Hyper Police Vol. #1 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: C
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Image Entertainment
  • MSRP: 19.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Hyper Police

Hyper Police Vol. #1

By Chris Beveridge     October 21, 2002
Release Date: August 20, 2002


Hyper Police Vol. #1
© Image Entertainment


What They Say
Skilled and deadly bounty hunter Natsuhime Sasawara, a cunning blend of human and futuristic demon cat, protects the laws of humans and monsters. After a tragic accident, Natsuhime is teamed up by the Police Company with Sakura, a Nine-Tail Fox striving to achieve new magical powers. Blast into the future with this fast paced combination of science fiction, cop thriller, monster mayhem, and comical fantasy, now available for the first time in the U.S.! Contains the first four explosive episodes: "Bounty Hunter," "Nine-Tail Fox? Sakura Appears," "Combination Anxiety" and "A Meal and a Night's Lodging."

The Review!
After years of waiting, begging and pleading, Hyper Police has finally been released in the US. How a science fiction show with catgirls got passed over is beyond many fans.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese but in the newly created 5.1 remix. We listened to this new mix for the first two episodes and found it to be decent, but the source doesn’t really offer up much of a chance to do a lot with it. Most of the audio is still through the center channel with mostly the music getting some playback in the rear speakers. For the final two episodes we switched back to the stereo track and enjoyed the fuller sound that we got from the audio there. Throughout what we heard, there were no discernable dropouts or distortions.

Video:
Released in 1997, as TV shows were beginning to migrate from traditional to CG assisted, Hyper Police remains as a very traditional looking show. Studio Pierot doesn’t appear to have put a large amount of money into it, giving it a slightly rougher look than many of their other shows, and it translates into the transfer. While there’s no cross coloration or all that much aliasing, there’s some bits of dirt throughout the print. Colors look good though the show doesn’t use a very vibrant palette. There’s little to complain about with the transfer, but it’s not something that’s going to stand out based on the way the show was designed.

Packaging:
Once you get past that bright yellow background, you get a nice image of Natsuki with her special blade giving the serious look. The overall color scheme is rather bright and distracting though. The back cover provides a number of screenshots and gives a summary for each of the four episodes. The basic creative staff is listed as well as the technical features and language formats. The insert provides another shot of the front cover piece of Natsuki while listing the (9!) chapter stops for each of the four episodes.

Menu:
The menu is a nice static image one brief pass of music that shows two of the female leads in a nice vibrant piece of artwork. All four episodes are selectable from the main page as well as a play all selection and the audio selection menu. Selecting an episode brings you to a chapter selection section. The menus overall are nice and fast, but we experienced some slowdowns in moving through chapter selection and trying to get back to the main menu.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Sometime in the future, quite a bit distant in fact, humanity does something foolish and mankind pays for it. In the city of Shinjuku, where our focus is, humanity now co-exists (and sometimes breeds with) all kinds of creatures. This has given rise to things like catgirls, werewolves, nine tailed fox girls and pig-men bent on destroying things. There’s also quite a few regular people around as well, giving the whole thing a rather nice mix.

With the rise of these creatures over the years and the difficulties for normal people in capturing them, bounty hunters have essentially become the police, which is now a private industry. Hyper Police deals with one particular Police Company and several of its members, with the attractive and cute Natsuki the catgirl as the lead. She’s a little oblivious, not the best at aiming (in fact, she shoots her partner in the first episode) but she’s a really nice person. Her partner is Batanen, a rather amusing older werewolf type who is in love with Natsuki but can’t bring himself to tell her.

The series, at least early on here, is mostly made of up episodic adventures as we watch Natsuki go from being Batanen’s partner to taking on a partner of her own (again, after shooting Batanen). Her first new partner is Naoka, a rather tall and unfriendly human who uses large weapons to take down her prey. She’s a nasty one, taking out shoplifters with bullets and generally being a fair bit crueler than Natsuki would like. Suffice to say, she doesn’t last long as a partner, but the number of bounties she gets puts her as valuable to the company.

Her other partner ends up being the rather conflicted Sakura, a Nine Tailed Fox who only has 8 1/5 tails. We get some of her unhappy history as she grew up with only one tail and was constantly tormented as a child. She’s got special abilities though that allow her to absorb powers from her prey, which helps her acquire more tails. After something like 170 years, she’s up to eight tails and Natsuki becomes her next target. Of course, Natsuki is more powerful than she appears, but we’re only teased with that, and it eventually forces Sakura to become her bounty hunting partner so she can get closer to her and study her.

Hyper Police is a nice light hearted show that has a couple of nice action sequences, but it’s the character interactions that make it work. Natsuki is just fun to watch, as sometimes you can’t tell if she’s being oblivious on purpose or not. Batanen is fun as he gets to act out some of his more werewolf like tendencies, but I’m still not terribly keen on Sakura during the early episodes. One of the big attractions with the characters is that the character designs are done by the rather talented Keiichi Goto, who gives them the right amount of fan service, especially with the variety of designs that one can come up with in this anthropomorphic universe.

If there’s any real gripe to be had with this release, it’s the lack of any translated credits or information on the English side of the production. This may be fairly standard for Image with their foreign cinema releases, but with the anime, we want to know who did what in the credits and who produced the dub and who the actors are. At least the songs are translated, even if the credits aren’t. But hopefully future releases will provide this information that many fans like to have.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles

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.

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