Tanks for the Simulwatch: Dominion Tank Police! [Act 10 - 07/10]

Professor Irony

Cursed Image
Moderator
Act IV: Crime Factor. Or... Good People Commit Crimes the Same As Bad Ones

It's not without comedic moments (the tears streaming from under Brenten's sunglasses and the Chief tending his chickens are particular highlights), but this is definitely the most serious part of the original series. Buaku's near-death rambling completes the story of his unfortunate origins, but once again the show proves surprisingly thoughtful, as he and Leona reach an understanding of sorts in the face of a common enemy. Their flight through the sewers, as Leona's time to get an antidote for the bio-ball runs out, rather reminds me a bit of Escape From New York, just to add to the pile of possible influences.

Given that Buaku chooses to rendez-vous right outside the police station and, as ayase pointed out, there's a distinct sense that the Tank Police are little better than the criminals they chase, maybe it's not a huge jump to say the show is suggesting that Buaku and the Tank Police have a kind of symbiotic relationship with each other. Given the underlying story with its interest in bacteria and antibodies, I think it’s also hard not to see a bit of AIDS metaphor going on in the background, when we see the emaciated state of the other test subjects (not to mention the similarly isolated ‘healthy’ people in Act I).

I had actually forgotten how little screentime Green Peace has in the anime. With her name whispered throughout the series and the reveal of what she apparently symbolises to Buaku, it kind of underscores how much of a ‘go read the manga’ ending we have that the anime concludes just as Buaku reaches her. It’s interesting to wonder if they ever considered directly adapting the manga to continue the story; they might have needed to make a few changes considering how much the anime has humanised Buaku by its conclusion, but I think it could certainly have been done. I certainly liked how economically they handle Buaku’s entry into a life of crime, as the passing motorist ditches her swag to pin a theft on him (I’d have loved it if they’d given that red Cadillac the ‘IT’S BABY’ license plate from California Crisis though).

But yeah, overall I've really enjoyed revisiting the first part of Dominion. It's long been a particular favourite of mine, but I've not seen it in a good number of years, so I was worried it might not hold up. I'm greatly pleased to see that it does! It's like a silly sitcom perched on top of something much darker and stranger, and that's why I love it.

Now if only Discotek would favour us with a lavish rerelease...
 

ayase

State Alchemist
Act IV - You can't get fooled again.

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I realize too late I shouldn't have drawn any comparisons between Teesside and Newport City, since the universe often seems keen to live up to my expectations in the worst possible ways. Today I went outdoors only to be greeted with a sky that looked like this due to a massive scrapyard fire. But you know what, if it means android catgirls are coming to a future near me I'm okay with donning my gas mask.

So we come to the end of the original (and best) animated Dominion. Human-Cyborg relations, a three-way final battle kicked off by a sneeze (in a nice callback to Act II) and Brenten creates a Bushism over a decade early. It's a bit of a slower moving episode with so much devoted to exposition, but it's all eminently watchable given Buaku's unlikely origins and once again, the lovely animation quality. And it still finds time for Brenten's antics and some great tank-on-helicopter-on-motorcycle action in the second half.

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Siri, play Crisis - Run With Anger

Given the underlying story with its interest in bacteria and antibodies, I think it’s also hard not to see a bit of AIDS metaphor going on in the background, when we see the emaciated state of the other test subjects (not to mention the similarly isolated ‘healthy’ people in Act I).
The sight of the emaciated bodies littering the experimentation lab, then stuffed into a windowless van presumably to be disposed of certainly recalls some of the more horrible episodes of 20th Century history, just as the ecological themes are ones which were becoming increasingly known and relevant in the 1980s - The naming of Greenpeace surely wasn't coincidental. The way Buaku doesn't understand why anyone would do anything for him without expecting something in return is also, I feel, a rather sad commentary on where society seemed to be headed.

Speaking of Buaku, he really does transcend into a rather Zen state of being in this final episode as he realizes that he doesn't need the picture to remember who he is - Because who he was, who he is, and who he can now choose to be are all different things and the real treasure was the friends he made along the way. None of which stops Uni's Tank Ex Machina bringing a fittingly explosive end to proceedings, it wouldn't really be right to go out any other way, would it?

