Angel Cop is a classic of 電気神

Many anime viewers complain that modern anime has too much moe.

Old school anime doesn’t have that problem.

Angel Cop is a forgotten classic of true cyberpunk-before-Gibson – i.e. 電気神, denki-shin, electric god.

There are a couple of pretty ladies, but they look like they’re at least 20 years old, and they have bodies like Olympic athletes.

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The cast includes OLD MEN, and THEY HAVE WRINKLES. These are not your typical two or three laugh lines like you might find in typical modern anime. These guys look like their wrinkles are harsh enough to use as sandpaper. You could strike blue-tip matches on the beard stubble these guys have.

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And the males don’t look like wispy metrosexual herbivores. Even the minor supporting characters have insane muscle tone.

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Fans of Ghost in the Shell will note that the ultra-beautiful female protagonist is an anti-heroic Well-Intentioned Extremist, while the hunky male romantic lead is her Jiminy Cricket, much the Major and Batou. However, from what I’ve seen so far, I think Angel Cop does a better job of portraying the human cost to the character of a decent man who is strong enough to be a commando but compassionate enough to want to keep civilians away from danger.

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Unlike Wicked City,  this show does not display much fascination with the prurient aspects of sex. (If I recall correctly, a girl-next-door type does get her shirt and bra torn off as a provocation to combat.) It is a straight-up action-adventure, suitable for all but the youngest children.

The ending theme sounds a little bit like Enya, who was just starting her solo career in 1984.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enya

It has the fake-voice-over-the-phone trick from 1984’s hit movie The Terminator.

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http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088247/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

It has a little girl doing a “No, Boom” just like in 1984’s hit movie, Stephen King’s Firestarter.

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http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087262/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

And it has “NCC 1701,” a TV reference that would have been familiar to the Star Trek fans of 1984.

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All in all, Angel Cop owes a great deal to the first Terminator movie.  Likewise, it ought to be remembered that cyberpunk in general owes a great deal the first Terminator movie.  The half-man/half-machine trope is tellingly illustrated in the “eye scene,” in which the terminator cuts away some of the flesh from around its damaged eye, then puts on sunglasses to conceal its obvious mechanical nature.

 

That dramatic half-man/half-machine theme was played from as much shock value as possible throughout later 1980s cyberpunk, including Hardwired.

Many people would define true cyberpunk as neo-noir with gimmicks like half-man/half-machine transhumanism. Angel Cop is a cop drama rather than a noir, so I could imagine that some diehard Gibson worshippers might claim that Angel Cop is not true cyberpunk because it’s not post-Neuromancer noir. In my reckoning, however, Angel Cop is proof that cyberpunk was a phenomenon waiting to emerge, and that cyberpunk would have emerged even if Gibson had never written anything. Similarly, Jeter wrote Dr. Adder, an influential cyberpunk novel, in 1972, and influential authors like P. K. Dick tried to help him get it published, but no one was willing to publish it until 1984.

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