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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Kochikame the Movie 2: UFO Shuurai! Tornado Daisakusen!!: Even Here, Tokyo Tower Isn't Safe...

Yeah, Kochikame is still running in Weekly Shonen Jump, and this year hit chapter 1,750 & Volume 180.  And there is still no indication that we'll ever get any form of Kochikame in North America...  Which is just sad, because this is funny and entertaining stuff.  I reviewed 1999's Kochikame the Movie last year and it was a great mix of seriousness & comedy, and the fact that there were official English subtitles made for it when it was released on DVD was just awesome.  In December 2003, one year before the TV anime series ended, Studio Gallop (now simply called Gallop) made one last animated movie for the series, subtitled UFO Shuurai! Tornado Daisakusen!!/UFO Attack! The Great Tornado Strategy!!, and even though it doesn't have any official subtitles, or English subtitles of any sort, it beats out the first movie in every way.

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The officers of the Kameari Park police box in Katsushika Ward are going on a vacation to Hawaii...  Except for Ryo-san, who was forbidden from going on vacation after a money scam involving a crop circle & fake UFO landing went wrong.  Of course, that doesn't stop Ryo-san from sneaking onto the plane and getting to Hawaii, since he's interested in visiting Tappei Tanaka, an old friend from school who loved UFOs & moved to Hawaii when they were kids.  Upon getting to Tappei's home Ryo-san is told that Tappei died 10 years after getting involved in a mysterious project for NASA, who Tappei worked for, but after noticing the man himself get kidnapped by a group of terrorists lead by a large man named Tiger & a large UFO-shaped object starts creating tornadoes over Tokyo it's up to Ryo-san, & the Katsushika Police Squad, to save the day...  But tagging along for the ride is Mina, Tappei's daughter, who after realizing that her father is alive wants to see him again.

Kochikame the Movie 2 utilizes a similar mix of seriousness & comedy like the first movie, but Movie 2 definitely edges more towards the comedy side; in fact, the villains aren't introduced until about 30 minutes into the movie, allowing the main characters to enjoy their trip to Hawaii & letting Ryo-san go inadvertently crazy in a foreign country; literally, Ryo-san causes a multi-car accident in from the airport, followed by him leading the Hawaiian police on a chase while he's riding a bicycle, not to mention him accidentally sinking a cruise ship with a single grenade (because Ryo-san can do anything).  That's not to say that the serious moments suffer in any way, though, because, if anything, the larger focus on comedy makes the serious moments feel all the more impactful.  There just seemed to be more at stake in this movie, especially since there is a lot more visible danger brought about by the sheer destruction that the UFO's tornadoes can cause, and that really let the serious moments sink in all the stronger when compared to how the first movie operated.  But, like the first movie, Movie 2 also ends with a hilarious climax where Ryo-san creates accidental destruction around Tokyo, this time in a way that would make Godzilla proud...  And, like I mentioned in the tagline, even Tokyo Tower isn't safe from the accidental warpath Ryo-san goes on.


But that altered mix of seriousness & comedy isn't the only reason why Movie 2 surpasses the first.  The other big reason is because this movie actually utilizes Kochikame's other characters in very useful ways.  The first movie was definitely all about Ryo-san & Lisa Hoshino, while the other reoccurring characters were seemingly along for the ride and not much more than that.  Movie 2, on the other hand, lets these characters shine, and you really get to see more from these other characters.  A great example would be the Katsushika Police duo of Sakonji, a martial arts freak, & Bolbo, a munitions freak & obvious Golgo 13 homage; in the first movie they had one short scene involving Nakagawa, but in Movie 2 they get more focus and are actually utilized fairly often in the second half.  Though Nakagawa & Reiko, the two major characters behind Ryo-san, aren't given too much more to do than they had in the first movie, they at least are featured more prominently in Movie 2 and actually contribute in their own ways.  And Honda, the soft-spoken officer who becomes a badass when he gets on his motorcycle, is utilized in a similar extended fashion.  It's just great to see Kochikame's lineup of oddballs utilized in a much more effective way than they were in the first movie.

That just leaves the movie-exclusive characters, and there's really three major ones of note.  Tappei Tanaka is your usual inventor whose great invention is used for evil purposes against his will, but he maintains a great sense of self-esteem and is willing to risk his life in order to help Ryo-san & his daughter; in fact, Tappei gets some really nice moments in the second half that shows him off as not just a great friend but also a great, but admittedly inexperienced, father.  In theory having Mina be Ryo-san's "partner" for this movie shouldn't work, but this movie actually utilized her very well by having her be smart-mouthed, assertive, & not be annoying in ways that a character like her would normally be utilized.  Finally, there's Tiger, the antagonist, who makes an entertaining bad guy, but in true Kochikame fashion Tiger's true motive for destroying Tokyo is absolutely hilarious and one that you wouldn't see coming.  These three fit in just fine with the Kochikame world, and the other movie-exclusive characters work really well for their purposes as well.  Much like the first movie I can't really find anything bad to say about Movie 2, and it just exceeds the first movie in every fashion.


