AD Police: To Protect And Serve - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 3 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 34.98
  • Running time: 300
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: AD Police: To Protect And Serve

AD Police: To Protect And Serve

By Chris Beveridge     January 28, 2002
Release Date: April 09, 2002


AD Police: To Protect And Serve
© ADV Films


What They Say
The A.D. Police saga, the awesome spin-off of the hit anime Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040!
As the current crime wave in Genom City escalates, pressure mounts for the A.D. Police to stop the growing number of mutating cyborgs known as VOOMERS. Throughout this crisis, the personal relationships between members of the elite squad of robot hunters are strained to the breaking point.

Special Officer Kenji Sasaki makes an uncommon leap of faith when reluctantly accepting Hans Kleif as his new partner. But he must still fight his own personal demons if he is ever going to survive the threat that faces the A.D. Police and he needs to get to the bottom of this techno-mystery and keep the VOOMERS from turning Genom City into a high-tech wasteland.

The Review!
Billed as something of a spin-off and prequel to the Bubblegum Crisis 2040 series, AD Police takes the world of Tokyo from 2040 and turns the clock back twenty years to a time when the city is just beginning to return to normalcy while the shadow of Genom is cast across it. It's also been billed billed as one of the absolute worst series many have seen.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. For what generally looks like a very low budget show, the audio got some nice attention and provides a great pro-logic soundtrack when it comes to the music. A number of segments provide some great music to the rear speakers during the course of the twelve episodes. Dialogue and sound effects though are all forward soundstage based and lack any real directionality, but still sounded pretty good.

Video:
Airing in early 1999 and coming after the very glossy Bubblegum Crisis 2040, the series animation style really didn't provide anywhere near the same level of flash or vibrancy. In fact, it's a very soft and pale show with drab and almost lifeless colors for the most part. This makes the transfer to DVD pretty easy outside of some backgrounds that look a little softer than they should be or a bit of grain in a few places. It's an unexceptional looking show and the encoding does a solid job with the materials at hand. There's no real problems here at all, no cross coloration nor a lot of jaggies.

Packaging:
The twelve episode series is presented on two dual layered discs in a nice alpha double keepcase. The front cover sports a decent looking picture of the two male leads and one of the motorcycles of the future along with some witticisms about the state of Genom City (aka MegaTokyo). The back cover provides a mixed image of animation shots and provides a somewhat amusing look at what AD Police is all about. Features are perfectly listed in a nice box that makes everything nice and clear (c'mon folks, a standard!) while all the production information is listed as well. The insert provides a variant of the front cover on one side while the reverse lists all the chapter stops.

Menus:
The menus are nicely laid out with music and animation playing. In-between top and bottom bars you get an interesting layered view of the animation while selections are along the right, with episode selection from the main menu and all other functions quickly accessible. While not terribly flashy, they work quite well and get the job done.

Extras:
There's a good amount of extras included with this release. The usual production sketches are included as well as some really slick looking color artwork. The artwork here paints a different looking show and a more risque looking one at that. There's also multiple pages of liner notes about the AD Police and things at this time as well as a page of spoilers that had a warning before it. We also get a nice textless opening and ending, an ending that lets us appreciate the art better.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Worst series ever? Eh, not hardly. Maybe true if you never get past episode one or two where it's pretty much cliche ridden. And especially if you came into it after BGC 2040 and were expecting more of the same but on the police level of things.

The series takes place twenty years before the dark and rather built up world we see in 2040. There's no Knight Sabers here and the boomers are positively primitive by comparison. Genom has its hands in everything at this time which is no different than in the future, but one surprising difference is that they have some competition. A group known as the Backers are supplying illegally built Boomers (robots) to various people and places around the world. The group is lead by a somewhat slick somewhat creepy gent known as Liam, an ex employee of Genom.

