- Film 1: The Matrix

- The Animatrix:
.. - The Second Renaissance
.. - Kid's Story
.. - Program
.. - World Record
.. - Beyond
.. - A Detective Story
.. - Matriculated
.. - Final Flight of the Osiris /
.........Enter the Matrix

- Film 2: The Matrix Reloaded
- Film 3: The Matrix Revolutions

- Return to Source Documentary:
Philosophy and the Matrix

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. - The Original Series (TOS)
. - The Animated Series
. - The Movies
. - The Next Generation (TNG)
. - Deep Space Nine (DS9)
. - Voyager
. - Enterprise

The Animatrix: A Detective Story

Region 1
10-disc box set
for North America
Region 2
10-disc box set
for the U.K.
(The Animatrix, segment 8, starring James Arnold Taylor as Ash, with Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity)
  • story by Manjiro Ooshio
  • written and directed by Shinichiro Watanabe
  • produced by Larry and Andy Wachowski, Michael Arias,
    Eiko Tanaka, Hiroaki Takeuchi
  • music by Don Davis
  • 10 min. action plus 8 min. credits
Story: A mysterious caller hires private investigator Ash to find an elusive computer hacker named Trinity.

In-Depth Analysis Review

by Martin Izsak

WARNING: This review contains "SPOILERS", and is intended for those who have already seen the story.

This is a very atmospheric and subdued entry in the Animatrix. While it isn't quite as emotionally charged as many other segments, partly by its own artistic choice, it is perhaps one of the most healthily thought-provoking of the segments, as it tugs at the flaws in the Wachowski's world and begins to highlight areas of concern. But unlike "The Second Renaissance", the imagery of this segment never feels inappropriately distasteful, which will allow it to achieve a healthy rank amongst its peers.

Our main protagonist is an easy-to-like private investigator named Ash, and through him the audience gets a slightly different perspective of the activities of the main characters of the live-action film trilogy. At first, Ash simply seems to be portrayed using the best parts of cliché detective story conventions like jaded narration, black and white cityscapes suffering unpleasant weather, and grudging descent into seedy nightlife looking for clues, but all now updated to include the world of computers and cyberpunk stylizations.

But the really poignant portions come into play when we begin to see the conflict between Trinity and the agents through the eyes of plugged-into-the-Matrix third parties like Ash and the private eyes that have investigated her before him. One dead, one vanished, one crazy. It comes together on the train, when Ash actually meets Trinity and once again we see several passengers get taken over by agents. Out come the guns, and the self-centered battles begin. And though it is perhaps a bit late, "A Detective Story" follows through on the plot logic that escaped "World Record", as the agents proceed to try to take over Ash. Nowhere else in the film trilogy have we seen this happen to a character that we're so invested in, so it has a power here that is significant. And we see Trinity's reaction, which is pretty much policy for all the other "heroes" of the live-action films. She shoots our guy - a guy who was on her side - and after a heartfelt talk, leaves him to the mercy of the agents. Talk is cheap, while action speaks volumes. Thus the callous nature of the film's "heroes" is put under a spotlight here that it never really gets anywhere else, which really helps this story earn its worth in the saga.

Bizarrely as was the case in "Kid's Story", though we get actress Carrie-Anne Moss recreating her character of Trinity, it's hard to tell that it's actually her by voice alone. I think this has to do largely with the way most main characters in The Matrix films are conceived, spending so much of their time hidden behind sunglasses and punk outfits, and hiding their emotions underneath a veneer of "cool", that not very much personality shows through. There's not enough there for Trinity or Neo to be recognizable by voice alone. In the films, there are very subtle visual things going on that can identify Trinity as a character, but as good as the animation is in this story, it didn't quite go into all the detail that would have made Trinity definitively the woman that Carrie-Anne Moss portrayed on screen.

This story opens up a fascinating can of worms, and ties up Trinity's involvement with it, but it leaves things hanging open as far as Ash is concerned, and a little too open for my tastes. I would have easily loved this story to continue, to see how things turn out for him. It is really a bit bizarre that it ends where it does.

Once again, this is one of the better entries of the Animatrix, and one that all fans of the Matrix movies should see and think about.

Read the In-depth Analysis Review for the next story: "The Animatrix: Matriculated"

This story is available on DVD and Blu-ray as the eighth segment of "The Animatrix" in The Ultimate Matrix Collection.
Click on the Amazon symbol for the location nearest you for pricing and availability:

Standard DVD version: Blu-ray version:
DVD NTSC Region 1
The Ultimate Matrix Collection
10-disc set
for the North American market:
Region 1 NTSC

Region 1 NTSC

Region 1 NTSC

DVD PAL Region 2
The Ultimate Matrix Collection 10-disc set
for the U.K. / Europe:
Region 2 PAL

Blu-ray Region A/1
The Ultimate Matrix Collection
for the North American market:

Region A/1

Region A/1

Bilingual Set

DVD Extras for "A Detective Story" include:

  • making-of featurette (10 min.) for "Kid's Story" and "A Detective Story", with writer/director Shinichiro Watanabe, composer Don Davis,
    producers Michael Arias, Eiko Tanaka, and Hiroaki Takeuchi, casting and voice director Jack Fletcher, and sound designer Dane Davis.
  • short text biographies of the directors & producers of "The Animatrix".

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Read the In-depth Analysis Review for the next story: "The Animatrix: Matriculated"

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