Following in the wake of Angel Cop comes the 1990 OVA Mad Bull 34, a show very similar to the former except it takes place in New York City. Originally created by Kazuo Koike, who worked with Go Nagai on Hannape Bazooka, the show depicts 90s American crime life in the NYPD’s 34th precinct. Mad Bull 34 draws much of its inspiration from action buddy-cop films of the 70’s and 80’s.
The series follows the titular cop, John “Mad Bull” Estes, the toughest cop in the 34th precinct, as well as his newly assigned partner Daizaburo “Eddie” Ban. Mad Bull is no ordinary cop however. His violent exploits in dealing with criminals have landed him and his partner in hot water more than once. He doesn’t hesitate to kill and is seen with prostitutes on more than one occasion. Despite his appearance, Mad Bull is actually a kind person at heart, donating most of his money to the local hospital and protecting his partner at all costs.
The story is narrated primarily by Daizaburo Ban, a young up-and-coming cop who begins the show with very clear-cut moral standings. As he and Mad Bull patrol the crime ridden streets of New York, we witness the stark contrast between the two cops and how they operate. Daizaburo acts as Mad Bull’s foil and eventually the two grow to become a formidable duo.
The show employs copious amounts of violence and profanity. Like Angel Cop, Mad Bull 34 was licensed by Manga Entertainment and as such featured an English dub loaded with extra swearing. The actual animation is rather sub-par. The blood depictions are mostly left unshaded and gun shots wounds often appear as black dots on a character’s skin. There is no underlying plot. Rather, each episode features a new murder case or crime that needs investigating.
While Mad Bull 34’s premise attempts to create a serious atmosphere, the only real way to watch the show is as if it were a comedy. Thinking of the show in such a way, the first three episodes are actually decent and mildy entertaining. However, the show really falls apart in its final episode. The writing diminishes greatly, the plot becomes littered with holes, and worst of all the atrocious voice acting magnifies itself in the show’s finale.
Final Thoughts: 4/10
Mad Bull 34 is very similar, albeit a toned down version of M.D. Geist and Genocyber. It is not a series I would recommend under any circumstances, yet like Angel Cop, I can’t help but enjoy it for whatever reason. There is something intrinsically entertaining when delving into the minds of early 80s and 90s directors. Mad Bull 34 exists as a testament to the failures of early American distributors…and who doesn’t enjoy watching the mistakes of others?