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Errinundra's Beautiful Fighting Girl #133: Taiman Blues: Ladies' Chapter - Mayumi


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Errinundra
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2020 5:24 pm Reply with quote
Beautiful Fighting Girl index
****

As my review indicates, the OAV is a disappointment, even if I haven't read the manga.

Clearly I need to fix that. So I've just bought digital access from Dark Horse Comics.


Last edited by Errinundra on Mon Feb 14, 2022 3:40 am; edited 1 time in total
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Alan45
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2020 6:20 pm Reply with quote
@Errinundra

I think you will enjoy the manga tremendously. Were you able to get Appleseed Hypernotes and Appleseed ID in addition to the four volumes?
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Errinundra
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 2:18 am Reply with quote
@ Alan45,

I've only purchased book 1 so far, however Hypernotes and ID are available on the Dark Horse website.

Edit not quite five hours later: You were spot on; I enjoyed volume 1 tremendously. The two mains are terrific, while Hitomi is much more fun than either the 1988 or 2004 anime versions.


Last edited by Errinundra on Mon Feb 14, 2022 3:40 am; edited 2 times in total
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Beltane70



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 10:14 am Reply with quote
I’m glad to hear that you liked it, Errinundra! Hitomi is definitely my favorite of the side characters of Appleseed!
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Alan45
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 7:16 pm Reply with quote
Shirow's works in general and Appleseed in particular were part of my first year of manga immersion. Appleseed is one of the few manga that never got put into deep storage. I think I have five copies of the four main volumes, if I counted correctly. Actually, I've picked up about everything of Shirow's that I could find.
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Beltane70



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2020 12:12 am Reply with quote
It was the same with most of my friends. I actually made some of them jealous when I brought back a single copy of the Ghost in the Shell manga from my first trip to Japan. It had just come out and the news of its release hadn’t even made it to the US yet.
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Errinundra
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2020 4:25 am Reply with quote
Speaking of immersion, Appleseed is the first manga I've read where I've been able to lose myself in the images and the story. If you click on My Manga below you'll see I've only dabbled in a few and never finished any of them.

The characters and the story are heaps of fun, but I think one key for me has been how I'm reading the manga at the Dark Horse Digital site. The trick has been to view it on my screen one panel at a time. When I have a complete page or two page spread in front of me I suffer from visual overload.

And I have to add this spread of Hitomi moments from book 1.



Favourite is when she drops a grenade into an armoured van about to do over Briareos.

She occasionally reminds me of Alita. Pre-dates her, too.

Oh, and I've just purchased book 2.


Last edited by Errinundra on Sun Jul 04, 2021 4:14 am; edited 1 time in total
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Alan45
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2020 7:38 am Reply with quote
Oh good. Now you will find out the meaning of the title. Wink

The first four volumes cover chapters 1 to 25. Appleseed ID (illustrations and data) contains a late chapter 26. It also has color and B&W galleries and a lot of information about the series, including images of what Briareos looked like pre cyberization.

Hypernotes contains more information about the series and an 85 page incomplete "beta" version of volume five.
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Beltane70



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2020 11:32 am Reply with quote
Alan45 wrote:

The first four volumes cover chapters 1 to 25. Appleseed ID (illustrations and data) contains a late chapter 26. It also has color and B&W galleries and a lot of information about the series, including images of what Briareos looked like pre cyberization.


Ah, I was wondering what the Appleseed ID book was. I'm used to the Japanese title of the book which was simply called Appleseed Databook.

Now you see why Hitomi is one of my favorite Appleseed characters outside of Deunan and Briareos!
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Alan45
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2020 10:59 am Reply with quote
@Beltane70

Your comment made me do some digging. Appleseed has a rather complicated publishing history in the U.S.

The first four volumes were initially brought out by Eclipse Comics flipped in comic book form and in trade paperbacks. When Dark Horse got the rights (and the relationship to Studio Proteus) they issued them as comic sized trade paperbacks. They later issued them in digest size unflipped in 2007/2009.

