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Prostitute resurrected as a cyborg seeks revenge and a reason to live

Mardock Scramble

3 Films


Series Order

The First Compression
The Second Combustion
The Third Exhaust


Psychological; Drama; Sci-fi; Cyberpunk; Tragedy; Mystery; Thriller; Action; Game


15 year-old prostitute Rune Balot is in a limo ride with underground powerhouse Shell, thinking how she would like to die. Her wish comes true when he leaves her in the car and burns her to death. At that moment, she takes back her words, and again her wish is answered. Resurrected by Doctor Easter, she comes back as a cyborg. Œufcoque, a shape-shifting mouse, presents himself as her companion as she vows to take revenge on the man who killed her. However, Shell has his own demons and he doesn’t like the idea of being hunted by one he vaguely remembers dispatching. Will Rune succeed, and even if she does, can she find a reason to live beyond the violence?

A view of Mardock City

Content Advisory

This is not a comprehensive list of every individual use of strong content, merely a guide to show you how extreme it gets and how strong it tends to be. Also, the tags I’ve given each segment (e.g. Very Strong Language) is based on my own system and does not necessarily reflect the tags the BBFC (or other national equivalent) use. According to my system, the ‘Mild’, ‘Moderate’, ‘Strong’ and ‘Very Strong’ adjectives are based on strength, not on volume. Now, obviously, the strength of any type of content is subjective; what I consider strong might just be a relaxing weekend for you. Hence, I have added an explanation for my decision to allow you to make your own informed decision.

Strong Bloody Violence

Hefty doses of blood and injury detail bathe this show in graphic detail, especially in the first film.

Strong Gore

Hunks of flesh, bits of brain, severed fingers and more. This series does not hold back on its gore factor!

Strong Nudity

A few scenes depict the protagonist and other characters completely naked, including nipple detail and smoothed over genitals. By that, I mean that the crotch area is shown, but no actual genitals have been drawn in.

One scene has a character showing off a vagina he severed from one victim and sewed onto his hand. Although the scene shows his hand, the vagina is covered by shadows.


A couple of scenes depict characters being raped, while others show scenes leading up to sex.

Strong Sex References

Frequent references to rape and prostitution, as well as a certain group of characters who collect and wear body parts, such as vaginas and breasts.

Strong Horror

A character is burned to death while trapped in a locked vehicle at the beginning of the film and a group of serial killers who collect and wear body parts (skin, breasts, etc.) are presented with rather deformed and twisted character designs and personalities.

Claustrophobic situations about suffocating and the like are discussed, throughout the three films.

Strong Language

Many uses of ‘fuck’, ‘shit’, and other, lesser swear words.

Suicide Themes

From very early on, suicide is talked about and even considered, especially by the protagonist. The entire trilogy is dedicated to following her psychological state, and that also includes her suicidal thoughts.

Drug Use

Characters are shown injecting themselves or being injected with drugs on a few occasions.

Rune holds Oeufcoque in her hands for the first time

Reasons to Watch

This is the difficult part. I don’t want you to see this entry as an oversized ‘DON’T WATCH THIS’ post. Equally, I don’t want to influence your opinion with a biased review – there’s a reason this website is called ‘Anime Insights’ and not ‘Anime Reviews’! In this section, I’m going to try to convey to you some of the reasons (in no particular order) that I’ve seen this trilogy’s fans give for enjoying it!

This is a pull-no-punches psychological journey, complete with philosophies about life and duality.

Fans of Ghost in the Shell (GITS) will likely find something here, too. Not only did Tow Ubukata (Mardock Scramble’s author and screenwriter) do the series composition for some entries in the series, but this trilogy also targets the Cyberpunk audience. Just like GITS, the protagonist is a cybernetic character who unveils many philosophies about life.

Barrier of Entry

In case you couldn’t tell from the content advisory list, this is one extreme show. As such, it will only appeal to an audience who can bear to withstand such torment and content.

Some viewers may be put off by some of the films’ more avant garde concepts and characters. For example, the telepathic gay dolphin whose lover is a telepathic human with no voice.

Some viewers may not like the filter put over the entire film. See the screenshots provided to make your decision!

Personal Bias

I often find that I’m more easily enamoured with a show if someone – or a studio – I like are working on it or when either are trying out something a little different-slash-unusual. Even poor reviews and low expectations can sway me. I figured I should let you know about these biases beforehand, just in case you watch it and think I’ve lead you astray!

These are amongst my favourite films, coming from a studio I’ve come to really enjoy. I’m loving their art style and the filter that gives their productions that unique look, among many other things. Of the films and series I’ve seen of theirs so far, I’d say this is one of the best representations of what they’re capable of – both in terms of production values and in terms of explicitness.

Rune awakes in the liquid, reborn as a cyborg


Ending Themes

Amazing Grace for Balot by Minako Honda (Film 1)

Ave Maria for Balot by Minako Honda (Film 2)

Tsubasa by Megumi Hayashibara (Film 3)

Hardcopy Notes

Although the UK collection contains two versions of each film (one being uncensored, the other being the theatrical), the English Dub is not available in the uncensored format for the first film.

Staff List

Animation Production: GoHands

Director: Susumu Kudo

ADR Director: Steven Foster (Film 1) & Janice Williams (Film 2-3)

Screenplay & Original Creator: Tow Ubukata

ADR Script: Steven Foster (Film 1), Janice Williams (Film 2) & Josh Grelle (Film 3)

Music: Conisch

Character Design & Chief Animation Directors: Jun Nakai & Shingo Suzuki

Art Director: Masanobu Nomura

Lead Voice Actors

Megumi Hayashibara as Rune Balot

Norito Yashima as Œufcoque

Lead Voice Actors (sentai FILMWORKS)

Hilary Haag as Rune Balot

Andy McAvin as Œufcoque

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