While Boomers aren't completely new to the world, since they've been working hard to rebuild the city, the level of crimes committed by them are still pretty minimal. But even minimal means that extra attention must be paid to them, and the AD Police was formed to deal with it. As we get to know the department, there are only six regular offices and one supervisor/captain. It's definitely a small group of people and it reflects just how much danger they see on a regular basis.

And any small department has its loner that's also the best they have. That'd be our lead character Kenji, the rough and tumble type who will take on the world by himself, no help from anyone else thankyouverymuch. Kenji's gone through a few partners so far, so he's pretty content to be alone. While out on the town one night, he ends up getting into a brief barroom fight with another guy celebrating his birthday. It is of course no surprise when the next day he's introduced s Kenji's new partner.

Kenji's new partner is Hans Kleif, just in from Germany and the normal police. He's young and handsome and comes complete with his own nurse. Well, one is assigned to him during his arrival as there's something different about Hans. He's got some shell lodged into his brain from an incident awhile ago. Due to it, he's lost all of his memories of his childhood and his parents. He doesn't retain long-term information either, but he's still very sharp about the present.

Kenji and Hans don't get along too well of course, but as a team when the bad guys show up, they manage pretty good and over time end up playing off of each other quite well. The two to some extent learn to work with each other, but not so much that it becomes completely predictable in their relationship. With the other members of the group, Hans gets along great. You've got Karen, the blonde haired weapons chick, Mary whose got some good skills as well as a copter pilot, Jose whose the demolitions guy and the chief of the group. Then there's the female captain who really has a minor role overall.

The show tends to be fairly episodic in dealing with the boomer outbreak of the day. But inside each of these there's a fair amount of layering in dealing with Liam and his group and the relationship with the Backers. In fact, one of the surprising things about this show as you watch the entire series is that almost nobody is who they seem. From the bad guys to the good guys, almost everyone has some kind of secret or twist that makes them not what they seem.

There's also a fairly dramatic death of one of the team during the series. I won't say who or when of course, but the way the situation was dealt with was pretty good and did a nice job of setting things up for some character conflict afterwards. Unfortunately the ball got dropped there and it was barely referenced in the next episode. But it does resurface later in the series.

Probably the main thing that will turn off people is the pretty mediocre designs used for the series. I can see that they were probably trying to go for a style that went the opposite of BGC 2040 to illustrate the differences in the time they take place in. The 2020 crew is dealing with a recovery from an earthquake while the 2040 crew is at its height of cultural revolution and is on the brink of collapsing under its own weight. There's just so much more to explore with that than the 2020 crew (unless you're writing actual novel stories). This difference in style gives the show a definite cheap feel. And it also gives the show rather unattractive characters for the most part, outside of the mysterious nurse Satomi Yuki.

The women of the show are an interesting lot. We don't get to know a lot about the two women on the team, Mary and Karen. The most different we see about them is during an undercover mission when they look completely different and during the episode at the bar that's all character dialogue. Hans ends up pursuing his nurse Satomi, whose probably the best drawn character of the group. We also have what is presumed to be Kenji's girlfriend, who he stays with most of the time and shows up. Their relationship is really hard to pin down as they don't always seem like they're dating but rather that he's just keeping a promise of watching her for someone.

It's somewhat hard to pin down my feelings on the show. It's got its mediocre aspect to parts of it, but it's actually got a pretty good story that does some setup for 2040 in the end. The designs aren't what you'd expect coming from a 1999 show, but the content picks up pretty well as it goes along. And frankly, with this being a complete twelve episode series that lists for 35$, it's one of those deals that's just hard to pass up. Even if it's bad, you get it for so cheap (2$ an episode with discounts) that it's hard to complain. I'm going to end up giving it a recommendation based on that alone. And of those that pick it up for that reason alone, a good number will find a show that develops into something interesting.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Production Sketches,Artwork,Liner Notes,Textless Opening & Ending

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 2 of 2
1 
lepare2 10/12/2011 12:15:43 PM

This is great series!

tokin2 10/29/2011 4:52:55 PM

Series are good, but a lot of improvement is needed.

1 

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