With regard to the Data Book, they initially issued two flipped comics later collected as simply Data Book which appears to be about half the content of the Japanese Data Book (which I have). It was also issued in comic book size. In 2007 they issued an unflipped Appleseed ID in digest size. This includes chapter 26 two color galleries and one B&W gallery along with about half the "data" from the prior Dark Horse Data Book. The bottom line is that the ID volume has much less "data" then the Japanese version.

I also have the Japanese version of what Dark Horse published a Hypernotes. I'm not sure what it is called. However it is noticeably thicker than the Dark Horse version. Again, less information from Shirow about the Appleseed world.

Interestingly, Dark Horse also initially brought out Shirow's other manga in comic book form, flipped with a subsequent trade paperback version, comic book sized. Those versions of Ghost in the Shell left out two pages of the Major's lesbian virtual orgy. When they republished it unflipped in digest size they included the missing pages. Subsequently Kodansha reissued it in unflipped hardback with the two pages again omitted.
.
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Beltane70



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2020 1:01 pm Reply with quote
I have the original Eclipse Comics release of the series, but don't remember which trade paperback versions I have. Most of my manga is currently in storage. I also have the two comic version of the Data Book as well as the original Japanese release. The only thing that I am missing is Hypernotes in both Japanese and English versions. Perhaps the next time that I'm in Japan, I'll take a look in the used shops for Hypernotes.
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Errinundra
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2020 5:58 am Reply with quote
Beautiful Fighting Girls #95: Noa Izumi et al,



Patlabor

Synopsis: In the very near future (of 1988) mecha aren't only used by the military. More commonly they are used in heavy construction, mining and manufacturing, where they are known as Labors. This has also put mecha within easy reach of criminals and other disaffected elements in society who quickly turn them to their own use. To counter this threat the Japanese Police Force has set up a new team known as Section 2, with its own Patrol Labors, or Patlabors for short. Not sure of the utility of the machines, the police leadership isn't fully committed to the project so assign to the team officers who don't fit in elsewhere. Former traffic cop, Noa Izumi - a self-confessed mecha-phile, finds herself assigned as pilot to one of the first two patlabors delivered by the manufacturer. If Noa might not seem the most qualified person for the job, well, she's just one of a bunch of eccentrics tasked with finding a way to use the patlabors to keep the peace.

Production details:
Release dates: 25 April 1988 - 25 June 1989
Original creation: Headgear (Kazunori Ito, Yutaka Izubuchi, Mamoru Oshii, Akemi Takada, and Masami Yuki), set up by the members to retain copyright control of the Patlabor mixed media franchise
Director: Mamoru Oshii (ep 1-6) (Gatchaman II, The Wonderful Adventures of Nils, Urusei Yatsura, Dallos, Ghost in the Shell, The Sky Crawlers, Vlad Love) & Naoyuki Yoshinaga (ep 7) (Maison Ikkoku franchise, Cleopatra DC, Wolf Guy, The Irresponsible Captain Tylor OAV, Parasite Dolls)
Script: Kazunori Ito
Character Design: Akemi Takada
Mechanical design: Yutaka Izubuchi
Tie-in manga: Masami Yuki
Studio: Deen
Music: Kenji Kawai (Dream Hunter Rem, Maison Ikkoku, Vampire Princess Miyu, Devilman, Ranma ½, Burn Up!, Mermaid Forest, The Irresponsible Captain Tylor, Blue Seed, Fate/Stay Night, When They Cry - Higurashi, Moribito - Guardian of the Spirit, Eden of the East, The Perfect Insider and Maquia - When the Promised Flower Blooms. His collaborations with Mamoru Oshii include his two Ghost in the Shell movies and The Sky Crawlers. Mamoru Oshii, who says he can't work without him, attributes 50% of his films' success to Kenji Kawai.)
Note: Ryutaro Nakamura, who was episode director for eps 2 & 4, would later garner fame directing Serial Experiments Lain, Kino's Journey and Ghost Hound among other anime titles.


Kanuka Clancy, the standoffish, seriously capable mecha pilot on loan from the New York Police Department.
She doesn't once pilot a mecha.


