Set a few years before Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040, A.D. Police chronicles the tales of Mega-Tokyo's special police division designed to control rogue Boomers in the city. A.D. Police Officer Kenji Sasaki faces a major dilemma: he loses another partner to a rabid boomer. A day after he's sent off-duty, he receives a new partner in the form of German cop Hans Kleif. Funny thing is that Kenji sucker-punched Hans at a bar the night before. Not only does Kenji face the everyday task of controlling Boomers, he has to learn to adjust with his new partner.
Watching with an old friend I decided to take on a relatively unknown anime called AD Police, as part of the Bubblegum Crisis universe of the 80’s and 90’s. This is a franchise known for their cyberpunk roots, pitting humans against cyborgs called “Voomers” in a schlock filled premise. There's nothing less than low brow substance here, just an excuse to watch a cheesy, fast-paced action anime.
AD Police (TV), released in 1999, is the spiritual successor to the equally titled raunchy OVA released in 1990. It features a police force (AD Police) specifically assigned to combat rogue Voomers who threaten the populace. Contrary to its
predecessor, this series “attempts” to add some depth and plot lines to the otherwise transparent Bubblegum Crisis series. Unfortunately, it's plagued by a lack of funding leading to sloppy animation, horrendous voice acting, and a predictable storyline. Despite all these negatives, if you're even remotely a fan of 90’s anime or cyberpunk settings, I'm sure you'd find some enjoyment in it as a nice change of pace, if nothing else.
The main character Kenji is seemingly cursed, as all of his partners die or become unable to perform their duties at one point or another while serving with him. He's a truant, prick, but has a high devotion for duty that is unrivaled from his peers, making him an indispensable asset to the task force. He's the delinquent character that's too good at what he does so his actions go by mostly without consequence. When he teams up with his new partner Hans, after ironically punching him in the face, things appear per the status quo at first. However, as the series goes on and more secrets are uncovered, the two become closer in personality and begin to click. Unfortunately, the rest of the characters are essentially cardboard cut outs of other tropes, with nearly no development at all. I did appreciate one episode where all of the members of the task force were in a bar, desperately avoiding each other and discussing their problems with Kenji. It reminded me faintly of some of Tarrantino’s character interactions, just a much more diluted version.
The expectant theme of humanity is explored throughout AD Police, as the line between human and robot becomes more and more blurry in this futuristic environment. I always find it interesting to see how writers tackle this subject, as it's almost a necessity in a cyberpunk anime. Right versus wrong and good versus evil are still convoluted in the series, allowing viewers to empathize even with the Voomers at times.
The biggest flaw of the entire series would be the art direction. Although the environments are drawn properly, the character models are inconsistent and even sometimes disfigured in some scenes. This laziness could cause most viewers to not take the show seriously. The fact that it came out after shows like Cowboy Bebop and Serial Experiments Lain makes its animation almost inexcusably bad.
The sound in AD Police is very hit and miss. The OP is a clear throwback to the good old days of the 80s, with sick guitar riffs and a raspy-voiced lead singer. Considering this came out in 1999, you'll either be kicked with nostalgia or find it very corny. The ED, on the other hand is quite timeless, it's actually very good. This is the first ending in a long time that I haven't skipped over, with its deep bassy beat and echoey vocals. There only seems to be about three or four other pieces of background music in the entire anime, and they're unfortunately recycled and often miss-used. If anime soundtracks are your thing, you might want to give this one the old skip.
Also, the voice acting is very bad. Not quite Mars of Destruction bad, but pretty abysmal.
While AD Police stumbles along as it goes, it was just what I needed to break up the brain-busting intellectual shows I've been watching as of late. It's got fierce action, a unique concept and doesn't go above and beyond to impress you as a viewer. I know most people wouldn't enjoy the series just for being low brow, but if you're looking for something to break up your binge watching or are interested in cyberpunk themes, you might want to give it a look. As always, thanks for reading!
AD Police is the kind of show that would really benefit from being condensed into a movie or an OVA. If you stripped out about half of the dragged out scenes and needless exposition you'd have an accidentally entertaining piece. There is no denying that AD Police is bad, the only question with these kinds of shows is "can you squeeze any kind of amusement out of it?" Or as the show itself likes to phrase it, "Just how bad can things get?" Indeed, an astute observation on the part of the creators of this show. That is the question you will find yourself asking
after every installment. This show gets pretty ridiculous and there are a handful of scenes that are unintentionally funny. Unfortunately there are also a lot of scenes that are definitely not funny (read: stupid and/or boring.)
AD Police is based on the universe of Bubblegum Crisis. There's the AD Police (not to be confused with "the normal police"), there are Boomers, and the comparisons pretty much end there. Other than that AD Police tries to be a relatively serious show about "life on the force" and uncovering some kind of crazy conspiracy (of course). Robots have gone bad and someone has to stop them, unfortunately it's the AD Police!
