Hey everybody! Today marks the beginning of my 4-month series of reviews. Like I said in my post first telling you about this series, I'll be posting up two reviews a week. For this one, I got a dose cyberpunk for you, and a infamous piece of 90s anime shlock. Gear up, strap in, and lets start off this series with a prequel review for an iconic piece of cyberpunk anime. Here's a review for AD Police Files.
Taking place 5 years before the events of Bubblegum Crisis, AD Police Files shows off three early cases of A.D. Police: Dead End City, a manga that takes place within the series. You see the origin story of Leon McNichol (A character we also see in Bubblegum Crisis), and his involvement within the previously mention cases: a hostile female boomer going out of control, a series of prostitute murders, and finally a AD Police captain becoming a boomer/cyborg due to injuries, and going berserk because of the actions of others.
Each of these episodes have intriguing stories to them, chock-ful with action, suspense, horror, and perhaps a tiny bit of skin if you know what I mean. With that said, you have to watch the show it the order it was made, otherwise you'll possibly be a little confused as to what's going on.
Just like Bubblegum Crisis, AD Police Files takes place in Mega-Tokyo. Both shows depict the city as a dystopian citadel, filled with the broken dreams of the common folk that dwell in the environment, and just dripping with cyberpunk imagery & themes (Evil corporations, abundance of robots & other technological devices, science, etc). Where as Bubblegum Crisis seems a little more lighthearted and not as serious (Yet still having serious moments), AD Police Files goes for a darker tone & feel, but we'll get to that point later.
Characterization in AD Police Files is interesting. Whereas I liked most of the characters in Bubblegum Crisis, I didn't like most of the characters in this show. They seemed like film noir characters, but not the good kind. Many of them seem too whiney, too mopey, and look like they would rather serve themselves than the public. There aren't that many characters that fell good, perhaps because they don't have enough screen time, or don't have enough of a roll within the show at large.
AD Police Files feels roughly like Bubblegum Crisis. It still has that show's cyberpunk art style, and the characters move around just about as fluidly. What separates AD Police Files from Bubblegum Crisis is the animation's tone. The whole thing looks darker & grittier that Bubblegum Crisis (Which is ironic, given that Bubblegum Crisis is a cyberpunk show, and cyberpunk tends to have occasional gritty tones), creating an experience that is more serious than it's predecessor. I know that I should have explained this more in the "Setting" section, but it seemed more appropriate to talk about it here.
Similar to Bubblegum Crisis, the voice acting in AD Police Files goes all over the place. Where as BC had a even mix between good & bad voice actors, AD Police Files seems to lean over towards the side of good voice acting, with only a few people noting quite putting their all into the roles they were given. There's more of a sense of hard working actors at the helm of most of these characters, and the few that are bad sound at least okay, if not forgettable.
EPISODES & EPISODE LENGTH
Like Gunsmith Cats, AD Police Files has only 3 episodes to it's name, each running about 26-27 minutes. Where as I found the 3 episodes in Gunsmith Cats to work with the story, in this show I'm not so sure. It almost feels like there was more to the story in this prequel than what we were shown. Given that it's before the events of Bubblegum Crisis, I understand. With me, however, I feel that there was a story or two more within this show, but something happened and they had to cut them. It would be interesting to find out if anybody knew something.
AVAILABILITY & PRICING
If you're a fan of Bubblegum Crisis, you'll be happy to know that AD Police Files can still be readily found, whether on places like youtube or amazon. There's plenty of dvds to be found on amazon, mostly new copies (At the time of this writing, there's only 4 used copies available). Pricing isn't terrible: new copies of this show range anywhere from $10.50 to about 18-19 dollars. Even though I downloaded the episodes, I'm incredibly tempted to buy a DVD copy of this show, mostly for the hell of it.
Since I downloaded this show, I don't know what extras the DVD contains.
I should quickly mention before I end this review the music that's in the show. Like Bubblegum Crisis, the music in AD Police Files sounds like it came from the 80s to early 90s. It's cheesy, goofy, and will definitely make you snicker a couple times, but at the same time it sound good, and it fits the show just fine.
GENERAL IMPRESSION & RATING
If you're a fan of the Bubblegum Crisis series, AD Police Files is worth picking up. Like it's predecessor, it's an action packed series, filled with cyberpunk goodness, suspense, and small doses of goofy humor. The voice acting is better than it's predecessor, a little bit darker than predecessor, and is actually cheaper than it's predecessor! Even if you didn't watch Bubblegum Crisis before this one, I highly recommend AD Police Files as a nice stand alone OVA, perfect to watch on a afternoon.
AD Police Files gets a 7.5 to 8 out of 10
See you all later this week, when I'll be reviewing one of the most horrible series in existence. Until then, stay Otaku!