Comments: According to Helen McCarthy, Mamoru Oshii and his mates frequented a coffee shop where they discussed, among other things, their thoughts on anime and possible future projects. It was during these meetings that the germ of the Patlabor idea sprouted: to create a mecha franchise that was the antithesis of anything that came before it. With successful, established careers behind them, and believing that the concept would be a winner, they set up Headgear to keep control of their intellectual property. Even back in 1988, it seems that creatives felt stifled by the anime production system. The concept was carefully structured to appeal to as wide an audience as possible, with adult characters, particularly the commanders Shinobu Nagumo and Kiichi Goto, a younger pair in Noa Izumi and Asuma Shinohara (along with ample shipping opportunities with both couples), an underlying comic tone, regular action sequences and beautifully realised mecha in all their technical glory and doubtful utility.

Patlabor is the mecha show for anime fans like me for whom mecha are ridiculous. Headgear's manifesto comes through loud and clear in Captain Goto's declaration to his field teams after they wantonly destroy a video store (no doubt stocked with conventional mecha titles) using terminology that would be avoided these days.

Quote:
You’re public servants, people! Public servants. What do you think you’re piloting? Great Mazinger? Dangaio? For Pete’s sake, this isn’t some robot cartoon whose main character is an autistic kid or some punk.


Instead, one patlabor is piloted by a sprite who gets flummoxed under pressure (though that will change in later instalments of the franchise) and the other by a hot-tempered gun-nut who just wants to blow things away. The only time a mecha is the primary focus of an episode is the last, tellingly not directed by Oshii, while in only two of the other six are the patlabors actually used to resolve the final confrontation. Instead the OAV concentrates on what it might be like to work with mecha and, more satisfyingly, on the characters themselves. I'll come to the characters shortly, but Patlabor balances the apparently contradictory aims of presenting mecha convincingly while simultaneously gently mocking the entire concept. The two are linked, of course: if something is inherently absurd, then portraying it plainly will make manifest the absurdity. The patlabor are complex, fragile and costly to maintain for a service under constant threat of budget cuts. Denied the fantasy ability of rocket propulsion they are, as a result, too large and dangerous to pilot (ie, plod) to crime scenes so must be transported by truck and thus subject to the vagaries of the Tokyo freeway system. Indeed, being large and slow, they themselves cause traffic jams, not to mention the problems the team experiences on tight country roads. To cap it off they invariably cause more damage than the criminals they target. These travails are presented with a droll, straight face yet constantly amuse, thanks to Oshii's appraising, ironic eye combined with his willingness to allow moments to linger for comic effect.


Captain Shinobu Nagumo is the by-the-book commanding officer of the section's Division 1.
Both she and the less conventional Division 2 commander Kiichi Goto share family names with WW2 admirals.


The core of Patlabor's success isn't its approach to the mecha genre, but, instead, its cast of appealing characters. Noa Izumi may be the marketing face of the franchise and likeable enough in her own right, however she is but one member of an ensemble cast of eccentrics. The cute girl is the one character who treats the mecha as anything more than a tool - well, except perhaps her piloting counterpart Ohta, who sees them as an opportunity to destroy things. She's so enamoured of her patlabor that she names it Alphonse. (So, why does anime equate the name Alphonse with armoured suits?) Not frenetic enough to be called genki, she's still the most active and expressive member of the cast and a development of a long line of comic girls we have encountered in this thread. At the other extreme is Kanuka Clancy, the very sort of kick-arse female character that I had hoped Deunan Knute would be (see my last review). Highly competent in anything she does to the point of smugness, her timely interventions are always both welcome and amusing. The most interesting of the female cast is Captain Shinobu Nagumo, who plays the straight and conscientious foil to the unorthodox Captain Kiichi Goto. She's the only member of the ensemble who isn't, to any extent, clownish. In an entertainment medium populated with kids and punks, to borrow from Goto, I find it refreshing to watch an anime with one or more grown-up characters in a principal roles and acting their age. Despite her simple portrayal she suggests depth and complexity.

