Angel Cop and Anti-Semitism

I’m not sure what I’d choose as my favorite anime series. There’s a lot of competition. Yet I never sway when picking my favorite terrible anime series: Angel Cop. Released from 1989 to 1994, it’s three hours of profane, mean-spirited hyperviolence, and it perfectly embodies a time when Japan’s direct-to-video anime market surged with sex and violence like a collective id unchained.

There’s more to Angel Cop, though! In contrast to the typical banal, gore-laden anime OVA, Angel Cop strings along a halfway passable tale of anti-terrorist operatives gone bad. The near future sees Japan wracked by economic slumps and the attacks of no-good commie terrorists known as the Red May. The government forms a squad of Special Security agents licensed and in fact encouraged to kill, with the ruthless Angel and her slightly more humane partner Raiden exemplifying their shoot-first ideals. Before long, they’re at war with not only the terrorists but also a trio of psychic assassins and their own government. It’s all kept afloat with competent action from director Ichiro Itano, a briskly paced script initially by Sho “Noboru” Aikawa, and the occasional burst of nice animation by veterans like Yasuomi Umetsu, Keiji Goto, and Keiichi Sato.

This makes it all the more hilarious that Angel Cop rapidly devolves into a barrage of profanity and slaughter. The show relishes its gory excess even in the title screen, seemingly painted with a machine gun that shoots blood. The English version is a Manga UK swearing contest in which “Fuck you, baby!” and “All right, buttfuck, that’s enough speech-making for now!” are among the more conventional lines. Enjoy this compilation if you haven’t already.

And then Angel Cop gets awful in a way mainstream entertainment wouldn’t dare approach.

In the final episode of Angel Cop, our repulsive heroes corner the bureaucrats responsible for the whole mess. They reveal that it’s all the work of the American government, eager to transform Japan into a glorified U.S. aircraft carrier (and Hokkaido into a nuclear waste dump). And it’s not just an American plot—the true villains are the Jewish bankers who secretly run the world! Really. The dub rewrites almost the entire anti-American screed, but it’s right there in the original Japanese dialogue.

That leaves me fascinated by Angel Cop. It’s crass, it’s violent, it’s fun to watch in a hateful way, and it’s offensive on just about every stage. Hanging conspiracies on the American government is commonplace in fiction of all origins, of course. But whatever possessed Itano and Aikawa (who, to be fair, is credited as co-writer for the first episode only) to work anti-Semitic agitprop into the plot? To quote Angel herself, “What in the FUCKING hell?”