Angel Cop (エンゼルコップ, Enzeru Koppu?) is a six-part original video animation created and directed by Ichirô Sakano. A manga adaptation written and illustrated by Taku Kitazaki was serialized in Newtype Magazine and reprinted as a Newtype 100% collection … see full wiki
By the end of the new millennium, Japan has become the world's most powerful economy. Due to this, Japan is the primary target for terrorist organizations. A communist group called the Red May seeks to spread their communist ideals by bringing down the country. Japan forms an anti-terrorist agency called the Special Security Force(SSF) to destroy the organization. But, there's another group working from the shadows, who has also declared war on the Red May, and is killing off their numbers using very gruesome tactics. The SSF plans to learn the identities of this group. -summary
Let me make my feelings clear. Angel Cop is not a great anime by any stretch of the imagination to me. Nor is it anywhere near close to the worst anime has to offer either. I have heard many mixed views on this series, and for the most part, it appears to be either a love it or hate it. But to be completely fair, I have heard legit reasons from both sides. In any case, I have always been in the middle with this one.
Angel Cop definitely has a few good features, and some really bad ones too. It's similar to Ninja Scroll in a way. It knows exactly what it is and doesn't try to deviate from it. Foremost, this is a very brutal action series with a very dark setting to compliment the serious nature of it.
When creating a series or a film with a dark atmosphere. It's not only important to create the character personalities that properly meshes with the environment. The film should also maintain its identity throughout. This is the main area Angel Cop truly excels in. You never forget you're watching a serious and violent series. There is no comedy relief or random jokes just tossed out there to lighten up the mood. Nor will you see the exaggerated big faces of surprise or sadness with the over sized tear drop. This for me is one of the biggest attractions to Angel Cop. I simply have a hatred for series and films that are suppose to be truly dark and serious, then you'll have random comedic segments that completely ruin the atmosphere. Hellsing: Ultimate is one series that falls victim to this clashing of genres.
The action and violence in Angel Cop can either be its strength or achilles heel all depending on the person. The death scenes are disturbing and well animated. The gore is in good detail from people taking bullets to the head, on to being fried like lobsters. I was taken by surprise a little bit when I first saw this many years ago. There is one sick torture scene that truly brings out the cruelty in humanity to the fullest.
Angel Cop is an entertaining series in some ways, but it definitely has its glaring flaws. The writing definitely deserves a mention. The first half was pretty good and the story was a bit gripping. Later on, it takes a turn and becomes only a splatter fest and characters you already didn't care about are being taken out. One character even dies an undeserved dramatic death. After learning next to nothing about them, it was very hard to care about this person.
The animation is hit and miss. The visuals can be pretty good, and the gore isn't the only thing well done; character designs, landscapes, and the use of lights were well detailed and animated. But by the last two episodes, you can see it suffered from budget restraints. The animation and artwork was very inconsistent and downright bad(as not in good).
I also have small issues with the setting. The series is suppose to take place somewhere in the future, and some of the technology concerning some weapons such as high powered guns, heavily armed motorcycles, and cyborg suits back up its futuristic claims. However, the peoples mannerisms; such as taste in garments, hairstyles, and the fact disco is alive and well takes away that futuristic feel to me.
The series also suffers from some crude dialogue with a lot of forced cursing. I'm a fan of cursing toons but the profanity even grated on my nerves, and reached the dark realm of ultra annoying. There is also a lot of bad voice acting and cheesy lines too. The stand out line definitely has to be, "If this is justice, then I'm a banana". When drunk, high, both or sober, I laugh hysterically at this.
Angel Cop does have a decent plot and it's not completely mindless. There is a slight bit of character development on the part of the main character Angel. She's also a likable character in some ways, due to her fearless and cold demeanor. The series also touches on themes such as patriotism and government conspiracies. Plus, the death scenes can be imaginative as well. The series goes out of its way to keep trying to shock the viewer with the death.
Overall, Angel Cop is wasted potential to me. I feel it was wasted because of a low budget. The budget was definitely the issue because the series was finished over a five year period through 1989-90 & 94. The effort was there, Angel Cop had some very good ideas, plot twist, and characters introduced. But a six episode format clearly wasn't enough. The series needed at least thirteen episodes because it felt very rushed. The longer run time could have pushed it to being a very good anime. Overall, I recommend this only to the action starved. If gore and action is your cup of blood, then this will most likely quench your thirst. To others, I recommend skipping it completely. Angel Cop has a 160 minute run time.
Pros: -Lots of bloody and gory action, good pacing, consistent tone
Cons: -Crude and sometimes annoying dialogue, inconsistent animation, writing is sometimes questionable