Anime Reviews:

8 Man After


For an introductory plot synopsis to 8 Man After simply imagine Robocop with a twist of the Far East. Hazuma is a cop killed in the line of duty who is used as a prototype cyborg police officer to battle cyborg criminals created by Schmidt, a research scientist with a grudge. Although this came a few years after Robocop, to be fair, it has been suggested that in it's earlier incarnation as a manga strip, this was the inspiration behind the Robocop storyline. Hazuma acts as the host body for the cyborg, the eighth version of the artificial man. At first the cop is unaware of his past and believes he is human but as his relationship with a woman develops his true persona becomes clearer to Hazuma! He joins forces with a private eye to help in his quest for revenge on evil-doers.

Intelligent direction by Sumiyoshi Furakawa combined with equally intelligent dialogue makes this worthwhile adult viewing. Despite the disappointing rendition of 8 Man himself (he comes across as vaguely corny and unimaginatively-designed), the disticntive artistic style and first class voice acting and dub (by US Streamline Pictures) help lift this above much similarly-themed anime already available. A few good gags and minor but uncommon touches also set this apart - how many other Japanese animated series have a major character that drives around in a green Citroen? Going back to Robocop for a moment, look out for the tiny but exact similarities that extend beyond the basic premise: the model city in the executive's office, the computer interface from the cyborg's hand and so on, somebody definitely poached from somebody.

Rob Dyer

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