Status Check: 2019

So what was I up to in 2018? Well, I did a few reviews and guest-hosted my old column several times at Anime News Network. My geek highlight of the year, however, came when I got the chance to write about Angel Cop for Discotek’s new release of the series.

Angel Cop, as you may know, has a late-stage plot revelation about an international Jewish conspiracy being the force behind terrorist attacks and savage psychic assassins. It’s bizarre, offensive, and sadly reflective of how easy it was to get away with anti-Semitism in Japanese media during the early 1990s. I wrote an essay covering this for the new Blu-Ray and DVD, expanding on some ideas I mentioned in an entry here. It’s not unlike how modern reissues of racist old Bugs Bunny cartoons include some explanation of the historical context.

I also interviewed John Wolskel, the scriptwriter for the dubs of Angel Cop, Cyber City Oedo 808, and many over foul-mouthed Manga UK adaptations that we’ll never stop quoting. It was great to hear from someone who had a hand in these old dubs, and it’s pretty clear that Wolskel and the rest of the crew had fun giving these anime series the hyper-profane revamps that partly ensured their immortality.

I’d really like to do more work like this. For one thing, it’s fascinating to put something like Angel Cop in a broader vein; it might be all gore and swearing and Jew-hating, but I think its unconcealed frustration offers a revealing look at the fortunes of the anime industry and perhaps the broader reaction to the end of Japan’s bubble economy. You can learn a lot from looking through someone’s trash.

On a more selfish stratum, I like the satisfaction of working on a tangible product, even if it’s just for DVD extras. I haven’t seen any of my work in physical media since my magazine gig a decade ago, and while I sure appreciate the malleable, correctable nature of online writing, there’s a nice sense of permanence about holding something that involved you. Centuries after the Internet has evaporated and the earth is a lifeless husk, alien excavators may siphon my essay from a miraculously intact Blu-Ray and know just a little more about Angel Cop.