Dominion Tank Police Acts I + II (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, December 28, 2001
What They Say
A bit of an unusual one this. It was FREE! Yes, free, at least if you bought the January issue of Playnation, a Playstation 2 magazine, costing £2.99 (about $5). Still a bargain considering the RRP of £19.99 for most DVDs. Why give this away? Well, the UK Anime DVD market is somewhat stillborn at the moment. Most fans have imported long before a UK release is even considered. Manga Entertainment (who along with MVM and Kiseki are the only companies releasing Anime DVDs here) obviously are going for a more casual, youth market, who want something cool to play on their new PS2. The payoff – a ill-informed, badly written, two page round-up of Manga releases in the magazine. Ho-hum. Enough about the circumstances, how about the disc?
The disc comes in a keep-case, with no insert. The design of the sleeve isn’t bad, better in fact than the UK video release. The problem is the big flashes all over the cover ‘Free With Playnation!’, ‘Worth at Least £16.99’. It even has them on the spine. The back cover is more tasteful.
The menu? Well, there are no extras here. No scene selection either. So the menu consists of one option – ‘Start’. Why they didn’t think to put trailers for other releases, I don’t know, especially given that this freebie is obviously a promotional exercise.
The content quality. I am no AV geek. If it looks better than video, I’m happy. That said, the transfer is not particularly sharp, so this is probably made from the same master as the original release. There don’t appear to be any encoding problems, but as I say, I am not an expert.
The show itself. Hmmm. ‘An Anime Classic’ screams the cover. Well, I beg to differ. Dominion is not a bad show, but I would not call it a classic. However, it is made worse by the fact that this is the dubbed version. I am not as rabidly anti-dub as some, but this is DIRE. Like most of Manga’s 90’s releases, this has been altered to appeal to a teen audience, with swearing added, presumably to obtain a more ’credible’ 15 certification from the BBFC. Even worse, Manga re-scored the whole thing with WRETCHED quasi-house music that sounded crap when it was originally released, and sounds even worse now. The voice actors are apparently hired for their ability to shout, and the doctor is given a Germanic ‘eccentric scientist’ accent. Quality wise, this is fairly good OVA-level animation, though a bit dated by recent standards. Given the light-heartedness of the material, there is no fetishistic mecha design, with everything being rather balloon shaped. The characters ared designed so that you can tell their entire character as soon as you look them. No development or soul-searching here folks.
Given a slightly different twist, Dominion could have been a dark dystopian vision of a neo-fascist future, like other Masumone Shirow adaptations. As it is, it is a comical variant on the old ‘maverick, reckless cops battle ruthless criminals, with big machinery and explosions, in the future’. The Tank Police, a special department who have been given great big tanks, roll around the city showing little mercy to any criminal that gets in their way. In the first two parts (actually combined into one here), an android villain and his two feline assistants, have been hired by the Underworld to steal some urine samples from people unaffected by the poison gas cloud that hovers above the city (cue lots of talk of ‘taking the piss’ in the dub). Given the Military hardware on display, the violence is distinctly A-team style. People are un-hurt even when hosed down with machine-gun fire, buried under collapsing buildings, and in one ludicrous moment, shot in the face with a rocket launcher. With the exception of an atrocious strip-tease sequence, the whole thing is rather enjoyable for those times when you have left your brain in bed and can’t be bothered going upstairs to get it. Given even the slightest serious analysis, DTP seems politically very dodgy indeed. The opening montage of ruthless lawmen, and the closing scenes where our heroine blows away a stack of claims against the Tank Police seem to suggest that only a police force that is above the law can tackle hardened criminals. Of course, this series is in no way meant to be taken seriously.
Sadly, given the overall silliness, the fact that this is rather dated, and the hopelessness of the dub, this is unlikely to attract many new anime fans, which was presumably Manga’s intention with this freebie. Still, UK anime fans have very little to be happy about, so I’m not complaining.
Pioneer DV-525, Hitatchi TV, Sony Stereo
Mania Grade: C+
Audio Rating: B
Video Rating: B
Packaging Rating: C
Menus Rating: F
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: All
Region: 2 - Europe
Released By: Manga UK
Running time: 90
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Dominion Tank Police