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Anime / Cyber City Oedo 808

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"You wouldn't recognize a goddamn vampire if one jumped up and bit you on the end of your fucking dick."
Benten (dub)

Cyber City Oedo 808: In the year 2808, convicts with Longer-Than-Life Sentence are imprisoned in penal satellites orbiting around the Earth. Some convicts with 'skills' considered profitable to the general public are offered jobs as special police officers known as the Cyber Police, allowing them to deduct some time off their sentences, as well as a small degree of freedom while they're working.

The catch: they have an explosive collar on their neck at all times, which will explode when:

  1. Tampered with.
  2. A mission time limit (fully arbitrary) is reached.
  3. Whenever Warden Hasegawa damn well feels like it.

Three such lucky men: Shunsuke Sengoku, the foulmouthed anti-hero; Merrill "Benten" Yanagawa, the effeminate razor-wire wielding assassin-type; and Gabimaru "Gogol" Rikiya, the imposing, gruff hacker with the cool visor, are put under the watch of Juzo Hasegawa, the warden. Hasegawa assigns these men to various incredibly dangerous cases throughout the dystopian city of Oedo (while never stated explicitly, it is assumed that this city is Tokyo in the distant future, given that Oedo is a variation of "Edo", the name of Tokyo until 1868).

Each criminal-turned-almost-unwilling-cop gets his own focus episode throughout the 3-episode OVA series, with plenty of trademark Yoshiaki Kawajiri action and character designs all over the place.


