It was a cold and wintery evening and out there was this underground pub no one outside the anime realm knows about called, “BONES Brewery”, where people who are anime fans, reviewers, or even producers come to either to have a good time there or drink their sorrows away with a few drinks. There was a man who was just so damn depressed, you swear if he was on the verge of a catastrophic breakdown until somebody who had their face covered with a yellow scarf arrived and ask for one pint and sat down with the guy. He asked what was his problem and why was he drinking his ass off and he said he was having flashback nightmares about his tenure as a soldier during the Long Days’ War and needed to drink to forget (pardon the corny X-Men Origins Wolverine reference) and he preceded to tell me his tales of guerilla warfare, brutal deaths, and terrorism…which leads to the topic of JIN-ROH THE WOLF BRIGADE.
Now before reviewing this, I remember seeing this movie way back on premium movie channel Encore Action and as of today, I questioned why it was shown there considering the movie isn’t much on action but more focused through the drama and hardships of World War II, or in this case, it’s an alternate version of a post-World War II where Germany has taken over Japan, instead of the United States.
After witnessing the suicide bombing of a terrorist girl, Constable Kazuki Fuse becomes haunted by her image, and is forced to undergo retraining for his position in the Capital Police’s Special Unit. However, unknown to him, he becomes a key player in a dispute between Capital and Local Police forces, as he finds himself increasingly involved with the sister of the very girl he saw die.
Now I really don’t talk politics much in my reviews mainly because I’m not really much of an expert on that but the movie does have its political references from Japan’s own situation from the 1960s and 1970s where massive student protests for the ANPO Hantai movement and the interesting fact about it is that not only Mamoru Oshii, the writer of the movie, was involved in back in their hayday but so was Studio Ghibli regulars Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies) and Hayao Miyazaki.
Part of the story in Jin-Roh also parallels toward Rotkäppchen (or Little Red Riding Hood / the real Grimm fairytale version) as the girl in the red hood in the beginning as like Red running from the wolves but from what I saw from the movie and saw from other reviews (either professional or amateur), the roles of the that can be switched, making it somewhat more unexpected than the usual story. As for the main character himself, Fuse is that character who may be a constable and associated with the army, but I think some people, especially those who went through what he did, can relate to the guy and the trauma that he is suffering from. On a small note, the movie’s pace can be slow for the majority of the film, so it would be better to watch when there is nothing on and the graphic violence may not be suitable for the squeamish, although it’s shown for the brutality of make a message and not just to show violence for the sake of it.
As for the animation, it is done by the amazing Production I.G., and the animation is dark, broody with muted colors and yes, it is centered more of a realistic Japan rather than the same style that we’re used to. I’m not going to bitch about what style of whatever animation and character design most animators do and for what it’s worth, it did an outstanding job for that.
The music wasn’t that very noticeable as that wasn’t anything that captured any attention to my ears, but the score was decent. The English dub done by The Ocean Group via Bandai Entertainment was actually one of their more well-acted productions considering I didn’t have kind words for them last time (fucking Monster Rancher) but here, I can see why they get work for many anime worth watching.
FINAL VERDICT: Well, I will say that Jin-Roh is worth watching and it is, but sometimes for an hour and 40 minutes, it can feel like 3 hours at a time. The character development was handled extremely great and really dug in deep into knowing them and their emotion but after you watch it (or watch it for reviewing), it isn’t something you would watch again.
And so, Jin-Roh the Wolf Brigade gets an honest grade of
Planet Tyro Rating: SOLID B – 8/10
And so after hearing that whole story that was very similar of the plot of Jin-Roh, the yellow-scarfed man did developed more sympathy from him but he’ll implore the guy to stop drinking himself to death and just buck the fuck up….but it was too late for the drunken guy as the alcohol begins to make him….well, it begins to make him belligerent and much like a drunk, he starts to get confrontational and began knocking the guy out flat on his ass. Then the drunkard was attracting attention from all the tough guys, just thirsty for a bar house fight and when the yellow-scarfed guy was more conscious, he removed the scarf to reveal his identity and do you know who was the guy with the scarf all along? Yep, it is the Hybrid in disguise. What he did next started the whole bloody and bruising affair as he grabbed some beer bottles and started to beat him down but not trying to kill him. He grabbed the guy and said, “Look, buddy, I was trying to make you not feel so bad about you suffering with your bullshit and yet, you beat my ass for no apparent reason? I get you’re drunk but dammit, you can’t be doing this shit.” Then Hybrid got up, left him and as he got close to the exit, two guys blocked him and said these words to him, “So……you’re the Hybrid, aren’t you?”
And until then, this is MAK2.0 aka The Hybrid, bringing all the elements in one format.
JIN-ROH THE WOLF BRIGADE – animation by PRODUCTION I.G. / distributed by BANDAI ENTERTAINMENT (at least for now, that is)
THE MIND OF THE HYBRID ONE – my Tumblr page.