Right from the beginning you are introduced to two things: cheap animation and Kenji in his bad-ass shades. Let's start with Kenji. The show tries to make one thing unmistakeably clear, and that is that Kenji is a jerk. Now he's not a disgustingly unrespectable jerk like Kei from Gantz, but clearly he is portrayed as a jerk nonetheless. The show makes you aware of this in two ways: 1) his reputation and 2) his actions. His reputation is that of a hotshot loner who seems to always get his partners injured/killed. As for his actions, well, he likes to put people in danger so he can use them as distractions as well refusing to visit his grandfather (which the cast goes through great lengths to give him a hard time about later).
To drive home the point about what a loose cannon Kenji is, and to show how tragic life on the force can be, his partner Paul gets injured (or killed? Who knows!). There's this big dramatic remorse scene afterwards and Paul becomes a big deal like "poor Paul" and "let's do this for Paul!" and so on. But don't worry, this isn't a spoiler because after the second episode Paul never shows up again! This kind of absent minded narrative is really at the heart of AD Police. Nothing really matters and there's all sorts of throwaway philosophical mumbo jumbo and nonsense metaphors. And ice melting in glasses. Can't forget that; lots of that. Deep stuff.
Now for the animation. It seems most of the budget was spent on the CG that randomly makes sparse appearances throughout the show, because the rest of the animation is definitely bottom of the barrel nineties quality. I will say there is sort of a nostalgic appreciation for the hand drawn look, but just because I like home-cooked meals doesn't mean I want one prepared by hobos. Character proportions fluctuate unreliably and you often get scenes where they'll be standing still (and maybe their mouths will move) or the animation will just be looped for prolonged periods of time. There are other shoddy giveaways like "running in place" animation or like when Kenji gives his "we're cool" introduction and as the camera pans away you see a colored overlay on his shades jerking about that just can't align with the image properly. The ending theme is just a slow pan of like four still images. This is not to say that the animation here is so horrid that it is unwatchable, but there's no way to describe it other than "cheap."
The cheapness doesn't stop with just the visuals though. If you listen to the opening sequence, you'll notice that behind the dubbing you can still hear the Japanese audio except it's turned down really low. I mean, come on, what the hell guys? The voice acting is the bad kind of dubbing you expect from these kind of shows and perhaps even necessary to lighten the mood. If you try to take this show seriously at all you will probably find yourself getting bored pretty quickly. Even then it's hard to watch more than a few episodes of AD Police at a time. Like partner Paul in the first episode, he speaks so out of rhythm it's like he's being metered by a retarded metronome. The choices in music are questionable as well. Brace yourself for drowsy violins. There's also a lot of weird jazz going on and eerily erotic saxophones at the most inappropriate times. It's like an ambiguously gay Cowboy Bebop.
Although there is some humor to be taken away from this travesty it is important to remember that this is a show that is practically schizophrenic and only loosely makes sense. Minor things like why would A.D. be an abbreviation for advanced? And more significant things like why is the overarching plot threat of secret cyborgs so controversial but everyone's fine with the mass production of worker androids that frequently go on homicidal rampages?
Seriously, it's like everyday a boomer is going bad somewhere and wildly flailing it's tentacles around. Why would you keep making these things? Other than as an excuse to insert tentacle rape jokes of course. They surely destroy just as much stuff as they help make. The boomers sometimes take over vehicles or are given guns, but they can't drive or shoot worth a damn. And this is what keeps the AD Police busy (and somehow dying). The most unsettling part about the boomers is that they make this weird ass squealing noise whenever they get killed. It's like they are being operated by ferrets on hamster wheels. It almost feels like you are watching animal cruelty. I want to throw in a joke about how it's more like human cruelty but that's reserved for Spriggan or Psychic Wars.
Anyway, this show is really deceptive. In the opening theme, aside from colorfully parading the characters, nothing you see in it actually ever happens in the show. If the show were anything like what you see in the opening it would probably have been a lot cooler. The intro makes it look like you are about to watch a show with bad-ass cyber detectives fighting all sorts of mechanical mayhem. There are no humanoid power robots leaping through the air however. No one bursts through the streets on their cyber bikes armored up as cyber beasts explode either. The only robots they ever fight are the same bare and dull doll type "boomers" with only some slight occasional variations. If you watch the show you will find what you are actually treated to instead is mostly a mediocre cop drama with an anime twist. It's not even as futuristic as you might be led to believe. In fact the most advanced technology they have are their nifty visors.
Mind you a lot of the stuff I'm mentioning are all within just the first episode, but a lot of the stuff I'm leaving out is how mind numbingly dull this show gets when it's not being absolutely ridiculous. Everything goes at the speed of snail, including the stiff dialogue, so it all develops much slower than I might make it seem. So now let's talk about just how crazy and droll the story/plot is. Paul is not the only person who dies and then everyone forgets about. For being a special force against rogue boomers, they sure don't seem to be very good at it. They have all sorts of equipment and vehicles and even though you clearly see other people on base the AD Police is apparently really only six guys. Or at least they seem to be the only ones ever actually doing anything. Of course "doing anything" should be taken lightly as they are always getting jerked around and made to look like idiots by the main antagonist Liam Fletcher.