Of the male characters, Goto stands out. He leads his team with a light touch and unconventional methods, but, being surrounded by a bunch of misfits, his continued exasperation is an ongoing gag that doesn't wear thin. At times its as if he's sighing at the idiocy of mecha conventions as much as his own staff. Asuma Shinohara is the estranged son of the president of the corporation that constructs the very patlabors the police force are using. He's a regular 1980s hero with a comic edge and plays the roll of foil for Noa. Of the rest I've already mentioned Ohta, the pilot who wants the biggest gun he can lay his mecha hands upon so he can blast anything in sight; there's a gentle giant who drives one of the mecha transport trucks and a constantly pre-occupied family man who drives the other; an oracular head mechanic and a nerdy programming whiz. They may seem conventional but, thanks to the marvellously appropriate character designs, sympathetic animation and directorial finesse, come alive as a large, rumbuctious family with Shinobu and Goto watching over them.

Mamoru Oshii's long association with Kenji Kawai has now become established. This is an altogether more spritely soundtrack compared with the more atmospheric works I associate with the composer, with their long, lugubrious melody lines and odd instrumentation. Given the tone of the OAV, the pieces are apt, without any particularly drawing attention to itself. Each episode has a different ending theme while the opener is a lively expression of Noa's love for Alphonse.


Top: the field team after extracting a bogged patlabor-laden truck (l-r) - Noa, Asuma, Hiromi, Ohta, Shinshi and Clancy.
Middle left: one of the patlabors in an episode about ghosts and firearms restraint.
Middle right: Asumi. Does he cut the red wire? Or the blue wire? Thank goodness Kanuka Clancy will help him decide.
Bottom left: Ohta wants nothing more than to shoot things. Bottom right: chief mechanic Seitaro Sakaki and technical expert Shigeo Shiba.


Here's a thing. I've now surveyed 56 anime with female main characters for the period between the release of the first OAV, Dallos, in late 1983 (coincidentally also directed by Mamoru Oshii) and Patlabor in mid 1988. At first blush that sounds meritorious, however if I exclude magical girl titles and anime intended for children then almost all the remaining titles were released on OAV. There has been only two TV shows in that time with a female protagonist and aimed at a male audience: Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross and Dirty Pair. Notably, both had their television run cut short. The importance of the OAV in the discovery and development of this audience shouldn't be under-appreciated. Patlabor will become a catalyst in connecting the OAV and TV audiences, as Clements points out.

Quote:
Arguably, the most worthwhile releases were those that began life as videos, but acquired enough of a following to justify their upgrade into TV serials and movies. Video hence also functioned both as a testing ground for new talent (Tokugi 1999: 311) but also for storylines, with the most notable successes of the period being the Patlabor (1988) and Tenchi Muyo (1992) franchises, both of which upgraded from video into the more established media. Crucially for many of the production houses, it also offered a unique new window of opportunity to participate in the ownership of anime objects.


Which brings us back to Headgear.

Rating: good.
+ characters; character designs; art and animation; clever treatment of the mecha genre; sly comedy
- a couple of the episodes are downright fluff; while the humour usually hits the mark, it isn't the funniest comedy you will ever watch - diverting rather than sidesplitting; action sequences and dramatic development perfunctory (possibly deliberately)

Resources:
Patlabor: The Mobile Police, OVA Series 1, the Early Days Collection, Madman
ANN
Anime: A History, Jonathon Clements, Palgrave MacMillan via Kindle
The font of all knowledge
500 Essential Anime Movies: the Ultimate Guide, Helen McCarthy, Collins Design
The Anime Encyclopedia, Jonathon Clements and Helen McCarthy, Stone Bridge Press via Kindle
100 Anime, Philip Brophy, British Film Institute Publishing


Captain Kiichi Goto


Last edited by Errinundra on Tue Feb 15, 2022 5:27 am; edited 6 times in total
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Alan45
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2020 7:27 am Reply with quote
The associated manga was excellent. Unfortunately, Viz only published two thin volumes. The Japanese release ran 22 volumes.
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Errinundra
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2020 7:36 am Reply with quote
Beautiful Fighting Girl #96: Leona Ozaki,



