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AD Police Files Anime Review

AD Police Files Box Art

AD Police Files

4 stars / OVA / Drama / 16-up

Bottom Line

Compact, attractive, solidly constructed cyber-noir vignettes.

It’s Like...

...Bubblegum Crisis meets Ghost in the Shell.

Vital Stats

Original Title


Romanized Title

AD Police Files

Animation Studio


US Release By



Cyber-Noir Police Drama

Series Type



3 30-minute episodes

Production Date

1990-05-25 - 1990-11-22

What's In It


Look For

  • Cyborgs
  • Pretty Robots Gone Bad
  • Blade Runner Ripoff
  • Serial Killers
  • Mystery

Objectionable Content

  • Violence: 4 (heavy)
  • Nudity: 2 (moderate)
  • Sex: 3 (significant)
  • Language: 3 (significant)

See Also


  • Bubblegum Crisis (spinoff)
  • Bubblegum Crash (spinoff)
  • Ad Police Files TV (related)
  • Parasite Dolls (related)

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Plot Synopsis

In the near future, rookie cop Leon McNichol joins the elite AD Police team. Tasked with stopping utility robots--known as Boomers--that have run amok, it is a dangerous and thankless job. Leon and his veteran partner Jeena Malso will have their work cut out for them on a collection of strange cases involving Boomers and people who are not quite human anymore.

Quick Review

This sort-of-prequel to Bubblegum Crisis, the first of several spin-offs and sequels, follows too-cool cop Leon McNichol back when he first joined the AD Police. It isn't your average spin-off series; not only can AD Police Files be fully enjoyed even if you've never seen the original, it's probably better than it.

The series is composed of three vignettes (selected from the most serious stories in Tony Takezaki's first ADP comic anthology) that touch on some interesting subjects--where the line between a human and a cyborg is and what goes on inside the mind of a robot. Bubblegum Crisis fans (as well as folks who don't like it) should note that you won't find any girls in battlesuits, and the technology has been seriously toned down--dangerously strong robots and a few powerful cyborgs are as far as it goes, making it about as realistic as cyberpunk can hope to be. Where Bubblegum Crisis paid anime-enhanced homage to Blade Runner, this series aligns itself faithfully with the hard-boiled original.

AD Police Files is cyber-noir at its best; from the stark visuals to the dry dialogue it has all the hard-edged, sporadically violent flavor you could ask for packed tightly into short, evenly paced episodes. It isn't the sort of series that everybody will love--the plots focus as much on making a point as realism, the violence and up-front sexuality are a necessity of the genre but are extreme enough to put some folks off, and it's probably too slow for those who prefer a wild ride, but for what it is it has few flaws.

AD Police Files takes a sidestep from the action series it's based on and stands out as finely realized and very well produced cyberpunk noir, and is well worth the time for those who enjoy the genre. Its biggest flaw is that it's such a short series when there's so much to work with.

Notes and Trivia

Based on the Leon McNichol character from Bubblegum Crisis, there's no direct continuity between this series and the OVAs, which take place several years later. There are also two comic adaptations by Tony Takezaki. The second, focused mainly on Jeena Malso, was translated and released in the US shortly after this series was first released. The first, while to my knowledge never released officially in the US, was printed in bilingual Japanese and somewhat rough English (for flavor, I assume) in Japan, and is an anthology of brief stories. The first and third episodes of this OVA series are based on stories in that book.

On a totally unrelated note, in either a very odd homage or a bizarre coincidence, the cover of the Liz Phair album Exile in Guyville looks oddly similar to a panel in that anthology comic.


Available in North America from AnimEigo on hybrid DVD. Was previously available on three individual subtitled and dubbed VHS volumes.

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