Sunday, April 13, 2008

Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade

Jin-Roh; Animated thriller-drama, Japan, 1999; D: Hiroyuki Okiura, S: Yoshikatsu Fujiki, Sumi Mutou, Hiroyuki Kinoshita, Eri Sendai, Kenji Nakagawa, Yukio Hirota

In '55, Japan is disastrously devastated because it is ruled by a foreign government. The jobs are disappearing, the number of poor is rising, thus the government organizes a city elite police, Panzer-cops, who fight the rebels. One of those policemen is Kazuki Fuse who spots a girl who blows herself up with a bomb in the sever. The commission is angry at Kazuki for not shooting her right away, so they send him to an additional training. Kazuki meets the sister of the suicide girl, Kei, and falls in love with her. But she is sent by Henmi who wants to abolish the police by a scandal. But Kazuki shoots Henmy and Kei.

Claustrophobic and bleak political anime "Jin-Roh" didn't completely use it's possibilities. The opening promises a lot because it shows, using a whole montage of frozen images, the situation if an alternative Japan where the government brought it to bankruptcy, then starting with scenes in which citizens are protesting against it, even taking bricks from the street to throw them on the police, establishing a clear cause-consequence thread that shows why people became rebels in such a state. The excellent animation crafted a great look of the misery and bleakness of the world, including the exotic look of the elite cops in the armour, among whose is the main protagonist Kazuki, but the story leans too much on atmosphere and too little on pale one-dimensional characters that are bleak. There is a vague allegory of the Little Red Riding Hood in the story (Kazuki constantly has hallucinations about wolves in the sewer and a snowy forest that represent him since he will take the girl as a pray at the end) while the dry dialogues ("He who predicts the next move of the opponent is in advantage.") and boring demanding tone substantially weaken the film. Too bad the authors didn't have courage to go deeper in the relationship between Kazuki and Kei while the intrigues by the regime are uninteresting.


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