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

ayase

State Alchemist
New Dominion: Vol. 1 - "If we got in, we should be able to get out"

It's so... bright. And so '90s. By which I mean both the production, and the world of New Dominion itself. The Tank Police HQ literally looks like a '90s police department from the steel desks to the CRT TVs, the box files to the coffee machine. NINETIES. It does look fantastic - We're still in OVA territory after all, which in the '90s meant gorgeous backgrounds and superb level of detail. I'd never knock New Dominion from a technical standpoint, but as Prof mentioned it feels like the setting has certainly lost something. Even the police cars look like they were made by doing a cut-n-shut with a Porsche 924 and a Ford Escort.

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So Leona's stopped dying her hair and the Pumas have decided to start because redhead quota, I guess. New Dominion Leona is certainly a more aggressive character, which is probably a good job because with all the world changes Dominion really would start to look like "Patlabor with Tanks" otherwise (even Higashina and his tank and his little game with the Tank Police have something of the SCHAFT about them). The comedy and exaggeration has certainly been dialled down a bit too, that or Brenten has started to mellow out in his old age. It felt a bit "tank procedural" really, certainly more attention was being paid to how a tank actually works (not that we can really count Bonaparte, physics defying as Leona's favourite little tank is). Unlike the earlier OVA, my memory of New Dominion is almost non-existent, so it's good to revisit.

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Despite being burnt by the initial sunlight, at least most of the action this episode took place in the dark. And we have to talk about the spider tank, because I guess Shirow really, really likes the idea of tanks that look like spiders. Why mess with success? I have to wonder if he's explained the way they were supposed to move to various production teams over the years (that distinctive skating along leaning into curves) or whether the staff of GitS:SAC were familiar with NDTP, because they move exactly the same way in both. Somehow I get the feeling Oshii was familiar with it...

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Speaking of the other guy who shares equal blame for me being here on AUKN in the first place along with Shirow, there is some incredibly Oshii-ish direction going on at the end of this episode. The entire scene with the helicopter bringing the Man in Black to assassinate the fake Higashinada is so Oshii I can't help but wonder if the man himself didn't sneak into the studio one night and stick some of his own storyboards in with the others.

Finally, a word about music. This OP feels a lot more fitting for Dominion to me than either the English or Japanese versions from the previous series. The ED is pleasant enough, but not as good as either the English or Japanese from the previous series. And that frantic BGM that sounds like you're running out of time on a NES game, I could have done without.
 
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WMD

Magical Girl
Act 6

Really savage start. Watching an actual murder being committed is definitely the most brutal this show has got so far. And I have to say I think the English dub actress did a really good job of getting the terror across.

I also really enjoyed the flashback sequence. We get to know the victim a bit and also strengthens our bond as a viewer to Leona. It was also fun to see her being just as reckless before she had a tank!

Oh my those were some serious cult vibes going on in there. And the show really showed in this episode how good it can be at using light and dark:
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The simplest methods work best line really cracked me up. It's like come on Al you're tank police of course shooting something should be your first solution!

It's also crazy that the tombstone dates this show in the past! 2016!

And to finish I dont think I will ever get bored of the Chief's face.
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Professor Irony

Cursed Image
Moderator
Act 6: Dominion Motorcycle Police

Trailers were for much the same titles although most use different footage, we get a plug for Macross Plus (!) and there's an entirely different 'trailer man' voiceover. The Space Adventure Cobra ad doesn't use "Oh Yeah" this time (not entirely surprising, that wasn't in the film) and there's also an ad for what seems to be a dubbed version of Godzilla Vs. Mothra, released under their 'Manga Live' imprint.