Speaking of which, there's this awkward confrontation between the AD Police and some Genom workers that's supposed to be an intense and dramatic twist (I assume because it's in slow motion and has a piano accompaniment) but it just comes off as really retarded and overdone. At least it's kind of funny though. On top of that it seems any progress they try to make is immediately defeated by their employer the Genom Corporation. The gist seems to be that they are simultaneously working for and fighting against their boss. Crazy.
Add to this that half the show takes place in this bar that almost no one seems to go to other than the AD Police. Like I mentioned earlier there's one episode where nothing goes on other than all the character's giving Kenji crap about his grandpa and relaying inane stories of their own. This is also where the majority of the intense ice melting action goes down. There's also the awesome side plot of Kenji and his girlfriend and her violin. This is where you get to see... Kenji's girlfriend? I'm not really sure what the point of including her at all was, but have some caffeine handy.
The world of AD Police is definitely crazy, but it is also one where things happen overnight. Partners come and go, dispositions change and people fall for or fight with each other in the blink of an eye. It's also a world of remarkable coincidences. The setup is almost like one of those double take comedy gags. Kenji beats on some random bar dude only to partner up with him. That same partner hits on a nurse who turns out to also be a Genom employee? Also he has amnesia. So you know this writing is pure gold.
The craziest part is that despite their love of slacking off and all their incompetence, the AD Police apparently possesses a crack squad of scientists and technicians that put CSI to shame. From a simple video-camera image they are able to pick out four lights located in a tiny corner, determine that they belong to an airplane, what type of aircraft it was and its landing site. But wait, there's more. Not only could they figure this out from some dots on a screen but they were also able to tell its angle and speed and then extrapolate where it would be visible from the ground and at what time of day. After determining the distance the video-camera was from the lights, they were then able to approximate the location of the hostages. Simple. WOW. Screw the AD Police. Just get more of those guys. They would've single-handedly solved the whole boomer nonsense while eating lunch.
The shows ending is probably the most generic part of it. I won't spoil it for you, but if you don't see it coming, you have not watched enough of... anything in the past 20 years, at least. Let's just say that with the kind of laughable security Genom maintains at their headquarters it's no wonder their robots have a failure rate comparable to that of Microsoft.
Finally, there are some truly great/awful lines in this show. Lines such as:
"And unless I miss my guess, this is what the AD Police call a firing range am I right?"
Yes, you are, it is also what EVERYONE calls a firing range.
"They've finally figured out how to fuse living tissue with cyborg technology."
Yes, living tissue is also kind of a crucial part of CYBernetic-ORGanism technology.
First things first, I'm a big fan of the 80's and 90's anime.
I watched the prequel "AD Police" and comparing to that one which was darker and capturing more chaotic outlook of future, this one has a "solid" story and focuses more on police work and drama that life as a police officer in 2020 brings.
I see that many complain about "same damn thing happening" well they are the police who deals with boomers gone haywire, so ofc, the base of every story is going to be just that. But as you go further, the plot thickens as they are chasing the criminal who
is smart and cunning. I loved the story, to be honest, it has a lot of unexpected moments.
Kenji is a hot-shot, always getting into troubles and jumping into danger, not thinking about anything. That was my first take on this character, however, there is a reason for that, and as you watch episodes you learn about his pain and his bad luck of losing partners.
Hans is my favorite. I can't say much without spoiling, so I won't. He's an easy-going, likable character, who as well as Kenji has a personal story. He is assigned to be his partner.
Other characters I liked also, and I think they are developed well.
Again, big fan of the old animation.
Good compilation of soundtracks, fitting of every moment in anime, goes hand in hand with evoking "feels."
I measure the enjoyment by how fast I watched; It kept my interest, so I was able to finish it very quickly.
I didn't expect that I would love it this much cause I saw many discouraging reviews here, but I decided to give it a shot and was not disappointed.
I'll start by saying this Anime has a short but good in-depth story. It was entertaining, I'm rating it a 6, which is a fine on the scale, this anime series is one I picked out at random on the list and in the beginning they fill you in with a bit of detail of the personality of the main character, and then his relationship with his colleagues, and at the same time gives you some detail of what is going on around the setting of the story, all at a very slow pace.
The anime later starts developing more into the story and
its wrapped around the company the rebuilt the city and how the whole story revolves around it, you will see mild action, the action scenes are all explosive, lots of shooting and a bit repetitive.
I recommend this anime to die hard anime fans who want to add another to the list, this is a relaxing series with a bit of a psychological twist, if you are looking for an addicting anime that's very exciting then this isn't the one for you, yet I still recommend it.
keep also in mind this is an old anime from 1999, and doesn't have the same appeal of newer series, I also would recommend this to someone who is a fan of older anime series, the artwork and music are cliche of the old anime.
in-depth story, good music, great art, good character background and development, psychological twist, (near the end) relaxing series.
very slow paced plot, repetitive action scenes, a lot of unnecessary scenes with no dialog, (gotta find a way to somehow get to 12 episodes)
Final Rating 6/10
personally recommend: yes, but read my review to see if its for you or not.