Anime: Cyber City Oedo 808

Got back from the gym this evening and figured I’d tidy up. Was sorting through my collection of DVD’s and VHS tapes when I found this little gem:

Cyber City Oedo 808

Can’t remember the last time I watched it, jeez it must have been at least 15 years ago! Anyway as i’m watching it now im suprised at how little its dated. The three part series amassed something of a cult following. It’s a Cyberpunk anime set in the year 2808. The basic plotline is that in the future in order to combat computerised crime the Police employ criminals with a history of violent and hi tech crimes. The twist is that these criminals all of have “Special Suspended Sentences” that carry prison sentences in excess of two or three hundred years. Each of these criminals receives a reduction in their prison sentence for each mission he completes successfully within a given period of time. If they fail to complete a mission an explosive collar fitted around their necks will explode and decapitate them.

There are three episodes, and each episode focuses on one of the three criminals: Sengoku, Benten and Go:Gol. The first episode Virtual Death, follows Sengoku as he must discover who has trapped 50,000 people in a a skyscraper only to discover that the man responsible is dead! The second episode Psychic Trooper pits Go:Gol against a military cyborg when its superiors decide to have it hunt him to prove its viability as a weapon. The final episode, Blood Lust, follows Benten as he investigates the murder of a geneticist and stumbles upon one deranged mans quest for immortality which has turned him into a modern day vampire.

The series is full of action, humour and cynism as you’d probably expect given that the heroes of this piece are criminals who have been forced to become police officers. It’s full of memorable one liners like “to err is human but to really f**k up you need a computer“.

The quality of the animation is excellent especially given that this was made before digital animation techniques became popular. The series was created by Yoshiaki Kawajiri who was also responsible for making a number of anime hits including Ninja Scroll, and one of my personal favourites Vampire Hunter D:Blood Lust, as well as being a key figure in the production of the Animatrix Project.

Anyway its been a bit of a blast from the past for me. Any of you anime nuts out there who like more contemporary stuff like the new Appleseed, Ghost in the Shell SAC etc. should really try to get a hold of this and check out one of the earlier works in this genre.

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