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Manga / Mad Bull 34

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Mad Bull 34 is a seinen manga written by Kazuo Koike and illustrated by Noriyoshi Inoue, which was serialized from 1985 to 1991 in Weekly Young Jump. A sequel series, Mad Bull 2000, ran in Manga Allman from 1999 to 2002.

The story revolves around fresh young rookie Daizaburo "Eddie" Ban being sent to New York's toughest precinct, the 34th. Here, he meets the man who's been assigned as his partner, John "Sleepy" Estes (aka "Mad Bull"). At first, the two couldn't be more different if they tried. Eddie is the more by-the-book type of cop, while the only book John probably uses would be promptly bludgeoned into the skull of some random perp, then followed up by half a mag of bullets. Yet, despite this, they eventually come to an understanding/mutual respect (much to the chagrin of their superiors) as they tackle a revolving door of increasingly over-the-top villains.

After Koike's passing, the original run of the manga as well as the reboot Mad Bull 2000 were officially hosted online in Japanese for free on Manga Library Z, an archival website by Ken Akamatsu.

A series of OAVs by Magic Bus were released from 1990 up until 1992, and as you can imagine they're pretty violent. The anime unfortunately only represents four of the many stories of the manga. A DVD release of the series was announced for 2013, by Discotek Media.

Provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Name Change: The black assassin "Curtis" in the first episode of the OVA was originally named Black Rose in the manga.
  • Anti-Hero: Sleepy, ridiculously so. He'd probably be locked away for a loooong time if he tried anything in real life. To name some examples, he borderline acts like a mob boss and is quite the figure in the underworld, with the only major differences is that Sleepy is ferociously protective of the innocent and helps out the community in complete and utter sincerity, instead of it being just a publicity stunt.
  • Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving: Seems to only happen once, in the first installment, at the end, when Sleepy's questionable actions are brought into question by the higher-ups, and the only reason they don't strip the big guy of his badge (and melt it into slag) is an impassioned speech by Daizaburo.
  • Assassin Outclassin': A running gag in the manga is every single hitman in eastern America has their eyes on taking out the famous "Mad Bull" Estes. These guys are usually black men with various degrees of heavy automatic weaponry; though every now and then Ninja Hookers or Diabetic Tinkers get involved. Nickels is the only one who's survived to try more than once. Nickel is actually informing Mad Bull who's coming to get him, and they get along well.
  • Attempted Rape:
    • A common occurrence in the world of Mad Bull. The rapists tend to end up on the wrong side of Sleepy's wrath, though. Except, of course, the time that Sleepy decides the best way to let a girl down easy is to try to rape her to convince her to back off.
    • During his review of the anime, Bennett the Sage keeps a running counter of "Blond Women in Peril". It's up to six by the end of the second episode.
    • In the first episode, Sleepy figures out Eddie is a virgin, and hires about a dozen prostitutes. Or he would've, if they hadn't all decided to do it for free once they learned Eddie was a virgin, despite his vehement protests. They literally pile on top of him, and only relent—from disgust—when they learn he's saving himself for marriage and slut shames the shit out of them. They already had his pants open.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • When Sleepy is forced to relinquish his right to use firearms and Daizaburo is transferred to Perrine as her partner, he eventually makes a bet with Da Chief. If Daizaburo claims that a Dirty Cop shot someone in self-defense, Sleepy leaves the force. Otherwise, Sleepy gets to join Daizaburo and Perrine as their partner, the right to use firearms again, and to use the precinct's helicopter anytime he wanted. Da Chief accepted, thinking that Daizaburo was in the dirty cop's pockets. He wasn't.
    • The abduction of Ronald Reagan by Sleepy.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: The female half of the hitman duo known as the Bear Pair, combined with Statuesque Stunner. She's a very tall woman with a hulkingly fat build who has a notable double chin, yet a very pretty face.
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: Sleepy's a pretty big guy and the obvious muscle, while Daizaburo's much smaller and a bit smarter.
  • The Big Rotten Apple: New York is portrayed as a crime-ridden hellhole, where the only difference between the criminals and the police are uniforms.
  • Bittersweet Ending: How the 4 part anime OVA ends. All of the main characters survive and the Capricorn Killer is brought to justice along with the mob that killed her brother, but several innocent cops are still dead and the whole ordeal has had a heavy emotional impact on the survivors.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: On one side, we have a Cowboy Cop who shoots first and asks questions never. On the other side, we have a parade of unrepentant criminals.
  • Boom, Headshot!: People get their brains blown out quite a bit, usually by Sleepy. Sometimes he does something different, like shoot a guy in the neck so many times his head falls off.
