This week, a unique erotic historical fiction film that has completely slipped through the cracks.
Reviewby Christopher Macdonald
Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade
In an alternate Japan, some 10 years after a major war, poverty and crime stoke the flames of civil unrest. Anti-government guerillas, calling themselves the Sect, spark bloody clashes in the streets. The police respond with a crack unit of heavily-armoured cop-soldiers, the C.A.P.O., to tackle the increasingly well-armed Sect. The C.A.P.O. unit find themselves in a very high-pressure position. On the one hand, their very presence escalates the climate of violence with the Sect. On the other hand, regular cops resent and distrust them. At the center of this firestorm is a young C.A.P.O. officer named Fusé.
When Fusé hesitates to kill a young sect courrier she commits suicide with the bomb she is carrying he is blamed for his failure and demoted back to training camp. Deeply troubled by the experience, Fusé visits the girl's grave, and there meets her sister, with whom he begins a complex relationship. At the same time, a sinister conspiracy is brewing deep in the labyrith of the police system, pitting a secret group of extremists within the C.A.P.O., the Wolf Brigade (Jin-Roh) against the politically inclined bureacrats of the police force. Fusé and the girl are nothing more then pawns of pawns, but who's pawns are they?
Parts Taken From Fant-Asia'99
While some segments of Jin-Roh are extremely violent it is not an action movie. Jin-Roh is an extremely complicated movie with 90% of it's screening time devoted to developping the characters, the plot and the intrigue. Action segments were only incorporated when required by the plot, however those action segments that do exist in the movie are extremely intense, yet most of the film's intensity still comes from the plot and not the action. Although very different in topic, anyone who enjoyed Perfect Blue will probably enjoy Jin-Roh. Although not quite as complicated as Perfect Blue, Jin-Roh succeeds as only the second Anime of the Pshychological Thriller type... that is, only the seconds success. Further comparisson between Jin-Roh and Perfect Blue is not warranted, they are extremely different stories with little in common except for their complexity.
Artisticly Jin-Roh is a masterpiece, as can be expected with anything coming from Productions IG. The extreme attention to minute detail seen in Jin-Roh is very rare. Hiroyuki Okiura eschewed the recent trend of computer animation with Jin-Roh which was almost entirely done on cels (apparently it took 80 000 cels and 3 years to animate). Jin-Roh is almost entirely "filmed" in low light settings and rainy weather, further adding to the somber mood.
Jin-Roh isn't perhaps for everyone though. Without a doubt, if you are into intense psychological drama, and dark moods, Jin-Roh with it's excellent production values is a must see... and maybe you should watch it twice, just so that you can understand it. However, if you'd rather something lighter, funny, or just plain mindless violence that doesn't require heavy thinking (and at times we all want this stuff) then Jin-Roh definitively isn't for you. If you're not sure though, watch it! It's only 98 minutes, and you might discover a new genre that you want to see more of (I certainly do).
We Have a review of the DVD release here
Overall (sub) : A
Story : A
Animation : A
Art : A
Music : A
+ Well developped characters, very intense, very nice art, great plotline.
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