Working backwards here – I first became acquainted with the Bubblegum Crisis world via the remake, Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 – a fine if not superlative bit of sci-fi fluff that turned into kind of a Dawn of the Dead with robots, until the end where it collapsed under its own weight, but still managed to be entertaining. One of the primary tensions in the show was between our heroines, the Knight Sabers, and the A.D. Police. Both had the same goal, bringing down Voomers (or Boomers, depending on your subtitler,) androids that have gone berserk. They were in competition with each other, see, to kill said b(v)oomers. Didn’t make much sense, but was fun to watch.
Much the same dynamic existed in the intial series of which A.D. Police is a spin-off, dealing not at all with the Knight Sabers but entirely focusing on the cops. And boy, does it do so poorly. But perhaps my impressions were poisoned by reputation: I had been told ahead of time that A.D. Police was terrible, so going in I expected the worst. And I was so rewarded – A.D. Police is not just boring mediocre, but interestingly offensive. Besides being brutally violent in totally standard ways, the show just happens to be one of the most misogynistic pieces of tripe to come out of Japan’s collective anime hole. Not quite up there with Nanako, but ’tis reaching.
Our heroes, the A.D. Police, are first seen arriving on scene of a Voomer breakdown – a little tea house servant has gone nuts, and is killing patrons. So they come, and shoot up the woman. It is grotesque, replete with gratuitous nudity and some satisfying white fluid spillage (like Cain in Alien). Our main A.D. Police protagonists are Geena and Leon, the plucky rookie who screws up, inadvertantly leading to the death of Geena’s paramour. Geena, of course, immediately wants to hop in the sack with Leon, cause she gets all horny when people die.
This first episode (incoherently about some phantom prostitute robot Leon killed and who has come back, begging for death) gives us the lovely image, and not just once, of women being bloodily shot to death, losing their clothes in the process. The second episode, ostensibly about the price one pays for bartering one’s humanity, focuses on a serial killer who cuts the wombs out of prostitutes. She does so because her own lady parts were replaced with robotic ones, so her cycle wouldn’t interfere with her job performance. However, I guess she has phantom pain from her old bits, since she still gets cramps – or so she explains. In the scene where we see her experience said menses, I was struck with the impression (and I believe it was intentional) that she was masturbating. The animation and voice acting are, at the very least, ambiguous on this point. I mean, do most women rub at their crotches in response to menstrual pain?
“The Man Who Bites His Tongue,” the final stop on this crude little road trip, is the story with the most potential, the most inherent idiocy, and perhaps the ugliest misogyny. Billy Fanword has essentially been turned into RoboADCop, having been severely wounded in the line of duty. All that’s left is, apropos the title, his tongue, which he bites in order to remind himself of pain (why in the world the scientists would have gone to the immense trouble of keeping his tongue intact when he apparently doesn’t need to eat anything and speaks through a radio is beyond my imagining). He gets addicted to drugs and stimulation when the lady scientist who created him starts injecting them into his tongue, and screws his metal chassis in order to bring him back in touch with his humanity. She gets her head smashed for her troubles.
That AD Police kills so many women is not inherently misogynistic – that the women are depicted entirely in terms of their sex organs and vices is. There’s only one truly sympathetic female character in the show, but she too is a limited stereotype – the plucky and determined cop from the second episode, who only succeeds because her mousiness forces her to sympathize with murderesses. AD Police is dreck – well animated ickiness. Avoid.