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it kind of underscores how much of a ‘go read the manga’ ending we have that the anime concludes just as Buaku reaches her.
That's certainly what I'd take from it - The final two scenes featuring both Buaku and the Pumas and the Tank Police themselves are pretty much formatted as an epilogue to the story, albeit a mildly unsatisfying one. It is kind of a shame we didn't get any more (especially given the time spent building up Buaku and Leona as characters in Acts III & IV) but I'm thankful for what we have. It would I'm sure be quite a thing to witness in HD, but I'm not even sure if masters exist.
 

WMD

Adventurer
A little late I know but I'm back now so can catch up. The stream I'm watching is the uk manga dub and Acts I and II are in one video edited so I wasnt exactly sure where the episode break was.

Acts I and II

Really liked the creepy title card. Had a horror movie Alien type vibe. The intro itself with still images with the dialogue was amazing. I loved how different colours were in use depending on who was talking and how it went into full animation just as the Police Cheif loses it!

I saw there was some chat about the opening theme in the dub and for what its worth I hated it.
Its like they hadn't yet worked out how to use electronic music for cyber punk but euro dance inspired tracks are not the answer.

The song was made all the more jarring by how good the score was immediately afterwards. The ethereal sound had a slow epic-ness to it that really made you feel the scale of the city and its dank grimyness. Was reminiscent of how well bladerunner depicted its city.

Was interesting how the show juxtaposes the criminals and police. We see the criminals being loud and crazy. Then the police being calm but whose actions are actually far more crazy. And the way the heroine laughed just before the grenade went off was really funny!

The weird sex dance the cat twins did went on for soooooo long.

It was interesting to see the lieutenant care more about his tank than actually fighting crime even to point of brushing off being bazooka'd in the face! And it was interesting how the show continued to show that the police are just criminals in uniforms with the parallel shots of their reactions
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The way the telling off went down the chain of command was very entertaining.

I liked how rather than the crime being a crime of the week intro they used it to do some proper world building g explaining the effect of the bacteria cloud and how long it's been around. Smart writing that.

Specs is such a savage character. Acts so calm and like hes one of the weaker ones but then behaves so awfully to people whether they are criminals or victims.

So the rampant gender stereotyping was getting really annoying. It was so overdone I didnt find it that funny and so consant it didnt seem ironic either. Then the giant inflating penises flipping tanks gag happened and I found it so funny. Was definitely worth the show going all in on it.
 
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ayase

State Alchemist
So the rampant gender stereotyping was getting really annoying. It was so overdone I didnt find it that funny and so consant it didnt seem ironic either.
That's interesting. I never really picked anything like that up from it - I mean Brenten's obviously a manly man but is clearly meant to be a figure of fun, and is intentionally made out to be a hypocrite by going from claiming in Act I that Leona belongs in the welfare department to saying by the end of Act II that she's a credit to the Tank Police. As for Leona and the Pumas, they all strike me as pretty kick-ass women who can more than hold their own against the boys. For all his pervy tastes, I wouldn't say Shirow's someone who could ever be accused of creating girly-girl female characters.
 

WMD

Adventurer
Acts III and IV

Its amusing how quickly Leona has got down with the torture methods of the Tank Police, even making a game show out of it! It's also impressive in it's own way that they really dont mess around. Those grenades are real!

Really enjoyed the twins dressing up and getting all fancy surrounded by the art. And really liked the design of the Red Commando. Really swish and futuristic in a more ideal looking way over some of the clunkyness of the police and criminals.

It's also amusing that after thinking the lieutenant was a fool for caring about his tank so much that Leona is now the most guilty of it!

That bioball really reminded me of an Alien Facehugger. The way its grip tightened if you try to remove it! (Others have mentioned the Geiger comparisons so I feel like the creators must have really enjoyed Alien. Also its overwhelmingly male cast with few women who are either gun toting or become gun toting was a motif more or less created in the first 2 alien films)

The joke about the Red commandos having less morals than the tank police! 😱😬 Also the joke about this having all the ingredients of a tragedy really got me! 😆

It was really interesting to see Leona struggle with what to do. Could she trust a criminal? Was it right or ok for her to trust him? Is her own life a valid reason? Although we see the Major working with different types in GITS it never really seems to be a dilemma for her. Shes always getting the mission done. The exception maybe being Kuze buts theres a more personal story going on there.