Similarly to Ayase, I don’t remember much of the specifics as far as NDTP’s plot is concerned (and it took me until this viewing to realise it’s the fake Higashinada being executed in the hospital, not a flashback to the death of the real one), but I did remember the broad strokes of this one, even if I couldn’t have told you about the cultish overtones of the Nippon Giken corp. Considering that there was a nebulous Mr. Big lurking in the background of the original series who was never seen or confronted, perhaps this was intended as a spiritual continuation of that plot thread. Certainly, if you do take this as a direct sequel, Anna (or was it Uni?)’s warning about ‘winding up in the strip clubs again’ if they didn’t have Buaku seems to have come true, given the way the Puma Twins are dressed here. I don't quite get what purpose the little post-credit scene serves though; this is the only episode to have one. Perhaps someone felt the need to stress for the audience that things were back to normal after Leona's brief resignation.

As WMD points out though, the visuals for this one are quite something, even just in terms of framing and composition. New Port is such a moody place now, it really does seem to predict Oshii’s vision for GitS, with the dramatic lighting and soft-focus haze. Even the colour choice is interesting - when Leona chases the Twins through the streets, they’re immediately identifiable, with her red jacket and their red bikini costumes standing out a mile from the dark greens and greys of the background.

I agree that the comedy seems more subdued in this series, but I do like some of the exaggerated shapes they have going on when they are playing it for laughs - the windbag effect from the Chief and Leona's arms when she's angry are pretty great.

New Dominion Tank Police - Episode 2 [OnDeed] [23B30EC8].mkv_snapshot_05.08_[2019.10.04_00.25....jpg

New Dominion Tank Police - Episode 2 [OnDeed] [23B30EC8].mkv_snapshot_06.04_[2019.10.04_00.26....jpg

More things I’d never noticed before: Al’s mug has a little octopus on it, which I believe is Shirow’s informal avatar/mascot character.

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And the brown haired girl in the background is almost exactly the mk1 version of Sophie.

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Also more adventures in British dubbing; “sweetie wrappers” and “I’m no good at this bloody, bloody stuff” :) I think the dub is actually a little better this time around, perhaps by virtue of the actors having had more time to get to know their characters. It is noticeable that 'Specs' is now 'Four Eyes' though.

Finally, a word about music. This OP feels a lot more fitting for Dominion to me than either the English or Japanese versions from the previous series. The ED is pleasant enough, but not as good as either the English or Japanese from the previous series. And that frantic BGM that sounds like you're running out of time on a NES game, I could have done without.
I'm not sure what it's like for their DVD release, but curiously, the VHS releases use an instrumental version of the OP theme, with voices and sound effects dubbed in for things like Leona shouting and Brenten firing his gun. The ED is unchanged though.

Also noteworthy that this episode has an insert song for the Puma Twins which is barely used and I don't think appears anywhere else in the series. Even if the soundtrack was recorded ahead of time, you'd think someone would be annoyed about that...
 

WMD

Magical Girl
Act VII

This was a fun stand alone episode that while simple I felt was pretty effective. Overall I felt this episode is the closest Dominon has got to GITS what with the terrorist plot, hacking elements and ticking timebomb plot device.

Interesting that after the more thoughtful Leona of last episode we are straight back to the Dont scratch my tank Leona this time! Her motivation may be simple but it keeps her active in the story while allowing the writers to keep her sidelined until the finale.

It was also interesting how they used the timebomb device of the story. I saw a video recently saying that the recent Hellboy movie failed was in part because the deadline had no real stakes as everytime it was reached it wasnt really the end and a new extension was added reducing the emotional investment. What I felt they did well here was keep the same outcome of failure- truck will explode, people will die- but instead found ways to bring the deadline forward and make the situation more urgent. It made a rather simple story much more tense and much more satisfying when different characters stepped up to do their part like Specs working out a solution and Breten in a do or die shot.

I also really liked how the whole story came full circle at the end and that the harbour story should have been the main story and it was all a distraction to keep the police away. Well played villains.

And Cheif face:
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Neil.T

Guild Member
I'm not sure what it's like for their DVD release, but curiously, the VHS releases use an instrumental version of the OP theme, with voices and sound effects dubbed in for things like Leona shouting and Brenten firing his gun.
That's an interesting difference. 😯
The vocals are very much included on the DVD.


We're on Act VII overall now, and Brenten's still stealing the show.

