New Dominion Tank Police Anime Review
Tokusou Senshatai Dominion
Special Investigative Tank Corps Dominion
US Release By
Futuristic Action Comedy
6 30-minute episodes
1993-10-21 - 1994-10-22
The Tank Police are back and continuing their fight against high-tech crime in Newport City (Usually by obliterating everything within a few-mile radius of it). This time they find themselves taking on the mysterious and powerful Dai Nippon Corporation, whose sponsoring of drug trafficking and terrorism threatens to destabilize the entire city (even more than the Tank Police themselves). The challenges faced by the Tank Police are numerous and their foes are driven by unseen motives. There is no telling whether or not our heroes can uncover the plot of the Dai Nippon Corporation before it's too late, but one thing is certain: Lots of things will be destroyed!
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New Dominion Tank Police picks up right where the original 1989 masterpiece left off. On the down side, it retains neither the superb soundtrack, nor the voice actors from the original OAV, but thankfully the ones it does have are good enough to make up for it. On the up side, it has the same mix of comedy, lovable characters, and crazy action scenes that made the original a fan-favorite. Its only weakness is a somewhat simplistic plot, with a few too many cop show clichés and some downright lazy story advancement.
Still, in the end, New Dominion Tank Police is more of what made the first series great. If you didn't like the first one, I don't see any way this OAV will turn your taste around, but it should fully satisfy fans.
Full ReviewSwitch to Quick Review
New Dominion Tank Police picks up right where the original 1989 masterpiece left off, featuring most of the cast members from the first series such as Leona, Al, Britan, Chaplain, 4 eyes (a.k.a. Einstein), the Chief, and the cat sisters Annapuna and Unapuma. Unfortunately, like the 3 sequels to the hit anime "Project A-ko," New Dominion Tank Police retains neither the superb soundtrack, nor the voice actors from the original OAV, but thankfully the ones it does have are good enough to make up for it.
More importantly, all the character traits and styles from the first series are well maintained, such Al's affection for Leona and Leona's obsession with her mini-tank Bonaparte and her (and her fellow officers') casual use of overwhelming force in every situation. I especially enjoyed watching Leona explain to the Chief why she used her tank to break up a peaceful protest in the streets ("They were throwing cans at Bonaparte! He's not a dumpster!"). Also, some of the humor seemed to be inspired by old American cartoons, like a scene where the cast sisters try to hide from the pursuing Tank Police by pretending to be mannequins in a department store window, Scooby Doo style.
But overall, as far as the action/comedy element goes, fans of the original series know exactly what to look forward too: Fun comedy and lovable characters mixed with crazy action scenes. And this one features an even greater number and variety of them. Chasing an explosives-filled truck on the highway, battling crooks in a dimly lit warehouse, protecting the mayor from an assassination attempt--these are just some of the many action sequences New Dominion Tank Police provides. Just like before, the action scenes are fairly cartoonish, with a somewhat low death toll (but a maximum destruction toll) and mostly devoid of the gory violence anime fans are used too. But I'd say that's a good thing in this case, because it goes along with the whole comedic atmosphere in the show.
The story is a bit weak at times, even for a comedy. One of the things that made the original Tank Police OAV great was that it contained a surprisingly fascinating story, focused around the main villain Buaku, who turned out to be a lot more deep and interesting than one might expect. This time around that's just not the case. The main villains here are a bunch of greedy, corrupt corporate guys who commit crimes because... well... they're a bunch of greedy, corrupt corporate guys. Similarly, the story is riddled with typical cop show clichés, which can be forgiven seeing as it is a comedy, though it did not seem like they were trying to parody them.
Also, in some situations, the story advancement seemed downright lazy. A good example is an episode where Leona discovers her former partner from when she was in the motorcycle division has been murdered and is subsequently told to stay off the case. Of course she does what any TV/movie cop would do in that situation: go on leave and pursue the case on here own. But she's barely out the door when she picks up her first lead. And that lead almost immediately takes her to what she is looking for. I was expecting that subplot to branch out over a few episodes, but as usual nearly all of it is resolved in the episode it first appears in. The ending was also disappointing. It's not the worst ending I've ever seen, but was way too cheesy (even for this show) and drawn out.
Still, in the end, New Dominion Tank Police is more of what made the first series great. If you have not seen any of the Dominion Tank Police series, this one is still worthwhile, though I strongly recommend seeing the original OAV first. It's better overall and gives a good introduction to the main characters in New Dominion Tank Police. If you did not like the first one, I don't see any way this OAV will turn your taste around, but it should fully satisfy fans.
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Obviously has the most in common with its predecessor, the original Dominion. The Dirty Pair, in their various incarnations, are a far more extreme version of the same sort of cheerfully wanton destruction by the good guys. Patlabor, in turn, is a much lower-key, relatively straight-faced take on the same idea, with giant robots instead of tanks.
Notes and Trivia
Part of famed but reclusive comic artist/writer Masamune Shirow's Dominion series. The series includes the original manga version (a single volume available in English from Dark Horse), the original OAV series, which acts as a loose prequel to the manga, some additional manga stories in the interim, and the fairly new Dominion Conflict comic series, of which only one book has been finished so far. The New Dominion Tank Police anime is, roughly speaking, a prequel to the Conflict manga, although Conflict makes some changes that don't align with either its anime or manga predecessors. The sequence with the cat sisters assaulting a plane is taken right from the intro of the manga, though. There's also a short one-shot OAV, TANK S.W.A.T. 01, that is intended as a sequel to Conflict and as such is a sort-of-sequel to this.
US DVD Review
Manga's DVD packs the whole series onto a single disc, with "digitally remastered" video that is acceptable but unimpressive, Japanese and English stereo soundtracks plus an English Dolby 5.1 track, and a bit of information to cover the extras.
Some skin, a few death scenes, and profanity; Manga says 17-up, but 13-up may be reasonable.
Violence: 2 - Mostly just property destruction, but there are a few deaths, and one fairly brutal murder scene.
Nudity: 2 - Some skin.
Sex/Mature Themes: 2 - Nothing major.
Language: 3 - Some scattered bits of profanity just like the original series.
Formerly available in North America from Manga Video on bilingual DVD, out of print as of this writing. Was originally also released on three dubbed VHS volumes. There was also a "Movie CD" version released for PC by Sirius, on three separate volumes.
Not only is it out of print, but at last check the DVD was selling for a small fortune used: New Dominion Tank Police DVD. If you want a legit copy and don't mind the dub, you'd be a lot better off with the VHS versions, which can be had for a buck or two each: VHS vol 1, VHS vol 2, VHS vol 3.