New Dominion Tank Police Complete Collection - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B-
  • Extras Rating: D
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Manga Entertainment
  • MSRP: 24.95
  • Running time: 180
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Dominion Tank Police

New Dominion Tank Police Complete Collection

By Derek Guder     May 14, 2004
Release Date: August 26, 2003


New Dominion Tank Police Complete Collection
© Manga Entertainment


What They Say
Newport City, 2010 ? an overcrowded, urban sprawl, choking from the pollution of unregulated technology. In a desperate attempt to stop the swelling tide of rampant crime and urban terrorism plaguing the city, the government forms a special task force ? The Tank Police ? with the firepower to combat the high-tech crime syndicates. Squad Leader Leona Ozaki, together with her radically modified tank Bonaparte, battles alongside her fellow officers to bring down the insidious Dai Nippon Gaiken Corporation which threatens to overwhelm the city with a new virtual drug. But which high explosive artillery at her disposal, can Newport handle the destruction and chaos caused by her own defenders?

Japan's manga legend Masammune Shirow (Appleseed, Black Magic M-66, Ghost in the Shell) personally oversaw the production of this exciting series to ensure that the programs remained faithful to his original 1992 manga books. Shirow delivers a darkly comic vision of a future overrun with fast and furious mecha, cybernetically enhanced humans and rouge androids.

The Review!
The saga continues in this sequel to the original series, but lacking much of its flair and suffering from many of the same problems.

Audio:
I had some hope for this title, so my initial viewing was in Japanese. The 2.0 mix was nice. There was reasonable directionality and it was nice and clear. Acting was good, if not remarkable. Oddly enough, some of the incidental characters were the most charming ? and I'm certain that I've heard one of the Puma Sisters before. The subtitle track seemed to take a few liberties with the translation but all the important details got across.

On the dub side, there is both a 2.0 and a 5.1 mix. I sampled the 5.1 version while writing the review and it sounded quite nice and it made great use of the surrounding speakers (though I can't say that the actors themselves were put to any use). While it was technically well-executed, however, it suffered from several other problems. At times it sticks very closely to the subtitle track, but is often wildly divergent. I suspect that the voice actors were given some leeway to ad-lib, but that's just the beginning.

There are more than a few instances where dialogue has shuffled around or entirely new lines written up for characters or scenes that were silent in the Japanese audio. This starts right off with the opening song, which had a vocal portion originally. The English track removes the Japanese signing and inserts both dialogue and random sound effects for the scenes which were, again, not in the original. Those changes seem to be the most significant, as thankfully the other changes I noticed were usually the addition or re-arrangement of inconsequential lines (though the Puma Sisters' dialogue gets a major work-over to match their mile-thick southern accents).

The original Dominion Tank Police series had similar problems, changing music the Japanese and English audio, but I had thought that was an artifact of the past.

Video:
The animation is nice and smooth on the whole. The machines are the center point of the show and they receive the appropriate attention. The characters are consistently well-handled as well, though some of the designs are a bit off and stray from Shirow's style.

The transfer seems nice and well-done as well, with no sign of encoding flaws or problems. The colors aren't quite as crisp as I've become used to, but that's due to its age.

Packaging:
Packaging is pretty simple, but Manga picked a several excellent pieces of manga-styled artwork for the covers, front and back. There is also an insert included, a fold-out poster with some other manga images, the largest being a centerfold of the Puma Sisters. All of them show off Shirow's distinctive style quite well.

Menu:
The main menu is pretty neat. A little CGI Bonaparte sits to the right with a few tools scattered around it. Menu response is pretty good, and the going between them is accompanied by blast doors coming on the screen from the top and bottom. The Manga-specific menu is, of course, the one out of place.

Extras:
The disc is pretty bare of extras. All that's here, beyond trailers and Manga information, is a collection of character and equipment profiles.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
There are six episodes on the disc and together the form a unified story arc. The Machiavellian plans of an evil Japanese mega-corporation are repeatedly (and dramatically) defeated by our lovable Tank Police. Unfortunately they're all a little light on actual content, just like the Evil Master Plan is light on making any sense.

In the first episode, Leona is causing the usual ruckus ? destroying an entire city block to catch on criminal. As her teams gets yet another berating from the bumbling and high-pressured police chief, a jackass of an observer shows up. He's there to give a report on the division and come up with a system to deter the ultra-violent crimes without causing as much property damage. Of course, before long there's another major incident where goons start shooting off rocket launchers downtown. A mysterious spider-like machine (not unlike a tachikoma from the Ghost in the Shell manga and TV) shows up, wipes out the terrorists and continues to wipe the floor with the Tank Police themselves. We all know who is actually in the machine, but we don't get confirmation until Leona (in her mini-tank Bonaparte) manages to outsmart him. It is then revealed that the inspector was an imposter all along, part of some master plan that we never find out about because he's killed in the hospital before he can be questioned.