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He's only gone and locked the Chief in the bleedin' broom cupboard! 😆
 
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Professor Irony

Cursed Image
Moderator
On a bit of a sidenote, I got this in the post yesterday - the only bit of Dominion manga I didn't already own!

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Haven't had time to read it all the way through yet, but it's a one-shot that appears to take place in the New Dominion continuity (presumably a tie-in to promote the anime), but really ramps up the comedy. It almost feels closer to a campy tokusatsu show at times, although it's nice to see Shirow's anarchic sense of humour coming out to play in such an extended fashion. Notable things are a glimpse of Leona's home life, living at home with her parents and kid brother, some nice little touches like Leona consuming an energy-drink like substance from a petrol-pump and, curiously, a cameo for Higashinada from Act 5 (or at least his character design) as a city council official. Best £2 I've spent in a long while!
 

ayase

State Alchemist
New Dominion: Vol. 2 - Tanks for the Memories

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Some attempted brain-hacking, shadowy string-pulling and flipping bin wagons. It's getting awfully GitS in here. An almost tank-less plot (a tankless task? I'm here... forever) in which Leona and Brenten both get to play at being Rick Deckard (or possibly Dirty Harry in Brenten's case as Megane points out - Though he only seems to need one shot these days rather than five or six) in a more straightforward detective story than we're used to seeing from the Tank Police. But it's not a bad change of pace watching Leona hunt down her friend's killer and Brenten (considerably more ineptly) hunt down Leona.

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How sexy can you make a murder scene? The answer is quite. The episode setup even feels a little noir-ish with criminals themselves being witnesses to murder they're then suspected of and Leona handing in her badge to work the personal case they won't let her. But once Leona's in the grasp of the villains it takes on a decidedly Bond flavour with the whole "Since you're not going to remember it anyway, let me tell you my nefarious plot while my brainwashing machine slowly descends towards you" thing.

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No, Miss Ozaki, I expect.... Well, not a tank bursting through the wall. That wasn't what I expected at all.

In truth, I had forgotten just how good NDTP looked as has already been mentioned in both Prof and WMD's posts on this episode. I think it's fair to say the series has gone up in my estimation on this viewing (though I do still have a few gripes I'll get into in later posts) and part of that is no doubt time - The first time I saw NDTP was straight after watching the original Dominion OVA and I was expecting more of the same, so it was a bit of a shock how different it all was.

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.
Nice observation, and probably not entirely coincidental given that J.C. Staff was also responsible for the Slayers movies and OVAs (which began in '95, NDTP was '93-'94) and sure enough, after looking it up it turns out there are indeed a few staff members who worked on both.
More things I’d never noticed before: Al’s mug has a little octopus on it, which I believe is Shirow’s informal avatar/mascot character.
Ah, you beat me to it. Also a good catch.

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Tanks for the ma... No, I just can't do it.
 
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Neil.T

Guild Member
Act VIII

I really enjoyed the sax rendition of the ending theme as the action kicked off in the flour warehouse, but... why on Earth would flour ignite like petrol with a spark? 😅

Anyone?
 

WMD

Magical Girl
Act VIII

I really enjoyed the sax rendition of the ending theme as the action kicked off in the flour warehouse, but... why on Earth would flour ignite like petrol with a spark? 😅

Anyone?
Haven't watched the episode yet but almost anything if in power form and blown into a cloud will ignite in an explosion. Old flour mills used to be big explosion risks for this reason. Dry flour is basically fuel and and as a powder the surface area is so large that a spark can cause a chain reaction explosion. Heres a qi demonstration of it:
 

WMD

Magical Girl
I didn't know that, but that's exactly why I was hoping for an answer from you, dude. 😉

I'll watch the video, too. 👍
It's a good video that shows how something you dont think of as flammable actually can be in the right conditions.

In fact anything that can be oxidized (including metal powders) in a dust cloud can be explosive depending on concentration (material and oxygen) it's one of those things that is both cool and a bit scary!
 

ayase

State Alchemist
New Dominion: Vol. 3 - Tank Police on Speed or The Tesla Semi: A Warning from History

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Leona Inverse strikes again.