  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: All three episodes have at least one heartfelt moment amidst the bone-crunching cyberpunk action and occasional decapitation, although it's the most abbreviated in the first, where Sengoku and Varsus talk about computers being flawed because of the humans who build them during an elevator trip. Episode 2 has Gogul and Sara sadly reminiscing about their lives of crime and the way the world can't go back to the way it was before both of them got arrested and turned into government pawns, and Episode 3 has Benten and the female test subject talking about life, death, and fate in the remains of a park she used to love before she was cryogenically frozen.
  • Agent Peacock: Benten is a graceful, effeminate pretty boy who has a hairstyle that wouldn't look out of place on Tina Turner and appears to be wearing lipstick and nail polish. He's also an extremely dangerous man able to slice and dice his opponents with Razor Floss.
  • Age Without Youth: Unusual example, as it is played straight, and then averted. Shuzo Saionji, the CEO of Saionji Medical Research Institute, is driven by a crippling fear of death, and has lived for over 300 years using a large array of scientific and cybernetic technology. However, the aging itself is not paused, so Saionji is extremely decrepit and sickly, confined to a futuristic wheelchair. As nobody (that we know of) in Real Life has ever lived to that age, we have no idea what someone of that age would look like naturally. However, after fulfilling his objective of inventing immortality, the created virus averts this trope and makes him lose 2.5 centuries of aging in just a few seconds.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Kyouko has a clear crush on Sengoku (who's also at least a bit fond of her), the most traditional "bad boy" archetype of the three crooks.
  • Anti-Hero: The three protagonists are all anti-heroes by proxy, seeing as how they're all convicts and are mostly unrepentant about their criminal pasts. Honestly, however, none of them are actually evil people. Sengoku is kind of an asshole, but when it comes down to it he's a good guy. Gogol is a Gentle Giant in prison for hacking offenses, with most of the crimes he reminisces about being of the Playful Hacker kind. Benten is a Warrior Poet with a strong, if brutal sense of justice. All three of them are shown to have soft spots for the women in their lives. They do all have at least one charge of murder on their lengthy rap sheets, so none of them were unjustly imprisoned, but in the Crapsack World they live in, the line between murder and justifiable homicide can be blurry.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Benten seemingly cares enough about actually being a cop not to use murder as a first resort, but picking a fight with him and his Razor Floss is a great way to be out an arm or a trigger finger.
  • Badass Longcoat: Sengoku owns a red one.
  • Bad Boss: Warden Hasegawa's charges are all hardened and unrepentant criminals, but is threatening to detonate a man's collar while an undead cyborg super-soldier with psychic powers is already trying to kill him really necessary?
  • Big Badass Rig: Gogol owns one that has a smoke machine that can blind chasers, a home gym to maintain his Heroic Build, and a library for his reading. Unfortunately it gets trashed in his episode.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: In the original footage, attempts to make the sleek cyber-future seem cool by adding in lots of English occasionally result in unintentional hilarity.
    • The ghostly enemy in Episode 1 introduces itself by telling the hated enemy that murdered it in life with what was probably intended to be the English equivalent of the Japanese "しね," a rude and confrontational way of telling someone to die, with an undercurrent of demanding suicide. Unfortunately, this is rendered by having it plaster the phrase "KILL YOU" everywhere.
    • The acronym for Project Molcos is the impressively incoherent Maintain Of Law Civanetic Organism Suath. They also manage to spell it "PLojct MOLCOS" at least once.
  • Boxed Crook: The three main protagonists are all criminals who have absurdly long sentences. Rather than being expected to stay in prison until they're up, they "work off" the years by serving as law enforcement (with explosive collars keeping them in line).
  • Cartwright Curse: The few females that happen to have been linked with the three main characters usually don't last long.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The dub. Like most Manga UK dubs, however, it actually works... Mostly because it was hilarious. Thanks to YouTube, one quote from Benten in particular has become a borderline-meme:
    "Get lost. You wouldn't recognize a goddamn vampire if one jumped up and bit you on the end of your fucking dick. So just get off my back."
    • Sengoku is guilty of this a lot in the English dub. He's surprisingly well-spoken in the original Japanese though.
  • Complete Immortality: Shuzo Saionji gets this once he uses the immortality virus on himself. In just a couple of seconds, he reverses almost 260 years of aging, and all his wounds heal almost immediately (with the added bonus that the virus gives him psychic and teleportation powers). Benten is obviously outmatched and tries to defeat him by sucking him out of the airlock in the spaceport they are in, and even after being torn to shreds, he somehow teleports back inside and fully reforms in just a couple of seconds. Benten is extremely fortunate he was carrying the antidote to the virus.
  • Cool Car: Each of the characters have their own one. Although Golgol has a truck.
  • Contemplate Our Navels: A brief philosophical discussion about starlight in episode 3 and how it continues on forever. Appropriate, considering the themes of the episode.
  • Crapsack World: Considering this is a world where crime is so bad that elite convicts are allowed to be police officers, the military is willing to do blatantly illegal things to create cyborg super soldiers just to help police the city, and sick people who are put into cryostasis can be experimented on without anybody knowing, it's pretty obvious Oedo is anything but a utopia.
  • Cyberpunk: Well what else did you expect from something called "Cyber City Oedo 808"?
  • Daywalking Vampire: Justified, due to the vampire being a genetic experiment rather than supernatural undead.
  • Delinquent Hair: Sengoku has the usual Japanese pompadour while Gogol has a mowhawk.
