I thoroughly enjoyed the first two seasons of Altered Carbon (and the books by Richard Morgan back in the day), but I was a bit slow getting to Resleeved, the animated movie featuring Takeshi Kovacs, the Last Envoy, this time voiced by Ray Chase (who joins Joel Kinnaman, Anthony Mackie, and Will Yun Lee in playing the role).
Without wanting to spoil anything, Resleeved is set before the majority of events seen in the first season. It's not quite a prequel as it does take place after certain events depicted in the show, but it's positioned nice and early in the timeline.
I'm going to keep things nice and vague so as not to spoil anything for you, but I will say that once again there's a Yukaza influence on the story. Tak is called in to protect a young tattoo artist who's embroiled in a deadly powerplay between powerful criminal families, and as you can imagine given his specific talents, that means a few heads are going to roll. Literally.
That's all you're getting in terms of story, but then again you don't need to know much more as the story isn't really the highlight. The lore and setting in Altered Carbon are great, and they work to nicely set-up events here, but generally speaking, I didn't think it was the strongest part of the package. In fact, most of the characters are puddle-deep and the scriptwriting doesn't help add much depth either. If you're after a complex story with nuanced dialogue, you may well be disappointed.
On the other hand, if you're after brutal action scenes, Relsleeved has got you well and truly covered. Some of the combat sequences are ferocious, with lots of blood and gore, as you'd expect from a franchise that doesn't pull its punches. It's gruesome stuff, especially when you consider the number of samurai swords they managed to squeeze in.
For the most part, it looks pretty good with a cel-shaded art style that actually feels very video game-like. With eye-catching cityscapes and its bold use of colour, Resleeved retains the distinctive visual identity of its live-action predecessor. In fact, the main thing that sets it apart is the sheer amount of blood, with directors Takeru Nakajima and Yoshiyuki Okada taking every opportunity to douse the screen in the red stuff.
Despite the limited scope of the story and the bang average writing, Altered Carbon: Resleeved fits nicely into the series thanks to a few references that tie it nicely to both the first and second seasons. It never hits the heights of the main show, but as a fun little distraction to fill an evening, you could do worse.