Anime Review: Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out
By Christopher KinseyOK, well, I subjected myself to this so here’s the review. Extroverted short stack with large breasts wants to break her introverted upperclassman in college out of his shell. She does so by pestering him to do other activities, usually by loudly using double entendres in the campus quad until he’s forced to go because of intense societal Japanese pressure.
Sempai! Sempai! Everyone watching is endlessly refreshing Fakku apps! Why sempaaaaaaiii?!!That’s it. That’s the anime. Produced by mega-publishing conglomerate Kadakowa, they brought in a team to animate it pretty well. I mean, I guess you could get by with any company that can do a Gainax bounce. It’s not really compelling. Or funny. It’s “Please Don’t Bully Me, Nagatoro!” without the charm. OK, pros and cons time!
- -It’s set in college rather than high school
- -Too meaningless to warranty any cons
Anime Review: Hyper Police
by Christopher KinseyWhat do you think about when I say “early 90s anime”? Post apocalypse settings? Sleek sci-fi vehicles? Magic? Beastmen? Dimension hopping? Samurai? Time Travel? What if I told you there was an anime that did all of this and more in 1997? Well it exists and it’s called Hyper Police. It’s the story of a cat girl named Natsuki and her trials and tribulations as a member of the bounty hunting group “Police Company”. She works together with the scruffy seasoned werewolf veteran, Batanen, the power hungry nine-tailed fox Sakura and anthropomorphic wolf Tommy. The entire series is pretty episodic, with a new bounty to be had episode to episode.
Not so much “Hard Boiled” action. More like poached, or sunny side up?And it’s the variety of everything that makes this series. Mad bomber pigs, bounty hunting inter-fighting, protecting the endangered species (pure humans), and more. Anime, especially anime based on manga these days, seem stuck on the idea of the overarching plot. And sure, that’s because many are based on long running shonen properties but this series always kept each episode fresh with the character’s growth and interactions being the real link from episode to episode. As such, however, it’s hard to pin down some common elements to say “Hey, if you like this, you’ll love Hyper Police”. It skips all over so much the strength comes from the characters and their interactions in the world around them that defines it. But here’s the thing. Even for the time, the character types aren’t interesting. Batanen is a horny wolf who wants to be with Natsuki, but hides the horny in that special Japanese way of misunderstandings and covering up the porn when he’s almost caught reading it. Tommy is the bland guy there as a baseline everyman. Sakura is a penny pinching trickster playing into the Japanese monster she’s based on. Natsuki is a naive young lady with the super powers that save the day dropped in her lap from time to time. None of this makes for anything super compelling, so what is it about this series that I just had to talk about this show?
Die Furry!It’s the sum of its parts. On top of the characters, there is the character design which is just short of “everything and the kitchen sink”, the approach most anime and manga did at the time. Heck, the earliest parts of Dragonball Z still had anthropomorphic people in them. It’s fun to just look at how varied the crowd scenes are. Then there are the episodes here and there that deal with some world building. The backgrounds are that half-broken rebuilt city that was everywhere in 90s anime. Action sequences are short and effective, reflecting anime budgets at the time. The further you get in the anime it divergences from the manga, but even that makes the anime appealing as it’s own thing.
Manga of the long-ago still rocks… even if good scans of the out of print are hard to find…And let’s talk about the manga for a moment. It too is a representative of everything that was early 90s anime, and perhaps even pop culture at the time. Like every other detective story made back then, investigations lead to a strip club. A lot of that sort of thing didn’t make it to the anime. But the soul of the manga did. As I said before, it was about how the characters reacted to the situations. It wasn’t all action, slapstick and the like. Natsuki really goes on some character growth from time to time as the realities of police work, especially bounty hunting, isn’t so clear cut.
Eternal spokeswoman for the NRA of the post-apocalypse, Sakura.Even the company behind this series is just so steeped in 80s and 90s anime because Pierrot Co is the legendary anime company that still animates favorites today. Before Hyper Police their body of work includes Kimiguri Orange Road, Fushigi Yugi, Yu Yu Hashuko and, for the incredibly old nerds like me, The Mysterious Cities of Gold. It was one of the first directorial productions of Takahiro Omori who you might know better from some of his later works. We’re talking about series like Baccano!, Durarara!! and even series without exclamation points in the title like Samurai Flamenco. Even the soundtrack is everything you expect from that time period because Kenji Kawai did the soundtrack. His music has been in everything from Ranma 1/2 to Mob Psycho 100 plus so many games and movies in Asia. The thing about Hyper Police isn’t that it’s an amazing anime. For the time it’s just kind of average. But as a time capsule to an era of anime where even the average and ignored anime had this much going for it? I personally think everyone should give either the manga or the anime a try at least once just to see how things were back when I was getting into the hobby.
Our Wild Blood Runs Hot Tonight!
- -Great all-around design
- -Soundtrack grounded perfectly for that anime period
- -The weird and the mundane combine to make something that is, essentially, the only anime you have to watch to understand anime in the early 90s.
- -Generic character motivation
- -Voice acting is a little generic both sub and dub