  • "Die Hard" on an X: The first episode has them rescuing 50,000 people trapped in the city's largest skyscraper.
  • Dub Personality Change: The Japanese script is nowhere near as crass as the infamous English dubbing would suggest, but most of the characters are still defensibly characterized. Sengoku is the major exception; his thuggish, bad-tempered English self is surprisingly laid-back in the Japanese dubbing, although still the most anti-heroic of the three protagonists by virtue of his unwillingness to cooperate.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Benten, complete with long nails, red lipstick, and a flowing white haircut that resembles Tina Turner. Word of God says that Benten was actually a woman in the original draft for the story, but Executive Meddling made them change it. Amusingly, his old friend and partner turned enemy, Kerry, is an inversion, a very masculine-looking woman who resembles David Bowie.
  • Electronic Eyes: Gogul's visor can display computer information, but it can also be damaged and disabled, revealing more normal lens-like eyes underneath. Impressively, he finishes off Project Molcos after they're damaged so badly that he's effectively blind. Fortunately, they're still tough enough to deflect anti-personnel bullets when Gogul's shot in the head shortly before stabbing Molcos's creator to death with the severed claw he pulls out of his own torso.
  • Explosive Decompression: What Benten tries when fighting the newly-vampiric Saionji. It works, but because Saionji's new abilities include a ridiculous Healing Factor and some kind of psionic teleport, it doesn't take.
  • Explosive Leash: The collars, which have time limit detonations programmed into them every time the crew's given a mission. Gogol sees one in action when he tracks down a fellow con who went rogue and tried to disarm his collar himself. Amusingly, their use makes less and less sense after the first episode, with Hasegawa giving Gogol a time limit to defeat the Project Molcos cyborg when it's already trying to kill him in the second episode, and threatening to kill Sengoku if he doesn't stop Benten from going rogue to destroy Saionji without once taking the much-more logical step of just threatening Benten. We don't even see him trying to complain through Benten's collar!
  • Extendable Arms: Project Molcos can extend all four of its limbs to an enormous extent; combined with its mechanical strength, razor-sharp claws, and psychic powers it represents a formidable opponent. Since it's also a silent undead killing machine, it falls firmly under Creepily Long Arms too.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: When the vampire Saionji teleports him shredded remains back inside the space station and pulls himself back together after his little bout of Explosive Decompression, his clothes don't come with him when he goes after Benten again.
  • Genius Bruiser: Gogol is very strong and physically tough, but also seems to be an avid reader and a very talented hacker. At several points he's seen reading classic Russian literature in the original language. He's also considered so tough that the military considers setting their Super-Soldier project against him to be a sufficient test.
  • Gilded Cage: All three of the Boxed Crook protagonists actually seem reasonably comfortable in their new positions. Benten and Gogul are shown to be living in pretty decent conditions with both room and time enough to indulge their hobbies, and even Sengoku's biggest complaint, that he's not supposed to be indulging in alcohol while on the job, is never actually enforced. But being comfortable isn't the same as being free, and all three of them repeatedly express the desire to shuck their collars and live as free men again.
  • Gorn: Actively averted through most of the series. The age rating appears to be mainly based on profanity, one scene in episode 2 where a man literally explodes from a superweapon shot, and another from episode 3 where a monster is subjected to Explosive Decompression.
  • The Gunslinger: Sengoku is a great shot with his giant Hand Cannon.
  • Hand Cannon: Sengoku's giant magnum revolver with a scope. It's got a fingerprint lock so only he can use it.
  • Hidden Disdain Reveal: In the dub of the third episode, Sengoku bluntly invokes this trope when he is ordered to kill a rogue Benten if he doesn't stand down (which he won't). Luckily Gogol (who hadn't been given any orders) shows up and knocks Sengoku out.
    Sengoku: Fine, I never liked you much. [raises gun]
    • He does hesitate for quite a while before firing though, which suggests he may have just been talking tough.
  • Human Popsicle: Has been in use for centuries to preserve people with terminal illnesses until a cure may be found. Unfortunately for them, the chairman of the medical foundation thinks this is a great source of test subjects for illegal medical research.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Gogul doesn't have the incredible agility of his slighter teammates, but he's no Mighty Glacier. His stat sheet in the military simulation that underestimates him puts his run-speed at 35 km/hr, and at one point he manages to catch up to a speeding truck with a head start on foot.
  • Literal-Minded: Varsus is Sarcasm-Blind and often tries to parse through the syntax of what he thinks is Sengoku feeding him instructions. One such exchange:
    Sengoku: Varsus, mission accomplished. Tell the puppetmaster—
    Varsus: "Puppet Master"... Does Not Compute. I have no such recollection of such an individual or organization. Please clarify—
    Sengoko: Hasegawa, you fucking idiot!
  • Longer-Than-Life Sentence: All three protagonists are serving such sentences, to the tune of 300 years or more. For duty served, they get a few years of that sentence taken off, though if they screw up a job or piss off Hasegawa, the warden, time gets added to their sentences — if he doesn't just pop their collars, that is.
  • Love Hurts: Star-Crossed Lovers Benten and Remy. Also it is implied to be the case with Gogol and his former partner Sarah.
  • Made of Iron: All three of the protagonists are this. It's honestly ridiculous how many fatal-looking injuries they manage to walk off.
  • Man in the Machine: It turns out the villain of episode one is an undead version of this, who somehow fused with the building upon his death. It is implied that he landed in the building's computer circuitry when thrown from the balcony, but it is never confirmed, although its wiring is extensively connected to what used to be his brain on his atrophied, corpse-like body.
