Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade

"Excellent"

Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade Review


Anyone growing up on Disney animation would be shocked by Japanese Anime, a genre now famous for giving human experience a different look. It does what family-enticing animation has refused to, including violence, sex, and other adult motifs normally reserved for live-action big blockbusters.

Jin-Roh takes Anime another courageous step forward. Its beginning is chock-full of useful information, adding a documentary feel by establishing the cultural setup in black and white with voiceover. It may sound like a high school lecture, but the images never get boring. Not to mention that without this necessary information, you'd be lost when the key story starts to roll.

The setting is Tokyo, but if Japan had lost World War II to Nazi Germany instead of the United States. More than ten years later, the occupation troops are gone, but domestic terrorists still fight against the fascist, government-sponsored, military forces: the Capital Police. Another faction adding to the mess is "The Wolf Brigade," a rumored extremist sect of the Capital Police that can't be pinned down.

We follow Kazuki Fuse (Michael Dobson), a young member of the elite counterintelligence force. During a city raid, Kazuki fails to kill a young rebel girl face to face and she blows herself up. As he tries to continue on with his duties, he begins to obsess over her, dreaming of her. He contacts her older sister, Kei (Moneca Stori), and they spend time together, finding a tenuous connection in the oppressive society.

As time goes on, the fight between personal needs and duty to his command increases in Kazuki. He is talented and therefore allowed to continue training, but he is constantly being watched and even plotted against with one mental test after another. His times with Kei are pleasant, but there is always an underlying tension as to just how much is really possible.

Like many Anime films, Jin-Roh is brutally honest. The storyline mimics real human interaction, and none of the subplots are easily solved because the terrorists' motivations are complex. Blood, sweat, and tears aren't covered up to save shock. And even if the animation isn't always as minutely detailed as the ever-popular CGI, this is made up for in realistic bodily movements. When a character gets hurt, his limp is real.

The dialogue can be predictable, mimicking almost any other political jargon heard in the average American blockbuster. This could be from a language gap in the translation from Japanese or simply a case of rushing things. It can be annoying but doesn't affect the overall quality of the film.

More depressing than enjoyable, Jin-Roh demands respect because the story is compelling and it's difficult not to be emotionally engaged with the characters. A far cry from something to show the kiddies, but fascinating for those who appreciate an original gem.

Roh Roh Roh your boat.



Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade

Facts and Figures

Run time: 102 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 17th November 1999

Distributed by: Pioneer

Production compaines: Production I.G., Bandai Visual Company

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 55%
Fresh: 12 Rotten: 10

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Hiroyuki Okiura

Starring: Yoshikatsu Fujiki as Kazuki Fuse (Voice), Sumi Mutou as Kei Amemiya (Voice), Hiroyuki Kinosha as Atsushi Henmi (Voice), Eri Sendai as Nanami Agawa (Voice), Kenji Nakagawa as Isao Aniya (Voice), Kousei Hirota as Bunmei Muroto (Voice), Ryuichi Horibe as Shiroh Tatsumi (Voice), Yukihiro Yoshida as Hajime Handa (Voice), Yoshisada Sakaguchi as Hachiroh Tohbe (Voice), Tamio Ôki as Self-Police Member (Voice), Yoshisada Sakaguchi as Narrator (Voice)

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