Kawai had enough of her job as a police officer with how much people hate the police. But then, she partnered up with a former detective, Fuji, who got transferred because she allegedly committed harassment towards a junior detective. The two immediately head off for a patrol, and it didn’t take long for Kawai to see Fuji displaying her skill as a police officer. On the following day, Kawai and Fuji were tasked to give a talk about safety in elementary school. “Why do we have to follow the rules?” asked the children. How will Kawai answer? (Source: Muse Asia)
Dany Muhammad (The Indonesian Anime Times)
In an interview, the manga author Miko Yasu, who is also a former police officer, stated that the reason why she created the manga is to raise public awareness of the work of police officers. She revealed that the burden of police officers’ work is heavy, and they are normally understaffed and overworked. She once tried to help with recruitment, but she found that not many are interested. So, she pitched a manga about a cop to Kodansha’s Morning magazine, hoping that it could better reach younger audience.
With that context, we can see that Police in a Pod is a work with a clear authorial intent. But can it convey the intended message? From what I see, the first episode manages to make the message subtle enough that we still can see it as an entertainment piece. I laughed at a lot of small things that happened in the first episode, because those things are relatable even for someone not working in the police force. The feeling of not being appreciated enough while doing your job, or the feeling that you have to act a certain way because of your job, are something that working people in any job can empathize with. At first, I thought Police in a Pod would feel like a “let’s become police officers” propaganda. Instead, what I see is more like an anime ranting about work conditions in the vein of Uramichi Onii-chan or Gi(a)rlish Number.
In fact, the story of the first episode is about a policewoman who wanted to quit. The main character, Mai Kawai, is tired of her job. People are swearing at her, thinking she is just a nuisance who is wasting tax money. On the other hand, her partner Seiko Fuji has already accepted that being a police officer is not a rewarding job. However, it provides them with a stable income. I found this part to be important because sometimes many other anime of this kind that I mentioned before neglect this: stability is a factor that makes unhappy employees stay in their job. It’s not a romanticized motive like “passion” or “dream”, but for some people, it’s very relatable.
At the end of the episode, Kawai chooses to stay. Her excuse is that because police officer has a role to serve, even though it makes them hated by society. This is the part of the anime where the “propaganda” aspect is quite apparent, though I won’t be surprised if it’s actually based on the author’s personal experience. I don’t know if Police in the Pod is effective at making people actually want to join the police, but at least it does show that even police officers are just human beings.
Facts and Figures
|Alternate title(s)||Hakozume: Kōban Joshi no Gyakushū
Hakozume: Serangan Balik Polwan dari Pos Polisi
|Source material||Manga by Miko Yasu|
|Cast||Kana Hanazawa as Miwa Makitaka
Kendo Kobayashi as Deputy Chief
Rikiya Koyama as Lieutenant Tamotsu Hōjō
Ryōta Suzuki as Seiji Minamoto
Shimba Tsuchiya as Takeshi Yamada
Shion Wakayama as Mai Kawai
Yui Ishikawa as Seiko Fuji
|Director||Yuzoo Sato (Kaiji, Gokusen)|
|Scenario||Ryunosuke Kingetsu (Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight, Tales of Symphonia the Animation)|
|Character design||Kei Tsuchiya (Shonen Hollywood, Laidbackers)|
|Opening theme||“Shiranakya” by Riko Azuna|
|Ending theme||“Change” by nonoc|
|Broadcast date||5 January 2022 (1430 GMT/2130 WIT/2330 JST)|
Screenshots and Trailer
The Indonesian Anime Times