Is that a nee type of car wash? As the sewer explodes sending a car flying was easily my favourite joke of the episode.

The meat of the episode about different types of human and what makes them human was very Shirow. I also liked how Buakus voice became more robotic when discussing such things. It was really sad to see how the scientist story became Buakus backstory.

Sneezes starting gunfights us a pretty odd motif to go with.

The ending got real weird and cant say I entirely understood it but I still enjoyed it even if it seemed an odd place to end things.
 

WMD

Adventurer
That's interesting. I never really picked anything like that up from it - I mean Brenten's obviously a manly man but is clearly meant to be a figure of fun, and is intentionally made out to be a hypocrite by going from claiming in Act I that Leona belongs in the welfare department to saying by the end of Act II that she's a credit to the Tank Police. As for Leona and the Pumas, they all strike me as pretty kick-ass women who can more than hold their own against the boys. For all his pervy tastes, I wouldn't say Shirow's someone who could ever be accused of creating girly-girl female characters.
I guess I meant the whole girl joins boys club and gets scoffed at but actually turns out to be pretty confident is an old and boring cliche. I get the show is old too and maybe it's more of it's time. It felt like it was really hammering the point and I didn't find it all that funny until the tanks getting flipped scene.

Although I realise Leona isnt girly girl she is voiced to sound like a country bumpkin.
 
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Neil.T

Guild Member
Act IV

Again, this has already been covered so well that I'll just chip in with this choice quote from the dub.

Brenten:
"Grrr, curses! I can't stand it; I ain't been so humiliated in my whole friggin' life. Aaargh, I'll kill 'im; I'll cut out his stinkin' guts and piss on 'em!"

That's... some artistic licence taken with the dialogue there, I'm sure. 😅
This is still the prizewinner, though:

I also just wanted to say how well this episode succeeds in making Buaku into a sympathetic character. I really hadn't seen that coming.
 

Neil.T

Guild Member
So the rampant gender stereotyping was getting really annoying. It was so overdone I didnt find it that funny and so consant it didnt seem ironic either.
This exchange from the dub of Act IV seemed worryingly devoid of irony, too. The subject of discussion is Leona.

Red Commando: "You might at least admit the screw-up is due to your bitch going over to the enemy."

Brenten: "My bitch never did that: the bitch was taken hostage exactly as I told ya."


Hmm... 🤨
 

WMD

Adventurer
This exchange from the dub of Act IV seemed worryingly devoid of irony, too. The subject of discussion is Leona.

Red Commando: "You might at least admit the screw-up is due to your bitch going over to the enemy."

Brenten: "My bitch never did that: the bitch was taken hostage exactly as I told ya."


Hmm... 🤨
Yeah the whole dude bro thing is pretty lame especially as its intent is show how tough and cool they are. I dont know if it's worse in the english and also a product of its time but it is a little over done for me.

That's not to say I havent been able to enjoy a lot of the rest of the show. The more innuendo based humour like the well hung picture joke are really funny.
 

Professor Irony

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Moderator
I guess I meant the whole girl joins boys club and gets scoffed at but actually turns out to be pretty confident is an old and boring cliche. I get the show is old too and maybe it's more of it's time. It felt like it was really hammering the point and I didn't find it all that funny until the tanks getting flipped scene.
It's interesting that all of that is anime original - there are some notes in Shirow's manga about Leona trashing Brenten's tank, but beyond that, the story starts with her and Al chasing Buaku in Boneaparte, and never really goes into her backstory. She is already just one of the gang. I suppose it's fair to assume that kind of 'woman in a man's world' storyline is a bit of an '80s trope though. It did briefly cross my mind to wonder if the scenario wasn't vaguely reminscent of one of the Police Academy movies, but I dunno - think I'd struggle to tell you the plot of any of those now.

I also just wanted to say how well this episode succeeds in making Buaku into a sympathetic character. I really hadn't seen that coming.
Coming back to the show again, I was surprised by that too. Perhaps part of the reason New Dominion is a soft reboot (maybe) is that they would have needed to find a way of putting Leona and Buaku at loggerheads again, given that they're back to playing Tom and Jerry when the manga begins. There's also a scene in the manga where (mild spoiler maybe?) Buaku apparently tries to sexually assault Leona, only for her to give him an almighty kick in the crown jewels for his trouble. It's hard to imagine that happening after the storyline in Act III/IV, although I guess it would be easy enough to cut that out.

