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Image Entertainment presents
Hyper Police #2 (1998)

"I'm not going to be a bounty hunter ever again!"
- Natsuki (Yuko Miramura)

Review By: Joel Cunningham   
Published: November 19, 2002

Stars: Naoki Bando, Yumi Hikita
Other Stars: Ryuzo Ishino, Kotono Mitsuishi, Yuko Miyamura, Akio Otsuka
Director: Takahiro Omori

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (cartoon violence)
Run Time: 01h:36m:20s
Release Date: October 08, 2002
UPC: 014381159226
Genre: anime

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B- CB-B D-

DVD Review

Hyper Police is a dreary police drama anime, albeit one with an interesting premise. Set years in the future, the story takes place in a world where humans live with (and sometimes procreate with) various animals and beasties. In the city of Shinjuku, the population is divided between the humans, the animals, and their mixed offspring (including cat girls, a pig man and a fox woman). Aside from the unusual inhabitants, Shinjuku is also noteworthy for its unwelcome visitors—a deadly infestation of monstrous creatures bent on destruction (or some such).

Honestly, it's a bit difficult to discern what exactly is going on in this future. Perhaps the story was established in the first four episodes (I have only viewed this DVD, which collects episodes 5-8). But from what I can gather, these "monsters" are actually feral half-breeds, ostracized from society and driven to a life of crime and murder. Keeping these rogue characters under control requires quite a bit of firepower. Enter the bounty hunters, the only organized peacekeeping force in the city. Hyper Police focuses on one particular "Police Company," one made up of both humans and half-humans, with cat girl Natsuki as the lead. The series consists of episodic adventures as Natsuki, along with her teammates (including the "foxy" Sakura and the werewolf Batanen) tries to take down the next in a long line of criminals (and earn enough on the bounty to keep food on the table).

From the description on the back of the box, I was expecting a lighthearted, action-packed series, but Hyper Police is rather morose. In episode five, Natsuki and Sakura discover that their bosses have been supplying them with shoddy silver bullets (only pure silver has the magical power required to fell a monster). This notion of impending poverty hangs over the show as a whole. Later on, while attempting to capture a dangerous beast, our feline heroine comes face to face with the creature's young child, who blames her for taking her father away from him. This trauma prompts Natsuki to consider quitting her job and finding new work (her thought process involves getting drunk on "catnip milk"). Such weighty issues are certainly welcome if handled with care, but the characters here aren't quite compelling enough to support such serious storylines (and the goofiness of the premise gets in the way, too). Perhaps such material would work better towards the tail-end of the series (when other goofy anime series often tackle more depressing material). But early on, it's difficult to care about Natsuki's career crisis (we know she goes back to work anyway, or there'd be no show).

Hyper Police isn't a total wash, but it doesn't do enough with its muddled-yet-promising premise, instead choosing to wallow in self-doubt and depression. With a little more action and humor, I might find quite a bit to like. As is, my animal instincts are telling me to give this series a pass.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: This is a decent transfer, considering the source material. Produced before the colorization of anime went digital, Hyper Police looks to have been a fairly low budget program. Colors are rather dull; on the upside, there is no color bleed. Blacks are adequate, though they could be a bit more solid. The print condition looks decent, with no dirt or scratches showing. It's a bit blah to look at, but I'm sure this is as good as the show has ever looked.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, Japaneseyes
Dolby Digital
English, Japaneseyes

Audio Transfer Review: Image has remixed the original 2.0 track into 5.1 English and Japanese, but the newly created track isn't very impressive. In separating out the music and effects to the surrounds, much of the impact of the mix is lost, and the result sounds rather unsupported. The original 2.0 is much better (even if the surrounds are mute throughout). Dialogue is always clear, and the front soundstage is filled out a bit with limited directionality for the sound effects.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 36 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: No extras are included, though each episode has been broken down into a generous nine chapter stops.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

Hyper Police is a fairly bland series, despite the oddball premise. It's simply a bit dull. I'm not saying I need zany humor, but I'd like for the characters to show a little more personality (or for the plots to be a bit more inventive). Perhaps it will get better with future volumes. Despite the lack of extras, Image has done a fine job with the DVD.


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