  • Bowdlerise: The way Black Rose/Curtis kills his hooker friend is changed in the OVA; originally it was even gorier, since instead of a Molotov mixture, the soda bottle contained various acids.
  • Brooklyn Rage: Daizaburo's got a thick accent in the dub, and definitely has a hot temper once Sleepy rubs off on him.
  • By-the-Book Cop: Daizaburo at first. Eventually, though, he finds some weird respect for Sleepy's sociopathic approach to police work.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Pretty much everyone from the original manga is gone in 2000.
  • Clothing Damage: Sleepy, Daizaburo, and a couple of women get most of their clothes blown off by an explosion in the OVA but are otherwise unharmed.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Perhaps in some weird attempt to make it sound more... "American", the English dub is absolutely full of this trope. Again, like many things on this list, this is especially so when done by Sleepy.
  • Cop Killer: The name and theme of the fourth and final episode of the anime which involves a deadly killer in a powersuit that begins systematically murdering the NYPD.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Nickel, in the manga, proves eerily competent at killing people who aren't Sleepy Estes. This is surprising since his first appearance is as a bumbling weakling that pisses on things to let people know he is around, yet the guy has nearly killed Sleepy at least five times.
  • Da Chief: Subverted. The guy Sleepy and Daizaburo work under constantly calls Sleepy out on his actions but is far from being by-the-book, knowing about drugs hidden in his office left by the guys who held his position last, and he is willing to overlook corrupt cops and assassins as long as they get Sleepy out of his hair.
  • Dirty Cop: When Daizaburo is to testify against one who shot an innocent, a group of them threaten to make sure Daizaburo will not get any backup in shootouts (and possibly worse) if he doesn't claim that it was in self-defense.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: More than a few prostitutes end up dead throughout the series. One of the more disturbing cases is when Black Rose uses a bottle of Hollywood Acid on one of Sleepy's informants.
  • Drop Dead Gorgeous: Something very common in Koike's stories is female characters fighting and being killed while nude, like Dirty Cherry who falls off a stair railing after having sex with Sleepy or the naked afro hitwoman in 2000 who Sleepy ends up killing after multiple attempts at dissuading her from fighting.
  • Eagleland: Some weird bizarre mixture of the two types. On the one hand, New York is a cesspit of violence, vice, and violent vice. On the other hand, the protagonists are a melting-pot of different nationalities that mostly get along in peace and harmony, and Sleepy is the most chiseled chunk of action-hero cliches glued together ever to grace videotape.
  • Expy: The big opponent of the fourth installment ("Cop Killer"), pits Sleepy and Daizaburo against what can best be described as an armored mixture of the "Predator" and the Xenomorph from the "Alien" series.
    • Recurring assassin Nickel is based on Jack Nicholson, if the name wasn't a tip-off.
  • Fan Disservice: This series has enough bare skin and sexy girls to make even Duke Togo blush. The catch? Roughly two thirds of the lewd scenes involve rape, molestation or murder. Not exactly sexy...
  • Full-Frontal Assault: A staple of Koike's stories. Practically every villainess, some male hitmen and even Sleepy himself fight half-naked or outright nude at several points in the series. One example is between volumes 5 and 6 of 2000, where a political assassination shootout happens to involve a nude tomboy attempting to hypnotize her enemies with the tattoos on her body. This is followed by Sleepy fighting a nude hitwoman to the death only a few chapters later.
  • Genius Bruiser: Sleepy is a lot smarter than his attitude and size would suggest.
  • Gorn: The people populating Mad Bull's world seem to possess very little in the way of bones, as they tend to explode like over-ripe ticks into showers of blood and not much else.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Sleepy somehow has access to all manner of weaponry for a simple beat cop, which he uses to brutally destroy even the most minor of crooks. Not to mention the various caches of guns and traps he leaves in his territory. The piping in his room has been converted to shotguns.
  • Improbable Use of a Weapon: Related to above: if Sleepy has no other way of assaulting the bad guys from a high vantage point while wearing civilian clothes, he'll prepare for the occasion by tying around 20 hand grenades to his pubes.
  • Incredibly Conspicuous Drag: The "Mad Bull" himself, an eight-foot-tall muscular behemoth of a police officer with a full beard and mustache, goes undercover as a nun and as a female prostitute. He somehow expects this disguise to work.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sleepy. A lot of his crazy actions have some weird underlying "cause" that's meant to justify them, to the point where even Daizaburo, Mr. By-the-Book, realizes he can't help but respect the maniac he's been paired up with. A notable example is him taking half the money he pays sex workers for their services to donate to charities to help victims of rape with severe trauma and other sex workers who have severe STDs. There's also his love for cats, as he is at one point seen with an absolutely delighted look on his face while gently carrying around some kittens.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • To some extent with Sleepy. He's a vulgar Anti-Hero who murders common crooks and rapists in broad daylight and usually in front of hundreds of witnesses, and still has his badge by the end of the day.
