Creator: Masamune Shirow Director: Koichi Mashimo Copyright: Masamune Shirow/Hakusensha/ Agent 21/Toshiba Video Software Language Format: English Language Running time: 67/69 mins Certificate: 15/15 Label: Manga Video Catalogue no: MANV 1003/MANV 1004 Price: £12.99 each Release date: 1992
Shirow wrote the DOMINION manga, featuring the manic Tank Police, in 1986, as some light relief from his APPLESEED manga and anime. The four DOMINION original video animations (OVA's) followed in 1988 and 1989, and proved very popular with anime fans in Japan and the USA. The premise: in the future the world's pollution problems have escalated and toxic micro-organisms force people to wear filter masks out of doors. Crime rates are very high, and to counter it the Tank Police, a special SWAT unit, have been formed. Their main task is to catch the criminal BUAKU gang. The residents of Newport, a vast bio-constructed city, are more enraged by the destructive activities of the Tank Police than those of the criminals.
As ACT 1 opens, Leona, gung-ho red-haired female recruit to the Tank Police, reports for duty as Lt. Britten and his men are interrogating a prisoner with the hand-grenade torture. Meanwhile the cyborg Buaku and his female sidekicks the Puma twins are planning to hold up a hospital. This is rock'n'roll sci-fi, loud, flashy, exciting, rather violent, with glimpses of sexuality and often very funny. The music soundtrack is excellent and the whole thing is carried out with the unashamed panache typical of popular Japanese animation work.
Manga Video's release is taken from a US Manga Corps version, hence the dubbing, which is fairly well done, uses American voices. The visual quality of the copy I viewed was excellent. Curiously, there is almost nothing on the box to indicate that this video is either an animation or Japanese.
Collectors should note that the OVA's are originally 38 mins long including the lengthy title, reprise and credit sequences, some of which Manga Video have omitted. The four OVA's are also available subtitled from the USA at 35 dollars each. Recommended. [Geoff Cowie]
In the concluding episodes of this Japanese animated video series the ecological background continues. In Act III Buaku steals an overpriced painting of himself with the assistance of the sexy Puma Twins. There is a wonderful brief cameo here of the girls as society sophisticates. Meanwhile at Tank Police headquarters it's "Showtime." Girl recruit Leona, in Bunny costume, helps lob knives at a drug dealer strapped to a spinning board with a live hand grenade in his mouth. The audience place bets on how many seconds it will take him to spit out the grenade. The Tank Police attend the burglary but Leona is captured by Buaku. In the final episode the 'green' theme recurs and we find (as is typical of Anime) that some of the bad guys were less bad than we thought. Not quite politically correct but great fun. The artwork in the DOMINION title sequences is a treat, and the use of dubbing is quite acceptable this time. Recommended. [Geoff Cowie]