Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade

Alternate history has been fused into this tale of Japan, set ten years after World War II. The aggression of the government to catch up to the rest of the post-war world has created a whole lot of civil unrest within the country, and many people have left for urban districts, leaving the cities behind and transforming them into slums. With an increase of crime, and support rising for anti government protestors, the local police forces have lost control. Out of necessity, a paramilitary force has been created as guardians of public order, called the Capital Police Organization (CAPO).

United guerilla forces of government protestors, forced underground by new laws, have formed The Sect. Now highly organized, these protesters pose a threat to the country's government leaders, as well as the CAPO itself. City streets have become war zones, and now the mass public is outraged even more that what the government promised is not happening.

To the public, all law enforcement agencies are united in their quest for security, but that is not so. Every organization seems to wish the other to fall, and they are looking out for their own best interests. Within the CAPO there is rumored to be a division called the "WOLF BRIGADE," working outside the authority of the normal chain of command. While this information is not certain, it could just be another way to invoke more divisions within the organizations.

My expectation of this movie was not at all what I ended up getting. From the cover art and trailers, the movie seemed to be a military/action filled Anime, and having Ghost in the Shell legend Mamoru Oshii write the screenplay didn't really help change that impression. As it turns out, the movie does Japanese Anime justice with a delicate story, and a plot to support the wonderful imagination illustrated by the animation.

For once, an anime allows the characters to actually look Japanese. Unlike Akira and Ghost in the Shell, which this rivals, Jin Roh will not really require you to go back and try and figure things out. The set-up may be complicated, but the actual story is beautifully straightforward.

Appropriately for a tale of the Wolf Brigade, Jin Roh works in allusions to Little Red Riding Hood through the main characters, Fuse and Kei. It is not an action packed movie, but more of a suspenseful thriller. While there's plenty going on, in the end it's just about Fuse and Kei, leaving the viewer with a sense of inevitable tragedy.

The animation itself doesn't show a hint of using CG work, and that makes the feel very authentic. The armor, cityscapes, and clothing style make a very easily imaginable world, and the dialog between Fuse and Kei is right on the nose. At the beginning of the movie, though, Fuse asks a simple question that never quite gets answered: "why?"

Dig deeper into the soul of this movie to find out the answer to that question.

What the Special Edition has to offer:

  • Disk 1: contains the full length Feature
  • Disk 2: contains features such as Interviews, Japanese/English Trailers, and Art Gallery
  • Disk 3: the soundtrack music by Hajime Mizoguchi.
  • Booklet: 13 pages of insight to Mamoru Oshii, Jin Roh, and a nice two-panel diagram of all the divisions and key players in this movie.

    Get Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade - Special Edition from Amazon.com

    Mish'al Samman


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