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Cosmo Police Justy

Anime based on manga can be such a mixed bag. The problem is that such an undertaking takes time, but the unfortunate fact of the matter is that studios don’t always get the funding needed to make enough episodes for the adaptation to be coherent. Sure, big name manga like Dragon Ball and One Piece go on for season after season. However, the lesser known stuff usually gets relegated to OVAs. Sometimes it works, like in the case of Dominion Tank Police. Other times, the show is a mess, leaving one to wonder if it was even worth doing the adaptation in the first place. Unfortunately, Cosmo Police Justy suffered such a fate when it got a single OVA in 1985.

It was based on a manga series that received five volumes between 1981 and 1984. However, the OVA was less than 45 minutes. As one can probably guess, squeezing a story into this was extremely difficult, leaving the story feeling rushed, disjointed, and generally difficult to follow for anyone unfamiliar with the manga. Basically, the show is about a man named Justy who is part of a galactic space police force. He’s one of their best officers and a powerful psychic. He’s brought many a criminal (most of whom are also psychics) to justice, and now a number of these troublemakers have decided to try and take him down. Meanwhile, it turns out that a girl that thinks she’s his little sister is actually the daughter of a criminal Justy once killed, but she also has powerful latent psychic powers, and part of her still wants revenge on Justy. There is a lot going on, but it’s just squeezed into too short a period of time. What viewers wind up getting is something that feels like scenes that are mostly excuses for more action, with a lot of questions not being answered all that well.

Meanwhile, character development is paper thin. Justy is the police officer representing the forces for good. The criminals are common street toughs one has seen countless times in anime. Astaris, the girl who thinks she’s Justy’s sister, is essentially a child in an adult’s body. Her character in particular is difficult to deal with because her behavior is so different from an actual adult. This is a big reason why the show would have greatly benefited from being about twice as long as it is. That would have given the anime studio much needed time to better flesh out everything that was going on in the manga.

While the story in Cosmo Police Justy needs a lot of work, it does look quite good. The animation during battles is well done with some interesting things going on. Terrain constantly shifts around, Justy teleports all over the place, and things are in constant motion. These scenes do a pretty good job of capturing the fact that these are psychics who are fighting one another. It can feel a bit surreal to watch sometimes. Character design is in line with a lot of other mid-80s anime, with a lot of folks looking similar to something one might find in the Macross television series, or the first MegaZone 23 OVA. It’s also worth noting that some of the designs for various space vessels look pretty neat, especially the large motherships that occasionally appear.

Not only does the show look nice, but it has a good soundtrack as well. There are a lot of pieces that crop up with catchy melodies. Much of what is present has a decidedly 80s pop music flavor to it, complete with the various synth sounds that were common during that time.

Unfortunately, this isn’t enough to save this OVA. It’s story is just too poorly developed. The whole thing needed at least another 40 minutes to lay out everything that was going on for it to be decently enjoyable. As it stands, Cosmo Police Justy is the sort of anime that fans of the manga might have gotten a kick out of because they were getting at least some sort of adaptation, but that’s about it. Newcomers stumbling across it now are likely to be part disappointed, part confused before discarding the show to the scrapheap of anime history.

- IroIro
December 28, 2019

More Futuristic Crime Fighting Anime We've Discussed:

- Dominion Tank Police

- Cosmic Fantasy: Ginga Mehyou no Wana

- Bounty Dog

Directed by: Motosuke Takahashi
Studio: Studio Pierrot
Released: 1985
Episodes: 1

Cosmo Police Justy Image 1
VHS Cover Art

Cosmo Police Justy Image 2
Justy, a powerful esper / psychic space police officer

Cosmo Police Justy Image 3
Justy's ship looks like something from a shoot 'em up

Cosmo Police Justy Image 4
Justy vs. stereotypical criminal mastermind