Shinji Takamatsu is once again in the director's chair for Movie 2, and the animation is even better, no doubt showcasing the improvement in animation the TV series saw during its 7 year run; on a side note, though, I'm almost positive that Reiko's breasts have doubled in size in Movie 2, when compared to the first movie, to the point where it actually grabs your attention more than it should.  Similarly, the rest of the major staff has also been retained, so it's not really worth bringing them up as well here.  The ending theme, which is also the second-to-last ending theme to the TV series, is "Katare! Namida!" by SEX MACHINEGUNS...  And though the song is awesome this group's hard rock style is actually kind of an odd choice for Kochikame, though I guess it works well at fitting the moments when the Katsushika Police Force are being utter badasses.  There is also an insert theme, "Missin' you" by Aya Hirayama (Mina's seiyuu), and it's a nice song for the two moments it's used in.


The main cast naturally reprises their roles, with Lasar/LaSalle Ishii once again showing why he is the one & only true voice of Ryo-san, so this time I'll give some credit to some of the other major character voices.  Yumi Morio's Reiko is similar to Ishii's Ryo-san in that she does such a great job that it's like Morio is Reiko, and Haruki Sayama is the same with "Buchou" Daijiro Ohara.  Honda is voiced by Hiroshi Yanaka, who has great range in being able to do soft-spoken people, like Ishida in Kaiji, as well as hot-blooded men, like Tetsuya Tsurugi in Mazinkaiser, so he does an excellent job at voicing a character who can be either one at any moment.  Bolbo is voiced by Yuuji Kishi (the voice of Street Fighter's Ken Masters ever since SF III: 3rd Strike), and he does a great job at doing at being a Golgo homage/parody (i.e. where Golgo is unemotional & cold-blooded, Bolbo's nose erupts blood at the sight of a woman & is easily agitated when shot at).  Sakonji is voiced by Masami Iawasaki (Drake Anderson from Read or Die, Alfonso from Gunslinger Girl), and like Kishi does a very fitting performance for a stoic martial arts practitioner.  Aya Hirayama was obviously chosen to voice Mina solely so that she could sing a song for the movie, but she does a very admirable job, and in fact her performance gives a very convincing "foreigner speaking Japanese" vibe, which works because Mina was born in Hawaii and never visited Japan before (whether that was Hirayama's intent or not is unknown to me).  Finishing off the major cast is Katsuhisa Namase (mostly a live-action actor, though he voiced some characters in the early Fatal Fury games) as Tiger & Masayuki Watanabe as Tappei (with this being his sole anime role), and both do equally great performances for their characters.


Kochikame the Movie 2 is simply the better of the two animated Kochikame movies (there is a more-recent live-action movie that uses the cast of the more-recent live-action TV series).  It mixes together seriousness & comedy in a better fashion that makes each element work better in relation to each other, actually utilizes Kochikame's other characters in ways that make them stand out in their own ways, and simply tells a more entertaining story.  That doesn't mean that you should skip the first movie & go straight to Movie 2, though, as the first movie is still a great production, not to mention actually has English subtitles.  Also, like I mentioned in my review of the first movie, both movies actually still have some fair value to them.  I bought the Movie 2 DVD via Rakuten, which tends to have cheaper prices, and even there I had to pay about $25 for the movie.  In my first list of anime I would license the Kochikame movies as a double-pack was the very first thing I mentioned, and watching Movie 2 really just reaffirms my feeling that, at the very least, we should get the Kochikame movies brought over the North America.  Taken together the first movie does a great job at showing off Ryo-san, and Movie 2 likewise does a great job showcasing some of the other reoccurring characters, making them a great introduction to Kochikame for anime fans over here.  Both movies were distributed by Toho, so that's likely the company to go for these movies, and if a company wanted to be a little more gutsy they could have both movies dubbed; they only total to 203 minutes/~3.5 hours, after all.  It is sad that Kochikame, with it's more visual comedy-oriented style, continues to be ignored over here, and these movies are great examples of what we're missing out on here in North America.

6 comments:

  1. i want english subtitles.... wer can i get them??? pls help

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    1. Unfortunately, like I said in the review, this movies has absolutely no English translation. The first movie was lucky to get official English subtitles for its DVD release, but this movie got nothing of the sort and there has been no English fansub released, either. I'm just one of those "crazies" that's not Japanese yet willing to watch anime raw.

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    2. yo tambien estoy buscando los subtitulos

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. where can i download it please reply the link

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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