An elite police crime fighting team is formed using convicted criminals. Using their first hand knowledge of the criminal mindset, the Wild 7 are first sent after a gang of Bank robbers. Then in Wild Biker Knights they are sent after a huge crime syndicate that has many high powered government officials in its deep pockets.
In the ongoing search for those profanely violent early 90s animes (specifically the extreme justice police action drama subgenre), I stumbled upon this gem that few have ever heard of. Having watched the guilty pleasures that were Angel Cop, Mad Bull 34, and Cyber City Oedo, this seem to fit in with that era and criteria so I knew I had to give it a try.
To my surprise, while I indulged in the aforementioned shows for their grindhouse-esque camp factor (loaded with grotesque outbursts of violence strung together by juvenile plot lines and bewildering dialogue), Wild 7 managed to transcended my low expectations and
rise above its own limitations. Wild 7 doesn't have the striking visual imagery of Cyber City, the sheer brutality of Mad Bull, nor the constant unintentional hilarity of Angel Cop. But what it has makes it better than any of them: Wild 7 has actual focus, and a whole lot of heart.
All the other shows payed tribute to western police procedurals and action films only at face value without really adhering to the heart of those kinds of stories or even what they themselves originally set out to be (becoming increasingly outlandish until the stories ceased to bear any relation to police work any longer). However, for Wild 7, it's themes are at its heart and soul, and worn on its sleeve. This is a tale about a special police unit who wrangle with their designation of being "above the law". Over and over they face the trial of duty vs kinship, of conscience vs conformity, of identity vs free will. With its colorful characters over a series of entangling situations, Wild 7 never strays from its theme, ending on an inevitable but nonetheless powerful conclusion.
Being about cops, this anime takes elements from Dirty Harry, Robocop, and Hard Boiled and tosses them into a blender. While these films are known for their cool characters and blistering carnage, which this anime shares aplenty, they also chronicle the pressure faced by officers who have chosen to disrupt the binds of bureaucracy to get at the most evil injustice--the best thing Wild 7 could have borrowed. And admittedly while this is nothing we haven't seen before, Wild 7 paces through these kinds of intense conflicts briskly over the course of two hour long episodes. The story rarely sags and the action sequences never overstay their welcome; the relationships never devolve into unearned melodrama.
If I had to guess, the name Wild 7 is probably the Wild Bunch and the Magnificent Seven (which in turn was a variant of Seven Samurai) mashed together. Fitting, because these films also dealt with the interaction and conflicts of an ensemble cast of vigilantes enforcers. Although characters are unavoidably shallow due to the format and genre, they serve their roles well and have noticeably distinct personality and an overall sense of camaraderie as well as convincing chemistry. Much of the development is centered on the ever daring young leader of the 7 and their iron-willed bespectacled superior. The bond and strife between these individuals and what they represent, combined with the constant external forces that threaten to break them apart, is masterfully maintained and what makes Wild 7 so surprisingly memorable, not unlike those inspirational sports films which detail the ups and downs of a team, its captain, and the coach.
If there are any major flaws in Wild 7, they are despite all the big questions it raises, the 7 themselves don't seem to face enough consequence for all the collateral damage they cause. Yet this can be forgiven when considering Wild 7 to be action first, and drama second. A lot of minor issues regarding development are there of course if you look hard enough, but the fact that it is fairly consistent and persistent for its circumstances is already beyond reproach.
It is a shame that Wild 7 was probably never that well known to begin with, and now whatever legacy it had is lost to time (and VHS tapes). This anime is criminally underrated by this community, but none can be blamed as it is such an obscure piece with no fanfare or notable documentation. It's not notoriously bad, not gorgeously flawed, but it is far from bland. For what it does right it is a minor masterpiece of the form--and as such, deserves to be watched. Wild 7 is not "so bad it's good", like so many from that era, but "so good it's great".
I just really like the gore and violence in these older animes. This one has all the profanity, graphic violence, gorey head bashing and generally over the top style that reminds me of MadBull 34. Both are very similiar and I wish both would have continued their series'. Eng dub isn't very good, but it adds to it's charm the same way the eng dub of Fist of the North Star does. Story isn't particularly engaging, but I didn't watch it for the story. It's good, but the violence and graphic adult nature of it is why I liked it. Not as funny as MadBull
34, but it had it's moments. It's more of a movie than 2 episodes. It's pretty wide open at the end, but I think it led into the 13 ep tv series that I cannot find on dvd. This was hard to find on dvd, but I managed and for only $10.00. It was well worth it and if you like these older, more violent animes you must check this one out.