The Beginner’s Guide to Anime, No. 74 – Hyper Police

Hyper Police

The anime examined today is a rather special one, for me personally at least. This is because the original manga version of this title was the first manga I ever read, so watching the anime version of it brings back memories of how I got into anime in the first place.

Hyper Police is a sci-fi crime caper which also includes what is arguably the anime genre of “moe anthropomorphism” – cute personifications. Hyper Police features the most common of format this takes, which is animals, and the lead character is the most classic of anime character staples: the catgirl – basically a normal female human, but with cat ears, a cat tail, and often other behavioural characteristics. The original manga ran from 1993 and 2004, with the anime being released in the middle of this period, in 1997.

Hyper Police is set in the far future, in the year 22 HC (Holy Century), at a time in which humans are now an endangered species, with the world now mostly populated with all kinds of monsters and other such creatures. In the decaying but still vibrant Shinjuku ward of Tokyo, crime is dealt with both by the normal police and firms of bounty hunters. One of these is “Police Company” and the series follows some of monsters who work for it. One is the 17-year-old catgirl Natsuki Sasahara, who is good at close combat but cannot aim a gun to save her life. Her main ability is to control electricity, but whenever she gets stressed or angry she lets out a gigantic thunderbolt shocking everyone and everything nearby.

Natsuki looks up to senior officer Batanen Fujioka, a werewolf who brings in the most money to the company and who is in love with Natsuki, but is too shy to tell her. His cousin Tommy also works alongside him, who has the habit of falling in love rather too easily. Soon the three are joined by a kitsune, or foxgirl, called Sakura Bokuseiinmonzeninari. A kitsune is a nine-tailed fox, but she has only grown eight-and-one-fifth tails, and believes that if she can consume Natsuki she will get a final tail fully grown, so she joins Police Company to get close to Natsuki.

Soon things become problematic for everyone, with various problems at Police Company, dealing with rivals firms, its own finances, having to confront prejudices between the humans and the monsters, and even having problems with time travellers.

Perhaps the best thing about Hyper Police is the mixture of characters and designs. The series features all sort of beings. Aside from animal-human hybrids, werewolves and so forth, there are creatures ranging from demons to gods, Cyclopes and talking mushrooms. Natsuki is a great character: her feline nature often gets the better of her. She is constantly grooming herself like a cat, playing with balls of string, and catnip to her acts like alcohol.

The series is something of a cult hit in the English-speaking anime community. This is evidenced by the lack of availability of the series. Both the company that released the anime and the publisher that released the manga in English are no longer in the market, so only second hand copies are available. Even then the anime was only released in the USA, never in the UK.

However, the series was a much bigger hit in the Spanish-speaking anime community. Spanish was the first western language the manga was translated into, and you can still get DVD copies of the series in Spanish.

Hyper Police is a fun show, with lively characters that develop and become fully rounded as the series progresses. The manga however reveals the full plot, especially concerning Natsuki’s linage.

Hyper Police was released over six volumes by Image Entertainment on Region 1.