It’s time for yet another older OVA series. A couple years ago, I had a post looking at the original Bubblegum Crisis OVA series. A tale of a group of adult women in mechanical suits, the Knight Sabers, fighting against runaway robots and cyborgs called boomers in a series of episodic adventures. You know, if those episodes are at least 45 minutes long. It’s really fun and you can look at that here if you want to. cough AD Police Files is an ova series from 1990 that takes place a decade or so before Bubblegum Crisis took place. At least that’s what I’ve heard about it. This is how cops fought against Boomers before the Knight Sabers came to save the day and the early days of one of the cops from that series, Leon McNihol.
AD Police Files is only three-episode ova. It was meant to be longer, but was cut short due to legal issues between the studios producing it. A little disappointing because a lot of elements of this OVA show some interesting aspects of this universe that Bubblegum Crisis didn’t. Three episodes of very mixed quality, but at least had some interesting ideas and characters to make them fascinating to follow along with. Somewhat at least. We follow the journey of newbie AD Police member Leon and his boss, the ever-bad ass police woman, Gina. I think the journey is worth it, but very questionable for some people. The whole thing is around 75 minutes, so not a huge amount of time.
Episode one is a huge mess. It’s all over the place in terms of story, doesn’t have any sort of conclusion to the case it initially provided us because it got distracted by throwing in too many things. Let me explain this a bit. It starts with a female Boomer attacking and wiping out Leon’s police unit, the AD police shows up and handles the problem with Gina’s help, but one of her beloved veterans die. With Leon joining, it starts out as a case to discover whether the guy intended to die to pay off debts and then involves a female boomer that gets horny from Leon shooting it, investigating a sex trafficking business, and so many things not involved with the case. In the end, the two fail to do anything of substance.
The next two episodes are a little better in quality and even explore some interesting issues about cyberization and how they can affect a human’s life. Episode two features the normal police woman, Iris Kara, as she explores the deaths of prostitutes. So, she originally starts with nothing, but after looking into replacing her eye for vague reasons, she discovers a certain CEO Caroline Evers who is at the clinic for some reason. Iris is naturally curious about her while Gina and Leon are following her detective work. This episode explores worker culture focused on women, which I am not qualified to comment on so I don’t know if it’s good or bad. This case is interesting and actually gets completed.
Episode three isn’t about any particular case, but a tearful story. It’s about AD Police captain Billy Fanword, losing what it means to be human. The poor guy had a lot of his body parts taken away to become the best Boomer killing cyborg cop ever! He also happened to be Gina’s former lover which trully means something special considering who Gina is. This is an exploration of how far a human can go before they aren’t human anymore. Billy can’t feel pain or anything anymore, so he needs to be subjected to pretty emotional acts to feel anything. High adrenaline is the only thing that works for him now. After that, there isn’t anything left. That’s all I’m going to say, but this is the most powerful episode.
Some massive content warnings for this one. It’s rated R and it’s not a soft R at all. Yes, there is a lot of bloody violence and such. It’s amazing how far the gore can go sometimes. There is a lot of sexual content as well. I guess that is a Bubblegum Crisis thing in a way. I mentioned episode one having the Boomer who got horny from shot. I’m not even kidding about that fact. It gets her excited enough, she takes her clothes off. Episode 2 has similar things going on considering the deaths of prostitutes. Episode three…well. Just know that a female scientist gets a little too excited with her experimental cyborg man. Yeesh. Just be aware that these things are there!
The biggest thing about all of this is how real and grounded the art and animation feel like. For instance, the anime characters are very culture bound. Gina is a black woman for instance. Each character has realistic proportions and move and feel like each of them have some weight to them. Every action scene feels like something that could happen with a body carnage from deaths feeling powerful in that way. The city feels like a real city and the boomers, which have some very interesting designs, feel like legitimate threats by the way each one of them moves and can just take bullets like no business at all. They have the hits and force of the bullets on them and they’ve taken it like nothing. I think Japan liked Terminator and just wanted to make their own.
I’m just going to say it, AD Police Files is just ok. I do think there is a lot of quality growth from the first episode to the last, but that doesn’t completely save it. If the show continued from episode three’s example and kept that quality of storytelling all the way through, this would be a different story. It’s too bad that AD Police Files is too mixed of a bag to completely recommend. If you are a person that enjoys late 80’s, early 90’s ovas and/or like concepts of what makes humans tick from a cyberpunk sort of perspective, then I think AD Police Files may be something for you to look into. You know, as long as you can survive the pretty graphic content. Otherwise, maybe stay back a little bit.