AD Police Files is a hard-boiled prequel to Bubblegum Crisis, the cyberpunk OVA of the '80s. Sadly, BGC had so much potential that it failed to reach, and the sequel OVA, Bubblegum Crash, was mostly a waste of time. Perhaps it's therefore understandable that my expectations were on the lower end when I started this.
It's made up of three stand-alone episodes, focusing on the grim escapades of Neo-Tokyo's finest, the AD Police, along with their regular Joe counterparts, the oh-so creatively named Normal Police. This works in its favour, since there would otherwise barely be enough runtime to get a decent overarching story going. It doesn't overstay its welcome, either, and the episode length is reasonable without a lot of padding or blather. The episodes themselves are kind of samey as far as conent goes, but I felt that the last one was the poorest, quality-wise.
The recurring themes are (usually female) sexuality being played for weirdness, body horror and lingerie-clad women. I guess there're some other things as well, but this is my take-away. What it says about me I don't know, but it doesn't speak that well of AD Police Files. Or it really does, if stuff like that is what you're hankering for.
Despite taking place five years earlier than BGC, it feels far more futuristic, with cooler architecture and themes of transhumanism via cybernetics (I don't think cybernetics were ever featured in Crisis). To my surprise, it actually makes for interesting viewing, despite not inviting to the most high-brow of thought exercises. It's far more nuanced than Crisis' approach to Boomers and sexaroids (I seriously love that term), which underutilised those themes in favour of Knight Sabers asskickery. It's a change that works out well, since the Knight Sabers asskickery wasn't all that good most of the times.
It's not all good, though: it's really dark and aiming to be gritty and mature by using lots of sex and violence, but like most stuff from that era it just ends up being... underwhelming? It adds very little, and is mostly boring. Just because the direct-to-video format lets you bypass TV censors doesn't mean that you really should go for edgier content unless you know what you're doing. Far too often it'll end up being silly and immature, rather like a bunch of kids quoting Cannibal Corpse lyrics in a game of one-upmanship. A good guess for what the writers' room looked like? (Note: I don't know if this had one or more writers)
I am certainly not opposed to grimderpness on any moral or aesthetic principle, and I don't consider myself a prude, but I am really picky about edgier stuff, and this did not fit the bill at all. It's far from a dealbraker, but still. Also, AD Police Files is far too po-faced and lacking in self-awareness for its own good, but the lack of levity does not help bring about an engrossing, oppressive atmosphere.
Obviously, I bet this was better back in the day, but I don't think it's aged that well, which is a shame. There are several nuggets of gold here, and a few re-writes and sharper focus on characterisation and mood could have made this a far better work.
Soundwise, it's vastly inferior to BGC, a title whose soundtrack still have precious few peers. The ending songs do offer some cheesy eighties balladery that certainly works if you're in the mood for such fare. Still, the soundtrack is no match for Kouji Makino's instrumental synth tracks or the vocal tracks that have made the Crisis OST almost a daily listen for me. As far as VA performance goes, this has Norio in it, so it's pretty good by default. It's rather standard fare, though, and I didn't notice any standout perforamces in the Japanese audio. My guess is that the dub adds some needed cheese, but as I did not watch more than a few scenes dubbed, I can't say for sure.
Overall, a decent chunk of grimdark OVA cheese. It's not required viewing for anyone, but there are certainly worse titles out there.
An Anime-Planet Secret Santa 2016 review.
This is a precautionary tale on qhy humans should not create androids that look exactly like humans. It's... it's a bad idea, ok?
Story: The episodes are individual stories about an advanced society where there are androids, cybernetic body replacements, and full-on cyborgs. But the problem is that none of these are working the way they should, so a specialized group of police has to take cre of things... to mixed results. The weird blend of sexual overtones, cyber punk, and science fiction made for an odd viewing.
Animation: The animation is not bad for it's time. It's a bit overly shaded, and the movement sequences aren't the best, but for being from 1990, it is definitely similar to a lot that came out around that time. However, by today's standards, it leaves a lot to be desired.
Sound: Probably the best thing about this anime, hands down.
Characters: The main characters get a little bit of backstory and depth, but not as much as the important side characters per episode. Granted, how much depth you can give a murderous, masochistic fembot? Or a cyborg who is more machine than man? Apparently, enough that the storyline keeps going.
Should you watch this? No. Go watch the original Ghost in the Shell instead. The movie, not the TV series.
This review brought to you by the DAMC
Story: First of all, let me ask you this: Do you know what Bubblegum Crisis is? In italics because this is a very important question. Now, assuming you do, because I assume you to be a just person and not a total slacker who hasn't seen it and is watching an OVA on it because some douche said you should watch it, then you can tell me how it relates to said Bubblegum Crisis because I have no idea what a Crisis of Bubblegums is. I mean, I thought I did but I am confident the shit I'm thinking of is not the shit that should be the main series of this shit (Shit being subjective). Looking it up, I am correct: What I was thinking of was not Bubblegum Crisis.
With that out of the way, I can tell you that this is most definitely probably maybe questionably like its TV Series counterpart: AD Police. But the OVA is probably more gritty and slightly more masochistic, which I must say was some awkward boners. But I'm getting ahead of myself, despite this being an 80s OVA and thus having titties of various quantities. Just assume this isn't a bunch of episodic shit with repeating characters and it's... relevant to its source material or original TV series? Continuity? Shit's given?
You see all that? How somewhat incomprehensible it is? How pointless it is? That is what this shit is: Generally stupid and pointless. But, somewhat entertaining. It deals with hookers, robots, robot hookers, robot chicks, robot dames, robo Rambo, robo robots and robo dudes. It's about god-fearing humans cracking down on crime-committing robots and occasionally kicking the everloving shit out of them most heinously. Sometimes the robots kick the shit out of the humans back and sometimes, except a lot of the time, it gets violent. That is a trait of an 80s OVA.
