Review Mad Bull 34

Discotek Media (DVD)

Is Mad Bull 34 violently misogynistic, or just incredibly juvenile?  The answer is yes.  Or maybe it’s a brilliant satire of ’80s action movie machismo, crossed with a distorted view of America as seen through the eyes of someone who only knows the country from what they’ve seen in said action films.

Idealistic new cop Daisaburo joins the 34th precinct in New York City.  He’s teamed up with a seven foot tall, six foot wide man nicknamed ‘Mad Bull,’ though he’s more often called Sleepy despite the fact that his real name is John Estes.  Sleepy loves two things:  Gunning down suspects, and having sex with hookers.

The killing is somewhat justified.  As we see in the series, the criminals in this version of New York are not afraid of jail (especially seeing as most of the force and judiciary are on the take); so, Sleepy’s tactics arguably serve the greater good.

As for the hookers, well, that’s more complicated.  In the first episode, we learn that after finishing with a girl, Sleepy takes all the money out of her wallet before leaving.  Sounds horrible, right?  But then we find out that he uses the money to pay the hospital bills and living expenses for ex-hookers and rape victims.  Does paying to help women leave the prostitution business make up for supporting that business?  Probably not, but whatever, the plot point only exists as an excuse to show frequent, if non-graphic sex scenes.

There are some intelligent, capable women in the series, in particular fellow officer Perrin.  However, all the women in the series suffer some form of abuse, which usually involves their clothes being torn off.

The animation is just okay, but the character designs have a slightly realistic edge to them that makes the show seem to look better than it actually does.  The four episodes on the disc are 45 minutes each; so whether the show is good or bad, at least it’s a decent value.  The video is unaltered from its Japanese release, with original credits and titles.

The closing credits of the series include a special thanks to the 34th precinct.  I looked it up and there actually is a 34th.   Did they know about this?  Were they sent a script or the original manga for approval and decided that this was something they wanted to put their name on?

Oh, and did you know that that original manga was written by Kazuo Koike, who’s previous work includes Lone Wolf and Cub?

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