To Protect And Serve
A.D. Police: To Protect And Serve is a spin-off of Bubblegum Crisis. If BGC is the story of Batman, ADP is the story of the Gotham Police Force trying to apprehend super-villains while adhering to regulations.
This particular iteration of ADP is based on the remake of BGC. The original Bubblegum Crisis had it’s own ADP spin-off, a three episode OAV series. That series is a rather thoughtful treatises about what makes a human ‘human,’ in a world of advanced cyborg technology. This version of AD Police is much more straight forward. It’s basically a buddy cop show about lone-wolf Kenji, whose partners have a habit of dying; and the mysterious rookie, Hans.
They, along with the other AD Police officers, talking Boomer-related crime. Boomers are highly-advanced robots who do most of the manual labor in Genom City. The overarching story of the 12 episode series sees the ADP on the hunt for an illegal Boomer smuggler named Liam. Most of the supporting cast is relegated to the background, with one notable exception in the middle of the series (in one of the best episodes of the show).
The relationship between Hans and Kenji is the focus of the series. It’s a very stereotypically ‘manly’ relationship that they have, in that it’s borne mostly of respect and honor, and not from sharing their feelings and secrets. They risk themselves to save the other because he is his partner, and it’s his duty. Given that the series is only 12 episodes long, and that it takes place over a short period, their friendship is completely believable. They aren’t star-crossed lovers, they’re just a couple of guys with mutual respect.
AD Police isn’t very engaging. The plot is constructed well enough, and there is a lot of action, but most of the characters are bland to the point that you don’t care what happens to them. Furthermore, the central crime underpinning the series doesn’t seem all that bad, it’s just black-market smuggling after all, so there’s never really a sense of danger or threat. If the AD Police were to fail, I don’t think anyone would actually notice.
The character designs are run-of-the-mill, and the animation is in the low-end category. A show can get by with weak animation, but so much of ADP relies on the action scenes that it starts getting in the way. When action is the selling point of a series, the visuals have to step up, and they don’t do that here. Adding to that problem is a muddled video presentation on the DVDs, which make the show feel older and cheaper than it is.
The back of the DVD case compares the A.D. Police TV series to NYPD Blue and Hill Street Blue. I guess I can see where the marketers were coming from, it is indeed a police drama, but it’s not as effective as either of those two shows. A.D. Police: To Protect And Serve feels more like a cross between a less-charming Patlabor, and a more-serious You’re Under Arrest.
The show comes together by the end, and actually has a pretty good finale. It’s not an awful series, but there are far better options out there.