Dominion Tank Police

Synopsis: Some time in the future, earth's air has become so polluted, and air-borne bacteria so pervasive that wearing gas masks outdoors is essential for survival, while global warming has reduced the environment to an arid wasteland. And the problems don't stop there. With crime rates spiralling out of control the Mayor of Newport City has authorised the use of tanks for the local police force. Former motorcycle cop Leona Ozaki has transferred into the tank division only to discover that it has a reputation for being even more destructive than the gang of criminals who will become the focus of her attention: Buaku and his loyal accomplices, the Puma sisters. All the while scientists are developing an artificial humanoid life form that they hope might thrive in the inhospitable atmosphere.

Production details:
Release dates: 27 May 1988 - 11 August 1989
Original manga: ドミニオン, (Dominion) by Masamune Shirow in Monthly Comic and Monthly ComiComi from 15 October 1985 to 26 July 1986. Shirow later produced two sequels.
Episodes 1 & 2
Director, script, storyboards: Koichi Mashimo (Gatchaman II, Urashiman, Ai City, Dirty Pair: Project Eden, The Weathering Continent, The Irresponsible Captain Tylor, Eat Man, Noir, .hack//SIGN, Madlax, Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE, Spider Riders, .hack//Roots, El Cazador de la Bruja, Blade of the Immortal, Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~, Hyouge Mono)
Studio: Ginga Teikoku
Music: Yoichiro Yoshikawa, who also did the marvellous soundtrack for Iria - Zeiram the Animation
Character design & animation director: Hiroki Takagi
Art director: Mitsuharu Miyamae
Mechanical design: Koji Ito
Episodes 3 & 4
Director: Takaaki Ishiyama (Karura Mau, Tomoe ga Yuku!, Kishin Corps, Sakura Wars (OAV), The Laws of the Sun, Viewtiful Joe, Spider Riders, Fairy Musketeers, Maple Story, Chaos;HEAd and The Rebirth of Buddha)
Studio: Agent 21
Music: as in episodes 1 & 2
Script: Futoshi Takano
Character design & animation director: as in episodes 1 & 2
Art director: Osamu Honda
Mechanical design: as in episodes 1 & 2

Masamune Shirow is the pen name of the highly reclusive Masanori Ota, who was born on 23 November 1961 in Kobe. The son of a visual artist he studied oil painting at Osaka University of the Arts and contributed to fanzines such as Atlas, Funya, Kintalion and Dorothy. Black Magic (Atlas, 1983) launched his career. He claims not to have been an avid manga reader and cites animators such as Hayao Miyazaki, Katsuhiro Otomo and Terry Gilliam as influences (although the first two also produced manga). His reputation established, Shirow's next work, Appleseed (Kodansha, 1985) was published as a tankobon without prior serialisation. It seems to me that his success outside of the traditional manga magazine model contributed to his individual style, enabled him to maintain greater control over the content and allowed him to lead a private life without the usual promotional requirements. After Dominion his works include Ghost in the Shell and Orion and he also created the concepts behind the anime Ghost Hound, Real Drive and Pandora in the Crimson Shell. Even more than his manga, Shirow has been a prolific producer of art books, for example the erotic Galgrease series. He also worked as a high school art teacher - how awesome it would be to have him as your sensei.


Top: Leona and her tank Bonaparte. Both names refer to the French emperor and general.
Middle left: squad commander Brenten spends his spare time reading a manual entitled "How to Kill".
Middle right: The air is so toxic and so hot it's as if the buildings of Newport City are melting.
Bottom left: Leona and the forever lovelorn Al'Cu Ad Solte; right: Leona's first love - Bonaparte.


