It has been over twenty years since a great calamity has forced the various worlds to live together. Now beast men, demons, gods, ghosts, humans, and many more strange manner of creatures must close together trying their best to not cause too much trouble for the others and survive. In this strange world, a young half-human half-cat girl, the naive Natsuki, tries to make a simple living as an employee of a small and somewhat second-rate bounty hunting firm that operates out of Shinjuku, the city of beast people.
I knew nothing about this show prior to my first viewing and it turned out to be a surprisingly fun and engaging title for something twenty-five episodes long but relatively bereft of a major plot arc. This isn't to say that it is totally episodic. Really, it isn't so much plot arc that the writers of the show seemed to be concerned with, as much as developing some of the characters and bringing the world to life through a series of small and only tenuously connected episodes that follow the characters' daily life and adventures.
One aspect of the show that I did rather enjoy was that the various human/animal hybrid characters in this show were not simply humans that looked partially like animals. A lot of them have various animalistic traits that would manifest in their personality and affect their daily lives sometimes in a minor way and sometimes in a not so minor and extremely amusing way. There was an even an episode that dealt with the normal humans being rather agitated by the inconvenience of many of the beast people going into heat during the spring mating season.
For all the wackiness and light touch that starts out this show though, it slowly grows a bit serious as it progresses. The newly overly crowded world isn't entirely at peace and certain realities such as species discrimination in a world that is still recovering from disaster that thrusts all these creatures together are explored. Also given that the main character, Natsuki, is such a naive and kind-hearted young woman, it is only natural that her chosen vocation would result in a bit of angst once she realizes that even some criminals have lives outside of being simply wanted. They even manage to slip in a bit of romance. When I begin to think about all the species involved my head begins to hurt though.
Besides Natsuki, we have a rich cast of major and minor characters of various species and types who get a fairly decent chance to develop as the series progresses. Perhaps the most intriguing is the fox woman, Sakura, who initially befriends Natsuki simply because she needs to consume someone with powerful magic to earn her ninth tail and take advantage of her true heritage. I would be lying if I said the characters in this show truly have the dramatic depth that you'll find in a top tier title, but I did find myself growing to care about them episode after episode.
Plotting is a bit uneven. As I noted earlier, there is only a loose connecting thread in general, but there are a few elements here and there that get a bit abruptly introduced and feel a bit rushed. While most of these elements get smoothed out as the episodes progress, it is kind of jarring during the viewer's initial encounters with them.
There are a number of action scenes (most of the characters are bounty hunters after all), and they are fairly well done, but I wouldn't call them particularly spectacular. It was rather interesting to see the various different types of strange creatures that have to be dealt though and the tactics that sometimes had to be employed to bring them down. When you are inhabiting a world with everything that has everything from mecha to demons, it seemingly makes it a relatively straightforward job as bounty hunting considerably more logistically complex.
The character design work was done by Gotoh Keiji, who also did design work on Gate Keepers, Nadesico, Sorcerer Hunters, and Real Bout High School. There are a variety of different types of characters and species in this show and I liked most of the character designs. There was an interesting spectrum of beast men ranging from the almost completely human looking Natsuki to other characters like Tommy the dog man, who no one would ever mistake for human.
Most of the music was pretty forgettable, but I suppose that it is better for your music to forgettable than annoying. The somewhat perky opening sequence I think does a good job of getting the general feel of the show across for the most part. I can't say it would be something that I would want to listen to a lot though.
Overall, I can't really claim Hyper Police is one of the best titles I've ever seen, but it ended up being an interesting and fun ride in an unusual world setting. I would have preferred a bit more of a tight plot, but the show was still plenty entertaining.
A fun enough ride through an unusually diverse post-apocalyptic world. If you really like your cat girls and/or fox women you might want to add a star. — Jeremy A Beard
Recommended Audience: This is a show that centers around bounty hunters, so there is a lot of action, gunplay, Natsuki blasting people with magic, and that sort of thing. It isn't particularly graphic, but we do get a few deaths here and there. A few of the female characters end up in a couple of revealing outfits in a couple of episodes, but fan service is limited overall. There are a few brief vaguely sexual situations (even the aforementioned mating season episode is more comedic than sexual) but nothing particularly serious. Overall, I would say it is safe for teens and above.
Version(s) Viewed: Prerelease fansub
Review Status: Full (25/25)
Hyper Police © 1997 MEE / Kadokawa Shoten / Nippon Columbia / Marubeni / Studio Pierrot / Sotsu Agency
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