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Anime / Heat Guy J

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"Good luck...Heat Guy."

The 2002 sci-fi anime series Heat Guy J—created by Kazuki Akane of Escaflowne fame—could be described as a crime-drama anime... in much the same way that Ghost in the Shell could be described as a crime-drama anime.

Daisuke Aurora, a laid-back Special Services officer, solves crimes and tries to catch the most dangerous criminals that do their dirty deeds in the city of Judoh. Aiding Daisuke is his powerful android partner J, nicknamed "Heat Guy" because of the need to vent superheated air from his body after periods of action. The show's supporting cast includes Clair Leonelli, Ax-Crazy villain and boss ("Vampire") of the Leonelli crime family; Ken Edmundo, a perpetually irritated crime scene investigator; Kyoko Milchan; the accountant for the Special Services Division who briefs Daisuke on his cases, and Boma, a mysterious swordsman searching for someone called "Usagi".

The 26-episode series, which was produced by Satelight, was licensed in the United States by Geneon, in the United Kingdom by Manga Entertainment, and in Australia and New Zealand by Madman Entertainment. It remains infamous for how much Geneon paid to license it—just as much as Funimation paid for Fullmetal Alchemist (2003)—and the resulting low sales in the US.

Heat Guy J includes the following tropes:

  • After the End: A very subtle example, but the reason the world is divided into seven cities is because war (using the Celestials' technology) nearly drove humanity to extinction.
  • Anachronism Stew: In this high-tech world, Daisuke still has a TV with rabbit ears and knobs, and Clair has a rotary phone.
  • Abnormal Ammo: Red Caps - exploding bullets. Also the bullets (effectively miniature cluster bombs) fired by Luka's illegal pistol, which are capable of blasting J apart so that only his head remains intact.
    • Blue Caps essentially KO targets with electric shocks.
  • Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: Judoh's sewer system is this. It's big enough that there's a fairly large town inside it.
  • Action Girl:When Kyoko takes it upon herself to rescue Daisuke from Clair.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Androids (except J, of course) are outlawed in Judoh, on the grounds that they can be used for evil purposes. Many people fear and/or dislike them.
  • Alternate Calendar/Hit So Hard, the Calendar Felt It: The year is JD 402. Given the After the End setting, it's pretty safe to guess how the calendar was set.
  • Ammunition Conservation: Daisuke's department regularly only supplies him with 4 bullets per mission, forcing him to be fastidious with ammunition. Luckily, Daisuke is an excellent shot.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: No, you cannot care for a comatose patient in a shabby, substandard, filthy apartment with nothing but a bare mattress, and moving him to a spare bedroom in somebody's house isn't going to help, either. Even if it's "only" an Angst Coma. Somewhat justified in that it wasn't exactly like Giovanni could actually get Clair to a real hospital.
  • Badass Normal: Daisuke can survive a fight with an android, singlehandedly beat up a gang of men exploiting women, and even match Boma in a swordfight for a while. Clair Leonelli, though merely for the fact that he fears nothing - he lacks Daisuke's extraordinary physical prowess. Giobanni Gallo is this for walking into the Vita headquarters and shooting Noriega in front of a room full of Leonelli Family mobsters. With one arm in a cast.
    • Hell, just about anyone who isn't an android or a Transhuman like Boma is this.
  • Bald of Evil: Luka.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: J has no special weapons built into his body. His means of fighting is dead simple: punch the enemy's lights out. Given his awesome android strength, endurance, and precision, this actually suffices most of the time.
  • Catchphrase, J has rather likes his 'A Man...' remarks, mostly ironic since J himself is a android.
    • A Man should not show signs of pain in front of the enemy
    • A Man's appearance is a very personal choice
    • A Man must fight for his good and true friend
    • A Man only exists to bring the future into being
    • When a man looks up to the sky there is an expectation of hope
    • If a man has good intentions, he should not expect thanks.
      • It's not really that ironic. This is how J learns civilized behavior. Each of these adages represents an aspect he's learned to emulate or otherwise respect.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Daisuke's silver-bullet pendant. It turns out to be not only a memento of his late father, but a flash drive containing all sorts of dirt on Echigo.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Several of the characters could fall into this category, though Boma is probably the most prominent.
  • Contemplate Our Navels: Daisuke when he's lying around on the sofa pondering about what's really going on; Shogun (pretty much every single thing he says is this); Clair, especially as Giovanni gets ready to assassinate Shun and don't even get started on Boma.
  • Cool Bike: Daisuke's motorbike not only looks awesome, but can transform into a jetski. It can also reconfigure so J can drive it, letting it run even faster then human reflexes allow.
  • Cool Shades: Daisuke's shades aren't just for show; they function as Stat-O-Vision as well.
  • Cursed with Awesome: In prison, Boma's real face was replaced with that of a wolf. Sure, it's a horrific punishment, but he has a goddamn wolf's head!
  • Day of the Jackboot: The Liberation Army's coup in the last few episodes, backed by Shun.
  • Death by Childbirth: This was the fate of Clair's mother, according to Lorenzo. Antonia also grew up without a mother, which suggests that this trope may have been involved, but we don't get enough information to say for sure.
