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Anime / Angel Cop

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Angel Cop is a six-part original video animation which was released from 1989 to 1994. The anime was directed by Ichiro Itano, but due to the content of the anime, it's usually considered that the driving force of the anime is actually the writer Sho Aikawa. A manga adaptation written and illustrated by Taku Kitazaki was serialized in Newtype Magazine from June to September 1989 and reprinted as a Newtype 100% collection in 1990.

20 Minutes into the Future, Japan's economy is so strong that it's linked to the global economy. This angers a communist terrorist group called "The Red May," who decides that the best way to make the world a more equitable place is to blow up as much Japanese infrastructure as possible. To combat these terrorists, a bunch of elite law enforcement officials licensed to kill are assembled. They include the titular "Angel," a buff dude called Raiden, a couple of other token stereotypes, and Da Chief, Kaishō Taki. Together, they fight against Tachihara, the new leader of the Red May who took over from his boss and aims to accomplish the organization’s goals.

Things take a turn for the bizarre when Raiden goes missing after one encounter with the terrorists, and then the terrorists themselves get attacked by three powerful psychics called "Hunters", Asura, Freya, and Lucifer.

Or, to put it simply: Jewish bankers (Americans in the dub) plot to turn Japan into a nuclear waste dump.

The real reason to watch this anime is for the gunplay, the cars, the gruesome kills, the awesomely-animated displays of telekinetic power being thrown about by the Hunters, and the hilarious profanity in the English dub.

Along with other "masterpieces" such as Mad Bull 34 and Urotsukidoji, is it directly responsible for the widespread belief in the early 90s that all anime was just "Gorn and Porn."


