Review by Jeffrey Schrab:
Armitage III is near future tale of a terraformed Mars in the midst of colonization and has a large android population to help out - and ugly prejudge is common place. One particular line of 'droids is the target of assassinations - The Thirds. The Thirds are the latest models and Officer Naomi Armitage is one of them.
Enter Detective Ross Sylibus. A transfer detective from Earth, sent to aid in the investigation of the assassination of the Thirds. Ross's relationship with Armitage is, at first, rocky, to say the least. Ross is no fan of androids and Armitage is a cold loner by nature.
As the investigation unfolds, because of her "unaccounted for time" loner ways, Armitage is implicated as a suspect in a Third assassination, and finds herself on the run. Sylibus continues his half of the investigation and learns something very interesting - only female Thirds are being assassinated. He also finds another interesting fact - the female Thirds can bear children. The reason for creating them this way was that humans on Mars have a very low birth rate due to environmental conditions. If Mars is ever to have any political power with Earth, they must have a growing population. The assassination of Thirds is a power play to prevent that from happening.
There is some doubt whether Naomi is actually a Third or not. Also coming to grips with her existence being somewhere between sentient being and a home appliance is a major theme though out the series.
In the end, however, Armitage finds her "father"/creator (he has lost his mind), wipes out a secret Earth attack to destroy her father and his further creations (they succeed, but never go home to talk about it), and ... becomes pregnant with Ross's child.
Very violent, bloody, with use of adult language, Armitage III brings up prototypical conflicts of man dealing with machines that have become more than machines - but man finds it inconvenient to think of them any other way.
Parent's Guide Rating:
Red (Recommended for Mature Audiences)
Violence: Armitage may be machine, but she does have some organic flesh that does bleed - and she does get banged up from time to time. But only a tenth as bad as she personally deals out. There is an occational naked bosom, and a fair bit of profanity. The "reproducing machine" issue is complex one, and suggests sexual themes, though they are discussed "clinically" and with no actual sex scenes.
Armitage is the toughest 'mech I have ever seen (Major Kusanagi from Ghost In The Shell takes the back seat here) - a tank on two legs in hot pants and a grin that grows proportionately with the destruction she causes - which is rather alarming from time to time.
Though I really don't recommend Armitage III for small children - I do have to wonder if it *might* be appropriate on the basis that it is the youth of today that may live to face such questions.
Armitage III is story with difficult themes - themes that I would personally have a difficult time explaining to most children. Someday, will our machines look up to us as parents? How will we treat them? As mankind comes to terms with the equality of race, color and creed - will it all resurface on the day a computer becomes sentient?
And what happens if we put that computer on two legs?
Review comments by Sarah:
The reviewer does not seem to mention the following in the Inventory for the first of the Armitage III series:
It was mentioned that the Thirds are targets of a series of investigations. There are several disturbing scenes where the killer shows videorecordings he made of each Third he killed. As the Thirds are so advanced they are practically human, the killer seems to revel in each woman's fear and horror as they die in front of the camera.
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