Know what another trait is? Titties. This is a grim, dark shit-stained world unless you're in the medical business of harvesting shit. And let me tell you, people are harvested. Good people and hookers. Prostitutes and guttersnipes. Gutter-rats and people who can't repay their debts. Ha! Organ harvesting. So you know that it's a PG-13 show, or 18+. Jolly good fun!
Actual-actual plot, I have no idea. Sometimes it's confusing, sometimes it's simple. You can get the gist of it easily.
Animation: Aside from the obligatory titties, it has some good violence. Pretty brutal at times and there is some blood. Not as much as you'd expect, but there's still blood. Think there was a butt or two and my favorite, robosexual activities. Girls humping all on robots and in the first episode, a smoking hot babe that the dude should have totally banged. It's 80s schlock, how can it possibly age?
Sound: This is divided between "80s music" and "All the other shit that just fuck everything else because holy shit that music is fucking awesome". First off, fuck everything else. Second, the music is pure 80s. The OP is the fucking tits! It screams 80s where the only bad part about it is two-fold: Not enough synths and some sound effects going on in the background. The rest of the music is pure 80s cheese and absolutely great.
Oops, forgot I watched this dubbed. Dubbed needed to be cheesier and have far more narm. Quite poor fair.
Characters: At this point, you probably don't give a shit about the characters, and neither do I. Maybe for the sexy dame in the first episode, the CEO in the second and Timmy in the third. Tommy? MD Geist.
Overall: Man I love 80s OVAs! They got titties, violence and wanton nudity with excessive blood and very little plot! And if they're one whole episode, an incomprehensible absolute bullshit fuck all ending. This was pretty much all of the relevant bits, as it more or less ended reasonably. You know, to 80s OVA standards. It's actually kinda fun if you watch it in a group but feel free to go subbed.
If you are a Bubblegum Crisis fan, or fan of some similar cyberpunk series in general, this 3-part OVA is not to be missed. Although it is just 3 short, stand-alone episodes, it packs enough atmosphere and psychological debate, to be considered worthy.
- This is studio AIC’s third best OVA work after Bastard!! and Yamato 2199 and I must say as far as presentation goes, it is pretty good for its time.
- The director is Nishimori Akira, who has produced only 3 titles in his career so far and this is the watchable amongst them. Not much to brag for I must say.
[My God; the cyber chick squashed the guy’s head like a tomato!]
The art manages to absorb you in the dystopian world of the series with detailed machinery, dark alleys and amoral bystanders. The violent life of the industrialised city, the daily tragedies and the freaked-out humans and androids create a terrible and yet interesting worldview.
In the artistic domain, there are several scenes, where the characters think in bizzare ways, the camera focuses or zooms in creepy angles, and the lights drop on the characters in imposing ways. Generally, you really understand the emotions the characters feel thanks to the strong and planned use of images and visual effects. It really rocks before several so-called masterpieces of science fiction, like the Terminator movies, where you don’t really care much of how the characters feel and just pay attension to the shit they blow up.
The action scenes are very realistic and gory. There are also quite a few scenes of well-drawn nude and easily implied intercourse. Both these elements are a mixed bag. They will feel cool if you like that sort of raw violence (as I do). On the other hand, they are crude in movements and short in duration; which makes them lame if you like extended scenes (as I do).
Still, unlike most movies and series out there, sex and violence are parts of the phychosis of the characters and not just eye candy for the sake of publicity. They are parts of the story and of the characters and not your usual splatter galore, just for sheer fun. You feel more disturbed than excited while watching them.
Down to it, the animations is great but tends to have crude movements, too many still images and cheep visuals during shootings and explosions.
[Great; first she guts people and then ponders about the meaning of life.]
Voice acting is decent but not great. We have the usual “I try too obviously to sound sad and innocent” problem. The characters do talk in a sophisticated way, full of scientific explanations and moral discussions. But it’s pretty common and shallow if you have seen enough distopian scenarios.
Music themes are nice J-pop pieces, although you hardly hear them during the episodes and sometimes they do feel out of place with the plot. You can always check the music videos of the series to fully appreciate them. Still, they are not that great. The creepy atmosphere-building music on the other hand is very good and puts you in the appropriate mood.
Sound effects are cheesy and poor. The producers didn’t bother with them much.
SCRIPT & CAST
[I came, I saw, I left.]
Nothing much on both. The story is about the lives of the characters before they were a team. It’s just 3 short stories full of violence, sex and moral debates. Cyborgs go crazy on emotions, kill people, super cops investigate, talk deep about something and blow some sculls apart soon after. 20 minutes aren’t enough to analyze the story or the characters properly. In fact, the entire franchise is just an undeveloped but interesting idea. The main concept is great but its analysis is plain short and rushed, leaving the cast to be nothing but plot devises. [/spoiler]
You probably expected a lot higher, based on what I wrote so far. But no, I didn’t like it that much and I don’t plan to watch it ever again. All the good ideas have been presented in longer and better ways in the titles of my suggestion list. It’s ok for a quick view if you are new to the field and a fan of the series but very forgettable if you are a seasoned viewer.
Movies With Real Actors: Matrix, Johnny Mnemonic, Blade Runner, Tron, The 13th Floor, eXistenZ.
Books: Neuromancer, Do Machines Dream Of Electronic Sheep?
Anime: Ghost In The Shell, Zegapain, .hack//SIGN, Animatrix.