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  • Widescreen 1.78:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer ( )
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Japanese: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • 4 Theatrical trailer

Heat Guy J 1 - Super Android

Madman Entertainment/AV Channel . R4 . COLOR . 97 mins . M15+ . PAL


Finding myself increasingly enthused by some animé titles after years of avoiding them like hard work, Heat Guy J, even with its rather silly title, sits up among the better efforts of the field. The list of inspirations for the story and background is literally as long as your arm (if you are short-limbed). Herein you will find references to any and all of: The Matrix, X-Men, Hulk, Bladerunner and Minority Report. However, not content with just movie references, the program includes even less obvious references to comic books like Neil Gaiman’s Mr. Hero, the Newmatic Man. Plus, there are real-life references to New York and Tokyo covering the future-city sprawl of Judoh, our setting.

Heat Guy J details the adventures of the Special Unit, a small group of three members of the local constabulary, who deal with the prevention of future crimes. The Heat Guy is an eight-foot tall android using his monster abilities to protect Dice, a hip and youthful investigator who seeks out future crimes using good old-fashioned detective work. They live in Judoh, a massive city laid out on the shoreline of an undisclosed country in the near future. The city appears to be a strange fusion of modern New York City and a future Tokyo with plenty of Batman’s Gotham and Judge Dredd’s Mega City One thrown in for good measure.

However, references have been utilised well and with subtlety, creating an individual setting for the backdrop here. The city, far from Bladerunner’s decaying cess-pit or Dredd’s overcrowded technological nightmare, is light and airy with clear skies and clean glass towers. This adds the feeling of warmth and fun that the show puts across, rather than miring us deep in a depressing and hopeless vision of a ‘used future’.

Brilliantly merging 3D animation with traditional 2D, Heat Guy is an inviting and visually stunning show. It utilises some traditional elements to merge both the city with natural reality, creating an appealing world of fun and danger and of action and mystery.

"There are some that say a human being’s sixth sense – what you call a hunch – is the subcognitive recognition of unsorted information from the five other senses… it would appear that this sense can be quite accurate."

Unusually for a Madman release we receive nothing but four episodes on this disc, but these are quite nice and contain both an ongoing underworld struggle and single episode storylines.

Episode One: (City) Guy. We are introduced to the Special Unit and its two major employees; The Heat Guy J, an android, and his human partner Dice. Together they investigate the death of the Don Vampire, leader of the city’s underworld Mafia.

Episode Two: (Blaze) War. A gang war escalates as the new Don Vampire is named; the 19-year-old sadistic and psychopathic son of the old Don. He sets out to eliminate all competition in the city, and J and Dice must track him using some now non-existent fossil fuel leads.

Episode Three: (Rumour) Bomb. A serial bomber is blowing up bigger and bigger targets in the city. While J is being repaired, Dice connects the bombings with an underground trading card game.

Episode Four: (Beast) Chaos. An escapee of Magnagalia is murdering people while looking for his dead sister. Magnagalia genetically alters humans who commit crimes so they always remember their crime, and this killer sparks rumours of a werewolf prowling the city in urban legend style.


Everything about this series looks superb visually and the transfer has been accomplished perfectly. Explosive colour palettes fill beautifully rendered (and subtly used) 3D environments at every turn, making this a very stylish show that is entirely visually appealing. Occasional tips o’ the cap to films like The Matrix see the use of green filters which are used in the true manner of the homage; briefly and appropriately.

We see everything in its 1.78:1 anamorphically enhanced widescreen aspect ratio and this again just adds volumes to the overall eye candy. Naturally everything is well lit and shadow detail is evident. Blacks, of course, are true. Some sunset scenes border on over-saturation of colours, but they are so pretty it is more awe-inspiring than visually offensive.


Dolby Digital stereo does the trick here and delivers just fine. Dialogue is clear and granted us in English or original Japanese, with a nice understanding of English translation making the dialogue sound smooth, realistic and more of the west.

The musical score is reminiscent of Last Exile with clever use of world music instruments that bridge the past with modern high-tech music. Performed by bands I’ve never heard of (Tryforce and Wyse), there are even moments of soulful single acoustic guitar. Overall a well-suited musical soundtrack that fits in against the multi-cultural future city background perfectly. (There are some funny Japanese typos hardwired into the show too, including a fleeting X-Files reference).

Of note too are the sound effects that, while occasionally stockish, are cleverly utilised and always well-synched.


The only extras we have here are four trailers to stuff already reviewed. These are: Last Exile, Initial D, Argentosoma and Patlabor WXIII.


The metal foiled cover slick is different, as are the contents of the show. Although a well-worn setting, there are plenty of new things to see in this 2002 production. The art is incredibly stylish and well designed, beating out many animé titles in that regard and the computer animation is subtle, well executed and appropriately placed. It doesn’t overshadow the 2D and doesn’t exclaim ‘Look at ME!’ from the moment it arrives. In fact, I found the 3D stuff more reminiscent of the way it was used in Spirited Away for its deliberate non-participation in the main story. That’s how it should be too; it was originally designed to speed up production and save work for animators, not to be the star.

A nicely themed, nicely homaged and nicely original series that is bound to impress the distinguishing animé fan. The lack of extras isn’t even that big an issue as all we would (most likely) have gotten would be model sheets and textless opening and closing titles. I can live without those and I daresay anyone impressed by good animé will feel the same.

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      And I quote...
    "Brilliantly merging 3D animation with traditional 2D, Heat Guy J is an inviting and visually stunning show with a silly title."
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Teac DVD-990
    • TV:
          AKAI CT-T29S32S 68cm
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Subwoofer:
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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