Anime Meta-Review


Bounty Dog


By Date




Title Info

  • seen: 1-2 of 2
  • type: OAV
  • grade: flawed
  • form: dub
  • dur: 30
  • source: Manga Entertainment
  • made: unknown
  • Review created: Fri Feb 9 09:27:53 EST 2001
  • mod: none

There's really relatively few anime attempts to do serious science fiction. And even fewer of these efforts are much good. Sadly this one manages to acheive a bit of atmosphere, but it's got enough serious flaw's in production and story that it's not nearly as good as it should be.

The plot centers upon a three person, two guys and one woman, team of trouble shooters called the bounty dog's. It seems there's something suspicious happening on the moon and their client has paid an, assumedly, large amount of money for them to find out the details. The suspicion is weapons manufacture, and it's unlikely the company in question is going to be anything but hostile. Actually one member of the team, a skilled mech driver, has a far more complex reason for going to the moon. His girlfriends last words, as she lay dying, being that she would see him again one day on the moon. And the fact that he still talks to her, and she answers, pretty much means the man's got issues.

Indeed as they begin their investigation it quickly becomes clear that events are not proceeding as expected. While there is something going on it's much weirder than they imagined. The company they were sent to identify might just turn out to be a minor player, or even a victim, of a much larger powerstruggle going on in the background. Even more interesting it seems that our lead might be a lot more sane than seems apparent, it's just that he seems to be linked in some mysterious way to this ongoing conflict. And this, combined with the gradual emergence of the true story, leads the bounty dogs into a situation far more exotic, dangerous and important than they were expecting. But then, they're not without a couple of tricks and talents, and some sexy toys, for just such an occassion.

It's actually not too bad at the start, and gives hopes for something mature and cool. It certainly can boast some dazzling design work that gives a strong sense of realism about the whole thing. The whole thing has a good sense of style and quickly manages to acheive a cool atmosphere in which to play. And, having seen this absolutely hammered in one review, it's not that bad throughout. However only the most ardent fan could ignore it's undeniable flaws. The actual story, once fully revealed, is both larger in scale than is truly believable while at the same time being remarkably un-impressive in practice. I can't really explain this without giving spoilers, but I will mention that an `army' proves to be about 4 people (2 groups of 2) and, in this high tech environment there's rather a lot of knives involved on one side. It looks cool, leads to some nice scenes, it just doesn't make much sense. The foundations of the story, some of the science in the background and even the dialog has far too many holes to be ignored.

It's got lots of good idea's...and there really are some impressive scenes and moments, but it just doesn't come together. The connection between events is somewhat erratic. It's also willing to have an impressive `shot' even if it doesn't make sense. It also has some nudity and some quite explicit violence. It turns out that while knives as weapons don't make much sense their wielding and the injuries they inflict are dramatically powerful. However if you like violence you'll almost certainly find the pace too slow and the action too infrequent. If you wanted cerebral the action might bother you and the story holes definitely will. All in all it has a weird concept of pacing and story structure. And the eventual conclusion is quite disappointing.

And then we get to the production. And it's both good and bad. I'll mention the dub first because it's very important. While some of the main voices are okay it really does sound like the actors are half asleep. It might be an attempt to be cool but it really doesn't work. This is especially true for one team member, the lesser male, who does perhaps the best job of removing all emotion from his voice. I'm going to assume he was a robot, because no human speaks like that. Add in too much attention to lip sync, which makes the flow of dialog even more broken than it might have been. Extend that with the fact that the moments of `drama' are handled just as badly, and you've got a pretty awful dub. There's one scene that sticks in my mind, where something amuses the team and they all laugh, which is almost worth seeing as an example of how bad a dub can get.

Likewise the complex technical design, large and detailed backgrounds and some complex shading conceals another problem. It looks fine, and it uses a subdued sepia dominated palette to good atmospheric effect, but it doesn't move so well. It's clear that they don't have the budget or time for the effects they would have liked. As a result it alternates between very minimal motion shots, and some motion that moves way too fast. For myself, I don't mind, i'm not so demanding of animation, but I suspect the still images on the product might lead purchasers to expect more than it has. The ambient sounds were workable and I don't remember the other music used. Apart from the voices the production is workable. It's simply that it's not impressive enough to make up for the flaws in pace and story.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:15 WST 2009