Reviews: Heat Guy J

Androids, detectives, and "Vampires", oh my!

Heat Guy J is an amazing anime series!

Brief Synopsis: A detective and his android work in the futuristic city-state of Judoh, seeking to prevent crime before it happens, and solve it when it does. With illegal androids around, psychotic teen Mafia leaders, genetically-modified "werewolves," and messy politics, they'll have their work cut out for them.

Animation: Superb! You'll recognize many of the character designs, if you've seen Escaflowne. That's because it was drawn by Nobuteru Yuki, the artist behind that series. The backgrounds are attractive, and very detailed. The animation flows well, though there is some use of CGI that threw this troper's friends off.

Characters: All very believable, and well-drawn. Clearly a lot of effort was put into them, and all the important characters get much development and clearly have well-fleshed-out personalities. This troper wonders if Kazuki Akane has a degree in psychology.

Plot: Was a little slow at first, being more episodic at the beginning to introduce the characters. There is also a filler arc, though it's not a horrible filler like Naruto. (Kind of odd for such a short series to have a filler, though.) Thankfully, the series does eventually tie together, and even the introductory episodes and filler eps are interesting enough to make you want to keep going. Your patience will be rewarded.

Music: A delight to listen to! You wouldn't think electric guitar and bagpipes go together, but they do. And the opening song, "Face" by Try Force is very cool, too. The closing song, "Hikari" is sung by the seiyuu of the female lead. Her voice is beautiful, which does get lampshaded in the series.

Voices: Well-cast, both in Japanese and English. The personalities and qualities of the characters are brought to life by the voiceovers. And the translation for the dub matched the sub's translation amazingly well.

All in all: **** (4 out of 5)

Good Cop, Bad Cop show with rubbish cops.

A department that is so underfunded it can only afford to give officers four bullets per gun, yet provides a super bike and a multi-billion dollar android (the only legitimate one in the entire city, no less). A force tasked with the unique purpose of "preventing crimes before they occur", but it seems they only ever catch ordinary criminals who have already committed felonies. A bustling metropolis of millions, which has absolutely no civilian traffic on the roads, whilst the same dozen or so regular characters make up most of the population. Heat Guy J's plot is rife with inconsistencies, caused by both a lack of budget and harebrained writing. This doesn't stop the series being fun though, and for the most part it is.

Heat Guy J is a cross between your typical buddy cop show and a "my robot friend" story. The robot in question is J, a beefy, stoic sort who delivers Popeye-esque, old-school pugilism when necessary. I loved J, but I felt he gets nowhere near enough attention. The camera is nearly always on Daisuke, whose aloof and laconic character looks and feels like a slightly camp Spike Spiegel derivative. I couldn't stand this guy. Also there is the series antagonist. He's a purple haired, wangst driven teenager with a lip piercing and a girl's name. He will no doubt appeal to right demographics, but for me, he's the worst addition to the mafia legacy since Godfather III. Then again, even he is preferable to Daisuke; at least he is a lively, interesting addition to the series.

Obscured by the more popular anime franchises, Heat Guy J probably deserves more appreciation, but it isn't going to be getting much from me. Apart from the badassery of J, the occasional action scenes, and some cool bagpipe music, I found the plot and many of the characters ultimately forgettable. The climax to the series was somewhat predictable, especially in regards to the obligatory "does a robot have a heart?" moment. All in all, the series is acceptable; worth renting, but not worth buying the DVD.