Hyper Police Vol. #02 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Art Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: C+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 180
  • ISBN: 1-59532-295-7
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Hyper Police Vol. #02

By Eduardo M. Chavez     June 21, 2005
Release Date: March 08, 2005


Hyper Police Vol.#02
© TOKYOPOP


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:MEE
Translated by:David Ury
Adapted by:

What They Say
When Natsuki is arrested for hunting without a license, Sakura recruits Batenen and Tomy to save her partner. With business slow and everyone barely scraping by, the four decide to join forces in order to drudge up some work during the dry spell. But just when the foursome put their heads together, a samurai named Sakunoshin appears out of a time warp and mistakes Sakura as his fiancée! Will this love supreme turn into the wedding of the century?

The Review
Packaging:
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 Sakura in a very tight uniform (her blouse is about too explode and her thigh-highs are torn) while Natsuki hunts for mice. 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 bone tone band on the right. Woof. The opposite cover is perfect; there is an image of Batenen holding 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. The binding and cut of my copy is a little shabby looking, but I believe that just happened to be an anomaly. At the end of the GN, TOKYOPOP keeps two pages of 4-panel manga and adds a preview for volume three, a wanted poster with a bounty on Mee, and ads for Clamp no Kiseki and WarCraft.

Artwork:
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, lizard-men, 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).

Text/SFX:
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. Actually that second issue has been resolved, but is now the cause of another problem. I would have rather the translation focus on the personalities but TOKYOPOP has moved to adding more slang to the translation. This is definitely a mature title but the sexual jokes often coming out of nowhere was annoying.

I also noticed that they were a little lazy with the signage translation, for they picked and choose what they had translated. 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)
Times are tough, even in the Tokyo of the future. This human race is in trouble, poverty and homelessness is high and jobs are tough to come by. No one is really immune to this. Our heroes, Natsuki and Sakura, have fallen victim to some of this and they are struggling to get by. Like many people they have to lead a life of crime to pay the bills and get food on the table. Everyday brings more risk as the potential of getting caught increases with every new job. There are few other choices though, so these women accept their results and their fate, knowing what they do might end up putting a bounty on their heads.

In the end, pride be darned, these women will do anything. At some point, that could have meant illegal activity. There might be other times when that meant washing dishes. It might mean asking friends for help, but work is work and now more than ever Sakura and Natsuki need some money and stability. If they need to go through the long bureaucracy to get a license, they will try. Selling possessions to get by is not beyond them, either. This is about survival. A cornered person is very dangerous and Sakura and Natsuki have been living dangerously already. I wonder if the public should feel safer or not?

But in the end, these two want to be back on the beat, hunting down collars and fighting crime, for their own reasons - justice and greed (you can figure out which is which). They are not the type of people who feel right in a kitchen or on a paper route. Can you imagine Sakura in an apron or Natsuki delivering mail? Might sound like fun, but they are best with guns in hand kicking ass.

Comments
Well in times like this usually the only place to turn to be family and friends. Sometimes we have too much pride to ask, but the best of friends know when to intervene and speak their mind about the well being of others. Relying on people who are close to you can be difficult, though, because it is harder to separate your life at home and in this case one's business life. With those relationships prioritizing and separating business and friendship can lead to hardships that can hurt both sides. At best the relationships can bring people closer and create a greater sense of ownership. Still even knowing how good old friends like Batanen and Tomy have been to Natsuki, having hesitations is natural because time changes everything eventually. People just don't know how sometimes.

Mee seems to understand the concept of time. In this manga time has come for humanity. Humans who were once the dominant species on Earth are now hunted. Time has also shown how fickle it is by having good times and bad times for almost everyone in this story. Mee also fools around with the mysteries of time by introducing concepts of time traveling and slips through time. If this series continues to follow the same direction as the anime, time will be a critical part of this story. Bit by bit this theme will continue to influence the plot. That is very apparent in this volume where it starts off with some subtle changes and then explodes into something quite outrageous, but plausible considering the existing sci-fi fantasy themes in this series.

Hyper Police is almost misleading. At first one might believe this is a crime thriller. I mean the title alone has the implications of something like that. Open up the GN and it looks like a fantasy comedy filled with monsters and plays on Japanese mythology. Then I start reading it and it turns into a slice of life drama that just happens to have action, comedy, sci-fi and fantasy. This really is a diary of Natsuki’s day-to-day life. As this volume has shown, sometimes there are moments when life heads in a negative direction. There are times we struggle and where we all feel life cannot get any worse. There are good times and that is in here as well, but as Sakura knows making an effort is critical cause nothing is given for free. That is what life is about and seeing how Mee honestly portrays that here is refreshing. I am not sure how others feel about that, but it really is a change of pace away from some of the more hardcore seinen titles I have read recently. But I guess Mee understands that as well. He is able to do things at his pace, and sometimes that is much more appealing – especially if he gets to add panels of etchi catgirl art or horny werewolf scenes along the way.

Good stuff, but not your brother’s seinen.

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