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CyberCity Oedo 808

Entry updated 3 May 2021. Tagged: TV.

Japanese Original Video Animation (OVA) (1990-1991). Created by Juzo Mutsuki. Madhouse. Directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri, Written by Akinori Endo. Voice cast includes Takeshi Aono, Tesshō Genda, Hiroya Ishimaru, Unshō Ishizuka, Emi Shinohara, Kaneto Shiozawa and Norio Wakamoto. Three 45-minute episodes. Colour.

In 2808 three inmates of an orbital Prison ship are given the option of joining Oedo City's Cyber Police by official Juzo Hasegawa (Wakamoto). Each criminal they catch will reduce their sentence; these range from 295 to 375 years (see Crime and Punishment). They accept and are fitted with exploding collars, to be detonated if they fail to complete their assignments in time.

The first OVA is Data 1: Memories of the Past (original title Inishie no kioku; vt Virtual Death). The Computer that controls Oedo City is housed in a giant skyscraper (a "space-scraper"); when it suffers a cyber-attack the trio are sent to catch the perpetrator. Cowering in the computer's control room is Dave Kurokawa (Aono), the system's supervisor: hard-drinking Shunsuke Sengoku (Ishimaru) tries to reach him, but lasers defend the corridors. However, the maintenance passages have less effective defences, so he uses them to enter the control room. Kurokawa blames the building's designer, Yoshikazu Amachi, for the attack, as 15 years ago Kurokawa murdered him. Initially incredulous, Sengoku discovers Amachi is nearby, a nest of computer cables attached to the skull of his corpse. When Sengoku approaches it attacks, able to predict his evasive moves – but is foiled when he walks directly to the corpse and stabs the skull.

The second OVA, Data 2: The Decoy Program (original title Otori no kikō; vt Psychic Trooper), focuses on mohican-haired Rikiya "Goggles" Gabimaru (Genda), who acquires a floppy disk containing details of a secret Army project. It is a set-up: the Army has developed a Cyborg to take over the policing of Odedo and wishes to demonstrate its effectiveness by having it kill Goggles. With its Technology and Psi Powers it nearly succeeds, but is defeated when Goggles notices that a loud metallic noise disrupts its control system. Hasegawa arrests the army chief, for the illegal human experimentation and murders involved in the cyborg's development. RoboCop (1987) was doubtless an influence.

The third OVA, Data 3: Crimson Media (original title Kurenai no baitai; vt Blood Lust), has androgynous Merrill "Benten" Yanagawa (Shiozawa) seeking the "Vampire Killer", whose victims are black market Genetic Engineers. They were working on an Immortality virus for Shūzō Saionji (Ishizuka), a dying old man: the virus also boosts Psi Powers, but prevents blood production – thus the vampirism. The test subjects came from a Cryogenics facility: all but Remi Masuda (Shinohara) died, and she is taking revenge. Saionji now ingests the virus: his youth is restored, in addition to which he can teleport and survive any injury. Goggles, using the genetic engineers' research, creates a cure: despite Benten getting run through with a sword (which slows him only a little), he manages to inject it into Shūzō, who ages rapidly and dies. Remi is put in a cold-sleep capsule and sent into space, as is her wish (she was originally frozen because of a terminal illness, which the cure would only revive).

These violent Cyberpunk OVAs steadily improve: the first is marred by plot stupidities; the second is fairly enjoyable, despite the cyborg's implausible design flaw; the third is the best, being exciting, having a relatively more complex plot and more engaging absurdities (the cryogenic capsules surrounding Remi's contain frozen sabre-toothed tigers, which awake and attack when Benten opens hers). The English dub is notoriously more expletive-driven than the original. Spinoffs from this Anime include Tie novels by Akinori Endo (whom see) and a Videogame. [SP]

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