Ancient artifacts that predate mankind have been uncovered in locations all around the world near the end of the Cold War. These artifacts are made from materials previously unknown to modern humans and were clearly designed by a civilization far more technologically advanced than our own. An organization called ARCAM has been formed to study these sites and uncover the true nature of what lies within them. One of the messages inscribed in a message plate mentioned that if one of their inventions cannot be used for good, then it should be destroyed at all costs. A unit of elite agents trained to protect the ARCAM scientists and the artifacts, known as Out-of-Place Artifacts ("OOPArts"), are known as "Spriggan".
One such Spriggan is a 16-year-old Japanese high school student by the name of Yu Ominae. He began his ARCAM Spriggan duty after an old friend of his was being hunted down by the Soviet and American militaries in the hope of using an OOPArt located in the Mt. Fuji region of Japan known as the Orb, an artifact that can control flaming snakes from the volcanic depths of the Earth. As he and the other Spriggans battle things out with militaries, criminals and mercenaries to prevent OOPArts from being secured as military weapons, something is brewing from within the ranks of the ARCAM Corporation that will ultimately determine the fate of the entire world.
An anime film was directed by Hirotsugu Kawasaki and produced by Studio 4°C, adapting the Noah's Ark chapter with the same title written by Hiroshi Takashige. The film was originally released in Japan by Toho, and later received a North American release in 2002 by ADV Films.
As for the manga, the original 11 volume series was complete with another 8 done in bunkoban, twice. However, it didn't finish its serialization in North America, France, Malaysia, and Spain. It did complete serialization in Indonesia, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand.
A video game adaptation released by From Software for the Playstation. In it, players take the role of a Japanese Spriggan agent named Tashiki Oshiki with appearances by Yu, Jean, and Oboro.
It was announced that the manga will be adapted again on March 2019 with animation by David Production in collaboration with Netflix.
The series contains examples of:
- Archaeological Arms Race / Lost Technology: The pursuit of OOPArts by governments and organizations seeking to shift the balance of power.
- Backstory: Some of the characters do have them, like the Spriggans.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: COSMOS' conditioning of its child soldiers prior to field deployment.
- Child Soldiers: Villain Colonel McDougal is a young child who has been experimented on by the Machiner's Platoon (Machine Corp. in the OVA) and cybernetically enhanced since birth, having been trained to harness unmatched psychic power.
- Another example is Yu himself, who was kidnapped at a young age and placed into a black ops unit of child soldiers known as "COSMOS" after his parents were killed during an archaeological expedition in Iran by American commandos.
- Colonel Badass: Aforementioned Colonel McDougal can take down complete squads of soldiers with his mind alone.
- Creepy Child: Colonel McDougal doesn't look much more than 6-10 years old. He's also an albino with heterochromia, a sadistic killer who can slaughter people just be thinking about it, and who plans to wipe out all human life and repopulate the world with creatures of his own devising by seizing the power of Noah's Ark.
- Yu admits that he is also one. The only last thing that he wants to face fighting against.
- Expanded Universe: The chapters "First Mission" and "Gold Rush". These chapters are available if you buy Spriggan in the republished bunko/aizoban version.
- Fling a Light into the Future: The plot of the series, especially the concern of OOPArts being used as military weapons.
- A God Am I: Col. McDougal after the activation of the Ark.
- Immune to Bullets: Orihalcum-made protective gear makes the wearer immune to bullets, even from those fired from sniper rifles.
- Made of Iron: Yu Ominae and the other heroic Spriggans.
- "Noah's Story" Arc: It's depicted to be created by an ancient race as an out-of-place artifact which not only carried dinosaurs and mythical creatures, it's also used as a weather control device that can bring about drastic changes to the Earth's weather, including the threat of global flooding.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Col. McDougal plans to wipe humanity off the face of the planet to help the Earth re-flourish and repopulate it with creatures he will create.
- Orichalcum: Yu's Armored Muscle Suit is crafted from an unknown element found in the various dig sites that is referred to as "Orichalcum." The lightweight and extremely resilient metal increases his speed, strength, and is mostly bulletproof with the exception of Orihalcum-made/Orihalcum-like weapons. Fatman and Little Boy of the Machiner's Platoon wear them too. Trident Corporation mercenary operatives such as Iwao Akatsuki also wear them, but they sacrifice speed for more power.