Before I talk about this episode in any detail, allow me to ramble for a minute (it became four paragraphs, apologies) about one of those gripes I have with NDTP. I think this episode demonstrates how far removed we now are from the days of the original OVA - The Tank Police are just straight up heroes here, no question. In the original OVA, there's a sense from the very opening prologue that this is a society which has gone horribly wrong, the fact that the Tank Police even exist is painted as an escalation that shouldn't have happened, a colossal failure of law enforcement to perform its basic duties (and that's without getting into the whole "one emergency every 36 seconds" and the unbreathable air).

Prof earlier mentioned 2000AD, and I think that's a good comparison. While I admit to not being as familiar with Judge Dredd as others probably are, when examined from a present day perspective he and the Judges certainly aren't heroes. They're terrifying violent authoritarians. That doesn't however stop them, or indeed the Tank Police in original flavour Dominion, from being endearing characters. Their attitudes are totally understandable within the context of the broken societies in which they exist. They're dealing with a very different world and a different perspective of justice.

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Don't worry, you're half way there. Also this will probably be my next avatar.

In NDTP, it's not really the same. Minus a few sci-fi trappings, their society doesn't seem all that different from today's. And as a result, the Tank Police are reduced to being cops who happen to have tanks. Sure, they're still loose cannons (no pun intended) with a penchant for causing collateral damage but they're basically still good cops. I think the difference in their relationship with the Mayor is pretty indicative of this - In Dominion, she was an irritating obstruction to them dispensing their own brand of justice, someone who was not only confrontational towards but actually scared of them, leaving no doubt that this was a world in which might made right. The people with the biggest guns were going to do exactly as they pleased regardless of what politicians or the public might think of them. In NDTP, she's an ally who the Chief respects and ultimately still has authority. That's a pretty major change in tone.

Now, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with stories and settings like this, and certainly it's no reason not to enjoy them. I happen to like You're Under Arrest very much (and if anyone who enjoys NDTP hasn't yet seen YUA, it would be a definite recommendation) and that's the story of basically the nicest cops in the world. But then my introduction to Bokuto Station wasn't Ken Nakajima shoving a live hand grenade in a prisoner's mouth, so you can perhaps see why something just doesn't feel the same to me about this incarnation of the Tank Police. It's a far less cynical take on authority and society, and perhaps that does have something to do with the different times in which each OVA series was made.

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Right, onto the actual episode proper. With the Mayor in the control centre, the boots on the ground and the Chief as the man caught between the worlds of politics and action this is probably the most GitS:SAC feeling episode yet (in fact didn't GitS:SAC have an episode very similar to this with a runaway mech?). As mentioned above, the Mayor is certainly painted as more sympathetic and in control this time around and the Chief himself cuts a more respectable figure too. It does seem very indicative of where Shirow (or at least animated adaptations of his work) would go from here.

The fact Bonaparte was able to do what other tanks don't was nice (that's his raison d'être, after all) and I liked the comedy of Leona in her single-mindedness (intentionally) failing to get the memo and hurtling into the tunnel after the truck to the Chief's dismay. The tunnel itself is another great looking setting (everything being orange-hued on the outside is particularly nice in real cel animation). I did notice a bit of discrepancy between exactly how buff Leona was depicted with her jacket off, which is neither here nor there really, but I like to know these things. And Brenten saves the day with a single bullet again - He'll be getting a reputation at this rate, and what's worse, potentially a good one.

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As a final observation, the visual comedy of Leona "swimming" across the roof of the truck and falling into the hatch also reminded me of certain moments in Slayers. It's such a small thing, but for whatever reason really hilarious to me in its execution and seems to be something J.C. Staff are (were?) very good at.
 

Professor Irony

Cursed Image
Moderator
I had a Shadowrun game today, so still a wee bit behind.

