Mad Bull 34 Is the Best Sitcom Ever
I watched Mad Bull 34 and Angel Cop recently, both of which are OVAs infamous for their hilarious English dubs by Manga Entertainment, chock full of gratuitous swearing in, er, very creative ways. The difference between the two, I think, is that the English dub makes Angel Cop worth watching (because otherwise it is a generic, dour cyberpunk series, although it is hilariously ’80s, both in look and how deeply it is entrenched in the Cold War), whereas Mad Bull 34 would be a great bad series with or without a hilarious dub because its world is so warped and insane.
It already has the traditional buddy cop set-up: Daizaburo “Eddie” Ban is the new cop on the block in New York’s toughest precinct, and as a green police officer, he follows everything by the book. He is paired with John “Sleepy” Estes (aka “Mad Bull” to his enemies), the wildest cop in the force, someone who executes criminals at the slightest provocation and has deep connections with a cadre of prostitutes (he is basically a pimp since he takes money from them every so often). And these wacky opposites clean up the streets of New York as Sleepy loosens Daizaburo up and teaches him the right way to fight the law!
Early on the series focuses on the clash between Daizaburo and Sleepy’s values. When Sleepy learns that Daizaburo is a virgin, he takes command of their patrol vehicle, drives to a shady apartment and tosses Daizaburo into a room full of prostitutes, where hilarity ensues as Daizaburo frantically shouts that he is saving himself for marriage like a good boy. Hilariously, the prostitutes could not be more turned off. What use is a virgin if he isn’t going to lose it some time? (Too bad Daizaburo never got another shot at this after Sleepy loosened him up.) And of course there is the little issue of Sleepy blowing the brains out of every criminal in town. Daizaburo thinks it’s murder; Sleepy says it’s justice. It’s a serious argument for maybe five seconds.
It’s impossible to take any of the violence or crime in Mad Bull 34 seriously, because it’s so over the top and weird. The first episode has Daizaburo and Sleepy go “undercover” as women to foil a trio of rapists, except Sleepy’s mustache and burly build kind of ruin that. It’s an obvious joke, but what takes it to another level is that the whole thing is played perfectly straight. There’s nothing quite like Sleepy giving a Serious Business breakdown of the mindset of the rapists and why he had to kill them while wearing a dress, a red wig and blush on his cheeks. Crossdressing is the norm for Sleepy, I guess, because he and Daizaburo later go undercover as nuns in a convoluted plot to take down a murderous pimp. Or I’d assume this is a regular thing, except they never do it again.
And in between all that crossdressing, Sleepy splatters roughly one million gallons of criminal blood on the ground. Again, Daizaburo is initially against this, but he eventually comes around when he sees what a gosh darned nice guy Sleepy is! That money Sleepy takes from the prostitutes? They help fund a STD clinic and a shelter for battered women! And, hey, if Sleepy doesn’t clean up the streets by killing every criminal in sight, then how will crime ever go away in New York? Exactly. What takes it over the top is how much of a goofball Sleepy is. When he’s just hanging out with Daizaburo, Sleepy is a huge dork. There’s this enormous chasm between Sleepy as executioner and Sleepy as normal dude who busts his friend’s balls. It’s so . . . strange.
The next two episodes, where Daizaburo and Sleepy take on a pair of gangs with the help of a fellow officer who transferred from the Queens Police Department (lol), are my favorites. Ep2 involves a corrupt police official who obliterates every possible rule about sexual harassment and is a huge a-hole in general, and the ending is just . . . well, I won’t spoil it, but it’s hilarious for how completely out of nowhere it is. And ep3 has maybe my favorite villains ever, a Chinese mafia with hilariously racist Chinese accents — everyone has a terrible accent despite the fact that there are clearly people of varying races/ethnicities in the gang. I guess they all do it to fit in, or maybe in the world of Mad Bull, you automatically take on the attributes of those with whom you hang out.
But maybe the funniest aspect of the OVA is the sex. I heard a lot about the violence and the obscene amount of swearing, so I wasn’t expecting Sleepy to fuck so much, but it’s hysterical. First off, I can’t imagine there’s anything more awkward for any actor to do than sex scenes, especially ones where they have to moan like porn stars on steroids. The genitalia has to be hidden at all times, as well, so the sex either has to be obscured in amusingly generic ways (here’s a lamp that is conveniently placed in front of the bed!), or Sleepy and whichever prostitute he is screwing is drawn at an incredibly awkward angle. I don’t know if any of it is supposed to be sexy, but it is funny.
(Well, the horrifying amount of rape/attempted rape isn’t really funny, but you know . . . although even though it shames me, I did laugh at one instance of sexual harassment on the part of the corrupt officer, if only because it’s so fucking stupid.)
The only disappointing part is the final episode, which is way too serious, and more than a bit bizarre. I don’t know why the show tried to make it serious when the villain looked like a bad knockoff of the Predator, but there you go. The OVA is still worth watching, though, but it has to be the English dub. Accept no substitutes!