Reviewby Carlo Santos, Oct 15th 2004
Welcome to Miami, a patchwork American city that isn't to be confused with the real one in Florida. Whenever crime strikes in this town, the Miami Police Force calls on the crack team of Yao and Lu, two policewomen who are feared for their tendency to destroy everything they touch. This volume starts off with a seaside episode on the idyllic Crystal Island, where Yao and Lu investigate an urban legend about a serial killer and the ghosts of his victims. After that, Yao finds herself dodging hordes of assassins at a beauty pageant after her rival, Nagisa, places a ten million dollar bounty on Yao's head. In the third episode on this disc, Yao incurs a five billion dollar debt after blowing up a train to catch a thief. When Lu goes on an undercover mission and is replaced by a smartmouthed detective robot, Yao figures she can use her new partner's calculation skills to win her some money at the casino to cover the debt. Too bad for her that the robot has the AI of a loan shark.
Let's see . . . where have we seen this before? Two young policewomen, one straightlaced, the other impulsive, getting in all sorts of comedic hijinks? Why, it's You're Under Arrest all over again! Whoever made Miami Guns must have decided that YUA wasn't quirky enough. This show stops at nothing for a laugh, delving into crude humor, pop culture references, and making sure that Yao freaks out all the time. There's really no need to keep up with a storyline, since the structure of the show consists of one comedic sequence after another.
The problem with Miami Guns is that it has to measure up to some pretty tough standards within the niche of pointless parody anime. For audiences that have already experienced shows like Excel Saga and Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, this is going to feel very mediocre. A comedy with hardly any plot needs to keep the jokes flying fast and hard in order to stay interesting, and Miami Guns falls flat when it comes to that. There are some wonderful moments in this show -- like when Yao's butler defends her from assassins as she's getting out of bed in Episode 9, and the recurring gay couple in Episode 8 -- but these moments are diluted by long stretches of setting up the next joke. Yao's impulsive airheadedness is also supposed to be a joke in itself, but that quickly gets tired and her constant yelping becomes background noise. Lu is also a one-dimensional character whose entire purpose in life is to talk in a businesslike manner and reprimand Yao. The secondary characters are even less interesting, except for the ones who exist as one-shot jokes (Yao's father, for example, is vaguely reminiscent of a certain father-figure in a well-known giant robot anime).
To its credit, Miami Guns does have pleasant character designs, if by "pleasant" you mean "conducive to fanservice." Situations like the tropical island and the beauty pageant are obviously set up so that the girls can be portrayed in swimsuits. Seriously, though, the high-contrast cel shading is better than average for what should be a low-budget comedy. A lot of care also goes into gag characters like the detective robot and the James Brown emcee at the beauty pageant, so it's a shame they only get used once. Aside from that, there's really nothing remarkable about the visuals; it's animated at a frame rate that's expected for a throwaway TV series.
The dub script and translation are done with reasonable accuracy, but AN Entertainment gets stuck with second-string voice actors since they're not one of the "big boys" of anime. Yao, in particular, gets annoying pretty quickly since her character's main job is to yell and freak out a lot. The rest of the cast sounds like a typical crew of anime VAs, although the character of Julio Peacemaker (a mercenary "bodyguard" and requisite pretty-boy) gets a sexy Latin tinge to his voice, which is somewhat amusing. The music in the show is completely generic, but the ending sequence is one of the more bizarre in recent memory -- we actually see the singers of the theme song in some kind of music video clip. It's weird, but then, everything about Miami Guns is weird.
There's a pretty respectable archive of production artwork and character profiles among the DVD extras. The disc also contains cultural and translation notes; other anime distributors should take a note of this and learn from it. AN Entertainment's dedication to adapting the Japanese material is admirable.
If you insist on collecting every randomly wacky anime out there, then I suppose Miami Guns can be added to that list. But judging by this volume, and assuming that the rest of the series is more of the same, it's probably something that's only worth borrowing -- assuming you want to watch it at all.
Overall (dub) : C
Overall (sub) : C
Story : D+
Animation : C
Art : B-
Music : C
+ takes girl-cop comedy to whole new levels of silliness
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