Reviewed by: Eeeper
Released by: FUNimation Streaming
Age Rating: 15
Region: 2 - UK
Length: 300 minutes
English 2.0 Stereo
Japanese 2.0 Stereo
15 years ago, a hyper-dimensional rift appeared above the Pacific Ocean linking Earth with a magical world. San-Teresa City became a melting pot of cultures and species, but despite peace on the surface, there's always an underbelly. That's where Detective Kei Matoba and knight Tirana come in-partners with different perceptions of life and law, working together to keep the city safe.
So the Arnold Schwarzenegger 80's flick, Red Heat, recently got a 4k UHD release and I had a look at it and it looks good for a 30+ year old film. But the reason I bring it up was that it was the first thing I thought of when I watched the new show from Studio Millepensee, Cop Craft. It's a buddy cop show with a magical edge but still has the Arnie flick's penchant for drug deals, dismemberment and car chases.
Detective Sergeant Ken Matoba is having a trying time. San Teresa City, on the fictional island of Kariaena, has its share of crime. Drug deals, prostitution, gun running, murders, political assassinations; you name it, the city's got it. However, on this island, half the population are elves, fairies and magical folk. The elves, named the Semanian people, are the largest group and they came through a hyperspace gate in the ocean near the island 15 years previously. Since then, Semanians and humans have grudgingly gotten along with each other, trading goods and people day by day. When a fairy smuggling operation goes wrong, Kei's partner is killed and the Semanian's send as assistance: Tilarna Exedilica or Tilarna for short. She looks like a 13 year old girl (she was originally designed by famed illustrator Range Murata who is known for his designs involving young girls) but she carries a sword and magical armour. She's not above cutting a guy to pieces but she's got her honour and is horrified by human society. Kei doesn't need this: he's got a few more payments on his car left, his partner died and he now has to work with this girl to stop a really bad situation from going further south.
As I mentioned before, the buddy cop vibe here is up front and centre: Key doesn't know how to deal with the deeper intricacies of Semanian culture and Tilarna doesn't know how to order a takeaway. Kei doesn't get the whole honour above all from Tilarna and she doesn't understand how the bad guys can get away with crimes because of due process. The show spends a lot of time dealing with the fallout from the duo coming across problems that arise from humans and Semanians trying to live side by side. Sometimes it's little things like enchanted arrows that swap Tilarna's personality with Kei's pet cat (the scene where Tilarna slinks around Kei's apartment naked, eating from a bowl while her cat version goes nuts has to be seen) but sometimes it's stories like Tilarna making friends with another Semanian girl while undercover and the horrors that case uncover. All the while, there's a great overarching story involving a mage intent on tearing San Teresa apart so that the status quo can come to an end. Murders, possessed vampires, bomb-making and more is on show as our heroes get closer to a very nasty truth at the heart of San Teresa. But along the way,
Kei is a walking trope: he drives a classic car the department is paying for, he smokes, drinks, has a ex-girlfriend whom he loves but can't be with because he's an a-hole, he catches the bad guys by chasing them over rooftops. Basically, he's every 80's cop ever. Tilarna is Ivan Danko (Arnie's character) from Red Heat. She doesn't get this decadent society who seem to have a massive self-destructive streak that poisons them day by day. She swear oaths to kill her enemies, she draws her sword at the least hesitation and has a code of honour from her homeland while at the same time that homeland has secrets that she doesn't want to share with her new partner. When they are not saving the city, they are bitching at each other over the latest thing the other had done: she blew up his car, he won't let her slay a human who crossed her. I mean they bitch at the other like an married couple. The most side-splitting moment is when they come straight from the station chief's house party both dressed for summer: him in a Hawaiian shirt, her in a swimsuit and tank top. The station just stares at them while they casually discuss how much a stupid idea it was to come straight from a party to work. This is the show's vibe throughout: yeah, the city is in danger but we don't care because this hero s%&t has its limits. Together with a Los Angeles coastal design ethic for San Teresa, a cast of cops, robbers, thieves, conspiracy nuts, blood, guts, body parts ,and explosions and Cop Craft is the hidden gem in the season's lineup. It won't be super popular but you can get an 80's action film nut into its crazier elements and an anime fan into it with the non-stop wordplay from Kei and Tilarna.
The voice cast is having fun, especially Mayu Yoshioka (Wake Up, Girls!, In Another World With My Smartphone) as Tilarna and Kenjiro Tsuda (Domestic Girlfriend, Golden Kamuy) as Kei Matoba while the opening theme "Rakuen Toshi" by Masayoshi Ooishi has a jazz infused feel to it. Shin Itagaki (Teekyu, Berserk) directs a fairly fast-paced show with panache and spends time building up every block so that when we finally get to the big showdown, Kei and Tilarna are ready to turn in their badges and their gun (or sword) and become loose cannons. Our heroes don't care if you hear about their misadventures. They don't have sanction from the department and the chief wants their guts but dammit, they have heads to chop off, people to shoot and a city to save. Hit the sirens.
Currently streaming via FunimationNow.