Hyper Police Vol. #2 - 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. #2

By Chris Beveridge     October 21, 2002
Release Date: October 08, 2002


Hyper Police Vol. #2
© Image Entertainment


What They Say
The adventures of crafty futuristic Police Company cops Natsuki Sasahara, a cunning blend of human and futuristic demon cat, and Nine-Tail Fox Sakura continue in this dynamic blend of science fiction, cop thriller, monster mayhem, and comical fantasy. Here the balance of law and order is torn apart by a botched assassination, the arrival of a young female apprentice, and financial peril for their employer. Contains four explosive episodes never before released in the U.S.: "A Night You Feel Like Crying," "A Bounty Hunter's Vacation," "Sorry!," and "No Time, No Money, No License."

The Review!
Natsuki and company move forward into actual stories now that the main cast has been assembled and there’s a couple of fun pieces here, though there’s a somewhat somber tinge to them.

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:
The transfer for this release is pretty much on par for what we were expecting, which is a solid but unexceptional looking release. 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:
The orange background to Sakura on this release isn’t as overpowering as the first volume’s yellow was with Natsuki, so things look much better here. But that’s not really saying too much. 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 Sakura 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)
The series starts to move into something of the darker nature of both the job of a bounty hunter and the world that they live in as well as general business practices.

Sakura and Natsuki are starting to work really well together as a team, though Sakura continues to look for ways to absorb Natsuki’s powers so she can get her tails completed. Natsuki continues to be nice and oblivious to all of it, but that’s just part of her appeal. Although, Natsuki is starting to pick up on some of Sakura’s habits. When the two finish capturing a low level bounty, she manages to convince Natsuki to bury the critter so they can retrieve it at a later date when times are thinner and they need the cash. Surprisingly, Natsuki goes along with this.

Part of that is a portent of things to come, as well as the fact that through several other chase and capture sequences, we start to learn about just how in the red the Police Company is. With silver bullets being the mainstay of their weapons against the beasts, those who use the guns start to find out that they’re using less and less pure silver, which means far less effective weapons. This isn’t as bad for those like Sakura and Natsuki, but for the humans who only have guns to rely on, it doesn’t mean anything good.

The character development side of things comes from Natsuki in this volume, though I can’t see anyone else in this series really growing in any meaningful way with the possible exception of Sakura. During a bust sequence on one of the biggest bounties the department has had in awhile, everyone goes in on it to help out. The big bad guy ends up being holed up in his room and is with his early teenage son. The Police Company folks bust in and try to get everyone to freeze without firing a shot. But when the baddie starts shooting, things start to go really bad. Natsuki does her best to protect the kid, and to keep the others from killing his father in front of his eyes. But those bastards from the MAD Police Corporation don’t make things go easily when they burst onto the scene.

This leads in to Natsuki wanting to give up the entire bounty gig, and she starts trying to deal with the issues at hand. We manage to learn her background some which helps to flesh her out a bit more, and the relationship between the members of the Police Company begins to get a little bit deeper too. But they’re not the main focus, everything comes back down to Natsuki, and she carries the show, if only barely at times since there’s not a lot to her.

I still enjoy this show a bit, but it’s definitely one of the weaker offerings from Studio Pierrot that I’ve seen in the past ten years or so based on the first third or so of the series. Hopefully things pick up as we get deeper into it.

Features
Japanese 5.1 Language,Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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