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Friday, July 30, 2010

Heat Guy J DVD Series Impression

A few years back I came across an anime being shown on MTV. It looked interesting but for some reason the animation was stretched, almost like trying to fit a widescreen image to a standard television. This and the hazy image led me away never to look back. Fast forward a few years and FUNimation has released that same series in one collection which I’ve finally picked up. Heat Guy J is the series and having watched all 26 episodes it’s sad that MTV did such a horrible job as I thoroughly enjoyed this anime and surprising it does not feel dated at all. What’s it about after all these years, let’s take a look …

In the city of Judoh all android are illegal with one exception. The government built and sanctioned J. J is unique in his AI program allows him to grow as a person not just follow orders and this comes in handy in his role with the partner Daisuke Aurora. The two track down and investigate special crimes, many of which involve rogue android, items the regular cops can’t handle. With the death of the old Vampire, mob boss, and the ascension of his not too stable son J’s and Daisuke’s job is going to get a whole lot more interesting. Know as Heat Guy J the duo is in for a ton of action with genetically altered criminals, mysterious Celestials and a few internal mysteries to resolve.

High level story folks, there is a lot more here. First the animation, on the DVD not MTV, is still fresh and relevant today. Some series just look good no matter how many years old they are and Heat Guy J is one of them. Much like Cowboy Bebop to which it draws comparison, J looks good and delivers a solid animation quality even if a few scenes are recycled. The characters are solid in design if not predictable in a few cases (hot scientist chick, pretty and young secretary). The animation keeps it relevant and fresh but it’s the story that drives the series.

I mentioned it has been compared to Cowboy Bebop but know this, Bebop it is not. Heat Guy J is more about Daisuke and his partner J. Daisuke drives the story more and it’s his family at the core with J more a co-star. J is the cool android with all the power and the headliner on the title but not so from the story. He is integral but his role could have been explored so much more, on a higher evolutionary level … something that Asimov would have written but oh well. The story starts with some pretty straightforward mafia vs. good guys stuff then quickly evolves into mafia infighting, government conspiracy and much more. The characters are cool and will grow on the viewer making you want to come back for more.

Overall Heat Guy J offers up great action, a few recycled scenes weaved together with memorable characters. If Cowboy Bebop is an A+ then Heat Guy J is a solid B and should not be passed up by fans of Bebop. When compared to many anime hitting shelves today J still stands solid and it’s surprising we’ve not seen a run on Adult Swim or Spike TV, Heat Guy J is made for these channels and time slots so make it so!

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