Dominion Tank Police

OVA (4 eps)
1988 - 1989
3.403 out of 5 from 1,932 votes
Rank #8,439

Many years in the future, crime is out of hand. In order keep the city safe, the Tank Police were created. The Tank Police are an elite unit that uses massive tanks to bring criminals to justice, yet many feel they do more damage than they are worth. Leona is a rookie, and within her first few days on the force she is already knee-deep in trouble.

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A boomer era anime through and through, Dominion Tank Police is one of the many seinen adaptations that Manga Entertainment licenced and localised for an audience that yearned for matured rated anime in the early nineties, thanks in no small part to the international success of properties like Akira. Although, in retrospect, calling Masamune Shirow’s Dominion anything but mature is quant. This OVA shares more in common with Patlabor than maybe Masamune Shirow’s other most famous property in Ghost in the Shell (or atleast the 1995 filmic adaptation anyway). It is a simple, albeit it brief, police show. Dominion does dip a toe into a post-apoclapytic world: Through ecological, and maybe even societal disaster, the police have become over-powered to the point where they now arm themselves with not just guns but tanks… Heavily armoured, heavily weaponed, pieces of military equipment. The absurdity of the situation writes itself, with the opening minutes of the show montaging a quick history of law enforcement as the city’s chief and mayor argue over the necessity to wield such firepower. Our frame of reference character is Leona Ozaki, who is transferred fresh into the Tank Division from another department in the police force. It is established quickly that Leona’s happy-go-lucky outlook is at odds with the macho never say die temperament of her CO, Charles Brenten, who might be the closest thing to a Ron Swanson in anime form in both appearance and temperament. Brenten (renamed as Britain in the Manga Entertianment dub) loudly proclaims his disdain for a woman joining, going so far as having preconceived notions regarding her aptitude and guts to roll in an otherwise courageously stupid part of the precinct. Although, like Ron Swanson, much of Brenten’s character is exaggerated to the point of hilarity as his own hi-jinks eventually lead to Leona proving herself throughout the episodes. Much is picked up on in only a couple episodes since, as we learn of each member in Leona’s new department and how they operate within it. We are later introduced to the OVA’s villains in Buaku and the Puma sisters, a bit of a double whammy in providing the show’s comic relief and fanservice respectively. These characters are fun to watch, as the goofiness of Buaku stealing urine sample from a hospital for healthy people (yes, really) leads to the Puma sisters doing an elaborate strip tease to fool the cops with their lust (and naturally, it works a charm as well). There is a larger conspiracy hinted at, as to why these characters were hired to carry out a mysterious organisation’s dirty work, yet Dominion Tank Police is having too much fun with the scenarios at hand to hone in too deeply on that. In anycase, it becomes Leona’s mission to ermm… Secure the urine? And to ensure the criminal activities of the Puma Sisters and Buaku are thwarted. Several high speed tank related chases ensue, and are wonderfully animated at that. Infact, the production in general for Dominion Tank Police shines through as Shirow’s artstyle translates neatly into animation, with memorable background art and details on the mechanical designs. Leona’s own tank, Bonaparte, almost looks a shoe-in for the design SNK would settle on for their 1996 game Metal Slug… And yet precedes it by some five years atleast! Ofcourse, I can’t talk production without acknowledging Dominion Tank Police’s dub either which, in typical Manga Entertainment format, feels adhoc but relatable. The dialogue in particular has some quality zingers, especially when the Tanks are felled by giant inflatable members, although these are interposed with excessive cussing in a show that likely never had particularly explicit language. It does however also have some original music, particularly the English intro that has a wonderfully cheesy 80s electronic type of feel. There is some disappointment in that the cult status of the English localisation has made finding Dominion Tank Police in anything but that far more difficult than it should be. If an obscurity like Cyber City Oedo 808 can get both the localised, and un-localised versions of it’s show out into the wild, and in high definition no less, it is some wonder that Dominion Tank Police has yet to receive the same kind of treatment. But in summary, this is a worthwhile OVA, made during the Golden Age of Japanimation on video and with a memorably early example of (then) boutique labels like Manga Entertainment trying their hand at translating and re-interpreting the material for Western audiences. This show is definitely a relic of it’s time but you can see why the investment was made in the first place. As mentioned earlier, Shirow would be recognised properly by the time Ghost in the Shell was adapted by Production IG for the cinema, effectively helping usher in another boom period for the medium. Dominion Tank Police itself has a follow-up show, New Dominion Tank Police which actually serves as a follow-up to the manga rather than the OVA. Anyway go watch this show, or don’t, it is pretty hard to find (legally) these days I suppose.


GOD series no. 6 (good ol' times) Oh boy, OVAs never disappoint do they? Let’s start by saying that you shouldn’t be off put by the weird poster that for some reason looks like it was drawn by Alfieri. This is not some kind of cheap Hentai. What is this exactly then? Well, it tries to be funny, it tries to be exciting, it tries to be deep, it tries to be serious, it tries to be philosophical, it tries to have a story and all of its efforts are half assed yet all of its effort are a labor of love, creativity and originality, it ends up being a somehow enjoyable mixed bag of different shit thrown in it, so, in a few words, it’s an 80s OVA in all of its glory. Story starts off slow, what you would expect from the title, the glorious tank police fights against the antagonist criminal. Later on the story takes a turn and tries to become… well… a story, does it succeed? Not really but it doesn’t fail miserably either. Pacing is weird in general and in each episode, but at least it is not sluggish, it doesn’t attract your utmost attention but it doesn’t bore you to death either. It is goofy, it is silly, it is whatever yet somehow it works, I can’t quite describe it, you have to have seen other similar OVAs to understand the image I’m trying to paint here, the stuff that happens in the first arc lets say, that you supposed that would lead to the finale are just brushed aside and towards the end of the show the story almost gets dead serious about existential crisis taking a different turn pretty much ignoring everything before that point. Yet in the middle of the show, at one point, the enemy deploys some new traps and I kid you not, those traps are inflatable dongers, I shit you not, inflatable dongers! It’s just… whatever. Characters are fine, nothing spectacular, they are all goofy, lovable and they work, there is no development ofc, except maybe a little in the case of the villain, actually, thinking about it in retrospective, the villain might be the protagonist of this story, he has two criminally hot babes as underlings as well, not that it really matters, I just wanted to point that out. Presentation though? That’s where the show shines, while the production values are not great, all the handrawn backgrounds, the structures, the atmosphere, the tanks the vehicles, the color palette, they are all exceptional and you should check the show even for a couple of minutes just to admire the artistry. The music is what you would expect from the era, it’s a blast, it’s not my style but I enjoy it nonetheless, voice acting was also surprisingly good. So, is this worth a watch? Meh, this is a tough one, if it was shorter ti would be, but at 2 hours long, I can’t really recommend it as a decent watch, but if you are like me and like to watch stuff on your second monitor then this definitely fits the bill, and if anything you should at least check it out for the amazing art, you can definitely do a lot better with your 2 hours of time, but at the same time, you can do a lot worse.

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