Welcome to part three of a three part article called "Holy Trinity of Suck". In part one and part two we covered the two super sucky anime Mad Bull 34 and Violence Jack. Go read those articles if you haven't already!NOTE: These three works make up what is known as the Manga Video Holy Trinity Of Suck – so named by Daryl Surat of the Anime World Order podcast. Follow Daryl Surat on twitter: @DarylSurat
In the late 90s, Japan's bubble economy was showing signs of coming to the end, and with it the OVA boom. Around this time, Akira hit theaters, and Masamune Shirow started the manga Ghost in the Shell . Ichiro Itano, meanwhile, had come off of Megazone 23, and had done some episode direction work on the original Patlabor OVAs (directed by Mamoru Oshii, who Itano had worked with on Urusi Yatsura: Beautiful Dreamer).
Itano's next project, Angel Cop, would be a cyberpunk series of his own creation. He get help on the concept from Hideki Takayama, who had directed Urotsukidoji, and Hiroyuki Kitakubo, who had directed the first OVA based on one of Masamune Shirow's works, Black Magic M-66, and had worked with Itano on Macross and its spinoff movie, Do You Remember Love. The script would be co-written Noboru “Shou” Aikawa, who wrote the Violence Jack OVA, along with Urotsukidoji, and would later go on to write the first Fullmetal Alchemist TV series, along with its spin-off movie.
In the not-to-distant future, the government of Japan finds itself besieged by the Communist terrorist organization Red May. In response, the government forms the Special Security Force, and gives them carte blanche to protect the government of Japan from any foreign influences which would seek to destroy it.
Of the series in the Trinity, Angel Cop is perhaps the series with perhaps the most characters that it's worth taking the time to keep track of, with the series 6 episode run-time.
Angel – The titular character, and one of two female officers working for the Special Security Force. She cares little (if at all) for human life, prioritizing the mission over all else.
Hacker – An operative for SSF who is... wait for it... a hacker!
Peace – SSF's demolitions expert, and their other female agent.
Taki Haishyo – Chief of the SSF.
Ichihara – R&D chief of the SSF, who performs Raiden's cyborg conversion.
Lucifer, Freya and Asura – Three psychic Hunters who seek to destroy not only Red May, but the SSF as well.
Why It's Bad
Aside from the terrible dub and unnecessary fifteening job that the series received from Manga Entertainment, there are several other problems that need to be addressed. The series is grotesquely violent. Itano makes sure that lots of people die very horrible, gory deaths in the series. A notable example where a character is shot in the head, and not only is person's brain matter visual, but a eyeball is even blown out of their skull.
There is also the matter of the anti-semitism and jingoism. The ultimate antagonists of the series are revealed to be a Vast Jewish Conspiracy™ to destroy the Japanese economy – as in the series Japan has become the world's only economic superpower and put the nail in the coffin by buying up the island of Hokkaido and turning it into a nuclear waste dump. To the credit of Manga Entertainment, in the English release any traces of the Vast Jewish Conspiracy™ were replaced with an Evil American Corporation™ in both the subtitles and the dub.
Ironically, the plot of the series played very heavily on Japan's bubble economy, assuming that it would continue forever and playing off a sense of ultra-nationalism growing in Japanese corporate circles at that time. By the time the series concluded in 1994, the Bubble economy had burst and the economy of Japan in general would experience a dive that they would pull out of until 2001.
Whatever Happened To...
Ichiro Itano – Itano, despite being responsible for Violent Jack and Angel Cop , is still active in the anime industry. Itano achived fame for being a key animator and animation director for the Macross series (the famous “Macross Missile Massacre” is also known in some circles as the “Itano Circus”), and he would be active in every successive Macross series save Seven and Frontier . He would later go on to direct Blassreiter and Gantz .
Noboru “Shou” Aikawa – Would, as mentioned earlier, go on to write the first Full Metal Alchemist TV series and film.
Hideki Takayama – After this series he would go on to direct a second Hentai (his first being Urotsukidoji) in Mystery of the Necronomicon , before directing more “normal” fare in the OVA Rumbling Hearts – Next Season (Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien ~Next Season~) .
Hiroyuki Kitakubo – In addition to working on the first half of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure , Kitakubo would go on to direct the Katsuhiro Otomo penned Roujin Z , as well as Blood: The Last Vampire , and would work as a planning assistant on Occult Academy .
The License – As with the other series in the Trinity, the license for this as well has lapsed, but not before the series received a DVD release. The quality of the release was rather poor (just a straight VHS-to-DVD rip), but it is out there, though rather hard to find.Alexander Case (Count_Zero) writes about science fiction for Bureau42.com when he isn't writing stuff here, and he can also be found on Twitter (@Count_ZeroOR)