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  Heat Guy J
Year: 2002
Director: Takashi Yamazaki, Kristi Reed
Stars: Johnny Yong Bosch, Steve Staley, Bob Papenbrook, Wendee Lee, Lex Lang
Genre: Animated, Science Fiction, TV SeriesBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Anime. There's a hell of a lot of it. There's sci-fi stuff, horror stuff, martial arts stuff, kid stuff, porn stuff, and any mixture of the above (hopefully with the exception of kid-porn stuff....)

And anyone who loves Anime will secretly watch it for at least one of these reasons as their primary driver. So I guess it makes sense to look at Heat Guy J across all of these. That way you'll be able to judge it pretty well.

The story is simple - the city of Judo has a police force, and set up within this is a special unit designed to predict where crimes will happen and prevent them. Active in this unit are Daisuke Aurora (Steve Staley) and J (Bob Papenbrook). J is different in that he's a seven-foot android, allowed in the city via an agreement that circumvents the strict ban on humanoid androids within the city.

Against them is the Leonelli family, newly headed by the young and headstrong Clair (Johnny Yong Bosch) after the death of his father. Inheriting the title of Vampire and the role of family chief (very mafia-style), Clair Leonelli sets about cornering the crime market in a very agressive style, which alerts Daisuke and J to act against him.

The problem I have with Heat Guy J is... that's it. There really wasn't much else other than "let's pit them against each other on a boat, or on a bridge, or in the stock market, or underground." After a few episodes (and I saw all 8 that are being released), the same thing comes round time and again. And not just with the plot - there are a number of scene location shots that are great first time round, but when seen for the fourth time in the episode, it makes you feel that the film was kinda done on the cheap. The artwork in the backdrops is excellent, but the movement of the characters seems a little weak. The dialogue is generally very good (especially between Daisuke and J, and always when J's doctor, Antonia Bellucci (Wendee Lee) gets involved) but the story they try to tell is patchy and repetitive. And they never actually get to predict a crime - simply get there too late and have to solve a crime that's already been commited.

So let's review it against the genres. Sci-fi and martial arts are covered pretty well, whereas horror and porn are not really addressed at all, so if Jessica Rabbit being shafted then slaughtered is your thing, you'd better look elsewhere. Teenagers would probably find it OK, because there's plenty of action for them, but younger kids might find it a little bit violent - not to mention hard to follow.

Summary: It was OK. But I was hoping for so much more. And in a market where there's so much to choose from, simply being 'OK' really isn't going to help sales or attract new fans.
Reviewer: Paul Shrimpton

 

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