Comments: To borrow from Alan45 I really have been "immersed" in the worlds of Masamune Shirow as I while away the hours in lock-down Melbourne with its curfews and restricted movements during these COVID-19 times. In terms of where the grand survey is at, we've had the close releases of anime adaptations of both Dominion and Appleseed. To that can be added my reading the original manga for both and then there's Black Magic M-66 and its source manga I covered a few months back. Quite aside from the viewing and reading pleasure involved, I've been happy to dig deeper into Shirow's oeuvre because his influence on anime is enormous. Black Magic (manga 1983, anime 1987) was part of a vanguard of new cyberpunk science fiction from the decade, along with Akira (manga 1982, anime 1988) and Ai City (manga 1983, anime 1986). The emphasis is shifting from the grandeur of space or epic mecha battles to where the "foetid air and gritty of the dusty, dirty city, through the open window floating, spreads its foulness over all." ** And while the goofy and often satirical humour so often found in anime sci-fi to this date is ever present in Shirow's work and their adaptations, anime in his wake will present the city as a zone that's more sinister and more morally abject than hitherto.

Shirow also provides a template for sci-fi anime heroines: smart, assertive and the authors of their own stories. The may be comical to varying degrees but, then, so are all his characters. You can also be sure the women will be presented erotically at some point in the manga, but despite the comic or erotic depictions, he treats them with affection. Those caveats aside, his influence can be seen in later anime. Even though Patlabor beat Dominion Tank Police to the video store shelves by a month, Noa Izumi is clearly inspired by Leona Ozaki, down to her obsession with her machine, her gamine character and her, admittedly toned down, comical and sexual presentation. Both women are ex-traffic cops transferred into a mecha / tank corp respectively. Both initially seem incompetent, but will prove themselves effective - Leona more outrageously and more rapidly. I would contend that Patlabor is Dominion but with the craziness turned down several notches and with a clever overlay all its own thanks to the talents of the Headgear team. A dream combination would see Headgear's Mamoru Oshii adapting a Masamune Shirow manga. Mmmm.

As can be seen from the production details given above, the OAV series was made pretty much simultaneously by two teams. Narratively and tonally they differ substantially, however key personnel working for both teams - character and mechanical design, animation direction and the soundtrack - ensure cohesion is maintained. The release order also helps: the narratively and emotionally more focused second pair of episodes follows neatly after the crazier, more active first pair that serve as an introduction to the characters and the world. Although neither of the stories come from Shirow, they do fit the spirit of the manga and explore a notion that isn't developed much in the original - the creation of artificial humanoids - bioroids, if you will - who can survive in the polluted, bacteria infested city. This also contributes to the overall cohesiveness.


The villains are the real stars of the anime, especially the Puma sisters.

In the first pair of episodes, as part of their efforts in creating a perfect being, medical scientists have discovered that the urine of the humanoids is remarkably free of the contaminants always found in samples from the city's human inhabitants. Powerful people believe the urine will have health benefits so they hire crime boss Buaku and his catgirl companions - the scene stealing Puma sisters - to pilfer it. The metaphor is unsubtle: these two episodes, like the criminal gang involved, are out to "take the piss" by whatever means necessary. Lunacy prevails, from the police interrogation techniques, to the Puma sisters' striptease in (or, more accurately, out of) their nurses' uniforms to avoid arrest, to Buaku's creative use of gigantic, inflatable dildos to impede the progress of pursuing tank squadrons (one of the great WTF moments in anime). Koichi Mashimo and his team of animators revel in the mayhem they produce. As with his Ai City Mashimo directs exuberantly, belying his later reputation for more languid anime. Absurdity will, in time, become a hallmark of some of his better works such as The Irresponsible Captain Tylor and Hyouge Mono, though never this blatantly nor at this pace. The absurdity is driven by the characters as much as the situations. Stand-outs are the criminals. Never in anime have I seen such a happy villain as Buaku, who, like any good anime hero, never gives up and always thinks positively. Most memorable characters, though, of the entire anime (and the manga for that matter) are the brazen, sexy, rough house android catgirls Annapuma and Unipuma who, appropriately, steal and demolish every scene in which they appear. What's more, the villains are the only genuinely happy characters (for these two episodes at least): they have rejected the constraints imposed by the city and its self-serving politicians, thereby coming the closest to having dominion over their own lives. In a coda to his manga, libertarian Shirow questions how much dominion we truly have. Adding "Tank Police" to the title of the English language anime release may make sense from a marketing point of view, but it dilutes the polemical message. Not that the anime or the original manga push the message all that much, mind you. Fun is the first order of the day.

