Manga Video // 1994 // 60 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Mike Pinsky (Retired) // February 13th, 2003
"The moon has two faces." -- Yayoi
Welcome to the Moon. Constans is a friendly corporation that runs nearly everything here, but rumors tell of a secret the company is hiding in the caverns under Luna City. The secret, which you can figure out in about five minutes, is an alien entity, the "Sleeper," kept in a sealed chamber.
Does this plot sound familiar? Did I mention that the Moon is tinted sepia and red? Watching Bounty Dog, a 1994 anime from Manga Video, is apt to remind one of Total Recall. Indeed, the only major plot element missing from the story is amnesia. Although after this overlong hour is finished, you are likely to find the whole thing slipping from your mind rather quickly.
Bounty Dog shows a little potential here and there however. Its hero, Yoshiyuki, is the leader of a team of private investigators (the titular "Bounty Dog" group) sent to the Moon to delve into rumors that Constans is developing new weaponry. Apparently, this infiltration plan requires driving an armored personnel carrier down a major highway, so stealth must not be an issue. Meanwhile, Yoshiyuki meets a mysterious girl who reminds him of his dead girlfriend (whose spirit periodically speaks to him through his cybernetic hand).
Are you following all this? The first half of this two-part story wanders in too many directions. The second half tightens up a bit, as our hero fights to prevent the evil Sleeper from awakening and destroying the world. Oddly, it is hard to muster much excitement about this apocalyptic threat, since none of the characters in the story, other than Yoshiyuki, register with the audience -- I never even learned most of their names. Ignore the babble about Light and Darkness (so muddled that the characters must stop and explain it to the audience), and enjoy the pretty pictures.
On the plus side, the action sequences are decent, as our hero tangles with an evil army of cute girls, and the production design is nicely detailed. Do not expect much from the low-budget animation however.
Bounty Dog has its moments, but this is really just a trifle, a leftover back-catalog entry from Manga Video. To reinforce the dismissible nature of the film, Manga offers only an English dub (no Japanese) and no extras. Bounty Dog might be a pleasant time waster for an hour, but probably not worth a purchase.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Manga Video
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 60 Minutes
Release Year: 1994
MPAA Rating: Not Rated