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Manga / Kerberos Panzer Cop

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Kerberos Panzer Cop (犬狼伝説 Kenrō Densetsu) is a two volume Science Fiction Diesel Punk manga written by Mamoru Oshii and illustrated by Kamui Fujiwara that ran in Shonen Ace magazine from 1988 to 2000. It's the first manga in Mamoru Oshii's Kerberos Saga and serves as a prequel for The Red Spectacles and StrayDog: Kerberos Panzer Cops.

The story follows the downfall of the titular Kerberos unit as their overzealous actions as well as internal sabotage and vicious Interservice Rivalry lead to their demise. The story is followed from the perspective of several different characters, but it mainly focuses on the "Devil's Trio" of Kōichi Todome, Washio Midori and Sōichirō Toribe as they tackle the anti-government extremists that run rampant on the streets.

A sequel called Kerberos Saga Rainy Dogs ran on Ace Tokunoh magazine from 2003 to 2004 and followed the immediate aftermath of the Kerberos riot and Kōichi's escape from the country.

A Remaster of the manga was published in April 2010 to commemorate the release of the manga's first volume in 1990 under the title Kerberos Panzer Cop a Revision : 20th edition and featured digitally improved graphics of Kamui Fujiwara's art.

The first four acts of the manga were published by Dark Horse Comics in English under the title Hellhounds: Panzer Cops in 1994 and was also published by Diamond Comic Distributors in the UK in 1998. This translation renamed and removed all references to real locations or political entities from the story.

This manga provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Midori has Improbable Aiming Skills with her Mauser C96 and isn't afraid to take the lead.
  • Actionized Adaptation: Being a Shōnen manga, there is much more emphasis on action here than in the rest of Kerberos Saga.
  • The Cameo: Detective Takahiro Matsui from Patlabor makes an appearance in Act 3 and 6 as a police investigator working on cases related to the Kerberos unit.
  • Cool Shades: Koichi wears these all the time, even while wearing a Protect Gear helmet.
  • The Coup: After it becomes obvious that the government and Metropolitan Security Police Organization intend to put an end to the Kerberos unit, Kerberos unit rebels against the government. It doesen't end well for them.
  • Dirty Communists: The Sect is a Japanese communist group and their presence is a much more central villain in here than in the rest of the series and we get to see the full extent the actions they are willing to do to achive their goals.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Since its parent work, The Red Spectacles takes place right after the Kerberos riot, it's made clear from the start that the Kerberos unit is doomed.
  • How We Got Here: The manga basically explains the events that lead up to the first scene in The Red Spectacles and ends as Kōichi, Washio and Sōichirō escape to the docks.
  • Last Stand: The Kerberos riot for the entire unit. After the unit fails in its coup attempt, the remaining members desperately hold out in the Self-Police HQ, though Kōichi, Washio and Sōichirō manage to escape before the JSDF lays sieges on the building.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: The Sect recruits people 15-years-old and younger, take hostages, hijack airplanes, etc. to further their own goals.
  • Rule of Symbolism: At the end of Act 3, there is a scene in the junkyard where a dog walks up to the corpse of recently deceased Tsujimura and wanders next to load of Kerberos unit's abandoned military equipment while a shiny skyscraper stands on the background, signaling that End of an Age is arriving to Japan were Kerberos unit won't be present.
  • Scenery Gorn: Act 3 has pages full of views of junkyards and landfills.
  • Year X: The year of the setting is marked to be 19XX. Backround events like the construction of Tokyo Tower imply that the story is set somewhere in the late 50s'.