The back of the blu-ray case states that this film is on par with other cyberpunk greats like "Ghost in the Shell" and "Blade Runner". Usually, I find these kind of statements rather baseless, but in this case, I have to agree.
As you have probably guessed from the product description, "Mardock Scramble: The First Compression" is no K-ON! or Studio Ghibli; it deals with a pretty heavy and dark subject matter, yet manages to do so tastefully. It's worth noting that the main theatrical feature is actually a 15 certificate - the 18 certificate comes from the director's cut, which features explicit sex scenes. However, these scenes are not there for titillation - the way they are shown detaches us from them, leaving only distaste and sympathy for Rune Balot.
Rune is definitely the most likeable anime protagonist of recent history. She is a woman of few words (which are actually spoken through a mechanical voice) but when she does speak we are allowed to see a fragile young girl who finds it hard to trust anyone, yet is willing to cling onto anyone who gives her any kind of positive words. Throughout the film you just want to hug her and tell her that everything will be okay.
In my title, I mentioned that the film was twisted in a sense. However, this does not come from the story, which as I said earlier is done rather tastefully - it comes from the characters. Dr. Easter is one of the most tame, yet proudly exclaims that a morgue of 800 corpses would be like a playground for him. Let's just say that there are some characters who like to transplant some people's body parts onto really unusual parts of their bodies.
As expected from a high definition theatrical feature, the animation is superb - this is definitely a film to buy on Blu-ray. For the most part, the colours don't tend to be bright, fitting with the film's dark nature, but the level of detail is fantastic. I watched the Director's Cut so I have only heard the Japanese cast so far, but they did a splendid job - Rune Balot's "voice" in particular stands out as being hollow-sounding as expected from an artificial voice, but also cute and sweet, as expected from a young girl.
My only complaint would be that KazéUK is still waiting for the English dub of "Mardock Scramble: The Second Compression". However, as soon as I finished watching the film, I ordered the original novel (well, *novels*, but Viz Media printed them in English as one bound volume).
If you are willing to put up with some grotesque imagery and a sad story with a twisted er...twist, then this is definitely the film for you - this trilogy will no doubt be remembered in years to come as a classic.