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Dominion Tank Police

Entry updated 3 May 2021. Tagged: TV.

Japanese Original Video Animation (OVA) (1988-1989). Original title Dominion. Based on the Manga by Masamune Shirow. Episodes 1-2: Ginga Teikoku. Directed and written by Kōichi Mashimo. Episodes 3-4: Agent 21. Directed by Takaaki Ishiyama. Written by Futoshi Takano. Voice cast includes Yūko Mita, Michie Tomizawa, Hiromi Tsuru, Jouji Yanami and Yūsaku Yara. Four 37-minute episodes. Colour.

In the crime-ridden future, desperate politicians give the police tanks (see Politics; Crime and Punishment), though the resulting high collateral damage causes concern; nonetheless the Newport City Chief of Police argues that you cannot cut out a cancer without shedding a little blood.

Leona Ozaki's (Tsuru) first day with the Tank Police begins with her witnessing an interrogation, involving a grenade and the suspect's mouth. Squad Leader Brenten (Yara) dislikes taking his beloved but impracticably large tanks to major crime scenes, as they might get damaged; he shows displeasure when Leona ruins his favourite and uses the parts to make a smaller tank, called Bonaparte. Brenten's tank had been broken whilst foiling an attempt by Buaku (Yanami) and the Puma Twins to steal urine from a hospital that treats only perfectly healthy people. Buaku's next attempt uses World War One tanks and "bio-memory" plastic plates, the latter transforming into giant phalli that overturn the normal-sized tanks; but Bonaparte's speed and mobility means the urine is saved again. Buaku doesn't know why his employer wants it, only that it is tied to something called Greenpeace.

Decades ago the Greenpeace project sought to create a lifeform (see Genetic Engineering) capable of surviving the bacterial cloud that covers the Earth (see Pollution; Disaster); the project was eradicated (where the urine fits in is never explained), but its data was encrypted in a painting of Buaku. He was one of many humanoid Clones created as part of the project, their microchip brains a blank slate to be filled (see Cyborgs): unlike the others, Buaku survived. Circumstances made him a criminal, teaming up with the Puma Twins, Anna (Mita) and Uni (Tomizawa), who are combative Android catwomen, the "cat" element being their ears. There is Fan Service.

The second story arc centres around Buaki, who steals the painting (unaware of its true importance) and is pursued by mercenaries: aside from Leona, the Tank Police take a secondary role. Eventually Buaki returns to the ruined Underground laboratory where he was created and sees Greenpeace hatch from a pupae, "my true form" he murmurs: a butterfly-winged girl.

Very much an Anime of two halves: the first is an amusing broad farce, nicely animated, with the city's buildings resembling layered toadstools. The second has a more interesting story, but unexceptional animation and lacks the time to explore its themes; much is left unexplained. The portrayal of police as lovable louts who believe they are above the law hasn't aged well.

Dominion Tank Police is based on an early work by the author of Ghost in the Shell (May 1989-November 1990 Young; graph 1991) (see also Ghost in the Shell). There were further OVAs: New Dominion Tank Police (1993-1994; original title Tokusō Sensha-tai Dominion) with 6 episodes, and Tank Police Team TANK S.W.A.T. 01 (2006; original title Keisatsu Sensha Tai TANK S.W.A.T. 01) with 1 episode. There has also been a Role Playing Game. [SP]


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