    • In the manga, Sleepy spares Nickel the Electrician several times. This is the only assassin that has come close to killing him more than once, and arguably the only person still standing that is an actual threat to Sleepy. Yet every single time Sleepy has a gun to the guy's head, Sleepy spares him because usually Nickel's sugar piss is easy to smell coming However Nickel eventually succumbs to the diabetes.
  • Made of Iron: Sleepy, which helps with all the assassins after him. The guy can take shotgun blasts to his limbs and still keep going. Not to mention when the time when Nickel rigged a doorknob to shock Sleepy with a ludicrous amount of voltage, yet Sleepy was still able to follow the assassin to his bosses and kill them all.
  • Manly Tears:
    • Sleepy sheds these when he's especially moved by his friends' support, and when he snipes Lieutenant Demeyer, who he'd wanted to respect, for proving to be a Dirty Cop in cahoots with the criminals who're after Sleepy.
    • When Sleepy arrives at the aftermath of Black Rose murdering Lilly, he punches a hole in a wall while tears run down his face.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Poor Daizaburo suffers a solid four or five minutes of this in episode 2 of the anime to distract some thugs. It isn't any of the typical grunting and flinching like in your average shonen anime either, but a realistic and brutal beatdown that sends blood and teeth flying. By the time help arrives he's in such critical condition it takes Perrine promising to marry him to get him through the night without succumbing to his wounds.
  • Odd Couple: Sleepy is a violent, perverted, brute with a "heart of gold", while Daizaburo is the smaller, more traditional by-the-book nice guy who tries to keep Sleepy from engaging in his spontaneous acts of violence. Marie and Wakiko made it even weirder.
  • Pet the Dog: Early in the manga, Sleepy shakes down numerous prostitutes for money. Daizaburo is outraged... until he discovers what Sleepy does with the money - donate it to a hospital program which specifically helps sex workers get out of the life and treats venereal diseases. He's essentially collecting for their health insurance.
  • Plot Armor: Sleepy survives an explosion despite being right in the center of the blast. He is able to take various wounds and heal within hours, but Perrine and Daizaburo were killed before the reboot.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Sleepy is this trope. After getting stabbed close to his heart, he found time to fuck the nurse in the operating room right after his surgery. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
  • Shot in the Ass: Happens to Sleepy in the second anime installment while he and Daizaburo attempt to stake out the docks. He's a huge man being shot at by a dozen crooks, so he gets about six bullet holes in his behind. Ow!
  • Shown Their Work:
    • Despite their obvious lack of knowledge/experience with how things in America work, the anime has incredible attention to detail when it comes to cars, backgrounds, guns, etc.
    • A more minor detail is that the latin-american Sleepy is specifically said to be Puerto Rican, which is significant due to the real life New York City having a huge Puerto Rican population.
  • Snow Means Death: In the final episode of the anime snow begins falling as Sleepy mourns the death of the Capricorn Killer and carries her body away from the church.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Sleepy-if you're an innocent civilian, he'll leave you alone, but if you're a criminal, he'll show no mercy.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Strangely, the OVA adaptation has Daizaburo drive Sleepy away from Dirty Cherry when they encounter her. This makes viewers miss out on the sex scene between them from the manga, but spares her from being killed when she falls to her own poison trap and plummets off a stair railing.
  • Suicide Attack: A cabal of assassins targets a young reporter being protected by Sleepy and Daizaburo; their motto is that they're the best because they don't care if they throw away their own lives to ensure the death of the target. End result: a whole lot of dead assassins. Maybe there really is something to that whole "self-preservation" thing...
  • Suicide Pact: Sleepy makes one with the Capricorn Killer in the last episode of the anime. He pulls his trigger on time but she doesn't.
  • Tank Goodness: In the end of the third OVA, the last assassin comes in with an APC to blow away our protagonists. Sleepy's response? Lift it.
  • Tattooed Crook: The main villain of the first episode is identified by a rose tattoo on his arm.
  • Token Trio: Sleepy, Daizaburo, and Perrine. The first is a brown Puerto Rican immigrant, the second is a Japanese-American man, and the third is a (presumably Franco-American, given her French given name) woman.