Appleseed (Japanese: アップルシード Hepburn: Appurushīdo) is a Japanese science fiction media franchise based on the manga written and illustrated by Masamune Shirow. The series follows the adventures of ESWAT members Deunan Knute and Briareos Hecatonchires in Olympus. Like much of Shirow’s work, Appleseed merges elements of the cyberpunk and mecha genres with politics, philosophy, and sociology. The series spans four volumes, released between 1985 and 1989. It has been adapted into an original video animation, three feature films (Appleseed, Appleseed Ex Machina, Applesee Alpha), a 13-episode TV series (Appleseed XIII), and two video games.
Originally published in Japan in 1985, Book One Appleseed: The Promethean Challenge was published directly to paperback instead of being serialized, a rarity in the Japanese manga market. This was soon followed by the publication of Book Two, Appleseed: Prometheus Unbound, Book Three Appleseed: The Scales of Prometheus in 1987, and Book Four Appleseed: The Promethean Balance in 1989. Rumors of a possible Volume 5 still persist today, though Shirow had mentioned that he has no plans of pursuing it for the meantime. From 1988 to 1992, Appleseed was published in English by Eclipse Comics, packaged by Studio Proteus. The manga is currently published by Dark Horse Comics. In 2004, a special edition compiling the first two volumes was released, under the title Appleseed 01&02.
In 1990, Shirow produced the Appleseed Databook, a detailed look into the history, the people, and the technology found in the world of Appleseed. The book includes the short story titled “Called Game”.
Appleseed Hypernotes was serialized in Comic Gaia, followed by a collected volume in 1996. The Hypernotes consist of a four chapter story followed by technical information about the world, mechs, and equipment much like Appleseed Databook. An English language version of Appleseed Hypernotes was serialized in Dark Horse Comics‘ Super Manga Blast. One of the terms for Hypernotes publication stated that Appleseed Hypernotes could not be released in English in collected format. The reason for this is because Shirow was unsatisfied with the work and wanted to fix it before releasing it as a complete book for English readers. Dark Horse eventually released an English TPB of Hypernotes in October 2007.