him for long. He even outruns Agents!
- After the Machines manage to reconnect him and make sure he can never walk again, he briefly manages to glitch gravity and begin floating.
- Downer Ending: Davis escapes the matrix, but is physically (and presumably mentally) handicapped in order to incapacitate him and keep him under control.
- Of course somewhere in his mind he still remembers what happened. So this bit of entrapment might not last for very long.
- Heroic R.R.O.D.: Dan's body collapses and he practically ragdolls several yards down the track after crossing the finish line after the race. He did manage to set the record, though, at 8.96 seconds for the 100 yard dash.
- Title Drop
- Worthy Opponent: An Agent actually gives Dan props for successfully outrunning him.
(Written and directed by Koji Morimoto, animation by Studio 4°C)Within the Matrix, Japanese teenager Yoko searches for her lost cat, and during her search, she discovers a "haunted house" where physics don't seem to apply — but her discovery does not go unnoticed by the Matrix.
- Haunted House: Yoko and several children in Beyond discover a "haunted house". A glitch in the Matrix causes all of the weird phenomena in the house. They spend so much time playing there-one of the glitches was a room where gravity didn't work properly-that the Agents finally catch on and fix the place.
- No Ending: The agents and cleanup team repair the building. Yoko and the kids return to normal life. However the final shot sees a bottle slowly roll on its own to where the old building used to be. Meaning the "glitch" might not be completely gone.
A Detective Story
(Written and directed by Shinichiro Watanabe, animation by Studio 4°C)Cyberpunk meets Film Noir in a tale about modern-day Private Detective Ash, whose newest job — to find the elusive Trinity — gets more dangerous as he tries his best to get a lead on her. Carrie-Anne Moss delivers the voice of Trinity in her animated form.
- Bittersweet Ending: Ash solves the case and even helps Trinity, but she is forced to fatally wound him to stop the agents controlling him. Leaving him behind, Trinity apologizes but remarks that Ash could probably have handled the truth had they made it.
- Driven to Madness: The last detective to work on the case went absolutely nuts.
- Driven to Suicide: One of the previous detectives that tried to find Trinity ended up killing himself.
- Diesel Punk: In keeping with the theme of Film Noir blending with cyberpunk, there are multiple instances of this throughout the short, such as a typewriter-like desktop with a holographic display.
- Eye Scream: The Agents planted a bug in Ash's eye. Trinity removes it without destroying his eye.
- Face Death with Dignity: Ash stays behind and faces the agents despite his wound.
- One Last Smoke: Ash smokes a cigarette after being shot by Trinity, pointing his gun at the approaching Agents.
- Sexy Backless Outfit: Trinity wears one.
- Worthy Opponent: Despite having a gun pointed at them, an Agent stops another from finishing Ash, presumably because he managed to reach Trinity intact.
(Written and directed by Peter Chung, animation by DNA)This short follows a group of above-ground human rebels as they attempt to brainwash a captured machine so it will fight for humanity.
- Deranged Animation: The scenes within the "brainwashing" program are bizarrely inventive.
- Downer Ending: The re-programmed machine destroys the machines that attack the base. But all the rebels die before then, and when he tries to plug the consciousness of one of the last remaining rebels into virtual reality, she rejects him and chooses to die instead, leaving the machine all by itself.
- Expy: This was made by the guy who created Ćon Flux, so main human character Alexa looks like, and has a similar name to, the titular Æon Flux, and the blond scientist looks like Æon Flux's lover Trevor Goodchild.
- Good Colors, Evil Colors: The captured machine's eyes turn from red to green after he is converted.
- Heel–Face Brainwashing: One of the machines goes through this.
- Ironic Echo: Despite the lampshaded pointlessness, the machines are given the illusion of a choice between joining the humans or being destroyed, directly paralleling the blue/red pill choice the free humans are given.