Act VII: Truck-kun is mah waifu

Not a whole lot to mention about the plot for this one that hasn't already been touched upon, but it's quite a change of pace, and it really allows JC Staff to flex their animating muscles. Watching New Dominion as a kid, I don't think I appreciated quite how well animated it really is. The characters' faces in this episode are an absolute treasure in particular - there are so many little moments when their expressions will change just for a second before flipping back again.

Googly eyes all over the place

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and Al blushing when Leona pulls him close

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being my particular favourites.

On a similar note, something I really miss are those little one-frame visual gags you used to get in anime. Unless maybe Trigger still do it, I can't think of anything later than Outlaw Star that actually had things like that one frame that says 'BANG' in the middle of an explosion. Here we get a blink-and-you'll-miss-it X-ray of poor Leona and Al when Boneaparte first collides with the truck.

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Maybe I'm overthinking again, but I also wonder if there isn't a bit of reference to the famous car-chase scene in Cagliostro going on here, with Boneaparte crashing through the shrubbery before catching up with the truck (love the 'through the billboard' shot), and then Nam giving Brenten a handful of armour-piercing bullets for his gun. By the same token, I suppose Brenten having to make a perfect shot against a moving vehicle using his old-fashioned revolver is pretty similar to a scene with Danny Glover in the original Lethal Weapon.

I think this episode demonstrates how far removed we now are from the days of the original OVA - The Tank Police are just straight up heroes here, no question.
This is a really good point. I haven't read enough of the latter to know if it's definitely the case, but I've heard it said that Dominion was originally Shirow satirising his own gung-ho vision of law-enforcement as seen in Appleseed, but for NDTP, it feels like we've lost that ironic edge. If it weren't for the fact that the You're Under Arrest anime was a couple of years later (I know the manga is earlier), I'd have speculated that they were trying to fashion NDTP to more closely resemble that, but I suppose we're back to the Patlabor comparisons again.

As a matter of interest, have you read Conflict One, ayase?


Oh, Studio Proteus. 😀
(Logo at bottom right.)

The late Toren Smith (mentioned previously in the Gunbuster thread) must've had a hand in that.
He did indeed! Credited inside the cover.
 

ayase

State Alchemist
As a matter of interest, have you read Conflict One, ayase?
I have, but not for many a year and I'm currently kicking myself I didn't pick my Dominion manga up last time I was at home. It would be good to be able to compare.
I haven't read enough of the latter to know if it's definitely the case, but I've heard it said that Dominion was originally Shirow satirising his own gung-ho vision of law-enforcement as seen in Appleseed
Interesting! I have all the Shirow that Dark Horse released, but as with Dominion it's been a long while since I read Appleseed also. I can see it though.
 

WMD

Magical Girl
Act 8

I liked we got to see the dirtier polluted side of the city this week. I also enjoyed the slightly slower pace story and I especially liked how the flashback scenes were woven into the main story maintaining intrigue without spoiling anything until the reveal at the end.

Leonas little tank alarm clock that drives around the bed is very on brand for her. It was a nice touch. It was also very Leona that shes not really concerned with Al struggling in the polluted air and only worries that its delaying her finding Bonaparte! The station really needs to uo its game if its tanks can be stolen so easily at a moments notice!

Also the road maintenance bill for the city must be astronomical if the tanks are shredding the tarmac like that every day!

I'm enjoying the slow reveal throughout the series of the villain group and what they are up to.

More great Cheif face too:
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He must be due some R&R
 

WMD

Magical Girl
Act 9

Incredibly high energy episode this one! The animators really got to show off in this one with their explosions and backgrounds!
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Really enjoy the way the villains essentially put multiple plans together. We need to test their weapon. We also need to get rid of the mayor but need the police preoccupied so we can do that. I know well do all of it in one crazy night by flooding the streets with criminals!

It was an entertaining episode that raised the stakes for all involved. The poor Puma twins got a rough ride today! It did amuse me to see them with oversized water drops when they were stressed out
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The stage is set for a big finale. Will the cheif make it though! He must be close to a heart attack after all those phone calls!
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WMD

Magical Girl
Act 10

The big finale! We're immediately dropped back in where we left off with the Mayor fighting for her life! And oh no! The evil businessmen have found out. Time to couple getting rid of the mayor with a little weapons demonstration!

