Saturday, January 24, 2009

Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade

Jin-Roh is one of the most mature anime I've seen. And I don't mean mature as in being really violent or anything, although there are some pretty dark scenes. I mean that the tone and nature of the story are a lot more serious than what you usually see. It starts pretty brilliantly with an escalating riot on city streets while they're held back by city police. A teenage girl delivers an explosive inside a handbag, which is used on the police, provoking them into assaulting and arresting members of the crowd. Underground, a special unit of military police eliminate a group of the terrorists, but a rookie is disturbed by what he sees down there, which goes on to affect his performance despite his great skill.

There's a slowly building political conflict between the special unit and the other police, and they both spy on and try to trap each other, as the rookie and a girl with a connection to the first one grow closer. The plot moves pretty slowly, although my attention was held the whole time thanks to the realistic animation and dark, ominous feel to everything. There's a running parallel to the Little Red Riding Hood story, which effectively foreshadows and enhances the film. The character designs are simple and a bit difficult to distinguish at times, which can hinder comprehension of the story a bit, but besides that it looks really great. From the highly violent "action" scenes (in quotes because they're not really normal action) to simple interactions, everything looks smooth and makes it more enjoyable to watch, even when what's on screen isn't something you want to see. Ultimately, it's a depressing and sad tale, worth watching for the skill with which it's told.

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