But in any case, New Dominion is upon us! Before we get into Act 5 properly though, I wanted to do a quick primer. New Dominion (sometimes given in English as 'Crusher Police Dominion', although I'm not sure why, this doesn't appear to be a direct translation of the title) began release in late 1993, just after the economic bubble burst, four years after the original anime and, crucially, after Shirow had begun his Dominion: Conflict One manga.

For anyone not familiar, Conflict One is an alternate timeline version of the story where Newport City is not affected by pollution, the cast of characters is very different, and the general aesthetic is much closer to the more realistic trappings of Ghost in the Shell, or possibly even Patlabor, if we can assume there was a bit of mutual admiration going on between Shirow and Headgear, but I'll not get too much into it for now. Let's just look at the new opening for a moment.


Setting aside the obvious switch from J-pop to a hard rock style opening theme, the opening curiously squeezes in scenes from both the original manga (Boneaparte in the car-crusher) and Conflict One (the Puma Twins tearing a chunk off that plane in mid-air), despite New Dominion not obviously following either continuity. At least, I say that - I think it's perhaps left intentionally vague as to whether this is a sequel that picks up after the end of the first manga, or if it's its own separate entity. With production having swapped studios from Agent 21 (me neither) to JC Staff, and again with apparently no direct input from Shirow, it seems to me like the new team decided to hedge their bets and create an entirely separate series of their own that mixes elements of everything else.

But I've rambled enough already - I'll make a proper post on Act V later on, but if anyone else wants to go first, fire away!
 

Neil.T

Guild Member
I'll make a proper post on Act V later on, but if anyone else wants to go first, fire away!
Hands up from me: apologies for accidentally using an image from Act V (aka Act I of New Dominion) in my Dominion Act I post. I shot my bolt a bit early there! 😛

As my posts from this point on might reveal, I much prefer New Dominion over the original. I just think that basically everything about it is done so much better. Also, the original Japanese audio is all intact on Manga's DVD, so there are none of the previous concerns about the tone being distorted by adaptation. The only thing to work around this time are some rather loose subtitles.
 

Professor Irony

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Moderator
I had more trouble finding my copy of Act 5 than I'd expected, so unless anyone's already raring to go, I think I'll leave that as the episode for tomorrow.

The original Japanese audio is all intact on Manga's DVD.
Wasn't sure if this was the case or not, but if it is, I'll see if I can pick that up!
 

Professor Irony

Cursed Image
Moderator
Okay, as it turns out, I was raring to go.

Act 5: Ghost in the (Armour Piercing) Shell

Being all vintage hipster weeb, I did of course watch all the trailers first, because we know what the real OP is.


The drink's on me if you can name them all without looking it up.

It's quite a collection of trailers on the tape though; Legend of the Four Kings, Patlabor the Movie, Angel Cop (anyone want to simulwatch that? No?), Space Adventure Cobra, Dominion itself and the Guyver. Interestingly, the one for Patlabor suggests it had a limited theatrical run in the UK.

But anyway:

ACT 5

And so it is that we're greeted by a very different New Port City to the one we saw at the end of Act IV. The pollution is still present, but seems to be nothing like as severe as it was before; people can comfortably go outside without masks, we can see further across the city. There's actual freakin' daylight. Interestingly, the lack of a day/night cycle was another anime only addition - pollution was heavy, but there was ostensibly still sunlight in the manga.

With the changing aesthetic, however, there is also a level of sophistication in the production that wasn't quite there before; the art is beefier, better lit, more refined. JC Staff are not always known for the high quality of their work nowadays, but they've done an excellent job here at least. Newport is a thriving, modern metropolis and they're keen to show it off - it's not fantastical in the way it was, but there's a sense of scale and attention to the mundane details of city life that I don't think came across before.

Leona has kicked it up a notch too, now more or less on a par with Brenten in terms of her heavy-handed approach to police work, cheerfully shooting up a restaurant largely for the hell of it. Presumably her machine-pistol fires less-than-lethal rounds? It's good to see that the show has retained its penchant for goofy expressions, however, with Leona's reaction faces often making her come across like an angrier Lina Inverse.

