Katsuyuki KonishiSatsuki YukinoDominion Tank PoliceHiroki Yasumoto
TANK S.W.A.T. 01
Medium: OVA
Year: 2006
Director: Romanov Higa
Original creator: Masamune Shirow
Actor: Hiroki Yasumoto, Katsuyuki Konishi, Kayo Sakada, Kiyomitsu Mizuuchi, Miho Kawatuma, Satsuki Yukino, Shizuka Toyohara, Torokoshama
Keywords: Dominion Tank Police, anime, SF
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 29 minutes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=5045
Website category: Anime late 00s
Review date: 24 May 2024
Dominion Tank SWAT 01
It's a fun third instalment in the Dominion Tank Police franchise, but ugly as hell. It's all-CGI... and we're talking about 2006 CGI here. This might not sound like the end of the world. Steven Spielberg made Jurassic Park in 1993 and George Lucas made The Phantom Menace in 1999. This, though, is anime. Instead of Hollywood budgets, they have their own aesthetic which doesn't naturally work well in CGI. I'd be reluctant to watch an all-CGI anime even today, so going back two decades is a pretty rough ride. The tanks look great. The action looks great. The people look fine when you can't see their faces. The medium even fits the story, which is set in a cyberpunk future where lots of people are androids.
The faces, though, are unrecognisable. Literally. I couldn't be sure Leona was Leona until she complained about someone touching her tank, Bonaparte. The android cat sisters I just had to take on trust. Are they the same characters? I suppose so. (Even their voice actresses are different, but oddly that's been true for those three characters in every incarnation of this franchise.) ...and that's it. No other returning characters. No Brenten, Al or Megane. Technically, this OVA is adapted from an "alternate retelling" manga rather than the main Dominion, so Leona Ozaki's a police squad leader and the android cat sisters are part of her team. (I assumed that time had passed, so Leona had got a promotion and most of the people we knew had since changed jobs.)
That said, though, the actual story is a laugh. It might even be the best Dominion anime, if you can overcome your initial reaction of "OH MY GOD THE CGI HURTS MY BLEEDING EYES". The episode has two baddies. Enemy #1 is a fat, jovial android with a golf club and access to explosive collars. He can stroll through an entire police squad and send them all flying with a golf swing. Bullets don't hurt him. He's evil, but he says he was programmed never to tell lies. He's a fun character.
Enemy #2, though, is Leona's boss. At first, Commander Katsu just seems bigoted. He doesn't let the cat girls take action because "I don't trust androids". (They're your subordinates, you dick. Having hired them in the first place, you might as well have the good grace to trust your original judgement at the recruitment stage.) Later, though, it transpires that he has, er, a utilitarian attitude to the potential death of his officers. He's scum and I'd have cheered had Leona put his head on a pole.
I liked the cast. Asada's faith in Leona is very likeable, as is Leona's determination to live up to it. The climactic mid-air diving rescue is eye-popping. Leona's solution for Mr Golf is satisfying and her logic breakdown is surprisingly thoughtful for what had seemed to be just a fun action flick. This isn't a deep episode. It's barely half an hour, after all. It is, though, highly entertaining and well worth a look... if you think you can stand visuals that look like a crazed computer game.