  • Meaningful Name: Gogol can be seen reading Russian literature, which hints to Nikolai Gogol, a Russian writer.
  • Mercy Kill: In a way. Benten answers Remi Masuda's wish to die by putting her in eternal cryogenic sleep as she drifts away through space in her glass coffin.
  • No Ending: The anime ends with the protagonists having resolved their individual stories but their situation entirely unchanged.
  • No Immortal Inertia: Benten, despite having a very brutal stab wound when fighting Saionji, is still able to make one final attack, shooting the antidote to the immortality virus into Saionji's heart before collapsing in pain. Saionji is originally unfazed and about to finish off Benten with a shotgun, but almost immediately, the antidote ages him back to his science-assisted 300-year lifespan and beyond, painfully and dramatically turning him into a smoking, emaciated, decayed husk of a corpse in less than 20 seconds.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Science-created, psychic, and completely immortal people with an inability to create their own blood. Benten has to deal with this weird version in his focus episode, having to kill the "vampire" by driving a stake full of the antidote into the heart.
  • Pet the Dog: Sengoku seems to have a slight soft spot for Kyouko, the cute police girl who is absolutely smitten with him.
  • Playing with Syringes: The results of this trope are the focus of Episode 2 and Episode 3.
  • Psychic Powers: All three main antagonists exhibit these to varying degrees. The cyber-poltergeist in Episode 1 seems to have some limited ability to interface with and control the building's machines, Project Molcos in Episode 2 has explicitly been outfitted with a constantly-pumping drug rig to boost humans' latent psychic potential and its main weapon channels Mind over Matter into a blast of physical force strong enough to smash humans into mush or blast armored vehicles apart, and the space vampires in Episode 3 all have varying degrees of telekinesis.
  • Razor Floss: Benten's primary weapon, used to stylishly slice through enemies.
  • Redemption Equals Death: In Episode 2, Sarah is so distraught about betraying Gogul to save her own skin that she hijacks his armored trailer and attempts to sacrifice herself plowing into Project Molcos. Unfortunately for her, the cyborg just blasts her a few times until she's too weak to survive the crash and then uses its extending arms to pull itself out of the truck's path until it flies into the ocean. She dies in the water, caressing Gogul's face.
  • Revenge: The motivation of the villain in Sengoku's focus episode. Also, in Benten's focus episode, Remy against Saionji who experimented on her and countless others for his immortality virus.
  • Robo Speak: Varsus, the cons' handler. He actually uses contractions occasionally, though.
  • Rule of Cool: Why exactly does Project Molcos leave its drug and life-support injector rig completely exposed and unarmored on the outside of its nigh-indestructible body's metal skull? Because watching them pumping away looks awesome, that's why! Besides, Gogul doesn't even need to exploit the obvious weakpoint they represent to scrap it, dislodging them incidentally as part of an uppercut so powerful it smashes through its cranial armor.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: In the original Japanese dub of the second episode, Sengoku tells Varsus a few joke lines ("get lost for a while!") as he's trying to infiltrate a secret facility where the cyborg villain of the week was made. Varsus doesn't get it ("This unit is equipped with a GPS unit. It cannot get lost.").
  • Scenery Porn: My god! The city is just awesome!!!
  • The Slow Walk: Sengoku at the end of the first episode. He figures out his computerized enemy is predicting where he would be if he tried to dodge, and counters that by a calm walk directly towards it. He still takes a few glancing hits, but shrugs them off with sheer badassery before stabbing the enemy in the brain.
  • Space Elevator: Benten takes one of these to the top of the medical institute, once to investigate medical patients in cryosleep, and again to save Remy and stop Saionji.
  • Starscraper: The high-rise that Sengoku and company must save in the first episode is tall enough to reach low Earth orbit. The building is so tall that it needs "gyroscopic stablizers" to stay standing...which get turned off during the climax.
  • Super-Strength: Gogul is a towering goliath of a man (at least, compared to his Japanese coworkers), and at the climax of the second episode he swings around steel girders and literally smashes a bulletproof armored cyborg super-soldier to death with his bare hands.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: Tried against the Big Bad of Benten's focus episode. It doesn't work due to his ability to teleport.
  • Visual Pun: In the second episode, Benten busts a ring that's smuggling human limbs. They're arms dealers.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Project Molcos trashes poor Gogul for a while... until he realizes that smashing girders together creates sonic frequencies that blow out the thing's eardrums and destabilize it into a vulnerable state.
  • Weapon Specialization:
    • In the intro, we can see that our heroes receive a special weapon after they accept the deal and join the Cyber Police. It is a futuristic, multifunctional version of a jitte, a weapon which was typically used by policemen during the Edo Period in Japan. The dub erroneously calls it a katana in episode 3.
    • Also the trio have their own favorite weapons, excluding Gogol due to his preference for hacking and being strong enough to take on a cyborg in power armor bare handed. Sengoku carries a Hand Cannon with a scope and a fingerprint lock and Benten's Jitte has Razor Floss hidden inside it.
  • Worthy Opponent: Benten to Kerry. Kerry even hands him a sniper rifle so they can have a fair duel to the death.
  • Your Head A-Splode: The end result of the collars. Seen in episode 2 when Gogol visits a fellow member of the Cyber Police in the same arrangement. Gogol watches him use a series of complicated tools to defuse the many explosive fuses and remove the collar... but he screws up near the end and Gogol witnesses his demise in silhouette.
  • Zeerust: Averted. Despite showing that clear late 80's/early 90's aesthetics, the show aged surprisingly well with its portrayal of high-tech gear and cyborgs. Although some of the monitors are bulky CRTs with screen blinks, others are sleek holographic or flatscreen displays.