Anime

Published on December 30th, 2015 | by Style

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A. D. Police

 

The year is 2020, and after a devastating earthquake, Tokyo has been rebuilt as Genom City, at the hands of the cyborg VOOMERS—VOodoo Organic Metal Extension Resources—built by the Genom Corporation, whose office tower now dominates the skyline. The machines, known as boomers, have become an integral part of life now, doing heavy construction and maintenance, in addition to more mundane and menial chores. A percentage also have a tendency to go rogue, and their destructive rampages can be fatal. To counter this increasing menace, the Advanced Police (A.D. Police) were formed as a small, elite team, focused on boomer crime.

Kenji Sasaki is a member of that force, but his job has a heavy price, as he has lost all of his previous partners in the line of duty. He is a loner prepared to take risks, an attitude that doesn’t mesh with the team spirit of the A.D. Police. Still, he is effective, and that is what counts when dealing with machines many times more powerful, especially when human lives are at stake. Unfortunately, this independence doesn’t lend itself well to social skills, so his first meeting with new partner Hans Kleif, fresh in from the regular police in Germany, is less than warming. Hans is your hunky pretty boy type, though a previous injury has caused him to lose his memory of childhood, and necessitated a personal nurse. The rest of the team consists of demolitions and team leader Jose Collins, the blonde munitions expert, Karen Jordon, and Mary Malone, whose skill lies in combat chopper flying. They report to their commander Nancy Wilson, who oversees operations. With a city facing a growing boomer threat, the workload is high, but a new menace is lurking in Genom City. The popularity of the boomer has spread worldwide, spawning an illegal trade organization known as the Backers, who sell “grey market” boomers to those willing to pay. The most visible of this organization, Liam Fletcher, becomes a prime target for the A.D. Police, as a number of deadly incidents begin to center around the Backer activities.

As a fan of both the original Bubblegum Crisis and Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040, I was eager to see what this 1999 prequel offshoot would be like. Response to the three-part A.D. Police OVAs was pretty lackluster, but I found the TV series to be quite engrossing, even if not in the same way as either Bubblegum Crisis series, whose appeal came in large part from the mecha battles and cute female casts. A.D. Police is a darker series, relying more on character development and intrigue than a cyber-noir action adventure, though it does contain a lot of intense action. Although most of the supplemental cast doesn’t get much exposition, the relationship of the leads unfolds through numerous flashbacks. However, even as we begin to think we know who we are dealing with, there is always room for a twist, something A.D. Police is filled with. Comparisons were made to the original BGC OVAs, but this has even more of that dark Blade Runner feel, with entire episodes devoted to fleshing out backstory, rather than just lining up a boomer of the week. And unlike the OVAs, this actually has a conclusion, and one that doesn’t come completely out of the blue.

While its strengths are in its story development, the weakness would be in the character design. Compared to the slickness of 2040, the characters here aren’t pretty, and have some inconsistencies through the production, but this adds a uniqueness that I adjusted to as the series progressed. The settings and background art are up to standard, but again they’re darker and less glitzy than 2040, giving a different atmosphere to the world of immediately post-earthquake Tokyo, before the Knight Sabers of the Bubblegum Crisis era were to appear on the scene.

Had this been an eight-disc release, I would have hesitated in recommending it, but A.D. Police marks another complete twelve episode series that ADV brings to market in a two disc set, a format I hope we see more of in the future. Once you get past the first couple of episodes, it picks up and becomes involving, and the steady exposition of the main story arc held my interest. While it may not be the best looking anime I’ve ever seen, it certainly was worth the viewing time, and in this configuration is an easy recommendation.

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