I liked the way the Tank Police went about protecting the mayor was to set up a full blown barricade outside the hospital!

The action was good and the tank police were pushed to their limit here. Unable to move but barely able to fight back until Specs comes up with a plan! And then just as they think the day is saved Leona is back the case and this time it might start an international crisis! Poor Cheif he went from the most content we've seen him back to angry panic station!
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Annoyingly from Al getting shot to Leona during the gattling cannon was muted in the video I was watching due to some copyright issue. And there weren't even subtitles. So annoying but it was nice to see the epilogue of everyone getting back to the daily grind. Life goes on it seems.

Overall I enjoyed the larger ideas of the first series more but as a whole story preferred New Dominion. It was well executed, funny, told one off stories that all tied into a larger arc and had a much more satisfying conclusion. If the original had had more episodes it could have been something very special but it's still nice to have what we do have.
 

ayase

State Alchemist
New Dominion: Vol. 4 - Grand Theft Bonaparto

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Sorry for not contributing for a few days, I've had a bit of a rough long weekend. I will make it to the end!

So the bacterial cloud (or smog, at least) is back. Bit random, considering it's never been seen or mentioned previously in NDTP. I had certainly forgotten about that. And the Mayor's showing her more pacifist inclinations again, only to be met with a surprisingly muted reaction from the Tank Police. I can't see the original OVA crew's only major misgiving about banning heavy weaponry being the prospect of their taxes going up. Certainly I can't see Brenten staying silent about it. He's held onto his detective coat too, I notice - I guess he liked the look. Chief was acting more like his old stressed-out self though.

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With their new red hair and red action gear, the Pumas are looking rather like all grown up twin Asukas here. The animators are clearly having some fun with an episode featuring their heavy... involvement.

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No, I can't possibly imagine what purpose that scene with the rough road served either.

Joking aside, this does seem to be a very nicely animated episode. Smog on the outside and flour on the inside lends proceedings a mysterious atmosphere, and there's a lot of subtle and fluid movement in the action scenes. It's a fun episode too, we're kinda back to basics here with a simple theft plot (although obviously it all ties into Dainippon Giken's shadowy megacorp dealings, but it's barely the focus here) that makes entertaining use of Bonaparte.

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And you know what, I get the feeling Leona likes tanks. Which makes me wonder, are the Tank Police celebrities and is there Bonaparte merch, or does Leona really have too much time on her hands and actually custom built a Bonaparte clock and multiple scale models?
 
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ayase

State Alchemist
New Dominion: Vol. 5 - Bubblegum Crisis

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More future echoes of GitS - Diplomatic immunity, staged terror attacks, attempted political assassinations, double-crosses and "suicides". It'd all be getting a bit serious in Tank Police land if not for the Pumas' antics, but even their showroom dummies routine (while obviously more comedic in tone) reminded me a bit of the first GitS movie in its comparison of androids with mannequins (which itself likely originated with Blade Runner, which has been mentioned earlier as a possible influence of the first OVA series).

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Brenten puts on his serious face to tackle a serious threat. This is surely as high-stakes as Dominion gets, with Dainippon Giken going way beyond corporate lobbying to influence government policy by staging terrorist attacks to divert attention while they assassinate the mayor with literally a mobile suit (which isn't piloted by Full Frontal, but given it's uh, mighty weapon surely should be). Leona's upholding of the law is tested by bureaucracy and Al gets to play the great detective this time around.

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Müller Iced?

Probably the most action packed episode to date, with Al & Leona's pursuit of the Pumas (watch them dismount their bikes frame by frame, you won't regret it) the siege of the Mayor's residence and the final showdown with the Tachikoma Mk.5 (Magic Edition). And it is all quite thrilling, also immensely screencap-able, I could have put an extra dozen or so good shots in this post. But I still hate that frantic action BGM.

One more for the road, since it's too good not to be included:
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