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Coincidentally the same image Neil posted, but I haven't been able to get decent screengrabs of my own yet. Note the small tell that this is a UK dub, when Leona smashes the coffee machine and calls it 'bloody useless' :)

It's also nice to note that minor manga characters Sophie and Nam, who were absent before (except, curiously on the main title card) are now back, although Sophie has had a major makeover, her nerdy image with her bobbed hair and glasses having been swapped for a long blonde ponytail. Perhaps someone thought the show needed more glamour.

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The real star here though is of course Higashinada, with his literal Tatchikoma secret prototype spider tank. Given how iconic they are of GitS, it feels a bit cheeky that Leona gets the better of it with relative ease, but I did laugh at the cunning use of a floor sweeper as a decoy. In a nice touch, the little angels that swarm around Higashinada's head while he's out cold are all tiny versions of himself too. Also note that we finally see Bonaparte's vulcan cannon in action - it was a bit of a Chekov's chaingun in the original show.

As my posts from this point on might reveal, I much prefer New Dominion over the original. I just think that basically everything about it is done so much better.
Hmm. Truthfully, I'm with ayase on this one - New Dominion is considerably slicker, but I love the wilful strangeness that always seems to be happening just on the periphery of the original, and I really miss that in this version. Still looking forward to hearing what other people think though!
 

Neil.T

Guild Member
The stream I'm watching is the uk manga dub and Acts I and II are in one video edited so I wasnt exactly sure where the episode break was.
Forgot to mention earlier but, FYI, it's the same on the DVD I have.

@Professor Irony and @ayase would no doubt know where Act I ends and II begins. I'd be interested to know as well.
 
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Professor Irony

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Moderator
@Professor Irony and @ayase would no doubt know where Act I ends and II begins. I'd be interested to know as well.
Off the top of my head, I think it’s shortly after Leona and the Chaplain start bringing in the scrap from Brenten’s tank, but before the little montage of Leona and Al building Boneaparte. Curiously, I don’t think there are end credits for the episode, but there’s definitely a ‘to be continued’ title card and a preview of Act II.

Incidentally, are there any extras on the Manga UK DVD? There are liner notes with some lineart of the characters inside the VHS sleeves that I could scan if anyone’s interested, but I was wondering if they might already have been collected on the disc.
 

Neil.T

Guild Member
Off the top of my head, I think it’s shortly after Leona and the Chaplain start bringing in the scrap from Brenten’s tank, but before the little montage of Leona and Al building Boneaparte.
Excellent. I'll have a look for that bit. Thanks, Prof. 👍

Incidentally, are there any extras on the Manga UK DVD?
There is literally nothing on the main menu other than "play" — not even a chapter select:
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ayase

State Alchemist
@Professor Irony and @ayase would no doubt know where Act I ends and II begins. I'd be interested to know as well.
Off the top of my head, I think it’s shortly after Leona and the Chaplain start bringing in the scrap from Brenten’s tank, but before the little montage of Leona and Al building Boneaparte. Curiously, I don’t think there are end credits for the episode, but there’s definitely a ‘to be continued’ title card and a preview of Act II.
Specifically, Act I ends and Act II opens with the helicopter giving a public safety announcement. The last scene proper of Act I is Brenten ordering Leona to report to the welfare department and the first of Act II is Buaku's Skype call with the Councillor.

On the version I'm watching at least, Act I does have the closing credits and Act II opens with a significantly cut-down version of Act I's opening prologue, before a recap of Act I and the opening credits.
 

WMD

Adventurer
Act V

Really enjoyed the intro. The meaty guitars and seeing members of the team in action. Felt reminiscent of of intros you got on older action shows like the A team.

The opening action was fun too. Set up how reckless the Tank Police can be and how no nonsense Leona is in this one. Much more in keeping with a Shirow female lead.

This shot of the chiefs reaction to the action had me in hysterics. It's a simple sight gag but the expression is great especially next to the mayors and everyone else around him.
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I also really liked that the show didnt just tell us about civilian disquiet about the Tank Police but actually showed us their protests. They may get the job done but they are reckless and normal people are getting caught up in their bs and are not happy about it.

As mentioned previously that is pretty much a straight up Tachikoma. Still enjoyed its battle with Bonaparte and this shot of its laser casting a shaddow of the tank behind was amazingly done!

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I also liked how we've got the beginnings of a mystery set up with no real idea of what's up yet.
 
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