  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Zigzagged. One of the earliest on-screen deaths is that very graphic handgun lobotomy of a female mook. All of the named women, however, have much cleaner, more dignified demises.
  • Big Bad: Tachihara, originally a right-hand man, is the new leader of the Red May terrorist organization which wants to bring down the government and is the enemy of the titular anti heroine Angel. He gets captured about halfway through, after which the Hunter known as Lucifer takes over, carrying out orders to kill everyone in the Special Security Force for (supposedly) aiding the terrorists. Then both of them are revealed to be pawns of Governor Maisaka, all as part of his plan to dump American toxic waste in Japan and get rich off it.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: A lot of the supposed good guys do a lot of highly questionable things. Taki's torture of the Red May leader, in particular, is gruesome and blood-chilling, going above and beyond anything "necessary."
  • Blown Across the Room: Most commonly to mooks during shootouts and when blasted by Raiden's cannons.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Lucifer is really working for the real bad guys and is just killing everyone else to eliminate an evidence trail because she's been brainwashed by Governor Maisaka into thinking that she's actually doing good. Taki suggests that eventually she'll break free of her conditioning and turn against the evil old guys, Maisaka and Togawa, but he's more willing to bet that Angel, Asura, and Raiden can finish her off first (which they do).
  • Decoy Protagonist: The titular Angel doesn't get to do all that much until the finale, and that's mainly because almost everyone else is dead or disabled.
  • Defector from Decadence: Asura and Freya eventually turn against Lucifer when they realize that they are all pawns of a government conspiracy.
  • Dirty Communists: The Red May terrorist group want to destroy Japan’s capitalist government.
  • Dubtitle: Since the Japanese original was deemed anti-Semitic and impossible to market in the west, Manga Entertainment's release of the English sub and dub toned down the Jewish plot. Of course, anyone who knows Japanese can simply overlook the subtitles and listen to the actual dialogue and know what is actually going on in the scene. There is also the problem that even viewers who don't know Japanese can clearly hear the word "America" being said while the subtitles say something else. Averted with Discotek's release, which contains an uncensored subtitle track as well as an essay explaining Japan's history of antisemitism.
  • "Everybody Dies" Ending: The only named characters who survive the series are Angel, Taki, and (maybe) Asura. To say nothing of the nameless people who got sent to the slaughterhouse.
  • Far East Asian Terrorists: Red May as a Japanese pro-communist terrorist group.
  • The Faceless: The Jews/Americans are the Greater-Scope Villain, but never actually shown.
  • Failed Future Forecast: Back in 1989, it wasn't entirely unreasonable to assume that Japan's economic growth would only continue and that communism would remain a major ideology. The same year the first OVA was released, however, the Berlin Wall came down and most communist states in Europe adopted capitalism and multiparty democracy, showing that the ideology was clearly on the retreat. When 1991 rolled around, the Japanese economy collapsed and the Soviet Union dissolved, making both Japanese economic dominance and communism as a serious threat far less credible.
  • Feminist Fantasy: Sorta. Angel exhibits the key traits of the '90s Anti-Hero to the hilt, delivers zero Fanservice and never undergoes chickification at the hands of a male character (well, unless you count uncharacteristically hesitating when forced to shoot dead her male partner whom she has developed romantic feelings for). The anime is somewhat unusual in just how little it acknowledges the gender of its female lead; Raiden expresses surprise when he discovers that his partner who just splattered a terrorist's brains across the wall is a woman, but otherwise Angel is essentially written identically to the typical male badass of 90's Cyberpunk anime.
  • Film Noir: The dialogue draws heavily on a film noir influence.
  • For the Evulz: Angel's motive for killing her targets degrades into this when she is known raging at people who dare to kill them before she does. Taki's taking the torture of the Red May leader wayyyyyy further than necessary also shows shades of this.
  • Friendly Sniper: Peace is more amicable than the super bitchy Angel, but she is fully capable of blowing people away if necessary.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Lucifer, the name of the Hunter leader, is a Dark Action Girl.
  • Greedy Jew: In the Japanese version, they serve as the Greater-Scope Villain responsible for Red May; not so much the English version, which calls them Americans instead.
  • Gorn: Pretty much every fight scene ends up spilling copious amounts of blood and chunks.
  • Hand Cannon: A gun so powerful it's got too much kickback for humans to safely use it (it was meant for cyborgs). Firing it risks breaking your hand.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Raiden forces Angel to kill him by causing his suit to detonate, destroying Lucifer in the process.
  • Hulking Out: Rare female example: Lucifer goes from silky smooth to rippling once the gloves are off.
  • Infodump: An unnamed narrator explains the situation engulfing the first episode and briefly explains the unshown conclusion at the end of the last episode as well.
  • Ironic Name: Angel, the violent '90s Anti-Hero.
    Angel: The name's Angel, but don't let that fool you, I can be a bitch if I want to.
  • Japan Takes Over the World: Japan is a superpower, which is why it's frequently targeted by terrorists.
  • Jerkass: Angel. She herself says she can be a bitch when she wants to... which turns out to be most of the time.
  • Knight Templar: Lucifer is convinced that her superiors are telling the complete truth and that her targets are all terrorists who deserve to die violently. Angel herself also has shades of this, though she doesn’t go quite to the extent of Lucifer.
  • Mad Scientist: Ichihara is introduced as a sort-of mentor to Angel and Raiden, the latter of which he saves through cybernetic modification.
  • Pretty in Mink: Lucifer first appears with a huge fox fur jacket worn as a Coat Cape.
  • Psychic Powers: What defines the Hunters. Lucifer and Asura have telekinesis, Lucifer has some telepathy in the form of a Mind Probe, Asura also has teleportation, Freya has garden-variety telepathy and pyrokinesis.
  • Psychic Surgery: Lucifer reaches inside her own body to set some broken bones at one point, and also inside other people's heads.
  • Red Scare: The villains are a communist-terrorist organization.
  • The Reveal: Raiden shows back up as a cyborg courtesy of a local friendly Mad Scientist, it turns out most of the government is evil, and two of the Hunters join Angel and her team when they realize they're the unwitting pawns of a government conspiracy to somehow profit off of Americans dumping nuclear waste in Japanese territory.
  • Theme Naming: The three vigilantes are all named after prominent religious/mythological figures; Asura, Freya, and Lucifer, respectively.
  • They Called Me Mad!: Ichihara, who rebuilds Raiden, chortles that “those who laughed at my genius will now be destroyed by it!” One of the few times a non-evil mad scientist spouts this.
  • Torture Always Works: Actually, it doesn't; the Red May leader Tachihara is tortured hideously, but only breaks when he finds out that three ultra powerful psychic killers are on his tail.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: The Mad Scientist rebuilds Raiden into a cybernetic soldier.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: The entire show could end 50 minutes earlier and with two cast members still alive if Asura would just immediately kill Lucifer while she's still recovering from Raiden's attacks. It's shown that he is fully capable of hurting her in a later fight, so there's no reason why he has to wait for Angel before heading out.
  • Your Head Asplode:
    • Angel makes her debut by graphically blowing the brains out of a terrorist all over the wall. And she was a woman, averting Men Are the Expendable Gender.
    • Lucifer inverts this three times, by making every part of a man except his head explode.