What's “Cruising the Crunchy-Catalog”?
Crime is a plague on this fair city, and “Cruising the Crunchy-Catalog” is the cure. Oh, sorry. Wrong metaphor. We're not a well-armed and overly-enthusiastic revenant bent on vigilante justice; we just provide additional info and cultural context to help anime fans decide whether or not they'd like to try out an unknown series.
What's Inferno Cop?
Inferno Cop is a 2012 – 2013 web anime with direction by Akira Amemiya and animation by Trigger and CoMix Wave. The series was initially streamed on the Anime Bancho Youtube channel, and Crunchyroll describes Inferno Cop in just two pithy lines:
Inferno Cop vs. THE WORLD. The unholy officer's flame of justice burns!
For those who need a little more backstory: Inferno Cop is a 21 year old police officer whose family was mercilessly slaughtered by the evil organization, Southern Cross. Now Inferno Cop is back for revenge, and he aims to clean up the mean streets of Jack Knife Edge City one copy-pasted goon at a time.
Zombie apocalypses, Egyptian pharoahs, time-slips, descents into Hell, wacky races, and the forced trascendence of humanity to a new plane of existence are all in day's work for Inferno Cop.
Before Kill la Kill, before Space Patrol Luluco, before Little Witch Academia, there was Inferno Cop. Yes, Inferno Cop was the first “major” project by the newly formed Studio Trigger after key talent (such as Inferno Cop supervisor Hiroyuki Imaishi and Inferno Cop director Akira Amemiya) split off from Studio Gainax.
As a result, Inferno Cop functions like a Trigger primer. The series contains numerous elements that would over the years become Trigger staples: absurd and often immature humor, bizarre speculative fiction concepts, dynamic visuals, exaggerated action sequences, and oodles of explosions.
JUSTICE RETURNS pic.twitter.com/HoCgxs5khk— Crunchyroll (@Crunchyroll) June 22, 2017
The Greatest Animation Ever Witnessed With Human Eyes.
Scholars may cite Akira, with its color palette of some 327 tints and shades, or Princess Mononoke, with its 144,000 animation cels, as works that define the apex of the art of Japanese animation. These scholars would be wrong, though, since Inferno Cop is clearly, objectively the greatest work of animation ever conceived.
In all seriousness, the "animation" in Inferno Cop is deliberately, hilariously janky, comprised mostly of 2D cut-outs manipulated like shadow puppets combined with live-action pyrotechnics. According to resident sakuga expert Evan Minto (@VamptVo), Trigger members claim that production meetings for Inferno Cop only lasted 1 hour on average, and most of that time was spent playing with action figures.
For all its excesses, Inferno Cop is also a loving tribute to American superhero comics, a medium from which the character designs borrow liberally. Roving reporter Ariel Suzuki is clearly a nod to April O'Neil from Teenager Mutant Ninja Turtles, for example, while Mecha Cop mixes visual elements of War Machine, Winter Soldier, and Cable. Inferno Cop himself is a comical mash-up of Ghost Rider's look with the Punisher's back-story, and Hellfire Boy bears a strong resemblance to a certain “Boy Wonder”.
The Fire Still Burns.
Crunchyroll currently streams Inferno Cop in 250 territories worldwide. The series is available in the original Japanese language with subtitles in English, Spanish, Latin American Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, and German. The English translation was created in-house by Trigger's Tatsuru Tatemoto, and the results could best be described as “extravagant”.
With episodes that clock in at about 2 minutes in length on average, Inferno Cop is a great way to kill an afternoon for people who have an off-kilter sense of humor and who desire to see a playful lampooning of the aesthetics of American superhero story-telling. Fans who enjoy Inferno Cop can also sleep soundly knowing that another season is on the way.
Okay, Twitter, since Crunchyroll is doing a "Hero Week" theme, should I do Inferno Cop for "Cruising the Crunchy-Catalog"?— Paul Chapman (@Gooberzilla) June 20, 2017
Special thanks go to all the devotees of BLAZING JUSTICE who voted in this week's Twitter poll (results pictured above). Is there a series in Crunchyroll's catalog that you think needs some more love and attention? Please send in your suggestions via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or post a Tweet to @gooberzilla. Your pick could inspire the next installment of “Cruising the Crunchy-Catalog”!
Paul Chapman is the host of The Greatest Movie EVER! Podcast and GME! Anime Fun Time.