The three-part, 1990 OVA* A.D. Police Files, takes to task the material from the A.D. Police manga, while at the same time telling new stories in the cyberpunk vain. Leon and Jeena return to protect NeoTokyo from Boomers, with new missions in sight. You thought that A.D. Police had cyborgs on the cyber brain; heck you have seen nothing yet.
I was starting this review thinking that A.D. Police Files was directed only by Takamasa Ikegami (unfortunately not famed artist Ryoichi Ikegami), but each part is headed by a different director. The first, Takamasa Ikegami (Phantom Women), was the director for an OVA called RG Veda (I had no idea that this existed, but it seems Central Park Media licensed it back in the day). The second, Hidehito Ueda (The Ripper), also directed called AD Police TV and Ambassador Magma (Osamu Tezuka’s work on the other side of “classic”). The third, Akira Nishimori (Man who Bites his Tongue), directed Ai No Kusabi (hear tell — quite a good Yaoi classic). This made sense since it felt like each episode used the characters of Leon and Jeena uniquely and each episode stands alone. One director used them extensively and then the others used them minimally.
Episode 1 Phantom Women: As in the A.D. Police manga, we find Leon once again struggling to survive a female Boomer assault. But this time he is serving on the Normal Police force thus gaining him a transfer into the A.D. Police. Thinking that the bullet-filled Boomer is in his past, Leon continues to adjust to his transfer. But a hostess Boomer attack leads both him and Jeena to a case with the Boomer who almost took out Leon in the past. And yes, she is back with a request. What request you ask? Well you just need to watch to find out.
Episode 2 The Ripper: In this episode, Iris Cara of the normal police is investigating a chain of prostitute killings on the Paradise Loop subway. Each woman is killed by having their abdomen cut out, thus giving an almost Jack the Ripper quality to this episode. Leon, while working more in the backdrop with Jeena, shows up at the scene believing that these murders are by a Boomer. But Iris is convinced that this is the work of a human, stemming from the personal feel of the attacks and not of an emotionless Boomer. I’ll leave you with the knowledge that Iris investigates a super businesswoman, Caroline Evers, while searching for the killer.
Episode 3 The Man Who Bites His Tongue: Billy Fanword was an ex-boxer turned A.D. Police cop who died in the line of fire. But, the kicker is, in RoboCop fashion, he comes back as a cyborg. But unlike Murphy, Billy only has his brain and tongue left. This tongue, being the only connection to his humanity, this is key to the story. After being brought back by his doctor, Dr. Takagi, he is returned to his squad to fight. Things go fine for a while, outside of the lack of communication between him and his ex-girlfriend Jeena (yes he can hold light conversation, which I saw as a nice touch) He starts losing his composure while fighting and after brutalizing a Boomer in a fight, the rest of his squad start to worry about their seven-foot tall companion.
Each story in A.D. Police Files seems to stem from two major facets of cyberpunk; the replacement of man with machine and human suffering. Characters either have cybernetic limbs or are planning on getting them. This draws back to the idea that humans will one day be replaced by the machines they create. The masochistic tendencies of this series permeate through each story. Characters will ask to be shot, in an attempt to feel human, to feel this aspect of humanity. If you think about it, a third cyberpunk aspect crops up in the form of the fem fatale whose main goal is to harm men. Not to spoil too much, but every antagonist in A.D. Police Files is a woman. Cyberpunk takes a lot from film noir, and like in Blade Runner, women are unfortunately portrayed in a negative light compared to the protagonist. And you can rightfully take away some very misogynist tones from this show.
Music is where this show really shines. At first I thought that the music was dubbed over in English, but Lou Bonnevie a Filipino singer, performs completely in English. She sings these cold, troubled ballads perfectly, making for some memorable imagery. This soundtrack really grew on me (to the point that I am listening to it still while I write this), and I believe that this is the biggest thing you can take away from A.D. Police Files. My favorite tracks are “Heartbreaker“and “I’m Every Girl”.
Pros: Lou Bonnevie really pumps up the soundtrack, something I would expect of this cyberpunk work. It is just enjoyable to see the A.D. police in motion. Two of the episodes use a trick called “Postcard Memories” to heighten the mood. This was really done right.
Cons: The episodes get too dark at times, be it in the lighting or just general tone. The misogyny can be too much of a turn off to enjoy. Sometimes it throws punches when it should have held them.
I really promote A.D. Police Files for just setting a mood and playing it right. I used a Netflix copy, but this is on Amazon and Animeigo has it on their site for even less than Amazon. I suggest you try them first. God did I love this show.
*OVA, for people who don’t know, was a very popular anime release method, focused majorly around the height of the home video market in Japan, around the time between Bubblegum Crisis and A.D. Police.