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Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade (1998)

Director: Hiroyuki Okiura, Hiroyuki Okiura
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Bandai
Genre: Anime, Foreign, Anime Feature Films, Animation, Cel, Crime
Languages: English, Japanese
Subtitles: English
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This title is currently out of print.

Jin-Roh is an animated film which grew from a story and script by Mamoru Oshii, one of the leading creative artists of Japanese animation. However, director Hiroyuki Okiura deviated from the genre norms in focusing on the humanization of a macho killer. The action takes place in the Japan of the mid-fifties. Ten years after World War II, the country is in a state of strife. Emergency measures to boost Japan's economy have created some disturbing social problems. In Tokyo, special units of an elite police force known as the Metro Police are engaged in a bitter struggle with armed anti-government guerrillas. Any act of violence is reciprocated with more violence. Police officer Kazuki Fushe is a member of one such special unit, known among guerrillas as "Cerberus" and particularly feared for their striking power. Fushe's assignment is to crush the members of a guerrilla group known as "The Sect." During one of his rounds, Fushe meets a young woman on a kamikaze mission who has already activated the bomb she is wearing. Following her death, he can't get her image out of his mind and begins to visit her grave, where he meets another woman who looks like her. She is the sister of the dead girl and has her own reasons for getting closer to Fushe. The plot of the film is very complex, involving several ambiguities which are disquieting at the outset. But gradually, the vision of the director comes through, offering food for thought even in the most violent scenes. Jin-Roh was screened as part of the Panorama section of the 49th International Berlin Film Festival, 1999. ~ Gönül Dönmez-Colin, All Movie Guide

You might also enjoy:
Landmark anime paved the way for films like Jin-Roh

Perfect Blue
Anime tale of a girl's descent into madness

Ghost in the Shell
Another classic, shares some of the same creative talent (see above)

GreenCine Member Ratings

Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade (1998)
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7.04 (265 votes)
Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade (Bonus Disc) (1998)
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7.24 (29 votes)

GreenCine Member Reviews

Espionage and Existentialism by kohnfused1 June 17, 2004 - 11:43 AM PDT
2 out of 4 members found this review helpful
This movie is not about the ?Little Red Riding Hood? children?s fairytale, but more like a metaphor for it. Questions about man and beast, and the rolls they play in each others lives are constantly asked. Who is the prey and who is the predator? Is one no different than the other? Can they coexist? Can one become the other? These types of questions are in alignment with the story of the film, which is essentially a spy vs. spy flick. Who?s fooling who? On the whole, it is about government agencies vying for power in an alternate (or possible) Japan, after the Second World War. Political and social upheaval is the norm. A revolution is coming and people are forced to take sides, or be left as victims in the wake. As for the animation, this is a very beautifully rendered film. The cells seem to be hand drawn a la ?Ghost in the Shell? (considering who the director & creator of this film). There are plenty of quiet moments and excellent cinematography (is that possible for an anime?) that adds to the general mood (despair) of the picture. It?s not artsy, but it?s not in-your-face action either. It?s more like a psycho-drama flick, without the over-the-top drama. If this anime had been made into a live action movie, there wouldn?t be any difference in how I would look and judge it, as an excellent film.

here and there by rarcher September 12, 2003 - 7:35 AM PDT
1 out of 12 members found this review helpful
some of the animation in this film impressed me
but i had a hard time actually sitting through it
boring and predictable

...and the Wolf ate Little Red Riding Hood by hneline1 August 19, 2002 - 6:43 PM PDT
9 out of 10 members found this review helpful
Set in an alternate 1960's Japan after the country had been occupied by Nazi Germany instead of the U.S., Tokyo feels more like Jerusalem. A well-organized terrorist group called the Sect incites rioters and throws super-molotovs to decimate the police lines in a gritty urban struggle. During one such riot, a moment of hesitation by CAPO Special Unit member Kasuki Fuse allows a young terrorist bomb-runner to blow herself up in front of him. Fuse is a man of few words, but we see his struggle to understand why she would suicide and what drives him to be part of the riot police. His subsequent involvement with the sister of the dead girl takes him deeper into himself as well as into violent manipulation by the political and social forces around him.

Smooth animation, detailed realism, and a haunting soundtrack by Hajime Mizoguchi (Please Save My Earth) create a dark, moody movie that is more like a live-action politico-terrorist thriller than something hand-drawn. The look and feel of the animation is like Perfect Blue, with characters that actually look Japanese. The attention to detail in the riot scenes, cityscapes, sewer systems and others is reminiscent of Wings of Honneamise. The character design is awesome, from the weak-chinned bureaucrat, to the frightened innocence of the girls who run bombs for the terrorists, to the terrifying Panzers. Heck, the CAPO Special Unit Panzers with their black armor, gas masks and otherworldly glowing red eyes make storm troopers look like sissies!

This is a great psycho-thriller. Well, what do you expect from creator Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell), director Hiroyuki Okiura (animator from Akira and Ghost in the Shell), and art director Hiromasa Ogura (Wings of Honneamise, Patlabor, Patlabor 2, Ghost in the Shell, Furi-Kiri)? There's even a closing theme by Yoko Kanno (Cowboy Bebop, Vision of Escaflowne: The Movie, Macross Plus). Just be warned -- it's violent and the guns are not toys. Don't let the kids watch this one.

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