- Product Placement: Yu's high school is named after Shogakukan, given that it was the manga's publisher and one of the film's production companies involved.
- Razor Floss: The cybernetically enhanced Machiner's Platoon operative "Little Boy" uses razor-thin wires as his weapon of choice, which he utilizes to ensnare and slice multiple enemies at once to ribbons.
- That Man Is Dead: Yu has abandoned being called #43 since he defected from COSMOS, preferring to be called by his real name.
- Title Drop: Several times, the title is mentioned.
- Yanks with Tanks: A major enemy of the ARCAM Foundation throughout the series. Among these include COSMOS, its elite black-ops child soldier unit aside from regular American special forces. In the manga, COSMOS and the Machiner's Platoon are the major enemies from the US.
- Action Girl: Yoshino Somei. Being a mercenary treasure hunter and trained by her mom at a young age, she's prepared for this. Tea Flatte too thanks to her magic. For a short time, Akiha Ominae.
- Ancient Astronauts: Quetzalcoatl was this when Yu Ominae and his classmate Hatsuho Sasahara learned about this in the former's mission in Mexico. However, Tezcatlipoca was not as he was a survivor when his people tried to escape from the Roman Empire. However, they were all slaughtered by archers. Needless to say, he wants more than revenge against the former empire. Disproportionate Retribution can also be included because of Tezcatlipoca alone.
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Oboro is a benevolent version. Chen Suan Lee is the evil version.
- Bare-Fisted Monk: Oboro and Chen Suan Lee. Oboro's personality and goals fit this the closest. Bo Brantze also counts.
- Badass Normal: Oboro, Yamamoto and Chen Suan Lee. Yamamoto stands out because he, unlike the other two, does not have mad kungfu skill, just incredible aim and reflexes. Akatsuki and Yuu also becomes this at the end of the story, having ditched their respective suits.
- Brits with Battleships: An enemy faction in Spriggan's Berserker arc, which involves the British SAS against a bunch of ARCAM Private Army soldiers. The former obviously won.
- Chucking Chalk: Yu Ominae's delinquent status in his high school is known publicly to the point that his teacher throws chalk at his head to make him pay attention. It's subverted since Yu catches the chalk with his fingers even when he dozes off. The manga suggests that it wasn't his first time getting into this kind of trouble.
- CIA Evil, FBI Good: Indeed. A couple of them were deployed to Japan to apprehend Rie for her knowledge of OOPArts under orders from the American government when Yu foiled them. Strangely in the North American release, this was not censored out.
- Class Trip: Yu gets one with his trip, being excited and all since he lived in America for most of his life. Except that Yoshino spoiled it to get him to secure an OOPArt with her. He was pissed off. A lot.
- Crazy-Prepared: ARCAM Headquarter buildings (At least the Japanese branch) have bullet and shatterproof glass on the entrance, electrified walls and floors in certain parts of the lobby and guards having easy access to small arms, which is a surprise since the country doesn't allow a majority of small arms. Even when ARCAM personnel are in field missions considered risky, they are armed with various small arms ranging from sub-machine guns and assault rifles to GPMGs and rocket-propelled grenade launchers. Same goes with ARCAM Private Army soldiers sent to protect them too. COSMOS and the Machiner's Platoon were able to bulldoze through those defenses and such, are the only adversaries of the Spriggans to have the "honor" of doing so.
- Dub Name Change: Viz placed in the Majestic 12 instead of the Machiner's Platoon to potentially avoid offending the US Military establishment. This is averted in the Chuang Yi English version.
- Orihalcon is used instead of Orihalcum. Although in this case, it can be also be used as such.
- When Spriggan was released in Canada and in the US, France, Spain, it was known as Striker. This was probably since the translators made the change from Spriggan as they said the former was the meaning of the latter in English.
- Elite Mooks: COSMOS. You don't fuck around with these kids. They're also Child Soldiers kidnapped at a young age and trained to be special forces-trained assassins with lots of brainwashing.
