Hyper Police Vol. #01 (Mania.com)
By:Eduardo M. Chavez
Review Date: Wednesday, February 09, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Translated by:David Ury
What They Say
In a future rife with crime, humans are an endangered species - and monsters have taken over! It's up to the Police Company to keep the peace. Natsuki is a cat girl who uses magical powers to enforce the law. However, her greatest threat doesn't come from the criminals. She is partnered with Sakura, a nine-tailed fox who craves something more than attention. She is plotting to eat Natsuki and gobble up her magic! In this dog-eat-dog world, will Natsuki give her partner a taste of her own medicine?
There are times when TOKYOPOP can be creative and smart in regards to packaging, but most of the time they overdo it. With Hyper Police, they went overboard. There is so much happening on this cover, it is painful. I am glad to see them use Mee's cover art, featuring Natsuki and her new partner Sakura hanging with their sidecar. Behind the image is panel art, text (in English and Japanese) in red tone. Above there is a new logo, with translation in kana. There are racing stripes coming from the logo, crimped piping around the cover and a red tone band on the right. Woof.
The opposite cover is perfect: image of Natsuki next to the volume description on a gray background. Inside the volume header is not in color, but they keep all the original headers and extras intact. The printing is actually very good looking; inking is sharp and tone looks good. At the end of the GN TOKYOPOP keeps the four page long ato-gaki and adds a preview for volume two, a wanted poster with a bounty on Mee, and ads for Abenobashi, StoNe, Et Cetera, Boys Be..., Faeries' Landing.
Mee's art is a mixed bag. As someone who has become accustomed to the designs from Studio Pierrot's anime (released by Image in North America), I was happy to see that the designs for most of the cast are the same. Actually, I was surprised how little they have changed through the years and how well they were rendered. Sakura, Batenen, Tommy and the chief all look as I remembered them. Some characters come off completely different. Natsuki and most of the normal looking humans tend to look a little off. They are not as tight - extra cute, rounder and shorter. It is distracting for the rest of the cast looks leaner, meaner and has much more detail. Overall, the designs are still very fun and very creative. Mee takes the concepts of catgirls and supernatural being to another level. There are fox-girls, dog-boys, lizardmen, giant bugs, demons, walking talking toadstools, werewolves and the list goes on and on. Mee also gives these characters some culture by creating beast specific clothing and specific supernatural abilities.
Mee's background art is very good. Practically every panel is filled with detailed art giving reader the opportunity to get familiar with how much the Earth has changed over since the 1990's. The layout has its difficulties. While Mee keeps it active, he sometimes has a tendency to not set up action very well (there were more than a handful of times where I had a hard time figuring out what was going on).
While I have heard tighter adaptations, this one is not bad. I guess my issues are with the lack of honorifics and how the characters do not appear to have individual voices. I guess that would come through easier with specific dialects and idiosyncrasies; none of which was fleshed out here. I also noticed that they were a little lazy with the signage translation. TP does not translate SFX, but they did translate signage to a point. One of the signs was the favorite cafe of the cast, Lamp Shinjuku, was simply translated Coffee House Shinjuku. They also pick and choose what to translate (but considering the amount of signage in this series that is understandable.
Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The future does not look so good. Ecological change has created a world where man is struggling to survive. Actually, its so bad humans have become an endangered species in a planet now populated by mutants, monsters and the supernatural. To maintain some order, law enforcement has become increasingly privatized. These police corporations, with their monster and human staff, utilize advancements in science with spiritual power to attempt to maintain law and order in an increasingly dangerous world.
Sasahara Natsuki works for one of these businesses, the Police Company. She is relatively a rookie in this business, but she has already made a name for herself as a formidable defender of the law. As a catgirl, Natsuki is proficient in close range combat. Her feline instincts have also given her a thirst for hunting down her prey. Up to now, these traits have overwhelmed her human ideals about the justice system. That might change soon, as justice should not be based on collars brought in. Justice should not be about the ends justifying the means. Justice is as much about its defenders, as it is the criminals that try to avoid it.
The idea of a future where humanity is on its last legs is not new. Mee takes a slightly different angle with this though. Humanity is definitely in trouble. There are monsters around, many of them feeding on humans, but humans are still somewhat powerful in this world despite being the in minority. What has changed is how monsters are trying to preserve this Earth despite all of its problems. The world has become chaotic and polluted. Lawlessness and deregulations is what many beings want, but those who want justice and fairness are trying to maintain control in this crazy world.
That is where the Hyper Police come in. A police corporation, the Police Company, is trying to make a profit on this chaos. They try their best with limited funds to keep the peace. Their methods are crude, but that is purposely done. Mee-sensei is trying to describe how there are things that should not be privatized. There are services that should be maintained by the public, however with business gaining more power in our lives there will be times when safety will be compromised in favor of profits. When society reaches that point there will be some that will be able to afford to use their resources for protecting the peace and there will be others that will have to learn new ways, more efficient, cost-effective ways to do so or else they will go out of business. In a world like that, the power balance moves in favor of the criminals that take advantage of a smaller security force. All of this is happening to Natsuki and Sakura; who have question their role in this profession. Their jobs are not safe, but in this world, nothing is really safe anymore.
Wait a minute this series is about bounty hunting furries! Why are you reading this review?! Go get this now. Hyper Police is simply a good example of etchi seinen fun. Action-packed, drama infused with sexy catsgirls and bunny-babes a title like this should be on top of most seinen fans. Fans of the anime series will also find familiar stories told in a slightly different way, which could help this series still, feel relatively new. In the end, fun stories, fun characters and a unique world has made for a fun and fast read. Furthermore, knowing that this is a seinen title is almost enough to keep me interested. Not enough of the stuff out there and a resurgence of titles from most studios is something I have to support.
Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: B
Packaging Rating: C+
Text/Translatin Rating: B
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Released By: TOKYOPOP
Orientation: Right to Left