The later pair of episodes put Buaku front and centre. In a variation on the plots of Blade Runner and Frankenstein we learn that he too is an artificially created humanoid spurned by his creators, leading to a criminal career through necessity. The comparatively plot driven episodes follow his (figuratively and topographically) labyrinthine journey to learn his origins and their meaning. He's accompanied unwillingly by Leona and, more enthusiastically, by the Puma sisters. His unfolding story generates sympathy which, combined with his aforementioned positivity, make these episodes more emotionally engaging if less thrilling and less comic. As his search concludes Buaku has a mystical epiphany when the final fruits of the scientist's quest for perfection appears before him - hinted at in the first two episodes, but now realised in the form of a bioroid angel, Greenpeace Crolis. Funnily enough, Crolis is an ongoing, but secondary character in the manga, presented with ironic indifference despite the same purpose lying behind her creation. Her elevation to apotheosis gives the anime an ultimately upbeat, if somewhat inscrutable, conclusion.


Anime Greenpeace Crolis: goddess.

On a technical level the OAV, while very much a product of the 1980s, is generally up to the mark. Its comic nature allows the viewer to overlook any animation short cuts. The first pair of episodes stand out with their garish colour contrasts - frequently electric blues with pinks and reds - and film noir nightscapes, both Koichi Mashimo hallmarks. The melting midnight city is nicely rendered. His comic timing is snappier also. The prologue to the first episode also contains another example of what I call the Mashimo Effect - psychedelic layers of animation where one layer can be seen through the other. It fits in nicely with his lifelong obsession with masks - where one truth is obscured by another. (Check out the Philip Brophy quote below for another take.) The second half, under Takaaki Ishiyama, has a tendency to fall back on more common anime tropes.

Though it never reaches the cheesy heights of the soundtrack to Project A-ko, Dominion Tank Police's also indulges in self-aware excess. While I haven't watched the anime in its dubbed form, on Justin Sevakis's Buried Treasure recommendation I checked out the English language song segments and they aren't bad either.

Rating: good.
+ lunacy of the first half, Buaku's journey in the second, the Puma sisters, the comic characters generally
- the second half can't match the first, interesting underlying themes aren't explored at all, 1980s exuberance may seem quaint to some.

Resources:
ANN
Buried Treasure article, Justin Sevakis
Dominion, 4th edition, Masamune Shirow, Dark Horse Digital
Lambiek's Comiclopedia article on Masamune Shirow
The font of all knowledge
100 Anime, Philip Brophy, British Film Institute Publishing
The Anime Encyclopedia, Jonathon Clements and Helen McCarthy, Stone Bridge Press via Kindle
500 Essential Anime Movies: the Ultimate Guide, Helen McCarthy, Collins Design
"Clancy of the Overflow", The Collected Verse of AB Paterson, Angus and Robertson


Manga Greenpeace Crolis: discarded and dishevelled in a store room.

** Australian readers will be familiar with this Banjo Paterson shout out. It's about as far from cyberpunk as you could possibly imagine.

******

The Final Word

Philip Brophy wrote:
Dominion is typical of much serialised anime in the way it changes its tone from rambunctious parody to disquieting reverie. In Western theatre logic, this would be deemed distracting, unsure, defocused and ill-shaped. But to an Eastern dramatic sensibility, this is an 'a-moralised' removal of layers, where masks are held in place in order to deftly lower them - a gesture far reaching in many forms of Japanese theatre. Dominion is a procession of dramatic masks according to this logic, moving through diverse emotional states in order to enrich its social staging of an urban future.


- 101 Anime, p 81.


Last edited by Errinundra on Tue Feb 15, 2022 5:28 am; edited 7 times in total
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Beltane70



Joined: 07 May 2007
Posts: 3911
PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2020 9:46 am Reply with quote
To this day I still laugh at the game of grenade croquet being played by some of the officers in the police station garage!
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