Episode two stretches the bounds of coincidence when it turns out that an old friend of Leona's (who has never been mentioned before but we know just how nice she is through a quick, picture-perfect flash-back) was mysteriously killed. Bent on revenge, little Leona takes a leave of absence to hunt down the murderer. This is also apparently part of some secret police plan or something. Somehow the mayor and the chief never realized that Leona is least suitable member for any kind of undercover or vaguely subtle work. Thankfully the whole plan works because the evil corporation behind the murder just happens to see Leona and just happens to find her perfectly suitable for their purposes (whatever those are). Furthermore, the evil recruiter really wants to gloat about killing her friend, thus actually getting Leona's interest. Before long, she's strapped to a table about to undergo some sort of unspecified brain-washing. Of course, the tanks come crashing in at just the right time and the day is saved ? but without finding out what is actually going on, of course.

The evil corporation's schemes continue in the third episode when the program a gigantic automated truck filled with explosives to race straight for the center of the city, running over everything in its path. After nearly getting run over by it, Leona is in hot pursuit. After the autopilot is hacked, she jumps inside to stop it ? only to reveal another level of automated control, and now she's trapped! The captain has to have a man-to-truck showdown with it, shooting out the truck's central control with his pistol ? which is somehow able to penetrate the armor that supposed to be able to stop missiles. But, in the end, the truck is safely stopped and we find out that it was all a ?brilliant? diversion to keep the police away from making a bust at the harbor when an important deal went down. I guess the evil corporation wins that battle.

Then Leona's dear Bonaparte gets stolen and in tracking it down, Leona finds out that it was taken by the Puma Sisters because a researcher had hidden some top-secret data about new ?virtual narcotics? in the tank. A fight breaks out and a chase around an old flour-storage warehouse leaves a great deal of fine dust in the air. This apparently makes the use of weapons extremely dangerous and Leona only just manages to escape before one of the buyers for the secret data tries to fire a rocket launcher ? blowing up the entire building and destroying all the data and evidence.

All hell breaks loose in the fifth episode when another version of the spider-vehicle attacks a prison, breaking out killer from the second episode. That is followed by a string of red-herrings and false alarms for terrorist attacks. The Tank Police are, of course, mobilized and spread rather thin. This is only a precursor to the real plan, however, when two spider-bots attack the mayor's house in an attempt to kill her before some important legislation can be passed. The Tank Police arrive just in time to rescue the mayor after a fierce battle, thought she is seriously injured. Then they figure out that the terrorists were using the underground water tunnels to run from one scene to another and manage to capture all of them, though the evil killer commits suicide before he actually does anything at all. Meanwhile, a traitor in the midst of the Evil Corporation sends the police a tape of the latest board meeting where they plotted to assassination attempt.

Everything seems to be neatly wrapped up, but in the next episode the traitor at Evil Corp finds out that the mayor is still alive. He was planning to defect to another evil mega-corporation and killing the mayor was kinda part of the deal. Two more spider-bots are sent out to attack the hospital where the mayor is being treated. The Tank Police are very much on the losing end of the battle until the resident tech-head reveals the enemy's weakness ? hit them with a cannon shell and they're easily beaten. Who'd have thought, huh? Actually hit them, and they go to down. While the main regiment of the tank squad battles the spider machines, Leona tracks down their controller to a diplomatic estate. Protected by diplomatic immunity, the police can't touch him. Once Leona sees his face, however, she realizes that he was the mastermind behind all the previous problems (including her friend's murder and her own near-brainwashing) and she simply can't let him escape justice. He runs to a military base (that looks distinctly American) and flies off on a private jet. Justice always prevails, however, and Leona just uses her tank's machine gun to blow it out of the sky.

And everyone lived happily ever after.

In Summary:
I had some high hopes about this release. I quite like the original OVA (and manga) and was hoping that the sequel would continue the aborted story. There's no connection between the plots, however, and furthermore the new series has none of the charm or inventiveness of the original. There are moments when it all comes together, but the brief bursts of hilarious comedy or exciting action just aren't enough to carry the series. Padded out by boring and predictable storylines that plod along and really make no friggin' sense at all, New Dominion Tank Police looks pretty enough but doesn't have anything to offer anyone except the completist fan.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Panasonic CT27SX12AF 27" flat-screen TV; Koss KD365 DVD player; Onkyo TX-SR501 receiver; RCA 6-piece home theater speaker package; Component video and optical audio connections

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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1 
Thundarr 8/12/2008 1:33:28 PM
It's too bad you didn't like New Dominion Tank Police. It is a direct sequel to the manga series. While, the original Dominion Tank Police is a prequel to the manga. I liked all three. But, I do agree that the original Dominion Tank Police is the better anime.
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