Bubblegum Crisis was one of the first big anime hits when it was first introduced to the States back in the early 90's. AD Police is a three part series that takes place in the same universe as Bubblegum, but five years earlier. This series looks at Leon when he was still a rookie with the AD Police, just learning the ropes. It is a nice companion piece to Bubblegum Crisis. AnimEigo has released all three episodes on one high quality DVD with a nice selection of extras making this a great addition to anime collections.
The AD Police are a special law enforcement unit that was made to combat terrorism and renegade androids known as boomers. When an android goes berserk, the AD Police are sent in. But with cybernetic replacements becoming commonplace and even whole brain transplants possible, the line separating humans and boomers becomes blurred. The three stories in this set look at what it is to be human, and the difference between man and machine, if there is any difference. If you replace a body part with a robotic substitute are you any less human? What if all of your body is replaced? Can a machine that looks human and has an artificial intelligence have a soul? These are the types of question this show asks, though it gives few concrete answers.
This program is not all philosophical though, there's a lot of action in each episode, with a good amount of violence too. The program is really intended for mature audiences. It has lots of blood, sexual situations and some nudity.
The episodes on this disc are:
The Phantom Woman: The first story introduces Leon on his first AD mission. Leon is a nervous young cop who still makes mistakes, a far cry from his character in Bubblegum Crisis. A boomer goes berserk and starts killing for no apparent reason, and the AD Police take it out, but not without casualties. When the insurance company for the officer who was killed finds some oddities with the case and refuses to pay the policy, Leon and his partner Jeena investigate. They need to find out why this boomer turned into a killer.
Ripper: A series of prostitutes have been killed in an abandoned subway, their abdomen cut out with a knife. The AD Police are on the case, but a regular cop has the feeling that it isn't a boomer doing the killing. After all boomers can't feel the hate that would make them gut a person, can they?
The Man Who Bites His Tongue: The tragic story of Billy, AD Police's cybernetic trump card. Billy was terminally injured, his brain is put into a robotic body. Stronger than any boomer around, Billy takes on the toughest cases. But in his metal body he can't feel any sensations at all. An if he can't feel is he really human?
The last story was definitely my favorite, though they are all very good.
This is a very good show. I enjoyed atmosphere of the series. It has a dark feel to it, taking place in an anti-utopian society, much like Blade Runner. The show has the right mix of action and philosophical content. And though I thought the violence was a little too much at times, it does a great job of not being preachy or just violence for violence's sake. If you enjoyed Bubblegum Crisis, you owe it to yourself to check this disc out.
This disc comes with the original Japanese soundtrack and an English dub, both in stereo. I viewed the disc with both audio tracks, and both tracks sounded very clear with no hint of hiss or distortion. There was some use made of the front sound stage, but it wasn't too extensive. The music and dialogue both sounded crisp and full. A good sounding DVD.
AnimEigo did a great job with the video portion of this DVD. This show looks very good. The lines are tight and the colors are nice and solid. The picture is very clear, with only a little grain in a couple of scenes and a couple of minor spots on the print. This DVD looks a lot better than I remember the video tape looking. If you've been waiting to upgrade your VHS tape, now is the time to do it.
There's a good amount of extras included with this disc. In addition to an image gallery and a series of trailers, there are four good music videos accompanied by scenes from the shows. These have that heavily synthesized 80's feel, but I really enjoyed them. Also included were 14 pages of text liner notes on the disc that reproduce the lyrics to songs. It doesn't sound like a lot, but I really enjoyed these extras.
This was a good series that adds a lot to the story of Bubblegum Crisis, but also stands by itself alone. If you haven't seen the earlier series, you won't have any problem understanding this prequel. The stories were interesting, mixing action with deeper concepts adroitly. AnimEigo did a great job with the disc itself, presenting a clean transfer with a good number of extras. Fans of the first series and dark future movies like Blade Runner will enjoy this well done DVD. A very high Recommendation.