Heat Guy J
Volume 2

Starring (voice): Takayuki Sugo, Saeko Chiba, Shinichiro Miki and Keiji Fujiwara
Manga Entertainment
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: 12
Available 15 May 2006

In the near future the city of Judoh's twenty-five million inhabitants are plagued by vice and crime. The authorities, unable to cope with the crime wave, set up a Special Ops unit consisting of Daisuke Aurora and an android called J. Budget cuts not withstanding, the two do what they can to stem the tide of Mafia crime...

This box set of Heat Guy J represents volume two and covers a very generous range of episodes, from nine to seventeen. Disc one has episodes nine to thirteen, and disc two episodes fourteen to seventeen. The show is a kind of cop buddy series, which blends some excellent CGI with traditional animation. Visually, the show is a real treat and features some cool character and hardware design, though Diasuke's motorbike bears a striking resemblance to the one in Akira. Daisuke looks a little too young for his character and J spends his time stealing bubblegum wisdom from Yoda and regurgitating it to anyone whose eyes are not already bleeding with disinterest.

In Trust we're thrown straight into the story, which is initially disorientating if you haven't seen the previous episodes. Daisuke and J are trying to track down the purveyors of illegal passports. Daisuke is feeling all paternal towards little Monica as he's aware that her mother, a drunk, is engaged in crime. In the city of the future it is illegal to travel without the government's permission.

Guns sees the boys off to thwart a bomb threat to the city. Following a bit of sleuthing they track the explosives to an old abandoned military base. The base turns out not to be so abandoned and Daisuke recruits the odd collection of military misfits to thwart the attack. Not really sure what was going on with the trumpet guy, with the Mickey Mouse ears, but I'm pretty sure that the idea of giving him a gun was a dubious one.

In Mirage D & J are asked to help out when it looks like detective Edmundo's amnesiac ex-girlfriend may be an assassin. Loads of violence in this episode, for those who like it, and the plot twist is clever. Having set up Elisa, the ex-girlfriend, as the killer we are then shown her clearly surviving a hail of bullets, something that would be impossible for an ordinary woman.

In Visitor, the celestial ships arrive to a tumultuous welcome and a carnival in their honour. At this point the show goes off on a strange sci-fi twist. The Celestials control the water and light for the city, but after they are attacked and twelve of them are killed, the Celestials are threatening to turn off the cities utilities. Daisuke is sent to find the one lone Celestial roaming the city in the hope that disaster can be averted. Ok, so I didn't review the first box set, so it comes as a surprise to discover that for some inexplicable reason humans are reliant on aliens for their water and electricity. From the previous episodes we can presume that Judoh isn't the only city left on earth, otherwise why did the thugs in Trust require fake passports. Still, it gives another nice layer to the show.

Encounter follows directly on from Visitor, with the underground denizens trying to get away from the fire which was started. D & J are still on the trail of Ryan who turns out to be a Celestial, which will come as a surprise to all those short-sighted people who didn't spot that he was dressed as one in the previous episode. This is a nice plot dense episode which explains what happened to Daisuke's mother and why she left eighteen years ago when the Celestials last visited. We also discover that there are only seven cities left on the Earth, and that Daisuke has a brother. Will the boys get to the Celestial and put the power and water back on? Well of course they do otherwise it would be the end of the show.

So on to disc two... Arrow is a story of death and revenge. Daisuke is sent to the island of Siberbia to retrieve a witness who has information regarding the murder of his father. Before they can get there they run into a young Siberbian girl who is looking for her grandfather who came to the city seeking revenge for the killing of the girl's parents.

Now we seem to be getting into a bit of a story arc with Angel. Following on from the events in Encounter, the vampire is out for revenge. Daisuke is still trying to get to Siberbia when he and J are ambushed and J is blown into little pieces. Once more, a good episode that advances the arc and adds some more information regarding Daisuke's past.

Target, and someone tries to take out Shun, Daisuke's brother (getting the hang of who is who now). With Daisuke keeping vigil on his brother, J and Edmundo trace the assassination attempt to the vampire.

Survival is the last story on the disc, and the guys finally get to the island of Siberbia - took them long enough. This is a good end to this box set with more information being provided about the killing of Shun's and Diasuke's father.

The disc comes with an impressive range of audio options, including English and Japanese stereo, 5.1 and DTS plus subtitles. The set contains nothing in the way of extras, but this is offset by the nine episodes.

Charles Packer

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