  • Dysfunction Junction: From what we see, Kyoko may be the only major character who actually has a healthy, functioning family.
  • Easily Forgiven: At the end, Shun is still working for the city. And after having the president shot, too! Clair is also free, but goes through some serious trauma like his only friends dying for him, so, it evens out? I guess?
  • Evil Laugh: Clair has one of these. Noriega gets to do this just before he gets shot to pieces.
  • Expy: It's easy to see J as one for K, the protagonist of Robot Detective.
    • Clair looks very similar to Miyavi from around the same time the series aired.
    • Much of the staff came from Vision of Escaflowne and they didn't get too creative coming up with new characters. Among the more obvious:
      • Daisuke, the height challenged hero, might as well be Van Fanel.
      • Shun is a dead ringer for bishonen Allen Schezar although he also shares many plot similarities with Folken.
      • Ax-Crazy Clair Leonelli is Dilandau. Complete with Dragonslayers.
      • Ken Edmundo, since it looks like Dryden lost his glasses.
  • Fake Memories: Boma never had a sister called Usagi. Usagi was his best friend's long-dead little sister, but Boma subconsciously altered his own memory of her when the Beast Master attempted to brainwash him in prison.
  • Fan Disservice: At one point in the series, when Clair hides out in the slums, a couple of guys approach him and start stripping off his shirt (ostensibly because it's valuable, but that's probably not the impression most fans got). It's more heartbreaking than anything else, considering Clair just sits there and takes it.
  • Fanservice: Several relatively subtle examples exist: there's the generally Stripperific outfits certain characters wear, the outfit Kyoko wears when she goes to rescue Daisuke, which is much skimpier than her usual fare, the low necklines worn by well-night every single woman in the series even if their clothes are otherwise relatively modest, a shot of Antonia sunbathing—as well as at least a couple scenes of Daisuke without his shirt on (one scene shows that he sleeps in nothing but his boxer shorts), and pretty much everything about Boma.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Boma's city state has no death penalty. Criminals serving life sentences are instead genetically and surgically altered so they have the bodies of humans and the heads of animals. They are also subjected to brainwashing and other forms of torture. This is done with the logic that they will come to regret the things they did that caused this punishment.
  • Faux Action Girl: Phia is supposed to be Shogun's assassin yet is never shown actually fighting on screen.
  • Fighting from the Inside: J desperately resists when Shun uses the override code to force him to try to kill Giovanni and Daisuke.
  • Filler: Filler episodes abound, mostly for character development; a lot of fans were turned off by the fact that the plot took so long to finally come together. Thankfully, however, the fillers are not too horrible to watch,they were just not very relevant to the central plot or central characters. And even more thankfully, the plot eventually does tie together, even using small details from the filler episodes.
  • Finger in the Mail: A Corrupt Politician kills Ian when the latter was caught spying. The guy then cuts off Ian's hand and sends it to Ian's boss (and friend), who then declares war on the senator.
  • Good Colours, Evil Colours: Similar to the "good hat bad hat" dichotomy of Westerns, Daisuke (the good guy) wears white pants and has blond hair, while Clair (the bad guy) wears black pants and has black hair. This only goes so far in the series, however.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Particularly in the manga, but even in the anime. Smoking has been illegalized in Judoh, so unsurprisingly, many (though not all) of the bad guys are seen to smoke. These include various Mooks, Clair's sexy scientist girlfriend Trinity in the manga, and even Shun can be briefly seen a time or two with a cigarette.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: During the battle of Kabuki Road, every major figure from the entire series shows up to bail out the mob.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Ian is murdered and his severed hand with his Phi Beta Kappa ring on it is sent back to Clair. All we see is the look of horror on Clair and his bodyguards when they open the box.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Michal and Ian both give their lives so that Clair can escape from his own mob (which has been taken over by Noriega), leaving Clair with their personal trinkets.
  • Heroic BSoD: Clair has one of these when he temporarily loses control of Vita Company to Noriega. Subverted when Clair tries to force one on Daisuke with help from a drug. Turns out Daisuke's personality doesn't tend toward angst, leaving him with not enough regrets to go catatonic. He recovers from the drug sooner than Clair expects.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Boma seems to draw his sword from Hammerspace, accompanied by some cool lightning effects. We never see him put it away after use.
  • I Minored in Tropology:
    Daisuke: (to Kyoko) I can't believe I'm taking advice from a literature major.
  • Karma Houdini: Shun.
    • Kia's abusive Jerkass of a father faces no punishment for the way he treated Kia or his mother, although this may be the point, as real-world celebrities rarely get held accountable for the things they do no matter how bad they are.
  • Man Behind the Man: Noriega was set up as the Big Bad fairly early on, but is later revealed to be working for the Shop Echigo, who is then revealed to be Shun Aurora, the real Serge Echigo having been dead for years prior.
  • Mind Rape: Someone from the Magnagalia Prison comes after Boma to brainwash him and take him back.
  • Mood Whiplash: Not as extreme as in some cases, but comes up every so often because of the contrast between the show's idealistic and hopeful outlook on life and its grim subject matter.
