Directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri
Initial release 1990
Written by Akinori Endo
Cast Tesshō Genda, Ako Mayama
Production company Madhouse
Director Yoshiaki Kawajiri
|Genre cyberpunk, action, neo-noir|
Produced by Makoto Seya, Yasuteru Iwase
Music by Kazz ToyamaRory McFarlane (UK version)
Licensed by Manga Entertainment (Expired)Madman Entertainment (Current)U.S. Manga Corp (Expired)Manga Entertainment (Expired)
Music director Rory McFarlane, Kazuhiko Toyama
Similar Sol Bianca, Ninja Scroll, Twilight of the Dark Master
Cyber City Oedo 808 (Japanese: サイバーシティ OEDO 808) is a 1990-1991 Cyberpunk original video animation. It was directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri. Set in the year 2808 in the city of Oedo (Tokyo), it tells the story of three criminals who are enlisted into fighting crime in exchange for reduced sentences. They are Sengoku, an anti-social maverick, Gogol, a mohawk wearing hacker, and Benten, an androgynous bishōnen.
The UK release of the OVA includes a completely new score by Rory McFarlane.
To combat computerised crime more effectively, the Cyber Police unit of the future Japanese city of Oedo has restarted the feudal practice of hōmen (放免), employing hardened criminals with a history of hi-tech offences and other crimes such as murder as officers themselves.
Three such criminals are Sengoku, Gogol and Benten who are serving their 300-or-more year sentences in an orbital penitentiary. For duty served, each criminal will receive a reduction in their prison time. Desperate to get away from the boredom and monotony of jail life, they half-heartedly agree to the deal. They answer to police chief Hasegawa who keeps them in check thanks to an explosive collar that each criminal wears around his neck. Hasegawa can blow this collar remotely and it will also explode if they fail to complete their missions within an allocated time period. Each one is also armed with a jitte (the traditional weapon and symbol of authority of the ancient Edo Police), although they also have access to more powerful weaponry.
Although there are no specifics to what kind of society the series is based in, it is presented as very high-tech but with a rather dystopian feel. In the first episode for example, a man under pressure confesses to a murder (which he did commit) and which is responsible for the present crisis. This is enough for Hasegawa to order Sengoku to kill the man there and then without so much as a trial. When Sengoku fails to do so his sentence is increased.
There are three episodes, each one serving to focus more on the personal exploits of one of the three-man team. The UK release had different titles for these episodes than other markets did.
Cyber City Oedo 808: Attribute of the Beast (CYBER CITY OEDO 808 獣の属性, Saibāshiti Ōedo Hachimaruhachi: Kemono no Zokusei) is a graphic adventure game released on March 15, 1991 for the PC-Engine CD-ROM² by Nippon Computer System exclusively in Japan. The storyline is completely original and not an adaptation of any episode.
The original British VHS release (also televised on Channel 4 circa 1995) features a more rock-centric 23 track score composed by Rory McFarlane not present on the US or Japanese versions. McFarlane's score combined metal, electronica and Ambient styles. It has been out of print for years and, as such, is very rare to find on CD, but it is known to be available on the internet. The UK edition score is considered by some fans to be better suited to the violent, dark, and stylish atmosphere of the anime than the original (more pop-like) Japanese score. Due to Manga Entertainment UK losing the rights to the Cyber City series this edition of the score is unavailable on western DVD releases and remains available only on the old VHS versions from the mid nineties.
The miniseries has received a cult following over the years. Hemanth Kissoon of Filmulation.com reviewed the series in 2007, saying that the series "was released 17 years ago, yet still stands up as a gripping take on Japan’s potential future."