- Enemy Mine: Near the end, Yu and Jean (with the rest of the anti-Larry Markson and anti-Henry Garnum ARCAM personnel) team up with ex-Trident Corporation commando Iwao Akatsuki and ex-Neo Nazi and ninja-trained Bo Brantze to stop the destruction of the Earth by Larry's hands from trying to harness Gaia's power for a hostile ARCAM. It's interesting considering that ARCAM security forces including the Spriggans had once marked the two as their enemies. In the beginning, Spetsnaz officer Victor Shutrov (or Stolov, based on the Singaporean English translation) tries to kill Japanese KGB agent Koichi Moroha when he learns of his plan to dominate the world via the Fire Shrine and not on behalf of the USSR, helping Yu somewhat. He's killed later, not being able to stop the renegade agent. Yu and Iwao also team up to remove the curse from the forests of India. This is also part of Even Evil Has Standards.
- Even Evil Has Standards: A few, but notably with Bo, a neo-nazi. Yu thinks that the world's gone crazy.
- Foreshadowing: Numerous bad guys, ranging from Iwao Akatsuki to ARCAM personnel (most of them former) that someone in the company's trying to amass power to take control of the company with disastrous results. Turns out that they're right and this makes Yu reluctant to continue Spriggan missons since he can't tell if the majority of ARCAM are bad guys or good guys.
- Gaia's Vengeance: Near the ending of the manga when corrupt ARCAM/Trident officials wanted to harness Gaia's natural power as a military weapon. Too bad it backfired and instead, started volcanic eruptions that threatened to destroy the planet.
- Mega-Corp: ARCAM and Trident are described as this at various points in the manga series.
- Ninja: Yu and Yoshino face off against Koga-trained ninjas led by a spymaster named Kenzo Nakano to seize the Philosopher's Stone.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: Jean is this after he sees his own blood whenever he gets shot up by small arms. He's like that since his family bloodline are all werewolves, created by ancient civilizations as a biological soldier.. However, ex-ARCAM Spriggan and doctor Percup Ramdi had been able to fix it somewhat.
- Our Zombies Are Different: In the Forest of No Return story, the ARCAM Special Private Army operatives and Trident mercenaries deployed to the forest in India are turned to zombies with the ability to use their weapons and equipment thanks to a curse placed on it by Rama after Sita was kidnapped.
- Playing Both Sides: Japanese KGB agent Koichi Moroha uses the CIA agents and the American military with the Spetsnaz in Japan to help him secure the Fire Orb for himself.
- Stealth Mentor: A variation occurs when Oboro was first introduced. He was a good guy all along, and was a double agent. A more straight example occurs late in the series when he seemingly defects to Trident. He fought and seemingly killed Jean and later fought Yuu. After being defeated (he may have limited himself) he explains that he did all that to unlock Yuu's true potential and he knew Jean wouldn't be that easily killed. It was shown in subsequent battles that the two indeed became a lot more powerful after his "lesson".
- Russians with Rusting Rockets: The Russian military is an enemy faction of the ARCAM Foundation in the Fire Shrine arc with the Spetsnaz deployed in Japan to secure the Fire Orb.
- Tower of Babel: There's a mention of this in the Iraq storyline with the Reverse Babel Tower as its counterpart.
- You Cloned Hitler!: A main plotline in the manga with Hitler actually having good and bad personalities. The former killed himself when he found out that the latter was responsible for starting WWII. At least in the European theater.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Koichi Moroha kills the CIA agents in the outskirts of New Tokyo International Airport by using razor sharp winds that decapitated them and their body parts.
- A God Am I: Colonel McDougal.
- Adaptation Distillation: The entire film contained scenes that showed Yu's failed brainwashing when he was COSMOS and the bombing of Yu's high school, both scenes from the manga's Mappa Mundi arc. Unless you read the manga (either the Shogakukan version or the translated versions that are completed), you won't know why the scene was in there. Watching the film assumes that the viewers are familiar with the Noah's Ark story.
- One-Woman Wail: During the activation of the Ark.
- Only a Flesh Wound: Yu snaps out of a Heroic BSoD in what, up to that point, was a Curb-Stomp Battle with Fat Man, taking off his hand with one knife swipe and gutting him with another. This just gets him riled up.Fat Man: FINALLY, YOU BEGIN TO FIGHT!
- See You in Hell: Yu yells one to Col. McDougal before giving the latter the final blow.