> Articles Tony Takezaki's AD Police

Take Bubblegum crisis, add a good touch from the movie that inspired it, Blade Runner, and the atmophere and scenario of a big success from japanese fantastic films, let's say Akira. Mix everything. You'll have AD Police.

The OAVs

It's on May 25th, 1990 that appeared the first volume of a series planned to have six episodes - but we're still waiting for the last three, boo !

Maboroshi no onna (the ghost-woman)lays the foundations of an atmosphere kilometers away from that of Bubblegum Crisis. Some years before the arrival of the Knight Sabers, the city of Tôkyô made arrangements quite precarious but sincere against the rising problem of Boomer-crime (crimes involving those famous intelligent robots). That is the reason the special section of the AD Police was created. Leon Mc Nichol is a member of the ADP; he's the only character who is in both the Bubblegum saga and AD Police. You will remember Leon as the frustrated suitor of the pretty Priss Asagiri in BGC. And he's the only real human in such a dark world.

The Japan described in AD Police is worse than that of Blade Runner. Hope, where are you ? It's as if the whole city had forgotten that here the master is supposed to be Man, who is gifted with thoughts and emotions. This latent forgetting is possibly due to the progressive improvement of boomers, who are each day becoming more intelligent and human like. (see Bubblegum Crash 2). As Leon says at the end of the first episode : "Maybe it's them who are the most suited to this city !". This idea also comes back in the second episode which tells the story of a businesswoman who did away with her monthly inconveniences by having her sexual organs removed, thus improving her productivity. She therefore loses her identity by falling in the abyss of cybernetisation: having replaced 70% of her organs. Law defined her as having become... a boomer. Launched in a race against her demons, she will end up dying as a human, as she always wanted to. And the emotion is back in a third episode which is just as heartrending, though not as good as the two previous ones, maybe because it looks too much like a remake of Robocop...

Anyway, the characters presented in these three volumes are deeply moving, from their --so human-- way of refusing this change that technology imposed them - even if it is only a matter of an arm or even of an implanted eye, the dilemma is terrible for these men and women. Lovers of very accurate scenarios and morbid atmosphere should rush to obtain this OAV. It is available on tape in English (Manga Video), but better yet is the excellent subtitled NTSC LD version released by AnimEigo. Neither can one ignore the wonderful soundtrack, which contains unforgettable songs from Lou Bonnevie. Love me tonight alone justifies the purchase of the laserdisc !

The manga

It's the tormented Tony Takezaki who conceived this universe full of loonies. His first manga, AD Police 25:00, published before the OVA, is, something extremely rare (or unique ?), proposed in a bilingual English-Japanese version (!). It can be considered as an attempt to depict Mega-Tôkyô in other ways than in BGC. But that's nothing compared to AD Police, Dead End City, a marvelous manga divided into three stories linked by an unexpected - and fascinating - common point we discover progressively. Themes tackled here will really remind us of Akira, but he's far from being a pale imitation of it. Moreover, where Akira fills millions of pages to leave us hanging, AD Police does the same thing, maybe better in a certain way, and in 200 pages. It's impossible to describe here all the qualities we can give it, all the maturity which is drawn from it.

The French version of the manga includes the wonderful color pages "forgotten" in the US version, as well as some amusing technical sheet which are found at the end of the original volume. French fans can't miss it !!!

PS: Hi to Matt Thorn [US translator for Dead End City] from René-Gilles [French translator]...

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