  • Old Master: Shogun is an ex mob boss and managed to vanish into thin air when Shun tried to shoot him. Mauro is this, being an expert marksman.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Teto. This cute robot kid is programmed to ask "Is this alright?" when following orders, but it sounds creepy. (Just ask Clair!) Teto's singing also causes flashbacks, and he takes a security guard's face in a quest to destroy J!
  • Nuclear Weapons Taboo: It's unknown what the Celestials' power source is, but it sounds an awful lot like nuclear power the way it's described.
  • Posthumous Character: Serge Echigo had been dead for years before the series began, having been replaced as the Shop Echigo by Shun Aurora.
  • Red Baron: Vampire refers, here, not to undead bloodsucking creatures, but to the leader of the Mafia in Judoh.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: the government head who reforms the SU
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Daisuke (red), J (blue). Ken Edmundo is also the red to Daisuke's blue.
    • There's also Red Oni Clair (determined, ambitious, and volatile to the point of being dangerously unhinged) and Blue Oni Daisuke (calm, easygoing, and laid back to the point of seeming lazy)
  • Rock Beats Laser: At one point, Daisuke uses a flashlight to blind several goons wearing night-vision goggles.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Shun is granted amnesty, despite trying to take over Judoh and all that. They said it was because of all the good things he did for the city-state.
  • Sewer Gator: As Daisuke and J look for Daisuke's bullet pendant in the Absurdly Spacious Sewers of Judoh in the "Circulation" episode, an alligator briefly surfaces near the boat that they are travelling in.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: When Clair starts on a Humans Are Bastards rant while holding a Celestial hostage, Daisuke lampshades Clair's real reason for his cynical views about the people of Judoh and the Celestials — living in his late father's shadow within the Leonelli crime family. This earns Daisuke 3 gunshots. Good thing he was wearing a bullet-proof vest!
  • Sins of Our Fathers: The source of much of the bitterness between Daisuke and Clair. Clair's father killed Daisuke's father on orders from Daisuke's evil uncle Echigo.
    • Also a source of the bitterness between Kia and his half-brother Ray.
    • In fact, this seems to be a recurring theme in the series...
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Very idealistic...
  • Sliding Scale Of Silliness Vs Seriousness: ...but also takes itself very seriously, with most comic relief being just that—relief from the more grim subjects it brings up
  • Space Amish: The Siberbians, who live quite contentedly outside of Judoh in a self-sufficient community without any of Judoh's modern (or post-modern) conveniences.
    • On the other hand, they can be seriously anti-social jerkasses that would make Ayn Rand roll her eyes. In Siberbia, self-sufficient means self-sufficient — if you need a hand to carry a heavy load, or not fall off a cliff to your death, you're seen as weak. They have a Freudian Excusenote , and they've developed I Was Just Passing Through into an art form.
  • Spell My Name With An S: Several examples.
    • Is the city where the story takes place spelled "Judoh" (as it's pronounced) or "Jewde" (as it appears in the series's writing)?
    • Is there an "e" at the end of Clair's name or isn't there?
    • Are Giovanni's and Romeo's names spelled with a "V" (Giovanni and Romeo Visconti) or with a "B" (Giobanni and Romeo Bisconti)?
  • Super Prototype: Averted. J is forced to fight an identical prototype of himself. He is, however, both stronger and equipped with a better AI.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Claire, in the final three episodes, after "waking up" from his depressed stupor.
  • Tsundere: Cynthia, Janis, and Vivian (Daisuke's fangirls). But most prominently, Kyoko, especially in the manga, towards Daisuke and vice versa. After Kyoko tries to rescue Daisuke, the two start to defrost to the point they don't snip at each other, and in the end, Kyoko tells Daisuke that he'd better come back if he's serious about her; she'll only wait so long.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Happens to Clair midway through the series, where he has to deal with being framed for an assassination attempt which he did not commit, having Ian die trying to clear his name, discovering that Mauro sold Company Vita to Noriega to protect him, having Mitchal sacrifice his life to save him, having to go into hiding in the slums where Giovanni used to live and be around people he'd been raised to believe were disposable garbage, and then we learn that people are after his left eye because his bank safe opens via a retina scanning device. No wonder the poor kid spends so many of the ensuing episodes in an Angst Coma!
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Both Clair and Shun are portrayed as way more innocent in flashbacks than they are in the series proper. Shun is a special case, since he got the way he is in the series owing to trauma he suffered by protecting Daisuke from the explosion that killed their father.
  • Wire Dilemma: Subverted in episode 3; Bomb. Daisuke finds a bomb, opens the panel, and finds two wires. He cuts the red wire first, which cuts the timer down from 13 minutes, to one. He then cuts the other wire, which turns it to 13 seconds. J shows up and saves the day.
  • A Wizard Did It: Every so often, strange folk called the Celestials visit Judoh and magic away the pollution.
  • The Worf Barrage: The Red Cap bullets. They're very impressive, but only significantly lead to the defeat of an enemy twice, and the second time is arguable.
  • Younger Than They Look: J.
    • In part because J is a android and in part because Antonia Bellucci gave J the appearance of her deceased father.

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