Fifteen years after an interdimensional gate opened in the Pacific, the sprawling community of San-Teresa has become ground zero for a meeting of the races, of alien and human. Enter Kei Matoba, a gruff police officer who is part of a special force meant to keep the peace in the city, but as he explains, doing so is a complicated thing, and made even more difficult when he’s paired with an alien girl named Tilarna Exedilica, who is charged with finding a fairy who has been abducted. The two must overcome their own prejudices, pride, and mistrust if they’re to track down a killer, rescue the fairy, and perhaps unweave a web of deceit and murder.
The 1980s were the heyday of the buddy cop film, movies with similar formulas: a straight-laced detective, often older, would be paired with one who doesn’t play by the rules, and they bond with one another as they hunt down violent, often psychotic criminals. Cop Craft is precisely this, with the roles switched and a sci-fi element brought in (though it’s not the first to do so—Alien Nation comes immediately to mind). The series is developed by Shoji Gatoh, the writer of Full Metal Panic, and his fingerprints are on it from the get go: brutality and foul language abound, as do difficult issues like immigration, racism, and the military industrial complex. He also loves to juxtapose the cuteness of anime, here represented by Exedilica, who calls Kei a “boliceman” and waves a sword around while wearing a dress that seems half-alien, half-Chinese, with heavy doses of violence, often graphic (the first episode features a neck breaking and a stabbing). And I’m loving it. For a cop movie to work, you’ve got to root for both leads, and I can do that with Kei and Exedilica, both of whom are at the fringe of their characterizations and also very “human.” I can’t wait to see how their relationship develops in their thorny and grim world.
Cop Craft can be streamed on Hulu.